3 years after PH arbitral win vs. China: Duterte admin did nothing to enforce it —Carpio

Marje Pelayo   •   July 12, 2019   •   2725

MANILA, Philippines – July 12, 2019, marks the third anniversary of the Philippine’s arbitral win against China’s historical claims on the South China Sea, part of which is the West Philippine Sea.

The Permanent Court of Arbitration’s landmark ruling thus invalidated China’s so-called ‘Nine-Dash Line’ – the undefined demarcation line that encircles as much as 90 percent of the disputed waters in the area.

The Duterte administration downplayed the victory in hopes of building stronger ties with China and preferred to offer diplomacy rather than further escalating the tension by sending military troops to the disputed waters, even amid reports of harassment against Filipino fishermen and the Chinese destroying and exploiting the Philippines’ marine resources.

Maritime expert Jay Batongbacal expressed deep concern on the continuous deterioration and massive destruction of the marine environment in the West Philippine Sea.

“This has to stop and we have to get serious,” the Director of the University of the Philippines Institute of Maritime Affairs and Law of the Sea appealed.

“And we’re not talking about going to war. We’re talking about simple things like stopping the destruction of a common pool resource that would benefit us all,” he added.

Senior Associate Justice Antonio Carpio, meanwhile, acknowledge that war is not an option in the West Philippine Sea row as the Constitution forbids.

But Carpio blamed the Duterte administration’s inaction, accusing it of using such provision of the law to instill fear among Filipinos as if the Philippines has no other option but to obey with what China offers.

“This administration has done nothing whatsoever to enforce the arbitral award,” Carpio said.

 “I don’t see positive in the enforcement of the award,” he added.

The magistrate appealed to President Duterte not to formalize his verbal agreement with China’s Xi Jinping in his upcoming state of the nation address (SONA) that allows Chinese fishermen to fish within the exclusive economic zone (EEZ) of the country in the WPS.

Carpio said, once Duterte formalizes the agreement, the Philippines would be bound and that would weaken the Arbitral ruling.

“If the President will confirm it in his SONA, I mean, we cannot get out of that anymore. So, we’re bound by that, we have to honor that. So, that means China can fish in an area 59 times larger than Scarborough Shoal,” Carpio argued.

Malacañang stressed that the President considers his agreement with Xi as legally binding, but Foreign Affairs Secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr. insisted that it cannot be executed because there is no written document to attest the deal.

For her part, former Ombudsman Conchita Carpio-Morales said the issue will still depend on how the President delivers the matter during his SONA.

She calls on Filipinos to stand for the country’s rights no matter what happens.

“Let us not be scared by all the propaganda that we hear. Because if we do, walang mangyayari (nothing will happen),” Morales said.

“Be brave,” she concluded. – with details from Harlene Delgado

ABS-CBN ‘grateful, humbled’ by Duterte’s acceptance of apology

Robie de Guzman   •   February 27, 2020

MANILA, Philippines – Broadcast network ABS-CBN Corporation on Thursday said it was “grateful and humbled” by President Rodrigo Duterte’s acceptance of its apology.

On Wednesday, Duterte accepted the apology of the network’s president and CEO Carlo Katigbak, and assured he will not interfere in the company’s application for franchise renewal to Congress.

“We are grateful and humbled by President Rodrigo Duterte’s acceptance of our apology,” the ABS-CBN said in a statement.

“ABS-CBN remains committed to becoming a better organization and to continue to provide more meaningful service to Filipinos,” it added.

Katigbak, during a Senate hearing on Monday, apologized to the president over the network’s failure to air his P2.6 million worth of political advertisements during the 2016 presidential elections, as well as the airing of former Senator Antonio Trillanes IV’s political ad against Duterte.

Duterte also said that instead of giving him refund, the ABS-CBN should just donate the amount of his unaired campaign advertisements to charity.

“We will coordinate with the President’s office as it relates to his guidance on donating the refund to a charitable institution,” the network said in response.

Duterte earlier said he will “leave to Congress” the issue on the network’s franchise renewal, and that he has not decided yet whether to sign into law the bill granting ABS-CBN a fresh 25-year license to operate.

Duterte eyes enhanced PH-ADB partnership for infra program

Robie de Guzman   •   February 26, 2020

President Rodrigo Roa Duterte discusses matters with Asian Development Bank President Masatsugu Asakawa who paid a courtesy call on the President at the Department of Finance Building inside the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas Complex in Manila on February 24, 2020. SIMEON CELI JR./PRESIDENTIAL PHOTO

MANILA, Philippines – President Rodrigo Duterte met with the new head of the Asian Development Bank (ADB) for an enhanced collaboration in various areas in relation with the government’s development agenda, Malacañang said.

In a press statement, the Palace said that ADB President Masatsugu Asakawa on Monday paid a courtesy call on Duterte at the office of the Department of Finance (DOF) in Manila to tackle ways on improving the country’s relationship with the bank.

During the call, the President congratulated Asakawa for his election as new ADB president, and expressed his gratitude for the bank’s continued assistance in different government programs.

Asakawa became ADB’s 10th president in January.

“I would like to express my appreciation to ADB for its unremitting assistance to the Philippines,” Duterte told the ADB president.

The Palace said that during the meeting, the chief executive also called for the ADB’s “aggressive participation” in the Philippine government’s infrastructure program, and asked for its help to improve the government’s capacity to undertake public-private partnership (PPP) projects with increased private sector participation.

“We look forward to ADB’s enhanced support to our Build, Build, Build Program,” Duterte said.

Last December 2019, the DOF signed with the ADB three loan agreements amounting to $623 million in support of the government’s infrastructure push.

Duterte names Eric Distor as NBI officer-in-charge

Robie de Guzman   •   February 26, 2020

The new officer-in-charge of the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI), Eric Distor.

MANILA, Philippines – President Rodrigo Duterte has designated a new officer-in-charge for the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI), Malacañang said Wednesday.

Eric Distor, assistant director for Intelligence Service, was named NBI’s officer-in-charge following the retirement of director Dante Gierran, according to a memorandum released by the Palace on Wednesday.

The letter addressed to Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra was dated February 21 and signed by Executive Secretary Salvador Medialdea.

It states that Distor’s new work assignment took effect on February 23.

The Palace said he will temporarily lead the agency until a replacement is appointed or until otherwise directed by the Office.

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