News Briefs: Jan. 15, 2019

Credit to Author: besguerra| Date: Mon, 14 Jan 2019 21:30:26 +0000

Sri Lanka leader starts 5-day PH state visit on Tuesday

Sri Lankan President Maithripala Sirisena will arrive in the country on Tuesday for a five-day state visit.

Malacañang said President Rodrigo Duterte would have a bilateral meeting on Wednesday with Sirisena on areas of mutual interest.

“Their bilateral discussions will focus on areas of mutual interest, including political, economic, agriculture, cultural and people-to-people engagement,” presidential spokesperson Salvador Panelo said.


Sirisena will be the second leader of Sri Lanka to visit the Philippines since 1961, when the two countries established formal diplomatic ties. —Julile M. Aurelio

Palace assures 5 sacked police officials of due process

Malacañang on Monday said the five police officials who were sacked by President Rodrigo Duterte over the weekend for alleged links to illegal drugs would face administrative charges.

The President on Sunday announced during a private birthday celebration in Bacolod City that he was sacking Senior Supt. Francisco Ebreo, Senior Supt. Allan Rubi Macapagal, Supt. Richie Makilan Yatar, Supt. Nasruddin Daud Tayuan and Senior Insp. Victor Paulino for links to the narcotics trade.

Presidential spokesperson Salvador Panelo said the President sacked Ebreo, chief of Bacolod City police, for also “making the people [of the city] miserable.” “There is an administrative process for that. So right now, he has been relieved as chief of police of Bacolod,” Panelo said. —Julie M. Aurelio

MILF chief visits Army division headquarters

CAMP SIONGCO, Maguindanao — For the first time on Sunday, the leader of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) set foot on the headquarters of soldiers that he and his men had fought fiercely in the past.

Major Gen. Cirilito Sobejana, commander of the 6th Infantry Division, the Army unit that battled MILF fighters since 1987, welcomed MILF chair Murad Ebrahim at 10 a.m. on Sunday.

“Never in my wildest dreams that I will set foot here and rub elbows with military officials, many of whom were my arch enemies,” the Ebrahim said.

His visit reciprocated that of Sobejana who went to the MILF’s Camp Darapanan in Sultan Kudarat, Maguindanao, in August last year.

The military used to describe Darapanan as “lion’s den.”

Ebrahim told his hosts that “our enemies now are not each other but oppression, injustices, exploitation.” —Edwin O. Fernandez

DND ‘ready to respond’ to threats in disputed sea

Malacañang on Monday said the government was prepared to “respond accordingly” should any threat arise from the increased presence of Chinese fishing vessels in disputed waters in the South China Sea.

But the Palace refused to speculate on the report of Asia Maritime Transparency Initiative, which noted a substantial increase in the number of Chinese fishing boats at Philippine-claimed Subi (Zamora) and Mischief (Panganiban) reefs.

“I am sure whoever is authorized to oversee that area will know what to do if they feel there’s a security threat,” presidential spokesperson Salvador Panelo said at a press briefing.

He said he expected the Department of National Defense (DND) to look into the reported increase in the presence of Chinese fishing vessels in the disputed areas. —Julie M. Aurelio