Emergency Hotlines: LANDLINE (+63) 2 911 – 8688

DND: PH verifying if ship in West PH Sea collision belonged to China

by Robie de Guzman   |   Posted on Thursday, June 13th, 2019

Department of National Defense (DND) Secretary Delfin Lorenzana

The Philippine government has yet to determine if the fishing vessel that hit and sank a Filipino boat near Reed Bank in the West Philippine Sea belonged to China, Department of National Defense (DND) Secretary Delfin Lorenzana clarified on Thursday.

Speaking to reporters in Davao City, Lorenzana said he based his report on the statement of involved fishermen and that he is still awaiting the results of the investigation being conducted by the Philippine Coast Guard and the Philippine Military.

“I will not anymore add something sa sinabi ko. Hangga’t hindi namin nakakausap ‘yung mga fisherman at tsaka magkaroon tayo ng intel investigation kung sino talaga ang nakabangga dahil madilim ‘yun eh,” he said.

The defense chief earlier said that a suspected Chinese fishing boat hit and sank a Philippine boat in waters off the Reed bank on June 9.

READ: DND: Chinese vessel hit, sank PH vessel in Recto Bank

He had denounced the action of the alleged Chinese fishing vessel for leaving immediately after the collision, endangering the lives of 22 Filipino fishermen.

Lorenzana said the Chinese government has already been informed and an investigation has been launched into the incident.

Malacañang earlier called on Beijing to impose proper sanctions against the Chinese crewmen for their “uncivilized” and “outrageous” actions.

READ: PH wants China to sanction ship crew for sinking Filipino fishing boat

Foreign Affairs Secretary Teodoro Locsin has assured that a diplomatic protest has been filed over the collision incident.

Although Malacañang earlier said that the recent incident may mar the warming relations between the Philippines and China, Lorenzana believes this will not greatly affect the two countries’ ties.

“Hindi naman siguro malaking bagay na maapektuhan. We will find out kung ano ‘yung action nila,” he said.

He also advised fishermen who frequent waters in the West Philippine Sea to employ safety mechanisms to prevent any more collision between vessels.

“Siguro, there should be some mechanism, ‘yung mayroon kang ilaw palagi para makikita, ‘yung iba naman they should be very careful in travelling at night,” Lorenzana said.

While Philippine forces are patrolling the area, the defense chief lamented the country’s insufficient number of coast guards and sea crafts to guard its borders.

“Mayroon naman tayong mga patrol dyan, kulang lang kasi tayo ng barko eh. We don’t have enough coastguards that is why we’ll acquire it all para mayroon naman tayong pang guwardya diyan sa ating mga fishermen,” he said. (Correspondent Janice Ingente contributed to this report)

Tags: , ,

PH to deploy social welfare attachés for OFWs under new law

by Robie de Guzman   |   Posted on Monday, July 15th, 2019

MANILA, Philippines – President Rodrigo Duterte has signed a law establishing the Office for Social Welfare Attaché to assist overseas Filipino workers (OFW), especially those who have fallen prey to illegal recruiters.

Duterte signed the Republic Act 11299 on April 17, a copy of which was made public on Monday (July 15).

The newly-signed law amended the Republic Act 8402 or the Migrant Workers Overseas Filipino Act of 1995 to include the said office.

It mandates the Office for Social Welfare Attaché (SWA) to deploy personnel to countries with large concentration of Filipino workers, as determined in coordination with the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) and the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE).

Under the measure, a social welfare attaché’s duty includes management of cases of Filipino workers in distress, such as victims of trafficking or illegal recruitment, rape or sexual abuse, maltreatment and other forms of physical or mental abuse, and case of abandoned or neglected children;

SWAs are also mandated to undertake survey and prepare social welfare situationer on the OFWs in their areas of assignment; establish a network with overseas-based social welfare agencies or individuals which may be mobilized to assist in the provision of appropriate services.

They should also respond to and monitor the resolution of problems and complaints or queries of Filipino workers and their families; establish and maintain a data bank and documentation of OFWs and their families to provide effective social welfare services; submit regular reports on plans and activities undertaken, recommendations and updates on the situation of OFWs.

The law states that the budget for the Department of Social Welfare and Development while the DFA, DOLE, the Department of Health and the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration are tasked to craft the measure’s implementing rules and regulations within 60 days after the effectivity of this act.

Tags: , , , ,

PH mulls severing ties with Iceland, 17 other nations – Malacañang

by Robie de Guzman   |   Posted on Monday, July 15th, 2019

MANILA, Philippines – The Philippines is mulling over the possibility of cutting ties with Iceland and 17 other nations that voted in favor of a resolution calling on the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) to conduct a comprehensive review on the human rights situation in the Philippines amid President Rodrigo Duterte’s campaign against illegal drugs, Malacañang said Monday (July 15).

Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo said they will take a serious look into the country’s diplomatic relationship with other nations, adding that Iceland and other nations’ move can be considered as interference in the Philippines’ domestic affairs.

On July 11 (Thursday), 18 of the 47-member of the UNHRC voted to adopt the resolution filed by Iceland, tasking the UN Human Rights Office to prepare a comprehensive report on the Philippines’ human rights situation amid its ongoing anti-drug campaign.

Among the countries that voted in favor of the resolution are Argentina, Australia, Austria, Bahamas, Bulgaria, Croatia, Czech Republic, Denmark, Fiji, Italy, Iceland, Mexico, Peru, Slovakia, Spain, Ukraine, United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland and Uruguay.

“’Pag ang isang bansa ay nagpapahayag ng mga posisyon na makakasira sa ating kasarinlan o sovereignty ay kailangang talagang putulin natin ang relasyon natin sa kanila kung wala silang gagawin kundi siraan tayo ng siraan sa mga kalakaran na di naman batay sa tunay na pangyayari dito sa ating bayan,” Panelo told reporters in a press briefing.

(If a country is making declarations that are affront to our independence or sovereignty, if they continue to do or say negative things that are not based on facts or occurrences in our country, then we need to sever our ties with them.)

However, Panelo said that Duterte will have the final say on the matter, as well as on calls for the Philippines to withdraw its membership from the UNHRC.

READ: Philippines eyes withdrawal from UN Human Rights Council

“In the ultimate analysis, he is the chief architect of foreign policy. Then, it’s the call of the President,” he said.

The palace official assured that they will also factor in every aspect, including the welfare of Filipinos living and working in the mentioned 18 countries, and circumstances that could lead to the cutting of ties.

The UN resolution asked the Philippine government to cooperate with the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human rights, including preventing and refraining from all acts of intimidation of retaliations on human rights defenders.

The resolution also urged the Philippine government to take up measures against extrajudicial killings and enforced disappearances, conduct impartial investigations of human rights violations and hold those involved accountable.

With the adoption of the Iceland-led resolution, UN rights chief Michelle Bachelet was tasked to prepare a report on the Philippines human rights situation by June 2020.

Although the Duterte administration does not consider the resolution a legally-binding document, Panelo said the government is willing to respond to the UN council’s formal questions or communication about Duterte’s war against illegal drugs.

“They have to believe what this government tells them, because this government does not lie,” Panelo said.

However, he stressed that the government will not oblige if the questions are designed to “embarrass” the Duterte administration. (with details from Rosalie Coz)

Tags: , , , , ,

PNP: No comment on UN resolution to probe human rights situation in the Philippines

by Aileen Cerrudo   |   Posted on Friday, July 12th, 2019

The Philippine National Police (PNP) has not commented on the United Nations (UN) resolution to probe the human rights situation in the Philippines.

Out of the 47 countries that are members of the UN Human Rights Council, 18 countries voted in favor of the resolution, 14 voted no while 15 countries abstained.

PNP spokesperson Col. Bernard Banac said that the issue “will be appropriately addressed by the Department of Foreign Affairs.”

“Meantime, the PNP will remain guided by instructions of higher authorities,” he said in a statement.—AAC

Tags: , ,