Robredo: Majority of illegal drugs in PH came from China

Aileen Cerrudo   •   November 15, 2019   •   402

Vice President Leni Robredo

Vice President Leni Robredo who is also the co-chairman of the government’s anti-illegal drug program, said that the majority of the illegal drugs in the country came from China.

After the Inter-agency Committee on Anti-Illegal Drugs (ICAD) Enforcement Cluster Meeting on Thursday (November 14), Robredo said this is based on the reports they currently have.

“Kasi iyong pinaka-report talaga sa atin ngayon, karamihan sa supply na pumapasok dito, galing China. Pati iyon mga nahuhuli sa ma nago-operate within the Philippines, karamihan Chinese nationals or Filipino-Chinese national (Because based on the reports we have, most of the supply entering the country came from China. Even those who are arrested for operating in the Philippines, most of them are Chinese nationals or Filipino-Chinese nationals),” she said.

The vice president also said she wants to collect more data and review the information they have gathered regarding the supply of illegal drugs entering the country.

However, according to the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) Chief Aaron Aquino the drugs entering the country came from the Golden Triangle Drug Syndicate.

The Golden Triangle, Aquino said, is an area on the border of Thailand, Myanmar, and Laos.

Aquino added that due to the crackdown of illegal drugs in China, drug syndicates in the said country opted to get their supply from other places instead of manufacturing it.

Meanwhile, Robredo also plans to coordinate with other countries including the United States regarding the drug war in order to strengthen the government’s campaign against illegal drugs.—AAC (with reports from Vincent Arboleda)

PH, Japan meet tackle closer cooperation on key infrastructure projects

Robie de Guzman   •   December 10, 2019

MANILA, Philippines – The Philippines and Japan both agreed to strengthen the strategic partnership between the two countries in implementing key infrastructure projects under the administration of President Rodrigo Duterte.

In a statement, the Department of Finance (DOF) said that during the high-level meeting held in Hakone last Dec. 6, Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez and Japan’s Hiroto Izumi, special advisor to Japan Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, discussed Japan’s continued assistance for the Philippines’ infrastructure projects.

The two sides also expressed readiness to sign the JPY4.409 billion supplemental loan agreement for the Metro Manila Priority Seismic Bridge Improvement Project in the coming months.

During the meeting, the two officials signed the memorandum of cooperation (MOC) signifying the latter’s commitment to provide technical support to the Duterte administration’s formulation of a regional development master plan designed to maximize the economic potentials of the Subic Bay and its surrounding areas.

In November, the DOF said that Japan have committed to support the masterplan which includes the development of possible projects that will help boost economy in the Subic Bay area.

Japan also committed to extend additional technical assistance that are critical to the Philippines’ campaign to bridge the infrastructure financing gap.

Both sides likewise confirmed to work towards the signing of the exchange of notes and the loan agreement for a supplemental loan to finance the ongoing Davao City Bypass Construction Project (DCBCP).

The two countries also committed to speed up the formulation of the Central Mindanao Highway Project (Cagayan de Oro-Malaybalay Section), as a candidate for Japanese official development assistance (ODA).

In addition, the DOF said that Japanese officials have expressed their intention to conduct pre-feasibility studies for four of the Philippines’ priority projects: the Cebu Circumferential Road, Second San Juanico Bridge and Access Road, Central Mindanao Highway (Cagayan de Oro-Malaybay Section), and Agusan del Norte-Butuan City Logistical Highway (4th Butuan Bridge.)

Japan also reiterated its intention to provide a loan for the Cebu-Mactan Bridge and Coastal Road Construction Project, as well as additional technical assistance to the Bangsamoro Transition Authority (BTA) and the rehabilitation and reconstruction of the Most Affected Areas (MAA) in Marawi City.

The two sides also discussed other loan financing arrangements for the Philippines as it transitions to Upper Middle-Income Country (UMIC) status ahead of schedule in 2020.

Morales, Del Rosario insist ICC did not reject communication vs China’s Xi Jinping

Robie de Guzman   •   December 6, 2019

MANILA, Philippines – Former Ombudsman Conchita Carpio-Morales and former Foreign Affairs Secretary Alberto del Rosario insisted that the International Criminal Court (ICC) did not reject the communication they filed against Chinese President Xi Jinping for Beijing’s actions in the West Philippine Sea.

This is after the ICC said in its report that it had no jurisdiction over the case.

In a report released Thursday, ICC Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda said the tribunal does not have jurisdiction over Morales and Del Rosario’s complaint against China’s alleged crimes against humanity in the West Philippine Sea.

The Court also found it does not have jurisdiction over the complaint as the accused are from China, which is not a state party to the Rome Statute – the treaty which formed the tribunal.

“The crimes referred to in the communication were allegedly committed by Chinese nationals in the territory of the Philippines. China is not a State Party to the Rome Statute. Accordingly, the Court lacks personal jurisdiction,” the report read.

On March 15, 2019, Morales and Del Rosario filed a communication before the ICC against Xi and other Chinese officials over China’s alleged “atrocious actions” in the West Philippine Sea.

They accused the Chinese executives of committing of crimes against humanity for purportedly damaging the resources at the disputed territory through Beijing’s ongoing reclamation activities in the area.

The ICC noted that while the alleged crimes of Xi and other Chinese officials occurred in the Philippines’ exclusive economic zone (EEZ), it cannot be considered a territory of the state.

“Criminal conduct which takes place in the EEZ and continental shelf is thus in principle outside of the territory of a Coastal State… This circumstance is not altered by the fact that certain rights of the Coastal State are recognised in these areas,” it said.

Del Rosario and Carpio-Morales, however, said in a joint statement that the ICC’s report only strengthened their resolve, adding that the Prosecutor welcomes new facts and evidence to proceed with the case.

“Let them gloat in the meantime. This is just the beginning. Abangan,” Carpio-Morales said.

The ICC report stated that its findings may be reconsidered in light of new facts and evidence, which Del Rosario and Carpio-Morales vowed to provide. – RRD (with details from Correspondent Rosalie Coz)

PH, Japan infrastructure meet set in Hakone on Dec. 6

Robie de Guzman   •   December 5, 2019

(FILE) From left to right: Socioeconomic Planning Secretary Ernesto M. Pernia, Finance Secretary Carlos G. Dominguez III, Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga, and Special Adviser to the Prime Minister Dr. Hiroto Izumi (Courtesy: Philippine Embassy to Tokyo website)

MANILA, Philippines – Economic officials from the Philippines and Japan are set to meet on Dec. 6, Friday to discuss the progress of the Duterte administration’s big-ticket infrastructure projects being financed by Tokyo.

Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez III, and Economic and Planning Secretary Ernesto Pernia will lead the Philippine delegation, while Dr. Hiroto Izumi will head the Japanese team in the next high-level meeting set in Hakone town in eastern Japan.

The Department of Finance (DOF) said in a statement the meeting of the Philippines-Japan Joint Committee on Infrastructure Development and Economic Cooperation will be the ninth such dialogue between the two countries.

The first meeting was convened in March 2017 at Kantei, the Prime Minister’s Office in Tokyo, Japan, while the most recent was held at a hotel in Clark, Pampanga.

Dominguez said the regular meetings held between the two countries is part of the “fast and sure” approach adopted by the two countries to ensure the smooth and swift implementation of the Japan-funded projects under President Rodrigo Duterte’s signature “Build, Build, Build” infrastructure modernization program.

“A clear demonstration of this ‘fast and sure’ approach was the signing of 10 loan agreements between Manila and Tokyo since President Duterte assumed office in June 2016,” he added.

These loan agreements include Maritime Safety Capability Improvement Project for the Philippine Coast Guard (Phase II), Harnessing Agribusiness Opportunities through Robust and Vibrant Entrepreneurship Supportive of Peaceful Transformation (HARVEST); Cavite Industrial Area Flood Risk Management Project; Arterial Road Bypass Project (Phase III) in Bulacan; New Bohol Airport Construction and Sustainable Environment Protection Project (II); Metro Rail Transit Line 3 Rehabilitation Project; Pasig-Marikina River Channel Improvement Project (Phase IV); North-South Commuter Railway Extension Project or NSCREP (1st tranche of loan); Metro Manila Subway Project or MMSP (Phase I), which is the single biggest venture under the “Build, Build, Build” program; and Road Network Development Project in Conflict-Affected Areas in Mindanao.

The finance chief noted that several of these agreements involving infrastructure projects were each processed and approved in a short span of 3 to 4 months.The DOF also said that as of December 2018, Japan is still the top provider of Official Development Assistance (ODA) loans and grants totaling US$8.26 billion or 46 percent share of the Philippines’ total ODA loan portfolio.

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