News Briefs: Dec. 27, 2018
Dole may take back BI authority to issue foreign work permits
Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III said his office was “seriously studying” rescinding the authority it gave to the Bureau of Immigration (BI) on the issuance of work permits to foreign workers, especially from China.
Bello said he would closely coordinate with Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra the recall of the authority to issue special work permits (SWPs) as the BI is an agency of the Department of Justice.
“We have to discuss it lengthily and seriously to see where it went wrong. Why did [the number of foreign workers] ballooned?” Bello said in a recent interview.
In 2005, the Department of Labor and Employment (Dole) allowed the BI to issue SWPs to foreigners with a period of validity of six months.
If a foreigner plans to work in the country beyond the six-month period, the worker is required to apply for an alien employment permit (AEP) from the labor department.
An AEP, however, will only be issued if there is no Filipino competent enough or willing to do a particular job. —Jovic Yee
Narcopolitics remains a problem ahead of 2019 polls – Año
Narcopolitics is continuing to cast a shadow on next year’s midterm elections, according to Interior Secretary Eduardo Año.
In an interview aired on Tuesday night on ABS-CBN News Channel, Año said there were politicians on President Rodrigo Duterte’s “narcolist” who succeeded in filing certificates of candidacy.
“There is still a problem [of drug money funding election campaigns] because we still have narcopoliticians on the list who were not prevented from running because of legal grounds,” Año said.
“But I’m happy some political parties did not field candidates [who are] on the drug list,” he added.
According to Año, there were 87 politicians on the President’s narcolist, including 68 mayors, several vice governors and a congressman.
Incumbent Daanbantayan, Cebu Mayor Vicente Loot, a former police chief superintendent, is among the mayors on the narcolist who are being investigated by the Department of the Interior and Local Government for not reporting to work. —Jeannette I. Andrade
SPDA execs acquitted of graft over P20-M ghost equipment
The Sandiganbayan has acquitted seven former officials of the Southern Philippines Development Authority (SPDA) of graft charges in connection with the payment of P20.42 million for the purchase in 2000 of various farming equipment, which were allegedly not delivered to the agency.
Acquitted were former SPDA Administrator Sultan Ali Mindalano, bids and awards committee members Esa Bayani, Tomas Ballesteros, Sultan Dic Kah Manalundung and Rodolfo Sudario, and technical committee members James Cautivar and Charlene Damuy.
Also acquitted was Loreto Nicolas, president of Kidapawan Mercantile Inc. and Major Tractors and Equipment.
The two companies won the contracts to supply the SPDA with five tractors, 10 rice threshers, 10 turtle power tillers and 10 rice millers.
In a 29-page decision, the court’s Fourth Division said the deficiencies in the sales invoice and delivery receipts, which lacked dates, did not “conclusively prove the nondelivery” of the equipment. —Vince F. Nonato
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