Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Nation's Prosperity at Stake by Erick San Juan

Nation's Prosperity at Stake by Erick San Juan

First year in power of the Duterte administration and one year after The Hague Permanent Court of Arbitration ruling in favor of the Philippines’ claim in the disputed area in the South China Sea, where are we now? Whether we like it or not, the bottom line here is still economics.

We are nearing the ten-year life of productivity of the Malampaya natural gas and we must look into other sources of energy to supply the growing need of the country’s populace. Economic managers and those in the energy department should have considered such important factor to make the Dutertenomics work. Although the president himself said that in time, he will talk to China’s Xi Jinping when it comes to our claim in the South China Sea which the PCA granted us. But Mr. President, we are being overtaken by events and after a year, China’s massive building of military structures are now in place in the SCS where most of our claim is located.

Unfortunately, China’s aggressiveness was based from its “systematic campaign to delegitimize the tribunal and its judges, adopting a “three-nos” policy of non-participation, non-recognition, and non-compliance with the final verdict. At the time, Beijing dismissed the award as a “null and void” decision and “nothing more than a piece of paper.”

Still, Duterte faces growing domestic pressure to adopt a tougher line with Beijing, which many believe has used cordial ties (translation-soft touch op) as cover to consolidate its control over key features. Supreme Court Justice Antonio Carpio, a prominent supporter of the arbitration strategy, lambasted the president’s supposed lack of “discernible direction, coherence, or vision” in foreign policy.

He has heavily criticized some of Duterte’s remarks, particularly his announcement that he “will set aside the arbitral ruling” in the interest of better relations with China. “This incident [Dutetre’s remark] graphically explains Philippine foreign policy on the South China Sea dispute after the arbitral ruling,” exclaimed Carpio during a high-profile event marking the arbitration award’s first anniversary.

He reiterated the importance of the ruling, since it secured “the Philippines vast maritime zone larger than the total land area of the Philippines.” Instead of setting aside the arbitration award, the magistrate called upon the government to consider filing additional arbitration cases against Beijing if the latter continues its non-compliance with the award.

Senior former government officials, including former Foreign Secretary Albert Del Rosario, who played a key role in the arbitration proceedings, have echoed similar sentiments against the president. Others have openly accused the Duterte administration of soft-pedaling territorial issues in short-sighted exchange for Chinese economic incentives.” (Source: Has Duterte’s China engagement backfired? By Richard Javad Heydarian @ Asia Times online)

We have to move fast and firm to our claim which is included in our EEZ in order to survive the years ahead for the generations to come. What is at stake to claim what is rightfully ours?

According to U.S. oilfield services company Weatherford, one concession - SC 72 - contains 2.6-8.8 trillion cubic feet of natural gas. That would be as much as triple the amount discovered at the Malampaya project, an offshore field that powers 40 percent of the main island of Luzon, home to the capital Manila.

The U.S. Energy Information Administration believes that beneath the South China Sea could be 11 billion barrels of oil, more than Mexico's reserves, and 190 trillion cubic feet of natural gas.

Most foreign firms with capital and technology needed to develop those reserves, however, don't want to risk being caught up in spats over jurisdiction and have avoided concessions offered in disputed waters.

Manila's state-run Philex Petroleum (PXP.PS) has the controlling stakes in two stalled concessions, the 880,000-hectare SC-72 at the Reed Bank and the 616,000-hectare SC-75 off the island of Palawan.

The court verdict on July 12 sparked a surge in energy stocks the next day, with Philex shares up as much as 21 percent.

Philex says it is seeking a meeting with Philippine energy officials regarding the potential to lift a suspension order on drilling activities in the Reed Bank, in place since December 2014.

"It's a matter of national importance. We don't want to move on our own without guidance from the government," Philex Chairman Manuel Pangilinan told reporters.

"We will need a partner ... no local company has the expertise that we need."

Department of Energy spokesman Felix William Fuentebella said there were no immediate plans to lift the suspension as the department awaited guidance from new President Rodrigo Duterte.

"The moratorium stays. We are exploring ways to resolve the conflict peacefully and we follow the lead of the President," he said.

Manila and Beijing have both expressed a desire to resume talks, but the Philippines says it could not accept China's pre-condition of not discussing the ruling. (Source: Philippines' oil still in troubled waters after South China Sea ruling by Enrico Dela Cruz)

Now that President Rodrigo Duterte considers resuming energy exploration in the tension-laden South China Sea before the year ends, let us wait and see for China’s leader’s reaction. If the reason for delaying the talk with China on the arbitral ruling is economics then let it be the reason. It is still economics to assert our rights to our claim in order to develop and make Dutertenomics work.

It's our nation's prosperity on the line Mr. President. Your living legacy.

Thursday, July 13, 2017

War Games: Dress Rehearsal for a Real War by Erick San Juan

War Games: Dress Rehearsal for a Real War by Erick San Juan

“Chinese strategy in the South China Sea is expansionary in aim, incremental by design and realist in orientation.”

A revelation made by three PLAN officers on the real goal of China in the South China Sea from the article of Ryan Martinson and Katsuya Yamamoto posted at The National Interest (July 9, 2017) - Three PLAN Officers May Have Just Revealed What China Wants in the South China Sea.

“Jin, Hui and Wang reflect mainstream thinking in the PLA Navy, their views suggest that the new bases were always intended to alter the military balance in the South China Sea—regardless of how Chinese diplomats prefer to highlight their civilian character. Chinese decision-makers probably believe that the balance now tilts strongly in China’s favor, and this is unlikely to change until American completes its great “pivot” to Asia, if it ever does.

We take some comfort in the trio’s apparent desire to avoid armed conflict in the South China Sea. However, their attitudes suggest that the Chinese military may be too cocksure about its own ability to manage a military crisis at sea. Particularly worrisome, America is the assumed adversary, but never do the authors even mention the role nuclear weapons might play in a crisis.”

For obvious reason that China or its head President Xi Jinping is too stubborn and will never engage in multilateral talks nor even acknowledge the ruling at the Permanent Arbitral Tribunal in The Hague that favors the Philippines on its territorial claim.

In its designed intention to expand and increase its territory, setting up military installations is just secondary to ensure that they have a strong foothold on the said extension from the mainland. And the mere fact that the US is the assumed adversary in their grand design, a military conflict is surely in the offing and the region (and the rest of the world) should be wary on who will strike the first nuclear missile.

It jive with the analysis of Prof. Graham Allison of Harvard Kennedy  School warning the US and China could fall into a "Thucydides Trap", a war between Greeks, a dominant superpower and Sparta, the challenger.

Another was the lecture of RAND think tank last August 2016 entitled "War With China, Thinking Through the Unthinkable talking about who will strike first if a crisis overheated.

As I have written before and lectured since 1998, war between the US and China is inevitable, it can be delayed but it will materialize into a shooting war and it could be sooner given the provocations and tension in the South China Sea.

Like the month-long Exercise Talisman Sabre 2017 war games. This year is the largest ever of the biennial training and interoperability exercise hosted by Australia, with more than 30,000 troops, including personnel from the United States, Australia, Japan, New Zealand, and Canada participating.

However, as China continues to grow, and the United States continue to pursue total military supremacy, the system now threatens to inflame the very thing it was designed to prevent, large-scale conflict between the region’s most powerful states. The very scenario simulated in Talisman Sabre.

With conflict of this scale considered likely enough to necessitate such enormous preparations, Australian politicians, policymakers, and media outlets should be deeply engaged in a public dialogue centered around defining national interests, defense priorities, and how our relationships with other states reflect these. Instead, Australia sleepwalks along the path of military expansion and confrontation, incapable and unwilling to diverge from American security priorities where they do not reflect our own.

While the public relation branches of the defense forces involved only ever refer to the objectives of the exercise with ambiguous terms like “high end war-fighting”, in bare fact, Talisman Sabre simulates a large-scale confrontation between conventional forces, requiring coordination between all branches of the US military, as well as those of their Asia-Pacific allies. It is a dress-rehearsal of the new American battle doctrine, the Joint Concept for Access and Maneuver in the Global Commons (JAM-GC), which was developed to ensure continued US military dominance of the Western Pacific and the South China Sea, in the face of growing Chinese military capabilities.

In 2015, during the last iteration of Talisman Sabre, the Australian public was treated to a rare moment of political candour when Greens Senator Scott Ludlam publicly criticized the event, stating that he did not believe that it was in the nation’s best interests “to be preparing for a war with China”. (Source: War games could inflame what they aim to prevent: conflict with China by Stuart Rollo [writer focused on Asia-Pacific politics] @the guardian)

Opposition to such huge military exercise (war games) even from among Australia’s government officials (elected) is not new because they know the already tensed situation in the region will only be aggravated by such military war games by involving big players.

There are bigger problems coming (soon) that the Duterte administration will have to face and find solutions to in order to survive, not for him alone but for the whole country. Let us help this administration if Duterte will realize the nation's predicament and threats. If possible make a Council of Advisers to augment the National Security Council to address immediately what trouble we're facing.  Whether we like it or not he is our president and if ever he will fail, the whole Filipino nation will be dragged and we will be 'Fili-finish'.

Tuesday, July 4, 2017

FONOP and the Next World War

FONOP and the Next World War
By Erick San Juan

Our country has its own share of security problems, both from local and foreign threats and we are suffering the backlash of the global war on terror where the stage for these terror groups/network has reached our soil. As we tried to finish this nightmare in our country’s history, the threat outside is still very much alive. I am talking about the South China Sea.

According to a June 30 report from Reuters – “China has built new military facilities on islands in the South China Sea, a U.S. think tank reported on Thursday, a move that could raise tensions with Washington, which has accused Beijing of militarizing the vital waterway.

The Asia Maritime Transparency Initiative (AMTI), part of Washington’s Center for Strategic and International Studies, said new satellite images show missile shelters and radar and communications facilities being built on the Fiery Cross, Mischief and Subi Reefs in the Spratly Islands.

The United States has criticized China’s build-up of military facilities on the artificial islands and is concerned they could be used to restrict free movement through the South China Sea, an important trade route.

Last month, a U.S. Navy warship sailed within 12 nautical miles of Mischief Reef in a so-called freedom of navigation operation, the first such challenge to Beijing’s claim to most of the waterway since U.S. President Donald Trump took office.

China has denied U.S. charges that it is militarizing the sea, which also is claimed by Brunei, Malaysia, the Philippines, Taiwan and Vietnam.

Trump has sought China’s help in reigning in North Korea’s nuclear and missile programs, and tension between Washington and Beijing over military installations in the South China Sea could complicate those efforts.

China has built four new missile shelters on Fiery Cross Reef to go with the eight already on the artificial island, AMTI said. Mischief and Subi each have eight shelters, the think tank said in a previous report.”

Some pundits observed that because of the ongoing North Korea’s nuclear and missile ops, Trump Administration is easy on China due to Beijing’s help in resolving the said issue peacefully for it is well known that NoKor is a friend of China.

“But the Trump administration needs to make it clear that the current balance of power in Asia, while uneasy, is acceptable, but Chinese hegemony is not."

That is the argument Ely Ratner makes in the latest issue of Foreign Affairs:

“In recent years, however, China has begun to assert its claims more vigorously and is now poised to seize control of the sea. Should it succeed, it would deal a devastating blow to the United States’ influence in the region, tilting the balance of power across Asia in China’s favor.” […]

“U.S. policymakers should recognize that China’s behavior in the sea is based on its perception of how the United States will respond. The lack of U.S. resistance has led Beijing to conclude that the United States will not compromise its relationship with China over the South China Sea. As a result, the biggest threat to the United States today in Asia is Chinese hegemony, not great-power war. U.S. regional leadership is much more likely to go out with a whimper than with a bang.”

The commentary comes amid uncertainty regarding the Trump administration’s foreign policy in the region. Many have noted that North Korea has distracted Washington from the issue of the South China Sea, with some speculating that Trump is holding off pressure on that issue – as he implied he has with trade – in exchange for help on the Korean peninsula.

The foreign policy establishment, led by Secretary of Defense James Mattis and Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, tried to reassure allies in the region this week that the US is not ceding influence in the Pacific to China.

Speaking to lawmakers on Wednesday Mattis said of naval exercises that” This (Freedom of Navigation exercise) is our policy. We will continue this.” He added, “could it change if circumstances change? Of course, but right now Secretary Tillerson and I give him the military factors — and we’re in league together on this, so I don’t think anything is going to change.” (Ibid)

Freedom of Navigation Operation (FONOP) has long been a major issue for Uncle Sam because the SCS where China has claimed almost all of the area based on its nine-dash line theory and now that it has been militarizing the area, the threat on FONOP is for real. No matter how China puts it, the reclaimed area is now militarized and for a very obvious reason that it was built.

“When reporting on the South China Sea, it has become commonplace for media around the world to draw upon think tank research detailing China’s developing military capable facilities in the region.

Some use the information to bolster campaigns to convince the US Trump administration that China presents an imminent threat to the country’s interests, including freedom of navigation. But the deepening drumbeat for the US to militarily confront China in the South China Sea should be considered with a healthy dose of skepticism.

One report by the Asia Maritime Transparency Initiative (AMTI) at the Centre for Strategic and International Studies describes China’s latest construction projects in the South China Sea, concluding that it “can now deploy military assets including combat aircraft and mobile missile launchers to the Spratly Islands at any time.”

This is fact. But the AMTI director also warned in a subsequent interview to “look for deployment in the near future”. This implies that China intends to use these facilities to do so. This is supposition.” (Source: Mark Valencia posted @atimes.com)

The threat of war is for real and this FONOP issue will be the spark that will light the tinderbox to the next world war.

Please wake up to reality!

Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Will We be the Next Syria? By Erick San Juan

Will We be the Next Syria? By Erick San Juan


Who could fail to see the parallels between the situation in the Philippines with that of Syria, where the US military, initially prevented from carrying out any sort of military action, eventually got the green light. Thanks to the arrival of a little-known, ultra-violent terrorist group called ‘Islamic State’ [IS, formerly ISIS/ISIL]. Now the United States believe it has acquired some sort of moral authority for carrying out what amounts to the illicit invasion of yet another sovereign state.

However, that is just the beginning of the strangeness. Many have questioned how IS, bereft of any sort of sophisticated fighting apparatus - not least of all an air force - could have continuously evaded the mighty US military, even as the terrorist convoys traveled across wide-open desert in broad daylight between Iraq and Syria.

Professor Michel Chossudovsky, writing in Global Research, forwarded the question so many people have been asking: “Why has the US Air Force not been able to wipe out the Islamic State, which at the outset was largely equipped with conventional small arms not to mention state of the art Toyota pickup trucks...The Syro-Arabian Desert is open territory. With state of the art jet fighter aircraft (F15, F22 Raptor, F16), it would have been – from a military standpoint – a piece of cake, a rapid and expedient surgical operation, which would have decimated the Islamic State convoys in a matter of hours.

Instead, what we have witnessed is an ongoing drawn out six months of relentless air raids and bombings, and the terrorist enemy is apparently still intact,” Chossudovsky concluded.

For anybody who doubts the veracity of that assertion, a declassified US document, obtained by government watchdog Judicial Watch, shows that US policymakers actually encouraged the growth of Islamic extremist groups as a way to “isolate the Syrian regime.”

The heavily redacted document notes, among other disturbing revelations, "the possibility of establishing a declared or undeclared Salafist Principality in eastern Syria (Hasakah and Deir ez-Zor), and this is exactly what the supporting powers to the opposition want, in order to isolate the Syrian regime, which is considered the strategic depth of the Shia expansion (Iraq and Iran).” (Source: Robert Bridge @rt.com)

Sad to say that predicates are laid for the next Syria and a possible ‘regime change’? What could have gone wrong when the US Joint Special Operation Task Force Philippines (JSOTF-Phl) is in Mindanao for the longest time and the so-called Coast Watch Center? Are we taken for a ride here? Who benefits if this overstretched war on terrorism, like in Syria (is now going on for six months already) will also happen in our country?

And despite the statement of President Rody Duterte that the US troops should leave the country soon and directing its foreign policy towards better ties with China and Russia, in the midst of the Marawi City siege, the Duterte administration asked help from Uncle Sam. Even though it was through the Department of National Dafense, but still it was the government that made the request for military support from the US.

From the article “'Dirty Duterte' on the ropes as ISIS, US Special Forces crash the Philippines” by Robert Bridge explains – “Clearly, President Rodrigo Duterte – like Syrian President Assad – is facing the ultimate challenge to his presidency. And considering his past pledge to realign Philippine foreign policy away from Washington and towards Moscow and Beijing, the question is an obvious one: Are those US Marines and Special Forces in the Philippines, which, as in Syria, appeared without invitation, there to help the Duterte government, or do they have other ideas in mind, which will only become painfully apparent when it’s too late for the Philippines leader? As is the case with Syrian President Assad, time will tell what is in store for President Rodrigo Duterte of the Philippines. My personal hunch is nothing good.”

Now it can be told, Duterte is fighting several fronts, both domestic and international. He cursed some of the world leaders, including the pope and called them names. His war on drugs metamorphosed into a semblance of gang war like the Mafia vs Cosa Nostra, the Mexican drug cartel war, the chinese Triad vs other drug cartel, etc.

its unusual for a perceived leftist and close to the communists, is being destabilized by CPP-NPA from north to south especially in his home base in Davao. He should stop dealing with the National Democratic Front and instead use his leftist cabinet secretaries to negotiate with the CPP's Central Committee based here.

My unsolicited advice to the president is to stop cursing and playing toughie. I hope by this time, he should have realized that everything seem to backfire. Despite the denial of his people, his health is now affected by too much tension and stress. We have to make him realize that a dangerous 'program' is on and if not controlled by strategic experts which he needed most this time, we could all be part of the so called 'collateral damage' in the process.

Lets get our act together and help save our nation from destruction.

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

War Between US and China, Soon a Reality by Erick San Juan



“On the current trajectory,” Allison contends, “war between the U.S. and China in the decades ahead is not just possible, but much more likely than currently recognized.” The reason, he says, can be traced to the problem described in the fifth century B.C.E. in Thucydides’ account of the Peloponnesian War. Sparta, as the established power, felt threatened by the rising might of Athens. In such conditions, Allison writes, “not just extraordinary, unexpected events, but even ordinary flashpoints of foreign affairs, can trigger large-scale conflict.”

Graham Allison’s book “Destined for War” (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt) is just one of the many writers, pundits, professors and journalists who wrote books and articles all pertaining to the possible US and China war. Even yours truly had written articles some few decades ago that the US-China war is inevitable. And what it takes is an ordinary flashpoint of foreign affairs that will trigger a regional conflict or a global war in the process.

As I always say, history repeats itself or people repeats history as what great wars in the past showed which is very much true today, when an existing superpower like Sparta (US today) threatened by a rising power Athens (China today), the possibility of a war is not farfetched and with the alliances in place by both countries, it could be very bloody and a lot of lives will be wasted.

Another analysis by Gideon Rachman, the Financial Times foreign-affairs commentator, considers China’s increasing clout in the broader context of what he calls, in a remarkably ugly phrase, “Easternization,” which is also the title of his well-written new survey (just published by Other Press). The gravity of economic and military power, he argues, is moving from West to East. He is thinking of more than the new class of Chinese billionaires; he includes India, a country that might one day surpass even China as an economic powerhouse, and reminds us that Japan has been one of the world’s largest economies for some time now. Tiny South Korea ranks fourteenth in the world in purchasing-power parity. And the Asian mega-cities are looking glitzier by the day. Anyone who flies into J.F.K. from any of the metropolitan areas in China, let alone from Singapore or Tokyo, can readily see what Rachman has in mind. There is a great deal going on in Asia. The question is what this will mean, and whether “Easternization” is an illuminating concept for understanding it.

One difficulty is that East and West are slippery categories. The concept of European civilization has at least some measure of coherence. The same can be said for Chinese civilization, extending to Vietnam in the south and Korea in the north. But what unifies “the East”? Korea has almost nothing in common with India, apart from a tenuous connection through ancient Buddhist history. Japan is a staunch U.S. ally and its contemporary culture is, in many respects, closer to the West than to anything particularly Eastern. Previous attempts to create a sense of Pan-Asian solidarity, such as the Japanese imperialist mission in the nineteen-thirties and forties, have been either futile or disastrous.

Since nationalism is now the main ideology propping up the legitimacy of China’s regime, no Chinese leader can possibly back down from such challenges as Taiwan’s desire for independence or Tibetan resistance to Han Chinese rule or anything else that might make China look weak in the eyes of its citizens. This is why Donald Trump’s loose talk about revising the One China policy inflamed a mood that is already dangerously combustible. It’s worth bearing in mind that “The China Dream” is actually the title of a best-selling book by Colonel Liu Mingfu, whose arguments for China’s supremacy in an Asian renaissance sound remarkably like Japanese propaganda in the nineteen-thirties. Rachman quotes him saying that “when China becomes the world’s leading nation, it will put an end to Western notions of racial superiority.” The only Western power that might stand in the way of this project of Chinese hegemony is the United States.

Since 1945, the United States, with its many bases in Japan, South Korea, and the Philippines, has effectively played the role of regional policeman. Partly out of institutional habit, partly out of amour propre, and partly out of fear of seeing its power slip, the United States has had its own issues with nationalism, even before Trump came blundering onto the scene. Joseph Nye, the scholar and former U.S. government official, once argued that accepting China’s dominance over the Western Pacific would be unthinkable, because “such a response to China’s rise would destroy America’s credibility.” In a conversation with Rachman in 2015, another American official put this in saltier terms: “I know the U.S. navy and it’s addicted to pre-eminence. If the Chinese try to control the South China Sea, our guys will fucking challenge that. They will sail through those waters.”

American swagger will always have its enthusiasts. Gordon G. Chang, the author of a 2001 book titled “The Coming Collapse of China,” recently wrote a piece in The National Interest that praised Trump effusively for cutting “the ambitious autocrat down to size” during Xi’s visit to Mar-a-Lago. Trump, Chang recounts, arrived late to greet his guest. He announced a missile strike against Syria over the chocolate cake. He made Xi “look like a supplicant.” Trump may have revelled in this behavior, but Chang’s acclaim is idiotic. Deliberately making the Chinese leader lose face, if that’s what happened, can only worsen a fraught situation. American bluster—the reflex of the current U.S. President in the absence of any coherent policy—is a poor response to Chinese edginess. Now that China has developed missiles that can easily sink aircraft carriers, and the United States is responding with tactical plans that would aim to take out such weapons on the Chinese mainland, a minor conflict could result in a major showdown.

China’s own attitude toward the status quo is far from straightforward. China may dream of sweeping its seas clean of the U.S. Navy. But, if the alternative is the military resurgence of Japan, the Chinese would probably opt for maintaining the Pax Americana. At the moment, though, the United States itself appears to be drifting. Trump has accused Japan of playing the U.S. for a sucker. He has even suggested that Japan and South Korea might build their own nuclear bombs. But the ex-generals and corporate executives who run his foreign policy seem to favor sticking to the world we know. Both of these policies are flawed. There is no ideal solution to the late-imperial dilemma. But the surest way to court disaster is to have no coherent plan at all. (Source: Are China and the United States Headed for War? By Ian Buruma)

 That is the saddest part when leaders are supposed to lead the way for its citizenry’s well-being and the country’s development but when the leader has no plan at all and be blinded by sheer power and arrogance, hell will break loose and deaths of innocent lives will go to waste.

The pattern of world war is in the offing. The pretext is already there to see. With so many flashpoints, economic crunch, talking about peace but terrorism proliferate unabated, cyber-attacks which could lead to possible banking and stock market collapse, all signs of chaos are now in the offing. Lets all be vigilant..

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Threat of War is Real by Erick San Juan

Threat of War is Real by Erick San Juan

China has for the first time extracted gas from an ice-like substance under the South China Sea considered key to future global energy supply.

Chinese authorities have described the success as a major breakthrough.

Methane hydrates, also called "flammable ice", hold vast reserves of natural gas.

Many countries including the US and Japan are working on how to tap those reserves, but mining and extracting are extremely difficult.

The element, a kind of natural gas hydrate, was discovered in the area in 2007, but this is the first time the country is able to successfully extract combustible ice from the seabed, in a single, continuous operation on a floating production platform in the Shenhu area of the South China Sea, about 300km southeast of Hong Kong, state-run Xinhua news agency reports.”

Methane hydrate global sources are estimated to exceed the combined energy content of all other fossil fuels.”

Estimates of the South China Sea’s methane hydrate potential now range as high as 150 billion cubic meters of natural gas equivalent, sufficient to satisfy China’s entire equivalent oil consumption for 50 years.

The commercial production of methane hydrate would reduce China’s dependence on energy imports, which accounts for nearly 60% of its crude oil needs, making it the world’s No. 2 importer by volume, after the U.S.

Methane hydrate will also aid China’s efforts to shift to natural gas from coal, which accounts for nearly 70% of its primary-energy consumption, which has caused harmful pollution to China’s cities.

China’s discovery of methane hydrates off the coasts of Vietnam and the Philippines is what has prompted China to aggressively pursue the occupation of Philippine and Vietnamese shoals and their conversion to artificial islands in order to safely conduct its exploration and production of methane hydrate.

This explains China’s placement of an oil rig platform off the coast of Vietnam which triggered international showdowns with Vietnam.

The Recto Bank (Reed Bank) area located only 50 miles west of the Philippine island of Palawan is considered a methane hydrate honey pot. The Philippines estimates that the Sampaguita Field within Recto Bank may also hold large deposits of natural gas equivalents in the form of methane hydrates. (Source: Rodel Rodis, Why China will declare war if PH drills for oil)

Now that the question was answered on the real intention of China in the disputed area in the South China Sea especially on our territories, there is no doubt that what China’s soft power approach now with our President is part and parcel of China’s ‘looting’ of our mineral resources.

The threat of war is real because China has already succeeded in extracting methane hydrates (flammable ice) in the SCS and if we will conduct our own oil exploration and extraction, we will disrupt their flammable ice operation in the process.

With our domestic problems on terrorism and the war on drugs, China easily extended help with these two problems. We all know that President Duterte has somewhat gave up on our claim in the disputed areas in the SCS by saying that there is no point of going to war if we are establishing friendship with China. In effect we are allowing the extraction of this mineral by China without doing anything. And not even a joint project? Where is the so called bilateral talks towards bilateral agreement to peaceful resolution of the territorial dispute? Are we taken for a ride here with our full consent? Just asking?

Pres. Rody Duterte should be very careful with his discreet plan of action because so many international think tanks are watching and studying his 'chess game'. One example is the perception that a China inspired revolutionary government was sabotaged by international terrorist organuzation, ISIS.

According to Solgen Jose Calida, Pres. Duterte knew about the plan of the Maute group to attack Marawi. It jibes with my info of a bigger plan of terrorism which could affect the nation.

Even before Pres. Duterte left for his China trip, I alerted him through Sec. Bong Go, NSA Sec. Jun Esperon and other cabinet secretary friends to make sure that my assessment will reach him. I told all of them to reactivate the 'Situation Room' so PRD can preempt any possible threat and mischief.

This plan had been successful during the time of former Pres. Fidel Ramos because of former NSA Joe Almonte's appreciation of strategic intelligence. Any one who knows me and internet information about me will prove me right. Maybe they thought all the while that I was just scare mongering.

Before Duterte left for Russia, he only secured Davao city by putting additional military contingent there. He even brought his top level officials to Moscow and let Budget Sec. Ben Diokno as his caretaker head.

When the Maute siege started, Pres. Duterte knew that the Maute's plan is real and immediately returned to Davao. Despite his statement of giving timetable to finish the Maute's it all failed due to the support of the ISIS to the Maute group.

Good thing that DND Sec. Delfin Lorenzana seeked the assistance of the US forces in fighting the real enemy, the ISIS. Despite the noise of the pro-Beijing left, now is the ripe time that the US can prove them wrong by finishing the ISIS terror group before a spill over can reach Metro Manila which could fully destroy Duterte's administration.

There are so many Filipino experts who can be of help. We have to swallow our pride once and for all and tap them for our nation's sake.

This is a matter of sovereignty, we are in a dire strait and we need an immediate solution to this problem. Many soldiers and people died. We have to remind the president that his nationalism is now being tested. We don't even have to give up our mineral resources to anyone, its for our country’s future generations. There are other ways than going to war to assert our rights to our resources, there is still time to find solutions to such predicaments.

As Filipinos, this is the right time to do action and unite. Let us help our President, our nation. God bless our country.


Tuesday, June 6, 2017

Rumored ISIS In Ph Now a Reality by Erick San Juan

Rumored ISIS In Ph Now a Reality by Erick San Juan

The recent attack at the Resorts World casino-hotel has created another atmosphere of fear now in the metro and we can’t blame the public to speculate on the possibility that the ISIS terror group is now in Metro Manila. The timing is suspect because the ongoing war on terror against the ISIS-linked Maute group et al in Marawi could somehow created the fear that it will reach Metro Manila. So every time that a so-called attack for whatever reason and nature could be linked to the terror group.

Thanks to the NCRPO headed by PNP Gen. Oscar Albayalde, despite the rumored conspiracy theory including ISIS claiming the Resort World tragedy Albayalde's team closed the case by confirming that the mischief was done by a known gambler named Jesse Carlos.

In the February 2016 article of Joseph Chinyong Liow - ISIS reaches Indonesia: The terrorist group’s prospects in Southeast Asia he writes – “On January 14, militants killed four civilians and wounded at least 20 in a terrorist attack in Jakarta, in the first successful operation that the self-proclaimed Islamic State (also known as ISIS) has launched in Southeast Asia. For several months, security officials from several Southeast Asian governments had been warning that ISIS supporters might mount an attack in the region. The signs were ominous: increased chatter on Malay and Indonesian language sites expressing support for ISIS, a steady stream of Southeast Asians departing for conflict zones in Syria and Iraq, and the arrest of ISIS sympathizers in Indonesia, Malaysia, and Singapore. Indonesian counter-terrorism authorities had already received intelligence that militants were planning to mount attacks over the holiday period a couple of weeks earlier, which prompted the arrest of several militants and foiled a potential earlier attack.

The fact that Southeast Asia is not yet on the radar of the core ISIS leadership, however, or that the number of Southeast Asians fighting under the ISIS standard pales in comparison with the number of Europeans or Australians, should not be grounds for complacency. ISIS will always struggle to gain considerable popularity in Southeast Asia. The social, political, economic, and cultural conditions in Indonesia and Malaysia are such that the appeal of the ISIS brand of extremism will always remain limited. Even in Thailand and the Philippines, where Muslim minorities suffer more persecution, the conditions they face are nowhere near those confronted by alienated Muslims in Europe.

Even if extremists do eventually create an ISIS in Southeast Asia, its origins will lie not in Raqqa but in the fringes of Indonesian society, in the climate of extremism that reemerged amid the political activism that followed the fall of Suharto, Indonesia’s long-ruling dictator, in 1998. In that sense, the threat remains at heart a local phenomenon, even as it may find some form of transnational expression. So although ISIS’ ideology will always receive an airing, it will have to compete with radical and extremist groups of various ideological, political, and operational stripes.

Some analysts have warned that competition among presumptive leaders of ISIS in Indonesia will trigger more violence, and there is every likelihood of that happening. Others worry that ISIS may offer opportunities for existing groups to make common cause. This has not happened yet. The fallout between Jemaah Islamiyah and Indonesian ISIS supporters is well documented. But it would be foolhardy to dismiss the possibility of alliances for tactical, if not doctrinal, reasons. There are indications that the rivalry between ISIS and Jabhat al-Nusra in Syria, which Jemaah Islamiyah supports, has started to taper off. There is also evidence that the Indonesian jihadist ideologue, Aman Abdurrahman, has tried to unite disparate pro-ISIS groups. Counter-terrorism establishments in the region should tune in closely to any chatter among Indonesian groups that points in this direction.

The world is transfixed on the possibility, however unlikely it may be, that a transnational, violent network might someday span Europe, the Middle East, and all the way to Southeast Asia. Such concerns are not new: recall the Comintern during the Cold War, and al Qaeda just a few years ago. But the real danger is not that the black banner of ISIS will be raised the world over but that the appearance of ISIS would trigger dynamics among existing jihadist groups and personal networks within Indonesia, possibly joined by groups from the Philippines and Malaysia, that may well escalate into further violence.”

And it did happen... the ISIS in Southeast Asia, and now in the Philippines as what Indonesian defense minister told at the Shangri-La Dialogue, an international security forum last Sunday.

Speaking in Singapore amid a bloody standoff between Philippine troops and militants fighting under the IS flag in Marawi city, Defense Minister Ryamizard Ryacudu called the militants "killing machines" and urged full-scale regional cooperation against them.

"I was advised last night, 1,200 ISIS in the Philippines, around 40 from Indonesia," Ryacudu told the Shangri-La Dialogue, using another name for the IS group.

The threat of heightened terrorism, including the impending return of hundreds of Southeast Asian fighters who fought with IS in Syria and Iraq, has been a hot-button issue at the three-day Singapore summit also attended by US Defense Secretary Jim Mattis.

Hundreds of Islamist gunmen rampaged through Marawi, a largely Muslim city of 200,000 in the south of the mainly Catholic Philippines, on May 23 after government forces attempted to arrest their leader, Isnilon Hapilon.

Up to 50 gunmen are still controlling the city center nearly two weeks  after the start of fighting that has killed 177 people including 120 militants.

"How can we tackle these foreign fighters? We have to be comprehensive," said Ryacudu, a retired general.
"We have to find... complete ways but we must exercise caution, they are killing machines. Their aim is to kill other people so that's why it's our responsibility that we have common understanding, consensus and common proceedings on how to fight these foreign fighters."

Philippine Defense Undersecretary Ricardo David, speaking at the same forum, said the 1,200 figure for total IS fighters in the Philippines mentioned by Indonesia was new to him.

"I really don't know, my figure is about 250-400, a lot less," he told reporters.

But David said there were 40 foreign IS fighters among those who seized parts of Marawi, eight of whom have been killed by government forces.

Earlier, Philippine officials said the slain foreign fighters were from Malaysia, Indonesia, Yemen, Saudi Arabia and Chechnya.

"Our intelligence estimates that there are about 40 foreigners that fought in the Marawi incident," David said.
The Philippine official added that the foreign fighters used "back channels" in the Sulu and Celebes Seas near the borders of the Philippines, Indonesia and Malaysia to enter the southern island of Mindanao and link up with local terror groups.

"That's why they were able to muster the operations in the area of Marawi," David said. (Source:Agence France-Presse)

But for whatever its worth, when the Intel Center, an organization of international security analysts leaked to the press that the Philippines is now the 7th failed state, it alarmed me. What a coincidence that another international security group PROTECT had a security forum at MOA and Rohan Gunaratna, a terror expert lecturer confirmed that the ISIS is now in our country. i immediately alerted the president and his key people to activate immediately his SITUATION ROOM as contingency to avert any terror attack while he's in Cambodia,Hong Kong and China. Good thing that he made DOJ Sec. Vitaliano Aguirre as caretaker head. Aguirre has good contact with the intelligence community that averted any mischief while Pres. Duterte was abroad. The rest is an ongoing pocket wars that could escalate like what's happening in Syria and other parts of the world. What happened in Marawi can now be considered another Aleppo.

 We all have to be vigilant and help the Duterte administration to stop this stupidity and put an end to terrorism and violence. If not we could be part of the so called collateral damage.