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

WEST PHILIPPINE SEA DISPUTE: PH CAN'T GET MILITARY AID FROM ALLIES - CARPIO


AUGUST 1 ---FROM SOUTH CHINA MONITORING POST APRIL 18, 2015: Aquino insisted the "Balikatan" (Shoulder-to-Shoulder) wargames starting on Monday were not directed at China, pointing out they were annual exercises, but he discussed at length the Philippines’ reliance on the United States. PHOTO SCMP PICTURES The Philippines cannot seek military assistance from allies, which includes the United States, in its ongoing dispute with China over the West Philippine (South China) Sea. This was stressed by Supreme Court Associate Justice Antonio Carpio during his presentation at the “Perspective on the Issues Involving the West Philippine Sea” which was held at the AFP Commissioned Officer’s Club at Camp Aguinaldo, Quezon City. “The Philippines cannot hope to deter China given the state of the Philippines’ external defense forces. The Philippines cannot invoke the RP-US Mutual Defense Treaty because the disputed islands in the Spratlys are outside the scope of the treaty,” he added. The Philippines and the US signed in 1951 a Mutual Defense Treaty with the United States. The Philippines has one of the weakest Armed Forces in the Southeast Asian Region and is relying on American aid to prop up its dilapidated Air Force and Navy.Recently, the country made some progress in modernizing its forces but despite the improvements, it cannot hope to to deter China from making aggressive moves in the West Philippine Sea. Carpio said that the only recourse the country can do to break the impasse is the legal one. “The only effective response available is to bring the dispute to an arbitral tribunal under UNCLOS, to which both the Philippines and China are parties. Even then, UNCLOS governs only maritime disputes, not territorial disputes. Nevertheless, the maritime dispute covers 85.7 percent of the South China Sea waters, drastically reducing the area of conflict if the Philippines wins the arbitration,” he added. READ MORE...

ALSO AFP: PHL can defend self despite limited capabilities


AUGUST 1 ---Amid rising maritime tensions in the South China Sea, the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) on Saturday said the military can defend the country if the need arises.
In a text message to GMA News Online, AFP public affairs chief Col. Noel Detoyato said the Philippines can defend itself despite having limited defense capabilities as compared to China and other claimants in the maritime dispute. "Yes we can. That is our mandate," Detoyato told GMA News Online. Detoyato was referring to a Japanese Ministry of Defense presentation titled "China's Activities in the South China Sea," which showed the Philippines lagging behind China, Vietnam and Malaysia in terms of naval and air force capabilities. The report said among the four countries, the Philippines has the least number of warships with only 80, while China has 892, Malaysia with 208, and Vietnam has 94. It also showed that among the four claimant nations, only the Philippines has no submarine. The report also revealed that China towers over the three other claimants with 2,582 units of aircraft. The Philippines only has 26, Vietnam has 97 and Malaysia has 71. The report mentioned the Philippines' purchase of 12 Korean jet fighters FA-50 in 2014, which will be used in service by 2017. Increasing awareness reassuring AFP spokesperson Col. Restituto Padilla, meanwhile, refused to comment on the report, particularly on the military capability of the Philippines. Instead, he thanked the Japanese government "for taking special interest in the evolving security situation in the [South China Sea]." READ MORE...

ALSO: Aquino legacy criticised as he delivers last Sona
[China Sea dispute, peace settlement among issues Philippine president is accused of mishandling]


JULY 27 ---Philippine President last SONA: Manila: President Benigno Aquino has ‘unmitigated weaknesses’ that emerged during his five years in office, critics said yesterday. They alleged the following:
1. Aquino is corrupt while he claims to fight corruption “He fatally damaged his campaign for taking the straight road by his [own] corrupt way – pressure and bribery for the passage of a bill that allows government to subsidise poor people’s family planning with the use of condoms, and the impeachment of former Chief Justice Renato Corona in Congress in 2012,” alleged retired Bishop Teodoro Bacani. The Disbursement Accelerated Programme Aquino created was found unlawful. The Supreme Court said the transfer of funds from executive to the legislative was illegal. 2. Aquino supports selective justice “Big-name politicians were charged and arrested for misuse of development funds. But those identified with his administration remained free,” said Bishop Efraim Tendero. Only three opposition senators were imprisoned for the alleged crime, but a whistle-blower said 80 per cent of lawmakers were involved in it. 3. Aquino has contributed to poverty “Poor people suffer due to low wages, higher cost of living, and unemployment,” said Bishop Dinualdo Gutierrez of Marbel in the south. READ MORE...

ALSO: ASEAN, China discuss ‘hotline’ for sea dispute - Philippines


AUGUST 2 ---Manila, Philippines | AFP – ASEAN and China are discussing setting up a “hotline” in case of an emergency regarding the territorial dispute over the South China Sea, a Philippine official said on Sunday. The proposed hotline was discussed during a meeting of senior diplomats from China and ASEAN, the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, in Tianjin last week, said foreign department spokesman Charles Jose.
Jose, whose country is one of the most vocal in the simmering dispute over the flashpoint waters, said the matter had been referred back to a joint working group and was still far from fruition. “Although this was agreed in principle as an early harvest measure, it needs thorough discussion,” he said in a statement to AFP. He stressed the hotline would not be unveiled at an upcoming meeting of ASEAN foreign ministers. The Philippines and fellow ASEAN members Brunei, Malaysia and Vietnam have competing claims over the South China Sea along with China and Taiwan. READ MORE...

ALSO: ‘One Asean stand may stop China’


AUGUST 2 --This photo from the New York Times shows the facility being built by China on Johnson South Reef.
10-nation bloc urged to protest land reclamation. THERE is a chance that China will stop its island-building spree in the West Philippine Sea (South China Sea) and other areas if all members of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean) and Japan agree to issue a united stand against Beijing’s sea activities, the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) said.“In this part of the region, a collective voice is much stronger than a few. The whole of Asia, Asean is a very strong voice. If [Asian nations] can [stay] together, much better,” Col. Restituto Padilla, AFP spokesman, said in a statement released Sunday.Padilla added that China will likely listen if more countries will speak out against its dredging activities in a number of reefs that are also being claimed by the Philippines, Vietnam, Malaysia and Japan.
“Maski na mali kami, kami pa rin ang tama parang ganun ang mentalidad nila, kasi kung titingnan nyong mabuti ang history ng China, talagang ganyan ang ugali nya, ang treatment nya sa sarili nya sya yung sinimulan ng sibilisasyon, siya yung center ng mundo [Even if we are wrong, we are still right, that’s China’s mentality. If you will look at the history of China, that has been its attitude. It sees itself as the start of civilization, the center of the world],” he pointed out.The AFP spokesman noted that concerns voiced by various think thanks and the issues they present are the same issues that the Philippines has been raising all along.“It only goes to show that what we have been saying is shared by many and that all nations ought to speak out as well so that hopefully, with that one voice, China will listen and not use might versus what is right and it may as well go by the rules-based approach that all peace-loving nations conform [with],” Padilla explained. In a recent report, The New York Times said China’s land reclamation projects in disputed territories had created seven new islets in the region at an alarming speed.“The announcement marks a change in diplomatic tone, and indicates that China has reached its scheduled completion on several land reclamation projects and is now moving into the construction phase,” the report said, quoting Mira Rapp-Hooper, director of the Asia Maritime Transparency Initiative at the Center for Strategic and International Studies.It said China has built port facilities, military buildings and an airstrip on these islands. READ MORE...


ALSO Commentary: Lessons from Singapore
[The Singapore of today is made possible by a leader who was really sincere in serving the people and by the gotong royong of the early Singaporeans who dared to dream and work hard in building their nation. Singapore may not be a perfect country, but it is surely a lot better than the Philippines. Our country is not lucky to have a leader who is sincere enough to serve the Filipinos.]


AUGUST 3 ---A review of Josephine Chia’s Kampong Spirit: Gotong Royong
During the week when all of Singapore was grieving the death of their founding father, former Prime Minister Lee Kuan Yew, I was reading Josephine Chia’s Kampong Spirit: Gotong Royong (Marshall Cavendish Editions, 2013). It was very timely because this book turned out to be about the establishment of Singapore as an independent republic half a century ago, and the man who rallied everyone in a former British colony and also a former island state member of the Federation of Malaya was, of course, Lee Kuan Yew.Having the subtitle “Life in Potong Pasir, 1955 to 1965,” the book is a creative nonfictional work divided into 11 chapters, representing the 11 years in the turning point of Singapore’s post-colonial history. Kampong is a Malay word for “village” while gotong royong is the Malay phrase for “coming together of the community to help and sustain each other.” In her foreword, Josephine describes gotong royong in the Kampong Potong Pasir of her childhood as “multi-racial communities lived in the kampong like an extended family where everyone’s doors were kept open, neighbors kept a look-out for each other, and the children played with one another without any thought of discriminating against the other for being of a different race. This is kampong spirit at its best.” Life in Potong Pasir was one of poverty. Josephine’s family lived in a small wooden house infested by rats and cockroaches. They didn’t have electricity and running water. The outhouse toilet was shared by several families. Josephine and her friends would look for food and toys in the garbage thrown out by English families living in grand houses on top of the hill near their kampong. “Growing up in the kampong, we were deprived of many comforts. Our family was extremely poor. There were days when we did not have any food to eat. READ MORE...

ALSO Commentary: The Anointed One / The China Syndrome / Preparing for the big one


AUGUST 2 --By Babe Romualdez It was clear from the very start that Interior Secretary Mar Roxas would be anointed as the administration candidate. Although some people believe that the president’s endorsement may not add much to dramatically boost Mar’s survey ratings, there is no doubt it would still be considerable. At the end of the day, the massive resources of the government – whether directly or indirectly used for Mar’s candidacy – will still be a significant factor in the May 2016 elections. Whoever will be going against the Liberal Party standard bearer will have to contend with a massive, well-funded political machinery. Judging from the turnout at Club Filipino, it’s clear the majority of the country’s elite will go for Mar – although there were obviously a few carpetbaggers and hangers-on present. If Grace Poe decides to go for the Presidency with Chiz Escudero (but some people in the NPC are not too excited with Chiz), then the tandem could very well be a deal-breaker for Mar. Surveys show Grace and Chiz can cut across all sectors of society – from the elite and middle class to the masses. Surveys also show Vice President Jojo Binay has so far lost a large chunk of the elite, middle class and a portion of his masa following after the corruption issues came out. However, he still has a loyal masa base which is still a major portion of the voting public. Already we hear about insinuations that the PCOS machines would be manipulated, but I have been told on many occasions by the Smartmatic people that it is virtually impossible to manipulate the results. The key is that Comelec chair Andy Bautista will stick to his word that clean and honest elections will be a legacy that he will leave – because he owes no one his position except the Filipino people. The China syndrome We had a very good discussion at the recent Stratbase ADR Institute roundtable discussion on international relations (see photos in the Allure section) and I must say our top diplomat, Secretary Albert del Rosario, really deserves a lot of credit for bringing us to where we are today as far as the Chinese issue and the West Philippine Sea is concerned. READ MORE...


READ FULL MEDIA REPORTS HERE:

WEST PHILIPPINE SEA DISPUTE: PH can’t get military aid from allies


FROM SOUTH CHINA MONITORING POST APRIL 18, 2015: Aquino insisted the "Balikatan" (Shoulder-to-Shoulder) wargames starting on Monday were not directed at China, pointing out they were annual exercises, but he discussed at length the Philippines’ reliance on the United States. PHOTO SCMP PICTURES

MANILA, AUGUST 3, 2015  (MANILA TIMES) The Philippines cannot seek military assistance from allies, which includes the United States, in its ongoing dispute with China over the West Philippine (South China) Sea.

This was stressed by Supreme Court Associate Justice Antonio Carpio during his presentation at the “Perspective on the Issues Involving the West Philippine Sea” which was held at the AFP Commissioned Officer’s Club at Camp Aguinaldo, Quezon City.

“The Philippines cannot hope to deter China given the state of the Philippines’ external defense forces. The Philippines cannot invoke the RP-US Mutual Defense Treaty because the disputed islands in the Spratlys are outside the scope of the treaty,” he added.

The Philippines and the US signed in 1951 a Mutual Defense Treaty with the United States.

The Philippines has one of the weakest Armed Forces in the Southeast Asian Region and is relying on American aid to prop up its dilapidated Air Force and Navy.

Recently, the country made some progress in modernizing its forces but despite the improvements, it cannot hope to to deter China from making aggressive moves in the West Philippine Sea.

Carpio said that the only recourse the country can do to break the impasse is the legal one.

“The only effective response available is to bring the dispute to an arbitral tribunal under UNCLOS, to which both the Philippines and China are parties. Even then, UNCLOS governs only maritime disputes, not territorial disputes.

Nevertheless, the maritime dispute covers 85.7 percent of the South China Sea waters, drastically reducing the area of conflict if the Philippines wins the arbitration,” he added.

READ MORE...

UNCLOS refers to the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea.

Carpio earlier said if the International Tribunal will not apply the UNCLOS to the ongoing dispute in the South China Sea, then it would mean the end of that particular Convention.

“Why is it important to apply UNCLOS to the South China Sea dispute, because if we don’t apply it then UNCLOS, the Constitution for the ocean and seas of our planet cannot also apply to any maritime dispute in the rest of the oceans and seas of the world, it would be the beginning of the end of UNCLOS,” he added.

And should this happen, Carpio said the rule of the “naval cannon will prevail in the oceans and seas.”

This will trigger a naval arms race among coastal countries, he added.

“Just imagine if the tribunal says we don’t have jurisdiction the 9-dash Line is valid then what will happen, the only way we can protect our ourselves is to acquire warships, warplanes, anti-ship missiles, resources that should go to education, infrastructure, and social services will have to be re-allocated to defense and, no matter how many warships we buy we cannot defeat China, we can only hope to deter China but there is no way we can win in a total war, so its totally useless,” Carpio pointed out.

“(And) if the tribunal says there is no jurisdiction, the 9-dash Line prevailed, then there is no law of the sea anymore, everybody will have to arm, every nation will have to arm itself but that’s not enough to resolve the dispute, it will just worsen the dispute, and the judges in the tribunal will be out of job because nobody will follow the law of sea anymore,” he concluded.
PNA


GMA NEWS ONLINE

AFP: PHL can defend self despite limited capabilities August 1, 2015 6:21pm Tags: westphilippinesea By AMANDA FERNANDEZ,GMA News (Updated 7:08 p.m.)

Amid rising maritime tensions in the South China Sea, the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) on Saturday said the military can defend the country if the need arises.

In a text message to GMA News Online, AFP public affairs chief Col. Noel Detoyato said the Philippines can defend itself despite having limited defense capabilities as compared to China and other claimants in the maritime dispute.

"Yes we can. That is our mandate," Detoyato told GMA News Online.

Detoyato was referring to a Japanese Ministry of Defense presentation titled "China's Activities in the South China Sea," which showed the Philippines lagging behind China, Vietnam and Malaysia in terms of naval and air force capabilities.

The report said among the four countries, the Philippines has the least number of warships with only 80, while China has 892, Malaysia with 208, and Vietnam has 94.

It also showed that among the four claimant nations, only the Philippines has no submarine.

The report also revealed that China towers over the three other claimants with 2,582 units of aircraft. The Philippines only has 26, Vietnam has 97 and Malaysia has 71.

The report mentioned the Philippines' purchase of 12 Korean jet fighters FA-50 in 2014, which will be used in service by 2017.

Increasing awareness reassuring

AFP spokesperson Col. Restituto Padilla, meanwhile, refused to comment on the report, particularly on the military capability of the Philippines.

Instead, he thanked the Japanese government "for taking special interest in the evolving security situation in the [South China Sea]."

READ MORE...

"It is reassuring for us to know that there is increasing awareness and concern among those in our region on this subject," he said in a text message to GMA News Online.

"This increasing awareness hopefully elevates all these issues affecting the [South China Sea] to a level where it can initiate collective action that will assure freedom of navigation, security of the commons and a more stable security environment for the peace loving nations of SEA," he added.

Legal, moral claims

AFP chief Gen. Hernando Iriberri, meanwhile, visited the Western Command (WesCom) headquarters in Palawan on Saturday morning .

Detoyato said the military chief's visit to WesCom "emphasizes the importance of our concerns in the WPS (West Philippine Sea)."

He said that according to Irriberi, WesCom's "most potent weapon" is the "legality, morality and righteousness of our claims."

China reclamation progress

Meanwhile, The New York Times created a multimedia report showing China's rapid reclamation works from August 2014 to May 2015 in the South China Sea.

The report pointed out China's rapid works in the disputed areas, which "outpaced similar efforts in the area..."

The report also quoted Mira Rapp-Hooper, director of the Asia Maritime Transparency Initiative at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, a Washington research group, as saying China's efforts in the disputed areas serves to help strengthen its territorial claims.

"The new islands allow China to harness a portion of the sea for its own use that has been relatively out of reach until now," Rapp-Hooper said in the report. "Although there are significant fisheries and possible large oil and gas reserves in the South China Sea, China’s efforts serve more to fortify its territorial claims than to help it extract natural resources."

"So far China has built port facilities, military buildings and an airstrip on the islands," the report said. "The installations bolster China’s foothold in the Spratly Islands."

Detoyato refused to comment, but said the report could help bring awareness to the maritime issue.

"Nagpapasalamat tayo na may ganito to create awareness sa issue," he said.

'Awareness'

Meanwhile, Padilla said the report had voiced out issues "the Philippines has been raising all along."

"It only goes to show that what we have been saying is shared by many and that all nations ought to speak out as well so that hopefully with that one voice, China will listen and not use might vs what is right as well as go by a rules-based approach that all peace loving nations conform to," he added.

For his part, Department of National Defense spokesperson Peter Paul Galvez said the report would help the public become aware of China's aggressiveness in the disputed areas.

"In the past, the Philippines was considered as the boy who cried wolf when we brought our concerns on China's increasing aggressiveness to the international community," he said.

"Today, everyone has realized that more than the presence of the wolf, its actually a pack... A pack that China has unleashed on the South China Sea." —ALG/JDS, GMA News -


GULF NEWS PHILIPPINES

Aquino legacy criticised as he delivers last Sona China Sea dispute, peace settlement among issues Philippine president is accused of mishandling Published: 16:12 July 27, 2015 Gulf News By Barbara Mae Dacanay
Correspondent SHARERssShare on facebookShare on twitterAdd on google plusSend Email to FriendAddthis 3

Manila: President Benigno Aquino has ‘unmitigated weaknesses’ that emerged during his five years in office, critics said yesterday. They alleged the following:

1. Aquino is corrupt while he claims to fight corruption

“He fatally damaged his campaign for taking the straight road by his [own] corrupt way – pressure and bribery for the passage of a bill that allows government to subsidise poor people’s family planning with the use of condoms, and the impeachment of former Chief Justice Renato Corona in Congress in 2012,” alleged retired Bishop Teodoro Bacani.

The Disbursement Accelerated Programme Aquino created was found unlawful. The Supreme Court said the transfer of funds from executive to the legislative was illegal.

2. Aquino supports selective justice

“Big-name politicians were charged and arrested for misuse of development funds. But those identified with his administration remained free,” said Bishop Efraim Tendero. Only three opposition senators were imprisoned for the alleged crime, but a whistle-blower said 80 per cent of lawmakers were involved in it.

3. Aquino has contributed to poverty

“Poor people suffer due to low wages, higher cost of living, and unemployment,” said Bishop Dinualdo Gutierrez of Marbel in the south.

READ MORE...

4. Aquino has exacerbated crisis in education

“Tuition rates increased by 108 per cent at the national level, and by 143 per cent at the National Capital Region. About 1.5 million Filipino youth are out of school, one of the highest figures in the world,” said Congressman Terry Ridon.

5. Aquino is responsible for crisis in labour

About 4.7 million Filipinos are unemployed, 47.3 per cent are aged 15 to 24, and 31.6 per cent are aged 25 to 34, a survey said. “As a result, the government continues its policy of exporting labour, and allows companies to employ contractual labour,” Congressman Ridon said.

6. Aquino is failing to push Congress to pass a peace law

This is necessary to implement the 2014 pro-autonomy peace settlement between the Philippine government and the 38-year old Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF).

7. Aquino is reluctant to choose the ruling party’s presidential candidate. “This could weaken the party and the chances of its candidates,” said political analyst Prospero de Vera.


MANILA BULLETIN

ASEAN, China discuss ‘hotline’ for sea dispute: Philippines by AFP August 2, 2015 (updated) Share2 Tweet8 Share0 Email0 Share61

Manila, Philippines | AFP – ASEAN and China are discussing setting up a “hotline” in case of an emergency regarding the territorial dispute over the South China Sea, a Philippine official said on Sunday. The proposed hotline was discussed during a meeting of senior diplomats from China and ASEAN, the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, in Tianjin last week, said foreign department spokesman Charles Jose.

Jose, whose country is one of the most vocal in the simmering dispute over the flashpoint waters, said the matter had been referred back to a joint working group and was still far from fruition.

“Although this was agreed in principle as an early harvest measure, it needs thorough discussion,” he said in a statement to AFP.

He stressed the hotline would not be unveiled at an upcoming meeting of ASEAN foreign ministers.

The Philippines and fellow ASEAN members Brunei, Malaysia and Vietnam have competing claims over the South China Sea along with China and Taiwan.

READ MORE...

The dispute has grown increasingly tense in recent years with the Philippines at the forefront of accusing China of “bullying” in asserting its claim over the waters which are a crucial sea lane and fishing ground also believed to hold vast mineral resources.

In recent months, the Philippines has raised the alarm over China’s land reclamation to turn outcroppings in the sea into artificial islands that can host military outposts.

ASEAN, which also includes Indonesia, Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar, Singapore and Thailand, has been pushing for the establishment of a “code of conduct” with China that would bind the rival claimants not to take actions that could spark conflict in the region.

Despite its appeals for unity, ASEAN members have diverging agendas, and the bloc has had difficulty taking a common stand on China which has close relationships with several members.


MANILA TIMES

‘One Asean stand may stop China’August 2, 2015 9:34 pm
by FERNAN MARASIGAN REPORTER


This photo from the New York Times shows the facility being built by China on Johnson South Reef.

10-nation bloc urged to protest land reclamation

THERE is a chance that China will stop its island-building spree in the West Philippine Sea (South China Sea) and other areas if all members of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean) and Japan agree to issue a united stand against Beijing’s sea activities, the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) said.

“In this part of the region, a collective voice is much stronger than a few. The whole of Asia, Asean is a very strong voice. If [Asian nations] can [stay] together, much better,” Col. Restituto Padilla, AFP spokesman, said in a statement released Sunday.

Padilla added that China will likely listen if more countries will speak out against its dredging activities in a number of reefs that are also being claimed by the Philippines, Vietnam, Malaysia and Japan.

“Maski na mali kami, kami pa rin ang tama parang ganun ang mentalidad nila, kasi kung titingnan nyong mabuti ang history ng China, talagang ganyan ang ugali nya, ang treatment nya sa sarili nya sya yung sinimulan ng sibilisasyon, siya yung center ng mundo [Even if we are wrong, we are still right, that’s China’s mentality. If you will look at the history of China, that has been its attitude.

It sees itself as the start of civilization, the center of the world],” he pointed out.
The AFP spokesman noted that concerns voiced by various think thanks and the issues they present are the same issues that the Philippines has been raising all along.

“It only goes to show that what we have been saying is shared by many and that all nations ought to speak out as well so that hopefully, with that one voice, China will listen and not use might versus what is right and it may as well go by the rules-based approach that all peace-loving nations conform [with],” Padilla explained.

In a recent report, The New York Times said China’s land reclamation projects in disputed territories had created seven new islets in the region at an alarming speed.

“The announcement marks a change in diplomatic tone, and indicates that China has reached its scheduled completion on several land reclamation projects and is now moving into the construction phase,” the report said, quoting Mira Rapp-Hooper, director of the Asia Maritime Transparency Initiative at the Center for Strategic and International Studies.

It said China has built port facilities, military buildings and an airstrip on these islands.

READ MORE...

Padilla said other countries are hesitant to speak out against China because they are protecting their interests, particularly on the economic front.

He, however, opined that China will not slap economic sanctions on these countries because Beijing is also dependent on trade.

“Dependent siya kasi sa paglabas ng trade para naibebenta niya yung goods niya.

Dependent rin siya sa pumapasok na goods na kailangan niya para mag-produce so give and take yan, so pag naging solitary economic unit lang siya, hindi siya magpo-prosper [Because China is also dependent on trade right? It needs other nations to be able to sell its goods. It is also dependent on the goods that are coming in [from other countries]. So it is just give and take. If it becomes a solitary economic unit, it will not prosper],” Padilla said

While the G7 or Group of 7 that is comprised of Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the United Kingdom and the United States have spoken against China’s unilateral actions such as large-scale reclamations in disputed waterways, the AFP spokesman also noted that the Asean had been silent on the issue.

“[That is our challenge. Asean should have one solid voice],” the AFP official said.
Last month, the Philippines sent a delegation to The Hague to convince a United Nations-backed international tribunal to take jurisdiction of the complaint filed by Manila challenging China’s claim to almost the entire West Philippine Sea.

The Philippines and fellow Asean members Brunei Darussalam, Malaysia and Vietnam have competing claims to South China Sea areas along with China and Taiwan.

The dispute grew increasingly tense in recent years with the Philippines at the forefront of accusing China of “bullying” in asserting its claim to the South China Sea, a crucial lane and fishing ground also believed to hold vast mineral resources.

In recent months, the Philippines had raised the alarm over China’s land reclamation to turn outcroppings in the sea into artificial islands that can host military outposts.

Asean, which also includes Indonesia, Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar, Singapore and Thailand, has been pushing for the establishment of a “Code of Conduct” with China that would bind the rival claimants not to take actions that could spark conflict in the region.

Despite their appeal for unity, Asean members have diverging agendas, and the bloc has had difficulty taking a common stand on China, which has close relationships with several members.

Hotline

Also on Sunday, the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) said Asean and China are discussing setting up a “hotline” in case of an emergency regarding the territorial disputes.

The proposed hotline was discussed during a meeting of senior diplomats from China and Asean in Tianjin last week, Charles Jose, DFA spokesman, said.

Jose added that the matter had been referred back to a joint working group and was still far from fruition.

“Although this was agreed in principle as an early harvest measure, it needs thorough discussion,” he said in a statement.

Jose added that the hotline will not be unveiled at an upcoming meeting of Asean foreign ministers.

Experts, however, said Asean should look at the bigger context of its ties with China and not be bogged down by the territorial disputes in the South China Sea.

“The territorial flashpoints in the South China Sea are not going away, but then again Asean-China relations have always been more than just the South China Sea,” Benjamin Ho, a maritime security researcher, said.

Ho, associate research fellow at the Institute of Defense and Strategic Studies, Nanyang Technological University of Singapore, said the Asean-China relations are largely very stable at the moment.

Such ties were further strengthened with the Asean support for the recent Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank initiative by the world’s second largest economy.
Ho said having a “Code of Conduct”or COC will certainly help clarify interests of the respective countries.

Nonetheless, a COC does not guarantee that tensions will ease among the parties, which have interests in the area involving two island chains — the Paracels and the Spratlys, a major shipping route and home to fishing grounds that contribute to the livelihoods of people across the region.

Meanwhile, Universiti Sains Malaysia’s (USM) Center for Global Sustainability Studies director Dr. Kamarulazizi Ibrahim said there was a need for Asean to extend further its friendship to China, which could provide a platform for Asean members to discuss with dialogue partners on issues surrounding the South China Sea.

Kamarulazizi said the members of Asean, whose population is about 600 million, need to sit and discuss the territorial claims, not only those affecting borders but economic activities like fishery, shipping routes as well as safety of the area.

“We should project to China that the Asean region is a growing economy, where China is also benefiting from the rapid growth. Asean needs to promote its success and show the superpower the bloc’s rapid improvement,” he added.

Meanwhile, USM Pro-Chancellor Tan Sri Mustafa Mansur said Asean members should work cohesively for solidarity in addressing the South China Sea disputes.

“We have to be very careful in handling this matter,” added the former president of the Federation of Malaysian Manufacturers.


TRIBUNE

Lessons from Singapore Written by Tribune Wires Monday, 03 August 2015 00:00


|
A review of Josephine Chia’s Kampong Spirit: Gotong Royong

During the week when all of Singapore was grieving the death of their founding father, former Prime Minister Lee Kuan Yew, I was reading Josephine Chia’s Kampong Spirit: Gotong Royong (Marshall Cavendish Editions, 2013).

It was very timely because this book turned out to be about the establishment of Singapore as an independent republic half a century ago, and the man who rallied everyone in a former British colony and also a former island state member of the Federation of Malaya was, of course, Lee Kuan Yew.

Having the subtitle “Life in Potong Pasir, 1955 to 1965,” the book is a creative nonfictional work divided into 11 chapters, representing the 11 years in the turning point of Singapore’s post-colonial history. Kampong is a Malay word for “village” while gotong royong is the Malay phrase for “coming together of the community to help and sustain each other.”

In her foreword, Josephine describes gotong royong in the Kampong Potong Pasir of her childhood as “multi-racial communities lived in the kampong like an extended family where everyone’s doors were kept open, neighbors kept a look-out for each other, and the children played with one another without any thought of discriminating against the other for being of a different race. This is kampong spirit at its best.”

Life in Potong Pasir was one of poverty. Josephine’s family lived in a small wooden house infested by rats and cockroaches. They didn’t have electricity and running water. The outhouse toilet was shared by several families. Josephine and her friends would look for food and toys in the garbage thrown out by English families living in grand houses on top of the hill near their kampong.

“Growing up in the kampong, we were deprived of many comforts. Our family was extremely poor. There were days when we did not have any food to eat.

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Some days it was just soy sauce on boiled broken rice, the lowest quality of rice which was used as feed for chickens. But the greatest thing we had was our mother’s love. She was as special lady, beautiful, devoted, compassionate and inspirational, not just to our family but to all the other villagers,” recounts Josephine about her mother who in spite of the hardship in life is a light of hope.

Like most of the fathers during that time, Josephine’s father did not believe in educating women. But Josephine’s mother was able to convince him to let their daughter go to school. Her father allowed Josephine to study as long as he would not spend for it and she would help her mother sell cooked food to finance her education. She was more than happy to do it.

Kampong Spirit is full of memorable real life characters. Like Karim, a cheerful young man whose day job was to collect the filled buckets of the outhouses but is a first rate singer. He was hurt badly in the infamous riot between ethnic Chinese and Malays in 1964 and he lost his voice and zest for life. There is also Parvathi, Josephine’s best friend who dreams of being free killed herself to escape marrying an older man arranged by her father.

And of course Lee Kuan Yew, who was already a prime minister at the age of 36, and who cried on TV when he announced on Aug. 9, 1965, that Singapore was kicked out of the Federation of Malaya. Singapore is very small and has no natural resources, not even enough fresh water for its people.

“I have a few million lives to account for. Singapore will survive,” he said with conviction. And the rest, as they say, is history.

Kampong Spirit is a good read, not only engaging the reader emotionally — I laughed and cried in the many parts of the book — but also enlightening and informative about Singapore’s early history. It really deserved to win the Singapore Literature Prize 2014 for creative non-fiction. Reading this book is not only like opening a window to Josephine’s heart but also to the heart of Singapore.

I bought my copy of Kampong Spirit and Josephine’s first novel My Mother-in-Law’s Son in the book fair of the Asean Literary Festival 2015 in Jakarta, Indonesia, last March 15 to 22. I was an official delegate from the Philippines along with National Artist Virgilio Almario and Bicol writer Kristian Sendon Cordero. For a year or so now, I became interested with the literatures written in our neighboring Southeast Asian countries. I did not know that Josephine was also in the festival and was pleasantly surprised when Kristian pointed her out to me. I immediately approached her for autographs, and she was more than happy to sign her books. She even invited me for coffee that evening.

She is proud of her Peranakan heritage. Peranakan is Singapore’s version of our Intsik. Her father was Chinese and her mother Malay. Her fiction and non-fiction is published internationally. She has lived in London for more than three decades but is now back home in Singapore where she recently enjoyed a writer’s residency to write her third novel from the Gardens By the Bay and the Singapore National Arts Council. She is glad to know that I am interested in Singaporean literature and that I have read the works of Catherine Lim, and poet Alvin Pang is my friend.

“Oh, Catherine Lim and Alvin Pang are rich writers. I grew up in a kampong in a poor family. But I am not ashamed of it,” she said without a tinge of bitterness. In fact, she always smiles. And when she smiled, her beauty reminded me of the orchids and the bougainvilleas of Singapore.

In December last year, I was fortunate to spend Christmas vacation in Singapore and Malaysia with two dear friends. During the New Year’s eve we were on the 48th floor of Marina Bay Sands watching the fireworks below on the Marina Bay.

On the water below was a giant SG50 formed by thousands of white and red balloons. This 2015, Singapore is celebrating its 50th year as a nation. While looking at the skyscrapers around the colonial district and having enjoyed the efficient facilities (like the train system) of this garden city, I wondered what happened to the Philippines? Why is Singapore so advanced and the Philippines so backward when our country celebrated its centennial in 1998?

I couldn’t find a definite answer until Lee Kuan Yew died last March 23 and I read Josephine Chia’s Kampong Spirit.

The Singapore of today is made possible by a leader who was really sincere in serving the people and by the gotong royong of the early Singaporeans who dared to dream and work hard in building their nation.

Singapore may not be a perfect country, but it is surely a lot better than the Philippines. Our country is not lucky to have a leader who is sincere enough to serve the Filipinos.

Our politicians are only bent on enriching themselves and their friends. This is the reason I cried when Lee Kuan Yew died and when I finished reading Josephine’s beautiful book. By John Iremil E. Teodoro, Contributor


PHILSTAR COLUMN

The Anointed One / The China Syndrome BABE’S EYE VIEW By Babe Romualdez (The Philippine Star) | Updated August 2, 2015 - 12:00am 0 1 googleplus0 0


By Babe Romualdez

It was clear from the very start that Interior Secretary Mar Roxas would be anointed as the administration candidate. Although some people believe that the president’s endorsement may not add much to dramatically boost Mar’s survey ratings, there is no doubt it would still be considerable. At the end of the day, the massive resources of the government – whether directly or indirectly used for Mar’s candidacy – will still be a significant factor in the May 2016 elections. Whoever will be going against the Liberal Party standard bearer will have to contend with a massive, well-funded political machinery.

Judging from the turnout at Club Filipino, it’s clear the majority of the country’s elite will go for Mar – although there were obviously a few carpetbaggers and hangers-on present. If Grace Poe decides to go for the Presidency with Chiz Escudero (but some people in the NPC are not too excited with Chiz), then the tandem could very well be a deal-breaker for Mar. Surveys show Grace and Chiz can cut across all sectors of society – from the elite and middle class to the masses.

Surveys also show Vice President Jojo Binay has so far lost a large chunk of the elite, middle class and a portion of his masa following after the corruption issues came out. However, he still has a loyal masa base which is still a major portion of the voting public.

Already we hear about insinuations that the PCOS machines would be manipulated, but I have been told on many occasions by the Smartmatic people that it is virtually impossible to manipulate the results. The key is that Comelec chair Andy Bautista will stick to his word that clean and honest elections will be a legacy that he will leave – because he owes no one his position except the Filipino people.

The China syndrome

We had a very good discussion at the recent Stratbase ADR Institute roundtable discussion on international relations (see photos in the Allure section) and I must say our top diplomat, Secretary Albert del Rosario, really deserves a lot of credit for bringing us to where we are today as far as the Chinese issue and the West Philippine Sea is concerned.

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He stood pat on the conviction that we should take the territorial dispute through legal arbitration; obviously we cannot fight the Chinese any other way. His impassioned stance that “right is might” and the warnings about the growing Chinese aggression has caught fire – with other nations feeling some disquiet about Chinese reclamation activities in the disputed maritime territories.

Secretary Del Rosario admitted “it was lonely at the top,” so to speak, when ASEAN nations were reluctant to discuss the issue but now more countries are sharing our perspective about the giant nation that seems to be going all out in its aggression – even in the Indian Ocean and everywhere else. In fact, India has started beefing up its Naval fleet and strengthening alliances with the US, Japan, and Australia due to the disturbing developments in the Indian Ocean region with the growing presence of the Chinese People’s Liberation Army-Navy and the construction of several ports in Sri Lanka, Bangladesh and Pakistan. We don’t know where the Chinese are planning to bring this situation but there could be a confrontation sooner or later – I hope not near our shores – but it could happen.

Secretary Del Rosario said the China issue will be inherited by the next administration but as he told us during the forum, he hopes he has been able to lay the groundwork for the future Foreign Secretary and the future president to continue along the path of our diplomatic policy. It’s a changing world, and the China syndrome is a major issue that the next president will have to tackle with care.

Preparing for the big one

We have to hand it to Metro Manila Development Authority chairman Francis Tolentino who keeps trying to find ways and means to solve the traffic problem, despite the fact that he is up against the world, so to speak – where it’s a “damned if you do, damned if you don’t” kind of situation. With the increasing volume of vehicles plying the streets every year, traffic has become almost impossible to solve – and no one in his right mind envies him of being “Traffic Czar.”

Nevertheless, he just keeps plodding despite the brickbats and expletives, implementing programs to make Metro Manila become resilient and prepared for climate change challenges, like the recent metro-wide earthquake drill that saw a million volunteers participating in simulation activities to see what should be done in case a magnitude 7.2 earthquake occurs.

Command posts were set up, ambulances and helicopters were deployed to simulate rescue and airlift operations for the wounded, and even motorcycle groups practiced transporting casualties over debris-filled roads. Participating school children now know they should “drop, cover and hold” for 45 seconds – the estimated duration of a strong quake.

There were some people who dismissed the shake drill as inconvenient, failing to realize that preparedness is the key to cutting down the loss of lives. We all know a major earthquake could come sooner or later to vulnerable places like Metro Manila, so every Filipino should know what to do in case a big one occurs.

As always, we hear all kinds of unnecessary comments and the usual “bahala na” attitude. Filipinos had better take these warnings from MMDA and PhiVolcs seriously — especially those who think these drills and preparations are a big joke. When that day comes, the joke can very well be on them.


Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi

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