Thursday, September 22, 2016

Pres. Rodrigo Roa Duterte

Rodrigo "Rody" Roa Duterte (born March 28, 1945), also known as Digong,is the 16th President of the Philippines, in office since 2016.He is the first Mindanaoan to hold the office, and the fourth of Visayan descent. Duterte was among the longest-serving mayors in the Philippines and was Mayor of Davao City, a highly urbanized city on Mindanao island, for seven terms, totalling more than 22 years. A lawyer and former prosecutor, he has also served as vice-mayor and as congressman for the city. Duterte's political success has been aided by his vocal support for the extrajudicial killing of drug users and criminals.Human rights groups have documented over 1,400 killings allegedly by vigilante groups occurring in Davao between 1998 and May 2016; the victims were mainly drug users, petty criminals and street children.Duterte denied any involvement in the said vigilante groups.In a January 2016 decision by the Office of the Ombudsman on the investigation conducted by the Commission on Human Rights on the alleged death squad in Davao between 2005 and 2009, the Ombudsman found no evidence to support "the killings attributed or attributable to the Davao Death Squad, much less the involvement of Mayor Rodrigo Duterte" to said acts. On May 9, 2016, Duterte won the Philippine presidential election, garnering 16,601,997 votes (39.01% of total votes cast, and 6.6 million votes ahead of closest rival Mar Roxas).His domestic policy has focused on combating illegal drug trade by initiating the Philippine Drug War. Following criticism from United Nations human rights experts that extrajudicial killings had increased since the election, he threatened to withdraw the Philippines from the UN and form a new organization with China and African nations.His administration has also vowed to pursue an "independent foreign policy" that would reject any meddling by foreign governments.

Early Life

Duterte was born on March 28, 1945, in Maasin (now the capital of Southern Leyte but was then part of the insular province of Leyte in the Philippine Commonwealth).His father was Cebuano lawyer Vicente G. Duterte and his mother was Soledad Roa, a native of Cabadbaran, Agusan, who was a school teacher and a civic leader of Maranao descent. Duterte's father Vicente, prior to being provincial governor of (the then-undivided) Davao province, was once an acting mayor of Danao, Cebu. Rodrigo's cousin Ronald, on the other hand, served as Cebu City mayor from 1983 to 1986. Ronald's father, Ramon Duterte, also held the position from 1957 to 1959. The Dutertes consider the Cebu-based political families of the Durano and the Almendras clan as relatives.Duterte also has relatives from the Roa clan in Leyte through his mother's side.Before they resettled to Davao, Duterte's family briefly lived in his birthplace in Maasin, Leyte, and in his father's hometown in Danao, Cebu, until he was four years old. The Dutertes initially moved to Mindanao in 1948 but still go back and forth to the Visayas until 1949.They finally settled in the Davao Region in 1950. Vicente as a lawyer engaged in private practice, while Soledad taught in public schools as a teacher. Mrs Duterte, however, retired as a supervisor in 1952 when her lawyer-husband entered politics there.

Education

Duterte went to Laboon Elementary School in Maasin, for a year.He spent his remaining elementary days at the Santa Ana Elementary School in Davao City, where he graduated in 1956. He finished his secondary education in the High School Department of the then Holy Cross College of Digos (now Cor Jesu College) in today's city of Digos in the now defunct Davao province, after being expelled twice from previous schools, including one in Ateneo de Davao University High School due to misconduct.At the tertiary level, he graduated in 1968 with a Bachelor of Arts degree in political science at the Lyceum of the Philippines in Manila. He also obtained a law degree from San Beda College of Law, still in Manila, in 1972. In the same year, he passed the bar exam. Duterte eventually became Special Counsel at the City Prosecution Office in Davao City from 1977–79; Fourth Assistant City Prosecutor from 1979–81; Third Assistant City Prosecutor from 1981–83; and Second Assistant City Prosecutor from 1983–86. Duterte claimed publicly to have shot a fellow student while in law school for allegedly bullying him because of his Visayan origins. His victim, however, survived, and although Duterte was prohibited from participating in the commencement march, he did graduate.

Early Political Career

After the 1986 People Power Revolution, Duterte was appointed officer-in-charge vice mayor. In 1988, he ran for mayor and won, serving until 1998. He set a precedent by designating deputy mayors that represented the Lumad and Moro peoples in the city government, which was later copied in other parts of the Philippines. In 1998, because he was term-limited to run again for mayor, he ran for the House of Representatives and won as Congressman of the 1st District of Davao City (under the Laban ng Makabayang Masang Pilipino coalition). In 2001, he ran again for mayor in Davao and was again elected for his fourth term. He was re-elected in 2004 and in 2007. Davao City under Duterte won the National Literacy Hall of Fame Award for being a three-time first-place winner in the Outstanding Local Government Unit, Highly Urbanized City category. In 2013, Davao City sent rescue and medical teams to Tacloban to give aid to the victims of Typhoon Haiyan, locally known in the country as Typhoon Yolanda. Financial assistance was also given to Bohol and Cebu for the earthquake victims. One article of Time magazine shows him patrolling in Davao City's streets on one of his big motorcycles, leading a convoy complete with blaring sirens and M16 rifles. Local news reports show him foregoing the pomp, opting to inspect in a regular taxi, surprising his would-be passengers. Though openly supportive of the killings of habitual drug users and dealers, Duterte used city government funds to build a ₱12-million drug rehabilitation and treatment center which provides 24-hour services. In 2003, he offered a ₱2,000 monthly allowance to drug addicts who personally approached him and committed to kick the habit. Duterte is also publicly known for visiting remote New People's Army camps negotiating peace transaction efforts and advocating diplomacy. Duterte was also the first mayor in the Philippines to give formal representation to the indigenous Lumad and Muslim community, designating deputy mayors to represent their interests in the local government. The anti-discrimination ordinance he mandated, was reportedly a response to news he received that Muslims were being discriminated against by real estate agents. In 2010, he was elected vice mayor, succeeding his daughter, Sara Duterte-Carpio, who was elected as mayor. He has been offered the Interior Secretary post 4 times, by presidents Fidel V. Ramos, Joseph Ejercito Estrada, Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, and Benigno S. Aquino III but rejected all of them. In April 2014, he also declined a nomination for the World Mayor Prize, given by an international body to outstanding mayors saying "he was just doing his job."[27] Among the other awards Duterte also refused to accept for Davao City include the one given by the American Cancer Society and the 2010 anti-smoking award in Singapore.

Law and Order

Through the support of Duterte, the City Council amended ordinance No. 1627, Series of 1994, to impose a prohibition on selling, serving, drinking and consuming alcoholic beverages from 01:00 until 08:00 each morning. Executive Order No. 39 was signed by Duterte, reducing the speed limits for all kinds of motor vehicles within the territorial jurisdiction of Davao City in the interest of public safety and order.Duterte also signed Executive Order No. 04, Series of 2013 to impose an order creating the implementing of rules and regulations for the new comprehensive anti-smoking ordinance no. 0367-12, Series of 2012.Davao City's Firecracker Ban was also implemented with ordinance No. 060-02/1406-02, Series of 2002 by the City Council through the support of Duterte. Another known accomplishment was that the City Government of Davao was able to acquire 10 more ambulances for central 911 intended for medical emergencies and 42 new mobile patrol vehicles and motorcycles for the Davao City Police Office (the first and only 9-1-1 emergency telephone number in Asia which is also free of charge).Duterte, through Executive Order No. 24, ordered all shopping malls and commercial centers to install, operate and maintain high end and high definition closed circuit television (CCTV) cameras at all entrance and exit points of their premises. Duterte also passed the city's Women Development Code, the first and only in the country, which aims "to uphold the rights of women and the belief in their worth and dignity as human beings" and pushed for the Magna Carta for Women in Davao. It is a comprehensive women's human rights law that seeks to eliminate discrimination against women.

Crime Rate

Reuters reported in May 2016 that according to national police Davao has the highest murder rate and the second highest rape rate among 15 Philippine cities, and that locals think that the city has become safer because of Duterte's campaigns against drugs and crime. Crime figures reported by Duterte, stated that crime in the city was significantly reduced during the period 1985–2000. Duterte suggested that there had been a decrease in crime from a triple-digit crime rate per 1,000 people in 1985, to 0.8 cases per 10,000 inhabitants in the period 1999 to 2005. Furthermore, according to police statistics, the population in Davao City grew from 1.12 million to 1.44 million between 1999 and 2008 (29 per cent). In the corresponding period, the incidence of reported crime rose from 975 to 3,391 (248 per cent). The number of index crimes have significantly decreased since 2013 and 2015, with most killings occurring during police operations.

Advocacy

In 2014, Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte initiated the holding of a summit: "I am calling on all responsible leaders in the island, from government and civil society organizations, from the business and academe sectors, the leaders of the Church, the military and the youth, let us all forge a well-informed, united front, so we could craft a collective plan of action for Mindanao's true identity reflective of what its peoples and tribes truly wish and aspire for", Duterte said in a statement. Among those who were invited to attend were former President Fidel V. Ramos, Msgr. Fernando Capalla, Ateneo de Davao University President Fr. Joel Tabora, former Mindanao Economic Development Council chair Paul G. Dominguez, and retired General Hermogenes Esperon. Local government heads from Mindanao cities, towns and provinces were also expected to attend, as well as Catholic bishops and Muslim religious leaders. In September 2014, Duterte met with former mayors and governors in an initial effort to revive calls for a federal form of government. The group, which called itself Mindanao Council of Leaders, made their position public after an informal caucus. Present during the said meeting were Bukidnon Governor Jose Maria Zubiri, former Cagayan de Oro mayors Reuben Canoy and Vicente Emano, former Zamboanga del Norte congressman Romeo Jalosjos, and former Davao del Norte representative Pantaleon Alvarez. A month later, Duterte was in Cebu City and met with Cebu officials. The event was sponsored by the Federal Movement for a Better Philippines and coincided with the induction of its new set of officers held at the Sacred Heart Center in Cebu City.

Presidential Bid

As early as the first quarter of 2015, Duterte made hints to the media of his intention to run for president in the 2016 elections. However, he denied these plans numerous times amidst clamor from his supporters for him to run. On October 16, 2015, on the last day of filing for certificates of candidacy, Martin Diño filed his intent to run for president under Duterte's party, PDP-Laban. Duterte's supporters clamored for the possibility that Duterte be fielded as a substitute candidate for Diño, in the event that Diño gets disqualified or withdrew. On October 26, 2015, Duterte said on an interview that the deadline for his last decision if he will seek the presidency is on December 10. He also warned the people to abide by the law if he wins.On October 27, PDP-Laban has made it official that Duterte will substitute as the party's presidential bet if aspirant Martin Diño withdraws or is disqualified by the Commission of Elections (Comelec) from the 2016 race.Two days later, PDP-Laban standard bearer Martin Diño officially withdrew his presidential bid and named Duterte as his substitute because of the possibility that Diño might be declared a nuisance candidate by COMELEC. On October 30, an alleged campaign video of Duterte and Cayetano circulated on social media that put hopes on Duterte's candidacy as Cayetano's running mate. However, Duterte's aide Bong Go said on an interview that Duterte's mind hasn't changed yet but will continue on soul-searching with his family to know if he's going to run in the upcoming elections.On November 1, Duterte said that nothing still hasn't changed and he isn't fit for national office. He also said that he is still waiting for an official communication from his party about his possible candidacy; Duterte will also wait if his daughter will agree to substitute for him at the mayoral race of Davao and he will retire from public service if Sara agreed to do so.On November 2, Parish Pastoral Council for Responsible Voting (PPCRV) executive Dr. Arwin Serrano said that Martin Diño is deemed to face an election sabotage complaint because of proposing Duterte as his substitute for him, however, Diño denied the allegations that his filing of candidacy is just a front to pave the way for Duterte's possible substitution.In an interview with Comelec Chairman Andres D. Bautista on November 3, he stated that, although they have noted Diño's withdrawal, he additionally mentioned that they won't move with any further action with regard to a possible substitution until they have Duterte's consent and unless it would be made official with a COC and a certificate of nomination and acceptance from PDP-Laban.Duterte himself then further clarified that his decision of acceptance for the substitution offer would be on the deadline itself come December 10. On November 21 in a private gathering with fraternity brothers from San Beda College of Law, Duterte formally announced his presidential bid and also finally accepted Alan Peter Cayetano's offer to be his running mate.Duterte said he is disappointed over the decision made by the Senate Electoral Tribunal (SET) regarding Grace Poe's citizenship as well as the current administration's handling of the 'laglag-bala' issue.Duterte further stated that he will file his candidacy immediately after he reached out to his party. On November 27, 2015, Duterte filed his certificate of candidacy for president through his representative Atty. Salvador Medialdea in Metro Manila shortly after withdrawing his COC for Davao City mayoralty re-election. The document was filed along with a certificate of nomination and acceptance from PDP-Laban signed by Duterte and the party's vice president, Engr. Salvador Ty. In withdrawing his COC for Davao City mayor, Duterte named his daughter, Sara, as his substitute. Sara formally submitted the document for substitution at Comelec Davao and both COCs were received. The validity of Duterte's substitution was further assessed by Comelec and on December 7, Comelec rejected a petition to designate Martin Diño as a nuisance candidate and while the Comelec legal department has assured Duterte that the first COC he filed through a representative was valid, he personally filed his COC at the Comelec national office in Intramuros, Manila on December 8 to formalize his bid for the presidency in the 2016 elections. An estimated 500 people showed up, including students from Duterte's alma mater Lyceum of the Philippines, to express their support. On December 17, Comelec officially recognized Duterte's substitution of Martin Diño as PDP-Laban's presidential candidate for the May 2016 elections. Comelec Chairman Andres "Andy" D. Bautista said in a press conference on the same day: “ This means he (Duterte) is now in our list of candidates. So that was an administrative decision that the Comelec en banc made. ” The poll body voted 6–1 in favor of recognizing Duterte's candidacy. Comelec Senior Commissioner Christian Robert Lim pointed out that Comelec has two functions — administrative and quasi-judicial. The decision on Duterte's candidacy, he said, is administrative.

Presidency

On May 30, 2016, the 16th Congress of the Philippines proclaimed Duterte as the President-elect of the Philippines after he topped the official count by the Congress of the Philippines on May 27, 2016, with 16,601,997 votes, 6.6 million more than his closest rival, Mar Roxas. At the age of 71, Duterte became the oldest person ever elected to the presidency, after former President Sergio Osmeña. Duterte is also the first local chief executive to get elected straight to the Office of the President, the second Cebuano to become president (after Osmeña), the third Cebuano-speaking president (after Osmeña and Garcia), the first Visayan from Mindanao and the fourth Visayan overall (after Osmeña, Roxas and Garcia).

First Day

Duterte's presidency began following his inauguration on June 30, 2016 at the Rizal Ceremonial Hall of the Malacañang Palace in Manila, which was attended by more than 627 guests.Shortly after his inauguration, Duterte held his first Cabinet meeting to lay out their first agenda, which included the country's disaster risk reduction management, decongesting the Ninoy Aquino International Airport in Manila, the country's main gateway, and expressed his ideas and concerns regarding the territorial disputes in the South China Sea prior to the announcement of the verdict of the Philippines' arbitration case against China over the issue,which the Philippines later won.Four days later, on July 4, Duterte issued his first executive order entitled "Reengineering the Office of the President Towards Greater Responsiveness to the Attainment of Development Goals", allowing his Cabinet Secretary, Leoncio Evasco, Jr., to supervise over several agencies that focus on poverty reduction.On July 23, Duterte signed Executive Order No. 2 also known as the Freedom of Information Order. Duterte meets with Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev, September 8, 2016 On August 1, 2016, Duterte launched a 24-hour complaint office accessible to the public through a nationwide complaint hotline, 8888, while also changing the country's emergency telephone number from 117 to 911.On August 7, Duterte delivered his I am sorry for my country speech wherein he revealed the names of more than a hundred government officials that were discovered to be involved in illegal drug trade. On the same day, Duterte approved the burial of former President Ferdinand Marcos at the Heroes' Cemetery in Taguig scheduled for September 18, saying that Marcos is qualified for the burial at the cemetery due to him being a "former president and a soldier". The decision drew criticism from various Marcos critics, particularly victims of abuse during the Martial Law era and participants of the People Power Revolution among others, claiming that Marcos is unfit to be buried at that particular cemetery due to his policies that were regarded as dictatorial. On September 2, 2016, an explosion that rocked a night market in Duterte's hometown, Davao City, killed at least 14 people and injured 70 others, which the militant group Abu Sayyaf initially claimed responsibility for, but later claimed that their other allies were also responsible for the attack.Following the attack, Duterte declared a nationwide "state of lawless violence", giving authority to the Armed Forces of the Philippines and the Philippine National Police to conjointly conduct law enforcement operations, but he clarified that unlike martial law, declaring a "state of lawless violence" will not suspend the writ of habeas corpus. While adjusting to working and residing at the Malacañang Palace, Duterte divides his workweek between Manila and Davao City by spending three days in each city, utilizing the Malacañang of the South while in Davao.

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Friday, July 31, 2015

Macario Sakay

Macario Sakay y de León (c. 1870/8 – September 13, 1907) was a Filipino general who took part in the 1896 Philippine Revolution against the Spanish Empire and in the Philippine-American War. After the war was declared over by the United States in 1902, Sakay continued resistance and the following year became President of the Republic of Katagalugan.

Early life

Sakay was born around 1870 or 1878 along Tabora Street, Tondo, in the City of Manila. He first worked as an apprentice in a kalesa (carriage) manufacturing shop. He was also a tailor and a stage actor, performing in a number of plays including Principe Baldovino, Doce Pares de Francia, and Amante de la Corona.An original member of the Katipunan movement, of which he joined in 1894, he fought alongside Andrés Bonifacio against the Spanish throughout the Philippine Revolution.In 1899, he continued the struggle for Philippine independence against the United States. Early in the Philippine-American War, he was jailed for seditious activities, and later released as part of an amnesty.

After the war

Sakay was one of the founders of the Partido Nacionalista (unrelated to the present Nacionalista Party founded in 1907), which sought to achieve Philippine independence through legal means. The party appealed to the Philippine Commission, but the Commission passed the Sedition Law, which prohibited any form of propaganda advocating independence.Sakay thus took up arms again.

Tagalog Republic

Around 1902 Sakay established the Tagalog Republic somewhere in the mountains of Rizal. His first military circulars and presidential orders as "President and Commander-in-Chief" came in 1903.Sakay's military circular No. 1 was dated May 5, 1903, and his Presidential Order No. 1 was dated March 18, 1903.

Military organization

In Sakay's military circular No. 7, dated June 19, 1903, the government of the Tagalog Republic (called the "Republic of the Philippines") affirmed the formation of an organized army. The army units were composed of Kabohans (eight soldiers, equivalent to a squad), Camilleros (nine soldiers), Companias (117 soldiers, equivalent to a company, and Batalions (801 soldiers, equivalent to battalion).[3] However, in Sakay's Second Manifesto, dated April 5, 1904, it was said that the exact number of soldiers in his army could not be ascertained. There are insufficient documents to speculate on the size of the Republic's army, but they do demonstrate that Sakay's army existed and that it was made up of officers appointed and commissioned by Sakay himself.

In Sakay's presidential order No. 2, dated May 8, 1903, the government, in search of sources of weapons to carry out its struggle against the Americans, stated that it was willing to confer military rank on citizens who could turn over firearms to the Presidential Office or any of the headquarters under its command. Ranks would be conferred on the following schedule: 10 to 15 firearms, the rank of lieutenant; 16 to 25 firearms, the rank of captain; 26 to 36 firearms, the rank of major; 40 to 50 firearms, the rank of colonel. In Sakay's military order No. 5, dated May 25, 1903, the government assigned the following color codes for the divisions of its army: artillery (red), infantry (light blue), cavalry (dark blue), engineering (dark brown), chief-of-staff (dark green), sanitary (yellow), and marines (gray).

Planned kidnapping

According to General Leon Villafuerte, his, Carreon's and Sakay's forces planned to kidnap Alice Roosevelt Longworth, the daughter of President Theodore Roosevelt. The plan was to trade her with the Americans in exchange for the immediate recognition of Philippine independence. The kidnapping was not attempted since Longworth postponed her trip by train to Baguio.

Capture and execution

In 1905, Filipino labour leader Dominador Gómez was authorised by Governor-General Henry Clay Ide to negotiate for the surrender of Sakay and his men. Gómez met with Sakay at his camp and argued that the establishment of a national assembly was being held up by Sakay's intransigence, and that its establishment would be the first step toward Filipino independence. Sakay agreed to end his resistance on the condition that a general amnesty be granted to his men, that they be permitted to carry firearms, and that he and his officers be permitted to leave the country. Gómez assured Sakay that these conditions would be acceptable to the Americans, and Sakay's emissary, General León Villafuerte, obtained agreement to them from the American Governor-General.

Sakay believed that the struggle had shifted to constitutional means, and that the establishment of the assembly was a means to winning independence. As a result, he surrendered on 20 July 1906, descending from the mountains on the promise of an amnesty for him and his officials, and the formation of a Philippine Assembly composed of Filipinos that would serve as the "gate of freedom". With Villafuerte, Sakay travelled to Manila, where they were welcomed and invited to receptions and banquets. One invitation came from the Constabulary Chief, Colonel Harry H. Bandholtz; it was a trap, and Sakay along with his principal lieutenants were disarmed and arrested while the party was in progress.

At his trial, Sakay was accused of "bandolerismo under the Brigandage Act of Nov. 12, 1902, which interpreted all acts of armed resistance to American rule as banditry." The colonial Supreme Court of the Philippines upheld the decision.Sakay was sentenced to death, and hanged on 13 September 1907. Before his death, he made the following statement: Death comes to all of us sooner or later, so I will face the LORD Almighty calmly. But I want to tell you that we are not bandits and robbers, as the Americans have accused us, but members of the revolutionary force that defended our mother country, the Philippines! Farewell! Long live the Republic and may our independence be born in the future! Long live the Philippines! He was buried at Manila North Cemetery later that day.

In popular culture

  • Sakay is often cited for his long hair, and his name has become a byword in the Philippines for people needing a haircut.
  • Sakay is the subject of the biographical film Sakay directed by Raymond Red, in which he is portrayed by actor Julio Díaz.
  • A life-sized statue of Sakay was unveiled at the Plaza Morga in Tondo, by the Manila Historical Heritage Commission on 13 September 2008, the 101st anniversary of his death. That same month, the Senate adopted two separate resolutions honouring Sakay's life and his fellow freedom fighters for their contribution to the cause of independence.
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    Sen. Benigno Aquino Jr.

    Benigno Simeon "Ninoy" Aquino, Jr.(November 27, 1932 – August 21, 1983) was a Filipino Senator (1967–1972) and a former Governor of Tarlac. Aquino, together with Gerry Roxas and Jovito Salonga, formed the leadership of the opposition to the government of President Ferdinand Marcos. Shortly after the imposition of martial law, he was arrested in 1972 along with other dissidents and incarcerated for seven years. In 1980 Aquino was permitted to travel to the United States for medical treatment following a heart attack. He was assassinated at the Manila International Airport in 1983 upon returning from his self-imposed exile. His death catapulted his widow, Corazon Aquino, into the political limelight, and prompted her to run for president as member of the UNIDO party in the 1986 snap elections. Among other public structures, Manila International Airport has since been renamed Ninoy Aquino International Airport in his honour, and the anniversary of his death is a national holiday.

    Early life and career

    Benigno Simeón Aquino y Aquino was born in Concepcion, Tarlac on 27 November 1932, to a prosperous family of hacenderos, original owners of Hacienda Maling, Hacienda Sawang and Hacienda Murcia. His grandfather, Servillano Aquino, was a general in the revolutionary army of Emilio Aguinaldo, the first officially recognised President of the Philippines .

    His father, Benigno S. Aquino, Sr. (1894–1947) was the Speaker of the House of Representatives during the Japanese collaborationist government of José P. Laurel during the Second World War. His father was one of two politicians representing Tarlac during his lifetime, the other being José Cojuangco, father of his future wife. His mother, Doña Aurora Aquino-Aquino, was also his father's third cousin. His father died while Ninoy was in his teens prior to coming to trial on treason charges resulting from his collaboration with the Japanese during the latter's occupation of the country.

    aAquino was educated in different prominent schools—he finished his grade school education at Saint Joseph's College of Quezon City and high school education at San Beda College. Aquino took his tertiary education at Ateneo de Manila to obtain a Bachelor of Arts degree, but he interrupted his studies. According to one of his biographies, he considered himself to be an average student; his grade was not in the line of 90s nor did it fall into the 70s. At age 17, he was the youngest war correspondent to cover the Korean War for The Manila Times of Don Joaquín "Chino" Roces. Because of his journalistic feats, he received the Philippine Legion of Honor award from President Elpidio Quirino at age 18. At 21, he became a close adviser to then Defense Secretary Ramon Magsaysay. Aquino took up law at the University of the Philippines, where he became a member of Upsilon Sigma Phi, the same fraternity as Ferdinand Marcos. He interrupted his studies again however to pursue a career in journalism. According to Máximo Soliven, Aquino "later 'explained' that he had decided to go to as many schools as possible, so that he could make as many new friends as possible."[8] In early 1954, he was appointed by President Ramon Magsaysay, his wedding sponsor to his 1953 wedding at the Our Lady of Sorrows Church in Pasay with Corazon Cojuangco, to act as personal emissary to Luis Taruc, leader of the Hukbalahap rebel group. Aafter four months of negotiations, he was credited for Taruc's unconditional surrender and was given a second Philippine Legion of Honor award with the degree of Commander on October 14, 1954. He became mayor of Concepcion in 1955 at the age of 22.

    Political career

    Aquino gained an early familiarity with Philippine politics, as he was born into one of the Philippines' prominent oligarchic clans. His grandfather served under President Aguinaldo, while his father held office under Presidents Quezon and Jose P. Laurel. As a consequence, Aquino was able to be elected mayor when he was 22 years old. Five years later, he was elected the nation's youngest vice-governor at 27 (which record was erased by Jolo Revilla at the age of 25 in 2013). Two years later he became governor of Tarlac province in 1961 at age 29, then secretary-general of the Liberal Party in 1966. In 1967 he became the youngest elected senator in the country's history at age 34. In 1968, during his first year as senator, Aquino alleged that Marcos was on the road to establishing "a garrison state" by "ballooning the armed forces budget", saddling the defense establishment with "overstaying generals" and "militarizing our civilian government offices".

    Aquino became known as a constant critic of the Marcos regime, as his flamboyant rhetoric had made him a darling of the media. His most polemical speech, "A Pantheon for Imelda", was delivered on February 10, 1969. He assailed the Cultural Center, the first project of First Lady Imelda Marcos as extravagant, and dubbed it "a monument to shame" and labelled its designer "a megalomaniac, with a penchant to captivate". By the end of the day, the country's broadsheets had blared that he labelled the President's wife, his cousin Paz's former ward, and a woman he had once courted, "the Philippines' Eva Peron". President Marcos is said to have been outraged and labelled Aquino "a congenital liar". The First Lady's friends angrily accused Aquino of being "ungallant". These so-called "fiscalization" tactics of Aquino quickly became his trademark in the Senate.

    Early martial law years

    It was not until the Plaza Miranda bombing however—on August 21, 1971, 12 years to the day before Aquino's own assassination—that the pattern of direct confrontation between Marcos and Aquino emerged. At 9:15 pm, at the kick-off rally of the Liberal Party, the candidates had formed a line on a makeshift platform and were raising their hands as the crowd applauded. The band played, a fireworks display drew all eyes, when suddenly there were two loud explosions that obviously were not part of the show. In an instant the stage became a scene of wild carnage. The police later discovered two fragmentation grenades that had been thrown at the stage by "unknown persons". Eight people died, and 120 others were wounded, many critically. While Aquino was not present at the incident, the event rose to further political confrontation.

    Although suspicions pointed to the Nacionalistas (the political party of Marcos), Marcos allies sought to deflect this by insinuating that, perhaps, Aquino might have had a hand in the blast in a bid to eliminate his potential rivals within the party. Later, the Marcos government presented "evidence" of the bombings as well as an alleged threat of a communist insurgency, suggesting that the bombings were the handiwork of the growing New People's Army. Marcos made this a pretext to suspend the right of habeas corpus, vowed that the killers would be apprehended within 48 hours, and arrested a score of known "Maoists" on general principle. Ironically, the police captured one of the bombers, who was identified as a sergeant of the firearms and explosive section of the Philippine Constabulary, a military arm of the government. According to Aquino, this man was later snatched from police custody by military personnel and never seen again.

    President Marcos declared martial law on September 21, 1972 through proclamation 1081 and he went on air to broadcast his declaration on midnight of September 23.Aquino was one of the first to be arrested and imprisoned on trumped-up charges of murder, illegal possession of firearms and subversion. He was tried before Military Commission No. 2 headed by Major-General Jose Syjuco. On April 4, 1975, Aquino announced that he was going on a hunger strike, a fast to the death to protest the injustices of his military trial. Ten days through his hunger strike, he instructed his lawyers to withdraw all motions he had submitted to the Supreme Court. As weeks went by, he subsisted solely on salt tablets, sodium bicarbonate, amino acids, and two glasses of water a day. Even as he grew weaker, suffering from chills and cramps, soldiers forcibly dragged him to the military tribunal's session. His family and hundreds of friends and supporters heard Mass nightly at the Santuario de San Jose in Greenhills, San Juan, praying for his survival. Near the end, Aquino's weight had dropped from 54 to 36 kilos. Aquino nonetheless was able to walk throughout his ordeal. On May 13, 1975, on the 40th day, his family and several priests and friends, begged him to end his fast, pointing out that even Christ fasted only for 40 days. He acquiesced, confident that he had made a symbolic gesture. But he remained in prison, and the trial continued, drawn out for several years. On November 25, 1977, the Military Commission found Aquino guilty of all charges and sentenced him to death by firing squad.

    1978 elections, bypass surgery, exile

    In mid-March 1980, Aquino suffered a heart attack, possibly the result of seven years in prison, mostly in a solitary cell. He was transported to the Philippine Heart Center, where he suffered a second heart attack. ECG and other tests showed that he had a blocked artery. Philippine surgeons were reluctant to do a coronary bypass, because it could involve them in a controversy. In addition, Aquino refused to submit himself to Philippine doctors, fearing possible Marcos "duplicity"; he preferred to go to the United States for the procedure or return to his cell at Fort Bonifacio and die.

    Planning return

    Throughout his years of expatriation, Aquino was always aware that his life in the U.S. was temporary. He never stopped affirming his eventual return even as he enjoyed American hospitality and a peaceful life with his family on American soil. After spending 7 years and 7 months in prison, Aquino's finances were in ruins. Making up for the lost time as the family's breadwinner, he toured America; attending symposiums, lectures, and giving speeches in freedom rallies opposing the Marcos dictatorship. The most memorable was held at the Wilshire Ebell Theater in Los Angeles, California on February 15, 1981.

    In the first quarter of 1983, Aquino received news about the deteriorating political situation in his country and the rumored declining health of President Marcos (due to lupus). He believed that it was expedient for him to speak to Marcos and present to him his rationale for the country's return to democracy, before extremists took over and made such a change impossible. Moreover, his years of absence made his allies worry that the Filipinos might have resigned themselves to Marcos' strongman rule and that without his leadership the centrist opposition would die a natural death.

    Aquino decided to go back to the Philippines, fully aware of the dangers that awaited him. Warned that he would either be imprisoned or killed, Aquino answered, "if it's my fate to die by an assassin's bullet, so be it. But I cannot be petrified by inaction, or fear of assassination, and therefore stay in the side..." His family, however, learned from a Philippine Consular official that there were orders from Ministry of Foreign Affairs not to issue any passports for them. At that time, their passports had expired and their renewal had been denied. They therefore formulated a plan for Aquino to fly alone (to attract less attention), with the rest of the family to follow him after two weeks. Despite the government's ban on issuing him a passport, Aquino acquired one with the help of Rashid Lucman, a former Mindanao legislator and founder of the Bangsamoro Liberation Front, a Moro separatist group against Marcos. It carried the alias Marcial Bonifacio (Marcial for martial law and Bonifacio for Fort Bonifacio, his erstwhile prison). He eventually obtained a legitimate passport from a sympathizer working in a Philippine consulate through the help of Roque R. Ablan Jr, then a Congressman. The Marcos government warned all international airlines that they would be denied landing rights and forced to return if they tried to fly Aquino to the Philippines. Aquino insisted that it was his natural right as a citizen to come back to his homeland, and that no government could prevent him from doing so. He left Logan International Airport on August 13, 1983, took a circuitous route home from Boston, via Los Angeles to Singapore. In Singapore, then Tunku Ibrahim Ismail of Johor met Aquino upon his arrival in Singapore and later brought him to Johor to meet with other Malaysian leaders. Once in Johor, Aquino met up with Tunku Ibrahim's father, Sultan Iskandar, who was a close friend to Aquino.

    He then left for Hong Kong and on to Taipei. He had chosen Taipei as the final stopover when he learned the Philippines had severed diplomatic ties with the Republic of China (Taiwan). This made him feel more secure; the Taiwan government could pretend they were not aware of his presence. There would also be a couple of Taiwanese friends accompanying him. From Taipei he flew to Manila on then Taiwan's flag carrier China Airlines Flight 811.[citation needed]

    Marcos wanted Aquino to stay out of politics, however Aquino asserted his willingness to suffer the consequences declaring, "the Filipino is worth dying for." He wished to express an earnest plea for Marcos to step down, for a peaceful regime change and a return to democratic institutions. Anticipating the worst, at an interview in his suite at the Taipei Grand Hotel, he revealed that he would be wearing a bullet-proof vest, but he also said that "it's only good for the body, but in the head there's nothing else we can do." Sensing his own doom, he told the journalists accompanying him on the flight, "You have to be very ready with your hand camera because this action can become very fast. In a matter of a three or four minutes it could be all over, you know, and [laughing] I may not be able to talk to you again after this." His last televised interview, with journalist Jim Laurie, took place on the flight just prior to his assassination.In his last formal statement that he was not able to deliver, he said, "I have returned on my free will to join the ranks of those struggling to restore our rights and freedoms through non-violence. I seek no confrontation."

    Assassination

    Aquino was assassinated on August 21, 1983, when he was shot in the head after returning to the country. At the time, bodyguards were assigned to him by the Marcos government. A subsequent investigation produced controversy but with no definitive results. After Marcos government was overthrown, another investigation found sixteen defendants guilty. They were all sentenced to life in prison. Some were released over the years, the last ones in March 2009.

    Another man present at the airport tarmac, Rolando Galman, was shot dead shortly after Aquino was killed. The Marcos government claimed Galman was the trigger man in Aquino's assassination. Pablo Martinez, who was found guilty of Ninoy Aquino Jr.'s assassination but previously pinned the blame on Rolando Galman, accused Danding Cojuangco, cousin of his wife Corazon Cojuangco Aquino, as the master mind of the assassination while Marcos was recuperating from his kidney transplant.

    Funeral

    Aquino's body lay in state in a glass coffin. No effort was made to disguise a bullet wound that had disfigured his face. In an interview with Aquino's mother, Aurora, she told the funeral parlor not to apply makeup nor embalm her son, to see "what they did to my son". Thousands of supporters flocked to see the bloodied body of Aquino, which took place at the Aquino household in Times Street, West Triangle, Quezon City, for nine days. Aquino's wife, Corazon Aquino, and children Ballsy, Pinky, Viel, Noynoy and Kris arrived the day after the assassination. Aquino's funeral procession on August 31 lasted from 9 a.m., when his funeral mass was held at Santo Domingo Church in Santa Mesa Heights, Quezon City, with the Cardinal Archbishop of Manila, Jaime Sin officiating, to 9 p.m., when his body was interred at the Manila Memorial Park. More than two million people lined the streets during the procession which was aired by the Church-sponsored Radio Veritas, the only station to do so. The procession reached Rizal Park, where the Philippine flag was brought to half-staff.

    Jovito Salonga, then head of the Liberal Party, referred to Aquino as "the greatest president we never had", adding: Ninoy was getting impatient in Boston, he felt isolated by the flow of events in the Philippines. In early 1983, Marcos was seriously ailing, the Philippine economy was just as rapidly declining, and insurgency was becoming a serious problem. Ninoy thought that by coming home he might be able to persuade Marcos to restore democracy and somehow revitalize the Liberal Party.

    Legacy

    In Senator Aquino's honor, the Manila International Airport (MIA) where he was assassinated was renamed Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) and his image is printed on the 500-peso bill. August 21, the anniversary of his death, is Ninoy Aquino Day, an annual public holiday in the Philippines.Several monuments were built in his honor. Most renowned is the bronze memorial in Makati City near the Philippine Stock Exchange, which has become a popular venue for anti-government rallies and large demonstrations. Another bronze statue is in front of the Municipal Building of Concepcion, Tarlac.

    Although Aquino was recognized as the most prominent and most dynamic opposition leader of his generation, in the years prior to martial law he was regarded by many as being a representative of the entrenched familial elite which to this day dominates Philippine politics. While atypically telegenic and uncommonly articulate, he had his share of detractors and was not known to be immune to ambitions and excesses of the ruling political class. However, during his seven years and seven months imprisoned as a political prisoner of Marcos, Aquino read the book Born Again by convicted Watergate conspirator Charles Colson and it inspired him to a religious awakening.

    As a result, the remainder of his personal and political life had a distinct spiritual sheen. He emerged as a contemporary counterpart of Jose Rizal, who was among the most vocal proponents of the use of non-violence to combat a repressive regime at the time, following the model of Gandhi and Martin Luther King. Some remained skeptical of Aquino's redirected spiritual focus, but it ultimately had an effect on his wife's political career. While some may question the prominence given Aquino in Philippine history, it was his assassination that was pivotal to the downfall of a despotic ruler and the eventual restoration of democracy in the Philippines.

    Personal life

    On October 11, 1954, he married Corazon "Cory" Sumulong Cojuangco in Pasay City, with whom he had five children (four daughters and a son).

  • Maria Elena (Ballsy, born August 18, 1955), married to Eldon Cruz, with sons Justin Benigno (Jiggy) and Eldon, Jr. (Jonty)
  • Aurora Corazon (Pinky, born December 27, 1957), married to Manuel Abellada, with son Miguel and daughter Nina
  • Benigno Simeon III (Noynoy, born February 8, 1960), the 15th and current President of the Philippines
  • Victoria Elisa (Viel, born October 27, 1961), married to Joseph Dee, with son Francis (Kiko), daughter Jacinta Patricia (Jia)
  • Kristina Bernadette (Kris, born February 14, 1971), formerly married to James Yap (Separated in 2010), with sons Joshua
  • Philip Aquino Salvador (Josh) and James Aquino Yap, Jr. (Baby James or Bimby)
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    Monday, July 20, 2015

    Spratly Islands Reef Madness Foreign Correspondent ABC

    Published on May 22, 2014

    A glimpse of the Spratlys and how the military and some residents survived the poorest living conditons. It's really pitiful to know this, my tears literaly flowed for them. Thanks Mr. Eric Campbell for sharing. A wake-up call to the Philippine government officials!

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    Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo sold the Spratly Islands to China

    Published on Jul 4, 2013

    We were sold by the previous Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo to China by signing an agreement of joint exploration with China state-Owned China national oil company and the Philippines without informing the congress!! Now our current govt. is having problems in asserting out claims on the Spratlys.

    "Isantabi muna natin ang karapatan natin sa islang ito."

    Jose De Venecia

    WIKILEAKS: CHINA USED ZTE TO BUY GMA INFLUENCE; A 'TYPICALLY' CHINESE DEAL

    MANILA, AUGUST 27, 2011 (TRIBUNE) By Michaela P. del Callar - The United States did not see as a threat the flourishing ties between the Philippines and China during the past administration of former President Gloria Arroyo but said the anomalous National Broadband Network (NBN) deal awarded to Chinese supplier ZTE was "typical of the deals that China reportedly uses worldwide to make friends and buy influence," a 2008 U.S. Embassy cable released yesterday by online whistleblower Wikileaks stated.

    Then U.S. Ambassador to Manila Kristie Kenney, in her April 28, 2008 cable labeled as "sensitive," believes the U.S. remains a reliable ally of the Philippines despite Manila's increasing engagement with Beijing as corruption and graft-tainted projects entered into by the two countries had cast a dark cloud over its intensifying relations.

    "Strengthened Philippine-People's Republic of China ties do not imply a weakening of our strong bonds with the Philippines," the cable said. "Recent scandals have reawakened long-held views among Filipinos that link ethnic Chinese to corrupt practices."

    The scuttled deal between Chinese firm Zhong Xing Telecommunication Equipment Co., Ltd., or ZTE and the Arroyo administration, is an allegedly overpriced deal that was supposed to establish a nationwide telecommunications network such as broadband Internet services, video conferencing, landline, mobile phone calls and e-mail requirements for all government agencies from the national to the local level.

    Arroyo, her husband Jose Miguel Arroyo and close political allies reportedly received millions of dollars worth of bribes from the Chinese firm, according to witnesses who testified before Senate hearings.

    "Unlike the World Bank, the IMF, and many bilateral providers of assistance here, China does not link its aid to issues such as good governance, rule of law, or respect for human rights." Thus, "public skepticism and scrutiny have underlined shortcomings in China's soft power efforts," Kenney said. .

    The U.S. and China have been at loggerheads in Asia, where they have tried to court support and expand security and economic clout. In recent years, the Philippines' bilateral relations with China, particularly the economic aspect of its ties, increasingly became more dynamic and vibrant than the U.S. In 2008, Kenney said bilateral trade figures surged to a record high of $30.62 billion, an almost 10-fold increase from the $3.14 billion in 2000.

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    Philippines: Malampaya Natural Gas Project

    The Malampaya gas field is a natural gas field located in the West Philippine Sea. It was discovered in 1992 and developed by Shell Philippines Exploration B.V. Royal Dutch Shell now operates it on behalf of partners Chevron Corporation and Philippine National Oil Company Exploration Corporation. The field began production in 2001 and produces natural gas and natural gas condensate. The total proven reserves of the Malampaya gas field are around 3.7 trillion cubic feet (105 km³), and production is slated to be around 410 million cubic feet/day (11.7×105m³).

    History

    The area surrounding the Spratly Islands is said to be rich in yet unexplored oil and gas fields, and hence, remains controversial. The Philippines began exploring the areas west of Palawan for oil in 1970. Exploration in the area began in Reed Bank/Tablemount (Reed Bank is the largest seamount within the Spratly Islands)in 1976, gas was discovered following the drilling of a well.However, China's complaints halted the exploration.

    Today, Malampaya oil platform is the only operational oil platform in the Philippines. It is extracting natural gas from the Camago-Malampaya oil leg (CMOL) (or simple Malampaya Field), located 80 kilometres (50 mi) west of northern Palawan. It is not claimed by other countries. It contains 3.7 trillion cubic feet (1.0×1011 m3) of natural gas reserves. The Malapaya Project began the Philippines' natural gas industry and enabled the supply of at least 2,700 megawatts of power for a period of at least 20 years starting 2002.[8] In December 2001, an extended well test of the thin oil rim beneath the field initially yielded about 8 million barrels (1,300,000 m3) of oil per day (bpd). It is also believed to be the deepest horizontal subsea well test undertaken in the world at a depth of about 850 m.

    The upstream component of the $4.5 billion USD Malampaya gas-to-power project was jointly developed by Shell Philippines Exploration B.V. (SPEX), ChevronTexaco and PNOC EC. The project was formally inaugurated on October 16, 2001. Shell Philippines Exploration owns 45% of the project, ChevronTexaco owns 45% and PNOC-EC owns 10%.Malampaya is expected to provide substantial long-term revenue of between $8–10 billion USD to the Philippine government over its life span. Other sites eyed by PNOC-EC west of Palawan are the Calamian, West Calamian, West Balabac, and East Sabina sites.

    Another oil field being explored today is Reed Bank, which exploration was halted in 1980's after China's objections. The concession is currently awarded to Forum Energy plc, a UK-based oil, gas and coal company. The Reed Bank concession is located in the South China Sea west of Palawan Island. The licence is located to the southwest of the Shell-operated Malampaya Gas Field.Unlike Malampaya, Reed Bank is claimed by the People's Republic of China, Republic of China, and Vietnam. There is still no news on whether these countries are disputing this exploration or not. In March 2011, two Chinese vessels chased off the Veritas Voyager, a survey ship hired by Forum Energy—a UK-based company with a portfolio of projects in the Philippines. Forum Energy intends to return to Reed Bank in 2012 to explore for energy resources. The U.S. military has also signalled its return to the area, with war games scheduled in March with the Philippine navy near Reed Bank.

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