Duterte orders newspaper publication of gov’t expenditures
PRESIDENT RODRIGO R. Duterte has ordered government agencies to publish their expenditures and disbursements in newspapers as a means to curb corruption and improve transparency.
In a late night talk aired on Tuesday, Mr. Duterte said he wants public institutions to disclose their plans for procurement as well as actual spendings.
“They must prepare well in advance because I would require them to publish in the newspaper, in three newspapers of general circulation,” he said.
Cabinet officials will also be required to publish every month the disbursement of their departments’ funds.
Mr. Duterte gave the directive after saying in the same speech that he will make sure everyone knows where public funds go, especially those used for the coronavirus crisis response.
“When the time of reckoning comes… we will make everybody account for the money of the government,” he said.
Mr. Duterte also called on lawmakers to set up measures that will prevent corruption such as creating more oversight committees.
“I am urging Congress, as a matter of fact, I am demanding Congress to join us in putting up measures to ensure that the money is spent to its purpose,” he said.
Mr. Duterte, meanwhile, did not take well to Vice-President Maria Leonor G. Robredo’s 11-point recommendation on how the government can boost its crisis response.
“Please do not add fuel to the fire. You will just destroy government,” he said.
Ms. Robredo, who belongs to the opposition, made a televised address Monday where she criticized the administration’s seeming lack of leadership and clear plan to address the coronavirus pandemic’s impact. — Gillian M. Cortez
Restraining order sought vs anti-terror law implementation
A GROUP of petitioners questioning the Anti-Terrorism Act asked the Supreme Court to immediately issue a temporary restraining order against the implementation of the law.
The petitioners — composed of framers of the Constitution, lawyers, journalists, and human rights defenders — raised concern over the government’s intention to regulate speech on social media, saying this underscores the “chilling effect” the law creates.
They argued that ordinary citizens, news organizations, and dignitaries in government would now have to continuously rethink and self-censor as their speech may be interpreted as “inciting to terrorism.”
“In choosing between incurring a life sentence for posting a 140-character tweet, on one hand, and silence, on the other, the choice to all but the bravest is painfully obvious,” reads the petition.
The law, which took effect July 18, is currently the subject of over 20 petitions before the high court.
Supreme Court Public Information Chief Brian Keith F. Hosaka said oral arguments over the petitions are planned “on the 3rd week of September, at the earliest.”
The Office of the Solicitor General, however, has asked the court to cancel holding the oral arguments saying it is not mandatory and raised concerns due to the pandemic. — Vann Marlo M. Villegas
Duterte dissociates from revolutionary gov’t advocates
PRESIDENT RODRIGO R. Duterte dismissed the renewed call for him to lead a revolutionary government by a group that he claimed he does not know.
“Wala akong pakialam niyan, wala akong kilala na mga tao na ‘yan at hindi ko ‘yan trabaho (I have nothing to do with that, I do not know the people there, and that is not my job),” he said in a taped address aired Tuesday morning.
The group calling itself the Mayor Rodrigo Roa Duterte-National Executive Coordinating Committee called on the President to lead a revolutionary government and amend the current 1987 Constitution for a shift to a federal government.
Photos have resurfaced online showing Mr. Duterte posing with members of the MRRD-NECC in 2018.
Mr. Duterte, who said last year in a speech that he wants to lead a revolutionary government, is on a single six-year term that ends in 2022.
His spokesperson, Harry L. Roque said on Monday that the President is not interested in leading a revolutionary government as he is looking forward to “a quiet life” after his term ends. — Gillian M. Cortez
P1.9-B USAID-funded education program redesigned after lockdown delays
AN INTERNATIONAL education development group is redesigning its Philippine project for out-of-school youth after quarantine restrictions delayed initial programs.
The Education Development Center launched last week an educational and training program called Opportunity 2.0 in partnership with local government agencies and funded by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID).
The P1.9-billion project was designed months before the pandemic hit, Opportunity 2.0 Chief-of-Party Dave Hall said in an online interview on Tuesday.
“Our project, in common with most if not all of the USAID projects, we were asked to reconsider what we were doing. While maintaining the overall objective, to think about what we needed to do to respond to the COVID-19 (coronavirus disease 2019) crisis,” he said.
Some training programs and industry engagements are being moved online while online learning centers are also being revitalized.
Mr. Hall also said the group is now prioritizing radio-based teaching, accelerating its implementation given the obstacles in face-to-face education.
Some programs have been pushed back such as those involving entrepreneurship work like bootcamps and training as well as work experience opportunities.
“That’s delayed because we’ve got to find ways of doing that virtually. It can be done, just that we haven’t planned to do that so we have to rethink that.”
Mr. Hall said the adjustments in their program reflects how the international development sector as a whole is likely to change due to the pandemic.
“What the nature of what international development work is will change. We’ve never encountered anything on global scale like the COVID-19 crisis… The kind of problems the Philippines is facing in education, the whole world is facing.” — Jenina P. Ibañez