PH, China cooperation against illegal online gambling a must – Locsin

Marje Pelayo   •   November 28, 2018   •   3637

 

FILE PHOTO: President Rodrigo Roa Duterte and President Xi Jinping of People’s Republic of China shake hands after declaring their joint press statements during the successful expanded bilateral meeting at the Malacañan Palace on November 20, 2018. | PCOO\Alfred Frias

 

PASAY CITY, Philippines – Foreign Affairs Secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr. believes there must be an established cooperation between the Philippines and China against illegal online gambling.

On Wednesday (November 28), Locsin said such a measure will prevent misunderstanding between the two countries on matters concerning their respective migrant workers living and working in both of their soils.

Locsin’s suggestion comes after calls from senators who were pushing the government to launch a crackdown against Chinese foreign workers.

Most of the Chinese migrant workers in the Philippines are into the online gaming industry.

“But far from endangering or anyway affecting our relations with China, apparently we are going to do two things. One, online gambling is illegal where gonna stop it out with the help and not against the objection of China,” Locsin said.

Locsin said it is likely that the countries would join hands and help each other in addressing the issue.

 “Two law enforcement agencies will be able to coordinate without it looking as we had surrendered our sovereignty,” the Foreign Affairs secretary said.

During Wednesday’s deliberation of Locsin’s confirmation, senators expressed concern that Filipino workers will end up competing with illegal aliens seeking for employment opportunities in the country.

This, according to Senator Risa Hontiveros, is a ‘direct assault’ on our sovereignty and economy.

For his part, Senate President Vicente Sotto III reminds the government to be careful in mentioning the number of alleged illegal Chinese workers in the country as it would bring a negative effect on Filipino workers in China.

‘Iyong undocumented na nahuli is not less than 1,000. We must remember that there are over 200,000 Filipinos in Hong Kong that are undocumented,” Sotto said.

The Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) will be forming a special task force to check on the operations of Philippine Offshore Gaming operators (POGO) in the country.

Majority of Chinese workers with valid working permits are linked to POGO industry. – Marje Pelayo (with reports from Nel Maribojoc)

PH Military to probe alleged China harassment of TV crew in West Philippine Sea

Robie de Guzman   •   April 9, 2021

MANILA, Philippines – The Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) has been ordered to conduct an investigation into the alleged harassment of Chinese vessels on a Filipino television crew in the West Philippine Sea, the Department of National Defense (DND) said Friday.

In a statement, DND spokesperson Arsenio Andolong said the AFP will gather and validate all information relating to the incident.

“The Defense Department has directed the AFP through its Western Command to investigate, gather, and validate all the relevant facts on the incident,” he said.

Andolong said the outcome of the investigation will be used to coordinate any appropriate action through the National Task Force-West Philippine Sea, as well as engagement among the Department of Foreign Affairs, Department of Transportation, and other concerned agencies.

“We are concerned for the safety of anyone — unarmed civilians — at sea. As such, we view the report with concern,” he said.

In a separate statement, the AFP has expressed concern over the reported harassment of Chinese PLA Navy Vessels and a Chinese Coast Guard on another vessel carrying a television crew.

The media team was reportedly chased by Chinese boats while on its way to Ayungin Shoal, about 105 nautical miles from Palawan. The area is part of the Philippines’ exclusive economic zone.

AFP Spokesperson Marine Major General Edgard Arevalo said the Western Mindanao Command is looking into the incident to establish what really transpired.

“We have made representations with the news reporter to provide us raw footage or photographs they have of the incident to help us establish the circumstances and document the incident,” Arevalo said.

He, likewise, appealed to journalists to “exercise prudence in the course of their job.”

“We have accommodated members of media in our ships and aircraft to do their coverage so they can be protected while in the practice of their profession,” Arevalo said.

He added, “The AFP is concerned with the safety and well-being of our Kababayans that we have been forthright and transparent in our reporting about the situation in our EEZ.”

“Amidst the situation, the AFP reiterates its commitment to follow the dictates of the Constitution to protect the people and secure our sovereignty and sovereign rights,” he said.

PH gov’t on South China Sea issue: ‘We keep all options open’

Robie de Guzman   •   April 9, 2021

 

MANILA, Philippines – The Philippine government is keeping all its options open amid growing tensions over the presence of Chinese vessels in the contested South China Sea, the Department of National Defense (DND) said.

Disputes over the resource-rich waters have escalated in March after the Philippine military spotted more than 200 Chinese boats at the Julian Felipe Reef.

China claims that the area is part of its traditional fishing ground and that the vessels there were not a maritime militia but fishing boats that were only seeking temporary shelter due to rough sea conditions.

The Philippine government, however, insists that Julian Felipe Reef is part of the Kalayaan Island Group and lies in the Exclusive Economic Zone of the Republic of the Philippines. It is located 175 nautical miles west of Bataraza town in Palawan and 638,229 nautical miles from Hainan Island.

The Philippine Department of Foreign Affairs has repeatedly fired off diplomatic protest and called for the immediate withdrawal of the vessels. China, however, refused the appeals.

“As the situation in the West Philippine Sea evolves, we keep all our options open in managing the situation, including leveraging our partnerships with other nations such as the United States,” DND spokesperson Director Arsenio Andolong said in a statement.

Andolong’s issued the statement after the United States reminded China of Washington’s obligations to its treaty partners, including the Philippines, in the event of an attack in the waters.

“An armed attack against the Philippines’ armed forces, public vessels or aircraft in the Pacific, including in the South China Sea, will trigger our obligations under the US-Philippines Mutual Defense Treaty,” State Department spokesman Ned Price said on Wednesday.

“We share the concerns of our Philippine allies regarding the continued reported massing of PRC maritime militia near the Whitsun Reef,” Price said, referring to the People’s Republic of China.

Andolong said the United States’ admonition to China against the use of force on Philippine public vessels and aircraft, which are performing their constitutional mandate to protect and defend Philippine rights in the South China Sea, including the West Philippine Sea, “is an additional affirmation of the long-standing partnership between our two countries.”

“This also demonstrates the strength of our alliance and mutual commitment to promote the rules-based international order,” he added.

Andolong said the Philippines is closely coordinating with the United States on the matter of mutual defense.

“Both parties are committed to undertake their obligations under the Mutual Defense Treaty so that neither stands alone in these issues involving the two states’ inherent right of self-defense, individually and collectively,” he said.

“We remain committed to protecting and defending our national interests while upholding the security and stability in the region through a peaceful and rules-based approach,” he added.

Philippines files third diplomatic protest vs. China over Julian Felipe Reef

Marje Pelayo   •   April 7, 2021

MANILA, Philippines – Chinese vessels at Julian Felipe reef seem unfazed by repeated calls to leave the area that is within the Philippines exclusive economic zone (EEZ).

Thus, Foreign Affairs Secretary Teddy Locsin Jr. is likewise persistent in filing daily diplomatic protests against China until the latter removes its vessels from the Philippine territory.

On Wednesday (April 7) the Philippines lodged its third diplomatic protest against the communist government in relation to the incident at Julian Felipe Reef.

It was the National Task Force of the West Philippine Sea that revealed the presence of some 200 Chinese vessels in the reef, some 175 nautical miles from Palawan.

Despite days of exchanges on social media between the Department of National Defense and the Chinese Embassy in Manila, some of the vessels still remain in the area.

But according to former police chief now Senator Panfilo Lacson, a diplomatic protest seem futile since China has repeatedly ignored it.

“Diplomatic protests may not be too helpful anymore as China continues to ignore the same. Further, while it is a standard document used to call the attention of the other party, China’s consistent attitude of taking for granted such action taken by the DFA reduces it to a mere point of information,” Lacson said.

“That said, perhaps China would not be so dismissive if we and our allies, both in the Asia-Pacific and the west, show we can band together to maintain a balance of power in the region, including the West Philippine Sea,” he added.

Meanwhile, Representative Rufus Rodriguez called on the United States to constantly conduct maritime patrol in the West Philippine Sea to deter Chinese intrusion into Philippine territory.

“Two FON patrols in more than three months. They should criss-cross that area more often to challenge China’s claim over most of the South China Sea, including international waters and a large part of the Philippine EEZ,” Rodriguez said. MNP (with reports from Rosalie Coz)

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