MANILA, Philippines — “I don’t want to talk to them. They have killed many soldiers. They have killed many policemen. “
This was the statement of President Rodrigo Duterte when he met the soldiers of 103rd Infantry Brigade, 1st Infantry Division of the Philippine Army at Kampo Ranao, Marawi City on Thursday.
He expressed resentment toward members of the New People’s Army (NPA) who continuously attack the government forces and extort money from businessmen.
The president also reminded soldiers to be extra careful and be vigilant against the NPA’s movements.
“They are really evil; they killed the marines who were only buying something at the market. That’s why I am giving you .45-calibre sidearms. Bring it with you. Do not be so complacent when you go out of the camp,” said Duterte to the troops in Marawi.
The government said it is not yet the right time to negotiate again with the communist rebels.
But this does not mean that the government will no longer pursue peace with the leftist groups.
National Security Adviser Hermogenes Esperon said, “Let’s wait for the enabling environment. Let’s see how things go, but I will always agree with Secretary Dureza that the peace process must not be closed permanently in so far as the CPP-NPA (Communist Party of the Philippines – New People’s Army) is concerned.”
This was concurred by Presidential Spokesperson Ernesto Abella who said, “Regarding the peace talks in Marawi, everything is on hold at this stage until …the conditions that are favorable will be agreed upon by both parties.”
The government peace panel cancelled its supposed back channel talks with the National Democratic Front In Europe due to the recent attacks of the NPA against the personnel of the Presidential Security Group in Arakan, North Cotabato and two marines in Palawan. — Rosalie Coz |UNTV News & Rescue
MANILA, Philippines — President Rodrigo Duterte is open to listening to the public about their sentiments on the issue regarding the Visiting Forces Agreement (VFA) with the United States (US).
Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque Jr. said those who wish to voice out their opinions on whether the VFA should be abolished or not can send messages through the government hotline 8888.
“Kung nais ninyong marinig ang inyong boses tungkol dito, huwag po kayong mag-atubili, kayo po ay magpadala ng e-mail o mensahe o kung anuman doon sa mga linya ng ating mga ahensiya sa gobyerno para makarating po kay Presidente (If you want your voices to be heard, do not hesitate and send an email or message through government agency hotlines for it to reach the President),“ he said.
Duterte, during his public address on Wednesday (February 24), said he is still undecided on what to do. He previously demanded the US to pay if it wants the VFA to continue.
Meanwhile, Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) Chief of Staff Lt.Gen. Cirilito Sobejana said the military will support the decision of the President but also said the Philippines should be able to defend itself without any assistance. -AAC (with reports from Rosalie Coz)
MANILA, Philippines — President Rodrigo Duterte is expected to witness in person the arrival of the Philippines’ very first batch of COVID-19 vaccines scheduled on Sunday (February 28) at the Villamor Airbase in Pasay City.
Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque confirmed in a message that the event on Monday is part of the President’s schedule.
He is expected to be joined by other government officials in welcoming the shipment of the much-awaited 600,000 doses of CoronaVac of the pharmaceutical firm Sinovac donated by China.
A total of 100,000 doses of the CoronaVac will be reserved for members of the military.
Once the vaccines arrive, the government is expected to kick-off the nationwide vaccine rollout on Monday (March 1) which will prioritize frontline health workers, uniformed personnel, and senior citizens among other sectors.
“It is a fine tradition between China and the Philippines to help each other in trying times. A friend in need is a friend indeed. The donation of vaccines is another testament to the solidarity as well as profound friendship and partnership between our two peoples and two countries,” Ambassador Huang said on Facebook.
“I want to thank all those who have worked so hard in order to make this happen! I hope the vaccines will help kick off Philippines’ mass inoculation campaign to curb the pandemic and allow Filipinos’ life to return to normal at the earliest,” he added.
Meanwhile in a post on Twitter, the Chinese Embassy refuted claims that Sinovac’s COVID-19 vaccine shouldn’t be given to health workers who have high exposure to positive cases.
The Embassy said the pharma company’s first trial inoculation on health workers in Brazil yielded positive results.
“Even under such extremely challenging conditions, the vaccine has show 100% protection to prevent fatal cases or severe cases that need hospitalization, 80% protection to prevent mild case which don’t need any medical intervention,” it said.
Thus, the Embassy said, “the Sinovac is good for medical workers with exposure to COVID-19.”
MANILA, Philippines — Four parents of the rescued Lumad children were taken by suspected communist militants, according to the Philippine National Police (PNP).
PNP chief PGen. Debold Sinas cited reports that the parents were supposed to meet with the police in Davao del Norte on Monday (February 22) for their trip to Cebu City However, only two parents showed up.
Reports also stated that the four Lumad parents were taken on Sunday (February 21) by suspected organizers of communist front groups who posed as police officers.
“Obviously, these four parents were lured into believing they would be meeting with their children in Cebu when they were taken by persons who disguised themselves as police officers,” Sinas said.
The PNP chief added that the said stunt was a desperate move of communist front organizations to get away from criminal liability of serious illegal detention and child exploitation.
Sinas also assured that police authorities are already exerting efforts to locate the parents.
The Ata Manobo children were among the 19 Lumad minors who were brought to Cebu City by communist front.
Reports indicate that the children were undergoing radicalization and revolutionary warfare indoctrination.
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