Find people more acceptable
HIDDEN AGENDA (The Philippine Star) - March 26, 2017 - 12:00am

It is still a no for Environment Secretary Gina Lopez, Health Secretary Paulyn Ubial, Social Welfare Secretary Judy Taguiwalo and Agrarian Reform Secretary Rafael “Ka Paeng” Mariano as far as the Commission on Appointments is concerned.

The appointments of the four Cabinet secretaries were bypassed by the CA after Congress went on recess last week without approving their nominations by the President.

Lopez of course is facing an uphill battle with at least 20 oppositions filed against her appointment, mostly in connection with her closure and suspension of several mining operations.

Ubial, who has yet to face the CA, is also expected to have a difficult time following her stand on the distribution of condoms among students as well as her questionable handling of the Zika virus and Dengue vaccine issues.

The two left-leaning secretaries, Taguiwalo and Mariano, are being criticized following the collapse of the peace talks between government and the communist rebels.

So far, it is only Lopez who has faced the CA.

But even before her time to face the powerful body has arrived, it is expected that Ubial’s nomination will encounter rough waters just like that of Lopez.

The number of Ubial’s oppositors is growing by the minute. And her son’s posts on social media, criticizing Sen. Tito Sotto for his stand on reproductive health and Sen. Manny Pacquiao for his lack of experience in debating etc., are not helping her cause.

And then, of course, there are the old photos of Ubial with former justice secretary and now embattled Leila de Lima with Ubial, with captions saying De Lima is her “idol.”

But of course these are not the real issues.

The real issues have been raised by the likes of partylist Rep. Harry Roque who has filed a formal opposition against the confirmation of Ubial as health secretary, based mainly on the secretary’s “propensity to lie in order to cover up for her incompetence” as exemplified by her handling of the Zika virus and Dengue vaccine issue and other various documented behavior. Other grounds include her poor work ethic and performance throughout her 28 years at the DOH.

Another oppositor, the group Action for Good Governance, has accused Ubial of wasting government resources by taking trips here and abroad usually with a huge entourage, including family and friends. They cited as examples her trip to Cuba with an entourage of 15 people and her being in Ilocos vacationing with extended family during the so-called “Code White” period of the DOH during which she should be working. Other grounds for their opposition include false claims in media as well as direct disobedience to the policy statements of the President as far as contractualization is concerned.

The group said Roque was right in saying Ubial is not the right person for the job and that she has a “propensity to lie, even in Congress, just to cover up for her incompetence.”

Meanwhile, the ACT OFW partylist, through Rep. John Bertiz, said in a letter to Senate President Koko Pimentel, the head of the CA, that it is opposing Ubial’s appointment because she has proven to be either powerless (inutile) or unwilling to implement the laws.

The group cited Ubial’s failure to fulfill her duties to investigate and file charges against Winston Q8 and its accredited clinics despite mounting evidence the clinics are violating Memorandum Circular 2016-0627. This WQ8 scheme, which involves OFWs to Kuwait and their mandatory payments to an office prior to being fanned out to their “accredited clinics,” was declared illegal by the Supreme Court and stopped by former health secretary Janette Garin. The scheme was reinstituted by Ubial.

The President is expected to once again nominate the four when Congress resumes its sessions. But with the four, especially Lopez and Ubial, occupying very critical and socially relevant positions in government, shouldn’t Duterte start looking for possible replacements – people who are more acceptable to their constituents?

CDC Holdings, Ascott milestone

CDC Holdings, led by its very passionate and hardworking president and CEO Elsie Chua, has recently handed over its second residential project to international serviced residence owner-operator The Ascott Limited.

The project is Citadines Millennium Ortigas Manila, the newest international serviced residence located at the bustling Ortigas Center. The 32-story mixed-use property combines 290 serviced residences to be managed by Ascott and 96 residential condominiums.

Citadines Millennium Ortigas Manila is expected to answer the discerning needs of expats, young business executives and long-term leisure travellers looking for a luxurious accommodation that provides the comfort and warmth of home, as well as an efficient and professional service of a hotel.

According to Chua, with Citadines Millennium Ortigas Manila, CDC Holdings has gone above and beyond to deliver an outstanding property in a most-sought after location in Ortigas. CDC Holdings developed the property.

Chua adds CDC has captured the vibrancy of the Citadines brand and combined it with the beauty and colors of nature, creating a perfect palette uniquely its own.

CDC Holdings has tapped RMDA Architects, spearheaded by architect Rolly Mercado, and Almario & Associates under Cynthia and Ivy Almario, for the design aesthetics.

Greenery is incorporated as part of the building features. Citadines Millennium Ortigas Manila features pockets of green with its garden deck found at the building’s 4th floor.

Then there are unique and innovative pieces like Kenneth Cobonpue’s “The Bloom Chair” which is an award-winning lounge piece reminiscent of the delicate soft petals of the Hibiscus-flower. To add a Filipino touch, framed photos of indigenous Filipino materials like the vibrant banig and the intricate barong have been added all over.

The successful partnership between CDC Holdings and The Ascott Limited began 17 years ago with Somerset Millennium in Makati.

According to Arthur Gindap, The Ascott Limited’s regional general manager for the Philippines and Thailand, their first collaboration, the Somerset Millennium Makati, has created a solid foundation of the partnership. With a portfolio of over 290 properties across 100 cities worldwide, The Ascott Limited is the world’s biggest international serviced residence owner-operator and is a reputable name in property management.

Citadines Millennium will have 290 premier units located from the 4th to the 24th floor, ranging from studio to one-, two-, and three-bedroom apartments. Meanwhile, the residential apartments will be located from the 25th to the 30th floor and will have a private entrance along Sapphire Road. There are also separate amenities (pool and Sky Lounge) at the 31st and 32nd floors.

Citadines Millennium Ortigas Manila is set to formally open this April.

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