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Formerly (Rebuilding for a Better Philippines) The Philippines is better now! Watch out for news updates on Philippine Business, Investments, Economy, Politics, Armed Forces Modernization, OFW news.. [We Support: the Federal Government System of the Philippines]Webbernoreply@blogger.comBlogger1676125RebuildingBetterPhilippines
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Manila Government is innocent: MNLF Tausug muslims and MILF Maguindanao/Maranao muslims are also fighting each other- Give 'em Federal Govt for lasting peace

Sat, 02/14/2015 - 17:17

LISTENING TOUR. Duterte visited Dapitan City and Dipolog City in Zamboanga del Norte, and Dumaguete City in Negros Occidental for consultations on changing the government system to federalism. Photo by Gualberto Laput -

Mindanao is boiling, violence may erupt anytime – DuterteThe failure of the proposed Bangsamoro law – stalled since the bloody Mamasapano clash – would be 'tantamount to trimming the MILF's tail,' says the mayor of Mindanao's biggest city

ZAMBOANGA DEL NORTE, Philippines – With the proposed Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL) stalled after a clash in Maguindano killed 44 police commandos, Davao Mayor Rodrigo Duterte said Mindanao is now "boiling" and violence may erupt again anytime."BBL's failure at this stage is tantamount to trimming the [Moro Islamic Liberation Front] tail," Duterte explained. "Delikado kay masamok na pud ni (It's dangerous because it may lead to the resumption of fighting)," he said during a forum here on Thursday, February 12.Duterte visited Dapitan City and Dipolog City in Zamboanga del Norte, and Dumaguete City in Negros Occidental, on Thursday for consultations on changing the government system to federalism.He is believed to be doing this so-called listening tour around Mindanao and the Visayas to gauge the chances of a possible presidential bid in 2016.Duterte, mayor of Mindanao's biggest city, said rebellion now is not mainly fought by armies, "but Mindanao will again experience bombings, ambuscades, assassinations," or there will be sowing of terror in civilian communities.He said he also has misgivings about some provisions of the BBL. "It's too much too soon, being the product of government peace negotiators who are not from Mindanao, who do not have in-depth understanding of how we live here, our problems and how we solve them."The mayor said it is vital to understand the diverse cultures of Mindanao relative to peace initiatives because Muslim tribes themselves cannot go along with each other."Dili na sila magkasinabot (They can't along). Talk peace with the Moro National Liberation Front (whose members are mainly Tausugs, Yakans, and Samals), and MILF (whose members are Maguindanaos and Maranaws) came out fighting. You talk peace with the MILF, and the MNLF draws its gun."Duterte likened the Muslim communities in Mindanao to Arab countries. "They are all Muslims, but they still fight with each other. It has nothing to do with religion. It's all tribal."The Davao mayor added things have been further complicated by the bloody Mamasapano incident. (READ: Duterte: Stall Bangsamoro law until SAF deaths are resolved)At the surface, he said, it seemed that SAF was sent by a commander who didn't know about the area of their operation. If their commanders knew the area, they should have prepared for the worst."Me, I know who can enter any place in that area. I know which police or military units can go to which place. I know the fish vendor who can go there," he said.Asked how he would solve Mindanao's historical peace and order problem, Duterte quickly answered: "Federalism. And the Muslim tribes must have two states like that of the sultanates before. But if there are two things we should not give up, the military-police force and international relations." –

At China Impasse, Philippines Show of self-reliance in Arm - 2 Naval vessel construction begin in Indonesia + 2 Landing Craft aid from Australia Coming

Sat, 02/07/2015 - 21:29

FILE - The Philippine Navy is upgrading its fleet amid growing maritime disputes. Here, one of its troops fires a .50-caliber machine gun during a bilateral maritime exercise between the Philippine Navy and U.S. Navy in the South China Sea, June 29, 2014 - Image source: VOA
At China Sea Impasse, Manila Bolsters NavyMANILA—The Philippine Navy is upgrading its capabilities at a time of continuing tensions with China over disputed territory in the South China Sea.   In recent weeks, an Indonesian naval shipbuilder started work on two "strategic sealift vessels" that the Philippines is acquiring for more than $87 million and expects within two years, said Commander Lued Lincunad, a navy spokesman.Each one "will enhance our defense capability and operational capabilities. It has a helipad and can accommodate three choppers at any one time," Lincunad said. Each can be used for command and control, and each "can house a battalion of the marines" and special operations forces.The vessels represent the navy's latest efforts to control a resource-rich and strategically valuable expanse of ocean.As part of a five-year, $1.8 billion military modernization program, the navy already has acquired several big-ticket items, including two frigates that used to be U.S. Coast Guard cutters. The nearly 50-year-old ships, retrofitted with modern munitions and companion helicopters, have been patrolling the archipelago's shores for the past two years. Four more frigates are on order and another two navy helicopters identical to the three already in use are expected to arrive by May.Upgrading resourcesThe Philippines' annual military spending is $2.6 billion, miniscule compared to China's $132 billion military budget in 2014. But Manila has focused its resources on improving its capability to monitor and respond to developments in the South China Sea.China, which claims practically the entire South China Sea, has steadily increased its presence in the contested region in recent years. Now, Chinese construction teams are reclaiming land on outcroppings among some of the Spratly Islands that the Philippines claims.
Chinese surveillance ships have also regularly driven away Philippine vessels from contested reefs and shoals, including Scarborough Shoal, which the Philippines says is well within its 370-kilometer exclusive economic zone. Vietnam, Taiwan, Malaysia and Brunei also have claims in the resource-rich sea.Philippines, Japan make pactLast week, the Philippine Department of National Defense and Japan's Ministry of Defense for the first time signed an agreement to forge closer defense ties on matters such as joint military drills and cooperation on global security.Without giving specifics, officials said both countries share the same view on the situations in the South China and East China Seas, where China's high visibility has raised anxiety among its neighbors.National defense spokesman Peter Paul Galvez said the Philippines is looking for support from Japan in intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance. "Any of those capabilities where they could probably help us out, that's what we're requesting," he said.The Philippines is building an $18 million coast watch command center. It will coordinate communications among the navy, coast guard, maritime police and other agencies to guard its maritime borders. Lincuna said the watch system includes a network of land- and ship- based surveillance equipment.Galvez said the country is also looking to Japan for help with humanitarian and disaster relief capabilities.Show of self-relianceThe Philippines' small-scale buildup demonstrates to the United States, its only treaty ally, that it is helping itself and not just relying on outside partnerships, said Carl Thayer, a Southeast Asia security analyst with the Australian Defense Force Academy.Now if Filipino warships are attacked, "that triggers consultations with the United States," Thayer said. "It doesn't mean they [Filipinos] have to be reckless. It means that China now has to take into account those vessels. You call that extended deterrence: You punch the Philippines, you get Uncle Sam behind them."The Philippines is also keeping up and building strategic partnerships with other neighbors. Last week, the Philippine and Vietnamese foreign ministers held talks on strengthening security ties.Australia announced last week it will donate to the Philippines two refurbished 40-year-old landing craft vessels capable of transporting "large amounts of cargo, personnel and equipment" to hard-to-reach shores. - Voice of America

Philippines' FOREX Forex reserves hit $80.18 Billion USD in Jan 2015

Sat, 02/07/2015 - 11:07

Forex reserves hit $80.18 B in Jan 2015. Image source:

MANILA, Philippines - The country's gross international reserves went up in January from end-2014 level, driven by an upward adjustment in the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas' gold holdings, government's foreign currency deposits and foreign exchange inflows.Central bank data showed the country's GIR amounted to $80.18 billion last month, higher than the revised $79.54 billion in December last year."The increase in reserves was due mainly to the government's net foreign currency deposits, revaluation adjustments on the BSP's gold holdings and foreign currency-denominated reserves, and income from its investments abroad," the BSP said.These were partly counterbalanced by payments made by the government for its maturing foreign exchange-denominated obligations, the central bank said.The GIR reflects a country's ability to pay for imports of goods and services and to service foreign debt.The latest figure is enough to cover 10.3 months' worth of the imports of goods and payments of services and income.Moreover, this is also equivalent to 8.3 times the country's short-term external debt based on original maturity and 5.7 times based on residual maturity.BSP data also showed net international reserves of GIR less the short-term debts also rose to $80.18 billion as of end-January, up from the $79.54 billion in December.Last year, the $79.54-billion figure in end-2014 was within the central bank's estimate of a $79-billion to $80-billion reserves during the period.In 2013, foreign exchange reserves summed up to $83.187 billion, slightly below the $83.572 billion in 2012. - philSTAR


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