‘How can we harass them, their boat is bigger’—rescued fisherman

Aileen Cerrudo   •   June 17, 2019   •   2291

One of the rescued fishermen has belied the statement of the Chinese Embassy in Manila claiming that the Chinese vessel was “besieged by 7 or 8 Filipino fishing boats.”

Justin Pacaul expressed dismay by the statement saying they almost lost their lives due to the incident.

“Bakit kami pa ang baliktarin na nang-harass sa kanila? Kung kami man mang-harass sa kanila hindi namin kakayanin, malaki bangka nila at marami sila sa amin (Why will they reverse [the story] saying we harassed them? If we did, we won’t be able to do it. Their boat is bigger and they outnumber us),” he said.

Department of Energy Secretary Alfonso Cusi said the Chinese vessel may not have intentionally rammed the Filipino vessel. He also added that there is a need to thoroughly review the incident since it involves another country.

“Ang masasabi natin this really is an accident that happened. Kasi sasabihin natin kung talagang babanggain, sabihin natin napakabulok naman nung babangga, daplis lang. Siyempre kung meant to kill, siyempre diretso mo na (What we can say, this is really an accident. Because if they intentionally rammed it, and let’s say the boat is dilapidated—it was just a scratch. Of course, if it is meant to kill they should have gone for it),” he said.

Meanwhile, the wives of the 22 fishermen were happy to see their husbands safely return home. However, they are now concerned about their livelihood.

“Hindi po namin alam kung paano namin masu-solusyunan pang araw-araw dahil wala na pong bangka na paglalautan sila (We do not know how we can solve our daily expenses since they no longer have a boat to sail),” according to Mailyn Pacaul, Justin’s wife.

Cecille Gregorio also worries about the livelihood of her husband.

“Masaya nang makita ko siya na okay naman. Ang tanging kinalulungkot namin ngayon, wala kaming kabuhayan ngayon. Wala siyang hanapbuhay (I am happy to see him safe. Our worry now is we don’t have any livelihood),” she said.(with reports from Sherwin Culubong)

PH 100% ready to host 2019 SEA Games – Cayetano

Robie de Guzman   •   October 18, 2019

MANILA, Philippines – House Speaker Alan Peter Cayetano, who also heads the Philippine Southeast Asian Games Organizing Committee (PHISGOC), announced that the country is now 100 percent ready to host the 30th Southeast Asian (SEA) Games in November.

After inspecting the sports complex in New Clark City in Capas, Tarlac on Wednesday, Cayetano said the facilities to be used for the event have been completed.

“We are 100% ready. Now ang challenges natin ay ‘yung day-to-day. Remember, you’ll have more than 20,000 people, you’ll have 56 sports and around 500 events, so, handling all of these, the traffic, ‘yung food, ‘yung pangangailangan ng athletes, angal ng mga coaches, tapos may mga royalty and head of states… so it’s really the 11 days.

The Philippines will host the SEA Games from November 30 to December 11, 2019. Around 12,000 athletes and their coaches, 1,000 international media members, 15,000 volunteers, and spectators, among others are expected to participate and watch the games.

It is said to be the biggest SEA Games yet as it features 56 sports and 530 events in 44 venues. Although these events will be conducted in various parts of Luzon, a bulk of these tournaments will be held in Metro Manila.

Cayetano said they are now finalizing details for various aspects of the event, including logistics and security, to ensure that all aspects of the SEA Games would be properly handled.

He added they have been conducting several rehearsals and walkthroughs to anticipate possible issues that may be encountered throughout the biennial meet.

“Ang nangyayari ngayon rehearse nang rehearse, practice nang practice, meet nang meet. Yung walkthrough importante kasi hindi mo naman makikita ang problema nang hindi muna dinadaanan,” Cayetano said.

“Sa airport lang eh, halos sabay sabay dadating yung mga delegates. Remember, we have to treat the athletes well at ayaw nating ma-accuse na na-hassle sila kaya naapektuhan ang performance nila,” he added.

He also noted that most hurdles faced during the preparations were caused by the budget delay but these have already been addressed through the initiative of the event sponsors and contributions in cash and in kind from private groups.

Cayetano also admitted that heavy traffic, especially in the venues of sporting events in Metro Manila, will be a big challenge during the SEA Games but he assured that the security group is working on a plan to ensure the comfort and convenience of all guests and participants.

They are also eyeing the possibility of declaring holidays in certain cities as well as the closing lanes in several roads to ease the volume of vehicles.

“We have to show the 10 other countries participating yung Filipino hospitality. On one sense we are competitors. We want to win, and win as one. We want to be the overall champion, but we want to win it fairly and squarely. So yung preparations, especially sa athletes, coaches and technical officials ay napaka-importante,” he said.

Indian president arrives in Manila for state visit

Aileen Cerrudo   •   October 18, 2019

Indian President Ram Nath Kovind (R) arrives at Manila International Airport in Manila, Philippines, 17 October 2019. The Indian head of state is in Manila on an official visit to mark the 70th anniversary of the establishment of India-Philippines bilateral relations. EPA-EFE/STR

Indian President Ram Nath Kovind arrived in the Philippines on Thursday evening for a state visit from October 17 to 21.

Kovind will visit Rizal park on Friday (October 18) for a wreath-laying ceremony and will formally meet President Rodrigo Duterte later in the afternoon for a welcome ceremony at Malacañan Palace.

The two leaders are expected to hold an expanded bilateral meeting and will witness the exchange of agreements between the two governments.

On Saturday (October 19), the Indian Chief Executive will meet with liver transplant patients as well as the beneficiaries of the Mahaveer Philippines Foundation, an organization that helps amputees.

Kovind will also attend the Philippine-India Business Conclave and the 4th Association of Southeast Asian Countries (ASEAN) Business Summit

On the last day of his visit, the Indian President will meet with the Indian Community in Taguig City.—AAC (with reports from Rosalie Coz)

Cayetano: Amid challenges, PH all set for SEA Games

Aileen Cerrudo   •   October 16, 2019

Amid challenges, House of Representatives (HOR) Speaker Alan Cayetano said the country is all set for the Southeast Asian Games (SEA Games) which will be held from November 30 to December 11.

“Overall, we are hundred percent ready. Now ang challenges natin ang day to day (Now, the challenges will be the day-to-day [activities]),” he said during a press conference on Wednesday (October 16) at New Clark City in Tarlac.

Cayetano along with other lawmakers, including Senator Bong Go and HOR’s Committee on Youth and Sports, conducted an inspection of the facility.

However, Cayetano admitted they will still encounter problems because of the budget cut from P7.5 billion to P5 billion this year.

The House Speaker said they can still make ends meet through volunteers and sponsors.

“Pinupunuan ng volunteers iyong pagkukulang natin sa mga paid workers (Volunteers are filling in for our shortcomings to the paid workers),” Cayetano said.

The SEA Games will feature 56 sports or around 500 events. Sixty percent of these events will be held at the New Clark City.—AAC (with reports from Vincent Arboleda)

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