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By Mario J. Mallari — June 15, 2018 12:05 AMThe much-awaited resumption of the formal peace negotiations between the government of the Philippines and the National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP) will not push through this month as President Rodrigo Duterte wants more consultations with the public. In a statement issued yesterday, Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process (OPAPP) Secretary Jesus Dureza said that both GPH and NDFP peace panels will now adjust the scheduled June 28 formal talks. “In our common effort to make sure that we achieve a conducive and enabling environment for peace, President Rodrigo Duterte instructed us last night to engage our bigger ‘peace table’ — the general public as well as other sectors in government as we work to negotiate peace with the communist rebels,” Dureza said. “Consequently, the initial timeline that our backchannel team had worked on with their counterparts (CPP/NPA/NDF) ‘across the table’ had to be necessarily re-adjusted,” he added. On Wednesday, Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) founding chair Jose Ma. Sison, also the chief political consultant of NDFP, said a “stand down” agreement was reached between the two parties that will pave the way for a ceasefire. Sison said the “stand down” would start June 21 or a week before the June 28 formal talks. Dureza acknowledged the need for more public consultations to ensure that majority is in support of the peace negotiations. “Our peace efforts to succeed should have good support from the general public hence it is necessary that all efforts be exerted to inform and engage them in the same way as the government engages the rebels in addressing the root causes of conflict,” he said. Dureza said that almost 50 years of intermittent and often times disrupted peace negotiations with the communist rebels across several presidencies need a close study to ensure that our “last chance” to put a dignified closure to the armed rebellion will not be squandered away. “The government peace panel in cooperation with the private sector will continue its efforts to ‘engage’ those who earnestly seek peace,” Dureza said. “But it is equally important that the stakeholders on the ground must also be equally engaged through consultations to ensure that all those consensus points and agreements forged in the negotiations table have palpable support from them,” he added. Dureza said that while both peace panels have already achieved so much breakthroughs during the talks, there is also a need to ensure that they do not falter due to haste. “Just, sustainable and lasting peace will happen only when our people understand and support these efforts,” Dureza said. He, however, did not mention when the formal peace talks would resume.
By PNA — July 6, 2018 12:30 AMCatholic prelates urged the public to be more cautious when wading in floods, especially in areas where there is an outbreak of leptospirosis. “We have really to be careful because of the flooding and the dirt in our environs in Metro Manila. People should avoid wading in the floods even if they say they have no wounds,” said Manila Auxiliary Bishop Broderick Pabillio in a text message to reporters. Pabillo also advised immediate consultation with a doctor once symptoms of the disease is felt. “People should immediately seek medical help if they have the symptoms of the disease,” the Catholic prelate added. On the other hand, Cubao Bishop Honesto Ongtioco expressed alarm over the outbreak of leptospirosis in seven areas in Metro Manila. Ongtioco, however, said he is confident that authorities will do their best to control the spread of the disease. “It is alarming and I am sure the DOH (Department of Health) will act immediately because this is their responsibility and competency,” said Ongtioco in a text message. Outbreak in Metro Manila Health Secretary Francisco Duque declared an outbreak of leptospirosis in certain parts of Metro Manila following the rising number of cases in the last two weeks. These areas include Barangays Bagbag, Silangan, Batasan Hills, Commonwealth, Novaliches Proper, Payatas, Pinyahan and Vasra in Quezon City; Barangays Lower Bicutan, Maharlika, Signal Village and Western Bicutan in Taguig; Barangay Pinagbuhatan in Pasig; Barangays BF homes and San Dionisio in Parañaque City; Barangay North Bay Boulevard in Navotas; Barangay Addition Hills in Mandaluyong; and Barangay Concepcion in Malabon. The DoH said that leptospirosis’ symptoms include high fever, muscle pain, eye redness, yellowing of skin, tea colored urine, decreased urine output, cough, diarrhea and vomiting. It added that if left untreated, leptospirosis may cause kidney failure, brain damage, massive internal bleeding and death.
By PNA — June 20, 2018 06:49 PMTHE Philippine National Police (PNP) has received 248 requests for firearms licenses from religious leaders following the killing of three priests by gunmen. Of the figure, 188 applicants are from the Catholic church while the rest were filed by pastors and leaders of other religious denominations, PNP chief Director General Oscar Albayalde said in a press briefing in Camp Crame on Wednesday. Permits would be given to qualified applicants and those who comply with requirements, said Albayalde. Albayalde reiterated his call for priests and private individuals at risk to report threats to their safety and coordinate with local police units. He said the PNP is willing to provide firearms proficiency training for interested parties. Albayalde explained that like other private individuals applying for a License to own and possess firearms and permits to carry firearms outside of residence, priests are entitled to own up to two firearms depending on the category applied. Automatic rifles and so-called long firearms are not covered by the permits. p: wjg