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Malacañang: Renaming the Philippines requires change in the Constitution

by Marje Pelayo   |   Posted on Tuesday, February 12th, 2019

MANILA, Philippines – Changing the name of the Philippines will require a change in the Constitution.

This was noted by Malacañang on Tuesday (February 12) when the issue on renaming the Philippines resurfaced after President Rodrigo Duterte hinted that he is amenable to using “Maharlika” as the country’s new name in the future.

During his speech in Maguindanao on Monday (February 11), President Duterte expressed his agreement to the late President Ferdinand Marcos’ proposal of changing the country’s name to Maharlika as it better suits the Filipinos’ native roots.

“The Philippines was discovered by Magellan using the money of King Philip. Okay na iyan. Balang araw palitan natin. Actually, tama si Marcos. Gusto niyang palitan — Maharlika,” President Duterte said in his speech.

In the 16th century, the Philippines was named ‘Las Islas Filipinas’
by Spanish explorer Ruy Lopez de Villalobos in honor of King Philip II of Spain when the country was still a Spanish colony.

It officially became the Republic of the Philippines in 1946 when the United States of America relinquished its sovereignty over the Philippine islands.

In 1978, former Sen. Eddie Ilarde filed Parliamentary Bill 195 which sought to change the name of the Philippines to Maharlika, a Tagalog word attributed to nobility and royalty.

Netizens took to social media to post their views on the matter:

“Tama lang na Republic of #Maharlika. Royal Malayan blood ang dating. Pag Philippines kasi, we are reminded of being conquered,” wrote Twitter user @millionairex7s.

“Agree with changing Pinas’ name, but #maharlika? Too abstract a word for me. I can’t relate to it. Maybe ‘Republic of Malay’ — that I can live with,” said @visayasKami.

Others just straight up oppose the idea of changing names.

“From Republic of the Philippines to Republic of Maharlika??? How about a ‘no’,” said @sanandresmariel.

“OK, I support the pres, but dude, it’s not the right time to change that. We should focus on more important things,” wrote @avbxiii.

Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo clarified, however, that though the President was just aiming at opening a discussion on the matter, the proposal would need a charter change.

“Mas preferred siguro kung constitutional amendment para wala nang question,” he said.

There had been many attempts to change the name of the Philippines in previous Congresses but not a single legislation prospered. — Marje Pelayo (with reports from Mon Jocson)

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Palace says PH can’t invoke US defense treaty in Recto Bank incident

by Robie de Guzman   |   Posted on Wednesday, June 19th, 2019

MANILA, Philippines – The Philippines cannot invoke its Mutual Defense Treaty (MDT) with the United States (US) in the ramming incident involving Filipino and Chinese fishing vessels near Recto Bank (also called Reed Bank) in the West Philippine Sea, a Malacañang official said on Tuesday.

Cabinet Secretary Karlo Nograles explained that the mechanism of the MDT cannot be triggered in this incident because it does not constitute an armed attack.

“MDT can only be used if there is military act, aggressive armed attack, on a public vessel, on troops, on an airship,” Nograles said.

Nograles made the statement in response to Senator Panfilo Lacson’s suggestion to invoke the treaty as a last resort should the tension escalate between the Philippines and China over the Recto Bank incident.

Lacson earlier said the country can present to the US evidence about the incident, and invoking the treaty would justify its presence in the disputed waters to prevent further hostilities.

However, Nograles said that is not how the MDT works.

“If it is not a military attack, then I don’t think that mechanism is available. We’re not even going to start about that,” he said.

The MDT, signed by the Philippines and U.S. in 1951, states that both countries would assist each other when either one is attacked by a foreign force.

The treaty’s Article IV states that an armed attack against any of the parties “declares that it would act to meet the common dangers in accordance with its constitutional processes.”

Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo, on the other hand, said that invoking the treaty with the US would be “jumping to conclusions” because the incident has yet to be considered an aggression.

“Hindi pa nga natin alam nga iyong ano, facts eh. Kung sinalakay tayo… hindi ba sabi ko, ‘Then that treaty will be in operation.’ But we don’t know the facts yet,” he said.

Duterte on Monday described the sinking as a maritime accident, which according to Panelo, was his way of trying to be cautious so as not to blow the issue into an international crisis.

Malacañang said that concerned investigating bodies are still conducting inquiry and fact-finding into the issue, headed by the Maritime Authority (Marina) and the Philippine Coast Guard (PCG).

READ: Marina, PCG to conduct further probe on West PH sea collision

Agriculture Secretary Manny Piñol and Energy Secretary Alfonso Cusi would lead the government response primarily focused on assisting the 22 Filipino crewmen who were rescued from the sinking boat.

The Palace earlier said that the Philippine government would wait for the investigation to be concluded before taking any action. (with details from Rosalie Coz)

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Gov’t to issue guidelines on foreigners seeking jobs in PH

by Robie de Guzman   |   Posted on Tuesday, June 11th, 2019

Foreign employees working at the Manila Metro Rail Transit System (MRT)

MANILA, Philippines – The government of President Rodrigo Duterte is eyeing to issue a new set of guidelines for foreign nationals intending to work in the Philippines, Malacañang said on Tuesday (June 11).

Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo said the issuance of new rules for foreign workers was discussed during their Cabinet meeting on Monday after the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) reported on the status of foreign employees in the country.

Panelo said the joint memorandum circular (JMC) will be issued by the Department of Foreign Affairs, Department of Finance, Department of Justice, Bureau of Internal revenue, Department of Environment and Natural Resources, Professional Regulation Commission, Bureau of Immigration and the National Intelligence Coordinating Agency.

He said the issuance of the JMC is requested to harmonize policy guidelines for foreign nationals seeking jobs in the Philippines.

“Through this JMC, foreign nationals shall first secure an alien employment permit, a working visa, and a tax identification number before they can be permitted to work in the country,” the presidential spokesman said.

The top foreign nationals working in the country, according to Panelo, are Chinese, Japanese and Koreans. They are mostly working in administrative support, offshore gaming operations, and business process outsourcing.

The Palace official’s statement follows concerns raised by several lawmakers over the surge of Chinese workers in the Philippines who allegedly do not have legal work permits and have entered the country using tourist visas.

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Palace: Pilot testing of PH ID system to start in September

by Robie de Guzman   |   Posted on Tuesday, June 11th, 2019

MANILA, Philippines – The pilot testing of the national identification system will begin on September, Malacañang said on Tuesday.

Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo said that during the Cabinet meeting on Monday, Socioeconomic Planning Secretary Ernesto Pernia and National Statistician Dennis Mapa reported about the implementation of the Philippine ID system (PhilSys).

“There will be a pilot testing which will run from September to December 2019 to register a substantial number of Filipinos nationwide,” Panelo said in a statement.

“By the end of the President’s term in 2022, one hundred seven million Filipinos are targeted to be registered,” he added.

The Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) earlier said the registration for the national ID system will be open to Filipinos and resident aliens aged five and above. Indigents, persons with disabilities and government workers will be the first to be registered.

READ: PSA assures national ID for 6M Filipinos

President Rodrigo Duterte signed the Republic Act 11055 or the PhilSys Act in August last year. The law, which covers Filipino citizens and foreign residents, seeks to harmonize, integrate and interconnect the redundant government-issued IDs by establishing a unified ID system.

The national ID will contain the cardholder’s PhilSys number and full name as well as facial image, sex, date of birth, blood type, and address; biometric information, including fingerprints, iris scan, will also be in the card.

Information on marital status, mobile number and email address will be optional.

The PSA said that by 2022, around 100 million cards will be issued to Filipinos and resident aliens.

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