IBP wants time to talk with fishermen in West PH Sea Kalikasan petition
by Robie de Guzman | Posted on Friday, July 12th, 2019
MANILA, Philippines – The Integrated Bar of the Philippines (IBP) on Friday said it will request the Supreme Court (SC) for time to talk with Zambales and Palawan fishermen involved in a petition for the West Philippine Sea.
The IBP issued the statement days after the government claimed fishermen involved in the suit have disowned the petition.
Solicitor General Jose Calida on Tuesday said 19 of the fishermen who were named as petitioners backed out from the case, saying they had no knowledge of the writ of kalikasan suit seeking for the protection of the West Philippine sea.
A writ of kalikasan is a legal remedy available to persons or groups whose right to a balanced and healthy ecology is threatened or violated.
He added that apart from the 19 who allegedly recanted their statements, 13 of the total 37 petitioners did not sign their affidavits while 24 signed but had no identification.
Due to Calida’s claims, the oral arguments were suspended and Chief Justice Lucas Bersamin called for a closed-door meeting of the parties.
After the conference, Calida said the government and the petitioners’ lawyers agreed that the case be dismissed. Both the petitioners’ side and the Supreme court did not confirm Calida’s claim.
In a statement, the IBP said lawyers handling the case will seek time to confer with the fishermen.
“Considering the new allegations by the Office of the Solicitor General, the handling lawyers will request the Supreme Court for time to confer with the fishermen in Zambales and in Palawan so that they can more appropriately act on the developments in the case,” the IBP said in a statement signed by its president, Domingo Egon Cayosa.
“The IBP stands firmly with the fishermen, IBP chapters, and the lawyers involved in the petition for a writ of kalikasan filed before the Supreme Court,” it added.
The IBP also reiterated its advocacy for the “enforcement of environmental laws, protection of the rights and welfare of fisherfolks and securing the territory and patrimony of our country in the West Philippine Sea.”
by Robie de Guzman | Posted on Saturday, July 20th, 2019
MANILA, Philippines – Ahead of President Rodrigo Duterte’s fourth State of the Nation Address (SONA) on July 22, some senators have already picked out certain topics that they want the Chief Executive to discuss in his speech.
According to Senator Sonny Angara, he expects the president to outline his plans not only for his remaining three years in office but for the next decade.
In particular, Angara said the 2020 national budget should lay down the framework for the 10-year development plan for the country.
“This should result in the next administration building on what the President has achieved and what he started during his term and not the perennial focus on going after its predecessors,” he said in a statement.
The lawmaker added he would also like to hear the president fulfilling his promise of raising the teachers’ salaries, as well as his plan on creating more jobs and livelihood opportunities for Filipino workers.
“We want to see the creation of more jobs and opportunities for the Filipino people so that they are able to improve their lives and no longer see the need to go abroad in order to make ends meet,” Angara said.
Meanwhile, Senator Joel Villanueva said he wants to hear during the president’s SONA the administration’s commitment to further protect and promote the interests of Filipino workers.
Villanueva said he is particularly eager to find out the outcome of the Security of Tenure bill, popularly known as the “End Endo” bill, which seeks to put an end to the practice of illegal labor contracting.
“The bill adheres to the Constitution, which mandates the regulation of relations between workers and employers, recognizing the right of labor to its just share in the fruits of production and the right of enterprises to reasonable returns on investments, and to expansion and growth,” he said.
“Thus, the Security of Tenure bill manages to strike a balance between contrasting interests of labor and employers,” he added.
For Senator Aquilino ‘Koko’ Pimentel, he wants to hear about the president’s priority bills, as well as his view on the surge of illegal foreign workers in the country.
“His priorities for one year usually, and then priorities for the last second half of his term,” he said.
Aside from labor issues, Senator Risa Hontiveros also expects the president to tackle in his speech the issue on the West Philippine Sea and the country’s assertion of Philippine sovereignty in the disputed waters.
“Wish ko lang na sasabihin ni Presidente na sa wakas after 3 years ay i-champion na niya, itataguyod yung tagumpay natin vis a vis China sa West Philippine Sea,” she said.
Duterte has been facing criticisms over his stance on China’s continued trawling in the country’s exclusive economic zone.
He earlier stressed that his position on allowing Chinese fishermen access to Philippine waters was not a violation of the Philippine constitution. (with details from Nel Maribojoc)
by Robie de Guzman | Posted on Friday, July 19th, 2019
MANILA, Philippines – The Integrated Bar of the Philippines (IBP) said on Friday that it has filed a motion to withdraw its petition for Writ of Kalikasan, seeking for the protection of the environment in the West Philippine Sea.
In its motion, the IBP asked the Supreme Court to grant its request to withdraw the suit for eight of the petitioners, including the organization itself.
“With due regard to the plight and position of the fishermen-petitioners, the views and recommendations of the handling lawyers and the IBP Chapters involved, and the matters raised and guidance by the Honorable Supreme Court, a motion has been filed for the withdrawal or discharge of the counsels for the fishermen and for the withdrawal of the petition,” the IBP said in a statement, signed by its president Domingo Egon Cayosa.
The IBP’s motion is the latest in a series of case updates that followed after Solicitor General Jose Calida claimed last week that several Zambales and Palawan fishermen who were named as petitioners backed out from the case.
Petitioners of the case originally sought the Court to order the Duterte administration to stop neglecting its duty to protect the Ayungin Shoal, Panatag Shoal and Panganiban Reef, following reports of Chinese fishers harvesting endangered marine species in the area.
But Calida claimed, 19 fishermen have denied knowledge of the case, 13 of the total 37 petitioners also did not sign their affidavits while 24 signed but had no identification.
Calida’s claims led to the suspension of the oral arguments and Chief Justice Lucas Bersamin calling for a closed-door meeting of the parties.
After the conference, Calida said the government and the petitioners’ lawyers agreed that the case be dismissed.
The petitioners’ side did not confirm Calida’s statement but requested the high court to give them time to confer with their clients on the developments of the case.
by Robie de Guzman | Posted on Thursday, July 18th, 2019
MANILA, Philippines – The Philippine Coast Guard on Wednesday said its “most modern” patrol ship has been launched by shipbuilder OCEA in France.
The PCG said the 83.6-meter long offshore patrol vessel, which will be commissioned as Barko Republika ng Pilipinas (BRP) Gabriela Silang, will join the service in December.
The ship will be used to patrol the West Philippine Sea, Benham Rise and other anti-piracy and terrorism campaigns in Southern Philippines.
The vessel is equipped with a mission management system (MMS) to conduct maritime surveillance, law enforcement, situation awareness and exchange of information with other units and general coastal patrol of territorial waters.
It is also capable of responding to marine environmental pollution such as oil spills and has a room that can treat persons rescued from the sea.
The new vessel can accommodate 64 crew onboard and has a maximum speed of 20 knots, and an endurance that will take up to 22 days long. It also has two onboard 9-meter Rigid Hull Inflatable Boats with speed of 40 knots.
Its main engine is a hybrid engine of diesel-electric type, which is the first vessel under PCG to utilize diesel-electric engine.
The PCG said 18 personnel, who will serve as the sailing crew, are set to travel to France in September to start training in manning the vessel. The vessel and the sailing crew are expected to arrive in Manila in the first week of December.
The offshore patrol vessel was made under a financing agreement with the BNP Paribas (France). The contract, signed in 2017, costs P5.6 billion (€97,032,507).
Included in this project are the four 24-meter Fast Patrol Boats that were already delivered last year.
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