Bill on faster permit processing to get urgent stamp
THE MEASURE granting President Rodrigo R. Duterte special powers to expedite permit processing amid the coronavirus pandemic will be certified as urgent, a Palace official said. This comes as Senate Majority Leader Juan Miguel F. Zubiri requested that the bill be certified to have it passed on final reading before Congress suspends session from Oct. 17-Nov. 15. “May request ako, ‘yung ating (I have a request, the) emergency powers for the Ease of Doing Business, baka pwedeng ma-certify (perhaps it could be certified),” Mr. Zubiri asked Executive Secretary Salvador C. Medialdea at a hearing. In response, Mr. Medialdea said the Office of the President (OP) will act on the request of the senator. Senator Christopher Lawrence T. Go, who chaired the finance subcommittee hearing, also confirmed the OP’s commitment. The lawmakers were referring to Senate Bill No. 1844, which is currently pending second reading in the chamber. A notice certifying a bill as urgent will allow Congress to pass the measure on second and third reading on the same day, doing away with the three-day interval. In its last version, the bill provides Mr. Duterte the authority to speed up and streamline the process for new permit applications as well as suspend or waive requirements. This was filed after Mr. Duterte consulted Congress for possible amendments to further reduce red tape. Mr. Medialdea was attending the hearing on the P8.239 billion OP budget for 2021, which is slightly higher than the P8.201 billion allocation this year. — Charmaine A. Tadalan
Activist mother seeks furlough for baby’s funeral
DETAINED ACTIVIST Reina Mae Nasino asked a Manila regional trial court to allow her to attend her three-month old child’s wake and burial. Ms. Nasino on Monday filed the motion through her legal counsel from the National Union of Peoples’ Lawyers (NUPL). Her daughter died of pneumonia on October 9, the same day she filed a motion for furlough to see the child at the hospital. That motion has yet to be acted upon by the court. “She implores, nay, pleads and begs, this Honorable Court to immediately give her the decent and humane chance to be with her baby daughter, whom she was not able to comfort and hold while in sickbed up to her dying hours, for the last time, and to properly grieve over her tragic and untimely passing,” she said in her latest motion. The NUPL also sent a letter to Chief Justice Diosdado M. Peralta appealing for possible intervention. “We are compelled solely by the circumstances to humbly bring this matter to your Honor’s attention for your information and for any appropriate action as you deem necessary and warranted,” the letter read. Ms. Nasino was among the more than 20 political prisoners who asked the Supreme Court in April to allow their release from jail on humanitarian grounds due to the coronavirus threat. The high court in July referred the case to the respective trial courts where the petitioners’ cases were pending, treating the lawsuit as an application for bail or recognizance. Ms. Nasino, charged with illegal possession of firearms and explosives and currently detained at the Manila City Jail Female Dormitory, was pregnant when she was arrested on November 5, 2019. — Vann Marlo M. Villegas
Parts of Metro Manila flooded due to heavy rains from storm, monsoon
TROPICAL STORM Nika, with international name Nangka, was already out of the Philippine area as of Monday afternoon but it still brought heavy rains, combined with the southwest monsoon, to parts of Luzon, including Metro Manila. Parts of the nation’s capital were flooded, with some roads rendered impassable to all types of vehicles, according to the Metro Manila Development Authority. Weather bureau PAGASA said other affected parts of the country were the regions of Ilocos, Cordillera, Cagayan Valley, Central Luzon, and Calabarzon (Cavite-Laguna-Batangas-Rizal-Quezon), and the provinces of Camarines, Mindoro, and Palawan, including Kalayaan, Calamian, and Cuyo Islands.
Meanwhile, a low pressure area (LPA) east of Mindanao is “likely to develop into a tropical depression within 48 hours,” according to PAGASA’s Monday afternoon advisory. As of 4 p.m., it was about 540 kilometers east of Surigao City in Surigao del Sur and moving northwest towards Eastern Visayas and the Bicol region. It will be named Ofel once it develops into a tropical depression.
The E. Rodriguez-G.Araneta intersection in Quezon City was flooded waist-deep on Monday. The Metro Manila Development Authority issued a warning that it was impassable to all types of vehicles as of 5:16 p.m.