TABLE

OF CONTENTS

25 APRIL 20112
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1 Weather Forecast

TIl1'LfVSUMMARY'

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1!SSUES

NEWSPAPER Phil Star p. A-27

ARMY'RELATED

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Fleeing soldier killed by comrades - AN Army soldier facing investigation for the loss of his service firearm died Monday after escaping from detention at an Army camp in Zamboanga Del Sur Monday and engaging soldiers in a shootout. Service Caravan - The Association of Regional Executives of National Agencies in Region 11 recently conducted the "Serbisyo Caravan", a onestop-shop delivery of government services to the residents here. Large Camp - More than one week after the discovery of the two largest New People's Army camps in Panay Island, government discovered another large camp of the insurgent group's Northern Negros Front in Negros Occidental. photo: Pinapuputukan n9 mga sundalong Filipino at Amerikano Nagwalang sundalo napatay n9 kabaro NPAs ransack Butuan security agency - Suspected communist rebels raided a private security agency and ransacked its arsenal in the southern Philippines, authorities said.

Malaya p. B-2

Manila Bulletin p. 15

Manila Bulletin p. 8

Remate p. 3 Remate p. 3 Manila Times p. A-7

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AFP RELATED ISSUES
Phi commander says China has 7 ships in Shoal - China is "not telling the truth" on the number of its ships deployed in Panatag (Scarborough) Shoal, a ranking Philippine military official said yesterday. Military talks tough on Scarborough IN what could the boldest statement so far issued against China, a military commander yesterday said they will not allow the Chinese to occupy Scarborough Shoal at the West Philippine Sea (South China Sea), which is about 124 nautical miles off Zambales and is being claimed by China as part of its territory. Aussie captive ailing- police' - An Australian national held captive by the Abu Sayyaf in the jungles of Basilan has reportedly fallen ill and needed medication, a police official said yesterday. Philippines Warns Neighbors Against China Aggression - President Benigno S. Aquino III warned neighbors in Southeast Asia Tuesday they should fear Beijing's growing aggressiveness over its claims in the West Philippine Sea (South China Sea). PH disputes China claim that it pulled out two ships from Panatag Shoal - THE Chinese Embassy in Manila on Tuesday said that Beijing had pulled out two of its ships from the Panatag (Scarborough) Phil Star p. 8

Malaya p. B-1

5-7

Phil Star p. A-27

Manila Bulletin p. 1

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Manila Times p. A-1

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Shoal, but an official from the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) said that the report was not accurate since there were still seven Chinese vessels in the area. SC: Distribute Luisita The 4,915.75-hectare Hacienda Luisita in Tarlac will be distributed among the 6,296 farm worker-beneficiaries of the sugar estate after the Supreme Court (SC) affirmed yesterday its ruling in November last year ordering the land distribution. Gov't, MILF mull ARMM replacement - The Philippines yesterday signed a document containing the decision points on principles with the Mora Islamic Liberation Front (MILF), a "preliminary listing of common points" between the two parties that is expected to spur the eventual signing of a final peace agreement.

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Phil Star p. 1

Daily Tribune p. 3

EDITORIAL/COMM£NTARY'/OPlNION
15 16 17 18-19 20 21 22 23 24 Some things don't mix A PH~US joint military operation With knives and swords Crazy week Locked Horns A war with China? They will turn us into siomai Reassuring the other party Scarred, burrowed Because they can A mockery of PH sovereignty in MILF-held ares PDI p. A-17 Manila Times p. A-5 Daily Tribune p. 7 Daily Tribune p. 7 Manila Times p. A-4 Malaya p. A-4 Phil Star p, 17 Phil Star p. 16 POI p. A-18

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April 2012

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The .rldg~ of a high pressure area extends across northern and central Luzon. Northern and central Luzon will . be partly cloudy, The rest of the . country will be partly cloudy to cloudy with isolated rainshowers or thunderstorms, mostly in the afternoon or evening. Coastal waters throughout thl! archipelago will be slight to moderate. Temperature forecasts; Metro. Manila, 25-3&-degrees Cel~ 'saguio . City, 15-25; 'Iagaytay City, 22-31; Subic Clark zone, 24--35; Metro Cebu, 2531; Metro Davao, 25'-33;and Cagayan de Oro, 23-31. Tidal predictions in Manila Bay: high tide at 1:48 a.m. at 0.30 meter, and at 11:49 a.m. at 1.02 meters; low tide at 3;2,0 a.m, at 0.30 meter. Sunrise is at ~:36 ~.l'~#pt:§:l,f p.mi .:

WEATHER FORECAST

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April 2012

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Fleeing soldier killed by comrades
ligence can be demoted in rank or the headquarters of the 1st Light fie several months ago_ be made to pay for the weapon. If Armor Battalion which is about Caber said Jamalul supposedly lost his firearm 'while billeted at established that he sold it, Caber a kilometer awav, He said the 1st a school building in lligan City said is a "serious offense" that can LAB was warne-d of Jamalul fleewhere he was among those de- mean dismissal from the service. ing towards their base, Caber said that at around 4 p_m_ ployed to respond and provide "Corporal Jamalul unknowingly relief assistance to victims of ty- Monday.jamalul grabbed the M16 ran towards' the position of Ist rifle of a military police guard, one LAB guards. Corporal J amalul nophoon "Sendong" last year_ Corpoal Delaura, during a routine , "It's SOP (standard operating ticed the guards of ,1st LAB at the procedure) in the military that you inspection of the division's disci- hilltop 30 meters away and fired plinary barracks, will be subjected to investigation if at them first, Exchange of fire enyou lose your firearm for whatevJamalul fired at everyone he saw sued and Corporal Jamalul was hit er reason ...He mar be a hero (for passing by the barracks which is in the chest that caused his death," taking part in 'disaster and relief near the apartment of soldiers as- said Caber, signed at the camp. "Fortunately, operations in Iligan), but he lost Asked why Jamalul escaped, Ca,he did not hit anyone," Caber said. , ber said that is the subject of an his firearm," he said of jamalul, Caber said J am~lul was able to go ongoing investigation. _ Victor Caber said a soldier found to have lost his firearm through neg-' out of the camp but ran towards Mes '

AN Army soldier facing investigation for the loss of his service firearm died Monday after escaping from detention at an Army camp in Zamboanga del Sur Monday and engaging soldiers in a shootout. CpI. Bennajir Jamalul, detailed with the Army's 35th Infantry Battalion, succ~mbed to gunsha't wounds in the chest, said Capt. Albert Caber, spokesman of the Army's 1 st Infantry Division. J amalul was detained at the disciplinary barracks of the Ist ID in Labangan town, facing investigation for violation of Article of War 84 for the loss of his M16 ri-

SERVICE CARAVAN
, STA. CRUZ, Davao del Sur (PIA) - The Association of Regional Executives of National Agencies in Region 11 recently conducted the "Serbisyo Caravan," a onestop-shop delivery of government services to the residents here, The local government, I with the cooperation of the i Army's 39th Infantry Battalion (39th IB), hosted the first stop of-the caravan, where some 30 national governmentagencies provided their respective programs and services to the people. "The caravan aims to bring the national government programs closer to the people, especially to the vulnerable sector of the communities," Lt. Col. Oliver R. Artuz, 39th IB commander, said.

LARGE CAMP
More than one week after the discovery of the two larqest New People's Army camps .in Panay Island, government , troops discovered another large .camp of the .insurgent group's Northern Negros Front in Negros ' Occidental. Major Enrico Gil ' Ileto, the 3rd Infantry Division (3m) spokesman, said troops under the 1st scout Ranger Battalion under Lt. Col. Rodolfo Ileto discovered the abandoned NPA camp at Sitio Canaman, Barangay Guadalupe, San Carlos City. (Elena Aben)

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April2012

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PINAPUPUTUKANngmga sundalong Filipino at Ameri· kano ang pwersa ng kanilang mga kalaban na lumulu50b sa kanilang kampo. Ang eksenang ilo ay bahagi ng isinasagawang RP-US Balikatan Exercises 2012 sa Fort Magsaysay, Palayan Cily, Nueva Ecija na nakunan ng larawan noong Sabado. VER STA.·ANA

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Nagwalang sundalo napatav ng kabaro

PAGADIAN CITY-Palay ang isang Army corporal nang maklpagbarilan ito sa kapwa sundalo sa loob ng headquarters ng 1st Infantr.y Tabak Divisio n ng Phili ppine Arroy kamakalawa ng hapon matapos ilong magwala. Kinilala ang biktima na si Cpl. Bannajir Jamalul na nakakulong sa 1st 10 Disciplinary barracks simula pa noong February 2, 2012 dahi! sa kasong violation of Articles of War 84 and lost of firearms. Hinihinalangdumaranas ng stress ang napatay na sundalo dahiI sa kasong kinahaharap nito matapos mawala ang kanyang bari! habang nagsasagawa ng rescue mission sa kasagsagan ng panana!asa ng bagyong Sendong, Sinasabing habang nakakulong si Jamalul sa barracks ay nagkaroon ito ng pagkakataon na agawih ang M16 service firearm ng naka-duty na Military Police (MP) guard na si Cpl. Dolauta. Pinagbabaril nilo ang mga taong makita sa bisinidad ng MP 'barracks at saka naglungo sa western part ng kampo kung saan nakaposisyon ang 1st Light Armory Battalion ng dibisyon. Hindi nagtagal naka-engkuwenlro nito ang mga kapwa sundalo at makalipas ang Hang sandali ay idineklara itong·palay. VERLlN RUIZ

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NPAs ransack Butuan security agency
communist rebels raided a private security agency and ransacked its arsenal in the southern Philippines, authorities said. It said the rebels, who arrived in several vehicles, stormed the Earth Saver Security Agency in Butuan City late on Monday, It blamed the raid to the New People's Army which has been

ZAMBOANGA CITY: Suspected

fighting for decades for the establishment of a Maoist state in the country. Authorities did not how many weapons were taken by the rebels, but other -reports said as many as 50 assorted firearms were stolen from the armory. It was not immediately known why the police and military failed to detect the daring raid, said to

have been carried out by rebels who previously attacked soldiers in the City's outskirts. There was no immediate statement from the NPA, but a radio station, Radyo Bornbo, in Butuan reponed that a senior rebel leader Jorge Madlos, also known as Ka Oris, has contacted them and took respon-sibility for the raid. AL JACINTO

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CAMP SERVILLANO AQUINO, Tarlac City - China is "not telling the truth" on the number of its ships deployed in Panatag (Scarborough) Shoal, a ranking Philippine military official said yesterday. Lt. Gen. Anthony Alcantara, Armed Forces Northern Luzon Command chief, said that as of 8 p.m. Monday, seven Chinese vessels-including fishing boats - were still in the area, only 124 nautical miles from the coast of Zambales and well within the country's 200-mile exclusive economic zone.. This.was contrary to Claims by the Chinese embassy that all but one Chinese vessel had left the area. "We are not doubting their claims. We're telling them they are not telling the truth," Alcantara said. Aside from five fishing boats, also spotted in the area were Chinese maritime surveillance vessel 71 and the flsheryIaw en-

By ALEXIS ROMERO

forcement command (FLEe) ship Yuzheng 310, which the Chinese embassy claimed had left the area. ';We saw the Chinese marine surveillance vessel 71 about 12 nautical miles southeast of our Coast Guard ( essel). The FLEe allegedly the fisheries law enforcement command vessel, is ~bout eight nautical miles southeast of the shoal,' Alcantara said in a press briefing. "Also Sighted were two Chinese boats inside the shoal. Three Chinese fishing vessels are outside the shoal," he added. The Department of Foreign Affairs also belied China's claim that it had already withdrawn all but one of its ships. "Contrary to what the Chinese embassy said that they have withdrawn two of its vessels from the area since Sunday, according to the Coast Guard, as of 2 p.m. this afternoon (Tues-

day), the Chinese government ships CMS 71 and FLEC 310 are still in the area together with five Chinese fishing vessels," Foreign Affairs spokesman Raul Hernandez said. "The report from the Coast Guard was that they were doing the 'suyod: type or trawling type of fishing with the very thick nets, And also they saw some giant clams in the fishing essels," Hernandez said in a press briefing. . On Monday, Chinese embassy spokesman Zhang I Iua claimed only one maritime surveillance ship remained in the shoal, which China calls Hu.mgyan Island. "The Chinese Fishery Administration Ship Yuzheng 310 and one of the two Chinese maritime surveillance ships with bow number 084 have already left the Huangyan Island area," Zhang said. "China is ready to settle this incident through friendly diplomatic consultations.

Th~ withdrawal of the two ships proves onc~ again China is not escalating the situation as some people said." . Alcantara said two Chinese vessels, namely the CMS 75 and 84,have not been seen in the area but may only be refueling or reloading supplies. "The Coast Guard did not see the eMS 75 and CMS 84. We believe those ships are refueling or re-provisioning or getting supplies probably bad home. in South China, Hainan or probably they' have a refueling ship somewhere else," he said. Alcantara said the Chinese ships - although civilian - may be armed. He stressed they would not prevent Filipino fisherman frorr\. sailing to the shoal, which is rich in marine resources. . . . ~. "Our fishermen from Zambales andPanL gasinan can do their normal thing. The Coast Guard and the Philippine Navy can take care of them," he said.
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Determined
Although outgunned and ~utnum~ , bered Filipino soldiers and sailors are prepa~ed to defend the Panatag Shoal. "We would not let them conquer Panatag Shoal," Alcantara told reporters. , "While we are for the peace~l resol':ltion' of the standoff through dlpl~ma~c channels, your military is also d~}1ng Its share in ensuring and safeguardmg out, territorial integrity," Alcantara s~id. "Our mission is to take care of our tern tory and assert our sovereignty." .. .' He also stressed that the military will not rely on the United States or on any other country for help in the event of armed hostilities. . . "Modest as it is, our preparation ISnot anchored for support corning from .a~y country. The Armed Forces of the Phtl1I?pines and the government as a :whole IS prepared. Ithink we can handle It (stanc+ off) on our own," he added.. t He said that while his command ha~ not raised its alert status, it is giving "sp~ cial attention" to the standoff. : Earlier, Western Command commander Lt. Gen. Juancho Sabban declared t~alt Filipino soldier~ would figh~, even machete and knives, any foreign attacke. The standoff began on April 10 whe two large Chinese vesse~s prevented crew of Filipino warship H.RP Greg~

-Aussie captiv e ailing" -Po.·J.1i.~ce.
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ZAMBOANGA CITY _ An Australian national held captive by the Abu Sayyaf in the jungles of Basilan has reportedly fallen HI and needed medication, a poIke official said yesterday. .' . Chief Superintendent Napole~n Estilles, Region 9 police director, said they have received intelligence reports about the failing condition of Warren RichdR d 11 56 who has been moved ;:equ~nt~\y his captors in Sumisip . and Lantawantowns to elude pursumg

go;:ernment tr?o~s. .. ., . We ahr€vehnfy~nt? th~se. mktelhdgebn~e . reports t at t : victim IS}lC ,.an ' e.ll~g. relocated by hIS captors, Est~lles ~al~. -, ' Rod:--'e.Il,a former A~strahansol~let, ' as seIze~ by ~even armed me.n from ,',' hIS home ill Ipil, Zambo.anga SI~ugay , and was b~~u.ght to Basilan, He IS married to a Fll}pIr:a. ' ... ' "-.- ' Rodwell s kidnappers initially dernanded ~2-million ransom, but· later _ reduced It to $23,000. . -.Roel Pareno

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Military talks tough on Scarborough
BY VICTOR REYES

IN what could the boldest statement so far issued against China, a military commander yesterday said they will not allow the Chinese to occupy Scarborough Shoal at the West Philippine Sea (South China Sea), which is about 124 nautical miles off Zambales and is being claimed by China as part of its territory, "They cannot conquer Scarborough Shoal," said Lt. Gen. Anthony Alcantara, AFP Northern Luzon Command chief, said at the Nolcom headquarters in Tarlac City. At the Department of Poreign Affairs,

spokesman Undersecretary Raul Hernandez said the Philippines will formally extend to China an invitation to diplomatically settle the dispute before the International Tribunal on the Laws of the Seas (ITLOS), despite Beijing's rejection of the proposal. He said the diplomatic communication will be sent to China within the week, either through their embassy here or the Philippine embassy in Beijing. . Alcantara, in a briefing with media for the first time since the standoff at the Scarborough Shoal on April 10, also said the military hasput in place contingency measures, in line with a directive of the Department of -6-

National Defense "to take care of our OWn territory, assert our sovereignty in the Scarborough Shoal." "It's a categorical statement that we are prepared," said Alcantara when asked if China occupies the shoal which China calls Huangyan Island. There are two Philippine ships stationed at the shoal, locally called Panatag Shoal and Baja de Masinloc. One ship is the Coast Guard's BRP Parnpanga which replaced BRP EdsaDos last Mondav. The other is the MCS 3006 of the Bureali of Fisheries and

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The ship triggered the standoff when it acdiscussions are made and agreements also forged that they would be factually concosted eight Chinese fishing boats who were veyed to the headquarters in Beijing," he poaching at the shoal. It tried to arrest the vesAquatic Resources, which arrived like the said, apparently alluding to Chinese ambassels but was prevented by two Chinese ships. BRP Pampanga. sador Ma Keqing's "misleading" informaThe Navy ship was pulled out days later On the Chinese side, there are seven - a Chinese maritime surveillance vessel, a tion about her meeting with Del Rosario last and replaced with a Coast Guard ship. "All those things are plans, we can (send fisheries law enforcement command (FLEC) , week, which was relayed to China. Among these was that Ma reportedly re- back the ship) .. .I cannot say it's on standby. vessel, and five fishing boats. layed to China that the Philippi.nes has agreed We have what we call pre-positioning, all Alcantara said the FLEC could not be to pull out its ship from the shoal, when there contingency plans are there," he said. located Monday but it could be just in the -as no such agreement to this effect. vicinity, Yesterday, the FLEC was about Hernandez said five fishing vessels and ATROCITIES eight nautical miles from theshoal. The two of China's ships are still in the lagoon. FLEC arrived at the shoal last Saturday. "Yuzheng 310" fisheries patrol ship, considAlcantara said they have recorded a "It was just in the area, going around. We number of atrocities committed bv China ered its most advanced fisheries ship, and just did not see them (earlier). It 'went out in the disputed area. These includ~ the haof our sight at some point. But one thing . the Chinese surveillance ship which was rassment of the l'vIY Sarangani which was originally spotted in the area. is certain, they are there now and it looks Hernandez also pointed out that the Chi- commissioned bv the National Museum to like they are bent on staying around in the nese embassy was not beingtruthful when conduct archeological survey at the shoal. area," said Alcantara. it claimed that their vessels have already left Alcantara said the MY Sarangani, carrying He refuted China's statement that only nine French archeologists, nine Filipino and only one is stationed there. one Chinese ship is at the shoal. "We are not museum officials, and six crew men, was doubting them. What we are telling them is 'FACTUAL REALITY' "challenged" by a Chinese maritime surveilthey are not telling the truth," he said, stresslance ship last April 14. He said the ship ing that two Chinese ships are in the area. Embassy spokesman Zhang Hua said Mon- had been there long before the standoff. Alcantara said they "assume" the Chinese day night that China already pulled out two ~1Y Sarangani left the shoal a week later. ships are armed, just like the Coast Guard of its vessels from the shoal. Asked what the military is doing to preship. "Our Coast Guard carry small arms. "That's the problem. The statements that vent Similar harassment Incidents, AlcanThe Chinese, we don't know (but we think) tara said: "We are trying to maintain our should be coming from the Chinese embasthey are (armed)." sv should reflect what is really happening 'presence right now, especially our Coast He also said the Chinese ships keep in the area and should be' consistent with Guard ... depending on the situation, we changing position. can re-align other boats, ,. Asked if they are expecting further ag the factual reality in the area. We would Pressed what would they do if the Chinese like this to happen also in the reporting to gression from China at the shoal, Alcantara keep on harassing Filipino ships in the area, said, "We are prepared. \Vhatever the ag- the headquarters in Beijing that whatever Alcantara said without elaborating: "I supagreements or non agreements or whatever gression is. .. whatever they are thinking discussions that are happening here in Ma- posed our Coast Guard knows what they or whatever they are doing, we are also nila should be reflected and conveyed to would (do). We have what we call rules of enpreparing our share to do our task and take gagement in the sea. 111ey know what to do." the ministry in Beijing factually. That would care of our own territory." Alcantara declined to comment on Chi- help in the negotiation," said Hernandez. "If thev really want to de-escalate and enWHAT TO DO na's refusal to settle the dispute before the sure that' there are only few vessels then betITLOS, but said the military is supporting President Aquino said the Philippines is not ter tell those vessels to leave," he added. moves for a peaceful solution. trying to escalate tension at the Scarborough "1 think the desire of the Philippine Shoal, but he would not just sit down and do MILITARY MIGHT government is for a peaceful settlement of nothing to defend the country's patrimony. the conflict and that's what we are hoping He said the world has to know what is Alcantara said the military's contingency for," he said. measures are not dependent on any help that happening. At the book launch of the People's Power might be given by the US or any other country, WRONG INFORMATION olunteers for Reform in Greenhills in San "Our preparations are not anchored on any support from any other country. But I can as- Juan, Aquino was asked about his governHernandez, at a briefing at the DFA, ment's stand amid the bullying by China. sure you that your Arrned Forces is prepared. declined to comment when asked for the His reply was, "Ang pinaka-sandata natin The Philippine government is prepared and I government's next move in case China think we can handle it on our own," he said. po dito, ay malarnan 11gbuong mundo kung would refuse the invitation. "Let's wait for ano ang ginagawa natin dahil marami ho siTold of the MP's inferiority compared a response," he said. lang relasyon sa iba't-ibang bansa sa mundo, to China's military, Alcantara said: "We will He said the DFA have yet to receive any na mapapag-islp iyung mga ibang bansa rin manage with what capability we have now. formal communication from China about naman kung ganito tayo tlnatrato, sila'y And also, we have the courage." the proposal to go to ITLOS. kasing-Iaki natin 0 mas maliit sa atin, baka Alcantara said the contingency measures "We would like to resume the negotiations, but if we want these negotiations to include the return of the Navy's BRP Gre- dumating ang panahon na ganoon din ang pagtrato sa kanila, "he said. _ W£thEvangeline gorio del Pilar, a Hamilton class cutter ship resume, we would like to be confident de Vera and Jocelyn Montemayor acquired last year from US. that whatever happens here and whatever

MILITARY

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Philippines Tarns Neighbors .Against China Aggressi on
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By AFP and AP

President Benigno S. Aquino III warned neighbors in Southeast Asia yesterday they should fear Beijing's growing aggressiveness over its claims in the West Philippine Sea (South China Sea). Aquino stressed China's territorial claims spanned a huge area and were getting "closer and closer" to

the Philippine archipelago. "They (the Chinese) claim this entire body of water practically. Look. at what is excluded and what they are claiming," Aquino told reporters as he pointed to a map of the area. "So how can the others not be fearful of what is transpiring?" Aquino's comments came shortly after the government said it would raise an increasingly tense dispute with China over the Baja de Masin-

lac (also referred to as Panatag or Scarborough Shoal) at a high-level bilateral meeting with the United States next week. Manila and Beijing have been locked in a standoff over Scarborough, a group of islands in the West Philippine Sea, since Chinese vessels blocked Philippine attempts to arrest eight Chinese fishing ·boats' crews earlier this month.
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Philippines Warns. ..
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cial Xinhua News Agency. Aquino said Bajo de Masinloc is Facing a media forum for the first within the philippines' internationally time since the start of the standoff over recognized exclusive economic zone the Panatag Shoal, Northern Luzon and questioned China's historical baCommand (NoICom) chief, Lt. Gen. , ! sis for its claim. . Anthony Alcantara, accused China of "It's like (their claims) are getting "not telling the truth" when it claimed closer and closer" to shore, the Presiit has withdrawn two of its ships from dent said. ' the area. Contrary to this, he noted The shoal is about 230 kilometers there are at present seven Chinese from the Philippines' main island of vessels at the disputed shoal. Luzon, while the nearest Chinese land The Department of Foreign Affairs mass is Haman province 1,200 kilome(DFA) supported Alcantara's statetersto the northwest, Philippine naval ment, saying seven Chinese vessels maps show. were actually spotted Monday carryEchoing Aquino's sentiments, ing out destructive fishing methods the Department of Foreign Affairs inside the lagoon of the disputed Bajo (bFA) said China's sweeping territode Masinloc. ' rial claims may eventually threaten DFA spokesperson Raul Hernanfreedom of navigation in the busy region and called on Western and Asian .dez, citing Philippine Coast Guard reports, said two government vessels countries to take a stand against any from China and another Chinese sursuch potential threat. veillance ship have been monitored in China's aggressive actions at the the area for quite some time now; shoal - including ordering ships to In contrast, the Philippine side leave and flying a Chinese plane low only has BRP Pampanga stationed over (me of them - show w-hat it could in the vicinity to monitor the developdo to the rest of the South China Sea, ments, assert the country's territorial which Beijing claims virtually in its rights and protect the marine resourcentirety, said DFA Spokesman Raul Hernandez. ' es there. On China's statement that it has Chinese surveillance ships have withdrawn two of its ships from the told a lone Philippine coast guard vesshoal, Alcantara said, "We, 'are not sel to leave the uninhabited but redoubting their claims, we are telling source-rich shoal, which lies between them they are not telling the truth," the northwestern Philippines and the Citing reports from the PCG, AlSouth China Sea, saying China has cantara said that as of 8 p.m. Monday sovereignty over the area. The Filipithe Chinese Marine Surveillance Ves,, no vessel has refused to leave, saying sel 71 was spotted 11 nautical miles it is Philippine territory. southeast of the location of BRP PamOnly one Chinese surveillance ship panga, the Coast Guard vessel posiremained in the area after two others tioned in the area. pulled out on Sunday, a spokesman for China's Fisheries Law Enforce, the Chinese Embassy in Manila was ' ment Control (FLEe) vessel 310, on quoted as saying Monday by the offi-

the other hand, was spotted about eight nautical miles southeast of the shoal. . Alcantara added there were also two small Chinese fishing boats inside and three Chinese fishing vessels outside the shoal. He added that the locations of two other Chinese surveillance ships, the CMS 84 and CMS 75, are not known. "Most likely nandun lang yun nagiikot lang, out of sight at some point in time, But one thing is certain they are , there now and looks like they are bent to stay in the area," Alcantara said. On April 30, the "2, + 2'" meeting of , D~'A Secretary Albert del Rosario and . Defense Secretary Voltaire Gazmill with their, respective counterparts in the United States, Secretary of State Hillary 'Clinton and Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta, unfolds in WashingtonD.C. While it comes at a critical point in the on-going diplomatic stalemate between Manila and Beijing, Hernandez said the meeting' has been scheduled long before the stand-off erupted, "I don't think: it should be (considered) . as (a move) to aggravate the situation," he said. "I don't know what ' role the US can play. But I believe, the US is also concerned about what is happening ...about freedom of navigation and freedom of commerce (in the region) which can be affected because of what China is doing there." Del .Rosario, who just returned from weekend trip 'to the US capital, is all set to formally seek the assistance and cooperation of the, US to achieve, at the very least, a "minimum credible defense posture" which is a fundamental attribute of any sovereign country. <With reports from Roy C. Mabasa, Elena L. Aben, Mario B. Casayuran, Genalyn D. Kabiling, and Ben R. Rosario)

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WITHDRAWAL FROM Al

tries "through friendly diplomatic consultations."

Despite its military might, China won't be able to "conquer" the nal on the Law of the Sea (Itlos). reporting to Beijing," Hernandez said. Panatag (Scarborough) Shoal because The invitation will be filed within "Whatever agreements that are the Armed Forces of the Philippines the week both in Beijing and at the talked about here in Manila should (AFP) will not allow it, according to Chinese embassy in Manila. be conveyed to the ministry [of forL1.Cen. Anthony Alcantara, chief of Del Rosario has earlier invited eign affairs in China] to help even the military's Northern Luzon ComBeijing to seek international arbitra[out] negotiations," he added. mand (Nolcom). . tion regarding the Scarborough The DFAofficial said that responses "We will not allow that to happen, Shoal issue, but the Asian economic from Beijing are different from what they cannot conquer Scarborough powerhouse rejected the proposal, are being discussed in Manila beShoal. It's a categorical statement that It has been a week since talks between Foreign Affairs Secretary Albert we are prepared," he said as he liktween the two sides stalled, but del Rosario and Chinese Ambassador ened the APP to David, the biblical Hernandez said that the department to the Philippines Ma Keqing. character who toppled the giant would like a commitment from the "If they really want to de-escalate Goliath with his slingshot. Chinese Embassy here to submit ... better tell the [Chinese] vessels Alcantara explained that the misfactual reports to Beijing. to leave if that is what they [Chinese sion of the Nolcom and the rest of "We would like to resume negoembassy] are telling the media," the armed forces is to defend the tiations. But if we want these negotiaHernadez added. country and assert it's sovereignty. tions to resume, we would like to be He cited reports from the PhilipHe gave assurances that the APP, confident' that what happens here, pine Coast Guard that the Chinese despite its limited resources, is althey would convey to their headquarfishing vessels were involved in ways ready protect the country. ters in Beijing," he added. trawling, a destructive type of fishAccording to Alcantara, the situ"If the meetings resume, we want ing that drags the net along the sea ation in Panatag remains "stable" the Chinese embassy here to conbottom and damages corals and but Chinese sur-veillance vessels and vey the actual demands or. agreeother marine species. a Philippine Coast Guard ship conments that could be undertaken or Even if Chinese fishermen have tinue to watch each other's moves. here in Manila to been poaching in Philippine waters, . discussions The Nolcorn chief, however, said Beijing," Hernandez said. the Coast Guard has not apprethat the military can't just rely on solIn a statement on late Monday, hended them or confiscated the ildiers' bravery alone since there is a Chinese embassy spokesman Zhang legally harvested marine life. pressing need to modernize the Hua said that the Chinese Fishery "As of this point, BRP Pampanga is Armed Forces. Administration Ship "Yuzheng 310" just monitoring the activities of fishand one of the two Chinese mari- . . Butjustthesame, Alcantra noted that ing vessels there. The mandate is to government forces are monitoring the time surveillance ships with bow make sure they are able to protect our Chinese vessels and they know what to number 084 have already left the marine resources and also to assert our do should the tension escalates "based shoal, also called Bajo de Masinloc sovereign rights on the area," he said. on the rule of engagement in the sea." by the Philippines and Huangyan The Coast Guard has been moniHe pointed out that preparaIsland by China. toring. taking photos and documenttions being made by the armed "The withdrawal of the two ships ing the situation in Scarborough Shoal, forces is not anchored on any supproves once again China is not esHernandez added. port from the United States or calating the situation as some Instead of filing another protest from any other country. people said, but de-escalating the against China's illegal fishing in the "But I can only assure you that .situation." he added. area, Hernandez said that the departyour armed forces is prepared, the Zhang maintained that Beijing is ment will formally invite Beijing to Philippine government is prepared ready to settle the latest territorial resolve the issue before the United and I think we can handle it on our row between the neighboring counNations-backed International Tribu-

WHATWITHDRAWAL?

They can't conquer Panatag

own," Alcantara said. Alcantara also dismissed earlier claims by the Chinese that theirsurveillance ships have already left Panatag. Based on reports of the Northern force, he said that the two Chinesse ships, along with two small boats, are still within the shoal. Three other Chinese fishing boats were also spotted not far from the disputed area .. President Benigno Aquino 3rd has ordered the Coast Guard to maintain its presence in the shoal. Mr. Aquino said that Vice Admiral Edmund Tan, Philippine Coast Guard commandant, reported that no untoward incident has so far occurred in the Panatag Shoal .. The President expressed hopes that the dispute will be settled through peaceful, diplomatic means. Meanwhile, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Liu Weimin slammed Manila's calIon other nations to take a stand against China because of the lingering dispute. In a news article in China. Daily, Liu said that the issue concerns China's sovereignty and that "the stance of the Chinese government on safeguarding its territory and sovereignty is clear and firm." "Urging other countries to take sides on the territorial issue will do nothing butcomplicate the dispute arid intensify the situation, and it means nothing to an appropriate solution of the current situation," he added. Del Rosario earlier called on the international community to take a stand on the territorial dispute. He will also discuss the issue during top-level talks in Washington on April 30. .

Stay pu~

No third party

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By EDU PUNAY .

The 4,915.75-hectare Hacienda Luisita in Tarlac will be distributed among the 6,296 farm worker-beneficiaries of the sugar estate after the Supreme Court (SC) affirmed yesterday its ruling in November last year ordering the land distribution. .
SC spokesman Jose Midas Marquez re- .upheld the validity of an order of the Presileased the promulgated decision, which is dentialAgrarian Reform Councilin December being circulated for signature of the justices. 2005 to recall the stock distribution plan of HLI The SC is holding its summer session in Ba- .and place the land under compulsory coverguio City. . age of the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform. It was not clear whether the ruling was Program. already final as it was issued before the Office Voting 8-6, the S~ justices pegged the just of the Solicitor General (OSG) could comment compensation of the Cojuangco-controlled on the appeal of Hacienda Luisita Inc. (HLI). HLI on the fair market value of the land in At Malacaftang, deputy presidential November 1989. This valuation came from spokesperson Abigail VaIte said they would the opinion of ,Chief Justice Renata Corona, defer to the OSG and the Department of who alleged that his stand on the Hacienda Agrarian Reform (DAR), . Luisita case had triggered his impeaclunent. "We have not read the decision itself," she Seven justices concurred with Corona's posaid. sition: Associate Justices Presbitero Velasco Jr., ~ In November last year, the st unanimously Turn to Page 14 De los Reves said DAR However, Hl.I lawver TOlW Teresita Leonard-de l_'c1stru, would.need tc; secure and rclLigon said only DAR' and th-e Arturo Brion, Roberto Abud view available financial stateI, Land Bank of the Philippines Jose Perez. Jose Ml'IIClu/.d d: Id ments related to Hacienda Luwould bl' able to come up with Martin ViIIMiJl~1'L isita so they could undertake lthe exact figure. . Marquez told rl'pUlk!'c, till' land valuation. Six other justices ~ AssociSC did not cite a spccitic \',1 iUl' (ll :'We will be extending ini ate Justices Lucas Bersamin. the Janel. However, report- S,l id tensified support services in Diosdado Peralta, Mariano del Hacienda Luisita was \\'t rll1 the area so that the task of Castillo, Ma. Lourdes Sereno. P40,OOO per hectare in ]'JKc) land valuation in the area can IBienvenido Reyes and Estela I The majority voted ttl dis be accomplished, and land t Perlas-Bem abc> held that the miss the motion for clarific.i i distribution afterwards can be tion and -reconsideratiuu (1f done," he said. valuation should be left to HLI, which sought to base tlw They will check the identiDAR tor proper determination. amount of just compensation ties ofthe beneficiaries based AgrMi,m Rl'tnrm Secntnrv on the value of land at the time on their] 9891ist, he added. .\ irf,ilil) de Ius Reyes said th·;' of the DAR's issuance of notice Ligon said Hacienda Luisita ,1 rv 1L'.ld v to distribute Hacienof coverage on Jan. 2, 2006. will abide by the decision and d,l Luisita to till' farm workers, The HLI had reportedlyshall do whatever is required "Wl' will do it (distribution) wanted P5 billion in compen- _ immediately." he said. "Again, ----~------------------___, . 1!!F Isation. VI •• ",a;:;vr rnCl'\nMT \"nlC we just hav l' to conduct (lCU- ~pa_hpa@yahoo.com - Tel no. (02) 892-1693, Local: 5287, 5295 \.11" inspection of the subject --------ln n dhold i ng, and valuation ,.ftl'rv,'ard ." -12-

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HOI~a~3n <uid 1'1,:;l~S and I:>c '11"l"t' positive ily, the COJ1.~il;;gco-Aguin()s,'· . Sl,'n. Crcgul'io yesterday about it." he said. Honasan,congressionalcomHonasan said it is abou! "Land distribution must start LIS soon as possible. Lu- mittec on agrarian reform chair- time that Aquino pursues his man, said the administration is mother's legacy. ixita tanner-beneficiaries have "It's about time that it benwaited too long and hav« sllt- left with no choice but to follow cfits national development, not tercel L'nollgh in their str'lIgg1e and implement the SC ruling. "We (should) follow the rul- . only the farmers," he said, addto own the lands they till. The ing and we hope that this will ing the winners were the people. Cojuangco-Aquinos do not set the tone for the-completion "We cannot deal with the deserve to be compensated. of the program within two. qu alitative or quantitative For the past fi v e decades. vears." he said. aspects, the highest court in they maintained illegal and - It was during Honasan's the land (has ruled so) let's immoral control of Hacienda SC decision hailed follow it." l.uisita and enriched their clan watch as Senate committee on agrmian reform 'chairman Military to stop. Fa rrncr-beneficiaries of H1\- at the expense of poor haci. cienda Luisita have hailed the cnda farmers and sugar mill wh e n the Corn p rchens ive Agrarian Reform Program ex- exploitation of ruling . workers." . SC decision. "Bukas Ilt) bukn; tension with reforms (CARPer) Meanwhile. the military Anita Flores, a farmer and ny I1!tlg-lI['lll1pisl7 11[1 ilol1lillg was passed into law. vowed yesterday to stop any member of AMBALA, told Ina8/11/l/gIl111 (Tomorrow we CARPer extended the fundarm~~ gr~up from eXl?loitiri.~ reporters that they 'are happy will start tilling the land)," ing for land acquisition and the SC ruling to sow disorder. with the SC decision. said Felix Nakpil [r., Alvansa with compulsory Lt. Col. Ernesto Torres Jr., "It \'\'ClS a long battle," she distribution ng Magbubukid sa Gitnang Army 3rd Mechanized BartalL uzon-affi lia te Al y ansa ng said. "We are very hopeful that acquisition. Honasan shrugged off spec- i?n chief, said it is a possibilmanagement of theHacienda Magbubukid sa Asyenda LlIity that some groups would Luisita will respect the SC's ulations that the SC handed isita (AMBALA) chairman. dowri. the ruling as political exploit the issue. 1 decision." . Anak p a w is Rep. Rafael leverage against the Chief "We are prepared 'for any Mariano lauded the decision, 'Aquino should Executive, whose family owns eventuality," he said. "We will "This is a hard-fought, wellaccept decision' the vast Hacienda Luisita, support the police in maintaindeserved victorv for thousands "Let us not impute partisan, ing peace and order." ~ With President Aquino should of farmer-beneficiaries of Hacipolitical motives (that might Aurea Calica, Rhodina Vilnow accept the SC decision, enda Luisita who determinedlanueva, Alexis Romero.Chrisand start implementing the full be a) reaction (to the) Supreme ly pursued with their just fight Court or the Chief Justice," he tina Mendez.Artemio D,hmlaot to recover the lands from the legacy of his .mother, former said. "Let us look at it on the Ding Cervantes, Ric Sapnu President Corazon Aquino, President's land-grabber farn-

of them "We that the ultimate

by the law. have alwavs believed purpose (;f the Jaw is justice and equal rule fur t'Y.l'rYOl1e," he said. "TIll' applicnrion \If law in this ('<:1St' is no exception. H Ll \\'iIJ abide by the SC ruling. \OW l1i1\'V no aver-jon to land distribution. We VI/ill be ready to C()\)pl'ratt' <'IS to tIll' implementation 01' till' IIrde r."

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" 'The Philippines yesterday ~siined a document containing the 'deeision points on principles with 'fh'~' Islamic Liberation Front Moro "'(M:JLF),a "preliminary listing of ti:iilirimonpoints" between the two .parties that is expected to spur '~f{e eventual signing of a final peace agreement. Speaking at the 27th formal 'exploratory talks in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia which ended yesterday, Government of the Philippines CGPH) chief , negotiator Marvic Leonen said 'ill.ll peace process "has made a "tt.'aJor step forward with the ...... ~ :and signing of the that can replace the Autonomous decision points on principles Region in Muslim Mindanao mutually id entified by the (ARMM), among others. Philippines and the MILF which "The autonomous political provides a new level of entity, envisioned is a secular momentum if I the negotiations." political unit, existing within the Leonen explained that the Republic of the Philippines, . listing of coimmon points came .located within its territory and 'from the panels' respective subject to its sovereignty as a initial points - the February State," Leonen stated. 2011 Bevis-ed Comprehensive He als o. said that the Compact O!r the MILF and the government of that new political August 2011 "three-for-one" entity "shall also ensure proposal elf the GPH. guarantees of human rights and The GPH panel chair said the . liberties for its inhabitants, such listing contains initial points of as religious freedom, the right of agreement such as- power and women to meaningful political resources sharing and the creation participation and freedom from of an autonomous po)itical entity ethnic, religious or sectarian
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harassment, in addition to rights already enjoyed." Both panels also agreed that the people should be actively engaged in "determining the role of Shariah courts and the Islamic principles of justice and fairness in the region to promote the efficient administration of justice. " But Leonen clarified that "this document is not yet the final peace agreement between the CGPH and the MILF)." He added that as both parties signed the document, "they . mutually recognize that there are various outstanding issues that still require further discussions

in Mindanao. "Today, we move between panels and more forward with a healthy amount difficult decisions for their of optimism. tempered. by principals. The outstanding prudence, recognizing the need issues and the common points now, more than ever, to be will be contextualized in the guided by lessons from the past final pea-ce pact." and the needs of our people on Leonen explained that putting the ground." ., the decision points into writing and opening them.for the public Leonen said "we look forward to see, discuss and debate oil are . to the coming weeks of mote thorough (perhaps, more difficult) part of the government's conversations with the MILF and commitment "to maintain various affected sectors, with the transparency" and "to continue dialogues and consultations with understanding that only through peaceful and candid dialogues, affected sectors." open' and public consultations and He reiterated the continuous reflections can a government's high hopes and sincere, effective and acceptable relentless determination to solution be arrived at." pursue a just and lasting peace

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Some things don't mix
;OME.VALUABLE truths underlie Oplan Bayanithe Armed Forces of the Philippines' 16-monthild internal peace and security plan. Chief among hem are that the various insurgent groups in the lhilippines are unlikely to be beaten by force alone, hat better standards of living can curb the roots of he rebellions, and that the military could do more o "win the sentiment" of the general population. ~ut in translating these truths into" practice, somehing seems to have gotten warped along the way. "he AFP's practice of mixing soldiers with schools unply illustrates this misguidedness. 'hilippine law prohibits using schools for military iurposes. Yet in the past four months, I found as I 'isited schools from northern Luzon to Mindanao hat the AFP is using school grounds and classrooms s military bases and barracks, sometimes ternorarily but at times for half a year or longer. 'uch use of schools used to be driven by the soliers' convenience, as school buildings provided the afety and comfort of solid walls and dry roofs. But acreasingly the presence of troops on school proptty or nearby is being justified on the grounds of roviding development projects to the schools and ieir communities. This is because Oplan Bayanian expands the AFP's role beyond its constitutional land are of protecting the nation's sovereignty and srritorial integrity, to take on a "support role in the arion-building efforts of the national governlent," under the guise of peace and development. Vhen I visited Sadanga High School in Mountain rovince in the Cordillera, the soldiers encamped n the school's land and an adjacent plot had proided free labor to construct a nice little clinic for ie school's nurse. A sergeant at the school concedj that their presence on school grounds was igainst the law," but said it was justified by the stance to the school and because it was "with con-nt' of local officials. 1 Davao City, soldiers from the 69th Infantry BattalIncamped across the road from Paradise Embac Elian,

COMMENTARY

Bede Sheppard
ementary School put up a sign to declare that their distribution of books and maintenance assistance was part of an 'Adopt a School Program," Not all of the local community appear to have returned the embrace. Two city councilors, including the chair of the council's committee on education, sponsored a resolution calling on the detachment to leave. At Nagaan Elementary School in Cotabato in Mindanao, a teacher described to me the repairs carried out by soldiers to classrooms in 2011 as "one of the few good things that have come out of this conflict." But she questioned why the troops had continued to sleep in some of the school's classrooms and in . the teachers' housing for another seven months after completing the repairs, all the while accruing an electricity bill that the school felt "too shy" to ask the soldiers to pay. Understandably, some principals appreciate any assistance that comes their way. But few of the principals I interviewed felt they had any power to oppose the troops' presence or even their choice of projects. This lack of civilian control belies the claim that such projects are providing any sustainable development assistance. If the government wants to increase development assistance to remote under-served communities, that is to be applauded. But it is important to remember that there are already government agencies that are supposed to be carrying out these functions, and that have the capacity, skills, and experience to do them more effectively, more efficiently, and more safely. If schools need repairs, the Department of Education should be responsible. If a rural community needs a medical mission, it is the De-

as-

partment of Health's job. If census informati needs to be collected, that is the specialty of the ~ tional Statistics Office. And around the country; p ents, teachers, students, and community memb successfully manage to sweep away the cobwr for the annual brigada escueia, without the help . armed men. . If an area is so dangerous that the regular civili government structures cannot safely provide thr services, then the last thing students need is for s diers to attract this insecurity to their schr grounds. Schools should be a protected space for childn where the government's sole priority should be E suringthat children receive a quality education. ' the presence of soldiers endangers students a teachers and disrupts leaming. In. choosing th targets, the insurgent groups might not distingui between soldiers about to go on patrol and the tending a school vegetable garden. Teachers tc me they worried about how students often inters with the soldiers, including handling thl weapons. Teachers also expressed concerns abo the soldiers sending students to run errands for t detachment, and drinking alcohol, making 101 noises, and keeping pornography on schc grounds. Civilian-military projects motivated by a desire enhance appreciation or the armed forces as part an internal security plan are inherently motivan by a strategic military purpose. Military deplo ments in, or near; schools should not be part ofth plan. Simply respecting the law would be an ea first step if the Philippine armed forces are tru concerned with winning the respect of their fello citizens.

Bede Sheppard is a senior children's rights research at Human Rights Watch. He has investigated milita use of schools in the Philippines, Thailand, India, cr Yemen.

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A PH-US joint military operation
.. AST week,' an unspecified Lrnumber of armed men of undetermined nationality took over an oil/gas platform about 18 kilometers-some say it's 30 nautical miles-off the western coast of EI Nido in Palawan. It was an attack on Philippine territorial sovereignty that also jeopardized the operations of the Malampaya Gas Field, a major source of energy fat Luzon. Within hours, an elite team from the Force Recon Battalion of the Philippine Marines and an-. other from the Marine Expeditionary Unit of the Marine Forces Pacific were dispatched to neutralize the threat. ' It was a hostage-taking; the .mission was to retake-.tpe,platform and free the captives: . ". The Whidbey Island-class USS Tortuga hulked' at a distance as speedboats and a multipurpose assault craft from the Philippine Marines sped towards the platform. The US Marines dropped down via helicopters. " The little-known operation took all of about 2·3 hours on a searing summer day. Shots were not fired nor were there explosions as the assault team battled valiantly to retake control of the platform. In the end, Philippine and US Marine top brass .patted each' other on the back fOEa job well done by their boys. The elite: 60man force had recovered the 'platform according to plan; there were no casualties. , Of course, it was.only a drill.to 'make sure Philippine and US MaTines are able to operate .seamlessly should the need arise.' That would explain the ease at which the mission was accornpIished. But it was a. well-executed exercise nonetheless.

JOHNNA VI LLAVI RAY'GIOLAGON
The retake of a hostaged oil, and gas platform is innovation introduced in the annual Balikatan e~ercise between the 'Philippine and US militaries. Western Command chief L1. Gen. Iuancho Sabban says there .isa need to train for this scenario considering the' existence ofvarious threats that could jeopardize. the oil and gas rigs sitting just off the coast of Palawan. ' Sabban has been vocal against 'intrusions by Chinese vessels into

an

Philippine waters, but this time After ail, Philippine authoriregulate the mobility of vessels he is coy about directly linking ties have been warning everyone from fellow claimants. This is a the threat posed by China and the in theregion of China's intensi' primary source of immediate tenCOPlat exercise or Balikatan. fying assertion of authority over sion in the Spratlys. , He says China shouldn't be 'waters where Beijing has none. But the belief that China; as alarmed' by Balikatan since the Vietnam, with her own marlshe continues to grow in ecoexercises-something which the time dispute with China, acnomic and military power, Philippines has been doing with knowledges the danger as much would eventually go a step or the US for ID'J,ny years-never as the United States. Secretary of two beyond is never too deep mentioned China as an aggressor .State Hillary Clinton even dedown in the subconscious of in their planning or in the execu-clared in 2010 that the peaceful concernedgovernments. tion of the drills. " resolution of the territorial conBeijing is.aware of those fears. US Marine Forces Pacific com" ' .flicts and thefreedom of naviga'As the Philippine and US aumander Lt.Gen,DwaineThiessen ' , tion in the South China Sea were thorities have been saying, seconds that the capability to ex"' in the US nationalinterest. Balikatan is aimed at enhancing pel.invaders from or conduct resThe West Philippine Sea is an ' , the Interoperabil ity of both cue missions in oil and, gas plat-. important trading route used by their militaries. No particular forms is a "responsible" compe"' ships bringing goods from as far threat from a nelghboring countence to enhance. 'asthe Indian Ocean to the West try is in mind. But, he stresses, "the linkage. .Coast of th~ LIS. Iffree passage i~ ,Very well. Let's just ignore the (to the Chinese threat) that you're restricted, so is the trafficin mer- .. elephant in the room for ~sJOJlg looking for is not there,", chandise and the hearth of an . as we don't need toIrivoke the Perhaps it isn't. But one can't economy is imperiled. ' . PH-US Mutual Defense Treaty. help but speculate toward that So far, China has only been end, especially not Beijing. concerning itself with trying to johnnavg@hotmail.cgm

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the death our sovereignty over the Scarborough Shoal and other islands or rocks, as the case may be, which are considered part of the country by historic right dr" actual occupation, We should never waiver in our resolve to ensure that our territory is intact and recognized by the international community do so. But in the same IYr'eath we must not let our exuberance get the better of us. ~ should not go to such lengths as to expose our enthusiasm &3innwarranted saber rattling. Or, worse, an empty bluff. Which is why we urge P-Noyand other responsible officials to slow down and lower the decibel of their statements if, as they said, they are really looking at a diplomatic solution to the standoff in Scarborough. Restraint not taunting is the name ofthe game here unless they have other things in mind. I think we have made our point loud and clear on the 13th day of this standoff. There is rio need to exacerbate the situation by issuing all kinds of inflammatory statements which China and our Asean colleagues may misconstrue as intransigence. .," Take that advice of Western Command chief Lt, Gen. Juancho Sabban while ·in a joint press conference with US Mannes Commander for the Pacific Lt. Gen. Duanne Thiessen at the start 8f·llheannual RP-USBalikatan exercises. Sabban was quoted as haVing said that "the Philippine military will fight the Chinese even if they will have to use knives and swords" in case the country is attacked by Beiilngaddlng that "as soldiers, we will stand by as what the national leaders say;" There is no question than Sabban, a decorated soldier, will stand by his word. 'But was there need for him to say these things at all and in the presence of his US counterpart at that? I don't think so. It is this kind of misplaced hravado which can be misconstrued as an invitation to something else by Beijing hardliners that will surely bring us closer to the brink. We do not need that kind of gung ho StIl\nce right now. What' we need precisely is to lower the temperature and let quiet diplomacy to defuse the situation. ·J~''Whichis what we urge Foreign Mfairs Secretary Alberto del Rosario todo as well: The good secretary should set the example and really let teal diplomacy, not double talk, set in. It is not enough for him and P-Noyto say, for example, thatthis dispute. ........ . peeds to be settled soon.. ' ~ Weallwant that. But those soothing words should be accompanied by real, concrete efforts to do so. Not the kind of blast which del . Rosario reportedly said in the course of preparing forthe so-called ,"2Plus 2" meeting between him and Defense Secretary Voltaire Gazmin and their UScounterparts at the end of the month. . • In an unusually high strung statement presumably addressed to ~he international community del Rosario was quoted as having . ~aid: "The bigger picture Isthat anybody can be targeted. What's ~he message? The message is: I can set the rules for anybody... I think thf\ rllrrf~nt tandoff is a manifestation of a larger threat to s ~any nations, They should be concerned if they're interested in baintaining the freedom of navigation and unimpeded commerce." These are fighting words which is a rehash of the DFA's ;statement at the start of this impasse almost two weeks ago. [ :They do not have any place in theexchange at this point unless ;again, like Sabban, del Rosario has other things in mind in the :run up to his and Gazmin's meeting With US officials. Which is
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what the DFA now confirms with spokesman Raul Hernandez advising one and all that the Scarborough' Shoal was "not originally included in the agenda (of the "2 Plus 2" meeting) but Secretary del Rosario thought of apprising the USofwhat is happening at the Scarborough Shoal." That tack of bringing up this matter with the US for whatever reason while declining to discuss it bilaterally with the Chinese is certainly not in is keeping with the administration's public stance to "resolve the issue diplomatically." Why involve the US in what China and the rest of the Asean and even Vietnam on the question ofconi1icting claims? Precisely, it is the ~Iijection of the US more than our bringing the issue to the ITLoSwhich rankles China no end and which the rest of the Asean quite frankly believe is unnecessary. Otherwise, if that stance was acceptable at all to the rest of Asean then the just concluded ABean Summit in Cambodia would have readily adopted it. But no. What was issued was a perfunctory call for dialog and a reiteration ofthe "Code of Conduct in the South China Sean which the IG-member grouping and even China signed some years back. Finally, that can of Albay Gov.Joey Salceda for "Filipinos to boycott products made in China to show our resistance over their aggression at the Panatag (Scarborough) Shoal" is another misplaced show of resolve and exuberance. Unless Salceda is trying to be cute and that was said tongue-in-cheek, this kind of bravado is almost suicidal. I am sure Salceda knows boycotts can only have any effect if there are alternatives to what one is shelving. With Chinese products all over the place and defmitely patronized by the masses of our peoplewbo, unlike Salceda, have to make do with the meager shavings which come their way how can such a call succeed? Besides, will the Chinese ever mind some folks from say Albay or other parts not buying their products which as I said are already flooding our markets down to the last barangay? I don't think so. So, our officials better make up their minds. Ifthey really believe quiet diplomacy is really the key let it be done in as proper and responsible a manner possible. There isno point coming Qutwith all kinds of mindless blasts which can onlyboomerang on us. Weall know that the Chinese will not risk being seen as a bullyhere and an aggressor at that. It cannot afford being isolated even for the supposed riches which the sprinkling of islands along the South China (West Philippine Sea) from the Spratlys to Scarborough. I am sure they are also looking for ways to break out of this impasse apart from what the Philippine government has put onthe table. But let us be reminded that China will not mind bloodying us as they did the Vietnamese twice if only to show that as far as it is concerned China will stand up and t1exits muscles if absolutely necessary. But for now, I have no doubt theY are really trying to find ways, a kind of road map, to break the impasse. But to get to the point where such road map, if we may call it that, can be put on the table there must be a kind of moratorium of sorts for the parties to cool down their rhetoric and move toward a mutually acceptable arrangement. Mter all, as P-Noyand his boys must know by now, there is no way we can display our knives and swords for the world to know that 15 we are only playing around and bluffing. That is as worse or even more so than being bloodied somehow because we have incorrectly read the Chinese big time and ramped up our rhetoric to no avail.

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ast week revealed interesting footnotes to the ongoing standoff between the Philippines and China in waters claimed byboth countries. Withouta military power to match those of the Chinese,various patdotic fronts have initiated actions when government response to Chinese bullying seemed slow and nearly inutile and futile. From the start of his term, not a few would disagree that President Noynoy Aquinohad erred in appointing 77-yearold ;...Demingo Lee as Philippine Ambassador I to Beijing.Lee was named on the strength of his friendship with the Aquinos, especially the Chief Executive's father Benigno Jr., despite warnings from knowledgeable personalities in the diplomatic circles that doing so would only resultinourcontll1Uingdisastrousl'~lations with China when it was left by Lee's predecessor and Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo appointee Francisco Benedicta.· . During the few instances when Lee had come face-to-lace with some memhers of ·:the media, Lee had revealed his close relations with the Aquinos, especiallywith ·~Noynoy,Whocalls him tito (uncle). , ;;, Relations and affinities, however, no. , longer worked when, Chinese vessels figured III a standoff with the Philippine "N,aVY and subseq uently with police naval .:<l',atrol ships when Chinese fishermen were caught poaching in Philippine waters that were pari of the Panatag shoals, to wh,ichChina also lays claim, despite flaws in its historical possession. . The Philippines could beat China in international courts in proving that the I' Chinese have been encroaching into its territorial waters, like they do in other parts , ;of Sontheast Asia,which also put China into · ,cqnflict with fellowsociaJ.istVietnam. , Lee will no longer be re-appointed. IIHt'iO,ynoy is now on the lookout for a new 1 ,,~)1J.b!1ssador ho couId help defuse the w Panatag Shoal cnsis and avert what.could be a dangerousmjlitaryenco\illter.with thit; Chinese,which experts say is very unlikely. " Noynoy,of course, needs to avert an image dive as this.China crisis would load his critics with more munitions in their claim that he cannot effectively lead the country,hath ininternational and domestic affairs as the Philippines is also heading ,ol!to an economic tailspin. j,)" , There isthe growing dissatisfaction on 'i;~i!$leadership to arrest. Joblessness, the .rising cost of basic commodities and fuel prices, government neglect ofhealth and
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education sectors also add up to the daily chores' a N 0 Y n 0 yin g presidency cannot seem to solve. But the people's patriotic fervor would look beyond these chinks in Noynoy's previously shiny armor, and last week saw them spring into action. Mosteffective in Juan de la Cruz's non- after Akbayan did. [' military confrontation with the Chinese Theresult was somehow comic as these were efforts to smudge Important.and less- groups did not show the same fervor they important Chinese Web sites, which displayed a week beforewhen they stormed Filipino hackers were said to have the USEmbassy in Manila and defaced its bombarded with messages, some of them seal with paint and revolutionary slogans against the ongoing Balikatan military the Chinese would not like seeing. A few ·even went overboard, hurling exercises. In Makati, they chose the paved irwectivesand slogans bordering on racism streets as the unseen' canvas for their against Chinese and the Filipino-Chmese revolutionary murals. Perhaps they only showed respect to who have no relations, nor direct interests, in the ongoing standoff. . their longtime patron. The CPP-NPAhad But other Filipirioswere also unkind to looked at China since Jose Maria Sison . the organized masses who took some time broke away from the Lava family-led before they were spurred into denouncing Partido Komunista ng Pilipinas (PKPChina'sencroachment ofPhilippine waters. 1930),the original communist party which The Akbayan was relatively quick in had lost steer of the local revolutionary organizing a mass protest. Yet, it is movements even before its patron Soviet . expected to come to the fore of the anti- Union was dissolved. China protests as it is an integral part of It is perhaps tlus threat of further . the civil society backbone of Noynoy's isolation that no less than Sison came out administration, hichneededsuch an action to repudiate the Chinese ..In a report by w to dramatize the people's indignation of the IrllfUirm', SisoncalledChina'sclaim over China's highhardedness the Panatag Shoal as "absurd," adding Akbayan's action had also further China could not bank on history in claiming exposed the chasm between the clump of much of the South China Sea. groups belonging to the rejectionists/ Sison has called on "the Filipino people socialists/ moderate left and the ~re- and progressive forces (to) oppose what affirrnist" Maoist/ national democrats. may be deemed as incursions and what Social media networks have become a may appear as aggressivebehavior of China battleground among various groups, and it with regard to the territories belonging to was very revealing that this standoff had the Philippines." . shown the,,i~Q!f!.~iQJI., ;n~tionl,tl . He said: "China must not violate F,}~~ democrats (onth~,s.wt~ce) and.the Maoist Philippine national sovereignty and CommunistParty of the Philippines-New territorial integrity,theUN Convention on People's Army from the unorganized the Law offhe Sea and the Code of Conduct masses that these groups have long been it agreed to with the Asean." . trying to woo into joining their cause. Here's more:"Theapparently aggressive Questions on where they stand on the or assertive acts and words of China are in RP{Jllina impasse may have perhaps rung consonancewith its ownjremise ofnational ~95 sovereignty and territorial integrity as well --in their ears that Bayan Muna, a partyhst group whose leading officials were at one as with the bourgeois charactzer of the Chinese state that may indicate an time or another been linked to the Maoist movement, and other n~f.rlemgroups have imperialist tendency or ambitions." Now. thAt i.~npw marched to the Chin-,!,lt-Embassv a dav .
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Loc.ked horns
countries in the world see the urgent need to seek more resources for the world'sever.growing populations: So even as Chinese netizens chafe at the bit andurgestrongeraction for what they call "little Philippines," our republic, as Del Rosario notes, believes that China's claim of the South China Sea as its ownis "clearlybaseless." ackers recently . The Scarborough Shoal, it invaded the University is explained in some reports, ofthe PhilippinesWeb is "just about 230 kilometers site.placing a map showing (140 miles) from the the Scarborough Shoal. Philippines' main island of Clearly,the issue is getting Luzon;" Another report says some netizen action as the shoal is "just 124nautical Philippiilehackers responded miles" from Luzon." On the in kind. . other hand, "the' nearest The standoff between Chinese land mass from China and the Philipiriesover Scarborough Shoal is Haman what is called "Panatag" by province, 1,200 kilometers, thePhilippines nd "Huangyan" (750miles) to the northwest, a byChinacontinues to cause a according to Philippine naval ripple ofuncertainty,not only maps givento the media." in our islands, but I would The unsettled territorial sunnise,also other parts of dispute has gone on for the world, decades, involving several This is why our Foreign countries including ours. Secretary Albert del Rosario, According to news reports," who currently has the "Chinaclaims all ofthe South unenviable task of dealing China Sea as its own on with the stewing territorial historical grounds, evenwaters dispute overthe Scarborough approaching the coasts ofthe Shoal,is urging other nations Philippines and other to "take a stand" since he Southeast Asian countries." says' China's claim would In recent years, China has eventually affect everyone if been accused ofits increasing it is not settled soon. "aggressive"stance about the . "All, notjust the Philippines matter. Diplomatic protests will be ultimately negatively have, in fact, been made by affected if we do not take a Vietnamand the Philippines. stand," he said in an SMS This is obviousin the way it message sent to reporters, as sent three civilian maritime .published in several news vessels near Scarborough items. Hewas referringto the Shoal, where Philippine " freedom of navigation and authorities had found eight unimpededconunerce"thatall ChiI1eseishing boats and were f countries need. set to arrest the crew, On a side note, some Tensions rose until the people think this is an effort Philippines pulled back its r-----------!I to shore up defenses against warship and seJtta coast guard OFFICE OF THE ARN an obviouslymore powerful vessel in its place. I rival, but then again, there is The standoff remains as truth to what he said as many Chiriarefuses to leave unless' the Philippines leaves first. China insists on its "sovereign rights over the area." It says the Scarborough Shoal is its own. , The Philippines, for its part, does not think so. It remains firm about its positionas having"sovereign rights over areas of the sea within its 200-nautical-mile exclusiveeconomiczone," a. position supported by ili.ternationallaw. As of this writing, two .Chinese ships had been. withrawn, leaving only one, maritime surveillance ship against our lone ship. ThePhilippinesand China continue to take a peaceful diplomatic stance, but our Foreign Mfairs Secretary has described the negotiations as being "at an impasse." Calm is being exercised,but how will this disputebe settled wheneach side is firm in its stance? Tension builds as no one is willing to let go of this promising maritime area, which is believedto haverich gas and oil resources, not to mention being a strategic position for globaltrade. China,for one,had lately been accused ofharassment : of a Philippine-flagged archaeologicalresearohshlp, a project of the National Museum, which was "conducting a preliminary survey of potential ancient shipwrecks,andwas marmed by Filipino and French scientists, including nine French archaeologists." There are thosewhomay think both Chinese and FllipinogoVernment'speaceful approach is not effective,but war, as we all know, is not the answer, What is clear is that there has to be a decision made about these disputedterritoriessoon,with . all concerned. countries partieipating, orthe problem Will keep coming1:> "~:.

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A war with China?They will turn us into siomai
ing and overriding common sense that it should not have been stated at all. It is like saying" foreign investments are welcome" or n we need to cut down on the level of poverty." Or," we need to protect our OFWs." Why President Aquino stated this fact of our military unpreparedness and that this non-news and simple truth got past the editorial meetings and merited a headline treatment was beyond many of us who understand how headline news become headline news. But this happened and the result was this: nobody paid attention to that particular headline, .though it wasabout the most scariest thing that you can put in the headline-war. Even the politicians who are usually gung-ho with words have kept quiet on the issue of war. The indifference is perfectly understandable. If there ever was a reaction to that statement, it was this: What else can we say? The first reason is this: Going . to war with China is just as suicidal as lacing the country's water reservoirs with cyanide. Convention says we should look at its army first. And what is this? It is a disciplined army of 2.3 million active members called the People's Liberation Army. It is the largest army' in the world. What about the reserves that they can draft at a moment's notice? In a country of PI billion people where military training is mandatory? These are the facts drawn from

til"" TO war with China" is a 1'\l statement of overwhelm-

. MARlENV.

RONQUILLO
papers and articles on China's military. China spent an estimated US$120 billion for defense in 2010, more than what was recorded as official defense spending because Rand D costs are not recorded at all. Its defense appropriations grow at a pace of 12 percent a year. It is . estimated that by 2035 • China would 'outspend the US on defense spending. China's military might is roughly these: more than 4,000 aircraft, 600 ships and 23,000 land weapons. Global Firepower, an entity tracking the military might of nations, listed China as the third on military strength, after the US and Russia. There is no single military front where we can do war with China all a competitive basis. A war with China would pulverize us - and turn us into siomai. And how do we fight them? It can't be with our hand-me-downs. The second reason is economic. The 2011 figures on trade with China revealed a new high, US$32.2 billion, up 22 percent from the 2010 figure of $US27. 7 billion. This time, we were the one that posted the trade surplus.

The hila teral trade figure is exadvice. This is not the time for pected to climb to US$60 billion saber-rattling, he said. There are by 2016. ways and modes of pressing the Do we want to squander all of issue without disturbing the that? Do we want to lose that · peace in Southeast Asia. export market? The elevation of ourSouth The third reason is that we last China Sea territorial claims to the fought external aggressors 60 . proper international body, which years ago. Our army, navy and the Aquino government had unair force officers may have dertaken, is a good step. But fought, yes-but fought each don't expect immediate results. other during coup attempts on Every international court, presidents. We all know that, every. international dispute setfrom all benchmarks, (those skirtlement body and even the UN mishes mostly in the urban areas . Security Council acts gingerly on and capitals), do not constitute · issues involving China. It is the adequate preparation fora tough most dominant country in acenslog against areal war against tury that many say belongs to the another country. Asia-Pacific Region. It is an The fourth reason is we really · emerging economic powerhouse are Inadequate, rather severely that-spends at least two percent inadequate, in pursuing territoof its GOP on military spending. rial issues . It has the clout and leverage of Just mention one word the major powers. Sabah - and that reveals the feckSo there is a sped al sensitivlessness that anchors even our ity in these bodies to how China most justifiable territorial claims. would feel or would react after a Asserting our rights over the decision or a vote. mineral-rich areas in South China Us? they can ignore us and not Sea is an unquestionable and forgo a single good night of sleep. unassailable policy. A hardline, The word war with China, if unbending claim over these areas there is a lesson to be learned is even a moral duty that has to from it, should be learned by be clearly articulated by every President Aquino 3rd himself. Philippine president. But we cant He should deeply internalize go to war with China over the the pain and the suffering that the Scarborough shoal claims. There Davids go through when they are other ways, mostly legal and confront the Goliaths. That international in nature, of presswould make him more sympaing our claims. thetic with the pligh t of the voiceCong Ben Evardone had writless, powerless Filipinos whose ten a piece on how to deal with rights are often trampled upon by China and ease the tensions over well-placed and well-connected South China Sea that is now roilcronies of his government. ing much of Southeast East Asia. The leadership may well heed his mvrong@yahoo.com

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RESIDENT Aquino has finally realized t~at his original choice as ambassador to Beijing was simply unqualifled for the job. . Gone were the days when an envoy's pri.. mary asset was his closeness (perceived or otherwise) to the appointing powers, when diplomacy was a matter of personal contact, as it is, in fact, still incongruously so considered by the old fogies. But the lesson took time to sink in and, clearly, the big headaches on the diplomatic area are the product of the pervasive amateurism on this front. The dispute with China over the Spratlys and Scarborough has been heating up for two years. All this time, Aquino had been push. ing for the appointment of a family friend, a businessman who while of Chinese descent, has zero experience as a diplomat. The nomi-

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'Let's get done to business as professionally as we could.'

nation not surprisingly met resistance. As a result, the Philippines does not have a man on the ground at a time when Manila and Beijing have been having their most rocky relations in recent years; Aquino is right in declaring the Philippines' readiness to assert its sovereign rights over the disputed territories in the South China Sea. But in practice, Philippine actions seem to be driven by recklessness matched only by its utter weakness in pressing its claim. Consider the latest spat on Scarborough. Chinese fishermen have been catching fish in this area since God knows when. Manila, upon taking delivery of a US Coast Guard hand-me-down cutter, declared it would be sending the ship, this time sporting the gray color of a Philippine Navy warship, to Scarr---O-F-F-'C-E-. -01 borough to enforce its sovereign rights over L-.----:-. __ the exploitation of the country's 200-mile ex-21-

elusive economic zone. It was ridiculous, a warship seizing unarmed Chinese fishing vessels. But the ridiculous turned to absurdity when the Philippine warship had to stand too when confronted by what was described as a flotilla of six Chinese maritime surveillance vessels. These vessels, after all, are nominally civilian ones. Naval confrontations have a long and respected tradition, Honor demands gray vs gray (warship against warship) confronta-. tion. One does not use a warship to bully a civilian vessel (a white), even if the latter is engaged in law enforcement such as a coast guard craft. These are small matters, perhaps; niceties meant to reassure .the other side that one knows how to play the game. But such precisely is the function of diplomacy. Let's get :95 done to business as professionally as we could, ---

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=;iii=!;:;;!3)nI~~r;e~sD;u~r~c;e;s1;~l shoal or didnof make any arrest of the Chinese poachers. Understandably, this is a simple law enforcement job that the Navy must turn over to the Philippine Coast Guard. The standoff ensued when Chinese maritime surveilBy MARICHU A. VILLANUEVA lance ships suddenly appeared at.the Panatag Shoal and anchored between the BRP del Pilar and the Chinese fishing vessels. The Philippine Navy immediately reported these developments to higher authorities. The Phi~ip_ pine government, througn the pepartment ~f Foreign Affairs (DFA), called the attention of the Chinese emIt is not our wish to add to the bassy in Manila about the developing situation. . intense situation already prevailing' DFA Secretary Alberto del Rosario and Chinese Amthese past few. week? since the bassador Ma Keqing tried to sort things out and prompoaching of Chinese fishermen at ised to each other "no surprises" from either side while the Panatag (international: Scarbordoing so. To "de-escalate". the situation, t~~ B~P Del Pi- .' ough) Shoal. The se~ious~e~s of the lar was pulled out and shlfs from the P.hlhppme Coast problem is becoming ridiculous Guard and the Bureau 0 Fisheries and Aquatic Rewhen hackers entered into the fray sources (BFAR) were instead deployed. using much wider space without But while Del Rosario and the Chinese ambassador boundaries and where no one obwere talking, the eight Chinese fishing vessels slipped serves any rules of conduc~. _ . _ out one after the other and brought with them the mariFrom the disputed territorial areas In South China time species they harvested from the shoal. In an apparSea, the conflict has spread into cyber space. It i~ where ent show of force and to insist their territorial claims some of the war-freak Netizens who have nothing betover the shoal, more Chinese gunboats arrived and even ter to do with their idle time do their own thing. They started patrolling the area. get into something they have no idea about except what .. So somewhere along the way, the element of trust has they pick up from media here and there. Unfortunately, gone astray, the DFA secretary lamented. Such elicited they have no full grasp of the deeper issues involved. strong words from no less our own Defense secretary, The initial assault in cyber space was allegedly traced retired Gen. Voltaire Gazmin, who denounced China's all the way ~Q China. Ironically, Facebook and other so"bully" tactics at its worst. cial networking sites are supposedly censor~d all over Gazmin pooh-poohed srecifically China's territorial China if not cut off from the rest of the online world. claims over Panatag Shoa .which used to be the gunAny":-ay, Filipino hackers were quick to retaliate and the nery range of the American military while the Uni~ed cyber war becam~ v~ral. _ . States occupied the Subic Naval Base in Olongapo CIty, Instead of achieving the desire of ?oti: SIdes to e . deZambales and the Clark Air Base in Angeles City, escalate" the situation, the whole thing IS becoming a Pampanga. full-blown diplomatic irritant now raging between MaThe Panatag Shoal was used in the target practice of nila and Beijing. American fighter planes while the US were still operatThe Panatag Shoal, kno;yn inrernationally as ing the two bases. Aside from fishing, Filipinos went Scarborough Shoal, is 124 nautical miles from our <:>,:",n there to salvage spent shells and sell them to Zambales province. Centuries-old mars of the P~IIX"mambabakal" for extra income. pine~ printed in Europe refer to the shoal as Bajo e Thesebold incursions by China into Panatag Shoal Masinloc. "1 obviously came only when the US left its military bases. The area is within the PhiliP.p ines' 200-~autical ~l e This brings to mind a similar incident in May 1999 also exclusive economic zone based on the Umted Nations in the same contested area. Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS). the No less than former DFASecretary DomingoSiazonjr, Philippines and China are signatory-states to this mter~ recalled this incident which happened during his watch national instrument. under the administration of former President Joseph On the other hand, China calls the ~hoal. as Estrada. Speaking last week in a forum hosted by the ForHuangyang Island. It is more th,:n 500 na~hcal miles eign Corres.pondents A~sociation. of. the ~hilipp.ines, away from Haman, the n~arest Chinese province. Based Siazon specifically mentioned the incident involving a on historical claims, China Philippine Navy ship skippered "by a young Navy cominsists the shoals located in Instead of achievmander who is now an incumbent politician." Siazon rethe So.uth C~ina Se~ belong. ing the desire of both fused to name him but he was obviously referring to then to them, including the ides to "de-escalate" Navy officer, now Senator Antonio Trillanes N. Spratly Islands. SIX other S .. • th For several days the Navy ship was patrolling, Siazon nations in the region also the sItl;latI.on, e said, it encountered several Chinese fishing boats at have territorial claims on whole thmg IS becomPanatag Shoal with whicJ: it coIli~ed, sinking ~o of them shoals, reefs, Islets, and atolls ing ~ f~l~-blowndiplo"by accident." Through diplomatic channels, Siazon called around Spratlys. . mafic irritant now r~gup his good friend Wang Yi from the Chinese Foreign . It all. start~d ~ast Apnl 8 ing between Mamla Ministry 'who was then chief of Asian affairs. Wang, who when elsht fish1TI~~essels, and Beijing. formerly served as China's ambassador to Japan, also wit!1 <;hmese mar 111gS on speaks well the Japanese language ~ikeSiazon does .. their SIdehulls, were spotted . .. . Siazon convmced the Chinese fishermen they would anchored in the ~isputed,Panata& Shoal. The Ph!-hFpm~ be compensated for their lost fishing vessels. FilipinoNavy deployed Its largest warship BRP. Gregorio ~I PI Chinese business groups chipped in to reimburse the lar to check on the reported presence of Intruders, If not Chinese fis.hermen since the Philippine government ~ poachers. .'. h fi hi Id· I would not and could not do so. Tomake the story short, A team of Navy sailors boa~ded to inspect t e s ~ng .oacpa_ all's well that ends well. But Siazon conceded these invessels. They.fpuhl1.ds?rhi21~s" giant ~la~s ~d eY~~hv~ cidents would keep happ.ening if Chinese f.ishermen sharks onboard t ese .fIs ng:vesse s. . ur avy I. ~o could do their thing with impunity in these areas that seize what were obviously Illegally harvested manne -22have scarred, burrowed Philippine-China relations.

Scarred, burrow,ed

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Sketches
By .ANA MARIE PAMIMUAN

Because they can

In case you haven't noticed, . China started actively enforcing its ;cl.aim in waters around the Philippines - and we started tangling with them over territory - shortly .after the Americans shutdown 'their military bases here, - The first time was in 1994, when Philippine forces spott.ed huts buil t . !=lTI stilts over Pangaruban or Mis- ! chief Reef off Palawan. Beijing said :_ the huts were fishermen's shelters. Today the huts are solid structures that look like a garrison, flying the Chinese flag. They built that garrison- because we couldn't stop _ them. They built because they could. And they will continue building, wherever they can, _over spits of rock and coral, including those that are submerged during high tide, to enforce their territorial claim over the entire South China Sea. When we tell them to get out of our territory, their response boils down to: "Make us." We couldn't even stop their eight fishing boats, several of which were full of endangered giant clams, from leaving Scarborough Shoal. The Chinese know weakness vy-hen they see it, and contempt is not an unusual reaotion to weakness. That reaction is what we are seeinz in Panatag Shoal. 0 -~l:e Chinese ha ve b~en friends and t~ading partners of Pilipinos for ages. It IS not an exaggeration to say that almost all living Filipinos (myself included) have a Chinese ancestor. But neighborliness goes out. the window when Beijing wants to claim tern tory, espeCIally when the neighbor is unable to defend itself. China is uncompromising on Tibet, and never mind what the Tibetans say, Consider-how Beijing, in contrast, deals with those with the capability to fight military force with force, such as Taiwan, For -decades, the Philippines used Scarborough, or Panatag, or ~aio de Masinloc ~or a ~egistered lighthouse and then for joint gunnery drills with us forces without being challenged by the Chinese. But all those activities ?ccurred when the US Navy had its largest overseas base )n Subic Bay, , i Chinese officials will be the first to tell you that they ,do not challenge US naval superiority. They will even tell you that they don't mind having one country servmg as global supercop,with all the expenses, resources -and responsibilities that the role entails. ». But ~f ~he upward economic trajectory of China con.tinues, it IS sur~ to develop the military capability that it ~canafford. It still may Dot rival US capability, but it could become the most powerful military in Asia. It is also noteworthy that when the US bases were still 'here, the Chinese were preoccupied with serious problems back home: They had to deal with poverty and social upheaval durmg ru:d shortly after the Cultural Revolution, But now that It has become the world's second.largest economy, China can afford to focus on other matters, such I: oacpa_hpa@yahoo.com as,actively tur~un:g it~ t~rritorial c~,,~s on areas that are Yyl1j'Ceadbtoe.~d,ldmI' .. ; ~Tll~l,~f~lsa1J~D~.Bll~ft;;ws,ttm a5f,badly nee e. y a rapt .. y indusfri lZu:g ~ountry: ' .' ·23·

. ill this pursuit, China is practical enough to avoid e1~p~anfii' iuhittspatt~. tBhut!!.i~_a}~5? ~~, E.e~~y. ~5?. puny crea res t a ge m e way. * * * There are Filipinos who feel humiliated that in a standoff with Asia's rising power, we .huff and puff, and then run to Uncle Sam for help. When we kicked out US troops from Philippine soil, we failed to kick the habit of reliance on the American security umbrella for our own national defense. . At least subconsciously, many Filipinos still believe that Uncle Sam will always be there, any time we come crying for help, if ever we feel we cannot handle a foreign aggressor by ourselves. I went to Washington a few years after the shutdown 'of the bases, and US officials told me with candor that their resentment over being kicked out by an ally was so great the Philippines had practically disappeared from Washington's radar screen, The Philippine desk or section at the State Department was dramatically scaled down, and I don't think it has been restored to its size when the bases were still here. . We still have a Mutual Defense Treaty with the Americans, but Idon't think it includes assisting us in i? sustained effort to keep out intruders from Philippine waters. ; Washington has already said it won't take sides in terzitorial disputes in the South China Sea, and that all it wants is a peaceful settlement of overlapping claims. Its principal concern is freedom of navigation irt.international waters, particularly for its vessels. The US wants to ensure the unimpeded flow of commerce and other peaceful activities in the seas. . The US and Chinese economies are tightly interrwined. and Washington isn't going to jump willy-nilly into the fray in case armed conflict erupts between Philippine and Chinese forces. ** * From the official acts of several administrations, it is clear that w.e didn't anticipate the challenge now posed to us by China. We wallowed in complacency, believing that everyone loves us, everyone is our friend, so why waste public funds deyelopil~g credible defense capability? Left-leanmg policyrnakers also blocked efforts to increase defense spendir:~ fearing (admittedly with good reason) that stronger military capability would be used in counterinsurgency, specifically against communist rebels. Several retired military officers continue to lament that proceeds from the sale of military reservations, which should have been invested in the modernization of the Armed Forces of the Philippines and the Philippine National Police following the shutdown of US bases, were not used entirely for their intended purpose. The officers say that sure, some of the proceeds went to the AFP and PNp, but not the amounts expected. And so here we are, our retrofitted warship menaced by Chinese gunboats, with our officials running to Washington for urgent help. _ . Whichever way the talks in the US go, the standoff in Panatag Shoal should give us precious lessons in self-defense . The next time we tel! intruders to get out of Philippine territory, we should mean it - and be able to make them do it. * **

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Amockery of PH sovereignty in MILF-held areas
THE ESCALATION kidnap-far-ransom cases of in many parts of what are traditionally known as conflict areas in Mindanao does not augur well for the development of the region, At a time when the peace negotiation between the Mora Islamic Liberation Front and the government is set for yet another round of talks, these incidents do not speak well of the MILF'scapability to deal with criminal elements operating in itS territories. Kidnap-for-ransom (KFR) syndicates find veritable havens in secessionist camps. The fact is, terrorist elements associated with al-Qaida consider MILF territories as veritable recruiting and training grounds. For as long as the peace talks remain in limbo, government peacekeeping forces are at a disadvantage when they pursue criminal elements that find protection in secessionist camps. While many of the KFR operatives and terrorists gangs have been neutralized in encounters outside the MILF territories, a lot of tllem are still lurking in MILF territories waiting for the next opportunity to snatch their next kidnap victim or explode a bomb to kill innocent civilians. Such is the irony because government forces cannot conduct pursuit operations into "MILF territories" without asking permission from them. 'This mockery of Philippine sovereignty should not be allowed to go on any longer. Let's take a page of reason and lesson from Vice President Jejomar Binay who said, when he was asked how he would deal with the conflict in Mindanao, that even though billions of pesos are being poured into the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao, a lot of things have still to be attended to; that government should come in with more development projects, improve govemapce at ARMM and, if none of these will work, impose an iron-hand policy. Binay is correct in many aspects. Because peace negotiations do not seem to work, there seems to be some logic in his idea on how to deal with the problem once and for all and end the poverty and isolationism of Mindanao, more so the conflict areas, by delivering essential government services and guaranteeing infrastructure development and promoting quality education. If none of these works, it's time to deal with the separatists, KFR groups and terrorist bands through other solutions. We go with the strategy of Binay because the vast majority of those who want to live in peace and live normal lives are tired and weary of the endless talks that seem to be dragging on to eternity. The young generation saw their parents vainly waiting for peace to come and carrying that yearning to their grave. These days, the youth still suffer' under the same conditions, hearing the same demands with no solutions in mind. -ED PALMA,

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