MANILA, Philippines — Foreign Affairs Secretary Alan Peter Cayetano forefronts economic progress as the reason why the ASEAN foreign ministers, in their statement on Tuesday, did not highlight the arbitral ruling favoring Philippines over China in the West Philippine Sea dispute.
“There is no doubt we do not like the actions of some players including China in the past, but we need to have progress. If you go back in the past just to scold, it’s regressive,” he said.
Former national security adviser Rolio Golez said the Duterte administration is balancing out our relations with China given the economic benefits from our engagement with them.
“They want to avoid an irritant. The Philippines as the host, the president would like to strengthen the economic engagement with China, economic package that we got last year, project, loans, credit, grants, investments and also trade, so they are giving that priority right now,” said Golez.
However, Golez voiced out his concern that the Philippines’ refusal to assert its rights over the West Philippine Sea might affect its position in the long run.
“Medyo delikado ang trade off na iyon (That trade off can be dangerous). Hindi natin alam ano ang magiging epekto nito sa ating paninindigan (We do not know how it will affect our stand) because we will have to negotiate the arbitral ruling. Now, a lot of people are worried, including myself that this might weaken our position in the end,” he said.
Director of the Institute for Maritime Affairs and Law of the Sea, Atty. Jay Batongbacal, meanwhile believes it is a small victory already that the ASEAN ministers emphasized the importance of non-militarization, even if China is finished with its installations in the disputed waters.
He added, however that the consistencies in the statements of Sec. Cayetano and Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi prove that the two countries have reached an accord and are coordinated in terms of their respective positions in the issue.
Many are expecting that at the end of the ASEAN meetings this year, under the chairmanship of the Philippines, ASEAN will finalize the code of conduct that might be legally binding for all countries that have overlapping claims on some areas in the West Philippines Sea. — Joyce Balancio | UNTV News & Rescue
Chinese Air Force patrol South China Sea
The People’s Liberation Army (PLA) Air Force recently conducted a combat air patrol in the South China Sea, said a military spokesperson on Thursday.
PLA Spokesperson Shen Jinke said their mission was to fly through the ‘first island chain’ information. The various bombers flying over the Bashi channel and then the South China Sea took off to regroup into the formation.
All warplanes have completed their training sorties and patrolling missions on the same day.
According to Shen, the 19th National Congress of the Communist Party of China has directed the air force to combat-oriented and combat-ready training and patrols to better tackle possible aerial challenges over the seas.
Currently, the PLA Air Force is transforming into a modernized strategic service capable of combating all over the territorial airspace. The 400,000 air force service people all bear in mind their missions for the new era. They are working harder to enhance striking, defending and force projecting capabilities, to better safeguard national sovereignty, security, peace, and development,” said the spokesperson.
The Chinese Air Force started regular high seas training in 2015. — Reuters
Uber breach, cover-up trigger government probes around the globe
The scope of the repercussions Uber will face for the October 2016 data breach began to take shape Wednesday with governments around the world opening investigations.
Authorities in Britain, Australia, and the Philippines said they would investigate Uber’s response to the data breach. London’s transport regulator, which has been in discussions with Uber after stripping it of its license to operate, said it was pressing Uber for details.
Canada’s privacy watchdog said that it had asked Uber for details on the breach, though it had not launched a formal investigation.
Attorney general offices in at least six U.S. States along with the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) have announced they are looking into the matter. Some states are likely to go after Uber for breaking laws on data breach notification within a reasonable period of time.
Uber said that it has been in touch with the FTC and several states to discuss a hack and pledged to cooperate.
Uber fired its chief security officer, Joe Sullivan, and a deputy, Craig Clark, over their role in handling the hack. — Reuters
BOC’s computer system upgrade to help increase revenue collection
MANILA, Philippines – World Bank will fund the $200-million computer system upgrade of the Bureau of Customs (BOC).
BOC Commissioner Isidro Lapeña said the Bureau’s computer system needs improvement that will reach the global standard.
“It will be a computer system that will be on par with the other countries, not only in ASEAN but also with the World Customs Organization. It will be a top of the line system,” Lapeña said.
Commissioner Lapeña believes this project will help eradicate corruption in BOC and increase revenue collection.
“If we can have that automation, It will help a lot, improve our revenue collection a lot. Trade facilitation will be there because when the data enter an office, it will enter into all other offices, it can be used. So less human intervention. So many things will be corrected if we will have full automation,” Lapeña said.
Meanwhile, Lapeña also boasted of the Bureau’s revenue collection in October which reached P42-billion.
He said this has been the highest monthly collection in the history of BOC.
“But under my time, we have met iyong (the) monthly target, above the monthly target. If we will just correct the procedures now–no benchmarking, ‘tara’ will be reduced or eradicated. Eliminate corruption, then we should be able to hit our target next year,” Lapeña said. – Leslie Longboen | UNTV News & Rescue