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

CHINA TENSIONS TOP AGENDA AS PENTAGON CHIEF HEADS TO ASIA


APRIL 10 -US Secretary of Defense Ashton Carter testifies about the Defense Department' YAHOO NEWS FILE WASHINGTON, United States - US Secretary of Defense Ashton Carter headed Saturday to India and the Philippines for talks on increasing regional defense cooperation, after calling off a planned trip to China amid tensions over Beijing's expansionist ambitions in the South China Sea. Carter will fly out of Washington and travel to India and the Philippines for his Asian tour, followed by Middle East stops in the United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia. China lays claim to almost all of the contested South China Sea, which is important for international shipping and is believed to hold valuable mineral and energy deposits. Neighboring countries and Washington fear China could impose military controls over the entire South China Sea, and Beijing has in recent months built massive structures including radar systems and an airstrip over reefs and outcrops. The Philippines is among several other regional countries that also have claims to the strategic zone. "Almost all the nations there are asking us to do more with them... bilaterally and multilaterally," Carter told the Council on Foreign Relations think tank in New York on Friday. "Many of those countries are reaching out anew to the United States to uphold the rules and principles that have allowed the region to thrive." In India, where Carter will stay through Wednesday, he will discuss new partnerships and modernizing old alliances, according to the Pentagon. "We are now doing things that could not have been imagined 10 years ago," a senior US defense official said. Fighter jets The United States and India are cooperating in aircraft carrier design, jet engine technology, and may collaborate on jointly producing jet fighters. READ MORE...RELATED, China aims to challenge US air dominance —Pentagon...

ALSO: AFTER SPATE OF KIDNAPPINGS, 23 killed as AFP, Abu Sayyaf clash


APRIL 11 -
Philippines Defense Secretary Voltaire Gazmin (2nd R) and military chief General Hernando Iriberri (R) visit one of the 53 wounded soldiers at a military hospital in Zamboanga on the southern Philippine island of Mindanao on April 10, 2016, a day after soldiers clashed with the extremist Abu Sayyaf group. The Philippine offensive against the extremist Abu Sayyaf group after a spate of kidnappings left 18 soldiers and five fighters dead in the worst violence in the troubled south this year, authorities said. AFP ZAMBOANGA—A government offensive against the extremist Abu Sayyaf Group after a spate of kidnappings has left 18 soldiers and five rebels dead in the worst violence in Mindanao this year, authorities said Sunday. Saturday’s clashes on the strife-torn island of Basilan came after an April 8 ransom deadline set by Abu Sayyaf, who had threatened to behead some of their foreign hostages. At least four soldiers were beheaded in the fighting, which involved about 100 Abu Sayyaf rebels, regional military spokesman Maj. Filemon Tan said. Armed Forces chief Gen. Hernando Iriberri, who flew to the southern command base in Zamboanga city, 44 kilometers from the violence, said the fighting lasted almost 10 hours.“The whole armed forces is grieving,” he told reporters. He said a Moroccan national who was with the gunmen was killed in the clashes, identifying him as Mohammad Khattab, an instructor in making improvised explosive devices as well as an “Islamic jihadist preacher.”  “He wanted to unify, organize all kidnap-for-ransom groups to be affiliated with an international terrorist organization,” the general said. He would not identify the international group the Moroccan was allegedly working for. Iriberri said operations were continuing, adding that “even as we speak, there is an encounter going on in the same place.”  The 10-hour firefight Saturday took place inside the stronghold of the Abu Sayyaf Group led by Isnilon Hapilon in Sitio Bayoko, Barangay Baguindan, Tipo-Tipo, Basilan.  READ MORE...RELATED, EDITORIAL: The absent President...

 ALSO: Chapter Three for Manny Pacquiao, Timothy Bradley


APRIL 10 -Manny Pacquiao, center left, of the Philippines, and Timothy Bradley, center right, pose during a weigh-in, Friday, April 8, 2016, in Las Vegas. They are scheduled to fight in a welterweight title fight Saturday in Las Vegas. (AP Photo/John Locher)
On Saturday evening (Sunday morning, Manila time), the whole world tunes in once again, as eight-division world champion Manny “Pacman” Pacquiao (57-6-2, 38 KO) and Timothy “Desert Storm” Bradley (33-1-1, 1 NC, 13 KO) write the third chapter in their boxing rivalry, at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas, this time for the vacant WBO International Welterweight championship.
It could also be the final chapter in Pacquiao’s storied boxing career, a career that has spanned over eleven years and 66 professional bouts. Pacquiao and Bradley are scheduled to go 12 rounds. The first time that Pacquiao and Bradley crossed paths back in 2012, Pacquiao was riding a 15-fight winning streak, and had established himself as one of the best boxers in the world, claiming a world title in a historic eight weight divisions, something that no other boxer has done before. Bradley on the other hand, was 28-0 and was set to make a name for himself against a gigantic name like Pacquiao. In what will go down as one of the most controversial decisions in boxing history, Bradley eked out a split decision win over Pacquiao, 113-115, 115-113, 115-113, much to the disbelief of fans and professionals all over the world. Many would dispute that this would be the start of the decline of Pacquiao’s career. The loss to Bradley would be followed by the brutal sixth-round knockout loss to Juan Manuel Marquez. Pacquiao and Bradley would meet again in 2014, a rematch that many were dying to see, especially since Bradley had just defeated the guy that laid Pacquiao out. READ MORE...

ALSO: Pacquiao demolishes Bradley in third duel


APRIL 11 -PROVES CRITICS WRONG LAS VEGAS — The soaking that the people in this bustling city received from the thunderstorm last Saturday (Sunday in Manila) was far tamed compared to the bloodbath that took place at the MGM Grand Garden Arena. Manny Pacquiao, wrongly considered by some as an aging champion protecting his legacy in the sport he fiercely dominated for more than a decade, has once again proved critics wrong by demolishing Tim Bradley Jr. in a fashion that baffled even the most seasoned experts. Armed with speed and punching power, Pacquiao did not only take Bradley back to school but also gave the American some sleek lessons about respect. I fought the best I could tonight but it seems that Manny is always on the right spot. He’s always a step ahead of me; he was smarter than me,” admitted the visibly dejected Bradley.“Manny remains a force to reckon with and I don’t think Manny should retire yet.” Bradley’s face showed visible marks of the brutal punishments he received in the ring from Pacquiao. Teddy Atlas, his trainer, remained in shock as his team faced the media after the fight. “It was all my fault. I failed my fighter. I fell short of what was expected of me,” Atlas sadly confessed. Atlas and Freddie Roach have a long standing grudge against each other, rooting from the rivalry once played by their mentors. Roach is the direct disciple of Eddie Futch who was the arch nemesis of Cus D'Amato who showed Atlas all the ropes. READ MORE...

ALSO: Overseas absentee voting starts -'OFW votes could change the game'

 
APRIL 9 -Absentee Voting A Filipino volunteer reads the voters’ list in this file photo taken in Hong Kong in 2007 for Philippine mid-term elections in that year, today, Saturday, overseas absentee voting by Filipinos abroad starts, with more than one million expected to cast their ballot during the month-long voting. Absentee Voting A Filipino volunteer reads the voters’ list in this file photo taken in Hong Kong in 2007 for Philippine mid-term elections in that year, today, Saturday, overseas absentee voting by Filipinos abroad starts, with more than one million expected to cast their ballot during the month-long voting. MORE than one million registered overseas Filipino voters (OFVs) will start casting their votes today, Saturday, as the law-mandated month-long overseas absentee voting (OAV) opens in 85 Philippine posts in various countries around the world. Figures from the Commission on Elections (Comelec) showed a total of 1,376,067 OFVs registered worldwide for the 2016 polls. Of the number, 1,326,728 are land-based workers, while the rest or 49,339 are seafarers. Comelec Chairman Andres Bautista on Friday explained that unlike the rest of the 54.4 million locally-based registered voters, the OFVs are only allowed to vote for candidates vying for national positions, which include the President, Vice President, 12 senators and a party-list group. Bautista said the OAV will simultaneously close along with local voting at 5 p.m. on May 9. “Philippine time may vary with other countries. In other part of the world, it’s either May 9, 8 or 10, depending which [country] but everybody has to adjust to Philippine time because that’s what the law provides,” he added. READ MORE...

ALSO: Bb. Pilipinas candidate disqualified over sexy photos?


APRIL 9 -Kim Ross Delos Santos. Facebook.com/realbbpilipinas 
MANILA – Pageant mentor Jonas Gaffud took to social media to cry foul over the disqualification of one of his beauty queens from the Binibining Pilipinas 2016 pageant.
In a Facebook post, Gaffud lamented that Binibining Pilipinas Charities Inc. (BPCI) disqualified Kim Ross Delos Santos on Tuesday, which happened to be International Women’s Day, over her previous sexy photos as a model. “A Filipina model photographed by the same photographer who worked with BPCI in the past, in an expressive work of art alongside a respected male international supermodel… These works of art are not deemed pornographic. It saddens me that while we celebrate love and equality, the very organization that should uplift women denies them the chance to demonstrate empowerment,” he wrote. In another post, Gaffud said the disqualification of Delos Santos is about “hypocrisy.” “The issue of disqualification of a worthy candidate is not just about pageants. It’s about hypocrisy. Kim Ross is a model who, like Pia (Wurtzbach, Miss Universe 2015), is the breadwinner of her family. She was convinced to join Bb. Pilipinas to perhaps improve their lives,” he wrote. The pageant mentor went on to note that the lawyers of BPCI “did not even check what the photo was about.” “It did not come out in any publication and was supposed to be a high-end fashion shoot by The Doc Marlon who makes artwork, not photography,” he explained. “Now, denying Kim her entry means they just shut her dream of becoming a beauty queen without due process, without any lawyer with her.”  READ MORE...


READ FULL MEDIA REPORTS HERE:

China tensions top agenda as Pentagon chief heads to Asia


US Secretary of Defense Ashton Carter testifies about the Defense Department' YAHOO NEWS FILE

MANILA, APRIL 11, 2016 (GMA NEWS NETWORK)  Published April 10, 2016 2:27am By LAURENT BARTHELEMY, AFP WASHINGTON, United States - US Secretary of Defense Ashton Carter headed Saturday to India and the Philippines for talks on increasing regional defense cooperation, after calling off a planned trip to China amid tensions over Beijing's expansionist ambitions in the South China Sea.

Carter will fly out of Washington and travel to India and the Philippines for his Asian tour, followed by Middle East stops in the United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia.

China lays claim to almost all of the contested South China Sea, which is important for international shipping and is believed to hold valuable mineral and energy deposits.

Neighboring countries and Washington fear China could impose military controls over the entire South China Sea, and Beijing has in recent months built massive structures including radar systems and an airstrip over reefs and outcrops.

The Philippines is among several other regional countries that also have claims to the strategic zone.

"Almost all the nations there are asking us to do more with them... bilaterally and multilaterally," Carter told the Council on Foreign Relations think tank in New York on Friday.

"Many of those countries are reaching out anew to the United States to uphold the rules and principles that have allowed the region to thrive."

In India, where Carter will stay through Wednesday, he will discuss new partnerships and modernizing old alliances, according to the Pentagon.

"We are now doing things that could not have been imagined 10 years ago," a senior US defense official said.

Fighter jets

The United States and India are cooperating in aircraft carrier design, jet engine technology, and may collaborate on jointly producing jet fighters.

READ MORE...

On the military side, India is again participating in the US-led Red Flag advanced aerial combat training exercise, and recently joined US and Japanese forces in an anti-submarine and air defense exercise.

Aside from meeting Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his counterpart Manohar Parrikar, Carter is scheduled to visit the Vikramaditya, one of two Indian aircraft carriers.

The Vikramaditya formerly belonged to the Soviet Union's navy, and entered the Indian navy in 2013.

In the Philippines, Carter will visit the Antonio Batista Air Base on the island of Palawan, which faces the South China Sea and the islands claimed by Beijing.

The Philippine base is part of five that the US army can use to temporarily rotate soldiers, following a military cooperation agreement that came into effect in January.

No stop in China

Access to the five bases will "enhance our ability to operate within the Philippines... and in South China Sea -- and of course, reinforce our deterrent message," a senior defense official said.

The agreement marks a return of US military to the Philippines, which was a US colony from 1898 to 1946. Until 1992 the Philippines was also home to Subic Bay naval base and Clark Air Base, two of the largest US military bases abroad.

During the visit Carter is scheduled to meet Philippine President Benigno Aquino and Defense Secretary Voltaire Gasmin.

Carter, however, chose to not stop in China during his Asian tour, even though he had earlier accepted an invitation to visit.

The decision to skip China was made just a few weeks ago, highlighting tensions between Beijing and Washington over the South China Sea.

Carter "did officially accept an invitation to travel to China in spring," said Pentagon spokesman Bill Urban. However, "scheduling problems" prevented that visit from happening.

"We are actively looking" for another date to visit "this year," Urban said.

Carter leaves Asia on Saturday and heads to the United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia, where among other things he will participate in a Gulf Cooperation Council ministerial meeting ahead of a GCC summit that will include President Barack Obama. — Agence France-Presse -

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RELATED FROM GMA NEWS NETWORK

China aims to challenge US air dominance —Pentagon Published June 23, 2015 11:49am By DAVID ALEXANDER, Reuters

WASHINGTON - China is mounting a serious effort to challenge US military superiority in air and space, forcing the Pentagon to seek new technologies and systems to stay ahead of its rapidly developing rival, Deputy Defense Secretary Robert Work said on Monday.

The Pentagon's chief operating officer, speaking to a group of military and civilian aerospace experts, said China was "quickly closing the technological gaps," developing radar-evading aircraft, advanced reconnaissance planes, sophisticated missiles and top-notch electronic warfare equipment.

While hoping for a constructive relationship with China, the Pentagon "cannot overlook the competitive aspects of our relationship, especially in the realm of military capabilities, an area in which China continues to improve at a very impressive rate," he said.

Work made his remarks to the inaugural conference of the China Aerospace Studies Initiative, a partnership of the US Air Force and the RAND Corporation think-tank. The initiative aims to boost US research on China's aerospace ambitions.

The conference came as hundreds of Chinese officials were in Washington for the three-day US-China Strategic and Economic Dialogue, wide-ranging talks that look at areas of mutual cooperation even as they address points of friction.

Asked about the timing of the military conference, Work said US and Chinese leaders both see the bilateral relationship as one in which there are "measures of cooperation and measures of competition."

"We're hoping over time that the cooperative aspects outweigh competitive aspects," Work added. "As the Department of Defense, we're the hedge force. ... We say, 'Look, here are capabilities that we see that the Chinese are developing and it's important for us to be able to counter those."

Work, citing a Harvard study on rising powers confronting established powers, told the conference that interactions between the two often result in war. As a result, the Defense Department must "hedge against this international competition turning more heated."

The United States has generally felt the best hedge is a strong nuclear and conventional deterrence capable of overmatching any rival, he added.

Work said the United States has relied on technological superiority for the past 25 years, but now "the margin of technological superiority upon which we have become so accustomed ...is steadily eroding."

To adjust, he said, the Pentagon is working to develop new technologies to maintain its edge and lower the cost of responding to attacks. Directed energy weapons, for example, might be able to shoot down missiles that cost a hundred times the price of a jolt of energy. —Reuters -ABS-CBN


MANILA STANDARD

AFTER SPATE OF KIDNAPPINGS, 23 killed as AFP, Abu Sayyaf clash posted April 11, 2016 at 12:01 am by Florante S. Solmerin


Philippines Defense Secretary Voltaire Gazmin (2nd R) and military chief General Hernando Iriberri (R) visit one of the 53 wounded soldiers at a military hospital in Zamboanga on the southern Philippine island of Mindanao on April 10, 2016, a day after soldiers clashed with the extremist Abu Sayyaf group. The Philippine offensive against the extremist Abu Sayyaf group after a spate of kidnappings left 18 soldiers and five fighters dead in the worst violence in the troubled south this year, authorities said. AFP

ZAMBOANGA—A government offensive against the extremist Abu Sayyaf Group after a spate of kidnappings has left 18 soldiers and five rebels dead in the worst violence in Mindanao this year, authorities said Sunday.

Saturday’s clashes on the strife-torn island of Basilan came after an April 8 ransom deadline set by Abu Sayyaf, who had threatened to behead some of their foreign hostages.

At least four soldiers were beheaded in the fighting, which involved about 100 Abu Sayyaf rebels, regional military spokesman Maj. Filemon Tan said.

Armed Forces chief Gen. Hernando Iriberri, who flew to the southern command base in Zamboanga city, 44 kilometers from the violence, said the fighting lasted almost 10 hours.

“The whole armed forces is grieving,” he told reporters.

He said a Moroccan national who was with the gunmen was killed in the clashes, identifying him as Mohammad Khattab, an instructor in making improvised explosive devices as well as an “Islamic jihadist preacher.”

“He wanted to unify, organize all kidnap-for-ransom groups to be affiliated with an international terrorist organization,” the general said.

He would not identify the international group the Moroccan was allegedly working for.

Iriberri said operations were continuing, adding that “even as we speak, there is an encounter going on in the same place.”

The 10-hour firefight Saturday took place inside the stronghold of the Abu Sayyaf Group led by Isnilon Hapilon in Sitio Bayoko, Barangay Baguindan, Tipo-Tipo, Basilan.

READ MORE...

Hapilon is included in the list of most wanted terrorists in Asia by the United States government with a $5-million bounty for his capture, dead or alive. Last year, Hapilon’s group had pledged allegiance to the Islamic terrorists in Iraq and Syria.

The bloody clash brought back the horrifying memories of the Al-Barka clash, also in Basilan, on Oct. 18, 2011 where 19 members of the Army’s Special Forces were killed, some of them mutilated, during a day-long firefight with about 400 combined armed men of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front, ASG and some private armed groups.

Military sources identified the fallen soldiers—all members of the 44th Infantry Battalion, as 1st Lt. Remegio Licena; Staff Sgt. Makin Jarani; Sgts. Akmad Usman, Paterno Aquino and Jason Alani; Cpls. Redel Perolino, Reezvi Archcelo Gandawali, Rodelio Bangcairin, Noel Else, Dionisio Labial, Rakib Kadil, Darius Bulan, and Ibrahim Palao; PFC Doren Aspurias, Marjun Duhaylungsod, Marjohn Monte, and Kevin Rey Verano; and Pvt. Dunemark Gil Saldivar.

Iriberri and Defense Secretary Voltaire Gazmin arrived in Zamboanga Sunday morning and met with Western Mindanao Command officials headed by Lt. Gen. Mayoralgo Dela Cruz. They also visited the wounded soldiers at the Camp Navarro General Hospital.

Military spokesman Col. Noel Detoyato told GMA television in Manila that “our standing order... is no let-up in our combat operations so we expect in the next few days, there will be many more encounters.”

The military spokesman for the unit involved in the battle said the soldiers were on their way to attack an Abu Sayyaf hideout when they were hit.

“Our group was heading to attack them. On the way, they were ambushed,” Col. Benedict Manquiquis told radio station dzRH.

“The enemy had the high ground so no matter where our soldiers fled to seek cover, they could still be hit by the heavy firepower and improvised explosive devices of the members of the Abu Sayyaf group.”

Tan said that 53 soldiers and 20 Abu Sayyaf had also been wounded in the violence.

A live screening of Filipino boxing legend Manny Pacquiao’s last fight taking place in the United States, which was scheduled to show at a military gym in Zamboanga, was called off as the facility prepared to receive the bodies of the slain soldiers.

The clash came shortly after a retired Italian priest being held hostage by Abu Sayyaf was freed on Friday.

The militant group had also threatened to kill a Norwegian and two Canadian hostages and a Filipina they kidnapped in September if a ransom was not paid by Friday.

The military said there has been no word on the hostages’ fate since the deadline passed.

Eighteen other foreign hostages are being held, most or all of them thought to be in the hands of the Abu Sayyaf.

The Abu Sayyaf, a small group of militants known for kidnapping foreigners and demanding huge ransoms, was established in the early 1990s with seed money from Osama bin Laden’s Al Qaida network.

It has been blamed for the country’s worst terror attacks, including a 2004 Manila Bay ferry bombing that claimed 116 lives.

Its leaders have in recent years pledged allegiance to the Islamic State group that controls vast swathes of Iraq and Syria.

A Palace ally in the Senate said Sunday that finishing off the Abu Sayyaf should be the first job of the next president.

Senate President Pro Tempore Ralph Recto noted that the Abu Sayyaf has bedeviled four presidencies and, if not stopped, is on track to confront the fifth Malacañang occupant in their almost quarter-of-a-century of mayhem and violence.

“What is clear is that ending their terror has become an important part of the job description of the next president. What is also clear is that Abu Sayyaf’s predatory attacks have been reduced by the current administration,” said Recto, a reelectionist under the ruling Liberal Party.

Lately, however, the Abu Sayyaf has gone on a kidnapping spree, snatching 10 Indonesian fishermen, bringing the number of their hostages to 14. The other four are Dutch Ewold Hurn, Canadians John Ridsdel and Robert Hall, and Norwegian Kjartan Sekkingstad.

Before their hostages become a United Nations of kidnap victims, they must be stopped, Recto said.

“We know the lessons of the past. Ransom payments fuel more kidnappings and finance more terror activities,” he said.

Independent presidential candidate Senator Grace Poe said these terrorists should be immediately pursued and crushed by the full might of the military and police forces, with due regard for the safety of the innocent civilians.

Senator Ferdinand Marcos Jr. called on the Armed Forces of the Philippines to disclose the details of the encounter in Basilan with Abu Sayyaf forces.

He said the entire nation and most especially the families of the slain soldiers deserve full transparency in the military operation against the international terrorist group.

“We need a full picture of the encounter. We should not hide these details. The Filipino people and most especially the families of the soldiers killed and wounded deserve to know the whole truth,” he said.

He expressed concern about the silence of the AFP on the operation. Reports have shown that after the Western Mindanao Command’s report of 22 soldiers injured early Saturday, no official statement has been released about the clashes.

“Here were go again. We are again in the dark of what happened,” he said noting of the country’s experience with the ill-fated Mamasapano operation which led to the killing of 44 members of the Special Action Force. It took several weeks before police officials made a public pronouncement on who ordered the operation.

Marcos added the AFP has to make public who led the operation and the exact purpose of the operation in an area controlled by the armed group. “Who was in charge of the operation? What was the exact objective of the operation? We need answers because this is something that strikes a chord with every Filipino because of the Mamasapano incident a year ago,” he said.

Presidential candidate Vice President Jejomar Binay condoled with the families of the slain soldiers. He said the bloody incident is a reminder that the government needs to address poverty and the absence of peace in Mindanao. With AFP, Macon Ramos-Araneta and PNA

------------------------------------

RELATED OBVIOUSLY IN FRUSTRATION: EDITORIAL FROM THE MANILA STANDARD

EDITORIAL: The absent President posted April 11, 2016 at 12:01 am

LIKE an errant schoolboy, President Aquino tried to explain why he remained silent for an entire week after police shot and killed two farmers who were protesting the lack of government aid in the face of a five-month drought in Kidapawan City on April 1.

Even by schoolboy standards, the excuses were rather lame.

Speaking at a Liberal Party campaign rally at the Makati Coliseum Friday night, Aquino said he learned of the farmers’ protest in Kidapawan City only on April 1, after the bloody dispersal had already taken place. This was two days after The Standard and several online news sites first reported the protest, and four days after some 6,000 farmers began milling around the National Food Authority warehouse, blocking the major highway connecting Davao and Cotabato.

While the farmers were being beaten and shot at, the President said he was in Cavite for a Liberal Party campaign rally for administration standard bearer Manuel Roxas II.

“The truth is, that was the first time I’ve heard there was a barricade that blocked the highway in Kidapawan and a violent dispersal took place,” Aquino said, betraying what, on the surface, was an incredible failure of intelligence and a disturbing disconnect from reality.

“On our way home to Manila, [Interior and Local Government] Secretary Mel [Senen] Sarmiento mentioned he was to fly to Kidapawan the next day so I asked, ‘What are you going to do in Kidapawan?’” Aquino said in his speech at the Makati Coliseum.

That same evening, Aquino said, he came down with the flu, which was aggravated by a bum stomach the following day (April 2), so his doctor ordered him to bed.

Still, he wanted to resolve the Kidapawan situation and immediately sought a meeting with the concerned officials that weekend, the President said.

He said he sought a separate meeting with government officials about the April 2 power outage at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport Terminal 3 on April 3.

The two meetings, however, were pushed back to Monday, April 4, since the unnamed officials were not yet ready to give their briefings, Aquino said.

“Our people only have Sunday to rest but I was really eager to start resolving all these incidents,” Aquino said.

The President did not say what happened at the April 4 meeting, if it were indeed held, or what actions his government took after that.

NOT A SINGLE SACK OF RICE FOR FARMERS FROM THE GOVT

What is clear, however, is that since April 4, the Aquino administration has not released a single sack of rice to the hungry farmers and their families.

What is also clear is that local officials led by the governor of North Cotabato—a member of the President’s political party—have launched a campaign to blame, arrest and prosecute the farmers, whose only “crime” was to exercise their constitutional right to peaceably assemble and petition the government for redress of grievances.

Finally, it is clear that Mr. Aquino’s own Interior secretary moved swiftly, not to bring aid to the farmers, but to pass out medals to the policemen who beat and shot at them.

But none of this was clear to the President, even a week after the two farmers were shot dead.

Was the President truly so uninformed, or was he lying like a truant schoolboy?

In his own defense, all the President could muster was to say he was not feeling well.

“You know, my work is really 24/7, 365 days so sometimes even my body already complains,” he said.

This whining is par for the course for this President, but we suggest he walk a day in the farmers’ sandals, so that his complaining body can be racked by pangs of hunger in the face of government neglect.

FROM POLITICS.COM


PNOY SPEAKING AT LP CAMPAIGN:

PNoy breaks silence on Kidapawan issue: He was not informed of farmers' highway protest; Speaking at a Liberal Party sortie in Makati City, Aquino said even if he was under the weather last week, he attended to the Kidapawan tragedy and other “overlapping” problems facing the country.

“Biyernes po, Abril 1, last week lang po, nagkaroon tayo ng mahabang security cluster meeting, tinalakay po namin ‘yung pag-hijack ng Abu Sayyaf sa isang tugboat na ang lulan ay 10 Indonesians na kinidnap po. Habang tinatalakay po, nalaman na rin po natin, na diumano nag-kidnap din ang sinasabing mga Abu Sayyaf ng mga Malaysian doon naman po sa Malaysia ginawa itong pananalakay na ito,” he said.; Aquino said he got sick Friday night but he did not get enough rest because he had to deal with other problems confronting the country particularly the blackout that hit the Ninoy Aquino International Airport Terminal 3 last Saturday.

“Alam po niyo, talagang 24/7, 365 days ang trabaho ko po. Paminsan-minsan po nagrereklamo na rin ‘yung katawan ko. Kaya nung Biyernes ng gabi, bigla ho tayong nagkaroon ng trangkaso. Giniginaw, naka-sweater, balot na balot, walang aircon, walang electric fan, pinilit nating matulog sabay nagkakonti pang problema kinabukasan, pati ‘yung ating sikmura at talaga naman pong pinayuhan ng doktor kailangan magpahinga raw maski konti. Nagpahinga po tayo ng Sabado na rin kung tutuusin, at Sabado naman po bago tayo makapahinga, alam naman po niyo, nangyari naman ‘yung problema sa NAIA kung saan nawala ‘yung kuryente sa NAIA ng limang oras,” he said.POLITICS.COM.PH CLICK HERE FOR TO READ FULL REPORT.


ABS-CBN

Chapter Three for Manny Pacquiao, Timothy Bradley By Santino Honasan on Apr 10, 2016 02:03 AM


Manny Pacquiao, center left, of the Philippines, and Timothy Bradley, center right, pose during a weigh-in, Friday, April 8, 2016, in Las Vegas. They are scheduled to fight in a welterweight title fight Saturday in Las Vegas. (AP Photo/John Locher)

On Saturday evening (Sunday morning, Manila time), the whole world tunes in once again, as eight-division world champion Manny “Pacman” Pacquiao (57-6-2, 38 KO) and Timothy “Desert Storm” Bradley (33-1-1, 1 NC, 13 KO) write the third chapter in their boxing rivalry, at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas, this time for the vacant WBO International Welterweight championship.

It could also be the final chapter in Pacquiao’s storied boxing career, a career that has spanned over eleven years and 66 professional bouts.

Pacquiao and Bradley are scheduled to go 12 rounds.

The first time that Pacquiao and Bradley crossed paths back in 2012, Pacquiao was riding a 15-fight winning streak, and had established himself as one of the best boxers in the world, claiming a world title in a historic eight weight divisions, something that no other boxer has done before.

Bradley on the other hand, was 28-0 and was set to make a name for himself against a gigantic name like Pacquiao.

In what will go down as one of the most controversial decisions in boxing history, Bradley eked out a split decision win over Pacquiao, 113-115, 115-113, 115-113, much to the disbelief of fans and professionals all over the world.

Many would dispute that this would be the start of the decline of Pacquiao’s career. The loss to Bradley would be followed by the brutal sixth-round knockout loss to Juan Manuel Marquez.

Pacquiao and Bradley would meet again in 2014, a rematch that many were dying to see, especially since Bradley had just defeated the guy that laid Pacquiao out.

READ MORE...

In the rematch, the result was a lot clearer, as Pacquiao outpointed Bradley, 116-112, 116-112, 118-110, for the unanimous decision win and the WBO welterweight title.

Since then, Bradley has won two straight, decisioning Jesse Vargas and stopping Brandon Rios in the ninth round, while Manny Pacquiao defeated Chris Algeiri via unanimous decision, and then lost to Floyd Mayweather Jr. via unanimous decision in the most anticipated match in recent memory.

Can Manny Pacquiao close out his career with one last big win, or will Timothy Bradley play spoiler once again?

Pacquiao vs. Bradley III Fight Card:

Welterweight: Manny Pacquiao vs. Timothy Bradley- WBO International welterweight title.

Super Middleweight: Gilberto Ramirez vs. Arthur Abraham (c) - WBO Super Middleweight title.

Featherweight: Oscar Valdez vs. Evgeny Gradovich

Super Lightweight: Jose Ramírez vs. Manuel Perez

Light Welterweight: Egidijus Kavaliauskas vs. Deniz Ilbay

Light Heavyweight: Oleksandr Gvozdyk vs. Nadjib Mohammedi

Welterweight: Konstantin Ponomarev (c) vs Brad Solomon - NABF welterweight title.

Catch this momentous bout COMMERCIAL-FREE, LIVE and in HIGH DEFINITION on April 10, 9am for only P999 by subscribing to SKYcable or Destiny Cable Pay-Per-View. Plus, get exclusive access to Donaire vs Bedak on April 23, 6pm (except if you’re in Cebu). Subscribers can activate instantly online by visiting www.mysky.co.ph/pacbrad.


TRIBUNE

Pacquiao demolishes Bradley in third duel Written by Tribune Wires Monday, 11 April 2016 00:00



PROVES CRITICS WRONG

LAS VEGAS — The soaking that the people in this bustling city received from the thunderstorm last Saturday (Sunday in Manila) was far tamed compared to the bloodbath that took place at the MGM Grand Garden Arena.

Manny Pacquiao, wrongly considered by some as an aging champion protecting his legacy in the sport he fiercely dominated for more than a decade, has once again proved critics wrong by demolishing Tim Bradley Jr. in a fashion that baffled even the most seasoned experts.

Armed with speed and punching power, Pacquiao did not only take Bradley back to school but also gave the American some sleek lessons about respect. I fought the best I could tonight but it seems that Manny is always on the right spot. He’s always a step ahead of me; he was smarter than me,” admitted the visibly dejected Bradley.

“Manny remains a force to reckon with and I don’t think Manny should retire yet.”

Bradley’s face showed visible marks of the brutal punishments he received in the ring from Pacquiao. Teddy Atlas, his trainer, remained in shock as his team faced the media after the fight.

“It was all my fault. I failed my fighter. I fell short of what was expected of me,” Atlas sadly confessed. Atlas and Freddie Roach have a long standing grudge against each other, rooting from the rivalry once played by their mentors.

Roach is the direct disciple of Eddie Futch who was the arch nemesis of Cus D'Amato who showed Atlas all the ropes.

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Bradley did not confirm if his partnership with Atlas would continue after the loss but assured everyone that this isn’t the last time the world would see him fight. "I'm still young in case some of you have forgotten."

All three judges scored the fight, 116-110, in favor of Pacquiao. The Daily Tribune gave all the 10 rounds to Pacquiao, sparing only the 5th and 8th round for Bradley.

Pacquiao was fuming hot from the get go, catching Bradley with a solid right hook to the head right after the opening bell. Bradley, on the other hand, appeared overcautious, often sizing his aggressive opponent by throwing light punches in the hopes that he could close the distance to deliver damaging blows to the body.

Pacquiao’s ferocious left immediately set the tone of the fight. Sensing an opening in Bradley's defense, Pacquiao staggered the stunned Coachella Valley native in the 4th, bringing fans to their feet. Pacquiao’s vicious left hook unleashed very timely in the seventh sent Bradley on his knees to the canvas, prompting the referee to administer the mandatory eight count.

Pacquiao pummeled Bradley with a cluster of left hooks to the head which sent Bradley tumbling backwards in the ninth

Asked if he will cancel his retirement for another meeting with Floyd Mayweather Jr., Pacquiao just made a curt reply: “At this moment, all I have in my mind is to enjoy my retirement. Please let me enjoy my family first.”


ABS-CBN

'OFW votes could change the game' ABS-CBN News Posted at 10 Apr 2016 12:58 AM Facebook Share on Twitter Share on Google+ Pin it Share on LinkedIn


SCREENGRAB: 80 pct turnout expected in HK overseas voting FROM WHATSUP ASIA

In Singapore, OFWs have high hopes that their votes would help elect better leaders in the country.

There are over 83,000 registered voters in Singapore.

Consul General Victorio Dimagiba Jr. said the overseas vote can turn the tide in terms of the number of placers especially in the Senatorial elections.

- ANC, The World Tonight, 9 April 2016

 

MANILA TIMES

Overseas absentee voting starts April 9, 2016 12:48 am by WILLIAM B. DEPASUPIL REPORTER


Absentee Voting A Filipino volunteer reads the voters’ list in this file photo taken in Hong Kong in 2007 for Philippine mid-term elections in that year, today, Saturday, overseas absentee voting by Filipinos abroad starts, with more than one million expected to cast their ballot during the month-long voting.

Absentee Voting A Filipino volunteer reads the voters’ list in this file photo taken in Hong Kong in 2007 for Philippine mid-term elections in that year, today, Saturday, overseas absentee voting by Filipinos abroad starts, with more than one million expected to cast their ballot during the month-long voting.

MORE than one million registered overseas Filipino voters (OFVs) will start casting their votes today, Saturday, as the law-mandated month-long overseas absentee voting (OAV) opens in 85 Philippine posts in various countries around the world.

Figures from the Commission on Elections (Comelec) showed a total of 1,376,067 OFVs registered worldwide for the 2016 polls.

Of the number, 1,326,728 are land-based workers, while the rest or 49,339 are seafarers.

Comelec Chairman Andres Bautista on Friday explained that unlike the rest of the 54.4 million locally-based registered voters, the OFVs are only allowed to vote for candidates vying for national positions, which include the President, Vice President, 12 senators and a party-list group.

Bautista said the OAV will simultaneously close along with local voting at 5 p.m. on May 9.

“Philippine time may vary with other countries. In other part of the world, it’s either May 9, 8 or 10, depending which [country] but everybody has to adjust to Philippine time because that’s what the law provides,” he added.

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The poll chief said results would be transmitted electronically and via satellite in some of the areas.

According to Bautista, the Comelec will also open a 24-hour Skype facility to assist members of the special board of election inspectors and support personnel during and after the conduct of the OAV.

Commissioner Arthur Lim, chairman, Committee on Overseas Absentee Voting, said 30 of the 85 embassies and consulates that were designated as polling centers would use the automated election system, 26 would use personal manual voting and another 26 would adopt the postal mode voting.

The Comelec opted to suspend voting in 3 overseas posts–Baghdad, Iraq; Damascus, Syria; and Tripoli, Libya–for security reasons brought about by prevailing conflicts in these countries.

According to Lim, the affected 3,915 registered voters in the three posts may still cast their votes in conflict-free polling centers accessible to them.

He said their target is to exceed the 16.11 percent overseas voter turnout during the 2013 elections to at least 80 percent of the 1.326 million registered OFVs for 2016.

There were only 737,759 overseas registered voters in 2013.

The 30 posts that will adopt the automated voting system are Agana (Guam), Chicago, Honolulu (Hawaii), Los Angeles, New York, San Francisco and Washington in the United States; Ottawa, Toronto and Vancouver in Canada; London, Madrid, Milan and Rome in Europe; Hong Kong, Kuala Lumpur, Osaka, Seoul, Singapore and Tokyo in Asia; and Abu Dhabi, Beirut, Doha, Dubai, Jeddah, Kuwait, Manama, Al Khobar, Riyadh and Tel Aviv in the Middle East.


ABS-CBN

Bb. Pilipinas candidate disqualified over sexy photos? ABS-CBN News Posted at 03/09/16 4:04 PM | Updated as of 03/09/16 5:33 PM


Kim Ross Delos Santos. Facebook.com/realbbpilipinas

MANILA – Pageant mentor Jonas Gaffud took to social media to cry foul over the disqualification of one of his beauty queens from the Binibining Pilipinas 2016 pageant.

In a Facebook post, Gaffud lamented that Binibining Pilipinas Charities Inc. (BPCI) disqualified Kim Ross Delos Santos on Tuesday, which happened to be International Women’s Day, over her previous sexy photos as a model.

“A Filipina model photographed by the same photographer who worked with BPCI in the past, in an expressive work of art alongside a respected male international supermodel… These works of art are not deemed pornographic. It saddens me that while we celebrate love and equality, the very organization that should uplift women denies them the chance to demonstrate empowerment,” he wrote.

In another post, Gaffud said the disqualification of Delos Santos is about “hypocrisy.”

“The issue of disqualification of a worthy candidate is not just about pageants. It’s about hypocrisy. Kim Ross is a model who, like Pia (Wurtzbach, Miss Universe 2015), is the breadwinner of her family. She was convinced to join Bb. Pilipinas to perhaps improve their lives,” he wrote.

The pageant mentor went on to note that the lawyers of BPCI “did not even check what the photo was about.”

“It did not come out in any publication and was supposed to be a high-end fashion shoot by The Doc Marlon who makes artwork, not photography,” he explained. “Now, denying Kim her entry means they just shut her dream of becoming a beauty queen without due process, without any lawyer with her.”

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“You did not disqualify a girl who was also half-naked last year that was published on FHM. Why?”

After Gaffud’s revelation, several pageant fans expressed their frustration on Twitter and sought “justice” for Delos Santos, using the hashtag #JusticeforKimRoss.

An early favorite in Bb. Pilipinas 2016, Delos Santos is also a protégé of Gaffud, along with Miss Universe 2015 Pia Wurtzbach, Miss World 2013 Megan Young, Miss Universe 2014 third runner-up Ariella Arida, Miss 2012 first runner-up Janine Tugonon and Miss Universe 2011 third runner-up Shamcey Supsup.

Meanwhile, pageant blogger Norman Tinio said Geisha Naganuma of John dela Vega’s group has been introduced as a Bb. Pilipinas candidate.

BPCI has yet to release a statement about the issue.


Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi

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