Palace: Boracay closure to push through despite petitions in SC

Malacañang on Thursday, April 26, said while the Palace respects the rights of individuals to sue and the independence of the judiciary, it is confident that the petitions filed in the Supreme Court to stop the closure of Boracay will not be given merit.

Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque Jr. in a Palace press briefing said unless restrained, the closure of Boracay to all tourists will proceed as planned.

“An earlier Supreme Court ruling had already recognized that bulk of Boracay belongs to the state. And an indispensable element of a petition of injunction or a prayer for [a temporary restraining order] is there must be irreparable injuries. We do not see how individuals who cannot claim ownership over Boracay can suffer any irreparable injury that would warrant the issuance of a temporary restraining order or a permanent injunction,” he explained.

Roque said all the proclamations relevant to the closure of Boracay have been received by the President Thursday morning.

“There was slight delay from the NDRRMC (National Disaster and Risk Reduction Management Council), but I was assured it has been received and will be signed by the President in due course,” he said.

‘Govt’s demand for OFW protection in Kuwait non-negotiable’

Meanwhile, Malacañang also declared that the President remains firm on his demand for the protection of Filipino workers in Kuwait despite the Kuwaiti government’s order for Philippine Ambassador Renato Villa to leave their country.

Roque stressed that the administration’s focus right now is to guarantee the safety of over 250,000 overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) in the Gulf state amid recent developments involving the two countries.

“The bottom line is the President must stand for the welfare of our workers. And ‘yan po ay non-negotiable,” he stated.

“Lahat po ng hakbang natin, para po sa kapakanan ng ating mga mamamayan dahil napakadami po nila diyan sa Kuwait,” he added, as the Palace spokesperson assured Filipino migrant workers that they will continue to be protected by international laws and the laws of humanity.

Palace assures continued protection for journalists under Duterte government

During the same press briefing, the Secretary called on the public to let the administration’s record speak for itself when it comes to its resolve to protect press freedom.

“Our record will stand for itself. We have taken steps po para pangalagaan ang buhay ng mga mamahayag. Wala naman po tayong pinakukulong na mga mamahayag,” Roque said.

The Palace official’s statement was in line with the Philippines’ 133rd ranking in the 2018 World Press Freedom Index. Roque pointed out that this is still an improvement from the country’s 138th ranking prior to the entry of the Duterte administration.

“We’d like to highlight that we are addressing the biggest threat to press freedom, which is the killing of journalists,” Roque noted as he underscored all efforts the President initiated to guard Filipino media members from violence.

For one, Roque cited the establishment of the Presidential Task Force on Media Security, which was created to monitor cases of media violence and to provide legal assistance to the victims and their families.

Earlier this month, the task force’s special agents conducted provincial investigations on cases of media workers’ killings, which resulted in the discovery of five more convictions in addition to three previously reported.

“This shows our very strong resolve to genuinely and concretely address violence against members of the media and/or journalism profession,” Roque noted.

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