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Finally! Canada agrees to shoulder return of trash shipment

by Marje Pelayo   |   Posted on Tuesday, May 7th, 2019

MANILA, Philippines — The Canadian government has agreed to pay for the expenses in shipping out all the 69 waste containers it had dumped in the Philippines in 2013.

Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo said the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) and the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) confirmed the matter during the 37th Cabinet meeting on Monday (May 6) with President Rodrigo Duterte.

“The President is firm that we are not garbage collectors, thus he ordered that the Philippines will no longer accept any waste from any country,” Panelo said in a statement to reporters.

In April, President Duterte issued a stern warning saying he would declare “war” against Canada if it failed to remove its trash illegally exported to the country, and emphasized that he would no longer allow the North American country to turn the Philippines into a “dumpsite.”

“We will declare war. Load the containers onto a ship and advise Canada. I will advise Canada that, ‘Your garbage is on the way. Prepare a grand reception. Eat it if you want to,’” he added.

READ: Canada vows to resolve trash dumping issue after Duterte’s war threat

In response, the Canadian Embassy to the Philippines reiterated its government’s commitment “to working collaboratively with the Government of the Philippines to ensure the material is processed in an environmentally responsible way.”

 “A joint technical working group, consisting of officials from both countries, is examining the full spectrum of issues related to the removal of the waste with a view to a timely resolution,” the Canadian Embassy said in a statement. – Marje Pelayo

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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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Palace sees ‘exciting times’ ahead with rumored incoming US envoy Mina Chang

by Marje Pelayo   |   Posted on Wednesday, July 10th, 2019

Deputy Assistant Secretary Mina Chang

MANILA, Philippines – The United States is reportedly sending Deputy Assistant Secretary Mina Chang as the replacement to outgoing U.S. Ambassador to the Philippines Sung Kim, according to insider information from the US Executive Department.

The report set the country’s diplomatic scene abuzz and though he couldn’t confirm it, Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo was obviously thrilled saying days ahead would be “exciting” if Chang’s appointment would push through.

Why?

First, the 32-year-old Korean-American diplomat is a stunner and is among the top-caliber official of the United States government.

She is currently assigned to the State Department’s Bureau of Conflict and Stabilization Operations.

Second, she is an advocate of global education. Before assuming a government position, Chang was the Chief Executive Officer of the non-government organization Linking the World.

Likewise, she is an advocate “for proactive stabilization as a strategic tool of foreign engagement and an investment in a stronger America abroad.”

According to her U.S. State Department profile, Chang has “extensive on the ground experience in conflict areas such as in Afghanistan, Iraq, Somalia, Nigeria, and the Philippines.”

Third, Chang has impressive academic credentials: “An alumna of the Harvard Business School, a graduate of the United States Army War College National Security Seminar, a Harvard John F. Kennedy Senior Executive in National and International Security and a former International Security Fellow at New America.”

Aside from good looks, Chang also had a flourishing career as an international pop singer and recorded both English and Korean songs, a platform she used to push her humanitarian goals.

With the Filipinos’ weakness for beauty pageants and President Rodrigo Duterte’s fondness for beautiful women, U.S. President Donald Trump is perhaps using this ‘beauty queen diplomacy’ to convince the President to make a turn around as he pivots to China.

Once confirmed, Chang will be the second female US ambassador to the Philippines after Kristie Kenney, who served as ambassador to Manila from 2006 to 2009.  

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Term-sharing in House speakership won’t affect legislative agenda—Malacañang

by Aileen Cerrudo   |   Posted on Tuesday, July 9th, 2019

Courtesy : HOR Facebook page

Malacañang has assured that the term-sharing in the House Speakership will not affect the legislative agenda of the administration.

Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo said it is the decision of the House of Representatives if they will follow President Rodrigo Duterte’s endorsement about the term-sharing.

READ: Duterte: Cayetano, Velasco to share term as House Speaker

“Nag-agree na nga iyong tatlo, sila nga ang magkakalaban, (The three have already agreed) they forged into unity so how can there be disruptions?” Panelo said.

READ: Duterte: I don’t want to interfere in House affairs

Duterte already announced the term-sharing on Monday (July 8) between Taguig City Representative Alan Peter Cayetano and Marinduque Representative Lord Allan Velasco as House Speakers.—AAC (with reports from Rosalie Coz)

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