Palace hopeful US-PH ties to continue under Biden

Aileen Cerrudo   •   January 21, 2021   •   739

Manila, Philippines — Malacañang on Thursday (January 21) said the Philippines’ foreign policy with the United States (US) will remain under the administration of US President Joe Biden.

Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque Jr. said both countries have similar priorities, including the interest of the citizens.

“Ang ating relasyong panlabas pareho namang consistent ang ating polisiya. Ang president po ay isinusulong ang indipendienteng panlabas na relasyon na ang inuuna po ay interes ng ating bayan at sambayanang Pilipino. Ganoon din po ang mga Amerikano (Our policies are consistent with our foreign relations. The president is pushing for an independent foreign relation which prioritizes the interest of Filipinos. Americans are also the same),” he said.

Roque noted both countries are also prioritizing their own national interest and independence as a nation.

“Isusulong nila ang pang-nasyonal na interes at siyempre po ang pakikipagkaibigan pero ang mga bansa ang kinakailangang isulong, ang kani-kaniyang interes (They are pushing for their national interest and of course, foreign ties, but the countries have their own interests to pursue),” the Palace official added.

President Rodrigo Duterte earlier on Thursday sent his congratulatory message to President Joe Biden for the latter’s inauguration.

“Our president, Rodrigo Duterte, sends his warmest greetings and his best wishes to the 46th president of the United States, Joseph “Joe” Biden and to his vice president Kamala Harris,” Roque announced.

Meanwhile, several political analysts said the Biden Administration might be more vocal regarding the human rights situation in the country, particularly the national government’s war against drugs. -AAC (with reports from Rosalie Coz)

Roque posibleng kasuhan ang nag-leak ng video ng IATF meeting

Robie de Guzman   •   September 13, 2021

MANILA, Philippines – Posible umanong sampahan ng reklamo ni Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque ang nagpalabas ng video ng meeting kung saan nakikita siyang sumisigaw at nagagalit sa isang grupo ng mga doktor.

Ayon kay Roque, maaaring may pananagutan sa batas ang nasa likod ng leakage ng video dahil ang pagpupulong ay hinggil sa COVID-19 response ng pamahalaaan.

“Sa tingin ko po liable, at liable din po for revealing public secrets,” ani Roque.

Gayunman, ipinauubaya na ni Roque sa IATF ang isyu.

“Pero hahayaan ko na po iyan sa IATF, at iyan naman po ay napag-usapan kanina sa IATF,” ang wika ng opisyal.

Isang video ang kumalat sa social media kamakailan kung saan makikita si Roque na pinagagalitan ang isang grupo ng mga doktor na kinabibilangan ni Philippine College of Physicians president Dr. Maricar Limpin, na nagsusulong ng pagpapatupad ng hard lockdown sa gitna ng lumulobong kaso ng COVID-19 sa bansa.

Una nang sinabi ni Roque na naging emosyunal lang siya sa meeting ng Inter-Agency Task Force (IATF) dahil nais niya lang igiit ang pangangailangan na balansehin ang ekonomiya at public health upang makapagtrabaho na rin ang ibang empleyado na nawalan ng hanapbuhay sa gitna ng pandemya.

Humingi na ng paumanhin si Roque sa pangyayari ngunit para kay Limpin, mas maiging magbitiw na lamang ito sa puwesto dahil hindi aniya karapat-dapat ang inasal nito bilang tagapagsalita ni Pangulong Duterte.

Ilang grupo na rin ang nanawagang palitan ang opisyal sa pwesto.

Nanindigan naman si Roque na nakasalalay kay Pangulong Duterte ang desisyon kung mananatili siya o hindi sa posisyon.

 

Roque in New York for International Law Commission nomination

Robie de Guzman   •   September 13, 2021

MANILA, Philippines – Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque on Monday confirmed he is currently in New York for his nomination to become a member of the International Law Commission (ILC).

During an online press briefing, Roque said he went to the United States because the ILC is set to choose 34 members from Asia-Pacific states.

The ILC is an advisory body to the United Nations. Individuals recognized for their expertise and qualifications in international law will be elected as its members. Members will serve for five years starting January 2023.

“Ano ba ho itong International Law Commission? Hindi po ito hukuman, hindi po ito’y trabaho ‘no. Ito po’y 34 na mga eksperto sa larangan ng international law. Ano po ang mandato nitong International Law Commission? Ito po ay iyong tinatawag na codification of customary international law at iyong progressive development of international law,” Roque said.

The Free Legal Assistance Group (FLAG), however, objected to Roque’s nomination, saying he is not worthy to be considered to the post.

In a letter dated Sept. 12, the lawyers’ group asked the ILC to disregard Roque’s nomination for his previous public statements with respect to extrajudicial killings, red tagging, and other human rights issues.

Roque, however, shrugged off FLAG’s opposition, saying he will let the states decide if he is worthy to be elected to the ILC.

Limpin seeks Roque resignation, apology to all health workers for ‘emotional’ outburst

Robie de Guzman   •   September 10, 2021

MANILA, Philippines – The doctor who was berated by Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said he should resign from his post following his ‘emotional’ outburst against health experts who suggested the implementation of a two-week hard lockdown amid the increase in COVID-19 cases.

A leaked video of a recent Inter-Agency Task Force meeting showed Roque raising his voice and lashing out at Dr. Maricar Limpin, president of the Philippine College of Physicians, and Dr. Antonio Dans, convenor of the Healthcare Professionals Alliance against COVID-19.

Limpin was also seen in a video emotionally pleading to the government not to ease quarantine restrictions to contain the uptick in infections.

Limpin said she was surprised at Roque’s reaction when they were presenting during the meeting their suggestions and the dire situations in hospitals.

“Personally, and I hope that he does not or will not say that I’m being political when I say this because definitely, I have no politics… I can only speak my mind out. As far as I’m concerned, the president should actually remove him from office. Palitan na niya. Because he is not doing service to our president,” she said.

She also said Roque’s behavior does not befit an official who represents the president of the country.

“It is not an action that is expected from a government official. Secretary Roque has to realize that as a spokesperson of the President, then he is basically representing the President. Therefore, any actions he makes, it is reflective of the President,” she said.

Roque has apologized for his outburst, adding that he became emotional as he spoke on behalf of Filipinos who have been suffering from hunger and poverty due to hard lockdowns.

He also stressed that he was only emphasizing the need to find a balance between health and the country’s economy.

“But as I said, I may apologize and I have in fact apologized for the manner, but never for the message,” Roque said. “I stand by the message.”

But Limpin said that instead of just apologizing to her and Dr. Dans, Roque should apologize to all healthcare workers for his outburst.

“We were there as representatives of the healthcare workforce. And therefore if he has to apologize, he has to apologize to the whole of the healthcare workforce, hindi sa amin lang. Yung ginawa niya is against all of us in the healthcare sector,” Limpin said.

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