PBBM monitoring situation in quake-hit areas in Davao Occidental


President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr. on Saturday (Manila time) assured the public that he is monitoring the situation in earthquake-hit areas in Sarangani, Davao Occidental while he is in the United States (US).

Marcos, who is currently in San Francisco, California for the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Summit, said all concerned government agencies are on top of the situation, emphasizing that they are taking proper actions without waiting for his directives.

‘I’m happy to be able to say that the government agencies do not need directives from me anymore. They know what to do,’ he told reporters in San Francisco. ‘Nagre-report sila sa akin kung ano ba talagang nangyari (They report to me what really happened) and what are the initial reports.’

Marcos noted that the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC), the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD), the Department of the Interior and Local Government, and other relevant agencies are giving him updates on the s
ituation in Davao Occidental.

The government, he said, would keep assessing and determining ‘what the damage really has been.’

Asked if he sees the need to cut short his official visit to the US, Marcos said he would go home earlier than his scheduled return if need be.

‘If there’s something that needs to be done that cannot be done by anybody but myself, I will go home,’ he said. ‘But as I said, alam na nila ang gagawin (they already know what to do). That’s my hope. We tried to organize the government in such a way that there are standard operating procedures already. You don’t have to question what do we do next, nakasulat na lahat ‘yan (it’s all written there).’

The President has directed concerned government agencies to provide immediate assistance to the victims of the magnitude 6.8 earthquake that jolted Sarangani, Davao Occidental on Friday afternoon.

The Office of Civil Defense (OCD) raised the NDRRMC Operations Center’s alert status to “blue” to closely coordinate, consolidate, and report all r
elated incidents, as well as to ensure prompt coordination with concerned agencies and offices.

The Department of Public Works and Highways has also begun inspecting the affected areas in Sarangani.

Social Welfare Secretary Rex Gachalian is expected to visit the affected areas ‘as soon as possible’ to assess other needs the victims may require, DSWD Assistant Secretary Romel Lopez said Saturday.

‘Sa mga chat group po nakikita ko na (In out chat groups, I see that) he’s very much willing to visit the area ASAP to assess iyong pangangailangan noong ating mga kababayan (the needs of those affected) but so far, it’s up to the secretary,’ Lopez said.

‘But usually po talagang every time na mayroon po tayong (we have a) calamity, the secretary keeps on (insisting) na he wants to be on the ground as soon as possible po.’

In another statement, Office of the Presidential Assistant for Eastern Mindanao Secretary Leo Tereso Magno said he has coordinated with the OCD and other agencies.

“The instruction is to make
sure all concerns are addressed right away,” Magno said, referring to Malacañang orders.

Source: Philippines News Agency

8 ‘focus crimes’ down by 8% as of October – PNP


The Philippine National Police (PNP) on Saturday said eight “focus crimes” decreased by 8.18 percent from January to October compared to the same period in 2022.

The so-called eight focus crimes are murder, homicide, physical injury, rape, theft, robbery, car theft and motorcycle theft.

At the Saturday News Forum in Quezon City, PNP spokesperson Col. Jean Fajardo said there 31,864 of such crimes as of October, down from 34,702 last year.

‘We can attribute this decrease in the first 10 months of the year to our efforts to improve security nationwide,” she said.

She said she believes the PNP’s strong information dissemination campaign also contributed in making the public more aware on ways they can ensure their security.

Meanwhile, she assured the public that the PNP is on alert as the Christmas season approaches, anticipating an increase in ‘crimes against property.”

‘But the PNP, together with other security forces, are confident that we will maintain this improved crime trend through our close cooper
ation with other security forces,’ she said.

Death of ‘Johnny Walker’

On the slay of radio broadcaster Juan Jumalon, Fajardo said the police is close to identifying the second suspect.

She said one of the three attackers might have also figured in another shooting incident that targeted a municipal engineer in Calamba, Misamis Occidental in October 2023.

Fajardo said the gun used in the killing of Jumalon matched the one used in the municipal engineer’s case.

‘Hinihintay natin ngayon kung siya ay makikipag-cooperate dahil we are of the belief na itong primary suspect sa kaso ni engineer ay isa doon sa dalawang suspects pa na hindi na-identify dito sa kaso ni (We are waiting now if he will cooperate because we are of the belief that this primary suspect in the engineer’s case is one of the two suspects who have not been identified in the case of) Mr. Jumalon,’ she said.

Source: Philippines News Agency

PBBM, TikTok partner for ‘edutainment’ to promote MSMEs


President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr. and video hosting service TikTok have forged a partnership for ‘edutainment,’ an educational and entertainment initiative aimed at helping micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) in the Philippines.

This developed after Marcos met with TikTok officials on the sidelines of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) summit in San Francisco, California late Friday night (Manila time).

Marcos said he wants TikTok to train small-scale sellers and entrepreneurs in the country, particularly those in the rural areas, to promote their products, considering that the social media platform accommodates 50 million users in the Philippines alone.

He acknowledged TikTok’s popularity among its users and agreed with the plan of the firm’s chief executive officer, Shou Zi Chew, to promote the local sellers’ products through the platform.

‘Because TikTok, I mean from the beginning, was quite really just a very lighthearted platform. But then, just because of its popularity, like for
example, for someone like me who’s in politics, if you’re talking to 50 million people, then I need to be part of that conversation… So, it’s inevitable… The many sides, multi-faceted side will come in,’ Marcos said.

Chew expressed excitement over the two projects under ‘edutainment,’ which would mean more inclusivity for smaller sellers in the country.

He cited that a similar initiative was done in other countries, such as Vietnam, Indonesia, and Malaysia, giving MSMEs a platform to sell around the country and export around the world.

‘We want to give more resources and highlight and train the local sellers in the more rural parts of the country, because that’s one thing interesting on the platform. What we want to do is highlight local products, especially from smaller (sellers),’ Chew said.

He also noted that with 50 million Filipino TikTok users, it is important to make sure that the social media platform’s community guidelines are followed.

Users, he said, could use their creativity but should be mi
ndful of TikTok’s rules to avoid possible violations.

‘So, we want to keep it at that. (The) rules that keep people civil and keep the platform safe. So, we have community guidelines like no violence, no sexual abuse material, we have all these guidelines and we have a team of people who moderate content,’ Chew said.

‘So, if there’s anything that crosses the guidelines, we will moderate. And we have local representative who is working very closely with one of the regulators as well. We get feedback and move very quickly if there is something that we spot is violated on the platform, and that’s something that we take extremely, seriously.’

Marcos agreed with Chew, saying it is quite difficult to differentiate a strong opinion from fake news.

‘But just the differences in opinion and how they’re expressed, that sometimes is very hard to determine whether you… where is it excessive and where is it acceptable, but I suppose you have all the rules and… that you need to do that,’ he said.

TikTok is a short-form
video hosting service developed by ByteDance, a Beijing-based company incorporated in the Cayman Islands.

The video hosting service was introduced in the Philippines during its international launch in May 2017.

In April last year, the company launched TikTok Shop, TikTok’s e-commerce section where users can browse and purchase products they see in videos on their feeds.

TikTok sees Southeast Asia as its biggest emerging market outside the United States, with its 325 million monthly active users covering nearly half the region’s population.

Last year, TikTok Shop’s gross merchandise value (GMV) in Southeast Asia was USD4.4 billion, a fraction of the region’s e-commerce GMV of USD131 billion that year.

Source: Philippines News Agency

Moving passenger bus catches fire in North Cotabato


A Mindanao Star Bus traveling from Cotabato City to Davao City caught fire in Pigcawayan town, North Cotabato, on Saturday morning.

Maj. Andres Sumugat, Pigcawayan town police chief, said the fire occurred in Barangay South Manuangan at about 9:30 a.m.

‘All the 20 passengers, the driver and the conductor are safe,’ he said in a radio interview.

Quoting the unidentified driver, Sumugat said it was due to a mechanical error.

Investigation into the incident is ongoing.

Source: Philippines News Agency

PBBM, Xi tackle fishing rights, other means to ease tensions in SCS


President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr. and Chinese President Xi Jinping on Saturday (Manila time) discussed fishing rights and other mechanisms to ease tensions between the Philippines and China in the South China Sea (SCS).

Marcos had a pull-aside meeting with Xi on the sidelines of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Summit in San Francisco, California, in the face of recent incidents in the SCS involving the two countries.

In a media interview, Marcos said he requested a meeting with Xi to ‘once again voice concern on some of the incidents that were happening between Chinese vessels and Philippine vessels, culminating in the actual collision in the West Philippine Sea (WPS) before.’

Marcos was referring to the Oct. 22 incident in the WPS where a Chinese Coast Guard vessel collided with a Philippine supply boat, which was on a regular rotation and resupply mission to the detachment manning the BRP Sierra Madre in Ayungin Shoal.

He said he is optimistic that Manila and Beijing would find ways to avo
id similar incidents in the future, as well as to ‘move forward from this situation.’

‘Essentially, we tried to come up with mechanisms to lower the tensions in the South China Sea. That’s essentially the message that we spoke of to each other,’ Marcos said. ‘But nonetheless, the problems remain. It’s something that we will need to continue to communicate to find ways to avoid such incidents. And of course, as ever, whenever this issue comes up, I always bring up the plight of our fishermen.’

The President said he and Xi discussed the fishing rights in the SCS to enable both Chinese and Filipino fishermen to ‘fish together’ in the disputed waters.

‘We go back to the situation where both Chinese and Filipino fishermen were fishing together in these waters and so I think, the point was well taken by President Xi,’ he said.

‘Work in progress’

Marcos said he and Xi agreed that the present challenges in the SCS concerning the Philippines and China ‘should not be the defining element of our relationship.’

Ask
ed about the potential impact of his meeting with Xi on the SCS, Marcos said it is a ‘work in progress.’

‘We really should view this as a work in progress. It’s a process,’ he said. ‘We have to continue to communicate. We have to continue to be candid with one another and to be sincere in our desire for peace. I think that sincerity exists for both parties involved. I do not think anybody wants to go to war. So that is something, the premise actually of all the discussions that we have been having.’

On Thursday, Marcos also met with United States Vice President Kamala Harris to discuss ways to maintain peace in the WPS.

During his meeting with Harris, Marcos said his administration would find ways to assess ‘for the near future on what the Philippines’ role will be or what is the proper Philippines’ role in the West Philippine Sea.’

Source: Philippines News Agency

PCG rescues Australian couple adrift in Palawan waters


The Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) rescued an elderly Australian couple who got stranded aboard a crippled yacht in Palawan waters.

Gretch Mary Acuario, PCG District Palawan spokesperson, said Saturday that the couple got marooned approximately one nautical mile from the port of Citinickel mining company in Narra, southern Palawan on Friday.

The couple, rescued by PCG personnel based in the municipality, was identified as Kelvin Maurice Hofman, 74, and his wife, Deana Hofman, 67.

“The couple had set off from Kudat, Malaysia, with the goal of arriving in Puerto Princesa City. Their expedition, however, met inclement weather,” the PCG spokesperson said.

“These conditions led to a distress situation for the couple. The urgency of their situation reached its peak when their yacht ran out of fuel, leaving them stranded and in need of immediate assistance,” she added.

PCG District Palawan immediately mobilized a search and rescue team, which included the Provincial Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Of
fice, Municipal Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Office, Citinickel, Municipal Agriculture Office, and Barangay Bato Bato officials.

Both seniors were reported to be in stable condition after being provided with immediate medical attention and support.

Source: Philippines News Agency