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REPASO 2018: Dengvaxia scare, communist terrorism and the Martial Law

by UNTV News and Rescue   |   Posted on Tuesday, 1 January 2019 01:31 AM


The trauma of the controversial Dengvaxia vaccine has caused the government the public’s trust to its other vaccination programs.

Measles cases in the country soared by more than 300% last year, according to the World Health Organization (WHO).

This was because of the public’s fear of having the same fate as the alleged Dengvaxia vaccinees whose death remain uncertain to this day, according to Health Secretary Francisco Duque III.

“There is a significant drop in the confidence of our people in the immunization program of the DOH from 92% to measly 33%. Ang laki ng bagsak talaga,” Duque said.

It was a “lesson learned the hard way”, the DOH said, referring to the impact of the Dengvaxia controversy.

That’s why the agency wants to change how the public views of the agency.


A hearing on the controversial dengue vaccine

“Kung mag-i-introduce ka ng new health program, mag-i-introduce ka ng bagong bakuna,  bagong intervenyion kailangan talaga pag- aralan mo. Kailangan kompleto talaga ang iyong ebidensya. Kailangan alam mo ang magiging resulta. You have to communicate it properly doon sa mga recipients, kailangan naitindinhan din ng recipients kung ano iyong tinatanggap nila,” explained Health Spokesperson Undersecretary Eric Domingo.

But aside from the health concerns, the government also faced challenges in security this year.

President Rodrigo Duterte once again requested Congress to extend the declaration of Martial Law in the province of Mindanao for another year or until December 31, 2019.

IMAGE_UNTV_NEWS_110117_Marawi City

FILE PHOTO: Marawi City ruins (UNTV News)

According to Executive Secretary Salvador Medialdea, the extension is needed as terrorist groups like Abu Sayyaf, the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighter (BIFF), Daulah Islamiya and other terrorist groups sowing fear in the region.

“We cannot turn a blind eye to the reality that Mindanao is still in the midst of rebellion,” Medialdea said.

Several lawmakers opposed the proposal but later on, martial law was extended for the third time in Mindanao since it was declared on May 2017 when the Maute terror group conquered Marawi City.

The communist New People’s Army (NPA) also remains a challenge to the Philippine government.


FILE PHOTO: New People’s Army in formation

The military revealed an alleged ‘Red October’ plot, an oust-Duterte movement allegedly formed by the communist rebels backed by opposition groups.The two groups denied the allegations but according to the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP), they have recovered documents in some encounters with NPA proving that they were plotting a destabilization against the government.

Meanwhile, the government did not declare a ceasefire this year even after the communist group announced their declaration of a unilateral ceasefire.

According to the Department of National Defense (DND) and the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) they did not recommend to reciprocate the communists’ ceasefire declaration because leftists were not sincere of their intention and they would just use the ceasefire to strengthen their arms.

Meanwhile, a resolution was submitted to Congress calling the President to revive the peace negotiations with the Reds.

But the President remained cold towards the proposed resumption of peace talks.

Instead, he said he preferred to create a hit squad to match the NPA’s sparrow unit.

“So mag-create ako ng sparrow (unit), Duterte death squad against the sparrow,” the President said.

In December, the President issued Executive Order 70 which created a National Task Force tasked to eliminate the rebel group.

This, despite the continuous surrender of NPA members in different parts of the country through the efforts of military on localized peace talks. – Marje Pelayo (with reports from Aiko Miguel)

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Martial law victims might receive more from the Marcoses’ wealth in Hawaii

by UNTV News and Rescue   |   Posted on Friday, 1 March 2019 11:53 PM

Martial law victim applying for compensation claims at the Human Rights Victims’ Claims Board. (UNTV News)

MANILA, Philippines – Rights abuse victims during the Marcos regime were able to breathe a huge sigh of relief when President Rodrigo Duterte approved to extend the distribution of claims until the end of the year.

According to the group, Samahan ng mga Ex-detainees Laban sa Detensuon at Aresto (SELDA), around P234 million from the P10 billion total amount of reparation pay are yet to be claimed by around 170 recognized claimants.

“Ang mga grantee noon (ay) may mga kulang pa talagang mga documents daw so hinabol ng iba iyong mga kulang ng documents,” explained SELDA’s National Coordinator Danny dela Fuente.

The Commission on Human Rights (CHR) is now planning the process and finalizing the timeline for the distribution of the remaining claims.

Apart from this, the rights group said the 7,500 Martial law victims who were among those who filed a class action lawsuit in Hawaii may still be able to receive an additional amount from so called ‘ill-gotten wealth’ of the Marcoses deposited in the island state.

SELDA noted that each recognized claimant might receive P75,000 each from the US$13.75 million dollar earned from the auctioned paintings of the Marcoses.

This would be possible if the court will rule in favor of their petition expected to be announced in March.

It can be noted that the complainants were given an initial amount when the Hawaii court ruled in their favor against the Marcoses in the Hawaii case.

“Ang tawag ngayon doon (ay) Marcos estate, iyong inihabla namin sa Hawaii. Nagkaroon nga ng favorable decision ang court of US federal district of Hawaii na kami ay ma-award ng $1.9B. Walang panggagalingan iyon kundi ang kanilang ill-gotten wealth,” dela Fuente concluded. – Marje Pelayo (with reports from Rey Pelayo)

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Duterte OKs extension of claims distribution for rights abuse victims

by UNTV News and Rescue   |   Posted on Thursday, 28 February 2019 08:48 PM

Source: PCOO | Simeon Celi

MANILA, Philippines – President Rodrigo Duterte approved on Thursday (February 28) the extension of claims distribution for human rights victims under Marcos regime until the end of the year.

Executive Secretary Salvador Medialdea on Thursday confirmed that the President has approved Congress’ joint resolution extending the maintenance, availability and release of funds to all legitimate claimants of monetary reparations under R.A. 10368 or the Human Rights Victims Reparation and Recognition Act of 2013.

In May 2018, the now defunct Human Rights Victims Claims Board (HRVCB) approved and recognized only about 11,000 of all 75,000 applicants. However, six days before the expiration of the Board’s existence, it was only able to resolve 6,737 appeals.

In June 2018, the Land Bank of the Philippines reported that the Board’s account still has a balance of P792.629 million.

By June 28, 2018, the HRVCB account with the Lank Bank of the Philippines (LBP) reported a balance of P792.629 million.

But several approved claimants have reported that they have yet to encash their money and so measures to extend distribution of claims had been filed. – Marje Pelayo (with reports from Rosalie Coz)

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Supreme Court upholds third martial law extension in Mindanao anew

by admin   |   Posted on Tuesday, 19 February 2019 05:54 PM

MANILA, Philippines — The Supreme Court has once again upheld the third extension of martial law in Mindanao, with 9-4 votes.

Those who voted in favor of the extension until December 31 were Chief Justice Lucas Bersamin, and Justices Diosdado Peralta, Mariano Del Castillo, Estella Perlas Bernabe, Andres Reyes Jr., Alexander Gesmundo, Jose Reyes Jr., Ramon Paul Hernando, and Rosmari Carandang.

Those who dissented were Justices Antonio Carpio, Marvic Leonen, Francis Jardeleza, and Alfredo Benjamin Caguioa.

SC Spokesperson, Atty. Brian Keith F. Hosaka, said, “the Supreme Court ruled to uphold the constitutionality of the extension of the declaration of martial law and the suspension of the privilege of the writ of Habeas Corpus in Mindanao until December 31, 2019.”

Along with the Supreme Court decision was the dismissal of four petitions against the said extension of martial Law in Mindanao.

One of the petitioners, former Bayan Muna Partylist Representative Neri Colmenares, said the SC decision opens the path for the move to place the entire country under martial law even without any threat on public security.

He reiterated that for a country to be placed under martial law, there must be invasion or rebellion.

President Rodrigo Duterte first placed the whole of Mindanao under martial law in May 2017 following the attack of the Maute-ISIS group in Marawi City.

It was extended for another year even before the 60-day period provided for by the Constitution elapsed. — Maris Federez (with reports from Mai Bermudez)

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