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Duterte to Recto 22: ‘I’m sorry, but that’s how it is’

by Aileen Cerrudo   |   Posted on Tuesday, June 25th, 2019

Courtesy : Presidential Photo

President Rodrigo Duterte apologized to the Recto 22 after he reiterated that the abandonment of the 22 fishermen was just a “maritime incident”.

During the premiere of the movie “Kontradiksyon,” Duterte told reporters that the incident did not result in any confrontation.

“Well, I’m sorry, but that’s how it is,” he said. “They know that that area is claimed by both. For China, it happened within their jurisdiction. For us [it happened] within our jurisdiction. We have two conflicting claims of ownership.”

READ: Filipino boat captain laments Duterte’s remark on West PH Sea allision incident

The Filipino boat captain previously expressed disappointment over Duterte’s remarks when he said the allision was only a “maritime incident”.

A Filipino vessel was allegedly hit by a Chinese vessel on June 9. The Filipino fishermen were abandoned at sea and were saved by Vietnamese fishermen after a few hours.

Duterte clarified that he is not belittling the situation. However, he said that it would not justify sending military troops to the area.

“It’s a maritime incident. ‘Little’ in the sense that it did not result in any confrontation. This not to belittle anything. There was damage but luckily nobody died,” he said. “That is not a reason to go to any military exercise there. If you do that, that’s war.”—AAC


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Senators expect to hear salary, labor, sea dispute issues in Duterte 4th SONA

by Robie de Guzman   |   Posted on Saturday, July 20th, 2019

MANILA, Philippines – Ahead of President Rodrigo Duterte’s fourth State of the Nation Address (SONA) on July 22, some senators have already picked out certain topics that they want the Chief Executive to discuss in his speech.

According to Senator Sonny Angara, he expects the president to outline his plans not only for his remaining three years in office but for the next decade.

In particular, Angara said the 2020 national budget should lay down the framework for the 10-year development plan for the country.

“This should result in the next administration building on what the President has achieved and what he started during his term and not the perennial focus on going after its predecessors,” he said in a statement.

The lawmaker added he would also like to hear the president fulfilling his promise of raising the teachers’ salaries, as well as his plan on creating more jobs and livelihood opportunities for Filipino workers.

“We want to see the creation of more jobs and opportunities for the Filipino people so that they are able to improve their lives and no longer see the need to go abroad in order to make ends meet,” Angara said.

Meanwhile, Senator Joel Villanueva said he wants to hear during the president’s SONA the administration’s commitment to further protect and promote the interests of Filipino workers.

READ: Villanueva expects gov’t commitment to protect Filipino workers on Duterte SONA

Villanueva said he is particularly eager to find out the outcome of the Security of Tenure bill, popularly known as the “End Endo” bill, which seeks to put an end to the practice of illegal labor contracting.

“The bill adheres to the Constitution, which mandates the regulation of relations between workers and employers, recognizing the right of labor to its just share in the fruits of production and the right of enterprises to reasonable returns on investments, and to expansion and growth,” he said.

“Thus, the Security of Tenure bill manages to strike a balance between contrasting interests of labor and employers,” he added.

For Senator Aquilino ‘Koko’ Pimentel, he wants to hear about the president’s priority bills, as well as his view on the surge of illegal foreign workers in the country.

“His priorities for one year usually, and then priorities for the last second half of his term,” he said.

Aside from labor issues, Senator Risa Hontiveros also expects the president to tackle in his speech the issue on the West Philippine Sea and the country’s assertion of Philippine sovereignty in the disputed waters.

“Wish ko lang na sasabihin ni Presidente na sa wakas after 3 years ay i-champion na niya, itataguyod yung tagumpay natin vis a vis China sa West Philippine Sea,” she said.

Duterte has been facing criticisms over his stance on China’s continued trawling in the country’s exclusive economic zone.

He earlier stressed that his position on allowing Chinese fishermen access to Philippine waters was not a violation of the Philippine constitution. (with details from Nel Maribojoc)

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IBP moves to withdraw West Philippine Sea Kalikasan case

by Robie de Guzman   |   Posted on Friday, July 19th, 2019

FILE PHOTO: An aerial view shows the Pagasa (Hope) Island, part of the disputed Spratly group of islands, in the South China Sea (West Philippine Sea) located off the coast of western Philippines July 20, 2011. REUTERS/ROLEX DELA PENA/POOL

MANILA, Philippines – The Integrated Bar of the Philippines (IBP) said on Friday that it has filed a motion to withdraw its petition for Writ of Kalikasan, seeking for the protection of the environment in the West Philippine Sea.

In its motion, the IBP asked the Supreme Court to grant its request to withdraw the suit for eight of the petitioners, including the organization itself.

“With due regard to the plight and position of the fishermen-petitioners, the views and recommendations of the handling lawyers and the IBP Chapters involved, and the matters raised and guidance by the Honorable Supreme Court, a motion has been filed for the withdrawal or discharge of the counsels for the fishermen and for the withdrawal of the petition,” the IBP said in a statement, signed by its president Domingo Egon Cayosa.

The IBP’s motion is the latest in a series of case updates that followed after Solicitor General Jose Calida claimed last week that several Zambales and Palawan fishermen who were named as petitioners backed out from the case.

Petitioners of the case originally sought the Court to order the Duterte administration to stop neglecting its duty to protect the Ayungin Shoal, Panatag Shoal and Panganiban Reef, following reports of Chinese fishers harvesting endangered marine species in the area.

But Calida claimed, 19 fishermen have denied knowledge of the case, 13 of the total 37 petitioners also did not sign their affidavits while 24 signed but had no identification.

Calida’s claims led to the suspension of the oral arguments and Chief Justice Lucas Bersamin calling for a closed-door meeting of the parties.

After the conference, Calida said the government and the petitioners’ lawyers agreed that the case be dismissed.

The petitioners’ side did not confirm Calida’s statement but requested the high court to give them time to confer with their clients on the developments of the case.

READ: IBP wants time to talk with fishermen in West PH Sea Kalikasan petition

The SC later granted IBP’s motion for extension to comply with the order to move in the premises in the Writ of Kalikasan suit.

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Palace says Duterte can declare martial law if terrorism reaches Metro Manila

by Aileen Cerrudo   |   Posted on Thursday, July 18th, 2019

Malacañang said President Rodrigo Duterte can declare martial law if terrorism reaches Metro Manila.

Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo said the chief executive expressed concern about the recent suicide bombing which led to the death of eight individuals including one Filipino suicide bomber in Indanan, Sulu.

“Iyon nga ang kinakatakot niya kasi may suicide bomber na. (That’s what he feared, there is already a suicide bomber). He’s very concerned of that. Kaya hindi ba nag-warning siya sa enemies of the state, (so he warned the enemies of the state) ‘Don’t force my hand into it. I will not allow the disintegration of this country,’ ” he said.

“Kaya nga hindi ba don’t force me to the wall. Kapag hindi kayo tumigil, (So don’t force me to the wall. If you do not stop) I’ll be compelled to use powers granted to me by the Constitution, lalong lalo pa iyong terorismo makarating dito sa Maynila (especially if terrorism reaches here in Metro Manila),” he said.—AAC (with reports from Rosalie Coz)

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