PH-China relations ‘restored to normalcy’ – Duterte

Marje Pelayo   •   November 20, 2018   •   3569

 

(L-R) Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte and Chinese President Xi Jinping | Photo via RTVM

MANILA, Philippines – President Rodrigo Duterte is confident that bilateral cooperation between the Philippines and China is stronger and deeper with the two-day visit of Chinese President Xi Jinping.

The President admits, however, that the two countries’ diplomatic ties have been affected by the Philippines’ dependency on the United States’ economic and political policies.

President Duterte said Xi’s visit is proof that both leaders have “restored the normalcy” that the Philippines used to have or have had with China.

“We agreed on a renewed bilateral relationship, signed some trade and commerce and for the first time China was buying everything from us. This relation plus of course the commitment of China to help in the industrialization of my country,” Duterte said.

He vows to do his part in maintaining the Philippines’ good relationship with China by strengthening people to people exchange and strengthening friendship.

“One is people to people actually. I’m sure China is very lenient in issuing visas for Filipinos intending to go [to China]. Second is that China is planning to hire Filipinos to work there. China has gone by leaps and bounds and at one time your demographic experts say that we need some land here but some factories, but we do not have enough manpower or expertise. And it has sounded off a plan to employ Filipinos that would greatly enhance our friendship, people to people, our national interest now,” he said.

Some experts agree that Xi’s visit indeed will bring positive results beneficial to the Filipino people.

“The Belt and Road is not the only initiative driving Chinese economic capital in the Philippines. It can be the Duterte-China relations. It could be the interest of Chinese firms to invest in the Philippines,” explained Alvin Camba, a Pre-Doctoral Fellow from the Global Development Policy Center.

“To elevate such bilateral relations, I think we should expect the materialization of some of the MOU’s and agreements that have been signed between the two countries,” said political analyst Li Meiting.

The two countries’ diplomatic ties turned cold when China began its activities in the disputed territory in the West Philippine Sea.

The atmosphere improved when Rodrigo Duterte became the President of the Philippine Republic. Just months after his election, President Duterte visited Beijing and returned home with billion of dollars-worth of investments and development aid. – Marje Pelayo (with reports from Victor Cosare)

Duterte to announce final decision on reduced physical distancing in public transport

Aileen Cerrudo   •   September 16, 2020

President Rodrigo Duterte will make his final decision on Thursday (September 17) regarding the reduction of physical distancing in public transportation.

Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said doctors have opposing opinions on the matter and added that last meeting of the Inter-Agency Task Force (IATF) Against COVID-19 even took six hours discussing the issue.

“Ang mga doctor iba-iba rin po ang mga pananaw. Wala pong isang opinyon pagdating dito sa pagbawas ng isang dangkal lang naman na social distancing sa pampublikong mga transportation (Our doctors have varying opinions. There is no unified opinion when it comes to social distancing in public transportation),” he said on Wednesday (September 16) during a press briefing.

Roque also said the IATF based their recommendation to reduce physical distancing on research and advice from doctors.

“Ang rekomendasyon po ay isusumite kay Preisdente. Si Presidente na po ang magde-decide (The recommendation has been submitted to the President and he will be the one to decide), Roque said. AAC (with reports from Rosalie Coz)

Duterte approves filing of cases against Morales, et al

Aileen Cerrudo   •   September 15, 2020

President Rodrigo Duterte has approved the filing of charges against former Philippine Health Insurance Corporation (PhilHealth) CEO Ricardo Morales and other officials allegedly involved in the ‘mass corruption’ inside the agency.

“The issue of PhilHealth corruption was really an important issue to the Filipinos and to everybody. And everybody again is also placed in jeopardy by the actions of the officials,” the President said.

“I’m sorry for them but you have to undergo trial. Although they can always prove their guilt beyond reasonable doubt. The presumption of innocence still attaches but the report of another agency says otherwise. So ganun ang nangyari sa PhilHealth. Halos lahat sa board,” he added.

Based on the investigation of Task Force PhilHealth, several officials have violations of withholding taxes regarding the interim reimbursement mechanism, graft, and malversion. They will also be facing charges for dishonesty, grave misconduct, disloyalty, gross neglect of duty, inefficiency and incompetence, as well as falsification of public documents.

The officials who will be facing the said charges aside from Morales are Senior Vice President Renato Limsiaco Jr., Senior Vice President Jovita Aragona, Officer-in-Charge Calixto Gabuya Jr., Senior Vice President Israel Pargas, Executive Vice President and COO Arnel De Jesus, and Division Chief Bobby Crisostomo.

Department of Justice (DOJ) Secretary Menardo Guevarra, who is also leading the Task Force PhilHealth, said they are still continuing their investigation.

“Our composite teams will continue their ongoing investigations and special audits and file legal actions as they finish one case after another,” he said in a statement.

Meanwhile, PhilHealth released a statement saying the involved officials are prepared to follow the President’s mandate and will cooperate in the process. AAC (with reports from Dante Amento)

Duterte: PH will purchase cheapest COVID-19 vaccine

Aileen Cerrudo   •   September 8, 2020

President Rodrigo Duterte said the Philippines will purchase the cheapest vaccine for the coronavirus disease (COVID-19).

During his public address Monday evening (September 7), the President said he is optimistic that a vaccine will be available this September.

“I think it’s Moderna. It’s a US company. I think they are ready by September,” he said.

Aside from China, Russia also offered their COVID-19 vaccine to the Philippines.

The President added that the government will choose the company that will offer the cheapest vaccine since the country has limited funds.

“Pare-pareho lang naman iyan. Parehong germs iyan. Kung sino lang ang nauna magbigay sa’tin na mura, doon tayo pupunta, kasi they know that we do not have enough money. Kung mahal masyado, we will go for the less expensive ones,” Duterte said. AAC (with reports from Rosalie Coz)

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