Malacañang slams blogger’s tweet on Duterte belatedly receiving FIFA jersey

Maris Federez   •   November 3, 2019   •   1467

MANILA, Philippines – The office of the President on Sunday (November 3) slammed the move of what it called the “rambunctious political opposition”.

A Twitter account purportedly associated with an official of the Aquino administration uploaded a “spliced” video supposedly showing that President Rodrigo Duterte did not receive a football jersey during the signing of a memorandum of understanding between ASEAN and FIFA in Bangkok on November 2.

The MOU signing was part of the Southeast Asian region’s plan to jointly host the FIFA World Cup in 2034.

In a statement released by Malacañang, Presidential spokesperson Salvador Panelo said, “the official photo of the President, easily accessible in the Facebook account of the Presidential Communications, immediately puts a lie to this sinister false news.”

He added that it has become predictable that the seeming hate campaign against the President will not cease until his last day in office.

“The latest dirty political stunt underscores the obsession of PRRD’s foes to embarrass him and put him to ridicule at every opportunity presented to them,” Panelo said

“The popularity and the acceptance of the President by those who overwhelmingly voted him into office cannot, however, be eroded or diminished, no matter how these incorrigible whiners and nitpickers try hard to destroy him. The more they throw mud at him, the more he comes out clean and appreciated by the people,” he concluded. (with details from Rosalie Coz) /mbmf

DOTr, seafarer groups to provide seamen with affordable transient home in NCR

Aileen Cerrudo   •   June 18, 2021

MANILA, Philippines — The Department of Transportation (DOTr) and several seafarer groups on Thursday (June 17) signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) to provide affordable temporary living quarters for seafarers.

The DOTr, the Marino Partylist, and the Associated Marine Officers’ and Seamen’s Union of the Philippines (AMOSUP) forged an alliance by signing a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) on CONDOTEL for Seafarers during the celebration of the Maritime Industry Authority’s (MARINA) 47th Anniversary.

The initiative will give seafarers decent temporary living quarters in the NCR while waiting to be deployed onboard ships, returning from deployment, and those employed in inter-island shipping.

Transportation Secretary Arthur P. Tugade, Marino Partylist’s Hon. Sandro Gonzalez, and AMOSUP’s Dr. Conrado F. Oca signed the MOU, solidifying their partnership in providing Filipino seafarers affordable temporary living facilities in close proximity to the MARINA and other maritime enterprises.

“Napakagandang pangitain na kung nagse-celebrate tayo ng Anibersaryo, binibigyang importansya ang mga marino. In fact, the highlight of today’s gathering can be summed up into two. Una ay ang pagpirma ng Memorandum of Understanding regarding CONDOTEL na pinapakita natin sa mga marino – na para bang sinasabi ng MARINA – nandirito at gagawa kami ng gusali na kung saan doon kayo mananatili, doon kayo maninirahan at doon kayo gagabayan. Napakagandang pangitain,” Secretary Tugade emphasized in his inspirational message.

DOTr Secretary Arthur  Tugade recognized the efforts of Philippine Ports Authority (PPA) General Manager Jay Daniel Santiago for providing the land for the CONDOTEL, as well as the commitment of the Marino Partylist and AMOSUP for the adequate budget to be made available for the construction of the said building.

Marino Partylist Rep. Gonzalez said the project aims to provide seafarers affordable living quarters after several of them experienced eviction from their dorms in Metro Manila due to the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) scare.

“During the early months of this pandemic, seafarers staying in Metro Manila were evicted from their dorms and hostiles for failure to pay for their lodging because of the misconception that they came from abroad, they were carriers of COVID-19. That is our motivation for this project – the Seafarer’s CONDOTEL. With this MOU, it gives me comfort that this will never happen again,” he said.

The MOU signing was witnessed by MARINA Administrator Vice Admiral Robert Empedrad (AFP, Ret) and PPA General Manager Jay Daniel R. Santiago. AAC

DOF orders tighter watch on rice imports following tariff cuts

Robie de Guzman   •   June 7, 2021

MANILA, Philippines – The Department of Finance (DOF) on Monday ordered the Bureau of Customs (BOC) to keep a tighter watch on incoming rice imports to ensure the proper collection of taxes following the implementation of tariff rate cuts.

In a statement, the DOF said Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez III issued the directive pursuant to President Rodrigo Duterte’s Executive Order 135, which mandates the temporary adjustment of tariff rates on rice imports to offset the effect on consumers of the continuous increase in the price of rice from other countries, particularly those coming from ASEAN countries, and thereby reduce inflationary pressures.

The DOF said the EO 135 would enable the country to diversify its market sources for rice and maintain the stable supply and affordable price of the cereal for Filipino consumers.

Dominguez cited India as a possible source of cheap rice imports.

“I think there will be a shift in the imports of Thai and Vietnamese rice, and Burmese (Myanmar) rice, to rice from other countries where the value is much lower. Just keep an eye on that,” Dominguez told Customs Commissioner Rey Leonardo Guerrero during a recent executive committee meeting.

During the meeting, Guerrero said the BOC is currently reviewing the valuation of rice shipments from Vietnam, noting that most of the imports from there were “declared with values lower than the published prevailing prices for such exports from that country.”

“We discovered that many of these importations are under a tentative assessment so we are reviewing the payments,” Guerrero said.

He said the average value of rice imports, coming mostly from Vietnam, dropped 12.7 percent to P19,312 per metric ton (MT) in May 2021, compared to P22,119 per MT in the same month last year.

The average value of rice in May was also lower than the P21,066 per MT recorded in April and P22,119 per MT in March.

Guerrero previously reported increasing tariff collections despite lower import volumes because of a steady improvement in the BOC’s valuation system.

Preliminary data showed that from January 1 to April 30, a total of 804,360MT of rice shipments worth P17 billion entered the country, representing a 9.2-percent decline from the 885,645MT valued at P16.4 billion that were imported during the same period last year.

ASEAN leaders push for cessation of Myanmar coup crisis

Robie de Guzman   •   April 26, 2021

The leaders of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) have reached a five-point consensus on the Myanmar coup crisis during their meeting in Jakarta, Indonesia over the weekend.

In a joint statement, ASEAN leaders demanded, “immediate cessation of violence in Myanmar and (that) all parties shall exercise utmost restraint.”

“Constructive dialogue among all parties shall commence to seek a peaceful solution in the interests of the people,” the statement read.

A special envoy of the ASEAN chair shall “facilitate mediation of the dialogue process, with the assistance of the Secretary-General of ASEAN,” in Myanmar, the Southeast Asian bloc added.

Sultan Hassanal Bolkiah from Brunei is the current chair of the regional bloc.

“The special envoy and delegation shall visit Myanmar to meet with all parties concerned,” it said.

“ASEAN shall provide humanitarian assistance through the AHA Center,” it added.

More than 700 people have been killed since the military coup in Myanmar began on February 1.

In a separate statement, Philippine Foreign Affairs Secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr. said the five-point consensus reached by the ASEAN leaders seek to improve the situation in Myanmar.

Locsin stressed that Brunei’s role as ASEAN chairperson “puts it in a strong position to lead ASEAN as it offers assistance to Myanmar in ending violence, restoring peace, and facilitating its return to political normalcy.”

The regional bloc also reiterated calls for the immediate release of political prisoners in Myanmar, as well as the importance of Myanmar’s continued efforts to address the situation in Rakhine State, including the repatriation of Rohingya Muslim minority group.

Some one million Rohingyas have fled to Bangladesh, and the ASEAN leaders said their repatriation should be done in a safe and dignified manner in accordance with its bilateral agreements with Bangladesh.

In response to the ASEAN leaders’ call, Myanmar’s newly former National Unity Government welcomed the five-point consensus on the coup crisis, and stressed that they are waiting for a firm action by ASEAN to de-escalate the conflict.

“We eagerly await the engagement by the ASEAN Secretary General as mandated by this meeting. We look forward to a firm action by ASEAN to follow up it decisions and restore our democracy for our people and for the region,” it said.

Myanmar’s Chairman of the State Administration Council, Senior General Min Aung Hlaing, also said that his country is focused on restoring peace and stability to improve the current situation, and that they would consider ASEAN’s positive and sound proposals, taking into account their domestic situation.

The ASEAN leaders’ meeting held on April 24 was presided by Bolkiah, and attended by Hlaing, ASEAN Secretary-General Dato Lim Jock Hoi, Indonesian President Joko Widodo, Malaysian Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin, Singapore’s Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong, Vietnamese Prime Minister Pham Minh Chinh, and Thai Foreign Minister Don Pramudwinai.

President Rodrigo Duterte skipped the summit but he designated Locsin as his Special Envoy to the meeting. – RRD (with details from Correspondent Rosalie Coz)

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