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Duterte on urgent call for Code of Conduct: ‘My country will be the first to suffer’

by Marje Pelayo   |   Posted on Thursday, November 15th, 2018

President Rodrigo Roa Duterte joins other leaders from Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) member countries during the 21st ASEAN-Japan Summit at the Suntec Convention and Exhibition Centre in Singapore on November 14, 2018. KARL NORMAN ALONZO/PRESIDENTIAL PHOTO

SINGAPORE – President Rodrigo Duterte reiterated his position that a code of conduct (COC) for South China Sea is urgent as China seemed to be unstoppable in its island and facility-building on the disputed territory.

The President said that being the newly assigned country coordinator for ASEAN-China Summit, he will try his best so that “everybody will know” that such reclamation activities require “radical changes in the laws governing international waters particularly the right of free passage or the right of innocent passage.”

The Chief Executive implied that China’s three-year bargain of negotiating for a COC might bring the friction among nations into something uncontrollable, that’s why a set of rules must be hammered as soon as possible.

“China is there. That’s a reality. America and everybody should realize that they are there. So if you just keep on creating friction, little friction, one day, a bad miscalculation could turn things, more fierce law. If anything could go wrong, it will go wrong,” the President noted during an interview before proceeding to the first Summit for the day on Thursday (November 15).

By friction, President Duterte means holding military activities that would only trigger a much larger problem.

He said it is pointless to use arms because “China is already in possession” of the disputed territory.

“It’s now in their hands, so why do you have to create frictions, strong military activity that will prompt a response from China?” he said.

President Duterte added that it is not his concern anymore if nations want to rage war against one another. However, he wants to make clear his interest in pushing for an urgent code of conduct.

“I do not mind everybody going to war, except that the Philippines is just beside those islands and if there’s a shooting there, my country will be the first to suffer. That is my only national interest there, nothing else,” the President concluded. – Marje Pelayo

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Former Senator Alvarez withdraws from congressional race

by Maris Federez   |   Posted on Sunday, May 12th, 2019

Former Senator Heherson Alvarez (Photo courtesy: Dayao Ti Amianan)

Former Senator Heherson Alvarez has withdrawn his bid for a congressional seat in the 4th congressional district of Isabela, two days ahead of the May 13 Midterm Elections.

In his statement released on Saturday (May 11), Alvarez who “had hoped that this election would have been (his) last effort to render public service after several decades of cumulative experience,” said that the blatant practice of vote-buying had led to his decision to withdraw.

The former lawmaker claimed that “the massive and overwhelming vote-buying makes the electoral process a sham.”

He added that “vote-buying is vote-killing and it is as destructive to our democracy as drug is as destructive to our physical well-being.”

Alvarez also said that he “cannot continue in this political exercise that violates (the) precious political freedom of choice of leaders.”

He called on the public to renounce, denounce and withdraw tolerance on vote-buying lest the country withers away because of it.

He also cited President Rodrigo Duterte’s warning to jail the perpetrators of vote-buying and to “make those who undermine our free suffrage accountable to our laws and constitution.”

The former senator also thanked the President for his endorsement as the standard bearer of Partido Demokratikong Pilipino-Lakas ng Bayan (PDP-Laban) in Isabela’s 4th congressional district.

He also made an appeal for the people to “stand up and assist the President to strengthen our democratic system.” /mbmf

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Duterte advises Filipinos to ‘follow rules’ on Election Day

by Marje Pelayo   |   Posted on Friday, May 10th, 2019

MANILA, Philippines – The 2019 Midterm polls is only three days away, and with this, President Rodrigo Duterte reminds all political candidates and voters to “just follow (election) rules” on Monday (May 13).

The last day of campaigning is on Saturday (May 11) and the President is expected to join the meeting de avance of his party Partido Demokratiko Pilipino-Lakas ng Bayan (PDP-Laban) in Pasig City.

“I promised the people that this election and every other election that will take place during my time, or (under) my watch — you just follow rules. It’s when you start to break rules (that’s when problems start). Sundin mo lang ang batas at walang problema, (Abide by the law and (we’ll) have no problem),” the President stressed.

The Chief Executive also advised both admin and opposition candidates to respect each other’s respective ideals and positions on public issues.

“This is for my candidates and for the opposition. Everybody’s stand or position must be respected. That is the rule in this country. This is democracy,” he emphasized.

President Duterte is likely to stay in Davao City on the day of the election on Monday where he is also expected to cast his vote.

The President said he leaves it to the people to decide on the election day emphasizing that he has no intention of convincing anyone to vote for the candidates he endorses.

“Let’s talk about national candidates. It’s up to you if you believe it or not. I won’t try to convince you. I’m not going to say, ‘vote for these candidates,’” he said.

President Duterte believes that not all of his senatorial bets will win the election but he reiterates to all Filipino voters to think it over and carefully list down their preferences before they go out to vote.

“I know you have about 12. I do not think that… Well, on the law of averages, I do not think that this 12 will make it,” President Duterte said.

“But kung ito lang man ipalit ninyo, you better think, please. (But if you would replace them with just anyone, you better think, please.) Think hard and sleep on it tonight. It’s (the election is) just around the corner,” he concluded. – Marje Pelayo (with details from Rosalie Coz)

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PH, US, Japan and India navies sail for maritime cooperative activity

by Aileen Cerrudo   |   Posted on Friday, May 10th, 2019

The Philippine Navy patrol vessel, BRP Andres Bonifacio (PS17) joined in the quadrilateral sail together with Japan Maritime Self Defense Force vessel, JS Izumo (DDH-183) and JS Murasame (DD-101), Indian Navy Ships, INS Kolkata (D63) and Shakti (A57), and the United States Pacific Fleet vessel, USS William P. Lawrence (DDG-110). | Photo credit: Philippine Navy

The Philippines, United States (US), Japan, and India navies sailed together in the South China Sea as part of the maritime cooperative activity.

This is the first phase of the ASEAN-Plus Defense Ministers’ Meeting Maritime Security Field Training Exercise (ADMM-Plus MARSEC FTX) 2019 in Busan, Republic of Korea.

The Philippine Navy patrol vessel, BRP Andres Bonifacio (PS17) joined in the quadrilateral sail together with Japan Maritime Self Defense Force vessel, JS Izumo (DDH-183) and JS Murasame (DD-101), Indian Navy Ships, INS Kolkata (D63) and Shakti (A57), and the United States Pacific Fleet vessel, USS William P. Lawrence (DDG-110). 

According to Captain Roy Vincent T. Trinidad, who is leading the Philippine Navy delegation for the ADMM-Plus maritime exercise, “The group sail showed the active participation of the Philippine Navy as it strengthens its relationships with allies and partners in the Asia-Pacific region. This gives us another opportunity to learn from like-minded navies.”

For the week-long transit, the ships conducted a series of training exercises and social interactions.

The ships will transit through the West Philippine Sea where the conduct of “freedom of safe navigation” is applied in support of a rules-based international system benefiting all countries.

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