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EDITORIALS & OPINIONS OF THE WEEK:
(Mini Reads followed by Full news commentary)

FROM ABS-CBN

By Ellen Tordesillas: CONCERNS ABOUT MALL VOTING PERSIST


When it was reported that voters could cast their votes in shopping malls this coming elections, I thought it was a good idea. It’s like going to mass in a mall and proceed to the grocery and shopping afterwards.
I was thinking of the Department of Foreign Affairs putting up passport processing services in malls which remarkably made the application and renewal of passports easy. My election-lawyer friend said transferring polling places is much more complicated than issuance of passports. I now see that voting in malls was not a well-thought-out idea. Just one issue: Under the Omnibus Election Code, stores, stalls, and other types of vendors within 30 meters from the voting place should be closed during May 9. Selling is also prohibited within 30 meters from the polling place. It is prohibited for “Any person who opens in any polling place or within a radius of thirty meters thereof on election day and during the counting of votes, booths or stalls of any kind for the sale, dispensing or display of wares, merchandise or refreshments, whether solid or liquid, or for any other purposes.”  That means stores, be it dry goods stores or restaurants, within 30 meters of the area designated to be the polling place, would be closed. How many stores would lose business and how many workers would lose income on that day? Would mall owners agree to that? There are more complications of having a polling place in malls. The law prohibits the use of private buildings to be used as polling places. Reading the Omnibus Election Code, I understand why. However, if the brilliant minds in the Comelec can justify having a polling place in malls, here are the complications: The law provides that the whole building, not just a portion, where the polling place is located must be put under the control of Comelec. READ MORE...

ALSO: By Inday Varona - Obscenity beyond hunger (KIDAPAWAN)


Photojournalists took this photo of armed cops atop a firetruck on the eve of the Kidapawan clash on April 1. "They came with an intent to kill." 
Jerome Succor Aba said elite cops, armed to the teeth, were present from Day 1 of the Kidapawan protests by hungry farmers. They were there, he said, atop the fire trucks, just behind the police lines. They had M-16 and M-14 rifles. They would pan the crowd and then stop at certain faces, peering through the sight barrels of their rifles or their binoculars. From Day 1, Aba said, negotiators appealed with Cotabato provincial police director Superintendent Alexander Tagum to pull out the armed cops. Tagum told them not to tell him how to do this job. They appealed with Kidapawan Mayor Joseph Bautista. He waved off their complaints. Six thousand hungry farmers arrived in Kidapawan on March 30, forming a human barricade across the national highway. The farmers were hungry; their plants had withered due to the El Nino drought that started last year. Agriculture Secretary Prospero Alcala claims things are not that bad in the farmlands of North Cotabato. This photo (shown below) by Tudla productions shows Barangay Malibatuan, Arakan, hometown of 22-year old Darwin Sulang who was killed in the April 1 dispersal of hungry farmers' Kidapawan City barricade. As early as February, newspapers were reporting of an exodus from farmlands to the cities. There was no hope of squeezing anything out of the parched earth. Farmers were going mad with grief. Women were forced to traffic themselves to save their children. READ MORE...

ALSO: By Buddy Gomez - The curse of the 'cochero' continues


Kalesas take a break on UN Avenue, Manila to wash the carriages and feed the horses.GOOGLE.COM SEARCH Over the past several weeks, ABS-CBN News, through its TV Patrol and its internet platform, has been featuring video shots (with concerned commentaries) of public thoroughfare/highway occurrences that graphically capture many instances of uncivility and evidence of anarchy in the operation of motor vehicles. VIRAL: Nova bus swerving sa Commonwealth Ave Could this be the unyielding, stubbornly unconquered genetic deficiency in the Filipino bloodline? The absence of mature responsibility and civilized behavior when behind the wheel has bloody consequences! There is road-hogging, dare-devil racing and taunting among and between drivers, refusal to yield rights of way. Road rage, even. And most certainly in many instances, property damage, physical harm and unfortunate deaths. Lives disrupted all because of uncivilized behavior! Surely, it is not the fault of the other driver, much less the motor vehicle itself!  VIRAL: Bus, nanggitgit ng kotse sa SLEx  Very much in common and in full display in those ABS-CBN videos are blatantly inconsiderate vehicular maneuvers, weaving in and out of designated lanes, bullying by heavier buses of smaller cars and even closed delivery vans, all utter examples of an obviously uncorrected facet of the Filipino character, a sheer incapacity to conform to basic civilized norms of behavior. The videos I have seen are painful reminders of what an absence of common courtesy in our roads can inevitably lead to. To the gates of misfortune and hell. READ MORE...

ALSO: By Teddy Locsin - Dying to eat


Teddy Locsin, Jr.
Here are the facts of the Kidapawan massacre. No. 1. The farmers were starving. That some of the farmers are leftists did not stop them from starving or from being farmers; anymore than being a union organizer stops you from being a worker. No. 2, blocking a highway is obstruction of traffic, not obstruction of justice—unless you went to lousy local law school. But resorting to excessive force to clear the highway is destruction of the constitution because… No. 3, the right of assembly and the right of free speech always and ever trump (hindi po kandidato ‘yan)—meaning beats hands down—the right of free flowing traffic. This especially so when there was an alternate route around the occupied part of the highway. And No. 4, the exercise of the right of assembly contemplates, indeed the right of assembly was invented by the American Founding Fathers—there are no other kinds of founding fathers, certainly none that wear G-strings; indeed the right of assembly was invented precisely to defy ordinary laws so as to be listened to. If you assemble at the behest of government, like at a silly EDSA anniversary, or worse, if you assemble deep in the jungle so that only you know that you have assembled, then you are not exercising the right of assembly. You are behaving like a trained monkey who is at least fed by the organ grinder. READ ORE...

ALSO: By E. Tordesillas _ PH authorities knew of Subi Reef lighthouse construction 5 years ago


Tordesillas -Xinhua said the 55-meter-high lighthouse contains technology to monitor passing ships. The Philippines should be very concerned. Subi Reef is the nearest China-occupied feature in the disputed Spratlys to the Philippine-occupied Pag-asa island. Only 12 nautical miles of the sea separate the two features claimed not only by China and the Philippines but also Vietnam. Subi is Zamora Reef to the Philippines, Zhubì Jiao to China and dá Xu Bi to Vietnam. Pag-asa is also known as Thitu, Zhongyè Dao to China and Ð?o Th? T? to Vietnam. As warned by Magdalo Rep. Ashley Acedillo in May last year, the reclamations and construction of military facilities in Subi Reef and Mischief Reef are intended to choke off access to Ayungin shoal, where the Philippines maintains a military outpost in a rusty WWII warship beached there, the BRP Sierra Madre. WATCH AND READ: On Board the BRP Sierra Madre It was also near Subi Reef where the U.S.-guided missile destroyer the USS Lassen sailed within 12 nautical miles in October last year in its Freedom of Navigation assertion. The lighthouse in Subi Reef is China’s third in Spratlys. The two others are in Huayang (Calderon Reef ) Reef and Chigua (Johnson South) Reef. The Aquino government, which expects the decision of the United Nations Arbitral Tribunal on its case filed versus China on the latter’s nine-dashed line map, has not been reported to have filed a protest on China’s Subi Reef lighthouse. It’s disturbing and infuriating. Philippine authorities knew about the construction of the lighthouse in Subi Reef as early as far back as 2010. Here’s a report by VERA Files’ Tessa Jamandre titled “China builds lighthouse on PHL-claimed territory in Spratlys”: “China has constructed a lighthouse on Subi Reef in the disputed areas in the South China Sea which Chinese troops are occupying but is being claimed by the Philippines and Vietnam. READ MORE...


READ FULL MEDIA REPORTS HERE:

Concerns about mall voting persist

MANILA, APRIL 11, 2016 (ABS-CBN) BLOG Ellen T. Tordesillas Posted at 04/05/16 8:20 PM- When it was reported that voters could cast their votes in shopping malls this coming elections, I thought it was a good idea. It’s like going to mass in a mall and proceed to the grocery and shopping afterwards.

I was thinking of the Department of Foreign Affairs putting up passport processing services in malls which remarkably made the application and renewal of passports easy.

My election-lawyer friend said transferring polling places is much more complicated than issuance of passports. I now see that voting in malls was not a well-thought-out idea.

Just one issue:

Under the Omnibus Election Code, stores, stalls, and other types of vendors within 30 meters from the voting place should be closed during May 9. Selling is also prohibited within 30 meters from the polling place.

It is prohibited for “Any person who opens in any polling place or within a radius of thirty meters thereof on election day and during the counting of votes, booths or stalls of any kind for the sale, dispensing or display of wares, merchandise or refreshments, whether solid or liquid, or for any other purposes.”

That means stores, be it dry goods stores or restaurants, within 30 meters of the area designated to be the polling place, would be closed. How many stores would lose business and how many workers would lose income on that day? Would mall owners agree to that?

There are more complications of having a polling place in malls.

The law prohibits the use of private buildings to be used as polling places. Reading the Omnibus Election Code, I understand why. However, if the brilliant minds in the Comelec can justify having a polling place in malls, here are the complications:

The law provides that the whole building, not just a portion, where the polling place is located must be put under the control of Comelec.

READ MORE...

If the place is under Comelec control, it would be the Philippine National Police (PNP), not the blue guards, who would be in charge of the security of the whole building. Like, if the new polling place would be in Southmall in Las Piñas, the whole Southmall would have PNP personnel manning the gates and scouring the place all day. Would the PNP have enough manpower for that without jeopardizing its other peace and order obligations?

Comelec control of the private building where the new polling place is located is not only on election day. It starts when the machines are delivered to the malls which could be two days before Election Day as the machines have to be tested and if they are in the approved condition, they would be sealed. The mall has to be open during the testing and sealing of the machines.

Comelec control of the building ends only when the machines are pulled out after the voting.

On Election, May 9, the mall has to be open as early as 4 a.m. for the members of the Board of Election Inspectors. And it can close only after all the election returns have been printed.

No voter should be denied entry to the mall. If the mall has a dress code, that has to be waived on that day for voters whose attire may not conform to it.

Parking fees should be waived during Election Day for voters who will cast their vote in the mall because if the mall owner continues to collect a parking fee, that would be already putting a property requirement on the voters, which is prohibited.

The law also says that the notice of movement of polling place must be done not later than 45 days before a general elections. It’s only a month left to May 9 and if there’s polling in place in any of the malls, the Comelec should have already come out with an order on that.

If a voter would question the conduct of the election in the mall voting place, the results of the clustered precincts may be annulled, and Comelec may set another elections of those clustered precincts.

Mall voting is an idea whose time has not yet come. At least not in the Philippines.


Obscenity beyond hunger Inday Espina-Varona Posted at 04/06/16 8:58 PM


Photojournalists took this photo of armed cops atop a firetruck on the eve of the Kidapawan clash on April 1. "They came with an intent to kill."

Jerome Succor Aba said elite cops, armed to the teeth, were present from Day 1 of the Kidapawan protests by hungry farmers.

They were there, he said, atop the fire trucks, just behind the police lines. They had M-16 and M-14 rifles. They would pan the crowd and then stop at certain faces, peering through the sight barrels of their rifles or their binoculars.

From Day 1, Aba said, negotiators appealed with Cotabato provincial police director Superintendent Alexander Tagum to pull out the armed cops.

Tagum told them not to tell him how to do this job. They appealed with Kidapawan Mayor Joseph Bautista. He waved off their complaints.

Six thousand hungry farmers arrived in Kidapawan on March 30, forming a human barricade across the national highway.

The farmers were hungry; their plants had withered due to the El Nino drought that started last year.


Agriculture Secretary Prospero Alcala claims things are not that bad in the farmlands of North Cotabato. This photo by Tudla productions shows Barangay Malibatuan, Arakan, hometown of 22-year old Darwin Sulang who was killed in the April 1 dispersal of hungry farmers' Kidapawan City barricade.

As early as February, newspapers were reporting of an exodus from farmlands to the cities.

There was no hope of squeezing anything out of the parched earth. Farmers were going mad with grief. Women were forced to traffic themselves to save their children.

READ MORE...

The reports quoted local agriculture officials. They came out with a regularity only topped by the television ads of candidates – each discounted 15-seconder the equivalent of P400 sacks of the cheaper rice variety.

Less than crumbs

Darwin Sulang, 22, of Arakan town, came to the barricade with relatives. None of the family thought they would face bullets simply because of a demand for food. None of them thought of death.


Kin grieves for Darwin Sulang, one of the dead protesters.

The governor of Cotabato, Emily Mendoza, initially refused to talk to protesters. When she did, it was with an offer that was less than crumbs.

Six thousand farmers were asking for 15,000 sacks of rice for their communities. The province has an approved calamity fund of more than P300 million. Mendoza told them, go home and you get 3 kilos per quarter.

A family of four or five people consumes a kilo of rice a day. A sack of rice has 50 kilos. The total ask was for 750,000 kilos.

If all went to only those protesting, it would come to 125 kilos per person – four months worth of rice, just enough for when, the heavens willing, for one plant-harvest cycle.

These people had kin and neighbors they would be sharing the rice with.

Most Cotabato farmers are peasants, many of them landless. They try to tide over their families by working as agricultural workers in bigger farms.

Peasants count among the poorest of Filipinos. Bereft of credit, stuck in backwaters far from market places, they are at the mercy of middlemen, the polite term for usurers who triple their profits with trading.

They borrow to purchase inputs for farms. They barely earn to pay off debts. They hire themselves as labor to put food on the family table.

One bad crop, one sickness in the family, and they go under. It is a tale as old as the Marcos dictatorship, at least. The song “Tano” tells exactly that story: A small farmer with a piece of land, pawns it when a child falls ill, interest the value of the principal, payable come harvest time. And then a storm comes. He loses the land, his debt remains.

“If we are still alive,” lumad leader Merceditha Iyong says, “it is because we live on debts. We do not know how we can pay these back.”

Deception

When protesters refused to go home, the harassment began.

“They came past midnight, disturbing protesters rest till morning with loudspeakers issuing threats, for us to go home of face arrest,” said Aba. “They told us we would starve on the barricades."

“For two days, plainclothes intelligence agents would grab whoever rallyist they could, and haul them off to jail,” he said.

Local government officials started coming in, talking to constituents, telling them to come home, on free transportation, and get the rice waiting for them.

The few who took up the offer ended up at the provincial jail, Aba said.

On April 1, another round of negotiations. Protesters told cops they would speak only with Gov. Mendoza, who had been stumping around with Liberal Party standard-bearer Mar Roxas.

Word finally came that she was willing to meet them later in the day. But shortly past 10 am, mayhem broke out.

You will see Aba in the videos taken by Kilab Multimedia. He stands between protesters and cops, the last of the negotiators to leave. He takes a dive backwards soon after, to rescue another negotiator, Bai Ali, who’d been hit by a baton.

 
BULLETS FOR RICE: THE MASSACRE OF PROTESTING FARMERS

Mayhem

Protesters fought back. They threw rocks. Cops threw rocks. The protesters managed to “capture” one fire truck and trained the water canon back at cops.

That, Aba said, was then the shooting started. A quick three shots, and then quicker bursts of fire.

As Aba was pulling Bai Ali to safety, a farmer beside him took a shot in the head. Another in the leg.

Some rushed to say their fellow negotiator, Sheena, had been hit by a rock. The rushed across the street even with bullets buzzing around them. Another farmer fell.

“Bai Ali wanted to go and rescue him (farmer),” Aba said. “But I had to pull her to safety because the bullets were raining so fast.”

Media footage show cops chasing after fleeing protesters, rifles aimed at their backs. Cops are thrown beating up arrested rallyists. On the other side, protesters caught hold of at least one rock-throwing cop and then trampled him. At least one cop is in a coma. Three protesters are dead.

A cop trains his gun on a fleeing protester. Photo by Kilab Multimedia Journalists, international rights groups, even state human rights officials have all said it is illegal to bring guns, weapons that can kill to mass actions. It is illegal to fire warning shots. It is certainly illegal -- in any democratic country -- to shoot at escaping civilian protesters.

To that and to the very important question -- how could officials shrug off the reality of hunger -- the government has had no genuine answers. If defends the indefensible with an old, old trick -- taken right out of the Marcosian rulebook: Blame the communist.

Unfortunately for Aquino's government, people would happily risk that tag to help the farmers. Compassion, after all, knows no color.

Read: A Black Hole for A Heart


The curse of the cochero continues Buddy Gomez Posted at 04/06/16 11:03 PM

Over the past several weeks, ABS-CBN News, through its TV Patrol and its internet platform, has been featuring video shots (with concerned commentaries) of public thoroughfare/highway occurrences that graphically capture many instances of uncivility and evidence of anarchy in the operation of motor vehicles.

 

VIRAL: Nova bus swerving sa Commonwealth Ave

Could this be the unyielding, stubbornly unconquered genetic deficiency in the Filipino bloodline?

The absence of mature responsibility and civilized behavior when behind the wheel has bloody consequences! There is road-hogging, dare-devil racing and taunting among and between drivers, refusal to yield rights of way. Road rage, even. And most certainly in many instances, property damage, physical harm and unfortunate deaths. Lives disrupted all because of uncivilized behavior! Surely, it is not the fault of the other driver, much less the motor vehicle itself!

VIRAL: Bus, nanggitgit ng kotse sa SLEx

Very much in common and in full display in those ABS-CBN videos are blatantly inconsiderate vehicular maneuvers, weaving in and out of designated lanes, bullying by heavier buses of smaller cars and even closed delivery vans, all utter examples of an obviously uncorrected facet of the Filipino character, a sheer incapacity to conform to basic civilized norms of behavior. The videos I have seen are painful reminders of what an absence of common courtesy in our roads can inevitably lead to. To the gates of misfortune and hell.

READ MORE...

PANOORIN: Bus at closed van, naggirian sa C5 Libis

The instances captured by netizens’ social media and contributed to TV Patrol covered incidents that occur, perhaps even on an hourly basis, all over Metro Manila. There was one in the Southern Luzon Expressway (SLEx) along Alabang. Some in C-5, Commonwealth Avenue and even in the inner city streets. These are only instances of what social media was able to record.

COCHEROS AND TAFT

“No Filipino…likes to have another…pass him, and the result is constant, indiscriminate racing on any kind of street, under any circumstances and never mind the…”

With reference to vehicles, the quote continues: “….they are overloaded and over driven….”

With reference to the driver: “….they drive with courage and dash. Sometimes minus all care and discretion.” (The story-teller and her children unfortunately figured in one vehicular accident. Fortunately, non-fatal although badly bruised.)

The preceding is neither current nor contemporary. It is an observation over a hundred years old. The quotation refers to cocheros (horse-rig drivers), carromatas and horses of a time long gone by in old, old Manila when vehicles were animal-drawn. That observation was borrowed from the memoirs of an American lady who brought her three pre-teen children and a younger sister to Manila in 1900. She joined her husband, Judge William Howard Taft.

(Very few Americans and Filipinos know that Judge Taft of Ohio, appointed by Pres. William McKinley as the first civilian Governor General of the Philippines, subsequently served as Secretary of War, succeeded Pres. Theodore Roosevelt as President of the US. And served as Chief Justice of the Supreme Court. The only American to have served in such singular exaltation.)

“No Filipino cochero likes to have another cochero pass him, and the result is constant, indiscriminate racing on any kind of street, under any circumstances and never mind the horse.” That is the exact and complete quote from Mrs. Taft. And the curse of the cochero continues! Don’t you think so?

While we are at it, let me continue with another anecdote of old Manila. Also from the pen of Mrs. William Howard Taft (nee Helen Herron, familiarly called Nellie.--“Recollections of Full Years” Dodd, Mead & Co., 1914).

Escolta, which is really an adjunct of our Binondo/Chinatown commercial district, had always been the shopping mecca for Manila’s well-born, genteel and better-heeled, even after the Americans came when an added feature was introduced to accommodate a commercial opportunity to service the presence of soldiers.


Kalesas take a break on UN Avenue, Manila to wash the carriages and feed the horses.GOOGLE.COM SEARCH

The fashionable street was narrow and had two-storey, rickety, timber-built structures with ground floor space for shops selling all necessities and sundries. At one end where Plaza Moraga still exists, by the foot of Jones Bridge (then known as Puente de Espana), one would find stores with hallowed memories like La Puerta del Sol, Estrella del Norte, Levy Hermanos (they were still in business before WW II when my ‘comerciante’ grandmother used to take me to Ongpin, Gandara, Rosario, Nueva and of course, Escolta).

During Mrs. Taft’s time, she wrote: “The Escolta at that time was full of saloons, camp followers of a large army…..a beery odour pervades the atmosphere…..” (Enterprising American businessmen, mustered out of the Military staking out Manila and staying, plus some local entrepreneurs opened up businesses that catered to the burgeoning presence of pleasure-seeking American soldiers stationed in Manila.)

She continues: “Mr. Taft decided that as long as this was the only street (Escolta, that is) in town where women could go shopping, the saloons would have to go.” And go they had to and did, but not without objections, arguments and lobbying. The Philippine Commission which the Governor General headed prevailed. The Commission was a legislative-executive governing body, formulating laws and priming the Philippine territory for democratic self-government, (in the American image, of course).

I take a critical and special notice of this event because it is perhaps the very first municipal regulatory ordinance that covers, and introduced, the concept ‘urban zonification’ in the Philippines. There have been many such similar instances that followed , resulting in a civilly well-ordered lifestyle in pre-war Commonwealth Manila. A period referred to as “Peace Time,” by those of a fast dwindling population who can still remember.

I am certain, pieces of evidence of a more sensible and intelligent municipal administration might still be dug up from the archives of the city council of Manila, if only to vainly recall that sanity, sense and sensitivity once held court.

But what for? We know damn well that much of Metro Manila is one incomparable zonal catastrophe, with building and utilities codes observed more on the sly than for the sake of civic order and a fail-safe human habitation. With the exception of the 21st century vintage Central Business Districts, there is hardly ever any street in Metro Manila that displays a sensible uniformity of coordinated, non-clashing occupancies and standards of property utilization.

RELATED ARTICLES:

READ: Who caused the demise of Metro Manila?

READ: More on the malaise and 'malas' of Metro Manila


Dying to eat Teddy Locsin, Jr. Posted at 04/05/16 7:57 PM | Updated as of 04/06/16 1:51 AM


Teddy Locsin, Jr.

Here are the facts of the Kidapawan massacre. No. 1. The farmers were starving. That some of the farmers are leftists did not stop them from starving or from being farmers; anymore than being a union organizer stops you from being a worker.

No. 2, blocking a highway is obstruction of traffic, not obstruction of justice—unless you went to lousy local law school. But resorting to excessive force to clear the highway is destruction of the constitution because…

No. 3, the right of assembly and the right of free speech always and ever trump (hindi po kandidato ‘yan)—meaning beats hands down—the right of free flowing traffic. This especially so when there was an alternate route around the occupied part of the highway.

And No. 4, the exercise of the right of assembly contemplates, indeed the right of assembly was invented by the American Founding Fathers—there are no other kinds of founding fathers, certainly none that wear G-strings; indeed the right of assembly was invented precisely to defy ordinary laws so as to be listened to.

If you assemble at the behest of government, like at a silly EDSA anniversary, or worse, if you assemble deep in the jungle so that only you know that you have assembled, then you are not exercising the right of assembly. You are behaving like a trained monkey who is at least fed by the organ grinder.

READ MORE...

A state of calamity sets aside all laws, regulations and procedure; e.g, for the release of rice stocks and other foodstuffs to the hungry. Any idiot knows that.

All that the people wanted was rice; so give it to them. It will give this government another excuse to import more rice for the kickbacks. (Instead of preparing two years ahead for another bad drought; which everybody knows comes cyclically, as Ed Angara pointed out at a gathering of admirers in Kamuning Bakery yesterday.)

Now people are sending sacks of rice to those farmers who survived the carnage, not the least of them, Robin Padilla our greatest movie star. So Lala, Lala, oh Lala, please do not look a gift horse in the mouth. Take the sacks and blame the government because it will not hesitate to blame you when this issue gets bigger.

In summary, Kidapawan was a case, of those who were dying to eat, dying just the same because they did not want to starve to death.


PH authorities knew of Subi Reef lighthouse construction 5 years ago Ellen T. Tordesillas Posted at 04/08/16 8:15 PM | Updated as of 04/08/16 8:16 PM

China has started the operations of a lighthouse in Subi Reef, the Chinese news agency Xinhua reported Tuesday.


Lighthouse on Subi Reef in South China Sea is not in use. Photo by Xing Guangli.

Xinhua said the 55-meter-high lighthouse contains technology to monitor passing ships.

The Philippines should be very concerned.

Subi Reef is the nearest China-occupied feature in the disputed Spratlys to the Philippine-occupied Pag-asa island. Only 12 nautical miles of the sea separate the two features claimed not only by China and the Philippines but also Vietnam.

Subi is Zamora Reef to the Philippines, Zhubì Jiao to China and dá Xu Bi to Vietnam. Pag-asa is also known as Thitu, Zhongyè Dao to China and Ð?o Th? T? to Vietnam.

As warned by Magdalo Rep. Ashley Acedillo in May last year, the reclamations and construction of military facilities in Subi Reef and Mischief Reef are intended to choke off access to Ayungin shoal, where the Philippines maintains a military outpost in a rusty WWII warship beached there, the BRP Sierra Madre.

WATCH AND READ: On Board the BRP Sierra Madre

It was also near Subi Reef where the U.S.-guided missile destroyer the USS Lassen sailed within 12 nautical miles in October last year in its Freedom of Navigation assertion.

The lighthouse in Subi Reef is China’s third in Spratlys. The two others are in Huayang (Calderon Reef ) Reef and Chigua (Johnson South) Reef.

The Aquino government, which expects the decision of the United Nations Arbitral Tribunal on its case filed versus China on the latter’s nine-dashed line map, has not been reported to have filed a protest on China’s Subi Reef lighthouse.

It’s disturbing and infuriating. Philippine authorities knew about the construction of the lighthouse in Subi Reef as early as far back as 2010.

Here’s a report by VERA Files’ Tessa Jamandre titled “China builds lighthouse on PHL-claimed territory in Spratlys”:

“China has constructed a lighthouse on Subi Reef in the disputed areas in the South China Sea which Chinese troops are occupying but is being claimed by the Philippines and Vietnam.

READ MORE...

“Aerial shots taken in October by the Philippine Air Force on routine reconnaissance flights show the 20-by-20-meter structure complemented by parabolic antennas and domes on the reef, which the Philippine government calls “Zamora” and lies only 26 kilometers southwest of Pag-asa that is part of Kalayaan town.

“The lighthouse is intended to expand and fortify China’s claim over the hotly contested Spratly group of islands, experts said.

“Under international law, a lighthouse is a recognized base point from where a state can measure its maritime regimes, including territorial sea (12 nautical miles from the baseline), contiguous zone (24 nm), economic exclusive zone (200 nm), continental shelf (200 nm) and extended continental shelf (350nm).

“Malacañang and the Department of Foreign Affairs declined to comment on the information when asked for their reaction. An official, who asked not to be named, said they would like to see first the published article.

““I think that should be resisted. That really goes against all understandings,” said former ambassador to Japan Domingo Siazon who was the foreign secretary in 1995 when the Philippines strongly protested the construction by China of military-type structures on Mischief Reef, 150 miles west of Palawan and 620 miles southeast of China.”

Malacanang and the DFA remained silent and did not protest after the publication of VERA Files’ article.

Is it any wonder that China proceeded with the construction without any trouble?


Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi

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