US Sen. Durbin renews call for De Lima’s release from detention

Robie de Guzman   •   January 9, 2020   •   874

US Senator Richard Durbin

MANILA, Philippines – United States Senator Richard Durbin renewed his call for the Duterte administration to release detained opposition Senator Leila de Lima, saying this is an “easy and honorable way forward.”

In a speech on the Senate floor Wednesday, Durbin urged the Philippine government to give De Lima a quick and credible trial instead of threatening the travel of Americans with visa requirements.

“The Duterte regime should stop threatening the travel of Americans and so many others who travel between our nations, and instead ensure a quick and credible trial for Senator de Lima or simply do the right thing and release her,” he said.

Duterte’s spokesman Salvador Panelo earlier said the Philippine government would require all Americans to secure a visa before entering the country should the US government enforce the ban on Filipino officials said to be involved in De Lima’s detention.

The Philippine government also ordered the Bureau of Immigration to deny entry to Durbin and Senator Patrick Leahy.

It was Leahy and Durbin who pushed for the inclusion of a provision in the US 2020 budget banning the entry of Philippine officials linked to the detention of the Filipino senator.

Another American senator, Edward Markey, has also been banned from entering the Philippines for filing a resolution calling for De Lima’s release.

De Lima, one of Duterte administration’s fierce critics, has been detained since 2017 over her alleged involvement in the illegal drug trade while she was Justice Secretary. She has repeatedly denied the charges.

Panelo reiterated that De Lima’s detention was not a case of political persecution, insisting that the senator was afforded due process and that there is a “probable cause” to issue a warrant for her arrest. – RRD (with details from Correspondent Rosalie Coz)

Duterte urges public not to be choosy with COVID-19 vaccine brands

Aileen Cerrudo   •   October 20, 2021

MANILA, Philippines—President Rodrigo Duterte urged the public anew not to be choosy with coronavirus disease (COVID-19) vaccine brands.

During his Talk to the People on Tuesday night (October 19), Duterte expressed optimism over developments in the country’s vaccine supply as the government moves to build herd immunity.

However, he reminded the public to remain vigilant by continuing to follow health protocols; get vaccinated and avoid being choosy with vaccine brands.

“Do you know, if these vaccines that we have been giving to the population are not really effective and right, marami nang patay ngayon (many people would’ve been dead by now),” he said.

The president reiterated that the national government is trying hard to fight against the pandemic, and expressed his gratitude to other nations that provided aid to the Philippines.

“We’ve been trying hard, really hard to fight. [This] COVID program nakatutok kami lahat dito (we are all focused on this). I’d like to thank everybody who have really contributed to what we are now seeing,” he said. AAC

Pangulong Duterte sa mga ayaw magpabakuna vs COVID-19: ‘Turukan habang tulog’

Robie de Guzman   •   October 12, 2021

MANILA, Philippines – Muling umapela si Pangulong Rodrigo Duterte sa publiko na magpabakuna na kontra COVID-19 upang agad nang maabot ng bansa ang minimithing herd protection laban sa nakakahawang sakit.

Ginawa ng pangulo ang apela sa gitna ng marami pa ring bilang ng mga Pilipinong ayaw magpabakuna sa kabila ng pagdating ng mga suplay sa bansa.

 Kung ayaw magpabakuna, sinabi ng pangulo na dapat hanapin ang mga ito sa bawat barangay at “turukan habang tulog.”

“Alam ko marami pang ayaw eh. Iyan ang problema ‘yung ayaw, ayaw magpabakuna. Kaya hanapin ninyo ‘yan sa barangay ninyo. Akyatin natin ‘pag tulog at turukin natin habang natutulog para makumpleto ‘yung istorya. Eh kung ayaw, eh ‘di akyatin sa bahay eh, tusukin natin sa gabi. Ako ang mag-ano — I will lead the journey,” ang wika ng pangulo sa kanyang recorded na Talk to the People noong Lunes ng gabi.

Sa ngayon ay pinalalawak na ng pamahalaan ang coverage ng mass vaccination sa bansa.

Sa Biyernes, Oktubre 15, ilulunsad na ang pagbabakuna sa mga batang may edad 12 hanggang 17 na may co-morbidities saw along ospital sa Metro Manila.

Sinisimulan na rin ang pagbabakuna sa general adult population sa ilang lugar.

Nasa 23 milyong Pilipino ang fully vaccinated laban sa COVID-19 habang 26 milyon naman ang nakatanggap ng unang dose mula nang simulan ang vaccination program noong buwan ng Marso.

Duterte no close contact with COVID afflicted Sara – Palace

Robie de Guzman   •   October 11, 2021

MANILA, Philippines – Malacañang on Monday assured that President Rodrigo Duterte had no close contact with daughter, Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte, who contracted COVID-19.

“I can only surmise that there was no contact otherwise Mayor Sara would probably be a candidate by now,” Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said in a Palace briefing.

Mayor Sara’s office on Saturday announced that she tested positive for COVID-19 and urged those who had close contact with her in the last 14 days to get tested and monitor themselves for symptoms.

Her office said that Mayor Sara is experiencing mild symptoms and is currently under isolation.

The presidential daughter was supposed to go on a medical leave from October 5 to 8 for a trip to Singapore.

But she cancelled it after one of her companions tested positive for coronavirus disease.

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