Palace says Duterte welcomes suggestion to amend Baselines Law

Aileen Cerrudo   •   June 10, 2021   •   362

MANILA, Philippines—President Rodrigo Duterte welcomes the suggestion to amend the Baselines Law, according to Malacañang.

At a virtual public briefing on Thursday (June 10), Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque Jr. said the Office of the President will thoroughly review the suggestion of retired Supreme Court (SC) Associate Justice Francis Jardeleza to amend the country’s Baseline Law.

“He [Duterte] immediately asked that it be subjected to complete staff work and he was very appreciative of the suggestion,” he said.

“It is subjected now to complete staff work because the request is for it to be certified it as urgent and I made an additional request that if the president so agrees, then it should also be included in the SONA [State of the Nation Address] para malakas ang mensahe sa Kongreso na this will really become a priority bill, (for a stronger message to Congress that this will become a priority bill),” Roque added.

Jardeleza wrote to the President suggesting to amend the Baseline Law in order to define the 128 maritime features in the West Philippine Sea. He said this is a way to enforce the Hague Ruling, which the Philippines won against China in 2016.

Under the Republic Act No. 9522 or the Philippine Baseline Law, the Philippines has sovereignty over the Kalayaan Island Group (KIG).

Meanwhile, Roque also agrees with amending the said law.

“Isa sa pinakamalakas na ebidensya ng soberanya ay ang batas na kumbaga nagdidikit sa Kalayaan Group of Islands sa teritoryo ng Pilipinas sa pamamaraan na sang-ayon po sa United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS),” he said.

(One of the strongest evidence of sovereignty is a law that would put the Kalayaan Group of Islands under Philippine territory in a manner that conforms with UNCLOS.)  AAC (with reports from Rosalie Coz)

Employees getting COVID-19 vaccine during 3-day drive will not be marked absent — Palace

Robie de Guzman   •   November 24, 2021

MANILA, Philippines – President Rodrigo Duterte has declared the dates November 29, 30 and December 1 as Bayanihan, Bakunahan COVID-19 vaccination days, according to a document released by the Malacañang on Wednesday.

Under Proclamation No. 1253, employees and workers of the government and the private sector, who will be vaccinated during this period, shall not be considered absent from their work.

“Provided that they present proof of vaccination to their respective employers, subject to rules that may be issued by the DOLE (Department of Labor and Employment) and the Civil Service Commission,” the order read.

Duterte said the three-day vaccination campaign will be led by the Department of Health, and the Department of the Interior and Local Government, in cooperation with the National Task Force against COVID-19.

He directed concerned government agencies and local government units (LGU) to provide necessary support for the effective implementation of the program.

“The LGUs shall mobilize all resources, stakeholders, health human resource and constituents within their areas of jurisdiction to achieve the objectives of the national COVID-19 vaccination days,” he said.

The president also urged medical and allied health associations, faith-based, civil society and non-government organizations, and the private sector to actively participate in the three-day campaign.

“All health workers, including doctors, nurses, midwives, pharmacists, dentists, and medical technologists, are called upon to extend their full support and cooperation in providing COVID-19 vaccination during the three-day campaign,” Duterte said.

The three-day COVID-19 vaccination drive aims to inoculate 15 million Filipinos across 16 regions outside of Metro Manila.

This is part of government efforts to scale up the vaccination rate to achieve its target to inoculate over 70% of the country’s population by May 2022.

To date, at least 34 million Filipinos have been fully vaccinated since the immunization drive started in March.

Harry Roque to seek Senate post in 2022 polls

Robie de Guzman   •   November 15, 2021

MANILA, Philippines – Presidential spokesperson Harry Roque on Monday confirmed he would run for senator in the 2022 national elections.

Roque made the announcement during a Palace briefing, on the last day of filing for substitution of candidates for next year’s polls.

“Ito na po ang huling araw na makakasama n’yo ako bilang inyong presidential spox, IATF spox at spox ng bayan,” he said.

“Masaya akong mission accomplished na po tayo. Iiwan ko ang trabaho ko na mas mabuti kumpara sa ating nadatnan,” he added.

Roque said he will be running for Senate with the endorsement of vice presidential aspirant, Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte-Carpio.

“Babalik po sana tayo sa Kongreso ng Pilipinas, doon po sa Kamara ng Senado… Nais ko pong maging action man sa Senado,” he said.

Roque previously said he would run for senator next year if Sara Duterte-Carpio will seek a national post.

He ended his press briefing with a video message from Duterte-Carpio endorsing his candidacy.

“Ito po ang inyong spox Harry Roque na nagsasabi, I love you, Philippines,” he said.

Roque served as presidential spokesman in 2018 but he quit his post to run for senator in the 2019 elections. He later withdrew his candidacy due to health reasons.

He returned as Duterte’s spokesperson in 2020.

Malacañang has yet to announce Roque’s replacement.

Batas, kailangan bago ipagbawal ang hiring sa hindi bakunado —Malacañang

Aileen Cerrudo   •   October 21, 2021

Bagaman isinusulong ng Malacañang sa kahalagahan ng pagbabakuna ng ating mga kababayan kontra COVID-19, iginiit nito na kinakailangan pa rin ang isang batas bago ipagbawal ang hiring sa trabaho ng mga hindi pa nababakunahan.

Ayon kay Presidential Spokesperson Secretary Harry Roque Jr. hindi maaaring basta na lamang ipagbawal ang hiring sa trabaho ng mga aplikante na hindi pa bakunado kontra COVID-19.

“Kinakailangan po siguro ng batas kung ipagbabawal ang pagha-hire ng mga non-vaccinated individuals,” aniya.

Isa sa mga suhestyon ng pribadong sektor para mapalawak pa ng pamahalaan ang COVID-19 vaccination rollout ay ang gawing requirement ang bakuna sa hiring sa trabaho.

Pero para sa labor group na Associated Labor Unions-Trade Union Congress of the Philippines (ALU-TUCP), discriminatory ang nasabing panukala at hindi makakabuti sa ekonomiya ng Pilipinas.

Giit ng ALU-TUCP spokesperson Alan Tanjusay, marami sa mga Pilipino ang hindi pa rin nababakunahan kaya’t hindi maari na bakunado lamang ang papayagan ng pamahalaan na makapag-apply sa trabaho.

“Babagsak ang ating ekonomiya, maraming mga manggagawa at kanilang pamilya maghihirap dahil kulang po ang supply ng bakuna at hindi pa sila nababakunahan,” aniya.

Sa halip na higpitan ang mga mangagawa na hindi pa bakunado, iginiit ng labor group na dapat solusyunan ng pamahalaan ang mas mabilis na access sa bakuna ng ating mga kababayan lalo na ang mga nasa malalayong lugar.

“Dapat ang pagtuunan natin ng pansin ay paano ba mababakunahan at papaano ba mapaparating ang mga bakuna doon sa mga probinsya at liblib na lugar kung saan maraming mangagawa ang naghihintay at nangangailangan ng bakuna,” ayon kay Tanjusay.

Samantala, sa panayam kanina kay Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) Secretary Silvestre bello III sa isang news program, sinabi nito na may legal na basehan na umano, upang obligahin ng mga employer ang kanilang mga empleyado na magpabakuna sa ilalim ng Alert Level 3.

Gayunman hindi naidetalye ng kalihim kung ano ang binabanggit nitong legal basis sa pagpapabakuna.

Pero nang tanungin sa isang interview si DOLE Usec. Ana Dione, nilinaw nito na wala pang batas na nag-oobliga sa mga mangagawa na magpabakuna laban sa COVID-19.

“Ang requirement na bakunado ang isang empleyado medyo wala po tayong basehan diyan, wala pong basis in law, so ibig sabihin hindi po pupwedeng gawin ng mga kumpanya yan.

“As a basis, yung unvaccinated as basis of termination palagi po nating inuulit, sinabi at uulitin na yan po ay discrimination. If ang termination niya ang sole basis noon ay unvaccinated hindi po, bawal po iyan,” dagdag nito. (Ulat ni JP Nuñez)

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