Duterte calls on communist rebels anew to surrender to gov’t

Robie de Guzman   •   December 28, 2020   •   438

MANILA, Philippines – President Rodrigo Duterte renewed his call on the members of the Communist Party of the Philippines, and its armed wing, New People’s Army, to lay down their weapons and return to the fold of the law.

During a meeting on Saturday with the members of the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-MEID), Duterte said the hierarchy of the CPP-NPA is “already bankrupt,” and that its leaders had “no more ideological setup in their minds.”

“Sinasabi ko lang hinto na kayo. Mag-surrender na kayo kasi walang ginawa ‘yang mga lider ninyo. It’s plain banditry,” he said.

“There is no more ideological setup in their minds. Ang kanila na lang magkilkil sa mga tao. You are not fighting anything anymore, not even a religion, if you may, wala,” he added.

Duterte said the communist rebels are no different from the terrorist organization Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG) that sows terror through kidnappings and bombings.

He added that while the rebels collect millions through extortion from big businesses and corporations, their leaders, who amass huge sums of money, live lavish lifestyles and send their children to study overseas.

The president assured that the government will provide assistance, including housing, livelihood and skills training, to those who will surrender.

“Sumurender na kayo. Ako, ‘pag nag-surrender kayo, bahay. Mayroong mga condo na ginagawa ko sa probinsiya, ‘pag nag-surrender kayo sabi ko na sa sundalo — para kanila ‘yon eh — sabi ko, ‘Bata, pasensiya ka na, ibigay na lang natin dito para madali ang pacification campaign,’” he said.

Duterte also reiterated his promise to include communist rebels in the government’s mass vaccination campaign once the vaccine for COVID-19 becomes available in the country.

“The vaccine is available to every Filipino citizen including the Communist NPAs so that you can fight better and you are healthy, because I know that you will die,” he said.

“In the name of humanity, we will not deny kasi ano ‘yan eh. Pero just to make you healthy so that you will die,” he added.

The country’s vaccine czar Secretary Carlito Galvez Jr., in the same meeting, said the inoculation may begin in the country possibly in summer next year.

The Philippine government is currently negotiating with several pharmaceutical companies for the procurement of COVID-19 vaccines such as Pfizer Inc., Moderna, AstraZeneca, Johnson & Johnson, Novavax Inc, and China’s Sinovac, and Russia’s Gamaleya Institute.

Duterte declares Nov. 2, Dec. 24 & 31 ‘Special working days’ for this year

Robie de Guzman   •   February 26, 2021

MANILA, Philippines – President Rodrigo Duterte has issued a proclamation amending some dates that have long been traditional holidays in the country and making them now ‘special working days.’

Under Proclamation No. 1107, the president declared the following days as ‘special working days’ for the year 2021:

  • November 2 – All souls’ day
  • December 24 – Christmas eve
  • December 31 – New Year’s eve

These dates were previously classified as special non-working days under Proclamation No. 986 s. 2020.

“For the country to recover from the adverse economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, there is a need to encourage economic productivity by, among others, minimizing work disruption and commemorating some special holidays as special (working) days instead,” Duterte said in his order.

The coronavirus pandemic has plunged the country’s economy into a slump last year due to a lockdown that affected many businesses and workers.

Duterte designates NBI as sole body to probe PNP-PDEA ‘misencounter’

Robie de Guzman   •   February 26, 2021

MANILA, Philippines — President Rodrigo Duterte has designated the National Bureau of Investigation to be the sole agency to investigate the alleged misencounter between cops and operatives of the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA), Malacañang said Friday.

“Nagdesisyon po ang ating president na tanging NBI lang po ang mag-iimbestiga duon sa putukan na nangyari sa panig ng mga kapulisan at PDEA diyan po sa Quezon City,” Presidential spokesperson Harry Roque said.

The shooting incident involving policemen and PDEA operatives occurred on Wednesday afternoon near a mall along Commonwealth Avenue in Quezon City. Four individuals – two cops, a PDEA agent and an informant – were killed in the gun battle.

The PNP and PDEA earlier said that a joint Board of Inquiry has been created to look into the incident.

But due to Duterte’s order, the joint probe will have to be discontinued.

“’Yung mga binuong joint panel para imbestigahan yan, na binuo po ng PNP at PDEA ay di na po magtutuloy sa kanilang imbestigahan,” Roque said.

Both PNP and PDEA assured to work with the NBI in compliance with Duterte’s directive. – RRD (with details from Correspondent Rosalie Coz)

Duterte to personally welcome first batch of Sinovac vaccines on Feb. 28

Marje Pelayo   •   February 26, 2021

MANILA, Philippines — President Rodrigo Duterte is expected to witness in person the arrival of the Philippines’ very first batch of COVID-19 vaccines scheduled on Sunday (February 28) at the Villamor Airbase in Pasay City.

Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque confirmed in a message that the event on Monday is part of the President’s schedule.

He is expected to be joined by other government officials in welcoming the shipment of the much-awaited 600,000 doses of CoronaVac of the pharmaceutical firm Sinovac donated by China.

A total of 100,000 doses of the CoronaVac will be reserved for members of the military.

Once the vaccines arrive, the government is expected to kick-off the nationwide vaccine rollout on Monday (March 1) which will prioritize frontline health workers, uniformed personnel, and senior citizens among other sectors.

The vaccine turnover rite was also confirmed by China through its envoy to the Philippines, Chinese Ambassador Huang Xilian.

“It is a fine tradition between China and the Philippines to help each other in trying times. A friend in need is a friend indeed. The donation of vaccines is another testament to the solidarity as well as profound friendship and partnership between our two peoples and two countries,” Ambassador Huang said on Facebook.

“I want to thank all those who have worked so hard in order to make this happen! I hope the vaccines will help kick off Philippines’ mass inoculation campaign to curb the pandemic and allow Filipinos’ life to return to normal at the earliest,” he added.

Meanwhile in a post on Twitter, the Chinese Embassy refuted claims that Sinovac’s COVID-19 vaccine shouldn’t be given to health workers who have high exposure to positive cases.

The Embassy said the pharma company’s first trial inoculation on health workers in Brazil yielded positive results.

“Even under such extremely challenging conditions, the vaccine has show 100% protection to prevent fatal cases or severe cases that need hospitalization, 80% protection to prevent mild case which don’t need any medical intervention,” it said.

Thus, the Embassy said, “the Sinovac is good for medical workers with exposure to COVID-19.”

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