PH among top 5 countries fighting climate change to save surfing

Aileen Cerrudo   •   August 8, 2019   •   325

The Philippines is among the top five surfing countries that are fighting climate change, according to Kalon Surf.

Based on the global research they conducted, the country produced 1.24 metric tons of carbon dioxide per capita in 2016. The country also generated 182.5 kilograms of municipal solid waste per capita in 2016.

“In 2018, the Philippines pledged to reduce its carbon emissions by 70 percent by 2030. The country, with a population of 104 million residents, intends to reduce carbon emissions from its energy, transport, waste, forestry, and industry sectors. As a surfing hotspot, these changes can help preserve the Philippines’ beaches and reduce pollution,” according to their report.

The top countries include Costa Rica, Morocco, Portugal and the United Kingdom.

Meanwhile the bottom surfing countries are United States, Australia, South Africa, Indonesia, and Ireland.

Kalon Surf calls on everyone including surfers to help save the ocean from climate change.

“If we come together and support countries, communities, and policies that are fighting for renewable resources and healthier oceans, we can ride the waves climate change gives us,” their statement reads.—AAC

China calls on Philippines to ban all online gambling operations

Robie de Guzman   •   August 21, 2019

MANILA, Philippines – China expressed hope that the Philippine government would ban all online gambling operations following its move to suspend the issuance of new licenses for offshore gaming companies.

Based on an official transcript of a press conference held Tuesday (August 20), China’s Foreign Ministry spokesperson Geng Shuang said it welcomes the Philippines’ suspension of new applications for online gambling licenses.

“We also note the Philippine government’s announcement and appreciate it. We hope the Philippines will go further and ban all online gambling,” Geng said. 

“We hope it will further strengthen law enforcement with China and jointly tackle criminal activities including online gambling and cyber fraud. This will help create an enabling environment for our bilateral relations and peace and stability in the region,” he added.

Geng made the statement after the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation (Pagcor) on Monday announced a moratorium on applications for new Philippine Offshore Gaming Operators (POGO) over several concerns.

The Chinese official also said that “online gambling is a most dangerous tumor in modern society detested by people all across the world.”

The Chinese Embassy in Manila said that based on China’s laws and regulations, any form of gambling by Chinese citizens, including online-gambling, gambling overseas, opening casinos overseas to attract citizens of China as primary customers, is illegal. 

“The casinos and offshore gaming operators (POGOs) and other forms of gambling entities in the Philippine target Chinese citizens as their primary customers. A large number of Chinese citizens have been illegally recruited and hired in the Philippine gambling industry,” it said.

“In many cases, the employers of Philippine casinos, POGOs and other forms of gambling entities do not apply necessary legal work permits for their Chinese employees. Some Chinese citizens are even lured into and cheated to work illegally with only tourist visas,” it added.

Thousands of Chinese workers were earlier reported to be illegally working for more than 50 online gambling hubs in the Philippines.

Beijing earlier expressed grave concern over Pagcor’s move to transfer Chinese POGO workers to self-contained communities, saying this may infringe on the basic legal rights of the Chinese citizens concerned.

It also appealed to Manila to pay attention to Beijing’s position and concerns and punish Philippine casinos and other forms of gambling entities that are illegally recruiting its citizens.

“The Chinese side also urges relevant departments of the Philippine Government to strengthen law enforcement cooperation with China to jointly combating gambling-related crimes such as money-laundering, illegal employment, kidnapping, extortion, torture, murder etc so as to effectively protect the legitimate rights and interests of Chinese citizens, and to promote China-Philippine friendship and cooperation,” it added.

Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana earlier raised concern over the proximity of POGOs to military installations as these may be used for espionage.

Malacañang earlier said it sees nothing wrong with the location of POGO hubs near military installations and the creation of self-contained communities of foreign workers as long as it doesn’t violate the law.

READ: Malacañang: No risk in POGO hubs near military camps

However, the Palace would defer to the National Security Council to assess any risk being posed by the foreign operated online gaming operations.

Oplan Pamamalakaya: US, PH soldiers install artificial reefs in Batangas

Aileen Cerrudo   •   August 20, 2019

Jackstone-type artificial habitat reefs made from simple construction materials

The Philippine and the United States military divers, along with local government units and non-government organizations installed artificial reefs in Batangas on August 15.

Oplan Pamamalakaya is a collaboration between by the Philippine Air Force, DV Boer Farm, Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR), Community Environment and Natural Resources Office, and Municipality of Calatagan local government and residents.

The team were able to install a total of 30 jackstone-type artificial habitat reefs made from simple construction materials. 

“This project was a fantastic opportunity for us to partner with our friends in the PAF and help preserve the Philippine environment for future generations,” said Major Zach Hart, a participating diver.—AAC

Hontiveros vows to push hard for divorce law in Philippines

Robie de Guzman   •   August 5, 2019

Senator Risa Hontiveros

MANILA, Philippines – Opposition Senator Risa Hontiveros on Monday vowed to push hard for the passage of divorce law in the country as she met with groups advocating for its legalization.

Hontiveros, who chairs the Senate Committee on Women, met with five advocacy groups including the Divorce Advocates of the Philippines (DAP), Boses ng Kababaihan, Divorce for the Philippines Now International (DIPI), Divorce Philippines Coalition (DPC), and Divorce and Dissolution of Marriage Philippines (DDoMPh).

The lawmaker, in filing the Senate Bill No. 356 or the Divorce Act of 2019, sought to make “psychological incapacity of either spouse,” “irreconcilable marital differences,” marital rape, or being “separated for at least 5 years” grounds for divorce, among others.

Hontiveros said meeting with these groups is in preparation for a “historic fight to free Filipinos from abusive, loveless and unhappy marriages.”

“This is history in the making. This meeting marks an important stage in the larger work to have a divorce law in the country. It’s time that we gave Filipinos the chance to free themselves from abusive, loveless and unhappy relationships, and to help them find love and start all over again,” Hontiveros said.

However, some senators have said they are not inclined to support the bill.

READ: Senators may likely back dissolution of marriage than divorce – Sotto

“I will definitely oppose it,” said Senator Joel Villanueva when asked about his thoughts on the proposal being revived in the Senate.

Villanueva has previously expressed strong opposition to the divorce bill, insisting that the Philippines is a Christian nation where marriage is considered sacred.

“Banal na sakramento ang kasal, at naniniwala po tayo na hindi po dapat payagan, in general concept hindi dapat paghiwalayin ng tao,” he said.

Senators Cynthia Villar and Manny Pacquiao are also not in favor of the bill.

Senate President Vicente Sotto III, meanwhile, said senators are more likely to support the measure if it is not called “divorce.”

“Mukhang mas madali, karamihan sa amin, mas madali kung pag-uusapan namin ay dissolution of marriage,” Sotto said in an interview.

Aside from Hontiveros, Senator Pia Cayetano also filed her version of absolute divorce bill that seeks the legal termination of marriages by Philippine courts.

Hontiveros said her office is now in the process of consolidating the different versions of the bill, setting the appropriate committee hearings and talking to like-minded legislators.

“I believe in and support the institution of marriage. I myself was happily married. However, I also believe that Filipinos, especially women and their children have the right to second chances to turn the page and live good and happy lives. This measure is for them,” she said.

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