Duterte says Filipino fishing boat was sideswiped, not rammed, in Recto Bank incident

Robie de Guzman   •   June 27, 2019   •   2028

The fishing vessel, F/B GEM-VIR1, that was hit by a suspected Chinese vessel at Recto Bank (Reed Bank) in the West Philippine Sea on June 9, 2019.

MANILA, Philippines – President Rodrigo Duterte on Wednesday said the Filipino fishing boat that figured in an allision incident with a Chinese boat near Recto Bank (also called Reed Bank) in the West Philippine Sea this month was not rammed, but sideswiped.

“As a matter of fact, halos kami ngayon are agreed na sideswipe. Tapsingan ba. Hindi talaga ‘yung binunggo. Kay kung binunggo, nasa ilalim na ‘yun. Nobody — kasi na tawag nila parang sasakyan, ‘yung pasahero tinamaan. Na-sideswipe. ‘Yun ang tawag diyan. Ngayon, sabihin mo sinadya. Then let us have an investigation,” Duterte said in a speech during the 122nd anniversary celebration of the Presidential Security Group (PSG) at the Malacañan park on Wednesday night.

Last June 9, twenty-two Filipino crew members drifted at sea after their boat sank when it was allegedly hit a Chinese vessel. They were later saved by a Vietnamese vessel.

Duterte reiterated that it can only be described as a little maritime incident and it was no reason to go to war against Beijing.

“But that is no reason to go to war. Hindi mo pwedeng sabihin na ipadala mo ‘yung grey ships mo. The grey ships, ‘yun ang warship. Bakit ko ipadala doon on a mere maritime [incident]? Wala namang saksakan nga, walang barilan. Nadisgrasya lang, iniwan,” he said.

The Philippine government has earlier accepted China’s offer to conduct a joint probe into the incident.

Select government agencies, including the Philippine Coast Guard, were earlier tasked to conduct further investigations into the incident.

Although a preliminary report was already handed by the said agencies, Duterte said he has yet to reveal its contents as he is still awaiting China’s official report on the incident.

“Tinatago ko ‘yung aking baraha. Meron ng Customs, meron ng Navy, tinatago ko for the final report kasi gusto ko tingnan ‘yung ano sa China,” he said. (with details from Rosalie Coz)

Duterte to recall cops, soldiers deployed in Taal eruption-hit areas

Robie de Guzman   •   January 29, 2020

MANILA, Philippines – President Rodrigo Duterte on Wednesday said he is eyeing to withdraw the members of the police and military forces deployed in areas affected by the eruption of Taal Volcano.

“I am withdrawing my police in Taal, they have been there for so many weeks already, puno na ang lungs nila ng abo,” Duterte said in a speech during the 69th Founding Anniversary of the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) in Quezon City.

The president said he will leave the local government units and police assigned in areas surrounding Taal Volcano to enforce the law as mandated by higher authorities.

The military and police sent some of their personnel to Batangas and nearby areas to help evacuate and secure residents who were fleeing their homes when Taal Volcano first belched thick smoke and ash column on January 12.

The Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (Phivolcs) recently downgraded Taal Volcano’s status to alert level 3, which prompted local authorities to allow residents from areas outside the seven-kilometer danger zone from the main crater to go back to their homes.

Alert level 3 means a decreased tendency towards hazardous eruption but Phivolcs said: “this should not be interpreted that the unrest has ceased or that the threat of a hazardous eruption has disappeared.” – RRD (with details from Correspondent Rosalie Coz)

Hundreds queue for masks in Shanghai as virus spreads

UNTV News   •   January 29, 2020

Hundreds in Shanghai were queuing on Wednesday (January 29) to buy protective face masks as fears over a deadly coronavirus originating from Wuhan grew in China.

The coronavirus outbreak, which started in the central city of Wuhan late last year, has killed 132 people, with nearly 6,000 infected in China.

In the commercial capital of Shanghai, the municipal market regulator has ordered the closure of a drugstore that sold sub-standard masks, the city government said.

“I left my place before 8 in the morning. I came by bus from Pudong District. I don’t think it’s good to queue here because it’s a large crowd here. I am worried about cross infection but I have no choice but queue here,” said a local resident Zhang Dahua.

There were rumours of food shortage but supermarkets in Shanghai showed a good supply of fruits, eggs and vegetables.

Almost all in Hubei province, which includes the city of Wuhan, is under virtual lockdown, while the number of confirmed cases rose by 1,459 to a total of 5,974.

The case number in China now exceeds the 5,327 who were infected in the country with the Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) coronavirus which killed about 800 people around the world in 2002-2003. (Reuters)

(Production: Xihao Jiang)

Two hospitals being built urgently for viral pneumonia patients in Wuhan

UNTV News   •   January 29, 2020

Two hospitals designed for the novel coronavirus pneumonia patients are being built urgently in Wuhan City, the center of the epidemic outbreak in central China’s Hubei Province.

After three days of non-stop construction, the land-leveling work has been finished for the Leishenshan Hospital, the second makeshift hospital under construction, and the supporting work, such as sewage treatment and power supply, is also going on.

The project of Leishenshan Hospital has been designed to be equipped with special medical sewage treatment facilities, so as to ensure that the medical sewage will not flow out and that the secondary pollution will be prevented.

The main body of the hospital consists of a medical isolation area and medical accommodation area, with a construction area of 30,000 square meters and an estimated 1,500 beds.

As of 14:00 on Tuesday, the frame of the first ward at Huoshenshan Hospital, the first hospital under construction, had already taken shape.

The foundation of the ward is supported with square steels of over 30 centimeters in height, thus reserving enough underground room for the future construction of water and electricity supply, and drainage pipes.

“Last night, the workers worked all through the night, and another shift of workers started to work at 02:00,” said Liu Fei, a worker of the Huoshenshan Hospital.

In view of the traffic and distribution of construction materials on the construction site, builders have optimized the construction plan and adopted the method of setting up the frame first and then assembling planks to improve construction efficiency.

In terms of power facilities in the ward, 14 of the 24 newly added box-type transformers have been installed and tested.

These two hospitals follow the building model of the Xiaotangshan Hospital in Beijing to use movable plank houses so that the construction can be completed quickly.

In the treatment and control of SARS, or Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome, that spread rapidly on the Chinese mainland in 2003, Beijing built the Xiaotangshan Hospital, a temporary medical center in the northern suburb of the city. REUTERS

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