CHARGE CORRUPT ALLIES, SAYS AQUINO; TOP 10 DAP BENEFICIARIES BELONG TO LP - TIANGCO 

SEPT 24 --Boston – President Aquino challenged his critics on Monday (US time) to file charges against “dishonest people” around him. This was his response to a question concerning criticisms that some of his allies are corrupt raised during the Q&A session following his speech at the John F. Kennedy School of Government in Harvard University. “Well, the courts are open. If they think that I have dishonest people around me, then all they have to do is file an appropriate case,” Aquino said. “The Ombudsman in particular, I think, even investigates instances where complaints are unsigned or anonymous precisely to ferret out those who are not treading the correct path,” he added.

REMINISCING – President Aquino takes a long, hard look at the dining room he shared with his late parents and sisters in their former residence in Boston, Massachusetts where they went on exile 1980. It was Mr. Aquino’s first visit to the house on Washington Ave. in 31 years. (Malacanang Photo Bureau) REMINISCING – PHOTO: President Aquino takes a long, hard look at the dining room he shared with his late parents and sisters in their former residence in Boston, Massachusetts where they went on exile 1980. It was Mr. Aquino’s first visit to the house on Washington Ave. in 31 years. (Malacanang Photo Bureau) TOP 10 DAP RECIPIENTS

In the Philippines, United Nationalist Alliance (UNA) spokesman Rep. Tobias “Toby” Tiangco of the lone district of Navotas City bared that 10 members of the ruling Liberal Party (LP) headed the list of recipients of millions of pesos worth of funds released via the Disbursement Acceleration Program (DAP). The top 10 DAP recipients, according to Tiangco, are: former Rep. Joseph Abaya, now the acting LP president (P408 million); Speaker Feliciano “Sonny” Belmonte Jr. (P297.4 million); Majority Floor Leader Neptali “Boyet” Gonzales II (P263 million); former Rep. Erineo “Ayong” Maliksi (P217.8 million); former Rep. Florencio “Bem” Noel (P179.5 million); Deputy Speaker Henedina Abad (P176.6 million); former Rep. Edgar San Luis (P160.2 million); former Rep. Tomas Osmeña (P124.1 million); former Rep. Lorenzo “Erin” Tañada (P120.5 million); and Rep. Nelson Collantes (P110 million). Tiangco said that the DAP list was based on uploaded information from the Department of Budget and Management (DBM) website.

Meanwhile in his policy speech at Harvard University, President Aquino blasted anew his predecessor, former President and now Pampanga Rep. Gloria Macapagal Arroyo, whom he said “seemingly adopted” the late dictator Ferdinand Marcos’ “handbook of how to abuse the democratic process.” * READ MORE...

ALSO: China expert expects better ties after Aquino admin; "We used to enjoy good relationship." 

SEPT 29 --PHOTO: National Institute for South China Sea Studies presidnet Wu Shicun: We used to enjoy a good relationship Photo from http://www.nanhai.org.cn. HAIKOU CITY, China—Maybe after 2016. Wu Shicun, president of top state think tank National Institute for South China Sea Studies, is hopeful that relations between China and the Philippines will be better after the Aquino administration. Wu also says China is unlikely to accept the decision—expected “around January to March in 2016”—of the International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea (Itlos) on the territorial dispute between Manila and Beijing, regardless of whether it is favorable or not.

“[Our countries] used to enjoy a good relationship—economically, politically,” Wu told reporters here during the Philippine Media Southwest China Cultural and Economic Familiarization Tour. “I’m optimistic about the future. Maybe after 2016, China will enjoy relations with the Philippines as before.” “China has been enjoying the friendship of the Philippines at least before 2012, when the Scarborough Shoal (Panatag Shoal) issue happened. We hope that the relationship between our two countries can return to normal,” Wu said.

From early April to mid-June in 2012, Chinese and Philippine ships faced off at Panatag Shoal in the West Philippine Sea after Chinese vessels stopped the Philippine Navy from arresting alleged Chinese poachers. In January 2013, the Philippines filed a motion for arbitration in Itlos as it sought a peaceful solution to its territorial dispute with Beijing.
The Philippines asked Itlos to nullify Beijing’s so-called nine-dash-line claim, which encompasses almost all of the South China Sea, including parts of Manila’s 370-kilometer exclusive economic zone. *READ MORE...

ALSO: China-Philippines bilateral ties ‘seriously injured’ 

APRIL 1, 2014 --The Chinese government on Tuesday said the Philippines’ arbitration bid over its maritime dispute in the West Philippine Sea has “seriously injured” its bilateral relations with China.
The Chinese Embassy in Manila in a press briefing insisted that the Philippines should engaged on direct negotiations to solve the maritime dispute instead of its arbitration bid before the United Nations (UN) International Tribunal for the law of the Sea (ITLOS) .

The embassy said the government failed to notify and seek “China’s consent” before initiating arbitration bid. It said China has every right not to accept arbitration initiated by the Philippines in conformity with international laws. China said it hopes that the Philippines would “correct its mistake” in dealing with maritime dispute. It added that it has long been exercising sovereignty over west Philippine Sea (South China Sea) and that the Philippines only took interest after oil reserves were found in the 1970s.*CONTINUE READING, ALSO HISTORY OF CHIA-PHL POLITICAL RELATIONS...

ALSO: Abad under fire; DBM chief takes flak over scrapping of overseas absentee voting budget, P47-M DAP listed for Joker

SEPT 27 --Budget Secretary Florencio “Butch” Abad, already under fire over the Disbursement Acceleration Program (DAP), again took the flak yesterday over his decision to scrap the P89.6-million budget for overseas absentee voting and allocate P47 million in DAP funds to former senator Joker Arroyo. An irate Akbayan Rep. Walden Bello said Abad should be made to explain why the Department of Budget and Management (DBM) dropped the overseas absentee voting registration budget being asked by Commission on Elections (Comelec) given the already dismal turnout of Filipino migrant voters the past few years.

Bello said millions of overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) could be disenfranchise unless the P89.6-million allocation is reinstated in next year’s budget. “This is a slap in the face… to the lawmakers and the OFWs who fought for this law,” said Bello, chairman of the House Overseas Workers Affairs Committee, during a press conference at the House of Representatives yesterday. The third-term party-list congressman said the P86.9 million intended for the implementation of the Overseas Absentee Voting Act, as requested by Comelec for its 2015 budget, was “arbitrarily” deleted by the DBM, which Bello cited has been beset with transparency woes. “I’m glad that the DAP issue has brought to the fore the non-transparency of the DBM,” a visibly angry Bello told reporters. ‘ABAD’S BAD DAP’ Arroyo, the executive secretary of former President Corazon C. Aquino, lambasted Abad for allocating to him P47 million in DAP funds. He said this is the same amount he asked Senate to appropriate for his projects but was not included 2013 national budget.

“Abad was being disingenuous. Congress disapproved my proposal for P47-million funding. The budget secretary, in effect, overruled the judgment of Congress and appropriated P47 million to me from DAP,” Arroyo said in his press statement titled, “Abad’s bad DAP.”  *READ MORE...

ALSO: Good, bad memories for P-Noy in Boston  

SEPT 26 --NEW YORK, Philippines – For President Aquino, his visit to Boston was a homecoming that brought back sweet and bitter memories of being the young son of an outspoken politician forced into exile by an authoritarian regime. “It’s nice to remember all those times because there’s a saying: You have to look back if you want to reach your destination. That’s one of the points that shaped me,” he told Manila-based journalists in Filipino last Wednesday at the Omni Berkshire hotel here. Two of Aquino’s closest childhood friends also related to The STAR how emotional and difficult it was for their Ateneo classmate to return to his old home at 175 Commonwealth Avenue in Newton municipality. “It felt heavy in the heart. The memories were too much,” businessman Romy Mercado said. “Lots of flashback in the house. There were a lot of good and bad memories,” Cabinet Secretary Jose Rene Almendras recalled. “It’s real heavy.”

Aquino himself recounted that it was in the living room where he first learned on CNN of his father’s assassination on Aug. 21, 1983. He showed reporters an area in the house where his father used to entertain guests. The President credited its new owner, English teacher Ione Malloy, for doing significant improvements in his family’s former residence. He said they spent three years in the house as a “normal family” after leaving an “abnormal situation” in the Philippines. Aquino said their Boston house was their “home away from home,” and he could visualize every nook and cranny of their former home, a two-story English-inspired brick house with a basement and an attic, as well as verandas on two sides. *READ MORE...

ALSO: Aquino home after 12-day EU tour, US nostalgic trip 

SEPT 28 --PHOTO: MEMORIES ARE MADE OF THESE President Aquino with his former neighbor, Rebecca Vallete, a professor of Boston College. Vallete waited until she finally talks with the President at the facade of Aquino’s former house in Commonwealth Avenue, Newton, Massachusetts on Sept. 22. –President Aquino returned to Manila Thursday night after a 12-day tour of Europe and the United States, bringing home pledges of investment from foreign businesses and possibilities of “making dreams come true.”

Aquino and his entourage arrived at Ninoy Aquino International Airport (Naia) Terminal 2 at 10:20 p.m. on a special Philippine Airlines (PAL) flight. The President’s four-country tour of Europe and the United States cost the government P31.9 million. But the country stands to reap big returns as a result of Aquino’s pitching for the Philippines as a destination for foreign investors. Speaking to reporters at the airport, Aquino reported that his trip secured $2.3 billion in pledged investments after his discussions with business leaders in Spain, Belgium, France and Germany. “We were gone for 12 days but we made the most out of those days,” Aquino said. The President said he had 94 engagements and met top leaders of countries and institutions in Europe and the United States. His top priority, he said, was winning support in Europe for the Philippines in its territorial dispute with China in the West Philippine Sea. Spain, he said, offered to be the Philippines’ voice in the European Union in its efforts to resolve the dispute with China peacefully through international arbitration.

“It is clear from our meetings with various leaders, including with think tanks, that they they understand our position in our territorial dispute with China,” Aquino said. After Europe, Aquino proceeded to the United States and visited Boston, where his family lived in exile during dictator Ferdinand Marcos’ martial rule in the Philippines. He also went to New York and spoke at the United Nations Climate Change Summit. Making a snowman Aquino’s visit to Boston was personal, but he shared with reporters his memories of the place and gave them a rare glimpse of the tight bond between him and his father, the late former Sen. Benigno “Ninoy” Aquino Jr.

Once he tried making a snowman that came out looking triangular and a bit malnourished. “What do I know about building a snowman? Then my father arrived. He saw that it was just plain snow. So he got a leaf, put a pair of eyes and mouth. “Someone gave him a scarf that he didn’t like. He put it around the snowman’s neck. He had a cap he didn’t like. He put it on its head. After which he called my mother and told her to take our picture,” the President said, smiling. They cleaned their station wagon together—in the dead of winter. Toward the end of the chore, the President said he wanted to ask his father if they could just bring the car to the car wash instead. In the small den, which his father used as his office, they listened to music together, Aquino said. “We both liked listening to music.” *READ MORE...

ALSO Philstar Opinion: Country partnership

SEPT 29 --Visiting Europe for only the second time and then the United States, President Aquino had something to crow about: the country’s economic growth. While seen to be lower than originally projected at the start of the year, the Philippines’ growth rate is still one of the best in the region. The economy has been growing steadily since (daang matuwid has to admit it) the last years of the Arroyo administration, and the country is now rated investment grade, although we’ve not yet reached the “A” levels. With the sustained rosy outlook, however, come several nagging questions: when will the masses feel the benefits of growth? When will investment grade translate into investments? Where are the meaningful jobs, the improved livelihood opportunities?

When will the second part of the campaign slogan “kung walang corrupt, walang mahirap” be reflected in a significant reduction in the poverty rate? If it’s any consolation to the administration, the Philippines is not the only country where equitable growth has been elusive. This is according to the World Bank Group, which has launched a four-year Country Partnership Strategy to assist the Philippines in achieving inclusive growth. The World Bank likes P-Noy’s governance, with his emphasis on fighting corruption to promote growth and ease poverty. In the final months of the Arroyo administration, concerns about corruption prompted the WB and at least one major donor government to hold on to millions of dollars in official development assistance for the Philippines. The ODA was released only after P-Noy had assumed office.

When World Bank Group President Jim Yong Kim visited the Philippines last July, he was profuse in his praise for the country’s performance under P-Noy. WB officials told me Kim was impressed by P-Noy’s focus on addressing corruption and climate change and achieving peace to ease poverty and make growth inclusive. The WB under Kim has twin goals: to eliminate extreme poverty – subsistence on less than $1.25 a day (about P55) – to just three percent of the global population by 2030, and to promote shared prosperity. Those are ambitious objectives. Along this line, the WB is pouring its vast resources into helping countries achieve the twin goals. * * * The WB isn’t going into this program blindly. WB officials are asking the right questions about the Philippines: why isn’t growth – the second fastest in Asia – translating into jobs? Why is manufacturing weak? Kathryn Hollifield is asking those questions. The WB’s country program coordinator for the Philippines and Vietnam is in town to discuss the Country Partnership Strategy with Philippine officials. “You can grow but it may not be shared,” WB Country Director Motoo Konishi told me. * READ MORE...


READ FULL MEDIA NEWS REPORT:

Charge corrupt allies – Aquino Top 10 DAP beneficiaries belong to LP – Tiangco


REMINISCING – President Aquino takes a long, hard look at the dining room he shared with his late parents and sisters in ston, Massachusetts where they went on exile 1980. It was Mr. Aquino’s first visit to the house on Washington Ave. in 31 years. (Malacanang Photo Bureau)

BOSTON, SEPTEMBER 29, 2014 (MANILA BULLETIN) by Ellson A. Quismorio and JC Bello Ruiz Boston – President Aquino challenged his critics on Monday (US time) to file charges against “dishonest people” around him.

This was his response to a question concerning criticisms that some of his allies are corrupt raised during the Q&A session following his speech at the John F. Kennedy School of Government in Harvard University.

“Well, the courts are open. If they think that I have dishonest people around me, then all they have to do is file an appropriate case,” Aquino said.

“The Ombudsman in particular, I think, even investigates instances where complaints are unsigned or anonymous precisely to ferret out those who are not treading the correct path,” he added.

TOP 10 DAP RECIPIENTS

In the Philippines, United Nationalist Alliance (UNA) spokesman Rep. Tobias “Toby” Tiangco of the lone district of Navotas City bared that 10 members of the ruling Liberal Party (LP) headed the list of recipients of millions of pesos worth of funds released via the Disbursement Acceleration Program (DAP).

The top 10 DAP recipients, according to Tiangco, are: former Rep. Joseph Abaya, now the acting LP president (P408 million); Speaker Feliciano “Sonny” Belmonte Jr. (P297.4 million); Majority Floor Leader Neptali “Boyet” Gonzales II (P263 million); former Rep. Erineo “Ayong” Maliksi (P217.8 million); former Rep. Florencio “Bem” Noel (P179.5 million); Deputy Speaker Henedina Abad (P176.6 million); former Rep. Edgar San Luis (P160.2 million); former Rep. Tomas Osmeña (P124.1 million); former Rep. Lorenzo “Erin” Tañada (P120.5 million); and Rep. Nelson Collantes (P110 million).

Tiangco said that the DAP list was based on uploaded information from the Department of Budget and Management (DBM) website.

Meanwhile in his policy speech at Harvard University, President Aquino blasted anew his predecessor, former President and now Pampanga Rep. Gloria Macapagal Arroyo, whom he said “seemingly adopted” the late dictator Ferdinand Marcos’ “handbook of how to abuse the democratic process.”

* Aquino even said that the “overwhelming ambition of so many” was to leave the country during Arroyo’s regime.

LEAVE THE COUNTRY

“At the end of her regime, our people were so apathetic to all the scandals and issues affecting her, and government’s inability to effect change, that the overwhelming ambition of so many was to leave the country. Now, an estimated 10 million of our countrymen reside abroad,” he said.

He also recalled Arroyo’s supposed attempt to protect herself from cases after her term.

“My predecessor, who put a premium on political survival, tried to protect herself by appointing a Chief Justice to the Supreme Court, despite a prohibition on appointing people to office when a presidency is about to end,” he said, apparently referring to former Chief Justice Renato Corona, who was convicted by the Senate impeachment court.

“Much as I opposed this, for the sake of harmony, I tried to make the best of a sordid situation. It soon became clear, however, that the Chief Justice considered himself accountable to no one, failing even to meet the minimum standards of transparency outlined in our laws,” he added.

Corona would be impeached later, he said, for misdeclaring his wealth.

Aquino said Corona’s case is just one example of accountability.

“My predecessor and three incumbent senators, to cite the most potent examples, are now in detention as they undergo trial on the charge of plunder,” he said, apparently referring to Arroyo, and Senators Juan Ponce Enrile, Jinggoy Estrada, and Ramon Revilla Jr.

CLASSROOM BACKLOG

Aquino also blasted Arroyo over the issue of classroom shortage.

“My predecessor, for instance, claimed that there was no shortage of classrooms and what was the solution? They had three shifts that were utilizing the same classroom,” the President said.

“The eight-hour a day became four-hour periods that some of our youngsters were going home very late at night just to be able to say that there was no classroom shortage,” he added.

In the same Q&A session, President Aquino was also asked on who would he consider as a possible successor in “upholding honesty in national government.”

“There are a lot of materials,” he said, pointing out that 2016 is not yet in his mind.

“As to naming who I think would be our successor, I really believe we have a lot of materials in the country. But if I were to mention them now, then I’m sure you can… You can imagine the repercussions back home as media frenzy,” he said, eliciting laughter from the audience.

“And perhaps, as I keep saying, now is not the time. I still have about a year and nine months to go. And if we are concentrated on… If we are all concentrated just on the next elections rather than doing the things that we have to do now, we shouldn’t allow the distraction of the election to interfere with our obligations to our people,” he explained.

He said that he’d rather attend to the needs of typhoon victims rather than the jockeying for position in 2016.

“When I left Manila there was a typhoon that was affecting our [countrymen]. Mayon volcano is starting to be restive and there was a second typhoon whilst I’m still not back home. So I think those have to be attended rather than jockeying for position in 2016,” he said.

FOND MEMORIES

Meanwhile, President Aquino dropped by their former home at 175 Commonwealth Ave., Newton, Massachusetts, and reminisced his family’s stay here in the early 80’s.

Only photographers and cameramen were allowed to cover the President’s visit.

Presidential Communications Operations Office Undersecretary Renato Marfil said Aquino was all smiles during his visit as he fondly recalled their days in the house which is just steps away from Boston College.

Aquino was joined by his childhood friend Romy Mercado and an old family friend, Dr. Mario Bucal, as well as Secretary to the Cabinet Jose Rene Almendras and Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corp. Chairman Cristino Naguiat.

The President briefly talked to the new owner of the house Ione Malloy.

The Aquino family stayed in their Newton house from 1980 to 1983 while former senator Benigno Aquino Jr., the President’s father, was in self-exile during the Marcos dictatorship.

A video taken by ABS-CBN showed that their former neighbor Rebecca Valette approached the President.

Valette’s husband Jean Paul said they lived in nearby Mount Alverina Road.

He recalled that the President then did not go out that much unlike his father.

The late President Corazon Aquino was “more homebound,” he said.

The Aquino family was “very close knit,” he added.

It was Aquino’s first visit here after his father the late Senator Benigno “Ninoy” Aquino Jr. was assassinated in Manila on August 21, 1983.

PIZZERIA

Before going to their former home, the President met with United States Rep. Joseph Kennedy III at the nearby Bill’s Pizzeria.

Kennedy, a recent Manila visitor, is the grandson of the late US Sen. Robert Kennedy and grandnephew of US President John F. Kennedy.

Aquino on Monday also received three business calls from three big American companies – Conair Corp.; Stanley Black and Decker, Inc.; and FIS Global.

FROM THE INQUIRER

China expert expects better ties after 2016By Kate Pedroso |Inquirer Research12:47 am | Monday, September 29th, 2014


National Institute for South China Sea Studies presidnet Wu Shicun: We used to enjoy a good relationship Photo from http://www.nanhai.org.cn

HAIKOU CITY, China—Maybe after 2016.

Wu Shicun, president of top state think tank National Institute for South China Sea Studies, is hopeful that relations between China and the Philippines will be better after the Aquino administration.

Wu also says China is unlikely to accept the decision—expected “around January to March in 2016”—of the International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea (Itlos) on the territorial dispute between Manila and Beijing, regardless of whether it is favorable or not.

“[Our countries] used to enjoy a good relationship—economically, politically,” Wu told reporters here during the Philippine Media Southwest China Cultural and Economic Familiarization Tour. “I’m optimistic about the future. Maybe after 2016, China will enjoy relations with the Philippines as before.”

“China has been enjoying the friendship of the Philippines at least before 2012, when the Scarborough Shoal (Panatag Shoal) issue happened. We hope that the relationship between our two countries can return to normal,” Wu said.

From early April to mid-June in 2012, Chinese and Philippine ships faced off at Panatag Shoal in the West Philippine Sea after Chinese vessels stopped the Philippine Navy from arresting alleged Chinese poachers.

In January 2013, the Philippines filed a motion for arbitration in Itlos as it sought a peaceful solution to its territorial dispute with Beijing.

The Philippines asked Itlos to nullify Beijing’s so-called nine-dash-line claim, which encompasses almost all of the South China Sea, including parts of Manila’s 370-kilometer exclusive economic zone.

* China has rejected the proceedings, citing its “indisputable sovereignty” over the territory, but the case has progressed despite Beijing’s refusal to participate in the arbitration.

‘Not a good choice’

Wu, who was in the Philippines last December to discuss South China Sea issues with the academic community, said the Philippines’ move to file a motion for arbitration in a United Nations tribunal to settle the territorial dispute was “not a good choice.”

“To be honest, this administration has done little to improve bilateral relations,” Wu said. “The problem between China and the Philippines now is the lack of critical mutual trust.”

To build trust, Wu suggested a meeting between President Aquino and Chinese President Xi Jinping, and the withdrawal of the arbitration case.

“Another choice is to think about the possibility of withdrawing the arbitration case as a good gesture from the Philippine side, to show Philippine sincerity to improve China-Philippine relations.”

If everything goes smoothly, Wu said, the tribunal is expected to issue its final decision around January to March 2016. “No matter the tribunal’s final award, whether it favors China or not, China will likely not follow it,” he said.
Issues won’t change

“If the tribunal makes its final judgment, the problem between China and the Philippines, the sovereignty and maritime issues, will still be there. The South China Sea issue will still be there. South China Sea is now a major obstacle between our two nations,” Wu said.

“The only way to go forward is to put aside the South China Sea dispute, to discuss the possibility of improving our relationship.”

In September last year, President Aquino canceled a planned trip to China for a trade fair in Nanning after Beijing reportedly required the withdrawal of the arbitration case as a condition for the trip.

EARLIER REPORT APRIL 1, 2014

China-Philippines bilateral ties ‘seriously injured’ By Nestor Corrales |INQUIRER.net5:11 pm | Tuesday, April 1st, 2014

MANILA, Philippines—The Chinese government on Tuesday said the Philippines’ arbitration bid over its maritime dispute in the West Philippine Sea has “seriously injured” its bilateral relations with China.

The Chinese Embassy in Manila in a press briefing insisted that the Philippines should engaged on direct negotiations to solve the maritime dispute instead of its arbitration bid before the United Nations (UN) International Tribunal for the law of the Sea (ITLOS) .

The embassy said the government failed to notify and seek “China’s consent” before initiating arbitration bid.

It said China has every right not to accept arbitration initiated by the Philippines in conformity with international laws.

China said it hopes that the Philippines would “correct its mistake” in dealing with maritime dispute.

It added that it has long been exercising sovereignty over west Philippine Sea (South China Sea) and that the Philippines only took interest after oil reserves were found in the 1970s.

FROM WIKIPEDIA

China-Philippines Political relations

HISTORICAL INFO


Bilateral meeting between the People's Republic of China and the Philippines at the East Hall, Great Hall of the People. China and the Philippines established diplomatic relations on 9 June 1975 with the signing of the Joint Communiqué by leaders of the two countries.

China and the Philippines established diplomatic relations on 9 June 1975 with the signing of the Joint Communiqué by leaders of the two countries. Over the 34 years, China–Philippines relations in general have attained a smooth development, and also remarkable achievements in all areas of bilateral cooperation.

Since the establishment of diplomatic relations, there has been frequent exchange of high-level visits between China and the Philippines.

President Ferdinand Marcos (June 1975), President Cory Aquino (April 1988), President Fidel V. Ramos (April 1993), President Joesph ' Erap' Estrada (May 2000) and President Gloria Arroyo (November 2001 and September 2004) visited China.

Premier Li Peng (December 1990), Chairman of the Standing Committee of the 8th National People's Congress Mr. Qiao Shi (August 1993), President Jiang Zemin (November 1996), Premier Zhu Rongji (November 1999), Chairman of the Standing Committee of the 9th National People's Congress Mr. Li Peng (September 2002), Chairman of the Standing Committee of the 10th National People's Congress Mr. Wu Bangguo (August 2003), President Hu Jintao (April 2005) and Premier Wen Jiabao (January 2007) visited the Philippines.

During President Jiang Zemin's state visit to the Philippines in 1996, leaders of the two countries agreed to establish a cooperative relationship based on good-neighborliness and mutual trust towards the 21st century, and reached important consensus and understanding of "Shelving disputes and going in for joint development" on the issue of South China Sea.

In 2000, China and the Philippines signed the "Joint Statement Between China and the Philippines on the Framework of Bilateral Cooperation in the Twenty-First Century", which confirmed that the two sides will establish a long-term and stable relationship on the basis of good neighborliness, cooperation, mutual trust and benefit.

During President Hu Jintao's state visit to the Philippines in 2005, both countries are determined to establish the strategic and cooperative relations that aim at the peace and development. During Premier Wen Jiabao's official visit to the Philippines in January 2007, both sides issued a joint statement, reaffirming the commitment of taking further steps to deepen the strategic and cooperative relationship for peace and development between the two countries.

In April 2007 President Arroyo attended the annual meeting of the Boao Forum for Asia. In June 2007 she visited Chengdu and Chongqing, and in October, she attended Shanghai Special Olympics and made a side trip to Yantai, Shandong Province. In January 2008, Speaker of the Philippine House of Representatives De Venecia visited China.

In August, President Arroyo attended the opening ceremony of the Beijing Olympic Games and made a side trip to Chengdu.

In October Arroyo attended the Asia-Europe Summit Meeting in China and made a side trip to Wuhan and Hangzhou.

Speaker of the Philippine House of Representatives Prospero Nograles went to Nanning for the 5th China-ASEAN Expo and paid a visit to Kunming and Xiamen.

Vice Noli President De Castro attended the 9th China Western International Exposition in Chengdu.

In November De Castro attended the 4th World Cities Forum in Nanjing and visited Anhui and Shanghai.

In December, President Arroyo went to Hong Kong to attend the Clinton Global Initiative Forum- Asia Meeting.

China's Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Department of Foreign Affairs of the Philippines set up a consultation mechanism in 1991, and 15 rounds of diplomatic consultations have been held since then.

Apart from reciprocal establishment of Embassies, China has a consulate general in Cebu, and established a consulate office in Laoag in April 2007.

The Philippines have consulate generals in Xiamen, Guangzhou, Shanghai, Chongqing, Chengdu and Hong Kong SAR respectively.

Territorial disputes
The two countries have disputes over the sovereignty of some islands and shoals in the Spratly Islands. After rounds of consultations, both sides agreed to strive for a solution through bilateral friendly consultation.

In October 2004, Chinese Maritime Safety Administration and Philippine Coast Guard conducted a joint sand table rescue exercise for the first time.

China National Offshore Oil Corp. and Philippine National Oil Company signed the "Agreement for Joint Marine Seismic Undertaking on Certain Areas in the South China Sea" in September 1, 2004.

In May 2005, Vietnam agreed to join the Sino-Philippine cooperation. Oil companies from three countries signed the "Agreement for Joint Marine Seismic Undertaking on Certain Areas in the South China Sea" in March, 2005.

Due to the 2012 Scarborough Shoal standoff, relations between the two countries have soured.

To the point of China having what was seen as an "underwhelming" response to disaster relief in the Philippines.

 China later sent their Type 920 hospital ship and gave relief to assist the Philippines, though the move was small compared to other nations such as Japan, Singapore, and the United States.

Relations of both nations further declined due to a series of conflicts in the South China Sea, which the Philippines call the West Philippine Sea.

China captured the Scarborough Shoal through military force, which triggered the Philippines to file a sovereignty case against China in an International Arbitration Tribunal.

In 2014, Chinese ships successfully blocked a small Philippine vessel carrying goods.

The vessel was going to South Thomas Shoal where a Philippine ship was stationed for years.

The Philippines eventually sent another vessel to give food and water to stationed military personnel in the shoal, which China harassed and unsuccessfully blocked.

The ship contained local and foreign people from the media which reported the incident.

The Philippines then filed a memorial in the Arbitration Tribunal in The Hague, which severed relations even further as China 'will not cooperate in the case'.

The United States has a Mutual Defense Treaty with the Philippines, making the region a turmoil if China would attack the Philippines over the disputed sea and islands.

FROM THE MANILA BULLETIN

Abad under fire DBM chief takes flak over scrapping of overseas absentee voting budget, P47-M DAP listed for Joker by Mario B. Casayuran & Ellson A. Quismoro September 27, 2014 Share this:

Budget Secretary Florencio “Butch” Abad, already under fire over the Disbursement Acceleration Program (DAP), again took the flak yesterday over his decision to scrap the P89.6-million budget for overseas absentee voting and allocate P47 million in DAP funds to former senator Joker Arroyo.

An irate Akbayan Rep. Walden Bello said Abad should be made to explain why the Department of Budget and Management (DBM) dropped the overseas absentee voting registration budget being asked by Commission on Elections (Comelec) given the already dismal turnout of Filipino migrant voters the past few years.

Bello said millions of overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) could be disenfranchise unless the P89.6-million allocation is reinstated in next year’s budget.

“This is a slap in the face… to the lawmakers and the OFWs who fought for this law,” said Bello, chairman of the House Overseas Workers Affairs Committee, during a press conference at the House of Representatives yesterday.

The third-term party-list congressman said the P86.9 million intended for the implementation of the Overseas Absentee Voting Act, as requested by Comelec for its 2015 budget, was “arbitrarily” deleted by the DBM, which Bello cited has been beset with transparency woes.

“I’m glad that the DAP issue has brought to the fore the non-transparency of the DBM,” a visibly angry Bello told reporters.

‘ABAD’S BAD DAP’

Arroyo, the executive secretary of former President Corazon C. Aquino, lambasted Abad for allocating to him P47 million in DAP funds. He said this is the same amount he asked Senate to appropriate for his projects but was not included 2013 national budget.

“Abad was being disingenuous. Congress disapproved my proposal for P47-million funding. The budget secretary, in effect, overruled the judgment of Congress and appropriated P47 million to me from DAP,” Arroyo said in his press statement titled, “Abad’s bad DAP.”

* Arroyo maintained that he never asked for and received the supposed P47-million DAP fund. However, Arroyo was listed by the DBM as among the recipients of DAP funds.

Abad, “by his lonesome self and at his level, does not have the authority to allocate at his discretion funds for certain projects and assign its disbursement to legislators, LGUs (local government units), and other agencies. This is the core issue of DAP,” Arroyo pointed out.

“Was Mr. Abad’s initiative bore out of altruism? No, it’s evil geniusness. I voted to acquit CJ (Renato) Corona in the impeachment trial. To show that the administration is impartial, Mr. Abad bestowed upon me, for appearances, P47 million of DAP funds to squander even if it did not even pass through me,” he added.

Arroyo said it would do well for the Supreme Court to take judicial notice into the “humungous amounts” involved so see how Abad distributed “with complete abandon” government funds not approved by Congress.

“We are talking of an estimated of P150 million of DAP. Nobody knows the exact figure because DBM has not been forthcoming,” Arroyo said.

A MILESTONE

Meanwhile, the Overseas Absentee Voting Act, considered a milestone upon its passage in 2003, recognized the right of Filipino migrants to choose their leaders. Amendments to the law in 2013 supposedly further strengthened this right of OFWs.

The Act covers the 10.5 million Filipino migrants spread across 238 countries all over the world.

“We want to make it clear that the right to vote by OFWs is guaranteed by the Constitution. The law only implements it. The original law says the appropriation for the implementation of the Act should be in the GAA (General Appropriations Act),” said OFW Noel Escuera in the same press conference.

Bello agreed with Escuera’s observation, saying “DBM is doing a violation of the law. Abad should be made to account.”

NEGLECTED

Ellene Sana, executive director of Center for Migrant Advocacy – an OFW rights advocacy group – said many OFWs feel neglected with the turn of events. “Many Filipinos abroad who have heard the bad news feel hurt. They feel neglected by their own country. This is no way to treat our OFWs, who we like to call heroes.”

Sana noted that the implementation of the Overseas Absentee Voting Act has been hampered by the lack of budget, particularly for information dissemination back in the 2004, 2007, 2010 and 2013 elections.

Bello said that the turnout for the absentee voters in 2013 was 20 percent lower compared to that of the previous election, which goes to show that “agencies do not have enough funds.”

Escuera, for his part, said the budget deficiency would severely impact the mobile registration program of the government, meaning there would be even less incentive for OFWs to exercise their right to vote.

REINSTATE BUDGET

Meanwhile, Bello called on his fellow legislators to reverse DBM’s “castration” of the Overseas Absentee Voting Act by ensuring the reinstatement of its P89.6-million budget.

“While the Senate has already made assurances in restoring the budget, I expect no less from my fellow legislators in the Lower House to do the same during the period of amendments and during the bicameral meetings,” Bello said.

“Both Houses passed a law recognizing our OFWs democratic rights. Now, both Houses must ensure it is back by sufficient funds for its implementation.”

The House is expected the pass the proposed 2015 national budget on second reading early Saturday morning.

FROM PHILSTAR

Good, bad memories for P-Noy in Boston By Delon Porcalla (The Philippine Star) | Updated September 26, 2014 - 12:00am 4 18 googleplus0 0

NEW YORK, Philippines – For President Aquino, his visit to Boston was a homecoming that brought back sweet and bitter memories of being the young son of an outspoken politician forced into exile by an authoritarian regime.

“It’s nice to remember all those times because there’s a saying: You have to look back if you want to reach your destination. That’s one of the points that shaped me,” he told Manila-based journalists in Filipino last Wednesday at the Omni Berkshire hotel here.

Two of Aquino’s closest childhood friends also related to The STAR how emotional and difficult it was for their Ateneo classmate to return to his old home at 175 Commonwealth Avenue in Newton municipality.

“It felt heavy in the heart. The memories were too much,” businessman Romy Mercado said. “Lots of flashback in the house. There were a lot of good and bad memories,” Cabinet Secretary Jose Rene Almendras recalled. “It’s real heavy.”

Aquino himself recounted that it was in the living room where he first learned on CNN of his father’s assassination on Aug. 21, 1983.

He showed reporters an area in the house where his father used to entertain guests.

The President credited its new owner, English teacher Ione Malloy, for doing significant improvements in his family’s former residence.

He said they spent three years in the house as a “normal family” after leaving an “abnormal situation” in the Philippines.

Aquino said their Boston house was their “home away from home,” and he could visualize every nook and cranny of their former home, a two-story English-inspired brick house with a basement and an attic, as well as verandas on two sides.

* He fondly recalled getting help from his father in his attempt to make a “triangular” snowman. His father added more snow and decorated it with a cap and a scarf.

The late senator then called the woman of the house – housewife Corazon – to take a photo of the father-and-son moment.

“Memories have been rekindled. Maybe it should stay that way,” he said.

He also recalled that he would shovel snow from the driveway so that the car wouldn’t slide down toward Mount Alverina Road.

He said the snow had to be removed so that it would not melt and turn to slippery ice and endanger passersby.

He said he was glad that the nearby Boston College invited him to speak before the academic community. He said his sisters Viel and now popular TV host Kris attended the school in the early 80s.

FROM THE INQUIRER

Aquino home after 12-day EU tour, US nostalgic trip By Nikko Dizon, Niña P. Calleja |Philippine Daily Inquirer6:09 am | Friday, September 26th, 2014


MEMORIES ARE MADE OF THESE President Aquino with his former neighbor, Rebecca Vallete, a professor of Boston College. Vallete waited until she finally talks with the President at the facade of Aquino’s former house in Commonwealth Avenue, Newton, Massachusetts on Sept. 22. EDWIN BACASMAS

MANILA, Philippines–President Aquino returned to Manila Thursday night after a 12-day tour of Europe and the United States, bringing home pledges of investment from foreign businesses and possibilities of “making dreams come true.”

Aquino and his entourage arrived at Ninoy Aquino International Airport (Naia) Terminal 2 at 10:20 p.m. on a special Philippine Airlines (PAL) flight.

The President’s four-country tour of Europe and the United States cost the government P31.9 million.

But the country stands to reap big returns as a result of Aquino’s pitching for the Philippines as a destination for foreign investors.

Speaking to reporters at the airport, Aquino reported that his trip secured $2.3 billion in pledged investments after his discussions with business leaders in Spain, Belgium, France and Germany.

“We were gone for 12 days but we made the most out of those days,” Aquino said.

The President said he had 94 engagements and met top leaders of countries and institutions in Europe and the United States.

His top priority, he said, was winning support in Europe for the Philippines in its territorial dispute with China in the West Philippine Sea.

Spain, he said, offered to be the Philippines’ voice in the European Union in its efforts to resolve the dispute with China peacefully through international arbitration.

“It is clear from our meetings with various leaders, including with think tanks, that they they understand our position in our territorial dispute with China,” Aquino said.

After Europe, Aquino proceeded to the United States and visited Boston, where his family lived in exile during dictator Ferdinand Marcos’ martial rule in the Philippines.

He also went to New York and spoke at the United Nations Climate Change Summit.

Making a snowman

Aquino’s visit to Boston was personal, but he shared with reporters his memories of the place and gave them a rare glimpse of the tight bond between him and his father, the late former Sen. Benigno “Ninoy” Aquino Jr.

Once he tried making a snowman that came out looking triangular and a bit malnourished.

“What do I know about building a snowman? Then my father arrived. He saw that it was just plain snow. So he got a leaf, put a pair of eyes and mouth.

“Someone gave him a scarf that he didn’t like. He put it around the snowman’s neck. He had a cap he didn’t like. He put it on its head. After which he called my mother and told her to take our picture,” the President said, smiling.

They cleaned their station wagon together—in the dead of winter. Toward the end of the chore, the President said he wanted to ask his father if they could just bring the car to the car wash instead.

In the small den, which his father used as his office, they listened to music together, Aquino said. “We both liked listening to music.”

* One time, when he was shoveling snow in the driveway, his father went out of the house to tell him to get some rest.

“I told him I was OK and I wasn’t feeling tired. But he told me to feel my pulse. ‘Feel your pulse because you are exerting effort and that’s the way to combat the cold,’” the President said.

As he toured the house, Aquino saw the dining area where his father, the opposition leader, held meetings with his guests. Beside it was the small living room where he watched on TV the news that his father had been shot dead.

“I was asked if I wanted to go up to my room,” the President said, which was near his parents’ bedroom.

At that point, seeing the place where he first heard the news of his father’s death, then the room where his mother and sisters waited for word about their father’s fate, still evoked painful memories for the President. He chose not to see his room.

He summarized his recent homecoming to Boston with a Filipino adage that emphasizes the role of the past in shaping one’s future.

“It’s nice to remember all those times because we have a saying: ‘Para makarating sa paroroonan, kailangan lumingon sa pinanggalingan, (To get to your destination, you have to look back to the past)’” the President said in a media briefing on Tuesday night (Wednesday morning in Manila) at his hotel in New York.

The three years he spent in Boston was the point in his life when he was molded into becoming the person and the leader he is today.

Last weekend was the first time in 31 years that he returned to Boston, fitting in his personal journey with his four-day working visit to the United States.

By coincidence, his homecoming took place on the 42nd anniversary of martial law, the very reason the President and his family found themselves in self-exile in the United States.

PHILSTAR OPINION

Country partnership SKETCHES By Ana Marie Pamintuan (The Philippine Star) | Updated September 29, 2014 - 12:00am 0 0 googleplus0 0

Visiting Europe for only the second time and then the United States, President Aquino had something to crow about: the country’s economic growth.

While seen to be lower than originally projected at the start of the year, the Philippines’ growth rate is still one of the best in the region.

The economy has been growing steadily since (daang matuwid has to admit it) the last years of the Arroyo administration, and the country is now rated investment grade, although we’ve not yet reached the “A” levels.

With the sustained rosy outlook, however, come several nagging questions: when will the masses feel the benefits of growth? When will investment grade translate into investments? Where are the meaningful jobs, the improved livelihood opportunities? When will the second part of the campaign slogan “kung walang corrupt, walang mahirap” be reflected in a significant reduction in the poverty rate?

If it’s any consolation to the administration, the Philippines is not the only country where equitable growth has been elusive. This is according to the World Bank Group, which has launched a four-year Country Partnership Strategy to assist the Philippines in achieving inclusive growth.

The World Bank likes P-Noy’s governance, with his emphasis on fighting corruption to promote growth and ease poverty. In the final months of the Arroyo administration, concerns about corruption prompted the WB and at least one major donor government to hold on to millions of dollars in official development assistance for the Philippines. The ODA was released only after P-Noy had assumed office.

When World Bank Group President Jim Yong Kim visited the Philippines last July, he was profuse in his praise for the country’s performance under P-Noy. WB officials told me Kim was impressed by P-Noy’s focus on addressing corruption and climate change and achieving peace to ease poverty and make growth inclusive.

The WB under Kim has twin goals: to eliminate extreme poverty – subsistence on less than $1.25 a day (about P55) – to just three percent of the global population by 2030, and to promote shared prosperity.

Those are ambitious objectives. Along this line, the WB is pouring its vast resources into helping countries achieve the twin goals.

* * *

The WB isn’t going into this program blindly. WB officials are asking the right questions about the Philippines: why isn’t growth – the second fastest in Asia – translating into jobs? Why is manufacturing weak?

Kathryn Hollifield is asking those questions. The WB’s country program coordinator for the Philippines and Vietnam is in town to discuss the Country Partnership Strategy with Philippine officials.

“You can grow but it may not be shared,” WB Country Director Motoo Konishi told me.

* WB officials had been puzzled by official statistics showing that the poverty rate remained largely unchanged for many years, even with the introduction of the conditional cash transfer (CCT) program seven years ago during the Arroyo administration.

The WB has been the biggest supporter of the CCT, which has achieved impressive success in countries notably Brazil. In the Philippines, the next phase of the expanded CCT is to wean its millions of beneficiaries from dependence on cash handouts, by providing livelihood opportunities.

About 40 percent of Filipinos live below the poverty line, with many classified as extremely poor. Konishi is happy to tell me that today the poverty level is down by three percent, which translates into approximately 2.5 million people.

The Country Partnership Strategy, which will receive an average of $800 million in WB funding every year, covers nearly all sectors. Hollifield explained that the program has an integrated approach to development. The strategy addresses a wide range of issues including support for small and medium enterprises, tax reform, open government data, water management and yes, the Bangsamoro peace process.

Long before the scandals over the pork barrel and Disbursement Acceleration Program erupted, the WB began working with the government to overhaul the budget system, aiming to make it transparent and easy to track.

The WB’s indicative lending program will give priority to climate change, agriculture and agribusiness, urban transport, water and sanitation, public health and flood control.

WB officials would not go into details, but the flood control program has a master plan that Konishi told me is “a really, really well thought of plan” covering all aspects including engineering, water pumping modernization, and relocation of informal settlers.

I warned them that with elections approaching, political will is at its weakest for dismantling vote-rich informal settlements particularly in Metro Manila.

WB officials seem unfazed. The bank has a lot of other programs to pursue under the Country Partnership Strategy, which WB directors endorsed last June.

The WB is adopting a “geotagging” system, which allows policy planners to see where government personnel and resources are specifically deployed and where there are deficits in supplies and services.

Geotagging, which provides a sort of map for poverty incidence, agricultural production and other matters, is being applied in Camarines Sur by Rep. Leni Robredo, widow of the late interior and local government secretary Jesse.

Hollifield and other WB executives are meeting with Philippine government officials to discuss specific areas where the bank can help promote its twin goals.

The WB is hoping to hold up the Philippines as a model for other developing countries.

“That is our dream: to build something from the ground up in places with very weak political backing,” Hollifield told me.


Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi

© Copyright, 2014 by PHILIPPINE HEADLINE NEWS ONLINE
All rights reserved


PHILIPPINE HEADLINE NEWS ONLINE [PHNO] WEBSITE