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1M expected to heed Balik Probinsya call

AROUND a million Filipinos are seen to take part in the government’s plan to decongest the capital within the next six months. In a briefing Tuesday, National Housing Authority General Manager Marcelino P. Escalada, Jr. said 5,000 have already enrolled less than a week since the launch of the Website for the Balik Probinsya, which means back to the provinces. “If this will be the figure… perhaps we can hit a figure in the next six months (of) one million residents of Metro Manila who would like to enroll,” he said. The Palace last week issued Executive Order No. 114 institutionalizing the Balik Probinsya, Bagong Pag-asa program, which aims to address the population density in Metro Manila and the unbalanced regional development in the country. Mr. Escalada said eight provinces have so far expressed interest to participate in the program’s pilot testing. — Gillian M. Cortez

DoE asks gov’t agencies to reduce energy use for COVID-19 fund

Department of Energy (DoE)
THE Department of Energy (DoE) directed government agencies to adopt energy saving measures so that more funds can be channeled to the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) response. “[A]ll concerned government agencies are enjoined to implement energy conservation projects and measures to achieve at least ten percent (10%) cost savings in the petroleum products, air, steam, and electricity consumption that would result to the addition to government’s resources to contain the spread of COVID-19,” Energy Secretary Alfonso G. Cusi said in an advisory signed May 8 and released late Monday. Government offices have been ordered to report to the DoE their energy efficiency plan with target savings and other strategies. Meanwhile, there is an estimated P66 billion capital gap for energy efficiency projects by government-run facilities, according to the Philippine Energy Efficiency Alliance (PE2). The group recently proposed a P55-billion share in the stimulus package to bolster green projects alongside the country’s economic recovery after the COVID-19 crisis. — Adam J. Ang

Teacher nabbed for social media post offering reward for killing President

A TEACHER was arrested by the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) for posting online that he will give P50 million to anyone who would kill President Rodrigo R. Duterte. NBI Officer-in-Charge Eric B. Distor identified the teacher as Ronnel Mas, 25, who was arrested in Zambales by agents from the NBI-Dagupan District Office. He posted on his twitter account: “I will give P50 million reward kung sino makakapatay kay (to whoever can kill) Duterte.” He was brought to the NBI Head office in Manila and was presented for inquest on Tuesday afternoon at the Department of Justice for inciting to sedition in relation to Republic Act No. 10175 of the Cyber Crime Prevention Act of 2012. Mr. Mas also faces a complaint for violation of the Code of Conduct and Ethical Standards for Public Officials. Justice Secretary Menardo I. Guevarra said an “apology is not one of the grounds for extinguishing criminal liability” following reports that Mr. Mas has said sorry for the post. — Vann Marlo M. Villegas