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In first under Trump, U.S. warship challenges Beijing’s claims in South China Sea

A U.S. Navy warship sailed within 12 nautical miles of an artificial island built up by China in the South China Sea, U.S. officials said on Wednesday, the first such challenge to Beijing in the strategic waterway since U.S. President Donald Trump took office.

The officials, speaking on condition of anonymity, said the USS Dewey traveled close to the Mischief Reef in the Spratly Islands, among a string of islets, reefs and shoals over which China has territorial disputes with its neighbors.

The so-called freedom of navigation operation, which is sure to anger China, comes as Trump is seeking Beijing’s cooperation to rein in ally North Korea’s nuclear and missile programs.

Territorial waters are generally defined by U.N. convention as extending at most 12 nautical miles from a state’s coastline.

One U.S. official said it was the first operation near a land feature which was included in a ruling last year against China by an international arbitration court in The Hague. The court invalidated China’s claim to sovereignty over large swathes of the South China Sea.

The U.S. patrol, the first of its kind since October, marked the latest attempt to counter what Washington sees as Beijing’s efforts to limit freedom of navigation in the strategic waters.

The United States has criticized China’s construction of the man-made islands and build-up of military facilities in the sea, and expressed concern they could be used to restrict free movement.

READ FROM FULL SOURCE ARTICLE: http://www.reuters.com/article/us-usa-southchinasea-navy-idUSKBN18K353

Duterte to file multiple estafa charges vs ABS-CBN

MANILA, Philippines – In another rage-filled outburst against ABS-CBN, President Rodrigo Duterte announced that he will file charges of “multiple syndicated estafa” against the television network.

“I’m telling you now, I will be filing charges of multiple syndicated estafa,” he said in his speech at the launch of housing designs for the military and police in Davao City on Friday, May 19.
He quickly followed this up with a slew of curses: “Kawalang hiya ninyo, kapal ng mukha ninyo, putangina ninyo leche kayo (You have no shame, your faces are too thick, you sons of bitches).”

At the start of his rant, he addressed ABS-CBN chairman Eugenio “Gabby” Lopez III.

“Gabby Lopez, I paid ABS-CBN P2.8 million….You accepted my money, you never bothered to show my propaganda (political advertisements). After the elections, you didn’t return the money,” said Duterte.

READ FROM FULL SOURCE ARTICLE: http://www.rappler.com/nation/170367-duterte-file-multiple-estafa-abs-cbn

Duterte warns Supreme Court, CA anew not to abuse TROs

MANILA, Philippines – President Rodrigo Duterte warned the Supreme Court and Court of Appeals anew not to abuse its power to issue temporary restraining orders (TROs).

Bakit man kayo mag-TRO, TRO? Do not wait for the day na hindi ako maniwala sa inyo kasi jina-jamming ninyo ang Pilipino eh, kayo mga justices diyan,” said Duterte on Thursday, May 18, during a speech in Tagum City.

(Why do you issue so many TROs? Do not wait for the time when I stop believing you because you are jamming Filipinos, you justices there.)

Duterte cited the specific example of how the CA dealt with the case of Mile Long, a Makati property under the control of the Prieto and Rufino families who own the Philippine Daily Inquirer and Sunvar Realty Development Corporation.

He asked courts to allow the government to implement a Metropolitan Trial Court’s decision ordering Sunvar to vacate the 2.9-hectare property owned by the government but leased to private companies.

“You choose. I am warning you. Either return the property of the government to the people or there will be a time I will not honor your orders and you shall have created a constitutional crisis,” said Duterte.

The Mile Long property was subleased to Sunvar by a company that had leased it from the land’s owners, the Philippine government, and National Power Corporation, until 2002.

In 2002, the government decided not to renew its lease contract but Sunvar refused to vacate the property on which it had constructed commercial buildings and establishments.

The Metropolitan Trial Court in Makati City Branch 61 ruled in 2015 that Sunvar should vacate the property and pay back the government for rentals.

But Sunvar successfully delayed this by filing a petition for injunction before a Makati Regional Trial Court branch to stop the execution of the MTC’s decision.

READ FROM FULL SOURCE ARTICLE: http://www.rappler.com/nation/170286-duterte-warns-supreme-court-ca-abuse-tros

Philippine Govt. Rejects P 13 Billion Grant (not loan) from EU. No explanation given.

MANILA, Philippines (UPDATED) – The European Union on Wednesday evening, May 17, confirmed that the Philippines has decided to no longer accept new EU grants, pegged at around 250 million euros or P13.85 billion.

“The Philippine government has informed us that they no longer accept new EU grants,” the EU delegation to the Philippines said when sought by Rappler for confirmation Wednesday.

The EU delegation said the Philippine government relayed this decision only this week.

The exact reason for this decision is unavailable as of posting time. The Philippine Department of Foreign Affairs has not responded to our request for comment.

EU Ambassador to the Philippines Franz Jessen said the Philippines’ decision will affect up to 250 million euros in EU grants.

This comes as President Rodrigo Duterte slams the EU for supposedly interfering in his bloody anti-drug campaign. “If you think it’s high time for you guys to withdraw your assistance, go ahead. We will not beg for it,” Duterte told the EU in October 2016.

READ FROM FULL SOURCE ARTICLE: http://www.rappler.com/nation/170183-philippines-refuses-european-union-grants

Meralco, magbabalik-bayad sa mga kostumer

Mas malaki pa sa naunang inanunsiyong P0.75 kada kilowatt hour (kWH) ang refund sa residential customers ng Meralco. Posibleng maging P0.79 kada kWh ang refund nila para sa singil sa kuryente sa mga buwan ng Hunyo, Hulyo, at Agosto. 

Natanggap na kasi ng Meralco ang utos ng korte na ibalik sa consumers ang P6.9 bilyong sobrang nakolekta sa nakalipas na tatlong taon. 

Paliwanag ng Meralco, di naman sinadyang sobra ang nasingil sa consumers noon. 

READ MORE FROM FULL SOURCE ARTICLE: http://news.abs-cbn.com/business/05/16/17/meralco-magbabalik-bayad-sa-mga-kostumer

Duterte skips Belt and Road Forum opening ceremony

MANILA, Philippines — President Rodrigo Duterte did not attend the opening ceremony of the Belt and Road Forum (BRF) for International Cooperation in Beijing, Sunday morning.

 

Sought for a comment, a source told PhilStar.com that there is no official word from Malacañang on why Duterte skipped the activity.

He has previously said that air travel tires him out. The president was in Hong Kong on Saturday and in Cambodia the day before.

Duterte arrived in China on Saturday evening to attend the forum.

Chinese President Xi Jinping led the two-day opening ceremony of the forum.

Twenty heads of state and government leaders also attended the forum, including Russian President Vladimir Putin and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, who both delivered speeches Sunday morning.

Aside from the world leaders, the 1,500 delegates from across the globe, include officials, entrepreneurs, financiers and journalists from over 130 countries, and representatives of key international organizations, such as UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, World Bank President Jim Yong Kim, and Managing Director of the International Monetary Fund Christine Lagarde.

The United States also sent a delegation led by Matt Pottinger, special assistant to the US President Donald Trump and senior director for Asia at the National Security Council.

Xi proposed the Belt and Road Initiative,  which is named after the historic Silk Road trade route, in 2013. “Spanning thousands of miles and years, the ancient silk routes embody the spirit of peace and cooperation, openness and inclusiveness, mutual learning and mutual benefit,” Xi said in his speech. “The Silk Road spirit has become a great heritage of human civilization,” he added.  

READ FROM FULL SOURCE ARTICLE: http://www.philstar.com/headlines/2017/05/14/1699878/duterte-skips-belt-and-road-forum-opening-ceremony