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

Marje Pelayo   •   July 12, 2019   •   4602

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

Duterte inaugurates Sariaya Bypass Road

Robie de Guzman   •   October 22, 2021

President Rodrigo Duterte has inaugurated the 7.42-kilometer long Sariaya Bypass Road in Quezon Province.

In a speech after unveiling the marker on the new road on Thursday, Duterte said the completion of the project affirms the administration’s “strong commitment to improve the quality of life of Filipinos by pursuing strategic infrastructure projects across the country thereby improving connectivity and mobility, creating jobs, and dispersing economic activity throughout the regions.”

“It will likewise spur the growth of industries and business opportunities in the area, thereby boosting the socio-economic development of Quezon Province and improve the lives of the people,” Duterte said.

“As we continue to overcome the current pandemic and carefully reopen our national and local economies, infrastructure development will play a vital role in our success,” he added.

The bypass road is seen to provide faster and safer travel for motorists and will also allow efficient transport of goods to and from the markets in Southern Luzon, the President said.

The road could also lessen the traffic volume along Daang Maharlika from Sariaya to Lucena City by 40 percent.

Stretching from the Manila South Road Daang Maharlika to the Quezon Eco-Tourism Road, the Sariaya Bypass Road is expected to cater to around 15,000 motorists and commuters daily going to the different provinces in the Southern Tagalog Region.

At the same time, it is seen to spur economic and social development through efficient transportation, improved road safety and enhanced business opportunities in Quezon Province.

The Sariaya Bypass Road is one of the flagship projects of the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) under the administration’s Build, Build, Build Program.

Duterte urges public not to be choosy with COVID-19 vaccine brands

Aileen Cerrudo   •   October 20, 2021

MANILA, Philippines—President Rodrigo Duterte urged the public anew not to be choosy with coronavirus disease (COVID-19) vaccine brands.

During his Talk to the People on Tuesday night (October 19), Duterte expressed optimism over developments in the country’s vaccine supply as the government moves to build herd immunity.

However, he reminded the public to remain vigilant by continuing to follow health protocols; get vaccinated and avoid being choosy with vaccine brands.

“Do you know, if these vaccines that we have been giving to the population are not really effective and right, marami nang patay ngayon (many people would’ve been dead by now),” he said.

The president reiterated that the national government is trying hard to fight against the pandemic, and expressed his gratitude to other nations that provided aid to the Philippines.

“We’ve been trying hard, really hard to fight. [This] COVID program nakatutok kami lahat dito (we are all focused on this). I’d like to thank everybody who have really contributed to what we are now seeing,” he said. AAC

PNP Maritime Group nagtayo ng istasyon sa Pag-asa Island

Robie de Guzman   •   October 19, 2021

Nagsimula na ang deployment ng mga tauhan ng Philippine National Police (PNP) Maritime Group sa Pag-asa Island na sakop ng West Philippine Sea.

Ayon kay PNP Maritime Unit-National Capital Region (NCR) chief Police Colonel Oliver Tanseco, walong tauhan na pinamumunuan ng isang opisyal na may ranggong Police Major ang unang batch na ipinadala sa lugar.

Aniya, tungkulin ng grupo na bantayan ang buong munisipalidad ng Kalayaan at pangalagaan ang seguridad ng mga Pilipinong mangingisda laban sa mga dayuhang sasakyang pangisda.

“Ang primary responsibility po natin, unang-una, magbigay-suporta at tulungan yung ating pamahalaan sa pagpapatupad ng batas natin doon sa Pag-asa Island,” ani Tanseco.

“Siyempre doon sa ating exclusive economic zone, ang ating sovereign right, at doon sa mga area na pasok sa territorial sea, ang ating sovereignty,” dagdag pa niya.

Lakip rin ng kanilang tungkulin ang pangangalaga sa kapakanan ng mga Pilipinong mangingisda na makararanas ng panggugulo mula sa mga dayuhang sasakyang pandagat.

“Sa Pag-asa Island po ang ating mga police are trained police investigators po para kung kinakailangan po ay magkakaroon tayo ng pag- arrest po ng mga barko na pumapasok, nagi-intrude, nagpo-poaching sa ating waters. Ang ating pulis po ang magko-conduct ng investigation and for filing of cases in court,” ani Tanseco.

Bukod sa mga maritime police sa Pag-asa Island, mayroon ding walong tauhan ang mga ito na nakasakay sa BRP Dagupan City na tumutulong naman sa Philippine Navy sa pagpapatrolya sa West Philippine Sea.

Ang Pagasa Island ang pangalawa sa pinakamalaking natural island sa West Philippine Sea at matatagpuan 480 kilometers kanluran ng Puerto Princesa sa Palawan.

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