AQUINO RETURNS TO CALAMITY AREAS IN VISAYAS, MINDANAO
Three days before Christmas, President Aquino returned to three key areas damaged both by natural and man-made calamities to check on the government’s rehabilitation efforts there. Communications Secretary Herminio Coloma said on Sunday, the President wanted to “personally visit and check on residents who experienced strong typhoons and violence” in a span of less than a year.
ALSO: Kerry’s persuasion visit -Editorial
Reading between the lines of the Palace recount of the dialog between Noynoy and US Secretary of State John Kerry, it appears that a trilateral arrangement has been reached involving also Japan to create a military buffer against China in the region. The creation of the Air Defense Identification Zone (ADIZ) now appears to be more of a reaction of China to what it correctly read as the creation of a US-led naval zone within the disputed seas in the guise of the US rotational policy in the Pacific Ocean. The tripartite deal can be deduced from the rapid exchange of visits among officials of the three countries. read more below...
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Aquino returns to calamity areas in Visayas, Mindanao
President Benigno Aquino III. AP FILE PHOTO
MANILA, DECEMBER 23, 2013 (INQUIRER) By Christian V. Esguerra - Three days before Christmas, President Aquino returned to three key areas damaged both by natural and man-made calamities to check on the government’s rehabilitation efforts there.
Communications Secretary Herminio Coloma said on Sunday, the President wanted to “personally visit and check on residents who experienced strong typhoons and violence” in a span of less than a year.
“Above all, he would send them his heartfelt wish that they may have a Merry Christmas and that they may bless with prosperity in the coming year,” Coloma said in Filipino in an interview over Radyo ng Bayan.
The pre-Christmas visit brought the President and select members of his Cabinet, first to Laak town in Compostela Valley, then to Zamboanga City and Tacloban City.
Joining the President in the three-province tour were Cabinet Secretary Jose Rene Almendras, Energy Secretary Jericho Petilla, Public Works Secretary Rogelio Singson, Social Welfare Secretary Corazon Soliman, and General Manager Chito Cruz of the National Housing Authority.
Also with him was former Sen. Panfilo Lacson, the new presidential assistant tapped to oversee the entire rehabilitation program for “Yolanda” victims.
Aquino arrived in Laak in the morning to inspect the “permanent housing” project for victims of typhoon “Pablo” in December in 2012.
Coloma said the settlement was part of 1,266 houses built under the Department of Social Welfare and Development’s Modified Shelter Assistance Program.
He said the project benefited typhoon victims in Baganga, Boston and Cateel towns in Davao Oriental and those in Compostela, New Bataan, Monkayo, Montevista and Laak in Compostela Valley.
In Zamboanga, the President was briefed on the “roadmap to recovery and reconstruction,” which was put in place after Moro National Liberation Front fighters attacked the city last September.
At the Joaquin Enriquez Memorial Sports Complex, Aquino inspected bunkhouses built for residents classified as “internally displaced persons.”
From there, the President flew to Tacloban City, the center of the government’s relief efforts for victims of supertyphoon “Yolanda,” which pounded Eastern Visayas early last month.
He likewise checked on bunkhouses prepared by the Department of Public Works and Highways there. He then led the turnover of similar structures for typhoon victims in nearby Palo.
DAILY TRIBUNE EDITORIAL
Kerry’s persuasion visit Written by Tribune Editorial Thursday, 19 December 2013 00:00
US Secretary of State John Kerry arrives at Manila International Airport on Dec 17, 2013. Kerry is in the Philippines for a 2-day trip that could fast-track a deal on expading the US military presence as a territorial dispute simmers with China. (AFP/Noel Celis) NEWS REPORT: The United States, the former colonial power in the Philippines, has been the greatest contributor of aid following the typhoon which left nearly 8,000 dead or missing, and four million people homeless. Washington deployed an aircraft carrier group and committed 1,000 Marines and $20 million in a mobilisation that served as a preview of the deal's intensified defence engagement. Beijing meanwhile drew scorn with an initial offer of just $100,000 to the Philippines, a Washington ally with which it is locked in a dispute over sovereignty of islands in the strategically vital South China Sea. Del Rosario and Aquino have been rallying pro-US sentiment to blunt China's muscle-flexing in the region. FromChannel News Asia.
MANILA - It appears that the US government will get what it wants after all in the stalled increased rotational presence (IRP) basing agreement.
This consists of full access and control of facilities where its forces camp out while keeping out Philippine interest in some of the facilities that it would set up.
Reading between the lines of the Palace recount of the dialog between Noynoy and US Secretary of State John Kerry, it appears that a trilateral arrangement has been reached involving also Japan to create a military buffer against China in the region.
The creation of the Air Defense Identification Zone (ADIZ) now appears to be more of a reaction of China to what it correctly read as the creation of a US-led naval zone within the disputed seas in the guise of the US rotational policy in the Pacific Ocean.
The tripartite deal can be deduced from the rapid exchange of visits among officials of the three countries.
Last Dec. 8, on the pretext of visiting Japanese military relief workers in the the typhoon-hit Visayas provinces, Defense Minister Itsunori Onodera was in the country.
Noynoy was in Japan just last week supposedly for the Asean-Japan Summit but from which it seems he brought home the biggest military package from Japan that included a commitment for three vessels for the Philippine Coast Guard.
Japan with its pacifist Constitution is barred from deploying its military forces outside of its territory, except for defense and humanitarian work, such as the full assistance from the Self Defense Force in the relief and rehabilitation efforts in the crisis areas in the Visayas.
Japan would again assume much of the funding for the planned defense triangle.
According to Noynoy’s mouthpiece Sonny Coloma, the dialog with Kerry included the parameters on the stalled rotational presence basing agreement.
Noynoy is not known to disagree before his American overlords and the likelihood is that he had immediately submitted to all that Kerry has demanded.
Agreeing to American forces staking up long-term stations in the country is already giving up the sovereignty gains obtained in 1991 when 12 senators voted to reject the extension of the RP-US Bases Treaty.
Worse, giving up control of Philippine military facilities to the Americans where their forces are staying is a retrogression to the colonization period.
Noynoy may have also acceded to the American demand that it gains access to all military bases in the country and that it also attains rotational control of the facilities when in use by its forces which would be permanent, despite the rotational presence, all of which makes it worse than the bases treaty.
When the RP-US bases treaty was in force, which by the way former President Cory Aquino, the incumbent’s mother, did the unthinkable for a president, as she even led a march to dissuade the Senate from rejecting the extension of the deal, with the Philippine military not even having taken control of the American bases.
A Philippine military command was allowed inside the American bases whose members were there only to be fattened and greased while operations remained in US hands.
Now the fattening and greasing would also become rotational and no less than Noynoy is allowing this.
It would not be a surprise that the negotiating panel will soon announce a breakthrough and the increased rotational presence agreement is signed the soonest after Kerry has left the country.
Noynoy in turn would be displaying more surplus hardware from the US which of course were obtained not without the usual strain on the budget. Published in Editorial
Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi
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