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Manila Bulletin p. B-2

Government troops kill notorious bandit leader in Lanao del Sur - Security forces killed a notorious bandit leader wanted for a string of murders in lanao del Sur, officials reported. Wanted na bandido, utas sa engkwentro - Napatay ng mga sundalo at pulis ang isang notoryoso na bandido na sablt sa pagpatay og anim na katao, kabilang ang tatlonq bata, sa isang labanan sa Lanao del Sur sa Mindanao. Manila TImes p, A-7

Abante p. 6




- The Army's 3rd Infantry Division (310) headed by Maj. Gen. Jose Z. Mabanta Jr. lauded the provincial govemment of Negros Occidental for crafting a five-year peace and development program that aims to help victims of armed conflict to rebuild their lives. Peace Advocacy - The Philippine Army (PA) here has assured people in Aklan that their troops continue to sustain their pursuit of peace and security to safeguard communities and vital facilities in the province. Gov't, MILF resume talks today - The Philippine govemment and the secessionist Moro Islamic Uberation Front (MILF) will resume formal peace talks on Monday in Malaysia where they are expected to continue discussing substantive issues, senior officials of the organization said today. RP-MtLF peace talks resume Talks between the Govemment of the Republic of the Philippines (GRP) and the secessionist Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MllF) will resume today in Malaysia with high hopes from both sides for a break-through in the long-running peace negotiations.

Peace Program

Manila BuUetin p, 8

Manila Bulletin p. 16

Phil Star p. 1


Daity Tribune p. A-1

law LT. Gen. Roland Detabali, chief of AFP Southern Luzon Command, is retiring from the service today under the attrition law. Soleom chief retires - President Aquino has yet to appoint the replacement of It Gen. Roland Detabati, who retires today as commanding general of the Southern luzon Command (Solcom), a vital unit of the milital)' covering communist-infested areas in the Southern Tagalog region. Gov't rejects new NDF names for immunity

Soleom chief retires today as mandated by attrition


Malaya p. 8-5

Daily Tribune p. A-3


Standard Today p. A-3


Gov't urged to invest in hospltal ship Western Samar Rep. Mel Senen Sarmiento urged the government yesterday to invest in a hospital ship with at least 100 beds to reach out to remote poor communities nationwide. Prosecute killers of lanao registrant, Comelec asked - The regional peace and order council (RPOC) in the
Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao urged the Commission on Elections (Comelec) over the weekend to prosecute the armed men who kiHed a 17-year-old registrant in a registration site in Lanao del Sur last Friday.

Phil Star p. 11

Phil Star p. A-31


Scrap ARMM polls, groups urge - Civil society groups have called on the government and the Marc Islamic Liberation Front (MllF) to consider scrapping the regional elections in the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) to smoothen an upcoming peace transition
arising from a negotiated political settlement

POI p. A-14

Gunboat diplomacywould favor China POlp. A-1 - A Chinese salvage fleet of at least five vessels and several
smaller boats steamed last week into a shoal off Palawan Island to rescue a People's liberation Army warship that ran aground a reef while patrolling disputed waters in the Spratly archipelago in the West Philippine Sea (South China Sea).


Chinese frigate removed
A Chinese naval frigate that ran aground close to PaJawan while patroJling disputed waters in the West Philippine Sea was refloated yesterday, the Chinese embassy in Manila said.

Phil Star p. 1


China frigate (eaves shoal; Palace happy - The government wHl not protest what could have been an
accidental incursion of a Chinese warship into Philippine territory last week, but it will investigate how it happened.

POI p. A-1


Sino ship refloated, sails home Standard Today p. A-1 - Chinese navy ships safely removed one of the country's warships Sunday from a disputed shoal off the western Philippines, where it had run aground while on a security patrol and sparked fears of another maritime standoff in the South
China Sea.


Taiwan mulls extending runway in Spratly Island - Taiwan is considering extending the runway on the contested Spratly Island in a move that could provoke fresh tensions in the heavily disputed West Philippine Sea (South China Sea), media reg_orted Sunday. on

Manila Times p. A-2

21 Is Chinese frigate truly leaving Hasa-Hasa shoal Phil Star p. 17

, 16 July 2012


Monday, July 16, 2012

Statistics for Thursday TEMPERATURE High,tlow Normal higlv10w PRECIPITATION Thursday.. .. Month to date Normal month to date Yearo date t Normal year to date
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UV:@ Rft75%


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RH: 75%









AccuWeather, Inc. @2012

and graphics provided by



- Tel no. (02) 892-1693, Local: 5287, 5295 ..


July 2012




Government troops kill notorious I bandit leader in Lanao del Sur

ECUR.I1'Y. forces killed a notorious bandit leader
wanted for a string of murders in Lanao del Sur, officials reported.
Officials said army soldiers and policemen killed. Arnie Andi and one of his followers in a dash in the Village of Mikulabo in Lanao del Sur's Picong town. "Troops tracked down Andi's hideout and there was an attempt to. arrest him, butthe gunmen opened fire on thesoldiers and ,policemen and a gun battle

en~ued one of Captain the l st

and in the end Arnie Andi and his followers was killed," Army Albert Caber, a spokesman for Infantry Division, told The Ma-

nila Times.

Caber said troops also recovered an anti-tank rocket launcher and two automatic rifles from the slain bandits. HE:said.Andi was implicated in numerous kidnappings for ransom in the provinces, He also noted thatAndi was behind

the killings of six people, three of them' children, in an attack on a village in February in the town of Lapuyan in Zamboanga del Sur province. At least seven children were also wounded in the attack after Andi's group lobbed grenades and opened fire on civilians as they fled from the raid. Security forces also killed Andi's brother Ibrahim in a fire fight earlier this year in Lapuyan town.

OFACE OF THE ARMYCHIEF ?UBUC AFFAIRS - Email add:oacpa __ - Tel no. {02}892~1693, Local: 5281, 5295 n




























OfFICE OF THEARfJlYCHfEFPUBUCAFFJURS-Emafradd:oacPa.~hpa@yahoo<eom ...Tei no; (O2) 892-1&9:l,l.oc~: Sm,5295


July 2012



Napatay ng mga sunda10 at pulls ang isang notoryoso na bandido na sabit sa pagpatay ng anim na katao, ang tatlong bata, sa isang labanan sa Lanao del Sur sa Mindanao. Ayon sa report ng military, napaslang ang bandidong si Arnie Andi sa Barangay Mikulabo sa bayan ng Picong matapos na .rnatunton ng mgaawtorrdad ang pinagtataguan nito. . "Troops tracked down

Andi's hideout and there

was an attempt to arrest

him, but the gunmen opened fire on the soldiers and policemen and a gun battle ensued and in the end Arnie Andi and one of his followers was killed," ani Anny Captain Albert Caber, aug spokesman ng Ist Infantry Division. Nabawi sa nasawing bandido ang isang antitank rocket launcher at dalawang automatic rifle. Bu-

kOO sa pagpatay, sabit rin umano sa maraming kidnapping for ransom sa Lanao at Zamboanga si Andi. Si Andi rin ang itinuturong utak sa pagJusob sa isang barangay sa bayan ng Lapuyan sa Zamboanga del Sur noong Pebrero la· mang na kung saan ay niratrat nito ang mga sibiIyan doon bilang paghihiganti sa pagpatay ng militar sa kanyang kapatid na si Ibrahim Andi; (AI Jaeinto),





The Army's 3rd Infantry Division (3ID) headed by Maj. Gen. Jose Z. Mabanta, Jr. lauded the provincial government of Negros Occidental for crafting a five-year peace and development pro! gram that aims to help victims of armed conflict to rebuild their lives. The program, dubbed as "Peace and Development Project for Communities Affected by Armed Conflict," is the provincial government's flagship project for sustainable peace-building and development to put closure to one of the country's longest running insurgency by alleviating the plight, and improving the i well-being of communities highly ! affected by armed conflict. Maj. Enrico Gil Ileto, the 3rd Infantry Division (3IO) spokesman, said the project is anchored ...toward the attainment of the "Negros First" vision and its three-year i "Strategic Development Plan" objectives. (Elena l. Aben) p.S ~---------~-_-_--

KALIBO, Aklan (PIA)·_ The Phil"' lpplne Army CPA) here has as- .. sured people in Aklan that their troops continue to sustain their pursuit of peace and security to safeguard communities and vital facilities in the province. The PA gave this assurance .. during the ProvincIal Peace and Order Council (PPOC) meeting . here recently when they gave a report on their internal security operations. The Army! par- . tlcularly the CAA detachment provtnce-wlde/ere sustaining their security activities in close coordinatlon with the Philippine National Pollee (PNP), said PA Executive Officer Major Jamal Bonza, who represented Commanding Officer LTC. \b










July 2012



breakthrough in the transition arrangement or the road map, the other issues ----,.,~ remained very contentious," the statementread. "Expected to be high on the agenda are the following issues: interim arrangement, power-sharing, wealth-sharing, territory, normalization, basic law, and constituThe government and the Mora tional issues," it added. Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) The MILF said both peace panels are are expected to discuss powerexpected to put up other agenda for dissharing, territory, wealth-sharing cussion, as is customary. and transition arrangements as Anything can still happen," the MILF thsy resume formal peace negostatement quoted a peace panel source as saying. MILF panel members led by Mohagher By ALEXIS ROMERO Iqbal are attending the meeting. tiations today in Kuala Lumpur. MJLF negotiators Datu Michael Mastura, In a statement yesterday;. the Bobby Alonto, Abhoud Syed Lingga, and MILF said other matters remain Abdullah Camlian would accompany Iqbal. "contentious" despite hopes Government panel members led by that the two panels would reach lawyer Marvic Leonen are also expected common ground on transition to be present during the negotiations. The MILF said there are .unconfirmed reports that Mujiv Hataman, officer-in_charge of the Autonomous Region in arrangements. ' .. Muslim Mindanao (ARMM), was invited "An official source inside the to witness the meeting. MILF peace panel told Luwaran The peace talks would resume a week (MILF website) that while there after the MILF-sponsored Moro Leaders' is some sense of optimism for a Assembly in Darapanan, Sultan Kudarat Tl,lrn to Page 13 in Maguindanao. Last April, government and MILF negotiators agreed to replace or expand the ARMM to accommodate the rebels in a political entity. Government negotiators had said the new autonomous political entity would not bean independent Bangsamoro state that would violate the country's sovereignty. The creation of the new political entity would require a new law from Congress. The MILF had been pushing for the creation of a Bangsamoro sub-state as it believes that there is no real self-governance in the ARMM since it could not stand without the national government's support. MILF chairman Al Haj Murad Ebrahim earlier said the ARMM has become a "milk_---------------ingcow" of politi dans and has not allowed OFFICE OF1liEARMY CRIEF PUBLICA the Bar~gsamoro peopI~ to rule themselves. 1_ _ - --- -- - ---- - --..------- - ----- - --- -- ---- - -- Dunng the conclusion of the 28th formal talks last May, the government and the MILF agreed to further refine their respective positions on various issues.
> --.-.-

ov't, MIL_F resume talks today



Go v' t

l=rom Page 1

The government panel had said it VI "comfortable" with how the talks end and vowed to use them as inputs to t peace pact to be signed soon.

Minor incident -

Meanwhile, the MILF assured tl government that the apprehension of tv Army intelligence operatives at the veru of last week's MILF-led Bangsamo: Leaders' Congress in Camp Darapane in Maguindanao was not an "irritant" i the peace process. "It was a very minor, negligible it cident, It must not cause any irritatio between us and the government," sai MILF vice chairman for political affair Ghadzali [aafar. [aafar said that the MILF had turner over the two soldiers, Sgt. Sammy Pasa dilla and Pfc. [amer Maulana, both 0 the Army's 6th Infantry Division, to th. joint ceasefire committee through th( Malaysian-led International Monitoring Team (IMT), in keeping with existing security protocols crafted bilaterally by th€ government and the MILF. MILF fighters accosted the two soldiers after they entered Camp Darapanan without prior coordination during the fourday assembly of thousands of guerrillas and the rebel group's supporters from across Mindanao. "Had they coordin-ated first, they would have been given permission to observe the activity because it was something initiated, organized in support of the peace process, in the spirit of peacebuilding," [aafar said. Iaafar said the 6th ID's commander. Maj. Gen. Rey Ardo, and key officials of the government, led by Leonen and Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process Teresita Quintos-Deles, in fact attended the opening program of the congress. The 6th ID said the two soldiers could have strayed into Camp Darapanan out of curiosity when they passed by Maguindanao's Sultan Kudarat town, where Camp Darapanan is located. . "There was no need for the military to spy on that activity because we received invitations to attend, media from various areas came to cover it, and soldiers even helped transport to the site thousands of MILF members from their camps in different spots in Central Mindanao," said Col. Prudendo Asto, public affairs chief of the 6th 10. - With John Unson


. \~ July 2012 .

Pahina .. A-t

RP-MILF peace talksresume
concerning interim arrangement, power-and wealth-sharing, territory, normalization, basic law and constitutional matters. Talks between the Government of the "However, it is expected that both the Republic of the Philippines (GRP) and the secessionist Moro Islamic Liberation Front MILF and government peace panels will put up other agenda for discussion, as it was in (MILF) will resume today in Malaysia'with past practices," the high hopes from . : MILF stated. both sides for a The MILF said all .break-throughin the members of its long..runningpeace peace panel, led by negotiations. Mohagher Iqbal, will Still reelingfrom be attending the their meeting 29th round ofthe during the recently . peace talks. successful Moro Joining him on Leaders' Assembly the MILF side are inside MILF's Camp Darapanan in Maguindanao, members of 'lawyerDatu Michael Mastura, BobbyAlonto, the GRP and MILF peace panels will again 'Abhoud Syed Lingga and Abdullag Camlian , be meeting today during the 29th GRH~MILF .while GRP panel chairman Marvic Leonen will lead the government delegation. peace talks in Kuala Lumpur. There were also reports that Autonomous . In its Web site, the MILF 'said that Region in MuslimMindanao (ARMM)acting €Xpected to be at the top of the agenda Turn to page 3 during the resumption ofthe talks are issues

By Mario J. Manari

Gov, Mujiv Hataman was also invited to attend the talks. During the Moro Leaders Assembly, MILF Ghairman Al Raj Murad reiterated his group's clamor for no less than a sub-state in the ongoing peace negotiations. Murad stressed the MILF will not . settle for an ARMM-Iike· autonomy which the Muslim group described as powerless. Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process Teresita Quintos Deles, for her part, declared lithe time for peace is now," emphasizing the "whole-ofgovernment" approach of the Aquino admlnistration in pushing peace. Deles cited the clear dlreetives from President Aquino to all departments and agencies to contribute to ongoing efforts to fasttrack peace and development in Mindanao. -.. __. - .. -.. -... .. "Our President is continuously ~"'1~~~~~~,~~'·:;;:E" ..• persistent in moving the peace talks' .. " - .... ·"·n·,' ....• , forward," she stated.



RP-MILF peace talks resume
She added the GRP panel has been diligentlY consulting all government agencies and departments on the agenda of power and wealth-sharing, and governance which are being discussed with the MILF on the peace table. . "The panel does not bring empty or false promises to Kuala Lumpur. Following the President's instructions, the panel ensures that the appropriate departments and agencies have been properly consulted and have come on board. The panel goes to' KL for every meeting with a fresh mandate from the President," she stated. Further, she emphasized that regular consultations are being done with Congress andSenate, "I tell you. the feedback has been positive from the leadership of both Houses of Congress," she said, adding dialogs with retired Supreme Court justices and members of the 1987Constitutional Commission are set to be conducted. Consultations with local government units .and civil society organizations, as well as business sector and the academe are also continuing in line Leonen also pointed out the with the President's directive for .importance of building trust in the transparency in the negotiations. negotlatio ns. "As the President She recalled the President's move reminded me time and again: It is not to personally meet Murad in August the complexity of the agreement that 2011 in Japan where they agreed to will ensure its implementation or the fast-traek the peace negotiations and achievement of its aims-it is tbe trust the stand he made against the outcry that is built in the process of for an all-out war in October of last negotiation and in the process of year, which he silenced with his call assessing its implementation. At the for "all-out justice. ~ end of the day, we build on each other's Leonen underlined the urgency that sincerity and we do this while we are a peace pact with the MILF should be Implementing programs and projects Signed soon. thanjust simply talking for that perfect "Our final agreement should be peace agreement at the.negotlatlng table," he said, simple but meaningful and it should be signed within this year so that there , "We negotiate for more than peace. is an opportunity to implement and , We negotiate that we can live in a assess and learn some more," Leonen society that not only aspires for justice explained that by signing it this year, but also painstakingly tries to achieve both parties will have ample time to it," he stressed. adjust the agreements. . Leonen also lauded the MILF peace "We know that our national panel for behIg able, patient and wise government, who we represent at the in the peace negotiations. "To negotiating table is poised and ready negotiate with your panel and your to invest technically, politically,and leaders is indeed a lifetime honor that financially to achieve all these, If he will cherish,' he told the added. . participants. PIA




July 2012


Page: 6-6'

Nation.' Newspaper

SolCom chief retires today as mandated by attrition law
LT. Gen. Roland Detabali, chief of AFP Southern Luzon Command, is retiring from the service today under the attrition law. There is still no official word as to who will succeed him at the major unit based in Lucena City, Solcom spokesman CoL Generoso Bolina said yesterday. Military sources have said the frontrunner is Lt. Gen. lrineoEspino, AFP inspector general, Detabali is from Class 1978 of the Philippine Military Academy and Espino, Class . ~79. Sources said Espino was recommended by the AFP's Board of Generals to President Aquino to succeed Detabali. Also rumored to be the next Solcom chief is Maj. Gen. Rey Ardo, 6th Infantry Division chief, of Class ~81. Pending appointment of the next Solcom chief, to act as OIC is Maj. Gen. Eduardo del Rosario, 2nd ID commander. Del Rosario's unit is one of the two infantry divisions under Solcom. However, he cannot be named as permanent Solcom commander because he is due to reach the mandatory retirement age of 56 on November 22 this year. Detabali is bowing out of the service today by operation of the attrition law, which states that a three-star general like him should be promoted to the next higher rank three years after he got his current rank, or he would be compulsorily retired. Detabali got his third star on July 16, 2009. He cannot be promoted to the next rank because the four-star rank is only for the chief of the Armed Forces. AFPchief Gen. Jessie Dellesa is reaching the retirement age on January 20 next year, Detabali is reaching the mandatory retirement age of 56 on September 21. Two of his PMAclassmates, 9th Infantry Division chief Maj. Gen. Josue Gaverza and AFP Command and General Staff CoUege commandant Rear Adm. Victor Emmanuel Martir, are also due for attrition on July 25. They could not be promoted because under the military law, no military officer except the Armed Forces chief can be promoted in rank if he has less than a year in service left. Martir is turning 56 years on August 11 and Gaverza on January 25 next year.- Vi'ctor Reyes





July 20t2


Solcom chief retires
retiring months ahead of his 56th birthday to avoid attrition. Soleom is one of the vital units of President Aquino has yet to appoint the replacement of Lt. Gen. the military due to its close proximity Roland Detaball, who retires today to the seat of government in Metro as commanding general of the Manila. It also secures several Southern Luzon Command (Soleom), communist-infested provinces' in region. a vital unit of the military covering Southern _Tagalog Talks are rife that incumbent communist-infested areas in the Armed Forces of the Philippines Southern Tagalog region. In the absence of an order from (AFP) inspector general Lt. Gen. the commander in chief, Army 2nd Irineo Espino, of the ruling PMAClass • Infantry Division.(ID)chief MaJ.Gen. of 1979,is being groomed to replace Eduardo del Rosario will be taking Detabal1. Described as aweH-rounded over as SolcomOfficer-in-charge,said Col. Generoso Bolina, spokesman of military officer who had served in various field and administrative units Solcom. Del Rosario said there will be turn of the AFP, Espino would just. be over ceremonies between him and laterally moving to Solcom, being a three-star general. Detabali at 9 a.m. this morning. On the other hand, there has been Detabali, a member of the controversial Philippine Military no information as to who would be '. Academy (PM~) Class of 1978that replacing Espino as inspector general, . took in former President and now a sensitive military position in charge detained Pampanga Rep. Gloria of top-level investigations and other Arroyo as honorary member, is military inquiries.

By Mario J. Mallarl





'C·\f.!.l_ ...._ __],iJ£u-u.
cc~c, ....




Govt rejeds new NDF names for immunity
By Joyee Pangeo Panares government will no longer accept new names in the list of Communist rebels and consultants covered by safety guarantee and immunity from arrest during peace negotiations with the CommunistledNational Democratic Front (NDF) , officials said on Sunday,
"It's hard to agree to a new list. Anybody could land on that list," the government's chief negotiator Alexander Padilla said. He .said the government preferred' to deal with specific consultants and negotiators for the Communist Party and the NDF on a '.'case-to-case" basis as provided under the Joint Agreement on Safety and Immunity Guarantees (JASIG).


caused the talks to bog down more than a year ago. Padilla said the government rejected the NDF's demand because' the individuals they ,asked to be released were arrested for various criminal cases and their claim that they were on the original JASrG list could not be confirmed. ' . The list should have been in hard copy with photographs, real names and aliases but the NDF said their list of consultants, which were kept in a floppy disc, was corrupted' in Utrecht. TheNDFaskedtoreconstruct the "Documentofldentification List" but no specific date has been set by both negotiating teams on the resumption of the talks in Norway. Padilla said, the next round of informal talks could happen in August or September.

,...1-.·.·.·-. ··-.•.



The JASIG list was one of the thorny issues brought up during last month's informal talks between the government and the NDF in Norway, which lead to a 15~month impasse in the peace negotiations. In a meeting intended to break the impasse, the NDF demanded . the immediate release of 14 individuals whom they claim were their consultants. This det?and Emailadd:oacp




/(P July 2012


Gov't urged to invest in hospital ship

Samar Rep. Mel Senen urged the government yes:erday to invest in a hospital ship with at east 100beds to reach out to remote poor communities nationwide. "We are a country of more than 7,000 islands, many of which have no hospitals to serve far-flung shoreline areas. Why [lot put up a medium-size hospital ship to reach out to poor Filipinos?" Sarmiento said. Sarmiento suggested that the government should include in its US-funded military acquisition list a floating hospital that will be run by the Philippine Navy, under the supervision of the Department of Health. . Aside from serving as a mobile hospital, it will also assist during times of disasters and other calamities, especially island provinces. Sarmiento saw the importance of having a highly mobile and easily deployable naval hospital when the USNS Mercy conducted medical missions in the Visayas and Mindanao last month. The US Navy's floating ship has 1,000 beds, including 80 in its intensive care unit. It has 12 operating rooms. The Mercy also participated in the annual Pacific Partnership 2012(PP12) humanitarian and civic assistance mission at Subic Bay Freeport, which include the United States, the Philippines, Thailand, Australia, Malaysia, Canada, France, Japan, New Zealand, Singapore, Korea, Chile, Peru, and the


Prosecute kill rof Lanao registrant, melee asked


COTABATO CITY - The regional peace and ?rder cOlfncil(~OC) in the Autonomous Region m ·Mushm Mindanao urged the Commission , on Elections (Comelec) over the weekend to prosecute the armed men who killed a 17-yearold registrant ina registration site in Lanao del Sur last Friday. The victim, Said Guro, was a relative of the provincial election supervisor of Maguindanao, lawyer Udtog Tago. A verbal tussle reportedly ensued between Guro's group and followers of a local politician in a designated registration site in Lanao del Sur's politically restive Lumbak Unayan town, after which the latter approached the teenager and shot him with assault rifles. Chief Supt. Mario Avenido, ARMM police director, confirmed the incident and allayed fears it would hamper the ongoing voters' registration in the area.






The general registration of voters in the region started on July 9 and would end on July 18. Avenido, .citing initial feedback from the Lumbak Unayan municipal police, said Guro's group and the armed men first argued over registration issues before the shooting occurred. ARMM acting Gov. Mujiv Hataman said police have begun investigating the killing. ."The effort to build an airtight case against the culprits is being done in coordination with the Comelec," Hataman said. Police investigators said Guro was shot pointblank in the presence of his mother and several relatives. Apparently, the victim's mother is aware of the identities of the gunmen. There is even a possibility that the victim and the suspects could be relatives. Let's give investigators enough time to work on the case," Hataman said.

He said he has sent emissaries to the Guro family to convince them not to retaliate. Meanwhile, Comelec Co m m is s io ne r Armando Velasco said they would study if there is a need to extend the voters' registration in Lanao del Sur. "We will discuss that (possible suspension) in our en bane (meeting) during our assessment on Monday,' said Velasco, the commissioner-incharge for Lanao del Sur. . _ Last Tuesday, a policeman fired shots at a group of registrants in Lanao del Sur, wounding three people. The following day, six people, mostly rubber plantation workers, were killed while 22 others were wounded in an ambush in Sumisip, Basilan. Velasco said there have been delays in the registration in some barangays like Mapantao and Lumbabayabao when unidentified men harassed' poll officials. - With Sheila Crisostomo


I~ July2012



Mpolls, Scrap groups urge
MARAWICITY-·.Civil society groups have called on the government and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) to consider scrapping the re.,. gional elections in the, Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) to smoothen an up~()rningpeace transition arising from a negotiated ~blitical settlement.
_@,. ~.

, In a document titled "Civil 'Society Consensus Points to Move the GPH-MILF Peace Process Forward," the Mindanao Peace-Weavers (MPW) proposed that the government and MILF panels "immediately instij\itionalize a m.echanism that t~)Uld suspend the ARMM elections in 2013." The MPW is composed of pipe networks which "engage tJ:iepeace process by bringing it J.:Ioserto the public." Among the ,members are the Peace Advocates of Zamboanga led by k;laretian missionary Fr. Angel Calvo. Another member is the _I' '.V1indanaoPeople's Caucus. :: ,Consequently, a transition gov~rnment, to be called a Transition Commission (Transcom), must created to oversee the estabfuhment the new autonomous ~oIitical entity by 2016, the iMPw further proposed. . I

Although elections to elect regional ARMM officials would be scrapped, the group said local elections must proceed "with local government accountability remaining with the national government."

The Transcom would need to be invested with powers by Congress, the MPW further said. The MPW proposal is the first proposal from civil society groups that outlined a concrete formula related to a substantive issue in negotiations forpoIitical settlement to end over 40 years of Moro rebellion in Mindanao. Today, the peace panels will meet in Kuala Lumpur in a bid to bring the IS-year negotiations closer to conclusion. And transition is expected to take center stage. Earlier, MILF chief negotiator



Mohagher Iqbal said reaching a consensus on a transitional mechanism was ticklish because this defined "real empowerment." In a statement, the MPW said its proposal was "offering a better scenario that presents a better option for acceptability by the key peace actors." The ARMM election has been synchronized with the national schedule beginning 2013. Republic Act No. 10153 scrapped the scheduled regional polls last year and granted President Aquino powers to appoint interim officials. Acting ARMM GoY. Mujiv Hataman told the INQUIRER his leadership ''will support any transition formula that is legally and politically viable." ''Another postponement of polls would be a stretch but it would be acceptable if it is a product of the negotiations to end the decades-old rebellion," said Samira AIi-Gutoc, women sector representative in the ARMM's Regional Legislative Assembly (RLA). "The RIA supports the ongoing peace process, including its outcome." The movement Waging Peace Philippines has also expressed


SOLDIERS joined police in securing polling precincts for application of new registrants in Datu Unsay town in Maguindanao province. DENNISJAYSANTOS/INQUIReRMINDANAO) support to the proposal to forego the ARMMelections to pave the way for a peace transition. Earlier, MILF chief Murad Ebrahim said that from its original proposal of six years, they agreed to trim down the transition phase to three years so that implementation of the measures contained in an upcoming peace agreement would be done within the term of President Aquino. This means that the peace transition should start between January and June next year, which further mearisthat a peace pact is already in,the offing. President Aquino steps down from office on June 30,2016. According to. the MPW proposal, transitory mechanisms must be installed immediately i as soon as the parties "sign an! interim peace agreement." ; . President Aquino and) Congress should then "give pol-l icy support to legalize the inter-j im agreements between the! GPH (government of the Philippines) and MILFby way of law or executive order," including granting governance powers to the Transcom. Ryan D. Rosauro, Inquirer Mindanao



July 2012


Gunboat diplomacy would favor China
By Amando Doronila
least five vessels and several smaller boats steamed last week into a shoal off Palawan island to rescue a People's Liberation Army warship that ran aground
A CHINESE salvage fleet of at

a reef while patrolling disputed their territorial dispute to a waters in the Spratly archipela- higher notch since the start of a go in the West Philippine Sea standoff of their vessels in (South China Sea). April. The expedition at The Philippine Air Force one point threatened (PAF)entered the fray on Saturto trigger a new showdown be- day by flying surveillance tweenthe Philippines and Chi- planes over the Spratlys and na and push the intensity of GUNBOAT / Al2

Gunboat diplomacy would favor China
ports that China had installed a powerful radar on Subi Reef, an "photographing the salvage par- islet 22 km from the Philippinety working to free Missile occupied Kalayaan group of isFrigate No. 560 from a reef at lands in the Spratlys. Hasa-Hasa Shoal (international According to the Herald, the name: HalfMoon Shoal), frigate "has in the past been inThe Australian newspaper volved in aggressively discourSydney Morning Herald, which aging Filipino fishing boats broke the news on Friday; said from the area," in what apthe 103.2-meter, 1,425-ton peared to be an act using warfrigate was patrolling disputed ships to intimidate fishermen. waters when it ran into the shal"The accident could not have lows 111 kilometers west of come at a more embarrassing Palawan, and that the frigate moment for the Chinese leadergot "thoroughly stuck" on the ship, who have been pressing reef. A Philippine Coast Guard territorial claims and flexing vessel was dispatched to the the country's muscle ahead of.a area to monitor the Chinese res- leadership transition later this cue operations. year," the Herald article said. The Herald story followed rePhilippine defense officials ports that the Philippine gov- went out of their way to avoid ernment was verifying other re- issuing provocative statements
From page AI

over the reef incident, and said the Philippine military was prepared to provide assistance to the stricken warship. .

Sensitive issues
[In the latest development yesterday, Chinese naval ships safely removed the grounded frigate and a Chinese Embassy spokesperson said the warship was sailing back to port with minor damage]. The row over the warship spawned sensitive diplomatic issues. The Philippine government was in a quandary over whether to lodge a diplomatic protest to Beijing. If the setting up of a powerful Chinese radar station was confirmed, Malacafiang officials had said, that would be a "provocation."

Although the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) was not considering a protest, its spokesperson Raul Hernandez said "we need to find out what really happened with the Chinese frigate in our territory." He said the DFA would ask Beijing to explain why the frigate became stuck on the shoal. It would been embarrassing for China to accept the Philippine offer to help them out of a mess which they created by snooping into Philippine waters through their maritime patrols.

Beijing dispatched one of its largest-ever fishing expeditions from Hainan Island to the Chinese fishing boats regularly travel to the Spratlys, which China claims as part of its territory on historical grounds but which are also claimed wholly or in part by Taiwan, Vietnam, Brunei, Malaysia and the Philippines. The 30-vessel Chinese fishing fleet is one of the largest ever launched from Hainan, according to a report by Xinhua, the state-run Chinese news agency.
Spratly archipelago.

lO-vessel fleet
On Thursday, after the frigate struck the reef, the Chinese mounted another show of force.

Debacle in Phnom Penh
. Meanwhile, diplomatic efforts by the lO-member Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean) to channel terri-

tonal disputes to a regional mediating body suffered a setback on Friday when the Asean foreign ministers meeting ip Phnom Penh failed to issue' a joint communique on a code conduct that-would provide fCir multilateral resolutions of territorial disputes. ~ Cambodia, the host country, blocked a consensus on a draft communique, which would bind China. Beijing opposes "a multilateral approach to coho flict-resolutions, preferring "a bilateral approach, which would allow her to settle di~putes individually with rival claimants. That'debacle shifted the ar~" na of resolution to gunboat diplomacy through which China enjoys coercive advantage.



A Chinese naval frigate that ran aground close to Palawan while patrolling disputed waters in the West Philippine Sea was refloated yesterday, the Chinese embassy in Manila said.
The embassy, citing a report rom its Ministry of National )efense Information Departnent, said the warship that tailed near Half Moon Shoal Hasa Hasa) was refloated' at round 5 a.m. yesterday. The stranding occurred Vednesday in a shoal just 60 autical miles off the town of

Rizal in Palawan, within the Philippines' exclusive economic zone. The shoal is part of the Spratly Islands - which the Chinese call Nansha - a string of atolls and islands straddling vital shipping lanes in the South


The Philippine government, on the other hand, is thankful that the warship has finally been towed by Beijing. "In the first instance, we're happy to note that their retrieval and the refloating operations mean to be a success and that there were no reported casualties," deputy presidential spokesperson Abigail Valte said. Quoting Foreign Affairs Secretary Albert del Rosario, Valte said there is no more need for Beijing to explain to Manila what the warship was Turn to Page 15 doing within the Philippines' would sail' back to port with 200-mile exclusive economic minor damage. The Department of Nazone. tional Defense (DND) also "Secretary Del Rosario confirmed the stranded Chidid say that at this time he is nese frigate was refloated. not inclined to ask China to "Based on reports from explain," Valte said. the Coast Guard, which has She mentioned, however, a vessel in the area, the ship that the Department of Faris no longer in the Hasa Hasa eign Affairs (DFA) "will purShoal," DND spokesman Pesue its own investigation on ter Galvez said. why the vessel ran aground "All the other ships are no in that particular area." longer in the area," he added. Ph~lippine Navy chief Vice _ The ship- a Jianghu-class, _ A~mlral Al:xan?er Pama . Chinese guided-missile frigsa~d at least SIX Chinese na."y "? ate - was on "routine patrol" 9~shlpS and :,~ssels, along With ~ when .... it became stranded - smaller utility boats, helped last Wednesday night, acreflo~t the stalled frigate. cording to the Chinese govBng. Ge~. Elmer Am?r:, ernment.· deP1!ty: ..chief of_ the m il iChina Sea and believed to be sitting atop Vast mineral deposits. "The grounded frigate near Nansha' s Half Moon Shoal was refloated successfully, with minor damage in the stern part," the embassy said in a statement posted on its website. All the personnel aboard . are safe. Now the preparation for return to the port is underway. No contamination has been caused inthe incident area," the update said. Chinese embassy spokesman Zhang Hua said the vessel


ministers held in Cambodia last week, where' Del Rosario accused China of "duplicity" and intimidation .. The dispute divided the groupin g . with host Cambodia siding Navigational with China, thus mistake pi~venting them Defense Secretary Voltaire from issuing a cusGazmin also said the Chinese tomary joint state.' frigate apparerrtlymade a ment that summan nayigatiO"A'ati'~~~\th,$'t1i rizes achievements caused it to run aground.' . and concerns. He said there appeared The Philippines to be no signs that it was if they were able to remove on a mission to intrude in a the ship," Perra told reporters, Philippine-claimed area, notadding that situation in the ing the absence of structures ) area has normalized. on the shoal. > The DFA is investigating "It may have been human the circumstances that led to error. The CO (commanding the accident, which happened officer) may have not seen the well within the Philippines' rocks," Gazmin said. territorial waters. Gazmin earlier said they The Chinese frigate had would conduct a probe to apparently been sailing in ' determine why the Chinese Malaysian and Philippine warship was in the area. waters before the accident, . Hasa Hasais part of the according toa security official who spoke on condition of anonymity because of the From Page 1 sensitivity of the matter. Some officials are ready to SpraHy Islands, which are give the benefit of the doubt claimed in whole or in part to China and believe that the by tM Philippines, China, Chinese ship was merely exTaiwan, Brunei, Malaysia ercising its right of innocent and Vietnam. passage. Overlapping claims to Under international law, a the islands have perennially ship is exercising such right caused tensions among the if, among other conditions, claimants, with the Philipit is continuous, expeditious pines and Vietnam recently and if its stoppage or anchor- . . accusing China of increasage is needed due to distress. ingly becoming aggressive. The right applies to foreign . Philippine de- . ships entering another state's fense and military territorial waters. . officials said they "If the ship was exercising are worried by the right ofinnocent passage, China's "creepthere is no problem. It is >guaring" in disputed anteed by international law. areas in the West There are many fishing and Philippine Sea, commercial vessels passing a violation of an through the area," a security informal code of
d-.· .. ··~-. '.-".-' .. - .. oo.· ·.·•

tary s ... estern .c0l1lmandr W mtti'Rl:1ippineve~s·would' continue to monitor the shoal amid the continuing presence . of Chinese navy ships in the area. Commodore Rustom Pefia, commander of naval forces in western Philippines, said they are closely monitoring the situation around the shoal after a surveillance plane spotted six Chinese ships on Saturday. "As of Saturday night, the Chinese ships are still there and, as of today, we don't have any information

"When China navigates In the South China Sea, it is not innocent passage for them as it considers the waters there as part of their internal waters," said Rommel Banloi, executive director of think tank Philippine Institute for Peace, Violence and Terrorism Research. ;

and China have faced off on a .number of occasions in the ~hsputed waters, and earlier .~n the year theywere involved in a month-long standoff at Scar~orough Shoat about 500 kIlometers north of Rasa Rasa Shoal. Last year, the Philippines scrambled aircraft and ships to ~he Reed Bank area after ChInese navy ships threatened to ram a Philippine survey ship. . Beijing said last month it had begun "combat-ready" patrols in waters it said were under its control in the South China Sea, after saying it "vehemently opposed" a Vietnamese law asserting sovereignty over the Paracel and Spratly islands. The stakes have risen in the area as the US military shifts its attention and resources backto Asia, emboldening its long-time ally the Philippines and former foe Vietnam to take a bolder stance against Beijing. The United States has stressed it is neutral in t~e long-running maritime d iap u te, despite offering to help boost the Philippines' decrepit military forces. It says freedom of naVigation is its main concern ~bouta waterway. that carrres $5 trillion in trade - half the World's shipping tonnage. - With Delon Porcalla Alexis Romero, AFp, Reuter;

offic~al w~o ::-.Pf ..· duct. ad~pt~d -: .. .. Id-· h •..······· *.····.·-.·· ,.,.;..".'-,·.···.-· . ".-:.-·.].·.-·~.·-n .·.(O-··.,"'11. ·i· · .. ·.·-·. 'o.·[ nynuty said. requested ano- ..•. ··~on. " In Camb o d ia In "_J.·~":fo'~J~~.c..~.,,,"~ .. ,6J, However, a security expert - 200~. . . . " believes China does not re. The disputealso gard its patrolling as innocent marred an annual passage. meeting of Southeast Asian foreign

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f fo July 2012


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Gov'twon't protest warship's incursion
By Christine O. Avendano -

THE GOVERNMENTwill not protest what could have been an accidental incursion of a Chinese warship into Philippine territory last week, but it will investigate how it happened.
Army's Missile Frigate No. 560

port were being organized. - been on a routine patrol. Zhang said the incident Valte said the Chinese refloat eaused no maritime pollution. e? the frigate without Philip The Philippine military's' pine assistance. ''While we,wen Western Command confirmed ready to render assistance we j' the Chinese party's departure did n?t receive any request," from Hasa-Hasa Shoal yester- she said. . i day. : The DFA Issued a brief state: "Wehave confirmed that they I~ent"yesterd~y, saying it was .were moving away from the glad the Chinese m.anaged to !shoal and that they look like aextncate their stranded frigate fleet of six or seven vessels with from Hasa-Hasa Shoal. itwo'warships providing escort," It confirmed that the war!said Col. Neil Estrella, Western iCommand spokesperson.

require the Philippines to come i ~ to the aid of the stranded war- iNo protest ran aground on Hasa-Hasa ship, and the government au- i' Malacafiang was "happy" Shoal (international name: Half thorized assistance. about the frigate's departure, Moon Shoal) in the West PhilipThe Chinese Embassy in ,according to deputy presidenpine Sea (South China Sea), Manila said the rescue party ex- tial spokesperson AbigailValte. 111 kilometers west of tricated the frigate from the Speaking on state-run radio Palawan, on Wednesday night. shoal at around 5 a.m. yester- yesterday, Valte said the govA Chinese salvage party re- day: ernment would not bring a floated the-103.2-meter, 1,425Citing a report from the Chi- diplomatic protest. But the Deton, Jianghu-class frigate early nese defense ministry, embassy partment of Foreign Affairs yesterday, and the vessel head- spokesperson Zhang Hua said (DFA) would "pursue its OWn ed back home, with light dam-the frigate's stem suffered light investigation" to find out "why age but with none of its crew damage, but "all personnel the vessel ran aground in the injured. , aboard are safe." He said prep a- area," she said. Philippine Navy and Coast rations for the frigate's return Beijing said its_yessel had





~~~~~n~~~ui~ for a call for assistance from the Chinese rescue party. International maritime laws

:~~S:!~~~a~~~~ U~~!~~~~~~T~~:~
trip to its . Taiwan plans to extend runway on Spratly isle J A22

China frigate. leaves shoal; Palace happy

CHINESE Missile frigate No. 560, which
ran aground on Hasa-Hasa


armed with

Styx missiles. He said the fishing vessel was they came from exactly, but the near Hasa-Hasa Shoal when its area is too far from their known . crew heard two warning shots. naval bases to allow them to "They said that after they quickly assemble such a rescue heard the gunfire, they saw party which included even a through their binoculars two for- slow moving tugboat," Estrella Not deliberate eign-looking armed vessels, but said. The top Navy official of the they could not identify their naAsked whether the rescue Western Command in Palawan tionality and they failed to make party might have come from said he believed the Chinese contact with them using the rna- Mischief Reef, which is the warship did not deliberately inrine band radio," Estrellasaid. nearest major Chinese fortificatrude into Philippine waters. Estrella said the military tion to Hasa-Hasa Shoal, EstrelComrn. Rustom Pefia, com- Warning shots would investigate to see la said Western Command had mander of Naval Forces West, The Western Command is in- whether the warning shots not monitored the presence of a said he believed the frigate was vestigating a report of firing came from vessels in the Chi- large number of Chinese war oassing by the area when it near Hasa-Hasa Shoal before nese salvage party. vessels there. nade a navigational mistake. the Chinese frigate ran aground Asked whether the Western "It's speculative at this point," "It was likely a human error," there Wednesday night. Command was able to track the Estrella said. "What we know is )ena said .."Probably they made The firing was reported to the .Chinese . rescue party as it that area is a busy highway for t mistake in their navigation, Western Command by the skip- moved into Philippine territory Chinese boats lately." With rehey did not see the [shal- per of FVMarkel, a commercial on Friday to assist the stricken ports from Jerry E. EspZanada ows]." .fishing vessel based in Palawan. frigate, Estrella said the military and Dona. Z. Pazzibugan in He said the area is within the "We ~re only now looking in- did not monitor such move- Manila; RedemptoAnda, In'hilippinesexclusive economic to that report because it just got ments.: quirer Southern Luzon; and one. "Occasionally we see in," Colonel Estrella said. "We don't know yet where Reuters . OffiCI: (1f-. 1111: ARMYCHIEFP_Uf:lUC~~~ ...5mait~d:oacpa~h~~.COI!l~ '€:a nV~lvf"~~~~o~ ~'~7""".' ' ... ship, which was armed with Styx missiles, was "on its way out of our exclusive economic zone and continental shelf and [is on its way] back to China." those ships there and our ships are also very much seen there. International ships also pass by. So practically a lot of ships pass by the area." Pefia did not describe the Chinese salvage operation, and confirmed that the Chinese did not ask for help. "We offered [help]," he said, "but they did not ask for help."






July 2012

Page: .JS...


Sino ship refloated, sails home
MANILA-Chinese navy ships safely removed one of the country's warships Sunday from a disputed shoal off the western Philippines, where it had run aground while on a security patrol and sparked fears of another maritime standoff' in the South China Sea. The warship will sail back to port with minor damage, and no crew member was injured, Chinese Embassy spokesman Zhang Hua said in a statement. The frigate got stuck Wednesday night on Half Moon Shoal, about 110 kilometers 'from the western Philippine province of Palawan, prompting China and the Philippines to send rescue ships there. Both countries were already locked in a tense dispute over another shoal off the northwestern Philippines, The South China Sea is a flashpoint in diplomatic relations, with various Asian nations claiming whole or part of its islands and waters, Philippine Navy chief Vice Admiral Alexander Pama.said at least six Chinese navy ships and vessels, along with smaller utility boats, helped refloat the stalled frigate. Filipino Coast Guard search-and-rescue vessels had been deployed near the scene to help if needed, he said. Nextpage



The Department of Foreign' Affairs in Manila said Saturday the Philippines was investigating the circumstances that led to the accident, which happened well within the country's territorial waters. The Chinese frigate had apparently been sailing in Malaysian and Philip. pine waters before the accident, .according to a Philippine military official who spoke on condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the matter. Brig. Gen. Elmer Amon, deputy chief of the Philippine. military's Western Command, said Filipino vessels would continue to monitor the shoal amid the continuing presence

of .Chinese navy ships in the area. The shoal where the warship ran aground is called Hasa Rasa by the Philippines and claimed by China as part of the Nansha island chain, known intemationally as the Spratlys. The SpratJy islands are a major cluster of potentially oil- and gas-rich islands and reefs long disputed by China, the Philippines, Taiwan, Malaysia, Vietnam and :Brunei. Chinese and Philippine officials are still negotiating an end to a tense maritime dispute over the Scarborough Shoal, about 700 kilometers away, which has been going on for more than three months. The Philippines has withdrawn its ships from Scarborough to ease tensions, but Chinese govenunent surveil- . lance ships have remained in the area. AP


__;(02}892.1693.local:5287.5295 h



July 2012



Taiwan mulls extending runway in Spratly Island
PEI: Taiwan is considering , extending the runway on the contested pratly island in a move that could provoke fresh tensions in the heavily disputed West Philippine Sea (South China Sea J, media reported on Sunday,
"The national security authorities lately convened a meeting to evaluate theproposal as the situation in the West Philippine Sea has been getting ever complicated," it cited an unnamed

if approved, the project would extend by 500 meters the runway on
TaipingIsland, the largest in the disputed waters and some 860 miles fiom Taiwan, the Liberty Times said.

national security source as saying. The runway, currently 1, HiD meters (3,773 feet), was built in 2006 despite protests from other countries with claims in the potentially oil-rich area, including Vietnam, Brunei, China, Malaysia and the Philippines, Calls for an increase of Taiwan's defense capability on the disputed area have been on the rise as the claimants have deployed more troops and added military facilities there, In May, Taiwan's coastguards said that the number of intruding

Vietnamese boats surged to 106 last year, up from 42 the previous year. In the same month Taiwan formed a special airborne unit capable of scrambling to the West Philippine Sea in just hours, after a visit by three legislators and several top military officers in a trip intended to renew . their territorial claim amid mounting tensions the area. All claimants except Brunei have troops based on the archipelago of more than 100 islets, reefs and atolls, which have a total land mass of less than 5 square kilometers, AFP




July 2012

with one Coast Guard vessel that was shooing from the shoal Chinese poachers of endangered corals, giant clams, and sea turtles. T<?cool down tensions, Beijing and Manila declared a fishing ban in the shoal. But China did not enforce its end abet" ling the illegal harvest of protect:d marine species by three-dozen launches from ~inan, Chin.a's nearest province 900 miles away. Thrice too, China vowed It is not farfetched that the Chinese to leave Panatag simultaneously with the naval vessel No. 560 was circling HasaPhilippines, but reneged. . Hasa Shoal to enforce the unfounded China has also been trespassing in Recclaim. If so, China may have stepped up to .(l~eed) B~ where the Philippines is its militarization of the territorial dispute. drilling for all 80 miles off Palawan. Last It has been trumpeting a peaceful eco" year it. attempted. to plant its flag and nomic rise while bullying smaller neighbuoys ill surrounding seamarks: Quirino bors. ~acks<?n)Atoll, Amy Douglas Bank, RaThe situation comes in the heels of the ASEAN foreign ministers' meeting last ph Soliman (Boxall) Reef, Escoda (Sabina)· Shoal, and Rizal (Commodore) Reef. week to craft a code of conduct on sea Chinese poachers also routinely enter disputes. At the last minute, host Camthe Philippine interior Sulu Sea, to steal bodia thwarted the release of ajoint comfish at Tubbataha Reef, a UN Wildlife munique, the first time it happened to the Heritage Sanctuary. 45-year-old, ten-nation grouping. China In 2009 China unilaterally annexed the opposes the code of conduct; Cambodia whole West ~hilippine (South China) Sea, has been enjoying increasin g trade and .. via a map WIth nine border dashes. The aid from the northern giant. ~e:da~h ~e claim would push back the *** Philippines 200-mile EEZ to its coasts, : and deprive it of municipal waters that extend 30 kilometers from shore.


Is Chinese frigate truly leaving Hasa-Hasa shoal?
Condolences to the family of Maita Gomez, our late comrade in the fight for reforms. *** The Chinese warship that ran aground in a Palawan shoal has been unstuck and was preparing to leave. So claimed China's embassy in Manila yesterday. But Philippine officials were watchful, as surveillance aircraft saw no signs of departure by the frigate or its six supposed rescue vessels. The 10 a.m, embassy announcement quoted a Beijing defense ministry report five hours earlier. "The grounded frigate ... was refloated successfully, with minor damage in the stern part," it said. "All personnel aboard are safe. Now the preparation for return to the port is underway. No contamination has been caused in the incident area." The Philippine foreign office did not immediately confirm the Chinese story. Defense officials wanted to know if the Thursday night grounding on Hasa-Hasa (Half Moon) Shoal, 60 nautical miles (111 kilometers) offRizal town, Palawan, was accidental. The Coast Guard has yet to ascertain the claim of no fuel or waste spill, as well as damage to rocks and reefs where fish spawn and feed. Two Philippine craft from the Navy and Coast Guard were on standby to render assistance if asked. Manila is wary be-

The ~ounded warshi~, now unstuck, is preparing to return to port, the Chinese embassy claims. But Manila can't be too sure. Beijing has always been duplicitous about its intents.
cause Beijing, 'on pretext of protecting fishermen in 1995, had put up fortifications in Panganiban (Mischief) Reef, 120 miles off Palawan and well within the Philippines' 200-mile exclusive economic zone (EEZ). Beijing is duplicitous about its mari.imemovements, leading to frequentter- --. -- ... .--. --.- ..-.-..-..---.- ••.. -.-.-.-- ..-..-.-. --. -.-.-.----------. -.-... 'i~orial rows with the Philippines and .ICAFFAIRS-Emailadd:oacpa_hpa@; /ietnam, The latest was a two-month . . ... tandoff till lastjune with the Philippines n Panatag (Scarborough) Shoal, 70 miles 'ff Zambales. First three, then six, then ine Chinese govermnent ships faced off