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Morales on getting held at Hong Kong airport: ‘It was bullying’

by Robie de Guzman   |   Posted on Wednesday, May 22nd, 2019

Former Philippine Ombudsman Conchita Carpio-Morales upon her arrival at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport after she was barred from entering Hong Kong on May 21, 2019.

MANILA, Philippines – Former Philippine Ombudsman Conchita Carpio-Morales has called her temporary “detention” at the Hong Kong International Airport a form of bullying, after immigration officials barred her from entering the country for a few hours on Tuesday afternoon.

“Yes, that was bullying. How do you call it if that’s not bullying? I think someone came up with the theory that shocked and awe daw. Hindi naman ako nasho-shock; hindi naman ako naa-awe. Nabubwisit lang,” Morales told reporters upon her arrival at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) at past 10 p.m. Tuesday.

Morales, along with her family, arrived in Hong Kong airport at 12:20 p.m. for a vacation. Her husband, son, daughter-in-law and her grandchildren were allowed entry but Morales was stopped by immigration officials.

Philippine Deputy Consul General Germinia Aguilar-Usudan said the Hong Kong Immigration office did not provide the exact reason why Morales was barred entry.

“For the reason why she was not allowed immediate entry to Hong Kong, we were not given any reason by the immigration office,” she told UNTV News and Rescue in an interview.

READ: Ex-Ombudsman Morales temporarily held at HK airport

According to Morales, Hong Kong authorities told her she was being detained for “immigration reasons,” but refused to explain the grounds.

“They did not tell me anything about it. I was insisting they give me the ground. They said nothing,” she said.

Morales said that during her brief detention, she was asked by Hong Kong Immigration officials to sign a document but she refused to do so because parts of it were blanks.

“I read it and then it said ‘detention,’ and of course, the detention I was thinking of was behind bars,” she added.

With the help of Philippine Consulate officials, the former Ombudsman was eventually allowed entry at around 3 p.m. but she decided to just take the flight back to the Philippines.

“I was disappointed not because I was not allowed entry but because I was deprived of the opportunity to see my grandchildren enjoy their vacation in Hong Kong,” she said.

In March, Morales along with former Foreign Affairs Secretary Albert del Rosario, filed a complaint of crimes against humanity against Chinese President Xi Jinping at the International Criminal Court (ICC) for purportedly damaging the resources at the disputed territory in West Philippine Sea through China’s ongoing reclamation activities in the area.

Morales said the incident at Hong Kong airport on Tuesday afternoon has further strengthened her resolve to proceed with the complaint she filed before the ICC.

Although she has yet to determine her next steps, Morales has vowed to remain resolute at speaking against Chinese policies despite the friendlier stance that the current administration has taken towards China. (with details from Asher Cadapan Jr.)

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34 of 400 samples of pork products tested positive of African Swine Fever – BAI

by Marje Pelayo   |   Posted on Friday, July 19th, 2019

Boxes of pork items from Poland intercepted in Cebu on June 27 | Courtesy: BAI

MANILA, Philippines – The Bureau of Customs (BOC) has intercepted a number of pork products from Hong Kong and China at Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) in between June 19 to 28.

The items didn’t have sanitary and phytosanitary clearances from the Bureau of Animal Industry (BAI) and could have been infested by the deadly pig virus African Swine Fever (ASF).

China is one of the 19 countries from where entry of pork and pork-based products are banned.

From a total of 400 samples that BAI examined, 34 tested positive of ASF and these products could have caused infestation in the country’s hog industry if they were not intercepted.

Germany was the latest addition to the list of countries where entry of pork products to the Philippines was banned.

Though there were no reports yet of ASF-infestation in Germany, the Philippines included it in the list after a German company exported pork products to the Philippines along with some 250 kilograms of pork from ASF-hit Poland.

The said shipment was intercepted in Cebu on June 27 which included 27 boxes of pork items from Poland.

That incident, according to Agriculture Secretary Manny Piñol, was a clear violation of the country’s Quarantine Law thus resulting in the ban of pork products from Germany.

“Nakikiusap ako.(‘Im appealing to you) Please understand, these are extraordinary times. We cannot take the risk,” Secretary Piñol said.

“Kasi tingnan mo, Germany napaka-respectable na bansa nyan. It’s export country known for its high standards, nasingitan tayo, (You see Germany is a highly respected country. It’s exports are known for its high standards but some banned (pork) slip past their screening,)” he explained.

Piñol stressed that ASF infestation would compromise the country’s P260-B worth of hog industry.

Some of the Philippines’ neighboring countries have already declared an outbreak of ASF such as Vietnam and Cambodia.

In May, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has asked store owners to self-recall pork products from China that covers those manufactured since the start of the import ban.

Still, Piñol assures the Philippines’ hog industry remains ASF free. – with reports from Rey Pelayo

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Over 21,000 evacuated after torrential rain in Guangxi, China

by Robie de Guzman   |   Posted on Friday, July 19th, 2019

Rescuers evacuate residents @Daxu Town, Lingchuan County, Guilin City, Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region, south China | Courtesy: Reuters

Over 21,000 people have been evacuated Wednesday following continuous torrential rain in south China’s Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region, according to the provincial emergency management department.

In the region, a total of 47 counties and districts in nine cities, including Nanning, Liuzhou, Guilin, and Baise, suffered floods which affected 65,000 hectares of crops and destroyed 1,250 houses.

The local government activated contingency plans for rescue and relief work.

Both rescue and relief efforts are still currently underway. (REUTERS)

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Duterte to explain Chinese fishing in PH waters at 4th SONA

by Aileen Cerrudo   |   Posted on Wednesday, July 10th, 2019

President Rodrigo Duterte will explain his decision on allowing Chinese fishermen to fish in the Philippine waters during his 4th State of the Nation Address (SONA) on July 22.

The chief executive said he will explain why his decision was not unconstitutional.

“Maybe during SONA, I will educate people. By any stretch of imagination, hindi unconstitutional iyong ginawa ko (what I did was not unconstitutional). As a matter of fact, it was in keeping with the law,” he said.

READ: Allowing China to fish on PH waters a ground for impeachment vs Duterte, law experts say

Duterte also slammed his critics for saying his action to allow Chinese fishermen in the exclusive economic zone (EEZ) is an impeachable offense.

Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo also reiterated that the president will explain his decision and not defend it.

“He will not defend; he will educate people who think that what he did was unconstitutional. He will lecture on the constitutionality of what he has done,” he said.—AAC (with reports from Rosalie Coz)

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