Duterte to attend 35th ASEAN Summit in Thailand – DFA

Robie de Guzman   •   October 29, 2019   •   333

President Rodrigo Roa Duterte takes a bow before the guests as he takes center stage during the 45th Philippine Business Conference and Expo at The Manila Hotel on October 17, 2019. VALERIE ESCALERA/PRESIDENTIAL PHOTO

MANILA, Philippines — President Rodrigo Duterte is set to fly to Thailand this week to attend the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) Summit, an official from the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) said.

In a pre-departure briefing in Malacañang on Monday, Foreign Affairs Assistant Secretary for the Office of ASEAN Affairs Junever Mahilum-West said the ASEAN Summit in Thailand will be held from November 2 to 4.

The Summit Plenary will start on November 2, Saturday while the opening ceremony will be held on November 3, Sunday.

Mahilum-West said Duterte is expected to talk about the long-delayed code of conduct (COC) in the South China Sea when he participates in the ASEAN Plus Three Summit and the East Asia Summit.

Leaders attending in this meeting are expected to share their views regarding regional and international issues affecting the region.

The COC will be featured in the discussions, Mahilum-West said, describing the issue as “unavoidable.” The discussion on the COC falls within the ASEAN’s three pillars of cooperation: political security, economic, and socio-cultural.

“Kasi doon sa meeting na ‘yun ng mga leaders, they will have a parang tour of the horizon of what’s happening throughout the region,” she said, adding other countries are also expected to give their views.

“But as to intensive negotiations, we don’t expect that will happen in this meeting— in these kinds of meetings,” she added.

Duterte will also discuss the current direction of the country’s partnerships and cooperation on mutual concerns with China, India, the United Nations, the United States, and Japan during the ASEAN one-on-one summits.

Mahilum-West said there are about 40 anticipated outcome documents at the end of the 35th ASEAN Summit, which represent the culmination of the community’s work in pursuit of a more inclusive, equitable, and sustainable ASEAN Community.

Duterte is scheduled to leave for Thailand on November 1, Friday. He will be accompanied by DFA Secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr., Trade Secretary Ramon Lopez and Social Welfare Secretary Rolando Bautista.

Duterte meets with Filipino SEA Games ‘hero’ surfer, surfing team in Palace

Robie de Guzman   •   December 11, 2019

President Rodrigo (left); hero surfer Roger Casugay (center) with the rest of the Philippine surfing team at Malacañan Palace

MANILA, Philippines – President Rodrigo Duterte on Tuesday met with the members of the Philippine surfing team, including Southeast Asian (SEA) Games gold medalist Roger Casugay, who recently went viral for his heroic act of saving his Indonesian rival during their event.

Casugay and the rest of the team paid a courtesy call to Duterte in Malacañang, based on photos released to media on Wednesday morning.

Casugay earned praises after he rescued Indonesian surfer Arip Nurhidayat who was swept by rolling waves after he broke his leash in the middle of men’s longboard open surfing competition in La Union. 

The 25-year old surfer eventually won the gold medal after the event between the two was rescheduled on Sunday.

Indonesian President Joko Widodo on Monday expressed his appreciation for Casugay for personifying sportsmanship in the ongoing biennial meet.

The Senate also adopted a resolution commending the athlete for displaying an act of heroism and courage.

Senator Christopher Lawrence “Bong” Go said Casugay will be conferred the Order of Lapu-Lapu by the President in a Palace ceremony next week.

The Order of Lapu-Lapu is bestowed upon individuals who are recognized for their invaluable service in relation to a campaign or advocacy of the President.

Casugay was earlier chosen to be the country’s flag bearer in the SEA Games closing ceremonies to be held on Wednesday at the New Clark City in Tarlac.

Duterte fetes Philippine Army shooters

Robie de Guzman   •   December 10, 2019

President Rodrigo Roa Duterte announces to the Philippine Army Team that they will receive P500,000 incentive for their sterling performance in the ASEAN Armies Rifle Meet 2019 held recently in Indonesia. KARL NORMAN ALONZO/PRESIDENTIAL PHOTO

MANILA, Philippines – President Rodrigo Duterte gave recognition to Philippine Army shooters who hauled medals from the recently-concluded ASEAN Armies Rifles Meet (AARM) held in Indonesia.

The recognition was conducted in Malacañang on Monday during a courtesy call to the President, the Philippine Army said in a statement Tuesday.

According to Philippine Army Commanding General Lt. Gen. Gilbert Gapay, members of the shooting team called “Manunudla” were introduced to the president while they presented their medals and trophies from the AARM 2019.

“Manunudla” is a Filipino word that means shooter. It was chosen to symbolize the team as a way of embracing its Filipino identity while representing the country in various international events.

The shooting team were able to bring home a total of 22 medals – 7 gold, 8 silver and 7 bronze – putting them at the second place. The 6 gold, 7 silver, and 7 bronze were from the team events, and 1 gold, 1 silver from the individual events.

The competitions during the AARM include the pistol (men & women), rifle/carbine and machine gun matches.

“I give my full support to the training of the Philippine Army soldiers so they can perform their duties at the best of their abilities. For the shooters, aim to be on the top of AARM next year,” Duterte said as he lauded the shooters for their efforts during the event.

“With the support of the President, our soldiers will train hard to excel not only in the field of competition but in everything they do as we transform into a world-class Army,” Gapay said.

PH, Japan meet tackle closer cooperation on key infrastructure projects

Robie de Guzman   •   December 10, 2019

MANILA, Philippines – The Philippines and Japan both agreed to strengthen the strategic partnership between the two countries in implementing key infrastructure projects under the administration of President Rodrigo Duterte.

In a statement, the Department of Finance (DOF) said that during the high-level meeting held in Hakone last Dec. 6, Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez and Japan’s Hiroto Izumi, special advisor to Japan Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, discussed Japan’s continued assistance for the Philippines’ infrastructure projects.

The two sides also expressed readiness to sign the JPY4.409 billion supplemental loan agreement for the Metro Manila Priority Seismic Bridge Improvement Project in the coming months.

During the meeting, the two officials signed the memorandum of cooperation (MOC) signifying the latter’s commitment to provide technical support to the Duterte administration’s formulation of a regional development master plan designed to maximize the economic potentials of the Subic Bay and its surrounding areas.

In November, the DOF said that Japan have committed to support the masterplan which includes the development of possible projects that will help boost economy in the Subic Bay area.

Japan also committed to extend additional technical assistance that are critical to the Philippines’ campaign to bridge the infrastructure financing gap.

Both sides likewise confirmed to work towards the signing of the exchange of notes and the loan agreement for a supplemental loan to finance the ongoing Davao City Bypass Construction Project (DCBCP).

The two countries also committed to speed up the formulation of the Central Mindanao Highway Project (Cagayan de Oro-Malaybalay Section), as a candidate for Japanese official development assistance (ODA).

In addition, the DOF said that Japanese officials have expressed their intention to conduct pre-feasibility studies for four of the Philippines’ priority projects: the Cebu Circumferential Road, Second San Juanico Bridge and Access Road, Central Mindanao Highway (Cagayan de Oro-Malaybay Section), and Agusan del Norte-Butuan City Logistical Highway (4th Butuan Bridge.)

Japan also reiterated its intention to provide a loan for the Cebu-Mactan Bridge and Coastal Road Construction Project, as well as additional technical assistance to the Bangsamoro Transition Authority (BTA) and the rehabilitation and reconstruction of the Most Affected Areas (MAA) in Marawi City.

The two sides also discussed other loan financing arrangements for the Philippines as it transitions to Upper Middle-Income Country (UMIC) status ahead of schedule in 2020.

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