Where there are Chinese vessels, there is destruction in marine life and the environment

The presence of Chinese vessels is affecting not only the Philippines but also other countries and regions. Chinese fishing vessels are blamed for overfishing in the Galapagos archipelago and the West Philippine Sea, both of which are located in the vast Pacific Ocean. Chinese vessels are also used to quarry limestone in Bohol.

In September last year, Chinese nationals were arrested for illegal dredging operations without visas and work permits in Masinloc, Zambales. The foreign vessel involved left but did not alleviate its negative impact on marine life and livelihood of the fishing communities in the area. In April this year, Chinese vessels attempted to quarry on Semirara Island amid quarantine restrictions.

Department of National Defense (DND) Secretary Delfin Lorenzana and activist groups have been expressing their concerns over the presence of Chinese vessels in the Philippines. But they will keep on coming back as long as President Rodrigo Duterte plays friendship card with Chinese President Xi Jinping.

ABS-CBN among Duterte’s first agenda during fifth SONA

Despite claims from the Palace about President Rodrigo Duterte’s neutral stance over the franchise issue of ABS-CBN, he wasted no time in lambasting the TV network within the first five minutes of his fifth State of the Nation Address (SONA).

According to Duterte, he is a “casualty” of the Lopezes, the family who owns and runs ABS-CBN which the Congress denied of a new 25-year franchise.

The president accused the Lopezes as “oligarchs” who utilize a “powerful tool” like the media in their “battle against political figures.”

Duterte has been repeatedly quoted with his statements against the network even before its franchise hearing in Congress, including his suggestion for the media giant to just sell the network and that he will see to it that ABS-CBN will be shut down.

Duterte admits he’s ‘inutile’ to pursue war vs China over West Philippine Sea

Claiming that he is not mad at the United States (US) nor with China, the dispute on the West Philippine Sea is everybody’s matter, President Rodrigo Duterte said.

Surrendering the battle for the country’s territorial claim in the West Philippine Sea was one of the issues Duterte talked about in his State of the Nation Address (SONA) at the Batasang Pambansa in Quezon City.

The country should “just cool off” and pursue “diplomatic endeavors” to counter China’s sweeping claims in the area “unless we are prepared to go to war,” Duterte declared.

“China is claiming it, we are claiming it. China has the arms. We do not have it so it’s simple as that. They are in possession of the property… So what can we do? We have to go to war, and I cannot afford it. Maybe some other President can, but I cannot. Inutil ako diyan, sabihin ko sa inyo. And I’m willing to admit it. Talagang inutil ako diyan, wala kong magawa,” the president admitted.

Duterte pushes for death penalty at SONA

President Rodrigo Duterte pushed for the revival of the death penalty through lethal injection in his 5th State of the Nation Address (SONA).

“I reiterate the swift passage of the law reviving the death penalty by lethal injection for crimes specified under the Comprehensive Dangerous Drugs Act of 2002,” said Duterte.

The president has been loud in his call to resume the discussion on the death penalty a couple of times; focusing on drug trafficking and other heinous crimes as main cases for the grave sanction.

Likewise, Duterte put the reimposition of the death penalty in Congress’ list of priorities last year in his fourth SONA, noting that it was repealed due to the judicial process of the Philippines is either manipulated or bought for people’s convenience; it only favors the privileged.

The death penalty via lethal injection will be further deliberated.