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#WalangPasok: Classes, gov’t work in Manila suspended prior to Xi’s state visit

by admin   |   Posted on Monday, November 19th, 2018

MANILA, Philippines — Classes on Tuesday (November 20) at all levels in public and private schools in Manila have been suspended.

Based on the Executive Order No. 41 of Manila Mayor Joseph Estrada, the class suspension is in relation with the state visit of Chinese President Xi Jinping.

President Xi will be attending the wreath-laying ceremony at the Rizal Monument, therefore, Manila Police District has recommended classes suspension to enforce security measures.

Suspension of work in Manila City government is also included.

Work in Manila courts including the Supreme Court and Court of Appeals are also suspended. — UNTV News & Rescue

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Concordia Bridge in Manila reopens to public

by UNTV News   |   Posted on Thursday, April 11th, 2019

Concordia Bridge in Quirino Highway in Paco, Manila reopened to motorists on April 11, 2019

The Quirino Bridge 2 or Concordia Bridge in Quirino Highway in Paco, Manila was reopened on Thursday (April 11) to motorists, according to the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH).

DPWH Secretary Mark Villar led the full reopening of the six-lane bridge which has a daily foot traffic of 100,000 vehicles.

It connects the cities of Manila, Pasay and Makati to the central and eastern zones of Metro Manila.

“Well, napakalaking bagay po ng opening ng Quirino Bridge 2 dahil almost 100,000 a day ang dumadaan po dito kaya makakatulong talaga sa decongestion ng Metro Manila lalo na po sa Manila, Pasay, Quezon City,” Villar said.

The southbound lane of the bridge was closed for the P58-million reconstruction project in May 2018.

While a portion of the bridge was also closed last year to give way to the construction of the Metro Manila Skyway Stage 3 project.

The bridge connects to circumferential road II that motorists may use to traverse to and from Southern Manila. – Robie de Guzman (with details from Asher Cadapan Jr.)

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China to ignore ICC case vs Xi Jinping

by UNTV News   |   Posted on Monday, March 25th, 2019

Chinese President Xi Jinping attends the first meeting of the French-Chinese business council in Beijing, China, January 9, 2018. REUTERS/Ludovic Marin/Pool

MANILA, Philippines – Beijing has no plans of answering the complaint filed against Chinese President Xi Jinping by two former Philippine officials before the International Criminal Court (ICC), the Chinese Embassy in Manila said.

Chinese Embassy Chargé d’Affaires Tan Qingsheng said in a recent media interview that the Chinese government will just ignore the complaint as it did not represent the view of the Philippines.

Last March 13, 2019, former Foreign Affairs Secretary Albert del Rosario and former Ombudsman Conchita Carpio-Morales sent a communication to ICC Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda.

Del Rosario and Carpio-Morales are accusing Xi and other Chinese officials of committing crimes against humanity over Beijing’s alleged continued reclamation and militarization in the disputed waters, depriving Filipino fishermen of food and livelihood.

Tan said the complaint filed by two former high-ranking Philippine officials will not hinder the development of the diplomatic ties between the Philippines and China.

Tan also reiterated China’s commitment to promote peace and stability in the region and in addressing differences and disputes through bilateral consultations.

But Del Rosario and Carpio-Morales said on Friday (March 22) that China should take the complaint seriously.

“I think if I were China, I would take this seriously because this is not our first encounter with them. It’s our second encounter and we are very serious about winning this encounter as well,” Del Rosario said.

He was referring to the Manila’s legal challenge against Beijing’s territorial claims at the Permanent Court of Arbitration in the Hague in 2013. The tribunal ruled in favor of the Philippines in 2016.

President Rodrigo Duterte last week expressed confidence that the ICC case against Xi will not jeopardize Manila’s ties with Beijing.

He also said that Del Rosario and Carpio-Morales are entitled to file the case as the Philippines is a democratic country, but whether or not the case would prosper or if the ICC has the jurisdiction is another story.

READ: Duterte: ICC case vs Xi won’t strain PH-China ties

Malacañang also respects the former officials’ decision to file the complaint but it believes that the case will not prosper.

Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo said in a statement on Saturday that the filing may also be a futile exercise as the ICC has no jurisdiction over China. Carpio-Morales and Del Rosario also have no authority to lodge a case against China on behalf of the Philippines.

“It could be dismissed because China is not a member of the ICC, so is the Philippines,” Panelo said.

“Even if they are so authorized, still since our position is that the ICC has never acquired jurisdiction over us, given that the Rome statute never took effect as the requirement of publication in a newspaper of general circulation or in the Official Gazette was not complied with, which publication is a requirement in our jurisdiction before the said Rome Statute or any law for that matter becomes effective and enforceable,” he added.

The Palace official also said that the complaint against Xi for environmental damage in the South China Sea is not within the Rome Statute.

“Hence, even assuming that the Philippines was a State Party when the complaint was filed, there could be an issues as regards the jurisdiction of the ICC,” he said.

Panelo also believes that the possible dismissal of the case will be used by the administration’s foes to further criticize the President.

“The critics and detractors will have a field day criticizing the President in the event the case is dismissed by the ICC for lack of jurisdiction. They can claim that it was a mistake for the Philippine government to withdraw its membership from the Rome Statute as the ICC can no longer serve as a venue to prosecute President XI for an alleged commission of crime against humanity,” he said.

“We do not need the help or disturbance of a biased tribunal known to politically prosecute heads of state, the very reason why powerful countries like the United States, China, Russia, and Israel, to name only a few, have either withdrawn their membership as State Parties from the Rome Statute or declined to be members of the ICC,” Panelo added.

READ: Analyst: ICC Case vs China’s Xi Jinping faces challenges

A maritime analyst said last week that the case against Xi is facing many challenges, including the issue on ICC’s jurisdiction over China and the Philippines. – Robie de Guzman

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Analyst: ICC case vs China’s Xi Jinping faces challenges

by UNTV News   |   Posted on Friday, March 22nd, 2019

MANILA, Philippines – The complaint filed by two former high-ranking Philippine officials against Chinese President Xi Jinping before the International Criminal Court (ICC) is facing many challenges, a maritime law expert said on Friday (March 22).

Former Ombudsman Conchita Carpio-Morales and former Foreign Affairs Secretary Albert del Rosario filed the complaint on March 13 on behalf of Filipino fishermen, accusing Xi and other Chinese government officials of committing crimes against humanity for implementing “systematic plan to control the South China Sea.”

“Over the several years, Chinese President Xi Jin Ping has ordered engineers to pile sand onto some of the sea’s disputed offshore reefs, mostly in the Spratlys, with the apparent goal of building military bases there,” the group stated in their communication.

“[Chinese Foreign Minister] Wang Yi is the Primary promoter of China’s plan in the South China Sea,” the complainants said.

“As China’s Ambassador to the Philippines, Xiao Jianhua defends, promotes and facilitates the crimes stated in this communication,” they added.

The complainants said the situation is both unique and relevant because “it presents one of the most massive, near permanent and devastating destruction of the environment on humanity’s history.”

“It adversely affects and injures not only myriad groups of vulnerable fishermen, including 320,000 Filipino fishermen, but also present and future generations of people across nations,” the complainants added.

But Prof. Jay Batongbacal, director of the University of the Philippines Institute for Maritime Affairs and Law of the Sea, said the complaint faces many challenges, including questions on whether ICC has jurisdiction of the case.

“’Yung loss of livelihood kasi it doesn’t per se fall under categories of crimes sa ICC. Medyo maraming magiging paliwanag pang kailangan kung talagang papasok iyon (the loss of livelihood does not per se fall under the ICC”s categories of crimes. It needs more explanation on whether it really falls under its jurisdiction),” Batongbacal said.

Despite reports on China’s alleged harassment against Filipino fishermen in the contested waters, massive reclamation of reefs and militarization in the region, the analyst thinks the complaint is lacking in certain elements.

“Hindi siya nag-involve ng tinatawag na use of force in international law, iyong aktibong pag-atake at paggamit ng dahas. Tapos in terms of injuries, hindi naman natin makita ‘no kung mayroong physical injury talaga, kahit nangyari iyon sa [Vietnamese fishermen], pero sa atin walang report. Threat lang o banta (The issue doesn’t involve what we call use of force in international law. There is no active armed attack. In terms of injuries, we do not see any physical injuries, even if it happened to Vietnamese fishermen, but in Filipinos, there was no report. Just threats),” he explained.

“Ang concern ay loss of fishing resources, iyong pag-regulate sana, paghinto sana ng illegal fishing sa ating EEZ (Exclusive Economic Zone), iyong mga gano’n pwede iyong pag-usapan sa ibang bodies tulad ‘nung within the UN (United Nations) System (The obvious concern here is the loss of fishing resources, the regulation or stoppage of illegal fishing. Those kind of concerns may be discussed by other foreign bodies within the UN system),” he added.

The Philippines’ formal withdrawal from the Hague-based body could also obstruct the case filed by del Rosario and Carpio-Morales, aside from the fact that China has never been a member of the ICC.

“Mayroong malaking obstacle diyan, iyong fact na hindi naman ever naging miyembro ng ICC ang China. Tapos pangalawa na iyong tayo, nag-withdraw pa tayo kasi supposedly, dapat iyong partido diyan ay involved iyong mga state, (There is a very big obstacle here, the fact that China is not a member of the ICC. Next is the Philippines’ withdrawal from the body. Supposedly, the states who are parties to the case should be involved with the ICC)” Batongbacal said.

Meanwhile, Opposition Senator Leila de Lima has lauded the “bold, unprecedented” move of Carpio-Morales and del Rosario to call the attention of the ICC on the plight of local fishermen affected by the maritime dispute.

“It’s in fact a masterstroke na nagpapakita kung bakit kailangan manatili tayo sa ICC. Kasi kung ganyan na foreign aggressor ang involved eh saan tayo pupunta? Kundi sa isang independent international body with universal jurisdiction (that shows why we really need to remain in the ICC. Because if a foreign aggressor is involved in the case then where will we go? To an independent international body with universal jurisdiction),” de Lima said in a statement.

READ: Duterte: ICC case vs Xi won’t strain PH-China ties

President Rodrigo Duterte, meanwhile, expressed confidence that the case won’t affect the stronger diplomatic ties between the Philippines and China. – Robie de Guzman (with details from Mai Bermudez)

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