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Nationwide round-up (11/18/20)

Senator pushes for creation of water management agency

A SENATOR on Wednesday pushed for the creation of an integrated water resource management agency that will oversee water-related operations to prevent a repeat of severe flooding such as those recently experienced in parts of Luzon. The agency will be tasked to create a long-term and coordinated plan on the use and control of water resources, Senator Francis N. Pangilinan said. “So it’s an integrated approach to managing our water to address the critical need for potable water, irrigation, to address power, and to address flooding,” he said over ABS-CBN News Channel. The proposed agency will consolidate the functions currently performed by the Department of Public Works and Highways, National Irrigation Administration, Local Water Utilities Administration, and Metropolitan Waterworks and Sewerage System. Also on Wednesday, a resolution seeking to conduct an inquiry on “man-made” disaster that may have worsened the impact of Typhoon Ulysses (international name: Vamco) was filed anew in the Senate. Senate Majority Leader Juan Miguel F. Zubiri said during Wednesday’s session that the Senate committee on environment and natural resources will conduct the hearing  “for sure next week.” The typhoon left at least 73 people dead, 24 injured and 19 missing, according to the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC). Charmaine A. Tadalan

Robredo asks Supreme Court to probe possible SolGen-Marcos collusion

VICE President Maria Leonor G. Robredo’s lawyers on Wednesday asked the Supreme Court to probe a possible collusion between the Office of the Solicitor General (SolGen) and losing vice presidential candidate Ferdinand R. Marcos, Jr. relating to the latter’s electoral protest. The SolGen and Mr. Marcos filed on the same day separate motions for the inhibition of Associate Justice Mario Victor F. Leonen who is in charge of the case, citing bias. The high court, sitting as Presidential Electoral Tribunal, on Tuesday denied both pleadings for the inhibition of Mr. Leonen. It also asked Solicitor General Jose C. Calida and the reporter whose articles were cited by the two to explain why they should not be cited in contempt. Ms. Robredo, in the motion, said the state counsel or any of the agencies it represents are not a party to the case, noting that an election protest is a private suit. They also said that the motions filed by Mr. Marcos and the SolGen were “eerily similar.” Ms. Robredo also noted that Mr. Calida “openly, actively and rabidly” campaigned for Mr. Marcos’ bid in the 2016 elections. — Vann Marlo M. Villegas

Makabayan bloc files resolution for national academic break

THE SIX-MAN Makabayan bloc filed a resolution on Wednesday calling for a declaration of a “national academic break” following the series of typhoons that affected several parts of Luzon. “As the country reels from a global health crisis, its economic impacts, and now from natural calamities, Department of Education (DepEd) Secretary Leonor Briones, Commission on Higher Education (CHED) Commissioner Popoy De Vera, and President Rodrigo Duterte should immediately take action now more than ever to assist students and teachers,” the resolution read. The proposed break could also be used as an assessment of the current education set-up, the progressive lawmakers said. Bagong Henerasyon Party-list Bernadette Herrera-Dy, on the other hand, said the continuation of classes amid a state of calamity is “still healthy (for students) than not doing anything at all.” CHED earlier thumbed down calls to declare an academic break. — Kyle Aristophere T. Atienza

364,00 informal sector workers get emergency employment

A total of 364,00 informal sector workers have been processed for emergency employment assistance, a Department of Labor and Employment (DoLE) official said on Wednesday. DoLE-National Capital Region Director Sarah Buena S. Mirasol said over P100 million has been allocated for the beneficiaries. “More than P100 million are for implementation in different local government units,” she said in a mix of Filipino and English during a briefing. The beneficiaries will be paid the daily minimum wage rate of Metro Manila. — Gillian M. Cortez 

On Duterte’s rant: Robredo says public service not a ‘competition’

THE PRESIDENT should not treat public service as a “competition,” Vice President Maria Leonor G. Robredo said Wednesday after the country’s leader ranted on her typhoon relief and recovery efforts during a televised address Tuesday night. President Rodrigo R. Duterte lashed at Ms. Robredo, who heads the opposition party, for allegedly telling lies regarding his management of the emergency response and overstepping her authority. “The President was fed with wrong information. On my part, I never sought for his whereabouts during the crisis and even if (he) checks on my recent statements, posts, he would not see that I was asking for his whereabouts,” Ms. Robredo told reporters. “The President should go after the one who is feeding him wrong information. I was removed from the Cabinet also based on a false information… and it’s happening again now,” she added. — Kyle Aristophere T. Atienza

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