Panelo tells Swedish Envoy: Judge Duterte by his deeds, not words

Robie de Guzman   •   July 11, 2019   •   1359

(L-R) Swedish Ambassador Harald Fries and President Rodrigo Duterte

MANILA, Philippines – Malacañang defended President Rodrigo Duterte against the remarks of Swedish Ambassador Harald Fries who said the chief executive’s jokes about rape and women were not funny.

In a statement on Wednesday night, Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo said Fries should judge Duterte by his deeds rather than his words.

He also stressed that while they understand the sentiments of the Swedish envoy, the context of Duterte’s jests should also be considered.

“We have to see the context of the President’s jokes, where these were told before local audience, which may not have the same acceptance with a foreign audience,” he said.

“The good Sweden Envoy should judge the President, not by his words but by his deeds,” he added.

Panelo’s statement was in response to a remark made by Fries when he guested the forum on “#RespetoNaman: A Nationwide Campaign Against Gender-Based Violence.”

The Palace official also emphasized how Duterte for several times had placed great importance on ensuring the protection of women’s rights.

“President Duterte has shown respect and admiration to women and their abilities and competencies. He has appointed numerous women to high government positions in the Cabinet and executive offices and the Judiciary,” he said.

Panelo noted that Duterte signed landmark pro-women pieces of legislation, including Republic Act No. 11210, or the Expanded Maternity Leave Act, which grants 105 days of paid maternity leave credits to working mothers; and the Republic Act 11148 or the Kalusugan at Nutrisyon ng Mag-Nanay Act, which mandates the development of a strategy for the first 1,000 days of life to address the health, nutrition, and developmental problems affecting infants, young children, adolescent females, pregnant and lactating women, teenage mothers, and women of reproductive age.

The presidential spokesman further noted that under the Duterte Administration, the World Economic Forum (WEF)’s Global Gender Gap Report 2018 placed the Philippines as the most gender equal nation in Asia.

The Philippines received high Global Gender Gap scores in the areas of educational attainment (ranked #1), political empowerment (ranked #13), and economic participation and opportunity (ranked #14).

“These findings highlight the government’s commitment to give Filipino women the recognition that they properly deserve, particularly their contributions in the home, in the workplace, in the community, and in nation-building,” Panelo said.

Senate OKs bill giving Duterte power to delay class opening during public crisis

Robie de Guzman   •   June 2, 2020

MANILA, Philippines – The Senate has approved on third and final reading a bill seeking to grant President Rodrigo Duterte ‘flexibility’ to schedule the opening of classes in schools during a state of emergency.

Voting 23-0, senators on Monday unanimously passed Senate Bill 1541, which proposes to amend Section 3 of the Republic Act 7797, a law which sets the opening of school-year as early as the first Monday of June but not later than the last day of August.

The measure covers all basic education schools, including foreign or international schools in the country.

Once enacted into law, the bill would authorize the President, upon the recommendation of the Secretary of the Department of Education, to set the opening of classes nationwide or in selected areas at any date during a state of emergency or calamity.

A similar measure has been approved in the committee level in the House of Representatives on Saturday.

The approval of the proposed measure comes amid the novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic which has affected millions of people worldwide. – RRD (with details from Correspondent Harlene Delgado)

Duterte certifies as urgent bill seeking to toughen PH anti-terror law

Robie de Guzman   •   June 1, 2020

MANILA, Philippines – President Rodrigo Duterte has certified as urgent a bill that seeks to strengthen the country’s anti-terrorism law.

In a letter to House Speaker Alan Peter Cayetano on Monday, Duterte certified as urgent House Bill No. 6785, which seeks to amend and toughen the Human Security Act of 2007.

In his letter, Duterte said the immediate enactment of the measure is to “address the urgent need to strengthen the law on anti-terrorism in order to adequately and effectively contain the menace of terrorist acts for the preservation of national security and the promotion of general welfare.”

The House Bill reportedly adopted the Senate version which passed on third and final reading in February.

Under the bill, anyone who threatens to commit terrorism, propose any terroristic acts or incite others to commit terrorism shall mete out a penalty of 12 years of imprisonment.

It also introduces provisions penalizing those who will propose, incite, conspire, participate in the planning, training, preparation and facilitation of a terrorist act; as well as those who will provide material support to terrorists, and recruit members in a terrorist organization.

The measure also includes a new section on foreign terrorist fighters to cover Filipino nationals who commit terrorist offenses abroad.

It also aims to provide law enforcers the much-needed tools to protect the people from terrorism threat and, at the same time, safeguard the rights of those accused of the crime.

Once a bill is certified as urgent, the Senate and the House of Representatives can immediately pass a measure on second and third reading on the same day.

Rights advocates had earlier warned that the bill’s enactment would worsen the human rights situation in the country.

Duterte fires OCD Deputy Administrator Kristoffer James Purisima

Marje Pelayo   •   May 22, 2020

MANILA, Philippines — President Rodrigo Duterte has dismissed Kristoffer James Purisima as deputy administrator assistant secretary of the Office of the Civil Defense (OCD).

According to Presidential Spokesperson Secretary Harry Roque, the President decided to remove Purisima from office due to “loss of trust and confidence.”

Roque could not tell, however, under what circumstance prompted the President to fire Purisima.

Wala na po akong ibang impormasyon (I don’t have additional information) other than he was terminated due to loss of trust and confidence,” Roque confirmed.

The OCD is the government’s main unit responsible for disaster preparedness and response in times of calamity.

Prior to his position in OCD, Purisima served as spokesperson of Task Force Bangon Marawi. MNP (with details from Rosalie Coz)

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