During his Gulf tour, Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte arrived in Riyadh on a three-day visit to meet Saudi leaders for investments, trade and support for Filipino workers in the Kingdom. The visit aims to strengthen protection of the rights and promotion of the welfare of more than 1 million people working in the Gulf countries, to invite Middle Eastern investors to the Philippines and to forge stronger partnerships with those countries. Duterte will also visit Bahrain and Qatar, where many Filipinos live. Moreover during the visit the President will invite these countries to invest particularly in Mindanao to lift it out of poverty and conflict.
At least four strong earthquakes, including a magnitude 6, simultaneously struck Batangas province on Saturday afternoon, sending shockwaves across nearby provinces including in Metro Manila. The Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (Phivolcs) said the first strong tremor – measuring magnitude 5.6 – struck at 3:07 p.m. Its epicenter was located at two kilometers northwest of Mabini, Batangas. Two minutes later, a stronger magnitude 6 struck at 12 kilometers northwest of Mabini. A third earthquake measuring magnitude 4.1 was felt at 3:29 p.m., while a magnitude 4.7 struck at 4:36 p.m.
At least four people were killed and 23 others wounded in a grenade attack in the southern Philippines that appears to be unrelated to terrorism, officials said Sunday. Army Col. Cirilito Sobejana said the attacker was arrested following the late Saturday grenade blast in Busbus village near the domestic airport in Sulu province’s Jolo town. The motive for the attack wasn’t immediately clear, but a military officer said the attacker, who was identified by police as Sedimar Rabbah, returned to the area to retaliate after being beaten by a group of men who accused him of stealing a cellphone. Police, however, were checking if he has links with Abu Sayyaf militants.
President Rodrigo Duterte on Tuesday apologized to Germany for the failure of government troops to save Jurgen Gustav Kantner, who has been beheaded by the Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG). Duterte said the Philippine government tried its best but failed to save the German hostage’s life. “I am very sorry that the hostage, a national of your country, . I sympathize with the family, I commiserate with the German people. But I said, we tried, there’s a massive operation going on and I have just announced to you, they’re beginning to use air assets”, the President said.
Men in southern Philippine waters killed one crewman of a Vietnamese vessel and abducted seven in what appeared to be the latest attack by pirates in the area, the Philippine coastguard said on Monday. Coastguard and marine soldiers rescued 17 Vietnamese who were part of the 25-man crew of MV Giang Hai, which was attacked on Sunday evening near Baguan Island in Tawi-Tawi, an area close to the stronghold of the notorious Abu Sayyaf militant group. An investigation was underway and the coastguard had launched a pursuit in coordination with the military and police, said coastguard spokesman Commander Armand Balilo.
Philippines’ President Rodrigo Duterte, already embroiled in a notorious campaign to stamp out drugs, announced on Thursday he would halt all online gambling in his country. Duterte made the comment while announcing a 2017 budget that focused heavily on populist measures. He gave no timeframe for such a ban or details on its scope. The firebrand former mayor has been a worry for the country’s booming online gambling industry and in August scrapped one firm’s 13-year monopoly of gambling in licensed online cafes.