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Philippines gets $5.3 billion climate finance commitment from Canada

MANILA, Philippines — South Korea is ready to partner with the Armed Forces of the Philippines for its modernization, and a shipyard in that country has started building the Philippine Navy’s first Corvette.

Philippine Navy chief Toribio Adaci Jr . visited the HD Hyundai Heavy Industries shipyard in Ulsan City for the keel-laying ceremony of Navy Corvette No. 1 and the steel cutting for Navy Corvette No. 2, the Philippine embassy in Seoul reported yesterday.

The ceremony for mally marks the beginning of the shipbuilding process.

In Manila, South Korean Ambassador Lee Sang-hwa said his government is trying to take on a stronger role and responsibility in upholding and enhancing a rules-based order in the Indo-Pacific region and beyond.

Under the Indo-Pacific strategy, South Korea gives priority to fostering close partnership with its friends, including the Philippines, that share core values – freedom, democracy, human rights and the rule of law.

“In this regard, we believe that for the modernization of the Philippine Armed Forces, there is no other friend who has more experience and track record for cooperation in this area. Korea is the most well-prepared and ready partner,” Lee said during a lunch meeting with the Philippine media last Tuesday at the ambassador’s official residence.

Senior officials and dignitaries from both sides attended the event in Ulsan City, which the embassy said  demonstrates the strong defense modernization partnership of the Philippines and the Republic of Korea.

During the recent visit, Adaci conveyed the Philippine Navy’s strong expectations and determination for the successful completion of the Corvette Acquisition Program with the Republic of Korea.

Adaci called on Philippine Ambassador Theresa Dizon-De Vega to relay the outcome of the ceremonies and his meetings with Korean counterparts on common maritime interests and strengthening mutual cooperation.

Dizon-De Vega emphasized the importance of continued active exchanges between the Philippine and Ko rean navies for Philippine defense modernization.

With the bilateral relations between the two countries reaching new heights, more high-level visits are expected and hope to elevate the bilateral partnership to a “strategic partnership,” Ambassador Lee said.

“We will not stop at rhetoric but will push ahead to expand and deepen substantive cooperation in va rious areas, including maritime security,” he added.

The South Korean embassy earlier expressed deep concern over the bombing during a Catholic mass at the Mindanao State University in Marawi on Sunday.

“We believe that violence, especially against innocent civilians, can never be tolerated under any circumstances. As the Philippines mourns the tragic loss of lives, we stand in solidarity with the government and people of the Philippines and extend our deepest condolences to the victims,” Lee said on Monday.

The Philippine Cast Guard (PCG) said the number of Chinese maritime militia vessels swarming in the vicinity of Juan Felipe (Whitsun) in the West Philippine Sea (WPS) has gone from 135 to 28 after some “actions” taken by Philippine authorities.

During yesterday’s hearing of the House special committee on WPS chaired by Mandaluyong City Rep. Neptali Gonzales II, PCG spokesman Commodore Jay Tarriela noted the Chinese vessels started swarming the reef on Nov. 5 and 6 but these vessels have lessened considerably.

Asked by ACT Teachers party-list Rep. France Castro if this is worth celebrating, Tarriela responded in the affirmative considering the “limited assets” of government.

He cited that there are only three Philippine vessels in Palawan notwithstanding “how vast WPS is,” but gave assurance the PCG and AFP are taking turns in patrolling the country’s territory.

The House of Representatives has adopted last night a resolution, “strongly condemning” China’s illegal actions in the West Philippine Sea.

House Resolution 1494, principally authored by Cagayan de Oro City Rep. Rufus Rodriguez and Mandaluyong’s Gonzales, also urges the Philippine government to “assert and protect the Philippines’ sovereign rights over its exclusive economic zone and continental shelf.” – Sheila Crisostomo, Evelyn Macairan

MANILA, Philippines — Four confirmed cases of “walking pneumonia” or Mycoplasma pneumoniae have been recorded by the Department of Health (DOH) in the country.

The confirmed cases of walking pneumonia were detected among the reported influenza-like illness (ILI) cases, according to the DOH.

The agency, however, stressed that Mycoplasma pneumoniae is not a novel or new pathogen and has been previously detected in local cases.

The rise in cases of ILI nationwide, DOH said, has already slowed down with a total of 9,834 recorded from Oct. 29 to Nov. 11. The figure is 11 percent lower than the ILI cases two weeks prior.

“Based on the five-year data, ILI cases are expected to continue declining in the coming weeks but are expected to rise again by the start of January,” DOH disclosed.

Meanwhile, President Marcos is “doing well” after contracting COVID-19 for the third time, according to Presidential Communications Office Secretary Cheloy Garafil.

Marcos, 66, tested positive for the disease on Monday night. He was advised by his doctors to undergo a mandatory five-day isolation.

The President is currently staying at Bahay Pangulo within the Palace complex.

In a statement on Tuesday, the PCO said “the President remains fit to carry out his duties and will be continuing his scheduled meetings via teleconference.”

Marcos tested positive for COVID-19 in July 2022 and in March 2020. He received his second COVID-19 booster dose in August 2022.

According to the DOH, the Philippines logged a total of 1,340 new coronavirus cases from Nov. 28 to Dec. 4, the highest number of fresh infections in 19 weeks.

Despite the slight increase in national level, the country’s health system remains low risk, DOH said.

It said respiratory diseases such as influenza and COVID-19 are expected to increase during colder months. – Bella Cariaso, Gilbert Bayoran

MANILA, Philippines — The Philippines and the United Nations Development Program have secured $5.3 billion in climate finance commitment from Canada, Malacañang said yesterday.

Global Affairs Canada Climate Finance executive director Andrew Hurst announced Canada’s increased support for the Philippines in the ongoing 28th Conference of the Parties of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change in Dubai.

According to a statement from the Presidential Communications Office (PCO), the new funding will help the Philippines in promoting biodiversity conservation, climate change mitigation, adaptation and resilience with consideration for gender equality.

The collaboration and finance commitment will run until 2026.

Hurst said their project covers activities that include research and knowledge sharing.

“It is also looking at ways to encourage the private sector both international and Philippines investors looking for opportunities to invest in these kinds of solutions,” Hurst was quoted by the PCO as saying.

Hurst expressed hope that “some of the efforts that are undertaken in this project can generate some ideas and form creative solutions that themselves may have a life beyond the end of the project.

“To the extent that good things come out of this project, then the results that are generated will continue to look for opportunities to build on and also work together in the future,” he said.

Hurst said they aim to address a number of persistent issues through a single intervention or in an integrated way.

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