November 2012

Source: The Philippine Star 

CEBU, Philippines – President Aquino is seeking an explanation from China on its order to police in the province of Hainan to board and take control of foreign ships that “illegally enter” disputed waters.

Aquino said he had read reports about China’s order – lifted from an article in the state-controlled China Daily – and tasked Foreign Affairs Secretary Albert del Rosario to verify it and take appropriate action.

Aquino said it would be difficult for China to enforce such policy because of a particular provision in the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) on freedom of navigation. Aquino said Beijing should instead help ease and not exacerbate the situation.

“Publicly, China said several times it would not be a disruption to freedom of navigation. Now, we can see on the surface, this is counter to their oft-stated public statements,” the President told reporters yesterday in an ambush interview on the sidelines of a meeting with Liberal Party members here and before leading the national celebration for the canonization of Pedro Calungsod.

“Meaning, if it is proven that there is really an order, that this is not a proposal and they will really do it, we will lodge a diplomatic note or a formal protest,” Aquino said.

“And it also tells us where to go to in terms of advancing our interest. We might accelerate and bring it before the appropriate international tribunal to finally settle the matter or at least start the process of settling it legally and concretely,” Aquino said.

He said he had appealed to China during the last Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) summit in Cambodia to promote peace and stability in the area.

“I think we made it very, very clear. My last intervention in the EAS (East Asia Summit) dialogue, basically, it dealt with that, and easing all the tensions and what would be necessary for all sides to demonstrate goodwill,” the President said. “And if this is the response, and again, I emphasized ‘if,’ it is difficult because the story might have been exaggerated, this might be just a proposal, they might be referring to something specific,” he said.

“And if proven, of course, we will react if there is really such an action on their part. If there is none, we will not add tension,” he said.


At the House of Representatives, lawmakers led by Speaker Feliciano Belmonte Jr. are calling for stronger and unified protests against China’s plan, including raising the issue before the International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea and enlisting support from ASEAN and the UN.

“We strongly object to this order and we must strongly resist any attempt to board and inspect our vessels that are within our 200-mile exclusive economic zone (EEZ) because we have sovereign rights there,” Cagayan de Oro City Rep. Rufus Rodriguez said.

“They (Chinese police) have no right at all to board our ships,” he said.

He said that since China is militarily superior to the Philippines, the government must elevate the matter to the International Tribunal of the Law of the Sea for compulsory arbitration.

He said the Philippines would have a strong case as China’s “nine-dash line” has no basis in international law.

“We immediately raise this for compulsory arbitration because this order to board could lead to war,” Rodriguez said.

Muntinlupa City Rep. Rodolfo Biazon, chairman of the House committee on national defense and security, urged President Aquino to convene the National Security Council so the government can formulate a single position instead of “many officials making different interpretations.”

He said the government must clarify matters with Beijing as its move can spark international outrage because 40 percent of global trade and commerce pass through the disputed waters.

“So this could also be advantageous to us because Europe, the Middle East and the Americas would definitely protest this because their goods, including oil, pass through that channel,” Biazon said in a telephone interview.

He said the government must clarify matters, including whether the order is already a national policy of China, or which areas or activities are covered by Beijing’s directive.

“Does it cover economic activities like fishing and exploration within our EEZ? If so, then this order is definitely a violation of the UNCLOS,” he said.

Aurora Rep. Juan Edgardo Angara said the government must also exhaust all means to settle the issue peacefully.

“Sobriety and wisdom should come into play in dealing with China and experts should be engaged,” Zambales Rep. Milagros Magsaysay, for her part, said.

Quezon City Rep. Winston Castelo also urged other claimant-nations not to escalate tensions in the area.

Eastern Samar Rep. Ben Evardone said the government should protest China’s bullying before the UN.

“Clearly, China is trying to bully the Philippines and other countries in the region. The ASEAN, the United States and the UN should initiate moves to preserve peace in the area to ensure navigational freedom. The world economy will be adversely affected if China continues its provocative actions,” he said.

He said a large part of world trade passes through the West Philippine Sea and South China Sea.

He added that the protests raised by the Philippines, India, Indonesia, and Vietnam against Beijing’s release of a new passport design bearing China’s map based on its nine-dash-line claim “are legitimate moves to protect our sovereign rights in the disputed area.”

Defense Secretary Voltaire Gazmin said the Philippines may have to file a diplomatic protest against China even as he called for sobriety.

“We will just have to see what we can do to avoid this situation where they will be boarding our ships,” Gazmin said.

In the China Daily report, Beijing said its police are authorized “under the revised regulations” to board and take control of foreign vessels that stray into what it considers its territories in the disputed waters of West Philippine Sea and South China Sea.

“If foreign ships or crew members violate regulations, Hainan police have the right to take over the ships or their communication systems, under the revised regulations,” the report read.

“Activities such as entering the island province’s waters without permission, damaging coastal defense facilities and engaging in publicity that threatens national security are illegal,” the English-language newspaper reported.

The China Daily also reported Beijing’s plan to send new maritime surveillance ships to the disputed waters. – Aurea Calica, Jaime Laude, Jess Diaz, Paolo Romero

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By Sara Susanne D. Fabunan
Manila Standard Today

Chinese marines to board ships in disputed sea

Slammed by its neighbors for issuing a passport stamped with the map of the highly-disputed West Philippine Sea, Beijing not only ignored the protest, but made another provocative action by deploying patrol boats in disputed waters.

This developed as Association of Southeast Asian Nations secretary-general Surin Pitsuwan, voicing his concern over Beijing’s issuance of the now-controversial e-passport, warned that the territorial disputes might turn the region into a next “Palestine” if tensions are not diffused.

In an interview with the Financial Times, Surin said the region was entering its “most contentious” period in recent years.

The warnings may have fallen on deaf ears, following reports from the China Daily that starting next year, Beijing would deploy patrols “prevent other ships from illegally entering the contested waters.”

Beijing added that its marine forces would also board the ships “entering the province’s waters and order them to change course or stop sailing”.

The China Daily reported that these directives were contained in a revised maritime regulation where it gives the Police authority in Hainan to “board or seize foreign ships that illegally enter Hainan provinces including the newly established Sansha City.”

Huang Shunxiang, director of the congress’s press office said that Sansha city which administers and manage the disputed Spratly Island, Paracel Islands and Macclesfield Bank in the West Philippine Sea (South China Sea), falls under the jurisdiction of Hainan.

“It is urgent for China to improve its legal system regarding offshore law enforcement because disputes with other countries are on the rise in the South China Sea,” Southeast Asian Center at Xiamen University Zhuang Guotu said.

Zhuang described the revision of the regulations are “significant” especially now that disputes over the waters are on the rise.

Other activities that fall under the new regulation, aside from entering the waters without permission includes damaging coastal defense facilities; and engaging in publicity the threatens China’s national security.

Foreign Affairs spokesman Raul Hernandez, meanwhile, refrained from making any comment and said that they still have to confirm the report.

“We are still checking the details of this report. Until we get the full information, we will reserve our comments,” Hernandez said in a text message.

But Lt. Gen. Juancho Sabban, commander of the Western Command based in Puerto Princesa City in Palawan, said that China’s new regulation was “too much.”

“Sobra na ‘yun. While we are exerting all peaceful means, ‘yun naman ang gagawin nila,” Sabban said. [That’s too much. While we are exerting all peaceful means, they are now doing this?]

The Westcom covers the Kalayaan Island Group, which is composed of seven islands and two reefs. It is under the political leadership of Mayor Eugenio Bito-onon is composed of seven islets and two reefs.

Sabban pointed out that China cannot just board any vessel that pass in the area which is the biggest commercial sea lane in the world.

In related developments:

• The Foreign Affairs Department said China should remove the new map in its passport, which marked disputed waters as Chinese territory.

• The DFA also reiterated the government’s call that Beijing withdraw the three ships Philippine’s call for China to withdraw the three ships still anchored in the West Philippine Sea, six months after Beijing promised that it would pull out its vessels.

• House Speaker Feliciano Belmonte Jr. said that the decision not to stamp its visas on the new China e-passport may result to ‘chaos.’ since the absence of official records on the e-passports of Chinese nationals could spare them from any accountability in case they violate domestic laws despite the country’s extradition treaty with China.

• Foreign Affairs Secretary Albert del Rosario reiterated the government’s call that Beijing withdraw the three ships Philippine’s call for China to withdraw the three ships still anchored in the West Philippine Sea, six months after Beijing promised that it would pull out its vessels. With Joyce Pangco-Pañares, Maricel V. Cruz and Florante Solmerin 

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Hawkish stand vs China urged

By Sara Susanne D. Fabunan
Manila Standard Today

Beijing confirms new maritime policy in contested waters

Even as Malacañang opted to remain cautious on Beijing’s latest policy ordering its naval forces to “board and search” ships entering the contested waters in the West Philippine Sea, the more “hawkish” lawmakers voiced a strong stand on the issue, as they pressed the government to take appropriate action against “China’s latest provocation.”

Overseas, reports said that the Association of Southeast Asian Nations secretary-general Surin Pitsuwan, an Indonesian, said Beijing’s latest action was a very serious turn of events and could escalate the tension in the region.

Pitsuwan said it was important to exercise restraint and approach the new development with a level head.

President Benigno Aquino III, meanwhile, ordered the Foreign Affairs Department to verify the report on Beijing’s action.

Mr. Aquino said he had asked the Foreign Affairs Department to check if Beijing’s alleged new maritime policy has been adopted officially or was just a proposal from the leadership of Hanan province, which has direct control of Sansha City, a newly-built city located near the West Philippine Sea.

According to the China Daily, it was the Hanan government which issued the new policy, which will take effect on January, 2013.

The President had said that the report may also have been exaggerated.

“It can also accelerate our bringing of our claim to the International Tribunal on the Law of the Sea,” said Mr. Aquino, referring to Manila’s long-held position that the dispute should be solved multilaterally before an international body.

He added that it would be very difficult to implement Beijing’s new policy, because it would be a violation of the provisions of the United Nations Law of the Sea or Unclos, where China is one of the signatories.

But in a press briefing in Beijing, Foreign Ministry spokesman Hong Lei confirmed the new policy, by saying that it was their right to impose a coastal border defense regulation which authorizes China’s law enforcement over foreign vessels that illegally enter the China South Sea.

“Every country has the right to carry out maritime management according to law,” Lei said.

Lei added that Beijing will not pull out its three remaining ships in the Panatag Shoal, which it calls Huangyan Island.

“China has indisputable sovereignty order the islands in the South China Sea. Hangyan Island is China’s inherent territory and there is no sovereignty issue dispute over it,” he said.

He also cautioned Manila to “stop words and deed that will complicate the South China Sea issue.”

In the Senate, re-electionist Senator Gringo Honasan said the country should be ready to defend its sovereign, but only after the government has exhausted all means of trying to resolve the issue peacefully.

“When there’s no more other options left– we had made appeals, we had sought the help of our allies in the international community, we had invoked US treaties and had brought the issue before the Nations, and yet, China has remained bullying us, what else can we do? So, it’s about time we should be prepared to defend our sovereignty and the national territory,” said Honasan.

The former army colonel added that this is the right time for the government to review all bilateral and multilateral treaties and agreements like the Visiting Force Agreement, the Mutual Defense Treaty and other treaties and agreements with our Asian neighbors.

“Now is the time for all these treaties,” said Honasan, saying that Manila should ask Washington if it would allow Chinese marines to board our ships and expel them from the waters being claimed by China.

“We should ask the United States through their foreign embassy in the country. We should talk to the US ambassador here (Philippines) if they will tolerate China,” said Honasan.

He added that the US should also tell the world and our allies not to tolerate China’s bullying because they could likely be the next victim after the Philippines.

“We can also go to the United Nations, and ask that the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea be observed by China, but this is a protracted process similar to a court where evidence will be presented and heard by both parties. There are lawyers here, the judge, the jury. We need to get good lawyers to defend our case,” said Honasan.

Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile, meanwhile, doubted if China was really serious in claiming ownership of the entire West Philippine Sea (South China Sea).

Enrile said that if the Chinese were that serious, “they should have imposed a visa to all those who pass through the South China Sea.”

“We are also there. So how’s that? The fact is even America, Japanese, all kinds of ships pass through that sea. How can they say that belongs to them? Under what title recognized by other nations? That is their self-serving claim. As far as we are concerned, we do not recognize it.”

In Congress, Isabela Rep. Rodolfo Albano, Zamabales Rep. Omar Jun Ebdane, Bayan Muna Rep. Neri Colmenares, were one in condemning Beijing’s latest policy and defending the country’s sovereignty, even as they urged the Palace to take the appropriate action.

Albano, an oppositionist said that China’s provocative action should “compel the Philippine government to take the necessary action by filing an international protest.”

“This is enough of bullying,” said Albano. “If we don’t do something about it, tayo ang kawawa dito.”

Ebdane, meanwhile, observed that “either the new Chinese Ministry was “also impotent in controlling their military or the Chinese military was the one really in control of China and not their rulers.”

Ebdane, a member for the majority of the House committee on inter-parliamentary relations, added that the US government should also respond on this new irritant from China.

“It would be best if the US herself would respond to the question,” Ebdane said.

Colmenares, a member for the majority of the House committee on foreign affairs, also agreed that China’s provocation was wrong.

“That is wrong and deplorable because it only increases the tension rather than encourage peaceful resolution,” Colmenares.

“So it is but right that affected countries, including Philippines should not allow this imposition to go unchallenged. But the Aquino government should not stop there. The government should actively campaign for the ASEAN support for the immediate resolution of the issue and also pursue our case at the UNCLOS and the ICJ so that this dispute would finally be settled.” With Macon Ramos-Araneta, Joyce Pangco-Pañares and Maricel V. Cruz

By Jose Katigbak
The Philippine Star 

WASHINGTON – The US State Department said it would question the Chinese government about reports Hainan will allow police from the start of 2013 to board foreign vessels that enter disputed areas in the South China Sea “to get a better understanding of what they intend.”

“So until we have a chance to do that, I think we’ll withhold comment given that it’s just press reporting at this stage,” spokeswoman Victoria Nuland said.

China said yesterday that it attached great importance to freedom of navigation in the disputed waters.

“All countries have freedom of navigation in the South China Sea in accordance with international law,” Foreign Ministry spokesman Hong Lei ¥told a daily news briefing.

“China attaches great importance to freedom of navigation in the South China Sea. At present there are no problems in this regard,” Hong said, adding that Beijing hoped to resolve tensions through talks.

Hainan is the province responsible for administering resource-rich islets and atolls in the South China Sea that Beijing claims, putting it on a collision course with the Philippines, Vietnam and other countries who also claim sovereignty over overlapping parts of the sea.

Meanwhile, Nuland said the US has expressed on two occasions its concern to China over a controversial map embossed on all newly issued Chinese passports showing the entire South China Sea and other disputed regions as sovereign Chinese territory.

This was done at a meeting on Wednesday at the State Department with Chinese embassy officials at the Deputy Assistant Secretary level, Nuland said.

Another meeting was held on Thursday with Assistant Secretary Kurt Campbell.

“We’re obviously joining the chorus of countries who are urging the Chinese to reconsider the political signal that this (map) appears to send,” she said.

Nuland said US concerns were not assuaged by the explanations of the embassy officials.

The conservative think tank Heritage Foundation, on the other hand, opposed on Thursday China being invited to participate in RIMPAC (Rim of the Pacific) naval exercises.

It said China’s participation would be deeply problematic as the purpose of the exercise held every two years and hosted by the commander of the US Pacific Fleet is to facilitate interoperability and familiarity among friends and allies.

“For the US, there is a real question about whether we want to display our capacities and that of our allies and partners in front of members of the Chinese navy, at least some of whom, almost certainly, will be seconded from Chinese intelligence,” the think tank said in an article by Dean Cheng and Derek Sissors.

Defense Secretary Leon Panetta extended the invitation for China to participate in RIMPAC 2014 during a visit to Beijing in September.

This year’s RIMPAC exercise, the 23rd in the series, was held in August around Hawaii and involved 22 nations including the Philippines, more than 40 ships and submarines, and more than 200 aircraft, the Defense Department said.

It said the exercise, designed to foster and sustain cooperative relationships critical to ensuring the safety of sea lanes and security on the world’s oceans, was attended by more than 25,000 personnel from Australia, Britain, Canada, Chile, Colombia, France, India, Indonesia, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Peru, Philippines, South Korea, Russia, Singapore, Thailand, Tonga and the United States.

By Sara Susanne D. Fabunan
Manila Standard Today

US weighs in by raising its concerns to Beijing

In a sharp turnaround, the Philippine government on Thursday said it would no longer stamp its visas on China’s new e-passports, even as Washington said it will raise its concerns to Beijing over the new passport, which it said “caused tension and anxiety” among claimant countries.

The Foreign Affairs Department released the decision later in the day following an inter-agency meeting that tackled the issue.

Malacañang, through its spokesman Edwin Lacierda, later affirmed the decision.

In its official statement, the Foreign Affairs said that it would instead stamp its visas on a separate visa application form “to avoid misunderstanding that the Philippines was legitimizing the China’s e-Passport.”

“This action is being undertaken to avoid the Philippines being misconstrued as legitimizing the 9-dash line every time a Philippine visa is stamped on such Chinese e-passport,” the department said.

The decision, according to the department, means that the Philippines is now reinforcing its protest against China’s “excessive claim” over almost the entire West Philippine Sea (South China Sea).

Foreign Affairs said China’s expansive nine-dash claim was inconsistent with international law, specifically the United Nation Convention on the Law of the Sea or Unclos.

“We are preparing for an early implementation of the aforementioned action,” the department’s statement said.

Vietnam, which has its own territorial dispute with China in Spratlys Island, and India, which is contesting ownership of the islets over the northern side of China, both said they would not stamp the new e-passports. India also issued Chinese citizens visas embossed with New Delhi’s own maps.

Taiwan also rejected the passports because the map extended its reach to Taipei territory.

Washington also weighed in on the issue on the new e-passport, but said it would still accept the Chinese passport as a legal document.

State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland said it was up to countries to decide what their passports look like and the US would still accept the Chinese one as a legal document, but added, “that’s a different matter than whether it’s politically smart or helpful to be taking steps that antagonize countries.”

Earlier, Senators Miriam Defensor Santiago said that the Philippine government should take a more aggressive approach against China’s inclusion of the disputed West Philippine Sea in its e-passport.

“We should take a strong regional action against this apparently miniscule controversy,” said Santiago.

“We should do as Vietnam did. We should refuse to accept those (e-passport). After all, we are supreme in our territory. And the only reason we have a passport is they have to show that they are in effect authorized to enter our territory, but that would depend on us so if we don’t like what they print in their passport we have the right to refuse to let the person enter.

“As long as you are within Philippine territory, land, sea or air territory, you have to comply with what the Philippinre wants. That is the meaning of sovereignty in international relations,” she said.

Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile, however, said that China’s action was no “big deal.”

“We can also make a passport. We will include the entire world. When you include the other parts, so what’s that? Did they also include the Philippines? When you include it in your own passport, I’m sure they will also accept it.”

He added that there was no need to deny the entry to the country of Chinese carrying that kind of passport.

“There is no need for that. If they want to make a passport like that, so what? We can also decorate our passport. We can include the entire Pacific area plus some of their areas there. So, it does not matter,” he said.

Senator Panfilo Lacson, however, agreed with Santiago’s view.

“While countries like Indonesia and Vietnam have been complaining, we should also do the same,” Lacso said.

Meanwhile, opposition lawmakers defended President Benigno Aquino III’s “rudeness” after the chief executive aggressively pushed for the “internalization” of the West Philippine Sea issue.

House Minority Leader and Quezon Rep. Danilo Suarez said the President maybe “rude and stubborn” but he was right to defend the country’s sovereignty.

“We in the minority conur with our President on this matter. When it comes to our sovereignty we should all have one voice and we should support our leader,” Suarez said. With Macon Ramos-Araneta, AP, Joyce Pangco-Pañares and Maricel V. Cruz

News Release
Pacific News Center (Guam News)

Washington D.C. Thursday night in Washington, the U.S. Senate unanimously approved an amendment offered by Senator Jim Webb (D-Va.) to reaffirm the United States’ commitment to Japan under Article V of the Treaty of Mutual Cooperation and Security, and to firmly counter any attempts to challenge Japan’s administration of the Senkaku Islands. Senators James Inhofe (R-Okla.), Joe Lieberman (I-Conn.), and John McCain (R-Ariz.) cosponsored the amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2013.

“This amendment is a strong statement of support for a vital ally in Pacific Asia,” said Senator Webb. “Over the past several years, China has taken increasingly aggressive actions to assert its claim over the Senkaku Islands in the East China Sea and in a broad expanse of the South China Sea. This amendment unequivocally states that the United States acknowledges the administration of Japan over the Senkaku Islands, and that this position will not be changed through threats, coercion, or military action.”

The amendment reiterated the U.S. national interest in freedom of navigation, peace and stability, respect for international law, and unimpeded lawful commerce. It also noted U.S. opposition to any efforts to coerce, threaten to use force, or use force to resolve territorial issues. The amendment concludes by reaffirming the commitment of the United States to the defense of territories under the administration of Japan, as stated in Article V of the Treaty.

Senator Webb has expressed concerns over maritime territorial disputes in this region for more than 16 years. His first hearing upon assuming chairmanship of the Senate Foreign Relations East Asian and Pacific Affairs Subcommittee was on maritime territorial disputes in Asia in July 2009. He revisited this issue in the subcommittee in September 2012.

Senator Webb has worked and traveled throughout East Asia and Southeast Asia for more than four decades—as a Marine Corps Officer, a defense planner, a journalist, a novelist, a senior official in the Department of Defense, Secretary of the Navy, and as a business consultant.

The text of the amendment is as follows:


It is the sense of the Senate that—

(1) the East China Sea is a vital part of the maritime commons of Asia, including critical sea lanes of communication and commerce that benefit all nations of the Asia-Pacific region;

(2) the peaceful settlement of territorial and jurisdictional disputes in the East China Sea requires the exercise of self-restraint by all parties in the conduct of activities that would complicate or escalate disputes and destabilize the region, and differences should be handled in a constructive manner consistent with universally recognized principles of customary international law;

(3) while the United States takes no position on the ultimate sovereignty of the Senkaku islands, the United States acknowledges the administration of Japan over the Senkaku Islands;

(4) the unilateral actions of a third party will not affect United States acknowledgement of the administration of Japan over the Senkaku Islands;

(5) the United States has national interests in freedom of navigation, the maintenance of peace and stability, respect for international law, and unimpeded lawful commerce;

(6) the United States supports a collaborative diplomatic process by claimants to resolve territorial disputes without coercion, and opposes efforts at coercion, the threat of use of force, or use of force by any claimant in seeking to resolve sovereignty and territorial issues in the East China Sea; and

(7) the United States reaffirms its commitment to the Government of Japan under Article V of the Treaty of Mutual Cooperation and Security that “[e]ach Party recognizes that an armed attack against either Party in the territories under the administration of Japan would be dangerous to its own peace and safety and declares that it would act to meet the common danger in accordance with its constitutional provisions and processes”.
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U.S. clarifies to Beijing, no neutrality over Japan’s claim to Senkaku Islands

By Adam Westlake 
The Japan Daily Press

Richard Armitage, the U.S.’s former Deputy Secretary of State, stated in a recent interview that while the country hasn’t voiced an opinion on whether Japan or China has the stronger claim to the disputed Senkaku / Diaoyu Islands, that doesn’t mean it’s neutral. The U.S. official was speaking about his late-October trip to Beijing and Tokyo where he and a delegation addressed concerns over the increasing tensions between the two Asian superpowers.

Armitage says there were clearly misunderstandings in Beijing over the fact that the U.S. had not clearly taken a side on the sovereignty of the disputed territory. Referring to Japan, the diplomat said that the U.S. is not neutral when one of its allies is being coerced, intimidated, or the victim of aggression. Armitage further pointed out that the U.S.-Japan Security Treaty implies that the U.S. has a responsibility for defending the Senkakus, and that hardly makes the country neutral.

It seems apparent that Armitage was making the point that U.S. hasn’t stated a clear opinion in an effort to avoid further fanning the flames between China and Japan, but if push came to shove, it would be clear who they stand with. Ever since that late-October visit, heads have started to cool, with both countries’ leaders agreeing to stay in communication. Armitage feels that the lowering of temperatures and rhetoric is certainly helpful, but a more permanent solution will have to wait until next year, after Japan’s prime minister elections in December and China’s leadership change in March.

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Is the U.S. Committed to Defend the Senkakus? Text of Article 5 of the U.S.-Japan Treaty

China’s Vice President Xi Jinping (L) and US Secretary of Defense Leon E. Panetta review a guard of honor before their meeting at the Pentagon in Washington, DC, on February 14, 2012. China’s likely next leader Xi Jinping said that Beijing will take concrete steps to improve human rights as he admitted “there is always room for improvement.” AFP Photo/Jewel Samad (Photo credit should read JEWEL SAMAD/AFP/Getty Images)

On Sunday, September 23, NHK news broadcast a video of U.S. Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta seated next to and speaking with Chinese Vice Chairman and soon-to-be supreme leader Xi Jinping on September 19 in Beijing.  During that meeting, reported NHK, Panetta told Xi that U.S. policy is that the Senkaku islands (claimed as Chinese territory by Beijing) are covered by the U.S.-Japan security alliance.  If there is military conflict, the U.S. is obliged under the alliance to intervene.

The September 21st Yomiuri Shimbun, cited testimony of Assistant Secretary of State for Asian Affairs Kurt Campbell to the Senate Foreign Relations Committee the day before confirming that the Senkakus come under Article 5 of the U.S.-Japan Treaty of Mutual Cooperation and Security.  Campbell said that U.S. policy on this has been clear since 1997.

Watching and listening carefully to what the Chinese side has made of the Panetta visit, my sense is very different to what may seem to be the meaning and implications of the above.

First, I have seen no mention in the state-controlled Chinese media of Panetta’s comment on the U.S. obligation under the U.S.-Japan treaty.  What the media has prominently reported has been Panetta’s affirmation to Xi that U.S. policy ‘takes no sides’ on territorial disputes in Asia, including that over the Senkakus/Diaoyudao.  This is also long-standing U.S. policy.

Partly owing to the almost unimaginable power of the weapons and men his department commands, but also his relative gravitas, Panetta has the most credibility in China of any U.S. government official.  It was noteworthy that Chinese official media accentuated Panetta’s upbeat appraisal of U.S.-China relations and plans for stepping up exchanges and joint exercises between U.S. and Chinese military forces.

So which is it?  Is U.S. policy that we are ready to go to war with China to defend the Senkakus?  Didn’t we say we “take no position” on the matter?  The answer–in the subtle and often paradoxical and contradictory realm of foreign relations–is both, or, more likely, neither.  But we should not think that the subtlety and ambiguity of these positions leaves all sides with the same comfort, options, and risks.

What does Article 5 of the U.S.-Japan Treaty actually say though?  Here it is:

Each Party recognizes that an armed attack against either Party in the territories under the administration of Japan would be dangerous to its own peace and safety and declares that it would act to meet the common danger in accordance with its constitutional provisions and processes. Any such armed attack and all measures taken as a result thereof shall be immediately reported to the Security Council of the United Nations in accordance with the provisions of Article 51 of the Charter. Such measures shall be terminated when the Security Council has taken the measures necessary to restore and maintain international peace and security.

I am reminded of an interview given about two years ago by Japan’s last genuinely successful prime minister, Nakasone Yasuhiro, whose tenure roughly matched Reagan’s.   Advising how Japan should conduct its foreign policy, and particularly the pivotal relationship with the U.S., Nakasone was trenchantly realistic:  Japan should endeavor to procure (in the legal sense of “cause to do”) U.S. power to serve Japan’s interests and objectives.

In the case of the Senkakus, this seems to have happened.  Or at least, when the Noda government felt compelled to respond to the force majeure situation created by Tokyo governor Ishihara’s bid to buy the islands, and decided upon nationalization, the U.S.-Japan treaty was available as perhaps the decisive element that gave the decision makers the confidence they needed to make the decision.


Beyond Iran, the volatile situation throughout the Middle East urgently demands solutions

By Javier Solana | Special to Gulf News 
Gulf News

US President Barack Obama (centre), flanked by Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao and Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, poses with other East Asia Summit leaders before a gala dinner in Bali. (Image Credit: Reuters)

The Pacific or the Middle East? For the United States, that is now the primary strategic question. The violence in Gaza, coming as President Barack Obama was meeting Asia’s leaders in Phnom Penh, perfectly encapsulates America’s dilemma. Instead of being able to focus on US foreign policy’s “pivot” to Asia, Obama was forced to spend many hours in conversation with the leaders of Egypt and Israel, and to dispatch Secretary of State Hillary Clinton from Asia, in order to facilitate a cease-fire in Gaza.

Of the two geopolitical focal points demanding America’s attention, one represents the future and the other the past. Whereas Asia played an important role in a US presidential election campaign that was marked by often-heated references to China’s rise, the Middle East has kept the US bogged down for decades. In addition to the eternal Israel-Palestine conflict, Iraq’s instability, the Arab Spring, Syria’s civil war, and the ongoing nuclear standoff with Iran all demand America’s attention.

If the Iran crisis were to boil over, the pivot to Asia would no longer be America’s main foreign-policy priority. But if the dispute with Iran is resolved diplomatically, the Middle East might, perhaps, be relegated to a position of lesser importance, as Obama clearly desires. The question, therefore, is whether the US will find itself drawn into another war in a region on which it depends less and less for energy.

Indeed, the revolution in non-conventional hydrocarbons, particularly shale gas and oil, which the International Energy Agency recently predicted would make the US the world’s largest oil producer by 2020, and the top energy producer overall by 2030, will have enormous global repercussions. For the US, energy self-sufficiency is the perfect excuse for a phased withdrawal from the Middle East; freed from energy dependency, America should be able to concentrate on the Pacific.

Although maintaining stable global energy prices and its alliance with Israel means that the US cannot cut itself off completely from the Middle East’s troubles, the shift in focus to Asia began early in Obama’s first administration, with Clinton announcing America’s strategic reorientation even before US troops began withdrawing from Iraq. Following his re-election, Obama’s first foreign visit was to Myanmar, Thailand, and Cambodia — a choice that cannot have pleased China, as all three are Asean members, while Myanmar was, until it began its democratic transition, a close Chinese ally.

Asia is, of course, experiencing rapid economic growth, but managing the region’s strong nationalist tensions calls for the creation of regional security structures, together with closer economic integration. Complicating matters even more is what US scholar Kenneth Lieberthal and Wang Jisi, the dean of international studies at Peking University, called in a recent paper for the Brookings Institution “strategic distrust.”

Cultivating strategic trust between the 21st century’s leading powers will be fundamental to the international system’s harmonious functioning. But how can this be achieved? As China will be importing three-quarters of its oil from the Middle East by 2020, one step forward would be China’s cooperation in finding solutions to the region’s problems.

Avoiding a showdown

After the January 2013 Israeli elections, Iran will again move to the top of Obama’s foreign-policy agenda. Military intervention in Iran — which itself will be holding a presidential election in June — would incite not only regional, but global, instability. The Arab world, Russia, and China would be forced to take sides, straining global relations between the different poles of power and raising tensions in the Pacific. So China has a large strategic interest in working with the US to avoid a showdown.

Beyond Iran, the volatile situation throughout the Middle East urgently demands solutions. The latest eruption of violent conflict between Hamas and Israel underscores the importance of reviving the peace process. Syria’s civil war, in which a growing number of regional players have become involved, is beginning to look increasingly like a trial run for all-out sectarian war for regional dominance.

Iran’s leaders appear to believe that the US, having incurred extremely high economic and human costs from more than a decade of war, would rather avoid another military intervention. US public opinion seems to confirm this. A recent survey by the Chicago Council on Global Affairs indicated that 67 per cent of Americans believe that the Iraq war was not worthwhile. Moreover, 69 per cent do not believe that the US is safer from terrorism since the war in Afghanistan, and 71 per cent say that the experience in Iraq shows that the US should take greater care in how it uses force.

But, if Americans seem unlikely to be willing to invest billions of dollars in another dead-end foreign adventure, Iran’s leaders, for their part, are increasingly hemmed in by international sanctions, which are beginning to wreak havoc on the country’s economy. Both sides may believe that their best option — at least for now — is to negotiate.

Peaceful resolution of the Iranian question would help the US to complete its shift toward Asia. China may not wish for that outcome, but its own vital interest in the security of Middle East energy supplies should compel it to cooperate.

After all, another Middle East conflict would poison and distort relations in the region for decades, which would be the worst of all possible consequences — for the US and China alike.

Project Syndicate, 2012.

Javier Solana, former Secretary-General of Nato and EU High Representative for the Common Foreign and Security Policy, is Distinguished Senior Fellow in Foreign Policy at the Brookings Institution and President of the ESADE Centre for Global Economy and Geopolitics.

By William M. Esposo
The Philippine Star 

Israel Prime Minister Benjamin “Bibi” Netanyahu should be considered the world’s most dangerous leader today. It’s not because of what Bibi Netanyahu and Israel are capable of inflicting but because of what Bibi Netanyahu and Israel could ignite – a far greater conflict than just an Israel-Iran War that could extend all the way here.

Alone, Israel might not even be able to defeat Iran. The Israelis should remember the heavy price they paid for the 2006 Hezbollah-Israel War that was fought in Lebanon. That was a shocking experience for Israel. A mere neighborhood bully stopped this mighty tiny Jewish state that had managed to outwit and outfight its large hostile Arab neighbors. In that encounter with Hezbollah in Lebanon, Israel wasn’t even dealing with a country like Iran or Syria but with a terrorist group. Indeed, war is a high-risk business.

This experience with Hezbollah may have been providential in that it reminded the Israeli leaders of their own vulnerabilities. There are no odds in war because any side can win. The 1281 Mongol invasion of Japan and the Spanish 1588 invasion of England were thwarted by storms and the grit of patriots defending their native land. Had the Spanish Armada landed sans any trouble on English soil, Spanish could have been the lingua franca today instead of English. Imagine our call centers answering with ola or buenas tardes.

Bibi Netanyahu represents the hawkish elements among the Israeli leaders. He gets his political base from those seeking a leader who will ensure the protection of Israel against its many threats in the region. American support for Israel had enabled the tiny Jewish state to become a regional superpower. Today, Israel maintains one of the most powerful armed forces in the world, with capabilities largely disproportionate to its small population.

In a November 5 interview over Israel’s Channel 2, Netanyahu asserted that he was ready to attack Iran in order to prevent it from developing nuclear weapons — even without the approval of the US. “When former Prime Minister David Ben-Gurion declared the establishment of the State of Israel, was it with the consent of the Americans? When former Prime Minister Menachem Begin bombed the Iraqi nuclear reactor, was that with the consent of the Americans?” Netanyahu said.

Netanyahu added: “If someone sits here as the prime minister of Israel and he can’t take action on matters that are cardinal to the existence of this country, its future and its security, and he is totally dependent on receiving approval from others, then he is not worthy of leading. I can make these decisions.”

There’s a big complication though should Bibi Netanyahu get Israel to attack Iran. Russia and China had vowed to aid Iran in the event of such an attack.

A combined Russia and China aiding Iran would become a great American nightmare. The pressure of the powerful Jewish lobby would compel the US to support Israel and take on Russia, China and Iran. It could lead to a conflict that could be fought in many other theatres — the West Philippine Sea among the likely battlegrounds.

Bibi Netanyahu has to be feared and watched very closely because as reported on CNN by Israel’s top journalist Ilana Dayan during a recent interview by Christiane Amanpour — Netanyahu gave the order in 2010 to attack Iran. Luckily for the world, the army chief and the head of Mossad (Israeli Intelligence) refused to execute the order. They both realized the dangerous consequences — which could lead to a bigger war. This refusal by the army and Mossad chiefs also demonstrates the US influence on Israel.

An US-backed Israeli attack on Iran could be interpreted by Russia and China as a move to monopolize the oil in the Middle East and that’s something Russia and China cannot allow. Some would say that it would likely be a small, contained conflict and that Russia and China wouldn’t be actively involved. That’s to be doubted.

Russia and China might also think that this is the best time to fight a US-backed Israel. The US is facing a fiscal cliff and this would be the worst possible time for the US to go to war. With Russian support, Iran could shut off the Strait of Hormuz and cause a worldwide oil delivery shortage. The dire effect on national economies is unimaginable, especially at this time when many countries are encountering negative growth.

In World War I we saw how a seemingly insignificant assassination that was clearly the work of Serbian fanatics got all the major powers into The Great War. Up to now the effects of World War I are being felt. World War I ended the monarchies in Russia, Turkey, Germany and Austria.

Incapable of fighting in a mechanized war, Russia became of one of the biggest losers of World War I. The Bolsheviks executed all of the Russian royal family — the Romanovs — and Russia changed overnight from a monarchy to a communist state.

Bibi Netanyahu is the world’s most dangerous leader today, not because of Israeli military capability per se, but because he could create the disorder that will bring major powers into conflict.

* * *

Shakespeare: “Madness in great ones must not unwatched go.”

Chair Wrecker e-mail and website: and

By George M. Hizon

Just recently, the Hollywood movie Kingdom of Heaven was shown repeatedly in Skycable’s HBO channel. An action-packed film produced and directed by Hollywood legend Ridley Scott in 2005, the Kingdom of Heaven also stars the award-winning veteran actor Liam Neeson (Schindler’s List) and newcomer Orlando Bloom (Lord of the Rings and Pirates of the Caribbean). Having a good storyline and superb cinematography, the movie probably is destined to become a classic comparable to the likes of the Ten Commandments, Ben Hur and Lawrence of Arabia. The only difference is that the Kingdom of Heaven had the benefits of modern-day technology like the computer to do the camera tricks. The three other movies were made more than 40 years ago and because of this, a great number of extras were needed when doing battle scenes. Set in the year 1184 A.D., during the latter part of Crusader rule in Jerusalem, the Kingdom of Heaven is supposed to be a historical movie. But like many historical movies recently made by Hollywood, it abounds with many inconsistencies and inaccuracies.

Fictional characters, fictional events

One such inaccuracy is the character of Balian (played by Orlando Bloom). While it is true that there was a Balian of Ibelin, a Crusader noble who played a crucial role in the defence of Jerusalem before it fell to the Muslim sultan Saladin in 1887, he never had to travel to the Holy Land as he did in the movie because he was already a part of the nobility there. In the opening scenes of the movie, Balian, a young and poor blacksmith was invited by Godfrey (played by Liam Neeson) to join the crusades so that he could find forgiveness for his wife’s suicide. Godfrey, who recently returned to France from the Holy Land, was also the father of Balian, an illigitimate son. Godfrey is a fictional character. Balian’s true father was Barisan of Ibelin who fathered three sons- Hugh, Baldwin and Balian, all of whom were legitimate. All of them reside in the Holy Land during Christendom’s 100-year rule over Jerusalem. Second, Balian was never romantically involved with Sybilla (Eva Green), the beautiful sister of the King of Jerusalem. He was already married in 1177 to dowager queen Maria Comnena and they had four children. Actually, it was Balian’s brother, Baldwin, who had a love interest in Sybilla. Third, like Godfrey the character of Tiberias (portrayed by Jeremy Irons) is a fictional one. No one named Tiberias is recorded as playing any substantive role in these events. The character of Tiberias was probably taken from the name of the city on the western shore of the Sea of Galilee. Now a part of Israel, Tiberias is only 10 kilometers away from the city of Hattin.

Battle of Hattin

The Crusader’s crushing defeat at the hands of the Muslims in the Battle of Hattin was a prelude to the siege of Jerusalem. This event happened on July 4, 1187, 3 months before the actual siege. A great number of Christian knights were either massacred or captured. In the movie, Balian did not join the Battle of Hattin because he was against the idea of launching a new war against the Muslims. But in reality, he was there together with King Guy de Lusignan and Reynald de Chatillon, the two antagonists in the movie. Actually, Balian was one of the very few who escaped from the Battle of Hattin. King Guy and Reynald de Chatillon were taken prisoners by Saladin. While in captivity, Saladin offered King Guy a glass of water and filled it with ice. But it was Reynald de Chatillon who grabbed the silver glass and gulped everything in it. This angered Saladin who later slit Chatillon’s throat. Reynald de Chatillon was later “finished off” by the guards of Saladin. Historical records show that Chatillon was actually hit by a sword on his shoulder blades but this scene was much closer to the truth than the next one -King Guy tied to a donkey half-naked and left to die in the desert while Saladin’s horsemen started the attack to capture Jerusalem. This scene was purely an invented one. King Guy did not die this way. After one year in captivity, he was given amnesty by Saladin and returned to the Kingdom of Tyre (Lebanon). He would later rule the Kingdom of Cyprus for three years until his death.


There was a “standoff” between Crusaders and the Muslims at the gate of David in Jerusalem and this made Saladin accept the terms of surrender offered by the Christians. Again, this is another inaccuracy. What made Saladin accept the Christian’s terms for surrender was Balian’s threat to kill all Muslims inside the city and burn their places of worship like the Dome of the Rock and the Masjid al-Aqsa. Muslim chronicler Ibn Al-Athir quotes Balian:”Know O Sultan, that there are very many of us in this city, God alone knows how many. At the moment we are fighting half-heartedly in the hope of saving our lives, hoping to be spared by you as you have spared others; this is because of our horror of death and our love of life. But if we see that death is inevitable, then by God we shall kill our children and our wives, burn our possessions, so as not to leave you with a dinar or a drachma or a single man or woman to enslave. When this is done, we shall pull down the Sanctuary of the Rock (today’s Dome of the Rock) and the Masjid al-Aqsa and the other sacred places, slaughtering the Muslim prisoners we hold—5,000 of them—and killing every horse and animal we possess. Then we shall come out to fight you like men fighting for their lives, when each man, before he falls dead, kills his equals; we shall die with honour, or win a noble victory”.

King Richard the Lionheart

In the final scene, we see a Richard the Lionheart together with his army on horseback seeking the help of Balian in their quest to recapture Jerusalem. Balian, by this time, was already a retired knight working as a blacksmith and living “happily” with the former queen Sybilla in his hometown of France. Again, this was a purely invented scene. King Richard did not travel to France on horseback to get to Jerusalem but instead travelled by boat from England directly to the port city of Tyre (Lebanon) enroute to Jerusalem. Balian, on the other hand, did not live with Queen Sybilla but settled with his family in Tripoli (Libya) after the fall of Jerusalem. Later, he would spend the rest of his life in the port city of Tyre.

And so, with all its inconsistencies and inaccuracies, is the “Kingdom of Heaven” still worth watching? The answer is yes. In the latter part of the movie, there is an epilogue which states “nearly a thousand years later, peace in the Kingdom of Heaven remains elusive.” This movie probably reflects the attitudes- the hatred and the bigotry of the people- the Jews, Muslims and Christians, who even after more than a thousand years are still fighting for control over the holy city named Jerusalem. A little more than a week ago, less than 200 people have lost their lives when fighting erupted between the Israelis and the Palestinians in the place we call the “Kingdom of Heaven.”

In commemoration of Bonifacio Day on November 30, the following article highlights the life of Valentin Diaz, one of the founders of the Katipunan or K.K.K., the secret society that started the Philippine Revolution of 1896, and that of his cousin Eulalio Diaz who fought the Americans during the Philippine-American War.  (This article was originally published in Global Balita on November 29, 2011).

A Pact sealed with Blood 1: The Diazes of Paoay

By George M. Hizon

Aguinaldo and his loyal followers before leaving for exile in Hong Kong. Note: Valentin Diaz, 3rd row,3rd from left.

The Katipunan, also known as the K.K.K. is probably the most famous secret society formed in the Philippines. The movement’s acronym, the K.K.K. stood for Kataastaasan Kagalanggalangan na Katipunan ng mga Anak ng Bayan and its ultimate aim was to establish an independent Philippine state. Although many articles were written about the Katipunan, little was written about its members, except for Andres Bonifacio. This article is dedicated to two of the Katipunan’s members, Valentin Diaz and his cousin Eulalio Diaz, who even after surrender of last Filipino general to the Americans, have tried to revive the struggle for Philippine Independence in Paoay, Ilocos Norte.

Valentin Diaz Katipunan Co-Founder and Treasurer (1849-1916)

Due to the secrecy that shrouded the life of many of the Katipunan’s members, little is known of the early life Valentin Diaz. Records show that he was born on November 1, 1849 in Paoay, Ilocos Norte to Geronimo Diaz and Maria Villanueva. In 1857, his family moved to Tayug, Pangasinan. Again, nothing is known of the educational background of Diaz. But it can be presumed that he studied because in 1857, he became the gobernadorcillo of Tayug. Moreover, he and his family must have been influential, for the Spanish authorities awarded such positions only to members of important families.

Exactly when and how he came to live in Tondo is not known. But when the reformist movement, the La Liga Filipina was formed by Dr. Jose Rizal and Andres Bonifacio at Ilaya St. in Tondo, Diaz was listed as one of its founding members. On July 6, 1892, the La Liga was dissolved following the arrest of its founder, Dr. Jose Rizal. The following day, former La Liga members decided it was time to set up a more radical movement. It was named the Katipunan, and its aim was to overthrow the 350-year old Spanish Government in the Philippines. In a darkly lit alley in Manila, with 72 Azcarraga St. as address, the men gathered and performed an ancient blood compact (incision on the left forearm) and signed their papers of membership with their own blood. Among the Katipunan’s founders were Deodato Arellano, Ladislao Diwa, Andres Bonifacio, Teodoro Plata, Jose Dizon and Valentin Diaz. Valentin Diaz later served as the Katipunan’s treasurer.

During the outbreak of hostilities between the Filipinos and the Spaniards, Diaz fought as a major in the revolutionary army of Andres Bonifacio. When a ceasefire agreement between the Filipinos and the Spaniards was promulgated on Nov, 1, 1897 (the Pact of Biak na Bato), Diaz became one of its signatories. Later, he joined General Emilio Aguinaldo in exile in Hong Kong because this was one of the conditions stipulated in the agreement. When the hostilities between the Filipinos and the Spaniards broke out again, Diaz was brought back from exile and fought with the armies of General Francisco Makabulos and then Colonel Servilliano Aquino in Central Luzon ( from the book “Filipinos in History”, vol. 3, by the National Historical Institute). They first laid siege on the town of Dagupan, Pangasinan. On June 22, 1898, Colonel Ceballos, the commander of the Spanish Army in Pangasinan surrendered to the advancing Filipino forces. On July 1, Makabulos along with 700 of his men laid siege on the Spanish garrison in Tarlac. Ten days later, the garrison surrendered. Later, Bienvenido Flandes, Francisco Gomez Gonzales, Inocencio La Fuente, and Jose Maria Ovellana signed the terms of capitulation for the Spanish Government while the winning Revolutionary army was represented by Valentin Diaz and Jose Bunuelos. A total of 1,500 Spanish prisoners were captured and about 1,300 firearms were confiscated.

During the Philippine-American War (1899-1902), Diaz once again served in the Philippine Army as a colonel. He was first under the command of Artemio Ricarte and later, Antonio Luna. Both were famous Ilocano generals.

In 1916, Katipunan co-founder Valentin Diaz died in Manila at the age of 67. Today, Valentin Diaz is memorialized with a national heritage marker at his birthplace in Paoay, Ilocos Norte.

Eulalio Diaz

After a two-year exile in Guam, General Artemio Ricarte and Apolinario Mabini were brought back to the Philippines by the U.S. authorities in early 1903. Upon reaching the Manila dockport, Mabini pledged his allegiance to the United States of America. He was very sick and died soon after. Ricarte, on the other hand, did not. He escaped and tried to foment another rebellion.

Emboldened by Ricarte’s escape, a group of former Ilocano revolutionaries tried to incite another rebellion in Paoay, Ilocos Norte. Foremost among the leaders of this group were Eulalio Diaz, Canuto Butardo, Valentin Butardo, Sergio Sadang Sr., Sergio Sangcali, Sotero Abutan, Panfilo Paclibari and Eugenio Raganit. Eulalio Diaz was the cousin of Katipunan co-founder Valentin Diaz. Like Valentin, little was known of Eulalio’s early life although records show he was once the gobernadorcillo of Paoay.

During the Philippine-American War, Diaz fought as a guerilla leader in Fr.Gregorio Aglipay’s army. In the book “The life and church of Gregorio Aglipay 1860-1960”, the authors Pedro S. de Achutegui and Miguel Anselmo Bernad described the guerrila’s actions ‘they came out in large numbers, from their hiding places, and the Americans retreated to Batac where houses were also set on fire. The Americans were reinforced from Laoag, and the Filipinos after a running battle which lasted for several hours were almost successful in driving out the new aggressors’. But Aglipay was captured in 1902. Later, Diaz and remnants of his forces went underground.

In 1903, Diaz would resurface as an instigator of another revolt. From the last days of June up to the first week of July, 1903, Diaz took his followers in the outskirts Paoay (in the remote forest of Buga, Sulcue, Pias and Baranio) and formed a secret society called the Kanayonan, an equivalent of the Katipunan but based in the countryside of Ilocos Norte. The group’s aim was to overthrow the U.S. colonial government in the Philippines. A blood compact similar to the one that took place in Manila in 1892 was conducted as the new members were sworn ‘to defend the country with the last drop of their blood’.

But even before the first shots of the new rebellion was fired, a traitor turned against Diaz. On August 25, 1903, Eulalio Diaz, Valentin Butardo, Canuto Butardo, etc. were charged with conspiracy to commit rebellion and sedition. It was a much publicized trial that lasted for a year and became the ‘highlight’ of the new Anti-Sedition Law passed by the U.S. administration. On April 16, 1904, all of them were found guilty of the charges and were sentenced to 6 years imprisonment with hard labor, to pay a fine of $5,000, gold and the cost of the prosecution. “The penalties of imprisonment, hard labor and gold bars were very heavy. It was probably meant to discourage future acts of rebellion and sedition during the American period” according to grandson Eulalio “Galland” Diaz III. Diaz III is a practicing lawyer

Earlier, in March 29, 1904, General Artemio Ricarte, one of the instigators of the revolt was captured in Mariveles, Bataan. His dream for another rebellion to take place in the Ilocandia region was dashed with the incarceration of Eulalio Diaz and members of his Kanayonan.

On April, 1904 however, another rebel took over from where General Ricarte and Eulalio Diaz left. His name was Macario Sakay and he would raze havoc on the U.S. forces from April, 1904 to July, 1906.

# # #

To LRA (Land Registration Authority) chief Eulalio “Galland” Diaz and Vicente “Enteng” Villarama, thank you very much for the valuable information.

By Perry Diaz

Last November 23, 2012, President Benigno “P-Noy” Aquino III in a keynote address at the 9th Media Nation Summit, spoke about corruption in the media, which was the theme of the conference.  He called on the media industry to develop “common standards” to prevent corruption, saying that the lack of which could lead to corruption.

P-Noy said that he saw shortcomings in the industry and he envisioned the need for standards, which he likened to the role of the Ombudsman for local officials where the people can go to file complaints against media practitioners.

Media ombudsman

While P-Noy’s suggestion of having a media ombudsman is not a novel idea, it has merits if used in the interest of balanced reporting.  For example, the Sacramento Bee newspaper in Sacramento, California has an Ombudsman since the 1970s.  The ombudman’s role is to investigate complaints of unfairness, imbalance or inaccuracies in the newspaper’s news reporting.  The current Sacramento Bee’s ombudsman, Sanders LaMont, has this to say about his job: “As The Bee’s ombudsman I attempt to listen closely to readers, advocate high journalistic standards, explain how things work at the newspaper, relay readers’ concerns to editors and answer questions about this newspaper. I then write a weekly column, picking subjects raised by readers that I feel will interest others.”  Mr. LaMont also serves as president of the Organization of News Ombudsmen, a professional organization with members in more than a dozen countries.

Code of ethics

In regard to P-Noy’s argument for the need to develop “common standards,” there is already in existence the “Journalist’s Code of Ethics” (JCE) that is enforced by the National Union of Journalists of the Philippines (NUJP).  The JCE consists of 11 articles, which its members are expected to uphold in the exercise of their profession.

The JCE was adopted during NUJP’s founding congress on July 30, 1988.  To join the union, the applicant must agree to strictly adhere to the JCE in which a violation would be a cause for expulsion.

Among the cases of code violations was the ouster of the NUJP chairman in 2009 when he was found to have “personally solicited money from a source for his personal use,” which was a violation of Articles V and XI of the JCE.  Article V states, “I shall not let personal motives or interests influence me in the performance of my duties, nor shall I accept or offer any present, gift or other consideration of a nature that may cast doubt on my professional integrity,” and Article XI states, “I shall conduct myself in public or while performing my duties as journalist in such manner as to maintain the dignity of my profession. When in doubt, decency should be my watchword.”

But while the NUJP has administrative oversight on its members with respect to their ethical behavior, there is no avenue for the prosecution of corrupt members.  And this is probably where the media industry as a whole would need something — like a quasi-judicial body — to review cases of corruption involving “envelopmental journalists.”


“Envelopmental journalism” took its roots during the Marcos martial law era when journalists would rather be bought than taken out of business… or worse, “salvaged,” a code word for forced disappearance.  At that time, some journalists would regularly receive envelopes loaded with money from politicians – thus, they were called “envelopmental journalists” – to keep them quiet… and happy.

Many believe that this brand of journalism is still being practiced today, subsidized by shady politicians who want to ensure that the these corrupt journalists would write nice things about them or bad things about their rivals and enemies.

Today, “envelopmental journalism” is on the wane.  An increasing number of journalists in the print and broadcast media are dedicated to their profession imbued with the desire to seek the truth and expose corruption in government.  But sad to say, many of them lost their lives in a spate of extrajudicial killings that peaked during Gloria Macapagal Arroyo’s presidency.  However, these heinous crimes continue to this day.

FOI bill

Recently, the House Committee on Public Information has finally passed the Freedom of Information (FOI) bill.  This was the first major milestone for all the years that Congress grappled with it.  But it is far from seeing daylight.  P-Noy has yet to endorse it, which makes one wonder, why?

Last November 15, P-Noy said at the Kapisanan ng mga Brodkaster ng Pilipinas’ 38th Top Level Management Conference: “The reporter bears the brunt of having to find stories, source information, and craft reports that find a way to their countrymen. Given the hard work they do and the high standards everyone should demand of them, it becomes legitimate to ask whether their pay and benefits are commensurate to the highest standards of integrity demanded of them.”

But Mr. President, how could reporters craft good and accurate reports when there is no FOI law that enables them to do a thorough research on the story they are writing about?

If P-Noy is serious and truly sincere in improving the quality of media reporting, the FOI bill should – nay, must – be enacted and signed into law in order to level the playing field for journalists; thus, avoiding the pitfalls of not having enough information to write a credible story.

At the end of the day, journalists can only write about information they know… or allowed to know.  And denying them this knowledge is tantamount to suppressing freedom of the press.  Ironically, it was P-Noy’s mother Cory Aquino, an icon of democracy, who fought hard for that freedom, which is now enshrined in the 1987 Constitution.

Indeed, the time to pass the Freedom of Information bill was long overdue.  It’s now or never, Mr. President.


This is a breakthrough in advanced military air-sea warfare, a pilotless stealth bomber launched from an aircraft carrier. — PERRY DIAZ

X-47B unmanned test aircraft hoisted aboard ship for first sea tests

By Christopher P. Cavas
Defense News

Covered in protective wrapping, the X-47B sits on a barge before being hoisted aboard the aircraft carrier USS HARRY S. TRUMAN (CVN 75) at Norfolk naval base on Nov. 26. In the background is the amphibious assault ship USS WASP (LHD 1). (U.S. Navy photograph)

One of two Northrop Grumman X-47B Unmanned Combat Air System (UCAS) demonstrator aircraft was barged down from Naval Air Station Patuxent River, Maryland, and arrived on Nov. 26 at Norfolk naval base, Va., where it was promptly hoisted aboard the aircraft carrier USS HARRY S. TRUMAN (CVN 75). This marks the first time one of the stealthy aircraft has been on board a ship.

TRUMAN was fitted during a recent overhaul with gear and software to operate the X-47B, the first jet unmanned strike aircraft designed for carrier operation. Extensive carrier deck handling tests will be run before flying operations take place later this winter.

The carrier will undertake three weeks of tests with the X-47B, both in port at Norfolk and underway along the Atlantic coast. Engineers and sailors will use a hand-held control display unit to control the aircraft moving along the carrier’s deck.

TRUMAN is scheduled to deploy to the U.S. Central Command region early in 2013.

Workers attach the aircraft to the crane. (U.S. Navy photo by MC3 Lyle H. Wilkie III)

Lifted by floating crane YD-257, the aircraft is swung over the TRUMAN’s forward flight deck. (U.S. Navy photo courtesy Northrop Grumman by Mr. Alan Radecki)

After unwrapping, technicians will check out the aircraft before beginning handling tests, an important step in learning how to move the unmanned aircraft around the carrier. (U.S. Navy photo by MC3 Lorenzo J. Burleson)

In this photo taken 8 July 2012, civilians from the Navy’s Unmanned Combat Air System program office (PMA 268) train crewmembers of the USS HARRY S TRUMAN to operate newly-installed X-47B equipment and systems. The gear was added to the ship during a major overhaul at Norfolk Naval Shipyard, Va. (U.S. Navy photo by MC3 Benjamin Malvezzi)

Several views of one of two X-47B aircraft, seen at a 31 July 2012 media event at Naval Air Station Patuxent River, Maryland. It was the first time east coast media had been given an up-close look at the planes, which were shipped this summer from California. (Photos by Christopher P. Cavas)

The X-47B features folding wings for storage aboard an aircraft carrier, although the feature was not demonstrated at this event.

The shape of the X-47B evokes the U.S. Air Force’s much larger B-2 stealth bomber, also built by Northrop Grumman.


VIEW VIDEO AND MORE PHOTOS >> X-47B unmanned test aircraft hoisted aboard ship