Duterte Cabinet to discuss POGO hubs near military camps

Marje Pelayo   •   August 20, 2019   •   345

MANILA, Philippines — President Rodrigo Duterte is not bothered by Philippine offshore gaming operators (POGO) hubs constructed near military camps nor by allegations that Chinese nationals could be spying against the government.

According to Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo, the government has enough intelligence gathering and the President believes that the proximity of POGO hubs to military camps is not a matter of concern since the practice of spying has been brought to a higher level with the introduction of high technology.

“He’s not worried because we have the intelligence capability of knowing what they are doing. We have that capability sabi nga ni Presidente (as what the President said),” Panelo noted.

President Duterte also believes, according to Panelo, that all countries have long been spying on one another.

Also, Panelo cited the position of the National Security Adviser that the Philippine government would be able to monitor closely the activities of such POGO hubs if they are near military camps.

Nevertheless, Malacañang made certain that the matter will be discussed during the upcoming meeting of Cabinet officials especially since Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana expressed concern about it.

Meanwhile, the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation (PAGCOR) has stopped accepting license applications for POGO firms which the President supports.

“Until the President reverses the stand of PAGCOR, that remains to be the policy, because the President always respects heads of departments and offices to do their duty and undertaking,” Panelo concluded. – MNP (with details from Rosalie Coz)

BI says Chinese top list of barred foreigners in 2019

Robie de Guzman   •   January 16, 2020

MANILA, Philippines – Chinese nationals top the list of foreigners who were barred from entering the Philippines in 2019 after they were found lacking documents or ineligible to enter or stay in the country, the Bureau of Immigration (BI) reported on Thursday.

BI port operations division chief Grifton Medina said around 3,527 Chinese were denied entry last year, followed by 488 Vietnamese.

Some 329 Indonesians and 255 Malaysians were also among those prohibited to enter and stay in the Philippines.

Immigration Commissioner Jaime Morente said a total of 7,724 foreigners were barred from entering the country in 2019 or 65 percent higher than the 4,679 aliens who were turned back in ports in 2018.

“They were turned back by immigration officers who, after the conduct of primary and secondary inspection, found that they were improperly documented, or ineligible to enter and stay in the Philippines,” Morente said in a statement.

He added that the aliens were immediately booked on the first available flight to back to their port of origin.

He also stressed that immigration officers have the authority to assess and decide if an arriving foreign national is eligible to be admitted into the country as a temporary visitor.

“A foreigner may be excluded if he is improperly documented, or the immigration officer deems that his presence or stay here is inimical to the national interest and public welfare,” Morente said.

The bureau also said that nearly two-thirds of the excluded aliens were tagged as likely to become public charges, or persons whose reasons for entry to the Philippines is doubtful, lacks the means to support their stay in the country, and were unable to explain their purpose in traveling to the Philippines.

“The others who were turned back were improperly documented aliens, convicted sex offenders, rude passengers, blacklisted foreigners, and those without entry visas,” it said.

Duterte to sign 2020 nat’l budget on January 6, Palace confirms

Aileen Cerrudo   •   January 3, 2020

President Rodrigo Roa Duterte delivers a speech during his visit to the earthquake victims at the M’lang National High School in Cotabato on December 30, 2019. TOTO LOZANO/PRESIDENTIAL PHOTO

Malacañang has confirmed that President Rodrigo Duterte will sign the P4.1 trillion 2020 national budget on Monday (January 6).

Presidential Legislative Liason Office Secretary Adelino Sitoy said there will be a presidential ceremonial signing at the Malacañang Palace on Monday.

However, Sitoy did not confirm if the president will veto provisions in the said budget.

According to Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo, the president did not mention about a possible veto.

The Department of Budget and Management (DBM) has finished the review of the General Appropriations Bill last week.—AAC (with reports from Rosalie Coz)

PNP-AKG rescues 3 Chinese nationals from kidnap-for- ransom group

Maris Federez   •   December 14, 2019

The Philippine National Police-Anti Kidnapping Group (PNP-AKG) has confirmed the rescue of three Chinese nationals from a kidnap for ransom group in Bacoor, Cavite on Friday (December 13).

The victims, namely, Pham ThiTu, Zhang Juanzi, Shen Wenhui were allegedly raped by the suspects who are also Chinese nationals.

The rescue led to the arrest of the six suspects.

A statement sent to the media on Saturday said PNP-AKG teams led by PMaj. Cesar Nuñez Jr and PMaj. Edgar Pablico, together with the PNP Bacoor under PLtCol. Villaflor Bannawagan conducted the rescue after receiving reports from the partners of the victims.

The first complaint came from Huafeng Du on Dec. 12 regarding the abduction of his girlfriend, Pham.

He said the kidnappers demanded 200,000 RMB in exchange for the release of his girlfriend.

The second complaint was filed by Chang Hsiang Hao on December 11, reporting that his girlfriend Zhang Juanzi left on December 10 at around 11:00 PM but has not returned home since.

He said he received a WeChat message from the victim’s account on December 11 asking for Php 700,000 which he sent through an online payment app. However, the kidnapper did not release the victim but demanded instead for another Php 700,000 on December 12.

The third victim named Shen Wenhui was abducted inside Okada Hotel at around 10:00 in the evening on December 12 and was brought to the said place in Bacoor, Cavite. /mbmf

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