Taiwan gov’t lauds PH Court ruling in Balintang shooting incident

Marje Pelayo   •   September 19, 2019   •   177

TAIWAN – The Ministry of Foreign Affairs on Wednesday (September 18) lauded the Manila Regional Trial Court’s ruling on eight personnel of the Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) in the May 2013 Balintang Channel shooting incident.

A Taiwanese fisherman named Hung Tzu-chien was killed in the incident.

In a statement, MOFA said both countries have worked closely to resolve the matter six years after.

However, the eight men can still appeal the ruling thus MOFA and Taiwan’s representative office in the Philippines said they will closely monitor future developments on the matter.

The court ruled that the convicted men were guilty of homicide and sentenced them 8 to 14 years in jail.

The court also ordered them to “jointly” pay P50,000 in civil indemnity and another P50,000 in moral damages to the heirs of the victim.

In a statement, the Philippine’s representative office in Taiwan, the Manila Economic and Cultural Office (MECO), expressed regret over the matter.

“We hope that both parties would eventually overcome the emotional strain that this regretful incident brought about more than six years ago and that our peoples can move on towards strengthening our bonds of friendship,” MECO said in its statement.

PCG receives patrol boat, x-ray machine from Japan

Robie de Guzman   •   November 12, 2019

MANILA, Philippines – The Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) said it has received a patrol boat and an x-ray inspection machine from the Embassy of Japan.

A ceremony for the turnover of the 15-meter patrol boat and x-ray inspection machine was held at the PCG Headquarters on Monday at the Port Area in Manila.

PCG Commandant Vice Admiral Joel Garcia said the equipment will help further enhance the country’s maritime safety, security and law enforcement, as well as marine environmental protection and maritime search and rescue.

Garcia added the 15-meter patrol boat, which runs at 29 knots with up to 14-passenger capacity, is suitable for quick response operations and retrieval operations. It isalso capable to accosting alleged terrorists, intruders, and poachers within the Philippine territory.

The x-ray inspection machine, on the other hand, is a compact and battery-operated equipment suitable for inspection in high or narrow places. It is controlled using a remote with a distance of up to 20 meters and provides real-time inspection images.

According to Garcia, the donation is part of the Japanese government’s promise to President Rodrigo Duterte that they would help strengthen the country’s efforts against terrorism and piracy in its domain.

“Our strong cooperation with Japan aids our efforts in preventing terror attacks, specifically kidnap for ransom within Philippine waters which, not only enhances maritime security, but also increases the number of economic undertakings in the region,” he said.

Meanwhile, Minister Masahiro Nakata of the embassy’s Ministry of Economic Affairs said that Japan is looking forward to boost its strategic relations with the Philippines on evolving challenges in the future, specifically in protecting its territorial waters and marine resources.

“Our commitment to the Philippines is far from over. Rest assured that we will further support the operations of the PCG by providing high-quality assets and by instilling the latest maritime know-hows to its technical personnel,” Nakata said.

PCG remains in full alert after long weekend holiday

Maris Federez   •   November 4, 2019

The Philippine Coast Guard remains in full alert status as passengers flock to the seaports on their way home from a long weekend holiday.

The Department of Transportation (DOTr) Malasakit Help Desk has recorded around 24,000 passengers in the country’s seaports from 12 midnight to 6 in the morning on Monday (November 4).

These are passengers coming from Central Visayas, Southern Tagalog, Western Visayas, and Southern Mindanao regions.

Government agencies concerned have not recorded any untoward incidents in any sea travels, while security measures remain tight in the seaports to ensure the safety of the passengers. (with details from Aiko Miguel) /mbmf

Help pours in as death toll in Mindanao quake reaches 21

Maris Federez   •   November 3, 2019

The number of confirmed deaths in the wake of the magnitude 6.6 and 6.5 quakes that struck Mindanao in the past weeks has reached 21.

According to the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC), most number of fatalities was recorded in Cotabato with nine deaths caused by the magnitude 6.6 tremor and another nine in the magnitude 6.5 quake.

Davao del Sur, on the other hand, registered three deaths caused by the 6.6 quake.

The NDRRMC data also showed 432 individuals sustaining injuries due to the tremor; 301 of which are in Region XII, 117 in Region XI, 14 in Region X, and 1 in BARMM.

The council also confirmed that the temblor that hit the southern part of Mindanao had affected around 35,000 families or around 178,000 individuals in 200 barangays.

Several groups from the public and private sectors, including the Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) Task Force Tabang Mindanao and the Coast Guard District South Eastern Mindanao, had extended assistance to the affected families.

Meanwhile, Executive Secretary Salvador Medialdea on Saturday (November 2) directed the Department of National Defense (DND) to lead all relief efforts and to ensure safety and security of the public in the earthquake stricken areas of Mindanao.

Medialdea also advised the public “to coordinate directly with the DND and/or the NDRRMC to ensure the efficient conduct of relief efforts, including the distribution of relief goods and rescue operations.” (with details from Rosalie Coz and Davao Correspondent Janice Ingente) /mbmf

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