Palace: Duterte’s war threat vs Canada just a figure of speech

Robie de Guzman   •   April 29, 2019   •   1603

MANILA, Philippines – Malacañang clarified on Monday that President Rodrigo Duterte’s threat to wage war against Canada over the garbage shipped to the Philippines was just a figure of speech.

Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo made the statement after Duterte issued a stern warning against Canada if it fails to take back their garbage that was shipped to the country nearly six years ago.

During a Palace press briefing, Panelo said the President was not serious in engaging Canada in war, but emphasized that Duterte was serious in sending the trash back.

The Palace official added that Duterte was just expressing his anger over Canadian government’s inaction on the waste issue.

“No, bakit naman irresponsible eh apat na taon mong tinapon ‘yung basura sa bansa natin, hindi ka magsasalita ng ganoon? That’s an expression of outrage, couched in a very strong term,” he said.

Last week, Duterte said he wanted the trash shipload from Canada be returned to its shores, even raising the possibility of going to war against the North American country.

The President was referring to the more than 100 containers of mixed waste shipment that arrived in Manila in batches from 2013 to 2014.

“The instruction is kunin nila. Kung hindi niyo kukunin, kami ang mag-babalik sa inyo,” Panelo said.

Following Duterte’s strong remarks, Canada in a statement reaffirmed its commitment to working with the Philippine government “to ensure the material is processed in an environmentally responsible way.”

READ: Canada vows to resolve trash dumping issue after Duterte’s war threat

The embassy added that the relationship between the two countries “is built on strong people to people ties, common interest in strengthening political, economic and cultural relations, and in mutual commitment to peace” and is highly valued as the two countries celebrate their 70 years of diplomatic relations this year.

During his visit to the Philippines to attend the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) Summit in 2017, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau vowed to cooperate with the Philippine government in resolving the offending shipment.

Trudeau, however, said the Philippines and Canadian governments need to settle issues including who will pay for the shipment of the illegal trash to the country. – Robie de Guzman (with reports from Rosalie Coz)

Duterte orders gov’t agencies to respond to quake-affected residents in Mindanao

Marje Pelayo   •   October 17, 2019

MANILA, Philippines – President Rodrigo Duterte expressed sympathy to those who were affected by the earthquake in several parts of Mindanao, according to Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo.

In a statement, Panelo said the administration is asking the public to refrain from spreading disinformation which may cause undue alarm, panic, and stress to many.

In view of possible aftershocks, the Palace asks the public to remain calm and vigilant.

Panelo also gave the assurance that the national government, through the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (PHIVOLCS), is closely monitoring the situation and that the President has already ordered concerned agencies to act appropriately in assisting those who were affected.

“The Office of the President has already tasked all concerned agencies of the government to mobilize, respond and provide immediate assistance to those in need, as well as to study plans on how to rehabilitate the damaged areas,” Panelo concluded. MNP (with details from Rosalie Coz)

Duterte names former House Speaker Belmonte special envoy to Japan

Robie de Guzman   •   October 16, 2019

President Rodrigo Duterte (L) raises the hand of former House Speaker Feliciano “Sonny” Belmonte in an undated photo that was released on May 10, 2019.

MANILA, Philippines – President Rodrigo Duterte has named former House Speaker Feliciano “Sonny” Belmonte as Special Envoy to Japan.

Based on a document from Malacañang released on Wednesday, Belmonte was appointed as special envoy to Japan for trade and market access.

Belmonte was appointed by Duterte on Oct. 15, Tuesday.

He served as Representative of the 4th District of Quezon City for three terms, and was elected as House speaker of the 15th and 16th Congress during the time of former presidents Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo and Benigno Aquino III, respectively.

Belmonte was Liberal Party’s former vice chairman before he resigned in September last year. – RRD (with details from Correspondent Rosalie Coz)

Yulo, Petecio other athletes to meet with Duterte

Aileen Cerrudo   •   October 15, 2019

(L-R) Pole vaulter John Ernest Obiena, boxer Eumir Marcial, gymnast Carlos Yulo and boxer Nesthy Petecio

Filipino athletes including gymnast Carlos Yulo and boxer Nesthy Petecio will meet President Rodrigo Duterte on Wednesday (October 16), according to Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo.

“They will be meeting with the President. They will have a courtesy call,” Panelo said during the press briefing on Tuesday (October 15).

Yulo has won the gold medal in the 41st FIG Artistic Gymnastics World Championship while Petecio clinched the gold in the Women’s World Boxing Championship featherweight division.

John Ernest Obiena, the first Filipino to qualify in the 2020 Olympics, will also meet the president. Boxer Eumir Marcial will also join the three athletes in the courtesy call on Wednesday.—AAC

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