Friday, March 30, 2012

High School Boys Kissing and Girls in Bikini with Drinks and Cigarettes barred from Graduation - Philippines

Facebook prank postings by High school students in the Philippines end up barring them from graduation rites. 2 incidents of high school graduating students where 5 boys posting prank kissing in the public and girls in a bikini with drinks and cigarettes fight to march the graduation rite.

The public official parents of the girls came dressed in formal attire and barong Tagalog while their daughters wore their school uniforms.

But the 3 p.m. graduation rites of St. Theresa's College high school went on without them, leaving a sad but calm group of families at the front gate of the campus on General Maxilom Avenue, Cebu City.

Security guards refused to open the gate, seeing they had no admission passes or invitations issued by the school administration.

"Inhuman, animal and cruel," exclaimed one of the mothers. A few other parents muttered complaints. Two of the girls cried.

After a few minutes of waiting, with verbal pleas to the guards to heed a Temporary Restraining Order (TRO) issued by the Regional Trial Court directing the school to let two of the students march with their classmates for graduation, the group quietly walked away.

"The court was disrespected," said Cornelio Mercado, counsel of four of five girls being punished by STC for photos posted in a Facebook account showing the students in bikinis and engaging in what the school called "lewd" and "immoral" behavior.

The school's security guards were caught on camera blocking the student – given the pseudonym "Audrey" because she is a minor – and her parents from entry at the school's gates despite them having secured a TRO from Judge Wilfredo Navarro of the Cebu City Regional Trial Court (RTC)

Enrique Lacerna, the lawyer for one of the students, said he was informed by his client they were barred from entering the venue of the graduation rites.

 "Sinabi ng kliyente ko, they were barred (from) entering the premises lalo na to join the commencement exercises (My client said they were barred from entering the premises, much less join the graduation rites)," he said in an interview on dzBB radio Friday afternoon.

 The school earlier banned the students from joining the graduation rites, supposedly over the posting of inappropriate photos on Facebook.

 Lacerna hinted he is considering asking the court to cite the school in contempt for defying the order.

 On Thursday (March 29, 2012), Judge Wilfredo Navarro issued a temporary restraining order to stop the school from enforcing its sanction, effectively allowing the two to attend their graduation rites.

But Lacerna cited information reaching him that the school filed a motion for reconsideration Friday morning.

 He claimed he was not furnished a copy of the supposed motion.

"Walang schedule, ang alam ko ang judge sa Lapu-Lapu (There was no hearing scheduled for that motion for reconsideration. And as far as I know, the judge was supposed to be in Lapu-Lapu City today)," he said.

For now, he said there is nothing to be done to allow the girls to attend their graduation rites.

But he voiced disappointment with the school, which he said claimed last Thursday it will respect the decision of the court.

Justice system in the Philippines is still struggling for flaws in the implementation of laws as usual court orders are influenced by impartiality in favor to the more influenced families and preyed the poor.

Institutions in the Philippines defying court orders if its shows deficiency hinting the country's constitution needs transitions and fixing flaws.

The defiance of the court order shows also that the leadership of the sitting justice remains questionable to the majority Filipinos.

St. Theresa's College is a private Catholic school authorized to instill discipline among students under Department of Education (DepEd) Order No. 88 series of 2010—also known as the Revised Manual of Regulations for Private Schools in Basic Education.

But Section 155 of the same DepEd order guarantees every student the right to be formally apprised of any complaint against her, to be heard by herself and her counsel, to present evidence for her defense, and to appeal the decision on her case to proper authorities.

Although Section 131 of the Revised Manual gives the administration of each private school the responsibility to maintain good discipline among students, such disciplinary authority is limited to students' behavior inside the school campus or outside school premises but only as regards authorized school activities that the students are engaged in.

On the other hand a separate case for the 6 graduating High School boys in the Infant Jesus Academy Manila posting prank in facebook also barred from the graduation rites.

About 600 kilometers from a Catholic learning institution in Cebu City where five graduating girls are embroiled in a "bikini photo" controversy, six senior high school boys from the Infant Jesus Academy in Marikina City were not allowed to march on stage, too, and get their diplomas.

This after the teenage boys, still in school uniform, simulated a kiss in public on Monday and posted photos of their naughty prank on social networking site Facebook.

On Thursday, the boys accompanied by their parents went to Radyo Inquirer to seek the help of the AM station's "Isumbong Mo Kay Tulfo" program.

They said that as a punitive action, the school will not let them join Friday's commencement exercises. And even as they will be officially recognized as graduates, they cannot take their diplomas yet, one of the parents told

The parent also quoted Infant Jesus Academy chancellor Peter Mallonga as saying the school diploma is "sacred."

"For them, the school diploma is sacred. They will give it to the students as the punishment will not be for life. But it will take two years, three years, four years, even eight years," she claimed.

"The officials said they (boys) are not deserving as of the moment to receive their diplomas," she quoted school officials as saying.

The boys, aged between 16 and 17, will be given certification by the school, however, to allow them to enroll in universities, even without their diplomas.

School officials said the students have violated a guideline of the institution, banning "any conduct inside or outside the campus which brings the student, his/her family and the school in disrepute."

The photos, for the officials, were "damaging" to the reputation of the Catholic institution.

But one of the students said it was only a camera trick and done for fun's sake.

"We tried to explain that those were just camera tricks, but they did not listen to us," one of the students said.

In Cebu City, two graduating girls had broken a school rule at Saint Theresa's College, which bans posting Internet pictures that show "ample body exposure", and barred the student from their graduation ceremony.

The girl's family on Tuesday filed a civil suit at a Cebu Regional Trial Court, which on Friday reprimanded the school for the harsh punishment and ordered the Catholic institution to let the girls take their diplomas on stage.

The Philippines is about 80-percent Catholic and the church is hugely influential, regularly campaigning against divorce and birth control.

Philippines will start the port and Airstrip development in Spratlys

The Philippines has finally determined its destiny to develop its territory to make it more accessible and open to all Filipinos who want to visit and see or tour to the controversial disputed Spratlys archipelago.

The Philippines must be thankful of China' Challenges to the country otherwise the country would be remain behind from all neighboring countries in Asia.

The act of aggressive invasion of China towards Philippines territory wakes up the Filipinos that the time has come to defend and time has come to have a good posture that the Philippines is an independent country and capable to defend its territory.

Finally, the Philippines have decided to develop the Kalayaan Municipality which worried china as they have already invested in their invasion to the undeveloped Philippines territory in Palawan province.

Last year 2011, china tried to delete the old history of the Spratlys archipelago by buying all antique maps around the world that could have a different name of the Spratlys and replaced it with a name Nansha to support the china's claim base on their self coined history for Spratlys.

Any map that would be different from what china proclaimed as the old spratlys were burned but still the UNCLOS is the strongest strength of the scared neighbor to stand and face the china's challenges.

China has expressed concern over the Philippines' plan to build a beaching ramp in the Kalayaan island group in the West Philippine Sea.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of China warned on Thursday against any move by claimants that may complicate the dispute.

"China claimed that it has indisputable sovereignty over the Nansha Islands or the Spratly islands and their adjacent waters. China opposes any country's illegal activities that infringe upon China's sovereignty over the Nansha Islands," said Foreign Ministry spokesperson Hong Lei in a press conference in Beijing.

The china's claim for indisputable sovereignty in the spratlys is the same as claiming having indisputable sovereignty over the Philippines as the Spratlys is in the Philippine Territory.

Beijing for the national pride of china strengthen is stance in claiming the islands and waters of the Philippines territory after they submitted to the United Nations the 9 dotted lines claiming most part of the Spratlys including the Philippines territory in 2009.

Beijing China has no way to back out as it could be a big shame to the world if they will back out its claim of the Philippines territory. Even though their claim is not according to the international law of seas (UNCLOS) and considered as illegal expansion by the international communities but still Beijing insist as they are now the world super power to admit defeat against small country like the Philippines.

The Philippines municipal government of Kalayaan, in coordination with the Philippine Ports Authority (PPA), will construct within the year a beaching ramp on Pag-asa, the largest of the Kalayaan group, which has been occupied by Filipino troops for decades. Apart from the troops, there are about 70 Filipino families living in Kalayaan, which is a municipality of Palawan.

Hong said Beijing is opposed to the Philippines' plan to build a simple wharf on Pag-asa, which China calls Zhongye and considers part of the Nansha Islands or the Spratly islands.

"Relevant countries should abide by the spirit of the Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the West Philippines Sea (South China Sea) and avoid taking any move that may complicate the dispute so as to jointly maintain peace and stability in the South China Sea," he said.

Though Beijing is calling the ASEAN nations to abide the Declaration of Conduct (DOC) China itself keep violation it by harassing Filipino Fishermen in the Philippines waters and sending their warship in the area.

Mayor Eugenio Bito-onon of the municipality of Kalayaan in Palawan, which has jurisdiction over Pag-asa and other islets in the Spratlys, said the PPA would construct a beach ramp with the help of the Philippine Navy.

Bito-onon, who was visiting Manila last 3rd week of March 2012 for a series of coordinating conferences with concerned government agencies for the development of the island town, said the construction of the beaching ramp has been long delayed.

He said the island municipality needs the beaching ramp for easier delivery of supplies for local residents.

Once the ramp becomes operational, Bito-onon said this would further enhance the development of the area as roll-off/roll-on (RORO) vessels could be used to deliver and unload their cargo to the island municipality.

In the absence of a beaching ramp in Pag-asa, cargo delivered by boat from mainland Palawan are hauled ashore by smaller boats.

He said construction of the beaching ramp and the repair of the 1.3-kilometer airstrip are part of ongoing efforts to develop existing facilities in the Municipality of Kalayaan, Province of Palawan.

Classified as a 6th class municipality of Palawan, Kalayaan has a regulated population of 67 families, mostly fishermen, aside from the soldiers who are deployed in the area.

At present, the island has a water-filtering plant, power generators, weather station and a private telecommunication tower of Smart Telecommunications.

Aside from the Filipino military contingent, other claimant countries except Brunei has deployed forward troops in their occupied islets and atolls in the archipelago to bolster their respective territorial claims in the region.

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Philippines Air bases open for US Forces - P3C Orion planes deploy in Spratlys

In return for more Military warfare's to protect the Philippines territory, the country  is offering the United States greater access to its airfields and may open new areas for soldiers to use, as the Pacific country seeks stronger military ties with its closest ally, moves likely to further raise tensions with China.

In exchange for opening its bases, the Philippines will ask Washington for more military equipment and training, including a another Hamilton-class warship and possibly a squadron of old F-16 jet fighters, Foreign Affairs Secretary Albert del Rosario said.

"As part of building up our minimum credible defense posture, we would like the Americans to come more often," del Rosario said in an interview at his office near Manila Bay.

Manila favors more frequent joint military drills, he said. One such exercise, which will be staged on western island Palawan for the first time, is scheduled for April 16.

"Let's have these joint training exercises more frequently and on a bigger scale. As many times as we can, in different places if we can, that's the objective of the exercise," del Rosario said, the first official confirmation of talks between the countries on increasing the U.S. military presence in the Philippines.

Disputes in the West Philippines Sea (South China Sea) are Southeast Asia's biggest security concern after a series of naval clashes over the vast region believed to be rich in energy reserves.

Chinese navy ships threatened to ram a Philippine research vessel last March 2011, prompting Manila to scramble planes and ships to the area. After that, Philippine President Benigno Aquino started building closer ties with Washington, which has signaled a military "pivot" back to Asia.

Del Rosario said the possible purchase of F-16s and the request for a third cutter for the coast guard would be among issues up for discussion at a meeting between the two sides on April 30 in Washington.

The U.S. is also looking into gaining access, under a "joint use" arrangement, to around half a dozen civilian airfields in the Philippines, where U.S. transports, fighters and spy planes can land for repairs, refueling and temporary deployment.

The talks, between among foreign and defense leaders, will precede a meeting between U.S. President Barack Obama and Philippine President Benigno Aquino later this year.

USA-Philippines partnership in intelligence operation over the Disputed Seas

In the last 10 years, the Philippines has received about 22 billion pesos ($512.22 million) in U.S. military aid, Del Rosario said.

Washington is Manila's closest and only strategic security partner, since the two countries signed a mutual defense treaty six years after the Philippines won its independence from the United States.

Del Rosario said he welcomed closer intelligence cooperation in the West Philippines Sea, after the U.S. last year proposed deploying P3C Orion reconnaissance planes to patrol disputed areas of the Spartlys.

"I think any method of cooperation that will provide us additional intelligence in terms of maritime domain awareness is good for us. The more information, the better," he said.

Australia announced last March 29, 2012 that  it could allow U.S. spy flights to operate from a remote Indian Ocean island, the Cocos Island which is located just adjacent of the Southern Philippines.

Manila hopes China will not feel threatened by its increased defense cooperation with Washington.

"We expressed our satisfaction when China was in the process of building up its military, increasing its military budget," Del Rosario said.

"We expect that China, in the same way, would be happy to be able to see the Philippines trying to, in some measure, build up its own capabilities to be able to protect its own sovereignty."

The United States deploys about 600 commandos in the southern Philippine. Del Rosario said it was possible there would be an increase in the number of U.S. troops, aircraft and ships visiting the Philippines, but the two sides were not discussing setting up permanent U.S. bases in the country.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

China starts Maping Disputed seas including Philippines' province and Island of Japan

In the deep of maritime disputes with several of its neighbors, China on Tuesday (March 27, 2012) said it was mapping South China Sea (SCS) or also called West Philippines Sea (WPS) with an aim to step up exploration for oil and gas and to reinforce its territorial claims of the Philippines and Vietnam Waters.

China may step up its exploration of South China Sea to reinforce its territorial claims following announcement that geographical surveys of the area are underway, state-run Global Times reported. "The majority of the disputed waters used to be beyond our reach because we seldom put our claims into action," Zhang Yunling, director of the Institute for International Studies under the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, told the daily.

"By drawing a map, the country can reinforce its jurisdiction claim in the South China Sea particularly in the Spratlys where the Philippines is in control, and further actions may follow, such as exploiting resources near the Nansha Islands," Zhang said.

Located south of China's coast, SCS is connected with narrow straits with Pacific Ocean and covers 3.5 million sq km of the ocean.

China claims the entire SCS as its own. "We owned everything"  Its claim however has been contested by Vietnam, Philippines, Malaysia, Brunei and Taiwan which assert it is part their maritime waters and 200 Nautical Miles Exclusive Economic Zone granted by the United Nations International Laws of Sea (UNCLOS).

China overlapped its claim including the province of the Philippines in Palawan islands and parts of Brunei, Vietnam, Indonesia and Malaysia.

Much to China's disappointment, the US extended tacit support to the small countries and stepped its presence in the Pacific region, calling for peaceful resolution of the disputes.

India's ONGC also drew Beijing's ire by taking up exploration in the blocks in SCS claimed by Vietnam's Exclusive Economic zone in Vietnam shore.

According to a report released by China's National Administration of Surveying, Mapping and Geo-information (NASMG) a working group jointly set up by 13 government agencies will continue geographical surveying of the South China Sea and draw a map of the sea or its islands to "declare China's stance" on territorial issues.

Similar mapping work will also be carried out on the Diaoyu Islands and other important areas in the East China Sea, (ECS) when the time is right, it said.

Diaoyu islands, known as Senkaku islands in Japan are currently under the administrative control of Tokyo which zealously reasserts its control over the uninhabited islands.

Japan also prohibits fishing by Chinese there which resulted in several skirmishes in the recent times.

"We are currently carrying out relevant work, and further details will be released at a proper time," an official with NASMG's map management office said.

China claims indisputable sovereignty of the Spratlys Islands (Nansha and Xisha islands) and their adjacent waters which are within the Exclusive Economic Zone of the Philippines, but several countries in the region, such as Vietnam and the Philippines, have made competing claims and tried to defend their territory and their EEZ.

Zheng Zemin, a researcher with the Hainan-based National Institute for SCS /WPS Studies, said that through the mapping, authorities may clarify the specific locations of the so-called "nine-dashed line" or "U-shape line" by setting their longitudes and latitudes.

U-shape line or nine-dashed line was a first time claim of china to all the waters in the West Philippines Sea or South China Sea last year 2009.

ASEAN countries who are affected by the claim of china have lodge their protest to the United Nations but China downplayed the protest and instead they used force to drive away Filipino Fishermen in the Philippines Waters claiming as their owned and cut the survey cable of Petro Vietnam

"They may also survey the locations of islands and reefs currently on record, which have changed due to tides over the past decades," Zheng said. Zhuang Guotu, director of Southeast Asian Studies at Xiamen University, downplayed the possibility of the mapping work escalating tensions. "A spat is inevitable but tensions are unlikely to escalate as maintaining cooperation despite disputes has been a basic consensus that China and relevant countries hold," Zhuang said.

The planned survey of China to the reefs and Island of the Spratlys which are within the Philippine territory would become a big challenge for China as the Philippines Navy and Coastguards with the Support of the United States and Japan are closely monitoring the Area.

Any poachers entering the Philippines territory in Spratlys islands without prior approval from the Philippines Government would expect for arrest and detention or another protest to the United Nations to intervene China's invasion.

The United States is eyeing now to set-up their spy drones in Cocos Island south of the Philippines to closely monitor the activity in the West Philippines Sea or other know as South China Sea.

US Warship are now in its routinary visit to the ports of the Philippines as part of courtesy call and US Pivot to Asia.

April 2012 Balikatan Exercises between USA and the Philippines could be the biggest preparation of the Philippines and USA for possible China's invasion to the Philippines territory in Spratlys Archipelago. Philippines is a close ally of the USA in the Asia Pacific,   

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Indonesia, Philippines - in better economic position than Europeans

Indonesia and the Philippines, able to raise funds at a lower cost than Italy, may be poised to get the highest credit ratings since the 1997 Asian financial crisis as the nations step up efforts to boost investment.

Officials from Standard & Poor's, the only company to grade Indonesia's debt as junk, are visiting the largest economy in Southeast Asia this week after raising the nation's bonds to BB+ a year ago, according to the Finance Ministry. Philippine Finance Secretary Cesar Purisima said March 23 that he's confident about getting a rating upgrade after meeting with S&P last week.

"Asian economies, including the Philippines and Indonesia, have finally shaken the effects of the Asian financial crisis," said Frederic Neumann, co-head of Asian economic research at HSBC Holdings Plc in Hong Kong. "This period thus marks the return to high rates of growth."

Emerging markets, with budget deficits at 1.7 percent of gross domestic product in Indonesia and 3.8 percent in the Philippines in 2009 compared with the Euro area's 6.4 percent, are winning rating boosts even as developed markets from Europe to the U.S. get downgrades. Borrowing costs for the two Southeast Asian nations have fallen 0.6 of a percentage point this year as plans to boost investment in roads and rail systems support growth prospects amid faltering global demand.

Yields Narrow

The extra yield investors demand to own Indonesia's dollar bonds instead of U.S. Treasuries has narrowed 61 basis points this year, or 0.61 percentage point, to 1.89 percentage points as of March 26, while that for the Philippines (JPSSEMPH) has fallen by 62 points to 1.76 percentage points, according to JPMorgan Chase & Co.'s EMBI+ Indexes. They compare with the additional yield of 3.16 percentage points to buy emerging-market dollar-denominated debt instead of U.S. securities.

Indonesia's dollar bonds due May 2021 are trading at 3.79 percent while Philippine dollar debt due January 2021 is trading at 3.44 percent, compared with 6.25 percent for Italy's dollar notes due September 2023 and 4.12 percent for Russia's dollar notes due April 2020, according to prices from Royal Bank of Scotland Group Plc. and compiled by Bloomberg. S&P rates Russia two steps above Indonesia and three levels higher than the Philippines.

Ratings upgrades could underscore confidence in the Southeast Asian economies' resilience as a slowdown in China's growth adds to the threat to Asian expansion, which has already been crimped by Europe's debt crisis.

Chinese Profits

Chinese industrial companies had their first January- February profit decline since 2009 as slowing exports and a government campaign to cool property prices damped earnings, a report showed today. Net income dropped 5.2 percent from a year earlier to 606 billion yuan ($96 billion), the National Bureau of Statistics said on its website.

In contrast, a report showed South Korean consumer confidence rose to the highest level in four months, buoyed by signs of improvement in the U.S. economy and progress in containing Europe's crisis. The sentiment index rose to 101 in March from February's 100, the Bank of Korea said.

The global economic outlook is improving, though "severe downside risks remain," International Monetary Fund Deputy Managing Director Naoyuki Shinohara said today in Bangkok, adding that emerging economies need to "stay vigilant for the spillover from advanced economies."

Asian economies will experience only a modest slowdown in growth as domestic demand remains resilient, supported by strong employment and high capacity utilization, he said. The Asian economy as a whole will expand by 5.9 percent this year, with growth accelerating to 6.4 percent in 2013, while the economy of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations will grow by 5 percent this year and 5.5 percent in 2013, he said.

French Confidence

Reports in Europe may show consumer confidence rose in March in Finland while holding steady in France, according to Bloomberg surveys. The Netherlands will report final GDP data for the fourth quarter after a preliminary estimate showed the economy contracted 0.7 percent from the previous three months. Turkey and Hungary may keep interest rates unchanged, Bloomberg surveys showed.

In the U.S., the Conference Board's release today may show its consumer confidence index was little changed at 70.1 this month after reaching a one-year high of 70.8 in February, a survey median showed.

Presidents Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono in Indonesia and Benigno Aquino in the Philippines have both won upgrades from Fitch Ratings and Moody's Investors Service in the past year as they pledged to contain their budget deficits, fight corruption and woo investment to spur economic growth. The two companies have brought Indonesia to investment grade, while the Philippines remains one step behind at Fitch and two steps below at Moody's.

Credit Default Swaps

Five-year credit-default swap contracts on Philippine debt traded at 141 basis points on March 26 and 161 for Indonesia, according to data provider CMA, which compiles prices quoted by dealers in the privately negotiated market. The contracts insure debt against non-payment, and traders use them to speculate on credit quality. That compares with 370 basis points for Italy and 422 points for Spain.

"I'm hopeful that S&P will raise Indonesia's rating within this year, which will bring in foreign investors again," Ezra Nazula, Jakarta-based head of fixed income who helps manage 24 trillion rupiah ($2.6 billion) at PT Manulife Asset Management, said in a March 20 interview. "It will be a plus point for Indonesia if the government can show that they are willing to increase the fuel prices and reduce the subsidies' burden on the budget."

Raising Prices

Indonesia's plan to raise diesel and petrol prices to 6,000 rupiah per liter from 4,500 rupiah is subject to approval by lawmakers. The country must raise fuel prices to curb a subsidy bill that threatens to sap funds from pivotal health, education and road and port building programs, National Economic Committee Vice Chairman M. Chatib Basri said in an interview with Bloomberg Television in Hong Kong on March 23.

Ratings changes aren't necessarily accompanied by corresponding moves in bond prices. Instead of falling in value after S&P stripped the U.S. of the top AAA sovereign rating, Treasuries rallied and the government's borrowing costs fell to record lows. While stocks fell, wiping $2.5 trillion from the market value of global equities on the first trading day after S&P on Aug. 5 cut the U.S. by one level to AA+, the gain in benchmark 10-year government notes sent yields down almost a quarter percentage point, to 2.32 percent.

Asian Crisis

Still, a rating upgrade would endorse Indonesia's efforts to move its economy out of the shadows of the 1997-98 Asian financial crisis, when it needed a bailout from the IMF.

The nation's parliament approved a land-acquisition bill in December that will allow Yudhoyono's administration to accelerate road, port and airport projects. The government is also setting up a new financial market regulator that is due to start operating in January 2013, supervising capital markets, insurers, pension funds and other non-bank institutions.

In the Philippines, Aquino is seeking $16 billion of investments in projects including roads in the capital and airports in the provinces to upgrade the nation's infrastructure.

Indonesia's $707 billion economy has expanded more than 6 percent for five straight quarters, weathering a decline in global demand that has hurt growth across Asia. The Philippine economy grew 3.7 percent last quarter from a year earlier.

56,000 OFW in South Korea is ready to evacuate – North Korea Missile Launching

The Philippines on Monday (March 26, 2012) said it was ready with a contingency plan to protect the safety of more than 50,000 overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) in South Korea if tensions with North Korea over its plan to launch a new rocket escalated into a full-blown crisis.

If crisis will arise, this is more complicated as nuclear weapon is link to this and unlike Middle Eastern crisis which evacuation is tolerable but for nuclear issue; no place to hide and no time to move.

Locals or Korean national are aware of this without any panic that they will survive if there is a way to survive or otherwise, just accept the destiny.

Vice President Jejomar Binay, who is in Seoul attending a nuclear security summit with other world leaders, also said the government would direct local governments with migrant workers in South Korea to be prepared for any eventuality.

"Our embassy (in Seoul) is ready for a worst-case scenario," Binay said in a statement released by his office.

Pyongyang has said it plans to launch a satellite into space aboard a new rocket between April 12 and 16, triggering warnings from the United States and its allies that the launch was intended to test a missile capable eventually of delivering an atomic warhead.

North Korea has said the first stage of the rocket is expected to fall in international waters about 140 kilometers off the South Korean west coast. The second stage is projected to splash down some 190 km off the northeast coast of the Philippines.

"This is an unfortunate situation because there are existing United Nations resolutions and North Korea has said it will comply with the resolutions," Binay said. "We hope it does not happen and North Korea complies with the UN resolutions."

A UN Security Council resolution passed after North Korea staged missile and nuclear tests in 2009 bans a ballistic missile launch for any purpose.

April 2012 ASEAN summit

The North Korean issue will be discussed by President Benigno Aquino III and other leaders of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) during the April 3-4 ASEAN summit in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, presidential spokesperson Edwin Lacierda said in Malacañang.

The 10-nation ASEAN includes the Philippines, Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand, Singapore, Vietnam, Cambodia, Brunei Darussalam, Laos and Burma (Myanmar).

"I think there will be a topic on DPRK (Democratic People's Republic of Korea)," Lacierda said, adding the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) was "on top of the situation" insofar as contingency plans for OFWS were concerned.

He said there were around 56,000 Filipinos in South Korea and seven to nine Filipinos in North Korea working with UN-related agencies.

4 alert levels

Told that North Korea had already moved the rocket to its launch site and asked whether the Philippines would join the US call for China to rein in its North Korean ally, Lacierda said "the most effective means of addressing the North Korean issue has always been the six-party talks."

He was referring to the dialogue on ending North Korea's nuclear program that began in 2003 and involves the United States, China, Japan, Russia and the two Koreas.

Foreign Secretary Albert del Rosario has told the Philippine Daily Inquirer that the Philippines will press Pyongyang to abandon its rocket launch plan.

The Philippine Embassy has posted on its website a 10-page advisory on the contingency plan for Filipino workers in South Korea.

Written in Filipino, the advisory directs the workers to familiarize themselves with four alert levels.

Convergence points

Under Alert Level 1, the OFWs are required to observe heightened alertness. Alert Level 2 calls for restriction of movements, while Alert Levels 3 and 4 call for relocation and actual evacuation, respectively.

Three "convergence areas" for evacuees have been marked: Seoul, Daejeon and Busan (or Pusan), which is some 330 km southwest of Seoul. If the Gimpo and Incheon international airports are already closed, Busan will be the main convergence point.

From Busan, the embassy plans to evacuate Filipinos, using both the city's major port and Gimbae International Airport.

For OFW in Korea; it is also advice that the Subway Line Number 5 or purple line is built for safe from hazard and any possible attack so traveling or evacuating using Subway line number 5 is safer.

Relocating to Busan is also unsafe using air transport so OFW must not be panic if alert level 3 is issued. Traveling via land is more safer but traffic is expected and almost 6 hour travel time from Seoul to busan.

OFW is encourage to carry and study the map how to find safer place and how to manage self evacuation to the southern part of South korea.

Monitoring Crisis for North Korean Missile Launching

All 90 Philippine embassies and consulates worldwide have a contingency plan for Filipinos, the DFA said.

Raul Hernandez, the DFA spokesperson, said "that could include the mobilization of a network of Filipino community leaders, logistical movements of Filipinos to safer areas and possible evacuation of nationals to the Philippines."

"This plan is amended or revised as needed depending on the actual situation on the ground," Hernandez said.

However, "no crisis alert level [for Filipinos] in the two Koreas has been declared" by the DFA, he said.

'Helpless observer'

The Senate defense committee chairman, Panfilo Lacson, said in a text message that North Korea's launch plan should be a cause for concern "because it automatically threatens the peace and security in the Asia-Pacific region."

Lacson said the situation was not helped by North Korea being a "secretive" country.

He added: "Unfortunately, [the situation] is further aggravated by some tough talk from [US President Barack] Obama and warnings from the West. How China reacts to the situation will surely affect the stability in the area."

Lacson also said: "The Philippines, being a helpless observer, may be better off staying that way. Our efforts are limited to using our diplomatic channels with our neighboring countries, to speak as one voice with them."

The Senate defense committee vice chairman, Gregorio Honasan, said: "I'm sure this is more about saber rattling, threat and counterthreat. Even North Korea understands the global implications of what it plans to do. So this is not a doomsday scenario, I'm sure diplomacy would come into play."

Honasan said there was no cause for panic. "For concern and worry, yes. But let's not be paranoid … Realistically, our best bet is our regional and global alliances," he stressed.

Senator Antonio Trillanes IV warned "conflict may arise" in the Asia-Pacific if countries displeased with North Korea's plan took stronger measures.

But Trillanes added: "The public isn't alarmed too much because people are more concerned about the more evident gut issues like the rising oil and power prices, fare hike, and later on, the increase in the prices of commodities." With reports from Christine O. Avendaño and Cathy Yamsuan

Monday, March 26, 2012

DOH Failure: OFWs, recruiters to protest medical exams procedure

Overseas workers and recruitment agency officials will mount a protest against the Department of Health (DOH) for its failure to protect the welfare of overseas workers by not stopping the decking practices of a group of medical clinics.

In a statement, the Federated Associations of Manpower Exporters (FEDAMANEX) said it will lead a rally to protest the DOH's failure to stop the Gulf Cooperation Council Approved Medical Centers Association (GAMCA) from "decking" overseas workers.

The practice of decking involves requiring overseas workers to file their requests for health examination online through the GAMCA website. The group then assigns and fans them out to the 17 clinics that are members of the association.

FEDAMANEX president Alfredo Palmiery notes that Republic Act 10022 guarantees overseas workers the freedom to choose the medical clinic for their health examinations.

"Pursuant to the law, the Department of Health issued an administrative order to stop the practice of decking by GAMCA," Palmiery said.

"But strangely, despite said issuance and admonition fro the Congressional Committee on Overseas Workers Affairs, the DOH has refused to impose appropriate sanctions against the violators by the simple acts of suspending and canceling the accreditation of the medical clinics under GAMCA," he added.

Palmiery said they have already written to Health Secretary Enrique Ona and asked him to penalize the medical clinics under GAMCA.

"Unfortunately, our appeal remains unheeded," he said.

Thousands of overseas workers who were principal victims of the decking system are expected to take part in the rally on Monday morning in front of the DOH building.

"For years, the overseas workers have endured the hardships brought about by decking," Palmiery said.

Palmiery said overseas workers, especially those from the provinces, were "farmed out to medical clinics" that were far from their residences, and were required to undergo 2nd X-ray examinations even if they have already passed their first tests.

Overseas workers were also referred to other GAMCA medical clinics even for a "simple ailment as skin rash," and were provided with sub-standard medical facilities and poor services, Palmiery said.

FEDAMANEX is an umbrella group of 12 associations of licensed recruitment agencies, with a total membership of 600 companies.

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Filipinos "Noynoying" are huge destruction of the entire Philippines & OFWs abroad

Noynoying mockery is a destruction with harder and more disparaging effect than Fukushima earthquake in Japan

Point of view taken from the communist of Manila Bulletin from an economist, political analyst and businessman Andrew James Masigan, and from an independent writer, an international economist & OFW Denis Somoso.

Noynoying has going viral on Facebook, Twitter and Tumblr which have its own Wikipedia page now and are images of President Aquino in various poses appearing dumbfounded, bored and confused. Beneath it is the caption, "Noynoying", a new term coined to denote one overcome by sloth, one who is intellectually challenged, or one pretending to be busy.

Mr. Masigan; an economist, political analyst said "I'm not sure if those spreading "Noynoying" images on the Net are aware of how much damage they are causing the country. In their minds, it is an amusing anti-Noynoy campaign. But in reality, it is like washing dirty linen in public". Whether we like it or not, the President is the embodiment of the nation's abilities and aspirations, at least in as far as the international community is concerned. Having images of "Noynoying" plastered on the Internet for the world to scoff at is like mocking our own competencies as a race and enjoining the world to follow the bash-fest. It is careless, irresponsible and the height of being anti-Filipino. It's disappointing that partisan politics, insular thinking and crab mentality are getting the best of the Filipinos again.

A self destruction is a suicidal and the sad thing is the negative effect of this is for the majority of Filipinos who approved the competency of the sitting president to uplift the country's economy and improve the living of the masses but a few are destroying the country's image that could affect the entire Filipinos around the world.

It is really unfortunate that this "Noynoying" nonsense has gone viral at a time when the country is just on the brink of turning its image around.

For the first time in 15 years, global financial institutions like the International Monetary Fund (IMF), World Bank, the Asian Development Bank (ADB), the World Economic Forum, JETRO, etc., are finally taking notice of the advances made in the economy of the Philippines and how we've managed to maintain one of the strongest economic fundamentals in the region, despite the financial turmoil in Europe and the Americas. From the "sick man of Asia," we are now being regarded as a real economic contender.

In the midst of all this, our very own kababayans are the first to shoot us down; hence, the disappointment among many. To me, they are saboteurs who mock the efforts of all those making great sacrifices to put our country back on the road to recovery.

Unrealistic viral mass destruction

Mr. Masigan said; "I am by no means close to the President, but have been observing both his work ethics and thinking processes for some time now. If I were to describe his working style, two adjectives come to mind: thorough and stern. Ethically, I see him as being truly sincere in his quest to restore good governance in our institutions—a mission he pursues with the stubbornness of a pit bull. These are my personal impressions and I'm just calling it as I see it".

Lest anyone think that I am in any way connected with the Palace, let me clear the air and affirm that I am not attached to government in any way, shape or form. In fact, people close to me know that I supported another candidate in the 2010 Presidential campaign. I am no one's minion and I don't "kiss ass." My writing proves that I never hold back in speaking up when I think certain government policies are out of line.

Having said this, I believe that the "Noynoying" campaign and the connotations attached to it are both inaccurate and unfair. I hold the Palace's Communications group responsible for the mismanagement of the President's image on two counts.

First, they failed to "sell" the President for his strong points—his integrity, meticulous nature and vision for a morally upright government. From where I sit, it appears that they spend the lion's share of their time and resources defending the President's every move and those of his cabinet's rather than going on a media offensive to give the public reason to be proud of their Chief Executive.

Second, and more critically, the vision of the Aquino Government has not been clearly communicated to the public even after 20 months in office. Having a broad-based buy-in on a Chief Executive's vision is as much a basic foundation in government as it is in a private corporation.

What the Communications group fails to realize is that if they don't make "noise" on the President's vision and progress towards achieving it, only the noisy "Noynoying" side is heard.

There is much good news to tell. It's time the Communications group amps up its efforts.

Let the Numbers Speak

As for me, I couldn't care less whether or not our President is a genius or works himself until he's blue in the face. What's important to me is that he delivers results. What I care about is his competence in steering the economy and the speed by which he solves our greater problems of poverty and unemployment.

What people may not realize is that the economy is in a far healthier state today than it ever was in the last 15 years. As an economist and businessman, I can't complain about our progress. True, much still needs to be done, but we have certainly come a long way in improving the country's fundamentals.

For those who missed my economic round-up on this space last week, let me give you a brief summary of where we stand—then you be the judge.

The economy grew by a slow 3.7 percent last year on the back of weak government spending. This is probably the reason some people think P-Noy isn't making much impact on the economy. However, what they may not realize is that the greater part of 2011 was spent reviewing workflows of line agencies to purge them from loopholes that allow corruption to occur. It was an investment in self-improvement—something we had to go through to move forward with stronger institutions. Unfortunately, the Palace's Communications group did not explain this well enough.

For the most part, the purging process ended last October and massive spending ensued beginning the first quarter this year (again, this was not communicated). Fact is, as early as February this year, 91 percent of CAPEX (capital expenditures) budget appropriations amounting to R150 billion have already been released by the DBM to various line agencies. As a result, we expect robust growth this year, with more aggressive spending on infrastructure and social development projects. Sec. Paderanga of NEDA estimates a GDP expansion of between 5 to 6 percent, while Sec. Domingo of the DTI is more aggressive, predicting 7 percent growth assuming the DOTC delivers on its infrastructure projects. These are good numbers by any means of measure.

On the fiscal side, gross international reserves or the amount of gold and foreign exchange in our treasury stood at a record high last February with US$77.4 billion—US$15 billion more than our external debt. Inflation is better than target, standing at only 3.9 percent in January and 2.7 percent in February. National revenues are up, increasing by 13 percent last year without the benefit of new taxes. Balance of payment was in surplus territory, registering net inflows of US$10 billion last year and US$800 last January. Fiscal deficits greatly improved as well, from 3.5 percent of GDP in 2010 to just two percent in 2011. The banking sector is healthier than ever, with Non-Performing Loans (NPL) ratio of only 3.1 percent and Capital Adequacy Ratio at a healthy 17.4 percent.

All these point to another credit rating upgrade by international credit rating agencies Moody's, Fitch and Standard & Poors. To Juan dela Cruz, this means more jobs as investors are bound to respond positively to a credit rating upgrade. It also means more liquidity for government to spend on social projects, as savings will be generated on interest expenses.

As for industry, government is headstrong in developing the Tourism, BPO and Agro-processing industries as our top foreign exchange earners and job generators. Last year, 1.2 million new jobs were put online, 200,000 more than target. Trends suggest 1.5 million new jobs every year until 2016.

The numbers on our "Economic Report Card" speak for themselves, and something like this cannot be achieved by a lazy, intellectually challenged Chief Executive. This is why I stand in the President's defense on this score.

The People power and the Laws for self destroyer

People power is famous for regaining back the democracy of the country back 1986 EDSA revolution. The Philippines regains its democracy and freedom by the power of the people or the majority Filipinos which every Filipino is responsible in protecting the democracy and use it in the proper way not against the neighbor, the family, the country and not against the entre country.

The leniency of freedom in the Philippines is already abused by the few and self destruction or own country is also a crime or destroying own country is no difference from terrorism and bomb explosions that killed thousands of the masses.

Empowering the people as the most powerful body of the country; a law must be passed to punish the people who are destroying the country for their own interest. A freedom of expression would not be violated if it will not harm the majority Filipinos.

Noynoying is not just a mockery of the few to the sitting president but destruction to the whole Filipinos around the world. If Noynoying will affect only the the sitting president then there could be no issue on it for him to be more assertive but if the Noynoying is becoming viral and destroying the Philippines then it is the time to punish the criminals.

Do not click to Stop destruction

The destruction of Noynoying mockery to the Philippines President is even harder than the destruction of the Fukushima in Japan as the viral destruction will slowly eroding the Philippines credibility, the effect of the OFW in finding jobs, and the effect of all Filipinos as a whole that 1 day soon no one will accept Filipinos to avoid Noynoying habit which is far from the truth.

One day soon; these activist would realize that even them would be fired from their job or could not find a job anymore because of the noynoying habit that is tagged in their race as Filipino.

The brainless activist is trying to destroy not just the country but even themselves.

One day soon no more OFW will save the Philippines economy for a possible bullying and abuse from other host country because of the tagged "noynoying" to the entire Filipino race.

Its time to punish the destroyer and be responsible internet netizen. The destruction of the Filipino credibility is a betrayal to his won country and must face the people of the Philippines, must be sanction and must be jail.

Getting viral of a certain website or image is an effect of a click or searching of a particular topic or image online or posting it in any social network and gaining more clicks.

Your clicks is a virus that send signals to the giant search engines that such topic or image is getting famous. The concept is when a certain issue is click by many, it will create traffic in the information superhighway and it will infect other traffic resulting to become a top issue in the search engine.

Every click will create a viral effect to the online world so to avoid the viral topic, ignore it. Do not read about the issue, do not click and do not search about the issue so the spreading viral effect will stop.

Andrew James Masigan is an economist, political analyst and businessman. He is a 20-year veteran in the hospitality and tourism industry. For comments and reactions, e-mail andrew_rs6@ Follow Andrew on Twitter @aj_masigan. Denis Somoso is an International Taxation Specialist of the fortune 100 firm 2012, an economist, SEO, and Overseas Filipino Worker.  Follow Denis on twitter @Prince_Denison


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