26 April 2015

President Aquino leaves for Malaysia to attend 26th ASEAN Summit
President Benigno Aquino III on Sunday noon left for Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia to attend 26th Association of Southeast Asian Nations Summit slated from April 26 – 28.

In his departure speech at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport Terminal 2, the President said among the agendas during the summit is developing trade, improving relations among citizens of the ASEAN region, responding to the impact of climate change and promoting security in the region.

“Ididiin po natin, kailangan ang ganap na kaayusan upang tuluyan tayong umarangkada sa kaunlaran. Anumang hindi pagkakaunawaan ay marapat na tugunan sa mahinahon at payapang paraan,” the President added.

The Chief Executive emphasized that there must be “ASEAN centrality” in the region.

“Sa halip na pagkakanya-kanya, pagbubuklod ang susi upang maabot ang mga adhikaing nakabubuti sa lahat. Malinaw po ang lehitimong problema ng isa, problema rin ng lahat,” said the President.

On April 28, the President will be in Lankawi, Malaysia to join the Brunei-Indonesia-Malaysia-Philippines – East ASEAN Growth Area (BIMP-EAGA).

“Pagtutuunan natin dito ng pansin ang kahalagahan ng transport connectivity para sa maunlad na kalakalan, pamumuhunan at turismo. Ilalatag din natin dito ang mga inisyatiba tungo sa seguridad ng pagkain at pagsusulong ng iba pang mga hakbang tungo sa kaunlaran sa rehiyon,” said the President. PND (ag)

Gov’t allots P11.8-M for President Aquino’s attendance at the 26th ASEAN Summit in Malaysia
The government has earmarked about P11.8 million for President Benigno S. Aquino III’s participation in the 26th Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) Summit in Kuala Lumpur and Langkawi in Malaysia from April 26 to 28, Executive Secretary Paquito N. Ochoa Jr. said on Sunday.

President Aquino left this morning via a chartered flight accompanied by Finance Secretary Cesar Purisima, Socio-Economic Planning Secretary Arsenio Balisacan, Press Secretary Herminio Coloma Jr., Cabinet Secretary Jose Rene Almendras, Mindanao Development Authority Secretary Luwalhati Antonino, Presidential Management Staff Chief Julia Andrea Abad and Presidential Protocol Chief Celia Anna Feria.

Foreign Affairs Secretary Albert Del Rosario, Social Welfare and Development Secretary Corazon Soliman and Trade and Industry Secretary Gregory Domingo, who are also part of the Philippine delegation, are now in Malaysia.

The amount covers expenses for transportation, accommodation, food, equipment and other requirements of the Chief Executive and his 64-member delegation.

“President Aquino’s participation to the 26th ASEAN Summit is important as the region gears toward the creation of an ASEAN Community, which is envisioned to provide new opportunities for the peoples of this region, including the Philippines,” Ochoa said.

During the two-day gathering of the region’s leaders, President Aquino is set to attend the plenary session, take part in the ASEAN Leaders’ interface with representatives of the ASEAN Inter-Parliamentary Assembly, and join other heads of state and government in meetings with the ASEAN Business Advisory Council, the ASEAN Youth and the Civil Society Organizations, among others.

The key agenda of the Malaysia conferences is ASEAN integration, which targets the creation of a single market and production base for its members: Brunei Darussalam, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam. PND

Philippines calls on ASEAN to stop China’s reclamation in the West Philippine Sea
KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia) The Philippines has called on the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) Sunday to “assert its leadership, centrality, and solidarity” in order to thwart China’s massive reclamation activities over the disputed West Philippine Sea (South China Sea).

In his intervention during the 26th ASEAN Foreign Ministers meeting here, Foreign Affairs Secretary Albert del Rosario urged his fellow ministers to support the Philippines in opposing China’s unreasonable actions on its way towards controlling majority of the area.

“The threats posed by these massive reclamations are real and cannot be ignored or denied. Their adverse implications are urgent and far-reaching, going beyond the region to encompass the global community,” Del Rosario said.

Del Rosario distributed a ‘disc’ to his fellow ministers, detailing the negative effects of China’s reclamation efforts, especially on the marine environment, while infringing on the rights of other states.

“We believe that if these massive reclamations are allowed to be completed, our northern neighbor will succeed in defining and imposing its unlawful sovereignty claim over more than 85 percent of the South China Sea,” Del Rosario said.

China is poised to consolidate ‘de facto’ control of the entire South China Sea, Del Rosario said, especially since it has stated it will also place defense installations on the reclaimed areas.

It continues to build up structures in the disputed territories despite protestations from Manila, which is pushing for ASEAN to come up with a final Code of Conduct (COC) to address the issue diplomatically.

Given its aggressiveness, however, it is likely that China would finish its reclamation activities before it could even agree to conclude a COC, Del Rosario said—a scenario, which ASEAN must prevent.

“If this is what happens, and which is likely to happen, our northern neighbor’s acts will render the DOC (Declaration of Conduct of Parties in the South China Sea) irrelevant and any COC would have an effect of legitimizing China’s reclamation,” Del Rosario said.

“ASEAN should assert its leadership, centrality, and solidarity. ASEAN must show the world that it has the resolve to act in the common interest,” he said.

Aside from advocating a COC, Manila also resorted to other diplomatic means like bringing the issue to the ASEAN Regional Forum, East Asia Summit, Asia Europe Meeting, and the United Nations for discussion to galvanize the understanding of the international community.

“It may be said that the Philippines has borne more than its share of the heavy burden for ASEAN and the international community on this issue. Notwithstanding all our words of caution, our northern neighbor is clearly and quickly advancing with its massive reclamation,” Del Rosario said.

Del Rosario insisted that the issue affects the entire global community, even as it is unfolding only in the Southeast Asian region, and the ASEAN must do something about it.

“Is it not time for ASEAN to say to our northern neighbor that what it is doing is wrong and that the massive reclamations must be immediately stopped? On this most important issue, is it not time for ASEAN to finally stand up for what is right?” Del Rosario said.

Aside from the Philippines, fellow ASEAN members like Vietnam, Indonesia, Brunei, Thailand, and Malaysia have territorial claims in the South China Sea. PND (hdc)

President Aquino arrives in Kuala Lumpur for ASEAN Summit
(KUALA LUMPUR) President Benigno S. Aquino III arrived Sunday afternoon in the Malaysian capital to participate in the 26th Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) Summit in Kuala Lumpur and Langkawi from April 26 to 28.

The chartered Philippine Airlines flight PR001 carrying President Aquino and key members of his Cabinet touched down at Kuala Lumpur International Airport at 3:40 p.m.

The President was welcomed at the airport by Philippine officials led by Philippine Ambassador to Malaysia Jose Eduardo Malaya III.

Foreign Affairs Secretary Albert del Rosario, who went ahead to Malaysia’s capital to attend the ASEAN Foreign Ministers’ Meeting, also met the President at the airport.

President Aquino was also received at airport by the Malaysian government officials led byYB Dato’ Seri Idris Jusoh, Minister of Education II.

The President is accompanied by Finance Secretary Cesar Purisima, Cabinet Secretary Jose Rene Almendras, Communications Secretary Herminio Coloma Jr., Socio-Economic Planning Secretary Arsenio Balisacan, Presidential Management Staff Chief Julia Andrea Abad, and Presidential Protocol Chief Celia Anna Feria.

Trade Secretary Gregory Domingo and Social Welfare Secretary Corazon Soliman, who are also part of the Philippine delegation, arrived in Kuala Lumpur ahead of the President.

Later in the evening, the President will join fellow leaders at a gala dinner to be hosted by Malaysian Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak for all ASEAN leaders and their delegations in Kuala Lumpur Convention Centre (KLCC).

On Monday, President Aquino will start his day with the opening ceremony of the 26th ASEAN Summit in KLCC, the summit venue, at 9 a.m., to be followed by the summit’s plenary session.

After the plenary session, the President is set to have separate meetings with representatives from the ASEAN Inter-Parliamentary Assembly, ASEAN Business Advisory Council, the ASEAN Youth, and the Civil Society Organizations.

Leaders of the 10-member grouping have gathered here in Malaysia to discuss the progress made towards the establishment of the ASEAN Community by the end of this year and the ASEAN Community’s Post-2015 Vision.

Malaysia, this year’s ASEAN chair, adopted the theme of “Our People, Our Community, Our Vision,” highlighting the importance of a united ASEAN. PND (co)