PHL SUBMITS 4,000-PAGE PAPERS TO U.N. VS CHINA

Citing national interest and seeking a just and durable solution grounded on international law, the Philippines submitted yesterday a 4,000-page memorial or written argument to the United Nations arbitral tribunal hearing its case against China for the latter’s excessive claims in the South China Sea. The Philippines submitted electronically its memorial to the registrar of the tribunal based in The Hague at 9:37 a.m. (Manila time). Copies were also sent to each arbitrator – the Chinese ambassador in the Netherlands and the Chinese chargé d’affaires in Manila. Foreign Affairs Secretary Albert del Rosario said the memorial, consisting of 10 volumes, presents the Philippines’ case on the jurisdiction of the arbitral tribunal and the merits of the country’s claims. The Philippines did not disclose whether harassment of Philippine fishing vessels by the Chinese coast guard on Ayungin and Panatag Shoals was included in the memorial. Del Rosario said the Philippines is obliged to preserve confidentiality.  The Philippines protested China’s actions when its coast guard vessels drove away the two Philippine ships from Ayungin Shoal on March 9. The shoal is called Ayungin Shoal by Manila and Ren’ai Reef by the Chinese. It is also called Second Thomas Shoal. China’s expulsion of the two Filipino civilian vessels from Ayungin prevented them from re-supplying a small group of Filipino soldiers guarding the shoal. The Philippines also protested the firing of water cannons at Filipino fishermen on Panatag (Scarborough) Shoal, also called Bajo de Masinloc, in January and other harassment committed by Chinese authorities. Volume I of the memorial contains the Philippines’ analysis of the applicable law and relevant evidence, and demonstrates that the arbitral tribunal has jurisdiction over all of the claims made by the Philippines in its Statement of Claim. READ MORE...

ALSO: Phl, US resume discussions on enhanced defense agreement

The Philippines and the US yesterday resumed discussions on the proposed Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement to further strengthen the security partnership of the two countries. The eighth round of negotiations from April 10 to 11 will have both panels working on the agreement that would grant American troops greater access to the country’s military bases.The agreement also seeks to increase capabilities to respond to natural and man-made calamities, officials pointed out. Defense Undersecretary Pio Lorenzo Batino, chairman of Philippine negotiating panel, said the discussions highlighted the vital importance of increasing capabilities to respond to natural and man-made calamities, referring to lessons learned from recent experiences in the country and in the region. “Both the Philippines and the United States recognize this added key dimension to this updated framework of defense cooperation and we are working together for the realization of the full potentials of closer partnership in ensuring timely and adequate humanitarian assistance and disaster relief responses,” he said. Batino said other significant benefits from the agreement under negotiation is the critical and timely support for the modernization program of the Armed Forces of the Philippines, achievement of the country’s minimum credible defense posture and provision of jobs and other economic opportunities through the local goods and supplies procurement that will be made by the US military. The Department of Foreign Affairs earlier said the agreement being negotiated with the US is expected to further enhance the security alliance between the two countries. The agreement is seen to ultimately support the Philippines’ efforts to modernize its military and build a minimum credible defense posture. The scope of the agreement will include, among others, improving interoperability, addressing short-term gaps, promoting long-term modernization, reinforcing maritime security, deepening maritime domain awareness and strengthening humanitarian assistance and disaster relief capabilities. The Philippines is working out the defense agreement with US amid China’s increasing assertiveness over the West Philippine Sea. On Wednesday, China warned the Philippines and Japan against testing what it called “national sovereignty and territorial integrity,” saying they could quickly assemble their military to fight and win any battle. Malacañang said the Philippines maintains its commitment to pursue all diplomatic and peaceful settlement of issues amid the warnings made by Chinese Defense Minister Chang Wanquan.

By By Ruben M. Tanseco, S.J: The message for all seasons

Inspired by no less than Christ himself, the 2014 Lenten Message of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP), through its President, Archbishop Socrates Villegas, is meant to be lived for all seasons by all of us who really claim to be Christ’s disciples, and not just during Lent. It is entitled “Poverty that Dehumanizes, Poverty that Sanctifies,” and since it is a bit long, I felt inspired to summarize it in this column, with the hope that more people would be able to read it. Moreover, our beloved Pope Francis himself had already proclaimed early on in his papacy that a primary goal in his service as Pope was to work for “a poor church for the poor.” The CBCP message quoted him as saying: “Poverty in the world is a scandal. In a world where there is so much wealth, so many resources to feed everyone, it is unfathomable that there are so many hungry children, that there are so many children without an education, so many poor persons. Poverty today is a cry . . . . No to an economy of exclusion and inequality!” Archbishop Villegas strongly stated that poverty that dehumanizes is a No-No in God’s plan for humanity. No to material destitution. No to moral destitution. No to spiritual destitution. Our CBCP Lenten Message ends with the words of Pope Francis: “We may be sure that none of our acts of love for God will be lost, nor any of our acts of sincere concern for others. No single act of love for God will be lost, no generous effort is meaningless, no painful endurance is wasted.” (From Evangelii Gandium, 279). READ MORE...


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Phl submits papers vs China


Soldiers deployed for almost five months now on Ayungin Shoal pose for a local television news crew aboard the Philippine Navy ship Sierra Madre yesterday. AP

MANILA, APRIL 14, 2014 (PHILSTAR) By Pia Lee-Brago - Citing national interest and seeking a just and durable solution grounded on international law, the Philippines submitted yesterday a 4,000-page memorial or written argument to the United Nations arbitral tribunal hearing its case against China for the latter’s excessive claims in the South China Sea.

The Philippines submitted electronically its memorial to the registrar of the tribunal based in The Hague at 9:37 a.m. (Manila time).

Copies were also sent to each arbitrator – the Chinese ambassador in the Netherlands and the Chinese chargé d’affaires in Manila.

Foreign Affairs Secretary Albert del Rosario said the memorial, consisting of 10 volumes, presents the Philippines’ case on the jurisdiction of the arbitral tribunal and the merits of the country’s claims.

The Philippines did not disclose whether harassment of Philippine fishing vessels by the Chinese coast guard on Ayungin and Panatag Shoals was included in the memorial.

Del Rosario said the Philippines is obliged to preserve confidentiality.

The Philippines protested China’s actions when its coast guard vessels drove away the two Philippine ships from Ayungin Shoal on March 9.

The shoal is called Ayungin Shoal by Manila and Ren’ai Reef by the Chinese. It is also called Second Thomas Shoal.

China’s expulsion of the two Filipino civilian vessels from Ayungin prevented them from re-supplying a small group of Filipino soldiers guarding the shoal.

The Philippines also protested the firing of water cannons at Filipino fishermen on Panatag (Scarborough) Shoal, also called Bajo de Masinloc, in January and other harassment committed by Chinese authorities.

Volume I of the memorial contains the Philippines’ analysis of the applicable law and relevant evidence, and demonstrates that the arbitral tribunal has jurisdiction over all of the claims made by the Philippines in its Statement of Claim.

“And every claim is meritorious. It sets out the specific relief sought by the Philippines in regard to each of its claims, and shows why it is entitled to such relief,” Del Rosario said in a press conference with Solicitor General Francis Jardeleza at the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA).

Volumes 2 through 10, which contain the documentary evidence and maps that support the Philippines’ claims, consist of more than 3,700 pages, including over 40 maps.

“With firm conviction, the ultimate purpose of the memorial is our national interest. It is about defending what is legitimately ours. It is about securing our children’s future. It is about guaranteeing freedom of navigation for all nations,” Del Rosario said.

“It is about helping to preserve regional peace, security and stability. Finally, it is about seeking not just any kind of resolution but a just and durable solution grounded on international law,” he said.

The memorial was submitted in conformity with the Rules of Procedure adopted by the five-member arbitral tribunal last August, which established March 30, 2014 as the due date for its submission.

The Philippines will follow the guidance of the arbitral tribunal with regard to the publication of the memorial.

Non-participant?

China said last week it will never accept nor participate in the international arbitration unilaterally initiated and pushed by the Philippines, claiming Beijing’s position has a solid basis in international law.

The arbitration initiated by the Philippines is supported by the United Nations, European Union and many other countries.

But China said it is hopeful that the Philippine side will be fully aware of the complexity and sensitivity of the South China Sea issue, return to the right track of resolving the dispute through negotiation and consultation as soon as possible, and stop going any further down the wrong track so as to avoid further damage to bilateral relations.

“Ordinarily, the next step in an arbitration of this nature would be the filing of a counter-memorial by the other party,” Del Rosario said. “However, it is currently unknown whether China will appear in the case, or whether it will continue its present policy of abstaining from the proceedings. Under the Rules of Procedure, the arbitral tribunal will decide on the next steps and advise the parties.”

Jardeleza said the Philippines amended earlier this month its Statement of Claim to include Ayungin Shoal as one of the items subject of the claim and the arbitration.

Ayungin Shoal is within the 200-nautical mile exclusive economic zone (EEZ) of the Philippines. The Philippines has sovereign rights and jurisdiction over the shoal.

“We continue to hope that our neighboring countries who have similar stakes in the West Philippine Sea and the South China Sea will take a position similar to us,” Jardeleza said.

He said China is bound to accept and implement the decision to be handed down by the tribunal.

The Philippine government filed a case for binding arbitration before a United Nations tribunal over its territorial dispute with China in the South China Sea on Jan. 22, 2013.

Only alternative

Meanwhile, Senate President Franklin Drilon backed yesterday the Philippine government’s submission of its memorial to the UN arbitral tribunal.

“This is our only alternative because in reality, China is a big country. It is important for us that our relationship with other countries must be based on international laws,” Drilon said in a radio interview.

He urged the administration to remain firm in its position in defending the West Philippine Sea despite the harassment coming from Chinese naval vessels.

He also supported the move of the defense department to buy more military jets in a bid to further improve the Armed Forces’ capability in defending the Philippine territory. - With Christina Mendez

Phl, US resume discussions on enhanced defense agreement By Pia Lee-Brago (The Philippine Star) | Updated April 11, 2014 - 12:00am 0 8 googleplus0 0

MANILA, Philippines - The Philippines and the US yesterday resumed discussions on the proposed Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement to further strengthen the security partnership of the two countries.

The eighth round of negotiations from April 10 to 11 will have both panels working on the agreement that would grant American troops greater access to the country’s military bases.

The agreement also seeks to increase capabilities to respond to natural and man-made calamities, officials pointed out.

Defense Undersecretary Pio Lorenzo Batino, chairman of Philippine negotiating panel, said the discussions highlighted the vital importance of increasing capabilities to respond to natural and man-made calamities, referring to lessons learned from recent experiences in the country and in the region.

“Both the Philippines and the United States recognize this added key dimension to this updated framework of defense cooperation and we are working together for the realization of the full potentials of closer partnership in ensuring timely and adequate humanitarian assistance and disaster relief responses,” he said.

Batino said other significant benefits from the agreement under negotiation is the critical and timely support for the modernization program of the Armed Forces of the Philippines, achievement of the country’s minimum credible defense posture and provision of jobs and other economic opportunities through the local goods and supplies procurement that will be made by the US military.

The Department of Foreign Affairs earlier said the agreement being negotiated with the US is expected to further enhance the security alliance between the two countries.

The agreement is seen to ultimately support the Philippines’ efforts to modernize its military and build a minimum credible defense posture.

The scope of the agreement will include, among others, improving interoperability, addressing short-term gaps, promoting long-term modernization, reinforcing maritime security, deepening maritime domain awareness and strengthening humanitarian assistance and disaster relief capabilities.

The Philippines is working out the defense agreement with US amid China’s increasing assertiveness over the West Philippine Sea.

On Wednesday, China warned the Philippines and Japan against testing what it called “national sovereignty and territorial integrity,” saying they could quickly assemble their military to fight and win any battle.

Malacañang said the Philippines maintains its commitment to pursue all diplomatic and peaceful settlement of issues amid the warnings made by Chinese Defense Minister Chang Wanquan.

Presidential Communications Operations Office Secretary Herminio Coloma Jr. said the filing of the arbitration case before the International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea was not meant as a provocation, insult or challenge for China to take an adverse action.

He also said any ruling on the arbitration case would serve as reinforcement to the country’s claims based on the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea.

This was well in accordance with the rule of law as well as peaceful and diplomatic means to resolve issues, Coloma said.

Defense spokesman Peter Galvez said China should be circumspect in issuing such statements.

Galvez said they would continue to support peaceful means to resolve the territorial row in the West Philippine Sea.

“What is important is we approach all these things peacefully and the soonest that we approach this peacefully, the sooner the region can expect all the development and growth which is the target aimed for not just by Filipinos but everyone in the entire Asia Pacific,” he said.

China virtually claims the entire South China Sea while the Philippines, Brunei, Malaysia, Vietnam and Taiwan have overlapping claims.

China is also embroiled in a territorial dispute with Japan over the Senkaku islands in the East China Sea.

Japan vowed to strengthen its security ties with the Philippines and to further cooperate on the defense of remote islands, territorial seas and maritime interests.

The Philippines recently filed a memorial or written argument before the UN arbitral tribunal hearing its case against China’s excessive territorial claims.

Galvez dodged questions on whether the recent statement from the Chinese defense minister would help in maintaining peace and stability in the region.

“We will try to achieve what will be necessary to defend the nation,” Galvez said.

Meanwhile, several senior Australian military officials and military strategists from other countries are visiting the Western Command (Wescom) in Palawan for a security update in the maritime region.

The 11-man military contingent came from Australia, Indonesia, New Zealand and Oman. The team is headed by retired Australian general Mick Kehoe, staff of the Australian Center for Defense and Strategic Studies.

The group visited Wescom to enhance awareness of major security issues involving Australia and its allied countries, including the Philippines. – With Aurea Calica, Alexis Romero, Jaime Laude

Message for all seasons GOD’S WORD TODAY By Ruben M. Tanseco, S.J. (The Philippine Star) | Updated April 13, 2014 - 12:00am 0 6 googleplus0 0


MOTHER TERESA

Inspired by no less than Christ himself, the 2014 Lenten Message of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP), through its President, Archbishop Socrates Villegas, is meant to be lived for all seasons by all of us who really claim to be Christ’s disciples, and not just during Lent.

It is entitled “Poverty that Dehumanizes, Poverty that Sanctifies,” and since it is a bit long, I felt inspired to summarize it in this column, with the hope that more people would be able to read it.

Moreover, our beloved Pope Francis himself had already proclaimed early on in his papacy that a primary goal in his service as Pope was to work for “a poor church for the poor.” The CBCP message quoted him as saying: “Poverty in the world is a scandal. In a world where there is so much wealth, so many resources to feed everyone, it is unfathomable that there are so many hungry children, that there are so many children without an education, so many poor persons. Poverty today is a cry . . . . No to an economy of exclusion and inequality!”

Archbishop Villegas strongly stated that poverty that dehumanizes is a No-No in God’s plan for humanity. No to material destitution. No to moral destitution. No to spiritual destitution.

Poverty that dehumanizes

1. No to Material Destitution. So many individual and families are suffering an exclusion from the basic needs of life, starting with adequate food supply. The other faces of this economy of exclusion are as follows: exclusion from gainful livelihood, sufficient shelter, rural development, adequate health care, quality education, and others. Moreover, the global influence of consumerism is tragic. The CBCP message quoted Pope Francis: “The great danger in today’s world, pervaded as it is by consumerism, is the desolation and anguish born of a complacent yet covetous heart, the feverish pursuit of frivolous pleasures, and a blunted conscience.”

2. No to Moral Destitution. An increasing number of individuals in families fall into vices like alcohol, drugs, gambling, pornography, premarital sex, etc. Over and above all this is the societal moral problem of corruption. On the pork barrel issue, last year’s CBCP Pastoral Statement was quoted in part: “Our protests should not just emanate from the bad feeling that we have been personally or communally, transgressed, violated, or duped. It should come rather from the realization that God has been offended and we have become less holy as a people because of this. . . We are not just victims of a corrupt system. We have all, in one way or another, contributed to this worsening social cancer — through our indifferent silence or through our cooperation when we were benefiting from the sweet cake of graft and corruption.”

3. No to Spiritual Destitution. This threatens the core of our relationship with God. Many

people are hungry for love, and thus are hungry for God, for God is LOVE. But at times, this comes out as religious intolerance. For instance, some Catholics are prejudiced against the Iglesia ni Cristo, and vice-versa, some members of the Iglesia ni Cristo are prejudiced against Catholics. Religious intolerance. On the international level, according to the CBCP Lenten message, this spiritual destitution comes out as relativism and the loss of a sense of transcendence.

Poverty that humanizes and sanctifies

1. Yes to Simplicity of Life. As the CBCP message emphasizes, “all are called to live lives

that are marked by a consistent and liberating detachment from such worldly goods as material possessions, resources, power, and social status --- a detachment that allows us to be sensitive and to respond to those with less possessions, less resources, less power, lower status.” In my own ministry for couples and families, I have been guiding them to live the SSS lifestyle: Stewardship that leads to Simplicity, which in turn leads to Sharing. We are not owners but God’s stewards of all that we are and all that we have, from our lives to our time, talents, and treasures.

2. Yes to a Commitment to the Good, the Just and the True. The centerpoint of this is social justice. As Filipinos, let us double our efforts in living “moral poverty by strengthening our resolve to practice solidarity with the neglected and to denounce injustice and all forms of radical inequality.” A more equitable distribution of God’s resources. If translated politically, this 2014 CBCP Lenten Message is more Christian Socialism, and not Capitalism nor Communism. I hope and pray that in due time, our country would actually move to this socio-economic system.

3. Yes to a Surrender to God. Christ showed us the way and invites us to be “poor in Spirit.” This means “to oppose degrading and dehumanizing poverty and to embrace humanizing and sanctifying poverty. In other words, he invites us to imitate his example. We fight poverty with poverty only because Christ has shown us the way.” The human-divine Christ came to serve and not to be served. Moreover, out of compassion and love, he came for all mankind and not just for selected groups.

Our CBCP Lenten Message ends with the words of Pope Francis: “We may be sure that none of our acts of love for God will be lost, nor any of our acts of sincere concern for others. No single act of love for God will be lost, no generous effort is meaningless, no painful endurance is wasted.” (From Evangelii Gandium, 279).


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