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VP Robredo urges Filipinos to oppose military build-ups in South China Sea

Vice President Leni Robredo on Thursday urged Filipinos and concerned nations to unite in opposing military build-ups in the South China Sea. 'This is the time for us to peacefully protest any.....»»

Category: newsSource: philippinetimes philippinetimesJul 12th, 2018

Palace: Phl not taking soft stance on China

The Palace denied it is going soft on China amid reports of a resumption of build-up over disputed portions of the South China Sea (SCS) that foreign ministers of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean) have criticized. Presidential spokesman Harry Roque said the Philippines shares Asean leaders’ concern regarding China’s aggressive actions on what is said to be the world’s busiest waterways.The recently concluded Asean foreign and defense ministers in Singapore issued a statement that did not name China but said that “land reclamations and activities in the area . . . have eroded trust and confidence, increased tensions and may undermine peace, security and stability in the region.” The Asean ministers resolved to expedite the code of conduct (CoC) on how to negotiate with China regarding overlapping maritime claims.“Asean’s concern on the Chinese build-up is right because Asean, as a regional bloc, wants to adhere to discussions pertaining to the code of conduct,” Roque said.“We cannot be not joining the call because the Philippines is one of those concerned in this campaign,” he added.Roque also disputed views that Manila is not among those insistent in pressing Beijing to speed up the CoC drafting. “We are not being too soft (on China) but we have an established policy on that. Number one, of course, is we are one with Asean in recognizing that this is a concern for all Asean countries. Particularly that of the freedom of navigation in the West Philippine Sea,” Roque said.“Our common concern is peace security and stability in one of the world’s busiest sea lanes,” he added.During Manila’s hosting of the Asean last year, President Duterte did not cite the Permanent Court of Arbitration (PCA) ruling that nullified Beijing’s sweeping claim over nearly the entire South China Sea.It was the Philippine government that contested China’s nine-dash-line claim before the Hague court. China, however, refuses to recognize it.Apart from the Philippines, other Asean countries also have overlapping claims at the South China Sea including Vietnam, Malaysia and Brunei.Reclamation to continueChina in its known mouthpiece Global Times said Beijing is concentrating on civil and not military construction on islands in the South China Sea but insisted that the Chinese “will expand land reclamation.”“Most of the construction on islands in the South China Sea were completed in 2015 and the pace then slowed. Civilian facility construction is the major focus of the South China Sea islands building and the portion of defense deployment is relatively small,” Global Times quoted Chen Xiangmiao, a research fellow at the National Institute for the South China Sea.The size of some South China Sea islands will be further expanded in future through more dredging in the South China Sea region, Chen said.The relationship between China and other Southeast Asian countries, such as the Philippines, has becalmed in recent years, providing a golden opportunity for China to upgrade these areas, he said.China and the Philippines are enjoying good terms as President Rodrigo Duterte maintains a friendly policy toward China, Chen said. “But there is still some domestic pressure that urges Duterte to take a tough stance on China and the South China Sea issue,” Chen said.Foreign media like to hype China’s construction in the South China Sea as they try to make excuses to prevent China’s activities in this region, Zhuang Guotu, head of Xiamen University’s Southeast Asian Studies Center, told the Global Times.“China has the right to build whatever it needs within its territory,” Zhuang said.China’s military deployment in the South China Sea region was “not for military expansion,” but to defend its security and interests, he said.Zhuang and Chen warned the US is the biggest threat to stability in the South China Sea.“The US, Australia, Japan and other allies will constantly provoke China over this issue and that will incite other neighboring South China Sea countries to do the same,” Zhuang said.China’s construction projects in the region covered about 290,000 square meters in 2017, including new facilities for underground storage, administrative buildings and large radar, according to a report released in December on the nanhai.haiwainet.cn website run by the National Marine Data and Information Service and People’s Daily Overseas edition. No foreign vessels at BenhamThe Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) has not monitored any foreign vessels at the Philippine Rise, formerly known as Benham Rise, during its latest patrol in the area. Lt. Col. Isagani Nato, AFP-Northern Luzon Command (Nolcom) spokesman, said that based on the latest patrol conducted by Nolcom troops, there was no presence of foreign ships at Philippine Rise.“As of now, we don’t have a report that there is presence (of foreign vessels) in Benham Rise,” said Nato.Earlier, Agriculture Secretary Emmanuel Piñol announced that President Duterte has banned foreign ships at the Philippine Rise and ordered the military to patrol the area.The announcement came following an uproar from government critics after the Duterte administration allowed the Chinese to conduct scientific research at the Philippine Rise.Nato, however, said that Nolcom is yet to receive official order regarding the matter.But Nato maintained that with or without the latest directive, Nolcom has regularly conducted air and maritime patrols along Philippine Rise.Apart from Nolcom, the Air Force and the Philippine Navy, Nato said that the Philippine Coast Guard, the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR) and the Philippine National Police-Maritime Group (PNP-MG) also conduct their own patrol in the area.He said the Nolcom uses air and naval assets of the Navy and the Air Force units under its jurisdiction.“We conduct our patrols regularly. It is a mandate of Nolcom forces so that is continuous with or without the directive from higher ups,” said Nato.According to Nato, Nolcom conducts three to four maritime and air patrol at Philippine Rise per month as part of the government efforts to secure the country’s maritime domain.ML ruling lauded, hitThe Supreme Court’s (SC) decision to uphold Mr. Duterte’s year-long martial law extension in Mindanao also drew mixed reactions.The High Court on Tuesday voted 10-5 junking militant groups’ petition and finding “sufficient factual basis” to extend martial law and suspend the privilege of wirt of habeas corpus in Mindanao until December 31, 2018.Roque welcomed the ruling saying that it affirms the need to continue protecting citizens from the threat of terrorist groups, primarily Islamic State (IS)-inspired fanatics.But for Left-leaning groups who petitioned the SC to lift martial law, the court decision opens up more crackdowns and human rights violations.The Palace official has insisted that human rights will be respected amid security operations.“The SC ruling underscores the unity of the whole government in its bid to defeat terrorism and prevent the spread in other parts of the country of DIWW and other like-minded local and foreign terrorist groups,” Roque said.“The majority of votes is a manifestation of confidence on law enforcement agencies that they shall, like they had been doing before, continue to protect our people, secure Mindanao, and pursue the bigger task of rehabilitation while upholding the rule of law, Human Rights, and International Humanitarian Law,” he added.Human rights watchdog Karapatan sees the contrary in the government’s motives, saying that the year-long military rule will boost attacks on the people.The continuous implementation of martial law in Mindanao will allow the unhampered massive rehabilitation in war-torn Marawi City and boost the security forces campaign to finish off the rebellion, the Department of National Defense (DND) said. In a statement, Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana said that the Supreme Court’s decision affirming the constitutionality of the one-year extension of martial law in Mindanao will definitely boost government efforts to rebuild Marawi City and address continuing rebellion.The defense chief welcomed the SC decision as a vote of confidence to the government security forces.“The DND – AFP is grateful for the trust and confidence of our public institutions and the support of the Filipino people,” said Lorenzana. Mario J. Mallari.....»»

Category: newsSource:  tribuneRelated NewsJun 7th, 2018

Robredo urges Philippines to file diplomatic protest vs China

The Philippines should pursue all diplomatic avenues, including filing a formal protest, over China’s increasingly aggressive military actions in the South China Sea, Vice President Leni Robredo said on Tuesday......»»

Category: newsSource:  philstarRelated NewsMay 22nd, 2018

‘Grand Deception’ by Jun Ledesma

Letters From Davao: WHEN RAPPLER through its President, Maria Ressa, was caught trifling with an important tenet in the Philippine constitution that mandates that Philippine media should be 100% owned by Filipinos the Securities and Exchange Commission ordered it closed. Rappler was parading like it is wholly owned by Filipinos but turned out it accepted investment from Omidyar Network (ON) which is known for its notoriety in destabilizing heads of state that are not docile to America. It tried deception by claiming that the Philippine Deposit Receipts it issued to ON money was for philanthropic contribution. The attempt dragged them deeper in shit as PDRs are actually commercial instruments. When this trick did not work, Ressa again tried another act this time claiming that Omidyar signed a waiver on its veto power. Again this did not pass scrutiny of the SEC because the said waiver was discovered to be just a scrap of paper as the document was not notarized.  Running out of deceptive tricks Ma. Ressa went berserk when she was served the closure order and went about town crying her freedom is being curtailed by Pres. Rodrigo Duterte no less. Her partner Pia Ranada did the same screaming she will be jailed by Duterte’s military. The grandstanding, it was obvious, was to stonewall the criminal violation they committed and to paint Rappler and its staff headed by Ressa as victims of oppression and dictatorial regime of Duterte. Contrary to its claim that they have lost their freedom of expression, more than ever Rappler had increased the crescendo of its unfettered attack on no less than the President Duterte himself. Ressa spearheaded a Black Friday movement supported by a handful of students from where else by the University of the Philippines campus and the usual garrulous but moribund Liberal Party stalwarts headed by VP Leni Robredo. They were joined in by UN Rapporteur Agnes Callamard and her local counterpart Chito Gascon in denouncing the Duterte government for curtailing the freedom of the press. Other foreign-funded media outfits joined the fray for obvious reason.  Theirs is a cacophony of ridiculous chants. Robredo warned that the closure of Rappler is a symptom of a dark future of the country. The juvenile delinquents in the UP campus joined pipsqueak assemblies with screaming placards denouncing Pres. Duterte and his “malignant forces that continue to peddle lies to justify their tyranny and dictatorship”.  They cut classes to face the TV cameras and klieg lights unmindful of yet another spectacular grade the survey firms Social Weather Station and Pulse Asia showing an “excellent” grade on the sustained trust and popularity of the nation on Duterte which they had been flagellating no end.  No one seems to mind their issue about tyranny and dictatorship as the World Bank grudgingly declared that “DDS killed democracy in the Philippines but they haven’t killed the country’s vibrant economy”.  Forbes, an international business magazine, likewise quoted WB on its Global Economic Prospects, which asserts that “Duterte Philippines is the 10th fastest growing economy in the world”.  The statistics is a slap on the face of VP Robredo who remains to be an incurable pessimist despite the figures that cannot lie. She continues to see the future of the Philippines in dark glasses forgetting that she is a Vice President and therefore should have celebrated with the rest for the gains that the country achieved. For her part, Maria Ressa simply ignored what Forbes and WB declared.  Maybe out of outrage that the Robredo seemed to be out of sync and blinded by sheer politicking and negativism, UP Political Science professor and political analyst, Clarita Carlos,  made a five-worded message to The Vice President thus: “President Duterte moves the Philippines forward”. To those who denigrate Duterte from cutting the country’s umbilical cord to America, Professor Carlos had this to say. “Duterte has moved the Philippines away from the usual foreign policy and in turn ‘defined national interest’ by tracking his own way of foreign policy”. She admired Duterte for his political guts and courage.  It is indeed pathetic that while the Philippines rise several notches higher in political and economic arena the opposition and the foreign-aided media outfits shamelessly continue to belittle these achievements. It is no small feat that Philippines came out stronger in economic growth than China in the 3rd quarter of 2017. On the 4th quarter moreover China rallied (6.9%) and landed on top of Asian countries followed by Vietnam (6.8) and Philippines 6.7%. The Philippines however has been growing more than 6% for nine consecutive quarters and that sustained growth is best among Asean nations. Any which way you look at it, that spells economic stability and investment grade for investors service firms like Moody’s and other international credit rating institutions. Cause and effect is a simple gauge to measure the impact of the tyranny and dictatorial regime that Rappler and its sympathizers have been accusing the Duterte regime. But as I always say, no one can quarrel with success especially when institutions of unquestionable stature put the positive figures across. Expect the economy to grow even faster in 2018 when infrastructure spending commences under the Duterte’s Build, Build, Build program. As we all know, the government had earmarked P8.4-trillion to achieve the mega infrastructure projects comprising of railways, highways and bridges, irrigation’s, airports and seaports to name a few. The job opportunities that these programs will generate are equally mind-boggling. […].....»»

Category: newsSource:  mindanaoexaminerRelated NewsFeb 1st, 2018

France challenges Beijing, sails ships in South China Sea

PARIS -- France is increasing its military presence in the Indo-Pacific region, sending warships through the South China Sea and planning air exercises to help counter China’s military build-up in disputed waters. In late May, the French assault ship Dixmude and a frigate sailed through the disputed Spratly Islands and….....»»

Category: newsSource:  journalRelated NewsJun 12th, 2018

Robredo: China presence in West PH Sea most serious external threat since WWII

MANILA, Philippines – Vice President Leni Robredo on Monday, June 11, made her strongest stand yet on China's increased military presence in the West Philippine Sea, a part of the South China Sea that belongs to the Philippines. The Vice President likened the possible consequences of China's militarization of ........»»

Category: newsSource:  rapplerRelated NewsJun 11th, 2018

China general slams irresponsible comments on South China Sea

SINGAPORE – A Chinese general on Saturday, June 2, lashed out at "irresponsible comments" on Beijing's military build-up in the South China Sea after the US defense chief accused China of intimidation and coercion in the disputed waters. "Any irresponsible comments from other countries cannot be accepted," Lieutenant General He Lei said at ........»»

Category: newsSource:  rapplerRelated NewsJun 2nd, 2018

Mattis accuses China of intimidation and coercion in South China Sea

SINGAPORE (UPDATED) – China's military build-up in the South China Sea and its deployment of high-end weapons systems in the disputed waterway is designed to intimidate and coerce neighbors, US Defense Secretary Jim Mattis said Saturday, June 2. Speaking at a high-profile security summit in Singapore, the Pentagon chief also said ........»»

Category: newsSource:  rapplerRelated NewsJun 2nd, 2018

Philippines to build 5 lighthouses in Spratly Islands

The government is building five lighthouses in South China Sea features occupied by the Philippines to ensure the safety of transiting ships and to improve the living conditions of Filipinos in the area, an official said......»»

Category: newsSource:  philstarRelated NewsMay 30th, 2018

Philippines as Chinese village? Opposition urges gov t to fight for country s sovereignty

The Philippines should assert and fight for its sovereignty in the South China Sea amid reports on the presence of Chinese military aircraft on one of its artificially-built islands in the disputed waters, members of the opposition said, as concerns over Beijing’s militarization of the waterway continue to mount......»»

Category: newsSource:  philstarRelated NewsApr 19th, 2018

US carrier on historic Vietnam visit amid sea rift with China

A US aircraft carrier arrived in Vietnam for the first time since the end of the war, as the former foes bolster military ties in the face of Beijing's build-up in the disputed South China Sea......»»

Category: newsSource:  philstarRelated NewsApr 12th, 2018

China needs to arm South China Sea islands — general

BEIJING, China --- China needs to build defensive structures on islands in the South China Sea to display its claim to sovereignty over virtually the entire crucial waterway, a leading Chinese general said Thursday. However, the vice president of China's Academy of Military Sciences, Lt. Gen. He Lei, declined to comment on aircraft deployments on artificial islands Chinese has built in the area, saying those were entirely China's domestic affair. "I don't think any country would want to make irresponsible comments about such matters," He said in a rare meeting with Chinese and foreign journalists on the sidelines of the annual session of China's ceremonial legislature, of which he ...Keep on reading: China needs to arm South China Sea islands — general.....»»

Category: newsSource:  inquirerRelated NewsMar 11th, 2018

Duterte says Xi downplayed sea militarization in meeting

MANILA, Philippines – During his bilateral meeting with President Rodrigo Duterte, Chinese President Xi Jinping downplayed Beijing’s military build-up in the South China Sea and assured the Philippine leaders that China would respect other countries' rights to free navigation through the key waterway. Duterte ........»»

Category: newsSource:  rapplerRelated NewsNov 11th, 2017

Alejano questions halt on PH hut-building in South China Sea sandbars

        Why is Manila so quick to accede to Beijing's protest on the building of huts on a Philippine-controlled sandbar, while downplaying Chinese military actions in the South China Sea?   This was the question raised by opposition lawmaker, Magdalo Rep. Gary Alejano, as he said the Chinese government "has no acceptable basis to react negatively" to construction work in Sandy Cay, near the Philippine-inhabited Pag-asa Island.   Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana first disclosed this new development in the maritime dispute on Wednesday. The Marines were supposed to build nipa huts, or thatched-roof shelters made of bamboo and pal...Keep on reading: Alejano questions halt on PH hut-building in South China Sea sandbars.....»»

Category: newsSource:  inquirerRelated NewsNov 9th, 2017

English Articles

Palace cites Duterte's "non-combative" approach amid China's reported military facility build-up in South China Sea.....»»

Category: newsSource:  manila_shimbunRelated NewsJun 30th, 2017

Nation: Duterte tells troops to stake a claim in PHL sea

PRESIDENT RODRIGO R. Duterte has ordered the military to occupy and build facilities on maritime features in the South China Sea that is within the Philippine territory......»»

Category: financeSource:  bworldonlineRelated NewsApr 6th, 2017

China bucks criticism in GOP platform

TOKYO: Chinas Foreign Ministry urged the US Republican Party on Thursday to halt groundless accusations against Beijing in its party platform, which takes aim at China for its military build-up and preposterous claims in the South China Sea.....»»

Category: newsSource:  manilatimes_netRelated NewsJul 22nd, 2016

Chinese military official suggests attack vs US ships in South China Sea

A ranking Chinese military official called for a more aggressive approach against United States warships conducting freedom of navigation operations in the disputed South China Sea......»»

Category: newsSource:  philstarRelated NewsDec 11th, 2018

China’s fishing fleet a militia force

The naval and Coast Guard vessels of the People's Republic of China (PRC) have consistently drawn attention in the heavily disputed South China Sea, especially with the completion of military bases on artificial islands that China has built on Philippine-claimed reefs in the Spratly archipelago. What has not often drawn attention is the presence in the region of China's maritime militia. While the vessels look like fishing boats, they should not be taken lightly, said Gregory Poling, director of Asia Maritime Transparency Initiative and a fellow at Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington. Force for intimidation They intimidate the vessels of other claiman...Keep on reading: China’s fishing fleet a militia force.....»»

Category: newsSource:  inquirerRelated NewsDec 9th, 2018

China earmarks Manila trench for possible South China Sea ‘Atlantis’

China was reportedly planning to build an undersea complex for its scientific and defense operations in the disputed South China Sea, and the Manila trench had been earmarked as one of the possible sites......»»

Category: newsSource:  philstarRelated NewsDec 1st, 2018

Beijing lashes out at U.S. for South China Sea sail-by

BEIJING, China – China on Friday, November 30, scolded the United States for sending naval vessels close to disputed islands in the South China Sea where Beijing has built military installations. The US and its allies periodically send planes and warships through the area to conduct "freedom of navigation" ........»»

Category: newsSource:  rapplerRelated NewsDec 1st, 2018