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News Briefs: Aug. 14, 2019

04:47 AM August 14, 2019

DOT open to reevaluate VUA

MANILA, Philippines — The Department of Tourism (DOT) is “open to review and reevaluate” the existing visa upon arrival (VUA) policy for Chinese nationals amid the security concerns raised by government officials, said Tourism Secretary Bernadette Romulo-Puyat.

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he said only 8 percent of the more than 1.2 million Chinese tourists in the country last year entered through VUA.

The VUA, she added, is only granted to Chinese tourists who have passed the screening of tour operators accredited by both the DOT and the Bureau of Immigration. —Dexter Cabalza

Go favors face-to-face debate with De Lima

MANILA, Philippines — Sen. Christopher “Bong” Go on Tuesday said he would rather stand opposite detained Sen. Leila de Lima in a face-to-face debate on the Senate floor than argue with her over electronic communications.

Despite their political differences, the junior senator said President Rodrigo Duterte would not block De Lima’s request for a furlough if the court would grant her plea. —Marlon Ramos

Palace to go after peddlers of fake medicines

MANILA, Philippines — Malacañang has assured the public that the government will continue to run after those selling counterfeit medicines amid a UN report that identified the country as a hot spot for fake drugs.

“What I know is the FDA (Food and Drugs Administration) is very strict on that. We prosecute people who are behind those fake medicines,” presidential spokesperson Salvador Panelo said on Tuesday. —Julie M. Aurelio

8 Koreans nabbed for credit card fraud

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MANILA, Philippines — The National Bureau of Investigation arrested eight Korean nationals after they were caught in the act of committing credit card fraud in Angeles, Pampanga province.

“The group’s modus operandi is to steal information from Korean bank accounts and transfer the funds to another account,” said NBI spokesperson Ferdinand Lavin during a media briefing.

Jung Ju-wan, Kim Tae-yang, Oh Young-seong, Song Jong-min, Jin Jun-young, Sung Won-kang, Yeong Hak-tak and Young Jo-choi were arrested on Saturday. One of the suspects, Kim Dae-hyun, remains at large. —Nikka G. Valenzuela

DOT says ‘no’ to sex tourism

Tourism Secretary Bernadette Romulo-Puyat on Tuesday led officials of government agencies and nongovernmental organizations in signing a covenant to ensure a tourism industry that protects the rights of women and children. Among the agencies that pledged their commitment to the Department of Tourism’s call were the Inter-Agency Council Against Trafficking, Philippine Commission on Women, Council for the Welfare of Children, the Department of Education, Department of Social Welfare and Development, Department of the Interior and Local Government, and the Philippine National Police. —DEXTER CABALZA

Eid al-Adha ambush kills 3

ZAMBOANGA CITY—The Feast of Sacrifice turned bloody in Sulu province as Abu Sayyaf bandits ambushed government troops in Talipao town around 8:45 a.m. on Sunday, killing three people. Army Maj. Arvin John Encinas, Western Mindanao Command spokesperson, said the casualties included a soldier, a militia and a 2-year-old child. Encinas said the government troops were walking on the Patikul-Talipao road when they were attacked at Barangay Kagay in Talipao. —JULIE ALIPALA

New Navy vessel arrives next week

The Pohang-class corvette BRP Conrado Yap is due to arrive in the country next week. The Navy’s new vessel is currently sailing toward Manila, escorted by landing dock platform BRP Davao del Sur.—JEANNETTE I. ANDRADE

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