Hog industry calls for immediate appointment of new DA chief

HOG INDUSTRY stakeholders called for the immediate appointment of a new Agriculture secretary amid the spread of African Swine Fever (ASF) and the threat of its entry into the Philippines. “A new secretary is urgently needed to push for this nationwide inter-agency ASF preparedness protocol,” the stakeholders said in a joint letter addressed to President Rodrigo R. Duterte. They also said that leadership is very much needed at this time as the virus is continuously spreading to various countries. In China, which has the largest pig herd, more than 1.16 million pigs have been killed to prevent its further spread, based on data from the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations as of July 11. Last June 27, Agriculture Secretary Emmanuel F. Piñol offered to resign, but the President has yet to make a final decision on the matter. In his courtesy resignation letter, Mr. Piñol recommended three undersecretaries as possible options to replace him. The hog industry stakeholders also noted the need to strengthen quarantine and monitoring activities nationwide. — Vincent Mariel P. Galang

Voter registration for barangay, SK polls opens Aug. 1

Comelec logoTHE COMMISSION on Elections (Comelec) announced yesterday that voter registration for next year’s barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan (SK) elections will start Aug. 1 until Sept. 30. In a statement, Comelec said voter applications will be processed Monday-Saturday from 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. at the Office of the Election Officer or satellite registration posts. Application forms could be downloaded from the Comelec site. “The Commission will open the registration process on Saturdays and even holidays to allow more applicants to be accommodated, especially students and working people who may not have time during weekdays,” Comelec Spokesperson James B. Jimenez said. — Gillian M. Cortez

Presidential HR committee says UNHRC resolution a form of ‘bullying’

THE PRESIDENTIAL Human Rights Committee Secretariat (PHRCS) said the recent resolution of the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) calling for a comprehensive report on the alleged human rights violations in the Philippines is a form of “bullying.” “We do not see this as something effective. We see this as a form of bullying and we cannot stand bullying,” said PHRCS Executive Director Severo S. Catura in a press briefing on July 18. “The Philippines has always been open to its track record on human rights. The reason why we do not need a country-specific resolution is because it will negate the effectiveness of other mechanisms in the UN,” he added. During the press briefing, PHRCS presented that 5,526 drug personalities have died from the 134,583 anti-drug operations conducted from July 2016 to June 30 this year, while 193,086 drug personalities were arrested. The UNHRC adopted the resolution that Iceland proposed and 17 other nations supported. — Vince Angelo C. Ferreras