2 survivors of capsized ship back home, to get gov’t aid

TWO FILIPINO SURVIVORS of a cargo ship that sank off Japan arrived in the Philippines on Saturday and will be getting cash aid from government as well help in finding new employment, according to the Labor department.

“We are also looking at possible job opportunities for them in other shipping companies in case they want to get back at work as soon as possible,” Labor Secretary Silvestre H. Bello III said in a statement on Sunday.

Chief officer Eduardo Sareno and deck crew Jay-nel Rosales were rescued by the Japanese Coast Guard after their vessel, M/V Livestock 1, capsized during a typhoone earlier this month.

Another Filipino crew member, Joel Canete Linao, whose remains were recovered by the Japanese Coast Guard, was flown in Friday.

His family will also receive assistance and benefits from the government. The vessel’s 43-man crew included of 39 Filipinos. — Gillian M. Cortez

What would happen to UHC law if PhilHealth is abolished, asks agency chief

PHILIPPINE HEALTH Insurance Corp. (Philhealth) President Dante A. Gierran said abolishing the agency would be “counterproductive,” especially with the Universal Health Care Act just at the start of implementation.

“It’s not good. It’s counterproductive to the Filipino people. You know, the President has just approved the Universal Health Care Act. Now, what will become of that law if the President abolishes the institution?” he said in an interview with CNN Philippines on Sunday.

The law, which automatically makes all Filipinos members of the state insurer, was legislated last year and its implementation started this year.

According to Senate President Vicente C. Sotto III,  President Rodrigo R. Duterte last week said he wants privatize or abolish PhilHealth, which has been marred with allegations of various irregularities and corruption.   

Both chambers or Congress launched inquiries on the agency and Mr. Duterte also created a task force to investigate alleged anomalies.

The task force’s initial report was submitted last week, recommending the filing of administrative and criminal cases against PhilHealth’s top officials, including its former president, Ricardo C. Morales.

Mr. Gierran, who was appointed to lead PhilHealth on August 31, said the agency’s administration under his watch should be given a chance to clean up the system. — Gillian M. Cortez

Reds knocks on VP’s door for peace talks in ‘post-Duterte scenario’

THE POLITICAL arm of the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) aims to reopen peace negotiations with the government in a ‘post-Duterte scenario’ and plans to start laying the groundwork now through talks with Vice President Maria Leonor G. Robredo, who chairs the opposition party.

In a statement posted on CPP’s official website, National Democratifc Front of the Philippines (NDFP) Interim Negotiating Panel Chairperson Julie De Lima said they should “engage the constitutional successor to press for the resumption of the peace negotiation.”

“The NDFP, including its panel, should hold discussions with opposition parties, in particular, the Liberal Party LP,” she said.

In a separate interview, Bagong Alyansa Makabayan Secretary General Renato M. Reyes, Jr. told BusinessWorld that all options for peace should be explored even if Mr. Duterte’s administration already ended the peace talks.

“All options for peace should be explored, including options beyond the current administration. The people demand substantial reforms which are addressed through the peace negotiations,” he said.

Ms. Robredo has yet to respond to the proposal. — Kyle Aristophere T. Atienza