FILE PHOTO: President Rodrigo Duterte delivers his second state of the nation address (SONA) on July 24, 2017.
War on Drugs
National Security Adviser Hermogenes Esperon during the pre-SONA forum on July 17 said from July 1, 2016 up to June 30 this year, the government’s anti-illegal drug campaign has accomplished the following:
• more than 1.2 million drug personalities; • arrest of 49,265 persons; • 4,540 drug lords and pushers who resisted arrest were neutralized. • 18,388 barangays (of the 29,749 drug-affected barangays) were declared drug free • 208,000 drug surrenderers rehabilitated • PHP13.5 billion worth of drugs, shabu, related substances in 2017 seized
Land Use Act
The House of Representatives already approved on May 2, 2017, its version of the NaLUA bill, or House Bill No. 5240 (An Act Instituting a National Land Use and Management Policy, Providing the Implementing Mechanisms, and Appropriating Funds Therefor).
Five NaLUA bills have been filed in the Senate. But to date, no consolidated bill has been drafted and no Senate committee discussions of the bills have been held. (source:www.neda.gov.ph)
New agency on disaster response
As of July 2018, the Cabinet approved the bill establishing the Department of Disaster Resilience.
The House committees on government reorganization and national defense and security jointly approved a motion creating a technical working group for the consolidation of eight bills seeking to create an independent agency focused on the country’s disaster preparedness and emergency management.
Passage of Death Penalty bill
The law reinstating the death penalty remains stalled in the Senate since April 2017, after it did not appear to have enough votes to pass.
Stop irresponsible mining
President Duterte in July this year launched mining crackdown, sustained existing ban on open-pit mining and mulled total ban in 2019.
TRO on RH Law
The Supreme Court’s two-year temporary restraining order on contraceptive implants still in effect.
DeEd reported that a total of 26.3 million learners received formal education and registered 641, 584 Alternative Learning System enrollments.
Enacted the Universal Access to Quality Tertiary Education or the Free Tuition Act
Return of a national heritage
The return to the Philippines of the Balangiga bells is only waiting for the signature of US Defense Secretary Jim Mattis, Manila ambassador to Washington Jose Manuel Romualdez on July 19 (Thursday).
by Marje Pelayo | Posted on Friday, July 12th, 2019
MANILA, Philippines – July 12, 2019, marks the third anniversary of the Philippine’s arbitral win against China’s historical claims on the South China Sea, part of which is the West Philippine Sea.
The Permanent Court of Arbitration’s landmark ruling thus invalidated China’s so-called ‘Nine-Dash Line’ – the undefined demarcation line that encircles as much as 90 percent of the disputed waters in the area.
The Duterte administration downplayed the victory in hopes of building stronger ties with China and preferred to offer diplomacy rather than further escalating the tension by sending military troops to the disputed waters, even amid reports of harassment against Filipino fishermen and the Chinese destroying and exploiting the Philippines’ marine resources.
Maritime expert Jay Batongbacal expressed deep concern on the continuous deterioration and massive destruction of the marine environment in the West Philippine Sea.
“This has to stop and we have to get serious,” the Director of the University of the Philippines Institute of Maritime Affairs and Law of the Sea appealed.
“And we’re not talking about going to war. We’re talking about simple things like stopping the destruction of a common pool resource that would benefit us all,” he added.
Senior Associate Justice Antonio Carpio, meanwhile, acknowledge that war is not an option in the West Philippine Sea row as the Constitution forbids.
But Carpio blamed the Duterte administration’s inaction, accusing it of using such provision of the law to instill fear among Filipinos as if the Philippines has no other option but to obey with what China offers.
“This administration has done nothing whatsoever to enforce the arbitral award,” Carpio said.
“I don’t see positive in the enforcement of the award,” he added.
The magistrate appealed to President Duterte not to formalize his verbal agreement with China’s Xi Jinping in his upcoming state of the nation address (SONA) that allows Chinese fishermen to fish within the exclusive economic zone (EEZ) of the country in the WPS.
Carpio said, once Duterte formalizes the agreement, the Philippines would be bound and that would weaken the Arbitral ruling.
“If the President will confirm it in his SONA, I mean, we cannot get out of that anymore. So, we’re bound by that, we have to honor that. So, that means China can fish in an area 59 times larger than Scarborough Shoal,” Carpio argued.
Malacañang stressed that the President considers his agreement with Xi as legally binding, but Foreign Affairs Secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr. insisted that it cannot be executed because there is no written document to attest the deal.
For her part, former Ombudsman Conchita Carpio-Morales said the issue will still depend on how the President delivers the matter during his SONA.
She calls on Filipinos to stand for the country’s rights no matter what happens.
“Let us not be scared by all the propaganda that we hear. Because if we do, walang mangyayari (nothing will happen),” Morales said.
“Be brave,” she concluded. – with details from Harlene Delgado
by Marje Pelayo | Posted on Friday, July 12th, 2019
MANILA, Philippines – The United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) upheld a resolution seeking to launch an international investigation on the human rights situation in the country in relation to the Philippines’s war on drugs.
During the 44th session in Geneva on Thursday (July 11), the Council adopted Iceland’s resolution to probe the Philippine government’s campaign against illegal drugs with 18 of the 47-member human rights body voted in favor, 14 against and 15 abstentions.
This formally asked UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet “to prepare a comprehensive written report” on the human rights situation in the Philippines.
In response, Foreign Affairs Secretary Teddy Locsin through Ambassador Evan Garcia expressed the Philippines’ rejection of the Iceland-initiated resolution.
“The Philippines reject this resolution. It cannot in good conscience abide by it. We will not accept a politically partisan and one-sided resolution so detached from the truth on the ground,” the Philippine Permanent Representative to the UN reading Locsin’s statement.
Malacañang, meanwhile, said the adoption of the ‘grotesquely one-sided’ resolution is an insult to the majority of Filipinos who expressed satisfaction on the kind of “forceful and effective” governance of President Duterte.
“The overwhelming majority of the Filipino electorate, who mercilessly crushed the intellectual and nationalist pretensions of those who peddled the bogus news, untruthful accounts and vicious propaganda on the President’s campaign against illegal drugs, are grossly and thoroughly insulted by the resolution that echoes such falsities,” said Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo in a statement on Friday, July 12.
Panelo added that the resolution has no other purpose but “to embarrass the Philippines before the international community and the global audience.”
In its resolution Iceland “urges the government of the Philippines to take all necessary measures to prevent extrajudicial killings and enforced disappearances, to carry out impartial investigations and to hold perpetrators accountable in accordance with international norms and standards including those on due process and the rule of law.”
But the Palace remained firm in its stand that it is still the President who will decide on whether to allow the United Nations to proceed with the investigation.
Panelo warned that should the probe proceed impartially, the result will only lead “to the humiliation of the investigators” as well as all the proponent countries since “there never have been – nor will there ever be – state-sponsored killings” in the country.
“Any attempt to undermine our sovereignty will receive an uproarious rejection from our countrymen, it being a naked affront to their authority to run their domestic affairs they deem fit under the prevailing circumstances,” Panelo concluded.
HOW COUNTRIES VOTED?
United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland
by Aileen Cerrudo | Posted on Wednesday, July 10th, 2019
President Rodrigo Duterte will explain his decision on allowing Chinese fishermen to fish in the Philippine waters during his 4th State of the Nation Address (SONA) on July 22.
The chief executive said he will explain why his decision was not unconstitutional.
“Maybe during SONA, I will educate people. By any stretch of imagination, hindi unconstitutional iyong ginawa ko (what I did was not unconstitutional). As a matter of fact, it was in keeping with the law,” he said.
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