Enrile advises Duterte to ignore critics of foreign policy; keep friendly approach on West PH Sea issue

Robie de Guzman   •   May 18, 2021   •   267

MANILA, Philippines – Former Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile advised President Rodrigo Duterte not to mind people who are criticizing his foreign policy, particularly on the issue involving China and the disputed areas in the West Philippine Sea.

During Duterte’s pre-recorded public address late Monday, Enrile told the president to just let his critics ramble on and to not engage them on the issue.

“That’s the best thing Mr. President. Pabayaan mo na lang sila,” Enrile said.

“After all Mr. President, you are only responsible to the Filipino people, and you are not responsible to any specific person for your foreign policy. Yours is to protect the interest of the nation and its people in the best way you can,” he added.

Duterte invited Enrile to Malacañang to speak on the issue concerning West Philippine Sea, the role in the issue of some officials, particularly former Senator Antonio Trillanes and former Foreign Affairs Secretary Albert del Rosario, and why the Philippines lost access to the Scarborough Shoal during the Aquino administration.

“Alam na ngayon ng mga tao kug bakit hindi ako sumasagot. This is the best advise that I got ngayong gabing ito,” Duterte said.

“I hope that we would be able to weather any trouble with China now and in the future for as long as it’s very dangerous for us,” he added.

Earlier in the conference, the 97-year old former lawmaker also advised Duterte to keep his “friendly” approach towards China and the issue on the West Philippine Sea.

“Hindi dapat gamitin ang mainit na kaisipan na kagaya ng mga kritiko natin. Dapat balance lang ang approach natin at mahinahon,” he said.

“Kailangan na friendly ang approach natin diyan, hindi assertive and aggressive approach sapagkat kapag hindi tayo magkakaunawa sa China ay madadamay ang interes ng ating mga kababayan, ang ating ekonomiya, pati na rin ang ating seguridad dito sa usapin na ito,” he added.

Duterte thanked Enrile for his advise, reiterating that he prefers to talk with China instead of using force to defend the Philippine sovereignty.

Palace identifies 10 areas among COVID-19 vaccination priority

Robie de Guzman   •   June 24, 2021

MANILA, Philippines – Ten areas experiencing a spike in COVID-19 cases will now be among the priority in the distribution of COVID-19 vaccine supply, Malacañang said Thursday.

Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said that aside from the NCR Plus 8, priority areas for the vaccine deployment will now include the following:

 

  • Bacolod City
  • Iloilo City
  • Cagayan De Oro City
  • Baguio CIty
  • Zamboanga City
  • Dumaguete City
  • Tuguegarao City
  • General Santos City
  • Naga City
  • Legaspi City

 

The distribution priority was previously limited to the NCR Plus 8 areas or the National Capital Region (NCR), Bulacan, Rizal, Cavite, Laguna, Batangas, Pampanga, Metro Cebu, and Metro Davao.

“Kasama sa mga lugar na bibigyan ng prayoridad sa pagbabakuna liban sa NCR Plus ay ang Plus 10 na tinatawag. So mayroon po tayong NCR Plus 8, plus 10,” Roque said at a Palace briefing.

He said these areas were included in the distribution priority list due to surges in coronavirus infections, the density of the environment and their highly-urbanized status, and their contribution to the economy.

“Ang naging basehan ay mataas nilang kaso o surging cases, ang kanilang pagiging highly urbanized, at dense environment, at ang kanilang kontribusyon sa regional o national economy,” he said.

Roque did not specify how many COVID-19 shots would be allotted to the new priority areas.

The national government earlier said that more than 30 percent of the country’s available vaccine supplies have been allocated to the NCR Plus areas. – RRD (with details from Correspondent Rosalie Coz)

Duterte to meet with lawmakers on Bayanihan laws – Palace

Robie de Guzman   •   June 24, 2021

MANILA, Philippines – President Rodrigo Duterte is set to meet with some lawmakers later Thursday to discuss Bayanihan 2 and the proposed Bayanihan 3 laws.

Presidential spokesperson Harry Roque said the meeting will take place after Duterte’s ceremonial signing of several measures at Malacañang.

Roque did not identify the lawmakers who will be meeting with the president but said they are “leading members” of the Senate and the House of Representatives.

“I can only confirm that there will be a meeting today to discuss both Bayanihan 2 and Bayanihan 3 with leading members of both houses of Congress,” he said in a Palace briefing.

“This will occur after the ceremonial signing of several bills again and I know they will be discussing Bayanihan2 and 3, beyond that I have no further information,” he added.

Bayanihan Laws seek to help the government address the COVID-19 pandemic.

The validity of the Bayanihan 2 is set to expire on June 30 while the proposed Bayanihan 3 is still being discussed in Congress.

PH logs 6,043 new COVID-19 cases; death toll breaches 24K

Robie de Guzman   •   June 24, 2021

MANILA, Philippines – The Philippines’ cumulative tally of novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) cases  climbed to 1,378,260 on Thursday after the Department of Health (DOH) reported 6,043 additional infections.

In its latest bulletin, the DOH said the number of active cases in the country has reached 51,410.

Of this figure, 90.6 percent are mild, 4.5 percent are asymptomatic, 1.44 percent are moderate, 2 percent are severe, and 1.4 percent are in critical condition.

The DOH said only one testing laboratory failed to submit data on time.

The DOH also reported 4,486 more recovered patients, pushing the total recoveries to 1,302,814.

The death toll rose to 24,036 with 108 new fatalities.

The DOH also noted the positivity rate of 12.0 percent out of 46,497 tests reported last June 22.

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