The Philippines, despite its Moro and communist insurgencies, is basically a peaceful country that is rich in natural resources both on land and at sea. And the current administration has been is dead set on wiping out government corruption and crime, especially the trade in illegal drugs.
That’s the pitch that President Rodrigo Duterte made to potential Qatari investors in the Philippines in a speech he made at the Philippine-Qatar Business
Forum held on Saturday in Doha, which is the last stop in his Holy Week visit to three Middle East countries, including Saudi Arabia and Bahrain.Present at the forum were members of the Qatar Chamber of Commerce Inc. (QCCI) led by Chairman Sheikh Khalifa Bin Jassim Bin Mohammed Al Thani and Qatari business and government executives. Duterte was accompanied by his entourage, including Trade Secretary Ramon Lopez.
In his speech, aired live by the ABS-CBN News Channel, Duterte reassured his audience that the Philippines was really peaceful, saying: “We do not have problems with our rebellions now.”
As to the Moro rebellion, he said: “There are a lot of Muslims in my Cabinet. We are trying to work out something now. And I hope that Lord would be most gracious for us, the Most Merciful One would grant us peace. And we hope to succeed in our peace talks. We are ready to reconfigure the land. We are ready to concede what was lost from them. And the only thing that I ask from the Moro people is that we did not know that you were all victims of imperialism.“
He referred to Spain and the United States, both former colonizers of the Philippines.
He added, however, that it would take some time to come with ways on how to correct the “historical injustice” that the Muslims in Mindanao.
Moving on to natural resources, Duterte said: “The Philippines is an agricultural country. We know that we can offer so many things from the bounties of the earth. We have mining. We have everything.”
The president then dwelled a bit on sea resources, announcing that he had ordered military to occupy 10 still uninhabited islands in the West Philippine Sea to show that Philippines was claiming ownership.
“Everybody is grabbing every land there in the South China Sea,” he said. “Now if we do not act fast, we will end up with nothing.”
He also revealed that he had asked that Benham Rise, on the east side of Luzon, be renamed as the Philippine Ridge.
“I announced to all, including America, that this is ours,” he said.
“So, if you go into business, the Philippines is big enough to accommodate any kind of vegetation,“ he added.
But the Philippines, he said, lost large chunks of forest, mostly to non-Filipino lumber companies – “maurauding colonizers who still think they’re still the big boss of the world.”
Shifting to his drive against corruption, he said fired several government workers, including some in his Cabinet, for being implicated in anomalous transaction. But he did not give any names.
Then he made a strong pledge to investors.
“We will honor contracts. We will honor our obligations,” he said. “That is in the Constitution itself –that there shall be no impairment of the obligation of contracts. So, in sof ar as trade is concerned, what is signed, and I agree with you, will be done. Even if we lose in the transaction, we will honor what we have promised.”
Towards the end of his speech, he noted that it was in the national interest of the Philippines to forge closer ties with Middle Eastern countries like Qatar, Saudi Arabia, and Bahrain because the people in these countries had been helping Filipino workers boost the Philippines’ gross national product through their remittances
He added that “the kind people in Qatar” had been partly responsbile for the education of Filipino children.
At this point, Duterte repeated the same pledge he made to the rulers of Saudi Arabia and Bahrain: That, if they should need it, his administration would wilingly give them military assistance in times of trouble because it would be in the interest of the Philippines to see their countries remain stable, considering that there were at least two million Filipino workers in the Middle East.
The president is scheduled to stay in Doha until Easter Sunday, when he flies back to Davao City, his hometown.
Read more: http://globalnation.inquirer.net/154906/duterte-offers-peace-rich-resources-no-corruption-to-qatari-investors#ixzz4eLDw9kNI
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Human Rights Group Karapatan Asks United Nations To Investigate Murders in the Philippines
Human rights group Karapatan has submitted to the United Nations records of extrajudicial killings (EJK) under the Duterte administration.
The 47 EJK records have been submitted to United Nations Special Rapporteur on Extrajudicial/Summary or Arbitrary Executions Agnes Callamard.
Karapatan urged Callamard to consider, investigate, make recommendations, and take any appropriate actions on the cases.
“The victims of killings are peasants, indigenous peoples and workers; many faced vilification by the military because of their advocacy and actions to defend people’s rights and are thus considered as human rights defenders,” said Cristina Palabay, Karapatan secretary general, in her letter to Callamard.
The 47 cases of killings under the Duterte administration were documented by Karapatan from July 2016 to March 31, 2017.
Karapatan was hoping that Callamard’s findings about the gravity of political killings in the Philippines may convince the present administration to completely discard their counterinsurgency programs.
Furthermore, Palabay stated that Karapatan is currently working with the campaign network Rise Up, a faith-based institution, to prepare and document similar cases of human rights violation.
The submitted records will also be included in the May 8, 2017 third cycle of the Universal Periodic Review on the Philippines at the UN Human Rights Council. Geisha Sinahonon/rga
After Malacañang questioned Karapatan’s move in reporting the alleged political killings under the Duterte administration to the United Nations (UN), the human rights group on Saturday said that the government should instead look into documented cases which it said were supported by facts and testimonies instead of dismissing the claims.
“Instead of Malacañang’s blanket dismissal of allegations that its State security forces have killed peasants and indigenous peoples, it should look into these documented cases substantiated with facts and testimonies, even first-hand witness testimonies identifying the State perpetrators of the political killings,” Karapatan said in a statement.
“It should initiate prosecution to hold them accountable and rescind the counter-insurgency program that has terrorized peasant and indigenous communities,” it added.
Last Tuesday, Karapatan said that it submitted the case files of 47 victims of extrajudicial killings in the Philippines under the Duterte government’s anti-insurgency campaign to the office of UN special rapporteur Agnes Callamard.
The human rights watchdog said that victims of the alleged extrajudicial killings carried out by state forces were peasants, indigenous peoples, Moro, workers, women, and youth.
The submitted records are to be included in the May 8, 2017 third cycle of the Universal Periodic Review on the Philippines at the UN Human Rights Council.
Karapatan said that the government should address the thousands of complaints lodged at the Joint Monitoring Committee on the Comprehensive Agreement on Human Rights and International Humanitarian Law (CARHRIHL).
“Our broken justice system and domestic institutions have failed the victims and their families,” the group said.
“While it true that international institutions should not interfere with domestic affairs, any State is duty-bound to uphold international human rights commitments and therefore is accountable to its peoples according to such commitments,” it added.
It also noted that only one conviction in a local court was attained in the 1,587 victims of political killings during the administrations of Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino III and the current Duterte regime. IDL
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Philippines: President Duterte Again Talking Martial Law — “I will declare martial law if people clamor for it” — Asked China to help the Armed Forces of the Philippines by providing precision-guided weapons
Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte (L) talks to Philippine National Police (PNP) Director General Ronald Dela Rosa. AFP photo
Philippine National Police chief Director General Ronald dela Rosa
Philippines: Human Rights Watch director Phelim Kline also said the numbers of fatalities in the drug war launched by President Rodrigo Duterte when he assumed office on June 30, 2016, are “appalling but predictable” since he (Duterte) vowed to “forget the laws on human rights.”
Philippines Policeman found tortured and strangled after some fellow police said he was involved in the illegal drug trade. Photo Credit Boy Cruz
Philippine Vice President: Threat of martial law return ‘worst Christmas gift’ (December 23, 2016)