The youngest elected mayor of the city of Manila

The youngest elected mayor of the city of Manila | Juan Manila

 

Francisco Moreno Domagoso, also known by his showbiz name Isko Moreno, serves as the 22nd mayor of the city. He was 44 when elected into office. Loved by the public due to his streetwise public image, he uses street slangs to reach out to his constituents. He grew up in Tondo.


 

“Yorme” (Mayor) as what he wants the public to call him has been going around the city since he was elected, inspecting on what more improvements are needed to keep the City alive. He served as vice mayor for three terms starting in 1998.

Moreno equipped himself with to learn in the field of governance by taking courses at the University of the Philippines-National College of Public Administration and Governance (UP-NCPAG). He completed academic courses at the International Business Leaders Program courtesy of the U.S. State Department, and executive programs at the JFK School of Government in Harvard University and at Oxford University.

His first 100 days kicked off with a clean-up drive where he presented his plans for the city and take it back in the race for National Capital Region’s most developed cities. Moreno said he aspires to be an “inspirational leader.”

All is well, the boy who once collected garbage in order for his family to eat is now providing food for the people of the city. The City, once dark is now full of lights, a shining beacon of hope to the Manileños that anything is possible to a person who dreams big- just like him.

It wasn’t smooth sailing for Moreno. He was slapped with allegations of corruption when he was still the Vice Mayor of the City, including cuddling ghost employees and gambling.

Despite the challenges, he stands strong unwavering in his quest to serve the people of Manila by providing them with quality life.

Moreno ran for a Senatorial post in 2016 but it wasn’t his time to be there yet. He says he will wait.

“It pays to be patient. It pays to prepare yourself. Because, in the end, it’s really up to the people to decide.” (CyD/JuanManila)

 

Quad leaders meet to counter China’s Indo-Pacific presence

Quad leaders meet to counter China's Indo-Pacific presence | Juan Manila

 

After their virtual meeting in March when they discussed China’s military build-up in the Asia-Pacific, the four leaders of the Quad alliance will meet for the first time in-person next week at the White House upon the bidding of U.S. President Biden.


 

WASHINGTON D.C. — Intending to deepen the cooperation among the leaders of the Quadrilateral Security Dialogue (Quad)  alliance as they have agreed to counter China’s military presence in the Asia-Pacific, President Biden will host Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, and Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga in the White House, press secretary Jen Psaki announced on Monday.

According to Psaki, “The Biden-Harris administration has made elevating the Quad a priority, as seen through the first-ever Quad leaders-level engagement in March, which was virtual, and now this summit, which will be in-person.”

“The Quad leaders will be focused on deepening our ties and advancing practical cooperation on areas such as combating Covid-19, addressing climate crisis, partnering on emerging technologies and cyberspace, and promoting a free and open Indo-Pacific,” she said.

Psaki’s referenced the tensions between Washington and Beijing in the western Pacific region where China has laid claims of sovereignty that Washington, her allies, and claimant-countries in the region rejected.

In a recent maritime conference, United States Coast Guard and Navy officials pledged to bolster their presence in the area and dismissed a new ruling Beijing enacted that requires all foreign ships entering what it claims as the South China Sea to register ship and cargo information with Chinese maritime authorities.

The summit follows a recent meeting by the Biden administration officials with Beijing and a phone call between Biden and Chinese President Xi Jinping. With the call, Xi told Biden that relations with other countries were facing “serious difficulties” because of Washington’s policies towards China.

Biden has also made simultaneous deepening of ties with NATO (North Atlantic Treaty Organization) and G7 (Group of Seven, an inter-governmental political forum consisting of Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the United Kingdom and the United States) while progressively developing its own China strategy.

In his July speech about the drawdown of U.S. troops in Afghanistan, Biden said maintaining a military presence there “was not in the national interest of the United States of America to continue fighting this war indefinitely.

“We also need to focus on shoring up America’s core strengths to meet the strategic competition with China and other nations that is really going to determine our future,” he said.

As he testified before the House Committee on Foreign Affairs about the withdrawal in Afghanistan, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken echoed Biden’s rationale.

“There is nothing that strategic competitors like China and Russia–or adversaries like Iran and North Korea–would have liked more than for the United States to re-up a 20-year war and remain bogged down in Afghanistan for another decade,” he said. (SA/JuanManila)

₱10.3B ‘savings’ used to fund infra project—Colmenares

₱10.3B ‘savings’ used to fund infra project—Colmenares | Juan Manila

 

 

Despite the discontinued projects funded under the 2020 national budget last year, the Duterte administration has utilized government ‘savings’ to finance its infrastructure projects that had nothing to do with the coronavirus pandemic response.


 

MANILA — Last year’s declaration of a national state of emergency due to the Covid-19 pandemic may have allowed the Duterte administration to convert some ₱10.3 billion ‘savings’ in contingent funds into presidential pork barrel, but former Bayan Muna party-list representative Neri Colmenares questioned the realignment of the funds, saying that the moneys could have been otherwise used for ‘unforeseen’ expenditures that could not be covered by the current spending law.

“This was the time when the country is in dire need for funds for cash aid, (personal protective equipment), testing and contact tracing, but here we see billions being used for (infrastructure) projects that are not urgent, such as swimming pools, convention center, and even a cruise ship port!” Colmenares points out.

It may be recalled that when the coronavirus began to ravage the country early last year, President Rodrigo Duterte sought the passage of the Bayanihan to Heal as One Act, which was signed on 24 March 2020 and became known as Republic Act No. 11469, or the Bayanihan 1 law.

The Bayanihan law declared the existence of a national emergency due to Covid-19, outlined the Government’s pandemic response, and gave the president the power to “reallocate, realign, and reprogram” the national budget approved for 2020 in response to the pandemic.

The president was allowed to “discontinue” the implementation of projects funded under the 2020 budget and divert their approved budgets to augment funding for items “directly related to support operations and [COVID-19] measures.”

Among the ‘savings’ from discontinued projects that Malacañan realigned, supposedly for Covid-19 response, was ₱10.3 billion ‘savings’ labeled as contingent funds, in addition to the ₱13 billion originally allocated as such in the 2020 General Appropriations Act (GAA).

However, records showed that the money was used not to boost the Government’s Covid-19 response, but to finance infrastructure projects under the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH), many of which had nothing to do with directly addressing the effects of the pandemic.

Based on its disclosure in the 2022 National Expenditure Program, Malacañan, through the Department of Budget and Management (DBM), transferred in 2020 more than ₱10.3 billion of its contingent fund to the DPWH.

A trace of the documents showed that the DBM issued a special allotment release order (SARO) dated 14 July 2020, for ₱10.3 billion in favor of the DPWH to fund 344 public works projects across the country. (TRC/JuanManila)

Former high-ranking NPA leader left ranks, seeks peace

Former high-ranking NPA leader left ranks, seeks peace | Juan Manila

 

Tired of the continuous fighting where victory will never be realized, a former high-ranking leader of the New People’s Army responsible for various atrocities in Paquibato District, left the ranks and surrendered to Government forces on 01 August 2021.


 

DAVAO CITY — Ariane Jane Ramos (alias Marikit), secretary of Guerilla Front 55, Sub-Regional Committee 5, Southern Mindanao Regional Committee, was involved in extortion activities and armed clashes. She used to be affiliated with the League of Filipino Students and Gabriela Youth.

Now enjoying a life in freedom, she shares peace initiatives from the point-of-view of the marginalized to Davao City mayor Sara Duterte, who agreed to have a talk with her regarding what she can share.

She appreciates the enhanced comprehensive local integration program (e-CLIP) that Government provides to surrenderees so they can reunite with their families. Because of this, she encourages her comrades to come out of hiding and avail of the program.

 


E-CLIP is a Government program that aims to help the rebel members of CPP-NPA-NDF and Militia ng Bayan to restore their allegiance to the Philippine government.


 

To the students she says, “Let us continue to be critical and focus on our studies. I encourage activism but let us not come to the point that we are on the brink of thinking about life or death.”

Meanwhile, her message to businessmen is, “Let us continue to extend our investment towards development. Do not give to the extortionist demands of any groups or organizations, particularly those using my name.”

She adds she has no more consent on any extortionist acts as she is “already on the right track under the 1003rd Brigade and city government of Davao for sustaining peace, security, and development.”

In previous interviews, she said she got tired of fighting and saw their forces dwindled and weakened.

“I felt alone. The collective leadership inside the party is slowly dwindling and I finally chose to focus on myself. We are just humans and we became tired,” she said after her surrender.

“We all want to achieve peace and we will not stop looking for ways to give it to the Dabawenyos, especially the people of Paquibato,” the Davao City mayor posted on social media.

The Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP), NPA, and National Democratic Front (NDF) are all designated terrorist organizations in the Philippines. The United States, European Union, United Kingdom, Australia, Canada, and New Zealand have also tagged the CPP-NPA as a terror group. (RA/JuanManila)


Featured image: SURRENDERED. Some 220 assorted firearms previously surrendered by communist New People’s Army guerillas are destroyed in a ceremony at the Police Regional Office’s headquarters (PRO-13) in Butuan City on 14 April 2021. At least 88 former rebels also received Government aid during the activity. /Credit: PIA Agusan del Norte