08 May 2017

From Presidential Spokesperson Ernie Abella – On the electoral victory of Emmanuel Macron as President of France
President Rodrigo Roa Duterte extends his congratulations to Emmanuel Macron on his election as President of France.

France is one of the biggest trading partners of the Philippines in the European Union (EU), and we look forward to working with the incoming Macron administration to enhance PH-FR bilateral relations.

From Presidential Spokesperson Ernie Abella – On the PH consideration on the 3rd Cycle of the Universal Periodic Review (UPR)
Today, May 8, the Philippine delegation highlights our significant achievments in upholding and protecting human rights. Senator Alan Peter Cayetano, together with Deputy Executive Secretary Menardo Guevarra, Presidential Human Rights Committee Undersecretary Severo Catura, Ambassador Evan Garcia of the Philippine Permanent Representative to the United Nations (UN) and Other International Organizations will present the human rights situation in the country before the United Nations Human Rights Council (UN HRC) during the third cycle of its Universal Periodic Review (UPR).

The actual review for the Philippines includes interactive discussion between the Philippines under review and other UN Member States. This takes place during a meeting of the UPR Working Group. During this discussion, UN Member States can make comments and/or give recommendations. Only UN Member States who have been able to express intent before the deadline can ask questions.

President Duterte to visit Cambodia, Hong Kong, and Beijing
President Rodrigo Roa Duterte will embark on a visit to Cambodia, Hong Kong, and Beijing, China from May 10 to 15.

In a press briefing in Malacañang on Monday, May 8, Acting Foreign Affairs Spokesperson Robespierre Bolivar said President Duterte primarily in his capacity as chair of Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) will be participating at the World Economic Forum (WEF) for ASEAN in Cambodia from May 10 to 11.

“And as ASEAN Chair, the President is expected to share his views on the region’s achievements and challenges, and to deliver a message to the youth of ASEAN,” Bolivar said.

He added that President Duterte has also been given the opportunity to address international investors regarding his economic plan.

According to Bolivar, the President is likely to inform the participants of the progress made in the building of the ASEAN Economic Community.

The Department of Foreign Affairs official said the organizers designated the President as an honored guest of the WEF, alongside the Prime Minister of Vietnam, who is currently the chair of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation.

The theme for this WEF, which is hosted by Cambodia for the first time, is: “Youth, Technology, and Growth: Securing ASEAN’s Digital and Demographic Dividends.”

This supports the three program pillars of the WEF on ASEAN 2017, namely: ASEAN in the New Global Context; ASEAN and the Connectivity Agenda; ASEAN and the Youth Agenda.

More than 700 leaders from business, government, civil society, and the media are expected to participate in the WEF.

The President then flies to Hong Kong where he is scheduled to meet with a large Filipino community based in the Special Administrative Region.

According to Bolivar, there are around 210,000 Filipinos in Hong Kong as of March this year, where many of whom work in the hotel and restaurant industry or in the Hong Kong residents’ households.

From Hong Kong, the President proceeds to Beijing, China to participate in the Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation that will be held from May 14 to May 15.

The President will join 27 other heads of state and government, as well as heads of three international organizations in the forum.

According to Bolivar, the BRF will have three parts: the opening ceremony; a ministerial level dialogue; and a leaders roundtable.

At the ministerial level dialogue, there will be an exchange of views involving participants from government, industries, and research institutes.

On the other hand, the leaders’ roundtable, to be chaired by President Xi Jinping, will be attended by the heads of state and government and international organizations.

The topics expected to be discussed include infrastructure connectivity; economic and trade cooperation; industrial investment; energy and resources; financial support; people-to-people exchanges; ecological and environmental protection; and marine cooperation. ###PND

From Presidential Spokesperson Ernie Abella – On the Marcos compensation for human right victims
Today, May 8, the first batch of human rights victims under the administration of former President Ferdinand Marcos, will receive compensation.

President Duterte gave the directive to the Human Rights Victims’ Claims Board (HRVCB), to speed up the process of evaluating and releasing the claims of martial law victims.

Reparation payments will be done through Land Bank cards and will come in monthly tranches.

The first batch will be from Metro Manila and the HRVCB will have a schedule for the provinces.

President Duterte supports the welfare of all, not the least of which are the victims of human rights violations during the martial law years.

From Presidential Spokesperson Ernie Abella – On Court of Appeals acquitting Janet Napoles
The Court of Appeals acquitting Ms. Janet Napoles involves her illegal detention case. It has no direct impact on her pork-barrel cases.

Government is clear that there is no policy shift on how we deal with Napoles. Neither there is an agreement forged between the Duterte administration and Napoles.

President Duterte has repeatedly asserted the independence of the three branches of government. He has vowed not to interfere with the decisions of the judiciary or legislature, and assures the people that he will respect and not influence the results of their decision.

The tri-partite separation of powers will be strictly observed under this administration.