Apr 212014

China was warned Thursday against trying to tow away the BRP Sierra Madre from Ayungin Shoal, as this could be considered an attack against the Philippines and prompt the United States to defend the country in keeping with their Mutual Defense Treaty. INQUIRER FILE PHOTO

MANILA, Philippines–The fisherfolk group Pambansang Lakas ng Kilusang Mamamalakaya ng Pilipinas, or Pamalakaya, has assailed China for violating Philippine sovereignty by insisting that Ayungin Shoal (Second Thomas Reef) and eight other rock formations in the West Philippine Sea belong to Beijing.

Pamalakaya vice chair Salvador France yesterday asked the Chinese government to “respect the Filipino people’s legitimate claim over these islets and the body of water where they are located.”

He said the rock formations are inside the Philippines’ exclusive economic zone.

France also asked Beijing to “demilitarize Ayungin Shoal and other areas occupied by Chinese military forces.”

Chinese naval units “should also stop harassing Filipino fishermen trying to make a living in the West Philippine Sea,” France said.

Aside from Ayungin Shoal, France was also referring to Panatag (Scarborough) Shoal, Mischief Reef, McKennan Reef, Subi Reef, Gaven Reef, Johnson Reef, Cuarteron Reef and Fiery Cross Reef.

Pamalakaya also slammed the United States for “meddling in the current row between the Philippines and China.”

Washington has been “manipulating all South China Sea-related issues to effectively promote increased US military presence in the contested waters,” it said.

For its part, the Philippine government is “consistently playing to the hilt its role as the front-act person of the US in its own war with China over the South China Sea.” Jerry E. Esplanada

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Tags: Ayungin Shoal , China , Pamalakaya , South China Sea , West Philippine Sea

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Apr 182014
Filipina accomplice arrested for fake bills in Malaysia

The Star Online-Asia News Network 9:35 pm | Friday, April 18th, 2014 KUALA LUMPUR — Police have uncovered a ‘black money’ syndicate, following the arrest of an African man and a Filipino woman, and the seizure of RM3.2 million in fake currencies. Kuala Lumpur Commercial Crime Investigation Department chief ACP Izany Abdul Ghany said the suspects were nabbed at two separate locations here on Tuesday. He said the 34-year-old African was nabbed at a hotel in Jalan Tuanku Abdul Rahman after a local woman, suspicious over the man’s offer of investment opportunities, tipped off the police. “The complainant knew the suspect via Facebook before meeting him with several people who were keen on the investment. “The police raided the hotel and seized three RM50 notes and equipment to ‘clean’ money, which was believed to have been used in the scam,” ACP Izany said at a press conference at the Kuala Lumpur police contingent headquarters here on Thursday. Following the man’s arrest, a police team went to an apartment in Jalan Imbi here and picked up the 46-year-old Filipina. Five bundles of US$100 and three bundles of RM50, which were suspected to be fake, were seized from the apartment. Police also seized three bundles of white paper the size of RM50 and US1 dollar notes. – Bernama Follow Us Other Stories: Malaysia quarantines 64 villagers over MERS virus Abductors demand $11.3M for Chinese Abu Sayyaf-linked kidnappers trying to slip into Jolo island Abu Sayyaf kidnappers telephone Chinese victim’s family Recent Stories: Complete stories Read More …

Apr 182014
DoH denies Filipino nurse no longer positive for MERS virus

INQUIRER.net 5:55 pm | Friday, April 18th, 2014 Health Secretary Enrique Ona: No risk MANILA, Philippines–The Department of Health has denied reports that the Filipino quarantined for the Middle East Respiratory Syndrome-Corona Virus (MERS-CoV) no longer tested positive for the virus. “No official report yet,” Secretary Enrique Ona said in a text message to INQUIRER.net on Friday. The Philippine News Agency reported that the male nurse who is suspected to be infected with the virus no longer tested positive for MERS-CoV. The report was later taken down from the agency website. The male nurse had contact with another Filipino health worker who died of the virus in United Arab Emirates. The nurse arrived in Manila on Wednesday. The nurse’s family members who fetched him at the airport were also quarantined. On Twitter, Health Undersecretary Eric Tayag said that with the Filipino health workers’ case, the Philippines has become the 12th country and the first in Asia outside the Middle East with laboratory-confirmed MERS-CoV. RELATED STORY WHO warns vs spread of MERS-Cov, urges vigilance in taking precautions Follow Us Other Stories: WHO warns vs spread of MERS-Cov, urges vigilance in taking precautions Malaysia quarantines 64 villagers over MERS virus PH asks airline passengers to check for MERS No travel restrictions to Middle East amid MERS-CoV scare Recent Stories: Complete stories on our Digital Edition newsstand for tablets, netbooks and mobile phones; 14-issue free trial. About to step out? Get breaking alerts on your mobile.phone. Text ON INQ BREAKING to 4467, for Read More …

Apr 172014
San Francisco business coalition slams proposed tax on sugary drinks

INQUIRER.net US Bureau 6:38 am | Friday, April 18th, 2014 • City board of supervisors start hearings on proposal • Tax proposed as public health measure • Opponents say it would raise prices on all food and beverages SAN FRANCISCO, California — A local coalition of small business owners declared opposition to a beverage tax as the city’s supervisors held a public hearing April 16 on a proposed ballot measure that would impose a 2¢ per-ounce tax on most sugar-sweetened beverages sold in the city. The Drop the Beverage Tax coalition argued “it is not just a tax on soda. This is a tax on juice drinks, ice teas, powdered drinks, sports drinks, and hundreds of other beverages.” It further claimed that If approved by voters in November, the tax would increase the price of some products by as much as 75 percent. “A proposal to tax hundreds of beverages in San Francisco will have the unintended consequence of raising prices on all foods and beverages at a time when San Franciscans confront a growing affordability gap.” Supervisor Scott Wiener proposed the measure, claiming that the tax would create an estimated $31 million annually that would be used to fund recreation and nutrition programs in schools and elsewhere. Weiner argued that sugary beverages cause an epidemic of health problems including diabetes and obesity among adults, teenagers and even young children. “The last thing we need is to add tens of millions dollars a year to the cost of doing business,” Read More …

Apr 172014
Filipina Maryknoll sister honored for years of service

INQUIRER.net US Bureau 6:29 am | Friday, April 18th, 2014 Sister Margarita Jamias speaking at the centennial celebration of Miriam College. CONTRIBUTED PHOTO MARYKNOLL, New York – Maryknoll Sister Margarita Jamias was recently honored for her years of “exemplary service” on the Board of Trustees for Miriam College, Quezon City, Philippines. Sister Margarita, who served on the Board from 2010-2013, was honored for her singular efforts in pioneering the college’s Nuvali campus. She was also cited for other unique contributions, including building links between the school and the Maryknoll Ecological Sanctuary, a resource center for organizations, schools, institutions and the general public, seeking to study and appreciate the ecosystems of the Philippines. Since entering Maryknoll Sisters in 1960, Sister Margarita, a Filipina, has served as an educator and administrator on the primary, secondary and college levels in Guatemala and her native Philippines. She has also worked in community development, pastoral ministry, and empowerment of women in Nicaragua. Following several years as Missions Project funding coordinator for her congregation, Sister Margarita moved to Baguio, where she served as advocate for “justice, peace and integrity of creation” and a resource person for the Maryknoll Ecological Sanctuary and chair of the Association of Women Religious of Baguio-Benguet. She currently conducts “The Journey of the Universe,” a seminar exploring the origins of the cosmos and the challenges facing people today. Founded by Maryknoll Sisters in 1926 as a teacher-training program, Miriam College began as Malabon Normal School, later evolving into Maryknoll College, and finally Read More …

Apr 162014
Netizens welcome Japan’s visa-free travel plan

By Bong LozadaINQUIRER.net 8:21 pm | Wednesday, April 16th, 2014 MANILA, Philippines—Even without an official announcement, and decision, for a visa-free travel for Filipinos to Japan, Netizens are all hyped up for the possibility. On Tuesday, talks were underway to lift the visa requirement of Filipinos, Indonesians and Vietnamese travelling to Japan. It was a unanimous message on Twitter that Filipinos are elated for the possibility. One Jean Austin Rogers is “looking forward” for the new opportunity. Another user, who goes by the handle Primeputri, said that the visa-free travel is “dream come true.” Jelito de Leon may not be pretty elated with the news but he is one of those “glass is half-full” people. “I have my fingers crossed for the visa-free Japan trips for Filipinos!” he said on his Twitter account. A Twitter user who goes by the handle Dude Interrupted have a more direct emotion toward the news. “Eat this HK!” he posted after Hong Kong required Philippine visas for Filipinos travelling to the country. RELATED STORIES Visa-free travel to Japan could boost tourism Japan mulls no visa rule for Filipinos Japan now issuing multiple-entry visas to Filipinos Follow Us Other Stories: Visa-free travel to Japan could boost tourism Japan backs PH in case before UN Japan mulls no visa rule for Filipinos South Korea, Japan to hold talks on comfort women Recent Stories: Complete stories on our Digital Edition newsstand for tablets, netbooks and mobile phones; 14-issue free trial. About to step out? Get breaking alerts on your mobile.phone. Text ON INQ BREAKING to Read More …

Apr 152014
DFA grants visa-free privilege to 7 countries

By Matikas SantosINQURER.net 6:32 pm | Tuesday, April 15th, 2014 Department of Foreign Affairs building INQUIRER FILE PHOTO MANILA, Philippines – The Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) announced Tuesday that it has granted visa-free privileges to seven countries allowing their nationals to enter Philippines for 30 days. “Effective today, April 15, nationals of seven (7) additional countries will now enjoy visa-free privilege to enter the Philippines for a period of stay of 30 days,” DFA said in a statement. “These countries are Belize, Croatia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan,” it said. The granting of visa-free privilege is seen to promote tourism and investments from the countries. “The [countries] have been emerging as key players in the international economic community and which have growing bilateral ties with the Philippines,” DFA said. “The DFA fully supports national efforts to attract more tourists and potential investors to the Philippines. In particular, the DFA, through its various embassies and consulates abroad, has been playing an active role in helping the Department of Tourism reach its target of 10 million foreign tourist arrivals by 2015,” DFA Undersecretary Rafael Seguis, said in the statement. The DFA also announced that it has removed the visa-free privilege of Somalia putting back the need for Somalis to apply for a visa at Philippine Embassies or consulates. A list of all countries with visa-free privilege, now numbering 157, is available at the DFA website at https://www.dfa.gov.ph/index.php/site-administrator/visa-information. RELATED STORY Visa-free entry for Indian nationals Follow Us Other Stories: Japan mulls no Read More …

Apr 152014
Japan mulls no visa rule for Filipinos

INQUIRER.net 5:16 pm | Tuesday, April 15th, 2014 MANILA, Philippines – Talks are underway to finally lift the tough visa requirements for Filipinos to visit Japan, a report said Wednesday. Kyodo News reported that the Japanese government and its ruling coalition “are making arrangements” to waive the visa requirements for its visitors from Philippines, Indonesia and Vietnam. The lifting of the visa is part of the country’s “revised action plan due in June to make Japan a tourism-oriented country,” Kyodo News said quoting government sources. The measure also aims to increase Japan’s annual tourist arrivals to 20 million as the country prepares for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, the report said. The Japanese Embassy in Manila has yet to confirm the report. Japanese visa is known to be among the toughest to get for Filipino tourists in light of Japan’s strict requirements and screening process. The Japanese government has eased its visa policy for Southeast Asian countries last year by only issuing multiple-entry tourist visas to Filipinos. Previously, multiple-entry visas only cater to those visiting Japan due to commercial reasons,  artists and specialists (athletes, professors and government officials), and immediate family members of Japan residents. RELATED STORY Japan now issuing multiple-entry visas to Filipinos Follow Us Other Stories: South Korea, Japan to hold talks on comfort women Hiroo Onoda: Hero or villain? US to China: We will protect Philippines Japan envoy apologizes to PH for WW2 Recent Stories: Complete stories on our Digital Edition newsstand for tablets, netbooks and mobile phones; Read More …

Apr 152014
Remains of Filipino seaman killed over iPad to arrive home on Black Saturday

By Matikas SantosINQURER.net 4:22 pm | Tuesday, April 15th, 2014 FILE PHOTO MANILA, Philippines – The remains of a Filipino seaman who was killed by a robber in Honduras after he refused to give his iPad is set to be flown back home on April 19, Black Saturday, the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (OWWA) said Tuesday. The Filipino was identified as Jaycob Escobedo Gaban, an assistant cook on board the ship Norwegian Pearl since October 2013. “He was shot and killed by a robber during a port call on the island of Roatan last April 7, 2014,” OWWA said in a statement. “Gaban was reportedly in a restaurant holding his iPad when a man tried to snatch it from him. He was shot when he resisted to give his gadget. The perpetrator was already arrested and is now in custody of the national police and special forces in Honduras,” it said. Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) Secretary Rosalinda Dimapilis-Baldoz has instructed OWWA to extend full assistance to the wife and daughter of the deceased seaman who are residing in Sorsogon, Bicol. “OWWA is ready to release the death and burial benefits due the family of Gaban, plus scholarship and livelihood grant to the children and the spouse,” OWWA said. According to records of the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA), there are 366,865 sea-based workers as of 2012. Follow Us Other Stories: Filipino in UAE dies from MERS Leland Yee smuggling case spurs review of exportation procedures Charity football for Read More …

Apr 142014
OWWA promises aid to family of MERS-CoV fatality

By Matikas SantosINQUIRER.net 10:09 am | Tuesday, April 15th, 2014 Labor Secretary Rosalinda Baldoz. INQUIRER FILE PHOTO MANILA, Philippines – The Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (OWWA) assured that it will provide assistance to the family of the Filipino who died from the Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) virus in the United Arab Emirates (UAE). The Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) confirmed Monday that the Filipino, a medical worker in Al Ain, died after contracting the deadly MERS-Coronavirus (CoV) that has claimed 88 lives worldwide according to the latest figures of the World Health Organization (WHO). Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) Secretary Rosalinda Dimapilis-Baldoz said in a statement Tuesday that she has instructed OWWA Administrator Carmelita Dimzon to provide full assistance to the victim’s family. Five other Filipino health workers were also infected and have been put in quarantine, according to the DFA. “Our people in the [Philippine Overseas Labor Office in Abu Dhabi] are regularly sending us updates on the other Filipinos who have reportedly been in contact with the Filipino nurse before his death. The other co-workers, all nurses, are quarantined in a hospital and are under close observation,” Baldoz said. “We hope and pray that they will recover soon and that they will be safe from the killer virus,” Dimzon said in the same statement. The body of the Filipino who died is set to be cremated as soon as documents have been processed, OWWA said. According to records of the WHO, at least 212 cases of Read More …