PH, US discuss concerns over Chinese presence in WPS, anti-Asian violence

Robie de Guzman   •   April 9, 2021   •   801

MANILA, Philippines — Philippine Foreign Affairs Secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr. and US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken, in a phone call, discussed their concerns over the presence of Chinese vessels in the West Philippine Sea, the US State Department said Friday.

“Substantive conversation today with my Philippine counterpart, @teddyboylocsin, discussing our concerns with People’s Republic of China militia vessels in the South China Sea and our efforts to combat anti-Asian hate and violence. #FriendsPartnersAllies,” Blinken said on Twitter.

The phone conversation between Locsin and Blinken follows reports on alleged Chinese “militia boats” scattered within the Philippines’ exclusive economic zone (EEZ).

In a separate statement, US State Department Ned Price said that Blinken also reaffirmed the applicability of the 1951 US-Philippine Mutual Defense Treaty to the South China Sea.

“Secretary of State Antony J. Blinken spoke today with Philippine Secretary of Foreign Affairs Teodoro Locsin Jr. Both expressed their shared concerns with the massing of PRC maritime militia vessels in the South China Sea, including at Whitsin Reef, and reiterated their calls on the PRC (People’s Republic of China) to abide by the 2016 arbitration ruling issued pursuant to the Law of the Sea Convention,” Price said.

Price was referring to the ruling of the Permanent Court of Arbitration in favor of the Philippines and nullified China’s nine-dash line claim over the South China Sea, including parts that are within the Philippines EEZ.

Beijing has ignored the 2016 international tribunal decision.

Apart from the Philippines and China, other countries competing for territorial claims in the South China Sea are Brunei, Malaysia, Taiwan, and Vietnam.

Aside from the renewed tensions in the West Philippine Sea, Locsin said they also tackled the string of anti-Asian hate and violence in the United States.

Philippine Ambassador to the United States Jose Romualdez earlier said that Washington has been taking steps to curb the anti-Asian attacks, including the setting up of hotlines and the deployment of more law enforces in areas with a large population of Asian Americans. – RRD (with details from Correspondent Rosalie Coz)

PH expands ‘red list’, bans travelers from 7 more countries due to Omicron

Robie de Guzman   •   November 28, 2021

MANILA, Philippines – The Philippine government has added seven more countries to its Red List in a bid to control the possible entry of a new, heavily mutated COVID-19 variant called Omicron, Malacañang said.

In a statement, the Palace announced that the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-MEID) has placed Austria, Czech Republic, Hungary, The Netherlands, Switzerland, Belgium, and Italy under the Red List effective November 28 until December 15.

This is in addition to South Africa, Botswana, Namibia, Zimbabwe, Lesotho, Eswatini, and Mozambique that were earlier placed in the Red List due to the threat of Omicron, which was first detected in the area.

This means that travelers, regardless of vaccination status, who are coming from or who have been to the Red List areas within the last 14 days prior to their arrival will not be allowed to enter the Philippines.

The IATF said that only Filipinos returning to the country via government-initiated or non-government-initiated repatriation and Bayanihan Flights may be allowed entry. However, they will be subject to the prevailing entry, testing, and quarantine protocols for Red List territories.

The Philippine government said that passengers already in transit and all those who have been to the said Red List areas within 14 days before their arrival to the Philippines, who arrive before 12:01 a.m. of November 30, 2021, shall not be subject to this restriction from entry.

“They shall nevertheless be required to undergo facility-based quarantine for 14 days with testing on the 7th day, with day 1 being the date of arrival, notwithstanding a negative RT-PCR result,” the Palace said.

Passengers who have already arrived prior to November 28, and are currently undergoing quarantine pursuant to the classifications of their country of origin, shall complete their respective testing and quarantine protocols.

Passengers, whether Filipinos or foreigners, merely transiting through the Red List areas, will not be deemed as having come from these areas if they stayed in the airport the whole time and were not cleared for entry into such country by its immigration authorities.

“Upon their arrival in the Philippines, passengers covered by the immediately preceding paragraph shall comply with existing testing and quarantine protocols,” the Palace said.

The IATF likewise approved the temporary suspension of testing and quarantine protocols for countries/jurisdictions/territories classified as “Green” effective immediately until December 15, 2021.

Passengers from Green List areas who arrived in the Philippines prior to November 28 may still follow quarantine protocols assigned to their country of origin upon the date of their arrival, it added.

“Except for countries classified as ‘Red,’ the testing and quarantine protocols for all inbound international travellers in all ports of entry shall comply with the testing and quarantine protocols for ‘Yellow’ list countries,” the Palace said.

The Bureau of Quarantine and the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) with the local government units (LGUs) have been directed to identify and locate passengers who arrived within 14 days prior to November 29, 2021, from countries classified as Red, and require them to complete quarantine under a home quarantine set-up for 14 days from date of arrival and undergo RT-PCR if symptoms develop.

The IATF also approved the temporary suspension of IATF Resolution No. 150-A providing for the entry of fully vaccinated nationals of non-visa required countries.

“With Omicron designated as a Variant of Concern, the IATF likewise approved the recommendations to strengthen local COVID-19 response,” the Palace said.

“These include strongly enjoining the local government units to heighten their alert for increasing and clustering of cases and emphasizing the need for active case finding; to immediately conduct contact tracing and isolation of cases detected from case surveillance among the community, including domestic and international travelers; and to use RT-PCR testing in order to allow for whole-genome sequencing of collected samples,” it added.

The task force also directed the Department of Health to ensure health system capacity is prepared to address increase of COVID-19 cases.

It also directed the Sub-Technical Working Group on Data Analytics to prepare models to show potential impact of the Omicron variant to prevailing protocols and approvals of the IATF.

Prexy bets make usual rounds, use social media for day’s activities

Maris Federez   •   November 26, 2021

 

MANILA, Philippines — Three presidential candidates for the 2022 national and local elections made the rounds across the country on Friday, while the rest took to social media to lay down their election promises.

Former Senator Ferdinand ‘Bongbong’ Marcos, Jr. made another visit to the vote-rich province, Cebu.

Here, members of the Businessmen ng Bayan Movement of the Philippines (BBMP) signified their support to his presidential run.

The group is composed of small-scale businessmen in Cebu.

Labor leader Leody de Guzman, meanwhile, went to Marikina City.

Here, joined the protest action of workers in a company that is based in the city.

Manila Mayor Francisco ‘Isko Moreno’ Domagoso, on the other hand, did not have any out-of-town engagement and just stayed at the City Hall to personally receive the 6,600 pieces of Bariticitinib anti-COVID-19 tablets.

While other presidential bets did not have any public engagements Friday, they took to social media to post their activities for the day.

In his Facebook post, Senator Manny Pacquiao showed the possible housing projects he will implement should he become the president.

Such housing projects will be like that of free housing he did for the people of General Santos City and Saranggani province.

Meanwhile, Senator Panfilo Lacson’s FB post said that providing sufficient funds for free public WIFI will remain in his platform of government should he become president.

He assured the people that he has enough experience in crafting and proper allocation of the national budget.

Vice President Leni Robredo, on the other hand, focused her FB post on the issue in the West Philippine Sea.

Robredo insists that the issue is not just about the fishing sector but about all Filipinos. —/mbmf (from the report of UNTV Correspondent Nel Maribojoc)

ALAMIN: Mga patakaran para sa isasagawang 3-day national vaccination drive

Robie de Guzman   •   November 26, 2021

MANILA, Philippines – Puspusan na ang ginagawang paghahanda ng mga lokal na pamahalaan sa Metro Manila para sa tatlong araw na national vaccination days sa darating na Nobyembre 29 hanggang Disyembre 1.

Kabilang sa mga inihahanda ay ang mga patakarang ipatutupad upang masiguro ang maayos na pagbabakuna sa bawat vaccination sites.

 

QUEZON CITY

Sa Quezon City, sinabi ni Mayor Joy Belmonte na 17 vaccination sites ang bubuksan sa lungsod.

Pero mahigpit na paalala sa mga nais magpabakuna, bawal pa rin ang walk-in at kailangan pa ring magpa-schedule sa QC vaccination portal para sa oras at lugar ng pagbabakuna.

“Bawal ang walk-in, bawal talaga at strictly forbidden pa rin ang walk-ins dito sa Quezon City but they can register na sa ating Vax Easy Plus that’s found in our Facebook page as well as in our website. They can book their schedule, the day, the time and the venue,” ani Belmonte.

Aniya, target ng lokal na pamahalaan na makapagbakuna ng nasa 50,000 indibidwal.

 

NAVOTAS CITY

Sa Navotas City, kailangan ring magparehistro sa covax.navotas.gov.ph ang mga nais magpabakuna sa 3-day vaccination drive. Ang schedule ay ipapaskil sa Facebook page ng lokal na pamahalaan.

Sa mga kabataang may edad 12 hanggang 17, obligado rin silang magparehistro at mag-set ng appointment sa vaccination sites na nakalaan para sa mga menor de edad

Sa mga magpapabakuna ng Pfizer, kailangan rin munang mag-set ng appointment sa vaccination portal, habang sa mga magpapabakuna naman ng ibang brand, maaari nang mag-walk in sa mga vaccination site na nagbibigay ng brand gaya ng Sinovac, Sinopharm, at AstraZeneca.

Pitong vaccination sites rin ang bubuksan sa Navotas City habang house-to-house naman ang gagawin para sa mga senior citizen.

 

PARAÑAQUE CITY

Samantala, ang mga taga-Parañaque City naman ay pinapayuhang bisitahin ang website ng lokal na pamahalaan para sa schedule at iba pang impormasyon hinggil sa vaccination drive.

Ayon kay Parañaque Public Information Office head Mar Jimenez, nakikipagtulungan rin sila sa mga opisyal ng barangay upang hikayatin ang iba pang residente na magpabakuna na laban sa COVID-19.

“Ang atin pong pamahalaang lungsod ay lubos ang paghahandang ginagawa po ngayon para dun sa sinasabi nating national vaccination day kaya po yung pagkakataon na yan amin pong laging pinananawagan sa tulong ng ating mga butihing kapitan na kumbinsihin ang ating mga kababayan na hindi pa bakunado,” ani Jimenez.

 

Para sa mga nasasakop ng iba pang local government unit, maaaring bisitahin ang opisyal na social media accounts at websites ng kani-kanilang lugar para malaman ang detalye at proseso para sa pagpapabakuna. (mula sa ulat ni Correspondent Janice Ingente)

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