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Extension of visa-free privilege for Filipinos in Taiwan still under study

by Marje Pelayo   |   Posted on Wednesday, June 12th, 2019

TAIWAN – Extension of visa-free treatment to Philippine passport holders is still under study by Taiwan’s Executive Yuan.

On Monday (June 10), Taiwan’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) said the island state is expected to extend visa-privileges to citizens of four countries — the Philippines, Brunei, Thailand and Russia — originally set to expire on July 31, 2019.

According to MOFA, the decision will depend on the result of the assessment on the program’s effectiveness throughout the trial year.

“The final decision will be announced by the Executive Yuan in due time,” it said.

Under the visa-free program, foreign nationals from the said four countries are allowed to enter Taiwan without visa and stay in the island for up to 14 days.

The relaxed visa system was launched by the Taiwan government in an effort to boost the number of tourist arrivals after a decline in tourists from mainland China.

According to the latest figure from Taiwan’s Tourism Bureau, tourist arrivals from the Philippines increased by 12.46 percent in the first four months of 2019 from a year earlier.

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Senators on West PH Sea collision: ‘A huge insult’ to Filipinos

by Aileen Cerrudo   |   Posted on Thursday, June 13th, 2019

Several senators have condemned the reported collision of a Chinese vessel and a Filipino vessel on Sunday (June 9), deeming it ‘a huge insult’ to Filipinos.

Sen. Joel Villanueva called the actions of the Chinese crew as irresponsible after they left the 22 Filipino crewmen in the West Philippine Sea.

“We strongly condemn the irresponsible actions of the Chinese vessel’s crew. Saving the lives of fellow seafarers should be top priority regardless of nationality or flag. The incident shows the need for greater accountability and enforcement of international laws in the West Philippine Sea,” he said in his statement.

READ: Locsin files diplomatic protest vs China after West PH Sea collision

Senators Franklin Drilon shares the same sentiment with Senator Panfilo Lacson. They are both questioning the friendly relationship between China and the Philippines.

Senator Lacson calls for a talk between the country’s leaders.

“This incident calls for a leader-to-leader talk. As I said, nothing short of serious punitive action by the Chinese government against those responsible can convince us of a real friendly relationship between our peoples,” he said.

According to Director, Institute for Maritime Affairs & Law of the Sea- University of the Philippines Prof. Jay Batongbacal this is not the first time a Chinese vessel hit another country’s fishing vessel.

“Marami itong beses na nangyari sa Vietnam binabangga ng mga Chinese vessel iyong mga Vietnamese fishing vessel, (It had occurred numerous times in Vietnam where a Chinese vessel hit a Vietnamese fishing vessel)” he said.

Batongbacal also seeks accountability for what happened. He said that the Filipino crewmen should be given compensation.

“Kung hindi tayo aalma, kung palalampasin natin ito baka ang susunod na diyan lahat ng ating mga mangingisda diyan sa West Philippine sea ay gaganyanin din, babanggain, iha-harass hanggang sa umalis na tayo sa West Philippine Sea, (If we will not protest, they might also target other fishermen in the West Philippine Sea. They might harass us until we leave the West Philippine Sea)” Batongbacal added.(with reports from Nel Maribojoc)

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PH Consulate in Hong Kong advises Pinoys to stay away from protests

by Aileen Cerrudo   |   Posted on Thursday, June 13th, 2019

Courtesy : Reuters

The Philippine Consulate has advised Filipinos in Hong Kong to stay away from the on-going protests against the proposed extradition law.

READ: Hong Kong lawmakers double down on extradition bill following massive protest

In a statement, the Philippine Consulate in Hong Kong said the protests are mainly outside the government central offices, particularly the Legislative Complex, in Admiralty and in Tamar Park.

“Should our nationals find themselves among the crowds of protesters, they should exercise extreme caution and vigilance in order to keep themselves safe from any isolated act of violence that might occur,” the statement reads.

The Consulate also advises Filipinos to be updated with the current security situation.

Meanwhile, the Consulate will continue to “monitor the situation and provide public advisories from time to time as necessary.”

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PH Independence Day: Robredo calls for equal opportunities for all Filipinos

by Robie de Guzman   |   Posted on Wednesday, June 12th, 2019

MANILA, Philippines – Vice President Leni Robredo on Wednesday called on the public to fight for equal opportunities for all Filipinos as the country celebrates the 121st Philippine Independence Day.

In her message, Robredo urged Filipinos to draw inspiration from forebearers who fought for the country’s freedom from colonizers.

“Sa paggunita natin ngayon ng ating kasarinlan, sana ay balikan natin kung paano, bilang isang lahi, ay pinili nating sundin ang sarili nating landas, magtayo ng sarili nating gobyerno at magtatag ng sariling estado,” Robredo said in her message released on Wednesday.

The Vice President underscored that in choosing freedom from foreign oppressors, Filipinos have the responsibility to establish a nation where everyone would have an opportunity to live peacefully and prosperously.

“Sa pagtutulak ng interes na ito, inako natin ang responsibilidad na gumawa ng isang lipunang malaya, makatarungan at makatao. Isang lipunan kung saan ang bawat Pilipino ay may oportunidad na mabuhay nang sagana at mapayapa,” she said.

“Hanggang sa araw na ito, nakaatang ang responsibilidad na ito sa bawat isa sa atin. Ito ang pinaglaban ng mga nauna sa atin at ito na rin ang tungkuling iniwan sa atin upang gampanan: ang masigurong nabubuhay tayo sa isang Pilipinas kung saan umaangat ang bawat isang mamamayan,” she added.

Robredo continued with: “Bilang mga lingkod bayan, nasa ating pananagutan ang pangarap na ito para sa bawat Pilipino: na lahat ay kabahagi at walang maiiwan; na lahat ay may pantay-pantay na oportunidad sa pag-unlad.”

In her message, she also gave honor to the sacrifices made by the country’s heroes.

“Kinikilala natin ang lahat ng nagsumikap at lumaban para matupad ang pangarap ng isang malayang Pilipinas, at para sa karapatan ng bawat Pilipinong panghawakan ang sarili niyang kinabulkasan,” Robredo said.

She also expressed hope that as Filipinos celebrate the country’s Independence Day, it would make them remember their love and responsibility for the Philippines and the things that could be attained through unity.

“Nawa’y pukawin ng pagdiriwang na ito ang isang malalim na pagmamahal para sa bayan, at maging paalala s abawat isa ng kung ano ang kaya nating marating sa ating pagbabayanihan,” she said.

Robredo led the 121st Independence Day rites at the Rizal Park on Wednesday, along with outgoing Manila Mayor Joseph Estrada.

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