Meeting between 1st District Congressman Paolo Z. Duterte and Consul General of China, Li Lin

A modest dinner between First District Congressman of Davao City, Paolo Z. Duterte, and the Chinese Consul General in Davao City, Li Lin, reaffirms continuing friendship between the two nations and specifically identifies the program which will be supported by government of China in Davao City;

On July 9, 2022, the top two officials in Davao City had met in the residence of the Consul General following the latter’s invitation to the former for a table blowout;

It was during the same occasion that the Chinese Consul General presented to Hon. Duterte the program which the government of China will support under latter’s fresh term and the present government of the Republic of the Philippines. In the said meeting, the support for the livelihood programs for the Indigenous Peoples (IPs) of Davao City was the highlight of the conversation.

Congressman Duterte in turn manifested his full support to the program and in fact committed to Consul General Li Lin that he is willing to work hand in hand with the consular office, all for the purpose of alleviating socio-economic condition of our IP brothers and sisters in Davao City;

Likewise, the meeting opened the opportunity for Hon. Duterte to express his gratitude and profound appreciation for the continuing support of the Government of the People’s Republic of China to the infrastructure projects undertaken by the Philippine government and to the many programs that revitalized Philippine economy.

Clearly, this is another step to a proper direction and a very bright future for the two nations. The First Congressional District of Davao City through Representative Paolo Z. Duterte will ensure that the program will be properly managed so as to guarantee full support to all our Indigenous Peoples in Davao City.


Israel Extends Assistance to Typhoon-Hit Areas in the Philippines

Israeli diplomats personally extended assistance to residents affected by Typhoon Odette that wreaked havoc to the Philippines. Initial donations were turn overed to Cebu and Bohol. 

Ambassador Ilan Fluss flew to Cebu to donate four solar energy systems, food packs, and hygiene kits to the typhoon-hit residents. The Israel Chamber of Commerce of the Philippines headed by Mr. Yoray Ofek also shared sacks of rice for Talisay, Cebu. Meanwhile, Deputy Chief of Mission Nir Balzam went to Bohol to turnover one unit of NUF portable water purifier, four solar energy systems, food packs, and hygiene kits. The turnover of donations in these areas were held on December 22.

“The State of Israel and the people of Israel are saddened to see the damage caused to human life, property, and resources caused by Typhoon Odette. We would like to express our sympathies and we would want the Filipinos to know that we stand by them. We are here to assist in every way that we can,” Ambassador Fluss said. The Israeli Ambassador also extended his condolences to the bereaved families of the casualties of the typhoon.

“The solar panels will be useful for areas which don’t have power supply yet. This technology is ready to use and low-maintenance,” Ambassador Fluss mentioned.

“Aside from the issues on power supply, we noticed that typhoon hit areas also experiences shortage of portable water. This Israeli-made portable water purifier will give them access to clean drinking water,” Mr. Balzam explained. 

Cebu and Bohol are two of the areas frequently visited by Israeli tourists in the Philippines. “I hope that they will recover soon and continue to feature the beauty and rich culture of these places,” Ambassador Fluss said. “It is important for a foreign diplomat like me to personally deliver this assistance to reach out to the communities and let them know that we are always ready to offer a helping hand,” he added.

Around 2,000 families received the food packs and hygiene kits. The embassy is also donating one unit of NUF portable water purifier, four solar energy systems, food packs, and hygiene kits to Siargao. 

PRRD to attend Summit of Democracy with Biden

PRESIDENT Rodrigo Roa Duterte has accepted the invitation from US Pesident Joseph R. Biden Jr. to attend the Summit for Democracy on December 9-10, 2021.

President Biden has invited Heads of State and Government, other government leaders and voices from the business and non-government sectors to join the United States in taking action to strengthen democracy.

In his invitation letter to President Duterte, Biden said he looks forward to welcoming the Philippine president and hearing his ideas on “how we can foster a more democratic, equitable, inclusive and sustainable world.”

President Duterte said he likewise welcomes the opportunity to share the Philippine democratic experience and commitment to democratic values and nation-building at the Summit for Democracy.


Israel Minister of Tourism Yoel Razvozov

“I fully hope that in December we will be celebrating not only the new Miss Universe here in Israel, but most importantly, the end of the world pandemic.”

The global MISS UNIVERSE® beauty pageant will be held for the first time in its history in Israel. The city of Eilat was chosen to be the host city of the competition, which will mark its 70th anniversary this year. 

Israeli producer Tali Eshkoli and Los Angeles-based producer Assaf Blecher are responsible for bringing the Miss Universe pageant to Israel, which will be run by the Miss Universe organization in cooperation with the Israeli Ministry of Tourism and the Eilat Municipality. From the end of November, competition contestants will arrive in Israel for three weeks of TV events, broadcast live around the world. These include the semi-final and final events, the national costume show, and other gala events such as the red-carpet event, events in the community, charity events and more. The 70th Miss Universe Competition will once again be hosted by legendary entertainer Steve Harvey. 

Delegations from about 100 countries are expected to attend the pageant in Israel, including more than 1,200 members of official delegations, hundreds of journalists and TV crews, thousands of pageant enthusiasts and tourists, more than 100 American celebrities, including top-tier artists and world-famous judges. Every year, the event is widely covered in the media and it will add Israel to the map of countries that have previously hosted the prestigious pageant. 

The choice of Israel as the host country once again underscores Israel’s attractiveness, its rich history and the wide variety of spectacular tourist and resort sites that Israel has to offer pageant viewers around the world. An international event of this scale will positively impact awareness and image of Eilat and Israel as a leading tourism destination and a world-renowned international brand.  

The Miss Universe Organization (MUO) is a global community that empowers women to realize their goals through experiences that build self-confidence and create opportunities for success. The organization’s programs provide the women who participate an international platform to affect positive change through influential humanitarian and professional efforts. The contestants and titleholders are leaders and role models in their communities, develop personal and professional goals, and inspire others to do the same.

Israel Minister of Tourism Yoel Razvozov:

“We in Israel are delighted to host the 70th anniversary celebrations of the iconic Miss Universe pageant. Israel is a beautiful land of creativity and innovation and we have successfully faced the COVID-19 crisis head on. Therefore, today we are among the first countries to host an international event – the unifying Miss Universe.


Tourism Ministry Director-General Amir Halevi:

“We are proud to host the 70th anniversary celebrations of the Miss Universe pageant in Eilat – a year-round sea and sun resort. We see this event as an opportunity to leverage Eilat and the Negev as an attractive tourism destination.


Tourism Director for India and the Philippines Sammy Yahia:

“What a great opportunity to host Ms. Universe this December in Israel. I know that some Filipinos were crowned with this prestigious competition. I wish all participants good health and good luck and I look forward in seeing you all soon”.

Tali Eshkoli, Miss Universe producer in Israel: “The State of Israel once again proves that it stands alongside leading countries in the world that are capable of hosting international events of such significant size. Without a doubt, we have a great and extraordinary opportunity to expose Israel to hundreds of millions of viewers around the world, and I thank the Ministry of Tourism and the Eilat Municipality for their fruitful cooperation.”


Paula M. Shugart, president of the Miss Universe Organization: “Israel has been on our shortlist of host countries for a number of years due to its rich history, beautiful landscapes, myriad of cultures and appeal as a global tourist destination,” said “As we sought an impressive location for our 70th anniversary celebration, it became clear through our conversations with acting mayor Lankri and the Israeli Ministry that Israel has the best resources to host MISS UNIVERSE in December.” 


The Philippines was already crowned four Filipina Miss Universe, Gloria Diaz in 1969, Margie Moran in !973, Pia Wurtzbach in 2015 and Catriona Gray in 2018. 

First batch of OFWs victimized in Syria successfully repatriated

* Bong Go calls on gov’t to protect Filipinos from human trafficking, renews push for DOFil

After a grueling battle for repatriation, six Filipino migrants who were victims of human trafficking in Syria, safely returned to the Philippines on Saturday, February 7, following support and assistance from President Rodrigo Duterte, Senator Christopher “Bong” Go, the Department of Foreign Affairs, and other concerned government agencies.

“Nagpapasalamat po kami kay Pangulong Duterte at Senator Bong Go dahil napakalaki ng tulong ng ibinigay nila para sa pagsisimulang muli namin ng buhay sa bansa,” said one of the migrant workers whose name could not he disclosed at this time given the ongoing case.

“Maliban po sa tulong, naramdaman naming hindi kami iniwan ng pamahalaan, lalo na nina Pangulong Duterte at Senator Go,” they added.

Aside from official government aid, Go’s office also extended additional assistance to the OFWs and their families.

“Parte po ito ng kalinga at malasakit programs para sa ating OFWs na suportado namin ni Pangulong Duterte,” said Go.

He also said that the Inter-Agency Council Against Trafficking or IACAT is working with the victims so trafficking cases can be filed against the perpetrators.

“Dapat lamang po na papanagutin ang mga human traffickers na ito dahil mga salot sila sa ating OFWs. Hirap na hirap na nga ang mga kababayan natin, may mga nangsasamantala at nambibiktima pa,” he said.

“Ayaw ko talagang makitang merong mga OFWs natin na naaabuso, lalo na nasa malalayong lugar sila. Sa mga nang-aabuso ng kapwa tao, dapat sa inyo putulan ng…!,” he exclaimed.

The IACAT has launched last year the digitized Integrated Case Management System to manage and ensure coordinated government action against the trafficking of OFWs.

The OFWs, repatriated through Etihad Airlines, included six out of 35 migrant workers in Syria who were victims of human trafficking. They were welcomed by the Department of Foreign Affairs, Office of the Undersecretary of Migrant Workers Affairs, the Presidential Management Staff, the Department of Social Welfare and Development and the Office of Senator Go.

The Office of the President and DFA provided financial and other forms of assistance to the repatriated OFWs. The Office of Senator Go also extended aid and vowed to provide additional support.

According to the information posted by the Philippine Embassy in Syria, the services of Syrian lawyers were already engaged to file cases against the individuals reportedly behind the trafficking of OFWs in the country. Other victims are being processed at this time so they can also be repatriated back home.

The embassy also expressed its concern on several matters related to the repatriation of trafficked Filipinos, such as securing an exit visa from their ‘kafeel’ or employer even after paying already for their flight and fines imposed by the Syrian immigration office.

Some of the victims, according to reports, have been in the embassy facility for as long as two years because they cannot secure exit visas and airfares back to the Philippines.

Meanwhile, the DFA is currently conducting an administrative investigation against certain officers and personnel of the embassy who reportedly failed to act on the concerns of the trafficking victims. DFA Secretary Teodoro Locsin, Jr. sent a new team to Syria to overhaul the personnel at the embassy.

Earlier, Go has expressed his grave concern over the reported trafficking of some Filipino women forcibly taken to Syria and abused by their employers, saying that this is one of the reasons why he is bent on pushing for the passage of a bill that will establish the Department of Overseas Filipinos (DOFil) that will better protect their rights and advance their welfare.

“Bagong bayani kung ituring natin sila na halos sampung porsiyento ng ating populasyon. Sana naman ay suklian natin nang mas maayos at mas mabilis na serbisyo ang kanilang sakripisyo para sa kanilang pamilya at sa bayan,” Go said in a statement.

The bill creating the DOFil is one of the priority measures of the present administration as mentioned numerous times by President Rodrigo Duterte, including in his last two State of the Nation Addresses. The President recently certified this most recent version filed by Go as urgent. It is also one of the top twenty priority measures identified by both houses of Congress this year.

“One of the main features of my proposed DOFil bill is the one country-team approach,” Go noted, stating that this requires all officials in Philippine diplomatic posts to act together as one team, regardless of their mother agencies, in the country of assignment, in protecting the rights and advancing the welfare of Filipino migrant workers there, with guidance from the Department of Foreign Affairs and the Philippine Foreign Service Posts.

The proposed department can also initiate and help prosecute human trafficking cases in coordination with the Department of Justice. Go added that overseas Filipinos in distress may swiftly be provided with assistance due to the one country-team approach.

“Kung in distress ang isang Pilipino abroad, kadalasan, hindi nila alam kung saan lalapit para humingi ng tulong. Minsan sa radyo, meron sa Facebook. Pero kung merong one country-team approach tayo, alam ng mga kababayan nating humihingi ng tulong kung saan pupunta,” he said.