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

SOUTH CHINA SEA TALKS END IN DISARRAY AS CHINA LOBBIES LAOS
[RELATED: Asean discord blocks issuance of joint statement on sea feud]
[RELATED(2): Aquino admin Foreign Secretary echoes retracted ASEAN statement on South China Sea]


JUNE 15 -ASEAN-CHINA-MARITIME-DIPLOMACY: China's and ASEAN foreign ministers meet in Yuxi on June 14. Photographer: AFP via Getty Images A meeting in China of foreign ministers from Southeast Asian nations over the South China Sea ended in confusion after Malaysia released and then retracted a joint statement expressing “serious concerns” over developments in the disputed waterway. The disarray raises fresh questions about unity within the 10-member Association of Southeast Asian Nations, ahead of an international court ruling on a Philippine challenge to China’s claims to more than 80 percent of the waterway. Asean operates on consensus, which means all members must agree on a statement before it is released. China’s claims criss-cross those by nations including the Philippines, Vietnam, Brunei, and Malaysia, and it has reclaimed thousands of acres of land in the area while boosting its military presence. It argues disputes in the waters that handle more than $5 trillion of trade a year have nothing to do with its relationship with Asean. After noting progress in ties between China and Asean, the withdrawn statement said: “But we also cannot ignore what is happening in the South China Sea as it is an important issue in the relations and cooperation between Asean and China.” Until now, Asean has avoided citing China by name when calling for a lowering of tensions. That phrase is “a direct rebuke to China’s position that the dispute is not a matter between Asean and China,” said Ian Storey, a senior fellow at the ISEAS-Yusof Ishak Institute in Singapore. China has said the disputes should be handled on a bilateral basis. Laos Lobbied The statement reflected frustration with China over its recent actions, including efforts to pressure some Asean states, according to a Southeast Asian government official with knowledge of the discussions. The ministers initially agreed to the communique but it was withdrawn after China lobbied Laos, holder of the rotating Asean chair, the person said, asking not to be identified because of the confidential nature of the talks. READ MORE...RELATED, Asean discord blocks issuance of joint statement on sea feud...RELATED(2), Philippines echoes retracted ASEAN statement on South China Sea...

ALSO: Thousands of professors expected to lose jobs w/ K-12 implementation [RELATED: Consultations ongoing for 85,000 that will lose jobs due to K-12 - Palace spokesperson]


JUNE 13 -More than 85,000 faculty members may lose their jobs starting 2016 when the mandatory implementation of two more years of high school commences, the group Council of Teachers and Staff of Colleges and Universities projected.
“Ang sinasabi nga namin, wala talagang mag-eenroll sa first year college (in 2016), dahil 'yung fourth year (high school) mag-e-enroll na sila sa Grade 11. Pagdating ng 2017-2018, wala ring enrollment sa first year (college) at wala ring enrollment sa second year,” said Professor Rene Tadle, internal vice president of the University of Santo Tomas (UST) Faculty Union in a forum aired on GMA News TV's “State of the Nation” Thursday. Under the enhanced basic education program of the Department of Education—called K to 12 or Kindergarten plus Grades 1-12—a student will be required to undergo kindergarten, six years of elementary, four years of junior high school and two years of senior high school. The implementation of universal kindergarten began in school year 2011-2012, followed by a new curriculum for Grade 7 in school year 2012-2013. School year 2016-2017 will mark the nationwide implementation of the Grade 11 curriculum, to be followed by the Grade 12 curriculum in school year 2017-2018. READ MORE...RELATED, Consultations ongoing for 85,000 that will lose jobs due to K-12 - Palace spokesperson...

ALSO: Pay raise for nurses vetoed
[RELATED: Solons slam Aquino veto of nurses’ pay-hike bill]


JUNE 17 -AFP FILE PHOTO
President Aquino has vetoed two more bills, one of them pushing for yet another increase in the salaries of nurses and another seeking the condonation of unpaid income taxes of local water districts, Malacañang announced on Thursday, two weeks before the end of his term.Mr. Aquino returned to Congress Senate Bill No. 2720/House Bill No. 6411, titled “An Act Providing for a Comprehensive Nursing Law Toward Quality Health Care System, and Appropriating Funds,” also known as the Comprehensive Nursing Law of 2016, unsigned.
The President said he vetoed SB 2581/HB 3675, or the proposed law “removing the conditions for the condonation of all unpaid income taxes due from local water districts,” because of its “serious fiscal policy implications.” He said the bill sought to remove the “laudable intent” of another law, Republic Act No. 10026, which grants tax reprieve only to local water districts that are “financially incapable and committed to instituting fiscal reforms.” The bill could also “undermine the government’s strict tax collection effort,” he added. Mr. Aquino emphasized that the bill “sends a message to errant taxpayers that delinquency is acceptable since amnesty or condonation may be given anyway, even without benefit of proper documentation.” “While we recognize the objective of the bill to promote the well-being of the country’s nurses, we cannot support the bill in its present form because of its dire financial consequences,” the President said in his veto message released on Thursday. Mr. Aquino said Executive Order No. 201, signed earlier this year, had already increased the base salaries of government employees, including nurses and other health workers. The EO increased the annual salary of government nurses from P228,924.00 to P344,074.00, which does not include other benefits and allowances nurses receive under the Magna Carta of Public Health.READ MORE...RELATED, Solons slam Aquino veto of nurses’ pay-hike bill...


ALSO: Days before assuming office, Rody’s team steps in to save Abu hostages [RELATED: Duterte in 'brother to brother' meeting with MILF, MNLF leaders]


JUNE 17 -Less than 13 days before they assume office, members of the incoming Cabinet security cluster of president-elect Rodrigo Duterte are making last-ditch efforts to prevent another beheading by the Abu Sayyaf.STAR/File photo Less than 13 days before they assume office, members of the incoming Cabinet security cluster of president-elect Rodrigo Duterte are making last-ditch efforts to prevent another beheading by the Abu Sayyaf. Incoming justice secretary Vitaliano Aguirre II said they are trying to help save the remaining hostages from being executed by the Abu Sayyaf, citing in particular Norwegian Kjartan Sekkingstad. While they have not been officially sworn into office yet, Aguirre told The STAR that Duterte has given them the go-signal to help resolve the Abu Sayyaf hostage situation at the soonest possible time. “We are trying to get the local officials on the ground to help us save the Norwegian hostage,” Aguirre said. Aguirre disclosed Duterte and his incoming Cabinet members came to this decision after they discussed at length the hostage situation during their meeting at the Philippine International Convention Center in Pasay City last Wednesday. Aguirre, however, declined to give details but stressed their priority for now is to prevent another beheading. Reports indicated Sekkingstad is being lined up for the chopping block by the Abu Sayyaf if the ransom demand is not met. The bandits have beheaded two other hostages, Canadians John Ridsdel and Robert Hall. Ridsdel, a former mining executive, was beheaded in April while Hall was executed last Monday. READ MORE...RELATED, Duterte in 'brother to brother' meeting with MILF, MNLF leaders...

ALSO: Congress has conflicting views on powers vs Abu Sayyaf Group
[RELATED: PNoy’s martial law scare tactics]


JUNE 17 -EMERGENCY POWERS OR MARTIAL LAW? Senators speak of granting incoming President Rodrigo Duterte emergency powers to finish off the Abu Sayyaf groups and their kidnap for ransom ways, while the House members speak of approving a martial law declaration on Sulu that will be issued by Duterte. The Philippine President has the power to declare martial law in any part of the country. At least three senators have expressed support to the idea of providing Duterte emergency powers to finally wipe out the notorious Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG). Sen. Bam Aquino yesterday supported the call first made by returning Sen. Panfilo Lacson, as the latter broached the proposal to solve the continuing kidnapping and killing of hostages by the ASG. “A lot of damage to the country’s image with the Abu Sayyaf’s kidnapping and beheading of hostages has been done. This state of affairs concerning the Abu Sayyaf has a negative effect on tourism, the economy and the living conditions in certain parts of Mindanao,” Senator Aquino said in a statement. “It is time to do whatever is necessary by way of action to finally get rid of this group at the earliest possible time,” he added. Aquino said any effort by the incoming administration that is geared toward addressing the issue concerning the ASG, for as long as it is within the bounds of the law, should be supported by the public. Congress, Lacson said, should grant the next president emergency powers to solve not only the traffic problem but the campaign against illegal drugs and the ASG as well. “(There os ) no better time to address the ASG problem than under President Duterte: kidnap them back or kill them. It may need very good intel (intelligence) work though,” Lacson said in his twitter account. Incoming Senate Majority Leader Vicente Sotto III also stood in agreement in giving Duterte emergency powers to mainly address the terror problems in Mindanao or even impose martial law in areas known to be controlled by the ASG. “I have no objections. I will agree,” he said. “I have met and have known Mayor Duterte since 1988. What I can say is, I figure he believes in the saying that I also believe in, which is ‘Run silent, run deep’,” Sotto added. READ MORE...RELATED,
PNoy’s martial law scare tactics...


READ FULL MEDIA REPORTS HERE:

South China Sea Talks End in Disarray as China Lobbies Laos


ASEAN-CHINA-MARITIME-DIPLOMACY: China's and ASEAN foreign ministers meet in Yuxi on June 14. Photographer: AFP via Getty Images

Retracted joint statement said sea spat an ‘issue’ with China
Individual Asean states starting to issue their own statements

MANILA,
JUNE 20, 2016 (BLOOMBERG NEWS) David Tweed @DavidTweed & David Roman @dromanber Updated on June 15, 2016 — 5:39 AM EDT - A meeting in China of foreign ministers from Southeast Asian nations over the South China Sea ended in confusion after Malaysia released and then retracted a joint statement expressing “serious concerns” over developments in the disputed waterway.

The disarray raises fresh questions about unity within the 10-member Association of Southeast Asian Nations, ahead of an international court ruling on a Philippine challenge to China’s claims to more than 80 percent of the waterway. Asean operates on consensus, which means all members must agree on a statement before it is released.

China’s claims criss-cross those by nations including the Philippines, Vietnam, Brunei, and Malaysia, and it has reclaimed thousands of acres of land in the area while boosting its military presence. It argues disputes in the waters that handle more than $5 trillion of trade a year have nothing to do with its relationship with Asean.

After noting progress in ties between China and Asean, the withdrawn statement said: “But we also cannot ignore what is happening in the South China Sea as it is an important issue in the relations and cooperation between Asean and China.” Until now, Asean has avoided citing China by name when calling for a lowering of tensions.

That phrase is “a direct rebuke to China’s position that the dispute is not a matter between Asean and China,” said Ian Storey, a senior fellow at the ISEAS-Yusof Ishak Institute in Singapore. China has said the disputes should be handled on a bilateral basis.

Laos Lobbied

The statement reflected frustration with China over its recent actions, including efforts to pressure some Asean states, according to a Southeast Asian government official with knowledge of the discussions.

The ministers initially agreed to the communique but it was withdrawn after China lobbied Laos, holder of the rotating Asean chair, the person said, asking not to be identified because of the confidential nature of the talks.

READ MORE...

About three hours after it was released on Tuesday night, Malaysia said the statement needed to be retracted for urgent changes. An amended version has not been released.

An officer in the press department of the Laos foreign affairs ministry who would not give his name said by phone he was aware the statement had been retracted, but didn’t know why. He referred inquiries to the ministry’s Asean department, which didn’t answer calls. China’s trade with Laos rose nearly 20 times to $2.7 billion in the 10 years to 2015.

Timely, Important

China’s foreign ministry said some media are “hyping up” the issue in reporting the talks failed to deliver an official statement. “This is a closed door meeting,” spokesman Lu Kang said at a briefing on Wednesday in Beijing. “It is not meant to issue an official statement.”


China will reject any outside ‘disturbance’ to Southeast Asia’s peace and stability: foreign minister Wang Yi’s comments made at Special Asean-China Foreign Ministers' Meeting before court ruling on Beijing’s South China Sea territorial dispute with Philippines PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 14 June, 2016, 5:02pm UPDATED : Wednesday, 15 June, 2016, 12:16am FROM 'SOUTH CHINA MORNING POST' ONLINE

Foreign Minister Wang Yi described the meeting as "a timely and important strategic communication,” according to a statement late Tuesday on the ministry’s website. “There is more cooperation than disagreement in the China-Asean relationship, and more opportunities than challenges, more unity than friction," Wang was quoted as saying.

Indonesian foreign ministry spokesman Arrmanatha Nasir said the statement released by Malaysia was a “media guideline” to be used during a press conference scheduled for after the meeting that was later canceled. Because some ministers had to leave immediately, there was no time to discuss how to release the guideline, he said.

‘Crazy Thoughts’

China’s state-run tabloid the Global Times published an editorial Wednesday with the headline: "Asean slapped China in the face over South China Sea? Western media’s crazy thoughts".

The Hague tribunal has been asked by the Philippines to rule on the status of features China contests as well as the legal basis of its “historic rights” claim, based on a 1940s map showing a dashed line covering around 1.4 million square miles. A ruling seen as unfavorable to Beijing would undermine its claims.

U.S.-China Rivalry

The U.S., which says it doesn’t take a position on the disputes, has since October last year sailed warships three times near China’s artificial islands to demonstrate the right to transit what it considers international territory.

The tensions go to the heart of a strategic rivalry between the U.S., overseer of the region’s security network for decades, and a rising China intent on becoming the region’s dominant power.

Both have sought to gather support in the lead-up to the arbitration decision, with diplomats and officials visiting a number of Asean nations. China claims the support of countries as varied as Russia, Gambia, Belarus and Kazakhstan.

Still, Group of Seven leaders expressed concern about instability in the South China Sea at a meeting in Japan last month.

Asean has a history of struggling to agree on communiques amid disagreement over wording on the South China Sea. China is the largest trading partner for the grouping.

Cambodia Veto

Defense ministers from the bloc were unable to agree on a declaration after a meeting in Kuala Lumpur in November. In August foreign ministers struggled to reach consensus on the matter, releasing a statement hours after the end of a three-day meeting.

In 2012, Asean failed to reach common ground on the South China Sea issue, ending a regional conference without a joint statement -- the first in its 45-year history.

After the meeting collapsed, Cambodia denied it had fallen prey to pressure from China to avoid raising the issue in the statement. China had warned nations beforehand to not mention the territorial spats.

Singapore’s foreign ministry said in a statement late Tuesday that Foreign Minister Vivian Balakrishnan “noted the serious concerns expressed by the Asean foreign ministers over the developments on the ground” in the South China Sea.

A ministry spokeswoman said Balakrishnan, who co-chaired the meeting, left Kunming Tuesday. Thailand’s Foreign Ministry did not immediately respond to questions on whether it planned its own statement.

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RELATED FROM THE INQUIRER

Asean discord blocks issuance of joint statement on sea feud @inquirerdotnet Philippine Daily Inquirer 12:59 AM June 18th, 2016


Map, released on February 2016, shows potential Chinese radar cover in the South China Sea, according to analysis by US-based Center for Strategic and International Studies. AFP

DIFFERENCES within the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean) prevented the 10-nation bloc from issuing a tough statement on territorial feuds in the South China Sea after a meeting hosted by China this week, a Philippine official said yesterday.

Charles Jose, spokesperson for the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA), told reporters the Asean foreign ministers’ failure to issue a joint statement after discussing the disputes with their Chinese counterpart, Wang Yi, prompted half of the bloc’s member states to issue their own individual statements.

All the ministers initially agreed on the text of the joint statement, Jose said, but some may have changed their mind later, preventing it from being issued publicly.

“This is actually an Asean media statement that was agreed on but somewhere along the way, after the meeting ended and most of foreign ministers left, it was not issued officially,” Jose said.

In the statement, the foreign ministers expressed “serious concerns over recent and ongoing developments, which have eroded trust and confidence, increased tensions and which may have the potential to undermine peace, security and stability in the South China Sea.”

China has opposed such language, which could provide the United States and its allies added justification to intervene in the disputes.

Sweeping claims

China claims almost all of the 3.5-million-square-kilometer South China Sea, including waters within the exclusive economic zones of its smaller neighbors in the region.

To bolster its sweeping claims, China has constructed artificial islands in the Spratly archipelago, topping some of them with airstrips that could receive military planes.

The disunity in Asean underscores the difficulty of resolving the disputes, which analysts fear could spark an armed confrontation in one of the world’s busiest waterway.

Founded in 1967, Asean decides by consensus, meaning just one member state can stall agreement on any issue.

It consists of a diverse collection of governments, including US-allied democracies and Chinese-aligned authoritarian states.

Rival claimants

Four of its members—Brunei, Malaysia, the Philippines and Vietnam—are locked in the territorial disputes with China and Taiwan.

Asean also includes Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Burma (Myanmar), Singapore and Thailand.

After the foreign ministers initially forged an agreement on the statement, Malaysia’s foreign ministry issued it to reporters, Jose said, suggesting that other member states later withdrew their approval for it to be publicly issued.

A senior Philippine diplomat said Laos, Cambodia and Burma withdrew their backing of the joint statement to avoid offending China, which later opposed its official issuance because of a lack of a consensus within Asean.

The diplomat spoke on condition of anonymity because of a lack of authority to discuss the sensitive issue with reporters.

Individual statements

Jose said it remained unclear whether the statement would no longer be officially issued, adding that amid the impasse, Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore and Vietnam had gone ahead and released their own statements about the closed-door discussions, which took place between Wang and the Asean ministers on Monday to Tuesday in the southwestern Chinese city of Kunming.

Asked in Beijing whether China had objected to the statement, Chinese foreign ministry spokesperson Lu Kang did not answer directly, but said on Wednesday that China had been assured that it was not an official Asean document and had been retracted.

“If Asean wants to officially issue something that represents its stance, it should be agreed upon by all Asean members,” Lu told reporters, implying a lack of consensus within the grouping.
AP

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

RELATED(2) FROM PHILSTAR

Philippines echoes retracted ASEAN statement on South China Sea By Patricia Lourdes Viray (philstar.com) | Updated June 16, 2016 - 4:41pm 5 79 googleplus0 0


AQUINO ADMIN Foreign Secretary Jose Rene Almendras

The Philippines participated in the Special ASEAN-China Foreign Ministers’ Meeting in Kunming, Yunnan Province, China on June 14. Pool photo via China Daily MANILA, Philippines — The Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) on Thursday issued the retracted Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) statement on tensions in the South China Sea.

The DFA said that the ASEAN foreign ministers expressed serious concerns over the developments in the disputed waters during their meeting with Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi.

The foreign ministers issued a statement Tuesday night following a special ASEAN-China meeting in Kunming, Yunnan province in China. The tough statement on the South China Sea was retracted as it may have offended the meeting host, a Malaysian official said in previous reports.

The region's foreign ministers stressed the importance of maintaining freedom of navigation and overflight above the disputed sea.

The ministers also reiterated their commitment to the full and effective implementation of the Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the South China Sea.

Foreign Secretary Jose Almendras issued the ASEAN foreign ministers' concerns on the contested waters:

•Had a candid exchange with the Chinese Foreign Minister in view of the recent developments on the ground;

•Expressed their serious concerns over recent and ongoing developments, which have eroded trust and confidence, increased tensions and which may have the potential to undermine peace, security and stability in the South China Sea;

•Stressed the importance of maintaining peace, security, stability, safety and freedom of navigation in and overflight above the South China Sea, in accordance with universally recognized principles of international law including the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS);

•Emphasized the need to enhance mutual trust and confidence, exercise self-restraint in the conduct of activities that would further complicate the situation or escalate tensions, and pursue peaceful resolution of disputes in accordance with international law;

•Articulated their commitment to the peaceful resolution of disputes, including full respect for legal and diplomatic processes, without resorting to the threat or use of force, in accordance with universally recognised principles of international law, including the UNCLOS and the UN Charter;

•Emphasized the importance of non-militarization and self-restraint in the conduct of all activities, including land reclamation, which may raise tensions in the South China Sea;

•Reiterated their firm commitment to the full and effective implementation of the Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the South China Sea in its entirety, and while noting the momentum and new phase of consultations, urged the early adoption of an effective Code of Conduct;

•Pursuant to the full and effective implementation of the Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the South China Sea in its entirety, and pending the early adoption of an effective Code of Conduct, stressed the importance of undertaking confidence building and preventive measures that would enhance, among others, trust and confidence amongst parties.

Almendras noted that the Philippines's arbitration case against China was raised during the meeting.

The Philippines stressed that arbitration is among the legal and diplomatic processes in resolving the disputes in the region that is fully consistent with the DOC and in accordance with international law.

The Permanent Court of Arbitration under the United Nations is expected to issue a ruling on the Philippines's case against China's nine-dash line claim over the disputed sea soon. China, however, insisted that it will not accept the international tribunal's decision.


GMA NEWS NETWORK

Thousands of professors expected to lose jobs with K-12 implementation Published June 13, 2014 12:23am

More than 85,000 faculty members may lose their jobs starting 2016 when the mandatory implementation of two more years of high school commences, the group Council of Teachers and Staff of Colleges and Universities projected.

“Ang sinasabi nga namin, wala talagang mag-eenroll sa first year college (in 2016), dahil 'yung fourth year (high school) mag-e-enroll na sila sa Grade 11. Pagdating ng 2017-2018, wala ring enrollment sa first year (college) at wala ring enrollment sa second year,” said Professor Rene Tadle, internal vice president of the University of Santo Tomas (UST) Faculty Union in a forum aired on GMA News TV's “State of the Nation” Thursday.

Under the enhanced basic education program of the Department of Education—called K to 12 or Kindergarten plus Grades 1-12—a student will be required to undergo kindergarten, six years of elementary, four years of junior high school and two years of senior high school.

The implementation of universal kindergarten began in school year 2011-2012, followed by a new curriculum for Grade 7 in school year 2012-2013.

School year 2016-2017 will mark the nationwide implementation of the Grade 11 curriculum, to be followed by the Grade 12 curriculum in school year 2017-2018.

READ MORE...

Tadle said that based on their estimates, universities and colleges will lose 500,000 freshman college enrollees and more than 300,000 sophomore college enrollees once the implementation of the senior high school program starts in 2016.

 

‘Early separation’

Flordeliza Abanto, a full-time professor at St. Scholastica's College in Manila, said that as early as now, the school has already announced a mandatory early separation program for its professors in anticipation of the marked decline in enrollment in 2016.

“Ako po ay nasa professional course. Majors po 'yung tinuturuan namin, hindi ho general education. E pati po kami ay mare-retrench. Walang maiiwan na full-time faculty teacher sa isang kolehiyong ito. Kami pong lahat matatanggal,” Abanto said.

Another member of the group, Dr. David Michael San Juan of De La Salle University (DLSU), said they may challenge the implementing rules and regulations (IRR) as well as the law institutionalizing the K-12 program before the Supreme Court.

“Tingnan natin 'yung possibility na 'pag lumabas 'yung implementing rules at 'yung text ng buong batas ay mag-file na tayo ng kaso sa Korte Suprema,” San Juan said.

Republic Act 10533, which institutionalizes the K-12 program, was enacted on May 15, 2013.

GMA News was still trying to reach SSC, UST and DLSU for comment as of posting time.

Meanwhile, Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) Labor Relations Officer Benjo Benavidez, a lawyer, said no company is allowed to lay off employees in lieu of anticipatory loss as it would be in violation of Article 283 of the Labor Code.

“Nag-set po ang Supreme Court of the Philippines na kung ang loss ay isang haka-haka lamang o pangmatagalan pa, ito po ay hindi puwedeng gawing rason para po magtanggal ng isang empleyado,” Benavidez said.

He encouraged employees of colleges and univesities who would be laid off because of the K-12 implementation to report their cases to DOLE.

Benavidez also said that DOLE will soon release guidelines to colleges and universities regarding the implementation of the K-12 program.

Retrenchment just an option

But according to the Catholic Educational Association of the Philippines legal counsel Ada Abad, implementation of the K-12 program will not automatically mean faculty members will be laid off.

Abad told a summit on K-12 in 2013 that member schools with elementary and high school levels can tap qualified college and university professors to teach general education subjects in Grades 11 and 12.

Instructors who are not qualified or do not want to teach in Grades 11 and 12 may also be given the option to do research or administrative work for the two years that there will be no first year and second year enrollees.

They may also go on a sabbatical or leave for two years or go on temporary "floating" status.

Abad said retrenchment, redundancy, or early retirement are also options. She said, however, that these options will likely be more expensive for the schools and will have to be done according to labor laws. — Elizabeth Marcelo/JDS/KG, GMA News

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

RELATED FROM GMA NEWS ONLINE

Consultations ongoing for 85,000 that will lose jobs due to K-12 - Palace Published June 13, 2014 4:10pm By KIMBERLY JANE TAN, GMA News


VALTE

The government is consulting with education stakeholders as regards the expected loss of 85,000 college teaching positions in 2016, when the first K-12 students enroll in Grade 11 instead of entering their freshman year in college.

Malacañang made the statement after the group Council of Teachers and Staff of Colleges and Universities warned that more than 85,000 faculty members may lose their jobs two years from now as a result of the revised basic education program.

Deputy presidential spokesperson Abigail Valte said the Department of Labor and Employment was "actively engaging" faculty unions to address their concerns.

"Alam ko may ongoing sila and open sila na ituloy yung kanilang diskusyon at yung consultation pagdating doon sa concerns nung ating mga propesor na baka magkaroon nga daw ho ng—na mayroong mawalan ng trabaho kapag na-implement na fully yung K plus 12," Valte said in Friday's news briefing in Malacañang.

Valte said some colleges and universities are also looking into the possibility of applying to accommodate basic education units to keep keeping faculty members teaching college freshmen.

"[Ito po ay] para puwede ho silang tumanggap nung senior high school, yung Grade 11 at saka yung Grade 12," Valte said.

She said the Department of Education was already formulating the guidelines on how these professors can teach Grade 11 and 12 students.

Valte said that the executive branch already consulted schools and professors about the problem even before the program was implemented.

"Even in the drafting of the IRR for K plus 12, several faculty unions were already consulted. Hindi yung high school, siyempre, yung college," Valte said.

Among those who participated in the consultation with the Commission on Higher Education and Department of Labor and Employment, she said, were the faculties of the University of Santo Tomas, Far Eastern University, and University of the East.

"At ang sa amin hong pagkakaalam ay nagpadala naman ng general invitation ang DOLE para doon sa consultations doon... sa mga unions ng mga private higher educational institutions," Valte said.

"At sa amin pong record ay nag-participate naman din po sila," she added.

Under the enhanced basic education program of the Department of Education—called K to 12 or Kindergarten plus Grades 1-12—a student will be required to undergo kindergarten, six years of elementary, four years of junior high school and two years of senior high school.

The implementation of universal kindergarten began in school year 2011-2012, followed by a new curriculum for Grade 7 in school year 2012-2013.

School year 2016-2017 will mark the nationwide implementation of the Grade 11 curriculum, to be followed by the Grade 12 curriculum in school year 2017-2018. —NB, GMA News


INQUIRER

Pay raise for nurses vetoed
[AQUINO: BILL TO DISTORT WAGE LEVELS IN HEALTH SECTOR] By: Nikko Dizon @inquirerdotnet Philippine Daily Inquirer 12:14 AM June 17th, 2016


AFP FILE PHOTO

President Aquino has vetoed two more bills, one of them pushing for yet another increase in the salaries of nurses and another seeking the condonation of unpaid income taxes of local water districts, Malacañang announced on Thursday, two weeks before the end of his term.

Mr. Aquino returned to Congress Senate Bill No. 2720/House Bill No. 6411, titled “An Act Providing for a Comprehensive Nursing Law Toward Quality Health Care System, and Appropriating Funds,” also known as the Comprehensive Nursing Law of 2016, unsigned.

The President said he vetoed SB 2581/HB 3675, or the proposed law “removing the conditions for the condonation of all unpaid income taxes due from local water districts,” because of its “serious fiscal policy implications.”

He said the bill sought to remove the “laudable intent” of another law, Republic Act No. 10026, which grants tax reprieve only to local water districts that are “financially incapable and committed to instituting fiscal reforms.”

The bill could also “undermine the government’s strict tax collection effort,” he added.

Mr. Aquino emphasized that the bill “sends a message to errant taxpayers that delinquency is acceptable since amnesty or condonation may be given anyway, even without benefit of proper documentation.”

“While we recognize the objective of the bill to promote the well-being of the country’s nurses, we cannot support the bill in its present form because of its dire financial consequences,” the President said in his veto message released on Thursday.

Mr. Aquino said Executive Order No. 201, signed earlier this year, had already increased the base salaries of government employees, including nurses and other health workers.

The EO increased the annual salary of government nurses from P228,924.00 to P344,074.00, which does not include other benefits and allowances nurses receive under the Magna Carta of Public Health.

READ MORE...

Wage distortion

The President explained that the proposed salary increase “will not only undermine the existing salary structure of medical and health practitioners but will also cause wage distortion not only among health professionals but also among other professionals in government.”

Increasing the entry level salary for nurses by four grades, as the proposed law would have done, will place nurses “over and above their other similarly situated counterparts in the health profession and government service,” the President said.

With the four-grade increase, from Salary Grade 11 to 15, the President said optometrists, dentists, and doctors would end up receiving less than the nurses.

The entry level of optometrists, dentists, and doctors are at Salary Grades 12, 14, and 16, respectively.

Unconscionable

Nurses, medical technologists, pharmacists, laboratory technicians, physical therapists, nutritionists, and midwives, among others, are professionals who have taken a four-year course whose entry level salaries are pegged at Salary Grade 11, or a monthly salary of P19,077 under EO 201.

Entry level public school teachers and accountants are also considered under Salary Grade 11.

“Such preferential treatment in favor of nurses over and above other health professionals and professionals in the government service appears unconscionable and violative of the equal protection clause enshrined in the Philippine Constitution,” Mr. Aquino said.

Inequitable

The President said that to avoid an “inequitable scenario brought about by the wage distortion, the salaries of health professionals and similarly situated professionals in the government service should simultaneously be considered for increase proportionate to the increase given to entry level nurses.”

Mr. Aquino also said that the proposed increase “seemingly disregarded” the financial capacity of most local government hospitals, voicing concern that they might be unable to comply with the raise because the Local Government Code gives a ceiling of 40-45 percent for personnel services, depending on the income class of the local government.

The same goes with private hospitals and other nongovernment health institutions, which are mandated to offer an entry level salary to nurses equivalent to Salary Grade 15, the President said.

Sen. Antonio Trillanes IV, the bill’s main sponsor, said he planned to resurrect the measure in the 17th Congress.

“This could have been the measure that would improve our healthcare sector and help stop the mass exodus of our nurses to other countries,” he said.
With reports from Christine O. Avendaño and Leila B. Salaverria

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RELATED FROM THE BUSINESS MIRROR ONLINE

Solons slam Aquino veto of nurses’ pay-hike bill NewsEconomyby Jovee Marie de la Cruz - June 17, 2016 0 14



LAWMAKERS on Friday urged President-elect Rodrigo R. Duterte and the leadership of the 17th Congress to approve the bill raising the salary of nurses, after President Aquino’s veto of the proposed Comprehensive Nursing Act that was supposed to upgrade nurses’ monthly minimum salary to P25,000.

Party-list Rep. Carlos Isagani Zarate of Bayan Muna and incoming Rep. Arlene Brosas of Gabriela vowed to refile the bill in the next Congress to provide better working conditions for nurses and the overall development of the profession.

“We hope that this bill, upgrading nurses’ salary, will fare better in the next administration,” Zarate said.

“We urge our colleagues in the House of Representatives to expedite the salary hike of our nurses as an urgent response to our exacerbating health-system crisis and the pleas of our health workers, especially those in public hospitals. We also urge the incoming President, Rody [Rodrigo R.] Duterte, to support the bill to increase our nurses’ salary,” he added.

Zarate, meanwhile, described President Aquino’s move as “consistently antiworker.”

“If there is a legacy the exiting Aquino presidency could claim is its consistent and unrelenting callousness against our working people and the poor,” he said.

“When we filed the bill in the last Congress, Bayan Muna recognized the unjust salary and working conditions our government nurses have, who, in the flight of many of our nurses abroad to find greener pastures, become more and more overburdened. This is happening despite the number of nurses graduating year after year in our country,” Zarate added.


ZARATE

According to Zarate, nurses are supposed to be given at least P25,000, or the equivalent salary allotted for Salary Grade 15, as provided for by Republic Act 9173, or the Nursing Act of 2002. “But even President Aquino’s Executive Order 201, signed this year, only provides P20,754, or the amount being received by those in Salary Grade 11, which will only be received after four years,” he said.

Brosas, for her part, said the bill is more than pay hikes, explaining that the measure seeks to improve nursing practice, and provide better and fairer nursing conditions by outlawing nefarious work modalities that exploit nurses, such as the exploitative “volunteer work” schemes, where nursing graduates are forced to provide full-time clinical work and, oftentimes, are not paid any compensation.

“The law would have benefited public-health care for Filipinos, as it will have mandated the government to assign a nurse for every barangay, every school and every workplace; make hospitals ensure safer nurse-to-patient ratios; and make nursing a humane and decent career by banning contractual, job order, on-the-job training and volunteer job positions,” she said. She added that it is ironic that the Palace insisted that nurses’ pay are already covered by the Magna Carta for Health Workers, because “the Department of Budget and Management has been suspending the law and denies health workers their due wage and other financial benefits.”

Brosas said Gabriela will bring the concern of health workers to the Women’s Summit to be launched in Davao City next week.

Meanwhile, the Philippine Nurses Association warned the government that the nonpassage of the bill may lead to more Filipino nurses seeking jobs abroad.


PHILSTAR

Rody’s team steps in to save Abu hostages By Marichu Villanueva (The Philippine Star) | Updated June 18, 2016 - 12:00am 0 8 googleplus0 0


Less than 13 days before they assume office, members of the incoming Cabinet security cluster of president-elect Rodrigo Duterte are making last-ditch efforts to prevent another beheading by the Abu Sayyaf.STAR/File photo

MANILA, Philippines - Less than 13 days before they assume office, members of the incoming Cabinet security cluster of president-elect Rodrigo Duterte are making last-ditch efforts to prevent another beheading by the Abu Sayyaf.

Incoming justice secretary Vitaliano Aguirre II said they are trying to help save the remaining hostages from being executed by the Abu Sayyaf, citing in particular Norwegian Kjartan Sekkingstad.

While they have not been officially sworn into office yet, Aguirre told The STAR that Duterte has given them the go-signal to help resolve the Abu Sayyaf hostage situation at the soonest possible time.

“We are trying to get the local officials on the ground to help us save the Norwegian hostage,” Aguirre said.

Aguirre disclosed Duterte and his incoming Cabinet members came to this decision after they discussed at length the hostage situation during their meeting at the Philippine International Convention Center in Pasay City last Wednesday.

Aguirre, however, declined to give details but stressed their priority for now is to prevent another beheading.

Reports indicated Sekkingstad is being lined up for the chopping block by the Abu Sayyaf if the ransom demand is not met.

The bandits have beheaded two other hostages, Canadians John Ridsdel and Robert Hall.

Ridsdel, a former mining executive, was beheaded in April while Hall was executed last Monday.

READ MORE...

The two Canadians, along with Sekkingstad and Hall’s Filipina girlfriend Marites Flor, were snatched from Samal Island resort last September and taken to Jolo island.

Aguirre also refused to comment on proposals to declare a state of emergency for a limited period to effect a military solution to the Abu Sayyaf problem in Sulu in particular.

“There are even proposals to declare martial law to address the Metro Manila traffic problem,” Aguirre quipped.

President Aquino and Duterte talked over the phone last Thursday while their respective transition teams met at Malacañang.

Details of their telephone conversation were not revealed, except that the outgoing President congratulated and assured his successor of assistance, if asked to help.

It is public knowledge that Duterte has a lot of Muslim friends and supporters in Mindanao whom he could count on to help address the problem with the Abu Sayyaf bandits.

Aquino himself flew to Jolo on Wednesday to check on the military operations to rescue the remaining hostages.

“We are getting a clearer picture of what is happening here. We saw today how to refine our operations so we can successfully rescue the remaining hostages,” Aquino told reporters traveling with him.

Aquino told a press briefing that he ordered “refinements” in the military operation against the Abu Sayyaf.

Aquino though refused to elaborate, citing operational security.

He said that he apologized to Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau for the murders of the two Canadians.

Aquino yesterday told reporters during a luncheon at a Chinese restaurant in Binondo, Manila that he was hoping there would be one viewpoint with regard to the Abu Sayyaf, that it is an “issue or a problem that impacts the country negatively.”

“And as fellow patriots, let us assist each other in resolving successfully the current situation,” he said.

Aquino, who is due to step down on June 30, said he had found it difficult to end the Abu Sayyaf threat during his six years in office.

Among the problems, he said, is the support the Abu Sayyaf is getting from the locals.

“They (the militants) have many resources. They can buy sympathy and we are in their place of origin. They have knowledge of the terrain. All of the advantages are theirs,” Aquino said.

He also said the military and police were understaffed, not having increased in size since 1986.

Came up empty Meanwhile, security forces are checking on two possible areas where the headless body of Hall was believed dumped by the Abu Sayyaf.

Maj. Filemon Tan Jr., spokesman for Western Mindanao Command (Westmincom), said they validated two areas in Jolo where the body of Hall was reportedly left but declined to elaborate, citing operational considerations.

The troops, however, came back empty handed from one of the areas, he said.

“There was information, we validated, we went there and tried to retrieve but unfortunately it was no longer there. Probably they transferred it somewhere,” Tan told reporters in a briefing at Westmincom yesterday.

The Abu Sayyaf executed Hall last Monday and dropped his head near the Mt. Carmel Cathedral in downtown Jolo.

The body, however, has not been found.

The military believed the Abu Sayyaf was intentionally hiding or changing the location of the remains to humiliate the government.

Tan said they were not also discounting the possibility the Abu Sayyaf deliberately hid the remains of the victim as a diversionary tactic to confuse government forces.

Tan said the police and the local government of Jolo have mobilized the village leaders to help them locate the body of Hall.

Aquino has vowed to devote all his energy to eliminating the Abu Sayyaf before he steps down from office.

Aquino had admitted planning to impose martial law in Sulu in the effort to contain the Abu Sayyaf.

However, he backed down from the plan, saying it might backfire and gain more sympathy for the bandit group.

The Abu Sayyaf network is deeply entrenched and efforts to flush out its fighters have proved to be a big challenge for the thousands of troops engaging them.

The lucrative business of kidnapping has allowed Abu Sayyaf to invest in high-powered boats, weapons and modern communications equipment. With poverty and joblessness rife, it is able to recruit with ease.

Sulu Gov. Abdusakur Totoh Tan II said he favors martial law to be implemented in the province but only for a limited time.

His father, outgoing Vice Gov. Abdusakur Tan, said he supports the implementation of martial law or a state of emergency only if the government institutes programs to lessen the impact of military operations on the people and the community.

Officials of the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) branded as “un-Islamic” the beheading of Hall during the holy month of Ramadan.

“Islam is against the killing of innocent people and mutilation of cadavers. It is also against kidnap-for-ransom activities,” ARMM regional vice governor Haroun Al-Rashid Lucman said.

Tribal leaders also condemned the execution of Hall.

The United Indigenous People of Mindanao led by Datu Mabayaw, Datu Sumidlak, Datu Sam Behing and Enrique Gavileno warned they would wage war against the Abu Sayyaf if it would spread its kidnapping activities to areas of the indigenous people in Mindanao.

The tribal leaders said some local officials and residents of Sulu are benefiting from the kidnapping activities of the Abu Sayyaf.

“Sadly some of the inhabitants in these islands of Jolo, Tawi-Tawi and Sulu are sympathetic to the Abu Sayyaf because sometimes (the bandits) are playing Robin Hood and you may wonder why until now local officials of said islands have not taken initiatives and (remained) silent,” the group said.

The military had said some residents and relatives living in the islands are helping the bandits. – Aurea Calica, Roel Pareño, Ben Serrano

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

RELATED FROM ABS-CBN

Duterte in 'brother to brother' meeting with MILF, MNLF leaders Katrina Domingo, ABS-CBN News


President-elect Rodrigo Duterte is seen with Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) and Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) leaders at a restaurant in Davao City Friday night. Photo by Doris Bigornia, ABS-CBN News

Alonto: MNLF, MILF to support Duterte's federalism proposal

DAVAO CITY - President-elect Rodrigo Duterte met with leaders of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front and Moro National Liberation Front at a hotel in Davao City on Friday evening.

Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) chairman Al-Hajj Murad Ebrahim and his first vice-chairman Ghadzali Jaafar, as well as Moro National Liberation Front leader Datu Abul Khayr Alonto were among the key figures who met with the incoming president at around 9:30 p.m.

Alonto described the gathering as a "brother-to-brother meeting."

He told reporters that the MILF and the MNLF have agreed to support Duterte's proposal to shift to a federal form of government.

"A federal system could very well put in place a government of transparency and accountability, and effectively address the peace and order problems including drug trafficking and kidnap for ransom," Alonto told reporters.

"The president-elect has our commitment and our support, hindi sa salita, sa gawa. It's high-time wag na yung mga salita-salita. All of the things we talked about, we have to do it," Alonto added.

The MNLF chairman said it is time to accept that a "centralized form of government is a dismal failure" as it is the reason "why there is war in Mindanao."

Despite agreeing to the shift to a federal form of government, Alonto said they are still hopeful that the "good aspects of the Bangsamoro Basic Law will be retained," and that the country will see the Bangsamoro as a federal state model.

When asked if the MILF and MNLF can finally patch things together and come up with a united front under Duterte, Alonto said, "God willing, In Sha'Allah."

Alonto heads an MNLF faction separate from the one headed by founding chairman Nur Misuari that was behind the bloody Zamboanga siege in September 2013.

CLOSING RANKS

The MILF, the country's largest rebel group, earlier said it has sought to close ranks with the MNLF to push for a peace deal under Duterte.

The MILF has sent emissaries to Misuari to discuss a "common approach" after an accord it agreed with outgoing President Benigno Aquino failed to get congressional approval, Jaafar said.

The fugitive Misuari was "very hopeful" about the prospects of ending the four-decade-long rebellion under Duterte, who will assume office on June 30, Jaafar told ABS-CBN News.

"It's unity in diversity," Jaafar said, adding there have been separate negotiations with MNLF central committee chairman Muslimin Sema since the start of the year.

Sema said the two groups could “merge” its respective peace deals with the government - the MNLF’s Tripoli Agreement of 1976 and a subsequent agreement in 1996, and the MILF’s Comprehensive Agreement on the Bangsamoro in 2014.

“We’re actually making it easy for government,” he told ABS-CBN News. “We are calling on other factions to come on board.”
Misuari has gone into hiding after being charged over the 2013 siege on the southern port city of Zamboanga.

The 2014 agreement between Aquino and the MILF would have granted wider autonomy to the country's Muslim minority, but the peace process ground to a halt after 44 police commandos died in a botched anti-terrorist raid in the remote farming town of Mamasapano last year.


TRIBUNE

Congress has conflicting views on powers vs ASG Written by Tribune Wires Friday, 17 June 2016 00:00


EMERGENCY POWERS OR MARTIAL LAW?

Senators speak of granting incoming President Rodrigo Duterte emergency powers to finish off the Abu Sayyaf groups and their kidnap for ransom ways, while the House members speak of approving a martial law declaration on Sulu that will be issued by Duterte.

The Philippine President has the power to declare martial law in any part of the country.

At least three senators have expressed support to the idea of providing Duterte emergency powers to finally wipe out the notorious Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG).

Sen. Bam Aquino yesterday supported the call first made by returning Sen. Panfilo Lacson, as the latter broached the proposal to solve the continuing kidnapping and killing of hostages by the ASG.


BAM AQUINO

“A lot of damage to the country’s image with the Abu Sayyaf’s kidnapping and beheading of hostages has been done. This state of affairs concerning the Abu Sayyaf has a negative effect on tourism, the economy and the living conditions in certain parts of Mindanao,” Senator Aquino said in a statement. “It is time to do whatever is necessary by way of action to finally get rid of this group at the earliest possible time,” he added.

Aquino said any effort by the incoming administration that is geared toward addressing the issue concerning the ASG, for as long as it is within the bounds of the law, should be supported by the public.

Congress, Lacson said, should grant the next president emergency powers to solve not only the traffic problem but the campaign against illegal drugs and the ASG as well.


LACSON

“(There os ) no better time to address the ASG problem than under President Duterte: kidnap them back or kill them. It may need very good intel (intelligence) work though,” Lacson said in his twitter account.

Incoming Senate Majority Leader Vicente Sotto III also stood in agreement in giving Duterte emergency powers to mainly address the terror problems in Mindanao or even impose martial law in areas known to be controlled by the ASG.


SOTTO

“I have no objections. I will agree,” he said.

“I have met and have known Mayor Duterte since 1988. What I can say is, I figure he believes in the saying that I also believe in, which is ‘Run silent, run deep’,” Sotto added.

READ MORE...

The senator also expressed belief that Duterte may finally be able to crush the ASG, a matter that previous administrations have failed to achieve.

“We have to find out what the incoming President would have as a program toward that. It’s a question, an issue of peace and order. We leave it to the enforcers to handle it,” he said.

“This is only my personal opinion. The Philippine Army or the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) is just waiting for that opportunity. Believe me. All the AFP and the PNP are waiting for is the go-signal of the Chief executive,” Sotto added.

Declaring Martial Law is legal – Du30 ally

A staunch ally of the incoming chief fexecutive, yesterday joined the cacophony of calls for the declaration of Martial Law in Mindanao.

According to Davao Rep. Karlo Nograles, Mindanao has been the subject of Martial Law before and that it could again be done this time to address the violence perpetrated by the Abu Sayyaf.


NOGRALES

“President Duterte’s declaration of martial law in some parts of Mindanao to address the Abu Sayyaf problem is legally possible. That is the President’s prerogative. I think that was done in 2009,” Nograles said.

Nograles, one of the avid campaign supporters of Duterte, was referring to Mrs. Arroyo’s Proclamation 1959 which proclaimed a State of Martial Law and suspended the writ of habeas corpus in the province of Maguindanao.

Anak Mindanao party-list Representative-elect Makmod “Mak” Mending, however, opposed the proposed declaration of Martial Law even as he stressed that the incoming administration should first use all the available government means to address terrorism in the region.

“Granting emergency powers is premature. Why not first use all the available government resources to eliminate the Abu Sayyaf and prevent and suppress lawless violence in Basilan and Sulu,” Mending stressed.

Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) Gov. Mujiv Hataman said the government should just launch an all-out offensive against the ASG. Hataman expressed fears that Martial Law could result in human rights violations.

“There are better options that will not trigger human rights abuses. It’s not necessary at this time,” said Hataman.

Hataman maintained that which is needed in the fight against terrorism is a “well-coordinated, intensified and participative operation against the Abu Sayyaf Group.”

He said that residents could be evacuated from their homes while the military operations against the ASG are going on.

“Why don’t we try it (all-out offensive) first, at least three to six months? I am willing to issue an Executive Order where we can bring out the civilians from their homes and put them in one evacuation area then let the government attend to their needs while military operations against ASG is going on?” Hataman said.

Nograles said “the President has the discretion to declare Martial Law based on information or facts available or gathered by President’s Office (sufficient factual basis). Abu Sayyaf problem may fall under the category of when public safety requires it with regard the issue of whether or not martial law can be declared in some areas of Mindanao to address lawless violence,” said Nograles.

“It seems that the President can localize Martial Law - the SC (Supreme Court) stated the point is that the President intended by her action to address an uprising in a relatively small and sparsely populated province. In her (Mrs. Arroyo) judgment the rebellion was localized and swiftly disintegrated in the face of a determined and amply armed government presence,” Nograles added.

AFP, PNP open to martial law

Both incoming chiefs of the PNP and the AFP are open to the imposition of martial law in areas infested by the terrorist Abu Sayyaf group.


VISAYA

Lt. Gen. Ricardo Visaya, incumbent commander of the AFP’s Southern Luzon Command (Solcom) and named as incoming military chief of staff by Duterte, said he is open to the proposals to implement martial law in Sulu and Basilan.

“We will study that,” said Visaya, who is expected to assume the AFP top post July 1.

“That is an option. As far as I am concerned that is an option,” he added.

Visaya said that the military has deployed 11 battalions in Sulu to defeat the ASG.

“We have already 11 battalions there as of now. We have enough troops…the problem is the terrain…they (Abu sayyaf) make underground tunnels so it’s really difficult to locate them…if there is imposition of martial law, we can control their movements,” said Visaya.

For his part, Chief Supt. Ronald “Bato” dela Rosa, incoming chief pf the PNP, also expressed openness to the implementation of martial law.

“If that is the only way to solve the problem, then that is the better way to do,” said Dela Rosa.

Calls for the imposition of martial law in some parts of Mindanao have been mounting following the June 13 beheading of Canadian Robert Hall by the terrorist Abu sayyaf group in Sulu.

Hall, the second Canadian to be killed by the ASG after last April’s beheading of John Ridsdel, was beheaded after failing to pay the P600 million ransom. His head was found near the Mt. Carmel cathedral in Jolo Monday night.

Two other hostages –Norwegian Kjartan Sekkingstad and Filipino Marites Flor, remained under Abu Sayyaf captivity, although the Norweigan is also scheduled for a beheading of the ransom demand if this is not met on the deadline issued by the ASG.

The four were abducted by Abu Sayyaf men September last year during a raid at the posh Oceanview Resort on Samal Island.
The Abu Sayyaf is again threatening to behead Sekkingstad if the P600 million ransom is not paid.

Meanwhile, the military’s Wesmincom is continuously conducting operations to rescue the remaining hostages and locate the body of Hall.

Maj. Filemon Tan Jr., spokesman of Wesmincom, stressed that the military is doing its best to safely rescue all remaining Abu sayyaf captives –numbering about seven including Flor and Sekkingstad.

“Our commitment to conduct operation remains,” vowed Tan.

The law on martial law imposition
Article Vll, Section 18 of the 1987 Constitution states that “the President shall be the Commander-in-Chief of all armed forces of the Philippines and whenever it becomes necessary, he may call out such armed forces to prevent or suppress lawless violence, invasion or rebellion.

“In case of invasion or rebellion, when the public safety requires it, he may, for a period not exceeding sixty days, suspend the privilege of the writ of habeas corpus or place the Philippines or any part thereof under martial law.

“Within forty-eight hours from the proclamation of martial law or the suspension of the privilege of the writ of habeas corpus, the President shall submit a report in person or in writing to the Congress. The Congress, voting jointly, by a vote of at least a majority of all its Members in regular or special session, may revoke such proclamation or suspension, which revocation shall not be set aside by the President.

Upon the initiative of the President, the Congress may, in the same manner, extend such proclamation or suspension for a period to be determined by the Congress, if the invasion or rebellion shall persist and public safety requires it.

“The Congress, if not in session, shall, within twenty-four hours following such proclamation or suspension, convene in accordance with its rules without need of a call.

“The Supreme Court may review, in an appropriate proceeding filed by any citizen, the sufficiency of the factual basis of the proclamation of martial law or the suspension of the privilege of the writ of habeas corpus or the extension thereof, and must promulgate its decision thereon within thirty days from its filing.

“A state of martial law does not suspend the operation of the Constitution, nor supplant the functioning of the civil courts or legislative assemblies, nor authorize the conferment of jurisdiction on military courts and agencies over civilians where civil courts are able to function, nor automatically suspend the privilege of the writ of habeas corpus.

“The suspension of the privilege of the writ of habeas corpus shall apply only to persons judicially charged for rebellion or offenses inherent in, or directly connected with, invasion.

“During the suspension of the privilege of the writ of habeas corpus, any person thus arrested or detained shall be judicially charged within three days, otherwise he shall be released.”
By Angie M. Rosales, Mario J. Mallari and Gerry Baldo

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RELATED FROM THE MANILA STANDARD (COMMENTARY)

PNoy’s martial law scare tactics posted June 18, 2016 at 12:01 am by Victor Avecilla



All throughout its six-year controversial life, the administration of outgoing President Benigno Aquino III marked every anniversary associated with the birth or death of his parents, ex-Senator Benigno “Ninoy” Aquino Jr. and ex-President Corazon “Cory” Cojuangco-Aquino; the birth and death of the late President Ferdinand Marcos; the proclamation of martial law in 1972; and the so-called 1986 Edsa Revolution, with press releases about the perceived evil that is martial law.

Contemporary Philippine television media share the same anti-martial law propensity. During those anniversaries, conventional and cable television networks always feature programs praising Ninoy and Cory Aquino, and denouncing Marcos and his martial law regime.

The propensity of the local television media to go on a Marcos-bashing spree during those anniversaries began as early as March 1986—days after Cory Aquino seized power, abolished the 1973 Constitution, and ran the government without any legislature to check her and her relatives.

Almost all the networks broadcast anti-Marcos video segments between and within programs, especially during the prime time hours (when audiences are biggest for a particular broadcast day).

Documentaries highlighting abuses committed during the martial law period were also aired. These programs conveyed the same message over and over, year after year—that martial law is evil.

This anti-martial law sentiment became a convenient propaganda tool of President Aquino III during the recent election campaign.

When vice presidential candidate Bongbong Marcos was leading, first in the surveys and later in the early post-election count (or prior to Smartmatic’s unauthorized adventure in the cyber canvass), President Aquino III and his propagandists in the now-moribund Liberal Party used the martial law bogeyman to scare voters from casting their ballots in favor of Bongbong. To elect Bongbong, the LP propaganda line went, is to return the Philippines to a regime of martial law.

In fact, during the homestretch of the political campaign, the LP heralded its vice presidential bet, Leni Robredo, as the only obstacle to martial law under a Bongbong Marcos vice presidency!

However, the mystery of how a vice president can actually exercise the president’s exclusive power to resort to martial law was unexplained by the LP propagandists.

President Aquino III also used the martial law scare tactic against then-presidential candidate Rodrigo Duterte when the latter took the lead in the surveys early this year.

After Duterte won the presidential race and announced his hardline, or even unorthodox, policies against crime and corruption, Aquino III hastily began associating Duterte with martial law. Duterte simply ignored the outgoing president’s tirade against him.

Ironically, President Aquino III recently admitted to the news media that he once considered placing western Mindanao under martial law so as to maintain peace and order in the area.

That admission practically diluted Aquino’s past insinuations against martial law. It also indicates that all along, either Aquino III took the Filipino people for a ride, or he does not understand the concept of martial law to begin with.

It cannot be denied that abuses were committed during the martial law administration. Upon the proclamation of martial law in 1972, military personnel who used to be confined in countryside camps and barracks, non-commissioned officers and low-ranking commissioned officers in particular, suddenly found themselves vested with power beyond their wildest expectations. Many of them got drunk with that power and committed abuses, and even atrocities for that matter.

Perhaps that was to be expected because abuses inevitably take place when there is a radical change in the political environment of a country, and martial law was one such radical change. This statement, of course, is not an endorsement of those abuses. The historical context, however, must be asserted to set the record straight.

Be that as it may, the 1987 Constitution was drafted by the 1986 Constitutional Commission, which is composed of less than 50 Aquino appointees.

With the exception of about four of those commissioners, everyone in that constituent assembly was a staunch ally of the president. The alleged evil that is martial law notwithstanding, the 1987 Constitution retained the power of the president to place the Philippines, or any part thereof, under martial law.

Being so, the question to ask President Aquino III is this—what is wrong with martial law when the 1987 Constitution sponsored by his own mother allows it in the first place? Resort to martial law is an emergency measure, and as long as emergency situations may arise in the future, a sweeping condemnation of martial law is unwarranted and unfair.

Regardless of the reasons that motivated the Constitutional Commission to retain the power of the president to resort to martial law in the 1987 Constitution, the fact that the executive power to proclaim martial law is countenanced in the current charter is a clear indication that martial law is not as objectionable as President Aquino III and his LP minions have tagged it to be.

Truth to tell, martial law under the 1987 Constitution is far different from that proclaimed in September 1972 under the 1935 Constitution.

Under the current charter, the proclamation of martial law can be overturned by Congress, and is subject to judicial review by the Supreme Court. In addition, martial law under the current charter is for a limited duration only. Clearly, the military abuses Aquino III always publicly (and conveniently) associates with martial law under President Marcos, cannot happen under the 1987 Constitution.

In fine, when President Aquino III associated President-elect Duterte and Bongbong Marcos with martial law, Aquino was not telling the Filipino people the whole truth about what martial law under the 1987 Constitution was all about.

Evidently, Aquino’s statements about martial law are speculative and unsubstantiated views made by an individual living in his own make-believe world. Perhaps, he will return to his senses when plunder raps are finally lodged against him by his enemies.


Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi

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