by Aileen Cerrudo | Posted on Friday, May 10th, 2019
The Philippines, United States (US), Japan, and India navies sailed together in the South China Sea as part of the maritime cooperative activity.
This is the first phase of the ASEAN-Plus Defense Ministers’ Meeting Maritime Security Field Training Exercise (ADMM-Plus MARSEC FTX) 2019 in Busan, Republic of Korea.
The Philippine Navy patrol vessel, BRP Andres Bonifacio (PS17) joined in the quadrilateral sail together with Japan Maritime Self Defense Force vessel, JS Izumo (DDH-183) and JS Murasame (DD-101), Indian Navy Ships, INS Kolkata (D63) and Shakti (A57), and the United States Pacific Fleet vessel, USS William P. Lawrence (DDG-110).
According to Captain Roy Vincent T. Trinidad, who is leading the Philippine Navy delegation for the ADMM-Plus maritime exercise, “The group sail showed the active participation of the Philippine Navy as it strengthens its relationships with allies and partners in the Asia-Pacific region. This gives us another opportunity to learn from like-minded navies.”
For the week-long transit, the ships conducted a series of training exercises and social interactions.
The ships will transit through the West Philippine Sea where the conduct of “freedom of safe navigation” is applied in support of a rules-based international system benefiting all countries.
by Robie de Guzman | Posted on Thursday, March 21st, 2019
MANILA, Philippines – Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) Founding Chairman Nur Misuari has threatened to go to war against the government if the proposed shift to federalism is rejected, President Rodrigo Duterte revealed on Wednesday.
Duterte met with Misuari in Malacañang on Tuesday night upon the latter’s return from his trip to Morocco and the United Arab Emirates. This was already their second meeting in less than a month since the formal ratification of the Bangsamoro Organic Law (BOL).
The BOL was the result of the government’s negotiations with the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF), which was established by former MNLF members.
“Sabi ni Misuari kagabi (Misuari told me last night), if you do not give it [federalism] to me, let me be very honest. I will go to war,” Duterte said during a campaign sortie of the PDP-Laban in Marikina City on Wednesday.
The President said he assured Misuari that he understands his stand but the approval of the proposal as well as the type of the federal system to be used depends on Congress. The 1987 Philippine Constitution would also have to be amended to enable the shift to federalism.
Duterte also said that a panel will be formed between the government and MNLF for the negotiations.
“Let’s form a panel because you have to inform the people. We cannot negotiate secretly here. Sabi ko, (I told him) day-to-day they will be briefed kung ano ang outcome (about the outcome). How gusto mong ma-apply ‘yang federal system sa gusto mo (how do you want the federal system to be applied). Will it be like the BOL or a different type?” he said.
Malacañang, meanwhile, denied allegations that Duterte’s move to reveal Misuari’s warning is meant to influence the Congress and the public to approve the proposed federalism.
Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo said the President only wanted to let the public know about the importance of the bill.
“He responded to that and said, if it fails, we will be dying together. Ibig sabihin, lalabanan kita, ‘yun ang ibig sabihin ni President, lalabanan mo gobyerno, eh di lalabanan din kita, (it means, I will fight against you, that was what the President meant. If you go against the government then I will also fight you.)” Panelo said.
Although the MNLF’s threat is serious, Panelo said that Misuari has also expressed hope that federalism will be realized during Duterte’s term.
The shift to federalism is one of Duterte’s campaign promises.
The House of Representatives had passed its version of the proposed Charter Amendment while the Senate has yet to tackle the bill. – Robie de Guzman (with details from Rosalie Coz)
Although the search for an Argentine Navy submarine that went missing a year ago off the country’s Atlantic Coast ended when it was discovered by a private company on Friday (November 16), the family of the crew continue to have questions about their loved ones.
The ARA San Juan submarine was discovered by marine tracking contractor Ocean Infinity, 907 meters (2,975 feet) below the ocean surface. The vessel was found in an underwater canyon with its tail partially “imploded,” Argentina’s Defense Minister Oscar Aguad said on Saturday (November 17).
The wife of one of the crew members on Sunday (November 18) said, “I’m demanding that they refloat the submarine. I need proof of my husband, I need something from him because it’s the only way that I will be able to rest and for him to rest in peace and to be able to give an answer to an eight-year-old boy that is still waiting for his dad.”
At a Saturday (November 17) news conference Aguad said he could neither confirm nor deny if the vessel could be recovered, but said the government did “not have the means to raise the submarine.”
The disappearance gripped the nation’s attention as the government struggled to provide information about the tragedy.
The disaster spurred soul-searching over the state of the military in Argentina, which after a series of financial crises has one of Latin America’s smallest defense budgets relative to the size of its economy. Some families of missing crew members blamed the government for underfunding the Navy. — Reuters
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