Simex receives mixed reactions from Dabawenyos

21 days ago SUNSTAR

WHILE Dabawenyos understood the essence of the simulation exercises (simex) conducted in Davao City, some said that the activity should’ve been properly disseminated to avoid causing panic. The city government, led by the Public Safety and Security Office (PSSO) staged another simex on February 20, 2023 — the first simex for this year. The simex scenario at the Roxas Night Market involved an `unattended motorcycle’ while in Lanang was an `explosion’ incident. Despite the positive purpose of the security exercise, this gained mixed reactions from Dabawenyos. Meanwhile, some Dabawenyos interviewed by SunStar agreed that the simex should be unannounced since terrorists and other lawless elements may attack anytime and anywhere.
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Editorial: Back to square one

On Feb. 25, 1986, President Ferdinand Edralin Marcos Sr. and his family were evacuated from Malacañang aboard American helicopters and flown to Clark Air Base. From there, they boarded a US Air Force transport plane and were taken to Hawaii to begin a life of exile.It was a peaceful end to the civil resistance against his regime that began on Feb. 22 with millions of people taking to the streets of Metro Manila.The elder Marcos was ousted after ruling the Philippines with an iron fist for over two decades.His successor, Corazon Cojuangco Aquino, was in Cebu on Feb. 22 to promote civil disobedience following the snap elections that declared the elder Marcos as the winner.When the demonstrations began, she sought refuge in the Carmelite Monastery in Cebu City before flying back to the capital the next day.What happened next was almost unthinkable and short of a miracle for the millions of Filipinos who kept abreast of the news on the radio.Today marks the 37th anniversary of the People Power Revolution, or the Edsa Revolution.Ferdinand Marcos, not the father but the son, is back in Malacañang after winning the 2022 presidential election.He can attribute his victory partly to the fact that about one in every five Filipinos who voted last year was aged 18-24, according to the University of the Philippines Population Institute, or that “more than half of the 65.7 million voters in the country are between ages 18 and 41,” said the Commission on Elections.They were either not born yet or were too young to remember the uprising that brought democracy back to the country.But what of Cebu’s leaders who were there and who remember what happened?They must believe the sins of the father must not be visited upon his children.On Friday, Feb. 24, a small group of mainly human rights advocates and members of civil groups gathered outside the Police Regional Office 7 headquarters along Osmeña Blvd.An earlier report said they were there to commemorate the 37th anniversary of Edsa.The placards they upheld though called for the end of terrorism, no to the return of ROTC (Reserve Officers’ Training Corps) and a stop to Lumad killings, among others.There was none to mark the occasion.But who could blame them? They didn’t live through the atrocities of martial law, the plunder of the economy or the silencing of press freedom.What then is the relevance of the revolution if Filipinos have forgotten its significance or why it happened in the first place?And how long will the younger Marcos bear the humiliation of a national holiday that celebrates his family’s downfall?This year he moved it to Friday, Feb. 24, so people across the country could have a long weekend.

24 days ago SUNSTAR
Search confirms 4 died in Cessna plane crash

THE bodies of four passengers on board the Cessna aircraft that went missing in Albay over the weekend have already been found, Camalig town Mayor Carlos Baldo said Thursday, February 23, 2023.In a radio interview, Baldo said the bodies were found near the wreckage of the airplane, near the crater of Mayon Volcano. "Nandun lang sila sa may pinagbagsakan pero hindi doon sa loob ng eroplano," he said. (They were just there at the crash site but not inside the plane. )He said the retrieval operation is ongoing.Baldo said that due to difficult terrain that makes the use of aircraft impossible, rescuers will have to walk for around four hours to bring down the bodies from the crash site.He said the remains of the crash victims would be brought down the volcano on Thursday, February 23.Baldo said the Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines (CAAP) will be the one to deal with the ill-fated aircraft.More than a dozen Army troops and firefighters were dropped off from an air force helicopter Wednesday morning, February 22, then they hiked to the crash site on a gully on Mayon volcano’s slope, CAAP officials said.In a statement, Energy Development Corporation (EDC) President and Chief Operating Officer Richard Tantoco identified the four individuals who perished in the incident as Captain James Crisostomo, the pilot and an EDC employee; Joel Martin, also an employee of the company; Simon Chipperfield, advisor; and Karthi Santhanam, a consultant.“We stand in compassion and deep sorrow with the families of our fallen kapamilyas in this unthinkable tragedy. The wreckage was spotted in an aerial search on Sunday, February 19, on the slope of the 8,077-foot (2,462-meter) volcano but an air force helicopter only managed to ferry the search team near the crash site Wednesday morning after the weather improved.Only the tail section of the plane remained intact with the rest of the wreckage scattered on the barren upper slopes of the volcano, said Eric Apolonio, spokesperson of CAAP.Villagers are normally prohibited from entering a permanent danger zone six kilometers (3.7 miles) around the volcano, which last erupted in 2018, displacing tens of thousands of people.But the volcano-monitoring agency allowed the high-risk search and rescue effort on Mayon, one of the country's 24 most active volcanoes, with a warning for the team members to be alert for sudden emission of volcanic ash and gas or sudden mudflows if rain fell on the slopes.

26 days ago SUNSTAR
Chinese official: PH report about Ayungin Shoal incident ‘did not reflect truth’

CHINESE Foreign Ministry spokesman Wang Wenbin said on Wednesday, February 16, 2023, that the claims of Philippine troops on the recent incident in Ayungin Shoal “did not reflect the truth.”In a press conference, Wang said the China Coast Guard (CCG) ship used a handheld laser speed detector and handheld greenlight pointer to measure the distance and speed of the Philippine vessel and signal directions to ensure navigation safety. "We need to highlight the fact that the China Coast Guard ship did not direct lasers at the Philippine crew, and the handheld equipment does not inflict damage on anything or anyone on the vessel," he said.In his earlier interview, Wang said the CCG “acted in a professional and restrained way” when the Philippine vessel, the BRP Malapascua of the Philippine Coast Guard (PCG), intruded the Ren’ai Reef without proper coordination.Wang insisted that the reef was part of China’s Nansha Islands to which the Philippines refers to as the Spratlys Islands, a disputed territory located in the West Philippine Sea (WPS).The PCG said that on February 6, a CCG vessel pointed a military-grade laser light to BRP Malapascua while it was assisting in a resupply mission to troops in Ayungin Shoal.It said this caused “temporary blindness” to the PCG’s crew onboard.The CCG vessel also made “dangerous maneuvers” by approaching about 150 yards from the ship’s starboard quarter, the PCG said.On Tuesday, February 14, President Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. summoned Chinese Ambassador to the Philippines Huang Xilian where they “exchanged views on how to implement the consensus reached by the two heads of state, strengthen dialogue and communication, and properly manage maritime differences between China and the Philippines.”The country’s Department of Foreign Affairs has released a diplomatic protest against China’s aggressiveness anew in the disputed territory.On Wednesday, February 15, Huang also met with Armed Forces of the Philippine Chief of Staff General Andres Centino and discussed military liaison exchanges and cooperation and maintaining peace and stability in the region.

1 month ago SUNSTAR
China defends laser light pointing against PH vessel

CHINESE Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA) spokesperson Wang Wenbin defended the pointing of laser light by their coast guard vessel toward a Philippine ship in waters off Ayungin Shoal.In a press conference, Wang said the Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) vessel intruded the Ren’ai Reef, which he insisted was part of China’s Nansha Islands.Nansha Island is what the Philippines refers to as the Spratlys Islands, a disputed territory located in the West Philippine Sea (WPS).“In accordance with China’s domestic law and international law, including the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (Unclos), the China Coast Guard ship upheld China’s sovereignty and maritime order and acted in a professional and restrained way,” said Wang.“We hope the Philippine side will respect China’s territorial sovereignty and maritime rights and interests in the South China Sea and avoid taking any actions that may exacerbate disputes and complicate the situation,” he added.Wang said the two countries were in communication regarding the matter through diplomatic channels.On Monday, February 13, the PCG said a Chinese Coast Guard (CCG) vessel pointed a military-grade laser light to BRP Malapascua while it was assisting in a resupply mission to troops in Ayungin Shoal in the WPS on February 6.It said this caused “temporary blindness” to the PCG’s crew onboard.The PCG said the CCG vessel also made dangerous maneuvers by approaching about 150 yards from the ship’s starboard quarter.It said BRP Malapascua altered its course from Ayungin Shoal and headed toward Lawak Island to continue support to BRP Teresa Magbanua for a PCG mission to its sub-stations in the Kalayaan Island Group.The PCG said what China did is a blatant disregard for, and a clear violation of Philippine sovereign rights.Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) spokesperson Colonel Medel Aguilar said Defense Secretary Carlito Galvez Jr. declared the act committed by the CCG as “offensive and unsafe.”“Therefore, I think it is time for the Chinese government to restrain its forces so that it does not commit any provocative act that will endanger [the] lives of people,” said Aguilar.China refused to recognize the 2016 ruling of the Permanent Court of Arbitration (PCA) in The Hague, Netherlands that favors the Philippines, invalidating China’s claims within the sea areas falling within the nine-dash line, which is over 90 percent of the WPS.The ruling also affirmed the traditional and legitimate fishing rights of Filipino fishermen in the area.In a statement, United States (US) State Department spokesperson Ned Price expressed support to the Philippines regarding the matter. "The United States stands with our Philippine allies in the face of the People's Republic of China (PRC) Coast Guard's reported use of laser devices against the crew of a Philippine Coast Guard ship on February 6 in the South China Sea," he said.

1 month ago SUNSTAR
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