#AceNewsReport – Sept.24: Lt. Col. John Paul Baldomar of the Army’s 6th Infantry Division told the Inquirer by phone that members of the LGBT community were playing volleyball when a homemade bomb exploded in their midst around 3:39 p.m.at the municipal covered court near the center of Datu Piang town…..
#AceDailyNews says that in the Philippines on Saturday militants planted a bomb at LGBT volleyball game one person was reportedly killed and it injured seven others Army eyes BIFF in Maguindanao sports event blast that killed a spectator,” by Jeoffrey Maitem, Inquirer Mindanao, September 19, 2021 (thanks to The Religion of Peace):
He said the blast left one spectator dead and wounded seven others.
According to investigators, the grenade was lobbed in the middle of the crowd while the volleyball game was in progress.
Baldomar said the attack could be a diversionary tactic of the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF) because of the government’s ongoing operation against them.
“We have recovered fragments of the bombs and we suspect it was carried out by the BIFF,” Badomar said….
Authorities have blamed the BIFF, which splintered from the MILF and declared support for the IS, for the series of attacks in the past in the region….
But senior military officers and officials in the Philippines have been pressing internally to retain the VFA, and Mr Duterte subsequently suspended the process of termination no fewer than three times as negotiations over the agreement dragged on.
Analysts said Mr Duterte hesitated to sever military links with the US, in part because of rising tensions between China and the Philippines over contested waters in the South China Sea.
The military in the Philippines remains anxious about China’s rapidly growing naval strength and sees the VFA — which provides rules for the rotation of thousands of US troops in the country for war exercises — as a bulwark against Chinese military aggression in the South China Sea.
The dispute over the VFA also took on powerful symbolism as strategic competition between the US and China intensifies in the region.
Earlier in the year, Mr Duterte declared that the US must “pay” more in order to preserve the agreement and demanded the Biden administration provide more vaccines to the Philippines.
Last month, the Biden administration delivered more than 3 million doses of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine to the country.
Hunter Marston from the ANU’s Coral Bell School of Asia Pacific Affairs said the declaration that the VFA would be restored “caps a dramatic year and a half for the US-Philippines alliance”.
“Duterte’s threat to scrap VFA would have rendered the alliance all but symbolic and significantly hampered Washington’s military presence in the region as it struggles to roll back China’s expansion in the South China Sea,” he said.
“The restoration of the VFA does not preclude future policy reversals from the unpredictable Duterte, but for the time being at least, this was a very good week for the bilateral alliance.”
#AceWeatherDesk says Monsoon rains flood Philippine villages, thousands evacuate as officials said they struggled to open more emergency shelters in order to allow social distancing among the displaced residents and prevent evacuation camps from turning into epicenters of #COVID19 infections. In the hard-hit city of Marikina in the capital region, nearly 15,000 residents were evacuated to safety overnight as waters rose alarmingly in a major river.
“This situation will be too difficult if there won’t be a permanent solution to flooding, especially now with the threat from the delta variant,” Marikina Mayor Marcelino Teodoro told ABS CBN News, referring to the highly contagious COVID-19 viral strain that has been detected in the country.
Philippines Evacuates Thousands as Monsoon Rains and Tropical Storm Flood Manila, Provinces
Philippine authorities moved thousands of residents in the capital, Manila, out of low-lying communities on Saturday as heavy monsoon rains, compounded by a tropical storm, flooded the city and nearby provinces.
Reuters – Reporting by Neil Jerome Morales and Jay Ereno; Editing by Robert Birsel and Edmund Klamann Click here to read more.
Many of the residents were evacuated from flood-prone villages in Marikina overnight, depriving them of sleep, said Teodoro. He blamed years of illegal logging in nearby mountains and heavy siltation in Marikina River for constant flooding in his city.
In the mountainous northern city of Baguio, a resident died Friday afternoon after the taxi she was riding in was hit by a falling tree, police said, adding two other people in the taxi were injured. The northern Philippines has been swamped by days of monsoon rains that flooded low-lying villages and set off minor landslides.
Typhoon In-fa, which has churned off the country’s eastern coast and dumped rain on Taiwan before blowing toward China, intensified the seasonal downpours, forecasters said.
A cargo boat overturned after being lashed by strong waves Saturday close to a port in Pio Duran town in Albay province, southeast of Manila. Its 10 crewmen were rescued by police, firefighters and villagers, who used a long rope to pull the overturned boat closer to the coast, the coast guard said.
Coast guard personnel rescued several residents trapped in their houses by rising floodwaters Friday in Naujan town in Mindoro Oriental province south of Manila. As they carried the villagers through waist-high waters, the emergency crew held on to a rope to prevent themselves from being swept away by the current.
About 20 typhoons and storms batter the Philippines each year, aside from seasonal monsoon rains. The country also lies in the so-called Pacific “Ring of Fire,” a region prone to earthquakes and volcanic eruptions, making it one of the world’s most disaster-prone nations.
#AceNewsReport – Apr.23: The deployment is the latest move in an ongoing feud with China over what Manila called “swarming” by hundreds of fishing vessels it said were manned by Chinese state-backed militias. China has denied militias were aboard:
‘The Philippines has ramped up its rhetoric in recent weeks in defiance of what it says is threatening behaviour by Chinese vessels in its 200-mile Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ), despite four years of rapprochement with historic rival China & we are exhausting all means possible to protect our territory and EEZ,” the Philippines’ South China Sea task force said in a statement’ from Reuters’
April: 21, 2021:
President Rodrigo Duterte has ordered authorities to continue “sovereignty patrols”, and intensify operations against illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing in its territorial waters, the task force said.
Nine vessels from the coastguard and the fisheries bureau, a coastguard aircraft and police watercraft and rubber boats were being deployed in the South China Sea, including in waters off Philippine-held islands in the Spratlys, the task force said.
U.S.-ally the Philippines has filed several diplomatic protests over Chinese activities in the South China Sea, with the latest accusing its giant neighbour of illegal fishing and massing more than 240 boats within its EEZ.
The challenge puts the spotlight on Duterte’s controversial pursuit of better relations and economic ties with China.
The firebrand leader said on Monday he was prepared to deploy navy ships to assert the Philippines’ sovereign rights to oil and mineral resources in its EEZ, telling China that if it started drilling for oil, so will he.
China claims almost the South China Sea, where about $3 trillion worth of ship-borne trade passes each year. Brunei, Malaysia, the Philippines, Taiwan and Vietnam also have claims.