Duterte invites Saudi Arabia’s King, Crown Prince to visit Philippines
Robie de Guzman • December 25, 2019 • 1612
MANILA, Philippines – President Rodrigo Duterte has invited Saudi Arabia’s King and Crown Prince to visit the Philippines as the two countries marked the 50th anniversary of bilateral ties this year, a government official said.
Presidential Protocol chief and Presidential Assistant on Foreign Affairs Robert Borje said the president extended the invitation to Saudi King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al-Saud and Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman as the two nations agreed to further strengthen the bilateral cooperation.
Duterte met the king and the crown prince during his visit to Riyadh in April 2017.
The Philippine government has asked for the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia’s support for the development of the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM) through the administration’s major infrastructure projects in Mindanao.
The Saudi Arabian government has expressed willingness to contribute to the development of the Bangsamoro region. – RRD (from the report of Correspondent Rosalie Coz)
MANILA, Philippines – The Senate has approved on third and final reading a bill seeking to grant President Rodrigo Duterte ‘flexibility’ to schedule the opening of classes in schools during a state of emergency.
Voting 23-0, senators on Monday unanimously passed Senate Bill 1541, which proposes to amend Section 3 of the Republic Act 7797, a law which sets the opening of school-year as early as the first Monday of June but not later than the last day of August.
The measure covers all basic education schools, including foreign or international schools in the country.
Once enacted into law, the bill would authorize the President, upon the recommendation of the Secretary of the Department of Education, to set the opening of classes nationwide or in selected areas at any date during a state of emergency or calamity.
A similar measure has been approved in the committee level in the House of Representatives on Saturday.
The approval of the proposed measure comes amid the novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic which has affected millions of people worldwide. – RRD (with details from Correspondent Harlene Delgado)
MANILA, Philippines – President Rodrigo Duterte has certified as urgent a bill that seeks to strengthen the country’s anti-terrorism law.
In a letter to House Speaker Alan Peter Cayetano on Monday, Duterte certified as urgent House Bill No. 6785, which seeks to amend and toughen the Human Security Act of 2007.
In his letter, Duterte said the immediate enactment of the measure is to “address the urgent need to strengthen the law on anti-terrorism in order to adequately and effectively contain the menace of terrorist acts for the preservation of national security and the promotion of general welfare.”
The House Bill reportedly adopted the Senate version which passed on third and final reading in February.
Under the bill, anyone who threatens to commit terrorism, propose any terroristic acts or incite others to commit terrorism shall mete out a penalty of 12 years of imprisonment.
It also introduces provisions penalizing those who will propose, incite, conspire, participate in the planning, training, preparation and facilitation of a terrorist act; as well as those who will provide material support to terrorists, and recruit members in a terrorist organization.
The measure also includes a new section on foreign terrorist fighters to cover Filipino nationals who commit terrorist offenses abroad.
It also aims to provide law enforcers the much-needed tools to protect the people from terrorism threat and, at the same time, safeguard the rights of those accused of the crime.
Once a bill is certified as urgent, the Senate and the House of Representatives can immediately pass a measure on second and third reading on the same day.
Rights advocates had earlier warned that the bill’s enactment would worsen the human rights situation in the country.
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