HEADLINE NEWS THIS PAST WEEK...

PALAWAN IS 'TOP ISLAND IN THE WORLD' - US TRAVEL MAG 

OCT 21 --PHOTO: Puerto Princesa Underground River. INQUIRER.net FILE PHOTO MANILA, Philippines—With its world-renowned underground river, the island of Palawan in the Philippines emerged as the top island destination in a poll by an award-winning US travel magazine. Beating 147 other islands throughout the world, Palawan was voted as “Top Island in the World” in the 27th annual Readers’ Choice Awards of Conde Nast Traveler magazine.
The magazine announced the results on its website Monday October 20 (US Time) after over 76,600 readers cast their votes.

Palawan was given a rating of 88.750 by the readers owing mostly because of the declaration of the Puerto Princesa Subterranean River as one of the new seven natural wonders of the world. “Palawan’s natural wonder is one of the longest underground rivers in the world, traveling five miles through a subterranean cave system. Guided boat tours take visitors down a portion of the waterway, where karsts, natural rock formations created by dissolving limestone, loom in every direction,” the magazine said. * READ MORE...

ALSO: Philippines ranked as one of the 'best countries to visit in 2015' 

OCT 24 ---PHOTO: Underground river in Puerto Princesa, Palawan. GEORGE TAPAN MANILA, Philippines – The Philippines has been named as one of the "best countries to visit in 2015" by the Lonely Planet, the largest travel book guide publisher in the world. The countries were chosen by the travel book guide’s staff, bloggers who have been to the Philippines and in-house travel experts. They judged the countries based on the fun and excitement that each can offer to its visitors. As per the ranking, the Philippines ranks 8th worldwide.

Lonely Planet describes the Philippines as a country with "one of the world’s most beautiful coastlines, fringed by dive-tastic coral reefs, sprinkled with sunbathe-ready white sand, backed by swaying palm trees and dotted with simple resorts of nipa-palm thatched huts, like Thailand used to be when the Beach Boys were still top of the charts." The website also shared how the Philippines could give each traveler a wonderful experience through riding on a jeepney, watching street parades, participating in food festivals, partaking in sports tournaments and watching live music shows. In addition to the recognition given by the Lonely Planet, international travel magazine Condé Nast Traveler also ranked Palawan as No. 1 and Boracay as No.12 among the Top 30 Islands in the World just this week.

Aside from the Philippines, Singapore, Namibia, Lithuania, Nicaragua, Ireland, Republic of Congo, Serbia, St. Lucia, and Morocco were included in the Lonely Planet’s list of best countries to visit in 2015.THIS IS THE FULL REPORT.

ALSO: Phl more tempting target for China in sea showdown 

OCT 27 ---The Philippines and Vietnam are China’s main frontline opponents in the South China Sea dispute, the US monthly magazine The Atlantic reported. In its November issue, the magazine said China might view the Philippines as a more attractive target “to bully and humiliate as an object lesson to other neighbors that resistance is futile and decisive help from the United States unlikely to come.”  It reported China was intensifying efforts to remake its maritime borders to gain exclusive access to potentially rich oil and gas reserves, secure its supply lines and create a much larger buffer against what it regards as US naval intrusions. A new Cold War – in which a rising China gradually seeks to push the US military out of the Western Pacific – is inevitable, said the lead article by Howard W. French entitled “China’s Dangerous Game.”

“Any such conflict would of course be dangerous whenever it happened, because the United States is likely to resist these efforts strenuously,” the article said. Many Western analysts view China’s approach in the South China Sea as a sort of calibrated incrementalism, whereby a Chinese presence and de facto Chinese rights in disputed areas are built up gradually, in a series of provocations that are individually small enough to make forceful resistance politically difficult, but that collectively establish precedents and, over time, norms. The Chinese name for this approach is the cabbage strategy. An area is slowly surrounded by individual ‘leaves’ – fishing boat here, a coast guard vessel there – until it’s wrapped in lawyers, like a cabbage. “Salami slicing” is another metaphor for the approach. One might think that a defense treaty the Philippines has with the US would prove to be a deterrence to Beijing but if the goal is to cut the US down to size in what China regards as its own backyard then Chinese leaders might view the Philippines as a more attractive target than Vietnam, The Atlantic said. * READ MORE...

ALSO: Palace silent on China beefing up outpost in disputed territory 

OCT 27 --Malacańang yesterday maintained its virtual silence on China’s continued expansion of Kagitingan Reef which is expected eventually to provide a vital outpost for its military and civilian commer-cial activities in disputed areas of South China Sea that Manila refers to as the West Philippine Sea. Beijing has announced its plan to build air and naval bases on the reclaimed Kagitingan (Fiery Cross) Reef, according to Kalayaan Island town Mayor Eugenio Bito-onon Jr. China, however, has yet to openly admit its plans to artificially expand reefs in the sea into islands. Wang Hanling, an expert on the East Sea from the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, was quoted by South China Morning Post as saying Fiery Cross Reef now nearly covered about one square kilo-meter and reclamation work would probably continue.

Presidential Commu-nications Secretary Herminio Coloma Jr., in an interview over state-run Radyo ng Bayan, said the Palace would have to confirm the incident with the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA), refraining from spilling details on the administration’s move to stop China from building a base within the Philippines’  Exclusive Economic Zone. “Whenever that query is raised, what we do is verify, and the one tasked to issue statements if the incident has been verified is the Department of Foreign Affairs. In a broader view, what is clear is the statement of the Palace policy,” he stressed. “Our view is to follow a peaceful resolution on talks regarding maritime entitlements in the West Philippine Sea or the South China Sea,” the Palace official added. * READ MORE...


ALSO: Aquino says he's ready to be jailed after 2016

OCT 22 ---MANILA, Philippines - President Benigno Aquino III said on Wednesday he is willing to go to jail if the next administration will make him accountable for his allegedly unlawful decisions. "If there is a situation where we will be back to an unjust judicial system, then that is a necessary consequence," Aquino told a reporter during the Presidential Forum of the Foreign Correspondents Association of the Philippines. Aquino is confident that he can defend all of the decisions made by his administration, including the Disbursement Acceleration Program declared partially unconstitutional by the Supreme Court.

He admitted that not all of his decisions were perfect but they were "well-studied" and arose from the best advice he can get from various sectors. "All the decisions I made were never spur of the moment," he said. The President said he respects the right of his critics to file complaints against him. He warned, however, that he can also make them pay back. "I have the right also to file complaints against them for malicious lawsuits which I can do when I'm a civilian and no longer in this position," he said. Aquino said for now, he needs to tolerate all the insults and negative criticisms hurled against him. THIS IS THE FULL REPORT

ALSO: 'Generators,' not emergency powers will resolve energy crisis

OCT 22 --"Iba kasi 'yung kulang ang suplay at iba rin 'yung kulang ang reserba," a lawmaker says on the looming power crisis. MANILA, Philippines - "Generators" not emergency powers for President Benigno Aquino III may prevent the projected energy crisis in 2015. Bayan Muna Rep. Neri Colmenares said in an interview over radio dzMM that instead of emergency powers, the House energy committee is considering the implementation of the Interruptible Load Program, where big business establishments will use power generators during the crisis.

Colmenares said that additional charges may be imposed on the public for the use of the generators, but said that it would still be lower. He said that based on the results of the hearings, the Committee on Energy is not convinced that there would be an energy crisis in 2015. "Nalaman namin hindi pala kulang ang suplay... Ang shortage pala, nasa reserve, 'yung kukulangin [ay] 'yung reserba," Colmenares said. "Iba kasi 'yung kulang ang suplay at iba rin 'yung kulang ang reserba so parang tinatakot tayo ng DOE (Department of Energy) na: 'Ay grabe ang krisis,' in the end pala walang kakulangan sa suplay," Colmenares added. He said that the projected power shortage will only last for two weeks in April of 2015.THIS IS THE FULL REPORT

ALSO: China hits PHL’s West Philippine Sea action plan at the UN  

OCT 24 --China has blasted the Philippines at the United Nations for seeking support for its three-pronged approach in resolving the disputes in the contested South China South territories, which includes the promotion of legal arbitration that Beijing strongly opposes. In an October 7 letter to the UN addressed to Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon, China rejected Manila’s so-called Triple Action Plan or TAP, saying it “will only further complicate and aggravate the situation” in the area, where the two Asian neighbors and other claimants quarrel over features where huge oil and natural gas and minerals have been discovered. “The Philippine plan, if put into practice, will undermine the sanctity and efficacy of the Charter of the United Nations and the Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the South China Sea,” said Liu Jieyi, China’s Permanent Ambassador to the UN.

The Declaration that Liu was referring to is the non-binding, non-aggression pact signed by China and Southeast Asian nations in 2002 that calls on all claimants to the South China Sea to exercise restraint and to stop new occupation or construction of disputed features. China’s latest tirade against the Philippines indicates its continuing animosity towards Manila, which earlier sought international arbitration before a Netherlands-based tribunal to try to declare as illegal Beijing’s massive claim over the waters that extends up to Philippine territorial boundaries. The South China Sea, home to a cluster of islands, shoals, reefs and cays is being claimed in part or in whole by China, the Philippines, Vietnam, Malaysia, Brunei and Taiwan. Parts of the South China Sea that is within Manila’s internationally-recognized exclusive economic zone (EEZ) has been renamed West Philippine Sea to stress the Philippines’ claim over the waters, where China is also asserting ownership.

Earlier, the Philippines wrote to Secretary General Ban to seek the UN’s support for the TAP during President Aquino’s attendance to the UN General Assembly in late September. In that letter, which was circulated to the 193 UN member states, the Philippines outlined the TAP and called on the international community to support measures for a peaceful resolution of maritime disputes. Manila’s three-way approach advocates steps which have already been rejected by China, like international arbitration. * READ MORE...

ALSO: PHL's ‘triple-action plan’ to address, not aggravate South China Sea tension

OCT 24 --Foreign Affairs Secretary Albert del Rosario said Friday that the Philippines is trying to address the escalating tension in the West Philippine Sea with its Triple Action Plan (TAP) contrary to the claim of China that it will complicate and aggravate the situation. In an interview with reporters, Del Rosario said the members of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) have declared that they need to do something about the escalating tension in the South China Sea.

“The TAP is precisely crafted to see if the tension can be addressed. As you know, the first item on that TAP is the cessation of actions that escalate tension and secondly we want to push for the effective implementation of the DOC (Declaration on the Conduct of Parties),” he said after the Senate hearing on DFA’s P12.8-billion proposed budget for 2015. “We are saying that the final objective of course, our goal line will be the arbitration. We didn’t say that it will be done in steps because we are already there and what we are trying to do is we are trying to address the escalating tension,” Del Rosario added. * READ MORE...

ALSO Philstar analysis: China’s 5 Constitutions refute Beijing sea claim

OCT 24 --This resumes Wednesday’s piece, “China’s Own Ancient Maps Disprove Beijing Sea Claim.” The article detailed 15 maps of China, 1136-1933, by Chinese officials and citizens. Their common feature: Hainan Island (ancient names Zhuya, Qiongya, Qiongzhou) always has been China’s southernmost territory. Supreme Court Senior Justice Antonio T. Carpio dug up the maps. They belie Beijing’s “historical facts” in claiming islets, reefs, shoals, and waters of the South China (West Philippine) Sea. Three more ancient maps of China, this time by foreigners, prove too that Hainan always has been China’s southernmost territory: (1) “Carte Exacte de Toutes les Provinces, Villes, Bourgs, Villages et Rivieres du Vaste et Puissant Empire de la Chine” or “Accurate Map of All the Provinces, Cities, Towns, Villages and Rivers of the Vast and Powerful Chinese Empire.” Published in Lieden, Netherlands, around 1700, the map was made by Johannes Nieuhof, who died 1672.

(2) “Carte la plus Generale et qui Comprehend la Chine, la Tartarie Chinoise, et le Thibet” or “General Map that Includes China, Chinese Tartary and Tibet.” The map states Jean Baptiste Bourguignon D’Anville as maker in Paris, 1734. A Royal Cartographer of France, he had access to works of mapmakers in China through his pal, French Jesuit and China specialist Du Halde. As annotated, the map came from Jesuit surveys in 1708-1716 on instructions of the Qing Dynasty Emperor Kangxi. (3) “Carte de L’Empire Chinois et du Japon” or “Map of the Chinese Empire Together with Japan.” Published 1833 in Paris by Conrad Malte-Brun, this map, like the preceding two, shows Hainan Island as the southernmost territory of China. * * * Reproductions of the three maps, and the 15 featured last Wed., are now on public display. “Historical Truths and Lies: Scarborough Shoal in Ancient Maps,” runs till Nov. 14, 2014. Venue: University of the Philippines, Asian Center, GT-Toyota Hall, Diliman, Quezon City. * READ MORE...


READ FULL REPORT HERE:

Palawan is ‘top island in the world’


Puerto Princesa Underground River. INQUIRER.net FILE PHOTO

MANILA, OCTOBER 27, 2014 (INQUIRER) POSTED OCT 21--By Matikas Santos - With its world-renowned underground river, the island of Palawan in the Philippines emerged as the top island destination in a poll by an award-winning US travel magazine.

Beating 147 other islands throughout the world, Palawan was voted as “Top Island in the World” in the 27th annual Readers’ Choice Awards of Conde Nast Traveler magazine.

The magazine announced the results on its website Monday October 20 (US Time) after over 76,600 readers cast their votes.

Palawan was given a rating of 88.750 by the readers owing mostly because of the declaration of the Puerto Princesa Subterranean River as one of the new seven natural wonders of the world.

“Palawan’s natural wonder is one of the longest underground rivers in the world, traveling five miles through a subterranean cave system. Guided boat tours take visitors down a portion of the waterway, where karsts, natural rock formations created by dissolving limestone, loom in every direction,” the magazine said.

* Boracay Island in Aklan province was also included in the ranking at number 12 and given a rating of 82.683.

“This itty-bitty island (10 square miles) in the Philippines is as close to the tropical idyll ideal as you’ll find in the Philippines, with gentle coastlines and transporting sunsets. Add in a thriving nightlife scene, and you have one of the top tourist spots in the region,” the magazine said.

“The aptly named White Beach is Boracay’s main draw, with powdery white sand and shallow azure water ideal for swimming and snorkeling,” it said.

Palawan was able to beat other world-famous islands such as Bora Bora in French Polynesia (25th), Maldives (19th), Bali in Indonesia (17th), Bermuda (14th), Santorini and Cyclades in Greece (7th), and Maui in Hawaii (3rd).

The Condé Nast Traveler Readers’ Choice Survey started in 1988. The 2014 survey got 76,659 responses

“Individual candidates are judged on a set of criteria relevant to their category, based on a standard five-point scale: excellent, very good, good, fair, and poor,” Conde Nast explained in how they are ranked.

Philippines ranked as one of the 'best countries to visit in 2015' By Alixandra Caole Vila (philstar.com) | Updated October 24, 2014 - 4:54pm 4 25 googleplus0 1


Underground river in Puerto Princesa, Palawan. GEORGE TAPAN

MANILA, Philippines – The Philippines has been named as one of the "best countries to visit in 2015" by the Lonely Planet, the largest travel book guide publisher in the world.

The countries were chosen by the travel book guide’s staff, bloggers who have been to the Philippines and in-house travel experts. They judged the countries based on the fun and excitement that each can offer to its visitors. As per the ranking, the Philippines ranks 8th worldwide.

Lonely Planet describes the Philippines as a country with "one of the world’s most beautiful coastlines, fringed by dive-tastic coral reefs, sprinkled with sunbathe-ready white sand, backed by swaying palm trees and dotted with simple resorts of nipa-palm thatched huts, like Thailand used to be when the Beach Boys were still top of the charts."

A boat is underway at Bacuit Bay in Palawan. Francisco Daum/CC BY-NC

A formation along the shores of Palawan island province. John Griffiths/CC BY-NC-SA

The website also shared how the Philippines could give each traveler a wonderful experience through riding on a jeepney, watching street parades, participating in food festivals, partaking in sports tournaments and watching live music shows.

In addition to the recognition given by the Lonely Planet, international travel magazine Condé Nast Traveler also ranked Palawan as No. 1 and Boracay as No.12 among the Top 30 Islands in the World just this week.

Aside from the Philippines, Singapore, Namibia, Lithuania, Nicaragua, Ireland, Republic of Congo, Serbia, St. Lucia, and Morocco were included in the Lonely Planet’s list of best countries to visit in 2015.

Phl more tempting target for China in sea showdown By Jose Katigbak, The STAR Washington bureau (The Philippine Star) | Updated October 27, 2014 - 12:00am 0 0 googleplus0 0

WASHINGTON – The Philippines and Vietnam are China’s main frontline opponents in the South China Sea dispute, the US monthly magazine The Atlantic reported.

In its November issue, the magazine said China might view the Philippines as a more attractive target “to bully and humiliate as an object lesson to other neighbors that resistance is futile and decisive help from the United States unlikely to come.”

It reported China was intensifying efforts to remake its maritime borders to gain exclusive access to potentially rich oil and gas reserves, secure its supply lines and create a much larger buffer against what it regards as US naval intrusions.

A new Cold War – in which a rising China gradually seeks to push the US military out of the Western Pacific – is inevitable, said the lead article by Howard W. French entitled “China’s Dangerous Game.”

“Any such conflict would of course be dangerous whenever it happened, because the United States is likely to resist these efforts strenuously,” the article said.

Many Western analysts view China’s approach in the South China Sea as a sort of calibrated incrementalism, whereby a Chinese presence and de facto Chinese rights in disputed areas are built up gradually, in a series of provocations that are individually small enough to make forceful resistance politically difficult, but that collectively establish precedents and, over time, norms.

The Chinese name for this approach is the cabbage strategy.

An area is slowly surrounded by individual ‘leaves’ – fishing boat here, a coast guard vessel there – until it’s wrapped in lawyers, like a cabbage. “Salami slicing” is another metaphor for the approach.

One might think that a defense treaty the Philippines has with the US would prove to be a deterrence to Beijing but if the goal is to cut the US down to size in what China regards as its own backyard then Chinese leaders might view the Philippines as a more attractive target than Vietnam, The Atlantic said.

* This thought was captured vividly in comments in June by Maj. Gen. Zhu Chenghu, a professor at China’s National Defense University who warned America’s allies in Asia that the United States had become a paper tiger, the article said. Zhu likened Washington’s response to the Ukraine crisis to “erectile dysfunction.”

From China’s perspective, the perfect scenario might be for the inexperienced Filipino armed forces to venture the use of newly acquired hardware such as frigates, attack helicopters and a fleet of coast guard patrol vessels, prompting a limited military encounter that would display Chinese superiority and enable China to make a new or stronger territorial claim to a few small atolls in the area, the article said.

The US might find it difficult to respond satisfactorily given the stakes.

To some elites in China, the opportunity to reveal the US as an unreliable alliance partner across the Pacific is surely alluring, the article said.

But the risks for China are also considerable.

It might be revealed instead as the paper tiger should the US call Beijing’s bluff, defending the Philippines if, for example, China tried to evict Filipino soldiers from their rust-bucket outpost, the BRP Sierra Madre, in the disputed Second Thomas Shoal in the Spratlys, the article said.

FROM THE TRIBUNE

Palace silent on China beefing up outpost in disputed territory
Written by Joshua L. Labonera Monday, 27 October 2014 00:00


AQUINO

Malacańang yesterday maintained its virtual silence on China’s continued expansion of Kagitingan Reef which is expected eventually to provide a vital outpost for its military and civilian commer-cial activities in disputed areas of South China Sea that Manila refers to as the West Philippine Sea.

Beijing has announced its plan to build air and naval bases on the reclaimed Kagitingan (Fiery Cross) Reef, according to Kalayaan Island town Mayor Eugenio Bito-onon Jr.

China, however, has yet to openly admit its plans to artificially expand reefs in the sea into islands.

Wang Hanling, an expert on the East Sea from the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, was quoted by South China Morning Post as saying Fiery Cross Reef now nearly covered about one square kilo-meter and reclamation work would probably continue.

Presidential Commu-nications Secretary Herminio Coloma Jr., in an interview over state-run Radyo ng Bayan, said the Palace would have to confirm the incident with the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA), refraining from spilling details on the administration’s move to stop China from building a base within the Philippines’ Exclusive Economic Zone.

“Whenever that query is raised, what we do is verify, and the one tasked to issue statements if the incident has been verified is the Department of Foreign Affairs. In a broader view, what is clear is the statement of the Palace policy,” he stressed.

“Our view is to follow a peaceful resolution on talks regarding maritime entitlements in the West Philippine Sea or the South China Sea,” the Palace official added.

* Coloma insisted that the DFA would be best suited to answer questions on the matter, saying it would defer commenting until the department has issued an official statement.

Several findings and reports have earlier revealed that China is indeed building bases on disputed territories in the West Philippine Sea, however, the Aquino administration has reiterated that it’s only option in defense is to resolve the issue through intervention from the United Nations.

Bito-onon had earlier warned that Beijing was conducting construction projects in the disputed area, which is only 117 nautical miles from his island town.

Analysts have said that by expanding islets, China has sought to bolster its presence in the South China Sea, which it claims almost in its entirety.

Over the weekend, Chinese website Guancha.cn published a report saying Fiery Cross Reef had been upgraded to an island. It cited unnamed sources and satellite images from DigitalGlobe taken between late September and October 16.

FROM PHILSTAR

Aquino says he's ready to be jailed after 2016 By Louis Bacani (philstar.com) | Updated October 22, 2014 - 5:59pm


PHOTO: President Benigno S. Aquino III delivers his speech during the annual Presidential Forum of the Foreign Correspondents Association of the Philippines (FOCAP) at the Marco Polo Ortigas in Pasig City on Wednesday (October 22). FOCAP forum is a traditional event where the President discusses key policies and answers questions on foreign affairs, politics, the economy and social issues from the foreign media. Malacańang Photo Bureau

MANILA, Philippines - President Benigno Aquino III said on Wednesday he is willing to go to jail if the next administration will make him accountable for his allegedly unlawful decisions.

"If there is a situation where we will be back to an unjust judicial system, then that is a necessary consequence," Aquino told a reporter during the Presidential Forum of the Foreign Correspondents Association of the Philippines.

Aquino is confident that he can defend all of the decisions made by his administration, including the Disbursement Acceleration Program declared partially unconstitutional by the Supreme Court.

He admitted that not all of his decisions were perfect but they were "well-studied" and arose from the best advice he can get from various sectors.

"All the decisions I made were never spur of the moment," he said.

The President said he respects the right of his critics to file complaints against him. He warned, however, that he can also make them pay back.

"I have the right also to file complaints against them for malicious lawsuits which I can do when I'm a civilian and no longer in this position," he said.

Aquino said for now, he needs to tolerate all the insults and negative criticisms hurled against him.

'Generators,' not emergency powers will resolve energy crisis By Patricia Lourdes Viray (philstar.com) | Updated October 21, 2014 - 3:26pm 4 11 googleplus0 0

"Iba kasi 'yung kulang ang suplay at iba rin 'yung kulang ang reserba," a lawmaker says on the looming power crisis.

MANILA, Philippines - "Generators" not emergency powers for President Benigno Aquino III may prevent the projected energy crisis in 2015.

Bayan Muna Rep. Neri Colmenares said in an interview over radio dzMM that instead of emergency powers, the House energy committee is considering the implementation of the Interruptible Load Program, where big business establishments will use power generators during the crisis.

Colmenares said that additional charges may be imposed on the public for the use of the generators, but said that it would still be lower.

He said that based on the results of the hearings, the Committee on Energy is not convinced that there would be an energy crisis in 2015.

"Nalaman namin hindi pala kulang ang suplay... Ang shortage pala, nasa reserve, 'yung kukulangin [ay] 'yung reserba," Colmenares said.

"Iba kasi 'yung kulang ang suplay at iba rin 'yung kulang ang reserba so parang tinatakot tayo ng DOE (Department of Energy) na: 'Ay grabe ang krisis,' in the end pala walang kakulangan sa suplay," Colmenares added.

He said that the projected power shortage will only last for two weeks in April of 2015.

FROM GMA NEWS NETWORK

China hits PHL’s West Philippine Sea action plan at the UN By MICHAELA DEL CALLAROctober 23, 2014 3:17pm 4553 74 1 5418


SOUTH CHINA SOUTH TERRITORIES

China has blasted the Philippines at the United Nations for seeking support for its three-pronged approach in resolving the disputes in the contested South China South territories, which includes the promotion of legal arbitration that Beijing strongly opposes.

In an October 7 letter to the UN addressed to Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon, China rejected Manila’s so-called Triple Action Plan or TAP, saying it “will only further complicate and aggravate the situation” in the area, where the two Asian neighbors and other claimants quarrel over features where huge oil and natural gas and minerals have been discovered.

“The Philippine plan, if put into practice, will undermine the sanctity and efficacy of the Charter of the United Nations and the Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the South China Sea,” said Liu Jieyi, China’s Permanent Ambassador to the UN.

The Declaration that Liu was referring to is the non-binding, non-aggression pact signed by China and Southeast Asian nations in 2002 that calls on all claimants to the South China Sea to exercise restraint and to stop new occupation or construction of disputed features.

China’s latest tirade against the Philippines indicates its continuing animosity towards Manila, which earlier sought international arbitration before a Netherlands-based tribunal to try to declare as illegal Beijing’s massive claim over the waters that extends up to Philippine territorial boundaries.

The South China Sea, home to a cluster of islands, shoals, reefs and cays is being claimed in part or in whole by China, the Philippines, Vietnam, Malaysia, Brunei and Taiwan.

Parts of the South China Sea that is within Manila’s internationally-recognized exclusive economic zone (EEZ) has been renamed West Philippine Sea to stress the Philippines’ claim over the waters, where China is also asserting ownership.

Earlier, the Philippines wrote to Secretary General Ban to seek the UN’s support for the TAP during President Aquino’s attendance to the UN General Assembly in late September.

In that letter, which was circulated to the 193 UN member states, the Philippines outlined the TAP and called on the international community to support measures for a peaceful resolution of maritime disputes.

Manila’s three-way approach advocates steps which have already been rejected by China, like international arbitration.

* Elevating the TAP to the UN reflects the Philippines' still-defiant stance against China and its firm resolve to garner international support for the approaches and steps it has taken to protect its territorial claims in the South China Sea and reduce threats posed by China's aggressive behavior in the contested region.

But to China, implementing the TAP will “cast a shadow over and impede the implementation of the Declaration and the consultations on a ‘code of conduct’ and impair efforts to uphold peace and stability in the South China Sea, promote maritime cooperation and resolve relevant disputes.”

China, Liu said, only agrees with and advocates the “dual track” approach proposed by countries of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) to address the South China Sea issue.

The two-step plan, Liu said, promotes negotiations between concerned parties while “China and ASEAN countries work together to maintain peace and stability in the South China Sea.”

“Being fully consistent with the spirit enshrined in the Declaration, this approach represents the only right path to properly handling and seeking a just and durable solution to the South China Sea issue,” Liu said.

Tensions in the South China Sea – one of the world’s busiest shipping lanes - spiked anew amid China’s increasing military and paramilitary presence and construction activities in contested features. Such move was criticized by Manila and foreign governments like the United States, Japan and Australia.

China insists it has “indisputable sovereignty” over nearly the entire waters, citing historical documents and ancient maps to back its claims. — RSJ, GMA News

PHL's ‘triple-action plan’ to address, not aggravate South China Sea tension – DFA By AMITA LEGASPI,GMA NewsOctober 24, 2014 5:57pm 0 7 0 32

Foreign Affairs Secretary Albert del Rosario said Friday that the Philippines is trying to address the escalating tension in the West Philippine Sea with its Triple Action Plan (TAP) contrary to the claim of China that it will complicate and aggravate the situation.

In an interview with reporters, Del Rosario said the members of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) have declared that they need to do something about the escalating tension in the South China Sea.

“The TAP is precisely crafted to see if the tension can be addressed. As you know, the first item on that TAP is the cessation of actions that escalate tension and secondly we want to push for the effective implementation of the DOC (Declaration on the Conduct of Parties),” he said after the Senate hearing on DFA’s P12.8-billion proposed budget for 2015.

“We are saying that the final objective of course, our goal line will be the arbitration. We didn’t say that it will be done in steps because we are already there and what we are trying to do is we are trying to address the escalating tension,” Del Rosario added.

* He said one of the steps taken to de-escalate the tension is to stop construction on Pag-asa island, one of the contested islands which is occupied by the Philippines.

“We try to assume the moral high ground, we are saying that OK until such time that the arbitration award comes down, then maybe we should not pursue this (improvement, maintenance and upgrading of facilities there) even if it is allowed, under the exercise of self-restraint,” he said.

The West Philippine Sea, which is part of the South China Sea, is home to a cluster of islands, shoals, reefs and cays and is being claimed in part or in whole by China, the Philippines, Vietnam, Malaysia, Brunei and Taiwan.

In an Oct. 7 letter to the UN addressed to Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon, Liu Jieyi, China’s Permanent Ambassador to the UN, said the Philippines’ TAP “will only further complicate and aggravate the situation” in the area.

“The Philippine plan, if put into practice, will undermine the sanctity and efficacy of the Charter of the United Nations and the Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the South China Sea,” said Liu.

The Philippines earlier sought international arbitration before a Netherlands-based tribunal to try to declare as illegal Beijing’s massive claim over the waters that extends up to Philippine territorial boundaries.

Del Rosario expects the tribunal to hand down its decision in early 2016.

He said China has been given until Dec. 15 to submit a response to the Philippines’s submission.

“If they do not respond, there will be questions that will be asked by the tribunal. These will be answered by March and there will be an open hearing. By July (2015), this will conclude,” he said. Ť — JDS, GMA News

PHILSTAR ANALYSIS

China’s 5 Constitutions refute Beijing sea claim GOTCHA By Jarius Bondoc (The Philippine Star) | Updated October 24, 2014 - 12:00am 12 118 googleplus0 1


By Jarius Bondoc

This resumes Wednesday’s piece, “China’s Own Ancient Maps Disprove Beijing Sea Claim.” The article detailed 15 maps of China, 1136-1933, by Chinese officials and citizens. Their common feature: Hainan Island (ancient names Zhuya, Qiongya, Qiongzhou) always has been China’s southernmost territory. Supreme Court Senior Justice Antonio T. Carpio dug up the maps. They belie Beijing’s “historical facts” in claiming islets, reefs, shoals, and waters of the South China (West Philippine) Sea.

Three more ancient maps of China, this time by foreigners, prove too that Hainan always has been China’s southernmost territory:

(1) “Carte Exacte de Toutes les Provinces, Villes, Bourgs, Villages et Rivieres du Vaste et Puissant Empire de la Chine” or “Accurate Map of All the Provinces, Cities, Towns, Villages and Rivers of the Vast and Powerful Chinese Empire.” Published in Lieden, Netherlands, around 1700, the map was made by Johannes Nieuhof, who died 1672.

(2) “Carte la plus Generale et qui Comprehend la Chine, la Tartarie Chinoise, et le Thibet” or “General Map that Includes China, Chinese Tartary and Tibet.” The map states Jean Baptiste Bourguignon D’Anville as maker in Paris, 1734. A Royal Cartographer of France, he had access to works of mapmakers in China through his pal, French Jesuit and China specialist Du Halde. As annotated, the map came from Jesuit surveys in 1708-1716 on instructions of the Qing Dynasty Emperor Kangxi.

(3) “Carte de L’Empire Chinois et du Japon” or “Map of the Chinese Empire Together with Japan.” Published 1833 in Paris by Conrad Malte-Brun, this map, like the preceding two, shows Hainan Island as the southernmost territory of China.

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Reproductions of the three maps, and the 15 featured last Wed., are now on public display. “Historical Truths and Lies: Scarborough Shoal in Ancient Maps,” runs till Nov. 14, 2014. Venue: University of the Philippines, Asian Center, GT-Toyota Hall, Diliman, Quezon City.

* The exhibit is a rare treat for Filipinos and other freemen, and for Chinese subjects. Aside from Hainan as China’s southern end, it shows that the dynasties never included the Spratlys or Scarborough Shoal. Not till Beijing’s Communist despots fall will the maps ever be shown together in their true context. They also can be viewed at the Institute of Maritime & Ocean Affairs website: www.imoa.ph.

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Justice Carpio also compiled China’s official declarations about its territory. Such “historical facts” too refute Beijing Communists’ new claim over the sea between China and the Philippines.

With the fall of the Qing Dynasty in 1912, Sun Yat Sen established the Republic of China. Five Constitutions of the Republic’s stated:

(1) Article 3, Chapter 1, Provisional Constitution of the Republic of China, Mar. 1912: “The territory of the Republic of China is composed of 22 provinces, Inner and Outer Mongolia, Tibet and Qinghai.” As seen in the maps of the Qing Dynasty, one of the 22 provinces is Guangdong, which includes Hainan as southernmost limit.

(2) Article 3, Chapter 1, Constitution of the Republic of China, May 1914: “The territory of the Republic of China continues to be the territory of the former empire.” In editorial comment, the “Regulations of the Republic of China Concerning Rule over Tibet” refers to “former empire” as “the Qing Dynasty.”

(3) Article 3, Chapter 2, Constitution of the Republic of China, Oct. 1924: “The territory of the Republic of China continues to be the traditional territory.”

(4) Constitution of the Republic of China, Jan. 1937: “The territory of Republic of China continues to be the territory it owned in the past.”

(5) Article 4, Chapter 1, Constitution of the Republic of China, Dec. 1946: “The territory of the Republic of China shall be that encompassed by its traditional boundaries.”

The constitutional provisos are from an official publication of the People’s Republic of China: “Regulations of the Republic of China Concerning Rule Over Tibet (China No. 2 History Archives, China International Press, Jan. 1, 1999).”

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Justice Carpio explains the implications under international law: “The effect of these unilateral declarations in several Constitutions of the Republic of China is to bind it to the declarations, against the international community.”

He cites the Nuclear Test Case of Australia-New Zealand against France (1974 I.C.J. 253). In it the International Court of Justice ruled: “Declarations made by way of unilateral acts, concerning legal or factual situations, may have the effect of creating legal obligations. Declarations of this kind may be, and often are, very specific. When it is the intention of the State making the declaration that it should become bound according to its terms, that intention confers on the declaration the character of a legal undertaking, the State being thenceforth legally required to follow a course of conduct consistent with the declaration. An undertaking of this kind, if given publicly, and with intent to be bound, even though not made within the context of international negotiations, is binding.”

There are Tagalog and English sayings for it: “Masabi masabi (Stand by your word).”

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China reiterated its boundaries in a major diplomatic assertion. Unearthed by Justice Carpio, this too denotes Hainan as China’s southern limit. The Note Verbale to France, Sept. 29, 1932, protesting the French occupation of the Paracels, states:

“On the instructions of its Government, the Legation of the Chinese Republic in France has the honor to transmit its Government’s reply to the Foreign Ministry’s Note of 4 Jan. 1932 on the subject of the Paracel Islands.

“The Si-Chao-Chuin-Tao Islands, also known as Tsi-Cheou-Yang and called the Paracel Islands in the foreign tongue, lie in the territorial sea of Kwangtung Province (South China Sea); the northeast are the Ton-Chao Islands; the Si-Chao-Chuin-Tao Islands form one group among all the islands in the South China Sea which are an integral part of the territorial sea of Kwangtung Province.

“According to the reports on the Si-Chao-Chuin-Tao (Paracel) Islands drawn up in the Year XVII of the Chinese Republic (1926) by Mr. Shen-Pang-Fei, President of the Commission of Inquiry into the islands, and to the files of these islands compiled by the Department of Industry of Kwangtung Province, the islands lie between longitude 100ş13’ and 112ş47’ east. More than 20 in number, large and small, most of them are barren sandbanks, 10 or so are rocks, and 8 are true islands. The eastern group is called the Amphitrites and the western group the Crescent. These groups lie 145 nautical miles from Hainan Island, and form the southernmost part of Chinese territory.”

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The coordinates are vital. For, Beijing Communists now include James Shoal in Malaysia and Scarborough Shoal in the Philippines.

Justice Carpio notes that 1932 was the first time China claimed the Paracels as part of Hainan. Still, the Note Verbale “categorically affirmed the official maps of the Song, Yuan, Ming, and Qing Dynasties that Hainan Island is the southernmost territory.”

James Shoal, 800 NM from the Paracels and 950 NM from Hainan, was never in Chinese history its southernmost end. So was Scarborough, 380 NM from the Paracels and 500 NM from Hainan.

Justice Carpio concludes: “Hainan or the Paracels are its southernmost border, China officially declared on Sept. 29, 1932. So Scarborough is not and could never have been part of Chinese territory.”


Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi

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