DFA Sec. Locsin apologized for expletive vs China — Roque

Robie de Guzman   •   May 4, 2021   •   230

MANILA, Philippines — Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) Secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr. has apologized for his profanity-laden message against China over the continued presence of its vessels in the West Philippine Sea, Malacañang said Tuesday.

In an online briefing, Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said Locsin told him about apologizing to Chinese Ambassador to the Philippines Huang Xilian.

Locsin earlier told China in a tweet to “get the f*** out” of Philippine waters as he blasted the lingering presence of its vessels there.

But during a public address on Monday night, Duterte said that the maritime dispute between the Philippines and China is not a reason for Filipinos to be “rude and disrespectful.”

Roque said Duterte did not pressure Locsin to apologize and that he did it on his own.

“Kami po ay nagkausap ni Secretary Locsin, at pinaalam po niya sa akin na personal po siyang nag-apologize po sa Chinese ambassador at ang mga nabanggit niya pong salita ay dahil po sa mga bagay-bagay na naging dahilan para uminit ang kaniyang ulo,” he said.

But in a tweet on Tuesday afternoon, Locsin clarified that his apology was only meant for his counterpart, Foreign Minister Wang Yi, whom he described as his friend, and the “most intelligent and personable diplomat in the world.”

“To my friend Wang Yi only. Nobody else,” he said.

“Hindi sa Chinese ambassador. Trabaho niya ay tumanggap ng reklamo o insulto. Kay State Counselor Foreign Minister Wang Yi, ang pinaka matalino at personableng diplomat sa buong mundo,” he added.

To Roque, Locsin said, “Harry understands my hair-trigger temper under repeated provocation.”

Roque also said that the president has told his Cabinet officials that they should not use expletives and be disrespectful when it comes to issuing statements involving foreign diplomacy.

“Ang mensahe po ng presidente, sa larangan ng diplomasya, wala pong lugar ang pagmumura,” he said.

“At sabi po ng mensahe ng presidente sa lahat ng mga miyembro ng kaniyang gabinete, ang presidente lang ang pupwedeng magmura. Wala pong pupwedeng gumaya sa kaniya,” he added. – RRD (with details from Correspondent Rosalie Coz)

WHO, UNICEF declare end of polio outbreak in PH

Aileen Cerrudo   •   June 11, 2021

The World Health Organization (WHO) and United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) on Thursday (June 11) declared the end of polio outbreak in the Philippines.

In a joint statement, the WHO lauded the efforts of the Department of Health (DOH), other government agencies and civil society in ending the outbreak.

The DOH announced a polio outbreak in the country in September 2019, after 19 years of being polio-free. On June 3, the department officially concluded its polio outbreak response.

WHO Representative to the Philippines Dr. Rabindra abeyasinghe said the closure of the polio outbreak is due to the combined efforts of medical frontliners, strong community efforts, and government response.

“This is a major win for public health and is an excellent example of what collective efforts can attain, even in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic,” he said.

“We look forward for these efforts to be sustained for a strong and resilient immunization system, utilizing the investments made for polio outbreak response and COVID-19 vaccination to ensure all children are protected from vaccine preventable diseases as the Philippines moves towards achieving Universal Health Care,” he added.

Both WHO and UNICEF assisted through vaccine procurement and delivery, development of immunization guidelines, and social mobilization.

“The success of the polio immunization in the Philippines is proof that when we come together for children, great things happen. UNICEF celebrates all the vaccine champions and partners who made this possible. We must keep the momentum and accelerate routine immunization and safeguard essential child health services while rolling out COVID-19 vaccines for priority groups,” according to UNICEF Philippines Representative Oyunsaikhan Dendevnorov. AAC

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Duterte, Xi call for ‘win-win’ cooperation on 46th anniversary of PH-China ties

Aileen Cerrudo   •   June 10, 2021

MANILA, Philippines—President Rodrigo Duterte and Chinese President Xi Jinping both call for a “win-win” cooperation in commemoration of the 46th anniversary of Philippine-China relations.

The Philippine President expressed his gratitude for  China’s assistance to the Philippines in the face of challenges brought by the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Philippine-China economic ties are of course the dynamic force that will continue to drive or bilateral relations forward,” Duterte told Xi in a statement.

“I am confident that my Administration’s Build Build Build program together with the Belt and Road Initiative, will reap long-term benefits for our peoples,” he added.

Meanwhile, in a letter addressed to Duterte, the Chinese president acknowledged that in recent years, with concerted efforts of both sides, Philippine- China relations have remained “healthy and stable.”

“I attach great significance to the development of China-Philippines relations, and stand ready to work with you in guiding our bilateral relations to move forward in a sustained and steady manner, so as to achieve greater win-win results and mutual benefits,” Xi said. AAC

 

US CDC eases travel recommendations on 61 countries, including Philippines

Robie de Guzman   •   June 9, 2021

MANILA, Philippines – The United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has relaxed its travel recommendations for 61 countries amid the coronavirus pandemic.

From level 4, the US CDC eased travel recommendations to level 3 on 61 countries, including the Philippines, Japan, France, Italy, Spain, Greece, Switzerland, Canada, and Mexico.

The complete list of countries included in the advisory may be viewed here.

The advisory of the US CDC for level 3 stated that travelers should make sure they are “fully vaccinated before traveling to these destinations.”

“Unvaccinated travelers should avoid nonessential travel to these destinations,” it added.

The agency said that with the current situation in the Philippines, all travelers may be at risk of getting and spreading COVID-19 variants and that they should follow recommendations or requirements like wearing a mask and staying 6 feet apart from others.

The US CDC’s risk assessment levels for COVID-19 are as follows:

  • Level 4 – COVID-19 very high (Avoid travel to these destinations. If you must travel to these destinations, make sure you are fully vaccinated before travel)
  • Level 3 – COVID-19 high (Make sure you are fully vaccinated before traveling to these destinations. Unvaccinated travelers should avoid nonessential travel to these destinations)
  • Level 2 – COVID-19 moderate (Make sure you are fully vaccinated before traveling to these destinations. Unvaccinated travelers who are at increased risk for severe illness from COVID-19 should avoid nonessential travel to the these destinations)
  • Level 1 – COVID-19 low (Make sure you are fully vaccinated before travel to these destinations)
  • Unknown – COVID-19 unknown (Avoid travel to these destinations. If you must travel to these destinations, make sure you are fully vaccinated before travel)

The agency said the change came after it revised its criteria for travel health notices.

The US State Department said it is coordinating with the CDC in revising its travel advisory to reflect the changes. – RRD (with details from Correspondent Rosalie Coz)

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