Duterte 4th SONA generally peaceful, orderly – PNP

Robie de Guzman   •   July 23, 2019   •   1268

MANILA, Philippines – The Philippine National Police (PNP) on Monday said President Rodrigo Duterte’s fourth State of the Nation Address (SONA) was generally peaceful and orderly.

According to PNP Spokesperson Police Brigadier General Bernard Banac, no untoward incident was reported despite mass actions staged by pro and anti-Duterte groups before the president delivered his speech.

Around 14,000 cops were deployed in different parts of Metro Manila to monitor peace and order situation during the conduct of protests in line with Duterte’s SONA.

Banac noted that the rallies carried out by various organizations were conducted peacefully and participants continue to disperse voluntarily.

“Mass actions carried out by cause-oriented groups and some pro-government organizations have been conducted peacefully and participants continue to disperse voluntarily with no major untoward incident reported in all areas of engagement where public assemblies were held coinciding with the State of the Nation Address of President Rodrigo Duterte,” he said in a statement.

Despite this, Banac assured that the National Police will continue to be alert and ready to respond to any crime cases.

“The PNP remains vigilant to prevent occurrence of crimes and ready to respond to any emergency or call for assistance,” he said.

Duterte to consider AFP stand against holiday ceasefire with Reds – Palace

Robie de Guzman   •   December 3, 2020

MANILA, Philippines – President Rodrigo Duterte will consider the position of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) against declaring a ceasefire with communist rebels this holiday season, Malacañang said Thursday.

Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said Duterte normally “gives a lot of weight” on the recommendations of the military.

“Pakikinggan po ‘yan, but ultimately it’s only the President who will decide,” he said during a press briefing.

AFP spokesperson Major General Edgard Arevalo earlier said the military will not recommend a holiday truce with the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP), and its armed wing, the New People’s Army, due to the rebels’ “incapacity for sincerity.”

“This was the AFP’s painful experience where the communist terrorist group reneged from their own ceasefire declaration by attacking and killing soldiers on humanitarian and peace and development missions,” Arevalo said.

“During the incumbency of a truce, these terrorists continued their extortion activities and committed crimes of murder, arson, and the likes,” he added.

Arevalo, however, said that the AFP would support whatever the decision of President Rodrigo Duterte will be despite their position on the matter.

Last year, the government and the CPP-NPA both declared a truce during the holiday season, from December 23, 2019 to January 7, 2020. – RRD (with details from Correspondents Rosalie Coz and Lea Ylagan)

Duterte to attend virtual UN General Assembly on COVID-19

Robie de Guzman   •   December 3, 2020

MANILA, Philippines – President Rodrigo Duterte is set to participate in the 31st Special Session of the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) on the novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic from December 3 to 4, Malacañang said Thursday.

The Palace said Duterte is expected to deliver the Philippine Statement on December 3, where he will further amplify his call for global solidarity in addressing the challenges posed by the COVID-19.

The president is also expected to raise universal access to the anti-COVID-19 technologies, as well as the need for global efforts to ensure the availability of safe and effective vaccines to peoples of developing nations.

During the 75th UNGA session last September, Duterte also said that COVID-19 vaccines “must not be denied nor withheld,” and that “it should be made available to all, rich and poor nations alike, as a matter of policy.” – RRD (with details from Correspondent Rosalie Coz)

Duterte authorizes FDA to issue emergency use of COVID-19 vaccines

Robie de Guzman   •   December 3, 2020

MANILA, Philippines – President Rodrigo Duterte has allowed the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to issue emergency use authorization (EUA) for COVID-19 vaccines and drugs that are expected to be made available in the Philippines next year.

Under Executive Order (EO) No. 121 signed on Dec. 1 and made public by Malacañang on Wednesday, Duterte granted authority to the FDA director general to issue EUA for COVID-19 drugs and vaccines, subject to provided conditions.

The EO stated that an EUA on a COVID-19 vaccine or drug shall be issued and remain valid only when all of the following circumstances are present:

  • Based on the totality of evidence available, including data from adequate and well-known controlled trials, it is reasonable to believe that the drug or vaccine may be effective to prevent, diagnose or treat COVID-19;
  • The known and potential benefits of the drug or vaccine when used to diagnose, prevent or treat COVID-19 outweigh the known and potential risks of the drug or vaccine, if any; and
  • There is no adequate, approved and available alternative to the drug or vaccine for diagnosing, preventing or treat9ing COVID-19

An application for the issuance of an EUA shall be submitted by the industry or government agency concerned, such as the national procurer or public health program implementer, the EO read.

The FDA shall then convene a panel of experts on drug and vaccine development to review available data on the safety and effectiveness of a COVID-19 drug or vaccine applied for an EUA. The panel will then submit its report and recommendations to the FDA director general.

“In evaluating applications for EUA, the FDA director general shall have the power to implement reliance and recognition processes for emergency use of drugs and vaccines,” the order stated.

“For this purpose, the FDA director general may accept the regulatory decision of the WHO (World Health Organization), US-CDC, or other internationally recognized and established regulatory authorities,” it added.

An EUA issued pursuant to the order shall be valid within the duration of the declared public health emergency due to COVID-19, and may be revoked or revisited by the FDA director general.

FDA director general Eric Domingo earlier assured they will not compromise public safety with the sped-up process.

The Philippine government is looking to administer the vaccines to at least 70 million Filipinos under an immunization program that may be carried out within three to five years. – RRD (with details from Correspondent Rosalie Coz)

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