Gov’t, NDF start fourth round of peace talks

admin   •   April 3, 2017   •   3369

Photo from KODAO PRODUCTIONS' special coverage of GRF-NDFP peace talks

Photo from KODAO PRODUCTIONS’ special coverage of GRP-NDFP peace talks

Representatives from the government peace panel and the National Democratic Front met for the continuation of the negotiations to attain lasting peace in the country.

The two parties will attempt to conclude and agree upon how to resolve the root of poverty in the country and a lasting ceasefire between the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) and the New People’s Army (NPA).

President Rodrigo Duterte on Sunday emphasized the four conditions to be agreed upon regarding the peace talks.

“One is that, there will be a document reduced in writing establishing the parameters of the peace talks. There must be a ceasefire signed in an official document with the participation of the Norway government who’s providing the good offices of the peace talks to be held there.

“Second is there must be no extortion or revolutionary tax. Third is that they cannot claim any piece of territory or a real estate here in the Republic of the Philippines.

“And the fourth, which I always forget, is to release all prisoners. Whether police, military, civilians or government employees, without it, there is are no peace talks,” he said.

President Duterte confirmed that he was able to talk with the government peace panel who are in the Netherlands for the peace negotiations.

“They asked for guidance… they asked, ‘Do you allow this?’ I said, ‘I don’t like that’. They said, ‘Mayor, is this acceptable?’ I said, ‘That’s not acceptable to me.’ They said, ‘This is it’… I said, ‘That’s not’… and my objections are contained in the four conditionalities that I just said to you,” said the President.

The fourth round of the formal peace talks is expected to run until April 6. The Norwegian government serves as the mediator. — Rosalie Coz | UNTV News & Rescue

Former AFP chief Abadia passes away

Robie de Guzman   •   January 10, 2022

MANILA, Philippines – Former Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) chief of staff General Lisandro Abadia has passed away, the military said Monday.

In a statement, the AFP extended its sincerest condolences to the family and friends of Abadia.

“General Abadia served as the CSAFP in the early ‘90s and has paved the way for the professionalization of the military and the return of meritocracy in its promotion system,” the AFP said.

“He also led the AFP Campaign Plan ‘Lambat Bitag’ that significantly decreased the strength of the communist terrorist group,” it added.

Abadia led the AFP from April 1991 to April 1994.

He was a member of the Philippine Military Academy Class of 1962.

The AFP said appropriate military honors will be provided in recognition of the former Chief of Staff’s legacy and sacrifices as a soldier and head of the military.

“Again, we send our deep condolences and sympathies to his family,” it said.

Defense chief on martial law rumors amid rising COVID-19 cases: Fake news

Robie de Guzman   •   January 7, 2022

MANILA, Philippines – Department of National Defense (DND) chief Delfin Lorenzana has denied rumors circulating on social media that the government will declare martial law or a total lockdown to address the rapidly growing new COVID-19 cases.

In a statement, Lorenzana said there is no compelling reason for President Rodrigo Duterte to declare martial law.

“Not true. Fake news. Definitely out of the picture. There is no compelling reason to declare martial law,” he said.

Rumors that Duterte will impose a total lockdown, barring everyone from going out of their homes to address the coronavirus surge have circulated on social media at the start of the week.

This week, the Philippines saw a rapid increase in the number of new infections, with 17,220 additional cases recorded on Thursday.

The sharp increase in the country’s COVID cases is believed to be caused by the local transmission of Omicron and Delta variants.

But Lorenzana pointed out that the latest tally is lower than the over 26,000 recorded in 2021.

He added that while highly transmissible, the Omicron variant is seen to be less aggressive than the Delta variant.

“The highest we had was 26,000+ last year. Today we have 17,220. This variant while more transmissible is less virulent than delta. Less people get seriously sick,” he said.

Due to rising cases, Metro Manila, Rizal, Cavite, Laguna, and 14 other areas in the country have been placed under COVID-19 Alert Level 3.

President Rodrigo Duterte have also directed local officials to restrict the movement of unvaccinated persons in a bid to protect them from contracting the virus.

Lorenzana, who also chairs the National Task Force against COVID-19, said the Inter-Agency Task Force is still evaluating on the possibility of implementing stricter measures to combat the COVID-19 surge. (with details from Correspondent Lea Ylagan)

Duterte orders barangay officials to restrict movement of unvaccinated persons

Robie de Guzman   •   January 7, 2022

MANILA, Philippines – President Rodrigo Duterte has directed barangay officials to limit the mobility of persons who are not yet vaccinated against COVID-19 amid rising cases in the country.

During his pre-taped public briefing aired late Thursday, Duterte told barangay officials to advise unvaccinated residents to just stay at home to avoid contracting the disease, especially its highly transmissible variants.

“I’m now giving orders to the barangay captains to look for those persons who are not vaccinated and just would request them or order them, if you may, to stay put,” he said.

“If he refuses, he goes out of the house and goes around in the community or maybe wherever magpunta, he can be restrained,” he added.

Being persons in authority, Duterte said barangay captains have the power to arrest “recalcitrant” persons if they are unvaccinated and refuse to be restrained or escorted to their homes, he argued.

At the same time, village chiefs can also mobilize civilians to help them with the subjugation of people who haven’t received COVID-19 shot from leaving their homes and loitering outdoors.

“Give them the task officially probably written and that converts their status from being a civilian but also a person in authority called upon to assist the persons in authority,” he said.

“They now become agents of a person in authority. That is my position,” he added.

The president, however, clarified that he was issuing the order as part of his responsibility to ensure public safety and well-being.

He also pointed out that unvaccinated people will not be immediately imprisoned, and persons in authority will have to talk to them about the dangers of leaving their homes.

“I hate to say this word pero — these words: being the President, ultimately I am responsible for the safety and well-being of every Filipino and that is why my orders are to restrain them,” he said.

“Hindi naman kaagad arestuhin. Paki-usap lang, eh sir hindi ka nagpabakuna then you put everybody in jeopardy. You go out, you get contaminated, dalhin mo. Ngayon, por pamilya, por bahay ang contamination,” he added.

Meanwhile, Duterte ordered the police to arrest and detain for investigation individuals involved in the illegal trade of COVID-19 drugs in the black market.

“I would insist for the police to arrest them and detain them for investigation. If it’s a serious offense, that will go about 34 hours of detention and in that time, you can investigate,” he said.

The president said that nobody will be spared, stressing that his order also covers agents and sellers or sales representatives, and even owners of medical infrastructures.

“Sabihin nila even it’s a matter of violation, ‘wala kami, ‘yung aming mga staff lang.’ Do not give me that s***. Hulihin ninyo at ikulong ninyo,” he said.

The unregulated sale of COVID-19 drugs is a serious offense because it victimizes those who need the medicine but cannot afford to buy due to very steep prices.

Duterte also asked the Department of Justice to assign fiscals who could conduct summary investigation and inquest of those involved in the prohibited trade. He also wants the police to investigate their areas of responsibility and to “solve the problem.”

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