Trump invites Duterte, other ASEAN leaders for March Summit

Aileen Cerrudo   •   January 20, 2020   •   1347

ASEAN Summit and Related Meetings in Manila epa06325844 US President Donald J. Trump (L) talks to Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte (R) before the opening ceremony of the 31st Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) Summit in Manila, Philippines,13 November 2017. The Philippines is hosting the 31st ASEAN Summit and Related Meetings from 10 to 14 November. EPA-EFE/MARK R. CRISTINO / POOL

United States (US) President Donald Trump has invited President Rodrigo Duterte and nine other leaders of the Association of Southeast Asian Nation (ASEAN) for the US-ASEAN Summit in March.

Trump previously invited the ASEAN leaders on November 1, 2019 and reiterated his invitation on January 9, 2020.

“This will provide an excellent opportunity for us to broaden and deepen our cooperation on matters of great importance to the nearly one billion people in the United States and ASEAN nations that we have the privilege to represent,” Trump said in his invitation.

However, Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo said there is still no official response on whether President Duterte will accept the invitation of the US president.—AAC

Philippines, Japan renew strategic ties

Maris Federez   •   November 18, 2021

MANILA, Philippines — President Rodrigo Duterte and Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida on Wednesday renewed their commitment to strengthen the strategic relations between the Philippines and Japan.

In a press statement, the Office of the President (OP) said the two leaders renewed their commitment through a telephone conversation on Wednesday (November 17).

“The phone call between Duterte and Kishida came a week after the latter was re-elected as Japan’s prime minister by parliament,” the Palace said.

President Duterte congratulated Prime Minister Kishida on his election and the Government of Japan on the success of the Tokyo Olympics and Paralympic Games, Malacañang said.

“The President also recalled Prime Minister Kishida’s visit in Davao in August 2016 when the latter paid a courtesy call as Foreign Minister of Japan. Prime Minister Kishida was the first Foreign Minister received by President Duterte,” it added.

The Palace further said that Duterte and Kishida agreed to undertake an exchange of visits “at a mutually agreed time to further reaffirm the Philippines-Japan partnership and personal friendship.”

“They likewise exchanged views on regional developments and multilateral issues, including the South China Sea issue, the situation in Myanmar and the Korean Peninsula, and non-proliferation,” it added.

Duterte also acknowledged how Japan has been “indeed a friend closer than a brother” after it sent assistance in the Philippines’ coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic response and recovery efforts.

The President also thanked Japan for supporting the government’s “Build, Build, Build” program, the peace process and grassroots development in Mindanao, and the ongoing transition process of the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao.

“Japan is unrivaled among our bilateral partners,” Duterte told Kishida.

The Palace said Duterte also informed Kishida that he is looking forward to the successful implementation of projects and activities aimed at enhancing the Philippines’ cooperation with Japan in the field of maritime security, particularly in maritime domain awareness, maritime connectivity, and preservation of the marine environment.

On his part, Kishida acknowledged that the Philippines-Japan relations “have indeed reached its golden age under President Duterte’s administration.”

The Japanese official gave his commitment that “Japan will continue supporting the Philippines’ peace and development agenda in Mindanao, ‘Build, Build, Build’ program and efforts to combat the COVID-19 pandemic.”

The OP further said that Kishida “conveyed his government’s readiness to further strengthen Japan’s partnership in maritime security by supporting the upgrading of the Philippines’ maritime law enforcement capabilities.”

“President Duterte and Prime Minister Kishida agreed that it is high time for the Philippines and Japan to pursue deeper security engagement and coordination by launching a Foreign and Defense Ministerial Meeting or 2+2 meeting,” Malacañang said.

“The Philippines and Japan celebrate two milestones this year — 65 years of normalized diplomatic relations and 10 years of Strengthened Strategic Partnership,” the Palace said. —/mbmf

Go belies allegation of controlling Duterte

Maris Federez   •   November 15, 2021

MANILA, Philippines — Senator Christopher Lawrence ‘Bong’ Go has belied the allegation of retired Lieutenant General Antonio Parlade, Jr. that he is controlling the decisions of President Rodrigo Duterte.

In a statement released Monday (November 15), Go averred that President Duterte himself said that no one is controlling him.

“Nasagot na mismo ni Pangulong Duterte na walang nagko-kontrol sa kanya,” Go said.

“Siya mismo ang nagsabi na hindi naman siya magiging pangulo kung pinapaikot lang siya ng ibang tao.  Tanging siya ang gumagawa ng kanyang magagandang desisyon at tumutulong lang ako mula pa noon,” he added.

Go insists that the president makes his own decision and that he is just there to help as the chief executive’s assistant for more than two decades.

He further said that members of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) and the Philippine National Police (PNP) can attest on how he helped in the implementation of the President’s decision, particularly in the salary increases of uniformed personnel.

“Tanungin natin ang mga kasama niya sa AFP, PNP, etc.  Alam nila kung paano ako tumulong na maipatupad ang desisyon na ito ni Pangulong Duterte para sa kapakanan ng mga sundalo, pulis, bumbero at iba pa.”

Go said that he’d rather not dwell on the issue as he respects Parlade.

“Ayaw ko nang makipagsagutan kay Gen. Parlade dahil nirerespeto ko siya. Sa katunayan, isa rin ako sa nagrekomenda na maging undersecretary siya. Alam naman nila ang katotohanan. Mainit na ang pulitika. Pero hayaan natin ang taumbayan ang humusga.”

Parlade, on Monday, filed his certificate of candidacy as a substitute candidate for president, going against Go for the presidential seat in the 2022 national and local elections. —/mbmf (with details from UNTV Correspondent Harlene Delgado)

Duterte calls on ASEAN countries to stand with Myanmar amid coup crisis

Aileen Cerrudo   •   October 28, 2021

MANILA, Philippines—President Rodrigo Duterte has called on member states of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) to stand with Myanmar amid its coup crisis.

During the 39th ASEAN Summit, Duterte urged all parties in Myanmar to heed the ASEAN’s plea for peace.

“The Philippines urges all parties in Myanmar to engage in constructive dialogue with ASEAN. We are, after all, an ASEAN family. And if we cannot trust each other and work together, then who can Myanmar trust and work with?” he said.

He also urged ASEAN’s special envoy to visit Myanmar soon and meet all the parties involved.

Duterte expressed concern about Myanmar’s rejection of ASEAN’s sincere offers of assistance, stating that it may undermine the mutual trust and confidence that ASEAN-member states share.

Meanwhile, the president said the Philippines will commit to help individuals caught up in “situations beyond their control”.

“Our doors are open to our Rohingya brothers and sisters and other peoples of Myanmar who seek refuge,” he said. AAC

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