Duterte meets with Filipino SEA Games ‘hero’ surfer, surfing team in Palace

Robie de Guzman   •   December 11, 2019   •   590

President Rodrigo (left); hero surfer Roger Casugay (center) with the rest of the Philippine surfing team at Malacañan Palace

MANILA, Philippines – President Rodrigo Duterte on Tuesday met with the members of the Philippine surfing team, including Southeast Asian (SEA) Games gold medalist Roger Casugay, who recently went viral for his heroic act of saving his Indonesian rival during their event.

Casugay and the rest of the team paid a courtesy call to Duterte in Malacañang, based on photos released to media on Wednesday morning.

Casugay earned praises after he rescued Indonesian surfer Arip Nurhidayat who was swept by rolling waves after he broke his leash in the middle of men’s longboard open surfing competition in La Union. 

The 25-year old surfer eventually won the gold medal after the event between the two was rescheduled on Sunday.

Indonesian President Joko Widodo on Monday expressed his appreciation for Casugay for personifying sportsmanship in the ongoing biennial meet.

The Senate also adopted a resolution commending the athlete for displaying an act of heroism and courage.

Senator Christopher Lawrence “Bong” Go said Casugay will be conferred the Order of Lapu-Lapu by the President in a Palace ceremony next week.

The Order of Lapu-Lapu is bestowed upon individuals who are recognized for their invaluable service in relation to a campaign or advocacy of the President.

Casugay was earlier chosen to be the country’s flag bearer in the SEA Games closing ceremonies to be held on Wednesday at the New Clark City in Tarlac.

Duterte to appoint PNP OIC Gamboa as next chief

Robie de Guzman   •   January 17, 2020

PNP Officer-In-Charge, Police Lieutenant General Archie Francisco Gamboa arrives at Police Regional Office 4A and gives reminders and guidance to deployable PNP personnel involved in the evacuation, relief, and rescue operations in Taal eruption-hit areas.

MANILA, Philippines – President Rodrigo Duterte on Friday said he will appoint Philippine National Police (PNP) officer-in-charge Lt. Gen. Archie Gamboa as the next police chief.

Duterte made the announcement during a speech in Davao City.

The president said he would formally designate Gamboa as the next PNP chief after they meet with Interior and Local Government Secretary Eduardo Año.  

Duterte earlier asked Año to supervise the police force until he has chosen its next chief.

“We have the PNP chief. I’m going to appoint you as the regular PNP [chief]. But […] you and Secretary Año and I will have a long, long talk first,” he said addressing Gamboa in his speech.

“Pinakita mo sa akin ‘yung sincerity mo and I’d like you to leave something that you will be remembered by the country,” he added

Gamboa, who was in the event, acknowledged Duterte’s remarks by standing up and giving a salute.

Gamboa was designated as PNP OIC after former chief Oscar Albayalde stepped down in October over allegations that he protected some police officers tagged as ‘ninja cops’ for their involvement in the selling or recycling of illegal drugs seized from an operation in Pampanga in 2013.

Albayalde was the chief of Pampanga police when the operation was conducted.

In a statement, the PNP welcomed Duterte’s pronouncement of Gamboa’s appointment.

“The PNP welcomes the pronouncement of Pres. Rodrigo Roa Duterte to appoint PNP OIC PLTGEN. Archie Francisco Gamboa as the regular PNP Chief,” the statement read.

“Under the able leadership of PLtGen Gamboa, we assure the public that the PNP remains committed to intensify the campaign against criminality, illegal drugs and corruption, following the rule of law and with utmost respect for human rights, and vigorously pursue internal cleansing to weed the ranks of rogue cops, all towards winning back the trust and confidence of the people,” it added.

In a separate statement, Año also welcomed Gamboa’s designation as the next PNP chief.

“He is very qualified for the job. I expect that he will work harder now that he is the permanent Chief PNP and lead the organization in its intensified fight against illegal drugs, criminalities, communist terrorist groups and extremists,” Año said.

“I also expect that he would continue to cleanse the PNP ranks of scalawags,” he added.

He also called on the entire police force to support Gamboa, enforce the law and fulfill their mandate “to serve and protect the people.”

OFW deployment ban to Kuwait to stay until 2018 labor pact fully implemented – Palace

Robie de Guzman   •   January 17, 2020

MANILA, Philippines – The total deployment ban of Filipino workers to Kuwait will remain in effect until the labor agreement signed in 2018 between the two countries is fully implemented, Malacañang said Friday.

Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo said President Rodrigo Duterte has approved the labor department’s call for a total ban on deployment of overseas Filipino workers (OFW) to Kuwait following the killing of household service worker Jeanelyn Villavende.

“The Palace wishes to inform the public that President Duterte has approved the recommendation of Labor and Employment Secretary Silvestre Bello III on the total deployment ban of Filipino workers in Kuwait,” Panelo said.

He added that the ban will stay until the memorandum of agreement between the two countries is fully honored and “the terms contained therein are incorporated in every labor contract with our OFWs.”

Bello earlier said he recommended a total deployment ban to Kuwait after results of a re-autopsy by the National Bureau of Investigation revealed that Villavende had several missing internal organs and had “clear indications of sexual abuse.”

The re-autopsy was conducted after a certificate released by Kuwait’s Ministry of Health showed that Villavende died of “acute failure of heart and respiration” as a result of shock and multiple injuries.

In a statement on Thursday, Bello said the implementation of a total deployment ban of workers was fueled by the alleged attempt of the Kuwaiti government “to cover-up the true case of death” of Villavende.

He said the re-autopsy on the Filipino worker’s remains was in complete contrast to the report of the Kuwaiti authorities.

Bello also said that another cause for the ban was the failure of the Kuwaiti government to come into an agreement regarding the standard employment contract in accordance with the Memorandum of Agreement in 2018.

“Under the MOU, we were supposed to come up with a standard employment contract in order to provide sufficient protection for our OFWs. That’s almost two years ago of discussing and debating but until now, we have not finalized anything,” Bello said.

The total ban covers the processing and deployment of all household service workers, semi-skilled, skilled workers and professionals including Filipino crew seafarers for Kuwait.

However, skilled workers and professionals who have unexpired contracts or categorized as Balik-Manggagawa, and those who will be cleared by the Secretary of Labor are exempted from the ban.

“Those who will come home for a vacation and has an existing contract are still allowed to travel to Kuwait, however, workers with new contracts will be covered by the ban. This move is nothing less than for the protection of our workers,” Bello said. – RRD (with details from Correspondent Rosalie Coz)

Paredes named as new PH Air Force chief

Robie de Guzman   •   January 15, 2020

Major General Allen Paredes

MANILA, Philippines – Major General Allen Paredes has been designated as the new commanding general of the Philippine Air Force.

President Rodrigo Duterte signed Paredes’ appointment paper on Wednesday. He will replace retiring Lt. Gen. Rozzano Briguez.

In his letter to Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana, Duterte said Paredes will take over the post effective Friday, January 17, the date of Briguez’s retirement.

Prior to his designation as chief of the Philippine Air Force, Paredes served as the wing commander of the 250th Presidential Airlift Wing from February 2016 to July 2018.

He was the commander of PAF’s Air Logistics Command, and served as Air Staff chief from July 2018 to February 2019.

Paredes is a member of Philippine Military Academy’s Maringal Class of 1988.

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