China says Philippines claims in South China Sea are ‘baseless’

admin   •   July 13, 2016   •   3927

Protesters throws flowers while chanting anti-Chinese slogans during a rally by different activist groups over the South China Sea disputes, along a bay in metro Manila, Philippines July 12, 2016. REUTERS/ROMEO RANOCO

Protesters throws flowers while chanting anti-Chinese slogans during a rally by different activist groups over the South China Sea disputes, along a bay in metro Manila, Philippines July 12, 2016.
REUTERS/ROMEO RANOCO

The Philippines claims of sovereignty in the South China Sea are “baseless” and Chinese fishing boats have been harassed and attacked by the Philippines around the Spratly Islands, the Chinese government said in a white paper published on Wednesday.

China is firm in upholding its sovereignty over South China Sea islands, it said in the document published after an international tribunal ruled that China had breached the Philippines’ sovereign rights by endangering its ships and fishing and oil projects in the energy-rich region.

The Philippines’ unilateral initiation of arbitration was an “act of bad faith” it said, adding that China was committed to upholding freedom of navigation and overflight in the South China Sea.

(Reporting by Ben Blanchard; Editing by Lincoln Feast)

DND’s Lorenzana backs Duterte remark on arbitral ruling on WPS vs China

Robie de Guzman   •   May 6, 2021

MANILA, Philippines – Department of National Defense (DND) Secretary Delfin Lorenzana on Thursday expressed agreement with President Rodrigo Duterte’s recent remark on the 2016 ruling of the Permanent Court of Arbitration (PCA) favoring the Philippines in its case against China’s activities in the West Philippine Sea.

“What President Duterte said last night regarding the PCA ruling is correct,” Lorenzana said in a statement, referring to Duterte’s statement that nothing happened when he tried to assert the arbitral ruling on the Philippines’ rights in the resource-rich West Philippine Sea.

In a pre-taped public address on Wednesday night, Duterte said he tried to pursue the arbitral ruling when he came to power in 2016 but “nothing happened,” adding that the ruling was “just a piece of paper” that can be tossed into a waste basket.

Lorenzana said he agrees with the President when he said that there is no international law enforcement body that can enforce the ruling.

He, however, stressed that even without the PCA ruling, the Philippine government will still continue to defend “what is rightfully ours.”

“As I said in my previous statement, the President’s orders have been firm and straightforward: we defend what is rightfully ours without going to war and maintain the peace in the seas,” he said.

Lorenzana also said that Philippine Coast Guard and the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources will continue conducting maritime exercises in the West Philippine Sea and the Kalayaan Island Group.

The National Task Force on the West Philippine Sea earlier said that it has intensified maritime patrols in the West Philippine Sea after Chinese vessels were spotted lingering in areas within the Philippine exclusive economic zone.

The Department of Foreign Affairs have repeatedly filed diplomatic protests over Chinese incursions in the West Philippine Sea.

Duterte’s second Sinopharm COVID-19 vaccine dose won’t be returned to China – Roque

Robie de Guzman   •   May 6, 2021

MANILA, Philippines – President Rodrigo Duterte will still get his second dose of COVID-9 vaccine developed by Chinese drug-maker Sinopharm despite his request for China to take back the donated doses, Malacañang said Thursday.

“Siyempre po, di ibabalik yung second dose ng presidente, para matapos niya yung second dose niya,” Presidential Harry Roque said in a Palace briefing.

In a pre-taped Cabinet briefing on Wednesday night, Duterte defended his decision to be inoculated with a COVID-19 vaccine that has yet to undergo further evaluation and secure an emergency use authorization (EUA) from the local Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

Duterte also stressed that his vaccination was legal as the Sinopharm vaccine dose he used was covered by the compassionate special permit (CSP) issued by the FDA.

He apologized for using a vaccine that has not been vetted by Philippine authorities then said that he had asked China to withdraw the donated Sinopharm doses.

“Ako mismo ang nagpaturok. It is the decision of my doctor. Anyway, it’s my life,” he said.

“Just before this meeting started, I had a talk with the ambassador. Sabi ko sa kanya, ang mga experts nagsabi, ‘Wala pa ito, hindi dumaan sa examination sa atin.’ Ang ibinigay ay compassionate use […] Ibig sabihin magamit mo compassionate,” he added.

Roque earlier said that the vaccine dose used on Duterte was covered by the PSG’s compassionate use permit for 10,000 Sinopharm vaccine doses.

The FDA earlier said that Sinopharm’s application for EUA remains pending as firms that have filed for its emergency use in the Philippines have yet to submit requirements.

“Ang problema po kasi sa Sinopharm, it is a state-owned corporation, hindi gaya ng Sinovac na isang private corporation kaya natatagalan ang proseso. Kasi kailangang magtalaga ng representante ang Sinopharm kung sino talaga ang maghahain ng mga papeles dito sa Pilipinas o sa FDA. Wala naman po itong prejudice to Sinopharm appointing an agent and complying with all the requirements of the FDA,” Roque said.

“Panatag naman po ang loob natin na maaaprubahan din ang EUA ng Sinopharm dahil Sinopharm is in use po in 25  25 countries worldwide at nakakuha na rin siya ng EUA in 25 other countries,” he added.

Carpio accepts Duterte’s challenge to debate on West Philippine Sea issue

Robie de Guzman   •   May 6, 2021

MANILA, Philippines – Retired Supreme Court Senior Associate Justice Antonio Carpio on Thursday accepted President Rodrigo Duterte’s challenge to go on a debate over the West Philippine Sea issue.

“I gladly accept the challenge anytime at the President’s convenience,” Carpio said in a statement.

In a pre-taped briefing on Wednesday night, Duterte said he only has two or three questions for Carpio when they face in a debate on the West Philippine Sea.

Duterte said he would ask Carpio on who ordered the Philippine Navy to retreat from area during the 2012 standoff, what did the administration of then President Benigno Aquino do about it and did they enforce the ruling when they filed and won the case.

Duterte has been reiterating that former Foreign Affairs Secretary Albert del Rosario was involved in the decision to withdraw the Philippine ships from the West Philippine Sea.

He also said that Del Rosario and Carpio should be investigated for their role in China’s occupation of some areas in the contested waters, adding that he would “resign immediately” if he was proven to be lying about this matter.

Carpio, however, denied involvement in the issue.

“President Duterte should now resign immediately to keep his word of honor. I state under oath that I was never involved in the decision to withdraw Philippine Navy ships from the West Philippine Sea during the 2012 Scarborough standoff,” he said.

“I was serving in the Supreme Court at that time and all I new about the withdrawal of Philippine Navy ships was what I read in the newspapers,” he added.

“I call as my witnesses former President Benigno Aquino III and the Defense Secretary, Foreign Affairs Secretary and the chiefs of the Philippine Navy, Air Force and Coast Guard at that time,” he further stated.

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