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RODY CHECKS QUAKE-AFFECTED COMMUNITIES: SURIGAO WARNED OF AFTER-SHOCKS


FEBRUARY 13 -AMID aftershocks, disaster officials yesterday cautioned Surigao City residents against staying in school buildings and other structures with cracked walls and similar damage caused by the 6.7 magnitude earthquake that hit Friday night. The warning was issued as authorities were moving to restore water and electricity supply in the city and in other affected areas. At least 130 aftershocks have been recorded as of 4 p.m. yesterday, including one measuring 4.9, and aftershocks are expected “for several days to weeks,” according to the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (Phivolcs). President Duterte went to Surigao City to check on the condition of the communities, led the distribution of drinking water and food packs to residents gathered at the Surigao City Hall, and pledged P2 billion for the relief and rehabilitation of affected areas. He said he intends to visit the city again soon. READ MORE...

ALSO: Aftershocks terrify Surigao


FEBRUARY 13 -The 6.7-magnitude quake struck Surigao and nearby areas of Mindanao late Friday, injuring hundreds, with over a thousand homes destroyed or damaged, officials said. AP
SURIGAO, Philippines – Thousands of residents of this city sought refuge in the streets as aftershocks hit the region yesterday, two days after a powerful earthquake killed six. The 6.7-magnitude quake struck Surigao and nearby areas of Mindanao late Friday, injuring hundreds, with over a thousand homes destroyed or damaged, officials said. People who had fled their damaged homes wrapped themselves in blankets and sacks for a second night as they slept side-by-side on the pavement since Saturday. READ MORE...

ALSO: Peace with Reds still possible


FEBRUARY 13 -President Rodrigo Duterte may still pursue peace with the Communist Party of the Philippines-New People’s Army-National Democratic Front (CPP-NPA-NDF) even if peace negotiations with the group have folded. Philstar.com/File photo
DAVAO CITY, Philippines – President Duterte may still pursue peace with the Communist Party of the Philippines-New People’s Army-National Democratic Front (CPP-NPA-NDF) even if peace negotiations with the group have folded. “In due time this will be resolved because this is no longer about ideo-logy but about the Filipino people,” the President said, referring to conflicts in Mindanao, including the one with the communist rebels. The interest of the people, he added, should be above anything else even when ideologies remain respected. In his visit to Surigao City yesterday, Duterte said he remained hopeful that things would look up for the earthquake victims and for all in Mindanao “once peace will prevail in the island.” READ MORE...

ALSO: Duterte tells mining firms to clean up or close down


FEBRUARY 13 -Davao City — President Duterte has issued an ultimatum to mining firms operating in areas such as Surigao del Norte to clean up or pack up, in the wake of the closure of several mines upon orders of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR). Duterte said he was aware of the “positive” effects of mining, especially in communities where they operate, but if they do not clean up the effects of their operations, he said, he would shut down their operations in the name of the environment. Speaking during his visit to quake-hit Surigao City, the President said he saw the environmental damage caused by some open pit mines in the province, describing the large man-made holes as soda bottle caps. “If (Environment Secretary) Gina (Lopez) will really close down mining operations, I can’t do anything because as I saw it earlier going here – Surigao is really the most mined, has the most number of mining firms. They are like Coca-Cola brown bottle caps,” the President said in the Visayan dialect. READ MORE...

ALSO: EDITORIAL - Fishbowl moment (Gavira view)


FEBRUARY 13 -Rody again served notice that foreign governments or entities can criticize anything in his administration except on how he conducts his crusade against the drugs menace. The latest criticism came from former Colombian President Cesar Gaviria who said in a New York Times commentary that Rody is repeating the mistakes he made in his own drug war in Colombia. Gaviria found out immediately that it was he who repeated the mistakes of other leaders in criticizing Rody’s war. Before him were former US President Barack Obama, and former United Nations secretary general Ban Ki Moon. Part of his opinion piece read: “Taking a hard line against criminals is always popular for politicians. I was also seduced into taking a tough stance on drugs during my time as president,” he said. He added the polls suggest that Mr. Duterte’s war on drugs is equally popular. “But he will find that it is unwinnable. I also discovered that the human costs were enormous. We could not win the war on drugs through killing petty criminals and addicts.  “We started making positive impacts only when we changed tack, designating drugs as a social problem and not a military one,” he added. Rody particularly resents those having a so-called fishbowl view on his war on drugs or those from outside looking in. READ MORE...


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Surigao residents warned to avoid damaged buildings

SURIGAO CITY, FEBRUARY 13, 2017 (MALAYA) February 13, 2017 BY VICTOR REYES AND JOCELYN MONTEMAYOR - AMID aftershocks, disaster officials yesterday cautioned Surigao City residents against staying in school buildings and other structures with cracked walls and similar damage caused by the 6.7 magnitude earthquake that hit Friday night.

The warning was issued as authorities were moving to restore water and electricity supply in the city and in other affected areas.

At least 130 aftershocks have been recorded as of 4 p.m. yesterday, including one measuring 4.9, and aftershocks are expected “for several days to weeks,” according to the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (Phivolcs).

President Duterte went to Surigao City to check on the condition of the communities, led the distribution of drinking water and food packs to residents gathered at the Surigao City Hall, and pledged P2 billion for the relief and rehabilitation of affected areas. He said he intends to visit the city again soon.

READ MORE...

Duterte had to fly first to Butuan City from Davao City before traveling by chopper to Surigao City because of the damage to the Surigao Airport. Prior to Duterte’s arrival, several aftershocks were felt by some of the Cabinet officials and residents who were waiting for Duterte at the city hall.

Surigao del Norte Vice Gov. Carlos Egay said life appeared to be returning to normal after the quake as residents who rushed to higher ground amid fears of a tsunami have returned to their homes.

“More than 100 aftershocks have been recorded since Friday, some noticeable, some not too much. Hopefully, they will not result in any more damage,” he said.

Egay also said the quake caused at least P400 million in damage to schools, bridges, homes, hotels, and other infrastructure.

The total is sure to rise, he said, as authorities have yet to assess the damage to the still-shut airport, where the runaway has cracks.

Romina Marasigan, spokeswoman of the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council, told a press briefing the Department of Public Works and Highways is organizing engineers to look into the integrity of major facilities, including school buildings, to ensure safety of the people.

She said so far, the NDRRMC has recorded 1,304 damaged or destroyed houses, of which 864 are in Surigao City. The others are in the towns of Mainit, Malimono, San Francisco and Sison, all in Surigao del Norte.

Twelve schools, five roads and six bridges have also been damaged, said Marasigan.

To residents whose houses have been damaged or have cracked walls, Marasigan said: “Our call is do not return hastily after the strong quake, we have to ensure that our residences are safe for us to return to,” she said.

Education Secretary Leonor Briones said the quake caused some P7.6 million in damage to eight public schools in Surigao del Norte.

The quake-hit schools are the CARAGA Regional Science High School, JR Clavero Elementary School, Ipil Elementary School, Mariano Espina Memorial Central Elementary School, Surigao City Elementary School, Suklayang Elementary School, Mat-I Elementary School, and Cabrera Altres Senior High School.

Of the eight schools, Briones said the CARAGA Regional Science High School suffered the most with 65 computers damaged, collapsed beams and posts, cracked covered court, damaged library shelves, laboratory equipment, and cracked classrooms.

She said other schools have collapsed stages, cracked walls, broken computers, and cracked floors.

APPEAL TO PRIVATE SECTOR

Marasigan appealed to civil and structural engineers in the private sector to volunteer for the inspection of facilities and other structures.

“The DPWH is organizing (its own engineers) but we have a lot of structures to check. If we can optimize those in the private sector, we can provide better service,” she said.

“Also, the critical infrastructure, the schools, the hospitals, and offices that provide services, should be also checked if they are still safe for use. We are again reiterating our appeal for help from civil and structural engineers to ensure the safety of the people,” she said.

Marasigan said those who want to volunteer may touch base with the NDRRMC in Camp Aguinaldo or with the regional council officials.

Marasigan also said the main challenge on the ground is the safety of the people, noting that aftershocks were still being experienced as of yesterday.

“This is a challenge because we are already seeing people trying to return to their normal lives. Some want to go back to normal. But it’s not. We are still in a period where our alertness is needed. We have to remain vigilant because of these aftershocks,” she said.

Marasigan said classes in all levels have been suspended for today to pave the way for the continuing inspection. “This is to ensure the safety of the students before they return to school,” she said.

She could not immediately say if classes will be also suspended on Tuesday.

The quake left six people dead in Surigao City and around 202 others injured. Only 17 of the injured are still confined at hospitals.

Friday’s quake was the strongest since the city was rocked by a 6.9 quake in 1879. The earthquake occurred at a depth of 10 km and the epicenter was about 13 km east of the city which has been placed under a state of calamity.

WATER, POWER SUPPLY

Marasigan said water systems in Surigao City and in the towns of Malimono, San Francisco, and Mainit were “affected” by the quake.

“We have a problem with our water systems (in these areas)… At present, we are having distribution of water supply for the people encountering problems with water supply,” said Marasigan.

Marasigan said the quake caused power outages in Surigao City and in San Francisco, Malimono, Placer, Sison, and Taganaan towns in Surigao del Norte.

She said electricity was restored in Surigao City at around 8:30 p.m. Saturday.

As to the other areas, Marasigan said efforts are still underway to restore power.

ALTERNATE ROUTES

As to the damaged roads, Marasigan said local government officials have identified alternate routes. “We can say that no area is isolated. We have alternate routes,” she said.

Marasigan said the airport in Surigao City remains closed due to cracks on the runway. Flights have been diverted to Butuan City.

Marasigan said there are enough relief supplies for the affected population but said the council will gladly welcome donations.

Yesterday morning, a C-130 plane of the Air Force, carrying supplies for the quake-stricken areas, landed at the Butuan City airport.

The supplies included high-energy biscuits, brown rice, generator sets, solar lamp, laminated sacks, mosquito nets, plastic mats, and blankets. “We are giving them to the provincial (council) so they can be distributed to the people,” she said.

Surigao Bishop Antonieto Cabajog offered prayers for the victims and survivors of the quake and

The Office of the Election Officer in Surigao City was among structures damaged by the quake, said Commission on Elections chair Andres Bautista.

“Our election office is intact but with cracks,” he said.

Bautista also said voter registration machines will have to be checked for damage. The Comelec is conducting voter registration for the October 23 barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan elections nationwide. – With Evan Orias, Angela Lopez de Leon, Gerard Naval and Reuters


PHILSTAR

Aftershocks terrify Surigao (The Philippine Star) | Updated February 13, 2017 - 12:00am 0 6 googleplus0 0


The 6.7-magnitude quake struck Surigao and nearby areas of Mindanao late Friday, injuring hundreds, with over a thousand homes destroyed or damaged, officials said. AP

SURIGAO, Philippines – Thousands of residents of this city sought refuge in the streets as aftershocks hit the region yesterday, two days after a powerful earthquake killed six.

The 6.7-magnitude quake struck Surigao and nearby areas of Mindanao late Friday, injuring hundreds, with over a thousand homes destroyed or damaged, officials said.

People who had fled their damaged homes wrapped themselves in blankets and sacks for a second night as they slept side-by-side on the pavement since Saturday.

READ MORE...

The Philippine Institute of Seismology and Volcanology (Phivolcs) recorded 135 weaker quakes in Surigao, a city of 152,000 people, and in the region around it since the quake struck, though there were no additional reports of casualties or damage.

“The people are terrified of the aftershocks,” said Romina Marasigan, spokesperson for the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC).

The NDRRMC reported the number of dead remained at six though the injured increased to 202. Many of those killed or injured were pinned down or hit by debris during the quake.

Marasigan said classes in Surigao City are suspended today to give way to damage assessment in schools for the safety of teachers and students.

She announced that generator sets, solar lamps, high energy biscuits, brown rice, laminated sacks, mosquito nets, plastic mats and blankets are among the items that would be distributed through the local disaster councils.

“We remain on red alert status together with our response cluster, including the regional council in Caraga region which will monitor the situation and gather more information on the extent of damage,” Marasigan said.

Because aftershocks are still expected, Marasigan called on residents of Surigao City to remain calm and alert with the safety of their families considered as their primary concern.

“This was the first time Surigao had suffered a quake this strong. The previous one occurred in the 1800s,” said Martin Andanar, presidential communications chief and a native of the city.

“This is the strongest (earthquake) for this century,” he said. His house in the city was also damaged by the quake.

Andanar thanked private groups that extended assistance to the earthquake survivors. He said among the groups providing help is the MVP Foundation, which has sent cellphone chargers and generators to affected areas.

He said agencies are continuously offloading relief items at the Butuan Airport, some 100 kilometers away from the city.

Andanar stressed the need for the public to donate potable water and other relief items to quake survivors.

“Water is important in Surigao. Potable water is what is important here,” Andanar said.

“We ask the NGOs (non-government organizations) to donate water through the DSWD (Department of Social Welfare and Development) so it can be sent here in Butuan City through a C-130 plane,” he added.

US Ambassador Sung Kim expressed condolences to the families of those killed in the earthquake.

“My thoughts are with the people of Surigao, especially those who lost loved ones,” Kim said in a post on Twitter.

Surigao Bishop Antonieto Cabahog issued a prayer for the recovery of the region from the quake.

PRAYER FROM BISHOP

“We implore the help of Our Lady of Lourdes to whom we turn our gaze, to stay with us and lead us safely to the peace of Jesus, her Son,” Cabahog prayed.

‘There is always a time’ President Duterte flew to the region yesterday to inspect the response effort, which officials said has shifted to relief and rehabilitation after the last of the dead and injured were pulled from the rubble.

He was accompanied by a military transport plane loaded with generator sets, solar lamps, high-energy biscuits, mosquito nets and blankets for the displaced residents.

Duterte comforted the residents, who were already getting jittery with the aftershocks.

“In everything that happens in the world, there is always a time for them,” Duterte told the residents gathered at the Surigao City gymnasium.

“Thank God. Buotan man gud ang mga Surigaonon (Surigaonons are good people),” he said.

Duterte quoted a passage in the Bible in sympathy for those who lost their loved ones.

“Naa ang Ecclesiastes (3:1) in the Bible, naay panahon sa kasadya ug kaguol (there is time for happiness and sadness, for joy and sorrow),” the President said in Cebuano.

He said God was good and merciful that the intensity of the tremor that struck Surigao was not that strong or else the damage and the number of dead and injured would have been greater.

P2-B AID

Duterte vowed at least P2 billion in aid to the survivors and rehabilitation of infrastructure damaged by the quake.

“Take it easy. Don’t get frustrated. Is P2 billion enough to buy them a subdivision?” the President then asked Budget Secretary Benjamin Diokno nearby.

Duterte promised to come back and share stories with the grief-stricken residents.

Duterte, along with Social Welfare Secretary Judy Taguiwalo and Diokno, led the distribution of drinking water and food packs to the residents before a meeting with local officials.

Earlier yesterday, long lines of people carrying pails and jugs queued for water rations supplied by fire trucks after the quake cut off water supply.

Some residents vented their anger on some local officials who reportedly refused to distribute bottles of water that they said would be given later upon the arrival of the President.

“We’re still being hit by aftershocks, and as of now we do not have tap water supply. The people are suffering,” provincial information officer Mary Escalante told ABS-CBN in an interview.

“Buildings that suffered structural damage have been closed,” she said, adding some schools and gyms meant to serve as evacuation centers were among those damaged by the quake.

The quake also damaged bridges and roads and knocked out power supply, though electricity was restored in most of Surigao on Saturday.

Flights at the Surigao City airport were cancelled because of a damaged runway while all port operations at the Lipata Port Station were moved to the Surigao City port due to damaged roads.

The Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) said ten major bridges roads were damaged by the quake.

Most of the damaged roads are still passable to all types of vehicles.

Energy Secretary Alfonso Cusi said the department would implement a price freeze on all fuel products in Surigao, which is now under a state of calamity.

“With the declaration of a state of calamity, government will impose a price freeze on basic energy commodities for 15 days, particularly for kerosene and household LPG,” Cusi said.

“In order to effectively ensure the supply of petroleum products, oil companies are obliged to update the DOE of the operational status of their depots and gasoline stations within the areas to stabilize the supply and reduce chances of individuals who are taking advantage of the oil situation,” he said.

POWER RESTORATION

The DOE is closely monitoring the power restoration efforts being conducted by the Surigao del Norte Electric Cooperative Inc. (SURNECO).

The National Electrification Administration said 95 percent of SURNECO’s franchise area has been restored by 11 p.m. Saturday.

More aftershocks Phivolcs director Renato Solidum warned of more aftershocks that may further damage already damaged structures.

Solidum said aftershocks are normal after a strong earthquake, but the seismic events could last for days or weeks.

A total of 135 aftershocks were recorded as of yesterday noon, of which 55 were plotted and four were reportedly felt, he said.

“Aftershocks can occur days to weeks but the number in general will decline,” Solidum said.

“Literally aftershocks are smaller than the main shock. But if the question is would there be a similar or larger earthquake coming from the same fault of the February 10 earthquake, it is not discounted but the possibility is low,” he added.

Yesterday’s aftershocks registered magnitudes of 2.2 to 4.1, with intensities ranging from Intensity 1 to 3, Phivolcs said.

Solidum advised residents of Surigao and nearby areas to be cautious of structures visibly weakened or with signs of damage as these may be further damaged by aftershocks.

In case their houses or buildings showed signs of damage, Solidum urged owners to seek the help of municipal or city engineers.

Phivolcs said last Friday’s magnitude-6.7 quake was generated by the movement of the Surigao segment of the Philippine fault.

The strongest ground shaking was felt in Surigao City at Intensity 7, which is described by Phivolcs as “destructive.”

On July 1, 1879, the Surigao segment of the Philippine fault also generated a magnitude-7.4 quake. This was considered to be the largest quake to hit the area on record, Phivolcs said.

An average of five earthquakes, most of them undetectable except through instruments, hit daily across the Philippines, which lies on the so-called Ring of Fire, a vast Pacific Ocean region where many earthquakes and volcanic eruptions occur.

The last lethal quake that hit the country measured 7.1-magnitude. It left over 220 people dead and destroyed historic churches when it struck Bohol in October 2013. – Ben Serrano, Edith Regalado, Edu Punay, Helen Flores, Perseus Echeminada, Mayen Jaymalin, Michael Punongbayan, Danessa Rivera, Pia Lee-Brago


PHILSTAR

Peace with Reds still possible (The Philippine Star) | Updated February 13, 2017 - 12:00am 0 0 googleplus0


President Rodrigo Duterte may still pursue peace with the Communist Party of the Philippines-New People’s Army-National Democratic Front (CPP-NPA-NDF) even if peace negotiations with the group have folded. Philstar.com/File photo

DAVAO CITY, Philippines – President Duterte may still pursue peace with the Communist Party of the Philippines-New People’s Army-National Democratic Front (CPP-NPA-NDF) even if peace negotiations with the group have folded.

“In due time this will be resolved because this is no longer about ideo-logy but about the Filipino people,” the President said, referring to conflicts in Mindanao, including the one with the communist rebels.

The interest of the people, he added, should be above anything else even when ideologies remain respected.

In his visit to Surigao City yesterday, Duterte said he remained hopeful that things would look up for the earthquake victims and for all in Mindanao “once peace will prevail in the island.”

READ MORE...

“I tried everything, I walked the extra mile, released prisoners, released their leaders so they can go to Oslo (Norway) to talk, and now they want 400 prisoners who fought the government under a rebellion released. This will (be) only given after a successful talk. What is there to talk about if I would release them?” the President added.

Yesterday, the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) condemned the New People’s Army (NPA), the communists’ armed unit, for recruiting children to cope with its dwindling number of combatants.

The Army 28th Infantry Battalion reported that Rhea Liza Davis, a 13-year-old Davao Regional Athletic Association (DAVRAA) athlete, was recruited by the rebel group and eventually separating the girl from her family.

Leonila Davis, the girl’s mother, sought military help after efforts to recover her child failed.

The younger Davis was reportedly taken by Evelyn Hermocilla, who goes by the aliases Kara and Riza, on Jan. 30 in Buso, a mountain barangay of Mati town in Davao Oriental.

Hermocilla, who belongs to Section Committee 18, Sub-Regional Committee 2 of the communists’ Southern Mindanao Regional Command, allegedly refused to return the girl despite Leonila’s pleadings.

Some residents reported seeing the girl crying while traveling with an armed group.

In a statement, the Army said 101 families from Kasunugan, Tampat, Cabucanan and Kawitan, all smaller communities of Barangay Buso, were forced to evacuate last week as people feared a forced NPA recruitment.

Colonel Reuben Basiao, 701st Brigade commander, and Buso chairman Lolito Andan appealed for help in recovering the girl as they distributed food packs to the displaced families.

Duterte also went to Butuan City yesterday to posthumously award Sgt. Marlon Balais a bronze anahaw leaf medal for his meritorious services to the nation. Balais, a scout leader of the 29th Infantry battalion, was killed in a firefight with NPA rebels in Agusan del Norte.

Also killed in the clash was Jerson Beto, a grade 11 student, and small-scale miner Pepito Tiambong.

The encounter happened a week after Duterte terminated the peace talks with the communist rebels and labeled them a terrorist group. The President decided to scrap the peace negotiations after the communists insisted on their demand to free more than 400 rebel leaders whom they claim to be political prisoners.

Duterte rejected the demand, which he described as tantamount to granting amnesty. Communist rebels then called off the unilateral ceasefire and stepped up attacks against government forces in various parts of the country.

Former president and now Manila Mayor Joseph Estrada is backing Duterte’s declaration of war against the NPA although he continues to hope that peace negotiations would resume.

He said the communists have all the reasons to fear Duterte’s wrath because the President never backs down from a fight.

“They should fear President Duterte. Let us see if the President will still give them a chance,” Estrada said when asked about the NPA going head-to-head against Duterte.

The CPP, in a statement, said an all-out war would fail and that defeating the NPA is only a Duterte pipedream.

“Other regimes before him have tried and failed,” the CPP said.

The NPA was tagged as a foreign terrorist organization by the US State Department and as a terrorist group by the European Union Common Foreign and Security Policy. Its estimated strength has since dwindled to less than 3,000.

Estrada said Duterte was right when he suspended the unilateral ceasefire in reaction to the atrocities and ceasefire violations committed by the NPA in the past weeks, but stressed that he supports another round of peace talks.

He recalled his days when, as president, he ordered the Moro Islamic Liberation Front camps and territories wiped out during his war against terrorism, noting that he gave the group enough opportunities to talk with the government.

“I talked to them for about three months then in the fourth month, they burned down Kauswagan (Lanao del Norte). Many innocent civilians, mostly children were killed, and they even beheaded six soldiers,” Estrada said.

Estrada said the MILF raid on Kauswagan was the last straw.

Ghadzali Jaafar, MILF vice chair for political affairs, said they are not affected with the collapse of the government’s talks with the NPA, adding that the administration’s negotiation with the Moro people is distinct.

He welcomed the recent announcement of new members of the expanded Bangsamoro Transition Commission – a body that will draft the new Bangsamoro enabling law as part of the implementation process of the southern peace pact or the Comprehensive Agreement on the Bangsamoro signed between the Philippine government and the MILF in March 2014. – Edith Regalado, Michael Punongbayan, Jose Rodel Clapano, Cecille Suerte Felipe, Alexis Romero


MANILA BULLETIN

Duterte tells mining firms to clean up or close down 2 SHARES Share it! Published February 13, 2017, 12:09 AM by Genalyn D. Kabiling and Yas D. Ocampo

Davao City — President Duterte has issued an ultimatum to mining firms operating in areas such as Surigao del Norte to clean up or pack up, in the wake of the closure of several mines upon orders of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR).

Duterte said he was aware of the “positive” effects of mining, especially in communities where they operate, but if they do not clean up the effects of their operations, he said, he would shut down their operations in the name of the environment.

Speaking during his visit to quake-hit Surigao City, the President said he saw the environmental damage caused by some open pit mines in the province, describing the large man-made holes as soda bottle caps.

“If (Environment Secretary) Gina (Lopez) will really close down mining operations, I can’t do anything because as I saw it earlier going here – Surigao is really the most mined, has the most number of mining firms. They are like Coca-Cola brown bottle caps,” the President said in the Visayan dialect.

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“If they cannot reverse the damage they caused, I think I might close all of them,” he said about the mining operations.

The President recognized that the mining industry generates an income of P70 billion but he would not allow such operations if they continue to destroy the environment.

He said the government can find other alternative livelihood for the affected residents that are not harmful to the environment.

ALTERNATIVES

Duterte plans to return to Surigao and help local officials promote other livelihood opportunities such as rubber and coffee industries.

He said other possible sources of income would include Chinese businesses that would like to enter the Philippine market.

He said China has started to invest and expand businesses in the country which could help generate more jobs for Filipinos.

The Chief Executive directed Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) Secretary Ramon Lopez to draw up an employment program for displaced workers.

The Office of the President also assured the release of funds to supplement the income of anyone who would be displaced by mining closures.

WARNING

In the same speech, Duterte warned mining firms against bribing officials to secure concessions for their businesses. He said he would not allow such form of corruption during his term.

He recalled the country already had major mining disaster caused by Marcopper company in Marinduque several years ago, saying the government is still cleaning up that mess.

“The government back then, they contracted Sec. [Sonny] Dominguez of [Department of] Finance to clean that up. He’s a businessman. So they ordered him to do it. He’s not saying anything about it either, but until now we’re still cleaning that up,” he said.

“If that’s how it is then I won’t allow that. I really won’t allow that,” he added.

He said the government’s efforts o protect the environment would benefit this generation’s children and their children. (With a report from Argyll Cyrus B. Geducos)


TRIBUNE EDITORIAL

Fishbowl moment Written by Tribune Editorial Saturday, 11 February 2017 00:00 font size decrease font size increase font size Print Be the first to comment!

Rody again served notice that foreign governments or entities can criticize anything in his administration except on how he conducts his crusade against the drugs menace.

The latest criticism came from former Colombian President Cesar Gaviria who said in a New York Times commentary that Rody is repeating the mistakes he made in his own drug war in Colombia.

Gaviria found out immediately that it was he who repeated the mistakes of other leaders in criticizing Rody’s war. Before him were former US President Barack Obama, and former United Nations secretary general Ban Ki Moon.

Part of his opinion piece read:

“Taking a hard line against criminals is always popular for politicians. I was also seduced into taking a tough stance on drugs during my time as president,” he said.

He added the polls suggest that Mr. Duterte’s war on drugs is equally popular. “But he will find that it is unwinnable. I also discovered that the human costs were enormous. We could not win the war on drugs through killing petty criminals and addicts.

“We started making positive impacts only when we changed tack, designating drugs as a social problem and not a military one,” he added.

Rody particularly resents those having a so-called fishbowl view on his war on drugs or those from outside looking in.

READ MORE

In part, Rody’s pushback against Gaviria was based on the difference between cocaine, which is extracted naturally, compared to shabu, which is a synthetic drug.

Rody has been adamant about the urgency of ending the spread of shabu or crystal meth which he said shrinks the brain of those addicted to it and make them incapable of human reasoning.

Senate President Koko Pimentel said that the key mistake in the Gaviria piece was his advice to decriminalize the drug problem.

“We are dealing now with synthetic drugs. This is not marijuana. We cannot ever even entertain making the use of making synthetic drugs as legal. No way,” Pimentel said.

Rody should be thinking legally, on the line of Koko, when he quipped that Gaviria was an idiot for even raising the decriminalization of the problem facing the country.

Koko said the war on drugs, despite the headline-grabbing statements of Rody, is all about enforcing the law.

Suggestions about Rody implementing a policy to kill, he said, is absurd since the current Constitution does not even allow death penalty for those convicted of serious crimes.

In several instances, Rody would admit that he himself had killed criminals which further fed suspicions that he had sanctioned vigilantism in his war on drugs.

Of course, like his all other headline-grabbing rhetoric, he would take it back and ascribe to the 60 percent of jokes he makes whenever he speaks.

Just the other day, he again warned media that only two out of five claims he makes in his speeches are what they actually are.

Gaviria’s New York Times commentary also came suspiciously close to the February 1 report by Amnesty International (AI) which tagged the government through the police force as operating similar to the criminal underworld in the war on drugs.

The report said many killings were “systematic, planned and organized” by authorities.

AI expectedly also got a dose of Rody’s outburst. AI has not disclosed any of the sources for its supposedly in depth probe on the drugs war and it is not expected to be in a different mood once the Senate starts a probe into the report.

Gaviria’s advice came in the midst of a rumored yellow plot with a lot of help from rich Filipinos in the United States to unseat Rody.

Gaviria, who was Colombia’s president from 1990 to 1994, may have his good intentions in his appeal to Rody which was totally lost in using an international platform such as the New York Times to express his concerns specifically directed to Rody.


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