Duterte OKs extension of claims distribution for rights abuse victims

Marje Pelayo   •   February 28, 2019   •   2409

Source: PCOO | Simeon Celi

MANILA, Philippines – President Rodrigo Duterte approved on Thursday (February 28) the extension of claims distribution for human rights victims under Marcos regime until the end of the year.

Executive Secretary Salvador Medialdea on Thursday confirmed that the President has approved Congress’ joint resolution extending the maintenance, availability and release of funds to all legitimate claimants of monetary reparations under R.A. 10368 or the Human Rights Victims Reparation and Recognition Act of 2013.

In May 2018, the now defunct Human Rights Victims Claims Board (HRVCB) approved and recognized only about 11,000 of all 75,000 applicants. However, six days before the expiration of the Board’s existence, it was only able to resolve 6,737 appeals.

In June 2018, the Land Bank of the Philippines reported that the Board’s account still has a balance of P792.629 million.

By June 28, 2018, the HRVCB account with the Lank Bank of the Philippines (LBP) reported a balance of P792.629 million.

But several approved claimants have reported that they have yet to encash their money and so measures to extend distribution of claims had been filed. – Marje Pelayo (with reports from Rosalie Coz)

Duterte satisfied with the dismantling of oligarchy in PH sans declaration of martial law

Aileen Cerrudo   •   July 14, 2020

President Rodrigo Duterte on Tuesday (July 14) said he is satisfied with the dismantling of oligarchy in the country without having to declare martial law.

In his speech during his visit to Jolo, Sulu, Duterte said his campaign against the oligarchy will be more bloody as his term ends in two years.

“I am very happy. Alam mo bakit? Sabi ko, ‘Without declaring martial law, I dismantled the oligarchy that controlled the economy of the Filipino people,'” he said.

Senator Kiko Pangilinan criticized Duterte’s statement, saying the supposed oligarchy problem was just made up to distract the public from the government’s poor response against the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) crisis.

“Inimbento lang ang problema na oligarchs para linlangin ang taumbayan dahil sa totoo lang wala silang maipakitang ni katiting na magandang resulta sa pagsugpo sa lalo pang kumakalat na COVID, sa gutom at sa kawalan ng trabaho ng milyon-milyon nating mga kababayan, he said in a statement.

Malacañang on the other hand clarified that Duterte was not referring to the owner of ABS-CBN Corporation but those who have questionable contracts with the government and are not paying their dues.

“He must be referring to oligarchs which he named and actually threatened to destroy but he reconsidered,” according to Roque.

Roque also said said the President has reconsidered his stance against companies including the Manila Water and Maynilad, owned by the Ayala Corporation, and MVP Group. Both companies did their part in the country’s fight against the COVID-19.

Meanwhile, the Palace official added that business tycoon, Lucio Tan has already paid his dues

“Unang-una Lucio Tan, nagbayad ng pagkakautang sa airport. Pangalawa, MVP at Ayala Group po dahil sa matindi nilang pagtulong sa panahon ng COVID,” said Roque. AAC (with reports from Rosalie Coz)

Duterte’s new martial law threat, a cover-up for failed COVID-19 response — CPP

Marje Pelayo   •   April 24, 2020

MANILA, Philippines – In response to President Rodrigo Duterte’s outburst over continued attacks against government forces, the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) on Friday (April 24) accused the Chief Executive of just using the current coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic to carry out his agenda of imposing martial law.

On its website, the communist group stressed that the President is again blaming its armed wing – the New People’s Army (NPA) – ‘to cover up’ his administration’s failure in responding to the current health crisis particularly the conduct of COVID-19 mass testing.

“This is a classic deflection tactic to draw away the people’s attention from the government’s inept, incompassionate and irresponsible actions in the face of the pandemic,” the group said.

The CPP said imposing martial law will not end the pandemic but only cause ‘greater hardship’ to the Filipino people.

The group alleged that the extension of the enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) that has been expanded to cover Visayas and Mindanao is martial law.

“There is now creeping nationwide martial law and the entire country is now effectively under the highhanded and control of the military and police,” the CPP noted.

READ: Duterte threatens to declare martial law if NPA attacks continue

The leftist group defended the NPA over the recent encounters with government troops saying the group was only responding to the attacks of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) since it has further stepped up its counterinsurgency operations.

“The armed clashes between the NPA and the AFP in the past days are a result of the attacks of the AFP and active defense of the NPA,” the group said.

“In fact, the AFP never went on ceasefire, even when Duterte ordered a suspension of offensive operations last March 19 to April 15, deploying troops to more than 350 barangays and 120 towns to conduct counterinsurgency, mounting at least 24 offensives and six aerial bombardments,” it added.

The CPP accused that such intensified counterinsurgency efforts by the AFP are aimed at preventing the NPA from conducting its own public health campaign in response to the COVID-19 crisis in areas where the Duterte government ‘does not exist’ and their efforts are warmly received.

Nevertheless, the party said it stands by the ceasefire order of its Central Committee that has been extended to April 30 to prioritize its own public health campaign in their villages.

While so doing: “All units of the NPA must, however, remain vigilant and on high alert against attacks of the AFP and ready to engage in battle,” the group concluded.

Chinese Embassy slams Hontiveros over reparation claims for damages in West Philippine Sea

Marje Pelayo   •   April 23, 2020

MANILA, Philippines – The Chinese Embassy did not take kindly Senator Risa Hontiveros’ claims that China owes the Philippines at least P200-B in reparations for the ecological damage it has caused the West Philippines Sea reef system during the past six years of its reclamation activities.

Hontiveros, a staunch critic of the Duterte administration, said such amount could be used to help affected families and improve the country’s healthcare system amid the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic.

Her claims, she said, was based on a study conducted by the University of the Philippines (UP) Marine Science Institute.

In response, the Chinese Embassy called such remarks by Hontiveros as ‘ridiculously absurd and irresponsible’ and was made “for the sole purpose of catching eyeballs and for selfish political gains.”

The Embassy added that “China and the Philippines are friendly neighbors across the sea” and so the latter commits “to continue to provide our support and assistance” to the Philippines.

Hontiveros, on the other hand, said: “It is more absurd and irresponsible to see that, indeed, in the middle of a global pandemic, China has continued to aggressively violate Philippine sovereignty in the region.”

Hontiveros added that China cannot claim to be a friendly ‘neighbor across the sea’ when it has continued its land reclamation activities in the West Philippine Sea.

“Friends help each other out, not occupy their islands and destroy their reefs,” the lady senator argued.

READ: DFA files two diplomatic protests against China

On Wednesday (April 22), the Philippines filed two diplomatic protest against China – one for its creation of new districts in the disputed territory in the WPS and for its alleged pointing of a radar gun at a Philippine Navy ship in Philippine waters, as confirmed by Foreign Affairs Teddy Locsin Jr. MNP (with inputs from Harlene Delgado)

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