At a Senate committee hearing on the “pastillas” immigration bribery scheme on Tuesday, September 22, columnist Ramon Tulfo presented pictures of helicopters arriving at an idyllic location. One picture showed a yellow helicopter parked on a grassy lawn, with two black duffle bags sitting by its landing skids. Tulfo said the location was the town of Mulanay in Quezon province, and the duffle bags contained “payola” or cash delivered to former justice secretary Vitaliano Aguirre – allegedly his share from the bribery scheme that let illegal Chinese online casino workers enter the country. It was the Senate committee on women and children’s 5th hearing on the “pastillas” scheme. The panel chairperson Senator Risa Hontiveros wanted to catch the “big fish,” since the 19 immigration personnel charged in the mess so far were “foot soldiers” and middle men, not the bosses of the operation. Tulfo had accused Aguirre of involvement in the “pastillas” ... » Learn More about Choppers and duffle bags: Tulfo, Aguirre trade barbs at Senate hearing on ‘pastillas’ scheme
Youtube senate hearing
MANILA, Philippines (3rd UPDATE) – Senator Aquilino Pimentel III announced on Wednesday, March 25, that he was positive for the coronavirus. On social media, there was some confusion as to whether Pimentel knew that he was positive for the virus as early as Tuesday, March 24. Pimentel brought his wife Kathryna in a hospital in Makati Tuesday evening, as she was scheduled to give birth Wednesday morning. The Pimentels said that they were already at the hospital when the senator received the news about his test results. Here's a timeline of what happened: March 11 At 9:10 pm , Senator Sherwin Gatchalian announces that a resource person in a Senate hearing he had presided over had aqcuired coronavirus disease (COVID-19). Gatchalian says he will place himself under self-quarantine. Senator Nancy Binay, who was with Gatchalian at the hearing, follows suit. March 12 At around 10 am , Pimentel says he talked to Binay ... » Learn More about TIMELINE: When Pimentel tested positive for coronavirus
For the fourth time, the proposal to create a department for overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) made it to President Rodrigo Duterte's State of the Nation Address (SONA). Duterte on Monday, July 26, identified the creation of a Department of Migrant Workers and Overseas Filipinos (DMWOF) a priority bill in his final SONA. He made similar calls during his past SONAs, except in 2017 and 2018. "I also ask Congress to pass a law creating the Department of Migrant Workers and Overseas Filipinos. Kailangan po ito (this is needed) – because they are suffering, they suffered not only yesterday but they are still suffering now with so many inadequacies, in both our government response, including the monetary assistance – to ensure that there is a department that is solely focused on addressing the needs and taking care of the welfare of our countrymen abroad," Duterte said on Monday. It has been Duterte's plan to create a department focusing on OFWs even before he ... » Learn More about Does the Philippines need an OFW department?
Ex-senator Antonio Trillanes IV warned Vice President Leni Robredo that his Magdalo party would abandon her if she gave way to Senator Panfilo Lacson in the 2022 presidential race, casting a dark cloud over the shaky opposition alliance. In a tweet Wednesday, July 28, Trillanes was frank about how he felt upon hearing of Robredo's recent meeting with Lacson and his running mate, Senate President Vicente Sotto III. “VP Leni, I hope this is not true. Pero kung totoo ito, pasensya na po pero the Magdalo Group would not join you and LP kung mag give way kayo para kay Senator Lacson ," Trillanes tweeted. (VP Leni, I hope this is not true. But if it is, then I’m sorry but the Magdalo Group would not join you and LP if you would give way to Senator Lacson.) The Magdalo political organization of Trillanes, composed of retired members of the Armed Forces of the Philippines, has long been allied with the once-ruling Liberal Party (LP), where Robredo is ... » Learn More about Trillanes warning: Magdalo dropping Robredo if she gives way to Lacson
President Rodrigo Duterte's economic team is pushing hard for the approval of the 2nd tranche of the Tax Reform for Acceleration and Inclusion (TRAIN) law amid strong opposition. The Department of Finance (DOF) is proposing to cut corporate income tax and modernize fiscal incentives. These reforms, said economic managers, are necessary. But the 2nd TRAIN package has very few champions and many opponents. While the deliberations at the House of Representatives are moving, the Senate is wary. Senate President Vicente Sotto III said his colleagues fear the proposal would bring another wave of inflation . Two of the country's top promotion investment agencies have spoken out against the measure as well. Several businesses have raised concerns, too. Corporate income tax The Philippines has the highest corporate income tax (CIT) in Southeast Asia at 30%. Neighboring Indonesia and Malaysia have 25% and 24%, respectively. Singapore has ... » Learn More about EXPLAINER: Why the government is pushing for 2nd TRAIN package
This question at the Philippine Business for Education's (PBEd) July 5 press conference was key. Since early 2021, PBEd has been beating the drums to warn against this learning crisis. A week later, the question gained greater prominence when the IATF reviewed the controversy that had erupted between Department of Education (DepEd) Secretary Leonor Briones and the World Bank (WB) . DepEd Secretary Leonor Briones was the star of the IATF session, earning praise from President Duterte for extracting a public apology from the WB, which had released a report on the poor state of basic education in the country. But the summary conclusion of the meeting, which suggested that the president was not unduly worried about education, seemed to misunderstand Secretary Briones’ issues with the WB and the gravity of the problems facing the department. The case of Briones against the WB rested on three points. First, it released its study to the media without giving her prior ... » Learn More about [OPINION] Does the government believe there is a learning crisis?