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The Daily Tribune

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Analysts warn of dangers to the Philippines’ hosting of more US troops, ships

Saturday, June 9, 2012

Analysts warn of dangers to the Philippines’ hosting of more US troops, ships

Although waning economically, the US still has the edge in military capabilities, which it may use to bully or declare war against countries resisting the assertion of its economic interests.
MANILA – Against warnings from Filipino progressive groups, the Philippine government has been rushing headlong into forging increased defense, military and economic agreements and engagements with the United States government. In so doing, critics warned against the dangers being brought into the Philippines by the “puppetry” of the current Philippine government, led by President Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino III who is seen as further plunging the Philippines into the status of a neo-colony of US, even at a time when the US is already a global superpower in decline.

Days before the 114th anniversary of Philippine independence, President Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino III is in the United States for a state visit. It caps months of numerous high-level talks between US and Philippine security officials. In it, the US has apparently sought, and secured, the Philippine “cooperation” in its pivot, shift, refocusing or rebalancing to Asia-Pacific. That shift, according to US Gen Martine Dempsey, chairman of US Joint Chiefs of Staff, means deploying more US forces as it focuses on the region.

Last Monday in Vietnam US Defense Secretary Leon Panetta detailed their plans to boost US military presence in the Asia-Pacific. It means an increase in ships and more troops, which he said would “rotate in and out.” By 2020, US Defense officials said the US Navy would add about eight ships to the Asia-Pacific region, and overall would have about 60-percent of its fleet assigned here.

The new US defense strategy rolled out this year views America’s future security as dependent on the Asia-Pacific region. Panetta explained this at an earlier press conference last April in the US State Department in Washington after he and US State Secretary Hillary Clinton had a two-plus-two meeting with Philippine Foreign Secretary Albert del Rosario and Defense Secretary Voltaire Gazmin. In this meeting they listed the areas for cooperation, or specifically the roles which the Philippines is expected to play for the US, in what the Communist Party of the Philippines calls as US “interventionist overdrive” in the region.

True enough, from January to Aquino’s June state visit in the United States, the US and the Aquino government have had top military and government officials discussing arrangements that, based on reports, have focused on securing for the US military greater access to Philippine land, water and airspace and support facilities for the docking and resupply of US warships, stationing of US troops and likely base for the operations of US spy and attack drones..... MORE


URL: http://bulatlat.com/main/2012/06/08/political-analysts-warn-of-dangers-to-the-philippines-of-hosting-more-us-troops-ships/

Getting into more trouble FRONTLINE Ninez Cacho-Olivares 06/09/2012

Getting into more trouble

Ninez Cacho-Olivares
Noynoy is really getting the country into more trouble with China, what with his high profile talks on the disputed islands — whether Scarborough Shoal or the Spratlys — with both the United States and the United Kingdom.

Such talks with country leaders could have been done on low profile on the dispute, which would not publicly raise the hackles of China. But there went Noynoy, again raising the stakes and all because he thinks that with the US and the UK on his side, he can come out strong with China.

Noynoy keeps saying that the issue of the disputed islands has to be resolved in the United Nations and the Law of the Sea.

Yet he appears to be doing quite the opposite, by running to the US for increased military assistance, including the modernization of the Philippine military..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/commentary/20120609com2.html

Luisita farmers bare ‘grand plan’ to frustrate land distribution

Luisita farmers bare ‘grand plan’ to frustrate land distribution

According to the document, Oplan April Spring has a P1.545 million ($35.9 thousand) budget for operations that include “propaganda and counter-propaganda, organizing and mobilization, special operations (psyops).”

MANILA – Even as the Supreme Court ruled with finality the distribution of land in Hacienda Luisita, farm workers decried various schemes aiming to deny them their right over their land.

In a press conference this morning, Lito Bais, president of the United Luisita Workers Union (Ulwu) said former Marikina congressman Romeo Candazo, negotiator for the Rizal Commercial Banking Corporation (RCBC), has drawn up an operational plan dubbed as Oplan April Spring to drive away the farm workers from the 500-hectare land being claimed by the RCBC and the Cojuangcos. Some 184 of the 500 hectares were turned over by the Luisita Industrial Park Corporation (Lipco) to RCBC as payment for a loan a few days after the infamous Hacienda Luisita massacre.

The document titled “Oplan April Spring” which was sent via email on April 30 by Candazo to Anacleto Diaz, lawyer of the RCBC, aims “to mobilize the community in the completion of the fencing and enclosure of the property, eviction of the intruders and its defense against future saboteurs.” A hard copy of the plan was leaked to Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas (KMP) by an insider last May, according to Willy Marbella, KMP deputy secretary general..... MORE


URL: http://bulatlat.com/main/2012/06/08/luisita-farmers-bare-%E2%80%98grand-plan%E2%80%99-to-frustrate-land-distribution/

Syrian rebels tried to get reporter killed in anti-Assad propaganda bid – report

Syrian rebels tried to get reporter killed in anti-Assad propaganda bid – report

Journalist Alex Thomson reports that Syrian rebels set him and his crew up to be killed by Syrian troops in a bid to show Damascus in a negative light.

­Thomson, a chief correspondent for Channel 4 news, says he and his group were deliberately given incorrect directions by a group of Syrian rebels. As a result, their car entered a free-fire zone, where the road ahead was blocked off, and started receiving shots presumably fired by the Syrian army, who thought the vehicle belonged to rebels.

Suddenly four men in a black car beckon us to follow,” he wrote on the channel’s website. “We move out behind. We are led another route. Led in fact, straight into a free-fire zone. Told by the Free Syrian Army to follow a road that was blocked off in the middle of no-man’s land.".... MORE

URL: http://www.rt.com/news/syria-journalist-rebel-trap-436/

Wish it away: US government ignores archipelago of Japanese debris heading its way

Wish it away: US government ignores archipelago of Japanese debris heading its way

The United States is awaiting the arrival of a blot of debris three times its own size from Japan. But despite new objects washing up daily on the West Coast, Washington is hoping the problem will literally just disappear.

­Earlier this week, a 70-foot metal dock turned up on the Oregon shore. Japanese officials immediately identified its original home – the Japanese city of Misawa, which had been devastated by the tsunami in March 2011.

The dock is only the forerunner of a much more dangerous wave of flotsam, Chris Pallister, who heads Gulf of Alaska Keeper, a coastal clean-up organization, told AP..... MORE


URL: http://www.rt.com/news/japan-debris-us-coast-406/

Anonymous hacks 'Aryan Front' Neo-Nazi website

Anonymous hacks 'Aryan Front' Neo-Nazi website

Users of the Aryan-Front.com “white community” Web forum were greeted with an eye-opening memo from hacktivists when they tried to log-on to the message board Friday morning: you should have expected us.

Members of the loose-knit hacktivism collective Anonymous defaced the popular white power website Aryan-Front.com this week and say that their assault on the nationalism group has only begun. According to tweets dispatched from accounts associated with Anonymous, the group is preparing to release an archived collection of forum posts and private messages lifted from the Web community.

On early Friday, the main index of the Aryan-Front.com message board was replaced with a string of messages crediting the cyber collective with the deed..... MORE


URL: http://rt.com/usa/news/anonymous-aryan-front-opblitzkrieg-391/

Philippines losing money over anomalous Malampaya contract

Philippines losing money over anomalous Malampaya contract

“It is an outrage that the government continues to uphold contracts with corporations that seriously put the country and the Filipino people at a perpetual disadvantage.” – Bayan Muna Rep. Neri Colmenares

MANILA — The Malampaya gas-to-power project off Palawan has been producing natural gas commercially since 2002. Why is the country not benefitting from it in terms of lower energy costs?

Bayan Muna Rep. Neri Colmenares took the floor recently in the House of Representatives to demand the scrapping of the Malampaya Fund natural gas operations contract as it was losing money for the Philippine government. The lawmaker who is also a lawyer said that if investigations into the finances of the project are executed, there is certainty that various officials from the Department of Energy and the Philippine National Oil Corporation will be found guilty of abuse of authority among other crimes.

The Malampaya Fund was a result of the Service Contract 38, covering the Comago-Malampaya Gas Project, which created a consortium composed of Shell, Chevron and the PNOC, which represented the Philippine government. Malampaya mainly produces natural gas, and its remaining reserves are estimated to be two trillion cubic feet.

“Taking into account the reported 4.66 trillion cubic feet of gas in Rector Reed, these huge natural gas resource could take us out of the stranglehold of the oil firms and foreign players in the energy sector,” Colmenares said. “Our public transportation and our power plants could very well use natural gas which is fifty percent cheaper than the oil provided by the big three oil firms. Giving away our natural gas resources to Shell and Chevron for a song, the delay in the building of the gas pipeline for supposed lack of budget to do so, are examples of stories showing the complete squander of our resources which would have eased the lives of many of our consuming public.”

Colmenares said the Malampaya contract should not be extended for another 13 years and not even a day more.

Anomalies in the contract

According to the lawmaker, there are many anomalies in Service Contract 38. For instance, he said, while most countries would negotiate for at least a 30-40 percent share in consortiums exploiting their resources, Shell and Chevron received 90 percent of the consortium shares and the Philippine government only 10 percent..... MORE


URL: http://bulatlat.com/main/2012/06/08/philippines-losing-money-over-anomalous-malampaya-contract/

Noy visit all about returning US bases in RP By Fernan J. Angeles 06/09/2012

Noy visit all about returning US bases in RP

By Fernan J. Angeles 06/09/2012

President Aquino appears to have flown to the United States with just one thing in mind — get the United States in a confrontational status with China.

In an update sent by selected Palace reporters covering Aquino’s working visit to Washington D.C., Aquino’s meeting with US President Barack Obama would largely be tackling “strengthened defense cooperation,” an agenda that is expected to draw an irate reaction from China which had issued a warning to the Philippines against getting another country involved in a conflict that should be confined among the Asean countries’ claimants.

In Malacañang, deputy presidential spokesman Abigail Valte issued a statement which still projects the Aquino-Obama meeting as delving on good governance, economy and a touch of what she described as “credible defense posture.”.... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/headlines/20120609hea3.html

Noy mishandled China, economy, poverty, electricity issues — survey 06/09/2012

Noy mishandled China, economy, poverty, electricity issues — survey

A majority of Filipinos has expressed dissatisfaction with the manner President Aquino has been handling the country’s economic and national security issues.

In the latest survey conducted by The Center from May 30 to June 2, Aquino got negative ratings for his handling of the Scarborough Shoal row with China, power crisis management in Mindanao, management of the country’s economy, poverty and unemployment and national security, defense and peace and order.

For the Scarborough Shoal issue, 47 percent of the respondents said they were satisfied with the way Aquino was handling the issue, while 57 percent said they were no — for a net satisfaction rating of -06 percent.

For his Mindanao power-crisis management, 48 percent of the respondents gave the President a vote of satisfaction, while 52 percent cast a negative vote, or a net rating of -04 percent..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/nation/20120609nat1.html

RP under Noynoy ranks poorly on econ freedom 06/09/2012

RP under Noynoy ranks poorly on econ freedom

Straight path, inclusive growth and all that hype failed to impress international sentiment on President Aquino as the Philippines remained among the mostly unfree economies in the world.

The Phillippines placed 107th out of 179 countries ranked with a score of 57.1 points, lower than the global and Asian average in the 2012 Index of Economic Freedom which was jointly released yesterday by the Washington-based think tank Heritage Foundation and global business publication Wall Street Journal.

The conservative advisory group is frequently consulted by the White House and the release of the data came on the eve of President Aquino’s meeting with US President Barack Obama..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/headlines/20120609hea1.html

Puno, Razon cleared of chopper raps By Efren B. Chavez 06/09/2012

Puno, Razon cleared of chopper raps

By Efren B. Chavez 06/09/2012

The Office of the Ombudsman has ordered the dismissal from service of 14 officials and personnel of the Philippine National Police (PNP) over the P105-million used chopper scam.

In a statement, Ombudsman Conchita Carpio-Morales said that apart from the graft case filed with the Sandiganbayan against former First Gentleman Mike Arroyo, former PNP chief Jesus Verzosa and several other private and government officials, several police officers implicated in the controversy also stand to lose their jobs and their benefits.

In a 143-page Joint Resolution approved last June 1, the Ombudsman also suspended six PNP officials and personnel for six months without pay.

Ordered dismissed from the service for “serious dishonesty and conduct prejudicial to the best interest of the service” were Dir. Leocadio Santiago, Dir. George Piano, Chief Supt. Herold Ubalde, Chief Supt. Luis Saligumba, Senior Supt. Claudio Gaspar Jr., Senior Supt. Job Nolan Antonio, Senior Supt. Edgar Paatan, Senior Supt. Ermilando Villafuerte, Supt. Roman Loreto, Supt. Mansue Lukban, Chief Insp. Maria Josefina Vidal Reco, SPO3 Ma. Linda Padojinog, PO3 Avensuel G. Dy and non-uniformed personnel Ruben Gongona. .... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/nation/20120609nat2.html

Army after Sino traders’ kidnappers, not MILF By Mario J. Mallari 06/09/2012

Army after Sino traders’ kidnappers, not MILF

By Mario J. Mallari 06/09/2012

The military is now scouring the hinterlands of Zamboanga Sibugay province in pursuit of the kidnapping group, led by rogue Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) commander Waning Abdulsalam, which have been holding two Chinese traders captive since their abduction last Monday.

Army 1st Infantry Division (ID) spokesman Capt. Albert Caber said the military has been receiving reports that Chinese traders James Lou and Jampong Linyuan Kai were being held by Abdusalam’s group on the outskirts of Naga town.

“Our troops are currently combing the hinterlands of Naga town, Zamboanga Sibugay to track down the lawless elements who snatched the two Chinese nationals,” said Caber..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/nation/20120609nat3.html

Solon deplores panel’s refusal to include his proposal in HB 5727 By Gerry Baldo 06/09/2012

Solon deplores panel’s refusal to include his proposal in HB 5727

By Gerry Baldo 06/09/2012
The House of Representatives has denied a vital amendment to the excise tax measure that will address tax leakages in favor of exposing the country to the risk of illicit trade and ruin the livelihood of those in the tobacco and alcohol industries, a lawmaker from Mindanao said yesterday.

Cagayan de Oro Rep. Rufus Rodriguez expressed concern why the House committee on ways and means refused his proposal to include in House Bill 5727 during the floor deliberations a provision that would strengthen the abilities of the Bureau of Internal Revenue and Bureau of Customs to improve tax administration and address the illicit trade.

Rodriguez said his proposed amendment is in keeping with President Aquino’s call in his first and second State of the Nation Address (Sona) of raising needed revenues for the government by expanding the tax base by improving tax administration and plugging tax leakages..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/metro/20120609met3.html

Monsoon trough will bring rains in metropolis 06/09/2012

Monsoon trough will bring rains in metropolis

Despite the absence of any weather disturbance in the country, the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (Pagasa) yesterday said a monsoon trough affecting Luzon will bring rains over Northern and Eastern Luzon, including Metro Manila.

“A monsoon trough is affecting the country because it’s rainy season, but as of now we cannot see any weather disturbance or potential cyclone in the Philippine area of responsibility,” weather forecaster Boy Soriaga said..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/metro/20120609met4.html

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