Lacson: Duterte broke his silence and left us heartbroken
by Aileen Cerrudo | Posted on Tuesday, June 18th, 2019
Senator Panfilo Lacson has expressed dismay over the remarks of President Rodrigo Duterte about the Chinese vessel ramming a Filipino fishing boat in Reed Bank last June 9.
During his speech on Monday (June 17), Duterte said the sinking of the Filipino fishing boat was only a ‘maritime incident’ and it is not necessary to send the Philippine Navy to the area.
“Dalawang bangka lang iyan (Those are just two boats). Now you go there and create a tension. I said, hindi ako g*go na presidente na papayag (I am not a foolish president who will allow it). If we have to die, we have to die in the correct way, and to die in dignity,” said Duterte.
Lacson is also dismayed by the limited action of the president regarding the issue.
“It is disappointing to say the least, not much by his insulting remark but his self-limiting course of action which disregards an effective ‘weapon’ in our arsenal. It is found in the Mutual Defense Treaty,” his statement adds.
Senate Minority Leader Franklin Drilon, meanwhile, said there is no need to confuse the public if the ramming by the Chinese vessel is intentional or not.
He said there is already a violation of the United Nations Convention of the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) when the captain of the Chinese vessel did not assist the Filipino fishermen.
“This violates China’s obligation under the UNCLOS to rescue those in distress at sea. This is the issue that should be addressed and the basis of China’s liability under international law and the UNCLOS,” he said.
Duterte also said that he will not be issuing an official statement while the incident is still to be investigated.—AAC (with reports from Nel Maribojoc)
by Aileen Cerrudo | Posted on Tuesday, July 23rd, 2019
National Security Adviser Hermogenes Esperon has reiterated their plan to construct five lighthouses and add aerial vehicles in West Philippine Sea this year.
“Our fisheries boats, coast guard ships and of course the navy and air force have strengthened [and] improved their capability to have more control over our domain which is the West Philippine Sea,” he said.
He also said that resolving the issue on the West Philippine Sea dispute through a diplomatic way is their priority.
“We have not abandoned any island, no island was taken from us since 2016, and we are strengthening our positions and possessions.”
Esperon also clarified the president’s statement when he said China is ‘in possession’ of some areas in the West Philippines.
“I think the President said—did not say that they are in possession, but they are in position,” he said. “So they have the positional advantage right now. And they have the equipment to enforce their position.”
However he agrees that China has strengthened their position in several disputed territories.—AAC (with reports from Harlene Delgado)
by Aileen Cerrudo | Posted on Tuesday, July 23rd, 2019
Here are some of President Rodrigo Duterte’s memorable quotes during his speech at the State of the Nation Address on Monday (July 23).
Duterte also lifted a verse from the Bible when he said the government would defend the rights of the Philippines in the West Philippine Sea.
“There’s a time for everything. A time to negotiate and a time to quarrel. With your enemy, with your political opponents, with your wife. A time to antagonize, and a time to make peace, and a time to go to war, and a time to live, and a time to die. That’s Ecclesiastes 3,” he said.
The chief executive also agreed on reinstating death penalty on heinous crimes and plunder.
by Marje Pelayo | Posted on Tuesday, July 23rd, 2019
No surprises, no fiascos. President Rodrigo Duterte’s fourth state of the nation address (SONA) has been smooth despite the more than one hour delay due to sudden rains.
Nevertheless, the annual event pushed through with the President starting his speech at 5:14 p.m. and ending it at 6:47 p.m., an almost expletive-free 93-minute talk.
President Duterte opened his fourth SONA with the usual pleasantries and his expression of gratitude “to all who kept faith with me in our most trying times.”
He noted that the landslide victory of administration candidates in the May 2019 polls as well as recent survey results just proved the Filipino people’s support to his presidency as compared to the only 3% disapproval rating, which he joked about with the members of Congress.
“I hope that the members of Congress – sana hindi kayo included sa 3%,” he said earning laughter from the audience.
This amount of support, the President said, inspires him with determination to pursue relentlessly what the government has started even at the beginning of his term as the highest leader of the country.
No matter how controversial, the President said his policies on the fight against illegal drugs and corruption will remain “whatever be the opposition.”
“For it is not the eagle in the fight but the fight in the eagle that matters,” he said.
“Believe me, I will end my term fighting,” the President said strongly to start his SONA.
For those who did not have the time to sit and watch the President’s SONA, here are some of the highlights.
Illegal Drugs, Corruption, Death Penalty
The President acknowledged that the government still has a long way to go to fight the social menace that is illegal drugs, which he believes is a by-product of corruption.
“The drugs will not be crushed unless we continue to eliminate corruption that allows this social monster to survive,” he noted.
This is the reason, he said, why he advocates on the reinstatement of death penalty.
“I respectfully request Congress to reinstate the death penalty for heinous crimes related to drugs, as well as plunder,” the President said.
Ease of Doing Business
The President, likewise, emphasized the necessity to ensure a responsive government to the needs of the people.
Even after signing the Ease of Doing Business and Efficient Government Service Delivery Act, he said, much has yet to be done.
Thus, he ordered specific government agencies to simplify their transactions and impose the law “to improve service delivery and fight corruption.”
The agencies mentioned were the Land Transportation Office (LTO), the Social Security System (SSS), the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR), Land Registration Authority (LRA), and the Pag-IBIG Fund.
He also called the attention of local government units (LGU) to do the same.
“My directive to the government and instrumentalities, including the LGUs and the government corporations: simplify,” he said warning those concerned to suffer sanctions if they again fail.
“Simplify and make your services responsive to — client-friendly. Your client is the Filipino, our employer — from where the money in our pockets come from, from our salaries,” he stressed.
Aside from the revival of death penalty, the President directed Congress to pass the creation of new agencies vital to the accomplishments of the administration’s programs for development.
Noting natural disasters as ‘poverty creators,’ the President asked Congress to fast track the establishment of a Department of Disaster Resilience that would focus on programs that would mitigate the impact of natural hazards and climate change.
Recognizing the damaging effect of El Niño to the country’s agriculture sector and the inconveniences it caused brought about by water crisis, he urged lawmakers to pass a bill creating the Department of Water Resources and Water Regulatory Commission.
Similar to his appeal last year, the President called Congress to establish the Department of Overseas Filipino Workers to ensure Filipino workers abroad access to government services as well as protection from abuse in foreign lands.
The Chief Executive also urged lawmakers to enact the Magna Carta for Barangays and to postpone the May 2020 Barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan elections to October 2022 to provide sitting barangay officials ample time to finish their programs and projects.
To encourage the country’s MSME sector, the President urged Congress to immediately pass Package 2 of the Comprehensive Tax Reform Program also known as Trabaho bill which he said would create more jobs for Filipinos.
In addition to these priority bills, President Duterte also asked Congress to pass a new Salary Standardization Law to increase salary for government workers, including public school teachers and public hospital nurses.
He also asked Congress to approve the National Defense Act, Uniformed Separation and Retirement Pension Bill, and the revival of the mandatory Reserve Officers’ Training Corps (ROTC).
“Very important,” the President said referring to military training to re-instill the spirit of patriotism among Filipino students.
“Kapag mag giyera, 10 out of 10 hindi marunong maghawak ng baril (If war breaks out, 10 out of 10 do not even know how to hold a gun) to defend even his father and mother and brothers and sisters. Itong mga bata ngayon (youth nowadays,) they are bereft of the patriotism and the love of country. Balik sila dito (Let’s encourage them on this),” he said.
President Duterte specifically directed Interior Secretary Eduardo Año to suspend mayors or governors who refuse to heed his order to “reclaim all public roads that are being used for private ends.”
With the help of the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA), the President wants immediate action “to ensure speedy and smooth flow of vehicular traffic” in Metro Manila.
True to his promise, the President did ‘educate’ the Filipinos regarding the West Philippine Sea issue, how it started and why his administration cannot drive away China from Philippine waters.
Again, he reiterated that war is not an option as it leaves “widows and orphans in its wake.”
“More and better results can be reached in the privacy of a conference room than in a squabble in public. That is why I will do in the peaceful way,” he said.
Amid criticisms, the President still promised that he would assert the country’s sovereign rights over West Philippine Sea “in due time.”
A better Philippines ahead
Through the end of his SONA, the President assured the Filipino people that his government will continue to propel towards a better Philippines.
“Our goal for the next three years is clear: a comfortable life for everybody, all Filipinos,” he promised.
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