News Briefs: August 22, 2019
COA flags NEA’s unliquidated subsidies
MANILA, Philippines — The Commission on Audit (COA) has flagged the National Electrification Administration (NEA) for releasing P10.45 billion in subsidies to over 100 electric cooperatives from 2012 to 2015 even when previous subsidies had yet to be liquidated.
This was a violation of the agency’s own memorandum, the body said.
The NEA claimed it had reduced its subsidy liabilities by P403 million as of March 2019 after calling out cooperatives to settle their liquidations. —Patricia Denise M. Chiu
DFA might deploy more OFWs to Libya despite ban
MANILA, Philippines — Foreign Secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr. will consider deploying anew Filipino workers, especially nurses, to war-torn Libya despite the deployment ban, according to the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA).
The DFA said visiting Libyan Health Minister Ahmed Mohamed Omar had asked Locsin during a courtesy call on Tuesday to allow more Filipino nurses and other workers to Libya, and the DFA official had promised to look into the request.
Locsin also thanked the Libyan government for helping the more than 2,300 Filipinos who have remained in Libya despite the months-long fighting to find a way to send their salaries back to their families in the Philippines. —Dona Pazzibugan.
Ombudsman suspends environment officials
MANILA, Philippines — The Office of the Ombudsman has preventively suspended three environmental officials from Roxas City and Iloilo for a maximum of six months in connection with a land dispute case with religious missionaries.
Those suspended include Roxas City community environment and natural resources officer Bernarbe Garnace; Tubungan, Iloilo, municipal environment and natural resources officer Francisco Gallego Jr.; and Miag-ao, Iloilo, community environment and natural resources officer Salvador Manglinong Jr.
“There is enough basis to conclude that their continued stay in office may prejudice the just, fair and independent disposition of the present case,” the suspension order dated Aug. 15 and signed by Ombudsman Samuel Martires said.
The land dispute involved three lots with a total land area of 22,445 square meters in La Paz, Iloilo City, that was leased by the Auxiliary Missionaries of the Assumption Inc. —Patricia Denise M. Chiu
Amend party list law, says poll watchdog
MANILA, Philippines — The Party-List System Act of 1995 should be amended to bar incumbent government officials and members of political clans from becoming party list nominees, election watchdog Kontra Daya said on Tuesday.
The Supreme Court should also rethink its 2013 ruling that party list groups need not represent a marginalized and underrepresented sector, Kontra Daya convener Danilo Arao told reporters.
“[The] Commission on Elections can only do so much, given the infirmities of election laws and money politics, among other concerns,” he said. —Tina G. Santos
Store owners told: Don’t sell alcopops to kids
MANILA, Philippines — Sen. Pia Cayetano on Wednesday appealed to store and grocery owners to make sure that alcopops, or flavored alcoholic drinks packaged similarly to juice drinks, are not sold to children.
She also reiterated her call to the manufacturers of alcopops to do something about their packaging so that these would not be mistaken as drinks for children.
“If your product is not meant for children but somehow it looks like it’s packaged and sold to children, I would love to be able to see you do something on your own,” Cayetano, chair of the Senate ways and means committee, told media at the Kapihan sa Manila Bay forum. —Leila B. Salaverria
Stop military operations in Maguindanao, Duterte asked
MANILA, Philippines — Maguindanao Rep. Esmael Mangudadatu has called on President Rodrigo Duterte to halt military operations in his province to prevent further loss of life and the displacement of thousands in the newly formed Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao.
In a letter coursed through Executive Secretary Salvador Medialdea, Mangudadatu also urged the President to ask the Moro Islamic Liberation Front to convince members of the breakaway Moro rebel group, the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters, to surrender to government. —DJ Yap
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