Japan's assistance boosts government efforts in raising maritime domain awareness, says embassy official
(HIROSHIMA, Japan) The government welcomes the continuing support of the Japanese government, especially in helping raise the people's awareness of maritime domain, a Philippine diplomat has said.
Awareness of maritime domain is a key component of the Aquino administration's foreign policy, Charge d' Affaires of the Philippine Embassy in Tokyo Gilberto G. B. Asuque told Radio TV Malacanang in an interview last Thursday (June 19).
Asuque, who heads the Philippine technical working group on the maritime boundary delimitation and member of the West Philippine Task Force, said the present government wants ordinary Filipinos and government institutions to know their sovereign and maritime entitlements under international laws, especially the 1982 Convention on the Law of the Sea.
“Japan supports the Philippine policy to raise our capacity and level of awareness for maritime domain, the capacity to monitor," he said.
"For that purpose, the Japanese government has supported the Philippine government in terms of assistance to provide the Philippine Coast Guard with 10 patrol craft," he added.
The patrol watercraft, called multi-role response vehicle or MRRVs, will be used to increase the capability of the Coast Guard in monitoring the country’s maritime domain and exclusive economic zone, as well as to enforce Philippine laws, Asuque said, adding that Japan is extending technical assistance aside from providing the 10 MRRVs.
The Department of Transportation and Communication (DOTC), which oversees the Philippine Coast Guard, expects to receive three MRRVs next year, and the remaining seven in early 2016, he said.
Japan is also providing the necessary communication system to operate the watercraft, and will continue to conduct training for the Coast Guard for maritime security and environment protection, as well as navigational safety, the embassy official added.
President Benigno S. Aquino III will visit Japan on Tuesday for a luncheon meeting with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and to deliver the keynote address at the Consolidation for Peace for Mindanao Conference in Hiroshima.
Asuque said that during their meeting, President Aquino and Prime Minister Abe will focus on the lasting peace in Mindanao through the creation of the Bangsamoro government and assess maritime disputes with China. PND (as)
President Aquino's visit to Japan aims to enhance Philippine-Japanese relations, says official
(HIROSHIMA, Japan) President Benigno S. Aquino III's visit to Japan on Tuesday will further enhance the relations between the two countries in terms of trade and investment, tourism, and people-to-people exchanges, a Philippine diplomat has said.
Charge d’ Affaires of the Philippine Embassy in Tokyo Gilberto G.B. Asuque said in an interview with Radio TV Malacanang in Tokyo last week that Filipino skilled workers, caregivers, and nurses in Japan contribute to the Japanese economy.
These Filipino professionals have undergone language and skills training to meet Japan’s strict labor standards, he said, adding that the two countries enjoy good relations in terms of investment and tourism.
Japan has relaxed the visa requirements for Filipinos wanting to go to Japan, and has also adopted a no-visa policy under certain arrangements, he said.
“Overall, it opens up the interaction between Filipinos and Japanese. With the relaxation of this travel requirement, both nationalities will be able to interact," he said.
Contributing to this effort is the increased number of flights to and from Japan, Asuque said, noting that there are currently 10 flights a day from the Philippines to Japan and vice versa.
"These policies will enable the Philippine government to further enhance and improve the bilateral relations between the two countries," he said.
The President, who will arrive in Tokyo on Tuesday morning, will have a luncheon meeting with Prime Minister Shinzo Abe before heading to Hiroshima to deliver the keynote address to the Consolidation for Peace for Mindanao Conference.
During their meeting, President Aquino and Prime Minister Abe will discuss the attainment of a lasting peace in Mindanao as well as assess the maritime disputes between both countries and China. PND (as)
Philippines thanks Japan for backing its arbitration case against China
The Philippines has expressed its gratitude to Japan for supporting the case it has filed at the international arbitral tribunal to peacefully resolve its maritime dispute with China.
“We are grateful to Japan for supporting the fundamental principle by which the Philippines is addressing the West Philippine Sea issue," Charge d' Affaires of the Philippine Embassy in Tokyo Gilberto G.B. Asuque told Radio TV Malacanang in an interview last week.
Asuque, head of the Philippine technical working group on the maritime boundary delimitation and member of the West Philippine Task Force, said the Philippines and Japan share the same view of peacefully resolving the West Philippine Sea (South China Sea) as well as the East China Sea issues.
The United Nations, he said, mandates claimant countries to use peaceful means to settle territorial disputes and states that the use of force and intimidation are not accepted by the international community.
“Sana po sa pagtulong ng Japan ay maengganyo po natin ang ibang bansa na tayo pong Pilipinas, kasama ang Japan, ay ayaw natin ng di maayos na pagresolba ng usapin ng Pilipinas at Tsina. Ganon din ang Japan at Tsina," he said.
The Philippines, Japan and China are signatories to the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) and have obligations to follow the policy mandated by the international law, he said
“Kaya mahalaga po ang relasyon ng Pilipinas at Japan tungkol sa ginagawa nating paraan para mabigyan natin ng matagalang solusyon ang issue with China.”
During his one-day working visit to Japan on Tuesday (June 24), President Benigno S. Aquino III will have a luncheon meeting with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe to discuss the two countries’ respective maritime disputes with China, as well as how to enhance their bilateral relations.
President Aquino will also deliver the keynote address at the Consolidation for Peace for Mindanao Conference in Hiroshima. PND (as)
Philippine-Japan defense tie-up contributes to regional peace, embassy official says
(HIROSHIMA, Japan) Defense and security collaborations between the Philippines and Japan have continued to contribute to regional peace and stability, a Philippine diplomat has said.
The two countries have made arrangements for their key agencies to conduct dialogues on a regular basis, Charge d' Affaires of the Philippine Embassy in Tokyo Gilberto G.B. Asuque said in an interview with Radio TV Malacanang last week.
Asuque said both countries have joint bilateral meetings at the political level; the undersecretaries of their respective foreign affairs ministries have been holding annual consultations to review overall bilateral relations; and the Philippines’ Department of National Defense and Japan’s Ministry of Defense also have regular dialogues.
"The (Philippine) Secretary of Defense and the (Japanese) Minister of Defense hold regular consultations to discuss regional issues and how both countries can contribute to the enhancement of regional peace," he said.
"This dialogue is an opportunity for the security officials to show how they can help each other in contributing to regional peace as well as in efforts to address other security concerns, not only in this region, but also in other parts of the world."
He said this tie-up has resulted in the Philippines and Japan providing support for global efforts to combat piracy in the coast of Somalia.
According to Asuque, Japan has offered Coast Guard support for the combined maritime force, while the Philippines contributed a liaison officer in the combined maritime force.
President Benigno S. Aquino III is slated to make a one-day working visit to Japan on Tuesday (June 24) to meet with Prime Minister Shinzo Abe as well as to address a Mindanao peace forum in Hiroshima.
The President will return to Manila on Tuesday evening. PND (as)
Japan International Cooperation Agency, a major partner in Philippine development, diplomat says
(HIROSHIMA, Japan) The Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) continues to support the Philippines’ long-term development, an embassy official has said.
"In terms of the long-term plan of the government, JICA continues to provide assistance in behalf of the Japanese government, and we value that partnership and their support for the development of the Philippines," Charge d' Affaires of the Philippine Embassy in Tokyo Gilbert G.B. Asuque said in an interview with Radio TV Malacanang last week.
JICA has been providing the Philippines assistance for human resource development as well as infrastructure development, Asuque said, noting that the agency has conducted a study on the building of a new airport to replace the Ninoy Aquino International Airport.
"In that manner, the JICA has provided direction, the pathway for the Philippines to see how we can further improve our infrastructure, both in terms of land and air transport," he said.
Now that JICA has provided that input, it is up to the Philippine government to consider the study and its applicability, he said.
President Benigno S. Aquino III is arriving in Hiroshima on Tuesday to attend an event organized by JICA, and the Research and Education for Peace of the Universiti Sains Malaysia.
These organizations have spearheaded a series of Consolidation for Peace seminars on three conflict areas – Mindanao, Aceh, and Southern Thailand.
The seminar on Mindanao aims to discuss the ongoing discussions in the Government-MILF peace process and find ways to continue the momentum of the peace initiative. PND (as)
Palace acknowledges surrender of Senator Jinggoy Estrada
The Palace has issued a statement acknowledging the surrender of Senator Jinggoy Estrada to authorities following the issuance of a warrant of arrest against him in connection with the multi-million-peso pork barrel scam.
“Upon being notified of the issuance of a warrant of arrest against him, in connection with charges of plunder and graft, Senator Estrada surrendered to the Sandiganbayan today,” Presidential Spokesperson Edwin Lacierda said during a press briefing in Malacanang on Monday.
“The issuance of this warrant is a step forward in finding out the truth, which is fundamental in strengthening the trust of our people in our institutions and processes,” he said.
Estrada is charged by the Sandiganbayan with one count of plunder and 11 counts of graft.
“As the Sandiganbayan works to fulfill its mandate, we ask the Filipino people to remain vigilant throughout this process, bearing in mind that the outcome should clearly reflect the profound reality—that just as every Filipino is accorded constitutional rights, these rights are to be protected in a manner that is just and in the service of the truth,” the Palace official said.
Reacting to reports quoting Manila City Mayor Joseph Estrada as saying that the government is picking on the opposition one by one, Lacierda said, “What we have is a plan to bring to court those who have been found to have misused their PDAF (Priority Development Assistance Fund); and that would involve and affect anyone who has misused his funds, whether friend or foe.”
He cited as an example the case filed against “an ally of the President”, former Customs chief Ruffy Biazon, over the alleged misuse of his PDAF back when he was still a congressman.
“So, it is not true that we are only focusing on people who are against this administration. That is clearly not true,” he said.
On reports that former Chief of Staff of Senator Juan Ponce Enrile, Gigi Reyes, will turn herself in, Lacierda said, “Any action by the respondents that will make the process expedited in terms of their voluntary surrender will certainly be welcomed because it expedites the whole process of securing their person.”
Reyes was the alleged bagman of Senator Enrile, who has also been accused in the scam allegedly masterminded by businesswoman Janet Lim-Napoles. PND (ag)
President is busy even though he is not seen in public, says Palace official
President Benigno S. Aquino III is very busy, even though he has not been seen in public lately, the Palace said on Monday.
“Alam po ng ating mga kasama sa media dito sa Malacanang Press Corps kung ano ang pang-araw-araw na aktibidades ni Pangulong Aquino. So he is not missing in action,” Presidential Spokesperson Edwin Lacierda said during a press briefing.
“Nagkataon po lamang na wala siyang mga events na dinadaluhan. But he is in the office. You all know the schedule of the President. He meets with various Cabinet officials, he meets various personalities, focusing on the daily business of governance,” Lacierda said, adding that the President’s daily activities are reported in the Official Gazette—gov.ph.
Lacierda was responding to a columnist’s comment that the President seems to be “missing in action” as he was last seen during the Independence Day celebrations on June 12 and has not commented on such issues as commodity price increases and rising criminality in Metro Manila.
“Let me assure you that while he may not be seen publicly, the President is engaged and occupied in the daily business of governance,” said Lacierda. PND (ag)
President Aquino appoints new Sandiganbayan Justice
President Benigno S. Aquino III has appointed Ma. Theresa Dolores Gomez Estoesta as the new Associate Justice of the Sandiganbayan, Presidential Communications Operations Office Secretary Herminio Coloma, Jr. announced Monday.
Gomez-Estoesta replaces Amparo M. Cabotaje-Tang, who has been appointed as presiding justice of the anti-graft court.
“The appointment was signed on June 20, 2014 and has been transmitted to Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno,” said Coloma.
Gomez-Estoesta joined the government in 1991 as a solicitor at the Office of the Solicitor General. In February 2002, she was appointed as presiding judge in the Manila Metropolitan Trial Court.
In 2006, she became the presiding judge of Branch 7 of the Manila Regional Trial Court. She also served as acting presiding judge of the Manila RTC, Branch 17 from 2010 to 2012.
She obtained her political science degree from the De La Salle University and his law degree from the Ateneo de Manila University.
Her citations include most outstanding judge for first-level courts in the Supreme Court’s search for judicial excellence in 2005; and Chief Justice Cayetano Arellano awardee as most outstanding judge for second-level courts in 2012. PND (jb)