After its initial reluctance, China is now urging members of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations to complete the code of conduct on the South China Sea before 2021, when President Rodrigo Duterte's three year turn as chairman of the regional ends.

No UNCLOS, no US-EU in South China Sea: Xi Jinping wants code of conduct finished before Duterte’s term ends

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After its initial reluctance, China is now urging members of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations to complete the code of conduct on the South China Sea before 2021, when President Rodrigo Duterte’s three year turn as chairman of the regional ends.

Nikkei Asia editor-in-chief Toru Takahashi said the three-year deadline was “unilaterally imposed” by China Premier Li Keqiang to take advantage of Duterte’s soft stance on China.

Takahashi said China also insisted that the negotiations be made with Asean not as a group but individually or on a bilateral basis with each of its 10 members.

“That reflected China’s position the territorial disputes are bilateral issues between it and each of the four ASEAN members concerned (Philippines, Vietnam, Malaysia, and Brunei). This approach maximizes its leverage and allows it to flex its muscles, if necessary, to get its own way,” said Takahashi.

Takahash said China has three demands on how the code of conduct should be drafted.

This includes nullifying the Philippines’ hard-earned victory in the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (Unclos) tribunal ruling on July 2016 which voided China’s claim on the South China Sea.

“According to diplomatic sources, China has three basic demands regarding the code of conduct: It should not be covered by the Unclos treaty; joint military exercises with countries outside the region must have the prior consent of all parties to the agreement; and no resource development should be conducted with countries outside the region,” said Takahashi.

“ASEAN cannot accept these demands because they would invalidate the tribunal’s ruling on China’s nine-dash line, and because they areaimed at curtailing the regional influence of the U.S. and Europe. ‘ASEAN is in no rush, and has no intention to finalize the COC by compromising strangely’, one diplomatic source said,” he added.

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Isusunod na sana sa pulis, sundalo: Duterte blames pandemic for failure to hike pay of public school teachers

President Rodrigo Duterte on Thursday (March 4) said he would have raised the salaries of public school teachers if the COVID-19 pandemic didn’t happen.

In a speech at the inauguration of two public school buildings in Valenzuela City, Duterte said he was already “saving” funds to raise the salaries of public school teachers.

Duterte previously said he wanted to increase the pay of public school teachers after doing the same for soldiers and policemen in 2018.

“Nag-iipon na po ako sa totoo lang kasi sabi ko next ang teacher,” he said.

“Now, when COVID came, bagsak talaga ang ekonomiya. Sarado ang mga factories, manufacturing whatever kasi takot nga eh. There was a lockdown. And between the economy and the health of the people with the pandemic whirling around, I thought it wise to cast my lot with the interest of the people in their health,” Duterte added.

An entry-level public school teacher with salary grade 11 currently earns P23,877 monthly under the Salary Standardization Law (SSL).

In a speech on June 13, 2019, Duterte said he was “working on” his promise to raise the pay of public school teachers, but said it was difficult since there were “million[s] of teachers” while there were only 160,000 policemen and 130,000 military personnel.

“It’s easy. That’s why their salaries have doubled,” Duterte said.

Amid vaccine arrival, Duterte to stay vigilant against Covid-19: ‘We may not be out of the woods yet’

By Prince Golez

Despite the availability of vaccines, President Rodrigo Duterte still reminds Filipinos to observe and comply with the health protocols.

“Let us continue observing and practicing health and safety protocols while waiting for more Covid-19 vaccines to reach the Philippines,” Duterte said at the arrival ceremony for the AstraZeneca Covid-19 vaccine Thursday evening.

“We may not be out of the woods yet but we are making progress and the end is in sight, and with your cooperation, we will overcome this pandemic and ensure the health and safety of everyone,” he added.

The President also stressed that in a pandemic, no one is safe until everyone is.

“As I have said before, these vaccines should be treated as a global public good. the need for international solidarity and cooperation cannot be made clearer than this pandemic because no one is safe globally until everyone is safe,” he also said.

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Bagamat inaasahang magsisimula na ang pagbabakuna, hindi pa rin papayagan ang pagbabalik eskwela. Ayon kay DOH Region 12 Spokesperson Arjohn Gangoso, sumusunod lamang sila sa mga patakaran at pagpapasya na ibinababa ng IATF.

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