PHILIPPINE HEADLINE NEWS ONLINE: Since 1997 © Copyright (PHNO) http://newsflash.org



PRESIDENTIAL (DU30) NEWS THIS PAST WEEK
CLICK HERE TO READ ONLINE
(Mini Reads followed by Full Reports below)

YEARENDER: CHURCH AND DUTERTE - A 'CRITICAL COLLABORATION'[RELATED: Amid controversies Rody approval rating reamains high at 83%]


JANUARY 3 - President Duterte gives respect to Manila Archbishop Luis Antonio Cardinal Tagle when the prelate visited Malacañang on July 19 last year. While some leaders would walk on their toes so as not to irk the Roman Catholic Church, President Duterte does the opposite. Even before he won the presidency, the Catholic Church, including Pope Francis, has not been spared from being on the receiving end of Duterte’s verbal attacks. Monsignor Pedro Quitorio III, Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) Media Office director, described the Catholic Church’s relationship with the 71-year-old Chief Executive as a “critical collaboration.” Even if the President goes on with his tirades and threats against the Church, even calling it as the “most hypocritical institution,” Quitorio said the religious would continue to voice their opinion on matters of life and moral issues. READ MORE...RELATED, Amid controversies Rody approval rating reamains high at 83%...

ALSO: Rody ends Davao vacation, flies coach to Manila


JANUARY 6 -President Duterte takes a nap on a commercial PAL fl ight from Davao City to Manila on Thursday night. Malacañang Photo
President Duterte has emerged from his seven-day hiatus after celebrating the New Year with family and close friends. The Palace released photos of Duterte on a Manila-bound Philippine Airlines (PAL) commercial flight that left Davao City at 7:40 p.m. Thursday. The President and his party of five took seats in the rear of economy class. Sources said PAL offered the President a seat in business class but he turned it down. PAL upgraded the on-board meal that he barely touched. READ MORE...

ALSO: Duterte - Terrorism funded by illegal drug trade
[RELATED: Terrorists in MM target Nazarene, says DILG Chief Sueno]


DECEMBER 30 -Metro Manila (CNN Philippines) — Terrorists threatening the country are benefiting from the illegal drug trade, President Rodrigo Duterte said. In a one-on-one interview with CNN Philippines Senior Anchor Pinky Webb on Thursday, Duterte said terror groups — specifically the Maute — are "driven by drugs." The Maute group, considered as radical Islamists, was allegedly behind the bombing in a Davao City night market in September, which killed 15 people and injured dozens. "They want money for their uprising. To sustain it. And they're (inaudible) drugs. We have terrorism, which is being fed with drugs," he said. The President said the country is in the midst of a terror threat that is spreading through the country, even in Luzon. "I was briefed by the military and the police, napakalawak talaga. Problem is it's connected with an international operations. It's everywhere," he said.THE FULL REPORT. RELATED, Terrorists in MM target Nazarene, says DILG Chief Sueno...

ALSO: Duterte named ‘Person of the Year’ by Chinese magazine
[RELATED: HK-based mag names Duterte 'Person of the Year 2016']


JANUARY 3 -President Rodrigo Duterte was hailed 2016’s “Person of the Year” by Chinese magazine, Yazhou Zhoukan (Asia Weekly).
The Philippine leader appeared in a 7-page cover story in the January 1, 2017 issue of the publication, considered the “TIME magazine of the Chinese-speaking world.” Facebook user Joaquin Sy, who uploaded scanned pages of the Yazhou Zhoukan’s feature on Duterte, said the chief executive was given the recognition for having “changed the balance of power in Asia.”  Presidential spokesman Ernesto Abella said that Duterte’s “announcement of an independent foreign policy that consists of his distancing away from the us, and forging closer ties with China” were the magazine’s basis for giving the title to the Filipino leader. READ MORE...RELATED, HK-based mag names Duterte 'Person of the Year 2016'...

ALSO: Moscow seeks naval drills as Russian warships visit
(“The biggest problem now in the world is terrorism and piracy. Our governments will maybe discuss in some period of time the possibilities of our maritime exercises,” Mikhailov told a news conference, adding Russia has been holding drills with the Indonesian navy.)


JANUARY 3 -Russia’s President Vladimir Putin makes his annual New Year address to the nation in Moscow, Russia, December 31, 2016. Sputnik/Mikhail Klimentyev/Kremlin via REUTERS Russia’s President Vladimir Putin makes his annual New Year address to the nation in Moscow, Russia, December 31, 2016. Sputnik/Mikhail Klimentyev/Kremlin via REUTERS
Russia wants to hold maritime drills with the Philippines to help combat terrorism and piracy, sending two warships to Manila for the first official navy-to-navy contact, as President Rodrigo Duterte pivots to United States’ traditional rivals. Admiral Tributs, an anti-submarine vessel, and a sea tanker Boris Butoma, arrived late on Tuesday for a four-day goodwill visit, with its crew expected to demonstrate anti-terrorism capability and hold talks, said Rear Admiral Eduard Mikhailov, head of the Flotilla of the Russian Navy Pacific Fleet. “Our governments will maybe discuss in some period of time the possibilities of our maritime exercises,” Mikhailov told a news conference, adding Russia has been holding drills with the Indonesian navy. “The biggest problem now in the world is terrorism and piracy, and all our exercises we have, for example, with you we will have to fight these problems and we will show you what we can do and we will see what you can do and show us,” he added as the Russian navy showcased the warships.  READ MORE...

Duterte visits Russian ship: ‘Come back often’


JANUARY 7 -President Duterte leads the flashing of his signature fist gesture during a tour of the visiting Russian anti-submarine ship Admiral Tributs at the South Harbor in Manila yesterday. He was joined by Rear Admiral Eduard Mikhailov, deputy commander of the Russian Navy’s Pacific fleet; Russian Ambassador Igor Khovaev; Lieutenant Commander Artem Kolpaschicov and other ship officers. Also in photo are National Security Adviser Hermogenes Esperon, Executive Secretary Salvador Medialdea, Foreign Affairs Secretary Perfecto Yasay, Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana, presidential assistant Bong Go, Sen. Alan Peter Cayetano and AFP chief Lt. Gen. Eduardo Anõ. KRIZ JON ROSALES 
After President Duterte declared the country’s move toward an independent foreign policy away from its longest ally the United States, Russian officials immediately gave the Chief Executive a preview of what Moscow could provide during a tour of the Russian anti-submarine ship Admiral Tributs in Manila yesterday. Officers of the Russian Navy and other officials welcomed the President during his tour, where the Russians displayed their firepower. According to Radio-TV Malacañang, Duterte was shown the Admiral Tributs’ 2x4-container launchers of Rastrub Rocket Torpedo System. READ MORE...


READ FULL MEDIA REPORTS HERE BELOW
OR CLICK HERE TO READ ONLINE

YearEnder: Church and Duterte: A ‘critical collaboration’


JANUARY 3 - President Duterte gives respect to Manila Archbishop Luis Antonio Cardinal Tagle when the prelate visited Malacañang on July 19 last year.

MANILA, JANUARY 2, 2016 (PHILSTAR) By Evelyn Macairan January 3, 2017 - While some leaders would walk on their toes so as not to irk the Roman Catholic Church, President Duterte does the opposite.

Even before he won the presidency, the Catholic Church, including Pope Francis, has not been spared from being on the receiving end of Duterte’s verbal attacks.

Monsignor Pedro Quitorio III, Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) Media Office director, described the Catholic Church’s relationship with the 71-year-old Chief Executive as a “critical collaboration.”

Even if the President goes on with his tirades and threats against the Church, even calling it as the “most hypocritical institution,” Quitorio said the religious would continue to voice their opinion on matters of life and moral issues.

READ MORE...

“The Church would not stop from giving its opinions on matters that requires its opinion. The Catholic Church would not stop, especially the CBCP… The Church’s concerns are beyond politics,” said Quitorio.


Msgr Pedro Quitorio

Sometime in November 2015, Duterte, who was then still Davao City mayor and presidential aspirant, narrated before a crowd about the time he got stuck in traffic while he was in Manila during Pope Francis’ state and pastoral visit to the country on Jan. 15-19, 2015.

He said he got stuck in traffic for five hours and when he learned that they closed off some streets for the holy visitor, then mayor Duterte uttered a curse and said that he wanted to call the pontiff and tell him to go home.

CBCP president Lingayen-Dagupan Archbishop Socrates Villegas immediately issued a statement criticizing the Davao mayor, reminding him that leaders should serve as good examples to their constituents.

“When a revered and loved and admired man like Pope Francis is cursed by a political candidate and the audience laugh, I can only bow my head and grieve in great shame. My countrymen have gone to the dregs,” the Pangasinan archbishop had said.

A few days before the May 9 polls, the CBCP issued a pastoral letter reminding the Catholic faithful not to vote for a candidate “who takes positions that are not only politically precarious but worse, morally reprehensible,” the pastoral letter read.

While the bishops did not name the candidate, some suspected that the CBCP referred to Duterte, who at the time was a leading presidential contender.

The tough-talking leader had waged a very brutal and bloody war against illegal drugs, which the CBCP opposed. There are some sentiments that the campaign against illegal drugs has led to extrajudicial killings.

The government’s relentless campaign has reportedly led to the death of thousands of alleged illegal drug users and pushers.

SECRETS AND SINS

In return, the Chief Executive has threatened to expose the alleged secrets and sins of the clergy. There had been reports that there are members of the clergy who violated their vow of celibacy and fathered children.

CBCP president Socrates Villegas has decided not to engage in a verbal debate with Duterte and issued a statement “Understanding Silence,” where he said: “There is virtue in silence. There is virtue in speech. Wisdom is knowing when it is time for silence and when is the time for speech.”

“Mine is the silence of Jesus before the arrogance of Pilate,” he added. “Silence indeed is the language of God and only those who speak silence will be able to grasp Him.”

Duterte has openly expressed his views on issues that run contrary to the positions of the Catholic Church, such as the full implementation of the Reproductive Health (RH) Law and reinstating death penalty.

“The Church would be very consistent with its teachings. She will not divert from the teachings of the Catholic Church,” Quitorio said.

The CBCP official added: “the context of the Catholic Church is 2,000 years of experience and during that time, it has faced many political leaders and the Catholic Church continues to do so up to now, so it would not back down. The Church would be very consistent, faithful to its teachings.”

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

RELATED FROM PHILSTAR

Rody approval rating at 83% By Helen Flores (The Philippine Star) | Updated January 7, 2017 - 12:00am googleplus

President Rodrigo Duterte registered 83 percent approval and trust ratings in Pulse Asia’s Dec. 6 to 11 poll – down three points from his ratings in September. AP/Martin Mejia

MANILA, Philippines – Amid controversies hounding President Duterte and his administration, most Filipinos continued to express approval and trust in him, independent pollster Pulse Asia said in its fourth quarter survey.

Duterte registered 83 percent approval and trust ratings in Pulse Asia’s Dec. 6 to 11 poll – down three points from his ratings in September.

The President obtained single-digit disapproval and distrust ratings at five percent and four percent, respectively.

The same percentage of Filipinos (13 percent), on the other hand, were ambivalent with regard to his performance and trustworthiness.

“These figures are virtually the same as those recorded in Pulse Asia Research’s September 2016 nationwide survey,” Pulse Asia said.

Duterte’s approval and trust scores were both at 86 percent in Pulse Asia’s September poll.

The December survey used face-to-face interviews with 1,200 representative adults 18 and above. It has a plus or minus three percentage points error margin at the 95 percent confidence level.

Approval, trust highest in Mindanao

Across geographic areas and socio-economic classes, respondents from Duterte’s home region Mindanao were most inclined to approve of and trust him – 91 percent and 92 percent, respectively.

In contrast, the President received his lowest approval and trust ratings from those in Class ABC (69 percent and 72 percent, respectively).

In the National Capital Region (NCR), Duterte registered an approval rating of 79 percent in December from 80 percent in September.

His trust rating among Metro Manilans was also at 79 percent in the last quarter of 2016 from 81 percent in the previous survey.

In all geographic areas and socio-economic groupings, Duterte recorded single-digit disapproval and distrust figures – two percent to seven percent and two percent to six percent, respectively, Pulse Asia said.

Pulse Asia noted that only marginal changes occurred in the President’s performance and trust ratings between September and December 2016 both at the national level and across geographic areas and socio-economic classes.

“Even the double-digit movements in the President’s approval and trust scores (both at -13 percentage points) and in the levels of indecision concerning his performance and trustworthiness (+14 and +17 percentage points, respectively) which are registered in the best-off Class ABC are not considered significant as they fall within the relevant error margin for the said socio-economic class,” it said.

DEVPTS LEADING TO AND DURING SURVEY

Among the developments that happened in the weeks leading up to and during the conduct of the interviews were the resignation of Vice President Leni Robredo as chair of the Housing and Urban Development Coordinating Council; the decision of the Supreme Court to junk the consolidated petitions against the burial of the late dictator Ferdinand Marcos at the Libingan ng mga Bayani; and the recommendation of the Senate committee on justice to file kidnapping, murder, and perjury charges against Edgar Matobato, a self-confessed member of the so-called Davao death squad (DDS).

Matobato, during a Senate hearing last year, testified that Duterte was directly involved in extrajudicial killings in Davao City while serving as mayor.

PALACE GRATEFUL

Reacting to the survey results, Malacañang said it was grateful for the continuing support of the Filipino people for the President despite criticisms over human rights abuses in connection with his violent drug war.

Presidential spokesman Ernesto Abella said the latest Pulse Asia survey results would inspire the President to work harder for the people.

Abella said the high approval and big trust spoke volumes about the people’s appreciation of the President’s achievements, especially in his campaign to rid society of drugs, crime and corruption.

“People are now beginning to feel secure in their homes, in the streets, day and night as incidents of homicide, physical injury, rape, robbery, theft and carnapping went down, according to PNP (Philippine National Police) data,” he said.

“This new year, the administration resolves to deliver (Duterte’s) promise of safe and comfortable lives for all,” Abella added. – With Christina Mendez


PHILSTAR

Rody ends vacation, flies coach to Manila By Christina Mendez (The Philippine Star) | Updated January 7, 2017 - 12:00am googleplus


President Duterte takes a nap on a commercial PAL fl ight from Davao City to Manila on Thursday night. Malacañang Photo

MANILA, Philippines – President Duterte has emerged from his seven-day hiatus after celebrating the New Year with family and close friends.

The Palace released photos of Duterte on a Manila-bound Philippine Airlines (PAL) commercial flight that left Davao City at 7:40 p.m. Thursday.

The President and his party of five took seats in the rear of economy class. Sources said PAL offered the President a seat in business class but he turned it down.

PAL upgraded the on-board meal that he barely touched.

READ MORE...

The only demand his three security officers asked of PAL was that they be allowed to embark and disembark through the back door of the plane.

Special assistant to the President Christopher ‘Bong’ Go, Presidential Security Group chief Brig. Gen. Rolando Joselito Bautista and two other PSG personnel accompanied Duterte on the flight.

It was not the first time the President took a commercial flight in his regular travel between Davao City and Manila. In July, he was reported to have chosen a premium economy accommodation.

Duterte has been telling members of his Cabinet and other government officials to take economy seats rather than business class when traveling.

Yesterday, the President was back to his usual tight schedule, with his first official act this year a visit to Russian warship Admiral Tributs, a large anti-submarine ship, which is docked at the port of Manila on a goodwill visit along with three other Russian Navy vessels.

His visit came amid his declaration of crafting an independent foreign policy which veers away from its longtime defense ally, the US.

RUSSIAN SHIP TOUR WITH YASAY AND LORENZANA

Accompanied by Foreign Affairs Secretary Perfecto Yasay Jr., Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana and National Security Adviser Hermogenes Esperon Jr., the President toured the warship where he was received by top Russian Navy and embassy officials.

Aboard the ship, Duterte was seen waving from the deck where he did his trademark fist gesture, which was also done by Executive Secretary Salvador Medialdea.

Presidential spokesman Ernesto Abella said Duterte has shown keen interest in bolstering ties with Russia after his pivot to Beijing.

“The President has said before that he is open to joint military exercises with Russia. The goodwill visit by the Russian Navy will contribute to the strengthening of friendship with the Philippine Navy,” Abella said in a briefing Thursday.

“It is also an indication that our maritime cooperation can further be enhanced to enable diplomacy and camaraderie,” he added.

The President was also set to meet with top officials of the Philippine National Police and the Armed Forces of the Philippines yesterday afternoon for a New Year’s call and command conference in Malacañang. – With Edith Regalado


CNN PHILIPPINES

Duterte: Terrorism funded by illegal drug trade By CNN Philippines Staff Updated 17:45 PM PHT Fri, December 30, 2016

Metro Manila (CNN Philippines) — Terrorists threatening the country are benefiting from the illegal drug trade, President Rodrigo Duterte said.

In a one-on-one interview with CNN Philippines Senior Anchor Pinky Webb on Thursday, Duterte said terror groups — specifically the Maute — are "driven by drugs."

The Maute group, considered as radical Islamists, was allegedly behind the bombing in a Davao City night market in September, which killed 15 people and injured dozens.

"They want money for their uprising. To sustain it. And they're (inaudible) drugs. We have terrorism, which is being fed with drugs," he said.

The President said the country is in the midst of a terror threat that is spreading through the country, even in Luzon.

"I was briefed by the military and the police, napakalawak talaga. Problem is it's connected with an international operations. It's everywhere," he said.

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

RELATED FROM THE MANILA STANDARD

Terrorists in MM target Nazarene, says Sueno posted January 05, 2017 by John Paolo Bencito

THE Maute terrorist group may already be in Metro Manila to carry out a terrorist attack during the Jan. 9 Black Nazarene procession, which draws a mammoth crowd of devotees every year, Interior Secretary Ismael Sueno said Thursday.

“There is a threat possibly from the Maute group and the Abu Sayyaf, but more likely from the Maute group, which is connected with ISIS,” Sueno said at a Palace briefing, referring to the Islamic State.

“There are intelligence reports that they’re already here in Manila. Because these terrorist groups maybe funded from the outside, there is a strong possibility that they’re already here,” Sueno said.


Interior Secretary Ismael Sueno

Sueno said the county’s security forces are on full altert on Jan. 9 to prevent any terrorist attack.

“We have been receiving intelligence reports on this. That’s why we are not leaving everything to chance. We are doing everything to prepare,” he said.

“General or specific [threats], we are really preparing,” he added.

The Maute group, which has been the subject of recent military operations in Butig, Lanao del Sur, has been linked to last week’s bombing attack in Leyte where over 30 people were hurt and the Christmas Eve bombing in Midsayap, North Cotabato that killed 12 people.

The group was also said to be behind the Davao City night market bombing last September that killed 15 people and wounded 70 others. The group claims to support the international terrorist group ISIS.

Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana had earlier raised alarm over the possible connections of the recent bomb attacks to the terrorist Maute group and the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters, saying they had formed a tactical alliance to spread terror.

In Thursday’s briefing, Sueno also warned that other bandit groups might retaliate following the killing of Mohammad Jaafar Maguid, alias Tokboy, leader of the Ansar Al-Khilafah group in a shootout yesterday, known to be the most wanted person in Sarangani.

“They might also retaliate. That’s why we have to double, triple our security,” he said.

Despite these threats, the government will not recommend having the procession canceled nor discourage people to attending the religious feast, as it did in 2012 during the previous administration.

“No, I do not think that the government will advise the cancellation of this traditional practice,” Sueno said.

“So, we will just try our best to really keep our people safe. This is why we have the PNP, the military, and the other armed groups in our government to really help contain the--or maintain peace and order and keep our people safe because we heard there will be 18 million who will participate. This is a very big event,” he noted.

“Even if we discourage them...they firmly believe that God will protect them.”


MANILA BULLETIN

Duterte named ‘Person of the Year’ by Chinese magazine Yazhou Zhoukan notes how Philippine president changed Asia’s balance of power 323 SHARES Share it! Updated January 3, 2017, 7:55 PM By MB Online


President Rodrigo Duterte was hailed 2016’s “Person of the Year” by Chinese magazine, Yazhou Zhoukan (Asia Weekly).

The Philippine leader appeared in a 7-page cover story in the January 1, 2017 issue of the publication, considered the “TIME magazine of the Chinese-speaking world.”

Facebook user Joaquin Sy, who uploaded scanned pages of the Yazhou Zhoukan’s feature on Duterte, said the chief executive was given the recognition for having “changed the balance of power in Asia.”

Presidential spokesman Ernesto Abella said that Duterte’s “announcement of an independent foreign policy that consists of his distancing away from the us, and forging closer ties with China” were the magazine’s basis for giving the title to the Filipino leader.

READ MORE...

“The article also praises Duterte’s good governance and anti-corruption campaign as the reason for his popularity among Filipino,” Abella stated in a palace press briefing on Tuesday, January 3.

Yazhou Zhoukan is the “world’s only Chinese-language international affairs magazine” published in Hong Kong and circulated in several Asian countries such as Taiwan, Singapore, and Malaysia.

Recently, Duterte was included in Forbes magazine’s list of the world’s most powerful people.

Read more: Duterte included in Forbes’ list of most powerful people in the world

He was also named as the “most ‘googled’ person of 2016” in the Philippines, while Wikipedia cited his entry as one of the most edited pages in the free online encyclopedia.

Read more: Duterte hailed as PH’s most ‘googled’ person of 2016

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

RELATED FROM GMA NEWS NETWORK

HK-based mag names Duterte 'Person of the Year 2016' Published January 4, 2017 10:30pm BY TRISHA MACAS, GMA News

Malacañang has announced that a Hong Kong-based magazine named President Rodrigo Duterte as its "Person of the Year" in 2016 for his push for an independent foreign policy.

In his briefing on Tuesday, Presidential Spokesperson Ernesto Abella quoted businessman Wilson Flores describing "Yazhou Zhoukan" as the Time Magazine in the Chinese-speaking world.

"The magazine Yazhou Zhoukan, according to Wilson Flores, the Time Magazine of the Chinese-speaking world has granted the President "Person of the Year" award," he said.

"[A] press release says that the choice is based on Duterte’s announcement of an independent foreign policy that consists of his distancing away from the US and forging closer ties with China," he added.

Abella also said that the feature praised Duterte’s program of good governance and anti-corruption campaign, which it said was the reason why he his popularity among the Filipinos.

Yazhou Zhoukan is the world’s only Chinese language international affairs magazine, Malacañang said. It is distributed in Hong Kong, Taiwan, Singapore, and Malaysia. — BAP, GMA News


MANILA BULLETIN

Moscow seeks naval drills as Russian warships visit Manila 32 SHARES Share it! Updated January 3, 2017, 3:52 PM By Reuters


Russia’s President Vladimir Putin makes his annual New Year address to the nation in Moscow, Russia, December 31, 2016. Sputnik/Mikhail Klimentyev/Kremlin via REUTERS Russia’s President Vladimir Putin makes his annual New Year address to the nation in Moscow, Russia, December 31, 2016. Sputnik/Mikhail Klimentyev/Kremlin via REUTERS

Russia wants to hold maritime drills with the Philippines to help combat terrorism and piracy, sending two warships to Manila for the first official navy-to-navy contact, as President Rodrigo Duterte pivots to United States’ traditional rivals.

Admiral Tributs, an anti-submarine vessel, and a sea tanker Boris Butoma, arrived late on Tuesday for a four-day goodwill visit, with its crew expected to demonstrate anti-terrorism capability and hold talks, said Rear Admiral Eduard Mikhailov, head of the Flotilla of the Russian Navy Pacific Fleet.

“Our governments will maybe discuss in some period of time the possibilities of our maritime exercises,” Mikhailov told a news conference, adding Russia has been holding drills with the Indonesian navy.

“The biggest problem now in the world is terrorism and piracy, and all our exercises we have, for example, with you we will have to fight these problems and we will show you what we can do and we will see what you can do and show us,” he added as the Russian navy showcased the warships.

READ MORE...

A spokesman for the Philippine Navy told reporters this is the first official interaction with the Russian navy, an arch rival of its former colonial master and closest ally in the region, the United States.

Washington and the Philippines have been holding naval exercises annually but Duterte has instructed the defense ministry to “reformat” drills with Washington, moving away from the South China Sea to repair relations with China.

Mikhailov said they were willing to help train Philippine counterparts to fight piracy and terrorism and they hope to foster stronger security in the region.

PH STRUGGLING VS ISLAMIST MILITANTS

The Philippines has been struggling to prevent Islamist militants from abducting crew of slow-moving tugboat and foreigners sailing on yachts in the southern maritime borders with Indonesia and Malaysia.

The Abu Sayyaf, a small but violent group which has had links to al Qaeda and has pledged allegiance to Islamic State militants, is holding a German tourist and more than 10 Malaysian and Indonesian crewmen. A Dutch and a Japanese are also being held captive.

Last month, Duterte sent his foreign and defense ministers to Moscow to explore arms deal after a U.S. senator said he will block the sale of 26,000 assault rifles to the Philippines due to concerns with the rising death toll in a war on drugs.

More than 6,000 have been killed in the drug crackdown since Duterte took office on June 30, roughly a third in operations when suspected drug peddlers and users resisted arrests. The rest are classified as under investigation, many believed to be the work of vigilantes.


PHILSTAR

Duterte visits Russian ship: ‘Come back often’ By Christina Mendez (The Philippine Star) | Updated January 7, 2017 - 12:00am googleplus


President Duterte leads the flashing of his signature fist gesture during a tour of the visiting Russian anti-submarine ship Admiral Tributs at the South Harbor in Manila yesterday. He was joined by Rear Admiral Eduard Mikhailov, deputy commander of the Russian Navy’s Pacific fleet; Russian Ambassador Igor Khovaev; Lieutenant Commander Artem Kolpaschicov and other ship officers. Also in photo are National Security Adviser Hermogenes Esperon, Executive Secretary Salvador Medialdea, Foreign Affairs Secretary Perfecto Yasay, Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana, presidential assistant Bong Go, Sen. Alan Peter Cayetano and AFP chief Lt. Gen. Eduardo Anõ. KRIZ JON ROSALES

MANILA, Philippines – After President Duterte declared the country’s move toward an independent foreign policy away from its longest ally the United States, Russian officials immediately gave the Chief Executive a preview of what Moscow could provide during a tour of the Russian anti-submarine ship Admiral Tributs in Manila yesterday.

Officers of the Russian Navy and other officials welcomed the President during his tour, where the Russians displayed their firepower.

According to Radio-TV Malacañang, Duterte was shown the Admiral Tributs’ 2x4-container launchers of Rastrub Rocket Torpedo System.

READ MORE...

This was followed by a visit to the bow of the ship where Duterte witnessed a demonstration of the ship’s missile system.

Duterte also got to see various military hardware including the 100-mm AK-100 gun mounts, six-barreled 30-mm AK-630m machine guns and RBU-6000 anti-submarine rocket launchers.

Russian Ambassador Igor Khovaev, the ship’s Commander Artem Kolpaschikov and other Russian delegates accompanied the President during his ship tour.


Russian ambassador to the Philippines Igor Khovaev

At the Admiral Tributs’ Ward Room, Duterte signed the ship’s guestbook and wrote a short message for the ship’s commander and crew.

“Mabuhay kayo. From the heart. I hope you come back more often,” Duterte wrote in the guestbook.

The President’s tour of the warship came barely a month after Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana and Foreign Affairs Secretary Perfecto Yasay Jr. visited Moscow to look into possible procurement of Russian military hardware.

Prior to this, Duterte met with Russian President Vladimir Putin on the sidelines of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation summit in Lima, Peru last November. Duterte is set to visit Moscow this year.

During yesterday’s tour, Duterte and his delegation also witnessed a demonstration by Russian divers and went up to the ship’s bridge where the Russian Navy demonstrated its navigation system.

On his way out, Duterte also viewed the Russian Navy Ka-27 helicopter.

Apart from Yasay and Lorenzana, Executive Secretary Salvador Medialdea, Armed Forces of the Philippines chief Gen. Eduardo Año and other officers of the Philippine Navy, Air Force and Army accompanied the President on the ship tour.

Lorenzana said the Russian government is intent on boosting bilateral ties with the Philippines.

They have also expressed interest in providing the Philippine military with equipment, including submarines and drones, in case it wants to procure modern equipment for its arsenal.

The Russian military is hoping to establish further exchange in training and exercises between the two countries, Lorenzana said.

Japanese ships

Meanwhile, two Japanese ships that arrived in Olongapo City on Wednesday left Subic Bay yesterday while the public was focused on the visit of a Russian anti-submarine vessel in Manila.

Philippine Navy personnel held a Passing Exercise with the visiting Japanese sailors off Corregidor Island prior to their departure from Subic.

The Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force (JMSDF) Escort Division with two ships arrived in Subic Bay on Jan. 4 for a three-day port visit.

The division that consists of the JS Inazuma and JS Suzutsuki is headed by Capt. Atsushi Minami, commander of Escort Division Four.

The JMSDF Escort Division Four stayed in the country to replenish supplies, conduct maintenance work and crew rest before returning to Japan after conducting counter piracy operations at the Gulf of Aden.

The visit is expected to enhance the already strong relationship between the Philippine Navy and its Japanese counterpart.

The Philippine Navy said the visit also gave its officers and enlisted personnel a chance to interact with the Japanese sailors to promote camaraderie and naval diplomacy. – With Michael Punongbayan, Jaime Laude


GO TO >> NEXT P-DU30 PAGE

GO TO >> HEADLINE NEWS PAGE THIS WEEK

GO TO >> SHOWBIZ CHATTER THIS WEEK

GO TO > > BUSINESS & ECONOMY PAGE


Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi

EMAIL: PHILIPPINE HEADLINE NEWS ONLINE
© Copyright, 2016
 All rights reserved


BACK TO PHILIPPINE HEADLINE NEWS ONLINE [PHNO] WEBSITE