US-Phl bilateral talks seek to strengthen cooperation on security, infrastructure
Maris Federez • July 16, 2019 • 1068
The Philippines and the United States of America have concluded on Tuesday (July 16) their bilateral strategic dialogue.
The 8th bilateral strategic dialogue between the two countries which started on Monday (July 15) in Manila focused on the strengthening of ties in terms of cooperation on the Duterte administration’s infrastructure program and on defense and security.
The agenda also centered on the country’s economy and its fight against terrorism.
US Ambassador to the Philippines, Amb. Sung Kim, said the US wants to boost its participation to the Duterte administration’s Build Build Build program, among others.
“From military cooperation, to support the rule of law and ways to expand trade and investment ties,” Kim said.
Kim and Philippine Ambassador to the US, Amb. Jose Manuel Romualdez, also discussed the security issues on the West Philippine Sea and the Mutual Defense Treaty, giving the public the assurance that the discussion on the treaty continues.
“We talked about various aspects of the defense treaty as Ambassador Romualdez says, I think those discussions continue,” Kim added.
It can be recalled that the Department of National Defense had hinted on conducting a review on the provisions of the PH-US Defense Treaty, on whether it still applies to the recent challenges in the Asian region.
Ambassador Romualdez said the continuation of the enhanced defense cooperation agreement is clear for both countries.
“The only thing that we had on the discussion is that we will continue just to cooperate, continue the EDCA (Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement) to strengthen out,” Romualdez said. (with reports from Nel Maribojoc) /mbmf
MANILA, Philippines – The Philippine Coast Guard and Chinese Coast Guard on Wednesday conducted joint maritime drills on search and rescue and combating fire at sea in the waters off the Philippine capital.
In a statement, the PCG said participating Filipino and Chinese personnel were given a scenario involving a vessel that caught fire while transiting Manila waters.
In response, the PCG deployed its 44-meter multi-role response vessel 4401, BRP Tubbataha, while the Chinese team dispatched vessel 5204. Both ships were equipped with water cannons used in firefighting assistance.
Five passengers and eight crew aboard the distressed ship were also rescued using rigid hull inflatable boats with rescue swimmers to aid the victims.
The PCG said the drill allows coast guard personnel to exercise interoperability and strengthen their capabilities in responding to such crises.
The joint maritime drills on search and rescue, and combating fire at sea are part of the week-long activities of Chinese Coast Guard’s port call in Manila.
The visit aims to strengthen understanding, mutual trust, and cooperation between the Philippines and China Coast Guard in a bid to promote maritime security and maritime law enforcement amid the territorial dispute in the West Philippine Sea.
MANILA, Philippines – State weather service PAGASA forecast slight weakening of Typhoon Ursula (International name Phanfone) as it further moves west-northwestward over the West Philippine Sea.
As of 10:00 AM Thursday (December 26), the weather system was located at 235 km Northwest of Coron, Palawan with maximum sustained winds of 120 kph near the center and gustiness of up to 150 kph.
Still, tropical cyclone wind signals (TCWS) #1 remains hoisted over the northwestern portion of Occidental Mindoro including Lubang Island and Calamian Islands where winds of up to 30 to 60 kph is expected to prevail in 36 hours.
Residents in these areas are advised to take appropriate measures for possible landslides and flashfloods while sea travel remains at high risk over the seaboards of areas under Signal #1 due to rough sea conditions.
Meanwhile, PAGASA already lifted for Bataan, Cavite, Batangas, Oriental Mindoro, the rest of Occidental Mindoro, and the rest of extreme northern Palawan.
Through the day, light to moderate with intermittent heavy rains will prevail over northern portion of Palawan including Calamian Islands and Lubang Island.
Central Luzon, Metro Manila, Rizal, and Northern Quezon, likewise, will experience cloudy skies with scattered rains.
According to PAGASA, Ursula is expected to exit the Philippine Area of Responsibility (PAR) on Saturday (28 December) morning.
MANILA, Philippines – Malacañang has turned down the bill that will give the president special powers to hasten the Build, Build, Build Program.
House Bill No. 5456, filed by Albay Rep. Joey Salceda, seeks to grant President Rodrigo Roa Duterte special powers to speed up the implementation of the Build-Build-Build program before he steps down in 2022.
“While we respect the wisdom of Congress and laud the gentleman from Albay in seeing the importance of this flagship infrastructure program of the current government, we consider this proposed measure belated and no longer a priority legislative agenda of the President, given that we only have less than three years left in office,” said Presidential spokesperson Salvador Panelo in a statement released on Saturday (November 16).
“The President will implement and maximize what is presently available under our laws for this purpose,” Panelo added.
He further noted that “one of the inherent powers of the State is the power of eminent domain where pertinent government offices, through the Office of the Solicitor General, may expropriate or initiate proceedings, therefore, to acquire private property for public use. This power is particularly essential in securing rights of way, an issue that hampered the construction of vital infrastructure. The current agencies involved in the infrastructure program are presently utilizing this process.”
The statement also reads that “the Build-Build-Build program is now rolling with 35 ongoing constructions; 32 projects about to commence construction within 6-8 months; 21 in the advanced stages of government approval and 12 in the advanced stages of feasibility studies.”
Panelo added that the administration expects 38 projects to be completed by 2022 and 22 will be partially operational or at substantial completion.
He further said that while 40 are to be completed beyond 2022, all projects will be started within the governance of this administration. /mbmf
UNTV is a major TV broadcast network with 24-hour programming. An Ultra High Frequency station with strong brand content that appeal to everyone, UNTV is one of the most trusted and successful Philippine networks that guarantees wholesome and quality viewing experience.