Palace: Duterte dares Joma Sison to a one-on-one talk in PH

Marje Pelayo   •   December 26, 2019   •   778

Communist leader Jose Maria ‘Joma’ Sison (L) and Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte (R)

MANILA, Philippines – President Rodrigo Duterte is challenging communist leader Jose Maria ‘Joma’ Sison to return to the Philippines and have a one-on-one talk with him.

The President’s agenda is about the peace process away from the usual Philippine Government-National Democratic Front’s way of doing things, according to Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo.

“The President is daring him to come home to the Philippines and have a one-on-one talk with the President,” Panelo said.

“He is asking him to come to the Philippines, there will be no enforcement of any warrant, just come to the Philippines and talk with him,” he added.

Sison, who is on self-exile, is recognized as a political refugee in Utrecht, the Netherlands and enjoys the protection of the Refugee Convention and Article 3 of the European Convention on Human Rights.

Panelo said the Chief Executive wants the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) to explain the recent attacks of the New People’s Army (NPA), the group’s armed unit, against government forces in Camarines Sur and Iloilo on the eve of the ceasefire.

“We condemn of course the violations of the ceasefire agreements,” Panelo said.

“We are giving them the chance to explain why it has committed such violations. He (Duterte) will wait for the explanation coming from them,” he added.

Meanwhile, Panelo said President Duterte is considering the request of her daughter, Davao City Mayor Sarah Duterte to maintain localized peace talks and exclude the city from the negotiations with the Reds. MNP (with details from Rosalie Coz)

Duterte to consider AFP stand against holiday ceasefire with Reds – Palace

Robie de Guzman   •   December 3, 2020

MANILA, Philippines – President Rodrigo Duterte will consider the position of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) against declaring a ceasefire with communist rebels this holiday season, Malacañang said Thursday.

Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said Duterte normally “gives a lot of weight” on the recommendations of the military.

“Pakikinggan po ‘yan, but ultimately it’s only the President who will decide,” he said during a press briefing.

AFP spokesperson Major General Edgard Arevalo earlier said the military will not recommend a holiday truce with the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP), and its armed wing, the New People’s Army, due to the rebels’ “incapacity for sincerity.”

“This was the AFP’s painful experience where the communist terrorist group reneged from their own ceasefire declaration by attacking and killing soldiers on humanitarian and peace and development missions,” Arevalo said.

“During the incumbency of a truce, these terrorists continued their extortion activities and committed crimes of murder, arson, and the likes,” he added.

Arevalo, however, said that the AFP would support whatever the decision of President Rodrigo Duterte will be despite their position on the matter.

Last year, the government and the CPP-NPA both declared a truce during the holiday season, from December 23, 2019 to January 7, 2020. – RRD (with details from Correspondents Rosalie Coz and Lea Ylagan)

Duterte to attend virtual UN General Assembly on COVID-19

Robie de Guzman   •   December 3, 2020

MANILA, Philippines – President Rodrigo Duterte is set to participate in the 31st Special Session of the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) on the novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic from December 3 to 4, Malacañang said Thursday.

The Palace said Duterte is expected to deliver the Philippine Statement on December 3, where he will further amplify his call for global solidarity in addressing the challenges posed by the COVID-19.

The president is also expected to raise universal access to the anti-COVID-19 technologies, as well as the need for global efforts to ensure the availability of safe and effective vaccines to peoples of developing nations.

During the 75th UNGA session last September, Duterte also said that COVID-19 vaccines “must not be denied nor withheld,” and that “it should be made available to all, rich and poor nations alike, as a matter of policy.” – RRD (with details from Correspondent Rosalie Coz)

Duterte authorizes FDA to issue emergency use of COVID-19 vaccines

Robie de Guzman   •   December 3, 2020

MANILA, Philippines – President Rodrigo Duterte has allowed the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to issue emergency use authorization (EUA) for COVID-19 vaccines and drugs that are expected to be made available in the Philippines next year.

Under Executive Order (EO) No. 121 signed on Dec. 1 and made public by Malacañang on Wednesday, Duterte granted authority to the FDA director general to issue EUA for COVID-19 drugs and vaccines, subject to provided conditions.

The EO stated that an EUA on a COVID-19 vaccine or drug shall be issued and remain valid only when all of the following circumstances are present:

  • Based on the totality of evidence available, including data from adequate and well-known controlled trials, it is reasonable to believe that the drug or vaccine may be effective to prevent, diagnose or treat COVID-19;
  • The known and potential benefits of the drug or vaccine when used to diagnose, prevent or treat COVID-19 outweigh the known and potential risks of the drug or vaccine, if any; and
  • There is no adequate, approved and available alternative to the drug or vaccine for diagnosing, preventing or treat9ing COVID-19

An application for the issuance of an EUA shall be submitted by the industry or government agency concerned, such as the national procurer or public health program implementer, the EO read.

The FDA shall then convene a panel of experts on drug and vaccine development to review available data on the safety and effectiveness of a COVID-19 drug or vaccine applied for an EUA. The panel will then submit its report and recommendations to the FDA director general.

“In evaluating applications for EUA, the FDA director general shall have the power to implement reliance and recognition processes for emergency use of drugs and vaccines,” the order stated.

“For this purpose, the FDA director general may accept the regulatory decision of the WHO (World Health Organization), US-CDC, or other internationally recognized and established regulatory authorities,” it added.

An EUA issued pursuant to the order shall be valid within the duration of the declared public health emergency due to COVID-19, and may be revoked or revisited by the FDA director general.

FDA director general Eric Domingo earlier assured they will not compromise public safety with the sped-up process.

The Philippine government is looking to administer the vaccines to at least 70 million Filipinos under an immunization program that may be carried out within three to five years. – RRD (with details from Correspondent Rosalie Coz)

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