News Briefs: Sept. 6, 2018
Navy to conduct thorough probe of frigate’s grounding
The Philippine Navy will launch a thorough probe on the grounding of its flagship, BRP Gregorio del Pilar, as soon as she arrives at the Subic port.
Navy flag officer in command Vice Adm. Robert Empedrad told reporters on Wednesday that the frigate was still being towed to safe harbor by the tugboats M/T Vigilant and M/T Trabajador.
Empedrad said the Navy expected the frigate to arrive at Subic on Friday.
“We need the ship to arrive at Subic and then we [will] conduct the comprehensive investigation,” he said.
The BRP Gregorio del Pilar, which had its starboard (right) propeller detached due to the grounding, is already due for its scheduled maintenance at the shipyard in Subic, the Navy chief said.
The vessel was extricated late Monday night from Hasa-Hasa (Half Moon) Shoal in the West Philippine Sea after it ran aground last week. —Jeannette I. Andrade
Party-list group under probe over ‘unregistered’ medicines
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is looking into allegations that Ang Mata party-list group used in its medical missions medicines that were not registered with the agency, Health Secretary Francisco Duque III said on Wednesday.
Duque said appropriate cases would be filed against the health-centered group if the investigation showed that it indeed used unregistered products.
Earlier, the nongovernment organization Pinoy Aksyon for Governance and Environment reported to Duque that Ang Mata supposedly distributed unregistered medicines and even tapped unlicensed doctors in its medical and eye missions.
“Tedious standards should be applied to these activities which have direct impact on the public,” Pinoy Aksyon chair Bency Ellorin said in a letter. —Jovic Yee
POEA imposes OFW deployment ban to Micronesia
The Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA) has imposed a total deployment ban to the Federated States of Micronesia due to its “continuing maltreatment and abuse” of overseas Filipino workers (OFWs).
In a resolution, the POEA said the ban would remain enforced until the Western Pacific country “settles the unresolved cases and improves the working conditions of OFWs” there.
The ban was prompted by reports in June last year that OFWs at Chuuk State Hospital were being maltreated, harassed and discriminated against.
The Philippine consulate in Guam noted that Micronesia “made no effort in improving the working conditions and guaranteeing the timely payment of salaries of workers.” —Jovic Yee
New PH envoy to the Holy See meets with Pope Francis
The country’s new ambassador to the Holy See is ready to take steps to improve ties with the Vatican.
“I will see how I can enhance Philippine-Vatican relations since we have commonalities on issues like migration, climate change, and interfaith,” Ambassador Grace Relucio Princesa said in a post on CBCPNews, the official news service of the Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines (CBCP).
Princesa presented her credentials to Pope Francis during a meeting at the Vatican on Saturday.
Born in Ligao, Albay, the 62-year-old ambassador is a widow and mother of five children.
A diplomat for nearly three decades, she was the first female Philippine ambassador to the United Arab Emirates. —Tina G. Santos
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