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

PH COUNSEL AT THE HAGUE: 'CHINA SEA CLAIMS HOPELESS'


NOVEMBER 27 -VALTE AT THE HAGUE -Deputy presidential spokesperson Abigail Valte, quoting Andrew Loewenstein, one of the counsels representing the Philippines, said China’s claim was “hopeless and indefensible.” STAR/File photo MANILA, Philippines - China’s expansive claim in the South China Sea and West Philippine Sea is “hopeless and indefensible” and without legal or historical basis, the Philippines told an international arbitration court on Wednesday. The Permanent Court of Arbitration based in The Hague continued the oral arguments on the merits of the case filed by Manila seeking clarification of its territorial entitlements in the West Philippine Sea and contesting Beijing’s massive claims, which cover the coasts of smaller neighbors. Deputy presidential spokesperson Abigail Valte, quoting Andrew Loewenstein, one of the counsels representing the Philippines, said China’s claim was “hopeless and indefensible.”  A bulletin from The Hague said Loewenstein emphasized there was no basis for China to claim historical rights and that its artificial islands could not be used as reference points for what it claimed as its territories in disputed waters. The Philippines also said China’s construction activities have eaten into parts of Philippine territory, deprived Filipinos of fishing rights and destroyed marine resources. The bulletin also cited professor Philippe Sands’ making a presentation of China’s construction activities that he stressed did not give the Asian power additional entitlements. Sands argued that Mischief (Panganiban) Reef, Second Thomas (Ayungin) Shoal, Subi (Zamora) Reef, Mckennan Reef and Gaven (Burgos) Reef were all low tide elevations under the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) and, as such, were not entitled to their own territorial sea, exclusive economic zone or continental shelf, the bulletin read. “Sands discussed China’s interference with the Philippines’ exercise of sovereign rights under the UNCLOS with respect to living and non-living resources in the exclusive economic zone,” the bulletin, relayed by Valte to reporters, said. “Sands gave as examples several incidents involving service contracts given by the Department of Energy wherein the private companies were prevented from exploration,” the bulletin read. “In addition, the fishing ban mandated by China’s Ministry of Agriculture covering even areas in the Philippines’ EEZ was also discussed,” it added. Another counsel for the Philippines, Lawrence Martin, argued that based on the Mandarin, Spanish and English translations of Article 121 of UNCLOS, features classified as rocks could not have maritime entitlements despite China’s building structures over them, the bulletin read. Martin also stressed that under UNCLOS, a feature can only be considered an island if it is capable of sustaining human habitation and economic life. READ MORE...

ALSO: Aquino to deliver 3-minute speech at Paris summit


NOVEMBER 27 -Filipino negotiators at the climate change summit in Paris are expecting “long nights and very long days” next week as nations, especially the most vulnerable to global warming, push for the adoption of a legally binding agreement to contain the rise in global temperature. President Benigno Aquino III will deliver a three-minute speech that highlights Philippine response to the impact of climate change and campaign for the inclusion of human rights, the vulnerability of indigenous peoples and gender issues in the Paris agreement. Mr. Aquino will also deliver the keynote remarks at the Climate Vulnerable Forum (CVF) high-level event on the sidelines of the COP 21. The Philippines chairs the CVF, which consists of countries perceived to be most vulnerable to the effects of climate change. The President will join more than 100 other heads of state at the Leaders’ Meeting of the 21st Conference of Parties (COP 21) for the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) on Nov. 30.‘Bedrock principle’ The Philippines has successfully lobbied for human rights to be a “bedrock principle” of the Paris agreement at the Bonn Climate Change Conference in October. The three issues are in the preamble and purpose of the draft agreement but “some of the language” pertaining to them are still “bracketed,” which means these would have to be negotiated at the summit talks, said Climate Change Commission Deputy Executive Director Joyceline Goco.Goco said there was still a leveling off when it came to “terminologies because different groups, like developing countries, have different interpretations” of terms.Goco said the Philippines campaigned for the inclusion of the human rights aspect of climate change because it highlighted the vulnerability of humans to the impact of global warming, especially those in poor communities with low “adaptive capacity.” Goco is optimistic that the world will reach a consensus in Paris, saying that the French government is determined to have an agreement.She believes that the leaders’ event was scheduled at the summit opening “so that there could be some guidance already from the heads of state [and] some leveling off by that time.” At the Copenhagen summit in 2009, Goco recalled that the leaders’ event was held on the last day. “They spoke after the parties had already negotiated. That was the only time there was guidance from the leaders,” Goco said. Emmanuel de Guzman, a member of the Climate Change Commission and head of the Philippine negotiating delegation at the summit, could not overemphasize the importance for nations to finally reach a legally binding agreement after several failures in the past. “This [summit] is a defining moment in our history because this agreement will essentially define the fate of humanity and our home planet … It is basic human issue. It is about survival,” De Guzman said. Scientists said the changing weather patterns, fiercer typhoons, and other natural disasters were indicative that the globe was getting warmer and actions must be taken to cope with the phenomenon. PH poster boy of COP 21 Since Supertyphoon “Yolanda” (international name: Haiyan) two years ago left more than 6,000 people dead and obliterated towns, the Philippines has become the “poster boy” of COP 21.READ MORE...

ALSO at book launching: Aquino scores Bongbong Marcos anew over non-apology for martial law


NOVEMBER 26 -President Benigno Aquino III and Senator Bongbong Marcos. INQUIRER file photo.
“When you cannot admit a mistake, are you not guaranteeing the repetition of that mistake?” Thus said President Benigno Aquino III during the launch of the book “The Aquino Legacy: An Enduring Narrative” at Raffles Hotel in Makati City on Thursday. “There is a particular candidate for next year’s elections, who says repeatedly that he is ready and willing to say sorry, if only he knew what there is to apologize for… Perhaps this book can help to enlighten him and add to his knowledge of our past.” Aquino, son of the late democracy icon and former president Corazon Aquino, was obviously alluding to vice presidential aspirant Sen. Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr., son and namesake of the late dictator who enforced martial law in the country.Aquino previously said that the dictator’s children should apologize for the crimes of atrocities and transgressions committed during the regime of their father. But in earlier pronouncements, the senator maintained that he has nothing to apologize for: “What am I to say sorry about?” Marcos said in a television interview. READ: Aquino: Marcos children should apologize to Filipinos Noting that the past “holds meaning for all of us in the modern day,” Aquino emphasized the challenges that his mother faced during the “dark days” of martial law in restoring democracy from the “iron fist” of the Marcos patriarch. But he admitted that the book was written with personal bias based on the title alone. “This book is meant to remind present generations of how millions of Filipinos took a stand against the dictatorship. My parents are perhaps the most prominent examples of that. As such, by its very nature, this book will be an intensely personal read. In documenting the events that shaped our nation, so too does it provide a closer look at our family—at the normal lives we tried to lead in spite of extremely extraordinary circumstances, and at the lessons and principles that continue to guide us to this day,” Aquino said. READ MORE...

ALSO: President Aquino, sisters offer prayers for Ninoy on 83rd birthday November 27, 2015


NOVEMBER 27 -TWITTER PHOTO/Noynoy Aquino President Benigno Aquino III and his siblings visited the tomb of their father, former senator Benigno “Ninoy” Aquino Jr. on Friday afternoon to commemorate the latter’s 83rd birth anniversary. A media release from the Presidential Communications Operations Office (PCOO) said Aquino was accompanied by his sisters Maria Elena “Ballsy” Aquino-Cruz and Victoria Elisa “Viel” Aquino-Dee. The group, which included Cruz’s husband Eldon, prayed the rosary before the late senator’s grave at the Manila Memorial Park in Parañaque City. The report said the President offered a moment of silence before leaving. President Benigno S. Aquino III and his sisters offered prayers for their father, Benigno “Ninoy” Aquino, Jr., as the country commemorated the 83rd birth anniversary of the late senator on Friday. President Aquino, together with Maria Elena “Ballsy” Aquino-Cruz and Victoria Elisa “Viel” Aquino-Dee, prayed the rosary before Ninoy’s tomb at the Manila Memorial Park in Parañaque City. Cruz’s husband, Eldon, was also present and took turns with his wife and Viel in praying the rosary. President Aquino’s other two sisters Pinky and Kris were absent. No other program was scheduled to commemorate Ninoy’s birthday. Before leaving, President Aquino offered a moment of silent prayer before his father’s tomb, which was adorned with yellow flowers. Born in 1932, Ninoy served as senator from 1967 to 1972. A staunch critic of the dictatorial leadership of the late President Ferdinand Marcos, Ninoy was assassinated on August 21, 1983, at the Manila International Airport, upon his return from self-exile in the United States. His death triggered several protest actions that led to the EDSA People Power Revolution in 1986, which toppled the Marcos regime and catapulted his widow, Corazon Aquino, to the presidency.THE FULL REPORT.

ALSO AFP MODERNIZATION: Flying new fighter jets ‘like driving Ferrari’–Air Force pilot


NOVEMBER 28 -Philippine Air Force’s new fighter jets: FA-50PH Nr 001 and 002. PHOTO FROM PHILIPPINE AIR FORCE’S FACEBOOK ACCOUNT
CLARK AIR BASE—“It’s like driving a Ferrari.” This was how Lt. Col. Rolando Pena III, one of the first three Philippine Air Force pilots trained to fly FA-50 fighter jets, described how it was like to fly their newest asset on Saturday. “This is really like a Ferrari because it is a fly-by-wire aircraft and it’s a 4 to 4.5 generation type of aircraft. It is comparable to an F16 (though) a little weak on some parameters, but it is the best that the Air Force has acquired at the moment,” he told reporters after the delivery of the jets from Korea to Clark Air Base.
It is the first time in 10 years that the Air Force makes a bid to return to its supersonic age. The military, one of the weakest in Asia, is building a minimum credible defense amid rising external threats, such as China’s expansion in the South China Sea.“We have very high morale and the fighter pilot corps is looking forward to flying this aircraft,” Pena said.The Philippines signed a contract of P18.9 billion for 12 brand new fighter jets with Korea Aerospace Industries in March 2014. Ten more fighter jets are expected to arrive until 2017. READ: Philippine Air Force welcomes 2 new fighter jets The planes will undergo acceptance and test flights before being commissioned to the Air Force. Training for the three Filipino pilots took about six and a half months in Korea.READ MORE...

ALSO: PH’s Ms. Universe bet delighted to get good luck note, flowers from PNoy


NOVEMBER 29 -PHOTO FROM GMA NEWS POSTED March 25, 2015
Reigning Binibining Pilipinas – Universe Pia Alonzo Wurtzbach recently revealed that she received flowers from President Aquino who also wished her luck in the forthcoming 2015 Miss Universe pageant in Las Vegas, Nevada on December 21. Wurtzbach, rumored to be the apple of the eye of the bachelor President, made the revelation on “Tonight With Boy Abunda” which was aired over ABS-CBN on Friday night. The Filipino-German beauty said that the flowers were sent to her condominium unit in Quezon City. It was accompanied with a hand-written note. Wurtzbach, 26, said that she was excited to find out who gave the flowers. “I opened it right away and it’s there. It was handwritten as well. First time ko i-reveal ‘to.” LUCKY GOOD LUCK WISH In November, Wurtzbach has said that she was still waiting for President Aquino’s good luck wish which she considers very lucky. His “good luck” wish is lucky…He (President Aquino) wished Bea Santiago good luck when she competed in the 2013 Miss International pageant and she won! … Now I’m waiting for my good luck,” said Wurtzbach during an interview over “Mornings at ANC” over ANC television network recently. “A good luck from him is very much appreciated,” she said. CASUAL CONVERSATIONS Wurtzbach recalled that her fun conversation with Aquino started when she was brave enough to ask him questions which others were afraid to ask. READ MORE...


READ FULL MEDIA REPORTS HERE:

‘China sea claim hopeless’


VALTE

MANILA, NOVEMBER 30, 2015 (PHILSTAR)  By Aurea Calica November 27, 2015 - Deputy presidential spokesperson Abigail Valte, quoting Andrew Loewenstein, one of the counsels representing the Philippines, said China’s claim was “hopeless and indefensible.” STAR/File photo MANILA, Philippines - China’s expansive claim in the South China Sea and West Philippine Sea is “hopeless and indefensible” and without legal or historical basis, the Philippines told an international arbitration court on Wednesday.

The Permanent Court of Arbitration based in The Hague continued the oral arguments on the merits of the case filed by Manila seeking clarification of its territorial entitlements in the West Philippine Sea and contesting Beijing’s massive claims, which cover the coasts of smaller neighbors.

Deputy presidential spokesperson Abigail Valte, quoting Andrew Loewenstein, one of the counsels representing the Philippines, said China’s claim was “hopeless and indefensible.”

A bulletin from The Hague said Loewenstein emphasized there was no basis for China to claim historical rights and that its artificial islands could not be used as reference points for what it claimed as its territories in disputed waters.

The Philippines also said China’s construction activities have eaten into parts of Philippine territory, deprived Filipinos of fishing rights and destroyed marine resources.

The bulletin also cited professor Philippe Sands’ making a presentation of China’s construction activities that he stressed did not give the Asian power additional entitlements.

Sands argued that Mischief (Panganiban) Reef, Second Thomas (Ayungin) Shoal, Subi (Zamora) Reef, Mckennan Reef and Gaven (Burgos) Reef were all low tide elevations under the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) and, as such, were not entitled to their own territorial sea, exclusive economic zone or continental shelf, the bulletin read.

“Sands discussed China’s interference with the Philippines’ exercise of sovereign rights under the UNCLOS with respect to living and non-living resources in the exclusive economic zone,” the bulletin, relayed by Valte to reporters, said.

“Sands gave as examples several incidents involving service contracts given by the Department of Energy wherein the private companies were prevented from exploration,” the bulletin read.

“In addition, the fishing ban mandated by China’s Ministry of Agriculture covering even areas in the Philippines’ EEZ was also discussed,” it added.

Another counsel for the Philippines, Lawrence Martin, argued that based on the Mandarin, Spanish and English translations of Article 121 of UNCLOS, features classified as rocks could not have maritime entitlements despite China’s building structures over them, the bulletin read.

Martin also stressed that under UNCLOS, a feature can only be considered an island if it is capable of sustaining human habitation and economic life.

READ MORE...

In the afternoon session, the principal counsel for the Philippines, Paul Reichler, returned to the floor to prove to the tribunal that no civilian settlements had ever been established on features in the Spratly island group.

“There can only be one reason why this is the case, as the features themselves are not capable of sustaining human habitation,” the bulletin stated, quoting Reichler.


L-R Professors Allan Boyle, Philippe Sands and Paul Reichler.

Valte said the Philippines’ arguments centered on how China’s maritime claim – as embodied in its so-called nine-dash line – has been depriving Filipinos of fishing and exploration rights.

China’s massive land reclamation, construction activities and apparent militarization in disputed waters are believed to be intended to extend or expand the Asian giant’s exclusive economic zone based on UNCLOS to cover even the Philippines’ internal waters. Under UNCLOS, countries are entitled to a 200-nautical mile EEZ from the nearest land features within their territories.

The bulletin cited Martin’s presenting various testimonies from Filipino fishermen to prove China’s interference in their traditional fishing activities at Bajo de Masinloc or Scarborough Shoal in the West Philippine Sea. Bajo de Masinloc is also locally called Panatag Shoal.

“A map from 1784 was presented to prove that Bajo de Masinloc has always been part of the Philippines,” it added.

Loewenstein closed the afternoon session by presenting satellite images of various installations constructed by China on Mischief (Panganiban) Reef, among others.

“A video simulation was also shown to the tribunal to demonstrate how a cutter suction dredger destroys the sea bed and transfers sand to a pre-selected area, a machine used by China in its construction activities,” the bulletin further read.

“Loewenstein argued further that by engaging in these activities, China has violated the sovereign rights of the Philippines with regard to living and non-living resources in its EEZ and continental shelf,” it added.

As stated by Sands, Valte said China’s violations were “flagrant and persistent” and that “they continue today” despite protests from the Philippines.

On Tuesday, the country’s legal team discussed the nature of China’s claim of historic rights, with Reichler pointing out how these purported historic rights, supposedly derived from UNCLOS, “in fact do not exist under the provisions of the convention.”

Loewenstein argued that even assuming, for the sake of argument, that a claim of historic rights could exist after the UNCLOS, China nonetheless failed to satisfy the requirements to establish such claim, namely: a continuous exercise of exclusive control for a long period of time over a specific area.

Loewenstein presented eight maps, the first of which dates back to the Ming Dynasty, to show that China’s territory did not include those encompassed by its so-called nine-dash line.

In Beijing, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Hong Lei told reporters the hearing in The Hague was a provocation under the guise of law as he reasserted China’s “indisputable” sovereignty over South China Sea.

“The Philippines’ unilateral initiation and obstinate pushing forward of the South China Sea arbitration is a political provocation under the cloak of law,” Hong said.

“It is in essence not an effort to settle disputes but an attempt to negate China’s territorial sovereignty and maritime rights and interests in the South China Sea,” Hong added.


INQUIRER

Aquino to deliver 3-minute speech at Paris summit SHARES: 2 VIEW COMMENTS By: Nikko Dizon @inquirerdotnet Philippine Daily Inquirer 03:10 AM November 27th, 2015

Filipino negotiators at the climate change summit in Paris are expecting “long nights and very long days” next week as nations, especially the most vulnerable to global warming, push for the adoption of a legally binding agreement to contain the rise in global temperature.

President Benigno Aquino III will deliver a three-minute speech that highlights Philippine response to the impact of climate change and campaign for the inclusion of human rights, the vulnerability of indigenous peoples and gender issues in the Paris agreement.

Mr. Aquino will also deliver the keynote remarks at the Climate Vulnerable Forum (CVF) high-level event on the sidelines of the COP 21.

The Philippines chairs the CVF, which consists of countries perceived to be most vulnerable to the effects of climate change.

The President will join more than 100 other heads of state at the Leaders’ Meeting of the 21st Conference of Parties (COP 21) for the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) on Nov. 30.

‘Bedrock principle’

The Philippines has successfully lobbied for human rights to be a “bedrock principle” of the Paris agreement at the Bonn Climate Change Conference in October.

The three issues are in the preamble and purpose of the draft agreement but “some of the language” pertaining to them are still “bracketed,” which means these would have to be negotiated at the summit talks, said Climate Change Commission Deputy Executive Director Joyceline Goco.

Goco said there was still a leveling off when it came to “terminologies because different groups, like developing countries, have different interpretations” of terms.

Goco said the Philippines campaigned for the inclusion of the human rights aspect of climate change because it highlighted the vulnerability of humans to the impact of global warming, especially those in poor communities with low “adaptive capacity.”

Goco is optimistic that the world will reach a consensus in Paris, saying that the French government is determined to have an agreement.

She believes that the leaders’ event was scheduled at the summit opening “so that there could be some guidance already from the heads of state [and] some leveling off by that time.”

At the Copenhagen summit in 2009, Goco recalled that the leaders’ event was held on the last day.

“They spoke after the parties had already negotiated. That was the only time there was guidance from the leaders,” Goco said.

Emmanuel de Guzman, a member of the Climate Change Commission and head of the Philippine negotiating delegation at the summit, could not overemphasize the importance for nations to finally reach a legally binding agreement after several failures in the past.

“This [summit] is a defining moment in our history because this agreement will essentially define the fate of humanity and our home planet … It is basic human issue. It is about survival,” De Guzman said.

Scientists said the changing weather patterns, fiercer typhoons, and other natural disasters were indicative that the globe was getting warmer and actions must be taken to cope with the phenomenon.

PH poster boy of COP 21
Since Supertyphoon “Yolanda” (international name: Haiyan) two years ago left more than 6,000 people dead and obliterated towns, the Philippines has become the “poster boy” of COP 21.

READ MORE...

READ: ‘Yolanda’ death toll at 6,033—NDRRMC / Latest `Yolanda’ death toll hits 6,166

De Guzman said the Philippines would participate in all the topics up for negotiation—adaptation, mitigation, finance, loss and damage, technology development and transfer, capacity building, transparency and other legal issues.

“We are an important player [at the summit] because we are the face of climate vulnerability,” he said.


READY FOR PARIS. A picture taken on October 30, 2015, shows stickers of the COP21, in Paris, ahead of the Climate Change Conference 2015. Photo by Dominique Faget/AFP

Mr. Aquino leaves for Paris on Nov. 29.

“The leaders’ event of the COP 21 is the most important event for this conference. It will be a capstone opportunity for the President to highlight its climate change accomplishments and to support the crafting of a new climate change agreement that is effective and equitable and that most especially will help the climate vulnerable communities,” said Maria Cleofe Natividad, assistant secretary of the Department of Foreign Affairs.

On Dec. 1, Mr. Aquino will meet with French, Irish and Japanese companies “to pursue further trade and investment cooperation and have discussions on cooperation on health,” Natividad said.

In the afternoon of the same day, the President will fly to Rome to have an official meeting with Italian President Sergio Mattarella. Mr. Aquino is also likely to meet with Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi.

Bilateral talks between Mr. Aquino and Mattarella aim to improve the trade and investment partnership of the Philippines and Italy.

The leaders will witness the signing of the air services agreement that would pave the way for direct commercial flights between Manila and Rome.

“The other issues and topics that could be discussed would be the Italian government participation in the Mindanao peace process through the Italian assistance to the Agrarian Reform Community Development Support Program as well as the Philippines-Italy Debt for Development Swap Program,” Natividad said.

She said the “highlight” of the President’s visit to Rome would be meeting the Filipino community, comprised of some 171,000 Filipino workers.

Meeting with Pope

The President’s six-day European trip would be capped by a meeting with Pope Francis on Dec. 4, a reciprocal visit following the papal visit to the Philippines in January.

“The Pope’s visit, as we are all very much witness to, has greatly contributed to the Filipino spiritual renewal, and has provided great comfort and hope to the many grieving Filipinos.

So, this is an opportunity for the President to thank the Pope, as well as also to discuss with His Holiness the construction and rehabilitation efforts in Tacloban, of which the Pope has shown much keen interest,” Natividad said.

There are some 3,000 Filipino religious, such as priests and nuns, in the Vatican and the President is set to meet with some of them.

The President will also witness the unveiling and the blessing of a mosaic sculpture of Our Lady of Peñafrancia at the Vatican.

Mr. Aquino is expected to be back in Manila on Dec. 5.


INQUIRER

Aquino scores Bongbong Marcos anew over non-apology for martial law SHARES: 1038 VIEW COMMENTS By: Yuji Vincent Gonzales
@YGonzalesINQ INQUIRER.net 11:04 PM November 26th, 2015
 


President Benigno Aquino III and Senator Bongbong Marcos. INQUIRER file photo.

“When you cannot admit a mistake, are you not guaranteeing the repetition of that mistake?”

Thus said President Benigno Aquino III during the launch of the book “The Aquino Legacy: An Enduring Narrative” at Raffles Hotel in Makati City on Thursday.

“There is a particular candidate for next year’s elections, who says repeatedly that he is ready and willing to say sorry, if only he knew what there is to apologize for… Perhaps this book can help to enlighten him and add to his knowledge of our past.”

Aquino, son of the late democracy icon and former president Corazon Aquino, was obviously alluding to vice presidential aspirant Sen. Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr., son and namesake of the late dictator who enforced martial law in the country.

Aquino previously said that the dictator’s children should apologize for the crimes of atrocities and transgressions committed during the regime of their father. But in earlier pronouncements, the senator maintained that he has nothing to apologize for: “What am I to say sorry about?” Marcos said in a television interview.

READ: Aquino: Marcos children should apologize to Filipinos

Noting that the past “holds meaning for all of us in the modern day,” Aquino emphasized the challenges that his mother faced during the “dark days” of martial law in restoring democracy from the “iron fist” of the Marcos patriarch. But he admitted that the book was written with personal bias based on the title alone.

“This book is meant to remind present generations of how millions of Filipinos took a stand against the dictatorship. My parents are perhaps the most prominent examples of that. As such, by its very nature, this book will be an intensely personal read. In documenting the events that shaped our nation, so too does it provide a closer look at our family—at the normal lives we tried to lead in spite of extremely extraordinary circumstances, and at the lessons and principles that continue to guide us to this day,” Aquino said.

READ MORE...

While acknowledging the fact that there are many accounts of history, the President also warned against those who spread propaganda and tweak historical narratives for personal gains.

“All accounts of history are written with the personal biases and views of the authors. What is truly important is the fact that we are adding to the body of knowledge available at this point: we are making sure that no single person is able to dictate history, and consequently, influence the thinking of Filipinos. We are making sure that the whole picture is available, as opposed to what can only be called propaganda,” Aquino said.

“To those of us who consider selves as centrist or centrist ideology, which means we get the best input from the extremes, an often repeated conversation is that there is a dearth of history from our point of view, and given that dearth or the vacuum there is, those who were not participants or perhaps condemned to just rely on the viewpoints of those who have separate agendas and therein lies the danger and I have to repeat: we forget the past, we are condemned to repeat the same mistakes,” he added.

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PRESIDENTIAL WEBSITE

President Aquino, sisters offer prayers for Ninoy on 83rd birthday November 27, 2015


TWITTER PHOTO/Noynoy Aquino President Benigno Aquino III and his siblings visited the tomb of their father, former senator Benigno “Ninoy” Aquino Jr. on Friday afternoon to commemorate the latter’s 83rd birth anniversary. A media release from the Presidential Communications Operations Office (PCOO) said Aquino was accompanied by his sisters Maria Elena “Ballsy” Aquino-Cruz and Victoria Elisa “Viel” Aquino-Dee. The group, which included Cruz’s husband Eldon, prayed the rosary before the late senator’s grave at the Manila Memorial Park in Parañaque City. The report said the President offered a moment of silence before leaving.

President Benigno S. Aquino III and his sisters offered prayers for their father, Benigno “Ninoy” Aquino, Jr., as the country commemorated the 83rd birth anniversary of the late senator on Friday.

President Aquino, together with Maria Elena “Ballsy” Aquino-Cruz and Victoria Elisa “Viel” Aquino-Dee, prayed the rosary before Ninoy’s tomb at the Manila Memorial Park in Parañaque City.

Cruz’s husband, Eldon, was also present and took turns with his wife and Viel in praying the rosary.

President Aquino’s other two sisters Pinky and Kris were absent.

No other program was scheduled to commemorate Ninoy’s birthday.

Before leaving, President Aquino offered a moment of silent prayer before his father’s tomb, which was adorned with yellow flowers.

Born in 1932, Ninoy served as senator from 1967 to 1972.

A staunch critic of the dictatorial leadership of the late President Ferdinand Marcos, Ninoy was assassinated on August 21, 1983, at the Manila International Airport, upon his return from self-exile in the United States.

His death triggered several protest actions that led to the EDSA People Power Revolution in 1986, which toppled the Marcos regime and catapulted his widow, Corazon Aquino, to the presidency.


INQUIRER

Flying new fighter jets ‘like driving Ferrari’–Air Force pilot
By: Frances Mangosing @FMangosingINQ INQUIRER.net 05:31 PM November 28th, 2015


Philippine Air Force’s new fighter jets: FA-50PH Nr 001 and 002. PHOTO FROM PHILIPPINE AIR FORCE’S FACEBOOK ACCOUNT

CLARK AIR BASE—“It’s like driving a Ferrari.”

This was how Lt. Col. Rolando Pena III, one of the first three Philippine Air Force pilots trained to fly FA-50 fighter jets, described how it was like to fly their newest asset on Saturday.

“This is really like a Ferrari because it is a fly-by-wire aircraft and it’s a 4 to 4.5 generation type of aircraft. It is comparable to an F16 (though) a little weak on some parameters, but it is the best that the Air Force has acquired at the moment,” he told reporters after the delivery of the jets from Korea to Clark Air Base.

It is the first time in 10 years that the Air Force makes a bid to return to its supersonic age. The military, one of the weakest in Asia, is building a minimum credible defense amid rising external threats, such as China’s expansion in the South China Sea.

“We have very high morale and the fighter pilot corps is looking forward to flying this aircraft,” Pena said.

The Philippines signed a contract of P18.9 billion for 12 brand new fighter jets with Korea Aerospace Industries in March 2014. Ten more fighter jets are expected to arrive until 2017.

READ: Philippine Air Force welcomes 2 new fighter jets

The planes will undergo acceptance and test flights before being commissioned to the Air Force. Training for the three Filipino pilots took about six and a half months in Korea.

READ MORE...

“We had instructors who are some of the best fighter pilots in Korea. The training was tough because we had to learn the system of the aircraft because … it is really different from what we used to fly,” Pena said.

They need around a hundred flying hours before they can train a new set of pilots.

According to Pena, the FA-50 fighter jet, a light attack aircraft, can do multi-role missions. The jets would be used for defense of territorial waters, he added, but didn’t say whether it’s for South China Sea.

“It’s very significant because it adds up to the capability … we have to contend with the subsonic aircraft … now that we have a supersonic aircraft, our reaction time will be faster and we are more capable,” he said.

Another project is in the pipeline for the weapons of the new fighter jets, Pena said.


MANILA BULLETIN

PH’s Ms. U bet delighted to get good luck note, flowers from PNoy by Robert R. Requintina November 29, 2015 Share1 Tweet0 Share0 Email0 Share3


PHOTO FROM GMA NEWS POSTED March 25, 2015

Reigning Binibining Pilipinas – Universe Pia Alonzo Wurtzbach recently revealed that she received flowers from President Aquino who also wished her luck in the forthcoming 2015 Miss Universe pageant in Las Vegas, Nevada on December 21.

Wurtzbach, rumored to be the apple of the eye of the bachelor President, made the revelation on “Tonight With Boy Abunda” which was aired over ABS-CBN on Friday night.

The Filipino-German beauty said that the flowers were sent to her condominium unit in Quezon City. It was accompanied with a hand-written note.

Wurtzbach, 26, said that she was excited to find out who gave the flowers.

“I opened it right away and it’s there. It was handwritten as well. First time ko i-reveal ‘to.”

LUCKY GOOD LUCK WISH

In November, Wurtzbach has said that she was still waiting for President Aquino’s good luck wish which she considers very lucky.

His “good luck” wish is lucky…He (President Aquino) wished Bea Santiago good luck when she competed in the 2013 Miss International pageant and she won! … Now I’m waiting for my good luck,” said Wurtzbach during an interview over “Mornings at ANC” over ANC television network recently.

“A good luck from him is very much appreciated,” she said.

CASUAL CONVERSATIONS

Wurtzbach recalled that her fun conversation with Aquino started when she was brave enough to ask him questions which others were afraid to ask.

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“He is surrounded by people who are serious all the time so whenever I talk to him, I’m brave with my questions, like I ask him questions that maybe other people would be afraid to ask him…his favorite pastime, music he listens to….these little things that’s when the casual, fun conversation started,” the beauty queen said.

Wurtzbach has been romantically linked to President Aquino for several months now.

She said that she is still in communication with the country’s most eligible bachelor but maintained that they are just friends.

Wurtzbach will leave for Las Vegas, Nevada on Nov. 30, 2015 for the Miss Universe pageant.

ON NEVER GIVING UP

During her press send-off in Cubao, Quezon City, Wurtzbach was emotional about her journey to the Binibining Pilipinas pageant.

She joined three times before she was finally crowned Binibining Pilipinas-Universe in the contest held earlier this year.

“Finally, I have my own send-off. I waited this for a long time. I never thought that it would happen but now I’m going to Las Vegas,” said the misty-eyed beauty queen.

Wurtzbach first competed in 2013 Bb. Pilipinas pageant and was named first runner-up.

In 2014, Wurtzbach joined again and finished in the Top 15.

Wurtzbach said that she has been training hard for the beauty contest, including gym, dress fitting, make-up, pasarela, among others.

SPIRITUAL STRENGTH

She said that she draws her strength from the holy rosary. “I collect rosaries which were given to me by my friends. I pray with my rosary and that’s how I keep my spiritual level strong.”

Wurtzbach started modelling when she was 11 years old. A year later, she was discovered by ABS-CBN. She started her acting career when she was 17.

“Through that, I was taking care of my mom and my sister. I was the bread winner of my family since my parents got separated. I was the one taking care of everything. Then my mom got remarried and they settled in England. My sister has a family of her own,” she said.

Wurtzbach said that she always wanted to become a beauty queen as she grew up watching the prestigious beauty contest.

“I enjoy showbiz and I consider going back to acting after all of these. Acting will always be there so I see my self going back to acting,” Wurtzbach said.

PAULEEN’S BRIDESMAID

In an exclusive interview, Wurtzbach said that she would be a bridesmaid for the January, 2016 wedding of popular TV host Vic Sotto and actress Pauleen Luna.

Wurtzbach said that she and Luna became best friends when they were launched in the younger days as part of Star Magic’s Star Circle on ABS-CBN.

The beauty queen said she has accepted the invitation of Luna to become a bridesmaid in October.

At first, Wurtzbach said that she was worried that the schedule of the wedding might interfere with her stint in Miss Universe contest.

But now that the schedule has been arranged – Miss Universe in December and Sotto-Luna wedding in January – Wurtzbach would probably attend the wedding.

“I’m excited for her. I wish her all the best! We have been best friends for a long time. We really shared a lot of happy bonding moments,” Wurtzbach said.

Asked about her wedding gift to her best friend, Wurtzbach: “Oh my! The girl has everything! So what do you give to someone who has everything? I guess I’ll just pray for her success and good health.”


Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi

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