PH at a disadvantage over Chico River deal—Carpio

Aileen Cerrudo   •   March 26, 2019   •   1971

Supreme Court Associate Justice Antonio Carpio said the Philippines is at a disadvantage over the Chico River deal with China.

Carpio said that looking closely at the contract’s provision, China can seize Reed bank’s oil and natural gas if the country is unable to pay its loans.

In addition to this, China’s policies will be followed and China’s International Economic and Trade Arbitration Commission will also resolve any conflict about the contract.

Based on the document, the conditions on the contract will remain confidential unless it is needed to be put in public.

With this, Carpio reiterated that the Philippines will have the short end of the deal.

However, according to former presidential spokesperson and international law expert Atty. Harry Roque, Reed bank cannot be used as a collateral especially when the Philippines still hasn’t benefited from it.

“Inaasahan natin na mayroon nang natural gas at langis pero habang wala pa tayong nakukuhang kahit ano diyan, walang kahit sinong tatanggap diyan bilang collateral. So sa akin may pagkakaiba iyong propaganda para manira doon sa mabuting samahan ng Pilipinas at Tsina at iyong katotohanan (We expect that there is natural gas and oil but until we have not gotten anything from it no one will accept it as a collateral. So for me, there is a difference in the propaganda to tarnish the relation of the Philippines and China and the truth),” Roque said.

Meanwhile, constitutional law expert Prof. Tony La Viña said President Rodrigo Duterte can be impeached if he will allow the country’s natural resources as collateral in Chinese loans.

“Of course, it’s a culpable violation of the Constitution and it’s also a betrayal of public trust. But you have to have the numbers. So impeachment is a political thing. It’s a political instrument,” he said.

In Carpio’s presentation, China can also take the patrimonial assets of the Philippines like fuel and oil as loan payments.

Meanwhile, several communities to be affected by the Chico River deal worry that the deal will affect their ancestral domains.

“They did not even consult the community or the majority of the natives of Kalinga, especially the affected communities,” Rogyn Beyao said of Cordillera People’s Alliance.—Aileen Cerrudo (with reports from Mai Bermudez)

Duterte’s China visit to skip Fujian province

Marje Pelayo   •   August 23, 2019

MANILA, Philippines – President Rodrigo Duterte and his delegation are set to fly to China for a working visit in response to the invitation from Chinese President Xi Jinping.

It will be Duterte’s fifth visit to Beijing and his eight meeting with Xi.

The two leaders will meet on August 29 when they will discuss several agreements on education, science and technology, economy and social development.

The President himself also stressed that he would insist the Hague Arbitral Ruling during his meeting with the Chinese President along with other sensitive issues like the code of conduct and joint exploration in the disputed territory in the West Philippine Sea (WPS).

“We cannot preempt what does the President will discuss in particular regarding the arbitral ruling. So, it will be his call during the meeting with the President with his counterpart,” explained Foreign Affairs Assistant Secretary Meynardo Montealegre.

The Philippine delegation will also attend a business forum in China in cooperation with the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI).

The President’s itinerary includes a meeting with Vice President Wang Qishan and some relax time in the opening of the 2019 FIBA Basketball World Cup in Guanzhou on August 31 in support to the Philippines’ GILAS team in their game against Italy.

Meanwhile, contrary to earlier announcements, President Duterte will no longer push through with his visit to Fujian province where he was supposed to grace the launching of a university building as tribute to his mother, Soledad.

According to the President’s close in staff, this is not the right time for it.

“But for this particular visit, there was a plan and then the recommendation now is to move it at a later date because it’s more appropriate to be done at a later date and not at this particular time,” noted Robert Borje, the Chief of the Presidential Protocol and Presidential Assistant on Foreign Affairs. – MNP (with details from Rosalie Coz)


Duterte to insist arbitral ruling to China: ‘Whether you like it or not’

Marje Pelayo   •   August 22, 2019

(L-R) President Rodrigo Duterte, Pag-asa Island and Chinese President Xi Jinping

MANILA, Philippines — President Rodrigo Duterte maintained that he will raise the arbitral ruling that favors the Philippines in the disputed territories in the West Philippine Sea when he visits China next week.

Duterte is scheduled to fly to China for a working visit from August 28 to September 3.

He will meet Chinese president Xi Jinping and talk about the Hague ruling, the code of conduct, as well as the proposed joint oil exploration in the West Philippine Sea.

“So whether you like it or not, would it make you happy or not, angry or otherwise. Sorry, but we have to talk the arbitral ruling, then what we get, if there is a start of the exploration and extraction of whatever there is in the bowels of the earth,” the President said during the inauguration of the 7.5 megawatt peak solar power project in the municipality of Odiongan, Tablas Island in Romblon on Wednesday (August 21).

“The proposal of 60-40 in our favor, would be a good start. I hope it would graduate to something like towards how do we solve the arbitral ruling peacefully,” he added.

The event was the President’s first public engagement after being out of the public eye for more than a week. – MNP (with details from Rosalie Coz)

Duterte to decide on banning online gambling in PH amid China’s call – Palace

Marje Pelayo   •   August 22, 2019

MANILA, Philippines – Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo on Wednesday (August 21) said it is up to President Rodrigo Duterte to decide on the operations of online gambling in the country.

“We have to ask the President on this policy or issue,” Panelo told reporters.

“Hindi natin alam kung may possibility or wala. We have to ask the President,” he added.

On Tuesday (August 20), Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Geng Shuang has called on the Philippine government to ban all forms of online gambling.

“We have also taken note of the Philippine government’s announcement and appreciate it,” he said in a press conference in Beijing.

“We hope the Philippines will go further and ban all online gambling,” he added.

Defense officials expressed concern over proximity of Philippine Offshore Gaming Operations (POGO) near military camps arguing the possibility of Chinese workers becoming spies for Beijing.

The Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corp. (PAGCOR), meanwhile, has already stopped accepting applications for POGO licenses in the country unless underlying issues are settled.

But Panelo noted that online gambling remains legal under Philippine law.

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