Philippine president Duterte extends coronavirus calamity status by a year

President Rodrigo Duterte lashed anew at critics for accusing his administration of not doing enough to contain the coronavirus outbreaks. (Malacanang Presidential Photographers Division via AP)
Short Url
Updated 22 September 2020

Philippine president Duterte extends coronavirus calamity status by a year

  • President Rodrigo Duterte first placed the country under a state of calamity in March
  • The tough-talking president lashed anew at critics in his televised remarks late Monday

MANILA: President Rodrigo Duterte has extended a state of calamity in the entire Philippines by a year to allow the government to draw emergency funds faster to fight the COVID-19 pandemic and harness the police and military to maintain law and order.
Duterte first placed the country under a state of calamity in March when the number of confirmed infections was approaching 200 with about a dozen deaths. The country now has more than 290,000 confirmed cases, the highest in Southeast Asia, with nearly 5,000 deaths.
The tough-talking president lashed anew at critics in his televised remarks late Monday for accusing his administration of not doing enough to contain the outbreaks.
“What ‘enough’ do you want? There are hospitals, beds and funeral parlors. Everything is there,” Duterte said, specifying Vice President Leni Robredo, who leads the opposition, in his tirade.
“You know Leni, if you want, if you really want to do away with COVID, let’s spray the Philippines or Manila over with pesticide to kill all ... The only thing that we can do, really, is to wear a mask, wear a face mask, and that’s it and wait for the vaccine,” Duterte said in his southern hometown in Davao city.
The state of calamity in place until September 2021 will be used mainly to draw emergency funds quickly anywhere in the country. Officials can also control the prices of basic commodities like rice and cooking oil under such a state of calamity.
Quarantine restrictions such as social distancing remain as they are now.
Duterte also said a ban on the deployment of Filipino nurses, doctors and other health workers with finalized work contracts abroad has been lifted. Those without signed contracts remain prohibited from leaving the country to ensure an adequate supply of medical workers amid the continuing outbreaks.
The Philippines is a leading source of global labor, including medical personnel.


France teacher’s killer had ‘contact’ with militant in Syria

Updated 23 October 2020

France teacher’s killer had ‘contact’ with militant in Syria

  • Anzorov’s suspected contact had been located through an IP address traced back to Idlib

PARIS: The investigation into the murder in France of a teacher for showing caricature of the Prophet Muhammad in class turned to Syria on Thursday, where the killer had a militant contact, a source close to the case said.
Seven people have been charged with being complicit in a “terrorist murder” after 18-year-old Chechen Abdullakh Anzorov killed Samuel Paty on Friday, including two teenagers who helped him identify the teacher.
France paid homage to Paty on Wednesday, with President Emmanuel Macron saying that the history and geography teacher had been slain by “cowards” for representing the secular, democratic values of the French Republic.
In their search for accomplices, anti-terror investigators have now established that Anzorov had contact with a Russian-speaking militant in Syria whose identity is not yet known, the source told AFP.
Le Parisien newspaper reported on Thursday that Anzorov’s suspected contact had been located through an IP address traced back to Idlib, a militant holdout in northwestern Syria.
In an audio message in Russian immediately after the killing, translated by AFP, Anzorov said that he had “avenged the Prophet” whom the teacher had shown “in an insulting way.”
The message was published on social media in a video, accompanied by two tweets, one showing the victim’s severed head and another in which Anzorov confessed to the murder.
Moments later he was shot dead by police. Anzorov decapitated Paty with a long knife.
Many of Paty’s students saw the images online before they could be taken down.
The teenagers who pointed out Paty to his killer in return for money were late Wednesday charged over the killing.

HIGHLIGHT

Le Parisien newspaper reported on Thursday that Anzorov’s suspected contact had been located through an IP address traced back to Idlib, a militant holdout in northwestern Syria.

The parent of one of Paty’s pupils, who started the social media campaign against the teacher even though his daughter was not in class when the cartoons were shown, was also charged.
Also charged was a known extremist radical who helped the father stir up outrage against Paty.
The other three facing prosecution are friends of Anzorov, one of whom allegedly drove him to the scene of the crime while another accompanied him to purchase a weapon.
Two of them also face c harges of being complicit in terrorist murder while the third was charged with a lesser offense, the anti-terrorist prosecutor’s office said.
Paty, 47, became the target of an online hate campaign over his choice of lesson material — the same images which unleashed a bloody assault by gunmen on the offices of satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo in January 2015.
Police have carried out dozens of raids since the crime, while the government has ordered the six-month closure of a mosque outside Paris and dissolved the Sheikh Yassin Collective, a group they said supported Hamas.
The French government has earmarked for dissolution more than 50 other organizations it accuses of having links with extremists.
Paty’s beheading was the second knife attack since a trial of alleged accomplices in the Charlie Hebdo attack started last month.
The killing has prompted an outpouring of emotion in France, with tens of thousands taking part in rallies countrywide in defense of free speech and the right to mock religion.
“We will not give up cartoons,” Macron vowed at a ceremony Wednesday in Paty’s honor at the Sorbonne university in Paris.