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Duterte jokes about making PH a province of China in front of Chinese ambassador

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President Rodrigo Duterte jokingly suggested to make the Philippines a province of China to the applause of an audience made up of Filipino-Chinese businessmen and the Chinese envoy to the Philippines.

“Kung gusto ‘nyo, gawin ‘nyo na lang kaming province, parang Fujian,” said the President on February 19.

“Province of Philippines, Republic of China,” Duterte added.

The audience of Filipino-Chinese businessmen applauded him.

One of the guests at the event was Chinese Ambassador to the Philippines Zhao Jianhua.

Duterte made his joke at the joint event of the 20th Founding Anniversary Celebration of the Chinese Filipino Business Club, Inc. (CFBCI) and the 10th Biennial National Convention held at Manila Hotel’s Fiesta Pavilion on February 19.

His joke came after saying he believed in Chinese President Xi Jinping’s promise to him that China will not build any structure on Scarborough Shoal.

“Maniwala kayo kasi ‘yan ang commitment sa akin ni China. Si Xi Jinping mismo nagsabi and he’s a man of honor,” Duterte said.

The President also noted how the Philippines is still negotiating with China over the possibility of joint exploration in Scarborough Shoal and even suggested to share the oil, with two-thirds for the Philippines and one-third for China.

Duterte even acknowledged that China is indeed constructing “military bases” in the West Philippine Sea but said that China won’t use their assets against the Philippines. He added that the Chinese are likely building it up against the US.

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“There’s negotiations for joint exploration. Can you beat that? Hayaan mo missile-missile diyan, hindi para sa atin ‘yan,” he said.

The President also downplayed how China has successfully named undersea features in the Philippine Rise, formerly known as Benham Rise. He added that whatever resources would be found in the continental shelf will still be claimed by the Philippines.

As for the possibility of future scientific research in the Philippine Rise, Duterte said the military should give the go signal first before he would give the researchers permit.

Lawmakers hit Duterte over joke

Magdalo Representative Gary Alejano slammed Duterte for the “absolutely unacceptable” joke.

“It is absolutely unacceptable for the President, the top diplomat of the country, to joke about making the Philippines a province of China,” Alejano said.

“Such irresponsible banter is a slap in the face of the many Filipinos, including our soldiers stationed in our occupied islands, who work tirelessly to defend our territorial integrity from China,” he added.

“The President should be reminded that our territorial integrity and sovereignty are issues that should never be joked about,” Alejano said.

Anakpawis Party-list Representative Ariel Casilao also called out Duterte’s “unpatriotic” joke.

“Even if it is a joke, it is a clear manifestation of the defeatist stand of the Duterte government against the continuing aggressive behavior of China in the South China Sea, Casilao said.

“He only acts tough against opposition, critics and poor Filipinos but with China, he has the audacity to even go too far to make the Philippines a province of China. That is very unpatriotic,” he added.

Akbayan Representative Tom Villarin said the President’s joke would contradict the Philippine’s diplomatic efforts to assert the country’s sovereignty.

“It’s becoming a habit of the President to defer always to the wishes of China and such joke manifests his willful subservience at the expense of our sovereignty,” Villarin said.

He added: “With him as President, we will become inutile to assert our rights even through diplomacy and will be sold to China for a pittance. The joke is on us if we don’t call him out for such irresponsible statements.”

“One with China”

Clarifying Duterte’s joke, Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said that the President has made clear that the Philippines has rights over the South China Sea and the Philippine Rise in the same speech.

He added that what Duterte was trying to do was to underscore how the Philippines is “one with China.”

“So iyong biro niya is, you know, it’s just to emphasize na it’s ours but we’re one with China. Take it in that spirit,” Roque said.

“But he was very firm that we have title over the disputed area in West Philippine Sea, and we have rights in Benham – exclusive rights in Philippine Rise,” he added.

The Philippines won its international arbitration case against China in 2016 shortly after Duterte was sworn into office. Former President Benigno Aquino III initiated the filing of the case.

Sources: ( rappler.comsunstar.com.phnews.abs-cbn.cominquirer.net )

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Netizens slam Duterte for saying women ‘could not stand threats and intimidation’

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President Rodrigo Duterte drew flak for another controversial comment involving women after he remarked on May 24 that women “could not stand threats and intimidation.”

Duterte said that while he believed in women’s competence, it does not necessarily ring true in all aspects of life.

“I believe in the woman, the competence and capability, pero hindi lahat sa buhay dapat.Hindi ka, hindi, hindi. Dapat lang. It’s not appropriate when you cannot stand threats and intimidation,” he said in his May 24 speech.

He also said that women should be “prim and proper” and talked about his reservation in sending women police and soldiers to the field because unlike men, they did not grow up with a mindset that involves violence.

“Ang mga babae, sundalo pati pulis, ayaw ko ‘yan sa bukid. Unlike men kami, maliit pa lang, suntukan, bakbakan, barilan. And we grew up with a sort of a mindset na sometimes prone to violence. Itong mga babae, prim and proper man ‘yan, isang tingin lang sa nanay niyan, wala na tunaw na ‘yan. Tapos gawin mong pulis, ipaaway mo doon. Naku,” Duterte remarked.

Netizens then took to social media to react to Duterte’s most recent statements, making #BabaeAko trend again on Twitter.

“Mr. President, you just horrifyingly disrespected your own mother who bravely fought against the Marcos dictatorship. She withstood threats and intimidation. Siya ay babae! #BabaeAko,” a Twitter user remarked.

Forensic expert Dr. Raquel Fortun spoke out, too, saying “I am threatened and intimidated a lot. All my life. Don’t me. #BabaeAko.”

So did film and theater actress Chai Fonacier, who said, “Encouraging women — and I mean including those who identify as women — and our friends from the entire spectrum to share your #BabaeAko statements to fight the misogyny that the President and his ilk normalize through their behavior. Make them remember the feminine strength.”

KABATAAN Partylist Rep. Sarah Elago also reacted, saying she refused to be stereotyped.

Former Solicitor General Florin Hilbay urged other Filipinos to protest against Duterte’s misogynistic statements.

Other Twitter users weighed in on the issue.

Duterte’s previous misogynistic remarks

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His remarks in his speech on May 24 seemed to have sought to explain another controversial remark he made on May 16 when he said that he did not want a politician, especially a woman, to become the next Ombudsman.

“Mag-nominate sila, pero I choose, but gusto ko ‘yung bilib ang tao sa integrity niya. Of course it could not be a politician, lalo na hindi babae,” he said during a chance interview.

This gave birth to the launching of the #BabaeAko movement on social media on May 21 by women activists and other people who also want to protest Duterte’s misogynistic and sexist statements.

One of  the women who joined the #BabaeAko campaign was former Social Welfare Secretary Judy Taguiwalo who said, “Akala ko taumbayan ang boss ni Duterte. Yun pala sina Marcos, Gloria, Trump at China. Para sa bayang makatarungan at malaya, lalaban ako.”

In February, he was also slammed for telling his audience of former NPA rebels that he told his soldiers to shoot female rebels in the vagina.

Sources: ( rappler.comphilstar.com )

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New DOT chief to ask Montano why he rushed official New York engagement to watch Broadway show

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Newly installed Department of Tourism (DOT) Secretary Bernadette Romulo-Puyat said she plans on talking with Tourism Promotions Board (TPB) COO Cesar Montano to ask for his side on certain accusations that were hurled against him.

Among these accusations came from an Abante report where Montano was said to have rushed a speaking engagement staged by the DOT in New York to watch the Broadway musical show “Hamilton.”

DOT reportedly launched the Philippine Tourism Presentation and Dinner Reception on May 9 to showcase Philippine tourism and fashion at the Roosevelt Hotel in New York. Montano was introduced as the event’s keynote speaker, but he was said to have only spoken for a bit before hurriedly leaving the venue, disappointing the guests, which also included US officials.

Montano was said to have been invited to the event in behalf of the now-resigned Tourism Secretary Wanda Teo. He was also named as one of the two hosts, the other being Teo, of the said event.

In reaction to this report about Montano, Puyat said she would talk to Montano as well as the Tourism attache and other DOT officials who attended the event to verify the accusation in the report mentioned above.

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Puyat said that she would investigate into the “Buhay Carinderia” program that the TPB is set to implement. This was after Philippine Star Boo Chanco accused Montano of issuing P80-million worth of three checks to the event proponent and organizer.

“I still don’t have the papers. I will be asking [and] will be arranging a meeting with Mr. Cesar Montano to ask about ‘yung mga nabasa ko sa ‘Buhay Carinderia’ – kung totoo ba na walang bidding ‘yung P80 million na advance,” Puyat said on May 15.

“I’m planning to talk to him and ask his side. I want to ask all those who were there if it actually happened,” Puyat added.

In March 2017, TPB employees filed a complaint against Montano for his alleged corruption and mismanagement of the agency. These include hiring friends and relatives, using TPB’s funds for personal trips, and showing incompetence in fulfilling his obligations as the agency’s COO.

Sources: ( tnt.abante.com.phphilstar.comrappler.com )

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Eldest Tulfo vows to help Wanda clear her name, berates ‘black sheep’ Ben over controversial P60-M DOT ad deal

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Inquirer columnist Ramon Tulfo spoke up about the controversy involving his siblings, now resigned Tourism Secretary Wanda Tulfo-Teo and hosts Ben and Erwin Tulfo, over the P60 million tourism ad deal.

The eldest Tulfo wrote in his Inquirer column on May 10 that while President Rodrigo Duterte himself advised the Tulfo family to avoid talking to the media, he took it upon himself as the family’s acting patriarch to tell the story behind the controversy.

First up, Ramon blamed Teo for not hiring smart staff members who could have advised her against inking a deal with PTV 4, where one of the Tulfo brothers, Ben, was a blocktimer.

As a blocktimer, Ben pays for his TV show’s airtime on the state-run channel.

According to Ramon, Wanda was only complying with President Duterte’s injunction for his Cabinet secretaries to support PTV 4, adding that she did not know Ben’s company would get most of the multimillion advertising contract with DOT.

He also hit Ben, whom he called a “black sheep” with a “middle child” syndrome as the fifth child out of 10 siblings, for signing the P60-million advertising contract with PTV 4 despite knowing that there would be a conflict of interest on Wanda’s part.

Ramon also said that Wanda still tried to save Ben, who insisted on his innocence amid the controversy, leading her to resign from her post. He also explained that Wanda seemed to have forgotten the fact that her husband was on the board of director of the Tourism Infrastructure and Enterprise Zone Authority (Tieza), a part of DOT, when Duterte appointed her as tourism chief. He added that it should have been up to her husband to step down from his post upon his wife’s appointment.

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In the same column, he also slammed Wanda’s lawyer, Ferdinand Topacio, whom he said did not even consult the Tulfo brothers on returning the P60-million funds from the ad deal. He also described the lawyer as “all talk,” a counsel who’s only focused on gaining publicity for himself.

Unlike what has been previously reported about Wanda resigning out of delicadeza amid the controversy, Ramon let it slip that he commended President Duterte for “sacking Wanda,” prompting some people to ask whether Wanda was fired instead of resigned.

Before he ended his column, he vowed to support “Wanda’s fight to clear her name, but not Ben’s.”
Wanda resigned on May 8 to show delicadeza and to spare everyone, especially Duterte, from the pain caused by the controversy, according to her lawyer.

The issue started with the Commission on Audit’s report showing the DOT paying P60 million worth of commercials to PTV 4, which in turn, tapped Ben’s Bitag Media Unlimited Inc. to air the tourism ads during Ben and Erwin’s show “Kilos Pronto.”

Malacañang said that Teo’s resignation does not mean that she is off the hook since the Ombudsman is still looking into her and other government officials involved in the controversial ad deal.

Sources: ( inquirer.netnews.abs-cbn.com , nnphilippines.com )

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