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Deport ICC investigators if already here – Bato

MANILA, Philippines — The Department of Migrant Workers (DMW) has allotted some P35 million in financial and other assistance for overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) affected by the deadly earthquake in Japan.

DMW officer-in-charge Hans Cacdac said each of the over 1,000 OFWs staying in areas severely dev astated by the quake would be given P30,000.

“Financial assistance is forthcoming for those who have been adversely affected by the e arthquake,” Cacdac said at a public briefing yesterday.

Considered severely affected are those rendered jobless or without livelihood or had lost houses due to the earthquake. Those in need of food and other basic necessities would also be entitled to assistance.

Fil ipino workers applying for assistance may contact the DMW through its hotline or via email.

So far, Cacdac said, the DMW has received only a few calls from quake-affected OFWs in Japan, and that there no casualties as of Jan. 4. “For me, this is a symbol of the efficient disaster management of the government of Japan,” he said.

Accordi ng to Cacdac, 1,194 OFWs are staying in Toyama Prefecture and Ishikawa Prefecture, where the epicenter of the quake was located.

Most of the OFWs in the two areas, he said, are employed in the construction and manufacturing sectors.

MANILA, Philippines — The International Bureau of the Permanent Court of Arbitration (PCA) has confirmed the appointments of four Filipino members, the Department of Foreign Affairs said yesterday.

The four appointed Members of the Court are professors Raul Pangalangan, Antonio Gabriel La Viña, Sedfrey Candelaria and Ambassador J. Eduardo Malaya.

The PCA confirmed their appointments upon the submission of their names by Foreign Affairs Secretary Enrique Manalo.

Pangalangan, law professor at the University of the Philippines, is former judge of the International Criminal Court (2015-2021), while Candelaria, a professor of law at the Ateneo de Manil a University, is chief of Office of the Research, Publications and Linkages Office of the Philippine Judicial Academy.

La Viña is a former member of the PCA Specialized Panel of Arbitrators and Experts (Environmental Disputes, 2016-2022) and currently associate director for Climate Policy and International Relations of the Manila Observatory. Malaya is Philippine ambassador to the Netherlands and acting president of the PCA Administrative Council for 2023-2024.

Pursuant to the 1899 and 1907 Hague Convention for the Pacific Settlement of International Disputes, each member state may appoint up to four individuals who possess exceptional expertise in international law who will be included in the list of those who are available to serve as arbitrators under the auspices of the PCA, for a term of six years. 

The members of the court appointed by each member state shall comprise its national group, which grants them the privilege to nominate candidates for the International Court of Justice and propose candidates for the Nobel Peace Prize, in collaboration with the ICJ judges.

The previous Philippine members of the PCA were retired chief justices Artemio Panganiban and Reynato Puno, retired justice Jose Vitug and Pangalangan.

A Congress of the Members of the Court will convene in June 2024 as part of the activities for the PCA’s 125th anniversary this year. The congress will only be the third time in history when members of the court of the PCA from different member states will gather and chart the future of the organization. The first was during the first Hague Peace Conference in 1899 and the second during the centennial of the PCA in 1999. 

At the Administrative Council meeting held on Dec. 18, 2023 which was presided by Malaya as council president, he cited the milestones achieved by the PCA in 2023, most notably the adoption by the United Nations General Assembly of a first time ever resolution which recognized the “important contribution of the PCA to the peaceful settlement of disputes.”

The PCA is the first and foremost permanent inter-governmental organization providing a forum for the resolution of international disputes through arbitration and other peaceful means.

The Administrative Council provides general guidance on the work and general direction of the PCA, and supervises its administration, budget and expenditure. It shapes the policy of the organization in consultation with the Secretary-General.

MANILA, Philippines — Sen. Ronald dela Rosa yesterday called for the deportation of International Criminal Court investigators, if proven that they are already in the Philippins, as he accused the ICC of breaching the country’s sovereignty.

He said the Bureau of Immigration (BI) should deport the ICC probers if they are already here and conducting an investigation against him and former president Rodrigo Duterte for the thousands of alleged state-sponsored killings of suspects related to the previous administration’s war on drugs.

“If confirmed that they are here and have entered the country without authority from the government, then I will ask the Department of Justice – you do the right thing. That is an encroachment of our sovereignty if they are unauthorized to conduct an investigation here. They should be declared undesirable aliens and deported back to their country,” Dela Rosa said in a virtual press briefing.

He was asked for his reaction about former presidential spokesperson Harry Roque’s claim of having information on the entry of ICC investigators despite the Philippines’ withdrawal from the Rome Statute that created the ICC.

But Justice Secretary Jesus Crispin Remulla said he has no information about the ICC investigators’ presence. He said these probers have the duty to inform the Philippine government.

Dela Rosa said he is banking on President Marcos’ word that the government would not allow the entry of ICC probers to look into the alleged extrajudicial killings when the senator was still the Philippine National Police chief.

“What he (Marcos) told me was solid as a rock, and I will hold on to that. But if it is the government that authorized the entry of ICC investigators, then the impression is the government is reneging on its word,” Dela Rosa said in Filipino.

“But I don’t need to burn bridges with this government as of yet. The country will suffer if we are divided,” he added.

Last November, Marcos said the possibility of the Philippines rejoining the ICC is “under study.”

The senator has promised not to flee prosecution before the ICC for alleged crimes against humanity, though he said he would only face charges in Philippine courts and not in a foreign tribunal.

Meanwhile, BI spokesperson Dana Sandoval said the agency has not received information on whether ICC prosecutors are in the country.

She admitted that the BI is not given an advance list from the ICC of its prosecutors coming to the country.

However, she hinted it was possible that “we would probably receive official communication about them if they are here for official purposes.” –  Evelyn Macairan

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