Palace sees ‘exciting times’ ahead with rumored incoming US envoy Mina Chang

Marje Pelayo   •   July 10, 2019   •   1128

Deputy Assistant Secretary Mina Chang

MANILA, Philippines – The United States is reportedly sending Deputy Assistant Secretary Mina Chang as the replacement to outgoing U.S. Ambassador to the Philippines Sung Kim, according to insider information from the US Executive Department.

The report set the country’s diplomatic scene abuzz and though he couldn’t confirm it, Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo was obviously thrilled saying days ahead would be “exciting” if Chang’s appointment would push through.

Why?

First, the 32-year-old Korean-American diplomat is a stunner and is among the top-caliber official of the United States government.

She is currently assigned to the State Department’s Bureau of Conflict and Stabilization Operations.

Second, she is an advocate of global education. Before assuming a government position, Chang was the Chief Executive Officer of the non-government organization Linking the World.

Likewise, she is an advocate “for proactive stabilization as a strategic tool of foreign engagement and an investment in a stronger America abroad.”

According to her U.S. State Department profile, Chang has “extensive on the ground experience in conflict areas such as in Afghanistan, Iraq, Somalia, Nigeria, and the Philippines.”

Third, Chang has impressive academic credentials: “An alumna of the Harvard Business School, a graduate of the United States Army War College National Security Seminar, a Harvard John F. Kennedy Senior Executive in National and International Security and a former International Security Fellow at New America.”

Aside from good looks, Chang also had a flourishing career as an international pop singer and recorded both English and Korean songs, a platform she used to push her humanitarian goals.

With the Filipinos’ weakness for beauty pageants and President Rodrigo Duterte’s fondness for beautiful women, U.S. President Donald Trump is perhaps using this ‘beauty queen diplomacy’ to convince the President to make a turn around as he pivots to China.

Once confirmed, Chang will be the second female US ambassador to the Philippines after Kristie Kenney, who served as ambassador to Manila from 2006 to 2009.  

Duterte, Panelo one-on-one interview deferred anew

Robie de Guzman   •   January 28, 2020

Presidential spokesperson Salvador Panelo and President Rodrigo Duterte

MANILA, Philippines – The scheduled televised one-on-one interview of President Rodrigo Duterte with his spokesperson Salvador Panelo has been postponed anew.

In a televised advisory, Panelo said the interview with Duterte, which was supposed to be held Tuesday, will be moved to a later date because the president is feeling “under the weather.”

Panelo said it may be rescheduled next week.

The said interview was initially set on January 22 but was postponed due to “pressing matters.”

The president conducted his first televised interview with Panelo in September 2018 where they discussed wide-ranging topics on martial law in Mindanao, reopening of Boracay Island, increasing rice prices, his critic former Senator Antonio Trillanes IV, among others. – RRD (with details from Correspondent Rosalie Coz)

Duterte to sign 2020 nat’l budget on January 6, Palace confirms

Aileen Cerrudo   •   January 3, 2020

President Rodrigo Roa Duterte delivers a speech during his visit to the earthquake victims at the M’lang National High School in Cotabato on December 30, 2019. TOTO LOZANO/PRESIDENTIAL PHOTO

Malacañang has confirmed that President Rodrigo Duterte will sign the P4.1 trillion 2020 national budget on Monday (January 6).

Presidential Legislative Liason Office Secretary Adelino Sitoy said there will be a presidential ceremonial signing at the Malacañang Palace on Monday.

However, Sitoy did not confirm if the president will veto provisions in the said budget.

According to Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo, the president did not mention about a possible veto.

The Department of Budget and Management (DBM) has finished the review of the General Appropriations Bill last week.—AAC (with reports from Rosalie Coz)

It’s final! No more extension of martial law in Mindanao — Palace

Marje Pelayo   •   December 30, 2019

MANILA, Philippines – Many residents in Mindanao have been wishing for the extension of martial law in the region.

However, on Tuesday (December 31), the implementation of Martial Law in Mindanao will be lifted after being extended thrice since it was declared by President Rodrigo Duterte in 2017 after the terrorist group Maute-ISIS took over the city of Marawi.

According to Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo, the President’s decision to lift martial law is already final.

“President Rodrigo Duterte is not extending martial law,” Panelo announced, “It will expire on December 31, 2019.”

Even Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana recommended its termination.

“The whole of Mindanao, no selective martial law, because I was assured by our Armed Forces and the PNP that we have already accomplished what we aim to do with martial law,” Lorenzana explained.

Meanwhile, Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) Spokesperson BGen. Edgard Arevalo noted several grounds for the termination of martial law in Mindanao.

Arevalo said the AFP and the Philippine National Police attested that the situation in the region has become stable since the incidence of terrorism and rebellion has dwindled.

“Mayroon na pong pronouncement ang Malacañang na hindi na i-e-extend ang martial law beyond December 31,” Arevalo confirmed.

Still, some residents wish martial law to remain in their region as it helped a lot in disciplining the public — especially the youth— and deterring violence, especially during the wee hours.

“Okay ang pamamalakad dito. Naayos ang kalagayan ng mga tao,” noted a resident Roxanne Armada.

“Hindi na sila nagtatagal para tumambay lalo na ang mga kabataan hindi sila nagtatagal umuwi sa bahay,” she added.

“Pabor ako sa martial law dito sa Mindanao kasi nabawasan ang krimen,” observed another resident Jayson Jacinto.

They fear that with the lifting of martial law, lawless elements might take advantage of the situation and sow violence again as they have done in the past. – MNP (with reports from Dante Amento)

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