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

ERNESTO MACEDA, 81: FORMER COLLEAGUES EXTOL 'MANONG ERNIE'[RELATED: Maceda’s last will]


JUNE 22 -MACEDA DIES AT 81
Grief and admiration poured for the late former Senate President Ernesto “Ernie” Maceda Sr. who was pronounced dead late Monday night due to multiple organ failure at St. Luke’s Medical Center. He was 81. His former colleagues at the Senate described Maceda or whom they called as “Manong” Ernie as the epitome of “adaptability in the complex world of politics.” Former president and now Manila Mayor Joseph “Erap” Estrada, who served in the Senate from 1987 to 1992 along with Maceda has expressed deep regret on the passing of Maceda, whom he described as his mentor. Estrada said he and his family, as well as the City of Manila, were greatly saddened by the death of one of Manila’s “greatest sons” even as he conveyed his condolences to Maceda’s family. “He was my political mentor. We are deeply saddened, he is a great loss,” Estrada said upon hearing of Maceda’s death. Mayor Estrada said he was honored to have served with Maceda in the Senate from 1987 to 1992 where he was mentored by the seasoned legislator. Maceda started his 43-year government service as a councilor in Manila - at the age of 23 - in 1959. Because of his numerous achievements in the City Council, he was named Outstanding Councilor of Manila back then. He was due to receive the Gawad Gat Andres Bonifacio award on June 23 as part of the City of Manila’s 445th Araw ng Maynila celebration. The award is the highest honor the city government confers to outstanding Manileños. “It saddens me that he will no longer be able to personally receive the award,” Estrada said. “I still remember his face brightening with pride when I told him we will be conferring on him the Gawad Gat Andres Bonifacio award; that we will be giving to him Manila’s highest award for one of its greatest sons,” Estrada said. READ MORE...RELATED,
Maceda’s last will...

ALSO: World's costliest city for expats revealed
[ALSO: Metro Manila ‘quake drill’ a success]


JUNE 22 -Hong Kong skyline. Photo by Kathlyn dela Cruz Hong Kong has overtaken Angola's capital to become the costliest city in the world for expats, Mercer's annual survey said Wednesday. After topping the Cost of Living report for three consecutive years, Luanda was pipped by the Asian city in 2016, owing to a stronger Hong Kong dollar.  The survey by the Mercer consulting group compares the cost of over 200 items in over 200 cities, including housing, food, transport and entertainment.It takes New York as its base for comparison and measures currency movements against the dollar, which has appreciated significantly over the past year. The Hong Kong dollar is pegged to the greenback. "Generally speaking, prices remained stable across the world," Bruno Rocquemont of Mercer France told AFP, attributing steep rises or falls in cities' rankings chiefly to exchange rate fluctuations. READ MORE...ALSO, Metro Manila ‘shake drill’ a success ...

ALSO: BRITISH DILEMMA - Leave or Remain in the EU? /BRITS EXITED EU
[In or out? The British public decided to exit EU, June 24 news]
[RELATED: Purisima: Philippines can't be overconfident after Brexit vote]


JUNE 20 -David Cameron promised a referendum on Britain's membership of the European Union before the end of 2017, but before it can take place he has vowed to secure a better deal for Britain. IMMIGRATION Leave: Britain can never control immigration until it leaves the European Union, because freedom of movement gives other EU citizens an automatic right to live here. Stay: Leaving will not solve the migration crisis but bring it to Britain’s doorstep because border controls from the Continent will move from Calais in France to Dover in UK.  CRIME Leave: The European Arrest Warrant allows British citizens to be sent abroad and charged for crimes in foreign courts, often for minor offences. Exit would stop this. Stay: Rapists, murders and other serious criminals who convict offences in Britain can only be returned once fleeing abroad thanks to the European Arrest Warrant. Exit would stop justice being done. TRADE Leave: Britain’s links with the EU are holding back its focus on emerging markets – there is no major trade deal with China or India, for example. Leaving would allow the UK to diversify its international links. Stay: 44 per cent of Britain’s exports go to other EU countries. Putting up barriers with the countries that Britain trades with most would be counterproductive. READ MORE...RELATED,
Finance chief: Philippines can't be overconfident after Brexit vote...

ALSO: US to China, rivals: Be calm after ruling
[COURT DECISION SEEN TO HELP START TALKS]
[RELATED: PH fishers pin hope on UN tribunal]


JUNE 23 -IDLED Epifanio Marqueza, one of the captains of a reef-fishing fleet, gestures next to his vessel idled in Masinloc, Zambales province, after an encounter with a Chinese Coast Guard ship at the nearby Panatag Shoal. AFP
The United States on Wednesday called on China and other rival claimants to exercise restraint when an international tribunal issues a landmark ruling on the South China Sea disputes that Beijing has chosen to ignore. A senior US state department official, who spoke on condition of anonymity to Asian journalists through a teleconference, said the upcoming decision by the arbitration panel in The Hague may offer “a great deal of clarity” on the disputes and help the claimants forge an arrangement to avoid potential confrontations. She said the decision, expected within weeks, could also serve as a jumping-off point to diplomatic talks. “We would certainly call on all governments to exercise restraint and to use this post-arbitration period as an opportunity to restart those diplomatic discussions,” she said.China has said it would not recognize any arbitration decision despite calls by several Asian and Western governments for it to respect international law.Some fear Beijing may take a harder stance and take provocative actions if it comes under pressure from outside, including by the United States, to comply with an adversarial ruling. In a harsh attack on US policies in Asia, the flagship newspaper of China’s ruling Communist Party on Wednesday accused Washington of seeking to turn the South China Sea “into a powder keg” and warned it not to underestimate China’s determination to defend its territorial claims. READ MORE...RELATED, PH fishers pin hope on UN tribunal...

ALSO: Abu Sayyaf's Filipina captive freed unharmed
[RELATED: Duterte welcomes freed Filipina, vows day of reckoning vs Abu]


JUNE 24 -An earlier file image posted on Site Intel Group’s Twitter account shows Abu Sayyaf members with the Samal Island hostages.
ZAMBOANGA CITY, Philippines - The Abu Sayyaf group freed unharmed the Filipina hostage Thursday night in Sulu but kept its Norwegian captive to assert their P300-million ransom demand. Abu Sayyaf spokesman Muammar Askali alias Abu Rami said they freed Marites Flor about 8 p.m. Thursday and turned her over to an emissary. The victim was released by the Abu Sayyaf group under Mujer Yadah. While Flor was freed, Norwegian Kjartan Sekkingstad was left in the custody of the Abu Sayyaf group. The two were among the four captives taken from Samal Island off Davao del Norte last September 21 and were brought to Sulu. Their two other companions, Canadians John Ridsdel and Robert Hall, were separately beheaded in April and June after failure to pay the P300-million ransom for each captive. According to a source, Abu Rami said they allegedly received P20 million for the release of the Filipina captive, who was later on brought to the house of Sulu Gov. Abdusakur “Totoh” Tan II. READ MORE...RELATED, Duterte welcomes freed Filipina, vows day of reckoning vs Abu...


READ FULL MEDIA REPORTS HERE:

Former colleagues extol ‘Manong’ Ernie


MACEDA DIES AT 81

MANILA, JUNE 27, 2016 (TRIBUNE) Written by Angie M. Rosales Wednesday, 22 June 2016 - Grief and admiration poured for the late former Senate President Ernesto “Ernie” Maceda Sr. who was pronounced dead late Monday night due to multiple organ failure at St. Luke’s Medical Center. He was 81.

His former colleagues at the Senate described Maceda or whom they called as “Manong” Ernie as the epitome of “adaptability in the complex world of politics.”

Former president and now Manila Mayor Joseph “Erap” Estrada, who served in the Senate from 1987 to 1992 along with Maceda has expressed deep regret on the passing of Maceda, whom he described as his mentor.

Estrada said he and his family, as well as the City of Manila, were greatly saddened by the death of one of Manila’s “greatest sons” even as he conveyed his condolences to Maceda’s family.

“He was my political mentor. We are deeply saddened, he is a great loss,” Estrada said upon hearing of Maceda’s death.

Mayor Estrada said he was honored to have served with Maceda in the Senate from 1987 to 1992 where he was mentored by the seasoned legislator.

Maceda started his 43-year government service as a councilor in Manila - at the age of 23 - in 1959. Because of his numerous achievements in the City Council, he was named Outstanding Councilor of Manila back then.

He was due to receive the Gawad Gat Andres Bonifacio award on June 23 as part of the City of Manila’s 445th Araw ng Maynila celebration. The award is the highest honor the city government confers to outstanding Manileños.

“It saddens me that he will no longer be able to personally receive the award,” Estrada said.

“I still remember his face brightening with pride when I told him we will be conferring on him the Gawad Gat Andres Bonifacio award; that we will be giving to him Manila’s highest award for one of its greatest sons,” Estrada said.

READ MORE...

Former Senate President Aquilino “Nene” Pimentel Jr. remembered Maceda in the 8th Congress saying the late lawmaker showed how one could work with ruthless political figures or with the compassionate without being consumed by tearful tenderness.


Former Sen. Aquilino "Nene" Pimentel Jr.

“At the same time, he wielded a trenchant pen that brought down would-be angels from their imagined pedestals to stark reality. But, on the birthdays or some such happy occasions of some lucky few, he did wish them well in the opinion pieces that he wrote. In a manner of speaking, then, Ernie was a man for all seasons,” he said.

Senate President Franklin Drilon likewise recalled the days he had worked with Maceda on the floor of the upper chamber and which allowed him to be acquainted with the latter as a tireless worker and a very hands-on Senate leader, whose unique zeal and work ethic led to numerous significant laws that benefitted the public.

A Cabinet member at the young age of 29, Maceda went on to become an effective bureaucrat and a principled lawmaker who always acted based on the people’s interest, he said.

“I am proud to have worked alongside such a distinguished public servant. He will remain an inspiration to all of us. I join the entire nation in mourning the passing of a statesman and an esteemed colleague. I send my sincerest condolences to his family and I pray that the Lord will give them strength throughout this difficult time,” Drilon said.


Drilon said he had given directives to Senate Secretary Oscar G. Yabes to lower the flag at the Senate at half-mast to honor the late upper chamber.

Senate honors readied

A necrological service, in which Maceda will be afforded with honor guards during the wake, will be held in the Senate on Thursday, according to his former office chief of staff lawyer Jimmy Policarpio.

Among those invited to speak during the necrological service are Minority Leader Juan Ponce Enrile, Sen. Gregorio Honasan, former Sen. Rene Saguisag, Estrada, former Sen. Orly Mercado, former Sen. Amina Rasul, and Drilon.

He said the remains of the former senator will be fecthed at Mt. Carmel Church in New Manila and will be brought to the Senate’s compound in Pasay City on Thursday afternoon.

Outgoing Sen. Ferdinand Marcos Jr. described Maceda as “among the best and brightest who served in my father’s Cabinet.”
Maceda worked under the Marcos administration first as Secretary of Community Development in 1966. He was among the youngest members of Cabinet at the age of 29.

He was again appointed by Marcos as his Executive Secretary in concurrent capacity as chairman of the Commission on Re-organization in 1969.



A year later, Maceda was appointed Secretary of Commerce and Industry.

“His entire life’s record of public service is a testament not only to his brilliance but dedication to his calling,” Marcos said.
He described him as “a true friend and a second father to many of us.”

Sen. Nancy Binay said Maceda, fondly called by many as “Manong,” distinguished himself during his decades-long service to the country as a legislator, statesman, Cabinet executive and a newspaper columnist.

“His devotion in serving our countrymen was marked by the outstanding performance in the various capacities he had served as well as the numerous scams he exposed during his terms as a Senator. He was also recognized as an advocate of women’s rights, and continued to give the poor and the marginalized a voice in his columns,” she said.

“I was lucky to have been with him during the 2013 United Nationalist Alliance (UNA) senatorial campaign. I learned a lot from him, as he was generous in giving his advice and sharing his experiences,” she added.

Vice President Jejomar Binay, head of UNA where Maceda was affiliated, said “Manong Ernie served the nation in various capacities and lived through historic moments in our nation’s history, mostly as an active participant but never as a spectator.”

“Manong Ernie will be sorely missed by his family, his friends in government and politics, and those who valued and appreciated his work for the nation,” he said.

Former Speaker Jose de Venecia said the great years of the Senate and House of Representatives cooperation in the mid-1990s produce some of the 200 pieces of economic and social legislation in the Fidel Ramos presidency.


Jose de Venecia, Jr.

“Then Senate President Ernesto Maceda and I as Speaker of the House worked relentlessly to address the causes of the nation. The Filipino people will miss him,” he said.

Outstanding Manileño

The Gawad Gat Andres Bonifacio to be given to Maceda is reserved for outstanding Manileños whose extraordinary deeds in different fields have brought prestige and honor to the capital city.

Maceda holds the distinction of being the only one in government service who has held five Cabinet positions, aside from being a Senate President from 1996 to 1998, and Philippine ambassador to US. He was senator from 1971 to 1972, 1987 to 1992, and 1992 to 1998.



Malacañang on also extended its sympathy to the family of Maceda.

“We extend our condolences to his bereaved family and join his bereaved family in fervent prayers for his eternal repose,” said Presidential Communications Operations Office (PCOO) Secretary Herminio Coloma Jr.

Coloma said Maceda distinguished himself as a legislator, Cabinet member and ambassador through “more than five decades of dedicated public service.”

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

RELATED FROM PHILSTAR

Maceda’s last will COMMONSENSE By Marichu A. Villanueva (The Philippine Star) | Updated June 24, 2016 - 12:00am 3 132 googleplus0 0


Maceda, Senate's Mr. Exposé, 81 | Headlines, News, The Philippine Star | philstar.com

Former Senate President and erstwhile Philippine ambassador to Washington Ernesto Maceda will be laid to rest tomorrow. Maceda died last Monday night due to multiple organ failure. He was 81.

He is survived by his widow, former Marichu Vera-Perez. They have five children: Emmanuel, Ernesto Jr., Erwin, Edmond and Edward.

Maceda also left a void at The STAR with his regular column “Search for Truth” every Tuesday and Saturday ended with his demise.

With formal state honors, his former colleagues in previous Congresses paid tribute to Maceda at necrological rites held yesterday at the Senate. His remains were taken to the Senate in Pasay City from Mt. Carmel in Quezon City where he laid in state until interred tomorrow at Loyola Memorial Park in Marikina City.

Two former presidents of the country – Joseph Estrada and Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo – were grateful for Maceda’s unselfish sharing with them nuggets of lessons in politics and governance. Estrada and Arroyo received Maceda’s “mentoring” while both of them were still neophyte Senators one after the other.

That’s why Maceda was more fondly called by close friends and fellow politicians as “Manong Ernie,” or “kuya” (elder brother) to all.

But even his enemies call Maceda as “Manong Ernie” though at one time or the other they crossed swords with him for his Senate exposes.

 
NECROLOGICAL SERVICE:‘Manong Ernie was like a lion and you were the prey’ -SEN HONASAN

While he himself did not reach the ultimate ambition of every politician – to become president of the country – Maceda had the opportunity though of having molded former Senators who later became Presidents of our country.

Maceda was first elected as Senator a year before martial law was declared by then president Ferdinand Marcos. He was the lone Marcos administration-backed Nacionalista Party (NP) Senate candidate who survived the election landslide win by the opposition.

During the Marcos administration, Maceda became popular while he was then the presidential assistant for community development promoting “doctors and nurses to the barrios” program of government. Marcos later appointed him as his executive secretary.

It was in 1987 elections when he won his first term as post-martial law senator, serving until June 30, 1992. He won his second term in 1992. He served as Senate president between 1996 and 1998.

As chairman of the Senate Blue Ribbon committee during his second term at the Senate that he earned the nickname “Mr. Exposé.” It was bestowed to him by the defunct Philippine Free Press Magazine to recognize his privilege speeches that exposed irregularities in government and landed many erring officials in graft courts. He used this monicker “Mr. Expose” as the title of his regular radio program he anchored for several years over DzRH.

After his Senate term ended in 1998, then President Estrada appointed him ambassador to the United States. He served until 2001. Later that year, he ran but lost to Mayor Alfredo Lim during the May 2001 elections in Manila. Since then, he tried twice to make a Senate comeback but lost.


Former Speaker de Venecia and wife Gina Vera-Perez, their son, newly elected congressman Toff, Arch. Soc Villegas of the CBCP, new congressman Edward Maceda and his parents, Marichu Vera-Perez, and former senator Ernie Maceda MAY 29, 2016 MANILA BULLETIN PHOTO

But it was in Manila where Maceda started his political career. He was first elected No. 1 councilor at the age of 23. As early as those times, he was already a fiscalizer. He had bitter conflict with the late Mayor of Manila Arsenio Lacson whose famous tirades “so young and so corrupt” stuck to Maceda, unfairly or not.

Of the five children, it was only Maceda’s youngest son Edward who followed his father’s footsteps in politics starting as councilor in Manila. The Maceda family still lives at their Piy Margal St. residence in Sampaloc, Manila.

After three consecutive terms as councilor, the 45-year old Edward ran and won in last May 9 elections as Congressman in the fourth district of Manila.

Not only being his chief financier, Edward credited his father for helping him win his congressional bid.

He went out with Edward doing house-to-house and door-to-door campaign in Sampaloc. Considered as the “guru” on the basics of a political campaign, Edward observed how his late father enjoyed accompanying him in the campaign trail and gave him lessons on “Politics 101” on the ground.


REP. EDWARD VERA-PEREZ MACEDA

While he felt his father should be resting instead of exerting himself in tiring campaign, Edward felt happy for letting him joined his campaign.

The seasoned politician that his father was kicked in and seemingly gave the elder Maceda the fountain of youth. But when the elder Maceda suddenly fell ill, it caught all of them by surprise.

The elder Maceda was recuperating from a laparoscopy that removed stones from his gall bladder at St. Luke’s Medical Center in Quezon City. It is a non-invasive procedure of modern medicine where patients even with advanced age like Maceda could take. But complications set in and Maceda fell into comatose.

The elder Maceda had oxygen and tubes on his throat that prevented him from talking to them. After coming out from comatose last Saturday, Edward said his father tried to communicate something to them. So they gave him a magic slate to write on. He wrote, with great difficulty, R E F I L. After writing these letters, he would look at and point to the nurse standing at his beside.

THE BILL PRESIDENT NOY AQUINO VEOTED


THE 'LAST WILL': "He was telling Edward to ‘re-file’ the Nurses bill that was vetoed last week by President Aquino,”

They thought he was asking for a refill of medicine or refill of glass of water. But after several times of pointing to what he wrote and then looking to the direction of the nurse, they finally understood him. He was telling Edward to ”re-file” the Nurses bill that was vetoed last week by President Aquino.

On a proud note, Edward said his father was already at sick bed but he was still concerned about the plight of less privileged and marginalized sectors of society.

He surmised going in and out of hospital for regular medical check-up kept his father fully aware of the plight of lowly paid but overworked nurses.

As a public servant and politician for more than four decades, the sons of Maceda lived through this kind of life where their father’s priority was not his family.

But as dutiful sons, they did not take it against their father. In fact, he said, their late father tried his best to give them the best education and nurturing to become good Christians and Samaritans ready to help others in need.

As it turned out, it was the “last will” by Maceda handed down to his lawmaker-son to revive and push in the 17th Congress the enactment of this vetoed bill for nurses.


By Marichu Villanueva


THE TELEGRAPH, UK

BRITISH DILEMMA: Telegraph News Leave or Remain in the EU?


The arguments for and against Brexit EU Referendum mugs

In or out? The British public must decide on June 23 CREDIT: DAN KITWOOD/GETTY IMAGES Ben Riley-Smith 20 JUNE 2016 • 10:44AM


JUNE 20 -David Cameron promised a referendum on Britain's membership of the European Union before the end of 2017, but before it can take place he has vowed to secure a better deal for Britain.

IMMIGRATION

Leave: Britain can never control immigration until it leaves the European Union, because freedom of movement gives other EU citizens an automatic right to live here.

Stay: Leaving will not solve the migration crisis but bring it to Britain’s doorstep because border controls from the Continent will move from Calais in France to Dover in UK.

CRIME

Leave: The European Arrest Warrant allows British citizens to be sent abroad and charged for crimes in foreign courts, often for minor offences. Exit would stop this.

Stay: Rapists, murders and other serious criminals who convict offences in Britain can only be returned once fleeing abroad thanks to the European Arrest Warrant. Exit would stop justice being done.

TRADE

Leave: Britain’s links with the EU are holding back its focus on emerging markets – there is no major trade deal with China or India, for example. Leaving would allow the UK to diversify its international links.

Stay: 44 per cent of Britain’s exports go to other EU countries. Putting up barriers with the countries that Britain trades with most would be counterproductive.

READ MORE...


London is a leading financial centre. CREDIT: JASON ALDEN/BLOOMBERG

LAW

Leave: Too many of Britain’s laws are made overseas by dictates passed down from Brussels and rulings upheld by the European Court of Justice. UK courts must become sovereign again.

Stay: The exit campaign has over-exaggerated how many laws are determined by the European Commission. It is better to shape EU-wide laws from the inside rather than walking away.

JOBS

Leave: The danger to jobs has been over-exaggerated. By incentivising investment through low corporation tax and other perks Britain can flourish like the Scandinavian countries outside the EU.

Stay: Around three million jobs are linked to the EU and will be plunged into uncertainty if voters plump for exit, as businesses would be less likely to invest if the country was outside Europe.


Job Centre Plus
Around three million jobs are linked to the EU. CREDIT: PA/GARETH FULLER

CLOUT

Leave: Britain does not need the EU to prosper internationally. By re-engaging with the Commonwealth the UK can have just as much clout as it does from inside the EU.

Stay: Britain will be “drifting off into the mid-Atlantic” if it leaves the EU, as Nick Clegg likes to say. In a globalising world the UK’s interests are best protected by remaining part of the EU block, with American and Chinese leaders indicating as much.

FINANCE

Leave: Talk of capital flight is nonsense. London will remain a leading financial centre outside the EU and banks will still want to be headquartered in Britain due to low tax rates.

Stay: Banks will flee the UK and the City of London collapse if Britain votes for exit, because the trading advantages of being inside the EU help boost banks' profits.

SOVEREIGNTY

Leave: The British Parliament is no longer sovereign. With the EU hell-bent on “ever closer union” and further economic integration likely after the euro crisis, it is best to call it quits before ties deepen.

Stay: In a globalised world, every country must work closer with others if the want to flourish economically. A Little Englander desire for isolation will undermine the UK, plus the PM might have won an opt-out to “ever closer union” come the referendum.

DEFENCE

Leave: Britain could soon be asked to contribute to a EU Army, with reports suggesting Angela Merkel may demand the Prime Minister’s approval in return for other concessions. That would erode the UK’s independent military force and should be opposed.

Stay: European countries together are facing the threats from Isil and a resurgent Russia. Working together to combat these challenges is best – an effort that would be undermined if Britain turns its back on the EU.

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

RELATED FROM PHILSTAR

Finance chief: Philippines can't be overconfident after Brexit vote By Patricia Lourdes Viray (philstar.com) | Updated June 24, 2016 - 4:46pm 8 44 googleplus0 0

Votes are sorted into remain, leave and doubtful trays as ballots are counted during the EU Referendum count for Westminster and the City of London at the Lindley Hall in London Friday, June 24, 2016. On Thursday, Britain voted in a national referendum on whether to stay inside the EU. Anthony Devlin/PA via AP

MANILA, Philippines — Outgoing Finance Secretary Cesar Purisima on Friday said the Philippines is in good stead following Britain's vote to leave the European Union (EU) but cannot be overconfident.

"The improvement in (Philippine) fundamentals over the past six years will put us in good stead but should not lull us into overconfidence," Purisima said in a statement posted on his Twitter account.

Purisima noted that the British exit, or Brexit, from the EU will affect all countries to varying degrees.

"It is true that we are less vulnerable than others but we are not immune and therefore we should continue to build on the gains of (President Benigno Aquino III)," Purisima said.

On Wednesday, outgoing President Benigno Aquino III awarded Cesar Purisima, his Finance chief, with the Order of Lakandula with the rank of Grand Cross or "bayani." Purisima thanked Aquino for his vision and leadership making good governance deliver great economics for the past six years. The outgoing Finance secretary suggested that the country should continue to strengthen its macroeconomy and build on the confidence of markets.

Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry chairman Sergio Ortiz-Luis earlier said that the Brexit vote will only affect the Philippines if the United States, the largest economy in the world, will be affected.

Britain has voted to leave the 28-nation European Union in a historic referendum. Fifty-two percent voted for the country's departure from the union, while stay votes were at 48 percent. Voter turnout was at 72 percent.

Bank of England Gov. Mark Carney said the institution is prepared to deal with the market volatility that is under way following Britain's decision to leave.

Carney said the bank has "engaged in extensive contingency planning" and he is in close contact with Treasury chief George Osborne.

He added that capital requirements for Britain's largest banks are 10 times higher than before the start of the 2008 financial crisis. — with reports from Associated Press


ABS-CBN

World's costliest city for expats revealed Agence France-Presse Posted at Jun 22 2016 12:27 PM


Hong Kong skyline. Photo by Kathlyn dela Cruz

Hong Kong has overtaken Angola's capital to become the costliest city in the world for expats, Mercer's annual survey said Wednesday.

After topping the Cost of Living report for three consecutive years, Luanda was pipped by the Asian city in 2016, owing to a stronger Hong Kong dollar.

The survey by the Mercer consulting group compares the cost of over 200 items in over 200 cities, including housing, food, transport and entertainment.

It takes New York as its base for comparison and measures currency movements against the dollar, which has appreciated significantly over the past year. The Hong Kong dollar is pegged to the greenback.

"Generally speaking, prices remained stable across the world," Bruno Rocquemont of Mercer France told AFP, attributing steep rises or falls in cities' rankings chiefly to exchange rate fluctuations.

READ MORE...

A strong yen propelled Tokyo six places higher to become the world's fifth-most expensive expat destination, behind Zurich and Singapore in third and fourth place respectively.

The cost of living in several US cities also rose on the back of the strong dollar.

Conversely, cities in countries whose currencies have slumped became more affordable, with Moscow recording one of the most spectacular price slides, falling from 17th costliest city for expats to 67th.

Bottom of the table of 209 cities was Namibia's capital Windhoek.

Read More: Hong Kong costliest city

© 1994-2016 Agence France-Presse

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ALSO FROM PHILSTAR

Metro Manila ‘shake drill’ a success By Mike Frialde (The Philippine Star) | Updated June 23, 2016 - 12:00am 0 0 googleplus0 0


‘Victims’ in a mock 7.2-magnitude earthquake are sprawled on the ground during the ‘shake drill’ in Makati City yesterday. Photo below shows security officers of SM mall stopping looters as part of the drill. EDD GUMBAN


MANILA, Philippines – The second Metro Manila “shake drill” was successful as thousands participated in earthquake simulation exercises held simultaneously in the metropolis yesterday, the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) said.

“We have exceeded last year’s number of quake drill participants owing to the participation of Central Luzon and Southern Tagalog regions, plus the pledge of shopping malls to contribute 500,000 participants.

Students and motorists also joined the drill,” MMDA public information head Hope Libiran said.

At exactly 9 a.m., emergency alarms went off at the MMDA office in Makati City to signal the start of the earthquake drill.

MMDA Chairman Emerson Carlos led the agency’s officials and employees in executing the “duck, cover, hold” technique during the simulated 7.2 magnitude earthquake.

During the simulation, employees were evacuated from the MMDA office as firefighters from the Makati fire station arrived to put out a simulated fire at the building.

Emergency responders rushed to the nearby Guadalupe Bridge to rescue people “trapped” by debris.

MMDA personnel rescued people from the Pasig River using rubber boats in simulated search and rescue operations.

Responding firemen sprayed water on a burning car on the bridge.

These scenarios were over in minutes. Those rescued were transported by ambulances to Villamor Airbase, which served as the main evacuation and treatment area for south Metro Manila.

The entire shake drill was completed in about an hour.

The rescue operations and evacuation drills were planned according to the projected impact of a 7.2-magnitude earthquake hitting Metro Manila, including the collapse of the Guadalupe Bridge that would result in the separation of the south quadrant from the rest of the metropolis. The south quadrant consists of Makati, Pasay, Taguig, Las Piñas, Muntinlupa, Parañaque and Pateros.

2 ‘dead,’ scores ‘hurt’

Two persons “died” and 18 others were ”injured” at the Supreme Court (SC) building in Manila as the earthquake was simulated.

Over 2,000 SC officials and employees participated in the shake drill spearheaded by the MMDA and National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC).

Court officials and personnel were evacuated to the nearby Paco Park during the simulated earthquake activity.

At least 500 volunteers, led by emergency marshal Ma. Carina Cunanan, facilitated the drill.

One of the scenarios was an explosion at the SC printing press where one personnel was left “dead.”

Around 3,000 personnel of the Philippine National Police participated in the earthquake drill.

NDRRMC executive director Alexander Pama said the Department of National Defense’s Office of Civil Defense also took part in the earthquake drill.

Power was cut off during the drill, which ran for one hour.


SUPERMARKET LOOTING SIMULATION

2 women pass out

In Quezon City, two women transacting business at the Quezon City Hall passed out during the shake drill.

Elmo San Diego, head of the city’s Department of Public Order and Safety, said an elderly woman fainted as she panicked after seeing people rushing for cover following sirens from the roving fire trucks.

Another woman collapsed due to dizziness.

“They were rushed to the nearest hospital and were in stable condition,” San Diego told reporters.

Mass evacuation drills were also held in Manila, Taguig, Malabon and Navotas.

Two persons “died” and at least 52 others were “hurt” in an earthquake scenario at the Baseco Compound in Tondo, quadrant four shake drill head Aldo Mayor said. With Edu Punay, Robertzon Ramirez, Cecille Suerte Felipe, Rey Galupo, Jaime Laude, Ghio Ong


INQUIRER

US to China, rivals: Be calm after ruling
[COURT DECISION SEEN TO HELP START TALKS]@inquirerdotnet Philippine Daily Inquirer 12:38 AM June 23rd, 2016


IDLED Epifanio Marqueza, one of the captains of a reef-fishing fleet, gestures next to his vessel idled in Masinloc, Zambales province, after an encounter with a Chinese Coast Guard ship at the nearby Panatag Shoal. AFP

The United States on Wednesday called on China and other rival claimants to exercise restraint when an international tribunal issues a landmark ruling on the South China Sea disputes that Beijing has chosen to ignore.

A senior US state department official, who spoke on condition of anonymity to Asian journalists through a teleconference, said the upcoming decision by the arbitration panel in The Hague may offer “a great deal of clarity” on the disputes and help the claimants forge an arrangement to avoid potential confrontations.

She said the decision, expected within weeks, could also serve as a jumping-off point to diplomatic talks.

“We would certainly call on all governments to exercise restraint and to use this post-arbitration period as an opportunity to restart those diplomatic discussions,” she said.

China has said it would not recognize any arbitration decision despite calls by several Asian and Western governments for it to respect international law.

Some fear Beijing may take a harder stance and take provocative actions if it comes under pressure from outside, including by the United States, to comply with an adversarial ruling.

In a harsh attack on US policies in Asia, the flagship newspaper of China’s ruling Communist Party on Wednesday accused Washington of seeking to turn the South China Sea “into a powder keg” and warned it not to underestimate China’s determination to defend its territorial claims.

READ MORE...

The People’s Daily cited recent combined exercises by two US Navy aircraft carrier strike groups off the eastern coast of the Philippines as a sign of US hegemony and said Washington had made a mistake in seeking to intimidate China.

In making displays of military power aimed at China, the United States has “picked the wrong counterpart,” said the editorial, the contents of which are usually vetted by high ranking party officials.

Competing claims

US military activity, including freedom of navigation cruises near China’s man-made islands and exercises with allies, is contributing to the militarization of the region, the editorial said.

China claims almost all of the 3.5-million-square-kilometer South China Sea, including waters close to the shores of its smaller neighbors in the region.

The Philippines, Brunei, Malaysia and Taiwan have overlapping claims in the South China Sea, a crucial waterway where $5 trillion in global shipborne trade passes every year and where islets, reefs and atolls are believed to be sitting atop vast energy reserves.

Beijing prefers one-on-one negotiations with each of the rival claimants, an arrangement that gives it advantage because of its sheer size and clout and prevents Washington from playing any role to resolve the conflicts.

In the case filed in the United Nations Permanent Court of Arbitration, the Philippines challenged the validity of China’s “nine-dash line” claiming virtually the entire stretch of the South China Sea and demanded respect for its right to explore resources in waters within its 370-km exclusive economic zone (EEZ).

The Philippines also asked the tribunal to rule whether several disputed areas are outcrops, reefs or islands and how much stretch of territorial waters they project.

Natuna incidents

The US official also expressed concern over China’s Coast Guard ships escorting Chinese fishing vessels in areas including Indonesia’s Natuna Islands, where Indonesian vessels fired warning shots on Friday.

Indonesia has rejected China’s stance that the two nations have overlapping claims on “maritime rights and interests” in the South China Sea.

Indonesian Foreign Minister Retno Marsudi on Wednesday said his country had “no overlapping claims in any form in Indonesian waters with China.”

But Jakarta has objected to Beijing’s inclusion of waters around Natuna Islands within its “nine-dash line” claim to almost all of the South China Sea.

A Chinese fishing boat entered those waters on Friday, prompting an Indonesian naval vessel to fire a warning shot, injuring one person.

It was the third reported confrontation between Indonesian naval vessels and Chinese fishing boats near the Natuna Islands this year.

Confrontation at Ayungin



The Philippines also has stood up to China’s bullying in the South China Sea, with a small, rickety Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources vessel outsmarting a large Chinese Coast Guard ship to restock a small Marine garrison on the BRP Sierra Madre on Ayungin Shoal (Second Thomas Shoal) in the Spratly Islands on March 29, 2014.

The next day, the Philippines submitted evidence to the arbitration court in The Hague, which proceeded to hear the case despite China’s refusal to take part in the proceedings.

In his last week in office, President Aquino is waiting for the ruling, which he hopes will be in favor of the Philippines.

“We have done what we can [to obtain] a resolution that is fair to all parties concerned,” Mr. Aquino told reporters in a recent news conference.

Mr. Aquino steps down on June 30.
Reports from the wires and Nikko Dizon

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RELATED FROM THE INQUIRER

PH fishers pin hope on UN tribunal @inquirerdotnet 12:48 AM June 23rd, 2016


WAITING FOR RULING A fisherman and his wife fix their nets next to a fishing fleet at the port in
Masinloc, Zambales province. A recent incident at the nearby Panatag Shoal is part of a long-running
territorial row between the Philippines and China, which sits at the heart of a UN-backed tribunal that is
expected to rule in the coming weeks. AFP

INFANTA, Zambales—Jonathan Almandrez was chased away from the rich fishing grounds of a South China Sea lagoon by a Chinese patrol, something he hopes will stop happening if the Philippines wins an international legal case against China.

The incident at Panatag Shoal, a necklace of reefs and rocks that Filipino fishermen say hosts some of the world’s most abundant marine life, is part of a long-running territorial dispute that sits at the heart of a United Nations-backed tribunal expected to rule in the coming weeks.

“I was angry at their gall to shoo us away when we were clearly inside Philippine territory,” said the 30-year-old fisherman, who used a pseudonym as he did not want to be identified for fear of potential Chinese repercussions.

Almandrez, who provided mobile phone footage of the encounter to Agence France-Presse (AFP), said that for two hours on June 7, Chinese Coast Guard patrol boats circled a wooden outrigger carrying 10 Filipino fishermen.

The patrol boats got within about 2 meters of the vessel, which had been fishing in the reefs just outside the shoal before daylight betrayed them to the Chinese.

“Transfer to another area! No fishing inside,” the Chinese coast guards shouted in English, according to Almandrez.

“You go (back) to China because this is the property of the Philippines,” he recalled shouting back.

The Filipino crew eventually left when a much larger Chinese vessel began to approach and they feared it would fire water cannon.

Video footage shows two patrol boats flying Chinese flags and with the English words “China Coast Guard” on the side.

China takes control

Local fishermen say Panatag Shoal, 230 kilometers off the main Philippine island of Luzon, has been their hunting ground for generations.

Internationally known as Scarborough Shoal, it is 650 kilometers from Hainan Island, the nearest major Chinese landmass, but falls within the ill-defined “nine-dash line” that marks the extent of Beijing’s claim to control of nearly all of the South China Sea.

The reefs and shallow waters mean one fisherman can easily spear 200 kilograms of fish in just over an hour, according to Almandrez and others from Infanta, one of the main Panatag Shoal fishing towns on Luzon.

It also provides vital shelter for stranded fishermen during storms.

China took effective control of the shoal in 2012, following a two-month standoff with the Philippine Navy and Filipino coast guards.

Ear-splitting blast

Since then, non-Chinese fishing boats approaching the lagoon mouth have routinely been given an ear-splitting horn blast from a ship stationed inside, and those who refuse to leave run the risk of being hosed down or even rammed, according to Filipino fishermen.

“The water spray was so strong it destroyed one of our styrofoams,” Felix Lavezores, 36, told AFP at Infanta, recalling an early May water-cannon attack at the lagoon mouth that split an ice box used to store their catch.

An expedition to the shoal costs around P90,000 per boat, including fuel, supplies and crew salaries—money the boat’s owners cannot make back if they are forced to hightail it home with an empty hold.

The Chinese at times also cut anchor cables, putting Filipino boats at risk of running aground, according to some of the Filipino fishermen at Infanta and Masinloc, another fishing town in Zambales province from which Panatag Shoal is administered, explaining the name Bajo Masinloc (Masinloc Shoal) by which Scarborough Shoal is also known.

‘Intrinsic territory’

China claims it has sovereign rights to nearly all of the South China Sea, even waters approaching the coasts of its Asian neighbors.

When asked about incidents at the shoal, foreign ministry spokesperson Hua Chunying repeated China’s longstanding position.

“We have said that Scarborough Shoal is China’s intrinsic territory. The Chinese Coast Guard vessels’ law enforcement activities in China’s sovereign territorial waters are legitimate and beyond reproach,” Hua told reporters in Beijing on Tuesday.

The competing territorial claims have for decades made the South China Sea a potential source of regional conflict, and tensions have risen sharply in recent years as China has sought to expand its presence in the disputed areas.

Aside from taking control of Panatag Shoal, it has undertaken unprecedented land reclamation in the Spratly Islands, one of the sea’s main archipelagos that are also claimed by the Philippines, Vietnam, Malaysia and Taiwan.

Critics of China fear the artificial islands could be put to military use, and to establish effective sea and air control over some of the world’s most important shipping routes and waters that are believed to sit atop significant oil and gas deposits.

PH legal challenge

The Philippines, the most vocal critic, has responded by lodging a case with the Permanent Court of Arbitration, a UN-backed tribunal at The Hague, asking it to rule that China’s claims to most of the sea violate international law.

Although China is a signatory to the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea, it has vowed to ignore the ruling and accused the Philippines of stirring tensions with its legal challenge.

The Philippines hopes a favorable verdict will, at minimum, help build global diplomatic pressure on China.

But regardless of the outcome, China looks unlikely to let Philippine fishermen return to Panatag Shoal.
AFP


PHILSTAR

Abu Sayyaf's Filipina captive freed unharmed By Roel Pareño (philstar.com) | Updated June 24, 2016 - 12:48pm 3 396 googleplus0 0


An earlier file image posted on Site Intel Group’s Twitter account shows Abu Sayyaf members with the Samal Island hostages.

ZAMBOANGA CITY, Philippines - The Abu Sayyaf group freed unharmed the Filipina hostage Thursday night in Sulu but kept its Norwegian captive to assert their P300-million ransom demand.

Abu Sayyaf spokesman Muammar Askali alias Abu Rami said they freed Marites Flor about 8 p.m. Thursday and turned her over to an emissary.

The victim was released by the Abu Sayyaf group under Mujer Yadah.

While Flor was freed, Norwegian Kjartan Sekkingstad was left in the custody of the Abu Sayyaf group.

The two were among the four captives taken from Samal Island off Davao del Norte last September 21 and were brought to Sulu.

Their two other companions, Canadians John Ridsdel and Robert Hall, were separately beheaded in April and June after failure to pay the P300-million ransom for each captive.


JUNE 24 -Filipina Marites Flor is seen after she was released by Abu Sayyaf Islamic militants in Jolo, the southern island of Mindanao on June 24, 2016. — AFP pic MANILA, June 24 — A Filipina hostage released by southern Philippine militants today broke down in tears as she recounted how her Canadian boyfriend had been beheaded a week earlier. Flor cried as she recounted how the kidnappers led away Hall to be beheaded after a ransom deadline lapsed last week. Ridsdel had been killed in April. “It was painful to see them so happy before they did the beheading. They just put handcuffs on him and took him out,” she said. Today, Flor was dropped off at dawn outside the house of a local politician on Sulu, provincial police chief Wilfredo Cayat told AFP. Incoming Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte has said he and his aides were “able to negotiate” for her release. Duterte says he is currently trying to secure the release of the fourth hostage, Norwegian national Kjartan Sekkingstad. PHOTO AND NEWSCLIP FROM THE MALAYDAILYONLINE.COM

According to a source, Abu Rami said they allegedly received P20 million for the release of the Filipina captive, who was later on brought to the house of Sulu Gov. Abdusakur “Totoh” Tan II.

READ MORE...

Maj. Filemon Tan Jr., spokesman of the Western Mindanao Command (Westmincom), confirmed the release of Flor but said they have no details yet.

Tan said Flor was turned over to the custody of the Joint Task Force Sulu Friday noon and brought to the trauma hospital for medical check.

The military official said they are still trying to get details from the victim on how she was freed.

Abu Rami said they decided to release Flor, citing her condition after the two Canadians were executed.

“Palaging umiiyak na lang. Baka ano pa ang mangyari dito,” the source said quoting Abu Rami.

However, when asked about the fate of Sekkingstad, Abu Rami said they will continue to assert their P300-million ransom demand.

The Abu Sayyaf gave no further detail on the present condition of the Norwegian captive.

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

RELATED FROM PHILSTAR

Duterte vows day of reckoning vs Abu By Alexis Romero (The Philippine Star) | Updated June 25, 2016 - 12:00am 0 0 googleplus0 0


President-elect Rodrigo Duterte welcomes freed hostage Marites Flor in Davao City yesterday. 7 Indonesian sailors seized; Pinay released

MANILA, Philippines - President-elect Rodrigo Duterte has waded into the Abu Sayyaf crisis, securing the release of Filipina hostage Marites Flor and vowing a day of “reckoning.”

“I don’t want to pick a fight with anybody, but there will be a time. I have to confront Abu Sayyaf. It’s not yet forthcoming,” Duterte said yesterday during the turnover ceremony at the Davao City Police Office.

“Their kidnapping must stop. It has given us a very bad image,” he added. “There will be a reckoning one of these days.”

Duterte confirmed that negotiations were held to secure the release of Flor, who was present during the turnover rites in Davao City.

“We were able to negotiate for the release of Marites Flor,” Duterte announced.

“Instrumental in the release was (incoming) secretary Jesus Dureza. Even (Sulu) Governor Abdusakur Tan (II) also helped,” Duterte added.

There are unconfirmed reports that Flor was released after P50 million was paid for a Norwegian captive. Instead of the Norwegian, however, it was Flor who was released.

Flor was among four people kidnapped nine months ago by the Abu Sayyaf from a Samal island resort.

Her partner, Canadian Robert Hall, was beheaded after a ransom deadline lapsed last week and following a similar killing of fellow Canadian John Ridsdel in April.

The fate of Norwegian hostage Kjartan Sekkingstad is unknown. The Abu Sayyaf is demanding a P300-million ransom for his release.

Duterte said efforts are underway to free Sekkingstad.

“We have negotiated for their release, but only Flor was freed and I understand the rough seas prevented the Norwegian from being released,” Duterte said.

He said he is hopeful Sekkingstad will be released soon.

Norwegian Ambassador Erik Forner, who was attending the event in Davao, also said they were hoping that Sekkingstad would have been released already.

During the event, Duterte reiterated his warning to the Abu Sayyaf to surrender and release their hostages or face the consequences.

Strikes again

While Duterte spoke out against the Abu Sayyaf, Indonesia’s foreign minister confirmed yesterday that seven Indonesian sailors have been taken hostage in the Sulu Sea in southern Philippines.

“We got confirmation of an incident of kidnapping involving Indonesian crew of a ship,” Indonesian Foreign Minister Retno Marsudi told reporters in Jakarta.

She said the hijackings were carried out by two different armed groups in attacks on a tugboat towing a coal-carrying barge.

Six of the 13 crew on board were freed, Marsudi said, and were on their way back to Indonesia.

“We absolutely do not tolerate this. The government will try all options to free the hostages,” Marsudi said.

The kidnapping of the Indonesian sailors occurred just before the Abu Sayyaf released Flor.

A security official said pirates linked with the Abu Sayyaf abducted the seven Indonesians from tugboat TB Charles 001 while sailing to Indonesia on Monday.

The official said the abduction was confirmed after the victims started calling their agency and their respective families that the Abu Sayyaf is demanding 20 million ringgit as ransom.

The official revealed the kidnappers belonged to the Muktadil brothers group.

He said the gunmen on two speedboats intercepted the Indonesian tugboat.

The official said the gunmen initially seized three crewmen who were identified as Captain Feri Arifin, chief engineer Muhammad Mahbrur Dahri and assistant engineer Edy Suryono.

The gunmen fled with their three captives and came back to seize the crew of TK Robby 152, which was being towed by TB Charles.

The official identified the four other captives as Chief Officer Ismail, Robin Peter, Muhammad Nasir and Muhammad Sofyan.

The official said the gunmen and their captives sped off toward the direction of Tawi-Tawi.

According to security officials, Arifin reportedly managed to call his family and informed them they were kidnapped by the Abu Sayyaf in Sulu who demanded 20 million ringgit for their release.

The official added that on Thursday afternoon, the other crewmembers also managed to contact their respective families and informed them of the incident.

Abu Sayyaf spokesman Muammar Askali claimed the Indonesians were turned over to them for “safekeeping.”

Clueless

Armed Forces spokesman Brig. Gen. Restituto Padilla Jr. said they are still verifying the reported abduction.

“We have yet to get direct and solid information regarding this kidnapping incident. The validation of this report is still ongoing,” he said.

Western Mindanao Command (Westmincom) spokesman Maj. Filemon Tan Jr. said they are still verifying the reports while troops have been alerted on the latest kidnapping by the Abu Sayyaf.

Last month, gunmen kidnapped four Indonesian sailors and shot and wounded one crewmember of a tugboat off Tawi-Tawi.

The gunmen on a speedboat intercepted the TB Henry with its crew of 10 Indonesians off Pondo Sibugal in Sitangkai, an island town off Tawi-Tawi.

A batch of 10 Indonesian tugboat crewmembers were also taken last March 26 off East Kalimantan, Indonesia while en route to Manila.

The Indonesian tugboat TB Brama was recovered days later off Languyan town in Tawi-Tawi with no sign of the victims.

On April 1, four Malaysian sailors were kidnapped from a ship near Sabah’s Ligitan Island. It is still unconfirmed who was responsible but initial information indicated the Abu Sayyaf was behind the snatch.

Indonesian authorities have voiced concerns that piracy in the Sulu Sea area, a major sea traffic lane for the world’s top thermal coal exporter, could reach levels previously seen in Somalia.

Up to 18 Indonesians and Malaysians were kidnapped in three attacks on tugboats earlier this year by groups suspected to have ties to the Abu Sayyaf. All 14 Indonesian citizens were later released.

The Philippine military has said the militants have been targeting foreign crew of slow-moving tugboats because they can no longer penetrate resorts and coastal towns in Malaysia’s eastern Sabah state due to increased security.

Last year, Malaysian Bernard Then was kidnapped from a seaside restaurant in Sabah, about 300 kilometers from Jolo, the Abu Sayyaf’s stronghold. He was later killed by the bandit group.

The rise of sea hijackings prompted Indonesia, the Philippines and Malaysia to agree last month to carry out coordinated patrols to secure the region’s busy waterways.

However, coordinated patrols are yet to get underway.

The International Maritime Bureau (IMB)’s Kuala Lumpur-based Piracy Reporting Center said the shipping community had expressed concern over the rise in attacks.

Many Western and other embassies routinely issue warnings against traveling to southern Philippines because of the risk of being abducted by the Abu Sayyaf.

In the past, Abu Sayyaf has mainly targeted tourists as they can demand high ransom for foreigners.

In a bid to curb kidnappings, Malaysia has imposed a temporary ban on the trade route between Sabah and the southern Philippines. – Roel Pareño, Edith Regalado, Jaime Laude


Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi

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