Ban on use of plastic straw, stirrer urged in Senate

Marje Pelayo   •   July 6, 2018   •   4022

IMAGE_UNTV_NEWS_080117_HONTIVEROS

FILE PHOTO: Senator Risa Hontiveros

 

PASAY CITY, Philippines – A lawmaker wants the food service sector to prohibit the use of plastic straws and stirrers.

Senator Risa Hontiveros on Friday (July 6) filed a proposed legislation entitled “The Plastic Straw and Stirrer Ban of 2018” which mandates establishments to employ a “no plastic straw and stirrer” policy.

The bill seeks to fine violators P50,000 for first offense; P80,000 for the second offense; and P150,000 plus one-year suspension of business permit for the third offense.

Meanwhile, several environmental groups want a total ban not only on straws and stirrers but all plastic containers. However, many were apprehensive of the proposal taking into consideration the interest of consumers.

Among them is Senate Committee on Economic Affairs chair, Senator Sherwin Gatchalian who said, “Ang kapalit ng plastic bags ay paper bags,at ang raw material ng paper bags ay puno. Doon tayo ngayon nagkakaroon ng isyu at papayagan pa ba natin putol ng puno or mag-iimport tayo? Pero kapag nag-import tayo, alam naman natin mahal rin.”

Based on the data acquired by the National Solid Waste Management Commission, more than 40,000 tonnes of waste materials are being collected daily across Philippines, with the largest volume collected in the National Capital Region (NCR). Most of the domestic waste, commonly plastic items, are collected in Manila Bay. – Nel Maribojoc / Marje Pelayo

NBI urged to take down online pages promoting sexual exploitation of children

Robie de Guzman   •   May 15, 2020

MANILA, Philippines – Senator Risa Hontiveros has called on the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) to put a stop to social media pages that sexually exploit children following reports of continuing exploitation of children even amid the novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic.

In an open letter addressed to the NBI, Hontiveros said her office received reports that there are still pages on Facebook and other online sites that are actively posting indecent photos of female children.

“Nakarating sa opisina ko na mayroong mga Facebook pages kung saan naka-post ang napakaraming mahahalay na larawan ng mga babaeng bata. Matagal na ang mga Facebook page na ito ngunit active pa rin daw ang mga posts at groups,” she said.

“Ngayong COVID-19 pandemic, may mga reports na nagsasabing pwedeng mas dadami ang kaso ng online sexual exploitation of children. We need to be more vigilant and make sure that our children are safe and secure, online and offline,” she stressed.

Hontiveros appealed to the bureau to probe and takedown these pages, as well as find and prosecute the people behind these social media accounts.

“Nananawagan ako sa Bureau na imbestigahan at agarang i-take down ang mga Facebook pages na ito. Kailangan malaman din ng NBI kung sino-sino ang mga taong nagpapatakbo nito. Kailangang panagutin at ipakulong ang mga kriminal na nasa likod ng mga Facebook pages at online content na ito,” she stressed.

According to the senator, Facebook also needs to be made accountable for allowing these pages.

“The tech giant, with all its resources, should have technologies and mechanisms in place that prevent these kinds of pages from existing. Sobrang nakakabahala na hanggang ngayon, may mga ganito paring nangyayari sa platform na ito,” she said.

She also called on the public to remain vigilant in ending online sexual exploitation of children by reporting these pages to authorities.

“Kailangan nating protektahan ang online space bilang mga safe spaces. We need to make sure that our children are safe online, lalo na ngayong mas marami ang oras na ginugugol nila sa social media,” she said.

Chinese Embassy slams Hontiveros over reparation claims for damages in West Philippine Sea

Marje Pelayo   •   April 23, 2020

MANILA, Philippines – The Chinese Embassy did not take kindly Senator Risa Hontiveros’ claims that China owes the Philippines at least P200-B in reparations for the ecological damage it has caused the West Philippines Sea reef system during the past six years of its reclamation activities.

Hontiveros, a staunch critic of the Duterte administration, said such amount could be used to help affected families and improve the country’s healthcare system amid the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic.

Her claims, she said, was based on a study conducted by the University of the Philippines (UP) Marine Science Institute.

In response, the Chinese Embassy called such remarks by Hontiveros as ‘ridiculously absurd and irresponsible’ and was made “for the sole purpose of catching eyeballs and for selfish political gains.”

The Embassy added that “China and the Philippines are friendly neighbors across the sea” and so the latter commits “to continue to provide our support and assistance” to the Philippines.

Hontiveros, on the other hand, said: “It is more absurd and irresponsible to see that, indeed, in the middle of a global pandemic, China has continued to aggressively violate Philippine sovereignty in the region.”

Hontiveros added that China cannot claim to be a friendly ‘neighbor across the sea’ when it has continued its land reclamation activities in the West Philippine Sea.

“Friends help each other out, not occupy their islands and destroy their reefs,” the lady senator argued.

READ: DFA files two diplomatic protests against China

On Wednesday (April 22), the Philippines filed two diplomatic protest against China – one for its creation of new districts in the disputed territory in the WPS and for its alleged pointing of a radar gun at a Philippine Navy ship in Philippine waters, as confirmed by Foreign Affairs Teddy Locsin Jr. MNP (with inputs from Harlene Delgado)

PNP, PCW urged to protect women, children from domestic abuse amid COVID-19 quarantine

Robie de Guzman   •   April 15, 2020

MANILA, Philippines – Senator Risa Hontiveros on Wednesday called on the Philippine National Police (PNP) and the Philippine Commission on Women (PCW) to be vigilant and keep their lines open for women and children who may become victims of domestic abuse amid the enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) being enforced against novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19).

In a statement, Hontiveros expressed fears over possible surge in domestic abuse cases in the country due to proximity and added stress because of economic hardship brought about by the public health crisis.

“The quarantine is difficult for all of us. But it is a living nightmare for women who are trapped with their abusers behind closed doors,” she said.

“Because of the proximity in the home and added stress due to economic hardship brought by the enhanced community quarantine, Filipino women and children who are living with their abusers become more vulnerable to violence,” she added.

Hontiveros, who also serves as Chairperson of the Senate Committee on Women, Children, Gender Equality, and Family Relations, cited global reports on the rising incidence of domestic abuse in cities and countries that have implemented ECQ and other similar measures against COVID-19.

“There is a pattern. For places that have implemented a lockdown, from China to France, there is an increase of domestic violence in cases reported to the authorities,” the senator said.

The quarantine in Luzon has been extended to April 30, and while it is necessary to fight the crisis, Hontiveros said authorities must work doubly-hard and strengthen anti-domestic violence measures to ensure the protection of women and children.

“The lockdown should not allow us to become lax in securing the safety of women and children. The challenge now is to make sure that channels are open and are readily-available to victims of domestic violence,” she said.

“We need the local government units, the PNP, and PCW to remain vigilant. At-risk women and children should know that they can ask for help even during quarantine,” she added.

Aside from setting up helplines in barangays, she also suggested that LGUs consider preparing safe houses for vulnerable women and children.

Citing data from the Philippine Statistics Authority, Hontiveros said that one in four women aged 15 to 49 has experienced sexual, physical, and emotional abuse from a husband or partner.

“Those who are living with domestic abusers are suffering from multiple forms of trauma during this pandemic,” she said.

“During this very difficult time of COVID-19, let us work harder in keeping our women and children safe,” she added.

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