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Thai king names his consort queen days before coronation

by Robie de Guzman   |   Posted on Friday, May 3rd, 2019

(L-R) Thailand’s King Maha Vajiralongkorn and Queen Suthida during their wedding ceremony in Bangkok, Thailand, May 1, 2019.

Thailand’s King Maha Vajiralongkorn announced on Wednesday (May 1) that he had married his consort, General Suthida Vajiralongkorn, and named her Queen Suthida.

The announcement, carried in the Royal Gazette, came just before the official coronation of the king, 66, on May 4-6.

Vajiralongkorn, also known by the title King Rama X, became constitutional monarch after the death of his revered father, King Bhumibol Adulyadej, in October 2016, after 70 years on the throne.

In 2014, Vajiralongkorn appointed Suthida Tidjai, a former flight attendant for Thai Airways, as a deputy commander of his bodyguard unit.

Some royal observers and foreign media have linked Suthida romantically with the king, but the palace had previously never acknowledged a relationship between them. (REUTERS)

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Duterte to join ASEAN Summit in Thailand, may discuss Reed Bank allision – DFA

by Robie de Guzman   |   Posted on Tuesday, June 18th, 2019

President Rodrigo Roa Duterte speaks before other leaders from the member countries of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) during the ASEAN Leaders’ Gathering held at the Sofitel Bali Nusa Dua in Bali, Indonesia on October 11, 2018. Also in the photo is Secretary Christopher Lawrence ‘Bong’ Go of the Office of the Special Assistant to the President. Photo from PCOO fb

MANILA, Philippines – President Rodrigo Duterte is set to fly to Thailand this week to participate in the 34th Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) Summit in Bangkok.

The ASEAN Summit, which will also be attended by other heads of member states, will be held from June 22 to 23, according to the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA).

DFA Assistant Secretary Junever Mahilum-West told reporters at a Malacañang press briefing Tuesday that Duterte will be accompanied by the secretaries of DFA, Department of Trade and Industry, Department Social Welfare and Development, Department of Finance, Department of Transportation, Tourism and Agriculture.

Mahilum said the President is expected to have bilateral meetings with other ASEAN leaders during the sidelines of the summit.

She added that during the Leaders’ retreat, the chief executive may take up the maritime dispute in the West Philippine Sea (South China Sea) against China as it falls under the agenda on regional and international developments.

“Well, as you know the Philippines is coordinator of the ASEAN China dialogue partnership from 2018 to 2021, for three years. And during this coordinatorship, we are negotiating ASEAN Member States and China on the Code of Conduct for the South China Sea, on the South China Sea,” she said.

“And in these negotiations, incidents like what happened to our fishermen will be among those on the agenda, during the negotiations,” she added.

However, she clarified that it is still premature to say whether the recent allision incident near Recto Bank (also called Reed Bank) involving Filipino and Chinese fishing vessels will particularly be raised at the Bangkok summit pending investigations.

“There is this investigation that’s ongoing, that up to the present discloses a certain fact that we did not know before. Also, we lodged a strong protest with China and we are awaiting China’s response to this,” she said.

The government earlier said a further probe will be conducted into the incident which will be led by the Maritime Authority (Marina) and the Philippine Coast Guard (PCG).

READ: Marina, PCG to conduct further probe on West PH sea collision

“Puwede namang during exchange of views on regional development, there is an opening to raise these issues, because incidents like what happened emphasized the importance of having a code of conduct so that we could avoid, we could prevent these incidents from happening in the future,” she said.

Mahilum emphasized that having a code of conduct in the disputed territories in the West Philippine Sea would help set guidelines among claimants to prevent any more similar maritime incidents.

“It’s precisely why we need a code so that this instance could be taken on board and we would have a guideline for countries in the region on how to behave, on how to act in order to prevent these incidents that caused some — that might cause tension in the region,” she added.

Prior to the summit, Mahilum said that negotiations have been made on a single draft negotiating text between ASEAN member states and China and the first reading is expected to be finished by end of this year.

Aside from attending the Leaders’ retreat, the President is also expected to join the summit plenary, gala dinner and the 13th Brunei Darussalam-Indonesia-Malaysia-Philippines East ASEAN Growth Area (BIMP-EAGA) Summit.

Mahilum, however, could not say if the President will be able to meet with the Filipino Community in Thailand due to the very hectic Summit schedule.

This will be Duterte’s third visit to Thailand since assuming office.

He is expected to return to the Philippines on June 24. (with details from Rosalie Coz)

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Thais surprised by new queen ahead of coronation

by Robie de Guzman   |   Posted on Friday, May 3rd, 2019

(L-R) Thailand’s King Maha Vajiralongkorn and Queen Suthida during their wedding ceremony in Bangkok, Thailand, May 1, 2019. | Courtesy : Reuters

Many Thais said on Thursday (May 2) they were excited to see the newly named Queen Suthida while others said they were surprised since there were no signs of an impending royal wedding before the marriage announcement.

Thailand’s King Maha Vajiralongkorn announced on Wednesday (May 1) that he has married Suthida Tidjai, the deputy head of his personal guard force and a former flight attendant for Thai Airways, and released footage of a wedding ceremony to all Thai television channels.

Vajiralongkorn, 66, also known by the title King Rama X, became constitutional monarch after the death of his revered father, King Bhumibol Adulyadej.

He is due to be officially crowned in elaborate Buddhist and Brahmin ceremonies on Saturday (May 4), followed by a procession through Bangkok the next day.

In 2014, Vajiralongkorn appointed Suthida as a deputy commander of his bodyguard unit.

Some royal observers and foreign media had linked Suthida romantically with the king, but the palace had previously never acknowledged a relationship between them.

Vajiralongkorn was previously married and divorced three times and has seven children. (REUTERS)

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Thailand to open opportunities for Filipino English teachers – Bello

by Marje Pelayo   |   Posted on Tuesday, April 9th, 2019

Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III

MANILA, Philippines – Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III has announced that a labor agreement is soon to be signed with the government of Thailand to hire hundreds of Filipino English teachers.

Bello said he is set to meet with the Thai Ministry of Employment officials to discuss the provisions of the agreement under the Thai government’s ‘English for All’ Project in the area of Eastern Economic Corridor.

Bello said, “Filipino teachers are the preferred nationals needed by the government of Thailand because of the excellent English proficiency and competence of our teachers.”

Under the proposed agreement, the Thailand Ministry of Education will hire teachers to teach English to students in primary and secondary levels in government schools.

Successful applicants will receive 25,000 baht per month or P45,000 salary, inclusive of housing allowance, according to Bello.

Likewise, they will be provided with personal accident insurance, round trip airfare, and work permit fees to be shouldered by the Thai government.

Meanwhile, Secretary Bello said Thailand is also opening job opportunities to other foreign professionals in in the field of accounting, architecture, engineering, medicine and dental medicine.

According to government record, there are 16,704 overseas Filipino workers in Thailand.

A total of 11,848 of them are professionals, mostly composed of teachers, musicians and other professionals. – Marje Pelayo

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