Today's Headlines in the Philippines

Panfilo LacsonLacson asks Aquino to convene Nat’l Security Council
Former Sen. Panfilo Lacson on Friday suggested that President Benigno Aquino III convene the National Security Council (NSC) immediately for discussion of options for the Philippines in case of a security crisis caused by China’s increasing assertiveness in the South China Sea. A tense radio exchange between a US spy plane and the Chinese Navy in the Spratly archipelago on Wednesday “says a lot,” Lacson said. “I think the US is sending a strong signal to China and the international community that these new developments have serious geopolitical and security implications,” Lacson said in a text message to reporters.

Philippines, US assert rights, ignore China warning
WASHINGTON – The United States military will continue air and sea patrols in international waters even after the Chinese navy repeatedly warned a US surveillance plane to leave the airspace over artificial islands China is creating in the disputed South China Sea. The Philippine government also declared it would continue activities in the region, calling on China to respect freedom of navigation and aviation. “Our position on the importance of letting freedom of navigation, freedom of aviation and international law prevail in the area we are talking about does not change.

Alan Peter CayetanoBBL does not ensure peace, senator insists
SENATE Majority Leader Alan Peter Cayetano has warned of a more powerful and dangerous Moro Islamic Liberation Front if the Bangsamoro Basic Law is passed as drafted because the bill undermines a just and lasting peace in Mindanao. “Let us learn from the lessons of the Autonomous Region for Muslim Mindanao,” Cayetano said. “We may have silenced the Moro National Liberal Front momentarily, but the peace did not hold.” He noted the MILF never stopped its terroristic activities, the latest involved the ‘massacre’ of 44 police commandos who went to Mamasapano, Maguindanao to serve a warrant of arrest for a Malaysian terrorist.

China declares victory in US surveillance overflight
China declared victory on Friday over an encounter with a US surveillance aircraft overflying the contested South China Sea, saying its military “drove away” the intruder with radio warnings. Beijing is in the throes of a rapid land-reclamation program in the area, building artificial islands and facilities including an airstrip — raising tensions with Washington and the risk of a standoff on the high seas. China regards almost the whole of the South China Sea as its own and the foreign ministry condemned the overflight as “highly irresponsible and dangerous”, warning that such actions could cause “unwanted incidents”.

Silvestre BelloPassage of BBL scripted?
Still smarting from what he described as a travesty that took place with the House Ad Hoc Committee’s approval of the “unconstitutional” Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL) earlier this week, a member of the minority bloc yesterday described the entire proceedings as “scripted.” His negative vote on the BBL notwithstanding, 1-BAP party-list Rep. Silvestre Bello III, a former government peace negotiator, clarified yesterday that he is not against the ultimate purpose of the measure which is to end insurgency in Mindanao and usher in a period of peace and prosperity.

2 LRT trains collide due to technical glitch; at least 1 hurt
An oncoming train of the Light Rail Transit (LRT) hit another train along Monumento station on Saturday morning due to a technical glitch. In a report by radio station DZMM, a passenger identified as “Bria” said the train she was riding in bumped into another train which was in a halt at around 7 a.m. “Sobrang lakas po ng impact (The impact was strong),” Bria said. LRTA spokesperson Atty. Hernando Cabrera said there was a power fluctuation in the area, which messed up the communication between the two trains. He added that the impact of the crash was not too strong as the oncoming train was moving slowly.

Antonio Trillanes IVGerry Limlingan's general denial of no value
Gerry Limlingan and his brother Victor are “entrepreneurs and industry experts, with a long list of accomplishments in their respective fields,” their family counsel Grace Reyes said on Thursday. The lawyer denied that Gerry Limlingan was an aide and dummy for Vice President Jejomar Binay, whose considerable assets have recently been ordered frozen by the Anti-Money Laundering Council while an investigation on possible graft charges against the official was going on.

China says US actions in South China Sea ‘irresponsible, dangerous’
BEIJING - China said on Friday it was "strongly dissatisfied" after a US military plane flew over part of the South China Sea near where China is building artificial islands, and called on the United States to stop such action or risk causing an accident. The Chinese navy issued eight warnings to the US P8-A Poseidon, the US military's most advanced surveillance aircraft, when it conducted the overflights on Wednesday, according to CNN, which had a team on board the US aircraft.

Ban Ki-moonUN chief urges peaceful solution of South China Sea dispute
HANOI, Vietnam — U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon called Friday for a peaceful solution to territorial disputes in the South China Sea, where China's increased assertiveness has alarmed its smaller neighbors. Ban told reporters in Hanoi that he and Vietnamese President Truong Tan Sang discussed regional security concerns, including the territorial tensions. "I have consistently called on all parties concerned to resolve their disputes through dialogue in conformity with international law," he said. "It is important to avoid actions that would provoke or exacerbate the tension."

China ‘concerned’ over Indonesia's blowing up of fishing boat
BEIJING - China on Thursday expressed "serious concern" over the blowing up of a Chinese fishing vessel seized by Indonesia six years ago, the first such incident under President Joko Widodo. The Chinese Foreign Ministry said the country had pressed Indonesia for more details about the destruction of the Chinese boat, which was among 41 vessels blown up by Indonesia on Wednesday suspected of illegal fishing. Other countries with boats destroyed include Thailand and Vietnam.

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