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Duterte on fish taking incident in Panatag Shoal: ‘It was barter’

by UNTV News and Rescue   |   Posted on Tuesday, June 19th, 2018

FILE PHOTO: Fishermen sort their nets in the coastal town of Masinloc, Zambales, about 130 nautical miles from disputed Scarborough Shoal, in northern Philippines April 22, 2015.
REUTERS/ERIK DE CASTRO

 

PASAY CITY, Philippines – President Rodrigo Duterte, for the first time, has spoken on reports that Chinese Coast Guard personnel allegedly filched the fish catch of Filipino fishermen in Panatag Shoal.

In a speech during the 120th founding anniversary of the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) on Monday, June 18, the Chief Executive described the incident as a form of barter and not an outright seizure.

“It was a barter in exchange for the isda (fish). Ang problema iyong valuation. Hindi tayo nagkakaintindihan dito (The problem is valuation. We don’t understand each other). It was not an outright seizure,” explained the President.

Senator Risa Hontiveros slammed this statement of the President, saying he only seems brave when arresting poor, nighttime idlers but would not even do anything with Chinese vessels loitering in the Panatag Shoal.

Duterte, meanwhile, insisted his administration has a policy when it comes to addressing the maritime dispute. He reiterated that the Philippines has already filed a protest against China.

“If I threatened them or file a thousand protests which we did. Hindi lang natin ipinapublish iyong protesta natin (We just don’t publish our protests),” said the President.

The Chief Executive also clarified that the Woody Island is not among the territories being claimed by the Philippines where Chinese bombers were reportedly deployed.

“Woody island, it’s really somewhere, you know that. It’s too far away, it’s not even part of the islands that are claimed by the Philippines. It’s an island so far it’s not part of our territorial or economic zones,” Duterte explained.

Malacañang maintained that this is the stand of the President and it is not being influenced by any foreign leader.

“Sa tingin ko naman sa pananalita ng presidente, no one can say na merong nagpapatahimik sa presidente (The way the President speaks, no one can say that somebody is trying to keep him quiet), ” said Presidential Spokesperson Secretary Harry Roque. – Bernard Dadis | UNTV News & Rescue

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Gov’t tells Alejano: Trip to Panatag shoal OK but should be cleared

by Robie de Guzman   |   Posted on Tuesday, April 16th, 2019

Senatorial candidate Gary Alejano (📷 Twitter)

Everyone may visit the disputed Panatag Shoal off Zambales, Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) Spokesperson Captain Armand Balilo said on Monday.

Balilo made the statement after Otso Diretso Senatorial candidate and Magdalo party-list Representative Gary Alejano wrote a formal letter to the PCG to request for permission to visit the contested shoal.

The letter, dated April 13, was addressed to PCG Commandant Admiral Elson Hermogino.

“Sir, the PCA ruling in 2016 clearly stated that the Scarborough Shoal is a traditional fishing ground of Filipino and Chinese fishermen, hence, both of our fishermen can fish there. However, our local media has reported otherwise, which, if left unchecked would greatly undermine our people’s rights to the resources found there,” Alejano’s letter read.

Balilo said there is no policy that prohibits people from visiting Panatag Shoal as long the trip is properly coordinated with the PCG station for rescue operation in case of emergency.

However, the Philippine Navy said Alejano and other opposition senatorial candidates cannot just sail to the disputed area, saying this should be cleared with the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) Northern Luzon Command (NOLCOM).

The Philippine Navy said Alejano’s request should be forwarded to the AFP-NOLCOM as it has operational control of the navy ships deployed in Panatag shoal.

Nevertheless, authorities expressed doubt that the trip would be permitted if it’s going to be used for something other than fishing.

The PH Navy also stressed it can always deny request to travel to Panatag Shoal as it is not a tourist destination that anyone can visit.

The military said the AFP-NOLCOM’s priority concern is safety, and the current maritime dispute between the Philippines and China comes second. – Robie de Guzman

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ISIS will never gain foothold anywhere in the Philippines—Duterte

by Aileen Cerrudo   |   Posted on Wednesday, April 10th, 2019

(L-R) President Rodrigo Duterte and the ISIS flag | Courtesy : PCOO

President Rodrigo Duterte is confident that ISIS will never gain foothold anywhere in the Philippines.

During his speech in Jolo, Sulu on Tuesday (April 9) in commemoration of the Day of Valor, he said that the government is close to crushing violent extremism and is pleased with the military efforts against the Abu Sayyaf Group.

“Your efforts have brought us even closer to our ultimate objective of totally crushing the violent extremism at its roots. With this, I can confidently declare that ISIS will never gain foothold anywhere in the Philippines,” he said.

ISIS-linked militants held Marawi City hostage back in 2017. The military was able to retake the city after five months killing almost 900 insurgents including Isnilon Hapilon, considered leader of the Islamic State in Southeast Asia.

The Chief Executive assured that he will continue the modernization of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) while he is still in office. He will also provide assistance to the military and their families.

He committed to release P500 million fund for the military.

“I will continue to release 500 more and 500 more millions to my soldiers who do something for their country. I will see to it that you will have funds when you retire and that your school—your children and their schooling will be assured even if we are no longer there either by natural or by any other means of saying goodbye to this world. I have your back covered,” the president said.

The Chief Executive is eyeing on appointing former military officials to government posts. However, he denied using the military to empower himself.

He said that he prefers the military because he has seen failure and corruption in the bureaucracy.

“Hindi ako sabihin na pinapalakas ko ang sarili ko sa (I am not empowering myself using the) military because I do not need that. The people elected me. But I have a special fondness for the military for being fundamentally honest at (and) industrious. Kaya as you would see, the next few officials coming in would be military guys,” he added.—Aileen Cerrudo (with reports from Rosalie Coz)

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PNP on RevGov: We adhere to the rule of law

by Aileen Cerrudo   |   Posted on Tuesday, April 9th, 2019

The Philippine National Police (PNP) is prepared to adhere to the rule of law should a revolutionary government be declared in the country.

According to PNP Pcol. Bernard Banac, it is the mandate of the national police to maintain peace and order in the country.

“Sineseryoso ng PNP ang lahat ng banta sa seguridad, at peace and order, base sa aming mandato (Based on our mandate, the PNP is taking all threats seriously, and [maintaining] peace and order). The PNP shall always stand behind the flag and uphold the Constitution. We adhere to the rule of law and obey legal orders of the duly constituted authorities,” he said.

Meanwhile, Department of Justice (DOJ) Secretary Menardo Guevarra said the President’s threat about forming a revolutionary government is due to his frustration on what is happening in the country.

“What I know though, is that he is getting exasperated by and frustrated with endless roadblocks to his attempts to protect the people’s interests,” he said in a text message.

He added that the President knows the limitations of his authority.

“As a lawyer the president knows the scope and limitations of his constitutional powers and he will act in accordance therewith,” he said.

Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo also said that the President’s statement on forming a revolutionary government is out of frustration in all of the country’s problems including illegal drugs, corruption, and rebellion of communist groups.

Malacañang also clarified that the President’s warning in declaring a revolutionary government is not against the public but against the government’s enemies.

“It was more of an exasperated expression and I to put on notice against the transgressors that he will not just sit idly, and watch them do their illegal things,” Panelo said.

Meanwhile, the National Union of People’s Lawyers (NUPL) President Edre Olalia said the President’s warning has no legal basis and does not follow logic.

“First of all, there is absolutely no legal, constitutional, & factual basis to suspend the privilege of the writ of habeas corpus. Secondly, his reaction to the cautionary criticism of the opposition is non-sequitur,” he said.—Aileen Cerrudo (with reports from Lea Ylagan)

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