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Philippines Today

(Photo from Manila Bulletin)


MANILA — It's official. Former Philippine National Police Director General Ronald dela Rosa is the new chief of the Bureau of Corrections, the government agency in charge of the national penitentiary and penal colonies.


This as dela Rosa formally took his oath as the new Bureau of Corrections (BuCor) chief before Justice Secretary Menardo Guevara.


Dela Rosa said he is evaluating the specifics of which buildings in the facility need immediate repairs, adding that at times inmates and jail guards have no choice but to be soaked during downpours due to the leaks in the dilapidated roofs.


Aside from noting the need to address over-congestion in the facility, dela Rosa said he is looking at the immediate segregation of local from the foreign, noting that communication between the two could be providing support in running the drug trade.


"Yung Chinese drug lord sila ang may contact dun sa supplydoon China, tapos itong mga local drug lords, Filipino drug lords sila ang mga contact sa local distribution dito sa Pilipinas. So ang drug problem is dalawang components yan – supply and demand. So kung i-segregate mo yung supply side, yung mgaChinese, hindi sila makipag-communicate dito sa mga Pilipino na drug distributor hanggang supply lang silaIto namang sa side ngFilipino drug lords, pag walang supply na makarating, kahit na anong demand sa labas, kahit gaano kalakas ang demand, wala silangsupply. Between supply and demand, they should be cut-off, hiwalay sila," dela Rosa said.


(The Chinese have contacts in China, local drug lords have contacts in local distribution. The drug problem has two components-- supply and demand. So if you segregate the supply side, which are the Chinese, they could not communicate with the Filipinos who act as distributor. They will only be limited to supply. These Filipino drug lords, they will be left with a wanting demand. Between supply and demand, they should cut off, they are separated.)


Dela Rosa also ordered the return of inmates billeted at the facility's hospital for months to their cells.


"Eh kaso sa ngayon halo-halo sila yung iba pang drug lord dun ilang buwan na sa hospital. Sa ospital kasi anybody can go there. So yung mga Filipino drug lords can go there at makipag-communicate dito sa mga Chinese drug lord na naka-confine," dela Rosa said.


(The problem now is that they are mixed together with other drug lords for months inside the hospital. It is because anybody can go to the hospital. So the Filipino drug lords can go there and communicate with the Chinese drug lords who are confined.)


Dela Rosa said they will also look into the effectiveness of cellphone jammers installed in the facility earlier during the previous administration, adding that they will look into the technical details of the cellphone jammer antenna.


Some suspected the antenna have been programmed to act as a booster instead of actually blocking cellphone signals inside the facility, dela Rosa said.


Guevara, said the President has given dela Rosa marching orders to do all what is necessary to accomplish eliminating the drug trade in the national penitentiary.


Pacquiao shifts training to Manila

Published in Sports

By EDDIE G. ALINEA | Sports Editor & Columnist


(Photo by Wendell Alinea/OSMP)


With the resumption of Congress starting on Tuesday, May 15, and up to the next two weeks or so, boxing icon Manny Pacquiao will again play the role of a dual citizen – that of being a sitting member of the Philippine Senate and a prize fighter.


This has, actually, been the Filipino eight-division champion’s life since being elected as congressman representing the Province of Sarangani for two terms and senator in 2016.


So expect to see him run every morning in the vicinity of his official residence in the posh Forbes Park as part of his preparations for a fight, attend to his duties as a lawmaker from mid-afternoon to early evening daily then resume training the rest of the day.


Pacquiao could actually be in the session hall as early as 10 a.m to attend committee hearings of which he is a member or chairman.


But wait, count the meetings and social gatherings that require his presence, including prayer rallies and bible reading sessions he is obligated to attend and, indeed, Pacquiao will be leading a busy, tough and gruelling life at least until the mid-July.


Already pushing 40, the Pacman is scheduled to fight World Boxing Association welterweight belt-owner Lucas “La Maquina” on July 14 (July 15 in Manila) at Axiata Arena in Kuala Lumpur, a year or so following his loss to Australian Jeff Horn.


Thus, requiring him to prepare harder and longer than what he usually had been doing.


“He can do it. Mahirap-hirap lang di gaya nung dati, pero knowing Manny, kakayanin nya,” assistant trainer Nonoy Neri assured after he and the training team, which includes chief trainer Buboy Fernandez, Roger “Haplas” Fernandez and Nonito Dodong Donaire Sr. wrapped up Pacquiao’s two-week preparations in General Santos City Saturday.      


Donaire Sr., father of two-division champion Nonito Donaire Jr,  joined the training team last week upon invitation of the boxer-legislator himself.   


“Time management lamang naman and Manny has been doing that since he was still a congressman. Konting adjustment lang sa oras,” Neri said. “Naka-dalawang linggo na nga kami sa training camp at wala naman kaming nakitang problema.”


“Of course, wala pa namang senado nang mag-start kami dito sa GenSan. But I believe we can manage kahit may session na,” he said.


Pacquiao and his team will fly to Manila Tuesday, May 15, in time for the resumption of Senate session that day.


Neri said the buildup program also resumes Tuesday unless Pacquiao elects to have another day of rest.


Plan is to spend two to three weeks here in Manila while sessions are on-going after which the camp  goes back to GenSan when Congress takes a recess anew starting June 1.


(Eddie G. Alinea/This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. )     



PHILIPPINE RISE — President Rodrigo Duterte marked the first anniversary of his renaming Benham Rise to Philippine Rise by sending off an all-Filipino team of 50 scientists to the vast area near Cagayan Valley to begin the country’s first massive scientific marine research there.


The send-off program commemorated the 2012 United Nations declaration that the submerged plateau, then known as Benham Rise, is part of the Philippines’ exclusive economic zone and extended continental shelf. The President, at the same time, issued a new order proclaiming parts of the region as a protected area.

The President was also poised for a two-day visit to the Philippine Rise which consists of 13-million-hectare seamount in the Pacific Ocean near the Cagayan Valley but later decided that the program in Casiguran Bay on board a Philippine warship was enough to show how the Duterte administration is protecting the vast territory believed to be a rich sourch of fish and aquatic resources.


.Accompanying the President in sending off the 50-strong scientific team are Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana, Agriculture Secretary Emmanuel Pinol, Environment and Natural Resources Secretary Roy Cimatu and some members of Congress, including Sen. Sherwin Gatchalian.


The marine research is the first nationally-coordinated research to be conducted in the undersea region off the provinces of Isabela and Aurora since Duterte signed Executive Order No. 25 renaming Benham Rise to Philippine Rise on May 16, 2017. It is a follow up of research of the Department of Agriculture, the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources, Oceana and other groups in the past.


The major research is part of the Coordinated National MSR Initiatives and Related Activities (CONMIRA) that the national government agencies and research institutions are conducting in the Philippine waters from April to November this year.


CONMIRA is comprised of the Bureau of Food and Aquatic Resources, Marine and Geosciences Bureau and Biodiversity Management Bureau of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR), National Mapping and Resource and Information Authority, Philippine Navy and University of the Philippines-Marine Science Institute (UP-MSI).


Duterte earlier ordered to stop all the marine explorations by foreign entities in the Philippine Rise and instead give priority to Filipino scientists.


Last week, Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque announced that around 50 Filipino scientists will conduct the MSR.


 Dr. Cesar Villanoy of the UP-MSI said there is a need for more scientific exploration to determine the economic potential of the Philippine Rise.


Villanoy said the government should also develop a sustainable management framework for the development and protection of the area believed to be rich in marine resources, natural gas, oil and minerals.


He suggested to having a practical cooperation, possibly with other countries, for technological capability since research expeditions in Philippine Rise require the use of modern equipment such as remotely-operated vehicles (ROVs) and Baited Remote Underwater Video Systems (BRUVS).


Villanoy said the MSR is a step towards creating a more comprehensive understanding of the area.


“This is just the beginning to know what is at the rise and understanding processes,” Villanoy said.


Dr. Mario Aurelio, director of UP National Institute of Geological Sciences (UP NIGS), has assured the Filipinos have the expertise to conduct MSR in Philippine Rise.


Aurelio, however, said the government should pursue a plan to establish a comprehensive National Marine Research Agenda (NMRA) that would fully equip local scientists by acquiring research vessels and other equipment particularly ROVs and BRUVS.


He said Duterte can issue an executive order for the establishment of NMRA that would incorporate all the sectors from solid earth to atmospheric and meteorological research.


For the past five years, the DENR has been conducting studies, which indicated large deposits of methane in solid form.


On the other hand, marine scientists from BFAR, UP and Oceana have documented a dazzling array of soft and hard corals, at least 200 fish species, algae and sponges as some of the biological diversity in the Philippine Rise.


The UP-MSI conducted the first oceanography survey in July 2012 while BFAR started a series of annual expeditions in 2013.


The results of the surveys boosted the Philippines’ submission to an extended continental shelf (ECS) in 2009.


Four years later, the United Nations Commission on the Limits of the Continental Shelf (UNCLCS) awarded and validated the country's claim, thus extending the country’s continental shelf by 118 nautical miles beyond the 200-NM legal continental shelf limits.


The Philippine Rise is geomorphologically distinct from the deep oceans floor. It forms a thick crust lying at about 3,000 to 3,500 meters below sea level, except for Benham Bank which is the shallowest point at 43-70 meters below sea level.


The Philippines has now sovereign rights and jurisdiction on both the water column and the seabed and subsoil of the extended continental shelf to conduct MSR, explore and exploit living and non-living resources, to establish artificial islands, and to protect and preserve marine environment.


The foreign researchers may do scientific research for as long as it has approval from the Philippine government.


The Benham Rise was named after American geologist Andrew Benham who surveyed the area in the 1930s.


Aside from sending off a team of Filipino scientists, Duterte is set to sign an executive issuance, most likely a presidential proclamation declaring the Philippine Rise and Kalayaan Island Group as Marine Protected Areas.


Another highlight of the Philippine Rise Commemoration Activity is the casting of ocean buoy and laying of flag marker in Benham Bank. 


Foreign investments jump 46% to $573 M in February

Published in Business

MANILA —The Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) has reported that foreign direct investment (FDI) net inflows in February this year jumped to US$573 million, or an increase of 46.4 percent compared to the same month in 2017.


BSP noted that increment in FDI net inflows was driven by strong growth in investments in debt instruments and equity capital.


Net debt instruments in February rose 56.3 percent to US$412 million this year from US$264 million in February 2017.


Likewise, net equity capital strengthened to US$96 million, as gross placements reached US$114 million while withdrawals posted US$18 million.


“Equity placements came mostly from Hong Kong, the United States, China, the Netherlands, and Japan,” the central bank said.


These equity placements were invested in sectors of art, entertainment and recreation, real estate, manufacturing, construction, and electricity, gas, steam and air-conditioning supply activities.


On the other hand, reinvestment of earnings for February slightly slipped by 1.7 percent to US$65 million this year from US$66 million in the previous year.


For the first two months of 2018, FDI net inflows posted a 52.6-percent growth at US$1.49 billion from US$978 million in the same period in 2017.


Two-month investments in debt instruments expanded by 10 percent to US$793 million this year from US$722 million in January to February 2017.


Net equity capital year-to-date growth was even stronger at 375.1 percent amounting to US$569 million this year from US$120 million in the previous year, with bulk of the equity capital sourced from neighboring countries such as Singapore, China, Hong Kong, Taiwan, and Japan.


Meanwhile, reinvestment of earnings slowed down by 5.2 percent to US$130 million in January to February 2018 from US$130 million in the same period last year. 


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