Posts filed under ‘china’

PGMA: AUS-Aid funded Bukidnon road project example of international cooperation for development

Philippine President Gloria Arroyo says “The importance of international engagement in the country’s development.” Arroyo said this while attending the startup of a new road project that is expected to benefit millions of people in central and northern Mindanao. ”This is one of the fruits of international engagement,” the President said when she led the groundbreaking of the Australian Agency for International Development (AusAID) -funded road project here that stand to benefit some four million Filipinos.

“This road project will benefit not only the people of Impasugong or Bukidnon but also the neighboring areas,” she explained. The President, assisted by Bukidnon Governor Ma. Jose Zubiri Jr., Senator Juan Miguel Zubiri, and Rep. Candido Pancrudo, lowered the time capsule containing the project’s plan. Governor Zubiri informed the President that the AusAID project will cover some 160 kilometers of all-weather roads.

“This is something new for Bukidnon and this was made possible through the efforts of the President and our good relations with the Australian government,” he said. Australian Charge d’Affaires Steve Scott said the Philippines is an “important partner of Australia,” adding that the funds were made available to the Philippines because of “good governance and good execution of AusAID projects.” The road project is under the Southern Philippines Provincial Road Maintenance Program (SPPRMP) that covers 10 provinces in the Visayas and Mindanao and is funded with some 100 million Australian dollars or around P3.5 billion by the Australian government through the Australian Agency for International Development (AusAID).

The program has a Provincial Road Maintenance Facility (PRMF) that provides P50 million each year to every beneficiary province for construction and repair of provincial roads over a five-year period. It has been noted that provincial roads are the key links of rural communities to the national highway and eventually to the centers of trade and commerce, political administration, and health and educational services, among others.

By improving transport, the welfare of rural folks will significantly improve.

Apart from improving the road network, the program also seeks to strengthen each province’s institutional capacity and governance system related to the provision and maintenance of provincial roads. Depending on the performance of each beneficiary province in carrying out the program, these could be eligible for another round of assistance. The beneficiary provinces of the SPPRMP are Agusan del Sur, Bukidnon, Misamis Occidental, Misamis Oriental and Surigao del Norte, in Mindanao; and Bohol and Guimaras in the Visayas.

Three more beneficiary provinces are still to be identified.

Within five years, the SPPRMP is principally expected to have rehabilitated at least 1,000 kilometers of provincial roads in the 10 provinces; improved access for over four million people to schools and health centers; and reduced transport costs.

The PRMF is said to be Australia’s single largest grant project in the Philippines to date; the bilateral agreement covering this was signed last March. Australia is the country’s second largest bilateral grant aid donor after Japan. Its aid program has grown significantly in the last three years. For the fiscal year 2008-2009, its assistance portfolio is estimated at Aus 109 million dollars.

July 22, 2009 at 2:14 pm Leave a comment

Myanmar:Rangoon protests on YOUTUBE

September 26th, 2007 · No Comments

Most media organization have been having trouble getting images out of Rangoon or as the Junta has called it since taking over Government Yangooon,

But risking a lot these people put the videos on YOUTUBE, Google videos, and other sources across the World Wide Web in order to make thier message heard. It isn’t easy and the penalities are stiff if they are caught.

title=Monks' Revolution in Rangoon

Monks’ Revolution in Rangoon…

So here’s a look at what is happening. Shame news crews are allowed in to be able to show what else might be happening – or that the perspective is limited. But as often in dictatorships or military rule it is in trickles – reports and images flow out like these.

Google and Youtube for now seem to be the only way the images are at least in trickles coming out.

Add Video to QuickList

Life under Myanmar’s military government – 18 Sept 07
02:33

From: AlJazeeraEnglish
Views: 8930

 

Add Video to QuickList

Song Dedicated To Burmese Monks in Protest
05:04

From: moemaka
Views: 9250

 

Add Video to QuickList

Monks Revolution Continue in Burma
01:57

From: zawmyolwin227
Views: 14930

It reminds me of another time and another place. For those too young to remember it was not so long ago news was spread via xerox copies and information and magazines had to be hidden here from where we now have as some put it.

Too much news all the time:  More reactions below:

Bush Outraged:New sanctions vs. Myanmar set

WWW.Whitehouse.Gov

Fact sheet President Bush Addresses The United Nations General Assembly
At the United Nations today, President Bush expressed the outrage of the American people at the continued oppression of the people of Burma. The people of Burma deserve to enjoy basic liberties such as freedom of speech, assembly, and worship. The United States calls on the Burmese regime to engage in a genuine dialogue with its own people, including the leaders of the pro-democracy movement and ethnic minority groups, on a transition to a civilian, democratic government. The Burmese regime should release those who have been arrested for peacefully expressing their views, including Aung San Suu Kyi, and should also exercise restraint in the face of peaceful protests.

September 27, 2007 at 1:20 am Leave a comment

BURMA VIOLENCE: Military crackdown on protests

Crackdown underway in Burma hundreds arrested

September 26th, 2007 

Reports trickle out of Rangoon on the situation and protests spreading throughout the land its military rulers call Myanmar. Here in Manila there are calls for the Military in Yangoon/Rangoon to follow the will of the people and restore democracy. But the rest of ASEAN is silent as always.

[] Security forces have launched a crackdown against thousands of protesters in Myanmar’s central Yangon city. Early reports suggest two Buddhist monks were killed and between 80 and 200 people arrested. Police launched tear gas and fired above the crowds as up to 10,000 protestors pushed their way through barricades towards key protests points. The continuous protests against the military regime have been triggered by sharp rises in food and fuel prices. – Panos London []

News agencies and other organizations have a difficult time getting information out. But the death toll is rising and so are reports say the number of people being detained.

Four killed in Myanmar protest crackdown
Witnesses say 3 shot in Myanmar protests Los Angeles Times
Jerusalem Post – NPR – Inquirer.net – Times of India
all 2,964 news articles »

My own report on the crisis has mostly a view that the turmoil could lead to a flood of Yaba and other drugs across the borders into Thailand and Bangladesh:

CRISIS IN BURMA: DRUG FLOOD FEARED:

The US State Department released its yearly International Narcotics report for 2008, which has warned that the political problems in Burma are leaving drug production centers unchecked, and, corruption problems in government mean it has become Asia’s central distribution area for meth pills.

Production point for many criminal trafficking groups. “Burma’s military regime has not made the necessary efforts to curb production and has also been very lackluster in the areas of demand reduction,” Christy McCampbell , Deputy Assistant Secretary for International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs told reporters at a briefing.

Worse even prior to the crisis, there seemed to be little effort to stem the trade and the US DEA believes this may indicate large scale participation of security forces in protection of production center, “We think are important, interdiction that’s very important and combating corruption. ” McCampbell added.

CRISIS DEEPENING TENSION RISING:

On the streets of what the Military Junta calls, Yangoon, Myanmar there is fear, Thursday night, reports of arrests and a death has surfaced as a crackdown versus over 100,000 people daily filling the streets in protest.

(more on www.pacificnewscenter.com)

September 27, 2007 at 12:30 am Leave a comment

AAP Philippine-American Friendship Day picnic at Sofitel

Fil-am friendshp Party at Sofitel

Fireworks display:

Every year the American community of Manila gathers to celebrate Independance day and Fil-Am friendship day. Last year the events took place at the International School in Taguig. It was a fun picnic and as ussual there were marching bands, kids games, a party and fun for all. I featured it on FYITv.net and my youtube site:

FYITv.net

This year the event takes place at the Sofitel Philippine Plaza.

flyer:

american-independence-day-flyer-high.jpg

(more…)

June 30, 2007 at 2:35 pm Leave a comment

International Poll Watchers in Mindanao: Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Thailand, Indonesia, and Malaysia

A group of 21 poll watchers from Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Thailand, Indonesia, and Malaysia have set up shop in Mindanao to look over the Philippine election process,

The observer mission is being coordinated by the Asian Network for Free Elections (ANFREL) and supported with funding from the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA) and the Asia Foundation.

In all some 219 observers from the US, EU, Canada, the UK and the UN are looking at the conduct of the election process. Some have also come to learn how to watch and what to look for in election related issues and concerns for when elections take place in their own countries.

 

For this group of mostly Muslim observers during their deployment in the ARMM, the observer team members will be hosted by six local Muslim civil society groups that have signed a memorandum of agreement (MOA) with the Parish Pastoral Council for Responsible Voting (PPCRV) on April 3, 2007.

The goal is make sure that this group gets a chance to see what is going on and report any irregularities if any are found in the conduct of the polls. The observers for this group from Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Thailand, Indonesia, and Malaysia – come from countries that do also have elections – however have very different government systems –

Hence each of the observers do bring some issues from their home countries that does show more localized understanding than many western observers – Pakistan for example – is run by former general who took power after a coup. Bangladesh – just had a major upheaval with local political reform being meted out by a sweeping move at anti-corruption and very public arrests of old styled political figures and oligarch’s there. Thailand – well – we all so that coup however peaceful – it still does not have democratically elected leadership at this time – although elections are promised and expected soon there and a major Islamic insurgency is ongoing. Indonesia – like the Philippines is dealing with post dictatorship adjustments to democratic space – and so far it has done well – its government is elected. Malaysia is a democracy – but – still has some post Mahathir issues – reform there seems close at hand with the changes made so far and freedom given to people like Anwar Ibrihim.

Sri Lanka is also facing insurgency – seperatists Tamils hold a mjaor section of the country – but for the most part is a democracy: .

 

 

May 9, 2007 at 11:21 am Leave a comment

US, UK, and, Australia : Issue ‘Terror alerts’ over “Democracy RP style”

It was a strange read but somewhat a fact of life for expatriates here in the Philippines to steer clear of street protests and election rallies taking place in the country.

It is actually a crime for any foreigner to take part in actively the Political process and only properly registered foreign journalists, as well as political observers and diplomats are allowed into polling places. So picture taking is however jovial or festive it may seem is something to do outside of polling places – also to avoid any potential problems – never inside anywhere voting is taking place for foreigners.

I know a lot of foreign tourists often do picture tking and make vacation event out of looking in and seeing for themselves. There is very little risk – most place are very secure – but… ‘be careful or avoid it if you can.” per US, UK, EU, and most other government embassy websites.

Also any financial support is banned, no mater how worthy the cause may seem. If you are an expat here – this is a good time to take a shopping trip to Subic or Clark trade zones – or perhaps try the budget fares to Singapore or HK or go on vacation at some island resort. However the new warning is specific also about the last part of the suggestions I have made – a warning – versus remote island resorts and dive boats.

[] “…“Mid-term elections will be held in the Philippines on 14 May 2007. There is the potential for politically-motivated violence during the election period,” it said in its advisory (www.britishembassy.gov.uk).
The UK advisory came a week after the Australian government issued a similar advisory warning its citizens against going to political rallies. …” []  http://www.Gmanews.tv

Sadly both the US and UK gave a blanket warning on the entire Mindanao region. US official persons- ie diplomats and aid workers – now need special permission to travel anywhere in Mindanao per US embassy release.

[] “…
A bit of overkill – While there are trouble spots – the entire island half the size of the England is far from being a trouble zone – some parts – but not all. It should be revised to be more specific. Davao City and General Santos as well as Cagayan de Oro are while sometimes ‘eventful’ hardly conflict zones. Also thousands of US nationals live these areas. both Fil-Am and otherwise.

[]” … people who reside in or visit areas that face terrorist threats,
such as in Mindanao, travel with their own security force, avoid an
obvious presence, or both.  In some areas of the Philippines,
especially in Mindanao, visitors should avoid travel at night outside
metropolitan areas.  U.S. Government employees must seek special
permission for travel to Mindanao or the Sulu Archipelago.  When
traveling in Mindanao, U.S. official travelers attempt to lower their
profile, limit their length of stay, and exercise extreme caution.  …” []

US embassy travel warning

Actually Compton and other gang filled cities in Los Angeles county and say North Las Vegas or San Francisco’s Hunter point area at night probably are more violent on a friday night than Davao City or any major city in Mindanao. The US attitude however is to err on the side caution always in its warnings after nine – eleven but to lable the entire region as risky – would be like saying – Jersey City is dangerous because of organized crime.

Political rallies can be colorful and often are a highlight of entertainment and public speaking by leaders in locals communities – watching from a distance might be safer – large crowds often can be unpredictable – and – pickpockets and petty crime is sometimes a problem. Violence is also a risk. IED bomb attacks numbered 98 last yar alone throughout the Philippines – although most were in areas of conflict in Southern Mindanao’s Sulu Islands. Philippine security forces defused double that number through out the country preventing over 100 attacks – hence – yes – bombs are a real risk and large crowds pose a tempting target. One need only remember the Madrid train bombings which happened just days before Spanish elections to see that risk as real and not imagined.

A similar plot was fouled by Police a few days before – Madrid’s deadly attacks – when 80 ready to use back-pack bombs werer uncovered along with RPG BP40 rockets in very suburban wuezon city in 2004.  One bomb did get thrugh and destroyed a huge inter island ferry that same year during the 2006 super ferry bombing which killed 100.

Election related violence is a key issue in many races – throughout the country.

13 days to E-day: Violence looms as key issue

I think what embassy’s are doing are just taking precautions for their nationals sake and trying to be as safe rather than sorry – but – still perhaps more detailed warnings rather than blanket alerts would be better. To be honest with you there are I times when traveling in say Cotabato and Maguidanao I feel safer than in some parts of South Central LA at night. MS13 for example has killed more people than the Abu Sayyaf has this year – and – other gang related killings have made many US cities as war torn as Afghanistan without the IED’s and roadside bombs-. So safety is relative to where you are a college campus in Virgina or a street in Manila its always good to be safe and secure.

Another topic noted the threat of terror attacks during the elections was a possible  event to be mindful of as groups might use security forces preoccupation with the election process as a chance to sow terror.

[]”…“We continue to believe that terrorists and criminal elements plan to kidnap foreign tourists from islands and coastal areas in the southern Philippines – i.e. Mindanao and the Sulu archipelago. Kidnappings from other parts of the Philippines cannot be discounted. Boats traveling to and from offshore islands and dive sites are possible targets,” “[] . British embassy warning

US warning:

[]”… U.S. citizens contemplating travel to the Philippines should carefully onsider the risks to their safety and security while there, including  those due to terrorism.  While travelers may encounter such threats nywhere in the Philippines, the southern island of Mindanao and the Sulu Archipelago are of particular concern.  Travelers should exercise extreme caution in both central and western Mindanao as well as in the Sulu Archipelago.

Kidnap for ransom gangs operate in the Philippines.  In January 2007,
one such gang abducted two U.S. citizen children outside their home in
Tagum City, Davao Del Norte, in Mindanao.  The New People’s Army
(NPA), another terrorist organization, operates in many rural areas of
the Philippines, including in the northern island of Luzon.  While it
has not targeted westerners in several years, the NPA could threaten
U.S. citizens engaged in business or property management activities,
and it often demands “revolutionary taxes.”

Terrorist groups, such as the Abu Sayyaf Group and the Jema’ah
Islamiyah, and groups that have broken away from the more mainstream  Moro Islamic Liberation Front or Moro National Liberation Front have carried out bombings resulting in deaths, injuries and property damage.

Recent incidents have occurred in urbanized areas in
Mindanao.  On January 10, 2007, separate bombings in the cities of
Kidapawan, Cotabato and General Santos killed seven people and injured 1.  While these incidents do not appear to have targeted Westerners  or Western interests, travelers should remain vigilant and avoid ongregating in public areas.

Many people who reside in or visit areas that face terrorist threats,
such as in Mindanao, travel with their own security force, avoid an
obvious presence, or both.  In some areas of the Philippines,
especially in Mindanao, visitors should avoid travel at night outside
metropolitan areas.  U.S. Government employees must seek special
permission for travel to Mindanao or the Sulu Archipelago.  When
traveling in Mindanao, U.S. official travelers attempt to lower their
profile, limit their length of stay, and exercise extreme caution.

The Department strongly encourages Americans in the Philippines to
register with the Consular Section of the U.S. Embassy in Manila
through the State Department’s travel registration website,
https://travelregistration.state.gov. The U.S. Embassy is located at:
1201 Roxas Boulevard, Manila, Philippines, tel. 63-2-528-6300. The
Consular American Citizen Services (ACS) section’s fax number is
63-2-522-3242 and the ACS web page is at
http://usembassy.state.gov/posts/rp1/wwwhmain.html.  … “[]

May 2, 2007 at 11:14 am Leave a comment

Philippine spratly island town sinking ‘global warming’

The current debate and stand-off in the south China sea over a gruop of islets called the spratly chain of islands may be all for nothing if global warming keeps its path. the small islands may soon be whiped off the map – by rising tides cuased by gloabl warming.

[] “… disclosed by geologist Dr. Jose Antonio Socrates who is continuously monitoring the conditions of the Pag-Asa Island, one of the islands in the KIG, also known as the Spratlys. …”[]  http://www.bayanihan.org/

Ironic considering the Philippine government is considering building up the runway and facilities and infrastructure on the largestof the islands. Pag-Asa – incorporated under the munincipality of Kalayaan – or freedom land – the runway has a long history originally built on the remnants of  Japanese – then later US  military emergency airstrips built and abandoned during world war two.  The advantage pagasa has is fresh water.

But if Doc Soc – as he’s known on palawan is correct – then the Philippine government and other claimants to disputed territory rich in both marine and petroleum resources might want to look at options to build up rather than out in the small area.

the Philippines sees the area as a possible growth area for tourism – coral reefs are still largely intact although chinese fishing companies from Hainan are still using Cyainiad and explosives to boost fish catches. destroying rees in the same maner they destroyed much of the coastal areas they have near hainan and the Parcel islands. Philippine blast fishermen also abound as do blast fishermen from Indonesia and other areas.

So building up resources and infrastructure might be the only way to save the area and with cooperation rather than confrontation a key word in each claimants efforts the islands stand to see much feasable growth as a shared area for the six countries that claim the islands.

March 31, 2007 at 12:52 pm Leave a comment

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