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Duterte on urgent call for Code of Conduct: ‘My country will be the first to suffer’

by UNTV News and Rescue   |   Posted on Thursday, November 15th, 2018

President Rodrigo Roa Duterte joins other leaders from Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) member countries during the 21st ASEAN-Japan Summit at the Suntec Convention and Exhibition Centre in Singapore on November 14, 2018. KARL NORMAN ALONZO/PRESIDENTIAL PHOTO

SINGAPORE – President Rodrigo Duterte reiterated his position that a code of conduct (COC) for South China Sea is urgent as China seemed to be unstoppable in its island and facility-building on the disputed territory.

The President said that being the newly assigned country coordinator for ASEAN-China Summit, he will try his best so that “everybody will know” that such reclamation activities require “radical changes in the laws governing international waters particularly the right of free passage or the right of innocent passage.”

The Chief Executive implied that China’s three-year bargain of negotiating for a COC might bring the friction among nations into something uncontrollable, that’s why a set of rules must be hammered as soon as possible.

“China is there. That’s a reality. America and everybody should realize that they are there. So if you just keep on creating friction, little friction, one day, a bad miscalculation could turn things, more fierce law. If anything could go wrong, it will go wrong,” the President noted during an interview before proceeding to the first Summit for the day on Thursday (November 15).

By friction, President Duterte means holding military activities that would only trigger a much larger problem.

He said it is pointless to use arms because “China is already in possession” of the disputed territory.

“It’s now in their hands, so why do you have to create frictions, strong military activity that will prompt a response from China?” he said.

President Duterte added that it is not his concern anymore if nations want to rage war against one another. However, he wants to make clear his interest in pushing for an urgent code of conduct.

“I do not mind everybody going to war, except that the Philippines is just beside those islands and if there’s a shooting there, my country will be the first to suffer. That is my only national interest there, nothing else,” the President concluded. – Marje Pelayo

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Malacañang slams House over ‘unparliamentary behavior’ against Budget Secretary Diokno

by UNTV News and Rescue   |   Posted on Friday, December 14th, 2018

 

IMAGE_UNTV_NEWS_092017_Budget Secretary Benjamin Diokno

FILE PHOTO: Budget Secretary Benjamin Diokno

MANILA, Philippines – The Palace slammed the Lower House for treating Budget Secretary Benjamin Diokno with ‘disrespect’ during the question hour on Tuesday (December 11).

In a statement on Friday (December 14), Presidential spokesperson Salvador Panelo called the Lower House’s adoption of House Resolution No. 2365 as ‘unparliamentary’ and something unexpected from people who call themselves honorable.

“This unparliamentary behavior has no place in the hallowed grounds of Congress, where members are referred to as “Honorable” as they represent their districts or sectors. There is no honor in browbeating a fellow worker and officer in government,” he said.

Cabinet members of the Duterte administration have sent letters to President Rodrigo Duterte expressing their support to Budget Secretary Diokno.

They argued that such an action by the members of the Lower House against Diokno appeared like prosecuting the Budget official and thus constitute a disrespect not only of his position but of the democratic process.

“We have witnessed the disrespect and utter lack of courtesy displayed by members of the House of Representatives towards Department of Budget and Management Secretary Benjamin Diokno. The Congressional resolution urging the reconsideration of the DBM secretary’s appointment is a sheer violation of the separation of powers on the basis of a seemingly biased and hastily called ‘Question Hour,’” their letter read.

Also, the Duterte officials alleged that the resolution, which was swiftly approved, was “politically motivated and reeks of power play and ill purpose.”

According to Panelo: “It is incumbent upon Congress to accord utmost respect, show sobriety and observe the demands of ethical refinements when inviting officials from the other branches of government in their committee hearings” given that officials, such as Diokno, “are invited as resource persons to shed light on issues of national concern that our lawmakers hope to hear and understand.”

Because of what happened, Panelo said Cabinet members have the ‘option’ not to attend any congressional hearing or immediately leave if they feel that their position is being disrespected.

“We have many options. One, we will decline any invitation if we feel that they will be repeating the same kind of treatment that a member of Cabinet would suffer in the process,” Panelo said.

“Number two, we will go there if invited, but the moment any sign of disrespect is given a member of Cabinet, we will excuse ourselves and beg leave from the committee hearing,” he added.

“The way the questions propounded by member of Congress Andaya, we saw the video in the news and we saw how arrogantly he threw questions at Secretary Diokno and how he mocked him,” the Presidential Spokesperson continued.

Still, Panelo said the Palace leaves it is up the judgment of the members of the Congress, particularly the House Ethics Committee, if they will enforce a disciplinary action against Andaya.

“I suppose having said our stand, they would know that this time that we will not allow any further disrespect to a fellow worker of government,” he said.

After everything has been said and done, the Palace official notes that the administration “will not allow a similar incident from taking place” in the future.

Meanwhile, the Palace expressed disappointment over the non-passage of the 2019 National Budget before the holiday break and put the blame to the Lower House for the matter.

‘The failure is not our part but on them…We are of course disappointed it did not pass as expected,” Panelo said.

Panelo said they are expecting that both Houses of Congress will immediately work on the passing of the national budget once the session resumes on January 14, 2019. – Marje Pelayo (with reports from Rosalie Coz)

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No one should claim credit for return of Balangiga bells : Duterte

by UNTV News   |   Posted on Friday, December 14th, 2018

The Balangiga bells have finally arrived at Villamor Air Base in Pasay City at 10:35 a.m. December 11, 2018.

President Rodrigo Duterte emphasized that it was the Filipino people’s clamor that prompted the return of the historic Balangiga bells, therefore no government official should take the credit for its homecoming.

“Let me be very clear on this, here and now. The credit for the return of the Balangiga [bells] does not belong to any worker or officials of the government. The return of the bells was upon by the demand of the Filipino people. Nobody but nobody should claim success for that,” the President said in his speech at the birthday celebration of former Senate president, Manny Villar in Las Piñas, Thursday night (December 13).

Nevertheless, the Chief Executive will still be attending the turnover ceremony of the three historic bells in Balangiga, Eastern Samar on December 15, but will be skipping the mass that will be held as part of the homecoming ceremony.

“There’s going to be a high mass. I will not be there. I will just float along the coastal shores of Samar,” he said.

Nonetheless, the President acknowledged that the Catholic Church has custody of the celebrated bells..

“Well, it’s a property of the Catholic faith — the Roman Catholic faith… The American government will give it back to me. Then I will give it to the local executives. And the local executives will turn it over to its rightful owner, the people of Balangiga and ‘yung pari doon. Kanila ‘yun. So hanggang dito lang ako. I do not want to hear the mass. I have heard all the masses in the world,” the President said.

Last Wednesday night (December 12) Malacañang announced that President Duterte will not be attending the said event in Balangiga due to other urgent national issues that need his attention.

However, the palace later announced that due to the fervent request of Balangiga residents, the President adjusted his schedule and confirmed his attendance to the event. — Rosalie Coz | UNTV News & Rescue

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Progressive groups in Davao, Butuan slam martial law extension in Mindanao

by UNTV News   |   Posted on Friday, December 14th, 2018

(file photo)

Some progressive groups in Mindanao have denounced Congress’ move to approve the request of President Rodrigo Duterte to extend the implementation of martial law in the region for the third time.

According to Carlo Olalo of Kilusang Mayo Uno Southern Mindanao chapter, extending martial law will not stop atrocities but will only further embolden state forces to suppress and oppress the masses.

Olalo said that in Compostella Valley alone, there are more than 100 cases of political killings since the implementation of martial law in May 2017.

Olalo believes that imposing military rule will not help in addressing security threats in Mindanao.

“Ang kining martial law sa Mindanao dili para sa pagdepensa sa security sa katawhang Pilipino kung dili mas gipundar kini kay tungod gusting protektahan ang mga agreements nga musulod diri sa Mindanao. Ilabinanga naay Build Build Build program ni Pres. Rodrigo Duterte nga gipondohan sa Chinese government,” Olalo said.

(The martial law in Mindanao is not meant to protect the Filipino people but to protect the agreements that will enter Mindanao.  Among these is the Build Build Build program of President Rodrigo Duterte which is being funded by the Chinese government.)

The KMU-Southern Mindanao chapter also claims that implementing martial law in Mindanao is Duterte’s way of putting his plans into gradual action, such as his proposal to shift into a federal form of government.

Jay-R Aypag of Karapatan-Southern Mindanao also claims that cases of human rights violations in the region have soared since the imposition of martial law. Aypag also slammed the move to close down community schools for Lumads, especially in Talaingod, Davao del Norte.

“Ang pinaka recent na hinahawakan naming ngayon ay yung mismong pagpapalayas at pagpapasara ng Lumad schools sa Talaingod.  In fact, ito yung pinaka common narratives sa mga Lumad at peasant na talagang nagkakampo sa kanilang mga komunidad na wala silang karapatan dahil mayroong martial law declaration sa isla ng Mindanao,” added Aypag.

Isaias Geñorga, a representative of the group PISTON-Caraga, fears that the government will only use martial law to silence its critics.

“Ang critic sa mga progrisibo, dili gusto rehiming Duterte ni ini, suko siya ni ini, ang unsa man nai critic nimu sa rehiming Duterte…..unsa mabdiay gusto ipasabot?  Ang gusto badiay ipasabot nga ang tanan niya nagginahimu ang tanan niyang ginaplano sakto? Pasalamat ngani sya adunay mga kritiko,”Geñorga said.

(The Duterte regime hates to hear the criticisms of progressive groups. What is he trying to say? That everything he does and all his plans are always right? He should be grateful he has critics!)

The left-leaning groups believe that martial law is not the answer to the growing security problems in Mindanao and that the president should just focus on addressing the country’s pressing problems such as providing quality education, high unemployment rate and food sufficiency. — UNTV News & Rescue

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