ILA FOREIGN POLICY / BILATERAL RELATIONS

MARCH 2019

Department of Agriculture (DA) Secretary Emmanuel “Manny” Piñol and Hungary’s Minister of Agriculture Dr. Istvan Nagy on Wednesday met to discuss emerging opportunities in the agriculture sector and how they can lead to stronger trade and investments ties.

A socioeconomic research outfit raised more questions about the terms of Beijing’s P3.2-billion funding of the Chico River Pump Irrigation Project at a Senate hearing on Tuesday, as Sen. Sherwin Gatchalian called for transparency on China’s loans to the Philippines.
Ibon Foundation’s top researcher, Rosario Bella Guzman, said the Department of Finance (DOF) had invoked a confidentiality clause when the group tried to get a copy of the loan agreement for the Chico River project last year.

 

APRIL 2019

Philippines is edging further back into a once strained alliance with the United States as China, a friend of three years, keeps challenging Manila’s maritime claims and offers less aid than many Filipinos had hoped.

The country has filed several diplomatic protests with Canada over tonnes of refuse shipped to the Philippines between 2013 and 2014

MAY 2019

Australia and the Philippines have a “very sound” relationship but “more can be done” to boost trade and economic ties, the newly-appointed Australian envoy said Wednesday.

Malacañang has cautioned Canada to take back their garbage pronto or the Philippines would “sever relations with them.”

Foreign Affairs Secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr. stamped his authority on foreign policy issues amid the escalating row between the Philippines and Canada over the tons of trash that were illegally shipped to Manila in 2013 and 2014

Amid the brewing diplomatic spat between Manila and Ottawa over the issue of the tons of garbage that were illegally shipped to the country almost six years ago, the Philippine Consul General in Calgary has encouraged successful Filipino immigrants in Canada to share their experiences and career growth with the fast-growing Filipino community in that country.

Foreign Affairs Secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr. on Friday ordered Filipino diplomats recalled from their diplomatic posts in Canada to go back shortly after the tons of Canadian waste were finally loaded into a ship, and left the Subic port en route to Vancouver

JUNE 2019

The power of fear is apparent in how President Rodrigo Duterte has conducted his country’s foreign policy in the last three years. He has undone former President Benigno Aquino III’s geo-political agenda of challenging China’s maritime expansion in the South China Sea.

Revoking all courtesy diplomatic passports issued to previous foreign affairs chiefs and diplomats would be unlawful, former Foreign Affairs Secretary Albert del Rosario said Monday.

JULY 2019

The Philippines has thanked Vietnam for having rescued 22 Filipino fishermen abandoned by a Chinese ship after the latter hit and sank their fishing boat near Recto Bank last month.

Former Ombudsman Conchita Carpio-Morales said Friday Foreign Affairs Secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr. should not be taken seriously “in some instances,” citing previous occasions when the Philippines’ top diplomat took back some of his controversial remarks.

Sen. Imee Marcos said the Philippines should sever ties with Iceland for spearheading a UN resolution compelling an international review of killings under the Duterte administration’s lethal drug war.

France Ambassador to Manila Nicolas Galey on Sunday stressed that the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) resolution seeking a comprehensive review into Manila’s human rights situation is “not the alpha and omega” of relations between the Philippines and the states that supported it.

The Philippines will remain in the United Nations Human Rights Council even after the Council voted to adopt a resolution seeking to review the the Philippine government’s drug war, Foreign Affairs Secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr. said Tuesday.

Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) Secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr. on Wednesday recommended the removal of visa upon arrival privilege for foreigners.

Foreign Affairs Secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr. and Japanese Ambassador to the Philippines Koji Haneda on Tuesday exchanged notes on key projects on the Philippines and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN).

The Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) on Saturday said a Filipino was among the 24 crewmen of a British-flagged, Swedish-owned oil tanker that was seized at the Strait of Hormuz by Iranian authorities on Friday evening

Rights defenders have expressed dismay over the behavior of Philippine officials, including government supporters, during the 41st session of the (UNHRC) in Geneva, Switzerland

THE Philippines-Indonesia Economic and Investment Summit saw the signing of five agreements in the tourism, agriculture and e-commerce industries, Philippine officials at the Jakarta embassy said.

Taiwan has extended its visa-free entry for Filipinos for another year from August 1, 2019, through July 31, 2020.

AUGUST 2019

President Duterte warned yesterday that the Philippines will respond accordingly against foreign vessels passing through the country’s territorial waters without permission.

The Department of Foreign of Affairs (DFA) will provide assistance to hundreds of Filipinos in Israel who are facing deportation, Malacañang said on Monday.

Not since Rizal has The Philippines produced a major national figure who prioritises internal development over aligning with one or multiple external powers as is the case in respect of President Rodrigo Duterte. As such, Duterte cannot be said to be for or against China nor the United States but instead he continues to seek pragmatic foreign relations based on expanding trade, procuring investment and protecting the internal security of The Philippines against narco-terrorism, religious terrorism and far-left terrorism.

China is willing to further cooperation and promote development of bilateral relations with Tonga and the Philippines in the future, a high-level Chinese delegation has told senior Tongan and Philippine officials during separate visits to the two countries.

The parallels between China’s current $1.1 trillion Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) and the United States’ post-World War II foreign assistance are inexact but striking. Like the US in WWII, China was damaged by the 2008 global financial crisis but far less so than most other major economies, allowing it to initiate the BRI in 2013 while the rest of the world was still recovering

SEPTEMBER 2019

The Duterte administration has so far filed “more or less 60” diplomatic protests against China since 2016, Foreign Secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr said on Wednesday, September 4.

President Rodrigo Roa Duterte and Singaporean President Halimah Yacob reaffirmed their ties Monday as both leaders look forward to a stronger cooperation in the coming years.

Foreign Affairs Secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr. said Wednesday (Manila time) the Philippines has benefited more from Japan than China despite closer ties with the latter.

President Rodrigo Duterte wants to pick up where he left off when his last trip to Russia was cut short due to the terrorist attack in Marawi City two years ago.

A committee in the United States Senate has approved a proposal to prohibit the entry of Philippine government officials involved in the “politically-motivated” detention of Sen. Leila De Lima.

In an act of protest, President Duterte has decided to temporarily cut ties with the 18 countries that voted in favor of the Iceland-initiated resolution that called on the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) to monitor the human rights situation in the Philippines.

President Duterte’s joint exploration framework with China is a historic breakthrough. But since it has potential to de-escalate tensions over time, it is opposed by those interests that prefer rearmament, even if that would lead to a split of Southeast Asia and new nuclearization.

VIETNAM’S Ambassador to the Philippines Ly Quoc Tuan was only three years old when the war between his country and America erupted.

The Philippine military agreed on Wednesday to allow a new cellphone network powered by a Chinese state telecoms giant to install communications equipment on its army bases, despite concerns among some lawmakers about possible espionage.

The Philippines and Singapore signed eight agreements during Singaporean President Halimah Yacob’s state visit to the country.

With terrorism incidents on the rise, ranking Philippine Army (PA) and Republic of Korea Army (ROKA) officials saw the need for cooperation and training exchanges on counterterrorism to defeat these threats in the future.

The Philippines and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) signed a memorandum of understanding on human trafficking and the protection of women and children, the Department of Foreign Affairs announced on Friday.

Russia announced that it will offer the e-visa privilege for Filipinos to enter Saint Petersburg and the Leningrad region starting October 1, 2019

 

OCTOBER 2019

Presidential Communications Operations Office (PCOO) Secretary Martin Andanar on Friday said the Philippines will continue to implement its independent foreign policy approach should it get tougher when dealing with Russia..

President Duterte yesterday arrived from his five-day official visit to Russia, a trip that he said affirmed the Philippines’ independent foreign policy.

NOVEMBER 2019

This was the message conveyed by Foreign Affairs Secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr. as he explains the country’s strategy on how to navigate the geopolitical tension in the South China Sea without the risk of becoming “everyone’s enemy.”

The Duterte administration’s conferment of awards on the outgoing Chinese ambassador is an insult to Filipinos who had fought and died to defend the country from foreign invaders, retired Supreme Court justice Antonio Carpio said.

The National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC) forged a partnership with a Hungarian water management systems company on Wednesday to fulfill the delivery of a water mobile compact unit worth $200,000 or P10 million to the Philippines.

The Philippines and South Korea are expected to forge cooperative agreements on education, fisheries, social security and tourism next week, according to South Korean Ambassador to the Philippines Han Dong-man.

President Duterte is now in Busan to attend Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean)-Republic of Korea (ROK) Commemorative Summit as well as to discuss issues of mutual concern in his bilateral meeting on Monday with South Korean President Moon Jae-in.

Presidents Rodrigo Duterte of the Philippines and Moon Jae-In of the Republic of Korea on Monday inked five agreements on various matters during a bilateral meeting in Busan, South Korea.

President Rodrigo Duterte and South Korean President Moon Jae-in both committed to elevate the level of their countries’ relations to “strategic partnership” by 2020, as the two leaders noted the 70 years of strong bilateral relations and friendship between the two countries.

DECEMBER 2019

Philippine Ambassador to Washington Jose Manuel Romualdez on Friday hit a US Senate resolution seeking the release of detained opposition Senator Leila De Lima and the dropping of charges against journalist Maria Ressa, saying it may be potentially interpreted as “undue interference” in the country’s domestic affairs.

China’s new ambassador has urged the Philippines to oppose moves by “external forces” to meddle in the ongoing situation in Hong Kong, which has been racked by months of often violent anti-government protests, saying this would endanger thousands of Filipino workers in the Chinese-controlled financial hub.

JANUARY 2020

The spokesperson of Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte on Tuesday slammed the United States senators anew for what it called “brazen interference” in Philippine internal affairs.

The Philippines and Japan on Thursday, January 9, exchanged diplomatic notes that would allow additional Japanese aid for the strengthening of two bridges in Metro Manila against earthquakes

President Donald Trump has invited President Rodrigo Duterte to come to the US for a “special” meeting with other leaders of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations.

FEBRUARY 2020

Foreign Affairs Secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr., visited Oman’s Minister Responsible for Foreign Affairs Yusuf bin Allawi, at the Foreign Ministry in Muscat, in his first official visit to Oman.

MARCH 2020

President Rodrigo Duterte appointed former commanding general of the Philippine Army Major General Macairog Alberto as the Philippines’ new ambassador to Israel

Vietnamese officials on Wednesday thanked the Philippine government for helping arrange the flight back home of 172 mostly young Vietnamese students from Cebu province amid the global coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic.

APRIL 2020

The Philippine government received nearly $4 million or approximately P200 million in health assistance from the US in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Philippine Ambassador to Lebanon Bernardita Catalla died in Beirut, Lebanon early morning of Thursday, April 2, due to COVID-19, the disease caused by the novel coronavirus. 

A total of 390 stranded French tourists and other Europeans were repatriated from the Philippines, the French embassy in Manila reported on Thursday.

THE South Korean government recently donated 950 metric tons (MT) of rice to the Philippines for distribution to those affected by natural disasters and calamities last year.