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Manalo to meet Indonesian counterpart in Manila

MANILA, Philippines — President Marcos yesterday encouraged Filipinos to plan their transactions and vacations this year and to use the long weekends to bond with their families.

In a Facebook post, Marcos shared a list of 2024 holidays including the four long weekends during the Holy Week and in August, November and December.

“Let us plan our transactions and vacations carefully to achieve a productive and prosperous yea r,” he said.

The first long weekend of the year will be from March 28 to 31, the last three days of Holy Week declared as holidays and Easter Sunday.

National Heroes Day, also a holiday, will be commemorated on Aug. 26.

The observance of All Saints’ Day on Nov. 1 and All Souls’ Day on Nov. 2 will fall on Friday and Satu rday, respectively.

The last two holida ys of 2024 – Rizal Day (Dec. 30) and the last day of the year (Dec. 31) – will fall on Monday and Tuesday, respectively.

Malaca ñang listed the regular and special non-working days for the year through Proclamation 368 issued last October.

The regular holidays for this year are Jan. 1 (New Year’s Day), March 28 (Maundy Thursday), March 29 (Good Friday), April 9 (Araw ng Kagitingan), May 1 (Labor Day), June 12 (Independence Day), Aug. 26 (National Heroes Day) Nov. 30 (Bonifacio Day), Dec. 25 (Christmas Day) and Dec. 30 (Rizal Day).

The special non-working days are Aug. 21 (Ninoy Aquino Day), Nov. 1 (All Saints’ Day), Dec. 8 (Feast of the Immaculate Conception of Mary) and Dec. 31 (last day of the year).

Feb. 25, the anniversary of the people power revolt that toppled the Marcos dictatorship in 1986, falls on a Sunday this year.

Additional special non-working days are Feb. 10 (Chinese New Year), March 30 (Black Saturday), Nov. 2 (All Souls’ Day) and Dec. 24 (Christmas Eve).

The declarations for Eid’l Fitr and Eid’l Adha will be issued after the dates of the Islamic holidays have been determined in accordance with the Islamic calendar or upon Islamic astronomical calculations.the proclamation said.

MANILA, Philippines — Malacañang yesterday touted the gains of President Marcos’ anti-drug campaign, which differed from the previous Duterte administration’s controversial war on drugs.

In a statement, the Presidential Communications Office (PCO) said P10.41 billion worth of illegal drugs were seized in 2023 and 27,968 barangays were cleared of narcotics.

As of Dec. 27, 2023, there were 23 provinces, 447 municipalities and 43 cities that established their respective community-based drug rehabilitation programs.

Citing a Philippine National Police report, the PCO added that 56,495 suspects were arrested in more than 44,000 anti-illegal drug operations.

There were also 50 provinces, 1,160 municipalities and 30 cities with “functional” anti-drug abuse councils at the local level while 74 in-patient treatment and rehabilitation facilities were also established.“The recent government successes were under President Marcos’ new approach to address illegal drugs by focusing on rehabilitation, reintegration, and preventive education programs specifically for the youth,” the PCO said.

Marcos’ predecessor, former president Rodrigo Duterte, had launched a bloody crackdown on illegal drugs. More than 6,000 suspected drug offenders were killed under the controversial campaign, which drew criticism from human rights groups.

Duterte had insisted he would only face cases before a Philippine court after complaints were filed before the Interna tional Criminal Court.

In a September 2022 speech delivered in New York, Marcos said there is a need to “learn lessons” from the previous administration’s experience, noting that enforcement “only gets you so far.”

In May 2023, Marcos acknowledged that “abuses” were committed in the previous administration’s anti-drug campaign.

He added that syndicates “have grown stronger and wealthier and more influential.”        

MANILA, Philippines — Seeking an upgrade of its offices nationwide, the Philippine National Police (PNP) has earmarked P1.44 billion for the construction of at least 127 police stations.

PNP chief Gen. Benjamin Acorda Jr. on Wednesday said the projects would improve the administrative aspects of the police force.

PNP chief publicist Col. Jean Fajardo said that the P1.44 billion earmarked from the 2024 General Appropriations Act has been distributed to 13 regional offices.

Apart from police stations, the PNP will also procure more body-worn cameras for officers assigned to anti-narcotics and other law enforcement operations.

The PNP currently has 2,756 body cameras, which is below the ideal number of 45,000 cameras.

Acorda noted that the PNP currently has 232,000 personnel.

The PNP is also set on improving cyber response capability through the procurement of more information and communications technology equipment.

MANILA, Philippines — Foreign Affairs Secretary Enrique Manalo and Indonesian Foreign Minister Retno Marsudi will meet in Manila on Jan. 9 for the convening of the Ministerial Meeting of the 7th Philippines-Indonesia Joint Commission for Bilateral Cooperation (JCBC), the Department of Foreign Affairs said yesterday.

The JCBC is the primary dialogue mechanism between the Philippines and Indonesia to review accomplishments on mutual collaboration initiatives, exchange views on issues of mutual interest, and consider plans for enhancing cooperation.

Manalo and Marsudi are also expected to exchange views on key regional and international issues of common concern for the Philippines and Indonesia.

The Ministerial Meeting follows the Senior Officials’ Meeting of the 7th JCBC, which was convened via virtual format on April 11 and 12, 2022.

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