Malacañang: Kaliwa Dam project may be cancelled if…

Marje Pelayo   •   October 28, 2019   •   512

A Filipino mother belonging to the indigenous Dumagat tribe carries a baby along a makeshift bridge over a river in the Sierra Madre mountain range, Quezon province, Philippines, 15 May 2019 (issued on 24 May 2019). EPA-EFE/FRANCIS R. MALASIG

MANILA, Philippines – The government may opt to abort the Kaliwa Dam project if it leads to violation of public interest, according to Malacañang.

Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo in a statement on Monday (October 28) said the government is in the process of reviewing the project plan after it received several complaints regarding its implementation.

“If the findings show that it is indeed disadvantageous and against the interest of the people there, then it can be rescinded,” Panelo noted.

Nevertheless, the Palace is confident that China would understand should the Philippines decide not to continue the construction of Kaliwa Dam.

Environmental groups and local officials are opposing the Kaliwa Dam project in Tanay, Rizal citing environmental destruction and displacement of Indigenous Peoples group in the area. – MNP (with details from Rosalie Coz)

Palace condemns NPA violation of ceasefire amid COVID-19 truce

Aileen Cerrudo   •   March 30, 2020

Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo

Malacañang has condemned the New People’s Army (NPA) for violating ceasefire amid the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) threat in the country.

The Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) reported a clash between the military and the NPA in Rodriguez, Rizal on Saturday (March 28). One soldier and one fighter of the NPA were reportedly killed during the encounter, while two more soldiers were injured.

“This armed attack by the NPA against our soldiers exposes the insincerity of the former in declaring a ceasefire as well as their blatant disregard of the welfare of the Filipino people they claim to fight for,” according to the statement of the Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo.

The Palace warned enemies of the state against violating the law.

“The constituted authorities are equipped and ready to repel any and all transgressions of law and crush any armed attack against our soldiers and civilians with ferocity and might,” Panelo said.

READ: Joma Sison concedes to UN’s call for a global ceasefire

The Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) has ordered all commands and units of the New People’s Army (NPA) to observe a nationwide ceasefire with the government amid the growing COVID-19 threat.

The said truce began on March 26 and supposed to last until April 15.

The United Nations (UN) called for a global ceasefire on March 23 so the world can focus on fighting the coronavirus pandemic. AAC

Palace disagrees with claims community quarantine is ineffective vs COVID-19

Robie de Guzman   •   March 30, 2020

Motorists get their temperatures checked at a police checkpoint during the enhanced community quarantine

MANILA, Philippines – Malacañang has dismissed criticisms that the enhanced community quarantine being enforced in the whole of Luzon is not effective in stopping the spread of novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) after the country’s number of confirmed infections have passed the 1,000 mark.

In a statement issued Sunday, March 29, Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo said the big increase in the number of COVID-19 cases is due to the availability of the supply of testing kits and the establishment of additional testing centers.

“Some quarters expressed the opinion that such increased number of COVID-19 cases shows that enhanced community quarantine or partial lockdown is ineffective in flattening the curve. We beg to disagree,” he said.

“As the manufacture and supply of testing kits become available, plus the establishment of additional COVID-19 testing centers, there are more people being tested now than before, necessarily the hitherto unknown cases of COVID-19 have surfaced hence the galloping increase in number,” he added.

Panelo said there could have been a “staggering” number of coronavirus cases if the government did not implement the enhanced community quarantine to restrict the movement of the public.

“Had the enhanced community quarantine or partial lockdown not been imposed, the number of the COVID-19 cases could have been staggering, for the simple reason that with unrestricted movement of the population, with each individual being a potential carrier, the coronavirus would have an untrammeled leap-frogging from one person to another,” he said.

As of Sunday, the Philippines has recorded a total of 1,418 confirmed coronavirus cases, with 71 deaths and 42 recoveries.

Panelo assured the public that the government is “doing everything to contain, if not permanently halt the spread of COVID-19 in the country.”

He also said that the problem in the supply of personal protective equipment has been addressed as donations from many sources have poured in, and local production is in full swing from garment manufacturers and local fashion designers.

“Medical supplies, alcohol, soap and other health items are coming in too from various donors, individuals, and private entities. The Bayanihan spirit has caught fire and everyone is chipping in a united front against this unseen deadly enemy,” Panelo said.

He also reiterated the government’s appeal for the public to strictly follow protocols on hygiene and physical and social distancing to prevent the spread of coronavirus.

Luzon is under enhanced community quarantine until April 12. – RRD (with details from Correspondent Rosalie Coz)

PSG personnel on lockdown in Malacañang until April 10

Marje Pelayo   •   March 27, 2020

MANILA, Philippines — All members of the Presidential Security Group (PSG) will be on self-quarantine from March 28 to April 10.

This means all PSG staff and their dependents will not be allowed to leave the Malacañang complex within the said period.

“For all PSG personnel, I directed them to go on self-quarantine to stay in their home, to stay in their houses, except, of course, when they are on duty if they are manning their posts and other official matters, but within the complex only. Nobody goes out,” ordered PSG Commander, Col. Jesus Durante.

The lockdown was prompted by reports that a number of personalities who visited the compound appeared to have been tested positive for coronavirus disease (COVID-19).

Due to the increased risk of COVID-19 infection, President Rodrigo Duterte preferred to work from inside the Palace thus strict protocols are being observed.

The President continues to be updated with the developments around the country through phone calls and video teleconferencing as recommended by the PSG.

Meanwhile, Durante clarified that the lockdown applies only to PSG personnel.

“Office of the President personnel is to maintain their skeleton workforce and shall be allowed to go to their respective offices within Malacañang complex subject to regular screening procedures,” Durante said. MNP (with details from Rosalie Coz)

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