Selective punishment amid ECQ: Gov’t allies spared from violations while ordinary citizens face arrest, being shot

After being arrested for violating enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) rules, Senator Jinggoy Estrada has been released by the San Juan City Police — a development deemed as unfair by worker group Bukluran ng Manggagawang Pilipino (BMP).

The group slammed the move after BMP vice president Lito Rastica and labor leader Reynaldo Dulay remained inside a cramped detention cell in San Jose police station. Rastica and Dulay were arrested for the same reason as Estrada.

Estrada was arrested on May 3 for allegedly violating social distancing measures and improperly handling food while distributing fish to residents of Barangay Salapan in San Juan.

BMP pointed out that Rastica and Dulay were arrested while they were picketing near their residences, despite wearing masks, observing social distancing, and carrying their respective quarantine passes.

“Jinggoy Estrada was released immediately by the police after they were detained for the same reason,” the BMP said.

The group mentioned that other citizens sharing the same cell with Rustica and Dulay were also arrested due to ECQ violations, but have been detained for more than a month now for not having lawyers to defend them.

Earlier today, the BMP posted on its Facebook page that Rustica and Dulay have been released from jail.

In a separate statement, Concerned Lawyers for Civil Liberties expressed concern on the government’s mass arrest of 92 persons tagged as ECQ ‘violators’ on Labor Day last week, which include relief workers, and people protesting about the government’s slow aid for vulnerable families in Iloilo.

“While allies of President Duterte were left untouched despite violations of quarantine rules, the government has dissenters for the same supposed violations,” CLCL said.

Bukluran likewise appealed that if the government will go easy on ECQ violations of government officials and allies of the administration, they should as well free all lockdown ‘violators.’

Based on the data of the Philippine National Police, there have been 136,517 quarantine violators since March 17, the day Duterte declared a Luzon-wide enhanced community quarantine.

Recently, citizens shared their negative sentiments about how the government seemed to just shrug off the quarantine violations of Senator Bong Go and Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (OWWA) Deputy Administrator Mocha Uson.

Uson visited more than 300 OFWs quarantined in Batangas despite ban on gatherings to curb the spread of COVID-19.

Both Go and Uson separately hosted gatherings despite congregations being banned under the ECQ guidelines to combat the rapid spread of coronavirus, but are yet to be reprimanded for their violations.

Millennials from different youth groups strives to raise P1 million for poor communities in Mindanao

Millennials from various youth groups in the country have been trying to raise P1 million for 20 poor communities in Mindanao that have affected heavily by the COVID-19 pandemic.

In a statement, the group said that the raised funds will be used to buy personal protective equipment (PPE) for frontliners. A part of the fund will also be allotted for food and sanitation packs for low-income families and indigenous communities in Zamboanga del Norte, Sarangani, Agusan del Sur, and Tawi-Tawi.

National president of Millennials PH and lead convener of Kapit-Mindanao Meryl Hilda Jalani said that as a Mindanaoan herself, she feel obligated now more than ever to try and help out in any way she can, and reach the most unreached areas in Southern Philippines in terms of relief.

Kapit-Mindanao, as of April 21, has raised at least P179,236.

Kapit-Mindanao co-lead convener Maco Ravanzo mentioned that the group received donations as much as P20,000 to the smallest but very meaningful one peso.

“This is a true testament that no amount is too big or too small to help, that anyone can make a difference especially in these trying times,” he added.

Individuals may support the cause by following Kapit-Mindanao on social media or by sending queries to kapitmindanao@gmail.com.

READ:

PH files protests vs China as US makes presence felt in South China Sea

Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) Secretary Teodoro “Teddy” Locsin Jr. filed two diplomatic protests against China over alleged violations of international law and Philippine sovereignty in the West Philippine Sea (WPS). 

On his Twitter account, Locsin said the protests address China’s establishment of two districts in the WPS and the alleged harassment of a Philippine Navy ship.

“At 5:17 pm today the Chinese embassy received 2 diplomatic protests: 1. on the pointing of a radar gun at a Philippine Navy ship in PH waters & 2. declaring parts of Philippine territory as part of Hainan province—both violations of international law & Philippine sovereignty,” he said.

China Global Television Network (CGTN) reported on Saturday China has established two new districts covering Paracel Islands, Zhongsha Islands, which is home to Panatag (Scarborough) Shoal, Woody Island, Kalayaan (Spratly) Islands, and Kagitingan (Fiery Cross) Reef.

Xisha district will oversee the Paracel and Zhongsha islands and its surrounding waters from Woody Island, which is claimed by both China and Vietnam. The Paracel Islands are both claimed by China and Vietnam. The entirety of the Zhongsha Islands is both claimed by China and Taiwan, while the Philippines claim Panatag Shoal.

The second district, called Nansha, will be governing the Kalayaan Islands and its surrounding waters. Its government will hold office on Kagitingan Reef. Kalayaan Islands’ claimants include Brunei, Malaysia, Taiwan, and Vietnam, apart from China and the Philippines.

On Tuesday (April 21), USS America’s Facebook page posted photos of the amphibious assault ship of the United States (US) Navy treading the South China Sea off Malaysia. Two other US Navy ships, the guided-missile cruiser USS Bunker Hill and the destroyer USS Barry, also tread the disputed waters.

On Sunday evening (April 19), US President Donald Trump reached out to Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte to discuss bilateral cooperation on the COVID-19 response. Trump and Duterte also talked about strengthening their countries’ cultural, economic, and security ties. This week, the US Embassy in Manila confirmed the additional P269 million aid for the country’s fight against the pandemic.

While the US has no territorial claims in the South China Sea, the US Navy has shown its commitment to keeping the peace in the disputed waters for decades. 

“Through our continued operational presence in the South China Sea, we are working with our allies and partners to promote freedom of navigation and overflight, and the international principles that underpin security and prosperity for the Indo-Pacific,” said Lt. Cmdr. Nicole Schwegman, a spokeswoman for the US Indo-Pacific Command.

“The US supports the efforts of our allies and partners to determine their own economic interests,” she added.

Since the COVID-19 pandemic began, China has been more aggressive in showing her dominance in the South China Sea, including the West Philippine Sea.

A report showing Chinese research stations in Kalayaan Islands, specifically in Kagitingan and Zamora (Subi) Reefs. The report came shortly before China donated COVID-19 test kits to the country in March. China now has seven man-made military bases in Kalayaan. 

Vietnam, one of the claimant countries in the South China Sea, also reported that the Chinese survey ship, encountered by Vietnamese vessels last year, has returned to waters covered by Vietnam’s Exclusive Economic Zone. 

Earlier this month, a China patrol vessel rammed and sank a Vietnamese fishing vessel, similar to the ramming incident of a Chinese fishing vessel versus a Philippine fishing boat. The Chinese trawler abandoned 22 Filipinos struggling in the water before Vietnamese fishermen rescued them.

The Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA), in a rare move, also expressed solidarity with Vietnam but failed to call out China or question the country responsible for the incident.

QC Business Permits and Licensing Department warned local residents against fixers

An alleged fixer who claimed of having the “right connection” has ben arrested on Wednesday. The Quezon City Business Permits and Licensing Department has warned local residents against the illegal processing of permits and documents at the City Hall.

Police identified the suspect as Adelfa Andres, who was caught in an entrapment operation at a fastfood restaurant near the Quezon City Hall.

Almer Garcia, operations manager of Araw Transport Service Cooperation, has been asked by Andres to pay P25,000 in exchange for the processing of the cooperative’s business permit, said Quezon City Police District (QCPD).

According to Garcia, Andres introduced herself as Zenaida Balingit. He reported the incident to the QCPD, who immediately arrested the suspect.

The process of obtaining permits and documents has been simplified through a one-stop shop and there would be no need for fixers.

Fun run held by Negresens to raise meal fund for Taal victims

Fun run for Taal victims held by Negresens to raise meal fund

A fun run will be held at Bacolod City on Sunday, January 19, 2020 to raise funds for instant meals to be given to the evacuees of Taal Volcano.

Named as “A Run for Taal,” proceeds would be used to make Mingo meals – a nutritious complementary meal consisting of rice, mongo beans, and malunggay. They are produced by Negrense Volunteers for Change (NVC).

Millie Kilayko, NVC president, said “For every kilometre run, one Mingo meal will be given to a child affected by the Taal eruption. Participants can anytime and anywhere, they just need to post their proof of mileage with the hashtag #MikelLovinaJamborun2020 on Facebook or instagram.”

Photos of the runners’ mileage recorded on their watches or mobile phones should be included in their post alongside with the hashtag #MikelLovinaJamborun2020, Kilayko said

The Jamborun is a 23-kilometer run that commemorates and remembers the passing of Mikel Lovina, an 18 year old who died in a tragic car accident.

The family of Lovina, Negrenses themselves, sponsors the fund of Mingo meals earned by the runners for the cause.

It was originally a family fun run in 2013 which in turn transformed into a tradition that benefits charity through the partnership with NVC foundation

“Love and Gratitude can’t get better than this”, statement by Kilayko