Duterte recalls talk with China’s Xi: Oil exploration in WPS could mean ‘trouble’

Marje Pelayo   •   June 28, 2019   •   2447

(L-R) President Rodrigo Duterte, Pag-asa Island and Chinese President Xi Jinping

MANILA, Philippines — President Rodrigo Duterte revealed what Chinese President Xi Jinping warned him of during their first meeting in 2016 about oil explorations in the West Philippine Sea or South China Sea.

Duterte said he was warned by the Chinese president that if the Philippines would attempt to proceed with the oil explorations in the disputed territory, it could mean ‘trouble’.

“Sabi ko, (I told him) ‘I’m going there to dig oil.’ Sabi ni Xi Jinping, (Xi Jinping said) in a whisper: ‘Alam mo Mayor Duterte (You know Mayor Duterte), we just restored our friendship. It was not good for a number of years pero huwag na muna tayo pag-usapan (But let us not talk about it for now),‘ sabi niya (Xi). ‘Let’s talk about helping each other, trade, commerce, investments, China can help.’ Doon na nagstart, (That’s when it all started),” President Duterte said, recalling his conversation with President Xi.

Duterte said that when he again mentioned about South China Sea oil exploration to Xi because the area is “ours”, the Chinese president supposedly replied: “No, that could mean trouble.”

The President made such clarifications to counter critics who question his stance of not sending military back up to the area.

Kayong mga ugok, ang alam niyo kayo lang ang bright, ul*l, ‘pag lumabas ‘yung… (You fools, you think you’re the only smart ones. He (Xi) said, “that is trouble,” ano’ng ibig sabihin niyan (what else could it mean), from the mouth of President (Xi),” the President said.

The Chief Executive has been consistent in his position that the Philippines cannot afford to wage war against China.

His comments came after the incident in Recto Bank where 22 Filipino fishermen engaged in an alleged allision with Chinese crewmen earlier this month.

The fishermen called on the government to bar Chinese fishing in Recto Bank which is part of the country’s exclusive economic zone (EEZ).

President Duterte said sorry to the fishermen but the incident, he said, was just a ‘little’ maritime incident and was not a reason for military exercise.

Also, the President insisted that he is not barring Chinese fishermen from fishing in the area “for friendship’s sake”.

“I don’t think that China would do that. Why? Because we’re friends. And they are of the same view that that should not result in any bloody confrontation,” the President told reporters on June 26.

Duterte to insist arbitral ruling to China: ‘Whether you like it or not’

Marje Pelayo   •   August 22, 2019

(L-R) President Rodrigo Duterte, Pag-asa Island and Chinese President Xi Jinping

MANILA, Philippines — President Rodrigo Duterte maintained that he will raise the arbitral ruling that favors the Philippines in the disputed territories in the West Philippine Sea when he visits China next week.

Duterte is scheduled to fly to China for a working visit from August 28 to September 3.

He will meet Chinese president Xi Jinping and talk about the Hague ruling, the code of conduct, as well as the proposed joint oil exploration in the West Philippine Sea.

“So whether you like it or not, would it make you happy or not, angry or otherwise. Sorry, but we have to talk the arbitral ruling, then what we get, if there is a start of the exploration and extraction of whatever there is in the bowels of the earth,” the President said during the inauguration of the 7.5 megawatt peak solar power project in the municipality of Odiongan, Tablas Island in Romblon on Wednesday (August 21).

“The proposal of 60-40 in our favor, would be a good start. I hope it would graduate to something like towards how do we solve the arbitral ruling peacefully,” he added.

The event was the President’s first public engagement after being out of the public eye for more than a week. – MNP (with details from Rosalie Coz)

Duterte to decide on banning online gambling in PH amid China’s call – Palace

Marje Pelayo   •   August 22, 2019

MANILA, Philippines – Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo on Wednesday (August 21) said it is up to President Rodrigo Duterte to decide on the operations of online gambling in the country.

“We have to ask the President on this policy or issue,” Panelo told reporters.

“Hindi natin alam kung may possibility or wala. We have to ask the President,” he added.

On Tuesday (August 20), Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Geng Shuang has called on the Philippine government to ban all forms of online gambling.

“We have also taken note of the Philippine government’s announcement and appreciate it,” he said in a press conference in Beijing.

“We hope the Philippines will go further and ban all online gambling,” he added.

Defense officials expressed concern over proximity of Philippine Offshore Gaming Operations (POGO) near military camps arguing the possibility of Chinese workers becoming spies for Beijing.

The Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corp. (PAGCOR), meanwhile, has already stopped accepting applications for POGO licenses in the country unless underlying issues are settled.

But Panelo noted that online gambling remains legal under Philippine law.

Defense chief lauds Duterte order on foreign vessels entering PH waters

Robie de Guzman   •   August 21, 2019

One of the anti-submarine vessels which docked at Pier 15 South Harbor, Manila.

MANILA, Philippines – Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana has lauded President Rodrigo Duterte’s move to require foreign vessels to first secure a clearance from the government before entering the Philippine waters.

“That is a very good development. At least now we have some authority to enforce our laws within our territorial waters,” Lorenzana said Tuesday.

Earlier, Duterte, through spokesman Salvador Panelo, issued a directive for all foreign vessels to provide notification and get clearance from proper government authority in advance of the actual passage. He also warned foreign vessels that Manila will either get compliance in a friendly manner or enforce it in an unfriendly manner.

READ: Duterte warns foreign ships to get clearance before entering PH waters

When asked to elaborate, Panelo explained that by saying ‘unfriendly,’ it means blocking entry to any foreign vessels intruding in the Philippine territory.

He, however, clarified that the President’s order didn’t mean an automatic use of force against intruders.

“By that it means that we will ask them to move out of the place, that’s unfriendly, because before we never said anything, we just allow them, we just make protest, but this time, we will tell them, please get out of our territorial waters,” Panelo said.

Duterte’s order came after reports of Chinese warships that allegedly entered the Philippine territory, particularly in Sibutu Strait in Tawi-Tawi, without permission from the government.

Lorenzana, for his part, could not say yet the “unfriendly option” the Philippine Military could use to ward of intruders into the country’s waters. The Defense chief said he will defer the matter to the Philippine Navy. (RRD with details from Correspondent Joan Nano)

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