Quantcast
Latest Stories

Red tape stalls dev’t of school in Kalayaan

By ,

A municipal official and a lawmaker disclosed Monday that they were battling red tape in their effort to build a schoolhouse in Kalayaan Islands in the West Philippine Sea (South China Sea) as China insisted the Philippines’ territorial claims in those waters were based on an erroneous interpretation of the international law of the sea.

A Chinese national newspaper has called President Aquino “rude” for pressing for the “internationalization” of the Philippines’ territorial dispute with China in the West Philippine Sea at the 21st Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean) Summit in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, last week.

Speaking at a news conference on Monday, Kalayaan Mayor Eugenio Bito-onon Jr. urged Malacañang to expedite the release of funds for the construction of a two-classroom school building on Pag-asa Island, the largest in the Kalayaan Group, to solidify the Philippine claim to that part of the Spratlys archipelago.

Rep. Antonio Tinio of Act Teachers  was also at the news conference and he said he set aside P4.3 million from his priority development assistance fund (PDAF) to help finance the construction of the proposed Pag-asa Island Elementary School.

The PDAF is a pork barrel that channels funds to congressional districts for project development.

Real schoolhouse

Bito-onon opened a single-classroom elementary school on Pag-asa in June. He built it from materials he had scrounged from the area to give the island its first learning center for children.

But his dream, he said, is a real schoolhouse for the small community on the island. The schoolhouse must be built to specifications laid down by the Department of Education, including at least two classrooms and toilets.

Tinio came to the island’s aid, proposing to finance the construction of a real schoolhouse from his pork barrel allocation.

But the Department of Budget and Management (DBM) is taking too long in approving Tinio’s proposal and releasing the funds.

Bito-onon called on Malacañang to speed up the release of the funds.

“If the project of Congressman Tinio pushes through, it will be a big help for us,”

Bito-onon said. “That will set a landmark for the history of Kalayaan. I’d like to make it a centerpiece program,” he said.

Tinio said the construction of the schoolhouse would be significant amid tensions between the Philippines and China in the West Philippine Sea.

He called on the Palace and the DBM to release the funds immediately so that the construction of the schoolhouse could begin.

Sovereignty

“It’s not just a symbolic action, certainly it’s not a military action,” Tinio said. “But by building a [schoolhouse] in Kalayaan, we are showing the world that the government of the Philippines exercises actual, real sovereignty over citizens in the Spratlys,” he added.

Pag-asa is the only inhabited island in the Kalayaan Group, located 684 kilometers west of the southern end of Palawan province.

The island has a population of about 300, 100 of them soldiers.

Bito-onon said there were only seven schoolchildren on the island—six in kindergarten and one in Grade 1.

But more children could be taken to the island to study there once a schoolhouse is built, he said.

At present, he explained, people on the island entrust the education of their children to relatives in other provinces where there are schools.

But once a real schoolhouse opens on Pag-asa, those children can be taken back to study right on the island, he said.

Pag-asa has a 1.3-km airstrip used by both the military and civilians. Bito-onon said the island could be developed into a tourism and fishery hub.

China angry

That will surely raise the hackles of China, which warned the Philippines in June not to proceed with the opening of the makeshift schoolhouse on Pag-asa, but was ignored.

Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao got into an exchange with Southeast Asian leaders during last week’s Asean-China Summit in Phnom Penh over disputed territories in the West Philippine Sea and the East Sea.

China got a boost from ally Cambodia, which tried to picture the Asean summit as agreeing not to “internationalize” the disputes, but President Aquino intervened, publicly rebuking Cambodian Premier Hun Sen for the attempt.

Mr. Aquino stated that Asean leaders had no agreement not to “internationalize” the territorial disputes and that the Philippines would press ahead with its search for a resolution of its dispute with China in accordance with international law.

Countering Mr. Aquino’s pronouncements in Phnom Penh, China on Monday said the Philippines’ claim to Panatag Shoal (Scarborough Shoal) was based on a “misinterpretation” of the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (Unclos).

In a statement issued Monday, the Chinese Embassy in Manila cited the China National Institute for South China Sea Studies’ analysis debunking the Philippines’ claim to Panatag Shoal based on the exclusive economic zone (EEZ) provision of Unclos.

The institute reiterated China’s historical ownership of the shoal, known to the Chinese as Huangyan Island.

“Clearly, the Philippines here has misinterpreted and misapplied Unclos on the basis of its own interests, which is contrary to international law and to Unclos,” the statement said.

“It has been an established basic principle of international law that ‘the land dominates the sea.’ Coastal states derive their sovereign rights and jurisdiction over EEZs from their territorial sovereignty. Hence, Unclos cannot serve as a basis for a country to claim sovereignty over China’s Huangyan Island,” the statement said.

 

Aquino ‘rude’

China Daily criticized President Aquino for insisting on drawing other countries into discussions of the territorial disputes in the West Philippine Sea and East Sea, a reference to the United States.

“[I]t was very rude of Philippine President Benigno Aquino III to interrupt and rebuke Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen, alleging that no such consensus had been reached and he would continue to speak out on the global stage,” the paper said in an editorial, titled “A rude Manila helps no one,” published on Friday.

“Aquino’s undiplomatic move was ill-advised, and will not help solve the issue in peace,” the paper said.

The paper also criticized the Philippines’ for inviting claimants Brunei, Malaysia and Vietnam to four-way talks on the disputes in Manila next month.

DFA replies

Responding to the Chinese Embassy statement, the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) insisted the Philippines’ sovereignty over Panatag Shoal was based on the EEZ provision of Unclos.

“The Philippines has sovereignty over [Panatag Shoal] on the basis of effective occupation and effective jurisdiction,” DFA spokesperson Raul Hernandez said.

“Philippine sovereign rights over the EEZ and continental shelf of [the shoal] are government by Unclos,” he said.

Hernandez reiterated the Philippines’ call to China to “respect the territory of maritime domain” of the Philippines.

Echoing a statement by Foreign Secretary Albert del Rosario, Hernandez described China’s claim to nearly the entire South China Sea, including the West Philippine Sea, an “excessive declaration of maritime space in violation of international law.”


Follow Us


Follow us on Facebook Follow on Twitter Follow on Twitter


Recent Stories:

Complete stories on our Digital Edition newsstand for tablets, netbooks and mobile phones; 14-issue free trial. About to step out? Get breaking alerts on your mobile.phone. Text ON INQ BREAKING to 4467, for Globe, Smart and Sun subscribers in the Philippines.

Tags: ASEAN , Asia-Pacific , China , Foreign affairs , Global Nation , International relations , Kalayaan Islands , Maritime Dispute , Philippines , West Philippine Sea

  • bugoybanggers

    Bakit hindi na lang pwersahang ilipat ng MANILA CITY Government ang mga eskwaters na nakatira sa may PAROLA COMPOUND o sa mga gilid ng North Harbour TONDO? Di ba mga laking DAGAT daw sila? Yung mga taga breakwater, isama na rin at IRELOCATE sa SPRATLY. Aba mas may ikabubuhay sila doon. Nandoon ang mga sariwang ISDA kaysa malunod lang sila sa BURAK ng manila bay! Mag isip naman kayo mga POLITIKO, malawak pala ang teritoryo ng PILIPINAS, ang mga iyan ay LOLON na! LOLON sa bisyo bilang PESTE ng CIUDAD. Para mapakinabangan sila, gawin natin silang occupier sa maga islang dapat ay atin. Ano ngayon, baka gusto pa nila ng de AIRCON na bahay? Sige isama na rin ang mga KONSINTIDOR na mga Baranggay officials at kung maari si MAYOR.



Copyright © 2014, .
To subscribe to the Philippine Daily Inquirer newspaper in the Philippines, call +63 2 896-6000 for Metro Manila and Metro Cebu or email your subscription request here.
Factual errors? Contact the Philippine Daily Inquirer's day desk. Believe this article violates journalistic ethics? Contact the Inquirer's Reader's Advocate. Or write The Readers' Advocate:
c/o Philippine Daily Inquirer Chino Roces Avenue corner Yague and Mascardo Streets, Makati City, Metro Manila, Philippines Or fax nos. +63 2 8974793 to 94
Advertisement
  1. Filipinos second-shortest in Southeast Asia
  2. Afghan hospital guard kills 3 US doctors, including Fil-Am pediatrician
  3. HK victims to get P115M; traders raised money
  4. Career diplomat is new PH consul general in Los Angeles
  5. Senator hopes PH will also get same vow
  6. Filipina, 51, shot dead by 24-year-old American boyfriend
  7. US4GG: Aquino should ask Obama for TPS approval, drone technology
  8. Obama to visit Filipino soldiers in Fort Bonifacio
  9. Believe it or not: Filipinos love US more than Yanks
  10. Abandoned in Malta,15 PH seamen return
  1. Filipina, 51, shot dead by 24-year-old American boyfriend
  2. Japan presents $57-B ‘dream plan’ to solve Metro congestion
  3. Hong Kong accepts PH apology; sanctions also lifted
  4. Japan says visa-free entry still a plan
  5. 85% of Filipinos love US – survey
  6. 10 US presidents who visited the PH (and what they said)
  7. WHO warns vs spread of MERS-Cov, urges vigilance in taking precautions
  8. 19 Ukrainians, Russians, Filipinas rescued in bar raid
  9. 150 Filipino teachers in Maryland to lose jobs, visas
  10. Japan mulls no visa rule for Filipinos
  1. US to China: We will protect Philippines
  2. Japan mulls no visa rule for Filipinos
  3. DFA grants visa-free privilege to 7 countries
  4. China warned: Don’t try to tow away BRP Sierra Madre
  5. Back home in Manila, and feeling out of place
  6. Filipina, 51, shot dead by 24-year-old American boyfriend
  7. Japan presents $57-B ‘dream plan’ to solve Metro congestion
  8. China: PH tarnishing Beijing’s international image
  9. What’s inside BRP Sierra Madre?
  10. Hong Kong accepts PH apology; sanctions also lifted
Advertisement

News

  • Seabed search for missing Malaysian jet to widen
  • Lacson rejects calls to name ‘pork’ execs
  • Obama due in Seoul as North Korea nuclear test fears grow
  • Hold departure order out vs Corona, Singson
  • Malaysia to release MH370 report–PM
  • Sports

  • Michael Phelps loses to Lochte in comeback meet
  • Sharapova advances to Stuttgart quarterfinals
  • Galedo caps ride of redemption
  • Beermen, Express dispute second semis slot today
  • Lady Agilas upset Lady Bulldogs in four sets
  • Lifestyle

  • ‘Recovered’ Banksy works on display ahead of sale
  • Marinduque: Visiting the ‘palm of the ocean’
  • First at Vatican in 60 years
  • How Jing Monis Salon gave Krissy the pixie
  • Want to be a supermodel? Work on your inner beauty, says Joey Espino
  • Entertainment

  • Paul McCartney to play at Candlestick concert
  • Kristoffer Martin: from thug to gay teen
  • Has Ai Ai fallen deeply with ‘sireno?’
  • California court won’t review Jackson doctor case
  • Cris Villonco on play adapted from different medium
  • Business

  • PAL hailed for ban on shark fin cargo
  • BSP to change tint of P100 bill
  • Nielsen sees car buying boom in the Philippines
  • How author of best-seller exposed ‘one percent’ economic elite
  • Bangko Sentral readies new bank lending rules
  • Technology

  • Cloud strength helps Microsoft earnings top Street
  • Vatican announces hashtag for April 27 canonizations
  • Enrile in Masters of the Universe, Lord of the Rings?
  • Top Traits of Digital Marketers
  • No truth to viral no-visa ‘chronicles’
  • Opinion

  • Corruption not invincible after all
  • Editorial Cartoon, April 25, 2014
  • No deal, Janet
  • Like making Al Capone a witness vs his gang
  • MERS-CoV and mothers
  • Global Nation

  • Filipinos second-shortest in Southeast Asia
  • China welcomes PH apology
  • Only 4 Etihad passengers not accounted for
  • Abandoned in Malta,15 PH seamen return
  • Senator hopes PH will also get same vow
  • Marketplace