Indian president arrives in Manila for state visit

Aileen Cerrudo   •   October 18, 2019   •   277

Indian President Ram Nath Kovind (R) arrives at Manila International Airport in Manila, Philippines, 17 October 2019. The Indian head of state is in Manila on an official visit to mark the 70th anniversary of the establishment of India-Philippines bilateral relations. EPA-EFE/STR

Indian President Ram Nath Kovind arrived in the Philippines on Thursday evening for a state visit from October 17 to 21.

Kovind will visit Rizal park on Friday (October 18) for a wreath-laying ceremony and will formally meet President Rodrigo Duterte later in the afternoon for a welcome ceremony at Malacañan Palace.

The two leaders are expected to hold an expanded bilateral meeting and will witness the exchange of agreements between the two governments.

On Saturday (October 19), the Indian Chief Executive will meet with liver transplant patients as well as the beneficiaries of the Mahaveer Philippines Foundation, an organization that helps amputees.

Kovind will also attend the Philippine-India Business Conclave and the 4th Association of Southeast Asian Countries (ASEAN) Business Summit

On the last day of his visit, the Indian President will meet with the Indian Community in Taguig City.—AAC (with reports from Rosalie Coz)

PH as world’s biggest rice importer concerns Malacañang

Marje Pelayo   •   November 12, 2019

Filipino port workers unload sacks of rice, which are imported from Vietnam to be distributed by the National Food Authority (NFA), inside a ship docked at Surigao port, Mindanao, southern Philippines. EPA-EFE/ALLANAH TORRALBA (FILE)

MANILA, Philippines – Malacañang does not deny being concerned about recent reports that the Philippines is currently the world’s top rice importer.

According to Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo, such report may be true but the government is making sure that the Department of Agriculture (DA) is on top of the situation.

“Ginagawa naman ni Secretary Dar ang kaniyang mga pamamaraan (Secretary Dar is finding ways) to solve whatever problems confronting the farmers,” Panelo said.

The report published by the United States’ Department of Agriculture-Foreign Agricultural Services (USDA-FAS) projected the Philippines rice importation to reach a record high by year-end – about 3 million metric tons – the highest in the world and the country’s highest ever recorded.

This projection is way higher than China, the biggest rice importer so far at 2.5 million metric tons by year-end.

Malacañang, meanwhile, blames the country’s lack of irrigation as the main reason for the increase in rice importation. – MNP (with inputs from Rosalie Coz)

NHCP on Spanish-produced animated film: We respect artistic freedom

Aileen Cerrudo   •   November 8, 2019

The National Historical Commission of the Philippines (NHCP) has said they respect artistic freedom and has clarified that they do not endorse or critique films and other art forms.

This is amid the backlash from the Spanish-produced animated film, Elcano and Magellan.

In a statement, chairperson of the NHCP and the vice-chairperson of the National Quincentennial Committee Dr. Rene Escalate said the public should understand the nature of history as biased, subjective, and selective.

“This is true with the Spanish-produced animated film, Elcano and Magellan, which is, obviously, biased in favor of Spain and conforms to the Spanish point-of-view of the history,” he said.

“We are also biased toward our national sentiment and perspective: that Lapu-Lapu is our hero and Ferdinand Magellan was the defeated foreign intruder,” he added.

Escalante, meanwhile, requests the public to be critical and make use of the opportunity to discover who truly are our ancestors through books and museums.

“To enrich your knowledge about our identity as a people,” Escalante said.—AAC

Duterte thanks outgoing Ambassador Zhao for role in PH-China ties

Robie de Guzman   •   October 29, 2019

President Rodrigo Roa Duterte shakes hands with Chinise Ambassador to the Philippines Zhao Jianhua at the President’s Hall in Malacañan Palace on March 7, 2017. KING RODRIGUEZ /Presidential Photo

MANILA, Philippines – President Rodrigo Duterte thanked outgoing Chinese Ambassador Zhao Jinhua for his contributions in forging “stronger” ties between the Philippines and China.

In a farewell call held at Malacañang on Monday, Duterte acknowledged Zhao’s vital role in the more robust bilateral relations between Manila and Beijing, adding he hopes Zhao’s successor would be as good, if not better than him.

“President Duterte, whose independent foreign policy drove the Philippines closer to the Asian economic giant, wished Chinese Ambassador Zhao Jinhua good luck in his next assignment as China’s ambassador,” the Palace said in a statement late Monday night.

Zhao, 53, holds a Master’s Degree in World Economy from Nankai University and a Master’s Degree in International Policy and Practice from Elliott School of International Affairs, George Washington University.

He served as China’s envoy to the Philippines in 2014.

Prior to his appointment to the country, he was the ambassador of China to the Republic of Liberia from 2010 to 2013.

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