29 May 2016

Malacanang reacts to China’s comment on South China issue
The Palace responded to China’s statement saying the international arbitral tribunal hearing the case filed by the country is “bias in favor of the Philippines.”

“In expressing concern over the South China Sea issue, the Group of Seven or G7 Declaration affirmed the importance of upholding the rule of law,” Communication Secretary Herminio Coloma Jr. said in a statement over dzRB Radyo ng Bayan.

He said Adherence to the rule of law as embodied in the United Nations on Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) is the cornerstone of the Philippine policy towards the issue.

“President Aquino has been determined in pursuing an advocacy for a rules-based, peaceful and diplomatic resolution of disputes on maritime entitlements in the South China Sea or West Philippine Sea and has gained broad-based support in the international community such as the ASEAN (Association of Southeast Asian Nations), APEC (Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation), the G7, and in the European Union,” Coloma said during the radio interview Saturday.

Coloma said this advocacy has brought to life a typical importance of upholding freedom of navigation and freedom of overflight and has been the basis for the Philippines’ decision to file a petition with the Permanent Court of Arbitration in The Hague.

The move of the Philippines has been welcomed and encouraged by many nations, according to Coloma.

Coloma also brushed off accusations that the US is intervening in the arbitration process noting there is no basis for China’s allegations.

In the international meetings attended by the Philippines like the ASEAN, APEC and US-ASEAN Special Summit in California last February, President Barack Obama backed the principle of adherence to the rule of law.

“Sa lahat naman ng pagkakataon, ang nasaksihan lamang natin ay ang pagpapahayag ng Estados Unidos kaisa ang iba pang mga bansa sa mundo ng paniniwala nila sa mga batayang prinsipyo na katulad nga din ‘nang freedom of navigation at freedom of overflight,” he said.

The group of G7 countries meeting in Japan this week, has sent a strong message underscoring the need to observe the rule of law in resolving territorial row in the East Sea and the South China Sea. PND (as)


Adoption of ASEAN cyber security group good for the region, says Malacanang
The Palace welcomed on Sunday the Association of Southeast Asian Nations’ (ASEAN) adoption of a proposal of Defense Secretary Voltaire Gazmin calling for the establishment of a cyber security group in the region.

“Ikinagagalak natin ang pagpapahayag ng suporta ng ibang mga kalapit-bansa ng Pilipinas,” Communication Secretary Secretary Herminio Coloma Jr said in a radio interview on Sunday.

“Sadyang mahalaga ‘yung pagkakaisa ng mga bansa sa pagpapatatag sa cyber security dahil nga sa lumalawak na — o lumalaganap na pagtatangka o aktwal na paglabag ng mga masasamang elemento sa mga umiiral na batas na kung saan ay pinagsasamantalahan sa pamamagitan ng digital technology ang sitwasyon,” he said.

Because this is global in scope, ensuring a more effective cyber security requires cooperation among nations, according to Coloma.

Cyber security is a major issue, he said, because it threatens not only every country’s national defense but also the economy as well as individual privacy of citizens.

The Department of National Defense (DND) said over the weekend that the proposal of Secretary Voltaire Gazmin to establish a cyber security group was approved by a panel of defense ministers of the ASEAN.

Gazmin’s proposal for the establishment of the cyber security group was adopted during the Asean Defense Ministers Meeting held on May 25 at Vientiane, Laos.

The DND said the working group will promote practical regional cooperation in addressing cyber security challenges. PND (as)