Tag: Cabinet

On Calls to Create a Department of Disaster Resilience

Image Courtesy: UNICEF Philippines Twitter account

It is relatively easy to pass a law creating new departments. But would it be feasible, and will there be proper funding for it? The Department of Budget and Management says at least P1.5 billion is needed to set up the department. That does not yet include added salaries, capital outlay like office facilities, furniture, vehicles, MOOE, and CIF.

During the first public hearing last January, no less than the stakeholders who served as resource persons also cited concerns about creating a new department for disaster and risk reduction:

First, there is a policy direction for right-sizing the bureaucracy that is already bloated.

Second, the implementation especially of recovery and rehabilitation will be carried out not by the proposed new department but by existing agencies such as the Department of Public Works and Highways, Department of Social Welfare and Development, and Department of Health.

Third, we can see that the newly created departments like the Department of Information and Communications Technology and the Department of Human Settlements and Urban Development cannot be properly funded, or at least are not given the appropriate funding to work properly.

One good example is the DICT, which for two budget years in a row has been asking for additional budget to establish and develop the country’s national broadband program and free Wi-Fi services for all government agencies. But the DBM has provided just a paltry sumin the case of the national broadband program, providing only P900 million out of the agency’s request for P18 billion.

Having said that, a dedicated office under the Office of the President with a Cabinet rank and full authority to mobilize the concerned government agencies before, during and after calamities both natural and man-made – from policy-making and planning all the way to implementation – would do the job with much less funding and minimum number of staff and personnel. In contrast, a council-type organization like the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council has a very limited capability mainly because it is merely coordinative.

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On the Proposed Mass Hiring of Contact Tracers

Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez III, one of the few sensible souls in the Cabinet, has proposed to prioritize the hiring of contact tracers en masse to boost efforts to stop transmission and provide jobs to stimulate the economy through spending.

Contact tracing is a key first step in addressing the COVID-19 threat. It should provide the baseline data or reference on who to test. Without it, our mass testing will be like shooting at the moon or running around like headless chickens.

Kung maipapatupad ang mungkahing ito nang maayos, maaari nating lutasin agad ang dalawang problema.

Ang bagay na ito ay nasa kamay na ng liderato ng Department of Health: Maiimplementa kaya nila ang mungkahi ni Secretary Dominguez?

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On the Indefinite US Travel Ban on Cabinet Members

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An indefinite travel ban to the United States imposed on all members of the Cabinet could have adverse consequences on our country’s economy and security, not to mention the many employed Filipino immigrants there, especially if the US retaliates to the recent tirades of President Duterte.

The Philippines is exporting at least $10 billion worth of goods annually to the US, and accounts for 52 percent of the total US military support and assistance to the entire Asia-Pacific region.

Considering all these, I hope some of the Cabinet members will have the courage and sensibility to speak to the President to reconsider.

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PingBills | ‘Designated Survivor’ ang Peg: Dapat May Reserbang Presidente ang β€˜Pinas – Ping

Ipinanukala ni Senador Panfilo Lacson ang pagkakaroon ng “reserba” pang lider ng bansa sakaling mapahamak ang Bise Presidente, Senate President at House Speaker na batay sa Saligang Batas ay kahalili ng Pangulo kung hindi na nito kayang mamuno.

Isinampa ni Lacson ang Senate Bill 982, na tinaguriang “Designated Survivor” Bill na naglalayong hindi mabakante ang liderato ng pamahalaan at magtuloy-tuloy pa rin ang operasyon ng gobyerno sakali mang mapahamak ang mga nabanggit na opisyal.

“This bill … seeks to provide an exhaustive line/order of presidential succession in the event of death, permanent disability, removal from office or resignation of the Acting President to ensure that the office of the President is never vacated even in exceptional circumstances,” paliwanag ni Lacson.

Related: PingBills | Lacson Files ‘Designated Survivor’ Bill to Ensure Gov’t Stability
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PingBills | Lacson Files ‘Designated Survivor’ Bill to Ensure Gov’t Stability

Sen. Panfilo M. Lacson has filed a “designated survivor” bill to guarantee the continuity and stability of operations in government in case of a terrorist attack, major disaster or other “exceptional circumstances” where the President and those specified by the Constitution to succeed him or her are killed or permanently disabled.

Lacson said Senate Bill 982 ensures the office of the President will not be vacated even in the event of death, permanent disability, removal from office, or resignation of the Acting President.

“This bill … seeks to provide an exhaustive line/order of presidential succession in the event of death, permanent disability, removal from office or resignation of the Acting President to ensure that the office of the President is never vacated even in exceptional circumstances,” Lacson said.

Related: PingBills | ‘Designated Survivor’ ang Peg: Dapat May Reserbang Presidente ang β€˜Pinas – Ping
Continue reading “PingBills | Lacson Files ‘Designated Survivor’ Bill to Ensure Gov’t Stability”

On the Appointment of Retired Military Officers by President Duterte

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Let the appointing authority exercise his prerogative under the Constitution and existing laws to appoint whoever he feels can effectively support his policies and programs. After all, if his appointees would fall short and fail to deliver, the ultimate responsibility lies in the President who will be accountable to the people.

Having said that, the check and balance, at least in regard to the appointment of Cabinet members who are subject to confirmation by the Commission on Appointments, is available under the Constitution.

Without sounding biased since I also came from the Armed Forces of the Philippines and the police, what if those appointees would also question the wisdom of appointing too many lawyers in government? What is important is the competence and integrity of those appointees, and not their professional background.

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