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Thorny sovereignty issue

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Thorny sovereignty issue

By Carol Pagaduan-Araullo
Streetwise | BusinessWorld
It is quite easy for the Aquino government to arouse the people’s anger at China bullying in the South China Sea considering what appear to be clear encroachments on Philippine territorial waters and its 200-nautical mile exclusive economic zone under the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea.

Couple this with the sense of frustration that the Aquino administration and the Armed Forces of the Philippines are undeniably militarily powerless in this recent confrontation over Chinese fishing poachers protected by no less than two Chinese warships, the inclination to run towards Uncle Sam and sic US might and firepower to make China turn tail appeals to many pundits, whether professional or of the barbershop variety.

And thoroughly misses the point. There is more to the conflict in the Spratlys and Scarborough Shoal than an assertion of sovereignty arising from rival territorial claims.

This is not the first time tension rose over alleged incursions in the Kalayaan Islands which are also being claimed by the Vietnamese and Malaysians aside from the Chinese. But while the news would hog the headlines for a few days, not without a large dose of sensationalism about the risk of a military confrontation, there had never been such open clashes between Philippine and rival armed forces, with each side eventually stepping down, resorting instead to diplomatic protests until invariably the controversy simmers down and fades away..... MORE


URL: http://bulatlat.com/main/2012/04/20/thorny-sovereignty-issue/

True justice FRONTLINE Ninez Cacho-Olivares 04/25/2012

True justice

Ninez Cacho-Olivares
Cojuangco-Aquinos no longer own Hacienda Lusita — not after the Supreme Court (SC), in a final landmark ruling, voted 8-6, to have some 4,000 hectares distributed to the farmer-workers of the hacienda, at the land values set in 1989, which would amount to some P40,000 per hectare or some P200 million — not the P1 million per hectare or P5 billion that the Cojuangco-Aquino clan wanted as compensation.

That is what can be finally called true justice to the farmers, who have been screwed by the Cojuangco-Aquinos for decades on end, first, when the clan’s then patriarch, Jose Cojuangco, bought the Luisita sugar plantation from Tabacalera — get this — on a behest loan, courtesy of Ninoy Aquino’s lobbying with then President Ramon Magsaysay not only for the Cojuangcos to buy the hacienda from Tabacalera but also to ensure that the then central bank and the GSIS would be guaranteeing an American bank for the clan’s loan and the sale amount asked for by Tabacalera.

Apart from this guarantee, the Cojuangcos reneged on the agreement with Tabacalera to distribute part of the hacienda land — after 10 years — to the farmer-workers..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/commentary/20120425com2.html

US taxpayers shelling out billions for faulty weapons

US taxpayers shelling out billions for faulty weapons

The Pentagon has frittered away billions in taxpayer cash on not fully tested arms, a government watchdog report says. While the policy grants the military access to cutting-edge technology, the public can be left footing the bill for faulty weapons.

A report issued by the US Government Accountability Office (GAO) on Friday shed light on the controversial policy of “concurrency” which approves untested weapons for production and use.

“While some concurrency is understandable, committing to product development before requirements are understood and technologies mature, or committing to production and fielding before development is complete, is a high-risk strategy that often results in performance shortfalls, unexpected cost increases, schedule delays and test problems,” said the report..... MORE


URL: http://rt.com/news/weapons-pentagon-report-waste-927/

Toddler Terrorist: TSA threatens lockdown over 4-year-old girl

Toddler Terrorist: TSA threatens lockdown over 4-year-old girl

The much-maligned Transport Security Authority (TSA) is once again in hot water after it accused an innocent four-year-old girl of attempted gun smuggling as she hugged her grandmother in the security zone.

­In a Facebook post that has since gone viral, Michelle Brademeyer describes the story of her family being detained as potential terrorists by the TSA on a flight out of Wichita, Kansas. The TSA is responsible for screening passengers as they board and disembark from planes.

Brademeyer was passing through security checks with her mother and her small daughter, Isabella. When the older lady triggered the metal detector, and was told to go for a pat-down, Isabella ran over to and briefly hugged her grandmother..... MORE


URL: http://rt.com/usa/news/tsa-us-girl-gun-869/

Death of 56-year old fisherman sparks more outrage against VFA, Balikatan

Death of 56-year old fisherman sparks more outrage against VFA, Balikatan

As long as the US military is treated ‘above the law’ by the government, their victims among the civilian populace will not be given justice.” – Bayan Muna-Southern Mindanao

In Zamboanga City, the progressive party-list Bayan Muna is calling for an independent inquiry into the death of a local fisherman killed by a speeding Boat manned by military forces of the United States. The group said the death of 56-year old Ahbam Juhurin, a local fisherman from Basilan should not be allowed to be swept under the rug.

Based on various media reports, US and Filipino troops of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) were conducting maritime exercises in Baluk-baluk, an island near Hadji Muhtamad Municipality in Basilan Province on April 19. A Mark V Special Operations Craft was returning to Zamboanga City when it rammed Juhurin’s fishing boat around 7 p.m. that same day. The elderly fisherman was killed while his 26-year old son remains in critical condition as of this writing. Colonel Ricardo Visaya, commander of the 104th Brigade and Joint Task Force Basilan said it was an accident and that no one is to blame.

VFA protects US troops from criminal prosecution

Ariel Casilao, Southern Mindanao Regional Coordinator of Bayan Muna, said it has only been days since the US – Philippine Balikatan Exercises formally started, but already a civilian has been killed. He said the blame should be placed at the door of the Aquino government and the militarist proponents of the Visiting forces Agreement (VFA).

“The US troops have immunity against prosecution from Philippine laws because of the VFA. They have committed heinous crimes against Filipinos and the Bangsamoro, but remain above prosecution. As long as the US military is treated ‘above the law’ by the government, their victims among the civilian populace will not be given justice,” he said..... MORE


URL: http://bulatlat.com/main/2012/04/20/death-of-56-year-old-fisherman-sparks-more-outrage-against-vfa-balikatan/

Workers challenge Congress to set wage hikes

Workers challenge Congress to set wage hikes

A week before May 1, as P125 wage hike proposal nears Congress approval, the labor secretary and regional wage boards suddenly realized there is a need indeed for a wage hike.

MANILA – A week before May 1 Labor Day celebration, influential Senator Chiz Escudero declared support for a P125 across-the-board legislated wage hike. He said fears that a significant wage hike will cause inflation to rise and companies to close down are unfounded. In speaking thus, Senator Chiz joins the likes of Sarangani Rep. Manny Pacquiao, a boxing icon and famous media personality, who has declared since last year his support for the substantial wage hike proposal.

Echoing the long-time criticisms of the labor groups of the apparent failure of the country’s regional wage boards, Escudero also criticized the wage boards for failing to give workers a “just wage.”

Some regional wage boards are currently deliberating on wage proposals submitted by moderate trade union groups. But so far, Labor Secretary Rosalinda Baldoz has already dashed even the possibility that the said regional wage boards may break off from tradition and start granting wage hikes that are adjusted at least to regain lost purchasing power due to inflation. Even before the wage boards in the National Capital Region began holding public consultations, for example, Baldoz has announced that wage hikes may be granted but not higher than P21 ($0.49).

Escudero asserted the urgency of Congress stepping in to determine wages in the country.

The labor center Kilusang Mayo Uno (KMU) immediately hailed last Friday Sen. Francis “Chiz” Escudero’s declaration of support for a P125 across-the-board legislated wage hike, saying the influential senator is a welcome addition to the ranks of legislators supporting the call. KMU hopes Escudero can draw in more supporters to the cause..... MORE


URL: http://bulatlat.com/main/2012/04/24/workers-challenge-congress-to-set-wage-hikes/

Govt agrees to create Bangsamoro state

Tuesday, 24 April, 2012 Written by

THE Aquino administration has finally agreed to create an autonomous Bangsamoro political entity for the separatist Moro Islamic Liberation Front that will replace the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao.
In a deal signed by government chief negotiator Marvic Leonen and his MILF counterpart, Mohagher Iqbal, in Kuala Lumpur on Tuesday, both parties agreed that the new autonomous political entity will have a “ministerial form of government.

The powers to be reserved for the national government are as follows: defense and external security; foreign policy; common market and global trade; coinage and monetary policy; citizenship and naturalization; and postal service.

The power to enter into economic agreements, however, will be transferred to the new Bangsamoro entity..... MORE

SourceManila Standard

URL: http://www.manilastandardtoday.com/2012/04/24/govt-agrees-to-create-bangsamoro-state/

Noy, kin lose P5B hacienda plea By Benjamin B. Pulta 04/25/2012


Noy, kin lose P5B hacienda plea

By Benjamin B. Pulta 04/25/2012

It’s final. Hacienda Luisita’s close to 5,000 hectares are to be distributed to the farmer-workers while the Cojuangco-Aquino family ends up with a compensation of a little less than P200 million, as against the family seeking a compensation of P5 billion for the hacienda.

True to form, President Aquino’s appointees, Associate Justice Lourdes Sereno, Estela Bernabe and Bienvenido Reyes voted to allow an agency under the control of Malacañang to determine the amount which the Hacienda Luisita Inc. (HLI) is to receive as compensation for placing the sugar estate under the government’s agrarian reform program.

They were however, outvoted by the majority justices..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/headlines/20120425hea1.html

SC blocks Comelec’s P1.8-B purchase of Smartmatic’s PCOS By Benjamin B. Pulta 04/25/2012

SC blocks Comelec’s P1.8-B purchase of Smartmatic’s PCOS

By Benjamin B. Pulta 04/25/2012

A restraining order was handed down by the Supreme Court (SC) yesterday, freezing the Commission on Elections (Comelec)’s P 1.8 billion contract for the purchase of computers to be used for next year’s elections.

Speaking to reporters at the end of the high court’s summer session in Baguio City, Court administrator Midas Marquez said the tribunal consolidated the three separate petitions challenging the deal between the collegial body and the Smartmatic-Total Information Management (TIM) to buy 80,000 precinct count optical scan (PCOS) machines.

Marquez also said the High Court will hear the cases in oral argument in a special en banc session to be held on May 2..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/headlines/20120425hea2.html

Noy seeks China-savvy envoy 04/25/2012

Noy seeks China-savvy envoy

President Aquino is still scouting for a suitable replacement for erstwhile ambassador to China Domingo Lee and hinted that his search may end outside of the realm of career diplomats as he would need an envoy who would have extensive knowledge of and contacts within the Chinese system and community — and preferably with Chinese blood.

“We’re reviewing. The criteria is really different. It’s not basically just career,” said Aquino as the Philippines continued to rattle diplomatic sabres with China over the disputed Scarborough Shoal.

He underscored that the next ambassador to China should be “somebody who understands the nuances of Chinese culture, how their system works, has developed contacts left and right to be able to reach the opinion makers and those whose opinions really matter.”.... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/nation/20120425nat2.html

Palea OKs CA mediation, calls on PAL to reinstate workers 04/25/2012

Palea OKs CA mediation, calls on PAL to reinstate workers

The Philippine Airlines Employees’ Association (Palea) has submitted a manifestation to the Court of Appeals (CA) expressing its willingness to participate in mediation with the flag carrier’s new management to seek a settlement to the long-standing labor dispute.

“The new management of Philippine Airlines (PAL) should recognize that the solution to the flag carrier’s woes involves not only a refleeting of its aging aircraft but more so the reinstatement of its skilled regular workers,” said Gerry Rivera, Palea president..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/metro/20120425met3.html

NBI, PNP to probe Paranaque demolition By Benjamin Pulta and Gina Peralta-Elorde 04/25/2012

NBI, PNP to probe Paranaque demolition

By Benjamin Pulta and Gina Peralta-Elorde 04/25/2012

Probers from the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) have been tasked to gather evidence for the possible filing of criminal and administrative charges against policemen who may have been involved in the violence that erupted during the demolition of a shanty colony in Silverio Compound in Paraaque City last Monday, an incident which left one person dead and 66 others injured.

Department of Justice (DoJ) Undersecretary Francisco Baraan III issued the order after residents accompanied by Bayan Muna Rep. Teodoro Casio sought the DoJs assistance in identifying the police authorities who participated in the demolition and in holding them accountable for the incident.

Baraan said charges of homicide with multiple physical injuries may be filed against the policemen should evidence warrant them..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/metro/20120425met1.html

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