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BALITANG MARINO DAILY NEWS for June 30, 2020

HEADLINES

WHO says pandemic ‘not even close’ to over as toll passes 500,000

U.N. to call for more aid for Syrians at virtual donor meeting

European Ports Continue to Adopt Shore Power for Marine Use

Over 100 tons of plastics recovered in largest-ever open ocean cleanup

Ports of Auckland Seeks to Deepen Shipping Channel for Growth

Philippines’ COVID-19 tally tops 36,000 with 985 new cases

Good riddance, senators tell departing POGOS

Ressa, ex-Rappler researcher appeal cyber libel conviction

Palace on WHO report: Duterte doing his

PNP allays fears of terror attack in Metro Manila

Trust gov’t to properly implement Anti-Terrorism bill when signed into law – Sen. Lacson

Heart Evangelista launches project to help students cope with online learning

Filipino film on workers in Catholic figurines factory wins award at Cannes Docs

Taylor Swift vows to use her voice to speak out vs racial injustice

Three matches confirmed for ONE Championship’s return

John Wall not part of Wizards’ traveling party to Florida for NBA resumption

Justin Anderson rejoining Brooklyn Nets as Wilson Chandler opts out of NBA restartnsive Player of the Year

FULL NEWSPAPER

INTERNATIONAL NEWS

WHO says pandemic ‘not even close’ to over as toll passes 500,000

GENEVA, Switzerland, June 30 —— The coronavirus pandemic is “not even close to being over”, the WHO warned Monday, as the global death toll passed half a million and cases surge in Latin America and the United States. In another grim milestone, the number of infections recorded worldwide rose to more than 10 million, according to an AFP tally, while some authorities reimposed lockdown measures that have crippled the global economy.

“We all want this to be over. We all want to get on with our lives,” World Health Organization chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said. “But the hard reality is this is not even close to being over,” he said, adding that “although many countries have made some progress, globally the pandemic is actually speeding up.” The virus emerged six months ago in China, where the WHO will send a team next week in connection with the search for its origin, Tedros said. COVID-19 is still rampaging across the US, which has recorded more than 125,000 deaths and 2.5 million cases — both around a quarter of the global totals.

As numerous US states are forced to reimpose restrictions on restaurants and bars, President Donald Trump has come under growing pressure to set an example by wearing a mask. Trump’s health secretary has warned the “window is closing” for the country to gain control of the situation, but the president has largely turned away from the crisis, spending much of Sunday at his golf club in Virginia. However, he may not be able to avoid masks forever — the Florida city of Jacksonville, where Trump’s Republicans are due to hold their national convention in August, declared face masks mandatory on Monday.

‘Immense pain’

The second hardest-hit country Brazil registered 259,105 infections in the seven days through Sunday — the country’s highest of any week during the pandemic. The latest figures came as protesters in cities across Brazil — and as far away as Stockholm, London and Barcelona — held demonstrations against President Jair Bolsonaro, who has said the virus is akin to a “little flu” and railed against stay-at-home measures. “Brazil is suffering immense pain, a hidden pain that throbs in the face of the incredible numbers of deaths caused by COVID-19,” the organizers of a protest in the capital Brasilia said.

While bars were forced to close in Los Angeles, Ireland’s pubs began pouring pints for the first time in 15 weeks, as Europe — still the hardest-hit continent — continues to open up after seeing numbers of new cases fall. “Guinness is good for you,” quipped Mark O’Mahony — the first to order a pint with his breakfast at a Dublin pub. “Without it, it hasn’t been much good really for 15 weeks.”

In nearby Britain, Prime Minister Boris Johnson said his country had gone through a “profound shock” as he prepared to unveil a large stimulus programme. His government still plans to reopen pubs, restaurants and hairdressers across England on July 4, but on Monday ordered schools and non-essential shops in Leicester, central England, to close after a localized outbreak of coronavirus there. Meanwhile, German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Emmanuel Macron called for a “strong” and “efficient” recovery fund for the European Union.

In Merkel’s Germany, which has been praised for how it has tackled its COVID-19 outbreak, the North Rhine-Westphalia state extended a lockdown on a district hit hard by a slaughterhouse outbreak. In neighboring Switzerland, organizers said that 2021’s Geneva International Motor Show was cancelled, after already scrapping this year’s event.

Source: philstar.com

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U.N. to call for more aid for Syrians at virtual donor meeting

BRUSSELS, June 30 —— Governments are set to pledge billions of dollars in aid for Syrians at a virtual conference on Tuesday to help refugees enduring Syria’s ninth year of armed conflict, as COVID-19 and high food prices worsen the plight of millions. This year, the United Nations is looking for almost $10 billion for people in Syria and surrounding countries. It hopes much of that will come from the 60 governments and non-governmental agencies gathering by video link on Tuesday from 0800 GMT. The European Union is hosting the event.

The pledging, now an annual event, breaks down into a U.N. appeal of $3.8 billion for aid inside Syria and $6.04 billion for countries hosting refugees. Only a fraction has been raised so far. “The needs have never been greater,” said Corinne Fleischer at the World Food Programme, a U.N. agency.

In Syria, more than 11 million people need aid and protection, the U.N. says, while 6.6 million have fled to neighboring countries in the world’s largest refugee crisis. Many Syrians face an unprecedented hunger crisis, with over 9.3 million people lacking adequate food, while the country’s coronavirus outbreak could accelerate, the U.N. has said.

A combination of an economic slump and COVID-19 lockdown measures have pushed food prices more than 200% higher in less than a year, according to the World Food Programme. “The COVID-19 crisis has had an immediate and devastating impact on livelihoods of millions of Syrian refugees and their hosts in the region,” U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees Filippo Grandi said in a statement. However, money pledged is only what European officials call a sticking plaster to meet Syrians’ immediate needs.

Rebuilding destroyed cities is likely to take billions more dollars and cannot start until powers involved in the war back a peaceful transition away from the rule of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, the European Union says.

Source: reuters.com

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MARITIME NEWS

European Ports Continue to Adopt Shore Power for Marine Use

June 30 —— Challenged to meet increasing environmental concerns and address the emissions levels from ships on dock, a growing number of ports are exploring or expanding shore power alternatives. While supporters believe that shore-to-ship power holds the potential to virtually eliminate ship emissions in ports, critics point to the lack of infrastructure investment, government support, and the potential of simply transferring the environmental impact from ship to shore as the power must still be created.  Ports in Europe and North America have been among the leaders in the technology known as cold ironing. The trend continues to gain momentum at ports ranging in size from the largest to regional ports in especially environmentally sensitive locations. Two additional European ports recently announced plans to proceed with shore power projects.

The Senate in Bremen, Germany recently resolved to create comprehensive additional shore power supply facilities at the ports of Bremen. The plan calls for eight shore power supply units for maritime shipping and two additional connections for inland shipping. Under this plan, by the end of 2023, two shore power supply units will be installed for maritime shipping in the container throughput area in the city of Bremen, another one in the ro-ro port area, and one at the cruise terminal. At Fischereihafen in Bremerhaven, there will be three facilities for government vessels and one for research shipping.  Bremen’s current shore power capabilities are focused mostly on the port and service vessels as well as inland. Two additional facilities for inland shipping at Bremen’s Industriehafen will be added under the new plan so that all the relevant mooring points for river traffic will be equipped with shore power connections.  “The creation of shore power connections for maritime shipping is another step forward and an important milestone in our endeavors to become a green, climate-neutral port,” said Dr. Claudia Schilling, Senator for Science and Ports. “Accordingly, the electricity for these permanently installed shore power connections will come entirely from renewable energy sources.”

The total investments for all ten new connections will amount to 32.4 million euros, half of which will be funded by the Federal Land of Bremen, the other half by the federal government with an administrative agreement to be signed between the federal and state governments.  Calling for ship owners to design and operate more eco-friendly fleets, the senator said, “We can only achieve our goal of clean shipping if everyone involved makes a concerted effort. The more ports that provide shore power, the more cost-effective it will be for the shipping companies to adapt their vessels.”  One of the smaller, more specialized ports serving the cruise industry the Port of Flam, Norway is also working to meet the more stringent emissions requirements of the cruise industry by offering hydropower to ships while alongside the port.

Enova SF, owned by Norway’s Ministry of Climate and Environment, recently agreed to provide a third of the cost for a project that includes an underwater cable directly from the hydropower station in Aurland to Flåm. This cable will accommodate future demands and open for development and innovation.  “This was big and important news for us,” said Tor Mikkel Tokvam, Port Director for Port of Flåm. “This shows that we are ready for a changeover. Now we need to find a balance when it comes to the OPS facility and the opportunities it gives us.”  The port director highlights that the project aligns with the regulations for the World Heritage Fjords set by the Norwegian Maritime Authority and the Norwegian Parliaments, which seeks to make the world heritage fjords emission-free in 2026.  The port estimates by establishing its OPS facility, that emissions from cruise ships will be reduced by 75 percent while also contributing to Flam’s overall supply of electricity.

Source: maritime-executive.com

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Over 100 tons of plastics recovered in largest-ever open ocean cleanup

June 30 —— Ocean Voyages Institute’s (OVI) marine plastic recovery vessel, S/V Kwai, docked at the port of Honolulu on 23 June 2020, after a 48-day expedition, successfully removing 103 tons of fishing nets and consumer plastics from the North Pacific Subtropical Convergence Zone, more commonly known as the Great Pacific Garbage Patch or Gyre.  Ocean Voyages Institute has set a new record with the largest at sea cleanup in the Gyre to date, more than doubling its own results from last year.  “We exceeded our goal of capturing 100 tons of toxic consumer plastics and derelict ‘ghost’ nets, and in these challenging times, we are continuing to help restore the health of our ocean, which influences our own health and the health of the planet,” Mary Crowley, founder and executive director of Ocean Voyages Institute, commented.  “The oceans can’t wait for these nets and debris to break down into microplastics which impair the ocean’s ability to store carbon and toxify the fragile ocean food web.”

Crowley has developed effective methods to remove significant amounts of plastics out of the ocean, including 48 tons of toxic plastics during two ocean clean-ups in 2019, one from the Gyre and one from the waters surrounding the Hawaiian Islands.  “There is no cure-all solution to ocean clean-up: It is the long days at sea, with dedicated crew scanning the horizon, grappling nets, and retrieving huge amounts of trash, that makes it happen,” Locky MacLean, a former director at Sea Shepherd and ocean campaigner in marine conservation for two decades, said.  As explained, the GPS satellite trackers used by Ocean Voyages Institute since 2018 are proving Crowley’s theory that one tracker can lead to many nets. The ocean frequently sorts debris so that a tagged fishing net can lead to other nets and a density of debris within a 15 mile radius.

The Pacific Gyre, located halfway between Hawaii and California, is the largest area with the most plastic, of the five major open ocean plastic accumulation regions, or Gyres, in the world’s oceans.  “We are utilizing proven nautical equipment to effectively clean-up the oceans while innovating with new technologies,” Crowley said.  OVI will be unloading the record-breaking haul of ocean plastic debris while docked alongside Pier 29 thanks to the support of Honolulu-based Matson, in preparation for upcycling and proper disposal.  “In keeping with our commitment to environmental stewardship, Matson has been searching for a way to get involved in cleaning up the Pacific Gyre,” Matt Cox, chairman and CEO, said.  “We’ve been impressed with the groundbreaking efforts of Ocean Voyages Institute and the progress they’ve made with such a small organization, and we hope our support will help them continue this important work.”

Kwai’s mission began at the Hawaiian port of Hilo on 4 May, after a three-week self-imposed quarantine period to ensure the health of crew members and safety of the mission, in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic.  During the expedition, the crew collected marine plastic pollution with the help of GPS satellite trackers that Ocean Voyages Institute designed with an engineer from Pacific Gyre.  These beacons are placed on nets by volunteer yachts and ships. Drones, as well as lookouts up the mast, enable the ship’s crew to hone in on the debris. They then recover the litter, place it in industrial bags, and store it in the ship’s cargo hold for proper recycling and repurposing at the end of the voyage.

The marine plastic recovery vessel and OVI are planning a second voyage to the Gyre departing the end of June to continue cleanup of this area, which is so besieged by toxic debris. The length of a second summer leg will be determined by how successful Ocean Voyages Institute is in securing additional donations.  “Our solutions are scalable, and next year, we could have three vessels operating in the North Pacific Gyre for three months all bringing in large cargos of debris,” Crowley further said.  “We are aiming to expand to other parts of the world desperately needing efficient clean-up technologies.  There is no doubt in my mind that our work is making the oceans healthier for the planet and safer for marine wildlife, as these nets will never again entangle or harm a whale, dolphin, turtle or reefs,” Crowley concluded.

Source: offshore-energy.biz

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Ports of Auckland Seeks to Deepen Shipping Channel for Growth

June 30 —— Like many ports around the world, Auckland, New Zealand is finding itself challenged to deal with the increasing size of modern vessels.  Ports of Auckland recently applied to the Auckland Council for consent to deepen the city’s shipping channel. The proposal will be coming up for a consent hearing and work on deepening the channel could start in 2021.  Currently, the largest container ships calling in Auckland now carry up to 5,000 TEUs, but the shipping lines want to bring 6-7,000 TEU ships into the port within the next two to three years. Longer term, the port authority is also anticipating handling newer classes of Panamax ships that can carry around 12,000 TEU.

The channel is currently 12.5 meters deep at low tide, but new Panamax ships, which are up to 366 meters in length, require a maximum draft of 15.2 meters. Ports of Auckland is applying to deepen the channel to approximately 14 meters explaining that it will use a technique known as tidal windows to accommodate the largest ships. Largest ships would enter and exit the port during period of high tide which provide sufficient the draft of those vessels. In its announcement, the port said this approach would be the most efficient way to accommodate larger container ships as it would be able to minimize dredging and the reduce cost of the project.  To create a tidal window suitable for new Panamax ships to access port safely, the channel leading into Auckland we will need a channel which is 14 meters deep on the straights and 14.2 meters deep on the bends. The berth, however, will need to be dredged to 15.5 meters so that ships remain afloat through a full tide cycle.

The dredging will be done by a digger on a barge as that would be the lowest impact method available. The digger will have a long arm to reach down to the seabed to scoop out material. The channel bed is mostly soft material like marine muds, mudstones and some sandstone and gritstone, which can be easily removed. No blasting is required.  In making the application for the dredging project, the port authority explained that Auckland’s population is forecast to grow significantly, with a million more people expected to live in the area by 2050. To handle this growth the port said I is necessary to undertake this project to maintain the needed flow of international goods.

Source: maritime-executive.com

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PHILIPPINE NEWS

Philippines’ COVID-19 tally tops 36,000 with 985 new cases

June 30 —— The Philippines’ tally of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) cases topped 36,000 on Monday after the Department of Health (DOH) reported 985 more infections—643 “fresh” or newly validated and 342 reported late—bringing the total to 36,438. Total recoveries also rose to 9,956 after 270 more patients recovered from the respiratory disease, while the death toll climbed to 1,255 with 11 new fatalities. Among the fresh cases, 223 are from Metro Manila, 106 are from Region VII, while the remaining 314 are spread out across the country.

Among the late cases, 96 are from Metro Manila, 29 are from Region VII, while the 217 other patients came from various areas nationwide. There are also 24,525 active cases undergoing treatment or quarantine, 23,451 or 95.6 percent of which are mild, 922 are asymptomatic, while 126 are severe and 26 are in critical condition. The DOH also said it removed two duplicate cases from the total tally of infections. As of June 28, the Philippines has 53 certified polymerase chain reaction facilities and 19 GeneXpert laboratories that have tested a total of 636,291 individuals.

Meanwhile, 1,300 or 34.92 percent of intensive care unit beds for COVID-19 patients are currently occupied while 1,950 or 23.23 percent of mechanical ventilators are in use. As of June 27, the Philippines has 50 certified polymerase chain reaction facilities and 19 GeneXpert laboratories that have tested a total of 636,291 individuals. Meanwhile, 1,313 or 36.63 percent of intensive care unit beds for COVID-19 patients are currently occupied while 1,883 or 22.89 percent of mechanical ventilators are in use.

President Rodrigo Duterte is expected to announce his latest directives regarding quarantine measures on Tuesday. A group of experts earlier forecast that COVID-19 cases in the Philippines could reach 60,000 by July 31.

Source: gmanetwork.com

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Good riddance, senators tell departing POGOS

MANILA, Philippines, June 30 —— Senators welcomed yesterday reports that Philippine offshore gaming operators (POGOs) have started to leave the country. Sen. Joel Villanueva, who chairs the committee on labor and employment, said the report “just solidifies our position that POGOs have very little, if at all, economic contribution to the country, and especially with their unwillingness to pay the correct taxes.” He recalled that every time lawmakers called out POGOs for violating the country’s laws, the government bent over backwards just to give them a chance to comply, and yet the firms “squandered all the opportunities given to them.”

“POGOs won’t be a loss to the Philippine economy. We should attract companies that invest in Filipino people. Good riddance,” Villanueva said in a statement. “The exiting POGO companies should still pay the taxes they owe us. Otherwise, we should blacklist them and name them publicly so that other countries will be warned about the behavior of these companies,” he said.

Senate Minority Leader Franklin Drilon also welcomed reports that more POGOs will be leaving the country over tax issues. “They’re not a loss to us. Let’s not ask they to stay. Pagcor should stop playing a lover to POGOs,” Drilon said in a statement. Villanueva said there was no sense in letting POGOs operate in the country if they do not follow Philippine laws, adding the firms do not create jobs. As the state gaming regulator, the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corp. (Pagcor) should have been circumspect in drawing up a regulatory framework for the POGO sector, and proactive in ensuring all applicable laws are followed by all their licensees, he said.

The committee in its hearings on POGOs uncovered irregularities involving the influx of illegal foreign workers which eventually was tied to the rise of the POGO sector in the country. Despite lawmakers calling the attention of various government agencies, violations of labor, immigration, and taxation laws by the sector continued. The rise of the sector has also been linked to rising criminality and prostitution, among others, he said. Villanueva said illegal POGO operations continued while the government enforced movement restrictions in mid-March due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

From April to early June, authorities busted at least six underground POGO operations in various parts of Metro Manila, arresting hundreds of foreigners and confiscating equipment, the senator said. The Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) also disclosed to the committee that POGO firms owe the government at least P50 billion in unpaid taxes in 2019.

The bureau even crafted last month a set of guidelines for POGO firms to make payments and commit to settle past obligations just to be allowed to resume operations. On the other hand, the Department of Labor and Employment disclosed that over the course of its labor inspections in 2019, it discovered some 6,678 illegal foreign workers in Pagcor-licensed POGO firms and service providers. He said Pagcor has also admitted that there were about 100 to 120 illegal POGO firms operating in the country.

“They (Pagcor) were never clear what they intended to do about it, despite their mandate of regulating the gaming industry,” Villanueva said. “Meanwhile, they left their job to various government agencies who were left to fend for themselves.” Villanueva called on the government to ramp up its efforts to boost long-term public investments to attract new foreign direct investments in the country “which in turn will result in the creation of massive employment for our people.” Sen. Risa Hontiveros said Pagcor should immediately revoke the license of POGOs for failing to settle their tax deficiencies amounting to at least P50 billion in 2019.

“Just cancel the license if they will continue to defy rules on paying taxes,” said Hontiveros. “Pagcor should exercise its regulatory powers and come down hard on tax-evading POGOs,” she said, adding if there’s neither penalty nor fine, why then would they bother to settle their tax obligations. Hontiveros issued the call after the BIR reported delays in the reopening of POGOs due to non-payment of taxes and non-submission of notarized commitment to pay such debts. Malacañang meanwhile was unfazed by the reported shutdown of some POGOs, saying the gambling entities should pay the right amount of taxes or close shop.

Presidential spokesman Harry Roque said while the government earns revenues from POGOs, the gaming operators should comply with existing regulations. “We need them (POGOs), because we need the revenues but unless they pay up, goodbye,” Roque said at a press briefing yesterday. “Our position has been clear. If they want to stay, they have to pay the right taxes. They have to follow rules and regulations, health guidelines set by the IATF (Inter-Agency Task Force on Emerging Infectious Diseases).”

The government is still planning to go after offshore gaming operators who have left the country should it be proven that they have unsettled tax liabilities. In a message shared by Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez, the BIR said SC World Development Group Ltd., a POGO that has ceased operations, was unregistered with the BIR. “It is an offshore licensee and it is not registered with the BIR. We still intend to go after its tax dues,” the BIR said.

Source: philstar.com

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Ressa, ex-Rappler researcher appeal cyber libel conviction

June 30 —— Rappler chief Maria Ressa and former researcher Reynaldo Santos, Jr. on Monday (June 29) filed a motion for partial reconsideration before a Manila court to appeal their cyber libel conviction. Ressa and Santos’ lawyers from the Free Legal Assistance Group (FLAG) submitted a 132-page motion to the Manila Regional Trial Court (RTC) Branch 46, citing at least 13 alleged errors that Judge Rainelda Estacio-Montesa committed in her verdict. “With due respect, the court’s Decision is not only wrong, it is also void; unless reconsidered, it will continue to stain the accused’s reputation and result in greater injustice to accused as well as expose this court to the necessary consequences of its error,” the motion read.

Republication

Among the arguments in the motion include the court’s consideration of an update without substantial change as a republication. Businessman Wilfredo Keng filed a complaint against the two over a May 2012 article where, citing an intelligence report and a news story, Santos wrote that he was tagged in human trafficking and drug smuggling activities, as well as the killing of a Manila City councilor in 2002. The article was updated in February 2014 to correct a typo.

According to the motion, Montesa failed to provide even a single reference, out of 170 footnotes in her 36-page decision, that supported her statement that an update is a republication of an article. “The court’s bare assertion, absent any support from the trial Record or any applicable or even persuasive case law, is constitutionally impermissible,” the motion read. “The pronouncement amounts to a ‘judicial ambush’ that so offends every notion of judicial propriety and basic fairness as to lend itself to nullity.”

Prescriptive period

In the motion, they also questioned the court’s decision to apply Republic Act (RA) No. 3326 as the basis for the prescriptive period for cyber libel, making it 12 years, when it supposedly should have applied Article 90 of the Revised Penal Code (RPC) as amended by RA 4461. Citing a ruling by the Supreme Court, they argued that cyber libel is not a new offense, but is only a different means to commit an existing offense. Therefore, the one-year prescriptive period for libel should be followed.

Keng filed his complaint in October 2017, five years after the article was originally published and three years after the update was made. The motion also pointed out that the Supreme Court imposed a temporary restraining order on RA 10175 — the Cybercrime Prevention Act of 2012 –from October 9, 2012 to April 22, 2014, making it inoperative at the time the update was made on the article.

Ressa’s title

The motion also faulted Montesa for her “unwarranted and prejudicial” characterization of Ressa’s title as Rappler’s executive editor. In her decision, Montesa said that not calling Ressa an “editor-in-chief” is a “clever ruse” to avoid liability in these situations. “There is absolutely no basis for this,” the motion read. “The court’s role in the trial is to determine malice, not make malicious statements. Ascribing an underhanded and even unlawful motive—without assertion or proof—is malicious. It is utterly contemptuous and unbecoming of a judge.”

During the trial, Chay Holifeña, chief of Rappler’s investigative team, explained that while Ressa is seen as the head of the organization and is involved in the company’s finances, she is not heavily involved in their day-to-day operations. The motion pointed out that other publications also use the said title. They also maintained that there is no proof that Ressa and Santos “willfully, unlawfully, and knowingly re-published” the contested article.

Private complainant?

Montesa said in her ruling that Keng is a private person, but Ressa and Santos’ lawyers argue that he is already a public figure. Citing the Ayer vs. Capulong case, the motion argued that a public figure is “anyone who has arrived at a position where public attention is focused upon him in a person.” With this, malice was something that the prosecution should have been made to prove on the part of the accused, and not simply presumed. Ressa and Santos were found guilty of cyber libel on June 15 and were sentenced to up to six years in prison. They were also ordered to pay Keng a total of P400,000 in moral and exemplary damages.

Source: mb.com.ph

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Palace on WHO report: Duterte doing his best

MANILA, Philippines, June 30 —— President Duterte has urged critics to stop politicking while the country is grappling with the pandemic, Malacañang said yesterday, as it disputed a World Health Organization (WHO) report that the Philippines has the fastest increase in infections in the Western Pacific. Palace spokesman Harry Roque Jr. said the President was doing his best and that while the government’s response to coronavirus disease 2019 or COVID-19 was not perfect, the health crisis remains under control.

“Did the government make the right move? Our answer is yes. We are not perfect. Perhaps we could have done better. But we are already here and one thing I can assure you, the President did the very best that he can and we are in control of the situation,” he said at a press briefing. “You know, the President only has one message – stop politics during COVID-19. But criticisms continue to be hurled at us and we have to respond to them. They said there are shortcomings. We asked them what they are… but they did not give any,” he added. Roque said quarantine measures, including lockdowns, have spared the country from having to deal with 3.6 million COVID-19 cases. “We imposed an enhanced community quarantine and the growth of the cases slowed and we are capable of treating those who are sick.”

The government also disputed WHO data stating that the Philippines has the fastest increase in COVID-19 cases in the Western Pacific. “We beg to disagree. If you look at the increase in the number of cases, it should be in relation to your population. Why compare it to Singapore, which has (a population of) five million? It’s just as big as one city,” Roque said. He claimed the Philippines would only be sixth behind India (549,197 cases), Pakistan (202,955 cases), Bangladesh (137,787), Indonesia (54,010) and Singapore (43,459) if one divides the cases with the population.

“It is clear that data do not lie. We are not the country with the fastest increase in the number of cases in the Western Pacific region. We will let the data respond to the report of WHO,” he stressed. When asked why he included India, Pakistan and Bangladesh in his statement even if they are not in Western Pacific, Roque replied: “Well, I’m not going to go nitpicking on this but as far as I know, India, Pakistan and Bangladesh are still Asian countries. If you look at the WHO, I think—we checked this and in the data of the WHO, they are classified as Western Pacific countries.”

A check with the WHO Regional Office website showed that the three countries were not listed among Western Pacific countries. According to WHO data, the Philippines had 8,143 new cases from June 16 to June 27, the highest among 22 countries in Western Pacific. It was followed by Singapore with 2,351 new cases, and China with 302 in the same period. The Department of Health (DOH) has said that the Philippines’ socioeconomic context, living conditions and health system capacity are different from those of Singapore.

“Please take that into account when we do our analysis. Let us not cherry pick the countries we want to compare ourselves to,” the DOH said in a statement last Sunday. Roque admitted that the government cannot completely slow down the spread of the virus without a vaccine but that the government is ensuring that it has enough capacity to provide medical care to those who will get sick. “I’d like to point out that the figures that we reported as of today of around 35,000 is lower than the UP (University of the Philippines) prediction of 40,000 and have urged our countrymen to prove the UP data wrong and we did because they predicted (40,000), we have 35 (thousand),” he said.

Minguita Padilla, medical team chief of Project Antibody Rapid Test Kits (ARK), agreed that the quarantine measures imposed by the government are working. She said 91 to 92 percent of the persons tested by their project tested negative for the virus. “Now, it’s about a very small percentage that is positive – about six percent. It jibes with PCR tests of the DOH… Most of them are really mostly negative and asymptomatic. It’s a good sign that whatever we did has worked. It’s not that high even in very crowded municipalities and districts of Metro Manila,” Padilla said. Duterte is expected to announce his decision on the classification of areas under community quarantine today.

Interior Secretary Eduardo Año also defended the government, saying the cases were increasing because of the ramped-up testing efforts. “Yes, as we increased our testing capacities, actually we expected that more positive will turn out but if we will look at the positivity rate, we are about five to six percent… our target is to go to around three percent and probably one percent,” Año said in an interview aired over ANC. He claimed that if the Philippines did not implement lockdowns and strict quarantine measures, research projections positing an infection of at least 3 million people and 200,000 deaths could have materialized. “So you see, we are doing good compared to other countries like the United States, Brazil. Somehow we are able to contain the spread of the virus in the whole country,” Año added.

Source: philstar.com

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PNP allays fears of terror attack in Metro Manila

June 30 —— The Philippine National Police (PNP) allayed fears of a terror attack in Metro Manila following a bloody clash in Parañaque City that led to the death of four members of the finance unit of the international terrorist group Daulah Islamiyah. This developed as a supporter of the Maute Group who took part in the bloody Marawi City siege was arrested in a raid in his house on Sunday.

PNP chief Gen, Archie Gamboa said that they have not monitored any serious threat in Metro Manila despite the operation last week that resulted in the death of the finance officer of the Mindanao-based local terror group supporting the Daulah Islamiyah. “I want to make it clear that the apprehension made last week is the financial conduit so this is more on finances. There is nothing yet about operations, offensives in Metro Manila,” said Gamboa. “Let’s emphasize that it was financial conduit that were neutralized last week and operation is entirely another topic. No need to worry,” he added.

Meanwhile, Anti-Kidnapping Group (AKG) director Brig. Gen. Jonnel Estomo identified the arrested suspect in Marawi City as Nadil Sandab Tomara, who uses the aliases Nabel Sandab and Abu Khalifa. He is facing a string of criminal charges that include murder and illegal possession of firearms. Estomo said the suspect is now under the custody of the Marawi City Police Station and was already presented to the court which issued the arrest warrant.

Source: mb.com.ph

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Trust gov’t to properly implement Anti-Terrorism bill when signed into law – Sen. Lacson

June 30 —— Senator Panfilo Lacson on Monday, June 29, called on the public to trust the government to properly implement the Anti-Terrorism Bill when it is signed into law. Lacson issued the appeal during the government’s Laging Handa public briefing on COVID-19 where he reiterated that the bill contained enough safeguards to prevent abuse of human rights.

The chair of the Senate national defense committee sponsored the Senate Bill No. 1083, whose provisions were adopted by the House of Representatives. The bill has been enrolled in Malacañang, awaiting President Duterte’s signature. “Sana po huwag tayo basta makinig sa paulit-ulit kong sinasabi na maling interpretation ng mga kumokontra (I hope that we don’t listen to what I have been calling as a wrong interpretation of those opposed to the bill),” Lacson said when asked about the concerns on the controversial bill.

“Dapat magkaroon sana tayo ng tiwala sa ating pamahalaan, sa ating alagad ng batas kung saan hindi naman para abusuhin ito. Kaya katakot-takot na safeguards ang ating nilagay rito para maiwasan ang abuso (We should have trust in our government, in our law enforcers, that they will not abuse it. That’s why we placed numerous safeguards here to prevent abuse),” he added.

In the briefing, the lawmaker also repeated his earlier statement that the Marawi siege in 2017 could have been prevented had the proposed anti-terror law been enacted at the time. Lacson said the enactment of the anti-terror bill is urgent even as the country grapples with the COVID-19 pandemic. “Ang terrorism, wala itong pinipiling time o border. Hindi natin pwede sabihan ang mga terorista, ‘Pakiusap lang po, huwag muna kayo magbomba kasi may COVID’. Hindi naman tayo papakinggan noon. At sila hinahanap nila oportunidad at maximum impact. So pag sinabing urgent, ang anti-terrorism bill is always an urgent measure (Terrorism knows no timing or boundaries or borders. We cannot tell the terrorist, ‘Please do not bomb us because we have a COVID-19 crisis’. They will not listen to us. And they will just look for an opportunity to strike and where there will be maximum impact. So when we say urgent, the anti-terrorism bill is always urgent),” he said.

Presidential Spokesman Harry Roque recently said that President Duterte is inclined to sign the anti-terror bill.

Source: mb.com.ph

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ENTERTAINMENT NEWS

Heart Evangelista launches project to help students cope with online learning

June 30 —— Heart Evangalista on Monday announced that she is launching a new project to help students transition to online learning as the traditional face-to-face mode is still not allowed in light of the coronavirus pandemic. The former Kapamilya actress announced the project, dubbed “Big Heart PH”, through an Instagram post on Monday, weeks after she gave away 550 tablets to help enable hundreds of students to study online while schools remain closed.

“A few weeks ago, I sold this painting of mine in hopes to raise funds to do something that my heart was calling me to,” she wrote in her post. “This pandemic has affected so many people in all walks of life and some of those most affected are the students— under the new normal, they would be required to comply with distance learning or forced to stop their education if they couldn’t. That means that each student would need access to their own tablet and internet,” she said.

Heart said her project began after she received messages on Twitter from people asking for assistance, presumably parents who aren’t financially capable to provide their children with the devices they need for online classes.   “I knew then in my heart that I had to do something. Someting bigger,” she said. “On July 1, I will officially be launching Big Heart PH—a project that will help equip students in need with tools for them to be able to continue their education,” she continued. “I know this little project of mine will not be able to help everyone, but I know it will change the lives of those we are able to.”

The school year is scheduled to start on August 24. This isn’t the first time that a celebrity has offered to give away devices to help struggling students. Over the weekend, former actress Kris Aquino announced that has purchased laptops that she will give away on Wednesday, July 1, during a live stream.

Source: push.abs-cbn.com

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Filipino film on workers in Catholic figurines factory wins award at Cannes Docs

June 30 —— A Filipino-made documentary titled “Holy Craft” won the Docs-in-Progress Award at the Cannes Docs event last Friday, June 26. The film was presented alongside other Filipino documentaries, as per Variety on the same day. While the scheduled Cannes Film Festival for this year has already been canceled, Cannes Docs stands as a separate program which presents documentaries that are in advanced stages of production and needing support for festival premieres, and finding sales agents and programmers.

The movie is helmed by filmmaker Joseph Mangat and produced by Alemberg Ang. “‘Holy Craft’ examines the peculiarities of religion, labor, capital and gender all intersecting at a Catholic figurines factory in the Philippines, where devout LGBTQ workers and outcasts pray to the same items they make,” its synopsis said. “Through his project, the director offers a look into the backdoor of the Catholic religion business, highlighting its most hidden protagonists, the poor workers of a profit-based economy,” jury member Lina Soualem was quoted as saying. “It’s an intriguing and fascinating subject tackled through an observational point of view with a touch of the absurd which allows us to dive into the contradictions of our contemporary world, balancing between the sacred and the profane,” she added.

Ang later spoke about their achievement on his Facebook page on the same day. “WE WON!!! Out of 32 amazing projects at Cannes Docs, our documentary, ‘Holy Craft’ by Joseph Mangat won the top prize,” he expressed. “I still can’t believe. The film has gone through so much and there were so many times that we felt like giving up on it already.” He also thanked their “small but super talented” crew members for their work on the film so far. “Congrats guys! We still have a few more steps in working on our film before we finally get to release it,” he said alongside a post of Marché du Film – Festival de Cannes that announced the documentary’s win. Joe and I would like to share this award to our very small but super talented crew. Our cinematographer Albert Banzon,…

Along with the award, the team behind the documentary will also receive a cash prize of 10,000 euros ($11,200, P558,000) and professional project follow-up, supported by the International Emerging Film Talent Association. According to the event’s site, the documentary is expected to premiere later this November.

Source: entertainment.inquirer.net

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Taylor Swift vows to use her voice to speak out vs racial injustice

June 30 —— In observance of the recent Juneteenth, an annual holiday commemorating the emancipation of African-American slaves in the United States, pop star Taylor Swift vowed to further educate herself on the history of racial injustice and use her voice to stand up for others. “Personally, I have made the decision to continue to educate myself on the history that brought us to this present moment,” Taylor said in a recent Twitter thread, where she also announced that, from here on, June 19 will be an off day for all her employees in honor of the event, which is also called Freedom Day.

The death of George Floyd at the hands of police compelled the singer-songwriter and her family to reflect and figure out how to be better allies to those who experience racial discrimination. “For my family, everything that has transpired gave us an opportunity to reflect, listen, and reprogram any part of our lives that hasn’t been loudly and ferociously antiracist, and to never let privilege lie dormant when it could be used to stand up for what’s right,” she stressed.

Earlier, Taylor expressed disgust over the fact that her native Tennessee still has Confederate monuments that celebrate “racist historical figures who did evil things,” like those of the “white supremacist news editor” Edward Carmack (already taken down by protesters) and of the “brutal slave trader” Nathan Bedford Forrest. “Taking down statues isn’t going to fix centuries of systemic oppression, violence and hatred that black people have had to endure,” Taylor wrote. “But it might bring us one small step closer to making all Tennesseans and visitors to our state feel safe—not just the white ones.” “We need to retroactively change the status of people who perpetuated hideous patterns of racism from ‘heroes’ to ‘villains,’” she added.

The 30-year-old recording artist, who has been more vocal about her politics and beliefs as of late, also called on to local authorities to stop “fighting” for such statues. “When you fight to honor racists you show black Tennesseans and all of their allies where you stand,” Taylor said. “And you continue this cycle of hurt. You can’t change history, but you can change this.”

Source: entertainment.inquirer.net

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SPORTS NEWS

Three matches confirmed for ONE Championship’s return

MANILA, Philippines, June 30 —— ONE Championship will make its return on July 31, with three matches already confirmed. ONE: No Surrender will be held behind closed doors, with no fans in attendance on July 31 in Bangkok, Thailand. The event will be broadcast live around the world in over 150 countries. Two ONE Super Series World Championship bouts have been confirmed for the event. Reigning ONE flyweight muay Thai champion Rodtang “The Iron Man” Jitmuangnon will defend his title against former ONE flyweight kickboxing world champion Petchdam Petchyindee Academy.

In a battle for the ONE featherweight muay Thai world championship, defending champion Petchmorakot Petchyindee Academy takes on Yodsanklai IWE Fairtex. In a ONE Super Series Kickboxing Super-Bout, Superbon Banchamek and “The Killer Ki” Sitthichai Sitsongpeenong will battle for the first time in the ONE Championship ring. “The world is suffering from the worst global crisis in a hundred years,” said ONE Championship chairman Chatri Sityodtong. “Most national borders remain closed in Asia, and this has posed unique logistical and operational challenges.”

“However, our superstar team at ONE Championship continues to work hard to deliver fans the authentic martial arts experiences they crave. Our athletes are ready to showcase their skills and tell their stories,” he guaranteed. Prior to ONE: No Surrender, the company held ONE Hero Series 13 and 14 in China last weekend. Mixed martial arts bouts for the card will be announced shortly.

Source: news.abs-cbn.com/sports

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John Wall not part of Wizards’ traveling party to Florida for NBA resumption

June 30 —— JOHN Wall will not join the Washington Wizards for the resumption of the NBA season this summer, ending the chances of the five-time All-Star guard playing his first game since 2018. General manager Tommy Sheppard effectively ruled out Wall returning this season when he said on Monday (Tuesday, Manila time) the 29-year-old wouldn’t be part of the Wizards’ traveling party to Central Florida. Among the factors in the decision was a cap of 35 people per team in the quarantined bubble at Walt Disney World. The COVID-19 pandemic also hindered Wall’s progress in his rehab from multiple surgeries.

“He definitely lost all the basketball gains that he had made,” Sheppard said on a video call with reporters. “He’s got to focus on what he’s got to do, but having somebody go into that bubble that’s not going to play, that’s just more people going into the bubble.” Wall hasn’t played an NBA game since December 2018. Surgery for bone spurs in his left heel ended that season; while he was working his way back from that, he tore his left Achilles tendon and needed another operation in 2019.

He declared himself “110 percent” healthy in late May, saying, “I’m itching to get back out there.” The Wizards put the brakes on that, meaning Wall will try to return for the 2020-21 season as originally planned. “He’s been fantastic in keeping his weight and being active during all this period, and this will be a continuation of the work and the plan that we’ve done for him,” Wizards chief of athletic care and performance Daniel Medina said. “We’re going to make sure that his body and his mind are at the highest level for a safe and successful return when he comes back.”

Sheppard said Wall will continue to work out under team supervision in Washington and Miami. Coaches who are not part of the group of 35 quarantining at Disney World will be available to oversee his progress. “The last thing I ever have to worry about is John Wall’s work ethic,” Sheppard said. “He’s going to get after this. This is a very critical offseason to him, and I think he’s got a very, very big chip on his shoulder. I think he just really wants to get back to playing basketball.”

When the season was suspended in mid-March, the Wizards were 24-40 and ninth in the Eastern Conference, 5 1/2 games behind the eighth-place Orlando Magic. As one of 22 teams returning, Washington will have an outside chance without Wall — and forward Davis Bertans, who opted out — to earn a playoff spot.

Source: spin.ph

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Justin Anderson rejoining Brooklyn Nets as Wilson Chandler opts out of NBA restart

June 30 —— THE Brooklyn Nets are signing Justin Anderson as Wilson Chandler opts out of the NBA season restart, according to reports. Chandler, headed for free agency after this season, said he is sitting out due to health concerns.

“As difficult as it will be to not be with my teammates, the health and well-being of my family has to come first. Thank you to the Nets organization for understanding and supporting me in this decision, and I will be watching and rooting for our team in Orlando,” Chandler told ESPN.

The Nets and 21 other teams see action in the NBA restart at Disney in Orlando. Anderson, drafted by the Dallas Mavericks in 2015 and was also assigned to developmental league affiliate Texas Legends, is rejoining the Nets, according to Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN.

Anderson was with the Brooklyn Nets in January on a 10-day contract. He also played with the Philadelphia 76ers and Atlanta Hawks. The Utah Jazz and New Orleans Pelicans play in the first match of the restart followed by a game between the Los Angeles Lakers and LA Clippers. The Utah Jazz and New Orleans Pelicans play in the first match of the restart followed by a game between the Los Angeles Lakers and LA Clippers.

Source: spin.ph

MOT, New Capesize shipbuilding for 1st time in 14 yrs

For Japanese largest steel mill, Delivery in 2020

 

Mitsubishi Ore Transport Co., LTD (President Hiroyuki Nakamura) ordered a Japanese shipbuilder to build 200,000-dwt new Capesize bulker. MOT will put the vessel on the long-term contract with a Japanese customer after its delivery in 2020. On delivery basis, this newbuilding project is the first time for MOT in these 14 years. The company was established as an industrial carrier responsible for transporting iron ore from Chile’s Atacama Mine to Yawata Steel Works (now Nippon Steel & Sumitomo Metal Corporation). Presently putting their focus on managing a various type of vessel, MOT decided to replace self-operating iron ore carrier which symbolizes the company name, “Ore Transport”.

 

“SANTA LUCIA”, which is 177,000-dwt and has been put into the long term contract for the same customer, is succeeded by this new built ship, and in MOT fleet it becomes the largest vessel the owner ever had. The vessel will be equipped with Scrubber (exhaust gas purifier) in accordance with SOx emission control which is in effect from 2020.

 

Mitsubishi Ore Transport Co., Ltd. was established in 1959 by the six companies of the Mitsubishi Group as an industrial carrier responsible for transporting iron ore from Chile’s Atacama Mine to Yawata Steel Works (now Nippon Steel & Sumitomo Metal Corporation). Recently the company has four shareholders: Nippon Yusen Kabushiki Kaisha, Mitsubishi Corporation, Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, Ltd. and The Tokyo Marine and Nichido Fire Insurance Co., Ltd. Mr. Nakamura says, “In the beginning of the establishment, as a Mitsubishi group company MOT had the definite principle to support Japanese main industry by backing up the largest national steel company. After Atacama Mine had been closed, we have had set our focus on ship management business as a result that our forerunner searched for our business model as a shipping company. This shipbuilding project has the great significance on our company as the project enables us to continue our ore transport business which started at the same time from the establishment”.

 

Presently MOT fleets have 23 vessels including MOT-managing and co-ownership vessels. While Panamax bulkers account for 11 in 23, the following types of another eleven vessels are parts of our project vessels: Pure Car carrier, Wood chip carrier, and Coal carrier for power companies. Project vessels are chartered in long-term contract to the shareholders. On the other hands, Panamax bulkers are on average in less than one- year charter contract to European grain major, power and steel companies.

 

Foreign credible charterers have regularly chartered the Panamax bulkers. Before, the charter period was mid-term, but it has become shorter because of the stagnated dry-bulk market, forcing MOT to endure severe profit. With that being said, the market has gradually improved, and freight revenue per vessels per day is on average $1,500 higher than the estimate in this fiscal year, according to Mr. Nakamura. Now he thinks to change the present contracts to the longer ones in the right time.

 

MOT has worked on reviewing its business portfolio; it plans to increase the portion of Project vessels from the present 50 % to 80% of its entire fleet while decreasing the number of Panamax bulkers. The company has already decided to sell two of them. Conversely, it purchased Pure car Carrier the last year. This reflects the president’s idea to create the fleet that is not affected by the dry-market. It comes with reducing the amount of vessels exposed by the market. Mr. Nakamura says that we undertake the transportation for not only main Japanese customers but also excellent and closely-related foreign customers. He adds that we MOT strive for “multi-industrial carrier” making its utmost effort for multiple main customers. For the moment, the company aims for more growth by rearranging its fleet structure.

 

At the same time, MOT never underestimates the crew training program. The total number of crew is now about over 600; 20 of Japanese seafarers including land-based worker and about 600 of Filipino seafarers from MBM. One year ago the company started for Filipino crews the project called “Y-Project”; two Filipino experienced captains chosen as trainers give seminars to the compatriot crews when they are on vacation. Targeting the Japanese crews, on the other hand, the project named “J-Project” will be kicked off to make smooth the communication between Japanese and Filipino seafarers. Mr. Nakamura thinks “these steady efforts lead to maintain and improve our operation quality, contributing to the good reputation from foreign charterers for our ship-management”.

 

Now nine Super Intendents are working in MOT office: five Japanese and four Filipino. As a development program, Filipino Super Intendents that grew up in MOT vessels are expected to experience the work in both MOT and MBM office.

“We all MOT staff work on making envelops for the Japan braille library which is the library for people visually impairments and print disabilities. Those envelopes are made from sea-charts that have got unused as the digitalization goes on”, President Hiroyuki Nakamura says. Mitsubishi Ore Transport Co., LTD is committed to volunteer activities in connection with CSR. Sea-chart envelop have got good reputation for its design, and MOT staff usually make about forty to fifty envelops per one month. Mr Nakamura adds, “Companies should keep in mind social contributions while pursuing profit. We all do our best to make a good company culture that we perform what we can do for others”.

Our Services

MOT-BARKO MANILA, INC. CORPORATE MANAGEMENT PLAN
From November 2010 to present, MBM deployed over 900 seafarers on board 23 vessels comprising of the following types: 2 Pure Car Carrier, 18 Bulk Carriers, and 3 Wood Chip/Cargo Ships that added real value to seafarers, customers and other stakeholders. This is undoubtedly due to combine efforts and hard works of all involved, in principle therefore as a manning agent we will;

  1. Devote every managerial effort to become more efficient and profitable.
  2. Continue to employ competent and fully certified seafarers for our customer in order to gain excellent standing with both local and foreign governments, maritime unions, training institution, P & I Correspondent and the likes.
  3. Control the manning process systematically; be flexible and proactive in fulfilling both seafarers and customers’ requirements, presenting innovative solutions wherever possible.
  4. Keep excellent market knowledge and ability to respond quickly to any changes in order to provide a sustainable service to customers.
  5. Become a market preference in terms of high quality service.

Our Mission

  1. Maintain pools of highly qualified, motivated and dedicated seafarers who fulfill the demanding requirements in safeguarding the safety of ship and the environment.
  2. Lifetime Profession- Develop training and education program that involves many initiatives geared towards ensuring that personnel starting their employment with MBM are given every opportunity to progress their career through the ranks and via shore-based employment.
  3. Provide a decent and stable working environment so that both seafarers and shore staff can contribute to the best of their abilities.
  4. Transparency and Honesty- Be fair and have corporate financial activities comply with rule of law.

2012 CAR CARRIER OF THE YEAR AWARD

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We are please to announce that 10 vessels have demonstrated excellence in safety, delay-free, and bunkering-saving operations and have thus been selected to receive the Car Carrier of the Year Award for 2012

The M/V Santa Lucia saved human lives.

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The M/V Santa Lucia, an 180,000-ton bulk carrier we operate with 22 Pilipino crew, saved human lives.
In the early hours of March 16, while sailing in the Molucca Sea, Indonesia, on a voyage from Japan to Australia, the ship received a distress call from an Indonesian fishing boat.
The M/V Santa Lucia proceeded to the site and rescued all 15 crew members from the boat. All the rescued crew were safe and sound and handed over to Indonesia’s coast guard in the afternoon of the same day.