Friday, November 30, 2007
Freeport expansion welcomed in Subic
SBMA, local govt to jointly develop economic zone
SUBIC BAY Free Port: Officials of the Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority and local government units around the Free Port have agreed to work closer to pursue opportunities and development of this economic zone.
This was the result of a meeting after President Gloria Arroyo issued Executive Order No. 675 effectively expanding the area where tax and duty-free privileges in the Free Port zone would apply.
Arreza met last week with Bataan Gov. Enrique Garcia, Olongapo Mayor James Gordon Jr., Olongapo Vice-Mayor Cynthia Cajudo, Castillejos Mayor Wilma Billman, and San Marcelino Mayor Joker Rodriguez during a program honoring Subic’s LGU stakeholders.
“It’s a short, but very productive meeting,” described Arreza, who briefed the officials on the $1.45-billion investment commitments generated by the agency in the last nine months.
“We all saw that the best course for us is to coordinate and cooperate for the common good,” explained Arreza, referring to his recent meeting with LGU officials from Olongapo City, Bataan and Zambales.
“We acknowledged both the challenges and opportunities that EO 675 brings us, and we concluded that we should synergize, lest we all stagnate—which is, of course, not a valid option as far as everyone is concerned,” he added.
He further elaborated that it would be easier for SBMA to bring out investment and employment opportunities from the Free Port to the nearby communities now that the President has issued EO 675.
The executive order, signed by President Arroyo on November 5, amended EO 97-A, which provides that the tax- and duty-free incentives under Republic Act 7227 were limited to businesses and residents within the secured area of the Subic Special Economic and Free Port Zone.
Arreza said the expansion of coverage would benefit the nearby communities more as they could catch business spillover from Subic Free Port, which has a limited area for expansion.
Under EO 675, the SBMA, as manager of the Subic Free Port, was given the authority to identify, fence, and secure additional “secured areas” where tax- and duty-free perks may be allowed.
In the meeting both SBMA and the affected LGUs, would identify the areas to be developed early next year.
In the same meeting, the local government officials expressed their satisfaction over SBMA’s economic performance in the past 15 years, and recalled how Subic transformed itself from a US Naval Station till 1992 into one of the most if not the most successful free port in the country today.
“If it seemed the end of the world for many when the Philippine Senate did not ratify the RP-US military agreement, many could see today that those fears were really unfounded,” said Gov. Enrique Garcia of Bataan.
To this concern, Arreza said the development plan for additional secured areas would consider all possible impacts to the community, including residents and the environment.
“We are also preparing a plan for the construction of access roads going to some tourist and investment sites in Zambales, so that more opportunities would open up in the countryside,” Arreza said.
He added that the development plan would involve the construction of new power plants inside the Free Port zone to bring down power rates, attract more business locators, and further stimulate the local economy.
--Anthony Bayarong -- Manila Times
BCDA signs P4-b loan deal to fund Subic-Clark road
The BCDA secured the P4-billion syndicated term loan facility from Development Bank of the Philippines, Land Bank of the Philippines, Metropolitan Bank and Trust Co. and First Metro Investment Corp.
The loan forms part of the counterpart funding of BCDA, equivalent to 21 percent of the total cost of the toll road project estimated at P30.826 billion.
A special yen loan of P24.294 billion from the Japan Bank for International Cooperation is funding 79 percent of the project cost. BCDA is obliged to come up with the balance of P6.532 billion as counterpart funding.
BCDA president and chief executive Narciso Abaya said it would have been better to finish the project without drawing from standby credit lines and using the special loan from JBIC instead.
But with the strengthening of the peso against the Japanese yen in recent months, Abaya said BCDA was receiving less proceeds from the JBIC loan.
The loan, he added, was a “vote of confidence” by the partner-banks on the viability of the project as well as on BCDA’s sound financial and project management.
LandBank under the agreement will serve as the loan agent responsible for monitoring BCDA’s compliance on representation and warranties and facilitating the payment of interest and principal to lenders.
The National Economic and Development Authority in September approved a supplemental loan worth 18 billion yen, or roughly P6.725 billion, to fund mainly the price escalation of the toll road project due to the increase in construction materials.
The road project is 91 percent complete as of Nov. 14. The Subic-to-Clark segment (Package 1) is 88 percent complete, while the Clark-to-Tarlac phase (Package 2) is 96 percent done.
Thursday, November 29, 2007
Mass Oath-Taking of Olongapo City Barangay Officials
List of New Barangay Officials
Brgy. Capt. Conrado C. Viray Sr.
1. Edna E. Elane
2. Joel G. Aratea
3. Ernesto Esmele Jr.
4. Norma M. Merza
5. Benjamin B. Espinosa Jr.
6. Oscar O. Fabrigas
7. Ismael R. Dimarucot
Christelle N. Fabrigas
Brgy. Capt. Ernelizar P. Batapa
1. Michael D. Fanugao
2. Jocelyn L. Moratin
3. Ivan C.
4. Ernelibeth P. Batapa
5. Bayani L. Legaspi
6. Jaime R. Nazareno
7. Jesse T. Cao
Avegail B. Dondriano
Brgy Capt. Carlito A. Baloy
1. Ferdinand Aquino
2. Ronald Elada
3. Wilfredo Abila
4. Otero Dabu
5. Ana Nopoli
6. Benjamin Escobar
7. Bethzaida Albarda
Brgy. East Bajac-Bajac
Brgy. Capt. Filipina E. Tablan
1. Romeo G. Guerrero
2. Jose B. Ablaza
3. David B. Salles Sr.
4. Romeo D. Manalang
5. Ronald R. Villegas
6. Edison C. Cano
7. Cesar L. Lobos
Brgy. East Tapinac
Brgy. Capt. Benjami A. Franco
1. Oswaldo E. Espinoza
2. Jojo D. De leon
3. Francisco S. Magarata
4. Roberto R. Buenafe
5. Marlon A. Austria
6. Dante L. Hondo
7. Renato C. del Rosario Jr.
Brgy Gordon Heights
Brgy. Capt. Edgardo R. Gingo
1. Teodorico I. Danugrao Jr.
2. Clemente L. Macabulit Jr.
3. Ernesto C. Fortin
4. Jose Tomas C. Madria
5. Jerry may C. Parcon
6. Isagani Dela Cruz Jr.
7. Edgardo A. Garcia
Mark Anthony Gonzales
Brgy. Capt. Jesus Ricardo Federico
1. Romeo Matondo Jr
2. Bernard Banlor
3. Joel Dalida
4. Reynaldo Martorillas
5. Nicanor Cano
6. Rhen Mendoza
7. Sunday Montacho
Brgy. Capt. Eduardo P. Gloria
1. Edgardo N. Abaiagar
2. Randy D. Sionzon
3. Marlon C. Oduca
4. Ricardo S. Legaspi
5. Rodrick S. Jardiniano
6. Teodorico B. Cordova
7. Danlex D. Bascos
Ralph Bradley David
Brgy. Capt. Edgardo Danugrao Jr.
1. Eduardo D. De Ocampo
2. Conrado G. Padilla
3. Mike Sagun
4. Efren Rodolfo Federico
5. Richard Espinoza
6. Robert Conrad Picache
7. Orinisio Vinoya Jr.
Nellie Rose E. Domingo
Brgy. Capt. Audie S. Sundiam
1. Arcenal Antonio
2. Reynaldo Gingco
3. Joel Silvano
4. Rafael Lim
5. Crizelda Eugenio
6. Robert Mojica
7. Orlando Valdez
Brgy. Capt. Manuel Arce
1. Hermie Enriguez
2. Nestor Fajardo
3. Elsa Ballesteros
4. Armando Mecate
5. Jesus Tiberio
6. Lani Sambillon
7. Frederic Abenoja
Aira Jane Macasaet
Brgy. Capt. Amalia N. Corum
1. Ronald Fonseca
2. Erlito Basa
3. Ana Fema Fonseca
4. Eduardo Bantican
5. Ferdinand Quinto
6. Bernadita Sanchez
7. Elena Labang
Brgy Capt. Basilio Palo
1. Victoriano Tuazon
2. Milagros Alipio
3. Teresita Sese
4. Vincent Millan
5. Glenda Flores
6. Mario Medina
7. Fredirick Gaton
Anna Marie Dizon
Brgy. Capt. Jerome Michael S. Bacay
1. Raquel Y. Atienza
2. Rodolfo Neil Guevarra
3. Eric P. Jahnke
4. Emerlito Linus D. BAcay
5. Rosita J. Piano
6. Elsa V. Flores
7. Virginia C. Bitangcol
Morielle Anne De Guzman
Brgy. Capt. Rafael R. Santulan Jr.
1. Alberto Santos
2. Mercedes Capistrano
3. Anthony Deldio
4. Nelson Capistrano
5. Melissa Carablo
6. Dave Antonio
7. Cornelio Niro
Maria Arcellene M. Niro
Brgy. Capt. Jimmy B. Pasag
1. Jay Daduya
2. CArlito Natividad
3. Larry Fontillas
4. Roger Arce
5. joy ALtarez
6. Antonio Tadlo
7. Ronalto Catologan
Brgy. Capt. Rodrigo B. Del Rosario
1. Alicia T. Villarin
2. Teodoro F. Del Rosario
3. Aida G. Escal
4. Mario Lim
5. Marcelo Ragadio
6. Wilfredo F. Miranda
7. Rosalyn T. Aranzanso
PLDT subsidiary completes fiber optic project in Subic
The project is part of a nationwide expansion of the telephone company's nationwide Domestic Fiber Optic Network (DFON) to Subic. The project involves laying down 286 kilometers of fiber optic cables, the company said in a statement.
The fiber optic project intends to support operations in the Subic Bay Freeport Zone, allowing the telephone company to enhance its broadband services.
PLDT said the first section of the new fiber optic connection was completed when the operations center of Korean shipbuilding firm Hanjin, which is investing $1.7 billion for its shipyard, was connected from Redondo Peninsula in Subic to SubicTel in the Freeport Zone in July.
The Hanjin fiber optic link spans about 25 kilometers, passing through Subic town and Olongapo City in Zambales province. Hanjin is now directly connected to its headquarters in Korea by way of PLDT's international link.
The network expansion project spans 286 kilometers of fiber optic cables that form several redundant fiber optic loops covering Angeles, Clark, Porac, San Fernando , Guagua, Lubao and Floridablanca in Pampanga, and Dinalupihan in Bataan, Subic Town in Zambales, and Subic Bay Freeport Zone in Olongapo.
PLDT said the fiber backhaul connectivity has multi-loops to provide the redundancy in case of fiber breaks. IP Radio facilities for additional redundancy have also been installed.
"We committed to complete the project by December, and we are happy to report that we are a little early. We will now be able to address the needs of existing and potential customers much more quickly," SubicTel General Manager Henry Abes said.
ORIENTASYON NG MGA DRIVERS PINAIGTING
Ito ay sa bisa ng Ordinance No. 58 (Series of 2007) na may titulong ‘’An Ordinance Amending Section 1 of Ordinance No. 28, Series of 2005 Requiring All Drivers of Utility Vehicles for Hire to Attend a Defensive Driving Seminar.’’
Dito ay inaatasan ang lahat ng ‘’For Hire’’ Public Utility Jeepneys, ‘’For Hire’’ Public Utility Motorized Tricycles at ‘’For Hire’’ Public Utility Mini-Buses na suma-ilalim sa taunan o yearly orientation na may titulong ‘’Seminar On How To Be A Better Driver, A Defensive Driving Course’’.
Ang mga driver na hindi tatalima sa nasabing ordinansa ay hindi makakasama sa kinakailangang Annual Vehicle Inspection at hindi papayagan sa pag-re-renew ng kanilang Driver’s Identification Card na ibinibigay ng Pamahalaang Lokal. Magiging epektibo ang ordinansa sa buwan ng Enero 2008.
Barangay, SK Officials, Nanumpa
Sa harap ni Mayor Bong Gordon ay binigkas ng mga bagong halal na opisyal ang panunumpa sa kanilang tungkulin. Saksi sa kanilang pagsumpa ang mga city councilors at city officials kasama pa ang kani-kanilang mga kamag-anak, kaibigan at mga kabarangay.
Dinaluhan din ni Vice Mayor Cynthia Cajudo ang naturang event. Sa kanyang mensahe para sa mga newly elected barangay at SK officials, sinabi niyang aalalay ang city government sa kanilang mga makatuturang proyekto upang ganap na mapaglingkuran ang mamamayang Olongapeño.
Isang hamon naman ang binitawan ni Mayor Gordon para sa mga barangay officials. Aniya, marapat na maging modelo ang mga ito ng matapat at taos pusong serbisyo-publiko para sa kanilang mga ka-barangay.
“We are public servants and we must fight for excellence!’’, saad ng punong lungsod.
Nangako naman ang mga barangay at SK officials na magiging katuwang sila ng city government sa paglilingkod sa Olongapo.
Magugunitang una nang nagharap ang mga bagong halal na opisyal at ang mga city officials noong ika-7 ng Nobyembre sa FMA Hall ng Olongapo City Hall kung saan ipinahayag nila ang pangakong sila ay magiging kasangga ng city government sa pagtupad ng mga adhikain nito para sa mga Olongapeño.
Ang mga halal na opisyal ng barangay ay pormal na manunungkulan sa ika-1 ng Disyembre 2007.
OTMPS, Pinapurihan ni Mayor Bong
Sa nakaraang flag raising ceremony ng mga city officials and employees sa Rizal Triangle Multi-Purpose Center ay kinilala at pinapurihan ni Mayor Gordon sina Modesto Arce, Michael Soriano at Marcelo Pitao ng OTMPS sa naging partisipasyon ng mga ito upang mahuli ang suspek sa shoplifting incident.
Nahuli ng tatlong kawani ng OTMPS ang naturang shoplifter nitong ika-28 ng Oktubre 2007 matapos itakbo ang isang pantalon na nakasabit sa isang stall sa palengke. Dinala nina Arce, Soriano at Pitao ang lalaking nahuli sa Station 1 ng Olongapo City Police.
Nagbigay naman ng babala si Mayor Gordon sa mga nagbabalak guluhin ang katahimikan at kapayapaan ng lungsod. Aniya, hindi niya hahayaang masira ang “peace and order” sa lungsod. Sinabi pa ni Mayor Gordon na marapat na makiisa ang lahat sa pagsunod sa mga alintuntunin ng lokal na pamahalaan sapagkat ito ay para rin sa kapakanan ng lahat ng mamamayan ng Olongapo.
Joint feeding Project ng City Gov’t, Unity Masonic Lodge, isinagawa
Sa inisyatibo ni Mayor Bong Gordon, tatlumpong (30) batang malnourished na kabilang sa mga indigent families ng lungsod ang naging beneficiaries ng naturang feeding project.
Nagsimula ang proyekto sa pamamagitan ng pamimili, medical examinations at pagpupurga sa mga bata sa tulong na rin ng City Nutrition Committee, City Health Office at City Social Welfare and Development Office.
Pangunahing layunin ng proyekto na matulungan ang mga batang kapos sa nutrisyon at mapanumbalik ang malusog na pangangatawan bilang isa sa mga adhikain ni Mayor Gordon para sa mga Olongapeño.
Sa pinansyal na suporta naman mula sa Unity Masonic Lodge ay masusuportahan ng masusustansyang Mondays-Fridays lunch ang mga bata sa loob ng tatlong buwan.
“While we are not a civic organization but a fraternal one, I initiated the project as our sincere contribution to the community”, saad ni Vic Vizcocho, Jr., Worshipful Master ng Unity Masonic Lodge 285.
Sa parehong pagkakataon ay naroon din ang ilang estudyante ng Aura College na nagboluntaryong tumulong sa naturang programa bilang bahagi ng kanilang curriculum para sa community immersion.
Samantala, pinasalamatan ni Mayor Gordon ang Unity Masonic Lodge na nag-alok ng kanilang tulong upang maisakatuparan ang naturang proyekto. Hinikayat naman ng punong-lungsod ang mga magulang ng mga batang beneficiaries na magsikap upang magkaroon ng hanap-buhay o livelihood activities sa gayon ay patuloy pang matustusan ang wastong nutrisyon na kailangan ng kanilang mga anak.
Nagpamahagi rin si Mayor Gordon ng mga livelihood pamphlets at application forms para sa skills training partikular sa pagwe-welding. Aniya ay lagi siyang bukas para tumulong na mapagkalooban ng trabaho at livelihood opportunities ang mga Olongapeño. “Help me help you”, dagdag pa ng punong lungsod.
MGA HURADO NG 2007 SEARCH FOR THE CHILD-FRIENDLY CITY DUMALAW SA ‘GAPO
Ang validating team ay binuo ng apat (4) na kinatawan buhat sa Regional Sub-Committee for the Welfare of Children na sina Yvette C. Cosio ng Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) at Annette Timbol ng National Economic & Development Authority (NEDA).
Kasama rin sa team sina Melanie Barnatcheta ng Department of Social Welfare & Development (DSWD) at Terie Celerio ng Reception & Study Center for Children.
Pinangunahan ni City Social Welfare & Development Office (CSWDO) Head Gene Eclarino ang paglalatag ng mga programa at proyekto ng lungsod samantalang inisa-isa rin ng mga kinatawan ng City Health, City Planning & Development Office (CPDO), Engineering Office, Budget Office at iba pang concerned departments and agencies ang kanilang mga ginawang pagtutok sa mga kabataang Olongapeño.
Sa pamamagitan naman ng 7-minute video presentation ng City Public Affairs Office ay higit na naiparating sa mga hurado ang kahalagahan ng mga kabataan sa Pamahalaang Lokal sa pangunguna ni City Mayor James ‘’Bong’’ Gordon, Jr.
Sa pag-iikot ng team ay partikular na tinungo ang mga Barangay Halls, Health Centers at Daycare Centers, James L. Gordon Memorial Hospital (JLGMH), schools, ang mga temporary shelters ng OCARE at SDC, maging ang on-going construction ng Youth Center at Women’s Center sa Mayumi, Sta Rita.
Sa mga nakitang programa at proyekto ay humanga ang mga hurado dahil sa magandang pagtingin ng Pamahalaang Lokal sa kapakanan ng mga kabataan. Matatandaan na buhat ng simulan ang kompetisyon taong 1999 ay Regional at National Awardee na ang Olongapo sa mga taong 2001, 2002 at 2003 at ngayong para sa 2006 ay may malaking pagkakataon upang muling masungkit ang regional award.
Wednesday, November 28, 2007
Job Opportunities in Olongapo-Subic Bay
FEMALE ACCOUNTING CLERK
QUALITY ASSURANCE STAFF
FRONT OFFICE SUPERVISOR
QUALITY ASSURANCE ENGINEER
Collector ng Subic kailangang palitan na
Malamang na sabihin ng mga kaibigan natin sa labas ng bansa na ito ay patotoo na talagang laganap na nga ang katiwalian sa Pilipinas na minsan na ngang binansagang “Pearl of the Orient Seas.
Bago pa mang lumabas ang report ng WB ay napaka-corrupt na ang tingin ng international community sa ating bansa dahil sa mga sunod-sunod na isyu ng panunuhol na kinasasangkutan daw ng ilang kawani ng gobyerno.
Nandiyan ang kontrobersyal na National Broadband Network (NBN) deal na pinasok ng gobyerno sa ZTE Corp. ng China at bigayan ng “cash gift” sa Malacañang pagkatapos ng pakikipagpulong ni Pangulong Arroyo sa ilang kongresista at local government officials.
“Between 2003 and 2006 the World Bank rejected two large road contracts in three successive rounds of bidding because of strong signs of collusion and excessive pricing,” sinabi ng isang kalatas mula sa WB vice president for the East Asia and Pacific Region.
Dahil sa kahihiyang inaabot natin sa international community, dapat lang na kumilos na ang gobyerno para matigil na ang overpricing at rigging ng mga public bidding, lalo na ang mga proyektong pinopondohan ng international financing firms.
Hindi dapat balewalain ng gobyerno ang WB report dahil baka wala ng magtitiwala sa atin.
Sa isang punto, mabuti na siguro kung hindi na tayo pautangin ng WB dahil talaga namang lubog na tayo sa utang. Ayon nga sa mga eksperto, sa laki ng ating utang natin hindi pa man ipinanganganak ang bata ay meron na siyang utang.
Mabuti sana kung ang lahat ng mga tiwaling opisyal at kawani ng gobyerno ay nasa kulungan na. Ang problema, kaysa mabawasan, lalo pa yatang duma-dami ang mga magnanakaw sa gobyerno.
Marami ang nagtataka kung bakit napasama si Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority (SBMA) Administrator Armand Arreza sa mga inirekomenda ng Presidential Anti-Graft Commission (PAGC) na sampahan ng administrative charges.
Sina Arreza, SBMA deputy administrator for operations Jose Calimlim at seaport manager Perfecto Pascual ay idinawit sa isang conspiracy para mag-smuggle daw ng 16 luxury vehicles sa labas ng freeport.
Nahaharap naman sa kasong falsification of public documents at violation of anti-graft practices law ang limang opisyal ng Bureau of Cutoms na kinabibilangan nina Port of Subic District Collector Marietta “Tita” Zamoranos.
Paano napasama sina Arreza sa kaso, hindi naman trabaho ng mga taga-SBMA ang kumolekta ng buwis at taripa. Ito ay trabaho nina Collector Zamoranos, na ang tingin ng marami ay dapat nang alisin ni Customs Commissioner Napoleon “Boy” Morales.
Magmula kasi noong maupo si Zamoranos sa Port of Subic ay hindi na raw gumanda ang revenue collection doon. Lumala pa nga daw ang ismagling, lalo na ang pagpaparating ng mga luxury vehicle.
Kung gusto daw ni Commissioner Morales na gumanda ang performance ng POS ay kailangang palitan na niya si Zamoranos dahil marami pa naman daw ang mga karapat-dapat na maging district collector.
Hindi natin sinasabi na inutil si Collector Zamoranos. Ang gusto lang natin ay bigyan ng pagkakataon ni Commissioner Morales ang ibang opisyal ng customs na pamunuan ang Port of Subic, isa sa mga revenue-rich collection district.
Isa pa, dapat alisin muna si Zamoranos habang dinidinig ang kanyang kaso para hindi niya mapakialaman ang ginagawang imbestigasyon. Habang nasa puwesto kasi siya ay hindi maaalis ang suspicion na baka gumawa siya ng mga bagay na makaka-impluwensiya sa imbestigasyon.
By: Vic Reyes - Journal Online
Subic best for medical tourism
SUBIC BAY Freeport: Two leading health providers in the country are eyeing Subic Bay Freeport as a prime location for medical tourism.
The plan according to MedTECs Corp. and Total-MED is to convert the existing four story building of MedTECs located at the Subic Bay Industrial Park commercial center into a medical tourism facility which is ideal for medical offices, a nursing school and assisted living facility.
TotalMED president and CEO Dr. Raymond Ricardo disclosed this proposal at the 20th meeting of the Philippine-Chinese & Chinese-Philippine Business Councils at the Formosa Hall of the Subic Bay Industrial Park over the weekend.
“We see Subic as the next medical tourism destination in Asia in the next few years, its all [Subic] here, the location is great, the ambiance is good and the facilities are incredible,” Ricardo said.
MedTECs initially invested P6 million in their its building although the plan to convert the building into a Medical Tourism facility is still in its initial drawings. both MedTECs and TotalMED said they are encouraging prospective investors to the said project.
In his presentation, MedTECs and TotalMED estimated around 5,000 retired US military veterans and their dependents, 100,000 employees and dependents of locators in Clark and Subic, not to mention one-fourth of those residing north of Manila, among others would avail of medical services.
“These are only local potential markets.” Dr. Ricardo said.
Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority Administrator Armand Arreza for his part welcomed the plan and sees medical tourism in Subic as a big opportunity, he explained that medical tourism has a growth rate of 20 to 30 percent per annum and believes that Subic Free Port is the prime spot in the near future for medical tourism.
“We encourage high value activities and move away from low cost manufacturing model and medical tourism is one of the area and were the Philippines and Taiwan can work very closely collaborate with,” Arreza said.
Medical tourism is one of the area that is being encouraged by the Philippine government right now and in 2006 it is estimated that the total revenue generated by medical tourism in Asia amounted to $2.5 billion and is expected to grow to $4.5 billion in 2012.
“Tourist are attracted to this because of world-class health care service at third-world prices that is why the Philippines has become an attractive destination,” Arreza said.
By Anthony Bayarong, Manila Times Correspondent
Gordon says Tourism Act to benefit regions
Addressing the Western Visayas Tourism Assembly here, Gordon said the bill, once enacted, would “usher in the unprecedented influx of new money into the country to finally allow our people to find their fortune in their native Filipinas, and not in foreign shores.”
A former secretary of the Department of Tourism, Gordon had crafted the proposed Tourism Act to upgrade the framework and the incentives for tourism in the Philippines.
“The proposed tourism Act of 2007 aims to provide a framework for the development of a national tourism policy,” Gordon said.
“This will in turn enable us to focus our resources toward maximizing the benefits tourism has to offer. It will further encourage increased investments in the form of tourism infrastructure to cope with the demands of the increasing number of tourists in the country.”
He stressed that the proposed act provides for incentives such as income tax holidays, minimal gross income tax rate, tax exemptions for certain capital equipment, goods and services, and deductions in the form of social responsibility incentives.
Other incentives are non-fiscal in nature, pertaining to employment of foreign nationals, special investors’ resident visas, foreign currency transactions, requisition of investments and lease of land.
Gordon declared that the Visayas would be among the regions that would benefit extensively from the passage of the Tourism Act of 2007.
He compared the Visayas to the Maldives, a Pacific nation of 26 atolls and 1,192 islets on the equator, which has greatly benefited from tourism despite its population of just 300,000 people.
Gordon told the tourism assembly members that because of tourism, Maldives by the 1980s after attaining independence of Britain, “experienced a whopping peak growth of 26.5% owing primarily to the tourism sector, which is the country’s biggest foreign exchange earner and biggest contributor to the GDP, at 20 percent.
Tourism in the Maldives created direct and indirect employment and income generation opportunities in various industries.”
According to Gordon, “With a larger area of 20,4408 square kilometers and a larger population of 6,1001, 038, the [Visayan] region has more reason to surpass the tourism achievements of the Maldives, especially considering that it already has the head start in terms of tourism and fisheries.”
In 2005 alone, Western Visayas received 1,599,670 tourists, which increased to 1,844,525 in 2006. Tourism receipts also exhibited an impressive increase from P29.4 billion in 2005, to P33.9 billion in 2006. The Tourism Act of 2007, once enacted into law, would maximize the benefits of tourism for the Western Visayas region and the entire country, Gordon stressed.
He explained that the benefits from tourism “will trickle down to the members of the population, as seen in the Maldives experience. Just as in that island paradise, the cottage industries of this region, such as weaving and rattan furniture, will also profit from the advances in tourism. More importantly, the international market will be aware of the other, more established components of the regional economy, such as mining and agriculture.”
“Tourism means jobs. Where tourism advances, poverty retreats,” said Gordon.
Lopez firm bags SCTEx toll operation
The BCDA, in a statement, said it has already served on November 7 a Notice of Award for the interim service provider for the operations and maintenance (O&M) of the SCTEx.
The winning bidder-a joint venture of First Philippine Holdings Corporation (First Holdings), Egis Road Operation and Tollways Management Corporation (TMC).
First Holdings is a holding company under the Lopez Group of Companies with core investments in power and tollways, and strategic initiatives in property and manufacturing. Its new tollways subsidiary, Manila North Tollways Corporation, modernized and operates the longest toll road in the country with a 433 lane-kilometers capacity.
TMC, on the other hand, is primarily engaged in carrying on the operations and maintenance of toll roads, its facilities, interchanges and all related works. It operates and maintains the North Luzon Expressway.
TMC, under the umbrella of the Lopez Group of Companies, has formed strategic alliances with the world's largest toll road operator, Transroute International SA, part of the Group, Egis with operations in France, Athens, Australia and in other parts of the world.
The interim service provider will operate SCTEx for a period of six months to one year starting early 2008. The new toll highway is expected to be fully operational by March next year.
A third bidding for the long-term O&M provider will be scheduled next year, BCDA said.
Twelve companies vied for the O&M of the P21-billion SCTEx, among them Mideast Alliance Resources Corp. (Marc), SNC Lavalin International, Ausphil Tollways Corp. (ATC), Pacific Concrete Products Inc. (PCPI), UEM-MARA Philippines Corp., R.D. Policarpio Co. Inc., Metro Pacific Investments Corp. (MPIC), Ayala Property Management Corp. (AMC), STAR Infrastructure Development Corp., J.V. Angeles Construction Corp., and Pietras Builders Inc. (PBI)
The O&M contract would cover toll collection, traffic management, roadway maintenance, general administration, and greening and landscaping.
The BCDA bankrolled the construction of the SCTEx through a P21-billion loan from the Japanese government through the Japan Bank for International Cooperation (JBIC). The BCDA also secured a standby P2.5-billion credit line facility from local banks to ensure that construction of the 93.77-km toll road will be finished on time.
How the US got its Philippine bases back
Capping a series of pronouncements by high-level US officials warning China not to challenge the US as well as a series of actions indicating US moves to encircle China with US military assets and allies, the document confirmed what many had long suspected to be the case: that the US sees China as the rival whose rise it must prevent and whose military power it must contain. One of the countries in which the US has been deepening its military presence in is the Philippines - considered by US analysts as firmly located within what they call "the dragon's lair" - that strategic area around China where decisive battles could erupt in certain war-planning scenarios.
Though the US military officially vacated the Philippines and its mammoth Subic Bay base in 1991, since 2001 it has moved to re-integrate the Philippines firmly within what it now calls its "global defense posture". Despite the US and Philippine governments' efforts to play down their presence, a clearer but still incomplete picture of the extent and depth of the re-establishment of the US's military presence in the Philippines has emerged.
First, the US has stepped up deploying troops, ships and equipment to the country, ostensibly for training exercises, humanitarian and engineering projects and other missions, even though its military officially vacated the Philippines and its mammoth Subic Bay base in 1991.
Since 1998, a steady stream of US troops has arrived in the country for regular military exercises involving up to 5,000 troops, depending on the exercise in various locations throughout the country. Through the Visiting Forces Agreement, which was required by the US to conduct the exercises, it was only beginning in 2001 that the number and the size of troops involved jumped significantly. In 2006, up to 37 exercises were scheduled, up from 17 to 24 in the preceding years. 
In any given year since then, few are the days or weeks when there would be no US troops somewhere in the country, giving lectures to Philippine troops, participating in large-scale maneuvers, joining command exercises, simulating war games or taking part in other related activities. Compared to any other Southeast Asian country, the Philippines hosts the most number of such exercises and activities. As a result of these continuing deployments, former US ambassador to the Philippines Francis Ricciardone has described the US presence in the country as "semi-continuous". 
Though presented largely as efforts to improve the skills of Filipino soldiers, the aim is also to gain strategic ground. As former US Pacific Command chief Thomas Fargo himself has pointed out: "The habitual relationships built through exercises and training and a coherent view of regional security with regional partners is our biggest guarantor of access in time of need ... Access over time can develop into habitual use of certain facilities by deployed US forces with the eventual goal of being guaranteed use in a crisis, or permission to preposition logistics stocks and other critical material in strategic forward locations." 
As US troops come and go in rotation for frequent regular exercises, their presence - when taken together - makes up a formidable forward-presence that brings them closer to areas of possible action without need for huge infrastructure to support them - and without inciting a lot of public attention and opposition. For instance, US troops will be able to deploy faster to the South China Sea if they are holding exercises off Palawan or in Zambales than if they were in Hawaii. In the face of domestic sensitivities regarding a permanent US military presence, they would also be able to say publicly that they are only in the Philippines temporarily and that they will be leaving soon. What is left unsaid, however, is that they are also always arriving.
And as US troops depart then come back again, they leave behind the infrastructure that they had built and used ostensibly for the exercises and which could still be of use to the US military in the future for missions different from those for which they were initially built. In General Santos City, for example, the US constructed a deepwater port and one of the most modern domestic airports in the country, connected to each other by one of the country's best roads.
In Fort Magsaysay in Nueva Ecija, where US troops routinely go for exercises, the airport has been renovated and its runway strengthened to carry the weight of C-130 planes.  In the southern islands of Basilan and Sulu, venues of Balikatan exercises, the US, through United States Agency for International Development (USAID), has also built roads and ports that can berth huge ships. 
Along with troops, an increasing number of ships have also entered the country with increasing frequency, ostensibly for exercises and humanitarian missions. On at least one occasion, it appeared that they even came unannounced and unexpected.  According to the US Congressional Budget Office, "[T]he Navy counts those ships as providing overseas presence full time, even when they are training or simply tied up at the pier."  Though they come and go, the US military sees their regular and frequent "temporary" deployments as part of its global "posture."
As the US National Defense Strategy states, "Our posture also includes the many military activities in which we engage around the world. This means not only our physical presence in key regions, but also our training, exercises and operations. They involve small units working together in a wide range of capacities, major formations conducting elaborate exercises to achieve proficiency in joint and combined operations, and the 'nuts and bolts' of providing support to ongoing operations. They also involve the force protection that we and our allies provide to each other." 
Second, the US has secured arrangements and built infrastructure that would allow it to use ports and airfields to pre-position equipment, secure logistics support and engage a broad range of locally-provided services that would enable it to launch and sustain operations from the Philippines if necessary.
In September 2001, President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo granted the US free access to its ports and offered it over-flight rights to its airspace.  In November 2002, the US and Philippine governments signed the Mutual Logistics Support Agreement (MLSA), which has been described by researchers with the US Congressional Research Service as "allowing the United States to use the Philippines as a supply base for military operations throughout the region".  The MLSA obliges the Philippine government to exert "best efforts" to provide the US logistics supplies, support and services during exercises, training, operations and other US military deployments.
The agreement defines these to include food, water, petroleum, oils, clothing, ammunition, spare part and components, billeting, transportation, communication, medical services, operation support, training services, repair and maintenance, storage services, and port services. "Construction and use of temporary structures" is also covered.  In other words, the MLSA gives the US access to the full range of services that the US military would require to operate in and from the country. Also through the MLSA, the US has secured the services that it would normally be able to provide itself inside a large permanent base but without constructing and retaining large permanent bases - and without incurring the costs and the political problems that such bases often pose.
In 2003, an analyst reported that among all Southeast Asian countries only the Philippines has provided a "forward positioning site" for the US to store equipment to be used for regional operations.  In August 2005, the Overseas Basing Commission, the official commission tasked to review US basing, identified the Philippines as one of the countries - along with Thailand, India and Australia - in which so-called "Cooperative Security Locations" (CSLs) are being developed by the US in the region.  According to the Pentagon, CSLs are a new category of bases that refer to facilities owned by host-governments but are to be made available for use by the US military as needed.
The Philippine government has not disclosed the locations and other details about these CSLs. The airport in Mactan, which now hosts a fleet of US Orion reconnaissance planes,  is reported to be one site where Pentagon officials intended to establish such a facility,  but this has not yet been officially acknowledged or independently confirmed. Yet Arroyo herself had earlier in July 2001 raised the idea of renting out naval facilities in Subic Bay, an oft-used venue for joint exercises to the US military.
Lockheed Martin, a company often contracted by the US military, was reported to have been waiting for approval to establish a regional aircraft maintenance facility at Clark Air Base.  Halliburton KBR, another US corporation that has secured US military contracts, was reported as having been granted in November 2001 a US$100 million contract to convert Subic Bay into a modern commercial port.  The company had earlier announced that it was exploring redeveloping the former US Navy Ship Repair Facility in Subic Bay for maritime logistics and ship support services. 
Arrangements that combine commercial with military activities, noted then US PACOM Admiral Dennis Blair, "opens up possibilities for the sorts of things that we can work together on in the future".  Indeed in a recent thesis for the US Naval Postgraduate School, these arrangements are precisely what were recommended by Thomas Garcia: "not a return to the grand infrastructure of the past" but "the use of only a small logistical facility currently utilized by the commercial ship industry, and the port infrastructure of berths and airfield already in place." 
Another option suggested by Garcia was to locate the Philippine Navy in Subic and then allow the US to position its ships inside the nominally Philippine-owned base.  Former US PACOM chief Admiral Thomas Fargo had in fact announced plans to use Subic and Clark for the transit of personnel and trans-shipment of equipment, as well as a re-fueling post for US ships from Honolulu, Guam, or the US West Coast bound for the US base in Diego Garcia.  Though nothing has since been heard of these plans, the reports indicate that such options are still on the table. Given the US government's policy of partial disclosure, it's also possible that such plans have gone ahead unannounced and possibly in other places, in the manner that Kaplan had described above. 
The terms of the MLSA and the establishment of CSLs reflect the US's increasing emphasis on just-in-time logistics support and pre-positioning of equipment to ensure that US forces - dispersed as they are around the world, often far away from main bases where they store equipment and tap all kinds of services - are always ready and rearing to go. It is not so much the size of the base that matters, but whether it can provide the US military with what it needs and when it's needed.
As the Council on Foreign Relations recently pointed out, "While host nation support often carries the connotation of basing, its role of staging and access is perhaps more critical. Support for port visits, ship repairs, over-flight rights, training areas and opportunities, and areas to marshal, stage, repair, and re-supply are no less important for both daily US presence in the region and for rapid and flexible crisis response." 
Forward operating unit
Third, the US has already succeeded in stationing indefinitely a US military unit in the Philippines. Since 2002, a unit now called the Joint Special Operations Task Force-Philippines (JSOTF-P) has been deployed to and based in Zamboanga, Basilan, Sulu and other areas in Mindanao in the southern Philippines.
While initially presented as part of on-again, off-again temporary training exercises, it has since been revealed that this unit has continuously maintained its presence in the country for the past six years. With the Philippine government not giving a definite exit date, and with US officials stating that this unit will stay on as long as they are allowed by the government, it is presumed that it will continue to be based in the Philippines for the foreseeable future.
In an apparent effort not to draw attention to the unit, the US and Philippine governments have publicly revealed little about the real nature and mission of the JSOTF-P, except to project it as part of the US-led "war on terror" and to highlight the humanitarian and civil engineering projects that it undertakes. The media, for the most part, have through the years uncovered little about the unit and have reported on it by following the description offered by the US and Philippine governments. Most of what has since been gathered about the unit has come from US military publications and specialist sources not intended for general public consumption.
Headquartered in the Philippine military's Camp Navarro in Zamboanga City,  but with its personnel sent to various locations, the JSOTF-P has effectively established a new form of US military presence and basing in the country. When it was publicly revealed in August 2007 that the US Department of Defense via a US military construction unit had granted a contract to a company providing "base operations support" for the JSOTF-P,  the US Embassy admitted that the US was setting up allegedly "temporary"structures for "medical, logistical, administrative services"and facilities for "for them to eat, sleep and work" .
The Philippine's own Visiting Forces Commission also confirmed that the US maintains "living quarters" and stock supplies inside Philippine military camps.  Renowned US military historian Robert Kaplan, who revisited the JSOTF-P inside Camp Navarro in 2006 described these structures as signifying a "more hardened, permanent arrangement". According to a US military publication, the JSOTF-P's area of operations covers about 20,000 square kilometers, covering the entire island of Mindanao and its surrounding islands and seas.  According to various media reports, the number of troops attached to the unit has ranged from between 100 and 450, but it is not clear what the actual total number is for any specific period.  US Lieutenant Colonel Mark Zimmer, a JSOTF-P public affairs officer, said it varies "depending on the season and the mission." 
US officials have consistently maintained that US troops belonging to the unit "train, advise and assist" the Philippine military in their war against alleged terrorists in the country. Though denying that they are involved in "actual combat", US officials also repeatedly assert that they have the right to shoot back when under fire. In US military publications, US troops belonging to the unit have characterized their mission as "unconventional warfare", "foreign internal defense" and "counter-insurgency". 
In fact, they have been reported to have exchanged gunfire with and to have been attacked by alleged insurgents.  There have also been numerous sightings of US troops in the vicinity of active military operations, some of which have been confirmed by Philippine military officials.  At the height of Philippine military offensives against insurgent targets in August 2007, US soldiers were photographed by a press wire agency leading a military convoy in Sulu. 
All of this has served to challenge Philippine government claims that the US troops are not involved in the fighting. As Colonel Jim Linder, former head of JSOTF-P, has stated, "We're very much in a war out here ... We'll spill American blood on Jolo. It's only by luck, skill and the grace of God we haven't yet."  Referring to their bases in the southern Philippines as "forward operating base-11" and "advanced operating base-921",  the JSOTF-P corresponds to the new kind of forward-deployment that the US has introduced as part of its ongoing effort to realign its global posture and overhaul its offensive capabilities.
In terms of profile and mission, the JSOTF-P is similar to the Combined Joint Task Force-Horn of Africa (CJTF-Horn of Africa), which was established in Djibouti in eastern Africa in 2003 and also composed mostly of Special Forces. Like the JSOTF-P, the CJTF-Horn of Africa has also been conducting "humanitarian"missions and aid projects. Similar to the Philippines, Djibouti has also seen a dramatic increase in the amount of military aid it receives from the US.  As a sample of the US's new austere basing template, the CJTF-Horn of Africa has been described as the "model for future US military operations". 
Indeed, more deployments similar to that of the JSOTF-P and CJTF-Horn of Africa are planned in other locations around the world.  In 2004, former PACOM commander Thomas Fargo talked about expanding Special Operations Forces in the Pacific.  Apparently referring to the JSOTF-P, former secretary of defense Donald Rumsfeld also announced that the Pentagon would establish more "nodes for special operations forces". 
In his 2005 Annual Defense Report, Rumsfeld said that the US military "will improve its global force posture to increase strategic responsiveness while decreasing its overseas footprint and exposure. In place of traditional overseas bases with extensive infrastructure, we intend to use smaller forward operating bases with prepositioned equipment and rotational presence of personnel ... We will maintain a smaller forward-presence force in the Pacific while also stationing agile, expeditionary forces capable of rapid responses at our power projection bases." 
As evidenced by the fact that most Filipinos are not even aware of their presence and their actions, the JSOTF-P has managed to circumvent public opposition and legal restrictions governing the presence of foreign troops in the country. Hence, as Kaplan noted, "The JSOTF had succeeded as a political mechanism for getting an American base-of-sorts up and running ..."  C H Briscoe, command historian of the US Army Special Operations Command, under which the units of the JSOTF-P belong, concurs: "After more than 10 years, PACOM has reestablished an acceptable presence in the Philippines ..."  (Italics added.)
Though the Abu Sayyaf Group and other "terrorists" are the self-avowed targets of the JSOTFP, its location and capabilities allow it to aim much farther. In fact, the JSOTF-P's "area of operations" covers places in Mindanao in which the communist paramilitary group the New People's Army (NPA) is also active. The US had also tagged the NPA as a "foreign terrorist organization" and therefore as a legitimate target of the "war on terror". In fact, the US has also directly offered to more actively help in fighting the NPA.  As it is, US military assistance and training are directly contributing to the Philippine military's war against them.
Strategically positioned between two routes at the entrance of a major sea lane, the Makassar Strait, at the southwestern rim of the South China Sea, closer to Malaysia and Indonesia than most of the rest of the Philippines, the JSOTF-P, according to C H Briscoe, the unit's official historian, is "now better able to monitor the pulse of the region".  Indeed, Major General David Fridovich, commander of the US Special Operations Forces-Pacific, has stated that the area including the Philippines, Malaysia and Indonesia is the "key region where we presently focus our indirect efforts". 
Rommel Banlaoi, an analyst with the National Defense College of the Philippines, finds, "The American war on terrorism has provided the US an excellent justification to hasten its reestablishment of a strategic presence in Southeast Asia."  Having secured that presence, the US has become closer to that country with "the greatest potential to compete militarily" with the US.
By getting the US "semi-permanently" based south of Luzon for the first time since World War II, Kaplan notes that "the larger-than-necessary base complex" in Zamboanga has delivered more than tactical benefits.  In the minds of the US Army strategists, Kaplan notes, "Combating Islamic terrorism in this region [Southeast Asia] carried a secondary benefit for the United States: it positioned the US for the future containment of nearby China."
1. Carolyn O Arguillas, "Q and A with US Ambassador Francis Ricciardone: Ops-Intel-fusion is not spying," MindaNews, February 28, 2005; Jojo Due, "Biggest RP-US military exercise starts next week," Philippine Business Daily Mirror, February 17, 2006.
2. Carolyn O Arguillas, "Q and A with US Ambassador Francis Ricciardone: Ops-Intel-fusion is not spying," MindaNews, February 28, 2005.
3. Admiral Thomas Fargo, Transcript of Hearing of US House of Representatives Committee on International Relations Subcommittee on Asia and the Pacific, June 26, 2003.
4. Karl Wilson, "US force in Asia to become smaller but deadlier," Daily Times, August 22, 2004.
5. United States Agency for International Development (USAID) Growth with Equity in Mindanao project website; Embassy of the United States of America, Manila, Republic of the Philippines, "Securing Peace in Mindanao through Diplomacy, Development, and Defense," August 2006.
6. In October 2005, for example, a huge US military ship, later identified as a high-speed vessel, was spotted off Basilan near Zamboanga City. The Armed Forces of the Philippines and the Department of Foreign Affairs gave conflicting versions as to the nature and mission of the ship, with the DFA spokesperson even initially indicating that they were not informed about its arrival only to subsequently claim that the US Embassy had actually requested permission for the ship's entry. ("US military ship sneaks into Southern RP, Sunstar, October 12, 2005, Manila Times, October 13, 05, Phil Star, October 28, 05.
7. US Department of Defense, National Defense Strategy 2005, Washington DC, pp. 18-19.
8. US Department of Defense, National Defense Strategy 2005, Washington DC, pp. 18-19.
9. Mark Lander, "Philippines Offers US its Troops and Bases," New York Times, October 2, 2001; Rufi Vigilar, "Philippines opens its ports to US military," CNN, September 18, 2001; Angel M Rabasa, "Southeast Asia After 9-11: Regional Trends and US Interests," Testimony presented to the Subcommittee on East Asia and the Pacific House of Representatives Committee on International Relations on December 12, 2001.
10. Thomas Lum and Larry A. Niksch, "The Republic of the Philippines: Background and US Relations," Congressional Research Service Report for Congress, January 10, 2006; Sheldon W Simon, "Theater Security Cooperation in the US Pacific Command," National Bureau of Asian Research Analysis, Volume 14, Number 2, August 2003.
11. Mutual Logistics Support Agreement Between the Department of Defense of the United States of America and the Department of National Defense of the Republic of the Philippines, November 21, 2002.
12. Sheldon W Simon, "Southeast Asia solidifies antiterrorism support, lobbies for postwar Iraq reconstruction," Pacific Forum CSIS Comparative Connections, Second Quarter 2003.
13. Overseas Basing Commission, Report to the President and Congress, Arlington, Virginia, August 15, 2005, p. H11.
14. Al Jacinto, "NGOs: Probe US military facilities," Manila Times, August 29, 2007.
15. Robert D Kaplan, Hog Pilots, Blue Water Grunts: The American Military in the Air, at Sea, and on the Ground (New York: Random House, 2007), pp. 88-90.
16. Thomas Fuller, "Subic Bay May be Up for Rent," International Herald Tribuna, July 13, 2001; "US Briefs RP on plans for using Subic, Clark," Inquirer, September 28, 2001.
17. Frida Berrigan, "Halliburton's Axis of Influence," In These Times, March 28, 2003.
18. Halliburton, "Press Release: Halliburton KBR to Evaluate Subic Bay Facilities," November 21, 2001.
19. Admiral Dennis Blair (Commander in Chief, US Pacific Command), Transcript of Press Conference, Manila, July 13, 2001.
20. Thomas J Garcia, "The Potential Role of the Philippines in US Naval Forward Presence," Thesis for US Naval Postgraduate School, Monterey, California, December 2001, p. xiv.
21. Thomas J Garcia, "The Potential Role of the Philippines in US Naval Forward Presence," Thesis for US Naval Postgraduate School, Monterey, California, December 2001, p. 30.
22. "US Briefs RP on plans for using Subic, Clark," Inquirer, September 28, 2001.
23. Council on Foreign Relations, The United States and Southeast Asia: A Policy Agenda for the New Administration, July 2001, pp. 47-48.
24. Robert Kaplan, Imperial Grunts: On the Ground with the American Military from Mongolia to the Philippines to Iraq and Beyond, New York: Vintage Books 2006, p.147.
25. In August 2007, Focus on the Global South publicized the granting by the US Department of Defense, through the US Naval Facilities Engineering Command (NAVFAC), of a six-month $14.4-million contract to a certain "Global Contingency Services LLC" of Irving, Texas for "operations support" for the Joint Special Operations Task Force-Philippines (JSOTF-P). According to its own website, the NAVFAC is the unit within the US military that is in charge of providing the US Navy with "operating, support, and training bases". It "manages the planning, design, and construction and provides public works support for US Naval shore installations around the world". Among their business lines are "bases development" and "contingency engineering". According to the announcement by the Pentagon, the contract awarded to Global Contingency Services LLC includes "all labor, supervision, management, tools, materials, equipment, facilities, transportation, incidental engineering, and other items necessary to provide facilities support services." Global Contingency Services LLC is a partnership between DynCorp International, Parsons Global Services, and PWC Logistics. The $14.4 million contract is actually part of a bigger $450-million five-year contract for Global Contingency Services to "provide a full range of world-wide contingency and disaster-response services, including humanitarian assistance and interim or transitional base-operating support services". According to DynCorp's website, this will include "facility operations and maintenance; air operations; port operations; health care; supply and warehousing; galley; housing support; emergency services; security, fire, and rescue; vehicle equipment; and incidental construction." Contingency Response Services LLC describes its work as encompassing "operating forces support", "community support", and "base support". According to the Defense Industry Daily publication, the contract also includes "morale, welfare, and recreation support". The specific contract for work for the JSOTF-P is expected to be completed in January 2008 but other contracts may follow as part of the $450 million-package. ("Contracts, June 6, 2007," US Department of Defense; Press Release, "DynCorp International and JV Partners Win $450 million NAVFAC Contract," DynCorp International, November 2, 2006; "Contingency Response Services", DynCorp International; Defense Industry Daily, "$14.4M to help US SOCOM in the Philippines," June 8, 2007; Ethan Butterfield, "DynCorp lands $450M Navy Contingency Services Deal," Washington Technology, November 3, 2006.
26. "US denies building bases in Mindanao," GMANews.TV, August 27, 2007.
27. Veronica Uy, "VFACom Chief Denies US bases in Mindanao," Inquirer.net, August 24, 2007.
28. Robert D Kaplan, Hog Pilots, Blue Water Grunts: The American Military in the Air, at Sea, and on the Ground (New York: Random House, 2007), p. 319.
29 T D Flack, "Special Operations Force Aiding an Important Ally," Stars and Stripes, March 11, 2007; T D Flack, "Special Operations Force Aiding an Important Ally," Stars and Stripes, March 11, 2007; Colonel Gregory Wilson, "Anatomy of a Successful COIN Operation: OEF-Philippines and the Indirect Approach," Military Review, November to December 2006.
30. At start of the deployment in January 2002, there were supposed to be 160 to 250 who were joining. (Steve Vogel, "Americans Arrive in Philippines US Special Forces To Aid Filipino Army In Threatened Areas," Washington Post, January 16, 2002; Fe B Zamora, "All US troops will leave on July 31, says Wurster," Philippine Daily Inquirer, July 1, 2002; Pat Roque, "US Special Forces in Philippines," Associated Press, February 18, 2002; Bill Gertz and Rowan Scarborough, "Philippine confusion," Washington Times, February 8, 2002). In November 2002, the Army Magazine reported that there were 260 members of the task force were in the southern Philippines. (Army Magazine, "News Call," November 1, 2002). In February 2003, 350 Special Forces were reportedly scheduled to be sent to Sulu but this was postponed. (Eric Schmitt, "US combat force of 1700 is headed to the Philippines", New York Times, February 21, 2003; Bradley Graham, "US Bolsters Philippine Force," Washington Post, February 21, 2003) In October 2003, 300 Special Forces were reported to be in Basilan ("US spy aircraft deployed in Philippines," October 13, 2003 The News International (Pakistan). By February 2006, 250 more troops were reported to be joining those who were already in Sulu but it was not clear how many were still there at that time ("RP-US to conduct war games amid 'rape' controversy," Philipine Daily Inquirer, January 10, 2006; "No time frame of US troops' stay in Sulu," Mindanews, January 17, 2006). Shortly after, US military spokesperson Captain Burrel Parmer announced that 400 US troops will be Sulu for various projects. (Ding Cervantes, "5,500 US military personnel coming for Balikatan 2006," Philippine Star, February 17, 2006). In September 2006, 114 US troops were reported to have arrived in Zamboanga City as part of the "normal rotation" of soldiers under JSOTF-P, according to the US Embassy. (Julie Alipala, "100 GIs held at Zambo immigration," Philippine Daily Inquirer, September 28, 2006). In February 2007, US today reported 450 and Reuters put the number at 100 (Paul Wiseman, "In Philippines, US Making Progress in War on Terror," USA Today, Februay 13, 2007; "Philippines increases security for US forces," Reuters, February 26, 2007).
31. "Civilians want probe on US military's alleged supervision in Sulu war," Mindanews, November 24, 2005.
32. Colonel David Maxwell, "Operation Enduring Freedom-Philippines: What Would Sun-Tzu say?" Military Review, May-June 2004; Members of the 1st Special Forces Group, "The history of the 1st SF Group in the Republic of the Philippines; 1957-2002," Special Warfare, June 2002; C H Briscoe, "Why the Philippines: ARSOF's expanded mission in the war on terror," Special Warfare, September 2004; "Interview with Vice Admiral Eric T Olson," Special Operations Technology Online, July 13, 2004, Volume 2, Issue 4; Colonel. Gregory Wilson, "Anatomy of a Successful COIN Operation: OEF-Philippines and the Indirect Approach," Military Review, November to December 2006.
33. John Hendren, "Rebels shoot at US Troops in the Philippines," Los Angeles Times, June 18, 2002; Army Magazine (published by the Association of the United States Army), "News Call," August 1, 2002; Roel Pareno, "Gunfire hits Huey with US troops," Philippine Star, March 9, 2006.
34. See Herbert Docena, Unconventional Warfare: Are US Special Forces Engaged in an 'Offensive War' in the Philippines?" (Quezon City: Focus on the Global South, 2007).
35. "American troops aboard Humvee spotted leading military convoy," Philippine Daily Inquirer, August 15, 2007.
36. Eliza Griswold, "Waging Peace in the Philippines", The Smithsonian, December 2006.
37. Major Kevin T Henderson, US Army, "Army Special Operations Forces and Marine Expeditionary Unit (Special Operations Capable) Integration: Something a Joint Task Force Commander should Consider," monograph, United States Army Command and General Staff College, School of Advanced Military Studies, 19 May 2004; another writer talks about a "Forward Operating Base 11" in the southern Philippines (Cherilyn Walley, "Impact of the semi-permissive environment on force protection in Philippine engagements," Special Warfare, September 2004); T D Flack, "When Visiting Jolo, Show a Little Courtesy, Please," Stars and Stripes, March 12, 2007.
38. Alain Lallemand, "Profiteering on Location," International Consortium of Investigative Journalists, May 22, 2007.
39, Center for Defense Information, "Worldwide Reorientation of US Military Basing: Part II: Central Asia, Southwest Asia, and the Pacific," October 7, 2003; Stanley A Weiss, "After Iraq, a New US Military Model," International Herald Tribune, December 27, 2006.
40. Greg Jaffe, "Rumsfeld details big military shift in new document," Wall Street Journal, March 11, 2005.
41. Admiral Thomas B Fargo, "Regarding the Defense Global Forces Postu
42. Donald H Rumsfeld (US Secretary of Defense), Testimony before Senate Armed Services Committee, Washington DC, September 23, 2004.
43. Donald H Rumsfeld (US Secretary of Defense), Annual Report to the President and the Congress 2005, p. 36-37.
44. Robert Kaplan, Imperial Grunts: On the Ground with the American Military from Mongolia to the Philippines to Iraq and Beyond, New York: Vintage Books 2006, p.150.
45. C H Briscoe, "Reflections and Observations on ARSOF Operations During Balikatan 02-1," Special Warfare, September 2004.
46. Christine Avendano, "US willing to help RP troops in fight vs NPA," Inquirer.net, June 28, 2007.
47. C H Briscoe, "Reflections and Observations on ARSOF Operations During Balikatan 02-1," Special Warfare, September 2004.
48. "Interview with Major General David Fridovich," Special Operations Technology SOTECH, April 23, 2007.
49. Rommel C Banlaoi, The War on Terrorism in Southeast Asia, (Manila: Rex Book Store Inc., 2004).
50. Robert Kaplan, Imperial Grunts: On the Ground with the American Military from Mongolia to the Philippines to Iraq and Beyond (New York: Vintage Books, 2006), p.178.
51. Robert Kaplan, Imperial Grunts: On the Ground with the American Military from Mongolia to the Philippines to Iraq and Beyond (New York: Vintage Books 2006), p.134.
Herbert Docena is author of "At the Door of all the East: The Philippines in United States Military Strategy", a new report launched by Focus on the Global South, an international policy research institute.
By Herbert Docena - Asia Times Online Ltd
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Tuesday, November 27, 2007
Hanjin to invest $2b more
President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo met with Hanjin president Jeong Sup Shim at the Palace yesterday where she was informed of the latest investment in Misamis Oriental.
The money committed by Hanjin in Mindanao surpasses its capital inflow in Subic last year, which made Korea the single-biggest source of foreign direct investment in 2006.
Presidential Management Staff head Cerge Remonde said the Mindanao shipyard would be two times bigger than the complex of Hanjin in Subic.
The new facility will be constructed at the 3,000-hectare Phividec Industrial Estate in the towns of Tagoloan and Villanueva.
“The construction of general manufacturing plant of the shipbuilding facility would start early next year,” Jeong told the President.
Jeong said the plant would start fabricating ships by 2010 and was expected to export some $1.7 billion worth of shipbuilding parts and vessels two years later.
“Hanjin’s Mindanao plant would employ about 30,000 Filipinos, particularly engineers, welders, and steel fabricators,” Jeong added.
Hanjin’s Subic project is expected to generate at least $3.6 billion in annual sales with a yearly construction capacity of 60 ships worth $60 million each.
The biggest shipping vessel in the world, a $150-million floating mammoth, is currently being constructed in Subic. The vessel is expected to be bigger than the 260,851-ton Seawise Giant, which also goes by the name Jahre Viking.
Hanjin also opened a $40-million training center for shipyard workers in Subic. Hanjin has already employed some 2,400 Filipinos for its drydock construction, and is expected to hire 30,000 more in the next five years.
The President earlier created an inter-agency committee that will formulate a comprehensive five-year development plan for the ship building sector to attract more investors like Hanjin.
Mrs. Arroyo signed Executive Order No. 588 creating the ad hoc committee that will be headed by the Maritime Industry Authority.
“The accelerated and sustained development of the ship building and ship repair sector requires the joint and active collaboration between the government and the private sector as shown by even the most developed countries in the world,” the President said.
“There is a need to attract and maintain much-needed investments for the development of shipbuilding and ship repair sector in view of its capacity to contribute to the country’s economic output and its potential to open up vast opportunities for employment and skills training for Filipinos,” she added.
By Joyce Pangco Pañares - Manila Standard Today
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RESOLUTIONS AND ORDINANCES October 2007
2007 R -168 - EXPRESSING HEARTFELT GRATITUDE TO ...
2007 R - 167 - THANKING HER EXCELLENCY AMBASSADRES...
2007 R - 166 - AUTHORIZING THE CITY MAYOR JAMES GO...
2007 R - 165 - AUTHORIZING THE CITY MAYOR TO ENTER...
2007 O - 59 - APPROPRIATING THE AMOUNT PhP50,000.0...
2007 O - 58 - AMENDING SECTION 1 OF ORDINANCE NO. ...
2007 O - 57 - APPROPRIATING THE AMOUNT OF PHP70,00...
2007 R -164 - RECOGNITION TO THE INVALUABLE SERVIC...
2007 R - 163 - EXPRESSING SYMPATHY AND CONDOLENCE...
2007 R - 162 - CONVEYING DEEPEST SYMPATHY TO THE B...
2007 R - 161 - APPROVING THE VARIATION OF WORKS OF...
2007 R - 160 - ACCREDITING THE SUBRA ), A NON GOV...
2007 R - 159 - ACCREDITING THE GSP - OLONGAPO CITY...
2007 R - 158 - ADOPTING THE REVISED INTERNAL RULES...
2007 R - 157 - ADOPTING CITY APPRAISAL COMMITTEE R...
2007 R - 156 - REQUESTING HER EXCELLENCY PRESIDENT...
2007 R - 155 - REQUESTING THE SBMA TO INCLUDE REPR...
2007 O - 56 - AMENDING ORDINANCE NO. 22, SERIES O...
2007 O - 55 - APPROPRIATING THE AMOUNT OF PHP1,219...
2007 O - 54 - APPROPRIATING THE AMOUNT OF PhP100,0...
2007 O - 53 - APPROPRIATING THE AMOUNT OF ONE HUN...
2007 R - 154 - AUTHORIZING THE JLGMH REPRESENTED B...
2007 R - 153 - AFFIRMING THE SHAREHOLDINGS OF OLON...
2007 O - 52 - IMPLEMENTING THE TEMPORARY CLOSURE O...
2007 O - 51 - ADDRESSING THE SYSTEM OF PROSTITUTI...
2007 R - 152 - EXTENDING PROFOUND CONDOLENCES AND ...
2007 R - 151 - AUTHORIZING THE CITY MAYOR TO ENTER...
2007 R - 150 - APPROVING THE ANNUAL BUDGET OF BAR...
2007 R - 149 - EXTENDING THE ADOPTION OF THE EXPER...
2007 R - 148 - ENJOINING ALL BARANGAYS IN OLONGAPO...
2007 R - 147 - AUTHORIZING THE CITY MAYOR TO ENTER...
2007 O - 50 - ESTABLISHING TWO COTERMINOUS POSITI...
2007 R - 146 - REQUESTING THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTAT...
2007 O - 49 - AMENDING ORDINANCE NO. 43, SERIES OF...
2007 R - 145 - STRONGLY REITERATING TO THE FSC BOA...
SANGGUNIAN ARCHIVE September 2007
2007 O - 47 - CREATING A SPECIAL ACCOUNT – GORDON ...
2007 R - 144 - CONFIRMING THE RENEWAL OF APPOINTME...
2007 R - 143 - ACCREDITING THE TATAG INCORPORATED,...
2007 R - 142 - ACCREDITING THE KABAYAN , A NON-GOV...
2007 R - 141 - ACCREDITING THE OLONGAPO BUSINESS C...
2007 R - 140 - ACCREDITING THE FSAP OLONGAPO CITY ...
2007 R - 139 - ACCREDITING THE BOY SCOUTS OF THE P...
2007 R - 138 - ACCREDITING THE ULO NG APO AMATEUR ...
2007 R - 137 - ADOPTING THE EXPERIMENTAL IMPLEMENT...
2007 R - 136 - RATIFYING THE MOA ENTERED INTO BY A...
2007 R - 135 - AUTHORIZING THE CITY MAYOR JAMES GO...
2007 O - 46 - PROVIDING FOR ANNUAL PHYSICAL AND DE...
2007 O - 45 - APPROPRIATING THE AMOUNT OF PPH475,0...
2007 O - 44 - APPROPRIATING THE AMOUNT OF PHP697,1...
2007 O - 43 - APPROPRIATING THE AMOUNT OF THIRTY M...
2007 R - 134 - COMMENDING PNP , P/S ANGELITO N. PA...
2007 R - 133 - AUTHORIZING THE CITY MAYOR JAMES GO...
2007 R - 132 - APPROVING THE REQUEST OF BARANGAY B...
2007 R - 131 - CONFIRMING AND RATIFYING THE PLACEM...
2007 R - 130 - CONFIRMING AND RATIFYING THE AMENDE...
2007 R - 129 - AUTHORIZING THE HONORABLE CITY MAYO...
2007 R - 128 - EXPRESSING DEEP CONDOLENCES TO THE ...
2007 R - 127 - APPROVING THE ANNUAL BUDGET OF BARA...
2007 R - 126 - PROFFERING EARNEST REQUITAL TO THE ...
2007 R - 125 - EXTENDING SINCEREST GRATITUDE TO TH...
2007 R - 124 - EXPRESSING SORROW OVER THE PASSING ...
2007 R - 123 - APPROVING THE ANNUAL BUDGET OF BARA...
2007 R - 122 - ENCOURAGING NON-GOVERNMENTAL ORGANI...
2007 R -121 - URGING THE BARANGAY COUNCILS OF DIF...
2007 R -120 - CONVERTING TRANSCON AREA INTO A MULT...
2007 O -41 - APPROPRIATING THE AMOUNT OF PHP1,757,...
2007 O - 40 - CREATING THE CDC PURSUANT TO ARTICLE...
Consumerist hits trader for defying law on cement import
Consumerist hits trader for defying law on cement import
A consumer advocate has accused an importer of cement of defying laws on importation and product quality and standards.
Maria Lourdes Casas Quezon, a ranking member and former chairman of the National Women’s Club, said Subic-based construction firm Hanjin Heavy Industries is alleged to have possibly used the imported cement for its shipyard construction project at the Subic Freeport without first securing an import commodity clearance from the Department of Trade and Industry.
An ICC is required before the imported cement can be used for any construction project.
Quezon, who is chairman of the National Consumers Council, added that two trade department personnel were barred from entering the firm’s warehouse in Olongapo City, Zambales, thus preventing from conducting inspection and inventory of the imported cement.
The trade department wanted to determine whether the cement imports were stored or already being used despite the absence of an ICC.
A sampling conducted by trade department personnel on the imported cement showed that the Hanjin cement did not pass the mandatory quality standards required by the department. The trade department scheduled a re-testing, but Hanjin refused to submit to another test which is a requirement whenever the test is a failure.
The cement, consisting of 3,019 2-tonner bags equivalent to 5,994.94 metric tons, arrived at the Subic Freeport on Aug. 17, 2007 and was covered by Bill of Lading SPS-08-02/2007, imported from China. There have been two more shipments since then that arrived on Sept. 15 and on Oct. 17.
Quezon said that up to the present, the construction firm still refuses and continues to prevent trade department personnel from conducting inspection and inventory of the imported cement.
She disagreed with a Subic Free Port official who claimed that Subic is not subject to Philippine product standard just because it is a free port. She said that “Subic is undeniably part of Philippine territory and must follow Philippine laws.”
She said the company’s refusal to comply with the law sets a bad precedent that sends a wrong signal that other importers can defy authorities with impunity.