Cebu Pacific cancels flights to, from China, HK, Macau

Aileen Cerrudo   •   February 3, 2020   •   858

Cebu Pacific has announced the cancellation of its flights between the Philippines and China, Hong Kong and Macau effective immediately.

In their Facebook post, the airline company said this is in support of the Philippine government’s efforts to manage the risks of the novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV).

Flights between the Philippines and Macau and Hong Kong will remain canceled until February 29, while flights between the Philippines and China will remain canceled until March 29.

Cebu Pacific passengers traveling from the Philippines to mainland China, Hong Kong, and Macau until March 31, 2020, may avail of the following options through the Manage Booking portal in the Cebu Pacific website https://book.cebupacificair.com/Manage/Retrieve:

  • Rebook the flight (new flight date within 30 days of original travel date)
  • Refund the tickets in full
  • Store the value of the ticket in a Travel Fund for future use

Meanwhile, all foreign nationals (except those with valid permanent resident visas to the Philippines) who have visited mainland China, Hong Kong and Macau 14 days before traveling to the Philippines will not be allowed to check-in for their flight.

All Filipinos and permanent residents of the Philippines, arriving from international flights who have been to mainland China, Hong Kong, and Macau in the last 14 days prior to arrival in the Philippines will be required by the Bureau of Quarantine to undergo a home quarantine process upon arrival.—AAC

Duterte: I asked Chinese Pres. Xi Jinping for help on COVID-19 vaccines but no talks on WPS

Robie de Guzman   •   May 11, 2021

MANILA, Philippines – President Rodrigo Duterte on Monday disclosed that he asked help from his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping in obtaining COVID-19 vaccines but insisted that they did not discuss issues on the West Philippine Sea.

During his Talk to the People public address on Monday night, Duterte recalled how he called Xi when the Philippines had yet to get any supply of COVID-19 vaccines.

“Let me just also say na itong history na… for public consumption na ito. Tumawag ako kay President Xi Jinping, sinabi ko kasi noong kasagsagan ng walang dumating talaga, walang makapkap si Secretary (Carlito) Galvez (Jr.), tumawag ako, sabi ko, ‘Mr. President (Xi), I would like to ask for your help until now Philippines is at a loss on how to get vaccines,’” he said.

“Sabi niya, ‘it’s okay we will help you.’ Ganoon lang. Hindi naman sinabi na kalimutan mo yung Scarborough Shoal, bigyan kita… Sinabi niya lang as simple as that,” he added.

The Philippines first received 600,000 doses of Sinovac COVID-19 vaccines that were donated by the Chinese government on February 28. The national government used this supply to roll out its vaccination program on March 1.

In total, the Philippines has received 1 million donated Sinovac vaccine doses from China, including the 400,000 doses that were delivered in March.

Duterte stood by his earlier statement that the Philippines owes a debt of gratitude to China for all its help but emphasized that there would be no compromise on the West Philippine Sea issue.

“It’s never, never wrong to say that I owe you a debt of gratitude. Totoo eh, binigyan tayo, tinanggap natin, ginamit natin,” he said.

“But it does not mean na tanggapin ko ang bakuna tapos sabihin ko kalimutan ko na yung claim diyan sa West Philippine sea, okay na yun dahil sa bakuna… It was never like that, the world does not operate like that,” he added.

He said there would be no compromise on the issue and that China knows it.

“Maski bahain tayo dito ng vaccine, gagamitin ko pa rin pero sabihin ko ‘hindi ito kabayaran’. Iba ito. This is a Philippine national interest, this is not a health issue that nagpasalamat ako,” he said.

Correction:
An earlier version of this article misstated that “they did discuss issues.” 

Why did Duterte tap out of challenge to debate with Carpio?

Robie de Guzman   •   May 10, 2021

MANILA, Philippines – President Rodrigo Duterte on Monday said he is not afraid of facing retired Supreme Court Senior Associate Justice Antonio Carpio in a debate on issues surrounding the West Philippine Sea.

Duterte last week dared Carpio to square off on the loss of a Philippine territory during the Aquino administration, but later tapped out and instead delegated the task to his spokesperson, lawyer Harry Roque.

“What was in my mind when I challenged Carpio into a debate? Ang problema lang kasi dito nakalimutan ko na si Carpio hindi ang presidente – ako,” Duterte said in his weekly Talk to the People on Monday night.

Duterte said he had to back out of the challenge because anything he might say there could be construed as a “policy statement.”

“I might bind future actions of government pagdating dito sa West Philippine Sea,” he said.

“Pero dodoon ako sa kahon, it’s not because I am afraid of debates,” he added, saying that he had faced many debates with political rivals for the presidency in 2016.

“Hindi ako takot sa’yo, ang problema, hindi ko nga alam na hindi ka president,” he further said, addressing Carpio.

Duterte has blamed the previous administration over the loss of the Scarborough Shoal in the West Philippine Sea following a standoff in 2012.

Former Foreign Affairs Secretary Albert del Rosario earlier said that China “deceitfully breached” its agreement with the Philippines to withdraw the ships of both sides to end the standoff.

The Philippines then pursued an arbitral case against China in 2014. The Permanent Court of Arbitration ruled in 2016 in favor of the Philippines and nullified China’s vast claims in the South China Sea, including parts of the West Philippine Sea.

Duterte said he tried pursuing the arbitral ruling but nothing happened.

China has been ignoring the diplomatic protest that the Philippine government has repeatedly filed over the incursion of Chinese vessels in the contested waters.

Philippines receives additional 1.5 million doses of Sinovac vaccine from China

Marje Pelayo   •   May 7, 2021

MANILA, Philippines — Onboard Cebu Pacific chartered flight 5J671, additional 1.5 million doses of Sinovac vaccine from China arrived at Terminal 2 of the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) at exactly 7:58 AM on Friday (May 7).

Health Secretary Francisco Duque III and vaccine czar Secretary Carlito Galvez Jr. joined in the welcoming of the vaccines.

So far, the shipment is the highest volume of Sinovac COVID-19 vaccine delivered and the seventh batch from China to arrive in the country.

The vaccines were immediately loaded on refrigerated trucks for transportation to a third-party storage facility of the Department of Health (DOH) in Marikina City.

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