Philippine, Chinese Coast Guards Stage Joint Drill in South China Sea

Philippine and Chinese ships on Wednesday staged the first joint drill between their coast guards in waters off Manila in the South China Sea, where both countries have rival territorial claims, officials said. A Chinese Coast Guard ship with pennant number 5204 and the BRP Tubbataha, a 44-meter (144-foot) multi-role response Philippine vessel, took part in the exercises aimed at achieving “interoperability at sea,” the Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) said. Filipino and Chinese personnel were given a scenario where a vessel caught fire in its cargo hold while sailing in…

No mention of West Philippine Sea in new military chief’s speech

NEW AFP CHIEF. Lieutenant General Felimon Santos Jr was installed as Chief of Staff of the Armed Forces of the Philippines on January 4, 2020. Screengrab from RTVM MANILA, Philippines – The new military chief, Lieutenant General Felimon Santos Jr, vowed to defend the government against communist rebels, in his assumption speech that covered the range of the Philippines’ security concerns except China’s incursions in the West Philippine Sea. Besides saying that defense cooperation with international allies and a modernization program would enable the military “to protect the integrity and…

Hundreds of Chinese held in Philippine online gaming crackdown

The Philippines said Friday it has detained hundreds of Chinese workers in a continuing crackdown against unlicensed online gaming businesses catering to mainland customers. So-called Philippine offshore gaming operators, or POGOs, are the country’s fastest-growing industry. They have caused friction because of allegations of widespread tax evasion and the influx of tens of thousands of immigrant workers. A total of 342 Chinese without working visas were arrested on Thursday in a raid of a Manila-based POGO outfit operating without a permit from the gaming regulator, according to the immigration service.…

New China envoy meets high-level Philippine officials

COURTESY CALL. New Chinese Ambassador to the Philippines Huang Xilian (2nd from left) meets with Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo (center). All photos from the Chinese embassy MANILA, Philippines – New Chinese Ambassador to the Philippines Huang Xilian has had a packed schedule, meeting several high-level Philippine officials soon after his arrival in Manila. In a series of photos posted by the Chinese embassy on Monday, December 16, Huang is shown in back-to-back courtesy calls with several Cabinet officials as well as Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo and Presidential Communications Secretary Martin…

US investor bids to keep China out of Philippine shipyard

MANILA — U.S. private equity firm Cerberus Capital Management and Australian shipbuilder Austal have made a formal bid for the Philippines’ largest shipyard in Subic Bay, which has also attracted Chinese interest. Executives close to the deal have told the Nikkei Asian Review that the offer was still subject to negotiations with creditors of the shipyard, which collapsed earlier this year after its owner — the local unit of South Korea’s Hanjin Heavy Industries and Construction — defaulted on $1.3 billion in loans. The initial offer was “reconfirmed this month,” a senior source close to…

Philippine marine life endangered by China: scholar

China should ban the giant-clam trade to save the coral reefs in the South China Sea from furtherdegradation, according to a US marine biologist.  Kent Carpenter from Old Dominion University in Virginia testified in favour of the Philippines in its territorial disputes with China, saying Beijing’s activity has devastated the marine environment. The academic environmentalist said giant-clam harvesting and island-building were responsible for most of the destruction. “The destructive island-building activities in the South China Sea not only smothered corals by covering them over with actual sand but the sand itself is…

United States wants code of conduct in West Philippine Sea

WASHINGTON D.C.— The United States wants a code of conduct in the West Philippine Sea, commonly known as South China Sea, that does not take away its right and the right of other countries to exercise freedom of navigation and overflight.  Speaking to a group of Filipino journalists, Mark Clark, director of the US State Department’s Office of Maritime Southeast Asia of the Bureau of East Asian and Pacific Affairs, said that while the US is not a party to negotiations nor a claimant state, it has a “vested interest”…

MTRCB: ‘Abominable’ off Philippine theaters since Tuesday

MTRCB: ‘Abominable’ off Philippine theaters since Tuesday MANILA, Philippines — Due to a controversial scene depicting China’s disproven territorial claim, DreamWorks film “Abominable” has been pulled out of Philippine cinemas since Tuesday, the Movie and Tele­vision Review and Classification Board said in a statement sent to Pilipino Star Ngayon Thursday. “MTRCB understands the situation brought about by the movie ‘Abominable. We wish to assure the public that the said movie is already off the Philippine market effective October 15, 2019,” chair Rachel Arenas said. The said map shown in…