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Palace slams UN resolution as ‘grotesquely one-sided’ and ‘insulting’

by Marje Pelayo   |   Posted on Friday, July 12th, 2019

MANILA, Philippines – The United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) upheld a resolution seeking to launch an international investigation on the human rights situation in the country in relation to the Philippines’s war on drugs.

During the 44th session in Geneva on Thursday (July 11), the Council adopted Iceland’s resolution to probe the Philippine government’s campaign against illegal drugs with 18 of the 47-member human rights body voted in favor, 14 against and 15 abstentions.

This formally asked UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet “to prepare a comprehensive written report” on the human rights situation in the Philippines.

In response, Foreign Affairs Secretary Teddy Locsin through Ambassador Evan Garcia expressed the Philippines’ rejection of the Iceland-initiated resolution.

“The Philippines reject this resolution. It cannot in good conscience abide by it. We will not accept a politically partisan and one-sided resolution so detached from the truth on the ground,” the Philippine Permanent Representative to the UN reading Locsin’s statement.

Malacañang, meanwhile, said the adoption of the ‘grotesquely one-sided’ resolution is an insult to the majority of Filipinos who expressed satisfaction on the kind of “forceful and effective” governance of President Duterte.

“The overwhelming majority of the Filipino electorate, who mercilessly crushed the intellectual and nationalist pretensions of those who peddled the bogus news, untruthful accounts and vicious propaganda on the President’s campaign against illegal drugs, are grossly and thoroughly insulted by the resolution that echoes such falsities,” said Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo in a statement on Friday, July 12.

Panelo added that the resolution has no other purpose but “to embarrass the Philippines before the international community and the global audience.”

In its resolution Iceland “urges the government of the Philippines to take all necessary measures to prevent extrajudicial killings and enforced disappearances, to carry out impartial investigations and to hold perpetrators accountable in accordance with international norms and standards including those on due process and the rule of law.”

But the Palace remained firm in its stand that it is still the President who will decide on whether to allow the United Nations to proceed with the investigation.

Panelo warned that should the probe proceed impartially, the result will only lead “to the humiliation of the investigators” as well as all the proponent countries since “there never have been – nor will there ever be – state-sponsored killings” in the country.

“Any attempt to undermine our sovereignty will receive an uproarious rejection from our countrymen, it being a naked affront to their authority to run their domestic affairs they deem fit under the prevailing circumstances,” Panelo concluded.

HOW COUNTRIES VOTED?

Affirmative votes

  1. Argentina
  2. Australia
  3. Austria
  4. Bahamas
  5. Bulgaria
  6. Croatia
  7. Czech Republic
  8. Denmark
  9. Fiji
  10. Iceland
  11. Italy
  12. Mexico
  13. Peru
  14. Slovakia
  15. Spain
  16. Ukraine
  17. United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland
  18. Uruguay

Negative votes

  1. Angola
  2. Bahrain
  3. Cameroon
  4. China
  5. Cuba
  6. Egypt
  7. Eritrea
  8. Hungary
  9. India
  10. Iraq
  11. Philippines
  12. Qatar
  13. Saudi Arabia
  14. Somalia

Abstain votes

  1. Afghanistan
  2. Bangladesh
  3. Brazil
  4. Burkina Faso
  5. Chile
  6. Democratic Republic of Congo
  7. Japan
  8. Nepal
  9. Nigeria
  10. Pakistan
  11. Rwanda
  12. Senegal
  13. South Africa
  14. Togo
  15. Tunisia

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Foreigners joining SONA rally will face deportation, BI warns

by Marje Pelayo   |   Posted on Thursday, July 18th, 2019

FILE PHOTO: Different militant groups merged at Liwasan Bonifacio to air their concern in improving the workforce and better labor conditions. (Ramir Tilaon/PVI)

MANILA, Philippines — The Bureau of Immigration (BI) reminds foreigners to refrain from joining any political activity as they are not allowed under Philippine law.

On its Facebook page, the BI warned legal aliens that they may face deportation if they do so as political protests are expected during the fourth state of the nation address (SONA) of President Rodrigo Duterte on Monday (July 22).

“We are sending this warning to avoid a repeat of the cases wherein we had to deport foreign protesters,” BI Commissioner Jaime Morente said following incidents of deportation of foreign nationals who took part previous mass actions.

The BI Chief said foreigners who are visitors in the Philippines are not given political rights and privileges of Filipino citizens.

“Follow our laws. It is very simple and clear. Foreign visitors are not allowed to partake in political demonstrations. We allowed your stay in the Philippines, please respect our government and our laws,” he added.

Several foreign nationals have been deported for joining and supporting political events in the past.

The most prominent was Australian nun Patricia Fox who, in 2018, was denied renewal of missionary visa for violating the conditions of her stay and participating in partisan politics.

“If found guilty, we will blacklist these foreigners, effectively barring them from re-entering the Philippines,” Morente warned.

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Opposition groups vow peaceful demonstrations in Duterte’s 4th SONA

by Marje Pelayo   |   Posted on Wednesday, July 17th, 2019

Militant groups march with banners carrying message of peace in support of President Rodrigo Duterte during his first state of the nation address in 2016 | Courtesy: Kenji Hasegawa/Photoville International

MANILA, Philippines – Days before President Rodrigo Duterte’s fourth state of the nation address (SONA), the Quezon City Police District has met with representatives of different agencies and the local government as well as with groups of protesters to discuss the plan of events on Monday (July 22).

Police Major General Guillermo Eleazar said the demonstrators vowed to carry out peaceful assembly at designated protest areas on the day of the President’s SONA.

“Ituloy po natin ito dahil ang gusto nating mangyari nga, magkaroon ng tahimik at maayos na SONA na lahat naman po ng gusto nating mangyari base sa ating karapatan ay ating magagawa, (Let’s us accomplish this as all of us aspire for an orderly and peaceful SONA. This is what we want to accomplish based on our rights,)” Eleazar said.

Protesters’ assembly area will be at Agham Road, U.P. Diliman, and Tandang Sora Avenue.

All groups will then meet at Commonwealth Avenue.

The eastbound lane will be closed to give way to the groups’ program of activities starting from 3:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m.

Authorities are expecting about 15,000 individuals joining the rally on Monday.

Groups under United People’s SONA including Laban ng Masa, Kilusang Mayo Uno, Bagong Alyansang Makabayan, Pasang Masda and Movement Against Tyranny agreed with authorities to maintain peace and order during their assembly.

“Kaya po kami nandito (ay) para tiyakin na magiging maayos at ilang taon na rin po kaming nag-uusap ni General Eleazar. Mayroon na tayong tried-and-tested na formula,” said Bayan’s Secretary General Renato Reyes.

“We would like to assure everybody, as we have just assured our Philippine National Police, that our rally will definitely be a very, very peaceful and organized rally,” added Laban ng Masa national Coordinator Rasti Delizo.

Meanwhile, the Philippine National Police (PNP) said they are ready to provide security to the President in case he decides to go out and address the protesters like he did in 2017.

“Mas challenging for us kung lalapit pa siya doon, (That would be more challenging to us if he goes out),” Eleazar said.

“Kung kami ang tatanungin, mas maganda na hindi na lang siya pumunta roon in so far as security is concerned. Pero kung ano ang gagawin niya, nakahanda tayo doon, (If it were up to us, it would be better if he refrains from going out in so far as security is concerned. But if that’s what he wants, we are ready),” he added.

But if worse comes to worst, Eleazar said, they will be compelled to use force to disperse the rallyists if in case they sow violence during the event.

“That’s a violation already of our agreement,” he said.

After meeting with concerned groups, Eleazar will meet with the Presidential Security Group (PSG) next to discuss the implementation of a temporary signal jamming within the vicinity during the President’s SONA proper.

Meanwhile the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) is appealing to the protesters to maintain cleanliness in the protest area throughout the demonstration.

“Sana po maging responsable po tayo, (Let us be responsible),” appealed Jojo Garcia, MMDA general manager.

“Ang maaapektuhan niyan (ay ang) mga kababayan din natin, kapag iniwan niyo ‘yung kalat na ‘yan at iyan ay nagbara sa ating mga drainage, (If you leave your garbage there and clog the drainage, that would affect the general public),” he added.

Overall, the NCRPO will deploy a total of 15,000 cops in addition to the 9,000 policemen from the QCPD to secure the President’s SONA. – with details from Harlene Delgado

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Duterte will be the first to obey the ‘Anti-Bastos Law’ – Malacañang

by Marje Pelayo   |   Posted on Tuesday, July 16th, 2019

President Rodrigo Duterte | ACE MORANDANTE/PRESIDENTIAL PHOTO

MANILA, Philippines – Malacañang assured that President Rodrigo Duterte will be the first to obey the newly-signed Republic Act 11313 also known as the Safe Spaces Act or ‘Anti-Bastos Law’.

“Since the president signed that law, it means he recognizes the need for that law and since he is the chief enforcer of all the laws of the Philippines, he will be the first one to obey the law,” said Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo.

Signed on April 17, 2019, the new law imposes stiffer penalties to crimes “committed through any unwanted and uninvited sexual actions or remarks against any person regardless of the motive for committing such action or remarks.”

Among these acts include:

  • catcalling
  • stalking 
  • cyberstalking  
  • wolf-whistling 
  • leering
  • intrusive gazing 
  • online sexual harassment 
  • sexist slurs 
  • persistent unwanted comments on one’s appearance 
  • relentless requests for one’s personal details

Likewise, the law prevents gender-based sexual harassment such as use of words, gestures or actions that ridicule sexual orientation, identity and/or expression from occurring in streets, public places, online workplaces, and educational and training institutions.

Penalties range from P1,000 to P500,000 fine, community service, and imprisonment of six days up to six months.

President Duterte has been criticized many times for his controversial remarks against women, but Panelo said those were all jokes, and definitely not sexual harassment against women.

“That particular law is penal in nature, meaning criminal in nature. In other words, the subject offended party must be offended personally by an offender,” the Presidential Legal Counsel explained.

“Pero kung general na nagkukwento, mao-offend ka? Paano mo sasabihing ikaw ang tinutukoy noon? May problema ka doon. (But he is just telling a story, in general, will you be offended? How can you tell that he was referring to you? Do you have problems with that?) How can you even charge him with what? How did they offend you? Did I refer to you? Papaano ka na? Dismiss agad iyon (How about you then? [The case] will be dismissed right away). Crime is personal to the offender,” he added.

Panelo added that persons who think they were offended by the President are always free to file a complaint once the President steps down from office.

“Any person can sue him for that violation. If you argue that, well, he is immune. Well, you can sue him after the presidency. No one is above the law, including this president and he always tells us that,” Panelo concluded. – with reports from Rosalie Coz

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