It could be recalled that around 700former RPA-ABB members across the country met with President Rodrigo Duterterecently at the Philippine Army camp in Jamindan, Capiz. Around 200 of themwere Aklanons. KALIBO, Aklan – Gov. FlorencioMiraflores urged the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) to ensure the safetyof former members of the Revolutionary Ploretariat Army-Alex Boncayao Brigade (RPA-ABB). In 2000, the RPA-ABB locally known asthe “Kapatiran” forged alliance with the government. In 1990s, the RPA-ABB, which served asthe sparrow unit of the Communist Party of the Philippines-New People’s Army,decided to separate from the latter. “The former RPA-ABB members have no firearmsright now to defend themselves. They have been decommissioned by thegovernment, thus, they are wary of their personal security,” said Mirafloresduring the third quarter of the Aklan Provincial Peace and Order Councilmeeting here on Monday. “The Ibajay town in Aklan is now knownall over the country to have a most modern and advanced peace agreement withthe RPA-ABB. They now have livelihood, concrete roads and soon a house promisedby President Duterte,” said Miraflores./PN “It was the start of the peace processthrough the Office of the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process,”Miraflores added.
After one year, according to the citygovernment’s Public Safety and Transportation Management Office (PSTMO) headJeck Conlu, the Cachos and vendors would discuss the rental rate. Cacho also promised to further improvethe area to ensure the comfort of the vendors and customers, said Dorado. ILOILO City – Displaced sidewalkvendors relocated at the vacant Cacho lot along JM Basa Street won’t berequired to pay rent for a year. It’s a good news for displaced sidewalk vendors of Iloilo City! They will get one-year free rental for using the Cacho property along J.M. Basa Street. Dorado said there more than 254vendors’ stalls at the Cacho property. “Nalipaygid kami,” said Dorado, because it could helpease their financial difficulties. “Sangwala ‘ya pa kami naistorya pinsar namon indi kami magdugay diri,” he added. PSTMO led the road and sidewalkclearing operations that displaced the vendors. The road clearing was in line withPresident Rodrigo Duterte’s order to local government units to reclaim publicroads being used for private ends. “Ga-amat-amatna kami adjust sa amon sitwasyon. We hope nga mahuman tani ang plano kag maplastarkami sang maayo,” said Dorado./PN No less than Panay Electric Co.administrative manager Marcelo Cacho brought them the good news during a visiton Wednesday, according to Jimmy Dorado, federation president of the city’ssidewalk vendors.
Calinao allegedly used a screw driver tostab Maripusa. He was arrested and detained in the lockup cell of the SantaBarbara police station./PN The 34-year-old resident James Calinaoattacked the 45-year-old Erwin Maripusa around 10:45 p.m. on Dec. 21, policesaid. ILOILO City – A man was wounded afterhis drinking buddy stabbed him in Barangay Inangayan, Santa Barbara, Iloilo. It was however not immediately clearwhat triggered the altercation. Maripusa sustained a stab wound on theleft side of the body. He was brought to the Western Visayas SanitariumHospital in Santa Barabara for medical treatment.
“A treaty or international agreementratified by the President and concurred in by the Senate becomes part of thelaw of the land and may not be undone without the shared power that put it intoeffect,” the Ilonggo senator said. Drilon first filed the resolution in2017 during the 17th Congress emphasizing that the Senate should have a saywhen a treaty or international agreements concurred in by the Senate isterminated or abrogated. Any treaty and international agreementby the Philippines with other countries should only be valid and effective uponconcurrence of the Senate, the Ilonggo lawmaker stressed. MANILA – Opposition senator FranklinDrilon has urged his colleagues to assert the role of the Senate in PresidentRodrigo Duterte’s order to terminate the Visiting Forces Agreement (VFA) betweenthe Philippines and the United States. Article VII, Section 21 of theConstitution provides that “no treaty of international agreement shall be validand effective unless concurred in by at least two-thirds of all the members ofthe Senate.” “The power to bind the Philippines by atreaty and international agreement is vested jointly by the Constitution in thePresident and the Senate,” Drilon’s Senate Resolution 305 states. Senate Minority leader Franklin Drilon. IAN PAUL CORDERO/PN “The principle of checks and balances,historical precedent and practice accepted as law in most jurisdictions, andthe Constitution’s dictate for a shared treaty-making power require that atermination, withdrawal, abrogation or renunciation of a treaty orinternational agreement can only be done with the same authority that gave iteffect – executive ratification with Senate concurrence,” Drilon emphasized inthe resolution. President Rodrigo Duterte hasordered the termination of VFA due to demand to the release ofopposition senator Leila De Lima; US Senate resolution condemning drug war;amendment to US budget barring entry of Philippine officials linked to DeLima’s arrest; and cancellation of senator Ronald Dela Rosa’s US visa./PN
Photo by Guimbal BFP ILOILO City – Properties estimated to beworth P1 million went up in smoke after fire charred a house in Barangay BongolSan Vicente, Guimbal, Iloilo. The blaze totally gutted the residenceof the 76-year-old Rodolfo Garalda Rodolfo Garcia around 2 p.m. on Feb. 20, apolice report showed. He also sustained burns on the shoulder. Arson investigators are looking intoshort-circuit coming from an electric fan as the cause of the incident./PN Photo by Guimbal BFP
In Western Visayas, the provincial governments of Iloilo,Guimaras and Negros Occidental and the cities of Bacolod and Iloilo have mademandatory the wearing of facemask in public through either provincialordinances or executive orders of city mayors. ILOILO City – Wearing a facemask in public is the mostsensible thing to do at this time when nobody can be certain if they arecarrying the virus that causes the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19). Some people with COVID-19 are asymptomatic (not showingsymptoms), Undersecretary Jonathan Malaya of the Department of Interior and Local Governmentpointed out during a teleconference with Western Visayas journalists. similar forms, he added. In Iloilo City, Mayor Jerry Treñas said facemask coveringthe nose and mouth of the wearer prevents droplets expelled when coughing orsneezing from infecting others. He thus urged all local government units (LGUs) – provinces,cities and municipalities – to have ordinances making the wearing of facemaskin public mandatory. mask.” “Hindi po natin sinasabi na kailangan bilhin nila satindahan ang facemask. It can be improvised, do-it-yourself. Ang importantemayroong facemask,” said Malaya. Not wearing facemask in public places is now an offense in Iloilo city and province. Facemask covering the nose and mouth of the wearer prevents droplets expelled when coughing or sneezing from infecting others, according to Mayor Jerry Treñas. IAN PAUL CORDERO/PN LGUs having ordinances on the mandatory use of facemask willprovide another legal basis in the government’s effort to contain COVID-19,Malaya added. The facemask could be but not necessarily limited to clothmasks, surgical masks and other Violators of his facemask executive order “shall be requiredto go home or to secure a face They may also be slapped with sanctions such as but not limited to reprimand and/or the filing of appropriate charges pursuant to Republic Act 11332 (Mandatory Reporting of Notifiable Diseases and Health Events of Public Health Concern Act) and other applicable laws./PN
Brazil’s Health Minister Luiz Henrique Mandetta, right, gives anti-bacterial gel to President Jair Bolsonaro as they give a press conference on the new coronavirus at Planalto presidential palace in Brasilia, Brazil. AFP His dismissal comes as experts say thepeak of the new coronavirus outbreak in Brazil is expected in the coming weeks.(AP) Luiz Henrique Mandetta, an orthopedist,had garnered support for his handling of the pandemic that included promotionof broad isolation measures enacted by state governors, even drawingcomparisons to Dr. Anthony Fauci, United States President Donald Trump’s topvirus expert. RIO DE JANEIRO – Brazil’s President JairBolsonaro, whose dismissive stance toward the COVID-19 pandemic has angeredmany health experts, fired his popular health minister following a series ofdisagreements over the proper response to contain the virus’ spread in SouthAmerica’s most populous country.
“Some big private investors seem to want to take over the power industry which may adversely affect small electric cooperatives in the country,” he added. “We need to protect electric cooperatives from being taken over by private investors branded as ‘electric coop killers’ that are only after profits and not the welfare of cooperative members and the cooperatives’ customers.” In a 10-page Urgent Motion for Inhibition filed recently, PECO moved for the inhibition of Iloilo Regional Trial Court presiding Judge Emerald Requina- Contreras, claiming she showed preferential treatment to MORE Power in several instances, thereby rendering doubt to her independence and impartiality. On the other hand, Rep. Presley De Jesus of the Philippine Rural Electric Cooperatives Association noted that the nation’s power supply is enough right now due to the decreased commercial use of electricity. When asked about the unusually long brownouts in Iloilo City, he responded with dismay. He added: “Kung umasa lang sila sa MORE Power sa ngayon na wala pang kumpletong facilities, talagang hindi maiwasan na magkaroon ng mga brownouts sa Iloilo City.” In the history of the Philippine power sector, according to Lagon, it is the first time that the power distribution facilities of a private company has been forcibly taken by another private entity armed only with a public utility franchise issued by Congress. In House Resolution No. 785, Rep. Sonny Lagon of Ako Bisaya party-list urged Congress to probe “the status of the distribution of electricity in Iloilo City to ensure that power distribution will not cease and that the people of Iloilo will not be affected.” “A 13-hour brownout is not acceptable, especially since we are in a crisis ngayon,” he said. MORE Power had promised the congressional franchise committee in late 2018 that it would procure a mobile substation. To date, it still has not installed one. Representative Lagon said, “There is a need for the House of Representatives to look into this to ensure that the supply of electricity in Iloilo City will not be affected and that the people of Iloilo City shall not suffer because of the legal battle between the two distribution utilities.” “Ang concern ko lang talaga is ‘yung mga consumers ng Iloilo. Sana hindi sila ma-apektuhan, lalo na ngayong pandemic. Ang problema talaga is ‘yung mga long brownouts na nangyayari,” said Lagon on May 22 in a virtual Kapihan ng Samahang Plaridel. ILOILO City – Brownouts bugging power consumers here following MORE Electric and Power Corp.’s (MORE Power) takeover of Panay Electric Co.’s (PECO) power distribution facilities have prompted certain legislators to call for a congressional investigation. The brownouts in Iloilo City could have been averted through the installation of a mobile substation, according to experts. “Before kasi, noong si PECO nag-operate diyan, hindi naman talaga na-experience ng mga tao ng Iloilo City ang mga ganitong brownouts,” said Lagon. He then pointed out MORE Power’s lack of proper facilities. By preference, Congress granted a 25-year franchise to MORE Power. The subsequent writ of possession and operating license granted to it by authorities warranted the takeover by MORE Power of the electricity distribution in Iloilo City even without putting up its own facilities, besides its apparent lack of track record and technical expertise in operating a power distribution system. As noted by industry sources, this should have been a key requirement because power distribution is a business imbued with public interest. The most recent (May 17) power interruption was the 13-hour brownout due to maintenance work at a substation undertaken by MORE Power – an activity done in the peak of a summer month and while the country is at the height of battling a pandemic and people are required to stay at home. Representative Lagon sought an immediate investigation in aid of legislation “to ensure that the people of Iloilo City shall not suffer, and that electricity shall continue to be distributed to them despite the legal battle between PECO and MORE, and to come out with the necessary legislation for this purpose.” PECO asserts that the assets being used for electricity distribution in Iloilo City remains under its rightful ownership even if its franchise expired in January 2019. The 13-hour brownout on May 17 was done in a substation that mostly services residential power consumers. With the scorching summer heat and the pandemic forcing Ilonggos to stay in their homes, people were forced to suffer during the preventive maintenance. “Dumaan naman sa due process pero sabihin na nating hilaw,” stressed Lagon. Before this, there were other reported electricity service interruptions that inconvenienced Iloilo City consumers in March and April. The Motion for Inhibition, included a prayer for the suspension of proceedings until this motion is resolved, is pending in the court./PN
The ICPO chief also said militant groups could be using today’s celebration to protest against the Anti-Terrorism Bill. Based on the new pronouncements of the IATF, only 10 persons will be allowed to participate in the commemoration rites at the Rizal Park in Manila in compliance with general community quarantine protocols. Regarding possible mass protests, he ordered policemen to exercise tolerance and calibrate their response. Protesters would be dispersed and advised to go home./PN Today, the ICPO will be deploying policemen to the streets. Dampal said Civil Disturbance Management personnel will be on the lookout for groups massing up. The Police Regional Office 6 (PRO-6) here will commemorate Independence Day while observing public health safety protocols, said Police Brigadier General Rene Pamuspusan, director. In Metro Manila, Philippine National Police (PNP) chief, General Archie Gamboa said, “We will strictly enforce the IATF (Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases) protocols. We appeal to the public, especially to organized groups, to avoid mass gatherings as we celebrate this important day.” “Talagang expect natin, pero naka-alert tayo,” he said. The PNP will hold simultaneous flag-raising ceremonies at its national headquarter and in all police regional offices that will be attended by a few personnel. “I advise those planning to hold rallies not to insist. We would strictly enforce the prohibition on any form of mass gathering during Independence Day,” said Dampal. ILOILO City – The Iloilo City Police Office (ICPO) vowed to arrest and jail people holding rallies today, the 122nd Philippine Independence Day. “Pakiusap ko sa mga militant groups na sundin na lang natin ang order para maiwasan ang gulo. Sundin natin ang social distancing,” said Dampal. The Movement Against Tyranny Panay is spearheading today what it calls a “Mañanita Kontra Terorismo” to mark Independence Day and oppose the Anti-Terrorism Bill. “We are frustrated that amid the COVID-19 pandemic, the House of Representatives and the Senate prioritized this repressive bill over the urgent needs of the people affected by over two months of lockdown,” according to the alliance. ICPO director Police Colonel Eric Dampal cited the Department of Justice’s position that the holding of rallies are “temporarily banned” during quarantine to avoid direct transmission of the coronavirus disease 2019. “The bill aims to give the executive branch of the government powers that undermine our fundamental right to free speech, right to peacefully assemble, the right to petition the government to redress of grievances, privacy of our communication, and right to due process,” said the alliance in a statement. This year’s Independence Day celebration carries the theme “Kalayaan 2020: Towards a Free, United, and Safe Nation.” Today’s activity will start with a public forum at 1 p.m. at the University of the Philippines Visayas Iloilo City Campus Little Theater, followed by a short protest program at the Oblation Grounds.
This did not mean that the COVID-19 situation in the city and Negros Island had worsened, it added. The hospital’s advisory was supposedly blamed as the cause over the recent suspension of sea trips between the islands of Panay and Negros. BY DOMINIQUE GABRIEL BAÑAGABACOLOD City – The Riverside Medical Center, a privately run hospital in this city, clarified its earlier advisory declaring “full capacity” of its isolation facility for coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) patients. In a statement issued late Tuesday night, the hospital’s management said that it was only their isolation facility that has reached full capacity. RMC explained that their isolation facility has only 11 beds, eight of which were occupied by COVID-19 positive patients with mild symptoms. The remaining three beds were occupied by probable cases.In addition, the medical center reports that there are eight suspected/probably patients admitted outside the isolation facility but within the designated COVID-19 area located at the hospital’s fifth floor.The medical center has allocated 20 percent or 53 beds out of its bed capacity for COVID-19 related case. Only 19 beds or 36 percent were occupied with zero deaths since the start of the pandemic.“This is considered a low census for COVID-19 cases admitted in a healthcare facility,” the hospital pointed out.The RMC again assured the public that they are taking care of their healthcare workers and patients.The hospital also intends to increase its COVID-19 bed capacity to 30 percent as part of the compliance issued by the Department of Health./PN