Philippines ready for any backlash from filing of case against China: Palace
The government is prepared to face any backlash following its filing of a case against China in an international court over the dispute of the two countries in the West Philippine Sea, the Palace said on Wednesday.
“We will protect our national interest, which includes the economy,” Presidential Communications Operations Office Secretary Herminio Coloma Jr. said during a press briefing in Malacanang.
“It is the duty of government to promote the welfare of its citizens and to ensure the orderly and stable growth of the national economy,” he said.
On Chinese charge d’affaires Sun Xiangyang’s statement that what the Philippines did “seriously damaged bilateral relations with China”, Coloma quoted President Aquino, who said during his 2011 state visit to China that “the totality of Philippine-People’s Republic of China relations is not defined by the West Philippine Sea.”
“Sa pananaw po ng ating bansa, iyong pakikipag-ugnayan natin sa People’s Republic of China ay mayroong kasaysayan na batay din sa pakikipagkaibigan at pakikipagtulungan. Marami pong larangan na maaaring maisulong o maitaguyod ang kooperasyon at ang pakikipagkaibigan ng dalawang bansa.
“Kaya hindi po tayo nagsasabi na iyon lamang usapin sa West Philippine Sea ang dapat maging batayan ng ating pakikipag-ugnayan sa bansang People’s Republic of China,” he said.
Manila and Beijing are quarreling over the clusters of island in the West Philippine Sea. Both are laying claim to the Kalayan Group of Islands, Ayungin and Scarborough Shoals.
Last March 30, the Philippines filed a memorial at the International Tribunal on the Law of the Sea (ITLOS) against China. PND (ag)
Palace to let rule of law take its course on PDAF case
The government will let the rule of law take its course regarding the Office of the Ombudsman‘s decision to hold three senators liable for plundering the Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF), the Palace said.
“When the 1987 Constitution was promulgated, the Filipino people affirmed fidelity to the rule of law. We are a government of laws, not of men. Let the rule of law take its course,” Presidential Communications Operations Office Secretary Herminio Coloma Jr. said in a press briefing held in Malacañang on Wednesday.
The Ombudsman, in its April 1 ruling, charged Senators Juan Ponce Enrile, Jinggoy Estrada, and Ramon Revilla Jr., and businesswoman Janet Lim-Napoles with plunder and graft over the P10-billion pork barrel scam.
The office will give each of them five days to file a Motion for Reconsideration after receiving the decision. It will then evaluate and resolve the Motions within 60 days, and file the information with the Sandiganbayan.
The Sandiganbayan will issue warrants of arrest after evaluating the information and records of the cases, and a trial will be held, Coloma said.
“‘Yung mga proseso pong ito ay pangangasiwaan ng hukuman. Ang tungkulin po namin sa sangay ng ehekutibo ay sundin ang mga direktiba ng hudikatura na patungkol sa proseso ng batas,” Coloma told reporters when pressed for details on the possible detention of the senators.
He reiterated that the executive body’s participation in this case is limited to prosecution, spearheaded by the Department of Justice.
All other processes beyond it lie in the hands of the judiciary, he said.
Coloma stressed that the government continues to share the people’s fervent hopes on the final resolution of these cases but it won’t encroach on independent constitutional bodies tasked to resolve this matter.
“Mahalaga po rito ‘yung prinsipyong sinusunod natin hinggil sa paggalang sa pagiging hiwalay na opisina ng Ombudsman at ng hudikatura dahil ito po ang tinatadhana ng batas. Hindi dapat manghimasok ang ehekutibo doon sa sakop ng kapangyarihan ng Ombudsman at doon sa hudikatura. Malinaw po ‘yang nakasaad sa batas,” he said. PND (hdc)
Lacson says 85 percent of ‘Yolanda’ rehabilitation can be achieved by 2016
At least 85 to 90 percent of the rehabilitation work in ‘Yolanda’-affected communities can be accomplished before President Benigno S. Aquino III steps down from Malacañang in 2016.
Presidential Assistant for Rehabilitation and Recovery Panfilo Lacson made the statement Wednesday, nearly five months since the super typhoon destroyed most parts of the Visayan region.
“I am very confident that we can accomplish this job… by 2016,” he said in an interview with ABS-CBN News Channel’s ‘Headstart’.
Lacson said he is set to present the ‘master rehabilitation plan’ for the President’s approval this June and that its full implementation may be expected by the end of the year.
He said permanent houses for displaced families are already being built with the help of private sector sponsors, such as Gawad Kalinga, Habitat Community, and the ABS-CBN Foundation.
He estimated that more than P20 billion has poured in from private sector companies and multilateral agencies in aid of the government’s rehabilitation program, but noted that the amount did not pass through the administration.
Lacson said he no longer minds the criticisms they get from the public every once in a while, and that they will just do their job as best as they could to meet the 85 percent target.
“Mga 85 percent. I’ll be fully satisfied. Para naman may maiwan doon sa next administration na tapusin nila… Basta’t sige lang trabaho,” Lacson said. PND (hdc)
Philippines receives $1M donation from Indian foundation
The Aquino administration on Wednesday received a $1-million donation from a foundation from Southern India to help survivors of the super typhoon Yolanda in Eastern Visayas.
The assistance came from a foundation called “Embracing the World” and was turned over to the Yolanda-Haiyan Multi-Donor Fund.
Presidential Assistant for Rehabilitation and Recovery Secretary Panfilo Lacson received the check for $1 million from the representatives of the foundation during a ceremony in Taguig City.
Also present at the ceremony were Philippine Disaster Recovery Foundation President Rene Meily, who received the donation on behalf of the Multi-Donor Fund.
Representing the Embracing the World Foundation were Swami Ramakrishnananda, member of the Board of Directors, M.A. Center, and Jay Misra of the Amrita University.
During the ceremony, Lacson said the foundation will give another $1 Million through in-kind donations. “This is just the first phase,” he said.
This additional donation is earmarked to help re-train adults with vocational education along with scholarships for many orphans in high school.
The Secretary expressed hope that more donations would pour in as they are intended for a good purpose.
Inspired by Sri Mata Amritanandamayi, popularly known as Amma (Mother), Swami Ramakrishnananda said they just wanted to help the “suffering people” and the students in the typhoon-stricken areas. PND (co)