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Duterte’s 3rd SONA to focus on admin’s plans — Malacañang

by UNTV News   |   Posted on Monday, July 23rd, 2018

President Rodrigo Roa Duterte discusses matters with film director Joyce Bernal on July 22, 2018 as they make preparations for the President’s third State of the Nation Address (SONA) at the Malacañan Palace. Joining the President is Sec. Bong Go of the Office of the Special Assistant to the President. ALBERT ALCAIN/PRESIDENTIAL PHOTO


The length of President Rodrigo Duterte’s speech at today’s State of the Nation Address (SONA) has been among the talks of the town for days now.

According to the Presidential Communications Operations Office’s initial report, it will only be a 35-minute or a 14-page speech.

But as most Filipinos know by now, President Duterte likes to go off-script in his speaking engagements to let the public hear his real views and thoughts on the problems that the country is currently facing.

According to Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque, he is sure that the Chief Executive will not talk anymore about the accomplishments of the government in the previous year as these were already reported during the pre-SONA activities: “Tatak ng Pagbabago” organized by the PCOO together with other agencies.

This is why it is expected that Duterte will only talk about his administration’s plan for the incoming year.

It is also possible that the President will touch on the issue of charter change, federalism, Bangsamoro Organic Law and other priority legislative measures like the Rice Tariffication Act.

According to Special Assistant to the President Christopher “Bong” Go, the issue on war on drugs, crime and corruption are also potential talk points in Duterte’s speech.

By 3:30 pm, President Duterte will arrive at the Batasang Pambansa, but SAP Bong Go also said it is unlikely that President Duterte will go outside after the SONA to speak with protesters like what he did last time.

Presidential Spokesperson Sec. Roque disclosed that President Duterte has been in Malacañang this past weekend preparing for his 3rd SONA including a rehearsal with Director Joyce Bernal. — Rosalie Coz / UNTV News & Rescue

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Duterte back in China for 2019 Belt and Road Forum

by Maris Federez   |   Posted on Thursday, April 25th, 2019

President Rodrigo Roa Duterte receives a warm welcome from People’s Republic of China President Xi Jinping prior to the start of the bilateral meeting at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing on April 25, 2019. (KING RODRIGUEZ/PRESIDENTIAL PHOTO)

President Rodrigo Duterte is back in China for the 4th time since he assumed the presidency.

The president is among the 37 international government and state leaders in attendance at the Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation that kicked off in Beijing.

In his arrival speech, the President said he sees the establishment of more “high-quality” and “good-impact” projects between the Philippines and China, adding that the sooner they are completed, the sooner the people will feel the benefits of the relations of the two countries.

The President made this remark before he sat down with Chinese President Xi Jinping for a bilateral meeting on the sidelines of the forum.

The President also expressed hope that the two countries will work together to explore new areas of cooperation and partnership.

“We look forward to a productive discussion on matters of mutual interest and concern,” Duterte said.

The President also thanked the Chinese leader for his personal invitation to the forum, which he believes is a chance to further strengthen ties.

Duterte further said, “the forum provides another opportunity to renew and reaffirm our valued relations based on mutual trust, respect, and friendship and must continue to grow strength and meaning in the coming years.”

Duterte also attended the 1st Belt and Road Forum in May 2017.  –Maris Federez

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Malacañang: Duterte likely to visit China, Japan anew this year

by Robie de Guzman   |   Posted on Monday, March 25th, 2019


MANILA, Philippines — President Rodrigo Duterte will possibly visit China and Japan anew this year.

Malacañang said on Monday the President may travel to China late next month to attend the second Belt and Road Forum in Beijing.

While on May, Duterte will most likely visit Japan to primarily attend a regional conference.

Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo made the statement after the Japanese media reported that Duterte will be attending the 25th International Conference on the Future of Asia.

The event is reported to be held on May 30 and 31 in Tokyo.

Panelo told reporters at a press briefing that he has yet to confirm the said visit, but if it pushes through, this will be Duterte’s third time to visit Japan since becoming president in 2016.

Duterte, meanwhile, has yet to make a visit to the United States of America since his rise to power. Panelo said this is because the President cannot stand the cold temperature in the U.S.

“I think the relationship between the U.S. and China remain cordial and healthy. So, with America, the only reason perhaps the President has not considered visiting is because of the temperature. He couldn’t stand very cold temperature, he gets sick,” he said. – Robie de Guzman (with details from Rosalie Coz)

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China to ignore ICC case vs Xi Jinping

by Robie de Guzman   |   Posted on Monday, March 25th, 2019

Chinese President Xi Jinping attends the first meeting of the French-Chinese business council in Beijing, China, January 9, 2018. REUTERS/Ludovic Marin/Pool

MANILA, Philippines – Beijing has no plans of answering the complaint filed against Chinese President Xi Jinping by two former Philippine officials before the International Criminal Court (ICC), the Chinese Embassy in Manila said.

Chinese Embassy Chargé d’Affaires Tan Qingsheng said in a recent media interview that the Chinese government will just ignore the complaint as it did not represent the view of the Philippines.

Last March 13, 2019, former Foreign Affairs Secretary Albert del Rosario and former Ombudsman Conchita Carpio-Morales sent a communication to ICC Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda.

Del Rosario and Carpio-Morales are accusing Xi and other Chinese officials of committing crimes against humanity over Beijing’s alleged continued reclamation and militarization in the disputed waters, depriving Filipino fishermen of food and livelihood.

Tan said the complaint filed by two former high-ranking Philippine officials will not hinder the development of the diplomatic ties between the Philippines and China.

Tan also reiterated China’s commitment to promote peace and stability in the region and in addressing differences and disputes through bilateral consultations.

But Del Rosario and Carpio-Morales said on Friday (March 22) that China should take the complaint seriously.

“I think if I were China, I would take this seriously because this is not our first encounter with them. It’s our second encounter and we are very serious about winning this encounter as well,” Del Rosario said.

He was referring to the Manila’s legal challenge against Beijing’s territorial claims at the Permanent Court of Arbitration in the Hague in 2013. The tribunal ruled in favor of the Philippines in 2016.

President Rodrigo Duterte last week expressed confidence that the ICC case against Xi will not jeopardize Manila’s ties with Beijing.

He also said that Del Rosario and Carpio-Morales are entitled to file the case as the Philippines is a democratic country, but whether or not the case would prosper or if the ICC has the jurisdiction is another story.

READ: Duterte: ICC case vs Xi won’t strain PH-China ties

Malacañang also respects the former officials’ decision to file the complaint but it believes that the case will not prosper.

Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo said in a statement on Saturday that the filing may also be a futile exercise as the ICC has no jurisdiction over China. Carpio-Morales and Del Rosario also have no authority to lodge a case against China on behalf of the Philippines.

“It could be dismissed because China is not a member of the ICC, so is the Philippines,” Panelo said.

“Even if they are so authorized, still since our position is that the ICC has never acquired jurisdiction over us, given that the Rome statute never took effect as the requirement of publication in a newspaper of general circulation or in the Official Gazette was not complied with, which publication is a requirement in our jurisdiction before the said Rome Statute or any law for that matter becomes effective and enforceable,” he added.

The Palace official also said that the complaint against Xi for environmental damage in the South China Sea is not within the Rome Statute.

“Hence, even assuming that the Philippines was a State Party when the complaint was filed, there could be an issues as regards the jurisdiction of the ICC,” he said.

Panelo also believes that the possible dismissal of the case will be used by the administration’s foes to further criticize the President.

“The critics and detractors will have a field day criticizing the President in the event the case is dismissed by the ICC for lack of jurisdiction. They can claim that it was a mistake for the Philippine government to withdraw its membership from the Rome Statute as the ICC can no longer serve as a venue to prosecute President XI for an alleged commission of crime against humanity,” he said.

“We do not need the help or disturbance of a biased tribunal known to politically prosecute heads of state, the very reason why powerful countries like the United States, China, Russia, and Israel, to name only a few, have either withdrawn their membership as State Parties from the Rome Statute or declined to be members of the ICC,” Panelo added.

READ: Analyst: ICC Case vs China’s Xi Jinping faces challenges

A maritime analyst said last week that the case against Xi is facing many challenges, including the issue on ICC’s jurisdiction over China and the Philippines. – Robie de Guzman

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