Duterte signs Anti-Terrorism bill into law

Robie de Guzman   •   July 3, 2020   •   627

President Rodrigo Duterte

MANILA, Philippines – President Rodrigo Duterte has signed into law the proposed Anti-Terrorism bill, Malacañang said Friday.

Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque confirmed that the president signed the measure on Friday, July 3.

The Republic Act No. 11479 or the Anti-Terrorism Act of 2020 repeals the Human Security Act of 2007 and penalizes those who will propose, incite, conspire, participate in the planning, training, preparation and facilitation of a terrorist act; as well as those who will provide material support to terrorists, and recruit members in a terrorist organization.

Under the measure, anyone who threatens to commit terrorism, propose any terroristic acts or incite others to commit terrorism shall mete out a penalty of 12 years of imprisonment.

It also seeks to provide law enforcers the much-needed tools to protect the people from terrorism threat and, at the same time, safeguard the rights of those accused of the crime.

The measure was signed into law despite intense opposition from several sectors questioning its provisions, particularly the period of detention for suspected terrorists without judicial warrant, saying this may be abused by the authorities.

Roque said the piece of legislation underwent thorough study before it was enacted by the president.

“As we have said, the President, together with his legal team, took time to study this piece of legislation weighing the concerns of different stakeholders,” he said.

“The signing of the aforesaid law demonstrates our serious commitment to stamp out terrorism, which has long plagued the country and has caused unimaginable grief and horror to many of our people,” he added.

Duterte tells telcos to report LGUs delaying permit processing

Robie de Guzman   •   July 31, 2020

MANILA, Philippines – President Rodrigo Duterte on Friday said telecommunications companies should report local government units that are obstructing the building of additional cell towers by delaying the processing of permits.

Duterte made the statement in a televised address after Globe Telecom President and CEO Ernest Cu told the president about their permitting woes in order to build more cell sites and improve their services.

“We are suffering ho from many, many years of this, before your administation, many administrations, 25 to 29 permit umaabot ng walong buwan tapos marami pa ho kaming miscellaneous fees ho. Iba-ibang klaseng tower fee. Mayroon kaming special use permit,” Cu said.

Cu met with Duterte after the latter threatened during his State of the Nation Address to shut down or expropriate telcos if no improvements are made in their services before December.

“Kasi sabi ko, ‘pag hindi mo pa na-improve ‘yan, I will hang you in one of your towers. Sabi niya, “Mayor, you cannot do that because there is no tower. The local governments are all f—–g it up,” Duterte told Cu in jest.

After hearing Cu’s concerns, the chief executive urged telcos to issue a formal complaint against local government units that are stalling the processing of permits for additional communication towers.

He also told telcos to report LGUs to proper authorities.

“Isumbong niyo na lang ng diresto at ang order ko sa Cabinet ngayon is to really take the, ‘kung pinakamabigat, the most drastic measure that you can find, para magkaintindihan. This is my last mile,” he said.

Interior and Local Government Secretary Eduardo Año, in the same briefing, said that local government units have been ordered to shorten the process and reduce the time spent in producing permits to 16 to 20 days.

“Dati po kailangan pa ng Home-Owners Association Resolution, kailangan pa ng Sangguniang Bayan Resolution, wala na po ‘yon. 16 days to 20 days po ang target para y’ong lahat ng permit ay tatakbo,” he said.

The government has been pushing for the ease of doing business to streamline the process in government agencies.

Globe Telecom and PLDT Inc. earlier said they are currently working on expansion plans to improve the communication services in the country. – RRD (with details from Correspondent Asher Cadapan Jr.)

Duterte declares July 31 a regular holiday for Eid’l Adha

Robie de Guzman   •   July 30, 2020

MANILA, Philippines – President Rodrigo Duterte has declared July 31, Friday a regular holiday in observance of Eid’l Adha or the Feast of Sacrifice of the Muslim community.

Malacañang said Duterte made the declaration through Proclamation No. 985.

The date was chosen based on the recommendation of the National Commission on Muslim Filipinos.

The president also reminded the public that the observance of the event shall be subject to existing community quarantine and social distancing measures. – RRD (with details from Correspondent Rosalie Coz)

Duterte to announce new quarantine status before August 1 – Palace

Robie de Guzman   •   July 29, 2020

MANILA, Philippines – New community quarantine classifications that would take effect in Metro Manila and other parts of the country in August will be announced by President Rodrigo Duterte before Friday, Malacañang said.

In a televised briefing on Thursday, Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-MEID) is set to meet this week to discuss data on the case doubling rate of the coronavirus disease as well as the critical care utilization in the country which will be submitted by the Department of Health (DOH) on Wednesday.

Roque said the IATF will submit its recommendations for the approval of President Rodrigo Duterte once appeals by the local government units on the quarantine restrictions have been finalized.

Metro Manila is currently under general community quarantine (GCQ) as well as Laguna, Cavite, and Rizal, Lapu Lapu City, Mandaue City, Ormoc City, Southern Leyte, Talisay, Minglanilla, and Consolacion in Cebu Province, Zamboanga City, Butuan City, Agusan del Norte, and Basilan in Mindanao.

Cebu City is under enhanced community quarantine while the rest of the country are placed under the more relaxed modified GCQ with strict local action.

Roque also said that “major changes” may be implemented in the government’s response against novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19), adding that these changes will focus more on the policies to contain the public health crisis.

He said these changes may include massive testing, “invigorated” tracing, and creation of more quarantine facilities.

As of July 28, the Philippines has recorded a total of 83,673 coronavirus infections, 55,109 of which are active cases.

The DOH said 1,678 additional cases were reported based on the total tests done by 81 of the 91 operational laboratories.

The department likewise reported 173 new recoveries, bringing the total number of recovered patients to 26,617. The death toll also increased to 1,947 with four new fatalities. – RRD (with details from Correspondent Rosalie Coz)

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