News Briefs: April 25, 2019
Stay off Zamboanga, Duterte warns
MANILA, Philippines — President Rodrigo Duterte has warned tourists off Zamboanga, saying it was now “Abu Sayyaf territory.”
In a speech at the opening of the 7th Union Asia Pacific Regional Conference on Tuesday, the President said Europeans who had visited the province had ended up being kidnapped by the Abu Sayyaf which, he said, has ties to the Islamic State. —Leila B. Salavierra
Overseas voting off to good start
MANILA, Philippines — The first week of overseas voting for the May 2019 midterm elections has gotten good response with a high turnout of voters, said James Jimenez, spokesperson of the Commission on Elections (Comelec).
“I got a report that in just a day, in just one post, about 1,000 voters in a Middle Eastern country arrived to vote,” Jimenez said.
The monthlong overseas voting began on April 13 in 83 Philippine posts abroad.
Based on Comelec records, there are at least 1.8 million registered overseas Filipino voters, majority of whom are in the Middle East and African regions. —Tina G. Santos
Party-list reps slam killing of rights worker
CEBU CITY, Philippines — Seven party-list representatives have condemned the killing of human rights worker and Escalante City Councilor Bernardino “Toto” Patigas, and described it as an “active, systematic and lethal campaign” against progressive candidates and their supporters.
In a resolution submitted to the House of Representatives on Wednesday, the lawmakers said “(t)he rage, grief and cry for justice in the killing of Patigas extend to all other victims of impunity reigning in the country.”
Those who filed the resolution were party-list Representatives Carlos Zarate of Bayan Muna, Antonio Tinio and France Castro of ACT Teachers, Ariel Casilao of Anakpawis, Emmi de Jesus and Arlene Brosas of Gabriela Women’s Party, and Sarah Jane Elago of Kabataan.
Patigas, 72, was driving his motorcycle home after campaigning with fellow candidates when he was waylaid and killed by two gunmen on a highway in Barangay Washington, Escalante City, Negros Occidental, on April 22. —Ador Vincent Mayol
2nd Pinoy worker wounded in Libya
MANILA, Philippines — A second Filipino worker was wounded in the intense fighting near Libya’s capital, prompting the Department of Foreign Affairs to call on the more than 1,000 Filipinos in Tripoli to have themselves repatriated.
The Philippine Embassy in Libya on Wednesday said a 45-year-old cook from Misamis Occidental was wounded in the foot by shrapnel from a mortar round that struck their housing compound near the Tripoli International Airport.
He and his six coworkers have been evacuated. The embassy has so far repatriated only 11 Filipinos since antigovernment forces began to attack Tripoli last week.
It said 29 other Filipino workers are waiting to be repatriated but most have opted to stay despite the dire situation. —Dona Z. Pazzibugan
Group appeals Comelec ban on phone cameras
A group calling itself Mata sa Balota asked the high court to rescind the Commission on Elections’ (Comelec) ban on digital cameras and mobile phones, to allow watchers and voters to take photos of the proceedings inside the voting precincts, saying the ban’s start and end time should be specified. —Dona Z. Pazzibugan
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