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.