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Department of Foreign Affairs-16Nov2009-updates

Singapore Foreign Minister George Yeo to Visit Manila

Posted: 16 Nov 2009 12:02 AM PST

16 November 2009 – Singapore Foreign Minister George Yeo will be in Manila for an official visit on November 19-22 upon the invitation of Foreign Affairs Secretary Alberto G. Romulo.

Minister Yeo will make a courtesy call on President Gloria-Macapagal Arroyo, as well as meet Secretary Romulo, with the view of enhancing bilateral relations and cooperation at the regional and multilateral levels.

His visit to the Philippines is auspicious as the Philippines and Singapore are commemorating the 40th anniversary of diplomatic relations this year.

The Philippines enjoys cordial diplomatic relations with Singapore, cultivated through frequent exchanges of visits by high-ranking officials. Both countries share a common vision of the importance of ASEAN and work closely together at ASEAN meetings and other international fora.

In the economic front, Singapore is one of the Philippines’ top trading partners. Bilateral meetings have been held at the sidelines of annual meetings such as the ASEAN Ministerial Meeting, the ASEAN Summit, the United Nations General Assembly and APEC, among others.

While in Manila, Minister Yeo will attend a wreath-laying ceremony at the Rizal Park and officiate the formal opening of the Singapore Embassy at the Bonifacio Global City.

He will likewise grace the concert performance of the Philippine Philharmonic Orchestra and two Singaporean soloists at the RCBC Plaza on November 21. The concert is part of the commemoration of the 40th anniversary of Philippines-Singapore diplomatic relations.

Moreover, Minister Yeo will speak at the 10th World Chinese Entrepreneur’s Convention (WCEC) at the SMX Convention Center on November 19-23 in Pasay City.

The WCEC is a biennial event for Chinese entrepreneurs around the globe aimed at providing a platform for the economic cooperation and exchanges, as well as establishing an economic network linking Chinese entrepreneurs worldwide. Minister Yeo will receive the chairmanship of the WCEC, as it is Singapore’s turn to host the 11th WCEC in 2011.

Minister Yeo has visited the Philippines on a number of occasions. He undertook an official visit on 15 February 2006 and was with the official delegation of Singapore President S. R.. Nathan during the latter’s visit on 13-16 February 2007. The Minister was also in Manila in July 2007 for the 40th ASEAN Ministerial Meeting and received from Secretary Romulo the chairmanship of the ASEAN Standing Committee. END

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Secretary Romulo meets with Canadian Foreign Minister Cannon

Posted: 15 Nov 2009 09:41 PM PST

16 November 2009 – Secretary Alberto G. Romulo met with Canadian Foreign Minister Lawrence Cannon last November 14 on the sidelines of the APEC meetings in Singapore.

During the meeting, the two Ministers reaffirmed the 60 years of strong relations between the Philippines and Canada and discussed ways to further strengthen existing cooperation.

Minister Cannon praised the contributions of almost half a million Filipino-Canadians residing in Canada to the development of his country.

Secretary Romulo also took the opportunity to thank the Canadian Government for the timely and generous assistance it extended to the Philippines in the aftermath of typhoons Ondoy and Pepeng. END

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RP laments lack of progress on Security Council Reforms, calls on UN Member States to take more concrete action

Posted: 15 Nov 2009 09:29 PM PST

16 November 2009 – Exasperated by what it described as the lack of progress in implementing major changes in the work of the Security Council, the Philippines on Thursday called on Member States to finally take concrete action on proposed reforms in the most powerful organ of the United Nations.

“What is needed now is action. Action. Action. There should be no turning back,” Philippine Permanent Representative to the United Nations Hilario G. Davide, Jr. said in his statement during the joint debate of the 64th Session of the General Assembly on Agenda Item 9 on the report of the Security Council and on Agenda Item 119 on Security Council reforms.

In his statement, Ambassador Davide reminded Member States of their resolve during the 63rd Session of the General Assembly, to be more dynamic and bold and to exercise some political will to pursue the mandate of General Assembly Decision 62/557 to commence intergovernmental negotiations.

“After two decades of embarrassing sojourn within the confines of the Open-Ended Working Group and repeating the same old arguments day-in and day-out, the gates are now open for negotiations that will hopefully bring harvest of agreements on Security Council reform,” the former Chief Justice said in what is perhaps the strongest statement the Philippines delivered on Security Council reforms.

Ambassador Davide noted the difficulty of cutting the umbilical cord of the Open-Ended Working Group, created by the General Assembly to discuss Security Council reforms, as paragraph 17 (c) of its report still states that the General Assembly can convene it if Member States so decide.

“The Philippines hopes that the General Assembly should not so decide; otherwise it will sadly be brought back to where it started,” he said. “With vim, vigor and vitality and with political will, the General Assembly must concentrate on intergovernmental negotiations.

“We have already crossed the Rubicon, so to speak. When Member States began intergovernmental negotiations, they have, for all intents and purposes, put an end to the Open-Ended Working Group,” Ambassador Davide said. “The general membership now has no other choice but to go forward and, with good and abiding good faith, work on Security Council reform.”

Ambassador Davide said the Philippines has submitted its own specific Security Council reform proposals and has reiterated, amplified and supplemented these during the long discussions in various rounds and exchanges.

The Philippine proposals included amending the UN Charter and expanding the membership of the Security Council from the present 15 member-states to 31 as well as mechanisms that would not only curtail the use of the veto power but also allow Member States to overturn or override a veto by any of the council’s five Permanent Members.

“The Philippines respectfully submits that delegations should now work on some draft document or paper so that discussions could be more focused,” he said, adding that the draft can come from the Chairman or can be the product of the general membership itself.

What is of paramount importance, according to him, is for all the proposals on the key issues to be reflected in the draft. He said that at this juncture, the Philippines maintains its position that what can be adopted now must be approved now.

“The Philippines cannot subscribe to the concept of nothing is agreed unless everything is agreed as such a concept is undemocratic, divisive, irrational, unjust and oppressive. Yielding to it would spell disaster to all efforts at reform in the UN,” Ambassador Davide said.

The Filipino envoy said the Security Council itself should now act on reforms in its working methods to make it truly democratic, transparent, accountable and genuinely observant of the requirements of the Rule of Law and due process.

“It should not place itself in an embarrassing situation where it would be prodded again, for instance, to simply delete the word Provisional in the title of its Provisional Rules of Procedure,” he said. END

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RP Peacekeepers in Darfur Honored

Posted: 15 Nov 2009 09:19 PM PST

16 November 2009 – The United Nations awarded peacekeeping medals to 91 officers of the Philippine National Police (PNP) serving as police advisers with the United Nations-African Union Hybrid Mission in Darfur (UNAMID).

Photo shows UNAMID Joint Special Representative Henry Anyidoho reviewing the Philippine police contingent during ceremonies in El Fasher, Sudan, where he commended the Filipino peacekeepers for their disciplined approach to their duties, selflessness and substantial contribution to the peace process in Darfur.

The Philippines has a total of 163 police officers, including nine women, serving in UNAMID. (Photo by Nektarios Markogiannis) END

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RP Consulate In Honolulu hosts reception to thank Filcom and Volunteers; Lea Salonga as Special Guest

Posted: 15 Nov 2009 09:08 PM PST

16 November 2009 – Philippine Consul General to Honolulu Leoncio R. Cardenas hosted a reception to thank all Filipino community leaders and volunteers for their initiatives and generous efforts in rallying the Filipino community in Hawaii, and raising an estimated US$200,000 for the victims of the recent typhoons in the Philippines.

In a report to the Department of Foreign Affairs, Consul General Cardenas stated that the special guest for the evening was internationally-acclaimed Filipino singer, Lea Salonga, who donated a portion of the ticket sales of her sold-out concert at Blaisdell Arena on November 10.

Shown at photo are State of Hawaii Officials Councilman Romeo Cachola, Vice Speaker Michael Magaoay and Senator Robert Bunda who gave their respective Certificates of Appreciation to Ms. Salonga for her valuable contributions in enhancing the prestige and image of Filipinos through her significant artistic achievements and for her humanitarian contribution to the typhoon relief drive. END

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