PHNO HEADLINE NEWS THIS PAST WEEK
(Mini Reads followed by Full Reports below)

ABS-CBN, GMA, TV5 JOIN HANDS TO AIR PACQUIAO FIGHT: NETWORKS UNITE FOR HISTORIC BROADCAST


Entertainment Corp., announces the unprecedented multi-network coverage of the Manny Pacquiao-Floyd Mayweather Jr. fight on May 2 at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas to be telecast simultaneously on ABS-CBN 2, TV5 and GMA-7 during yesterday’s press conference at Solaire Hotel. Also in photo are GMA-7 EVP and CFO Felipe Yalong (left) and Oscar Reyes, COO of Cable TV Cignal. STAR/Joey Mendoza Jr. 
MANILA, Philippines - The biggest and richest fight in boxing history will also go down in the record books as “the most enormous coverage ever” in Philippine broadcasting history. “It’s unseen in Philippine broadcasting and we are targeting the largest audience possible,” said Solar Sports president Wilson Tieng. The men behind the country’s major broadcast networks have joined hands for a multi-platform and multi-channel airing of Manny Pacquiao vs Floyd Mayweather. The unprecedented deal among GMA-7, ABS-CBN, and TV5 was announced during a press conference at the Solaire Resort and Casino yesterday. The three networks will air the fight on a slightly-delayed basis. But on pay-per-view, through Cignal Digital TV and Sky Cable, it will be aired real time. GMA-7 has waived its exclusive TV rights on Pacquiao fights for this fight. READ MORE...

Pacquiao, Mayweather fight brings attention back to boxing
(By some sort of divine intervention, the boxing gods have sent us a miracle. On May 2, we will witness a sight at the MGM Grand Garden Arena that goes against everything we have come to expect in boxing. Manny Pacquiao and Floyd Mayweather, the two best fighters of this era, will finally square off.)


As a lifelong fan of boxing, disappointment is all too common. Let’s face it ― boxing is a corrupt sport. There are too many promoters and too many champions of the world. Fight decisions are disputed on a regular basis and the best matchups usually do not come to fruition. That is why, after years of failed negotiations, fights over Olympics-style blood testing and who knows what else, I gave up on the “fight of the century.” It is not known for sure why this fight is happening now. Perhaps it is the age of the two men. Perhaps it is the recent downward trend of their pay-per-view buys. Perhaps $400 million is just too much money to leave on the table. Not since Muhammad Ali and Joe Frazier has there been such a compelling matchup in and out of the ring. In one corner is Floyd “Money” Mayweather. He is as brash and arrogant as he is immensely talented. He lives his life with reckless abandon until he steps between the ropes. When the bell rings, Mayweather is a methodical craftsmen. He is the best defensive fighter of this generation, and one of the best boxers of all time.
Standing across from Mayweather will be Filipino congressman Manny “Pacman” Pacquiao. While Mayweather flaunts his millions of dollars and routinely adds to his luxury car collection, Pacquiao meets with his constituents, trying to solve the many issues that affect his homeland. In recent years, he has found God, stayed faithful to his wife and has given up nightlife altogether. But once the fight is on, Pacquiao becomes an entirely different man. Even at 36, his pace is unrelenting and his power devastating. His punches come from deceiving angles and many times and put his opponents on the canvas. CONTINUE READING...

ALSO: PNoy taps Tagle, Davide, Ayala for Bangsamoro review


The Comprehensive Agreement on the Bangsamoro is the final peace agreement signed between the Philippine government and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front in March 27, 2014, concluding the over 17 years of negotiations. Malacañang file photo/pcoo.gov.ph 
MANILA, Philippines - President Benigno Aquino III said Friday that a national peace summit will be convened to look into the controversial Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL).
In a televised address to the nation, Aquino said he has invited "citizen leaders known for their knowledge and integrity" to stand as independent convenors of the summit. Among these individuals are Manila Archbishop Luis Antonio Cardinal Tagle, former Chief Justice Hilario Davide and prominent businessman Jaime Augusto Zobel de Ayala. "Sila ang magbubuklod sa iba pang responsable at respetadong pinuno upang pangunahan ang isang national peace summit," Aquino said. The president said the summit will discuss and scrutinize the BBL, which has been opposed following the Mamasapano incident. "Hihimayin nila ang panukalang batas na ito sa mahinahon at responableng paraan na hindi mag-uudyok ng mga galit at kawalan ng pag-asa," Aquino said. READ MORE...

ALSO: Renewed call: ‘Forge peace today or count body bags later’ -- Aquino


President Aquino signs the book of condolences for the late former Singapore prime minister Lee Kuan Yew at the multi-purpose hall of the Singapore embassy in Bonifacio Global City, Taguig yesterday.
MANILA, Philippines - On the first anniversary of the peace deal under his watch, President Aquino renewed his call yesterday for the passage of the Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL), warning that failure to forge peace would mean counting “body bags.”   Malacañang is organizing a “peace summit” to improve the BBL, with “citizen leaders” like Manila Archbishop Luis Antonio Cardinal Tagle and tycoon Jaime Augusto Zobel de Ayala being eyed as “independent convenors.”   In a speech at Malacañang, Aquino said he has invited peace advocates who would help him persuade Filipinos that peace is the only way to go. “This is the crossroads we face: we take pains to forge peace today, or we count body bags tomorrow,” Aquino said. “To those who have called for all-out war as the solution, do you think we’ll be able to talk peace after the shooting has started, when the wounds, and the failure of the talks, would be raw?”   He denied that he merely wanted to be able to tout the BBL as his legacy at the end of his term. Yesterday was the first anniversary of the signing of the Comprehensive Agreement on the Bangsamoro. READ MORE...

ALSO: ‘Give justice, not speech’


Bello III  
THE public outrage over the Aquino administration’s mishandling of the Mamasapano operation will continue in light of President Benigno Aquino III’s supposed last speech on the debacle, opposition lawmakers said Friday.  1-BAP party-list Rep. Silvestre Bello III, a member of the House minority bloc, said for as long as there was an absence of justice for the victims, families and widows of the 44 police commandos who died on Jan. 25, intense anger and frustration against the government will continue.  “There must be justice for the death of our fallen heroes,” said Bello, a former peace negotiator and former justice secretary.  He made his statement even as Senate Majority Leader Alan Peter Cayetano on Friday said the acronym MILF meant “Mga Iilan na Lolokohin lang and mga Filipino.”  He said he coined the term based on the MILF’s 35-page report on the encounter between the police commandos and Muslim rebels after the policemen brought down a terrorist in the rebel territory. “Can we trust the MILF as peace partners?” Cayetano said. He warned that if the government gave the Bangsamoro Basic Law to the MILF, the group will separate Mindanao and Sulu from the country. The head of the National Commission for Muslim Filipinos and the government peace panel, meanwhile, denied the allegations that the government is providing the MILF funds through the Bangsamoro Transition Commission or BTC. “We don’t know where the critics are getting all the information that they have been announcing to the media,” NCMF chairwoman Bai Yasmin Busran-Lao said. READ MORE...

ALSO: PNoy’s review panel meant to sway public on BBL —Bongbong Marcos
(Marcos, the chairman of the Senate Committee on Local Government, said it would be better for the Aquino administration to promote further discussions on the proposed law and let Filipinos form their own opinion as regards the centerpiece of the peace agreement .)


BONGBONG MARCOS
PNoy addresses nation a year after Bangsamoro peace accord PNoy addresses nation a year after Bangsamoro peace accord. President Benigno Aquino III delivers another national address on Friday, March 27, a year after the Philippine government signed a comprehensive peace deal with the Moro Islamic Liberation Front. In his address, Aquino said he is enlisting the help of 'citizen leaders' to scrutinize the proposed Bangsamoro Basic Law. Rey Baniquet  President Benigno Aquino III's initiative to form a citizens' committee that will review the Bangsamoro Basic Law is an attempt to rally public support for Congress' creation of a new autonomous region in Muslim Mindanao, something that has come under serious doubt following the Mamasapano incident, Sen. Ferdinand Marcos Jr. said on Friday.   Marcos, the chairman of the Senate Committee on Local Government, said it would be better for the Aquino administration to promote further discussions on the proposed law and let Filipinos form their own opinion as regards the centerpiece of the peace agreement signed a year ago with the Moro Islamic Liberation Front.  “It seems to be an attempt to sway the public to support BBL," Marcos said in a text message to GMA News Online. Marcos' committee in the Senate and the House Ad Hoc Committee on the BBL earlier suspended its deliberations after more than 60 people, including 44 police commandos, were killed in a clash between the Philippine National Police-Special Action Force and MILF fighters on Jan. 25, despite existing ceasefire mechanisms between the government and the rebels. READ  MORE...

ALSO PHILSTAR OPINION: P-Noy’s accountability on Mamasapano tragedy
(P-Noy has much more to clarify about his role in Oplan Exodus and the Mamasapano tragedy.)


SATUR OCAMPO   “What decisions did I make? My decisions were based on information available to me at the time, and that’s how I want to be judged.”    That’s how President Aquino premised his “tell-all” speech last Thursday about the tragic Oplan Exodus counterterrorism operation in Mamasapano, Maguindanao on Jan. 25. He deemed his speech before the Philippine National Police Academy 2015 graduates as his “last chance to talk about Mamasapano in particular and to tie everything up, unless further clarifications are sought.”   Two official investigations on that tragedy — by the Senate and by a PNP board of inquiry – have concluded that P-Noy is accountable as Chief Executive and Commander-in-Chief. Specifically he is blamed for having relied on and illegally allowed his friend, suspended PNP Chief Alan Purisima, to continue exercising a major role in the operation. Yet P-Noy has rebuffed the various calls for him to forthrightly acknowledge accountability, to apologize to the people, and to resign.  Two days earlier, he gave his version of the circumstances and the decisions he had made before and during the Mamasapano operation, which he reiterated in his PNPA speech.  In summary, this is how he presented the issues: • He approved Oplan Exodus on Jan. 9, after being convinced by then SAF chief Getulio Napeñas’ detailed briefing (with Purisima) that the planning was “very, very thorough.” He also got assurance from Napeñas — who nodded twice to his repeated order — to coordinate the operation with the military and the GPH-MILF ceasefire committee to avoid falling into a pintakasi (a firefight with a larger number of adversaries) and jeopardizing the peace process. CONTINUE READING...

ALSO: Islamic scholar and analyst says Mindanao security more volatile
(“With the end of Aquino’s term inching closer, Congress and Malacanang still has no unified position on the BBL and the recent survey showing huge margin of Filipinos disagreeing on the BBL could add to the doubts on the issue,” Wadi explained.)


Islamic scholar and political analyst, Julkipli Wadi: THE security situation in Mindanao is becoming more volatile because both the government and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front have not prepared any plans on what to do in case the proposed Bangsamoro Basic Law fails to pass Congress, according to Islamic scholar and political analyst, Julkipli Wadi. 
“The coming closing chapter of [President Benigno Aquino III] is becoming more delicate because of the BBL,” said Professor Julkipli Wadi, dean of the University of the Philippines Institute of Islamic Studies. Wadi made the remark a day after Aquino called on lawmakers on Friday to pass the BBL or start counting “body bags.”   Aquino had wanted the bill passed this month, but Congress suspended debates on the proposed law after the Mamasapano incident. But Wadi said it is misleading to blame the waning support for the BBL on the Mamasapano incident alone because the proposed legislation was already being severely criticized even before the January 25 incident that resulted in the death of 67 people, including 44 police commandos.

Even before the Mamasapano incident, Wadi said many provisions of the BBL were already being questioned not only by Mindanao residents, but also by the very government security forces that are expected to enforce the proposed law.


READ FULL MEDIA REPORTS HERE:

ABS-CBN, GMA, TV5 join hands to air pacquiao fight: Networks unite for historic broadcast


Wilson Tieng (center), CEO of Solar Entertainment Corp., announces the unprecedented multi-network coverage of the Manny Pacquiao-Floyd Mayweather Jr. fight on May 2 at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas to be telecast simultaneously on ABS-CBN 2, TV5 and GMA-7 during yesterday’s press conference at Solaire Hotel. Also in photo are GMA-7 EVP and CFO Felipe Yalong (left) and Oscar Reyes, COO of Cable TV Cignal. STAR/Joey Mendoza Jr.

MANILA, MARCH 30, 2015 (PHILSTAR) - The biggest and richest fight in boxing history will also go down in the record books as “the most enormous coverage ever” in Philippine broadcasting history.

“It’s unseen in Philippine broadcasting and we are targeting the largest audience possible,” said Solar Sports president Wilson Tieng.

The men behind the country’s major broadcast networks have joined hands for a multi-platform and multi-channel airing of Manny Pacquiao vs Floyd Mayweather.

The unprecedented deal among GMA-7, ABS-CBN, and TV5 was announced during a press conference at the Solaire Resort and Casino yesterday.

The three networks will air the fight on a slightly-delayed basis. But on pay-per-view, through Cignal Digital TV and Sky Cable, it will be aired real time.

GMA-7 has waived its exclusive TV rights on Pacquiao fights for this fight.

READ MORE...
“We owe it to the Filipino people,” said GMA-7 executive vice president Felipe Yalong during the well-attended press event.

“Previously, Pacquiao fights are aired on GMA-7 alone but in deference to the request of Manny Pacquiao himself, we agreed to this,” he said.

The fight will also be shown live and commercial free on all SM cinemas and the Mall of Asia Arena. For radio listeners, it’s GMA Radio.

Tickets to SM Cinemas nationwide will range from P600 to P1,000 while pay-per-view is priced at P2,000 per household.

Technically, it’s the biggest broadcast event ever in the country, even bigger than a presidential oath-taking.

“Everybody agreed to set aside all their differences to make sure that this will become the biggest event ever in Philippine television history,” said Tieng.

“This is a win-win-win-win solution. I don’t know how many wins I should say,” added the big boss of Solar Sports.

It was close to midnight in Los Angeles when Pacquiao went on Skype.

“Thank you very much to GMA-7, ABS-CBN, TV5 and Solar Sports. Salamat sa pagkakaisa ninyo na maipakita sa mga kababayan natin ang fight na ito,” he said.

Also on deck were Mike Enriquez of GMA-7, Dino Laureano of ABS-CBN, Chot Reyes of TV5, Oscar Reyes of Cignal and Edgar Tejerero of SM Lifestyle and Entertainment, Inc.

“It took two weeks and many sleepless nights to make this happen. At night time here we’re calling the US and at daytime here we’re bargaining with everyone,” said Tieng.

“But the most important thing here is that Manny Pacquiao played a great part here. He was the one who wanted this. Solar Sports can only take part of the credit,” he added.

In the United States, sports broadcast rivals HBO and Showtime have done the same to make sure the world gets to see the fight.

The fight which could generate as much as $400M in revenues will take place on May 2 in Las Vegas. The world waited six years for this fight to happen.

Solar Sports, which has covered Pacquiao fights the last 12 years, acquired the broadcast rights from the US promoters for a staggering $10 million.

It was not disclosed how much the broadcast networks paid to be part of the greatest show in Philippine sports history.


NYU SPORTS NEWS

Pacquiao, Mayweather fight brings attention back to boxing Mike Thompson, Contributing Writer February 24, 2015


via wikipedia.com -The fight between Manny Pacquiao and Floyd Mayweather will begin on May 2nd

As a lifelong fan of boxing, disappointment is all too common. Let’s face it ― boxing is a corrupt sport. There are too many promoters and too many champions of the world.

Fight decisions are disputed on a regular basis and the best matchups usually do not come to fruition. That is why, after years of failed negotiations, fights over Olympics-style blood testing and who knows what else, I gave up on the “fight of the century.”

But by some sort of divine intervention, the boxing gods have sent us a miracle. On May 2, we will witness a sight at the MGM Grand Garden Arena that goes against everything we have come to expect in boxing. Manny Pacquiao and Floyd Mayweather, the two best fighters of this era, will finally square off.

It is not known for sure why this fight is happening now. Perhaps it is the age of the two men. Perhaps it is the recent downward trend of their pay-per-view buys. Perhaps $400 million is just too much money to leave on the table.

Not since Muhammad Ali and Joe Frazier has there been such a compelling matchup in and out of the ring. In one corner is Floyd “Money” Mayweather. He is as brash and arrogant as he is immensely talented. He lives his life with reckless abandon until he steps between the ropes.

When the bell rings, Mayweather is a methodical craftsmen. He is the best defensive fighter of this generation, and one of the best boxers of all time.

Standing across from Mayweather will be Filipino congressman Manny “Pacman” Pacquiao.

While Mayweather flaunts his millions of dollars and routinely adds to his luxury car collection, Pacquiao meets with his constituents, trying to solve the many issues that affect his homeland. In recent years, he has found God, stayed faithful to his wife and has given up nightlife altogether.

But once the fight is on, Pacquiao becomes an entirely different man. Even at 36, his pace is unrelenting and his power devastating. His punches come from deceiving angles and many times and put his opponents on the canvas.

CONTINUE READING...
Floyd has never had a setback as a professional prizefighter. He has a perfect 47-0 record and is the consensus number-one pound-for-pound fighter in the world, by almost all professional accounts.

On the other hand, Pacquiao last lost in disappointing knockout fashion in 2012 to a suspiciously powerful Juan Manuel Marquez. His career appeared to be in jeopardy, but he has since strung together three victories in a row.

In a sport on the fringe of public conscience, Pacquiao and Mayweather are transcendent stars. Their reach and notability is greater than any other fighters in the world. They both bring with them millions of loyal, adoring fans who have prayed to see this happen. Boxing fans like CAS freshman Andres Brauer are split on the fight.

“I have Mayweather winning because he’s a stylistic nightmare for Manny,” Brauer said. “Pacquiao doesn’t have the power he once had, so I think Mayweather will be able to dictate the pace.”

But not everyone is sold on Mayweather, as evidenced by CAS freshman Hugo Sanchez .

“Pacquaio is better than anyone Mayweather has ever fought,” Sanchez said. “He hasn’t knocked anyone out in years, but I think having Mayweather as his opponent will be more than enough motivation.”

If aging has affected them, it has done so evenly. A lost step or two makes for a more compelling fight. In recent fights, Mayweather has been hit just a little more than in the past, and Pacquiao hasn’t knocked out a fighter since 2009.

Their new flaws will open the door for opportunities and tremendous action in the fight.

No matter how much disagreement they have about who will win, boxing fans agree that this is an event worth dishing out $100 for on pay-per-view. SPS freshman Ben Goodkin said he is very excited for the fight.

“This is a once-in-a-lifetime kind of event,” Goodkin said. “I’m not the biggest boxing fan, but this is a really exciting event. It’s going to be huge.”

In May, just as the summer season begins, fans will be treated to the biggest blockbuster of the year.

It is a fight guaranteed to be record-breaking, the richest fight in boxing history. It is so big, two networks, HBO and Showtime, and two announcers, Michael Buffer and Jimmy Lennon Jr, will share broadcasting and announcing duties.

Come May 2, Mayweather and Pacquiao will do something that has not been done in quite some time ― put boxing on center stage. Email Mike Thompson at sports@nyunews.com


PHILSTAR

PNoy taps Tagle, Davide, Ayala for Bangsamoro review By Louis Bacani (philstar.com) | Updated March 27, 2015 - 3:39pm


The Comprehensive Agreement on the Bangsamoro is the final peace agreement signed between the Philippine government and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front in March 27, 2014, concluding the over 17 years of negotiations. Malacañang file photo/pcoo.gov.ph

MANILA, Philippines - President Benigno Aquino III said Friday that a national peace summit will be convened to look into the controversial Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL).

In a televised address to the nation, Aquino said he has invited "citizen leaders known for their knowledge and integrity" to stand as independent convenors of the summit.

Among these individuals are Manila Archbishop Luis Antonio Cardinal Tagle, former Chief Justice Hilario Davide and prominent businessman Jaime Augusto Zobel de Ayala.

"Sila ang magbubuklod sa iba pang responsable at respetadong pinuno upang pangunahan ang isang national peace summit," Aquino said.

The president said the summit will discuss and scrutinize the BBL, which has been opposed following the Mamasapano incident.

"Hihimayin nila ang panukalang batas na ito sa mahinahon at responableng paraan na hindi mag-uudyok ng mga galit at kawalan ng pag-asa," Aquino said.

READ MORE...
The national peace summit will come up with a report to help the public understand better the BBL, he added.

"Sa ganitong paraan, maisusulong natin ang makatwirang pagpapasya ukol sa Bangsamoro Basic Law," the president said.

Aquino said the perceived gaps in the BBL will only be addressed if the debates on the controversial measure will continue.

Aquino also urged the public to prepare for more attacks on the BBL. He said Filipinos should look into the real motives of those opposing the measure.

He reiterated that the failure to pass the BBL will lead to more violence in Mindanao.

"Hindi kaya ang mga gustong pumigil sa BBL ay ang mga maaapektuhan ng transpormasyong nais nating gawing permanente para sa Bangsamoro," Aquino said.

"Marahil ang tanging pakay nila ay muling maghariharian oras na bumalik tayo sa dating sistema," he added.

The country marks today the anniversary of the signing of the Comprehensive Agreement on the Bangsamoro, the final peace agreement signed between the Philippine government and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front in March 27, 2014, concluding the over 17 years of negotiations.

The peace pact resulted in the creation of the draft BBL, which will serve as the enabling law for the proposed political entity that would replace the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao.


PHILSTAR

Renewed call: ‘Forge peace today or count body bags later’ -- Aquino (The Philippine Star) | Updated March 28, 2015 - 12:00am


President Aquino signs the book of condolences for the late former Singapore prime minister Lee Kuan Yew at the multi-purpose hall of the Singapore embassy in Bonifacio Global City, Taguig yesterday.

MANILA, Philippines - On the first anniversary of the peace deal under his watch, President Aquino renewed his call yesterday for the passage of the Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL), warning that failure to forge peace would mean counting “body bags.”

Malacañang is organizing a “peace summit” to improve the BBL, with “citizen leaders” like Manila Archbishop Luis Antonio Cardinal Tagle and tycoon Jaime Augusto Zobel de Ayala being eyed as “independent convenors.”


These include From left: Luis Antonio Cardinal Tagle, former Chief Justice Hilario Davide, Jr., Jaime Augusto Zobel de Ayala, Howard Dee, and Bai Rohaniza Sumndad-Usman.

In a speech at Malacañang, Aquino said he has invited peace advocates who would help him persuade Filipinos that peace is the only way to go.

“This is the crossroads we face: we take pains to forge peace today, or we count body bags tomorrow,” Aquino said. “To those who have called for all-out war as the solution, do you think we’ll be able to talk peace after the shooting has started, when the wounds, and the failure of the talks, would be raw?”

He denied that he merely wanted to be able to tout the BBL as his legacy at the end of his term.

Yesterday was the first anniversary of the signing of the Comprehensive Agreement on the Bangsamoro.

READ MORE...
Also being eyed as independent convenors aside from Tagle and Zobel were former chief justice Hilario Davide Jr., Howard Dee and Rohaniza Sumndad-Usman.

Aquino said the five were known for their “wisdom and integrity” in their own fields. Tagle confirmed receiving an invitation to serve as independent convenor.

Summit participants would dissect the proposed law “in a calm and reasonable manner that will not incite anger and hopelessness,” he said.

“This way, the BBL can be improved. They will write a report that will be made public, so that everyone may be informed, and so that more of our countrymen may understand the matter. In this manner, we will be able to advance a reasonable decision as regards BBL,” he said.

Aquino wants the BBL passed before June or a month before he delivers his sixth and last State of the Nation Address on July 27.

Contrary to perception, Aquino said he is “fully aware” that the Jan. 25 Mamasapano incident had adversely affected the chances of BBL getting passed by Congress.

“It saddens me to see that, after only one year, we have seemingly forgotten the hope that we felt back then. Instead, we have replaced it with distrust, unwarranted suspicion and anger,” he lamented.

“The BBL is one of the most important proposed bills of our administration. It answers the two most pressing problems of our countrymen: poverty and violence. This bill is the product of 17 years of extensive study and negotiations,” Aquino reiterated.

He also blamed the late dictator Ferdinand Marcos for the birth of the secessionist movement in Mindanao.

“Let us remember: The conflict in Mindanao began during the dictatorship because of land-grabbing. The law was used to exploit the uneducated, and deny them of their land,” he said.

Sen. Ferdinand Marcos Jr., the only son of the late dictator, is opposed to the current version of the BBL.

Aquino said he would not be coerced into resorting to all-out war just to please some sectors.

“Is it not clear that their approach was wrong? What were the results? Did the conflict end? Didn’t such an approach lead to the deaths of hundreds of thousands of Filipinos?”

Aquino said the violence has wasted two generations and that he would not allow the succeeding generation to suffer the same fate.

Good for BBL

At the House of Representatives, Speaker Feliciano Belmonte Jr. said President Aquino’s latest pitch for the BBL would boost the measure’s chances in Congress.

While admitting that the Mamasapano incident has greatly diminished support for the BBL in the chamber, Belmonte said lawmakers were beginning to realize that the issues should be treated differently.

He agreed with Aquino’s assertion that the peace process must succeed before radical elements in the MILF become frustrated and return to arms.

Belmonte also said the creation of a private body composed of eminent personalities to fine-tune the BBL would greatly help drum up support for the measure.

Cagayan de Oro Rep. Rufus Rodriguez, chairman of the ad hoc committee deliberating on the BBL, said the citizens’ commission should work swiftly so it could submit its recommendations to the panel before it votes on the BBL in May.

“We’re a bit pressed for time, so we wish that they could submit their recommendations soon so we can get their fresh inputs for the BBL, which based on the surveys, is very unpopular,” Rodriguez told The STAR.

“We really need more citizen participation in tackling the BBL, particularly in the light of the recent survey showing 44 percent of respondents are against the proposed law,” he said.

“They could help make the proposed law constitutional. We hope they would give us their inputs before we resume our work on the draft BBL on April 30,” he added.

Rodriguez said he agreed with Aquino that internal strife has to stop in Mindanao and that “there is really no substitute for peace.”

The proposed law that would create a new autonomous Bangsamoro region is the product of peace negotiations between the government and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF).

Davao City Rep. Karlo Nograles said members of the council of citizen leaders could attend the sessions of the ad hoc committee on the BBL from April 20 to 30.

“We would like to listen to them, compare their thoughts with the many and numerous position papers and testimonies we have gathered in the many, many hours we spent in our public hearings and nationwide consultations,” he said.

“They can also attend the hearings on the Senate on April 13, because ultimately, it will be Congress that will decide the fate of the BBL,” he said.

But Bayan Muna Rep. Carlos Zarate said as long as Aquino refuses to accept accountability in the Mamasapano debacle, the outcome of the BBL would be dim.

“The delay or early passage of the BBL unfortunately hinges on the resolution of this incident,” he said.

Buhay party-list Rep. Lito Atienza lashed out at Aquino for labeling critics of the BBL as ones seeking an all-out war in Mindanao.

He said it was Aquino who was warmongering and pitting Filipinos against one another when he called critics or those opposing the BBL as war freaks.

“Everyone wants a just, equitable and constitutional peace, not peace at all costs, as he wants it,” Atienza said.

He said Aquino should realize that those living outside the proposed autonomous areas in Mindanao are also Filipinos, who should also be listened to.

Zamboanga City Rep. Celso Lobregat said he supports the President’s latest initiative but said this should have been done earlier or before the signing of CAB.

“Is this now an admission that there was no genuine and proper consultation done by OPAPP (Office of the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process) and GPH panel?” Lobregat said.

“We need a BBL that is just, fair, acceptable, feasible and consistent with the Constitution and existing laws,” he said.

Sen. Grace Poe said she agrees that the public should be enlightened on the provisions and goals of the BBL and that there is no doubt about the integrity of Tagle and the others.

“However, before these eminent individuals would be given the chance to help in objectively communicating to all Filipinos the goals and the practical necessity of a political settlement towards peace and development in Muslim Mindanao, Congress must be given the opportunity first to come up with a constitutional version of the BBL,” Poe added.

Sen. Vicente Sotto III maintained that the sacrifice of the 44 SAF men should be enough for the government to rethink its position on the passage of the BBL.

Sen. Joseph Victor Ejercito also thinks that the President should first listen to the sentiments of the people on the BBL.

“But isn’t it the job of the Senate and the House of Representatives to review the BBL?” Ejercito asked. “You cannot fault those who want an all-war against MILF, because they’ve had enough, they do not trust the MILF anymore. I do not understand why this administration is more concerned with the MILF than what the people want and feel,” Ejercito added.

Sen. Francis Escudero was also optimistic about the President’s move, saying everybody’s help and contribution is “to allow everyone to foster and increase understanding (not necessarily agreement) on the matter.”

“I don’t think Congress should be afraid of it. In fact, Congress should welcome it as it will help in the national debate on the BBL,” Escudero said.

‘Unshakeable resolve’

For OPAPP’s Teresita Deles, President Aquino has shown “unshakeable resolve” to end the decades-long conflict in Mindanao with his new declaration against all-out war.

“The President’s speech shows his unshakeable resolve to end the decades of armed conflict that has brought ruin to so many lives and communities in Mindanao,” she said.

“A year ago, our people joyously welcomed the signing of the Comprehensive Agreement on the Bangsamoro, putting their stake that, in the creation of the Bangsamoro political entity, they will finally be released from the shackles of strife and poverty and peace and prosperity will finally dawn,” Deles said.

She urged the people and the lawmakers not to throw away the efforts of the government and the MILF peace panels to reach a final chapter in the conflict in Mindanao.

“The President sticks to his principles to continue the Bangsamoro Basic Law which he said is the most important law of his administration,” Deles said.

Chief peace negotiator Miriam Coronel-Ferrer said that by tapping eminent personalities like Tagle, Zobel, Davide, Dee and Usman for the peace summit, the administration has shown its “wide interest and desire to bring to life what we signed last year.”

In Davao City, the MILF lauded the President’s latest effort to drum up support for the BBL.

“It is true. There is no other solution to the Bangsamoro problem except peace. If the solution is going to war, then the problem would become bigger,” MILF vice chairman for political affairs Ghazali Jafaar told The STAR.

Jaafar said that points the President presented in his televised message yesterday were actually the same ones being advocated by the MILF.

“Experience showed how the MILF has grown in strength because of what Estrada did to Camp Abubakar then. The more you attack our people, the more they would fight back. That is why we had more members joining us after Estrada launched the all-out war,” Jafaar added.

Businessmen’s appeal

The Makati Business Club (MBC), for its part, is urging Congress to resume discussions on the BBL.

“To enhance the prospects for peace in Mindanao, we urge Congress to resume discussions on the BBL at the earliest time,” the MBC said in a statement yesterday.

Consistent with the position released by 14 framers of the Constitution last Jan. 9, the MBC said it shares the view that constitutional principles of genuine human development, social justice and lasting peace should underlie the CAB and, ultimately, the proposed BBL.

The 14 surviving framers of the Constitution – Felicitas Aquino-Arroyo, Adolfo Azcuna, Teodoro Bacani, Joaquin Bernas, Florangel Rosario Braid, Hilario Davide Jr. , Edmundo Garcia, Jose Luis Martin Gascon, Christian Monsod, Ricardo Romulo, Rene Sarmiento, Jaime Tadeo, Wilfrido Villacorta and Bernardo Villegas – said they support the creation of the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region.

The former members of the Constitutional Commission issued the statement after holding a formal meeting to forge a consensus on the Bangsamoro issue.

“In this context, we respectfully urge Congress to not allow revisions that would contravene these values nor run against the aspirations of the Filipino people to attain a just, harmonious and progressive Philippines,” the MBC said.

The business group also said the government should not abandon the peace process at all cost.

“As the nation commemorates the first anniversary of the signing of the Comprehensive Agreement on Bangsamoro (CAB), the MBC reaffirms its continuing and unwavering support for the Mindanao peace process, and we renew our call to the government to put the peace process back on track at the soonest possible opportunity,” it said.

The group also said the country must not let political manipulation take over the public’s consciousness, especially amid the outrage sparked by the Mamasapano incident.– Paolo Romero, Jose Rodel Clapano, Christina Mendez, Marvin Sy, Non Alquitran, Roel Pareño, Jess Diaz, Evelyn Macairan, Edith Regalado, Louella Desiderio, Pia Lee-Brago


MANILA STANDARD

‘Give justice, not speech’ By Maricel Cruz, Macon Ramos-Araneta, Sandy Araneta and Francisco Tuyay | Mar. 28, 2015 at 12:01am


Bello III

THE public outrage over the Aquino administration’s mishandling of the Mamasapano operation will continue in light of President Benigno Aquino III’s supposed last speech on the debacle, opposition lawmakers said Friday.

1-BAP party-list Rep. Silvestre Bello III, a member of the House minority bloc, said for as long as there was an absence of justice for the victims, families and widows of the 44 police commandos who died on Jan. 25, intense anger and frustration against the government will continue.

“There must be justice for the death of our fallen heroes,” said Bello, a former peace negotiator and former justice secretary.

He made his statement even as Senate Majority Leader Alan Peter Cayetano on Friday said the acronym MILF meant “Mga Iilan na Lolokohin lang and mga Filipino.”

He said he coined the term based on the MILF’s 35-page report on the encounter between the police commandos and Muslim rebels after the policemen brought down a terrorist in the rebel territory.

“Can we trust the MILF as peace partners?” Cayetano said.

He warned that if the government gave the Bangsamoro Basic Law to the MILF, the group will separate Mindanao and Sulu from the country.

The head of the National Commission for Muslim Filipinos and the government peace panel, meanwhile, denied the allegations that the government is providing the MILF funds through the Bangsamoro Transition Commission or BTC.

“We don’t know where the critics are getting all the information that they have been announcing to the media,” NCMF chairwoman Bai Yasmin Busran-Lao said.

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Government peace panel member Senen Bacani said the P100-million operational expenses of the BTC was subject to regular accounting and auditing.

The anti-crime watchdog Volunteers Against Crime and Corruption on Friday slammed what it called the “string of lies, lies and lies” from President Aquino who, it said, was trying to evade the real issues in the Mamasapano incident.

Group chairman Dante Jimenez said they will form a team of legal luminaries to file criminal charges against Aquino, SAF Director Getulo Napeñas and former PNP Chief Alan Purisima over the incident.

“We will file the charges against the two PNP officers anytime soon,” Jimenez said.

“For the President, he will be made to answer for the Mamasapano debacle next year when he turns over the command of the Armed Forces to his successor.”

Bello said “the President’s trust rating will continue to nosedive until the people see the truth and the SAF 44 are given justice.”

Bayan Muna party-list Rep. Carlos Zarate, a member of the Makabayan Bloc, said Aquino will not at all recover from the mess he had caused the country, especially in light of the botched Jan. 25 Mamasapano operation.

“I think the trust rating of President Aquino will further decline as he continues to lie on his accountability in the Mamasapano incident,” Zarate said.

But a Palace ally, Iloilo City Rep. Jerry Trenas, said he felt the intense sadness and sense of frustration of President Aquino when he talked about his failure to reverse the situation in Mamasapano.

“Even more difficult is that fact that you feel betrayed by the very same people whom you really trusted to lift him up,” Trenas said.

“Getting over the pain of the Mamasapano is also hardest for the President. It is unfair for some people to even insinuate that PNoy is unfeeling and unsympathetic.

“I can hardly imagine how bad the President feels about this whole affair. This is not easy to bear especially when some are accusing you that you are directly responsible for the death of 44 people. This is completely unfair for the President.”

Trenas said the President sounded really disappointed when he said he would bring this tragedy with him until his final day, but it would be really too much for him to go beyond his appeal for understanding.

Trenas and Western Samar Rep. Mel Senen Sarmiento both said President Aquino had said enough on the Mamasapano incident.

“We cannot continue wallowing in despair and disunity because of this Mamasapano incident. What we should do is learn from its lessons and use these lessons to strengthen our resolve to seek peace in Mindanao,” Trenas said.

Sarmiento, secretary general of the ruling Liberal Party, said some people wanted “to crucify” the President over the issue of “failed coordination.”

“Why would they want to crucify him over something that he had no control?” Sarmiento said.

“I think the President has had enough of this Mamasapano issue. He has done everything humanly possible not just to help the families of the victims but also to explain the very little role that he had in the Mamasapano operation. He doesn’t need to explain himself anymore.”


GMA NEWS TV

PNoy’s review panel meant to sway public on BBL —Bongbong Marcos March 27, 2015 8:45pm


BONGBONG MARCOS

PNoy addresses nation a year after Bangsamoro peace accord PNoy addresses nation a year after Bangsamoro peace accord. President Benigno Aquino III delivers another national address on Friday, March 27, a year after the Philippine government signed a comprehensive peace deal with the Moro Islamic Liberation Front. In his address, Aquino said he is enlisting the help of 'citizen leaders' to scrutinize the proposed Bangsamoro Basic Law. Rey Baniquet

President Benigno Aquino III's initiative to form a citizens' committee that will review the Bangsamoro Basic Law is an attempt to rally public support for Congress' creation of a new autonomous region in Muslim Mindanao, something that has come under serious doubt following the Mamasapano incident, Sen. Ferdinand Marcos Jr. said on Friday.

Marcos, the chairman of the Senate Committee on Local Government, said it would be better for the Aquino administration to promote further discussions on the proposed law and let Filipinos form their own opinion as regards the centerpiece of the peace agreement signed a year ago with the Moro Islamic Liberation Front.

“It seems to be an attempt to sway the public to support BBL," Marcos said in a text message to GMA News Online.

Marcos' committee in the Senate and the House Ad Hoc Committee on the BBL earlier suspended its deliberations after more than 60 people, including 44 police commandos, were killed in a clash between the Philippine National Police-Special Action Force and MILF fighters on Jan. 25, despite existing ceasefire mechanisms between the government and the rebels.

Senate scrutiny

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Two other senators expressed doubt that Aquino's panel of "citizen leaders" will achieve anything as regards the opinions of lawmakers and the public.

Sen. Aquilino “Koko” Pimentel III, chairman of the Senate oversight committee on the Local Government Code, said the creation of citizen council to scrutinize the BBL would have no consequence on the Senate's deliberations of the measure.

“That would not affect the Senate's treatment of the BBL,” Pimentel said in a text message.

Pimentel said there will be no overlapping of functions between the Senate and the council.

“That council is more useful for people's education. Our issues in the senate are more of the constitutional issues,” Pimentel said.

Opposition Sen. Joseph Victor Ejercito said the committee "could help in increasing our people's awareness on the specific provisions of BBL" but indicated that the MILF should take more steps to bring back the public's trust toward the group and the peace process with the Moro rebels.

"But considering the result of recent surveys, the people are inclined to reject the proposed measures," Ejercito told GMA News Online.

"For me personally, the main issue on BBL is trust. The MILF has to do a lot of things to bring back the people's trust on them. And whatever would be the findings of the proposed council of leaders, measures like BBL still need to pass the approval of the Philippine Congress," he added.

House leaders

Zamboanga Rep. Celso Lobregat said Aquino's panel could not replace Congress in deliberating the constitutionality of the BBL. He said the review should have been initiated before the bill was submitted to Congress.

"We need a BBL that is just, fair, acceptable, feasible and consistent with the constitution and existing laws. The proposed BBL has been transmitted to Congress and both houses are deliberating on the measure," Lobregat said.

"The Catholic church, business sector or a convenors council cannot replace Congress. This should have been done before the signing of the comprehensive agreement of peace(CAB). Is this now an admission that there was no genuine and proper consultation done by OPAPP and GPH panel?" Lobregat added.

Cagayan De Oro Rep. Rufus Rodriguez, the chairman of the House Ad Hoc Committee on the BBL, said Aquino's committee of "citizen leaders" was an opportunity to get the public's insight as regards the legislation.

“They should go to the grassroots to get the citizens' comment and stand. It is very important because the people are now interested in BBL after the Mamasapano incident. After what happened in Mamasapano, the people are closely scrutinizing the BBL,” Rodriguez told GMA News Online.

He added that the analysis of the citizen leaders will also be of great help to the ad hoc committee of the House of Representatives, which is set to resume its hearing on BBL soon.

“That will greatly help the committee determine which provisions of the BBL should be retained,” Rodriguez said.

Citizen leaders

Aquino on Friday announced that he was enlisting the help of "citizen leaders” from government, business, religious and civil society sectors to scrutinize the controversial Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL).

The President said he tapped these personalities to refocus public discourse on the BBL following the botched January 25 Mamasapano operation, which left over 60 people dead including 44 police commandos.

“Batid ko po na ang mga pangyayari sa Mindanao, kasama na ang insidente sa Mamasapano, ay nagdulot ng pagdududa sa isip ng ating mamamayan. Ang resulta: Nailayo ang usapan sa obhetibong ebalwasyon ng BBL,” the President said in a nationally televised speech.

Among the members of the group that Aquino has chosen to review the BBL were Manila Archbishop Luis Antonio Tagle, former Chief Justice Hilario Davide, businessman Jaime Augusto Zobel de Ayala, civil society leader Howard Dee, and peace advocate Bai Rohaniza Sumndad-Usman.

“Para tugunan ito, nag-imbita ako ng citizen leaders na kilala sa kanilang kaalaman at integridad,” Aquino said.

Resumption of deliberations

Marcos has suspended his committee's deliberations on the BBL following the January 25 Mamasapano incident.

But after receiving copies of the respective reports of the Senate, the Philippine National Police (PNP) and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) about the incident, Marcos decided to resume his committee's hearing of the BBL on April 13.

The House committed to the resumption of deliberations on the BBL after Aquino met with Speaker Feliciano Belmonte and other House leaders and members in Malacañang earlier this month. —Elizabeth Marcelo and Amita Legaspi/NB, GMA News


PHILSTAR OPINION

P-Noy’s accountability on Mamasapano tragedy AT GROUND LEVEL By Satur C. Ocampo (The Philippine Star) | Updated March 28, 2015 - 12:00am


By Satur C. Ocampo 

“What decisions did I make? My decisions were based on information available to me at the time, and that’s how I want to be judged.”

That’s how President Aquino premised his “tell-all” speech last Thursday about the tragic Oplan Exodus counterterrorism operation in Mamasapano, Maguindanao on Jan. 25. He deemed his speech before the Philippine National Police Academy 2015 graduates as his “last chance to talk about Mamasapano in particular and to tie everything up, unless further clarifications are sought.”

Two official investigations on that tragedy — by the Senate and by a PNP board of inquiry – have concluded that P-Noy is accountable as Chief Executive and Commander-in-Chief. Specifically he is blamed for having relied on and illegally allowed his friend, suspended PNP Chief Alan Purisima, to continue exercising a major role in the operation.

Yet P-Noy has rebuffed the various calls for him to forthrightly acknowledge accountability, to apologize to the people, and to resign.

Two days earlier, he gave his version of the circumstances and the decisions he had made before and during the Mamasapano operation, which he reiterated in his PNPA speech.

In summary, this is how he presented the issues:

• He approved Oplan Exodus on Jan. 9, after being convinced by then SAF chief Getulio Napeñas’ detailed briefing (with Purisima) that the planning was “very, very thorough.” He also got assurance from Napeñas — who nodded twice to his repeated order — to coordinate the operation with the military and the GPH-MILF ceasefire committee to avoid falling into a pintakasi (a firefight with a larger number of adversaries) and jeopardizing the peace process.

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A pintakasi precisely happened in Barangay Tukanalipao on Jan. 25, causing the death of 44 commandos mostly of the 55th SAF company serving as blocking force, 17 MILF fighters, and three civilians.

• P-Noy entrusted the plan’s implementation to Napeñas and Purisima, fully knowing the latter was under suspension by the Ombudsman, rationalizing that he had been “on top of all this” before having been suspended. But as the operation began going wrong, P-Noy found both men confused and incoherent in reporting to him via text messages, so that he couldn’t be properly guided on what action to take. Worse, both men disobeyed his explicit orders (to Purisima: to inform PNP officer-in-charge Leonardo Espina, who was “not in the loop,” everything about Oplan Exodus).

Thus, P-Noy was unable to do anything to prevent or lessen the pintakasi casualties, for which failure he is principally called to account.

• Learning that the 84th SAF Seaborne (which carried out the operation) was beleaguered, P-Noy directed the AFP to provide reinforcement, even after the military had told him it was impossible to link up with the Seaborne at nightfall. He boasted: “So I directed Westmincom (commanding general, Lt. Gen. Rustico Guerrero) to convene his battle staff and to come up with a plan to effect the linkup that night with reasonable risk… I said that, regardless of the risk, you have to resupply the 84th tonight.”

The reinforcement was done, enabling the 84th to slip out. P-Noy thus claims credit for directly intervening to save the SAF unit which had killed the operation’s prime target: Zulkifli bin Hir alias “Marwan.” The unit cut off one of Marwan’s fingers and later handed it over, in General Santos City, to US agents for DNA verification.

Is P-Noy right to think that, by seeking public judgment only on the tactical decisions he made or failed to make, he can simply ask for the people’s understanding and not apologize for any wrongdoing?

No, say some legal quarters, for instance, the National Union of People’s Lawyers.

Generally P-Noy has committed acts and omissions in violation of his solemn oath as President under the Constitution to “do justice to every person and to faithfully execute the laws.” These, notes the NUPL, are all culpable violations of the Constitution and betrayal of public trust (which are grounds for impeachment).

As Chief Executive (head of the government) and as Commander-in-Chief (of ALL the armed forces of the state, per Section 18, Article VII of the 1987 Constitution), P-Noy is “legally vulnerable” for violating certain laws.

For one, the NUPL avers, he may have violated the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act on at least two counts:

1. For “causing undue injury to anybody, including the government,” and for giving a suspended public official (Purisima) “unwarranted advantage and preference in the discharging of his official functions through manifest partiality or gross inexcusable negligence.” These are deemed as corrupt acts and therefore unlawful; and

2. For inducing a public officer to perform an act constituting a violation of rules and regulations duly promulgated by a competent authority (the PNP).

Likewise, P-Noy may have violated the Code of Ethical Standards for Government Officials and Employees for “openly breaching, through his acts and omissions, the injunction that public interest should come first before any personal interest.”

He could also be liable, as principal by inducement, for a) “suborning and even sanctioning usurpation of authority and official functions by a suspended public official” and b) contempt for or disrespect — even defiance — of a lawful order of suspension by the Ombudsman.

P-Noy has much more to clarify about his role in Oplan Exodus and the Mamasapano tragedy.


MANILA STANDARD

ALSO: Islamic scholar and analyst says Mindanao security more volatile By Francisco Tuyay | Mar. 29, 2015 at 12:01am


THE security situation in Mindanao is becoming more volatile because both the government and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front have not prepared any plans on what to do in case the proposed Bangsamoro Basic Law fails to pass Congress, according to an Islamic scholar and political analyst, Julkipli Wadi (photo)

“The coming closing chapter of [President Benigno Aquino III] is becoming more delicate because of the BBL,” said Professor Julkipli Wadi, dean of the University of the Philippines Institute of Islamic Studies.

Wadi made the remark a day after Aquino called on lawmakers on Friday to pass the BBL or start counting “body bags.”

Aquino had wanted the bill passed this month, but Congress suspended debates on the proposed law after the Mamasapano incident.

But Wadi said it is misleading to blame the waning support for the BBL on the Mamasapano incident alone because the proposed legislation was already being severely criticized even before the January 25 incident that resulted in the death of 67 people, including 44 police commandos.

Even before the Mamasapano incident, Wadi said many provisions of the BBL were already being questioned not only by Mindanao residents, but also by the very government security forces that are expected to enforce the proposed law.

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Wadi compared the uncertainty on the BBL to the failed Memorandum of Agreement on Ancestral Domain which was ultimately rejected as unconstitutional by the Supreme Court.

“With the end of Aquino’s term inching closer, Congress and Malacanang still has no unified position on the BBL and the recent survey showing huge margin of Filipinos disagreeing on the BBL could add to the doubts on the issue,” Wadi explained.

A recent Pulse Asia survey showed only 21 percent agree of respondents agreed with the BBL, 44 percent disagree and 26 percent remained undecided.

“That can only mean one thing: that the BBL is not sure to pass because of the doubts of the people,” Wadi said.

Worse, Wadi doubts the MILF leadership could even control radical elements that could commit desperate acts if they think that the government does not want the BBL to pass although lawmakers have repeatedly said they want a peace pact, but must ensure that it is constitutional.

“What we don’t know is how stable the MILF leadership is in dissuading their rank-and-file not to create violence out of disappointment on the non-passage of the BBL,” Wadi said, adding that the MILF must assure the government that no renewed war if the BBL is delayed.


Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi

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