Malacanang welcomes US' support in pushing West Philippine Sea claim
The Palace welcomed the support from the US after an American navy official said the US military is ready to respond to threats by China in the Asia Pacific region.
“Lahat naman po ng nag-aalay ng suporta ay malugod nating tinatanggap at napatunayan na po sa mga nakaraang pagkakataon na ang Estados Unidos ay isa sa mga kaibigang bansa ng Pilipinas na nagbibigay ng kongkretong suporta at nakita po natin ito noong tayo ay dumaan doon sa mga hamon ng Typhoon Haiyan o ‘Yolanda’ at ng iba pang mga naunang kalamidad,” Presidential Communications Operations Office Secretary Herminio Coloma Jr said in a radio interview Sunday.
Asked to comment whether the Philippine government considers China’s building of structures in the West Philippine Sea a threat, Coloma insisted that all claimants must observe the status quo until maritime entitlements are resolved.
The country’s position is the crafting of a binding Code of Conduct in West Philippine Sea to ease the tension in the contested territory, Coloma told dzRB Radyo ng Bayan.
“Sa bahagi ng lahat ng mga bansang mayroong maritime entitlement claims sa South China Sea o West Philippine Sea, ang panawagan natin ay dapat na magkaroon muna ng malinaw at maipatutupad na Code of Conduct,” he said.
China’s so-called reclamation activities that lead to the constructions of permanent structures are contrary to the Philippines’s basic principle, he added.
“Dahil hindi pa naman nareresolba ang mga maritime entitlement claims, hindi dapat na nagkakaroon ng mga ganyang aktibidad, at malinaw din po ang ating pahayag na ang posisyon ng Pilipinas ay para sa mapayapa at diplomatikong pagturing sa mga usaping katulad ng inyong nabanggit.”
Admiral Harry Harris of the US Pacific Fleet said his country is prepared to respond to threats against the security and stability of the Asia-Pacific region in the face of China’s undisputed land reclamation in the West Philippine Sea.
He said the US will act on threats against its national interests as well as its allies from a position of strength.
China claims most of the sea and its coral reefs, rocks and sandbars competing with other claimants such as the Philippines, Vietnam, Malaysia, Brunei and Taiwan.
Aside from pushing for an enforceable Code of Conduct, the Philippines has filed an arbitration case in the international tribunal. China opposed the move saying it will not participate in the arbitration being spearheaded by the Philippines. PND (as)
Philippines backs United Nations iniative in raising safety awareness against disasters
Malacanang said it supports a United Nations initiative raising awareness on disasters to make vulnerable communities much safer.
UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon and United Nations Office for Disaster Risk Reduction head, Margareta Wahlström, have urged disaster-prone countries like the Philippines to make "disaster risk reduction" a household word.
In a radio interview on Sunday, Presidential Communications Operations Office Secretary Herminio Coloma said such an initiative is already being done by the Aquino administration.
Disaster risk reduction has been the priority of the Aquino government and has incorporated it in the pillars of its Philippine Development Plan.
“Kaya nga po hanggang sa pinakamataas na antas ng pamamahala, mayroon po tayong climate change Cabinet cluster na binubuklod lahat ng mga ahensya na mayroong responsibilidad para harapin ‘yung mga hamon ng climate change mitigation and adaptation,” Coloma told dzRB Radyo ng Bayan.
Among the government agencies involved in the initiative include the Department of Environment and Natural Resources, and the Climate Change Commission.
The President heads the Climate Change Commission and is being supported by Secretary Lucille Sering, its vice chairperson.
“At sa loob po ng administrasyon ni Pangulong Aquino ay nakapaglatag na po tayo ng pambansang istratehiya para harapin ang mga hamon ng climate change adaptation at mitigation, at ito po ang pinanggagalingan ng mga programa sa disaster risk reduction and management ng ating bansa,” Coloma explained.
The government has also implemented the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Act of 2010, he said noting that the Aquino government is the first administration to implement such law.
One of the law’s provisions is the conduct of review of government initiatives after five years with a main objective of creating a national organization and infrastructure for disaster risk reduction, Coloma stressed.
The President heads the hierarchy of responders from national to local levels to get everyone involved, according to Coloma.
The objective is to inculcate a culture of safety to communities and make them more disaster-resilient during calamities, he noted. PND (as)
'War crime' Designations for media killings must be studied, says Palace
Designating media killing as war crime must be studied thoroughly the Palace said on Sunday underscoring it has not changed its resolve in protecting journalists.
“Sa pagiging ‘war crime' ng media killing...ay kailangan po sigurong isailalim pa ito sa masusing pag-aaral,” Presidential Communications Operations Office Secretary Herminio Coloma Jr said in a radio interview.
“Hindi naman po ito makukuha lamang sa isang pagturing lang, dapat po siguro ay mas malalim na pagturing,” he said over dzRB Radyo ng Bayan.
Coloma reiterated that the Aquino government adheres to the principle of recognizing press freedom and will do everything to ensure the safety of journalists in doing their jobs.
The Palace official condemns all attacks against media practitioners acknowledging the importance of the life of every individual.
“Mahalaga po ang buhay ng bawat mamamahayag at nais pong magbigay ng proteksyon ang ating pamahalaan sa paggamit ng kalayaan ng pamamahayag,” he said.
And whenever an attack is committed against media men, Coloma said the government will swiftly respond to it to ensure that perpetrators are brought to justice.
The National Press Club of the Philippines said it welcomes the proposal of Associated Press president Gary Pruitt to classify the killing of journalists and media workers as "a war crime." PND (as)
President Aquino calls on people to be one in building a peaceful country
President Benigno S. Aquino III joined the celebration of Easter on Sunday, calling on the people to be one in building a country that is peaceful, full of opportunities, free from corruption, and devoted to God.
In his Easter message, President Aquino reminded that strong faith and choosing to do what is right help people in their daily struggles in life.
“Katulad ito ng pinagdaanan ng ating bayan: Sa mahabang panahon, nagpasasa ang iilan sa butas-butas na sistema, walang tiwala ang mamamayan sa kanilang pamahalaan, at mababa ang pagtingin ng mundo sa ating bansa. Subalit hindi nagpatalo ang sambayanan. Pinagsama-sama nila ang kanilang tinig, at nagpasyang tahakin ang tuwid na landas,” the President said.
He attributed the resurgence in the economy, which has led to the country’s transformation from being the Sick Man of Asia to Asia’s Rising Tiger, to the people’s trust and support.
“Narating natin ang lahat ng ito dahil sa inyong suporta at pagtitiwala. At habang nananatili kayong tagapagbigay ng lakas, maaabot natin ang mas matatayog pang pangarap,” he said.
He however warned that there are those who would seek to discredit the administration, despite its numerous successes.
"Asahan na rin ninyo: Habang papalapit ang eleksiyon ay dodoble kayod ang mga gustong maghasik ng pagdududa at sirain ang tiwala natin sa isa't isa," he said.
The President further noted that the country is at the crossroads regarding the talks to bring lasting peace in Mindanao.
“Magpapadala ba tayo sa galit at takot, o pipiliin nating tapusin ang siklo ng kahirapan at karahasan sa Mindanao?” he asked.
He said that so long as the people continue to trust the government and shun corruption, they could make the country’s transformation permanent.
“Sa pagbubunyi natin sa pagbabalik ni Kristo, at sa pag-alala natin sa mga nakamit nating tagumpay, magkakaroon tayo ng lakas na ituloy ang ating laban. Sama-sama nating pandayin ang isang Pilipinas na mas mapayapa at hitik sa oportunidad, tunay na malaya sa katiwalian, at higit na malapit sa ating Panginoon,” President Aquino said. PND (cl)