Thursday, April 27, 2017

88 Meters Korean Anti-Submarine Warship Offered to the Philippines for ₱5,000 Pesos Each a real deal?

Korean Pohang-Class Anti-Submarine Warship “Chungju PCC-762” Offered to Philippine Navy
Korean Pohang-Class Anti-Submarine Warship “Chungju PCC-762” Offered to Philippine Navy for $100 USD

88 Meters Korean Anti-Submarine Warship Cheaper than a Smart Phone: Philippines to buy three for ₱5,000 Pesos Each a real deal?

Korean Pohang-Class Anti-Submarine “Chungju PCC-762” which launched on 30th June 1984, commissioned on 1987 and was decommissioned on 27th December 2016 after 29 years of service in protecting Korean waters has been offered to the Philippine Navy by the Korean Government.

South Korea will transfer an ageing Pohang-class anti-submarine warship to the Philippines this year in return for just $US100 (₱ 5,000.00), boosting its capability to patrol vast maritime borders.
The 88.3 meters corvette type warship has a 1,200 tones displacement, speed of 32 knots (59 km/h), and capacity of 95 crews.

It could be fitted with armaments such as 2 x MM-38 Exocet, 1 OTO melara 76 mm/62 compact cannon, 2 x Emerlec 30 mm cannons, 4 x harpoon missiles, 2 x Nobong 40mm/70 twin cannons, 3 x Mark 32 triple torpedo tubes with 6 chung sang Eoes and 12 x mark 9 depth charges.

South Korea, next to USA for being the largest source of Philippine military hardware, from fighter jets, and patrol ships to armored vehicles and army trucks.

USA has provided almost the same armament to the Philippines in 2013 but unlike the Pohang Anti-submarine warship which cost the Philippines only $100 USD, the Hamilton Class cutters from the USA cost the Philippine government a hefty $10 Million US Dollars.

Philippines received ten FA-50 light fighters from Seoul and two more will be delivered next month to complete the 12 aircraft, 18 billion peso deal.

The Philippines has expressed interest to acquire six more similar planes.

"We are hoping to receive the vessel within the year," defense spokesman Arsenio Andolong said of the warship.

"The transfer will be in the form of a donation. We will pay a token $US100, but the corvette will still undergo refurbishment."

He said he has no idea how much the Philippines would need to spend to repair and restore the warship.

Andolong said the Philippines may acquire up to three such warships, which Seoul is replacing with newer and faster vessels.

"This may be an old ship but it will definitely enhance our capability to patrol our waters and perform counter-terrorism measures," he added.

South Korea has donated a lot of military hardware to the Philippines and has expressed gratitude for Manila's role in the 1950-53 Korean War.

Thursday, April 20, 2017

Russia Warship in the Philippines for Joint Exercise; Draft for Defense Agreement for Duterte Visit may 25

Dream Meaning OF WEARING BLUE OR PURPLE
Naval Group of Russia's Pacific Fleet Makes Port Call in Philippines' Manila for 4 days- First Joint Excercise

Philippines – Russia First Joint Exercise

Russian Warship arrived in the Philippines on Thursday for joint exercises as part of a drive for new security ties under President Rodrigo Duterte's revamped foreign policy of courting the traditional foes of Manila's top ally, Washington.

The guided-missile cruiser Varyag, accompanied by the fuel tanker ship, Pechenge, are on a four-day goodwill visit to the Philippines, the second port call by Russian warships in three months.

The move is part of what Duterte describes as a pursuit of a constitutionally mandated "independent foreign policy". He has made no secret of his grudge against the United States and has made befriending Russia and China the priority of his diversification drive.

Captain Lued Lincuna, director of the Philippine navy's public affairs, said the Philippines hoped to learn from the Russians during training activities and a demonstration of advanced equipment and weapons systems.

The schedule includes training and sports activities with the flagship vessel of the Russian Pacific fleet, plus a Russian concert in a park.

Video: Naval Group of Russia's Pacific Fleet Makes Port Call in Philippines' Manila for 4 days- First Joint Excercise

Philippines – Russia Defense Agreement

Russian commander Captain Alexsei Ulyanenko said the port call would make a "significant contribution" to strengthening relations and maintaining stability in the region.

Moscow wants to help Manila combat extremism and piracy, stepping up cooperation and training in areas where the Philippines has traditionally worked closely with its former colonial master the United States.

The relationship is expected to develop further next month when Duterte and Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin witness the signing of defense agreements in Moscow.

When Duterte met Putin for the first time last year, the Philippine leader spoke at length about what he called U.S. "hypocrisy".

Duterte has instructed his defense minister to look into how the Philippines could acquire modern military equipment from Russia, like drones, night-vision gear, sniper rifles, and even helicopters.

Duterte to visit Russia on May 25

President Rodrigo Duterte will be visiting Russia on May 25.

During his speech at the induction of newly elected officers of the Cebu Chamber of Commerce and Industry Inc., Duterte said Armed Forces of the Philippines Central Command chief Army Major General Oscar Lactao will be joining him.

"So I'm going there with Lactao, May 25," Duterte said. "[Sabi ko sa kanya,] Maganda rin ang mga Russian. Iyon lang man ang puntahan mo. Usap kami ni Putin."

[Translation: I told Lactao, "Russians are also beautiful. At least go with me for that." Putin and I will talk.]

He also reiterated Russia's commitment to helping the Philippines.

"Sabi pa ng Russia [said], "We will have everything you need, just come here,"" he added.

Improved Philippine-Russian relations

Russian Ambassador to the Philippines Igor Khovaev told CNN Philippines' "The Source" in January that Duterte's visit to Russia is a "milestone" in the ties between the two nations.

"Both the Russian and Philippine side, we need to prepare substantial and solid package of bilateral agreements on cooperation in different fields, and we are now taking necessary efforts," Khovaev said.

He also said Russian companies are willing to explore Philippine markets. He urged Philippine companies to reciprocate and explore the Russian market as well.

"We are ready to cooperate in industries of transport, energy… including the use of nuclear energy for peaceful purposes, telecommunications, agriculture, and many other fields. Both sides have a lot to offer," Khovaev said.

Economic, military agreements in the works

Economic ties between Manila and Moscow are at their infancy.

Russia has not had any foreign direct investment in the Philippines since 1999, central bank data showed.

Russia accounted for $43 million (around ₱2.17 billion) in overseas remittances last year, but it was only 0.2 percent of the total $26.9 billion (around ₱1.35 trillion) sent home by Filipinos from all over the world.

In addition, Socioeconomic Planning Secretary Ernesto Pernia said Russia committed to importing up to $2.5 billion (around ₱126 billion) worth of Philippine fruits, grains and vegetables in 2017.

Imports by Russia from the Philippines stand at $46 million (around ₱2.32 billion), according to government trade statistics.

Beyond economic links, the Philippines is also eyeing military cooperation with Russia. Defense officials have said they were looking into possible joint exercises and weapons deals with the Kremlin.

Building trust

In addition, Khovaev said he is optimistic that Filipinos would trust Russia more as the two countries build bridges.

"It's time for Filipinos to discover Russia, and vice-versa… and I have a strong belief, we'll trust each other." he said.

In a non-commissioned survey released by Pulse Asia on January 12, 38 percent of Filipinos trust Russia, while 58 percent do not.

These figures are far behind that of the United States, which has a 76 percent trust rating.

"It's a good result if we take into account so many decades of Hollywood-style Russian propaganda in your country," he said, in apparent reference to prevailing perceptions of Russia as "communist" when it was formerly known as the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics.

The Philippines has long been known as an ally of the U.S., even after it was colonized by the superpower from 1898 to 1946..With reports from Channel News Asia and CNN Philippines

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

DuterteNomics Unveiled First Subway in The Philippines, Completion of 4 railways in 2022 New Airports, Seaports, Railways, Roads & Bridges

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Slide presented at the "Dutertenomics" forum on Tuesday, April 18, 2017 where President Rodrigo Duterte's top officials introduced planned construction projects. DOTr/Released

DuterteNomics blueprint unveiled the build, build, and build for the “golden age of infrastructure,” in the Philippines.

  • ₱227 Billion - First Subway in the Philippines for Quezon City to Taguig City a 25 kilometer underground railway system to finished year 2024
  • ₱225-million PNR North Rail systems, 100-kilometer Tutuban - Clark to be completed in 2021
  • ₱55.478-Billion – First Mindanao Railway (Circumferential) project, a 2,000 kilometer railway to finished 2021
  • PNR South Rail that would connect Manila with Calamba and Los Baños in Laguna, and the Bicol region to be completed by the fourth quarter of 2021
  • Manila International Airport – Quezon City – Clark International Airport Bullet train system interconnecting the first Subway in QC to finished before 2021
  • ₱23.3 billion North Luzon Expressway-South Luzon Expressway connector road, which starts from C3 Road in Caloocan through Manila, crossing Espana towards PUP, Sta. Mesa connecting Metro Manila Skyway Stage 3.
  • The completion of the SLEX-NLEX connector road, projected to take place in 2020, is expected to reduce vehicle congestion along EDSA, C5 Road and other major thoroughfares, and cut the travel time between NLEX and SLEX to 15-20 minutes from more than an hour.

First Metro subway's first phase to link Quezon City, Taguig

Transportation Secretary Arthur Tugade said at a forum on Tuesday that the subway system, pegged at an initial ₱227 million for the central section, will pass Mandaluyong City and Pasig City.

The transport system, the first subway project the country will undertake, is foreseen to accommodate around 300,000 commuters daily, Tugade said.

The proposed subway stems from an ongoing Japan International Cooperation Agency's feasibility study, which will be subject to the approval of President Rodrigo Duterte and his officials. The study is expected to be completed in July this year.

The Japanese agency's proposal aiming to ease road congestion includes an expansion of the subway to start from San Jose del Monte in Bulacan to Dasmariñas City in Cavite to be completed by 2024.

Economic, Development  Blueprint

President Rodrigo Duterte's economic managers made the announcements at an event hosted by the Department of Finance and the Presidential Communications Operations Office (PCOO) at the Conrad Hotel, Pasay City.

According to the PCOO, DuterteNomics includes the current administration's main governance and fiscal policies, comprehensive big-ticket infrastructure programs and upgraded social services targeted to accelerate growth. The economic and development blueprint also aims to transform the Philippines into a "high middle-income economy" by 2022.

Executive Secretary Salvador Medialdea said the economic and development plan is anchored on the 10-point socioeconomic agenda of the Duterte administration that focuses on "the production of a progressive tax reform package and measures designed to bring about increased competitiveness, accelerated infrastructure spending, and improved social amelioration and development programs."

Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez, in a keynote speech, said the Philippines had trailed behind other countries with good economy, but stressed that it is about time to rebuild the country’s competitiveness by pushing for programs such as tax reform package and infrastructure projects. "An investment-led growth pattern creates job and opens more economic opportunities for our people," he said. "We must build a truly inclusive economy. To do so, our economy should be investment-led, creating new jobs and opening opportunities for all." 

Dominguez said the government is also looking forward to what has been called a "demographic sweet spot," as the populations of some of the more mature economies in Asia begin to age. He said that the administration has to invest in the Filipino youth.

Ongoing projects are being implemented by the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) that are either locally funded, with Official Development Assistance (ODA), or through Public-Private Partnership (PPP) projects, the following: 

  1. Mandaluyong Main Drainage Project (Phase II)
  2. Central Luzon Link Expressway, Phase I,
  3. Tarlac-Cabanatuan, Nueva Ecija; Integrated Disaster Risk Reduction and Climate Change Adaptation Measures in the Low Lying Areas of Pampanga Bay
  4. Tarlac-Pangasinan-La Union Expressway (Binalonan-Rosario Section)
  5. Flood Risk Management Project (FRIMP) in Cagayan de Oro River
  6. Sen. Gil Puyat Ave.-Paseo De Roxas / Makati Ave. Vehicle Underpass Project
  7. Bonifacio Global City-Ortigas Center Link Road Project
  8. UP-Miriam-Ateneo Viaduct along C-5/ Katipunan
  9. Metro Manila Priority Bridges Seismic Improvement Project (Guadalupe Bridge and Lambingan Bridge
  10. Widening/Improvement of Gen. Luis St.-Kaybiga-Polo-Novaliches
  11. Cavite-Laguna Expressway
  12. NLEX-SLEX Connector Road
  13. Metro Manila Interchange Construction Project VI
  14. Davao City By-Pass Construction Project (South Section (Road) and Center Section (Tunnel)
  15. Panguil Bay Bridge, and Phase 1 of the Metro Manila Flood Management Project


PPP awarded projects
  1. Integrated Transport System (ITS) Project
  2. South Terminal
  3. Integrated Transport System (ITS) Project
  4. Southwest Terminal
  5. LRT Line 1 Cavite Extension and Operations and Maintenance
  6. Contactless Automatic Fare Collection System
  7. Mactan Cebu International Airport Project
  8. MRT Line 7


PPP projects that are either undergoing or about to undergo bidding
  1. The Development, Operations and Maintenance of Bacolod-Silay, Davao, Iloilo, Laguindingan and New Bohol (Panglao) Airports;
  2. LRT Line 2 Operations and Maintenance;
  3. Road Transport Information Technology Infrastructure (Phase II);
  4. LRT Line 6;
  5. Philippine National Railways – South Line (previously, the North-South Railway Project – South Line);
  6. NAIA Development

The DOTr, through a combination of ODA and PPP, is implementing and developing a total of 23 rail projects which will greatly expand the country’s rail system from the current 77 kilometers to over 1,750 Km.

The 10 ongoing rail projects includes the following:
  1. PNR North (Manila-Malolos),
  2. PNR South Commuter PPP Project (Manila-Los Banos),
  3. PNR South Long Haul PPP Project (Los Banos-Legaspi,Matnog,Batangas Port),
  4. Line 1 Cavite Extension PPP Project (Baclaran-Niog),
  5. Automated Fare Collection System PPP Project (Beep Card),
  6. Line 2 O&M PPP Project,
  7. Line 2 East Extension (Santolan-Masinag),
  8. Line 2 West Extension (Recto-Pier 4),
  9. Line 6 PPP Project (Niog-Dasmarinas),
  10. Line 7 PPP Project (San Jose Del Monte-North EDSA).

Rail projects are being developed by DOTr
  1. Mindanao Railway (Circumferential),
  2. Cebu Railway (5 lines),
  3. Panay Railway,
  4. Line 4 (Taytay-Manila) PPP Project,
  5. Line 5 (Pasay-Makati-Taguig) PPP Project,
  6. Line 8 (Quezon City-Manila) PPP Project,
  7. PNR North Phase 2 (Malolos-Clark),
  8. Mega Manila Subway Project,
  9. Subic-Clark Railway


DOTr 3 Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) systems:
  1. Cebu Bus Rapid Transit (BRT)
  2. The Quezon Avenue Bus Rapid Transit (BRT)
  3. The Central Corridor (EDSA) Bus Rapid Transit (BRT).


Other DPWH projects:
  1. Panay-Guimaras-Negros Link Project
  2. EDSA-Taft Flyover
  3. Central Luzon Link Expressway, Phase II
  4. Cabanatuan-San Jose, Nueva Ecija
  5. Flood Protection Works in the Marikina River including Retarding Basin
  6. Dalton Pass East Alignment Alternative Road Project

FUNDING FOR THESE PROJECTS

The government is spending 5.3 percent of the country’s gross domestic product in 2017 to finance the building, Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez said. This will be raised to 7.1 percent by 2022.

This is higher than the 2.6 percent annual average of the past six administrations in the last 50 years, he said.

“In the decades when we neglected our infrastructure, we lost out on competitiveness,” Dominguez said.

“This is the time to move decisively. Fortunately we have a leader capable of much audacity.”

Budget Secretary Benjamin Diokno said the government under Duterte would spend P8.4 trillion for infrastructure.

A government portal (www.build.gov.ph) was also launched to help the public guard the infrastructure projects against corruption.

Presidential spokesperson Ernesto Abella said the website would be regularly updated to reflect the progress of every project.

Thursday, April 6, 2017

Duterte Ordered Military Plant Flags in 10 Islands, Upgrade runway in Spratly, rename Benham to RIDGE

Duterte Ordered Military Plant Flags in 10 Islands, Upgrade runway in Spratly
Spratly Islands in the West Philippines Sea, Province of Palawan

President Rodrigo Duterte has ordered the military to occupy and fortify all Philippine-held islands in the West Philippine Sea (South  China Sea)  to assert the country’s claims amid what he says is a race to control territory in the area.

“We tried to be friends with everybody but we have to maintain our jurisdiction now, at least the areas under our control,” he said during a visit to a military camp in western Palawan province.

Duterte said he has ordered the armed forces to occupy and place Philippine flags on all islands, reefs and shoals controlled by the Philippines.

“There are about nine or 10 islands there, we have to fortify,” he said. “I must build bunkers there or houses and provisions for habitation.”

Duterte said he may visit one of the islands, Pag-asa, to plant a Philippine flag on Independence Day. He said money has been budgeted to repair the runway on Pag-asa, home to a small fishing community and Filipino troops.

Since taking office in June, Duterte has worked to mend ties with China that were strained under his predecessor over the territorial disputes.

President Duterte, who on the campaign trail joked that would jet ski to a Chinese man-made island in the South China Sea to reinforce Manila's claim, said he may visit a Philippine-controlled island to raise the national flag.

Duterte's plan is unlikely to sit well with China, which lays claim to almost all the South China Sea, despite a fast-warming relationship between the two sides in recent months.

The Philippines occupies nine "features", or islands and reefs, in the South China Sea, including a World War II-vintage transport ship which ran aground on Second Thomas Shoal in the late 1990s.

Duterte told reporters he would visit the island of Thitu, the largest of the Philippine-controlled Spratly Islands, and build a barracks for servicemen operating in the area.

"In the coming Independence Day, I may go to Pagasa island to raise the flag there," Duterte told reporters, using the local name for Thitu.

The Philippines marks 119th year of independence from more than three centuries of Spanish rule on June 12.

Thitu is close to Subi Reef, one of seven man-made islands in the Spratlys that China is accused of militarising with surface-to-air missiles, among other armaments.

Brunei, Malaysia, the Philippines, Vietnam and Taiwan also have claims in the strategic waters.

Duterte's comment made at a military base on Palawan island, near the disputed waters, came two days after Manila's acting foreign minister said China and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations had made progress on a framework for a code of conduct in the South China Sea.

Duterte announced his "separation" from the United States in October, declaring he had realigned with China as the two agreed to resolve their South China Sea dispute through talks.

His efforts to engage China, months after a tribunal in the Hague ruled that Beijing did not have historic rights to the South China Sea, marks an astonishing reversal in foreign policy since he took office on June 30.

Last month, Defence Minister Delfin Lorenzana said the military would strengthen its facilities in the Spratlys, building a new port, paving an existing rough airstrip and repairing other structures.

Chinese coast guard vessels prevented a Philippine nationalist group from planting a Filipino flag on a rocky outcrop in another part of the South China Sea in June.

Duterte said last month it was pointless trying to challenge China's fortification of its man-made islands and ridiculed the media for referring to his comment that he would jet ski to one Beijing's reclaimed reefs.

"We cannot stop them because they are building it with their mind fixed that they own the place. China will go to war," he said. "People want me to jet ski. These fools believed me."

An impeachment complaint has been filed against him that cites, among other things, his alleged failure to protest China’s territorial expansion in the South China Sea.

Rival claimants, including the Philippines and Vietnam, have expressed alarm over Beijing’s building of artificial islands in the disputed region.

“It looks like there’s a race to grab islands,” Duterte said. “What is ours now, we should get and make a strong point that it is ours.”

Benham Rise to "Philippine Ridge"

President Duterte Renaming
President Duterte Renaming "Benham Rise" to "Philippine Ridge"

Duterte also said that he will rename Benham Rise — a potentially resource-rich undersea region off the country’s northeast coast — the Philippine Ridge.

Benham Rise is on the opposite side of the Philippines from the area at dispute in the South China Sea. The U.N. Commission on the Limits of the Continental Shelf confirmed in 2012 that Benham Rise is part of the extended continental shelf of the Philippines.

Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana has said that Chinese survey ships were seen crisscrossing the Benham Rise area last year resulting the Philippines to protest such incident.

China recently said that they respect and recognized the Sovereign Rights of the Philippines over the Benham Rise and is not contesting it.

Wednesday, April 5, 2017

China, Japan, Korea, Russia compete for $2 Billion Nuclear Plant, LNG Philippines Gas project

Russia Floating Nuclear Power Plant Technology
Russia Floating Nuclear Power Plant Technology. illustration: popsci.com

China, Japan compete for $2bn Philippine gas project


China and Japan are competing for a $2-billion liquefied natural gas (LNG) project in the Philippines, Energy Secretary Alfonso Cusi told the Nikkei Asian Review.

Over 20 companies from eight countries have proposed partnerships with state-owned Philippine National Oil Corp. for an LNG receiving terminal at the southern part of Luzon Island. Cusi said his team is still reviewing funding and technology options.

"We are talking to China [and] Japan," he said. "We are looking at which can offer the best in terms of funding. It's too early to say who is more advanced -- there are so many things to look into."

Countries that offer the best financing options usually pick their own domestic contractors. Cusi said Tokyo Gas, Osaka Gas, and a number of Chinese state-owned and private companies have shown interest.

Cusi is vice chairman of President Rodrigo Duterte's PDP-Laban party. He has traveled to Beijing and Tokyo this year to solicit energy investments for the Philippines, which runs into alerts and price spikes for electricity whenever the country's lone LNG facility undergoes maintenance.

Cusi said he plans to travel to South Korea and Russia, and does not favor any particular power-generating technology. He said Malampaya, the only source of natural gas in the Philippines, is expected to be exhausted by 2024. The gas field operated by a consortium led by Royal Dutch Shell provides 40-45% of Luzon island's power requirements. Luzon accounts for two-thirds of gross domestic product in the Philippines.

The proposed terminal could import LNG from other countries while alternate Philippine resources are being developed. These include gas fields in the South China Sea in dispute with China. The terminal's plant will initially generate around 200 megawatts, but can expand to 800MW. Cusi hopes to find an investor this year.

Duterte is targeting total household electrification before he leaves office in 2022. As of December, over 90% of households had access to energy. Cusi also said he is studying the possibility of activating a $2 billion nuclear power plant on the Bataan peninsula. The project, initiated under President Ferdinand Marcos in the 1970s but never activated, is located near an earthquake fault line.

Sulu Province of Southern Philippines could have the first ever operating 100 MW Nuclear Power Plant this year according to the report (see here) - Nikkei Asian Review

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