PhilippineNews

PhilippineNews

Makati first to launch smart card for residents

By Emmie V. Abadilla/Manila Bulletin

Makati expects to be the Philippines’ First Truly Connected City after yesterday’s launch of the Makatizen Card that gives its 500,000 residents access to the city government’s services.

The card, which also functions as a valid government ID card and an Automated Teller Machine (ATM) Card, can be used to transact with the city government,  receive cash allowances, stipends and other cash benefits.

Residents can also use the card to pay fees and taxes, personal remittances and other financial transactions while city government employees, can use theirs to receive salaries and allowances.

The Makatizen Card is a collaboration among the city government of Makati, Globe Telecom, its subsidiary G-XChange, Inc., and iBayad Online Ventures, Inc.

Some 1,000 functioning sample cards were yesterday tested at Makati City Hall.

“It takes us a step nearer to achieving our goal of empowering everyone, including those in the marginalized sectors of society, to enjoy a better quality of life,” says Makati Mayor Abigail Binay.

Furthermore, the card’s wide range of digital and mobile services offers the people of Makati  more convenient and cost-effective ways of meeting their day-to-day needs and obligations,” she added.

“We view this unsolicited project proposal from Globe, GCash, and iBayad as the springboard to transform Makati into the country’s first digital city.”

“For the Philippines to truly become a digital nation, we need to take advantage of new digital  opportunities and innovations to enable growth in every corner of our country,” according to Globe President and CEO Ernest Cu.

Red Cross seeks more donations for Marawi evacuees

 

MANILA — The Philippine Red Cross is asking for more donations to aid families affected by the ongoing armed clashes in Marawi City.

As of Tuesday, the PRC’s Operation Center reported that around 96 barangays (villages) or around 29,000 individuals have been affected and displaced by the tensions in Marawi.
Infrastructures, including houses, schools and jails, were also damaged, the humanitarian agency said Tuesday.
The PRC said they would accept any form of donations to cover the cost of food items such as rice, noodles, assorted canned goods, and hot meals, as well as non-food items such as blankets, plastic mats, mosquito nets, hygiene kits and jerry can containers.
“Filipinos always rise to help selflessly. Our brothers and sisters in Mindanao need you to help extend their lives while facing ongoing clashes. Let us help the most vulnerable by making a difference,” PRC
Chair Richard Gordon said in a statement.
PRC cited for instance that for every donation of P850, a family will receive rice, noodles, assorted canned goods, and coffee for three days. For just over P1,000, a family will be given comfort in the form of blankets, sleeping mats, and clean water.
PRC said 700 individuals have received hot meals, 725 individuals have been provided psycho-social support, while more than 8,400 individuals were given access to clean and potable water.
More than 200 blood units, meanwhile, are available at the PRC-Iligan Chapter for individuals who need blood transfusion.
“Help must reach out to people in Mindanao. Help us extend our humanitarian work to those in need by anticipating their needs,” PRC Secretary General Oscar Palabyab said in a statement.
Donors may deposit cash donations through any of the following Philippine Red Cross bank accounts:
Account name: Philippine Red Cross
BDO Peso Account – 00-453-0190938
BDO Dollar Account – 10-453-0039482
Metrobank Peso Account – 151-7-15152434-2
Metrobank Dollar Account – 151-2-15100218-2
Donors may also personally send their donations to the PRC’s office at the PRC Tower, 37 EDSA corner Boni Avenue, Mandaluyong City. Call 790-2410 or 0917-834-8378 and look for Ma. Rizza Genil or Shervi Corpuz for more details. SFM
Inquirer calls for support for the victims in Marawi City
Responding to appeals for help, the Philippine Daily Inquirer is extending its relief to victims of the attacks in Marawi City
Cash donations may be deposited in the Inquirer Foundation Corp. Banco De Oro (BDO) Current Account No: 007960018860.

8 Maute Group members surrender – AFP

The 8 surrenderers provide 'very, very valuable intelligence' to government forces as they rid Marawi City of terrorists, says AFP spokesperson Brigadier General Restituto Padilla.

by Pia Ranada

MANILA, Philippines – Eight members of the Maute terror group have surrendered to government forces, according to the military.

“There were 8 members holed up in Marawi who surrendered to forces,” said Brigadier General Restituto Padilla, Armed Forces of the Philippines spokesperson, during a Palace news briefing on Wednesday, May 31.

Padilla received the information from Brigadier General Custodio Parcon of the Philippine Marines. Parcon said the terrorists surrendered on Sunday, May 28.

The 8 have been able to help military and police in ongoing clashes against the Maute Group, which continues to hold certain areas of the city under its control.

“These individuals have been talked to and debriefed and have provided very, very valuable intelligence,” said Padilla.

This is the first time members of the terror group have surrendered since the clashes began on May 23.

Padilla confirmed reports from ground commanders in Marawi that around 90% of Marawi had been cleared of the Maute Group.

As of Wednesday, May 31, 89 members of the group had been killed, said Padilla.

The AFP called on more terrorists to surrender. 

“Our message is, while you have time, consider deeply to surrender, lay down your arms and let’s just talk. We will treat you humanely,” Padilla said in a chance interview after the press conference.

The military is tapping religious leaders and scholars in backchannel talks to convince Maute Group members to surrender or let go of their hostages, including Father Teresito “Chito” Soganub, the vicar general of the Marawi bishop.

“The Muslim leaders have to help in convincing the Muslims holding him not to kill him because he helps not only Christians, but Muslims also,” said Padilla in a mix of English and Filipino.

“There are many religious leaders in the Muslim side who are interested that Father Chito come out of this alive because they have been working together on many good projects so if he is gone, who will be the connection of the Muslim leaders?” he added.

Soganub appeared in a propaganda video released on Tuesday, where he seemed to support the demands of the Maute local terror group. Bishop Edwin dela Peña said the priest was obviously "under duress" when he appeared in the video.

President Rodrigo Duterte said in Iligan City on May 26 that he had directed lawyer Abdullah Mamao, Presidential Adviser on overseas Filipino workers, to reach out to members of the terror group who are willing to "talk peace" with the government.

Martial law administrator and Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana has given government forces up to Friday, June 2, to end the Marawi siege. – Rappler.com

 
 
 
 

New Trump attack on Germany widens transatlantic rift

 

-AFP

WASHINGTON, United States — The transatlantic diplomatic rift widened on Tuesday as US President Donald Trump responded to criticism from Chancellor Angela Merkel with a new attack on German trade tactics and defense spending.

Trump’s spokesman Sean Spicer insisted that the leaders “get on very well” but — as is often the case — his warm words from the White House podium were overshadowed by the president’s intemperate tweets.

When Trump returned over the weekend from the first foreign trip of his presidency, his aides hailed the tour as a success and a sign of renewed and bolder US leadership on the world stage.

But, while Trump received a warm welcome in Saudi Arabia and Israel, he left behind a bitter taste in Europe after the NATO summit in Brussels and the G7 get-together of the world’s richest powers in Sicily.

European leaders were especially dismayed by Trump’s refusal to reaffirm US support for last year’s Paris climate change accord and his failure to publicly endorse NATO’s mutual defense pledge.

Germany, until recently Washington’s closest partner in Europe, was particularly discomfited, and Merkel wasted no time in warning German voters that the United States can no longer be relied upon as before.

Trump’s response came in the early hours of Tuesday when he took to Twitter to once again demand that Germany renegotiate the terms of transatlantic trade and boost its defense spending.

“We have a MASSIVE trade deficit with Germany, plus they pay FAR LESS than they should on NATO & military,” Trump wrote, in his flamboyantly undiplomatic style. “Very bad for US. This will change.”

‘Trump was not aggressive’

German officials have repeatedly insisted that, as a member of the European Union, they cannot conduct bilateral trade talks with the US and that they are not ready to dramatically increase military spending.

In January, the White House accused Germany of exploiting an undervalued euro to boost its trade advantage, despite Berlin’s long opposition to the European Central Bank’s loose monetary policy.

And, even after he held a frosty meeting with Merkel in Washington in March and heard her explain Germany has no independent, non-EU trade policy, Trump continues to complain about Germany’s surplus.

According to the German weekly Der Spiegel, Trump told European officials in Brussels last week that “the Germans are bad, very bad.”

Spicer gamely tried to deny the report, insisting that European Commission chairman Jean-Claude Juncker had confirmed that “Trump was not aggressive on German trade surplus.”

But after Merkel and other senior German officials, who are campaigning ahead of September national elections in their own country, spent the weekend attacking Trump, the US leader returned to the theme.

‘Weakening the West’

Not only does the spat continue but Merkel has seized upon it as an opportunity — in the wake of the election of Emmanuel Macron as a pro-Europe French president — to rally Europe around her leadership.

She warned German voters that her experience in dealing with Trump at NATO and the G7 had convinced her that the times when Europe could rely on Washington and London “are coming to an end.”

“Transatlantic ties are of paramount importance to us… but the current situation gives more reasons for… us to take our destiny in our own hands,” she said Tuesday.

“Europe must become a player active in international affairs.”

German Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel was even more blunt on Monday, slamming the US president’s “short-sighted” policies that have “weakened the West” and hurt European interests.

“The short-sighted policies of the American government stand against the interests of the European Union,” he warned, judging that “the West has become smaller, at least it has become weaker.”

Speaking just days after Trump promised to sell Saudi Arabia $110 billion worth of arms in order to deter Iran, Gabriel accused Washington of fuelling religious conflict.

And he warned against “accelerating climate change by weakening environmental protection.”

British anti-EU politician Nigel Farage, who has built a bond with Trump, accused Merkel and Juncker of triggering a row with Washington deliberately to further the “anti-democratic” goal of a German-led European state.

“Believe me, I know Trump and I know the people around him. He is not going to kick NATO into touch provided people pay their way,” Farage claimed.

“Merkel and Juncker actually want to see the Americans leaving Europe. And I regard that, far from being good for peace, actually as being very dangerous.”

Trump said he will give his verdict on the Paris accord later this week and has warned that Washington may pull out of a pact that European leaders see as the last best hope to slow global warming. CBB

 

  • Published in U.S.
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