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ASEAN SEPT 7: DUTERTE TO SIT BESIDE OBAMA, BAN KI-moon AT GALA DINNER[RELATED: PHL Senators split on Duterte’s tirades vs US]
[RELATED(2) Palace: We regret mistake on seating arrangement statement]
SEPTEMBER 7 -COMPOSITE PHOTOS GMA NEWS NETWORK FILE After the cancellation of their scheduled bilateral talks, President Rodrigo Duterte and United States President Barack Obama are expected to meet at the gala dinner of the Association of South East Asian Nation (Asean) in Vientiane, Laos on Wednesday night. In a statement, Malacañang said Duterte and Obama will be seated next to each other at the gala dinner. “Presidents Duterte and Obama will be seated next to each other, which expectedly, will focus all cameras on them to deliver to the world the encounter of the two,” Palace said. Aside from Obama, Duterte’s other seatmate would be UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon. “Incidentally, United Nations (UN) Secretary General Ban Ki-moon is also seated on the other side of President Duterte,” the Palace said. Duterte was supposed to have a bilateral meeting with Obama at the sidelines of the Asean Summit but was cancelled after the Philippine President launched tirades against Obama. READ MORE... RELATED, PHL Senators split on Duterte’s tirades vs US... RELATED(2) Palace: We regret mistake on seating arrangement statement...
ALSO: Obama, Ban Ki-Moon mum when I raised killings during PH-US war - Duterte[RELATED: Government to pursue independent foreign policy, says Duterte]
[RELATED(2): RP to chart own course — DU30]
SEPTEMBER 9 -U.S. President Barack Obama, right, and U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon pose for photographers as they shake hands during a joint ratification of the Paris climate change agreement at the West Lake State Guest House in Hangzhou in eastern China's Zhejiang province, Saturday, Sept. 3, 2016. (How Hwee Young/Pool Photo via AP) President Rodigo Duterte on Friday said United States President Barack Obama was silent when he discussed human rights violations at the East Asia Summit of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean) on Thursday. In a speech before hundreds of Filipino community members at the Shangri-La Jakarta on Friday, Duterte said he presented “a few pages” of photos of slain Muslims during the pacification campaign at the height of the Philippine-American War in the 1900s. The President said he was in a roundtable meeting with Obama and Asean leaders. “Ako, because of the pressure para huminto na sila, sabi ko, since human rights was mentioned, I produced a few pages of pictures in the pacification campaign by the Americans at the turn of the century,” he said. He said Obama, who has raised concerns about the drug-related killings in the Philippines, was silent. READ MORE...RELATED, Government to pursue independent foreign policy, says Duterte... RELATED(2), RP to chart own course — DU30...
ALSO: US stands firm on human rights issues in Philippines
[RELATED: Hillary says Obama made 'right choice' after Duterte's remarks]
SEPTEMBER 7 -U.S. President Barack Obama speaks at the Lao National Cultural Hall in Vientiane, Laos, Tuesday, Sept. 6, 2016. AP/Carolyn Kaster The United States maintained that it will not soften its criticism about human rights concerns and drug issues in the Philippines. US Department of State Deputy Spokesperson Mark Toner said that Washington is willing to have a conversation with the Philippines regarding its concerns about human rights. "President [Rodrigo] Duterte may disagree with us strongly on that, and that’s part of the conversation of – between allies and partners that take place on – with a number of countries around the world," Toner said in a press briefing on Tuesday. READ MORE...RELATED, Hillary says Obama made 'right choice' after Duterte's remarks...
ALSO: Philippines, China push for framework of code of conduct in South China Sea
[RELATED: South China Sea code eyed ASEAN, China set to agree to complete Code of Conduct consultations]
SEPTEMBER 7 -President Rodrigo Duterte arrives at the National Convention Center in Vientiane, Laos for the ASEAN Summit on Sept. 6, 2016. PPD/Toto Lozano, file VIENTIANE, Laos – The Philippines and China have stressed the need to craft a framework for a code of conduct for claimants in the South China Sea and to settle territorial disputes peacefully. The overlapping maritime claims in the region was one of the topics discussed during the ASEAN-China meet held Wednesday here and attended by heads of state, including President Rodrigo Duterte. “China was vigorously asking to begin with the Code of Conduct as well as Singapore, and our president of the Philippines -- President Duterte -- also expressed his approval of having this framework of Code of Conduct initiated,” Presidential Communications Secretary Martin Andanar said in a press briefing. “The trend to resolve differences will be good, there is now positive direction in our relations, and the (code of) conduct in the South China Sea should happen next year after the framework of the Code of Conduct has been dealt with by the ASEAN region,” he added. Andanar said Duterte also called on his fellow leaders to “be on the side of peace.” READ MORE...RELATED, South China Sea code eyed ASEAN, China set to agree to complete Code of Conduct consultations ...
ALSO: White House, Palace agree that DU30 expression of regrets not an apology[RELATED AT THE ASEAN GALA: Barack to Rody - Do anti-drug war ‘right way’]
SEPTEMBER 8 -US STATE DEPARTMENT HINTS OF BACKLASH Both the White House and Malacañang agreed yesterday that the supposed expression of regret of President Duterte on his invectives to US President Barack Obama was not an apology with the US State Department hinting at a possible repercussion on “any assistance and cooperation” the US is providing the Philippines. US State Department deputy spokesman said at a media briefing that the US government is not sure about Duterte extending a sincere apology to Obama, who the Philippine President branded a son of whore for suggesting that he will bring up the respect of human rights and the rise in extrajudicial killings in the country during the two leaders’ aborted bilateral talks in the ongoing East Asian Summit in Laos. “I’m not sure what we (US government), in fact, received from (Duterte an apology), the response was from the Government of the Philippines. I’d just have to look into it. I don’t have the answer in front of me. But what’s clear is that there has a been a pattern here or a couple of incidents that, again, speak of the tenor of the new administration that, frankly, raise concerns,” Toner said. “Words matter and we want to see an atmosphere that is cordial and open to strong cooperation,” State Department’s Toner said.Toner said that the US government will not let up on pressing protection of rights on Duterte in his campaign against the narcotics trade which had resulted in the death of more than 2,000 drugs suspects. READ MORE...RELATED, AT THE ASEAN GALA: Barack to Rody - Do anti-drug war ‘right way’...
ALSO FEATURE REPORT: 'METAMORPHOSIS' Rodrigo Duterte - Pagbabago or bust
July 28, 2016 ABS-CBN FEATURE REPORT ON DUTERTE, THE MAYOR: President Rodrigo Duterte, surrounded by his key people, speaks to a multitude of supporters during his miting de avance at the Quirino Grandstand before the May 9 elections. Basilio H. Sepe, ABS-CBN News Post-1986, except for the political transition in January 2001 when Vice-President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo took over from deposed President Joseph Estrada, no other transfer of presidential power has gotten so much attention as Rodrigo Roa Duterte's. It's partly because the Philippines has not had a commander-in-chief like the tough-talking mayor of Davao City.DU30: 30 facts about Duterte Duterte's fiery statements on fighting crime and his warnings to various institutions not to get in the way of his plans to change the country are seen as threats to the democratic gains of the country over the past 30 years. These gains include human rights, press freedom, an independent judiciary and legislature, which were lost from 1972 to 1986 during the Marcos dictatorship. No less than the United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon has reminded Duterte about the need to respect human rights and strengthen democracy. US President Barack Obama also cited the two countries' commitment to democracy in his phone call congratulating Duterte last June 18. The White House said Obama "highlighted the enduring values that underpin our thriving alliance with the Philippines... including our shared commitments to democracy, human rights, rule of law, and inclusive economic growth." "The two leaders affirmed their interest in seeing the relationship continue to grow on the basis of these shared principles," the White House said. METAMORPHOSIS Fortunately, no less than Duterte himself has promised to change. In one of his press conferences early in June before deciding to no longer give interviews to non-government media, Dutere said he was enjoying his last few days as a mayor who can be rude and uncouth. I said there's gonna be a metamorphosis in the mind. Suddenly from a caterpillar, it blossoms into a butterfly. - Duterte. READ MORE...
READ FULL MEDIA REPORTS HERE:
Duterte to sit beside Obama, Ban Ki-moon at Asean gala dinner
SEPTEMBER 7 -COMPOSITE PHOTOS GMA NEWS NETWORK FILE
ASEAN MEET, SEPTEMBER 12, 2016 (INQUIRER) By: Nestor Corrales @NCorralesINQ 03:43 PM September 7th, 2016 - After the cancellation of their scheduled bilateral talks, President Rodrigo Duterte and United States President Barack Obama are expected to meet at the gala dinner of the Association of South East Asian Nation (Asean) in Vientiane, Laos on Wednesday night.
In a statement, Malacañang said Duterte and Obama will be seated next to each other at the gala dinner.
“Presidents Duterte and Obama will be seated next to each other, which expectedly, will focus all cameras on them to deliver to the world the encounter of the two,” Palace said.
Aside from Obama, Duterte’s other seatmate would be UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon.
“Incidentally, United Nations (UN) Secretary General Ban Ki-moon is also seated on the other side of President Duterte,” the Palace said.
Duterte was supposed to have a bilateral meeting with Obama at the sidelines of the Asean Summit but was cancelled after the Philippine President launched tirades against Obama.
RELATED: Obama scraps meeting with Duterte — White House
He said Obama should not lecture him about human rights violations, saying it would be disrespectful to him and the Filipino people.
“The Philippines is not a vassal state. We have long ceased to be a colony of the United States,” Duterte has said
“I do not respond to anybody but to the people of the Republic of the Philippines. Wala akong pakialam sa kanya (I don’t care about him). Who is he?” he added.
READ: Duterte voices regrets for insult on Obama
The Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) had earlier said that Duterte declined a bilateral meeting with Ban, saying could not fit it into his schedule
READ: No Duterte meeting with UN chief Ban Ki-moon
The UN has strongly criticized the Duterte administration’s no-nonsense war against illegal drugs because of alleged human rights violations. JE
VIDEO: PRESIDENT DUTERTE DEPART FROM LAOS & WARMLY WELCOMED IN HIS ARRIVAL AT INDONESIA TO MEET PRES WIDODO
PRESIDENT DUTERTE UPDATES Published on Sep 8, 2016 President Rodrigo Roa Duterte arrives at Halim Perdanakusuma International Airport in Jakarta, Indonesia right after his participation to the 28th and 29th ASEAN Summits in Vientiane, Lao PDR. This marks his second trip to an Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) member and is in Indonesia for a state visit from September 8-9, 2016. #DuterteINDONESIA2016 Category News & Politics
RELATED FROM THE INQUIRER
Senators split on Duterte’s tirades vs US By: Maila Ager @MAgerINQ INQUIRER.net 12:34 PM September 6th, 2016
Senators were split over President Rodrigo Duterte’s tirades against the United States, one calling them “uncalled for” and “wrong on so many levels” while another described his tenacity in fighting for the country’s rights as “admirable.”
For Senator Antonio Trillanes IV, Duterte’s “vulgar” language against US President Barack Obama was “wrong on so many levels” and would have “detrimental effects” on the country’s ties with the US.
“President Duterte’s vulgar language directed against President Obama is wrong on so many levels and will definitely have detrimental effects on our diplomatic relationship and alliance with the US,” Trillanes said in a text message.
“You don’t just slap the face of the most powerful country in the world and expect to get away with it. It was uncalled for and now our country’s security sector would be weakened because of it,” said Trillanes, who is part of the minority bloc in the Senate.
Despite Duterte’s statement against Obama, Senator Panfilo Lacson believes that the Philippines will remain one of the US’ strongest allies in the region.
“Although any statement spoken by a country’s leader is always construed as a policy statement, I don’t see any drastic change in the US-PH long standing friendly relations,” Lacson said in a separate text message to reporters.
“We will be one of the US’ strongest allies in the Asia Pacific region and it will stay that way. Presidents come after elections and go after their terms while alliances between countries remain especially between the US and the Philippines.”
Lacson expressed hope, however that Duterte would soon realize that “diplomacy is always part and parcel of a country’s foreign policy and being the country’s leader, he shapes that policy.”
Obama called off his scheduled meeting this Tuesday with Duterte, following the latter’s warning to Obama not to lecture him about human rights and extrajudicial killings in the country.
READ: If Obama raises rights issues, Duterte says he will use ‘P’ word
Neophyte Senator Sherwin Gatchalian said the cancellation of the meeting was a “missed opportunity” for the Philippines to strengthen its ties with an “important ally.”
“However, I support PRRD’s (Duterte’s initials) aggressive assertion of Philippine independence and supremacy in our internal affairs,” Gatchalian said.
“In a way, it is promising to see that our President is strong enough to rattle even the most powerful leader in the world. PRRD’s tenacity in fighting for our country’s rights is admirable,” he added.
Senator Risa Hontiveros said she was also saddened by the cancellation of the meeting between the two leaders, saying the Philippines could have used it as a platform “to clarify issues and policies crucial to the international community even as we safeguard our national integrity and independence from foreign powers.”
“Sayang (Too bad). I look forward to our government taking important measures to address this matter. I hope that there will be another opportunity for both leaders to meet and constructively exchange views in the future,” Hontiveros said. CDG/rga
READ: Duterte to Obama: Don’t lecture me on rights, PH not a US colony
RELATED(2) FROM PHILSTAR
Palace: We regret mistake on seating arrangement statement By Alexis Romero (philstar.com) | Updated September 11, 2016 - 2:11pm 137 4456 googleplus1 0
Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte and US President Barack Obama make a toast during the gala dinner of ASEAN leaders and its Dialogue Partners in the ongoing 28th and 29th ASEAN Summits and other related summits at the National Convention Center Wednesday, Sept. 7, 2016 in Vientiane, Laos. Obama sat six seats to the right of Duterte. The two had been scheduled to hold their first meeting Tuesday but Obama canceled it after strong comments from Duterte. AP Photo/Bullit Marquez
MANILA, Philippines — Malacañang expressed regrets Sunday for issuing an erroneous press release stating that President Rodrigo Duterte would be seated between US President Barack Obama and United Nations chief Ban Ki-moon during the gala dinner of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) meet.
Presidential Communications Secretary Martin Andanar said he is taking responsibility for the blunder, which was picked up by media outlets here and abroad.
RELATED: Palace releases wrong statement on seating arrangement
“I’ve already ordered an investigation in the Presidential News Desk to determine why such information went out without my approval. It’s not a matter to laugh about,” Andanar told radio station dzBB.
“The Presidential News Desk was overzealous regarding the seating arrangement of the president without checking the facts. I take full responsibility for that booboo,” he added.
Andanar said Presidential Communications Office (PCO) Undersecretary Enrique Tandan III has been directed to look into the incident.
“I regret what happened. It was an unintentional mistake. We will look into that problem,” he added.
The press release, which was issued by PCO last Wednesday, said the media “from all over the world are up in excitement” as they await the gala dinner, which happened days after Duterte slammed the US and the UN for supposedly meddling with his anti-drug crackdown.
“Presidents Duterte and Obama will be seated next to each other, which expectedly, will focus all cameras on them to deliver to the world the encounter of the two. Incidentally, United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon is also seated on the other side of President Duterte,” the PCO statement read.
Duterte was actually seated between Indonesian president Joko Widodo and Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev. Duterte, however, chatted briefly with Obama before the dinner and clarified that he did not intend to attack him personally. He and Ban also greeted each other during the gala dinner.
RELATED: Obama, Duterte meet after spat
Andanar, a former broadcaster, said he would not release “exclusive” information about an event that could be changed by the host. He said he was shocked when the media asked him about the sitting arrangement during the ASEAN gala dinner.
Asked by journalists to explain the wrong information hours after the gala dinner, Andanar said: “No, it was supposed to happen tomorrow once Lao-PDR transfers the chairmanship to our country and based on the protocol, we are made to believe that it is going to be our president, president of Lao, and Barack Obama, or vice versa.”
Andanar was referring to the formal turnover of ASEAN chairmanship to the Philippines last Thursday.
“But then again things can be changed right on the spot. For instance, the ASEAN-China meeting, even the line-up of those who can talk first, second, third was changed. So these things may change,” he said.
Obama, Ban mum when I raised killings during PH-US war - Duterte SHARES: 6102 VIEW COMMENTS By: Nestor Corrales @NCorralesINQ INQUIRER.net 05:45 PM September 9th, 2016
U.S. President Barack Obama, right, and U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon pose for photographers as they shake hands during a joint ratification of the Paris climate change agreement at the West Lake State Guest House in Hangzhou in eastern China's Zhejiang province, Saturday, Sept. 3, 2016. (How Hwee Young/Pool Photo via AP)
President Rodigo Duterte on Friday said United States President Barack Obama was silent when he discussed human rights violations at the East Asia Summit of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean) on Thursday.
In a speech before hundreds of Filipino community members at the Shangri-La Jakarta on Friday, Duterte said he presented “a few pages” of photos of slain Muslims during the pacification campaign at the height of the Philippine-American War in the 1900s.
The President said he was in a roundtable meeting with Obama and Asean leaders.
“Ako, because of the pressure para huminto na sila, sabi ko, since human rights was mentioned, I produced a few pages of pictures in the pacification campaign by the Americans at the turn of the century,” he said.
He said Obama, who has raised concerns about the drug-related killings in the Philippines, was silent.
“Tumahimik sila. Kasi ako handa na ko. I was waiting for Obama to respond. Eh ito, abugado to abugado tayo. Sige daw. Wala. That was the only encounter. That was the only exchange at the holding room and when I said, ‘I never made that statement, check it out,’” he said.
READ: Duterte on Obama ‘slur’: I never made statement; it’s media spin
“Kung tayo, violation. Sa kanila, hindi,” he added.
The President said United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon, who was also present in the discussion, was speechless.
“Of the 600,000 Muslims, 6,000 were murdered. They were just buried in a common pit.’ Naghukay lang tapos iyong mga sundalo, pinapatungan lang ang mga dibdib ng mga babaeng nakahubad,” Duterte said he told the leaders.
“This is human rights. What do you intend to do? Do not tell me this is water under the bridge. Human rights violation either committed by Moses or Abraham is still a violation of human rights. When was this philosophy about human dignity in the world evolved? Now? Or during this time?” he added.
Prior to the Asean summit in Vientiane, Laos, the White House said Obama might raise the issue on human rights violations in the Philippines as the Duterte administration intensifies its crackdown on illegal drugs.
Ban has also strongly condemned Duterte’s apparent support for extrajudicial killings./rga
RELATED FROM PHILSTAR
Government to pursue independent foreign policy, says Duterte (philstar.com) | Updated September 10, 2016 - 2:20pm 3 124 googleplus0 0
President Rodrigo Duterte meets with Laotian President Bounnhang Vorachith during a courtesy call at the Presidential Palace in Laos on Sept. 7, 2016. PPD/King Rodriguez
MANILA, Philippines – President Rodrigo Duterte said on Saturday that the government will be pursuing an "independent foreign policy."
"In our relations to the world, the Philippines will pursue an independent foreign policy," Duterte said in his arrival speech at the Davao International Airport here.
“We will observe and must insist on the time-honored principle of sovereignty, sovereign equality, non-interference and the commitment of peaceful settlements of dispute that will serve our people and protect the interests of our country," he added.
Duterte arrived in Davao on Saturday after his working visit to Jakarta, Indonesia.
The president made international headlines with his controversial comment on US President Barack Obama, which prompted Washington’s cancellation of a bilateral between the two world leaders.
Duterte later said that he “regretted” the remarks and insisted that the Philippine expression “putang ina” is “an ordinary expression (used) by everyone.”
He also accused the media for supposedly “spinning stories several times over."
RELATED(2) FROM THE TRIBUNE
RP to chart own course — DU30 Written by AFP and Tribune Wires Sunday, 11 September 2016 00:00 f
BUT RODY STAYS CLEAR OF CHINA CONFRONTATION
RODY WITH ASEAN LEADERS
Expressing satisfaction that he did “his best” to represent the Filipino nation in the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean) Summit in Laos, including standing up to US President Barack Obama, President Duterte vowed yesterday to steer an independent course for the Philippines and refrain from confronting territorial rival China.
Duterte, who said he was “not a fan” of the United States, made the comments after a controversial first foreign trip and spectacular falling out with Obama, who he called a “son of a whore.”
“I am not a fan of the Americans... Filipinos should be first beforeeverybody else,” Duterte told reporters upon arrival in his hometown of Davao City.
“In our relations to the world, the Philippines will pursue an independent foreign policy. I repeat: The Philippines will pursue an independent foreign policy.”
The president’s trip to a summit in Laos was overshadowed by his verbal tirade, which saw Obama cancel a planned meeting. The pair met briefly later after Duterte expressed regret.
The US, Manila’s main military ally and the Philippines’ colonial ruler until 1946, has criticized Duterte’s brutal crackdown on crime, which has claimed 3,000 lives since he took office in July and drawn condemnation from the United Nations.
Obama has urged the Filipino leader to conduct his crime war “the right way” and protect human rights, but Duterte has dismissed it as being none of America’s business.
The two also subtly differed on how to proceed after a UN-backed international tribunal in July outlawed most of China’s claims to the strategic South China Sea, including areas that overlap with those of the Philippines and other neighbors.
Obama, whose government wants to ensure freedom of navigation in the waterway, brought up the contentious issue at the Laos forum also attended by China.
He stressed that the tribunal’s ruling was “binding” and could not be ignored by Beijing, which has rejected it.
Duterte favors a “soft landing” for the issue and said Saturday it would be counter-productive for his militarily weak nation, which hosts small units of US forces, to confront China or undertake actions that could lead to armed conflict.
“I assured everybody that there are only two options there: We go to fight, which we cannot afford at all, or talk,” he added.
Last Friday during an overnight visit to Indonesia, Duterte announced China had pledged to help build drug rehabilitation centers to treat Filipino narcotics users.
Law enforcement officials believe criminal gangs in China, Taiwan and Hong Kong supply most of the illegal and highly addictive stimulants, locally called shabu, to the Philippines.
“Only China has offered to help us,” Duterte said in a speech he gave to the Filipino community in Jakarta.
Philippines first policy
Duterte expressed confidence that he was able to push for the country’s and the Filipino people’s national interests during the two-day summit and dialogues with regional partners.
“I did not let you down,” the President said at a press briefing following his speech upon his arrival at the Davao International Airport at past 1 a.m. Saturday.
The President said he was able to highlight the country’s objective of pursuing an independent foreign policy.
“I repeat, the Philippines will pursue an independent foreign policy. We will observe and must insist on the time-honored principles of sovereignty, sovereign equality, non-interference and in commitment of peaceful settlement of disputes that best serve our people, protecting the interests of our country,” he stressed.
While he declined to assess his first foreign trip as it would be self-serving, Duterte said, “I state a posture of confidence that I was able to deliver what we are obligated to.”
Duterte said he is happy that he was able to do it during his first state visit.
“These are the things that I can sleep soundly well tonight. I would sleep on thinking that I have served my country the best the way I can,” he answered when asked to assess his foreign trip.
In his speech, Duterte said in the Summit and dialogues with regional partners, including his meeting with Indonesian President Joko Widodo, he was able to promote the national interest of the Philippines and the Filipinos at the regional and world community.
He said he was able to convey to the leaders of ASEAN and its dialogue partners, issues that impact peace, security, stability and prosperity of a region.
He also voiced the country’s concern over developments in the South China Sea but underscored the government’s commitment to a peaceful settlement in accordance with international law, including the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS).
“And I told the leaders to support individual and collective efforts to bring security and stability in the South China Sea through the rules-based approach for resolving maritime business,” he added.
Duterte said he also raised serious concern in the region over terrorism, violent extremism and the illicit drugs trade.
“I underscored the Philippines’ grave concern over social illness that breeds corruption at the highest levels,” Duterte said.
On trade, business and investments, Duterte said he clearly outlined his administration’s commitment to provide an environment for businesses to thrive and prosper, including micro, small and medium enterprises.
When asked about common policies to enhance regional cooperation, Duterte emphasized that the authority provided in the Constitution would be used only to promote the best interests of the Philippines and the Filipino people. “Nothing more,” he said.
Duterte also reiterated that he will pursue his promise to have a better Philippines and protect the future generation.
Duterte during his meeting with members of the Filipino community in Jakarta Friday said, “I will do what I think is best for my country, to the best interest of the Philippines... I am the President of the Republic of the Philippines, not the republic of the international community.”
He said that the threat posed by illegal drugs is one that will affect the future of the country’s population, hence the need to urgently attend to it.
“I will continue the campaign against the criminals,” he said.
The President said that with the help of the Almighty, he believes that what his administration has started is attainable.
“I will suppress drugs and in the fullness of God’s time, maybe two years, you can walk about in the Philippines, free of the fear of being mugged. But you have to pray, not because you love me, you have to pray because you need (me),” he said.
In Laos where he spoke before members of the Filipino community, some of whom came all the way from Thailand, Duterte assured that they will return to a better Philippines.
In both countries, the President mentioned of the many cases where children of overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) who are giving their sweat and blood to provide for their families back home, end up with a segmented family.
Worse, he said, some have children hooked on drugs. Even sadder, some of them go home with their daughter raped by a drug addict or killed on the street by a crazy drug user, he said.
Acknowledging the difficulty of his mission, Duterte said he is nonetheless determined to do it and will not spare anybody.
“Nobody in the horizon of the political arena was talking about the seriousness of the drug problem. Nobody was talking about the number of crimes committed against the innocent and hapless civilians, everywhere. Nobody was talking about graft and corruption,” he said.
He said the extent of the drug problem was not made known in the past but shocked many when he started the campaign against it.
“It was the naked truth that was really very, very terrifying. Two years before, sabi ng (according to) Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency: There were about three million already infected with drugs,” he said, adding that about 600,000 have voluntarily surrendered and admitted their involvement to be able to avail of the government’s rehabilitative programs.
In a conversation with Widodo, Duterte related to the Filipino community that he asked the Indonesian President “what’s the dimension of your problem?.”
Widodo’s reply was “Me in Indonesia, I have four million drug addicts.”
“I said you are just ahead by a few thousands,” Duterte told Widodo.
Duterte said the extent of the problem is something which cannot be set aside. “Being the leader of the nation, he said he is firm with his stand that the programs of the government to make the country better and to make the people safe is something that nations cannot meddle in,” he added.
“I do not answer to anybody except to the Filipino people. I’m only responsible to you,” he said.
The drug problem, he said, is not confined to the Philippines but is wrecking other nations as well. Indonesia has a death penalty, with President Widodo standing his ground, he noted.
The President said he was probably placed in office for a purpose. “I don’t know if God has a purpose for me,” he said.
Duterte vowed that up to his last day in office, he will do everything he can to assure that the country will be a good place to live in, especially for today’s youth who are the future’s hope.
US stands firm on human rights issues in Philippines By Patricia Lourdes Viray (philstar.com) | Updated September 7, 2016 - 11:33am 2 371 googleplus2 0
U.S. President Barack Obama speaks at the Lao National Cultural Hall in Vientiane, Laos, Tuesday, Sept. 6, 2016. AP/Carolyn Kaster
MANILA, Philippines — The United States maintained that it will not soften its criticism about human rights concerns and drug issues in the Philippines.
US Department of State Deputy Spokesperson Mark Toner said that Washington is willing to have a conversation with the Philippines regarding its concerns about human rights.
"President [Rodrigo] Duterte may disagree with us strongly on that, and that’s part of the conversation of – between allies and partners that take place on – with a number of countries around the world," Toner said in a press briefing on Tuesday.
RELATED: Obama to bring up drug war if meet with Duterte pushes through
Toner added hat expressing such concerns is a part of a healthy bilateral relationship between two nations.
"So that’s part of what we believe to be a healthy bilateral relationship, where we can express those kind of concerns, as we do with countries around the world and governments where we believe there are credible reports of human rights abuses," the US State Department official said.
Duterte earlier said that he will not bow down to US President Barack Obama on the issue of extrajudicial and vigilante killings of drug suspects in the country.
The White House had decided to cancel Obama's meeting with Duterte at the sidelines of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations summit in Laos after the Philippine president called the American chief executive a "son of a whore."
The Philippine president has expressed regret over his tirade against Obama which came out as a personal attack.
The Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) clarified that the meeting between Duterte and Obama will be postponed to a later date.
"While asserting the intent to chart an independent foreign policy and promote closer ties with all nations, he expressed his deep regard and affinity for President Obama and for the enduring partnership between our nations," the DFA said in a statement.
VIDEO: President Rodrigo Duterte in the Closing Ceremony of the 28th and 29th ASEAN Summits.. DUTERTE AT END OF SPEECH INVITED LEADERS TO ASEAN 2017 IN THE PILIPPINES AS 'PARTNERS FOR CHANGE'
President Rodrigo Duterte in the Closing Ceremony of the 28th and 29th ASEAN Summits.. 9/8/2016 President Rody Duterte Videos President Rody Duterte Videos Published on Sep 8, 2016 President Rodrigo Duterte in the closing ceremony of the 28th and 29th ASEAN Summits and Related Summits and Handing Over of the ASEAN Chairmanship to the Philippines at Vientiane, Lao PDR September 8 2016.
President Rodrigo Roa Duterte formally accepted the handing over of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) Chairmanship to the Philippines at the Closing Ceremony of the 28th and 29th ASEAN Summits and Related Summits in Vientiane, Lao People’s Democratic Republic (PDR).
RELATED FROM PHILSAR
Hillary says Obama made 'right choice' after Duterte's remarks By Kristian Javier (philstar.com) | Updated September 7, 2016 - 11:14am 23 849 googleplus1 0
American presidential candidate Hillary Clinton agrees with US President Obama's decision to cancel his bilateral meeting with President Rodrigo Duterte. AP/Charlie Neibergall, File MANILA, Philippines — United States presidential candidate Hillary Clinton affirmed on Wednesday that President Barack Obama made the right decision in canceling his meeting with President Rodrigo Duterte.
"With respect to the Philippines, President Obama made exactly the right choice," Clinton said in a televised interview.
"When you meet with anyone, ally or adversary, you come in with a list of issues that are important to be raised. You determine what they are," she added.
She said Duterte's expression of regret following the White House's decision to scrap the bilateral meeting is an "appropriate" reaction.
"When the president of the Philippines insulted our president, it was appropriate, in a very low-key way, to say 'sorry, no meeting. And since then, there's been an apology and an expression of regret which is appropriate," Clinton said.
Obama and Duterte were scheduled to meet on the sidelines of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations Summit on Tuesday before Duterte, at a news conference, cursed at Obama who was expected to raise concern over human rights violations in the Philippines amid the government campaign against ilegal drugs.
Obama, for his part, told journalists at the G20 Summit in China that asked his staff to "make sure that if I'm having a meeting, it's productive and we're getting something done."
The Philippines, however, remains a close "friend and ally" of the US, Obama said.
Duterte's camp said that his meeting with the US leader was "mutually agreed upon" to be moved to a "later date."
Philippines, China push for framework of code of conduct in South China Sea By Alexis Romero (philstar.com) | Updated September 7, 2016 - 8:13pm 0 0 googleplus0 0
President Rodrigo Duterte arrives at the National Convention Center in Vientiane, Laos for the ASEAN Summit on Sept. 6, 2016. PPD/Toto Lozano, file
VIENTIANE, Laos – The Philippines and China have stressed the need to craft a framework for a code of conduct for claimants in the South China Sea and to settle territorial disputes peacefully.
The overlapping maritime claims in the region was one of the topics discussed during the ASEAN-China meet held Wednesday here and attended by heads of state, including President Rodrigo Duterte.
“China was vigorously asking to begin with the Code of Conduct as well as Singapore, and our president of the Philippines -- President Duterte -- also expressed his approval of having this framework of Code of Conduct initiated,” Presidential Communications Secretary Martin Andanar said in a press briefing.
“The trend to resolve differences will be good, there is now positive direction in our relations, and the (code of) conduct in the South China Sea should happen next year after the framework of the Code of Conduct has been dealt with by the ASEAN region,” he added.
Andanar said Duterte also called on his fellow leaders to “be on the side of peace.”
“International disputes should inspire us to work together with adherence to the rule of law and international governing bodies; put words into actions and be on the side of peace,” he quoted Duterte as saying during the meet.
Andanar said Chinese Premier Li Keqiang was “stoically listening” when Duterte delivered the statement.
Chinese Prime Minister Li Keqiang attends the ASEAN Plus Three Summit in Vientiane, Laos,
The Philippines and China are embroiled in a territorial dispute over parts of the South China Sea, where more than $5 trillion in trade passes through every year. China claims historic rights over about 90 percent of the area while Malaysia, Vietnam, Brunei and Taiwan have overlapping claims.
In 2013, the Philippines, under President Benigno Aquino III, questioned the legality of China’s sweeping territorial claim, calling it “exaggerated” and “excessive.”
A Hague-based arbitral tribunal ruled in favor of the Philippines last July and declared that China’s nine-dash line claim in the South China Sea has no legal basis. China has refused to honor the decision, calling it “illegal since Day One.”
Duterte has expressed readiness to hold bilateral talks with China to settle the dispute. He has also asked former President Fidel Ramos to hold backchannel talks with Chinese representatives.
Leaders who attended the ASEAN-China meet agreed that the South China Sea row should not define the relationship between the regional bloc and the emerging superpower.
“Relations are broader than any singular issue in terms of China and the ASEAN and China’s success is important to ASEAN and vice versa,” Andanar said.
When asked if the Philippines would push for the inclusion of the arbitral tribunal’s ruling in the ASEAN chairman’s statement, presidential spokesman Ernesto Abella replied: “There is a way of referring to these matters without specifically addressing it that way.” Chinese ships near Panatag The ASEAN-China meet happened days after the Defense department revealed that 10 Chinese ships have been spotted around Panatag (Scarborough) Shoal, an area off Zambales that is within the Philippines’ exclusive economic zone.
Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana suspects that the Chinese government is eyeing a reclamation project in the area, a known traditional fishing route of Filipino fishermen that was seized by Beijing in 2012.
In a statement Wednesday, the Chinese Embassy said that "there are no dredging or building activities" in the area.
"The Chinese side has maintained the presence of a number of coast guard vessels for law enforcement patrols in the waters of Huangyan Dao (China's name for the shoal)," it also said.
"The Chinese side is willing to work with the Philippine side to enhance mutual trust and promote development of bilateral relations," the embassy also said.
OBAMA PUSHES FOR FREEDOM OF NAVIGATION, PEAC EFUL RESOLUTIONS OF SEA DISPUTES
ABS-CBN (ANC) VIDEO NEWS
Barack Obama Naging Kalmado Pagkatapos ng Kasunduan nila ni Duterte sa ASEAN Summit 2016 Philippines Government Philippines Government Subscribe Add to Share More 14,533 views 123 1 Published on Sep 8, 2016 PRESIDENT DUTERTE:
Duterte has expressed his desire to build on the stellar accomplishments of the administration of outgoing president Benigno Aquino III, particularly the latter’s good governance initiatives and critical structural reforms that transformed the Philippines from being “the sick man of Asia” into “Asia’s rising tiger.”
Of his ten-point socioeconomic agenda revealed on Monday, June 20, for example, his first point was to continue and maintain current macroeconomic policies, including fiscal, monetary and trade policies.
However, he intends to depart from Aquino’s legacy of instituting slow but steady macroeconomic reform by advancing an economic agenda which seeks to upgrade, accelerate as well as expand the government’s basic services that shall render the country’s macroeconomic environment more conducive for the flourishing of businesses, influx of investments and conduct of seamless trade within the country and the greater ASEAN region.
Some megaprojects worth anticipating include: (a) three major railway systems, namely the Mindanao railway, Manila-Bicol railway, and Manila-Batangas railway; (b) Zamboanga Ecozone, Southern Mindanao Growth Corridor (General Santos growth corridor and Davao Gulf Industrial corridor); and the South Mindanao-North Sulawesi ro-ro link, among others.
Duterte intends to overcome the alleged structural dissonance between macroeconomic reform which has been the hallmark of Aquino’s “Daang Matuwid” program and concrete improvement of living conditions and standards of Juan dela Cruz.
In doing so, he has talked about pursuing the following: generation of domestic jobs; increase of employment; abolition of contractualization; promotion of livelihood; agricultural modernization; and entrepreneurial, technological and industrial advancement with just taxation and equitable distribution of wealth while caring for the environment for sustainable development.
RELATED FROM THE MANILA BULLETIN
South China Sea code eyed ASEAN, China set to agree to complete Code of Conduct consultations September 8, 2016 Share13 Tweet0 Share2 Email0 Share126 By PNA/Kyodo/ANTARA News
Vientiane – Leaders of the 10-member states of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) and their Chinese counterpart are expected to agree to concluding consultations on the outline of a legally binding code of conduct (COC) in the South China Sea in the first half of next year, a draft statement said ahead of the meeting.
According to the draft chairman’s statement, seen by Kyodo News, ASEAN leaders are expected to “welcome” China’s vision of completing “the implementation of the code of conduct’s early harvest measures by the end of 2016” and “consultation on the COC outline in the first half of 2017 under circumstances without disturbances and to fast-track COC consultation.”
The statement will be issued at the end of the summit between ASEAN and China on Wednesday, a meeting that will also commemorate the 25th anniversary of dialogue relations between the two sides.
ALL EARS – President Rodrigo R. Duterte adjusts his headset at the start of the retreat session in the 28th and 29th ASEAN Summits held at the National Convention Center in Vientiane, Laos, Wednesday. (AP / Manila Bulletin)
The draft reiterated the importance of the full implementation of the Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the South China Sea, signed by China and ASEAN in 2002, and the early conclusion of ongoing talks on the framework of the COC.
“We underlined the importance of maintaining peace, stability, security, and freedom of navigation in, and overflight above, the South China Sea,” the draft said.
The South China Sea has seen tensions rise in recent months and years between China and a number of other countries which claim parts of the sea.
China has proceeded with an aggressive program of land reclamation on disputed islands and reefs in the sea, on which it has also been building military facilities.
Discussions on the COC between China and ASEAN – four of whose member states are claimants to parts of the South China Sea – have been taking place for over a decade, with little to no progress in creating concrete results on the biding set of rules.
ASEAN and China also plan to show progress in their cooperation by issuing official guidelines for hot-line communications between senior Chinese and ASEAN officials.
A separate joint statement on the application of the Code for Unplanned Encounters at Sea in the South China Sea will also be adopted during a sideline meeting between ASEAN and China, with the aim of ensuring maritime safety in the disputed sea.
The Permanent Court of Arbitration in The Hague issued a ruling on July 12, invalidating China’s “nine-dash line,” through which Beijing claims almost all of the South China Sea.
The Philippines filed the arbitration case against China in January, 2013, to seek clarification of its maritime entitlements in the South China Sea under the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS), following China’s aggressive assertion of its claims there. Both the Philippines and China are signatories to the convention.
Three other ASEAN member states – Malaysia, Vietnam, and Brunei – and Taiwan also have overlapping claims in the South China Sea.
In another part of the statement, both sides will stress the intensification of negotiations on the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership, Asia’s most ambitious trade agreement.
“Noting the immense potential of the RCEP to foster global and regional trade and growth, we urged our experts to redouble efforts toward achieving a modern, comprehensive, high-quality and mutually beneficial economic partnership agreement,” the draft statement said.
RCEP leaders from 16 countries – the 10 ASEAN states and its six dialogue partners – will adopt a statement on the RCEP negotiations at a ceremony after the East Asia Summit, which they will attend on Thursday.
ASEAN groups Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, and Vietnam.
SUPPORT FOR WAR ON DRUGS
Meanwhile, Indonesia called on ASEAN countries to cooperate in tackling drug trafficking.
Coordinating Minister for Political, Legal and Security Affairs Wiranto, speaking at the meeting of the 14th ASEAN Political and Security Council in Vientiane, Laos, on Tuesday, gave a clarion call to ASEAN countries to join hands to respond to the problem of illicit drug trafficking.
“Indonesia, like many other countries in ASEAN, is increasingly facing the problem of illicit drug trafficking by sea. We must strengthen our joint efforts in responding to this problem,” Wiranto said in a written statement received by ANTARA on Tuesday.
In a forum attended by ministers from 10 ASEAN member countries, Wiranto reported the successful launch of ASEAN Seaport Interdiction Task Force (ASITF) in July, which will eventually lead to the formation of ASITF Focal Points to combat drug-related crimes.
ASITF is a forum that reflects the commitment of ASEAN countries to eradicate drugs. Its purpose is to act as a platform for law enforcement officials to collaborate, coordinate and take initiative to prohibit illicit drug trafficking through checkpoints at international ports in the ASEAN region.
“The extent of drug trafficking in Indonesia is increasingly a matter of worrying. Though it is not an easy task, the new body should be able to free the ASEAN countries of the problem of drug trafficking,” Minister Wiranto observed.
In addition to drug eradication efforts, Wiranto also invited the ministers of friendly countries to jointly safeguard the territorial waters of Southeast Asia.
Joint security is needed considering the number of cases of robbery and kidnapping in Sulu Sea, the southern Philippines.
“We are very concerned about the threat to maritime security as reflected in the increasing number of sea robberies, incidents of hijacking and kidnapping in Sulu Sea,” Wiranto argued.
In addition, Indonesia urged ASEAN countries for more commitment in combating illegal fishing, happening across its waters.
“As the largest maritime ASEAN member country with extensive maritime potential, Indonesia will continue to enforce the law against illegal fishing to ensure the sustainability of our marine resources,” he emphasized.
VIDEO: Duterte is new ASEAN chair IN 2017; new logo unveiled ABS-CBN News
NEW LOGO OF PHILIPPINE CHAIRMANSHIP UNVEILED
Duterte is new ASEAN chair; new logo unveiled ABS-CBN News ABS-CBN News Published on Sep 8, 2016 The new logo for the Philippine chairmanship of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) was unveiled Thursday. Subscribe to the ABS-CBN News channel! - http://bit.ly/TheABSCBNNews
White House, Palace agree that DU30 expression of regrets not an apology
Written by Tribune Wires Thursday, 08 September 2016 00:00 By Ted Tuvera and Angie M. Rosales
US STATE DEPARTMENT HINTS OF BACKLASH
Both the White House and Malacañang agreed yesterday that the supposed expression of regret of President Duterte on his invectives to US President Barack Obama was not an apology with the US State Department hinting at a possible repercussion on “any assistance and cooperation” the US is providing the Philippines.
US State Department deputy spokesman said at a media briefing that the US government is not sure about Duterte extending a sincere apology to Obama, who the Philippine President branded a son of whore for suggesting that he will bring up the respect of human rights and the rise in extrajudicial killings in the country during the two leaders’ aborted bilateral talks in the ongoing East Asian Summit in Laos.
“I’m not sure what we (US government), in fact, received from (Duterte an apology), the response was from the Government of the Philippines. I’d just have to look into it. I don’t have the answer in front of me. But what’s clear is that there has a been a pattern here or a couple of incidents that, again, speak of the tenor of the new administration that, frankly, raise concerns,” Toner said.
“Words matter and we want to see an atmosphere that is cordial and open to strong cooperation,” State Department’s Toner said.Toner said that the US government will not let up on pressing protection of rights on Duterte in his campaign against the narcotics trade which had resulted in the death of more than 2,000 drugs suspects.
“We’re going to continue to say that there must be due process, there must be ways to fight against drugs that are consistent with international standards and norms. And that’s going to consistently be our message going forward,” he said.
Toner indicated that such a message from the US government would be the basis of engagement with any country.
“And of course, with any assistance and any cooperation that we have with Philippines in that regard, we’re always going to keep an eye on assessing that, whether they’re living up to that obligation,” he said.
Duterte’s profanity on Obama merited a response from Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton who agreed with the decision to call off the meeting.
“When the president of the Philippines insulted our president, it was appropriate in a very low-key way to say: sorry, no meeting,” she said.
“We have a lot of ties between the United States and the Philippines. And I think it’s very important that we have a relationship, but there has to be a certain level of respect that is expected on both sides,” she added.
Duterte’s spokesmen added the President did not exactly “apologize” to Obama over the “colorful language” he made prior to attending the Summit in Laos.
“It was a very well-worded statement, drafted very well. It really expressed what the President really expressed… Let’s stick to the language and the wordings of that particular statement,” Presidential Peace Adviser Jesus Dureza said on television.
PEACE ADVISER DUREZA
Dureza said the media wrongly reported the “clarification” made by Duterte.
The Palace issued a statement in behalf of Duterte on the insults he threw at Obama but at the same time taking a swipe at media for supposedly provoking his controversial remarks.
“While the immediate cause was my strong comments to certain press questions that elicited concern and distress we also regret it came across as a personal attack on the US president,” the Duterte statement said in part.
Also, the Presidential Communications Office (PCO) argued that President Duterte’s “son of a whore” outburst was not meant for Obama but for the journalist who asked him on how will he deal with Obama if ever the issue on extrajudicial killings will be raised by Obama in their official bilateral meeting which was eventually turned down by White House.
SCREENGARB: VIDEO-Duterte's Obama rant provoked by disrespectful tone of voice of Reuters reporter Morales(?)
Citing a lesser-known blogger in US, the Palace’s propaganda team, said that Duterte was actually foul mouthing Reuters correspondent Jerome Morales.
The 71-year-old firebrand’s exact quote was: “There are columnists out there that write headlines such as) ‘Who is he? I am a President of a sovereign state and we have long ceased to be a colony. I do not have any master except the Filipino people. You must be respectful. Do not just throw away questions and statements. Putang ina (son of a whore), I will curse you in that forum.”
Caught between Moon, Barack
President Duterte will be sandwiched by two leaders who fell victim to his foul mouth, US President Barack Obama and United Nations (UN) Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon during the Asean summit’s Gala dinner which was scheduled at 10 p.m. last night.
In a Malacañang press release, the 71-year-old firebrand is literally expected to sit in between Obama and during the said event.
“Presidents Duterte and Obama will be seated next to each other, which expectedly, will focus all cameras on them to deliver to the world the encounter of the two. Incidentally, UN Secretary General Ban Ki Moon is also seated on the other side of President Duterte,” the Palace release noted.
Prominent international leaders Obama and Ban were separately addressed by President Duterte as a “son of a whore”, alongside his other gallery of victims including Pope Francis, Catholic Bishops and US Ambassador to the Philippines Philip Goldberg.
In spite of the “colorful” language he used, Duterte’s spokesmwnsaid Asean member states and dialog partners still regarded him with empathy.
“The tone of conversation between the nations seems to indicate they recognize influence, they recognize political will, they recognize firmness,” and they recognized resolve, especially when it came on the prominence of Philippine fight over illegal drugs they added.
Yesterday at a gala dinner, President Duterte joined a diverse company of Asean state leaders and dialog partners where President Obama and UN chief Ban ki-Moon were supposed to be present.
Ban Ki-moon is the UN Secretary General who was rejected a presence by the Philippine President due to “scheduling issue.”
But for US officials, our relationship remains rock solid, Deputy National Security Advisor for Strategic Communications Ben Rhodes said, adding that “people should certainly expect that our very close working relationship with the Philippines is going to be enduring.”
On his part, US Secretary of Defense Ashton Carter described the two states’ defense alliance remains “strong and longstanding.”
Duterte, however, decided to skip the Asean -UN summit in which Moon’s presence is expected.
This was confirmed to reporters by Malacañang aides that form the Philippine delegate in the gathering of Heads of State in Vientiane, Laos.
Instead, President Duterte will be represented by Foreign Affairs Secretary Perfecto Yasay.
Duterte previously cursed Ban as a son of a whore following the latter’s reprimanding criticisms of the Philippine government’s war on illegal drugs.
Laos rock star?
As far as Malacañang spokesmen are concerned, Duterte is a “rock star” in the ongoing Asean Leaders’ Summit in Vientiane, Laos.
Talking to reporters in a press briefing, Presidential Commu-nications Secretary Martin Andanar said the Philippine President is currently having paparazzi treatment whenever he’s in a public event.
“We learned that President Duterte is a rock star not only in the Philippines but also in other areas, in other countries like here in Laos and Japan. [Other Asean delegates] scrambled to take selfies with him,” Andanar bragged.
Also, Presidential Spokesman Ernesto Abella says that other Asean leaders perceive Duterte not only as a popular guy but a “rising Asean leader.”
“It seems that the growing popularity of the President in the region signals a possible development of the President as a rising influential leader especially among fellow Asians who get him,” Abella said, spinning it.
Abella said that despite Duterte’s notoriety of being a rough talker, the Asean community welcomes his honest-to-goodness persona.
“Basically, the Asians in the region seem to apparently welcome him and in spite of and because of all the accompanying noise.
However, he seems to be able to strike a resonant chord. And I think what usually comes across is his authenticity. And in spite of the language, the colorful language that he uses, the Asians in the region seem to be able to get him and there’s seems to be an empathy towards him,” Abella said.
Caution is the rule
Officials in government, not only Duterte, should always be cautious in their public pronouncements given the position they’re holding, Vice President Leni Robredo said yesterday.
“I think all government officials (should be cautious) on what we say, (because it’s) the people we represent,” she said in a chance interview with Senate reporters.
Robredo tried to evade dealing with questions related to the controversial tirades of Duterte against Obama which prompted the latter to cancel the scheduled bilateral meeting last Tuesday, on the sidelines of the Asean Summit.
The Vice President initially pleaded to reporters to field questions relating only to housing concerns, which she discussed with the Senate finance committee during the hearing of the proposed P428.4 million budget for 2017 of the Office of the Vice President, during the interview after the said proceedings.
She eventually agreed but was evidently guarded in giving her comments on the issue, saying that she remains optimistic that whatever tension stirred by Duterte’s remarks can still be resolved amicably.
The Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) has been put to task to “patch up” things and prevent the diplomatic relations between the two countries from being strained further.
“I think the DFA should do its work, I think back channeling and strengthening diplomatic relationship should be the key, it is the work of the DFA to manage all of this, I think they are already doing some mitigating measures at this case. Like I said, there are several trying issues on the relationship of the US and the Philippines but we managed to overcome that so I think in this case we will overcome it,” said Sen. Win Gatchalian in an another interview with reporters.
Gatchalian, economic affairs committee chairman, however, expressed belief that the single incident will not affect the country’s relations with the US.
A golden opportunity for better understanding and communicating may have been missed but the bilateral relations between the Philippines and the US will remain strong, said Sen. Richard Gordon.
In an interview, Gordon pointed out that both presidents may have missed a golden opportunity for talking, getting to know and understanding one another better, but things are not too late, in view of the deep-rooted RP-US relations.
Gordon also said that although Duterte may not be as cosmopolitan as the other presidents or his diplomatic skills may need further improvement, he was right in saying that there is no need for a “primus inter pares” treatment by America or for it to take a holier-than-thou attitude on the former’s war against drugs.
The senator pointed out that with Duterte’s sincere efforts to eradicate the country’s drug problem and address other problems that the Philippines is facing, the president obviously has so much in his plate that at times, he is prone to making statements that he would not otherwise say if the problems were not that tremendous.
“To me he is very sincere in eradicating the drug problem which, by the way other countries have not been. He is very good. 91% of this country have not really complained about what is happening. Nobody knows who are doing the vigilante killings. Again nobody knows about the killings perpetrated by persons riding in tandems on motorcycles that have been going on in this country for a long time and nobody was complaining, even in the international community,” Gordon said.
Amnesty Int'l diverts attention to Laos
A London-based rights watchdog called the attention of the Laos government for restricting members of the press to ask sensitive questions to dignitaries present at the Asean leaders’ summit in Vientiane.
Claiming that authorities have warned journalists to submit their reports to a censorship board before being published or broadcasted, Amnesty Inter-national said that such a step curtails the press’ rights.
“The restrictions imposed on journalists covering the Asean summit in Laos amounts to a violation of their right freedom of expression, and the right of the public, both in Lao and globally, to receive information. Journalists should be able to do their job without fear, interference or harassment,” Amnesty’s Director for South East Asia and the Pacific Rafendi Djamin said in an emailed statement to select reporters.
“No government should restrict the questions its officials can or cannot be asked, especially at such a high-level summit, when the world will be watching,” he added.
A provision in the Laotian criminal code, individuals can be jailed for reporting news that “weakens the state,” or for importing a publication that is “contrary to national culture.”
Djamin said that one of the questions that should be raised is the spate of extrajudicial killings in the Philippines caused by President Duterte’s declared war on illegal drugs.
One of the “crucial questions” that AI said should be asked is: “When will the Philippines authorities call for a halt on all unlawful killings and order an independent, impartial, transparent and effective investigation into the wave of killings that have claimed the lives of nearly 2,000 people over the past two months?”
Filipino journalists covering the international summit, meanwhile, deny such claims of restrictions by the Asean host nation. Joyce Ann L. Rocamora
VIDEO: DUTERTE's 2016 ASEAN MEET
BRIEFINGS OF BOTH Presidential Communications Sec. Martin Andanar at Presidential spokesperson Sec. Ernesto Abella.
PRESIDENT DUTERTE IS TREATED LIKE A ROCKSTAR IN THE ASEAN SUMMIT 2016 SEPTEMBER 7 PRESIDENT DUTERTE UPDATES Published on Sep 7, 2016
GROWING POPULARITY OF PRESIDENT DUTERTE SIGNALS A RISING INFLUENCIAL LEADER @ THE 28TH & 29TH ASEAN SUMMIT SEPTEMBER 7, 2016
QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS....
Press Briefing with PCO Secretary Martin Andanar and Spokesperson Ernie Abella 7 September 2016, Vientiane, Laos Duterte treated like ‘a rockstar’ at Asean Summit, says Andanar.
That was how President Duterte was treated by his counterparts and other official delegates at the 28th and 29th Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean) summits here, Presidential Communications Secretary Martin Andanar said Wednesday.
“President Duterte is a rockstar not only in our country, but also in other countries like Laos and Japan,” Andanar told a press conference here.
“Other foreign ministers and delegates have scrambled to get a selfie with our President,” he continued.
Presidential spokesperson Ernesto Abella said Mr. Duterte received “empathy” and warm welcome from leaders of the Asean’s 10 member-states in his debut on the international political stage.
According to Abella, it was “admirable” how the President handled the conversation he had with his fellow heads of state during the Asean-China summit.
“He has the capacity for statesmanship that is usually missed because of the noise regarding some of his statements,” he said
RELATED FROM THE TRIBUNE
Barack to Rody: Do anti-drug war ‘right way’ Written by Tribune Wires Friday, 09 September 2016 00:00
By Ted Tuvera and Joyce Ann L. Rocamora
Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte, left, accepts the gavel to symbolize the handing over of ASEAN chairmanship to the Philippines from Laotian Prime Minister Thongloun Sisoulith at the conclusion of the 28th and 29th ASEAN Summits at the National Convention Center Thursday, Sept. 8, 2016 in Vientiane, Laos. (AP / Bullit Marquez)
Despite the profanities he absorbed as a warning to lay off mentioning human rights in the Philippines war on drugs, US President Barack Obama was able to talk to President Duterte yesterday to urge him to conduct his campaign on crime “the right way.”
Duterte’s war on drugs has resulted in 3,000 people killed in just over two months.
“As despicable as these (crime) networks may be and as much damage as they do, it is important from our perspective to make sure that we do it the right way,” Obama told reporters when asked about his conversation with Duterte on the sidelines of a regional summit in Laos.
“Because the consequences of when you do it the wrong way are innocent people get hurt and you have a bunch of unintended consequences that don’t solve the problem,” Obama told Duterte.
Relations between long time allies the US and the Philippines saw a spectacular setback this week after firebrand politician Duterte branded Obama a “son of a whore.”
The outburst on Monday was in response to being told Obama planned to raise concerns about his war of drugs.
“You must be respectful. Do not just throw away questions and statements. Son of a whore, I will curse you in that forum,” Duterte told reporters shortly before flying to Laos.
“We will be wallowing in the mud like pigs if you do that to me,” he added.
At the press conference marking the end of his trip to Laos Obama said he was unfazed by Duterte’s jibe.
“I don’t take these comments personally because it seems as if this is a phrase he’s used repeatedly including directed at the pope and others,” adding that such choice words were “a habit, a way of speaking for him.”
Duterte has branded Pope Francis, the US ambassador to Manila and the United Nations as “sons of whores.”
However Obama cancelled a meeting with Duterte scheduled for Tuesday because of the outburst.
They met briefly on Wednesday night before a leaders’ dinner, but onlyexchanged “pleasantries”, according to the White House.
Duterte was elected to office in a landslide this year after pledging to kill 100,000 people in an unprecedented war on crime.
He vowed in the campaign that so many bodies would be dumped in Manila Bay that the fish there would grow fat from feeding on them.
Duterte has also repeatedly promised to protect police from prosecution if they are charged over the deaths and insisted human rights cannot get in the way of his war.
Duterte has said the Philippines is in danger of becoming a “narco state”, and eliminating drugs in society is the top priority of his administrations.
On the day he was sworn into office, June 30, Duterte urged people living in a Manila slum to kill drug addicts in their community.
DIGONG AND 'BATO'
His handpicked police chief, Ronald dela Rosa, last month called for drug addicts to kill traffickers and burn down their homes.
The United Nations special rapporteur on summary executions has warned incitement to kill is a crime under international law.
Despite growing condemnation of the comments and what rights groups say are rampant extrajudicial killings, Duterte has vowed to continue.
“More people will be killed, plenty will be killed until the last pusher is out of the streets,” Duterte said last Monday.
“I hope that President Duterte gets acclimated with his new position, that they are able to clarify what they want to get done,” Obama said.
“I did shake hands with President Duterte last night. It was not a long interaction, and what I indicated to him is that my team should be meeting with his and determine how we can move forward on a whole range of issues,” Obama added.
Obama even hinted that his government is willing to help the Duterte administration in its campaign against the narcotics trade.
“We want to partner with the Philippines on the particular issue of narco-traffickers, which is a serious problem in the Philippines. It’s a serious problem in United States and around the world,” Obama added.
Cayetano describes the DU30-OBAMA meeting
“All’s well that ends well.”
This is how Senator Alan Peter Cayetano described the brief meeting between Duterte and Obama.
The two presidents met informally in a holding room before attending a gala dinner at the Association of Southeast Nations (ASEAN) summit in Laos.
During an interview with the Philippine media delegation, Cayetano, who accompanied President Duterte in his trip, said that the brief meetup ended well for both parties. He said the two leaders shared “a warm handshake [and] a good conversation.”
“You could see that there is an effort from both sides to patch things up,” Cayetano added.
“In diplomacy, you do not usually go to the past and say, ‘bakit nangyari ‘yun.’ You can’t blame anyone. It won’t be productive. The Philippines and the US have a longstanding partnership [and] relationship. There will be bumps along the way... But it won’t hurt to have a popular President on our side,” he stressed.
The senator earlier wrote an open letter to President Obama, which went viral in social media. In his letter, Cayetano appealed to the US leader to “give the Philippines and President Duterte a chance” to achieve genuine change, as the administration wages a three-pronged war to address poverty, defeat crime and drugs, and achieve a just, inclusive, and lasting peace.
The “brief talk” eased fears of a possible “cooling of ties” between the Philippines and the US.
The White House said the “brief discussion” consisted of pleasantries between the two.
Political analyst and University of the Philippines Political Science professor Roland Simbulan said the spat is not expected to damage the PH-US relationship since a state’s policy does not merely lies on a leader’s personality.
He played down apprehensions that the row might lead to strained relations between the Philippines and the US but “it means that the U.S will now have to treat us on a mutual level, unlike before when we allowed ourselves to be pushed around.”
He told the Daily Tribune that ties will now more or less get stronger in the sense that US has finally appreciated the need for mutuality.
“For a long time we sacrificed our own interests, we have subordinated our foreign and security policy to the United States, the new president is showing that it will not be the same anymore,” he stressed.
PROFESSOR AND ANALYST
Although stated in an “undiplomatic” and “brash” manner, Simbulan lauded Duterte’s courage to say his “piece of mind” to the US, “the strongest superpower in the world, and a country that rocked its dominance” in Philippines for a long time.
Sympathizing with Duterte, the political analyst thinks it’s just “his style” but regardless of the tone it’s the substance that matters more.
Simbulan quoted the US State Department’s earlier announcement that Obama was going to raise his concern about the extrajudicial killings and human rights with Duterte, describing Duterte’s strong statements as a low blow for US.
“They should have been more tactful and diplomatic with their statements, why should they be the ones to lecture human rights,” he said.
In reference to what is happening in Iraq and Afghanistan he explained it would’ve been “embarrassing” for the United States if the meeting was pursued.
Simbulan noted the statement’s substance applies as an advantage since “United States respect countries who know how to stand up to bullying or to supreme powers.”
In a recent statement, the Department of Foreign Affairs confidently assessed US-Philippines bilateral ties will indeed remain unaffected by the diplomatic row.
“We look forward to ironing out differences arising out of national priorities and perceptions, and working in mutually responsible ways for both countries,” it said.
Media to blame
Duterte’s mouthpieces in Laos also accused the media of fanning the spat between Duterte and Obama accusing it of fabricating reports that the 71-year-old firebrand was supposed to sit beside Obama and United Nations (UN) Ban Ki-Moon during the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean) leaders’ Gala dinner on Wednesday night which, true enough, didn’t really happened.
Despite not being an official spokesman of Malacanang, Senator Cayetano said reporters were merely excited and thus made speculative reports about such a possibility.
“We are again a victim of imagination, speculation and possibilities because I asked that to a couple of our ambassadors, (Department of Foreign Affairs) people. They said that they don’t know where that came from because it was never announced,” Cayetano, who is a member of the Philippine delegation for the Asean summit in Vientiane, told reporters in a press conference.
As if clueless, Cayetano did not make mention of the fact that the said information on Duterte’s arranged position to dine in between the victims of his foul mouth actually came from a Malacanang press release given to reporters hours before the occasion.
“Presidents Duterte and Obama will be seated next to each other, which expectedly, will focus all cameras on them to deliver to the world the encounter of the two. Incidentally, UN Secretary General Ban Ki Moon is also seated on the other side of President Duterte,” the Palace release clearly said.
Cayetano, Duterte’s defeated running mate in the recent May polls has moist eyes for a Cabinet position possibly the Foreign Affairs office when the one-year ban on election bets to assume government posts ends in June next year.
During the said dinner, Duterte was not sandwiched by Obama and Ban as he was sitting in between Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev and Indonesian President Joko Widodo.
Owning the mistake, Presidential Communications Office (PCO) Secretary Martin Andanar, who was sitting beside Cayetano during the presser, noted that President Duterte could still be photographed with Obama on the closing ceremony of the Asean Summit in Laos.
VIDEO: DUTERTE CLARIFIED FILIPINO COMMUNITY IN INDONESIA 'I did not curse Obama':
THE PRESIDENT INTRODUCED HIS CABINET ENTOURAGE TO THE FILIPINOS IN INDONESIA
I DID NOT CURSE OBAMA, IT'S MEDIA SPIN - DUTERTE FULL SPEECH at Filipino Community in Indonesia 9/9 DUTERTE LATEST VIDEOS DUTERTE LATEST VIDEOS Published on Sep 9, 2016 President Rodrigo Duterte is going out of his way to clarify news media reports that he called United States President Barack Obama a “son of a whore.”
In a speech before hundreds of Filipino community members at the grand ballroom of the Shangri-La Jakarta on Friday, the President claimed he never made the statement and blamed the media for twisting his departure speech which led to the cancellation of his meeting with Obama at the Asean summit in Laos.
“I never made statement … it’s just a media spin. I never confronted Obama—I don’t know him—before taking off from Davao,” said the President. Obama has since declared that he does not take the Duterte’s slur “personally” and he looks forward to meeting the Philippine President another time.
Duterte Latest Videos RTVM ABS CBN Duterte GMA Duterte TV5 Duterte President Rodrigo Roa Duterte #PresidentDuterte
ABS-CBN 's FEATURE REPORT ON DIGONG DUTERTE, THE MAN AND WOULD BE PRESIDENT --July 28, 2016 ABS-CBN
Rodrigo Duterte: Pagbabago or bust ABS-CBN News Posted at Jun 30 2016 03:52 AM | Updated as of Jul 28 2016 07:28 PM
President Rodrigo Duterte, surrounded by his key people, speaks to a multitude of supporters during his 'miting de avance' at the Quirino Grandstand before the May 9 elections. Basilio H. Sepe, ABS-CBN News
Post-1986, except for the political transition in January 2001 when Vice-President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo took over from deposed President Joseph Estrada, no other transfer of presidential power has gotten so much attention as Rodrigo Roa Duterte's.
It's partly because the Philippines has not had a commander-in-chief like the tough-talking mayor of Davao City.
DU30: 30 facts about Duterte
Duterte's fiery statements on fighting crime and his warnings to various institutions not to get in the way of his plans to change the country are seen as threats to the democratic gains of the country over the past 30 years.
These gains include human rights, press freedom, an independent judiciary and legislature, which were lost from 1972 to 1986 during the Marcos dictatorship.
No less than the United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon has reminded Duterte about the need to respect human rights and strengthen democracy.
US President Barack Obama also cited the two countries' commitment to democracy in his phone call congratulating Duterte last June 18.
The White House said Obama "highlighted the enduring values that underpin our thriving alliance with the Philippines... including our shared commitments to democracy, human rights, rule of law, and inclusive economic growth."
"The two leaders affirmed their interest in seeing the relationship continue to grow on the basis of these shared principles," the White House said.
Fortunately, no less than Duterte himself has promised to change.
In one of his press conferences early in June before deciding to no longer give interviews to non-government media, Dutere said he was enjoying his last few days as a mayor who can be rude and uncouth.
I said there's gonna be a metamorphosis in the mind.
Suddenly from a caterpillar, it blossoms into a butterfly. - Duterte
"It will be a metamorphosis. Ladies and gentlemen of the media who are here, you know, when I get to be president, I have to tone down on my cursing. That would be a past, it's going to be history. I have to concentrate more on what happens to this country and to develop it and to make it progress along the way. And there's a lot of things which I have to do to complete," he said.
"And when I come back, I would address you in a very polite manner. I'm telling you how I'm going to behave. I said there's gonna be a metamorphosis in the mind. Suddenly from a caterpillar, it blossoms into a butterfly," he added.
Many are waiting with bated breath whether Duterte will indeed change.
His spokesmen, however, have often pointed out that Duterte is a lawyer who is bound to follow the Constitution and all of the country's laws and edicts. His presidential oath, in fact, mandates that he "preserve and defend" the Constitution "execute its laws" and "do justice to every man." Otherwise, he can be subject to impeachment.
The country's presidential system of government, where there is separation of powers and a system of checks and balances, also means that Duterte will have to get the support of Congress for some of the changes he wants.
These include restoration of the death penalty, emergency powers to address traffic, general amnesty for political prisoners, and a shift to a federal system of government.
Duterte also has to contend with opposition from the Catholic Church, the Commission on Human Rights, and NGOs to some of his controversial promises such as bringing back the death penalty.
His "supermajorities" in both houses of Congress, despite having only a handful of elected lawmakers before the May 9 polls, do not indicate a strong and independent Philippine legislature nearly 30 years since the restoration of Congress.
WAR VS CRIME
President Rodrigo Duterte brandishes a sub-machinegun as admirers take a selfie with him while attending an arms show during the camp[aign trail. Fernando G. Sepe, Jr. for ABS-CBNnews.com
It's Duterte's war against crime that will be closely watched in the short-term, especially since he promised to make an impact in just 3 to 6 months.
Duterte has already warned three police generals and 35 local executives with alleged links to narcotics syndicates that he will go after them.
He has urged police to shoot and kill criminals who pose a threat, and offered big bounties for drug lords.
"In Duterte’s mind, this is the battle on which everything must be put on the line. This is the engagement that will be the primal test of his presidency. This is where he will pass or fail," said political analyst Alex Magno.
A passing grade may be easy to get, given the supposed gains that have been made in the war against drugs even before Duterte has assumed office.
The Philippine National Police (PNP) said last June 21 that 29 drug suspects were killed in just 35 days or from May 10 to 15, compared to 39 drug-related crime incidents from January 1 to May 9.
Two-way iyan, 'di ba? Kung ang pulis mo, credible, mapagkatiwalaan,
ang kooperasyon ng ating mga sibilyan, mga kababayan, it will come naturally.
--- 'Bato' Dela Rosa
Aside from the President, the man to watch is Chief Superintendent Ronald "Bato" Dela Rosa, Duterte's choice to head of the 160,000-strong PNP.
Dela Rosa is hopeful the new administration can show results in 6 months. He believes this can be done by bolstering intelligence-gathering from the public and cleaning up PNP's own ranks.
Dela Rosa said he already holds a list of policemen who are under tight watch due to their alleged involvement in nefarious activities.
PEACE TALKS WITH NDF
President Duterte (3rd left) walks with members of the communist New People's Army during the release of five policemen held by the rebels for a week in Davao City. Keith Bacongco, Reuters
Peace talks with Communist rebels is another unresolved problem that will be closely watched under the new administration.
Although the security threat from the nearly half-a-century-old New People's Army (NPA) rebellion has been reduced, from a peak of more than 26,000 in the late 1980s to around 4,000 fighters (military estimates), it remains an embarrassing record to have the world's longest running Maoist insurgency, one that has claimed 30,000 lives.
With the warm ties between Duterte and CPP founding chairman Jose Ma. Sison, his former teacher at Lyceum of the Philippines University, incoming Presidential Peace Process Adviser Jesus Dureza is confident that significant progress can be achieved this time around, following years of stalled peace talks.
CPP-NDF leaders Jose Maria Sison and Luis Jalandoni meet with Duterte peace negotiators led by Jesus Dureza in Norway, mid-June 2016. Thirdy Ado, ABS-CBN News
Dureza, who was part of the negotiating panel of the Ramos administration and was former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo's peace adviser, is more optimistic now about the chances for a peace deal with the National Democratic Front (NDF), even though the negotiators are the same.
Puro naman kami kaibigan, same persons. It’s just because we have a principal like Rodrigo Duterte.
--- Jess Dureza
"Hindi ito ganito [dati] eh, sa totoo lang. We can examine and analyze why, but it’s just that we have a Rodrigo Duterte now. 'Wag na muna natin busisiin bakit, because when I met with the CPP-NPA-NDF group in Oslo, masyadong open," he said on ANC's Headstart last June 22.
He attributed a lot of the optimism from both ends to a "very out-of-the-box-thinking president-elect like Rody Duterte."
"Puro naman kami kaibigan, same persons. It’s just because we have a principal like Rodrigo Duterte. Yun lang. We’ll see how it’s going to turn out," he said.
Peace talks will again resume in July, and an interim ceasefire is expected to be declared before Duterte's first State of the Nation Address on July 25.
Talks bogged down between the Aquino government and communist rebels in 2013 over the rebels’ demand for the unconditional release of political prisoners. Duterte is expected to release political prisoners involved in the peace talks as a gesture of goodwill.
A man fixes his tricycle at the Bankerohan public market in Davao City, bailiwick of President Duterte, where most of his support from the city’s simple folks came. Jonathan Cellona, ABS-CBN News
Duterte has admitted that his expertise is limited to criminal law and his experience as a long-time city prosecutor of Davao City. After choosing all his Cabinet members, he gave them a free hand to choose their own teams and vowed not to interfere in their work.
READ: ALL THE PRESIDENT'S MEN
His economic team, led by childhood buddy, incoming Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez, has come up with a 10-point socio-economic agenda:
1. Continue and maintain current macroeconomic policies, including fiscal, monetary, and trade policies;
2. Progressive tax reform and better tax collection, indexing taxes to inflation -- a tax reform package will be submitted to congress by around September of this year including expanded sin taxes to include junk food;
3. Increase competitiveness and the ease of doing business, including relaxing the economic provisions of the Constitution to attract foreign direct investments--except land ownership. Follow successful models used to boost business (e.g., Davao);
4. Accelerate annual infrastructure spending to account for 5% of GDP, with Public-Private Partnerships playing a key role;
5. Promote rural and value chain development, including increasing agricultural and rural enterprise productivity and tourism;
6. Ensure security of land tenure to encourage investments, address bottlenecks among land management and titling agencies;
7. Invest in human capital development including health and education systems, and match skills and training to meet the demand of businesses and the private sector;
8. Promote science, technology, and the creative arts to enhance innovation and creative capacity towards self-sustaining inclusive development;
9. Improve social protection programs, including the government's Conditional Cash Transfer program;
10. Step up implementation of the Responsible Parenthood and Reproductive Health Law to enable especially poor couples to make informed choices on the number of children they can adequately provide for.
This is not coming out of Mars or left field or what. This is what the people want.
They want poverty rates to go down. They want their standard of living to go up.-- Sonny Dominguez
Among the key Duterte promises that will be keenly watched are ending contractualization, his push for responsible mining, cutting red tape in various government agencies, and inclusive growth.
“They voted (for Duterte) because the good macroeconomic numbers did not translate to a better life for all,” Dominguez said during the Sulong Pilipinas conference in Davao over a week ago.
“This is not coming out of Mars or left field or what. This is what the people want. They want poverty rates to go down. They want their standard of living to go up."
Filipino students hold replicas of Chinese maritime surveillance ships to denounce Chinese intrusion in the West Philippine Sea during a rally near Malacanang Palace in Manila. Ted Aljibe, AFP
Change may also be forthcoming with respect to the Philippines' bilateral relations with China, the world's second-largest economy.
Closer ties with China, in the event an understanding is reached over the South China Sea dispute, could unlock substantial amounts of funding from Beijing.
During the election campaign, Duterte said he was willing to ''shut up'' on the territorial dispute if he becomes president, as long as China will offer to build vital transportation facilities and other infrastructure in the Philippines.
If China will ''build me a train around Mindanao, build me train from Manila to Bicol... build me a train [going to] Batangas, for the six years that I'll be president, I'll shut up," he said.
Speaking at a press conference in April, Duterte said he was open to having joint exploration between the Philippines and China in the disputed waters, an approach the Aquino administration had long dismissed.
''If you want, joint exploration. Kung wala akong pera pang-equipment ko, just give me my part,'' Duterte said.
Incoming Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez has been quoted as saying the Duterte administration will fast-track the Philippines' membership in The China-led Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB).
This will widen the Philippines' financing options for badly needed infrastructure.
Ambassador Zhao Jianhua and incoming president Rodrigo Duterte. Handout
Chinese Ambassador to the Philippines Zhao Jianhua last May 25 said he was confident that bilateral ties would improve under Duterte, noting the incoming chief executive's openness to dialogue.
My impression is that the president-elect is a very strong man,
he is a man also of principle, and he has the type of leadership we would like to work with
to improve our bilateral relationship. -- Chinese Ambassador Zhao Jianhua
"I'm confident that the relationship will get better," Zhao said. "We welcome that [dialogue]. It has always been China's policy to settle our disputes and differences through bilateral channels. We are looking forward to work with the incoming president and his team to explore the possibility of returning to bilateral talks."
Zhao said he is also happy that the Philippines has a new leader, hinting of a dissatisfaction with President Aquino, whose administration filed an arbitration case before a United Nations Arbitral Tribunal in January 2013, angering China.
"My impression is that the president-elect is a very strong man, he is a man also of principle, and he has the type of leadership we would like to work with to improve our bilateral relationship," said Zhao.
Duterte, the country's first president from Mindanao, was the only presidential candidate to campaign for a shift from a unitary to a federal system of government. This would radically change the country's political system.
Duterte often pointed to the federalism blueprint of former Senator Aquilino "Nene" Pimentel Jr., chair emeritus of PDP-Laban, as his model. His supporters uploaded this simple video on federalism during the campaign.
Presumptive Senate President 'Koko' Pimentel III said on June 28 that the Duterte administration is eyeing an election of delegates to a Constitutional Convention that will draft a new Charter by mid-2017.
The delegates will have until end of 2018 to finish the draft Constitution.
With this kind of timetable, no need for term extension. Gusto na niya mag-retire noon as Davao mayor, ayaw na niya sana mag-presidente, tama na yung six years sa kanya.
--- Koko Pimentel
Voters will be asked to approve the changes in 2019, presumably during the mid-term elections, and if the shift to federalism is approved, the second half of Duterte's term will serve as the transition period to a federal form of government.
One of the dangers of having a new Constitution is that it may lift the term limits of elected officials and give Duterte a chance to stay in power beyond 2022. But Pimentel believes Duterte will eventually hand over power when he steps down in 2022.
"Hindi na po kailangan. With this kind of timetable, no need for term extension. Gusto na niya mag-retire noon as Davao mayor, ayaw na niya sana mag-presidente, tama na yung six years sa kanya," Pimentel said.
The Duterte camp believes it will hit two birds with one stone if the shift to federalism is approved. Incoming House Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez (Davao del Norte) said the Moro Islamic Liberation Front's (MILF) Bangsamoro region can easily be accommodated under a federal form of government.
Alvarez told ANC last May 19 that the Aquino administration took the MILF for a ride with the unrealistic promise of passing the BBL as part of the peace process without charter change.
"How can you implement the provisions of the BBL without amending the constitution? You cannot do it because there are provisions in the BBL that [run] contrary to the provisions of the constitution," he said, adding it would have been struck down by the Supreme Court for unconstitutionality.
To rectify this, Alvarez said they will amend the constitution in the 17th Congress "to provide what is inside the agreement of the BBL."
"The BBL will be absorbed by the federal form of government, kasi pareho 'yun eH. Yung concept ng BBL is the same dun sa federal form of government," he said.
PEACE TALKS WITH MILF/MNLF
Leaders of the MILF and a faction of the MNLF met with Duterte on June 17 in Davao City and the two groups expressed support for Duterte's shift to federalism.
Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) chairman Al-Hajj Murad Ebrahim and his first vice-chairman Ghadzali Jaafar, as well as Moro National Liberation Front leader Datu Abul Khayr Alonto described the gathering as a "brother-to-brother meeting."
"A federal system could very well put in place a government of transparency and accountability, and effectively address the peace and order problems including drug trafficking and kidnap for ransom," Alonto told reporters.
"The president-elect has our commitment and our support, hindi sa salita, sa gawa. It's high-time wag na yung mga salita-salita. All of the things we talked about, we have to do it."
The MNLF chairman, for his part, said it is time to accept that a "centralized form of government is a dismal failure" as it is the reason "why there is war in Mindanao."
Despite agreeing to the shift to a federal form of government, Alonto said they are still hopeful that the "good aspects of the Bangsamoro Basic Law will be retained," and that the country will see the Bangsamoro as a federal state model.
When asked if the MILF and MNLF can finally patch things together and come up with a united front under Duterte, Alonto said, "God willing, In Sha'Allah."
Alonto heads an MNLF faction separate from the one headed by founding chairman Nur Misuari that was behind the bloody Zamboanga siege in September 2013.
The MILF, the country's largest rebel group, earlier said it has sought to close ranks with the MNLF to push for a peace deal under Duterte.
The MILF has sent emissaries to Misuari to discuss a "common approach" after an accord it agreed with outgoing President Benigno Aquino failed to get congressional approval, Jaafar said.
The fugitive Misuari was "very hopeful" about the prospects of ending the four-decade-long rebellion under Duterte. "It's unity in diversity," Jaafar said, adding there have been separate negotiations with MNLF central committee chairman Muslimin Sema since the start of the year.
Sema said the two groups could “merge” its respective peace deals with the government - the MNLF’s Tripoli Agreement of 1976 and a subsequent agreement in 1996, and the MILF’s Comprehensive Agreement on the Bangsamoro in 2014.
“We’re actually making it easy for government,” Sema told ABS-CBN News. “We are calling on other factions to come on board.”
Misuari has gone into hiding after being charged over the 2013 siege on the southern port city of Zamboanga.
The 2014 agreement between Aquino and the MILF would have granted wider autonomy to the country's Muslim minority, but the peace process ground to a halt after 44 police commandos died in a botched anti-terrorist raid in the remote farming town of Mamasapano last year.
PAGBABAGO OR BUST
People are disappointed with democracy until they lose it...
Then they'll look for it again. -- Tony Gatmaitan (Veteran political analyst)
Expectations are high under Duterte, and satisfaction with the country's oldest president could fall quickly if he fails to deliver. He won with only a plurality of 39%, which means around 6 in 10 voters didn't choose him as their leader.
If Duterte's threats to democracy are actually carried out, it will definitely test the strength of the country's institutions, particularly the military and the police.
Whether the country returns to authoritarian rule is hard to guess, but many believe that it won't be a walk in the park.
A supporter wears the name of his chosen presidential candidate during the miting de avance of Rodrigo Duterte in Manila, days before the historic May 9 election that sealed his destiny to become the country's 16th president. Fernando G. Sepe Jr., ABS-CBN News
"People are disappointed with democracy until they lose it," veteran political analyst Tony Gatmaitan told ABS-CBN News. "Then they'll look for it again."
Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi
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