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Senate Committee of the Whole Hearing on Tongpats, Food Security and ASF

Mr. Senate President and Chairman of the Committee of the Whole,

I could not think of an act more cruel than beating to death somebody who is already dying. Such is the fate of our 80,000 local backyard hog raisers – sa kamay ng dapat sana ay ang kanilang pangunahing tagakalinga, ang Kagawaran ng Agrikultura, after their plea was ignored with the signing of Executive Order No. 128 series of 2021 last Wednesday.

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Sponsorship Speech for 5 Ambassadors, 51 Senior DFA Officers at the Commission on Appointments

Mr. Chairman, distinguished members of the Commission on Appointments, this Representation as Chairman of the Committee on Foreign Affairs, presided over a public hearing this morning to deliberate on the nominations of five (5) Ambassadors Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary.

The Committee likewise deliberated on the ad interim appointments of fifty-one (51) Senior Officers of the Department of Foreign Affairs consisting of six (6) Senior Officials who are promoted to the rank of Chief of Mission, Class I; ten (10) Senior Officials promoted to the rank of Chief of Mission, Class II; ten (10) Senior Officials promoted to the rank of Career Minister; and, twenty-five (25) Senior Officials promoted to the rank of Foreign Service Officer, Class I.

Your Committee, after deliberating on their qualifications and fitness during the public hearing, determined that they are fit and qualified to be in the posts where they are nominated and appointed, and therefore ruled to recommend to the plenary their appointments for the consent and approval of this body.

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Lacson: Lockdowns to Help Curb Spike in COVID Cases Should be Time-Bound

Image Courtesy: iMoney.ph

While suggestions for stricter lockdowns to curb the continuing increase in COVID cases may make sense at this time, such lockdowns should be time-bound to protect a still-battered economy, Sen. Panfilo M. Lacson said Friday.

Lacson said an enhanced community quarantine (ECQ)-type lockdown whose length is “open-ended” can threaten to kill the economy that has yet to recover from a similar measure last year.

“I would support a time-bound ECQ-type lockdown but only in areas with an unusually high number of COVID infections, so as not to further punish an already suffering economy. For now, these may include identified areas in Metro Manila, Calabarzon and Central Visayas as the daily records would indicate,” Lacson said.

The time-bound nature will allow the business sector to “plan in advance their way forward and make adjustments in their business activities like production, marketing and the like,” he added.

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Ping: Nasaan Ka, Bakuna?

Nasa mahigit P126 bilyon na ang aprubadong utang ng bansa para sa pagbili ng bakuna laban sa COVID-19. Pero bukod sa donasyon ng Tsina at COVAX, nasaan ang mga bakunang dapat ay nabili sa pamamagitan ng naturang pondo?

Tanong ito ni Senador Panfilo Lacson matapos tingnan ang impormasyon mula sa World Bank (WB), Asian Development Bank (ADB) at Asian Infrastracture Investment Bank, at ng Department of Finance (DOF).

“Magpakatotoo sana, doon muna sa basic. Sabihin lang ang totoo. So long as the concerned authorities do not recognize the problem, we cannot come up with a solution. Bigyan talaga ang lowdown sa Pilipino at maging decisive sana,” paliwanag ni Lacson sa panayam ng SMNI.

Related: Nasaan ang Bakuna? Lacson Says Filipinos Deserve Lowdown on Vaccines Amid Loans
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Nasaan ang Bakuna? Lacson Says Filipinos Deserve Lowdown on Vaccines Amid Loans

As culled from the World Bank, Asian Development Bank and Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank records and further articulated in a series of official statements from the Department of Finance, we may now have some P126.75 billion in approved loans for COVID vaccines, but the question remains: Where are the vaccines?

Sen. Panfilo M. Lacson raised this question Thursday as he stressed the Filipino people deserve a lowdown from the government on the situation.

Lacson also reiterated his call to the government to treat the private sector as a partner and not as a competitor in the procurement of the much-needed vaccines.

Magpakatotoo sana, doon muna sa basic. Sabihin lang ang totoo. So long as the concerned authorities do not recognize the problem, we cannot come up with a solution. Bigyan talaga ang lowdown sa Pilipino at maging decisive sana,” he said in an interview on SMNI.

Related: Ping: Nasaan Ka, Bakuna?
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Ping: Pagbusisi sa Pork Importation ‘Tong-pats,’ Pang-Committee of the Whole ang Level

Pinakamainam na Committee of the Whole ng Senado ang mag-imbestiga sa nagsisebong “tong-pats” sa importasyon ng karne ng baboy na paraan ng Department of Agriculture (DA) upang mapunan ang kawalan umano ng suplay bunga ng pananalasa ng African Swine Flu (ASF).

Ayon kay Senador Panfilo Lacson, maraming aspetong saklaw ang nabanggit na kontrobersiya kung kaya’t tama lamang na buong puwersa na ng Senado ang umungkat sa mga detalye nito.

“I am recommending that the Senate convene into a Committee of the Whole to handle the investigation. The ‘tong-pats’ mess has an impact on foregone revenue and corruption, food security, and health. The Committee of the Whole is best suited for this, instead of having the Blue Ribbon Committee and Committees on Agriculture, Ways and Means and Health handle it separately,” paliwanag ni Lacson.

Masyado aniya na malawak ang problema para pangasiwaan lamang ng isa o ilang komite ng Senado ang pagsisiyasat.

Kabilang sa mga maaring masaklaw ay ang usapin sa food security, kaligtasan ng pagkain, ang nawalang koleksiyon ng pamahalaan at ang kalusugan ng publikong kumukunsumo sa mga ito.

Related: Lacson: Committee of the Whole Best Suited to Handle DA ‘Tong-pats’ Probe
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Lacson: Committee of the Whole Best Suited to Handle DA ‘Tong-pats’ Probe

Convening the Senate into the Committee of the Whole will be needed to tackle the wide scope of the problems involving the “tong-pats” mess at the Department of Agriculture, Sen. Panfilo M. Lacson said Wednesday.

Lacson said the issues stemming from the mess include food security and a revisiting of the Food Safety Act of 2013 (RA 10611); foregone revenues; and public health.

“I am recommending that the Senate convene into a Committee of the Whole to handle the investigation. The ‘tong-pats’ mess has an impact on foregone revenue and corruption, food security, and health. The Committee of the Whole is best suited for this, instead of having the Blue Ribbon Committee and Committees on Agriculture, Ways and Means and Health handle it separately,” he said.

“My resolution seeking the investigation in aid of legislation may also seek to revisit Republic Act 10611, the Food Security Act of 2013, to address possible loopholes that are being exploited,” he added in an interview on DZXL radio. “Wide masyado ang problema, all-encompassing. Kaya mas maganda kung Committee of the Whole na lang ang hahawak.”

Related: Ping: Pagbusisi sa Pork Importation ‘Tong-pats,’ Pang-Committee of the Whole ang Level
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Ping: Sebo ng ‘Tong-Pats’ sa Imported Baboy, Imbestigahan

Isinusulong ni Senador Panfilo Lacson ang malalimang imbestigasyon ng Senado sa isang sindikatong “tong-pats” sa loob ng Department of Agriculture, na makikinabang sa rekomendasyon ng ahensya na ibaba ang taripa at taasan ang minimum access volume (MAV) ng imported na baboy dahil sa African Swine Fever (ASF).

Ito ay makaraang makarating sa kaalaman ng mambabatas ang impormasyong limpak-limpak ang “tong-pats” na nakokolekta ng ilang mapagsamantalang nasa gobyerno, habang malalagay sa alanganin o tuluyan nang pagkamatay ang lokal na industriya ng babuyan sa bansa, bukod pa sa malaking halagang nawawala sa ekonomiya at manganganib ang kalusugan ng publiko.

“We should unmask who is/are behind this scheme no matter how powerful and influential he may be with this administration. I want to see even a whiff of enthusiasm from the President to order the Presidential Anti-Corruption Commission and other concerned agencies to investigate, not to mention heed the call of the Senate to disapprove the DA’s recommendation to reduce the tariff and increase the volume of pork importation. Let’s see,” mariing pahayag ni Lacson.

Nakipag-ugnayan na rin ang mambabatas sa pamunuan ng Mataas na Kapulungan kaugnay sa kanyang hangarin.

“I have talked to Senate President Vicente C. Sotto III to have the Senate look into this, so we can get the documents we need. So far, we have received documents from the Bureau of Customs and DA. Still, we need more data to get to the bottom of the anomaly,” paliwanag ni Lacson sa panayam sa TeleRadyo.

Related: Lacson Pushes Senate Probe of ‘Tong-Pats’ Racket in Hog Importation
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Lacson Pushes Senate Probe of ‘Tong-Pats’ Racket in Hog Importation

Sen. Panfilo M. Lacson pushed Tuesday for a Senate investigation into the activities of a syndicate within the Department of Agriculture that stands to gain billions of pesos in “tong-pats” from the DA’s recommendation to lower tariff rates on – and to increase the minimum access volume (MAV) of – imported pork products due to the severe impact of African Swine Fever (ASF) on the swine industry.

Lacson said the anomalies amount to a triple whammy that threatens to kill our local hog industry while raising health concerns and costing the government forgone revenues.

“We should unmask who is/are behind this scheme no matter how powerful and influential he may be with this administration. I want to see even a whiff of enthusiasm from the President to order the Presidential Anti-Corruption Commission and other concerned agencies to investigate, not to mention heed the call of the Senate to disapprove the DA’s recommendation to reduce the tariff and increase the volume of pork importation. Let’s see,” Lacson said.

“I have talked to Senate President Vicente C. Sotto III to have the Senate look into this, so we can get the documents we need. So far, we have received documents from the Bureau of Customs and DA. Still, we need more data to get to the bottom of the anomaly,” he added in an interview on TeleRadyo.

Related: Ping: Sebo ng ‘Tong-Pats’ sa Imported Baboy, Imbestigahan
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Lacson: Without Acceleration of COVID Vaccination, No Herd Immunity till 2033

Image Courtesy: National Task Force Against COVID-19 Facebook page

Unless the government accelerates the pace of its COVID vaccination efforts, herd immunity may have to wait until about 2033, Sen. Panfilo M. Lacson stressed Friday.

Lacson also said there is still much room for improvement in the government’s response to the pandemic, a year after it imposed community quarantine in Metro Manila to stop the spread of COVID.

“Unless we accelerate the pace of vaccination, medyo matatagalan tayo. As of March 10, 114,615 had been vaccinated. At the rate of about 4,000 a day, assuming that the vaccination is not accelerated and assuming we will have the vaccines for the 70-million targeted population for herd immunity, we might not achieve herd immunity until 2033 at the rate we’re doing it now. But if we accelerate and I hope the government would accelerate the vaccination rollout, then maybe we can advance the timetable,” he said in an interview on CNN Philippines.

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