GLOBAL BALITA: How do you solve a problem like Mindanao?
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How do you solve a problem like Mindanao?
ON DISTANT SHORE
By Val G. Abelgas
With Philippine and American soldiers conducting joint military exercises right in the middle of the known lair of renegade Muslim commander Ameril Umbra Kato in Central Mindanao, both the Philippines and the United States are sending signals to the Muslim rebels that they are prepared to do anything to forge peace in that troubled region.
Umbra Kato is seen by both the Philippines and the US as an obstacle to a possible peace agreement with the Moro Islamic Liberation Front, led by Al Haj Murad Ibrahim, and restricting his movements, even by the mere presence of the participating Filipino and American soldiers in his areas of operation, could neutralize Umbra Kato as a bargaining chip for the MILF, who has been insisting on the establishment of [...]
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ALSO IN THE NEWS
Spratlys row to be resolved peacefully
By Aurea Calica
The Philippine Star
BEIJING (via PLDT) – President Aquino and his Chinese counterpart Hu Jintao stood firm on their countries’ positions on territorial claims in the Spratlys, but agreed here last night to resolve the dispute peacefully.
The two presidents, touching on corruption scandals that have marred two major Chinese business ventures in the Philippines, also agreed to “reconfigure” the NorthRail deal.
They witnessed the signing of nine agreements covering a range of issues from economic to cultural and friendly ties.
Aquino is here for a state visit upon the invitation of China. He had a meeting with Hu after a welcome ceremony at the Great Hall of the People. Hu later hosted a state banquet for Aquino at the same venue.
In a briefing after the two leaders’ meeting and the signing ceremonies, Presidential Spokesman Edwin Lacierda said [...]
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The Spratly agenda
By Perry Diaz
Three days before President Benigno “P-Noy” Aquino III embarked on a four-day state visit to China, it was reported in the news that the Philippine government had agreed to allow the Chinese government-owned China Petroleum and Chemical Corporation (Sinopec) to conduct oil exploration in the Spratly Islands in the West Philippine Sea (South China Sea).
According to Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) Undersecretary Cristino Panlilio, Sinopec would invest $1 billion for joint oil exploration, which is a part of the $7-billion investment package that is expected to be signed during P-Noy’s state visit. Panlilio said that they didn’t expect any problem with the “deal” because Sinopec had already agreed to conduct the oil exploration – conveniently — “under Philippine law.”
They were optimistic of the deal pushing through that Sinopec didn’t waste any time looking for a local partner. The deal was scheduled to be signed on the first full day of P-Noy’s state visit. But on the eve of P-Noy’s departure, the deal fell through because Sinopec failed to secure the permission of the Chinese government.
What is strange was the speed of which the deal was put together. But what is strangely contradictory was the fact that from the get-go, P-Noy declared unequivocally that the Spratly dispute would not be brought to the table in Beijing...
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Noynoy and China today
By Nestor Mata
‘During his state visit to China, President Aquino will talk of trade, oil exploration, investments, cultural and student exchanges, about the dispute over the Spratlys, but …’
PRESIDENT Noynoy Aquino and his state visit entourage, including 16 of this country’s tycoons, will be talking with top Chinese leaders about trade, oil exploration, investments, cultural and student exchanges, and about the territorial dispute over the Spratly Islands.
Oh yes, they’ll tour the Great Wall of China and even visit Fujiian province (the roots of the Cojuangcos ancestors) where then President Cory, planted a tree 19 years ago. And Noynoy may sit under that tree and, just Buddha when he sat under a Banyan tree, may attain enlightenment.
But, we wonder, do Aquino and his party of 270 officials and top business honchos really know the hard facts about modern China today? [...]
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Noy to bring back a fat Chinese ham?
By Federico D. Pascual Jr.
The Philippine Star
COUNTING CHICKS: We have a wise saying that we should not count the chicks until they are hatched.
Being optimistic has its merits, but Malacañang should not go overboard advertising prematurely how big is the Chinese ham that President Noynoy Aquino will bring back from Beijing.
The main line of the Palace attempt to justify the ongoing state visit of the President as guest of his Chinese counterpart President Hu Jintao is that the trip will cost the government only $590,000 (P25 million) but will reap up to $7 billion in [...]
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Spratlys feuds fuel Asian arms race and US industry
BY BOBBY M. TUAZON
This article deals principally with the military repercussions of the renewed territorial disputes in the South China Sea and the profits they bring to the U.S. war industry. It does not, therefore, discuss China’s military modernization and its impact on the SCS territorial tensions.
Just as the post-9/11 “war on terror” was used to justify the U.S.’ increased militarism in Asia Pacific and elsewhere in the world, the heightened territorial disputes in the South China Sea are now being spun to boost the Pentagon’s China encirclement strategy. The tension triggered by the territorial disputes is giving the U.S. grounds for strengthening and expanding its security relationships with traditional allies, vassal states, and other countries in the region. The immediate beneficiary of this enhanced militarism is America’s arms trade involving weapons suppliers and military training providers. Pushing their war industry is President Barack Obama’s new arms exports strategy in the region including Southeast Asia.
At a time when peaceful and diplomatic approaches may help defuse the tensions in the South China Sea triggered by the conflicting territorial claims, this renewed war environment is even stimulating an arms race among [...]
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Another conspiracy theory
BY DUCKY PAREDES
‘Will Oplan Bwelta succeed or will PNoy’s boys prove to be smarter than they seem?’
ACCORDING to a source, a luxurious condominium unit at the Bonifacio Global City in Taguig is the de facto war room of former first gentleman Jose Miguel “Mike” Arroyo and friends, advisors and business associates. The condo is near enough to St. Luke’s Hospital, convenient for the husband to watch over his wife, former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo who is still undergoing treatment for her spine problems.
The unit is where, says my source, “Oplan Bwelta” was conceived and implemented. Loosely translated, “bwelta” means to get back at, or, in modern street lingo, to “resbak”. The target: President PNoy!
PNoy is determined to pursue cases that involve graft and corruption committed during and by former president GMA’s administration. Arroyo family members are apparently in the President’s crosshairs. First, Congressman Mikey Arroyo and his wife were charged by Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) Commissioner Kim Henares with tax evasion. This was followed by the issue of misappropriation of Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation (PAGCOR) funds under the [...]
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Peddling cheap shots
AS I WRECK THIS CHAIR
By William M. Esposo
The Philippine Star
It didn’t surprise your Chair Wrecker that 24 ORAS of GMA Network had out rated TV Patrol of ABS-CBN in the recent August Mega Manila ratings poll. TV Patrol has been dishing a lot of cheap shots lately that could turn off a lot of viewers.
This questionable feature on TV Patrol is that text poll that they’re running every episode — a poll that the network admits isn’t scientific. The TV Patrol poll cannot claim to represent the national sentiment. You don’t need to be a genius to forecast who’ll end up the winner and the loser, the good guy and the bad guy and the hero and the heel in those TV Patrol polls. You’ll wonder if there’s a hidden agenda somewhere. In some instances, the news report preceding the poll question appears slanted to condition the public how to vote.
No doubt, the ABS-CBN management had banked on the popularity of Noli de Castro, Korina Sanchez and Ted Failon when they revamped the news program and injected the three veterans as anchors. A veteran Advertising Media Analyst thinks that the network may have overlooked a common denominator that their three anchors [...]
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Lacson dares De Lima to move vs Arroyos
BY KIMBERLY JANE TAN
Sen. Panfilo Lacson on Thursday dared Justice Secretary Leila de Lima to initiate legal moves against former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo and other members of the Arroyo family facing legal troubles in exchange for her confirmation.
“You know, I have a continuing objection against her confirmation,” Lacson told reporters at a weekly forum at the Senate. “And this much I can tell you. The moment she causes the issuance of an arrest warrant against any of the Arroyos then I will withdraw my objection, baka ako pa mag-move for her confirmation.”
Mrs. Arroyo, now a congresswoman representing the second district of Pampanga, is facing at least three plunder suits pending before Department of Justice (DOJ). Her son, Ang Galing Pinoy party-list Rep. Juan Miguel “Mikey” Arroyo, has a pending tax evasion case before the department.
Mrs. Arroyo has already been placed on the Immigration watch list upon orders from De Lima.
De Lima was critical of Lacson when he was evading arrest for his alleged involvement in the Nov. 2000 killings of [...]
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Alvarez insults P-Noy
SEARCH FOR THE TRUTH
By Ernesto M. Maceda
The Philippine Star
Sacked Customs Commissioner Angelito Alvarez claims that smugglers were behind his ouster. Does he not have enough intelligence to realize that he just said that smugglers now influence or worse control presidential decisions?
Is he referring to a particular big time customs smuggler who is known to have friends in the palace and who claims to have contributed P500 million to the presidential campaign?
The bottom line: Alvarez missed his target monthly for 14 months with the deficit totalling P22 billion. That speaks for itself. That’s irreputable proof of incompetence to say the least.
It was a bad appointment period.
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10,000 CONTAINERS?. . . In an effort to clear himself, outgoing Customs Commissioner Angelito Alvarez confirmed our earlier column that more than 5,000 containers approved for transhipment from Manila to Batangas are missing.
Alvarez revealed that from January to December 2010, 3,656 containers are unaccounted for. Add that to the 1910 missing containers from January to June 2011. That brings the total to [...]
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