Saturday, June 14, 2014

NPA fighter surrenders

From Tempo (Jun 14): NPA fighter surrenders

TABUK, Kalinga – A 34-year-old New People’s Army (NPA) rebel surrendered last Wednesday to government authorities in Sitio Lig-lig, Barangay Gawaan, Balbalan, Kalinga province.

Major Emmanuel Garcia, chief of the Northern Luzon Command 1st Civil Relations Group, said Rommel A. Beyao, aka Zira, a member of the CPP-NPA-NDF (CNN) under one Rudy Daguitan, alias “Ka Pinpin,” surrendered to Army troopers in Kalinga.

Garcia said that Beyao is a member of the Squad Tres of the NPA’s Abraham Bannawagan Front operating in Kalinga province.

During tactical interrogation, Beyao said he decided to return to the fold of law since he could no longer tolerate the hardships in the mountain.

The surrenderee is now under the custody of Balbalan police.

MILF: Muslim Youth Religious Organization sponsors peace forum on Bangsamoro

From the MILF Website (Jun 14): Muslim Youth Religious Organization sponsors peace forum on Bangsamoro

The Muslim Youth Religious Organization (MYRO-National Chapter) in coordination with the Institute of Middles East and Arabic Studies (IMEAS) of the University of Southern Philippines (USM) and MYRO-USM Chapter sponsored a forum on the Bangsamoro on June 12, 2014 at IMEAS Building, USM Campus, Kabacan, Cotabato.  IMEAS is headed by Dean Badrodin S. Abdulkadir , while Engr. Mansuri Latip is MYRO National Chapter President and Ali Empama is MYRO-USM Chapter President.
The forum was attended by about one thousand faculty members, Moros and non-Moros alike, university staff, students and residents from neighbouring communities of Kabacan.  In his welcome message, Prof. Badrodin encouraged the participants to listen attentively on the presentation of the speakers as they are very useful and enlightening. He also briefed the guests and participants on the mission, vision and goals of IMEAS and USM.

 Two important issues presented and discussed were on the Annex on Normalization as contained in the Framework Agreement on the Bangsamoro (FAB) and the Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL). Mr. Von Al Haqq, spokesman of the Bangsamoro Islamic Armed Forces (BIAF-MILF) in his presentation clearly defined “Normalization and explained its processes by which communities can return to a peaceful life and pursue sustainable livelihood free from fear of violence and crime”.

He also said that, “It is a process that aims to provide human security focussed on the attainment of a political solution rather than a security solution”.

Transitional Justice and Reconciliation Commission (TJRC) was created to undertake a study and produce set of recommendations and appropriate mechanism to address the legitimate grievances of the Bangsamoro people, correct historical injustices, and address human rights violations and marginalization through land dispossession, towards healing and reconciliation, Al Haqq further said. 

He called on the MYRO and other youth organizations to play vital role in reshaping the seemingly shattered political, social, cultural and economic conditions of the Bangsamoro brought about by decades of conflict and violence.

He said that the gargantuan task of youth organization is counted most and may even serve as bed-rock foundation in promoting the broader spectrum of participation and understanding of all issues and concerns currently confronted by our people. Youth organizations must continue to work without let up for the future of this generation and the next generation to come. The youth is the hope of Bangsamoro Homeland”, Al Haqq added.

The Bangsamoro Basic Law or BBL was presented by Atty. Lanang Ali, Jr. He explained that BBL is the governing law of the Bangsamoro political entity that defines its political, economic and social systems suitable to the Bangsamoro and the indigenous people (IP’s).

He added that the Bangsamoro political entity will enjoy a strong political and fiscal autonomy. Atty. Ali, Jr. explained further that the Bangsamoro is not an Islamic region but rather a democratic one where everybody can enjoy their basic rights under the Constitution and are protected by the Bangsamoro Basic Law.

Dr. Alimen Sencil, USM Vice President for Resource Generations delivered a message on behalf of USM President Dr. Francisco Gil Garcia. He said that USM is very supportive for the attainment of peace and development in Bangsamoro and all undertakings relative thereto.

In his closing message this writer being the MYRO-USM adviser, thanked the speakers, guests and participants that attended and supported the activity. He described the importance of the peace forum which generated excellent exchange of ideas, provided correct and accurate information on the proposed Bangsamoro Government. He added that the presence of Muslim participants in the forum is considered worship to Allah.

US, Australia eye more defense cooperation in Asia

From the Manila Bulletin (Jun 14): US, Australia eye more defense cooperation in Asia

US President Barack Obama said Thursday he envisioned a greater defense cooperation with Australia in a tension-filled Asia as he welcomed Prime Minister Tony Abbott to the Oval Office meeting despite differences on climate change.

“We don’t have a better friend in the world, as well as the Asia-Pacific region, than Australia,” Obama told reporters after the meeting.

In the conservative leader’s first White House summit since his election in September, Abbott said Australia “will be an utterly indispensable ally” of the United States and welcomed Obama’s efforts to shift more US attention on Asia.


The US-Australia summit comes amid growing tensions in Asia, with Japan, the PH and Vietnam accusing China of increasingly assertive moves on maritime disputes.

Obama and Abbott said they embraced China’s rise but would hold firm on principles. Obama said it was important for a growing China to “abide by basic international law and norms.”

Abbott, speaking earlier at the US Chamber of Commerce, said that Australia sought close relations with countries throughout Asia, including frequent rivals Japan and China.

“It helps that, in most circumstances, Australia is strong enough to be useful but not big enough to be threatening,” Abbott said.

“I am confident that the coming century will indeed be the Asian century, but only if America is there too to keep the peace and enforce the rules,” Abbott said.


Obama praised Abbott for increasing Australia’s defense budget in tough economic times, calling the move a recognition that “we all have to make sure that we’re doing our fair share to help maintain global order and security.”

Obama agreed with Australia’s previous government to send some 2,500 US Marines by 2016-2017 to the northern city of Darwin, which lies strategically close to hotspots in Southeast Asia.

Obama said that the United States and Australia have since then worked out force postures “that will enhance the bilateral cooperation between our militaries and give us additional reach throughout this very important part of the world.”

A White House statement said that the United States and Australia were looking to expand cooperation in “maritime capacity building” and humanitarian relief in Asia.


Meanwhile, Valenzuela City Rep. Sherwin Gatchalian urged China Thursday “to abide by the UNCLOS in the same manner they are urging Vietnam” to defuse tension in the South China sea.

China earlier this week took its dispute with Vietnam to the United Nations over its deployment  of an oil rig in the Paracel islands which is also claimed by Vietnam.

In its “position paper” to UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, China accused Vietnam of “illegally and forcefully” disturbing the drilling operations of state-run firm China National Offshore Oil Corp. in disputed maritime territory.

China also claimed Vietnam infringed China’s sovereignty as well as international laws, including the UNCLOS.


“China is now invoking the authority of UNCLOS by bringing its territorial conflict with Vietnam in the international arena. It should then answer the Philippines’ case instead of insisting to take the matter bilaterally. It just shows that China has no consistency when it comes to foreign policy. It cannot just opt for bilateral talks with one country and go multilateral with another,” Gatchalian, who co-chairs the House Committee on Housing and Urban Development said.

The Philippines submitted to UN’s Permanent Court of Arbitration last March its nearly 4,000-page memorial, which seeks to have China’s extensive claim over the South China Sea nullified and maritime rights explained.


The said UN court has already directed China to submit by Dec. 15 a counter-memorial. But  China stood firm in its decision not to take part in the case.

Gatchalian also warned that China’s aggression in the disputed waters will likely affect peace and economic growth in the region.

“China is threatening to shatter the peace in the region and damage the bullish growth of Asian countries, even those not directly involved with the territorial dispute.

Remember, West Philippine Sea is an important trade route and a rich source of marine resources and potentially, oil,” he said.

The Valenzuela lawmaker said ties with China will go a long, long way should they participate in the arbitration case over contested waters the Philippines the way they hailed Vietnam to the arbitral court.

China says it will never send military to oil rig spat with Vietnam

From the Manila Bulletin (Jun 15): China says it will never send military to oil rig spat with Vietnam

A Chinese official said on Friday that China will never send military forces to the scene of an increasingly ugly spat with Vietnam over an oil rig in the South China Sea and accused Hanoi of trying to force an international lawsuit.

But a senior US official in Washington dismissed the Chinese statement as “patently ridiculous” and said Beijing had been using air force and navy as well as coastguard assets “to intimidate others.”

Scores of Vietnamese and Chinese ships, including coastguard vessels, have squared off around the rig despite a series of collisions after the Chinese platform was towed into disputed waters in early May.

Vietnam has accused China of sending six warships, but Yi Xianliang, deputy director-general of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs’ Department of Boundary and Ocean Affairs, said that Beijing had never sent military forces.

“I can tell you very clearly that from May 2 to today, including when the (drilling) operations are complete, we have never, are not, and will never send military forces. Because we are carrying out normal, civilian, commercial activities,” he told a news conference.

“What I can tell you is that this is on a maritime route and at some periods there have been certain Chinese military ships coming back from the south but these have been far away” from where the standoff round the rig has been taking place, Yi added.

China claims about 90 percent of the South China Sea, but parts of the potentially energy-rich waters are also subject to claims by the Philippines, Vietnam, Malaysia, Brunei and Taiwan.

Beijing stations military forces on some of the numerous islands it occupies in the Spratly and Paracel Island groups in the South China Sea.

The Haiyang Shiyou 981 rig is drilling between the Paracel Islands and the Vietnamese coast. Vietnam has said the rig is in its 200-nautical mile exclusive economic zone and on its continental shelf, while China says it is operating within its waters.

The United States has not taken sides in the territorial disputes but has been strongly critical of China’s behavior in pressing its claims and called for negotiated solutions.


The US official called Yi Xianliang’s statement “a weak attempt to obscure what China is really doing.”

“China has maintained a robust and consistent military presence near the oil rig since its placement on May 2, including flying helicopters and planes over and around the rig. There are currently multiple military vessels in the vicinity of the rig,” he said.

The official said that on any given day, there were also Chinese navy warships in waters disputed with the Philippines.

Reiterating US criticism of how China has handled maritime disputes with its neighbors, he said China’s actions were “creating serious frictions” in relations with Washington.

Vietnamese Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung told Reuters last month his government was considering various “defense options” against China, including legal action, a move the United States has said it would support.

Yi Xianliang denied China was blocking any proposals by Hanoi for high-level dialogue or for a special envoy to travel to Beijing.

“I know that certain people in Vietnam, perhaps because they are trying to find another way to resolve the problem, are creating certain conditions. The so-called other route is the so-called lawsuit way,” he said.

“…If this spreading of rumors or distorting of facts is to achieve the aim of lodging a lawsuit, then I have to say that this is a miscalculation.”

The rig’s deployment triggered anti-Chinese riots in Vietnam last month that killed at least four workers.


With the Philippine government’s filing of diplomatic protest against China’s reclamation on Kennan (Hughes) Reef in the West Philippine Sea, Filipino lawmakers have sought the signing of a new regional code of conduct (COC) between China and the member nations of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) to address the conflicting and overlapping claims in the disputed South China Sea.

Akbayan party-list Rep. Walden Bello, chairman of the House Committee on Overseas Workers Affairs, said the tense situation in the South China Sea among the claimant countries should prod the ASEAN to expedite the forging of a rules-based and binding COC in the region.

“The ASEAN should pursue a special ministerial-level meeting where ASEAN unites behind and demand for binding code of conduct with China,” he said in an interview.
The Philippines, which was part of the drafting of the new regional conduct on the West Philippine Sea, insisted that a “zone of peace, friendship, freedom, and cooperation (ZoPFFC)” will be established in the disputed islands.

Magdalo party-list Rep. Francisco Ashley Acedillo said China’s supposed growing assertiveness over the resources-rich South China Sea should be addressed by the ASEAN as a regional bloc, even as he noted that China has taken for granted the Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the South China Sea (DOC) which it signed with ASEAN in Phnom Penh in 2002.

“The pace of China’s actions in the West Philippine Sea requires that ASEAN claimants define their clear positions already – seeing that the DOC in the South China Sea (to which China is a party to) is apparently a worthless piece of paper for China,” he said in a separate interview.

AKO Bicol party-list Rep. Rodel Batocabe said the ASEAN should stick to its one-for-all, all-for-one principle in handling the South China Sea issue.

“I think more than ever ASEAN should come up with a consensus on how to deal with the China problem. ASEAN should come out united on the problem without any discordant position from countries like Cambodia,” he said.

Cambodia is an ally of China and it was during its ASEAN chairmanship in 2012 when the calls for ASEAN to sign a regional code of conduct intensified, with the Philippines as the lead advocate of COC.

Marikina Rep. Marcelino Teodoro asked the ASEAN to pursue the proposed special ministers meeting to come up with a consensus on how to address China’s territorial bullying in the region.

US: China 'occupying' South China Sea areas, breaking vows

From the Philippine Star (Jun 14): US: China 'occupying' South China Sea areas, breaking vows

The reported Chinese reclamation work and large scale construction of outposts in the South China Sea are an affront to the multilateral Declaration of Conduct that China agreed to follow, a top official of the US Department of State said.

Daniel Russel, chief of the Bureau of East Asia and Pacific Affairs, denounced China's moves "occupying uninhabited land features" as going "far beyond what a reasonable person would consider with the maintenance of the status quo."

"The status quo as applied in 2002 when the ten ASEAN countries and China reached an agreement on a Declaration of Conduct that clearly and explicitly committed themselves to exercise restraint, to avoid occupying uninhabited land features, and—to paraphrase—to keep things as they were," Russel said in a phone conference with journalists in Burma on Tuesday.

He said that China's behavior does not contribute to negotiations for a code of conduct that will effectively bind rival claimant states in the strategic waterway.

Russel also reiterated Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel's warning against coercion and use of force in the maritime areas as "unacceptable."

Countries embroiled in the sea row may choose diplomatic or legal means to settle outstanding issues instead, he urged.

He also maintained the US' neutral stance in the conflicting claims as it does not profit from the ultimate resolution of territorial differences.

"I think gives us a right to speak as a friendly but neutral party. And the heartfelt advice that we have issued to the concerned countries is that they should show restraint and find collaborative and diplomatic means to reconcile their differences," Russel said.

China, however, has maintained that it has the right to carry out construction activities in the South China Sea, an extensive part of which it claimed part of its inherent maritime territory.

Russel, whose position is critical in the execution of the Obama administration's foreign policy "pivot" to Asia Pacific, urged China to keep the South China Sea free.

"The South China Sea and its sea lanes are vital to the global economy ... The world needs those sea lanes to be secure. And the world needs the resources of that region to be managed in a responsible and sustainable way," he said.

He also explained that the disputed sea is home to a wealthy marine life and hydrocarbon and mineral reserves that would profit the region in its pursuit for prosperity.

Earlier this week, Russel informally proposed a moratorium on involved nations' coercive actions to assert maritime claims in the South China Sea.

He made the suggestion as “food for thought” and not as a formal proposal as he met regional counterparts in Myanmar to prepare for a regional summit later this year.

Also read: US proposes freeze on provocative maritime action

On Friday, the Philippines lodged another diplomatic protests against China’s reclamation on Kennan (Hughes) Reef in the contested maritime region.

Leyte town declared insurgency-free

From the Philippine Star (Jun 13): Leyte town declared insurgency-free

MATAG-OB, Leyte, Philippines – The Army and Philippine National Police declared this town “insurgency-free” in yesterday’s Independence Day celebration.

The joint declaration, a first in Leyte, befitted the celebration, said Matag-ob Vice Mayor Michael Torrevillas, adding though that the town has been insurgency-free for years.

The declaration was marked with the signing of a covenant to maintain peace and order in the municipality. Mayor Agustin Pedrano Sr., Torrevillas, 802nd Infantry Brigade commander Col. Dinoh Dolina and provincial police director Senior Superintendent Brigido Unay signed the covenant, with Lt. Col. Nedy Espulgar of the 19th Infantry Battalion and municipal police chief Inspector Christopher Pangue as witnesses.

3 soldiers dead, 8 hurt in NPA attacks in Samar

From the Philippine Star (Jun 15): 3 soldiers dead, 8 hurt in NPA attacks in Samar

Three soldiers were killed while eight others were wounded in separate attacks by communist rebels in Northern Samar recently, the military reported on Friday.

Reports reaching the Army’s 8th Infantry Division (ID) said a roadside bomb exploded Tuesday morning as members of the 34th Infantry Battalion were patrolling in Barangay Bugtosan, Las Navas town.

The explosion left three soldiers – Pvt. Lino Mahinay, Pfc. Jaype Yulas and Pfc. Albert Abolencia – dead and six others – 2Lt. Marco Abante, Cpl. Ronnie Balastas and Pfcs. Gerry Culaban, Danmar Ching, Marlon Urbano and Buenaventura Raygon - wounded.

“The soldiers were on security operations when waylaid by the NPA (New People’s Army),” said Maj. Amado Gutierrez, spokesman for the Army’s 3rd ID.

Government troops recovered five improvised explosive devices, electrical blasting caps and cable, and two backpacks.

Meanwhile, two more soldiers were wounded in a clash with NPA guerrillas in the town of Lope de Vega town, also in Northern Samar Friday.

Pfcs. Jay Arabening and Dexter Quilates were taken to the Camp Vicente Lukban Station Hospital for treatment.

Despite the attacks, the military expressed confidence that the provinces of Samar and Northern Samar would soon be declared as “development ready” areas.

“The series of encounters is expected as we are in the last phase of our plan to eradicate the remnants of the NPAs in Samar and Northern Samar,” said Maj. Gen. Jet Velarmino, commander chief of the 8th ID.

Abus free Sulu businessman after 8 months

From the Philippine Star (Jun 14): Abus free Sulu businessman after 8 months

After over eight months in captivity, a businessman was finally freed by the Abu Sayyaf in Jolo, Sulu last Tuesday, authorities said.

Police did not mention if ransom was paid for the release of trader Archie Hablo.

Senior Superintendent Abraham Orbita, Sulu police director, said Hablo was released in Barangay Kaunayan, Jolo and turned over to one Hairulla Asbang for custody.

Hablo was snatched by Abu Sayyaf militants led by a certain Ninok and Bensaudi Sappari in Barangay Kasulutan, Jolo last Oct. 22.

Just before he was freed, Orbita said Hablo was spotted with 11 armed men in Barangay Kaunayan. The trader was later seen boarding a green public utility vehicle.

Orbita said Hablo’s release was facilitated through the efforts of the Sulu police, the provincial government and the provincial anti-kidnapping task force.

ASG-trained militant nabbed

From the Manila Standard Today (Jun 15): ASG-trained militant nabbed

Three suspected Malaysian international terrorists including a senior militant who allegedly  held training at an Abu Sayyaf camp were arrested by the Malaysian Royal Navy in Sandakan on Friday.

The three Malaysians, aged between 29 and 31,  were arrested by the Counter-Terrorism Division—Bukit Aman police Special Branch, according to Tan Sri Mohd Bakri Mohd Zinin, Malaysian Police Deputy Inspector General.

Malaysian authorities said one of the terrorist is a senior member of a militant cell that had trained since April 22 at an Abu Sayyaf Group camp in Mindanao.

“The suspect has illegally entered Malaysia on June 11 and was hiding in a house in Sandakan,” a police statement said.

The three suspects are detained at a police cell undergoing investigation for violation of the Security Offenses (Special Measures) Act 2012.

Malaysian police authorities, so far have arrested 12 people with alleged involvement to militant groups in Syria and Southern Philippines, among them an East African national, believed to be member of the Somali-based militant group Al-Shabaab which has links to Al-Qaeda, who was nabbed in Selangor.

Last year, the military neutralized Noor Fikrie Kahar, a Malaysian militant and Ibnu Gholob Al Jitli, known also as Sanusi, an Indonesian terrorist, both members of the Jemaah Islamiya. The two were blamed for the series of bombing incidents in Mindanao.

Kahar was shot dead by Davao City policemen while trying to detonate an improvised explosive at the city hotel on December 18, while Sanusi was killed in a shoot-out with Army troopers in Marawi City on November 21.

Malaysian police are investigating reports whether Al-Qaeda linked Somali rebels were trying to established a cell in Malaysia following the arrest of the African militant.

But Abraham Idjirani, spokesman of the Sultanate of Sulu doubted the arrest of the three Malaysians, saying “they are residents of  Sabah Malaysia.”

“They are legitimate residents in Sandakan, Malaysia wanting to go to Lahad Datu and other parts of Sabah to explore employment,” Idjirani said.

Idjirani said the Malaysian authorities are trying to create false information to dissuade people from leaving their place for fear that a potential second wave of attacks by the Sultanate Army might erupt.

However, he said he had no information on the veracity of  the arrest of the three terrorist by Malaysian Navy.

Idjirani admitted that Agbimuddin Kiram together with his undetermined followers from the Sultanate Army are still in Lahad Datu: “They are moving from one place to another in Sabah.”

PH, Viets blamed for sea disputes

From the Manila Standard Today (Jun 15): PH, Viets blamed for sea disputes

A Chinese envoy on Friday forcefully refuted accusations made by Vietnam and the Philippines against China over the South China Sea situation, holding the two countries responsible for any disputes.

At the meeting of state parties to the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS), Wang Min, China’s deputy permanent representative to the United Nations, slammed Vietnam and the Philippines for infringing upon Chinese territory.

Wang said that on May 2, a Chinese company’s HYSY 981 drilling rig started its drilling operation inside the contiguous zone of China’s Xisha Islands for oil and gas exploration. Vietnam sent a large number of vessels, including armed ones, to the site, illegally and forcefully disrupting the Chinese operation for over 1,400 times so far.

“What Vietnam did seriously infringed upon China’s sovereignty, sovereign rights and jurisdiction, grossly violated relevant international laws, including the UNCLOS, undermined the freedom and safety of navigation in the related waters, and damaged regional peace and stability,” said Wang, who also heads the Chinese delegation to the meeting.

In mid-May, with the connivance of the Vietnamese government, thousands of Vietnamese outlaws committed sabotage against foreign companies, including Chinese ones, in Vietnam, brutally killing four Chinese nationals, injuring over 300 others and causing heavy property losses, Wang added.

“Till now, Vietnam still has not responded to our legitimate demand,” he noted.

The envoy pointed out that lies can never eclipse truth, nor can publicity stunts provide a legal cloak for illegal actions.

“What Vietnam needs to do now is to respect China’s sovereignty, sovereign rights and jurisdiction, immediately stop all forms of disruptions of the Chinese operation and withdraw all vessels and personnel from the site, so as to ease the tension and restore tranquility on the sea as early as possible,” Wang said.

He reiterated that Xisha Islands are an inherent part of China’s territory, and are under effective jurisdiction of the Chinese government.

“There’s no dispute about them,” he said, pointing to the fact that all the successive Vietnamese governments prior to 1974 had formally acknowledged Xisha islands as part of China’s territory since ancient times.

“Now the Vietnamese government is going back on its word and making territorial claims over China’s Xisha Islands,” Wang said, noting that Vietnam is reneging on its own promises, saying one thing today and denying it tomorrow.

“Our ancestors told us, trustworthiness is of paramount importance in state-to-state relations,” he quoted.

“We would like to ask: how could Vietnam be trusted by the international community and how could Vietnam’s international commitments be taken seriously in the future?” Wang said, referring to Vietnam’s action as a violation of estoppel, a basic principle in the international law.

With regard to all the false accusations made by the Philippines against China, Wang pointed out the root cause of the disputes between China and the Philippines in the South China Sea is the Philippines’ illegal occupation of some islands and reefs belonging to China’s Nansha islands.

“The Philippines attempts to legalize its infringements and provocations by dragging China into arbitral proceedings,” he said. “The Philippines is also trying to win international sympathy and support through deception. This is what the problem is in essence.”

The ambassador noted that pursuant to the provisions of UNCLOS, the Chinese government made a declaration in 2006, excluding disputes over maritime delimitation and territorial sovereignty from compulsory dispute settlement procedures.

“As a sovereign state and a state party to UNCLOS, China has the right under international law to do this. China does not accept the arbitration initiated by the Philippines,” Wang said, stressing that China’s position based on the provisions of the international law will not change.

“China appreciates the efforts made by the majority of ASEAN countries to preserve regional peace and stability,” he said. “We will continue working with ASEAN countries to strictly act on the DOC (the Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the South China Sea), promote practical cooperation, enhance mutual trust and jointly uphold peace and stability in the South China Sea.

PHL highlights capture of top Abu commander at UN anti-terror meet

From GMA News (Jun 14): PHL highlights capture of top Abu commander at UN anti-terror meet

Last Wednesday's capture of suspected top Abu Sayyaf official Khair Mundos (a.k.a. Abu Ayman) highlighted the Philippines' report before the United Nations in New York on June 12, the Department of Foreign Affairs said Saturday.

DFA Undersecretary for Civilian Security and Consular Affairs Rafael Seguis also reaffirmed the country's support for the global fight against terrorism before the UN General Assembly.

Seguis, who delivered the Philippine statement at the Fourth Biennial Review of the UN Global Counter Terrorism Strategy, also promoted sports as a way to curb terrorism.
“In fact, sports has also been a tool, like the annual Football for Peace, which brings children from selected conflict areas to Manila, not only for sports clinics, but also to transform their outlooks in life from a ‘culture of violence’ to that of a ‘a culture of peace,” Seguis said on the DFA website.

“We must remain even more vigilant. The fight against terrorism should only unite us in the spirit of the purposes and principles of the Charter of the United Nations,” he added.

On Wednesday, the Philippine National Police claimed it had arrested Mundos, whom it described as a "top ranking" Abu Sayyaf official.

Seguis also said the Philippines has had success in fulfilling the objectives of the Four Pillars of the UN Global Counter-Terrorism Strategy, which are:
  • Addressing the conditions that give rise to terrorism
  • Preventing and combating terrorism
  • Building state capacity to effectively address terrorism
  • Ensuring respect for human rights and the rule of law in counter-terrorism initiatives

He emphasized the recent signing of the Philippines-Indonesia Memorandum of Understanding on Combating International Terrorism, and the partnership with the International Center for Counter Terrorism (ICCT), which developed a National Operation Framework on Counter Radicalization and De-Radicalization (CR/DR).

Also, he said the Philippines is the site of the Regional headquarters of the Chemical-Biological-Radiological-Nuclear Center of Excellence (CBRN CoE) in Southeast Asia, a joint undertaking with the European Union and the United Nations Interregional Crime and Justice Research Institute (UNICRI).

Meanwhile, Seguis, in mentioning the ASEAN Convention on Counter-Terrorism, stressed that while the Philippines “builds an effective criminal justice system by providing more legal tools for law enforcement and judicial authorities to fight terrorism… (it) also respects, protects and uphold the rule of law, particularly civil liberties and human rights, with the latter being the cornerstone of Pillar IV of the UNGCTS."

RPA leader’s detention uncertain

From the Visayan Daily Star (Jun 14): RPA leader’s detention uncertain

The period of detention Marlon de los Santos, the arrested leader of the Revolutionary Proletarian Army-Alex Boncayao Brigade in San Carlos City, Negros Occidental is still uncertain, Supt. Victorino Romanillos, San Carlos police chief, said yesterday.

Romanillos said De los Santos has been given 10 days to submit his counter-affidavits to the charges-filed against him for illegal possession of firearms.

The recent raid on the house of de los Santos in Brgy. 2, San Carlos City, by the Regional Special Operations Group of the Police Regional Office 6, had yielded an M-16 assault rifle, a carbine and a .45 caliber pistol, with magazines of assorted ammunition, police records showed.

De los Santos used to be the RPA-ABB commander in the 1st district of Negros Occidental. He is now the secretary of the KAPATIRAN para sa Progresong Panlipunan (Brotherhood for Social Progress), that used to be the RPA-ABB.

Romanillos said de los Santos is now in jail, pending resolution of the complaints filed against.

Abang Lingkod party-list Rep. Stephen Paduano called for an immediate investigation by the Office of the Presidential Adviser on Peace Process, Armed Forces of the Philippines and National Police on the arrest of de los Santos, stressing that his apprehension and confiscation of firearms from his possession, which already profiled by the OPPAP is a violation of the peace agreement.

The signing of closure agreement between the RPM-RPA-ABB Tabara Paduano Group and government by President Benigno Aquino III is still in limbo almost 14 years after the breakaway rebel group entered into peace talks with the government.

Wellness farms going nationwide

From the Visayan Daily Star (Jun 14): Wellness farms going nationwide

The Negros First–Army Wellness Farm program of the 303rd Infantry Brigade, that aims to “win the peace” in Negros Occidental, whose beneficiaries are mostly rebel returnees, may be replicated by other Armed Forces of the Philippines and Army units nationwide.

The Institute for Solidarity in Asia, a non-government organization that advocates making good governance a shared responsibility, said in its letter to Army chief Lt. Gen. Hernando DCA Iriberri, that “the creation of a Wellness farm that benefits local communities affected by the armed conflict is a shining example of what could happen when the tenets of Bayanihan are imbibed to winning the peace”.

Dr. Jesus Estanislao, ISA chairman, said, initiatives like this are imperative to the success of the Philippine Army.

The program is designed to ensure food security, generate basic income and sustainability, especially for former New People’s Army rebels and their families, who had abandoned the armed struggle to live a peaceful life, Col. Jon Aying, 303rd Infantry Brigade commander, said.

The first Army Wellness Farm, implemented in the 2.5-hectare lot inside Camp Major Nelson Gerona in Brgy. Minoyan, Murcia, was successful in producing organic products, like vegetables, livestock and poultry.

The 303rd Infantry Brigade is therefore expanding it to three of the six districts of Negros Occidental and it is being supported by the provincial government led by Gov. Alfredo Marañon Jr.

Estanislao called on Lt. Gen. Iriberri to explore the sharing of what he described as “best practices” to other Infantry brigade units, or even to the Unified Commands of the Armed Forces of the Philippines.

“Please let your troops, especially the brigade of Col. Aying, know that we applaud their efforts in nation building,” Estanislao said in his letter to Iriberri, a copy of which was secured by the DAILY STAR.

ISA was founded in December 2000 by a group led by Estanislao to raise the standards of public governance in the country. To achieve this, Estanislao said, ISA teaches and implements the Performance Governance System – the official Philippine adaptation of the Balanced Scorecard of the Harvard Business School – in national government agencies, local government units, sectoral associations and universities.

Aying said organic farming is one of their non-traditional innovations in addressing the insurgency problem in Negros Occidental, without using guns.

He also said that the program recognizes economic capacity-building of the beneficiaries to become self-reliant and less vulnerable, with a projection towards their permanent settlement and production areas assured of protection from lawlessness and natural disasters.

Retired Analyst Analytical Note #1: A number of Philippine-associated radical Islamic pages appear to have been removed from Facebook.

Retired Analyst Analytical Note #1: A number of Philippine-associated radical Islamic pages appear to have been removed from Facebook.

The following pages can no longer be viewed:

Islamic Emirate of the Philippines (

Islamic Emirate of Sulu-Basilan

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Nur Misuari: Video -- AFP Cruelty at it worst !

Anti-military propaganda video posted the Facebook page of Nur Misuari (Jun 11): AFP Cruelty at it worst !

Among other things, this is the reason


AFP Cruelty at it worst !



MILF: Third Party Monitoring Team conducts series of dialogue in Isabela City

Posted to the MILF Website (Jun 14): Third Party Monitoring Team conducts series of dialogue in Isabela City

The Third Party Monitoring Team (TPMT) held series of dialogue with different stakeholders of Basilan Province on June 10-11, 2014 at Isabela City, Basilan.
Those attended include representatives from the local government unit, civil society organizations (CSO’s) and non-government organization (NGO’s).
On June 10, the TPMT had a dialogue with the Basilan Supreme Ulama Council held at Mabarakat Village, Barangay Menzi, Isabela City. It was followed by a dialogue with the group of churches at the Claret College Formation Center.

On June 11, three series of dialogue were conducted. The first one was held at the Basilan Provincial Capitol with members of LGUs. Around 1PM the dialogue with MILF members took place at Claret College Formation Center.  It was followed by a dialogue with the Nagdilaab Foundation members, a local NGO with office in Isabela City.

TPMT Chairman Alistair MacDonald and members, Huseyin Oruc of the IHH, Dr. Steven Rood of TAF, Rahib Kudto of UNYPAD and Ms. Karen Tanada were present in the dialogues.

Dr. Rood oriented the MILF members on the mandate of the TPMT. Generally, he said, “TPMT task is to monitor the implementation of all agreements between the GPH and MILF Peace Panels and coordinates with the International Monitoring Team (IMT)”.

In the course of the dialogue, the MILF Yakan City Director of Information asked how reliable the information gathered by TPMT when they lack personnel in the communities? Chairman MacDonalds said, “We are focusing to a big picture rather than on small details then give recommendation to both GPH and MILF panels”.

Rahib Kudto supplemented Macdonald’s answer saying, “You have to exert efforts in gathering reliable information because your sources are more reliable than us”.

Abu Muaiz, head of the professional sector of Yakan City Committee asked the panel (TPMT members) on how could they enlighten the settlers who are apprehensive of the Bangsamoro? Chairman MacDonald answered, “It is not our mandate to do that, we want to be independent as much as possible”. Dr. Rood said, that “There was already a dialogue with Cardinal Quevedo and other Church groups in mainland Mindanao”.

Mr. Huseyin Oruc asked “if it is true that some MILF members do not like the negotiations with the GPH and would create another group?  Is it happening in Basilan? This writer replied that “We did not hear such information in Basilan and the MILF here will never create another group neither do it in the future as they have been supporting the leadership of the MILF Central Committee”, God Willing”.

The dialogue lasted more than an hour and adjourned.

CPP/Ang Bayan: Video -- Video: Oust the regime that reeks of corruption!

Ang Bayan propaganda video posted to the CPP Website (Jun 7): Video: Oust the regime that reeks of corruption! [ANG BAYAN 2014June07]

Oust the regime that reeks of corruption! [ANG BAYAN 2014June07]  

Benigno Aquino III and his regime reek of corruption. After close to four years of endless chatter about "clean governance," Aquino has shown that he is no different from past presidents in promoting, and benefiting from, bureacrat capitalist corruption.

CPP/NPA: The truth about the inutile Sagada “Peace Zone”

NPA propaganda statement just posted to the CPP Website (Jun 10): The truth about the inutile Sagada “Peace Zone”
Magno Udyaw
NPA Mountain Province Provincial Operations Command (Leonardo Pacsi Command)
Let us set the record straight. The legitimate demand of the people of Sagada in the closing period of 1988 for the pullout of the AFP and PNP combat troops was clearly due to the virtual siege of Sagada by the combined troops of the 50th Infantry Batallion, 3rd Special Forces Batallion and the PNP Regional Special Action Force (RSAF). These units occupied the municipal building, the Sagada Central School, sacred grounds (“papatayan”), the Calvary compound, the dap-ays and several mountains within central Sagada including Mt. Lallal-ay, Mt. Kiltepan and Mt. Maaney. In the ensuing course of action of the Sagada people to bring across their demand to Malacanang and the AFP, counter-revolutionaries occupying high positions in Malacanang personified by Teresita ‘Ging’ Deles and their ilk grabbed the opportunity to supplant this legitimate pullout demand with that of the “peace zone” concept. The Sagada people’s delegation didn’t care less about whatever the “peace zone” concept meant. What was urgent and paramount for them at that time was the immediate pullout of the government combat troops from Sagada. This demand however was rebuffed by Gen. Fidel Ramos, the then Secretary of National Defense, with his infamous declaration that the pullout demand “contradicts the principle of hot pursuit and lends credence to the belligerency status of the CPP-NPA-NDF”. Later, from Malacañang palace, Teresita ‘Ging’ Deles kept ringing the bell of the Sagada “peace zone” to the press to soothe the aggrieved feeling of the Sagada hopefuls but subtly to cover up the no let up militarization of the whole area of Mountain Province including Sagada and the concomitant kilometric human rights violations. Three organic batallions of the 702nd Infantry Brigade would later saturate Mountain Province including Sagada in the last quarter of 1991 until 1999. A local farmer of Sagada aptly described the oft repeated “peace zone” as “napison”.

The 69th Infantry Batallion, the last batallion of the 702nd Infantry Brigade to leave Mountain Province in mid 1999, only left after it scandalously figured out in the Pidlisan-Dalican tribal war. However, this was immediately replaced by other AFP units one after the other. And now, the 50th Infantry Batallion is back. This is the same batallion that was responsible for the shooting to death of two youths of Sagada in front of the market building by its drunken elements in November 1988. Justice for these two kids was never rendered. The perpetrators left scot-free.

The pronouncement of Major Gen. Catapang, then NOLCOM chief last year, that there never was a peace zone in Sagada, is reflective of the military mindset. Indeed, there never was a time that Mt. Province including Sagada was spared from militarization and human rights violations.

For the local officialdom of Sagada, if newspaper accounts are to be believed, to predicate their demand for the pullout of the AFP by declaring the absence of the NPA in Sagada, is too shallow and naïve in understanding the ongoing civil war in the country. And to blame the latest skirmish between the AFP/PNP and the NPA in the area as the major factor in the slump of income from the tourism industry of Sagada is to gloss over the fact that there is a long standing global capitalist recession and a chronically worsening national economic crisis brought upon by imperialist exploitation and plunder. Indeed, instances of actual harassment and intimidation of tourist guides as well as tourists by AFP and PNP on combat operation have taken place in Bangaan, Mt. Langsayan, Mt. Ampakaw, Mt. Sisipitan and elsewhere. The AFP and PNP must be condemned and made to pay dearly for these criminal acts.

However, it is wrong to equate the AFP & PNP with that of the NPA. The AFP & PNP are mercenary security forces of an oppressive and exploitative state while the NPA is a disciplined army of the oppressed people. The NPA can not be faulted for the acts of the AFP/PNP. Any breach of discipline especially committed against the masses it vows to serve is promptly acknowledged and rectified accordingly.

The situation of the people of Sagada, or any town in Mt. Province for that matter, is no different from that of the majority of the Filipino people who have long been living in abject poverty under a rotten semi-colonial and semi-feudal society. The people of Sagada have always been part of the masses that the CPP-NPA serves. It is their objective interest to advance the armed revolution that will ultimately liberate them from oppression and exploitation by the imperialists and the local ruling class. And as long as the root causes of the civil war are not resolved, the revolution will advance until final victory is achieved. A gardener in Sagada aptly appraised this truism, “uray agsisinnukat kayo nga opisyales ti gubyerno, uray sinno kadakayo ti mangabak, pareho met laeng, marigrigat a gardinero ak latta” (Changing government officials doesn’t matter at all. Whoever may win in the elections, the situation will remain the same. I would still remain a poor gardener).

Peace is not simply the absence of war. There can never be genuine peace for as long as the social pyramid of Philippine society remains inversely lopsided whereby only 1% of the total population controls the economic wealth of the country while most of our countrymen are impoverished and unschooled. There can never be true peace when majority of the country’s peasants remain landless while agricultural lands continue to be concentrated in the hands of a few landlords including the family of Benigno Aquino who fill-up the congress, senate & the bureaucracy; when the workers strive to survive on contemptibly meager wages; when public funds end up in multi-billion peso scams; when 61% of the Cordillera’s land area are applied for by foreign mining companies; when cementing of a kilometer of road in Mountain Province would command a staggering cost of Php50 million.

In reality, genuine peace can only be realized when the people attain social justice. And this can only be achieved through a just war. In this just war, we aspire to bring genuine prosperity, true political power for the people including genuine regional autonomy for the national minorities, as well as adequate education, health and other social services to the Filipino people. We aspire for total victory!

CPP/NDF: On Independence Day, the Filipino people must renew their commitment to the National Democratic Revolution with a socialist perspective, the path to real independence

NDF propaganda statement posted to the CPP Website (Jun 12): On Independence Day, the Filipino people must renew their commitment to the National Democratic Revolution with a socialist perspective, the path to real independence
Jorge Madlos (Ka Oris)
NDFP Mindanao Chapter
For decades, past and the present reactionary Philippine governments foist the celebration of Independence Day upon the Filipino people, compelling us to accept, hook, line and sinker, that the nation is “free” from the control of any dominant country. This, of course, is the biggest LIE that has been oft-repeatedly rammed by the ruling classes of landlords and compradors, and by US imperialism itself, down the throats of the Filipino masses.

We refuse to be part of a “celebration” that obfuscates the Filipino people’s history of revolutionary struggle by continuing to give US Imperialism and its military forces in Asia and the Pacific the distinction of being “the liberator” of Filipinos and granting us fake independence. Instead, we, as a people, should transform this yearly event into a widespread militant protest movement to collectively demand for real independence from the dictates of US imperialism.

Independence can never be granted or declared by one country to another; it can only be fought for by a people. The Filipino people must therefore continue to engage and persist in a revolutionary struggle against imperialism and the local ruling classes, implement genuine land reform and national industrialization and to win for itself a genuinely socialist society. Then and only then can true independence be attained.

The Declaration of Independence on 12 June 1898 was only made possible by the heroic revolution of the people against Spanish rule, but the glory was shamelessly stolen by US imperialism when it granted protectorate-ship to the puppet Aguinaldo republic and subsequently attacking Filipino revolutionaries, especially those who continued to fight for real independence.

Then, again on 4 July 1946, the erstwhile Independence Day until it was nominally changed in 1962, after Filipino revolutionaries bravely stood up against Japanese colonial rule, US imperialism made it appear to have “granted independence” in order to smoothen the transition towards its neo-colonial rule over the Philippine islands, which is maintained up to the present through the local ruling classes and its reactionary government and armed forces. With this, the Filipino nation continues to be deprived of true economic, political, cultural and military independence.

With US imperialism using local feudalism as its economic base, the resulting semi-feudal economy of the country has plunged the people deep into the muck of slavery and exploitation that cater to the profit-starved interest of foreign, mainly US-owned, multinational mining, agri-plantations and other large corporations.

Economic subjugation means political and military subjugation as well. Unveiled during Obama’s state visit to the Philippines, the Aquino regime declared, in dog-like obsequiousness to the wishes of its imperialist master for a Trans-Pacific Partnership, the implementation of the Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement or EDCA, an onerous agreement that flagrantly undermines national sovereignty and patrimony.

Whether or not the reactionary government denies it, the EDCA, literally transforms the entire Philippine archipelago into one huge US military base that will host an unlimited number of troops (in addition to the ones they already have in Mindanao and in other parts of the country) as well as receive military vessels and warplanes that include, no doubt, those with nuclear capabilities.

Under the pretext of protecting the Philippines against China’s incursion in the West Philippines Sea, the EDCA practically allows the prepositioning of US military forces for its possible eventual engagement with China using multiple locations in Philippines as launch pad for its Asia Pivot strategy, especially at this time when the US financial crisis is rapidly intensifying and the debt bubble, nears bursting.

The US and its local cohorts only want to ensure their continued economic dominance by forcibly maintaining the complete docility of a long-suffering people and hinder them from waging a national-democratic revolution. That is why US military forces alongside its local counterpart, the AFP and the PNP, are also poised to attack against the local revolutionary movement using the latest weaponry in combat and surveillance, particularly unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV) or drones.

The reactionary government-declared independence day is nothing but a total sham. Instead of diminishing the meaning of “independence day” by flooding the streets with miniature flags, the NDFP calls on the entire revolutionary forces and the filipino nation to renew our commitment to advance and win the national-democratic revolution and gloriously gain for ourselves true independence by establishing, in the long-term, socialism.

We can only possess real independence when, through a protracted people’s war, the control and machinations of US Imperialism and its local lackeys are brought to an end, feudalism is eradicated and land is redistributed freely to the landless, an independent national industry is established and real political power is in the hands of the oppressed and exploited classes.

Army, NPA clash in Albay town

From the Philippine News Agency (Jun 14): Army, NPA clash in Albay town

As of this writing, Philippine Army soldiers are still in hot pursuit of New People's Army (NPA) rebels who they had encountered at Barangay Talisay, a far-flung village in Oas town in Albay, at about 5:30 a.m. Saturday.

Lt. Albert Belingan of the PA's 901st Infantry Brigade said there were no casualties reported yet but, he said, they had recovered at least two M16 rifle, improvised explosive device and anti-government documents from the rebels.

The Army troopers were on a patrol operation when they encountered the rebels whom they engaged in a 10-minute firefight.

Belingan said the rebels escaped towards the direction of Barangay Ramay of Oas town.

The NPA has been active lately, executing military and paramilitary men as well as suspected military and police assets using young-looking members in the assassination mission.

ATR to instill sense of excellence, good governance to all PA personnel

From the Philippine News Agency (Jun 14): ATR to instill sense of excellence, good governance to all PA personnel

With the Army Transformation Roadmap (ATR) now in full swing, Philippine Army (PA) commander Lt. Gen. Hernando DCA Iriberri said that the program seeks to imbed to all its officers and enlisted personnel the culture of excellence and good governance.

He added that the ATS is part of their stakeholder engagement and the PA is very aggressive on informing the public also that it is doing everything it can to professionalize its ranks.

"We do understand that a disciplined soldier, a soldier who does his job well, a soldier who serves his people well, who protects his people and secures the land, will ultimately be the spokesperson for the entire Philippine Army," Iriberri stated.

The PA chief added that the ATS' goal is to plant the seeds of culture of excellence, culture of good governance through operational excellence and organizational excellence

"We are trying to plant in each and every soldier that seed, culture of excellence and good governance," Iriberri pointed out.

The ATR seeks to turn the PA into a more capable, responsive, reliable, and professional organization committed to its mandate.

It was launched in 2010.

Bid opening, submission for CAS project re-set to July 2

From the Philippine News Agency (Jun 14): Bid opening, submission for CAS project re-set to July 2

The Department of National Defense (DND) has reset to July 2 the bid opening and submission for the agency's six close air support (CAS) aircraft project.

CAS refers to capability to provide air support to infantry and naval units in contact with the enemy.

The above-mentioned aircraft is the projected replacement of the PAF's existing Rockwell OV-10 "Bronco" attack planes.

This has a budget of P4,968,000,000 that will be sourced from the Revised Armed Forces of the Philippines Modernization Program.

Bid submission was originally slated for June 11 but this was ordered rescheduled to July 2.

This will be held at the DND Bidding and Awards Committee conference room, basement right wing, DND Building, Camp Aguinaldo, Quezon City.

DND undersecretary Fernando Manalo earlier said that the contract includes integrated logistic support system.

Winning bidders must be able to deliver the aircraft within 540 calendar days from contract effectivity.

Participants in the DND's CAS project must have completed a similar program within the last 10 years.

Manalo added that the CAS aircraft must be used by the countries offering and manufacturing them.

First-stage bid submission for long-range patrol aircraft reset to July 9

From the Philippine News Agency (Jun 14): First-stage bid submission for long-range patrol aircraft reset to July 9

The Department of National Defense (DND) has re-set the first stage bid submission for its long range patrol aircraft project, which has a budget of P5,976,000,000, to July 9.

Two aircraft are to be acquired under this program.

It was originally scheduled for June 13 but Defense undersecretary Fernando Manalo, Special Bids and Awards Committee-1, said that it will be re-set for July 9.

No reason was given in their supplemental bid bulletin which was posted at the Defense website.

It will be held at the Department of National Defense bidding awards committee conference room at basement, right wing, DND building, Camp Aguinaldo, Quezon City around 10 a.m.

Money for the long-range patrol aircraft project will be sourced from the Armed Forces of the Philippines Modernization Act Trust Fund.

The contract includes sensors, sensor integration, mission support facilities and integrated logistic support, DND undersecretary Fernando Manalo said.

Winning bidders are required to deliver the aircraft within 1,035 calendar days upon receipt of the notice to proceed.

Manalo added that participants must have completed a similar project within the last 10 years.

Letter of Credit for F/A-50 signed within this month--AFP

From the Philippine News Agency (Jun 14): Letter of Credit for F/A-50 signed within this month--AFP

The letter of credit(LOC) for the South Korean F/A-50 "Fighting Eagle" will be signed within the month.

The signing will take place by this coming week or the next, Defense undersecretary for finance, modernization, installation and munitions Fernando Manalo, said.

No other details were given.

An LOC is a document issued by a financial institution, or a similar party, assuring payment to a seller of goods and/or services provided certain documents have been presented to the bank.

Contract for the Korean Aerospace Industries (KAI) jet aircraft, of which the Philippines has ordered 12 units for P18 billion, was signed last March 28.

Upon signing of the LOC, two F/A-50 jet aircraft are expected to be delivered 18 months after.

While the next two will be delivered 12 months later and the remaining eight jet planes to be delivered in staggered basis within eight months.

The F/A-50 has a top speed of Mach 1.5 or one and a half times the speed of sound and is capable of being fitted air-to-air missiles, including the AIM-9 "Sidewinder" air-to-air and heat-seeking missiles aside from light automatic cannons.

The F/A-50 will act as the country's interim fighter until the Philippines get enough experience of operating fast jet assets and money to fund the acquisition of more capable fighter aircraft.

The F/A-50 design is largely derived from the F-16 "Fighting Falcon", and they have many similarities: use of a single engine, speed, size, cost, and the range of weapons.

KAI's previous engineering experience in license-producing the KF-16 was a starting point for the development of the F/A-50.

The aircraft can carry two pilots in tandem seating. The high-mounted canopy developed by Hankuk Fiber is applied with stretched acrylic, providing the pilots with good visibility, and has been tested to offer the canopy with ballistic protection against four-pound objects impacting at 400 knots.

The altitude limit is 14,600 meters (48,000 feet), and airframe is designed to last 8,000 hours of service.

There are seven internal fuel tanks with capacity of 2,655 liters (701 US gallons), five in the fuselage and two in the wings.

An additional 1,710 liters (452 US gallons) of fuel can be carried in the three external fuel tanks.

Trainer variants have a paint scheme of white and red, and aerobatic variants white, black, and yellow.

The F/A-50 "Fighting Eagle" uses a single General Electric F404-102 turbofan engine license-produced by Samsung Techwin, upgraded with a full authority digital engine control system jointly developed by General Electric and KAI.

The engine consists of three-staged fans, seven axial stage arrangement, and an afterburner.

The aircraft has a maximum speed of Mach 1.4-1.5.

Its engine produces a maximum of 78.7 kN (17,700 lbf) of thrust with afterburner.

Philippines, Vietnam can share disputed sea – envoy

From Rappler (Jun 14): Philippines, Vietnam can share disputed sea – envoy

Joint exploration, however, won't work with China. Vietnamese Ambassador to the Philippines Truong Trieu Duong says it will be like recognizing China's claim and falling into its trap.

BOOSTING TIES. Philippine President Benigno Aquino III (right) gestures as he talks with Vietnamese Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung after their joint media statement at the Malacanang Presidential Palace in Manila on May 21, 2014. Photo by AFP/Aaron Favila/Pool
BOOSTING TIES. Philippine President Benigno Aquino III (right) gestures as he talks with Vietnamese Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung after their joint media statement at the Malacanang Presidential Palace in Manila on May 21, 2014. Photo by AFP/Aaron Favila/Pool

To keep peace and stability in the South China Sea, the Philippines and Vietnam can share marine resources in the disputed waters, the Vietnamese ambassador told Rappler as tensions rise between Hanoi and Beijing.

Vietnamese Ambassador to the Philippines Truong Trieu Duong, however, said the same idea will not work with China.

“From my own point of view, I think that we can share and we can put aside differences, and we can jointly cooperate with each other to explore it,” Duong said weeks after China allegedly attacked Vietnamese vessels in the South China Sea and injured 6.

The 58-year-old ambassador explained that overlapping claims between the Philippines and Vietnam, after all, involve only “some small areas.” China, on the other hand, is claiming virtually the entire South China Sea – parts of which the Philippines claims as the West Philippine Sea, and as for Vietnam, the East Sea.

“The Philippines and Vietnam, we have some small areas. It's different. But for China, if we put differences aside and jointly cooperate with each other, like it or not, well, and in fact, it's just like recognizing China's claim – just like recognizing China's claim because China is claiming the whole sea,” Duong said.

“So we'll fall into the trap of China,” he said.

'That goodwill evaporated'

China has pushed for the joint exploration of the disputed waters – but always under the premise that it exercises indisputable sovereignty over the South China Sea.

In 2005, Vietnam joined the Philippines and China in an agreement to jointly explore the disputed waters. The Joint Marine Seismic Undertaking expired in 2008 without the government extending it, however, in the face of public criticism. (READ: SC asked: Void expired PH-China offshore oil exploration pact)

In 2013, Vietnam and China again “agreed to establish a maritime work group for joint development at sea,” the Voice of America (VOA) reported. Duong Danh Dy, former Vietnamese consul general to Guangzhou, China, however dismissed this agreement as “just diplomatic rhetoric.”

“Vietnamese and Chinese interests over the South China Sea are like fire and water. Both countries claim sovereignty over the disputed islands in the area. The Chinese government has a long-term expansionist goal and it is willing to wait for an opportunity in 10, 20, 30, or even 100 years. It would not give up the South China Sea unless China is weakened,” the diplomat said, according to VOA.

The New York Times also noted Vietnam and China's announcement in 2013 “that they would try to find ways to jointly develop oil and gas fields.” “That goodwill evaporated,” however, because of the oil rig incident this year, the New York Times said.

Vietnam on Philippines: 'We can talk'

For now, then, one of Vietnam's best options is to boost ties with the Philippines as it did on Sunday, June 8, in a landmark act of sports diplomacy aimed to ease tensions in the South China Sea.

During his interview with Rappler, Duong explained that the Philippines and Vietnam “share a lot in common.” (Watch more in the video below)

[Video interview: Vietnam, Philippines can share disputed sea, ambassador says]

He said the two countries, for one, belong to the same regional bloc – the Association of Southeast Asian Nations.

Both countries also signed the Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the South China Sea, a key regional declaration in 2002 that upholds “self-restraint” in activities that will worsen the sea disputes.

“The Philippines and Vietnam, we are kind of a peaceful people. And we do not want to overpower one another, so we can talk. We can talk,” he said.

In contrast, he said: “China does not want to talk. It resorts to...some kind of forceful measures, in defiance of international law.”

When asked if Vietnam is considering filing a case against the Philippines over the South China Sea, Duong said: “No. Never. That would be unthinkable – because between the Philippines and Vietnam, we are now having...very good relations.... And it's not worth fighting when we can still solve everything peacefully.”

The most important thing he wants to stress, Duong said, is that the Philippines and Vietnam should “stand united” so they could “win.”

“We are on the same side.”