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(Mini Reads followed by Full Reports below)

DUTERTE: WE ARE NOT CUTTING OUR ALLIANCES BUT WE WILL BE INDEPENDENT[RELATED: Yasay leaves for US amid Rody’s tirades]


SEPTEMBER 13 -U.S. and Philippine military officers stand at attention during the entrance of the colors at the opening ceremony of the annual joint U.S.-Philippines military exercise dubbed Balikatan 2016 (Shoulder-to-Shoulder) Monday, April 4, 2016 at Camp Aguinaldo, in suburban Quezon city, northeast of Manila, Philippines. The annual military drill, involving 5,000 U.S. personnel and 3,500 counterpart from the Philippines, is being conducted amidst tension in the South China Sea. AP Photo/Bullit Marquez, file Despite his harsh criticisms against the US, President Rodrigo Duterte is not about to cut ties with Washington as he stressed that the Philippines should not be lectured upon by any country or foreign head of state. “We are not going to cut our umbilical cord with the countries we are allied with,” Duterte said during the 48th anniversary of the Air Force's 250th Presidential Airlift Wing in Villamor Airbase in Pasay City on Tuesday. “We are not cutting our alliances. (We are not cutting) military (alliances) as well. But, certainly, we will follow an independent posture and independent foreign policy,” he added. Duterte issued the statement a day after he called for the withdrawal of US troops in Mindanao to avoid escalating security risks in the area. According to him, members of the terrorist group Abu Sayyaf hate the US so much that they are ready to abduct and kill any American they see. READ MORE...RELATED Yasay leaves for US amid Rody’s tirades... MORE UPDATES IN NEXT (HL) PAGES, AT DU30's (PE)... ..

ALSO: Abus free Norwegian; his first words, 'Thank you, Mr. Duterte'
[RELATED: LOOK: Freed Abu Sayyaf captives turned over to gov’t]
[RELATED(2): ‘Sayyaf looking for caliphate’ - Duterte]
(A caliphate is an area containing an Islamic steward known as a caliph— a person considered a religious successor to the Islamic prophet, Muhammad (Muhammad ibn ʿAbdullāh), and a leader of the entire Muslim community.)
[RELATED(3): ‘I am happy to be alive and free’ – Sekkingstad]


SEPTEMBER 18 -Sekkingstad P30-M ransom paid for release – reports
ZAMBOANGA CITY, Philippines – Abu Sayyaf bandits released yesterday their last Samal island captive, Norwegian national Kjartan Sekkingstad, reportedly after payment of ransom in Sulu. Sekkingstad was released four days before he would have spent his first year in captivity. He was taken by the bandits from a Samal island resort he managed in Davao del Norte on Sept. 21 last year, along with two Canadians and a Filipina. Presidential peace adviser Jesus Dureza confirmed last night Sekkingstad’s release, which he said took place in Patikul, Sulu at around 2 p.m. yesterday. The Norwegian was supposed to be flown to Davao City and presented to President Duterte yesterday but bad weather forced the cancellation of the plan, he said. “I will fly him out of Jolo tomorrow morning,” Dureza said. “His first words when I spoke to him on the phone : ‘Thank you to President Duterte’,” Dureza said in a statement, quoting Sekkingstad as saying. READ MORE...RELATED, LOOK: Freed Abu Sayyaf captives turned over to gov’t...RELATED(2) ‘Sayyaf looking for  caliphate’ - Duterte...RELATED(3) ‘I am happy to be alive and free’ – Sekkingstad...

ALSO:
Why Duterte has not yet sought clemency for Veloso

[RELATED Palace: Not yet time to ask for clemency for Mary Jane Veloso]


SEPTEMBER 13 -OLD FILE PHOTO: JANE VELOSO ACCOMPANIED BY AN UNIDENTIFIED OFFICIAL INTERPRETER
President Duterte has yet not asked for clemency for Filipino drug convict Mary Jane Veloso since her execution has already been put on hold “indefinitely,” Malacañang clarified yesterday. “Even before the visit to Indonesia, the execution of Mary Jane Veloso has been indefinitely deferred,” Presidential Spokesman Ernesto Abella said. “Indonesia has previously agreed to allow Ms. Veloso to testify through deposition on the criminal prosecution of her illegal recruiters in the Philippines.”  President Rodrigo Duterte (mb.com.ph) Abella spoke at a press briefing, following conflicting reports here and abroad about whether or not President Duterte had sought clemency for Veloso when he met with Indonesian leader, Joko Widodo, last week. “There was no need to make a plea for clemency as there was no scheduled execution,” he said. But if the court eventually finds Veloso innocent in the case against her illegal recruiters in the country, Abella acknowledged that this would be the ground for plea for clemency. “If and when the Indonesian Supreme Court decides to act on the execution, that would be the time to present the compelling evidence of Veloso’s innocence as a justification for a plea for clemency,” he said. “In other words, as in all things, worthwhile matters are achieved by going through the process,” he added. The President earlier raised the case of Veloso in a meeting with President Widodo in Jakarta. Duterte however declined to give details until he has talked to her family. READ MORE... RELATED Palace: Not yet time to ask for clemency for Mary Jane Veloso...

ALSO:
UN official urges Duterte to send invite on killings probe
[RELATED: Duterte a 'respecter of human rights', Palace tells UN]


SEPTEMBER 13 -A woman cradles the body of her husband who was killed on a street by a vigilante group, according to police, in a spate of drug related killings in Pasay City. Czar Dancel, Reuters/file
President Rodrigo Duterte has drawn flak from a United Nations body again.In a speech during the the 33rd session of the United Nations Human Rights Council, Zeid Ra'ad Al Hussein, United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, took exception to statements of Duterte regarding alleged extra-judicial killings in the Philippines."The President of the Philippines's statements of scorn for international human rights law display a striking lack of understanding of our human rights institutions and the principles which keep societies safe," Zeid said. The UN official reminded Duterte that "fair and impartial rule of law is the foundation of public confidence and security. Empowering police forces to shoot to kill any individual whom they claim to suspect of drug crimes, with or without evidence, undermines justice." "The people of the Philippines have a right to judicial institutions that are impartial, and operate under due process guarantees; and they have a right to a police force that serves justice," said Zeid, who is a Jordanian prince. He urged Duterte to send an invitation to the United Nations rights body regarding extra-judicial, summary, and arbitrary executions in the Philippines. "My office is ready to assist, including with respect to rule of law institutions and the prevention and treatment of drug use in accordance with international norms." READ MORE...
RELATED, Duterte a 'respecter of human rights', Palace tells UN...

ALSO: Robredo - 'No to another [political] upheaval; Duterte deserves our support'
[Robredo told reporters on Tuesday afternoon that it is everyone’s obligation to support the President.]
[RELATED: LP answers for ‘yellows’: ‘No impeach bid on DU30’]


SEPTEMBER 13 -Vice President Leni Robredo INQUIRER FILE PHOTO / NINO JESUS ORBETA
LAPU-LAPU CITY, Cebu – Vice President Leni Robredo has reiterated her support for President Duterte after her party was allegedly plotting to unseat the Chief Executive. Robredo told reporters on Tuesday afternoon that it is everyone’s obligation to support the President. “He’s our only President and he deserves our support. We can’t afford, as a country, to have another upheaval,” she told reporters in a pre-dinner conference at Rico’s Lechon in Lapu-Lapu City, on Mactan Island, Cebu. She stressed that the success of the Duterte presidency is the success of the nation and any attempt to destroy his administration should be discouraged because it will not be good for the country. Tuesday was Robredo’s third official visit to Cebu, which gave her a resounding victory over her closest opponent, former senator Ferdinand Marcos Jr. She arrived at the Mactan Cebu International Airport (MCIA) about 5 p.m. READ MORE...RELATED,
LP answers for ‘yellows’: ‘No impeach bid on DU30’...

ALSO:
UP VP De Vera III named CHED commissioner & peace process adviser [RELATED: DepEd allots P24B for high school vouchers]
[ALSO: Filipino fishermen among the poorest in the country, says Senator Pangilinan]


SEPTEMBER 13 -Prospero De Vera of the University of the Philippines was appointed commissioner of the Commission on Higher Education and adviser of the government peace panel on the negotiations with the National Democratic Front. Prospero De Vera, Facebook
A top official of the University of the Philippines (UP) was appointed commissioner of the Commission on Higher Education (CHED) and adviser of the government peace panel on the negotiations with the National Democratic Front. Prospero “Popoy” de Vera III, who served until last week as UP vice president for public affairs, assumed office Tuesday after taking his oath before President Duterte on Monday. “Joining the Duterte administration is my way of giving back to the country that has given me an education and allowed me to develop my capabilities,” said De Vera, a well-known political analyst and professor of public administration at the university. “My task in CHED is to ensure the realization of the commitments given by the president during the election campaign such as free higher education, bringing back ROTC (Reserved Officers’ Training Corps), and promoting the discussion on charter change/federalism and the peace process in the higher education sector,” he added. READ MORE... RELATED, DepEd allots P24B for high school vouchers....ALSO,,
Filipino fishermen among the poorest in the country, says Senator Pangilinan...


READ FULL MEDIA REPORTS HERE:

Duterte: We are not cutting our alliances but will be independent


SEPTEMBER 13 -U.S. and Philippine military officers stand at attention during the entrance of the colors at the opening ceremony of the annual joint U.S.-Philippines military exercise dubbed Balikatan 2016 (Shoulder-to-Shoulder) Monday, April 4, 2016 at Camp Aguinaldo, in suburban Quezon city, northeast of Manila, Philippines. The annual military drill, involving 5,000 U.S. personnel and 3,500 counterpart from the Philippines, is being conducted amidst tension in the South China Sea. AP Photo/Bullit Marquez, file

MANILA, SEPTEMBER 19, 2016 (PHILSTAR) By Alexis Romero September 13, 2016 -  MANILA, Philippines -- Despite his harsh criticisms against the US, President Rodrigo Duterte is not about to cut ties with Washington as he stressed that the Philippines should not be lectured upon by any country or foreign head of state.

“We are not going to cut our umbilical cord with the countries we are allied with,” Duterte said during the 48th anniversary of the Air Force's 250th Presidential Airlift Wing in Villamor Airbase in Pasay City on Tuesday.

“We are not cutting our alliances. (We are not cutting) military (alliances) as well. But, certainly, we will follow an independent posture and independent foreign policy,” he added.

Duterte issued the statement a day after he called for the withdrawal of US troops in Mindanao to avoid escalating security risks in the area. According to him, members of the terrorist group Abu Sayyaf hate the US so much that they are ready to abduct and kill any American they see.

READ MORE...

Duterte, who has scored the US for allegedly meddling with his bloody war against illegal drugs, said he would not allow other countries to dictate on the Philippines under his watch.

“With regard to drugs, I’ve been in the receiving end (of criticisms). You know that. It could be funny to look at… You know, we could never be just a small country (that can be) shouted at or lectured upon by any foreign country or by any president,” the president said.

“As I said, in my quest for what is right for my country, I’m putting on the table at stake my honor, my life and the presidency,” he added.

The US has repeatedly spoken against the spate of killings and the alleged human rights violations in the Philippines, something that Duterte has viewed as an interference into the country’s internal affairs.

The acid-tongued Duterte believes that the US cannot preach about human rights because it is also guilty of atrocities like the massacre of about 1,000 Moros in Bud Dajo in Jolo in 1906. He also pointed out in previous speeches that the US has a mess to clean up in its own backyard such as the killing of black Americans by American policemen.

“(If we) have to address human rights problems, then we have to discuss the entire gamut and dimension,” Duterte said.

Abella said the Bud Dajo massacre is a “lingering skeleton” that “removes moral ascendancy of those criticizing the Philippines for killings.”

He (Duterte) is uncovering something that has not been addressed,” he added.

Duterte cited the killing of male Filipinos aged ten and above in Balangiga, Samar in 1901 and the stealing of the town’s church bells that are still under US control until now.

“They got the bell. Until now, they hijacked it, stole it never returned it to us,” Duterte said.

READ: Communist party hails Duterte's announcement of independent foreign policy

'Not yet a policy'

Malacañang on Tuesday sought to play down President Duterte’s statement that he wants American troops out of Mindanao, saying it is not yet a policy and does not indicate that the Philippines is turning its back on its alliance with the US.

Presidential spokesman Ernesto Abella said the president merely issued an “injunction” and a “warning” about the risks being faced by Americans in Mindanao.

"Those statements are not policies set in stone," Abella said in a press briefing.

“These are backgrounders for possible future action. There’s a difference,” he added.

Abella admitted though that Duterte’s remarks were “layered” and could be interpreted in several ways.

“It serves as notice. That really, the reason why there’s trouble here is because of that presence (of the US troops),” he said.

When reminded that every statement of the president is perceived as a policy, Abella replied: “It's not automatically policy but it is a basis of policy.”

Despite Duterte’s remarks, Abella said the Philippines would continue to honor agreements like the Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement (EDCA) and the Visiting Forces Agreement (VFA).

EDCA grants the US access to some Philippine bases while VFA allows American troops to hold joint exercises with Filipino soldiers on Philippine soil.

“We're not turning [our] back on anybody. We are just charting an independent course,” the presidential spokesman said.

Some US servicemen have been sent to Zamboanga City to help Philippine troops track down terrorist groups. Their role is limited to training and information sharing because the 1987 Constitution bars foreign troops from joining combat operations.

There are less than 200 American soldiers in Mindanao, according to a ranking military official.

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RELATED FROM THE MANILA STANDARD

Yasay leaves for US amid Rody’s tirades posted September 14, 2016 at 12:01 am by Sara Susanne D. Fabunan


HISTORICAL HOLOCAUST. President Rodrigo Duterte shows images of the Bud Dajo massacre during the pacification campaign at the turn of the 20th century during his speech the other day before 2016 Metrobank Foundation Outstanding Filipinos awarding ceremony in Malacanang. It was the second time in just over a week when he showed the pictures in public - the first time in Vientiane, Laos during the Asean Summit.

FOREIGN Affairs Secretary Perfecto Yasay left for Washington to meet with US Secretary of State John Kerry, saying his trip was “a sign of good ties” between the US and the Philippines, even as President Rodrigo Duterte kept up his anti-American rhetoric.In a TV interview, Yasay said Duterte’s order for US Special Forces to pull out of Mindanao did not signal a change in foreign policy, particularly toward the Americans.

“I would like to assure the Filipino people that there is no shift in so far as our policy is concerned with respect to our friendship with the Americans,” Yasay said on the ANC news channel.

“This trip is proof of our good ties with the US,” he said in a separate interview with radio dzMM.

On Monday, Duterte said the US Special Forces based in Mindanao “had to go,” as he again brought up the American pacification campaign there in the early 1900s that led to death of hundreds of Moros.

Yasay said he would go to Washington first to meet with Kerry, then proceed to New York to attend the UN General Assembly.

“I’ll be meeting with Secretary Kerry. I’m confident Philippine-US relations will continue and go forward much stronger,” Yasay said.

Yasay added that pursuing an independent foreign policy did not mean a shift away from its allies.

“When President Duterte said that we are going to pursue an independent foreign policy, he was not articulating something that is new or a shift. This is exactly what the Constitution mandates, we must pursue an independent foreign policy taking into consideration the paramount national interest and ensuring our sovereignty, territorial integrity and self-determination,” Yasay said.

Yasay also said that the long-standing ties with the US remain strong despite Duterte’s recent attacks on the Americans.

Former permanent representative to the United Nations for the Philippines Lauro Baja Jr. said most of the US Special Forces who are engaged in the operational aspects of the agreement to fight terrorism have already left.

“Most of them have left,” Baja said.

In a press briefing at Washington US State Department spokesman John Kirby said ties between the US and the Philippines go back a long way.

“We have a long, productive history with the Philippines. I understand that it’s not a history without its past troubles, but we’re committed to our alliance with the Philippines, and we look forward to working our way through that,” Kirby said.

In his TV interview, Yasay also contradicted the President, who said he had purposely skipped the US-Asean meeting in Laos.

“The reason Duterte wasn’t able to attend two meetings in Asean Summit was because he wasn’t feeling well,” Yasay said.


PHILSTAR

Abus free Norwegian By Roel Pareño (The Philippine Star) | Updated September 18, 2016 - 12:00am 0 1 googleplus0 0


Sekkingstad P30-M ransom paid for release – reports

ZAMBOANGA CITY, Philippines – Abu Sayyaf bandits released yesterday their last Samal island captive, Norwegian national Kjartan Sekkingstad, reportedly after payment of ransom in Sulu.

Sekkingstad was released four days before he would have spent his first year in captivity. He was taken by the bandits from a Samal island resort he managed in Davao del Norte on Sept. 21 last year, along with two Canadians and a Filipina.

Presidential peace adviser Jesus Dureza confirmed last night Sekkingstad’s release, which he said took place in Patikul, Sulu at around 2 p.m. yesterday.

The Norwegian was supposed to be flown to Davao City and presented to President Duterte yesterday but bad weather forced the cancellation of the plan, he said. “I will fly him out of Jolo tomorrow morning,” Dureza said.

“His first words when I spoke to him on the phone : ‘Thank you to President Duterte’,” Dureza said in a statement, quoting Sekkingstad as saying.

READ MORE...

Earlier, intelligence units said Sekkingstad was released at about 3:30 p.m. in the vicinity of Barangay Buanza, Indanan, Sulu. There were conflicting reports on the ransom paid, with one account putting it at P30 million and another at P100 million. The bandits had originally demanded P300 million for the release of each of the captives.

A Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) commander identified as Tahil Sali facilitated the release of Sekkingstad, Dureza said confirming an earlier report.

Military officials confirmed the release and were gathering more information on the development.

The freed Norwegian national was reportedly first brought to the house of former governor Abdusakur Tan II Friday night in Barangay Asturias, Jolo town at the height of a power outage.

“He is now staying overnight at the place of MNLF chairman Nur Misuari in Barangay Kagay who volunteered to host his stay due to heavy rains and nightfall,” Dureza said.


Duterte Orders AFP, PNP: Do Not Touch Nur Misuari...'Strategic move' INQUIRER SEPT 1, 2016

“Men of Misuari and former Gov. Sakur Tan and other volunteers helped in the release.”

Dureza said Sekkinstad’s “release from captivity capped months of quiet, patient but determined efforts with the assistance of all sectors.”

There was no immediate information on the health condition of the victim, who was seized along with Canadian nationals John Ridsdel and Robert Hall, and Filipina Marites Flor on the night of Sept. 21 last year.

Ridsdel and Hall were beheaded last April 25 and June 13 respectively. Flor on the other hand was freed last June 24 unharmed.

The military is trying to rescue the remaining 15 foreign hostages including a Dutch national, seven Indonesians, five Malaysians. The terror also has seven Filipino hostages.

The military was also checking if three Malaysians abducted last Sept. 10 off Pom Pom, Sempurnah, Sabah were also brought to Sulu.

The Philippine National Police (PNP) has not officially confirmed the Norwegian’s release.

THE STAR earlier tried to contact PNP spokesman Senior Superintendent Dionardo Carlos for details but he was unavailable.

Sulu Provincial Police director Senior Superintendent Mario Bucuyan advised the media to get details of the release from Tan.

President Duterte last month announced – rather inadvertently – that P50 million had been paid for the release of Sekkingstad.

A source said ransom had been paid to a certain group that claimed to be holding Sekkingstad. The mistake embarrassed negotiators.

Negotiators had also thought that Sekkingstad would be released along with Flor last June 24. Authorities had concluded bad weather was preventing Sekkingstad’s captors from releasing him.

Sekkingstad’s family and friends in Norway reportedly raised the money demanded by the Abu Sayyaf for his release.

Norwegian ambassador Erik Forner reportedly arrived in Davao City on Friday in anticipation of Sekkingstad’s release. –Cecille Suerte Felipe, Edith Regalado, Christina Mendez

---------------------------

RELATED FROM THE INQUIRER

LOOK: Freed Abu Sayyaf captives turned over to gov’t SHARES: 1081 VIEW COMMENTS @inquirerdotnet
INQUIRER.net, Radyo Inquirer 990AM 05:02 PM September 18th, 2016

Four hostage victims freed by the bandit group Abu Sayyaf were turned over to government authorities on Sunday afternoon, hours before being presented to President Rodrigo Duterte. Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process Jesus Dureza and Sulu Vice Governor Abdusakur Tan welcomed Norwegian national Kjartan Sekkingstad and three Indonesian nationals at the airport in Jolo.

READ: Abu Sayyaf frees 3 Indonesian hostages — MNLF

After being freed, the captives were placed under the custody of the Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF), which the government said helped in facilitating their release.

Sekkingstad, one of four individuals captured by the terrorist group in Samal last year, is set to be presented to Duterte on Sunday evening in Davao City.

READ: Abu Sayyaf releases Norwegian hostage

Two of Sekkingstad’s companions, Canadians John Ridsdel and Robert Hall, were beheaded separately. Hall’s Filipino girlfriend Marites Flor was freed in June. YG with reports from Erwin Aguilon, Radyo Inquirer 990AM/RAM/rga

WATCH VIDEO: Duterte tells police: Don't arrest Nur Misuari

 
https://youtu.be/6MHxKwnF9lw
Duterte tells police: Don't arrest Nur Misuari INQUIRER.net INQUIRER.net Published on Aug 31, 2016 President Rodrigo Duterte on Wednesday ordered the police not to implement the arrest warrant against Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) leader Nur Misuari. Duterte said he had a phone conversation with Misuari on Tuesday night as reiterated that he was willing to meet with the Moro leader.

-----------------------

RELATED(2) FROM THE MANILA STANDARD

‘Sayyaf seeks caliphate’ posted September 18, 2016 at 12:01 am by Francisco Tuyay



PRESIDENT Rodrigo Duterte said Saturday Abu Sayyaf Islamic militants were hungry to establish a caliphate, as he toughens his stance on the kidnap-for-ransom group accused of a deadly bombing in his home city this month.

Several units of the Abu Sayyaf in the strife-torn southern Philippines have pledged allegiance to the Islamic State group but analysts have said they are more interested in funding than ideology.

“They are hungry for a fight to establish a caliphate in Southeast Asia. Caliphate is a kingdom for the Muslims,” Duterte said in a speech to soldiers at a military camp in Gamu, Isabela.

“The problem is that they do not talk on the basis of what school you can give them,” he said referring to previous local services the militants have asked for. “It’s either the caliphate or nothing.”

It was the first time Duterte confirmed suspicions that the terrorist Islamic State has established a presence in the country through Abu Sayyaf militants who have sworn allegiance to the global jihadist network.

Security forces have launched an extensive intelligence operations against jihadists in the country and applied stricter security procedures on public convergence points have been in place following reports that terrorist are out to pulled-off attacks in two key cities in Mindanao.

Security experts claim the terrorists have plans to stage an attack on still unknown targets in Cagayan de Oro City and General Santos City.

But the Armed Forces of the Philippines said it still has to detect any presence of the Abu Sayyaf in Metro Manila, despite threats from the terrorist group that is now the target of unrelenting military pressure in Basilan and Sulu.

“So far, based on our [intelligence] and monitoring, there is still no ASG [Abu Sayyaf Group] presence in Metro Manila and we hope to keep it that way,” said AFP public affairs office chief Col. Edgard Arevalo.

He also reiterated his message to the public to immediately report to authorities suspicious-looking persons and baggage in their areas so that proper action could be taken.

The AFP offensive against the ASG started last Aug. 25 shortly after the bandits beheaded 18-year-old Patrick Almodavar in Sulu after his family failed to pay their P1-million ransom demand.

Some 32 bandits have been killed in the ongoing operations in Sulu while scores have been wounded, as casualties among government troopers number 15 dead and 10 wounded.

The time of the supposed attacks in Cagayan de Oro and General Santos City are still uncertain but government forces has already conducted target hardening in the two key cities.

“The terrorist are just buying time for authorities to relax their security in order for them to launch possible attacks,” a source said who declined to be identified.

“That’s the nature of the terrorist. They will not proceed with their targets if the security is stricter,” the source added.

The possibility of a terror attack was also predicted by Philippine National Police chief Ronald dela Rosa days after the Davao City blast that left 15 people killed and injured 69 others.

“Because of the said incident in Davao, all major cities must be prepared. We don’t want to be panicky, it is better to be sure because we have an ongoing operations,” Dela Rosa said. “Maybe they [perpetrators] are formulating means to ease efforts on them.”

According to security experts, three clusters of terrorists have joined forces into one terrorist group in Central Mindanao and Northern Mindanao—the Daulat-al Islamiya, composed of the criminal Maute Gang, Alkhobar and the Khilafa Islamiya Mindanao.

The Maute group has been severely degraded after military operations but the Alkhobar has hundreds of members with links to the Moro Islamic Liberation Front while the Khilafa Islamiya Mindanao has also lied low after security operations.

Despite Duterte’s declaration, however, the Department of National Defense continued to deny formal links between the Abu Sayyaf and the Islamic State.


THE ABU SAYYAF: Abu Sayyaf is one of the smallest and most violent jihadist groups in the southern Philippines. Its name means "bearer of the sword" and it is notorious for kidnapping for ransom, and for attacks on civilians and the army. PHOTO FROM BBC.COM

“They are ISIS inspired and not actually ISIS supported. They are just ISIS wannabes,” defense department spokesman Arsenio Andolong told AFP, using another name for the Islamic State.

Duterte, who has restarted peace talks with the country’s two major Muslim rebel groups since taking office on June 30, initially pleaded for peace with Abu Sayyaf but has since hardened his position and branded them as terrorists.

In Gamu, Duterte said “Mindanao is a very sticky issue,” adding that he had recently spoken with MILF chairman Murad Ebrahim and vice chairman Ghazali Jaafar, who told him they should revive the peace talks to avert terrorism.

Duterte said that he had also been in touch with Moro National Liberation Front founder Nur Misuari. The problem, however, was that Misuari was “ambivalent” and had “lost control over the young men of the Moro generation.”

“Abu Sayyaf no longer hungers for independence in Mindanao. They are no longer hungry for autonomy. They are hungry for a fight to establish a caliphate, a kingdom, in Southeast Asia,” Duterte said.

Duterte told soldiers to “reorient or reinvent” themselves, given that the Abu Sayyaf was following the trend of “urban terrorism.”

“Your eyes and ears have to be quick,” Duterte said, adding that soldiers also have to become intelligence operatives. “You’re up against explosives here.”

He urged them to study ways of profiling possible bombers and terrorists, even as he said he had given the go signal for Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana “to procure whatever is necessary” for the soldiers—including protective gear and weapons.

--------------------------

RELATED(3)  FROM THE INQUIRER

‘I am happy to be alive and free’ – Sekkingstad @inquirerdotnet INQUIRER.net 08:26 PM September 18th, 2016


Norwegian hostage freed by Philippine militants 'lucky to be alive', will meet Duterte -Freed Norwegian national Kjartan Sekkingstad waving as he prepares to board a plane at Jolo airport, Mindanao, on Sept 18, 2016.PHOTO: AFP


Sekkingstad, accompanied by Presidential Peace Adviser Jesus Dureza, has arrived in Davao City.


At the Davao airport, Sekkingstad was welcomed by Norwegian Ambassador to the Philippines Eric Forner.

PRESIDENT Duterte on Sunday night met with freed Norwegian Kjartan Sekkingstad in Davao City.

“Your travails in life are over,” Duterte told Sekkingstad during their meeting.

“I am happy to be alive and free,” Sekkingstad , who lost a lot of weight and looking pale, told reporters in a brief statement after he was presented to Duterte. “This is a beautiful feeling,”

He and the Norwegian ambassador are scheduled to fly out of the country for Norway at 10 p.m. Sunday.

Sekkingstad was freed in Patikul town in Sulu province and was eventually secured by rebels from the larger Moro National Liberation Front, which has signed a peace deal with the government and helped negotiate his release, government officials said.

Abu Sayyaf extremists on Saturday freed the Norwegian man kidnapped on Sept. 21, 2015 on Samal Island with two Canadians who were later beheaded and a Filipino woman who has been released by the ransom-seeking militants, officials said. With a report from AP


Released Norwegian hostage Kjartan Sekkingstad, second right, stands next to Moro National Liberation Front Chairman Nur Misuari, right, after being turned over by ransom-seeking Abu Sayyaf extremists in Indanan township on Jolo island in southern Philippines Sunday, Sept. 18, 2016. Sekkingstad, who was kidnapped last year along with two Canadians and a Filipino, was released Saturday and was turned over Sunday to Misuari, who in turn turned him over to Presidential adviser Jesus Dureza. (AP Photo/Nickee Butlangan)

VIDEO : Duterte seeks ASEAN help to stop terrorism, drug trade

 
https://youtu.be/rLBjkMa4M2E B
Duterte seeks ASEAN help to stop terrorism, drug trade INQUIRER.net INQUIRER.net Published on Sep 5, 2016 President Duterte will gather support from member countries of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations in addressing terrorism.


MANILA BULLETIN

Why Duterte has not yet sought clemency for Veloso by Genalyn Kabiling September 14, 2016 Share0 Tweet0 Share0 Email0 Share9


President Rodrigo Duterte (mb.com.ph)

President Duterte has yet not asked for clemency for Filipino drug convict Mary Jane Veloso since her execution has already been put on hold “indefinitely,” Malacañang clarified yesterday.

“Even before the visit to Indonesia, the execution of Mary Jane Veloso has been indefinitely deferred,” Presidential Spokesman Ernesto Abella said. “Indonesia has previously agreed to allow Ms. Veloso to testify through deposition on the criminal prosecution of her illegal recruiters in the Philippines.”


SEPTEMBER 13 -OLD FILE PHOTO: JANE VELOSO ACCOMPANIED BY AN UNIDENTIFIED OFFICIAL INTERPRETER

President Rodrigo Duterte (mb.com.ph) Abella spoke at a press briefing, following conflicting reports here and abroad about whether or not President Duterte had sought clemency for Veloso when he met with Indonesian leader, Joko Widodo, last week.

“There was no need to make a plea for clemency as there was no scheduled execution,” he said.

But if the court eventually finds Veloso innocent in the case against her illegal recruiters in the country, Abella acknowledged that this would be the ground for plea for clemency.

“If and when the Indonesian Supreme Court decides to act on the execution, that would be the time to present the compelling evidence of Veloso’s innocence as a justification for a plea for clemency,” he said.

“In other words, as in all things, worthwhile matters are achieved by going through the process,” he added.

The President earlier raised the case of Veloso in a meeting with President Widodo in Jakarta. Duterte however declined to give details until he has talked to her family.

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Widodo was later quoted in foreign new reports that Duterte has supposedly given “the green light” for the execution of Veloso. But the Palace clarified that Duterte merely told Widodo to follow their law and would not interfere with its judicial process.

“What PRRD and Widodo talked about, he respects the judicial process of Indonesia, that he will accept whatever final decision they have on Veloso. This is assuming already Veloso would have testified,” Abella said.

“These statements were interpreted as a go-signal or a green light by the foreign press,” he added.

Earlier, Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) Secretary Perfecto Yasay Jr. already denied the report.

Veloso was sentenced to death after being convicted of drug trafficking in Indonesia. She has been given a stay of execution amid government appeals and the surrender of her alleged recruiter who duped her into bringing drugs to Indonesia.

Parents in the dark

The parents of Veloso remain in the dark since on the fate of their daughter, according to Migrante International’s Garry Martinez.

“No one from the government has approached them yet,” Martinez said.

The migrant leader said they have been assisting Veloso’s parents get an audience with Duterte so he could personally assure them on the status of their daughter.

“We are trying to relay our request through the people, who are close to the President, but so far we have not yet received any reply,” Martinez said.

Pleas to Duterte

An official of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) on Tuesday expressed hope that Duterte will continue to appeal for the life of the Filipino drug convict.

“It is regrettable that we are now getting conflicting reports regarding the actions of President Duterte on Mary Jane Veloso now on death row in Indonesia,” said Balanga Bishop Ruperto Santos, chairman of the CBCP Episcopal Commission on the Pastoral Care of Migrants and Itinerant People.

“We urge that the court cases against her illegal recruiters be pursued more vigorously as its resolution could help the situation of Mary Jane,” Santos said. He then urged the faithful to continue to pray for Veloso.

Hundreds of militant groups including members of the League of Filipino Students (LFS) marched to Mendiola yesterday to seek Duterte’s support on Veloso’s case.

“The Filipino people have never left Mary Jane in this fight. Since the first announcement of her execution, the people stood with her and fought for her life. Until now, we continue to stand with her. It is appalling to hear such news that the government of the Philippines has once again left her and gave up on this fight. We ask President Duterte – you have all the powers and resources to do something for Mary Jane,” said LFS national spokesperson JP Rosos.

The College Editors Guild of the Philippines also appealed to Duterte to exhaust all available means to spare the life of Veloso.

CEGP national president Jose Mari Callueng also criticized Malacañang’s statement that Duterte merely told Widodo to “follow your own laws” and argued that by doing so, he “betrayed Filipino people’s collective action that prompted Widodo to grant Veloso a temporary reprieve last year.”

For his part, Albay Rep. Edcel Lagman said the President “has reneged on his promise to the Veloso family that he will intercede on their behalf to save Mary Jane from execution.”

Senators weigh in

Meanwhile, Senate Majority Leader Vicente “Tito” Sotto III and Francis “Chiz” Escudero said Duterte is the last person to have the moral ground to appeal for Veloso’s clemency, considering his firm stand against illegal drugs.

Sotto said the public should understand Duterte’s stand on the issue particularly his directive to the President of Indonesia to “follow their own law and he will not interfere.”

Sen. Leila de Lima is disheartened at the President’s policy on Filipinos on death row and facing drug cases as these rendered the Aquino administration’s efforts to save Filipinos facing death in other countries.

“The fate of Mary Jane and saving her life has been important to us in the Aquino administration, especially the Department of Justice (DOJ) which provided the Indonesian government the legal basis to hold the execution in abeyance using the mutual cooperation treaty between the Philippines and Indonesia on the prosecution of crimes,” she said.

“Now it appears all our efforts have come to nothing, because the president is a firm believer in the death penalty,” she added.

Senate Minority Leader Ralph G. Recto said Veloso deserves clemency from the Indonesian government and the Philippine government’s support in securing it.

“She was not even a user. On the contrary, she was used to smuggle drugs without her knowledge. She was going to Indonesia to work as maid, not knowing that she was already a mule,” Recto said. (With reports from Samuel P. Medenilla, Chito A. Chavez, Leslie Ann G. Aquino, Mario B. Casayuran, Hannah L. Torregoza, and Charissa M. Luci)

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RELATED FROM PHILSTAR

Palace: Not yet time to ask for clemency for Mary Jane Veloso By Alexis Romero (philstar.com) | Updated September 13, 2016 - 1:45pm 4 84 googleplus0 0


OLD FILE PHOTO: JANE VELOSO ACCOMPANIED BY AN UNIDENTIFIED OFFICIAL INTERPRETER File archive  photo

MANILA, Philippines (Updated 6:18 p.m.) – There is no need to seek executive clemency for convicted Filipina drug mule Mary Jane Veloso for now because her execution has been deferred indefinitely, Malacañang said Tuesday.

Presidential Spokesman Ernesto Abella pointed out that Veloso’s execution had been deferred even before President Rodrigo Duterte met with Indonesian President Joko Widodo last week.

“There is no need to plea for clemency as there was no scheduled execution,” Abella said in a press briefing.

“If, and when, the Indonesian Supreme Court decides to act on the execution, that will be time to present (evidence proving) Veloso's innocence as a justification for a plea of clemency,” he added.

'Bad taste in the mouth'

Duterte said Tuesday afternoon that asking Widodo for clemency would have left a “bad taste in the mouth.”

“I said we will respect the judgments of your courts. Period. It would have been a bad taste in the mouth to be talking about having a strong posture against drugs and here you are begging for something,” the president said during the 48th anniversary of the 250th Presidential Airlift Wing in Villamor Airbase in Pasay City.

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“(I said ) it’s good that you have death penalty here at least you can bring it down to the barest minimum. I said go ahead and implement the law -- I never. We never mentioned about Veloso,” he added.

Earlier Tuesday, Abella stressed that the contrary to reports by the Indonesian media, Duterte did not give Widodo the go-signal to proceed with Veloso’s execution.

Asked if he thinks Duterte’s statements were misinterpreted, Abella replied: “I’m not saying it was misinterpreted but that’s how they translated it to English.”

Abella previously said Duterte had told Widodo to follow their law and assured him that he would not interfere with Indonesia’s legal process.

On his Facebook account, and as reported by the Manila Bulletin, Agriculture Secretary Emmanuel Piñol said he was at the meeting between Duterte and Widodo. He said that Duterte told the Indonesian president that "I respect your laws but we [are] appealing for your clemency."

Veloso was arrested at the Yogyakarta airport in 2010 after authorities found 2.6 kilos of heroin in her baggage. She denied being a drug mule and claimed that she did not know that the heroin was placed in her baggage.

She also claimed that a syndicate had tricked her to bringing the illegal drugs to Indonesia from Malaysia while she was trying to seek an overseas job as a maid.

Veloso was supposed to be executed by firing squad in April 2015 but was given a temporary reprieve after her recruiter turned herself over to Philippine police.


ABS-CBN

UN official urges Duterte to send invite on killings probe RG Cruz, ABS-CBN News Posted at Sep 13 2016 10:39 PM


A woman cradles the body of her husband who was killed on a street by a vigilante group, according to police, in a spate of drug related killings in Pasay City. Czar Dancel, Reuters/file

MANILA - President Rodrigo Duterte has drawn flak from a United Nations body again.

In a speech during the the 33rd session of the United Nations Human Rights Council, Zeid Ra'ad Al Hussein, United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, took exception to statements of Duterte regarding alleged extra-judicial killings in the Philippines.
"The President of the Philippines's statements of scorn for international human rights law display a striking lack of understanding of our human rights institutions and the principles which keep societies safe," Zeid said.

The UN official reminded Duterte that "fair and impartial rule of law is the foundation of public confidence and security. Empowering police forces to shoot to kill any individual whom they claim to suspect of drug crimes, with or without evidence, undermines justice."

"The people of the Philippines have a right to judicial institutions that are impartial, and operate under due process guarantees; and they have a right to a police force that serves justice," said Zeid, who is a Jordanian prince.

He urged Duterte to send an invitation to the United Nations rights body regarding extra-judicial, summary, and arbitrary executions in the Philippines. "My office is ready to assist, including with respect to rule of law institutions and the prevention and treatment of drug use in accordance with international norms."

READ MORE..

Duterte has had a confrontational relationship with the United Nations, including Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, as well as the United States for expressing concerns over his administration's human rights record in connection with his war on illegal drugs.

READ: Duterte skips ASEAN-UN meeting with Ban Ki-moon

Duterte denies calling Obama 'son of a b****,' hits Ban

The Arroyo administration's own track record on human rights was the subject of a probe by then Special Rapporteur Philip Alston, who made some recommendations and observations.

Alston was in the Philippines in 2007 before he issued a report the next year. In his report, Alston expressed concerns about killings in Davao City, where Duterte was mayor.

"I visited the Philippines from 12 to 21 February 2007 and traveled to Manila, Baguio, and Davao and I spoke with a wide range of actors to clarify responsibility for these killings and to formulate recommendations to bring them to an end. I also looked at selected other issues of unlawful killing, including the use of a death squad in Davao City," he said.

Alston specifically called for an end to summary killings in Davao.

READ: Gov't urged: Re-open Davao Death Squad probe

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RELATED FROM PHILSTAR

Duterte a 'respecter of human rights', Palace tells UN By Rosette Adel (philstar.com) | Updated September 14, 2016 - 8:13pm 0 0 googleplus0 0


United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein at the 33rd session of the Human Rights Council. UN

MANILA, Philippines – The Palace on Wednesday said that "alleged extrajudicial killings" are not a policy of the administration of President Rodrigo Duterte, whom it said is a "respecter of human rights."

In a statement, the Palace said that Duterte, a lawyer and former prosecutor, knows the limits of the power and authority of his office.

"President Duterte is a respecter of human rights, but he has also been firm in saying that human rights cannot be used as an excuse to let the spread of drugs in the country run rampant," the Palace said.

Human rights groups have attributed a rise in drug-related deaths in recent months to the government's war on drugs. Duterte has repeatedly talked about killing drug dealers, drug pushers, criminals and corrupt government officials. He has also promised to defend police officers and soldiers accused of rights violations. He has said, however, that he will not tolerate abuse by security forces.

"Notwithstanding the accusations hurled against him, no formal charge of human rights violations has been filed," the Palace said.

DFA ready to answer UN criticisms The Department of Foreign Affairs on Wednesday said that it is ready to answer the United Nations' criticisms of Duterte and his anti-drug camapaign.

“Lumabas na kasi yung statement ng UN Human Rights Commission and we are given one day to respond today, so ready na tayo to give our statement once na mag-open yung session today sa Geneva time,” DFA Assistant Secretary Charles Jose said

Jose was responding to the recent criticisms lodged by UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein. Duterte, was among those he singled out in his opening statement at the 33rd session of the Human Rights Council.

Hussein hit Duterte for his lack of understanding of human rights institutions. He emphasized that the fair and impartial rule of law is the foundation of public confidence and security and slammed the president’s endorsement of killing drug suspects.

“The president of the Philippines's statements of scorn for international human rights law display a striking lack of understanding of our human rights institutions and the principles which keep societies safe. Empowering police forces to shoot to kill any individual whom they claim to suspect of drug crimes, with or without evidence, undermines justice,” Hussein said in his speech.

“The people of the Philippines have a right to judicial institutions that are impartial, and operate under due process guarantees; and they have a right to a police force that serves justice,” he added.

Hussein then advised the Philippine government to extend an invitation to the special rapporteur for extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions.

“My office is ready to assist, including with respect to rule of law institutions and the prevention and treatment of drug use in accordance with international norms,” Hussein assured.

Last August, Duterte threatened to withdraw the country from the United Nations in his latest outburst against critics of his anti-drugs campaign that has left hundreds of suspects dead. His spokespersons later played down the statement after it was pointed out that there is no procedure to leave the UN, which the Philippines helped found in 1945.


INQUIRER

Robredo: No to another upheaval; Duterte deserves our support …SAYS PRESIDENT HAS LP’S BACKING SHARES: 547 VIEW COMMENTS By: Victor Anthony V. Silva @inquirerdotnet Inquirer Visayas 10:44 PM September 13th, 2016


Vice President Leni Robredo INQUIRER FILE PHOTO / NINO JESUS ORBETA

LAPU-LAPU CITY, Cebu – Vice President Leni Robredo has reiterated her support for President Duterte after her party was allegedly plotting to unseat the Chief Executive.

Robredo told reporters on Tuesday afternoon that it is everyone’s obligation to support the President.

“He’s our only President and he deserves our support. We can’t afford, as a country, to have another upheaval,” she told reporters in a pre-dinner conference at Rico’s Lechon in Lapu-Lapu City, on Mactan Island, Cebu. She stressed that the success of the Duterte presidency is the success of the nation and any attempt to destroy his administration should be discouraged because it will not be good for the country.

Tuesday was Robredo’s third official visit to Cebu, which gave her a resounding victory over her closest opponent, former senator Ferdinand Marcos Jr.

She arrived at the Mactan Cebu International Airport (MCIA) about 5 p.m.

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Robredo, who is also chairperson of Housing and Urban Development Coordinating Council (HUDCC), came from Zamboanga del Sur and Zamboanga del Norte.

She was scheduled to fly to Eastern Samar on Wednesday.

On Monday, President Duterte accused LP, Robredo’s party, of mounting moves to unseat him by highlighting the issue of human rights violations.

“Let’s not fool ourselves. Do you know who’s behind this? It’s the yellow,” the President said, referring to the LP’s political color.

Robredo said she doesn’t know where these rumors came from as LP hasn’t met as a party since last May elections.

She said she intends to discuss this matter with President Duterte personally, just to assure him that he has the LP’s support.

Robredo recalled how LP members in the House of Representatives and the Senate formed an alliance with the majority party, the Partido Demokratikong Pilipino-Lakas ng Bayan (PDP-Laban), and vowed to support the President.

“Nothing has changed,” she said, adding that her support for President Duterte has never been diminished by their differences in opinion on policies.

Being supportive, she explained, doesn’t mean agreeing all the time. Sometimes, she added, parties can always agree to disagree.

One of these was the announcement of President Duterte on his plan to pull out the American troops from Mindanao.

Robredo said the plan should be studied thoroughly in the wake of the ongoing war against the Abu Sayyaf bandit group.

“I think the President is really looking into this matter. He will decide accordingly. I think this is the President’s statement that shows we are seeking an independent foreign policy. It would be good for our country to pursue an independent foreign policy, but I just hope this wouldn’t be done in haste,” she said.

Robredo said she hopes whatever decision will be reached is a result of a long and thorough study.

Civilian safety isn’t the only factor that should be taken into account, but also the lives of the soldiers sent to Mindanao.

In the midst of an all-out war against the Abu Sayyaf Group, Robredo said the country has lost so many lives already in a span of two weeks.

“While that is their basic obligation, we also need to do everything we can to protect them,” said Robredo.

Robredo said she will fly to Eastern Samar on Wednesday to visit poor communities.

The Vice President said she is going around the country in search of the poorest communities as well as communities that used to be poor but have turned things around.

Robredo said she intends to take best practices from similarly situated areas and apply these to places where poverty is rampant.

Among the places she plans to visit is Siayan in Zamboanga del Norte, which was considered to be the Philippines’ poorest municipality from 2003 to 2009.

“Now, it’s a second class municipality already. I’ve met the mayor many times, multi-awarded. I want to see what the mayor did,” Robredo said, referring to Siayan Mayor Flora Villarosa.

While she was in Zamboanga del Norte on Tuesday, she wasn’t able to drop by Siayan due to the heavy rains.

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RELATED FROM THE TRIBUNE

LP answers for ‘yellows’: ‘No impeach bid on DU30’ Written by Gerry Baldo and Angie M. Rosales Wednesday, 14 September 2016 00:00


REFERRED TO AS THE 'YELLOWS'

Liberal Party (LP) members, both in the Senate and the House of Representatives, took up the cudgels for those whom President Duterte referred to as the “yellows” as members of the party issued denials on Duterte’s claim of a supposed plot to either oust or impeach him by highlighting the issue on alleged human rights violations of his administration.

Senate President Pro Tempore Franklin Drilon, LP chairman, and the highest ranking party member in the chamber, said LP senators refuse to consider that Duterte was referring to the LP as the group he accused of being behind the plot against him, indicating that Duterte did not categorically identify them.

“On the part of the LP, We do not such a plan. We have not met on this and we deny that we are part of such plot, if indeed such plot exists. The LP has nothing to do with it,” he said.

Drilon, along with three other LP members, Senators Leila de Lima, Bam Aquino and Francis Pangilinan – are currently with the so-called super majority in the upper chamber that is considered as aligned with the administration.

An LP senator, Ralph Recto has opted not align with the majority and has been elected minority leader of the upper chamber.

LP vice chairman former Speaker Feliciano “Sonny” Belmonte Jr. also denied Duterte’s claim of a plan to impeach him.

DEFINITELY LP NOT 'TROJAN HORSE'

“Definitely LP is not a Trojan Horse,” said Belmonte. He is one of the 28 LP members who are now with the PDP -Laban led majority coalition.

Belmonte dismissed as baseless and unfounded the accusation of Duterte that the LP is using the war on drugs to destroy his image and seek his impeachment.

Belmonte stressed that impeaching Duterte, who is a very popular leader, would be difficult to achieve.

“The chances of that is zero and nobody will even think of it. First he is overwhelmingly popular which amounts to a public approval of his programs. Secondly he has overwhelming majority in the House where impeachment starts,” Belmonte explained.

Aquino corroborated Drilon’s claims on the implausibility of Duterte beig impeached even pointing out that a “leader” of their party, Vice President Leni Robredo, is a member of his Cabinet, having been named as “housing czar” or chair of the Housing and Urban Development Coordinating Council (HUDCC).

“There’s no such plot. I think a number of us said that already,” Aquino said, adding that they are supportive of the reforms that the administration has been pushing.

Clearing of air needed

“So, clearly for me there’s really no plot. I don’t know where he got his information. We never even talked about it. We were all kind of surprised when he made that statement so I think there really needs to be a clearing of the air with him,” he said.
 


SENATOR BAM AQUINO

Aquino, who served as campaign manager of Robredo in the last May 9 elections, said he had been told that the Vice President will take up the matter when they hold a Cabinet meeting today and clear whatever misinformation that may have reached the President.

“It needs to be clarified with him and if there’s any misinformation that he’s been getting, it should be made clear. I think it’s good when Vice President Leni (Robredo) talks with him,” Aquino added.

“That’s simply not true,” said Senator Pangilinan.

Sen. Leila de Lima branded as absurd the latest charges of Duterte against critics.

“My Lord, where did he get that? That is not true. It’s just again, a figment of their wild imagination. Such a plot does not exist, maybe they are again referring to me. Since I’m with the LP, since I am what they call as yellow, so it might be another interpretation of the blame being put on me. What have I done lately?”, she asked.

De Lima said she can only surmise the possibility of her being among those being alluded to because she is due to resume the investigation in the Senate on the alleged extrajudicial killings and has been against some of the issues of the administration.

“And I continue to condemn the daily killings. So maybe they are after me, and since I am considered yellow, their interpretation is that I am planning an ouster or an impeachment move against the President. We don’t even meet as a group of yellows, more so plotting such a thing,” she said.

“I really don’t know where they picked up such an information,” De Lima added.

Belmonte: ‘Think positive’

“We should think positively as people. Let’s look forward to having great achievements instead of talking about negative things like impeachment,” Belmonte said.

In a press conference, Albay Rep. Edcel Lagman, Northern Samar Rep. Raul Daza and Caloocan City Rep. Edgar Erice, three of the five LP members in the so-called “legitimate 8” in the minority bloc, also dismissed the ouster plot as “ill-conceived rethoric unmindful of compromising consequences.”

“Definitely no plot from the LP to impeach the President,” said Lagman.

“We deny that we are plotting an impeachment. It is safe to say that we do not talk about impeachment,” said Daza.

Erice said the public should not be thinking about impeachment because it is a big disservice to the nation which is facing many challenges.

“There is no talk and impeachment should not be talked about because it is bad for the national economy. We are on the same boat.

We want the president to succeed. It just so happened that we have a role to do, which is to ensure checks and balance in government,” Erice explained.

President Duterte claimed that the LP’s stance against human rights violations in Duterte’ s war on drugs is setting the stage for a possible impeachment proceedings.

Duterte, the other day in a Malacañang speech accused unnamed “yellow” critics of plotting to oust or impeach him.

Before the oath-taking of new government appointees, Duterte said the “yellows” have linked up with human rights advocates and foreign groups in an effort to oust him using the violations committed under his administration’s “war on illegal drugs” that has killed nearly 3,000 individuals.

“Do you know who’s playing this trick of joining the human rights [groups’ portrayal of a bad image of me?] The yellows,” Duterte said.

“In fact, they are trying to build a case against me and have me impeached,” he added.

The supporters of the previous administration of former President Noynoy Aquino and members of the Liberal Party (LP) are the ones usually referred to as the “yellows”.


PHILSTAR

UP official De Vera named CHED commissioner, peace process adviser By Janvic Mateo (philstar.com) | Updated September 13, 2016 - 11:31am 0 455 googleplus0 0


Prospero De Vera of the University of the Philippines was appointed commissioner of the Commission on Higher Education and adviser of the government peace panel on the negotiations with the National Democratic Front. Prospero De Vera, Facebook

MANILA, Philippines (UPDATED 2:30 p.m.) — A top official of the University of the Philippines (UP) was appointed commissioner of the Commission on Higher Education (CHED) and adviser of the government peace panel on the negotiations with the National Democratic Front.

Prospero “Popoy” de Vera III, who served until last week as UP vice president for public affairs, assumed office Tuesday after taking his oath before President Duterte on Monday.

“Joining the Duterte administration is my way of giving back to the country that has given me an education and allowed me to develop my capabilities,” said De Vera, a well-known political analyst and professor of public administration at the university.

“My task in CHED is to ensure the realization of the commitments given by the president during the election campaign such as free higher education, bringing back ROTC (Reserved Officers’ Training Corps), and promoting the discussion on charter change/federalism and the peace process in the higher education sector,” he added.

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The commission is currently headed by Chairperson Patricia Licuanan, who is serving a fixed term until 2018.

De Vera will replace fellow UP professor Cynthia Bautista, and will join Minella Alarcon and Alex Brillantes as commissioners.

It is still unclear if Ruperto Sangalang, whose term ended in July, will be re-appointed to a second term or will be replaced by the president.

Meanwhile, De Vera said his selection as adviser to the peace panel was in recognition of his policy expertise in the legislative and executive branches of government in the Philippines and the United States, particularly on social development.

He served as executive assistant, chief of staff, senior consultant and senior adviser to at least eight senators, including former Senate President Aquilino Pimentel Jr. and former Senate President Pro-tempore Leticia Ramos-Shahani.

As adviser to the peace panel, De Vera will be providing technical inputs on the Comprehensive Agreement on Social and Economic Rights.

De Vera finished BA History and Doctor of Public Administration degrees in UP, and specialized in higher education administration at the Rossier School of Education of the University of Southern California as a Fulbright-Hays Visiting Scholar.

He is a member of the faculty of UP National College of Public Administration and Governance for more than two decades, teaching courses in policy analysis, administrative systems, social development and legislative studies.

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RELATED FROM THE MANILA TIMES

DepEd allots P24B for high school vouchers
BY NEIL ALCOBER ON SEPTEMBER 17, 2016 NATION

THE Department of Education (DepEd) has allotted P24 billion for the senior high school (SHS) voucher program in private schools in 2017.

The allocation is twice the current budget and will cover an estimated 1.4 million student grantees who will enroll in Grades 11 and 12 in private schools next year.

The SHS voucher program is a financial aid for Grade 10 completers who wish to continue their studies in private schools, public universities, colleges and technical vocational institutions offering SHS.

Education Secretary Leonor Briones has refuted the claim of some groups that the higher budget for the senior high school voucher program for private schools favors school owners because it will give them more profit.

“It is unfair to tag the Department of Education’s (DepEd) budget as ‘private school-friendly’ when P400 billion of the proposed P546 billion budget next year is for the delivery of basic education through our public schools,” Briones said.

The DepEd chief pointed out that the program was designed to give students and their parents options in picking the senior high school that is most relevant to their needs and career goals.

“With 4,486 private schools offering SHS, compared to 220 non-DepEd public schools, it is not surprising that there are more enrollees in private schools, thus needing higher budget for the voucher program,” Briones said.

Under the program, enrollment in a private school becomes a viable option as students receive a subsidy to offset school fees charged by these schools.

Briones said the 31 percent increase in its proposed budget next year is in recognition of the needs and expectations that her agency has to meet and deliver.

“In the next six years, I intend to enhance the complementarity of public and private institutions. This is in recognition of the private sector’s vital contribution in achieving education for all in the country,” she said.

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RELATED(2) FROM THE INQUIRER

Filipino fishermen among the poorest in the country, says Senator Pangilinan By: Estrella Torres @inquirerdotnet Philippine Daily Inquirer 07:07 PM September 15th, 2016


Senator Francis Pangillinan. PHILIPPINE DAILY INQUIRER/RICHARD A. REYES

Senator Francis Pangilinan said while the Philippines’ trade revenues from fishery reach an average US$954-million each year but the country’s 1.7-million fisher folk are among the poorest due to lack of clear-cut agenda for the sector.

Pangilinan proposed the creation of the Department of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (DFAR) that will tap the vast marine resources of the Philippines to improve the lives of poor fisher folks who face harsh impact of typhoon, fish kill and marine degradation.

He said fishery has a gross value added worth P1.4 Billion, only next to the agriculture sector.

But despite the vast potential of marine resources, Senator Pangilinan said poverty incidence in coastal towns is at 43.2 per cent with each fisherman earning an average P178 per day.

The Senate Committee on Agriculture and Food is conducting public hearing on the creation of DFAR to address the deepening poverty among fisher folks and improve marine resources of the country.

“The fishery sector has a huge potential but the Philippines only utilizes 273 hectares of it 50,000 hectares of waters,” said Pangilinan.

He also argued that the sector is not prioritized by the Department of Agriculture (DA), with only 7 per cent of its total budget is allocated to the fishery and aquatic sector.

“The country’s vast marine resources can make the Philippines an Aquaculture Superpower,” said Pangilinan.

He cited that France’ Oyster at mollusk industry earns 600 million euros or P32 billion per year.

In the US, the lobster industry provides an annual P42 Billion while revenues from Bangladesh’ shrimp industry reached US$ 456 million in 2006.


Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi

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