ASEAN in the Philippines, 2017

ASEAN  task force
VS. “lightning strikes”

nov. 1,, 2017

CLARK FREEPORT, Pampanga-  The ASEAN Security Task Force will be on the watch out for “lightning strikes” among routes to be negotiated by the convoy to escort foreign leaders and delegates from the Clark International Airport (CIA) to their Manila destinations and vice versa for the ASEAN 50 summit on Nov. 13 to 15.

Pampanga police operations chief Superintendent Michael John Riego explained that “lighting strikes” refer to the flashing of protest signs and other such actions along the escort routes, which include the length of the Subic-Clark-Tarlac Expressway (SCTEX) and North Luzon Expressway (NLEX).

In a forum of the Capampangans in Media, Inc. (CAMI), Riego said those who engage in such lightning strikes could be arrested.

This, even as Riego said  neither the SCTEX nor the NLEX would be closed to other motorists during ASEAN convoys.  “NLEX people did not want it probably because there would be heavy losses, so what will be implemented is a stop-and-go scheme to give way to the convoys,” he said.

Riego said that heavy traffic caused by the recent dry runs for the ASEAN event had been primarily due to “miscommunication.” 
He said that gaps in the dry runs have already been patched up and that the stop-and-go scheme to be adopted would probably cause motorists a delay of only five to 10 minutes.
Riego also said Pampanga Gov. Lilia Pineda has been tasked to welcome at the CIA the foreign leaders and other delegates to the ASEAN summit.
“The heads of states would be flown from Clark airport to Manila destinations. The rest would be escorted in convoys by land,” he said, adding that the traffic interventions would be done only for the arrival and departure of the ASEAN guests.

Riego also noted that the CIA parking could accommodate a maximum of four huge 747 aircraft and that others would probably be parked at Villamor air base.

There are reports, however, that the heads of states to attend the ASEAN summit would land at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) in Manila, while the rest would be landing at Clark.


Two boys land in rehab after
murder of 69-yr-old woman

nov. 2, 2017

ANGELES CITY-  Two boys, aged 15 and 17, have been detained at the Bahay Pag-Asa youth rehabilitation center here after they admitted killing last Oct. 21 a 69-year-old woman at Diamond Subdivision in this city.

City social welfare chief Joy Duaso said the two suspects, who could not be named because they are minors, were part-time gardeners of victim Florida Velasquez who lived alone in her house.

Two two stabbed Velasquez several times and then strangled her with a cable TV wire, a police report said.

After days of investigation, police probers were able to track down the suspects who reportedly admitted to the crime and even provided police with details on what happened.

Police station 4 head Chief Inspector Iris Gonzalez said the two related that last Oct. 21 on the pretext of doing some gardening. When the victim left them to themselves, the two youths instead destroyed the back door's screen door which they forcibly opened.

Gonzalez said Velasquez later found the suspects already in possession of some jewelry in her bedroom. 

The suspects decided to stab Velasquez with a kitchen knife and strangle her to get rid of her as witness.

The victim's body was found by her masseuse hours after the crime.

Dueso said the case is now with the city prosecutor which will determine whether the two would be put under the custody of the city social welfare office pending hearings on the case.

"The criminal law can apply to them since they are already over 15 years old, but they cannot be meted the same degree of punishments applied to adults because they are still minors," she said.

Dueso said that should the court decide to detain them, the two youths could land at the government rehabilitation center in Magalang town, and not in jail because of their being minors.


It has been quite sometime since my last post. The Philippines has been through almost a year of Pres. Duterte, through the thousands killed in his anti-illegal drugs war. On the positive side, my elderly parents have been with me since they abandoned American life in the US some three years ago.

It's a great blessing that I now serve my father at 90 and my mother at 94, both still relatively well despite dad's poor heart condition and surfacing Alzheiner's and my mom's episodes of dementia.

Thus this morning, I again got pleasure serving them neat Filipino breakfast. Not opulent as the photo shows, but somewhat unordinary for the rhythm and variety: puto at dinugan, suman, and lugaw. That's Filipino breakfast any Filipino elderly would like after waking up to a part of the day they often find hard to ascertain without asking me or the kids in the house.

Is the bus-train coming?


The Department of Scence and Technology says the Filipino-made bus-train has finished its two year safety and efficiency trial in Clark freeport and Cebu, and was found to be okay. Now the agency is convincing bus line owners to invest in them. Each could cost P32 to P42 million. Will it be worth?

Tax not diesel, only the filthy rich

Tax 'richest elite," not diesel
affecting poorest, partylist urges

by ding cervantes
jan. 14, 2016

CLARK FREEPORT, Pampanga-  A "neo-liberal bloc" in the Duterte cabinet is allegedly "fixated" on taxing the majority of poor Filipinos in pushing for a P6 excise tax on diesel, rather than taxing the "richest elite."

Anakpawis party-list Rep. Ariel  Casilao urged the Duterte government to "run after tax evaders, improve tax collection or impose higher taxes on the riches elite in the country such as those tagged by Forbes as among the 50 richest."

Casilao lamented the proposed excise tax on diesel as being regressive and  anti-poor, as he branded its proponents,  including National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) Director-General Ernesto Pernia, Department of Budget and Management (DBM) Secretary Benjamin Diokno and Department of Finance (DOF) Sec. Carlos Dominguez as being “neo-liberally limited."

Casilao also said that "instead of conscientiously running after tax evaders who are usually from the business sector, these economic managers prefer a Band-Aid solution that is  undemocratic and burdensome to the majority of the population."

"Oil products are volatile commodity due to the monopoly of a few oil companies who 'cartelize'  prices as tolerated by the existing law deregulating the oil industry. Oil price hikes trigger a pandemonium effect, from transportation costs, prices of basic goods, utilities and services that would automatically affect the poor sectors," he warned.


CAsilao said “government tax agencies should shape up and carry out reforms in getting their collectibles, such as the staggering losses of BIR at P400 billion and customs at P200 billion in 2012, as announced by the finance department."

"Instead of the economic managers limiting themselves to finding ways to tax the poor, they should target the elite rich such as those tagged by Forbes magazine as among the 50 richest in the country," he said.

He cited a survey of the  IBON Foundation indicating that seven out of ten Filipinos considered themselves poor and that in the past three months, 64 percent of of Filipinos had trouble paying for electricity, while 53.3 percent had trouble buying food.


Anakpawis  called for a "reversal of government policies and programs whose main beneficiaries are rich elite."


“Let us protest any measure that violates the President’s promise of ‘change is coming,’ especially this tax measure that is anti-poor and anti-people,” Casilao also said.


CRK airport what?

CRK airport? Kerk, cork,
creek airport what?

by ding cervantes
june 23, 2016

CLARK FREEPORT, Pampanga-  Amid a colorful, if not controversial history of how the airport here should be named after it was abandoned by the US military, who decided singlehandedly that it should now be referred to as, ugh, CRK?

Recent press releases from the Clark International Airport Corp. (CIAC), the state agency that runs the airport here, has been referring to the airport as CRK.

CRK, it should be noted, is the code name assigned to Clark airport by the International Air Transport Association which is a trade association of the world's airlines. Consisting of around 260 airlines, primarily major carriers, representing 117 countries, the IATA's member airlines account for carrying approximately 83 percent or 2916 of total Available Seat Kilometers (ASK) air traffic.

No international agreement, however, binds countries to refer to their airports after the IATA code.

Early in the months after the US military left its base in Clark and as the Philippine government declared the area an economic zone, a clamor rose to name the zone after a national hero. The winner, however, was the argument that the former military base had already established itself internationally as Clark and that it made practical sense to retain the name in promoting the area for international investments.

Thus, it went that since the economic zone was Clark, its airport was uniformly Clark International Airport or, simply, Clark airport without any equivocation. Alas, names are so important that when Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo became president, the same airport had to be properly named, naturally, after former Pres. Diosdado Macapagal.

Nomenclature has always been of such significance as to reserve names of institutions and locations after heroes or their ilk of the highest esteem. Thus for a time, the airport here was honored to be called Macapagal airport.

But with ex-Pres. Arroyo jailed during the Aquino government and amid traditional political asslicking, the airport's name went back to Clark. No other name but internationally known Clark.

So who decided to smear with CRK the eminent nomenclature history of Clark? The attempt is despicable. Only one airport so far dared allow reference via its IATA code, namely the JFK airport in New York. But JFK is unquestionably John F. Kennedy and New York is New York City.

Now here's one code: KWN. Would this give some idea of where this airport is? Reference is to Quinhagak airport in Alaska. How convenient.

As for CRK, how pronounce? Kerk, Cork, creek?

And if initials are supposed to represent full words such as CIA for Clark International Airport, should CRK mean Clark Rinternational Kairport?

Lord, forbid.

Angeles City as of May 29, 2016

The country went through some political whirl in the last May 9 elections that would ascend foul-mouthed and gun-happy Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte to Philippine presidency this July.  The adjectives say a lot about the next president, on top of his campaign period declarations that hit below the belt of all genders, except the LGBT whose population seemed to have gone all out for him for his February declaration that he favored same-sex marriage. A friend says the way he had been and seems to remain so, Duterte presidency would last a year, but that if he survived 360 days, he would finish his entire six-year term. With his assumption into office still on July 1, his critics have opted for a wait-and-see mode, while his supporters are all in frenzied anticipation of deliverance from crime, drugs, poverty and assorted non-communism.

In this photo, journalist Ernie Tolentino casts his votes thru a voting count machine in a mock election at Clark Freeport.

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