Rappler Newscast | May 1, 2014
Today on Rappler.
- Former senator Rene Saguisag hits the Philippine-US defense deal while defense undersecretary Pio Batino stands by it.
- President Aquino urges voters to choose a leader who will continue reforms.
- Victim’s families’ fear bodies trapped in the South Korean ferry may never be recovered.
STORY 1: SAGUISAG: PH-US MILITARY DEAL LACKED TRANSPARENCY
Former senator Rene Saguisag hits the lack of transparency in talks that led to the military deal between the Philippines and the United States.
The 10-year agreement gives American troops increased access to Philippine military bases.
Signed hours before the state visit of US President Barack Obama, negotiators say this does not mean the US bases closed down in 1992 would be reopened.
Then Sen Saguisag voted against the bases.
He says when the 1991 voting happened, it was preceded by constant dialogue with the executive department.
RENE SAGUISAG, FORMER SENATOR: The procedure was very faulty. When you decide something that will affect a hundred million Filipinos, it cannot only be limited to the children of God in Malacanang. It will affect my grandchildren.
What I would have liked to see here was the same kind of transparency and accountability that marked our 1991 vote.
Citing the Constitution, Saguisag says the Senate should have a say in the deal.
But he adds, the pork barrel scam affected the Senate’s credibility, preventing it from playing its role as an independent chamber of Congress.
RENE SAGUISAG, FORMER SENATOR: Our own Senate has its own problems now with the pork barrel etc but still, the institutional arrangement is that it impacts on foreign relations where we are supposed to speak with a single voice. At least, consult the elected elders or betters in another branch.
While critics question the deal, Sen Sonny Trillanes says it’s the Philippines’ “security blanket” against threats like China’s aggressive moves in the disputed South China - or West Philippine - Sea.
Saguisag also says if he had been consulted, he would be open to rotational or permanent basing.
RENE SAGUISAG, FORMER SENATOR: No country has any permanent friends or enemies only permanent interest. And that is why I’m open to dealing, negotiating with anybody.
Many people have changed their minds after 9/11 because we could not really deal with the Talibanic fundamentalist threat. So this is a case where if we had been consulted, I personally might have suggested: Okay, let them come in rotational or permanent basing.
Saguisag also offers an unconventional proposal to test the US commitment to the Philippines:
send American troops to Ayungin and Scarborough Shoals, where Chinese ships have harassed Filipinos several times.
RENE SAGUISAG, FORMER SENATOR: The US can put itself where its mouth is. By even agreeing to discussing that possibility. Why not basing rights in Ayungin and Scarborough because that can be developed by them faster than we [can].
The statements of Obama were provocative enough. So one can read into it any message he wants. So here, you want presence? Okay. So we're offering you what we long believed is our territory.
STORY 2: BATINO: PH-US DEAL BOOST PH DEFENSE CAPABILITY
Defense Undersecretary Pio Lorenzo Batino stands by the defense deal.
He says the 10-year deal just implements policies already approved and ratified by the Philippine Senate…
the 1951 Mutual Defense Treaty and the Visiting Forces Agreement.
Batino, the head of the Philippine panel for the negotiations, adds the deal is the natural progression of both nations’ defense cooperation through the years.
PIO LORENZO BATINO, DEFENSE UNDERSECRETARY: We all know that mutual defense treaty – the most significant provision of that is that both parties oblige each other to defend when there is armed attack on either.
The next question is, “what’s next?” We don’t need to just satisfy ourselves with just that, especially that the security environment is evolving, is changing, and that there is a recognition that we still lack some modern defense equipment for our defense posturing.
Decades of limited spending has left the Philippines with one of the region’s weakest military forces. Batino says the deal will immediately upgrade equipment and make training available for Filipino troops.
PIO LORENZO BATINO, DEFENSE UNDERSECRETARY: We’re in the process of selecting, procuring modern defense equipment such as ships, jet fighters… but all of these will be coming in 1-3 years from now. So even while waiting for the delivery of these modern defense equipment, if the parties will agree, then similar modern defense equipment will be prepositioned here so our future pilots could already train even prior to delivery. That would sufficiently facilitate the capacity-building of the AFP officers and men.
He adds the Philippines will benefit from US assistance in other ways aside from defense from external threats.
PIO LORENZO BATINO, DEFENSE UNDERSECRETARY: We need help in terms of our capability caps, now in terms of disaster relief and maritime domain awareness, and the timely prepositioning of equipment here – of course, subject to the agreement of the Philippine authorities – would more expeditiously address our concerns.
STORY 3: DFA: TREATY OBLIGES US TO DEFEND PH IF ATTACKED
Philippine Foreign Secretary Albert del Rosario says the United States is obligated under the 1951 mutual defense treaty to come to the aid of the Philippines if its territory is attacked.
Del Rosario says the treaty can also be invoked if armed forces of the Philippines are attacked in the Pacific area.
During his state visit to the Philippines, US President Barack Obama cited the treaty when he said the US would support its ally.
But he did not specifically mention defending Manila in its dispute with China.
Manila and Beijing both claim areas of the sea.
Some lawyers say the treaty does not cover the disputed islands.
Del Rosario says Washington affirmed in a 1999 diplomatic letter
"that the South China Sea is considered part of the Pacific area.”
STORY 4: AQUINO: NEXT PRESIDENT SHOULD CONTINUE REFORMS
A few days after the release of a Pulse Asia presidential poll, President Benigno Aquino urges voters to choose a leader who will continue reforms started by his administration.
In his labor day speech in Laguna, Aquino gives this advice to voters.
BENIGNO AQUINO,PHILIPPINE PRESIDENT: Kung naniniwala po kayo na tama ang ating ginagawa. Kung ayaw ninyong mabalewala ang ating nasimulan sa tuwid na daan. Piliin natin ang mga susunod pinunong magpapatuloy at higit pang magpapayabong sa ating mga naipunlang mga reporma.
(If you believe that what we are doing is right. If you don’t want what we’ve started on the straight and narrow path to go to waste, let’s pick a leader who will continue and further improve on the reforms we’ve made.)
The Pulse Asia survey shows Vice President Jejomar Binay as the overwhelming choice for president, with 40% of respondents choosing him if elections were held today.
Interior Secretary Mar Roxas, the likely standard bearer of the ruling Liberal Party in 2016, ranked 5th with 6%.
STORY 5: WORKERS WEAR ‘ANGRY’ RED SHIRTS IN LABOR DAY MARCH
Wearing red shirts, members of militant labor groups hold a Labor Day march in Mendiola Thursday to demand better working conditions from the government.
The Bukluran ng Manggagawang Pilipino says President Aquino failed to deliver on his anti-corruption, pro-poor promise more than halfway into his term.
Nagkaisa, the biggest alliance of labor groups in the Philippines, says the government failed to address demands…
to curb power rates, impose tax breaks, and end the system of contractualization.
STORY 6: SOCIAL MEDIA POST OF THE DAY
It’s Labor Day.
While a huge chunk of the workforce enjoys the holiday…
the show must go on for some.
Those on vacation take time to tweet greetings of appreciation
to those working on Labor Day
From construction workers to medical professionals,
from journalists to food servers,
the world keeps moving, even on a holiday.
STORY 7: FEARS THAT S. KOREA FERRY VICTIMS MAY NEVER BE RECOVERED
More than two weeks after a ferry capsized off South Korea, some fear the bodies of the victims may never be recovered.
89 people remain missing after the ferry sank with 476 people on board.
213 people died from the tragedy. Most were high school students.
On Wednesday, a fishing boat pulled a body from the sea about two kilometers away from the main recovery site off the southern island of Jindo.
Some fear powerful currents in the area may have pulled some bodies into the open sea.
The relatives of the victims want all bodies recovered before workers begin to raise the ship.
The ship’s captain and 14 crew members were arrested for negligence and abandoning passengers.
STORY 8: THE wRap: YOUR WORLD IN ONE READ
At number 5, The World Health Organization or WHO warns misusing antibiotics is reviving killer diseases that have been treatable for decades.
In a hard-hitting study of antimicrobial resistance, WHO warns against the devastating effects of misused antibiotics.
Medical charity Doctors Without Borders says the situation on the ground is “frightening” …
noting that antibiotics are losing the ability to fight bacteria responsible for diseases like diarrhea, pneumonia, urinary tract infections and gonorrhea.
At number 7, Thailand goes to the polls on July 20 in a bid to end the country’s lingering political crisis.
For the past 6 months, Thai Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra has faced legal challenges.
Protesters demand her resignation to make way for a “neutral” prime minister who could implement anti-corruption reforms.
The Constitutional Court declared a failure of elections for the February polls after protesters blocked some polling stations.
Whether or not Yingluck’s name will be on the ballot remains unclear because of the two legal cases that could result in her suspension from office and her being banned from politics.
At number 10, an Oscar statuette won by cinematographer Gregg Toland in 1939 is auctioned for $150,000.
Toland won the award for his work on Wuthering Heights, directed by William Wyler and starred in by Sir Laurence Olivier.
Regarded as one of the most influential cinematographers in film, Toland was also nominated for his work in Orson Welles’ Citizen Kane in 1941.
For the full top 10 visit Rappler.com’s ‘the wRap.’
Newscast Production Staff
|EXECUTIVE PRODUCER / WRITER||Lilibeth Frondoso|
|ASSOCIATE PRODUCER / PUBLISHER||Rodneil Quiteles|
|HEAD WRITER / PROMPTER||Katerina Francisco|
|MASTER EDITOR / PLAYBACK||Exxon Ruebe|
|TECHNICAL DIRECTOR / CAMERAMAN||Charlie Salazar|
|Raffy de Guzman|