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Philippines open bidding for ₱18 billion 2 New Frigates; No to Refurbished Italy Maestrale-class frigates as expensive

The Department of National Defense (DND) has finally earmarked ₱18 billion for two brand-new frigates for the Philippine Navy and opened the bidding for the ships aimed to boost military modernization.. Readmore...

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Philippines ask US P3C Orion spy planes to monitor over the South China Sea

China said last week it had begun "combat-ready" patrols in waters it said were under its control in the South China Sea, after saying it "vehemently opposed" a Vietnamese law asserting sovereignty over the Paracel and Spratly islands. Readmore..

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Philippines set to be new Tiger Economy - Book Breakout Nations: In Pursuit of the Next Economic Miracles

The book "Breakout Nations: In Pursuit of the Next Economic Miracles," written by Ruchir Sharma, assessed the Philippines as one of the strongest emerging economies in the future where enhanced economic activities are to take place. "Now at long last, the Philippines looks poised to resume a period of strong growth. Readmore...

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China Claimed Spratlys, Palawan, Province of the Philippines

China TV Claimed Philippine is a China Territory activities are violations of the UNLCOS and China is violating the International Law of Sea. Beijing said its position on the South China Sea is consistent and clear-cut and is in accordance with the international law Readmore...

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Moodys upgrade Philippines credit rating to Investment grade level with SP, Fitch, JICA Japan Investment rating Agency

Philippines is now in Full investment grade level from all credit ratings Moodys, Fitch, Standard and Poor, JICA of Japan Investment.. Readmore...

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Forgetting the tons of Gold, Queen Sofia of Spain ended her visit to the Philippines

For 333 years Spain controlled the Philippines and shipped tons of gold of the country to the Mainland Spain. Poor infrastructure, low education, corruption, killings, slavery and Readmore...

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CHINA Spying the Philippines using Apps of IOS and Android named WeChat BEWARE Pinoys

With the continues spar in the West Philippines Sea, CHINA Spying the Philippines using Apps of IOS and Android named We Chat BEWARE Pinoys Readmore...

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Do Not Buy Made in China - Code 690 to 695

Do you know that iPhone and iPads are made in China? Codes will give you a hint where the products are made. Buying made in China will not just help the communist to invade the world but also, you would lose a lot for their low quality and sub standard products.. learn the code here Readmore...

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USA, Europe, Canada, Russia, Australia, Japan, Indonesia -Supports Philippines for Spratly Disputes

In a historic bilateral meeting held in Moscow on Tuesday, Foreign Affairs Secretary Albert del Rosario and Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov agreed to further improve relations between the two countries, Readmore...

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UN Approved! 13 Million Hectares Benham Rise belongs to the Philippines!

The United Nations has approved the Philippines' territorial claim to Benham Rise, an undersea landmass in the Pacific Ocean potentially rich in mineral and natural gas deposits, Environment Secretary Ramon Paje said Readmore...

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SP Raises Philippines Credit Rating to Stable and Positive Outlook to 9 Year High

Standard and Poor upgraded the Philippine Credit rating to Stable or Positve Outlook. The long term foreign currency denominated debt was raised one level SP said in a statement Readmore...

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USA Welcomes Philippine Banana after Ban from China over Scarborough Standoff

A Rotting of million dollars worth of world famous Philippines Banana in the Farms in Davao will end so soon after USA Government gives a go signal to import Philippines banana and export potatoes to the Philippines Readmore...

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Korean firms leading exodus from south China’s manufacturing hub- Moving to the Philippines

An executive from a Korean electronics company operating in Dongguan, Guangdong province, China said his firm recently built a plant in the Philippines. His and other companies working in China are apparently considering an exodus from China Readmore...

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AFP- Philippines 48 Fighter Jets, 6 Submarines, anti-ship cruise missile – Washington CNAS

The Philippines needs up to four squadrons (48) of upgraded Lockheed Martin F-16 fighter jets, more well-armed frigates and corvette-size, fast to surface combatant vessels and minesweepers and four to six mini submarines, possibly obtained from Russia Readmore...

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Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Britain Said: Philippines could be "Asia's Next Superpower to Watch" in the next 20 years - unrivaled

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NPPA/NPPA - MANILA, Philippines - Yahoo! interviews British Ambassador to the Philippines, Asif Ahmad, at the Yahoo! Philippines headquarters (Adrian Bautista/NPPA IMAGES)

 

PH is among Asia’s emerging powers, says British Ambassador

With its vast natural resources and an economic growth “that’s unrivaled by many across the region,” the Philippines is one of the emerging powers to watch, a diplomat has said.

“There’s no reason why over the next 20, 30 years, the Philippines will not fulfill the ambitions of what we believe the country has,” British Ambassador to the Philippines Asif Ahmad told Yahoo Philippines in a recent interview. Ahmad has been deployed to the country for over a year now. 

Ahmad said that among the members of the Association of Southeast Asia Nations (ASEAN), he perceives the Philippines “as a leading member of it.”

“We have created our links, we invest more time in terms of visits and attention than other countries. It’s part of our narrative of emerging powers and we see the Philippines as one of them,” he added, noting that this is also why Great Britain takes pride as the single-largest investor in the Philippines from the European Union.

Even politics does not appear to be a threat. In fact, Ahmad believes discussions on political developments such the Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) and the Disbursement Allocation Program (DAP) are good.

“In any democracy, we see lively politics as being healthy and issues are being discussed in the open. It would be worse if corruption in the country like the Philippines or elsewhere was kept quiet or if the media are frightened to mention it,” he added.

But while a bright future appears to be in store for the Philippines, Ahmad admits the Philippine government has so much work to do. And if the Philippines wants to get the global attention it deserves, it must improve its airport and transport system.

“I’m looking at tourism, [PH has] a huge opportunity, the finest natural assets in the region. The challenge now, of course, is to how to get to each and every destination. [There must be] airport investment, reliable transport from A to B, and that in turn, generate employment…that’s a great opportunity,” Ahmad said.

Ahmad says untapped opportunities for the Philippines also include rural development. 

“If you have connections or infrastructure and transport systems, livelihoods will improve. People will be able to produce food not only for the Philippines but for export,” said Ahmad. - Yahoo News

 

 
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Thursday, August 14, 2014

PNOY opens Charter Change for 2ND TERM Philippines 2016 Presidential Election

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PNoy open to charter change, lifting term limits

MANILA - President Benigno Aquino said on Wednesday he was considering constitutional changes including adjustment of term limits for officials that might allow him to serve a second six-year term.

The present constitution would limit Aquino, elected in 2010, to a single six-year term. The restriction was born of the country's experience of martial law under the late strongman Ferdinand Marcos, who ruled for more than two decades.

Aquino, speaking in an interview with a local television network, was asked whether charter changes would allow him to seek a second term in 2016.

"When I got into this, I remembered it is for one term of six years," he replied.

"Now after having said that, of course I have to listen to my bosses," he added, using his usual reference to the Filipino people. "But that doesn't mean...that I will automatically chase after another term, right?"

It was Aquino's first comment on reconsidering his stated position against amending the constitution passed during the term of his mother Corazon, who was closely associated with the re-establishment of a democratic order.

Any constitutional amendment would require a vote of three quarters in Congress and convocation of a constitutional convention. Aquino's allies currently dominate both houses of Congress.

Past presidents have considered charter amendments, but faced intense public criticism for attempting to extend their term of office. Aquino, who has put in place reforms in the fiscal sector that earned the country its first investment grade rating, is likely to face similar public reaction.

Some legislators, including the speaker of the lower chamber of Congress, have actively pushed for changes to the constitution, particularly to economic provisions that capped foreign investments into the country.

Recently, Interior Secretary Manuel "Mar" Roxas, a chief ally of Aquino and one of the leaders of the administration party, voiced his personal opinion Aquino should seek a second term.

Aquino also said charter changes would allow for a review of the courts' powers as a check on other branches of government.

Last month, the Supreme Court ruled that a government move to use budget savings for stimulus spending without congressional appropriation was unconstitutional, sparking debates on whether Aquino was indeed committed to his anti-corruption promises, since the money funded legislators pet projects. (Reporting by Rosemarie Francisco; editing by Ralph Boulton) - ABS-CBN . Reuters

 
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Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Philippines dance group A-Team wins 2014 International Hip Hop Dance Competition

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DANCE PRIDE. A-Team performing their number at the World Hip Hop Dance Championship. Screengrab from YouTube

 

DANCE PRIDE. A-Team performing their number at the World Hip Hop Dance Championship. Screengrab from YouTube

MANILA, Philippines – Filipino dancers proved their talent once again, when the A-Team, a group of 30 dancers, won the gold medal at the Mega Crew division of the 2014 World Hip Hop dance competition held at Las Vegas.

The competition which was held Sunday (Monday, August 11 in Manila) and was livestreamed at the SM Aura Samsung Hall.

According to the Hip Hop International’s Facebook page, the bronze went to Russia’s Flyographers Dance Team, while New Zealand’s ID CO won the silver medal.

Here is a video of the A-Team’s number from the YouTube account of the Hip Hop International

The A-Team is led by two coaches known in the Philippine hip hop community – Angelica and MJ Arda. The group has been joining competitions since 2011, winning 2nd place in Slimmers World Step-Up Philippines, 2nd Place, World Supremacy Battlegrounds 2012 Varsity Division in Sydney, Australia, and Champion at the World Supremacy Battlegrounds 2013 Varsity Division also in Australia in 2013 among others.

Aside from the A-Team, another Filipino dance group, The Romancon Dance Company from the De La Salle - College of Saint Benilde also participated in the Adult Division finals of the competition. The division was won by the group Brotherhood from Canada.


- Rappler 

 
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Sunday, August 10, 2014

China believes Philippines - Vietnam, ASEAN countries will give up its territory if Scared

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A Philippine helicopter prepares to take off during an exercise in June. The Philippines and China both claim territories in the South China Sea.

China expands its reach in the West Philippine Sea (South China Sea). What's the end goal?

Beijing wants to assert its preeminence in Asia. But not so strongly as to push its neighbors into the arms of the United States. 

It is typhoon season in the South China Sea. But more dangerous than the physical winds tearing down homes and trees is a brewing political storm that threatens the peace in one of the world’s most strategic flash points.

Over the past several months China has set itself on a collision course with its Southeast Asian neighbors, taking a series of forceful steps to assert territorial claims over potentially valuable rocks, reefs, and waters that other nations claim, too.

Some of them, such as Vietnam and the Philippines, are alarmed enough to have voiced their anger publicly. Others, such as Malaysia, Indonesia, and Brunei, have been more cautious. 

Their collective disquiet has drawn in the United States. Senior US diplomats and defense officials have bluntly accused China of fomenting instability in the region and intimidating its neighbors.

China’s oft-repeated pledge of “peaceful development” and its offer of “amity, sincerity, mutual benefit, and inclusiveness” to Southeast Asia are looking threadbare. Adding to the uncertainty is the lack of clarity surroundingBeijing’s goals.

They may not be clear even to Beijing, where more dovish and more hawkish factions appear to be debating the wisdom of China’s recent moves. If Beijing’s abrasive attitude pushes its neighbors to seek help from Washington, some analysts here are warning, it will mean only trouble for China.

Instead of ending up as the naturally dominant power surrounded by economically dependent smaller neighbors, China would find itself strategically isolated in the region and facing off directly with the US.

“There are some inside the system who are wondering ... whether or not this is all going to backfire,” Christopher Johnson, a China analyst at the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) in Washington, told those at a recent conference on China’s intentions.

At the same time, he added, there is “a possibility that they [the Chinese government] are not scoring ‘own goals,’ that they know exactly what they are doing with this strategy because they think it will be effective” in intimidating China’s neighbors into submission to Beijing’s regional domination.

'Salami slicing'

There is less ambiguity about what China has actually done in the South China Sea this year.

On Jan. 1, it imposed rules demanding that anyone fishing in waters it claims, which make up nearly 90 percent of the South China Sea, should get prior permission from the Chinese authorities.

In March a Chinese Coast Guard vessel prevented the Philippine Army from resupplying its soldiers based on a rusting ship grounded on the Second Thomas Reef in the Spratly Islands, which Beijing and Manila both claim.

Over the past few months, a Chinese dredging vessel has been creating an artificial island on the previously submerged Johnson South Reef, which the Philippines also claims. The company doing the work has published computer mock-up images of an airstrip it says is planned.

In May the state-owned China National Offshore Oil Corporation moved an oil drilling rig into disputed waters near the Paracel Islands, which Vietnam claims. A Chinese barge accompanying the rig rammed and sank a Vietnamese fishing boat during clashes.

All these moves appeared to violate an agreement that China signed with the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) 12 years ago in which both sides pledged to “exercise self-restraint in the conduct of activities that would complicate or escalate disputes and affect peace and stability.”

“China has been very opportunistic, pushing and pushing to see what they can get ... and taking as much as they can,” says David Arase, who teaches international politics at the Johns Hopkins University campus in Nanjing, China.

By taking small steps to avoid provoking Washington to act in support of its regional allies, China is trying to “dishearten” rival claimants and “resign them to the fact that they have to give up their rights,” Professor Arase says.

“They are continuing with their salami slicing, reef by reef, step by step,” said Tran Truong Thuy, an analyst at Vietnam’s Institute for East Sea Studies, at a recent CSIS conference. “In reality they want to change ... the South China Sea into a Chinese lake.”

Are China's claims legitimate?

China insists its actions are legitimate since, in an oft-repeated official phrase, Beijing enjoys “indisputable sovereignty” over all the islands in the South China Sea and “their adjacent waters” on historical grounds, no matter how far they are from the mainland or how close to other countries’ coastlines.

That is debatable, say international law experts. Chinese maps show what it calls a “nine-dashed line” around the edge of the South China Sea, shaped in the form of a lolling cow’s tongue, cutting through several neighboring countries’ 200-mile exclusive economic zones and their continental shelves. But Beijing has never clearly explained just what this line signifies.

“Even in China there are different ideas” on the subject, says Xue Li, head of the international strategy department at the China Academy of Social Sciences. Members of the military insist the line marks China’s national boundary; others suggest it encloses China’s historical waters; some scholars say it merely demarcates the land features over which China claims sovereignty.

The Philippines is challenging the legality of the “nine-dashed line” in a case it has brought before a tribunal of the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea. China has refused to participate in the case, and few foreign legal experts say Beijing could win it.

China might, however, try to defend the line anyway by altering facts on the ground. Nationalist sentiment is strong in China: President Xi Jinping has shown himself readier to take risks than his predecessor, and territorial assertion could prove an attractive way to illustrate the “national rejuvenation” he has promised as China takes its rightful place in the world.

Xi ‘does not want to look like a chicken’

“Domestic opinion is very important to Xi Jinping,” says Zhu Feng, the head of the recently created Collaborative Innovation Center for South China Sea Studies at Nanjing University, a think tank to coordinate South China Sea studies. “He does not want to look like a chicken.”

At the same time, suggests Mr. Johnson of CSIS, Mr. Xi may believe he can get away with current policy because “ultimately, ASEAN countries will stand aside because of their interest and dependence on China’s economic prospects.”

But the costs of appearing to neighbors like an arrogant bully are not negligible. The recent row with Vietnam over the oil rig “completely turned around relations with Vietnam,” says Carl Thayer, an expert on Southeast Asia at the University of New South Wales in Australia. 

The Vietnamese prime minister threatened to follow the Philippines to an international court and “the idea of getting out of China’s orbit has gone viral in Vietnamese public opinion.”

China withdrew the rig a month ahead of schedule, perhaps to cool the crisis, but not before it had drawn heavy international criticism and further stoked regional fears.

A survey published in July by the Pew Research Center found that a majority of people in eight of 10 countries neighboring China are worried that the Asian giant’s territorial ambitions could lead to military conflict.

Chinese analysts insist that Beijing’s traditional aim of maintaining a peaceful international environment to favor its economic development has not changed fundamentally, nor has its declared policy of shelving territorial disputes and jointly developing energy and other resources.

The challenge, says Lou Chunhao, an analyst at the China Institutes of Contemporary International Relations, affiliated with China’s Ministry of State Security, is “how to achieve a balance ... between protecting Chinese rights and sovereignty in the South China Sea and maintaining a benign environment.”

China’s rivals see safety in numbers

China’s ASEAN rivals in territorial disputes are not reassured by Beijing’s insistence that they resolve their differences one-on-one; they see safety in numbers. Nor have any of them yet voiced any enthusiasm for Xi’s call for a new Chinacentric security system in the region to replace the US-dominated arrangements that have held for the past 70 years.

“In the final analysis, it is for the people of Asia to run the affairs of Asia, solve the problems of Asia, and uphold the security of Asia,” Xi told an international conference in Shanghai, China, last May.

China’s top long-term goals in the ocean it claims, says Rory Medcalf, head of the international security program at the Lowy Institute, a think tank in Sydney, Australia, is “to ensure that nothing happens in the South China Sea without Chinese blessing” and “maximum freedom of maneuver for its Navy ... to be the dominant military player in those waters.”

An increasingly vocal band of government policy advisers in Beijing are suggesting that those goals would be easier to achieve if China’s neighbors trusted it more; they are urging a reset in China’s neighborhood diplomacy.

“China’s Navy could already beat all the ASEAN navies. The question is whether it would be worth it,” Mr. Xue argues. “We would pick up a sesame seed and throw away a watermelon,” he says, referring to the manifold economic benefits that closer ties with Southeast Asia would bring.

“The South China Sea could be a real battlefield, and that would be very harmful to China’s future,” adds Professor Zhu. “We need to find a way to settle [the disputes] piece by piece.”

Given China’s geographic position and its economic and political strength, “it is quite normal that China should be the dominant power in the South China Sea,” Xue says. “And just because of that, maybe we need to make compromises with our neighbors.” - CS Monitor

 

 
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Sunday, August 3, 2014

Japan Gives Vessels to Vietnam to Boost Maritime Security; A threat to the Philippines for another Viet invasion to Spratly?

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Japan's Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida attends a media briefing with his Vietnamese counterpart Pham Binh Minh after their meeting at the Government Guesthouse in Hanoi, August 1, 2014.- Reuters

Japan offers vessels to Vietnam to boost its sea strength

HANOI - Japan will give six navy boats to Vietnam to boost its patrols and surveillance in the South China Sea, Japan's foreign minister said on Friday, in the latest sign of a strengthening of alliances between states locked in maritime rows with China.

The used vessels, worth 500 million yen ($4.86 million), would be accompanied by training and equipment to help the coast guard and fisheries surveillance effort, Japanese Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida said after talks with Vietnamese counterpart Pham Binh Minh.

The deal represents a notable shift in the two countries' close diplomatic and investment ties towards defense, a move likely to irk an increasingly assertive China that is pressing hard on claims to nine-tenths of the potentially energy-rich sea, and worrying much of the region.

"International security is getting more complicated... prosperity only comes with stability in the South China Sea and the East China Sea," Kishada told a news conference in Hanoi.

"I hope this equipment will strengthen the ability of Vietnam's coastal enforcement authorities."

Vietnam enjoys tight business ties with Japan, its biggest investor, but relations with Hanoi's largest trade partner, China, are at their worst in three decades and analysts believe that has sharpened the debate within Vietnam's secretive Communist Party over long-term foreign policy strategy.

Beijing's May 2 deployment of a drilling rig in waters Vietnam claims as its exclusive economic zone lit the fuse on simmering anti-China sentiment in Vietnam, worsened by accusations that the southeast Asian country's fishing boats were deliberately rammed by Chinese vessels.

Live-fire drills

That led to rare protests, rioting and arson in Vietnam aimed at Chinese factories, although Taiwan facilities were worst hit.

The rig was moved out of contested waters on July 16, a month before schedule, but it remains unclear if the two countries struck a deal behind the scenes. China said the rig was shifted because its mission had been completed.

China is not showing any sign of easing off on its maritime push. It will hold live-fire drills for five days from Tuesday off its coast in the East China Sea opposite Japan and in the Gulf of Tonkin, which borders both China and Vietnam, according to the Ministry of National Defense.

The Japanese support for Vietnam will include radar equipment and the vessels are to be handed over by year end, according to a Japanese government source in Tokyo, who requested anonymity.

Japan's already fragile ties with China have soured over their competing claims to a string of uninhabited East China Sea islets that Beijing calls Diaoyu and Tokyo refers to as Senkaku.

China also has overlapping South China Sea claims with Taiwan, Malaysia, Brunei and the Philippines, to which Vietnam has recently cosied up, and says may follow in pursuing international legal action against China.

Soldiers from both countries drank beer and played soccer during a party on an island in the disputed Spratly archipelago in June, in what was widely seen as a provocative show of unity.

1975 Vietnam Invasion of Pugad Island of the Philippines with Prostitutes ( Southwest Cay invasion )

Southwest Cay, known as Pugad island in the Philippines, as (南子岛) Nanzi Dao in China and as Đảo Song Tử Tây in Vietnam, is an island in the Spratly group. It was occupied by Philippine forces up to 1975, when South Vietnam forces were able to invade the island.

Southwest Cay is in the northern edge of the Spratly group. It is within North Danger Reef which also contains the Philippine-occupied Northeast Cay (Parola Island), Vietnamese-occupied South Reef and unoccupied North Reef. Southwest Cay and Northeast Cay are just 1.75 miles (2.82 km) away from each other. Each island can actually see the other within their respective horizons.

The invasion took place when all the Philippine soldiers guarding the island of Pugad left to attend to the birthday party of their commanding officer who is based on nearby Parola Island. The storm that day is also believed to have persuaded all the soldiers to regroup temporarily on Parola island. A report also came out saying that South Vietnamese officials managed to send Vietnamese prostitutes to the birthday party to lure the Filipino soldiers guarding Pugad Island. It was said to be a "present" to the Philippine commander for his birthday and as a move of South Vietnamese forces to befriend all Filipino soldiers guarding the Spratlys. Philippine soldiers did not expect that South Vietnam would resort to foul play since both Philippines and South Vietnam, together with the United States, were allies in the Vietnam War. This tactic is believed to be the reason why South Vietnamese forces knew that the Filipino soldiers left the island, an action that is usually kept confidential.

After the party and after the weather cleared out, the returning soldiers were surprised that there was a company of South Vietnamese soldiers on the island. The South Vietnamese flag replaced the Philippine flag flying in the pole created by Philippine soldiers themselves. The soldiers returned to Parola immediately for fear that Parola would be the next target. After higher-ups of the Philippines were informed about the situation, they instructed the troops based in Parola and Pagasa to stay on red alert status. The following morning, the only thing the Filipino soldiers could do in Parola was to "curse" while South Vietnamese sang their national anthem. Under the Government of former president  Ferdinand Marcos - Malacañang officials, who did not want to compromise the alliance while the Vietnam War was still being fought, decided to remain silent.

A few months later, the recently formed unified Vietnam (after North Vietnam successfully invaded South Vietnam) decided to remove all remaining South Vietnamese troops in the Spratlys and establish military control among the features. It was reported that dozens of South Vietnamese soldiers in Pugad Island swam all the way to Parola just to avoid being captured by North Vietnamese forces. It was then when Malacañang officials, headed by President Ferdinand Marcos, discussed how the Philippines could reclaim the island. It had been apparent that most of the officials (who treat the communists as a threat to the Philippine national security) want to attack Pugad to reclaim it. However, after an intelligence report came stating that the unified Vietnam had already built a huge concrete garrison within a few weeks, the officials dropped the plan and tried to resolve the issue diplomatically. However, this approach eventually died along the process making Pugad a Vietnamese-occupied island up to this day. This incident was confirmed in interviews with soldiers involved in an episode of the defunct Magandang Gabi Bayan (Eng.: Good Evening Nation) (MGB) of ABS-CBN. - Reuters, ABS-CBN, GMA

 
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Monday, July 28, 2014

LRTA awards ₱65-Billion Cavite Extension project to Metro Pacific - Ayala Group Consortium

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Proposed LRT-MRT intersection Stations - DOTC

 

LRTA awards LRT1 Extension project to MPIC-Ayala tandem

MANILA, Philippines - The board of the Light Rail Transit Authority (LRTA)  has approved the recommendation to award the ₱65-Billion ($1.5 Billion USD)  LRT1 Cavite Extension project to the tandem of  infrastructure giant Metro Pacific Investments Corp. (MPIC) and conglomerate Ayala Corp.

Hernando Cabrera, LRTA spokesperson, said the board has approved the awarding of the public private partnership (PPP) project to the Light Rail Manila Consortium based on the recommendation made by the Department of Transportation and Communications (DOTC) Special Bids and Awards Committee (SBAC) last Monday.

 “The LRTA board approved the award as recommended by the SBAC,” Cabrera said.

The LRTA board is composed of eight ex-officio cabinet members, chaired by Transportation Secretary Joseph Emilio Abaya, with the heads of the  Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH), Department of Budget and Management (DBM), Department of Finance (DOF), National Economic and Development Authority  (NEDA), Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA), Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB), LRTA administrator, and a representative from the private sector.

The LRTA board was supposed to meet in the second week of July but was moved to July 16 due to the lack of quorum. However, the July 16 meeting was called off due to Typhoon Glenda.

The meeting finally pushed through last Wednesday but the awarding of the project was not discussed due to numerous items in the agenda prompting the LRTA board to meet again yesterday morning where the award of the project to the Light Rail Manila Consortium was finally approved.

Cabrera said the LRTA board authorized the DOTC chief to sign and issue the Notice of Award and Concession Agreement for the project.

 “Secretary Abaya was authorized to sign and issue the Notice of Award and the Concession Agreement,” Cabrera said.

DOTC spokesman Michael Arthur Sagcal said in a text message that the agency would wait for the LRTA Board Resolution approving the award of the PPP project to the Light Rail Manila Consortium.

 “We will await the LRTA Board Resolution approving the BAC’s recommendation to award the project. Once the resolution is received, Secretary Abaya may then issue the Notice of Award to the Light Rail Manila Consortium,” Sagcal said.

MPIC Light Rail Corp. leads the group with 55 percent followed Ayala’s AC Infrastructure Holdings Corp. with 35 percent and Macquaire Infrastructure Holdings (Philippines) Pte Ltd. with 10 percent.

MPIC president Jose Maria K. Lim said the group has one year from the issuance of the Notice of Award to take over the facilities of LRT1.

 “We have one year to take over and then we have five years to deliver the extension,” Lim told reporters

The group would have 20 days from the Notice of Award to make the 20 percent down payment while the remaining 80 percent would be paid during the 32-year concession period.

Ayala Corp. managing director John Eric Francia said the consortium is looking forward to the customary closing of the transaction.

 “There is much work to do to enhance the system and customer experience, and we look forward to get going soon,” Francia said in a text message.- philSTAR By Lawrence Agcaoili

 
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Sunday, July 27, 2014

1,056 job vacancies at Bureau of Customs Available open for applicants

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photo: gov.ph

 

MANILA, Philippines - There are over a thousand vacancies at Bureau of Customs (BOC) offices nationwide that need to be filled.

 

Customs Commissioner John Sevilla said they need 1,056 personnel – accountants, administrative officers, lawyers, special police, special agents, intelligence agents, statisticians and Customs operations officers.

 

“By filling these vacancies, we will be able to provide a faster and better standard of service for importers, exporters and the public dealing with Customs,” he said. “On the average, we have over 3,000 entries and over 6,000 individual items being imported every day.”

 

Sevilla said around 4,000 containers arriving everyday need to be inspected.

 

“In order to facilitate these transactions we need additional manpower,” he said.

 

“Right now, there are only 3,600 employees in BOC.”

 

Photo: Wikimedia

 

1,056 job vacancies at Customs

 

The lack of manpower was partly due to retirement, resignation and death, as well as dropping from the rolls and dismissal from service, Sevilla said.

 

To screen applicants, the BOC has released new guidelines under Customs Memorandum Order 15-2014 to simplify the hiring and selection process.

 

Interested applicants could visit the BOC website www.customs.gov.ph to download the details and documents required for their applications, including an updated personal data sheet; certificate of eligibility issued by the Civil Service Commission, Professional Regulation Commission or Supreme Court; transcript of records and diploma; certificates of training and seminars attended, if any; and performance appraisal report for the last two rating periods for those already working in government offices.

 

Deadline for the submission of application is on Aug. 6.

 

Provincial applicants may also send their applications via courier.

 

Applicants with relatives in the BOC up to the fourth degree of consanguinity are barred from applying for any position, as the Administrative Code  prohibits nepotism.

 

All applicants will be screened by the newly formed BOC Personnel Selection Boards.

 

Applicants who pass the initial screening will undergo special aptitude and psychometric tests conducted by the Civil Service Commission.

 

After passing, they will take competency-based tests given by requesting groups or offices consisting of a written test, interview and a physical exam for applicants for the Intelligence and Enforcement groups.

 

The BOC has streamlined the process of promotion for employees with first and second level positions.

 

An employee may be promoted to a position which is more than three salary grades higher than the employee’s present position in meritorious cases. – With Zinnia dela Peña at philSTAR

 
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