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Duterte insists on doubling soldiers’ pay by December after failing on promised pay hike starting August



President Rodrigo Duterte said on Tuesday, August 23, that he was urging Budget Secretary Benjamin Diokno to double the salary of soldiers by December.

Duterte said this in front of newly promoted generals and flag officers in Malacañang.

“Before I start, I’ve been egging Secretary Ben Diokno to really see to it that by December, all of the salaries of the soldiers have been doubled already, nauna kayo,” he said.

This is a repeat of his earlier promise before the soldiers in Cebu when he said, “By December, you’d have doubled your salaries. This August, umpisa na, ngayong August. Tingnan ninyo iyang pay checks ninyo. Nandiyan na iyan.”

But on August 11, Diokno said that the government cannot keep Duterte’s promise to increase the soldiers’ salary by August, adding that there is no allocation in the 2016 national budget for the salary hike.

He brought up Duterte’s promise of doubling the soldiers’ take home pay during a Senate hearing on the Salary Standardization Law, but said that the government would not be able to keep that promise within the year.

“We cannot promise (an increase) this August because, as you know, there is nothing in the budget for that,” Diokno said in reply to Senator Antonio Trillanes IV’s question.

So when might the government be able to deliver on the President’s promise?

In an ambush interview on August 11, Diokno said that a 100 percent salary increase for soldiers and policemen may be expected by January 2018.

“Doable ‘yun. I think maintindihan ng mga pulis ‘yan hindi naman one time ‘yun. Pangako naman niya (Duterte) hindi bukas. In fact, at the present ang trajectory ko d’yan January 2018 doable na ang sweldo,” he told the media.

He added that the law enforcers would get an incremental increase by the last quarter of 2016.

“May mga movement. Hindi naman pwedeng jump ka kaagad sa gusto mo,” Diokno said.


Trillanes calls out Duterte for making promises left and right

During the Senate hearing, Trillanes said that he was “surprised” when he heard about Duterte telling servicemen they can enjoy a salary increase by August and make two times their current salary by December.

“As you know, the soldiers are holding on to the word of their Commander-in-Chief… Pipila yung mga sundalo sa ATM (this August), ‘di ba?” said Trillanes after he asked Diokno if Duterte’s promise was feasible.

He added, “You better advise your president because he’s been making commitments and promises left and right. Ayaw nating masira yung credibility niya, na he’s just a big talker.”

“Noong sinabing ‘August meron na kayo, incremental increase,’ palakpakan yung mga sundalo eh. Then there is our DBM secretary saying it’s not gonna happen,” Trillanes said.

“Let us not play with the emotions of the soldiers. They don’t deserve that. Don’t make promises you cannot keep,” the senator added.

But Diokno reasoned that he did not want to violate the Disbursement Acceleration Program (DAP) rule just to keep Duterte’s promise. “You cannot spend on something that is not authorized by Congress.”

The Budget Secretary added that despite not having the budget for the promised pay hike, the policemen and servicemen will still receive “supplement.”

“We are doing everything we can at the moment. In fact, we’re trying to supplement their income, one way or the other,” he said.

He noted that the government might give the uniformed personnel “rice allowance of 20 kilos per month every month.”

Diokno said, as reported by GMA News Online, that adjusting the pay and creating a better pension system of uniformed personnel would be a “huge cost that we probably have to think very carefully.”

Soldiers, police will receive an increase from Aquino’s EO 201

On July 14, Diokno said that the P3.35 trillion proposed budget for 2017 did not include an allocation for doubling the state forces’ salary.

He added, though, that the soldiers and police would receive a salary increase next year as part of the second tranche of the Salary Standardization Law signed by former President Benigno Aquino III. On February 19, Aquino signed Executive Order No. 201 providing for the pay hike for government workers as well as additional benefits for civilian and military uniformed personnel.

According to a Rappler report, the EO provides for the first 4 tranches under the proposed Salary Standardization Law 2015 (SSL 4) that was not enacted by Congress.

He also said he would propose to Congress to pass a joint resolution to implement the four tranches of salary increase for government employees, including public school teachers.

Diokno added that as mandated by the Constitution, “congressional action” is necessary for salary adjustment.

He noted that Aquino’s EO on the first tranche salary increase may be adopted by Duterte’s administration to push through with the pay hike.

“It will be continued… Our preference is to have it adopted as a joint resolution by Congress by four tranches. The second tranche is already in the 2017 budget,” Diokno said.

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Netizens slam Duterte for saying women ‘could not stand threats and intimidation’



President Rodrigo Duterte drew flak for another controversial comment involving women after he remarked on May 24 that women “could not stand threats and intimidation.”

Duterte said that while he believed in women’s competence, it does not necessarily ring true in all aspects of life.

“I believe in the woman, the competence and capability, pero hindi lahat sa buhay dapat.Hindi ka, hindi, hindi. Dapat lang. It’s not appropriate when you cannot stand threats and intimidation,” he said in his May 24 speech.

He also said that women should be “prim and proper” and talked about his reservation in sending women police and soldiers to the field because unlike men, they did not grow up with a mindset that involves violence.

“Ang mga babae, sundalo pati pulis, ayaw ko ‘yan sa bukid. Unlike men kami, maliit pa lang, suntukan, bakbakan, barilan. And we grew up with a sort of a mindset na sometimes prone to violence. Itong mga babae, prim and proper man ‘yan, isang tingin lang sa nanay niyan, wala na tunaw na ‘yan. Tapos gawin mong pulis, ipaaway mo doon. Naku,” Duterte remarked.

Netizens then took to social media to react to Duterte’s most recent statements, making #BabaeAko trend again on Twitter.

“Mr. President, you just horrifyingly disrespected your own mother who bravely fought against the Marcos dictatorship. She withstood threats and intimidation. Siya ay babae! #BabaeAko,” a Twitter user remarked.

Forensic expert Dr. Raquel Fortun spoke out, too, saying “I am threatened and intimidated a lot. All my life. Don’t me. #BabaeAko.”

So did film and theater actress Chai Fonacier, who said, “Encouraging women — and I mean including those who identify as women — and our friends from the entire spectrum to share your #BabaeAko statements to fight the misogyny that the President and his ilk normalize through their behavior. Make them remember the feminine strength.”

KABATAAN Partylist Rep. Sarah Elago also reacted, saying she refused to be stereotyped.

Former Solicitor General Florin Hilbay urged other Filipinos to protest against Duterte’s misogynistic statements.

Other Twitter users weighed in on the issue.

Duterte’s previous misogynistic remarks


His remarks in his speech on May 24 seemed to have sought to explain another controversial remark he made on May 16 when he said that he did not want a politician, especially a woman, to become the next Ombudsman.

“Mag-nominate sila, pero I choose, but gusto ko ‘yung bilib ang tao sa integrity niya. Of course it could not be a politician, lalo na hindi babae,” he said during a chance interview.

This gave birth to the launching of the #BabaeAko movement on social media on May 21 by women activists and other people who also want to protest Duterte’s misogynistic and sexist statements.

One of  the women who joined the #BabaeAko campaign was former Social Welfare Secretary Judy Taguiwalo who said, “Akala ko taumbayan ang boss ni Duterte. Yun pala sina Marcos, Gloria, Trump at China. Para sa bayang makatarungan at malaya, lalaban ako.”

In February, he was also slammed for telling his audience of former NPA rebels that he told his soldiers to shoot female rebels in the vagina.

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New DOT chief to ask Montano why he rushed official New York engagement to watch Broadway show



Newly installed Department of Tourism (DOT) Secretary Bernadette Romulo-Puyat said she plans on talking with Tourism Promotions Board (TPB) COO Cesar Montano to ask for his side on certain accusations that were hurled against him.

Among these accusations came from an Abante report where Montano was said to have rushed a speaking engagement staged by the DOT in New York to watch the Broadway musical show “Hamilton.”

DOT reportedly launched the Philippine Tourism Presentation and Dinner Reception on May 9 to showcase Philippine tourism and fashion at the Roosevelt Hotel in New York. Montano was introduced as the event’s keynote speaker, but he was said to have only spoken for a bit before hurriedly leaving the venue, disappointing the guests, which also included US officials.

Montano was said to have been invited to the event in behalf of the now-resigned Tourism Secretary Wanda Teo. He was also named as one of the two hosts, the other being Teo, of the said event.

In reaction to this report about Montano, Puyat said she would talk to Montano as well as the Tourism attache and other DOT officials who attended the event to verify the accusation in the report mentioned above.


Puyat said that she would investigate into the “Buhay Carinderia” program that the TPB is set to implement. This was after Philippine Star Boo Chanco accused Montano of issuing P80-million worth of three checks to the event proponent and organizer.

“I still don’t have the papers. I will be asking [and] will be arranging a meeting with Mr. Cesar Montano to ask about ‘yung mga nabasa ko sa ‘Buhay Carinderia’ – kung totoo ba na walang bidding ‘yung P80 million na advance,” Puyat said on May 15.

“I’m planning to talk to him and ask his side. I want to ask all those who were there if it actually happened,” Puyat added.

In March 2017, TPB employees filed a complaint against Montano for his alleged corruption and mismanagement of the agency. These include hiring friends and relatives, using TPB’s funds for personal trips, and showing incompetence in fulfilling his obligations as the agency’s COO.

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Eldest Tulfo vows to help Wanda clear her name, berates ‘black sheep’ Ben over controversial P60-M DOT ad deal



Inquirer columnist Ramon Tulfo spoke up about the controversy involving his siblings, now resigned Tourism Secretary Wanda Tulfo-Teo and hosts Ben and Erwin Tulfo, over the P60 million tourism ad deal.

The eldest Tulfo wrote in his Inquirer column on May 10 that while President Rodrigo Duterte himself advised the Tulfo family to avoid talking to the media, he took it upon himself as the family’s acting patriarch to tell the story behind the controversy.

First up, Ramon blamed Teo for not hiring smart staff members who could have advised her against inking a deal with PTV 4, where one of the Tulfo brothers, Ben, was a blocktimer.

As a blocktimer, Ben pays for his TV show’s airtime on the state-run channel.

According to Ramon, Wanda was only complying with President Duterte’s injunction for his Cabinet secretaries to support PTV 4, adding that she did not know Ben’s company would get most of the multimillion advertising contract with DOT.

He also hit Ben, whom he called a “black sheep” with a “middle child” syndrome as the fifth child out of 10 siblings, for signing the P60-million advertising contract with PTV 4 despite knowing that there would be a conflict of interest on Wanda’s part.

Ramon also said that Wanda still tried to save Ben, who insisted on his innocence amid the controversy, leading her to resign from her post. He also explained that Wanda seemed to have forgotten the fact that her husband was on the board of director of the Tourism Infrastructure and Enterprise Zone Authority (Tieza), a part of DOT, when Duterte appointed her as tourism chief. He added that it should have been up to her husband to step down from his post upon his wife’s appointment.


In the same column, he also slammed Wanda’s lawyer, Ferdinand Topacio, whom he said did not even consult the Tulfo brothers on returning the P60-million funds from the ad deal. He also described the lawyer as “all talk,” a counsel who’s only focused on gaining publicity for himself.

Unlike what has been previously reported about Wanda resigning out of delicadeza amid the controversy, Ramon let it slip that he commended President Duterte for “sacking Wanda,” prompting some people to ask whether Wanda was fired instead of resigned.

Before he ended his column, he vowed to support “Wanda’s fight to clear her name, but not Ben’s.”
Wanda resigned on May 8 to show delicadeza and to spare everyone, especially Duterte, from the pain caused by the controversy, according to her lawyer.

The issue started with the Commission on Audit’s report showing the DOT paying P60 million worth of commercials to PTV 4, which in turn, tapped Ben’s Bitag Media Unlimited Inc. to air the tourism ads during Ben and Erwin’s show “Kilos Pronto.”

Malacañang said that Teo’s resignation does not mean that she is off the hook since the Ombudsman is still looking into her and other government officials involved in the controversial ad deal.

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