The Philippines’ current stand on Russia-Ukraine war, as well as the Bangsamoro development plan, are among the issues raised during President-elect Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr.’s meetings with five envoys on Wednesday.
Ambassadors Bjorn Jahnsen (Norway), Juha Markus Pyykko (Finland), Titanilla Toth (Hungary), Raduta Dana Matache (Romania), and Bartinah Ntombizodwa Radebe-Netshitenzhe (South Africa) paid a courtesy call on Marcos at his headquarters in Mandaluyong City.
On the sidelines of the meeting, Pyykko expressed hope that the Marcos administration would adopt the Philippines’ position against Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
He issued the statement, as he expressed appreciation over the outgoing administration’s move to support the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) resolution condemning Russia’s aggression against Ukraine.
“The Philippines has been in the group of countries condemning the aggression and what I convey to the President-elect is that I hope his administration will continue to appreciate and respect this approach from the Philippine side in the future as well,” Pyykko said.
He said Russia’s action is a “breach of international law.”
“As EU-member state, we want to work with upholding international law and international rule-based order and at this juncture, I raised the Russian aggression against Ukraine because that is severe breach of international law and the international-rule based order,” he said.
The Philippines has joined 139 other nations in voting for a UNGA resolution on the scale of humanitarian woes caused by Russia’s attack on Ukraine.
The UNGA resolution, which was adopted on March 24, acknowledged that Russia’s military offensive and its humanitarian consequences are on a scale that has not been seen in Europe in many decades.
The Philippines is also one of the countries that voted in favor of suspending Russia from the United Nations Human Rights Council.
In April, President Rodrigo Duterte said Russia’s military offensives on Ukraine “deserves condemnation.”
Peace development in Bangsamoro
Meantime, Jahnsen assured Marcos that Norway will continue supporting his administration in terms of bringing peace and development to the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM).
“What we discussed in most detail on the peace talks was Norway’s engagement in the Bangsamoro,” Jahnsen said. “We look forward to continuing our support to bring peace to the Bangsamoro also during the next administration.”
Mindanao, particularly in BARMM, is reaping “dividends of peace” now that it becomes the second fastest-growing region in the country in terms of economic activity, Presidential Adviser on Peace, Reconciliation and Unity Secretary Carlito Galvez Jr. earlier said.
BARMM’s economy, Galvez noted, grew by 7.5 percent in 2021, a “remarkable” feat amid the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) pandemic.
Marcos and Jahnsen also discussed the stalled peace talks between the Philippine government and the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP).
Jahnsen, however, said he and Marcos did not “talk so much” about the terminated talks with the communist guerillas.
The CPP and its armed wing, the New People’s Army (NPA), is listed as a terrorist group by the United States, the European Union, the United Kingdom, Australia, Canada, New Zealand, and the Philippines.
The Anti-Terrorism Council also formally designated the CPP’s political wing, the National Democratic Front, as a terrorist organization on June 23, 2021, citing it as “an integral and inseparable part” of the CPP-NPA that was created in April 1973. (PNA)