Posts Tagged ‘State of the Nation Address’

After Philippine Police Kill 32 Drug Suspects in One Day; President Duterte Urges Them To Kill 32 More The Next Day

August 16, 2017
Duterte yesterday said authorities should kill more pushers to reduce the drug problem plaguing the country. PPD/File

MANILA, Philippines –  President Duterte welcomed the killing of 32 drug suspects in simultaneous raids in Bulacan last Tuesday and defended policemen from critics who questioned the way the operations were conducted.

Duterte yesterday said authorities should kill more pushers to reduce the drug problem plaguing the country.

“Yung namatay daw sa Bulacan, 32 (Thirty-two people reportedly died in Bulacan) in a massive raid. Maganda yun (That’s good),” the President said at the 19th anniversary of the Volunteers Against Crime and Corruption at Malacañang.

“Pumatay tayo (Let’s kill) another 32 everyday, maybe we can reduce what ails this country,” he added.

Thirty-two suspected drug offenders died and 107 others were nabbed during simultaneous law enforcement operations, which began last Monday in the province. Police recovered illegal drugs, grenades and firearms during the raids.

The President said he is expecting human rights advocates to criticize the law enforcement operations.

“There will be outcry again over the 32 who were killed. They would grieve again for justice,” he said.

“Many are being killed because policemen are working. They are protected under my watch.”

Duterte said he has ordered security forces to destroy the apparatus of the drug trade, which he said is “taking a toll on the lives of the people.”

“My order is to destroy the apparatus. Kung napatay ka, pasensya ka (If you get killed, sorry). We will finish this for the next generation,” he said.

http://www.philstar.com/headlines/2017/08/17/1729961/rody-bulacan-drug-deaths-kill-32-more-daily

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Duterte says drug problem can’t be solved in just one term

President Rodrigo Duterte vowed during the campaign period that he can fix the country from illegal drugs in three to six months. File photo

MANILA, Philippines — President Rodrigo Duterte admitted that the country’s illegal drugs problem is so severe that a six-year term for a president is not enough to solve it.

“Look itong shabu, ang drugs, etc., cannot be solved by one man, for a president for one term,” Duterte said in his speech at the Philippine Development Forum: Sulong Pilipinas 2017 forum last Wednesday.

“It has bugged nations, hindi nga kaya ng Amerika, tayo pa,” he added.

READ: Duterte vows to keep drug war amid human rights concerns

 

During the campaign period, Duterte vowed to solve the problem in three to six months.

Three months after assuming presidency in July, the president asked for an extension of another six months.

READ: Rights groups want tougher stance on Duterte’s drug war from Trump

http://www.philstar.com/news-videos/2017/08/11/1727928/watch-duterte-says-drug-problem-cant-be-solved-just-one-term

Related:

Photos obtained by the Philippine Center for Investigative Journalism show the body of Albuera Mayor Rolando Espinosa Sr. lying flat on his back with his eyes half-open, and both of his hands empty. He was killed while in police custody during a “jail house shoot out” with police. All the police involved were exonerated and returned to duty. Image obtained by PCIJ/Nancy Carvajal
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Credit: Raffy Lerma—Philippine Daily Inquirer

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Philippine drug war. Credit: Alecs Ongcal

 (The Philippines seems to be siding with China, Russia and Iran)

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Discarded — The body of a dead Filipino girl — killed in President Duterte’s war on drugs — looks like it has been put out with the trash….. Presidential spokeman Abella said the war on drugs is for the next generation of Filipinos.
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Image result for Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte (L) talks to Philippine National Police (PNP) Director General Ronald Dela Rosa. AFP photo

Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte (L) talks to Philippine National Police (PNP) Director General Ronald Dela Rosa. AFP photo

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Philippine National Police chief Director General Ronald dela Rosa

Philippines: Human Rights Watch director Phelim Kine 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.”

Image result for Boy Cruz, philippine policeman, photos

Philippines Policeman found tortured and strangled after some fellow police said he was involved in the illegal drug trade. Photo Credit Boy Cruz

http://www.philstar.com/headlines/2016/07/08/1600763/cop-linked-drugs-tortured-killed

 (December 23, 2016)

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 (Philippine Star, December 1, 2016)

 (Philippine Star, December 1, 2016)

“They are afraid the incident could cause President Duterte to declare martial law. I talked with some sultans and ulamas and elders here… and that’s what they have told me,” Ponyo said.

 (November 30, 2016)

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High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein. UN Photo, Jean-Marc Ferré

Summary executions of supposed drug dealers and other criminals have become a common occurence in recent weeks. The STAR/Joven Cagande, file

 (November 16, 2016)

 (August 10, 2016)

Davao City’s Ronald dela Rosa has been appointed to become the next chief of the Philippine National Police to lead President-elect Rodrigo Duterte’s planned crackdown on illegal drugs. Facebook/Dela Rosa
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Crime scene investigators examine a vehicle used by two drug suspects killed during an alleged shootout with officers along NIA Road in Quezon City on June 21, 2016. JOVEN CAGANDE/file
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President Rodrigo Duterte's crusade against drug users and dealers is controversial

Workers burying cadavers in various stages of decomposition in a mass grave in Manila, after health officials recovered the cadavers from Henry's Funeral Home. Picture: AFP / Noel Celis.

Workers burying cadavers in various stages of decomposition in a mass grave in Manila, after health officials recovered the cadavers from Henry’s Funeral Home. Picture: AFP / Noel Celis.Source:AFP

A worker arranging cadavers in various stages of decomposition at the morgue of Henry's Funeral Homes in Manila. Picture: AFP/ Noel Celis.

A worker arranging cadavers in various stages of decomposition at the morgue of Henry’s Funeral Homes in Manila. Picture: AFP/ Noel Celis.Source:AFP

Health officials closed Henry's Funeral Home after recovering at least 120 unclaimed and rotting cadavers in Manila. The city health department conducted a surprise raid after receiving complaints about a foul odour coming from the funeral parlour. Picture: AFP / Noel Celis.

Health officials closed Henry’s Funeral Home after recovering at least 120 unclaimed and rotting cadavers in Manila. The city health department conducted a surprise raid after receiving complaints about a foul odour coming from the funeral parlour. Picture: AFP / Noel Celis.Source:AFP

Workers carrying cadavers in various stages of decomposition at the morgue of Henry's Funeral Homes in Manila, October 2016. Picture: AFP / Noel Celis.

Workers carrying cadavers in various stages of decomposition at the morgue of Henry’s Funeral Homes in Manila, October 2016. Picture: AFP / Noel Celis.Source:AFP

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Amnesty: Indonesia waging its own ‘war on drugs’

August 16, 2017

Police killings of suspected drug dealers have spiked, with 60 recorded deaths so far this year compared to 18 in 2016. The trend has led Amnesty International to warn that the country could be emulating the Philippines.

Indonesien Beschlagnahmte Drogen nach einer Razzia (Getty Images/AFP/Ricardo)

The dramatic spike in the number of unlawful killings carried out by Indonesian police against suspected drug dealers is the latest signal that the country could be sliding into a “war on drugs” similar to that seen in the Philippines, rights group Amnesty International warned on Wednesday.

Data obtained by the group showed a more than 200-percent rise in drug-related killings carried out by Indonesian police so far this year, with the number of deaths rising up to 60 from just 18 last year.

Read more: Why Jakarta presses forward with drug executions despite global outcry

Amnesty’s director in Indonesia, Usman Hamid, said in a statement: “This shocking escalation in unlawful killings by the police sounds serious alarm bells. While Indonesian authorities have a duty to respond to increasing rates of drug use in the country, shooting people on sight is never a solution. Not only is it unlawful, it will also do nothing to address the root causes that lead to drug use in the first place.”

Most of the violence has been concentrated around the capital city of Jakarta or the well-known drug trafficking hub of Sumatra.

Indonesia officials back tough stance

Indonesian police forces have justified the increase in killings, saying victims were shot for resisting arrest. However, Amnesty said it found no evidence that authorities had conducted even a single independent investigation into the shootings.

That data also reflects the Indonesian government’s increasingly tough rhetoric on drug-related crime, with President “Jokowi” Widodo openly endorsing the use of unrestrained force against suspected foreign traffickers, especially those resisting arrest. “Be firm, especially to foreign drug dealers who enter the country and resist arrest,” he said at a speech in Jakarta in late July. “Enough, just shoot them. Be merciless.”

Indonesia Joko Widodo (Reuters/Beawiharta)Indonesia’s Joko Widodo has endorsed the use of force in policing drug-related crimes

Police chief hails Duterte’s “war on drugs”

The president’s remarks came after the country’s national police chief, General Tito Karnavian, ordered officers “not to hesitate shooting drug dealers who resist arrest” and praised Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte’s brutal “war on drugs” as an effective means of making drug dealers “go away.”

Since coming to power in May last year, Duterte has waged a brutal war on drugs in a bid to wipe out the use of narcotics in the Philippines. According to police data, some 3,500 so-called “drug personalities” have been killed by Duterte’s anti-drug squadsover the past year, as well as a further 2,000 people linked to drug-related crimes.

Read more: Alleged hitman links Duterte to ‘death squad’ killings

Earlier this year, Amnesty documented that anti-drug forces had grown to resemble a criminal enterprise more than a police force.

“President Duterte should not under any circumstances be considered a role model for Indonesia,” said Amnesty’s Hamid. “Far from making the Philippines safer, his bloody ‘war on drugs’ has led to the deaths of thousands without any form of accountability.”

http://www.dw.com/en/amnesty-indonesia-waging-its-own-war-on-drugs/a-40110231

dm/kms (AFP, Amnesty)

Related:

Photos obtained by the Philippine Center for Investigative Journalism show the body of Albuera Mayor Rolando Espinosa Sr. lying flat on his back with his eyes half-open, and both of his hands empty. He was killed while in police custody during a “jail house shoot out” with police. All the police involved were exonerated and returned to duty. Image obtained by PCIJ/Nancy Carvajal
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Image may contain: one or more people and people sitting

Credit: Raffy Lerma—Philippine Daily Inquirer

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Image may contain: one or more people, shoes and outdoor

Philippine drug war. Credit: Alecs Ongcal

 (The Philippines seems to be siding with China, Russia and Iran)

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Image may contain: outdoor
Discarded — The body of a dead Filipino girl — killed in President Duterte’s war on drugs — looks like it has been put out with the trash….. Presidential spokeman Abella said the war on drugs is for the next generation of Filipinos.
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Image may contain: 2 people

Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte (L) talks to Philippine National Police (PNP) Director General Ronald Dela Rosa. AFP photo

Image may contain: 1 person

Philippine National Police chief Director General Ronald dela Rosa

Philippines: Human Rights Watch director Phelim Kine 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.”

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Philippines Policeman found tortured and strangled after some fellow police said he was involved in the illegal drug trade. Photo Credit Boy Cruz

http://www.philstar.com/headlines/2016/07/08/1600763/cop-linked-drugs-tortured-killed

 (December 23, 2016)

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 (Philippine Star, December 1, 2016)

 (Philippine Star, December 1, 2016)

“They are afraid the incident could cause President Duterte to declare martial law. I talked with some sultans and ulamas and elders here… and that’s what they have told me,” Ponyo said.

 (November 30, 2016)

Image may contain: 1 person, eyeglasses and beard

High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein. UN Photo, Jean-Marc Ferré

Summary executions of supposed drug dealers and other criminals have become a common occurence in recent weeks. The STAR/Joven Cagande, file

 (November 16, 2016)

 (August 10, 2016)

Davao City’s Ronald dela Rosa has been appointed to become the next chief of the Philippine National Police to lead President-elect Rodrigo Duterte’s planned crackdown on illegal drugs. Facebook/Dela Rosa
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Crime scene investigators examine a vehicle used by two drug suspects killed during an alleged shootout with officers along NIA Road in Quezon City on June 21, 2016. JOVEN CAGANDE/file
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President Rodrigo Duterte's crusade against drug users and dealers is controversial

Workers burying cadavers in various stages of decomposition in a mass grave in Manila, after health officials recovered the cadavers from Henry's Funeral Home. Picture: AFP / Noel Celis.

Workers burying cadavers in various stages of decomposition in a mass grave in Manila, after health officials recovered the cadavers from Henry’s Funeral Home. Picture: AFP / Noel Celis.Source:AFP

A worker arranging cadavers in various stages of decomposition at the morgue of Henry's Funeral Homes in Manila. Picture: AFP/ Noel Celis.

A worker arranging cadavers in various stages of decomposition at the morgue of Henry’s Funeral Homes in Manila. Picture: AFP/ Noel Celis.Source:AFP

Health officials closed Henry's Funeral Home after recovering at least 120 unclaimed and rotting cadavers in Manila. The city health department conducted a surprise raid after receiving complaints about a foul odour coming from the funeral parlour. Picture: AFP / Noel Celis.

Health officials closed Henry’s Funeral Home after recovering at least 120 unclaimed and rotting cadavers in Manila. The city health department conducted a surprise raid after receiving complaints about a foul odour coming from the funeral parlour. Picture: AFP / Noel Celis.Source:AFP

Workers carrying cadavers in various stages of decomposition at the morgue of Henry's Funeral Homes in Manila, October 2016. Picture: AFP / Noel Celis.

Workers carrying cadavers in various stages of decomposition at the morgue of Henry’s Funeral Homes in Manila, October 2016. Picture: AFP / Noel Celis.Source:AFP

Indonesia maintains merciless stance on drug dealers

August 16, 2017
  • Haeril HalimThe Jakarta Post

Jakarta | Wed, August 16, 2017 | 04:00 pm

Jokowi maintains merciless stance on drug dealers

President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo delivers his state of the nation address before members of the People’s Consultative Assembly (MPR) on Aug. 16. (JP/Wendra Ajistyatama)

The war on drugs was one of the focal points of President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo’s state of the nation address on Wednesday.

Jokowi reiterated his commitment despite the recent criticism he has received after it was revealed that law enforcement officers had shot dead a total of 60 alleged drug dealers they argued had been resisting arrest.

“We stand firm in our war against drug dealers. Narcotics are destroying our youth. Jokowi said.

Read also: Sending drug dealers to God is my business: Jakarta Police chiefAccording to data from Amnesty International, at least 60 suspected drug dealers were killed by the police and the National Narcotics Agency (BNN) between January and August, a sharp increase from 18, last year.

In July, Jokowi ordered law enforcers “to be firm and merciless, especially with foreign drug dealers who enter the country” and to shoot them if they resisted arrest. Around 10 drug dealers have been shot dead onsite after Jokowi made the order.

Last year, the international community also lambasted Jokowi after Indonesia executed four drug dealers, most of them foreigners. Authorities have sent 18 drug dealers before firing squad since 2015.

Jokowi said he would also remain firm in his decisions to protect the country’s sovereignty. “We also have to be brave to fight against illegal fishing to protect our natural resources and fishermen. We have shown we are brave by dissolving Petral,” Jokowi said referring to the now-defunct oil and gas trading company Pertamina Energy Trading. (bbn)

http://www.thejakartapost.com/news/2017/08/16/jokowi-maintains-merciless-stance-on-drug-dealers.html

Philippine President Duterte’s threat of airstrikes against tribal schools get international attention — “deliberate attacks on civilians, including students and teachers, is a war crime.”

July 28, 2017
In this Monday, July 24, 2017, photo, young Indigenous People known as Lumads form the words “Save Lumad schools” as they join a march of thousands of protesters to coincide with the state of the nation address of Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte in Quezon city, northeast of Manila, Philippines. Human rights groups asked Duterte Wednesday, July 26, 2017, to retract a threat to order airstrikes against tribal schools he accused of teaching students to become communist rebels, warning such an attack would constitute a war crime. U.S.-based Human Rights Watch said international humanitarian law “prohibits attacks on schools and other civilian structures unless they are being used for military purposes,” adding that deliberate attacks on civilians, including students and teachers, “is also a war crime.” AP/Bullit Marquez

MANILA, Philippines — Lumad schools which failed to comply with the requirements of the Department of Education drew the attention of President Rodrigo Duterte, a Malacañang official said Friday.

During his State of the Nation Address earlier this week, the president threatened to bomb tribal schools allegedly teaching subversion in Mindanao.

“It is the illegal Lumad schools which drew the president’s adverse reaction,” Presidential Communications Operations Office Assistant Assistant Secretary Ana Marie Banaag said in a televised press conference.

READ: Duterte says only empty Lumad schools would be bombed

Banaag clarified that the chief executive was not referring to all Lumad schools but only those who refused to comply with the DepEd requirements on the curriculum.

The PCOO official stressed that Duterte does not intend to launch airstrikes toward Lumad children.

“On the contrary, he said that they should get out of the schools as he was referring to structures and not the children,” Banaag said.

According to the DepEd, there are three left-oriented indigenous people schools in Mindanao — the Alternative Learning Center for Agriculture and Livelihood Development (ALCADEV), the Center for Lumad Advocacy and Services, Inc. (CLANS) and the Salagpongan Community Learning Center.

ALCADEV does not have a permit to operate and refuses to get a permit from the DepEd while CLANS has been given three months to comply with DepEd requirements.

Banaag noted that the DepEd had also established Lumad schools in the region which are complying with its curriculum requirements.

“There are Lumad schools established by religious groups and civic organizations which are legitimate. Also, there are three indigenous people schools that have been constructed by the Department of Social Welfare and Development,” Banaag said.

In a news conference late Thursday, Duterte said that the bombings against Lumad schools will be done at night.

In his SONA, Duterte claimed that the rebels were sparing Lumad schools which were allegedly operating under guerilla control without permits.

RELATED: Duterte ‘lowest of the low’ over threat to bomb Lumad schools, Reds say

http://www.philstar.com/headlines/2017/07/28/1722377/palace-illegal-lumad-schools-drew-dutertes-attention

Related:

 (Contains links to several related articles)

Residents and police gather near the blanket-covered body of a man killed, along with four others, in an alleged police anti-drug operation in Manila, Philippines Thursday, Nov. 10, 2016. Authorities said 3,200 alleged drug personalities have died in police operations from July 1, 2016 to June 20, 2017. AP Photo/Bullit Marquez

South China Sea: Philippines raises court ruling at Asia-Europe Meeting (ASEM)

July 16, 2016
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Foreign Affairs Secretary Perfecto Yasay Jr. said yesterday that the Philippines welcomed the decision and reiterated the country’s respect for the milestone decision. AP

MANILA, Philippines – At the first diplomatic gathering following the July 12 ruling of the Permanent Court of Arbitration (PCA) on the South China Sea, Foreign Affairs Secretary Perfecto Yasay Jr. said yesterday that the Philippines welcomed the decision and reiterated the country’s respect for the milestone decision.

Yasay said the ruling of The Hague-based tribunal was an important contribution to ongoing efforts in addressing disputes.

He raised the South China Sea issue even as Beijing said on Monday that there should be no discussion on it during the Asia-Europe Meeting (ASEM) in Ulaan Baator.

Yasay joined 54 leaders from ASEM that is celebrating its 20th anniversary in the Mongolian capital.

President Duterte had designated Yasay to represent him at the ASEM summit between Asian and European leaders.

Yasay said that the Philippines welcomes the issuance of the arbitral award on the South China Sea.

The PCA in The Hague, Netherlands had concluded that China had violated the Philippines’ economic and sovereign rights.

Brunei, Indonesia, Malaysia, Taiwan and Vietnam also have unresolved overlapping claims on parts of the South China Sea.

The tribunal dismissed China’s “nine-dash line” that claims 85 percent of the South China Sea. The PCA said China’s claim is unlawful under the 1982 UN Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS).

“The Philippines strongly affirms its respect for this milestone decision as an important contribution to the ongoing efforts in addressing disputes in the SCS. We call on all parties to exercise restraint and sobriety,” Yasay said.

The Philippines reiterated its abiding commitment to pursue the peaceful resolution and management of disputes with a view to promoting and enhancing peace and stability in the region.

“At the same time we attach great importance to measures that will restore trust and confidence among parties in the region. The Philippines shall continue to engage concerned parties in finding ways to reduce regional tensions and to build greater trust and confidence,” Yasay said.

“In this regard, the Philippines will continue fostering mutually beneficial relations with all nations,” he added.

He said ASEM has been a platform not only for functional cooperation among Asian and European countries, but also for fruitful and meaningful discussions on all of ASEM’s three pillars: the political, the economic and the social, cultural and educational pillars supported by the Philippines.

ASEM has promoted multilateral cooperation in addressing regional and international political-security concerns such as terrorism, nuclear testing, climate change and human rights.

France said it will be difficult to prevent Asian and European leaders gathering for the ASEM Summit in Mongolia from raising the South China Sea issue.

“It’s the first international meeting with the European and Asian stakeholders,” French Ambassador Thierry Mathou told reporters on the sidelines of the Bastille Day reception, the French Independence Day, held at his residence on Thursday evening.

China said on Monday there should be no discussion about the South China Sea during the ASEM Summit.

A European Union statement on the ruling of the arbitral tribunal rejecting China’s territorial claims is expected to be issued.

“We are waiting for one,” he said.

France’s position calls on parties concerned to abide by the ruling and the UNCLOS.

“We invite all stakeholders to discuss because at the end, the only solution to this issue is negotiation,” Mathou added.

The arbitral tribunal invalidated China’s claims to ill-defined historic rights through the nine-dash line and ruled on the legal status of every feature in the Spratly Islands raised by the Philippines.

US supports special envoy

The United States welcomed the Philippines’ plan to send a special envoy to China to begin talks after the PCA ruling.

Former president Fidel Ramos has been asked by President Duterte to begin talks with Chinese officials.

Duterte said the interest of the Philippines and its allies would be considered as they strive to settle the territorial row through diplomacy.

Elizabeth Trudeau, Press Office director at the US Department of State, said the US encourages all claimants to avoid provocative actions and rhetoric and take advantage of the opportunity the ruling provided.

“We would welcome any discussion among claimants. We hope that all claimants take advantage of this opportunity that the arbitration decision provided to work together and manage these disputes,” Trudeau said in a press briefing which transcript was posted on the State Department website.

She said the ruling by the PCA is legally binding, noting that both China and the Philippines are signatories of UNCLOS and agreed to a legally binding decision.

When joining the UNCLOS, the US said that parties agree to the convention’s compulsory dispute settlement process and the tribunal’s decision is final and legally binding on both China and the Philippines.

With the onus now on China, the US, though not a signatory to UNCLOS, told Beijing that the world is watching to see if China is a responsible global power that will abide by its legally binding obligations under the decision rendered by a United Nations-backed tribunal.

http://www.philstar.com/headlines/2016/07/16/1603253/phl-raises-sea-ruling-asem

Related:

 (Contains links to many of the previous articles on the South China Sea dispute and the court ruling)

South China Sea: China Wants Win-Win in Talks with the Philippines — What are Duterte’s Instructions to Ramos, and Their Goals?

July 15, 2016
The Permanent Court of Arbitration based in The Hague, in a ruling last July 12, invalidated China’s massive claim in the West Philippine Sea and South China Sea and upheld the Philippines’ sovereign rights over areas seized or claimed by the Chinese. PCA/Released

MANILA, Philippines – China is eyeing a “win-win” outcome of possible post-arbitration talks with the Philippines, with both countries to discuss “temporary arrangements” pending final settlement of their maritime dispute.

China’s ministry of foreign affairs announced Beijing’s readiness to talk even as it called on the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) not to take sides on the issue related to arbitration.

The Permanent Court of Arbitration based in The Hague, in a ruling last July 12, invalidated China’s massive claim in the West Philippine Sea and South China Sea and upheld the Philippines’ sovereign rights over areas seized or claimed by the Chinese.

The Chinese foreign ministry also said Beijing’s position of not accepting or recognizing the ruling will not change.

State Councilor Yang Jiechi said the South China Sea issue is not an issue between China and ASEAN since the regional bloc has long made clear its neutrality on the issue.

His statement came amid ASEAN’s silence on the rejection of Chinese territorial claims by the arbitral tribunal. “Therefore, it should not take sides on issues related to the arbitration,” Yang said.

China and ASEAN member-states, he said, have maintained candid and friendly communication regarding the South China Sea issue.

Yang said China is ready to settle the disputes through peaceful negotiation with countries directly concerned – on the basis of respecting “historical facts,” which the arbitral tribunal rejected in its ruling.

The tribunal’s ruling was based on international law, including the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea. Beijing is a signatory to UNCLOS.

“China is ready to discuss with countries concerned about temporary arrangements pending final settlement of the dispute, which include joint development in relevant waters in the South China Sea for mutual benefits and win-win outcomes, so that together we can maintain peace and stability in the South China Sea,” Yang said.

“China’s position of not accepting or recognizing the award will not change,” he pointed out.

The official blamed the administration of former president Benigno Aquino III for the “serious difficulty” the Philippines-China bilateral relations were going through. He said the Aquino administration had a hostile policy toward China on the sea dispute.

“We call on the new Philippine government to bear in mind the common interests of our two countries and the broader picture of bilateral ties and properly handle relevant issues,” he said.

China, Yang said, will stay committed to following the peaceful path of negotiation and consultation, and to developing friendly relations and win-win cooperation with its neighbors.

Beijing refused to participate in the arbitral proceedings and rejected the ruling, calling the award by the Arbitral Tribunal “illegal” and “invalid.”

Yang said “this position of the central government has the strong support and endorsement from people of various social sectors in China.”

“They have expressed their unequivocal attitude of opposing the illegal arbitration and safeguarding sovereign rights and interests by contributing articles and articulating views through the press, TV and SMS as well as online platforms like WeChat and Weibo,” Yang said, referring to what he called declaration of support for the Chinese position.

He called the South China Sea arbitration a political farce all along, staged under the cover of law and driven by a hidden agenda.

Certain countries outside the region, he said, have attempted to deny China’s sovereign rights and interests in the South China Sea through the arbitration.

“But such attempts are futile, to say the least, and in so doing, they are only lifting a stone to drop it on their own feet,” he added.

He said the arbitration ran counter to the spirit of international rule of law, as it put regional peace and stability in jeopardy, and undermined the interests of the international community.

“Most countries in the world see this clearly,” he claimed.

Yang flaunted that over 70 countries and international and regional organizations have made statements showing their support for China’s position.

On the other hand, the Washington-based think tank Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) said 40 countries had voiced support for the arbitral proceedings.

The Asia Maritime Transparency Initiative (AMTI) of the CSIS said countries that considered the outcome of arbitral proceeding binding were Albania, Australia, Austria, Belgium, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Botswana, Bulgaria, Canada, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Moldova, Montenegro, Netherlands, New Zealand, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, United Kingdom, United States and Vietnam.

Countries supporting China’s position included Afghanistan, Gambia, Kenya, Lesotho, Niger, Sudan, Togo and Vanuatu.

Yang noted the South China Sea has been part of China’s domain since ancient times.

“No country should expect us to trade our core interests away or swallow the bitter consequences of our sovereignty, security and development interests being undermined,” he said.

http://www.philstar.com/headlines/2016/07/16/1603251/china-eyes-win-win-outcome-talks

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FVR seeks mission parameters as special envoy

President Duterte chats with former president Fidel Ramos during a testimonial dinner in Duterte’s honor organized by the San Beda Law Alumni Association at Club Filipino in San Juan the other night.

MANILA, Philippines – If ever he agrees to start bilateral talks with China after an international tribunal ruled in favor of the Philippines on overlapping claims in the South China Sea, former president Fidel Ramos must be armed with “clear parameters” of his authority to speak for President Duterte.

A ranking Palace official underscored the need to set such parameters for Ramos before the former president embarks on the mission to Beijing as special presidential envoy.

As this developed, the Palace is preparing the next set of moves to ensure greater consultation on the maritime issue through the National Security Council (NSC).

But the NSC meeting may be convened only after Duterte delivers his first State of the Nation Address (SONA) on July 25, the joint opening of the 17th Congress.

The NSC is chaired by the President, with members that include the Senate president, the House Speaker and other key leaders of Congress and the Cabinet, along with former presidents of the country and selected private sector representatives.

Requesting anonymity since it involves sensitive policy matters, the Palace official told The STAR that Duterte made a “master stroke” in diplomacy by tapping the services of Ramos.

“I would like to respectfully ask (Ramos) to go to China and start the talks,” Duterte said.

However, the President informally announced his request to Ramos in his extemporaneous remarks at a testimonial dinner in his honor by former classmates and schoolmates at the San Beda College of Law.

Naturally, the Palace official explained, Duterte must issue and sign the official designation of Ramos as “special envoy” to Beijing.

Before further steps are taken, the same Palace official said Duterte would have a full-blown meeting with Ramos to discuss the specifics of the mission.

Aside from being a former president, Ramos comes from a family of diplomats. His late father was ambassador Narciso Ramos while elder sister Letty Ramos-Shahani was also a former ambassador before she served as undersecretary of foreign affairs and later senator.

The President’s public request to Ramos came two days after the ruling handed down by the Permanent Court of Arbitration (PCA) that found no legal basis for the nine-dash line claim of Beijing in the South China Sea.

“War? It is not an option. So what is the other side? Peaceful talks. I cannot give you the wherewithals now, I have to consult many people, including (former) president Ramos,” Duterte pointed out.

Ramos, who attended the testimonial dinner, said he was “out of range” of hearing when Duterte made the request. “I think he just made that in jest because I’m busy writing my legacy for you young people and China is only one of my areas of interest,” Ramos told reporters in an ambush interview after the dinner.

Levity aside, Ramos admitted he was not aware of the President’s plans for him: “I have not seen the offer.”

Moreover, the 88-year-old Ramos cited his state of health, especially now that he has a pacemaker. He told The STAR he underwent surgery for this last October.

“This is not to show disrespect to the President but you have to consider my increasing age. But I can do the job. However, I have bigger commitments in terms of peace in the world and sustainable development,” Ramos said.

After his presidency, Ramos was kept busy writing and publishing books of his speeches (which he playfully calls “sermons”) and columns published in The Manila Bulletin, and traveling abroad to deliver lectures and speeches.

Every year, Ramos attends the Boao Forum for Asia (BFA) held annually in Boao, Hainan province in China.

The Ramos Peace and Development Foundation Inc. is a founding member of the BFA. The BFA is an Asian forum initiated by Ramos, former Speaker Jose de Venecia, and other leaders to discuss regional issues and global concerns.

A West Point graduate, Ramos was once seen as an “Am-boy” when he ran for and won the presidency in 1992. During his term, Ramos hosted former Chinese premier Jiang Zemin in a tour of Manila Bay on board the presidential yacht, with the two leaders singing karaoke.

According to Duterte, it is important to be “careful” in dealing with China so as not to create bigger problems, not only for the country, but for allies of the Philippines as well, like the US.

“We gain nothing, but we also do not want to offend the United States. Why? Because we have identified ourselves with the Western powers. So there’s an interest that we also should not forget, our interests and the interests of our allies,” Duterte said.

The Palace official meanwhile disclosed the forthcoming trip of Ramos to Beijing would likely take place after the President convenes the NSC meeting at the Palace.

Aside from Ramos, also to be invited to this NSC meeting are former president and now Manila Mayor Joseph Estrada, ex-president and now Pampanga Rep. Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo and ex-president Benigno Aquino lll.

However, it is not clear if Arroyo could be given court furlough from her hospital detention at the Veterans Memorial Medical Center in Quezon City while undergoing plunder trial at the Sandiganbayan.

http://www.philstar.com/headlines/2016/07/16/1603249/fvr-seeks-mission-parameters-special-envoy

Philippines Dedicated to Peace in the South China Sea

July 27, 2014

By |

 
Chinese dredging (reclamation) operation at Johnson Reef, called Mabini by the Philippines, at the Spratly Islands in the West Philippine Sea. AP FILE PHOTO

MANILA, Philippines – The Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) said on Sunday its priority in the remaining two years of the Aquino administration would be “to ensure the peace in the West Philippine Sea” amid rising territorial conflicts with regional giant China.

This includes attempts to get all concerned parties, including China, to agree to a moratorium on activities such as base building, reclamation and gas exploration that could further raise tension in the South China Sea.

In a report it issued to coincide with President Aquino’s State of the Nation Address (Sona) before Congress on Monday (July 28), the DFA listed its achievements for 2013 as well as its priorities for the remaining two years in the term of President Aquino.

“For the remainder of President Aquino’s term, the DFA will continue to be faithful to its mandate to preserve and enhance national security, work towards inclusive growth and development, and safeguard the welfare and interests of our people abroad, while upholding the values of good governance,” the DFA also said in a nine-page pre-Sona report.

On its national security mandate, it mentioned disputes in the South China Sea “continue to pose serious challenges to national sovereignty and integrity.”

Specifically, the DFA will focus on its arbitration case against China.

Manila filed last year an arbitration case before the United Nations arbitration tribunal over China’s nine-dash line claim that in turn would give Beijing ownership of the entire South China Sea.

Last March 30, the DFA submitted a memorial to the arbitral tribunal, which gave China until Dec. 15 to present its counter memorial. China has refused to take part in the arbitration proceedings.

“We hope that China’s non-participation will hasten the arbitration proceedings,” the DFA said.

In the immediate term, the DFA said it was “also determined to get all concerned parties to agree on a moratorium on provocative and destabilizing actions in the “West Philippine Sea/South China Sea.”

Foreign Affairs Secretary Albert Del Rosario earlier called for a moratorium on these activities after China was found to be undertaking reclamation activities in some of the disputed areas, including that of the Philippines and Vietnam.

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Philippines Legal Professor: Aquino urged to do more amid China’s aggression

July 13, 2014

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By Louis Bacani
Philippine Star

MANILA, Philippines — An international law expert believes that the Philippines’ arbitration case against China is a legacy of President Benigno Aquino III, but much still needs to be done in his remaining two years including a major diplomatic move in the United Nations (UN).

Lawyer Harry Roque Jr., director of the University of the Philippines (UP) Law Center Institute of International Legal Studies, said the country under Aquino’s leadership will be known for standing up for its rights and for seeking legal remedies to protect its interest in the disputed South China Sea.

“I think his best legacy would be resorting to the rule of law and trying to achieve settlement on the South China Sea.” Roque said in an interview.

“To his credit, this is something that no other country has done, particularly to use legal remedies against a regional power like China. But at the same time, he has got to win,” the UP law professor added.

Aquino has said that to de-escalate tensions in the disputed waters, the Philippines is pursuing comprehensive means on three levels – immediate, intermediate, and final approaches.

On the immediate level, Aquino said the Philippines is seeking a moratorium on construction efforts and other activities that may increase tensions in the contested territories. On the intermediate level, the country is calling for the completion of a binding Code of Conduct.

On the final approach, the Philippines has filed an arbitration case that would clarify the maritime entitlements of country-claimants in the South China Sea.

But Roque believes that the proposed moratorium will not succeed while the arbitration case may not be enough to solve the territorial dispute.

That is why in the upcoming State of the Nation Address (SONA), Roque wants the President to lay out other options that the country may also pursue.

“I want to hear what his fallback position is. I don’t want us to put all our eggs in one bag. I want to hear that we have alternative remedies in case we don’t prevail in the arbitration and I want to know what these are,” Roque said.

He said Aquino must also reassure that regardless of what happens to the arbitration, his administration will still exhaust other remedies to protect the Philippines’ national patrimony and territory.

“And at the same time, I already want to know, how he intends to finish with finality the entirety of the Spratly Islands dispute,” Roque added.

UN General Assembly

According to Roque, what Aquino must do now is to seek the support of one of the six principal organs of the UN, the General Assembly.

“We should be focusing on building a consensus in the UN for a General Assembly resolution against China’s conquest of the South China Sea,” Roque said.

Under the UN Charter, the Security Council is the principal organ responsible for the maintenance of international peace and security, but Roque said the General Assembly may also deal with threats to peace pursuant to the Uniting for Peace Resolution adopted in 1950.

The resolution states that the General Assembly may take actions when there are threats to peace or acts of aggression if the Security Council fails to do so due to the negative vote of a permanent member.

Since China is a permanent member of the Security Council, Roque believes the UN body will not act if the tensions in the South China Sea develop into a full armed conflict.

“[Aquino] should now be preparing for a major diplomatic initiative in the UN because China is a permanent member of the Security Council. We cannot expect the Security Council to act in case of conflict in the South China Sea because China has a veto power,” Roque said.

“The only mechanism right now is the General Assembly that’s why we should be focusing on sending an effective diplomat there that can muster support of the majority members of the United Nations for a resolution,” Roque also said.

At the same time, Aquino should also start getting the support of other nations, but not those which are already known allies of the Philippines such as Japan, Roque suggested.

“He should not be converting the converted,” the lawyer said. “He should be making a major initiative among third world countries now to unite, to support each other against regional bullies like China. He should be going to Latin America, Africa and other parts of Asia.”

Roque also wants the President to consider China’s demand of bilateral negotiations to solve the territorial row.

“If I were him (Aquino), I will still do it behind closed doors,” Roque said. “We should be exhausting all means for peaceful resolution of this dispute.”

“We are duty-bound, as a member of the UN Charter, to resort to all these peaceful means,” he said.

Prioritize national defense, get public support

Roque said the Aquino administration should also prioritize national defense by investing in equipment, warships and airplanes using government resources such as the Malampaya fund.

“I want us to come up with a viable defense policy knowing that we have sufficient resources already to defend what we claim in the South China Sea. And the fruits of Malampaya are more than sufficient for this,” Roque said.

Instead of relying on the United States, Roque said Aquino should rally the Filipinos as the Philippines presses its sovereignty over the disputed territories.

“The Philippine government is also sending mixed signals. It is standing up to China but running to America. What [Aquino] should be doing now is galvanizing support of the Philippines in favor of the Philippines,” Roque said.

“Let’s get public support to defend our islands. Let’s get rid of corruption so we can use our resources for the protection of the Republic. That’s what [Aquino] should be doing for the Filipino people and not crying and running to Uncle Sam.”

China-Bashing No Longer Productive, Philippine Leadership Hears

August 12, 2013

‘Shame China’ policy has contributed largely to the deteriorating relations between the Philippines and China

By Barbara Mae Dacanay, Bureau Chief
Gulf News.com

Manila: Senior officials of the US have advised Philippine officials, including President Benigno Aquino to back off from a rhetoric of China-bashing, a columnist said.

American officials have taken a strategy “not to vulgarise” the implementation of their policy to increase US presence in the Asia Pacific region, columnist Ellen Tordesillas of Inbox quoted former Philippine representative to the United Nations Lauro Baja as saying.

“They [American officials] want a stable region. They don’t want to prejudice their strategic relations with China, which is more important than claims [of six countries, including China’s] over rocks and shoals [in the South China Sea],” Baja was also quoted as saying.

Americans officials have also agreed with Philippine analysts’ view that the “Shame China” policy undertaken by Foreign Affairs Secretary Albert del Rosario has contributed largely to the deteriorating relations between the Philippines and China, said Tordesillas, hinting this could affect the US strategy of rebalanced power in the Asia Pacific.

“Aquino can be stubborn. But he listens to America,” Tordesillas said.

Aquino

As a proof of this, Foreign Affairs Secretary Del Rosario, admitted that his office has started “looking for a modus vivendi with China,” said Tordesillas, but did not give more details.

At the same time, “two weeks before the President’s State of the Nation Address [Sona in July 2013], US officials advised the DFA [department of foreign affairs] and Malacanang [the presidential palace] to tone down their anti-China rhetorics to reduce tension in the region.

“That explains why in last month’s Sona there was no mention, not a word, about conflict with China,” said the columnist.

Philippine Foreign Secretary Albert del Rosario said a solution was elusive

Philippine Foreign Secretary Albert del Rosario

This was surprising because of new reports stating that China has deployed again its vessels near Ayungin Shoal in the South China Sea.

Aquino’s 2013 Sona was relatively tame in comparison with his anti-China statements in his Sona in 2011 and 2012.

In 2012, Aquino decided to send back Philippine ships near Bajo de Masinloc or the Scarborrough Shoal in the South China Sea off northern Luzon, when he learned that Chinese vessels returned there following a resolved stand-off in May.

In response, “the US relayed the advice through defence officials that it would not be wise [for Malacanang, the presidential palace] to send back the ships to Bajo de Masinloc. The ships were not sent back,” said Tordesillas who quoted an unnamed source.

Because of China’s relentless show of maritime power in the South China Sea, the Philippines also filed a suit with the UN Arbitral Court to resolve the issue internationally.

The columnist did not categorically say if the US has agreed to this approach when she said: “The US has taken a neutral position in the conflicting claims in the South China Sea and has always been consistent in urging for a peaceful resolution of the conflicting claims.”

Earlier, US President Barack Obama announced the rebalancing of US military forces from Middle East to Asia, also called a Pivot to Asia policy. Analysts said it was meant to stem China’s hegemonic-tendencies in the region.

China, Taiwan, and Vietnam claim the whole of the South China Sea based on their historical rights on the said area. Brunei, Malaysia, and Philippines claim some parts of the Spratly Archipelago in the South China Sea, based on the United Nations Conference on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) which grants 200 nautical miles exclusive economic zone to countries starting from their shores.

Philippines: Assessing Aquino at Half Way Point

July 25, 2013

By

The advantage to society of having a president like P-Noy who, unlike most of  his predecessors, has kept his popularity and credibility intact halfway through  his term, is that people are able once more to look at their government with  hope and less cynicism. The disadvantage, however, is that people also begin to  think that he alone holds the key to reforming society, and therefore a lot  depends on his political will. This, I think, is unfortunate. It places too much  stress on being able to get honest people for government service, and too little  on rationalizing public institutions themselves.

It also ascribes to the presidency the power of central control it does not  have in a complex society, and cannot have, unless it turns dictatorial. It  burdens the office with too many details, leaving little room for the more  important task of defining the basic priorities of government, and securing the  necessary mandate and financing for these. It predisposes the heads of agencies  to wait for cues from above instead of embarking on their own to rationalize the  operations of their respective departments. It is no surprise then that people  tend to equate the priorities of the nation with what or who the President  explicitly mentions in his State of the Nation Address (Sona).

Yet, no chief executive can possibly oversee, or much less steer, everything.

The President has to rely on the executives he designates, who, in turn, have  to work with the bureaucracy they inherit. He must contend with legal challenges  to his initiatives, whether these pertain to firing personnel or revamping  procedures or awarding contracts. In many instances, he will need appropriate  legislation to make his initiatives collectively binding. Securing legislative  backup for one’s long-term vision is, for a president, precisely the art of  politics.

Without underestimating the inspirational dividends a society earns from  having a trustworthy political leader, we must pay due attention to the need to  professionalize the institutions of government. This means, among other things,  giving the people in charge of them a strong enough push and encouragement to  restructure their systems so as to enable them to perform their functions more  efficiently, while extending to them adequate protection from pressure by other  politicians.

Good governance is certainly made enormously easy when  you have honest and competent civil servants. But a good executive cannot demand  this as a precondition. In a transitional society like ours, reform-oriented  political leaders like P-Noy typically find themselves having to work with a  bureaucracy that has become too corrupt, too complacent, and too timid to  initiate any change in the status quo. It is almost futile to shame the  bureaucracy into shaping up. One needs to focus instead on what needs to be done  as well as on the structural obstacles to reform.

Perhaps, nowhere is this need more glaring than in the  Bureau of Customs, which President Aquino singled out in his recent Sona as one  of the most persistently problematic agencies of government. Clearly exasperated  over the agency’s failure to curb smuggling, he had harsh words for its staff.  “And here we have the Bureau of Customs, whose personnel are trying to outdo  each other’s incompetence. Instead of collecting the proper taxes and preventing  contraband from entering the country, they are heedlessly permitting the  smuggling of goods, and even drugs, arms, and other items of a similar nature  into our territory….  Where do these people get the gall?”

One is tempted to answer: They get their “gall” from  the ineffectiveness of the agency’s control systems. We cannot always presume  that the people who join government are virtuous. Indeed, many who start out  honest end up being corrupted by the opportunities to make easy money from the  exercise of discretionary powers. But, if we cannot name these individuals, and  charge them, it seems unfair to hurl a blanket accusation against an entire  agency. It would be better to plug the loopholes, keep the system transparent,  and uniformly enforce the law. The point is, corruption and incompetence cannot  be meaningfully addressed by moral appeals to conscience or sense of shame.  These are structural problems that must be solved structurally.

If we take this perspective, we may realize that most  of our governance problems are systemic in nature. They spring from the very  soil of our personality-oriented and patronage-driven political system. The  government bureaucracy mirrors this reality in no uncertain terms. It is full of  individuals who landed in government service courtesy of their patrons.   They are not necessarily evil, but they have no real qualifications for the  positions they permanently occupy. With every change in administration, everyone  simply waits to see what the new leaders have in mind—whether they intend to use  the agency for their own limited purpose, or to reform and place it on more  stable institutional ground.

The first indication of a new government’s seriousness  with reform is the quality of the individuals it appoints to head the various  departments of government. Insiders can guess at once whether these appointments  are meant as payback or for fund-raising, or are part of a serious reform  agenda. They will search for the weaknesses of the new chief, baiting him with  innocent-looking gifts. If he doesn’t bite, they will conspire to undermine him.  A person in this position would need not only the trust of the President but  also the experience, fortitude, and intellectual capacity to map out a strategy  that will put him several steps ahead of the enemy.

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MANILA — President Benigno Aquino III has maintained his high trust and performance ratings, according to a latest Pulse Asia survey released Monday, hours before the Chief Executive delivered his fourth State of the Nation Address (Sona).

The Pulse Asia survey, which was conducted from June 20 to July 4, showed that Aquino’s trust approval soared from 72 percent to 77 percent, representing a five point jump in the past three months while his performance approval remained steady at 73 percent.

It said the changes in the President’s performance and trust ratings within the first three months of this year are “marginal in nature.”

“Between March and June, the public assessment of President Aquino’s performance and trustworthiness remains generally unchanged,” it said.

It also noted that a big majority of Filipinos is aware of Aquino’s previous Sona, an annual address by the President to a joint session of Congress.

“Topping the list of issues Filipinos would like President Aquino to discuss in his 2013 Sona are the creation of jobs and the reduction of prices of basic commodities,” the public opinion polling body said.

Malacanang meanwhile welcomed on Monday the results of the latest Pulse Asia survey showing sustained high rating of the President.

“These unprecedented ratings for a chief executive since Pulse Asia began its trust and performance poll, are indicative of the Filipino people’s continued support for and confidence in the President and the sweeping changes and programs he has championed since day one,” said Presidential Spokesperson Edwin Lacierda in a statement.

Halfway through Aquino’s term, he said the government takes these survey results as an affirmation that its reforms, good government initiatives, and social investments are producing results.

As the President fulfills a constitutional duty to report to the Filipino people, Lacierda said “we continue to be strengthened in our resolve to soldier on the path towards good governance and face the challenges of the next three years knowing our countrymen are solidly behind his leadership.”

Aquino is set to deliver his fourth Sona Monday afternoon at the House of Representatives where he is expected to cite the direction of the country in the last three years of his term as well as the achievements of his administration the past year. (SDR/Sunnex)