China praises PRRD’s SONA; promises to prioritize PH for COVID vaccines

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President Rodrigo Duterte’s fifth State of the Nation Address earned praises for the Chinese government, particularly when the president mentioned his dedication in pushing for an independent foreign policy and non-confrontational stance on the South China Sea dispute.

China’s Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Wang Wenbin said Duterte’s policy pronouncements “are in keeping with the fundamental interests of the Philippines, the shared aspiration of regional countries, and the trend of the times for peace and development.”

“We appreciate President Duterte’s remarks and stand ready to properly resolve maritime disputes with the Philippines through friendly consultations to jointly safeguard peace and stability in the South China Sea and the entire region,” Wang said.

He stressed the need to handle maritime issues “properly” to ensure regional peace and stability.

However, in Duterte’s homeland, critics are vehemently opposing his stance with China, as he is allegedly ignoring the arbitration win of the country in The Hague. Retired Supreme Court Senior Associate Justice Antonio Carpio reiterated that the government does not need to resort to arms in asserting the Philippines’ sovereign rights, bringing the cases of Vietnam, Malaysia, and Indonesia as examples.

Moreover, the Wang reassured the Philippine government that it would make do with its promise of putting Philippines in the priority lists when COVID-19 vaccine is made available.

“Since the outbreak of COVID-19, China and the Philippines have been standing together with mutual assistance, turning anti-epidemic cooperation a new highlight in bilateral relations. The Philippines is a friendly close neighbor and we will give priority to its needs once we succeed in developing a vaccine,” Wang said.

House committees to hold hearings during break

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Spread the loveMANILA – The House of Representatives has authorized for its committees to conduct hearings during the five-week congressional break, extending until late April.