Nationwide round-up (03/08/21)

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MEMBERS of the Bayan Muna alliance hold an indignation protest in Manila against what it called “Bloody Sunday” where six activists were killed and several others arrested during simultaneous police raids. The rally, held on Mar. 8, also raised issues relating to women in observance of International Women’s Day. — @BAYANMUNA PARTYLIST

Justice dep’t says will first assess if Sunday’s raids, deaths were possible EJK

THE Department of Justice (DoJ) will conduct an initial assessment on whether the death of at least six activists during simultaneous raids by government forces on Sunday are potential extra-judicial cases before they conduct an investigation. “We will determine first if the incident falls within the purview of the DoJ-led… task force on (extra-judicial killings or EJK), then we’ll act accordingly,” Justice Secretary Menardo I. Guevarra said in a mobile message on Monday. If the incident is ascertained to be not within the task force’s jurisdiction, “I will direct the NBI (National Bureau of Investigation) to do the probe,” he added. Renato M. Reyes, Jr., secretary general of the left-wing alliance Bagong Alyansang Makabayan, said those targeted during Sunday’s raids are legal activists and not members of the armed communist group New People’s Army. In a press conference Monday, the group condemned the incidents and Mr. Reyes pointed out that those killed or arrested were “not in the act of committing crime” as claimed by the police. Rep. Carlos Isagani T. Zarate of the left-wing Bayan Muna Party-list also called out the national government for its failure to make a “distinction between armed rebels and legal organizations.” Meanwhile, Mr. Guevarra said it is premature to conclude whether the raids are related to President Rodrigo R. Duterte’s order on Friday to “kill” and “finish off” all communist rebels in the country. Nonetheless, the Justice chief said he is “disappointed” at what transpired not long after he delivered a report to the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC). “I was really hoping that with that statement I made before the (UNHRC), our law enforcers would be more careful in their operations.” Presidential Spokesman Herminio L. Roque, Jr., in a televised briefing Monday, defended Mr. Duterte’s order saying it is “legal” under existing International Humanitarian Law given that there is an ongoing “fight” against armed communist groups. — Bianca Angelica D. Anago and Kyle Aristophere T. Atienza

Grab says threshing out provision of 20% discount to senior citizens

GRAB Philippines said it is currently working out the provision of the mandatory 20% discount to senior citizens availing of their food delivery service after a lawmaker sought a probe on alleged violations by service providers. “We will work closely with our merchant-partners and the government to find an effective way to provide a 20% discount to senior citizens for food purchased on our platform under the Expanded Senior Citizens Act of 2010,” Grab said in a statement on Monday. Deputy Speaker Bernadette Herrera-Dy on Friday said she filed House Resolution No. 1626 calling for the investigation in aid of legislation on complaints from senior citizens who could not avail of the 20% discount from a number of food delivery platforms. The Expanded Senior Citizen Act states that those who are at least 60 years old are entitled to a 20% discount for applicable goods and services from all establishments, including food deliveries made through telephone. — Gillian M. Cortez

Labor inspections to focus on sectors at high risk of COVID-19 transmission

WORKPLACE inspections for this year will focus on sectors that are most vulnerable to coronavirus transmission, the Department of Labor and Employment (DoLE) said on Monday. In a virtual briefing on Monday, Labor Assistant Secretary Ma. Teresita S. Cucueco said inspections will prioritize businesses that saw cluster outbreaks of the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19). “In terms of priorities based on the highly hazardous nature and the COVID-19 cases recorded, (these are) construction, BPOs (business process outsourcing), transportation… manufacturing, because these were most of the complaints came from,” she said. Last year, over 71,000 establishments were inspected by the department, with particular focus on compliance to guidelines relating to COVID-19. Ms. Cucueco said, “76% was the initial compliance but after we gave them due recommendations, it went up to 92%.” The DoLE released its latest guideline last week, contained in Department Order 224-21, which called for the installation of proper ventilation in work places and public transportation to prevent coronavirus transmission. — Gillian M. Cortez

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