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US ambassador lauds junta’s labor policy

Legacy Phuket Gazette

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PHUKET MEDIA WATCH

– Thailand news selected by Gazette editors for Phuket’s international community

US ambassador lauds junta’s labor policy
The Nation / Phuket Gazette

PHUKET: Only days after the United States cut military aid to Thailand, US Ambassador Kristie Kenney yesterday praised the ruling junta for its new regulation on migrant labor, describing it as “a good policy” to tackle human trafficking.

She said the US would support Thailand’s efforts to resolve the problems of human trafficking, child labor and illegal foreign workers, the Thai News Agency reported.

The ruling National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO) on Wednesday night set up a committee to tackle human trafficking.

Kenney earlier this week met with Armed Forces Supreme Commander General Tanasak Patimapragorn, who is also deputy NCPO leader, at Tanasak’s invitation.

The American envoy told Tanasak that the US Department of State’s recent downgrade of Thailand in its annual Trafficking in Persons report “was not a political issue and had nothing to do with the May 22 military coup”.

The intended goal was for Thailand to become aware of human trafficking problems, Kenney was quoted as saying in the TNA report. Tanasak had expressed disappointment at the US downgrading of Thailand from Tier 2 to Tier 3.

During the meeting, Kenney revealed that the US has not considered a proposal for Cobra Gold, the Asia-Pacific region’s largest military exercise, which is held in Thailand every year, to be moved to Australia, NCPO spokesman Colonel Winthai Suvari said yesterday.

Scot Marciel, the US State Department’s deputy assistant secretary for East Asian and Pacific Affairs, had previously hinted that Washington was considering moving next year’s Cobra Gold elsewhere.

Tanasak told Kenney that junta leader General Prayuth Chan-ocha understood the tougher US sanctions against post-coup Thailand were routine sanctions for countries under military rule, according to the NCPO spokesman. The NCPO expects such sanctions to continue until Thailand’s political situation returns to normal.

The junta yesterday also rejected any notion that military-ruled Thailand was altering its foreign policy to have closer ties with China than with the US.

The NCPO spokesman said that there has been no such shift in policy. He said the NCPO simply wanted to make the current situation clear to all countries so that they have a correct understanding of what the NCPO is attempting to achieve for Thailand.

In its serious bid to regulate foreign labor and prevent human trafficking, NCPO has already set up a committee especially to tackle the issues.

The establishment of the committee was announced late Wednesday night.

And starting from yesterday, interested Cambodians can register themselves for a chance to become legal workers in Thailand via centers in several border provinces.

The moves took place just days after the release of the latest Trafficking in Persons (TIP) report. Compiled by the United States, it has downgraded Thailand’s status in terms of human-trafficking situation to the lowest class, or Tier 3.

Since it came to power via a military coup last month, the NCPO has seriously tackled illegal labor.

Hundreds of thousands of illegal workers left Thailand during the past month in the wake of the NCPO’s tough stance.

Now, it has become clear that they can return to Thailand for jobs as legal workers. They are only required to register themselves with Thai authorities.

Coordination centers for Cambodian workers are now up and running in four border provinces namely Sa Kaew, Chanthaburi, Trat and Surin. Registration there can be made till July 25.

In addition, the NCPO has required that one-stop-service centers for migrant workers be established in all provinces.

The first such center will open in Samut Sakhon and start its operation next Monday.

Appointed by the NCPO, the committee on policies for solving migrant workers’ problems and human trafficking will recommend policies, measures and guidelines to address these issues to the NCPO. The committee, which will be chaired by an NCPO deputy chief, will also monitor implementations and compliance with international obligations.

— Phuket Gazette Editors

 

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Phuket

Thailand News Today | Pfizer vaccines on the way, Phuket’s July re-opening | May 7

Thaiger

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Disease Control Department back-peddled saying that that foreigners living in Thailand WILL also be vaccinated, governor of Chiang Mai is calling for the ban on dining in at restaurants in the northern city to be lifted and for eateries to be allowed to serve food on-site until 9pm, Tourism and Sports Minister insists the southern island of Phuket must record zero Covid-19 cases if a planned July re-opening is to go ahead, and 150 million baht worth of methamphetamine pills were impounded in Nakhon Phanom yesterday

 

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Economy

Stimulus package gives more back the more you spend

Neill Fronde

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PHOTO: A new stimulus package aims to get the middle class spending. (via Flickr - Marco Verch)

A new stimulus package targeting middle and high-income people aims at increasing spending by offering more e-voucher the more you spend. Ying Chai Ying Dai, which translates to “the more you spend the more you get”, will reward those who spend between 46,000 and 70,000 baht with a 7,000 baht e-voucher. This part of the government’s 225 billion baht stimulus package hopes to encourage 4 million qualifying middle- to upper-class people to spend more money by refunding 10-15% back, according to the Finance Ministry’s Fiscal Policy Office.

People wishing to participate must register and make their purchases through a government e-wallet system. The system works by refunding 10 to 15% of purchases with a maximum of 7,000 baht. So at 15%, a person who spent 46,000 baht would receive back the full 7,000. On the 10% scheme, 70,000 baht in spending would be necessary to reach 7,000 cashback. No details were available on what determines the percentage level.

An additional 2,000 baht will be available for people participating in the “Section 33 Rao Rak Kan” and “Rao Chana” scheme. The plans are expected to push 85.5 billion Baht back into the economy as recipients must spend the cash by the end of June.

The 50/50 stimulus program that has been popular with the government covering half of what people spend for half for food, drink, and other items up to 150 baht per person per day will also be expanded. That plan began on October 23, and ended at the end of 2020, covering 10 million people with each receiving 3000 baht. The second phase of the popular program added 5 million more people and raised the limit to 3,500 baht per person.

A third phase of the “Khon La Khrueng” stimulus plan is expected to begin in July with participants getting a maximum of 3,500 baht each to spend, and opening the program to 16 million new people. This massive expansion though will stipulate that anyone participating in this program cannot also participate in the Ying Chai Ying Dai scheme.

All of these cash and voucher benefits aimed at supporting vulnerable groups, along with cash handouts for people who have state welfare cards, are part of 245 billion baht the government is spending in an attempt to keep the economy from collapsing. This falls under an emergency loan decree allocating the government 1 trillion baht total to cope with Covid-19.

SOURCE: The Phuket News

 

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Thailand

Covid UPDATE: 2,044 new cases and 27 deaths, provincial totals

Thaiger

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Deputy spokesperson for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs Natapanu Nopakun / Photo courtesy of the Royal Thai Government

2,044 new Covid-19 cases and 27 coronavirus-related deaths were reported today in the Centre for Covid-19 Situation Administration’s daily briefing. There are now 29,320 active Covid-19 cases. 1,170 Covid patients are in critical condition including 367 on ventilators.

Since the start of the pandemic last year, the CCSA has reported a total of 78,855 Covid-19 infections and 363 virus-related deaths.

Out of 27 new fatalities, patients were ages 30 to 90. Most of the deaths were in Bangkok and surrounding provinces. Several contacted the virus from family members.

Provinces with the highest number of new confirmed cases…

Province New cases Total cases since April 1
Bangkok 869 16,917
Nonthaburi 201 3,032
Samut Prakan 165 2,902
Chon Buri 89 3,128
Samut Sakhon 69 1,299
Surat Thani 60 1,035
Pathum Thani 39 1,099
Chiang Mai 33 3,180
Phra Nakhon Si Ayutthaya 32 607
Nakhon Pathom 29 746
Ranong 29 329

 

Districts in Bangkok with the highest number of confirmed cases…

District New cases
Khlong Toei 46
Pathum Wan 24
Bang Khae 24
Lat Phrao 13
Ratchathewi 10
Pom Prap Sattru Phai 9
Bueng Kum 9
Phasi Charoen 8
Bang Khun Thian 8
Din Daeng 8

Covid UPDATE: 2,044 new cases and 27 deaths, provincial totals | News by Thaiger

 

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