09 September 2016

Obama: I don’t take Duterte’s comments personally
United States President Barack Obama on Thursday said he did not take Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte’s controversial statements personally.

The US leader indicated to PRRD that their teams should meet and Duterte’s earlier comments have no impact on America’s broader relationship with the Filipinos.

“I don’t take these comments personally because it seems as if this is a phrase he’s used repeatedly, including directed at the Pope and others. I think it seems to be just a habit, a way of speaking for him,” Obama said.

“It has no impact on our broader relationship with the Philippine people on the wide range of programs and security cooperation,” he added.

The American President further said, ”And it certainly has no impact in terms of power. We interpret our obligations to continue to build on a long standing alliance that we have with the Philippines.”

Regarding the illegal drugs issue, he pointed out that the US wants “to make sure that the partnership we have is consistent with international norms and rule of law.”

PRRD accepts ASEAN chairmanship
President Rodrigo Roa Duterte on Thursday accepted the chairmanship of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) Summit in 2017, on behalf of the Filipino people.

In his acceptance speech, the President vowed to pursue initiatives and enhance cooperation with global partners to ensure that ASEAN citizens live in peace, stability, security, and growth.

During the Philippines’ chairmanship, he said, the country will highlight ASEAN as a model of regionalism and as a global player, with the interest of the people at its core.

He said the Philippines is ready and willing to steer and guide the association, which is celebrating its 50th founding anniversary next year. According to PRRD, “crucial to the realization of our goals is the cooperation and support of all ASEAN member states and our dialogue partners.”

The President invited the nine other ASEAN countries to be the Philippines’ “dynamic and vibrant partners as we guide ASEAN in 2017.”

He revealed next year’s theme to be ‘Partnering for Change, Engaging the World.’ “It captures our resolve to consolidate our community for our peoples, with a sense of togetherness and common identity, ready and able to take our rightful place in the global community of nations,” PRRD added.

“It will be an occasion for us to set the tone for the next 50 years. Join us in making the commemoration of ASEAN’s 50th a success. With great honor and humility, I accept the chairmanship of the ASEAN from our excellent host, the Lao People’s Democratic Republic,” President Duterte said.

He also took the occasion to thank and congratulate Prime Minister Thongloun Sisoulith for Laos’ successful chairmanship of the ASEAN throughout this year.

“You guided us with the timely motto of ‘Turning Vision into Reality for Dynamic ASEAN community.’ You ably did your part in deepening integration to move us towards the realization of a rules-based, people-oriented, people-centered ASEAN community,” he said.

Cabinet capable to handle the country’s affairs with the President
Vientiane, Lao PDR — The Philippine Government is run by an efficient team with the members of the Cabinet capable of handling their respective departments with efficiency.

President Rodrigo R. Duterte assured this in his first foreign trip in time for the ASEAN (Association of Southeast Asian Nations) Summit, where he took the opportunity to talk to the Overseas Filipino Communities here in Laos and from Thailand, his first schedule when he arrived on Monday evening.

He said the people he asked to join his administration are bright and are good in their respective fields.‘Yung mga tao na kinausap ko, those guys, all Filipinos, all good men to join my government.”

His entourage is composed of Foreign Affairs Secretary Perfecto Yasay Jr., Trade and Industry Secretary Ramon Lopez, Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana, Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez III, Presidential Communications Secretary Martin Andanar, National Security Adviser Hermogenes Esperon Jr., Local Government Undersecretary General Coy, Social Welfare Secretary Judy Taguiwalo, and Presidential Spokesperson Ernesto Abella.

The summit which opened on September 6 and closes today had various activities that started on September 3 for the meeting of the committee of permanent representatives of ASEAN, the Senior Officials’ meeting, ASEAN Summit and Related Summits Outcome Document drafting.

Monday opened with the ASEAN Senior Officials’ Preparatory meeting until the evening.

On Tuesday, the signing of the Treaty of Amity and Cooperation in Southeast Asia by the foreign ministers, the ASEAN Political-Security community council meeting, ASEAN coordinating council meeting, launching of the Visit ASEAN @50 campaign logo which coincided with the formal opening of the 28th and 29th ASEAN Summit, and followed by the ASEAN Summit plenary.

Various meetings happened on Wednesday and Thursday. PRRD who travelled here for the Summit attended the meetings with the members of the Cabinet he brought along in the delegation.

Following the Summit, on Thursday evening, President Duterte and the delegation will fly to Jakarta, Indonesia for an Official Visit and will meet with Indonesia President Joko Widodo.

PRRD calls for unity to hasten trade among ASEAN countries
President Rodrigo Roa Duterte has called on all leaders of the Association of Southeast Nations (ASEAN) for more unity and interaction to hasten trade among ASEAN countries instead of always trying to please the Western powers.

This was disclosed by Senator Alan Peter Cayetano during a press briefing in Vientiane on Thursday, saying “this diplomacy is about personal relations, it is about shared experience and attitude.”

Senator Cayetano said, “If you look at ASEAN, ilan ba sa ASEAN ang hindi na-colonize? Thailand. So all of the other ASEAN countries, merong pinaghuhugutan sa mga colonizers nila. May special relationship like us, sa US, meron ding pinaghuhugutan of how they are treated sometimes. Yung sinabi ni Presidente na vassal states.“

The statement was issued in the midst of controversial comments made by President Duterte about the country’s past colonization by the United States, which triggered the cancellation of PRRD’s meeting with US President Barack Obama.

PRRD had expressed his regret about the incident, and clarified through his government officials that it was a result of misinterpretation. A meeting between the two leaders may be set on a later date, after a brief chat between them had taken place before the ASEAN Summit’s gala dinner on Wednesday.

According to Senator Cayetano, the President talked about the common vision of the ASEAN. When the Philippines chairs and hosts next year’s 50th year anniversary of the association, he will stress its original intention of creating a regional organization that would bring together the ASEAN as one.

“Parang parati nalang ASEAN is there to help, to support, to supply the needs of the West. But in the coming years, in the next decade, a majority of the population or at least a third of the population of the world will be in our part of this world. So the President added his voice to the other ASEAN leaders who are calling for more unity and more interaction to hasten trade among other ASEAN countries instead of always trying to please the Western powers,“ he said.

Social Welfare Secretary Judy Taguiwalo, for her part, said one of the important products of the Summit was the signing of the ASEAN Declaration on “One ASEAN, One Response: ASEAN responding as one to disasters in the region and outside the region.” (LMG/JAG/PND)

PRRD to meet with Indonesian President Widodo at Merdeka Palace
President Rodrigo R. Duterte is set to meet on Friday with Indonesian President Joko Widodo to cap his two-day working visit to Indonesia.

The President is also meeting with members of the Filipino community in Jakarta at the Shangri-la Hotel over lunch.

In the afternoon, PRRD will attend the wreath laying ceremony at Kalibata National Heroes Cemetery, the Indonesian military’s memorial park that was built in 1953. More than 7,000 military casualties and veterans are buried there.

He will then visit Tanah Abang Market, a subdistrict in Central Jakarta known for hosting the biggest textile market in Southeast Asia, and pass by the National Monument, a 132-meter tower in the center of Merdeka Square symbolizing the fight for Indonesian independence.

At around 4:00 PM, President Duterte will be given arrival honors at Istana Merdeka, one of the six presidential palaces in Indonesia. Merdeka Palace is the official residence of the Indonesian President. There the two national leaders will have a tete-a-tete at the Jepara Room.

A joint press statement is expected from Presidents Duterte and Widodo at the Istana Merdeka’s Credential Hall before they proceed to the Dining Hall of the Istana Negara, where official events are held.

Right after the state dinner, PRRD and his entourage will proceed to Halim Perdenakusuma International Airport for his flight back to Davao City. (LMG/JAG/PND)

Duterte to Obama: Review my statement, I didn’t curse you
President Rodrigo Roa Duterte told United States President Barack Obama in their brief encounter on Wednesday night to review his statement, it would clarify he never made any reference to the American leader in his cursing expression.

This happened at the holding room of the Presidential Palace in Vientiane, Laos prior to the ASEAN Gala Dinner for summit leaders.

In his speech delivered before the Filipino community in Indonesia at the Shangri-La Hotel in Jakarta on Friday, the President quoted himself as saying: “President Obama, I’m President Duterte. I never made that statement. Check it out, check it out.”

He revealed further, “That was the only encounter, that was the only exchange at the holding room. And I said, ‘I never made that statement. Check it out.'”

In an earlier statement read to the press by Presidential Spokesperson Ernesto Abella, he quoted PRRD as saying the remark was not intended as a personal insult.

”While the immediate cause was my strong comments to certain press questions that elicited concerns and distress, we also regret that it came across as a personal attack on the US President,” Spokesperson Abella quoted the President as saying.

PRRD meets Filipino community in Jakarta, mulls working with Indo gov’t vs piracy
JAKARTA, Indonesia—Following his successful attendance at the 28th and 29th ASEAN Summits in Vientiane, Lao PDR, President Rodrigo Roa Duterte on Friday met with the Filipino Community in Jakarta, Indonesia for his first Working Visit.

President Duterte arrived in Jakarta Thursday night, and met with an estimated 500 members of the Filipino Community at the Shangri-La Hotel in Jakarta Friday morning.

He thanked the Filipinos for their support and promised a clean government under his administration, including doubling the salary of military personnel and policemen as well as curbing the immense drug problem in the country.

PRRD also said the Philippines will be forging a partnership with the Indonesian government to address piracy. He plans to talk to President Joko Widodo on how to solve piracy in the high seas between the Philippines, Indonesia, and Malaysia.

“I had to come here to talk to President Widodo to talk about how we can control piracy in the Malacca Strait,” Duterte said.

“I don’t know how we’ll do it but Malaysian representatives are not here so it could only be a partnership,” he added.

Duterte minced no words when he said piracy should have no place in the country.

It may be recalled that the Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG) kidnapped 10 Indonesian sailors in Mindanao last March, aside from four Malaysians earlier kidnapped by the ASG. The Indonesians were released in May while the Malaysians were released in June. (MSN/JAG/PND)

PRRD joins Indo military chief in honoring local heroes
JAKARTA, Indonesia — President Rodrigo Roa Duterte laid a wreath at the Kalibata National Heroes Cemetery as part of the two-day working visit here from September 8 and 9.

President Duterte was joined by Indonesia Armed Military Forces Regional Command Chief Major General Teddy Lhaksmana at the heroes’ memorial for a wreath laying ceremony.

The solemn event started when President Duterte stepped out of a black Limousine with the license plate “Philippines.”

At the main entrance of the Cemetery, President Duterte and Major General Lhaksmana, followed by the Filipino delegation and Indonesian officials, walked up a flight of eight steps signifying the eighth month of the year when their independence was proclaimed, then saluted towards the direction of the monument at the center of the heroes cemetery.

President Duterte, flanked by the group walked some 300 steps on red carpet towards the monument. Infront, the Indonesian national anthem was played as the delegation gave an honor salute to the fallen heroes.

The wreath laying was done at the monument found at the center of the heroes cemetery which consists of five monuments symbolizing the ever lasting struggle of the Indonesia people.

The group then proceeded to the Guest Book Room where President Duterte wrote and signed his name.

On the out, he again stood on top of the eight steps and gave another salute, which every mourner is required to do.

The cemetery
The National Heroes Cemetery located in Kalibata, a sub-district south of Jakarta was built in the 1950s. There are 9,776 corpses buried in the area who died from 1945 to 2016.

According to an Indonesian Army Captain who was at the site, a person who rendered an extraordinary dedication for Indonesia may be buried there. Qualification is not limited to being a soldier as there have been civilians who qualified to be buried at the heroes cemetery.

Among them is Haj Rasuna Said, the only woman buried there, established the course of literate eradication and founded the “school of female Thawalib” and a “course for Ladies”. Mrs Rasuna is a member of the Indonesian Moslem who bitterly criticized the Dutch government.

She was arrested in 1932. After Indonesia obtained its independence, she became the Representative of Sumatra.

Another civilian, Haj Agus Salim’s was the first funeral at the heroes cemetery. He is the founder of the labor union movement.
The most prominent person buried is Abdul Haris Nasution, the first of the three Indonesians who obtained the rank of five-star general in the military.

Families of those buried at the cemetery are honored and joins other families every year to commemorate the heroism of the few buried at the Kalibata National Heroes Cemetery. (LTA/PND)