Palace tells AFP: Be prudent in releasing list of persons linked to Reds

Robie de Guzman   •   January 25, 2021   •   375

MANILA, Philippines – Malacañang on Monday advised the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) to exercise prudence in disclosing names of individuals tied to the Communist Party of the Philippines-New People’s Army (CPP-NPA).

Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque made the suggestion after the military drew flak for erroneously identifying some alumni of the University of the Philippines (UP) as supposed members of the NPA.

“Defense Secretary Lorenzana has apologized for mistakes. Let’s leave it at that,” Roque said.

“I can only suggest that they may be prudent para hindi na po napapa-apologize ang ating Secretary of National Defense,” he added.

The AFP Civil-Military Operations Office apologized on Sunday after it posted on Facebook a list of names of UP students who supposedly joined the NPA, triggering complaints over alleged misinformation and inconsistency.

The agency said it has launched an internal investigation on how the list got published and assured that personnel involved will be held accountable. – RRD (with details from Correspondent Rosalie Coz)

Palace sees eased quarantine restriction in NCR Plus

Aileen Cerrudo   •   June 11, 2021

MANILA, Philippines—Presidential spokesperson Harry Roque said quarantine restrictions in the National Capital Region (NCR) Plus might ease next week.

On Thursday, Roque announced that community quarantine classification in NCR Plus might ease beginning June 15 due to the low attack rate of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) and health care utilization rate. He reported that the hospital care utilization in Metro Manila remains very low or at 53% in ICU beds.

“I would say in fact that based on the figures, Metro Manila Plus might be looking at de-escalation. It might not be to modified general community quarantine [MGCQ] but it could be to ordinary general community quarantine [GCQ] because ang GCQ natin ngayon ay mayroon pang restrictions (because the current GCQ still has restrictions),” he said.

Roque said the Inter-Agency Task Force on Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-EID) will discuss whether to  reopen gyms and fitness centers.

The NCR Plus, which includes Metro Manila, Bulacan, Cavite, Laguna and Rizal, is currently under GCQ with restrictions until June 15. AAC (with reports from Rosalie Coz)

Palace says Duterte welcomes suggestion to amend Baselines Law

Aileen Cerrudo   •   June 10, 2021

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)

Palace calls for enforcement of environmental laws after Pasig River tops list of plastic polluters

Aileen Cerrudo   •   June 10, 2021

MANILA, Philippines— Malacañang on Thursday (June 10) reiterated the need to implement environmental laws after Pasig River and 18 other rivers in the country made it to the world’s top 50 polluting rivers.

Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said the report is a test of the country’s law enforcement capability.

The Palace official lamented that the sad state of Pasig River has been a perennial problem and past attempts to rehabilitate Pasig River have fallen through.

“Kailangan pong ipatupad ang ating existing laws, ipatupad ang mga obligasyon ng mga water concessionaire agreements na magakroon talaga ng waste water treatment at ipatupad ang pagbabawal ng water discharge na nakakasira ng kalikasan diyan sa Pasig River,” he said.

Rotterdam-based Ocean Cleanup has released a scientific study which estimates that 1000 rivers are accountable for nearly 80% of global annual riverine plastic emissions. It also listed Pasig River as the world’s most polluting river when it comes to plastic waste. Pasig River accounts for 63,000 tons of plastic entering oceans from rivers per year.

Roque hopes that this  “badge of dishonor”, will push the government to make radical changes in addressing the cleanup of Pasig River. AAC


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