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World leaders praised the Philippines on how it hosted the ASEAN Summit

by admin   |   Posted on Wednesday, November 15th, 2017

MANILA, Philippines — “We also would like to thank the Philippines also for its chairmanship achievements under each of the three ASEAN pillars including the finalization of a framework on a Code of Conduct of parties in the South China Sea,” said Singaporean Prime Minister Lee Hsein Loong.

Several significant agreements were also signed in the summit, including the ASEAN declaration on the protection and promotion of the rights of migrant workers, which will benefit more than 200,000 Filipinos working in other ASEAN countries.

Also agreed upon was the crafting of the code of conduct in the West Philippine Sea which is expected to assuage the tension in the disputed waters.

In the program, Get It straight with Daniel Razon, PCOO Assistant Secretary Kris Ablan stressed that the country has benefited a lot from the ASEAN Summit.

“ ‘Nakakain ba ang ASEAN?’ Iyan ang tanong sa atin. Hindi nakakain ang ASEAN pero yung produkto ng ASEAN pwedeng makain natin(Can you eat ASEAN? That what they ask us. We cannot eat ASEAN but we can eat the products created by ASEAN),” said Ablan.

“Halimbawa sa larangan ng ekonomiya, pag bumibili tayo ng bagay-bagay sa palengke o sa supermarket, di niyo ba na notice na medyo bumaba na ang presyo ng mga produkto na galing sa ibang ASEAN member states? Malaki ang binaba. Hindi po smuggled yun. Dala po yun ng ASEAN kasi nagkaroon po ng agreement ang sampu, yung free trade natin wala pong papatawan ng tax,” said Ablan.

(Translation: For example, in the field of economics, when you buy goods in the market or supermarket, have you not noticed the decrease in prices of goods that are from ASEAN member states? There is a significant decrease. These are not smuggled goods. It was made possible by the ASEAN through the free trade agreement between the 10 member-states; no taxes will be imposed.)

The cut down on airfare going to and from ASEAN member states is also a result of the summit.

Ablan stressed that, although guaranteed, other benefits from the ASEAN Summit will not be immediately felt.

“Hindi niyo nararamdaman overnight (It will not be realized overnight). It takes time pero (but) the way everything is cheaper now, it is the result of a collaboration such as ASEAN,” said the assistant secretary.

The government spending for the ASEAN Summit has totaled to more than 15 billion pesos.

The Presidential Communications Operations Office (PCOO), however, clarified that the said fund had not been used only for this week’s gathering of leaders but also since the beginning of the country’s preparations wherein several ASEAN meetings had also taken place. — Victor Cosare | UNTV News & Rescue

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OFW remittances 4th biggest in 2018 – World Bank

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

(File photo) Overseas Filipino workers

MANILA, Philippines – Migrant workers contributed a huge share in the country’s economy in 2018, according to a recent World Bank report.

Based on the World Bank’s April 2019 Migration and Development Brief, the Philippines received $33.8 billion dollars — the fourth biggest remittance from migrant workers in 2018.

India received the biggest remittance with $78.6 billion, followed by China with $67.4 billion, and Mexico’s $35.7 billion.

The World Bank noted that though remittances in 2018 increased by 3.1%, it was still lower than the 5.4% growth in 2017.

This pulled down the Philippines by one notch from its third place in 2017.

The World Bank explained that the decline in growth was due to “the significant drop of 15 percent in private transfers from the Middle East in 2018.”

Nonetheless, the World Bank sees the Japanese government’s new policy to hire foreign workers in the next five years, hiking remittance flows to the Philippines as well as to eight other priority countries, namely Cambodia, China, Indonesia, Mongolia, Myanmar, Nepal, Thailand, and Vietnam.

The World Bank noted that “migrant workers from said nine countries will be deployed to 14 sectors in Japan that have severe labor shortages.”

The Philippines has already signed a memorandum of cooperation with Japan in March 2019 on hiring Filipino workers expecting to fill about 100,000 of the open positions. – Marje Pelayo

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SWS: 4 of 10 Filipinos doubt China’s intention towards PH

by Robie de Guzman   |   Posted on Tuesday, April 9th, 2019

FILE PHOTO: A child holds national flags of China and the Philippines before President of the Philippines Rodrigo Duterte and China’s President Xi Jinping attend a welcoming ceremony at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing, China, October 20, 2016. REUTERS/Thomas Peter

MANILA, Philippines – A recent survey conducted by the Social Weather Stations (SWS) revealed that 4 out of 10 Filipinos do not believe that China’s intention towards the Philippines is beneficial to Filipinos.

The survey, fielded in December 2018 among 1,440 respondents, found that 44 percent of Filipino adults disagreed with the statement: “Most of what the Chinese government wants to happen in the Philippines is good for the Filipinos.”

22 percent said they strongly agree with the statement while 29 percent “somewhat disagreed,” the SWS survey findings stated.

The survey results were released amid reports about the influx of Chinese workers in the Philippines, loan deals between the Manila and Beijing and the long-standing dispute in the West Philippine Sea.

Malacañang on Monday slammed the recent SWS survey, branding it as “political propaganda” employed by the Duterte administration’s ardent critics and detractors.

Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo expressed hope that more Filipinos would appreciate the relation between the Philippines and China once they see its positive effects on the economy.

Panelo also added that Filipinos must understand that the government’s move to diversify the country’s allies is intended for the sole benefit of the Filipino people and not for any foreign race.   

“We are seeing that there would be a change of hearts and minds from those undecided and even those who disagree—whom we believe are used to the United States as our long-standing ally—once our enhanced ties with China start to yield positive economic results,” Panelo said in a statement.

In line with SWS recent survey, the UNTV News and Rescue went around to ask some Filipinos about their thoughts on whether China’s intentions are good for the Philippines.

Of the 10 individuals interviewed on the street by the UNTV news team, 8 have expressed doubt about the warming ties between Manila and Beijing.

Most of the interviewees expressed fear that China will invade the Philippines, in reference to reports about Chinese vessels that “swarmed” near disputed waters in the West Philippine Sea, bullying local fishermen against entering the resource-rich lagoons.

The other two expressed neutrality on the issue, saying China has helped the country in some ways such as trading, investments and financing some of the government’s infrastructure projects.

Professor Jay Batongbacal, Director of the University of the Philippines Institute for Maritime Affairs and Law of the Sea, offered his view on why some Filipinos continue to distrust China despite President Rodrigo Duterte’s high praises for his newfound ally.

“China had a huge trust deficit to begin with, ever since. Recent controversies have probably magnified that lack of trust and fuels suspicions about China’s intentions despite its constant attempts to portray then as otherwise,” he said.

“Government’s tendency to bend over in defending China aggravates the distrust and suspicion even more,” he added.

Duterte has recently told China to back off from Pag-asa Island and vowed to never allow China to occupy the island long-held by the Philippines.

READ: Duterte tells China: Back off from Pag-asa island

Duterte’s rare remark against Beijing came after the Philippine military warned that hundreds of Chinese vessels were spotted in the disputed waterway in the first quarter of 2019.

The President, however, assured he is prepared to reach for a compromise with China and that there is no need for the Philippines to use force against its more powerful neighbor. – Robie de Guzman (with details from Nel Maribojoc)

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Phl files diplomatic protest vs presence of Chinese vessels near Pagasa Island

by Maris Federez   |   Posted on Monday, April 1st, 2019

FILE PHOTO: China’s Liaoning aircraft carrier with accompanying fleet conducts a drill in an area of South China Sea, in this undated photo taken December, 2016. REUTERS/Stringer/File photo

MANILA, PHILIPPINES — The Malacañang shrugs off as “exaggerated” the reports that there are already 617 Chinese vessels circling the Pagasa Island.

Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo said that according to the report of the Western Command, the number of Chinese vessels spotted in the area from January to March this year is only around 275.

“They are just stationary there. Kung minsan one day, kung minsan one week. Wala namang ginagawa, naka-standby lang dun [At times they’re there for a day, sometimes for one week. They’re not doing anything. They’re just on stand by],” Panelo added.

Panelo, was quick to add, though, that the Philippines has already filed a diplomatic protest to China on the matter.

He also admitted that the report is something that the government should take seriously as this concerns the country’s security.

“I understand, we have already issued a diplomatic protest per the Western Command.  The DFA has already made a diplomatic protest over that incident on the so-called vessels being stationed there,” Panelo said.

Meanwhile, the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources has reportedly advised fishermen to steer clear of Panatag Shoal to avoid tension to rise in the area.

This, following recent reports of Chinese Coast Guards chasing away Filipino fishermen in the area.

Panelo said that if the report was true, the Filipino fishermen must take heed of the advisory.

“If it endangers their safety, then we should tell them not to in the meantime, in the meanwhile,” Panelo added.

These concerns on the West Philippine Sea were raised during the courtesy call of Chinese Ambassador Zhao Jinhua to Secretary Panelo in Malacañang on Monday afternoon (April 1).

The Palace official maintains that the government is on top of the issue.

“Anything that concerns the security of the Philippines will always be a concern,” Panelo assured.  – Maris Federez

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