Biden calls for ceasefire amid Israel-Gaza tension

Aileen Cerrudo   •   May 18, 2021   •   323

United States President Joe Biden has expressed his support for a ceasefire between Israel and Gaza’s militants.

In a statement, the White House said the US President has spoken with Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu. Biden said the US is coordinating with Egypt and other country leaders to end the intercommunal violence.

He encouraged Israel to make every effort to ensure the protection of innocent civilians. The US President also expressed his support “for Israel’s right to defend itself against indiscriminate rocket attacks.”

“The two leaders discussed progress in Israel’s military operations against Hamas and other terrorist groups in Gaza.” according to the White House.

For two weeks the Israel-Gaza tension has led to the death of over 200 people. As of May 18, approximately 3,440 rockets have been fired from the Gaza Strip at Israeli territory, according to the Israel Air Force (IAF). IAF fighter jets and aircraft also struck military assets in Rimal, western Gaza City.

The IAF, meanwhile, takes all possible precautions to avoid harming civilians during its operational activity. AAC

 

 

US donates 500 shelter-grade tarps for families affected by Typhoon Kiko in Batanes

Marje Pelayo   •   September 24, 2021

MANILA, Philippines — The United States government through the USAID’s Bureau for Humanitarian Assistance donated 500 shelter-grade tarpaulins for Filipino families in Batanes whose houses were affected by Typhoon Kiko (International name Chanthu).

The tarps, which arrived on Thursday (September 24), were transported by USAID Philippines partner International Organization for Migration (IOM) Philippines in cooperation with the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) and the Philippine Air Force.

Soon, another 450 USAID shelter-grade tarps will be delivered to the province through the assistance of the Philippine Navy.

All tarpaulin shelters will help 500 affected families in the province.

 

PH gets additional US-donated Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine doses

Robie de Guzman   •   September 21, 2021

MANILA, Philippines – The Philippines has received another batch of Pfizer COVID-19 vaccines donated by the United States government, the National Task Force (NTF) against COVID-19 said.

In a statement, the NTF said 561,600 more Pfizer shots from the US government through World Health Organization (WHO)-led COVAX facility arrived in Manila on Monday night.

Last September 19, the Philippines also received a total of 2,020,590 doses of Pfizer shots, which were also donated by the US through COVAX.

“I’m really proud that we donated for the last two days more than 2 million doses that will give more than a million Filipinos full vaccination,” US Embassy Chargé d’Affaires Heather Variava said.

Variava also expressed gratitude to the government of the Philippines, the WHO, and UNICEF for the continuing partnership which is helping to save lives and overcome the pandemic.

The latest batch of Pfizer vaccines were immediately transported to the Pharmaserve cold storage facility in Marikina City.

NTF special adviser Dr. Teodoro Herbosa said that majority of these vaccines will be deployed to Region 4-A, Region 3, Cebu, and Davao.

“We continue to catch up in those areas where we only have about 3% to 5% fully vaccinated [individuals]. So hinahabol talaga natin ‘yung outside NCR.” Herbosa said.

Aside from the donated jabs, 3,935,880 procured Pfizer doses have been delivered to the Philippines as part of the 40 million doses the country has secured from the American pharmaceutical firm.

In total, the Philippines has received some 16 million COVID-19 vaccine doses from the COVAX Facility.

As of September 20, a total of 64,942,000 COVID-19 vaccine doses coming from various manufacturers have been delivered to the Philippines since February.

Philippines to export more mangoes, pineapples to US

Robie de Guzman   •   August 26, 2021

MANILA, Philippines — More Philippine-grown mangoes and pineapples will soon be exported to the United States, the Department of Agriculture (DA) announced.

The DA said the development comes after its Bureau of Plant Industry (BPI) and the US Department of Agriculture’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (USDA-APHIS) reached a deal during a virtual meeting held on August 12.

“Expanding the export market of Philippine pineapples and mangoes in the US and other countries will not only enhance our national economy, but more importantly, provide increased incomes to thousands of farmers and their families in pineapple- and mango-producing provinces nationwide,” Agriculture Secretary William Dar said in a statement.

The recent agreement between the APHIS and BPI could dramatically increase the country’s exports of pineapples and resume shipments of mangoes to the US via additional ports of entry, he added.

The Philippines currently exports fresh pineapples to the US through Guam, Commonwealth of Marianas Island, and North Atlantic regions. From 2013 to July 15, 2021, exports amounted to only 346,190 kilograms.

The country previously exported fresh mangoes to the US, from 2005 to 2008, totaling 386,099 kilograms, all produced in Guimaras Island, the DA added.

The DA said USDA-APHIS accepted evidence that the Philippines’ main export pineapple variety is not a host to the oriental fruit fly.

The fruit pest, known scientifically as Bactrocera dorsalis (Hendel), is very destructive and often finds its way into the US, sometimes triggering wide-scale eradication programs.

The Philippines may start shipping pineapples to various US markets before year-end, the DA said.

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