Iceland hopes PH gov’t will work with UN drug war probe

Robie de Guzman   •   July 15, 2019   •   975

MANILA, Philippines – The government of Iceland expressed hope that the Philippines will cooperate with the investigation that would be conducted by the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) amid allegations of human rights violation in relation with the government’s war on illegal drugs.

Icelandic Foreign Miniser Gudlaugur Thor Thordarson made the statement in response to President Rodrigo Duterte’s comments, slamming the Nordic island nation after it endorsed a resolution seeking a comprehensive report on the human rights situation in the Philippines.

“The resolution is very modest, focusing on impartiality and cooperation with the U.N. to get clarity around the contested facts. I sincerely hope that this will eventually prompt Philippine authorities to work with the U.N.,” he said.

Last Friday (July 12), Duterte criticized Iceland, saying it does not understand the problems faced by the Philippines.

“Ano ang problema ng Iceland? Ice lang. That’s your problem you have too much ice and there is no clear day or night there. Parang alas kwatro ng hapon ang araw pati gabi. So you can understand why there is no crime, there is no policemen either, and they just go about eating ice… they don’t understand the social, economic, political problems of the Philippines,” he said in a speech during the 28th anniversary celebration of the Bureau of Jail Management and Penology in Camp Aguinaldo.

The UNHRC on Thursday adopted the Iceland-led resolution seeking for a comprehensive review on the alleged human rights violations under Duterte’s drug war.

Eighteen countries voted for the resolution, 14 rejected it, including the Philippines and China while 15 nations abstained.

With the adoption of the resolution, UN rights chief Michelle Bachelet was tasked to prepare a report on the Philippines’ human rights situation by June 2020.

The Philippine government has lambasted the passage of the resolution in a poll held in Geneva, Switzerland.

Malacañang earlier said the adoption of the ‘grotesquely one-sided’ resolution is an insult to the majority of Filipinos who expressed satisfaction on the kind of “forceful and effective” governance of Duterte.

READ: Palace slams UN resolution as ‘grotesquely one-sided’ and ‘insulting’

Foreign Affairs Secretary Teodoro Locsin also rejected the Iceland-led resolution and warned of “far-reaching consequences” for nations who supported the resolution.

Rights advocates have claimed that thousands of people have died since Duterte launched his campaign against illegal drugs in 2016.

The Philippine Commission on Human Rights earlier called on the government to fully cooperate with the UN probe “to show that it has nothing to hide and is willing to adhere to the global standards expected of a member of the UNHRC.” (with details from Rosalie Coz)

Defense chief lauds Duterte order on foreign vessels entering PH waters

Robie de Guzman   •   August 21, 2019

One of the anti-submarine vessels which docked at Pier 15 South Harbor, Manila.

MANILA, Philippines – Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana has lauded President Rodrigo Duterte’s move to require foreign vessels to first secure a clearance from the government before entering the Philippine waters.

“That is a very good development. At least now we have some authority to enforce our laws within our territorial waters,” Lorenzana said Tuesday.

Earlier, Duterte, through spokesman Salvador Panelo, issued a directive for all foreign vessels to provide notification and get clearance from proper government authority in advance of the actual passage. He also warned foreign vessels that Manila will either get compliance in a friendly manner or enforce it in an unfriendly manner.

READ: Duterte warns foreign ships to get clearance before entering PH waters

When asked to elaborate, Panelo explained that by saying ‘unfriendly,’ it means blocking entry to any foreign vessels intruding in the Philippine territory.

He, however, clarified that the President’s order didn’t mean an automatic use of force against intruders.

“By that it means that we will ask them to move out of the place, that’s unfriendly, because before we never said anything, we just allow them, we just make protest, but this time, we will tell them, please get out of our territorial waters,” Panelo said.

Duterte’s order came after reports of Chinese warships that allegedly entered the Philippine territory, particularly in Sibutu Strait in Tawi-Tawi, without permission from the government.

Lorenzana, for his part, could not say yet the “unfriendly option” the Philippine Military could use to ward of intruders into the country’s waters. The Defense chief said he will defer the matter to the Philippine Navy. (RRD with details from Correspondent Joan Nano)

Duterte tells gov’t workers to be like Ninoy Aquino; serve with honor, integrity

Robie de Guzman   •   August 21, 2019

Ninoy Aquino | By president.gov.ph

MANILA, Philippines – President Rodrigo Duterte on Wednesday hailed the sacrifice and the important role that the late former Senator Benigno “Ninoy” Aquino Jr. played in restoring the country’s democracy as the nation marks his 36th death anniversary.

In his message, Duterte said Aquino’s sacrifice altered the course of the nation’s history and still continues to ignite the spirt of heroism among Filipinos.

“Today, we remember Benigno S. Aquino Jr. and his important role in restoring our democratic institutions more than three decades ago. His sacrifice altered the course of our nation’s history and still continues to ignite the spirit of heroism among our people,” he said.

Aquino was a well-known opposition figure and a staunch critic of the then-President Ferdinand Marcos.

He was imprisoned for his beliefs during the Martial Law before he and his family moved to the United States in 1980 to seek medical treatment which eventually led to his self-imposed exile for three years.

Upon returning to the Philippines on August 21, 1983, he was shot and killed at the then Manila International Airport (now named after him) as he was escorted off the airplane.

Ninoy’s death led to protests that sparked snap presidential elections in 1986, which led to the 1986 EDSA Revolution that catapulted his wife, Cory Aquino to presidency.

Duterte also expressed hope that this “auspicious occasion” may remind us of what we had lost “so that we may remain committed to our solemn duty to safeguard the freedoms that we now enjoy.”

“I also hope that Ninoy’s remarkable life as a public servant will move my fellow government workers to serve with honor, integrity and purpose as well as inspire our youth to be of service to their country and fellowmen,” he added.

Duterte also acknowledged that even halfway into his six-year term, there is still much that has to be done to eradicate the problems that plagued the country even during Ninoy’s time.

“Despite our gains in these past three years, there is still a lot that needs to be done if we are to completely eradicate the poverty, corruption and injustice that had plagued our nation even during Ninoy’s time,” he said.

“Let his example guide us as we strive to uplift and protect the most vulnerable in our society and ensure that all Filipinos will enjoy the blessings of freedom, democracy and the rule of law,” he added.

Palace opposes Urban Dictionary definition of ‘Duterte’

Aileen Cerrudo   •   August 20, 2019

The Malacañang refuted the Urban Dictionary for defining ‘Duterte’ as ‘to scam, trick, or con.

During a press briefing on Tuesday (Aug 20), Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo will seek to counter the definition on the website.

“‘Duterte’ to us means honest, incorruptible, politically-willed person, courageous, selfless, honest, transparent and all good things…and other synonymous terms,” Panelo said.

The definition was uploaded by an unknown internet user one month ago. Urban Dictionary is crowd-sourced online dictionary for slang words and phrases.

Panelo suspects, the uploader might be a member of anti-Duterte groups.—AAC

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