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Duterte back in China for 2019 Belt and Road Forum

by Maris Federez   |   Posted on Thursday, April 25th, 2019

President Rodrigo Roa Duterte receives a warm welcome from People’s Republic of China President Xi Jinping prior to the start of the bilateral meeting at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing on April 25, 2019. (KING RODRIGUEZ/PRESIDENTIAL PHOTO)

President Rodrigo Duterte is back in China for the 4th time since he assumed the presidency.

The president is among the 37 international government and state leaders in attendance at the Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation that kicked off in Beijing.

In his arrival speech, the President said he sees the establishment of more “high-quality” and “good-impact” projects between the Philippines and China, adding that the sooner they are completed, the sooner the people will feel the benefits of the relations of the two countries.

The President made this remark before he sat down with Chinese President Xi Jinping for a bilateral meeting on the sidelines of the forum.

The President also expressed hope that the two countries will work together to explore new areas of cooperation and partnership.

“We look forward to a productive discussion on matters of mutual interest and concern,” Duterte said.

The President also thanked the Chinese leader for his personal invitation to the forum, which he believes is a chance to further strengthen ties.

Duterte further said, “the forum provides another opportunity to renew and reaffirm our valued relations based on mutual trust, respect, and friendship and must continue to grow strength and meaning in the coming years.”

Duterte also attended the 1st Belt and Road Forum in May 2017.  –Maris Federez

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Palace says Duterte can declare martial law if terrorism reaches Metro Manila

by Aileen Cerrudo   |   Posted on Thursday, July 18th, 2019

Malacañang said President Rodrigo Duterte can declare martial law if terrorism reaches Metro Manila.

Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo said the chief executive expressed concern about the recent suicide bombing which led to the death of eight individuals including one Filipino suicide bomber in Indanan, Sulu.

“Iyon nga ang kinakatakot niya kasi may suicide bomber na. (That’s what he feared, there is already a suicide bomber). He’s very concerned of that. Kaya hindi ba nag-warning siya sa enemies of the state, (so he warned the enemies of the state) ‘Don’t force my hand into it. I will not allow the disintegration of this country,’ ” he said.

“Kaya nga hindi ba don’t force me to the wall. Kapag hindi kayo tumigil, (So don’t force me to the wall. If you do not stop) I’ll be compelled to use powers granted to me by the Constitution, lalong lalo pa iyong terorismo makarating dito sa Maynila (especially if terrorism reaches here in Metro Manila),” he said.—AAC (with reports from Rosalie Coz)

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Duterte on WPS: ‘I’m the owner, I’m just giving China fishing rights’

by Aileen Cerrudo   |   Posted on Thursday, July 18th, 2019

FILE PHOTO: President Rodrigo Duterte | PCOO

President Rodrigo Duterte has reiterated that the West Philippine Sea still belongs to the country and that he is only giving “fishing rights” to China.

“As far as I’m concerned, I’m the owner, and I’m just giving the fishing rights,” he said.

In a television interview on Monday (July 15), Duterte said traditional fishing rights is widely recognized.

“Historically even before the birth of nations, even before the organization of whatever, meron ‘yang mga tao sa coast eh. Whether they are really the ancestors of the Chinese or the Filipinos, and also, nations who have been fishing there. It’s called fishing rights,” Duterte said.

READ: Duterte to explain Chinese fishing in PH waters at 4th SONA

“The court admitted that there is such a thing as the traditional fishing rights of people and that you have to allow it without violating the law,” he added. 

READ: Duterte ‘tolerating’ Chinese fishing in PH’s EEZ draws flak

Duterte was slammed after allowing Chinese fishermen to fish in Philippine waters “for friendship’s sake.”—AAC

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Philippine Philharmonic Orchestra gears up for first SONA performance

by Robie de Guzman   |   Posted on Wednesday, July 17th, 2019

Courtesy: Philippine Philharmonic Orchestra

MANILA, Philippines – The country’s leading orchestra, Philippine Philharmonic Orchestra (PPO), is now preparing for their performance at the fourth State of the Nation Address (SONA) of President Rodrigo Duterte on July 22.

Cultural Center of the Philippines President Arsenio Lizaso said PPO’s upcoming performance at the Batasang Pambansa is a milestone for the orchestra as this will be their first to play at such prestigious event.

“Ito po ang kauna-unahan sa SONA, first time kami dito at ito ay magandang pagkakataon sa Philharmonic at Cultural Center of the Philippines,” Lizaso said.

“Chance na ito for us to be able to play for the senators, congressmen, guests and for the President,” he added.

On Wednesday, Lizaso conducted an ocular visit at the lobby of the House of Representatives in Quezon City to check the audio and placement for the performance of the 65-member PPO.

The symphony orchestra will reportedly play the Philippine National Anthem “Lupang Hinirang,” “Pagbabago” by Freddie Agular, presidential anthem “Mabuhay,” and other Filipino compositions, as well as Duterte’s favorite song “Ikaw.”

“Nagre-rehearse kami sa Cultural Center, pagkatapos dito on the day itself,” Lizaso said.

He added that PPO’s performance, which is expected to last for three to five hours, is free of charge.

The PPO, established in 1973, has performed with many renowned conductors and is one of the leading musical ensembles in the Asia-Pacific region. (with details from Grace Casin)

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