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Thursday, May 23, 2024

5 Parañaque barangay captains cut ties with Mayor

“The Australian government should clear the air regarding reports that it has deployed a military contingent in the country, particularly in Zamboanga peninsula, apparently to assist American troops to monitor the situation in the South China Sea”

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What’s going on in Parañaque City?

Plenty, it would seem.

Five of the 16 barangay chairmen have announced their withdrawal of support for the administration of newly-elected Mayor Eric Olivarez.

Those who withdrew their support for Olivarez’s leadership were barangay captain Julius Antony Zaide of Baclaran, Peter Augustine Velasco of La Huerta, Johnny Co of Sto. Nino; Christopher Aguilar of Marcelo Green and John Paolo Marquez of BF Homes.

Aguilar is the current president of the Association of Barangay Captains and his vice president is Co. Marquez is the son of former Parañaque Mayor and actor Joey Marquez.

According to the barangay chairmen, they do not agree with Olivarez’s move to transfer and/or demote nearly 50 City Hall officials, including department heads, assistant department heads, and career officials without any reason at all. As in, basta.

Three of the six department heads who were transferred to other offices already filed last week a complaint before the Civil Service Commission (CSC).

On his first day in office on July 1, Olivarez announced in front of many people the removal of career officials and department heads without even an official order or memorandum.

Those who were given the pink slip were City Accountant Marilou Tanael, Budget Officer Alejandro Depano II, Planning Officer Benigno Rivera, Engineering Office Chief Aser Mallari and lawyer Melanie Malaya, Chief of the Business Permit and Licensing Office.

Those demoted were City Building Official Engr. Diamela Apolinario; Dr. Teodoro Benjamin Gonzalez, Department Chief II of the City’s Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Office (CDRRMO); and City Health Officer Dr. Olga Virtusio.

Malaya, Gonzalez and Apolinario filed a complaint before the CSC protesting their demotion. Three days later, the CSC directed Olivarez to retain the three officials in their respective offices or status quo pending the outcome of their complaint.

“If Mayor Eric can put on floating status or demote career officials and department heads, what about the poor casual and job order employees of City Hall?”, Aguilar asked.

According to Aguilar, they also received many complaints from the staff of the former department heads who were ordered by the mayor’s office to vacate their respective offices.

“We do not like the oppressive administration of Mayor Eric. They treated the poor employees like animals and just threw them in a dirty and smelly room,” the ABC president added.

According to Co, Olivarez’s dismissal of city hall staff was uncalled for amid the food crisis, the COVID-19 pandemic and relentless increases in fuel prices.

Co said they are ready to join the opposition members of the city council, namely Vice Mayor Joan Villafuerte (LP) and city councilors Brillante Inciong (District I, Aksyon) and Raffy de la Peña (District II, Ind.).

Co said four other current barangay chairmen who are loyal to former mayor and elder brother of Eric, Edwin Olivarez, have also indicated their intention to join the opposition group and would be making a formal announcement soon.

Are Australian intelligence personnel deployed in PH?

The Australian government should clear the air regarding reports that it has deployed a military contingent in the country, particularly in Zamboanga peninsula, apparently to assist American troops to monitor the situation in the South China Sea.

Is the presence of these foreign troops here part of a security arrangement with Canberra?

A Mindanao-based group called the Ranao Youth Council, raised this question as it said it did not want the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM) to “end up the host” of foreign troops amid the fragile security situation in the area.

In May, it was reported that an Royal Australian Airforce (RAAF) P-8A maritime surveillance plane was intercepted by a Chinese J-16 fighter aircraft in international airspace in the South China Sea.

According to the Australian Defense Ministry, the Chinese aircraft flew very close to the P-8A. Australia said this was “dangerous” and “threatened the safety of the aircraft and crew.” The likely mission of the Australian P-8A, according to another news report, was to gather intelligence on Chinese warships and perhaps their land to sea communications.

China’s Defense Ministry responded that “the Australian military aircraft seriously threatened China’s sovereignty and security and the countermeasures taken by the Chinese military were reasonable and lawful.”

Anonymous sources claimed that the RAAF P-8A flew out of the former US Clark Air Base in the Philippines and headed directly to the Paracel Islands claimed by both China and Vietnam. If true, this means the Philippines allowed the Australian aircraft to use its territory.

In 2020, US spy planes said to be disguised as Philippine and Malaysian civilian aircraft flew alleged “intelligence gathering” missions along the China coast.

The Philippines is the first country in Southeast Asia to unequivocally support Aukus, an agreement between the US and the UK to share nuclear submarine and drone technology with Australia. This technology will enable Australia to assist the US in containing China in the South China Sea.

This is getting more interesting. We’ll post updates as soon as we get them from other news sources.

(Email: ernhil@yahoo.com)

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