Solicitor General Jose Calida bared his plans to further improve the caliber and quality of solicitors under his watch.

He said he is inviting the brightest lawyers to join the Office of the Solicitor General (OSG).

“We have embarked in a campaign to lure the best and the brightest lawyers in the Philippines to join us,” Calida said in a press briefing in Malacañan on Thursday, January 19.

“If you have friends who are valedictorians or topnotchers of the Bar exams, please endorse them to us because we will accelerate their entry from associate solicitor I to associate solicitor III. And we have capacity-building seminars and conferences. We send our solicitors abroad to study the recent trends in law especially now the arbitration law,” he said.

“Of course, our main mission here is to defend the Republic of the Philippines from its enemies whether internal or external,” he added.

Calida said that the OSG needs to increase its manpower, considering the cases that are filed in court every day.

“I have six years as my tenure in the office. So hopefully within my term, I will be able to increase not only the number but the quality of our legal services,” he said.

According to the Solicitor General, there should be at least 30 assistant solicitor generals. Currently, however, the OSG has only 24.

“We are still short of the minimum number of assistant solicitor generals,” he said.

According to Calida, among the recent accomplishments of the OSG include the West Philippine Sea case.

“This case is the crowning glory of international law and the law of the seas as well as the rule of law,” he said.

In the same press briefing, meanwhile, Presidential spokesperson Ernesto Abella welcomed the Asia Business Outlook survey for 2017, which showed that 39.4 percent of the respondents said that they will increase investments in the country as compared to the 4.3 percent who said that they will reduce levels.

“We continue to look at the Philippine socio-economic political landscape and note that based on evidence, there were business [that] seems to be affirming the administration’s aggressive efforts on nation-building,” Abella said.

“The Duterte administration’s economic pronouncements appeared to be clear and consistent and want to achieve an economic growth that’s not only robust and sustainable but actually inclusive for more Filipinos,” he said.

Just this week, the Palace official had announced that more foreign banks have expressed interest to enter the Philippines this year, which is expected to help potential investors to set up shops in the country.

The International Monetary Fund (IMF) has also said that the Philippines is expected to maintain its strong GDP growth momentum registered in 2016 into 2017 at a pace of 6.8 percent.

In the same press briefing, Abella said the Department of Education (DepEd) is set to release 977 million hardship allowance for teachers.

“Teachers assigned to multi-grade classes, mobile teachers and alternative learning system coordinated is set to receive the respective special hardship allowances (SHA) amounting to 997,405,080,” Abella said.

The Palace official said the incoming SHA covers a total of 14,896 recipient schools for teachers assigned in hardship posts and multi-grade classes; and 2,395 recipient school districts and community learning centers, CLCs, or for mobile and ALS teachers.

“The allowance of teachers assigned in hardship posts is computed based on the distance from the nearest point of available transport, which corresponds to a certain percentage of their basic salary,” Abella said.

Hardship posts include schools with transport inaccessibility as well as those that are in difficult situations such as exposure to calamities and armed conflicts.

“Computation of the allowance from multi-grade, mobile and house coordinators are based on the number of classes or learning levels that the teachers handle,” Abella added.

Likewise, in the same briefing, Abella said Filipinos can now use the improved and widened radial road or R-10 as an alternative route to EDSA via Bonifacio Drive and Roxas Boulevard. /PND#


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