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

SEEKING TO BOOST DEFENSE TIES, AQUINO GOES TO JAPAN


JUNE 2 ---President Benigno Aquino III delivers a speech prior to departure for a state visit abroad. Malacañang Photo Bureau/File
- With the South China Sea dispute and business part of his agenda, President Benigno Aquino III on Tuesday morning departed for his first state visit to Japan.
During his stay in the East Asian nation, Aquino will make a state call on the Japanese emperor and empress, who will host a banquet dinner for him. Aquino will also meet with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe for an expected discussion on improving the two countries' defense ties and on regional issues such China's growing militarization in the South China Sea. "Makikipagkita po tayo kina Emperor Akihito at Empress Michiko upang personal na ipaabot ang ating pasasalamat sa kanilang walang-maliw na pagtulong at pagbibigay ng suporta. Gayundin po, makikipagpulong rin tayo kay Punong Ministro Shinzo Abe upang higit na pagtibayin ang ugnayan at pakikipagtulungan sa kanilang bansa," Aquino said in his pre-departure speech. READ: PNoy to boost defense ties with Japan amid China tensions Aquino will also address the National Diet, Japan's bicameral legislature. READ MORE...

ALSO: Noy rolls up sleeves on first day in Japan


JUNE 3 ---President Aquino buckled down to work upon arrival in Japan Tuesday afternoon – meeting top Japanese business executives and the Filipino community.
The President left for Tokyo at around 10 a.m. for a state visit from June 2 to 5 on board chartered Philippine Airlines Flight PR001 with Cabinet secretaries Cesar Purisima (Finance), Gregory Domingo (Trade), Rogelio Singson (Public Works), Joseph Emilio Abaya (Transportation), Voltaire Gazmin (Defense), Jose Rene Almendras (Cabinet), Herminio Coloma, Jr. (Communications), Julia Abad (Presidential Management Staff) and Foreign Affairs Undersecretary Laura del Rosario. He was sent off by Vice President Jejomar Binay, Japanese Deputy Chief of Mission Tetsuro Amano, Budget Secretary Florencio Abad, Justice Secretary Leila de Lima and Manila International Airport Authority (MIAA) general manager Jose Angel Honrado, among others. Executive Secretary Paquito Ochoa Jr. said government has allocated P34.6 million for the transportation, accommodation, food, equipment and other requirements of Aquino and his 60-member delegation during the trip to Japan. The President arrived at the Tokyo Haneda airport at 3:18 p.m (2:18 p.m. in Manila) and immediately attended separate meetings with Chairmen Senji Miyake, Teruo Asada, and Tadashi Yanai of Kirin Holdings Co. Ltd., Marubeni Corporation, and Fast Retailing Co. Ltd., respectively, at the Imperial Hotel.  READ MORE...

ALSO PNoy to Japan Investment Forum: Phl a far cry from 5 years ago


JUNE 4 ---Philippine President Benigno Aquino III delivers a keynote speech at an investment forum in Tokyo, Thursday, June 4, 2015. Aquino is in Japan for a four-day state visit. AP/Eugene Hoshiko
- Now is the best time to invest in the Philippines. That was President Benigno Aquino III's message to Japanese business leaders on Thursday, touting again the country's economic achievements under his watch. Speaking at the Philippine Investment Forum in Tokyo, Aquino said the Philippines of today is a "far cry" from its state five years ago before he assumed office. "The Philippines as an investment destination is more attractive today than at any other point in our history. We can further deepen, or forge partnerships in which all parties benefit. Our government's track record speaks for itself, as well as our sustained commitment to moving this forward," Aquino said. In his speech, Aquino cited the country's five-year 6.3-percent economic growth, the record-high $6.2-billion foreign direct investments and the credit ratings upgrades. He also spoke of the improvements in the country's infrastructure, power and education sectors. Aquino, however, admitted that much needs to be done to further uplift the Philippines, urging Japanese leaders to invest in the country. "While the Philippines of today is a far cry from the Philippines of five years ago, there remains much to be done. There are other paths we can pave towards even greater progress, which is precisely why we are here," Aquino said. READ MORE...

ALSO: PNoy hits ‘Nazi’ China anew


JUNE 4 ---Royal welcome. President Benigno Aquino III is welcomed by Emperor Akihito of Japan and his wife Empress Michiko during his courtesy call at the Imperial Palace in Tokyo for a five-day state visit. MALACAÑANG PHOTO
TOKYO—President Benigno Aquino III again likened China to Nazi Germany on Wednesday during a speech in Japan, claiming Beijing’s maritime claims in the South China Sea may cause another world war.
“If there was a vacuum, if the United States, which is the superpower, says ‘we are not interested’, perhaps there is no brake to ambitions of other countries,” Aquino said in a speech before business leaders during a state visit to Japan. “I’m an amateur student of history and I’m reminded of... how Germany was testing the waters and what the response was by various other European powers,” he said, referring to the Nazis’ territorial conquests in the months before the outbreak of World War II. “They tested the waters and they were ready to back down if, for instance, in that aspect, France said (to back down). “But unfortunately, up to the annexation of the Sudetenland, Czechoslovakia, the annexation of the entire country of Czechoslovakia, nobody said stop. “If somebody said stop to (Adolf) Hitler at that point in time, or to Germany at that time, would we have avoided World War II?” The comments sparked anger in Beijing, where foreign ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying said she was “deeply shocked and dissatisfied with the groundless remarks”. READ MORE...

ALSO stll in Japan P-Noy says: ‘People’ urging him to run in 2016 polls


JUNE 3 ---RISEN SONS President Aquino is met by Japan’s Emperor Akihito and his wife, Empress Michiko as he arrives at the Imperial Palace in Tokyo. MALACAÑANG PHOTO RISEN SONS President Aquino is met by Japan’s Emperor Akihito and his wife, Empress Michiko as he arrives at the Imperial Palace in Tokyo. MALACAÑANG PHOTO
PRESIDENT Benigno Aquino 3rd said some sectors are urging him to do a Gloria Arroyo and run for another position in the 2016 elections so he can actively pursue the reforms he initiated during his regime. Speaking to members of the Filipino community in Tokyo where he is on a state visit, Aquino said on Tuesday night: “There were suggestions that I should have my term extended so I could continue with the reforms I initiated.”  “When I told them that I’m not in favor of amending the Constitution so that my term could be extended, they now have a new idea. Why don’t I run for another elective position?” the President said in Filipino. “I’ve been repeatedly asked that question and I’ve been asking myself, ‘What could be the motive of these people’ and then I realized, I should consider running for another post as it would be better if I stayed in the limelight so that I could immediately be available when I’m needed to step in,” he added. READ MORE...

ALSO: Chinese foreign ministry exec calls Aquino Nazi comments ‘ridiculous and unreasonable’


JUNE 4 ---Philippine President Benigno Aquino III addresses the upper house of parliament in Tokyo, Wednesday, June 3, 2015. Aquino is signaling his country’s deepening ties with Tokyo amid increasing concerns by both sides about China’s assertiveness in regional seas during his four-day visit. AP PHOTO 
A Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson on Wednesday said President Benigno Aquino III should stop with his provocation on the lingering territorial disputes in the West Philippine Sea (South China Sea). Spokesperson Hua Chunying said in a Xinhua report she opposes Aquino’s comments comparing China to Nazi Germany in regard to the territorial dispute during the President’s address at Nikkei’s 21st Conference on the Future of Asia in Japan. “I’m shocked about such ridiculous and unreasonable comments and strongly oppose them,” Hua said. READ MORE...

ALSO: China news editorial warns Philippines' 'shortsightedness' will backfire
["As Aquino described himself as ‘an amateur student of history,' he really is ignorant of history," the commentary read. "Aquino is also an amateur politician as he never hesitates to sacrifice national interests and the Sino-Philippine relations to gain military support from the United States and Japan." ]


JUNE 4 ---A Filipino activist uses an anti-China sign to cover her head from the sun as she joins a rally outside the Chinese Consulate at the financial district of Makati, south of Manila, Philippines Thursday, June 4, 2015. More than 100 left-wing Filipino activists demanded that China stop its increasingly assertive actions in the disputed South China Sea Thursday, warning during a rally that they can target "Chinese economic interests" with protests. AP/Aaron Favila
A Chinese news agency has slammed President Aquino for likening China with Nazi Germany and warned that the Philippines' "shortsightedness" on the West Philippine Sea (South China Sea) dispute would backfire. In a commentary dated June 3, state-run Xinhua called Aquino "ignorant of history" and "amateur politician" who is ready to drop his country's ties with China to solicit support. "As Aquino described himself as ‘an amateur student of history,' he really is ignorant of history," the commentary read. "Aquino is also an amateur politician as he never hesitates to sacrifice national interests and the Sino-Philippine relations to gain military support from the United States and Japan." Xinhua said China's actions in the West Philippine Sea are different from those of Nazi Germany during World War II. "China's claim of the South China Sea islands is about protecting its sovereignty, which cannot be compared to Nazi Germany's expansion prior to World War II," the Chinese news agency said. Xinhua claimed that China has "indisputable sovereignty over the South China Sea islands and adjacent waters" and has been "developing friendly ties" with other countries. READ MORE...

ALSO BUSINESS COMMENTARY:  Security a primary concern in Japan
[The business delegation accompanying President Aquino on his state visit to Japan are upbeat about business prospects, with the four-day schedule packed with networking luncheons with executives from Japanese biz group leaders. Also: Philippines a top retirement destination from an expat]


JUNE 4 ---by Babe Romualdez 
Tokyo, Japan – At the special session of the 21st Nikkei International Conference on the Future of Asia held at the Okura Hotel with President Aquino as guest speaker, most of the questions from the business delegates centered on security issues involving the maritime disputes with China. The President answered the questions well, articulating how China’s reclamation efforts in the disputed territories in the West Philippine Sea violates the 2002 “Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the South China Sea” where countries agreed to resolve disputes and differences via peaceful means and avoid taking actions that could complicate or escalate disputes. China’s continuing reclamation activities go against the letter and the spirit of the 2002 Code of Conduct, the President said, asking China to reexamine its moves to see if these contribute to stability, which is a prerequisite if countries are to maintain economic prosperity. Like the Philippines, Japan has territorial disputes with China and the situation has strengthened calls for changes in Japan’s Constitution, something that Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said is necessary to protect Japanese citizens. Article 9 of the Japanese Constitution prohibits Japan from maintaining a regular military force and also bans the use of force to settle international disputes. However, the changing security environment now warrants, at the very least, a reinterpretation of Article 9, if not an amendment of the current constitution. China’s escalating aggression has no doubt spurred calls for constitutional changes. Just recently, Japan’s Cabinet approved legislation that authorizes the expansion of Japanese military capability beyond self defense and gives it a bigger role as far as international security is concerned. Once passed into law, the legislation will overturn the “pacifist” constitution that came about after Japan’s defeat in World War II. Earlier this year, the Japanese government also approved its biggest military budget after 70 years to $42 billion or close to ¥5 trillion. READ MORE...


READ FULL MEDIA REPORTS HERE:

Seeking to boost defense ties, Aquino goes to Japan


President Benigno Aquino III delivers a speech prior to departure for a state visit abroad. Malacañang Photo Bureau/File

MANILA, JUNE 8, 2015 (PHILSTAR) By Louis Bacani (philstar.com) |June 2, 2015 - With the South China Sea dispute and business part of his agenda, President Benigno Aquino III on Tuesday morning departed for his first state visit to Japan.

During his stay in the East Asian nation, Aquino will make a state call on the Japanese emperor and empress, who will host a banquet dinner for him.

Aquino will also meet with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe for an expected discussion on improving the two countries' defense ties and on regional issues such China's growing militarization in the South China Sea.

"Makikipagkita po tayo kina Emperor Akihito at Empress Michiko upang personal na ipaabot ang ating pasasalamat sa kanilang walang-maliw na pagtulong at pagbibigay ng suporta. Gayundin po, makikipagpulong rin tayo kay Punong Ministro Shinzo Abe upang higit na pagtibayin ang ugnayan at pakikipagtulungan sa kanilang bansa," Aquino said in his pre-departure speech.

Aquino will also address the National Diet, Japan's bicameral legislature.

READ MORE...
"Dadalo rin po tayo sa joint session ng kanilang National Diet para magpahayag ng suporta sa kanilang isinusulong na transpormasyon, na pihadong magdadala ng higit pang kaunlaran at pagkakataon para sa kanila at sa ating mamamayan," he said.

The president will also meet with Japanese business groups such as the Nippon Keidanren, Japan Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Keizai Doyukai and Boekikai.

Aquino will likewise attend the Nikkei 21st International Conference on the Future of Asia, which will be organized by the largest media group in Japan.

"Ibabahagi po natin doon ang mga repormang ipinatupad natin sa ating pamahalaan, na nagbunga ng positibong pagbabago para sa ating mga kababayan. Sa pamamagitan nito, maipakikita natin ang ating kahandaang makiambag sa magaganap na integrasyon sa ating rehiyon," he said.

Aquino will hold a meeting with members of the Filipino community in Japan and with the nine Filipino cadets who are part of the exchange program between the National Defense Academy of Japan at the Philippine Military Academy.


MALAYA

Noy rolls up sleeves on first day in Japan Submitted by JOCELYN MONTEMAYOR on June 03, 2015

President Aquino buckled down to work upon arrival in Japan Tuesday afternoon – meeting top Japanese business executives and the Filipino community.

The President left for Tokyo at around 10 a.m. for a state visit from June 2 to 5 on board chartered Philippine Airlines Flight PR001 with Cabinet secretaries Cesar Purisima (Finance), Gregory Domingo (Trade), Rogelio Singson (Public Works), Joseph Emilio Abaya (Transportation), Voltaire Gazmin (Defense), Jose Rene Almendras (Cabinet), Herminio Coloma, Jr. (Communications), Julia Abad (Presidential Management Staff) and Foreign Affairs Undersecretary Laura del Rosario.

He was sent off by Vice President Jejomar Binay, Japanese Deputy Chief of Mission Tetsuro Amano, Budget Secretary Florencio Abad, Justice Secretary Leila de Lima and Manila International Airport Authority (MIAA) general manager Jose Angel Honrado, among others.

Executive Secretary Paquito Ochoa Jr. said government has allocated P34.6 million for the transportation, accommodation, food, equipment and other requirements of Aquino and his 60-member delegation during the trip to Japan.

The President arrived at the Tokyo Haneda airport at 3:18 p.m (2:18 p.m. in Manila) and immediately attended separate meetings with Chairmen Senji Miyake, Teruo Asada, and Tadashi Yanai of Kirin Holdings Co. Ltd., Marubeni Corporation, and Fast Retailing Co. Ltd., respectively, at the Imperial Hotel.

READ MORE...
Government radio station Radyo ng Bayan said Kirin, and its subsidiary Kirin Brewery which has a 48 percent stake at the San Miguel Corporation, informed the President of its plans to expand investments in the country.

Similarly, Marubeni, which has investments in power, energy and transportation particularly at the Metro Rail Transit 7 and Light Rail Transit 2 extension projects, expressed interest in water utilities and commercial vehicle development.

Fast Retailing, which carries seven main clothing brands including Uniqlo, told Aquino of its interest in the possible manufacturing of their brand in the Philippines. Fast Retailing also carries the brands Comptoir des Cotonniers, GU, Helmut Lang, J Brand, Princesse tam.tam, and Theory.

Uniqlo, which had just marked its third anniversary in the Philippines, has 23 stores across Luzon and is eyeing expansion in other parts of the country. Uniqlo has also tied up with Filipino brands Jollibee and San Miguel Beer for the production of limited edition statement apparels under their “UT You Talk” line. Aquino also witnessed the signing of the Memorandum of Understanding on Business Promotion Cooperation between Domingo for the Department of Trade and Industry and chairman Hiroyuki Ishige for the Japan External Trade Organization (JETRO). The MOU aims to strengthen the information drive about business opportunities between the Philippines and Japan.

He capped off his first day in Japan with a meeting with the Filipino community, including nine Filipino cadets at the National Defense Academy of Japan under an exchange program with the Philippine Military Academy, and several registered Filipino nurses working in Japan.

Aquino updated the Filipinos in Japan about the political and economic developments in the Philippines. There are an estimated 220,000 Filipinos living in Japan.

The President said while he is happy that many Filipinos work and succeed abroad, he is also sad that they had to leave the country to find greener pastures.

He said, however, the number of overseas Filipino workers has dropped to 8.3 million in 2013 from 10 million in 2011 as many have returned to the country to enjoy the fruits of his administration’s reforms, including the creation of more jobs.

Aquino said foreign companies are now vying to put up their businesses in the country, citing as example nine private-public partnership programs involving big ticket infrastructure projects. He said at least one more PPP project is set to be awarded this month and 15 others would be bidded or rolled out soon.


PHILSTAR

PNoy to Japan: Philippines a far cry from 5 years ago By Louis Bacani (philstar.com) | Updated June 4, 2015 - 3:33pm


Philippine President Benigno Aquino III delivers a keynote speech at an investment forum in Tokyo, Thursday, June 4, 2015. Aquino is in Japan for a four-day state visit. AP/Eugene Hoshiko

MANILA, Philippines - Now is the best time to invest in the Philippines.

That was President Benigno Aquino III's message to Japanese business leaders on Thursday, touting again the country's economic achievements under his watch.

Speaking at the Philippine Investment Forum in Tokyo, Aquino said the Philippines of today is a "far cry" from its state five years ago before he assumed office.

"The Philippines as an investment destination is more attractive today than at any other point in our history. We can further deepen, or forge partnerships in which all parties benefit. Our government's track record speaks for itself, as well as our sustained commitment to moving this forward," Aquino said.

In his speech, Aquino cited the country's five-year 6.3-percent economic growth, the record-high $6.2-billion foreign direct investments and the credit ratings upgrades.

He also spoke of the improvements in the country's infrastructure, power and education sectors.

Aquino, however, admitted that much needs to be done to further uplift the Philippines, urging Japanese leaders to invest in the country.

"While the Philippines of today is a far cry from the Philippines of five years ago, there remains much to be done. There are other paths we can pave towards even greater progress, which is precisely why we are here," Aquino said.

READ MORE...
"Japanese companies have already made their mark on the Philippine electronics, shipbuilding, and automotive industries, among others—to the point where their work and their products are already irreplaceable in the lives of Filipinos. Today, I tell you: there is no better time to set up shop in the country," he added.

Aquino said Japan should invest in the Philippines' "most important" resource and sector, the Filipino people.

The president said his countrymen are the reason for the country's continued success.

"Filipinos are young, trainable, and skilled; companies have entrusted them with producing quality products, from luxury bags, to electronics and automobiles, to the components of modern aircraft," he said.

"Those of you who have already established a corporate presence in the Philippines can attest to the caliber of the Filipino worker," Aquino added.


PHILSTAR BUSINESS COMMENTARY

Security a primary concern in Japan SPYBITS By Babe G. Romualdez (The Philippine Star) | Updated June 4, 2015 - 12:00am


by Babe Romualdez

Tokyo, Japan – At the special session of the 21st Nikkei International Conference on the Future of Asia held at the Okura Hotel with President Aquino as guest speaker, most of the questions from the business delegates centered on security issues involving the maritime disputes with China.

The President answered the questions well, articulating how China’s reclamation efforts in the disputed territories in the West Philippine Sea violates the 2002 “Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the South China Sea” where countries agreed to resolve disputes and differences via peaceful means and avoid taking actions that could complicate or escalate disputes.

China’s continuing reclamation activities go against the letter and the spirit of the 2002 Code of Conduct, the President said, asking China to reexamine its moves to see if these contribute to stability, which is a prerequisite if countries are to maintain economic prosperity.

Like the Philippines, Japan has territorial disputes with China and the situation has strengthened calls for changes in Japan’s Constitution, something that Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said is necessary to protect Japanese citizens.

Article 9 of the Japanese Constitution prohibits Japan from maintaining a regular military force and also bans the use of force to settle international disputes.

However, the changing security environment now warrants, at the very least, a reinterpretation of Article 9, if not an amendment of the current constitution. China’s escalating aggression has no doubt spurred calls for constitutional changes.

Just recently, Japan’s Cabinet approved legislation that authorizes the expansion of Japanese military capability beyond self defense and gives it a bigger role as far as international security is concerned. Once passed into law, the legislation will overturn the “pacifist” constitution that came about after Japan’s defeat in World War II.

Earlier this year, the Japanese government also approved its biggest military budget after 70 years to $42 billion or close to ¥5 trillion.

READ MORE...
The Philippines and Japan – erstwhile enemies during World War II – are strengthening their alliance not only in terms of trade and business but also security as well, as displayed during the recent conduct of joint naval exercises involving Filipino and Japanese troops.

The President himself has openly expressed that he seeks closer ties with Japan in terms of defense and security.

Article XVIII, Section 25 of our 1987 Constitution prohibits the presence of foreign military bases in the Philippines (“except under a treaty duly concurred in by the Senate and, when the Congress so requires, ratified by a majority of the votes cast by the people in a national referendum held for that purpose…”).

In 1991, the Senate rejected the presence of US military bases, which closed down in 1992 – something that many are saying was a huge mistake especially with the current situation involving China. Not surprisingly, the President expressed his appreciation to Okinawa for hosting US military bases.

Following his keynote address at the Nikkei conference, President Aquino proceeded to the Japanese Diet and addressed the joint session at 3 p.m. and reiterated once again the need for a strong security alliance between the Philippines and Japan, specifically in relation to the territorial disputes with China.

Surprisingly, the President declined the formal invitation for him to stay at the Akasaka Palace (the official State Guest House) which was originally built in 1909 to serve as the Imperial Palace for the Crown Prince.

The President opted to stay at the Imperial Hotel, but no reason for declining the offer was given. The only other president who declined staying at the Akasaka Guest House was US President Barack Obama who had to stay at the Hotel Okura located next to the US Embassy in Tokyo. Security was the primary concern.

The business delegation accompanying President Aquino on his state visit to Japan are upbeat about business prospects, with the four-day schedule packed with networking luncheons with executives from groups that include the Japan Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Japan Association of Corporate Executives, Japan Foreign Trade Council and the Japan-Philippines Economic Cooperation Committee.

Among the activities were the economic briefing by the Sumitumo Mitsui Financial Group and the Philippine Investment Forum organized by the Japan External Trade Organization (JETRO), JPECC, JCCI, AJC, the Philippine Society of Japan and the Philippine Embassy headed by Ambassador Manolo Lopez.

Philippines a top retirement destination for expats

The Philippines landed in Bloomberg’s “Top 25 list of countries to retire to in 2015,” noting that many Americans are now choosing to retire abroad due to several factors that include lower costs of living, culture, scenery, climate and healthcare resources.

Just recently, the Wall Street Journal also started a series of write-ups from Americans aged 50 and above profiling their adopted overseas residences and the reasons why they find these countries the best retirement places.

One of the WSJ write-ups featured the Philippines (number 23 in Forbes’ list) whose “beautiful beaches and fresh seafood delivered right at the doorstep” are among the reasons cited by this American now living in Cebu.

According to the 76-year-old expat, among the numerous benefits of living in the Philippines are the warm climate all-year-round, easy access to destinations across Asia, excellent medical healthcare and the opportunities to help the less fortunate.

Not surprisingly, among the downsides mentioned are the country’s perennial traffic, poor infrastructure especially when compared to Europe, the widespread poverty and the power outages that are described as a nuisance.

However, the low cost of goods and services are among the draws. For instance, the services of a plumber would only cost about P400 which is a little less than $10.

Certainly, the Philippines is no paradise, but if an expat has a positive attitude and the willingness to adapt to change and challenges, he will do well. “For me, the Philippines has proved to be a destination filled with natural wonders, a vibrant culture and ample opportunities to enjoy later life,” the WSJ feature stated.


Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi

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