Philippine police accuse Italian ambassador of human trafficking and child abuse

PUBLISHED : Monday, 07 April, 2014, 11:44pm
Agencies in Manila
Philippine Police Superintendent Noel Calderon Alino (left) answers questions from reporters about Daniele Bosio (inset) beside Senior Superintendent Romulo Sapitula at a police station in Binan, south of Manila. Photo: AP

Philippine police have detained a vacationing Italian ambassador and filed complaints of human trafficking and child abuse after he was allegedly found in the company of three underage boys at a resort.

Police arrested Daniele Bosio, a diplomat based in Turkmenistan, at a water fun park near Manila at the weekend following a tip-off from a local child rights group.
Continue reading “Philippine police accuse Italian ambassador of human trafficking and child abuse”

Manila’s provocations reflect weakness

“The Philippines could do nothing but provoke China like a clown under the indulgence of some Western forces”
BRP Artemio Ricarte (PS-37), a Jacinto class c...
(Global Times)    07:36, March 31, 2014

The Philippines on Sunday filed a case against China’s “territorial invasion” with the UN arbitral tribunal. This comes a day after a nearly two-hour standoff between Chinese coastguard ships and Philippine supply vessels ferrying food and soldiers to Ren’ai Reef. Witnessed by more than a dozen Philippine and Western journalists invited onboard a Philippine ship, the Philippine boats “eventually maneuvered away from the Chinese blockade” and arrived at the reef, winning applause from domestic public opinion and support from the Western media. Continue reading “Manila’s provocations reflect weakness”

Filipinos back Manila’s move to confront China over South China Sea

Move to challenge China’s territorial claims in UN-backed court popular: poll

UPDATED : Tuesday, 11 February, 2014, 1:27am

Raissa Robles in Manila


Philippine Foreign Affairs Department spokesman, Raul Hernandez. Photo: AFP

A majority of Filipinos back the Philippine government’s move to challenge China’s territorial claims over the South China Sea before an international arbitration court, according to the results of a poll released yesterday.

The poll also showed that Filipinos did not trust China much.

Philippine pollster Social Weather Stations  said 81 per cent of Filipinos it surveyed backed last January’s decision to challenge Beijing’s claims in the South China Sea in the UN-backed tribunal. Continue reading “Filipinos back Manila’s move to confront China over South China Sea”

China offers $100,000 aid to typhoon-ravaged Philippines

Tuesday, 12 November, 2013, 4:34am

Staff reporters and agencies
US and Japan send rescue teams

China, the world’s second largest economy, has offered US$100,000 in aid to the Philippines in the wake of Super Typhoon Haiyan.

It is the same amount as Vietnam, itself now battling to limit the damage from the storm which made landfall yesterday. Meanwhile, the US has sent US$20 million in aid, while Australia and Britain have pledged US$9.38 million and US$9.6 million respectively.

Foreign Ministry spokesman Qin Gang announced yesterday that Beijing would give US$100,000 in aid to the Philippines, as the United Nations, Japan and the United States mobilised emergency relief teams and supplies after one of the biggest storms on record devastated the central Philippines on Friday. China’s offer did not include personnel, but Qin said Beijing could proceed with further assistance after consulting Manila and relief agencies.

The United States has sent 90 marines, aircraft, emergency shelters and 55 tonnes of emergency food. Tokyo is sending a team of 25 medical personnel.

The donation comes a month to the day after China criticised the US for giving tacit backing to the Philippines’ stance [1] after Manila had launched an arbitration case with the United Nations to challenge the legal validity of Beijing’s sweeping claims over the resource-rich South China Sea.

Despite an official death toll of 1,774, authorities in the Philippines fear that the toll could climb to more than 10,000. At least two million people in 41 provinces were affected by the disaster, with tens of thousands of houses destroyed.

An aerial image shows the devastation caused by typhoon Haiyan in Hernani township, Eastern Samar province, central Philippines. Photo: AP

Philippine President Benigno Aquino has declared a state of national calamity, allowing the government to use state funds for relief and rehabilitation and control prices.

Beijing’s offer highlights the fine diplomatic line it needs to walk amid its ongoing territorial dispute with Manila in the South China Sea.

“Given the tense relationship between China and the Philippines, resentment among Chinese may be triggered if Beijing helps the Philippines,” said Du Jifeng , a Southeast Asian affairs analyst at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences.

Members of the Japan Disaster Relief Medical Team depart. Photo: ReutersQin denied any link between the aid and its relations with the Philippines.

Vietnam, despite itself being hit by a weakened Haiyan, offered emergency aid of US$100,000. It said it “stands by the Philippine people in this difficult situation”.

Reaction to the news of China’s donation among Chinese web users was mixed on Tuesday, with many commenting that Beijing should not have donated any aid.

“The Chinese government should not have offered aid in the first place to a country that’s unfriendly or even hostile to China. Instead, grass-roots organizations and individuals should be encouraged to offer aid,” wrote a microblogger by the name of Mituofo.

IN PICTURES: Typhoon Haiyan leaves a trail of devastation [2]

“China has so many impoverished areas that could use the aid money,” said another called C_Q77

One commenter on the Global Times website wrote: “So many of China’s own children are starving and don’t have enough clothes to wear – Why would the government pretend to be a good guy to other countries while turning a blind eye to your own people?”

Agence France-Presse, Reuters

China weighs into Europe’s austerity battle: depth of public anger in the eurozone could lead to a ‘complete discarding’ of austerity programmes

Top official at China’s £300bn sovereign wealth fund said that the depth of public anger in the eurozone could lead to a ‘complete discarding’ of austerity programmes


Zombie protest marks visit of IMF Chief to Manila

Activists dressed as zombies stage a protest outside the presidential palace in Manila over the visit by International Monetary Fund (IMF) chief Christine Lagarde.  Photograph: Ezra Acayan/  Ezra Acayan/Demotix/Corbis

Opposition to Europe‘s austerity programmes intensified on Friday as a top official at China’s £300bn sovereign wealth fund warned that the public are at “breaking point” and protesters demonstrated in solidarity against the International Monetary Fund in Manila.

Jin Liqun, chair of the supervisory board of the China Investment Corporation (CIC), said that undue harshness risked a backlash which could end with necessary economic reforms being abandoned. Jin, who has previously argued that Europeans should work harder, repeated an earlier warning that governments had spent unsustainably in the past and need to be more fiscally responsible, but added that the depth of public anger could lead to a “complete discarding” of austerity programmes.

“The fact the public are taking to the streets and resorting to violence indicates the general public’s tolerance has hit its limits,” he said.

“Unions are now involved in organised protests; demonstrations and strikes. It smacks of the 1930s,” he said.

“The general public’s tolerance of austerity has been stretched to breaking point.”

Speaking to the Guardian, Jin said the key was to balance fiscal cutbacks with growth strategies. “So there should be some tolerance, but the determination to carry on austerity should not be relaxed.”

Jin’s comments came two days after the eurozone saw the biggest anti-austerity protests since the financial crisis began, with riot police clashing with demonstrators in several cities.

Christine Lagarde, the IMF managing director, received a taste of the global concern over the eurozone during a trip to the Philippines. Protesters gathered in Manila dressed as zombies, carrying placards bearing slogans including “IMF is an economic zombie” and “IMF is dead. A walking dead”.

Plastered with fake blood, the group lay down on the road outside the presidential palace and said they were acting in solidarity with the people of Europe,

The euro crisis overshadowed Lagarde’s trip – which is already being truncated so she can return to Europe for another meeting of finance ministers next Tuesday. The IMF managing director said it was essential that the eurozone agrees a way to put Greece on a sustainable debt path.

“It is not over until the fat lady sings, as the saying goes,” Lagarde told a press briefing. “It is a question of working hard, putting our mind to it, making sure that we focus on the same objective which is that the country in particular.”

Gary Jenkins, analyst at Swordfish Research, predicted that the IMF and the eurozone will agree a deal to give Greece its next slice of funding, after failing to reach agreement last Monday.

“The alternative is to risk a disorderly default and a potential meltdown of the eurozone,” Jenkins added.

The latest trade data showed a drop in goods being brought into the eurozone, a day after it fell into recession. Imports fell 4% in September while exports rose by 1%, resulting in a euro area trade surplus of €9.8bn (£7.8bn) in September, up from just €1.7bn a year ago.

Philippines appeals to hackers to cease attacks

By Agence France-Presse Saturday, October 6, 2012 19:00 EDT

Hackers incensed by the Philippines' controversial cybercrime law have attacked government sites that deliver emergency information during natural disasters file photo via AFP

Hackers incensed by the Philippines’ controversial cybercrime law have attacked government sites that deliver emergency information during natural disasters, an official said Saturday.

President Benigno Aquino’s spokeswoman Abigail Valte appealed for a stop to the attacks, on the websites and social media accounts of the weather service, the earthquake and tsunami monitoring service and the social welfare agency.

Valte did not disclose the extent of the damage, if any. All the sites she mentioned appeared to be up and working on Saturday afternoon.

“Many people are being affected by this,” she said.

“We are aware of the opposition to the National Cybercrime Prevention Act. There are other ways to express opposition to it,” she said in an appeal broadcast on government radio.

The Philippines sits on the “ring of fire” of tectonic activity that generates earthquakes around the Pacific, and is also regularly hit by typhoons, with the agencies’ online arms providing citizens with disaster data and advice.

Valte reported the attacks a day after Aquino set out a broad defence of the cybercrime law, which seeks to stamp out offences such as fraud, identity theft, spamming and child pornography.

But it has sparked a storm of protests from critics who say it will severely curb Internet freedoms and intimidate netizens into self-censorship.

One of its most controversial elements mandates much longer jail sentences for people who post defamatory comments online than those who commit libel in traditional media.

It also allows the government to monitor online activities, such as e-mail, video chats and instant messaging, without a warrant, and to close down websites it deems to be involved in criminal activities.

The Supreme Court is hearing petitions to have the law declared illegal.

Aquino, whose mother led the “people power” revolution that toppled the military-backed Ferdinand Marcos regime in 1986, said he remained committed to freedom of speech.

But he said those freedoms were not unlimited.

[Image via Agence France-Presse]