Posts Tagged ‘Gary Alejano’

More Complaints About Philippine President Duterte at International Criminal Court

October 4, 2018

At least four more “confidential communications” about President Rodrigo Duterte’s ferocious war on drugs have been filed before the International Criminal Court, Commission on Human Rights chief Chito Gascon said.

Gascon said that these communications were filed as early as 2016.

“We are aware that there are other confidential communications that have been submitted both from the Philippines—from non-governmental organizations and victims’ groups—as well as internationally submitted communications,” the CHR head said in an interview on ANC’s “Early Edition” Thursday.

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One of the communications tackles the alleged violations against women and children, he added.

These “confidential communications” come on top of the separate communications filed by lawyer Jude Sabio and backed by a supplemental communication of Sen. Antonio Trillanes IV and Rep. Gary Alejano (Magdalo party-list) in 2017 and the families of alleged victims of extrajudicial killings last August.

“The communications and other sources of information that the ICC collects will constitute the body of facts or information that will prompt them to make the decision to investigate further,” Gascon said.

The Hague-based court already launched a preliminary examination, not investigation, into Duterte’s anti-narcotics crackdown.

Last March, the administration formally sent the Philippines’ letter of withdrawal from the Rome Statute, the treaty that created ICC.

Despite this the Philippines remains a party to the Rome Statute as the withdrawal will only take effect a year after the date of receipt of the notification.

Human rights advocates claim there have been more than 12,000 individuals killed since Duterte launched the brutal war on drugs.

But the government has downplayed the numbers, claiming a little over 4,000 deaths in recognized law enforcement operations.



Philippines’ Duterte alleges coup plot based on tip from a foreign power

September 11, 2018

Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte on Tuesday revealed what he said was a plot to unseat him hatched by the opposition, Maoist rebels and a group of former soldiers who had mounted failed coups in the past.

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FILE PHOTO: President Rodrigo Duterte speaks after his arrival, from a visit in Israel and Jordan at Davao International airport in Davao City in southern Philippines, September 8, 2018. REUTERS/Lean Daval Jr.

In a conversation with his lawyer, shown on national television, Duterte said he had asked the military to “declassify” information about the plot which he said was gathered by a third country he did not identify.

“We have the evidence and we have the conversation provided by a foreign country sympathetic to us,” Duterte told Salvador Panelo, presidential legal counsel, in an hour-long conversation.

He said the Communists, politicians opposed to him and a group of ex-servicemen, including a senator he wanted arrested after revoking his amnesty, “were in constant communication”.

Duterte said the “connection will be shown, maybe any day now”.

Last week, Duterte withdrew a 2010 amnesty granted to his most vocal critic, Senator Antonio Trillanes, a former junior naval officer who led two unsuccessful coup attempts 15 years ago, and ordered his arrest.

Trillanes’ party-mate, Congressman Gary Alejano, who also took part in the failed coups, denied the president’s accusations they were plotting his ouster, saying they were only doing their work as “members of the opposition under the checks and balance system of our democratic government”.

Alejano said the president was trying to “divert the attention of the people from the present economic woes they themselves have failed to address”.

Duterte also warned soldiers against “colluding” with Trillanes’ group as coup rumors swirled in the capital early on Tuesday after army trucks and armored vehicles were seen rolling down Manila’s main roads.

The military quickly denied there were “sizeable movements of military aircraft or armored vehicles”.

“There is no cause for alarm,” military spokesman Marine Colonel Edgard Arevalo told reporters, adding these were “routine movements that are properly coordinated”.


Reporting by Manuel Mogato; Editing by Nick Macfie



Philippines: ‘True state of the nation’ — Philippines worse since Duterte became president

July 20, 2018

Lawmaker says President Duterte is taking the Philippines in the wrong direction… Culture of violence and impunity…

Rep. Gary Alejano (Magdalo) said that the country had deteriorated since President Duterte assumed the presidency more than two years ago.

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‘True state of the nation’: Philippines worse since Duterte became president, says Alejano
Audrey Morallo ( – July 20, 2018 – 2:57pm

MANILA, Philippines — An opposition congressman on Friday slammed President Rodrigo Duterte who is set to deliver an annual national address on Monday, saying the Philippines has deteriorated since he won the presidency more than two years ago.

Vice President Leni Robredo and Sen. Paolo Benigno “Bam” Aquino IV, meanwhile urged the president to attend to the economic concerns especially of poor Filipinos, who have been burdened by the rising inflation in recent months.

Despite some “laudable efforts” in the past two years, Duterte’s leadership is marked by worsening poverty, increasing levels of insecurity and ceding of the country’s territory, according to Rep. Gary Alejano (Magdalo).

Alejano assailed Duterte for creating a culture of violence and impunity in the Philippines, especially in the conduct of his brutal crackdown on illegal drugs.

“He claims to be an advocate of peace and order, yet his senseless policy has allowed fear to envelop the streets. Killings have multiplied while the public’s sense of security has degraded,” the Magdalo representative said.

He also hit the president’s economic policy, under which the Philippines has experienced record inflation rates, plummeting value of the peso and worsening economic conditions.

Robredo said that she would like to hear the president present his plan for helping Filipinos, especially the poor, cope with rising prices and for arresting the climbing inflation.

The vice president said that Duterte’s State of the Nation Address this year should enumerate the achievements and failures of the past two years.

“I think all people should be interested in what the president says in his SONA,” Robredo said in an interview with reporters in Naga City.

Aquino, meanwhile, called on the chief executive to use his annual address to tell the nation what he would do to help poor Filipinos and not to pursue hiw war on drugs and plans to change the Constitution.

He also urged the president to support his pending measure at the Senate which would automatically suspend the excise tax on fuel if inflation for the past three months exceeded official targets.

“I hope the president discusses in his SONA the solution to the rising prices. Suspend the excise tax on petrol to give relief to those families drowning in high prices,” the Liberal Party senator said in a statement.

Duterte has also led an assault on the country’s democractic institutions and compromised the checks and balances among the branches of government, Alejano said.

He also criticized the president’s vaunted anti-corruption campaign, saying this is a “farce” as he simply reappoints sacked officials accused of graft.

“Respect for the rule of law, due process and human rights have also diminished with law enforcement personnel getting involved in extrajudicial killings under the war on drugs,” he said.

As he continues to hurt his fellow Filipinos, Duterte meanwhile has been very gullible in following the wishes of China and compromised the country’s national security and interest, according to Alejano, a former Marine officer.

He also condemned the president for setting a bad example for the youth through his uncouth remarks and expletive-laden public pronouncements, attacks on religious beliefs and demeaning comments on women.

Alejano advised the president to start uniting and caring for Filipinos and honoring their dignity as a race.

He said that Duterte should also preserve the country’s integrity, set a good example to the youth and start building a good image on the Philippines in the international community.

Duterte is set to deliver his annual SONA before a joint session of the Senate and the House of Representatives.

Traditionally, presidents use this occasion to enumerate their accomplishments in the past year and enumerate their legislative priorities.




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See also:

China won’t allow Philippines to fall into a ‘debt trap’: envoy



Zhao: China’s loan to finance infrastructure projects will not make the Philippines fall into debt trap


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FILE Photo — Nora Acielo, 47, lies dead after she was gunned down by unidentified men while she was escorting her two children to school in Manila, Philippines, December 8, 2016. REUTERS/Erik De Castro

Philippines: Are Filipino Fishermen Welcome In The South China Sea? — Anybody brave enough to ask China the rules?

May 30, 2018
Cayetano hails fishermen’s access to South China Sea (West Philippine Sea); Alejano questions continued harassment
Patricia Lourdes Viray ( – May 30, 2018 – 12:56pm

MANILA, Philippines — Foreign Affairs Secretary Alan Peter Cayetano and Magdalo Partylist Rep. Gary Alejano have conflicting takes on the state of Filipino fishermen in the West Philippine Sea.

While the country’s top diplomat said that Filipino fishermen can now sail freely, the Magdalo lawmaker revealed that the fishermen still experience harassment from the Chinese.

Cayetano, in a briefing at the House of Representatives, said that it is a gain for the Philippines under the Duterte administration that local fishermen are allowed to fish in the disputed seas.

“There is still slight harassment but in the past it was total harassment. Before, our ships cannot enter but now they can access the maritime environmental protection area,” Cayetano told the House panel.

While Cayetano sees “slight harassment” as an improvement, it remains a point of contention for Alejano.

Alejano agreed that Filipino fishermen now have access to Scarborough Shoal but their activities are limited.

“In fact, when they fish there, their catch are being inspected and the best fish are being taken away from them there. If you are a fisherman, your time is wasted, your effort is wasted,” Alejano said.

The Magdalo lawmaker also questioned the “red line” that the Philippines imposed on China not to encroach on Scarborough Shoal.

“I don’t believe that we have control over there because they (China) are now controlling Scarborough Shoal so how can you say that we have control?” Alejano said.

Earlier this week, Cayetano said that the Philippines has identified actions that would be considered unacceptable in the South China Sea amid the maritime dispute between the two countries.

Aside from the Scarborough Shoal, the Philippines also warned China against attempting to remove the Philippine Navy ship anchored near Ayungin Shoal.

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Chinese bomber over Scarborough Shoal, the Philippines

According to Cayetano, President Rodrigo Duterte would be willing to wage a war against Beijing if they break these conditions.

“That’s what the president said. If anyone gets the natural resources in the West Philippine Sea-South China Sea, he will go to war. He said: ‘Bahala na.’ He will go to war. So those were our red lines,” Cayetano said last Monday.




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China has seven military bases near te Philippines

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China says it has sovereignty over all the South China Sea north of its “nine dash line.” On July 12, 2016, the Permanent Court of Arbitration  in The Hague said this claim by China was not valid. But China and the Philippine government then chose to ignore international law.

Philippine Government ‘Accomplice’ in China’s Military Expansion

February 7, 2018
President Rodrigo Duterte and his government may be becoming an ‘accomplice’ in China’s plan to extend its economic and military reach by giving Beijing preferential treatment in research activities in the Philippine Rise, says Sen. Leila De Lima. AP/Aaron Favila, File

MANILA, Philippines — Detained Sen. Leila De Lima on Wednesday urged the Senate to probe China’s research in Benham Rise as she warned that the Philippine government’s preferential treatment of Beijing was making it a possible accomplice in the Chinese plan to extend its military and economic reach.

The senator stressed the need for the government to limit, if not prevent, Chinese access to the country’s territorial waters as this could expose strategic information that would endanger Manila’s national security.

“Circumstances surrounding Chinese activities in Philippine waters show that China’s interest over strategic areas within Philippine territory present a danger [to] our national interest, including our national security, economic and environmental interests, territorial integrity and sovereignty,” De Lima said.

De Lima filed Senate Resolution 604 which aimed to look into supposed “undue preference” given to China to explore the undersea region, a day after President Rodrigo Duterte barred foreign explorations in the region which came two days after Chinese vessels left the area.

Sen. Paolo Benigno “Bam” Aquino meanwhile urged the administration of Duterte to establish a consistent policy position on territorial and foreign policy issues.

He called on the government to be transparent about its dealings and agreements with other countries that may have repercussions on the country’s territory.

“We need full transparency in all our deals with other countries,” he said, stressing that the issue was too important for the government to be nonchalant.

On Tuesday, he called on the president to determine the country’s policies and programs for Benham Rise, also called the Philippine Rise, and welcomed Duterte’s cessation of foreign studies in the area.

However, Rep. Gary Alejano (Magdalo) revealed that Duterte’s stoppage order came two days after Chinese vessels left the area, an indication that they were done with their research.

De Lima said that Chinese access to waters off the country’s eastern seaboard would give Beijing military and scientific advantage by giving them information and access to areas including the Western Pacific Ocean Region.

“Continued tolerance by our government of Chinese incursions over our territorial waters makes our government an accomplice, wittingly or unwittingly, to the Chinese plan of expanding their military and economic reach well beyond their territory,” she said.

READ: Philippines conducting Benham Rise research without China

In her resolution, De Lima stated that China might just be looking for opportunities in the Pacific by increasing its submarine operations, citing former National Security Adviser Roilo Golez who said that the Chinese might just be looking for a thin layer of water called thermocline where their underwater assets could freely operate.

She said that this was in consonance to the statement of Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana who said last year that China might be looking for “a place to put submarines” when he ordered the Philippine Navy to shoo China’s vessels away.

De Lima also stressed doubt on China’s compliance with the country’s regulations in the Philippine Rise as it had already shown “bad faith” by conducting research prior to Manila’s approval.

Sen. Ralph Recto meanwhile called on the government to explore the Philippine Rise as a possible source of the country’s food and energy needs.

“With the West Philippine Sea effectively fenced off, we have to look to the ‘east Philippine seas’ for our food and fuel,” he said.

READ: ‘Probe Benham Rise research deal’


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China has no greater rights than any other in the sea. China says it has sovereignty over all the South China Sea north of its “nine dash line.” On July 12, 2016, the Permanent Court of Arbitration  in The Hague said this claim by China was not valid. But China and the Philippine government then chose to ignore international law.

Philippine President’s Plan to Allow China to Secure the Sulu and Celebes Seas, Even Approaches to the Malacca Strait, Called “Careless and Ignorant”

February 1, 2018
President Rodrigo Duterte earlier suggested that China should help  secure the Sulu and Celebes Seas from pirates and terrorists. Google Earth

MANILA, Philippines — Allowing China to secure the Sulu and Celebes Seas from pirates and terrorists would be tantamount to encouraging “a threat to your own backyard,” a lawmaker said Thursday.

Magdalo Partylist Rep. Gary Alejano made this statement in reaction to the suggestion of President Rodrigo Duterte to ask for Chinese presence in the Philippine waters, where pirates freely pass through.

“It is careless and ignorant to encourage a threat in your own backyard. The President should not be crass on dropping such suggestions without looking at the whole situation in that area,” Alejano said in a statement.

Prior to his flight to New Delhi last week, Duterte said that China would help secure the Philippine waters like what the did in addressing the piracy problem in Somalia.

“Sasabihin ko sa inyo, kung hindi natin kaya, we’ll just have to call China to come in and blow them off just like Somalia, that Aden Strait there. Were it not for the presence of the Chinese, hindi mahinto ‘yung piracy doon,” Duterte said.

Alejano, however, said that attributing the curbing of piracy in Somalian waters would be an exaggeration as US and European ships also conducted patrols and anti-piracy operations in the region.

The Philippines should instead develop maritime cooperation with Malaysia and Indonesia to secure the Celebes and Sulu Seas from the threat of piracy, the lawmaker added.

“I agree that we should have a hardline policy against piracy and terrorism. However, rather than immediately running to China, let us instead develop maritime cooperation with Malaysia and Indonesia. Their borders are included in the Sulu and Celebes Seas, so it would make more sense geographically for them to be involved,” Alejano said.

RELATED: Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines launch joint air patrols

The Philippine government should also focus on the modernization of the Coast Guard and the Navy in combating piracy before asking assistance from an outsider.

“I subscribe on having an independent foreign policy. However, as we are seeing now, it is not an independent foreign policy which the Duterte administration is going for. It is a dependent-to-China policy,” the Magdalo lawmaker said.

Duterte had been suggesting to request China to patrol areas in international waters leading to Malacca Strait and the Sulu Sea since last year.

In February 2017, the president said that Beijing could deploy its coast guard cutters, but not its “gray ships” or naval assets, into the country’s territorial zones.

RELATED: Duterte: Philippines, China can have military exercises in Sulu Sea


Philippines Navy Stopped Patrolling Scarborough Shoal in January 2016 in Part of Great Giveaway To China — Philippines’ government “practically surrendered” the country’s rights

November 21, 2017
“The AFP was ordered to desist from conducting aerial patrols over Panatag Shoal. However, the AFP insisted otherwise,” Magdalo Rep. Gary Alejano said., file

MANILA, Philippines — The Philippine Navy has stopped sending ships to patrol the Panatag or Scarborough Shoal in the disputed West Philippine Sea for almost two years now, Magdalo Rep. Gary Alejano said Tuesday.

This revelation came in response to the statement of National Security Adviser Hermogenes Esperon Jr. that the government recently stopped sending Navy ships to Panatag Shoal.

The recent halt in Navy patrols was meant to ease tensions with China and prevent harassment from Chinese forces, according to Esperon

Alejano, meanwhile, claimed that he has received information that the Philippine Navy has not conducted a single mission to Panatag Shoal since January 2016.

“The frequent visits of Philippine Navy ships were noted in 2012 during a standoff with the Chinese Coast Guard. In the years that followed, very few patrols were conducted. In 2016, the government eventually ordered the complete halt of patrols in the area,” Alejano said.

The lawmaker added that Esperon’s statement attempts to hide the fact that the government has long ceased its efforts to strengthen the country’s claims on the disputed areas.

He also noted that there have been cases of Chinese harassment in the region since the Philippines reduced its presence in Panatag early last year.

“Instead of deterring incidence of harassment, Chinese forces have become more bold and fearless. In fact, some of our fishermen have opted not to venture anymore in Panatag for fear and worry of wasting their food and fuel just to be blocked by the Chinese,” Alejano said.

Alejano further claimed that the Philippine government ordered the Armed Forces of the Philippines to stop aerial patrols over Panatag, which the military denied.

“It is extremely disheartening to see our own government limiting the AFP from performing its mandate,” the Magdalo lawmaker said.

The lawmaker lamented that the government “practically surrendered” the country’s rights in the West Philippine Sea by acceding to pressure from China.

“The Duterte administration has bargained our claims in the West Philippine Sea in exchange for promised economic concessions,” he said.

On the other hand, the Philippine Coast Guard might be tasked to patrol the disputed waters after receiving three newly commissioned multi-role response vessels.

Esperon earlier hinted at making the Coast Guard a lead agency in patrol operations in the western seaboard, along with the Philippine Navy and the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources.

South China Sea: Philippine President To Press China On Code of Conduct

November 9, 2017
President Duterte talks with Vietnam President Tran Dai Quang during a bilateral meeting at the Da Nang Convention Center, on the sidelines of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation Leaders’ Summit yesterday. Vietnam is also locked in a maritime dispute with China. AFP

DA NANG — President Duterte intends to press China to ratify the Code of Conduct on the South China Sea as he questioned Beijing’s moves to fortify disputed islands in the contested area.

Duterte said he would push the issue when he meets with Chinese President Xi Jinping during a bilateral meeting here tomorrow.

“China must come up with the Code of Conduct,” Duterte said in a press briefing after meeting with the Filipino community here yesterday.

Duterte had to push back his return flight to Manila by about two hours to be able to meet with Xi on the sidelines of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Summit in this Vietnamese city.

He stressed that he had developed good relations with China and he wanted to nurture this.

“I do not want to lose the friendship of China,” he said.

But being this year’s chairman of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, Duterte said he must put forward the interests of the claimant countries, which include Vietnam, the Philippines and Brunei Darrusalam.

He said it was China who created the “ruckus” when it started putting arms around the islands.

“It is not wrong for me to tell China that you have already placed heavy artillery there. It puts us worried and wary because we are also using the passage,” the President added.

“We are friends but what is the role here of everybody…I am chair of ASEAN and I have to carry the voice of the ASEAN. I have to tell the truth that everybody is worried,” Duterte said.

He mentioned that during his meeting with Xi, he will have “to ask questions and forward the ASEAN.”

Rody told: Assert UN tribunal ruling

Meanwhile, a former Marine captain-turned congressman is urging Duterte to assert the ruling of the UN-backed Permanent Court of Arbitration favoring the Philippines in its territorial dispute with China in the West Philippine Sea.

Gary Alejano of party-list Magdalo made the appeal a day after Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana revealed that the President ordered a halt to a construction project on a sandbar near the Philippine-occupied Pag-asa Island after China protested.

“I hope that the administration would now realize the importance and urgency of asserting the favorable ruling of the UN Permanent Court of Arbitration issued in July 2016. There could not be any more proper time to stress it than now. We do not want to waste time that we could use to peacefully strengthen our claims,” Alejano said.

He said China had no basis to protest the construction work on one of the sandbars.

“The Philippines did not violate the Declaration of Conduct. The planned construction in Sandy Cay was not a new occupation by the Philippines. In fact, the sand bars have traditionally been under effective control of the Philippine troops. Further, the sand bars are subject to regular patrols and visitations by the Philippine troops and our own fishermen,” he said.

He noted that the Duterte government halts its activities at the slightest protest from Beijing.

“Meanwhile, Chinese forces, military and coast guard, are illegally entering our exclusive economic zone (EEZ), yet our foreign affairs secretary and the President could only respond that we assume good faith in their actions. The administration has been downplaying the situation in the West Philippine Sea while China continues to push us into the corner,” he said.

Alejano and his party-list group have been calling attention to Chinese “encroachments” in the country’s EEZ.

Not too long ago, the former Marine officer exposed the alleged presence of Chinese ships near one of the sandbars of Pag-asa.

A few days later, Philippine and Chinese officials acknowledged that one ship of China passed by the area. – With Jess Diaz




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China says it has sovereignty over all the South China Sea north of its “nine dash line.” On July 12, 2016, the Permanent Court of Arbitration  in The Hague said this claim by China was not valid. But China and the Philippine government then chose to ignore international law.

Philippines: House panel kills impeachment complaint vs President Duterte

May 15, 2017
In this March 30, 2017 file photo, Magdalo party-list Rep. Gary Alejano shows a page from the impeachment complaint against President Rodrgio Duterte filed at the House of Representatives. AP/Bullit Marquez

MANILA, Philippines (Update 2, first published at 1:41 p.m.) — The House justice committee declared on Monday that the first impeachment complaint filed against President Rodrigo Duterte is sufficient in form but insufficient in substance.

Emerging from a closed-door session after a morning of public deliberations, 42 members of the committee effectively dismissed the complaint, filed by Magdalo Rep. Gary Alejano who accuses Duterte of violating the Constitution.

The complaint, the first against Duterte who was inaugurated president last year, was filed in March by Alejano who accused the president of violating the Constitution in allowing killings linked to the war on drugs and treason in conferral with China on matters of the maritime domain.

An impeachment complaint requires the majority vote of committee members to move be endorsed to the House plenary, where the complaint would require the vote of a third of the chamber.

Monday’s session was the first step in the impeachment process, with the justice committee tasked to determine whether the verified complaint was “sufficient in form and substance,” stated in the rules of procedure.

“Form” refers to a complaint’s technical details following established methods, while “substance” refers to material allegations, of whether or not there is a cause of impeachment. It also refers to the jurisdiction of the body deliberating on it, according to a 2008 Supreme Court decision.

House rules also indicate that the requirement of “substance” is met if there is a detailed statement of facts constituting the offense charged.

The House of Representatives has the exclusive power to initiate cases of impeachment, which could be filed by any member of the lower chamber or citizen. Complaints should be accusations on culpable violation of the Constitution, treason, bribery, graft and corruption, other high crimes or betrayal of public trust.

At the session, members of the so-called supermajority allied to the Duterte administration grilled Alejano on the content of the complaint, which notes that there have been 8,000 individuals who have been killed in the context of the war on drugs.

Alejano said that the facts stated in his complaint have been verified, and were partly culled from news reports and testimonies of confessed hired killers who allegedly answered to orders of Duterte when he was still Davao City mayor.

Majority Leader Rodolfo Fariñas, a member of the committee, however, argued that Alejano should demonstrate first-hand or “personal” knowledge of the violations alleged in the complaint.

“Newspaper reports are not authentic records,” Fariñas said.

“This is the last time the House will entertain a complaint that violates the rules of verification,” he added.

The Senate, however, has the sole power to hold trial and decide on cases of impeachment.

The dismissal of the complaint was the expected outcome in a Congress controlled by the popular Duterte, whose campaign against illegal drugs enjoys wide support but is also heavily criticized for its violence and high death toll.



South China Sea: Chinese Building Military Facilities On Philippine Soil

March 30, 2017
This March 9 satellite image released by the CSIS Asia Maritime Transparency Initiative shows that all hangars for 24 combat aircraft and four larger planes have been completed on Subi (Zamora) Reef. AMTI/CSIS via DigitalGlobe

MANILA, Philippines — The Philippine government said it is yet to verify the completion of Chinese military assets in the Spratly (Kalayaan) Islands in the South China Sea, the country’s top diplomat said Thursday.

This is despite Washington-based think tank CSIS Asia Maritime Transparency Initiative’s (AMTI) recently released satellite images showing the nearly complete construction of infrastructures on Subi (Zamora), Mischief (Panganiban) and Fiery Cross (Kagitingan) Reefs.

READ: China can now deploy military assets to South China Sea

Acting Foreign Affairs Secretary Enrique Manalo said that the AMTI is basically suggesting that the facilities could accommodate military assets when it took the photos.

“We take it very seriously but I think when they say that this would accommodate this and that… We will have to verify with China,” Manalo said in an interview with ANC’s “Headstart.”

The think tank reported that the facilities in the three air bases would allow Beijing to deploy military assets including combat aircraft and mobile missile launchers to the Spratly Islands any time.

The hangars on the “Big Three” islands can accommodate 24 combat aircraft and four larger planes that can be used for transport or refueling, according to the report.

China’s facility on Woody Island of the Paracel Islands would allow military aircraft to operate nearly the entire South China Sea.

Manalo, however, said that the Philippines would have to ask China first on their intention of building the facilities.

“These could also be used for civilian uses and or military. We’re not yet sure so we have to really see what happens,” Manalo said.

The Foreign Affairs secretary said that the Philippines would have to look at this issue in the context of the country’s approach to the South China Sea issue.

“The Philippines is fully committed to seeking a peaceful resolution of the disputes in the South China Sea,” the secretary said.

Manalo reiterated that President Rodrigo Duterte made it clear that he would set aside the ruling of the Permanent Court of Arbitration on the issue.

On July 12, 2016, the arbitral tribunal issued its award on Manila’s complaint against Beijing’s nine-dash line claim over the South China Sea. The United Nations-backed tribunal ruled that China violated its commitment to the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea when it constructed artificial islands in the Philippines’ exclusive economic zone (EEZ).

The country’s top diplomat, however, said that Duterte will raise the arbitral tribunal’s ruling with China “at the appropriate time.”

“I can’t divulge exactly how we’d say it but we would be pointing out that these construction are taking place on islands within our EEZ,” Manalo said.


Comment from Peace and Freedom: Chinese resolve in the South China Sea has remained  the same for several years. The Philippines has been unable to set a policy and stick with it since Prersident Detarte was elected….