Several senators laud signing of Anti-Terror Act despite oppositions

Robie de Guzman   •   July 3, 2020   •   1049

MANILA, Philippines – Several senators have lauded President Rodrigo Duterte for signing the Anti-Terrorism Act of 2020 despite oppositions coming from different sectors.

“Much credit goes to PRRD (President Rodrigo Roa Duterte). With all the pressure coming from different directions against the signing of the Anti-Terrorism Bill into law, at the end of the day, it is his strong political will that mattered the most,” Senator Panfilo Lacson said in a statement Friday.

“I cannot imagine this measure being signed under another administration. If only for this, I take my hat off to the president,” he added.

Lacson, one of the principal authors and sponsor of the measure in the Senate, vowed that he would “exert extra effort in guarding against possible abuse in its implementation, notwithstanding all the safeguards incorporated in this landmark legislation.”

Senate President Vicente Sotto III also expressed elation over the enactment of the controversial bill.

“I am glad that the president has sifted through the rubble and saw the importance of the law!” he said in a message to reporters.

Senator Francis Tolentino also called the signing of the law as “very timely” and “historic” as the nation needed the measure.

“It just goes to show that a stable peace and order climate should go hand [in hand] with economic rejuvenation post COVID-19,” he added.

The new law repeals the Human Security Act of 2007 and penalizes those who will propose, incite, conspire, participate in the planning, training, preparation and facilitation of a terrorist act; as well as those who will provide material support to terrorists, and recruit members in a terrorist organization.

The measure allows suspected terrorists to be detained for up to 24 days without warrant. It also authorizes the Anti-Money Laundering Council to freeze the assets and accounts of individuals or groups tagged as terrorists.

Before it was enacted, the bill was met with widespread opposition from different groups who raised concern over its provisions that could be abused by authorities, stifle dissent and spur human rights violations.

But Sotto said the law has enough safeguards to prevent enforcers from abusing their authority.

“It’s full of safeguards but strong against terrorists. Unlike the old law, it was subject to abuse by the terrorists,” Sotto said.

Lacson has repeatedly defended the measure, saying it has enough protection to ensure the rights of those detained.

Duterte plans to visit China to personally thank President Xi for COVID vaccine donations

Marje Pelayo   •   March 1, 2021

MANILA, Philippines – President Rodrigo Duterte is planning to visit China to personally thank President Xi Jinping for donating 600,000 doses of Sinovac vaccines.

“I’d like to just say that towards the — maybe at the end of the year, when everything has settled down — I intend to make a short visit to China to just shake hands with President Xi Jinping and to personally thank him for this donation,” he said.

President Duterte noted China’s gesture of delivering the vaccine through its government military aircraft unlike other countries who needed to pick up the supply from China.

“I would like to just add that China has donated several vaccines to several countries. But it is only the donation made to the Philippines that was carried by a Chinese government plane. Iyong iba kinukuha doon sa China. Dito, hinatid sa atin,” he said.

The Chief Executive said he may push a trip to China by the end of the year.

Before heading to Beijing, the President said he wanted to visit Xiamen to see the school building that was built in honor of his late mother, Soledad.

“Maybe I’ll go to Xiamen. There’s a school built to honor my mother. You know, my mother was one of the first educators of the Chinese school in Davao,” he said.

Duterte insisted during Sunday’s arrival of China’s Sinovac vaccine that China has not requested anything in return for the donated vaccine adding that the donation is a “gesture of friendship and solidarity” between the two countries. 

Duterte still awaiting doctor’s advice on COVID vaccination

Marje Pelayo   •   March 1, 2021

MANILA, Philippines — President Rodrigo Duterte on Sunday (February 28) said, if he were to be asked, he wants to be vaccinated against coronavirus disease (COVID-19).

But due to advanced age, he said he needs his doctor’s clearance particularly on which brand of vaccine to get inoculated with.

The President is taking into consideration the experts’ advice to be more careful in choosing a vaccine for individuals like him who are past the age of 70.

“As to what brand, iyan ang problema because it is left to the sound discretion of my doctor,” he said.

“May caveat pa ‘yan. Seventy above  people are, you know, sinasabi nila huwag na. In some areas, some countries, hindi na binabakunahan ‘yang 70. It’s either because they are nearing death or about to die or it could be useless to give them the vaccine because anyway they won’t live long,” he added.

Still, the President believes and is willing to get inoculated against COVID-19.

President Duterte is turning 76 years old on March 28.

Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque earlier announced that the Office of the President is studying the possibility of giving the Chief Executive COVID-19 vaccine from Sinopharm, the brand of vaccine administered to the members of his Presidential Security Group.

READ: Office of the President eyeing Sinopharm vaccine for PRRD under compassionate use

Roque said it was also President Duterte’s brand of choice. MNP (with reports from Rosalie Coz)

Duterte dares Robredo to get COVID-19 shot first: ‘Siya ang apurado, siya ang mauna’

Marje Pelayo   •   March 1, 2021

MANILA, Philippines — President Rodrigo Duterte has dared Vice President Leni Robredo to get vaccinated first against coronavirus disease (COVID-19) now that China’s Sinovac vaccine has finally arrived in the country.

“Siya man ‘yong apurado, siya ang mauna,” the President said of Robredo during the turn-over of the Sinovac vaccine at Pasay City on Sunday (February 28).

This was the President’s response to the call of Robredo for him to get vaccinated first to boost public confidence in the government’s vaccination efforts.

He said Robredo is more qualified to get vaccinated as she is younger than him.

“Ako, I cannot just decide. She’s young, I am not. I have to defer to my doctor,” the President said.

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) recommends the use of Sinovac vaccine to individuals who are fit and healthy, aged 18 to 59.

According to President Duterte, his doctors are recommending a different brand and he already requested a personal supply of a certain brand of vaccine which he opted not to disclose the name.

“Ako, nanghingi ako personal. Wala silang stock. Nanghingi ako para sa pamilya ko pati sa akin,” he said.

“I don’t know if we would have enough vaccines for everybody. But I think I can accommodate the Cabinet members,” he added.

Malacañang had earlier announced that the President prefers to use the COVID-19 vaccine from Sinopharm which is another brand from China. MNP (with reports from Rosalie Coz)

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