President Rodrigo Roa Duterte and European Council President Donald Tusk join the traditional Association of Southeast Asia Nations (ASEAN) handshake prior to the start of the ASEAN-European Union (EU) 40th Anniversary Commemorative Summit at the Philippine International Convention Center on November 14, 2017. REY BANIQUET/PRESIDENTIAL PHOTO
MANILA, Philippines – President Rodrigo Duterte warmly welcomes European Council President Donald Tusk during the ASEAN-EU 40th Commemorative Summit.
In their opening statements, the two leaders emphasized on the importance of ASEAN-EU partnership and the need to elevate the said partnerships.
President Duterte said EU plays a vital role in ASEAN’s external relations being a partner in community building with a ASEAN as the regional economic bloc.
“The EU occupies a special place in the ASEAN’s external relations as it is a natural partner of ASEAN’s community building and integration. The ASEAN-EU dialogue of 10 plus 28 members is ASEAN’s largest and only region-to-region full dialogue partnerships,” President Duterte said.
According to EU Council President Donald Tusk, it is the priority of the EU to intensify its relationship with ASEAN based on human rights and rule of law.
“We remain committed to a strong and cohesive ASEAN developing in its own character, in the best interest of regional prosperity, stability and security. Further enhancing our relations based on common interests and shared values of democracy, human rights, and rule of law is a priority for the EU,” President Donald Tush said.
He also said ASEAN and EU shared the same interests and challenges including combatting security threats such as terrorism and transitional crimes.
EU is also committed to enhance the its trade deal with the ASEAN member states.
“The bilateral trade agreement between the European Union and Singapore, Vietnam, Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines, and Thailand, will be the stepping stones towards a future region-to-region trade agreement that can set a new standard for global trade,” President Tusk added. – Rosalie Coz | UNTV News and Rescue
Singapore to promote “smart cities” in 32nd ASEAN Summit
Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong
SINGAPORE – Regional leaders will gather beginning tomorrow until April 28 for the 32nd Association of Southeast Asian Nation (ASEAN) Summit chaired this year by Singapore .
The nine other heads of member states, including Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte, are expected to arrive today for the three-day Summit.
As this year’s chairman, Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong is keen on promoting the network of “smart cities” across ASEAN and also to boost cyber security in the region on which all members are expected to agree.
Tomorrow, April 26, representatives of the 10 member states will gather for the 16th ASEAN Economic Community Council Meeting to be led by Singapore Minister for Trade and Industry Lim Hng Kiang.
Meanwhile, Philippine Ambassador to Singapore Joseph Del Mar Yap is proud of the strong relationship between the Philippines and Singapore, the latter being the former’s biggest trading partner among other regional members.
“Singapore is actually the biggest source of investment for the Philippines in terms of the ASEAN region so we receive the most amount of investment from them and most of these investments are in fact done through joint ventures,” Ambassador Del Mar said.
Del Mar added that the joint venture between the Philippines and Singaporean companies is “a result of working closely together” as both sides are learning from each other in terms of trade and business.
In line with the Summit, Singapore’s Ministry of Home Affairs has declared the Summit venues “The Istana” and the Shangri-La Hotel as “special zones” where enhanced security measures are being imposed, as stated under Public Order Act.
The Istana estate is the official residence of the President of Singapore and also the working office of the Prime Minister. – Maila Guevarra/Marje Pelayo | UNTV News & Rescue
Palace: Trump’s support on Duterte’s war on drugs, more important vs. reports
MANILA, Philippines — Malacañang has refused to pay attention to the latest report of US State Department that expresses alarm over President Rodrigo Duterte’s “war on drugs”.
Based on the report, the cases of extrajudicial killings are the “chief human rights concern” in the Philippines which shows “a sharp rise with the onset of the anti-drug campaign in 2016”.
But Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said the report directly contradicts US President Donald Trump’s statements which support the anti-drug war.
“Given what we heard from President Trump, let’s just say it exists but we prefer to hold on to the words of President Trump. He is, after all, the president,” Roque said. — UNTV News & Rescue
Duterte wants pursuit of ‘labor-only contracting’ firms
FILE PHOTO: PHL President Rodrigo Roa Duterte (Cerilo Ebrano / Photoville International)
MANILA, Philippines — President Rodrigo Duterte has directed Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III to submit a report on companies engaged in labor-only contracting.
These are companies that implement repeated short-term employment contracts better known as “cabo” and 5-5-5 schemes.
The president gave the labor department 30 days to submit the report to the Office of the President.
The National Labor Relations Commission (NLRC) was also ordered to coordinate with the labor secretary in relation to the order.
According to Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque, this is still part of the president’s promise.
“To crack down on them because the promise was to end 555 — end. Ang promise ng Pangulo, habang ganiyan ang depinisyon ng contractualization na hindi lahat ay bawal, kung hindi iyong mga cabo lamang, sisiguraduhin ni Presidente wala talagang 555 at wala talagang cabo,” said the presidential spokesperson.
(To crack down on them because the promise was to end 555 — end. The president promised, while the definition of contractualization says not everything is prohibited but only “cabo”, the president will ensure that there will be no more 555 and cabo schemes.)
On Thursday, Malacañang said the president will no longer sign an executive order banning contractualization of workers.
Roque said it is the duty of the Congress to enact laws that will ban all types of contract labor in the country.
Duterte, however, will possibly certify the proposed bill as urgent to speed up its progress in Congress. — Rosalie Coz | UNTV News & Rescue