US-Phl bilateral talks seek to strengthen cooperation on security, infrastructure

Maris Federez   •   July 16, 2019   •   1569

FILE: Chargé d’Affaires John C. Law led the annual Memorial Day Ceremony at the Manila American Cemetery and Memorial in Fort Bonifacio on May 26, 2019, to honor fallen service members, including more than 17,000 U.S. and Armed Forces of the Philippines service members who gave their lives during World War II.  (Courtesy: US Embassy in the Philippines)

The Philippines and the United States of America have concluded on Tuesday (July 16) their bilateral strategic dialogue.

The 8th bilateral strategic dialogue between the two countries which started on Monday (July 15) in Manila focused on the strengthening of ties in terms of cooperation on the Duterte administration’s infrastructure program and on defense and security.

The agenda also centered on the country’s economy and its fight against terrorism.

US Ambassador to the Philippines, Amb. Sung Kim, said the US wants to boost its participation to the Duterte administration’s Build Build Build program, among others.

“From military cooperation, to support the rule of law and ways to expand trade and investment ties,” Kim said.

Kim and Philippine Ambassador to the US, Amb. Jose Manuel Romualdez, also discussed the security issues on the West Philippine Sea and the Mutual Defense Treaty, giving the public the assurance that the discussion on the treaty continues.

“We talked about various aspects of the defense treaty as Ambassador Romualdez says, I think those discussions continue,” Kim added.

It can be recalled that the Department of National Defense had hinted on conducting a review on the provisions of the PH-US Defense Treaty, on whether it still applies to the recent challenges in the Asian region.

Ambassador Romualdez said the continuation of the enhanced defense cooperation agreement is clear for both countries.

“The only thing that we had on the discussion is that we will continue just to cooperate, continue the EDCA (Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement) to strengthen out,” Romualdez said. (with reports from Nel Maribojoc) /mbmf

Mayor Sara hopes solid support for BBM-Sara Uniteam following Go’s withdrawal from prexy race

Maris Federez   •   December 2, 2021

MANILA, Philippines — Vice-presidential aspirant Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte-Carpio said that she is hoping for stronger support for her and presidential aspirant Ferdinand ‘Bongbong’ Marcos, Jr. with the withdrawal of Senator Christopher ‘Bong’ Go from the race in the 2022 national elections.

In a statement, Mayor Sara said she is hoping that Senator Bong Go’s withdrawal will push for the continuing steps for unity among leaders and supporters.

“Now that Sen. Bong Go has declared his withdrawal from the presidential race and to quote him, ‘for the sake of unity among our supporters and leaders’, tuloy-tuloy na po tayo sa ating pagkakaisa kasama ang BBM-Sara Uniteam upang tayo ay magtagumpay sa ating hangarin para sa bansa,” she said.

Meanwhile, senatorial aspirant Antonio Trillanes IV said that whether or not the BBM-Sara tandem benefits from Senator Go’s withdrawal of candidacy will not affect Vice President Leni Robredo.

“Kasi maaaring lumakas din naman si Isko. Pero hindi rin naman makakaapekto kay VP Leni either way. So, we will just wait for the next survey,” Trillanes said.

The former senator also pointed out that BBM-Sara Uniteam alliances with former administrations will be favorable for the opposition.

“Yung pagsasanib pwersa nila Arroyo, Estrada, Marcos, pati nina Duterte, pabor yan sa oposisyon dahil liliwanag sa mga kababayan natin yung mga iniluwa na ng lipunan eh yun yung mga nagsasama sama,” he said.

On the other hand, the team-up of Senator Panfilo ‘Ping’ Lacson and Senate President Vicente Sotto III said that even if they will not get the endorsement of President Rodrigo Duterte, they will continue the good programs that the present administration has started.

“Ke endorse, ke hindi, talagang yung magagandang programa dapat ituloy. Lalo na yung ‘Build, Build, Build’,” Lacson said. —/mbmf (from the report of UNTV Correspondent Nel Maribojoc)

Prexy bets make usual rounds, use social media for day’s activities

Maris Federez   •   November 26, 2021

 

MANILA, Philippines — Three presidential candidates for the 2022 national and local elections made the rounds across the country on Friday, while the rest took to social media to lay down their election promises.

Former Senator Ferdinand ‘Bongbong’ Marcos, Jr. made another visit to the vote-rich province, Cebu.

Here, members of the Businessmen ng Bayan Movement of the Philippines (BBMP) signified their support to his presidential run.

The group is composed of small-scale businessmen in Cebu.

Labor leader Leody de Guzman, meanwhile, went to Marikina City.

Here, joined the protest action of workers in a company that is based in the city.

Manila Mayor Francisco ‘Isko Moreno’ Domagoso, on the other hand, did not have any out-of-town engagement and just stayed at the City Hall to personally receive the 6,600 pieces of Bariticitinib anti-COVID-19 tablets.

While other presidential bets did not have any public engagements Friday, they took to social media to post their activities for the day.

In his Facebook post, Senator Manny Pacquiao showed the possible housing projects he will implement should he become the president.

Such housing projects will be like that of free housing he did for the people of General Santos City and Saranggani province.

Meanwhile, Senator Panfilo Lacson’s FB post said that providing sufficient funds for free public WIFI will remain in his platform of government should he become president.

He assured the people that he has enough experience in crafting and proper allocation of the national budget.

Vice President Leni Robredo, on the other hand, focused her FB post on the issue in the West Philippine Sea.

Robredo insists that the issue is not just about the fishing sector but about all Filipinos. —/mbmf (from the report of UNTV Correspondent Nel Maribojoc)

PH Defense chief says China trespassing in Ayungin Shoal

Robie de Guzman   •   November 25, 2021

MANILA, Philippines – Department of National Defense (DND) Secretary Delfin Lorenzana on Thursday reiterated that the Philippines has sovereign rights over Ayungin Shoal (also called Second Thomas Shoal) following China’s call for the country to remove its grounded vessel in the area.

“Ayungin lies inside our EEZ (exclusive economic zone) which we have sovereign rights. Our EEZ was awarded to us by the 1982 UNCLOS, which China ratified,“ Lorenzana told reporters.

“China should abide by its international obligations that it is part of,” he added.

The Defense chief issued the statement in response to the remark of China’s Foreign Ministry, through its spokesperson Zhao Lijian, demanding the Philippines to remove the BRP Sierra Madre from the shoal.

BRP Sierra Madre is an old Philippine Navy ship that was ran aground there to assert Manila’s claim over the area. It has been serving as the outpost of a small Philippine military contingent since 1999.

In a press conference in Beijing, Zhao claimed anew that Ayungin Shoal (known in China as Ren’ai Jiao) is part of Nansha Qundao, which is the Chinese name for the Spratly Islands also being claimed in part by the Philippines.

But Lorenzana maintained that Ayungin Shoal is within the Philippines EEZ as it is located about 105 nautical miles west of Palawan.

Aside from UNCLOS, the Defense chief also noted that the Permanent Court of Arbitration, in its 2016 ruling on a case lodged by the Philippines, stated that China’s territorial claim over the West Philippine Sea has neither historic nor legal basis.

“Ergo, we can do whatever we want there and it is they who are actually trespassing,” he said.

“Meron tayong dalawang documento na nagpapatunay na meron tayong sovereign rights sa ating EEZ habang sila ay wala at yung claim nila walang basehan, “ he added.

Lorenzana also said that as far as he knows, there is no commitment made by Philippine authorities to remove BRP Sierra Madre from the Ayungin Shoal.

“As far as I know there is no such commitment. That ship has been there since 1999. If there was commitment it would have been removed long time ago,” he said.

China’s demand for the removal of BRP Sierra Madre from Ayungin Shoal came after Philippine military boats completed their resupply mission on Thursday.

The boats were deployed there a week after Chinese coast guard vessels blocked and harassed the first Filipino mission that were sent to the area.

The incident prompted President Rodrigo Duterte to call out China’s action at the contested waters during the ASEAN-China special summit on November 22. (with details from Correspondent Lea Ylagan)

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