Friday, September 28, 2012

The Killer's "Battle Born" Debuts at Number 3 in Billboard Top Albums Chart

The Killer's "Battle Born" Debuts at Number 3 in Billboard Top Albums Chart

The Killer’s “Battle Born” bursts into the market just today and debuts at #3 at the Billboard Top 200 Albums and every Killers fans should be so excited to the high heavens. Oh they should have been on top of the charts were it not for Pink and Kanye West, but they should remain at the top ranks for weeks and weeks to go judging by the preview of songs available in this album site The Killers – Battle Born (where you could drive along listening to 12 new songs from the Las Vegas band.)

The album opens up with “Flesh and Bone” a number coming strongly on the vein of “Human”, discussing the same philosophy of existence, the instance of being human, questioning the humanity and the person. It has an upbeat rhythm that gives back justice to their status as one of the biggest band in the world today and most exciting and anticipated – being above the rest.

In “Runaways” – the album’s carrier single – is resplendent with innovative keyboards that only the band could provide.

By the succeeding songs, from “The Way It Was” and “Here With Me”, the Killers surprises the fans with an entirely new approach to their music, probably the most enervating thing about this album, where the band delves into deep emotionality of love songs and sentimentality.

“Deadlines and Commitments” gives paean to their punk/new wave roots and serenades with crisp undulating melodies and heaves with danceable chorus that should be well received in every fancy bar anywhere and everywhere.

The downside of this work is that Brendan Flowers and the rest of the gang had not really took off from their last album “Day & Age”, perhaps holding on to its success, both commercially and artistically. There should be nothing wrong with that but when everything becomes formulaic for a band, then it is not a good thing; when in fact in two or three songs in the album, the band looked as if they’re ready to evolve into the next level, but somehow, retreated and held off that move. It is sad like that.

At this point, “Battle Born” becomes a merely a mediocre imitation of “Day & Age”.

But all in all, “Battle Born” becomes one enjoyable ride just like “Day & Age”.

Maybe in the next outing, the Killers should be ready enough to evolve and brace themselves into the next level of rock immortality. This is a band that is just waiting for their “Achtung Baby!”


Friday, September 21, 2012

The Dark Years : Martial Law Had Brought Havoc to this Nation

The Dark Years : Martial Law Had Brought Havoc to this Nation

Today, September 21, marks the 40th anniversary of the declaration of martial law in the Philippines. In 1972, former president Ferdinand E. Marcos issued Proclamation No. 1081 to put the entire country under authoritarian rule, one that had lasted for nearly a decade and became what today is considered as one of the darkest years in our history, where freedom of speech and of press, among others have been suppressed by often cruel and manhandling tactics of the military. It was a dangerous time for Filipinos as political activists, academicians and rival politicians disappeared one by one, or incarcerated in dingy cells. One of them was Senator Benigno Aguino Jr., also known as Ninoy, the man who could have been president, loved and adored by the masses, champions of the poor, wife and father to future presidents of this country.

I was born that year that perhaps I can be called now a martial law baby, which I resent a bit. It was growing up years for me that personally I haven’t have the opportunity to savor and experience how Martial Law years were except that on television, it was often President Marcos declaiming and announcing this and that, and of course Former First Lady Imelda Marcos.

It was not until the assassination of Ninoy in 1983 that I have become fully aware of the gravity of the situation, a nation in full turmoil, that shot rang out at the then Manila International Airport that fateful August day, and then witnessing the upheavals of the masses, as the fallen body of the dead Senator was ushered by thousands of supporters to his grave.

I was overwhelmed by the ensuing events - millions crying justice for Ninoy; Finance Minister Cesar Virata announcing on TV that the nation is in dire economic crisis; General Ver standing so fearfully beside President Marcos – it was a collage of tumultuous mages and events that had shackled the nation like a giant leech, unable to free itself.

In my young mind, I was asking “what is happening to this nation?”

The military dictatorship is one singular event that can directly be blamed for the nation’s economic decay, when before that, the Philippines was one of the most vibrant economy in Asia, at one time touted to be only second to Japan. But the decade of authoritarian rule had stymied the nation as violence pervaded and persecution prevailed. Business went away and jobs and opportunities became scarce as poverty increased exponentially.

We could have been so much better situated now if the Martial Law years did not occur, most possibly.
The declaration of Proclamation No. 1081 was accordingly, borne out of fear of widespread upheavals, especially from the communist. This was the justification of President Marcos, to which many see now as completely made up and baseless.

In Taiwan and Singapore, authoritarian rule or strict governance was also implemented and they have somehow prevailed as a nation in terms of social and economic development.

Whether or not President Marcos had the right intention and motivation, in the end, it was one huge mistake that had wrought such havoc and social degradation to this nation.

The nation must learn from the lessons of the Martial Law years, to never ever let it happen again.

Keane Live in Manila

Keane Live in Manila

One of my favorite new bands is coming to Manila. Keane will render their soothing and extremely likeable music to local fans on October 2, 2012 at SM Mall of Asia Arena.

Keane is not exactly a new band but in the generation after U2, Depeche Mode and Oasis, this band showed a lot promise with ethereal work that marks great maturity and perchance for memorable melodies.

They cite several artists as influences such as REM, U2 and Michael Jackson but to me, they represent complete originality as their work is so unique by themselves that one could call it the “Keane Sound”. It’s a band that uses more piano than guitar and they are completely unique at that.

They reached the height of popularity in 2008 with their third album Perfect Symmetry. It was an incandescent album, one that I could say could belong in the soundtrack of my life, at least in the last decade, a time full of zest and sentimentality, a time that I cherished well and never regret.

Tom Chaplin effortlessly renders the band’s songs with his calming voice, one that rises with extreme emotionality without the yells and howls. It’s not common among vocalists.

Perfect Symmetry was one of those rare feats by a band, a work that shines and impresses from beginning to end, no fillers involved and no empty moments. Every song comes alive on its own, touching ones thoughts and emotions as if a beautiful memory of a long forgotten era.

I haven’t heard any of their songs from their latest album Strangeland but their new songs would surely be a bonus to local fans that would troop to their concert next month. I am sure it’ll be one fun and sublime night for them.

This is my most favorite number in Perfect Symmetry, "You Don't See Me":


Thursday, September 20, 2012

Philippine Cybercrime Law Punishes Online Libel, CyberSex Among Others


This law ensures person’s rights and privileges are not anymore violated and transgressed upon in the Internet. The law specifically criminalizes undue used of private data in the net and even in computer systems and protects against illegal use of passwords and private codes.

Another feature of the new law is the clear prohibition on online “libel”, making it punishable for persons to maliciously attack the character of any other person in the Internet. So ‘haters’ and ‘fakers’ should now be warned.

It is of great bane that cybersex, or any similar act online is now clearly criminalized, therefore strengthening the government’s thrust to rid the Internet of pornography and other sexually implicit content, at least, in this jurisdiction.

Specific crimes prohibited online are: (Chapter II, Punishable Acts)

SEC. 4. Cybercrime Offenses. — The following acts constitute the offense of cybercrime punishable under this Act:
(a) Offenses against the confidentiality, integrity and availability of computer data and systems:
(1) Illegal Access. – The access to the whole or any part of a computer system without right.
(2) Illegal Interception. – The interception made by technical means without right of any non-public transmission of computer data to, from, or within a computer system including electromagnetic emissions from a computer system carrying such computer data.
(3) Data Interference. — The intentional or reckless alteration, damaging, deletion or deterioration of computer data, electronic document, or electronic data message, without right, including the introduction or transmission of viruses.
(4) System Interference. — The intentional alteration or reckless hindering or interference with the functioning of a computer or computer network by inputting, transmitting, damaging, deleting, deteriorating, altering or suppressing computer data or program, electronic document, or electronic data message, without right or authority, including the introduction or transmission of viruses.
(5) Misuse of Devices.
(i) The use, production, sale, procurement, importation, distribution, or otherwise making available, without right, of:
(aa) A device, including a computer program, designed or adapted primarily for the purpose of committing any of the offenses under this Act; or
(bb) A computer password, access code, or similar data by which the whole or any part of a computer system is capable of being accessed with intent that it be used for the purpose of committing any of the offenses under this Act.
(ii) The possession of an item referred to in paragraphs 5(i)(aa) or (bb) above with intent to use said devices for the purpose of committing any of the offenses under this section.
(6) Cyber-squatting. – The acquisition of a domain name over the internet in bad faith to profit, mislead, destroy reputation, and deprive others from registering the same, if such a domain name is:
(i) Similar, identical, or confusingly similar to an existing trademark registered with the appropriate government agency at the time of the domain name registration:
(ii) Identical or in any way similar with the name of a person other than the registrant, in case of a personal name; and
(iii) Acquired without right or with intellectual property interests in it.
(b) Computer-related Offenses:
(1) Computer-related Forgery. —
(i) The input, alteration, or deletion of any computer data without right resulting in inauthentic data with the intent that it be considered or acted upon for legal purposes as if it were authentic, regardless whether or not the data is directly readable and intelligible; or
(ii) The act of knowingly using computer data which is the product of computer-related forgery as defined herein, for the purpose of perpetuating a fraudulent or dishonest design.
(2) Computer-related Fraud. — The unauthorized input, alteration, or deletion of computer data or program or interference in the functioning of a computer system, causing damage thereby with fraudulent intent: Provided, That if no
damage has yet been caused, the penalty imposable shall be one (1) degree lower.
(3) Computer-related Identity Theft. – The intentional acquisition, use, misuse, transfer, possession, alteration or deletion of identifying information belonging to another, whether natural or juridical, without right: Provided, That if no damage has yet been caused, the penalty imposable shall be one (1) degree lower.
(c) Content-related Offenses:
(1) Cybersex. — The willful engagement, maintenance, control, or operation, directly or indirectly, of any lascivious exhibition of sexual organs or sexual activity, with the aid of a computer system, for favor or consideration.
(2) Child Pornography. — The unlawful or prohibited acts defined and punishable by Republic Act No. 9775 or the Anti-Child Pornography Act of 2009, committed through a computer system: Provided, That the penalty to be imposed shall be (1) one degree higher than that provided for in Republic Act No. 9775.
(3) Unsolicited Commercial Communications. — The transmission of commercial electronic communication with the use of computer system which seek to advertise, sell, or offer for sale products and services are prohibited unless:
(i) There is prior affirmative consent from the recipient; or
(ii) The primary intent of the communication is for service and/or administrative announcements from the sender to its existing users, subscribers or customers; or
(iii) The following conditions are present:
(aa) The commercial electronic communication contains a simple, valid, and reliable way for the recipient to reject. receipt of further commercial electronic messages (opt-out) from the same source;
(bb) The commercial electronic communication does not purposely disguise the source of the electronic message; and
(cc) The commercial electronic communication does not purposely include misleading information in any part of the message in order to induce the recipients to read the message.
(4) Libel. — The unlawful or prohibited acts of libel as defined in Article 355 of the Revised Penal Code, as amended, committed through a computer system or any other similar means which may be devised in the future.
SEC. 5. Other Offenses. — The following acts shall also constitute an offense:
(a) Aiding or Abetting in the Commission of Cybercrime. – Any person who willfully abets or aids in the commission of any of the offenses enumerated in this Act shall be held liable.
(b) Attempt in the Commission of Cybercrime. — Any person who willfully attempts to commit any of the offenses enumerated in this Act shall be held liable.
SEC. 6. All crimes defined and penalized by the Revised Penal Code, as amended, and special laws, if committed by, through and with the use of information and communications technologies shall be covered by the relevant provisions of this Act: Provided, That the penalty to be imposed shall be one (1) degree higher than that provided for by the Revised Penal Code, as amended, and special laws, as the case may be.
SEC. 7. Liability under Other Laws. — A prosecution under this Act shall be without prejudice to any liability for violation of any provision of the Revised Penal Code, as amended, or special laws.
Please go to this link for the full rendition of Republic Act No. 10175.

UPDATE : The Inquirer Editorial attacks the libel provision of RA 10175 as unconstitutional whereby it endangers free speech, especially online. It had pointed out that such clause had been included without any proper deliberation and debate. This particular addition was reportedly made through the inkling of Senator Tito Sotto, he who had been embroiled in deep controversy himself over repeated plagiarism over his speeches in the Senate hall.

Accordingly, the editorial further elucidates that the inclusion of libel would be to restrictive as online conversations and materials are not similar to printed materials whereby every discourses are of spontaneous character, not really moulded with proper thought and care.

The views of the Inquirer has enough grounds in my opinion since libel cases often sprout incessantly and frequently abused by many who has the means to harass persons through legal means, albeit improperly.


Senator Trillanes May Have Been Back-Channeling for China, Says Senate President Enrile

It turns out that Senator Antonio Trillanes IV had been back-channeling for the Philippines for longer period than what was previously reported as Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile berated the young senator for having gone to China fifteen times, without getting permission from the latter.

It should have been in protocol for Senator Trillanes to have notified the Senate about his travels to China, considering that he was undertaking some kind of government function, nonetheless a bit clandestine.

And the drama even becomes convoluted when Senator Enrile, in a privilege speech, had accused Senator Trillanes of undermining the interest of the country and instead “working for China”. This would be tantamount to treason.

“Are you becoming the fifth columnist of China in this country? Who paid for those trips to Beijing?” Senator Enrile poignantly asked Senator Trillanes.

According to Senator Enrile, Trillanes had sided upon the interest of China upon examining some points in notes taken by former Philippine Ambassador to China Sonia Brady dated August 17. The notes include such line:

  • That the Chinese wanted the Philippines to “tone down the rhetoric” on its incursion in Panatag Shoal.
  • That Trillanes suspected that the United States was involved in creating tension in Panatag Shoal and that Del Rosario was “committing treason.”
  • That Trillanes “was protecting the Chinese,” “was alarmist” and accused Del Rosario of “creating a war event.”
  • That Trillanes asked businessman Manuel V. Pangilinan, a close friend of Del Rosario, to advise the secretary “to keep quiet, to quiet down” apparently because the secretary held a press conference decrying Chinese presence in Panatag Shoal
  • That Trillanes stated “no one cares about Panatag Shoal in the Philippines.”
  • That Trillanes said the Philippines “cannot enforce coastal protection” since fishermen subsist only on fishing and cannot venture far out.
  • That Trillanes boasted that he was able to make 40 Chinese ships leave Panatag Shoal.
  • That Trillanes volunteered to become the “direct channel” between China and Malacañang.

Luckily for Senator Trillanes, quipping that in the Philippines “nobody cares about Panatag Shoal” could not be enough ground for the instance of the crime of “Treason” in our jurisdiction.

The Revised Penal Code states about "Treason": (Article 114, Section 1, Chapter 1, Book Two)

Any Filipino citizen who levies war against the Philippines or adheres to her enemies, giving them aid or comfort within the Philippines or elsewhere, shall be punished by reclusion perpetua to death and shall pay a fine not to exceed P100,000 pesos.

No person shall be convicted of treason unless on the testimony of two witnesses at least to the same overt act or on confession of the accused in open court.

Likewise, an alien, residing in the Philippines, who commits acts of treason as defined in paragraph 1 of this Article shall be punished by reclusion temporal to death and shall pay a fine not to exceed P100,000 pesos. (As amended by E.O. No. 44, May 31, 1945 and Republic Act No. 7659.)

What should endanger Senator Trillanes however is the phrase “adheres to her enemies” and if war breaks out with China, then he could be siding with the enemy and be criminally liable for it and no parliamentary immunity could save him since the penalty would be far longer than the six years allowance at reclusion perpetua to death.

Other charges have been flung like Trillanes being a “coward”, “a fraud” and a “liar”. The young senator had been called “a warfreak” previously by Foreign Secretary Albert del Rosario.

While on the one hand Trillanes had termed Senator Enrile as a “lackey” of Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo and was “revealing sensitive information on foreign relations and national security,” by publicly exhibiting the reports made by former Ambassador Sonia Brady, which could lead to the offense of “Espionage”.

The Revised Penal Code states about “Espionage”:

Article 117. Espionage. - The penalty of prision correccional shall be inflicted upon any person who:

1. Without authority therefor, enters a warship, fort, or naval or military establishment or reservation to obtain any information, plans, photographs, or other data of a confidential nature relative to the defense of the Philippine Archipelago; or

2. Being in possession, by reason of the public office he holds, of the articles, data, or information referred to in the preceding paragraph, discloses their contents to a representative of a foreign nation.

The penalty next higher in degree shall be imposed if the offender be a public officer or employee.

And so this drama tinge with international character continues to brew and steam. Let us see what would happen next.


Wednesday, September 19, 2012

PNoy Taps Track II Diplomacy with Senator Trillanes as China Allows UN Resolution over Conflicts with Japan

Malacañang is opting for another tack in resolving the China-Philippines stand-off in the disputed areas in the West Philippine Sea as PNoy taps Senator Antonio Trillanes IV to do some backchannel diplomacy to negotiate for a peaceful settlement over the conflict. This had come in the continued failure of DFA Secretary Albert del Rosario to find solution to the problem as his approaches were often obstructed by the Chinese hierarchy over there at Beijing.

While del Rosario agrees that back-channeling could be an effective means of diplomacy, he insisted that the Philippine side should ensure that its comes up with a unified voice. He also pointed out his hesitation over the selection of Trillanes as negotiator towards Beijing as his reputation belies the need for a peaceful resolution to the matters at hand, being the leader of the Oakwood Mutiny in 1997 one that had sought to topple down the regime of former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo. And according to del Rosario, Trillanes had been public about his opposition to any peaceful resolution to the conflicts in the disputed areas.

Now this would be alarming as Malacañang could be sending the wrong signal in assigning Trillanes to do the talking with China. We could not actually afford a military confrontation with China in any case.

If at all this plan to assign the senator to speak in behalf of the Philippines, then Trillanes should make clear his peaceful stance ion the matters involved or else, it would just be a unworkable effort and wasteful endeavor for the country.

Back-channeling is a useful method of diplomacy wherein conversations could be embark upon even not in face-to-face manner, such as through letters, emails and online live conversations over the Internet.
This kind of diplomacy is often called Track II diplomacy wherein entities tapped to negotiate or communicate by one country to another are not part of the members of diplomatic corps of the country.
This is a kind of diplomacy where usually non-officials are being sent to for conflict resolution or for confidence building.

Meanwhile, the Foreign Affairs had been made aware that China had most recently agreed to put for United Nation resolution through the United Nation Convention on the Laws of the Seas (UNCLOS) its territorial conflict with Japan over Senkaku Islands. the one hand, China remains to refuse to put the West Philippine Sea disputes for arbitration in international courts.

This has prompted Albay Governor Joey Salceda to comment in an email to the Philippine Inquirer:

“China goes to Unclos because Japan will and can fight. (But) China refuses to bring the Spratlys and Panatag (conflicts) to Unclos (b)ecause (it) knows that the Philippines will not and cannot fight,”

He added: “there are no spontaneous rallies of outrage [here]. There is not even a boycott of China-made products, how much more a shooting war?”

But this most recent development could actually bring hope to our cause now that we’ve learned that China after all can bend with its stance on territorial disputes it is involves in as it does now with Japan. Maybe, with more persistence and focus, we could bring China into the negotiating table and through international arbitration.


Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Two Odd News: Snow on Mars and Shark Saves a Man

Clearly this would an odd post for this blog but I just could not help but write about it. Just this afternoon two very interesting news hugged the headlines over at Yahoo!

The first one is about Mars experiencing snow fall after all. The news item goes to query why we have learned about it only now. The Nasa Mars Orbiter had apparently detected ‘dry ice’ or frozen carbon-dioxide in some portion of the planet, which would be Mar’s atmosphere turning into snowflakes upon cold environment. Accordingly, this would explain the ice accumulation over at the planet’s South Pole.

Well, it’s so odd and could have been equally astounding if the snowflakes were made of water, just like on Earth. But it’s iced carbon-dioxide and with that, we could not still hope for any life form on the planet’s harsh red environment. Unless, unless some organism could live on a strict diet of carbon dioxide, which I think some bacteria do survive that way here on Earth - So hope still springs eternal.

And for the other ‘odd news’ – Listen to this, and believe or not, but a shark actually saved a man’s life who was floating for 15 weeks off the shore of South Florida. The man was a police officer who got stranded in the ocean and fell so weak and hummed into sleep. And then something moved below his boat, a shark bumped his boat so hard that he woke up and just right about that time, another boat was passing by, and so he flagged the other boat and went into safety. He could have been dead if it were not for the shark.

So this one is for the Ripley’s – believe it or not.
Soundgarden Comes Back with "King Animal"

Soundgarden Comes Back with "King Animal"

Soundgarden, the superband from Seattle, Washington, pioneer and grandfathers of the Seattle sound, will finally end its hiatus with the upcoming release of their sixth studio album entitled “King Animal”.

The album will be due for release on November 13 under A&M Records, and follows up their 1996 outing with "Down on the Upside".

A video teaser had been released for the album and the single “Worse Dreams” can already be previewed on YouTube. The headlining single "Been Away Too Long" will be made available digitally on the 27th of September.

According to lead vocalist Chris Cornell, the work is truly a group effort and songs reflects politically-charged intonations as well as one memorable song on parenthood in “Bones of Birds”.

In March, Cornell gave its fans an overview of what to expect in their upcoming work. He said:

"I don't really know how to describe it musically, because typically with Soundgarden... every time we write a song we always take it for what it is and try to make it the most it can be. It's very diverse, I can tell you that."

The band actually disbanded in 1997 and released their greatest hits collection "A-Sides" during the same year.

In 2010, Chris Cornell, Kim Thayil, Matt Cameron and Ben Shepherd found enough will for a band reunion and released a retrospective album called “Telephantasm” and contributed the  chart-topping single ”Live to Rise” to the Avengers soundtrack .

Tracklisting for “King Animal”:

1. Been Away Too Long
2. Non-State Actor
3. By Crooked Steps
4. A Thousand Days Before
5. Blood on the Valley Floor
6. Bones of Birds
7. Taree
8. Attrition
9. Black Saturday
10. Halfway There
11. Worse Dreams
12. Eyelid's Mouth
13. Rowing


Monday, September 17, 2012

American Idol Hires Nicki Minaj and Keith Urban for Season 12; American Idol Live Tour in Manila

Next season’s American Idol will almost have a completely new set of judges sitting on the panel along with only original mainstay Randy Jackson and host Ryan Seacrest.

It was finally confirmed that joining Mariah Carey, who was announced as new AI judge weeks ago, were Trinidadian singer Micki Minaj and New Zealand country-singer Keith Urban.

Gone were pop superstar Jennifer Lopez and legendary rocker Steven Tyler.

Randy Jackson was ecstatic about the new additions calling them “fresh, fresh, fresh 'Idol' one-two!".

Keith Urban has been so excited about his new job and has lauded AI for discovering real superstars in the music business. And Nicki Minaj is exactly looking for that, “a real superstar”.

On the one hand, Ryan Seacrest admires so greatly the new set of judges, showing how “powerful” the show is.

With competition in the talent-search show business expanding exponentially, with the remarkable rise of other outfits like X-Factor and the Voice, American Idol had been searching for big name judges and had been so lucky to have landed Mariah Carey and the two new faces in Minaj and Urban.

Meanwhile, the American Idol Season 11 Live Tour’s Manila stopover is very fast approaching on September 21, 2012 at SMART Araneta Coliseum.

This should be one very good show considering that Fil-am sensation Jessica Sanchez is on the line-up and of course, Phillip Phillips, who is so fast rising as a singing star with his Billboard hit “Home”.

The Season 11 winners are touted as the best set of winners in the popular American show. Other members of the line-up are Joshua Ledet, Colton Dixon, Skylar Laine, Hollie Cavanagh, Elsie Testone, Heejun Han, DeAndre Brackensick and Erika Van Pelt.

Catch them while their live for their sensational performances, solo and group performances that had captivated fans the world over.


Thursday, September 13, 2012

Philippines Submits New West Philippine Sea Map to United Nations

The Philippines is apparently hell-bent in trying to establish territorial jurisdiction over the disputed areas in the West Philippine Sea.

President Aquino had ordered yesterday that the map of the Philippines be submitted to the United Nations, in consonance with AO No. 29, renaming the sea west of the country as the West Philippine Sea, from what it was previously called as the South China Sea.

Portion of the AO reads: (Section 4)

“The Philippine government, through the Department of Foreign Affairs in consultation with Namria [National Mapping and Resource Information Authority], their appropriate government agencies, shall deposit, at the appropriate time, a copy of this order enclosing the official map reflecting the West Philippine Sea with the secretary general of the United Nations and notify accordingly relevant international organizations, such as the International Hydrographic Organization and the UN Conference on the Standardization of Geographical Names,” 

The map would include distinctly identified areas as the following: Kalayaan Island Group and Bajo De Masinloc, also known as Scarborough Shoal.

Benham Rise, a subterranean continental land mass should also be included in the new map, as this was granted to the Philippines just last April when The Commission on the Limits of the Continental Shelf (CLCS), a UN agency, has publicly recognized the Philippines claim to the area.

This action by the Philippine government is inclined to establish its claim over the disputed territories through international recognition although this would not be the most appropriate action.

Disputes over territories are decided by international courts, primarily the International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea (ITLOS), invoking the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS).

But the disputes would not be heard and no proceedings would materialize if any of the nations involved would not submit their consent for arbitration.

This is the main struggle in the Philippines’ thrust to put the issue for litigation before the United Nation as China had repeatedly refuse to give its consent, preferring to assert its claim through military maneuvers and tactics.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

IBTimes SportsNet Article: "Spain Needs to Learn from a Difficult Match Against Georgia"

This is my latest article for IBTimes SportsNet entitled : "Spain Needs to Learn from a Difficult Match Against Georgia"

Gist of the story:

There was sluggishness among European soccer powerhouses in the opening round of World Cup qualifying matches as Spain, England, Portugal and Germany had all failed to put up impressive wins against their foes.
England merely had to settle for a draw against Ukraine with an 87th minute penalty shot to recover from one goal deficiency, so late in the match. The late equalizer from Frank Lampard prevented what could have been an embarrassing first home match for England coach Roy Hodgson.
Germany on the one hand had to struggle past Austria for a 2-1 victory. While Italy came up with an unspectacular 2-0 win versus lowly Malta.
Portugal's 3-0 win against Azerbaijan was most impressive among the lot but all of their three goals came only in the final 27 minutes.
All eyes were set on Spain, the No.1 ranked national team in the FIFA World Rankings, and the reigning World Cup and European champion, as it battled past Georgia for an unconvincing 1-0 win.

READ MORE at IBTimes SportsNet at this LINK. 

Thursday, September 06, 2012

Senator Sotto Did It Again!

I believe that Senator Vicente Sotto III should by now now fire his chief of staff. That should be the wisest action from a government official who’s gotten so embroiled in public controversy due to incompetence of a member of staff not once, but twice in a row, and still threatening to repeat.

Hector Villacorta is once more nowhere in sight in ensuring that the senator would not commit another embarrassing hullaballoo in public’s view. Now the senator did it again. Or perhaps Mr. Villacorta is really asking for it. Like he is so mad that he doesn't care about public relations for the senator and intentionally irritates their detractors.

Just after delivering the last part of his speech defending his controverting stance on the RH Bill, a tweet from certain Michel Eldiy had confirmed that once again, the senator committed another form of inteleectual dishonesty.

The last part of his speech was uncannily similar to Robert Kennedy’s “Day of Affirmation” speech that the American senator had given in South Africa in 1966.

This is the end part of Senator Sotto’s speech yesterday:

“Iilan ang magiging dakila sa pagbali ng kasaysayan, subalit bawat isa sa atin ay maaaring kumilos, gaano man kaliit, para ibahin ang takbo ng mga pangyayari. Kapag pinagsama-sama ang ating munting pagkilos, makalilikha tayo ng totalidad na magmamarka sa kabuuan ng kasaysayan ng henerasyong ito. Ang mga hindi-mabilang na iba’t ibang galaw ng katapangan at paninindigan ang humuhubog sa kasaysayan ng sangkatauhan. Tuwing naninindigan tayo para sa isang paniniwala, tuwing kumikilos tayo para mapabuti ang buhay ng iba, tuwing nilalabanan natin ang kawalan ng katarungan, nakalilikha tayo ng maliliit na galaw. Kapag nagkasama-sama ang mumunting galaw na mga ito, bubuo ito ng isang malakas na puwersang kayang magpabagsak maging ng pinakamatatag na dingding ng opresyon.”

And this is portion of Robert Kennedy’s speech that had been allegedly plagiarized:

“Few will have the greatness to bend history, but each of us can work to change a small portion of the events, and the total—all these acts—will be written in the history of this generation….It is from numberless diverse acts of courage such as these that the belief that human history is thus shaped….Each time a man stands up for an ideal or acts to improve the lot of others, or strikes out against injustice, he sends forth a tiny ripple of hope, and crossing each other from a million different centers of energy and daring, those ripples build a current which can sweep down the mightiest walls of oppression and resistance.”

Scooping portions from someone else’s speech to be used for one’s own delivery of speech is a common practice but it should always be credited properly by mentioning the name, like “And Robert Kennedy once said” or “And I quote…”

But how do you quote that lengthily?

It is fortunate that Senator Sotto is a former comedian and a showbiz personality that perhaps it is acceptable for him that he lampoons himself in public as often as he wants himself to be.

Or he could decide to stop embarrassing himself by firing Mr. Villacorta.

Wednesday, September 05, 2012

Gaslight Anthem's "Handwritten" Will Save Rock and Roll

Gaslight Anthem's "Handwritten" Will Save Rock and Roll

One of the best thing about The Gaslight Anthem, the up and coming punk-rock from New jersey is that they’ve got for themselves a very cool band name, like ‘hey, why haven’t we thought about that?’.

But that is just not the thing that is going on with  Brian Fallon and the rest of the band for now they’ve got for themselves an album that is creating a lot of buzz in the music world.

“Handwritten” is an album that speaks so much about the significance of The Gaslight Anthem, the feel of the work they have been releasing, the attitude on the stage, the whole band persona, everything is familiar and memorable, like the feeling of going home. 

Yes, Brian Fallow’s voice is yearning for the ethereal experience that every rocker worth his salt is looking for, to bring back the glories of rock and roll, and stamps validity into the importance of guitar riffs and dramatic drum rolls and angst in their statements.

In the first single “45”, the band suddenly burst into action, and announces with brevity that they mean business. “45” soars with a lively melody and bursting guitar that certainly introduces them as a new band to reckon with – that for a long, long time.

The song “Handwritten” follows vigorously from where “45” lefts off that it sounded like it was a merely continuation. Whether this was intentional or not, we could never know.

But Brian Fallow’s voice yearns further in “Handwritten”, a beautiful yearning that exceeds a sublime chemical mixture of angst, longing and aliveness.

“Here Comes My Man” has a slapping drum that is unique by itself and a stunning refrain “Listen honey, here comes my man”. This should be radio friendly of all, a catchy hook in the middle of the song. 

“Keepsake” reaches the peak of the band’s emotionality that my hair tingles on Fallow’s rising voice and the swooping riff that weaves a beautiful song all in all.

“Mae” is a narration of love, a magnificent rendition of love, one song that mellows down the album.

All in all, The Gaslight Anthem achieves greatly with the album “Handwritten”. It is the kind of album that rockers always want. And they are a band that epitomizes one that rock lovers wanted to come along for a long time, like upon walking in a desert and finding oases.

Heavily compared to the rawness of Bruce Springsteen, the band shows great promise in lyricism and musicality. With a little more effort and dedication, The Gaslight Anthem would for certain achieve the vastness of The Counting Crows and gain cult adulation reserve only for legends and exemplary icons. 

They could just be the one to save rock and roll for this time.

U.S. Supports ASEAN Code of Conduct in West Philippine Sea

U.S. comes now out in the open an openly expresses its support to ASEAN, especially to members who has standing dispute with China over territories in South China Sea.

China claims jurisdiction over the entire span of the South China Sea, to include islands and shoals, anything protruding above sea level, high tide or low tide. But the Philippines, Vietnam, Brunei and Malaysia dispute many locations there, especially the Spratly Islands in the West Philippine Sea.

Despite that tensions in the disputed areas have reached peak level, almost resulting to armed clashes, especially in Scarborough Shoal where Chinese vessels were seen stationing for months now, without let up, China has refused to submit the conflict to international courts, standing pat amidst challenges from international community – ASEAN and now America.

US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton is in Indonesia and had made statement encouraging ASEAN to pursue the establishment of a code of conduct for countries involved in the South China Sea disputes. In July, ASEAN failed to issue the code amidst intense bickering among its members.

She said, “The most important thing is that we end up in a diplomatic process where these issues are addressed in a strong diplomatic conversation between a unified ASEAN and China rather than through any kind of coercion.”

The United States main interest is the free, safe and unimpeded passage of ships in the disputed waters, as this would affect global trade in the event conflicts there reached worst situation, which is armed conflict for that matter.

As early as 2010, the United States has insisted that freedom of navigation should prevail in the West Philippine Sea and that now expresses strong support to the framing of the code of conduct of nations involved in the disputes. Clinton had stated that the code would act as a neutralizing mechanism that could prevent flare-ups and conflict escalations. Asean Secretary General Surin Pitsuwan of Thailand however had warned that excessive attention on the issue may prove counterproductive, inflaming tensions rather than calming the situation.

“We just hope that all the attention and the concern would not add to the fragility and instability over the issue. Want a conducive environment that would enable us to achieve the [code of conduct] as soon as possible. As a major dialogue partner, the US certainly has a role to play and a contribution to make," Surin told AFP.

Monday, September 03, 2012

China Thanks Cambodia for Its Support Over Row in West Philippine Sea

It slowly appears now that Cambodia had acted in favor of China, a close ally, in order to impede the joint communiqué that ASEAN should have issued last July after its annual meeting in Phnom Penh. Accordingly, the host country, Cambodia being the current ASEAN chairman, had rejected the wordings of the joint communiqué, a move that was highly unprecedented to a bloc that had often agreed on many terms in prior meetings.

In a news report by Xinhua News Agency, China Premier Wen Jiabao had thanked Cambodia in a meeting on Sunday,through Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen for its support, pertaining to the rising tensions between China and four members of ASEAN, which include the Philippines and Vietnam, both nations having conflict with China on a heightened level. Wen Jiabao thanked Cambodia particularly for "important role in maintaining the overall situation of friendly relations between China and the ASEAN."

For months, tensions have escalated over an area in West Philippine Sea, in Scarborough Shoal and Panatag Island, where Chinese vessels have been posturing in the past months.  The Philippine government has issued numerous diplomatic protests, but only to be heard by empty ears from the China hierarchy.

Similarly, Vietnam had countered vigorously China’s intensified moves in areas it disputes with the latter, particularly the installations of military ports in Sansha City.

With this development, ASEAN should feel uneasy with Cambodia now that it had become clear that it had acted in favor of an outside partner, instead of working for the interest of its co-members in ASEAN.

Cambodia Ambassador to the Philippines Recalled

Last month, Cambodia’s ambassador to the Philippines was recalled. DFA had given no official reasons for the recall but reports have stated how Ambassador Hos Sereythonh had accused the Philippines along with Vietnam, for playing “dirty politics” in handling the issues on the West Philippine Sea disputes with China, where the Cambodian ambassador had blamed both the Philippines and Vietnam for the failure of the ASEAN in issuing a joint communiqué in its annual meeting last July.

Read "Why There Was No ASEAN Joint Communique" by Undersecretary Erlinda F. Basilio, Department of Foreign Affairs

Saturday, September 01, 2012

7.9 Quake Struck Eastern Samar

A magnitude 7.9 earthquake struck the east coast of the Philippines causing the death of one person and injuring another. Mild level tsunamis struck in areas such as in Surigao City and the coast of Samar.

Tsunami warnings were issued to areas in the eastern part of the country and as far as Indonesia.

The lone fatality was identified as 54 year old Emelinda Ubalde, a grandmother who had tried to reach out to her 5-year-old grandchild when a landslide occurred during the earthquake in Cagayan de Oro City.

The U.S. Geological Survey had located the earthquake epicenter at 93 km east of Sulangan in the resort town of Guian in Samar. It had a depth of 43 kilometers and struck at approximately 8:47 P.M Friday night.
Renato Solidum, the head of Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (Phivolcs), stated that the tremor was a shallow quake and has the high potentialities for building up tsunamis. People near the epicenter were ordered to evacuate.

But this morning, the evacuees were directed to go back to their homes after it was cleared that tsunamis would not likely to occur.

A 7.9 magnitude earthquake is considered very high. It was fortunate that the epicenter was in the sea. 

The deadly 1990 earthquake that struck Baguio City for example registered a similar intensity 7.9 magnitude at the Richter Scale. It claimed the lives 1,625 and considered one of the deadliest in the nation’s history.