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PHNO PRESIDENTIAL (DU30) NEWS THIS PAST WEEK
(Mini Reads followed by Full Reports below)

PALACE: FM BURIAL UP TO SC; ONLY HIGH COURT CAN STOP MARCOS' BURIAL AT LIBINGAN


AUGUST 16 -Martial law victims together with former congressman and human rights lawyer Neri Colmenares show their petition before the Supreme Court yesterday to stop the burial of the late dictator Ferdinand Marcos at the heroes’ cemetery. EDD GUMBAN
Only the Supreme Court can stop Ferdinand Marcos’ burial at the Libingan ng mga Bayani, Malacañang said, as it vowed to comply with whatever is decided by the high court on a petition for a restraining order filed yesterday by martial law victims. “Since there is already a petition in the Supreme Court, as we said, we welcome a petition, we welcome any opposition. Let the court decide as to the validity. We will respect whatever the decision of the Supreme Court,” chief presidential legal counsel Salvador Panelo told reporters. In a 30-page petition, martial law victims led by former Bayan Muna party-list representatives Satur Ocampo and Neri Colmenares sought a temporary restraining order enjoining the Armed Forces from proceeding with Marcos’ burial next month at the Libingan as approved by President Duterte. Petitioners also asked the high court to declare as null and void the memorandum issued by Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana last Aug. 7 as well as the directive of AFP chief of staff Gen. Ricardo Visaya for the interment of Marcos at the Libingan, as such burial is “illegal and contrary to law, public policy, morals and justice.” Petitioners, including members of the Samahan ng Ex-detainees Laban sa Detensyon at Aresto (SELDA), argued that allowing the Libingan burial of the former leader would violate Republic Act No. 289 (law regulating the Libingan ng mga Bayani) and RA 10368 (Human Rights Victims Reparation and Recognition Act). They said the Libingan was built under RA 289 “to perpetuate the memory of all presidents of the Philippines, national heroes and patriots for the inspiration and emulation of this generation and of the generations still unborn.” READ MORE...

ALSO: DUTERTE BUDGET - P3.35-trillion budget for 2017 submitted


AUGUST 16 -The Duterte administration yesterday presented to the House of Representatives its first full year national budget of P3.35 trillion for 2017 that retained human resources and social development as top priorities.
Budget Secretary Benjamin E. Diokno turned over the national budget proposal to Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez who immediately directed the House Committee on Appropriations to start the budget process in the legislative department. Davao City Rep. Karlo Nograles, chairman of the House Committee on Appropriations, said budget hearings will start next Monday. The proposed budget is 11.6 percent higher than the current year’s budget of P3.002 trillion. As a percentage of GDP, the 2017 budget represents 20.4 percent compared this year’s 20.1 percent of GDP, according to the DBM. Revenues to be collected to finance the expenditures have been estimated at P2.48 trillion or about 10 percent more than the government target to collect this year. It is equivalent to 15.6 percent of the GDP. Expected budget deficit could reach P478.1 billion or three percent of the GDP. Government will resort to borrowings expected to total P631.3 billion. WHERE BUDGET GOES Human empowerment which covers the Departments of Social Welfare, Education, Labor and Employment, and Health will get 40 percent of the budget pie, while economic services gets 27.6 percent. READ MORE...

ALSO: Govt wants to rationalize senior citizens’ VAT exemptions


AUGUST 22 -Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez III
The Finance Department said it will rationalize the value added tax exemptions enjoyed by senior citizens to make sure the tax reform program will be fair to all.
Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez III told reporters the agency wanted the tax reform package to be enjoyed justly by the public. “Now on that VAT on senior citizens, let us analyze it. Where do you use that? You use that in expensive restaurants. I go by a meal that is P1,000. So I get a subsidy of P120 because I don’t pay the VAT. But the guy who needs the P120 cannot get it because he doesn’t have to money to pay an expensive meal,” Dominguez said.
“Now is that fair? Is it? If you put it in that way, we want it to be fair. Why should I or he or she be subsidized when that guy cannot get it,” Dominguez said. The Finance chief said the tax reform package aimed to make sure the government had enough funds to make the necessary investments in infrastructure, education and health and while being fair to all. The Finance Department earlier confirmed that while the government would broaden the tax base to compensate for losses from the possible tax rate cuts, several tax exemptions would be lifted. Dominguez said tax exemptions on food, medicine and education would not be affected. “Those are very necessary,” he said. READ MORE...

ALSO: UN rights experts call on gov't to stop, probe drug-related killings
[RELATED: Duterte hits UN for 'interfering' in the Philippines]
[“Why would the UN so be easily swayed into interfering in the affairs of this republic?” Duterte said. “There are just about 1,000 deaths while there are a lot of innocent women and child being killed elsewhere in this world without even seeing the slightest justice,” he added.]


AUGUST 17 -In this July 2016 photo, a policeman accused of being a drug pusher was tortured and killed while still wearing his police uniform in Meycauayan City in Bulacan. The STAR/Boy Cruz, file
 Two United Nations human rights experts urged the Philippine government on Thursday to put a stop to a spate of extrajudicial killings in the country, saying it is obligated to ensure the rights of all people "whether suspected of criminal offenses or not." The Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights said in a release on its website that more than 850 people have been killed in the Philippines between May 10 and August 11, with 650 of those deaths happening in the last six weeks. The Philippine National Police has said it is investigating more than 800 cases of drug-related deaths. “We call on the Philippines authorities to adopt with immediate effect the necessary measures to protect all persons from targeted killings and extrajudicial executions,” Agnes Callamard, UN special rapporteur on summary executions, said. She said that the war against illegal drugs does not "absolve the government from its international legal obligations and do not shield State actors or others from responsibility for illegal killings." She added that the government is obligated to ensure the rights of all. READ MORE...RELATED, Duterte hits UN for 'interfering' in the Philippines...

ALSO: Duterte threatens to pull-out from UN; foreign affairs experts say ‘not good’


AUGUST 22 -Davao City — President Duterte threatened to sever ties with the United Nations (UN) if it continues to criticize his administration’s fight against illegal drugs that was blamed to have caused the increasing number of drug suspects killed. But foreign affairs experts said that such rhetoric from the President is definitely not helpful and is making the Philippines more and more internationally isolated.
Apparently irked by the criticism, Duterte slammed the UN for failing to show him some respect being the country’s highest elected official. He said that the UN should have sent its representative to talk to him before it issued its criticism with respect to allegations of extrajudicial killings of illegal drug suspects when he came into power a month ago. “So, the next time you issue it, I do not want to insult you. But maybe we’ll just have to decide to separate from the United Nations,” Duterte blurted out at an early morning press briefing at the Presidential Guesthouse at the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) in Panacan here. He said that he might just decide to create his own organization and invite China and African countries to join. But he will only leave if the UN refunds the Philippines all its contributions. “The joke is on you. You have to refund me with these so many contributions that we have made all these years. Isauli ninyo contributions namin (Give our contributions back to us) and we will go out. We contribute a certain amount for the maintenance of UN, right? Oh, you return the money to us and we will go out,” he said. He added that the government can build drug rehabilitation centers using the money it has contributed to the UN. He said that he is willing to pay the UN representative in the country a visit to discuss the UN’s accussation. “You observe protocol because if you do that directly you are addressing yourself to me. Remember that I am – I do not like to say it because I wanted to be called mayor still – I am the president of the sovereign,” he said. READ MORE...

ALSO AT SENATE PROBE Bato: More killings by vigilantes than cops


AUGUST 19 -PNP chief Director General Ronald dela Rosa answers questions from senators as NCRPO director Chief Superintendent Oscar Albayalde looks on during a Senate hearing on drug killings yesterday. GEREMY PINTOLO
Since President Duterte assumed office last June 30, the number of killings perpetrated by vigilantes or members of drug syndicates has overtaken the deaths from legitimate police operations by a significant margin. Philippine National Police (PNP) chief Director General Ronald dela Rosa told the Senate committee on public order and dangerous drugs in a hearing yesterday that the alleged vigilante killings – or what they officially call “found dead body under investigation” – have reached 899 since June 30. Dela Rosa explained that these represent those found floating in bodies of water or lying on roadsides or other locations, the perpetrators of which were unidentified. He refused to classify these as purely vigilante killings because he suspects that many of these murders were perpetrated by members of drug syndicates, who are wiping each other out. In the case of killings that occur in legitimate police anti-illegal drug operations, Dela Rosa said that there were 667 deaths so far. “If we attribute all of these 899 dead under investigation to vigilantes, compared to 667 killed attributed to legitimate police operations, then the vigilantes or syndicates are more efficient at killing than the police,” Dela Rosa said. The outspoken Dela Rosa clarified that he does not condone vigilante killings, which he found to be an insult to the PNP as an institution. He said that the large number of vigilante killings is a matter of concern and that this affects his conscience because the PNP is supposed to ensure peace and order in the entire country. “They are killing people without any consequences. It makes us appear to be ineffective. I abhor vigilantes. I really hate them,” Dela Rosa said. Asked by Sen. Grace Poe if all of these killings are unresolved, Dela Rosa pointed out that 22 cases have been filed so far, all in Metro Manila. READ MORE...


READ FULL MEDIA REPORTS HERE:

FM Libingan burial up to SC


Martial law victims together with former congressman and human rights lawyer Neri Colmenares show their petition before the Supreme Court yesterday to stop the burial of the late dictator Ferdinand Marcos at the heroes’ cemetery. EDD GUMBAN

MANILA, AUGUST 22, 2016 (PHILSTAR)  By Edu Punay and Giovanni Nilles Updated August 16, 2016 -Only the Supreme Court can stop Ferdinand Marcos’ burial at the Libingan ng mga Bayani, Malacañang said, as it vowed to comply with whatever is decided by the high court on a petition for a restraining order filed yesterday by martial law victims.

“Since there is already a petition in the Supreme Court, as we said, we welcome a petition, we welcome any opposition. Let the court decide as to the validity. We will respect whatever the decision of the Supreme Court,” chief presidential legal counsel Salvador Panelo told reporters.

In a 30-page petition, martial law victims led by former Bayan Muna party-list representatives Satur Ocampo and Neri Colmenares sought a temporary restraining order enjoining the Armed Forces from proceeding with Marcos’ burial next month at the Libingan as approved by President Duterte.

Petitioners also asked the high court to declare as null and void the memorandum issued by Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana last Aug. 7 as well as the directive of AFP chief of staff Gen. Ricardo Visaya for the interment of Marcos at the Libingan, as such burial is “illegal and contrary to law, public policy, morals and justice.”

Petitioners, including members of the Samahan ng Ex-detainees Laban sa Detensyon at Aresto (SELDA), argued that allowing the Libingan burial of the former leader would violate Republic Act No. 289 (law regulating the Libingan ng mga Bayani) and RA 10368 (Human Rights Victims Reparation and Recognition Act).

They said the Libingan was built under RA 289 “to perpetuate the memory of all presidents of the Philippines, national heroes and patriots for the inspiration and emulation of this generation and of the generations still unborn.”

READ MORE...

They argued that the law “only allows the burial of a president or soldier worthy of public inspiration and emulation.”

“The burial of Ferdinand Marcos at the Libingan ng mga Bayani simply mocks and taunts Section 1 of RA 289,” read the petition filed through the National Union of People’s Lawyers.

Petitioners further argued the burial would violate RA 10368, which recognizes the massive human rights violations during martial law under the Marcos regime and gives the government the moral and legal obligation to recognize such violations and provide reparation to victims.

Ocampo and the other petitioners also said the planned burial would be contrary to public policy, citing historical records during the dictatorship of Marcos.

They said Marcos “should not be emulated and cannot serve as an inspiration to this generation and to the next generation of Filipinos.”

They recalled the arrest of more than 50,000 people during the first three years of martial law. Thousands more were tortured, summarily executed and made to disappear also during the Marcos regime.

Furthermore, the petitioners said Marcos’ ouster in a military-backed civilian uprising in February 1986 is enough justification to disqualify him from interment at the Libingan.

“To be collectively ousted from office for moral decadence and depravity is dishonorable enough and such political action by the Filipino is far, far greater than a judicial conviction for a crime that involves moral turpitude,” they pointed out.

Petitioners stressed a Libingan burial for Marcos would also violate constitutional provision on state policies.

ARTICLE II SECTION 27

They cited Article II Section 27 (Declaration of Principles and State Policies State Policies), which provides that the “state shall maintain honesty and integrity in the public service and take positive and effective measures against graft and corruption” and also Article XI Section 1 (Accountability of Public Officers), which provides that “public officers and employees must at all times be accountable to the people, serve them with utmost responsibility, integrity, loyalty and efficiency, act with patriotism and justice, and lead modest lives.”

“For how can such honesty and integrity be promoted and defended when a dishonest and disgraced public official, such as Ferdinand E. Marcos, after his removal from power, can snatch respect and thereby rewrite not only history but his culpability via the backdoor of declaring and celebrating him a hero?” the petition stated.

The petitioners also questioned the claim that Marcos had served as a soldier during World War II, citing a study conducted by the National Historical Commission of the Philippines (NHCP) showing lack of historical basis for such claim.

As alternative, petitioners cited the 1993 agreement between then president Fidel Ramos and the Marcos family for the burial of the late strongman in Ilocos Norte.

The filing of the petition yesterday came a day after hundreds held a rally in Rizal Park to protest Duterte’s allowing a hero’s burial for Marcos, which is one of his campaign promises.

Marcos died in exile in Hawaii three years after fleeing the country following the 1986 People Power Revolution.

Duterte said Marcos deserved a spot at the Libingan because he was a president and a soldier during World War II.

No to FVR deal

Panelo, meanwhile, said Duterte will not honor the agreement between the Marcos family and Ramos on an Ilocos Norte burial for Marcos.

He said the agreement applies only to its signatories and does not bind the Duterte administration.

“Assuming that there is an agreement, it does not bind the President because it was entered into by a previous president. The President has the discretion to either uphold it or change it, alter or modify it,” he stressed.

Earlier, former interior secretary Rafael Alunan, who was among the signatories to the agreement between the Marcoses and Ramos, said the accord remains binding.

The agreement listed at least four conditions – Marcos’ body would be flown straight from Hawaii to Ilocos Norte; the late president and dictator would be given honors befitting a major that was Marcos’ last rank in the Armed Forces of the Philippines; the body would not be paraded around Metro Manila as it may result in violence and it would not be buried at the Libingan ng mga Bayani.

Alunan alleged that Marcos had wanted to be buried beside the grave of his mother Josefa Edralin-Marcos in Batac, Ilocos Norte.


Now Senator Raffy Alunan is a commissioned colonel in the Armed Forces of the Philippines.(This photo is grabbed from Raffy Alunan's facebook account).

“From what I gathered from the explanation of Raffy Alunan, that was done because (of) the circumstances at that time… Which means that those (conditions) would need to be imposed if only to allow the return. It was so fresh in the minds of people then,” Panelo said. He argued that circumstances are now different.

“Because we have given the authority to the President to bury the late president Marcos. And that authority is predicated on the overwhelming landslide win, given the fact that during the campaign, he repeatedly said that these are the things that he would do as president – one of which is to bury the late president Marcos, to put closure to this issue,” Panelo pointed out.

The election of Duterte, in effect, is an affirmation of the promises he made during the campaign, he added.

Panelo also stressed that, even assuming that the agreement is still valid, Duterte’s decision to allow the burial now has superseded the accord.

He also disagreed with the viewpoint of Sen. Grace Poe that burying Marcos at the Libingan ng mga Bayani is in conflict with the law.

“Not necessarily, because the law is precisely silent on that. If the intention of the legislature was to disallow the burial, then it would have said so in that law. But it does not. What it says is that it recognizes the sufferings of the victims,” Panelo argued.


PANELO

Although Panelo understands the viewpoint of those opposing the burial and recognizing the sufferings they went through during martial law, he said critics failed to come up with a law that prohibits the burial of Marcos at the heroes’ cemetery when they could have done so during previous administrations.

He added he does not know if the President would attend Marcos’ burial.

Never a hero Sen. Francis Pangilinan maintained Marcos was not a hero and therefore does not deserve to be buried at the Libingan ng Mga Bayani.

“If he’s a hero, why was he ousted in 1986? Why were $4.5 billion in ill-gotten wealth recovered? He should not be emulated or be a source of inspiration,” Pangilinan said.

Sen. Antonio Trillanes IV said the Marcos burial issue is a headache Duterte does not need.

“Maybe he (Duterte) wants to show he can impose his will by virtue of his popularity… that could be whimsical but this is what appears to be happening,” he said.

“He can see up to where this will go but for me he doesn’t need to test and waste political capital this early. He’ll end up problematic,” he added.


AQUINO

Sen. Paolo Benigno Aquino IV, for his part, has filed a resolution calling for an inquiry to determine the status of education on martial law in basic and tertiary education.

“There’s so much erroneous information in the Internet about martial law. We must find out how martial law is being taught in schools and ensure that only the truth prevails,” he said.

Aquino, chairman of the Senate committee on education, stressed that younger generations must be “made aware of the horrors of martial law, considered as the darkest years in Philippine history.”


PHILSTAR

P3.35-trillion budget for 2017 submitted August 16, 2016 Share7 Tweet0 Share0 Email1 Share122 By Ben R. Rosario and Ellson A. Quismorio

The Duterte administration yesterday presented to the House of Representatives its first full year national budget of P3.35 trillion for 2017 that retained human resources and social development as top priorities.

Budget Secretary Benjamin E. Diokno turned over the national budget proposal to Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez who immediately directed the House Committee on Appropriations to start the budget process in the legislative department.

Davao City Rep. Karlo Nograles, chairman of the House Committee on Appropriations, said budget hearings will start next Monday.

The proposed budget is 11.6 percent higher than the current year’s budget of P3.002 trillion. As a percentage of GDP, the 2017 budget represents 20.4 percent compared this year’s 20.1 percent of GDP, according to the DBM.

Revenues to be collected to finance the expenditures have been estimated at P2.48 trillion or about 10 percent more than the government target to collect this year. It is equivalent to 15.6 percent of the GDP.

Expected budget deficit could reach P478.1 billion or three percent of the GDP. Government will resort to borrowings expected to total P631.3 billion.

WHERE BUDGET GOES

Human empowerment which covers the Departments of Social Welfare, Education, Labor and Employment, and Health will get 40 percent of the budget pie, while economic services gets 27.6 percent.

READ MORE...

General public services that includes police and fire services, and national defense will receive P22 percent.

“We have proposed that P355.7 billion of the budget for infrastructure be spent for fixing and building road networks, seaports, systems and airport system. The infrastructure outlays in 2017 is equivalent to 5.4 percent of the GDP,” Diokno said.

Government education programs will receive a total P699.95 billion, representing 20.9 percent of next year’s total budget.

On the other hand, the Duterte government has hiked the expenditures for the conditional cash transfer for the 4.62 million impoverished Filipino families. From a current allocation of P60 billion, next year’s dole outs for the poor will be P78.7 billion, which will include a P23.4 billion rice allowance for three million of the beneficiary families.

Among those getting substantial increases in allocation are the Philippine National Police with P110.4 billion which is higher by 24.6 than its current appropriation.

The Armed Forces of the Philippines allocation will also be adjusted by 15 percent, from the current P111 billion to P130 billion.

Malacañang seeks to allocate P25 billion to finance the revised AFP Modernization Program and afford the military with modern weaponry and equipment.

From the present allocation of P19.5 billion, the DBM proposed P31.5 billion for the Mindanao Logistics Infrastructure Network to realize Duterte’s vow to give the provinces equal attention in government spending.


DIOKNO

Noticeable in the proposed allocations is the P18 billion increase in the budget of the Office of the President, which is getting only P2 billion under the current year.

Diokno was equally puzzled by the big adjustment, initially explaining to the media that the amount contained budgetary allocations for various agencies attached to the OP.

He later clarified that P15 billion of the P20.030 billion allocation for President Duterte’s office represent expenses government will incur when the Philippines plays the host country in the celebration of the golden anniversary of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations.

The P3billion, Diokno clarified, will be for other attached OP offices.

The newly created Department of Information and Communications will get an initial budget of P3.56 billion as Malacañang mandated the agency to improve the internet speed in the country and address issues involving cybercrime.

Notwithstanding a proposal by Secretary to the Cabinet Jun Evasco to abolish it, the National Irrigation Administration will receive a higher budget of P36.4 billion to “build and rehabilitate irrigations nationwide.”

The DBM said the adjustment in NIA allocation will allow the agency to subsidize irrigation fees usually charged to poor farmers. The agency will receive P36.4 billion.

The top 10 agencies in terms of 2017 budgetary allocations are the following:

1. DepEd P567.5 billion

2. DPWH P458.6 billion

3. DILG P150 billion

4. Defense P134.5 billion

5. DSWD P129.9 billion

6. Health P94 billion

7. SUCs P58.8 billion

8. DOTr P55.4 billion

9. Agriculture P45.2 billion

10. ARMM P41.7 billion

Congress allocation for 2017 is P14.12 billion while the judiciary will receive P32.5 billion.

Among the agencies and departments expected to get the lowest allocation next year are the following: Joint Legislative-Executive Council, P3.33 million; Office of the Vice President, P433.5 million; Commission on Human Rights,m P496.1 million; Presidential Communications Operations Office, P1.25 billion; DBM, P1.47 billion; Tourism, P2.49 billion, and Energy, P2.65 billion.

UNLI PROJECTS FOR SOLONS?

Under the proposed 2017 budget, congressmen have practically no limit to how much they can request for their projects.

This can be deduced from the words of Diokno.

“There is no hard and fast rule,” Diokno said when asked by reporters just how much in terms of project value can each House member may ask for under the 2017 national budget.

Diokno said a congressman could be given zero or an “x” amount of projects by a government agency depending on how meritorious his or her project requests are.

“For example, a congressman might identify P100 million worth of projects but they are not eligible – both of them are basketball courts, zero di ba?”

“But for somebody who identifies projects that are worthwhile, these are consistent with the desires of the President to develop the countryside, we would of course consider,” he said.

Still, the official insisted that “it is the right as congressman to request for what’s good for their constituent.”

Diokno, in his overview of the proposed National Expenditure Program (NEP), said that the 2017 budget is “consistent with President [Rodrigo] Duterte’s 10-point agenda.”

“I can characterize it by saying, we’re putting out money where our mouth is,” the DBM boss said.

NO P80-M CEILING

Diokno also dismissed as mere rumor the House leadership’s previous claim that P80 million would be set aside for each congressman as far as projects for constituents are concerned.

“Those are rumors, but they are not true OK?” he said as he sat beside House Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez and House Appropriations Committee Chairman Rep. Karlo Nograles of Davao City.

Alvarez, Duterte’s party mate over at Partido Demokratiko Pilipino-Lakas ng Bayan (PDP-Laban), underscored the importance of an P80-million cap in a radio interview last July 11.

THERE’S NO ‘PORK’

Pressed about the presence P80-million ceiling, Diokno replied, “There is no PDAF (Priority Development Assistance Fund) in this budget, let’s put it that way.”

“[The 2017 budget] is compliant with two landmark SC (Supreme Court) decisions on PDAF and DAP (Disbursement Acceleration Program),” the Cabinet member assured at the start of the presentation.


MANILA STANDARD

Govt wants to rationalize senior citizens’ VAT exemptions posted August 21, 2016 at 11:50 pm by Gabrielle H. Binaday


Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez III

The Finance Department said it will rationalize the value added tax exemptions enjoyed by senior citizens to make sure the tax reform program will be fair to all.

Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez III told reporters the agency wanted the tax reform package to be enjoyed justly by the public.

“Now on that VAT on senior citizens, let us analyze it. Where do you use that? You use that in expensive restaurants. I go by a meal that is P1,000. So I get a subsidy of P120 because I don’t pay the VAT. But the guy who needs the P120 cannot get it because he doesn’t have to money to pay an expensive meal,” Dominguez said.

“Now is that fair? Is it? If you put it in that way, we want it to be fair. Why should I or he or she be subsidized when that guy cannot get it,” Dominguez said.

The Finance chief said the tax reform package aimed to make sure the government had enough funds to make the necessary investments in infrastructure, education and health and while being fair to all.

The Finance Department earlier confirmed that while the government would broaden the tax base to compensate for losses from the possible tax rate cuts, several tax exemptions would be lifted.

Dominguez said tax exemptions on food, medicine and education would not be affected. “Those are very necessary,” he said.

READ MORE...

The department said despite the proposals to reduce income tax rates, the government would have enough revenues to support the program of the Duterte administration.

“We are preparing our tax reform program that will lower tax rates for individual and corporations. However, we have counter measures to cover those erosions in revenue and we will certainly end up with more revenue in the long run,” Dominguez said.

The Finance Department plans to submit the tax reform package to the House of Representatives in September. The tax reform package includes the reduction of corporate and individual tax rates from 30 percent to 25 percent and from 32 percent to 25 percent, respectively.


PHILSTAR

UN rights experts call on gov't to stop, probe drug-related killings (philstar.com) | Updated August 18, 2016 - 9:11pm 12 64 googleplus0 0


In this July 2016 photo, a policeman accused of being a drug pusher was tortured and killed while still wearing his police uniform in Meycauayan City in Bulacan. The STAR/Boy Cruz, file

MANILA, Philippines -- Two United Nations human rights experts urged the Philippine government on Thursday to put a stop to a spate of extrajudicial killings in the country, saying it is obligated to ensure the rights of all people "whether suspected of criminal offenses or not."

The Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights said in a release on its website that more than 850 people have been killed in the Philippines between May 10 and August 11, with 650 of those deaths happening in the last six weeks.

The Philippine National Police has said it is investigating more than 800 cases of drug-related deaths.

“We call on the Philippines authorities to adopt with immediate effect the necessary measures to protect all persons from targeted killings and extrajudicial executions,” Agnes Callamard, UN special rapporteur on summary executions, said.

She said that the war against illegal drugs does not "absolve the government from its international legal obligations and do not shield State actors or others from responsibility for illegal killings." She added that the government is obligated to ensure the rights of all.

READ MORE...

Dainius Pūras, UN special rapporteur on the right to health, said in the same release that although the illegal drug trade must be addressed, campaigs against it must be within Philippine and international law "and should respect the human rights of each person."

The special rapporteurs noted that President Rodrigo Duterte made comments during the election campaign that could be interpreted as encouraging law enforcement officers and citizens to kill those involved in the drug trade if they do not surrender.

“Directives of this nature are irresponsible in the extreme and amount to incitement to violence and killing, a crime under international law. It is effectively a license to kill,” Callamard said.

The two welcomed reports that Duterte has said he is against extrajudicial killings -- on Wednesday, he told members of the Philippine National Police that killing suspects can only be justified if their lives are in danger -- but they said that is not enough.

“All allegations of killings and extrajudicial executions must be promptly and thoroughly investigated. Perpetrators and instigators must be sanctioned without exception,” they said.

On Wednesday, Duterte criticized the UN for what he called their interference in the Philippines' war on drugs. “There are just about 1,000 deaths while there are a lot of innocent women and child being killed elsewhere in this world without even seeing the slightest justice,” he said.

It was not the first time that Duterte railed against the United Nations.

------------------------

RELATED FROM PHILSTAR

Duterte hits UN for 'interfering' in the Philippines By AJ Bolando (philstar.com) | Updated August 17, 2016 - 7:00pm 9 2880 googleplus2 1

MANILA, Philippines – President Rodrigo Duterte cried foul over the supposed meddling by the United Nations in his government and his drive against illegal drugs.

Speaking at the 115th anniversary of the police service, Duterte asked the “easily swayed” UN why it is interfering with his administration while there are more important issues in other countries like bombings in the Middle East.

The president said that it is easy for his critics to complain, but wondered why they are quiet about the victims of criminals who were killed.

“Why would the UN so be easily swayed into interfering in the affairs of this republic?” Duterte said.

“There are just about 1,000 deaths while there are a lot of innocent women and child being killed elsewhere in this world without even seeing the slightest justice,” he added.

Duterte has been criticized over a perceived rise in the number of killings since he became president. He, however, defended himself and said that deaths caused by criminals should not be attributed his government.

Recently, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon denounced Duterte's apparent endorsement of extrajudicial killing. The UN Office on Drugs and Crime also aired their “great concern” over the rising number of deaths in the Philippines.

The president explained that illegal drugs should be blamed for the loss of innocent lives that have left families broken. He added that this was because of drug abuse.

Duterte cited a report of Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency in 2014 that around 3.7 million Filipinos are drug dependent, many of whom, he said, have become drug-crazed.

He vowed that his campaign against illegal drugs will continue.

“We do not want war. We cannot build a nation over the bones of our people, our citizens,” he said, a line that he has used in past speeches.

“But in time when it calls for an action to protect the entire nation, especially the young, I have placed myself at stake, my honor, my life and even losing the presidency.”

READ MORE...

Shoot resisting criminals

Despite the criticism, Duterte advised the uniform personnel to kill suspects resisting arrest only if their lives are in danger.

“When there is a violent resistance and if you cannot place him under the control of the law, thereby placing your life in jeopardy, then shoot and shoot him dead,” he told police officials, advising them not to mind the UN.

“But when you kill criminals and fight with you and criminals who fight amongst themselves that is our duty," he said.

He however ordered the PNP Internal Affairs Service to investigates all the killings in police operations.

“For every incidence of killing of a human being, whether it is part of police duty or not, have it investigated. That way, we can transparent to everybody,”

Meanwhile, the president also assured the entire PNP of “doubled” salaries and free education to their children from kinder to high school.

At the end of his speech, Duterte called on the international community to not be afraid in his country. He also invited them to invest in the Philippines and assured them that there is no more “hanky panky” in the system.


MANILA BULLETIN

Duterte threatens to pull-out from UN; foreign affairs experts say ‘not good’ August 22, 2016 Share1 Tweet2 Share1 Email0 Share9



Davao City — President Duterte threatened to sever ties with the United Nations (UN) if it continues to criticize his administration’s fight against illegal drugs that was blamed to have caused the increasing number of drug suspects killed.

But foreign affairs experts said that such rhetoric from the President is definitely not helpful and is making the Philippines more and more internationally isolated.

Apparently irked by the criticism, Duterte slammed the UN for failing to show him some respect being the country’s highest elected official.

He said that the UN should have sent its representative to talk to him before it issued its criticism with respect to allegations of extrajudicial killings of illegal drug suspects when he came into power a month ago.

“So, the next time you issue it, I do not want to insult you. But maybe we’ll just have to decide to separate from the United Nations,” Duterte blurted out at an early morning press briefing at the Presidential Guesthouse at the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) in Panacan here.

He said that he might just decide to create his own organization and invite China and African countries to join. But he will only leave if the UN refunds the Philippines all its contributions.

“The joke is on you. You have to refund me with these so many contributions that we have made all these years. Isauli ninyo contributions namin (Give our contributions back to us) and we will go out. We contribute a certain amount for the maintenance of UN, right? Oh, you return the money to us and we will go out,” he said.

He added that the government can build drug rehabilitation centers using the money it has contributed to the UN.

He said that he is willing to pay the UN representative in the country a visit to discuss the UN’s accussation.

“You observe protocol because if you do that directly you are addressing yourself to me. Remember that I am – I do not like to say it because I wanted to be called mayor still – I am the president of the sovereign,” he said.

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Duterte said that he assumes full responsibility for the police drug operations that led to the killing of some drug suspects who reportedly resisted arrest.

DUTERTE READY TO FACE UN RAPPORTEUR

He said he is unfazed by the UN special rapporteurs and even dared them to come and prove the accusations being hurled at him.

“Okay, you guys, you law expert of the United Nations, come here, come here and face me and make the accusations and I will show you the statistics and I will hold your finger and teach you how to count,” he said.

He urged the UN not to only look at the side of the criminals but also the efforts of the government in protecting its people.

“The other day I lost two soldiers who where assisting the police. This time it is the police, a day after. We lose about two policemen a day in connection with the drug campaign,” he said.

He said that criminals get killed when they fight it out with the arresting police authorities.

The president challenged the UN to compare the number of killings now with the previous administration.

“And I would ask him, compare it with the previous administration. Same deaths, but these are the innocent children being killed, raped, victims of hold-up and everything, this time, almost with the same number, but it is the criminals who are dying. You can hardly hear now of a student waylaid or a hold-up victim in a bus,” he said.

CHR SLAMMED, TOO

Duterte also lambasted Commission on Human Rights (CHR), who apparently made him its “whipping boy” on human rights violations, for insisting in “counting the dead criminals and never made a comparison of the dead victims, innocent people, law-abiding people being killed in the streets.”

Duterte was firm in saying that he has an obligation as President to protect the innocent, law-abiding citizens and “was never tasked by any law to protect the life of the criminals.”

“I grew up and taught by my parents to be on the side of fairness, to protect the good, and to take care of your country,” he said.

TIRADES ‘NOT HELPFUL’

Duterte’s tirades, particularly his threat to withdraw the country’s membership in the UN, are not helpful said Prof. Richard Heydarian of the De La Salle University in Manila Political Science department.

Heydarian described these latest tirades as “off-the-cuff rhetorical outbursts that was obviously not well thought out.”

However, it will nonetheless intensify a highly-unfavorable view of the Duterte administration by the international community, he said.

To be fair to Duterte, said Heydarian, the President has “very strong feelings for a need to have a more independent foreign policy, not aligned with the West and not subject to external intervention.”

“And there are legitimate reasons behind it, for sure,” he added. “Sovereignty is sacred and indispensable.”

UN EXIT ‘UNTHINKABLE’

For his part, former Philippine ambassador to the United Nations Lauro Baja said the implications of Duterte’s threat to withdraw the country’s membership in the UN is too serious even to think or consider.

According to Baja, who was also a former foreign affairs undersecretary for policy, said the President “should not react to officious and tendentious comments of UN officials.”

“Let his subalterns do the talking and the walking,” he stressed. “We are Charter member of the Organization and our participation in the UN system has been recognized.”

However, Heydarian stressed that an exit from the UN, “the penultimate expression of global governance,” is unprecedented and extremely unlikely.

“Even to suggest is unthinkable,” he noted.

PH RELIES ON UN MECHANISMS

Heydarian cited the South China Sea case filed by the Philippine against China before the UN-backed Permanent Court of Arbitration a body under the UN Convention on the Law of the Seas.

He said this in effect means the Philippines has been relying on the UN mechanisms to defend its rights against external threats.

“We are a highly integrated developing economy, and for long a pillar of the UN system despite our humble material resources,” Heydarian emphasized.

CONGRESS LEADERS REACT

Meanwhile, senators are not about to consider the President’s threat to pull out of the UN for real since the Chief Executive has been known to burst out in anger when something ticks him.

“Knowing the President, this is probably one of his off the cuff links remarks to state his point. Much like the ‘martial law’ remark (he made earlier),” Sen. Sherwin Gatchalian said in a text message.

“He is a very intelligent man. Leaving the UN will throw our nation back into the stone age. He knows very well that being an isolationist country is not the best interest of the Filipino people,” Gatchalian said.

At the House of Representatives, opposition and administration congressmen dismissed the President’s threat, but reminded him against airing disparaging remarks against the international body.

Senior Deputy Minority Leader Lito Atienza aired the belief that Duterte’s statement against the UN was a mere declaration of frustration over accusations of human rights violation.

Senior administration Rep. Rodel Batocabe (Ako Bicol) said it was possible that the president may not have been quoted correctly.

“And assuming that the president actually said that, I don’t think that he was serious. He probably meant that we don’t need the UN to interfere and offer solutions to our problems,” he said.

On the other hand, Akbayan Rep. Tom Villarin urged Duterte to be “more circumspect in dealing with the UN and with other foreign countries. (With reports from Hannah L. Torregoza, Ben R. Rosario, and Elena L. Aben)


PHILSTAR

SENATE PROBE: Bato - More killings by vigilantes than cops By Cecille Suerte Felipe (The Philippine Star) | Updated August 19, 2016 - 12:00am 0 86 googleplus0 0


PNP chief Director General Ronald dela Rosa answers questions from senators as NCRPO director Chief Superintendent Oscar Albayalde looks on during a Senate hearing on drug killings yesterday. GEREMY PINTOLO

MANILA, Philippines - Since President Duterte assumed office last June 30, the number of killings perpetrated by vigilantes or members of drug syndicates has overtaken the deaths from legitimate police operations by a significant margin.

Philippine National Police (PNP) chief Director General Ronald dela Rosa told the Senate committee on public order and dangerous drugs in a hearing yesterday that the alleged vigilante killings – or what they officially call “found dead body under investigation” – have reached 899 since June 30.

Dela Rosa explained that these represent those found floating in bodies of water or lying on roadsides or other locations, the perpetrators of which were unidentified.

He refused to classify these as purely vigilante killings because he suspects that many of these murders were perpetrated by members of drug syndicates, who are wiping each other out.

In the case of killings that occur in legitimate police anti-illegal drug operations, Dela Rosa said that there were 667 deaths so far.

“If we attribute all of these 899 dead under investigation to vigilantes, compared to 667 killed attributed to legitimate police operations, then the vigilantes or syndicates are more efficient at killing than the police,” Dela Rosa said.

The outspoken Dela Rosa clarified that he does not condone vigilante killings, which he found to be an insult to the PNP as an institution.

He said that the large number of vigilante killings is a matter of concern and that this affects his conscience because the PNP is supposed to ensure peace and order in the entire country.

“They are killing people without any consequences. It makes us appear to be ineffective. I abhor vigilantes. I really hate them,” Dela Rosa said.

Asked by Sen. Grace Poe if all of these killings are unresolved, Dela Rosa pointed out that 22 cases have been filed so far, all in Metro Manila.

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Sen. Panfilo Lacson, chairman of the committee on public order and dangerous drugs, reiterated his call for the PNP leadership to resolve the cases of vigilante or syndicate killings because these are all classified as murders.

“These vigilante killings must be solved because these are out and out. What else can you call these but murder cases,” Lacson said.

Sen. Leila de Lima, who has been critical of the anti-illegal drug campaign of the Duterte administration because of the unmitigated killings, confronted Dela Rosa about reports that the previous Aquino administration was being blamed for the proliferation of illegal drugs in the country.

De Lima said that she felt the need to raise the issue because she was part of the previous administration as its justice secretary.

Dela Rosa denied that the previous administration was being blamed for the drug menace.

He explained that law enforcement elements are now just more motivated to go after drug pushers because the current president is determined to put an end to the drug menace.

De Lima emphasized that the various agencies involved in the anti-illegal drug campaign were able to achieve a lot in the previous administration.

She said that the PNP would have been able to see this had it bothered to check the data held by these agencies.

Dela Rosa admitted that he never checked the data from those agencies because he was more concerned with the problem at hand rather than what transpired in the past.

He said that there is a need to take a closer look at the source of drugs in the country, the evidence of which he said all points to China.

“Most of these originate from them (China). So far we have not uncovered anything that did not originate from them… whether it’s finished product or raw materials,” Dela Rosa said.

He advised the President to raise the issue with either the Chinese president or his ambassador.

“He should be frank with the president of China. What is the real score? He has said it before, ‘I have to ask why they always originate from China,’” Dela Rosa said.

He is also worried that the number of drug pushers and users that have surrendered so far might have reached its “plateau” after 50 days of the Duterte administration.

The drug pushers and users that yielded have reached almost 600,000.

“We are worried for how many weeks it had reached a plateau to almost 600,000. There was no addition, maybe the others are in a wait and see situation,” he added.


Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi

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