Duterte threatens to bury protesters violating lockdown measures

Over 2,300 COVID-19 cases and 96 deaths have been reported across the Philippines since the outbreak began, and the government has put most of the country under “community quarantine” – essentially a lockdown – to slow the spread of the infection.

Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte has threatened to crack down on those who violate the government-mandated restrictions on movement and mass gatherings.

“I will not hesitate. My orders are for the police, the military and the villages, in case there’s trouble and there’s an occasion where they fight and your life is threatened, shoot them dead,” Duterte said in a televised address to the nation on Wednesday.

“Do you understand? Dead. Instead of causing chaos, I will bury you.”

The speech was aired just hours after police arrested 21 people for protesting without permission in one of the country’s largest cities, Quezon. They were part of a 150-strong demonstration in a poor community that was demanding food and financial assistance, according to police reports.

Duterte blamed the left-leaning urban poor group Kadamay for instigating the protest.

“Remember, you leftists: You are not the government,” he added. “Do not go around causing trouble and riots because I will order you detained until this COVID [outbreak ends].”

The president said that he had received complaints that officials in charge of distributing coronavirus relief assistance (mostly cash and food packs to low-income households), had been cutting that aid. He announced that Social Welfare Secretary Rolando Bautista, a former military general, would take charge of that role now.

The Philippines has registered 2,311 COVID-19 cases as of Wednesday, including 96 deaths and 50 recovered patients.

Duterte on 16 March placed the Philippines under a state of emergency for six months, a measure that boosted the power of the executive branch. The government has banned the entry of foreign nationals, with some exceptions, but stopped short of declaring a nationwide lockdown.

Instead, “community quarantines” have been enforced in most of the country, including in the island of Luzon, which includes the capital, Manila and some neighbourhoods in Quezon City.

Those rules suspend mass transportation and ban mass gatherings. People in quarantined areas are ordered to stay home except for law enforcement and certain public officials, health workers, and those providing and accessing basic services.

Memorable pictures from 2018

 

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A resident throws water at his house on fire at a residential neighborhood of an informal settlement, in Muntinlupa, Metro Manila, Philippines, June 4. REUTERS/Erik De Castro

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A man gets stuck under debris at a damaged site after an airstrike in the Saqba area, in the eastern Damascus suburb of Ghouta, Syria, January 9. REUTERS/Bassam Khabieh

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Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman poses for a selfie during the Future Investment Conference in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, October 23. REUTERS/Stephen Kalin

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Portraits of late North Korean leaders Kim II Sung and Kim Jong II are seen on the facade of a government building in Pyongyang, North Korea, September 11. REUTERS/Danish Siddiqui

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A lone tree stands near a water trough in a drought-affected paddock on Jimmie and May McKeown’s property located on the outskirts of town of Walgett, in New South Wales, Australia, July 20. REUTERS/David Gray

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U.S. President Donald Trump boards Air Force One for travel to Ohio at the Morristown Airport in Morristown, New Jersey, August 4. REUTERS/Leah Millis

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Migrants rescued by the NGO Proactiva Open Arms rescue boat in the Mediterranean Sea stand on board before arriving at the port of Algeciras in San Roque, southern Spain, August 9. REUTERS/Juan Medina

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People watch from a tour boat as lava flows into the Pacific Ocean in the Kapoho area, east of Pahoa, during ongoing eruptions of the Kilauea Volcano in Hawaii, June 4. REUTERS/Terray Sylvester

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A police officer is seen as Fabiana Cardoso Domingues reacts near the body of her son, Anderson Domingues, after he was shot dead during an operation against drug gangs in the Alemao slums complex in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, October 1. REUTERS/Ricardo Moraes

Freelancing: A new trend in the Asian job market

 

Workshop

Lawmakers in the Philippines recently passed the Telecommuniting Act which provides equal pay and benefits for workers who worked in the office or from home, making the option of freelancing even more attractive for the job market.

With over one million freelancers — many of which were telecommuters, individual consultants or service providers — the Philippines is the top country in Southeast Asia for project-based work, ranking fourth globally next India, the US and Pakistan, according to job-search website Freelancer.com

Between January and February this year, the country saw an additional four million applications for freelance jobs from 26 million with millennials aged 18 to 37 making up the bulk of the 30.8 million applicants.

Freelancer.com vice president for international, Sebastian Siseles, recently told ABS-CBN News that freelancers earn P10,000 (US$188) per project which they can do while working remotely on the beach or while taking care of their kids.

“The ‘up to you lifestyle’ is a key factor that gives them the freedom to have a good work-life balance,” Sisesles was quoted as saying.

He said even though freelancers must secure their own insurance and take care of their taxes, their work arrangements allow them more flexibility in spending their money.

“It implies a lot of freedom,” he said.

“There are more errands to take care of, but the time you save not commuting, you can invest in taking care of these errands from time to time.”

According to Freelancer.com data, many employers are searching for professionals who specialize in data entry, PHP and Photoshop.

The site found that most freelancers came from Metro Manila, specifically in Quezon City, Makati, Manila, and Pasig.

Siseles told the Manila Times that Filipino freelancers that have attracted attention and business from abroad.

“These can be seen in the types of skills that are most sought after by employers and the types of jobs being done on the Freelancer.com: jobs in web development, graphic design and Excel are very popular, for example.

“Additionally, English is widely spoken in the Philippines, which definitely helps when it comes to communicating clearly with employers.”

Siseles said more than 100,000 companies on Freelancer.com continue to hire Filipinos and use PayPal, bank transfers, and credit cards, as popular payment platforms.

And even with over one million freelancers, the community of out-of-office workers remains small relative to the over 100 million population, but Siseles said global trends were shifting in turning it into a status quo.

“The freelancing industry is still young, and it is very likely we’ll see immense growth in the years to come. Freelancers will continue to play an increasingly important part in the broader global labor market,” he said.

“Forbes predicts that by 2027, the majority of the workforce will be freelancers all over the globe. According to the Q3 Freelancer Fast 50 report, web development, internet applications, social media, and creatives dominate the online labor market.”

Philippines president Rodrigo Duterte fears cancer will end his tenure

 

Philippines president Rodrigo Duterte said he has undergone tests to determine whether he has been struck by cancer and hinted that the potential illness could see an early end to his tenure in office.

Rodrigo Duterte

Image: Rodrigo Duterte

Duterte confirmed that he went to the Cardinal Santos Medical Center on Wednesday (Oct 3) where the went for follow up tests where doctors took samples from his stomach area.

While the state of his health is currently unclear, Duterte said he would inform the public if he had cancer, according to Beijing Bulletin.

“I don’t know where I’m now physically but I have to wait for that. But I will tell you if it’s cancer, it’s cancer,” he said.

Duterte suggested his condition may have to do with Barrett’s esophagus, a gastroesophageal reflux disease.

According to WebMd, the condition is where normal tissue lining the esophagus, the tube that carries food from the mouth to the stomach, changes to tissue that resembles the lining of the intestine.

Duterte has previously said he may have been facing this serious condition.

“When you lie down, there’s that cap that closes so the acid of the stomach does not reach the esophagus. It’s corrosive. This one is built to withstand grinding but this one no,” he said.

“So if you get there, it’s like you do this in the morning [makes a vomiting motion], that’s reflux. Because I ignored it, I didn’t stop drinking. So now, nothing. Regret, it always comes late. So it got worse.”

The president also said he would refuse treatment if the cancer is in an advanced stage.

“If it’s 3rd stage, no more treatment. I will not prolong my agony in this office,” he said.

Speculation began to swirl in Philippine media after Duterte missed a Wednesday cabinet meeting and another public event, according to the AFP.

Duterte keeps up a punishing schedule of appearances ranging from shopping mall openings to police funerals, and frequently delivers multiple, lengthy speeches per day.

The government had denied the leader was having health problems, with spokesman Harry Roque saying the president “just took his day off.”

“I assure you that I have no information that he went to a hospital,” Roque added.

Duterte – There’s a plot to assassinate me

 

In a sharp criticism against the country’s military which had refused to arrest one of his most vocal critics without a warrant, Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte claims he has evidence of a plot to assassinate him.

Rodrigo Duterte.jpg

Image: Rodrigo Duterte

On Tuesday, Duterte told a state-owned television network that he possessed a recording provided by a foreign country that a group of politicians from the opposition had banded together with Maoist rebels and former military officials to oust or kill him, according to the Wall Street Journal.

“Someone said that’s their plan now. If they can’t achieve their goal through explosions, they will assassinate,” he said.

Earlier, the Duterte had called on the military to remove him in a coup if it saw him as unfit to be the president.

“If you want another president—fine,” he told soldiers.

Duterte said the group of plotters “were in constant communication”, adding the “connection will be shown, maybe any day now”.

His remarks come amid a tense political standoff with Sen. Antonio Trillanes IV, an opposition politician and former military official who was granted amnesty after attempted coups during previous administrations.

Last week, Duterte withdrew the 2010 amnesty granted to Trillanes, who was a junior naval officer who led two unsuccessful coup attempts 15 years ago, and ordered his arrest, according to Reuters.

While Duterte is known for his devil-may-care attitude and foul-mouthed tirades against his critics, his remarks were a departure from his usual temperament.

Duterte also called on the military to “declassify” information about the alleged plot.

“We have the evidence and we have the conversation provided by a foreign country sympathetic to us,” Duterte told Salvador Panelo, presidential legal counsel, in an hour-long conversation.

Congressman Gary Alejano, Trillanes’ party-mate who also took part in the failed coups, denied any plot to ouster, saying the opposition was merely ensuring “checks and balances” to the government.

Alejano added Duterte was attempting to “divert the attention of the people from the present economic woes they themselves have failed to address”.

Sukhoi Jets deployed by Indonesia against fleeing Militants

Indonesia has deployed Sukhoi fighters at a base in northern Borneo to beef up security in case Islamist militants who overran a town in the Philippines try to flee southwards, an air force colonel told the Antara news agency.

The head of the air base in Tarakan, a town in the Indonesian province of North Kalimantan on Borneo, said three Sukhoi jets that arrived on Friday (June 16) would remain for a month in case radicals fighting the Philippine military in Marawi City sought to escape to Indonesia.

“The militants might flee the Philippines and be forced to cross the border to Indonesia,” the Indonesian state news agency cited Colonel Didik Krisyanto as saying.

The Philippine military said on Friday that some of the militants who stormed Marawi City in the south of the country last month may have mingled with evacuees to slip away during the battle that has raged for almost four weeks.

The military says that up to 200 fighters, most of them from local insurgent groups that have pledged allegiance to the Islamic State (ISIS) but also some foreign fighters, are holding out, using civilians as human shields and mosques as safe havens.

The devastating collapse in security has alarmed neighbors such as Indonesia and Malaysia, and defence and army chiefs from the three countries are due to meet in Tarakan on Monday for a ceremony to mark the launch of patrols in the seas between these countries.

A port town, Tarakan is just south of the Malaysian side of Borneo and looks out across the sea to Mindanao in the southern Philippines, a sprawling island that has been plagued by insurgencies and banditry for decades.

Indonesian naval authorities had also asked local people, including fishermen in border areas facing the Philippines to report any suspicious people, Antara reported.

A police mobile brigade corp had also been sent to northern areas on Sulawesi island to prevent militants from crossing the border, it said.

On Monday, Indonesia will inaugurate a maritime command center in Tarakan and also hold a ceremony on an Indonesian warship with Malaysian and Philippine officials to launch patrols.

Singapore and Brunei will be attending as observers.

The commander of Tarakan’s naval base, First Admiral Ferial Fachroni, told Reuters the other countries would also establish command centres to help in the sharing of information.

Adm Fachroni said the army, navy and air forces would be involved in patrols but more discussions were needed to pin down whether they would be joint or coordinated.

-Reuters

Philippines Independence Day rocked by bomb blasts

In dishonor of Philippines’ annual celebration of its Declaration of Independence which was proclaimed on 12 June, 1898, ISIS militants kept Rodrigo Duterte’s soldiers fighting to save lives as the country mourns.

While their fellow countrymen raised the nation’s flag amid tears and sorrow, the Independence Day celebration was marked by a tearful ceremony.

The national event was dedicated to all victims of the 3-week conflict which has ended over 270 militants and civilian lives.

Duterte’s soldiers-in-arms faced insurgency from Islamic militants who besieged Marawi city on 23 May and the fierce battle continued on Philippines’ Flag Day.

The embattled troops made efforts to drive all militants –dead or alive — from the southern city of Marawi in order to ensure that Philippines’ national flag was raised.

ISIS took over the city late last month and raised its black and white flags in “partial” victory.

However, thousands of embattled Philippine soldiers suffered a huge setback in retaking the city. The insurgents resorted to using over 2,000 civilian hostages as human shields.

The military prepared well ahead of the national day. Gunfire rang out and planes flew bombing raids to pummel districts of the largely abandoned city. While the onslaught continued, a crowd of soldiers and teary-eyed officials, firemen, police and clerks gathered outside a nearby government building to raise the Philippine flag, according to a report from the Associated Press.

Image shows an abandoned hospital window with bullet holes, as government soldiers continue their assault against the Maute group in Marawi City, Philippines June 12, 2017.

The annual celebration marks Philippine’s historical armed revolt against Spanish colonial rule.Independence was won from the US in 1946.

Following the bombings and losses recorded before 12 June, Duterte’s government has announced that all national flags will fly on half mast today in honor of the dead.

“This is dedicated to soldiers who offered their lives to implement our mission in Marawi city,” said Colonel Jose Maria Cuerpo, an army commander in Marawi.

Blasts from airstrikes were heard from a distance during the events.

A report from News Sentinel quotes a villager named Janisah Ampao as saying in a telephone interview, “I don’t know how we can re-start our lives after the fighting.

“Our city is in ruins, all the people have gone and the stores are closed. I saw on TV that our village has been destroyed.”

Ampao reportedly escaped the terror attack with her husband and two children but says hope was restored after she witnessed the national flag fly again at the provincial capital city.

Her family now lives at a nearby government building which serves as an emergency shelter for all evacuees in the area.

A total of 13 Philippine marines lost their lives last Friday in a street-to-street war.

Media reports confirm that 58 soldiers and police, including 20 civilians, have died in the terror war. Nonetheless, over 200 militants have also gone to the world beyond as the survivors continue in this battle for supremacy.

An ISIS propaganda video which was released by Amaq on Monday showed a group of jihadists shooting 6 Christians in Marawi. The voiceover sparked speculations that more executions had actually taken place off-camera, according to a US-based SITE monitoring service.

President Rodrigo Duterte has said the militant attack was part of a wider plot by IS to establish a base in the southern region of Mindanao, and has declared martial law there to quell the threat.

Marawi’s military chief, Lieutenant-General Carlito Galvez, said at a news conference on Monday that “the fight would be most difficult, deadly, bloody, and will take days and months to clear up.”

President Duterte isn’t in the mood to celebrate his country’s historical day. He canceled a diplomatic reception to mark the Independence Day at his presidential villa.

“He doesn’t feel like giving a toast, even symbolic, when soldiers are dying and the evacuees and the displaced are in the provinces and in Marawi’s margins,” said Foreign Secretary Alan Peter Cayetano at a press briefing.

Duterte is facing the worst crisis of his yearlong presidency.

Philippine military officials confirmed the fight in Marawi started after the government’s failed efforts to capture Isnilon Hapilon on May 23. He is said to be an ISIS leader stationed in Southeast Asia.

Many Christians were killed in the terror which followed as a reprisal attack in the city. About 500 gunmen waving Islamic State group-style black flags were believed to have carried out the massacre.

US forces are helping Philippines in the fight against terror.

Why Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte joked about raping Women

Rodrigo Duterte sure knows how to attract criticisms from supporters and haters alike, but his recent flop comes from a sickening rape joke.

GettyImages-687670766

Duterte, a lawyer and politician who served seven terms as the mayor of Davao city in the Philippines, declared martial law in the southern part of his country earlier this week. He was re-elected for his bold stance in the fight against crime.

His reason for a military action was inspired by an alleged political uprising in his country while he was on a visit to Russia.

Duterte returned from Moscow and imposed a 60-day martial law to curtail Muslim extremists who are believed to have support from the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria [ISIS].

The militants, or jihadists as a general term, had earlier on disrupted smooth governance in one of the country’s southern cities.

Media reports confirm the martial rule took effect Tuesday evening in the southern region of Mindanao.

The existence of rebellion and anarchy was cited as “lawful grounds” for military extremism.

Although the president says his declaration will ensure that government forces can carry our searches, conduct arrests as well as detain rebels without having to observe administrative bottlenecks, police and military raids against Muslim extremists are expected in the southern provinces.

However, Ano Said Hapilon, who was confirmed wounded during January’s military airstrikes, told the Associated Press that about 50 armed militants entered the city after his men were overpowered.

“They did some burnings, they showed up in another area so it looked chaotic, but it’s actually a small group facing an overwhelming number of government forces,” Ano explained. He was part of president Duterte’s envoy as the daring leader toured Russia.

We will conduct house-to-house clearing and do everything to remove the threat there. We can do that easily,” Ano said in a statement, adding that it won’t be a smooth sail considering the need to avoid civilian casualties.

Although the government says it has control over Marawi city and other security trouble spots in the south, Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana said troops raided the hideout of a top terrorist suspect in southern Marawi city on Tuesday, sparking a gun battle that prompted the militants to call for reinforcements from an allied group, the Maute.

A large number of armed men took over the city hall, a jail, a catholic church and a hospital.

At least two soldiers and a police officer were killed in the onslaught while over a dozen sustained injuries in the bold attack.

Amid the bloodshed and a stricter measure being enforced against the rebels, Duterte finds it OK to joke about raping women.

In a bid to reassure his team of soldiers who may be accused of human rights abuses under martial law, the president said in a statement that he’d take the responsibility if one of them were to rape three women.

Mr. President is known for making some offensive comments and, most times, using foul language while addressing his subjects — no matter the audience in question.

Critics are calling for closer inspection on the soldiers, adding that Duterte should be held responsible for any abuses on Mindanao island.

“If you go down, I go down. But for this martial law and the consequences of martial law and the ramifications of martial law, I and I alone would be responsible, just do your job, I will take care of the rest,” Duterte said on Friday, according to a president’s office transcript.

“I’ll imprison you myself,” he said.

In his reference to some soldiers who may violate their commands, the controversial president said, “If you had raped three, I will admit it, that’s on me.”

Duterte will go down in history as the most controversial president that ever lived.

It’ll be remembered that he once cracked a rape joke during his campaigns in 2016, when he made reference to an Australian missionary worker who was killed during a prison riot in 1989 and a very lanumber of sex-starved inmates took turns on her.

Gross! Isn’t it?

The president who was at that time, the mayor of Davao city where the crime occurred, said the murder victim was very beautiful. Acceptable. He admired a pretty women even in death.

However, he went over the edge for arguing that since he was the city’s mayor, the president should have been allowed to “f***k the beautiful Aussie’s pie.”

Duterte later apologized, saying his joke wasn’t intended to disrespect women and rape victims or incite violence against the gender.

People love the no-nonsense leader for his courage and “lack of respect.”

The 72-year-old president said he’s love to join the army but has regrets for his arthritis.

“My order to the troops is all people who are not authorized by government to carry arms and they resist, kill them, wipe them out,” he told his dependable soldiers who are now qualified to rape — one to three, or three to one, whichever comes first.

Beautiful Images you missed from this year’s MISS UNIVERSE 2016 event in the Philippines

Year 2017 started on a good note for President Rodrigo Duterte and Philippines, where the 65th Miss Universe pageant was held on 30 January, 2017.

Pia Wurtzbach, Iris Mittenaere

The global beauty contest, Miss Universe 2016, was scheduled to hold at the Mall of Asia Arena as approved by the country’s Tourism Secretary Wanda Corazo Teo.

However, the Philippine Arena in Bocaue, Bulacan, was later confirmed as the main venue by the Miss Universe Organization after it rejected Wanda’s proposal due to “security reasons.”

At the glamorous event, Pia Wurtzbach [former Miss Universe from Philippines] crowned her successor Iris Mittenaere of France.

With the victory, Iris ended her country’s 63-year-old hunger for the crown. She also became the first European Miss Universe in 14 years.

Russia’s Oxana Fedorova won it in 2002 but was later dethroned.

Here are some pictures from the colorful event:

Sparkling Stars of the Universe Shine Bright in Philippines

Miss Universe contestant Iris Mittenaere (right) of France is crowned the new 2017 winner by former Miss Universe Pia Wurtzbach of the Philippines (left) during the Miss Universe pageant at the Mall of Asia Arena in in suburban Pasay city, south of Manila, Philippines, on January 30, 2017.

Sparkling Stars of the Universe Shine Bright in Philippines

From left: Brenda Jimenez of Puerto Rico, Valeria Piazza of Peru, Christina Waage of Norway, Ida Ovmar of Sweden, Isabella Krzan of Poland, Miss Universe contestants pose on the red carpet on the eve of their coronation on January 29, 2017.

Sparkling Stars of the Universe Shine Bright in Philippines

Iris Mittenaere of France (right) and Raquel Pelissier of Haiti hold hands moments before the winner was announced in the Miss Universe 2016 coronation on January 30, 2017.

Sparkling Stars of the Universe Shine Bright in Philippines

Iris Mittenaere (center right) of France is congratulated by other candidates after being crowned Miss Universe on January 30, 2017.

Sparkling Stars of the Universe Shine Bright in Philippines

From left: Yuliana Korolkova of Russia, Lucija Potocnik of Slovenia, Alena Spodynyuk of Ukraine, Miss Universe contestants pose on the red carpet on the eve of their coronation on January 29, 2017.

Sparkling Stars of the Universe Shine Bright in Philippines

Miss France Iris Mittenaere blows a kiss during the swimsuit competition, shortly before winning the 65th Miss Universe beauty pageant at the Mall of Asia Arena in Pasay, Philippines, on January 30, 2017.

Sparkling Stars of the Universe Shine Bright in Philippines

From left: Andrea Tovar of Colombia, Iris Mittenaere of France and Raquel Pelissier of Haiti pose shortly after being declared the top three finalists in the Miss Universe 2016 coronation on January 30, 2017.

Sparkling Stars of the Universe Shine Bright in Philippines

Miss Universe 2015 Pia Wurtzbach (center) bids farewell after ending her reign as the country’s third Miss Universe winner during the grand coronation for the new Miss Universe on January 30, 2017, at the Mall of Asia in Pasay, Philippines.

Sparkling Stars of the Universe Shine Bright in Philippines

The new Miss Universe Iris Mittenaere of France blows a kiss to photographers during a press conference after being crowned the winner at the Miss Universe pageant on January 30, 2017.

Sparkling Stars of the Universe Shine Bright in Philippines

Miss Universe contestant Siera Bearchell (right) of Canada adjusts her gown as she poses with fellow contestants (from left: Roshmitha Harimurthy of India, Deshauna Barber of the United States, Carolina Duran of Costa Rica, Caris Tiivel of Australia and Charlene Leslie of Aruba) on the red carpet at the eve of their coronation on January 29, 2017.

Sparkling Stars of the Universe Shine Bright in Philippines

Miss Universe candidate Antonella Moscatelli of Bolivia gesture for a picture during a red carpet inside a SMX convention on January 29, 2017.

Sparkling Stars of the Universe Shine Bright in Philippines

Chalita Suansane of Thailand poses shortly after making it to the top 9 in the Miss Universe 2016 coronation on January 30, 2017, at the Mall of Asia in Pasay, Philippines.

Sparkling Stars of the Universe Shine Bright in Philippines

A member of the pop group Boyz II Men serenades Miss France Iris Mittenaere, shortly before she won the 65th Miss Universe beauty pageant on January 30, 2017.

Sparkling Stars of the Universe Shine Bright in Philippines

Outgoing Miss Universe Pia Wurtzbach greets the crowd shortly before the announcement of the beauty pageant’s winner on January 30, 2017.

Sparkling Stars of the Universe Shine Bright in Philippines

Iris Mittenaere of France wipes away her tears after being crowned Miss Universe at the Mall of Asia on January 30, 2017.

Sparkling Stars of the Universe Shine Bright in Philippines

Miss Universe candidates Mariam Habach of Venezuela and Dang Thi Le Hang of Vietnam pose for a picture during a red carpet inside the SMX Convention Center on January 29, 2017.

Sparkling Stars of the Universe Shine Bright in Philippines

From left: Tania Dawson of New Zealand, Veronica Bodizs of Hungary, Chanelle de Lau of Curacao, Martha Fenech of Malta, Sophia Sergio of Italy, Camila Barraza of Kosovo and Kristal Silva of Mexico, Miss Universe contestants pose on the red carpet on the eve of their coronation on January 29, 2017, at the Mall of Asia in Pasay, Philippines.

Philippines President withdraws Statement on breaking ties with America

Philippines president Rodrigo Duterte has withdrawn the bold statements he made on breaking ties with the United States of America and consolidating a new political/economic alliance with the People’s Republic of China. The president was on a four-day visit to Beijing.

Image: President Rodrigo Duterte

Duterte arrived Davao, Philippines, around midnight on Friday and was quick to pass a nationwide televised briefing where he defended the controversial statements made in China.

“It’s not severance of ties,” Duterte said.

“It’s in the best interest of my country that I don’t do that,” he confirmed.

Read: Philippines President Duterte Breaks Ties With The U.S.

Earlier of Thursday, the firebrand ruler told a host of Filipino and Chinese citizens – including government officials – that Philippines would no longer have dealings with the U.S. on any capacity.

In his words: “Your honours, in this venue, I announce my separation from the United States…both in military but also economics. America does not control our lives. Enough bullshit.

“How can you be the most powerful industrial country when you owe China and you are not paying it?” The president asked.

“I have separated from them. So I will be dependent on you for all time. But do not worry. We will also help as you help us,” he told Chinese president Xi Jinping in a remark.

“China has been a friend of the Philippines and the roots of our bonds are very deep and not easily severed.

“Even as we arrive in Beijing, close to winter, this is a springtime of our relationship,” he added.

“China is good,” he said in an earlier statement. “It [China] has never invaded a piece of my country all these generations.” The comment was made in reference to U.S. being an ally for over 70 years, as a colonial ruler.

President Duterte crowned his controversial speech with: “Maybe I will also go to Russia to talk to Putin and tell him that there are three of us against the world — China, Philippines and Russia.”

Having said it all in China and gaining a desired applause from both his countrymen and their Chinese counterpart, Duterte is now saying that “the remarks refer to a foreign policy that doesn’t ‘dovetail’ with America”, according a report from the The Associated Press.

Critics who understand Duterte even more than he knows himself, are saying his recent downtoning of the public rants in China was due to instructions from Philippines’ cabinet members who often find ways to clean up his mess.

Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez and Economic Planning Secretary Ernesto Pernia spoke with the press a few hours after Duterte’s remarks in Beijing.

They said: “The Philippines will maintain relations with the West,” and added that “Duterte’s comment is aimed at ‘rebalancing’ foreign policy and broadening the country’s alliance”.

Philippines President Duterte breaks ties with The US

Philippines’ President Rodrigo Duterte, who’s currently on a four-day visit to China, has declared his “separation” from the country’s ever-present ally the United States of America. He made his decisions known in Beijing on Thursday.

Duterte, who referred to U.S. president Barack Obama as “son of a whore” during earlier events scheduled at this year’s G20 Summit, said he has chosen to wine and dine with China.

“Your honours, in this venue, I announce my separation from the United States…both in military but also economics,” he said to a cheering crowd during the meeting in China’s capital city Beijing.

President Duterte’s hatred for the U.S. comes in the aftermath of his government’s bloody war against drug dealers which has taken over 3,500 lives within a few months, a violation of human rights which America and the U.N. has since condemned.

Image shows a large number of citizens arrested in one of Philippines’ cities. 

“America does not control our lives. Enough bullshit,” he continued in his speech, usually flipping between English and his local language as usual.

“How can you be the most powerful industrial country when you owe China and you are not paying it?” The president asked.

“I have separated from them. So I will be dependent on you for all time. But do not worry. We will also help as you help us,” he told Xi in a remark, according to a report from CBN News.

“China has been a friend of the Philippines and the roots of our bonds are very deep and not easily severed.

“Even as we arrive in Beijing, close to winter, this is a springtime of our relationship,” he added.

The 71-year-old has made up his mind on tilting Philippine’s diplomacy towards China, a country with ” a big heart” and probably “deeper pockets”.

Image shows Philippines president Rodrigo Duterte and Xi Jinping of China.

Both Xi Jinping and his Philippines counterpart Rodrigo Duterte pledged their loyalty, undying trust and mutual co-operation for their two countries during the historical event at China’s Great Hall of the People on Tiananmen Square.

According to the official Xinhua news agency, Xi referred to Philippines and China as “neighbours across the sea”, adding that the two countries have “no reason for hostility or confrontation”.

In a statement to the Filipino community in Beijing, president Rodrigo Duterte compared China and the U.S., saying the latter has offered very little or nothing for their longstanding friendship even as a former colonial ruler.

The firebrand ruler who’s known for his vulgar language also repeated his stand on President Barack Obama being a “son of a whore”.

“China is good,” he said earlier. “It [China] has never invaded a piece of my country all these generations.”

Foreign diplomats weighing in on Rodrigo Duterte's controversial remarks did not sit well with the then-mayor.

As negotiations between the two countries continue, LA Times reported that China and the Philippines are signing agreements for $13.5 billion in trade deals, adding that Duterte’s country also gained $9 billion in low-interest loans.

The new found love between China and Philippines that warranted such statements from Duterte, is yet to be unraveled.

However, it’s a surprise that Philippines would suddenly choose to severe a 70-year-old relationship with Obama’s country, and open up negotiations with China over disputed fishing waters in the South China Sea. This is indeed, a surprise change of policy and another form of Cold War in the pipe.

An international tribunal in The Hague ruled against China’s claim of historical rights to the waters in July. And Duterte says: “Maybe I will also go to Russia to talk to Putin and tell him that there are three of us against the world — China, Philippines and Russia.”

As he addressed troops at the country's Armed Forces Central Command Headquarters on August 5, Duterte recounted U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry's visit to the country, saying in Tagalog that he was feuding with U.S. Ambassador to the Philippines Philip Goldberg.

“We are going to be seeking an explanation of exactly what the president meant when he talked about separation from the U.S.,” Kirby, U.S. State Department spokesman said. “It’s not clear to us exactly what that means in all its ramifications.”

President Rodrigo Duterte: The Unsung Hero In Philippine’s Fight Against Crime And Drugs.

Philippine president Rodrigo Duterte made more enemies outside his country with the recent media popularity after his vulgar rants on U.S. President Barack Obama before the G20 Summit held in Hangzhou, China.

Image: President Rodrigo Duterte

However, the recent buzz continues from the man who’s also referred to as “The Filipino Donald Trump” but this time, it’s him against a senator and other “mischief makers” who alleged that he “once gunned down a rival by the roadside using an uzi sub-machine gun”.

Senator Leila De Lima has been under fire for her comments as Duterte’s government seem to be “digging her grave every passing hour”.

Image: Senator Leila De Lima

A 2015 report from The Mirror says Duterte killed over 1,000 people before he was elected president of the country. According to the released information, bodies of his victims were fed to crocodiles.

The controversial leader was said to have encouraged his followers to to carry out vigilante killings in his war against crime, a step he took further by ordering gangland killings of over 1,000 people.

A man who said he was the president’s hitman made the revelation.

Going further, the confessor said he has been in Duterte’s assassins’ payroll for over 25 years during which the killings never stopped, implying that the president has an unquenchable thirst for blood.

Edgar Matobato spoke at a senate hearing where he revealed that the bloodshed started while the president was a town’s mayor, adding that he also overheard Duterte gave orders for the massacre of over 1,000 people.

Edgar Matobato

Image: Edgar Matobato

“Our job was to kill criminals like drug pushers, rapists, snatchers,” said the 57-year-old who claims he has killed over 50 persons so far.

In a separate incident in 1993, he claims he was part of a group who were pulled to the side of the road by a justice department official, which led to a shootout.

Mr Duterte arrived at the scene shortly after and is said to have finished off the dying official by “emptying two Uzi magazines” into him.

The Philippine’s president allegedly turned his country into a lawless society with the controversial fight against drug users and drug dealers, but the citizens think otherwise. He is quoted as saying:

“Crime against humanity? In the first place, I’d like to be frank with you: are they humans? What is your definition of a human being?

“ Human rights ? Use it properly in the right context if you have the brains.

“You cannot wage a war without killing,” Duterte said, also adding that most of those drug dealers cannot be rehabilitated – a way of saying the country has no need for the junkies.

Senator Leila De Lima, who started a campaign against the seemingly unlawful executions of “innocent citizens”, is facing a turned table from Duterte’s government after a convicted felon testified in court Tuesday against her.

The inmate told a Congressional hearing that De Lima took bribes from him while she was serving as the country’s Justice Minister.

This turn of events is coming at a time when the outspoken human rights activitist is carrying out a UN-backed campaign against Duterte’s bloody war against crime and drugs.

A convicted bank robber Herbert Colangco confessed that he paid a total 3 million pesos (S$85,385) to the former minister in October 2013, adding that the reason behind his payment was to get her [De Lima’s] permission to hold concerts in prison as well as trade alcohol to inmates.

Herbert added that he operated a brothel in prison, but was later pressured to sell drugs and more, in order to raise money for De Lima’s campaign – a proposal he claims to have rejected.

Unfortunately, the recent revelation from the prisoner comes a day after senators voted to remove De Lima as head of a house committee probing the drugs war.

Duterte took over office as the Philippine president about 11 weeks ago. His crackdown on drugs has raised concerns among world presidents, especially the United Nations. However, reports confirm that most Filipinos who are tired of crime and drug addiction, have nothing but praises for the “Filipino Donald Trump”.

 A total of 3,800 persons have been killed so far, according to a Strait Times report.
“[Answering questions to the Congress on how he smuggled contrabands into the prison] I have de Lima’s blessings,” Colangco said.

The prisoner revealed that bribes were paid through security guards with reciepts issued as confirmation for cash received.

Image: Leila De Lima

Another surprise revelation against De Lima says the former minister was seen in an inmate’s prison cell. The particular prisoner is alleged to be a dreaded drug baron who’s feared all over the country.

The two prisoner’s told Congress that they had delivered 5 million pesos in bribes to De Lima’s home.

Meanwhile, the accused lawmaker skipped Tuesday’s congress hearing but gave a speech at the senate in defense of her committment to spearhead investigations on Duterte. She said: “No committee chairmanship is worth it, if it sacrifices my principles.”

An unrelenting Duterte isn’t surprised at the events unfolding in the country’s senate.

“I was correct all along,” the president said, after De Lima’s removal from the senate committee on Monday.

A CNN report confirms Manny Pacquiao — a senator and former boxing star, moved a motion Monday night to declare the chairmanship of the committee on Justice and Human Rights vacant.

Image: President Rodrigo Duterte

The position which was previously held by this accused former justice minister was passed by 16 votes to four, validating Senator Richard Gordon as the committee’s next chairman.

One word from the embattled senator shortly before her removal from office. “I am not the one who has tainted the image of the Senate and the country; what truly destroys this is the continued killings in our country.”

Former Philippines President Hold Talks With Chinese Delegates On South China Sea Disagreements.

Ramos and 'old friends' seek trust-building talks

Former Philippines president Fidel Ramos speaks to journalists on Friday during a trip to Hong Kong. The five-day visit was aimed at helping rekindle ties with China, which have been soured by a maritime dispute in the South China Sea. [Photo/Agencies]

Former Philippines president Fidel Ramos said on Friday that he and his Chinese “old friends” looked forward to starting formal discussions, after bilateral ties were jeopardized by an arbitration case over the South China Sea dispute.

Ramos met with the following delegates in Hong Kong–Fu Ying [foreign affairs chief of China’s top legislature] and a think-tank Wu Shicun [president of China’s National Institute of South China Seas Studies], according to a statement released after the talks.

The statement, signed by Ramos, Fu and Wu, described the meeting as one between “old friends” and said it had taken place “in a friendly atmosphere”.

“The informal discussions focused on the need to engage in further talks to build trust and confidence to reduce tensions to pave the way for overall cooperation for the mutual benefit of both countries and the region,” the statement said.

The China-Philippines relationship was hurt by an arbitration case unilaterally initiated by Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte’s predecessor, Benigno Aquino III.

Manila wants formal discussions with Beijing “at the appropriate time” to explore pathways to peace and cooperation, the statement added.

Speaking near the end of a trip that he earlier described as “ice-breaking”, Ramos told reporters in Hong Kong that the three had not discussed territorial disputes in the SouthChina Sea, but had talked about fishing rights.

“It’s not really a breakthrough, in a sense that there is no ice here in Hong Kong to break, but the fish we eat … are cooked in delicious recipes,” said Ramos, who also had earlier referred to his visit as a fishing expedition.

Ramos said he hoped that a second round of discussions would take place soon, adding that the venue for further talks had not been decided yet.

Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying, commenting on Ramos’ visit, said on Friday that Beijing hopes such communications could “help restore China-Philippines dialogue and improve bilateral relations”.

On Wednesday, Hua also said in a statement that “China sticks to an open attitude toward all means of contact between China and the Philippines, and welcomes Mr Ramos to China”.

Image: Former Phillipines president Fidel Ramos.

Ramos, 88, started a five-day trip to Hong Kong on Monday, and was appointed to represent his country because bilateral relations were good when he was president from 1992 to 1998.

Li Hak-yin, a lecturer at the Department of Government and Public Administration of The Chinese University of Hong Kong, said this is a critical moment for China and the Philippines as they approach negotiations on the South China Sea disputes.

Ramos was in Hong Kong to inform the Chinese government of his country’s willingness to start negotiations, Li said.

Li Guoqiang, deputy head of the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences’ Institute of Chinese Borderland Studies, said that China would like to see positive signals sent by the new Philippines government.

“Through the visit of Ramos, the Philippines is expected to hear China’s voice and understand Beijing’s concerns over South China Sea issues, to improve bilateral ties,” he said.

The ICJ And UN Confirm They’re Not Part of The Judgement On South China Sea.

The International Court of Justice has reportedly done the unthinkable by publicly declaring that it has played no role in the highly-sensitive South China Sea judgement passed by the Permanent Court of Arbitration, in favor of Philippines.

The PCA ruled on the arbitration case unilaterally initiated by the Philippines against China in 2013.

In a statement in both English and Chinese on its website the ICJ said it wished to draw the attention of the media and the public to the fact that the award was issued by an Arbitral Tribunal acting with the secretarial assistance of the Permanent Court of Arbitration, and that no further information would be found on its website.

A former judge of the United Nations’ International Court of Justice, Abdul G. Koroma, says the only link between the two bodies is their base in the Peace Palace in The Hague.

“The Permanent Court of Arbitration, the PCA, and the International Court of Justice share the same building in The Hague which is called the Peace Palace. So it’s not very easy for a non-lawyer to be able to make the distinction between the two bodies.” 

The former judge added the purpose of any arbitral settlement is to bring peaceful resolution of a conflict, rather than for any political motives.

The United Nations has also made it clear that the Permanent Court of Arbitration is not one of its organs.

Statement From China’s National People’s Congress On The South China Sea.

BEIJING – Following is the full text of a statement by the Foreign Affairs Committee of China’s top legislature, National People’s Congress, issued on Thursday, on the award of the arbitral tribunal in the South China Sea arbitration established at the unilateral request of the Philippines.

Statement by the Foreign Affairs Committee of China’s National People’s Congress on the Award of the Arbitral Tribunal in the South China Sea Arbitration Established at the Unilateral Request of the Republic of the Philippines

On the “award” of July 12, 2016 of the Arbitral Tribunal in the South China Sea Arbitration established at the unilateral request of the Republic of the Philippines, the Foreign Affairs Committee of China’s National People’s Congress solemnly states as follows:

1. The Statement of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the People’s Republic of China on the “Award” of July 12, 2016 of the Arbitral Tribunal in the South China Sea Arbitration Established at the Request of the Republic of the Philippines and the Statement of the Government of the People’s Republic of China on China’s Territorial Sovereignty and Maritime Rights and Interests in the South China Sea have already stated China’s position that the relevant “award” has no binding force on China.

The Foreign Affairs Committee of China’s National People’s Congress firmly supports this position.

2. China has sovereignty over the South China Sea Islands, consisting of the Dongsha Islands, the Xisha Islands, the Zhongsha Islands and the Nansha Islands.

In the South China Sea, China has internal waters, territorial sea, contiguous zone, exclusive economic zone and continental shelf, based on the South China Sea Islands.

China has historic rights in the South China Sea. No country, organization or institution is entitled to deny China’s territorial sovereignty and maritime rights and interests in the South China Sea.

3. The Philippines’ unilateral initiation of arbitration breaches the agreement between China and the Philippines to settle the relevant disputes through negotiation, violates the Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the South China Sea, goes against the provisions of the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS), abuses the arbitration procedures under UNCLOS, severely infringes on China’s right as a sovereign state and a State Party to UNCLOS to seek means and procedures of dispute settlement of its own choice, and seriously undermines the integrity and authority of UNCLOS.

The Arbitral Tribunal in the South China Sea Arbitration established at the unilateral request of the Republic of the Philippines has no jurisdiction over the relevant matters.

Disregarding the history of and basic facts about the South China Sea, the Arbitral Tribunal misinterpreted and abused the power given by UNCLOS, and arbitrarily expanded and exceeded its jurisdiction by hearing the merits of the case. Such acts violate the general legal principles of international law and arbitration including UNCLOS.

The “award” of the Arbitral Tribunal is thus invalid and China does not recognize the award.