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PHNO PRESIDENTIAL (DU30) NEWS THIS PAST WEEK
(Mini Reads followed by Full Reports below)

ANALYSIS: DECONSTRUCTING DUTERTE'S CLAMOR FOR RADICAL CHANGE


JULY 26 -Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte, center, is applauded by Senate President Aquilino "Koko" Pimentel, left, and House Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez prior to delivering his first State of the Nation Address (SONA) before the joint session of the 17th Congress Monday, July 25, 2016, at suburban Quezon City northeast of Manila, Philippines. AP/Bullit Marquez On Monday, President Rodrigo Duterte delivered a conversational yet comprehensive State of the National Address or SONA. In it, Duterte summed up his first priorities in legislation, in national projects, and in delivering public services, so as to realize his vision of a people-centered government during his six-year term. In over 90 minutes, Duterte emphasized his desire to intensify the nationwide anti-drug, anti-crime, and anti-corruption campaign; begin to build peace with the armed Communist movement and Moro separatists; and shift the country to a federal-parliamentary form of government. Impressively, 91 percent of the Filipino people trust that he will deliver based on the Pulse Asia survey conducted from July 2 to 8. We can examine Duterte’s policy thrusts and strategic interventions against six governance initiatives: strategic leadership, transparent and accountable government, responsive public services, strong rule of law and a stable policy environment, improving social inequality, and the defense of territorial integrity and maritime rights. These initiatives serve as a guide in determining how well Duterte has done in fulfilling his duty as the leader of the land and well as his promise of radical change—the powerful battle cry that led to his phenomenal rise to the presidency. Strategic Leadership While it drafts its medium-term strategy documents, the Duterte administration is providing an introspective form of strategic leadership that reflects his strong emphasis on law and order. The government’s campaign to combat social evils intensified upon Duterte’s assumption of office, soon after which he personally named five “narco-generals” and replaced the guards of the New Bilibid Prison with elite Special Action police forces. In a July 14 report, the Philippine Center for Investigative Journalism said that in the first two weeks of July, around 66,300 people voluntarily surrendered for drug offenses, 1,800 suspects were arrested, and 135 suspects were killed. At the same time, more than 43,000 houses were “visited” under Project Tokhang, with around P146.3 million worth of illegal drugs seized. In the same period, several civil society groups raised their clamor for the respect for due process and fair hearings, and for Duterte to avert the growing number of extra-judicial killings. Duterte also turned his anti-crime sights on the Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG), vowing to employ the full force of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) and strengthen coordination with Indonesia, Malaysia, and other bilateral partners to crush the ASG and other lawless elements. READ MORE...

ALSO Rody gave Kerry this assurance: Sea row ruling will be basis for China talks


JULY 28 -Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte greets U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry during his visit at the Malacanang presidential palace in Manila, Philippines on Wednesday, July 27, 2016. AP Photo/Aaron Favila, Pool
Any bilateral talks with China will be anchored on the ruling of an international arbitral tribunal voiding Beijing’s expansive territorial claim in the South China Sea and West Philippine Sea. President Duterte gave this assurance during his meeting with visiting US Secretary of State John Kerry yesterday at Malacañang, a Cabinet official said. “The President did mention that whatever talks we will engage in will begin with the ruling. That will be the foundation – the ruling regarding the area,” presidential spokesman Ernesto Abella told reporters in a press briefing. Last July 12, the Permanent Court of Arbitration based in The Hague invalidated China’s nine-dash-line territorial claim that covers nearly the entire South China Sea. The tribunal also awarded the Philippines sovereign rights over Panganiban (Mischief) Reef, Ayungin (Second Thomas) Shoal and Recto (Reed) Bank, all in Palawan. While the court did not award the Philippines sovereign rights over Panatag (Scarborough) Shoal off Zambales, it declared the area a traditional fishing ground for both the Philippines and China and other neighboring countries. China has refused to recognize the ruling, calling it “unlawful since day one.” The US has refused to take sides on the maritime row but has advocated the rule of law in disputed areas. Asked whether Duterte and Kerry had talked about using the Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement (EDCA) to implement the international tribunal’s ruling, Abella said: “There was no discussion regarding that. They’re not related.” Signed in 2014, EDCA seeks to provide the US greater access to Philippine military camps. The signing of the deal is widely viewed as an attempt to counter China’s aggressiveness in the South China Sea and West Philippine Sea. READ MORE...

ALSO Common ground: Rody, Kerry talked about bikes, hunting during visit


JULY 27 -President Duterte welcomes visiting US Secretary of State John Kerry at Malacañang yesterday. KRIZJOHN ROSALES
A common love for riding motorcycles and hunting promoted bonding when President Duterte and US Secretary of State John Kerry met for the first time yesterday. The two discussed common interests before moving to sensitive issues such as the Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement during Kerry’s courtesy call at Malacañang. Presidential spokesman Ernesto Abella said that Duterte and Kerry reaffirmed the “long-standing relationships between their countries.”  “It was a very interesting lunch because they shared common interests. They talked about motorcycles and hunting. And Mr. Kerry talked about how he had a motorcycle and he had a funny incident regarding that,” Abella said. If the US employed “ping-pong diplomacy” in 1972 which started talks between the US and China during the Cold War, Kerry used their common love for motorcycles, apparently to get Duterte on the US side. Since he assumed office on June 30, Duterte had blasted the Americans for importing terrorism in other countries such as Iraq. READ MORE...

ALSO: Duterte bares ex-presidents' advice on China dispute


JULY 28 -Former President Fidel Valdez Ramos. Jonathan Cellona, ABS-CBN News
President Rodrigo Duterte bared Thursday what former Philippine leaders advised him to do about the country's maritime disputes with China.Duterte said he is taking the advice of the three other former presidents, Joseph Estrada, Gloria Macapagal Arroyo, and Benigno "Noynoy" Aquino III, whom he talked to at the National Security Council (NSC) meeting Wednesday, on how to handle the sea dispute with China. "We take the advice of the elders. President Arroyo said 'caution.' President Estrada said 'restraint.' Si President Aquino, ganun naman, but he won for us the case. So kaya ako nagsabi, 'Maraming salamat po for giving us the ace card.' It was he who filed. It was upon his instructions," Duterte said. Duterte also has full trust in Ramos to "navigate" talks with China following the United Nations-backed tribunal's ruling invalidating Beijing's massive claim in the disputed South China Sea. "Let Ramos navigate," Duterte said before troops in Camp Nakar, Quezon. READ MORE...

ALSO: Duterte prefers barge to limousine in going to Palace residence


JULY 28 -President Rodrigo R. Duterte is mobbed by members and officials of the League of Provinces of the Philippines (LPP) and League of Cities of the Philippines (LCP) after delivering his keynote speech at the Heroes' Hall of Malacañan Palace on July 27, 2016. KIWI BULACLAC/PPD
President Rodrigo Duterte prefers using the barge to riding the limousine in going to Bahay Pangarap from Malacañang. Duterte revealed this in his speech during the oath-taking of officers of the League of Cities and Provinces on Wednesday night. Duterte said he had been using the presidential barge in crossing the Pasig River after a day’s work at the Palace. Using the presidential limousine would require at least 10 convoys to secure the President. “Tapos pag-uwi ko. Magba-barge ako, matulog,” he said, narrating how he ends his day. Bahay Pangarap or House of Dreams, the official residence of Duterte, is around five minutes away from the President’s office in Malacañang across the Pasig River. The presidential barge became famous in 2001 when former President Joseph Estrada used it to leave the Palace at the height of the Edsa II people’s revolt. Duterte said his motivation to work was his love for the country, although he admitted that he had been “unhappy and lonely” more than a month after he assumed the presidency.
“Ako, nagtratrabaho ako. Do not feel short-changed. My will to work is there, but if you ask me if I am happy, I am not. It’s a lonely, pag-uwi ko doon trabaho, tapos gigisingin. [Makes knocking gestures]) “Sir, gising na sir kasi a las tres na,” he said./rga THE FULL REPORT.


READ FULL MEDIA REPORTS HERE:

Analysis: Deconstructing Duterte’s clamor for radical change


Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte, center, is applauded by Senate President Aquilino "Koko" Pimentel, left, and House Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez prior to delivering his first State of the Nation Address (SONA) before the joint session of the 17th Congress Monday, July 25, 2016, at suburban Quezon City northeast of Manila, Philippines. AP/Bullit Marquez

MANILA, AUGUST 1, 2016 (PHILSTAR) By Dindo Manhit Updated July 26, 2016 - 6:33pm - On Monday, President Rodrigo Duterte delivered a conversational yet comprehensive State of the National Address or SONA.

In it, Duterte summed up his first priorities in legislation, in national projects, and in delivering public services, so as to realize his vision of a people-centered government during his six-year term.

In over 90 minutes, Duterte emphasized his desire to intensify the nationwide anti-drug, anti-crime, and anti-corruption campaign; begin to build peace with the armed Communist movement and Moro separatists; and shift the country to a federal-parliamentary form of government.

Impressively, 91 percent of the Filipino people trust that he will deliver based on the Pulse Asia survey conducted from July 2 to 8.

We can examine Duterte’s policy thrusts and strategic interventions against six governance initiatives: strategic leadership, transparent and accountable government, responsive public services, strong rule of law and a stable policy environment, improving social inequality, and the defense of territorial integrity and maritime rights.

These initiatives serve as a guide in determining how well Duterte has done in fulfilling his duty as the leader of the land and well as his promise of radical change—the powerful battle cry that led to his phenomenal rise to the presidency.

Strategic Leadership

While it drafts its medium-term strategy documents, the Duterte administration is providing an introspective form of strategic leadership that reflects his strong emphasis on law and order.

The government’s campaign to combat social evils intensified upon Duterte’s assumption of office, soon after which he personally named five “narco-generals” and replaced the guards of the New Bilibid Prison with elite Special Action police forces.

In a July 14 report, the Philippine Center for Investigative Journalism said that in the first two weeks of July, around 66,300 people voluntarily surrendered for drug offenses, 1,800 suspects were arrested, and 135 suspects were killed.

At the same time, more than 43,000 houses were “visited” under Project Tokhang, with around P146.3 million worth of illegal drugs seized. In the same period, several civil society groups raised their clamor for the respect for due process and fair hearings, and for Duterte to avert the growing number of extra-judicial killings.

Duterte also turned his anti-crime sights on the Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG), vowing to employ the full force of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) and strengthen coordination with Indonesia, Malaysia, and other bilateral partners to crush the ASG and other lawless elements.

READ MORE...

NPA, BANGSAMORO

To help build peace, Duterte declared a unilateral ceasefire with the New People's Army (NPA), effective immediately, in preparation for the resumption of peace talks.

He also urged the Congress to pass a more inclusive, more constitutionally compliant form of the Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL) which shall serve as a template for his envisioned federal structure.

Throughout the SONA, Duterte repeatedly emphasized his desire for a radical shift to a federal-parliamentary form of government that will decentralize power. He said he hopes for a federal system of government to be put in place four to five years into his term following a referendum.

"Throughout the SONA, Duterte repeatedly emphasized his desire for a radical shift
to a federal-parliamentary form of government that will decentralize power.
Transparent and Accountable Government "

Duterte vowed to provide concrete mechanisms to render the government more transparent and accountable.

Just before the SONA, he signed an Executive Order providing Freedom of Information to Filipinos—fulfilling a campaign promise and especially admirable coming so early in his term as President.

In the SONA, he urged Congress to turn the Executive Order into law.

To improve accountability, Duterte is set to implement an 8888 anti-corruption hotline for Filipinos to report the practices of wayward public officials. The National Telecommunications Commission (NTC) has already issued a memorandum order for its use effective August 1. He also pushed for the relaxation of the Bank Secrecy Law aimed at improving tax collection and preventing tax evasion.

"The National Telecommunications Commission has already issued
a memorandum order for the use of an 8888
anti-corruption hotline effective August 1."

Duterte vowed to strictly implement environmental standards. With marching orders from the president, the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) began embarking on a new pro-environment crusade, auditing all mining firms in the country, seeking for bigger revenue share for the government, and suspending those which fail to comply with safety standards as stipulated in the Mining Act.

Responsive Public Services

After tackling issues on security and accountability, Duterte set his sights on the country’s need to pursue industrialization and improve the quality of life of all citizens. To achieve these twin goals, he revealed a plan to improve existing national roads, bridges and railways and implement and develop new logistics networks and transit systems.

To resolve traffic congestion in Metro Manila, he asked for emergency powers and proposed the revival of daily operations of the Pasig River Ferry Service System. All of these moves will facilitate freer and faster movement of goods and people across the archipelago.

In this regard, the Department of Budget and Management said it will adopt a hybrid form of Public-Private Partnership, wherein the government will build hard public infrastructure non-stop while a private firm will perform maintenance. Duterte also earlier met with Chinese diplomats led by to draw financial support and technological capability for the proposed railway systems.

To decongest the Ninoy Aquino International Airport specifically, he proposed that a new airport be constructed in Sangley Point, Cavite, while other flights be moved to Clark International Airport, which will be to Metro Manila via railway. He also called for a National Broadband Plan to upgrade our cyber infrastructure.

"Duterte also earlier met with Chinese diplomats led by to draw
financial support and technological capability for the proposed railway systems."

As regards agriculture and aquaculture, Duterte promised to provide free irrigation for farmers and establish modern harvest and postharvest facilities to minimize losses. He tasked the Department of Agriculture with conducting nationwide soil analysis to optimize the production of rice and other crops. He also vowed to strictly enforce fisheries laws, particularly on illegal fishing and promote aquaculture along river banks and in backyards.

With regard to energy, however, Duterte reiterated his stand that he will not honor the landmark Paris Agreement on Climate Change, believing that its restrictive provisions on carbon emissions will stifle the country’s ability to jumpstart industrialization.

Duterte also vowed to address the bottlenecks within the government bureaucracy reducing processing time in issuing business permits, clearances and licenses to the barest minimum, preferably within three days at the maximum.

Strong Rule of Law and Stable Policy Environment

Duterte assured that he will complement these objectives with sound macro-economic management. His administration will provide continuity of macroeconomic policies and honor the contracts made by the Aquino government.

Duterte plans to achieve this through the appointment of pro-business technocrats who will provide a sense of balance to his appointment of some left-leaning leaders in the Cabinet, thereby helping translate high growth into more and better job creation and poverty reduction. Furthermore, Duterte stressed the need to attract more investments, particularly in sectors of manufacturing, agriculture, and tourism.

"His administration will provide continuity of macroeconomic policies
and honor the contracts made by the Aquino government.
"

One topic that was not tackled at length during SONA, however, was the implementation of no-contractualization policy although the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) earlier vowed to carry this out.

Preference for the poor and inclusive growth

Duterte advocated for the expedient implementation of progressive policies, such as the Responsible Parenthood and Reproductive Health Law.

According to Duterte, this is aimed at empowering the Filipino families, especially the poor to have freedom of informed choice on their preferred number and spacing of children. He lobbied for Universal Health Care through PhilHealth which will equalize and broaden access to quality health services. Furthermore, he called for genuine tax reform which would entail lowering income and corporate taxes.

Defending territorial integrity and maritime rights

Duterte departs from former President Benigno Aquino III by balancing between the US and China, and keeping a more moderate position on the West Philippine Sea dispute with Beijing.

Despite the favourable Arbitral Tribunal ruling, the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) earlier called for restraint and sobriety rather than increase in diplomatic pressure for China’s compliance with the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Seas (UNCLOS).

Former President Fidel V. Ramos has already acceded to Duterte’s request to become the special envoy for the resumption of high-level talks. It remains to be seen, whether or not Duterte will use the ruling as the basis for future negotiations with China. There are hints that Duterte is likely to put the ruling in the backburner in exchange of greater “benefits”, i.e. increased Chinese financial and infrastructural aid.

"It remains to be seen, whether or not Duterte will use the ruling
as the basis for future negotiations with China."

Conclusion

In general, Duterte succeeded in electrifying the government bureaucracy in his first 100 days of office, thereby giving the Filipino populace a new ray of hope that the new administration is committed to genuine political, economic and social revolution. Although far from being perfect, Duterte managed to lay down the overall groundwork for the accomplishment of his three strategic objectives towards the end of his six-year term, namely: reestablishment of law and order, rendering of a more inclusive socio-economic growth and development, and restructuring of the form of government.

Although far from being perfect, Duterte managed to lay down the overall groundwork for the accomplishment of his three strategic objectives towards the end of his six-year term.

The fundamental challenge is for Duterte to sustain the growing momentum of his radical agenda by: translating his personal, patriotic vision into strong, dynamic and first-world state institutions that will outlive him; empowering a new breed of political, bureaucratic and business elite to carefully implement his pro-security and pro-developmental policies, plans and programs; maintaining support among the majority of the Filipino populace; and managing bilateral and multilateral relations with neighboring countries as well as regional powers.

Dindo Manhit is the President of Stratbase-Albert Del Rosario Institute (ADRi) for Strategic and International Studies.


PHILSTAR

Rody gave Kerry this assurance: Sea row ruling will be basis for China talks By Alexis Romero (The Philippine Star) | Updated July 28, 2016 - 12:00am 2 41 googleplus0 1


Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte greets U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry during his visit at the Malacanang presidential palace in Manila, Philippines on Wednesday, July 27, 2016. AP Photo/Aaron Favila, Pool

MANILA, Philippines – Any bilateral talks with China will be anchored on the ruling of an international arbitral tribunal voiding Beijing’s expansive territorial claim in the South China Sea and West Philippine Sea.

President Duterte gave this assurance during his meeting with visiting US Secretary of State John Kerry yesterday at Malacañang, a Cabinet official said.

“The President did mention that whatever talks we will engage in will begin with the ruling. That will be the foundation – the ruling regarding the area,” presidential spokesman Ernesto Abella told reporters in a press briefing.

Last July 12, the Permanent Court of Arbitration based in The Hague invalidated China’s nine-dash-line territorial claim that covers nearly the entire South China Sea.

The tribunal also awarded the Philippines sovereign rights over Panganiban (Mischief) Reef, Ayungin (Second Thomas) Shoal and Recto (Reed) Bank, all in Palawan.

While the court did not award the Philippines sovereign rights over Panatag (Scarborough) Shoal off Zambales, it declared the area a traditional fishing ground for both the Philippines and China and other neighboring countries.

China has refused to recognize the ruling, calling it “unlawful since day one.” The US has refused to take sides on the maritime row but has advocated the rule of law in disputed areas.

Asked whether Duterte and Kerry had talked about using the Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement (EDCA) to implement the international tribunal’s ruling, Abella said: “There was no discussion regarding that. They’re not related.”

Signed in 2014, EDCA seeks to provide the US greater access to Philippine military camps. The signing of the deal is widely viewed as an attempt to counter China’s aggressiveness in the South China Sea and West Philippine Sea.

READ MORE...

Duterte and Kerry, however, affirmed the close relations between the Philippines and the US, which signed a defense treaty in 1951.

“They also discussed common concerns: terrorism, crime, drugs, religious fanaticism and maritime security. In relation to this, they also mentioned a menu of solutions,” Abella said without elaborating.

There are about four million Filipinos in the US and there are at least 500,000 Americans in the Philippines.

‘Can’t be irrelevant’ In a press briefing yesterday, Kerry maintained the arbitral ruling on the sea dispute can’t be irrelevant even it was not mentioned in the post-summit statement of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN).

“It’s impossible for it to be irrelevant. It’s legally binding and it’s obviously a decision of court recognized under international law,” Kerry said in a joint press conference with Foreign Affairs Secretary Perfecto Yasay Jr. after a meeting at the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA).

Kerry again urged China to respect the ruling and comply with its obligations under the law.

“That has to be part of the calculation and I’m confident that our friends in the Philippines will make their judgment about their negotiating position and how they intend to proceed forward,” he said.

The US official said he was satisfied with ASEAN’s joint communiqué, which – despite being silent about the tribunal’s decision – has clearly made reference to all legal rights, decisions and processes.

He explained it is not always the case to have every single word included in a statement.

But every single principle and every single value of rule of law, he said, was “embraced” in the communiqué, which was clear about its support for the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea or UNCLOS.

“The rights of all countries under the law should always be respected. That’s what international law is about. That’s what a rules based order is about,” Kerry said.

He noted that the decision itself is a binding decision “but we’re not trying to create a confrontation.”

“We’re trying to create a solution mindful of the rights of people that are established under the law,” he added.

Kerry said the US appreciates the very responsible and measured way the Philippine government has responded to the tribunal decision.

“We hope and see a real opportunity for claimants to work together to constructively, peacefully manage and ultimately resolve their differences consistent with international law,” Kerry said. “We hope to see a process that will narrow the geographic scope of the maritime disputes, set standards for behavior in contested areas to lead to mutually acceptable solutions, perhaps even a serious confidence building step.”

Triumph

For his part, Yasay said the joint communiqué was a triumph for ASEAN as it expressed concerns over destabilizing actions in the South China Sea and called for restraint and sobriety among claimants.

“This to me is a triumph for ASEAN because it makes ASEAN more credible to the international community and it makes it more efficient, effective and more relevant as a regional group,” the DFA chief said.

He also belied China’s claim of victory after the latter succeeded in preventing ASEAN from mentioning the landmark arbitral ruling in its joint communiqué.

“I’m just saying this to dispel the reports that have been said that China came out victorious in the ASEAN meeting because we precisely agreed to not mentioning the arbitral award,” Yasay said.

In making the joint communiqué, Yasay said ASEAN members particularly had in mind the dispute in the South China Sea.

“I would like for all of you to take close note and scrutiny of this statement, whether it is correct for anyone to say that we have given up our position in so far as the decision of the Arbitral Tribunal is concerned,” Yasay said.

“Whether or not you will say that this is a triumph of China, of the Philippines or a defeat of China or a defeat of the Philippines, the fact is clear and this is what you should remember as why we went to ASEAN for this meeting. This is a victory for ASEAN for upholding the very principles of international law and the procedures – legal and diplomatic processes,” he added.

The DFA chief stressed that the Philippines had vigorously pushed during the meeting for the inclusion of a clear reference to the tribunal’s ruling in the joint statement.

“Yes, vigorously I pushed for the inclusion and mentioning of the Arbitral Tribunal award,” he pointed out.

He stressed this was a diplomatic tact that had to be made “but we knew that there was middle ground without compromising the rights of the Philippines and the award that was recognized by the Arbitral Tribunal.”

The Philippines, under the previous Aquino administration, launched the legal challenge in 2013 against China’s claims to most of the sea.

China insists it has sovereign rights to nearly all of the sea, including waters approaching ASEAN members the Philippines, Vietnam, Malaysia and Brunei.

Efforts to forge a united ASEAN front on the issue have crumbled in recent years as China has successfully lobbied Cambodia and Laos, which are members of the bloc but are close Chinese allies.

The Philippines has also adopted a more moderate stance on China under President Duterte, who has courted closer Chinese economic and political ties since taking office on June 30.

Yasay initially said on Tuesday he had not asked ASEAN members to refer to the ruling in its end-of-meeting statement.

“No. Never, never did. Please don’t put words into my mouth,” Yasay told reporters in Vientiane when asked if he had called for a reference.

“The other countries are not part of our filing of the case before the arbitral tribunal, so why would we insist that it be put in the ASEAN statement?”

Yesterday in Manila, Yasay denied making those comments. “I never said those things, all right? And please don’t put words into my mouth,” he told reporters.

A recording of Tuesday’s interview in Vientiane by an AFP reporter confirmed Yasay’s initial comments.

When asked to explain why Yasay denied lobbying, a foreign affairs spokesman said yesterday he was unable to clarify.

Adding to the confusion, Cambodia’s foreign ministry spokesman Chum Sounry said his nation had not vetoed Philippine efforts.

He said Yasay withdrew his request for the tribunal mention, after discussions in which Cambodia made clear it wanted to remain “neutral.”

“The Filipino foreign minister himself decided to remove (it) and not to mention the ruling,” Chum Sounry said. – Pia Lee Brago


PHILSTAR

Common ground: Rody, Kerry talk bikes, hunting By Christina Mendez (The Philippine Star) | Updated July 28, 2016 - 12:00am 0 2 googleplus0 0


President Duterte welcomes visiting US Secretary of State John Kerry at Malacañang yesterday. KRIZJOHN ROSALES

MANILA, Philippines – A common love for riding motorcycles and hunting promoted bonding when President Duterte and US Secretary of State John Kerry met for the first time yesterday.

The two discussed common interests before moving to sensitive issues such as the Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement during Kerry’s courtesy call at Malacañang.

Presidential spokesman Ernesto Abella said that Duterte and Kerry reaffirmed the “long-standing relationships between their countries.”

“It was a very interesting lunch because they shared common interests. They talked about motorcycles and hunting. And Mr. Kerry talked about how he had a motorcycle and he had a funny incident regarding that,” Abella said.

If the US employed “ping-pong diplomacy” in 1972 which started talks between the US and China during the Cold War, Kerry used their common love for motorcycles, apparently to get Duterte on the US side.

Since he assumed office on June 30, Duterte had blasted the Americans for importing terrorism in other countries such as Iraq.

READ MORE...

At times, Duterte, however, recognized that the Philippines and the US remain allies in the run-up to the ruling of the Permanent Court of Arbitration (PCA) on the West Philippine Sea.

To kick off their conversation, Kerry opened up their love for motorcycles.

Kerry is a known motorcycle rider. When he appeared on “The Tonight Show With Jay Leno,” the former senator rode on to the stage on a borrowed Harley-Davidson, wearing a leather jacket, blue jeans and a denim shirt.

Duterte rides big bikes, including a Harley, around Davao City to check on the peace and order and traffic situations.

Even when he was a mayor, he was known to join motorcycle groups which tour provinces across the country.

Duterte and Kerry then affirmed the long-standing relationship between the two countries and stated that there are four million Filipinos in the US and at least 500,000 Americans in the Philippines.

Abella said the two also discussed common concerns such as terrorism, crime, drugs, religious fanaticism and maritime security.

“In relation to this, they also mentioned a menu of solutions,” he added.

Leather boots from Marikina Meanwhile, Duterte showed off to his Cabinet members a pair of custom-made leather shoes sent to him as a gift by a shoemaker from Marikina after the lunch meeting with Kerry.

The President then presided over his first meeting of the National Security Council where they discussed the impact of the recent ruling of the PCA that found baseless the nine-dash policy of China, which was its basis for claiming portions of the South China Sea.


ABS-CBN

Duterte bares ex-presidents' advice on China dispute Kathlyn dela Cruz, ABS-CBN News
Posted at Jul 28 2016 08:08 PM | Updated as of Jul 28 2016 08:58 PM


Former President Fidel Valdez Ramos. Jonathan Cellona, ABS-CBN News

MANILA - President Rodrigo Duterte bared Thursday what former Philippine leaders advised him to do about the country's maritime disputes with China.

Duterte said he is taking the advice of the three other former presidents, Joseph Estrada, Gloria Macapagal Arroyo, and Benigno "Noynoy" Aquino III, whom he talked to at the National Security Council (NSC) meeting Wednesday, on how to handle the sea dispute with China.

"We take the advice of the elders. President Arroyo said 'caution.' President Estrada said 'restraint.' Si President Aquino, ganun naman, but he won for us the case. So kaya ako nagsabi, 'Maraming salamat po for giving us the ace card.' It was he who filed. It was upon his instructions," Duterte said.

Duterte also has full trust in Ramos to "navigate" talks with China following the United Nations-backed tribunal's ruling invalidating Beijing's massive claim in the disputed South China Sea.

"Let Ramos navigate," Duterte said before troops in Camp Nakar, Quezon.

READ MORE...

Ramos was appointed by Duterte to act as special envoy to China. The 88-year-old former chief executive tapped the assistance of Rafael Alunan, former secretary of the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG).

"Hayaan muna natin sila," said Duterte. "Then maybe, when the final talks are there tapos kaharap na kami, that would be the time na magpaprangkahan na tayo."

"'This is our position. This is what we have. We will not go out of it. So we talk. So what is your position?'"

WAIT AND SEE?

 

The Permanent Court of Arbitration (PCA), in its ruling issued earlier this month, said China had no legal basis to claim historic rights to resources within sea areas falling within the so-called "nine-dash line."

The arbitral tribunal also ruled that China, which has been conducting reclamation work in the disputed areas in the South China Sea, has violated the Philippines' sovereign rights in its exclusive economic zone.

Amid the Philippines' victory in the arbitration case, Duterte has repeatedly called for restraint, stressing that the country cannot go into war with the Asian giant.

China has refused to recognize the decision of the international court, but welcomed Duterte's sending of a special envoy to Beijing.

READ: Duterte on maritime dispute with China: Practice restraint

"Hindi naman sinabing takot pero it is not the correct move. We do not go into a violence fight as a war now... It's simply not correct. We have to maintain the integrity of this Republic," the President said.

"So ako, ano lang din because during my watch, medyo dahan-dahan lang ako diyan. I cannot be precipitate -- ah sige, daanin mo sa init ng ulo -- ah, patay na. Your life is not something that I can just throw away," Duterte told the soldiers in Camp Nakar.


INQUIRER

Duterte prefers barge to limousine in going to Palace residence By: Nestor Corrales
@NCorralesINQ INQUIRER.net 05:57 PM July 28th, 2016


President Rodrigo R. Duterte is mobbed by members and officials of the League of Provinces of the Philippines (LPP) and League of Cities of the Philippines (LCP) after delivering his keynote speech at the Heroes' Hall of Malacañan Palace on July 27, 2016. KIWI BULACLAC/PPD

President Rodrigo Duterte prefers using the barge to riding the limousine in going to Bahay Pangarap from Malacañang.

Duterte revealed this in his speech during the oath-taking of officers of the League of Cities and Provinces on Wednesday night.

Duterte said he had been using the presidential barge in crossing the Pasig River after a day’s work at the Palace. Using the presidential limousine would require at least 10 convoys to secure the President.

“Tapos pag-uwi ko. Magba-barge ako, matulog,” he said, narrating how he ends his day.

Bahay Pangarap or House of Dreams, the official residence of Duterte, is around five minutes away from the President’s office in Malacañang across the Pasig River.


Malacañang Palace, the residence of the Philippine president, from the other side of the Pasig River

The presidential barge became famous in 2001 when former President Joseph Estrada used it to leave the Palace at the height of the Edsa II people’s revolt.

Duterte said his motivation to work was his love for the country, although he admitted that he had been “unhappy and lonely” more than a month after he assumed the presidency.

“Ako, nagtratrabaho ako. Do not feel short-changed. My will to work is there, but if you ask me if I am happy, I am not. It’s a lonely, pag-uwi ko doon trabaho, tapos gigisingin. [Makes knocking gestures]) “Sir, gising na sir kasi a las tres na,” he said./rga


Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi

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