Why did Duterte tap out of challenge to debate with Carpio?

Robie de Guzman   •   May 10, 2021   •   369

MANILA, Philippines – President Rodrigo Duterte on Monday said he is not afraid of facing retired Supreme Court Senior Associate Justice Antonio Carpio in a debate on issues surrounding the West Philippine Sea.

Duterte last week dared Carpio to square off on the loss of a Philippine territory during the Aquino administration, but later tapped out and instead delegated the task to his spokesperson, lawyer Harry Roque.

“What was in my mind when I challenged Carpio into a debate? Ang problema lang kasi dito nakalimutan ko na si Carpio hindi ang presidente – ako,” Duterte said in his weekly Talk to the People on Monday night.

Duterte said he had to back out of the challenge because anything he might say there could be construed as a “policy statement.”

“I might bind future actions of government pagdating dito sa West Philippine Sea,” he said.

“Pero dodoon ako sa kahon, it’s not because I am afraid of debates,” he added, saying that he had faced many debates with political rivals for the presidency in 2016.

“Hindi ako takot sa’yo, ang problema, hindi ko nga alam na hindi ka president,” he further said, addressing Carpio.

Duterte has blamed the previous administration over the loss of the Scarborough Shoal in the West Philippine Sea following a standoff in 2012.

Former Foreign Affairs Secretary Albert del Rosario earlier said that China “deceitfully breached” its agreement with the Philippines to withdraw the ships of both sides to end the standoff.

The Philippines then pursued an arbitral case against China in 2014. The Permanent Court of Arbitration ruled in 2016 in favor of the Philippines and nullified China’s vast claims in the South China Sea, including parts of the West Philippine Sea.

Duterte said he tried pursuing the arbitral ruling but nothing happened.

China has been ignoring the diplomatic protest that the Philippine government has repeatedly filed over the incursion of Chinese vessels in the contested waters.

Duterte to meet with lawmakers on Bayanihan laws – Palace

Robie de Guzman   •   June 24, 2021

MANILA, Philippines – President Rodrigo Duterte is set to meet with some lawmakers later Thursday to discuss Bayanihan 2 and the proposed Bayanihan 3 laws.

Presidential spokesperson Harry Roque said the meeting will take place after Duterte’s ceremonial signing of several measures at Malacañang.

Roque did not identify the lawmakers who will be meeting with the president but said they are “leading members” of the Senate and the House of Representatives.

“I can only confirm that there will be a meeting today to discuss both Bayanihan 2 and Bayanihan 3 with leading members of both houses of Congress,” he said in a Palace briefing.

“This will occur after the ceremonial signing of several bills again and I know they will be discussing Bayanihan2 and 3, beyond that I have no further information,” he added.

Bayanihan Laws seek to help the government address the COVID-19 pandemic.

The validity of the Bayanihan 2 is set to expire on June 30 while the proposed Bayanihan 3 is still being discussed in Congress.

PH logs 6,043 new COVID-19 cases; death toll breaches 24K

Robie de Guzman   •   June 24, 2021

MANILA, Philippines – The Philippines’ cumulative tally of novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) cases  climbed to 1,378,260 on Thursday after the Department of Health (DOH) reported 6,043 additional infections.

In its latest bulletin, the DOH said the number of active cases in the country has reached 51,410.

Of this figure, 90.6 percent are mild, 4.5 percent are asymptomatic, 1.44 percent are moderate, 2 percent are severe, and 1.4 percent are in critical condition.

The DOH said only one testing laboratory failed to submit data on time.

The DOH also reported 4,486 more recovered patients, pushing the total recoveries to 1,302,814.

The death toll rose to 24,036 with 108 new fatalities.

The DOH also noted the positivity rate of 12.0 percent out of 46,497 tests reported last June 22.

Philippines to reach 10 million COVID-19 vaccine jabs next week — Dizon

Robie de Guzman   •   June 24, 2021

MANILA, Philippines — The Philippine government is expecting to breach by next week the 10-million mark in its COVID-19 vaccination program, testing czar Vince Dizon said Thursday.

In a press briefing with Israeli medical experts, Dizon said the government is close to reaching the targeted 500,000 daily vaccination rate based on the reported doses administered nationwide.

He said that on Wednesday, the Philippines administered over 353,000 doses, the biggest recorded so far.

“The days where we are hitting less than 100,000 are behind us and I think that with the additional vaccine doses that are coming in… the number that we reached yesterday will only get higher in the coming weeks,” he said.

“Our target is 500,000 a day, national. We’re almost there,” he added.

Based on the vaccine statistics presented by Health Undersecretary Myrna Cabotaje in the same briefing, the country has already administered over 9.2 million doses as of June 23.

She said 1.6 million individuals under the A1 or first priority group have been vaccinated – one million of them have completed two doses.

Cabotaje also said that 2 million of the 8 million targeted senior citizens and another 2 million of the 7 million persons with co-morbidities have been inoculated.

Among A4 or essential workers in the NCR Plus 8 areas, 642,709 have received their first dose while 8,623 have been fully vaccinated.

For indigents or A5, 110,934 have been given their first dose against COVID-19.

The national government earlier said it is eyeing to vaccinate up to 70 million people this year to achieve population protection against coronavirus disease.

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