Posts Tagged ‘Presidential Commission on Good Government’

South China Sea: One Year After The Philippines Win At The Permanent Court of Arbitration — Brilliant Statecraft or Treason?

July 12, 2017

By Ellen Tordesillas

Posted at Jul 12 2017 02:46 AM

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One of the good things that President Duterte has done was to rekindle relations with China which reached its lowest ebb during the administration of Benigno Aquino III.

Never mind that during the election campaign, he rode on the anti-China sentiments of most Filipinos fueled by the pro-American leanings of Aquino and his Foreign Secretary, Albert del Rosario.

Remember, a standard in Duterte’s campaign speech was his boast that he will ride on a jet ski to one of the islands in the disputed Spratlys and plant the Philippine flag. He would kiss the flag to dramatize his promise. Once in Malacanang, he was asked when he was going to jetski to Spratlys and he replied it was a joke. He said he didn’t even know how to swim.

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In the guise of independent foreign policy, Duterte didn’t just cozy up to China. He attacked the United States when then President Barack Obama reminded him to respect human rights amid reports of rampant killings in connection with his anti-illegal drugs campaign.

His foreign policy moves can be likened to a pendulum that swung from extreme right to extreme left. Today marks first year anniversary of the ruling of the Permanent Court of Arbitration in The Hague, Netherlands on the case filed by the Philippines against China on the latter’s activities in the disputed waters of the South China Sea.

China did not participate in the Arbitral Court proceedings.

It was a major victory for the Philippines. The Arbitral Court declared invalid China’s nine-dashed line map which covers some 85 percent of the whole South China which infringes on the economic exclusive zones of other countries namely the Philippines, Vietnam, Malaysia and Brunei.

The Arbitral Court also ruled that China’s  artificial islands – rocks that were turned into garrisons through reclamation – in the disputed South China Sea do not generate entitlements under the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea such as economic exclusive zone (220 nautical miles from the shore) and extended continental shelf (350 nautical miles).

As to Scarborough or Panatag Shoal, which is within the Philippine EEZ, the Arbitral Court said it’s a traditional fishing ground of Philippine, Chinese, Vietnamese and fishermen of other nationalities and should be maintained as such.

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Filipino fishermen had been denied access to the area since April 2012 after a two-month stand off between Chinese and Philippine Coastguards following arrest by a Philippine warship of Chinese fishermen in Scarborough shoal. Two Chinese ships remained even after the Aquino government withdrew its ships.

Duterte takes pride that because of his friendship with Chinese President Xi Jinping, Filipino fishermen are now allowed to fish in the area, which is being guarded by two Chinese ships.

It’s like a battered wife thankful that the husband has stopped beating her.

Duterte’s critics have scored his deference to China even  echoing  the position of China that historically South China Sea is theirs  as the name states.

In an ambush interview last April. Duterte said, “They really claim it as their own, noon pa iyan. Hindi lang talaga pumutok nang mainit. Ang nagpainit diyan iyong Amerikano. Noon pa iyan, kaya (It goes way back. The issue just did not erupt then. What triggered the conflict were the Americans. But it goes all the way back. That’s why it’s called) China Sea… sabi nga nila (they say) China Sea, historical na iyan. So hindi lang iyan pumuputok (It’s historical. The issue just had not erupted then) but this issue was the issue before so many generations ago.”

VERA Files fact-check about the name of South China Sea showed  that  South China Sea used to be called the Champa Sea, after the Cham people who established a great maritime kingdom in central Vietnam from the late 2nd to the 17th century.

That is contained in the book,  ‘The South China Sea Dispute: Philippine Sovereign Rights and Jurisdiction in the West Philippine Sea” by  Senior Associate Justice Antonio Carpio.

Carpio said it was the  Portuguese navigators who coined the name South China Sea.

“The ancient Malays also called this sea Laut Chidol or the South Sea, as recorded by Pigafetta in his account of Ferdinand Magellan’s circumnavigation of the world from 1519 to 1522. In Malay, which is likewise derived from the Austronesian language, laut means sea and kidol means south,” he further said.

“The ancient Chinese never called this sea the South China Sea. Their name for the sea was “Nan Hai” or the South Sea, he adds.

Reading Duterte’s blurting the Chinese line on the South China name, Ruben Carranza, former commissioner of the Presidential Commission on Good Government and now director of the Reparative Justice Program at the International Center for Transitional Justice, said “In football, that would be an ‘own goal.’

That’s when a player delivers the ball to the opponent’s goal.



 (Contains links to information about Vietnam’s renewed efforts to extract oil and gas from the sea bed)

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Dominance of the South China Sea, the Malacca Strait and the Indian Ocean would solidify China’s One Belt One Road project
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The international arbitration court in the Hague said on July 12, 2016, that China’s “nine dash line” was not recognized under international law — making the Vietnamese and Philippine claims on South China Sea islands valid and lawful.
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China’s aircraft carrier Liaoning at Hong Kong

Say “No” To Ferdinand Marcos Reburial — “A subversive attempt to impose on the Filipino people the acceptance of Marcos as a hero”

May 30, 2016

By The Philippine Inquirer

A MONTH before he launched his candidacy for president in November 2015, Rodrigo Duterte declared that if he won the presidency, he would make three things happen: “I would stop corruption, stop criminality, and fix government.”

A month before he begins his term as the 16th president of the Philippines, Duterte has declared that as soon as he assumes office, he will allow a hero’s burial for the biggest perpetrator of corruption, the most notorious enabler of criminality, and the person who wrought the most devastating havoc in the government, all in our country’s history.

Sen. Ferdinand Marcos Jr. claims that his father is entitled to a burial plot at the Libingan ng mga Bayani because the rules provide that former soldiers and former presidents are among those entitled to be buried there.

Let’s not be misled by the Marcoses’ overt claim and get blindsided by their covert intention. The Marcoses  are not fighting for the right to a small burial plot. They are fighting to make the Philippines recognize Ferdinand Marcos as a hero.

The Marcoses can put up a huge memorial park in Ilocos Norte—even bigger than the 142-hectare Libingan ng mga Bayani—and dedicate it exclusively to the deceased dictator. But they don’t want that. The Marcoses want to squeeze the dictator’s remains into a 1-meter-by-2.44-meters plot at the Libingan ng mga Bayani because burial in that small plot will amount to state recognition that he is a national hero.

If they accomplish the burial of the dictator at the Libingan ng mga Bayani, the Marcoses will have succeeded in obligating the whole nation to recognize the dictator as one of its heroes. We must view this issue as a subversive attempt to impose on the Filipino people the acceptance of Marcos as a hero.

Wittingly or unwittingly, Duterte is approaching this issue purely as a question of a former official’s entitlement to a burial plot. The issue is not a mere burial plot, but what that burial plot represents. The issue concerns not only the right of a former president but also, and more fundamentally, the right of a nation to define who its heroes are.

Duterte said in an interview: “Marcos might not really be a hero—I accept that proposition, maybe. But certainly he was a soldier. In addition to being a president, he was a soldier.”

If every soldier or listed government official can demand burial entitlement at the Libingan ng mga Bayani, then we can have the likes of retired general Jovito Palparan, and other officials who have brought shame and suffering to our country, gain backdoor entry into our pantheon of heroes by simply securing a burial plot there.

Besides, even the regulations that govern the Libingan ng mga Bayani states that “those who were dishonorably separated, reverted or discharged from the service, and those who were convicted of an offense involving moral turpitude cannot be buried at the cemetery.”

The dictator was not criminally convicted because before any mortal judge could pronounce a verdict on his many sins, the Immortal Judge ended his life just three years after he was disgracefully ousted from power.

However, Marcos was “dishonorably separated” as Armed Forces commander in chief when the 1986 People Power Revolution “discharged [him] from the service.” It was not a single judge that dishonorably discharged him, but an entire nation. That renders him overwhelmingly unqualified to have a place of honor in our cemetery for heroes.

Marcos was not convicted of any “offense involving moral turpitude” because death sprinted to bestow swifter justice on him. But in a continuum of evidence where one end exalts a soldier-hero while the opposite end condemns an official tainted with moral turpitude, the pendulum swings swiftly to point to Marcos as the epitome of moral turpitude.

What are these proofs that show his moral turpitude?

In a case filed as early as 1986, a US court ruled that Marcos, through his estate, is liable to pay $2 billion in damages to 10,000 victims of human rights violations during his dictatorship.

The Philippine government has acknowledged that the Marcos regime committed horrific human rights violations because Congress passed a law establishing the Human Rights Victims’ Claims Board to compensate victims of his regime, and 76,000 of these victims are having their claims processed to this date.

The Presidential Commission on Good Government has recovered P93 billion in ill-gotten wealth from Marcos and his cronies during the period 1986-2010. And there are 19 cases pending at the Sandiganbayan for the recovery of assets worth P32 billion that Marcos and his cronies illegally amassed during his dictatorship.

All these constitute overwhelming evidence of moral turpitude that disqualifies Marcos from claiming a place of honor at the Libingan ng mga Bayani.

Nineteen kilometers north of the Libingan ng mga Bayani is another memorial for heroes—the Bantayog ng mga Bayani, which honors those who risked or sacrificed their lives during the Marcos regime. There are no graves in this second memorial. Many of the heroes honored there disappeared during the dictatorship, and their bodies rest in unmarked graves all over the country. There is only a “Wall of Remembrance” on which are etched the many names of those who “struggled valiantly against the unjust and repressive rule of Ferdinand Marcos.”

We must go back to the trenches and make Rodrigo Duterte realize that he will bestow a hero’s burial on the one person responsible for the martyrdom of many of our heroes.

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