Palace confirms memo barring public officials’ travel to Canada

Marje Pelayo   •   May 27, 2019   •   1567

Protesters call on Canada to take back the tons of garbage that were illegally shipped to the Philippines in 2013 and 2014. | Photo credit: CCTV Plus

MANILA, Philippines – Malacañang on Sunday (May 26) confirmed the issuance of a memorandum directing government officials to refrain from travelling to Canada.

The directive came after Canada’s failure to uphold the May 15 deadline of taking back the trash shipment that has been abandoned on Philippine soil for years.

“We maintain that these directive are consistent with our stance on the diminished diplomatic relations with Canada,” Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo said in a statement.

The memorandum, signed by Executive Secretary Salvador Medialdea and issued on May 20, covers all department secretaries, heads of agencies and government-owned and controlled corporations (GOCC) as well as government financial institutions.

Those concerned are barred from giving travel authorities for official trips to Canada and are directed to limit interactions with the Canadian government.

The Philippines earlier recalled its envoys to Canada and reduced diplomatic presence in the North American country.

President Rodrigo Duterte also directed concerned agencies to look for a private shipping company that would ship the garbage materials back to Canadian domain at the soonest possible time even at the expense of the Philippines.

This, even as the Canadian government already awarded a private firm to ship the garbage out of the Philippines in late June.

Meanwhile, Panelo said the Palace commends the Bureau of Customs (BOC) for the early detection of the entry of mixed plastic wastes from Hong Kong into Misamis Oriental.

“We understand that the BOC would export this illegal shipment back to its port of origin,” Panelo said of the waste shipment which have been declared “assorted electronic accessories”.

“We call on concerned agencies of the government to continue exercising vigilance and hinder the entry of such shipments of garbage into our territorial jurisdiction at the first instance,” he added in the statement. Panelo reiterated the Philippine government’s firm position “that it will not allow its territory to be treated as a dumping ground for trash by any foreign country or entity.” – Marje Pelayo (with details from Rosalie Coz)

Duterte orders gov’t agencies to respond to quake-affected residents in Mindanao

Marje Pelayo   •   October 17, 2019

MANILA, Philippines – President Rodrigo Duterte expressed sympathy to those who were affected by the earthquake in several parts of Mindanao, according to Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo.

In a statement, Panelo said the administration is asking the public to refrain from spreading disinformation which may cause undue alarm, panic, and stress to many.

In view of possible aftershocks, the Palace asks the public to remain calm and vigilant.

Panelo also gave the assurance that the national government, through the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (PHIVOLCS), is closely monitoring the situation and that the President has already ordered concerned agencies to act appropriately in assisting those who were affected.

“The Office of the President has already tasked all concerned agencies of the government to mobilize, respond and provide immediate assistance to those in need, as well as to study plans on how to rehabilitate the damaged areas,” Panelo concluded. MNP (with details from Rosalie Coz)

Duterte names former House Speaker Belmonte special envoy to Japan

Robie de Guzman   •   October 16, 2019

President Rodrigo Duterte (L) raises the hand of former House Speaker Feliciano “Sonny” Belmonte in an undated photo that was released on May 10, 2019.

MANILA, Philippines – President Rodrigo Duterte has named former House Speaker Feliciano “Sonny” Belmonte as Special Envoy to Japan.

Based on a document from Malacañang released on Wednesday, Belmonte was appointed as special envoy to Japan for trade and market access.

Belmonte was appointed by Duterte on Oct. 15, Tuesday.

He served as Representative of the 4th District of Quezon City for three terms, and was elected as House speaker of the 15th and 16th Congress during the time of former presidents Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo and Benigno Aquino III, respectively.

Belmonte was Liberal Party’s former vice chairman before he resigned in September last year. – RRD (with details from Correspondent Rosalie Coz)

Yulo, Petecio other athletes to meet with Duterte

Aileen Cerrudo   •   October 15, 2019

(L-R) Pole vaulter John Ernest Obiena, boxer Eumir Marcial, gymnast Carlos Yulo and boxer Nesthy Petecio

Filipino athletes including gymnast Carlos Yulo and boxer Nesthy Petecio will meet President Rodrigo Duterte on Wednesday (October 16), according to Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo.

“They will be meeting with the President. They will have a courtesy call,” Panelo said during the press briefing on Tuesday (October 15).

Yulo has won the gold medal in the 41st FIG Artistic Gymnastics World Championship while Petecio clinched the gold in the Women’s World Boxing Championship featherweight division.

John Ernest Obiena, the first Filipino to qualify in the 2020 Olympics, will also meet the president. Boxer Eumir Marcial will also join the three athletes in the courtesy call on Wednesday.—AAC

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