QC gov’t to allow limited physical rallies on day of SONA

Robie de Guzman   •   July 21, 2020   •   481

MANILA, Philippines – The conduct of a limited number of protests during President Rodrigo Duterte’s fifth State of the Nation Address (SONA) next week will be allowed in Quezon City, Mayor Joy Belmonte said on Tuesday.

In a virtual press briefing, Belmonte said demonstrations with limited number of participants will be allowed but would have to comply with the minimum health standards such as the mandatory wearing of face masks and the observance of physical distancing.

She also reminded demonstrators who wish to join protests on Monday, July 27, to coordinate with the city government and the police to get a permit as provided for under the law.

Belmonte warned that protesters will be dispersed if they fail to comply with the rules.

“We will be very strict in ensuring that all of these protesters or demonstrators or rallyist will be complying with minimum health standards. Otherwise, we have to right to of course remind them or disperse them peacefully of course kung nakikita natin na nagiging public health hazard na po sila,” she said. – RRD (with details from Correspondent Joan Nano)

QC warns establishments violating quarantine protocols after restobar shutdown

Aileen Cerrudo   •   September 28, 2020

The Quezon City local government has warned establishments violating quarantine protocols, reiterating that operation of restobars, night clubs, and other leisure and entertainment centers remain prohibited.

Quezon City Mayor Joy Belmonte issued the warning after a night club in Tomas Morato was shut down and around 100 individuals arrested for partying in the establishment.

“Inilalagay niyo sa panganib ang buhay ng inyong mga customer at iba pang mga residente dahil ang pag-inom sa publiko ay isa sa mga rason sa pagtaas ng kaso ng COVID-19 sa ating lungsod, (You’re putting the life of your customers and other residents at risk. Drinking in public is one of the reasons for the surge of COVID-19 cases in the city)” she said.

Belmonte also said the local government understands the need to jumpstart the city’s economy, however the health and safety of the citizens must not be compromised. AAC

Duterte hits gov’t critics, vows to uphold human rights at UN

Robie de Guzman   •   September 23, 2020

MANILA, Philippines – President Rodrigo Duterte blasted the critics of his administration’s campaign against illegal drugs, criminality and terrorism, whom he said are using the human rights issue to discredit functioning institutions and mechanisms of a democratic country and a popularly elected government.”

In a pre-recorded message aired at the 75th session of the United Nations General Assembly, Duterte highlighted the Philippines Anti-Terrorism Law which was passed amid the coronavirus pandemic.

The measure drew criticisms, with several groups claiming this could be used to silence and prosecute political opponents.

“A number of interest groups have weaponized human rights; some well-meaning, others ill-intentioned,” Duterte said in his message.

This is the first time that Duterte participated in the gathering since he became president four years ago.

“They attempt to discredit the functioning institutions and mechanisms of a democratic country and a popularly elected which in its last two years, still enjoy the same widespread approval and support,” he said.

“These detractors pass themselves off as human rights advocates while preying on the most vulnerable humans; even using children as soldiers or human shields in encounters. Even schools are not spared from their malevolence and anti-government propaganda. They hide their misdeeds under the blanket of human rights but the blood oozes through,” he added.

Duterte said his administration remains committed to protecting human rights and continue to take part in “ open dialogue and constructive engagement” with the United Nations.

“But these must be done in full respect of the principles of objectivity, non-interference, non-selectivity, and genuine dialogue. These are the fundamental bases for productive international cooperation on human rights,” he said. – RRD (with details from Correspondent Rosalie Coz)

Duterte calls for equal access to COVID-19 vaccine at UN assembly

Robie de Guzman   •   September 23, 2020

MANILA, Philippines – In his first appearance at the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA), President Rodrigo Duterte emphasized that all countries, rich or poor, should have equal access to the novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) vaccine “as a matter of policy.”

In a pre-recorded video message to the UN convention that aired on Wednesday, Duterte stressed the necessity of coordinated international plans and efforts to overcome the coronavirus pandemic, which he called as the “biggest test the world and the United Nations faced since World War II.”

He also pointed out that ensuring universal access to COVID-19 technologies and products to combat COVID-19 would be “pivotal in the global pandemic recovery.”

“The world is in the race to find a safe and effective vaccine. When the world finds that vaccine, access to it must not be denied nor withheld. It should be made available to all, rich and poor nations alike, as a matter of policy,” he said.

“The Philippines joins our partners in the ASEAN (Association of Southeast Asian Nations) and the Non-Aligned Movement in raising our collective voice: the COVID-19 vaccine must be considered a global public good,” he added.

Duterte also welcomed the launch of UN COVID-19 Response and Recovery Fund which is designed to aid low and middle-income countries to overcome the health and development crisis caused by the pandemic as well as support those severely affected by the economic and social disruption it caused.

“COVID-19 knows no border. It knows no nationality. It knows no race. It knows no gender. It knows no age. It knows no creed,” he said.

“The Philippines values the role that the United Nations plays in its fight against the pandemic. As a middle-income country whose economic advances have been derailed by the pandemic, we welcome the launch of the UN COVID Response and Recovery Fund,” he added.

During his speech, Duterte also recognized the sacrifices of medical professionals and other workers who are on the frontlines in the fight against the pandemic.

“We salute all frontliners who put their lives on the line even in countries not their own. So also do we honor and recognize the healthcare professionals who selflessly answered the call to combat the COVID-19 pandemic despite its virulence and unknown characteristics,” he said.

The viral respiratory disease has so far infected over 31 million people across the globe.

In the Philippines, the number of COVID-19 cases has reached 291,789 as of Tuesday. – RRD (with details from Correspondent Rosalie Coz)

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