Duterte now willing to get COVID-19 vaccine shot in public — Palace

Marje Pelayo   •   February 15, 2021   •   591

MANILA, Philippines — Contrary to Malacañang’s previous announcement, Secretary Harry Roque announced on Monday, February 15, that President Rodrigo Duterte is now willing to receive a COVID-19 vaccine publicly.

“Well I think the President has said that he will now have himself vaccinated publicly,” Roque said.

According to the presidential spokesperson, the Chief Executive will do it to encourage and strengthen the public’s confidence in the vaccine. 

However, Roque did not confirm the date or time for the anticipated inoculation.

“He only has to announce when it will be done and that’s of course in recognition of the fact na nagaantay ng senyales ang taumbayan kung talaga sila’y magpapabakuna o hindi. So I think that is a policy that we will now pursue,” he said.

It was in August last year when the President announced his readiness to be the first to get inoculated using the vaccine from Russia’s Gamaleya Institute once it arrives in the country. 

Later on, the Palace backtracked on its previous announcement and said Duterte had decided to have it privately.

Around 600,000 doses of COVID-19 vaccine from China’s Sinovac Biotech are expected to arrive on February 23.

Meanwhile, the exact date for the arrival of 117,000 doses of Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine from the COVAX Facility has yet to be confirmed though the shipment is also expected this month.

Aside from the president, other high ranking government officials have also volunteered to be vaccinated in public to increase vaccine confidence.

Based on the recent Pulse Asia survey result released in January, almost half of the Philippine population expressed hesitation in receiving the vaccine due to safety concerns. MNP (with reports from Rosalie Coz)

Palace: Duterte to join 13th Asia-Europe Meeting Summit on Nov. 25-26

Robie de Guzman   •   November 24, 2021

MANILA, Philippines – President Rodrigo Duterte is set to join the 13th Asia-Europe Meeting Summit (ASEM) scheduled this week, Malacañang said Wednesday.

The summit will be held on November 25 to 26 via video conference, which would be hosted by Cambodia.

The Palace said Duterte is expected to exchange views on multilateralism, growth and sustainable development during the meeting.

He is also scheduled to speak on rebuilding a resilient future, as well as on international and regional issues at the Second Plenary and Retreat Sessions of the Summit on November 26, it added.

This year’s summit has its theme, “Strengthening Multilateralism for Shared Growth”.

ASEM, an informal dialogue process involving 53 partners from Europe, Asia, the European Union and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) Secretariat, aims to strengthen cooperation between the two regions in the spirit of mutual respect and equal partnership.

The Philippines joined ASEM in 1996 as one of its founding members.

 

Philippines yet to receive formal request from ICC for proof of probe into drug war deaths – Palace

Robie de Guzman   •   November 24, 2021

MANILA, Philippines – The Philippines has yet to receive a formal request from the International Criminal Court (ICC) to provide concrete information that it is conducting investigations into allegations involving the government’s campaign against illegal drugs, Malacañang said Wednesday.

Acting Presidential Spokesperson Karlo Nograles issued the statement following reports that ICC Prosecutor Khan will ask the Philippine government to provide substantiating information regarding its probe into allegations of crime committed under its war against drugs.

“We would like to clarify that we have yet to receive a formal request with regard to this matter. That being said, we reiterate our position that the ICC has no jurisdiction to probe our campaign against illegal drugs,” Nograles said.

“Clearly, the ICC prosecutor’s request for information is an acknowledgment that alleged victims can seek redress in Philippine legal institutions because these are independent, impartial, and competent,” he added.

Moreover, Nograles said that the ICC prosecutor’s statement “validates our earlier position that the ICC is the court of last resort, one that can be utilized when a State Party is unwilling to investigate and prosecute those who violate its laws.”

“This is simply not the case in the Philippines. Our criminal justice system continues to be capable and functional, and a case in point is the signing of the Philippine National Police and the National Bureau of Investigation of an agreement to conduct cooperative investigations,” he said.

Nograles stressed that this serves as “evidence that a culture of impunity does not exist in our country as local institutions have demonstrated their commitment to accountability.”

Khan, in a statement posted on Tuesday, said the Duterte administration must submit concrete proof that its is investigating allegations involving its war on drugs after the ICC deferred its probe upon the request of the Philippine government.

The ICC deferred the probe after the government said that investigations on reported deaths during anti-drug operations are underway.

“Such information must consist of tangible evidence, of probative value and a sufficient degree of specificity, demonstrating that concrete and progressive investigative steps have been or are currently being undertaken,” the statement read.

Philippine Ambassador to the Netherlands Eduardo Malaya wrote Khan that the country’s Department of Justice (DOJ) has already referred to the National Bureau of Investigation the 52 cases it reviewed, where administrative liability was found on the part of concerned law enforcers.

Members of the National Union of People’s Lawyers and the Free Legal Assistance Group have called on the ICC to resume its probe, saying the DOJ is only looking at several cases out of tens of thousands of killings allegedly linked to the drug war.

Sara Duterte takes drug test

Robie de Guzman   •   November 24, 2021

MANILA, Philippines — Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte on Wednesday said she underwent a drug test and her results yielded negative for narcotics.

In a statement, the vice presidential bet said she took the test upon the request of her running mate, Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr.

“Today, I took a drug test that yielded negative of any illegal substances. This test, I took voluntarily upon the request of my Uniteam partner, Senator Bongbong Marcos, to support the call for transparency as aspiring public officials seeking the trust of our fellow Filipinos,” she said.

Sara shared the results of her drug test, which showed that she was negative for several illegal substances.

On Tuesday, Marcos announced that he took a cocaine test and submitted the result to law enforcement agencies.

This was after President Rodrigo Duterte’s claim that a presidential aspirant is using cocaine.

Duterte did not give any name.

“Uniteam BBM-Sara’s stand against illegal drugs is united and unequivocal. This can be seen from both our negative tests as well as our common stance against the proliferation of illegal drugs and the need for effective measures of prevention, rehabilitation, and enforcement,” Mayor Sara said.

She also stressed “as important as the war against illegal drugs is, other compelling issues continue to challenge our country’s ability to provide long-term safety and security for our people.”

“Therefore, it is crucial in this electoral season that we focus on the substantial qualifications of those that seek to lead our country,” she said.

“Particularly, that we examine our presidential and vice presidential candidates under the lens of competence and experience – an infallible ability to manage crisis through policy and practice built up through years of executive, legislative, and administrative exposure; a proven track record of delivering security and development; and a clear and tested platform for job security and sustainable livelihood,” she added.

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