Huling SONA ni Pangulong Duterte, sesentro sa pagkamit ng kaunlaran — Palasyo

Robie de Guzman   •   July 21, 2021   •   204

MANILA, Philippines — Naisapinal na ang talumpati ni Pangulong Rodrigo Duterte para sa kanyang huling State of the Nation Address (SONA) na gaganapin sa Lunes, Hulyo 26.

Ayon kay Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque, nakatakda ang rehearsal ng pangulo ngayong araw para sa paghahatid niya ng ulat.

Sesentro ang kanyang talumpati sa mga nagawa ng kanyang administrasyon sa nakalipas na limang taon, pagkamit ng kaunlaran sa gitna ng pandemya at pagtalakay sa iba pang isyu.

Asahan rin aniyang mababanggit ang mga plano at prayoridad ng administrasyon sa nalalabing termino.

“Ang alam ko po ang magiging porma ng kaniyang SONA ay titingnan po niya ang nakalipas na limang taon na siya ay naging presidente at mag-focus po siya siyempre sa pag-unlad ng bayan, socio-programs, infrastructures, peace and security, foreign policy,” ani Roque.

Samantala, inihayag ni Roque na hindi aasahang makakadalo ng personal si Presidential daughter at Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte-Carpio.

Karamihan naman sa mga miyebro ng gabinete ng pangulo ay inaasahang makapunta sa nasabing okasyon.

“Inaasahan po natin na kung sino yung nakarating last year ay makakarating din po. Ang gabinete po ay imbitado at karamihan sa mga miyembro ng gabinete ay makakarating din po,” ani Roque.

Wala pang kumpirmasyon sa ngayon kung makakadalo sa nalalapit na SONA ang mga dating pangulo ng bansa.

Samantala, iginiit naman ng Palasyo na may ipinadalang imbitasyon ang Kamara para kay Vice President Leni Robredo.

At bilang guest din sa House of Representatives, hindi umano nanggagaling sa Malakanyang ang imbitasyon para sa SONA. – RRD (mula sa ulat ni Correspondent Rosalie Coz)

Duterte thanks outgoing British envoy Pruce for help in accessing more COVID-19 vax shots

Robie de Guzman   •   August 5, 2021

MANILA, Philippines – President Rodrigo Duterte thanked outgoing British Ambassador to the Philippines Daniel Pruce for his role in improving the Philippines’ access to COVID-19 vaccines.

Duterte expressed his gratitude when Pruce made his farewell call in Malacañang on Wednesday (August 4).

In a statement issued by the Palace, Duterte thanked the United Kingdom for donating 415,000 doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine to the Philippines’ vaccination drive.

“President Duterte cited Ambassador Pruce’s personal role in improving vaccine access for the Philippines eventually leading to the conclusion of the innovative Tripartite Agreement between the government of the Philippines (GPH), local government units (LGU), and private sector for the procurement of AstraZeneca vaccines,” the statement read.

Duterte also congratulated Pruce for a successful tour of duty, crediting him for the “revitalization of the United Kingdom’s economic and political presence in the Philippines through high-level exchanges and dialogues.”

Meanwhile, the president called for the finalization of the Memorandum of Understanding on the Recruitment of Filipino healthcare professionals to ensure fair, ethical, and sustainable recruitment and employment of Filipino healthcare workers in the United Kingdom.

“President Duterte also reiterated the Philippines’ support for the UK’s Presidency of COP26 in 2021, recognizing the UK’s bold commitments as it steers the global climate agenda towards urgent climate action,” the Palace said.

Pruce, for his part, thanked Duterte for the Philippines’ support of the UK’s dialogue partnership with ASEAN, and in its efforts to further strengthen bilateral ties across a broad range of areas, including political and defense cooperation, trade and investments, people-to-people exchanges, and fighting the coronavirus pandemic.

He also stressed the importance placed by the UK on its relations with the Philippines and further underscored that the Philippines-UK diplomatic cooperation will continue to grow.

Duterte recalls order to terminate VFA with US – Lorenzana

Robie de Guzman   •   July 30, 2021

MANILA, Philippines – President Rodrigo Duterte has ordered the retraction of the termination of the Visiting Forces Agreement (VFA) between the Philippines and the United States, the Department of National Defense (DND) said Friday.

Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana made the announcement after Duterte met with visiting US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin III in Malacañang on Thursday.

“The President decided to recall or retract the termination letter for the VFA,” Lorenzana said during a press briefing with Austin.

The VFA came into force in 1999. It outlines the guidelines about the treatment of their troops when visiting the US or the Philippines.

The pact also includes provisions on visa and passport policies for US troops and the American government’s right to retain jurisdiction over its personnel, among others.

Duterte last year ordered the abrogation of the VFA, which is anchored in the PH-US 1951 defense treaty.

The termination of the pact, however, was suspended citing the coronavirus pandemic and the relevant developments in the region.

Austin, for his part, welcomed Duterte’s decision to “fully restore the VFA.”

“A strong, resilient US-Philippine alliance will remain vital to the security, stability and prosperity of the Indo-Pacific. A fully restored VFA will help up achieve that goals together,” Austin said.

In a separate statement, Malacañang said the Philippines and the United States made a renewed commitment to strengthen their partnership in various areas of mutual interest.

The Palace said Duterte and Austin had “an open and frank discussion” on the status and future direction of Philippines-US engagement during a 75-minute courtesy call of the US defense secretary on the President.

“They agreed that the alliance can be further strengthened through enhanced communication and greater cooperation, particularly in the areas of pandemic response, combating transnational crimes, including the war on illegal drugs, maritime domain awareness, the rule of law, and trade and investments,” the statement read.

US Defense chief Austin is on an official visit to Southeast Asia that includes stops in Singapore, Vietnam and the Philippines. The visit aims to bolster the US’ ties with the said nations.

His visit coincides with the commemoration of the 75th Anniversary of the Establishment of Diplomatic Relations of the US and the Philippines and the 70th Anniversary of the Philippines-US Mutual Defense Treaty this year.

Deployment of SONA cops pending COVID-19 test result a breach of protocol – DOH

Robie de Guzman   •   July 29, 2021

MANILA, Philippines – The deployment of cops still awaiting results of their COVID-19 test during President Rodrigo Duterte’s State of the Nation Address (SONA) was a breach of protocol, the Department of Health (DOH) said Thursday.

“We will say that there was this breach because we have guidelines for that at alam po natin that they should not have been deployed kung hindi pa po natin alam ang resulta,” Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire said in a virtual press briefing.

The Quezon City Police District (QCPD) on Wednesday reported that 82 of its personnel have contracted COVID-19, 51 of whom were part of the security contingent deployed during the SONA on July 26.

Vergeire stressed that if testing was done for screening purposes, they should have been quarantined first before their deployment.

The DOH is also not dismissing the possibility that the cops who caught COVID-19 could be super spreaders.

Vergeire called on those who may have had contact with the cops, particularly the protesters last Monday, to get in tough with local authorities.

The DOH is also closely monitoring with the Quezon City government for the conduct of active contact tracing.

“Hindi po natin dapat pinagpapabukas ang contact tracing dahil isang araw lang po na hindi natin mahanap iyong taong nakasalamuha o nakapag-interact sa isang positibong kaso, maaari na po nating maikalat ang impeksyon,” Vergeire said.

PNP chief Guillermo Eleazar on Thursday morning announced he has ordered the relief of QCPD Station 3 commander, Police Lt. Col. Christine Tabdi over the incident. – RRD (with details from Correspondent Aiko Miguel)

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