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NOY'S CORNER THIS PAST WEEK...
(MINI-READS followed by FULL REPORTS below)

AMID 'IGLESIA NI CRISTO' ISSUE, NOY SAYS GOVT MUST NOR FAVOR ANY RELIGION


OCTOBER 26 -LAST YEAR's PHOTO: President Benigno Aquino III is welcomed by Iglesia Ni Cristo Executive Minister Eduardo V. Manalo at the inauguration of Ciudad de Victoria in Bocaue, Bulacan on Monday, July 21. INC is considered the third largest religious denomination in the Philippines with its members comprising 2.3 percent of the population based on the census of Year 2000 conducted by the National Statistics Office. FROM GMA NEWS NETWORK President Benigno Aquino III on Sunday preached about the separation of church and state, saying the government should not favor any religion. "Sa atin pong Saligang Batas nakasaad ang pagkakahiwalay ng simbahan at ng estado. Ayon po rito, kaakibat ng kalayaan sa pananampalataya, wala ring dapat kilingang relihiyon ang estado," Aquino said during the thanksgiving celebration and national assembly of the Tarlac First Baptist Church. "Dito pumapasok ang nakasaad sa aklat ni Mark, kabanata 12, bersikulo 17 kung saan sinabi ni Hesus: 'Ibigay ninyo kay Caesar ang kay Caesar at sa Diyos ang sa Diyos at sila’y namangha sa kanya,'" he added. But while the separation of church and state should be upheld, Aquino said the church should not shrug off state issues such as poverty and injustice. "Kaya po sumasang-ayon ako sa aral ng Second Vatican Council ng simbahang kinabibilangan ko. Ayon po rito, mahalagang pakialaman ang buhay sa mundo dahil ito ang gumagabay sa atin sa landas patungo sa buhay na walang hanggan," Aquino said. "Ang hamon sa atin ng Bibliya, sa halip na makuntento sa pagbibigay ng limos, dapat nating labanan ang sistemang ugat ng kawalang-katarungan at paghihirap ng kapwa," the president added. Aquino made the remarks about the separation of church and state as the government continues to resolve the alleged abduction of expelled Iglesia ni Cristo (INC) ministers. READ MORE...

ALSO China sea on PH winning Round 1: Rule of law prevailed, says a very happy Aquino


OCTOBER 31 -President Benigno Aquino III AP FILE PHOTO
The rule of law has prevailed, and President Benigno Aquino III is “very happy.” “We are very happy that the [UN Permanent Court of Arbitration] said it has jurisdiction (over the case),” Mr. Aquino told reporters during a visit to Eastern Samar province on Friday. He was referring to the UN tribunal’s ruling on Thursday that it has jurisdiction to hear the Philippines’ case seeking the invalidation of China’s claim to almost all of the South China Sea, including waters within the West Philippine Sea. The President also noted that the tribunal is expected to rule on the merits of the Philippines’ petition against China “as early as next year.” “It’s a fast process. The discussion is quite complicated but we can say, who wouldn’t be happy that and we call the rule of law prevailed?” Mr. Aquino said. Echoing a Supreme Court associate justice he did not name, the President said the rule of law was the “equalizer” in the relations between a big state and a small state. Had the UN tribunal ruled that it did not have jurisdiction over Manila’s petition, it would have been “the end of such avenue” for the Philippines, Mr. Aquino said, referring to the legal track that his administration follows in resolving the territorial dispute with China. Relations with China Asked how winning the first round would affect the Philippines’ relations with China, Mr. Aquino said the clarifications made by the tribunal would, hopefully, be an “avenue for better relations” between the two countries. He said the maritime dispute was only one of the aspects of the Philippines’ relations with China. Before President Aquino spoke Friday, the government’s reaction to the tribunal’s decision was subdued and measured, especially with the upcoming Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (Apec) Economic Leaders’ Meeting to be held in Manila on Nov. 18 and 19. Chinese President Xi Jinping has yet to confirm his attendance at the meeting. Presidential spokespersons Herminio Coloma Jr. and Abigail Valte said in separate statements that the tribunal’s decision would allow the Philippines to present the merits of the case.“Our people can be assured that those representing our country have been continuously preparing for this,” Valte said. “[The] government would really be careful on how to play this up… The Apec should be an opportunity to start mending fences,” Jay Batongbacal, director of the University of the Philippines Institute for Maritime Affairs and Law of the Sea, told the Inquirer by phone. Batongbacal said the announcement of the tribunal’s decision coming at the heels of the United States’ testing freedom of navigation in the South China Sea, as well as the upcoming Apec summit, was purely coincidental but “not exactly a good mix.” “China could be taking time to study these things,” Batongbacal said. President Aquino said the tribunal’s decision would be one of the issues to be tackled at the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean) Summit in Kuala Lumpur next month. President Aquino has consistently campaigned for the conclusion of a binding code of conduct in the South China Sea between Asean and China.“The voice that we bring [to the Asean] must have an urgency, that we finish the discussions and we have a code of conduct. That would be part of the interventions we will have at the Asean [summit],” he said. READ MORE...

ALSO: PH rarin’ to go to Round 2


OCTOBER 31 -Philippine delegation to the United Nations Arbitral Tribunal in The Hague. Photo from the Department of Foreign Affairs
The Philippines is raring to go into Round 2 with China after scoring a knockdown in Round 1 on Thursday, when a United Nations arbitral court ruled that it has jurisdiction to hear Manila’s case seeking to invalidate Beijing’s claim to nearly all of the South China Sea. Solicitor General Florin Hilbay confirmed on Friday that the UN Permanent Court of Arbitration has set Nov. 24 to 30 as the preliminary dates for the Philippines to lay down its case against China at The Hague, the second round of oral arguments on the case Manila initiated on Jan. 22, 2013. “The decision represents a significant step forward in the Philippines’ quest for a peaceful, impartial resolution of the disputes between the parties and the clarification of their rights under Unclos (United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea),” Hilbay said in a statement. “The elimination of preliminary objections to the exercise of the tribunal’s jurisdiction opens the way for the presentation of the merits of the Philippines’ substantive claims,” said Hilbay, the Philippines’ agent in the case.A contrary ruling would have led to the termination of the proceedings. The Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA), the agency at the lead of the legal action, welcomed the ruling, saying it looked forward to the tribunal’s further hearing on the merits of the case. China rejection China refused to take part in the arbitration and on Friday rejected the tribunal’s ruling, saying the case would not affect its sovereign claims in the South China Sea. “We will not participate and we will not accept the arbitration,” Vice Foreign Minister Liu Zhenmin told reporters in Beijing. “The ruling or the result of arbitration will not affect China’s position,” he added. “It won’t affect China’s sovereignty rights and jurisdiction in the South China Sea, our rights will not be undermined.” The foreign ministry also urged the Philippines to return to the “correct path” of talks to resolve their territorial dispute, a position that Manila has long rejected. Assistant Foreign Secretary Charles Jose, the DFA spokesperson, said the arbitral tribunal was expected to issue further instructions in the coming weeks, including whether the Philippines should submit further pleadings. The proceedings will be held at the Peace Palace in The Hague, the headquarters of the Permanent Court of Arbitration, an intergovernmental organization that facilitates international arbitration and dispute resolution proceedings. It was also the venue of oral arguments held in July when the Philippines presented its case to convince the tribunal that it had jurisdiction over the case. “The hearing will provide an opportunity for the parties to present oral arguments and answer questions on the merits of the Philippines’ claims and any remaining issues deferred from the jurisdictional phase,” the tribunal said in a statement issued on Thursday announcing the decision. Observers welcome The proceedings will not be open to the public, just like the July jurisdictional phase hearings. But the oral arguments will be open to interested states who would like to take part as observers. READ MORE...

ALSO PNoy told: Be cautious on rising China sea tension


OCTOBER 31 -BOBBY M. TUAZON. Bobby M. Tuazon is the Director for Policy Studies and in-house policy analyst of the Center for People Empowerment in Governance (CenPEG) ..CENPEG.ORG FILE PRESIDENT Benigno Aquino 3rd should be cautious and not take unnecessary actions in relation to “rising tensions” between the United States and China because any reckless action will not only be costly diplomatically but also economically, a political analyst said on Friday. Bobby Tuazon, director for policy studies of the Center for People Empowerment in Governance (CenPEG), noted that the government should instead wait for the adjudication of the case currently pending before the Permanent Court of Arbitration in The Hague. “The Philippine government should not take any drastic move in what is looming to be rising tensions between the Pacific power and a rising power in Asia,” Tuazon said told The Manila Times. The United States Navy recently sent one of its warships–the USS Lassen, a guided missile destroyer–to go on patrol at the One Reader Response to PNoy told: Be cautious, makabayan says: October 31, 2015 at 9:27 am Papogi lang si Booby Tuazon, tingnan natin kung yung PCA result is not in favour of RP. Bakaikaw pa and unang bumato kay Pnoy. I have said it before that Pnoy and Del Rosario approach for this problem is the right way and lasting.Even if we win or lose at least we know our standing. Binay, Marcos and the rest of the candidates doesn’t have that forecast. Ilalaglag nila and Pilipinas for the sake of million of dollars from China. Beware of these people. I don’t think the President need your advise. I would rather believe in the Chief Legal counsel that RP hired than you. Ano bang credential mayroon ka para maging paham (wiseman) at mag advise sa Presidente. THE FULL REPORT, RELATED FROM FORBES ASIA --, President Aquino Should Avoid Inflammatory Rhetoric On South China Sea: China Is Not Nazi Germany! -- The Philippines Has Other Priorities ...

ALSO Editorial: Zero policy on US-China row


NOCTOBER 29 -oynoy received a grilling of sorts from correspondents of foreign news outfits the other day who tried to squeeze out from him a Philippine position on the increased tension between China and the United States near the country’s border. Through pointed probing from the reporters, Noynoy in effect admitted that his administration does not have a policy on an issue that has the potential of sucking the country into another conflict except for kowtowing to the United States. A United States destroyer sailed within 12 nautical miles of a part of the Spratly islands where the Chinese had set up artificial structures, taken by the Chinese as a challenge to their sovereignty claims on South China Sea. The United States was putting into effect its policy that it “will fly, sail and operate wherever international law allows.” When asked about the US posturing near its border, Noynoy merely said that he welcomes a balancing of power in that part of South China Sea where the Philippines is fast losing to Chinese reclamation most of the islands it has been disputing through United Nations arbitration. “I think expressing support for established norms of international behavior should not be a negative for a country, I think everybody would welcome a balance of power anywhere in the world,” so he thinks. But Noynoy can’t spell out a concrete policy that would apply to the current situation. Noynoy was asked about the effect of the tension on regional security since the Philippines is part of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations. Noynoy’s reply remains in reference to the US position of testing China’s resolve in its maritime claim.“If there are no hostile intentions being alluded to by any party, why should tensions be increasing in this particular portion of the world? 12 nautical miles is the international standard of territorial waters. And again, so long as everybody conforms to the norms based on international customs and rules, regulations and laws, then there shouldn’t be any problem,” Noynoy said, as if he is not an affected resident of the country, much less leading it if conflict indeed breaks out. Noynoy, in effect, seems to have left entirely to the mercy of the US the defense of the territory since everything which he had said about territorial tensions were all in support of the American actions. He also kept repeating the phrase “so long as everybody conforms with established international rules and laws,” as if it was drilled into his head, indicating higher dictates of sticking to a particular line regarding the long-planned American action. REAAD MORE...


READ FULL MEDIA REPORTS HERE:

Amid INC case, PNoy says gov't must not favor any religion


LAST YEAR's PHOTO: President Benigno Aquino III is welcomed by Iglesia Ni Cristo Executive Minister Eduardo V. Manalo at the inauguration of Ciudad de Victoria in Bocaue, Bulacan on Monday, July 21. INC is considered the third largest religious denomination in the Philippines with its members comprising 2.3 percent of the population based on the census of Year 2000 conducted by the National Statistics Office. FROM GMA NEWS NETWORK

MANILA, november 2, 2015 (PHILSTAR) Updated October 26, 2015 - 2:03pm- President Benigno Aquino III on Sunday preached about the separation of church and state, saying the government should not favor any religion.

"Sa atin pong Saligang Batas nakasaad ang pagkakahiwalay ng simbahan at ng estado. Ayon po rito, kaakibat ng kalayaan sa pananampalataya, wala ring dapat kilingang relihiyon ang estado," Aquino said during the thanksgiving celebration and national assembly of the Tarlac First Baptist Church.

"Dito pumapasok ang nakasaad sa aklat ni Mark, kabanata 12, bersikulo 17 kung saan sinabi ni Hesus: 'Ibigay ninyo kay Caesar ang kay Caesar at sa Diyos ang sa Diyos at sila’y namangha sa kanya,'" he added.

But while the separation of church and state should be upheld, Aquino said the church should not shrug off state issues such as poverty and injustice.

"Kaya po sumasang-ayon ako sa aral ng Second Vatican Council ng simbahang kinabibilangan ko. Ayon po rito, mahalagang pakialaman ang buhay sa mundo dahil ito ang gumagabay sa atin sa landas patungo sa buhay na walang hanggan," Aquino said.

"Ang hamon sa atin ng Bibliya, sa halip na makuntento sa pagbibigay ng limos, dapat nating labanan ang sistemang ugat ng kawalang-katarungan at paghihirap ng kapwa," the president added.

Aquino made the remarks about the separation of church and state as the government continues to resolve the alleged abduction of expelled Iglesia ni Cristo (INC) ministers.

READ MORE...

In August, the Department of Justice (DOJ) ordered the investigation of the alleged kidnapping and detention of Isaias Samson, whom the INC leadership has expelled for allegedly exposing corruption in the religious group.

On Friday, the Supreme Court also issued writs of habeas corpus and amparo to compel the INC to present Lowell Menorca II, another expelled minister who was allegedly abducted and detained.

INC members have earlier decried the government's actions. Calling for the separation of church of state, thousands flocked to EDSA to stage a protest against the DOJ probe, saying the government should not interfere with the affairs of their church.

On Saturday, Malacañang said INC officials accused in the alleged abduction of former ministers are assured of due process.

"Whatever is in the law, that is what will be followed," Deputy Presidential Spokesperson Abigail Valte said.

However, Valte clarified that the case was not against the INC church but against some of its leaders.

"It was filed against certain individuals in their individual capacities," she said. - Louis Bacani


INQUIRER

Rule of law prevailed, says Aquino By: Nikko Dizon @inquirerdotnet  Philippine Daily Inquirer 03:15 AM October 31st, 2015


President Benigno Aquino III AP FILE PHOTO

The rule of law has prevailed, and President Benigno Aquino III is “very happy.”

“We are very happy that the [UN Permanent Court of Arbitration] said it has jurisdiction (over the case),” Mr. Aquino told reporters during a visit to Eastern Samar province on Friday.

He was referring to the UN tribunal’s ruling on Thursday that it has jurisdiction to hear the Philippines’ case seeking the invalidation of China’s claim to almost all of the South China Sea, including waters within the West Philippine Sea.

The President also noted that the tribunal is expected to rule on the merits of the Philippines’ petition against China “as early as next year.”

“It’s a fast process. The discussion is quite complicated but we can say, who wouldn’t be happy that and we call the rule of law prevailed?” Mr. Aquino said.

Echoing a Supreme Court associate justice he did not name, the President said the rule of law was the “equalizer” in the relations between a big state and a small state.

Had the UN tribunal ruled that it did not have jurisdiction over Manila’s petition, it would have been “the end of such avenue” for the Philippines, Mr. Aquino said, referring to the legal track that his administration follows in resolving the territorial dispute with China.

Relations with China

Asked how winning the first round would affect the Philippines’ relations with China, Mr. Aquino said the clarifications made by the tribunal would, hopefully, be an “avenue for better relations” between the two countries.

He said the maritime dispute was only one of the aspects of the Philippines’ relations with China.

Before President Aquino spoke Friday, the government’s reaction to the tribunal’s decision was subdued and measured, especially with the upcoming Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (Apec) Economic Leaders’ Meeting to be held in Manila on Nov. 18 and 19.

Chinese President Xi Jinping has yet to confirm his attendance at the meeting.

Presidential spokespersons Herminio Coloma Jr. and Abigail Valte said in separate statements that the tribunal’s decision would allow the Philippines to present the merits of the case.

“Our people can be assured that those representing our country have been continuously preparing for this,” Valte said.

“[The] government would really be careful on how to play this up… The Apec should be an opportunity to start mending fences,” Jay Batongbacal, director of the University of the Philippines Institute for Maritime Affairs and Law of the Sea, told the Inquirer by phone.

Batongbacal said the announcement of the tribunal’s decision coming at the heels of the United States’ testing freedom of navigation in the South China Sea, as well as the upcoming Apec summit, was purely coincidental but “not exactly a good mix.”

“China could be taking time to study these things,” Batongbacal said.

President Aquino said the tribunal’s decision would be one of the issues to be tackled at the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean) Summit in Kuala Lumpur next month.

President Aquino has consistently campaigned for the conclusion of a binding code of conduct in the South China Sea between Asean and China.

“The voice that we bring [to the Asean] must have an urgency, that we finish the discussions and we have a code of conduct.
 That would be part of the interventions we will have at the Asean [summit],” he said.

READ MORE...

Regional peace, stability

The Department of National Defense (DND) welcomed the UN tribunal’s ruling.

“It’s a very good development not only for the Philippines but [also] for all nations believing in the Unclos (United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea). We will closely monitor the developments in this court,” said Peter Paul Galvez, spokesperson for the DND.

He said the DND was optimistic that other nations would adhere to international laws for regional peace and stability.

“As long as we maintain freedom of navigation and [overflight] in the [South China Sea], then that is for the stability of the region,” Galvez said.

Sen. Grace Poe, a presidential candidate in next year’s general elections, hailed the UN tribunal’s ruling, which she said cleared the way for the hearing of the merits of the Philippine case.

“[W]ith this development, which I think the international community will support, I am hopeful that China will respect the ruling and desist from any actions that will negate any decision of the tribunal on the case in the future,” Poe said.

China won’t stop

Sen. Antonio Trillanes IV, head of the Senate committee on national defense and security, said the tribunal’s ruling validated the Philippines’ complaint against China and strengthened its call for global intervention.

Trillanes said, however, that he did not believe China would stop intruding into the West Philippine Sea, part of the South China Sea within Manila’s 370-kilometer exclusive economic zone.

“China, for fear of losing face, would likely continue with [its] activities and insist on [its] claims even if it eventually loses the case,” Trillanes said.

READ MORE...

Sen. Aquilino Pimentel III said the tribunal’s ruling was good news, but it did not mean the Philippines would win the arguments on the merits of its case.


KOKO PIMENTEL

This is the next challenge for the Philippines, Pimentel said.

Senate President Franklin Drilon said the ruling was a “crucial positive step” in the Philippines’ efforts to protect its sovereignty.

“The Philippines remains committed to the peaceful settlement of conflicting claims in the West Philippine Sea in accordance with international law, in particular the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea,” Drilon said.

Speaker Feliciano Belmonte Jr. welcomed the tribunal’s ruling, but said the Philippines should not forsake its relations with China.

“We must remember that this sea conflict is only one aspect and that through many years our country and its people have had very close, fruitful ties with China and we intend to sustain that,” Belmonte said in a statement.


DRILON, BLMONTE

He said the tribunal’s ruling was a “big relief,” clearing the way for the discussion of the merits of the Philippine case.
More assertive China

Batongbacal warned that the tribunal’s ruling could provoke China into becoming more assertive in the South China Sea.

“The realities on the ground have changed and they are not in our favor. Possibly, we won the legal round but on the practical end, we might end up with substantial losses,” Batongbacal said.

He said he was worried about the Aquino administration’s “overreliance on the legal track.”

“Now we could have a hard time with China. We could have developed the diplomatic track to settle the issue amicably. We’ve also lost quite a lot in terms of the strained relations between President Aquino and President Xi Jinping,” Batongbacal said.

He said the timing of the tribunal’s ruling, coming only days after the United States tested freedom of navigation in the South China Sea, “was unfortunate.”

“I am pretty sure these events are not connected but the Chinese might interpret it as the US being behind it (tribunal decision),” Batongbacal said, adding that it could make China more assertive in the South China Sea.

Chester Cabalza, a professor at the National Defense College of the Philippines, agreed.

“Since China’s territorial integrity is now challenged by the United States, definitely they will stringently safeguard their air and naval spaces. China will continuously flex muscle and assert sovereignty over the South China Sea,” said Cabalza, who specializes in Chinese affairs.

“They will finish their constructions and island-building in the South China Sea that would help them secure their strategic interests with or without the tribunal’s decision,” he said.

Cabalza added that even if the tribunal’s final decision on the merits of the Philippines’ petition would be nonbinding, “China will definitely be pressured by the international community.”

Code of conduct

He said the Philippines “must accelerate its position in the Asean to call for a mutually binding code of conduct in the South China Sea because of these new developments.”

Unlike Batongbacal, however, Cabalza believed President Aquino was right in pursuing the legal track.

“Although considered our last resort, notwithstanding our diplomatic and military woes, seeking legal means is the best strategy President Aquino has done,”

Cabalza said. With reports from Julie M. Aurelio, Leila B. Salaverria and DJ Yap


INQUIRER

PH rarin’ to go to Round 2 SHARES: 1521 VIEW COMMENTS @inquirerdotnet 03:02 AM October 31st, 2015


Philippine delegation to the United Nations Arbitral Tribunal in The Hague. Photo from the Department of Foreign Affairs

The Philippines is raring to go into Round 2 with China after scoring a knockdown in Round 1 on Thursday, when a United Nations arbitral court ruled that it has jurisdiction to hear Manila’s case seeking to invalidate Beijing’s claim to nearly all of the South China Sea.

Solicitor General Florin Hilbay confirmed on Friday that the UN Permanent Court of Arbitration has set Nov. 24 to 30 as the preliminary dates for the Philippines to lay down its case against China at The Hague, the second round of oral arguments on the case Manila initiated on Jan. 22, 2013.

“The decision represents a significant step forward in the Philippines’ quest for a peaceful, impartial resolution of the disputes between the parties and the clarification of their rights under Unclos (United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea),” Hilbay said in a statement.

“The elimination of preliminary objections to the exercise of the tribunal’s jurisdiction opens the way for the presentation of the merits of the Philippines’ substantive claims,” said Hilbay, the Philippines’ agent in the case.

A contrary ruling would have led to the termination of the proceedings.

The Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA), the agency at the lead of the legal action, welcomed the ruling, saying it looked forward to the tribunal’s further hearing on the merits of the case.

China rejection

China refused to take part in the arbitration and on Friday rejected the tribunal’s ruling, saying the case would not affect its sovereign claims in the South China Sea.

“We will not participate and we will not accept the arbitration,” Vice Foreign Minister Liu Zhenmin told reporters in Beijing.
“The ruling or the result of arbitration will not affect China’s position,” he added. “It won’t affect China’s sovereignty rights and jurisdiction in the South China Sea, our rights will not be undermined.”

The foreign ministry also urged the Philippines to return to the “correct path” of talks to resolve their territorial dispute, a position that Manila has long rejected.

Assistant Foreign Secretary Charles Jose, the DFA spokesperson, said the arbitral tribunal was expected to issue further instructions in the coming weeks, including whether the Philippines should submit further pleadings.

The proceedings will be held at the Peace Palace in The Hague, the headquarters of the Permanent Court of Arbitration, an intergovernmental organization that facilitates international arbitration and dispute resolution proceedings.

It was also the venue of oral arguments held in July when the Philippines presented its case to convince the tribunal that it had jurisdiction over the case.

“The hearing will provide an opportunity for the parties to present oral arguments and answer questions on the merits of the Philippines’ claims and any remaining issues deferred from the jurisdictional phase,” the tribunal said in a statement issued on Thursday announcing the decision.

Observers welcome

The proceedings will not be open to the public, just like the July jurisdictional phase hearings. But the oral arguments will be open to interested states who would like to take part as observers.

READ MORE...

Countries that sent delegations to observe the earlier proceedings “will be informed of the hearing dates,” the court said.
Those countries are Vietnam and Malaysia, both claimants in the six-way maritime dispute, Japan, which has its own unresolved disputes with China in the East China Sea, as well as Indonesia and Thailand.

“The tribunal had already provisionally sought the views of the parties on the dates for the hearing and will shortly confirm the schedule,” the court said.

A final ruling on the case is not expected until next year.

In its decision, the five-member tribunal unanimously ruled that it had jurisdiction to proceed with the case, rejecting China’s position that the Philippine case was beyond the panel’s jurisdiction.

The 151-page decision found that “[t]he tribunal was properly constituted under Annex VII (Arbitration) of Unclos.”

“China’s nonappearance in these proceedings does not deprive the tribunal of jurisdiction,” the tribunal said.

“The Philippines’ act of initiating this arbitration did not constitute an abuse of process,” it said.

“There is no indispensable third party whose absence deprives the tribunal of jurisdiction,” it said.

Earlier bilateral negotiations and declarations “do not preclude” recourse to the compulsory dispute settlement procedures” under Unclos, it said.

Seven PH assertions
Out of the Philippines’ 15 submissions (or issues for arbitration), the tribunal concluded that it had jurisdiction over seven assertions:

Panatag Shoal (international name: Scarborough Shoal) generates no entitlement to an exclusive economic zone (EEZ) or continental shelf.

Panganiban Reef (Mischief Reef), Ayungin Shoal (Second Thomas Shoal) and Zamora Reef (Subi Reef) “are low-tide elevations that do not generate entitlement to a territorial sea, EEZ or continental shelf” and that they cannot be appropriated by occupation.

Gavin Reef (Gaven Reef) and McKennan Reef (Hughes Reef) are low-tide elevations that do not generate entitlement to a territorial sea, EEZ or continental shelf, but their low-water line may be used to determine the baseline from which the breadth of the territorial sea of Binago Island (Namyit Island) and Rurok Island (Sin Cowe Island), respectively, is measured.

Mabini Reef (Johnson South Reef), Calderon Reef (Cuarteron Reef) and Kagitingan Reef (Fiery Cross Reef) generate no entitlement to an EEZ or continental shelf.

China has unlawfully prevented Philippine fishermen from pursuing their livelihoods by interfering with traditional fishing activities at Panatag Shoal.

China has violated its obligations under Unclos to protect and preserve the marine environment at Panatag Shoal and Ayungin Shoal.

China has breached its obligations under Unclos by operating its law enforcement vessels in a dangerous manner causing serious risk of collision to Philippine vessels navigating in the vicinity of Panatag Shoal.

Seven other submissions “will need to be considered in conjunction with the merits,” the tribunal said.

These include the Philippine assertions that:
China’s maritime entitlements may not extend beyond what Unclos states.

China’s nine-dash-line claim in the South China Sea should be declared invalid.

China has “unlawfully aggravated and extended the dispute” through preventing Philippine navigation, rotation and resupply of its troops on Ayungin Shoal.

China’s occupation and construction activities on Panganiban Reef violate Unclos.

Panganiban Reef and Ayungin Shoal are parts of the EEZ and continental shelf of the Philippines.

China has interfered with the Philippines’ exercise of its sovereign rights to resources within its EEZ.

China “unlawfully failed to prevent its nationals and vessels” from exploiting resources within Philippine territory.


PHOTO FROM CNN PHILIPPINES

China desistance

The ruling also “directs the Philippines to clarify the content and narrow the scope” of its 15th submission: That “China shall desist from further unlawful claims and activities.”

The ruling was released amid tensions in the South China Sea following a US Navy sail-by at Zamora Reef on Tuesday, in a show of US resolve not to recognize China’s expansive claims in the disputed waters.

While refusing to participate in the case and asserting its “indisputable sovereignty” over the South China Sea, China issued a position paper in December last year outlining its defense against the Philippines’ assertions.

The paper, which the tribunal also used in deciding whether it had jurisdiction over the case, claimed that the Philippines sought to settle sovereignty issues over the disputed reefs and to delineate maritime boundaries in the South China Sea.

But the panel ruled that the Philippines’ submissions “reflect disputes between the two states concerning the interpretation or application” of Unclos.

“Reviewing the claims submitted by the Philippines, the tribunal has rejected the argument set out in China’s position paper that the parties’ dispute is actually about sovereignty over the islands in the South China Sea and therefore beyond the tribunal’s jurisdiction,” the tribunal said.

“The tribunal has also rejected the argument set out in China’s position paper that the parties’ dispute is actually about the delimitation of a maritime boundary between them and therefore excluded from the tribunal’s jurisdiction through a declaration made by China in 2006,” it said.

Not sovereignty issue

The Philippines has long maintained that the arbitration case does not seek an award on sovereignty, or who owns which features in the South China Sea, nor does it seek to set maritime delineations.

It says the case instead seeks to invalidate China’s nine-dash-line claim, being inconsistent with Unclos, and to declare that China, through its fishing and construction activities in the South China Sea, has violated Unclos by interfering with the Philippines’ exercise of its sovereign rights within its EEZ.

It also says the Philippines seeks a determination of the status of maritime features in the South China Sea—whether they should be considered islands, rocks, low-tide elevations or submerged banks.

An island, it says, “generates an exclusive economic zone or entitlement to a continental shelf” extending to 370 km; rocks generate a territorial sea entitlement to 21 kilometers.

Significantly, the decision held that, despite China’s decision to shun the proceedings, it must respect Unclos provisions on dispute settlement, which includes the right of parties to initiate arbitration proceedings.

“[The] Philippines and China are parties to the convention and bound by its provisions on the settlement of disputes,” the tribunal read.

The court also held that “China’s decision not to participate in these proceedings does not deprive the tribunal of jurisdiction.”

It shot down China’s claim that the Philippines’ decision to unilaterally initiate arbitration proceedings was an abuse of dispute settlement procedures under Unclos.

The UN panel also sustained the Philippines’ decision to seek legal recourse, recognizing that it had exhausted bilateral options toward a resolution.

“[T]he tribunal held that the Philippines has sought to negotiate with China and noted that it is well established that international law does not require a state to continue negotiations when it concludes that the possibility of a negotiated solution has been exhausted,” the court said.

Other ways of settlement

Contrary to China’s assertions, the tribunal also dismissed claims that other dispute settlement mechanisms and earlier bilateral pacts between Manila and Beijing had prevented the Philippines from seeking relief under Unclos and deprived the tribunal of jurisdiction over the case.

The Chinese position paper identified these as: the 2002 China–Association of Southeast Asian Nations Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the South China Sea, a series of joint statements issued by the Philippines and China referring to the resolution of disputes through negotiations, the Treaty of Amity and Cooperation in Southeast Asia, and the Convention on Biological Diversity.

“The tribunal… recognizes that the parties’ many discussions and consultations did not address all of the matters in dispute with the same level of specificity that is now reflected in the Philippines’ submissions. This is to be expected and constitutes no bar to the Philippines’ claims,” the tribunal said in its ruling.

“Accordingly, and for the foregoing reasons, the tribunal concludes that neither Article 283 [of Unclos, which requires parties in disputes an “obligation to exchange views], nor the obligation to seek a solution through pacific means, including negotiation, poses any bar to the tribunal’s consideration of the submissions presented by the Philippines,” it said. With reports from AFP


MANILA TIMES

PNoy told: Be cautious on rising China sea tension October 31, 2015 12:12 am by JEFFERSON ANTIPORDA, REPORTER


BOBBY M. TUAZON. Bobby M. Tuazon is the Director for Policy Studies and in-house policy analyst of the Center for People Empowerment in Governance (CenPEG) ..CENPEG.ORG FILE

PRESIDENT Benigno Aquino 3rd should be cautious and not take unnecessary actions in relation to “rising tensions” between the United States and China because any reckless action will not only be costly diplomatically but also economically, a political analyst said on Friday.
Bobby Tuazon, director for policy studies of the Center for People Empowerment in Governance (CenPEG), noted that the government should instead wait for the adjudication of the case currently pending before the Permanent Court of Arbitration in The Hague.
“The Philippine government should not take any drastic move in what is looming to be rising tensions between the Pacific power and a rising power in Asia,” Tuazon said told The Manila Times.

The United States Navy recently sent one of its warships–the USS Lassen, a guided missile destroyer–to go on patrol at the
One Response to PNoy told: Be cautious
makabayan says:
October 31, 2015 at 9:27 am
Papogi lang si Booby Tuazon, tingnan natin kung yung PCA result is not in favour of RP. Bakaikaw pa and unang bumato kay Pnoy.
I have said it before that Pnoy and Del Rosario approach for this problem is the right way and lasting.Even if we win or lose at least we know our standing. Binay, Marcos and the rest of the candidates doesn’t have that forecast. Ilalaglag nila and Pilipinas for the sake of million of dollars from China. Beware of these people.
I don’t think the Presidentneed your advise. I would rather believe in the Chief Legal counsel that RP hired than you.
Ano bang credential mayroon ka para maging paham (wiseman) at mag advise sa Presidente.

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RELATED FROM FORBES ASIA --FLASHBACK JUNE 7, 2015

President Aquino Should Avoid Inflammatory Rhetoric On South China Sea: China Is Not Nazi Germany! -- The Philippines Has Other Priorities Jean-Pierre Lehmann , CONTRIBUTOR

The situation in Asia Pacific generally and in the South China Sea in particular is explosive. There are several actors and tensions involved, including between the Philippines and China.

When last year Philippines President Benigno Aquino compared China’s stance in the South China Sea to that of Nazi Germany’s annexation of the Sudetenland in Czechoslovakia before the outbreak of World War II, it was inappropriate, irresponsible and inflammatory. To have done so again, in a speech in Tokyo on Wednesday 3rd June, borders on the incredulous. Aquino should certainly refrain from such comparisons in the future.

For starters the dynamics of the South China Sea are extremely complex. I recently read The South China Sea by Bill Hayton, sub-titled, The Struggle for Power in Asia. It is absolutely outstanding, fascinating, based on extensive research and very well-written. It underlines in detail the immense historical, legal, economic and environmental complexities that the South China Sea poses.

To compare the South China Sea to the Sudetenland displays amazing ignorance, worrying on the part of the head of State of one of the countries concerned. The situation requires cool-heads, not saber-rattling hot-heads. Had he read Bill Hayton’s work Aquino would not have made such asinine remarks. The comparison of Nazi Germany and China is absurd and bears no scrutiny. Xi Jinping is no Hitler and the South China Sea is not the Sudetenland.

As inappropriate, irresponsible and inflammatory as the comparison was in the first place, repeating it in Tokyo in the presence of hawkish Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe is like bringing a match to one of the Asia Pacific’s potentially most explosive power kegs. Abe has been energetically revisionist in his approach to the history of Japan’s wars and invasions of China. Calling the Chinese Nazis will obviously delight one who wants the world to forget that actually in World War II Nazi Germany was Japan’s close ally.

Had Aquino read a bit more history he would have found that it was the Japanese, not the Chinese, who invaded and occupied the Philippines from 1942 to 1945, who killed, tortured and raped – and forcibly recruited thousands of Philippine women as sex slaves, what the Japanese euphemistically call “ianfu” (comfort women), into Japanese military run brothels (see illustration below).

It was also the Japanese, not the Chinese, who ordered the 1942 Bataan Death March, in which thousands died from exhaustion, starvation, malaria and maltreatment. The Chinese died in the millions, both soldiers in battlefields and innocent civilians, seeking to prevent the world (including the Philippines) from being dominated and ruled by the Japan-Nazi Germany alliance.

Perhaps Aquino’s intention in making his inflammatory populist remarks was in the hope of distracting the attention of the Philippino people away from the poor economic and governance performance of the country’s leadership and elites over decades.

The Philippines is an extreme case of a country with very high promise – estimated by the World Bank in the 1950s, among others, to become the star economy of East Asia – and abysmal performance. Aquino’s attitude to China may be one of unhealthy envy. In 1980 the Philippines GDP per capita ($1,868) was six-times that of China ($302); by this year China’s ($13, 800) is four-times that of the Philippines ($4,062). (source: IMF) Need one say more?

The Philippines: From Poster Child to Sick Child

South Korea is a country that had virtually nothing going for it, objective conditions were stark, but it achieved tremendous social, economic and political developments and transformations. GDP per capita in 1980 ($2184) was just a little bit higher than the Philippines; today ($38,000) it is more than nine-times higher.

The Philippines is the opposite narrative to that of Korea: a country that had everything going for it – natural resources, a comparatively high level of education and huge amount of aid from the US. Its failure is as unexpected and as remarkable as Korea’s success.

Much of the rot can be ascribed to the twenty-year dictatorial rule (1965-1986) of Ferdinand Marcos and his wife Imelda (see illustration below) and their cronies. Asia Pacific is (or at least was) characterized by authoritarian rule, but whereas a number of the other authoritarian rulers – Lee Kuan Yew of Singapore, Park Chung-hee of South Korea, Suharto of Indonesia, Mahathir Mohamad of Malaysia, and, of course, Deng Xiaoping of China and his successors – brought high economic growth and social development, the Philippines under Marcos stagnated.

In the 2008 report of the Commission for Growth and Development 13 economies are identified as having achieved sustained 7% average annual growth for 25 years over the period 1950 to 2005, out of which 9 are from Asia Pacific – China, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Japan, Korea, Malaysia, Singapore, Taiwan and Thailand: the Philippines is conspicuous by its absence.


MARCOS

In the closing years of the Marcos era I remember hearing a speech in Manila by Jaime Ongpin, a leading figure of the opposition, who later became Finance Minister in the government of President Cory Aquino (Benigno’s mother).

The Philippines he argued needed fundamental reforms in three key areas: political, economic, and social. Political reform, he went on to say, could be achieved quickly with the overthrow of the Marcos cronyist regime.

The economic reform would require abandoning big prestige industrial projects, for which the Marcos era was noteworthy, while concentrating instead on agrarian reform and promotion of the small-and-medium-sized sector. That he said would take a decade. The third reform required a transformation of social attitudes of the elites. That would take a generation.

The political reform came, but not the other two. There has been some rural reform but vanishingly pale in comparison with what was undertaken in Korea, or indeed China.

Now that a generation has passed since the fall of Marcos, the profound social reform remains stillborn. The Philippino people have to sacrifice happiness and family in order to find work overseas. Foreign remittances are the country’s major source of revenue.

[I might add a personal note here. The Philippines is a country for which I have great affection. My mother was born in Manila and though after her father died in the 1920s she and her mother returned to Spain, I often went to the Philippines in my childhood, and also later for professional reasons. I have many Philippino friends. The affection clearly affects the frustration I feel in witnessing this country performing so far below its potential.]

Instead of giving irresponsible a-historical speeches, Aquino should concentrate on making the Philippines, like South Korea, an economic, social and environmental success story which its population so much deserves. (To be fair the Philippines economy has marginally improved during his administration, but it is far from being sustained and there remains a great deal of social injustice.)

Perspectives on the South China Sea

If there is to be World War III, the South China Sea (see map below) could be a major candidate location where the spark that triggers the war occurs. It is, as I stressed, highly complex. The conflicts are not just about resources, oil, fishing rights, or even security – if only things were so simple! The conflicts are also about history, about national identity and pride and about symbols.


Disputed-claims-in-the-south-china-sea-Agence-France-Presse

It is also perhaps the epicenter of the confrontation between two worldviews – the US and China. The Chinese view is that just as the US achieved its rise to great power status in the late 19th and early 20th centuries by securing control over its backyard and transforming the Caribbean into an American lake, before expanding to the rest of the world; China, as it rises to become a great global power in the 21st century, is now seeking to ensure stability and control in its backyard, including by transforming the South China Sea into a Chinese lake. The American view is to maintain its hegemonic strategic position in Asia Pacific.

China, given its size, its history, its humiliation at the hands of Western and Japanese imperialism, but also its past and contemporary achievements, naturally aspires to becoming one of the world’s great powers in the 21st century. In doing so Chinese thought leaders have sought to stress that China’s rise, unlike that of the Western erstwhile imperialist great powers and in stark contrast to its East Asian neighbor Japan, will be peaceful. Unlike preceding rising great powers, they insist, China will not resort to war and imperialism.

If China succeeds in becoming a great global power peacefully, it will be the first nation in history ever to have done so. Whether it succeeds or fails will of course depend very much on Chinese internal dynamics, but also on the acts and words of other nations, especially its neighbors, such as the Philippines, and the US. It will be the dominant narrative of the 21st century.

Comparing China to Nazi Germany poisons the environment and brings us one step nearer to conflict. As to the US, the best advice comes from an article by China expert Howard French, entitled “The South China Sea Could Become a Dangerous Contest of Military Might”. The US which is fond of sanctimoniously talking about rules – even if occasionally violating them – has so far refused to adhere to UNCLOS (the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea). As French writes: by adhering to UNCLOS, the US would “take a stand on a rules-based international order, …. rather than reducing this to a dangerous contest of military might”. And Aquino in the meantime should cease making his inappropriate, irresponsible and inflammatory remarks and drawing totally misleading historical parallels.


TRIBUNE EDITORIAL

Zero policy on US-China row Written by Tribune Editorial Thursday, 29 October 2015 00:00

Noynoy received a grilling of sorts from correspondents of foreign news outfits the other day who tried to squeeze out from him a Philippine position on the increased tension between China and the United States near the country’s border.

Through pointed probing from the reporters, Noynoy in effect admitted that his administration does not have a policy on an issue that has the potential of sucking the country into another conflict except for kowtowing to the United States.

A United States destroyer sailed within 12 nautical miles of a part of the Spratly islands where the Chinese had set up artificial structures, taken by the Chinese as a challenge to their sovereignty claims on South China Sea.

The United States was putting into effect its policy that it “will fly, sail and operate wherever international law allows.”

When asked about the US posturing near its border, Noynoy merely said that he welcomes a balancing of power in that part of South China Sea where the Philippines is fast losing to Chinese reclamation most of the islands it has been disputing through United Nations arbitration.

“I think expressing support for established norms of international behavior should not be a negative for a country, I think everybody would welcome a balance of power anywhere in the world,” so he thinks. But Noynoy can’t spell out a concrete policy that would apply to the current situation.

Noynoy was asked about the effect of the tension on regional security since the Philippines is part of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations.

Noynoy’s reply remains in reference to the US position of testing China’s resolve in its maritime claim.

“If there are no hostile intentions being alluded to by any party, why should tensions be increasing in this particular portion of the world? 12 nautical miles is the international standard of territorial waters. And again, so long as everybody conforms to the norms based on international customs and rules, regulations and laws, then there shouldn’t be any problem,” Noynoy said, as if he is not an affected resident of the country, much less leading it if conflict indeed breaks out.

Noynoy, in effect, seems to have left entirely to the mercy of the US the defense of the territory since everything which he had said about territorial tensions were all in support of the American actions.

He also kept repeating the phrase “so long as everybody conforms with established international rules and laws,” as if it was drilled into his head, indicating higher dictates of sticking to a particular line regarding the long-planned American action.

READ MORE...

Asked to reconcile his claim of the balancing of power and the American position of asserting freedom of navigation, Noynoy went through a length about the American action as an assertion of the right of free passage through the waters being claimed by China.

Asked pointedly what contingencies the government has in case “something wrong happens,” Noynoy claimed “without revealing any details that we want to plan for any contingency that might affect our country, whether it’s man-made or natural.”

Noynoy’s want seems to have been overtaken by an American directive on what should be said and the actions taken by his administration amid the conflict.

Asked again if his administration would allow the country to be used as a platform by the United States in its sea campaign, Noynoy indicated that it is provided under the Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement (EDCA), which is still under review in the Supreme Court.

Realizing that EDCA is still not binding, Noynoy shifted gears saying” if you have an ally who is on the opposite side of the world and comes to our defense and we say ‘we will not support you logistically,’ how does that make any sense?”

All told, what made real sense in what Noynoy said was the complete absence of a distinct policy that protects the interest of the country amid the brewing trouble in the South China Sea.


Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi

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