MANILA, Philippines — National Security Adviser and Chairman of the National Task Force for the West Philippine Sea Sec. Hermogenes Esperon said they will follow President Rodrigo Duterte’s orders in defending the West Philippine Sea.
The President previously said that he will not back down and will not order the retreat of the two vessels that the country deployed in patrolling the Kalayaan Islands and the Mischief Reef.
“Hindi talaga ako aatras. Patayin mo man ako kung patayin mo ako, dito ako. Dito magtatapos ang ating pagkakaibigan,” he said during a public address.
(I will not back down. Kill me, I will be here. This is where our friendship ends.)
In a separate interview in Politiscoop, Esperon said they are prepared to follow the President’s orders which includes deploying military ships in case there is an excavation of natural gas in the disputed islands.
“May utos na po ang pangulo natin diyan. Alam na natin gagawin diyan,” he said.
(The President has a directive. We already know what to do.)
Esperon also noted that the country is using satellite technology to monitor unauthorized sea vessels entering the country’s territory.
He added that the task force, in coordination with the Philippine Space Agency, aims to boost the country’s satellite technology.
“Actually mayroon tayong nova satellite diyan run by the Philippine Space Agency at pinapalawig pa natin ang ating kakayahan tungkol sa satellite. For now ang ginagamit na ay ang flight maritime patrols, sovereign patrols ng Air Force ng navy,” he said.
(Actually, we have a nova satellite run by the Philippine Space Agency and we are still expanding our capability with regards to the satellite. For now, we are using flight maritime patrols, the sovereign patrols of the Air Force.)
Amid the tension between the disputed islands, the President reiterated that the country is avoiding any conflict in the region. But he said that China should still respect the country’s position on the issue. –AAC (with reports from Nel Maribojoc)
MANILA, Philippines – The National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (NTF-ELCAC) on Monday announced it has added more spokespersons to communicate its position on various matters to the public.
In an online press briefing, NTF-ELCAC vice chairperson and National Security Adviser Hermogenes Esperon Jr. said that the body will now have a total of eight spokespersons in a bid to “effectively communicate transparency and accountability” in its efforts.
Esperon identified the following as the task force’s spokespersons and their primary coverage:
Gaye Florendo (assistant spokesperson on NTF-ELCAC public affairs and on indigenous peoples concerns)
“These eight spokespersons come from different agencies of government. The designation of officials under the expanded pool of spokespersons allows for a focused discourse and engagement with the public on each spokesperson’s respective thematic coverage,” Esperon said.
The NTF-ELCAC’s announcement comes after Parlade and Badoy were criticized for their statements on some community pantry organizers and their possible link to the communist movement.
“The CPP-NPA is a multi-faceted, multilayered (organization)… Joma Sison has already told us that they have underground mass organizations that actually control or infiltrate the good organizations or control organizations that they have actually organized,” Esperon said when asked to explain the need to strengthen the task force’s communication system.
“Just like the NPA, we have to cover everything,” he added
Esperon also said that all departments at the national and local levels, as well as regional and provincial task forces of the NTF-ELCAC, shall be appointing their spokespersons for matters related to the task force “in the interest of harmonizing public information and communications activities.”
“The National Task Force is composed of practically all agencies of government. We are just drawing the support and pool of talents from all government agencies,” he said.
Joseph Robinette Biden Jr. simply known as Joe Biden took his oath of office as the 46th president of the United States of America (USA) on a sunny day on Wednesday (January 20) at the Capitol Building in a ceremony that broke tradition.
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Biden discouraged his supporters from attending the ceremony and opted to be with the company of thousands of National Guards to keep the peace and order following an assault on the Capitol Building on January 6.
For the first time since John Quincy in 1869, the outgoing commander-in-chief Donald Trump snubbed the ceremony as he still refused to accept his election defeat.
After Trump’s tumultuous four years, Biden implied that finally, democracy has been restored in the US.
“America has been tested anew, and America has risen to the challenge.” he said.
“We’ve learned again that democracy is precious. Democracy is fragile. And at this hour, my friends, democracy has prevailed,” he added.
Biden did not mention his predecessor but referred to the incident at the Capitol perpetrated by Trump supporters two weeks ago. Biden said he will not let any attempt “to stop the work of our democracy” to triumph.
Moving forward, the new US president called for unity among Americans in facing the challenges ahead, especially the impact of the current pandemic which he called “dark winter”.
“In the work ahead of us, we’re going to need each other. We need all our strength to persevere through this dark winter,” Biden said.
“We’re entering what may be the toughest and deadliest period of the virus. We must set aside politics and finally face this pandemic as one nation,” he added.
Biden promised to be a president for all Americans saying “every disagreement doesn’t have to be a cause for total war.”
“To all those who did not support us, let me say this: Hear me out as we move forward. Take a measure of me and my heart. If you still disagree, so be it. That’s democracy. That’s America. The right to dissent peaceably within the guardrails of our republic is perhaps our nation’s greatest strength,” he said addressing his critics.
“Yet hear me clearly, disagreement must not lead to disunion. And I pledge this to you, I will be a president for all Americans. All Americans,” he vowed, calling for a stop on the war of colors referring to the conflicts between the Democrats and the Republicans.
Towards the end of his speech, President Biden called on US citizens to be more open and keep the value of humility as a new administration begins under his command.
“We can do this if we open our souls instead of hardening our hearts. If we show a little tolerance and humility… because here’s this thing about life: There’s no accounting for what fate will deal you,” he said.
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