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U.S. SAYS NO NEED FOR DRAMATIC MILITARY MOVES IN SOUTH SEA
[ALSO: Where’s Melania? A quiet start for a reluctant first lady.]


FEBRUARY 4 -U.S. Defense Secretary Jim Mattis says no need for dramatic U.S. military moves in South China Sea REUTERS.
TOKYO - US Defense Secretary Jim Mattis on Saturday played down any need for major US military moves in the South China Sea to contend with China's assertive behavior, even as he sharply criticized Beijing for "shredding the trust of nations in the region." "At this time, we do not see any need for dramatic military moves at all," Mattis told a news conference in Tokyo, stressing that the focus should be on diplomacy. In his Senate confirmation hearing, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said China should not be allowed access to islands it has built in the contested South China Sea. The White House also vowed to defend "international territories" in the strategic waterway. But how the United States would achieve that has been unclear, including whether it would have a military dimension. Analysts have said Tillerson's remarks, like those from the White House, suggested the possibility of U.S. military action, or even a naval blockade. Such action would risk an armed confrontation with China, an increasingly formidable nuclear-armed military power. It is also the world's second-largest economy and the prime target of Trump accusations of stealing American jobs. READ MORE...ALSO, Where’s Melania? A quiet start for a reluctant first lady....

ALSO FERVENT PRAYER: ‘Peace’, not ‘terror’ -Palace wants Church to contribute to ‘reign of peace’


FEBRUARY 6 -FERVENT PRAYER – President Rodrigo R. Duterte spends a solemn moment at the tomb of his mother Soledad ‘Nanay Soling’ Duterte at the Davao Catholic Cemetery Saturday night on her death anniversary. (Malacañang Photo | Manila Bulletin)
Malacañang hit back at the Catholic bishops for criticizing the government’s campaign against illegal drugs by saying that they should instead contribute to the “reign of peace” and not propagate a supposed “reign of terror” in the country. The Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) had issued a pastoral letter which was read in all churches on Saturday and Sunday expressing concern over the soaring death toll linked to the administration’s war on drugs. A “reign of terror” has been created among the poor as a result of the drug-related killings, the CBCP said. Presidential Spokesperson Ernie Abella criticized the CBCP for being detached from reality on the ground. “The officials of the CBCP are apparently out of touch with the sentiments of the faithful who overwhelmingly support the changes in the Philippines – turning the nation into a safer place for families, working people, especially young night shift workers, far from the ‘terror’ the bishops paint rather dramatically,” Abella said. Abella suggested the Catholic bishops should consider preaching about developing the moral character of society. “The efforts of these Church leaders might be put to better use in practical catechetics that build strong moral character among the faithful, and so contribute more to the reign of peace felt by ordinary citizens everywhere, especially those who are innocent of illegal activities,” he said. READ MORE...

ALSO: By Fr. Ranhillio Aquino - Helping Digong


FEBRUARY 6 -Fr. Ranhilio Aquino
Because President Digong has repeatedly characterized the bishops, in fact the Roman Catholic Clergy, as obstructionists and coddlers of drug users and peddlers, they are the sector of Philippine society from which he expects no help at all. But whether he accepts it or not, concedes the point or vehemently takes exception, the fact is that the bishops, in ceaselessly protesting extrajudicial killings and sounding the alarm over the rising body count in what is undeniably the bloody campaign against drug lords and their couriers, are helping Digong. A government remains in power only as long as it is perceived to be “legitimate” and the issue of legitimacy is not settled by presenting a duly signed and authenticated copy of the oath of office. Ferdinand Marcos recited his oath of office before Chief Justice Ramon Aquino, as did Erap Estrada before Chief Justice Andres Narvasa. That did not stop the crowds from massing, paralyzing city life in Manila, winning over the sympathy and the support of the military that promptly declared that it was no longer taking orders from the erstwhile commander-in-chief. Constitutionalists could argue no end about whether or not the incumbents were entitled to office according to the letter of the law, but obviously, discourse on legitimacy belongs to quite a different level. READ MORE...

ALSO: Lucky Person of the Year


FEBRUARY 5 -Hidilyn Diaz, pinarangalang 'Lucky Person of the Year' ng isang magazine GMA NEWS FILE
Resorts World Manila (RWM) recently bestowed the very first Lucky Person of the Year award to weightlifter and 2016 Olympic silver medalist Hidilyn Diaz through a partnership with PeopleAsia magazine during its annual “People of the Year” Awards held on January 23 at the Sofitel Philippine Plaza. Diaz was in good company that evening as other People of the Year awardees included business tycoon Dr. Andrew Tan, award-winning actor John Lloyd Cruz, and seasoned educator and diplomat Dr. Preciosa Soliven, to name a few. RWM’s Lucky Person of the Year award recognizes those who create their own luck through hard work. Diaz is the perfect example as her story tells us that behind this achievement is a lot of it, as well as perseverance and sacrifice which put her in a position to attract luck that led to such a dramatic victory. READ MORE...

ALSO: Jordan deports sick Pinoy workers


FEBRUARY 5 -Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III made the reminder yesterday, after the Jordan Health Ministry deported 400 workers recently due to various health issues. File photo
The Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) has urged Filipino workers due for deployment abroad to first secure proper medical screening before leaving the country. Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III made the reminder yesterday, after the Jordan Health Ministry deported 400 workers recently due to various health issues. “It is imperative for our workers to undergo a thorough medical check-up or screening by Department of Health (DOH)-accredited hospitals and clinics before they leave the country to avoid being deported due to some health restrictions. Some countries abroad are very particular when it comes to health issues,” Bello said in a statement. READ MORE...

ALSO: Breaking news -Despite Rody's order to end talks, Palace says gov’t still open to talks w/ Reds


FEBRUARY 6 -Will the government’s peace talks with communist rebels proceed or not? Just hours after President Duterte ordered peace negotiations with the local communist group stopped, a Palace official announced on Sunday that the government was still willing to sit down and talk with the rebels. “Malacañang is still open to negotiations,” Presidential Communications Assistant Secretary Ana Marie Banaag said over government radio, contradicting the President’s recent pronouncement. “Kumbaga gaya nga ng sabi ni Secretary (Silvestre) Bello, who is part of the panel, kahit na na-lift ‘yung ceasefire, the members of the peace panel would still talk about, you know, permanent peace and how to go about the parameters of going through a permanent ceasefire,” she said. The President earlier announced he was scrapping the government’s peace talks with the communist rebels, a day after withdrawing the unilateral ceasefire. Dismayed by the rebel attacks and their unreasonable demands in the negotiation table, Duterte said the peace talks would remain cancelled unless there was a compelling reason that would benefit the nation. READ MORE...


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US says no need for dramatic military moves in South China Sea


U.S. Defense Secretary Jim Mattis says no need for dramatic U.S. military moves in South China Sea REUTERS.

TOKYO, FEBRUARY 6, 2017 (ABS-CBN) Phil Stewart, Reuters Posted at Feb 04 2017 11:55 AM, TOKYO - US Defense Secretary Jim Mattis on Saturday played down any need for major US military moves in the South China Sea to contend with China's assertive behavior, even as he sharply criticized Beijing for "shredding the trust of nations in the region."

"At this time, we do not see any need for dramatic military moves at all," Mattis told a news conference in Tokyo, stressing that the focus should be on diplomacy.

In his Senate confirmation hearing, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said China should not be allowed access to islands it has built in the contested South China Sea. The White House also vowed to defend "international territories" in the strategic waterway.

But how the United States would achieve that has been unclear, including whether it would have a military dimension.

Analysts have said Tillerson's remarks, like those from the White House, suggested the possibility of U.S. military action, or even a naval blockade.

Such action would risk an armed confrontation with China, an increasingly formidable nuclear-armed military power. It is also the world's second-largest economy and the prime target of Trump accusations of stealing American jobs.

READ MORE...

Mattis suggested that major military action was not being currently considered.

"What we have to do is exhaust all efforts, diplomatic efforts, to try to resolve this properly, maintaining open lines of communication," Mattis said, in his most complete remarks on the issue to date.

"And certainly our military stance should be one that reinforces our diplomats in this regard. But there is no need right now at this time for military maneuvers or something like that, that would solve something that's best solved by the diplomats."

China claims most of the South China Sea, while Taiwan, Malaysia, Vietnam, the Philippines and Brunei claim parts of the waters that command strategic sea lanes and have rich fishing grounds along with oil and gas deposits.

Mattis criticized China's actions.

"China has shredded the trust of nations in the region, apparently trying to have a veto authority over the diplomatic and security and economic conditions of neighboring states," he said. (Reporting by Phil Stewart; Editing by Nick Macfie)

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

ALSO FROM THE WASHINGTON POST

Where’s Melania? A quiet start for a reluctant first lady © Toni L. Sandys/The Washington Post


Melania Trump with her husband at the Salute to the Our Armed Services Ball on the night of his inauguration. Since becoming first lady, she has kept a low profile. © Olivier Douliery/Pool photo via European Pressphoto Agency

Melania Trump has finished her first week as first lady — a title that automatically makes her one of the most prominent women in the country. And yet she was barely visible.

She cut an elegant figure at her husband’s swearing-in and at the inaugural balls. But two days later, she returned to New York, as she had said she would, to tend to her 10-year-old son, Barron, who remains in school there.

Meanwhile, she has given little indication of how much she intends to embrace the life of a public figure. She is said to be building her staff. But she has made no public appearances since a prayer service the morning after the inauguration, given no media interviews as first lady and has not indicated with any specificity what she has planned for her new role.

“There’s a public expectation for communication, and she’s not providing it,” said Lauren Wright, a political scientist and author of “On Behalf of the President.” “It’s interesting that there doesn’t seem to be a willingness to shape her public image, despite the public interest.”

By any measure, Melania Trump’s East Wing has gotten off to an unusually slow start. Last week came word that the first lady had made her first hire: Stephanie Winston Wolkoff, a New York party planner, who will serve as a senior adviser, according to a person with knowledge of the appointment.

Still, several key positions on her staff have not yet been filled, including chief of staff, communications director and press secretary. That last job is so essential that a volunteer has stepped in to field calls. The volunteer, Jessica Boulanger, is a former Capitol Hill staffer who is now the senior vice president for communications at the Business Roundtable.



Melania Trump with the president in her most recent public appearance, at a prayer service in Washington on Jan. 21.© Olivier Douliery/Pool photo via European Pressphoto Agency

Most striking, the Trump team has not yet named a social secretary, a position responsible for planning all White House events. Most previous administrations filled the job before Inauguration Day.

Amid the silence, some members of the public are rushing to assumptions.

Internet wits spent days dissecting the first lady’s facial expressions and body language during the inauguration, painting several interactions with her husband as fraught — a moment when he left Melania several paces behind him as he met the Obamas on the White House steps, and another when she appeared to frown behind his back. The Twitter hashtag #FreeMelania caught fire.

But all seemed well on the couple’s official social-media accounts. Although occasionally reactive to jibes, neither responded to the Twitter conjecture, which came amid a fire hose of larger administration controversies. President Trump’s @POTUS account tweeted a thank you to his family, with photo of his wife smiling. Melania, who has not tweeted from her personal account since Election Day, has sent only one message from her new @FLOTUS account, saying that she is “deeply honored” to serve as first lady.

She entered the White House with the lowest favorability ratings of any modern first lady. Only 37 percent of the public had a favorable view of her in a Gallup poll released Jan. 16, while the same percentage gave her an unfavorable rating. Michelle Obama, Laura Bush and Hillary Clinton each had a favorability rating above 55 percent when she became first lady.

Americans are accustomed to seeing the first family together, said Myra Gutin, a communication professor at Rider University and author of “The President’s Partner.” And the Slovenia-born former model’s decision to live in New York for now may be compounding any negative perceptions of her. (She has said she intends to return to Washington on weekends to see President Trump.)

“She could be giving the administration a little bit of a softer touch, because we do make certain decisions about a president based on his family,” Gutin said. “Ivanka and her family are there, but with Mrs. Trump and Mr. Trump’s younger son, it would be a different kind of feeling.”

Melania Trump’s quiet first week may signal that she is reluctantly grappling with how to embrace the increased scrutiny. Or she could simply be taking her time to determine how she will make an impact.

“Each first lady takes on the role and makes it their own. That evolves over time,” said former White House social secretary Ann Stock. “First [priority] for every president and first lady is settling in their family.”

Michael D’Antonio, a Donald Trump biographer, said Melania “seemed eager to preserve her privacy” when he met her.

“Her husband playfully begged her to tell me he was a great husband and she complied. However, she fled the room as soon as possible,” D’Antonio recalled. “I expect her to be gracious when acting as first lady, but I would not be surprised if she limits herself to a minimal engagement with the role.”

Does it matter that she’s taking her time with the job? One former White House official noted that staffers who arrive after an administration’s early days can have a hard time finding traction within the larger organization — assuming, of course, that Melania Trump cares about wielding influence in that space.

The job is more than ceremonial: Federal courts have ruled that the first lady is a de facto public official, and Congress has authorized staffing to support her assistance to the president, said MaryAnne Borrelli, a professor of government at Connecticut College and author of “The Politics of the President’s Wife.”


© Evan Vucci/AP Melania Trump “seemed eager to preserve her privacy,” a Donald Trump biographer said.

Meanwhile, there are 228 years of tradition surrounding the role, and Melania Trump will be measured against the women who came before her — whether or not she chooses to play along.

Michelle Obama, whom Melania Trump has said she admires, was also a reluctant first lady. She, too, worried about raising her children in the spotlight. But from the beginning, she positioned herself as a vital part of her husband’s administration. While billing herself as “mom-in-chief,” Michelle Obama nonetheless had a team building her agenda when she entered the White House; in her second week, she began a tour of federal agencies, thanking the employees for their work.

Other first ladies, though, have waited months before rolling out their agendas. Melania Trump has so far cited one issue she hopes to champion — cyberbullying, which is said to affect about a quarter of adolescents. Experts in the field say they have not yet heard from the first lady but are eager to collaborate.

“Everyone is kind of looking around, saying, ‘Who is she going to turn to?’ ” said Justin W. Patchin, a co-director of the Cyberbullying Research Center. “She is a very public figure. At the very least, she can bring this issue to further light.”

Jane Hampton Cook, a novelist and author of popular histories about the White House, said Melania Trump’s reserve could heighten interest in her when she does surface. She recalled a short speech the future first lady gave in Pennsylvania near the end of the campaign, in which she vowed to “be an advocate for women and for children.”

“I found myself listening to her more because I hadn’t heard from her for a while,” Cook said. “Sometimes less is more, and she represents that side of the equation. Her husband is more, more, more.”


MANILA BULLETIN

‘Peace’, not ‘terror’ Palace wants Church to contribute to ‘reign of peace’ 0 SHARES Share it! Published February 6, 2017, 12:09 AM by Genalyn D. Kabiling and Leslie Ann G. Aquino


FERVENT PRAYER – President Rodrigo R. Duterte spends a solemn moment at the tomb of his mother Soledad ‘Nanay Soling’ Duterte at the Davao Catholic Cemetery Saturday night on her death anniversary. (Malacañang Photo | Manila Bulletin)

Malacañang hit back at the Catholic bishops for criticizing the government’s campaign against illegal drugs by saying that they should instead contribute to the “reign of peace” and not propagate a supposed “reign of terror” in the country.

The Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) had issued a pastoral letter which was read in all churches on Saturday and Sunday expressing concern over the soaring death toll linked to the administration’s war on drugs. A “reign of terror” has been created among the poor as a result of the drug-related killings, the CBCP said.

Presidential Spokesperson Ernie Abella criticized the CBCP for being detached from reality on the ground.

“The officials of the CBCP are apparently out of touch with the sentiments of the faithful who overwhelmingly support the changes in the Philippines – turning the nation into a safer place for families, working people, especially young night shift workers, far from the ‘terror’ the bishops paint rather dramatically,” Abella said.

Abella suggested the Catholic bishops should consider preaching about developing the moral character of society.

“The efforts of these Church leaders might be put to better use in practical catechetics that build strong moral character among the faithful, and so contribute more to the reign of peace felt by ordinary citizens everywhere, especially those who are innocent of illegal activities,” he said.

READ MORE...

PASTORAL LETTER

In the pastoral letter on deaths and killings, which was a product of the recent CBCP Plenary Assembly, the CBCP said that while removing the drug problem is good, “to kill in order to achieve this is also wrong.”

The CBCP led by its president Lingayen Dagupan Archbishop Socrates Villegas said a good purpose is not a justification for using evil means.

“This war in illegal drugs needs to be stopped and overcome. But the solution does not lie in the killing of suspected drug users and pushers,” said the CBCP.

“We cannot correct a wrong by doing another wrong. A good purpose is not a justification for using evil means,” they added.

The CBCP said since the life of every person comes from God, He alone can take it back.

A number of prelates have already criticized the administration’s bloody war on drugs that claimed over 7,000 lives although President Duterte has repeatedly denied that his administration is behind the extrajudicial killings in the country.

The CBCP said the faithful should speak out against summary killings as not to do so makes them an ‘accomplice’.

“Let us not allow fear to reign and keep us silent,” said Villegas.

“To consent and to keep silent in front of evil is to be an accomplice to it,” he added.

“If we consent or allow the killing of suspected drug addicts,” the CBCP said, “we shall also be responsible for their deaths.”

But the CBCP is not only concerned about those who have been killed but also with the situation of the victims’ families whose lives they said have only become worse.

An additional cause of concern, the bishops said, is the reign of terror in many places of the poor.

“Many are killed not because of drugs. Those who kill them are not brought to account,” Villegas said.

And since the drug problem and criminality are anchored on poverty, the destruction of the family, and corruption in society, the CBCP said there is a need to overcome poverty by giving permanent work and sufficient wages to workers.

The bishops also stressed the need to strengthen families, reforming rogue policemen and corrupt judges.

While acknowledging their own shortcomings, the CBCP said they will continue to speak “against evil” even at the risk of being persecuted.

“We in the Church will continue to speak against evil even as we acknowledge and repent of our own shortcomings. We will do this even if it will bring persecution upon us because we are all brothers and sisters responsible for each other,” said Villegas.

“We will help drug addicts so that they may be healed and start a new life. We will stand in solidarity and care for those left behind by those who have been killed and for the victims of drug addicts. Let us renew our efforts to strengthen families,” he added.


MANILA STANDARD COMMENTARY

Helping Digong posted February 06, 2017 at 12:00 am by Fr. Ranhilio Aquino


Fr. Ranhilio Aquino

Because President Digong has repeatedly characterized the bishops, in fact the Roman Catholic Clergy, as obstructionists and coddlers of drug users and peddlers, they are the sector of Philippine society from which he expects no help at all. But whether he accepts it or not, concedes the point or vehemently takes exception, the fact is that the bishops, in ceaselessly protesting extrajudicial killings and sounding the alarm over the rising body count in what is undeniably the bloody campaign against drug lords and their couriers, are helping Digong.

A government remains in power only as long as it is perceived to be “legitimate” and the issue of legitimacy is not settled by presenting a duly signed and authenticated copy of the oath of office. Ferdinand Marcos recited his oath of office before Chief Justice Ramon Aquino, as did Erap Estrada before Chief Justice Andres Narvasa. That did not stop the crowds from massing, paralyzing city life in Manila, winning over the sympathy and the support of the military that promptly declared that it was no longer taking orders from the erstwhile commander-in-chief. Constitutionalists could argue no end about whether or not the incumbents were entitled to office according to the letter of the law, but obviously, discourse on legitimacy belongs to quite a different level.

READ MORE...

When all dissent is silenced and all opposition suppressed, it becomes so much the easier to argue the proposition that the government has ceased to be legitimate. Legitimacy, after all is directly related to the freedom of exchange, the freedom to make claims, the freedom to challenge them, and the freedom to vindicate claims. By agitating the national conscience and stirring it from acquiescence to extrajudicial killings and summary executions, the Church is maintaining that critical exchange that makes legitimacy a current issue. I have not heard bishops or priests call for the overthrow of the government. It is not likely that they will ever do do, and it is not, to my mind, correct that they should. But that the government must constantly defend itself—not always convincingly and successfully though—against charges of human rights abuses only means that the citizens of the country deal with it not as brutal fact about which they are helpless—the very tinderbox of rebellion—but as an establishment framed within the discourse of legitimacy.

This dynamic of thrust and parry—it is this that makes collective will-formation relevant. When everything becomes a “given” about which none can do anything, then is government truly endangered, for then there will be no more room and space for that crucial exchange that allows for a common definition of the situation and a consensus on a meaningful response. Then, it will be that government must ceaselessly woe the military, pamper it, keep it on a short leash, and unleash it against all foes.

Digong is also helping the Church, rousing it, if not too gently, from the stupor of its self-satisfaction to watchfulness for its deportment and conduct as prophetic in word and in deed. The President has no right demanding of the Church that it be perfect. Not even God demands that. But he has a right to demand of the Church that it be constantly self-critical and to wrestle with the obstacles to its own credibility. For some time, some bishops thought that maintaining a politically calculated silence was safeguarding its credibility. That is a politician’s gambit. It is not the way a prophet remains God’s mouthpiece. The prophet is one who will speak, even if in consequence of his diatribes, woes and imprecations he is thrown into cisterns, shooed off the land and dealt savage blows. That is credibility for the Church.

And I am proud of the fact that the Catholic Church has not allowed its voice to be muffled—“Altar of Secrets” and other aspersions notwithstanding. And rather than engage the Church in a rhetoric of slur and insult, it will be well for President Digong and his government to demand of the Church proof of its claims, to challenge the warrants both from constitutional theory as well as from moral theory that it uses, to introduce qualifiers and to build on rebuttals.

This is the way of rationality. It is also the way by which legitimacy is decided. Rather than attacking the persons of the likes of Villegas, Bacani, Cruz et al., why does the government not question the premises of the Church’s position, articulate the moral principles from which its draws its conclusions and enunciate the constitutional premises on which it relies? When this happens the whole nation can then be engaged in that fruitful exchange by which alone we can make decisions that do not arise from the embarrassment of those who are shamed, nor the submission of those threatened and bullied but that rational consensus that is synonymous with legitimacy!


TRIBUNE

Lucky Person of the Year Written by Tribune Wires Sunday, 05 February 2017 00:00


Hidilyn Diaz, pinarangalang 'Lucky Person of the Year' ng isang magazine GMA NEWS FILE

Resorts World Manila (RWM) recently bestowed the very first Lucky Person of the Year award to weightlifter and 2016 Olympic silver medalist Hidilyn Diaz through a partnership with PeopleAsia magazine during its annual “People of the Year” Awards held on January 23 at the Sofitel Philippine Plaza.

Diaz was in good company that evening as other People of the Year awardees included business tycoon Dr. Andrew Tan, award-winning actor John Lloyd Cruz, and seasoned educator and diplomat Dr. Preciosa Soliven, to name a few.

RWM’s Lucky Person of the Year award recognizes those who create their own luck through hard work. Diaz is the perfect example as her story tells us that behind this achievement is a lot of it, as well as perseverance and sacrifice which put her in a position to attract luck that led to such a dramatic victory.

READ MORE...

“At Resorts World Manila, we think differently,” said Kingson Sian, president and CEO, RWM. “We believe that luck is in our hands. Think about it: most of the people we consider as lucky also happen to be the most hardworking. Manny Pacquiao, Pia Wurtzbach… just to name a few. We might think of them as lucky, but it can’t be denied that they worked hard for their achievements.”

Diaz’ story from humble beginnings to Olympic hero was not one without its fair share of hardships. “Noong bata ako nag-iigib ako ng tubig doon sa bahay namin,” she recounts. “Ang Barangay Mampang, walang masyadong tubig doon, so kumukuha kami ng tubig sa posohan, 200 to 300 meters away sa amin. Karga-karga ko yung galon. Nagbebenta rin ako ng gulay, isda para pangtulong din sa magulang, saka para baon ko sa eskwelahan.” (When I was younger, I would fetch water from the well and carry it by the gallon back to our home. I would also sell vegetables and fish to help my parents and to earn pocket money for school).

Diaz began weightlifting at age 11 after observing her cousins’ passion for it and decided to give it a try. The rest is history. During the 2016 Rio Summer Olympics, Diaz brought home the country’s first Olympic medal in 20 years. Such an accomplishment was one that RWM felt mirrored and embodied its own company values of inspiring excellence, unyielding integrity and true compassion. As Hidilyn herself gleefully put it, “Bago ko nakamit ang swerteng ito, 14 years in the making.” (This luck I attained has been 14 years in the making).

Complimenting this unique award were internationally acclaimed glass sculptor Ramon Orlina who was commissioned to design and produce the trophy entitled “Jubilation” and celebrated couturier Jun Escario who designed Hidilyn’s gown for the awards ceremony.


PHILSTAR

Jordan deports sick Pinoy workers By Sheila Crisostomo (The Philippine Star) | Updated February 5, 2017 - 12:00am 0 0 googleplus0 0


Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III made the reminder yesterday, after the Jordan Health Ministry deported 400 workers recently due to various health issues. File photo

MANILA, Philippines - The Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) has urged Filipino workers due for deployment abroad to first secure proper medical screening before leaving the country.

Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III made the reminder yesterday, after the Jordan Health Ministry deported 400 workers recently due to various health issues.

“It is imperative for our workers to undergo a thorough medical check-up or screening by Department of Health (DOH)-accredited hospitals and clinics before they leave the country to avoid being deported due to some health restrictions. Some countries abroad are very particular when it comes to health issues,” Bello said in a statement.

READ MORE...

Bello cited an advisory released by the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA) on a Jordan health ministry report from January to November 2016, recording 185 cases of hepatitis B, 149 cases of tuberculosis, and 66 cases of HIV/AIDS among foreign workers.

The Jordan health ministry also documented a total of 356,045 guest workers at the directorate for medical check-up, and 457 of them were diagnosed with hepatitis B, tuberculosis and HIV/AIDS.

Aside from this, some 14,633 Filipino workers have also undergone medical examination, and 35 of them were found to have tuberculosis, while 27 workers are suffering from hepatitis B.


MANILA BULLETIN 'BREAKING NEWS;

Even after Duterte's order to end talks, Palace official says gov’t still open to talks with Reds 1 SHARES Share it! Published February 6, 2017, 12:10 AM by Genalyn D. Kabiling, Argyll Cyrus B. Geducos, and Yas D. Ocampo

Will the government’s peace talks with communist rebels proceed or not?

Just hours after President Duterte ordered peace negotiations with the local communist group stopped, a Palace official announced on Sunday that the government was still willing to sit down and talk with the rebels.

“Malacañang is still open to negotiations,” Presidential Communications Assistant Secretary Ana Marie Banaag said over government radio, contradicting the President’s recent pronouncement.

“Kumbaga gaya nga ng sabi ni Secretary (Silvestre) Bello, who is part of the panel, kahit na na-lift ‘yung ceasefire, the members of the peace panel would still talk about, you know, permanent peace and how to go about the parameters of going through a permanent ceasefire,” she said.

The President earlier announced he was scrapping the government’s peace talks with the communist rebels, a day after withdrawing the unilateral ceasefire.

Dismayed by the rebel attacks and their unreasonable demands in the negotiation table, Duterte said the peace talks would remain cancelled unless there was a compelling reason that would benefit the nation.

READ MORE...

NO ALL-OUT WAR

Despite the cancellation of the truce, Banaag belied speculations that the government was now launching an all-out war against the rebels. She said the troops have merely been directed to be on their guard against any rebel attacks.

“As the President has said, for those who are combatants, they have to be on their guard kasi wala naman ng ceasefire. But it doesn’t mean to say that they have to hunt ‘di ba,” she said.

“Kumbaga it’s not war, per se, like you have to go hunt them. However, it’s like the status before the declaration of the ceasefire,” she added.

PRESIDENTIAL GUIDANCE

But Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process Jesus Dureza said the President “has clearly spoken on the directions we all in government should take.”

“Let’s take guidance from these recent declarations,” he said.

Dureza reiterated that achieving lasting peace was difficult, with “humps and bumps, and curves and detours along the way.”

“What is important is we all stay the course,” he added.

Presidential Spokesperson Ernesto Abella said the cancellation was “deeply disappointing as final and lasting peace has been one of the President’s deepest aspirations for the nation.”

LEFT-LEANING CABINET MEMBERS

According to Banaag, Duterte had no intention of letting go of left-leaning members in his Cabinet despite the trouble in the peace process.

“As to members of the Cabinet who may be inclined – communist inclined or leftist inclined, they are open – they are still part of the Cabinet and they have the confidence of the President,” Banaag said.

Duterte had recalled the Philippine contingent from the peace talks, and asked the National Democratic Front’s (NDF) consultants, who were earlier released to participate in the talks, to go back to the custody of the Philippine government.

In a press conference held at the tomb of President Duterte’s mother Soling at the Roman Catholic Cemetery here, President Duterte said he has ordered the team from the Office of the Presidential Adviser for the Peace Process (OPAPP) to “haul their tents and come home.”

Duterte’s frustration was confounded not only by the demands of the Left, which included the release en masse of around 400 political prisoners, but also by the allegedly brutal slay of three government troopers.

“They are ambushed. Yung dalawa doon sa – pag uwi, 76 bullet wounds? Bakit ganunin mo? Ang isang sundalo namatay 64 wounds? Nirakrakan mo and you always invoke human rights and the Geneva Convention? To hell with it!”

Duterte said that talks will only resume if it would benefit the Filipino people.

President Duterte also said his experience as a prosecutor would never allow him to let political prisoners free, unless this would be the result of successful talks between the government and the NDF, the political arm of the New People’s Army (NPA).

This, or what both sides refer to as the Hernandez Doctrine, is one of the main reasons that the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) could not pursue their wish of a granted amnesty for all political prisoners.

The Hernandez Doctrine supposedly allows political prisoners to be tried as rebels and not as suspects of relatively petty crimes.

However, the Philippine Government has traditionally ignored the Hernandez Doctrine in favor of enforcing the law, such as those against extortion and murder, among others.

Duterte, however, appears to have gotten fed up, especially by the actions of the NPA.

Banaag recognized that the communist leaders negotiating at the peace table have apparently some disconnect with the rebels on the ground.

“It would not go to that extent,” she said when asked if the government will now down and arrest free rebel leaders involved in peace talks.

“It’s really hard for them also to control their people on the ground. However, we will endeavor – the peace panel will endeavor pa rin to talk and negotiate for peace,” she added.

The President, meantime, has no intention of letting go of left-leaning members in his Cabinet despite the trouble in the peace process.


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