Showing posts with label Palawan. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Palawan. Show all posts

First Batch of Qatari & Saudi investors Arrive the Philippines for Palawan, Visayas and Mindanao Million Dollar Projects

Qatari Investment in the Philippines
MOUs worth amounting to US$ 206 million were signed this afternoon between Qatari local companies and the Philippines Economic Zones Authority (PEZA) Photo: Asian Telegraph Qatai

1st batch of investors from Qatar, Mideast visit Philippines

The first batch of investors from Qatar and the Middle East has visited the Philippines to study the locations identified by the Philippine Economic Zone Authority (Peza) for investments in several sectors.

Peza director general Charito B Plaza posted on her Facebook page that investors from the Middle East “are ready” to invest on agro-industrial economic zones, including a 1,000-hectare area for poultry and vegetable crops.

Other projects, according to Plaza, include the development of five islands in the southern part of the Philippines where investors are planning to build a resort, retirement village, and other tourism destinations.

The first batch of Middle East investors is among the 13 companies that signed letters of intent (LoI) with Peza during Philippine President Rodrigo R Duterte’s state visit to Qatar in April.

Speaking to Gulf Times during Duterte’s Qatar visit, Plaza had said Mindanao would be home to most of the $206mn (P10.3bn) worth of investments Peza signed with Qatari investors. She said the investments are expected to generate 5,870 new jobs in the country.

The investments range from retirement village projects, hotel and tourism ecozones, IT services and digital marketing, ecozone management services, poultry and halal food processing, as well as agro-industrial farming, and hospital and medical tourism economic zones, among others.

Plaza said, “While waiting for the Peza board’s approval of their application, we can already start looking for areas and economic zones where the investors can establish their industries. Vast islands in Palawan, Mindanao, and the Visayas are awaiting development.” According to Plaza, Peza had achieved 64% of its $1bn target from its initiatives in Saudi Arabia, Qatar, and the UAE, which Duterte visited in April.

“Thanks to the good economic climate and favorable conditions of the Arab investment market, I am confident that Peza can easily exceed its $1bn target earmarked for the Middle East,” she pointed out.

She also said the Philippines would be an ideal distribution hub for Qatar in fields such as defense, manufacturing, and food processing due to its “strategic location” in Asia and the Pacific.

Plaza also emphasized on the need for economic zones with logistics hubs, seaports, and airports, which are under the helm of the Philippines’ Department of Transportation.

“These logistics hubs must have special economic zone services such as warehouses, cold storage, and container yards so that we have abundant facilities to stock goods while waiting for ships to arrive,” Plaza said. She added, “All types of economic zones can be built in the Philippines depending on the potential and the type of land. Agro-industrial, agro-forestry, paper making, aquamarine, eco-tourism, medical tourism, and export manufacturing remain to be the most popular.”

PEZA & Qatari Investors Sign MOUs of US $ 206 m Investments in Philippines Economic Zones

A number of Qatari business community members and their representatives had one to one detailed meeting with Chairman and accompanying members of Philippines Economic Zone Authority today.

On the sideline of President Duterte visit to Qatar, a number of MOUs worth amounting to US$ 206 million were signed this afternoon between Qatari local companies and the Philippines Economic Zones Authority (PEZA).

Ramon M. Lopez, Secretary (Minister) Department of Trade & Industry of Philippines was also present on the occasion and witnessed the MOU ceremony. On behalf of PEZA, Brig. Gen. Charito Booc Plaza, Director General PEZA signed the MOUs.

PEZA local representatives Joseph Rivera, Greg Loayon and Adel Sa’adeh assisted in organising the signing ceremony.

Philippines Trade minister and PEZA authorities are part of official delegation of President Rodrigo Duterte, who is on his official visit to State of Qatar.

Read more at Gulf Times and Asian Telegraph Qatar

PHOTOS: Philippines challenges China's Claim of West Philippine Sea at UNCLOS Tribunal in The Hague

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Philippines challenges China's Claim of country's exclusive economic zone at UNCLOS Tribunal in The Hague. image: inquirer.net

IN PHOTOS: Philippines challenges China in The Hague

In photos emailed to Rappler, the Permanent Court of Arbitration gives us a glimpse of the closed-door hearings pitting Manila against Beijing

MANILA, Philippines – Behind closed doors, the Philippines recently waged a legal battle against China in The Hague, Netherlands, in a historic case over the disputed West Philippine Sea (South China Sea).

The Philippines on Thursday, July 23, is set to submit a new document to The Hague to bolster its case.

While Manila pursues this, a question remains: What exactly happened during hearings from July 7 to 13?

The Permanent Court of Arbitration (PCA) in The Hague, which serves as the venue for the arbitration proceedings, emailed Rappler high-resolution photos to give us a glimpse of the closed-door hearings.

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China claimed the shores of Vietnam, Philippines, Malaysia, Indonesia, Brunei and Japan as their own

The photos show a powerhouse team, led by internationally acclaimed lawyer Paul Reichler, defending the Philippines' case before an equally high-caliber arbitral tribunal in The Hague.

The tribunal said around 60 members joined the Philippine team. (READ: Binay hits Philippine team vs China in The Hague))

Check out these photos from the Permanent Court of Arbitration (PCA) in The Hague.

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TOP DIPLOMAT. Philippine Foreign Secretary Albert del Rosario delivers an opening statement. Photo courtesy of PCA

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IN SESSION. Early on, the arbitral tribunal in The Hague decides to hold the hearings behind closed doors. Photo courtesy of PCA

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TOP GOVERNMENT LAWYER. Philippine Solicitor General Florin Hilbay, who serves as agent for his country, delivers a statement. Photo courtesy of PCA

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TEAM OF EXPERTS. The counsel team for the Philippines, including Professor Bernard Oxman, Professor Alan Boyle, and Mr Lawrence Martin, in the closed-door hearings. Photo courtesy of PCA

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HISTORIC CASE. The arbitral tribunal in The Hague, Netherlands, listens to the first country that brought China to court over the West Philippine Sea (South China Sea). Photo courtesy of PCA

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'GIANT SLAYER.' Internationally acclaimed lawyer Paul Reichler, the Philippines' chief counsel, delivers a statement. Photo courtesy of PCA

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REPRESENTING GOVERNMENT. Members of the Philippine delegation, including Justice Secretary Leila de Lima, Supreme Court Senior Associate Justice Antonio Carpio, and Deputy Executive Secretary for Legal Affairs Menardo Guevarra. Photo courtesy of PCA

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OBSERVER DELEGATIONS. The tribunal allowed observers from the following countries – Vietnam, Malaysia, Indonesia, Thailand, and Japan – to attend the hearings. Photo courtesy of PCA

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HIGH-CALIBER TRIBUNAL. The arbitral tribunal is led by Judge Thomas Mensah (president, C), the first president of the International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea. The high-caliber tribunal also includes the following (L to R): Judge Jean-Pierre Cot, Judge Stanislaw Pawlak, Judge Rüdiger Wolfrum, and Professor Alfred H. A. Soons. Photo courtesy of PCA

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TEAM PHILIPPINES. Representing all 3 branches of Philippine government, the Philippine delegation comes in full force in The Hague. Photo courtesy of PCA

The 5-member tribunal said it "now enters its deliberations" on whether it has the right to hear the Philippines' case. It said it expects to rule on this matter "before the end of the year."

The tribunal said it "is conscious of its duty under the Rules of Procedure to conduct proceedings 'to avoid unnecessary delay and expense and to provide a fair and efficient process.'"

Once the tribunal decides it has jurisdiction over the case, the Philippines can already present the meat of its arguments. (READ: EXPLAINER: Philippines' 5 arguments vs China)

The Philippines said it expects a definitive ruling against China by 2016 – Rappler.com

AFP is reinforcing rusting Navy ship on Spratly Ayungin reef outpost with Welding and Cement

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Filipino soldiers wave from the dilapidated Sierra Madre ship of the Philippines Navy as it is anchored near Ayungin shoal (Second Thomas Shoal) in the Spratly group of islands in the South China Sea, west of Palawan, Philippines, in this photo taken in May. Photo: Reuters

Philippines reinforcing rusting Navy ship on Spratly reef outpost

Manila:  The Philippines navy is quietly reinforcing the hull and deck of a rusting ship it ran aground on a disputed South China Sea reef in 1999 to stop it breaking apart, determined to hold the shoal as Beijing creates a string of man-made islands nearby.

Using wooden fishing boats and other small craft, the navy has run the gauntlet of the Chinese coastguard to move cement, steel, cabling and welding equipment to the BRP Sierra Madre since late last year, according to two navy officers who have been inside the vessel.

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The BRP Sierra Madre, a marooned transport ship which Philippine Marines live on as a military outpost, photographed last year. Photo: Reuters

The 100 meter-long tank landing ship was built for the US Navy during World War Two. It was eventually transferred to the Philippines navy, which deliberately grounded it on Second Thomas Shoal to mark Manila's claim to the reef in the Spratly archipelago of the South China Sea. A small contingent of Philippine soldiers are stationed onboard.

Manila regards Second Thomas Shoal, which lies 195 km south-west of the Philippines region of Palawan, as being within its exclusive economic zone. China, which claims virtually all the South China Sea, says the reef is part of its territory.

"We know China has been waiting for the ship to disintegrate but we are doing everything to hold it together," said one of the officers, adding that while the work was progressing slowly, it should be finished by the year-end.

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A newly deployed Philippine Marine, part of a military detachment stationed aboard the BRP Sierra Madre, fishes near the ship in the disputed Second Thomas Shoal, part of the Spratly Islands in the South China Sea in this photo taken last year. Photo: Reuters

The other naval officer said welding was being done at night because of the heat. Concrete foundations were being laid inside the ship's hull to try to stabilize it, he added.

Without giving exact dates, both sources said they witnessed the repairs taking place earlier this year. They declined to be identified because they were not authorized to speak to the media. The soldiers currently stationed on the ship, who are demolition experts, were doing the work, said the second source.

Just to the west of Second Thomas Shoal is Mischief Reef, one of seven coral formations in the Spratlys that China is rapidly turning into islands that Beijing says will have undefined military purposes.

Vietnam, Malaysia, Taiwan and Brunei also have overlapping claims to the Spratly waterway, which is some 1,100 km from the Chinese mainland.

Asked about the repairs, Philippine Foreign Ministry spokesman Charles Jose declined to comment. But such work would not violate an informal code of conduct signed in 2002 by China and south-east Asian states that prohibited any change to the status quo in disputed areas, he said.

"In our view, repairs and maintenance of existing facilities are allowed ... especially if such repairs and maintenance work are for the safety of our personnel and safety of navigation," Mr Jose added.

A Philippines general familiar with the repairs  said the ship's hull and deck were being strengthened, and air-conditioning units added.

"We are improving the living quarters inside, to make life for our soldiers more comfortable," he said, declining to give further details about the repairs or to be identified.

Photos show a pockmarked vessel covered in rust, sitting on the permanently submerged reef but listing slightly to one side. Much of the boat's hull is visible.

Besides being a military outpost, the BRP Sierra Madre is also a commissioned Philippine navy ship.

That means Manila could request U.S. military assistance under a decades-old security treaty with Washington if the ship was attacked, said senior Philippine military officials.

"Even if it's covered with rust, it will remain an active duty commissioned navy ship. It's a symbol of our sovereignty," said the Philippine general.

Second Thomas Shoal illustrates the mismatch in power between the Philippines and China.

Since the start of 2014, the Philippine navy's regular attempts to resupply soldiers on the BRP Sierra Madre with food and water have become a cat-and-mouse routine, with large Chinese coastguard vessels on patrol in the area trying to block the path of the smaller Philippine boats, naval officials said.

The Philippine vessels have always got through by making a run for the shoal's shallow waters, which aren't deep enough for the Chinese coastguard, naval officials said. The tear-shaped shoal itself is large, some 10-11 nautical miles from top to bottom.

Zhang Baohui, a mainland security expert at Hong Kong's Lingnan University, said Beijing would be angry about the repairs, adding that Chinese ships would probably continue their "menacing" tactics. But they would not do anything that could be considered an act of war, Dr Zhang said.

"The larger geo-strategic context is more important than Second Thomas Shoal," he said. - Reuters/The Sydney Morning Herald

Google Maps removes Chinese name for disputed South China Sea reef Scarborough Shoals

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Google Maps shows the name Scarborough Shoal for the disputed island Photo: Google Maps

Google drops Chinese name from Maps after South China Sea controversy

Following pressure from the Philippines, Google redacts the Chinese name for the disputed Scarborough Shoal in the South China Sea

Google has removed the Chinese name for a disputed shoal in the South China Sea from its Maps service, following protests from Philippine citizens.

Google Maps English service on Tuesday corrected the labeling of the atoll to read Scarborough Shoal, the internationally neutral term for the territory claimed by both the Philippines and China.

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Chinese protesters in Los Angeles, part of an escalating territorial dispute over the Huangyan Island, the Chinese name for Scarborough Shoal (Alamy)- image: The Telegraph

The move came after more than 2,000 people signed an online petition on Change.org asking for Google to stop identifying the shoal as part of China’s Zhongsha Island chain.

“We’ve updated Google Maps to fix the issue. We understand that geographic names can raise deep emotions which is why we worked quickly once this was brought to our attention,” Google’s office in Manila said in a statement.

In 2012, China and the Philippines engaged in a standoff at Scarborough Shoal, a rich fishing ground, after a Philippine warship attempted to expel Chinese fishing boats in the area. China has controlled the shoal since, though it is some 650 km away from Hainan island, the nearest major Chinese landmass.

China bases its claim to the area on its “nine-dash line”, a demarcation based on historical records that decrees almost the entire to South China Sea as Chinese territory.

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A Filipino holds a sign during a demonstration in front of the Chinese embassy in Los Angeles (Alamy) - image: The Telegraph

The Philippines claims the shoal as part of its exclusive economic zone under the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS).

“China’s sweeping claim of South China Sea under their nine-dash line purportedly historical boundary is illegal and is creating tension among nations,” the petition read.

“Google maps showing this is part of Zhongsha island chain gives credence to what is plainly a territory grab that peace loving nations should stand against.”

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Construction at Kagitingan (Fiery Cross) Reef in the disputed Spratly Islands in the south China Sea by China (EPA) -image: The Telegraph

The kerfuffle comes at a moment when tension between China and the Philippines over South China Sea territory is high, following months of rapid and dramatic land reclamation work by China on the Spratly Islands, another disputed archipelago.

Last week the Philippines launched a case in the Permanent Court of Attribution in The Hague in an attempt to prove that China’s “nine-dash line” claim is incompatible with UNCLOS. - Source: The Telegraph

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

Manila Govt irritating Visayas – Mindanao Call Unity for Independence from Manila Government

An Online petition signed by some Visayan and Mindanaoan for a change


The Visayas and Mindanao Language and Culture

The majority Visayas and Mindanao Language and culture have been rejected by the manila Government and discrimination persist to these groups.

In spite of the majority spoken language by the whole country is Binisaya or also called Bisayan (Cebuano), the Manila government insisted that the national language must pattern to Tagalog as the language of the people in the capital.

People in the remote Visayas and Mindanao strive hard to understand Tagalog but always failed and finally give up to get involved in the Manila political discussion as it could not be understood by the majority Filipinos in the Visayas and Mindanao.

People from Visayas and Mindanao are always at the last priority in anyway. Job applicants from Visayas and Mindanao are less entertained compared to the people from the Katagalogan regions.

The discrimination of Visayans and Mindanaoan seems to be never ending which independence from the Manila Government is the best solution. An independence that doesn't need to be a separate country from the Philippines, a genuine independence that the discrimination will end, and independence that the majority Spoken language "Binisaya" could be recognized as official language for both Bisayans and Mindanaoans.

Huge amount of taxes from Visayas and Mindanao are also sip by manila Government for its own development and less prioritized the impoverished remote Visayas and Mindanao Islands. Independence of Visayas and Mindanao could be the solution to have an even development in these regions in par with what is in Manila now.



The root of Conflict

Manila government is so bold to intervene the Mindanaoan government in selective way.

Manila could easily jump in and intervene the governance of any part of Visayas and Mindanao for publicity but not heartily.

Until now the Maguindanao Massacre is not properly addressed. The victims are still hungry for justice but the Manila Government is picky to give justice for the victims.

The Commission on Human Rights (CHR) wants to focus on the Davao Death Squad (DDS) which victims are drug pushers and drug lords but could not focus on the Maguindanao Massacre which victims are innocent civilian and media people.

It is right that we must not put the justice in our hand but the Commission on Human Rights (CHR) must prioritize the case which victims and innocent civilians and good people. The move of the Commission on Human Rights (CHR) is seems to get in favor for giving justice firs for the sore of the society than the innocent people who are victims of the massacre.

Manila Government jump into how Davao governs its people but it could not jump into giving justice for the Maguidanao Massacre.

 Manila culture and Mindanao Culture is absolutely different and direct exposure is important for them to understand what Mindanao is.

What is the root of conflict in Mindanao by the way? Conflict begins when a person is in the state of hunger and could not find any sources of bread to feed the aching stomach. The root of all conflict in Mindanao is hunger, hardship in life, joblessness, and injustice.

As long as the Manila government could not address the needed development in Mindanao, as long as there is not justice, as long as there is no Job; the Iron hand is needed to guide the people.

Rights group finds reason to probe Davao killings

The Commission on Human Rights (CHR) said it had found a pattern of selective and systematic extrajudicial killings of 206 individuals accused or suspected of committing various offenses by a vigilante group in Davao City from 2005 to 2009.

CHR Chairperson Loretta Ann Rosales presented the commission's findings on the activities of the so-called Davao Death Squad (DDS) in a statement issued Wednesday.

The CHR faulted local officials for failing to conduct any meaningful investigation into the killings, thereby violating the state's obligation to protect the rights of its citizens.

It said the then city mayor, Rodrigo Duterte, as the local chief executive and deputized Napolcom representative with general and operational control and supervision over the city police force, had clearly disregarded information on alleged human rights violations in Davao City, and did not act on them.

Rosales asked the Office of the Ombudsman to look into Duterte's administrative and criminal liability for his inaction and for tolerating such violations in his jurisdiction.

"It is axiomatic in human rights law that where there are human rights violations, there must be accountability," Rosales said.

The CHR investigation was prompted by the search for accountability for the many lives taken arbitrarily by the DDS, a group allegedly responsible for summary executions of delinquents and drug traffickers in Davao.

Rosales said the number of persons killed could even be higher as the 206 figure was only based on what the CHR had in its records.

According to Rosales, dead bodies were piling up in Davao City during that period, consisting mainly of addicts, drug pushers, thieves and young people with police records for petty crimes. Many of the victims were minors.

Then President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo established the Melo Commission to look into the killings. Official concern from the United Nations came with the visit of Philip Alston, the UN special rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions, who visited the country in February 2007.

In his report to the UN Human Rights Council in 2008, Alston observed that "it is a commonplace that a death squad known as the 'Davao Death Squad' (DDS) operates in Davao City. One fact points very strongly to the officially sanctioned character of these killings: No one involved covers his face."

The New York-based Human Rights Watch observed that the DDS "typically make greater efforts to conceal their weapons than their identity."

The CHR at the time, then headed by now Justice Secretary Leila de Lima, decided to conduct an investigation into the killings.

The CHR conducted public hearings in Davao City in March, April, May and September 2009.

According to Rosales, the CHR's investigation was hampered by a climate of fear gripping witnesses and by official denials from local government and law enforcement officials that the Davao Death Squad even existed.

Still, enough evidence emerged that there was a pattern in the victims targeted and in the methods of attack, she said.

"The killings were selective: The victim was usually involved or suspected to have been involved in some type of illegal activity. The manner of killing was also distinct: The assailants were usually motorcycle-riding gunmen," she said.

Freedom and Independence of the Visayas and Mindanao Islands

Visayas - Mindanao Independence Not in Hand of Moros but for the Majority People.

It has been several decades which the Manila government controlled the Islands of Visayas and Mindanao Politically but not the economy as it missed the Development Target for the Region because of Priority Development which focused in the Capital Manila.

A call for unity and independence in Visayas and Mindanao is over shadowed with fears and divided the people's vote because of the threat from the migrants Muslims from the islands of Borneo who are in thein the Island who want to dominate over the lumad and the majority Christian Populations in Mindanao.

For several years, Moro group called for the independence of Mindanao but gain only a very less support as their advocacy is over shadowed with crimes, land grabbing and killings of the civilians in the island.

 Recently a mask group of majority Christians and Lumad advocates starts drafting for the "Movement for Independence for Visayas and Mindanao from Manila Government for Peace and Development to attain the dreamed progress and development without Manila intervention to assert their right to freedom and independence as an expression of their right to self-determination..

Right of Self-determination

The right of self-determination is the collective right of peoples to determine their own future free of any outside interference or coercion. It is the right to choose the kind of political status the peoples want and to freely pursue their economic, social, spiritual and cultural development.

The United Nations International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights expressly provide that "All peoples have the right of self-determination. By virtue of that right they freely determine their political status and freely pursue their economic, social and cultural development".

In the exercise of that right, the peoples have wide latitude of choice. At one end, they can demand and pursue within the nation state more political power, active participation in the decision making and administration of government affairs, equitable redistribution of economic benefits, and appropriate ways of preserving and protecting their culture and way of life. On the other end, they have also the right to organize their own sovereign and independent government, or reclaim their lost freedom and independence.

In pursuing that right to self-determination the Christian and Lumad Advocates are opting, as manifested both by the liberation movements and the civil society, for the restoration of their freedom and independence that they enjoyed for more than six centuries prior to the establishment of then country the Philippines in honor of the invader king of Spain.

Long History of Independence

The historical experience of the Mindanaoan people in statehood and governance started as early as 10 century under the Sultanate of Sulu which Mindanao, Sulu and North Borneo as part of this old Kingdom.

By the time the Spanish colonialists arrived in the Philippines the Muslims of Mindanao, Sulu and Tawi-Tawi archipelago and the islands of Basilan and Palawan had already established their own states and governments with diplomatic and trade relations with other countries including China. Administrative and political systems based on the realities of the time existed in those states.

 For centuries the Spanish colonial government attempted to conquer the Sulu states to subjugate their political existence and to add the territory to the Spanish colonies in the Philippine Islands but history tells us that it never succeeded. The Mindanao states with their organized maritime forces and armies succeeded in defending the Sulu territories thus preserving the continuity of their independence.

That is why it is being argued, base on the logic that you cannot sell something you do not possess, that the Mindanao and Sulu territories are not part of what where ceded by Spain to the United States in the Treaty of Paris of 1898 because Spain had never exercise sovereignty over these areas.

The Mindanao resistance against attempts to subjugate their independence continued even when US forces occupied some areas in Mindanao and Sulu. At this time the resistance of the Sulu governments was not as fierce as during the Moro-Spanish wars but group- organized guerrilla attacks against American forces and installations reinforced what remained of the sultanates' military power. Even individual Sulu and Mindanaoan showed defiance against American occupation of their homeland by attacking American forces in operations called prang sabil (martyrdom operation).

Opposition to Annexation

When the United States government promised to grant independence to the Philippine Islands, the Mindanao and Sulu leaders registered their strong objection to be part of the Philippine republic. In the petition to the president of the United States dated June 9, 1921, the people of Sulu archipelago said that they would prefer being part of the United States rather than to be included in an independent Philippine nation.

In the Declaration of Rights and Purposes, the Sulu and Mindanao leaders meeting in Zamboanga on February 1, 1924, proposed that the "Islands of Mindanao and Sulu, and the Island of Palawan to the Spratly Islands be made an unorganized territory of the United States of America" in anticipation that in the event the US would decolorize its colonies and other non-self governing territories the Mindanao and Sulu homeland would be granted separate independence. Had it happened, the Mindanao and Sulu would have regained by now their independence under the UN declaration on decolonization.

Their other proposal was that if independence had to be granted including the Mindanao and Sulu territories, 50 years after Philippine independence a plebiscite be held in Mindanao, Sulu and Palawan to decide by vote whether the territory would be incorporated in the government of the Islands of Luzon and Visayas, remain a territory of the United States, or become independent. The 50-year period ended in 1996, the same year the MNLF and the Philippine government signed the Final Agreement on the Implementation of the Tripoli Agreement.

The leaders warned that if no provision of retention under the United States would be made, they would declare an independent constitutional sultanate to be known as Sulu and Mindanao Nation.

US & Philippines Marines Begin Drills Near Spratlys

About 3,000 U.S. and Filipino marines’ soldiers started two weeks of annual military drills in the Philippines on Monday that will include a hostile beach assault exercise near the disputed Spratly Islands.

U.S. Marine 1st Lt. Nick Eisenbeiser said the Oct. 17-28 maneuvers would focus on honing their joint capability to ensure regional security and were not aimed at China or any country as an imaginary target.

"They shouldn't get worried," Eisenbeiser, when asked if the exercises were aimed at China, who’s growing naval power has set off concerns in the region. "We're assisting the Chinese in ensuring that their region is peaceful."

The exercises would ensure that U.S. and Philippines forces could jointly respond to "anything that arises," he said.

The United States irked Beijing last year by asserting that Washington had a national security interest in the peaceful resolution of the disputes over the Spratly Islands.

The potentially oil-rich islands are located in the West Philippines Sea (South China Sea), between Vietnam, the Philippines and Malaysia, and straddle some of the world's busiest sea lanes.

China seeks to resolve the disputes through bilateral talks with five other claimants, including the Philippines. Beijing has rejected any U.S. role in the resolution of the disputes over the islands.

Philippine military spokeswoman 1st Lt. Cherryl Tindog said an Oct. 27 drill will involve a mock raid by about 100 U.S. and Filipino marines from an American warship to capture a hostile beachhead west of Palawan province, which faces the South China Sea.

Other events include a live-fire exercise in Crow Valley in Tarlac province, north of Manila, and medical missions and school constructions in several Philippine towns.

One Filipino-occupied island was proposed as a possible site for joint training but was ruled out to avoid antagonizing China and other claimants. The island lies close to a Spratly reef occupied by Chinese forces and an island separately occupied by Vietnamese forces. The information came from two officials who spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to talk to reporters.

Philippines marine Brig. Gen. Eugenio Clemen said the exercises with U.S. forces would be confined to the country's territory so "nobody could question that."

The Philippines and Vietnam, another Spratlys claimant, have separately accused Chinese vessels of intruding into what they say is their part of the contested areas and of disrupting oil explorations in their territorial waters this year.

Both countries have since discussed those allegations with China and renewed calls for the peaceful resolution of the disputes, easing monthslong tensions.

Royal Dutch Shell Plc toplist the Philippines as Investment priority

Royal Dutch Shell- Shell Philippines Exploration BV is interested to invest another $1 billion to increase the production of the Malampaya deepwater gas-to-power project off Palawan and announced earlier that it would pursue its Floating Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) Project in the Philippines. Shell Philippines vice president for communication Roberto S. Kanapi said there are opportunities for investment and expansion, unlike in the past when the Philippines was placed on low priority.


OIL AND GAS: The fifth largest company in the World - Royal Dutch Shell Plc has placed the Philippines in its investment map as it sees growth opportunities in the country.
The Royal Dutch Shell plc commonly known as Shell is a global oil and gas company headquartered in The Hague, Netherlands and with its registered office in London, United Kingdom. It is the fifth-largest company in the world (and the second-largest energy company) according to a composite measure by Forbes magazine and one of the six oil and gas "Super Majors". It is vertically integrated and is active in every area of the oil and gas industry, including exploration and production, refining, distribution and marketing, petrochemicals, power generation and trading. It also has major renewable energy activities, including in biofuels, hydrogen, solar and wind power.
Shell has operations in over 90 countries including the Philippines and produces around 3.1 million barrels of oil equivalent per day and has 44,000 service stations worldwide
On a press conference in the Philippines, Shell V-President for communication Roberto S. Kanapi told reporters that there were opportunities for investment and expansion in the Philippines, unlike in the past when the Philippines were placed on its low priority.
“Increasing demands, opening of several areas for oil and gas exploration and strengthen competition makes the industry exciting as the Philippines untapped resources opens its gate for early birds. Shell did not show any details yet but putting the Philippines for their high priority of investments might say there are lots of things to happen soon... There are plans for Shell in the Philippines as saw that the Philippines is an attractive market and a growing market at that. And I think the change in governance also helped a lot,” Kanapi explained.
“As for the cases we are facing, we will go to courts with that and that is part of doing business in the Philippines, but we are prepared for that. We are looking more into the opportunities than the threats,” he added.
The Shell Companies in the Philippines is now in the process of completing a study that will determine the next steps for its refinery in Tabangao, Batangas—as to whether it will be expanded or upgraded to cater to the increasing local demand.
Kanapi said that they expected to complete the study next year in 2012. The decision to list Shell on the local bourse would also largely hinge on the results of the study, he added.
Royal Dutch Shell, through its upstream unit Shell Philippines Exploration BV, is likewise showing interest  to invest another $1 billion to increase the production and extend the life of the Malampaya deepwater gas-to-power project off Palawan.
SPEX, along with other consortium members Chevron and PNOC Exploration Corporation, plans to invest about $250 million for the second phase of the Malampaya project, which will entail the drilling and development of two additional wells. This is expected to be completed by February 2014. Another $750 million will be invested for the third phase, which will involve the installation of a new platform where additional equipment and facilities will be housed by December 2015.
“The projects, entailing new investments, are seen to further benefit the Philippines in energy self-sufficiency and government revenues and will continue to be a major source of power for Luzon’s energy requirements in the years to come,” SPEX said.
Meanwhile, Royal Dutch Plc has also expressed interest in participating in the liquefied natural gas program of the government.
Edgar Chua, country chairman for Shell Companies in the Philippines, had said that the company was interested in becoming a supplier of LNG as well as in putting up the necessary infrastructure, including the “regasification” facility and pipelines which required huge investments.
Mr. Chua did not indicate if Shell would be interested in bidding for the proposed 100 kilometer Batangas-Manila natural gas pipeline that will require as much as $1.3 Billion Dollars in investment of which $500 million will go to the construction of the pipeline while another $700 million to $800 million will be needed for the “regasification” facility and the receiving LNG terminal.
Chua only noted that Shell would likely look for other potential local partners for its planned foray into the Philippine LNG industry.
Royal Dutch Shell Plc announced earlier that it would pursue its Floating Liquefied Natural Gas (FLNG) Project in the Philippines.

Vietnam will conduct a live Fire Drill in the Paracels - June 13

China’s Claims with undisputable over Spratlys is true as it is baseless according to the UNCLOS

After the Philippines’ protests to the United Nations for China’s navy harassing Philippine Oil Research Ship in the Philippine Waters - UNLOS International Law of Seas 200 Nautical Exclusive Economic Zone of the Philippines, China pronounced their undisputable claim over Spratlys as it is 1000 Nautical Mile from their shore. China’s invasion is a purely invasion to the waters of the Philippines and Vietnam as they are not part to be called as having a reliable claim over the area.

The same word by “hong” (China’s Spokesperson)  to Vietnam as Vietnam and the Philippines have almost the same rights over Spratlys as part of Spratlys is Within Philippine Sea and other parts are within the Vietnam Waters.

For the common understanding to the International community it is  the right time for China to back off as they are not part of the Spratlys in the West Philippine Sea. The same thing with Vietnam to follow the UNCLOS and must not extend their claims to the Philippine waters so the peace will be re-established in the disputed sea.

Hong reiterated last June 7, 2011 that China has indisputable sovereignty over the South China Sea islands and their adjacent waters. His claim is very true because UNCLOS International Law of the Sea defined 200 Nautical Mile and China’s distance to the Spratlys is 1,000 Miles(One Thousand Miles).

What’s china did is just to bully the neighbors  and to annoy them as they have no rights and sovereignty over West Philippine Sea – The Spratlys.

Vietnam’ s Live Fire Drill in Paracel - June 13, 2011

A fall out over territory in the South China Sea escalated Friday when Vietnam announced a live ammunition drill in an apparent response to China's demand that the Vietnamese halt all oil exploration in the area.

The verbal clash between the two communist neighbors follows a similar one between China and the Philippines earlier in the week over another area of the South China Sea & West Philippines Sea, where several countries are eyeing potentially rich oil and gas reserves.

The disputes generally pit China against its neighbors and have pulled in the United States, which has said it considers some of China's sea claims to be an infringement of international waters and a possible damper on international trade.

Vietnam said it would carry out two exercises totaling nine hours Monday in an area off the country's central Quang Nam province in the East Sea of Vietnam adjacent to the Paracel . The announcement on the website of the state-owned Northern Maritime Safety Corp. warned boats and ships to stay out of the area. It was the first time Vietnam has issued such an alert about conducting live-fire maritime drills.

It came a day after China and Vietnam traded diplomatic punches, with each demanding that the other stay out of waters they claim.

China had accused Vietnam of endangering its fishermen's lives. Earlier Thursday, Vietnam slammed China for interfering with its seismic survey off the central Vietnamese coast, saying the Chinese fishing boat supported by two patrol boats had damaged an exploration cable of the Petro Vietnam a state-owned Vietnamese research boat.

Vietnam said it was the second time China had hindered the operation of an oil and gas exploration boat in two weeks, adding that its actions were "completely premeditated" and accusing it of flaring regional tensions in the South China Sea.

Hanoi says both incidents occurred well within the 200 nautical miles guaranteed to Vietnam as an exclusive economic zone by international law UNCLOS.

Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Hong Lei said the Chinese fishing boat crew had instead been in waters around the Spratly Islands of the West Philippine Sea in the Philippine Waters, which are claimed by China and Vietnam and some other Asian nations. He said the crew had merely been protecting itself after being dragged backward for over an hour by a Vietnamese oil and gas exploration vessel - one, he said, that was "illegally working at the scene."

"The claims made by Vietnam are complete misrepresentations of the truth. As is known to all, China has indisputable sovereignty rights over the Spratly Islands and the waters nearby," Hong said.

"It needs to be pointed out that in illegally exploring for oil and gas and forcing out Chinese fishing boats from the Wan'an bank of the Spratly Islands in the West Philippine Sea, Vietnam has seriously violated China's sovereignty and maritime rights," he said.

"China demands that Vietnam stop all invasive activities," Hong said.

Last weekend, thousands of Vietnamese marched in Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City in rare demonstrations demanding that China stop invading Vietnam's territory.

On Thursday, China denied an allegation by Filipino officials that Chinese forces had intruded into Philippines-claimed areas in the West Philippine Sea around the Spratly Islands six times since February and of firing shots at least once to Filipino Fishermen. Beijing said it would use violence only when attacked but the armless Filipino Fishermen were attacked by the China’s navy opposite from the liar Beijing.

Although the tension is unlikely to escalate beyond a war of words, the conflict could draw in the United States, which worries that the disputes could hurt access to one of the world's busiest sea lanes.

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton said last year that the peaceful resolution of disputes over the Spratly and Paracel island chains was in the American national interest.

One of the Legal ground of Secretary Clinton is the American – and the Philippines signed agreement to protect the Philippines from any invaders and the Spratlys is within the Philippine Waters in the West Philippines Sea 200 Nautical Mile Exclusive Economic Zone of the country which is America is obliged to act on every invasion. 

 

China is embarrassed in the International Community over invasion in the Philippine Waters in the Spratlys

China stepped up criticism of the Philippines in a fresh exchange of invectives over disputed waters, calling on Manila to stop infringing its sovereignty with irresponsible claims over the Spratlys, after thousands of protest online denouncing China’s invasion and incursion to the Philippine waters UNCLOS 200 nautical Mile Exclusive Economic Zone.

“China demands that the Philippines stop unilateral actions that damage China’s  believed sovereignty and interests at sea and could lead to the expansion and complication of the South China Sea & West Philippine Sea dispute, and stop issuing irresponsible comments that are inconsistent with facts,” said foreign ministry spokesperson Hong Lei. As UNCLOS law of sea showing that China is violating the international law, China is embarrassed in the international community of being called the “UNCLOS international law violator China”.

Malacañang of the Philippines shrugged off the Chinese statement.

“We are very careful in crafting these statements and we see to it that we back up our statements and base it on facts,” President Aquino’s deputy spokesperson Abigail Valte told reporters in Manila on Wednesday ( June 8, 2011).

“We stand by what we believe in and what is ours,” she added.

The Philippines is confident of their stands as Tomas Cloma, a Filipino Business man and navigator is the first person in the world pronounced his Ownership in the whole Spratlys Archipelago in 1955 and then turned it over to the Philippines.

The Philippines is also confident as the Spratlys which is become disputed is just within the Philippine waters within UNCLOS 200 Nautical Mile Exclusive Economic Zone of the West Philippine Sea and Palawan shore.

The Philippines is also confident as the called disputed Spratlys is the traditional fishing ground of the Filipinos since the ancient times.

The comments, posted on the ministry’s website on Tuesday, were China’s most vitriolic in weeks of tension as the Philippines denounced what it said was the increasing assertiveness of Chinese ships in the region. It also cited the United States’ stake in the stability and security of the world’s second-busiest sea lane.

Hong said China had stood by its position for centuries. He said conducting missions and patrols by Chinese vessels in waters under Chinese jurisdiction was “completely reasonable.” The China’s beliefs which for them reasonable as they are giants is definitely not reasonable to the small  ASEAN countries who owned the Islands and Sea which China’s tried to invade. The Old map also of China didn’t show that Spratly’s is part of their claim. The China’s Claim over the Spratly’s of the Philippines started after the rumored of its contain the 4th largest Oil and Gas Deposit in the World.  The Oil thirsty china needs the Spratlys to survive from their oil needs.

The Philippines is the strongest bone which China’s fear of as most part of the islands and waters they tried to invade are within the Philippines Waters in the West Philippines Sea - UNCLOS 200 Nautical Mile Exclusive Economic Zone. China’s shame of being called as UNCLOS International law violator as so embarrassing and unacceptable for them in the international communities and lost their credibility to lead in both power and economy.

Diplomatic solution

“President Aquino of the Philippine has also already said that we are preparing reports on these alleged incursions and that we want to present them to the appropriate body,” Valte said.

Asked if the Chinese statement would affect Mr. Aquino’s plan to report the intrusions to the United Nations, Valte said, “It will not hold us back as far as we still reiterate our stand that we will handle these conflicts in the most diplomatic way possible.”

China, Vietnam, the Philippines, Malaysia, Brunei and Taiwan all claim territories in the West Philippine Sea and  South China Sea, which covers an important shipping route and is thought to hold untapped oil and gas reserves which ranked 4th largest oil and gas deposit in the World. Though the Philippines have started their Oil and Gas Exploration within the Archipelago’s 200 Mile Exclusive Economic Zone, it is not yet to the fullest which China; the oil thirsty country want to be part of what’s the Philippines have now in Malampaya Gas Exploration Project in Palawan Province.

China claims most of the sea, some 1.7 million square kilometers, including the Paracel  which is within their UNCLOS 200 Nautical Mile Exclusive Economic Zone and the Spratly of the Philippines which is within the Philippines Waters UNCLOS 200 Nautical Mile Exclusive Economic Zone. Paracel and Spratlys are Different because Paracel is within the waters of Vietnam and China which the 2 countries are fighting for; while Spratlys – most part is within the Philippine Waters and some part is in Vietnam Waters, Malaysia, & Brunei.

6 incidents of intrusions

Manila has accused China of intrusions into its territory, citing six instances, including one in March when two Chinese patrol boats tried to ram a Philippine survey ship.

Vietnamese officials have also complained about Chinese activity in the contested waters, accusing Chinese patrol boats of harassing an oil-exploration ship conducting a seismic survey 120 kilometers (75 Miles)  off Vietnam’s south-central coast.

One incident this month, in which Chinese vessels placed a buoy and posts in a part of the sea it claims, spurred protests in the cities of Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh.

Hong said China was willing to negotiate directly with the Philippines to “seek an appropriate resolution to the relevant dispute.”

Aircraft carrier

The Chinese blast against the Philippines came amid reports that China could launch its first aircraft carrier this year, a year earlier than US military analysts had expected.

The Hong Kong Commercial Daily on Wednesday reported that a top Chinese general had confirmed that Beijing was building an aircraft carrier, marking the first acknowledgement of the ship’s existence from China’s secretive military.

In an exclusive interview, the newspaper quoted Chen Bingde, chief of the General Staff of the People’s Liberation Army (PLA), as saying the 300-meter refurbished Soviet carrier “is being built, but it has not been completed.”

He declined to elaborate although there has been wide speculation that the vessel was nearly finished after the ship, then called the Varyag, was reportedly purchased in 1998. It is currently based in the northeast port city of Dalian.

The ship, which an expert on China’s military has said would be used for training and as a model for a future indigenously built ship, was originally built for the Soviet Navy. Construction was interrupted by the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991.

End of month launch

The Hong Kong paper quoted anonymous sources as saying the carrier would be launched by the end of June at the earliest.

Qi Jianguo, assistant to the chief of the PLA’s general staff, told the newspaper that the carrier would not enter other nations’ territories, in accordance with Beijing’s defensive military strategy.

“All of the great nations in the world own aircraft carriers—they are symbols of a great nation,” he was quoted as saying.

Despite its growing naval might, China says it poses no threat to its neighbors and that its long-term double-digit increases in military spending are in line with overall growth.

China clashes with Tokyo

In addition to China’s claims in the South China Sea, Beijing has clashed with Tokyo over the disputed Senkaku Islands, known as the Diaoyu Islands in China, located in the East China Sea.

In April, Adm. Robert Willard, head of the US Pacific Command, said China’s Navy had adopted a less aggressive stance in the Pacific after protests from Washington and other nations in the region.

The PLA—the largest army in the world—is hugely secretive about its defense programs, which benefit from a big military budget boosted by the nation’s runaway economic growth

 

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