26 June 2015

Palace condemns killing of CNN Philippines cameraman
Malacañang has condemned the killing of a CNN Philippines assistant cameraman on Thursday morning, saying the police has already been ordered to search for his assailants.

“We condemn the killing of CNN Philippines employee, Jonathan Oldan. The Philippine National Police has been directed to pursue those who may have been responsible for his death so that the ends of justice may be served,” Communication Secretary Herminio Coloma, Jr. said in a statement released on Friday.

The Department of Justice said the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) has launched a probe into the killing of the CNN Philippines assistant cameraman, who was shot dead in Imus, Cavite.

The NBI will determine whether the killing of Oldan is work-related.

Oldan, 29, was on his way to report for work in Manila when he was attacked by still unidentified gunmen in Barangay Pinagbuklod, Imus, Cavite at about 5:15 a.m. on Thursday. PND (as)

Palace pleased with lifting of European Union ban on Philippine carriers
Malacañang on Friday welcomed the lifting of an air ban imposed by the European Union on airlines from the Philippines, saying the move will boost the country’s aviation and tourism sectors.

“This is a good opportunity to raise yet again tourism as one of the drivers of our economy and hopefully, it will bring in more visitors for more destinations to the Philippines,” Deputy Presidential Spokesperson Abigail Valte said when announcing the European Commission’s decision to remove the remaining Philippine carriers from its safety blacklist.

“Magandang bagay po ito. Hopefully, we will see that airlines from the Philippines will be opening more flights to more destinations in these cities.”

Valte congratulated the airlines as well as the Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines (CAAP) for their efforts to have the ban lifted.

The European Commission has announced that all Philippine-certified airlines were taken off the European Union Air Safety List due to the CAAP’s “openness to improve its oversight functions, complemented by readiness of Philippine carriers to enhance their own safety and operations standards”.With the lifting of the ban, all carriers from the Philippines can now enter European airspace and join national flag carrier, Philippine Airlines Inc. (PAL) and budget carrier, Cebu Air Inc. (Cebu Pacific).

It would also encourage Europeans to travel to the Philippines and other foreign destinations via Philippine carriers.

The European Commission has recognized the Philippines as “an important country with a sizable and rapidly growing aviation sector.” PND (as)

Philippines cannot be faulted if other countries support its approach on West Philippine Sea issue, says Palace official
Malacañang said on Friday that the Philippines “cannot be faulted” if other countries agree with its approach in resolving the West Philippine Sea issue.

“We cannot be faulted if other countries have lauded the approach that we have decided to take in resolving this dispute that we have with our neighbor,” Deputy Presidential Spokesperson Abigail Valte told reporters during the daily press briefing at the Palace.

Valte was asked to comment on the statement made by Chinese Defense Ministry spokesman, Senior Colonel Yang Yujun, during a regular press conference on Thursday that “some regional nations drag countries outside the region to interfere in the South China Sea issue, demonstrate muscles, and intentionally play up regional tensions.”

“This behavior would only bring harm to the situation in the South China Sea,” he said.

Valte noted that the issue concerns countries outside the region since 60 percent to 80 percent of global trade passes through the disputed waters.

Asked about the environmental harm that China’s reclamation works have created, Valte said she wants to leave it to the experts to assess the damage on coral reefs caused by China’s island-building activities.

“More weight should be given to the opinion of experts when it comes to the destruction of marine resources and the coral reefs that are affected. We would defer to their judgment on that,” she said.

The Philippine government has filed a case before the international arbitral tribunal to resolve the dispute despite China’s refusal to participate.

It is also pushing for the crafting of a binding Code of Conduct in the Association of Southeast Asian Nations to ease the tension in the contested territory. PND (as)