PH withdrawal from ICC, no effect on the justice system — Calida

Aileen Cerrudo   •   March 25, 2019   •   1315

courtesy : reuters

MANILA, Philippines — The Philippine’s withdrawal from the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court (ICC) will not have an effect on the country’s justice system, according to Solicitor General Jose Calida.

“The Philippine justice system functions independently with or without membership in the ICC. Hence, the withdrawal of the Philippines from the Rome Statute has no effect on our justice system,” Calida said.

Calida made the statement after former ombudsman Conchita Carpio-Morales and former Foreign Affairs Secretary Albert del Rosario filed a complaint at the ICC against China’s President Xi Jinping.

According to the two former officials, they filed the complaint on March 15, or two days before the ICC withdrawal became effective.

They want President Xi and two other Chinese officials to be accountable for the destruction of marine resources and harassment of fishermen in the disputed South China Sea.

“I think we discussed that there might be four avenues that might be considered one is imprisonment. I understand that the maximum number of years is 40 years. We might consider penalties, we might consider monetary considerations and reparations,” Del Rosario said.

“They are almost complete in the militarization. And that’s the reason why we have to file this case because while we wanted to arrest this. There are almost …the secretary of foreign affairs stated a while ago other things that we expect from this…could be reparation,” Carpio-Morales said.

Meanwhile, former presidential spokesperson and ICC advocate Atty. Harry Roque doubts the outcome of the complaint filed by Carpio-Morales and Del Rosario.

“Kasi unang-una, hindi po partido ang China sa Rome Statute. Pangalawa, hindi naman po ito ni-refer ng security council at pangatlo, hindi naman ito ni-refer ng bansang Tsina, (First of all, China is not a part of the Rome Statute. Secondly, it was not referred by the security council and third, it was not referred by China)” Roque said.

Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra said the complaint will not be successful because “it was more of a political statement than a true legal action”.—Aileen Cerrudo (with reports from Mai Bermudez)

PH as world’s biggest rice importer concerns Malacañang

Marje Pelayo   •   November 12, 2019

Filipino port workers unload sacks of rice, which are imported from Vietnam to be distributed by the National Food Authority (NFA), inside a ship docked at Surigao port, Mindanao, southern Philippines. EPA-EFE/ALLANAH TORRALBA (FILE)

MANILA, Philippines – Malacañang does not deny being concerned about recent reports that the Philippines is currently the world’s top rice importer.

According to Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo, such report may be true but the government is making sure that the Department of Agriculture (DA) is on top of the situation.

“Ginagawa naman ni Secretary Dar ang kaniyang mga pamamaraan (Secretary Dar is finding ways) to solve whatever problems confronting the farmers,” Panelo said.

The report published by the United States’ Department of Agriculture-Foreign Agricultural Services (USDA-FAS) projected the Philippines rice importation to reach a record high by year-end – about 3 million metric tons – the highest in the world and the country’s highest ever recorded.

This projection is way higher than China, the biggest rice importer so far at 2.5 million metric tons by year-end.

Malacañang, meanwhile, blames the country’s lack of irrigation as the main reason for the increase in rice importation. – MNP (with inputs from Rosalie Coz)

NHCP on Spanish-produced animated film: We respect artistic freedom

Aileen Cerrudo   •   November 8, 2019

The National Historical Commission of the Philippines (NHCP) has said they respect artistic freedom and has clarified that they do not endorse or critique films and other art forms.

This is amid the backlash from the Spanish-produced animated film, Elcano and Magellan.

In a statement, chairperson of the NHCP and the vice-chairperson of the National Quincentennial Committee Dr. Rene Escalate said the public should understand the nature of history as biased, subjective, and selective.

“This is true with the Spanish-produced animated film, Elcano and Magellan, which is, obviously, biased in favor of Spain and conforms to the Spanish point-of-view of the history,” he said.

“We are also biased toward our national sentiment and perspective: that Lapu-Lapu is our hero and Ferdinand Magellan was the defeated foreign intruder,” he added.

Escalante, meanwhile, requests the public to be critical and make use of the opportunity to discover who truly are our ancestors through books and museums.

“To enrich your knowledge about our identity as a people,” Escalante said.—AAC

Duterte thanks outgoing Ambassador Zhao for role in PH-China ties

Robie de Guzman   •   October 29, 2019

President Rodrigo Roa Duterte shakes hands with Chinise Ambassador to the Philippines Zhao Jianhua at the President’s Hall in Malacañan Palace on March 7, 2017. KING RODRIGUEZ /Presidential Photo

MANILA, Philippines – President Rodrigo Duterte thanked outgoing Chinese Ambassador Zhao Jinhua for his contributions in forging “stronger” ties between the Philippines and China.

In a farewell call held at Malacañang on Monday, Duterte acknowledged Zhao’s vital role in the more robust bilateral relations between Manila and Beijing, adding he hopes Zhao’s successor would be as good, if not better than him.

“President Duterte, whose independent foreign policy drove the Philippines closer to the Asian economic giant, wished Chinese Ambassador Zhao Jinhua good luck in his next assignment as China’s ambassador,” the Palace said in a statement late Monday night.

Zhao, 53, holds a Master’s Degree in World Economy from Nankai University and a Master’s Degree in International Policy and Practice from Elliott School of International Affairs, George Washington University.

He served as China’s envoy to the Philippines in 2014.

Prior to his appointment to the country, he was the ambassador of China to the Republic of Liberia from 2010 to 2013.

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