Duterte OKs ban on travelers from UK, 19 other countries over new COVID-19 variant – Palace

Robie de Guzman   •   December 29, 2020   •   727

MANILA, Philippines – President Rodrigo Duterte has approved the recommended expansion of the country’s entry ban on travelers coming from the United Kingdom to cover 19 other countries amid reported cases of a new variant of coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in these areas, Malacañang said Tuesday.

In a statement, Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said travelers from the UK are temporarily barred from entering the Philippines until January 15, 2021.

The travel ban has been extended to cover those coming from 19 other countries:

  • Denmark
  • Ireland
  • Japan
  • Australia
  • Israel
  • The Netherlands
  • Hong Kong, SAR
  • Switzerland
  • France
  • Germany
  • Iceland
  • Italy
  • Lebanon
  • Singapore
  • Sweden
  • South Korea
  • South Africa
  • Canada
  • Spain

Roque said the expanded travel restriction takes effect on December 30, 2020, 12:01 AM until January 15, 2021, covering all foreign travelers coming from, or transiting through, the said countries.

Passengers who are already in transit and are expected to arrive before December 30, 2020, 12:01 AM, from the 19 countries/areas listed above shall not be prohibited from entering the country but will be required to undergo an absolute facility-based 14-day quarantine period, notwithstanding a negative RT-PCR test result

“The Office of the President, upon the joint recommendation of the Department of Health and the Department of Foreign Affairs, may impose restrictions to travelers coming from other countries that report the presence of the new variant of COVID-19,” Roque said.

Outbound travel to countries with reported new variants shall be subject to exiting protocols of the Philippines and the entry protocols of the respective countries, he added.

Duterte: No franchise until arrears with government are settled

Marje Pelayo   •   January 19, 2021

MANILA, Philippines — President Rodrigo Duterte on Monday (January 18) maintained that the government will not allow any franchise application to push through unless business owners settle their obligations with the government.

Though the President did not mention any particular business or company, his remark comes as lawmakers push for a franchise bill for ABS-CBN.

“No franchise will ever be implemented. Maski bigyan ninyo ng limang libong franchise iyan, hindi ko i-implement iyan. Settle your account with the government.” the President said.

In July 2020, the House of Representatives (HOR) Committee on Legislative Franchise denied ABS-CBN’s bid for a fresh 25-year franchise after it lapsed in May 2020.

On January 4, 2021, Senate President Vicente Sotto III filed his version of ABS-CBN franchise bill.

Earlier this month, Batangas 6th District Representative and House Deputy Speaker Vilma Santos-Recto filed her version noted as House Bill No. 8298. MNP (with reports from Rosalie Coz)

READ: ABS-CBN to stay off-air after House panel junks bid for new 25-year franchise

Duterte defends Galvez, slams critics over corruption claims in Sinovac deal

Marje Pelayo   •   January 19, 2021

MANILA, Philippines — President Rodrigo Duterte vouched for vaccine czar Secretary Carlito Galvez Jr.’s plan to procure Chinese-made vaccine Sinovac for the government’s vaccination program against coronavirus disease (COVID-19).

This is amid questions on the efficacy of Sinovac and allegations of overpricing.

“I’m telling Gen. Galvez na ang game plan niya, sundin niya (follow his game plan). With or without the investigation, proceed and implement what we plan to do,” President Duterte said.

Duterte revealed that even before the pandemic worsened, he had appealed to Chinese President Xi Jinping regarding the vaccines. In response, the Chinese leader promised to help.

Long before na pumutok ito tumawag na ako kay President Xi Jinping. Tapos sabi ko wala kaming resources. We do not know how to make it. Please do not forget the Philippines,” Duterte said, recalling his conversation with Xi.

Just recently, China committed to provide the Philippines with 500,000 doses of Sinovac vaccines for free.

As for the corruption issue, President Duterte assured that the procurement process will go through the thorough review of Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez before the pricing and the documentary requirements are finalized. 

Duterte maintained that at this stage, the government is not allowed to speak of the pricing of the Sinovac vaccine as stated in the contract.

“They signed a memorandum of confidentiality. They cannot reveal the price kasi it will result in, na malugi ‘yung iba. — in some countries malugi sila, ‘yung ibang countries, hindi pare-pareho,” Duterte said.

He slammed critics who insist that there is corruption in the vaccine deal.

“Ito ayaw kong ‘yung pa-off tangent na mga tirada ninyo: ‘Bakit ba ito si Duterte Sinovac ng Sinovac?’ I-ano ninyo ang utak sa corruption-corruption. I don’t know why are you so occupied about corruption,” Duterte told critics. 

“Maghanap kayo hindi dito. Baka sa inyo. Baka sa departamento ninyo. Hindi dito sa akin, ” he added.

The Chief Executive also stressed that the government is not forcing anyone to receive and to purchase a particular brand of COVID-19 vaccine. Anyone who wants to procure vaccine other than Sinovac is free to do so just be responsible for the consequences.

“Almost everybody na kilala ko are scrambling to buy itong Pfizer. Well, to me I think it’s a good one. If you want to follow the experience of Norway, go ahead. Nobody will stop you,” he said referring to a report that 23 elderly patients died after receiving the Pfizer-made vaccine.

“We never prohibited anybody from buying from government. We are not — we are not selling, we are buying for the people, libre.” he said. MNP (with reports from Rosalie Coz)

No ‘Sara for President’ in 2022, no term extension —Pres. Duterte

Marje Pelayo   •   January 15, 2021

MANILA, Philippines — President Rodrigo Duterte said there are groups urging his daughter, Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte-Carpio, to run for president in 2022 but the Chief Executive expressed his opposition to the idea.

He stressed that the presidential seat is not for a woman to fill.

“My daughter inuudyok naman nila, sabi ko, ‘My daughter is not running,’” he said during the launch of the Metro Manila Skyway Stage 3 project in Quezon City on Thursday (January 14).

“I have told Inday not to run kasi naaawa ako sa dadaanan niya na dinaanan ko . Hindi ito pambabae. Alam mo, the emotional setup of a woman and a man is totally different. That is the sad story,” he said.

Rumors about the younger Duterte’s possible 2022 bid surfaced after a Pulse Asia survey conducted from November 23 to December 2, 2020 revealed that one in every four Filipinos expressed support for the presidential daughter’s bid for the presidency in the next election.

As for him, the Chief Executive said he will not accept any offer of term extension even if Congress moves to amend the Constitution for that matter.

On Wednesday (January 13) the House Committee on Constitutional Amendments began discussing the proposed change in the economic provisions of the 1987 Constitution.

Critics of the Duterte administration slammed such a move, claiming it is a front of Duterte allies to push for term extension and scrapping of term limits among politicians.

“Kaya nga hinihingi ko ang Congress, akala nila term extension ,” Duterte said.

“Maski ibigay mo sa akin on a silver platter, maski ibigay mo sa akin libre another 10 years, sabihin ko sa iyo, p***** i** mo, iyo na lang iyan. Tapos na ako,” the President said. MNP (with reports from Rosalie Coz)

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