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Duterte seeks suspension of ‘doble plaka’ law

by Aileen Cerrudo   |   Posted on Monday, April 8th, 2019

Thousands of motorcycle riders on March 24, 2019, staged a protest along EDSA to express their opposition to the implementation of double plates on motorcycles.

MANILA, Philippines — President Rodrigo Duterte is seeking the suspension of the ‘doble plaka’ law saying, bigger license plates can be dangerous for motorcycle riders.

In a speech on Saturday (April 6), Duterte said he will talk to Senator Richard Gordon about the proposition to amend several provisions in the Motorcycle Crime Prevention Act.

He will first convince the Land Transportation Office (LTO) to suspend the implementation of the double plates.

“Kasi it is not good. It is dangerous to place another gadget, lalo na may kanto. May kanto iyang plate number. It could be a plastic or it could be an aluminum but still with an impact, tutusok iyan sa helmet mo. Delikado. Anything that is sharp there, hindi maganda [Because it is not good. It is dangerous to place another gadget especially if there are corners. Plate numbers have corners. It could be a plastic or it could be aluminum but still with an impact, it will stab your helmet. Anything that is sharp is not good],” Duterte said.

The President suggested that instead of using double plates, it would be better to just increase the size of the current plates by 1/4 in order for it to be more readable.

He also wants to amend the fines imposed on violators. From P50,000, he wants to lower it to P10,000 to P15,000.

“Fifty thousand is mas mahal pa sa motor. Ano na lang sir, i-compromise siguro. Ako, I’m willing P10,000 to 15,000, okay na iyan [Fifty thousand, that is more expensive than the motorbike. Maybe there should be a compromise. I’m willing [to impose] P10,000 to P15,000, that is okay],” Duterte said.

The LTO is currently drafting the implementing rules and regulation of the new law, but it might still be subject to change depending on the President’s amendments.

Meanwhile Senator Richard Gordon has appealed to the President to give the implementation of the new law a chance before opposing it.

He said that the implementation can truly determine if the new law is effective or not.

He added that he is prepared to explain the law to the President and is also open to discussing the concerns the Chief Executive has raised.

President Duterte said he signed the Motorcycle Crime Prevention Act on March 8 based on the recommendation of the Philippine National Police (PNP) and Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP).

Motorcycle riders lauded the President’s measure to temporarily suspend the implementation of the Motorcycle Crime Prevention Act.

According to Atoy Cruz, president of the Motorcycle Federation of the Philippines, they are happy because the President understands their concerns.

However, Cruz clarified that they only want amendments on some of the provisions of the law and not its full abolition. —Aileen Cerrudo (with reports from Grace Casin)

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Foreigners joining SONA rally will face deportation, BI warns

by Marje Pelayo   |   Posted on Thursday, July 18th, 2019

FILE PHOTO: Different militant groups merged at Liwasan Bonifacio to air their concern in improving the workforce and better labor conditions. (Ramir Tilaon/PVI)

MANILA, Philippines — The Bureau of Immigration (BI) reminds foreigners to refrain from joining any political activity as they are not allowed under Philippine law.

On its Facebook page, the BI warned legal aliens that they may face deportation if they do so as political protests are expected during the fourth state of the nation address (SONA) of President Rodrigo Duterte on Monday (July 22).

“We are sending this warning to avoid a repeat of the cases wherein we had to deport foreign protesters,” BI Commissioner Jaime Morente said following incidents of deportation of foreign nationals who took part previous mass actions.

The BI Chief said foreigners who are visitors in the Philippines are not given political rights and privileges of Filipino citizens.

“Follow our laws. It is very simple and clear. Foreign visitors are not allowed to partake in political demonstrations. We allowed your stay in the Philippines, please respect our government and our laws,” he added.

Several foreign nationals have been deported for joining and supporting political events in the past.

The most prominent was Australian nun Patricia Fox who, in 2018, was denied renewal of missionary visa for violating the conditions of her stay and participating in partisan politics.

“If found guilty, we will blacklist these foreigners, effectively barring them from re-entering the Philippines,” Morente warned.

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Opposition groups vow peaceful demonstrations in Duterte’s 4th SONA

by Marje Pelayo   |   Posted on Wednesday, July 17th, 2019

Militant groups march with banners carrying message of peace in support of President Rodrigo Duterte during his first state of the nation address in 2016 | Courtesy: Kenji Hasegawa/Photoville International

MANILA, Philippines – Days before President Rodrigo Duterte’s fourth state of the nation address (SONA), the Quezon City Police District has met with representatives of different agencies and the local government as well as with groups of protesters to discuss the plan of events on Monday (July 22).

Police Major General Guillermo Eleazar said the demonstrators vowed to carry out peaceful assembly at designated protest areas on the day of the President’s SONA.

“Ituloy po natin ito dahil ang gusto nating mangyari nga, magkaroon ng tahimik at maayos na SONA na lahat naman po ng gusto nating mangyari base sa ating karapatan ay ating magagawa, (Let’s us accomplish this as all of us aspire for an orderly and peaceful SONA. This is what we want to accomplish based on our rights,)” Eleazar said.

Protesters’ assembly area will be at Agham Road, U.P. Diliman, and Tandang Sora Avenue.

All groups will then meet at Commonwealth Avenue.

The eastbound lane will be closed to give way to the groups’ program of activities starting from 3:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m.

Authorities are expecting about 15,000 individuals joining the rally on Monday.

Groups under United People’s SONA including Laban ng Masa, Kilusang Mayo Uno, Bagong Alyansang Makabayan, Pasang Masda and Movement Against Tyranny agreed with authorities to maintain peace and order during their assembly.

“Kaya po kami nandito (ay) para tiyakin na magiging maayos at ilang taon na rin po kaming nag-uusap ni General Eleazar. Mayroon na tayong tried-and-tested na formula,” said Bayan’s Secretary General Renato Reyes.

“We would like to assure everybody, as we have just assured our Philippine National Police, that our rally will definitely be a very, very peaceful and organized rally,” added Laban ng Masa national Coordinator Rasti Delizo.

Meanwhile, the Philippine National Police (PNP) said they are ready to provide security to the President in case he decides to go out and address the protesters like he did in 2017.

“Mas challenging for us kung lalapit pa siya doon, (That would be more challenging to us if he goes out),” Eleazar said.

“Kung kami ang tatanungin, mas maganda na hindi na lang siya pumunta roon in so far as security is concerned. Pero kung ano ang gagawin niya, nakahanda tayo doon, (If it were up to us, it would be better if he refrains from going out in so far as security is concerned. But if that’s what he wants, we are ready),” he added.

But if worse comes to worst, Eleazar said, they will be compelled to use force to disperse the rallyists if in case they sow violence during the event.

“That’s a violation already of our agreement,” he said.

After meeting with concerned groups, Eleazar will meet with the Presidential Security Group (PSG) next to discuss the implementation of a temporary signal jamming within the vicinity during the President’s SONA proper.

Meanwhile the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) is appealing to the protesters to maintain cleanliness in the protest area throughout the demonstration.

“Sana po maging responsable po tayo, (Let us be responsible),” appealed Jojo Garcia, MMDA general manager.

“Ang maaapektuhan niyan (ay ang) mga kababayan din natin, kapag iniwan niyo ‘yung kalat na ‘yan at iyan ay nagbara sa ating mga drainage, (If you leave your garbage there and clog the drainage, that would affect the general public),” he added.

Overall, the NCRPO will deploy a total of 15,000 cops in addition to the 9,000 policemen from the QCPD to secure the President’s SONA. – with details from Harlene Delgado

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Duterte will be the first to obey the ‘Anti-Bastos Law’ – Malacañang

by Marje Pelayo   |   Posted on Tuesday, July 16th, 2019

President Rodrigo Duterte | ACE MORANDANTE/PRESIDENTIAL PHOTO

MANILA, Philippines – Malacañang assured that President Rodrigo Duterte will be the first to obey the newly-signed Republic Act 11313 also known as the Safe Spaces Act or ‘Anti-Bastos Law’.

“Since the president signed that law, it means he recognizes the need for that law and since he is the chief enforcer of all the laws of the Philippines, he will be the first one to obey the law,” said Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo.

Signed on April 17, 2019, the new law imposes stiffer penalties to crimes “committed through any unwanted and uninvited sexual actions or remarks against any person regardless of the motive for committing such action or remarks.”

Among these acts include:

  • catcalling
  • stalking 
  • cyberstalking  
  • wolf-whistling 
  • leering
  • intrusive gazing 
  • online sexual harassment 
  • sexist slurs 
  • persistent unwanted comments on one’s appearance 
  • relentless requests for one’s personal details

Likewise, the law prevents gender-based sexual harassment such as use of words, gestures or actions that ridicule sexual orientation, identity and/or expression from occurring in streets, public places, online workplaces, and educational and training institutions.

Penalties range from P1,000 to P500,000 fine, community service, and imprisonment of six days up to six months.

President Duterte has been criticized many times for his controversial remarks against women, but Panelo said those were all jokes, and definitely not sexual harassment against women.

“That particular law is penal in nature, meaning criminal in nature. In other words, the subject offended party must be offended personally by an offender,” the Presidential Legal Counsel explained.

“Pero kung general na nagkukwento, mao-offend ka? Paano mo sasabihing ikaw ang tinutukoy noon? May problema ka doon. (But he is just telling a story, in general, will you be offended? How can you tell that he was referring to you? Do you have problems with that?) How can you even charge him with what? How did they offend you? Did I refer to you? Papaano ka na? Dismiss agad iyon (How about you then? [The case] will be dismissed right away). Crime is personal to the offender,” he added.

Panelo added that persons who think they were offended by the President are always free to file a complaint once the President steps down from office.

“Any person can sue him for that violation. If you argue that, well, he is immune. Well, you can sue him after the presidency. No one is above the law, including this president and he always tells us that,” Panelo concluded. – with reports from Rosalie Coz

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