Duterte calls for self-restraint amid issues in West Philippine Sea

Maris Federez   •   November 22, 2021   •   338

MANILA, Philippines — President Rodrigo Duterte has called on stakeholders in the West Philippine Sea “to exercise utmost self-restraint, avoid the escalation of tensions and work towards the peaceful resolution of disputes in accordance with international law,” referring to the issues on the disputed waters as  “a strategic challenge that cannot be solved by force.”

A statement released by Malacañang said the President joined the discussion at the ASEAN-China Special Summit with his counterparts in the region to commemorate the 30th Anniversary of Dialogue Relations via video conference on Monday, November 22.

“We abhor the recent event in the Ayungin Shoal and view with grave concern other similar developments. This does not speak well of the relations between our nations and our partnership,” Duterte said.

“UNCLOS and the 2016 Arbitral Award provide legal clarity …pointing us to a just and fair solution to our disputes. We must fully utilize these legal tools to ensure that the South China Sea remains a sea of peace, stability, and prosperity,” he added.

The President also asked China to remain committed to the conclusion of an effective and substantive Code of Conduct in the South China Sea.

“There is simply no other way out of this colossal problem but the rule of law,” he said.

During the summit, Duterte underscored the depth and breadth of the 30-year partnership between ASEAN and China who, he stressed, deserves its status as the region’s “Comprehensive Strategic Partner”.

The president also pointed out China’s timely assistance to ASEAN’s COVID-19 pandemic response efforts, and the first country to provide life-saving vaccines and medical supplies to the ASEAN member nations.

Duterte also expressed his views on the region’s recovery efforts against the pandemic.

“Enhanced multilateralism and connectivity will be the drivers of inclusive and comprehensive recovery,” the President said as he welcomed China’s ratification of the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement.

Malacañang said that the President also touched on the recently concluded 26th UN Climate Change Conference of the Parties, reiterating the Philippines’ call for urgent climate action anchored on the principles of justice and fairness.

He also pushed for the protection and preservation of biodiversity and the marine environment through sustained cooperation by supporting the work of the ASEAN Centre for Biodiversity hosted by the Philippines, among others.

House approves Philippine Maritime Zones Act

Maris Federez   •   December 6, 2021

MANILA, Philippines — The House of Representatives on Monday approved on third and final reading a measure seeking to proclaim maritime zones under the jurisdiction of the Republic of the Philippines.

With 189 affirmative votes, the lower chamber approved House Bill No. 9981 or the Philippine Maritime Zones Act.

The law aims to define the maritime zones of the country which include internal waters, archipelagic waters, territorial sea, contiguous zone, exclusive economic zone, and continental shelf.

The law said declaring the country’s maritime zones will establish the legal bases by which social, economic, commercial, and other activities may be conducted.

The measure aims to provide flexibility in enacting laws pertinent to the rights and obligations that the Philippines can exercise over its maritime zones.

House Committee on Foreign Affairs chair and Zamboanga Sibugay 2nd District Rep. Ann Hofer lauded the approval of the bill which she principally authored.

“The approval of HB 9981 marks an important step towards consolidating our maritime jurisdiction as declared in the historic Arbitral Award,” Hofer said.

The measure further provides for the sovereign rights over these maritime zones, thus establishing the country’s exclusive rights to explore and exploit living and nonliving resources found in these zones, in accordance with the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) and other existing laws and treaties. —/mbmf

Robredo pays tribute to Baguio City frontliners

Maris Federez   •   December 6, 2021

Presidential aspirant Vice President Leni Robredo on Monday (December 6) led the recognition of frontliners in Baguio City who relentlessly give their service to the community amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

“I am giving tribute to the men and women who fought the pandemic. I am giving tribute to all those who worked behind all the successes that Baguio achieved over the years,” Robredo said.

“Alam ko na kayo ang isa sa mga best performing LGUs in our battle against the pandemic particularly on contact tracing with Mayor Benjamin Magalong in the frontline,” she added.

Robredo said that the main goal of her visit is to thank her supporters in the province who gave her a warm welcome despite the cold weather.

Robredo then visited the Good Shepherd Convent to lead the opening of the Leni-Kiko Headquarters. —/mbmf (from the report of UNTV Correspondent John Paul Alvarado)

Corporate parties sa COVID Alert Level 2 areas limitado lang sa 50% capacity – DILG

Robie de Guzman   •   December 6, 2021

MANILA, Philippines – Nagpaalala ang Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) sa publiko na limitado lang sa 50% ng venue capacity ang bilang ng mga pinapayagang lumahok sa corporate gatherings ngayong holiday season.

Ayon kay DILG Undersecretary Jonathan Malaya, alinsunod ito sa patakarang ipinatutupad ng Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases para sa mga lugar na nasa COVID-19 Alert Level 2.

“Kung nasa alert level 2 po ang isang lugar, ang mga ganiyang klaseng christmas parties is 50% capacity of the venue and plus 10% of the venue, if may safety seal ang lugar na iyon,” ani Malaya.

“Aside from the venue capacity ay kailangan pong sumunod sa minimum public health standards. Kailangan pong naka-face mask at may social distancing,” dagdag pa niya.

Nasa Alert Level 2 ang buong Pilipinas dahil sa patuloy na pagbaba ng kaso ng COVID-19.

Babala ng DILG, maaaring masuspindi ang operasyon ng isang establisimyento na ginawaran ng safety seal kapag lumabag sa patakaran.

“Kung hindi po susunod ang mga establishment na magiging host nitong chistmas parties na ito, pwede pong i-revoke ang safety seal nila o kaya isuspinde ang kanilang business permit for failing to follow IATF rules and regulations,” ani Malaya.

Samantala, inirerekomenda naman ng Department of Health (DOH) na gawin sa outdoor venues ang salu-salo o pagtitipon ngayong holiday season upang maiwasan ang hawaan ng COVID-19.

Ayon sa DOH, mas malaki ang tiyansa’ng magkaroon ng hawaan sa mga kulob na lugar at walang maayos na bentilasyon.

Dapat ring seguruhing may hand sanitizing area sa venue at nasusunod ang protocol sa pagsusuot ng face mask at physical distancing.

Mas mainam ring gawin na lamang online ang selebrasyon upang maiwasan ang direct contact at posibleng exposure sa COVID-19. (mula sa ulat ni Correspondent Aileen Cerrudo)

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