Netherlands set to prosecute suspects in MH17 airliner downing

Marje Pelayo   •   June 19, 2019   •   1790

Courtesy : Reuters

REUTERS – International investigators are set on Wednesday (June 19) to launch criminal proceedings against suspects in the shooting down of Malaysia Airlines Flight MH17 over eastern Ukraine nearly five years ago.

The Dutch-led international team tasked with assigning criminal responsibility for the plane’s destruction is to inform victims’ families of progress in their case on Wednesday morning, followed by a presentation to the media.

Dutch broadcasters RTL and NOS reported late last week that investigators would reveal the names of individual suspects. An Interfax Ukraine report on Tuesday quoted Ukraine’s Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs Olena Zerkal in an interview as saying prosecutors would name four “top” suspects.

MH17 was shot out of the sky on July 17, 2014 over territory held by pro-Russian separatists in eastern Ukraine as it was flying from Amsterdam to the Malaysian capital Kuala Lumpur. All 298 people on board were killed.

Most victims were Dutch. A joint investigation team formed in 2014 by Australia, Belgium, Malaysia, the Netherlands and Ukraine found that the plane was shot down by a Russian missile.

The Russian government denies having lent any support to pro-Russia rebels fighting Ukrainian government troops and also denies any involvement in shooting down MH17.

Last year Russian President Vladimir Putin called MH17’s downing a “terrible tragedy” but said that Moscow was not to blame and that there are other explanations for what happened.

The governments of the Netherlands and Australia have said they hold Russia legally responsible.

Prosecutors have previously said the missile system that brought down the plane came from the Russian 53rd Anti-Aircraft Brigade, based in the western Russian city of Kursk.

They said their next step would be to identify individual culprits and to attempt to put them on trial.

The Netherlands has said Russia has not cooperated with the investigation and Moscow is not expected to surrender suspects.

Dutch authorities have said suspects may be tried in absentia.

Philippines, Malaysia to boost bilateral ties amid easing pandemic situation – DFA

Robie de Guzman   •   October 21, 2021

 MANILA, Philippines – The Philippine government is looking to bolster its ties with Malaysia amid improving COVID-19 situation in Southeast Asia, the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) said Wednesday.

In a statement, the DFA said that the department’s Assistant Secretary for Asian and Pacific Affairs Neal Imperial met with Malaysian Ambassador to the Philippines Norman bin Muhammad last Oct. 18.

Among the things discussed by the two officials were initiatives seeking to revitalize the two nations’ relations across all areas amid easing coronavirus pandemic situation, it added.

“The two officials exchanged views and proposals on how to further boost bilateral trade and investment, address the COVID-19 pandemic, and roll out post-pandemic recovery initiatives, including the careful reopening of borders to gradually revitalize business and two-way tourism,” the DFA said.

The department said that both parties have also discussed counterterrorism cooperation, the promotion of moderate Islam in predominantly Muslim areas, as well as Malaysia’s support for the development of Mindanao.

The two officials also agreed to continue working together to further enhance Philippines-Malaysia bilateral ties, and explore the possibility of reconvening high-level bilateral meetings early next year.

Despite the effects of the pandemic, Malaysia remains one of the Philippines’ top trading partners and investment sources.

During their meeting, Imperial also conveyed the congratulations of the Philippine Government to Malaysia’s newly elected government, the DFA said.

Philippines to lift travel ban on 10 countries starting September 6

UNTV News   •   September 4, 2021

MANILA, Philippines — President Rodrigo Duterte has approved the recommendation of the Inter-Agency Task Force (IATF) to lift the current travel restrictions on travelers from 10 countries starting September 6, presidential spokesperson Harry Roque announced in a statement on Saturday.

These countries are namely:  India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Nepal, United Arab Emirates, Oman, Thailand, Malaysia and Indonesia.

Nonetheless, international travelers coming from the said countries shall comply with the appropriate entry, testing and quarantine protocols, depending on the country’s approved “listing,” Roque said.

He added that the IATF has adopted the “Yellow” and “Red” classifications, in addition to the “Green List” countries/jurisdictions/territories.

Roque said this is based on the countries’ respective incidence rates and case counts as primary criteria, and testing data as secondary criteria.  The incidence rate is the cumulative new cases over the past 28 days per 100,000 population while case counts are cumulative new cases over the past 28 days.

The government first imposed the travel restrictions on India in April then later expanded to include more countries to stem the spread of Delta variant, the highly transmissible strain of COVID-19.

 

120 repatriated Filipino workers from Malaysia arrive home

Robie de Guzman   •   August 19, 2021

Some 120 overseas Filipino workers (OFW) repatriated from the neighboring country of Malaysia have returned home.

The government of Davao City said the repatriated Filipinos landed at the Davao City International Airport  via a chartered Philippine Airlines flight on Monday.

Davao City Tourism Operations Office (CTOO) chief Generose Tecson said the repatriated OFWs will head to different cities and provinces as their final destination.

As in previous repatriation flights to the city, the OFWs will be staying at the Bureau of Quarantine (BOQ)-certified and Department of Tourism (DOT)-accredited multi-use hotels.

“They will undergo a 14-day quarantine and will be released on the 15th day. They will be swabbed on the seventh day,” Tecson was quoted as saying in a statement by the city government.

“If positive, they will be brought to the Van City for isolation and monitoring,” she added.

The OFWs presented negative RT-PCR results before boarding their flight since Davao City is enforcing an ordinance that requires mandatory testing prior to entry into the Davao City via the Davao International Airport.

Tight security is also being implemented in quarantine facilities where the OFWs are staying to keep them from going around the city.

Aside from OFWs from Malaysia, a batch of 382 OFWs from Dubai in the United Arab Emirates also arrived in the city on August 6.

This is part of the national government’s repatriation program for Filipinos stranded abroad due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

 

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