© Copyright, 2015 (PHNO)
 http://newsflash.org

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

PACQUIAO CALLS FOR REVIEW OF CRIMINAL CASES VS OFWs


(FILES) Filipino boxing superstar Manny Pacquiao (R) listens to Mary Jane Veloso (L), a Philippine death row inmate, during his visit to Wirogunan prison in Yogyakarta on July 10, 2015. Veloso was set to face the firing squad in April with several other foreign drug convicts but was granted an 11th hour reprieve by Indonesian President Joko Widodo after a woman suspected of recruiting her was arrested in the Philippines. Veloso was arrested in 2009 with 2.6 kilograms (5.7 pounds) of heroin sewn into the lining of her suitcase and was sentenced to death. AFP PHOTO / SURYO WIBOWO (FILES)
Filipino boxing icon and Sarangani Rep. Manny Pacquiao has called for an inventory of all pending cases involving Filipino migrant workers abroad even as he proposed the formulation and adoption of a protocol in providing immediate and efficient legal assistance to those facing criminal charges and are detained. In a letter sent to the chairman of the House Committee on Overseas Workers Affairs, Pacquiao urged its chairman, AGAP Partylist Rep. Nicanor M. Briones, to immediately schedule a meeting with concerned government officials to discuss the status of criminal cases against overseas Filipino workers. Pacquiao’s meeting last July 10 with death convict Mary Jane Veloso in Wirogunan Prison Facility in Yogyakarta, Indonesia, obviously prompted the Sarangani lawmaker to take the initiative During his meeting with Veloso, Pacquiao learned that from the time of Veloso’s apprehension on April 25,2010 in Audisucepto International Airport in Yogyakarta until the time she was sentenced to die on October 11,2010, the Pinay migrant worker was only represented by a court-appointed pro-bono counsel. “It was only on 21 October 2010 when our Philippine Embassy in Jakarta hired a private counsel to assist her in her appeal,” Pacquiao said in his letter. “I am informed that Ms. Veloso’s story is not isolated and has evolved to be a very disturbing pattern,” Pacquiao said. The administration lawmaker added “If we can save other apprehended OFWs from suffering the same fate as Ms. Mary Jane Veloso, we would have truly fulfilled the mandate of our Committee, as well as, our bounden duty as representatives of our people.” Pacquiao, vice chairman of the House panel, said sufficient funding for legal assistance to OFW’s in distress abroad is vital. The Department of Foreign Affairs reportedly has a P100 million fund for the purpose but the House opposition insisted that this supposedly provision of the General Appropriations Act of 2015 has been vetoed by President Aquino. READ MORE...

ALSO: CEBU’S NIÑO MAKES FIRST PASIG RIVER  CROSSING


FOR the first time, the Sto. Niño de Cebu crossed the Pasig River, on a ferry from Intramuros in Manila to Guadalupe Viejo in Makati City as part of the 450th anniversary of its discovery by the Order of St. Augustine (OSA) in 1565.
The wooden image of the child Jesus was found by Augustinian friars in a scorched hut in Cebu on April 28, 1565. It is said to be the image given by Portuguese voyager Ferdinand Magellan to Cebu’s Rajah Humabon in March 1521. The relic arrived in Manila last Friday from the Basilica Minore del Sto. Niño de Cebu for its five-day visit. It will also visit the Sto. Niño de Cebu Parish in Biñan City, Laguna. The fluvial procession, which used to be held only at the Mactan Channel in Cebu, started at Plaza Mexico station in Manila around 9 a.m. after a mass at the Manila Cathedral and ended 10:45 a.m. at Guadalupe station. Seven ferry boats carrying some 200 devotees participated in the event that highlights the importance of caring for the environment. The Metropolitan Manila Development Authority said the trip was supposed to take about an hour but the ferry carrying the sacred image stopped twice because of the thick water lilies on the river. Upon arrival at Guadalupe Viejo, a foot procession with 500 devotees was held towards the Nuestra Señora de Gracia Parish in Makati. Acting Makati Mayor Romulo Peña Jr. and suspended Mayor Jejomar Erwin Binay Jr. also attended the event. The MMDA observed heavy traffic along J.P. Rizal St. from Guadalupe station to EDSA at around 11 a.m. In an interview prior to the fluvial procession, OSA’s Fr. Harold Rentoria said the order believes the image can inspire Filipinos to be really faithful Catholics. “Sto. Nino is the symbol of our Catholic faith. Everytime nakikita natin siya, we are reminded of our faith,” said Rentoria. READ MORE...

ALSO Annual fluvial came to MM: Sto. Niño de Cebu venerated in Pasig River procession


FROM CEBU TO MANILA – The Sto. Niño de Cebu (right) is taken on a fluvial procession yesterday on the Pasig River from Manila to Makati as part of the 450th Kaplag Manila-Laguna Tour. The widely venerated image of the Child Jesus will be flown back to Cebu tomorrow. (John Jerome Ganzon)
The pilgrim image of the centuries-old Sto. Niño de Cebu led the fluvial procession along the Pasig River yesterday escorted by priests from the Order of St. Augustine and many devotees. The image holds a relic of the dress of the original image currently housed at the Basilica del Sto. Niño Cebu. Fr. Harold Rentoria, the head of the subcommission on Cultural Heritage of the National Commission for Culture and the Arts who was with the procession, said the image is being brought to different parts of the country in a pilgrimage to remind Catholics of the need to deepen their faith. “The Sto. Niño is the symbol of our Catholic faith. Every time we see the image, we are reminded of our faith. As Catholics and Christians, we need to deepen our faith and not just focus on the external,” he said in an interview at the Manila Cathedral, where the Mass was held before the procession. READ MORE...

ALSO: AFP to reopen Subic as Navy, PAF base DND; Irreversible crisis has reached tipping point


Cmdre. Primitivo Gopo is the new chief of the Naval Forces Western Mindanao. File photo
The Philippine Air Force and Navy will go ahead with a plan to open camps in Subic Bay Freeport facing the disputed South China Sea and West Philippine Sea even if a proposed American military presence doesn’t happen, Defense Secretary Voltaire Gazmin said yesterday. Gazmin unveiled plans two years ago to open air force and navy camps at the Freeport so fighter jets and frigates can respond faster to any contingency in the disputed waters where the Philippines has been facing an assertive China, which claims most of the area. The Philippines signed an expanded defense cooperation agreement with the US last year to allow allied American forces to temporarily station at camps including Subic, but the pact became uncertain after left-wing groups questioned its constitutionality at the Supreme Court. While a US military presence in the camps would help, Gazmin said the government would proceed to construct the bases soon even if the court eventually decides against access for US troops. The Philippines has scrambled to modernize its military, one of Asia’s weakest. It has bought 12 new South Korean fighter jets with the first two to be delivered later this year and stationed at Subic, Gazmin said. Subic Bay, about 80 kilometers northwest of Manila, used to host Washington’s largest naval base outside the American mainland until it was closed down in 1992, ending nearly a century of US military presence. Three years after, China seized a strategic reef also claimed by Manila, prompting Philippine senators to ratify the pact that allowed American forces to return for annual combat drills. Roberto Garcia, Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority chairman, said an airport and seaport will have a dual military-civilian use. READ MORE...

ALSO China: We won’t yield territory to foreigners; Recruitment video says China prepared for war


Screen grab from the People‘s Liberation Army recruitment video shows a missile being fired from a Chinese warship.
China is “prepared for war” and “will not yield an inch of territory to foreigners,” according to a recruitment video its People’s Liberation Army Navy released last week. The four-minute, 16-second video includes all the islands being claimed and reclaimed by China plus a show of its firepower during war games in disputed seas, according to an article on The National Interest magazine’s website. The original article came out on the Lowry Interpreter website. The video opens with Chinese graduating from university and engaging in sports. It segues to martial music and footage of the Senkaku Islands that are also claimed by Japan and Taiwan and reefs in the West Philippine Sea. The video shows images of bombs exploding and rockets being fired. The accompanying text in a second part of the video, titled “Call of Duty,” said “71 percent of the globe we depend on is blue water... wherever there is blue water, we will be there to secure navigation... China’s oceanic and overseas interests are expanding rapidly... our land is vast but we will not yield an inch of our territory to foreigners.” According to the text, China claims three million square kilometers of ocean under its jurisdiction – an area that includes as many as 6,700 islands. READ MORE...

ALSO: Hottest ticket in Washington? It's for the Pope at Capitol


Pope Francis salutes migrants from Nigeria during his weekly general audience he held in the Pope Paul VI hall, at the Vatican. L'Osservatore Romano/Pool Photo via AP
WASHINGTON — Rep. Peter Welch's sister, Maureen, had better intelligence than the five-term Vermont congressman about Pope Francis' upcoming trip to the United States and his historic address to Congress. "She called before the announcement and said, 'The pope is coming, can I have your ticket?'" recalled the Democratic lawmaker. He eagerly said yes to Maureen — Sister Maureen, an Ursuline nun who has been a member of the order for 50 years. While Welch's decision was somewhat easy, other lawmakers are struggling with an extraordinary demand — from spouses, family, friends, constituents — for the one ticket they get for guests to sit in the upper galleries of the House chamber when the pontiff addresses Congress on Sept. 24. A chance to see and hear the 78-year-old Argentinian famed for making the comfortable uncomfortable is the hottest ticket in Washington. "We have more requests for this appearance than anything anybody can ever recall around here," Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., said weeks ahead of the event. The first time a pontiff will be addressing Congress rivals a presidential inauguration and State of the Union wrapped into one. The president's Cabinet, the diplomatic corps and members of the Supreme Court, six of whom are Catholic, are expected to join senators and House members in the seats on the floor of the chamber. The House recently took the unusual step of voting to limit the people who can sit in those prime seats, essentially barring former members. READ MORE...

ALSO: The promise of gold
[The Philippines’ measure of wealth, culture, and power to be showcased to the world through a groundbreaking gold exhibition from the Philippines to New York]


Aras-asan Surigao del Sur, Ca. 10th to 13th century, 11.7 x 7.5 cm, 11.5 x 8 cm, 27 grams, 27 grams Over a thousand years ago, the 7,000++ islands that now form the Philippine archipelago were fiery gems scattered in the farthest regions of Southeast Asia. These islands lay on the planet’s ring of fire, a volatile part of the Earth where the ground shook, the land moved, and volcanoes erupted. These made the country’s mountains fertile, its forests lush, and its ground rich in precious metals, such as gold. Lots of them. We are literally sitting on a gold mine. Not a lot of Filipinos know this: The Philippines, up to this day, is teeming with so much gold that, according to the Department of Environment and Natural Resources, our ground has put our country in the world mineral map as the third in gold reserves and our unmined gold reserves, the second largest in the world. More important, not a lot of Filipinos know (including those involved in mining) that the Philippines had so much gold centuries ago, our early ancestors not only dressed themselves in gilded accoutrements and used golden ritual sculptures but also wined and dined, so to speak, using golden cups, containers, and plates. Over the past 40 years, Filipinos have discovered spectacular gold objects, handcrafted by our ancestors, scattered all over Luzon, Visayas, and Mindanao. Majority of the gold treasures recovered from these islands were saved from melting pots by the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) and the late collectors Leandro and Cecilia Locsin, whose collection now forms Ayala Museum’s gold collection. These precious collections are currently open to public viewing through the National Museum and the Ayala Museum. And in less than a month, through the efforts of the Asia Society and Ayala Museum, with special participation from the BSP, the collections will be opened for the first time to the world at the Asia Society Museum in New York City. READ MORE...


READ FULL MEDIA REPORTS HERE:

Pacquiao calls for review of criminal cases vs OFWs

MANILA, AUGUST 17, 2015  (MANILA BULLETIN) by Ben Rosario August 13, 2015


(FILES) Filipino boxing superstar Manny Pacquiao (R) listens to Mary Jane Veloso (L), a Philippine death row inmate, during his visit to Wirogunan prison in Yogyakarta on July 10, 2015. Veloso was set to face the firing squad in April with several other foreign drug convicts but was granted an 11th hour reprieve by Indonesian President Joko Widodo after a woman suspected of recruiting her was arrested in the Philippines. Veloso was arrested in 2009 with 2.6 kilograms (5.7 pounds) of heroin sewn into the lining of her suitcase and was sentenced to death. AFP PHOTO / SURYO WIBOWO (FILES)

Filipino boxing icon and Sarangani Rep. Manny Pacquiao has called for an inventory of all pending cases involving Filipino migrant workers abroad even as he proposed the formulation and adoption of a protocol in providing immediate and efficient legal assistance to those facing criminal charges and are detained.

In a letter sent to the chairman of the House Committee on Overseas Workers Affairs, Pacquiao urged its chairman, AGAP Partylist Rep. Nicanor M. Briones, to immediately schedule a meeting with concerned government officials to discuss the status of criminal cases against overseas Filipino workers.

Pacquiao’s meeting last July 10 with death convict Mary Jane Veloso in Wirogunan Prison Facility in Yogyakarta, Indonesia, obviously prompted the Sarangani lawmaker to take the initiative

During his meeting with Veloso, Pacquiao learned that from the time of Veloso’s apprehension on April 25,2010 in Audisucepto International Airport in Yogyakarta until the time she was sentenced to die on October 11,2010, the Pinay migrant worker was only represented by a court-appointed pro-bono counsel.

“It was only on 21 October 2010 when our Philippine Embassy in Jakarta hired a private counsel to assist her in her appeal,” Pacquiao said in his letter.

“I am informed that Ms. Veloso’s story is not isolated and has evolved to be a very disturbing pattern,” Pacquiao said.

The administration lawmaker added “If we can save other apprehended OFWs from suffering the same fate as Ms. Mary Jane Veloso, we would have truly fulfilled the mandate of our Committee, as well as, our bounden duty as representatives of our people.”

Pacquiao, vice chairman of the House panel, said sufficient funding for legal assistance to OFW’s in distress abroad is vital.

The Department of Foreign Affairs reportedly has a P100 million fund for the purpose but the House opposition insisted that this supposedly provision of the General Appropriations Act of 2015 has been vetoed by President Aquino.

READ MORE...

Pacquiao urged the committee to invite officials from the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration, Department of Labor and Employment and Department of Foreign Affairs, particularly the Undersecretary for Migrant Workers’ Affairs, for clarification.

In the same letter, Pacquiao asked the Committee to direct invited labor and foreign affairs officials to present an inventory of all pending cases as of June 30,2015 involving Filipino migrant workers, especially those detained, whether still undergoing trial or already serving prison terms.

The administration lawmaker further requested the Committee to require concerned government officials to submit demographic data on all Filipino Overseas Workers as of June 30,2015.

Pacquiao believed that had Veloso and other OFWs already deep in legal trouble abroad have been provided with a private lawyer during their trial, there was a big possibility that the outcome of their cases would have been different and in their favor or, at the very least, a lighter penalty would have been meted out.

Meanwhile, Pacquiao met with representatives of the Filipino Community in Tokyo, Japan on August 6 during his visit there.

The meeting was made possible through the efforts of Philippine Embassy in Tokyo headed by Ambassador Manuel Lopez.

Pacquiao told the Filipino community in Tokyo that he requested for a meeting with them to hear their clamor and sentiment.

During the meeting, however, members of the Filipino community did not ask for anything instead except Pacman’s presence during the Filipino Festival in Tokyo slated on Sept. 19-20.

The boxer-lawmaker pledged to come back during the festival to the delight of all those present.


MALAYA

CEBU’S NIÑO MAKES FIRST PASIG CROSSING August 17, 2015 BY EVAN ORIAS AND GERARD NAVAL

FOR the first time, the Sto. Niño de Cebu crossed the Pasig River, on a ferry from Intramuros in Manila to Guadalupe Viejo in Makati City as part of the 450th anniversary of its discovery by the Order of St. Augustine (OSA) in 1565.

The wooden image of the child Jesus was found by Augustinian friars in a scorched hut in Cebu on April 28, 1565. It is said to be the image given by Portuguese voyager Ferdinand Magellan to Cebu’s Rajah Humabon in March 1521.

The relic arrived in Manila last Friday from the Basilica Minore del Sto. Niño de Cebu for its five-day visit. It will also visit the Sto. Niño de Cebu Parish in Biñan City, Laguna.

The fluvial procession, which used to be held only at the Mactan Channel in Cebu, started at Plaza Mexico station in Manila around 9 a.m. after a mass at the Manila Cathedral and ended 10:45 a.m. at Guadalupe station.

Seven ferry boats carrying some 200 devotees participated in the event that highlights the importance of caring for the environment.

The Metropolitan Manila Development Authority said the trip was supposed to take about an hour but the ferry carrying the sacred image stopped twice because of the thick water lilies on the river.

Upon arrival at Guadalupe Viejo, a foot procession with 500 devotees was held towards the Nuestra Señora de Gracia Parish in Makati.

Acting Makati Mayor Romulo Peña Jr. and suspended Mayor Jejomar Erwin Binay Jr. also attended the event.

The MMDA observed heavy traffic along J.P. Rizal St. from Guadalupe station to EDSA at around 11 a.m.

In an interview prior to the fluvial procession, OSA’s Fr. Harold Rentoria said the order believes the image can inspire Filipinos to be really faithful Catholics.

“Sto. Nino is the symbol of our Catholic faith. Everytime nakikita natin siya, we are reminded of our faith,” said Rentoria.

READ MORE...

He said a reminder is necessary since many Filipinos today focus on other things.

“Bilang Catholics and Christians, we need to deepen our faith. Hindi lang ‘yung focus is on the externals,” said Rentoria.

Manila Cathedral Rector Fr. Reggie Malicdem, who presided over the mass before the fluvial procession, said people tend to be more interested in things such as shopping, gimmicks and gossip making, instead of going to church.

“One cannot be said to be living just because they are breathing... there are people breathing but they are not really living because they live their life away from God,” said Malicdem during his homily.

The OSA said it is looking at allowing the image to visit other parts of the Philippines in order to inspire more Filipinos.

“Hopefully, we can do this every year. At napakalaki ng Pilipinas at ang daming nag-i-invite,” said Rentoria.

On Tuesday, a departure mass for the Sto. Nino will be held at the NAIA Terminal 2 Chapel at 1 p.m. before it is flown back to Cebu at 4 p.m.


MANILA BULLETIN

Sto. Niño de Cebu venerated in Pasig River procession by Leslie Ann Aquino August 17, 2015 Share1 Tweet4 Share0 Email0 Share9


FROM CEBU TO MANILA – The Sto. Niño de Cebu (right) is taken on a fluvial procession yesterday on the Pasig River from Manila to Makati as part of the 450th Kaplag Manila-Laguna Tour. The widely venerated image of the Child Jesus will be flown back to Cebu tomorrow. (John Jerome Ganzon)

The pilgrim image of the centuries-old Sto. Niño de Cebu led the fluvial procession along the Pasig River yesterday escorted by priests from the Order of St. Augustine and many devotees.


A fluvial procession for the Sto. Niño de Cebu was held along the Pasig River on Sunday morning. It was the first time a fluvial parade for the image was held in Metro Manila. Radio dzBB's Mao dela Cruz shared on his Twitter account a glimpse of the fluvial procession. -

The image holds a relic of the dress of the original image currently housed at the Basilica del Sto. Niño Cebu.

Fr. Harold Rentoria, the head of the subcommission on Cultural Heritage of the National Commission for Culture and the Arts who was with the procession, said the image is being brought to different parts of the country in a pilgrimage to remind Catholics of the need to deepen their faith.

“The Sto. Niño is the symbol of our Catholic faith. Every time we see the image, we are reminded of our faith. As Catholics and Christians, we need to deepen our faith and not just focus on the external,” he said in an interview at the Manila Cathedral, where the Mass was held before the procession.

READ MORE...

Rentoria said the Child Jesus should move the people to reflect about their life.

HOMILY


Pasig River procession featured Sto. Niño de Cebu: Cebu Archbishop Cebu Archbishop Jose Palma carries the Sto. Niño de Cebu, a beloved Filipino icon. (Photo: Sammy Navaja) CBCP NEWS

Faith was also the focus of the homily of Fr. Reggie Malicdem, rector of the Manila Cathedral.

In his homily, he lamented how some people tend to be more interested in other things such as shopping and gossip rather than going to church and listening to the homily of a priest.

“One cannot be said to be living just because they are breathing… there are people breathing but they are not really living because they live their life away from God,” he said.

“I hope we become like Jesus who remained a child by following whatever is the will of His father,” added Malicdem.

ENVIRONMENT

An environmental message was also part of yesterday’s fluvial procession.

“The message of Sto. Nino is to take care of the environment which is stated in the Laudato Si. We would like to support that with a fluvial procession which is a call for each one, not just the government. Orderliness is next to godliness. Taking care of the environment is a duty and responsibility of each one of us,” Rentoria said.

The pilgrim image of the Sto. Niño arrived in Manila last Friday and was venerated at the San Agustin Church, and on Saturday evening at the Manila Cathedral.


Sto. Niño de Cebu venerated in Pasig River

The pilgrim visit and fluvial procession is part of the 450th anniversary of the finding of the sacred image on April 28, 1565 by the Order of St. Augustine in 1565.

The image, brought to the Philippines by Ferdinand Magellan in 1521, was given as a gift to Rajah Humabon and his wife, Amihan, who were converted to the Christian faith. The image was discovered by Juan Camus, one of Miguel Lopez de Legazpi’s soldiers, in a partially burned hut.


PHILSTAR

AFP to reopen Subic as Navy, PAF base DND: Irreversible crisis has reached tipping point (The Philippine Star) | Updated August 15, 2015 - 12:00am 0 0 googleplus0 0


Cmdre. Primitivo Gopo is the new chief of the Naval Forces Western Mindanao. File photo

MANILA, Philippines - The Philippine Air Force and Navy will go ahead with a plan to open camps in Subic Bay Freeport facing the disputed South China Sea and West Philippine Sea even if a proposed American military presence doesn’t happen, Defense Secretary Voltaire Gazmin said yesterday.

Gazmin unveiled plans two years ago to open air force and navy camps at the Freeport so fighter jets and frigates can respond faster to any contingency in the disputed waters where the Philippines has been facing an assertive China, which claims most of the area.

The Philippines signed an expanded defense cooperation agreement with the US last year to allow allied American forces to temporarily station at camps including Subic, but the pact became uncertain after left-wing groups questioned its constitutionality at the Supreme Court.

While a US military presence in the camps would help, Gazmin said the government would proceed to construct the bases soon even if the court eventually decides against access for US troops.

The Philippines has scrambled to modernize its military, one of Asia’s weakest. It has bought 12 new South Korean fighter jets with the first two to be delivered later this year and stationed at Subic, Gazmin said.

Subic Bay, about 80 kilometers northwest of Manila, used to host Washington’s largest naval base outside the American mainland until it was closed down in 1992, ending nearly a century of US military presence.

Three years after, China seized a strategic reef also claimed by Manila, prompting Philippine senators to ratify the pact that allowed American forces to return for annual combat drills.

Roberto Garcia, Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority chairman, said an airport and seaport will have a dual military-civilian use.

READ MORE...

Businesses, including hotels and restaurants, would likely back the return of military personnel, he said.

American personnel from the USNS Mercy, a huge hospital ship docked in Subic for an annual humanitarian mission, swarmed shopping malls and restaurants. “There was a guy who brought two Christmas lanterns to his ship,” Garcia said.

Japan joins drill Also in Subic Bay, Japan has joined US-led maritime humanitarian exercises the first time, as concerns over China’s growing assertiveness grow.

A Japanese navy replenishment ship was in Subic Bay, a former US naval base, to refuel a US Navy floating hospital en route to Vietnam for the seven-nation humanitarian mission.

It was the first time a Japanese navy ship has taken part in the humanitarian assistance and disaster relief drills although a flotilla of Japanese training vessels, including a submarine, makes annual port calls in Manila.

Rear Admiral Charles Williams, commander of US Seventh Fleet’s Task Force 73, said humanitarian assistance and disaster relief exercises were becoming a regular component of military exercises in the Philippines.

“You are seeing in exercises ... a shift from strictly bilateral engagement to multilateral, which is why you see the Japanese here today,” Williams told journalists aboard USNS Mercy, one of two US hospital ships.

China claims most of the South China Sea, through which $5 trillion in ship-borne trade passes every year. The Philippines, Vietnam, Malaysia, Taiwan and Brunei also have overlapping claims. Japan and China also have conflicting claims in the East China Sea.

Williams said the presence of Admiral Katsutoshi Kawano, head of Japan’s Self-Defence Forces, “speaks volumes about their commitment to the region and their commitment to being part of a multilateral engagement.”

Kawano met Wednesday with Armed Forces chief General Hernando Iriberri, and Gazmin at Camp Aguinaldo, where he expressed interest in holding joint amphibious landing exercises and operations with Philippine marines.

In a meeting with Gazmin, Kawano also expressed interest in sharing information in the South China Sea and capacity building, particularly in humanitarian assistance and disaster relief.

Williams said humanitarian assistance and disaster relief operations were “a great avenue towards increasing maritime stability and security in this region,” part of Washington’s rebalance to Asia policy.

While welcoming Japan’s military plans, Gazmin stressed a Visiting Forces Agreement (VFA) is needed before any joint military undertaking can be allowed on Philippine soil.

“The defense secretary has welcomed Admiral Kawano’s interests in more activities with the Philippines, emphasizing that with regard to conducting such activities, a VFA with Japan would be needed,” DND spokesman Peter Paul Galvez said.

In the absence of the VFA, Japan and the Philippines would make do with a Memorandum on Defense Cooperation and Exchanges.

“Aside from defense equipment cooperation, Admiral Kawano also stressed the importance of capacity building cooperation with the Philippines, particularly on matters concerning Humanitarian Assistance and Disaster Response,” Galvez said.

Tipping point China is taking the region to the “tipping point” of an “irreversible crisis” with its plan to build what it calls search and rescue facilities on its newly built artificial islands in the West Philippine Sea, Galvez also said yesterday.

“Maybe we should ask: ‘For whom are those search and rescue facilities for?’ Is it for our ships and installations that they are threatening to destroy?” Galvez said in a text message.

“It must be stopped otherwise it will be the tipping point that will plunge the entire region including the peace-loving Chinese communities into a deeper and irreversible crisis,” he said.

Galvez said such facilities are actually elements of China’s “island building militarization that needs to stop and be dismantled.”

“Regardless of what supposedly ‘good’ details the Chinese leadership informs the peace-focused and rules-based international community, they illegally and blatantly continue with their aggression,” he added.

“They are simply trying to cover their tracks. This is the worst stage of all, this is the militarization stage,” the defense official said.

To strengthen its claim in the South China Sea, China built artificial islands on seven reefs also being claimed by the Philippines.

The construction projects are on Panganiban (Mischief), Zamora (Subi), Kagitingan (Fiery Cross), Kennan (Chigua), Mabini (Johnson South), Burgos (Gaven) and Calderon (Cuarteron) Reefs.

The international community – including the United States and the European Union – has expressed alarm over China’s reclamation activities. Beijing is unperturbed.

Philippine officials said China’s reclamation is a violation of the 2002 Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the South China Sea, which bars claimant states from engaging in activities than can complicate the situation.

On Tuesday, Chinese Ambassador Zhao Jianhua announced that China is planning to build facilities on reclaimed reefs to support freedom of navigation, search and rescue efforts and scientific research. Alexis Romero, Jaime Laude, AP


PHILSTAR

China: We won’t yield territory to foreigners; Recruitment video says China prepared for war (The Philippine Star) | Updated August 15, 2015 - 12:00am 0 18 googleplus0 0


Screen grab from the People‘s Liberation Army recruitment video shows a missile being fired from a Chinese warship.

China is “prepared for war” and “will not yield an inch of territory to foreigners,” according to a recruitment video its People’s Liberation Army Navy released last week.

The four-minute, 16-second video includes all the islands being claimed and reclaimed by China plus a show of its firepower during war games in disputed seas, according to an article on The National Interest magazine’s website. The original article came out on the Lowry Interpreter website.

The video opens with Chinese graduating from university and engaging in sports. It segues to martial music and footage of the Senkaku Islands that are also claimed by Japan and Taiwan and reefs in the West Philippine Sea.

The video shows images of bombs exploding and rockets being fired.

The accompanying text in a second part of the video, titled “Call of Duty,” said “71 percent of the globe we depend on is blue water... wherever there is blue water, we will be there to secure navigation... China’s oceanic and overseas interests are expanding rapidly... our land is vast but we will not yield an inch of our territory to foreigners.”

According to the text, China claims three million square kilometers of ocean under its jurisdiction – an area that includes as many as 6,700 islands.

READ MORE...

“The struggle over our sea rights is not over,” the text states. “We will not yield even the tiniest speck of our resources.”

According to a recent report by the US Office of Naval Intelligence, China’s claim on “three million square kilometers of blue territory” would incorporate “nearly 90 percent of the area within the major bodies of water within the First Island Chain, including the Bo Hai, the Yellow Sea, the East China Sea, and the South China Sea.”

In the third part of the video, titled “The Honor Gene,” the text states that “thousands of sea battles forged us...in very bloody combat...hot blood and the smell of gunpowder, we kept working hard, we kept growing....the passionate efforts of youth...forging in trials made possible the breakthrough... we maintain combat readiness...we are prepared for war.”

The video follows another video, aired by China Central Television last month, showing a drill simulating an assault on Taiwan’s presidential office.

According to The National Interest, the intention of the videos may be “to scare potential opponents, perhaps to win a war without having to fight.”


PHILSTAR

Hottest ticket in Washington? It's for the Pope at Capitol By Donna Cassata and Andrew Taylor (Associated Press) | Updated August 14, 2015 - 2:00am 0 0 googleplus0 0


Pope Francis salutes migrants from Nigeria during his weekly general audience he held in the Pope Paul VI hall, at the Vatican. L'Osservatore Romano/Pool Photo via AP

WASHINGTON — Rep. Peter Welch's sister, Maureen, had better intelligence than the five-term Vermont congressman about Pope Francis' upcoming trip to the United States and his historic address to Congress.

"She called before the announcement and said, 'The pope is coming, can I have your ticket?'" recalled the Democratic lawmaker.

He eagerly said yes to Maureen — Sister Maureen, an Ursuline nun who has been a member of the order for 50 years.

While Welch's decision was somewhat easy, other lawmakers are struggling with an extraordinary demand — from spouses, family, friends, constituents — for the one ticket they get for guests to sit in the upper galleries of the House chamber when the pontiff addresses Congress on Sept. 24. A chance to see and hear the 78-year-old Argentinian famed for making the comfortable uncomfortable is the hottest ticket in Washington.

"We have more requests for this appearance than anything anybody can ever recall around here," Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., said weeks ahead of the event.

The first time a pontiff will be addressing Congress rivals a presidential inauguration and State of the Union wrapped into one.

The president's Cabinet, the diplomatic corps and members of the Supreme Court, six of whom are Catholic, are expected to join senators and House members in the seats on the floor of the chamber. The House recently took the unusual step of voting to limit the people who can sit in those prime seats, essentially barring former members.

READ MORE...

That leaves the current 434 House members and 100 senators figuring out who to please with a gallery ticket and who they might upset. Whether a freshman on the job less than a year or a committee chairman with decades in office, lawmakers face the same rules as a State of the Union speech — one guest ticket per lawmaker.

"I've been thinking long and hard about that," said Sen. Dick Durbin, D-Ill., the No. 2 Senate Democrat. "Turns out I know a couple of Catholics," he said, laughing. "And this is a hard call."

Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine, is giving her ticket to her mother, Pat, who headed Catholic Charities of Maine. Sen. Dan Coats, R-Ind., said his choice "starts with family," but he hasn't decided yet.

Republican Rep. Leonard Lance, R-N.J., faces a nearly Solomonic choice straight out of the Old Testament.

"Either my wife (Heidi) or my twin brother (James), but I'm a very popular fellow these days because of that one ticket that I get," Lance said.

Several spouses have already claimed the seats.

"My wife is getting my ticket," Rep. Dan Lipinski, D-Ill., said of his wife Judy. "Even before I knew that the official announcement was made that the Pope was coming to speak to a joint session of Congress, I received the email from my wife saying, 'Don't give my ticket away.'"

Sen. Ben Cardin, D-Md., said simply: "It's not my seat, it's my spouse's seat," a reference to his wife, Myrna.

Sen. Barbara Boxer, D-Calif., avoided picking one family member and disappointing several others.

"I gave it to a nun who I love — Sister Simone. She's the nun on the bus," Boxer said. "She fights for social justice and she's so happy."

Sister Simone Campbell is the executive director of NETWORK, a Catholic social justice lobby, and is no stranger to Capitol Hill, lobbying on the 2010 law overhauling health care and immigration. In 2012, she organized the "Nuns on the Bus" tour of nine states to oppose Republican Rep. Paul Ryan's budget, which the group criticized as detrimental to the poor.

Ryan was the Republican vice presidential nominee that year.

The presence of nuns will be a reminder of the changes at the Vatican from Pope Francis' predecessor, Benedict, to the current pontiff. Under Benedict, the main umbrella group of U.S. nuns had come under scrutiny, accused of straying from church teaching. The nuns oversee much of the church's work at hospitals and schools, and the issue roiled the church in the United States.

Earlier this year, under Francis, the Vatican said that it was ending its overhaul of the group, a quick resolution widely seen as an effort to quiet a dispute ahead of the pope's visit.

While lawmakers are limited to one gallery ticket, there is a consolation prize of sorts. Members of Congress can promise a few dozen more family, friends or associates a chance to see the Pontiff, just not in the House chamber.

Each congressional office can request one ticket for seats on the lower West Terrace of the Capitol. Jumbotrons will be set up on the West Front of the Capitol, facing the National Mall, so thousands can watch the broadcast of the pope's speech. Francis is also expected to appear on the Capitol balcony after his speech.

Each lawmaker also can request 50 standing-room-only tickets for the West Lawn, plus one ticket for guests who can sit in the cavernous Cannon Caucus Room and watch the pontiff on TV.


MANILA BULLETIN

The promise of gold
[The Philippines’ measure of wealth, culture, and power to be showcased to the world through a groundbreaking gold exhibition from the Philippines to New York] by Jacky Lynne A. Oiga August 17, 2015


Aras-asan Surigao del Sur, Ca. 10th to 13th century, 11.7 x 7.5 cm, 11.5 x 8 cm, 27 grams, 27 grams

Over a thousand years ago, the 7,000++ islands that now form the Philippine archipelago were fiery gems scattered in the farthest regions of Southeast Asia. These islands lay on the planet’s ring of fire, a volatile part of the Earth where the ground shook, the land moved, and volcanoes erupted. These made the country’s mountains fertile, its forests lush, and its ground rich in precious metals, such as gold. Lots of them. We are literally sitting on a gold mine.

Not a lot of Filipinos know this: The Philippines, up to this day, is teeming with so much gold that, according to the Department of Environment and Natural Resources, our ground has put our country in the world mineral map as the third in gold reserves and our unmined gold reserves, the second largest in the world. More important, not a lot of Filipinos know (including those involved in mining) that the Philippines had so much gold centuries ago, our early ancestors not only dressed themselves in gilded accoutrements and used golden ritual sculptures but also wined and dined, so to speak, using golden cups, containers, and plates.


BELT Surigao Treasure, Surigao del Sur, Ca. 10th to 13th century, 5.5 x 68.3 cm, 564 grams Ayala Museum Collection (Image by Neal Oshima)

Over the past 40 years, Filipinos have discovered spectacular gold objects, handcrafted by our ancestors, scattered all over Luzon, Visayas, and Mindanao. Majority of the gold treasures recovered from these islands were saved from melting pots by the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) and the late collectors Leandro and Cecilia Locsin, whose collection now forms Ayala Museum’s gold collection.

These precious collections are currently open to public viewing through the National Museum and the Ayala Museum. And in less than a month, through the efforts of the Asia Society and Ayala Museum, with special participation from the BSP, the collections will be opened for the first time to the world at the Asia Society Museum in New York City.

READ MORE...

Between Sept. 11 to early January 2016, the exhibit “Philippine Gold: Treasures of Forgotten Kingdoms” will feature over 120 spectacular gold objects such as necklaces, chains, waistbands, bangles, ritual bowls, implements, and ceremonial weapons dated between the 10th and 13th centuries, on loan from the collections of Ayala Museum and BSP.

The rare artifacts will reveal the sophisticated civilizations that flourished before the Spaniards arrived on Philippine shores and will ultimately bring to the world stage a truly fascinating, little-known aspect about the Philippines’ (literally) rich heritage.

“The Philippines and Philippine culture tend to be perceived internationally in terms of our colonial history under Spain and the US. We Filipinos also tend to perceive our cultural heritage in terms of our Catholic, Hispanicized and Americanized customs,” says Fernando Zobel, COO of Ayala Corporation and the Ayala Foundation. “This exhibition is of great importance because it clearly helps us show to international communities and to everyone at home that the Philippines had a sophisticated culture before its contact with the West, had close ties with the Hindu-Buddhist cultures of Southeast Asia and the Asian mainland, and our pre-colonial culture is actually very similar to those of our Hindu-Buddhist neighbors before Westernization.”

Zobel adds that the superior quality of the gold ornaments also dispels the Western stereotype of pre-colonial Filipinos as ignorant before Spanish and American colonization.

According to Florina H. Capistrano-Baker, former director of Ayala Museum and curator of the museum’s permanent exhibit “Gold of Ancestors,” the exhibition focuses on the ancient Philippine polity known as Butuan in northeastern Mindanao during the 10th century to the 13th, and other political entities in the neighboring islands of Samar, Cebu, Leyte, Palawan, Mindoro, Marinduque, and the Mountain Province in Luzon.

“The exhibit title uses the word ‘kingdoms’ in its descriptive sense not as anthropological term referring to specific social structures such as tribes, chiefdoms, kingdoms, and states,” Baker says. “The amazing gold works in the exhibit attest to robust cultural connections and maritime trade in Southeast Asia during what was an early Asian economic boom. The diverse, sophisticated gold treasures are evidences of lost history and posterity and achievement of early communities in the Philippines long before Western contact.”


Bangle with semi-precious stones Gold, garnet, and glass Ca. 10th to13th century Surigao Treasure

BSP Governor Amando Tetangco, Jr., for his part, says that the exhibit is an excellent opportunity to showcase our pre-colonial cultural heritage.

“This is going to be the first time that the Philippine pre-Hispanic gold will be seen in the States. This is an opportune time for other people to know more about the Philippines and get to know the rich cultural heritage of our country,” Tetangco says.

To arrange a group tour of this special exhibition in New York, call + 1 212.327.9237 or email philippinegold@asiasociety.org www.AsiaSociety.org/Philippines2015 


Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi

© Copyright, 2014 by PHILIPPINE HEADLINE NEWS ONLINE
All rights reserved


PHILIPPINE HEADLINE NEWS ONLINE [PHNO] WEBSITE