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Philippines Needs to Save China’s Face to Save Friendship after Arbitration Filing


welcome By: Elena Grace Flores
Foreign Affairs Undersecretary for International Economic Relations Laura del Rosario suggested during the Foreign Correspondents Association of the Philippines forum recently held in Makati City to mend fences with China once the Netherlands-based Permanent Court of Arbitration or PCA issues anytime now its ruling on the case filed by the country with respect to the dispute with China over maritime jurisdiction in the West Philippine Sea/South China Sea.

China felt betrayed and bitter towards Philippines for filing that said arbitration. If we want to save our friendship with China then we should not and not to embarrass them,” del Rosario said. As this is happening, second United States air contingent at Clark Air Base in Pampanga officially now formalized its operations that include training with Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) pilots and providing support for routine operational missions for enhancing regional maritime domain awareness.

Philippines may need to initiate bilateral dialogue with China and negotiations must resume after the PCA ssuance of the ruling in order to mend strained relationships between the two countries. Quite a diplomatic move indeed with China if we want that peaceful alternative. This “face-saving” measure is a must as agreed by Supreme Court Senior Associate Justice Antonio Carpio agrees that there has to be

Reference: http://www.mb.com.ph/ph-needs-to-mend-fences-with-china/

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China Plans to Make Spratly Islands a Tourist Destination in 2020


welcome By: Elena Grace Flores
It has been reported that Chinese cruise ships will regularly bring tourists to the disputed Spratly Islands in the South China Sea or West Philippine Sea by 2020, perhaps as a media propaganda to counteract tensions in the area while waiting for the U.N. Tribunal ruling. Beijing forcibly claimed sovereignty over almost all of the vital channels of South China Sea, despite resistance from neighboring countries including the Philippines.

Chinese cruises are already in operation but for now, they are exclusive for Chinese people only — to the Paracel Islands. Routes to the Spratlys has been proposed as quoted by China Daily, as consigned by the government. The ships will be departing from the southern island province of Hainan. They will be promoting Spratlys using its Chinese name “The Nansha Islands” as virgin territory for China’s tourism industry.

Vietnam, Malaysia, Taiwan, Brunei and the Philippines all have pending claims over portions of the Spratlys. Chinese tourists have been allowed to travel to non-militarised areas of the South China Sea since 2013, but foreign passport-holders are prohibited to join the trips. Some 30,000 people have already visited this new routes, and the controversy even made a lot of people even more interested in visiting the said islands.

Reference: http://www.mb.com.ph/china-to-launch-cruises-to-disputed-spratly-islands/

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Intimidated: Fishermen to Chinese Coast Guard – “Go back to China”


welcome By: Elena Grace Flores
Jonathan Almandrez recounts the chase they experienced last June 7, 2016 just outside Scarborough Shoal within the disputed Philippine territory by the Chinese Coast Guard — something that can stop any time soon after a U.N. backed tribunal ruling happens.

“I was angry at them to shoo us away when we were clearly inside Philippine territory,” said the 30-year-old companion of Almandrez — who provided mobile phone footage of the incident that lasted two hours, Chinese coast guard patrol boats circled a wooden outrigger carrying 10 Filipino fishermen. He also shouted back to the Chinese Coast Guard; “You go back to China because this is the property of the Philippines,” – but got intimidated when a larger vessel was seen arriving at the scene.

The incident happened 650 km from Hainan island, but falls within the “nine-dash line” specified by international laws. The fishermen are from Infanta, one of the main Scarborough Shoal fishing towns in Luzon whose decendants have been fishing at the shallow but fish-rich waters. Their village also serves as sanctuary for stranded fishermen during typhoons.

Reference: http://www.japantimes.co.jp/news/2016/06/22/asia-pacific/philippine-fishermens-south-china-sea-hopes-buoyed-ahead-u-n-tribunal-ruling/#.V2sD_tJ95H1

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China’s Illegal Control of Scarborough Shoal Detailed by Japanese Media


welcome By: Elena Grace Flores
Since 2012 China has been harrassing Filipino fishermen in the disputed areas of Scarborough Shoal in the South China Sea or West Philippine Sea. Non-Chinese fishing boats approaching the lagoon’s entrance have been shood away by an ear-splitting horn blast from the Chinese Coast Guard positioned inside the Shoal. Fishermen who do not follow will either be hosed down or even rammed, according to Filipino fishermen. Water-cannon attack is a very common weapon of the Chinese.

Sometimes the Chinese cut anchor cables, which is very risky for Filipino boats; said a Filipino fishermen at Infanta and Masinloc. China claims it has sovereign rights in almost all of the South China Sea as per Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying; “We have said that Scarborough Shoal is China’s intrinsic territory. The Chinese coast guard vessels’ law enforcement activities in China’s sovereign territorial waters are legitimate and beyond reproach,”; based on the report of Japan Times.

Despite the unresolved disputes, China has undertaken massive land-reclamation in Spratly Islands, also claimed by the Philippines, Vietnam, Malaysia and Taiwan. China’s intended use of these artificial islands for military purposes are criticized by super powers who knew that vast Deuterium deposits existed there. The Americans together with their allies are also spearheading a campaign to preserve maritime freedom of navigation along those passageways. The Philippines has lodged a case with the International Arbitral Court, a U.N.-backed tribunal at The Hague, asking it to rule that China’s claims to most of the sea violate international law – which China still ignores up to this date prompting the United States to install their coast guard visibility in the area very soon.

Reference: http://www.japantimes.co.jp/news/2016/06/22/asia-pacific/philippine-fishermens-south-china-sea-hopes-buoyed-ahead-u-n-tribunal-ruling/#.V2sD_tJ95H1

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Science and Prophecy Matched: Manila Prepares for Big Quake


welcome By: Elena Grace Flores
Once the anticipated “Big One” strucks Metro Manila, the first 45-second long siren will signal the start of responses after a magnitude 7.2 quake caused by the movement of the West Valley Fault interceps daily activities – as shown during the recent drill.

As traffic was halted, work stopped, and people were instructed to duck, cover, and hold – selected buildings were evacuated. Firemen and rescue teams were seen taking out supposed to be fatality from a burning car. Police arrested people acting as looters in Marikina. This is in response to the 2014 joint report by the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology and Geoscience Australia disclosing that a magnitude 7.2 earthquake on the West Valley Fault could cause 5,911 buildings and fatalities of about 37,054 Filipinos from greater Metro Manila area, that will not spare parts of Rizal.

Chairperson Emerson Carlos said the drill was under the direction of the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council or NDRRMC as reported by CNN Philippines.
The report continued; He said Bulacan, Cavite, Rizal, and Laguna were included in the drill because the West Valley Fault traverses these provinces, too. For this year’s drill, the NDDRMC utilized Camp Aguinaldo — the armed forces headquarters in Quezon City — as its command center. NCR concentrated on the four quadrants classified as follows:
North: North and South Caloocan, Valenzuela, Quezon City, San Juan, and Mandaluyong
South: Makati, Pateros, Pasay, Taguig, Parañaque, Las Piñas, and Muntinlupa
East: Marikina and Pasig
West: Manila, Navotas, and Malabon
The North Quadrant practiced evacuation and first aid operations at the Veterans’ Memorial Medical Center.

Reference: http://cnnphilippines.com/news/2016/06/22/metro-manila-shake-earthquake-drill-2016.html