Defense chief lauds Duterte order on foreign vessels entering PH waters

Robie de Guzman   •   August 21, 2019   •   991

One of the anti-submarine vessels which docked at Pier 15 South Harbor, Manila.

MANILA, Philippines – Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana has lauded President Rodrigo Duterte’s move to require foreign vessels to first secure a clearance from the government before entering the Philippine waters.

“That is a very good development. At least now we have some authority to enforce our laws within our territorial waters,” Lorenzana said Tuesday.

Earlier, Duterte, through spokesman Salvador Panelo, issued a directive for all foreign vessels to provide notification and get clearance from proper government authority in advance of the actual passage. He also warned foreign vessels that Manila will either get compliance in a friendly manner or enforce it in an unfriendly manner.

READ: Duterte warns foreign ships to get clearance before entering PH waters

When asked to elaborate, Panelo explained that by saying ‘unfriendly,’ it means blocking entry to any foreign vessels intruding in the Philippine territory.

He, however, clarified that the President’s order didn’t mean an automatic use of force against intruders.

“By that it means that we will ask them to move out of the place, that’s unfriendly, because before we never said anything, we just allow them, we just make protest, but this time, we will tell them, please get out of our territorial waters,” Panelo said.

Duterte’s order came after reports of Chinese warships that allegedly entered the Philippine territory, particularly in Sibutu Strait in Tawi-Tawi, without permission from the government.

Lorenzana, for his part, could not say yet the “unfriendly option” the Philippine Military could use to ward of intruders into the country’s waters. The Defense chief said he will defer the matter to the Philippine Navy. (RRD with details from Correspondent Joan Nano)

Panelo: One-on-one interview with Duterte to push through on Tuesday

Aileen Cerrudo   •   January 28, 2020

After its postponement on January 22, the one-on-one interview with President Rodrigo Duterte will push through on Tuesday (January 28), said Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo on Monday.

The January 22 schedule for the one-on-one interview was postponed due to “pressing family matters”.

“Due to pressing matters, the tête-à-tête Part 2 of President Rodrigo Roa Duterte and Chief Presidential Legal Counsel and Presidential Spokesperson Salvador S. Panelo has been moved to January 28, 2020 at the Rizal Hall, Malacañan Palace at 5:00 p.m.,” a previous media advisory read.

This will be the President’s second têtê-a-têtê. The first televised interview was held last September 2018.—AAC (with reports from Rosalie Coz)

China bans wildlife trade amid novel Coronavirus outbreak

Marje Pelayo   •   January 28, 2020

China on Saturday (January 26) has imposed a nationwide ban on the trade of wildlife until the outbreak of novel coronavirus is eliminated across the country.

This new restriction includes transport and trading of any form of wildlife, specifically in markets, supermarkets, restaurants, and e-commerce platforms.

Experts blame the country’s eating habits as the possible cause of the current epidemic.

China is known for its bizarre custom of eating wild and exotic animals ranging from peacocks, snakes, civet cats, wolves, rats, and bats which health experts consider as ‘incubators’ for viruses that may evolve or mutate and spread to humans often in unhygienic conditions.

These wild animals are also made available on online shops in China.

As of Monday (January 27), China’s National Health Commission (NHC) reported a total of 1975 confirmed cases of novel coronavirus with a death toll of 80.

So far, the outbreaks’ epicenter, Wuhan City, remains on lockdown along with 19 other cities across Central China.

Health authorities in Beijing, through a text message sent to mobile phone users in Wuhan City, urged people not to shake hands as the common Chinese greeting.

Instead, the public is advised to salute using a traditional cupped-hand gesture.

PH Customs to bury seized ASF-tainted products

Robie de Guzman   •   January 27, 2020

MANILA, Philippines – The Bureau of Customs at the Manila International Container Port (BOC-MICP) on Monday said it is set to bury seized meat products that tested positive for the African Swine Fever (ASF) virus.

In a statement, the BOC said the meat products that were confiscated from a container van include boxes of dumplings, pork-chicken balls and roast chicken wings.

The container was consigned to Dynamic M Int’l Trading Inc. which arrived at the Manila North Harbor last December 11, 2019 from China and was put under an alert order for suspicion of containing misdeclared items.

The bureau said the abovementioned food items, particularly the pork-celery dumplings, indicated the presence of the ASF virus after they were subjected to examination and laboratory tests by the Veterinary Quarantine Services.

The agency noted that the seized items were not covered by any Sanitary permit from the Bureau of Animal Industry.

Agricultural items not covered by such permits may carry plant diseases and pests that can affect local agriculture.

The confiscated shipment violated the Customs Modernization and Tariff Act, the Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act, and the Anti-Agricultural Smuggling Act of 2016, the BOC said.

An inter-agency team was ordered to immediately dispose of the shipment in order to prevent the spread of the ASF virus, it added.

The BOC, however, did not provide details on when and where it plans to dispose of the ASF-tainted meat products.

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