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Senate to probe power outages; no brownouts seen during polls

THE SENATE energy committee on Thursday will hold a hearing to look into the unscheduled power plant shutdowns that may result in rotating power outages until June.

Envoy says PHL trusting China but staying vigilant over Pag-asa Island

CHINA HAS assured the Philippine government it will not occupy Pag-asa Island in the Kalayaan Group of Islands located off Palawan, Philippine Ambassador to China Jose Santiago L. Sta. Romana said on Wednesday.

Senate leaders see fresh push for procurement reform next Congress

BILLS proposing to amend Republic Act No. 9184, or the “Government Procurement Reform Act,” will likely be filed anew in the next Congress despite tepid legislative interest since 2016, Senate leaders said in recent remarks.

Earthquake hits Eastern Visayas

A MAGNITUDE 6.5 earthquake rattled parts of Visayas on Tuesday, reported the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (Phivolcs) which also cited temblors in Southern Luzon down to Mindanao.

Budget dep’t expects contract awards to surge after polls

THE DEPARTMENT of Budget and Management (DBM) sees a “surge” in contract awarding once the 45-day ban on public works lifts after the May 13 mid-term elections.

Senators call for review of 4Ps fund disbursements, performance

SENATORS on Monday said the implementation of the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD)’s Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program (4Ps) should be subject to Congressional review.

Two-day Boao Forum for Asia conference kicks off in Manila

PRESIDENT Rodrigo R. Duterte and Speaker Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo will be leading the Philippine delegation to the first Boao Forum for Asia (BFA) in Manila on Monday and Tuesday at the Shangri-La Hotel in Bonifacio Global City.

Duterte threatens anew to sack MWSS officials

PRESIDENT RODRIGO R. Duterte has threatened anew to sack Metropolitan Waterworks and Sewerage System (MWSS) officials if the water shortage continues during the El Niño period.

Tax reform uncertainty to linger

THE REMAINING PACKAGES of the tax reform program -- a key support of the government’s P8-trillion stepped-up infrastructure development push, will continue to face uncertainty in the new 18th Congress that opens on July 22, according to one legislative leader.

2019 budget cut down to P3.66 trillion after veto

MALACAÑANG on Tuesday said the P95.3-billion allocations President Rodrigo R. Duterte vetoed in the original P3.757-trillion national budget for 2019 were found to be “unconstitutional.”

Palace says US assistance in sea row needs ‘serious study’

MALACAÑANG on Tuesday said tapping the United States amid the latest tensions with China over the West Philippine Sea needs “serious study.”

Duterte vetoes P95-billion items as he signs 2019 budget into law

PRESIDENT Rodrigo R. Duterte on Monday finally signed the four-month delayed P3.757-trillion 2019 national budget into law, but vetoed about P95.3 billion in appropriations.

Duterte to take up Pag-asa situation in Beijing

PRESIDENT Rodrigo R. Duterte will ask China to stop deploying vessels near Pag-asa island in the Kalayaan Group of Islands when he visits Beijing next week.

Budget veto impact on rice competitiveness fund studied

AGRICULTURE Secretary Emmanuel F. Piñol said Sunday that the possible reenactment of the 2018 budget for the entire year could affect disbursements from the Rice Competitiveness Enhancement Fund (RCEF).

Senate planning final push on ‘endo’ bill in May

THE Senate will continue plenary deliberation on the bill penalizing labor-only contracting when the legislative session resumes in May, targeting final approval by the time Congress adjourns on June 7.

Malacañan says economic managers ready with contingency plan in case Duterte...

MALACAÑAN PALACE on Friday assured the government’s economic managers have prepared a contingency plan to address impact of a reenacted budget after President Rodrigo R. Duterte threatened to veto the entire P3.757-trillion national budget that was submitted for his signature last March 26.

MWSS pressed to look into liabilities of Manila Water

THE Bagong Alyansang Makabayan (Bayan) on Friday asked the Metropolitan Waterworks and Sewerage (MWSS) to “immediately” hold a public hearing to look into possible liabilities of Manila Water Co. Inc., in connection with the water crisis in Metro Manila.

Nomura cites Duterte’s political clout to see tax reforms through Congress

PRESIDENT Rodrigo R. Duterte has enough political capital to push his remaining tax reforms through Congress, according to an analyst of Asia-headquartered financial service giant Nomura who noted that the latest Social Weather Station (SWS) survey bared significant broad-based improvement in Mr. Duterte’s public satisfaction that again peaked since he took office in mid-2016.

Fossils of enigmatic extinct human species found in Cagayan cave

WASHINGTON/MANILA -- Thirteen fossil bones and teeth excavated in a cave in the Philippines represent an enigmatic previously unknown human species, probably small in stature and possessing an unexpected mix of archaic and modern traits, scientists said on Wednesday.

2 more Duterte bets climb in March Pulse Asia poll

TWO MORE allies of President Rodrigo R. Duterte made it to the top 12 of Pulse Asia’s latest senatorial survey, with its sole opposition bet from the recent surveys dropping from the latest poll.

Senate protests resolution by US House on PHL

SENATE President Vicente C. Sotto III and two other senators filed a resolution rebuking members of the United States House of Representatives, following what they deemed to be moves by US lawmakers to interfere with the Philippine judicial process.

Palace has ‘no choice’ but to veto contested Budget items —...

PRESIDENT Rodrigo R. Duterte has “no choice but to veto” the items in the 2019 national budget identified by Senate President Vicente C. Sotto III as “unconstitutional realignments,” Senate Minority Leader Franklin M. Drilon said.

Legislators caution against reneging on contracts, support arbitration

SENATE Minority Leader Franklin M. Drilon cautioned against cancelling government contracts found to be onerous, after a review was ordered by President Rodrigo R. Duterte.

Duterte flags anew Chinese might over PHL

PRESIDENT Rodrigo R. Duterte on Tuesday said China “just wants to be friends with the Philippines,” even as he warned of Chinese might over the Philippines in the event of conflict over the disputed South China Sea.

Senate eyes approval of Public Services Act amendments before 17th Congress...

THE BILL amending the 82-year-old Public Services Act (PSA) to lift foreign ownership limits especially in the telecommunications and transport sectors may still make it out of the legislative mill before the 17th Congress ends in June, according to Senate leaders interviewed on Tuesday.

Measure reforming realty assessment system inches its way through committee

THE DEPARTMENT of Finance (DoF) told a Senate technical working group on Tuesday that outdated real property market values could cost provinces as much as P7.4 billion and cities up to P23.077 billion in terms of foregone revenues.

Sotto says House members trying to avert budget veto

SENATE President Vicente C. Sotto III said the House of Representatives is making a “last-ditch effort” to save its post-ratification realignments in the P3.757-trillion national budget from being vetoed.

Bill tapping Malampaya fund to pay for NPC debt seen ratified...

THE Murang Kuryente Bill, which will settle the National Power Corp.’s (NPC) obligations by tapping the P208-billion net national government share in the Malampaya fund, is expected for ratification when the congressional session resumes in May.

Police asserts Negros Oriental operations were legitimate

THE PHILIPPINE National Police (PNP) on Monday said the recent police operations in various parts of Negros Oriental, where 14 suspected communist supporters were killed, were legitimate and cannot be considered a massacre.

Arroyo says China offers alternative development model

SPEAKER Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo said China provides a development model that offers an alternative to Western approaches, which has served China well in the past few decades.

CoA orders 14-year old NLPCSI to make concrete operations plan

THE COMMISSION on Audit (CoA), in its 2018 report, asked the Northeastern Luzon Pacific Coastal Service, Inc. (NLPCSI) to create a concrete plan for its operations, which has not commenced 14 years since its inception.

Rep. Dimaporo cleared of graft case on P5M farm program

THE SANDIGANBAYAN Second Division dismissed the graft and malversation cases against Lanao del Norte-2nd district Rep. Abdullah D. Dimaporo in connection with the P5-million funding for the Farm Input/Farm Implement Program (FIFIP) in Lanao del Norte.

Palace calls on EU anew to stop funding of Red fronts

Malacañang on Friday called on the European Union anew to reconsider funding organizations allegedly being used as legal fronts of the communist rebellion.

Rio reappointed to DICT

PRESIDENT Rodrigo R. Duterte has reappointed Eliseo M. Rio, Jr. as acting secretary of the Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT) after Senator Gregorio B. Honasan II’s appointment lapsed.

Arroyo defends PHL deals with China

HOUSE Speaker Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo said the Philippines’ cooperation with China should be seen as an opportunity, rather than a threat, amid doubts on the governments’ loan agreements.

Makabayan to ask Supreme Court to order withdrawal from Chico River...

THE MAKABAYAN BLOC of legislators said it will file on April 3 a petition before the Supreme Court to order the government to withdraw from the Chico River Pump Irrigation Project loan agreement, over questions about its constitutionality.

Lawmaker mulls negligence case against MWSS

THE BOARD of the Metropolitan Waterworks and Sewerage System (MWSS) may face an administrative complaint before the Office of the Ombudsman for gross negligence over the water crisis in Metro Manila.

Economists count budget delay’s Q1 cost

ECONOMIC GROWTH this quarter could hover close to last quarter’s pace but will be substantially slower than the year-ago clip when official data is reported on May 9, according to economists asked on Wednesday, citing primarily the impact of delayed enactment of the P3.757-trillion national budget for this year.

Budget saga nearing conclusion; bill may be with Palace next week

THE House of Representatives and the Senate plan to transmit the P3.757-trillion national budget to the Office of the President this week, as agreed during a Monday meeting intended to resolve the budget impasse.

Caution urged in securing China loans

THE OFFICE of the Vice-President has cited the need to look into the government’s loan agreements with China, following Supreme Court Senior Associate Justice Antonio T. Carpio warning of China’s possible Reed Bank takeover.

Lawmakers see possible Budget transmission by next week

LEGISLATORS expressed guarded confidence about the progress made in resolving the 2019 Budget impasse, with both Senators and Congressmen giving next week as a possible time frame for sending the measure to the Palace for signing.

Water execs told: ‘Shape up or ship out’

WATER SERVICE disruption since earlier this month in Metro Manila’s east concession zone prompted President Rodrigo R. Duterte to summon both regulatory and corporate officials overseeing the current situation to Malacañan Palace on Tuesday night where he told regulators to “shape up or ship out” and threatened termination of concessionaires’ contracts, according to statements of the Palace and parties present in the meeting.

House clears 2019 budget hurdle

THE LEGISLATIVE DEADLOCK over the P3.757-trillion national budget for 2019 appears finally headed for resolution, with the House of Representatives “physically retrieving” on Wednesday the copy it transmitted to the Senate on March 11.

Regulator mulls Manila Water penalties

THE METROPOLITAN WATERWORKS and Sewerage System (MWSS) said on Tuesday it was studying the prompt imposition of penalties against the Manila Water Company, Inc. for current service disruptions, marking a shift from its statement the day before that penalties will have to be incorporated in rate rebasing done every five years.

Sotto acknowledges August budget passage scenario

SENATE President Vicente C. Sotto III said failure to promptly resolve the dispute of both chambers of Congress over the 2019 budget will prolong the effectivity of the reenacted 2018 budget until August -- a scenario that government economists said would dampen gross domestic product (GDP) to about 4.9%-5.1%.