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EDITORIALS & OPINIONS OF THE WEEK:
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FROM MANILA BULLETIN

EDITORIAL: U.S. NOTES POSITIVE SIDE IN CHINA VISIT


NOVEMBER 6 -The United States, like many others, seems to have made some adjustments for President Duterte’s actions and statements. Speaking with media while visiting in Beijing, China, last October 29, Deputy Secretary of State Antony J. Blinken said President Duterte may have gotten Beijing to follow – even if only in part – the Arbitral Court ruling that the Scarborough Shoal is a traditional fishing ground that should remain open to all who have long been fishing there. “Indeed there are some signs … with regard to Scarborough that China may be acting in accordance with the arbitration decision. That could be a very positive development,” Blinken said. His statement was posted on the department’s website. READ MORE...

ALSO: Malaysia’s China pivot


NOVEMBER 6 -BY ATTY RENE ESPINA The November 2 headline of this paper is similar to my title. The story states that Prime Minister of Malaysia Najib Razak was on an official visit to China where he would sign a “significant defense deal” with them. This is a potential strategic shift as his ties with the United States fray over a corruption scandal. Razak’s move marks another potential blow to Washington’s pivot towards Asia. Two weeks ago President Rodrigo Duterte of the Philippines, a long time ally of the US, visited China with an olive branch. After taking office in 2009, Najib reached out to Washington and relations warmed following decades of periodic distrust. But he has increasingly leaned towards China as it became Malaysia’s biggest trading partner, especially after the eruption last year of a massive corruption scandal implicating Najib and a state investment fund (IMDB) he founded. READ MORE...

ALSO: By Edgardo Angara - IT-BPM industry


NOVEMBER 5 -Former Senator Angara The Information Technology-Business Process Association of the Philippines (IBPAP) recently handed out its first-ever Flare Awards to honor individuals and institutions who have contributed to the outstanding growth of the Information Technology and Business Process Management (IT-BPM) industry. I was one of those honored with an Azure Flare Award for being a luminary of this sunshine industry, in particular for sponsoring three key pieces of legislation—the Cybercrime Prevention Act (RA 10175), the Data Privacy Act (RA 10173) and the creation of the Department of Information and Communications Technology or the DICT Law (RA 10844). These three laws established the legal framework which enabled the industry to develop and grow swiftly. READ MORE...

ALSO: By Jullie Daza - New normal
(Mr. Song (Center for Int'l Studies] was swamped with questions when he opined that ties between Manila and Beijing have been “completely repaired” after Mr. Duterte’s visit. At the end of the day, he said, “we agreed to expand cooperation between the two Coast Guards.” Later that night, the news on TV was that Filipino fishermen were back fishing in Scarborough Shoal.)


NOVEMBER 4 -BY JULLIE DAZA A newsful time it was to be in China. President Duterte and a top-heavy delegation of officials, politicians, businessmen, and Chinese-Filipinos had just left Beijing. Chinese President Xi Jinping was presiding over the annual plenum of the Communist Party when he announced a stricter code of conduct for party members while continuing the crackdown on corruption. As the newsmaking days unfolded, Senator Cynthia Villar arrived with nine NP congresspersons from Manila to learn and discover what the “new normal” in China is all about. “China needs more caregivers as the aging population grows,” said Junying Song, a ranking official of the Center for International Studies. READ MORE...


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US notes positive side in China visit

MANILA, NOVEMBER 7, 2016 (BULLETIN) Published November 6, 2016, 12:05 AM - The United States, like many others, seems to have made some adjustments for President Duterte’s actions and statements.

Speaking with media while visiting in Beijing, China, last October 29, Deputy Secretary of State Antony J. Blinken said President Duterte may have gotten Beijing to follow – even if only in part – the Arbitral Court ruling that the Scarborough Shoal is a traditional fishing ground that should remain open to all who have long been fishing there.

“Indeed there are some signs … with regard to Scarborough that China may be acting in accordance with the arbitration decision. That could be a very positive development,” Blinken said. His statement was posted on the department’s website.

READ MORE...

American officials have been generally concerned about the new direction in which President Duterte has been leading the Philippines. One reaction has been a US senator’s opposing a planned US sale of some 26,000 assault rifles to the Philippines.

The State Department itself, however, has maintained that the US stands by its commitments to the Philippines, despite President Duterte’s caustic remarks against President Obama and his announced intention to “separate” from the US. The President himself later clarified that “separation” is not “divorce.” He merely wants to forge a more independent foreign policy for the Philippines which, it must be said, has been much too dependent on the US.

President Duterte’s statements often delivered in impromptu speeches and in media interviews, have been variously explained, clarified, and interpreted, and Presidential Spokesman Ernesto Abella has appealed to all to consider them with some “creative imagination.”

Deputy Secretary of State Blinken may have taken Abella’s word of advice to heart and has now seen a positive side to the President’s recent moves in foreign affairs. With more of such openness, other critics may find many more positive sides to the moves of our new President.


Malaysia’s China pivot 0 SHARES Share it! Published November 5, 2016, 10:00 PM By Atty. Rene Espina Former Senator


BY ATTY RENE ESPINA

The November 2 headline of this paper is similar to my title. The story states that Prime Minister of Malaysia Najib Razak was on an official visit to China where he would sign a “significant defense deal” with them. This is a potential strategic shift as his ties with the United States fray over a corruption scandal. Razak’s move marks another potential blow to Washington’s pivot towards Asia. Two weeks ago President Rodrigo Duterte of the Philippines, a long time ally of the US, visited China with an olive branch.

After taking office in 2009, Najib reached out to Washington and relations warmed following decades of periodic distrust. But he has increasingly leaned towards China as it became Malaysia’s biggest trading partner, especially after the eruption last year of a massive corruption scandal implicating Najib and a state investment fund (IMDB) he founded.

READ MORE...

Billions are alleged to have been siphoned from the IMDB in a stunning international campaign of embezzlement and money laundering that has sparked investigations in several countries. The US Justice Department moved in July to seize more than $1 billion in assets it says were purchased by Najib’s relatives and associates using stolen IMDB money. The US Justice Department Filings said that a “Malaysian Official 1” took part in the looting. Malaysia has since admitted that official was Najib. The prime minister and IMDB denied any wrong doing.

As I said before, countries conduct their foreign policy with their own best selfish interest as a just priority. In this case in so far as Najib is concerned, his own reputation and political survival in Malaysia is of paramount importance. The interests, therefore, of ASEAN takes the backseat.

We must also be mindful that at least one third of Malaysia’s population are ethnic Chinese who are very much in control of the business activities of that country. In short, without the strong- man kind of government that Malaysia has, the Chinese Malaysians many of whom are at least millionaires and a majority of whom are middle class would control almost all of the affairs of Malaysia.

I am still waiting whether the kind of agreement between Malaysia and China would be a mutual defense pact. However, if that agreement becomes a reality, I would not be surprised at all because of what I just wrote. Also because of the fact that North Borneo (Sabah) which then belonged to the Sultan of Sulu and Sabah was leased by the British from the Sultan. It is now claimed by Malaysia as part of its territory. Our Supreme Court in a decision penned by Justice Antonio T. Carpio declared that Sabah is part of our territory over which the Philippines has acquired jurisdiction and sovereignty.

It would, therefore, be foolhardy for any PH administration to seek the closest of relations to China. Friendly perhaps, but not closest! The Chinese Malaysians are a reality that we must acknowledge. Plus the fact that the imperialist handover of Sabah to Malaysia by the British is indeed a very painful reality. Our brother Tausugs of Southern Mindanao, especially of Sulu, Tawi-tawi, and Sabah expect to be given their right to exercise their freedom over the whole of their territory.

I state without any equivocation but out of simple pure logic — that with the use of Malaysia’s “good offices” to expedite the agreement between the MILF (Moro Islamic Liberation Front) and the Philippine government, i.e., the BBL (Bangsamoro Basic Law) was like making Alibaba the arbiter between the 40 thieves and its Filipino victims.

With a new US president being elected two days after the publication of this article, I believe it would not be too far-fetched for the present administration to renew and strengthen our relations with the United States of America. It should explore other new ideas that will be to the best interests of both countries — In the process ensuring our sovereignty, territorial integrity, and the rule of international law and respect for international agreements like the UNCLOS.


IT-BPM industry 0 SHARES Share it! Published November 5, 2016, 10:00 PM By Edgardo J. Angara Former Senator


Former Senator Angara

The Information Technology-Business Process Association of the Philippines (IBPAP) recently handed out its first-ever Flare Awards to honor individuals and institutions who have contributed to the outstanding growth of the Information Technology and Business Process Management (IT-BPM) industry.

I was one of those honored with an Azure Flare Award for being a luminary of this sunshine industry, in particular for sponsoring three key pieces of legislation—the Cybercrime Prevention Act (RA 10175), the Data Privacy Act (RA 10173) and the creation of the Department of Information and Communications Technology or the DICT Law (RA 10844).

These three laws established the legal framework which enabled the industry to develop and grow swiftly.

READ MORE...

Prior to the enactment of these laws, the Philippines did not have a clear policy governing the Internet. At the time, the World Wide Web was like the Wild, Wild West—where everything was free of any rules or regulations.

Such lack effectively drove away would-be IT-BPM investors worried about their computer systems getting hacked, or their client’s private data being sold off, or leaked to unscrupulous individuals. To investors, conducting business in such situation was simply too risky.

This is why we pushed for the trio of ICT legislation during the 15th Congress, as chairman of the Senate Committee on Science and Technology and the bicameral Congressional Commission on Science and Technology and Engineering (COMSTE), with then COMSTE Executive Director Dr. Gregory L. Tangonan.

The Data Privacy Act protects the rights of netizens over their personal data. The Cybercrime Prevention Act imposes sanctions against netizens committing crimes online. The DICT Law, meanwhile, established a dedicated line agency tasked with ensuring that the necessary hard and soft infrastructure are in place for Filipino citizens to make the most out of opportunities online. All these pieces of legislation—save for the DICT Law—were passed and swiftly enacted under my watch.

We owe the IT-BPM industry, much. Between 2004 and 2014, its revenues grew 12-fold, far outpacing the global industry’s 5-fold growth during the same period. By the end of 2015, the industry generated revenues of US$21.5 billion—well on its way to achieving its 2016 target of earning US$25 billion.

With its phenomenal growth, the industry has become the country’s second largest source of foreign exchange, contributing significantly to the country’s macroeconomic stability. Some estimate that by 2017, the IT-BPM industry may overtake OFW remittances as the top source of the country’s dollar revenue.

The industry’s huge benefit, however, comes from the many jobs it has created, especially in the provinces. From a mere handful of companies that employed mostly NCR-based night owls during the late 1990s, the industry grew exponentially within a short span of time to become among the country’s top employers today.

Between 2004 and 2014, employment grew 10-times. And as of last year, up to 1.2 million Filipinos were directly employed by the industry, with some 4 million in ancillary industries such as real estate, retail, construction and even tourism.

Naturally, the National Capital Region (NCR) and the country’s urban centers like Cebu City, Iloilo City, Davao City, and Bacolod City were among the first to attract IT-BPM investments. That list has since grown to include San Nicolas in Ilocos Norte, Roxas City in Roxas, Puerto Princesa in Palawan, Balanga City in Bataan, and Cagayan de Oro City in Misamis Oriental.

Even far-flung farming communities like Kapatagan in Lanao del Norte have already taken on IT-BPM jobs—with farmers tending their fields in the morning and running their own small IT-BPM companies at night. DICT officials estimate that to date, up to 80 small cities and municipalities outside of Metro Manila now play host to IT-BPM operations.

The IT-BPM industry deserves due recognition for the immense benefits it has brought to the country. Its success is the product of close collaboration among industry, government and academe. Ensuring that such multi-stakeholder cooperation continues and deepens in the coming years—in the face of a fast-changing world—would be an appropriate expression of gratitude to the IT-BPM industry.


New normal 0 SHARES Share it! Published November 4, 2016, 10:00 PM By Jullie Y. Daza


BY JULLIE DAZA

A newsful time it was to be in China. President Duterte and a top-heavy delegation of officials, politicians, businessmen, and Chinese-Filipinos had just left Beijing.

Chinese President Xi Jinping was presiding over the annual plenum of the Communist Party when he announced a stricter code of conduct for party members while continuing the crackdown on corruption.

As the newsmaking days unfolded, Senator Cynthia Villar arrived with nine NP congresspersons from Manila to learn and discover what the “new normal” in China is all about.

“China needs more caregivers as the aging population grows,” said Junying Song, a ranking official of the Center for International Studies.

READ MORE...

Given that the three-decades-old one-child policy has produced families where the lone son or daughter is expected to support and take care of his/her elderly parents, the Chinese cannot have enough caregivers, now more than ever. (Hong Kong with its 350,000 documented and 200,000 undocumented OFWs, many of them carers, can take care of themselves, in a manner of speaking.)

Admitting that China must “deepen (its) opening up, go-out strategy” in the wake of widening globalization even as the global economy is slow in recovering, Mr. Song extolled the virtues of the One Belt One Road (OBOR) initiative that is expected to stimulate the economies of countries in Asia, South Asia, Southeast Asia, South Pacific, Latin America, and Europe. Aha, the “silver road” in the Philippines connects East and West via the South China Sea.

China also depends on exports, and here the visiting legislators were struck by how Chinese exports to the Philippines grew to US$21 billion while imports from the Philippines were a mere $7.7B in the last 10 months.

Those 13 MOUs signed by the two Presidents last month will be financed by the Export-Import Bank of China, government to government, and not by the Asian Infrastructure and Investment Bank, of which the Philippines is among 57 members.

Mr. Song was swamped with questions when he opined that ties between Manila and Beijing have been “completely repaired” after Mr. Duterte’s visit.

At the end of the day, he said, “we agreed to expand cooperation between the two Coast Guards.” Later that night, the news on TV was that Filipino fishermen were back fishing in Scarborough Shoal.


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