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Duterte to order nationwide ban on firecrackers

by Marje Pelayo   |   Posted on Friday, January 11th, 2019

Fire cracker seller | Photo courtesy: Cheryl Ravelo-Gagalac/Reuters

BULACAN, Philippines – Soon, there will be no firecrackers and fireworks to be allowed, for individual use or local government sponsored.

President Rodrigo Duterte on Thursday (January 10) said he will order a nationwide firecracker ban by issuing another executive order subject to review by the Department of Justice (DOJ).

“I will issue the executive order at this early para warning na doon sa lahat that I am banning firecracker all together. Wala yan sa gobyerno. Kasi sabihin man ng mga gago, “Kita mo itong gobyerno, kung sila ang magpa-firework pwede. Tayo hindi.” Ganyan ang Pilipino. Wala na, kagaya sa Davao, tahimik,” the President said during the turnover of housing units to several wounded-in-action (WIA) soldiers, wounded-in-police-operation (WIPO) police officers, and local government unit (LGU) beneficiaries at the Pleasant View Residences in San Jose Del Monte, Bulacan

“Bakit ako papayag? Maski isang bata lang mawalan ng kamay? So as a president, why would I allow it? Sarahan natin. That’s the last chapter,” he added.

The President also belied superstitious claims that firecrackers and fireworks drive away evil spirits.

“Iyang firecracker, do not believe na paalisin mo ang devil,” the President said.

Based on the latest count of the Department of Health (DOH), incidents of firecracker-related injuries dropped by 34% during the holiday period covering December 21, 2018 to January 5, 2019 as compared to the same period in 2017.

It was in June 20, 2017 when President Duterte signed executive order 28 that regulated the use of firecrackers and other pyrotechnic devices and only licensed individuals are allowed. The order also allowed community fireworks display only in designated places sponsored by the local government.

Meanwhile, UNTV has been a long-time advocate of firecracker ban especially during year-end festivities.

Kasi may ibang mga lugar, pinagmamagaling pa nila na gumagastos sila ng let’s say something like US$200,000. Gagastos ka halimbawa ng US$100,000. Magkano na iyon sa peso?” noted UNTV’s CEO, Kuya Daniel Razon.

“Anong ibig sabihin? Maraming nagugutom. Maraming mga hindi kumakain. Maraming nao-ospital na walang pampagamot. Maraming nangangailangan na pampa-dialysis. Maraming mga nangangailangan na makikita mo sa kalye na wala silang anoman (na) pinaputok lang naman natin,” he added.

“Hindi ba sa Davao, may total ban sila diyan na ginagawa? Ang sa atin kasi dapat ang pagpapaputok ng firecrackers, dapat iyan ang nage-execute, kung may i-a-allow man halimbawa…Gusto nila magpa-install, magpalagay. Kung may i-a-allow man iyong may technical know-how na nagse-set up talaga. Hindi dapat i-allow ang nagpapaputok ka ng solo-solo o whatever. Hindi,” Kuya Daniel concluded. – Marje Pelayo (with reports from Rosalie Coz)

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Foreigners joining SONA rally will face deportation, BI warns

by Marje Pelayo   |   Posted on Thursday, July 18th, 2019

FILE PHOTO: Different militant groups merged at Liwasan Bonifacio to air their concern in improving the workforce and better labor conditions. (Ramir Tilaon/PVI)

MANILA, Philippines — The Bureau of Immigration (BI) reminds foreigners to refrain from joining any political activity as they are not allowed under Philippine law.

On its Facebook page, the BI warned legal aliens that they may face deportation if they do so as political protests are expected during the fourth state of the nation address (SONA) of President Rodrigo Duterte on Monday (July 22).

“We are sending this warning to avoid a repeat of the cases wherein we had to deport foreign protesters,” BI Commissioner Jaime Morente said following incidents of deportation of foreign nationals who took part previous mass actions.

The BI Chief said foreigners who are visitors in the Philippines are not given political rights and privileges of Filipino citizens.

“Follow our laws. It is very simple and clear. Foreign visitors are not allowed to partake in political demonstrations. We allowed your stay in the Philippines, please respect our government and our laws,” he added.

Several foreign nationals have been deported for joining and supporting political events in the past.

The most prominent was Australian nun Patricia Fox who, in 2018, was denied renewal of missionary visa for violating the conditions of her stay and participating in partisan politics.

“If found guilty, we will blacklist these foreigners, effectively barring them from re-entering the Philippines,” Morente warned.

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Opposition groups vow peaceful demonstrations in Duterte’s 4th SONA

by Marje Pelayo   |   Posted on Wednesday, July 17th, 2019

Militant groups march with banners carrying message of peace in support of President Rodrigo Duterte during his first state of the nation address in 2016 | Courtesy: Kenji Hasegawa/Photoville International

MANILA, Philippines – Days before President Rodrigo Duterte’s fourth state of the nation address (SONA), the Quezon City Police District has met with representatives of different agencies and the local government as well as with groups of protesters to discuss the plan of events on Monday (July 22).

Police Major General Guillermo Eleazar said the demonstrators vowed to carry out peaceful assembly at designated protest areas on the day of the President’s SONA.

“Ituloy po natin ito dahil ang gusto nating mangyari nga, magkaroon ng tahimik at maayos na SONA na lahat naman po ng gusto nating mangyari base sa ating karapatan ay ating magagawa, (Let’s us accomplish this as all of us aspire for an orderly and peaceful SONA. This is what we want to accomplish based on our rights,)” Eleazar said.

Protesters’ assembly area will be at Agham Road, U.P. Diliman, and Tandang Sora Avenue.

All groups will then meet at Commonwealth Avenue.

The eastbound lane will be closed to give way to the groups’ program of activities starting from 3:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m.

Authorities are expecting about 15,000 individuals joining the rally on Monday.

Groups under United People’s SONA including Laban ng Masa, Kilusang Mayo Uno, Bagong Alyansang Makabayan, Pasang Masda and Movement Against Tyranny agreed with authorities to maintain peace and order during their assembly.

“Kaya po kami nandito (ay) para tiyakin na magiging maayos at ilang taon na rin po kaming nag-uusap ni General Eleazar. Mayroon na tayong tried-and-tested na formula,” said Bayan’s Secretary General Renato Reyes.

“We would like to assure everybody, as we have just assured our Philippine National Police, that our rally will definitely be a very, very peaceful and organized rally,” added Laban ng Masa national Coordinator Rasti Delizo.

Meanwhile, the Philippine National Police (PNP) said they are ready to provide security to the President in case he decides to go out and address the protesters like he did in 2017.

“Mas challenging for us kung lalapit pa siya doon, (That would be more challenging to us if he goes out),” Eleazar said.

“Kung kami ang tatanungin, mas maganda na hindi na lang siya pumunta roon in so far as security is concerned. Pero kung ano ang gagawin niya, nakahanda tayo doon, (If it were up to us, it would be better if he refrains from going out in so far as security is concerned. But if that’s what he wants, we are ready),” he added.

But if worse comes to worst, Eleazar said, they will be compelled to use force to disperse the rallyists if in case they sow violence during the event.

“That’s a violation already of our agreement,” he said.

After meeting with concerned groups, Eleazar will meet with the Presidential Security Group (PSG) next to discuss the implementation of a temporary signal jamming within the vicinity during the President’s SONA proper.

Meanwhile the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) is appealing to the protesters to maintain cleanliness in the protest area throughout the demonstration.

“Sana po maging responsable po tayo, (Let us be responsible),” appealed Jojo Garcia, MMDA general manager.

“Ang maaapektuhan niyan (ay ang) mga kababayan din natin, kapag iniwan niyo ‘yung kalat na ‘yan at iyan ay nagbara sa ating mga drainage, (If you leave your garbage there and clog the drainage, that would affect the general public),” he added.

Overall, the NCRPO will deploy a total of 15,000 cops in addition to the 9,000 policemen from the QCPD to secure the President’s SONA. – with details from Harlene Delgado

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Duterte will be the first to obey the ‘Anti-Bastos Law’ – Malacañang

by Marje Pelayo   |   Posted on Tuesday, July 16th, 2019

President Rodrigo Duterte | ACE MORANDANTE/PRESIDENTIAL PHOTO

MANILA, Philippines – Malacañang assured that President Rodrigo Duterte will be the first to obey the newly-signed Republic Act 11313 also known as the Safe Spaces Act or ‘Anti-Bastos Law’.

“Since the president signed that law, it means he recognizes the need for that law and since he is the chief enforcer of all the laws of the Philippines, he will be the first one to obey the law,” said Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo.

Signed on April 17, 2019, the new law imposes stiffer penalties to crimes “committed through any unwanted and uninvited sexual actions or remarks against any person regardless of the motive for committing such action or remarks.”

Among these acts include:

  • catcalling
  • stalking 
  • cyberstalking  
  • wolf-whistling 
  • leering
  • intrusive gazing 
  • online sexual harassment 
  • sexist slurs 
  • persistent unwanted comments on one’s appearance 
  • relentless requests for one’s personal details

Likewise, the law prevents gender-based sexual harassment such as use of words, gestures or actions that ridicule sexual orientation, identity and/or expression from occurring in streets, public places, online workplaces, and educational and training institutions.

Penalties range from P1,000 to P500,000 fine, community service, and imprisonment of six days up to six months.

President Duterte has been criticized many times for his controversial remarks against women, but Panelo said those were all jokes, and definitely not sexual harassment against women.

“That particular law is penal in nature, meaning criminal in nature. In other words, the subject offended party must be offended personally by an offender,” the Presidential Legal Counsel explained.

“Pero kung general na nagkukwento, mao-offend ka? Paano mo sasabihing ikaw ang tinutukoy noon? May problema ka doon. (But he is just telling a story, in general, will you be offended? How can you tell that he was referring to you? Do you have problems with that?) How can you even charge him with what? How did they offend you? Did I refer to you? Papaano ka na? Dismiss agad iyon (How about you then? [The case] will be dismissed right away). Crime is personal to the offender,” he added.

Panelo added that persons who think they were offended by the President are always free to file a complaint once the President steps down from office.

“Any person can sue him for that violation. If you argue that, well, he is immune. Well, you can sue him after the presidency. No one is above the law, including this president and he always tells us that,” Panelo concluded. – with reports from Rosalie Coz

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