Friday, November 30, 2012

Mayor slammed for including wife’s name in job order list

Barangay Lourdes Northwest council member William David slammed Mayor Edgardo Pamintuan on Wednesday for including the councilman’s wife in the job order (JO) appointments without her knowledge, adding to the list of “ghost employees.”
David questioned the inclusion of his wife’s name in the list of JOs after his father, veteran broadcaster Medardo “Med” David, revealed the names of questionable JOs in his radio program last Friday (November 23).
The councilman said his wife, Irene, has no knowledge about her name being included in the list of the City Government’s JOs and does not even go to the City Hall to collect her supposed salary.
Irene was designated as an administrative assistant in the PhilHealth Program under the Office of the Mayor and is given a daily rate of P500 or P11,000 a month. Her appointment was issued on June 29, 2012 until December 31, 2012 and was signed by secretary to the mayor Leonardo Galanza and approved by Mayor Pamintuan.
“Malaking panlilinlang ang ginagawang ito ng administrasyon ni Mayor Pamintuan,” said David, “Kung nagagawa nila ang ganitong panlilinlang sa mga kagawad, paano pa sa mga ordinaryong mamamayan?”
David also hit Barangay Pandan councilman and Councilmen’s League of Angeles City (CLAC) President Arlon Lacson for allegedly conniving with this scheme by the Pamintuan administration.
David is the CLAC vice president for external affairs.
He encouraged his fellow barangay officials whose relatives’ names have been listed as JOs without their knowledge to come out in the open in order to stop this practice.
“Ang malaking katanungan, kung hindi alam ng mga nakalistang tao na kasama sila sa mga JO, sino ang pumipirma ng payroll ng mga taong ito kada buwan?” he asked.
David also hit Pamintuan for lambasting his father Med David, who aired the issue on the exorbitant number of JOs in the City Hall.
“Tinitira nila ang tatay ko, ngayong base sa appointment papers ng mga JOs, lumalabas na totoo lahat ng sinasabi niya tungkol sa mga ‘ghost employees’ ng City Hall,” David said.
Newsman Robledo Sanchez also called Pamintuan out for having several relatives of barangay officials listed as JOs under the City Government.
On October 19, 2012, Sanchez filed a complaint against Pamintuan, City Accountant Wilfredo Tiotuico, City Budget Officer Fe Corpuz, City Treasurer Juliet Quinsaat and other department heads before the Office of the Ombudsman in relation to the 2,506 job order employees of the City Government.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Dividing CamSur

Sen. Antonio Trillanes IV, a member of the Senate committee on local government and constitutional amendments, on Tuesday ditched the move to divide Camarines Sur into two provinces, saying it was unnecessary.

In his committee report 387, Marcos recommended for the separation of the fourth district that will be called Nueva Camarines instead of dividing into two the whole province which is composed of four districts.

The Camarines Sur’s fourth district is composed of City of Iriga and municipalities of Baao, Balatan, Bato, Buhi, Bula and Nabua.

Representatives Luis Villafuerte of third district, Rolando Andaya Jr. of first district and Arnulfo Fuentebella of fourth district were present when the Senate failed to approve the bill in second reading.

Villafuerte’s son Gov. LRay Villafuerte opposed the division of Camarines Sur. (PNA

The Senate committee, headed by Sen. Ferdinand Marcos Jr., is now reviewing House Bill

No. 4820 that carves out a new province with 16 towns and one city from the existing 35-town, two-city Camarines Sur.

The new province will include the towns of Caramoan, Garchitorena, Lagonoy, Presentacion, San Jose, Siruma, Tinambac, Goa, Tigaon and Sangay of the fourth district and the towns of Baao, Balatan, Bato, Bula, Buhi, Nabua and Iriga City of the fifth district.

If approved by Congress and signed into law by President Aquino, a plebiscite should be called for residents of Camarines Sur to vote on the new province.

Enrile attempted to divide the chamber but due to lack of quorum, Sotto decided to adjourn the session until Tuesday. There only six senators present that also include Senator Teofisto ‘TG’ Guingona III and Serge Osmena III.

The new province will be called “Nueva Camarines."  It is now pending before the Senate, where debates have been more passionate.

Yesterday, Trillanes announced in his privilege speech he was withdrawing from the majority because he had already lost his confidence in Enrile.

He alleged Enrile was trying to influence the passage of the Senate version of the bill because of his close ties to the former President.

Monday, September 10, 2012

New Cebu International Airport

Conglomerates Ayala Corp. and Aboitiz Equity Ventures Inc. have forged a memorandum of agreement to establish a 50-50 joint venture company that will serve as their vehicle to bid for and develop the country’s second largest international airport and main gateway to the Central Visayas.

Identified as one of the priority projects under the government’s Public-Private Partnership program, the MCIA involves the construction of a new world-class passenger terminal building in Mactan, Cebu that can accommodate eight million passengers yearly as well as the operations and maintenance of airport facilities.

The airport is currently operating at over capacity with passenger volumes exceeding five million annually and is projected to grow at an even faster pace with the expected increase in tourist arrivals.

More than half of the flight operations at the decongested Mactan-Cebu airport are commercial carriers flying more than 10,000 passengers daily. Passenger traffic has increased at an average of 21 percent a year for international and around five percent for domestic routes.

Ayala Corp. president and chief operating officer Fernando Zobel de Ayala said: “We are excited about this partnership with the Aboitiz Group. Both groups strongly believe in the potential of the Mactan Airport to be a compelling gateway to the country for international passengers and to the Visayas for the growing domestic travelers. We share the vision of creating an airport that provides passengers an efficient and pleasant travel experience. We look forward to leveraging each other’s strengths in developing and running a modern airport facility that Cebu and our country can be proud of.”

“We cannot think of a better partner for this project than the Aboitiz group who has not only built a long history and heritage in Cebu but also has a successful track record in undertaking significant size projects in multiple industries,” Zobel de Ayala said.

For his part, AEV president and chief executive officer Erramon Aboitiz said the partnership gives the company the “opportunity to enter into a strategic new segment that is crucial to developing both the country’s transportation infrastructure as well as its tourism potential.”

The strategic partnership also allows the group to harness its competencies in construction, logistics, utilities, and real estate development and management, Aboitiz said.

“Combined with the Ayala group’s strengths and competencies that have also been honed over more than 100 years of doing business, we are very optimistic about the success potential of this project. Moreover, the fact that the project is in Cebu, which is home to the Aboitiz Group, gives it more special meaning to us,” Aboitiz said.

The Aboitiz clan traces its roots to the late 1800s as a simple family enterprise trading hemp in Leyte, an island northeast of Cebu. It expanded by venturing into other businesses such as power generation and distribution, banking, food and land development.

The Ayalas, on the other hand, have steadily built a significant presence in country’s second largest city through its property arm Ayala Land, which has amassed close to 200 hectares of land. These properties include some of the city’s landmarks such as the Cebu Business Park, the Ayala Center Cebu, the Asiatown IT Park and high-end residential developments.

Both parties will enter into a definitive agreement once the bid rules or the terms of reference for the project have been finalized and published by the government. The government is expected to announce the bidding for the project before the end of the year.

The Ayala/Aboitiz consortium may also take in experienced global airport operators as partners in the project.

The government wants to increase tourism arrivals yearly and by 2016, it aims to have ten million visitors a year compared with 3.5 million visitors last year.

The bid battle is expected to draw powerhouse companies such as Metro Pacific Investments Corp. of telecommunications magnate Manuel V. Pangilinan, taipan John Gokongwei’s JG Summit Holdings, and maverick businessman Ramon Ang’s San Miguel Corp., which is now operating Boracay Airport (the closest air gateway to the popular resort island).

The construction of the MCIA is likely to be undertaken in two phases with the first phase targeted for completion by 2015.

When completed, the MCIA is expected to immensely contribute to the government’s target of developing “safe, efficient, viable and strategic transport infrastructure in the country.” It is also seen to promote tourist access to Cebu Province and Central Visayas, thereby increasing local employment and income generation.

Ayala Corp. is one of the oldest and most respected conglomerates in the Philippines with a diversified business portfolio that includes real estate development, banking and financial services, telecommunications, water distribution infrastructure, automotive dealerships, electronics manufacturing services, business process outsourcing, and power, among others.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Remembering Sec. Jesse Robredo

Jesse Manalastas Robredo (May 27, 1958 – August 18, 2012) was a Filipino statesman who served as Secretary of the Interior and Local Government in the administration of President Benigno Aquino III from 2010 to until his death in 2012.

On August 18, 2012 (PHT), the Piper PA-34-200 Seneca I aircraft (registered RP-C4431) carrying Secretary Robredo crashed off the shore of Masbate City. He was scheduled to go home and watch his daughter's swimming competition in Naga City. The Philippine Department of Interior and Local Government  said that the pilot sent a distress call to the Masbate airport requesting an emergency landing. The plane never made it to the airport and crashed in the sea. His body was retrieved three days later, August 21, 800 meters from the shore and 180 feet below sea level.

When he was appointed as DILG secretary in 2010, Robredo brought the same values to the agency, focusing on drumming up public support for the Full Disclosure Policy. This would require local government units to disclose in public places the 12 key financial documents that show how their funds are spent.

"Hindi rin sapat na tayo ay mahusay lamang. Hindi lahat ng matino ay mahusay, at lalo namang hindi lahat ng mahusay ay matino,” he is fond of telling colleagues, according to the DILG website. “Ang dapat ay matino at mahusay upang karapat-dapat tayong pagkatiwalaan ng pera ng bayan.”

Under Robredo’s term, the DILG has initiated the investigation and filing of charges against individuals involved in spurious procurement contracts.

The agency said Robredo had also been "tirelessly improving" the disaster risk reduction and mitigation capabilities of LGUs by introducing the Seal of Disaster Preparedness, an incentive mechanism.

One of his supporters, actress Mae Paner, better known as Juana Change, posted on her Facebook account: "Sec. Jesse rest in peace! Our prayers for you and your family! And our deepest gratitude for your GOOD WORK! Ipagpapatuloy namin ang iyong sinimulan!"

For all his accomplishments, at the time of his death and after a long wait of more than two years, Robredo had yet to get confirmation as DILG Secretary from the Commission on Appointments (CA).

Robredo was appointed in July 2010, among the last to be named to Aquino’s Cabinet. After the government’s inept handling of the August 23, 2010 Manila hostage-taking crisis, however, Robredo was named acting Secretary instead of being issued an “ad interim" appointment for transmittal to the CA.

Eventually, Robredo’s name was submitted to the CA, but he was one of the five Cabinet secretaries whose confirmation was bypassed after Congress adjourned its session last June 6.

Robredo also had an occasionally testy relationship with the President, who revealed to the media that he had disagreements with Robredo during the 2010 campaign, especially when it came to scheduling.

Despite the personal setbacks, Robredo remained steadfast in his vision for the DILG and the country.

“Pinapangako ko po na marami pa tayong pakikinabangan sa mga repormang pinalakas natin sa DILG. Paiigtingin pa natin ang pagbabago sa lokal na pamahalaan at sa Interior sector upang suportahan ang ginagawa nyo sa national,” reads his prepared statement for his scheduled Commission on Appointments hearing.

In college, Robredo wanted to be an engineer, excelling in science and math. Though he was accepted at the University of the Philippines in Los Banos, he chose De La Salle University, which enjoyed a good reputation for engineering courses.

“It was the intellectual challenge Robredo liked most about De La Salle. He also found time for sports and played basketball with the engineering school's intramural team. But he shunned parties and nights out with his peers, although he allowed himself an occasional movie. He preferred to stay home to study or to watch television,” according to the RM bio.

Robredo earned two bachelor of science degrees at DLSU in six years, for mechanical engineering and industrial management engineering.

He quickly got a job at San Miguel Corp. and eventually followed his boss who was transferred to Magnolia, the ice cream division, where, at age 26, he met an early challenge at fighting corruption and carrying out reforms.

Amid reports of warehouse pilferage and a questioned promo contest, Robredo cleaned up the plant's warehousing system “by improving the use of resources, cutting down on overtime, and improving productivity.”

But such determination and skill in charting and enforcing reforms would apparently serve merely as a preparation for much bigger challenges in effecting authentic, pro-people change when he later decided to leave private work for public service.

Some of those who followed his career and compared his winning ways to Ramon Magsaysay,  the man honored by the awards bestowed on Robredo 12 years ago, could not help but note the remarkable timing of Robredo's date with destiny in the Masbate Sea last Saturday: August is the RM Awards month, when all laureates from around Asia are introduced and then are honored in gala rites on August 31, coinciding with Magsaysay’s birthday. And, Magsaysay himself died in a spectacular plane crash on Mount Manunggal 55 years ago, stunning a nation that adored him.

Robredo’s own accident evokes memories of that similar national tragedy, a seeming reminder that for those who wish to serve the people, there is no waiting around for opportunities to do so. Every deadline is “yesterday” and every mission urgent.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Benham Rise belongs to the Philippines

The United Nations has approved the Philippines’ territorial claim to Benham Rise, an undersea landmass in the Pacific Ocean potentially rich in mineral and natural gas deposits, Environment Secretary Ramon Paje said.

“We own Benham Rise now,” Paje said in a media interview. “This is for future Filipinos,” he added, noting that the 13-million-hectare area off the coast of Aurora province has been shown to have rich mineral deposits.

Paje said the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea (Unclos) sent the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) a letter last week informing the agency that the landmass is part of the country’s continental shelf and territory.

Benham Rise, a seismically active region facing Luzon’s eastern seaboard, is rising slowly to the surface of the Pacific Ocean, Paje said. Perhaps, in a million years—a blink in the planet’s geological time—it will be habitable, he said.

The plateau is a massive formation of basalt, a common volcanic rock, and is within coordinates 119°30’E to 132°00’E and 12°10’N to 20°30’N latitude.

Paje said Benham Rise, named after an American surveyor, is larger in area than Luzon. It has been shown to have natural gas deposits and manganese nodules, vital in the production of steel, he added.

Despite Benham’s proximity to the Philippines and its location within the country’s exclusive economic zone, the government did not claim it until 2008. Then, the next year, the government submitted a formal claim to the United Nations Commission on the Limits of the Continental Shelf. The Philippine submission noted that the country reserves the right to submit further claims in the area.

The Philippines is the sole claimant of Benham Rise. The country is currently embroiled in territorial disputes over several islands in the West Philippine Sea (South China Sea).

China and the Philippines are feuding over Panatag (Scarborough) Shoal, 220 kilometers (124 nautical miles) west of Zambales province.

The Philippines and some of its Southeast Asian neighbors are also disputing with China and Taiwan ownership of parts of Spratly Islands in the West Philippine Sea.

The Spratlys are believed to be sitting on vast deposits of minerals and natural gas, in an area spanned by sea lanes vital to global trade.

BENHAM RISE is a 13-million-hectare undersea region that lies east of Luzon and off the provinces of Isabela and Aurora.

Also known as Benham Plateau, it is a massive formation of basalt, a common volcanic rock, and is described in a study as a thickened portion of the Philippine sea plate’s oceanic crust.

The formation lies within the continental shelf of the Philippines as defined by the 1982 UN Convention on the Law of the Sea (Unclos), under which a coastal state’s exclusive economic zone extends 370 kilometers (200 nautical miles) from its continental shelf, while its extended continental shelf extends for another 278 km (150 nautical miles).

Benham Rise is not subject to any maritime boundary disputes and claims.

Studies conducted by the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) have indicated large deposits of methane in solid form in the area.

In August last year, Environment Secretary Ramon Paje announced that the Philippines will gain additional territory should the United Nations approve the country’s claim to Benham, which the country submitted to the UN Commission on the Limits of the Continental Shelf in New York on April 8, 2009.

According to Paje, an American geologist, Andrew Benham, discovered the area, which was between 40 meters and 2,000 meters below the waterline, in 1933. Paje said gas deposits in the area would enable the country to achieve energy sufficiency.

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Sentosa-Like Freeport at Subic

SBMA is conducting feasibility studies on the conversion of the Subic Bay International Airport into an integrated family resort similar to Sentosa, a popular island resort in Singapore.
"This is the centerpiece of our tourism program," revealed SBMA Chairman and Administrator Roberto Garcia at the Third Planning and Development Conference on Rural Tourism held here recently.
Garcia said the conversion could bring in millions of foreign tourists to Subic, just like the 20 million tourists that have visited Sentosa.
He said he is optimistic that building a Sentosa-like theme park here will generate the same number of tourists for Subic.
"Remember that the target of the Aquino administration is to draw 10 million tourists by 2016. However, if we can build a world-class iconic tourist destination just imagine how many million tourists it would bring in," he said.
Garcia also revealed that the SBMA will enhance its eco-tourism program and capitalize on existing nature-themed parks here like the Ocean Adventure Marine Park, Treetop Adventure, and Zoobic Safari.
"These three theme parks are responsible for bringing over 1.2 million tourists last year," he said.
He added that Subic has other tourist attractions that let tourists enjoy horseback riding, trekking, and camping.
Apart from local tourists, Garcia said that Subic's eco-based tourism is attracting more foreign visitors, as evidenced by the recent visit of a UK-based cruise ship, whose passengers were awed by Subic's biodiversity and the culture of its indigenous Ayta tribe.
He also said that Subic is now well-prepared to host various international sporting events since the Freeport has the facilities and the manpower needed in staging events like the Century Tuna 5i50 Triathlon on June 24 and the recent Subic International Triathlon held on May 5-6. "In fact, many triathletes actually live here in Subic because they love to train here in the natural environment that we have," he added.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Human trafficking in Angeles City

Human trafficking in Angeles City, Philippines is a significant problem, with several thousand young girls working as prostitutes, some as young as six years old. This prostititution is often forced by various means and so is regarded as sex slavery. In Angeles, it is estimated that as many as 75% of trafficked slaves are children. UNICEF quotes the Philippines Department of Social Welfare and Development that “anywhere from 60,000 to 600,000 streetchildren are victims of child prostitution” in the Philippines as a whole while Angeles City is regarded as one of the country’s top five spots for child prostitution. Angeles has become one of the favored destinations of paedophile sex tourists from Europe, the United States and Australia.

The sex slavery trade started during the time of the U.S. military base called Clark Air Base. Around the base organized crime built up a massive sex slavery trade catering to staff on the base. But when the Mount Pinatubo volcano erupted in 1991, it destroyed most of the base and the US closed it down in 1992. Most of the sex slavery trade closed with it, but when Manila Mayor, Alfredo Lim closed down the sex slavery area of Ermita in Manila, the gangs shifted the trade to Angeles. Since then the sex slavery trade has continued to grow. The Salvation Army estimates there are as many as 150,000 girls working in prositution in Angeles, although there are few other sources to support this number.

Forced prostitution is regarded as slavery. Children and teenagers are lured into the industry from poor areas by promises of money and care, and are kept there by threats, debt bondage and the fear of poverty.
The current trade is described as being dominated by Australian bar operators and sustained by tourists seeking cheap sex, often with children. Girls are sold with the usual deal being offered by scores of bars to hundreds of mostly foreign men every night in Angeles being a “bar fine” of 1000 pesos ($A27.60) for sex.

The Australian Law Reform Commission undertook an investigation into sex slavery and Human Trafficking in Angeles and stated: “When the Manila local government attempted to close down the sex industry in central Manila, many of the businesses moved to Angeles”, “Filipino population would regularly use the services of prostituted women and children.” This is in addition to the masses of male tourists that flock to this growing international sex-capital, “Girls are quickly forced into prostitution”.

The United States, “State Department watch list of Asia Pacific countries”, has placed the Philipinnes on the “Tier 2 Watch List”. The report stated that the Philippine government did “not fully comply with the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking.”

In 1998 the UK government announced a clampdown on child sex tourism where paedophiles from rich western countries travel to poorer countries such as the Philippines for the purpose of exploiting children.

Along with the sex slavery trade comes all forms of government corruption. A Senate investigation led by Jamby Madrigal, chairwoman of the Senate Committee on Youth, Women and Family Relations found: “Police investigators have been found to let off foreign men accused of having sex with minors in exchange for sums of several thousand euro.”

An investigation by the Government of Australia and Australian Law Reform Commission found, “Corruption in the police force and among politicians is reported to be prevalent”.

Over the past few years there has been a rise in cyberporn sex rings in Angeles. Philippines lawmaker Joseph Santiago states that Angeles City alone, has been classified a cybersex and sex-tourism hotspot by the Philippines National Police. Police have already smashed a number of paedophile cyberporn rings in Angeles. Further police raids on cybersex dens in Angeles City have shown that they are run by foreigners and that the customers are expatriates from the West as well as affluent men from Japan and South Korea. Police have revealed that that children are being sold by their parents in this “new market”.

The sex slavery and human trafficking trade in Angeles has resulted in numerous public protests around the world. Several million people gathered in Rizal Park, Manila to protest against the sex slavery trade in Angeles.

A number of arrests against those involved in the trade has taken place as a result of international media attention.

Child welfare Organization, “Preda”, has led the fight against the child sex slavery trade in Angeles. Working undercover, volunteers with hidden cameras have uncovered child brothels in Angeles.
The United States of America and NATO commanders are trying to implement a zero tolerance forbidding troops to frequent sex bars in places such as Angeles City.

In Angeles City a women’s organisation has sponsored street food stalls, outside the foreigner bars and clubs, which are run by women who have left the sex industry. The stalls now form a venue for past and current workers and their friends and associates to gather and organise over issues such as the rape of bar staff by expatriate owners.

The sex slavery trade in Angeles has also led to an online petition calling for a United Nations Peace Keeping force to be placed in Angeles.

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Mon Tulfo vs Raymart Santiago

According to reports, the skirmish started when Claudine reprimanded a Cebu Pacific flight attendant about her missing luggage. Then, she spotted a man taking a video of what was going on.

Raymart confronted the man, who turned out to be Tulfo. Raymart reported that when he approached Tulfo to confront him, the columnist retaliated by punching him.

In a TV Patrol report hours after the incident happened, Claudine claimed Tulfo tried to threaten them.

“'Hindi niyo kilala ang kinakalaban niyo, matakot kayo,’” she recalled what Tulfo allegedly told her and Raymart.

She added that Tulfo kicked her twice and pushed her to the counter.

A bruised and swollen Tulfo, on the other hand, told TV Patrol it was Raymart who hit him first.

“Gusto niyang kunin yung cellphone ko,” Tulfo explained.

Raymart denied this.

“Ni hindi ko nahawakan camera niya,” he said.

Tulfo claimed he was simply defending himself since Raymart’s companion attacked him.

“May sumakal na sa 'kin,” Tulfo revealed.

He maintains that he did not intend to kick Claudine and claimed the incident happened while he was struggling with Raymart and his companion.

Tulfo took a photo and not a video of Claudine allegedly cursing the airport staff.

The Santiago couple and their children arrived from Boracay while Tulfo came from Davao.

As of posting time, authorities are still waiting for a report from the Cebu Pacific’s complaints desk, where the incident happened.

Friday, May 4, 2012

Facts about Scarborough Shoal

1. First, the Philippine government does not call it Scarborough. Based on recent government press releases, its Pinoy name is Panatag Shoal, which ironically means calm. In the 2009 Philippine Baselines Law, it is referred to as Bajo de Masinloc.

2. It’s really just a rocky sandbar, but its location holds huge political and economic significance. Located in the South China Sea, it is a strategic staging area for military operations. As if that’s not enough enticement, scientists are also optimistic about the area’s potential oil resources.

3. Don’t confuse it with the Spratlys Islands located off the coast of Palawan. Incidentally, the government refers to the portion of the Spratlys it is claiming as the Kalayaan Island Group (KIG).

4. The Panatag Shoal and the Kalayaan Island Group are both located in the South China Sea. The Philippine government has already renamed the South China Sea to West Philippine Sea. (Vietnam calls it the East Sea.)

5. The Philippines bases its claim on discovery, occupation and administration. The Philippines controls Panatag Shoal and also 8 of the islands in the Kalayaan Island Group. China, according to most media reports, is claiming the whole of the South China Sea and also controls several islands in the Kalayaan Island Group. Filipino diplomats however insist that China has not been explicit about what waters it is claiming.

6. A total of 6 countries are laying claim to various areas in the West Philippine Sea—Philippines, China, Vietnam, Taiwan (not recognized by countries that adopt a one-China policy), Malaysia, and Brunei.

7. The controversial Republic Act 9522 or the 2009 Philippine Baselines law treats the Panatag Shoal and the Kalayaan Island Group as “regime of islands under the Republic of the Philippines."

8. Citing old maps, University of the Philippines College of Law professors petitioned the Supreme Court to declare R.A. 9522 unconstitutional because it results in the loss of 15,000 square nautical miles of territorial waters. It also supposedly weakens the country’s claim over the disputed islands. But the Supreme Court junked the petition and declared R.A. 9522 constitutional.

9. The Baselines Law enacted in 2009 defines the archipelagic baselines of the country as those around the main archipelago and, invoking Article 121 of the United Nations Convention on the Laws of the Sea (UNCLOS), claims a part of the Spratlys and all of what is referred to as Panatag Shoal.

10. In 2002, the Asean-China Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the South China Sea (DOC) was signed in Phnom Penh. It envisions, among others, the formulation of a Code of Conduct, which has yet to happen.

Friday, April 27, 2012

MARIAN RIVERA's Subic Scandal

Ang reaction ni Marian Rivera sa mga naglalabasang youtube video ng "Marian Scandal" kung saan ipinakitang galit ang aktres at mukhang may kaaway.

"Ganito yun," simula niya. "Nasa set kami sa Subic. Alam ng lahat na bawal ang mag-video lalo na kung hindi pa umeere ang episode. Nakita ko siyang [yung lalake sa YouTube] kumukuha ng video at biniro ko ng ‘Kuya, nagbi-video kayo, bawal ‘yan.' Ang sagot ba naman, ‘Bakit, ikaw ba ang bini-video ko?' Pakialam ko raw. Pabalang ang sagot at nagulat ako, nagkasagutan kaming dalawa.

"Tinanong ko kung staff siya. Taga-processing daw siya. Nagulat ako, bakit ganun ang reaction niya sa akin. Kahit payat at maliit ako, hindi ako papayag apihin. Caviteña ako, lalaban ako! Walang nang-aapi sa akin!" lahad ni Marian.

Sinagot din nya ang paratang na sya ang paulit ulit na sumasampal sa lalake sa youtube video kahit hindi naman ipinakita ang totoong mukha ng may-ari ng kamay.

"Wala akong sinampal, wala akong sinaktan," mariing sabi ni Marian. "Ni hindi ko nga siya hinawakan, nagkasagutan lang kami. Inawat na kami ng staff. Dapat hinamon ko na lang siya ng suntukan!"

Feeling ba niya frame-up ang nangyari? Bakit may nag-video ng nangyari at bakit edited?

"Bahala na sila," sabi niya. "Ang importante sa akin, hindi ako nag-power trip. Okey lang siraan at pintasan nila ako, tanggap ko lahat na kaparte ng trabaho ko ito. Dapat masanay na ako, dahil lahat na lang ng kilos ko... Tinatanong ko lang ang manager ko [Popoy Caritativo], kung bakit ayaw akong tantanan. Ganun din ang sinasabi niya, na bahagi ito ng showbiz at kailangan kong masanay."

Ang hindi raw ipinakita sa video ay ang nangyari kinabukasan—ang pagbabalik ng lalake sa set at kinausap si Marian.

"The next day, bumalik siya, nagkaayos kami at nagkapaliwanagan kami. Alam ko sa sarili ko na ipinagtanggol ko lang ang sarili ko, dahil binastos ako. Mali ba ang ginawa ko?" balik tanong ni Marian.

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Scarborough Shoal

Jurisdiction over waters is necessarily dependent on jurisdiction over land to which the waters adjoin. This is governed by the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Seas (Unclos). Although the Scarborough Shoal is outside the limits set by the Treaty of Paris for Philippine territory, the Philippines has had a long history of activities related to the area. The area’s official Philippine name is Bajo de Masinloc, which in English means “below Masinloc,” Masinloc being a town in Zambales.  The waters have been treated as a fishing area of Filipino fishermen. The Philippine Air Force, together with United States planes when the United States still had bases in the Philippines, used the area for target practice. It has been the practice of the Philippine Navy to chase away foreign fishing vessels intruding into the area.

Our Constitution declares that Philippine territory consists of the archipelago and “and all other territories over which the Philippines has sovereignty or jurisdiction, consisting of its terrestrial, fluvial and aerial domains, including its territorial sea, the seabed, the subsoil, the insular shelves, and other submarine areas,” that is, other territories which, depending on available evidence, might belong to the Philippines. The 1973 Constitution referred to these as “other territories belonging to the Philippines by historic right or legal title.”
The extent of the archipelago can be verified by reference to the lines drawn by the Treaty of Paris. But the Constitution does not specify where the “other territories” over which the Philippines has jurisdiction are. Scarborough Shoal lies outside the limits of the Treaty of Paris.

The latest move of the Philippines to assert its claim over Scarborough Shoal, among other areas, was the enactment of Republic Act 9522, the new baseline law. Baselines are lines drawn along the low water mark of an island or group of islands which mark the end of the internal waters and the beginning of the territorial sea. Each country must draw its own baselines following the provisions of the Law of the Sea.

The People's Republic of China and the Republic of China (Taiwan) claim that the shoal was first discovered and drawn in a map in the Yuan Dynasty as early as 1279 and was historically used by Chinese fishermen. In 1279, Guo Shoujing, a Chinese astronomer, performed surveying of the South China Sea, and the surveying point was reported to be the Scarborough Shoal. In 1935, China regarded the shoal as part of the Zhongsha Islands. In 1947, the shoal was given the name Minzhu Jiao. In 1983, it was renamed Huangyan Island with Minzhu Jiao reserved as a second name. In 1956, China protested Philippine remarks that South china Sea islands in close proximity to Philippine territory should belong to the Philippines. China's Declaration on the territorial Sea, promulgated in 1958, says in part,

The breadth of the Territorial Sea of the People's Republic of China shall be twelve nautical miles. This applies to all territories of the People's Republic of China, including the Chinese mainland and its coastal islands, as well as Taiwan and its surrounding islands, the Penghu Islands, the Dongsha Islands, the Xisha Islands, the Zhongsha Islands, the Nansha Islands and all other islands belonging to China which are separated from the mainland and its coastal islands by the high seas.

The Philippines has invited China to submit the case to the International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea (Itlos). The tribunal is an independent judicial body established by the Unclos. It can adjudicate disputes arising from the Law of the Sea. So far it seems that China has rejected the submission to the Itlos.

All is not lost, however. Part XV of the Unclos provides for a comprehensive system for the settlement of disputes. It requires parties to settle their disputes by peaceful means. They have a choice of four alternatives. The submission to the Itlos, which seemingly has been rejected by China, is just one of them. The remaining three are: the International Court of Justice, an arbitral tribunal constituted in accordance with Annex VII to the convention, and a special arbitral tribunal constituted in accordance with Annex VIII to the convention. But the parties must agree on the choice of the method of settlement to be used.  This is a major challenge to the legal and diplomatic skills of the Aquino administration.

Friday, April 20, 2012

The Plight of the Filipina Hostess

In 1976, Ferdinand Marcos was the ruling dictator of the Philippines. Marcos had declared martial law and no one was allowed on the street after midnight. I was twenty years old and handing out Bibles on the streets of Olongapo. At midnight the dash back to the base by U.S. soldiers was accomplished by pushing past literally thousands of girls. The bars closed at 11:30 and the masses of people filled the street and the sidewalks. At 4:00 in the morning the curfew was lifted and young soldiers ran down the street and across the bridge to catch an early morning bus and make ‘muster’. These soldiers often wore no shirt and had no shoes because they had left them as payment for their night with a young Filipina.

The girls of Olongapo and Barrio Barreto came from poor families and from all over the Philippines. Some had come with the dream of marrying an American and never intended to live the life that captured them in Olongapo or Barreto or Angeles City. Some had gone to government agencies to seek employment and were sent to Olongapo to be held there in fear. They were threatened with both debt and imprisonment. Some were raped and pacified into cooperating with the sex industry that serviced the American Military. Most of these girls had not gone beyond the sixth grade in an educational system that had inadequate resources.

The first bars to line the streets of Philippine cities were placed near the U.S. military bases. This practice dates back to the Philippine American war as early as 1900. The practice was governed by military officials that sought to keep subservient and disease free women through a process of elimination. The complicity of the U.S. military involved the practice of R & R. The military needed a way to maintain moral and the Filipina was the agent of choice. In 1976 I was told by a military chaplain that no one could live a Christian life in Olongapo. His advice to us was “Do not get any girls pregnant or get too drunk.”

There are entire villages where some of the women once abused by the American Military all live together in poverty. One such place where the former ‘Magsaysay Girls’ live is at the end of Water Dam Road block 27 of Gordon Heights. Magsaysay Dr. is the name of the street in Olongapo that was lined with bars and girls.

I remember when the bases in Subic Bay and Clark Air Force base shut down. My personal feelings were that the Philippines might become free of the abuse and oppression of their youth by the presence of empire. Unfortunately I was somewhat naïve to the blossoming sex industry brought about by the ease of travel via the airline industry. I was surprised to find that sex tourism is an entrepreneurial effort by retired American males seeking to make money. The Internet has provided the ability for these types of people to gather locked, members-only, sites and plan their abuse of young uneducated poverty-ridden girls. Retired U.S. military men living on their pensions are still fathering children with Filipinas in Olongapo and Angeles City and Barrio Barreto.

Most of the men that go on sex tours to the Philippines are old and fat and exhibit their youthful memories with old tattoos. Some are younger and are part of the new sex tourist phenomenon born of global travel and excessive wealth.

For the past three years I have spent the summer in the Philippines. Each year I have witnessed the resurgence of the sex industry. The participants are now older and the girls are still young. The men are American, Irish, German, Australian, Japanese, and Korean. Some of the girls I witnessed to be working in the bars looked to be as young as fifteen. We entered the bars and bought the girls’ time in order to talk with them and share with them our faith in Christ. This type of activity is fine as a starting point, but we must do more. It is my plan to combat the sex industry in the Philippines and to establish recovery programs and educational facilities for the girls captured in this industry. For over a century American complicity has contributed to this evil of bars and sex slavery. It is an industry that is a result of American military practices and the continuing realities of injustice due to global economics.

The American Legacy

When the U.S. Military withdrew from the Philippines in 1992 there were 55,000 registered and unregistered ‘hostesses’. There were more than 2,182 entertainment businesses servicing the areas of Olongapo and Angeles City where Subic Bay and Clark Air Force Base were located. The U.S. military left and so did the 40,000 jobs they provided and the 83,000,000 dollars a year in salaries for Filipino workers. Also upon the departure of the U.S. military from the Philippines, over 50,000 American/Filipino children were left behind. Over 10,000 of these children lived on the street. It is estimated that for some period of time there were as many as 30,000 children a year born to American military troops and Filipino women.

I have met these forgotten children all over the Philippines. I have been meeting them for years. In 1976 I met a young man named Steven. He was twenty one years old, his mother had died of cancer and he had lived on the street by his wits since he was twelve.

In 1985 I was on the Island of Biliran and saw a young mother that had just returned from Olongapo holding her newborn Filipino American baby. The same day I was showering outside in my shorts, like everyone else, when I felt someone staring at me. I turned to see a fifteen year old boy with curly hair and blue eyes. I knew he was wondering if I might be his father.

In 1986 I was in So. Leyte walking through the jungle and I spotted an African man. I assumed him to be an American and spoke with him. He told me he was a souvenir of World War II and that he was 40 years old. He had never known or heard from the man who fathered him.

I also brought home to play with my children a little girl named Jean from Siren in Tacloban City. She looked like one of my kids with her curly brown hair and lighter skin. Jean lived with her grandmother in a small shanty over some black water on the edge of a mountain. She was lucky her mother married an African American who adopted her. At around 12 Jean left to live with her mom and adopted father in California.

In 2007 there are still children being born to American sex tourists. I have seen them also. The American military presence made way for the new phenomenon of international sex tourism.

The American Complicity for the sex industry in the Philippines

The Philippine Islands will ever be a land of beautiful beaches, sunsets, and people. The Filipino culture is admirably accepting of others and filled with smiles and laughter. At one time, they were an Island peoples living in communal settings and experiencing the paradise of a fruitful land. This tranquil life was disrupted by the gradual effects of empire and globalization.

The first expansionist power to grasp at controlling the resources of the Philippines was the Spanish. From 1565 – 1898 the Philippines was a Spanish Colony. When the USS Maine was sunk and 260 men died, America’s war with Spain began. Initially, their war effort against the Spanish was to remove them from Cuba, but On August 13th 1898, 12,000 American troops had arrived in Manila and the Spanish governor, Fermin Jaudenes surrendered the Philippines. The first attack on the Spanish fleet in the Philippines had brought an end to the Spanish rule in the Philippines. However, America’s ultimate interest was obatainin the Spanish empire’s holding of the Philippines. The defeat of the Spanish left the Philippines open to other nations like Britain, France, Japan and Germany. The U.S. feared the loss of trade in the Asian region to these other contending powers. Each of these countries had acquired naval base concessions and business interests with China.

The United States and Spain negotiated a peace treaty in Paris on December 10th, 1898. The U.S. purchased the Philippines, Guam, and Puerto Rico from the Spanish government for $20,000,000. A segment of Philippine society sought independence from foreign power and the ensuing conflict with the U.S. military was the beginning of the Philippine American war. This war effort marked America’s movement towards becoming an empire. The Philippine American war began around the 23rd of January 1899 when Philippine leader Emilio Aguinaldo declared Philippine independence. The U.S. military rule of the Philippines was declared ‘over’ on July 4th 1901.

Whenever the military of any nation has stationed troops in a developing nation or conquered peoples, the systemic abuse of women has quickly followed. The unnatural world of males and violence lends to the acceptance of systemic prostitution as a right of ownership over a people. After all we had ‘bought’ the Philippines from Spain. We were supposed to be civilized and Christian, whereas they were poor natives and uncivilized. If warring constitutes civilization then I am sure being civilized is simply a way of justifying violence on a massive scale.

In 1900, U.S. President McKinley condoned the practice of sending troops to the Philippines for ‘R & R’ (rest and relaxation) under regulatory guidelines. This practice led to the development of the sex industry in the Philippines. The Philippines as an R & R destination was considered to be the cheapest place for a soldier to go and spend his money. The decimation of much of the Philippines accomplished during the Philippine American War (1899 – 1902) contributed to the oppressive conditions that facilitated the phenomenon of mass prostitution in the Philippines. Instead of bringing ‘Christianity’ and ‘Civilization’ as President McKinley had claimed, we brought oppression and injustice on a massive scale.

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Friday, April 13, 2012

Olongapo Barrio Barretto Baloy Beach

This is the skinny on travel to beach. Get off plane at Clark, pay a taxi 150-200 Pesos to go to Bus Stop in Angeles City. Take a bus for 108 or more Pesos to the city of Olangapoe. Pay a trike motorcycle Taxi 150 pesos and go to Baloy Beach,

The Lagoon Hotel across from Johans Hotel has 24 hour FREE WIFI, that seem to work in room 1 or 2, after that I doubt it. The concrete walls will stop the Internet. I am in room 1, therefore somehow it is going through the wall.

The cost of the room is 1000 Pesos, my change seasonally. I pay between 500 and 700 for a room in Manila, so this is about 10 Dollars per night to have 24 hour Internet access. The cost is 50 pesos, so if want to use for 6 hours it would be 300 pesos.

I need the speed of convenience. What to do here, the beach is empty. I think if I had a girlfriend that would lay in the sun, life could be excellent.

Note, a Philippine girl will not lie in the sun, Sort of like living in a Sports Bar here, with a beach to make the view better. Clark Airport - Say Bus Stop 150 Pesos Bus Stop - Say - Bus to Olaogapo - 108 and up. Olongapo- Say to trike 150 Baloy Beach - Lagoon or Johans. NOTE: Barrio Barretto is a Little town next to Baloy Beach. I am putting these directions up, I would love to have this with landmarks. To ask a taxi to go to some unknown beach is difficult, they need a landmark.

When I go to Olangapo, I say - Olongapoe Bus Stop 150 - and they will take me from the Lagoon Hotel to the Olangapo bus stop easy, then I can walk.

Barrio Barretto Beach

This is the closest and easiest side trip from Angeles (or Manila) that has something special to offer. Olongapo is where the Subic base is (base now has deluxe hotels, casinos and upscale bars) and is a pass through to the Barrio Barretto/Subic City area that contains the beaches and night life for us travelers. The whole trip from Angeles can be made under two hours and I paid Percy 1700 pesos for the transportation (2400 pesos from Manila airport). There is also a daily express hotel pick/up bus for 250 pesos. Ask your hotel about the " Subic Express bus" and if it stops at your hotel in Angeles -- this bus will drop you off in front of your hotel choice in Barrio Barretto or reverse routing back to Angeles!

There is also Eagle Ferry cruises, Inc. which now runs a shuttle between Manila and Subic twice a day. The entire trip takes just 2 hours 20 minutes and costs P130 for the air con deck or P110 for the sea deck. Subic to Manila is 7.00am and 1.00pm and return is 10.00 am and 3.30pm In Subic it leaves from Eagle Fleet Landing (in front of SBMA Bldg. 229) and from Manila PTA Bay Cruise Terminal, beside CCP.

The Barrio Barreto area is a small beach city area about 10 minutes from Olongapo and is where I suggest you stay. Not only are there a dozen of hotels to choose from (cheap bungalows to the super deluxe White Rock Hotel) but there is even some interesting inexpensive night life. I stayed at a new hotel called "Zanzibar" which was in the middle of things -- the best beach in front (called "Long Beach") and a ten minute walk to Barrios Barretto night life and a short trike ride to the Subic City dance clubs (Subic City is not Subic Base and really is just an extension of Barrio Barretto).

How to Get Around in Barretto and Olongapo City

Tricycles (a kind of 3-wheeled taxi) and public utility jeepneys (a kind of 10-seater bus) provide public transportation within Olongapo. Jeepeneys are colour-coded, based on the routes they ply. There are three that are useful: blue, yellow and red. When you want to get off the jeep, say “para” or knock on the roof.

The blue jeepney (Subic to Olongapo City) goes to and from Olongapo City to Barretto. Some blue jeepneys go as far as Castillejos, another village after Subic. The terminal of the blue jeepney that takes you to Barretto is conveniently located on a side street (behind ChowKing), next to the Victory Liner bus station.

The yellow jeepney (Sta Rita to Main Gate of SBMA) can take you to two of the gates of the Subic Freeport Naval Base from Olongapo City. (By the way, you cannot enter the Base in slippers or very casual attire).

The red jeepney (Gordon Heights to Main Gate of SBMA) goes to another public market called Pag-Asa from Olongapo City. 

The Victory Liner air-conditioned bus travels to and from Manila and Olongapo City. It makes a stop at a rest area called “Double Happiness” and another very short stop before the highway (to log-in at the dispatcher’s office).

Barrio Barretto Map

These are the main streets in Barrio Barretto. The main avenue which leads to and from Olongapo City and on to northern Zambales is called the National Highway. This avenue is where the restaurants, small hotels and businesses are mainly located. Casa Barretto is a one minute walk from the National Highway.