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

GLOBAL CARRIERS TAG NAIA AS 'HIGH-RISK' AIRPORT


JULY 2 --In a paper entitled “Immediate and long-term priorities for Manila Airports,” the International Air Transport Association (IATA) said member airlines were seriously concerned about the safety of the ground movement operations and management of the airside infrastructure at the NAIA. File photo
- Global airlines have tagged the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) as one of the high-risk airports in the Asia-Pacific region due to unresolved safety concerns as well as poor infrastructure. In a paper entitled “Immediate and long-term priorities for Manila Airports,” the International Air Transport Association (IATA) said member airlines were seriously concerned about the safety of the ground movement operations and management of the airside infrastructure at the NAIA. “IATA is gravely concerned with a number of operational issues including some that may compromise safety of airline operations,” IATA said. It pointed out that NAIA was routinely characterized by airlines as one of the top high-risk airports in the Asia-Pacific from 2010 to 2013 due to air traffic management issues including extended holding, vectors and delays, non-standard air traffic control procedures, among others. This prompted IATA regional director for safety and flight operations Asia-Pacific Blair Cowles to issue an Operational Notice to all airline members flying to the Philippines via NAIA last May 26. “This Operational Notice alerts airlines to the ongoing risk to aircraft operations at Manila arising from unaddressed deficiencies in airside ground movement aids,” Cowles said. READ MORE...

ALSO: 6.1 quake jolts Visayas, Mindanao areas


JULY 3 ---A 6.1 magnitude earthquake shook several areas in Visayas and Mindanao Friday afternoon, state seismologist said. The offshore quake struck 41 kilometers northeast of Burgos town in Surigao del Norte at 2:43 p.m., the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (Phivolcs) said.
There were no immediate reports of damage or injury from the tremor that had a depth of 30 kilometers. It was felt at Intensity V in Surigao City, Siargao Island, Talacogon, Agusan del Sur; Carrascal, Surigao del Sur. Intensity IV in Dinagat Island; Intensity III in San Juan, Southern Leyte; Tacloban, Leyte; Palo, Leyte; Lapulapu City and Intensity II in Bislig, Surigao del Sur; Hinatuan, Surigao del Sur; Davao City. The Philippines sits on the Pacific “Ring of Fire” where continental plates collide causing frequent seismic and volcanic activity. With reports from Frances Mangosing, INQUIRER.net and Allan Nawal, Inquirer Mindanao THIS IS THE FULL REPORT.

ALSO: PAL passenger dies mid-flight


JULY 3 ---INQUIRER FILE PHOTO
A passenger died on board a Philippine Airlines (PAL) flight from Abu Dhabi to Manila, the flagship carrier said on Friday. “The PAL flight from Abu Dhabi to Manila had to be diverted to Bombay. This was a case of death on board,・ PAL spokesperson Cielo Villaluna told INQUIRER.net in a text message. Villaluna said the diverted flight was set to arrive in Manila Friday night after being given a clearance. “Our airport and customer relations team are on standby for the arrival of the flight carrying the remains.” 
She said the family of the passenger has been informed of the incident. “Our airport and customer relations team will be assisting them the moment our flight touches down.” But the airline declined to disclose the passenger’s identity and cause of death. “We are not providing any more details as to identity in deference to the family and in line with existing airlines protocol,・ the spokesperson added. Villaluna said PAL “will handle this matter with utmost care and respect for the family.”  THIS IS THE FULL RE[PORT.

ALSO ORMOC CITY: Capsized ferry death toll rises to 39


JULY 3 --Rescuers search for survivors at the site of the capsized passenger ferry off Ormoc City, central Philippines on July 2, 2015. A ferry loaded with nearly 200 people capsized off a central Philippine port on July 2, officials said, killing at least 38 people in the latest of the country’s long string of maritime tragedies. AFP/Ignatius Martin
At least three more bodies have been recovered from a ferry that capsized in choppy waters off Ormoc City, raising the death toll in the accident to 39 with 14 others missing, the coast guard said Friday. At least 134 people from the M/B Kim Nirvana were rescued by fishing boats and coast guard personnel or swam to safety on Thursday, said Philippine Coast Guard spokesman Cmdr. Armand Balilo. Balilo said two passengers initially listed in the manifest did not board the ferry, lowering the total number of people on board to 187 from 189 earlier reported by the coast guard.
Regional coast guard commander Capt. Pedro Tinampay told DZBB radio in Manila that rescuers were using a barge with a crane to move the overturned boat to its side to make it easier for divers to find more bodies. Another crane will be used to raise it upright, he said. Balilo said the wooden outrigger ferry was maneuvering out of the Ormoc port heading on its routine voyage to Camotes Islands, about 44 kilometers (27 miles) to the south, when it was lashed by strong waves.READ MORE...

ALSO An Instagram story: Fil-Am DJ and his dying dog’s Great American Adventure


JUNE 17 --Dog, Poh, with best friend, Neil Rodriguez. AJPRESS PHOTO
NEW YORK CITY — Meet Poh. He’s a 15-year-old mixed yellow Labrador retriever. His owner, Neil Rodriguez, known in the music world as DJ Neil Armstrong, is a Filipino American born and raised in New York. Neil adopted Poh when the dog was barely eight weeks old from the North Shore Animal League in Port Washington, the world’s largest no-kill animal rescue and adoption organization. That was in December 1999. Earlier this year, Neil and his fiancée received terrible news from the veterinarians:  Poh had renal failure, and his kidneys are failing. They adjusted his diet and returned to the doctors after a month only to be told of worse news. The vets found a softball-sized tumor in his liver and multiple tumors in Poh’s abdomen, which they deemed inoperable. Confronted with this development, Neil decided to make a bucket list for them to do in the next few months while Poh can still walk around and travel. He said he had always wanted for Poh to experience the waters off the Pacific coast. To document their big coast-to-coast adventure, Neil started an Instagram account for Poh, who incidentally was named after Edgar Allan Poe. READ MORE...

ALSO: PH expects to win UN South China Sea case - Palace


JULY 4 --Activists hold a rally in front of the Chinese consulate in Manila’s financial district on July 3, 2015 to protest China’s reclamation works in the South China Sea, which the protesters have displaced Filipino fishermen. The Philippines has halted the repair of its airstrip in the disputed Spratly islands due to its pending suit at The Hague challenging China’s claim over the waters, a presidential spokesman said on June 28. Hearings at The Hague — looking at whether Manila’s complaint has legal merit as well as whether the court has jurisdiction over the case — are set to begin next week. AFP PHOTO
The Philippines expects a United Nations tribunal to rule in its favor in an increasingly fraught dispute with China over territories in the South China Sea (West Philippine Sea), a presidential spokeswoman said Saturday. Manila will argue its position against Beijing’s claim over most of the resource-rich sea at The Hague on July 7 to 13. READ: It’s make or break for PH at The Hague China has refused to participate in the arbitration proceedings. The upcoming hearings will decide whether the tribunal has jurisdiction over the case. “We prepared a strong case. We believe we stand on strong legal ground,” presidential spokeswoman Abigail Valte told government radio. READ MORE...

ALSO: South China Sea dispute to take generations for PHL, SC justice says


JULY 2 --International law expert and Senior Associate Justice Antonio Carpio 
Even if the Philippines gets a favorable decision from the international tribunal on its overlapping claims with China in the South China Sea, don't expect the country to immediately gain the territories now already controlled by the Asian giant, international law expert and Senior Associate Justice Antonio Carpio said on Thursday night. In an interview on "State of the Nation with Jessica Soho," Carpio said that a ruling by the International Tribunal on the Law of the Sea against China's historical claim and its unilateral nine-dad-line theory will just be the first step in the Philippines' bid to gain control over its stake based on the United Nations Conventions on the Laws of the Sea. "It will take time. We should look at this as a long-term struggle, even an inter-generational struggle," said Carpio, who has been lecturing on the South China Sea dispute in the Philippines and abroad. He said that if the ITLOS rules in favor of the Philippines, the country must then go "to the world community" by sponsoring a resolution at the UN General Assembly urging China to follow international law. "I think if we will win, the majority of the nations of the world will support us in that resolution. And we will do this every year until China complies," Carpio said. "This generation will get the ruling. The next generation will convince the world [to support us], and maybe the generation after that will convince China. But we should not expect instant gratification here if we win this ruling," he added. The Philippines' military is believed to be one of the least equipped in the world and is seen as no match to that of China. Nicaragua v. United States  Carpio cited the case of the Republic of Nicaragua v. the United States of America, where the US was sued for supporting a rebellion and for deploying mines in the country's harbors. READ MORE...

ALSO: The US and China Won't See Military Conflict Over the South China Sea


JUNE 19 --Image Credit: Official White House Photo by Pete Souza
The United States and China both have an overriding interest in keeping the peace. In a recent piece on the South China Sea disputes, I argued that “the ASEAN claimants are largely staying behind the scenes while external powers take center stage.” Based on recent developments on the South China Sea issue, it seems the U.S. will not only be a ‘director’ but an actor. We saw this clearly on May 20, when the U.S. military sent surveillance aircraft over three islands controlled by Beijing. However, this does not necessary mean the South China Sea will spark a U.S.-China military conflict. As a global hegemon, the United States’ main interest lies in maintaining the current international order as well as peace and stability. Regarding the South China Sea, U.S. interests include ensuring peace and stability, freedom of commercial navigation, and military activities in exclusive economic zones. Maintaining the current balance of power is considered to be a key condition for securing these interests—and a rising China determined to strengthen its hold on South China Sea territory is viewed as a threat to the current balance of power. In response, the U.S. launched its “rebalance to Asia” strategy. In practice, the U.S. has on the one hand strengthened its military presence in Asia-Pacific, while on the other hand supporting ASEAN countries, particularly ASEAN claimants to South China Sea territories. READ MORE...


READ FULL MEDIA REPORTS HERE:

Global carriers tag NAIA as ‘high-risk’ airport


In a paper entitled “Immediate and long-term priorities for Manila Airports,” the International Air Transport Association (IATA) said member airlines were seriously concerned about the safety of the ground movement operations and management of the airside infrastructure at the NAIA. File photo

MANILA, JULY 6, 2015 (PHILSTAR)  By Lawrence Agcaoili July 2, 2015 - Global airlines have tagged the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) as one of the high-risk airports in the Asia-Pacific region due to unresolved safety concerns as well as poor infrastructure.

In a paper entitled “Immediate and long-term priorities for Manila Airports,” the International Air Transport Association (IATA) said member airlines were seriously concerned about the safety of the ground movement operations and management of the airside infrastructure at the NAIA.

“IATA is gravely concerned with a number of operational issues including some that may compromise safety of airline operations,” IATA said.

It pointed out that NAIA was routinely characterized by airlines as one of the top high-risk airports in the Asia-Pacific from 2010 to 2013 due to air traffic management issues including extended holding, vectors and delays, non-standard air traffic control procedures, among others.

This prompted IATA regional director for safety and flight operations Asia-Pacific Blair Cowles to issue an Operational Notice to all airline members flying to the Philippines via NAIA last May 26.

“This Operational Notice alerts airlines to the ongoing risk to aircraft operations at Manila arising from unaddressed deficiencies in airside ground movement aids,” Cowles said.

READ MORE...

He pointed out that the association has received an increasing number of airline safety reports since 2012 highlighting deficiencies in airport signage, markings, lighting and charting, particularly at the intersection of Runway 31/13 and Runway 06/24, also known as “hotspot” area.

According to IATA, flight crews have described this “hotspot” area as poorly lit, with markings and signage that are non-standard and poorly maintained, and confusing due to the complex configuration of taxiways.

IATA said it has received three reports of runway incursion events in the “hotspot” area since November last year.

To reduce airside ground safety risks at the “hotspot” area, IATA said ground movement aids should be installed and maintained while air traffic control procedures should be put in place.

Likewise, IATA said aeronautical charts should be updated to accurately show the existing airfield layout, dimensions and markings.

On infrastructure capacity, IATA reiterated the need for higher capacity and throughput through more efficient air traffic control and improvements in the runway system. This should increase the throughput to 51 or even 56 takeoffs and landings per hour from the current 40.

“An increase of 40 percent in capacity will go a long way in reducing the congestion issues at the airport,” IATA said.

It added the government should invest more in developing NAIA over the short to medium term to relieve congestion and help ease existing capacity constraints.

“Limited investment in NAIA will continue to result in the ongoing degradation of passenger experience at NAIA. This will have a detrimental impact on the airport’s ability to attract transfer traffic, and the airport’s reputation in the region,” it said.

The IATA is also pushing for the construction of new terminal buildings with sufficient structural flexibility to accommodate different business models and requirements over time such as additional building levels, power, new aircraft types, emerging technologies, changing security and immigration requirements, among others.

The government, it added, may use the Clark International Airport in Pampanga as an interim solution to alleviate some of the current capacity issues but that it should not be made into a long-term primary gateway.

Instead, IATA said the Philippines should develop a new greenfield airport with sufficient capacity to meet Manila’s aviation needs within a 50-kilometer radius from the city center.


INQUIRER

6.1 quake jolts Visayas, Mindanao areas SHARES: 807 VIEW COMMENTS By: Nestor Corrales @NCorralesINQ INQUIRER.net 03:26 PM July 3rd, 2015

A 6.1 magnitude earthquake shook several areas in Visayas and Mindanao Friday afternoon, state seismologist said.

The offshore quake struck 41 kilometers northeast of Burgos town in Surigao del Norte at 2:43 p.m., the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (Phivolcs) said.

There were no immediate reports of damage or injury from the tremor that had a depth of 30 kilometers.

It was felt at Intensity V in Surigao City, Siargao Island, Talacogon, Agusan del Sur; Carrascal, Surigao del Sur.

Intensity IV in Dinagat Island; Intensity III in San Juan, Southern Leyte; Tacloban, Leyte; Palo, Leyte; Lapulapu City and Intensity II in Bislig, Surigao del Sur; Hinatuan, Surigao del Sur; Davao City.

The Philippines sits on the Pacific “Ring of Fire” where continental plates collide causing frequent seismic and volcanic activity. With reports from Frances Mangosing, INQUIRER.net and Allan Nawal, Inquirer Mindanao


INQUIRER

PAL passenger dies mid-flight SHARES: 54.4K VIEW COMMENTS By: Yuji Vincent Gonzales @inquirerdotnet INQUIRER.net 05:28 PM July 3rd, 2015


INQUIRER FILE PHOTO

A passenger died on board a Philippine Airlines (PAL) flight from Abu Dhabi to Manila, the flagship carrier said on Friday.

“The PAL flight from Abu Dhabi to Manila had to be diverted to Bombay. This was a case of death on board,・ PAL spokesperson Cielo Villaluna told INQUIRER.net in a text message.

Villaluna said the diverted flight was set to arrive in Manila Friday night after being given a clearance. “Our airport and customer relations team are on standby for the arrival of the flight carrying the remains.”

She said the family of the passenger has been informed of the incident.

“Our airport and customer relations team will be assisting them the moment our flight touches down.” But the airline declined to disclose the passenger’s identity and cause of death.

“We are not providing any more details as to identity in deference to the family and in line with existing airlines protocol,・ the spokesperson added. Villaluna said

PAL “will handle this matter with utmost care and respect for the family.”


INQUIRER

Capsized ferry death toll rises to 39 SHARES: 120 VIEW COMMENTS @inquirerdotnet Associated Press 11:21 AM July 3rd, 2015


Rescuers search for survivors at the site of the capsized passenger ferry off Ormoc City, central Philippines on July 2, 2015. A ferry loaded with nearly 200 people capsized off a central Philippine port on July 2, officials said, killing at least 38 people in the latest of the country’s long string of maritime tragedies. AFP/Ignatius Martin

MANILA, Philippines—At least three more bodies have been recovered from a ferry that capsized in choppy waters off Ormoc City, raising the death toll in the accident to 39 with 14 others missing, the coast guard said Friday.

At least 134 people from the M/B Kim Nirvana were rescued by fishing boats and coast guard personnel or swam to safety on Thursday, said Philippine Coast Guard spokesman Cmdr. Armand Balilo.

Balilo said two passengers initially listed in the manifest did not board the ferry, lowering the total number of people on board to 187 from 189 earlier reported by the coast guard.

Regional coast guard commander Capt. Pedro Tinampay told DZBB radio in Manila that rescuers were using a barge with a crane to move the overturned boat to its side to make it easier for divers to find more bodies. Another crane will be used to raise it upright, he said.

Balilo said the wooden outrigger ferry was maneuvering out of the Ormoc port heading on its routine voyage to Camotes Islands, about 44 kilometers (27 miles) to the south, when it was lashed by strong waves.

READ MORE...

He said the captain and some of the crew were rescued and are in custody pending an investigation.

Coast guard officials and survivors said it wasn’t immediately clear what caused the 36-ton ferry, which was carrying a heavy cargo of construction materials and bags of rice, to overturn.

Tinampay said the movement of the cargo inside the ferry “may have been contributory to the shift in the weight of the cargo, that’s why the boat listed.”

Survivors told The Associated Press by cellphone that the bow suddenly rose from the water before the vessel flipped over on one side, turning it upside down and trapping passengers underneath.

Among the passengers who survived were at least three Americans and a Canadian.

Lawrence Drake, 48, a retired firefighter from Rochester, New York, said he was able to revive a woman who wasn’t breathing while they were in the water via mouth-to-mouth resuscitation.

Drake said he also saved the woman’s pregnant daughter and an 8-year-old boy. He said he saw at least seven bodies floating in the water, including two children.
Many of the passengers were screaming in panic, he said.

Drake’s Filipino wife, Mary Jane, said the ferry was pulling slowly out of the port when it suddenly flipped to the left in strong waves.

“No one was able to jump out because it overturned very swiftly. There was no time to jump,” she said.

TV footage showed coast guard rescuers and army soldiers carrying survivors from rubber boats to a beach. Not far away, the bottom part of the vessel could be seen protruding from the water.

A rescue leader, Ciriaco Tolibao, said divers had difficulty looking for bodies because the water was murky.

Cloudy weather at the time of the accident did not pose any danger that would have prompted the coast guard to stop sea voyages, officials said.

A brewing storm in the Pacific was 550 kilometers (340 miles) east of Ormoc and was too far away to affect any part of the Philippine archipelago, according to forecasters. They said winds in the Ormoc region were not strong enough to whip up dangerous waves.

Ormoc, a regional economic and transportation hub of about 200,000 people, is located in a disaster-prone eastern region that is regularly hit by some of the approximately 20 tropical storms and typhoons that blow in from the Pacific each year.

The city was among those devastated by Typhoon Haiyan, one of the most ferocious storms on record to hit land, which left more than 7,300 dead and missing and leveled entire villages in November 2013.

In 1991, a storm set off flash floods in the Ormoc region that killed more than 5,000 people and swept homes and vehicles into the sea.

Frequent storms, badly maintained vessels and weak enforcement of safety regulations have been blamed for many past sea accidents in the Philippine archipelago, where small, rickety inter-island ferries are a main mode of transport.

In 1987, the ferry Dona Paz sank after colliding with a fuel tanker, killing more than 4,300 people in the world’s worst peacetime maritime disaster.


INQUIRER

Fil-Am DJ and his dying dog’s Great American Adventure SHARES: 577 VIEW COMMENTS By: Momar Visaya @inquirerdotnet Asian Journal / INQUIRER.net News Partner 01:28 AM June 17th, 2015


Dog, Poh, with best friend, Neil Rodriguez. AJPRESS PHOTO

NEW YORK CITY — Meet Poh. He’s a 15-year-old mixed yellow Labrador retriever.

His owner, Neil Rodriguez, known in the music world as DJ Neil Armstrong, is a Filipino American born and raised in New York. Neil adopted Poh when the dog was barely eight weeks old from the North Shore Animal League in Port

Washington, the world’s largest no-kill animal rescue and adoption organization. That was in December 1999.

Earlier this year, Neil and his fiancée received terrible news from the veterinarians:  Poh had renal failure, and his kidneys are failing. They adjusted his diet and returned to the doctors after a month only to be told of worse news. The vets found a softball-sized tumor in his liver and multiple tumors in Poh’s abdomen, which they deemed inoperable.
 



Confronted with this development, Neil decided to make a bucket list for them to do in the next few months while Poh can still walk around and travel. He said he had always wanted for Poh to experience the waters off the Pacific coast.

To document their big coast-to-coast adventure, Neil started an Instagram account for Poh, who incidentally was named after Edgar Allan Poe.

READ MORE...

Around March this year, Neil, his fiancée Yuko Ogino and Poh began their journey as a family, stopping in tourist spots and taking photos for Poh’s IG followers.

On March 5, Neil posted the first image of Poh, with the hashtag #pohthedogsbigadventure.


ASIANTOWN.NET PHOTO

My name is #pohthedog

Along with the photo, Neil wrote: “Hi everyone, my name is #pohthedog. I look like a pup but I’m 15 years old, 105 in dog years, and although I am young at heart and my mind is willing, my body is going through the natural process of old age.

“My parents found out that I have a couple of very large tumors growing in my abdomen which are inoperable. So my dad @djneilarmstrong decided to give me a bucket list trip across the good old US of A… traveling from #nyc all the way to the west coast, from sea to shining sea.”

“I knew then that he had a limited time to live. I just didn’t want to leave him and go to a gig. If he passed away while I’m gone, that would be devastating,” Neil shared.

That is why he and his girlfriend then (now fiancée) decided to go on a road trip to the West Coast, anchored on a show he was supposed to do in Phoenix. It ended up as a 35-city tour across America done in 46 days.

The doctors told them Poh could die any moment so it was imperative for them to leave.

“I just wanted to get him to the west coast, I wanted to get him to the ocean, I thought that would really be a cool thing to do. He made it all the way there, I thought he couldn’t survive it,” Neil said. “He’s a strong guy and it raised his spirits.”

“You just got to live life to the fullest, that’s the lesson learned,” Neil remarked. “In the grand scheme of things, everyone’s going to die, but it is up to you to do something while you’re living.”

Instagram followers

When we did the interview, Neil said Poh had around 5,000 followers on Instagram. When the story broke on May 27, his followers quadrupled to 20,000. Almost a week later, Poh’s followers were almost 100,000 strong.



“I do have a pretty decent social media following as DJ Neil Armstrong and I wanted to separate the account from that because I didn’t want to inundate people with Poh’s photo stream,” Neil said.

Poh and his great adventure has been featured on websites such as Good News Network, Mashable and Huffington Post to major stations such as ABC, PIX and CBS.

Asked how much he loves Poh, Neil paused and composed himself, “I’ve started, ended a bunch of relationships, got fired from jobs, started new jobs, became Neil Armstrong and have all these crazy things happen to me, the only thing constant during those periods was my dog, Poh so he’s like my child, my constant, the reason I would come home. He’s definitely one of the most important in my life.”

Why story resonates

This is why Neil believes that Poh’s story resonates with a lot of people because of the innate relationship people have with their pets. He has received messages saying that the bucket list he shared with Poh is something that some of his followers should have done with their pets when they had the chance. That they are living vicariously through the posts on Poh’s Instagram page.

With a tinge of regret, Neil said he should have done this when Poh was stronger so that he could have ran as much as he wanted when they visited the Southern California beaches. “I wish I was able to do this with my dog when I didn’t have to put him in his cart and would just let him run wild in the ocean,” he quipped.
He is thankful though that they got to spend seven wonderful weeks with Poh on this road trip of a lifetime.

“Most people cannot do that because they have 9-to-5 jobs, school, people have children, it’s not a viable option. But because of my life as a DJ, I can make money on the road, I have a free schedule and we were able to complete something that a lot of people with they could,” Neil said.

The three had general places they wanted to go. Neil had extra fun visiting “Breaking Bad”’s Walter White’s house in New Mexico and The Goonies’ house in Oregon.

Loved the ocean

“Poh loved the ocean, anywhere with water, which I think has healing property. We went to the original dog beach in San Diego and various dog parks along the coast where all the dogs are off-leash. He really liked the airport vortex in Sedona,” he said.

“I don’t really subscribe to the borderline hippie stuff but I saw it first-hand. I’ve never seen anything like that before. If you look at the trees, they grow in a spiral pattern because they’re forced by unseen magnetic, spiritual I don’t know, forces. Poh usually is panting because it was hot and when we got into the vortex, he passed out, to the point where I thought there was something wrong,” Neil added.

Everything was documented. From Poh’s photos in Washington, DC with the historic monuments to Route 66 to the Las Vegas Strip and the Hollywood Walk of Fame (where Poh posed on Godzilla’s star) to Seattle’s Space Needle.

Just being on the road with Poh is pretty amazing, Neil said, and if they didn’t need to go home, he’d definitely still be on the road with Poh right now.

But they needed to cut the trip short because Poh became too ill to continue travelling. Neil said Poh had suffered from a bad seizure.

It has been five weeks since they returned to their home in Queens.

He gives Poh daily IV fluids and supplements to help the kidneys which are no longer functioning fully. “It’s a pretty intense ritual for us. I give him a bunch of supplements and it’s like fighting with a child, he doesn’t want to eat it, he spits it out and I have to trick him. He’s also become very picky with his food,” he shared.

The past week has been crazy as both Neil and Poh graciously granted TV and print interviews as more and more people are learning about their very emotional story.



Hyper-perceptive

“Dogs are hyper-perceptive. When you get sad, they sense it and they come to you and take care of you. He’s always been weird with me, he thinks he’s in charge and he owns me,” Neil added, laughing.

After our interview, Neil posted a photo of Poh with the lighted World Trade Center and the downtown New York skyline as a background. He wrote, “Phew… Such a busy day. So many Internet media outlets have covered#pohthedogsbigadventure! 

And I was on TV all over the world today you guys have helped me check off a couple of things on my bucketlist I didn’t even think of adding. Thank u for joining me on my journey everyone good night from nyc!”

“I’m just hoping now that I don’t have to deal with that situation where I have to put him down,” Neil responded when we asked if he has considered all his options, particularly if and when Poh becomes too sickly and will be in too much pain. “If ever we come at a point where Poh will make it clear that he is in a lot of pain and that he can’t take it anymore, of course, as much as I want him to stick around as much as possible, I wouldn’t want him to suffer.”



A liver of good news for Neil, fellow dog owners who have been on this path have told him that Poh looks like he is nowhere near that point where there is extreme suffering because he still has full control over his bowel movements and he is still eating.

That, and a hundred thousand followers (and counting) in the online community who have become avid supporters offering prayers for Poh’s health and wellbeing.

“You want unconditional love, go get a dog. They’ll love you no matter what and I hope that people who have the financial means and have the time do that. When all is said and done, you will realize that it’s the pet taking care of you,” Neil said.
Instagram photos from Poh’s account at Instagram.com/pohthedogsbigadventure.


INQUIRER

PH expects to win UN South China Sea case SHARES: 231 VIEW COMMENTS @inquirerdotnet Agence France-Presse 01:19 PM July 4th, 2015


Activists hold a rally in front of the Chinese consulate in Manila’s financial district on July 3, 2015 to protest China’s reclamation works in the South China Sea, which the protesters have displaced Filipino fishermen. The Philippines has halted the repair of its airstrip in the disputed Spratly islands due to its pending suit at The Hague challenging China’s claim over the waters, a presidential spokesman said on June 28. Hearings at The Hague — looking at whether Manila’s complaint has legal merit as well as whether the court has jurisdiction over the case — are set to begin next week. AFP PHOTO

MANILA, Philippines—The Philippines expects a United Nations tribunal to rule in its favor in an increasingly fraught dispute with China over territories in the South China Sea (West Philippine Sea), a presidential spokeswoman said Saturday.

Manila will argue its position against Beijing’s claim over most of the resource-rich sea at The Hague on July 7 to 13.

READ: It’s make or break for PH at The Hague

China has refused to participate in the arbitration proceedings. The upcoming hearings will decide whether the tribunal has jurisdiction over the case.

“We prepared a strong case. We believe we stand on strong legal ground,” presidential spokeswoman Abigail Valte told government radio. “We believe the tribunal will look at our case with favor. We are confident of the Philippine position on this matter.”

Philippine foreign secretary Albert del Rosario will lead a government delegation to The Hague, assisted by US-based lawyers, foreign affairs spokesman Charles Jose said.

READ: PH power team to The Hague; UN tribunal to rule first on jurisdiction

If the Netherlands-based court decides it has jurisdiction, Jose said the Philippines would be asked to argue the merits of its case in another round of hearings.

“We have prepared well enough for these oral arguments,” Jose told reporters.

The Philippines is among the most vocal critics of China’s South China Sea claims, which also overlap with those of Vietnam, Taiwan, Malaysia and Brunei.

Beijing has reinforced its claim by building artificial islands on disputed reefs. Dwarfed by China in terms of economic and military might, the Philippines has turned to arbitration as it strengthened military alliances with the United States and Japan.

The Philippine navy held separate naval drills with their American and Japanese counterparts last month. The flashpoint South China Sea hosts major sea lanes over vast mineral reserves.


GMA NEWS NETWORK

South China Sea dispute to take generations for PHL, SC justice says July 2, 2015 11:56pm 619 0 1 1067


International law expert and Senior Associate Justice Antonio Carpio

Even if the Philippines gets a favorable decision from the international tribunal on its overlapping claims with China in the South China Sea, don't expect the country to immediately gain the territories now already controlled by the Asian giant, international law expert and Senior Associate Justice Antonio Carpio said on Thursday night.

In an interview on "State of the Nation with Jessica Soho," Carpio said that a ruling by the International Tribunal on the Law of the Sea against China's historical claim and its unilateral nine-dad-line theory will just be the first step in the Philippines' bid to gain control over its stake based on the United Nations Conventions on the Laws of the Sea.

"It will take time. We should look at this as a long-term struggle, even an inter-generational struggle," said Carpio, who has been lecturing on the South China Sea dispute in the Philippines and abroad.

He said that if the ITLOS rules in favor of the Philippines, the country must then go "to the world community" by sponsoring a resolution at the UN General Assembly urging China to follow international law.

"I think if we will win, the majority of the nations of the world will support us in that resolution. And we will do this every year until China complies," Carpio said.

"This generation will get the ruling. The next generation will convince the world [to support us], and maybe the generation after that will convince China. But we should not expect instant gratification here if we win this ruling," he added.

The Philippines' military is believed to be one of the least equipped in the world and is seen as no match to that of China.

Nicaragua v. United States

Carpio cited the case of the Republic of Nicaragua v. the United States of America, where the US was sued for supporting a rebellion and for deploying mines in the country's harbors.

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In 1986, the International Court of Justice decided in favor of Nicaragua in the aspect of the US mining the harbors and said the US should pay damages.

Carpio pointed out that the US, like China in the arbitration case in the West Philippine Sea, refused to participate in the proceedings.

It took five resolutions, which the US vetoed, until the UN General Assembly passed one urging the US to follow the ruling and pay damages.

Although the US still refused to pay, it eventually gave Nicaragua half a billion dollars in aid in 1992 after a repeal of a Nicaraguan law requiring the government to seek compensation over the ICJ ruling, Carpio said.

"So, there was compliance in the end," he said.

Carpio added that compliance with the rulings of international tribunals like ICJ and ITLOS is at 97 percent, although getting compliance is a matter of time.

Protecting resources in the West Philippine Sea

He said that even if China ignores the ITLOS ruling, there are ways to protect resources like fuel deposits believed to be in the area. The Philippines can, he said, sue Chinese companies that drill in the West Philippine Sea as long as ITLOS has already decided in favor of the country.

"The most important thing is to get the ruling," he said.

The Philippines has insisted on using diplomacy and a rules-based approach to the South China Sea dispute, including resorting to arbitration by the international tribunal. It has also been urging the Association of South East Asian Nations to adopt a binding code of conduct in the South China Sea.

Hua Chunying, Chinese foreign ministry spokeswoman, told media during a daily briefing in Beijing on Thursday that "China does not accept and will not participate in the Philippines' arbitration case on the South China Sea issue. This position is very clear."

Hua added: "We believe that the Philippines' case is actually a political provocation in the guise of the law that seeks to deny China's national sovereignty and maritime rights in the South China Sea."

Senators Ferdinand Marcos Jr. and Francis Escudero have urged bilateral talks with China to resolve the maritime dispute.

But Carpio cautions that while an amicable settlement between the Philippines and China will be a good development, talks now might become a stumbling block for the Philippines' case at the arbitration court.

"Under UNCLOS, before you file an arbitration case, there must be negotiations in good faith," he said, and countries can only approach the court if the negotiations prove fruitless.

He said that bilateral talks now might bolster China's argument that the arbitration case is premature because negotiations are already going on.

"Since 1995, we have been holding negotiations for years. Everytime we sit down, they say there is nothing to discuss," Carpio said.

He said parties must make clear that any bilateral talks at this point are considered "post-negotiations" so they will not affect the arbitration case. — Jonathan de Santos/ELR/NB, GMA News


THE DIPLOMAT ONLINE (ASIA PACIFIC NEWS)

The US and China Won't See Military Conflict Over the South China Sea By Xue Li and Xu Yanzhuo June 19, 2015 2.1k 81 8 9 2.2k Shares 106 Comments


Image Credit: Official White House Photo by Pete Souza

The United States and China both have an overriding interest in keeping the peace.

In a recent piece on the South China Sea disputes, I argued that “the ASEAN claimants are largely staying behind the scenes while external powers take center stage.” Based on recent developments on the South China Sea issue, it seems the U.S. will not only be a ‘director’ but an actor. We saw this clearly on May 20, when the U.S. military sent surveillance aircraft over three islands controlled by Beijing.

However, this does not necessary mean the South China Sea will spark a U.S.-China military conflict.

As a global hegemon, the United States’ main interest lies in maintaining the current international order as well as peace and stability. Regarding the South China Sea, U.S. interests include ensuring peace and stability, freedom of commercial navigation, and military activities in exclusive economic zones.

Maintaining the current balance of power is considered to be a key condition for securing these interests—and a rising China determined to strengthen its hold on South China Sea territory is viewed as a threat to the current balance of power.

In response, the U.S. launched its “rebalance to Asia” strategy. In practice, the U.S. has on the one hand strengthened its military presence in Asia-Pacific, while on the other hand supporting ASEAN countries, particularly ASEAN claimants to South China Sea territories.

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This position has included high-profile rhetoric by U.S. officials. In 2010, then-U.S. Secretary of State Hilary Clinton spoke at the ASEAN Regional Forum in Hanoi about the South China Sea, remarks that aligned the U.S. with Southeast Asia’s approach to the disputes.

At the 2012 Shangri-La Dialogue, then-Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta explained how the United States will rebalance its force posture as part of playing a “deeper and more enduring partnership role” in the Asia-Pacific region.

In 2014, then-Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel called out China’s “destabilizing, unilateral activities asserting its claims in the South China Sea.” His remarks also came at the Shangri-La dialogue, while China’s HY-981 oil rig was deployed in the waters around the Paracel Islands.

In 2015, U.S. officials have openly pressured China to scale back its construction work in the Spratly islands and have sent aircraft to patrol over islands in the Spratly that are controlled by China. These measures have brought global attention to the South China Sea.

However, if we look at the practical significance of the remarks, there are several limiting factors. The interests at stake in the South China Sea are not core national interests for the United States.

Meanwhile, the U.S.-Philippine alliance is not as important as the U.S.-Japan alliance, and U.S. ties with other ASEAN countries are even weaker.

Given U.S.-China mutual economic dependence and China’s comprehensive national strength, the United States is unlikely to go so far as having a military confrontation with China over the South China Sea.

Barack Obama, the ‘peace president’ who withdrew the U.S. military from Iraq and Afghanistan, is even less likely to fight with China for the South China Sea.

As for the U.S. interests in the region, Washington is surely aware that China has not affected the freedom of commercial navigation in these waters so far.

And as I noted in my earlier piece, Beijing is developing its stance and could eventually recognize the legality of military activities in another country’s EEZ (see, for example, the China-Russia joint military exercise in the Mediterranean).

Yet when it comes to China’s large-scale land reclamation in the Spratly Islands (and on Woody Island in the Paracel Islands), Washington worries that Beijing will conduct a series of activities to strengthen its claims on the South China Sea, such as establishing an air defense identification zone (ADIZ) or advocating that others respect a 200-nautical mile (370 km) EEZ from its islands.

Meanwhile, the 2014 oil rig incident taught Washington that ASEAN claimants and even ASEAN as a whole could hardly play any effective role in dealing with China’s land reclamation. Hence, the U.S. has no better choice than to become directly involved in this issue.

At the beginning, the United States tried to stop China through private diplomatic mediation, yet it soon realized that this approach was not effective in persuading China. So Washington started to tackle the issue in a more aggressive way, such as encouraging India, Japan, ASEAN, the G7, and the European Union to pressure Beijing internationally. Domestically, U.S. officials from different departments and different levels have opposed China’s ‘changing the status quo’ in this area.

Since 2015, Washington has increased its pressure on China. It sent the USS Fort Worth, a littoral combat ship, to sail in waters near the Spratly area controlled by Vietnam in early May. U.S. official are also considering sending naval and air patrols within 12 nautical miles of the Spratly Islands controlled by China.

Washington has recognized that it could hardly stop China’s construction in Spratly Islands. Therefore, it has opted to portray Beijing as a challenger to the status quo, at the same time moving to prevent China from establishing a South China Sea ADIZ and an EEZ of 200 nautical miles around its artificial islands.

This was the logic behind the U.S. sending a P-8A surveillance plane with reporters on board to approach three artificial island built by China. China issued eight warnings to the plane; the U.S. responded by saying the plane was flying through international airspace.

Afterwards, U.S. Defense Department spokesman, Army Col. Steve Warren, said there could be a potential “freedom of navigation” exercise within 12 nautical miles of the artificial islands. If this approach were adopted, it would back China into a corner; hence it’s a unlikely the Obama administration will make that move.

As the U.S. involvement in the South China Sea becomes more aggressive and high-profile, the dynamic relationship between China and the United States comes to affect other layers of the dispute (for example, relations between China and ASEAN claimants or China and ASEAN in general).

To some extent, the South China Sea dispute has developed into a balance of power tug-of-war between the U.S. and China, yet both sides will not take the risk of military confrontation.

As Foreign Minister Wang Yi put it in a recent meeting with U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, “as for the differences, our attitude is it is okay to have differences as long as we could avoid misunderstanding, and even more importantly, avoid miscalculation.”

For its part, China is determined to build artificial islands and several airstrips in the Spratlys, which I argue would help promote the resolution of SCS disputes. But it’s worth noting that if China establishes an ADIZ and advocates a 200 nautical miles EEZ (as the U.S. fears), it would push ASEAN claimants and even non-claimants to stand by the United States. Obviously, the potential consequences contradict with China’s “One Belt, One Road” strategy.

In February 2014, in response to reports by Japan’s Asahi Shimbun that a South China Sea ADIZ was imminent, China’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs hinted that China would not necessarily impose an ADIZ. “The Chinese side has yet to feel any air security threat from the ASEAN countries and is optimistic about its relations with the neighboring countries and the general situation in the South China Sea region,” a spokesperson said.

Since the “Belt and Road” is Beijing’s primary strategic agenda for the coming years, it is crucial for China to strengthen its economic relationship with ASEAN on the one hand while reducing ASEAN claimants’ security concerns on the other hand. As a result, it should accelerate the adjustment of its South China Sea policy; clarify China’s stand on the issue, and propose China’s blueprint for resolving the disputes.

The South China Sea dispute has developed a seasonal pattern, where the first half of the year is focused on conflicts, and the second half tends to emphasize cooperation. Considering its timing at the peak of ‘conflict season,’ the Shangri-La Dialogue serves as a hot spot.

Since 2012, the Shangri-La Dialogue has become a platform for the U.S. and China to tussle on the South China Sea, with the U.S. being proactive and China reactive. (Incidentally, this partly explains why China is upgrading Xiangshan Forum as an alternative dialogue platform). This year was no exception, as the U.S. worked hard to draw the world’s attention to the Shangri-La Dialogue this year.

But audiences should be aware that aggressive statements at the Shangri-La Dialogue are not totally representative of U.S.-China relations. After all, these statements are made by military rather than political elites. Cooperation will be the key when the U.S. and China have their Strategic and Economic Dialogue in late June, with the ASEAN Regional Forum and other meetings following later this summer.

Dr. Xue Li is Director of the Department of International Strategy at the Institute of World Economics and Politics, Chinese Academy of Social Sciences. Xu Yanzhuo received her doctorate from Durham University (UK) in December 2014 and studies international responsibility, South China Sea disputes, and Chinese foreign policy.


Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi

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