PH gov’t assures safeguards remain despite lifting of travel restrictions on 10 countries

Robie de Guzman   •   September 6, 2021   •   756

MANILA, Philippines – The Department of Health (DOH) on Monday assured that strict border control measures will remain despite the lifting of travel restrictions on 10 countries.

The Philippine government has lifted its travel restrictions covering India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Nepal, the United Arab Emirates, Oman, Indonesia, Thailand, and Malaysia.

Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire said the travel ban was lifted after the COVID-19 situation in the said areas has improved based on international assessments.

She said the move follows the country’s adoption of the “Yellow” and “Red” classifications, in addition to the “Green List” of countries or territories.

The Inter-Agency Task Force (IATF) earlier said that countries under the Yellow list are classified as moderate risk while the Red list includes those that are high risk for COVID-19.

Vergeire said countries previously covered by the Philippines’ travel ban have been placed on the yellow list.

“Pero hindi naman natin kailangang mag-alala dahil may mga safeguards tayo. Hindi man natin i-restrict ang isang bansa, meron naman tayong strict border control kung saan lahat ng dumadating na travelers ay nire-require nating mag-quarantine. Wala po tayong exemption, kahit humanitarian, hindi natin pinapayagan unless merong emergency medical condition,” she said.

The IATF earlier said that inbound travelers from areas under the “Yellow List,” regardless of their vaccination status, shall undergo 14-day quarantine upon arrival. They have to complete the first 10 days in a quarantine facility while the remaining 4 days must be spent under home quarantine in their respective local government units of destination.

They are also required to undergo RT-PCR testing on the 7th day, with their day of arrival serving as Day 1.

Duterte says NPA rebels may get excess supply of COVID-19 vaccine

Robie de Guzman   •   January 25, 2022

MANILA, Philippines – President Rodrigo Duterte said he will allow members of the New People’s Army (NPA) access to COVID-19 vaccine only if there is an excess supply.

During his taped meeting with some officials aired on Tuesday, Duterte said spare vaccine jabs can be given to NPA rebels so they can also get protection against the viral disease.

“Pagka may sobra, kung may sobra lang, hindi kayo puwedeng unahin kay kalaban kayo sa gobyerno,” he said.

“Tingnan lang ninyo at kung may sobra, ‘di ano. Pero tawagan ninyo na muna ako na kung may sobra, ibigay ninyo sa NPA para hindi ma-COVID-19,” he added.

During the meeting, Duterte also renewed his call on NPA rebels to surrender and avail of the government’s housing and skills training program for rebel returnees.

“This is my order to the military: If they want to surrender, give them the chance to surrender properly,” he said.

“I’ll give you a house, I’ll give you a job, temporary, may suweldo ka na. Kung wala kang alam sa skills, mag-enroll ka muna… sila ‘yung TESDA, magturo sa iyo kung anong klaseng trabaho gusto mo, technical, turuan kayo,” he added.

“Tapusin na natin ito, tutal sinubukan naman natin ‘yang barilan, wala mang nangyari,” he further said.

COMELEC releases ballot face for 2022 elections

Robie de Guzman   •   January 25, 2022

MANILA, Philippines – The Commission on Elections (COMELEC) on Tuesday released the final ballot face for the May 2022 national and local elections.

The ballot contains the names of 10 presidential aspirants and nine vice presidential bets. It also includes the names of 64 senatorial candidates.

The presidential aspirants included in the final ballot face are listed in the following order:

  • Abella, Ernie
  • De Guzman, Leody
  • Domagoso, Isko Moreno
  • Gonzales, Norberto
  • Lacson, Ping
  • Mangondato, Faisal
  • Marcos, Bongbong
  • Montemayor, Jose Jr.
  • Pacquiao, Manny Pacman
  • Robredo, Leni

The names of vice presidential bets included in the ballot are the following:

  • Atienza, Lito
  • Bello, Walden
  • David, Rizalito
  • Duterte, Sara
  • Lopez, Manny SD
  • Ong, Doc Willie
  • Pangilinan, Kiko
  • Serapio, Carlos
  • Sotto, Vicente Tito

The final ballot face also includes 178 party-list groups.

Ballot faces for other areas have also been uploaded by the COMELEC on its website.

Duterte threatens to name ‘corrupt’ presidential bet

Robie de Guzman   •   January 25, 2022

MANILA, Philippines – President Rodrigo Duterte has threatened to spill some information about the presidential aspirants and who among them is allegedly ‘most corrupt’.

In a taped speech aired on Tuesday, Duterte said he will bare some details and “what’s wrong” with the presidential bets in the 2022 elections “in due time.”

“I will personally name the candidates and maybe what’s wrong with them na kailangan malaman ng tao because you are electing a president, sino ‘yung pinaka-corrupt na candidato,” he said.

Duterte said the information came “from everybody” and from “personal experience.”

While he did not specify names, Duterte said there is a ‘very corrupt’ aspirant who cannot become president.

“Mayroon diyan, talagang hindi pwede maging president,” he said.

“Mayroon naman diyan na presidente, pero masyadong corrupt. Kala lang kasi tao malinis, pero yung mga transaction, business sa kaniya, official business, pati yung mga chinese nagreklamo na masyadong corrupt,” he added.

Another contender, he said, is a bit lacking in experience, and doesn’t even seem to know the “fundamentals” of what a person who wants to be president should know.

“Medyo kulang talaga. Kulang na kulang. Everyday may sasabihin siya na mali o maski the fundamentals of what a person na gustong mag-president dapat,” he said.

Duterte stressed that he is not politicking and that he only wants to reveal this to let the people know about these issues.

“I’m talking to you as your president. Kailangan ilalabas ko kasi we are talking of elections, we are talking of our country and the next rulers, so to say, so to speak,” he said.

“Walang personalan ito… Nothing at stake for me, wala talaga akong rason bakit maghanap ako ng kalaban,” he added.

Duterte has yet to endorse a candidate for the presidential race.

His daughter, Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte, is running for vice president in tandem with Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr.

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