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Duterte mulls forming new panel to talk peace with Reds

by Robie de Guzman   |   Posted on Monday, April 15th, 2019


President Rodrigo Duterte delivers his speech during the PDP-Laban campaign rally in Malaybalay City, Bukidnon on April 13, 2019. (Photo: Joey Dalumpines|Presidential Photo)

President Rodrigo Duterte has expressed willingness to create a new panel to talk peace with Communist rebels.

Duterte made the remark nearly a month after he abolished the previous government peace panel and terminated the appointments of Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III and three others as government peace negotiators.

READ: Duterte ends appointment of Bello, 3 others as gov’t peace negotiators

The President said he might tap three military representatives and two civilians to comprise the new peace panel.

“Pero makigistorya ka, magpadala ko’g laing tao, pag-istorya mo. Di na ko,” he said during a visit to Bukidnon last Saturday.

(If you want to talk to me, I’ll send someone else. You talk to each other. I don’t want to talk anymore.)

“’Di mangita ko’g bag-o. Bag-ong paagi, bag-ong tawong makig-istorya. Basig duha, o usa, o tulo ana militar. Unya ang… Mga lima. Duha ka sibilyan, tulo ka military,” he added.

(I’ll look for another way and new people to talk to. Maybe one, two, or three from the military, and… Maybe around five. Two civilians and three from the military.)

The Chief Executive also explained that he abolished the previous government peace panel since the talks with the communist rebels were not successful.

“Katong peace panel, ako nang gibuwag. Dugay na eh. Three years, wala koy nahimo,” he said.

(I abolished the peace panel too. It’s been three years but I wasn’t even able to achieve anything.)

Duterte permanently terminated the formal negotiations with the Communist Party of the Philippines-National Democratic Front-New People’s Army (CPP-NDF-NPA) in November 2017 following a string of attacks staged by the NPA rebels against government troops.

The President said that rebels could try to talk peace with his successor instead and the government will focus on conducting localized peace engagements. – Robie de Guzman

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Duterte keeps lower tariff on mechanically deboned poultry meat

by Robie de Guzman   |   Posted on Monday, June 17th, 2019

MANILA, Philippines – President Rodrigo Duterte has issued an order to keep lower tariff rates on certain poultry products.

Duterte signed the Executive Order (EO) number 82 on June 13. A copy of which was released to the media on Monday (June 17).

Under the EO no. 82, tariffs on imported agricultural products, including mechanically deboned chicken and turkey, will remain at five percent while frozen poultry will stay at 20 percent.

Duterte issued the order upon the recommendation of the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) to maintain the tariff rates under the EO 23 released in 2017 for mechanically deboned chicken and turkey meat, and its offals.

“The present economic condition warrants the continued application of the reduced rate of duties on certain agricultural products to mitigate the impact of high prices of goods,” the order read.

The latest executive issuance extended the lower tariff rates to December 31, 2020, from the original expiry set on June 30, 2020, under the EO 23.

The Republic Act 10863 or the Customs Modernization and Tariff Act authorizes the President to increase, reduce or remove existing rates of import duty upon the recommendation of NEDA board when Congress is not in session.

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3 NPA terrorists killed in Mindoro encounter

by Marje Pelayo   |   Posted on Friday, June 14th, 2019

Courtesy: (2DPAO, 2ID, PA)

RIZAL, Philippines — Three members of the New People’s Army (NPA) terrorist group were killed in an encounter with the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) in the town of Mansalay in Oriental Mindoro province.

The encounter took place on Thursday afternoon (June 13) and lasted for almost two hours.

According to BGen. Marceliano Teofilo, the commander of the 203rd Infantry Brigade which has operational jurisdiction over Mindoro Province, they received information from concerned citizen that the NPA terrorists in the area will conduct training to their newly recruited members of which some were believed to be minors.

“This prompted us to conduct Focused Military Operation (FMO) and our troops were able to locate their whereabouts, and fire fight broke,” Teofilo said.

The military also recovered three M16 rifles; one AK-47; one cal.45 with 2 magazines; one grenade launcher tube; two improvised explosive devices (IED) and switch; three blasting caps; two cellphones; and assorted kinds of ammunitions at the encounter site.

According to the report, one soldier from the Army’s 4IB was slightly wounded in the left ear but is now in safe condition.

Lt.Col. Alexander Arbolado, Battalion Commander of the 4IB said they already dispatched additional troops and K9 units to track the whereabouts of the retreating rebels.

“We will not let them go until they are totally destroyed,” he said.

BGen. Teofilo calls on the NPA rebels to surrender or else “suffer the fate of their comrades” as the military will not stop in pursuing them.

Meanwhile, Army’s 2nd Infantry Division spokesperson Capt. Patrick Jay Retumban said “the intel community is now validating the reports that an NPA Commander was slain during the encounter”.

If it’s true, BGen. Teofilo said it would be a major blow to the NPA rebel unit in Mindoro.

“Their days are numbered and in just a matter of time the NPA here will be on the verge of collapse due to their numerous setbacks in armed encounters and snowballing of surrenderees,” he noted.

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Tugade allays flooding concerns amid construction of Sangley Airport

by Robie de Guzman   |   Posted on Friday, June 14th, 2019

File photo: DOTr Secretary Arthur Tugade

The Department of Transportation (DOTr) on Friday allayed fears of flooding amid the ongoing construction of the Sangley Airport in Cavite.

During an inspection led by Transportation Secretary Arthur Tugade at the construction site, he said there was no trace of flooding in the area despite rains that occurred overnight.

“Umulan ng malakas kagabi hanggang kaninang madaling araw, pero kita niyo naman, walang baha dito sa airport,” Tugade said in a statement posted on Facebook.

IN PHOTOS: DOTr Secretary Arthur Tugade led the inspection on the construction progress of Sangley Airport in Cavite…

Posted by Department of Transportation – Philippines on Thursday, 13 June 2019

He also assured that the airport development will continue despite inconveniences to meet the operational timeline set by President Rodrigo Duterte.

READ: DOTr orders 24/7 construction of Sangley airport

Tugade earlier ordered the 24/7 construction of Sangley Airport to expedite the transfer of domestic flights to reduce congestion at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA).

“Let us not see shadows when there is no sun. If we are all to answer the ‘perhaps’ and the ‘maybes,’ nothing will happen in this country,” he said.

“We should not stop development simply because we are afraid of future inconveniences. Bear in mind that the price of development is an inconvenience,” he added.

During Friday’s inspection, Tugade checked the completed asphalt overlay of the runway, as well as the ongoing construction of the Passenger Terminal Building (PTB), the drainage system, and the hangars.

He also inspected an area for the landing berth of the ferry operations.

The DOTr reported that the construction of additional facilities at the Sangley Airport, which started last year and is now at 48.68% completion rate.

The inspection was conducted in collaboration with the Philippine Air Force and the Philippine Navy.

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