Duterte on fish taking incident in Panatag Shoal: ‘It was barter’

Marje Pelayo   •   June 19, 2018   •   3459

FILE PHOTO: Fishermen sort their nets in the coastal town of Masinloc, Zambales, about 130 nautical miles from disputed Scarborough Shoal, in northern Philippines April 22, 2015.
REUTERS/ERIK DE CASTRO

 

PASAY CITY, Philippines – President Rodrigo Duterte, for the first time, has spoken on reports that Chinese Coast Guard personnel allegedly filched the fish catch of Filipino fishermen in Panatag Shoal.

In a speech during the 120th founding anniversary of the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) on Monday, June 18, the Chief Executive described the incident as a form of barter and not an outright seizure.

“It was a barter in exchange for the isda (fish). Ang problema iyong valuation. Hindi tayo nagkakaintindihan dito (The problem is valuation. We don’t understand each other). It was not an outright seizure,” explained the President.

Senator Risa Hontiveros slammed this statement of the President, saying he only seems brave when arresting poor, nighttime idlers but would not even do anything with Chinese vessels loitering in the Panatag Shoal.

Duterte, meanwhile, insisted his administration has a policy when it comes to addressing the maritime dispute. He reiterated that the Philippines has already filed a protest against China.

“If I threatened them or file a thousand protests which we did. Hindi lang natin ipinapublish iyong protesta natin (We just don’t publish our protests),” said the President.

The Chief Executive also clarified that the Woody Island is not among the territories being claimed by the Philippines where Chinese bombers were reportedly deployed.

“Woody island, it’s really somewhere, you know that. It’s too far away, it’s not even part of the islands that are claimed by the Philippines. It’s an island so far it’s not part of our territorial or economic zones,” Duterte explained.

Malacañang maintained that this is the stand of the President and it is not being influenced by any foreign leader.

“Sa tingin ko naman sa pananalita ng presidente, no one can say na merong nagpapatahimik sa presidente (The way the President speaks, no one can say that somebody is trying to keep him quiet), ” said Presidential Spokesperson Secretary Harry Roque. – Bernard Dadis | UNTV News & Rescue

Duterte relieves BI employees tagged in ‘pastillas scheme’

Aileen Cerrudo   •   February 20, 2020

President Rodrigo Duterte has relieved the officials and personnel of the Bureau of Immigration (BI) who are linked to the ‘pastillas scheme’.

The so-called ‘pastillas’ bribery scheme provides ‘VIP treatment’ to Chinese nationals who will pay P10,000 to Immigration officials.

According to Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo, charges are also expected to be filed against the involved personnel.

“President Rodrigo Roa Duterte has relieved all officials and employees of the Bureau of Immigration who are involved in the latest bribery scheme where they purportedly facilitate the entry into—and exit from—Philippine territory of foreigners working for Philippine offshore gaming operators (POGOs) for an unauthorized fee,” he said.

The Palace official did not mention the identities of the involved Immigration employees or how many were relieved from service.

“May nag-report, may nag-reklamo (Someone filed a report, complaint), and apparently the proof constitutes probable cause. That’s why they were sacked,” Panelo added.

Meanwhile, Panelo said President Rodrigo Duterte still trusts BI Chief Jaime Morente. However, there will be a follow-up Cabinet meeting to discuss the present situation in the Immigration Bureau.

“The present situation in the Bureau of Immigration, as well as how it is being run by Commissioner Jaime Morente, will be taken up in the next Cabinet meeting,” he said.—AAC (with reports from Rosalie Coz)

Duterte issues EO imposing medicine price cap

Aileen Cerrudo   •   February 18, 2020

President Rodrigo Duterte has issued an executive order that will impose price cap on medicines.

Based on Executive Order (EO) 104 or Maximum Drug Retail Price (MDRP) price regulations will be imposed through a maximum retail price (MRP) and maximum wholesale price (MWP) system.

“Access to affordable and quality drugs and medicines is now a reality under the Duterte administration. This is part of the real and lasting reform, which President Duterte has instituted in order that all Filipinos can live decent and comfortable lives,” according to Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo.

The EO is expected to lower the cost of medicines as much as 56 percent by May. In the first phase of MDRP, 87 medicines for hypertension, diabetes, heart disease, chronic lung diseases, major cancers, and other diseases have been included.

The Department of Health (DOH) has proposed 122 medicines and is reviewing to include more.

“DOH, together with the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) and stakeholders, was also tasked to review the price reduction of the remaining 35 drugs to finalize the list covered by the EO,” according to Health Secretary Francisco Duque III.

The DOH is set to release the implementing rules and regulations (IRR) of the said EO.

Duque also warned pharmaceutical companies or drug stores not abiding by the EO may face up to 15 years of imprisonment.—AAC (with reports from Aiko Miguel)

Duterte to visit tourist sites to boost tourism amid COVID-19 threat

Aileen Cerrudo   •   February 17, 2020

President Rodrigo Roa Duterte prepares to board a helicopter after gracing the inauguration of the Sangley Airport Development Project in Cavite City on February 15, 2020. ALBERT ALCAIN/PRESIDENTIAL PHOTO

President Rodrigo Duterte will visit popular tourist sites in the Philippines to promote local tourism amid the COVID-19 threat.

READ: It’s more fun in the Philippines: Duterte invites Filipinos to visit local tourism sites amid Covid-19 fears

The President may travel to Boracay, Cebu, and Bohol to attract more visitors and potentially make up for the losses of the current travel ban in China, Hong Kong, and Macau.

“He’s a magnet. His presence attracts people from attending an event,” according to Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo.

Department of Tourism (DOT) Usec. Art Boncato said they will schedule a trip as soon as possible.

“We’re of course lining up destinations like Boracay, Cebu for instance even Bohol, as the initial list of destinations for the president most probably visit within the next couple of weeks,” he said.

READ: Duterte asks local carriers, hotels to help boost PH tourism amid COVID-19 threat

Tourism industry stakeholders agreed to help boost domestic travel by offering discounted airfare and hotel rates following a meeting with President Duterte.

“Come with me and be my travel companion. I’ll be traveling around the Philippines. Pasyal tayo dito sa atin. Unahin natin ‘yung atin. Mabuhay ang Pilipino. Mabuhay ang turismo ng Pilipinas,” Duterte said on his video message.—AAC (with reports from Rosalie Coz)

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