Karen Lema
Karen Lema
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Pandemic 'hero' Filipino nurses struggle to leave home

Pandemic 'hero' Filipino nurses struggle to leave home

By , MANILA (Reuters) - From across the Philippines, they gathered to pray by Zoom.They were praying to be allowed to leave: To be allowed to take up nursing jobs in countries where the coronavirus is killing thousands in hospitals and care homes. In recent months, these care workers have taken to calling themselves “priso-nurses.”With infections also surging in the Philippines, the government in April banned healthcare workers from leaving the country. They were needed, it said, to fight the pandemic at home.But many of the nurses on the two-hour Zoom call on Aug. 20, organised by a union...

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Karen Lema
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Sep 16
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Philippines urges amicable approach to Beijing over South China Sea

Philippines urges amicable approach to Beijing over South China Sea

By MANILA (Reuters) - Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte on Friday urged a peaceful way out of conflicts with China over the South China Sea and said international law must be followed, amid increased regional friction over military activities by Beijing and Washington.Duterte made the remarks in a meeting with visiting Chinese defence minister, Wei Fenghe, whose tour of four Southeast Asian countries coincides with some rhetorical sparring between the United States and China over the disputed waterway.“We must always be guided by our commitments in international law. Any and all disputes...

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Karen Lema
Sep 11
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As Philippines fights coronavirus, some fear involvement of the police

As Philippines fights coronavirus, some fear involvement of the police

United States MANILA (Reuters) - At the peak of the Philippines’ war on drugs, people in the rundown neighbourhoods of Navotas in the capital Manila grew used to police knocking on doors, or bursting into the homes of drug suspects - who often wound up dead. Now, many residents of the Navotas area, which has been particularly badly hit by the coronavirus, fear another harsh police campaign after the government said officials will visit homes of patients with mild or no symptoms and escort them to isolation centres. Some Filipinos have labelled the plan “Tokhang 2”, calling it the sequel to...

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Karen Lema
Jul 17
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Opponents dismayed as Philippines' Duterte approves 'monstrous' anti-terror bill

Opponents dismayed as Philippines' Duterte approves 'monstrous' anti-terror bill

United States MANILA (Reuters) - Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte approved tough anti-terrorism legislation on Friday that rights groups condemned as a weapon to target opponents and stifle free speech. The law grants security forces sweeping powers to act to fight militants, while legal experts say broad articles could allow discriminatory enforcement, privacy infringements and suppression of peaceful dissent, including on social media. Duterte’s approval comes after a United Nations report on the Philippines that singled him out for publicly inciting violence and encouraging rights...

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Karen Lema
Jul 3
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Philippines' Duterte U-turns on scrapping of U.S. troop deal

Philippines' Duterte U-turns on scrapping of U.S. troop deal

United States MANILA (Reuters) - Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte has suspended his decision to scrap a two-decade-old troop deployment agreement with the United States due to political and other developments in the region, his foreign minister said on Tuesday, The termination of the Visiting Forces Agreement (VFA), which is central to one of Washington’s most important alliances in Asia, was due to take effect in August and was Duterte’s biggest move yet towards delivering on longstanding threats to downgrade ties with the Philippines’ former colonial ruler. Foreign Secretary Teodoro...

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Karen Lema
Jun 2
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Philippines Duterte deals blow to U.S. by terminating troop pact

Philippines Duterte deals blow to U.S. by terminating troop pact

United States MANILA (Reuters) - Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte on Tuesday terminated a two-decade-old Visiting Forces Agreement with the United States (VFA) delivering on threats to downgrade an alliance crucial to U.S. interests. The mercurial Duterte, who has clashed with the former colonial ruler over several issues, has decided to pull the plug on the two-decade troop rotation pact to enable the Philippines to be more independent with its relations with other countries, spokesman Salvador Panelo said. “The president will not entertain any initiative coming from the U.S....

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Karen Lema
Feb 11
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