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

THAI 'RACIST' WHO CALLED FILIPINOS 'PIGNOYS' ON WAY OUT
[Filipino basher loses job, opts for deportation]


MAY 8 ---RASERTSRI Kosin at the Bureau of Immigration detention center in Bicutan, Taguig City. BI PHOTO
The Thai national who incurred the ire of netizens for calling Filipinos “pignoys,” “low-class slaves” and “wriggling cockroaches” on social media has opted for voluntary deportation. Prasertsri Kosin, who was also fired on Monday from his job at Cognizant Technology Solutions Philippines Inc., a business process outsourcing company in Taguig City, went to the Bureau of Immigration (BI) yesterday. This was after the bureau issued a deportation charge against him for “undesirability” over his racist remarks on Facebook. “The subject national, upon receiving the charge sheet from our legal division, surrendered himself to the bureau and opted for voluntary deportation. He was supposedly terminated by his employer and has been receiving threats. He is now quarantined in our warden facility as we procure the necessary orders and clearances to implement the deportation,” Immigration Commissioner Fred Mison said on his Facebook account. According to BI spokesperson Elaine Tan, a request for voluntary deportation meant that Kosin would no longer contest the charge filed against him. “It means he’s admitting [it]. This would expedite the proceedings. He would be included in the BI’s blacklist, barring his reentry into the country,” she added. READ MORE...plus the guy"s apology...

ALSO: In Canada Stephen Harper won't allow 'permanent underclass' of temporary foreign workers


Standing beside Philippine President Benigno Aquino, PM defends changes that hurt Filipino nannies 
Prime Minister Stephen Harper vowed Friday that Canada will not have an immigration system where foreign workers are in Canada over the long term without having the same rights as Canadians. During a joint press conference Friday on Parliament Hill with visiting Philippine President Benigno Aquino, a Filipino journalist asked about recent changes to the temporary foreign worker program, which have hurt nannies and other caregivers from that country in particular. Thousands have had to to leave jobs with Canadian families and return home after their visas expired. The new rules impose a four-year limit on temporary foreign workers and there is a backlog of permanent residency applications that makes it difficult for caregivers to stay longer.■​Caregiver program delays frustrate families searching for foreign nannies ■Foreign caregiver reforms impose cap, make live-in requirement optional Harper said his government wants to make sure that immigrants were not filling jobs that Canadians could do. READ MORE...

ALSO: India PM Modi says China has ‘right’ to seek regional influence


MAY 8 ---INDIA PM MODI  NEW DELHI: India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi has played down fears over China’s growing regional clout ahead of his landmark trip to Beijing, saying the rival Asian powerhouse has a “right” to seek greater influence. While ties between the nuclear-armed nations have long been strained over a bitter border dispute, China’s recent push to forge closer ties with countries in India’s backyard has caused some alarm in New Delhi. But in an interview with Time published Thursday, Modi said nations have a “natural tendency” to want to increase their influence, which was their right so as long as they respected human rights and international rules. “You referred to the increase in Chinese influence in the region and in the world,” he told the magazine in a rare interview. “I think it is a very natural tendency for the nations to increase their influence in the international space, as they pursue their international relations with different countries. “I firmly believe that with due regard to international rules and regulations, and with full respect for human values, … each country has the right to increase its presence, its impact and influence internationally for the benefit of the global community.”  READ MORE...

ALSO IN CHICAGO: Aquino slams critics anew in US visit [From 2010 to 2014, the country posted an average GDP growth of 6.3 percent, the fastest the economy has grown in 40 years, he said. The target for 2015 is 7 percent to 8 percent, he added]


MAY 7 ---Arrival. President Benigno Aquino III is welcomed by representatives of the Filipino community at the J.W. Marriott Hotel in Chicago at the start of his US visit. Malacañang Photo Bureau
PRESIDENT Benigno Aquino III told Filipinos in Chicago that the season for political mudslinging has begun and joked that even the loss of Filipino boxing champ Manny Pacquiao was being blamed on him. “Now that the 2016 elections is nearing, my critics have been very noisy. Somebody told me that there are members of political camps whose only work is to criticize me, and find faults in our every move,” Aquino said in a speech to the Filipino community at the J. W. Marriott Hotel in Chicago. “If there is a strong typhoon, it’s my fault. If there’s traffic gridlock on EDSA, it’s my fault. Even Manny Pacquiao’s loss in his recent fight, it’s also my fault,” Aquino said. Despite the tirades against him, Filipinos cannot be deceived, he said. “We will not surrender all the reforms that we are enjoying and allow to return to the old system. Like any seedling, we need to water these reforms. We have to watch and take care of them to ensure its [sic] growth,” he said. He said like they did in 1986 and 2010, the Filipino people would be there in 2016—an election year—to ensure that reforms would continue. “Our goal is not to return to the rotten system, but continue the country’s transformation. There is no other means to realize this but through the collective efforts of the Filipinos in any part of the world,” he said. “What you are seeing now is just a preview of the reforms.... Our term is for six years. We are not saying that we can solve all the problems of the Philippines. But just look at them, we can feel now the results... of our initiatives,” he said. READ MORE...

ALSO: PNoy meets Canada governor general, plants symbolic tree like Cory [According to Malacañang, Aquino's state visit to Canada is the first of a Philippine president since the visit of former President Fidel Ramos in 1997].


CANADA's Governor General Johnston presented President Aquino the same spade used by his mother to threw soil on the base of his tree. Johnston said that the tree symbolizes Aquino’s first visit to their country and the lasting friendship between the Philippines and Canada. “Today, you will, quite literally, follow in your mother’s footsteps, who not only visited Canada in 1989 as president, but who also planted a tree at Rideau Hall. Soon, you will plant your own tree by your mother’s to mark this visit,” Johnston said. “What a wonderful legacy for your family. Reminds me of one of my favorite proverbs: ‘Blessed is the man or the woman who plants a tree knowing that he or she will might be there to enjoy its shade,” he added. Photo and caption courtesy of newscentral.ph
- President Benigno Aquino III is now in Canada for his first state visit there. Aquino arrived in Ottawa on Thursday (Canada time) and paid a courtesy call on Canadian Governor General David Johnston. Aquino rode a horse-drawn carriage when he arrived for the official welcoming ceremony with military honors at the grounds of Rideau Hall, Johnston's official residence. In his speech, Johnston recognized the close relationship between the Philippines and Canada, hoping that their ties can improve by exploring new opportunities. "The dialogue we engage in is vital to the strength of our relationship. In our modern age, we must be able to communicate. We know this today, just as those who forged our initial links knew that we would find more success when we work together," Johnston said. Aquino, on the other hand, said Canadians and Filipinos share many values such as kindness and hospitality. READ MORE...

ALSO: Congratulations! Vigan declared ‘Wonder City’
Phl has now 2: The Subterranean Underground River located just off the island of Palawan in the Philippines was nominated and selected to be one of the new seven wonders in 2012]


VIGAN CITY, Philippines – The status of Vigan City as one of the new seven wonder cities of the world was formalized with a grand inauguration on Thursday night, making the Philippines one of three countries with more than one wonder.
Vigan is considered by the New7Wonders Foundation as the “best-preserved example of a planned Spanish colonial town in Asia.”  Vice President Jejomar Binay and New7Wonders Foundation president Bernard Webber led the ceremony. Also present were Sen. Cynthia Villar, Vigan Mayor Mayor Eva Singson-Medina, Ilocos Sur Gov. Ryan Luis Singson and other local officials.  Webber personally handed to city officials a bronze plaque that declares Vigan as New Wonder City. In his speech, Binay said Vigan City should serve as an inspiration to other local government units on how preserving culture and heritage can be harmonized with urban development. “In our quest to become strong competitors in the ASEAN and global economies, we cannot be too quick to tear down the old to build the new without serious deliberation and debate,” Binay said during Vigan’s inauguration. “As Vigan has proven, prosperity is not always measured by a city’s skyline. And it is not just malls that can bring in tourists and trade,” he added. He also reminded the residents of Vigan to remain committed to preserving their culture and environment and share their best practices with other local governments. READ MORE...

ALSO STANDARD OPINION: Odd role played by PNoy
[The conduct of the President is strange. His arbitrary usurpation of the role played by that Malaysian lackey Mohagher Iqbal is unusual, for instead of him advising the MILF to abide by the decision of Congress, it being a part of our democratic and constitutional process, Aquino is the one telling Congress he would not take “no” for an answer even if at stake is the future of our republic - whether it will remain one and united or give way to the creation of a Malaysian puppet state called Bangsamoro Islamic State.]


By Rod Kapunan There were three things that transpired this week, perhaps by coincidence but definitely intended to convince the people to accept the shameful Bangsamoro Basic Law. First was the killing of terrorist Abdul Basit Usman allegedly by members of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front. Second, the result of an alleged survey conducted by the Social Weather Station from March 20 to 23 claiming that 45 percent or that the majority still favors peaceful negotiations with the MILF. And third, the statement made by President Aquino that he wants the BBL approved by Congress without any amendment. It seems all are meant to condition the people that they will have to live with the possibility that this country will finally be partitioned not at the behest of our enemy, but by the very people who made their political orgy at Edsa claiming it was they who restored democracy and freedom to the land of the heathens. First, on the killing of Usman, there are three versions of what happened. One version is that he was killed in a “chance” encounter with the men of Commander Barok of the MILF’s 118 Base Command stationed in Sitio Takeneken in Barangay Muti, Guindalangan, Maguindanao Province. The second version was that he and five of his bodyguards were killed in a shootout with fellow members of the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF).
READ MORE...


READ FULL MEDIA REPORTS HERE:

Thai ‘racist’ on way out; Filipino basher loses job, opts for deportation


PRASERTSRI Kosin at the Bureau of Immigration detention center in Bicutan, Taguig City. BI PHOTO

MANILA, MAY 11, 2015 (INQUIRER) Tina G. Santos @inquirerdotnet May 7th, 2015 - The Thai national who incurred the ire of netizens for calling Filipinos “pignoys,” “low-class slaves” and “wriggling cockroaches” on social media has opted for voluntary deportation.

Prasertsri Kosin, who was also fired on Monday from his job at Cognizant Technology Solutions Philippines Inc., a business process outsourcing company in Taguig City, went to the Bureau of Immigration (BI) yesterday. This was after the bureau issued a deportation charge against him for “undesirability” over his racist remarks on Facebook.

“The subject national, upon receiving the charge sheet from our legal division, surrendered himself to the bureau and opted for voluntary deportation. He was supposedly terminated by his employer and has been receiving threats.

He is now quarantined in our warden facility as we procure the necessary orders and clearances to implement the deportation,” Immigration Commissioner Fred Mison said on his Facebook account.

According to BI spokesperson Elaine Tan, a request for voluntary deportation meant that Kosin would no longer contest the charge filed against him.

“It means he’s admitting [it]. This would expedite the proceedings. He would be included in the BI’s blacklist, barring his reentry into the country,” she added.

READ MORE...
Tan said Kosin also wrote a letter of apology to Filipinos. (Read apology bottom of this file)

“I’m very sorry for what I’ve done to break your heart by posting the racist remarks on my personal Facebook and Asean Community page. I really hope that all Filipinos whether in the Philippines and abroad will forgive me for what I’ve done. Since in my deeply (sic) heart I love the Philippines and its people,” Kosin’s letter went.

He added: “I hope Filipinos will allow me to come back in the future. I truly sincere (sic) apologize.”

“While the Philippines respects freedom of expression, we in the bureau cannot tolerate or allow abusive and foul language, especially coming from foreigners, against our own people,” Mison said.

In a statement on its Facebook page, Cognizant said it fired Kosin effective on May 4 for his “contentious remarks on social media,” as it reiterated its commitment to the “highest standards of diversity, inclusivity, transparency and corporate governance.”

In some of his posts on the Asean Community Facebook page and on his Facebook page under the name Koko Narak, Kosin referred to Filipinos as “scums of the Earth” and a “useless race in this world.”

He later posted a letter of apology on the Asean page, saying his comments were meant to be “playful.” With Kristine Felisse Mangunay





CBC NEWS CANADA

Stephen Harper won't allow 'permanent underclass' of temporary foreign workers CBC News Posted: May 08, 2015 8:37 AM ET| Last Updated: May 08, 2015 8:39 PM ET


Standing beside Philippine President Benigno Aquino, PM defends changes that hurt Filipino nannies

Prime Minister Stephen Harper vowed Friday that Canada will not have an immigration system where foreign workers are in Canada over the long term without having the same rights as Canadians.

During a joint press conference Friday on Parliament Hill with visiting Philippine President Benigno Aquino, a Filipino journalist asked about recent changes to the temporary foreign worker program, which have hurt nannies and other caregivers from that country in particular.

Thousands have had to to leave jobs with Canadian families and return home after their visas expired. The new rules impose a four-year limit on temporary foreign workers and there is a backlog of permanent residency applications that makes it difficult for caregivers to stay longer.

■​Caregiver program delays frustrate families searching for foreign nannies

■Foreign caregiver reforms impose cap, make live-in requirement optional

Harper said his government wants to make sure that immigrants were not filling jobs that Canadians could do.

READ MORE...
"Just as importantly, we're making sure that when people come to this country to work and to work long-term, they have the ability to move towards being permanent citizens of this country," he said.

"This country is not going to have a policy, as long as I'm prime minister, where we will have a permanent underclass of ... people who are so-called temporary, but here forever, with no rights of citizenship and no rights of mobility.

"That is not the Canadian way we do immigration. So we're going to make sure that program does not drift in that direction," he said.

No comment on NDP win

Canadian reporters at the same news conference asked for Harper's reaction to both Tuesday's election results in Alberta and the release of former Guantanamo Bay inmate Omar Khadr.

​Harper declined to comment in detail on the Alberta NDP's win. On Khadr, he maintained his party's position that he is a terrorist. Harper said his thoughts are with the families of the American soldier killed in the incident for which Khadr served time.

Harper and Aquino are meeting with members of Canada's 800,000-strong Filipino community and have a public event planned in Toronto later Friday.

From there, Aquino travels on to Vancouver for the final stop on his three-day state visit.

Canada Philippines Prime Minister Stephen Harper, left, and Benigno Aquino III, president of the Philippines, make their way to a meeting on Parliament Hill in Ottawa, Friday May 8, 2015. (Fred Chartrand/Canadian Press)

Thursday, Aquino planted a tree at Rideau Hall, just a few metres away from a tree planted by his mother — former president Corazon Aquino — during her state visit in 1989.

He even used the same silver spade his mother wielded 26 years ago.

Aquino's red spruce may eventually tower over his mother's sugar maple. With files from The Canadian Press


MANILA TIMES

India PM Modi says China has ‘right’ to seek regional influence May 8, 2015 2:25 am


INDIA PRIME MINISTER MODI

NEW DELHI: India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi has played down fears over China’s growing regional clout ahead of his landmark trip to Beijing, saying the rival Asian powerhouse has a “right” to seek greater influence.

While ties between the nuclear-armed nations have long been strained over a bitter border dispute, China’s recent push to forge closer ties with countries in India’s backyard has caused some alarm in New Delhi.

But in an interview with Time published Thursday, Modi said nations have a “natural tendency” to want to increase their influence, which was their right so as long as they respected human rights and international rules.

“You referred to the increase in Chinese influence in the region and in the world,” he told the magazine in a rare interview.

“I think it is a very natural tendency for the nations to increase their influence in the international space, as they pursue their international relations with different countries.

“I firmly believe that with due regard to international rules and regulations, and with full respect for human values, … each country has the right to increase its presence, its impact and influence internationally for the benefit of the global community.”

READ MORE...
Modi, who is due to fly to Beijing next Thursday on his first trip since being elected a year ago, has signaled he will pursue a more muscular foreign policy than India’s previous left-leaning government.

Since coming to power, Modi has sought to revive India’s role as a champion of South Asia, mindful of how China has forged closer ties in recent years with neighbors such as Sri Lanka, Nepal and the Maldives.

With Pakistan a long-time ally of Beijing, many observers have said that China is seeking to encircle India with “a string of pearls”.

Relations between the two countries are dogged by mistrust stemming from a brief, bloody border war in 1962 over the northeastern Indian state of Arunachal Pradesh, areas of which Beijing claims as South Tibet.

Modi warned China to shed its “expansionist mindset” at an election rally last year. China hit back, saying it “never waged a war of aggression to occupy any inch of land of other countries”.

But in the interview, Modi said the two countries have shown “great maturity” in recent decades and were committed to “economic cooperation”.

“It is not a volatile border. Not a single bullet has been fired for over a quarter of a century now. This essentially goes to prove that both countries have learnt from history,” Modi said. AFP


MANILA STANDARD

Aquino slams critics anew in US visit By Sandy Araneta | May. 08, 2015 at 12:01am


Arrival. President Benigno Aquino III is welcomed by representatives of the Filipino community at the J.W. Marriott Hotel in Chicago at the start of his US visit. Malacañang Photo Bureau

PRESIDENT Benigno Aquino III told Filipinos in Chicago that the season for political mudslinging has begun and joked that even the loss of Filipino boxing champ Manny Pacquiao was being blamed on him.

“Now that the 2016 elections is nearing, my critics have been very noisy. Somebody told me that there are members of political camps whose only work is to criticize me, and find faults in our every move,” Aquino said in a speech to the Filipino community at the J. W. Marriott Hotel in Chicago.

“If there is a strong typhoon, it’s my fault. If there’s traffic gridlock on EDSA, it’s my fault. Even Manny Pacquiao’s loss in his recent fight, it’s also my fault,” Aquino said.

Despite the tirades against him, Filipinos cannot be deceived, he said.

“We will not surrender all the reforms that we are enjoying and allow to return to the old system. Like any seedling, we need to water these reforms. We have to watch and take care of them to ensure its [sic] growth,” he said.

He said like they did in 1986 and 2010, the Filipino people would be there in 2016—an election year—to ensure that reforms would continue.

“Our goal is not to return to the rotten system, but continue the country’s transformation. There is no other means to realize this but through the collective efforts of the Filipinos in any part of the world,” he said.

“What you are seeing now is just a preview of the reforms.... Our term is for six years. We are not saying that we can solve all the problems of the Philippines. But just look at them, we can feel now the results... of our initiatives,” he said.

READ MORE...
“This is really the reason of our visit here in America and in the coming days, in Canada. This is the reason why we are continuously pushing for good governance,” he added.

President Aquino again bragged about sending his political opponents—whom he described as “untouchables”--to jail.

While he did not mention the politicians by name, he was clearly referring to former President Gloria Arroyo, and opposition Senators Juan Ponce Enrile, Ramon Revilla Jr. and Jinggoy Estrada.

Aquino said he was also cleaning up the government bureaucracy, and that agencies that were once notorious for corruption were now “models for good governance.”

He cited the once graft-ridden Department of Public Works and Highways, which under the administration’s good governance, has accumulated savings of P39 billion as of March 2015.

Mr. Aquino, however, did not mention Customs Commissioner John Sevilla, who abruptly resigned in April because he could not take the political pressure being exerted on him to raise money for the ruling party in the 2016 election campaign.

“The basis of our principle is ‘Good governance equals good economics, equals good quality inclusive growth.’ So that in terms of the economy, we now have to forget the Sick Man of Asia tag. The other countries now call us the Darling of Asia,” Aquino said, citing the growth of gross domestic product under his watch.

From 2010 to 2014, the country posted an average GDP growth of 6.3 percent, the fastest the economy has grown in 40 years, he said.

The target for 2015 is 7 percent to 8 percent, he added.

“I am just reminding you, we are not dreaming. This is not wishful thinking. The data you heard are all true. But despite these, we will not be contended. We know this is just the start and we can still do many reforms,” he said.

In Chicago for a day, the President was able to get commitments from American companies to invest in the Philippines, Communications Secretary Herminio Coloma Jr. said.

In a roundtable discussion at the TransUnion Building in Chicago, the President met with members of the US-ASEAN Business Council, the US Chamber of Commerce and the National Center for Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation.

With Aquino on his North American tour are Cabinet Secretary Jose Rene Almendras, Finance Secretary Cesar Purisima, Labor Secretary Rosalinda Baldoz, Trade and Industry Secretary Gregory

Domingo, Socio-Economic Planning Secretary Arsenio Balisacan; Presidential Management Staff Secretary Julia Andrea Abad, Coloma; Foreign Afairs Undersecretary Laura del Rosario, Philippine Ambassador to the US Jose L. Cuisia, and Chicago Consul General Generoso Calonge.

Aquino thanked the organizers and heard from the roundtable participants, who talked about their experiences in doing business in the Philippines and elicited feedback on how the government can improve the business climate.

Among the American companies represented at the meeting were Federal Express, International TransUnion, GE Transportation, Underwriters Laboratories, J. P. Morgan Chase & Co., Caterpillar, Cargill and Microsoft.

At the end of the forum, Mark Mealy of the US-ASEAN Business Council gave Aquino two NBA jerseys: a red Chicago Bulls jersey and a green Boston Celtics jersey, in honor of the President’s working visit to Chicago and his being a Celtic fan during his family’s stay in Boston in the early 1980s.

Outside the building, activists from the Anakbayan group rallied to call for Aquino’s resignation for failing to act more swiftly on the case of convicted drug trafficker Mary Jane Veloso, who was sentenced to death in Indonesia.

Although she was granted a last-minute stay of execution, Veloso is still on death row.

Chicago is home to about 90,000 Filipinos, one of the largest concentrations of Filipinos in the Midwest.

From Chicago, Aquino will fly to Canada today for a state visit.

In Canada, Aquino and Prime Minister Stephen Harper will witness the formal signing of a number of agreements seen to boost relations and solidify the two countries’ ties on labor cooperation, development assistance and infrastructure development.

Aquino will visit Vancouver, Ottawa and Toronto in Canada before returning to Manila.

Aquino’s visit to Canada will be the first state visit by a Philippine president in 18 years.

President Fidel Ramos visited Canada in 1997.


PHILSTAR

PNoy meets Canada governor general, plants symbolic tree like Cory By Louis Bacani (philstar.com) | Updated May 8, 2015 - 11:52am


CANADA's Governor General Johnston presented President Aquino the same spade used by his mother to threw soil on the base of his tree. Johnston said that the tree symbolizes Aquino’s first visit to their country and the lasting friendship between the Philippines and Canada. “Today, you will, quite literally, follow in your mother’s footsteps, who not only visited Canada in 1989 as president, but who also planted a tree at Rideau Hall. Soon, you will plant your own tree by your mother’s to mark this visit,” Johnston said. “What a wonderful legacy for your family. Reminds me of one of my favorite proverbs: ‘Blessed is the man or the woman who plants a tree knowing that he or she will might be there to enjoy its shade,” he added. Photo and caption courtesy of newscentral.ph

MANILA, Philippines - President Benigno Aquino III is now in Canada for his first state visit there.

Aquino arrived in Ottawa on Thursday (Canada time) and paid a courtesy call on Canadian Governor General David Johnston.

Aquino rode a horse-drawn carriage when he arrived for the official welcoming ceremony with military honors at the grounds of Rideau Hall, Johnston's official residence.

In his speech, Johnston recognized the close relationship between the Philippines and Canada, hoping that their ties can improve by exploring new opportunities.

"The dialogue we engage in is vital to the strength of our relationship. In our modern age, we must be able to communicate. We know this today, just as those who forged our initial links knew that we would find more success when we work together," Johnston said.

Aquino, on the other hand, said Canadians and Filipinos share many values such as kindness and hospitality.

READ MORE...
"We look forward to strengthening our already robust relations. I believe that if we continue in engaging one another as we have done in the past then we can turn our collective aspirations of meaningful shared progress that is inclusive into tangible reality sooner rather than later," he said.

Cory, symbolic tree

Aquino also participated in the traditional planting of a symbolic tree in his name on the grounds of Rideau Hall.

Accompanied by Johnston, Aquino did the ceremonial throwing of a spade full of earth to a red spruce tree planted beside the grown red maple tree that was planted by his mother, former president Corazon Aquino, during her state visit on Nov. 6, 1989.

"With the exception of those planted by our beloved Queen and her children, this is, in fact, a first at Rideau Hall. Nowhere else on the grounds will you find two generations of trees—planted by parent and child, mother and son—standing side by side," Johnston said at the state dinner for Aquino.

"I have no doubt that your tree will thrive and grow tall and strong, as your mother’s tree has done," he said.

Filipinos in Canada

During the state dinner, Johnston praised the Filipino community in Canada, which has become one of the country's largest communities over the past few decades.

"Take our ties in education, for instance. A growing number of Filipino students are coming here to learn, more than 2,000 in 2013 alone. This is cause for celebration. Students from the Philippines make great contributions to Canadian society during their time here. Canadian students are also able to learn a great deal from their colleagues and classmates from the Philippines," he said.

In response, Aquino thanked Canada for helping rebuild communities devastated by Typhoon Yolanda in 2013 and for supporting the peace process in Mindanao.

Aquino also thanked Canada for choosing the Philippines as one of their "country of focus" and for designating the country as a priority emerging market.

According to Malacañang, Aquino's state visit to Canada is the first of a Philippine president since the visit of former President Fidel Ramos in 1997.

Aquino is scheduled to meet with Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper in Ottawa before witnessing the signing of bilateral agreements on labor cooperation, development assistance and infrastructure development.

He will also meet with the Filipino communities in Vancouver and Toronto.


PHILSTAR

Vigan declared ‘Wonder City’ By Ariel Paolo Tejada (The Philippine Star) | Updated May 9, 2015 - 12:00am


Vigan City new seven wonder cities

VIGAN CITY, Philippines – The status of Vigan City as one of the new seven wonder cities of the world was formalized with a grand inauguration on Thursday night, making the Philippines one of three countries with more than one wonder.

Vigan is considered by the New7Wonders Foundation as the “best-preserved example of a planned Spanish colonial town in Asia.”

Vice President Jejomar Binay and New7Wonders Foundation president Bernard Webber led the ceremony. Also present were Sen. Cynthia Villar, Vigan Mayor Mayor Eva Singson-Medina, Ilocos Sur Gov. Ryan Luis Singson and other local officials.

Webber personally handed to city officials a bronze plaque that declares Vigan as New Wonder City.

In his speech, Binay said Vigan City should serve as an inspiration to other local government units on how preserving culture and heritage can be harmonized with urban development.

“In our quest to become strong competitors in the ASEAN and global economies, we cannot be too quick to tear down the old to build the new without serious deliberation and debate,” Binay said during Vigan’s inauguration.

“As Vigan has proven, prosperity is not always measured by a city’s skyline. And it is not just malls that can bring in tourists and trade,” he added.

He also reminded the residents of Vigan to remain committed to preserving their culture and environment and share their best practices with other local governments.

READ MORE...
Webber said having two wonders – Vigan and the underground river in Palawan – says a lot about the Philippines.


THE SUBTERRAINIAN UINDERGROUND RIVER IN  PUERTO PRINCESA, PALAWAN

He also said he was impressed with the motivation and participation of every Filipino around the world which made it possible for Vigan to be included in the list of wonder cities.

“Participation and motivation of every citizen is what makes a great future of this country,” he added.

Mayor Singson thanked all the Filipinos who voted and campaigned for Vigan.

“To everyone who contributed to this triumph of our city and the entire country, thank you very much,” she said.

“This is Vigan, our heritage wonder city, whom we are all proud of, and we know by heart that as residents, it is our responsibility to preserve it, nurture, keep it vibrant and to treasure it, not just for today but for the future generations to appreciate and emulate,” she added.

Vigan joined other cities worldwide, namely Beirut in Lebanon, Doha in Qatar, Durban in South Africa, Havana in Cuba, Kuala Lumpur in Malaysia and La Paz in Bolivia as the seven cities that “best represent the achievements and aspirations of our global urban civilization,” according to New7Wonders Foundation. – With Helen Flores, Jun Elias


MANILA STANDARD OPINION

Odd role played by PNoy By Rod Kapunan | May. 09, 2015 at 12:01am

There were three things that transpired this week, perhaps by coincidence but definitely intended to convince the people to accept the shameful Bangsamoro Basic Law.

First was the killing of terrorist Abdul Basit Usman allegedly by members of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front.

Second, the result of an alleged survey conducted by the Social Weather Station from March 20 to 23 claiming that 45 percent or that the majority still favors peaceful negotiations with the MILF.

And third, the statement made by President Aquino that he wants the BBL approved by Congress without any amendment. It seems all are meant to condition the people that they will have to live with the possibility that this country will finally be partitioned not at the behest of our enemy, but by the very people who made their political orgy at Edsa claiming it was they who restored democracy and freedom to the land of the heathens.


PHOTO FROM PHILSTAR

First, on the killing of Usman, there are three versions of what happened.

One version is that he was killed in a “chance” encounter with the men of Commander Barok of the MILF’s 118 Base Command stationed in Sitio Takeneken in Barangay Muti, Guindalangan, Maguindanao Province.

The second version was that he and five of his bodyguards were killed in a shootout with fellow members of the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF).

And the third version was that he was gunned down by his own bodyguard who has become a government asset while he was listening to a radio broadcast of the Pacquiao-Mayweather fight.

All versions have yet to be verified, while the MILF said it cannot give any statement, they being “restrained by the communications protocol governing dissemination of accomplishments in the “bilateral” activities in areas covered by the July 1997 Agreement of General Cessation of Hostilities under the Government-MILF Ceasefire Agreement.”

Whatever is the truth, the thing that is certain is that Usman was operating within the MILF’s controlled areas, and mingling with them but only to present himself and his followers as alleged members of the BIFF if exigency would require.

Whether it was the MILF, BIFF or the undercover operatives of the military who killed him is of no moment because they all have their interest in wanting to get him. Usman was “ripe” for the killing, and those who want him dead expected to hit two birds with one stone – that is, getting rid of him to save the floundering peace agreement and in getting the bounty of $1 million offered by the US and the P6.3 million offered by the government.

Nonetheless, many are inclined to believe he was killed for the money, and that made them no different from their hated Christian infidels.

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Immediately after going through with their sacrificial lamb, our government officials almost unanimously praised the killing as “a step towards the right direction.”

It was as if having Usman alive will pose as hindrance to the passage of the BBL, and that getting rid of him would remove the unconstitutional provisions that were blindly accepted by our stupid panel.

With or without Usman, just the same the controversial provisions will remain, unless deleted or amended by Congress. In fact, the MILF is particular in specifying the use of such term as “bilateral” and “consent,” indicate their insistence of being treated as co-equal with the government.

In that, the statement made by Senate President Franklin Drilon that the rubout of Usman cleared the way for the ratification of the BBL makes no sense.

On the survey conducted by the SWS, noticeable is that the question was framed in such a way that the person is likely to give a positive answer. It was misleading because nobody would be against any peaceful negotiations.

In fact, if the same people favoring a peaceful negotiation had the knowledge that it would result in the partitioning of the Republic to create a Bangsamoro state, they would have answered negatively.

The 45 percent who favored peaceful negotiations as against the 20 percent who favored a military operation (not a solution as it should be), and the 35 percent who favored both as equally effective was a deception.


Senate President Franklin Drilon and Senate Committee on Local Government Chairman Sen. Bongbong Marcos on Tuesday, May 5, receive the 50-page report of the Citizens' Peace Council (handpicked by the President) containing its review and recommendations about the proposed Bangsamoro Basic Law. Elizabeth Marcelo Photo from GMA NEWS ONLINE

They equated peaceful negotiations as in favor of peace, and those that favor peace would have no reason to reject the BBL, which ipso facto does not follow.

As lawyers would put it, the question framed by the SWS is equivalent to laying the predicate that he cannot contradict himself by retracting even after realizing he would be losing his own pants.

Finally, President Aquino then came out with a statement saying he wants the BBL ratified without any amendment.

Then, why did he convene the so-called “Peace Council” made up of a select group of hypocrites and self-righteous to study the contentious provisions in the BBL seen by many as unconstitutional?


(Photo by Lauro Montellano, Jr. / Malacañang Photo Bureau) President Benigno S. Aquino III, between Senate President Franklin Drilon and Speaker Feliciano Belmonte :INQUIRER NEWS --Malacanang wants the Congress to pass the proposed Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL) just the way the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) wants it to be. Presidential Communications Operations Office Secretary Herminio Coloma Jr. said President Aquino wants no amendments to the said bill.

Notably, they are the men who have been styling themselves as the guardians of what is good or bad for the country. The statement read by his Presidential Communication Operations Secretary Herminio Coloma, Jr. that PNoy would not accept any amendment or a “watered down” version of the proposed law, just rendered the role of the Peace Council redundant.

In effect, PNoy appointed highly paid people to do a sinecure job of just inserting their signatures, as if to vouch it is enough to convince our people that the BBL will be good for them.

Finally, the demand made by PNoy is a betrayal of public trust because he is not supposed to pre-empt what Congress is supposed to do. His statement was a reproach to Congress not to exercise its constitutional right to approve or reject proposed a law.


President Benigno Aquino III has ordered the lawmakers he met with last Monday not to “dilute” the proposed Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL) too much for fear it might not be acceptable to the Bangsamoro people. This was disclosed by Cagayan de Oro Rep. Rufus Rodriguez, chairman of the 75-member ad hoc committee deliberating on the BBL, after Buhay Rep. Lito Atienza claimed to have received information that the President wanted to have the BBL passed without any amendments. POLITICO NEWS REPORT FEBRUARY 26, 2015

Right now, the majority of the people is against the approval of the BBL, and is looking forward to Congress to do the job of saving the country from falling apart.

The panel was supposed to come out with a formula for a peaceful settlement, but they came out with a sellout agreement.

In fact, the position of PNoy was an implied warning that should anybody defy the order, they would lose either their pork barrel needed to sustain the political circus, and the huge amount of grease money believed ready to be doled out to anybody who would ratify it.

Most serious is that he appears as though he is the spokesman of the MILF, or worse, has been blackmailed.

The conduct of the President is strange because his interest is to go along with the wishes of the people.

His arbitrary usurpation of the role played by that Malaysian lackey Mohagher Iqbal is unusual, for instead of him advising the MILF to abide by the decision of Congress, it being a part of our democratic and constitutional process.

He is the one telling Congress he would not take “no” for an answer even if at stake is the future of our republic - whether it will remain one and united or give way to the creation of a Malaysian puppet state called Bangsamoro Islamic State.

Photos in report are appended by PHNO for eye comfort while reading the vast text content  (according to WWW guideline). Research shows articles with images get 94% more total views and reads.


Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi

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