Democrats say summary of Trump’s call with Zelenskiy raises more questions than answers

Robie de Guzman   •   September 26, 2019   •   617

Democratic members of the U.S. Congress were not satisfied by the White House summary of a phone call between U.S. President Donald Trump and Ukranian President Volodmyr Zelenskiy, suggesting the document raises more questions than answers about Trump’s efforts to exert pressure of Zelenskiy to open an investigation on Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden.

“The release of the transcript of one of President Trump’s calls with President Zelenskiy, which just came out, will not assuage our concerns or the public’s concerns. Based on early reports, it may heighten them,” Senator Chuck Schumer, the Democratic leader, said.

Hakeem Jeffries, the Democratic leader in the House of Representatives, said the role of Trump’s attorney, Rudolf Giuliani, as a back-channel interlocutor to the Ukrainian government is particularly disturbing to Democrats.

“That is lawless. That undermines our national security. That is an abuse of power. That is unpatriotic. That undermines the electoral process and our democracy and the American people will not stand for it,” Jeffries said. (Reuters)

(Production: George Tamerlani)

Duterte to join democracy summit hosted by US – Palace

Robie de Guzman   •   December 8, 2021

MANILA, Philippines – President Rodrigo Duterte is set to participate in the “Summit for Democracy” to be hosted by the United States government this week, Malacañang said.

In a statement, the Office of the President said Duterte will join the summit set on December 9 to 10 “upon the invitation of US President Joe Biden.”

“President Biden has invited heads of state and government, other government leaders and voices from the business and nongovernment sectors to join the US in taking action to strengthen democracy,” the Palace said.

Malacañang said Duterte “has accepted” Biden’s invitation.

“President Duterte likewise welcomes the opportunity to share the Philippine democratic experience and commitment to democratic values and nation-building at the Summit for Democracy,” it added.

Biden will convene world leaders from government, the private sector, business and the civil society in the virtual summit. It will focus on challenges and opportunities facing democracies and will provide a platform for leaders to announce both individual and collective commitments, reforms, and initiatives to defend democracy and human rights at home and abroad, according to the US State Department.

The summit has three key themes: Defending against authoritarianism, addressing and fighting corruption, and promoting respect for human rights.

The United States said the summit will offer an opportunity to listen, learn, and engage with a diverse range of actors whose support and commitment is critical for global democratic renewal.

Afghanistan Crisis: OFWs escape to Dubai, Qatar with help from employers

Marje Pelayo   •   August 19, 2021

MANILA, Philippines — Relatives of overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) in Afghanistan confirmed with UNTV that their family members have reached Dubai safely after narrowly escaping the unrest in the Taliban-controlled country.

From Dubai, they are expected to return home to the Philippines soon.

On Tuesday (August 18), 35 Filipinos arrived in the Philippines from Afghanistan.

Based on records of the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA), there are around 130 Filipinos in Afghanistan.

Meanwhile, Joseph Glenn Gumpal, who acts as president of the Samahang Pilipino in Afghanistan, said 11 more Filipinos have already made it to Qatar with the help of their employers.

UNTV was able to get in touch with other stranded Filipinos in Afghanistan whose fates remain uncertain after a series of flight cancellations.

Among them is Rio Adrias, who confirmed that they are in constant communication with the Philippine Embassy in Pakistan which has jurisdiction over Filipinos in the Afghan country.

The only problem, Rio said, was that the chartered flight that they were supposed to board on Tuesday was canceled and they were told that they would need to take a commercial flight.

“Hindi pa rin po namin malaman kung kailan makakalapag ang eroplano dito sa Kabul kasi puno pa rin po ng tao ang Kabul airport. Hindi pa rin po lumilikas nasa 10,000 Afghan po ang naghihintay [na] doon na po natutulog,” she said.

Rio is one of the 24 Filipinos currently staying in a shelter some distance away from Kabul airport.

As for their personal needs, Rio said they still have enough supply for several days.

They also worry, however, for the safety of other Filipinos stranded in areas with no access to food and proper lodging.

“Sa pamilya ko, huwag kayong mag-alala ako’y nakakangiti pa pero ako’y naiiyak. Pero doon po sa gobyerno po natin sana po talaga una, matulungan nyo kaming mailikas talaga dito kaming lahat na gustong umuwi kasi talagang ang hirap,” Rio said asking for government support.

“Hindi safe. Hindi kami okay. Hindi namin ma-explain yung pakiramdam namin dito,” she added.

Rio said if she makes it back to the Philippines, she would never go back to Afghanistan.

All she asks for is a livelihood support from the Philippine government in recognition for their contribution to the country’s economy. MNP (with reports from Rey Pelayo)

Biden extends condolences to the Filipino people on the passing ex-president Noynoy Aquino

Aileen Cerrudo   •   June 25, 2021

United States (US) President Joe Biden extended his condolences to the Filipino people on the passing of former President Benigno ‘Noynoy’ Aquino III.

In a statement, Biden said Aquino was a valued friend and partner to the United States. He added that Aquino  served the Philippines with integrity and selfless dedication.

“President Aquino’s steadfast commitment to advancing peace, upholding the rule of law, and driving economic growth for all Filipinos, while taking bold steps to promote the rules-based international order, leaves a remarkable legacy at home and abroad that will endure for years to come,” he said.

The US President also extended his heartfelt sympathies toAquino’s family and to all who will mourn his absence. AAC

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