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DUTERTE WISHES FOR 'MEANINGFUL' NOV 1 - 2 'UNDAS' FOR PH
[RELATED: US to work with Rody despite renewed insults]
[RELATED(2): US backs down on Duterte feud]


OCTOBER 31 -PRESIDENT'S MESSAGE. President Rodrigo Duterte meets with media in Malacañang. File photo by King Rodriguez/Presidential Photo President Rodrigo Duterte wishes the entire country a meaningful All Saints' Day and All Souls' Day on November 1 and 2, respectively. In his Undas message sent to media on Monday, October 31, Duterte reflected on how this time of the year is a reminder that "even though all things come to pass, our deeds will outlast our mortal lives." (READ: Duterte's Undas plans: Visit parents' grave) The President also took the opportunity to drive home his intent to crack down on corruption. He asked government workers and all Filipinos not to give in to the "temptations of the temporal world" and instead contribute to the "genuine change that will be for the best interests of our people."  READ DU30's  MESSAGE...RELATED, US to work with Rody despite renewed insults...RELATED(2),
US backs down on Duterte feud...

ALSO:
Filipinos clean graves, pray, honor dead on All Saints' Day
[ALSO: UN rapporteur gearing up for RP visit, probe—DFA]


NOVEMBER 1 -Thousands of Filipinos throng to Manila's North Cemetery, the country's largest, to pay tribute to their departed in observance of All Saints Day Tuesday, Nov. 1, 2016 in Manila, Philippines. Tens of thousands of Filipinos in this predominantly Catholic nation in Asia, take their time to visit the graves of their dear departed by offering flowers and prayers in the annual tradition. (AP Photo/Bullit Marquez)
MANILA, Philippines (AP) — Families bring flowers. Relatives seek out graves of departed soldiers. Tombs across the Philippines get cleaned up. And prayers — prayers with candles, silent prayers, group prayers, prayers for loved ones now gone — echo across the land.
On All Saints Day in the Philippines, the cemetery takes center stage — and not at all in the way Halloween does it. This is a time for remembrance and, for many, a time for contemplation. From the preparations Monday to the celebrations Tuesday, here is a visual glimpse into All Saints Day in Asia's most Catholic nation.VIEW PHOTOS...ALSO,
UN rapporteur gearing up for RP visit, probe—DFA...

ALSO Paris Agreement - Status of Ratification: Entered into force Nov. 4, 2016
[RELATED: On Climate change pact, Rody says he has misgivings but will approve it if his advisers thinks it's good for the country]


NOVEMBER 4 -On 5 October 2016, the threshold for entry into force of the Paris Agreement was achieved. The Paris Agreement entered into force on 4 November 2016. The first session of the Conference of the Parties serving as the Meeting of the Parties to the Paris Agreement (CMA1) will take place in Marrakech in conjunction with COP 22 and CMP 12. More information available soon. The Paris Agreement pdf-icon entered into force on 4 November 2016, thirty days after the date on which at least 55 Parties to the Convention accounting in total for at least an estimated 55 % of the total global greenhouse gas emissions have deposited their instruments of ratification, acceptance, approval or accession with the Depositary. READ MORE... RELATED, On Climate change pact, Rody says he has misgivings but will approve it if his advisers thinks it's good for the country...

ALSO: Former US envoy to NKorea becomes ambassador to Philippines
[RELATED: New US envoy eager to start work in the Philippines]


NOVEMBER 4 -Secretary of State John Kerry applauds after swearing in Sung Kim, left, as U.S. Ambassador to Philippines, Thursday, Nov. 3, 2016, at the State Department in Washington. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)
WASHINGTON — Secretary of State John Kerry expressed confidence yesterday that the US relationship with the Philippines can survive recent turbulence as he swore in a new US ambassador to the Southeast Asian nation. Kerry administered the oath of office to Sung Kim, formerly the chief US envoy for North Korea policy, in a ceremony at the State Department. Kim, a career diplomat, takes up his new position in turbulent times. Outspoken Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte, who took office in June after winning a presidential election, has been antagonistic to Washington over human rights criticisms. Duterte has forged closer ties with China — a blow to the Obama administration effort to forge deeper ties with Asia. He has declared his desire to scale back military engagements with the US and last month told President Barack Obama to "go to hell." But Kerry remained confident about the future of the 70-year alliance between the US and its former colony, "notwithstanding a difference here or there about one thing or another." READ MORE...RELATED, New US envoy eager to start work in the Philippines...

ALSO: PH Coast Guard resumes patrol in Panatag 'to test the waters' only
(Patrol was suspended during typhoon Karen and super typhoon Lawin)
[RELATED: China wants military-to-military ties with RP ‘to find a way forward’]


NOVEMBER 4 -To be deployed to Panatag, PCG spokesman Commander Armand Balilo said, were the ships BRP Tubbataha (in photo), BRP Davao del Norte and three monitoring, control and surveillance (MCS) vessels. PCG/Released, File
The Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) has resumed sending patrol vessels to Panatag (Scarborough) Shoal, but only to “test the waters” and not to confront the Chinese who have stopped harassing Filipino fishermen but remained in control of the area, Transportation Secretary Arthur Tugade said yesterday. He said the Coast Guard would merely be conducting a “roving inspection,” and that the possibility of a confrontation “is farthest from our mind right now.” The Department of Transportation has jurisdiction over the PCG. The PCG suspended deployment in the area at the height of Typhoon Karen and later Super Typhoon Lawin and in deference to President Duterte’s state visit to Beijing last month. READ MORE...RELATED, China wants military-to-military ties with RP ‘to find a way forward’ ...

ALSO: PNP allays fears of US citizens travelling to southern Cebu
[RELATED: Kidnap risk in southern Cebu bared]

[RELATED(2): Woman barangay chief nabbed for helping Abu kidnaps of Canadians]


Safe and Secure. Sumilon Island, a popular spot for snorkeling and swimming in the south, has been included in the US Embassy’s list of places in southern Cebu not to be visited by Americans at this time. The management of Bluewater Sumilon Island Resort assures that the place is safe and secure and has tapped law enforcement agencies for extra precaution. (Sun.Star Photo/Alex Badayos)
The Philippine National Police (PNP) has allayed fears of kidnapping in southern Cebu after the United States Embassy in Manila issued an advisory urging Americans to avoid travelling to some towns in Cebu. PNP spokesperson Senior Supt. Dionardo Carlos said there was no security threat in Dalaguete, Santander, and Sumilon Island contrary to the US advisory saying terrorists groups are planning to conduct kidnapping in the said areas.
READ: US: Dalaguete, Santander, Sumilon kidnap risk areas in southern Cebu “There’s no report of threat on any nationality there pero ang aming (but our) intelligence units continually gather and validate any information,” Carlos said. READ MORE...RELATED, Kidnap risk in southern Cebu bared... RELATED(2), Woman barangay chief nabbed over Abu kidnaps...


READ FULL MEDIA REPORTS HERE BELOW
OR CLICK HERE TO READ ONLINE

Duterte wishes for 'meaningful' Undas for PH


PRESIDENT'S MESSAGE. President Rodrigo Duterte meets with media in Malacañang. File photo by King Rodriguez/Presidential Photo

MANILA,
NOVEMBER 7, 2016 (RAPPLER.COM) Rappler.com Published 6:20 PM, October 31, 2016 - President Rodrigo Duterte wishes the entire country a meaningful All Saints' Day and All Souls' Day on November 1 and 2, respectively.

In his Undas message sent to media on Monday, October 31, Duterte reflected on how this time of the year is a reminder that "even though all things come to pass, our deeds will outlast our mortal lives."

(READ: Duterte's Undas plans: Visit parents' grave)

The President also took the opportunity to drive home his intent to crack down on corruption. He asked government workers and all Filipinos not to give in to the "temptations of the temporal world" and instead contribute to the "genuine change that will be for the best interests of our people."

VIEW OFFICIALLY HERE: President Duterte's entire Undas 2016 message below:

READ THE MESSAGE...

I join the Catholic faithful as they offer their prayers on November 1, All Saints' Day, and November 2, All Souls' Day.

These two events remind us that, even though all things to come pass, our deeds will outlast our mortal lives.

No amount of success, power or position can ever compensate for the greed and corruption of human character. Truly, Christ was right in asking the question: "For what does it profit a man to gain the whole world yet forfeit his own soul?"

I therefore ask my fellow workers in government, and the entire Filipino people to heed not the temptations of the temporal world. Let us, rather, answer the call to be true servant-leaders; let us accumulate riches, not for ourselves, but for the future generations and for the life that comes after.

With a keen appreciation for the immaterial treasures that bring us closer to God, let us continue to pursue an agenda for genuine change that will be for the best interests of our people. I hope that we cherish with fondness, love, and gratitude the spiritual inheritance left by our ancestors and loved ones on their special day. May the nation receive the blessings of God as we exalt and emulate the holy men and women whose lives have inspired generations.

I wish everyone a solemn and meaningful remembrance.

Rodrigo Roa Duterte

President of the Philippines

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

RELATED FROM PHILSTAR

US to work with Rody despite renewed insults By Jose Katigbak, STAR Washington bureau (The Philippine Star) | Updated November 4, 2016 - 12:00am 0 11 googleplus0 0


State Department spokesman John Kirby declined comment on decisions that affect potential arms sales but stressed government-to-government relations between the United States and the Philippines are very strong. AP/Susan Walsh

WASHINGTON –The White House and State Department brushed aside President Duterte’s renewed barrage of insults and said the US government was committed to developing a good working relationship with him.

Asked if the recent cancellation of the sale of 26,000 M4 rifles to the Philippines was intended as a rebuke to some of Duterte’s rhetoric, White House Deputy Press Secretary Eric Schultz said, “I don’t have a tick-tock to share on that decision.”

“And while some of that rhetoric has been colorful and inflammatory, we haven’t received any official requests to change our security, defense or cooperation with the Philippines,” he said.

State Department spokesman John Kirby declined comment on decisions that affect potential arms sales but stressed government-to-government relations between the United States and the Philippines are very strong.

Asked how he could describe relations as strong when he couldn’t say the US has a close relationship with Duterte, Kirby said: “Well, because the government isn’t – doesn’t rest – especially in a democracy, it doesn’t rest on the shoulders of just one individual.”

“Yes, he’s the head of state, but there are many agencies in his government, there are many Cabinet officials, there are longstanding relationships that we have nurtured over the years with figures in his government and those relationships are still there and they’re still vibrant,” Kirby said.

Asked if he was trying to suggest Washington might circumvent Duterte or deal with other officials, Kirby said: “The point I was trying to make is that there are institutions in the government that we have good relationships with and we’re going to try to continue those relationships, as well as try to develop a good working relationship with him himself. That’s all I meant,” Kirby said.

“And I can tell you, as I’ve said before from this podium, we’re committed to doing that,” he added.

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RELATED FROM THE TRIBUNE

US backs down on Duterte feud Written by Tribune Wires Saturday, 05 November 2016 00:00 By Joyce Ann L. Rocamora

KOREAN-AMERICAN REPLACES GOLDBERG


Sung Kim is the new US ambassador to the Philippies.

The United States made clear overtures to the increasingly belligerent President Duterte as it appointed a new Ambassador to the Philippines of Asian descent while State Secretary John Kerry indicated his desire to again meet with Duterte before the Obama presidency ends in January.

Duterte had stepped up his incendiary attacks on the US government amid the criticisms heaped on the conduct of his war on drugs that had resulted in almost 4,000 deaths that American officials attributed mostly to what it termed as state-inspired extrajudicial killings.But Kerry, who met with Duterte in Manila in late July and said he hopes to return in the country to strike a diplomatic tone in his remarks Thursday.

“I am confident about the future of our bilateral relationship, notwithstanding the difference here or there about one thing or another,” he said. “I am absolutely confident about the ties between our peoples,” he added.

In place of Philip Goldberg, who Duterte earlier accused of meddling in Philippine affairs, the US government swore in Korean-born diplomat Sung Kim as the new US ambassador to the Philippies.

In the past few months, Sung’s predecessor Goldberg has been one of Duterte’s prime target for his anti-US rhetorics after he was accused of prying in domestic concerns prior to the elections last May.

Sung said on his watch, the US and the Philippines“ will continue to be close friends, partners and allies.”

He said that he’ll be looking forward on continuing the robust economic engagement between the two nations.

“There is a lot of important work ahead for our two countries. I am eager to embark on this new exciting challenge,” he said.
Facing the extraordinary insults of Duterte, American diplomats have been wary of adding fuel to the fire.


US SECRETSARY OF STATE KERRY

“Democratic elections bring change and we must all have the wisdom to recognize and to adjust to that change,” Kerry said.

He added that “the logic of our alliance” — built around a military partnership forged after World War II and cemented by a mutual defense treaty in 1951 — remained “as compelling today” as it had ever been.

Until Duterte came to power in June, the Philippines was one of the closest US allies in Asia, and it was viewed as a vital link in the political “pivot” or “rebalancing” of US policy toward the Asia-Pacific region under Obama.

But late last month Duterte announced his country’s “separation” from the United States and called for an end within two years to the presence of “foreign military troops” — a clear reference to American forces.

Duterte later struck a more conciliatory tone, saying there would be no “severance of ties” with Washington. The Philippines, he added, would simply pursue a more independent line in foreign affairs while improving its ties to Beijing.

Until the early 1990s, when the Manila government ordered them out, the United States kept thousands of troops at major bases in the Philippines.

But months before Duterte took office, Washington and Manila had announced plans for stepped-up security cooperation, with a “periodic presence” of American troops rotating through the area near the contested South China Sea.

Sung sings different tune

During his speech at a swearing-in ceremony in Washington D.C., Sung also expressed that he’s thrilled to have the honor of representing US in the Philippines, its oldest ally in Asia and one of its most special friends anywhere.

Sung is a career member of the Senior Foreign Service, class of Minister-Counselor, currently serving as Special Representative for North Korea Policy and as Deputy Assistant Secretary in the Bureau of East Asia and Pacific Affairs at the US Department of State.
In the past, Sung Kim served as US ambassador to South Korea from 2011 to 2014 and worked as a public prosecutor at the Los Angeles District Attorney’s office before joining the State Department.

As the first Korean-American to hold an ambassadorial post to a US major ally, the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) yesterday welcomed Sung’s assignment to the Philippines.

“We look forward to working with him in promoting Philippine-US relations,” DFA Assistant Secretary Charles Jose said.

Executive Director of the Institute for Political and Electoral Reforms Ramon Casiple said Sung will have a tough job in patching things up as he enter a period where there is a strained connection between the two countries but nevertheless, this will serve as an opportunity for a fresh start.

US Department of State Spokesman John Kirby in his last press briefing acknowledged the softening position of the US on Duterte.
He has said that amid Duterte’s series of anti-American tirade the US still wants to establish a good rapport with him.

“We have a close relationship with the Government of the Philippines,” he said. He added that “the government isn’t – doesn’t rest – especially in a democracy, it doesn’t rest on the shoulders of just one individual.”

He stressed that “yes, he’s the head of state, but there are many agencies in his government, there are many cabinet officials, there are longstanding relationships that we have nurtured over the years with figures in his government, and those relationships are still there and they’re still vibrant.”

“The point I was trying to make is that there are institutions in the government that we have good relationships with and we’re going to try to continue those relationships, as well as try to develop a good working relationship with him himself. That’s all I meant,” he said.

Ironclad links still

The historic alliance between the United States and the Philippines remains “ironclad” despite recent differences, Kerry added, alluding to the anti-American rhetoric of Duterte.

“The United States continues to place high value on the close ties that exist between our countries,” Kerry said.

“We continue to recognize our ironclad commitment to the sovereignty, independence and security of the Philippines,” he added.

Last August, Duterte said in a speech that Kim’s predecessor in Manila, Philip Goldberg, was a “son of a bitch” — a comment that prompted the State Department to demand an official explanation.

Duterte, who accused Goldberg of meddling in Philippine elections, then issued a stream of insults toward the former colonial power, going so far as to refer to President Barack Obama as a “son of a whore.”

The fiery Filipino leader later said his comment was “nothing personal” and that he regretted that it had caused such controversy.

In recent months, Duterte repeated lashed out at the US, throwing the alliance between the two countries into disarray, after Washington raised concern on the reported extrajudicial killings of drug suspects amid the war on illegal drugs.

Duterte also threatened to “break up” with Washington. He hit out at the United States, the European Union and the United Nations for using human rights to criticize his campaign to curb the illicit drug menace in the Philippines.

“I will be re-configuring my foreign policy”, Duterte said in a speech before the Jewish Asssociation of the Philippines in Makati City on Oct. 4.

“Eventually I might in my time break up with America. I would rather go to Russia and to China,” said Duterte.


DAILY MAIL UK (ASSOCIATED PRESS)

Filipinos clean graves, pray, honor dead on All Saints' Day By ASSOCIATED PRESS PUBLISHED: 06:12 GMT, 1 November 2016 | UPDATED: 06:13 GMT, 1 November 2016


Thousands of Filipinos throng to Manila's North Cemetery, the country's largest, to pay tribute to their departed in observance of All Saints Day Tuesday, Nov. 1, 2016 in Manila, Philippines. Tens of thousands of Filipinos in this predominantly Catholic nation in Asia, take their time to visit the graves of their dear departed by offering flowers and prayers in the annual tradition. (AP Photo/Bullit Marquez)

MANILA, Philippines (AP) — Families bring flowers. Relatives seek out graves of departed soldiers. Tombs across the Philippines get cleaned up. And prayers — prayers with candles, silent prayers, group prayers, prayers for loved ones now gone — echo across the land.

On All Saints Day in the Philippines, the cemetery takes center stage — and not at all in the way Halloween does it. This is a time for remembrance and, for many, a time for contemplation.

From the preparations Monday to the celebrations Tuesday, here is a visual glimpse into All Saints Day in Asia's most Catholic nation.

VIEW PHOTOS...


Filipinos light candles at the graves of their dear departed in observance of All Saints Day Tuesday, Nov. 1, 2016 at Manila's North Cemetery, the country's largest, in Manila, Philippines. Tens of thousands of Filipinos in this predominantly Catholic nation in Asia, take their time to visit the graves of their dear departed by offering flowers and prayers in the annual tradition. (AP Photo/Bullit Marquez)


In this Wednesday, Oct. 26, 2016 photo, children play by apartment-type crypts as the country prepares for the traditional honoring of the departed every Nov. 1 known as All Saints Day, at Masantol township, Pampanga province north of Manila, Philippines. On All Saints Day in the country, the cemetery takes center stage - and not at all in the way Halloween does it. This is a time for remembrance and, for many, a time for contemplation. (AP Photo/Bullit Marquez, File)


In this Monday, Oct. 31, 2016 photo, a family of informal settlers spruce up a tomb that also serves as their house as the nation prepares for observance of All Saints Day, the traditional honoring of the departed, in suburban Pasay city, southeast of Manila, Philippines. On All Saints Day in the country, the cemetery takes center stage - and not at all in the way Halloween does it. This is a time for remembrance and, for many, a time for contemplation. (AP Photo/Bullit Marquez, File)


In this Monday, Oct. 31, 2016 photo, an informal settler living on tombs watches TV as the nation prepares for observance of All Saints Day, the traditional honoring of the departed, Monday, Oct. 31, 2016 in suburban Pasay city, southeast of Manila, Philippines. On All Saints Day in the country, the cemetery takes center stage - and not at all in the way Halloween does it. This is a time for remembrance and, for many, a time for contemplation. (AP Photo/Bullit Marquez, File)


In this Monday, Oct. 31, 2016 photo, a relative places flowers on the tomb of the departed amidst items of informal settlers living inside the cemetery as the nation prepares for observance of All Saints Day, the traditional honoring of the departed, in suburban Pasay city, southeast of Manila, Philippines. On All Saints Day in the country, the cemetery takes center stage - and not at all in the way Halloween does it. This is a time for remembrance and, for many, a time for contemplation. (AP Photo/Bullit Marquez, File)


In this Wednesday, Oct. 26, 2016 photo, a worker sweeps fallen leaves as he cleans a cemetery in preparation for the traditional honoring of the departed every Nov. 1 known as All Saints Day, at Masantol township, Pampanga province north of Manila, Philippines. On All Saints Day in the country, the cemetery takes center stage - and not at all in the way Halloween does it. This is a time for remembrance and, for many, a time for contemplation. (AP Photo/Bullit Marquez, File)


In this Monday, Oct. 31, 2016 photo, relatives look for the graves of the departed soldiers at the Heroes Cemetery as the nation prepares for observance of All Saints Day, the traditional honoring of the departed, in suburban Pasay city, southeast of Manila, Philippines. On All Saints Day in the country, the cemetery takes center stage - and not at all in the way Halloween does it. This is a time for remembrance and, for many, a time for contemplation. (AP Photo/Bullit Marquez, File)


Under a slight rainfall, Filipinos throng to Manila's North Cemetery, the country's largest, to pay tribute to their departed in observance of All Saints Day Tuesday, Nov. 1, 2016 in Manila, Philippines. Tens of thousands of Filipinos in this predominantly Catholic nation in Asia, take their time to visit the graves of their dear departed by offering flowers and prayers in the annual tradition. (AP Photo/Bullit Marquez)


Soldiers augment security as thousands of Filipinos throng to Manila's North Cemetery, the country's largest, to pay tribute to their departed loved ones in observance of All Saints Day Tuesday, Nov. 1, 2016 in Manila, Philippines. Tens of thousands of Filipinos in this predominantly Catholic nation in Asia, take their time to visit the graves of their dear departed by offering flowers and prayers in the annual tradition. (AP Photo/Bullit Marquez)


A relative carries a bouquet of flowers as he joins Filipinos to pay tribute to their departed loved ones in observance of All Saints Day Tuesday, Nov. 1, 2016 at Manila's North Cemetery, the country's largest, in Manila, Philippines. Tens of thousands of Filipinos in this predominantly Catholic nation in Asia, take their time to visit the graves of their dear departed by offering flowers and prayers in the annual tradition. (AP Photo/Bullit Marquez)

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

ALSO, FROM THE TRIBUNE

UN rapporteur gearing up for RP visit, probe—DFA Written by Tribune Wires Sunday, 06 November 2016 00:00 By Joyce Ann L. Rocamora

The Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) has confirmed that United Nations Special Rapporteur Agnes Callamard is now communicating with the Philippine Permanent Representative in Geneva for her upcoming investigation on the waves of extrajudicial executions in the country.

Responding to question if the UN-commissioned expert has finally accepted the terms and condition under the invitation of President Duterte, DFA assistant secretary Charles Jose only answered that she’s now coordinating specifics to a Filipino official.

“UN Special Rapporteur Agnes Callamard is coordinating with our Permanent Mission to the UN in Geneva (Amb. Cecilia Rebong) the details of her visit to Philippine,” he told the Daily Tribune.

Along with another rapporteur, Callamard, the UNrapporteur on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions, published a critical report on Duterte’s drug war mid-August.


Cecilia Rebong, Ambassador and. Permanent Representative of the. Philippines to the UN and Other International Organizations in Geneva

The report claimed that more than a thousand people have been killed since Duterte was elected head of state.

In the release, Callamard admonished the administration saying claims to fight illicit drug trade do not absolve the government from its international legal obligations.

“The State has a legally binding obligation to ensure the right to life and security of every person in the country, whether suspected of criminal offenses or not,” she said.

In a special interview recently, DFA Sec. Perfecto Yasay Jr. recalled that if she felt that there were basis to be concerned on the human rights violation in the country, she should’ve followed protocols.

He noted that what was reported in August was completely wrong as it’s a result of negligence in following proper procedures and was not in accordance with the general mandate of UN to request a proper inquiry.


YASAY

Yasay said the rapporteurs made an arbitrary conclusion that Duterte is responsible for the tagged summary executions.

“If she feels that there are basis to be concerned about the human rights violations in the country she must make a request for that to visit the country in accordance with the protocols and not to jump into conclusion of arbitrary findings that there are violations and even to suggest very strongly, if not accuse, that the president is responsible for all of this,” Yasay said.

Yasay reminded that if she’s to accept the invitation, she must first agree with the conditions given by the Duterte administration before conducting the investigation on alleged extrajudicial killings and summary executions in the country.

He said Callamard must allow the government to question and dissect her findings in public.

“She must subject herself also to scrutiny and give the opportunity to our President to rebut her allegations and findings in public and before media and the Filipino public,” he said.

If Callamard won’t accept this precondition, Yasay said she shouldn’t come at all “because she cannot harbor the impression that the invitation was made on the basis of the protocols that the UN Commission on Human Rights have established for this purpose.”

In an interview over the week, he said “the President has invited them not on the basis of protocol, but invited them precisely to dramatize to the world that what they are doing is wrong.”

Callamard received the invitation from the government on Oct. 24, almost a month after Executive Secretary Salvador Medialdea signed the letter on Sept. 26.

Last Oct. 13, the government has issued an invitation to a UN human rights representative to visit the country to look into allegations of extrajudicial killings in

Duterte’s war on drugs but in return Duterte should be given the chance for a forum with the UN official, the Palace said yesterday.

The invitation was addressed to Callamard and was sent to the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights last Sept. 23, a copy of the invitation showed.

”Executive Secretary Salvador Medialdea said the Palace has sent an invitation to the UN special rapporteur Agnes Callamard and he is awaiting her response,” Presidential spokesman Ernesto Abella said.

In the invitation, Abella said the Palace also urged the UN Special Rapporteur on Extrajudicial, Summary, or Arbitration Executions to include in her investigation the number of policemen killed while pursuing drugs suspects.

The invitation letter to Callamard stated “We are confident that whatever reports, papers or data you may have been furnished with for your perusal and consideration by your immediate predecessor have not swayed you into prejudging the situation in the Philippines.”

“We likewise expect you to look into the circumstances surrounding the killing of our policemen during legitimate police operations. That way, your picture of the enormity and gravity of our problem, and the audacity of drug personalities can be placed on accurate perspective,” the letter added.


ABELLA

It stated that “since it is this administration that is maligned as being behind these extrajudicial killings, due process requires that the President of the Philippine Republic, be given the opportunity to propound his own questions which have been nagging him for some time. The right to be heard is a great principle which every nation recognizes.”

Last month, Callamard informed the government of her intention to visit the country to look into the alleged summary killings and called on Philippine authorities to “adopt with immediate effect the necessary measures to protect all persons from targeted killings and extrajudicial executions”.

Duterte’s war on drugs has so far led to the surrender of more than 700,000, the arrest of more than 22,000, the death of nearly 1,500 in legitimate police operations, and the seizure of P8 billion worth of shabu in the first three months of his administration.

According to media reports, more than 3,000 people have been killed by police and vigilantes in the country as a result of the intensified campaign against narcotics.

The country has reportedly nearly four million drug personalities.

In the letter, Medialdea questioned the UN commission on why it keeps on focusing on the Philippines as its target since there are other countries where extrajudicial killings are also rampant.

“After all, the party charged is entitled to know the motive for the investigation, and why the focus is on the Philippines when there are other nations responsible for the death of innocent and defenseless individuals elsewhere in the world,” he said.

“Those are extrajudicial killings too, are they not?” Medialdea added.

He recognized that the Philippines, since Duterte’s assumption into the Presidency, gained “international limelight” as critics brand the series of killings as “extrajudicial” despite the Chief Executive’s premise to conduct anti-narcotics operations by “all means that the law allows”.

Duterte himself earlier challenged his foreign detractors including the UN, US President Barack Obama and the European Union (EU) to visit Manila and investigate the series of killings related to the anti-narcotics campaign.

In his speeches, Duterte frequently said an average of two law enforcers are killed daily due to the government’s intensified efforts to purge the illegal industry.

However, based on the latest official report of the Philippine National Police (PNP) obtained by the Tribune, only 16 law enforcers (13 policemen and three from the military) were killed while 57 are injured (46 from the PNP and 11 from the Armed Forces of the Philippines) in the span of the administration’s nine weeks.

Meanwhile, Abella said there’s an apparent shift in the way how PNP operatives should work against drug suspects wherein, instead of Duterte’s “shoot-to-kill” stance, it’s better to simply injure suspects.

“Well, the order will now shift from shoot-to-kill to shoot-to-disable drug suspects who are resisting,” the Palace mouthpiece said.


UNITED NATIONS FRAMEWORK CLIMATE CHANGE BLOG


Paris Agreement - Status of Ratification: Entered into force Novenmber 4, 2016 100
100 Parties have ratified of 197 Parties to the Convention

On 5 October 2016, the threshold for entry into force of the Paris Agreement was achieved. The Paris Agreement entered into force on 4 November 2016. The first session of the Conference of the Parties serving as the Meeting of the Parties to the Paris Agreement (CMA1) will take place in Marrakech in conjunction with COP 22 and CMP 12. More information available soon.



The Paris Agreement pdf-icon entered into force on 4 November 2016, thirty days after the date on which at least 55 Parties to the Convention accounting in total for at least an estimated 55 % of the total global greenhouse gas emissions have deposited their instruments of ratification, acceptance, approval or accession with the Depositary.

READ MORE...

The list below contains the latest information concerning dates of signature and receipt of instruments of ratification by the Secretary-General of the United Nations, as Depositary of the Kyoto Protocol. The dates in the third column are those of the receipt of the instrument of ratification, acceptance (A) or approval (AA).

Authoritative information on the status of the Paris Agreement, including information on signatories to the Agreement, ratification and entry into force, is provided by the Depositary, through the United Nations Treaty Collection website, which can be accessed here, and the Depositary Notifications which are available here.

Background information related to the ratification, acceptance, approval or accession of the Paris Agremeent, as well as its entry into force can be found here.

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RELATED FROM PHILSTAR

Duterte to heed advice on climate change deal By Alexis Romero (philstar.com) | Updated November 2, 2016 - 9:12pm 10 48 googleplus0 0


Smog blankets the Makati skyline in a photo taken from Mandaluyong City in 2015. MICHAEL VARCAS, file

MANILA, Philippines -- President Rodrigo Duterte will heed the advice of his officials on the Paris climate deal, which he once described as stupid and absurd.

Duterte said while he has “misgivings” on the agreement, he would approve the deal for ratification if his advisers think it would be good for the country.

“I will follow what my advisers would tell me. If (Environment secretary) Gina Lopez… would say it’s good. And if the legal adviser says that I should sign, then I will sign,” the president told reporters during his visit to his parents tombs in Davao City Tuesday night.

“The only problem is the paper is not yet with me. I cannot approve or disapprove anything that is not on my table,” he added.

Duterte said the Paris agreement has to be studied by his legal team because “there might be some progressive clauses” that can affect the country.

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“I will see if I have leeway and elbow room to move because the treaty now that is being signed or passed around for signing is binding,” he said.

Duterte clarified though that he was expressing his opinion as a lawyer, not as a president because the paper has not reached him yet.

Climate change has been tied to carbon emissions caused by human activities. The phenomenon has been blamed for natural disasters and drastic weather changes.

Last April, more than 150 countries signed the historic Paris climate deal that aims to limit global warming “well below” two degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels.

World leaders have also promised to step up measures that would limit temperature rise to 1.5 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels.

The Philippines, one of the countries vulnerable to strong typhoons, has yet to ratify the agreement.

The Philippines under then President Benigno Aquino III vowed to reduce carbon emissions by 70 percent by 2030 even if the Philippines is not a major emitter.

Duterte, however, had said he would not honor the Paris deal because it could affect the country’s development.

He also scored the developed nations for imposing emission caps on developing countries like the Philippines even if they have caused pollution since the Industrial Age.


PHILSTAR

Former US envoy to NKorea becomes ambassador to Philippines By Matthew Pennington (Associated Press) | Updated November 4, 2016 - 3:11am 1 0 googleplus1 0


Secretary of State John Kerry applauds after swearing in Sung Kim, left, as U.S. Ambassador to Philippines, Thursday, Nov. 3, 2016, at the State Department in Washington. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)

WASHINGTON — Secretary of State John Kerry expressed confidence yesterday that the US relationship with the Philippines can survive recent turbulence as he swore in a new US ambassador to the Southeast Asian nation.

Kerry administered the oath of office to Sung Kim, formerly the chief US envoy for North Korea policy, in a ceremony at the State Department.

Kim, a career diplomat, takes up his new position in turbulent times. Outspoken Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte, who took office in June after winning a presidential election, has been antagonistic to Washington over human rights criticisms.

Duterte has forged closer ties with China — a blow to the Obama administration effort to forge deeper ties with Asia. He has declared his desire to scale back military engagements with the US and last month told President Barack Obama to "go to hell."

But Kerry remained confident about the future of the 70-year alliance between the US and its former colony, "notwithstanding a difference here or there about one thing or another."

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"Democratic elections bring change, and we must have the wisdom to recognize and adjust to that change. But the logic of our alliance and why we have stood together for so long," Kerry said, "are as compelling today as they have ever been."

Kerry met with Duterte in Manila in July and said yesterday he hopes to visit again before he ends his terms as secretary of state.

On Wednesday, Defense Secretary Ash Carter said the US continues to regard the Philippines as an ally but stressed it isn't America's only friend in the region, where Washington has been pushing against China's assertive behavior in the disputed South China Sea.

"Our strategy, however, is strong and isn't dependent upon any single one of our friends or allies out there. And we have many. And there's a huge demand for us to do more. And the reason for that, quite honestly, just to be direct about it, is that many of them have concerns about Chinese behavior," Carter said during a question and answer session with soldiers at Fort Leonard Wood, Missouri.

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RELATED FROM PHILSTAR

New US envoy eager to start work in the Philippines By Patricia Lourdes Viray (philstar.com) | Updated November 4, 2016 - 10:34am 12 63 googleplus1 0


Secretary of State John Kerry speaks before swearing in Sung Kim, left, as U.S. Ambassador to Philippines, Thursday, Nov. 3, 2016, at the State Department in Washington. AP/Carolyn Kaster

MANILA, Philippines — The new American ambassador to the Philippines is eager to start his work in Manila as the two countries mark the 70th anniversary of its alliance.

United States Ambassador Sung Kim, former chief US envoy for North Korea policy, was sworn into office early Friday (Manila time).

READ: US swears in new ambassador to the Philippines

"I very much look forward to continuing our robust economic engagement and to reinforcing the good work USAID and the Millennium Challenge Corporation have done to promote inclusive and sustainable economic growth," Kim said in a speech after his oath taking at the US State Department.

Kim added that the Philippines and the US also celebrate its common history of shared sacrifice, values, interests and a mutual defense treaty as the two nations celebrate the 70th year of partnership.

The Korean-born American diplomat also noted that the US has been among the Philippines' top trading partners and one of its largest foreign investors.

Kim added that he is particularly looking forward to the shared interest of the Philippines and the US in basketball.

"I have to say as a longtime basketball fan, I’m particularly excited about our two people’s shared love for the most exciting game in sports," the American envoy said.

The American diplomat said that he is deeply honored to follow the diplomats who preceded him in the Philippines, including John Negroponte, Michael Armacost, Stephen Bosworth, Thomas Hubbard, Kristie Kenney and Philip Goldberg.

Kim also served as ambassador to South Korea from 2011 to 2014. He was the first Korean-American US ambassador to Korea.

Secretary of State John Kerry stressed that there is no one better qualified that Kim to represent the US to the Philippines at a time that President Rodrigo Duterte has been antagonistic to Washington.

"And I am confident because in Sung Kim we will have one of our finest diplomats representing us in Manila, a worthy successor to Ambassador Goldberg and a person known both for his talent and his style," Kerry said.

Kerry reminded Kim that he will have the full backing of American President Barack Obama as he travels to Manila.


PHILSTAR

Coast Guard off to Panatag By Giovanni Nilles and Evelyn Macairan (The Philippine Star) | Updated November 4, 2016 - 12:00am 0 2 googleplus1 0


To be deployed to Panatag, PCG spokesman Commander Armand Balilo said, were the ships BRP Tubbataha (in photo), BRP Davao del Norte and three monitoring, control and surveillance (MCS) vessels. PCG/Released, File

MANILA, Philippines - The Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) has resumed sending patrol vessels to Panatag (Scarborough) Shoal, but only to “test the waters” and not to confront the Chinese who have stopped harassing Filipino fishermen but remained in control of the area, Transportation Secretary Arthur Tugade said yesterday.

He said the Coast Guard would merely be conducting a “roving inspection,” and that the possibility of a confrontation “is farthest from our mind right now.” The Department of Transportation has jurisdiction over the PCG.

The PCG suspended deployment in the area at the height of Typhoon Karen and later Super Typhoon Lawin and in deference to President Duterte’s state visit to Beijing last month.

Days after Duterte’s return last Oct. 21 from Beijing, the Chinese stopped harassing Filipino fishermen at the shoal, but have maintained a presence in the area.

PCG spokesman Commander Armand Balilo said two ships would be in the vicinity of the shoal at any given time.

To be deployed to Panatag, Balilo said, were the ships BRP Tubbataha, BRP Davao del Norte and three monitoring, control and surveillance (MCS) vessels. The BRP Pampanga is on standby for deployment.

Panatag is only 124 nautical miles from Zambales and is well within the country’s 200-nautical-mile exclusive economic zone (EEZ).

“There is instruction to deploy vessels to Bajo de Masinloc any time today (Thursday). They will be coming from Manila and Subic,” Balilo said, referring to Panatag by its local name.

“Their mission is for the Philippine Coast Guard to sustain the government’s presence in the area and to assess the condition of our fishermen,” he added.

“When the President was in China, Coast Guard commandant Rear Admiral William Melad gave instructions not to send our ships to avoid any untoward incident that might have an effect on the diplomatic efforts of the President,” he pointed out.

Malacañang earlier stressed the Filipino fishermen were able to return to Panatag after four years of Chinese blockade due to “friendly agreement” with China.


ABELLA

Presidential spokesman Ernesto Abella said China’s relaxing its hold on Panatag was mainly a result of Duterte’s visit to Beijing, specifically his bilateral talks with President Xi Jinping. “While fishermen are no longer harassed by the Chinese Coast Guard ships staying at the shoal, there was no formal agreement signed yet by the two governments,” Abella said.

No formal deal Foreign Affairs Secretary Perfecto Yasay Jr. also made it clear there was no formal agreement with China on the latter’s lifting of its blockade of Panatag Shoal.

“There is no agreement that has been arrived at with China insofar as these ships leaving or our fishermen having access to Scarborough,” Yasay said.

“But I would imagine as part of our quiet diplomacy trying to build mutual trust and confidence with two countries, these have been made possible,” he pointed out.

The Armed Forces of the Philippines would continue to monitor developments, said its spokesman Brig. Gen. Restituto Padilla.

“The AFP welcomes the recent developments that have been monitored to have been happening in the area and we hope this continues in the interest of all those who are getting their livelihood out of the area,” Padilla said.

“We in the AFP will just continue to monitor and hopefully, the current status out there is for the good of local fishermen,” Padilla said.

Chinese Foreign Affairs ministry spokesperson Hua Chunying also said the successful visit of Duterte to China has put the relations between the Philippines and China back on track.

“We have seen all-round improvement of China-Philippines relations following President Duterte’s visit to China,” she said.

But she stressed that China has been merely exercising normal jurisdiction over the shoal and “the situation there is and will remain unchanged.”

The Chinese seized the shoal in 2012 after a standoff with the Philippine Navy, which had tried to arrest Chinese poachers.

GMA News cited a near encounter in September when a PCG patrol confronted a Chinese vessel that had strayed into the Philippines’ EEZ.

But the Chinese replied they were “currently conducting a patrol in our exclusive economic area under the jurisdiction of People’s Republic of China.”

JULY 9 RULING

The July 9 ruling by the UN-backed Permanent Court of Arbitration declaring Panatag as a common fishing ground did not stop China from asserting control over the shoal.

In the same ruling, the international tribunal also invalidated China’s massive “historical” claim in the South China Sea and West Philippine Sea.

Meanwhile, in the fishing community of Masinloc in Zambales, people are confident of a merrier Christmas this year with the lifting of the Chinese blockade of Panatag.

Antonio Calixtro, a fish dealer based in Barangay Matalbis, said the development has rekindled hope among fishermen and that their enthusiasm is palpable.

Calixtro supplies fishermen’s needs like fuel for motorized banca, ice for preserving fish and food for a week for fishing expeditions.

“We have problems for daily needs since the Chinese occupied Scarborough in 2012 and denied our fishermen access to the shoal, but now that has changed and we hope to see it continue to happen so we will have a merry Christmas,” Calixtro told The STAR.

Roberto Aldea, a storeowner in Barangay Luanan in Palauig, said the residents suffered terribly when the Chinese barred their fishermen from Panatag.

“But now that has changed again and hope our Christmas will be merry and happy again,” Aldea said. He lends grocery items to fishermen’s families.

Malacañang has also confirmed fishermen from Zambales, Bataan and even Pangasinan are now allowed inside the lagoon. Aerial image released recently by the Asia Maritime Transparency Initiative indicated the inner lagoon was still closed to Filipino fishermen, with a Chinese coast guard vessel guarding the lagoon’s mouth.

Doubts raised

Meanwhile, Pangasinan Rep. Jesus Celeste yesterday expressed doubts Filipino fishermen were able to go to Panatag without hassle, saying no fishing boat could have reached the place due to inclement weather.

In an interview over dwIZ, Celeste said fishermen usually avoid the shoal in the months of November and December due to big waves. “To my mind, I cannot believe there are fishermen who went to that area,” Celeste, himself a fisherman, said. “November, December, there is no fishing because of big waves,” he added. Celeste’s turf includes coastal towns like Infanta, Dasol and Bolinao. He said fishermen go to Panatag between February and July.

“Once amihan starts, they do not go there anymore. They will just lose because of their fuel expenses but few fish catch,” he added.

But Charlito Maniago, barangay captain of Cato, Infanta, Pangasinan said some of his constituents returned from Panatag late October with bountiful catch.

“We would see this time because they are set to leave anew and fish in that area again, if indeed they are already free again to fish in Scarborough Shoal,” Maniago said. Travel from Cato to Panatag takes about 18 hours.

Maniago also said they had expected President Duterte to discuss developments at Panatag during his brief visit to Sual last Nov. 2. The President, however, only presided over the ceremonial sendoff for 17 Vietnamese fishermen arrested in September for fishing illegally in the waters of Ilocos Sur. – Jaime Laude, Bebot Sison Jr., Pia Lee Brago, Eva Visperas

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RELATED FROM THE TRIBUNE

China wants military-to-military ties with RP ‘to find a way forward’ Written by Tribune Wires Friday, 04 November 2016 00:00 By Joyce Ann L. Rocamora and Ted Tuvera



While Beijing affirmed that its military-to-military relationship with the Philippines is going “nowhere,” it is still hoping that the two countries will soon find their way to move forward on the matter.

Ministry of National Defense spokesman Col. Wu Qian, at a press briefing recently, said their military-to military relationship with the Philippines “seemed to be going nowhere,” but nevertheless, they expect “to find a way forward.”

According to Foreign Affairs Secretary Perfecto Yasay Jr., Manila does not have any military alliance with China, “the same way with any other country other than the United States.”

But if China would like that to move forward, “that certainly is something that they can say.” “However, for our purposes, we are only pursuing a much closer relationship with the Chinese without any intention of getting to any military alliances with anyone for that matter.”

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He stressed the country’s engagement with China is anchored solely to foster some kind of arrangement in securing the freedom of navigation in the contested South China Sea.

Under this, Yasay said there should be a mutual response of any rescue, distress needs or calls coming from people or fishermen who might be caught up in a storm or natural calamity for that matter.

During his state visit to Japan, President Rodrigo Duterte has also explained that his purpose of visit to China was only to engage in talks of economics, trade and investments.

“I went to China for a visit and I would like to assure you that what was discussed there were economics,” he has said. “We did not talk about arms, we did not talk about stationing troops. We avoided talking about military alliances.”

‘Only ally’

Commenting on the Philippines overall military-to-military relation with Washington, US Embassy deputy press attaché Emma Nagy said it remains robust and multifaceted.

The Philippines is the largest recipient of US Foreign Military Financing in the Asia Pacific region and received $66.2-million grant aid in 2016 alone – Maritime Security Initiative ($34.2 million) and Counter Terrorism ($32 million).

But during his state visit last October in China, Duterte’s apparent pivot to Beijing seemed as an indication of breaking away from the United States when he announced separation in both military and economics.

Upon his return to the Philippines, this was then clarified that the country is not exactly aiming to cut ties with the US.

Despite the rhetoric, Washington said it will continue to honor its alliance commitments, expecting the Philippines to do the same.

“We will work closely with the government of the Philippines to address any concerns they may have. We have full confidence in the strong ties that connect our peoples and countries, including record levels of trade, investment and remittances.”

Testing the waters

Meanwhile, Transportation Secretary Arthur Tugade yesterday confirmed the deployment of the Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) to the still disputed parts of the South China Sea (West Philippine Sea).

“The purpose of deploying PCG vessels to Scarborough, upon the President’s orders, is for roving inspection. It’s also testing the waters,” he told reporters in a chance interview in Malacañang.

The PCG is under the Department of Transportation.

Tugade stressed the move does not intend to cause a possible clash between the two coast guards.

“We are not expecting any clash between Chinese and Philippine coast guards. That is farthest from our mind right now,” he said.
Presidential spokesman Ernesto Abella, for his part, clarified that there’s no official agreement signed between Manila and Beijing in allowing local fishermen to sail along the Scarborough Shoal.

He said the Chinese coast guard’s way of dealing with Filipino fisherfolk is uncertain and appears to be temporary.

“There are no formal agreements. We don’t know if it’s temporary but at this stage it’s allowed and as the President said, if and when the time comes — not if and when. When the time comes, they need to be discussed, the President will not go beyond the rulings that have already been credited to the Philippines,” Abella told reporters.


PNP allays fears of US citizens travelling to southern Cebu By: Julliane Love de Jesus / @JLDejesusINQ
INQUIRER.net / 04:13 PM November 04, 2016


Safe and Secure. Sumilon Island, a popular spot for snorkeling and swimming in the south, has been included in the US Embassy’s list of places in southern Cebu not to be visited by Americans at this time. The management of Bluewater Sumilon Island Resort assures that the place is safe and secure and has tapped law enforcement agencies for extra precaution. (Sun.Star Photo/Alex Badayos)

The Philippine National Police (PNP) has allayed fears of kidnapping in southern Cebu after the United States Embassy in Manila issued an advisory urging Americans to avoid travelling to some towns in Cebu.

PNP spokesperson Senior Supt. Dionardo Carlos said there was no security threat in Dalaguete, Santander, and Sumilon Island contrary to the US advisory saying terrorists groups are planning to conduct kidnapping in the said areas.

READ: US: Dalaguete, Santander, Sumilon kidnap risk areas in southern Cebu

“There’s no report of threat on any nationality there pero ang aming (but our) intelligence units continually gather and validate any information,” Carlos said.

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Last October, Central Visayas police revealed having received information about the presence of some members of Mindanao-based Abu Sayyaf Group in Cebu.

Six members of the bandit group, led by a certain Commander Messiah, reportedly arrived in Cebu last October to “abduct prominent personalities.”

Supt. Julian Entoma, chief of the regional intelligence division of the Police Regional Office in Central Visayas (PRO-7), alerted the public on possible terrorist attacks in the region, like bombing attacks in malls and other establishments.

READ: Sayyaf men ‘can reach as far as Metro Manila,’ warns Dela Rosa

PNP chief Director General Ronald “Bato” Dela Rosa also admitted that Abu Sayyaf terrorists freely roam in the country, some even reaching as far as Metro Manila.

The Abu Sayyaf members reportedly went to Negros Oriental from Dapitan, Zamboanga, then travelled to Cebu.

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RELATED FROM SUNSTAR, CEBU

Kidnap risk in southern Cebu bared Friday, November 04, 2016 By KEVIN A. LAGUNDAOSCAR C. PINEDAELIAS O. BAQUERO


Safe and Secure. Sumilon Island, a popular spot for snorkeling and swimming in the south, has been included in the US Embassy’s list of places in southern Cebu not to be visited by Americans at this time. The management of Bluewater Sumilon Island Resort assures that the place is safe and secure and has tapped law enforcement agencies for extra precaution. (Sun.Star Photo/Alex Badayos)

CITING risks of kidnapping, the United States (US) Embassy advised American citizens to avoid going to areas frequented by foreigners in southern Cebu, specifically the towns of Dalaguete, Santander and Oslob.

In a travel warning posted on its website yesterday, the US Embassy alerted Americans “that terrorist groups are planning to conduct kidnappings in areas frequented by foreigners on the southern portion of Cebu Island, specifically the areas around Dalaguete and Santander (to include Sumilon Island).”

Sumilon is a popular resort island in Oslob, a coastal town frequently visited by tourists for its whale sharks.

“US citizens should avoid travel to these areas and are reminded to review personal security plans; remain aware of their surroundings, including local events; and monitor local news stations for updates. Be vigilant and take appropriate steps to enhance your personal security,” the security message for US citizens read.

Safe, secure

Despite the warning, the police assured the public that Cebu, Bohol and Siquijor remain safe from any terrorist groups.

“There is no direct threat to our security,” said Chief Supt. Noli Taliño, the Police Regional Office (PRO) 7 director.

But he said the police are verifying the information.

Presidential Assistant for the Visayas Michael Lloyd L. Dino said the province of Cebu is generally peaceful, and there is no reported incident of kidnapping or any form of violence involving US citizens and other nationalities in the towns mentioned in the advisory.

He asked the US Embassy to validate its report on the security threats.

Taliño said they are securing the resorts where foreigners usually go, including Sumilon Island.

Stay calm

A press release from PRO 7 advised the public and foreigners to remain calm despite the US Embassy’s warning.

Taliño said the police already met with officials of the Philippine Army, Philippine Navy, Philippine Air Force and the Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) to integrate their security system.

Bantay Dagat personnel were also tapped to help monitor the southeastern coast.

Chief Insp. Dexter Calacar, the PRO 7 spokesperson, urged the community to report to the police any person or activity that draws suspicions.

Resort guests

A source told Sun.Star Cebu that last month two men with Middle Eastern features had checked in at Dakong Bato resort with two brown-skinned men and a woman, possibly Filipinos.

The source had talked to the resort owner and confirmed the presence of the clients.

Dalaguete Police Chief Abell Laborte said the information was raw and needs to be validated if the strangers were members of a terrorist group, possibly the Abu Sayyaf Group.

For his part, Oslob Police Chief Deni Mari Pedroso said he regularly deploys his personnel to check the situation in Sumilon.

Intel report

Before the US Embassy issued the warning, a message circulated on Facebook, warning the public not to visit Sumilon Island because the Abu Sayyaf are planning to kidnap people there. The information came from the commander of the 6th Scout Ranger Batallion.

The commander said the 11th Scout Ranger Company recovered a cell phone from the enemy, reportedly containing pictures of the island and Dakong Isla Resort.

The group was possibly conducting a “casing,” or studying the places for future attacks.

Laborte said he also received the same information, but said it is “not yet clear.”

Last week, the PRO 7 received an intelligence report from PRO 9 (Zamboanga Peninsula) that six members of Abu Sayyaf were sighted in Dapitan City and they boarded a boat for Dumaguete City in Negros Oriental before traveling to Cebu.

Regional Intelligence Division (RID) 7 Chief Julian Entoma earlier said that after validating the information, they concluded that the group, reportedly led by sub-commander Al Habsi Misaya, are not in the region.

Be vigilant

Gov. Hilario Davide III, in a press statement, said the Cebu Provincial Police Office (CPPO) is still validating the reports.

Whether or not the report is true, Davide called on all Cebuanos and tourists to be vigilant.

“Keep necessary contact numbers of nearest police stations in your area and avoid travels unless necessary,” Davide said.

In his town, Dalaguete Mayor Ronald Allan Cesante said hotel and resorts are now strictly following protocols on tourists, such as asking for the guests’ identification documents.

“If there are suspicious activities or individuals, they should immediately inform the police,” Cesante said.

Dalaguete and Santander are located between the towns of Alcoy, Boljoon, and Oslob.

Laborte said the police regularly inspect five resorts in Dalaguete, including Dakong Bato. He did not assign police officers to stay in the resorts, but they have been inspecting it every two hours since last month.

Security tightened

The resorts have beefed up their security by adding more security guards and installing closed-circuit television (CCTV) cameras.
Most of the resorts now have three guards, instead of two, Laborte said.

He has also suggested to them to put up fog lamps so they can use them at night and monitor if there are sea vessels approaching their resorts.

Laborte’s team, along with the Central Command (Centcom) personnel, checked the resorts last Wednesday and found the security set-up sufficient.

“The town is very safe,” said Laborte.

As for Sumilon Island in Oslob, the PCG said it has assigned two troops there since President Rodrigo Duterte declared a state of lawlessness and violence last September.

Sea entry

PCG Cebu Commander Agapito Bibat said they have had a heightened alert status to secure Cebu’s seashores.

Bibat said that when he assumed as PCG Cebu Station chief, he saw that Sumilon Island is vulnerable to terrorists because it is an entry and exit point to Mindanao.

He assigned two troops in Sumilon Island and an aluminum boat under the Coast Guard Substation in Bato, Samboan.

He said seven Coast Guard personnel in Samboan are also assigned to patrol the seashores.

Rep. Wilfredo Caminero of Cebu’s 2nd district, which includes Dalaguete and Santander, said the threats may be true, “but tactically, it can be remote considering that these areas are not facing the open seas.”

Caminero said terrorists who kidnap people in these areas can easily be intercepted by air assets of the AFP.

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RELATED(2) FROM PHILSTAR

Woman barangay chief nabbed over Abu kidnaps By Roel Pareño (The Philippine Star) | Updated November 7, 2016 - 12:00am 0 0 googleplus0 0


The case against Fauzia Abdulla was in connection with the kidnapping of Canadians John Ridsdel and Robert Hall, Norwegian Kjartan Sekkingstad and Filipina Marites Flor from a resort on Samal Island on Sept. 21, 2015.

ZAMBOANGA CITY , Philippines – Government security forces arrested a female village chief tagged in the kidnapping of Canadians and a Norwegian during an operation in a village in Indanan town on Saturday, an official said yesterday.

Brig. Gen. Arnel dela Vega, Joint Task Force Sulu (JTFS) chief, identified the suspect as Fauzia Abdulla, barangay captain of Niyog Sangahan, Talipao town.

Dela Vega said the Sulu police and JTFS arrested Abdulla at 11:15 a.m. on the strength of a warrant issued by Judge Dax Gonzaga Xenos of the 11th Judicial Regional Branch 34 of Panabo City.

Abdulla was brought by arresting troops to the Sulu Provincial Police Office for the documentation and processing.

The case against Abdulla was in connection with the kidnapping of Canadians John Ridsdel and Robert Hall, Norwegian Kjartan Sekkingstad and Filipina Marites Flor from a resort on Samal Island on Sept. 21, 2015.

Police and military authorities said the Abu Sayyaf brought the four victims to Sulu and kept them there. The bandit group beheaded Ridsdel and Hall separately last April and June. Flor was released in June and Sekkingstad last September.

The police and military said Abdulla allegedly coddled Abu Sayyaf members by providing them sanctuary, an information network and food. She was also allegedly involved in managing the bandit group.

“The ASG’s information network, command and decision making will be severely affected with the arrest of a major figure in their leadership,” Dela Vega said.

“The arrest of Abdulla is a product of intensified cooperation between the people of Sulu and our soldiers and policemen in protecting local communities from the scourge of terrorism,” he added.

He also gave assurance that soldiers would continue to conduct combat operations to crush the Abu Sayyaf and rescue the remaining hostages in Sulu. – With Non Alquitran, Jaime Laude


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