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FVR QUITS AS DUTERTE's ENVOY TO CHINA; 'MY JOB IS DONE'
[RELATED INQUIRER EDITORIAL: The Ramos factor]
[RELATED(2): DU30's rebuff of climate treaty like ‘shooting himself in mouth’ - FVR]
[RELATED(3): Palace hasn't received Ramos' resignation - Andanar]


NOVEMBER 1 - Former President Fidel V. Ramos has resigned as the Philippines' special envoy to China. President Rodrigo Duterte appointed Ramos as special envoy in July to thaw Philippines-China relations after years of tension over claims in the South China Sea. "The moment the President came back from China from a successful state visit I resigned as special envoy to China because the officials have taken over," Ramos told GMA News. "I've done my job to... break the ice and to help restore the ties of goodwill and friendship," he added in an interview after paying tribute to the departed Thai King Bhumibol Adulyadej at the Thai Embassy in Makati City. Ramos made the disclosure after writing several opinion columns criticizing Duterte. READ MORE...RELATED INQUIRER EDITORIAL The Ramos factor...RELATED(2),
DU30's rebuff of climate treaty like ‘shooting himself in mouth’ - FVR RELATED(3), Palace hasn't received Ramos' resignation - Andanar...

ALSO: Paris climate agreement becomes international law


NOVEMBER 4 -FILE - In this April 3, 2014 file photo giant machines dig for brown coal at the open-cast mining Garzweiler in front of a smoking power plant near the city of Grevenbroich in western Germany. The world is nowhere near on track to achieve the ambitious temperature goals adopted in the landmark Paris Agreement on climate change, the U.N. said Thursday Nov. 3, 2016, warning of a worldwide human tragedy unless governments step up efforts to fight global warming. (AP Photo/Martin Meissner, File)
The Paris Agreement to combat climate change becomes international law on Friday—a landmark demonstrating that countries are serious about tackling global warming amid growing fears that the world is becoming hotter faster than scientists expected. So far, 96 countries, accounting for just over two-thirds of the world’s greenhouse gas emissions, have formally joined the accord, which seeks to limit global warming to 2 degrees Celsius (3.6 degrees Fahrenheit). Many more countries are expected to come aboard in the coming weeks and months. READ MORE...

ALSO: Palace satisfied with ‘friendly agreement’ on Panatag
[RELATED: US big loser in halted arms deal, says Palace]


NOVEMBER 3 -Presidential spokesman Ernesto Abella said there was no formal agreement with China on the lifting of its blockade of the shoal and that the development was a result of President Duterte’s recent state visit to Beijing. File photo
No need for a written document; Malacañang is satisfied with a “friendly agreement” with China that has enabled Filipino fishermen to return unmolested to Panatag (Scarborough) Shoal after four years of Chinese blockade. Presidential spokesman Ernesto Abella said there was no formal agreement with China on the lifting of its blockade of the shoal and that the development was a result of President Duterte’s recent state visit to Beijing. “Let’s just put it this way. The fishermen are back to fishing again. And I think at this particular stage, we can say the President has said, he has done his part in saying, ‘Just wait, and you can go back to fish there again’,” Abella said. But he declined to give details of the “friendly agreement” like how long it would hold. READ MORE...RELATED,
US big loser in halted arms deal, says Palace...

ALSO:
Wealthy Fil-Am widow, Soros tagged in anti-Rody US unseat moves [RELATED: No ouster, only noise likely vs DU30 — Palace]


NOVEMBER 5 -A Filipina widow of a wealthy African-American was tagged by President Duterte yesterday as one of those behind alleged efforts in the United States to unseat him. TOTO LOZANO/PPD
A Filipina widow of a wealthy African-American was tagged by President Duterte yesterday as one of those behind alleged efforts in the United States to unseat him. It was the first time that Duterte provided specifics about the personalities behind the supposed ouster moves. Malacañang had promised to unmask the individuals. While no name was mentioned, the description fitted that of Loida Nicolas-Lewis, whose husband, billionaire businessman Reginald Lewis, died in 1993. Lewis is the sister of Imelda Nicolas, who headed the commission on overseas Filipinos during the administration of Benigno Aquino III. READ MORE...RELATED,
No ouster, only noise likely vs DU30 — Palace...

ALSO: Rody on health: Every septuagenarian is sick


NOVEMBER 6 -“At this point in time, I am 72. Don’t ask me if I’m sick. Every 72-year-old in this world is sick,” the President Duterte declared, without waiting for anyone to ask him about his health, during his speech at the Integrated Bar of the Philippines (IBP) regional convention in Manila Hotel Friday night. AP/Bullit Marquez
MANILA, Philippines – Don’t ask President Duterte if he is sick. “At this point in time, I am 72. Don’t ask me if I’m sick. Every 72-year-old in this world is sick,” the President declared, without waiting for anyone to ask him about his health, during his speech at the Integrated Bar of the Philippines (IBP) regional convention in Manila Hotel Friday night. He said his joke about God telling him to stop cursing had led some people to think he is crazy. READ MORE...


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FVR quits as Duterte’s special envoy to China

MANILA, NOVEMBER 7, 2016 (GMA NEWS)  Published October 31, 2016 7:51pm By SANDRA AGUINALDO -  Former President Fidel V. Ramos has resigned as the Philippines' special envoy to China.

President Rodrigo Duterte appointed Ramos as special envoy in July to thaw Philippines-China relations after years of tension over claims in the South China Sea.

"The moment the President came back from China from a successful state visit I resigned as special envoy to China because the officials have taken over," Ramos told GMA News.

"I've done my job to... break the ice and to help restore the ties of goodwill and friendship," he added in an interview after paying tribute to the departed Thai King Bhumibol Adulyadej at the Thai Embassy in Makati City.

Ramos made the disclosure after writing several opinion columns criticizing Duterte.

READ MORE...

In a column published by Manila Bullentin early this month, Ramos on occasion of Duterte's 100th day in office said the President did not hit the ground running during the first months of his administration.

He said the government was "stuck in unending controversies about extra-judicial killings of drug suspects and in his ability at using cuss-words and insults instead of civilized language."

Ramos, a graduate of the United States Military Academy at West Point, also chided Duterte for declaring a foreign policy independent from the US.

Ramos said countries have become interconnected and that Duterte's "independent foreign policy" may not be the way to go.

Duterte, shortly after his electoral victory, credited Ramos for convincing him to run for President.

"I still consider myself a part of the Duterte team whether they like it or not. But I am free to give friendly advice and that is part of our democratic culture," Ramos said.

The former President said his newspaper commentaries were meant to help solve the country's problems.

"You must consider me an older brother of the big, big, big Filipino family because of my long service in government," Ramos said.

"I must be considered by everybody, including the present President as an older brother of the family," he added.

"Those who wish the big Filipino family peace, sustainable development, progress and a place of respect and even admiration in the family of nations, must get together and look for the best solutions to the problems," Ramos said.

"That is my attitude," he added.

Panatag Shoal, fishing rights

Duterte and Chinese President Xi Jinping in October had bilateral talks and reportedly discussed the overlapping claims in the South China Sea, particularly in the Scarborough Shoal.

National Security Adviser Hermogenes Esperon said Duterte raised the issue of the Filipino's traditional fishing rights at the Panatag Shoal with Xi.

“There was no expressed agreement but it seems like the traditional rights of our fishermen are being respected,” Esperon said in a phone interview with reporters.

Filipino fishermen were already able to sail and fish at the Panatag Shoal days after Duterte returned from his trip to China.

Esperon said no agreement was reached during the bilateral talks when Duterte raised the ruling of the Permanent Court of Arbitration upholding the country's exclusive economic zone and the Filipinos' traditional fishing rights.

Xi, in turn, reportedly raised China's historical claims.

“Basta nag-usap ang dalawang presidente at hindi natapos yun dahil ang position ng China is may historical rights sila dun, tayo may historical rights tayo at saka nanalo tayo sa Arbitral Tribunal, yun ang position ni Digong (Duterte’s nickname)," Esperon said.

"Hindi sila nagtagal doon (sa issue) dahil marami silang ibang pag-uusapan so walang agreement,” he added. —NB, GMA News

--------------------------

RELATED FROM THE INQUIRER (EDITORIAL)

The Ramos factor Philippine Daily Inquirer / 12:10 AM November 02, 2016


Former Philippine President Fidel Ramos AP file Photo

Malacañang on Monday night said it had not yet received official word from ex-President Fidel V. Ramos that he was resigning his position as special envoy to China—but the stories that went around over the long weekend only confirmed what various members of the press already knew:

The country’s oldest living former president was, in fact, giving up the post. In itself this resignation is a small matter; understood as part of an unmistakable pattern of calibrated disavowments of Duterte administration policy, the resignation is a matter of serious concern.

Ramos was among the influentials who helped convince President Duterte to run for the presidency; in Mr. Duterte’s inaugural address, the literal first words were addressed, in thanksgiving, to the martial law enforcer-turned-Edsa hero.

So when Ramos used the occasion of the 100th day of the Duterte presidency (itself a tradition that Ramos did much to establish) to mount a campaign of candid criticism against the Duterte brand of governance, the administration listened—and did not launch an attack in return.

OPPORTUNITIES LOST

Ramos used his column in the Manila Bulletin to paint a sobering picture of opportunities lost.

“In the overall assessment by this writer, we find our Team Philippines losing in the first 100 days of Du30’s administration—and losing badly. This is a huge disappointment and let-down to many of us.”

The cause: President Duterte failed to “hit the ground running instead of being stuck in unending controversies about extrajudicial killings of drug suspects and in his ability at using cuss-words and insults instead of civilized language.”

The former president also declined to join the President’s historic state visit to Beijing—an occasion the special envoy to China would have been expected to join.

His conspicuous absence was a statement in itself; and his presence at events where President Duterte dramatically announced a “separation” from the United States would have been problematic.

The West Point alumnus and personal friend of the former Chinese president Jiang Zemin is an advocate of closer Philippine-US military ties as well as a higher Philippine profile in international affairs. Putting the Philippines on the map, he used to say.

His resignation as special envoy, then, was only a matter of time.

CLIMATE CHANGE

But now Ramos has written another trenchant criticism of Duterte administration policy—this time of President Duterte’s inexplicable refusal to honor the country’s commitment to (and many years of painstaking negotiation of) the landmark climate change pact known today as the Paris Agreement.

The lead paragraph of his Oct. 24 column is as forceful as it gets. “In his consistently frequent insulting diatribes against the US, EU, and the UN, in which President Du30 also keeps complaining against the December 2015 Paris Agreement on Climate Change (crafted by 195 nations, the Philippines included), he is unwittingly shooting himself in the mouth, and also all of us, 101.5 million Filipinos. He may claim that to be more ‘insulting than friendly’ to our long-established allies is part of his God-given ‘destiny.’ But, this is obviously wrong, and full of S…. T!!!.”

Obviously, President Duterte’s continued use of rude or undiplomatic language has gotten under Ramos’ skin again; he is reduced to using the same enemy-creating rhetoric.

But the larger point is Mr. Duterte’s decision to jettison the decades of ultimately successful climate change negotiation by the Philippines, in order to indulge his idea that the Western nations have yet again managed to put countries like the Philippines at a disadvantage.

The truth is, President Duterte is wrong. Using all capitals, Ramos argued that:

IT IS CLEAR ENOUGH (AND SHOULD BE READILY UNDERSTOOD BY LEADERS) THAT THE PARIS AGREEMENT DOES NOT IMPOSE EMISSION REDUCTION ON THE PHILIPPINES. SHOULD ANY COUNTRY DECIDE TO EVENTUALLY BECOME A PARTY TO THE AGREEMENT, IT WILL ONLY BE ASKED TO SUBMIT ITS NATIONALLY DETERMINED CONTRIBUTIONS, WHICH ARE ESSENTIALLY SUCCESSIVE 5-YEAR CLIMATE PLANS THAT WE CAN DETERMINE ON OUR OWN, ACCORDING TO OUR NATIONAL CIRCUMSTANCES, DEVELOPMENT GOALS, AND DOMESTIC CAPACITY.

In other words, President Duterte misunderstands the Paris Agreement. And ex-president Ramos has had enough.

-----------------------------------

RELATED(2) FROM GMA NEWS NETWORK

Duterte's rebuff of climate treaty akin to ‘shooting himself in the mouth’ – FVR Published October 31, 2016 1:32am


FVR

In his own bluntly-worded manner, former President Fidel V. Ramos said that President Rodrigo Duterte was "full of S....T" if he thought his diatribes against the Philippines' allies and the 2015 Paris Agreement on Climate Change Agreement was his God-given destiny, and that his rejection of the climate agreement was akin to him and the entire country "shooting [themselves] in the mouth".

Ramos, in an opinion piece written for a Manila broadsheet, pointed out that mitigating the effects of climate change required international cooperation and collective positive action, and that this collective action was embodied in the Paris climate agreement.

READ MORE...

The former president explained that Duterte was wrong if he thought the agreement limited greenhouse gas emissions similarly among participating countries, not taking into account the major responsibilities developed countries have to the problem while also stunting the economic progress of developing nations.

Rather, Ramos argued, the Paris Agreement was based on the principle of Common But Differentiated Responsibilities (CBDR), and thus recognized the larger burden for emissions limits for developed countries while allowing for the growth of developing ones.

"[The agreement], in fact, recognizes that developing countries can peak their emissions at a later time, as they pursue sustainable development and poverty eradication according to their respective national plans," wrote Ramos.

Furthermore, the Paris Agreement also called on developed nations "to set aside at least $100 billion yearly as financial assistance to developing countries starting 2020 to enable all countries to actualize renewable (or green) energy sources."

The ex-president believed that Duterte's main problem with the Paris Agreement was the 70 percent emission-reduction goal the Philippines submitted to the UN last year as its intended Nationally Determined Contribution.

"However, [the submission was] just an indicative number and is conditioned on the provision of financial, technological, and capacity-building support," Ramos countered, adding that the Paris Agreement did not impose emission reductions on the Philippines.

"Should any country decide to eventually become a party to the agreement, it will only be asked to submit its Nationally Determined Contributions," Ramos point out.

And already, last July, the Philippine Climate Change Commission and concerned national agencies had agreed to consider revising the numbers, while prioritizing and highlighting the country’s adaptation and loss and damage actions in its final Nationally Determined Contribution.

Ramos argued further that failure to ratify the Paris Agreement would limit the Philippines' participation in the 22nd session of the Conference of the Parties (COP 22) in Marrakesh to being mere observers, and we would thus be unable to advance the interests of the country.

Ratification, however, will "enable us to secure more investments towards our climate goals and gain access to the financial, technological, and capacity-building support to be provided to parties of the Agreement."

Ramos concluded by calling on the president to approve the Paris Agreement "forthwith", and "certify it for Senate ratification to promote our country’s interests and fight for climate justice." — DVM, GMA News

----------------------------------

RELAED(3) FROM ABS-CBN

Palace hasn't received Ramos' resignation: Andanar ABS-CBN News Posted at Oct 31 2016 09:54 PM

MANILA - A Cabinet official on Monday said Malacanang has yet to receive former President Fidel V. Ramos' resignation as the Philippines' special envoy to China.

Presidential Communications Secretary Martin Andanar was asked to comment on reports that Ramos has resigned because the official track with Beijing over the South China Sea dispute and other bilateral issues are already in place following President Duterte's state visit to China.

The state visit restored the normal ties between China and the Philippines, which were downgraded following a clash in Scarborough Shoal or Panatag Shoal in 2012.

Andanar also said Ramos' "expertise and stature" is needed "now more than ever" to ensure that President Rodrigo Duterte's accomplishments during his recent trip to China will push through.

READ MORE...

"Moreover, it is not true that the former president can no longer have any role in our engagement with China. His stature and expertise are needed now, more than ever, to follow up and bike on what President Duterte accomplished during his recent visit to China," Andanar said in a text message.

Ramos has recently criticized some of Duterte's policy pronouncements.

In his Manila Bulletin column published last Saturday, for instance, Ramos cited Duterte's stand not to honor the 2015 Paris Agreement on Climate Change, which seeks to lower climate-warming emissions.

The Philippines' elder statesman, who was instrumental in pushing Duterte to run for president, earlier lamented that the Philippines lost badly during the first 100 days of the administration.

Ramos criticized Duterte for being too focused on his war on drugs, neglecting other social ills such as poverty.

He also observed that cops were not following the basic rule of shooting to disable crime suspects, but were instead shooting to kill even if their (cops') lives were not in danger.

The former military and defense chief also called out Duterte on his anti-US foreign policy, including Duterte's stand to end joint military exercises with its treaty ally.

Ramos also decried Duterte's insults against outgoing UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon, a former foreign minister of South Korea who helped Filipino veterans of the Korean war.

Ramos was named special envoy to China in July, days after the Philippines won an international arbitral ruling against China's maritime clains over the South China Sea.

Ramos then accepted the offer and traveled to Hong Kong to meet some officials and old friends in the Chinese government.


MANILA BULLETIN

Paris climate agreement becomes international law 0 SHARES Share it! Published November 4, 2016, 1:24 PM By Associated Press


FILE - In this April 3, 2014 file photo giant machines dig for brown coal at the open-cast mining Garzweiler in front of a smoking power plant near the city of Grevenbroich in western Germany. The world is nowhere near on track to achieve the ambitious temperature goals adopted in the landmark Paris Agreement on climate change, the U.N. said Thursday Nov. 3, 2016, warning of a worldwide human tragedy unless governments step up efforts to fight global warming. (AP Photo/Martin Meissner, File)

The Paris Agreement to combat climate change becomes international law on Friday—a landmark demonstrating that countries are serious about tackling global warming amid growing fears that the world is becoming hotter faster than scientists expected.

So far, 96 countries, accounting for just over two-thirds of the world’s greenhouse gas emissions, have formally joined the accord, which seeks to limit global warming to 2 degrees Celsius (3.6 degrees Fahrenheit). Many more countries are expected to come aboard in the coming weeks and months.

READ MORE...

U.N. spokesman Stephane Dujarric said Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon plans to commemorate “this historic day for both the people and the planet” by holding a conversation with civil society organizations about how they can contribute to the objectives of the Paris agreement.

“For years, he warned that we are the first generation to really feel the effects of climate change—and the last that can meaningfully prevent its worst consequences,” Dujarric said. “His push for action was backed by government officials, scientists, faith leaders, business executives and civil society activists around the world who understood that the future of our common home is at stake. They made today possible.”

Scientists praised the speed at which the agreement, signed by 192 parties last December in Paris, has come into force, saying it underscores a new commitment by the international community to address the problem which is melting polar ice caps, sending sea levels rising and transforming vast swaths of arable land into desert.

“It took more than seven years for the Kyoto Protocol to go into effect while less than a year for the Paris climate agreement to achieve the same,” said Dr. Feng Qi, executive director of the School of Environmental and Sustainability Sciences at Kean University in New Jersey. “While the real effect of the agreement after it goes into effect is still uncertain, it is a simple sign that the international society is much more open to alter economic and political behavior to control climate change, which is by all means positive.”

But scientists and policy makers say the agreement entering into force is just the first step of a much longer and complicated process of transitioning away from fossil fuels, which currently supply the bulk of the planet’s energy needs and also are the primary drivers of global warming.

“Climate change is a marathon not a sprint and the agreement sets a course for the marathon in the years ahead,” said David Sandalow, inaugural fellow at the Columbia Center on Global Energy Policy and a former under-secretary of energy in the Obama administration.

While the Paris agreement is legally binding, the emissions reductions that each country has committed to are not. Instead, the agreement seeks to create a transparent system that will allow the public to monitor how well each country is doing at meeting its goals in hopes that this will motivate them to transition more quickly to clean, renewable energy like wind, solar and hydropower.

The agreement also requires governments to develop climate action plans that will be periodically revised and then replaced with new, even more ambitious, plans. Many of these details will begin to be addressed at the COP22 meeting next week in Marrakech, Morocco.

France’s U.N. Ambassador Francois Delattre said he remained optimistic that the agreement signed in his country’s capital would foster change.

“The challenge we have in front of us is unprecedented. We need a massive reorientation of global public and private investment toward a low carbon economy,” Delattre said, adding that he was encouraged by a series of meetings with the business leaders.

“They understand that there’s a major shift here. They want to be part of it, both to reduce the cost but also to increase their opportunities,” he added.

Still, there are those who worry that for all the speed at which the Paris Agreement has been approved it may still be too late.

A report by the U.N. Environment Program released Thursday projects that annual emissions must be kept below 42 billion tons of CO2 (carbon dioxide) by 2030 for the world to have a chance to meet the goals set out in the Paris agreement. However, the agreement itself foresees emissions reaching 54 billion-56 billion tons in 2030, setting the world on a course to exceed the goal of limiting warming to 2 degrees Celsius (3.6 degrees Fahrenheit).


PHILSTAR

Palace satisfied with ‘friendly agreement’ on Panatag By Christina Mendez (The Philippine Star) | Updated November 3, 2016 - 12:00am 0 1 googleplus0 0


Presidential spokesman Ernesto Abella said there was no formal agreement with China on the lifting of its blockade of the shoal and that the development was a result of President Duterte’s recent state visit to Beijing. File photo

MANILA, Philippines – No need for a written document; Malacañang is satisfied with a “friendly agreement” with China that has enabled Filipino fishermen to return unmolested to Panatag (Scarborough) Shoal after four years of Chinese blockade.

Presidential spokesman Ernesto Abella said there was no formal agreement with China on the lifting of its blockade of the shoal and that the development was a result of President Duterte’s recent state visit to Beijing.

“Let’s just put it this way. The fishermen are back to fishing again. And I think at this particular stage, we can say the President has said, he has done his part in saying, ‘Just wait, and you can go back to fish there again’,” Abella said.

But he declined to give details of the “friendly agreement” like how long it would hold.

READ MORE...

“Well, presently… it’s going by the friendly agreement that has been raised. So we’ll proceed along that line,” Abella said.

Asked when the Philippines intends to bring up the July 9 ruling by an international tribunal invalidating China’s expansive maritime claim, Abella said it would be done “when necessary,” as the President had said.

“At this stage, we’re not talking guarantees, we’re just going by the fact that they, the fishermen, can now just go,” he pointed out.

He said at present it’s good enough that Filipinos can do their business at the shoal without being shooed away by the Chinese.

“According to the present arrangement, they just go and fish,” he said.

Rep. Harry Roque also said recent developments at Panatag have shown the Duterte administration’s success in dealing with China and in advancing the interest of local fishermen.

He said the antagonistic approach by the previous Aquino administration in dealing with China apparently did not work.

“Clearly, the opposite tack pursued by Aquino and (former DFA) secretary Albert del Rosario did not work. Del Rosario should give credit where it is due, particularly since he and president Aquino failed where President Duterte succeeded,” Roque pointed out.

“Secretary Del Rosario had a chance to help our fishermen resume their livelihood and failed. President Duterte’s new engagement with China led to the resumption of our fishermen’s livelihood,” Roque, a former UP professor, said.

The first-term congressman from party-list Kabayan said Aquino and administration critics should “just admit that the foreign policy being pursued by President Duterte is proving to be a more effective one.”

He also commended former president Fidel Ramos for helping thaw relations with Beijing. Ramos resigned recently as special envoy to China, saying he had already completed his task.

“While I respect president Ramos’ decision to resign, I believe it would be better for him to stay on so we can benefit from his wisdom. I also agree that talks can now be undertaken by the DFA and President Duterte given our friendlier ties with China,” Roque said.

The lawmaker is in Takushoku University in Tokyo to represent the Philippines in a conference on the court ruling on the South China Sea dispute.

Restrictions stay Aerial image, however, released by a Washington-based maritime transparency advocacy group shows Filipino fishermen are still barred from entering the inner lagoon of Panatag as a large Chinese coast guard vessel is guarding its mouth.

The image, shown in an article published by the Asia Maritime Transparency Initiative (AMTI), showed several Filipino fishing boats around the shoal and none inside the lagoon.

“New imagery from Oct. 29 showed a CCG vessel anchored just inside the mouth of the lagoon, where it has been for most of the period since China seized the shoal in 2012, apparently blocking access,” read an article (https://amti.csis.org/china-scarborough-fishing/) published by AMTI.

At least two other “non-government” Chinese vessels were visible in the image.

Filipino fishermen began returning to Panatag unmolested by the Chinese, days after President Duterte returned last Oct. 21 from a state visit to Beijing where he and his counterpart Xi Jinping discussed the dispute over territories in the South China Sea and West Philippine Sea.

The article said the image corroborates reports that Filipinos could only fish “outside” the lagoon.

“This suggests that the ‘friendly understanding’ President Duterte negotiated during his trip to Beijing was only for Chinese authorities to relax the stricter blockade of the reef that they put in place following the July 12 arbitral ruling,” said the AMTI, referring to the ruling of the Permanent Court of Arbitration based in The Hague.

“This would be a return to the status quo that has existed for much of the last four years, not the pre-2012 status quo in which Philippine fishermen regularly entered Scarborough Shoal,” the article stated.

The AMTI was established by Washington-based think tank Center for Strategic and International Studies.

It aims to provide an objective platform for exchange of ideas with regard to maritime security issues in Asia.

Beijing has supposedly relaxed its blockade of the shoal, which it seized in 2012.

Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana earlier said that based on surveillance photos, Filipino fishermen could drop nets in the area even in the presence of Chinese vessels. – With Delon Porcalla, Janvic Mateo, Edu Punay, Jaime Laude

-------------------------------------

RELATED FRP, THE MANINLA STANDARD

US big loser in halted arms deal, says Palace posted November 04, 2016 at 12:01 am by John Paolo Bencito


Communications Secretary Martin Andanar

THE United States will be on the losing end of a decision to cancel the sale of some 27,000 assault rifles to the Philippine National Police over human rights concerns, the Palace said Thursday.

After Human Rights Watch warned that two US funding programs for the PNP were at risk because of President Rodrigo Duterte’s bloody war on illegal drugs, Communications Secretary Martin Andanar reiterated that it is not the policy of the administration to condone summary executions by policemen.

He added: “We are the buyers of the rifle, they are the sellers. We won’t lose anything. It’s the United States alone [that stands to lose],” he said.

Unverified reports claimed that the US State Department halted the sale of about 27,000 assault rifles to Philippines police after a Democrat Senator, Ben Cardin expressed concerns about the country’s recent human rights record.

In his speech on Wednesday, President Duterte slammed the United States for “blackmailing” him.

Andanar said that the country can simply turn to Russia, China or even Israel for its weapons.

Senate Minority Leader Ralph Recto said the Philippine government should jump-start a program to locally manufacture arms and military equipment following reports that the US sale would not push through.

“It is a wake-up call for us to stop totally relying on foreign suppliers,” Recto said.

He said this is another kind of pivot we need. “To tap our domestic industries for the equipment needs of our policemen and soldiers.”

“If some of the things can be made locally and the products are of the same price and quality as the ones bought abroad, then let us manufacture them here,” Recto said.

Recto cited the existence of a vibrant local firearms industry which has been exporting its products for many decades now.

“There are many of them, from boat builders to vehicle manufacturers, who can step up to the plate once there are firm orders from the government,” Recto said.

He said the country’s car manufacturing industry can supply military and police vehicles, removing the need to buy them abroad.

Recto said President Duterte’s home province of Cebu can even build coastal patrol ships.

“If we’re buying boats either for coastal, river, environmental or fisheries patrol, then let our local shipyards make them,” he said. With Macon Ramos-Araneta


PHILSTAR

Fil-Am widow, Soros tagged in anti-Rody US moves By Christina Mendez (The Philippine Star) | Updated November 5, 2016 - 12:00am 40 16.5K googleplus1 4


A Filipina widow of a wealthy African-American was tagged by President Duterte yesterday as one of those behind alleged efforts in the United States to unseat him. TOTO LOZANO/PPD

MANILA, Philippines - A Filipina widow of a wealthy African-American was tagged by President Duterte yesterday as one of those behind alleged efforts in the United States to unseat him.

It was the first time that Duterte provided specifics about the personalities behind the supposed ouster moves. Malacañang had promised to unmask the individuals.

While no name was mentioned, the description fitted that of Loida Nicolas-Lewis, whose husband, billionaire businessman Reginald Lewis, died in 1993. Lewis is the sister of Imelda Nicolas, who headed the commission on overseas Filipinos during the administration of Benigno Aquino III.

READ MORE...

Addressing the Integrated Bar of the Philippines, Duterte also identified billionaire George Soros as a financier of efforts to pin him down for gross human rights violations.

Duterte accused the two people with “Western persuasion” of being in the forefront of destabilization talks against his administration.

“If they do not want me, I will make it easy for them. And if the military or the police think that I do not… no need for coup d’etat. You are wasting your bullet. Go to Malacañang, we’ll have coffee and I myself will swear you in to run this Republic and solve the problem. No problem,” Duterte told the gathering of the Integrated Bar of the Philippines (IBP) in its regional convention at Manila Hotel last night.

“Next year, there will be mass demonstrations, for all I care I have no illusions. Do not give me a reason to go out because you might have… you might get your wish,” he said.

In the 1980s, Reginald Lewis was considered as the richest African-American in the US. In 1992, the TLC Beatrice founder and CEO was listed by Forbes among the 400 richest Americans with a net worth of $400 million.

Duterte claimed the Filipino-American has been planning “mass demonstrations” next year in a bid to oust him from office.

Duterte described the financier as “an affluent businesswoman” who has been “planning for two months already.”

Faced with serious concerns about human rights abuses that marked his bloody drug war, Duterte said the plotters wanted to “run the Republic… and they will run the country.”

“Fine, I don’t have problem with that. I have many friends in the military,” he said, adding he is ready to give them power without any resistance.


Fil-Am widow, Soros tagged in anti-Rody US moves: A Filipina widow of a wealthy African-American was tagged by President Duterte yesterday as one of those behind alleged efforts in the United States to unseat him. Addressing the Integrated Bar of the Philippines, Duterte also identified billionaire George Soros as a financier of efforts to pin him down for gross human rights violations.YAHOO NEWS FILE

Duterte said he also deserves a rest – noting the complications and heavy burden of the presidency now on his shoulders.

The campaign was launched in the US, apparently the same coup plot earlier exposed by Communications Secretary Martin Andanar about two weeks ago at the height of the human rights concerns raised against the President.

Duterte mentioned Soros as the other financier in the ouster moves. George Soros is one of the world’s most active philanthropists, extending his generous reach to more than 60 countries, including the Philippines.

“All those who are of Western persuasion,” he described those working to remove him from office because of his tirades against the US and President Barack Obama.

Soros is the founder and chairman of Open Society, a network of foundations, partners and projects in more than 100 countries, including human rights and pro-democracy groups in the Philippines.

Military unrest As Duterte talked about financiers of the ouster plots, he also encouraged the military and human rights advocates to craft a plan on how to solve the drug problem and the insurgency in Mindanao.

In the same speech, Duterte called on “the military who do not agree with me” because of his “tirades against America.”

“So, if you think that you can help, tell me and I will appoint you to a group of advisers with a rank of a Cabinet (member), and I will follow your instructions to a tee... to all of you who dislike me,” he said.
Duterte said there is no need to launch any coup since he is ready to give up the presidency.

In the same event, Duterte repeatedly said he had no intention to become President but he now has to live up to it because of the mandate given to him by the people in the last elections.

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RELATED FROM THE TRIBUNE

No ouster, only noise likely vs DU30 — Palace Written by Ted Tuvera Sunday, 06 November 2016 00:00 font size decrease font size increase font size Print 1 comment

RICH FIL-AM DESCRIPTIONS POINT TO LP BACKER

The Palace downplayed President Duterte’s repeated claim of an ouster plot against him that will supposedly start early next year and to be led by Filipino-Americans, saying that the United States-based critics of the President are only capable of generating political noise.

Duterte last Friday said a certain Filipino-American community leader based in the United States is going to fund anti-Duterte mass demonstrations that will have a parallel coup movement among members of the military.

“A certain financier, a rich woman who married a black (American) and is now a millionaire and she is planning to do massive demonstrations (next year),” Duterte said in a speech before members of the IntegratedBar of the Philippines (IBP) the other night.

“Those who don’t like me, do not need to waste their time. And if the military or the police thinks that I do not work well, there’s no need for a coup d’etat. God, you are wasting your bullets. Next year, there will be mass demonstrations, for all I care. I have no illusions. Do not give me a reason to go out because you might have…you might get your wish,” the President added.

But Presidential spokesman Ernesto Abella said there’s nothing really to be worried about Duterte being overthrown.



“While foreign based groups try to create and fund political noise there is no need to be concerned regarding the matter,” Abella told the Tribune in a text message.

In a separate text message, Presidential Communications Secretary Martin Andanar also ridiculed potential coup plotters and members of the military who could be disgruntled with the Duterte administration.

“[There’s no] need for a coup. They can set an appointment with President Duterte and they will be briefed by the President himself on what the job requires,” Andanar said.

He added that “the President will give them the presidency if that’s what they want.”

Meanwhile, social media communications point out that Duterte is referring to Loida Nicolas-Lewis in his allegations of a rich Filipino-American as the “financier” who will allegedly bankroll anti-Duterte protests by next year.

Based on the clues that the President gave, Nicolas-Lewis somehow fits his descriptions as she’s married to the late African-American billionaire Reginald Lewis and is described in a 2015 New York Times article as “one of the richest philanthropists” in New York.

Also known as a civic leader, Nicolas-Lewis was cited in a Lifestyle article published by a local newspaper days before the May 9 elections as one of the, if not the leading, active campaigners of the Liberal Party’s (LP) presidential and vice presidential tandem of Mar Roxas and Leni Robredo among the Fil-Am community based in the US.

Palace coy about Nicolas-Lewis

Andanar, however, says that he cannot deny nor confirm if it’s Lewis Duterte was referring to, claiming that he “does not know” the exact identity of the person Duterte mentioned.

In a press briefing at the Palace last September, however, Andanar said the administration had “identified personalities behind the Oust Digong Movement.”

Abella also said in an earlier radio interview that the President knows well how to discern or when to take threats seriously or not.

“I think the President has a very firm grasp to separate the chapter between what’s a valid threat and what’s just making noise,” the Presidential mouthpiece said.

“We can be assured of is that, the President truly is confident in his role as President as well as the public’s trust and the integrity of what he’s doing,” he added.

The President told members of the IBP that if anyone is prepared to run the government, he will step down and gladly hand over power.

“Go to Malacañang (Palace), we’ll have coffee and I myself will swear you (in) to run this Republic and solve the problem,” Duterte said.

He however warned that the presidency is no easy task. “I cross the river at one o’clock in the afternoon and last night, (I) went back (at three o’clock). That’s my daily routine. If that is the kind of work you are giving me, I can only endure that much,” he said.

When I get there (Malacañang), the folders from the various departments are already there. That is the work for the day and I read it until morning time, making marginal notes, disapproving and that is it, he added. Duterte said he will not allow anyone to commit a mistake if the country is at stake.

According to him, he had no intention to run for president but what motivated him was patriotism.

“For the simple reason that at that time, the issues that were really critical to the country were never brought to the fore before the national arena. And I was thinking that if somebody won’t do it, then Mindanao could probably be a fractured island, if not totally lost from the rest of the Republic,” he said.

Duterte said that so long as he is President, he will be relentless in his campaign to eliminate illegal drugs, lawlessness and corruption.

“My promise to you, inshallah. God-willing. That promise, that this campaign against this drugs and criminality will not stop ‘til the end of my term,” he said.

“I will assure you, I will stop corruption during my term,” he added.

God, I was joking — Duterte.

Presidential Communications Secretary Martin Andanar yesterday berated journalists covering President Duterte for accordingly emphasizing the President’s jokes.

According to Andanar, reporters that are unfamiliar with Duterte’s antics should learn from Davao-based journalists in discerning when he’s making jokes and when he is not.

The Palace official, who was a broadcast journalist, made the statement following Duterte’s backtracking of his previous vow that he will stop cursing after “hearing God’s voice” while in his flight home to Davao from Japan a week back.

“The President gave two pieces of advice during the election campaign, which we find relevant up to this day: Discern joke from truth and that members of media should undergo a briefing from Davao-based media to learn how to differentiate when the President is making fun of the issue at hand and when he is seriously stating a fact,” Andanar said in a text message.

“We hope those tips can be of help,” he added.

However, in taking Andanar’s advise, it turned out that even Davao-based journalists highlighted that divine “joke” made by Duterte.

News articles published by Mindanao-based media outfits and as well as items written by Davao correspondents for national newspapers regarding the President’s vow to stop cursing were not taking the long time Davao City Mayor’s statement as a joke.

Meanwhile, Duterte said former President Aquino III begged him to join forces with the yellow clique before.

“On the day of his (Aquino’s l oath talking, (then Executive Secretary Paquito) Ochoa and I were talking and he was asking me if I could help, so I said I am not cut for that kind of job. I am not a national player,” Duterte narrated in his speech before members of the Integrated Bar of the Philippines (IBP).

The President also hinted that if only he accepted the offer, the late Jesse Robredo and even Duterte’s top rival in the last polls, Mar Roxas, wouldn’t have had the chance to shine as he was being courted by Aquino’s aides to be the Secretary of the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG).

Moreover, Duterte said that if only he was really lusting for power, he could’ve grabbed the other offers given to him by all of the other Presidents before him.

“Humbly, I would say, since all of them are still alive. (Fidel) Ramos wanted to take me in right after they won, and so with (Gloria) Arroyo and so with (Joseph) Estrada,” Duterte added.

Duterte said that during those times he was reluctant to be seen in the national arena of governance and politics.

“I’m just a mayor of a little city down south. I never dreamt to be a president or a higher calling more than just a mayor,” he said.

“I was not ready to let go of Mindanao because of the problem of Mindanao. I may not be of any help if I seek to become President, I don’t have the money and the machinery,” Duterte recalled.


PHILSTAR

Rody on health: Every septuagenarian is sick By Giovanni Nilles (The Philippine Star) | Updated November 6, 2016 - 12:00am 0 49 googleplus0 0


“At this point in time, I am 72. Don’t ask me if I’m sick. Every 72-year-old in this world is sick,” the President Duterte declared, without waiting for anyone to ask him about his health, during his speech at the Integrated Bar of the Philippines (IBP) regional convention in Manila Hotel Friday night. AP/Bullit Marquez

MANILA, Philippines – Don’t ask President Duterte if he is sick.

“At this point in time, I am 72. Don’t ask me if I’m sick. Every 72-year-old in this world is sick,” the President declared, without waiting for anyone to ask him about his health, during his speech at the Integrated Bar of the Philippines (IBP) regional convention in Manila Hotel Friday night.

He said his joke about God telling him to stop cursing had led some people to think he is crazy.

READ MORE...

Speaking before the country’s lawyers, Duterte complained anew about his getting tired of the rigors of his job as the nation’s Chief Executive, even expressing willingness to pass his post on to anyone who would prove to do the job better.

“If this is the kind of job you are giving me, I could only endure so much; I think I deserve a needed rest,” he said.

He added there’s no need for a military coup, as he would relinquish his post to those who could offer a better solution to the country’s three main problems – drugs, criminality and corruption.

“If you want to remove me, fine; then I’ll just go to the forest. I have a hunting lodge there. I will spend my days there praying,” Duterte said, admitting that while he believes in God, he does not believe in any religion.

The President said he usually crosses the Pasig River at 1 p.m. to get to his office in Malacañang and works until 3 a.m. On other days, he said, when the folders pile up in his bedroom, he gets to sleep at 5 a.m., as he makes sure he finishes reading all the papers.

The President flies to his home in Davao City on weekends supposedly to rest, but still brings along some work.

Before his election in May, the former Davao City mayor admitted to be suffering from four illnesses – Buerger’s disease, Barrett’s esophagus, a respiratory infection and a slipped disc – all of which were allegedly not fatal.

Buerger’s Disease is an inflammation of blood vessels, mostly in the limbs, that has been traced to smoking.


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