Philippines files third diplomatic protest vs. China over Julian Felipe Reef

Marje Pelayo   •   April 7, 2021   •   561

MANILA, Philippines – Chinese vessels at Julian Felipe reef seem unfazed by repeated calls to leave the area that is within the Philippines exclusive economic zone (EEZ).

Thus, Foreign Affairs Secretary Teddy Locsin Jr. is likewise persistent in filing daily diplomatic protests against China until the latter removes its vessels from the Philippine territory.

On Wednesday (April 7) the Philippines lodged its third diplomatic protest against the communist government in relation to the incident at Julian Felipe Reef.

It was the National Task Force of the West Philippine Sea that revealed the presence of some 200 Chinese vessels in the reef, some 175 nautical miles from Palawan.

Despite days of exchanges on social media between the Department of National Defense and the Chinese Embassy in Manila, some of the vessels still remain in the area.

But according to former police chief now Senator Panfilo Lacson, a diplomatic protest seem futile since China has repeatedly ignored it.

“Diplomatic protests may not be too helpful anymore as China continues to ignore the same. Further, while it is a standard document used to call the attention of the other party, China’s consistent attitude of taking for granted such action taken by the DFA reduces it to a mere point of information,” Lacson said.

“That said, perhaps China would not be so dismissive if we and our allies, both in the Asia-Pacific and the west, show we can band together to maintain a balance of power in the region, including the West Philippine Sea,” he added.

Meanwhile, Representative Rufus Rodriguez called on the United States to constantly conduct maritime patrol in the West Philippine Sea to deter Chinese intrusion into Philippine territory.

“Two FON patrols in more than three months. They should criss-cross that area more often to challenge China’s claim over most of the South China Sea, including international waters and a large part of the Philippine EEZ,” Rodriguez said. MNP (with reports from Rosalie Coz)

Duterte, Xi call for ‘win-win’ cooperation on 46th anniversary of PH-China ties

Aileen Cerrudo   •   June 10, 2021

MANILA, Philippines—President Rodrigo Duterte and Chinese President Xi Jinping both call for a “win-win” cooperation in commemoration of the 46th anniversary of Philippine-China relations.

The Philippine President expressed his gratitude for  China’s assistance to the Philippines in the face of challenges brought by the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Philippine-China economic ties are of course the dynamic force that will continue to drive or bilateral relations forward,” Duterte told Xi in a statement.

“I am confident that my Administration’s Build Build Build program together with the Belt and Road Initiative, will reap long-term benefits for our peoples,” he added.

Meanwhile, in a letter addressed to Duterte, the Chinese president acknowledged that in recent years, with concerted efforts of both sides, Philippine- China relations have remained “healthy and stable.”

“I attach great significance to the development of China-Philippines relations, and stand ready to work with you in guiding our bilateral relations to move forward in a sustained and steady manner, so as to achieve greater win-win results and mutual benefits,” Xi said. AAC

 

AFP chief Sobejana visits Pag-asa Island

Robie de Guzman   •   June 9, 2021

 

MANILA, Philippines — Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) chief of staff Cirilito Sobejana visited Pag-asa Island amid the territorial dispute between the Philippines and China over the West Philippine Sea.

In a statement, the AFP said Sobejana visited the island on Monday along with key officers from the General Headquarters and the Western Command.

The visit was in connection to the conversion of the island into a logistics hub that seeks to sustain the Philippine government forces deployed in the area.

The trip also aims to uplift the morale and welfare of troops securing Pag-asa Island and other communities within the Kalayaan Island Group.

“The AFP will strike a balance between mission accomplishments and looking after the morale and welfare of our men and women,” Sobejana said, addressing the military force manning the Naval Station Emilio Liwanag on Pag-asa Island.

The AFP chief also stressed the importance of the troop’s role in protecting the citizens of Kalayaan Group of Islands and their livelihood as well as guarding the country’s territories in the West Philippine Sea.

The AFP said it recently deployed additional air and naval assets under the operational control of Western Command (WESCOM) in Palawan to support the National Task Force-WPS together with the Philippine Coast Guard and Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources in performing sovereignty patrols in the area.

Prior to visiting Pag-asa Island, the Chief of Staff met with the troops of the 3rd Marine Brigade to extend the AFP’s commendation for keeping the Province of Palawan peaceful, stable and progressive.

He also lauded the unit’s contributions in security operations, civil military operations, stakeholder’s engagement and on COVID-19 mitigation which are vital in the over-all mission accomplishment of WESCOM and the AFP as a whole.

The AFP Chief also visited BRP Emilio Jacinto (PS35), one of the many ships currently deployed at WESCOM while docked at Puerto Princesa City Pier, to commend the their efforts in protecting the sovereignty and territorial integrity of the country particularly in the West Philippine Sea.

He likewise lauded the officers and personnel for their role in the successful rescue of 31 fishermen of MB Pauline 2 at Nares Bank, WPS on May 24.

 

PH FDA OKs EUA application for Sinopharm’s COVID-19 vaccine

Robie de Guzman   •   June 7, 2021

MANILA, Philippines – The Philippines’s Food and Drug Administration (FDA) on Monday said it has approved the emergency use authorization application (EUA) for the COVID-19 vaccine made by Chinese firm Sinopharm.

FDA director general Eric Domingo made the announcement during his report to President Rodrigo Duterte in a televised briefing on the government’s COVID-19 response.

Domingo said the EUA for Sinopharm was granted on Monday.

“Ito ay tiningnan na rin ng ating mga experts at ng atin pong evaluation sa FDA and today we already granted an emergency use authorization to DOH to accept the donations of Sinopharm,” the FDA chief said.

The Department of Health (DOH) earlier filed an application for the EUA of Sinopharm’s COVID-19 vaccine after it was included in the emergency use listing (EUL) of the World Health Organization (WHO).

A WHO emergency use listing means that a product’s safety and efficacy has been rigorously evaluated. It will also allow the product to be included in the COVAX facility for faster global roll out.

The COVAX facility led by the WHO is a global program that seeks to provide vaccine supply mainly for poor countries.

The emergency use listing will also allow countries to expedite their own regulatory approval to import and administer COVID-19 vaccines.

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