Posts Tagged ‘President Duterte’

Philippines: Goverment Turns Tourist Area Boracay Into Police and Military Training Site During Clean-Up To Improve Business With China

May 1, 2018

Philippines: President Duterte’s controversial closure and rehabilitation of Boracay remains controversial. Word has leaked out that Chinese businessmen want to build a casino there. If this was in Duterte’s thinking, we just don’t know. But we do know the closure of the popular tourist site has cost thousands of Filipinos their jobs. Below is a letter to the editor complaining about an army of police officers President Duterte sent to Boracay to Keep The Peace:

Image result for Boracay, photos

Dear Editor:

The deployment of over 600 police and 200 military personnel to Boracay to enforce President Duterte’s controversial closure and rehabilitation order is overkill.

Since when did bullets and bombs become cleaning agents for coliform, or conservation tools for flying foxes, sea turtles, and coral reefs?

Ironically, this is done under the pretext of “providing security and peace” and “making tourists feel safe.”

Image result for police, army in Boracay, photos

Members of the Special Weapons and Tactics group simulate an assault during a security drill on Boracay

In reality, a fact-finding solidarity mission held by our affiliated local organizations last April 18-20 found that police threatened residents that they will turn Boracay into a “new Marawi.”

What the island needs instead are environmental specialists who could study the ecological situation and properly implement the rehabilitation of the island.

The coliform outbreak, coral reef bleaching, and habitat loss of important flora and fauna cannot be driven away by riot drills and live-fire exercises.

The people have suffered enough already from the loss of their livelihood (at least 36,000 lost jobs) and neglect by the government. Locals have been forced to flee the island by the hundreds.

Now they are threatened by virtual “martial law,” with restriction on movement and even suppression of media coverage.

Why is Mr. Duterte not deploying these armed forces instead to West Philippine Sea, Philippine Rise, and other areas where our national patrimony and sovereignty are being blatantly undermined?

Boracay needs scientists, engineers, development planners, social workers, and community organizers, not hundreds of troops and police.

These armed personnel must be pulled out of the island immediately.

LEON DULCE, national coordinator, Kalikasan People’s Network for the Environment, secretariat@kalikasan.net

.
Read more: http://opinion.inquirer.net/112840/overkill-3#ixzz5EG1qpPqZ
Follow us: @inquirerdotnet on Twitter | inquirerdotnet on Facebook

.

Related:

.

Advertisements

Philippines Watches as Elected President in a Democracy Becomes Something Else Entirely — Names Supreme Court Chief Justice His “Enemy” — Rule of Law?

April 11, 2018
 / 05:10 AM April 11, 2018

President Duterte has taken the velvet glove off the iron hand.

Before he left for the Boao Forum in China, he called Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno of the Supreme Court an “enemy,” and vowed he would remove her from office.

“I’m putting you on notice that I’m your enemy and you have to be out of the Supreme Court,” an angry President said in a news conference. “I will see to it and after that, I will request the Congress go into the impeachment right away.”

“I’m putting you on notice that I’m your enemy and you have to be out of the Supreme Court”

What triggered the President’s outright declaration of enmity? What provoked his declaration of political war?

Sereno — forced to go on indefinite leave from the Court by an unwieldy coalition of justices, facing both a patently unconstitutional quo warranto proceeding before the Court and certain impeachment in the House of Representatives — has been accepting unending invitations to speak in all sorts of public forums, and in the last one she raised the obvious question: If the President says he is not behind the twin moves to oust her, why was it Solicitor General Jose Calida, the government’s chief lawyer and a close ally of the President’s, who filed the quo warranto case against her?

Even in the polite Filipino she used, there was no mistaking the direct challenge she had laid at the President’s door: “Mr. President, kung sinabi mong wala kang kinalaman dito, paki paliwanag po bakit si SolGen Calida na nagrereport sa ’yo ang nag-file ng quo warranto?”

President Duterte took personal offense. In a mix of Filipino and English, he said: “You, Sereno, I told you I did not interfere. If you are insisting, then count me in. Count me in and I will egg Calida to do his best. I myself will do it, fight you.”

And: “Son of a bitch, I said I did not interfere. Tell her, let the world know. [Now] I will really get involved.”

And again: “I was telling you that I did not interfere. Now look what you’ve done, talking and talking, I will beat you up. I will help any investigator.”

And, one last time: “Now I will really get involved. I am asking Congress: What’s taking you too long? Do not create any crisis in this country. I will not hesitate to do what is to the best interest of my country. If it calls for your forced removal, I will do it.”

It is no secret that Sereno has been on the wrong side of the President’s personal ledger since she defended the independence of the judiciary when, at the start of the President’s signature campaign against drugs, he pinpointed judges he said were implicated in the illegal drug trade.

Speaking for the Supreme Court, Sereno calmly welcomed the President’s allegations but firmly insisted that the judiciary, being a branch of government designed to be independent of the two political branches, must follow its own procedures in determining the guilt or innocence of any accused judges. It was downhill from there.

There was even an exchange of views that led the President to exclaim, “Or would you rather I will declare martial law?”

Since August 2016, when the two heads of coequal branches of government conducted what amounted to a debate held through public forums or press conferences, Sereno had always sought not to directly challenge the President.

Her statements, while growing increasingly sharp, were still couched in polite diplomatic language.

Her speech last Monday directly challenging the President was a departure from previous practice — and it must have been deliberate.

The question then is: Why did Sereno seemingly sign her own death warrant, so to speak, by taking on the President?

Because it sharpens the issues facing Sereno. The impeachment complaint in Congress was of course a political stratagem; how else could an incoherent complaint filed by an incompetent lawyer survive a lengthy proceeding if not for the political will of the leaders running the proceeding?

Now the President himself has confirmed that he wants the House of Representatives to hurry up.

Sereno has reached the point where the only possibility of legal and constitutional salvation lies in an impeachment trial in the Senate.

By provoking the President, she has succeeded in forcing the hand of the House.

But why was the House taking so long, when impeachment is a foregone conclusion?

Because House leaders are waiting for the Supreme Court to take the unconstitutional option of unseating an official identified by the Constitution as removable only by impeachment through another means — the quo warranto case.

Sereno’s challenge has led the President to paint the justices into a corner. If they oust her, whatever reasons they use they will be seen, forever, as mere errand boys and girls, carrying out the command of an angry executive.

Read more: http://opinion.inquirer.net/112361/serenos-challenge#ixzz5CMLhPil3
Follow us: @inquirerdotnet on Twitter | inquirerdotnet on Facebook

Related:

.
.
.
.
.
.
 
.

Human Rights Watch: Don’t Be Fooled By Philippines President Duterte’s Distraction Strategy — Demand Accountability

January 23, 2018
Human rights situation in the Philippines is at its worst since the time of ousted dictator Ferdinand Marcos, Human Rights Watch says
 
In this Sept. 6, 2016 photo, police inspect one of two unidentified drug suspects after being shot by police as they tried to evade a checkpoint in Quezon city, north of Manila, Philippines. AP/Aaron Favila, File photo

MANILA, Philippines — DFA Secretary Alan Peter Cayetano’s accusations against New York-based Human Rights Watch (HRW) is a manifestation of the Philippine government’s distraction strategy, the human rights watchdog said Tuesday.

On Saturday, Cayetano accused HRW of “misleading the international community” after reporting that the human rights situation in the Philippines is at its worst since the time of ousted dictator Ferdinand Marcos.

The DFA chief also accused the human rights observer of politicising the drug war issue and has not done any research or investigation on the human rights situation in the country.

READ: Philippines in ‘worst human rights crisis’ since Marcos

Phelim Kine, deputy director of HRW’s Asia Division, said that the “groundless” accusations of Cayetano come as no surprise as he is President Rodrigo Duterte’s “chief denier” of the evidence linking the war on drugs to extrajudicial killings.

“They are the latest manifestation of the government’s distraction strategy that appears aimed to sideline domestic and international demands for accountability for what nongovernmental organizations and media outlets estimate is a drug war death toll of more than 12,000 people over the past 18 months,” Kine said.

Cayetano’s declaration before the United Nations General Assembly that the drug war was a necessary instrument to protect the human rights of Filipinos was “demonstrably false,” Kine added.

“It also airbrushed Watch and investigative journalists demonstrating that many of those deaths amount to extrajudicial killings by Philippine National Police personnel and their agents,” Kine said.

The HRW deputy director also noted that Cayetano has not called for justice for the thousands of deaths linked to the anti-drug campaign.

“The government has made no genuine efforts to seek accountability for drug war abuses. There have been no successful prosecutions or convictions of police implicated in the killings, despite compelling evidence,” Kine added.

Kine stressed that there is a need for a United Nations-led international investigation into the killings to expose the extent of the abuses in the conduct of the anti-drug campaign. The investigation would also determine possible prosecutions for crimes against humanity.

In its World Report 2018 released last week, HRW noted that Duterte’s drug war has claimed an estimated 12,000 lives since June 2016.

“President Rodrigo Duterte has plunged the Philippines into its worst human rights crisis since the dictatorship of Ferdinand Marcos in the 1970s and 1980s,” the report read.

The human rights watchdog cited extrajudicial killings, attacks on human rights defenders, children’s rights, press freedom, HIV epidemic, sexual orientation and gender identity, terrorism and counterterrorism and relations with international actors as factors in making the assessment.

http://www.philstar.com/headlines/2018/01/23/1780587/hrw-hits-back-dutertes-distraction-strategy-sidelines-demand

Related:

.
.
.
.
***

***

***

The grandmother of 17-year-old Kian delos Santos, Violeta, cries beside his casket yesterday in Caloocan City. Relatives and concerned neighbors of the teenager slain by police are calling for justice. MICHAEL VARCAS
.
.
.
.
One of the fatalities, who has yet to be identified, was killed in an alleged shootout with police officers in Guiguinto, Bulacan on June 16. AP/Aaron Favila, file
.
.
.
.
.
.
.

Image result for duterte, dela rosa, together, photos

President Rodrigo Duterte and PNP chief Ronald dela Rosa. PhilStar photo

Jee Ick-joo, a South Korean businessman in the Philippines, was abducted by police from his home in October. It took his wife, Choi Kyung-jin, three months to learn his fate. Video: Eva Tam; photo: Jes Aznar for The Wall Street Journal
.

Philippines: Speaker of The House Slows Down “Charter Change” Expected To Change Government Toward Federalism

January 22, 2018
 
“My target is to hold it during the barangay elections so we can save on funds. But if, for example, we are not able to comply with the requirements of the law in time, then we will adjust (the timetable),” Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez said. Philstar.com/File Photo

MANILA, Philippines — In a change of tack, Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez yesterday stepped back from the House of Representatives’ original plan to hold a plebiscite simultaneous with the barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan elections on May 14.

Alvarez also said he was just joking when he warned congressmen and local executives that the House would cut off funding for those who refused to support the shift to federalism.

In an interview over the ABS-CBN News Channel, he said the House is open to moving the plebiscite – where Filipino voters will be asked whether they accept federalism or not – from this year to the May 2019 midterm senatorial elections.

“My target is to hold it during the barangay elections so we can save on funds. But if, for example, we are not able to comply with the requirements of the law in time, then we will adjust (the timetable),” Alvarez said.

The House, he added, is flexible enough to also move its timetable to 2019 if other unforeseen circumstances cause delays.

But Alvarez is unflinching on the possibility that the House could convene into a constituent assembly and propose changes to the Constitution even if the Senate refuses to participate or insists on voting separately for the purpose.

“It is very clear: ‘The Congress upon a vote of three-fourths of all its members.’ Of all its members mean all of us,” he said, citing Article 17, Section 1, Paragraph 1 of the 1987 Constitution.

He reminded the public that federalism was one of the four key campaign promises of President Duterte, three of which Alvarez said are already being carried out: the campaigns against illegal drugs, criminality and corruption.

“There is substantial compliance on the three. For me, this federalism is an advocacy of the party, of PDP-Laban. It has long been there. It was there even during the time of Manong Nene Pimentel. It has been the advocacy of the party,” Alvarez said of the former Senate president.

He clarified though that even if the House could on its own convene as a constituent assembly, its leaders prefer that the Senate join them in the process. He added that he is yet to talk with Senate President Aquilino Pimentel III about the issue.

“We are not required to go on a joint session,” Alvarez said, noting that senators are necessarily included in the bicameral nature of Congress and that it would be up to the senators to attend the House-initiated con-ass or not.

“Remember, we are not passing an ordinary law, we are proposing to amend the Constitution. The proposal need not go through the President. There is no requirement for the President to sign it,” he added.

The PDP-Laban stalwart and leader of the 292-man House believes that the only requisite Congress has to comply with is the three-fourths provision of the Constitution.

He explained that the House committee on constitutional amendments led by southern Leyte Rep. Roger Mercado held several public consultations across the country since 2016 and has already brought the issue to the plenary.

“Now, it would be up to the people to approve or disapprove our proposal. We don’t have the luxury of time,” Alvarez said, adding that the House will vote “within the year” because of the constitutional provision that states “any amendment shall be held not earlier than 60 days nor later than 90 days after the certification by the Commission on Elections of the sufficiency of the petition.”

Just joking

Alvarez also took a 180-degree turn on his threat to declare a “zero budget” for local officials who will not toe the federalism line of the House of Representatives, saying it was only meant as a “joke.”

“When you give a speech, you also have to crack a joke. That was it. I am not sure why they considered it seriously,” he told Davila in Filipino.

He was earlier quoted during a speech in Iloilo City where he was said to have threatened to give zero budget to provinces not supportive of the administration’s push to shift to a federal form of government.

Alvarez was in Iloilo last week to administer, as secretary-general of the ruling party, the oath of local officials led by Gov. Arthur Defensor who joined the ruling PDP-Laban party in simple rites held at the Pototan Coliseum.

While his threat was meant to be a joke, he clarified that he could do it. He cited as example the Makabayan bloc and the so-called Magnificent 7 who got zero allocations for their districts and constituents.

In Negros Occidental, former governor Rafael Coscolluela asked: “Who gave the Speaker the right to treat the budget like it was his money? This is nothing but undisguised blackmail.”

But 3rd District Rep. Alfredo Benitez defended Alvarez, saying the latter has the “prerogative or right to decide on who will be given or not.”

Gov. Alfredo Marañon Jr. and Bacolod City Mayor Evelio Leonardia also do not see the need for a threat as they both support the shift to a federal government.

“It’s time we make the Constitution dynamic and responsive to the call of the times,” said Leonardia who has called for several seminars to educate people about the proposal.

Marañon recalled that he has always been for federalism—the reason he did not support the Constitution adopted during the term of former president Corazon Aquino.

“I was for federalism but people did not listen to us then. Cory was a very popular president,” he said.

Benitez and Rep. Stephen Paduano of Abang Lingkod party-list also debunked accusations that Charter change is being railroaded in the House of Representatives, calling this “unfair.”

They reasoned that the fact that consultations were made across the country to ensure that people’s sentiments are heard proves that the House is not railroading the move.

Benitez added that the government must first explain the reason and the purpose of the shift so they will be informed. Constituents also need to know how the shift could benefit them in the long run.

“If we can answer that, and people see it as a better form of government, maybe that is the proper time we have to push it,” he said.

He added that the majority in the practice of a democratic institution would always win. – Gilbert Bayoran

Related video:

Philippines: Easier, more beneficial for Congress to amend the restrictive economic provisions of the 1987 Constitution than to change the entire form of government — “Many of us do not have a full grasp of federalism”

January 14, 2018

 

The senators stressed they are open to amending the Constitution, including its political provisions, and were only pointing out the complexity of changing the form of government as well as the many questions from the public that need to be answered by federalism advocates. Philstar.com/File Photo

Paolo Romero (The Philippine Star) – January 15, 2018 – 12:01am

MANILA, Philippines — It would be easier for Congress to amend the restrictive economic provisions of the 1987 Constitution than to rewrite major sections in the Charter that may require extending the term of officials so the country may shift to a federal system, senators said yesterday.

Senate Majority Leader Vicente Sotto III and Sen. Francis Pangilinan, chairman of the Senate committee on constitutional amendments, made the remarks as the panel prepared to conduct a hearing on Wednesday on various Charter change (Cha-cha) bills.

The senators stressed they are open to amending the Constitution, including its political provisions, and were only pointing out the complexity of changing the form of government as well as the many questions from the public that need to be answered by federalism advocates.

Sotto said relaxing the restrictive economic provisions to attract foreign investments was easy using a formula whereby the phrase “unless otherwise provided by law” is simply included in the provisions.

The phrase, Sotto said, does not pave the way for a rewrite of the Constitution, but allows Congress to make amendments to give the country some flexibility or take advantage of economic opportunities whenever they arise.

“Prudence dictates that federalism will require a long debate because many of us do not have a full grasp of federalism,” Sotto told radio station dzBB.

He said Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez’s timetable of holding a plebiscite for the proposed amended Constitution to coincide with the barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan elections this May can be doable if only the economic provisions will be touched.

“We can’t promise that (timetable of Alvarez) if we will discuss federalism and the parliamentary system in amending the Constitution—but let’s see,” Sotto said.

Sotto also said Sen. Panfilo Lacson’s proposal for the Senate to convene as a Charter-amending body to write the proposed amendments and submit the same to the House – just like approving a bill – could speed up the process.

He said senators from the majority and minority bloc are amenable to proposals for Congress to convene as a constituent assembly (con-ass) to draft the amendments as long as the voting of the Senate and the House will be separate.

He said among the turn-offs for senators, and the general public as well, on the issue of Charter change is if the House insists on a joint voting in a con-ass; if there are term extensions, and if the scheduled elections are cancelled.

Pangilinan said to provide direction in the Charter change hearing, the committee would first determine if there is a need to amend the Constitution; which provisions should be amended and the mode of amending the Charter.

He said he is also determined to conduct the hearing with transparency and a clear timetable to finish the deliberations even as warned against pressuring or rushing the panel to suit some vested interests.

“We want everything in the open and clear, all voices will be heard, and we’ll also not allow any railroading or forcing of the issue—but we’ll oppose any unnecessary delay,” he added.

New charter to abolish OVP?

However, the proposed new constitution reportedly aims to abolish the Office of the Vice President (OVP) in 2019 and allow President Duterte to run for reelection in 2022.

Former Bayan Muna party-list representative Neri Colmenares yesterday warned that under the proposed constitution that will allow the shift to federal form of government being pushed by the ruling PDP-Laban, “the OVP will be abolished by 2019 if they succeed in having the new constitution ratified during the 2019 elections.”

“Vice President Leni Robredo will be ousted from her office long before her term ends in 2022,” he added.

Colmenares also said the draft constitution “does not disqualify” Duterte from seeking re-election in 2022, when his six-year term expires.

“While PDP-Laban may argue that they will not apply this to Vice President Robredo, this is not expressed in PDP-Laban Constitution since they have refused to divulge their transitory provision,” he said.

Colmenares cited Article VII, Section 7 of the proposed PDP-Laban constitution, which provides that it is is the “Senate President and if incapacitated, the Speaker who shall succeed President Duterte in case of death, or removal from office.”

“The Vice President is not mentioned at all in the line of succession because, upon ratification of the new Constitution, her office no longer exists,” he added.

Anticipating criticisms from PDP-Laban stalwarts and other allies of Duterte, Colmenares said that “even if Robredo is allowed to stay until 2022, she will be a lame-duck vice president who is not even listed in the line of succession to President Duterte.”

Surigao del Norte 2nd District Rep. Robert Ace Barbers, an administration lawmaker, advised Duterte’s critics in Congress to “show respect” to the majority of legislators who gave their unwavering support to the administration.

“I hope that the 20 percent who disapproved of our President’s actions would just keep their peace since the overwhelming majority of 80 percent have already spoken and approved of President Duterte’s brand of leadership,” Barbers said.

“In a democracy which these critics keep on mentioning, it is always majority wins.

“It is quite funny and pathetic that the 20 percent are making so much noise while the 80 percent are simply smiling and watching in great content the President’s game-changing policies and unorthodox leadership,” he added.

The OVP has been a feature of the republic for over 80 years since it was created under the 1935 Constitution. And the only time since then that the Philippines had no vice president was during the Marcos dictatorship.

Under the 1987 Constitution, the president is barred from seeking reelection to prevent abuse of power and dictatorship.

Why abolish the OVP?

Robredo’s camp questioned the motives of Duterte’s allies in abolishing the OVP.

Barry Gutierrez, Robredo’s legal adviser, said he does not see a link between the proposed shift to a federal system of government and the removal of the OVP in the Charter.

“The current proposals to revise the Constitution are supposedly anchored on a drive to promote and institute a federal system of government. The question therefore is, how does abolishing the OVP relate to the establishment of federalism?” Gutierrez said.

“Or is the abolition already in service of some other, unstated, agenda?” he added.

Earlier, Robredo, who chairs the formerly ruling Liberal Party, opposed term extension for elected officials and the no-election (“no-el”) scenario next year, which are being floated by allies of Duterte in line with the shift to a federal system of government.

Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez had said it is possible that midterm elections next year would be canceled should the government shift to a federal system.

Duterte: No term extension for me

Duterte has allayed fears that efforts to amend the Constitution would be used to perpetuate himself in power.

“There will be no suspension of elections and there will be no term extension especially for me,” the President told MindaNews in an interview last Friday.

Duterte is also waiting for the draft of the committee he formed to propose amendments to the Constitution but he has not named its members “because it is not yet time to mention them.”

“I read one by one their bio data, or what you would call resume,” Duterte said.

Duterte said Congress may summon the members of the consultative committee to present their proposals upon the resumption of sessions after Holy Week.

“Nandyan na yan. (It’s there). Then by the time they (Congress) are ready to resume (sessions)… they (committee members) can be called by Congress, each one of them and every one of them to present the structure, whatever,” the President told MindaNews.

In 2016, Duterte issued Executive Order No. 10 creating a 25-member consultative committee that would review the provisions of the 1987 Constitution. In the order, Duterte said there is a need to review the Constitution “to ensure that it is truly reflective of the needs, ideals and aspirations of the Filipino people.”

Militant group Bagong Alyansang Makabayan (Bayan) is set to kick off protests today against the planned Cha-cha by Duterte’s lawmakers.

Renato Reyes, Bayan secretary-general, said they will start the first of a widespread campaign against Cha-cha tomorrow afternoon at the Batasang Pambansa complex in Quezon City.

Reyes said in a statement that they are against the moves to amend the 1987 Constitution via constituent assembly as these “are patently self-serving and will have no benefit for the people.” With Delon Porcalla, Helen Flores, Alexis Romero, Romina Cabrera

Read more at http://beta.philstar.com/headlines/2018/01/15/1777838/economic-cha-cha-easier#WCTdFzsK6lVY3yO1.99

Related:

 
.

Filipino officials: Chinese navy stalked Philippine area — Philippine Government not telling all they know?

August 22, 2017
 / 08:04 PM August 22, 2017

In this Friday, April 21, 2017 photo, a sandbar is seen from the Philippine-claimed Thitu Island off the disputed South China Sea in western Philippines. On Tuesday, Aug. 22, 2017, two Filipino security officials said China has deployed its navy and coast guard ships in a cluster of uninhabited sandbars in the disputed South China Sea amid concerns that the Philippines may build structures on them in an emerging territorial issue that the government stated was quickly resolved. (AP Photo/Bullit Marquez)

MANILA, Philippines- China recently deployed navy and coast guard ships in a cluster of uninhabited sandbars in the disputed South China Sea amid concerns that the Philippines may build structures on them, two Filipino security officials said Tuesday. The government, however, said the issue was quickly resolved amid the Asian neighbors’ friendlier ties.

Two senior Philippine security officials told The Associated Press that three Chinese navy ships, a coast guard vessel and 10 fishing boats began keeping watch on Sandy Cay on Aug. 12 after a group of Filipino fishermen were spotted on the sandbars. The Filipinos eventually left but the Chinese stayed on.

Image may contain: ocean, sky, water and outdoor

The two spoke on condition of anonymity, saying only the Department of Foreign Affairs in Manila has been authorized to publicly discuss issues related to the country’s territorial disputes with China. The foreign affairs department, however, has in recent days refused to divulge details of the situation at Sandy Cay, a cluster of three sandbars.

A senior Philippine diplomat, who also spoke on condition of anonymity because of a lack of authority to discuss the issue publicly, said China “is concerned that we will build” structures on the sandbars. Chinese and Philippine officials have quietly worked to resolve the issue in recent days, said the diplomat, who is involved in the talks.

A government security report seen by the AP says Chinese navy ships with bow numbers 504, 545 and 168, a Chinese coast guard ship with bow number 46115, and 10 Chinese fishing vessels took positions off Sandy Cay. Its nearest sandbar is about 2.5 nautical miles (4.6 kilometers) from Philippine-occupied Thitu Island.

On Aug. 15, a blue Chinese helicopter flew low off Thitu’s southwest coast, the report said.

Philippine troops and villagers based at Thitu call it Pag-asa -Tagalog for hope – while the Chinese call the island Zhongye Dao.

The Chinese military presence near Thitu sparked concerns in Manila.

Philippine Supreme Court Senior Associate Justice Antonio Carpio, who has studied the disputes extensively, said the Chinese navy ships and other vessels encroached in the Philippine island’s 12-nautical mile (22-kilometer) territorial waters.

“In short, Sandy Cay is a Philippine land territory that is being seized, to put it mildly, or being invaded, to put it frankly, by China,” Carpio said in a statement over the weekend.

He said President Rodrigo Duterte and Foreign Secretary Alan Peter Cayetano have the constitutional duty to defend and protect Philippine territory.

“The very least that they could do now is to vigorously protest this invasion of Philippine territory by China,” Carpio said. “If both are courageous, they should send a Philippine navy ship to guard Sandy Cay and if the Chinese navy ships attack the Philippine navy vessel, they should invoke the Philippine-U.S. Mutual Defense Treaty.”

The 1951 treaty binds the allies to come to the aid of each other when attacked.

Cayetano, however, told reporters Tuesday that the issue has been diplomatically resolved and denied that China has invaded Sandy Cay.

“Let me assure you, there is no more problem in that area,” Cayetano told reporters, declining to provide details. “But it is not true that there was an attempt to invade or seize it.”

Much-friendlier ties between Manila and Beijing under Duterte have allowed both governments to manage their disputes better. “If our relationship with our neighbors isn’t this good, the situation in the West Philippine Sea will be much, much worse,” Cayetano said, using the Philippine name for the South China Sea.

Duterte told reporters over dinner late Monday that he has been assured by China’s ambassador in Manila, Zhao Jianhua, and the Chinese foreign ministry that Beijing has no plans to occupy or build structures on Sandy Cay.

“They’re not invading,” ABS-CBN TV network quoted Duterte as saying. “They are just there but they are not claiming anything.”

One of the Philippine security officials said the military has been monitoring the Chinese presence at Sandy Cay but added it was difficult to check if Beijing’s ships were still there due to bad weather in the remote offshore region.

Read more: http://globalnation.inquirer.net/159933/china-west-philippine-sea-west-philippine-sea-sandy-cay-uninhabited-sandbars#ixzz4qURzNHPe
Follow us: @inquirerdotnet on Twitter | inquirerdotnet on Facebook

Related:

Image may contain: ocean, water and outdoor

Deepsea Metro I

Image may contain: sky and outdoor

Chinese H-6 bomber

 (Is the Philippines just a pawn for China now?)

The ONLY TRULY JOYFUL FACES at the ASEAN conference were provided by North Korean Foreign Minister Ri Yong Ho, left, and his Chinese counterpart Wang Yi.  (AP Photo/Bullit Marquez)

 

.
.
.
.
.

Best search terms: ,  

No automatic alt text available.

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 chose to ignore international law.

South China Sea: Philippine President Duterte Struggles With Question of Sovereignty, International Law Over Sandy Cay as China Watches

August 22, 2017
President Rodrigo Duterte speaks with the Malacañang Press Corps at the Malago Clubhouse, Malacañang Park in Manila on August 21, 2017. PPD

MANILA, Philippines — President Rodrigo Duterte dismissed the warning of Supreme Court Senior Associate Justice Antonio Carpio that the Chinese are invading a sandbar near Pag-asa Island in the West Philippine Sea.

Carpio earlier urged the Philippine government to act on China’s “invasion” of Sandy Cay, located some 2.5 nautical miles off Pag-asa Island and well within the island’s 12-nautical mile territorial waters.

READ: Carpio: China virtually occupying Sandy Cay

The president, on the other hand, said that there is no reason to defend the sandbar as China was only patrolling the area.

“Why should I defend a sandbar and kill the Filipinos because of a sandbar?” Duterte told reporters Monday night.

Duterte added that Chinese Ambassador to the Philippines Zhao Jianhua assured him that Beijing will not be building facilities in the area.

Image result for sandy cay, philippines, photos
Sandy Cay

“Hindi nga na-invade eh. Hindi naman totoo iyong sinasabi ni ano — they are just there but they are not claiming anything,” Duterte said.

Carpio called on Duterte and Foreign Secretary Alan Peter Cayetano to protest the invasion of Philippine territory of China as it reportedly has two frigates, a coast guard vessel and two military fishing boats around Sandy Cay.

 Image may contain: ocean, sky, water and outdoor
File photo

RELATED: Photos confirm Chinese flotilla near Pag-asa

The SC justice stressed that Duterte and Cayetano both vowed to the Filipino people that they will not concede a single inch of Philippine territory to China.

Duterte, however, does not see any reason why China would occupy the sandbar near the Manila-claimed island.

“Why would they risk invading a sandbar and get into a quarrel with us? Ano ang makuha nila?” he said.

Carpio earlier explained that Sandy Cay was discussed in the final ruling of an international tribunal which invalidated Beijing’s nine-dash line claim over the South China Sea.

Located between Pag-asa Island and Zamora Reef, Sandy Cay is a disappearing sandbar — appearing only for a few months before it disappears.

“Apparently, because of China’s dredging in Subi Reef, pulverized corals drifted and gathered at Sandy Cay and made it permanently above water at high-tide. As a high-tide elevation, Sandy Cay is now land or territory capable of sovereign ownership with its own territorial sea and territorial airspace,” Carpio said.

Satellite imagery released by Washington-based Asia Maritime Transparency Initiative last week confirmed reports that Chinese vessels had been operating near Pag-asa Island.

RELATED: Cayetano defends Chinese presence near Pag-asa

The think tank said that the presence of Chinese ships in the area may be an indication that Beijing is discouraging Manila from its planned construction on Pag-asa.

“It is important to note that ownership of the territorial waters in which these ships are operating is still legally disputed. Subi was a low-tide elevation before China built an artificial island on it,” AMTI said. — Patricia Lourdes Viray

http://www.philstar.com/headlines/2017/08/22/1731595/duterte-why-defend-disputed-sandbar

Related:

Image may contain: ocean, water and outdoor

Deepsea Metro I

Image may contain: sky and outdoor

Chinese H-6 bomber

 (Is the Philippines just a pawn for China now?)

The ONLY TRULY JOYFUL FACES at the ASEAN conference were provided by North Korean Foreign Minister Ri Yong Ho, left, and his Chinese counterpart Wang Yi.  (AP Photo/Bullit Marquez)

 

.
.
.
.
.

Best search terms: ,  

No automatic alt text available.

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 chose to ignore international law.

Armed Forces of the Philippines Concerned About Chinese Incursions in Philippine Waters of the South China Sea

August 19, 2017
Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) spokesman Gen. Restituto Padilla broached the idea after the military affirmed reports of the presence of Chinese vessels near Pag-asa Island in the West Philippine Sea (WPS). AP/Bullit Marquez, File

MANILA, Philippines – The military wants to bring Chinese incursions at sandbars in the West Philippine Sea before the China-Philippines Bilateral Consultative Mechanism (BCM).

Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) spokesman Gen. Restituto Padilla broached the idea after the military affirmed reports of the presence of Chinese vessels near Pag-asa Island in the West Philippine Sea (WPS).

“We will work to clarify all of these things and there is a mechanism that is built-in in our current relationship, which is called the Bilateral Consultative Mechanism, that has already been initiated before,” Padilla said.

The BCM was formed by the Philippines and China to address concerns in the disputed seas.

The first BCM was held last May in Guiyang, China – the venue chosen by President Duterte and Chinese President Xi Jinping. Through the BCM, both parties can raise issues surrounding the maritime claims in a bid to avoid violent confrontation between the two countries.

“It would be best to ask the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) what happened to this mechanism because this is the proper forum to address those issues,” Padilla said.

Earlier, the DFA reported that a second meeting is forthcoming within the year where the Philippines can further bring its concerns.

Ambassador Chito Sta. Romana has said the BCM is a good venue to talk about possible areas of cooperation aimed at building mutual trust and confidence between Philippines and China.

Padilla said the AFP is in the process of looking further into the report of Magdalo party-list Rep. Gary Alejano who exposed the presence of Chinese boats in the area.

“We did receive word from the camp of Congressman Alejano regarding the presence of Chinese ships. There have been a lot of fisherman from our side who have been fishing in our waters over there,” Padilla said.

“And I think the bone of contention was regarding the presence of some of our fisherman in some of those areas because the Chinese are there also,” he said.

Alejano claimed there are two Chinese naval vessels, two fishing ships and a Chinese Coast Guard ship operating around Pag-asa Island since Aug. 12.

Image may contain: ocean, sky, water and outdoor

File Photo

He added the Chinese have a sinister plan to occupy the sandbars in the area.

Padilla however assured the public that the matter is now being addressed but he has yet to confirm the number of ships spotted in the area.

The AFP’s Western Mindanao Command has been tasked to check out the report to ensure the Filipino fisherman are “well and protected.”

“Now, we will file our ongoing and continuing protest for any of these movements, and the foreign affairs department will see to that,” Padilla added.

“We file diplomatic protest whenever we have sightings close to our areas. Especially this one,” he said.

As this developed, the US government is set to donate an unmanned radar blimp to the Philippine Navy to enhance its intelligence gathering and disaster response operations.

US Deputy Chief of Mission Michael Klecheski will hand over the Tethered Aerostat Radar System (TARS) – a self-sustained, unmanned lighter-than-air systems – to Navy chief Vice Admiral Ronald Joseph Mercado on Monday.

The turnover ceremony will be held at the Naval Education and Training Command in San Antonio, Zambales.

In a statement, the US embassy said the radar is expected to enhance the Navy’s capability in maritime intelligence surveillance reconnaissance by effectively detecting maritime and air traffic within the country’s coastal waters using sensors.

It will also be utilized in the conduct of humanitarian assistance and disaster response operations.

The TARS also includes a weather station that provides telemetry data to the ground station for the monitoring of ambient temperature, pressure, wind, speed and other pertinent parameters in the operation of the system. – Christina Mendez, Jaime Laude, Helen Flores

After Philippine Police Kill 32 Drug Suspects in One Day; President Duterte Urges Them To Kill 32 More The Next Day

August 16, 2017
Duterte yesterday said authorities should kill more pushers to reduce the drug problem plaguing the country. PPD/File

MANILA, Philippines –  President Duterte welcomed the killing of 32 drug suspects in simultaneous raids in Bulacan last Tuesday and defended policemen from critics who questioned the way the operations were conducted.

Duterte yesterday said authorities should kill more pushers to reduce the drug problem plaguing the country.

“Yung namatay daw sa Bulacan, 32 (Thirty-two people reportedly died in Bulacan) in a massive raid. Maganda yun (That’s good),” the President said at the 19th anniversary of the Volunteers Against Crime and Corruption at Malacañang.

“Pumatay tayo (Let’s kill) another 32 everyday, maybe we can reduce what ails this country,” he added.

Thirty-two suspected drug offenders died and 107 others were nabbed during simultaneous law enforcement operations, which began last Monday in the province. Police recovered illegal drugs, grenades and firearms during the raids.

The President said he is expecting human rights advocates to criticize the law enforcement operations.

“There will be outcry again over the 32 who were killed. They would grieve again for justice,” he said.

“Many are being killed because policemen are working. They are protected under my watch.”

Duterte said he has ordered security forces to destroy the apparatus of the drug trade, which he said is “taking a toll on the lives of the people.”

“My order is to destroy the apparatus. Kung napatay ka, pasensya ka (If you get killed, sorry). We will finish this for the next generation,” he said.

http://www.philstar.com/headlines/2017/08/17/1729961/rody-bulacan-drug-deaths-kill-32-more-daily

*******************************************************

Duterte says drug problem can’t be solved in just one term

President Rodrigo Duterte vowed during the campaign period that he can fix the country from illegal drugs in three to six months. File photo

MANILA, Philippines — President Rodrigo Duterte admitted that the country’s illegal drugs problem is so severe that a six-year term for a president is not enough to solve it.

“Look itong shabu, ang drugs, etc., cannot be solved by one man, for a president for one term,” Duterte said in his speech at the Philippine Development Forum: Sulong Pilipinas 2017 forum last Wednesday.

“It has bugged nations, hindi nga kaya ng Amerika, tayo pa,” he added.

READ: Duterte vows to keep drug war amid human rights concerns

 

During the campaign period, Duterte vowed to solve the problem in three to six months.

Three months after assuming presidency in July, the president asked for an extension of another six months.

READ: Rights groups want tougher stance on Duterte’s drug war from Trump

http://www.philstar.com/news-videos/2017/08/11/1727928/watch-duterte-says-drug-problem-cant-be-solved-just-one-term

Related:

Photos obtained by the Philippine Center for Investigative Journalism show the body of Albuera Mayor Rolando Espinosa Sr. lying flat on his back with his eyes half-open, and both of his hands empty. He was killed while in police custody during a “jail house shoot out” with police. All the police involved were exonerated and returned to duty. Image obtained by PCIJ/Nancy Carvajal
.
Related:
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.

Image may contain: one or more people and people sitting

Credit: Raffy Lerma—Philippine Daily Inquirer

.

Image may contain: one or more people, shoes and outdoor

Philippine drug war. Credit: Alecs Ongcal

 (The Philippines seems to be siding with China, Russia and Iran)

.
.
Image may contain: outdoor
Discarded — The body of a dead Filipino girl — killed in President Duterte’s war on drugs — looks like it has been put out with the trash….. Presidential spokeman Abella said the war on drugs is for the next generation of Filipinos.
.

.

Image result for Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte (L) talks to Philippine National Police (PNP) Director General Ronald Dela Rosa. AFP photo

Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte (L) talks to Philippine National Police (PNP) Director General Ronald Dela Rosa. AFP photo

Image may contain: 1 person

Philippine National Police chief Director General Ronald dela Rosa

Philippines: Human Rights Watch director Phelim Kine also said the numbers of fatalities in the drug war launched by President Rodrigo Duterte when he assumed office on June 30, 2016, are “appalling but predictable” since he (Duterte) vowed to “forget the laws on human rights.”

Image result for Boy Cruz, philippine policeman, photos

Philippines Policeman found tortured and strangled after some fellow police said he was involved in the illegal drug trade. Photo Credit Boy Cruz

http://www.philstar.com/headlines/2016/07/08/1600763/cop-linked-drugs-tortured-killed

 (December 23, 2016)

.

 (Philippine Star, December 1, 2016)

 (Philippine Star, December 1, 2016)

“They are afraid the incident could cause President Duterte to declare martial law. I talked with some sultans and ulamas and elders here… and that’s what they have told me,” Ponyo said.

 (November 30, 2016)

Image may contain: 2 people, beard

High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein. UN Photo, Jean-Marc Ferré

Summary executions of supposed drug dealers and other criminals have become a common occurence in recent weeks. The STAR/Joven Cagande, file

 (November 16, 2016)

 (August 10, 2016)

Davao City’s Ronald dela Rosa has been appointed to become the next chief of the Philippine National Police to lead President-elect Rodrigo Duterte’s planned crackdown on illegal drugs. Facebook/Dela Rosa
.

Crime scene investigators examine a vehicle used by two drug suspects killed during an alleged shootout with officers along NIA Road in Quezon City on June 21, 2016. JOVEN CAGANDE/file
.
.

President Rodrigo Duterte's crusade against drug users and dealers is controversial

Workers burying cadavers in various stages of decomposition in a mass grave in Manila, after health officials recovered the cadavers from Henry's Funeral Home. Picture: AFP / Noel Celis.

Workers burying cadavers in various stages of decomposition in a mass grave in Manila, after health officials recovered the cadavers from Henry’s Funeral Home. Picture: AFP / Noel Celis.Source:AFP

A worker arranging cadavers in various stages of decomposition at the morgue of Henry's Funeral Homes in Manila. Picture: AFP/ Noel Celis.

A worker arranging cadavers in various stages of decomposition at the morgue of Henry’s Funeral Homes in Manila. Picture: AFP/ Noel Celis.Source:AFP

Health officials closed Henry's Funeral Home after recovering at least 120 unclaimed and rotting cadavers in Manila. The city health department conducted a surprise raid after receiving complaints about a foul odour coming from the funeral parlour. Picture: AFP / Noel Celis.

Health officials closed Henry’s Funeral Home after recovering at least 120 unclaimed and rotting cadavers in Manila. The city health department conducted a surprise raid after receiving complaints about a foul odour coming from the funeral parlour. Picture: AFP / Noel Celis.Source:AFP

Workers carrying cadavers in various stages of decomposition at the morgue of Henry's Funeral Homes in Manila, October 2016. Picture: AFP / Noel Celis.

Workers carrying cadavers in various stages of decomposition at the morgue of Henry’s Funeral Homes in Manila, October 2016. Picture: AFP / Noel Celis.Source:AFP

Amnesty: Indonesia waging its own ‘war on drugs’

August 16, 2017

Police killings of suspected drug dealers have spiked, with 60 recorded deaths so far this year compared to 18 in 2016. The trend has led Amnesty International to warn that the country could be emulating the Philippines.

Indonesien Beschlagnahmte Drogen nach einer Razzia (Getty Images/AFP/Ricardo)

The dramatic spike in the number of unlawful killings carried out by Indonesian police against suspected drug dealers is the latest signal that the country could be sliding into a “war on drugs” similar to that seen in the Philippines, rights group Amnesty International warned on Wednesday.

Data obtained by the group showed a more than 200-percent rise in drug-related killings carried out by Indonesian police so far this year, with the number of deaths rising up to 60 from just 18 last year.

Read more: Why Jakarta presses forward with drug executions despite global outcry

Amnesty’s director in Indonesia, Usman Hamid, said in a statement: “This shocking escalation in unlawful killings by the police sounds serious alarm bells. While Indonesian authorities have a duty to respond to increasing rates of drug use in the country, shooting people on sight is never a solution. Not only is it unlawful, it will also do nothing to address the root causes that lead to drug use in the first place.”

Most of the violence has been concentrated around the capital city of Jakarta or the well-known drug trafficking hub of Sumatra.

Indonesia officials back tough stance

Indonesian police forces have justified the increase in killings, saying victims were shot for resisting arrest. However, Amnesty said it found no evidence that authorities had conducted even a single independent investigation into the shootings.

That data also reflects the Indonesian government’s increasingly tough rhetoric on drug-related crime, with President “Jokowi” Widodo openly endorsing the use of unrestrained force against suspected foreign traffickers, especially those resisting arrest. “Be firm, especially to foreign drug dealers who enter the country and resist arrest,” he said at a speech in Jakarta in late July. “Enough, just shoot them. Be merciless.”

Indonesia Joko Widodo (Reuters/Beawiharta)Indonesia’s Joko Widodo has endorsed the use of force in policing drug-related crimes

Police chief hails Duterte’s “war on drugs”

The president’s remarks came after the country’s national police chief, General Tito Karnavian, ordered officers “not to hesitate shooting drug dealers who resist arrest” and praised Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte’s brutal “war on drugs” as an effective means of making drug dealers “go away.”

Since coming to power in May last year, Duterte has waged a brutal war on drugs in a bid to wipe out the use of narcotics in the Philippines. According to police data, some 3,500 so-called “drug personalities” have been killed by Duterte’s anti-drug squadsover the past year, as well as a further 2,000 people linked to drug-related crimes.

Read more: Alleged hitman links Duterte to ‘death squad’ killings

Earlier this year, Amnesty documented that anti-drug forces had grown to resemble a criminal enterprise more than a police force.

“President Duterte should not under any circumstances be considered a role model for Indonesia,” said Amnesty’s Hamid. “Far from making the Philippines safer, his bloody ‘war on drugs’ has led to the deaths of thousands without any form of accountability.”

http://www.dw.com/en/amnesty-indonesia-waging-its-own-war-on-drugs/a-40110231

dm/kms (AFP, Amnesty)

Related:

Photos obtained by the Philippine Center for Investigative Journalism show the body of Albuera Mayor Rolando Espinosa Sr. lying flat on his back with his eyes half-open, and both of his hands empty. He was killed while in police custody during a “jail house shoot out” with police. All the police involved were exonerated and returned to duty. Image obtained by PCIJ/Nancy Carvajal
.
Related:
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.

Image may contain: one or more people and people sitting

Credit: Raffy Lerma—Philippine Daily Inquirer

.

Image may contain: one or more people, shoes and outdoor

Philippine drug war. Credit: Alecs Ongcal

 (The Philippines seems to be siding with China, Russia and Iran)

.
.
Image may contain: outdoor
Discarded — The body of a dead Filipino girl — killed in President Duterte’s war on drugs — looks like it has been put out with the trash….. Presidential spokeman Abella said the war on drugs is for the next generation of Filipinos.
.

.

Image may contain: 2 people

Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte (L) talks to Philippine National Police (PNP) Director General Ronald Dela Rosa. AFP photo

Image may contain: 1 person

Philippine National Police chief Director General Ronald dela Rosa

Philippines: Human Rights Watch director Phelim Kine also said the numbers of fatalities in the drug war launched by President Rodrigo Duterte when he assumed office on June 30, 2016, are “appalling but predictable” since he (Duterte) vowed to “forget the laws on human rights.”

No automatic alt text available.

Philippines Policeman found tortured and strangled after some fellow police said he was involved in the illegal drug trade. Photo Credit Boy Cruz

http://www.philstar.com/headlines/2016/07/08/1600763/cop-linked-drugs-tortured-killed

 (December 23, 2016)

.

 (Philippine Star, December 1, 2016)

 (Philippine Star, December 1, 2016)

“They are afraid the incident could cause President Duterte to declare martial law. I talked with some sultans and ulamas and elders here… and that’s what they have told me,” Ponyo said.

 (November 30, 2016)

Image may contain: 1 person, eyeglasses and beard

High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein. UN Photo, Jean-Marc Ferré

Summary executions of supposed drug dealers and other criminals have become a common occurence in recent weeks. The STAR/Joven Cagande, file

 (November 16, 2016)

 (August 10, 2016)

Davao City’s Ronald dela Rosa has been appointed to become the next chief of the Philippine National Police to lead President-elect Rodrigo Duterte’s planned crackdown on illegal drugs. Facebook/Dela Rosa
.

Crime scene investigators examine a vehicle used by two drug suspects killed during an alleged shootout with officers along NIA Road in Quezon City on June 21, 2016. JOVEN CAGANDE/file
.
.

President Rodrigo Duterte's crusade against drug users and dealers is controversial

Workers burying cadavers in various stages of decomposition in a mass grave in Manila, after health officials recovered the cadavers from Henry's Funeral Home. Picture: AFP / Noel Celis.

Workers burying cadavers in various stages of decomposition in a mass grave in Manila, after health officials recovered the cadavers from Henry’s Funeral Home. Picture: AFP / Noel Celis.Source:AFP

A worker arranging cadavers in various stages of decomposition at the morgue of Henry's Funeral Homes in Manila. Picture: AFP/ Noel Celis.

A worker arranging cadavers in various stages of decomposition at the morgue of Henry’s Funeral Homes in Manila. Picture: AFP/ Noel Celis.Source:AFP

Health officials closed Henry's Funeral Home after recovering at least 120 unclaimed and rotting cadavers in Manila. The city health department conducted a surprise raid after receiving complaints about a foul odour coming from the funeral parlour. Picture: AFP / Noel Celis.

Health officials closed Henry’s Funeral Home after recovering at least 120 unclaimed and rotting cadavers in Manila. The city health department conducted a surprise raid after receiving complaints about a foul odour coming from the funeral parlour. Picture: AFP / Noel Celis.Source:AFP

Workers carrying cadavers in various stages of decomposition at the morgue of Henry's Funeral Homes in Manila, October 2016. Picture: AFP / Noel Celis.

Workers carrying cadavers in various stages of decomposition at the morgue of Henry’s Funeral Homes in Manila, October 2016. Picture: AFP / Noel Celis.Source:AFP