On the Phil-US negotiations on increased rotational presence

Foreign Affairs Secretary Albert del Rosario and Defense Secretary Voltaire Gazmin at the presser on negotiations for increased rotational presence of US troops in the country.

Foreign Affairs Secretary Albert del Rosario said the “increased rotational presence” was a policy agreed on two years ago. Defense Secretary Voltaire Gazmin said “high-value and high impact exercises” will serve as the “modality” for the increased presence of US troops in the country.

Negotiations began yesterday, August 14, between the Philippine and US governments regarding “increased rotational presence” of US troops in the Philippines. Exactly what that means is something that has yet to be 1) made clear and 2) negotiated, if one goes by what members of the Philippine panel said in their press conference last Monday, Aug. 12.

This much was clear: the “increased rotational presence” was a policy agreed on about two years ago; high-value and high impact exercises will serve as a “modality” for this increased rotational presence; and an agreement is needed to “institutionalize” this policy.

This is a transcript of the press conference last Monday. I will post later (when I figure out how) an audio record of the presser itself, so readers can check if there errors or inaccuracies in the transcript (there were some words I couldn’t hear clearly, especially towards the end).

The panel members are: Defense Undersecretary Pio Lorenzo Batino; Defense Assistant Secretary Raymund Jose Quilop; Foreign Affairs Assistant Secretary Carlos Sorreta; and Justice Undersecretary Francisco Baraan III. Continue reading

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MILF briefing for FOCAP


This is an incomplete transcript of the press conference which MILF chair Al Haj Murad Ebrahim held before the Foreign Correspondents’ Association of the Philippines (FOCAP). Continue reading

Top Arroyo aide pushes for a transition government

National Security Adviser Norberto Gonzales tells FOCAP his ideas on transition government

National Security Adviser Norberto Gonzales is pushing for a transition government, citing the lack of credibility of the current Commission on Elections and the likelihood that the coming elections will not only lack credibility, but will not change anything as well.

He is not calling for a transition government, Gonzales says. But he wants people to discuss it, looking at the first Edsa uprising and the changes that the revolutionary government, led by then President Corazon Aquino, managed to institute.

Gonzales discussed the idea recently, during a press briefing with the Foreign Correspondents’ Association of the Philippines. Continue reading

DOH admits “low level community outbreak” of A(H1N1) in Metro Manila

There is a “low level community outbreak” in some parts of Metro Manila, the health department said Tuesday, as it reported that there are now 473 cases of Influenza A(H1N1) in the country. Health Secretary Francisco Duque III however did not specify which areas in Metro Manila have a “low level community outbreak.”

The DOH had earlier said that Quezon City had the most number of cases in Metro Manila. Given the number of schools in Manila reporting cases of Influenza A(H1N1), however, those stats could well have changed.

There are probably cases of third generation transmission, the authorities said, adding that it would be hard to determine exactly which of the cases reported so far would be second or third generation.

They refused to say, however, that there is a community outbreak in the whole of Metro Manila, insisting that the numbers are low compared to the population and the number of schools in the metropolis.

Twenty-two schools have reported cases of Influenza A(H1N1), and the third generation transmission would probably be in some of those schools.

The rate of transmission, the health department said, is faster than health personnel can trace those who have been infected. Continue reading

DOH stats on H1N1 in RP

Health Secretary Francisco Duque III explains the DOH stats on RP cases of H1N1

On June 19, as the cases of Influenza A(H1N1) surged past 300, the health department made public the statistics they have so far on the H1N1 cases in the Philippines. Roughly one-third came from abroad, many of them Filipinos who went for a vacation in the US despite the DOH warning to put off unnecessary travel. Most of the recorded cases so far are in Metro Manila — and many of them were in Quezon City. All cases have so far been mild. Continue reading

The period of debate is closed

Against the objections of the minority, the House of Representatives voted to close the period of debate on Resolution 1109, which calls for the convening of a constituent assembly. Continue reading

Dilangalen moves to close the debates…

There was a motion to close the debates…now those who object are being given five minutes each to explain their objection.
Continue reading