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Ati school for living tradition needs more fund

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SCHOOL FOR ATI. Delia Pauden (right) holds classes for Ati children in their School for Living Tradition (SLT) in Sitio Pantad, Barangay Igcalawagan, Tobias Fornier town. In an interview on Tuesday (Nov. 19, 2019), Pauden says she teaches traditional dance, language, and weaving industry to their younger generation. (Photo courtesy of Delia Pauden)

SAN JOSE DE BUENAVISTA, Antique — The School for Living Tradition (SLT) of the Ati Indigenous Peoples (IP) in Sitio Pantad, Barangay Igcalawagan in the municipality of Tobias Fornier needs additional fund for its completion.

Delia Pauden, head of the Pantad Ati Tribe Association who also serves as a teacher of the SLT, in an interview Tuesday, said they are asking the Antique provincial government for an additional fund including for construction materials to finish their school.

“Our SLT was funded by the National Cultural Center for the Arts (NCCA) with PHP150,000 last October 2018,” she said.

The fund was used to construct a one-floor concrete building where they hold classes for their traditional dance which they call “Miroy Criñosa”; “Inati” language; and weaving using local materials such as “buri” and “nito” for pouches and bags.

“For this school year, we are about to have our classes this month,” she said.

The SLT was conceptualized for their tribe members to learn and preserve their traditional culture, art, and livelihood.

“If we don’t teach our traditional culture, art, and livelihood, the new generation will tend to forget it,” Pauden said.

Last year, she said they only met in a designated place because they have no classroom. Even without the concrete structure, she said they were able to gather 70 Atis, mostly mothers as well as their children in the community, to join the classes.

“With the concrete structure for our SLT we would be able to have a better place where to learn,” she said.

The fund from the NCCA, Pauden said, was not enough as their school has no wall or flooring yet. (PNA)

Photo Credit: Philippine News Agency

Suspension of rice importation to push inflation: Pernia

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(PNA file photo) 

MANILA — The country’s chief economist on Tuesday cautioned against the proposed suspension of rice importation by some sectors to address the issues faced by local farmers resulting from the tariffication law, saying this move can trigger inflation.

“We will be back to where we were last year and the poor will suffer,” Socioeconomic Planning Secretary Ernesto Pernia told reporters on the sidelines of Monitoring and Evaluation Forum.

Pernia, also Director-General of the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA), said inflation for the 30 percent poorest has already declined to 0.9 percent.

The country’s inflation rate surged to a nine-year high to 6.7 percent in September 2018 due to higher food prices caused by supply disruptions following the onslaught of a typhoon.

It declined to a three-year low to 0.8 percent in October 2019 due to lower food prices. The rice tariffication law continued to help increase rice supply thus allowing more Filipinos to access cheaper rice, a NEDA official earlier said.

“The much bigger majority are benefitting,” Pernia added.

However, the implementation of the rice tariffication program, which allows the expansion of the private sector’s role in the import market, has been blamed for the steep drop in farm-gate prices of palay.

But Pernia said there are already measures that will alleviate the “difficulty” of rice farmers.

He was referring to PHP3 billion in cash assistance being given to 600,000 rice farmers tilling one hectare and below affected by low palay prices.

The Department of Agriculture (DA) said additional PHP3-billion cash aid will be allotted for rice farmers tilling 1.01 hectares to two hectares next year. (PNA)

Photo Credit: Philippine News Agency

Ambassador asks Duterte to ensure Korean tourists’ safety

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MANILA, Philippines—South Korean Ambassador to the Philippines Han Dong-man has appealed to President Rodrigo Duterte to ensure the safety of Korean nationals visiting the Philippines.
Han made the request during his Monday’s courtesy call on Duterte at Malacaang’s Music Room.

“Yesterday when I met him [Duterte], I promised to bring two million tourists during my term. Also, I asked him to secure the safety and security of our Korean nationals,” Han said Tuesday during the “The Virtual Presser” hosted by Presidential Communications Operations-Office Global Media Affairs.

Earlier this month, the Department of Tourism (DOT) reported that the Philipp…

Keep on reading: Ambassador asks Duterte to ensure Korean tourists’ safety

44% on drugs watch list arrested in W. Visayas

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ANTI-DRUGS DRIVE. Lt. Col. Joem Malong, spokesperson of Police Regional Office in Western Visayas (PRO), says on Monday (Nov. 18, 2019) the region’s cops will work to bring to zero the number of personalities on the drug watch list. From Dec. 5, 2017 to Nov. 4, 2019, the PRO 6 arrested 1,554 out of the 3,481 personalities on the list. (PNA photo by Gail Momblan)

ILOILO CITY — The Police Regional Office in Western Visayas (PRO 6) has arrested 44.23 percent of drug personalities on the watch list from Dec. 5, 2017 to Nov. 4 this year.

This translates to 1,554 arrested out of the 3,481 personalities on the drug watch list, Lt. Col. Joem Malong, PRO 6 spokesperson, said in a phone interview on Monday.

She said 1,040 of the total personalities on the list surrendered to the police while 21 have died in police operations.

PRO 6 noted that Negros Occidental Police Office has the most number of wanted drug personalities with 1, 725; Bacolod City with 1, 033; and Iloilo City with 259.

The cumulative worth of shabu confiscation from the intensive anti-drugs operations that were re-launched on Dec. 5, 2017 to Nov. 4 this year totaled PHP478 million.

The performance of Western Visayas police from January to November 4 this year led to PHP162-million worth of shabu confiscation, Malong said.

“We have surpassed our achievements last year in terms of confiscation. From Jan. to Nov. 4 this year alone, we were able to have shabu confiscation worth PHP162 million,” she said.

For the remaining weeks of the year, the PRO 6 vowed to go after those identified as high-value targets and those listed on the watch list.

“We are up on the watch list and we want to bring that to zero,” she said.

Malong assured the police will still arrest those newly-identified personalities through their operations.

The PRO 6 is still chasing after Ernesto “Erning” Bolivar, the region’s top drug target.

Bolivar, 41, of Pototan town, Iloilo became the prime target of the regional office after the death of drug lord Richard Prevendido in September 2017. (PNA)

Photo Credit: Philippine News Agency

'Hot meat' seized at Dumaguete City port

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‘HOT MEAT’. Quarantine inspectors of the Bureau of Animal Industry (BAI) in Negros Oriental seize some raw meat and meat by-products from a passenger who disembarked at the Dumaguete port from Tagbilaran, Bohol on Tuesday afternoon (Nov. 19, 2019). Authorities have tightened watch against the possible entry of the African Swine Fever virus in the province. (Photo courtesy of the Bureau of Animal Industry-Negros Oriental)

DUMAGUETE CITY – Quarantine inspectors of the Bureau of Animal Industry (BAI) in Negros Oriental on Tuesday seized raw meat and some by-products from a fast craft that arrived at the port here from Bohol.

The items did not have the pertinent documents from the port of origin, such as a shipping permit and a certificate of meat inspection as required by law as part of efforts to contain the spread of African Swine Fever (ASF), said Dr. Alfonso Tundag, Quarantine Officer of BAI-Negros Oriental.

Confiscated were three packs of sausage, two packs of chorizo, one kilogram of raw beef and one kilogram of chicken meat from a passenger who disembarked from the M/V Oceanjet fast craft from Tagbilaran, around 2:30 p.m.

Quarantine Inspectors Ron Paul Sadia and Marlon Mapula of BAI-Negros Oriental intercepted the items, which were wrapped in plastic and placed inside a styro-box.

In a telephone interview, Sadia said they called the attention of the passenger and asked if they could check the contents of the styro-box. When asked for the pertinent documents, the passenger could not present any.

Sadia said they explained to the passenger they had to confiscate the items, which were later disinfected and disposed of properly.

This is the first time that authorities intercepted and confiscated raw meat and by-products at the Dumaguete port.

Large trucks, delivery vans, and other vehicles departing from the port are also being inspected while travelers have to subject their luggage and other belongings for X-ray scanning at the passenger departure terminal, Sadia said.

Meanwhile, Dr. Tundag said that amid the ASF scare in Luzon, the province is still allowing the entry of these items from other places provided that the necessary documents are presented to authorities.

He appealed to the public to understand the current situation and coordinate with government efforts to prevent the entry of the ASF virus in the Visayas and Mindanao regions, which currently remain free of the disease. (PNA)

Photo Credit: Philippine News Agency

BSP readies new reforms for 2020

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BSP Deputy Governor Chuchi Fonacier (PNA File Photo)

MANILA — The Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) is set to implement two new regulations targeted to further protect banks’ operational risks by 2020.

In her speech during the Chamber of Thrift Banks (CTB) membership meeting in Makati City Tuesday, BSP Deputy Governor Chuchi Fonacier said they are scheduled to implement by June next year the supervisory assessment framework or SAFr in lieu of the CAMELS rating.

CAMELS is an international rating system that checks on banks’ capital adequacy, management capability, earnings, liquidity, and sensitivity.

Fonacier said SAFr will have a four-point rating on banks’ overall health, with 4 as the highest and 1 as the lowest, unlike CAMELS’ 5 ratings.

“It features an assessment that is business model-centric that will shape the BSP’s supervisory intervention and influence, the frequency of examination,” she said.

Fonacier said they have conducted a parallel run with a major bank for SAFr implementation, but the results of the comparison with CAMELS are still being finalized.

She explained SAFr is forward-looking assessment while CAMELS’ is historical thus, there are some developments after the assessment period that are not incorporated vis-à-vis the bank’s ratings.

In an interview by journalists after the event, Fonacier said banks should be able to properly assess the risks and prepare for these because this is part of risk management.

“This is reputation risk management, meaning they should be very conscious of what are the potential threats to the reputation of the bank,” she said.

Fonacier further said SAFr is a holistic assessment of a bank’s overall health since it also checks on the various kinds of risks that banks face.

Under this system, which has yet to be approved by the Monetary Board (MB), an assessment will be made every two years, unlike CAMELS that is done annually.

The BSP is set to implement in the second quarter next year the risk-based pricing framework that will weigh “risks associated with lending and financing are adequately compensated.”

“Borrowers with lower risk profile should be charged with lower interest rates and vice versa,” she said.

Fonacier said they have released a draft circular on the system, which industry players and some small banks said maybe “tedious” to implement. (PNA)

Photo Credit: Philippine News Agency

Scientist updates youth, stakeholders on climate concerns

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CLIMATE FORUM. Dr. Thian Yew Gan and members of the panel entertain questions from the audience during the lecture on the multi-facet impacts of global warming at the University of the Philippines-Visayas, Iloilo City campus on Tuesday (Nov. 19, 2019). Gan stressed that providing the youth the knowledge on the latest situation of the globe is important in bringing change to society. (PNA photo by Gail Momblan)

ILOILO CITY — IIonggos were given a wider understanding of the latest global climate occurrences and concerns through a lecture at the University of the Philippines-Visayas (UPV) here on Tuesday.

The UPV, through its World Expert Lecture Series program under its Office of International Linkages, has brought to Iloilo Dr. Thian Yew Gan, a professor of civil and environmental engineering at the University of Alberta in Edmonton, Canada.

Students from the UPV School of Technology, UP High School, John B. Lacson Maritime University; youth leaders, climate change activists and campaigners, civil society organizations and government officials from various disaster risk reduction and management offices listened to Gan’s lecture titled: “Perspectives on Multi-facet Impacts of Global Warming to the Hydrosphere and Cryosphere.”

In an interview, Gan has underscored the importance of bringing the concern of the climate to the youth.

“Through lectures, we can raise awareness, especially to the younger generations and students especially that they are world leaders in the future. Lectures attended by students have a positive impact in society,” Gan said.

Gan has presented to the audience the scientific evidence on global warming and the role of the greenhouse gases in the warming temperature trends.

Global warming has resulted in the melting of glaciers and sea ice “that has not happened in a thousand years in the past and has starting to occur in recent years.”

Aside from this, he said global warming has also affected the water cycle and the water supply in certain river basins.

Gan said the melting of glaciers will cause sea level rise and cause coastal erosion, which can also affect the Philippines.

He noted that sea-level rise at present is recorded at 3 millimeters (mm) per year, but it increases due to global warming.

“In the past, it’s 1.8 mm then went on to 2.03 to 4 mm. It hastens. The melting of ice sheets is increasing, it’s getting faster now,” he said.

One of the effects it will bring is the increased flooding, he said, especially in the low-lying areas.

“It will impact low lying areas, I think the Philippines will not have much impact compared to countries with snow and ice melting and glaciers,” Gan added.

Considered as a “global concern”, Gan concluded that the solution will depend much on the major players in the world like America, China, and India.

The Philippines, meanwhile, can do an effort as an incentive to big players. (PNA)

Photo Credit: Philippine News Agency

'Ramon' will continue to bring rains over most of Luzon

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(Graphics taken from PAGASA website

MANILA — Typhoon Ramon will continue to bring rains over most parts of Luzon, the weather bureau said Tuesday afternoon.

The Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA) forecast stormy weather over Cagayan, Batanes, Apayao, Abra, Kalinga, and Ilocos provinces.

Occasional rains with gusty winds will prevail over the rest of Cordillera Administrative Region while scattered rain showers will be experienced over Aurora province and the rest of Cagayan Valley.

Ramon was last eyed 100 kilometers east of Calayan, Cagayan, and remains almost stationary.

It has a maximum sustained winds of 120 kph near the center, and gustiness of up to 165 kph.

PAGASA is monitoring tropical depression (TD) Sarah, which was last spotted 630 kilometers east northeast of Borongan City, Samar. There was no reported direct effect of TD Sarah as of this posting.

Metro Manila and the rest of the country will have isolated rain showers caused by localized thunderstorms.

Meanwhile, strong winds will prevail over Northern Luzon, and the western part of Central Luzon. Coastal waters along these areas will be rough.

Moderate winds and moderate seas will prevail over the rest of Luzon.

Elsewhere, winds will be light to moderate with slight to moderate seas, PAGASA said. (PNA)

Photo Credit: Philippine News Agency

‘SMART policing’ helps maintain peace and order in Boracay

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NEW BORACAY POLICE CHIEF. Lt. Col. Jonathan Pablito, new Malay Municipal Police chief, says on Tuesday (Nov. 19, 2019) that CCTVs in the famous Boracay Island help in maintaining peace and order. He said 17 CCTVs are installed under the Secured, Mobile, Artificial Intelligence-Driven, Real-time, Technology or SMART Policing program of the Philippine National Police. (PNA file photo by Gail Momblan)

ILOILO CITY — The new Malay Municipal Police Station chief installed on Monday has noted the significant help of Closed-Circuit Television (CCTV) in maintaining peace and order in the world-famous Boracay Island.

Lt. Col. Jonathan Pablito, new Malay police chief, said in a phone interview Tuesday that 17 CCTVs are scattered around the island under the Philippine National Police’s Secured, Mobile, Artificial Intelligence-Driven, Real-Time, Technology or SMART Policing program.

“I am very fortunate that Boracay is one of the areas of SMART policing,” he said.

The peace and order on the island will be monitored through the CCTVs, which connect to the command center located at Malay police station.

Pablito said it will serve as crime prevention in the sense that criminals will be discouraged from committing crimes and illegalities because of the CCTVs.

“It can also serve as a crime solution. If ever a crime happened, their getaway in the place will also be captured through CCTVs,” Pablito said.

Aside from the 17 installed CCTVs under the program, the new Malay police chief said there are also CCTVs installed by the local government unit and other private establishments.

“We will know further the issues on the island so we can have smooth coordination with the task force,” he said.

Pablito assured that he will work with the local government of Malay to maintain the island’s peace and order.

Last week, the local government has launched “Bawal ang Pasaway sa Boracay” to remind tourists and visitors of the island to abide by the rules on the island.

The slogan is connected to local ordinances that ban smoking, littering, urination and defecation in the beach, transit vending, among others.

“If the law is there, there is an ordinance, the police is in full support especially when it concerns public order and anti-criminality,” he said.

He encouraged the public to work with the law enforcers and become responsible members of the community.

“We will serve you with the best of our abilities and service not only with a smile but with true commitment,” Pablito said.

Pablito has previously served as the Iloilo City Police Station 1 chief. He replaced Maj. Jess Baylon who will be temporarily assigned at the Regional Personnel Holding and Accounting Unit. (PNA)

Photo Credit: Philippine News Agency

Ilocos region launches Adopt-A-River project

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ADOPT-A-RIVER PROJECT. Personnel of the PNP-Maritime Group 1 from its units in Pangasinan, La Union, Ilocos Sur and Ilocos Norte pick up trash along the bank of Pantal River during the launching of PNP-Maritime Region 1’s “Adopt-A-River” project on Tuesday (Nov. 19, 2019). In partnership with EMB-DENR and the city government, the maritime group adopts the three-kilometer stretch of Pantal River for the conduct of periodic clean-up operations, together with partner agencies and other stakeholders. (Photo by Liwayway Yparraguirre)

DAGUPAN CITY — The Philippine National Police (PNP)-Maritime Group in Region 1 (Ilocos) has started its clean-up drive at the Pantal River here, its chosen area for the Adopt-A-River project.

Pantal River is one of the major river systems in this city. It is downstream of the river connecting Calasiao, Sta. Barbara towns, Urdaneta City, and upstream.

“This launching is a wake-up call to residents of Pantal and those living along the river, to be responsible in disposing (of) their garbage. We need their cooperation as there will be succeeding activities to ensure that Pantal river will be cleaned and will be kept clean,” said Col. Dennis Denver Sab-it, PNP-Maritime Region 1 chief, in an interview Tuesday.

The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) is the main proponent of the project, while the Regional Advisory Council determined the area/river to be adopted.

“We are not the first government agency or unit to adopt a river, however, this will be one of our unit’s best practices,” Sab-it said.

Under their Adopt-A-River project, he said they will conduct periodic clean-up operations possibly on a monthly basis.

The length covering the river clean-up project is three kilometers from the Quintos bridge area at A.B. Fernandez Avenue down to the Pantal river’s mouth at the back of LTO-Dagupan district office.

Sab-it said the participants or groups were subdivided into 14 sectors or clean-up points of the whole stretch of the three-kilometer project area.

“Most of the garbage fished from the sides of the Pantal river were packed in plastic bags, there were also plastic bottles and tetra packs, and other materials. Some are trapped at water lilies or at the branches of trees or at the leaves of nipa (or palm) plants which are submerged at the river. The water at these areas emit a foul odor,” he added.

Sab-it further said these plants need to be trimmed so as not to serve as the catchment of areas of trash.

He said they have to coordinate with other government agencies or private companies where cutters or other equipment can be borrowed.

They will also later sign a memorandum of agreement (MOA) with EMB-DENR on this “Adopt-A-River” project and other stakeholders, he added.

“I have suggested to the DENR-Environmental Management Bureau the testing of water quality to see later changes as a result of the river clean-up,” Sab-it said.

The PNP-Maritime Region 1 participants come from its units in Ilocos Norte, Ilocos Sur, La Union, and Pangasinan.

The other participants were from the Philippine Army, Philippine Coast Guard, media, PNP-Maritime Region 1 Advisory Council, Philippine Information Agency, different barangay councils, Dagupan City’s Waste Management Division, personnel from the local government unit, Department of Education, volunteer groups, and students from universities and colleges in the city. (PNA)

Photo Credit: Philippine News Agency

NegOcc hosts first robotics training center in Western Visayas

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NEGRENSE ROBOTICS. Negros Occidental Gov. Jose Eugenio Lacson (center) with other officials during the launch of the Robotics and Intelligence Machines Program in Bacolod City on Tuesday (Nov. 19, 2019). The program aims to hone the fundamental skills of young Negrenses in the emerging fields of automation, instrumentation and robotics industry. (PNA photo by Nanette L. Guadalquiver)

BACOLOD CITY — The provincial government-run Negros Occidental Language and Information Technology Center (NOLITC) on Tuesday launched the Negrense Robotics and Intelligence Machines Program as part of its innovative course offerings for Negrenses.

The move established Negros Occidental as the host of the first robotics training center in Western Visayas, and the first local government in the country to support a learning center for robotics.

“I consider today as a good day for the province of Negros Occidental for we start advancing ways to empower and enable our people through Negrense Robotics,” Governor Eugenio Jose Lacson said during the program launch held at the NOLITC Social Hall.

The NOLITC has partnered with Pinoy Robot Games headed by founder Melvin Matulac for the conduct of training for teachers and students.

“I have yet to find someone from Region 6, or from Negros (who was) with me in an international contest. That’s why we went down to Visayas and Mindanao because the medalists are all in Luzon. None from Region 6. I would like to see that happen,” Matulac said.

He said the training and workshops offered by NOLITC intend to augment the learning of students and make teachers as “champions” of robotics.

Through the Negrense Robotics and Intelligence Machines Program, the fundamental skills of young Negrense trainees will be honed in the emerging fields of automation, instrumentation and robotics industry.

The NOLITC, through the robotics training center, will provide a space for innovators and leaders to convert their curiosity into creativity and make tinkering possible to generate products from ideas.

NOLITC head Ma. Cristina Orbecido said the provincial government has allocated PHP1.5 million to purchase the equipment for the robotics hub, which include15 robots and 13 laptop units.

“We will train teachers and students. Our aim is to be able to send Negrense students to national and international robotics competitions,” she said.

Starting next week, four batches of students from the province’s third district will attend the Robotics for Kids training.

In 2020, the Negrense Robotics Workshops will be launched to include On-site Robotic Training and Teachers Training. (PNA)

Photo Credit: Philippine News Agency

Robredo to drug czar appointment critics:  Bring it up with Duterte

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MANILA, Philippines — Vice President Leni Robredo said those who are resenting her appointment as co-chairperson of the Inter-Agency Committee on Anti-Illegal Drugs (ICAD) should raise the matter before President Rodrigo Duterte.


Robredo admitted being surprised whenever she would hear concerns from other ICAD members through media, saying that no problems are being raised during their meetings.


“Kung mayroon mang resentment sa aking appointment as co-chair, palagay ko dapat hindi sa akin iyon i-raise, kasi hindi ko naman hiningi iyong posisyon na ito,” Robredo told reporters.


(If there is any resentment in my appointment as co-chair…

Keep on reading: Robredo to drug czar appointment critics:  Bring it up with Duterte

US defense chief visits American Cemetery in Taguig

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MANILA, Philippines — US Secretary of Defense Mark Esper on Tuesday paid tribute to American and Filipino soldiers who died during World War II.

The top US defense official, who is in the Philippines to meet his counterpart Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana, laid flowers for the fallen service members at the Manila American Cemetery in Taguig City.

While in the Philippines, Esper also met with Secretary of Foreign Affairs Teodoro Locsin Jr.

The US official discussed counterterrorism, defense capacity building, and a reaffirmation of US commitment to the Philippines.
Edited by KGA…

Keep on reading: US defense chief visits American Cemetery in Taguig

SoKor ambassador pledges more Korean tourists, asks PRRD to keep them safe

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Published November 19, 2019, 7:39 PM

By Genalyn Kabiling

South Korean Ambassador to the Philippines Han Dong-man promised to invite more Koreans to visit the Philippines and help build a “Koreatown” in Manila but asked the government to ensure their safety.

Korean Ambassador to the Philippines Han Dong-Man (PCOO)

The ambassador relayed the statement when he paid a courtesy call on President Duterte Monday in Malacañang where he highlighted the robust ties between the two countries.

“Yesterday when I met him, I promised to bring two million tourists during my term. Also, I asked him to secure the safety and security of our Korean nationals,” Han said during the “Virtual Presser” organized by the Presidential Communications Operations Office – Office of Global Media Affairs at the

Read More SoKor ambassador pledges more Korean tourists, asks PRRD to keep them safe

Photo Credit: Manila Bulletin

Duterte wants gov’t to focus on ‘conflict-prone communities’ to end insurgency

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MANILA, Philippines — President Rodrigo Duterte has stressed the need to focus on “conflict-prone” communities as his government eyes the end of the decades-old communist insurgency in the Philippines.

Duterte made the call during a joint command conference with the National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (NTF-ELCAC) and state forces at Malacaang on Monday, National Security Adviser Hermogenes Esperon, Jr. said in a statement Tuesday.

READ: Duterte, task force to end communist insurgency to meet Monday

Esperon said the President, during the meeting, “stressed the need to focus on conflict-prone communities, as he called on those present to ensure that the roo…

Keep on reading: Duterte wants gov’t to focus on ‘conflict-prone communities’ to end insurgency

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