Duterte seeks bilateral labor agreement with Russia for OFWs

Aileen Cerrudo   •   October 3, 2019   •   442

President Rodrigo Roa Duterte and Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev pose for posterity prior to the start of their bilateral meeting at the Prime Minister’s Office in Moscow on October 2, 2019. ROBINSON NIÑAL JR./PRESIDENTIAL PHOTO

President Rodrigo Duterte is eyeing to sign a bilateral labor agreement with Russia for the Overseas Filipino Workers (OFW) in the country.

Philippine Ambassador to Russia Carlos Sorreta said that if the agreement pushes through, Filipinos who wish to work in Russia will be granted “legal status.”

There are currently 10,000 Filipinos working in Russia but most of them don’t have legal documents.

“Kapag napirmahan iyan, maaring magkaroon na ng legal status iyong mga gustong mag-trabaho dito. Iba pang usapin iyong legalization o amnesty nung nandito na (Once it is signed, those who wish to work here will be granted legal status. However legalization or amnesty for [OFWs] already working here is a different matter),” Sorreta said.

Sorreta also added that agreements in the sectors of political consultation, health, research, science, and culture are also expected to be signed by the Philippine and Russian governments.

The Philippine government also aims to have energy cooperation with Russia.

Sorreta said there is a possibility that a natural gas plantation will be constructed in the Philippines as well as the possible adoption of nuclear energy.

Meanwhile, President Duterte is also set to speak at the Valdai forum to talk about the Philippine perspective in the world order.

“I think first of all the Philippines is in a very, very great position to speak about the eastern perspective in the world order because we have very deep ties with—for example, the west. Our traditions, our values are heavily dependent on western education,” said Sorreta.—AAC (with reports from Rosalie Coz)

Palace: No decision yet on extension of Luzon-wide ECQ

Marje Pelayo   •   April 21, 2020

MANILA, Philippines – President Rodrigo Duterte has yet to decide on whether to continue or modify the Luzon-wide enhanced community quarantine which will lapse on April 30.

Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said despite Monday’s discussions with health experts, congressional leaders and members of the Cabinet on the current state of the country in light of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic, the President did not give any final decision on the matter.

Roque said none of them recommended a total lockdown nor total lifting of the ECQ.

Ang opsyon na lumabas kahapon, ipagpatuloy o hindi naman kaya i-relax, hindi naman kaya completely itigil ang ECQ sa iba’t ibang lugar ng bansa. Depende sa dami ng kaso ng COVID-19,” explained Roque.

[Among the options that were raised yesterday were either to continue, to relax or to completely lift ECQ in different parts of the country. It will depend on the number of COVID-19 cases.]

Among the personalities who attended the meeting in Malacañang were former Health Secretaries Dr. Esperanza Cabral and Dr. Jaime Galvez-Tan together with public health experts Dr. Susan Mercado, Dr. Antony Leachon, and Dr. Mahar Lagmay, among others.

In the Philippines, most confirmed cases of COVID-19 were reported in Metro Manila and in nearby areas like Bulacan, Cavite-Laguna-Batangas-Rizal-Quezon (CALABARZON).

Metro cities like Cebu and Davao were also affected.

These major cities are also the country’s center of commerce and transportation, according.

Roque said the President is likely to decide once he received the complete recommendations of the National Task Force Against COVID-19 in collaboration with public health experts, and the World Health Organization (WHO) in line with the Luzon-wide ECQ. MNP (with details from Rosalie Coz)

Duterte will lift ECQ once antibody treatment for COVID-19 is available

Marje Pelayo   •   April 14, 2020

MANILA, Philippines – President Rodrigo Duterte in his late-night address on Monday (April 13) said the national government cannot conclude yet as to when the crisis on coronavirus disease (COVID-19) would end.

But as soon as an effective treatment or a vaccine against the disease is made available in the market, he said he would lift the lockdown order or the enhanced community quarantine (ECQ).

The Chief Executive stressed that while there is no proven cure yet for the virus, the ECQ is necessary to keep everyone at home and minimize the risk of getting infected with the deadly COVID-19.

Mayroon ng medisina o antibody ang isang giant pharmaceutical (company). Ang sabi by May baka they would start to market it, ipagbili na nila (A giant pharmaceutical company has introduced a medicine or an antibody. They say they plan to market it by May),” President Duterte said.

“Kung mayroon na niyan tapos makita ko na ginagamit na ng tao, ili-lift ko, tutal kung magkasakit kayo may antibodies naman tayo mabili (Once available and I see that it’s being used, I will lift (ECQ). So even if we get sick, there will be antibodies available that you can buy). I will lift the quarantine,” he added.

Presidential Spokesperson Secretary Harry Roque, meanwhile, assured that concerned Cabinet members have recommended to the President several options that the national government may undertake while waiting for an available vaccine for COVID-19.

It was also to answer queries as to the possibility of further extending or partially lifting the Luzon-wide ECQ after it lapses on April 30.

Roque said, the government is still weighing options based on two important considerations.

Humahanap po tayo ng balance. Iyong punto na hindi naman masasabing naging pabaya ang gobyerno na pangalagaan ang kalusugan laban sa COVID-19 at ang katunayan na kinakailangan namang magkaroon ng kabuhayan ang ating mga mamamayan (We are looking for a balance, one where it cannot be said that the national government had been negligent in protecting the public health against COVID-19, and a proof that the people need a source of livelihood),” Roque said. MNP (with details from Rosalie Coz)

Duterte to detain gov’t officials misusing COVID-19 aid fund

Aileen Cerrudo   •   March 31, 2020

President Rodrigo Duterte warned he will order the detention of government officials who will misuse the money in the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) aid fund.

During his televised speech on Monday (March 30), Duterte said the P200 billion worth of aid should be properly distributed to those affected by the COVID-19 threat. He also said that this is not the time for corruption.

“If I discover some embezzlement, some hoarding there, at dina-divert ninyo mga pagkain sa mga taong dapat hindi sa kanila (diverting food not meant for them), you better…I am not a cruel man, kung may report ang pulis (if there is a report from the police), I will order your detention hanggang matapos itong COVID-19 (until this COVID-19 ends),” he said.

Meanwhile, the President expressed his gratitude to the frontliners for their sacrifices and assured they will receive aid from the government.

Duterte said the government will provide needed personal protective equipment (PPE) and other medical supplies and devices.

“About 1 million medical protective items are being acquired right now. With the government and the private sector being together to purchase and produce the necessary quantities,” Duterte said. AAC (with reports from Rosalie Coz)

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