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Duterte: ICC case vs Xi won’t strain PH-China ties

by Robie de Guzman   |   Posted on Friday, March 22nd, 2019

FILE PHOTO: President Rodrigo Roa Duterte and President Xi Jinping of People’s Republic of China pose for a photo prior to their expanded bilateral meeting at the Malacañan Palace on November 20, 2018. | PCOO\King Rodriguez

MANILA, Philippines – President Rodrigo Duterte remains positive that the stronger diplomatic ties between the Philippines and China will not be jeopardized by the case filed against Chinese President Xi Jinping before the International Criminal Court (ICC).

Duterte expressed the remark on Thursday (March 21) after two former high-ranking Philippine officials filed a communication against Xi before the ICC for China’s supposedly aggressive militarization and reclamation in the disputed territories in the South China Sea.

“No, I’m sure it won’t,” Duterte said when asked if the case would affect the ties between the two countries at the sidelines of the 122nd Anniversary celebration of the Philippine Army in Taguig City.

Former Ombudsman Conchita Carpio-Morales and former Foreign Affairs Secretary Albert del Rosario filed the complaint on behalf of Filipino fishermen allegedly injured and persecuted by China’s “most massive, near permanent and devastating destruction of the environment on humanity’s history” in the South China Sea.

Carpio-Morales and Del Rosario also accused Xi and other Chinese officials of committing crimes against humanity for implementing “systematic plan to control the South China Sea.”

The complainants said that China’s “atrociously inhumane actions” that “adversely affects and injures not only myriad groups of vulnerable fishermen, including 320,000 Filipino fishermen, but also present and future generations of people across nations” remain unpunished.

“They are entitled to file the case. They are Filipino citizens and I think we’ll just also have to defend our position vis-à-vis sa kanila. They think they have a good case and I would say that there is no jurisdiction over this country and of China,” Duterte said.

“The Philippines is a democratic country and anybody can bring a suit against anybody, but whether or not it would prosper, or whether or not we have the jurisdiction, that’s something else,” he added.– Robie de Guzman (with details from Rosalie Coz)

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Guanzon to oppose Cardema’s substitution as Duterte youth group rep

by Robie de Guzman   |   Posted on Thursday, May 23rd, 2019

Commission on Elections (Comelec) Commissioner Rowena Guanzon and former National Youth Commission (NYC) chairman Ronald Cardema

MANILA, Philippines – Commission on Elections (Comelec) Commissioner Rowena Guanzon on Thursday said she will oppose any move to grant the substitution bid of former National Youth Commission (NYC) chairman Ronald Cardema.

In a message posted on her Twitter account, Guanzon said she has not signed a decision on Cardema’s plea as the issue has yet to be decided by the poll body.

“I have not signed a reso [resolution] giving due course to Cardema’s application for substitution but I will dissent,” she said.

“He filed it on a Sunday May 12, which is not a regular work day. And didn’t file on last day May 13,” she added.

Guanzon also said in her tweet that Comelec Sheriff Abas only signed a resolution giving due course to Cardema’s bid, but whether he is qualified to substitute is another matter.

“But can he substitute? Is Cardema qualified to be rep [representative] of Duterte Youth? That is not yet decided,” she said.

Cardema grabbed headlines after he made a last-minute substitution appeal as a nominee of the Duterte Youth party-list group without seeking permission from the Office of the President.

The Duterte Youth was one of the party-list groups proclaimed as winners in the 2019 Midterm elections by the National Board of Canvassers on May 22.

Cardema reportedly filed the petition after five nominees of the said party-list, including his wife Ducielle Suarez, withdrew from the nomination.

Guanzon, however, noted that the issue in the resolution is if Cardema had filed his application on or before the May 13 elections.  

“The issue in that Reso [resolution] is only: Did Cardema file his application for substitution in time on or before May 13? Chair Abas said Cardema had majority vote of Commissioners. I will dissent,” she said.

The poll official earlier questioned Cardema’s age after the latter claimed in his certificate of candidacy that he is qualified to represent a youth sector party-list.

“In my opinion, if the original nominee is also above 30 then they are not qualified and you cannot substitute validly if the original nominee or candidate is disqualified in the first place,” Guanzon said in a separate interview after the proclamation of winning party-list groups on Tuesday.

Section 9 of Republic Act 7941 or the Partylist Law provides that a nominee of a youth party-list group must be between 25 to 30 years old.

Cardema’s Facebook account stated that he was born on April 13, 1986, which makes him 33.

On his FB post, Cardema insisted that Duterte Youth is registered in Comelec as one to represent the youth and professional sectors; hence, there is no age limit.

Meanwhile, Comelec Spokesperson Director James Jimenez said the Comelec en Banc is still studying Cardema’s petition.

“Iyong decision na papel wala pa. So, we will probably forward it to you as soon as we get it,” he said. (with details from Aiko Miguel)

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Duterte signs law institutionalizing 4Ps

by Robie de Guzman   |   Posted on Thursday, May 23rd, 2019

MANILA, Philippines – President Rodrigo Duterte has signed a measure institutionalizing the government’s strategy in reducing national poverty.

Duterte signed the Republic Act 11310 or the “Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program (4Ps) Act” last April 17. A copy of the signed law was released by Malacañang on May 22.

The law aims to provide financial assistance to poor Filipino families that meet certain qualifications, to uplift marginalized sectors from poverty and to improve the quality of life for all.

Among those qualified for the program are farmers, fisherfolks, homeless families, indigenous peoples and those in the informal settler sector, and geographically isolated and disadvantaged areas including those without electricity.

Under the law, qualified poor household beneficiaries will be provided with conditional cash transfers for a maximum period of seven years to improve the health, nutrition and education aspect of their lives. The National Advisory Council may recommend a longer period under exceptional circumstances.

Qualified household beneficiaries on a nationwide basis shall be selected by the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) using a standardized targeting system.

Standardized Targeting System, under the law, refers to a system identifying who and where the poor households are through the generation of a socio-economic database of poor households that is adopted by national government agencies and implemented by the DSWD.

The DSWD is tasked under the law to conduct a regular revalidation of beneficiary targeting every three years.

QUALIFICATIONS FOR ELIGIBLE BENEFICIARIES

To be eligible for the cash grants, household or families must meet the following criteria:

  • Classified as poor and near-poor based on the Standardized Targeting System and the poverty threshold issued by the Philippine Statistics Authority at the time of selection;
  • Have members who are newborns up to 18 years old as well as those who are pregnant at the time of registration;
  • Willing to comply with the conditions specified by this Act

The following schemes shall be observed in the implementation of conditional cash transfer:

  • Financial aid of not lower than P300 per child enrolled in daycare and elementary programs for a maximum of ten months per year;
  • Financial aid of not lower than P500 per child enrolled in junior high school for a maximum of 10 months per year;
  • Financial aid of not lower than P700 per child enrolled in senior high school each month for a maximum of 10 months per year;
  • Health and nutrition grant shall not be lower than P750 per month for a maximum of 12 months per year.

The law states that all qualified beneficiaries of 4Ps shall automatically be covered in the National Health Insurance Program (NHIP).

“The necessary funding for their coverage shall be sourced from revenue generated pursuant to Republic Act No. 10351, otherwise known as the “Sin Tax Reform Act of 2012,” the law stated.

For continued program eligibility, the law obliges all qualified household-beneficiaries to comply with the following conditions: pregnant women must avail of pre-natal services, give birth in a health facility and receive post-partum care and post-natal care for her newborn; children from newborn to five years old must receive regular preventive health and nutrition services, including check-ups and vaccinations; children aged one to 14 must avail of deworming pills at least twice a year;

Children five to 18 years old must attend elementary or secondary classes at least 85 percent of their time; at least one responsible person must attend family development sessions with DSWD, at least once a month.

Failure to comply with set conditions will subject the household-beneficiary to case management process which may lead to the termination of cash grants.

Any person who will be found falsifying their data or information in the registry to avail of the conditional cash transfer program may be imprisoned for a month up to a year or be fined with not less than P10,000 but not more than P100,000.

The 4Ps started during the time of former president Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo. It became the flagship anti-poverty program during the time of former President Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino and was continued by President Duterte. (with details from Rosalie Coz)

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Palace: Duterte orders immediate shipping of Canada trash at PH expense

by Robie de Guzman   |   Posted on Wednesday, May 22nd, 2019

MANILA, Philippines – President Rodrigo Duterte has ordered the immediate shipping of Canada’s tons of garbage at the government’s expense, Malacañang said on Wednesday.

Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo said the President is upset with the inordinate delay of Canada in taking back its containers of garbage which have been languishing in the country since 2013.

“President Rodrigo Roa Duterte is upset about the inordinate delay of Canada in shipping back its containers of garbage. We are extremely disappointed with Canada’s neither here nor there pronouncement on the matter,” Panelo said in a press briefing at the Palace.

The President’s move came after the Department of Foreign Affairs ordered for the recall of Philippine ambassador and consuls to Canada after the Canadian government missed the May-15 deadline on shipping back the garbage it sent to the Philippines.

READ: PH recalls envoys to Canada over missed trash shipment deadline

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