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Palace unworried over travel advisories vs. Mindanao travel

by UNTV News   |   Posted on Thursday, January 3rd, 2019

MANILA, Philippines — Malacañang is unfazed by the travel advisories released by United Kingdom and Australia to their nationals against travel to Mindanao.

This is due to a bombing incident at a mall in Cotabato City.

Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo said that it is only normal for foreign governments to be concerned over the security of their citizens.

The palace defended that the Cotabato blast is an isolated case.

“But yun ay isolated case lang naman, so, in so far as the national defense secretary is concern, it’s very safe to travel sa Mindanao,” said Panelo. — UNTV News & Rescue

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Malacañang confident Congress will pass 2019 national budget

by UNTV News and Rescue   |   Posted on Friday, January 18th, 2019

MANILA, Philippines – Malacañang believes there is no need to pressure Congress to pass the proposed 2019 national budget.

Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo said the lawmakers themselves know very well how important the passage of the measure is for the overall state of the country.

“I am sure they will be passing that naman. They are all concerned with the services, the infrastructures that will be affected,” Panelo said.

Senate President Vicente Sotto III previously said the Senate targets to pass the measure on the second and third reading before the end of January.

House Minority Floor Leader Rolando Andaya Jr. already filed a petition for mandamus in the Supreme Court (SC) to compel Budget Secretary Benjamin Diokno to release the fund for the salary increase of government personnel.

Diokno argued, however, that such a request has no legal basis unless the proposed 2019 General Appropriations Act is passed.

Once enacted, the fourth tranche of wage hike for government workers will be enforced specifically for teachers, soldiers and police.

“If the budget is approved, then the petition becomes moot and academic,” Panelo said.

When asked if Malacañang feels confident that the national budget will be approved, Panelo said, ” “I think so. I was with the Speaker Arroyo. She mentioned that most likely it will pass,” — Marje Pelayo (with reports from Rosalie Coz)

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Australian gov’t issues travel warnings for Mindanao

by UNTV News and Rescue   |   Posted on Thursday, January 3rd, 2019

The Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) has issued a travel advisory for Mindanao following threats of terrorism particularly in Cotabato City.

On its website, the DFAT advises Australians to exercise “high degree of caution” and reconsider traveling to eastern Mindanao.

“Think seriously about whether you need to travel here due to the high level of risk. If you do travel, do your research and take a range of extra safety precautions, including having contingency plans. Check that your travel insurer will cover you,” the advisory read.

Meanwhile, the DFAT advises Australian citizens to defer their plans to travel to central and western parts of Mindanao, including the Zamboanga Peninsula, and the Sulu Archipelago and southern Sulu Sea area.

“We advise against all travel here due to the very high risk. If you do travel, you should typically seek professional security advice. Be aware that regular travel insurance policies will be void and that the Australian Government is unlikely to be able to provide consular assistance,” the DFAT said.


Photo courtesy of Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade

Australia’s travel advisory comes after the British government’s similar measure to caution their citizens following the deadly bomb attack in Cotabato City on New Year’s Eve that killed two people and injured more than 30 individuals. —Marje Pelayo

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Malacañang assures passenger safety a gov’t priority in NAIA

by UNTV News and Rescue   |   Posted on Friday, December 28th, 2018

Image grabbed from commons.wikimedia.org

MANILA, Philippines – Malacañang is scrutinizing the latest travel advisory issued by the United States Department of Homeland Security (DHS) alleging security measures at Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) as deficient.

The advisory which circulated on social media on Wednesday (December 26) said NAIA “does not maintain and carry out effective security consistent with the security standards established by the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO).”

“In view of this finding and effective immediately, airlines issuing tickets for travel between the United States and MNL are directed to notify passengers in writing of this determination,” the advisory further stated.

Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo in response to the issue assured on Friday (December 28) that passenger safety remains the government’s utmost priority in NAIA.

“We assure everyone that the Philippine government, through the Department of Transportation (DOTr), the Manila International Airport Authority (MIAA) and the Office for Transportation Security (OTS), is prioritizing the implementation of strict security measures at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport,” Panelo said.

Among the recommendations are the procurement of additional x-ray machines, walk-through metal detectors and alarm systems.

These improvements, however, will be realized on the second quarter of 2019 as they need to go through proper government procedure, according to Panelo.

He added that the government is also taking into consideration the inputs from global partners such as the International Civil Aviation Organization on the issue.

Meanwhile, Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana is confident that the country has enough defense against terror threats in NAIA.

He noted, however, that the government cannot discount the fact that the country’s main gateway is a potential target for terrorists.

Lorenzana believes the US travel advisory referred to the rules and regulations being imposed in NAIA and not about it being vulnerable to terrorist attacks.

“Hindi naman siguro. I think it’s the management of the airport, the way passengers are being screened, ang mga equipment natin, if they are not adequate,” he said.

Nevertheless, the Defense Secretary calls on the public to be vigilant and alert against lawless elements and to keep safe at all times especially this holiday season particularly when going to crowded areas. –  Marje Pelayo (with reports from Rosalie Coz)

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