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WW2 UXB’s found inside US Embassy compound in Manila

A Investigation is underway in the Philippines after a shocking discovery of over fifty bombs and artillery shells each capable of destroying a small building, If accidentally detonated, together the cache of explosives would have been capable of widespread mayhem in central Manila’s tourist district.

The location is supposed to be one of the most secure compounds in Asia. The bombs UXB’s (Unexploded Bombs) from WW2 – were buried in a parking lot inside the US embassy compound decades ago, were uncovered friday, during construction.

This after millions of dollars in security upgrades in the last decade – many – prior to 9-11,2001 and all in name of securing a compound that is considered to one of the best guarded sites in Asia.

A statement issued by a state department spokeswoman from the embassy reads as follows:

“*During construction excavation work on Friday on the Chancery compound, some unexploded ordnance, dating back to the WWII era, was discovered.

*To esure the safety of all of Embassy staff, workers on the site, visitors, and local pedestrians, the Embassy evacuated the staff and workers from the area adjacent to the dig and called on the EOD team to investigate, remove, and dispose of the ordnance.

*As of Saturday at 11:15 AM, the EOD team had completed its work and left the compound. Normal operations at the chancery are resuming.

*We greatly appreciate the support and cooperation of the PNP, the EOD team, and the other responders whose swift action and highly professional work ensured the safe removal and disposal of the ordnance.”

The US embassy in Manila has had state of the art security upgrades and over a hundred million dollars spent rebuilding facilities in the past decade. Also intensive training  and assistance given to Philippine authorities to prevent any explosive device from ever penetrating the secure 10 acres or so of US soil in one of America’s most historic Embassy compounds in Asia. The find, brings serious questions into what else could be buried there and in other areas close by. Much of the land is reclaimed from Manila Bay in part from rubble of the battle of Manila six decades ago – over the years bombs, artillery shells, tanks, guns, and even human remains have periodically been uncovered in Manila’s Ermita district.

Yet, here concern has been raised as even after hundreds of Millions of dollars in US taxpayer funds spent on security including upgrades for high tech electronic sweepers – both at the embassy and around its grounds yet none failed to detect high explosives buried litterally right under the US government’s own noses – explosives which include RDX and C2 all buried inside the compound.

The FBI, US State Department Security, Department of Homeland Security and US Marines are sources say sweeping the sprawling grounds near the chancery building and parking lot area.

The US Embassy is under tight security, local law prevents even tourists from posing for photographs outside its grounds and Philippine Police units assigned to guard the perimiter are under strict orders to enforce rules on no photographs allowed of the area.

But, after a backhoe operator digging the foundation for a new drainage cannal leading from a new annex being built inside the seaside compound – made the discovery. Local Police have been privately joking that the Americans didn’t bother to check ‘under the rug’ while seeking strict rules outside embassy walls.

In total  the over 50 bombs buried inside the secure embassy compound recovered were by State Department Security and US Marines and turned over to Philippine Police for disposal. Eltie Police specail forces units from the Specail Action Force of the PNP and bomb sniffing dogs as well as top secret security and survailance gear is deployed around the embassy.

Ground X-ray machines are also planed to be used to check on other possible buried objects. Expect rumors of finding Yamashita’s treasure to surface in the coming weeks! In fairness after WW2 in many parts of Manila and all over the world hundreds of bombs, grenades and landmines as well as other devices are still uncovered daily.

Unexploded bombs from WW2 are not rare in Manila, periodically over Sixty years, much was buried hastily and left behind in the cleanup of Manila after WW2 when much of the city was devestated by the Battle of Manila in which over 100,000 people were killed.

The embassy find, according to reports by the Manila Police district dates back to the Liberation – of the Philippines and most likely was burried by US forces. Who were cleaning out the embassy compound which fomerly was the seat of executive government under the US Commonwealth of the Philippine Islands.

The Manila US Embassy was the US High Comisionners residence, when the Philippine was part of the USA as a commonwealth (similar to Puerto Rico for those readers unfamiliar with that period) the bombs were most likely defused before they were buried but still are considered dangerous..

Manila Police took no chances noting that initial inspection, showed traces of RDX and explosive powder was still present inside the bombs. Described initally on local radio was large aircrat type bombs – Police are now downplaying this saying further examination shows they were mearly Mortar  and artillery shells.

Police say the bombs will be detonated at safe location outside of the capitol area.

Local media reports says “The 50 World War II vintage bombs were recovered from the United States Embassy premises in Manila Friday afternoon,” according to local radio reports say, that “The embassy called the Manila Police District Explosives and Ordnance Division at 2 p.m. (2 a.m.EST) after construction workers discovered the bombs.” Manila’s radio station DzBB reported.

The construction crew, “Was working on a new complex inside the compound meant to expand the current embassy working areas – a worker was using a backhoe at the time, uncovered the bombs at a construction site in a part of the embassy, Police report that visitors were evacuated by embassy security personnel while the US marine guards helped Philippine police EOD teams retrieve the bombs.” the reports went on to say in the local dialect on radio.

A new more secure embassy building inside the seaside compound is being built in the ten acre site on Roxas Blvd. where Manila Bay’s famed sunset has been the backdrop for over a hundred and ten years of American presence – from a governor generals to a high commisioner and now as one of the USA’s most historic and largest staffed diplomatic presence in Asia.

The US Embassy in the Philippines is one of the state departments largest facilities. It serves as regional clearing house for other smaller missions in the South East Asia reegion.

Also its chancery building is the historic site of the Manila War crimes trials as well as a scene of firece fighting during WW II. During Japanese occupation it served as the residence for Japanese Military officails and as headquarters of its gestapo like military police unit the Kempetai.

For my American readers, The Philippines, Puerto Rico, and Guam were purchased by USA from Spain in 1899 after the Spanish American War. the US granted the Philippines Commonwealth Status in 1930’s and recognized full independance in 1946.

The Philippines remains home to the largest expatriate American community in Asia numbering hundreds of thousands many of mixed American and Philippine background.

January 24, 2009 at 1:11 pm Leave a comment

Suspected ASG members nab Red Cross team outside Sulu Jail

Gunmen abducted three Red Cross workers from Italy, Switzerland and the Philippines on Jolo island. The Philippine National Red Cross chairman, Senator Richard Gordon, said the three were in a car on their way to Jolo airport.

The group of red cross workers were visiting a jail they were intercepted by a group on motorcycles, Gordon identified the three red cross members, as a group from, “the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) as Swiss Andreas Notter, Italian Eugenio Vagni and Filipino Mary Jean Lacaba.”

The ICRC team had been at the Sulu provincial jail, Gordon said they had been workiing on a water and sanitation project to improve the conditions of detainees. The ICRC team traveling with Philippine National Red Cross Sulu Chapter personel when they were abducted not far from the gate of the jail. “They had been carrying out a water and sanitation project to improve the condition of detainees,” Gordon said.

Senator Gordon said that local red cross workers’ a driver and two others were released and reported the incident, “I Pam appealing to the Abu Sayyaf to free those people, because they are neutral in any conflict,” Gordon said. “They do not realize this but these people help them if they get wounded and get them out of the conflict areas,” he said. Prison visits have been done previously on a regular basis by ICRC in various detention facilities in Sulu provincial jail.

January 16, 2009 at 2:10 am Leave a comment

Masbate: IED Attack on Governors convoy 2 hurt

While this is not the first time a IED has been used in violent assasination attempts in the Philippines – but the roadside bomb attack is mostly confined to Mindanao and may indicate a new level of threat as other groups adopt tactics that ussaully have been the handwork of insurgents in other parts of the country.The was the highly visable attack on congress a while back – does first come to mind as one of the most recent attempts outside of areas of conflict in Mindanao where bombs have been used. But this attack does raise concerns of safety and securty as well as a new threat form in use.

Masbate does have a history of politcal violence – clan warfare there has stunted development as well as a active insurgent presence that has detered investors.i But reports about the attack on the governor this relatively remote Philippine province in which Governor Elisa Kho and a security aide hurt in the attack where  two Improvised explosive devices went off on a road as their convoy passed, does have Police looking at many possible threat sources.

Governor Elisa Kho was in Gahit village, Cataingan town Police Provincial Director Senior Superintendant Reuben Theodore Sindac, in a report to Manila said “Two bombs went off on the left side of the road as Governor Kho’s cars drove through the area,”

“The governor was slightly wounded on her eyebrow’ due to glass particles from the shattered windshield,” Sen. Supt. Sindac said. both Kho and her escourt were given first aid and have been isolated in a secure location to keep them ‘ safe from harm’ at a beach resort. Police EOD and Investigation officersare at the scene of the blast investigators hope to “track down the perpetrators, as investigators look into a motive for the attack on Gov. Kho.” Sen. Supt.Kho said in a radio interview in Manila.

Police note further that “possible motives are political rivals, as well as that communist rebels are involved,” Communist guerrillas of the New Peoples Army have been fighting in Masbate for over three decades they Police say are group with the technical knowhow to carry out a IED attack. NPA rebels have used IED’s in other parts of the central Philippines as well as landmines in recent attacks on Government forces.

Earlier a rebel command had issued directives for increased attacks in the central Philippines after plans were announced of a joint US-Philippine military excercise in the nearby Bicol region.

The attack on the governor however security experts point out is more likely to have been politcal in nature since Masbate politics has a history of violent past attacks on public figures and political leaders. Elections are scheduled in the Philippine in May of 2010.
Political violence is often a tactic used in provinces where political private armed security forces often are better equipted than those of the local police, military, or rebel groups.

January 11, 2009 at 6:37 pm Leave a comment

It started out as a young woman’s personal Blog; of Bambee Dela Paz, it has became a chain email that has reached tens of millions of people all over the world. Such is now the power and reach of citizen journalism.

From The BBC, Fox News, SkyNews in London to most of the worlds major news papers – all quoting a gripping account – albeit – her view of the alleged beating incident now a world famous account that has in a eyes of some become a battle versus David and Goliaths.

I believe that this story will now go to another level. After the filing a libel suit versus the blog writer – which – as expected is shortly also to be major internaltional news story all over agian.

[] … Agrarian Reform Secretary Nasser Pangandaman Sr. on Friday said his son, Nasser Jr., has already filed a libel case against the daughter of Delfin de la Paz over her blog entry about the golf course brawl in Antipolo City last December 26…. GMANews.tv []

The law suit; is the  legal right of person who seeks a redress of a grievence – in real political terms in small towns and cities a move that a local political figure must do to prove to his or her constituents in far flung areas that they are fighting back versus the alleged article or thought that hurt thier name or image. It is not the first Blog ever sued in the Philippines – but – this case is certainly the in my view going to be one of closest watched.

It is the Mayors legal right to do so – while it may not be the best action in terms of public opinion management tactic- in local terms for him and others in public office it is course of action that in their eyes their way to right a wrong

See the Mayor like most public figures believes Libel is way to balance out what was done to him or her. Most libel cases in the Philippines are dismissed for a lack of a key element of ‘malice’, Lawyers will tell you truth is actually not a legal defence – but malice a intent to malign or destroy the ‘the good name’ of a public figure.

A elected official normally does not stand a good chance to in libel as since they often are criticized over actions or policy while in public office. Hence, most judges are fair in viewing critics. But that is in media terms for newspapers and broadcasters who aside from what they learned in college in journalism 101 are taught the first day on the job the rights of people in stories they write.

Fairness, is often the rule in media followed being biased or slanted in ones views often results in legal issues that can create conditions for libel cases. Libel is also something every journalist worth his or her salt faces at least once in the career they do  — it is legal forum to ensure that media personalities follow the law and if you wrote or reported fairly in most cases you hae nothing to fear.

What makes this different in this case it is a blog – personal diary one shares with the world. Also there are jurisdictional issues since the blog is published on a website owned by Google who owns Blogger the venue issue exists. Yes the individual can be sued but also the publication or means used to disseminate the alleged libellous act must also fall under the venue of the court. Internet Libel cases are not new – published stories can face lawsuits all over the globe technically. But it is difficult and long process as shown by other past cases many of which are on appeal.

Take for example if a blogger on public domain like well – blogger registered his or her blog from a URL internet address outside of the country where they encoded the article where then does the issue of venue fall on the case. The servers of blogger are all over the globe. The article is not really printed. Also the use of a blog creates an entirely new forum that indeed must be addressed by law. Since the powerful tool can also be used to abuse people with the cloak of anonymity. Hence while this is not the case here in point – nor am I discussing a mater before the courts but rather the general principal of this – law suits verus new media are a interesting development and one that is complicated.

I am sure in the next 24 to 48 hours those who speak out on behalf of free speech will take up the case of the University of Cincinnati golf team member, Bambee, who is described as a ‘promising’ young golfer in the USA and her  ‘first person account’ will  now facing tough battle for writing the blog item about her version of the encounter between her family from her point of view and that of a member of the Philippine Presidents cabinet and his son a Mayor of a small town in Mindanao.

[] The world has gone crazy. So, I just had the worst day of my life.
At around 1:30 PM today, at Valley Golf and Country Club, Antipolo City, …[] Vicissitude

But in light of this I did not see Bambee’s blog searching the web – it was sent to me in an email – cut and paste from her blog the words were moved onto emails and zoomed all over the world about the chilling albeit still alleged encounter on a golf course that is now in the court.

“This is a golf course. I have been a golfer all my life, and I have never seen anything like this. NOTHING. This is hard to comprehend. And it happened to my own father and my own brother too. Right in front of my eyes….” were  among words she used to describe the events from her perspective. This became the subject of major news reports that then went on all major websites in the country in hours, picked up by the international news agencies the story has now put two groups of golfer next whose next round is in the courts.

We will monitor this story and the developments from time to time – as indeed whose-ever view you chose to believe it is a story that has interesting implications for all sides.

January 10, 2009 at 12:21 am Leave a comment

The Philippine National Police led Dept of Interior, “MULTI-AGENCY
INVESTIGATION TASK FORCE” released tonight at 8:30 pm in Manila the
list of names to be arrested in a report dated January 10, 2007,
naming those to be charged in connection with the findings of the Task
Force.

“The multi-agency investigating body has recommended the filing of
criminal and administrative charges against 15 persons over the
accidental explosion at the Glorietta 2 Mall in Makati City last
October 19 that killed 11 persons and injured 108 others.”

Stating the Terrorism is not the cause and negligence is the primary
cause of the explosion Fire Officials and Management of the mall and
its maintance staff will be formally charged in court. The report
says, “The investigation has ruled out with finality the terrorism or
bombing theory behind the explosion, noting that no bomb parts or
components of an explosive device were found at the scene; the absence
of a crater at the seat of explosion; no tearing effect on damages; no
soot or blackening of affected areas; no explosive residue in the skin
or clothing of victims and affected areas.” The Official summery of
the report says further.

That In the 41-page report submitted to Dept of ILG Secretary Ronaldo
V Puno, the Multi-Agency Investigation Task Force (MAITF) chaired by
Southern Police District Director, CSupt Luizo Ticman, affirmed
findings, “that the balst at the basement of Glorietta 2 was caused by
metahne and diesel vapor explosion.” The report summery futher quotes
the head of the investigation unit.”The generation and accumulation of
gas became possible due to the negligence of personnel tasked to
maintain the facilities in the basement,” Ticman said.

The MAITF is composed of investigators from the Philippine National
Police, National Bureau of Investigation, Armed Forces of the
Philippines and the Inter-agency Anti-arson Task Force of the Dept of
Interior and Local Government. The MAITF is also provided technical
support by the Dept ofScience and Technology, Dept of Environment
Natural Resources, Dept of Public Works and Highways and some NGOs. In
an audio-visual presentation in Camp Crame today, the MAITF
established that methane accumulated in the mall basement and it
reached its lower explosive limit causing a Methane Explosion.

According to the reports findings, “The Methane Explosion caused the
sudden rise in temperature and build-up of pressure in the basement,
causing the diesel fuel to reach its flash point and allow the
build-up of diesel vapor.” PNP Chief, Director General Avelino I Razon
Jr. noted that the conclusion of the MAITF is consistent with the
findings of the US Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Australian
Federal Police, and the Isreali security experts.  “Since the
accumulation of diesel vapor inside the tank reached its explosive
range, the second xplosion- the Diesel Vapor Explosion, occurred,” the
MAITF report said.

The MAITF recommended the filing of cases for Reckless
Imprudence/Negligence (Gross Negligence) Resulting in Multiple
Homicide, Physical Injuries and Damage to Property against:

1. Engr. Candelario VALDUEZA, Project Engineer of Makati Supermarket Corp.;

2. Engr. Marcelo T BOTENES, Building Engineer of MSC-G2

3. Engr. Jowell VELVEZ, Bldg Administrator of MSC-G2

4. Engr. Arnel GONZALES, Bldg Manager of MSC-G2

5. Engr. Clifford ARRIOLA, Operation Manager of Marchem Industrial
Sales and Services Inc.

6. Joselito BUENAVENTURA, Supervisor, MARCHEM

7. Charlie NEPOMUCENO, MARCHEM Maintenance Personnel

8. Jonathan IBUNA, MARCHEM Maintenance Personnel

9. Juan RICAFORT, MARCHEM Maintenance Personnel

Recommended to be charged for violation of the Anti-Graft and Corrupt
Practices Act (RA 3019), and Administrative Charges for Gross Neglect
of Duty are:

1. SFO4 Anthony GREY, Fire Safety Inspector, Makati City Fire Station

2. SFO2 Leonilo BALAIS, Fire Safety Inspector, Makati City Fire Station

3. FSInsp Reynaldo ENOC, Fire Prevention Officer, Makati City Fire Station

The Bureau of Fire Protection and the DILG-IATF will also file a
separate case for violation of the Fire Code of the Philippine (PD
1185) against the Makati Supermarket Corporation, and the Ayala
Property Management Corporation, including:

1. Engr. Ricardo V CRUZ, Operations Manager of Metalline Enterprises, and

2. Miguel VELASCO Jr., Foreman

Also facing administrative charges for Simple Neglect of Duty is
FCInsp Jose S EMBANG Jr., City Fire Marshall of Makati City.

The Philippines largest property developer, Ayala Land, a unit of
conglomerate Ayala Corp.
released a statement on the PNP led Philippine Government Multi Agency
Task Force findings, “Ayala Land has deep concern over the PNP
findings and vowed to complete its own assessment of what happened on
October 19 at its Glorietta mall in Manila’s financial district of
Makati.” The explosion killed 11 people. Alaya Corporation says, “Our
own assessment shows due diligence and care was exercised in the
maintenance of the basement where the explosion appears to have
occurred,”

The corporation claims that, “conditions in the basement could not
have resulted in the build up of methane and diesel vapor required for
such a powerful blast.” further claiming “We requested the PNP to be
open to investigating all other possibilities. We have shared lab
results from forensic experts we had consulted that indicate that
traces of explosives were present at the site,”

The Philippines largest porperty developer went on to say they,
“Acknowledge the authority of the PNP and the multi-agency task force
as the official investigating body, we are disappointed that the
evidence we have shared appears not to have been considered,” ALI was
not directly affected in the report which focused on the tenant
leasing the basement area for its generators and other items..

January 11, 2008 at 2:09 am Leave a comment

Makati Bombing: Investigation continues

The Makati Bombing Inquiry continues; I cose to call it still a bombing as theorys of a accidental explosion may yet prove to be part of the overall destruction seen in the area.

In a article I worte for a online news website – I tool up te status of the investigation and was there to look at what happened Sunday. Here’s my report an few other items I’ve put on the .info site of mikeinmanila.info; There was a fire there sunday – an a few issues were raised about the overall situtation at the Philippines premier shopping district

Philippines: Death Toll Rises To 11, Arroyo Tells People To Defy The Terrorists, ‘Shop’, As Bombing Investigation Continues

Photo clockwise - Explosive swab text kits. Police Scene of the Crime, Operatives with blast fragment evidence, cleanup and investigation at Glorietta 2, Bottom - standby rescue and recovery team members on standby in case of emergency - Mike Cohen PNC
Photo clockwise – Explosive swab text kits. Police Scene of the Crime, Operatives with blast fragment evidence, cleanup and investigation at Glorietta 2, Bottom – standby rescue and recovery team members on standby in case of emergency – Mike Cohen PNC

Mike Cohen, Pacific News Center Correspondent 22.OCT.07
10:43 a.m. Philippine President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo has called on Filipinos to go out, enjoy life, and show those who use terror that while they can attack, they will never win against a free people. In the wake of the Makati mall bombing that killed eleven, “Let us show these malefactors that we will not surrender our freedoms nor change the pattern of our lives to suit their immoral cause of hatred and fear.” The President says, “The government is on top of the situation and we shall do everything to protect our people.”

The President’s spokesman urged people to go out, defy the threats, be sure and safe and take precautions – but do not let the killers win by staying home.. “Defeat the terrorists by going out and shopping.” Press Secretary Ignacio Bunye told listeners on government radio.

Crowds outside Glorietta mall in Makati on Sunday (Photo courtesy Mike Cohen)

Tuesday, in Manila, a full National Security Council meeting, including former Philippine President Fidel V. Ramos, Senate President Manuel Villar and Speaker Jose de Venecia and other leaders, will discuss the Makati City bombing and to adopt comprehensive measures, “that will assure the people’s safety.”

Investigators at the scene (Photo courtesy Mike Cohen)

The Arroyo administration has had success on its handling of the economy, both the World Bank and IMF list growth at 6.3 per cent, while the Asian development bank has put the Philippines as just behind China and India in growth projected figures. Tourism has also been steadily increasing but the financial center bombing has renewed concern over safety. “Travel advisories by concerned governments are
standard procedures anywhere in the world,” Sec. Ingnacio Bunye pointed out that the President is working to try and further secure the view of regional governments to avoid knee jerk reactions to the terrorist attack, “She has directed the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) to hold diplomatic briefings to assure foreign governments of
our commitment to find and arrest the perpetrators of this senseless, barbaric attack.”

Scene inside Glorietta mall on Sunday

Arroyo expressed thanks for support offered by the United States and other allies in the fight versus terrorism, “She is grateful for expressions of support from governments, institutions, business groups, and individual investors.” The President urged Filipinos to extend “cooperation in the Philippine National Police (PNP) investigation, as it strengthens security measures in public places within the metropolis.”

Glorietta mall from the outside (Photo courtesy Mike Cohen)

Both the Military and Police are on heightened alert, “We want to assure the people we are doing all we can to determine what happened, who did this, and how to ensure the country will be safe and people secure.” Gen. Hermogenes Esperon, Armed Forces Chief of staff, told reporters as he took commuter trains with the National Police’s Chief
Superintendent Avelino Razon. Police are still probing the
investigation and warn that the groups claiming responsibility may only be attempts to confuse the investigation.

“We are still looking at this closely, we are making sure that the evidence chain is secure.” Razon also said they are also probing all angles, even a ‘industrial explosion’, or tragic accident as the cause of the blast. “We are almost sure this was a bomb, but we are also checking how it could have been so harsh a explosion and what kind of weapon was used.”

Philippine Makati Mall Bombing: Blast crater location indicates ‘middle class were targets’

My prayers to all the injured and my condolences for the families who lost loved ones – I’ve been doing reports overseas the last few hours.
In my post-bombing reports to news organizations about the bombing I was asked in a report I did a few hours ago- why there -what was the motive: at that […]

[Read more →]

Philippines to fight on versus terror

Philippine President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo said here today that the bombing of the Glorietta 2 shopping mall at the Ayala Center in Makati City last Friday, where 11 innocent people were killed and dozens of others were seriously injured, is a clear attempt by a certain group to destabilize the government and frustrate the positive outcome […]

[Read more →]

Philippines: ‘Fear, Not Bombs, Terror’s Worst Weapon’
Mike Cohen, Pacific News Center Correspondent 22.OCT.07
8:25 p.m. Philippine National Police, in a counter-terrorism primer emailed to journalists today, written by Chief Superintendent Augusto P Angcanan, Jr., say that speculation and political discord after a terror attack works to help those who seek to create chaos in the Philippines.” It is very important for all of us, including the public, to have a clear understanding of what terrorism is and how it works.” [more]

October 23, 2007 at 1:48 am Leave a comment

Kabayan Addresses UN

VP Noli De Castro: Inter-Faith Respect Key To Peace

Philippine Vice President Noli De Castro Addresses the UN on Global need for greater Inter-faith Dialogue
Philippine Vice President Noli De Castro Addresses the UN on Global need for greater Inter-faith Dialogue

Mike Cohen, PNC Correspondent 09.OCT.07
3:38 A.M. When Philippine Vice President Noli ‘Kabayan’ De Castro delivered the Philippine Government’s Statement on Inter-religious and Inter-cultural Cooperation at the UN this week.
At the opening of the two-day High Level Dialogue for Interreligious and Intercultural Understanding and Cooperation for Peace at the UN General Assembly.
The speech of the Philippine Vice President set the tone for the ensuing dialogue and he hoped to raise awareness on the need to understand and promote cultural and religious harmony to attain peace through the Philippine experience.
De Castro, himself is from a Inter-faith home his wife Arlene, is Muslim, he has traveled far and wide in Mindanao during his broadcasting career prior to entering Politics.
As a journalist, De Castro has been both a witness and negotiator to danger of misunderstanding.
Respected for his work, he often had been called to mediate or help in hostage crisis, and many times went face to face with extremists to find out differences in places and under conditions few other leaders can claim have been firsthand. [more]

October 9, 2007 at 2:18 am Leave a comment

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