Showing posts with label China. Show all posts
Showing posts with label China. Show all posts

Global Research Pointed: USA, Loida Lewis and Liberal party behind the ISIS attack in the Philippines

 Global Research Pointed: USA, Loida Lewis and Liberal party behind the ISIS attack in the Philippines
GlobalReaseach.ca pointed out who are behind the Islamist terrorist attack in Marawi City in Southern Philippines

In the article written by Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago, USA, he pointed that Washington, Loida Lewis and the Liberal Opposition party in the Philippines are behind the IS attack in Marawi a step to oust Duterte

Why is ISIS Operating in the Philippines?

In response to violence allegedly instigated by ISIS in the Philippines, President Rodrigo Duterte declared martial law in Mindanao, imposed military rule, and threatened to extend it nationwide to defeat the threat.

What’s going on? Why did ISIS begin operating in the Philippines? Weeks after taking office in mid-2016, Duterte blasted Western imperial Middle East policies, saying the Obama administration and Britain “destroyed the (region)…forc(ing) their way into Iraq and kill(ing) Saddam.”

“Look at Iraq now. Look what happened to Libya. Look what happened to Syria.”

He blasted former UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon for failing to act responsibly against what’s gone on for years – on the phony pretext of humanitarian intervention and democracy building.

He called Obama a “son-of-a-bitch” for his unaccountable actions – no way to make friends in Washington, especially if his geopolitical agenda conflicts with US aims.

Philippine President Rodrigo Roa Duterte meeting with Russian President Putin
Philippine President Rodrigo Roa Duterte meeting with Russian President Putin. Duterte cuts short trip to Russia after declaring martial law in southern Philippines due to Islamist terrorism attack in Marawi City. Photo: Japanese Times

On the day he declared martial law, he met with Vladimir Putin in Moscow for discussions on future military and economic cooperation.

He seeks improved economic and military ties with China. Ahead of visiting Beijing last October, he said

“only China…can help us,” adding:

“All that I would need to do is just to talk and get a firm handshake from the officials and say that we are Filipinos and we are ready to cooperate with you, to help us in building our economy and building our country.”

“If we can have the things you have given to other countries by the way of assistance, we’d also like to be a part of it and to be a part of the greater plans of China about the whole of Asia, particularly Southeast Asia.”

He promised to cool tensions over South China Sea disputes.

“There is no sense fighting over a body of water,” he said.

“We want to talk about friendship (with Beijing). We want to talk about cooperation, and most of all, we want to talk about business. War would lead us to nowhere.”

He announced no further joint military exercises with America, saying he’s open to holding them with China and Russia.

Shifting away from longstanding US ties doesn’t go down well in Washington. Are efforts by ISIS to establish a Philippines foothold part of an anti-Duterte Trump administration or CIA plot independent of his authority?

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Philippine President Rodeigo Roa Duterte meeting with Chinese President Xi Jinping cooling down the tension in South China Sea and promised cooperation, progress, peace and stability of the Asian Region.

According to a June 2 Duran.com report, retired Philippine military official Abe Purugganan claims ISIS violence in Mindanao is part of an opposition Liberal Party plan to undermine Duterte and oust him from office – citing information from a party whistleblower.

Below are the comments The Duran posted, saying:

“There is a lot of noises and chatters flooding the cyberspace, you got to use your discernment to filter all these information.”

“LETS PLAY FIRE WITH FIRE,” explaining “(t)hese are the exact words stated by Loida Lewis and her fellow oligarchs on a meeting months ago with Liberal Party members abroad,” adding:

Their plan is to use ISIS or ISIS-connected terrorists to instigate violence and chaos in Mindanao, wanting Duterte’s government destabilized and ousted.

If the information reported is accurate, it explains what’s now going on, likely to worsen, perhaps spread to other parts of the country.

Last week, Duterte said

“if I cannot confront (ISIS terrorists threatening the country), I will resign. “If I am incompetent and incapable of keeping order in this country, let me step down and give the job to somebody else.”

If US dirty hands are behind the ISIS insurgency, he’s got a long struggle ahead, trying to overcome the attack on him and perhaps Philippine sovereignty.

Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He can be reached at lendmanstephen@sbcglobal.net.
His new book as editor and contributor is titled “Flashpoint in Ukraine: How the US Drive for Hegemony Risks WW III.”

http://www.claritypress.com/LendmanIII.html

Visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com.

The original source of this article is Global Research
Copyright © Stephen Lendman, Global Research, 2017

China, Japan, Korea, Russia compete for $2 Billion Nuclear Plant, LNG Philippines Gas project

Russia Floating Nuclear Power Plant Technology
Russia Floating Nuclear Power Plant Technology. illustration: popsci.com

China, Japan compete for $2bn Philippine gas project


China and Japan are competing for a $2-billion liquefied natural gas (LNG) project in the Philippines, Energy Secretary Alfonso Cusi told the Nikkei Asian Review.

Over 20 companies from eight countries have proposed partnerships with state-owned Philippine National Oil Corp. for an LNG receiving terminal at the southern part of Luzon Island. Cusi said his team is still reviewing funding and technology options.

"We are talking to China [and] Japan," he said. "We are looking at which can offer the best in terms of funding. It's too early to say who is more advanced -- there are so many things to look into."

Countries that offer the best financing options usually pick their own domestic contractors. Cusi said Tokyo Gas, Osaka Gas, and a number of Chinese state-owned and private companies have shown interest.

Cusi is vice chairman of President Rodrigo Duterte's PDP-Laban party. He has traveled to Beijing and Tokyo this year to solicit energy investments for the Philippines, which runs into alerts and price spikes for electricity whenever the country's lone LNG facility undergoes maintenance.

Cusi said he plans to travel to South Korea and Russia, and does not favor any particular power-generating technology. He said Malampaya, the only source of natural gas in the Philippines, is expected to be exhausted by 2024. The gas field operated by a consortium led by Royal Dutch Shell provides 40-45% of Luzon island's power requirements. Luzon accounts for two-thirds of gross domestic product in the Philippines.

The proposed terminal could import LNG from other countries while alternate Philippine resources are being developed. These include gas fields in the South China Sea in dispute with China. The terminal's plant will initially generate around 200 megawatts, but can expand to 800MW. Cusi hopes to find an investor this year.

Duterte is targeting total household electrification before he leaves office in 2022. As of December, over 90% of households had access to energy. Cusi also said he is studying the possibility of activating a $2 billion nuclear power plant on the Bataan peninsula. The project, initiated under President Ferdinand Marcos in the 1970s but never activated, is located near an earthquake fault line.

Sulu Province of Southern Philippines could have the first ever operating 100 MW Nuclear Power Plant this year according to the report (see here) - Nikkei Asian Review

China - Philippines Bridging for the 5G Wireless Internet Preparation 2020

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Philippine Telco's are in the preparation for 5G wireless mobile internet for 2020

What is 5G Mobile Internet?


5th generation mobile networks or 5th generation wireless systems, abbreviated 5G, are the proposed next telecommunications standards beyond the current 4G/IMT-Advanced standards.

Rather than faster peak Internet connection speeds, 5G planning aims at higher capacity than current 4G, allowing higher number of mobile broadband users per area unit, and allowing consumption of higher or unlimited data quantities in gigabyte per month and user.

This would make it feasible for a large portion of the population to stream high-definition media many hours per day with their mobile devices, when out of reach of Wi-Fi hotspots.
5G research and development also aims at improved support of Device-to-device communication, aiming at lower cost, lower latency than 4G equipment and lower battery consumption, for better implementation of the Internet of things.
There is currently no standard for 5G deployments.

The Next Generation Mobile Networks Alliance defines the following requirements that a 5G standard should fulfill:
  1. Data rates of tens of megabits per second for tens of thousands of users
  2. Data rates of 100 megabits per second for metropolitan areas
  3. 1 Gb per second simultaneously to many workers on the same office floor
  4. Several hundreds of thousands of simultaneous connections for massive wireless sensor network
  5. Spectral efficiency significantly enhanced compared to 4G
  6. Coverage improved
  7. Signaling efficiency enhanced
  8. 1-10 ms latency (limited by speed of light)
  9. Latency reduced significantly compared to LTE

The Next Generation Mobile Networks Alliance feels that 5G should be rolled out by 2020 to meet business and consumer demands. In addition to providing simply faster speeds, they predict that 5G networks also will need to meet new use cases, such as the Internet of Things (internet connected devices) as well as broadcast-like services and lifeline communication in times of natural disaster.

Carriers, chipmakers, OEMS and OSATs, such as Advanced Semiconductor Engineering (ASE), have been preparing for this next-generation (5G) wireless standard, as mobile systems and base stations will require new and faster application processors, basebands and RF devices.

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China’s Huawei, Philippine Telco join forces in 5G deal


Chinese electronics giant Huawei is joining forces with the Philippines' largest telco in the hopes of rolling out a 5G wireless network in the Asian archipelago by 2020, the Filipino company said.

Filipinos are among the world's most active Internet users, but the country also has one of the slowest average connection speeds.

Smartphone usage is also steadily growing with about 33 million people owning devices according to researchers.

Philippine Long Distance and Telephone Co (PLDT) and Huawei agreed last month to conduct joint research and development into fifth-generation broadband wireless technology for the Philippines.

"They are one of the companies that are leading in the research and development of 5G technology," PLDT spokesman Ramon Isberto said about the Chinese firm, adding it is already involved in PLDT's landline and mobile phone services.

Chinese telecoms behemoth Huawei is the world's number three smartphone maker, operating in 170 countries.

The company has laid out an ambitious agenda for the US and global markets – hoping to become the top producer of smartphones in the next five years despite controversy over its ties to Beijing.



Ren Zhengfei, a former People's Liberation Army (PLA) engineer, founded the company in 1987 but his PLA service has led to concerns of close links with the Chinese military and government, which Huawei has consistently denied.

The US and Australia have previously barred Huawei from involvement in broadband projects over espionage fears.

Relations between Manila and Beijing have been rocky amid conflicting claims over the South China Sea and China's militarisation of the resource-rich waterway.

But under Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte, who won May elections in a landslide, there has been a warming of bilateral ties as Duterte steers Manila away from the US – its long-time defence treaty partner.

Isberto said controversy over Huawei's links with the Chinese government was not a concern, stressing that foreign companies only provide technology.

"At the end of the day, we run our networks," he said. — AFP

The Philippines and KR big winners from China's slowdown but Fearing Investors for MARCOS Jr bid for 2016 Presidency

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The Philippines and South Korea are the big winners from China's slowdown

How panicked were investors last week about China's stock market plunge? Enough to treat the Korean peninsula, a place that was teetering on the brink of war, as a safe haven.

Even as policy makers braced for renewed military confrontation between North and South Korea, the won staged a rally.

It may be time to start counting Korea as a developed nation, rather than an emerging market. 

That's made South Korean assets one of the few bright spots in a dark time for emerging markets. On August 24 alone, investors yanked $2.7 trillion out of developing nations, with Indonesia, Malaysia and Thailand especially hard hit. It matched the violent September 2008 selloff after Lehman Brothers collapsed.

Back then, Korea was battered so hard that pundits were calling it the "next Iceland" and the "Bear Stearns economy". Now, together with the Philippines, it's one of Asia's only refuges from chaos.

It's not hard to explain why many Asian economies are suffering from China's slowdown. Exporters of commodities, who depended on a humming Chinese market, have especially suffered. But why are there such big outliers among battered emerging markets?

Less like lemmings

The answer is that investors are finally basing their decisions less on herd mentality than nuanced, case-by-case analyses.

"Emerging market investors have become a lot savvier," says economist Frederic Neumann of HSBC in Hong Kong.

"Gone are the days where emerging markets were all lumped into one bucket. Today, countries with stronger fundamentals are able to resist the spread of contagion washing over global financial markets."

Along with South Korea and the Philippines, Neumann notes that even some frontier economies, like Vietnam, "have weathered global financial turmoil with apparent ease".

The common link among the success stories is they've got the basics right since Asia's 1997 financial meltdown. They have healthier financial systems, greater transparency, stronger banks, sober national balance sheets, and reasonable current-account deficits.

Malaysia's reckoning, by contrast, is long overdue.

The ringgit is trading near 17-year lows because scandal-plagued Prime Minister Najib Razak cares more about staying in power than modernising the country's unproductive economy.

Meanwhile, Thailand's military junta is undoing much of the progress Bangkok made since the late 1990s in strengthening the rule of law. And for all its gripes that Indonesia is being unfairly lumped in with Asia's laggards, President Joko Widodo's administration is rapidly losing the trust of investors.

While there's still time to win it back, Widodo's first 315 days in office have been a case study in timidity, drift and lost opportunities.

Korea credible

Korea, by contrast, is on the "more credible side of the spectrum," says economist Marc Chandler of Brown Brothers Harriman.

Even though China's downshift and US interest rate hikes will eventually make a dent, the won was Asia's top performer last week. Its 2.7 percent gain almost matched the drop in the Chinese yuan since August 11.

Meanwhile, Korean bond yields are falling. It turns out that the world's central banks had it right last year when they boosted their Korean debt holdings. In 2014, they made up 45.4 percent of the foreign-held portion of Korea Treasury bonds, up from 41.8 percent a year earlier.

It may be time to start counting Korea as a developed nation, rather than an emerging market. Korea still faces many challenges, not least of which are its rogue family-run conglomerates. But its macroeconomic performance deserves the recognition it's receiving from investors.

The same goes for the Philippines. Since 2010, President Benigno Aquino has steadily improved his nation's debt position (winning investment-grade ratings in the process), attacked graft and drawn in waves of foreign-direct investment.

Last month, reporters asked Philippine central bank governor Amando Tetangco if he's worried about the spectre of economic crisis haunting Asia at the moment.

"There's a herd mentality," he said, "but there'll be differentiation."

So far, he's been proven right. The country formerly derided as the "sick man of Asia" has been standing its ground amid market chaos.

Still risks

Risks abound, of course. While South Korea's economic fundamentals are stable – it's growing at a rate of 2.2 percent with a 3.7 percent jobless rate – its high household debt of $458 billion is a concern.

Manila, for its part, faces an uncertain 2016 election, in which Ferdinand Marcos Jr, son of the dictator who ravaged the nation in the 1970s and 1980s, may make a bid for the presidency. History has shown that emerging markets are often just one bad leader away from relapsing into chaos.

For now, the relative stability washing over Korea and the Philippines underscores that steady leadership and long-term thinking matter. It also shows that global investors are getting better at identifying those factors in Asia. - Bloomberg / The Sydney Morning Herald

The Fate of West Philippine Sea/South China Sea at the United Nation's Tribunal begin its Journey in Hague vs China

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The Philippine delegation, with lawyers and advocates, before the start of Commencement of the 1st Round of Philippines Argument.- Image CNN Philippines

South China Sea dispute: Philippines warns China flouting UN maritime laws

THE HAGUE: The Philippines has appealed to an international tribunal to declare China's claims to most of the South China Sea illegal, warning the integrity of United Nations' maritime laws is at stake.

In opening comments to the tribunal in the Hague on Tuesday, Foreign Secretary Albert del Rosario said the Philippines had sought judicial intervention because China's behavior had become increasingly "aggressive" and negotiations had proved futile.

Del Rosario said the UN's Convention on the Law of the Sea, which the Philippines and China have both ratified, should be used to resolve their bitter territorial dispute.

"The case before you is of the utmost importance to the Philippines, to the region, and to the world," del Rosario told the tribunal.

"In our view, it is also of utmost significance to the integrity of the convention, and to the very fabric of the legal order of the seas and oceans."

China insists it has sovereign rights to nearly all of the South China Sea, a strategically vital waterway with shipping lanes through which about a third of all the world's traded oil passes.

Its claim, based on ancient Chinese maps, reaches close to the coasts of its southern neighbors.

The Philippines, Vietnam, Malaysia, Brunei and Taiwan also have claims to parts of the sea, which have for decades made it a potential military flashpoint.

Tensions have risen sharply in recent years as a rising China has sought to stake its claims more assertively.

Following a stand-off between Chinese ships and the weak Filipino Navy in 2012, China took control of a rich fishing ground called Scarborough Shoal that is within the Philippines' exclusive economic zone.

China has also undertaken giant reclamation activities that have raised fears it will use artificial islands to build new military outposts close to the Philippines  and other claimants.

China has rejected all criticism over its actions, insisting it has undisputed sovereign rights to the sea.

However del Rosario told the tribunal in the Hague that China's argument of claiming the sea based on "historic rights" was without foundation.

"The so-called nine dash line (based on an old map used by China) has no basis whatsoever under international law," he said.

The Philippines submitted its case to the Hague-based Permanent Court of Arbitration, a 117-state body that rules on disputes between countries, in early 2013.

Del Rosario's comments, held in closed door proceedings but released by his office in Manila on Wednesday, were part of the Philippines' opening oral arguments.

China has refused to participate in the proceedings and said it will not abide by any ruling, even though it is has ratified the UN's Convention on the Law of the Sea.

However the Philippines hopes a ruling in its favor will pressure China into making concessions.

Any ruling from the tribunal is not expected until next year.

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The week covering July 7 to 13 will be pivotal to the Philippines’ legal battle to assert its claims over the portion of the South China Sea that it calls the West Philippine Sea.- Image CNN Philippines

Day 1: PH begins arguments in The Hague

On July 7, 2015, the Philippines has begun arguing before the Permanent Court of Arbitration in The Hague that the treaty-based court has jurisdiction — and should intervene — in the country's dispute with China over the West Philippine Sea.

Malacañan said the first day of hearings began with Solicitor General Florin Hilbay's introduction of the Philippines' case, and his presentation of the order of speakers.

Foreign Affairs Secretary Albert del Rosario made a plea for the tribunal to recognize its jurisdiction. He noted that the case is important not just to the country but also to the global community, owing to its impact on the rule of law in maritime disputes.

Paul Reichler, chief counsel of the Philippines, presented the justification for the five-man tribunal's jurisdiction over the Philippine claims under the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS).

Reichler was followed by Philippe Sands, who explained that the Philippines did not raise questions of sovereignty over land or maritime delimitation.

Sands is the director of the University College London's Centre on International Courts and Tribunals.

The first round of Philippine arguments will continue Monday  (July 8) with two more hearings, from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. and 8:30 p.m. to 11:30 p.m., Philippine time.

A few hours before the hearing, Undersecretary Abigail Valte, deputy presidential spokesperson, told CNN Philippines that the delegation is cautiously optimistic that the tribunal would rule in favor of Philippine' on the jurisdiction issue.

Valte is also in The Hague with the Philippine delegation.

"We have been preparing every day, every step of the way to come to a proceeding like this," she said.

China has refused to take part in the proceedings. It prefers to conduct bilateral talks with the Philippines. Sources: CNN Philippines and The Economic Times

China stock loses $3.2 trillion US Dollars in weeks; Suicide rumor -Economy facing trouble

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A stock investor looks up in a brokerage house in Shanghai. Chinese authorities have launched frantic efforts to shore up plunging stock prices following another 5.7 per cent decline in the country's main market index on Friday. Source: AP

Chinese chaos worse than Greece: Chinese stock market loses $3.2 trillion, authorities inject cash

WHILE the world worries about Greece, there’s an even bigger problem closer to home: China.

A stock market crash there has seen $3.2 trillion wiped from the value of Chinese shares in just three weeks, triggering an emergency response from the government and warnings of “monstrous” public disorder.

And the effects for Australia could be serious, affecting our key commodity exports and sparking the beginning of a period of recession-like conditions.

“State-owned newspapers have used their strongest language yet, telling people ‘not to lose their minds’ and ‘not to bury themselves in horror and anxiety’. [Our] positive measures will take time to produce results,” writes IG Markets.

“If China does not find support today, the disorder could be monstrous.”

In an extraordinary move, the People’s Bank of China has begun lending money to investors to buy shares in the flailing market. The Wall Street Journal reports this “liquidity assistance” will be provided to the regulator-owned China Securities Finance Corp, which will lend the money to brokerages, which will in turn lend to investors.

The dramatic intervention marks the first time funds from the central bank have been directed anywhere other than the banks, signaling serious concern from authorities about the crisis.

At the same time, Chinese authorities are putting a halt to any new stock listings. The market regulator announced on Friday it would limit initial public offerings — which disrupt the rest of the market — in an attempt to curb plunging share prices.

While the exact amount of assistance hasn’t been revealed, the WSJ reports no upper limit has been set.

All short-selling — the practice of betting that stocks will fall — has been banned, and Chinese media has rushed to reassure citizens.

Yesterday, shares in big state companies soared in response to the but many others sank as jittery small investors tried to cut their losses, Associated Press reports. The market benchmark Shanghai Composite closed up 2.4 percent but still was down 27 percent from its June 12 peak.

Experts fear it could turn into a full-blown crash introducing even more uncertainty into global markets as Europe teeters on the edge of a potential euro zone exit by Greece, after Sunday’s controversial referendum.

WHAT DOES IT MEAN FOR AUSTRALIA?

For Australia, the market crash in China is likely to impact earnings on key exports iron ore and coal, further slashing government revenue, while also putting downward pressure on the Australian dollar.

Jordan Eliseo, chief economist with ABC Bullion, said it was important to remember that the amount of wealth Chinese citizens have tied up in the stock market is relatively minor compared with western investors.

Stocks only make up about 8 per cent of household wealth in China, compared with around 20 per cent in developed nations.

“The market crash there is generating headlines, but it’s not going to have the same impact as a comparable crash would in a developed market,” he said.

“What it means for Australia, though, is it’s very clear there are some serious imbalances in the Chinese economy, and the rate of growth they’ve enjoyed in the past is over. There’s no question our export earnings are going to take another hit.”

Mr Eliseo predicts Australia is likely to experience “recession-like” conditions such as negative wage growth for many years to come. “I believe that’s going to be the new norm,” he said.

CRACKDOWN AS PANIC TRIGGERS ‘SUICIDE’ RUMOURS

Underscoring growing jitters amid the three-week sell-off, police in Beijing detained a man on Sunday for allegedly spreading a rumor online that a person jumped to their death in the city’s financial district due to China’s precarious stock markets.

The 29-year-old man detained was identified by the surname Tian, and is a manager at a technology and science company in Beijing, police said in a post on their official microblog.

Police said Tian’s alleged posting of the rumor took place Friday and called on internet users to obey laws and regulations, not to believe and spread rumors, and to cooperate with police.

The state-run Xinhua news agency reported that Tian allegedly posted the rumors with video clips and screenshots Friday afternoon.

The post, which is said to have gone viral, “provoked emotional responses among stock investors who suffered losses over the past weeks”, Xinhua said.

Xinhua added that a police investigation showed that the video in question had been shot on Friday morning in the eastern Chinese province of Jiangsu where a man had jumped to his death. Local police there were investigating that case, Xinhua said.

The original post was unavailable Sunday on China’s tightly controlled social media, where authorities are quick to delete controversial material. - Jews News /  News.com.au

Ramos Killed NSC Asia's Biggest Steel Factory in ILigan City to allow China Dominates the Philippines

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Former Philippine President Fidel V. Ramos Sold the National Steel Corporation (NSC) in Iligan City to Malaysia as part of his Privatization program. NSC was Asia's largest Steel factory.

Bulacan to host Chinese - Philippines’ biggest steel plant

Steel Asia, the country’s largest steel manufacturer, is investing P6 billion to put up the biggest steel plant in the country.

Steel Asia said the plant in Plaridel would be among the most modern in the world.

“It will be using the latest available technology that allows production efficiency and environmental protection at the same time,” the company said.

The Plaridel plant will have a production capacity of 1.2 million metric tons, more than double the capacity of its recently inaugurated P3 billion Davao plant which is at 500,000 metric tons.

The Davao plant generated around 2,000 direct and indirect jobs while the Plaridel plant is expected to create nearly 3,000 direct and indirect jobs, Steel Asia said.

Roberto Cola, Steel Asia vice president, said the Plaridel plant would feature an array of environmental measures that will allow the company to fully comply with existing laws.

Despite various groups who are against the project, Steel Asia said majority of the residents of Plaridel are now supporting the rolling mill project in the area.

Steel Asia said an independent survey conducted by Greenboroughs Tech Inc. showed 82 percent of the sampling from the direct impact area support the project.

The company said it has been conducting continuing efforts to explain the technical and environmental aspects of the plant, and its benefits to the community and its environment.

In an official public consultation conducted last month, Steel Asia said the project has obtained the support from more than 5,000 federation of tricycle associations of Plaridel.

The project was also supported by the youth many of whom have already taken advantage of the free skills upgrade training program Steel Asia has been conducting for the community, the steel manufacturer said.

“Being open and transparent with the community was key to the support we are getting for our project. We even brought some members of the Plaridel community to our newly opened Davao plant for them to see and appreciate that we are real partners in progress and we care for the environment as we go about our business,” Cola said.

Steel Asia has existing plants in Cagayan de Oro, Davao, Cebu, Batangas, and two in Bulacan.

NSC Iligan plant rots

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National Steel Corporation, Asia's Biggest Steel Manufacturing Facility is rotting .... image source: Manila Bulletin

While the government is moving heaven and earth to revive the country’s manufacturing sector, which is the biggest hope to provide employment to the less educated Filipinos who cannot be accepted in call centers and BPO works, it has lost sight of the country’s biggest industrial plant — the National Steel Corp. (NSC), which used to be the symbol of the country’s march towards industrialization.

NSC has been abandoned, looted and is now rotting in its 145-hectare industrial complex in Iligan City.

Cong. Vicente F. Belmonte Jr. of the lone legislative district of Iligan City in a phone interview with Business Bulletin blamed the national government policy for making  NSC, which used to employ as many as 4,200 Filipinos, into what it is today — a big white elephant.

“The national government they don’t give importance to the NSC. We are at the mercy of the national government because they make the policy,” Belmonte said.

Belmonte noted of the privatization thrust that put NSC to owners that did not really take seriously the business of NSC.

Under the government’s privatization policy, the NSC facilities were  turned over to the Malaysian investors in 1995.  The Indian investors subsequently took over in 2004 and the mills eventually went on total shutdown in 2009.

“We made a mistake in awarding the NSC to the Indians,” Belmonte pointed out. NSC was acquired by Pramod Mittal’s Global Steel Holdings Ltd. from creditor banks in 2004 for a total price of P13.25 billion including an upfront cash of P1 billion while the remainder was to be paid over an 8-year period. That privatization was overseen by then DTI Secretary Mar  Roxas.

At that time of privatization, NSC’s debts were placed at P16.18 billion but its assets had been assessed at P29.27 billion. The Philippine National Bank (PNB) has the largest exposure to the company of R5.64-billion. Government-owned Land Bank of the Philippines followed with P1.2 billion.

Belmonte said the Indian owners were not interested in running a sustainable plant but they only produced specific steel products to supply its mother company. Its intention was to use the NSC property as a collateral for its loan and when it failed to do so, it filed a case before Singaporean arbitration court and won.

A source said, the Philippines or the creditor banks’ defense team was said to be poorly represented in that Singapore case making it an easy win for Global Steel.

Now, Global Steel and creditors/banks are caught in an arbitration gridlock situation in Singapore.

“We have many plans for NSC, but we need the national government’s support,” he said.

According to Belmonte, he already approached Finance Secretary Cesar Purisima but the Finance chief was non-committal. He has also asked the Department of Trade and Industry, but was told the agency cannot do anything because NSC had long been privatized.

Belmonte also confirmed the looting incidents inside the huge complex. He said that when NSC was privatized it had a R1 billion worth of parts inventory. Some of these have been looted or sold.

Just last week, he said, some 61 trees inside the complex were balled off on the pretext that those grown up trees were on harms way of electric cables, but were actually sold for cash.

“There are guards, but not enough to secure the entire premises,” he said. NSC, the first government corporation to obtain an ISO-certification, is complete with staff houses and other real estate assets inside its sprawling premises.

It was also the first government corporation to be declared Employer of the Year. And also the first government corporation to be bestowed AIM’s Award for Managerial Excellence in people development.

POLICY INTERVENTION

“We need government policy intervention for the steel industry,” Belmonte said. Policy interventions that should correct some factors that led to NSC’s fate.

For instance, when NSC was sold to Global Steel, it had the advantage of a lower power cost at R3 only because Mindanao was then relying mostly on hydro power. But when the government policy  was changed on the power mix for Mindanao, NSC was caught up with a high power of R6 to R8 per kilowatt-hour.

The Indian owners closed the plant in 2009 after workers staged a strike for non-payment of wages.

Along with its closure, the Global Steel also incurred over R3 billion in unpaid electricity bills before the National Power Corp. It also failed to pay real estate taxes amounting to over R2 billion to the city government of Iligan.

Since the tide of trade liberalization can no longer be reversed, Belmonte said there are some new technologies that could possibly put NSC back on its feet. He said NSC can operate using its own generated power.

“The national government should come in now and adopt a policy for the steel industry, because even if we in Iligan are very much interested in reviving NSC, we are very limited,” he stressed.

Thus, he said, there is a need for government policy to attract new investors and revive NSC.

“The government need not take over the plant, we just need a government policy that should make the domestic steel manufacturing industry attractive to investors again,” he stressed.

While Belmonte admitted that the NSC as it is today can no longer be competitive, he said there are new technologies that could help NSC back on its feet and become competitive again.

“We can revive it, but it is no longer competitive.  We need new policy because we can no longer survive under the old strategy. We have to adapt new technology for the steel industry,” he said.

For instance, he cited a Vienna technology where a steel plant can operate using its own power.

DISCONNECT

When the NSC was privatized in 1995, it was on the premise that the new investors must further expand/upgrade and eventually integrate upstream into the iron and steel-making stage.

Due to this failed privatization, the flat steel subsector has a serious supply-chain gap today arising from the idle Hot Mill, Cold Mill and Tinplate Line; while the long products subsector has a diminished supply capacity from the shutdown Billet Shop.

During its peak, NSC supplied 62 percent of the Philippine total flat steel demand (34 percent for hot-rolled products; 75 percent for cold-rolled products; 69 percent for tinplate products). It used to directly export an average of 4,000 MT per month to China

NSC generated R12 billion in annual revenues and earned a net income of P500 million every year, after paying duties and taxes of R1 billion yearly to the government.

Upon expansion/upgrading in 1985-1995, this government steel plant had total assets of R30 billion when it was privatized in 1995.

In one of the DTI workshops for the crafting of the industry roadmaps, including the steel industry, state-run National Development Co. (NDC), which has a minority five percent stake in NSC, was urged by the private sector to take over NSC.

NSC was one of the 11 industrial projects created by NDC, the government investment arm under the DTI, during the Marcos era.

Despite all the legal encumbrances that NSC finds itself entangled into, it is so ironic that while the government seeks to revive the manufacturing sector, what used to be the crown jewel of the government’s attempt at industrialization continues to rot, looted and ransacked.

Sources: PHILSTAR and MANILA BULLETIN

Philippine Ambassador to China, North Korea & Mongolia suffers stroke

Ambassador Sonya Brady for China, Mongolia and North Korea

Philippine Ambassador to China,  North Korea & Mongolia Sonia Brady suffered a stroke in Beijing this week.

"Ambassador Brady suffered a stroke and is hospitalized where her condition is being monitored closely," Foreign Secretary Albert del Rosario confirmed Brady's condition in a text message to VERA Files.

An official statement released by DFA Spokesman Raul Hernandez late (August 24, 2012) Friday evening said:

"Ambassador Sonia Brady was brought to the hospital last Wednesday after she passed out in her residence in Beijing. She is undergoing tests and waiting for the results. Her condition is stable but she is under observation. "

"She is better now than when she was brought to the hospital last Wednesday," Hernandez added in a later text advisory.

Brady, who turned 71 on Wednesday, the day she was brought to the hospital, had just recovered from a mild stroke when she was named ambassador to China last May at the height of the standoff between Philippine and China maritime vessels in Panatag shoal.

Aside from China, North Korea and Mongolia are also currently under Brady's jurisdiction.

She is on her second stint at ambassador to China, having served in the same position from 2006 to 2010. She was ambassador to Thailand and Myanmar before she was named envoy to China.

From 1976 to 1978, Brady served as third secretary and vice consul and was later second secretary and consul of the Philippine embassy in China.

Brady was plucked from retirement after President Benigno Aquino III's first choice, family friend Domingo Lee, was bypassed by the Commission on Appointments several times.

Brady breezed through the CA as the members recognized her experience in China and diplomacy and the urgency of the situation.   She waited only a month to be confirmed.

A career diplomat, Brady studied journalism at the University of Santo Tomas. She earned her Foreign Service degree at the University of the Philippines. She holds a master's degree in international relations from the University of Southern California in 1987.

Brady served as assistant secretary in the Department of Foreign Affairs Office of Policy and Coordination from 1999 to 2002.

(VERA Files is put out by veteran journalists taking a deeper look at current issues. Vera is Latin for "true.")

World’s newest & stealthiest $3Billion USD destroyer will counter China in West Philippines


This file image released by Bath Iron Works shows a rendering of the DDG-1000 Zumwalt, the U.S. Navy's next-generation destroyer, which has been funded to be built at Bath Iron Works in Maine and at Northrop Grumman's shipyard in Pascagoula, Miss. (AP/Bath Iron Works)

A super-stealthy warship that could underpin the U.S. navy's China strategy will be able to sneak up on coastlines virtually undetected and pound targets with electromagnetic "railguns" right out of a sci-fi movie.

But at more than $3 billion a pop, critics say the new DDG-1000 destroyer sucks away funds that could be better used to bolster a thinly stretched conventional fleet. One outspoken admiral in China has scoffed that all it would take to sink the high-tech American ship is an armada of explosive-laden fishing boats.

With the first of the new ships set to be delivered in 2014, the stealth destroyer is being heavily promoted by the Pentagon as the most advanced destroyer in history -- a silver bullet of stealth. It has been called a perfect fit for what Washington now considers the most strategically important region in the world -- Asia and the Pacific.

Though it could come in handy elsewhere, like in the Gulf region, its ability to carry out missions both on the high seas and in shallows closer to shore is especially important in Asia because of the region's many island nations and China's long Pacific coast.

"With its stealth, incredibly capable sonar system, strike capability and lower manning requirements -- this is our future," Adm. Jonathan Greenert, chief of naval operations, said in April after visiting the shipyard in Maine where they are being built.

On a visit to a major regional security conference in Singapore that ended Sunday, U.S. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta said the Navy will be deploying 60 percent of its fleet worldwide to the Pacific by 2020, and though he didn't cite the stealth destroyers he said new high-tech ships will be a big part of its shift.

The DDG-1000 and other stealth destroyers of the Zumwalt class feature a wave-piercing hull that leaves almost no wake, electric drive propulsion and advanced sonar and missiles. They are longer and heavier than existing destroyers -- but will have half the crew because of automated systems and appear to be little more than a small fishing boat on enemy radar.

Down the road, the ship is to be equipped with an electromagnetic railgun, which uses a magnetic field and electric current to fire a projectile at several times the speed of sound.

But cost overruns and technical delays have left many defense experts wondering if the whole endeavor was too focused on futuristic technologies for its own good.

They point to the problem-ridden F-22 stealth jet fighter, which was hailed as the most advanced fighter ever built but was cut short because of prohibitive costs. Its successor, the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter, has swelled up into the most expensive procurement program in Defense Department history.

"Whether the Navy can afford to buy many DDG-1000s must be balanced against the need for over 300 surface ships to fulfill the various missions that confront it," said Dean Cheng, a China expert with the Heritage Foundation, a conservative research institute in Washington. "Buying hyperexpensive ships hurts that ability, but buying ships that can't do the job, or worse can't survive in the face of the enemy, is even more irresponsible."

The Navy says it's money well spent. The rise of China has been cited as the best reason for keeping the revolutionary ship afloat, although the specifics of where it will be deployed have yet to be announced. Navy officials also say the technologies developed for the ship will inevitably be used in other vessels in the decades ahead.

But the destroyers' $3.1 billion price tag, which is about twice the cost of the current destroyers and balloons to $7 billion each when research and development is added in, nearly sank it in Congress. Though the Navy originally wanted 32 of them, that was cut to 24, then seven.

Now, just three are in the works.

"Costs spiraled -- surprise, surprise -- and the program basically fell in on itself," said Richard Bitzinger, a security expert at Singapore's Nanyang Technological University. "The DDG-1000 was a nice idea for a new modernistic surface combatant, but it contained too many unproven, disruptive technologies."

The U.S. Defense Department is concerned that China is modernizing its navy with a near-term goal of stopping or delaying U.S. intervention in conflicts over disputed territory in the South China Sea or involving Taiwan, which China considers a renegade province.

China is now working on building up a credible aircraft carrier capability and developing missiles and submarines that could deny American ships access to crucial sea lanes.

The U.S. has a big advantage on the high seas, but improvements in China's navy could make it harder for U.S. ships to fight in shallower waters, called littorals. The stealth destroyers designed to do both. In the meantime, the Navy will begin deploying smaller Littoral Combat Ships to Singapore later this year.

Officially, China has been quiet on the possible addition of the destroyers to Asian waters.

But Rear Adm. Zhang Zhaozhong, an outspoken commentator affiliated with China's National Defense University, scoffed at the hype surrounding the ship, saying that despite its high-tech design it could be overwhelmed by a swarm of fishing boats laden with explosives. If enough boats were mobilized some could get through to blow a hole in its hull, he said.

"It would be a goner," he said recently on state broadcaster CCTV's military channel.

Foxnews

Philippines & China Send Warship to Disputed Seas

The tensions is fueled again for China vs. Japan, Taiwan, Philippines, South Korea, Vietnam and ASEAN Nation

Breaking News: The Philippines has relaunched an U.S. Coast Guard Hamilton Cutter Class as its biggest and most modern warship to guard potentially oil-rich waters that are at the center of a dispute with China.

President Benigno Aquino III witnessed the commissioning of the 3,390-ton Philippine navy frigate BRP Gregorio del Pilar in an austere ceremony Wednesday (December 14, 2011)  that he said symbolized his country's struggle to modernize its underfunded military despite many obstacles.

Aquino said the Philippines cannot guard its territorial waters and islands "with dilapidated vessels and old and faulty equipment."

The newly repainted warship can carry a surveillance helicopter and is mounted with anti-aircraft guns. The navy says it will be deployed near contested waters in the South China Sea.

China sends patrol ship to disputed waters

China has sent its largest patrol ship to the East China Sea to guard the country's territorial rights, state media said Wednesday (December 14, 2011), in a move likely to fuel tensions over the disputed waters.

China has repeatedly locked horns with its neighbors Japan and Taiwan over a group of uninhabited islands -- called Senkaku in Japan and Diaoyu in Chinese -- which Beijing claims are in its territorial waters.

Japan and Taiwan also claim sovereignty over the area, which is believed to be rich in oil and gas.

The 3,000-tonne Haijian 50 began its maiden voyage on Tuesday, the Global Times reported, citing the head of the East China Sea branch of the country's marine law enforcement agency.

The vessel will visit Rixiang Rock, Suyan Rock and the offshore oil and gas fields of Chunxiao and Pinghu, as well as China-Japan joint development zones, Liu Zhendong was quoted saying.

The Chinese-made vessel is equipped with the country's "most advanced marine technology and is capable of accommodating China's Z9A helicopters", the report said.

It will conduct joint patrols with the Haijian 66, a 1,350-tonne ship deployed in March.

Disputes over the East China Sea and South China Sea have intensified recently, with Chinese President Hu Jintao earlier this month urging the navy to prepare for military combat and a US campaign to assert itself as a Pacific power.

Several Asian nations have competing claims over parts of the South China Sea, believed to encompass huge oil and gas reserves, while China claims it all.

Separately, Beijing and Seoul are involved in a dispute over the Yellow Sea, where a South Korean coastguard was stabbed to death by a Chinese fisherman this week.

Japan lawmaker eyes Military base on China-claimed islands

Nobuteru Ishihara (pictured in 2008), sometimes seen as a future prime minister if his Liberal Democratic Party returns to power, on Monday said that Japan should look more broadly at stepping up defense spending in the face of a rising China, during his visit to the United States

Japan should consider building a military base on islands disputed with China to counter Beijing's rising assertiveness, a leader of Japan's opposition said on a visit to the United States.

Nobuteru Ishihara, sometimes seen as a future prime minister if his Liberal Democratic Party returns to power, on Monday said that Japan should also look more broadly at stepping up defense spending in the face of a rising China.

Asia's two largest economic powers dispute control of a set of uninhabited islands -- known as the Senkaku in Japanese and the Diaoyu in Chinese - where Japan's arrest last year of a Chinese fishing captain led to a standoff.

Ishihara, secretary general of the conservative opposition party, said that Japan should move "quickly" to put the islands under public control. Tokyo considers most of the area to be privately owned by Japanese citizens.

"Following this change, a port should be developed where fishing boats may take refuge," Ishihara said at the Hudson Institute, a Washington think-tank.

"I further believe that we must seriously begin contemplating the establishment of a permanent post for the Self-Defense Force in this area," he said, referring to officially pacifist Japan's armed forces.

Japan said in 2008 that it reached an agreement with China for joint development of potentially lucrative gas fields near the disputed islands. But the deal has gone nowhere, with China saying its stance has not changed.

Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda's Democratic Party of Japan - which swept out the long-ruling Liberal Democrats in a 2009 election -- has mostly sought smooth ties with China, which says its growing military spending is for peaceful purposes.

Noda asked Chinese President Hu Jintao for movement ahead on the 2008 deal during talks last month on the sidelines of an Asia-Pacific summit in Hawaii, although Japanese officials said Hu was non-committal.

But Ishihara said that China has become "assertive, one may even say aggressive," in recent years and pointed to its actions in separate maritime disputes with the Philippines, Vietnam and other Southeast Asian nations.

"Emboldened by its new economic weight and growing military might, China's proclamations of its 'peaceful rise' appear more and more at odds with the emerging reality," Ishihara said.

Ishihara, 54, is the son of Tokyo Governor Shintaro Ishihara, an outspoken nationalist who has often caused controversy by urging Japan to develop nuclear weapons and to be less dependent on its alliance with the United States.

The younger Ishihara distanced himself from his father's positions, calling for close ties with Washington and saying that his party's current leadership has not discussed seeking nuclear weapons.

Ishihara, however, said that Japan should consider boosting its overall defense budget which has long been equivalent to one percent or less of the economy.

Ishihara, leading a delegation from his party, was in Washington partly to ease concerns over the opposition's stance on the Trans-Pacific Partnership, a proposed Pacific Rim trade pact championed by President Barack Obama.

Noda announced last month that Japan would enter talks but has faced strong opposition from farmers worried over foreign competition and threats of a censure motion by the Liberal Democrats, who consider the countryside a key political base.

Ishihara said that discussions on the Trans-Pacific Partnership were "at the starting line" and that Japan's government must do all it can to address public concerns and ensure food security.

"We would like to understand what the US wants to get out of the TPP. If it's an effective tool to establish a free trade zone for the Pacific that benefits both the US and Japan, that would be reason to pursue it," he said.

"But if we cannot identify enough merit for Japan and the US, then maybe we should pursue another way to establish a free trade zone," he said.

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