Is there still a need to repatriate Filipinos from parts of the Middle East after tensions between the US and Iran have seemingly simmered down? Here are the big stories making the headlines on ANC today:
The government will push on with its plans to repatriate Filipinos in Iraq despite Trump backing off in his confrontation with Iran. Former labor official Susan Ople said a massive repatriation of OFWs might not be necessary at this point. But former Middle East envoy Roy Cimatu, who has been dispatched by President Duterte to oversee the mandatory repatriation of OFWs, believes the tensions aren’t over. Some OFWs have expressed unwillingness to come home.
The US Senate passed a resolution calling for the immediate release of Sen. Leila De Lima. The resolution also called for sanctions against her jailers. In a privilege speech, US Sen. Richard Durbin urged the Duterte administration to free De Lima. Meanwhile, a recent survey by Pew Research Center showed the Philippines has the most confidence in US President Donald Trump among 33 countries.
Back near Pag-asa Island
The military said dozens of Chinese vessels were spotted near Pag-asa Island. Meanwhile, the Indonesia military said Chinese vessels have left waters being disputed by the two countries. In recent weeks, Chinese vessels entered the waters around the northern Natuna islands, sparking a diplomatic row between Jakarta and Beijing.
Chinese officials said a new virus related to Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) is responsible for a mysterious pneumonia outbreak. The Health Department had said it was “doubly cautious” in checking travelers from China due to the outbreak.
How soon can we see street vendors and home-based businesses transact with QR codes and be completely digitized? Grab gives ANCX an inside look on the future-readiness of Southeast Asian SMEs.