Palace says Duterte welcomes suggestion to amend Baselines Law

Aileen Cerrudo   •   June 10, 2021   •   261

MANILA, Philippines—President Rodrigo Duterte welcomes the suggestion to amend the Baselines Law, according to Malacañang.

At a virtual public briefing on Thursday (June 10), Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque Jr. said the Office of the President will thoroughly review the suggestion of retired Supreme Court (SC) Associate Justice Francis Jardeleza to amend the country’s Baseline Law.

“He [Duterte] immediately asked that it be subjected to complete staff work and he was very appreciative of the suggestion,” he said.

“It is subjected now to complete staff work because the request is for it to be certified it as urgent and I made an additional request that if the president so agrees, then it should also be included in the SONA [State of the Nation Address] para malakas ang mensahe sa Kongreso na this will really become a priority bill, (for a stronger message to Congress that this will become a priority bill),” Roque added.

Jardeleza wrote to the President suggesting to amend the Baseline Law in order to define the 128 maritime features in the West Philippine Sea. He said this is a way to enforce the Hague Ruling, which the Philippines won against China in 2016.

Under the Republic Act No. 9522 or the Philippine Baseline Law, the Philippines has sovereignty over the Kalayaan Island Group (KIG).

Meanwhile, Roque also agrees with amending the said law.

“Isa sa pinakamalakas na ebidensya ng soberanya ay ang batas na kumbaga nagdidikit sa Kalayaan Group of Islands sa teritoryo ng Pilipinas sa pamamaraan na sang-ayon po sa United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS),” he said.

(One of the strongest evidence of sovereignty is a law that would put the Kalayaan Group of Islands under Philippine territory in a manner that conforms with UNCLOS.)  AAC (with reports from Rosalie Coz)

Pahayag ni Pangulong Duterte na pagdadala ng maraming pera sa kampanya, idinepensa ng Palasyo

Robie de Guzman   •   July 19, 2021

MANILA, Philippines – Ipinagtanggol ng Palasyo ng Malakanyang ang panibagong kontrobersiyal na pahayag ni Pangulong Rodrigo Duterte hinggil sa pagdadala ng maraming pera sa pangangampanya.

Ayon kay Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque, fund-raising sa mga pribadong indibiduwal ang tinutukoy ng punong ehekutibo na hindi naman aniya ipinagbabawal ng batas.

Batid rin aniya ng pangulo na iligal gamitin ang pondo ng taumbayan para sa anomang partisan activities lalo na sa vote-buying.

“There is no prohibition in the Omnibus Election Code to raise funds from private individuals for the candidacies of individuals. So, that is what the president meant, it is an assurance to his party mates that he will not only physically campaign for them he will also raise funds for them,” ang paliwanag ni Roque.

Sa National Assembly ng partidong PDP-Laban sa Clark, Pampanga noong Sabado, sinabi ni Pangulong Duterte na handa siyang mangampanya para sa mga miyembro ng partido na nais muling kumandidato sa nalalapit na halalan. Magdadala rin aniya siya ng sako-sakong pera.

“Those running for reelection, ikakampanya ko kayo city por city. Totoo ‘yan. Kayong mga nagtatakbo, I will — I commit to you. Talagang pupunta ako city por city, province por province, kakampanya ko kayo. Pero — at saka magdala ako ng maraming pera por sako kung mayroon,” ang pahayag ng pangulo.

Una nang kinuwestiyon ni Bagong Alyansang Makabayan Secretary-General Renato Reyes ang pahayag na ito ng punong ehekutibo at sinabing may salapi ang pangulo para sa kampanya pero walang pera para sa ayuda sa pandemic response, at mga sektor na labis na naapektuhan ng krisis.

Samantala, sinabi naman ng Palasyo na sa kasalukuyan ay wala pang pinal na listahan ng senatorial bets si Pangulong Duterte para sa 2022 elections bagaman ilan na sa kaniyang mga gabinete ang iniendorso nito sa publiko. – RRD (mula sa ulat ni Correspondent Rosalie Coz)

Palace sees eased quarantine restriction in NCR Plus

Aileen Cerrudo   •   June 11, 2021

MANILA, Philippines—Presidential spokesperson Harry Roque said quarantine restrictions in the National Capital Region (NCR) Plus might ease next week.

On Thursday, Roque announced that community quarantine classification in NCR Plus might ease beginning June 15 due to the low attack rate of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) and health care utilization rate. He reported that the hospital care utilization in Metro Manila remains very low or at 53% in ICU beds.

“I would say in fact that based on the figures, Metro Manila Plus might be looking at de-escalation. It might not be to modified general community quarantine [MGCQ] but it could be to ordinary general community quarantine [GCQ] because ang GCQ natin ngayon ay mayroon pang restrictions (because the current GCQ still has restrictions),” he said.

Roque said the Inter-Agency Task Force on Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-EID) will discuss whether to  reopen gyms and fitness centers.

The NCR Plus, which includes Metro Manila, Bulacan, Cavite, Laguna and Rizal, is currently under GCQ with restrictions until June 15. AAC (with reports from Rosalie Coz)

Palace calls for enforcement of environmental laws after Pasig River tops list of plastic polluters

Aileen Cerrudo   •   June 10, 2021

MANILA, Philippines— Malacañang on Thursday (June 10) reiterated the need to implement environmental laws after Pasig River and 18 other rivers in the country made it to the world’s top 50 polluting rivers.

Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said the report is a test of the country’s law enforcement capability.

The Palace official lamented that the sad state of Pasig River has been a perennial problem and past attempts to rehabilitate Pasig River have fallen through.

“Kailangan pong ipatupad ang ating existing laws, ipatupad ang mga obligasyon ng mga water concessionaire agreements na magakroon talaga ng waste water treatment at ipatupad ang pagbabawal ng water discharge na nakakasira ng kalikasan diyan sa Pasig River,” he said.

Rotterdam-based Ocean Cleanup has released a scientific study which estimates that 1000 rivers are accountable for nearly 80% of global annual riverine plastic emissions. It also listed Pasig River as the world’s most polluting river when it comes to plastic waste. Pasig River accounts for 63,000 tons of plastic entering oceans from rivers per year.

Roque hopes that this  “badge of dishonor”, will push the government to make radical changes in addressing the cleanup of Pasig River. AAC

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