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Duterte: ICC case vs Xi won’t strain PH-China ties

by Robie de Guzman   |   Posted on Friday, March 22nd, 2019

FILE PHOTO: President Rodrigo Roa Duterte and President Xi Jinping of People’s Republic of China pose for a photo prior to their expanded bilateral meeting at the Malacañan Palace on November 20, 2018. | PCOO\King Rodriguez

MANILA, Philippines – President Rodrigo Duterte remains positive that the stronger diplomatic ties between the Philippines and China will not be jeopardized by the case filed against Chinese President Xi Jinping before the International Criminal Court (ICC).

Duterte expressed the remark on Thursday (March 21) after two former high-ranking Philippine officials filed a communication against Xi before the ICC for China’s supposedly aggressive militarization and reclamation in the disputed territories in the South China Sea.

“No, I’m sure it won’t,” Duterte said when asked if the case would affect the ties between the two countries at the sidelines of the 122nd Anniversary celebration of the Philippine Army in Taguig City.

Former Ombudsman Conchita Carpio-Morales and former Foreign Affairs Secretary Albert del Rosario filed the complaint on behalf of Filipino fishermen allegedly injured and persecuted by China’s “most massive, near permanent and devastating destruction of the environment on humanity’s history” in the South China Sea.

Carpio-Morales and Del Rosario also accused Xi and other Chinese officials of committing crimes against humanity for implementing “systematic plan to control the South China Sea.”

The complainants said that China’s “atrociously inhumane actions” that “adversely affects and injures not only myriad groups of vulnerable fishermen, including 320,000 Filipino fishermen, but also present and future generations of people across nations” remain unpunished.

“They are entitled to file the case. They are Filipino citizens and I think we’ll just also have to defend our position vis-à-vis sa kanila. They think they have a good case and I would say that there is no jurisdiction over this country and of China,” Duterte said.

“The Philippines is a democratic country and anybody can bring a suit against anybody, but whether or not it would prosper, or whether or not we have the jurisdiction, that’s something else,” he added.– Robie de Guzman (with details from Rosalie Coz)

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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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