UN calls for global ceasefire amid COVID-19 pandemic
Marje Pelayo • September 23, 2020 • 447
MANILA, Philippines — Secretary General Antonio Guterres of the United Nations (UN) is calling for a global ceasefire so that nations can focus on their respective responses to the current coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic.
This was the official’s call at the opening of the first virtual UN General Assembly on September 22.
Guterres did not mention the countries concerned but he stressed on the need to stop a potential cold war among nations.
“Now is the time for a collective new push for peace and reconciliation. And so I appeal for a stepped-up international effort led by the security council to achieve a global ceasefire by the end of this year,” he said.
The UN General Assembly emanates from UN’s general headquarters in New York coinciding with the international body’s 75th anniversary.
MANILA, Philippines — President Rodrigo Duterte on Wednesday (September 23) invoked the Philippines’ arbitral win against China over the disputed territories in the South China Sea.
The President raised the matter during his speech at the United Nations General Assembly, his first since his election as president of the Republic of the Philippines.
Before the heads of governments in the UN, President Duterte stressed that the Philippines reject any attempts to undermine the ruling of the Permanent Court of Arbitration in The Hague that was declared in July 2016.
“The Philippines affirms that commitment in the South China Sea in accordance with the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) and the 2016 Arbitral Award. The Award is now part of international law, beyond compromise and beyond the reach of passing governments to dilute, diminish or abandon. We firmly reject attempts to undermine it,” he said.
“We welcome the increasing number of states that have come in support of the award and what it stands for — the triumph of reason over rashness, of law over disorder, of amity over ambition. This – as it should – is the majesty of the law,” he added.
Reacting to his speech, Senator Panfilo Lacson said the President’s statement in the UN General Assembly should cast all doubts about his position in the territorial dispute with China.
In response to Lacson, Foreign Affairs Secretary Teddy Locsin clarified that President Duterte never was a ‘slave’ to China as critics commonly think.
Locsin stressed, it just so happened that the territorial dispute is something that the President inherited from the administrations before him.
The Philippines and China’s long-standing maritime dispute over territories in the West Philippine Sea has led to Manila filing a case in 2013 with the international arbitral tribunal challenging Beijing’s massive claims in the South China Sea.
The Arbitral court ruled in favor of the Philippines in July 2016 invalidating China’s self-imposed “nine-dash line’ — an undefined and vaguely located demarcation line that China uses to back its claims and reject the ruling.
Since his presidency, President Duterte has been criticized for not upholding the ruling as he most of the time insists that the Philippines cannot do anything to counter China given the latter’s military might and dominance.
MANILA, Philippines — President Rodrigo Duterte will join the United Nations (UN) General Assembly beginning Tuesday (September 22) where he will address more than 190 state and government leaders.
Due to the pandemic, the said gathering of leaders will be held online for the first time coinciding with the 75th anniversary of the United Nations.
This is also the first time President Duterte will participate in the said assembly that will end on September 26.
According to Chief of Presidential Protocol Robert Borje, the President will deliver his speech at the high-level general debate Tuesday night in the Philippines.
The Chief Executive will be the 12th among the 14 speakers set to speak at the UN-GA morning session.
“This will be the President’s first time to address the UN General assembly, the main deliberative organ of the UN where all the 193 member states are represented,” Borje said.
The President will be able to cover several issues in his speech including the maritime dispute in the South China Sea as well as issues on human rights and justice in the country to which his controversial war on drugs campaign is related.
“President Duterte will article principal positions of the Philippines on a wide range of issues. I do not want to pre-empt the President, but these are of key importance to the country,” Borje said.
Borje identified the main points Duterte is expected to raise during the assembly which include: global response to the coronavirus pandemic; peace and security including terrorism, geo political developments in the Asia Pacific; sustainable development and climate change; rule of law; justice and human rights including the situation of migrant workers and refugees; peace-keeping; and United Nations reforms. MNP (with reports from Rosalie Coz)
MANILA, Philippines – Communist leader Jose Maria Sison has taken a cue from the United Nations (UN) to agree on a ceasefire with the government at this time of health crisis due to the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic.
“As Chief Political Consultant, I am advising the Negotiating Panel of the National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP) to recommend to its principal, the NDFP National Council, the issuance of a unilateral ceasefire declaration by the Communist Party of the Philippines to the New People’s Army in order to respond to the call of UN secretary general Antonio Guterres for a global ceasefire between warring parties for the common purpose of fighting the Covid-19 pandemic,” Sison said in a statement.
The founder of the Communist Party of the Philippines stressed, however, that their decision doesn’t mean they are putting their guards down against potential tactical offensives by government forces.
Prior to the UN’s call for a global ceasefire, President Rodrigo Duterte asked the communist group to agree with a ceasefire to give way for the national government to respond to the COVID-19 crisis.
Malacañang, meanwhile, welcomes the rebel group’s intention to likewise declare a unilateral ceasefire as it is much necessary at this trying times.
“It is about time they join the collective efforts of the nation to fight the spread of the coronavirus,” noted Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo. MNP (with details from Rosalie Coz)
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