OBAMA VISIT STATE DINNER: LAPU-LAPU W/ PILI NUT CRUST, LOBSTER, KILAWIN...

Lapu-lapu with pili nut crust, lobster ‘kilawin’… Red-dotted lapu-lapu (grouper) with pili nut crust, lobster kilawin carpaccio, baby sprouts and fiddle fern with calamansi jam were among the dishes that were served at the state dinner Malacañang hosted for President Obama Monday night. Obama and his delegation were also treated to Filipino songs and dances. Other dishes on the menu were seafood stew with river prawns, scallops and smoked mussels, sweet banana in rich tomato and coriander sauce, annatto lemongrass-marinated US prime rib, pumpkin mash and local vegetables cooked in coconut milk. For dessert, the host served coconut lychee ice cream served with mango macapuno strudel. “Lobster, prawns, scallops, mussels, kilawin represent the wealth of our waters. Dessert is coconut-based. Fisheries and coconut form the core of our agriculture,” Communications Secretary Herminio Coloma said, explaining the menu to reporters. In his dinner speech, President Aquino welcomed Obama and his delegation anew to the Philippines. “Though your stay here in my country may be short, I hope that it will allow you to see and experience for yourself how, indeed, it is more fun in the Philippines and that undoubtedly, the Philippines works,” Aquino said, eliciting a smile from Obama. READ MORE...

ALSO: Who’s who at Aquino’s state dinner for Obama

Topping US President Barack Obama’s state visit on Monday was a grand dinner reception in Malacañang attended by the who’s who of Philippine politics, entertainment, and high society. Besides the toasts given by Obama and President Benigno Aquino III, the highlight of the night for many people watching the festivities on television were the guests. Who were invited and who were seated together? Joining them at the presidential table were former Presidents Joseph Estrada (now Manila Mayor) and Fidel Ramos, and Vice President Jejomar Binay. Heads of the other branches of government were also seated beside them: Senate President Franklin Drilon, House Speaker Feliciano Belmonte and Chief Justice Lourdes Sereno. Completing the group were Executive Secretary Jojo Ochoa, Foreign Secretary Albert del Rosario, Philippine Ambassador to US Jose Cuisia, US National Security Adviser Susan Rice, US deputy chief of staff Rob Nabors, and US Ambassdor Philip Goldberg. The presidential sisters were in attendance. Spotted at the “bountiful harvest”-themed reception were Senators Loren Legarda, Cynthia Villar, Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr., Vicente “Tito” Sotto III, Gringo Honasan and Juan Ponce Enrile, who was at one point seen having having a chat and smiling with Manila Mayor Estrada. READ IN FULL...

Binay, Obama share family stories at Palace dinner

What happens when the man who wants to become the Philippines’ “first black President” sits for dinner with the first African-American President of the United States? Vice President Jejomar Binay, called “Jojobama” in jokes comparing him to US President Barack Obama because of his dark complexion, exchanged personal stories with the visiting American leader on Monday night as they shared a table at the state dinner in Malacañang thrown by the Aquino administration in Obama’s honor. “[He is] a good listener. You can see his sincerity and genuine interest,” Binay said in a statement released just before he left for a speaking engagement in Washington on Tuesday night, 11 hours after Obama flew home from the Philippines aboard Air Force One. Binay was first called “Jojobama” in 2008 after the inspiring Obama was elected president of the United States. He was then mayor of Makati City but that early he declared his intent to eventually run for President. He would be elected vice president less than two years later. Childhood dream --Now he is preparing for the biggest campaign of his political career—a bid for the presidency in 2016 to fulfill a “childhood dream.” At dinner with Obama, Binay talked about family and law, both he and Obama being lawyers. He came to the state dinner with his wife, Elenita, but she was assigned a seat at a different table. “During the state dinner, Vice President Binay and Obama were seatmates and they talked mainly about their parents and family. Obama talked about his father, the Vice President about losing his mother (Lourdes) when he was 9 years old,” Binay’s spokesman Joey Salgado said.READ MORE...

(ALSO) NETIZENS ASK ‘Nonoy’, ‘Niño’: Ano ba talaga, Obama?

US President Barack Obama seemed to be confused with the name of President Benigno Aquino III when he addressed Aquino during their joint press conference in Malacanang Monday afternoon. During his speech, Obama was heard saying “Nonoy” and “Niño,” referring to the Philippine President. Aquino’s nickname is “Noynoy” while his father Benigno is “Ninoy.” Various netizens took notice of Obama’s confusion as they took to Twitter to address Obama’s erroneous references.THIS IS THE FULL REPORT.

ALSO: Obama ignites Chinese anger as he warns against force

Barack Obama ended an Asian tour Tuesday with a warning to China against using force in territorial disputes, as Chinese authorities accused the US president of ganging up with “troublemaking” allies. The barbs ensured a tense finish to a four-nation trip dominated by the worsening maritime rows between China and US allies in the region, which have triggered fears of military conflict. “We believe that nations and peoples have the right to live in security and peace, to have their sovereignty and territorial integrity respected,” Obama told a gathering of US and Filipino troops in Manila. “We believe that international law must be upheld, that freedom of navigation must be preserved and commerce must not be impeded. We believe that disputes must be resolved peacefully and not by intimidation or force.” Close American ally the Philippines has been embroiled in one of the highest-profile territorial disputes with China, over tiny islets, reefs and rocks in the South China Sea. China claims nearly all of the South China Sea, which is believed to contain huge deposits of oil and gas, even waters and islands or reefs close to its neighbours. The Philippines, which has one of the weakest militaries in the region, has repeatedly called on longtime ally the United States for help as China has increased military and diplomatic pressure to take control of the contested areas.READ MORE...

ALSO: SWS: 79% of Pinoys trust US

US President Barack Obama is greeted by Vice President Jejomar Binay upon his arrival at the AGES Aviation Center in Pasay City yesterday. A high percentage of Filipinos trust the United States, according to a recent survey by the Social Weather Stations (SWS). The survey, taken from March 27 to 30, found 43 percent of respondents saying they have “very much trust” in the US and 41 percent saying they have “somewhat much trust.” This resulted in a net trust score of 79, which is classified by the SWS as “excellent.” SWS said the latest net trust rating of 79 is just three points below the record-high “excellent” score of 82 in December 2013, and is close to the excellent 80 in August 2012.

ALSO: Rallyists express rage with rotten eggs, tomatoes

Leftist activists assembled yesterday at the Don Chino Roces Bridge near Malacañang and pelted with eggs and tomatoes a tarpaulin that had a photograph of President Aquino, to protest the signing of a new military agreement between the Philippines and the United States. Members of the Bagong Alyansang Makabayan (Bayan) later burned the effigies of Aquino and US President Barack Obama at the bridge. Wilson Hortaleza of Partido ng Manggagawang Pilipino (PMP) said the 10-year Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement (EDCA) signed by the Philippines and the US would only benefit the Americans. Experts believed that EDCA would allow the US to help defend the Philippines from China that had been aggressively asserting its claim over disputed territories in the West Philippine Sea. Hortaleza, however, was mum on China’s bullying, saying that PMP is against war. About 50 members of the PMP arrived in the area at about 9 a.m. Members of Bayan-affiliated militant groups also arrived and held their own program lambasting the new military deal. They brought a tarpaulin with the photograph of Aquino wearing a camouflage uniform. READ MORE...

ALSO: ‘Adobo’ diplomacy

Call it “adobo diplomacy,” or “special lumpia relations.” Visiting US President Barack Obama charmed the Malacañang crowd Monday night when he mentioned that even before he set foot in the Philippines, he already had a taste of Filipino food, the aforementioned adobo and lumpia, courtesy of White House Fil-Am executive chef Cristeta Comerford. Now he can say that his culinary boundaries have broadened, because he also had a taste of lapu-lapu in pili crust, lobster kilawin or ceviche, ginataang gulay or vegetables cooked in coconut milk, and prime rib prepared inasal-style at the welcome dinner. For a sweet ending, he was served coconut-lychee ice cream served alongside a mango-macapuno strudel, a showcase of coconut-based cooking and the famous, unparalleled Philippine mango. Too bad Michelle Obama, who is trying to get Americans to eat healthier and patronize backyard gardens, wasn’t with her husband on this visit. It would be interesting to find out what she thought of the nutritional value of the food served not just in official banquets or during fiestas but in typical Filipino homes, on ordinary days. I wonder what she would have thought of the “typical” family meals, with the most popular or common fare, according to a national nutrition survey, being fried fish, sautéed vegetables and fried egg. No lumpia or adobo here. And dog? Obama, it’s said, is the only American president to have eaten dog meat, courtesy of his Indonesian stepfather who introduced him in his youth to exotic meats like dog, insects and snake in an effort to acculturate him. Does his taste for the exotic give Obama a special understanding of the issues and aspirations of Third World peoples, especially in this corner of the globe? Does he have a better understanding of hunger, malnutrition and poverty than a typical politician subsisting on steak and potatoes? Does diet determine destiny? * * * Leftist activists tried their darndest to paint the Obama visit in the familiar colors of colonialism and patronizing, unequal relations. But the tibak need only watch footage of the welcome given to Obama by mostly Malacañang employees lined outside the main hall to realize the futility of their protests. There these ordinary Pinoys were, eagerly holding out their hands to be shaken by the visiting American leader, even as their own boss P-Noy stood off to one side, smiling bemusedly at this display of Filipino hospitality and friendliness. True enough, in the run-up to the Obama visit, Social Weather Stations came out with findings that over 80 percent of respondents looked favorably on the United States and on Americans. Coincidentally, a multination survey revealed that Filipinos top all other nationalities (including Americans, who came in third) in their approval of the US government. CONTINUE READING...


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OBAMA VISIT STATE DINNER: Lapu-lapu with pili nut crust, lobster ‘kilawin’…


US President Barack Obama stands to speak as he attends a state dinner with Philippine President Benigno Aquino III at Malacanang Palace in Manila, Philippines, Monday, April 28, 2014. AP PHOTO/CAROLYN KASTER

MANILA,
MAY 5, 2014 (INQUIRER) By TJ A. Burgonio - Red-dotted lapu-lapu (grouper) with pili nut crust, lobster kilawin carpaccio, baby sprouts and fiddle fern with calamansi jam were among the dishes that were served at the state dinner Malacañang hosted for President Obama Monday night.

Obama and his delegation were also treated to Filipino songs and dances.

Other dishes on the menu were seafood stew with river prawns, scallops and smoked mussels, sweet banana in rich tomato and coriander sauce, annatto lemongrass-marinated US prime rib, pumpkin mash and local vegetables cooked in coconut milk.

For dessert, the host served coconut lychee ice cream served with mango macapuno strudel.

“Lobster, prawns, scallops, mussels, kilawin represent the wealth of our waters. Dessert is coconut-based. Fisheries and coconut form the core of our agriculture,” Communications Secretary Herminio Coloma said, explaining the menu to reporters.

In his dinner speech, President Aquino welcomed Obama and his delegation anew to the Philippines.

“Though your stay here in my country may be short, I hope that it will allow you to see and experience for yourself how, indeed, it is more fun in the Philippines and that undoubtedly, the Philippines works,” Aquino said, eliciting a smile from Obama.

Order of Sikatuna

Aquino also conferred the Order of Sikatuna, with the highest rank of Raja or Grand Collar, on Obama “for his leadership and policies that assisted the Philippines in times of natural disaster, for helping uphold stability and peace by means of the rule of law in Southeast Asia, and for working with us to fundamentally raise the defense capacity of my country.”

“The first of your predecessors to receive this distinction was Dwight D. Eisenhower in 1960. Then, as now, may this conferment symbolize our nation’s esteem for the American people; and may it serve as a reminder of the mutual desire to always be partners based on the highest principles of liberty, democracy and progress,” Aquino said.

Greetings in Filipino

Obama charmed the Filipino guests that included former Presidents Fidel Ramos and Joseph Estrada by beginning his speech in Filipino.

“Magandang gabi,” he said, drawing applause. “I want to thank you for the magnificent welcome today, and your gracious hospitality.”

He said he was “deeply honored” by the conferment of the Order of Sikatuna on him. “I accept it in the spirit it has been bestowed: with the commitment to continue deepening the bonds between our two great nations.”

Later in the evening, The Madrigal Singers sang “Kaisa-isa Nyan” and “Da Coconut Nut”; and then, with Leo Valdez, Bituin Escalante, and Power Dance Company, performed “Hibang sa Awit” and “Balut.”

Kuh Ledesma serenaded the guests with “Let’s Stay Together.” Apl.de.Ap, Bayanihan Philippine Dance Company and Powerdance Company followed up with “I’ve Got a Feeling” and “Singkil.”

Performing together, the artists capped the program with “Happy.”

In his remarks over dinner, Obama also said that Americans and Filipinos shared many things in common, including a mutual obsession with basketball and mutual admiration for world boxing champion Manny Pacquiao.

Filipino-Americans

“Even if sometimes he’s fighting against Americans and it doesn’t turn out the way we’d like,” he said, referring to Pacquiao.

And of course, the shared pride in the millions of Filipino-Americans who contribute to the United States’ economy,

Obama added.

He pointed to White House executive chef Cristeta Comerford from Manila. “Thanks to her, we in the White House enjoy the occasional lumpia and adobo,” he said, drawing applause.

Tribute to Cory, Ninoy

Obama praised Aquino for his family’s contribution to the restoration of democracy in the Philippines.

He paid tribute to Aquino’s late mother, former President Corazon C. Aquino, and the Filipinos “who took to the streets” and showed the world the “true power lies with the people.”

He was referring to the ouster of strongman Ferdinand Marcos in the Edsa People Power Revolution in February 1986.

“And Mr. President, your father offered his life, so that this nation might be free,” he said in his remarks over dinner, drawing another round of applause. He was referring to Sen. Benigno Aquino Jr., the leader of the opposition to Marcos who was assassinated in August 1983 on his return from exile in the United States.

There was no “greater nobility” than offering one’s life to the nation,” he added.

“Noynoy, you bear the scars of those who would have taken this nation backward, and you carry on your family’s noble tradition of service in your commitment to the dignity and prosperity of the Filipino people,” he said, addressing Aquino.

Spirit of the nation

Obama said the spirit of the nation could also be seen in the Filipinos’ overcoming colonialism, occupation, invasion and dictatorship.

“Yours is a fierce independence won through sacrifices and renewed with each generation,” he said. “And we saw that again this year. After (Super Typhoon) Yolanda, America grieved with you and stood with you, but we were also inspired by your resilience and your determination to care for those who have been affected.”

“Tonight, our hearts actually grieve for some of our fellow Americans back home who have been devastated by very terrible storms and tornadoes, but we draw our strength from your example,” he said.

Who’s who at Aquino’s state dinner for Obama By Kristine Angeli Sabillo INQUIRER.net 12:07 pm | Tuesday, April 29th, 2014


U.S. President Barack Obama, center, stands to speak as he attends a state dinner with Philippine President Benigno Aquino III at Malacanang Palace in Manila, Philippines, Monday, April 28, 2014. AP

MANILA, Philippines –Topping US President Barack Obama’s state visit on Monday was a grand dinner reception in Malacañang attended by the who’s who of Philippine politics, entertainment, and high society.

Besides the toasts given by Obama and President Benigno Aquino III, the highlight of the night for many people watching the festivities on television were the guests.

The menu gives the 44th US president a taste of Filipino food, with most items using local ingredients.

The dishes include:

Lobster kilawin carpaccio, baby sprouts and fiddle fern with kalamansi jam (Kilawing ulang, pako at sarisaring talbos na may halayang kalamansi)

Seafood stew with river prawns, scallops and smoked mussels, sweet banana in rich tomato and coriander sauce (Pocherong lamang dagat na may suahe, scallops at tinapang tahong)

Red-dotted lapu-lapu with pili nut crust, pumpkin mash and local vegetables cooked in coconut milk (Lapu-lapu na may pili nut crust, nilupak na kalabasa at guinataang gulay)

Annato lemongrass marinated in US prime rib, pumpkin mash and Batangas farmed vegetables (US prime rib inasal, nilupak na kalabasa at samu't saring gulay mula sa Batangas)

Coconut lychee ice cream served with mango macapuno strudel (Buko lychee sorbetes na may mangga't macapunong napoleones)

Coffee or tea

The host country shoulders the costs of state dinners given in honor of visiting heads of state.

On this first state visit to the Philippines, US President Barack Obama will have a taste of Filipino seafood for dinner, a radio report said.

The report, quoting the executive cook of the Makati Shangri-La which will host the state dinner later, said one of the main dishes is lobster from Guimaras island, which the chef claimed is among the “best lobster in the country.”

Who were invited and who were seated together?

PRESIDENTIAL TABLE

Aquino and Obama were at the forefront of Monday night’s festivities. Seated side by side at the head table, the two heads of state exchanged toasts and praises.

Joining them at the presidential table were former Presidents Joseph Estrada (now Manila Mayor) and Fidel Ramos, and Vice President Jejomar Binay. Heads of the other branches of government were also seated beside them: Senate President Franklin Drilon, House Speaker Feliciano Belmonte and Chief Justice Lourdes Sereno.

Completing the group were Executive Secretary Jojo Ochoa, Foreign Secretary Albert del Rosario, Philippine Ambassador to US Jose Cuisia, US National Security Adviser Susan Rice, US deputy chief of staff Rob Nabors, and US Ambassdor Philip Goldberg.

PRESIDENTIAL SISTERS

Also in attendance were Aquino’s sisters Maria Elena “Ballsy” Aquino-Cruz, Aurora Corazon “Pinky” Aquino-Abellada, Victoria Elisa “Viel” Aquino-Dee and Kris Aquino.

Flaunting her new short hairstyle, actress and television host Kris wore a purple Cary Santiago gown.


Former Presidents Joseph Estrada and Senator Juan Ponce Enrile

SENATORS
Spotted at the “bountiful harvest”-themed reception were Senators Loren Legarda, Cynthia Villar, Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr., Vicente “Tito” Sotto III, Gringo Honasan and Juan Ponce Enrile, who was at one point seen having having a chat and smiling with Manila Mayor Estrada.

OTHER OFFICIALS
Not to be forgotten is Interior Secretary Mar Roxas who was among those who welcomed Obama when he arrived onboard the Air Force One in Manila. Ombudsman Conchita Carpio-Morales also shared a photo with the Presidential sisters, uploaded on Instagram by Kris.

Other Cabinet members and congressmen also attended the event.

BUSINESS SECTOR
Guests from the business setor included Tessie Sy-Coson of the SM Group and Jaime Zobel de Ayala of Ayala Corporation.

Binay, Obama share family stories at Palace dinner By Tarra Quismundo Philippine Daily Inquirer 2:24 am | Thursday, May 1st, 2014

MANILA, Philippines—What happens when the man who wants to become the Philippines’ “first black President” sits for dinner with the first African-American President of the United States?

Vice President Jejomar Binay, called “Jojobama” in jokes comparing him to US President Barack Obama because of his dark complexion, exchanged personal stories with the visiting American leader on Monday night as they shared a table at the state dinner in Malacañang thrown by the Aquino administration in Obama’s honor.

“[He is] a good listener. You can see his sincerity and genuine interest,” Binay said in a statement released just before he left for a speaking engagement in Washington on Tuesday night, 11 hours after Obama flew home from the Philippines aboard Air Force One.

Binay was first called “Jojobama” in 2008 after the inspiring Obama was elected president of the United States. He was then mayor of Makati City but that early he declared his intent to eventually run for President.

He would be elected vice president less than two years later.

Childhood dream

Now he is preparing for the biggest campaign of his political career—a bid for the presidency in 2016 to fulfill a “childhood dream.”

At dinner with Obama, Binay talked about family and law, both he and Obama being lawyers. He came to the state dinner with his wife, Elenita, but she was assigned a seat at a different table.

“During the state dinner, Vice President Binay and Obama were seatmates and they talked mainly about their parents and family. Obama talked about his father, the Vice President about losing his mother (Lourdes) when he was 9 years old,” Binay’s spokesman Joey Salgado said.

Binay’s mother died of pulmonary disease.

“He also talked about growing up alone and how he adores his 13 grandchildren,” Salgado said.

Lawyers’ talk

The conversation about law was natural. Obama practiced and taught law in Chicago before going into politics, while Binay was a human rights lawyer during the martial law years and went into public service after democracy was restored in 1986.

“They also talked about being lawyers: the Vice President about being a trial lawyer, Obama about being a community organizer and law professor. Obama told P-Noy (President Aquino), ‘I’m hearing emotional stories from the Vice President,’” Salgado said.

Binay, who met Obama at Ninoy Aquino International Airport on his arrival on Monday, also sent off the US leader when he left Tuesday afternoon.

According to Binay, Obama expressed his gratitude and told him: “Give my regards to your family.”

Before their encounter in the Philippines, Binay and Obama had officially met twice: At the nuclear summit in Seoul in 2012 and at the nuclear summit in The Hague, the Netherlands, in March. At the summit in The Hague, Binay’s daughter Anne got the chance to take a “selfie” with the American president.

After bidding Obama farewell at the airport, Binay left for Washington at 10 p.m. to keynote a leadership forum of the Center for Strategic International Studies, a globally renowned international policy institution.

Washington business

In Washington, Binay will meet with US Vice President Joe Biden and key members of the United States House of Representatives, including Rep. Steve Chabot, chair of the foreign affairs committee’s subcommittee on Asia and the Pacific, and Rep. Eliot Engel, a ranking member of the foreign affairs committee.

Binay is also scheduled to meet with members of the US Chamber of Commerce, the US-Asean Business Council and the US-Philippine Society.

NETIZENS ASK ‘Nonoy’, ‘Niño’: Ano ba talaga, Obama? By Nestor Corrales INQUIRER.net 11:05 am | Tuesday, April 29th, 2014


U.S. President Barack Obama looks to Philippine President Benigno Aquino III as he signs a guestbook at Malacanang Palace in Manila, Philippines, Monday, April 28, 2014. AP FILE PHOTO

MANILA, Philippines—US President Barack Obama seemed to be confused with the name of President Benigno Aquino III when he addressed Aquino during their joint press conference in Malacanang Monday afternoon.

During his speech, Obama was heard saying “Nonoy” and “Niño,” referring to the Philippine President.

Aquino’s nickname is “Noynoy” while his father Benigno is “Ninoy.”

Various netizens took notice of Obama’s confusion as they took to Twitter to address Obama’s erroneous references.

Obama ignites Chinese anger as he warns against force Agence France-Presse 5:09 pm | Tuesday, April 29th, 2014


President Barack Obama waves as he boards Air Force One during his departure at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport in Manila, Philippines on Tuesday, April 29, 2014. AP

MANILA, Philippines — Barack Obama ended an Asian tour Tuesday with a warning to China against using force in territorial disputes, as Chinese authorities accused the US president of ganging up with “troublemaking” allies.

The barbs ensured a tense finish to a four-nation trip dominated by the worsening maritime rows between China and US allies in the region, which have triggered fears of military conflict.

“We believe that nations and peoples have the right to live in security and peace, to have their sovereignty and territorial integrity respected,” Obama told a gathering of US and Filipino troops in Manila.

“We believe that international law must be upheld, that freedom of navigation must be preserved and commerce must not be impeded. We believe that disputes must be resolved peacefully and not by intimidation or force.”

Close American ally the Philippines has been embroiled in one of the highest-profile territorial disputes with China, over tiny islets, reefs and rocks in the South China Sea.

China claims nearly all of the South China Sea, which is believed to contain huge deposits of oil and gas, even waters and islands or reefs close to its neighbours.

The Philippines, which has one of the weakest militaries in the region, has repeatedly called on longtime ally the United States for help as China has increased military and diplomatic pressure to take control of the contested areas.

The Philippines and the United States signed an agreement on Monday that will allow a greater US military presence on Filipino bases.

Obama pledges support

And Obama sought on Tuesday to reassure the Philippines that the United States would support its ally in the event of being attacked, citing a 1951 mutual defense treaty between the two nations.

“This treaty means our two nations pledge, and I am quoting, ‘our common determination to defend themselves from external armed attacks’,” Obama said.

“And no potential aggressor can be under the illusion that either of them stands alone. In other words, our commitment to defend the Philippines is ironclad. The United States will keep that commitment because allies will never stand alone.”

Nevertheless, Obama did not specifically mention coming to the aid of the Philippines if there were a conflict over the contested South China Sea areas, as his hosts had hoped.

On the first leg of his Asian tour in Tokyo, Obama had made such a pledge of support to Japan, which is locked in its own dispute with China over rival claims to islands in the East China Sea.

Obama’s nuanced position on the Philippines was part of a tight-rope act he had tried to perform during his trip — reassuring allies wary about China’s perceived increased hostility while not antagonizing the leadership in Beijing.

While offering pledges of protection to Japan and the Philippines, Obama also insisted the United States was not seeking to counter or contain China.

And reflecting the difficulties of Obama’s balancing act, there were complaints in the Philippines that he had not offered explicit support in the event of a conflict over the contested South China Sea areas.

“No firm commitment from US to defend PH,” said the front-page headline of the Philippine Daily Inquirer after Obama met President Benigno Aquino on Monday but did not pledge South China Sea backing.

‘Troublemaking allies’

Nevertheless, an editorial in the state-run China Daily newspaper on Tuesday signalled that Chinese authorities viewed Obama’s trips to Japan, South Korea, Malaysia and the Philippines as a tour of anti-Chinese hostility.

“It is increasingly obvious that Washington is taking Beijing as an opponent,” the editorial said as it summarised his visit.

“With Obama reassuring the US allies of protection in any conflict with China, it is now clear that Washington is no longer bothering to conceal its attempt to contain China’s influence in the region.”

The editorial warned against believing Obama’s “sweet promises” of a new, constructive relationship between the United States and China, and instead outlined what it described as a “grim geopolitical reality”.

“Ganging up with its troublemaking allies, the US is presenting itself as a security threat to China,” it said.

Meanwhile, three Chinese coastguard ships sailed into waters around the islands in the East China Sea disputed between China and Japan, the Japanese coastguard said.

It said the vessels entered 12 nautical miles (22 kilometers) into Japan’s territorial waters off one of the Senkaku islands, which China also claims and calls the Diaoyus.

It was the second such move since Obama announced last week that Washington would defend Japan if China initiates an attack in the contested area.

FROM PHILSTAR


SWS: 79% of Pinoys trust US
By Helen Flores (The Philippine Star) | Updated April 29, 2014 - 12:00am 3 40 googleplus0 2


US President Barack Obama is greeted by Vice President Jejomar Binay upon his arrival at the AGES Aviation Center in Pasay City yesterday. VAL RODRIGUEZ

MANILA, Philippines - A high percentage of Filipinos trust the United States, according to a recent survey by the Social Weather Stations (SWS).

The survey, taken from March 27 to 30, found 43 percent of respondents saying they have “very much trust” in the US and 41 percent saying they have “somewhat much trust.”

This resulted in a net trust score of 79, which is classified by the SWS as “excellent.”

SWS said the latest net trust rating of 79 is just three points below the record-high “excellent” score of 82 in December 2013, and is close to the excellent 80 in August 2012.

Public trust in the US has been traditionally higher compared to other countries, the SWS noted.

The release of the SWS poll on the Filipinos trust in the United States coincided with the visit of US President Barack Obama in Manila yesterday.

The Philippines is the last stop on Obama’s four-nation Asia tour. Obama also visited Japan, South Korea and Malaysia.

Meanwhile, the survey said nine percent of respondents were undecided if they have much or little trust in the US, four percent answered somewhat little trust, and only two percent answered very little trust.

The First Quarter 2014 Social Weather Stations survey used face-to-face interviews of 1,200 adults in Metro Manila, the balance of Luzon, Visayas, and Mindanao.

Trust in the US is excellent in all areas: 80 percent in Mindanao, 80 percent in balance Luzon, 79 percent in the Visayas, and 71 percent in Metro Manila, the SWS said.

It is also excellent in all classes, at 85 percent in class ABC, 78 percent in class D or the masa, and 78 percent in class E.

It is excellent in both men and women, at 80 percent and 77 percent, respectively.

It is excellent in all age groups, at 84 percent among 55 and above, 81 percent among 45-54, 77 percent among 25-34, 75 percent among 35-44, and 75 percent among 18-24.

Net trust in the US is also excellent in all educational levels, with higher scores among those with more formal education: 89 percent among college graduates, 79 percent among high school graduates, 77 percent among elementary school graduates, and 68 percent among those with at most some elementary education.

The survey has sampling error margin of plus or minus three percentage points for national percentages and plus or minus six percentage points for area percentages.

The 2013 Global Attitudes Project of Pew Research Center in Washington released recently showed that 85 percent of Filipinos have “favorable” view of the US.

Only 13 percent of Filipinos said they had an “unfavorable” view of the US, the survey showed.

Rallyists express rage with rotten eggs, tomatoes By Aie Balagtas See (The Philippine Star) | Updated April 29, 2014 - 12:00am 1 13 googleplus0 1


Members of militant groups burn the effigies of President Aquino and US President Barack Obama at the Mendiola bridge yesterday.
JOVEN CAGANDE

MANILA, Philippines - Leftist activists assembled yesterday at the Don Chino Roces Bridge near Malacañang and pelted with eggs and tomatoes a tarpaulin that had a photograph of President Aquino, to protest the signing of a new military agreement between the Philippines and the United States.

Members of the Bagong Alyansang Makabayan (Bayan) later burned the effigies of Aquino and US President Barack Obama at the bridge.

Wilson Hortaleza of Partido ng Manggagawang Pilipino (PMP) said the 10-year Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement (EDCA) signed by the Philippines and the US would only benefit the Americans.

Experts believed that EDCA would allow the US to help defend the Philippines from China that had been aggressively asserting its claim over disputed territories in the West Philippine Sea.

Hortaleza, however, was mum on China’s bullying, saying that PMP is against war.

About 50 members of the PMP arrived in the area at about 9 a.m.

Members of Bayan-affiliated militant groups also arrived and held their own program lambasting the new military deal.

They brought a tarpaulin with the photograph of Aquino wearing a camouflage uniform.

Aside from opposing EDCA, the group also protested yesterday’s visit of Obama in the country.

The protesters started pelting the tarpaulin with eggs and tomatoes when it was announced that Filipino and American officials had already signed the controversial EDCA.

The protesters dispersed at about 11 a.m.

Party-list group Bayan Muna said yesterday it would question the constitutionality of EDCA.

Bayan Muna Rep. Neri Colemanares said the agreement would result in the return of US military bases and the permanent basing of US troops here, which the Constitution prohibits.

“They can also preposition jets and warships in our territory. The US can also make facilities and upgrade infrastructure e.g. bases, command centers and the like for their purposes. These are at the very least very questionable and should be scrutinized,” he said.

Party-list group Akbayan, which is allied with the administration, is also not satisfied with the new defense cooperation agreement.

“The Aquino government’s decision to bank on a US-led militarized response to the conflicts in the West Philippine Sea is exceptionally foolish,” Akbayan said.

Kilusang Mayo Uno (KMU) said the Aquino government signed the EDCA without any consultation and without at least formally informing the public of its contents.

“The US and Philippine governments keep on repeating the lie, but the truth is that the EDCA will bring back US bases into the country and it violates the Philippine Constitution, which states that agreements about foreign military bases should be approved by the Philippine Senate and its counterpart,” KMU said in a statement.

According to KMU, the EDCA signals the re-occupation of the Philippines.

“It does not set any geographical limit as to where the US can establish military bases in the country. It does not set any limit as to how many US troops can be deployed into the country at any given time. Its 10-year coverage will surely be expanded in the light of the US’s geopolitical strategy of pivoting to Asia and targeting China,” the KMU said.

The Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas (KMP) warned that Obama’s twin agenda of military basing and the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) agreement would lead to the massive displacement of farmers and wide-scale land-grabbing.

KMP chair Rafael Mariano said they expect US troops to once again directly participate in the local military’s counter-insurgency and combat operations “that will result to increasing militarization, human rights abuses, and massive displacement of farmers in the countryside.”

“The return of the US military bases, troops, fighter jets and war ships through the EDCA is an affirmation of the neo-colonial relations between the puppet Aquino government and its imperialist master,” he said.

Mariano also said that Obama’s push for the country to join the TPP would hasten the full-scale liberalization, deregulation and privatization of the economy.

Edre Olalia of the National Union of People’s Lawyers (NUPL) said EDCA would give the US military expanded basing rights.

He claimed that the agreement could be compared to a “master coming home to visit a glorified slave.” With Jess Diaz, Mayen Jaymalin, Michael Punongbayan, Ding Cervantes, Dino Balabo

EDITORIAL FROM THE INQUIRER

‘Adobo’ diplomacy At Large By Rina Jimenez-David Philippine Daily Inquirer 12:06 am | Wednesday, April 30th, 2014 3 59 30


OBAMA

Call it “adobo diplomacy,” or “special lumpia relations.”

Visiting US President Barack Obama charmed the Malacañang crowd Monday night when he mentioned that even before he set foot in the Philippines, he already had a taste of Filipino food, the aforementioned adobo and lumpia, courtesy of White House Fil-Am executive chef Cristeta Comerford. Now he can say that his culinary boundaries have broadened, because he also had a taste of lapu-lapu in pili crust, lobster kilawin or ceviche, ginataang gulay or vegetables cooked in coconut milk, and prime rib prepared inasal-style at the welcome dinner.

For a sweet ending, he was served coconut-lychee ice cream served alongside a mango-macapuno strudel, a showcase of coconut-based cooking and the famous, unparalleled Philippine mango. Too bad Michelle Obama, who is trying to get Americans to eat healthier and patronize backyard gardens, wasn’t with her husband on this visit.

It would be interesting to find out what she thought of the nutritional value of the food served not just in official banquets or during fiestas but in typical Filipino homes, on ordinary days. I wonder what she would have thought of the “typical” family meals, with the most popular or common fare, according to a national nutrition survey, being fried fish, sautéed vegetables and fried egg.

No lumpia or adobo here. And dog? Obama, it’s said, is the only American president to have eaten dog meat, courtesy of his Indonesian stepfather who introduced him in his youth to exotic meats like dog, insects and snake in an effort to acculturate him.

Does his taste for the exotic give Obama a special understanding of the issues and aspirations of Third World peoples, especially in this corner of the globe? Does he have a better understanding of hunger, malnutrition and poverty than a typical politician subsisting on steak and potatoes? Does diet determine destiny?

* * * Leftist activists tried their darndest to paint the Obama visit in the familiar colors of colonialism and patronizing, unequal relations. But the tibak need only watch footage of the welcome given to Obama by mostly Malacañang employees lined outside the main hall to realize the futility of their protests.

There these ordinary Pinoys were, eagerly holding out their hands to be shaken by the visiting American leader, even as their own boss P-Noy stood off to one side, smiling bemusedly at this display of Filipino hospitality and friendliness. True enough, in the run-up to the Obama visit, Social Weather Stations came out with findings that over 80 percent of respondents looked favorably on the United States and on Americans.

Coincidentally, a multination survey revealed that Filipinos top all other nationalities (including Americans, who came in third) in their approval of the US government.

I’m sure Chinese propagandists, and their ideological supporters, will sneer at what they consider neocolonial servility. But don’t they just envy such effortless diplomacy, the easy trust and likability that America enjoys among Filipinos, despite the ups and downs of our official relations?

Maybe it’s an amalgam of Hollywood, “Fun with Dick and Jane,” the hegemony of American pop culture especially TV, and our own colonial fondness for fair skin and hair.

But Filipinos’ love for all things American cannot be dispelled simply by rallies and marches, papier mache effigies, and grim and determined shaming. I think it’s time progressive elements mounted a culture war of their own, winning public approval as much with honey as with vitriol.

 Anger is powerful and compelling, but it is hard to sustain and is, in the end, unattractive.

* * * Still, it is a little disappointing—to put it mildly—that after all the buildup, the assurances (at least on our part), the anticipation, the United States has come up with a less than bracing declaration of support for the Philippines in its confrontation with China.

Our two countries and peoples may enjoy “special relations,” something that every American leader harps on whenever PH-US ties come up, but in the scheme of things, national interest still prevails. And American interest, it seems, depends on keeping an even keel with its relations with China.

Aside from economic ties, trade relations and the need to preserve a huge potential market, balance-of-power considerations demand mollifying China and curbing its more militaristic tendencies. We may have decades of shared experiences and political commitments, and enjoy a common bond of culture and language, but we are not a strategic player in America’s global positioning.

P-Noy and his administration are right in asserting our patrimony and sovereignty in the face of China’s aggressions. But in the coming confrontation—armed or diplomatic—we need to determine, first of all, where our own national interest lies.

* * * Chinese leaders may look askance at the recently-signed defense agreement allowing an escalation of US troop and armed presence on our shores. But we have to rue the outcome, too. Reports say the Philippine side in the talks felt let down by the less-than-full-hearted commitment showed by the Americans when it came to rushing to our aid in case the conflict with China heats up.

And here we were assuming that the Kano had our back, that when push came to shove, they would automatically take our side, choose friendship over advantage.

Let’s learn a lesson from this. It’s all very well to break bread and break out in song, to be convivial and comradely. But when it comes to pursuing own strategic interests, nothing but our country’s good should be taken into consideration.


Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi

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