Duterte ‘tolerating’ Chinese fishing in PH’s EEZ draws flak

Marje Pelayo   •   June 26, 2019   •   1957

MANILA, Philippines – Hoping to get the government to side with them, the 22 fishermen who were abandoned at sea by Chinese crewmen in the Recto Bank maritime incident have asked President Rodrigo Duterte to bar Chinese fishermen from fishing within the Philippines’ exclusive economic zone (EEZ).

A country’s exclusive economic zone (EEZ) is an area which is beyond, and is adjacent to, a given country’s territorial seas. It extends no more than 200 nautical miles out from a country’s own coastlines.

In case of the Philippines, any marine resource available within a country’s EEZ is for the exclusive use and benefit of the Philippine government and the Filipino people.

The controversial Recto or Reed Bank is within the Philippine’s EEZ.

It is rich in marine resources that is why the so called “Recto 22” wants the government to insist the Philippine’s exclusive rights in the area.

However, President Duterte said he will not bar the Chinese from fishing in Recto Bank “for friendship’s sake” when asked if he would prevent the Chinese from doing so.

“I don’t think that China would do that. Why? Because we’re friends. And they are of the same view that that should not result in any bloody confrontation,” the President told reporters on June 26.

Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo confirmed the President’s statement.

“Kasi friends nga daw. Kung friends, ‘di magbibigayan kayo, (Because we’re friends. Friends share with each other), Panelo said.

But Supreme Court Senior Associate Justice Antonio Carpio said the government cannot allow Chinese fishermen to fish in the Philippine’s EEZ because “it will violate the Constitution.”

Carpio explained: “The Constitution mandates, The State shall protect the nation’s marine wealth in its exclusive economic zone, and reserve its use and enjoyment exclusively to Filipino citizens.”

He added that the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) has the specific task to be “the protector of the people” as mandated by the Constitution and to “secure the sovereignty of the state and the integrity of the national territory.”

“The Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces is the President, who has the constitutional duty to direct the Armed Forces is the President, who has the constitutional duty to direct the Armed Forces to protect the nation’s marine wealth in its Exclusive Economic Zone,” Carpio explained further.

Senator Panfilo Lacson, meanwhile, pointed out in his tweet that the word ‘friend’ is not stated in the Constitution criticizing the President’s remarks allowing the Chinese to enjoy resources in the country’ archipelagic waters.

Professor Jay Batongbacal, for his part, said the President’s stance on the issue is tantamount to ‘renouncing’ the Philippine’s victory against China granted by the Permanent Court of Arbitration in 2016 which ruled in favor of the Philippines as having the sovereign rights over the disputed territory in the West Philippine Sea.

“This is how the Philippines surrenders and renounces it victory in the Philippine v. China arbitration,” the Maritime Law Expert concluded. – With details from Rosalie Coz

COVID-19 cases in Phl jump to 707; death toll at 45

Marje Pelayo   •   March 26, 2020

MANILA, Philippines – The Department of Health (DOH) on Thursday (March 26) reported an additional 71 new cases of coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in the country.

This brings the total number of confirmed COVID-19 cases in the Philippines to 707.

Meanwhile, two more patients have recovered, bringing the total to 28.

However, the Department confirmed seven additional deaths, bringing the nationwide death toll to 45.

Health Secretary Francisco Duque III in a live broadcast Thursday afternoon also announced that the country has recorded 657 patients under investigation (PUIs) who are confined in hospitals.

The number of persons under monitoring (PUM) or under self-quarantine, on the other hand, is at 6,321.

The DOH is planning to establish community quarantine facilities to accommodate more PUIs and PUMs as a measure to decongest the major hospitals overwhelmed by the surge of COVID-19 patients.

The DOH added that these community quarantine facilities will also house COVID-19 recoveries who need further medical observation.

Among those eyed for community quarantine facilities are schools and evacuation centers.

“Sa ngayon nga po tayo ay nakikipag-usap na sa pamunuan ng Quezon Institute, sa Philippine Red Cross para makapag-umpisa tayo ng isang malaking community quarantine facility kung saan pwede po nating ilagak ang ating mga mino-monitor,” said Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire.

(As of now, we are coordinating with the management of the Quezon Institute and the Philippine Red Cross to start with the establishment of a big community quarantine facility where we can house patients who need monitoring.)

“Ang layunin po ng ating gobyerno ay para hindi maghalo ang ating mga (The purpose of our government is to separate) severe at critical with mild and asymptomatic and also, of course, to decongest our hospitals,” she added.

Meanwhile, the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) has signified its offer of more than 100 evacuation centers across the country to be converted into quarantine facilities.

The DOH is now forming the necessary protocols for the operations of the proposed community quarantine facilities. MNP (with inputs from Aiko Miguel)

Gov’t seeks single facility for COVID-19 patients

Aileen Cerrudo   •   March 17, 2020

The government is looking for a single facility to house confirmed coronavirus disease (COVID-19) patients to prevent overcrowding in hospitals.

On Monday (March 16), Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo said the recommendation will be discussed in a meeting with the members of the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases.

“We are recommending that there should be only one place where we can put all those confirmed cases,” he said.

Panelo said this would lessen the risk of occupational transmission of the virus. He said placing patients in one or two facilities may help in controlling the spread of the disease.

“Baka maubusan tayo ng ospital na paglalagayan (We might run out of hospitals for the patients); and not only that, we are exposing our health workers to the same infection,” he said. — AAC

PH’s COVID-19 cases hit 111

UNTV News   •   March 14, 2020

The Department of Health on Saturday night (March 14) reported 13 additional cases of COVID-19 in the country.

Cases PH99-PH111 were confirmed to have the virus on March 13, bringing the country’s total number of cases to 111.

The DOH is currently validating information of the new cases and assured to release details to the public as soon as it is available.

Health Secretary Francisco Duque III has called for the public’s cooperation and appealed on behalf of the frontline health workers and medical personnel who are “risking their safety to respond to the needs of the public.”

“All we ask is for you to do your part: practice preventive measures, go on strict home quarantine if you are experiencing mild symptoms,” Duque said.

“At this most trying time, our strongest weapon as a nation is Vigilance, Preparedness, and Solidarity. We are seeing these values at play now as DOH is receiving an influx of support from individuals and organizations who are willing to render assistance in any way they can. Let this be a reminder for all Filipinos to step up to the plate and heed the call for cooperation,” he added.

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