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Palace says Duterte has nothing to do with OFW ID design after it draws ‘epal’ comments online



Malacañang said President Rodrigo Duterte had nothing to do with putting his face on the identification cards issued by the government for overseas Filipino workers (OFWs).

Duterte’s photo was included in the OFW ID card, drawing criticism online. Some netizens described the move as that of an “epal,” a term often used to describe a person who wants to seek attention or a politician who wants to put their faces or names on anything.

Presidential spokesperson Harry Roque said he believed that Duterte was not involved in designing the OFW ID.

“Hindi ba pati ang mga pictures niya sa mga offices pinapalitan niya ng mga heroes? I don’t think he knew about this,” Roque said.

Duterte signed Memorandum Circular No. 25 ordering agencies to put up photos of heroes, not of elected officials, in their offices.

Some netizens also noticed how President Duterte’s photo is even bigger compared to the ID card holder’s own photo.

ABS-CBN News sought Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III’s comment on the issue and he said that the OFW ID design was the “initiative of DOLE.”

But Bello defended the inclusion of Duterte’s face in the photo.

“I just want to to underscore yung concern ng President sa kapakanan ng mga manggagawa,” Bello said.

“Pinapakita namin na ito ay project niya…Hindi naman siya kandidato,” he added.

The DOLE chief said that OFW ID card will serve as the OFW’s Overseas Employment Certificate (OEC). He further revealed that the card will not expire and that the cards will soon be recognized by other government agencies, such as PhilHealth, Social Security System, Pag-ibig FUNd

Bello said the first batch of 500 OFW ID cards have been released and more OFWs and former OFWs will receive theirs in the future.

The release of the ID card received negative reactions from some people, who called out the seemingly “epal” move.

Facebook page “Filipino’s Patriotism” urged Bello not to be epal.

Juan Nationalist posted a collage of Communication Assistant Secretary Mocha Uson’s two posts – one calling out epal politicians, promoting a cause called “Pulitikong Epal,” and the other about the OFW ID with Duterte’s photo on it. With the post was the caption, “How to be a SOLID HYPOCRITE.”

In the first post, Uson wrote:

“Ang Pulitikong Epal ay boses ng mga ordinaryong Pilipinong sawa sa mga TRAPO. Dito nilalabas ang pagkadismaya ng mga mamayang Pilipino sa mga Pulitikong epal. Ginagawa nila ang ka-epalan na ito sa pamamagitan ng pag lagay ng pangalan o di kaya ng kanilang larawan sa mga posters at kanilang mga ipinamimigay na tulong sa kanilang lunsod. Maaari niyo pong ipadala ang inyong mga nakuhanang video o picture sa [email protected]. Wala poi tong kinikilingan kahit anong partidong kinabibilangan ang pulitiko basta EPAL atin itong ilalabas. Wala pong personalan para lamang ito sa bayan.”

In September this year, the Palace released Memorandum Circular No. 25 that sought to “strengthen” the Filipino’s nationalism, respect for heroes, love of country, and improved “social consciousness and patriotism.” It is to be implemented in all government agencies, state-run and state-controlled firms, state colleges and universities, and public schools.

The memorandum also included a list of Filipino heroes determined by the National Historical Commission of the Philippines that can be displayed in government offices and public schools instead of photos of elected or appointed government officials. These include Jose Rizal, Apolinario Mabini, Emilio Aguinaldo, Juan Luna, Marcelo del Pilar, Lapu-Lapu, Gabriela Silang, Emilio Jacinto, Melchora Aquino, Fr. Jose Burgos, Fr. Jacinto Zamora, Fr. Mariano Gomez, and Jose Abad Santos.

Last July, President Duterte described the display of his photos and other government officials as “silly.”

“I intend to also issue a decree, ipatanggal ko iyong mga litrato namin,” he said in an interview in Malacañang.

“Nabuang man iyong mga ganoon na tao. Put your family photos in your living room,” he added.

He also recalled how he never allowed the display of his photos when he was still the mayor of Davao City.

“Sa Davao, when I was mayor, I prohibited the display of my picture and I told the decks there to display instead the pictures of our heroes,” Duterte 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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