Saturday, August 22, 2020

Amid COVID-19 pandemic, DOTr activates 3 ports as crew change hubs in one month

Wazzup Pilipinas!

Subic Bay Freeport Zone starts as hub today, August 22

Facing restrictions imposed by the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) on the country’s maritime industry, the Department of Transportation (DOTr), through its Maritime Sector, is now activating crew change hubs to address the global need for fresh crew of ships operated by around 1.5 million seafarers, 378,000 or 25% of which are Filipinos.

“This month alone, the DOTr maritime sector was able to open and activate three crew change hubs in the country. These are located at the Port of Manila, Port of Capinpin in Bataan, and today, at the Subic Bay Freeport Zone. It is my hope for the Philippines to become a major international hub for crew change,” Secretary Tugade said.

On August 19, Port Capinpin in Bataan joined the Port of Manila as a crew change hub. Other ports for activation include Batangas, Davao, and Cebu.

Crew change is essential to ensure seafarers’ safety, health, welfare and employment as they can only serve on board a vessel without leave up to a maximum of 11 months based on International Labour Organization (ILO) 2006 Maritime Labour Convention (MLC).

The activation of crew change hubs will primarily benefit seafarers, recognized globally as key workers, who are stranded onboard ships with expired contracts due to travel restrictions aimed to curtail the spread of COVID-19.

“To guarantee that the health and safety of seafarers and the public are protected while we work on this endeavor, the DOTr and its attached agencies are activating hubs in close coordination with various government agencies and units involved in crew changes,” OIC-Assistant Secretary for Maritime Vice Admiral Narciso Vingson, Jr. said.

Today, August 22, the DOTr, through the Office for Transportation Security (OTS), Philippine Coast Guard (PCG), Maritime Industry Authority (MARINA) also activated the Subic Bay Freeport Zone as a crew change hub. This is made possible after series of consultations with the Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority (SBMA) and the local government of Zambales, Bataan and Olongapo City.

OTS Administrator and Head of the One-Stop Shop (OSS) Undersecretary Raul Del Rosario revealed that under IATF Resolution No. 53, Subic Bay is actually identified as one of the crew change hubs in the country.

“The strategic location of Subic Bay makes it ideal for crew changes due to its proximity to countries with high trading activities. The maritime industry in the area is also actively performing, with excellent port facilities and safe harbor to serve the needs of internationally-flagged vessels. Basically, Subic Bay can offer everything shipping principals are looking for in a crew change hub. We have also established the One-Stop Shop (OSS) to ensure that the health requirements are met,” Usec Del Rosario noted.

For his part, PCG Commandant Admiral George Ursabia Jr. said that the crew change hub abides by the established health and quarantine protocols of the Department of Health (DOH).

“The DOTr Team, composed of the Central Office, OTS, PCG and MARINA, has also been meeting with the DOH, Bureau of Immigration (BI), Bureau of Customs (BOC), Bureau of Quarantine (BOQ), Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (OWWA) and SBMA to ensure that the hub will conform with all requirements, especially health and safety protocols including quarantine procedures. To ensure the smooth flow of operations, we have conducted a dry run which was witnessed by the public,” PCG Admiral Ursabia Jr. said.

Meanwhile, MARINA Administrator Vice Admiral Robert Empedrad underscored the need to establish crew change hubs in the country especially now that there is a pandemic.

“This has been a significant cause of worry, as seafarers of all nationalities are already experiencing immense physical and mental fatigue brought on by overstaying onboard ships at sea. If this continues, delivery of essential cargo will be affected. Having crew change hubs in the country will solve this problem and give our seafarers the advantage of swift processing due to the established protocols,” Administrator Empedrad highlighted.

Aside from facilitating the transfer of stranded marine personnel off their vessels because of the pandemic, Philippine Ports Authority (PPA) General Manager Jay Daniel Santiago likewise stated that crew change hubs in the country are also expected to generate economic activities and revenues in the areas where they are located, with the collection of port dues and charges from ship dockage or anchorage.

“By becoming a crew change capital of the world, we would not only prime up our seafaring and maritime industry. We also expect to boost our hospitality industry,” GM Santiago emphasized.

In the last four months, a total of 734 ships docked or anchored in the Port of Manila for the purposes of crew change. A total of 34,000 seafarers were served, wherein 28,000 seafarers disembarked while 5,800 joined the ships.

For ship turnaround, cargo ships usually stay for about 6 to 12 hours while cruise ships stay for a week up to a month if they serve as quarantine facilities.

“We can look forward to the same maritime traffic in other hubs as more foreign shipping principals are expected to patronize our ports for crew change. Aside from opening our ports for crew change, the Joint Circular for Green Lane for seafarers provide speedy movements of seafarers in our country. Three major shipping companies of Japan already bannered our green lane program in the conduct of crew change. We expect other flags to follow their lead,” GM Santiago added.

*Photo credit to MB

FDCP’s FilmPhilippines Awards First Cycle of Applications to Its Brand New Film Incentives

Wazzup Pilipinas!

The first cycle of application of the Film Location Incentive Program (FLIP)
and the International Co-production Fund (ICOF), since their launch in January 2020, leads to four awardees.

Four international productions, with two shot in the Philippines and another two co-produced with a Philippine company, are the first recipients of incentives from the FilmPhilippines Office (FPO) of the Film Development Council of the Philippines (FDCP).

Through the Film Location Incentive Program (FLIP), the Filipino line producers of “Almost Paradise” and “Survivor Russia” will receive a 20% cash rebate on their Qualified Philippine Production Expenses (QPPE). The minimum spending requirement is PHP 8 million.

Epicmedia is a co-producer for another ICOF recipient, “Kapag Wala Nang Mga Alon (When The Waves Are Gone)” by Lav Diaz, the acclaimed Filipino auteur recognized by the Berlin, Locarno, and Venice International Film Festivals. Snowglobe from Denmark and Films Boutique from France are also producers. Diaz’s latest film, a revenge drama with locations in Lisbon, Portugal and Manila and Tagaytay in the Philippines, will receive PHP 6 million. Snowglobe produced “BezBog” which made it to Locarno and Toronto while Films Boutique produced the Academy Awards-shortlisted film, “Bird of Passage.” Diaz and Epicmedia worked together on Berlinale Silver Bear Alfred Bauer Prize Winner “Hele sa Hiwagang Hapis (A Lullaby to the Sorrowful Mystery).”

FDCP Chairperson and CEO Liza Diño-Seguerra is grateful for the support of international production companies that took a chance on FilmPhilippines and trusted the Filipino film and audiovisual industry. “The goal of these incentives is to open up the industry for collaboration with the rest of the world, for people to discover how talented we are, how good we are in providing service, and how the Philippines can be a global creative hub for films,” she remarked.

“We need to highlight what sets the Philippines apart from the rest of Asia: English is a second language to us. That's a significant advantage. We are also flexible when it comes to accommodating sudden changes in production. We certainly make things happen,” added Diño-Seguerra.

On top of the financial incentives provided by FLIP and ICOF, the FPO has a third incentive called Film Location Engagement Desk (FLEX), which assists local and foreign productions in all government transactions. FLEX also endorses international productions to Filipino producers and production companies that are duly registered with FDCP’s National Registry.

Among the projects that have received assistance from the FLEX incentive are “Survivor Europe” and feature film “CounterPlay.” “Survivor Europe” is produced by Banijay with local line producer Philippine Film Studios, Inc. while the action thriller “CounterPlay,” directed by Pedring Lopez and starring Hollywood actor Sam Worthington, is produced by MAM Media (Pte.) Ltd. of the US with BlackOps Studios Asia, Inc. as the local line producer.

The US television/video on demand (VOD) series “Almost Paradise” is the first FLIP recipient. It wrapped up production in Mactan Island, Cebu province just before the community quarantine was imposed nationwide. Directed by awarded director/producer Dean Devlin (“Independence Day”, “Geo-Storm”, “Universal Soldier”, etc.), the action-drama on the adventures of a former US Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) agent who moved to the Philippines had 10 episodes that aired on WGN America. The US production under Electric Entertainment had Philippine broadcasting giant ABS-CBN Corporation as its line producer.

Even before the creation of FLIP, the Philippines is no stranger to the “Survivor” reality TV series, with several episodes and editions filmed in the Southeast Asian country’s pristine beaches. This year, “Survivor Russia” filmed 13 episodes in El Nido, Palawan province. Mastiff Russia, with Managing Director Anton Goreslavsky and General Producer Cyril Lounkevitch, partnered with Philippine Film Studios, Inc., which was involved in “Survivor Finland,” “Survivor Israel,” and “Born on the Fourth of July,” which won the Academy Awards for Best Film Editing and Best Director for Oliver Stone.

As for the select International Co-production Fund (ICOF), full length feature films can receive up to PHP 10 million. Filipino companies in a co-production agreement with international counterparts with at least PHP 5 million worth of QPPE are qualified to apply for the ICOF.

The supernatural thriller “Nocebo” by Lorcan Finnegan will get PHP 6.5 million from the ICOF. Set in Ireland and the Philippines, the film revolves around the revenge story of a Filipino helper against an Irish family. It is a co-production among Wild Swim Films from the UK, Epicmedia Productions, Inc. from the Philippines, and Lovely Productions from Ireland. Wild Swim’s filmography includes BAFTA Outstanding Debut by a British Writer winner “Under the Shadow” while Epicmedia produced the Venice Orizzonti Prize recipient “Engkwentro” by Pepe Diokno. Lovely Productions, which Finnegan set up with Steven Courtney and Brunella Cocchiglia, produced Finnegan’s “Without Name” and “Vivarium” which had a Cannes premiere.

Epicmedia is a co-producer for another ICOF recipient, “Kapag Wala Nang Mga Alon (When The Waves Are Gone)” by Lav Diaz, the acclaimed Filipino auteur recognized by the Berlin, Locarno, and Venice International Film Festivals. Snowglobe from Denmark and Films Boutique from France are also producers. Diaz’s latest film, a revenge drama with locations in Lisbon, Portugal and Manila and Tagaytay in the Philippines, will receive PHP 6 million. Snowglobe produced “BezBog” which made it to Locarno and Toronto while Films Boutique produced the Academy Awards-shortlisted film, “Bird of Passage.” Diaz and Epicmedia worked together on Berlinale Silver Bear Alfred Bauer Prize Winner “Hele sa Hiwagang Hapis (A Lullaby to the Sorrowful Mystery).”

FDCP Chairperson and CEO Liza Diño-Seguerra is grateful for the support of international production companies that took a chance on FilmPhilippines and trusted the Filipino film and audiovisual industry. “The goal of these incentives is to open up the industry for collaboration with the rest of the world, for people to discover how talented we are, how good we are in providing service, and how the Philippines can be a global creative hub for films,” she remarked.

“We need to highlight what sets the Philippines apart from the rest of Asia: English is a second language to us. That's a significant advantage. We are also flexible when it comes to accommodating sudden changes in production. We certainly make things happen,” added Diño-Seguerra.

On top of the financial incentives provided by FLIP and ICOF, the FPO has a third incentive called Film Location Engagement Desk (FLEX), which assists local and foreign productions in all government transactions. FLEX also endorses international productions to Filipino producers and production companies that are duly registered with FDCP’s National Registry.

Among the projects that have received assistance from the FLEX incentive are “Survivor Europe” and feature film “CounterPlay.” “Survivor Europe” is produced by Banijay with local line producer Philippine Film Studios, Inc. while the action thriller “CounterPlay,” directed by Pedring Lopez and starring Hollywood actor Sam Worthington, is produced by MAM Media (Pte.) Ltd. of the US with BlackOps Studios Asia, Inc. as the local line producer.

To be the next FilmPhilippines incentive recipient, enter the Cycle 3 application that will run from September 1 to November 27, 2020. The application period remains up and running amid the pandemic to provide support for filmmakers affected by the COVID-19 crisis. The Cycle 3 is the last chance for productions to apply for the FLIP, ICOF, and FLEX this year. Grab the chance to shoot or work in the Philippines or be in a co-production with a Filipino company, and experience the ease and wonder of filmmaking with the incentives of FDCP’s FilmPhilippines.

Buknoy Glamurr: Influencer or Clout Chaser, Awra Reacts

Wazzup Pilipinas!

Walking the streets at night with a black shiny dress violating health and safety quarantine protocols - not wearing a mask, and shouting, cursing and everything! Scripted or not, it is unbecoming of a so called influencer.

Is it a trend to be ignorant on social media then make an apology video afterwards?

Kailan pa naging tama yung hindi paggamit ng facemask sa labas at paggala ng may curfew at paglabas ng minor ?

I’m against sa mga hate tweets about Buknoy pero sana magreflect rin siya for his or her own growth. It's not defamation. It's pointing out what she or he did wrong.

Isn't he or she ashamed of herself or himself  for being so irresponsible social media influencer? He or she doesn't even deserve to be one.

Palagi niyang scapegoat yung “di ako perfect” at “God bless”.

Kelan siya magbabago? Kelan siya magiging mabait?  Kelan niya aayusin buhay niya?

*Adding fuel to the fire po. Ayan tinulungan na kita ah. Synonyms daw po kasi ang flame and fire. Ayan naloka na sya pati grammar namali na.

And what's this about his or her quarrel with another bayot?

Instead of public apology for the video, you're now saying that Awra is dragging you down? and BTW what's with the "kala mo ang ganda"? Isn't that a real "dragging down" thing? Before uttering/posting such words, make sure it ain't reflecting to you, dear.

Real success begins when you start acknowledging your mistakes and learn from them. And more than that, you should start DOING actions. Hindi 'yung kino-contradict mo 'yung sarili mong mantra. Nakakasuka na, sis.

I’m not a fan of Awra, but I’ll choose her overy Buknoy. Wala pang mga pills yan ha.

Awra is  a natural public figure, he or she has the proper behavior should an influencer possess.

I think Awra shouldn't mind this freaking feeling privilege Buknoy. I mean, girl DON'T STOOP DOWN TO HIS LEVEL!! Remember, you have some class and elegance while him or her, he'll or she'll going to be that stupid TRASH!!

@buknoyglamurrrr  is not an influencer.

This personality is NOT a public figure he is just a pa famous and wanna be that people love to hate. Stop supporting this person if we really want to get rid of him.

People be hating on Macoy Dubs for the wholesome Auntie Julie content, pero tangina si Buknoy Glamurrr na unabashedly problematic yung value system sa content nya, at si Wil Dasovich na takot manindigan as an influencer, me mga enablers pa.

Social media, you can be so problematic sometimes.

The only content we should cancel are content that are exploitative, unapologetically politically or socially incorrect, fake news, state-sponsored propaganda, or content that go against the very core our humanity.

Someone take Buknoy's phone away from him or her and take away his or her access from social media, please. Someone do it. I can not take this problematic content anymore.

5 Best Instagram Schedulers

Wazzup Pilipinas!

If you need to get your content scheduled on Instagram to save time and minimize effort, you came to the right page – we will discuss what the best Instagram schedulers are and how to properly manage them. But before that, let me remind you why your online business needs a scheduler.

First, your customers expect you to be present on social media; that means, they expect to see your content daily, if not hourly. They are following your brand because you’ve committed to being trustworthy; if you don’t offer them the incentive to continue following your company, they simply won’t. Your product/service has serious competition, most likely, so your clients could easily switch to another provider, if your content volatilizes. In a nutshell, you must keep an online presence at all times if you want customer investments and positive cash flows. Social media schedulers do just that – they keep your profile updated and your customers engaged, whether you are online or not. They’re an automated tool to make use of when time is tight and money important.

Here are the best Instagram schedulers we found and why to use them.

Sked Social

Sked Social is a great tool to analyze, plan, and schedule your posts and stories. This will help you engage your followers but also convert a higher number of customers. Sked Social offers a seven-day free trial that allows you to check out their features and see if this tool is the one you are looking for. FYI:

Sked will work for Instagram as well as Facebook and Twitter – so if you want a schedular that incorporates access to most of your social media platforms, choose this one. However, there are others on the market that might stand out for you, depending on your needs and preferences. Sked offers:

A visual planner – this helps you visualize your future posts and help you sync them together just right. This is cool for many reasons but one of the best ones is that it lets you create an awesome Insta grid of your pictures.

Unlimited users, same price – Sked offers all its benefits for every Instagramer, not considering their number of followers. That means that once you will reach the desired numbers, your costs will remain the same.

Insights on when and how to post and audience demographics (we all know how important this is).

Other features such as a content calendar or an automatic tool for hashtags.

Recommended mostly if: you want to use the scheduler for more than one social media platform.

Buffer Publish

Buffer is another great platform to use if you want to increase your profits long term. This online platform allows you to plan posts for LinkedIn and Pinterest too! Unfortunately, there is a high cost attached to using Buffer *well, high is relative depending on your profits* starting at $15 per month. You could opt for a free plan but that will only cover up to three social media accounts, so it’s not really worth it if your business is expanding. The downside is that Buffer won’t allow for multiple users. However, it offers lots of hashtags, videos, and images that will help your page get more attention.

Mostly recommended if: your business is on LinkedIn.


Hootsuite is another tool you’ll want to check out; however, I must advise you – their plan starts at $39 per month, making it a wee bit more expansive than every platform we’ve touched on until now. They offer a free plan too, but it, unfortunately, comes with limited features. This is how Hootsuite will help your online business:

You can post on all of your accounts at once (schedule your posts).

It’s optimized for mobile so it’s easy to use when you are on the go.

It helps you find relevant content for your niche and helps search by hashtag. location, or even keyword, which is pretty neat.

Mostly recommended if: you run a small business with fewer needs.


If you want to use another social media scheduler that uses visuals to boost your business profits, Later offers similar features to Sked. Here is the way in which Later could help you:

It offers a visual planner that helps your map out your Insta grid needs – cool, cool, cool!

It helps you find the right content generated by users and save it to your online library.

Offers a comprehensive Insta analytics system.

Good storage limits and quick accessibility.

Mostly recommended if: you want a cheap but high-quality tool for your business.


Tailwind is another one of your best bets – its price starts at $9.99 per month. This app focuses more on visual content (which is always good) yet only supports Pinterest and Instagram. For now, no other social media platforms can be connected to Tailwind. Tailwind will efficiently inform you of the best time to post content and help you find out popular and effective hashtags. In fact, Tailwind is one of the most popular tools if hashtags are your main thing.

Mostly recommended if: hashtags are your main focus to drag business.

Here is a recap of why you need an Instagram scheduler:

It will easily and efficiently upload photos and content to keep your brand intact and poppin.

It will schedule your desired content whenever you need it and will send it to your chosen audience.

Like any popular term paper help writing service, it will keep you from repeating the mistakes of posting and reposting, updating you on when and how to post for the best results.

Here is a recap of how you can choose the Instagram schedule that meets your business’s needs most accurately:

Ask yourself: what do I want out of this? What is my company’s long-time goal? What are my options? What is my budget? What are the features that I am mostly interested in? What is the best fit for me?

Compare Instagram schedulers (their features) to reach the desired outcome. Check out the aforementioned options first! If you’re not completely satisfied, look for more.

Check stats on how well Instagram schedulers worked for other businesses to measure results. Check the feature that you are interested in the most. See what the top choice is in your field of interest and why. Track results, compare stats, and check all the available data before making a decision – in the end, you are investing money into something valuable, so make sure you get the best value out of it.


Finding the best Instagram scheduler can be challenging, but it is definitely worth it. Not only will you be able to work on more productive projects (other than Instagram content creation), but you will also be boosting up your profits by bringing more traffic to your webpage while keeping the existing traffic going. Make sure you understand the exact reasons why an Instagram scheduler is such a great tool before purchasing one; and don’t forget to research well before making a decision. In the end, it’s about the quality, not the quantity. Good luck!

Author’s bio:

Justin is a blogger from Leicester, England, UK. When not teaching his little students and rooting for Leicester FC, he loves to share his thoughts and opinions about education, writing for  law essay writing service and write my essay.

Why is Macoy Dubs Cancelling Aunt Julie?

Wazzup Pilipinas!

"The recent upload might be the last aunt Julie (series). So thank you for having aunt julie in your lives. :) makes me sad bcos i just want to create videos for entertainment, but just like the dubs I did before, ppl will still hate you. aunt julie can't please everyone.

Macoy Dubs will stay..

those who are cancelling julie are the same ppl who cancelled macoy dubs way back april 2019. how dare you guys.

You’re the reason of my depression and I came back earlier this year but still ganyan.

grabe kayong lahat. grabe kayong lahat :(

As I've said in the Quarantine University, cancel the cancel culture, not the "good vibes" culture. Auntie Julie will be back.

She still loves you and will be the tita who gives you wantawsan"

Anyare ba? Why is Macoy Dubs stopping Aunt Julie?

Who is canceling Aunt Julie? She’s the progressive Catholic tita we all want and need in our lives right now.

Ano ba ang pinagmulan ng issue? Sobrang curious talaga ako. I know there were strongly worded comments pero what were the comments exactly?

Aunt Julie is satire. We're meant to laugh at the character (or characters since may duets na), not laugh with them. The skits are commentaries on how certain people lead their lives, while the audience laughs and reflects. Trying to remember all videos, alin ang offensive doon?

Sino sino ba yung mga haters na yun? Pakigawan nga ng list ng ma-DM namin. Ang sarap pagkukurutin. Mga kulang sa aruga. Ayaw ng positive vibes.

What kind of soulless, heartless, overused buttplug hates Aunt Julie?

Admit it, you’re not gonna be as productive and creative and as successful as Aunt Julie so you try your hardest to tear her down. Ang lungkot lungkot siguro ng buhay mo.

Aunt Julie is one of the best things to come out in these dark times. Don’t stop people from enjoying things just because you are unhappy. Our words have power and it doesn’t cost anything to be kind. Let’s try to be better people towards each other.

Why are we cancelling Aunt Julie for giving us good vibes when we can cancel the DOH and the IATF for their gross incompetence and blatant corruption in the midst of a pandemic?

Cancel cancel culture. I don’t get why some people are attacking Aunt Julie.

People can do what ever they want to do as long as it makes them happy and they’re not stepping on anyone naman. Let people enjoy things!

Don’t be sad, hugs, mamsh. Lahat na lang , kapag walang issue or may issue yung mga katulad mo cancelled na agad. Yan ang hirap dito eh. You want to show your own self with a creativity pero kapag hindi nila gusto cancelled na agad. Di na alam kung saan lulugar eh.

Omg Auntie Julie, are you having hot flashes? Too young pa auntie haaaa!!! Hihihi. Palamig ka muna po, at mag atomiser ng lavender, orange and patchouli to calm your nerves. Mommy is saying she will see you later po sa Zoom.

Hey, people would always hate. That's what we do. Don't focus on that, focus on you. Focus on those na napapasaya mo. Kahit isa lang, though I'm sure in your case there are thousands because you're a lucky auntie. You do you and on things that makes you happy. Dakila ka.

How about another Aunt? This time sobrang pobre naman, Tita Jocelyn o Tita Rosa. Mas gusto nila pobre na ayaw mag-pills o condoms?

Yakap Macoy! Love ka namin! Sayang prepared pa naman sana si Auntie Rose to reunite with her hermana.

Piliin mo ang mga taong pinipili ka. Huwag mo sila bigyan ng rason manalo para pabagsakin ka. Ang punong hitik lagi talagang may pipitik. Ang taong walang utak parang lata. Puro ingay pero walang laman. Doon ka sa mga taong masaya dahil sa ginagawa mo. Tuloy ka lang sana, Aunt Julie!

Macoy, you make this quarantine more bearable with your entertaining videos. Please know that we appreciate all your efforts. You are not doing this for yourself, para sa mga tao ito na lugmok sa nangyayari ngayon. Thank you so much for that!

I’m so sorry it’s come to this, but do know madami kang pinatawa at pinasaya, whether it was your dubs or Auntie Julie series.

But do you really think we can stop all the irrepressible Aunt Julies here from speaking their minds? I don't think so. She's all of us and I'm not even from Poveda. We eat haters for breakfast. After telling our Roberts and Cassandras to finish their food.

Something to think about for all of us having a bit or a lot of Aunt Julies inside of us.

Image credits to @theArtOfPatpat & @janjancomics & @bagongpinay

Save the Children Philippines honors staff, volunteers for selfless work in protecting children from COVID-19

Wazzup Pilipinas!

On World Humanitarian Day, Save the Children Philippines honors its staff and volunteers as they risk their lives in order to continuously reach out to the most deprived and marginalized children and families to provide life-saving interventions against COVID-19.

Despite the imminent danger of getting infected and threats of hostile environments, Save the Children staff and volunteers work hard every day in Metro Manila, Visayas, and in conflict-affected areas of Mindanao to provide hygiene kits, food packs, water, and hygiene sanitation kits, as well as other essential services.

“It breaks my heart to see my son cry as I leave to conduct humanitarian response,” said Kitty Arce, a mother and staff of Save the Children Philippines. She explained to her son about the importance of her work in providing support to children and families who do not have the means to protect themselves from COVID-19. “We need to do what we have to do to protect children of poor families from the pandemic because this is our duty.”

As part of the global celebration, Save the Children also pays tribute to its founder, Eglantyne Jebb, a teacher and humanitarian activist who took a stand on behalf of children who were bombed, starved, and raped during World War II. She founded Save the Children in 1919 and wrote the Declaration of the Rights of the Child which inspired the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child.

Atty. Alberto Muyot, Chief Executive Officer of Save the Children Philippines, said the selfless work of staff and community volunteers have been critical to the implementation of programs to ensure children are healthy, continue to learn, and are protected from violence amid the pandemic.

“We take pride in our history of providing humanitarian work in the most difficult and risky situations in the last 100 years in more than 120 countries including the Philippines,” said Muyot. “The legacy of our founder Eglantyne Jebb lives on in our hearts through the unwavering commitment and dedication of our staff, and volunteers.”

Samarudin Samsudin, a 21-year-old volunteer of the Child Peace Movement Council (CPMC), was also inspired by Save the Children Philippines to mobilize his fellow youth in providing educational support to learners in the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM) who are missing out on school due to the health crisis.

His group also continues to promote the lessons taught by Save the Children Philippines in its Spaces for Peace program in partnership with the Bangsamoro Civil Society in 2017 to strengthen the protection of children from ongoing conflicts in the province of Maguindanao.

“We want to ensure that children and youth in the Bangsamoro areas are protected from all forms of abuse and violence in their communities,” said Samsudin. “As a responsible youth, it is also our duty to help and raise awareness for others, in any way we can. Our volunteer work may just be simple but we strongly believe that it could change the situation positively and save the children.”

Friday, August 21, 2020

CJ Cansino moves on, chooses to join Fighting Maroons

Wazzup Pilipinas!

After his sudden departure from the University of Santo Tomas (UST), UAAP Season 80 Juniors MVP CJ Cansino quickly moved on and chose the University of the Philippines (UP) to be his new home.

The 6-foot-2 guard known for his speed, strength and sweet shooting met with UP Men’s Basketball Team (UPMBT) manager Atty. Agaton Uvero and head coach Bo Perasol on Friday, August 21 and expressed his interest to join the Diliman-based squad.

“Unang-una sa lahat, UST is my dream school kaya nalulungkot talaga ako sa nangyari. Hinding-hindi ko makakalimutan ang UST and thankful ako sa kanila na binigyan nila ako ng opportunity, pero I need to move on,” Cansino said.

“Noong natanggap ko na, na hindi na ako pwede sa UST, marami po akong kinausap and kinonsulta. Ang naging pakiramdam ko po ay mas bagay talaga ako sa UP, mas comfortable ako sa UP,” he added.

Perasol welcomed Cansino’s decision to join the Fighting Maroons and assured the incoming third-year guard that he will help him adjust to the new environment.

“CJ will be a great addition to ensuring the sustainability of the program, especially with possibly just one player left from last season playing for Season 84. I will personally help him make the transition to being a Fighting Maroon. CJ will definitely enjoy his stay in UP,” Perasol said.

Team manager Atty. Uvero said the UPMBT is happy to have the multi-talented former juniors star join the squad.

“We wanted him to play for UP when he graduated from UST high school two years ago, but his heart has always been with UST. We are happy and lucky that he chose to be part of the Fighting Maroons this time,” Uvero said.

Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs: Qatar is Committed to Fighting ISIS Despite Exceptional Circumstances Due to COVID-19

Wazzup Pilipinas!

His Excellency Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al-Thani stressed in a meeting of the Global Coalition to Defeat ISIS Small Group, that despite the exceptional circumstances faced by the State of Qatar and the world because of the coronavirus (COVD-19) pandemic, the State of Qatar remains committed to combating ISIS in Iraq and Syria and to the goals of the Global Coalition to Defeat ISIS to create conditions for a permanent defeat of the terrorist group through a comprehensive and multifaceted effort.

HE Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al-Thani considered that ISIS crimes against civilians and flagrant violations of international law require uncompromising measures and enhanced cooperation across all coalition lines to ensure the protection of civilians and to ensure that ISIS and its affiliates are unable to reconstitute any regional enclave or continue to pose an international threat to peace and security.

HE the Foreign Minister stressed that the State of Qatar is determined to continue its cooperation to achieve the necessary conditions for the recovery and stability of Iraq and Syria and to provide the necessary assistance to legitimate partners on the ground, which are now more important than ever in the context of the pandemic.

His Excellency expressed appreciation for the efforts made by the government of Iraq in the war against ISIS, which the Prime Minister declared is one of the priorities of the new government.
He said that the State of Qatar shares with its partners concern about the emerging threat posed by ISIS affiliates in particular in West Africa and the Sahel region, adding that there is a need for more coordination while addressing the root causes of this threat in those areas.

HE the Foreign Minister underlined that "We cannot fully claim that we defeated ISIS" without strong accountability mechanisms for terrorist crimes and addressing the challenges posed by foreign terrorist fighters in accordance with international law.

His Excellency pointed out that the issue of ISIS detainees and their family members in northeastern Syria is an outstanding problem that needs a comprehensive solution to it.

HE Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al-Thani affirmed Qatar's determination to protect the collective security interests through the work of the coalition.

At the beginning of his speech, HE the Foreign Minister thanked HE the US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and HE Italian Minister of Foreign Affairs Luigi Di Maio for coordinating the Small Group.

Interview with Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs by Al-Jazeera

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Al-Jazeera / Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdul Rahman Al Thani, welcome. Three years have passed since the blockade was imposed on Qatar. Do you know the cause of the problem, the essence of the problem?

Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs:

Of course, if we look at the background of the blockade, we will find that the reasons behind it and the circumstances in which it began, we will find a campaign of misinformation against the State of Qatar and an attempt to invent reasons for the blockade and justify it to the Gulf public opinion in particular and global public opinion in general. The second stage started with the hacking of Qatar News Agency, followed by a misinformation campaign against the State of Qatar and a campaign to demonize it. To this day, we do not find clear reasons for imposing this blockade, especially that the relations linking the State of Qatar and the countries of the blockade in the period that preceded it were good and friendly. There was continuous cooperation and dialogue between all the concerned states except for the problem that was raised by the UAE though its request to hand over the wife of the Emirati opponent two months before the blockade, and we did not expect that such problem would take us to such situation.

Al-Jazeera / you say two months, but in reality, Prince Turki Al-Faisal, the former head of Saudi intelligence, who was also an ambassador in Washington and London, says that the problem is much older and goes back to twenty years in fact, and that there were many warnings to you during that period. He says that the cause of the crisis is attributed to the aspiration of the Qatari leadership to play a role in the region, according to what it calls “its interests”. What is your comment?

Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs:

Of course, if the problem extends to twenty years as Prince Turki claimed in his interview, why wasn’t this problem solved during those twenty years when there were continuous dialogues and many statements from all Saudi officials about the depth of the relationship between the State of Qatar and the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia? Just a few days before the blockade and the online attack, the Saudi foreign minister was on a visit to the State of Qatar and addressed the Qatari Ambassadors Conference. This reflected the depth of the relationship between Qatar and the Kingdom at that time. His Highness the Amir, Sheikh Tamim, came to power in 2013, and the problems began only a few months after that without even knowing the Amir’s policy with withdrawing the ambassadors or the crisis of 2014, which led to the so-called Riyadh agreement that they violated.

Al-Jazeera / Have you been fully committed to this agreement?

Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs:

The State of Qatar was fully committed, and all the records of the Cooperation Council prove that. The commitment of the State of Qatar to the agreement and the violation of this agreement was clear from the measures that were taken by these countries, unfortunately. The Riyadh Agreement clearly provides for the settlement of any points of disagreement through a dispute settlement mechanism, and this mechanism was not used, so why then are they talking about respecting the Riyadh agreement that they did not respect in the first place?

Al-Jazeera / Regardless of the reasons, regardless of compliance or non-compliance with the Riyadh agreement, there is a reality now: three years of blockade, and there are many attempts to resolve this crisis, at least by the State of Kuwait. A Kuwaiti official came out more than once to say resolution is close, God willing. The latest of these statements was given two days ago in fact, when Kuwaiti Prime Minister Sheikh Sabah Al-Khaled Al-Sabah said that there is hope for resolving (what he called) Gulf differences. Is there anything new?

Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs:

We hope that the resolution will be sooner than later. Of course, I would like at the outset to thank the State of Kuwait, led by His Highness Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad, for assuming this responsibility since the beginning of the crisis, despite his preoccupations. He shouldered this responsibility by himself and came and visited the State of Qatar and the blockading countries at that time in an attempt to defuse this crisis, and his mediation continues to this day. There are continuous attempts by the sisterly State of Kuwait, which the State of Qatar highly appreciates and always responds to positively and constructively. Unfortunately, there is no clear roadmap to resolve this crisis until now. There are positive initiatives that we are evaluating, but the practical steps have not actually taken shape, and we hope that there will be practical steps not only for our sake but also for the sake of the Gulf Cooperation Council as an institution, the sake of our peoples and the sake of the regional security that was adversely affected by this blockade.

Al-Jazeera: Since you have talked about visits, there is a visit that you have made personally two week ago on 21 May to Amman and Kuwait on 20 May 2020, during Conran pandemic at the time no one can out, except for very important matter. You took the plane and took the risk, and you went to send a message! There is a curiosity regarding this visit, please do not tell me it is a routine visit or a visit for bilateral relations?

Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs: Of course the visit that I have made to Kuwait, it was for a response to a message from His Highness Sheikh Sabah related to the crisis, and we went with the Qatari response which is always in line with having a constructive dialogue based on the principles that respect the sovereignty and international law. Also constructive dialogue based principle of equality among nations. There are efforts, as I mentioned to you previously led by the State of Kuwait, and the United States is also working in this regard to solve the crisis, where the State of Qatar contribute on it, and consider it a positive and a constructive way. We hope that these efforts will be fruitful one day and lead us to a solution. Till today there is no response from the other party.

Al-Jazeera: I mean, is there an initiative on the table?

Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs:

Yes, there is an initiative on the table, and there are positive atmospheres on this initiative, and we hope that this initiative will result in positive steps.

Al-Jazeera: With Saudi Arabia specifically, or with the Emirates, with who?

Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs:

We talked on golf crisis within the framework of the Gulf Cooperation Council, and with cooperation of the United States, and this was always the framework of our conversation.

Al-Jazeera: This time you will be a conservative, but last time there were more than one attempt, can we know the number of the serious attempts that actually led to a real dialogue?

Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs:

There was a dialogue between us and the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, which I referred at the end of last year. This dialogue was observed by public opinion such a dialogue that achieved some accomplishments, but unfortunately it stopped, not by the State of Qatar, but from the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, maybe the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia has reasons for that, but for us the reason was not clear, because the dialogue started in a positive and constructive way and it suddenly stopped and we found escalating campaign. We hope that this time will not be a repeat such as previous times, and we also hope that there will be more seriousness in dealing with the initiatives laid on the table by the State of Kuwait and the support of United States.

Al-Jazeera: It is noticeable that you are the one who declare this attempt and the second party did not talk about it, and after that there was a tweet from Minister Anwar Gargash in which he says (this is another example where Qatar undermines the unity of Gulf States and wants incite disorder once again, while it talks about Saudi Arabia without talking about it us too?

Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs:

The is not a question about undermining the unity, if we are talking about whoever the unity of Gulf Cooperation Council, we must talk about the blockading countries that have attacked the State of Qatar from the beginning, and imposed blockade on the State of Qatar, its people. In addition, blockading countries politicized its people against the State of Qatar, as well as politicizing all life aspects against State of Qatar, therefore his accusation is wrong, because the State of Qatar doesn’t separate. The dialogue atmospheres in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia were positive and might lead to dialogue and we proceed as we said from the beginning that the State of Qatar is open to dialogue, and whoever move towards us one step, then we move forward him ten steps, but it must be a serious and sincere step.

Al-Jazeera: Do you deal with all blockading countries by the same way?

Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs: by the same way.

Al-Jazeera: Are you keen to restore relations with all countries?

Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs: We are keen on the unity of the Gulf Cooperation Council regardless of what happened. Today everyone knows Golf crisis harm Gulf Cooperation Council and damaged it reputation, especially it reputation in front of its own people.

Al-Jazeera: Recently, there have been rumors that you will leave the GCC, Lulwa Al-Khater, spokesperson, said that this issue is not correct and has no basis, and Qatar is sticking to its member in the GCC. What is the origin of the rumors? Especially, there are some Parties saying it is a test balloon, from your side, you launched the rumor, the you keep silent for about fifteen days, then you denied it?

Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs: We do not need a balloon test, we take our decisions and announce them, and therefore we talked about mobility, we speak with transparency before our people and in front of the whole world when there were positive attempts and atmosphere, we talked about these rumors, and there is a general popular frustration towards the GCC and towards the effectiveness of the GCC, but this does not mean that the leadership in the State of Qatar views the GCC only as a platform for meetings, but we have a future vision, on which the GCC was established by our parents and grandparents, today who launched this rumor? Let's see who has an interest in launching this? who has an interest in getting the State of Qatar out of the GCC system. If the State of Qatar wanted to get out of the GCC system, it would have gone out in the days when the GCC as a system did not respond to the attack that took place at that time, in two thousand and seventeen.

Al-Jazeera / Next year, the age of the GCC will be approximately forty years of age. In his horizon do you see its future? What we wait from this council, to transfer three of its boycotting members, and there are some kind of question about what it offers in the future?

Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs: Of course there are many questions about the GCC and its effectiveness, but Qatar behave with responsibility, it will not be a reason to collapse the Council. On the contrary, we believe that we must take advantage of such challenges to strengthen this council. The State of Qatar, when it gave solutions from the beginning, did not search for its advantage. Today we live naturally without relations with these States, whether it is with Saudi Arabia or with the UAE or with Bahrain, and unfortunately we hear voices saying that this crisis does not concern us and we will live without Qatar. The issue is not living with you or without you, we are interconnected peoples. We should think about our people and their future, and how we will deal with the region and its challenges in the future. We haven’t thought only about ourselves or only in the interest of the State of Qatar, in particular we said that the Council unfortunately have no role, but we are thinking about the future and we looked for a solution, we said this solution should be strengthening the GCC’s solution, a solution confirms that there will no recurrence crisis, not only with Qatar but with any other member of the Council, there must be a civilized dialogue built upon it a strong civilized institution that can respond to the aspirations of our people in this region. The issue is not bidding, or blockade. One, two, fifty years like what unfortunately some officials from the blockading countries mentioned at that time, we say to them after a year or two, there are countries that are change, others developed, and others end or disappear, we must look at the issue with more responsible spirit.

Al-Jazeera / Well, if we want to look at this period in which there have been many developments before you talk about regional relations, let's go back to a point related specifically to the United States. In the Arab street, there is an impression that the region is ordering by America, especially the Gulf, and let us be more frank, including Qatar, and that if Washington says it is time to reconciled, we will reconcile. It is interesting here that Trump has two years calling for Gulf reconciliation, and calls on the blockade countries to take steps towards Qatar. Regardless of his reasons, we know that Trump is not embarrassed to say things as they are, to embarrass those who have offended. This is not his problem now, according to the latest words, according to ancient American newspapers. Trump is now striving to fix it for reasons related to the air embargo, for example, because there are planes now traveling over Iran, and this is in Iran's interest. He wants to stop this matter, that helped us to understand the equation here, the American’s role is challenging?

Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs:

Of course, first of all there is no doubt that the United States has strategic relations with all the Gulf states, including the State of Qatar, which has a strong strategic relationship and cooperation with the United States in various levels, whether security, defense or economic levels, in energy in multiple fields. But that does not mean that the State of Qatar, and here I am talking only about the State of Qatar and I am not talking about the rest of the countries because I am not authorized to speak on their behalf, but the State of Qatar by virtue of this strategic relationship has discussions and dialogues with the United States, but these discussions do not compel us to follow the orders of the United States. We may agree with them on views regarding specific files and disagree with them on others, but the disagreement is in a civilized way and is solved in a civilized way, too. Claiming that if the United States wants to end the crisis it can end it and if it wants to ignite the crisis it can ignite it, I think if this theory is correct then there is a bigger question: what are the countries that only link their future, the future of their peoples, the future of their region and create a crisis with a neighboring country just by order of another State and solve it again by order of another State? I think the biggest question here is what are these countries that are willing to ignite a crisis with the State of Qatar just by a foreign order? I do not think the issue is so. The issue in particular is that the blockading countries have a fundamental dispute with the State of Qatar, as they want the State of Qatar to be a follower and be run according to the same political approach that they are adopting. We respect their political approach. Their point of view may be correct in some matters and may be wrong I others. Our view, as well, may be correct in some matters, and wrong in others, but we should respect each other. The State of Qatar will not be a follower to anyone and will not listen to anyone's dictates.

Al-Jazeera/ In a statement a month ago at a symposium with Johns Hopkins University, you said something remarkable, and enumerated reasons including the siege of Qatar and also touched on American relations and problems between America and Iran, and you enumerated the role of Turkey in the region, Libya and Yemen, all these things push or put the region on the brink of an explosion?

Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs:

Correct, add the Corona Virus Crisis, which will also have social, economic and political impacts in the future.

Al-Jazeera/ When you talk about an explosion, does it mean that you are talking about weeks, months or what?

Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs:

We cannot predict the period, but the region is experiencing this heat during all this period, which indicates- if there is no wisdom to find solutions to these problems- that an explosion will occur. Therefore, we are seeking to make the language of wisdom and reason prevail so that these crises be contained and resolved, and crises are resolved only through civilized dialogues. If we look throughout the history of all wars and military confrontations, the two sides always come out with a loss and agreements are reached on the basis of settlements and not on the basis that there is a winner and there is a loser. Today, we say we are all losers in all these crises in the region, all sides are losers, but when will there be a language of reason and Wisdom for us to understand that we have lost enough and must look to the future?

Al-Jazeera/ Let me ask you. A language of reason and wisdom versus this language of anger in social media, not only at the level of ordinary people, but also at the level of leaders, media professionals who got involved in, politicians and People from all spectra. There is anger and this unfortunately undermines the efforts sometimes and the language of reconciliation, the language of reason and wisdom that you are talking about?

Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs:

Unfortunately, there is an abuse of the freedom space available today on social media platforms as we see it today. One of the main places for misusing such freedom is found in the Arab world, specifically in the Gulf, where social networking has been mobilized in a systematic campaign against the State of Qatar to demonize the State of Qatar and which, unfortunately, created hatred towards the State of Qatar by the blockading countries. They used this weapon to mobilize peoples and stir regional and international opinion against the State of Qatar.

Al-Jazeera/ But, to be just there are some Qatari tweets that use the same language?

Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs:

Please, let me just finish, there were some Qatari replies but I would not say that these replies are correct or wrong and I would not say the Qatari is right and the other is wrong, all are wrong in stimulation the media and the social media in this way, but we should not forget that at the beginning of this campaign we noted many times”, do not involve the peoples in such campaign and do not involve the peoples in the hate speech,” but, unfortunately, we found laws that criminalize sympathy to Qatar and he who comes on the social media and calls for the reconciliation between us his end might be unfortunate. Unfortunately, we found tweets from the Emirate crossed the boundaries and excessively insulted women who were considered a redline to us, not only for our society but also the Gulf societies, the Arab and the International community in general, there are such attacks on women in this disrespectable manner and in such a way we didn’t see in the Gulf States before. We used to think that such matters will not emerge in the Gulf Countries in any day, unfortunately, we find that it is becoming less than normal.

Al-Jazeera:/ In your opinion, how can such anger and bitterness caused be contained when redlines are crossed in such a way,?

Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister:

The responsibility comes from the leadership and the behavior comes from the leadership if the leadership enacts the behavior that deals with the issue with responsibility and freely, then all will behave is such a way, and if the leadership permits this, everyone will respond to it.

Al-Jazeera/ The media of all the parties is accused of leading a fierce campaign?

Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs: The media is polarized, and unfortunately the situation we live in especially in the Gulf, is a situation of sharp polarization between different media but I would not say this because of Al-Jazeera, Al-Jazeera is part of this polarization, and when I compare Al-Jazeera with other channels in the region I would say, at least Al-Jazeera contributed in the Polarization but in a more professional way from others. Other channels report false news, they report false and distorted news and this role is a negative and destructive to our communities in the future.

Al-Jazeera/ I would like to conclude with a question, maybe it is personal. You had taken the responsibility of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs one and half years before this crisis started. I think, if I might say, you were thrown into deep water, did you think this crisis would last long i.e. the whole of this period?

Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs:

When I was honored by HH. The Emir to take over the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the directives of HH were clear, that the priority for us relations wise, is to develop and enhance the Gulf relations and as this crisis has come suddenly and also by the creation of reasons, the extend of the period is a surprise to us but after three years if we talk, we would say we have been used to this pattern of behavior which is not excepted, we always expect anything and call for the wisdom to prevail, what always make me feel hurt after three years is the volume of polarization of our peoples in the region, it is something unbelievable, I cannot tolerate the moral downfall I see in the social media because of this crisis, this thing affects us, affects our future and the future of the coming generations.

Al-Jazeera: Thank you your excellency the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs Sheik. Mohammed bin Abdul Rahman Al-Thani so much for this meeting and thank you our honorable viewers for follow up of Today’s meeting.

Corona Virus: Qatar promises to continue preparing for the 2022 FIFA World Cup

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The Qatari foreign minister told Sky News that cooperation between countries is essential to beat the emerging COVID-19.

Qatar, the host of the 2022 FIFA World Cup, has pledged to hold it on time despite successive strikes from the Corona virus pandemic.

Qatar's Foreign Minister said stadium designs, which are nearly 90% complete, would respond to any changes to the health and safety guidelines, as a result of the new Corona Virus COVID-19, and consultations are underway with the organizing committee.

Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al Thani told Sky News: "We believe that Qatar is working closely and strongly with various health care organizations to make sure that a healthy and safe World Cup is presented, and we believe this is part of the treatment for the world to return to cohesion again in a happy way".

“There are ongoing practices with the Organizing Committee, and with various stakeholders, to ensure that all health and safety standards are applied in all of our stadiums, and this is still ongoing".

"Once it becomes clear to all of us, I'm sure we'll make it public."
Qatar has suffered an unusually large number of coronavirus infections due to its small population, but has managed to keep the mortality rate down.
The Gulf country, with a population of 2.8 million, has recorded 65,000 cases so far, but the number of deaths has reached 49 only.

Qatar has instituted a strict examination and tracing system, which some have criticized as a major violation of their privacy.

Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al Thani revealed that the Emir of Qatar has participated in the Global Vaccine Summit 2020 held on Thursday and hosted by Boris Johnson, in which Qatar pledged $ 20 million (15.5 million Sterling pounds) to the vaccine alliance (Gavi).

In response to a question about whether the absence of a global strategy to tackle the Corona virus represents a global failure, the Foreign Minister said, “a better cooperation is the key”.

"Without cooperation, exchange of experiences and dialogue, we believe that we cannot learn or depend on each other," he said.

"So we believe that despite the discussion that we see about the national approach, this should act as an incentive for us to strengthen and improve our international cooperation and joint action."

The United States recently chose to cut funding to the World Health Organization, citing the organization's failures to handle the virus appropriately.

Sheikh Mohammed said: "We believe that Thursday's Summit also represents a demonstration of the extent of commitment of various countries to multilateralism, and we believe it is important to consider reforming these organizations”.

"But more importantly, is to preserve them and ensure that they work effectively and respond to the challenges our countries face”.

Aside from the new COVID-19, this week marks the third anniversary of the Saudi- led siege of Qatar.

In June 2017, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, and Egypt led a regional siege by cutting diplomatic ties with Qatar.

The siege countries cut trade, travel and diplomacy with the Gulf country, accusing Qatar of having become too close to Iran and of supporting terrorism because of its ideological ties with the Muslim Brotherhood.

The anti-Qatar quartet also called, as they call, the closure of the Qatari channel, Al-Jazeera.

"This crisis was created from the start, and we still do not see any recognition by the siege countries that this crisis is artificial," the minister said.

"We hope that one day everyone will notice that there are many regional and global challenges that we face together, that make us need to talk to each other, to support each other, and to stand with each other".

"COVID-19 represents one of the changes our country faces, but also the entire world is facing," he said.

Focusing on security in a region of many tensions, the Foreign Minister also revealed the following:

The efforts of US President Donald Trump to end the Saudi-led siege of Qatar have been beneficial, but a decision must be found.

Iran is a friend of Qatar, and that his government can broker a deal between Tehran and Washington, if there is a willingness by both sides.

Iran was spoken to by Qatar to end any support for President Assad in Syria. His words come at a time when the regional power claims that Iranian influence in Syria is weakening.

Israel's plan to occupy part of the West Bank and implement Israeli sovereignty, as soon as the month of July comes, will be the last bullet of the Israeli-Palestinian peace process.

Qatar has positioned itself, in a number of regions, as a potential regional mediator. It hosts the largest US air base in Al Udeid Air Base, and still maintains strong ties with Iran.

The Qatari capital, Doha, was also chosen as the office of the Taliban officials in an attempt to mediate the peace process between the Taliban, the Afghan government and the United States.

Although it provided ideological, political and financial support to the Palestinians in both Gaza and West Bank, Qatar maintains commercial ties with Israel.

In a direct warning to Israel about the annexation plans in the West Bank, Sheikh Mohammed said: "We hope that these threats to take the annexation decision are not real, because we believe that they will be the last bullet in the peace process between the Israelis and the Palestinians, we want them to return to the negotiation table and engage in talks face to face.

Unfortunately, year after year, Israeli behavior has shown us that they were not serious about peace, but were only trying to establish relations with Arab countries, ignoring the rights of the Palestinian people”.

On regional tensions with Iran, the Qatari foreign minister said that the situation remains "very serious" in the wake of the January assassination of Iranian General Qasem Soleimani by an American drone.

"It was a critical period and we have crossed it peacefully, but we are still in a serious position, we want to see a final decision between Iran, the United States, Iran and other Gulf countries," he said.

"If we are asked and accepted by both parties, we will be ready to help, and at the same time we are ready to work with other countries and help them with the aim of mitigating the escalation and calming the situation”.

On the relationship between Qatar and Iran, he said, "In a time of need, you need your friends to stand with you; Iran has proven that it stands with us and the Qatari people (during the siege led by Saudi Arabia)."

"And this is despite the policy differences with Iran; we have had differences for a long time: in Syria, Iraq and Yemen."

"If you look at the policies of Iran and Qatar, they are completely different."

Last month, sources in Israel claimed that Iran is currently reducing its forces in Syria, abandoning bases and reducing its influence in the country, and its support for Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.

When this claim was focused on, Sheikh Muhammad alluded to changes on the ground: “We have spoken to them [Iran] to make sure they do not support him [Syrian President Assad] and we hope that this progress, and these steps on the ground, will help to achieve justice for the Syrian people, and prosecute the real criminal behind this, the current president of Syria.

Mark Stone
Sky News correspondent in the Middle East

Speech of His Highness Sheikh Tamim Bin Hamad Al-Thani Amir of the State of Qatar at the celebration of the completion of the Education City Stadium

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In the Name of God, the Most Merciful, the Most Compassionate

Dear friends across the world,

As we celebrate the completion of Education City Stadium, the third venue for the World Cup 2022, we greet the champions of these times: the medical staff and all the staff of the teams working on the frontline against the Covid-19 pandemic who have saved the lives of many people and brought back hope to them. We thank you and we support you.

As the world begins to open up, it is through your courage, dedication and sincerity that we truly believe in better days to come, the days when we will enjoy together watching the stars of the game in our stadiums.

Qatar is looking forward, and more excited and enthusiastic than ever, to welcome guests from all over the world for an exceptional World Cup.

Thank you very much.

DOTr, LTFRB deploy bus units with left-side facing doors along the EDSA Busway System

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Upon reverting back to general community quarantine (GCQ) in Metro Manila, the Department of Transportation (DOTr) has begun utilizing public utility bus (PUB) units with passenger doors located on the left side for trips along the main EDSA thoroughfare.

The Mega Manila Consortium, one of the two consortiums operating the EDSA Busway route, reported that 3 units from HM Transport Inc., with both left-side and right-side passenger doors, were launched last Wednesday, August 19. 7 more units with the same configuration shall be dispatched within September. Meanwhile, RRCG, will likewise add more left-entry buses next week.

According to DOTr Assistant Secretary for Road Transport and Infrastructure Steve Pastor, the arrangement between their agency and among private bus companies for the use of such units was created to ensure safe service for the commuting public.

“These bus units will better accommodate commuters who will now be using the new loading and unloading bus stops located in the innermost lane of EDSA. Aside from the installation of canopies and lighting fences, we have also placed concrete barriers and steel separators on EDSA’s median lanes to ensure utmost safety and comfort,” Asec. Pastor said.

Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) Chairman Martin Delgra III meanwhile reported that a total of 3,662 units and opened 31 traditional City Bus routes in Metro Manila.

According to him, alongside the operation of PUBs, the LTFRB has also opened other routes and approved more units of public transportation that includes modern and traditional public utility jeepneys (PUJS), UV Express (UVE) vehicles, Point-to-Point Buses (P2Ps), Transport Network Vehicles services (TNVS), and TAXI services.

“For modern PUJs, 716 units have begun operating in 45 routes; while for traditional PUJs, the LTFRB has allowed the operation of an additional 4,498 units in 60 routes. This brings the total number of authorized traditional PUJs to 12,443 in 126 routes,” Chairman Delgra said

“Meanwhile, an additional 4 routes with 641 units have been authorized for UV Express, which totals to 1,621 authorized UVEs currently plying in 51 routes. While 364 units of P2P buses are operating in 33 routes, with 20,493 taxis and 23,776 TNVS ferrying passengers in the Metro,” Delgra added.

All units of road transport are still required to strictly follow the existing health guidelines and safety protocols provided by the Inter-Agency Task Force on Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-IED) to help curb the spread of the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19).

All forms of road public transportation will follow a limited passenger capacity of 50%, while maintaining physical distancing and sanitary practices in their vehicles. The DOTr is ensuring that law enforcers and on-ground marshals are monitoring all public transport vehicles. Otherwise, penalties will be dealt to those caught breaking the rules, Pastor emphasized.

Commuters, on the other hand, are now required to wear a face shield on top of their face masks in order to be permitted to travel—be it on land, sea, or air— as mandated by the newly issued Memorandum Circular No. 2020-14 of the DOTr. The new requirement took effect upon the reallowing of public transportation last August 18.

Aside from Metro Manila, the provinces of Laguna, Cavite, Rizal, and Bulacan, Nueva Ecija, Batangas, the cities of Iloilo, Cebu, Lapu Lapu, Mandaue, Talisay, and the municipalities of Minglanilla and Consolacion in Cebu province are now also placed under GCQ.

Meanwhile, the rest of the Philippines are under a lenient modified general community quarantine.

Trevor Morgan is United City Football Club’s new Head Coach

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Keen on making its mark as a rebranded club, United City Football Club (UCFC) has announced its new top-notch Head Coach, who is not a stranger at all to Asian Football.

British-Australian Trevor Morgan, a decorated football manager, who most recently headed the Bhutan National Team, won a number of silverware during his stint with the Indian Super League — Winning eight (8) trophies across three (3) seasons, including the Calcutta Cup in 2012-2013; and the Calcutta League in 2011-2013 and 2016-2017. He also led the Indian club East Bengal to reach the quarterfinals with an unbeaten record, during the 2013 AFC Cup, the first Indian club to do so.

Trevor served as Head Coach for Sorrento Soccer Club, in Western Australia, from 1997-2001, with the team ending as league champions and cup winners, among many other accolades the club gained for the very first time under his watch. He was also the Head Coach of Sengkang Punggol FC in Singapore, when the club became runners up during the Singtel League Cup in 2007.

Trevor also served as an Assistant Coach for Hull City FC, during the 2008-2009 season, making him the first Australian coach to work in the English Premiere League (EPL).

As a football player, he appeared in over four hundred (400) League and Cup games in the United Kingdom (UK), whilst scoring over two hundred (200) goals, plying his trade from 1980-1994.

According to Trevor Morgan, “I cannot wait to get onto the training field with the players and look forward to working with a group of high-quality players and staff. I have been given a wonderful opportunity to help take an already very successful team to the next level, and I will give everything I have to help improve our team and to further establish Philippine Football as a force to be reckoned within Asia.”

While United City Football Club (UCFC) co-founder Eric Gottschalk says, “His exposure to various leagues: From the English Football League, the English Premiere League, the Indian Super League, Singapore S-League, Western Australian State League, Malaysia Super Liga, to name a few, has prepared him very well for his new role as the Head Coach of United City Football Club (UCFC), which suits very well the ambition that this club has. We are excited and proud to have him on board, especially since the season is about to start. Trevor will bring the necessary experience onto the pitch to immediately get the team as best as possible competition ready, which considering the long COVID break is a key task in itself. We have high ambitions for the local league and the AFC Cup and we believe, Trevor is the right coach especially since he is no stranger to Asian football.”
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