Duterte returns from ‘productive’ China visit

Marje Pelayo   •   September 2, 2019   •   874

President Rodrigo Roa Duterte arrives at the Villamor Air Base in Pasay City on September 1, 2019 following his successful official visit to the People’s Republic of China. KING RODRIGUEZ/PRESIDENTIAL PHOTO

MANILA, Philippines – President Rodrigo Duterte is back in the country after his four-day working visit to China.

According to Malacañang, the President’s visit has been productive and has opened new opportunities for the country.

Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo also noted that President Duterte successfully raised the Philippines’ maritime concerns in the disputed areas in the West Philippine Sea or South China Sea given the already established friendship with Chinese President Xi Jinping.

The two leaders agreed to push through with the final code of conduct to prevent future escalation of tensions in the disputed waters.

Both leaders also vowed to exercise self-restraint in their respective troops and abide by the international law and the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) to prevent conflict.

They agreed, likewise, to respect each country’s freedom of navigation and overflight in the disputed areas as they both believe that the existing maritime dispute can be resolved through peaceful negotiations.

Panelo explained, however, that the administration is no longer expecting future discussions on the arbitral ruling between the Philippines and China under President Duterte.

“The issue of conflict should not be the sum total of the relationship between the two countries and that they should move forward but at the same time continue with the dialogue peacefully on the issue,” Panelo said.

Panelo said, the President has already talked to Chinese Premier Li Keqiang who promised the Chief Executive that cooperation between the two countries will continue especially regarding economic development and people-to-people exchanges.

Likewise, China vowed to support the administration’s infrastructure projects under its flagship agenda Build, Build, Build program. – MNP (with details from Rosalie Coz)

Duterte orders SolGen to ask COA to audit PH Red Cross

Marje Pelayo   •   September 16, 2021

MANILA, Philippines — President Rodrigo Duterte has ordered Solicitor General Jose Calida to write to Commission on Audit (COA) chair Michael Aguinaldo requesting an audit of the Philippine Red Cross’ (PRC) financial records.

“I am ordering SolGen, si Calida, to write [COA chief] Aguinaldo a letter. Ask Aguinaldo to immediately conduct an audit diyan sa Red Cross. Ang hinihintay ko lang, the next step would really be the letter to be delivered by COA,” the President said during his pre-taped public address aired on Thursday (September 16).

The PRC is led by Senator Richard Gordon, who chairs the Senate Blue Ribbon committee that is investigating the government’s use of pandemic funds.

The Chief Executive once again slammed  Gordon for the latter’s Senate probe into the government’s purchase of alleged overpriced medical goods last year.

Duterte had previously accused Gordon of using the PRC as his ‘milking cow’ in his previous election campaigns which led to a call for an audit of the humanitarian organization.

Lacson claps back at Duterte’s statement that Senate inquiries are all in vain

Maris Federez   •   August 27, 2021

MANILA, Philippines — Senator Panfilo “Ping” Lacson has belied the statement of President Rodrigo Duterte that inquiries conducted by the Senate never ended up going anywhere.

Lacson said the general public has been enjoying a significant number of laws that the Senate has enacted based on the inquiries and investigations conducted by the upper chamber of Congress.

The Senator, in a seeming swipe at the President, told the chief executive to review the separation of powers in government.

“Magbasa rin muna siya tungkol sa doktrina ng Separation of Powers at Checks and Balances ng Ehekutibo, Kongreso at Hudikatura bago niya kami pakialaman sa Senado,” Lacson said.

The President, Lacson said, should instead focus his attention on the performance of the Cabinet, not just in addressing the pandemic but also in other aspects of governance.

“Sa halip, asikasuhin niya ang mga kakulangan ng sangay ng gobyerno na kanyang pinamumunuan na hitik sa incompetence at corruption, hindi lang sa pagtugon sa pandemya kundi sa maraming aspeto ng governance,” he said.

Lacson also expressed his disappointment that the President has been the one defending his officials who are the subject of their investigation, instead of being the one to charge these officials for their inaction or poor performance.

“Kaya hindi nakakasuhan ang ilang matataas na opisyal na naging subject ng pag-iimbestiga namin ay dahil ipinagtatanggol niya sa halip na makasuhan,” he said.

“Hindi trabaho ng Senado ang magsampa ng demanda. Trabaho ng Executive Branch iyon. Judiciary naman ang magpapakulong. Mahirap bang i-memorize yan?” Lacson added. —/mbmf

PPA warns of delays in cargo shipments as China ports partially close due to COVID-19

Aileen Cerrudo   •   August 18, 2021

MANILA, Philippines — The Philippine Ports Authority (PPA) has warned Philippine-based importers and exporters to make the necessary operational adjustments as several ports in China will partially close due to COVID-19.

On Wednesday (August 18), the PPA said early preparation is key to reduce the negative impact of the delays in their overall daily operations.

The PPA reported that several ports including Ningbo Port, the world’s third-largest container port, continue to shut their terminals for the 7th straight day due to the virus, particularly the Delta variant.

“We need to prepare. Eventually, the delays in cargo shipments will catch up with us due to the congestion being experienced in these transshipment ports,” PPA General Manager Jay Daniel R. Santiago said.

The Philippine major port gateways, meanwhile, are currently operating under optimum conditions and way below the threshold level of utilization set at 75%.

The PPA also assured that the Manila International Container Terminal and the Manila South Harbor, which handle 85% of the country’s foreign trade volume, are operating under normal conditions.

“PPA assures the shippers that Philippine ports, can handle the bulk of the delayed shipments when conditions at the transshipment ports start to normalize,” Santiago said. AAC

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