Saturday, August 31, 2013

The United States will cut and cut cleanly

Negotiating rights
Philippine Daily Inquirer

Government officials have taken great care to describe the so-called negotiations between the Philippines and the United States to increase American military presence in the country in soothing constitutionalist or strategic terms. It is what is not being said, however, that worries us.

Defense Secretary Voltaire Gazmin, for instance, assured the public that the meetings will be “guided by the principles of strict compliance with the Philippine Constitution, laws and jurisprudence; Philippine sovereignty; nonpermanence of US troops in Philippine territory; nonexclusivity of use of facilities by the US side; and mutuality of benefits.” It is important to assert these five principles, if only to emphasize that the Aquino administration has learned its lessons from the fraught history of Philippine-American negotiations.

Foreign Secretary Albert del Rosario made the strategic case. “Our region needs to know that we are steadfastly for peace but that we stand ready to tap every resource, to call on every alliance, to do what is necessary to defend what is ours.” The first two infinitives demonstrate a new emphasis (but an old reality) in Philippine foreign policy; now, in the midst of the ongoing territorial dispute with China, it seems that Manila is openly calling in its markers.

But do these meetings, currently ongoing in Camp Aguinaldo, deserve to be called negotiations? A member of the Philippine panel, Assistant Secretary Carlos Sorreta of the Department of Foreign Affairs, explained the process in detail. “Activities under this proposed agreement will be covered by our Visiting Forces Agreement. The legal basis for increased rotational presence exists in these two agreements. What we will be negotiating will be modalities and the kinds of activities.”

Maybe. But both the Philippine and American governments are agreed on the need to increase US military presence in the country; both assume that increasing the number of US troops and the opportunities for training for Philippine soldiers side by side those same troops will lead to a more credible defense posture for the Philippines; both recognize that a resurgent China with expansionist ambitions require some kind of pushback—containment in old geopolitical speak. What is there to negotiate?

The notion that the meetings require a “framework agreement” pushes the negotiation metaphor too far; the Americans are not exactly an insurgent group, striving to integrate itself into a sometimes-hostile, sometimes-inhospitable body politic. For one thing, the US government enjoys the advantage of Philippine-wide popularity which continues to elude the Moro Islamic Liberation Front. The use of that standby, “terms of reference,” would have sufficed.

Every single official who has spoken on the matter has also taken pains to use a crucial modifier: “rotational.” Thus, Sorreta: “increased rotational presence.” Thus, Del Rosario: greater “rotational presence.” Thus, Deputy Presidential Spokesperson Abigail Valte: “The increase, if ever, in the rotational presence …”

The idea, of course, is that rotating the deployment of American soldiers in the Philippines means there is no need for permanent facilities or basing rights, and thus no need for a prolonged and public struggle to draft, debate and ratify a new treaty.

But as we have pointed out more than once, in the last decade or so US military presence in the Philippines has in fact been all but permanent. The soldiers, indeed their units, may come and go, and even the forward deployment sites may be changed, but at any given time there are hundreds of US troops stationed in the Philippines. Government officials must first address this winking violation of the Constitution, for any talk of increased rotational presence to be genuinely credible.

We are also concerned that there is no talk at all, from the government’s side, of an exit strategy, a timetable by which we can measure the supposed improvements in interoperability and training and readiness.

The most important lesson from the complicated history of Philippine-American relations is that the United States has interests of its own, and they never coincide with ours for long. The Obama administration’s so-called pivot to China seems to align with Philippine security needs at the moment—but there is no telling when new conditions will lead the United States to cut, and cut cleanly.

Friday, August 30, 2013

Memories of Barrio Barretto 
Comment from a reader on Name that saloon!
I lived in Barrio Barretto from Sept. 1972 thru May 1974 and lived on Morales street which is now Rizal.I don't remember this place and the street location. I lived just a block or two from the National Highway and the Galaxy Club Resort on the beach.I rode my ten speed bike in the barrio as far as White Rock Beach Resort and all the other local places. The streets were dirt and dust during dry season and muddy during wet season. Marcos the President declared Martial Law in September 1972 and there was a midnight curfew until 4 am so I had to be off the streets. The Manilla TV stations were off the air for a month or two and then there was just one station. The main streets and sidewalks were paved in Olongapo City before I was transferred in May 1974 to Pearl Harbor. I had been stationed at Service Craft Harbor Tugs on the Naval Base just below Cubi Point Hill.

Thursday, August 29, 2013

They are treacherous and ungrateful children throwing tantrums! 

Comment from a reader on 1999 survey
1991 1999 2013....other than its proximity to a rising China, and two nice ready made bases, the Philippines is a total irrelevance in world politics...the PHILS politicians have once again screwed the pooch with their anti American/anti foreigner behavior, crab mentality and basic corruption...can't think beyond the next 5 minutes...treacherous and ungrateful children throwing tantrums....10 billion plus pesos lost in pork barrel scams...what international foreign infrastructure developer would build a road or an airport after the default on the last airport, and knowing that PI contracts are meaningless from administration to administration? Only the very naive...the beat goes on... 

From the Bugle: Get your head out of the sand dear reader. Clark is not a "ready made base". It is a booming special economic zone that would be the envy of the struggling economies of the United States and Europe. In fact, they had to kick the Philippine military out of Clark and send them to Subic to make room for more investors. Subic, which sadly has largely failed as an economic zone, appears destined to be transformed into a military center that hosts joint-use Philippine bases and commercial military activity, such as in Singapore.  

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Becoming Nightclub Dancers is the Only Chance of Solving Unemployment

Comment from a reader on From AC website
Same as when the flips over reached and booted the Americans from Clark and Subic because they thought they could make more money doing it their way...losing billions in the process...the locals are determined to screw the pooch again, and will regret again the loss of income...the locals do not care about the many thousands of poor gals and support staff that will go jobless and homeless...unless THEY themselves intend to run the clubs or give them to the Koreans who are united on the learning/bribery curve...or maybe they think Angeles will ultimately become a Disneyland type tourist destination for Korean and Chinese families...fat chance...

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Is it reasonable extortion?

Comment from a reader on From AC website Fields Ave Clubs Warned of Foreclosure. The "No-Compliance" requirement does not, as one club owner suggests, need translation between the lines. It's blatantly saying that the city scabs want more of the clubs' revenues if they want to continue operation. And they suggest there'll be large numbers closed in 2015? Really, when the entertainment business provides 30 to 40% of city collections? Yeah, right! What may eventually happen is that many club owners wiil, as Dave Fisher did, move their enterprises to friendlier territory. We hope, if this occurs, that Angeles crime and scams don't take root in Barretto. 

From the Bugle: In all fairness, these businesses operate just on the margins of legality to begin with. If you ever get an official receipt, indicating that tax is being paid, in one of these nightclubs you might have a heart attack. The foreign managers usually don't have work permits, the foreign owners don't have legal title to the business, etc. etc. Of course the local officials are going to extort, just as they do to the nightclubs in Thailand, but the question is: is it reasonable extortion that allows the nightclubs to continue operating profitably? The fact that the extortion is linked to health checkups is admirable.

Monday, August 26, 2013

Rascals Overcharged My Friend 
Comment from a reader on Rascal comments
Had a friend go to Rascal's and was approached to buy a lady's drink, he asked how much. The reply was 150, so he said OK. He buys one more before paying his bill. He gets the bill they were 200 peso each, well of cause he complains but was no good. He pays his bill to never return again.

Sunday, August 25, 2013

100 Minutes: SCTEX Detour Woes

Comment from a reader: I drove up Friday and returned yesterday.  On Friday it took me 100 minutes to get to Mimosa to play golf; an extra 35-40 minutes. Coming back yesterday it was about the same.  It is a slow go from SCTEX to Clark with trucks hauling lahar, pot holes and road works that have closed one lane between the bridge and Friendship turn off.  The article below says they are going to put in a bailey bridge as a temporary replacement for light vehicles.  I hope they do, as a permanent fix won't be quick and it is not a fun drive now.

Saturday, August 24, 2013

Thailand Cracks Down on Overstaying Visitors

The overstayers at Chalong Police Station on Phuket today

European Phuket Expats Arrested for Overstaying: Deputy PM Warns of Visa Safety Checks

Saturday, August 24, 2013
PHUKET: Three European expats were arrested on Phuket today as the campaign against overstayers went into overdrive.

Two Frenchmen held by Immigration officers had been on Phuket since January but the third expat arrested, a Swiss man, had been living on the island without a visa update since December, 2010.

The arrests came at 10am at a petrol station in southern Phuket as Thailand's Deputy Prime Minister Pracha Promnok was briefing police from four top tourist provinces about the need for added security.

Extra checks already in place have been redoubled with the disppearance of 300 visa entry forms from the Thai Embassy in Kuala Lumpur.

The three men arrested today at a PTT petrol station in Chao Fa Road West, southern Phuket, are:

Damien Yann Minnig 31 from Switzerland, who arrived at Bangkok's Suvarnabhumi Airport on December 3, 2010, and whose visa expired on January 1, 2011;

Frank Georges Vincent Fechant 50 from France, who arrived via Phuket International Airport on January 19, 2013, and was due to leave before February 17;

Soulimant Loic Yves Bartholemy 23 from France, who arrived via Suvarnabhumi airport on January 24 and was due to leave on February 22.

The men were taken to Chalong Police Station for questioning. If standard proceedure is followed, they will appear in court at the first opportunity and be fined before being deported at their own expense.

The fine for overstaying in Thailand is 500 baht a day but the maximum fine is usually set at 20,000 baht.

Today Deputy Prime Minister Pracha told senior police and Immigration officers from four provinces - Phuket, Krabi, Phang Nga and Surat Thani, home to Samui and Phangan islands - that all foreigners are coming under greater scrutiny for the safety and protection of Thailand's tourists.

''Resorts will be expected to provide more thorough details about the movements of their guests,'' a large meeting of police heard on Phuket today.

Friday, August 23, 2013

30 Minutes Delay but Great Ribs

American Steel 10th02
Comment from a reader: I just made the drive from Clark to Subic, via the official detour. A few points:

1. With no traffic (I traveled after midnight) it is exactly an extra 30 minutes from the time you pull off at Clark South until the time you re-enter at Porac.
2. There are no signs pointing out the detour so it only works if you know your way. For those who have lived in the area a while and know the Friendship road, it is pretty simple. Just take Friendship to Porac and you'll see SCTEX signs.
3. New, smooth roads have been built in Porac to connect to the highway but they have been cut through remote areas. At night, it is a pretty long, dark, lonely stretch to get to the highway. No houses, no tricycles, no civilization at all. Don't stop for anyone.

In the rainy season, it is still better to take SCTEX from Clark to Subic and vice versa, rather than taking the old back road to Angeles, which has flooded areas and traffic. As for coming from Manila to Subic and vice versa, the extra 30 minutes should mean that the Olongapo-Gapan road, which is the more direct route, would be faster, but alas that road is still pretty screwed up. One heavy truck blocking the lane and you'll lose two hours.

The bottom line: Even broken, SCTEX is still better than the alternatives.

The good news: There is talk of putting up a temporary bailey bridge while the repair work is done. That would be the best solution though it will cause a traffic jam at times. Also good, the detour requires that you drive by O'Beavers, on Friendship, the best smokehouse north of Manila.

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

SCTEX bridge collapse needs investigation, not only repair
How did a five year old highway suffer a catastrophic failure such as this simply due to rain and erosion? The Subic Clark Tarlac Expressway was supposed to be the most modern highway in the Philippines. The highway cost nearly a billion dollars to build (34.9 billion pesos) with 78 percent of the cost funded by a loan from the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA). The Subic to Clark segment was built by Kajima-Obayashi-JFE Engineering-Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, Inc. The involvement of JICA and the Japanese contractor was supposed to be a safeguard against the corruption that in endemic, particularly in the province of Pampanga (home to such colossal scams as the FVR megadike and the Expo Centennial). Regular users of the highway have seen it gradually disentregrate since it opened in 2008. Supports holding back landslide areas erode every rain season. Potholes and uneven pavement are regular fixtures. Much of the highway is under nealry constant repair or "reblocking" as it is called locally. Did JICA do a post-project evaluation of the construction quality of the highway? For those familiar with public works corruption in the Philippines, SCTEX shows familiar symptoms. Erosion and potholes during rainy seasons are common indicators that substandard aggregate was used during construction in order to syphon off funds. There is no evidence, as far as we know, that this took place but being as the Philippines is still paying off a loan for hundreds of millions of pesos, they should enlist the cooperation of JICA and the Japanese contractor in a careful investigation of whether this highway was built to the standards called for in the original specifications.

Friday, August 16, 2013

DFA: Subic will not be a US military base

Official answers from the Philippine Department of Foreign Affairs on the increased US military presence in the country. Note questions 18 and 20 about Subic. Carefully worded responses that create more questions than answers.

16 August 2013

Proposed increased rotational presence (IRP) Framework Agreement, Mutual Defense Treaty (MDT) and the Visiting Forces Agreement (VFA)

1.    What is increased rotational presence (IRP)?

Increased Rotational Presence is the policy which increases the presence of United States (US) forces on a rotational basis in Philippine territory towards the development of a minimum credible defense posture.

2.    What is involved in IRP?

A minimum credible defense posture is intended to enhance maritime domain awareness and develop a deterrence capability. This can be accomplished through high-impact and high-value joint exercises which promote interoperability and capacity building that will also bolster humanitarian assistance and disaster response.

3.    How many troops will be allowed? How long will these troops be allowed to be stationed in the Philippines?

The number of troops and areas where they will be deployed depend on the scale of operations which we will approve. The IRP Framework Agreement does not deal with operational details.

4.    Where will they be stationed?

We are not talking about stationing. We are talking about presence in relation to activities and these activities will be held in AFP-owned or controlled facilities or areas.

5.    Will the IRP Framework Agreement allow the US to store weapons of mass destruction and armed drones in the country?

No. We will comply with the constitutional prohibition against nuclear weapons. If we suspect or believe that a vessel or aircraft has a nuclear weapon, we will deny entry.

6.    Is the IRP Framework Agreement like the deployment of US Special Forces in Mindanao?

No. This unit, the Joint Special Operations Task Force-Philippines (JSOTF-P), has a specific function. It was brought to the country after September 2001, at the request of the Philippine Government, to advise and assist the AFP in countering terrorism. The IRP Framework Agreement, on the other hand, addresses the current thrust of the AFP which is external defense.

7.    How is the proposed IRP Framework Agreement different from the existing MDT with the US and the VFA?

The IRP Framework Agreement is already within the ambit of the existing MDT and VFA. By this IRP Framework Agreement, we are merely institutionalizing a fuller and more effective implementation of the MDT and VFA.

8.    What is the Visiting Forces Agreement (VFA)?

VFA is a status of forces agreement. It basically states that US forces in the Philippines has to follow Philippine law. US forces have to adhere to behavior that is consistent with Philippine law.

9.    Why do you need an IRP Framework Agreement when you have the MDT and VFA?

MDT and VFA do not list the activities which the Philippines and US will do. The IRP Framework Agreement lists and defines these activities.

10. Will the IRP Framework Agreement, if signed, provide a blanket authority for all activities of the US troops in the future?

No. Each activity under the IRP Framework Agreement will have to be approved by the Philippine side.

11. Will the IRP Framework Agreement replace the existing VFA and the MDT?

No. The proposed IRP Framework Agreement will be an implementation of the MDT with the United States, particularly its Article II on working together more effectively to build the two countries’ individual defense capabilities. The proposed agreement will be covered by the VFA which grants status to US troops.

12. Will the US come to the defense of the Philippines when attacked?

The US has, time and again, stated that it will honor its commitments under the MDT.

13. If, for example, a Philippine vessel is harassed by a foreign vessel, how will the MDT come into play?

We cannot respond to a hypothetical situation because it would reveal operational details that would affect our national security.

14. Is this proposed IRP Framework Agreement constitutional?

Yes. The proposed IRP Framework Agreement will be consistent with the Philippine Constitution, Philippine laws and Philippine treaty commitments. The Philippine negotiating panel will ensure full respect of Philippine sovereignty.

15. Does the proposed IRP Framework Agreement need Senate concurrence?

We are cognizant of what constitutes an executive agreement and a treaty. The Philippine negotiating panel will confine the substance of the proposed framework agreement to an executive agreement.

Benefits of the proposed IRP Framework Agreement

16. What are the specific benefits of the proposed IRP Framework Agreement?

The specific benefits will include acceleration of the modernization of the AFP, inter-operability, capacity building and enhanced capability for humanitarian assistance and disaster response.

Proposed IRP Framework Agreement and basing

17. According to some interest groups, the increased rotational presence of the US in the country is tantamount to having de facto bases. Is this true?

 No de facto bases or any kind of bases. The Philippine negotiating panel will be totally guided by the provisions of the Philippine Constitution which explicitly prohibits the establishment of foreign bases on Philippine territory.

18. Will the United States use Subic Bay as its new base of operations?

No. There will be no US bases in the Philippines.

19. Are the discussions with the US on the IRP Framework Agreement related to the proposed relocation of the Philippine Air Force (PAF) and Philippine Navy (PN) to Subic?

With or without talks on the IRP Framework Agreement, the DND and AFP is strengthening its defense capabilities in Subic which remains a strategic location. The discussions with the US on IRP Framework Agreement are separate from the proposed relocation of the PAF and PN to Subic.

20. So if the AFP will already be in Subic, why do you still need the US there?

In terms of modernization, the US rotational presence will maximize the resources we are providing to upgrade our defense.

21. Is the Philippines inviting other countries for a similar arrangement?

Even as the Philippines would like to expand its defense cooperation with like-minded countries, the IRP Framework Agreement would be limited to the Philippines and the United States.

Proposed IRP Framework Agreement and external threats

22. Will the proposed IRP Framework Agreement help thwart external threats?

The modernization efforts of the AFP have for its primary objective the attainment of minimum credible defense posture. As provided in the Constitution, the AFP’s mandate is to protect the territory and sovereignty of the country. All the programs to be implemented by the DND and the AFP, including the negotiations with the US for a proposed IRP Framework Agreement, are primarily geared to defend what is ours, secure the nation and keep our people safe.

23. How do we envision the future of our defense cooperation with the US?

We will strengthen our capabilities for external and territorial defense by continuing to work with our treaty ally in a mutually beneficial way in line with what is allowed by the Philippine Constitution.

24. Will the Philippines be a magnet for trouble due to the implementation of the IRP Framework Agreement and increased presence of US troops?

If one is better prepared, external elements that have ill intentions will tend to think twice.

25. Is the Philippines preparing for war?

No. Article II of the Philippine Constitution specifically renounces war as an instrument of national policy. It is, however, the expressed duty of the Government to defend what is ours, secure our nation and keep our people safe.

26. Is the IRP Framework Agreement directed at a particular country in the region?

No. The IRP Framework Agreement prepares us from any and all forces which may bear ill intentions towards us.

27. How will the IRP Framework Agreement affect bilateral relations with China?

It should not affect relations with China.

28. Why should the Filipinos support the IRP Framework Agreement?

It will take us many years to bring us to the level of modernization that we seek for our AFP. With the support of all Filipinos, the IRP Framework Agreement will significantly help the country to temporarily fill that gap. All Filipinos should unite for a stronger Philippines.  END

Philippines United States Base Sharing Talks Begin

Okay... what do we have to do to get Subic back?

Monday, August 12, 2013

Busted in Santa Monica


 WHAT IT TOOK | 5 months' surveillance, teamwork behind P2-B shabu haul in Subic
By: Philippines News Agency
August 12, 2013 8:34 PM

MANILA - Teamwork among several agencies and five months of painstaking joint surveillance, along with the political will to rid a vital economic zone of illegal drugs: these were behind the mind-boggling haul of 400 kilos of shabu seized by authorities Sunday, with an estimated worth of P2 billion.

The shabu was of high grade, according to authorities who conducted an inventory Monday.

The Philippine National Police-Anti Illegal Drugs Special Operations Task Force (PNP-AIDSOTF) and Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) arrested six people, led by a Filipino-Chinese man, caught loading them in a parked van in Subic, Zambales.

Task force commander Senior Supt. Bartolome Tobias led the raid at Block 10 Lot 5 and 7 in Sta. Monica Subdivision on Sunday afternoon.

Tobias identified the suspects as Joselito Esqueta, resident of Pasay City; Coronel Disierto 33, also from of Pasay City; Emmanuel Erwin Tobias, from Pasay and Dennis Domingo form Antipolo City .

The police confiscated two balikbayan boxes and 22 travelling bags containing the shabu ---with a total weight of more or less 400 kgs. They also seized a white Nizzan urban with plate number XBX507.

Tobias said that during the police operation, group leader Albert Chin of Mendez, Cavite tried to elude arrest but was pursued and arrested by elements of Special Operation Unit 3 along Florida Blanca exit in Pampanga.

Authorities also arrested his driver-body guard, Romeo Manalo of Naic, Cavite.

They also confiscated a color black Toyota Innova and one kg of suspected shabu.

Tobias said the operation was a collaboration by the AIDSOTF former task commander Napoleon Taas, PNP Firearms and Explosives Office head Chief Superintendent Raul Petrasanta, Senior Superintendent Eduardo Acierto, Don Montenegro of the PNP Directorate for Investigation and Detective Management, the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency, Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority and  the Bureau of Customs Intelligence and Investigation Service.

The raid, which also sought to stop the entry of drugs via SBMA, came after five months of joint surveillance during which law enforcers managed to embed an undercover agent inside the group.

PNP Chief Director General Alan Purisima lauded the police operations. “This is a testament to [the willingness to] serve our country and our people. The most important aspect of this operation is that we were able to prevent the distribution of these illegal drugs to the streets of Metro Manila and nearby areas and eventually save many people from harm, people that include our children, relatives and friends.”

Purisima congratulated AIDSOTF and PDEA, adding that "this significant accomplishment only proves once again that no amount of challenges will ever bring down a solid and dedicated police organization that is the PNP.”


Sunday, August 11, 2013

Formal Talks Begin to Expand United States Military Presence in the Philippines

Statement of The Hon. ALBERT F. DEL ROSARlO at the Media Briefing to announce the start of negotiations on the PH (DND) - US (DoD) Framework Agreement on increased Rotational Presence

AFP Commissioned Officers Club, Camp Aguinaldo, 12 August 2013

Secretary Voltaire T. Gazmin, members of the Philippine Negotiating Panel, fellow workers in government, our dear friends in media, good-morning.

It is a distinct honor to be with you here today. I would like to thank Secretary Gazmin for bringing us together and hosting all of us. Please let me tell you that it will always be a privilege for the DFA to work with the DND and AFP.

I say this as, at the frontlines of ensuring the security of our people and the territorial integrity of our nation. It lies in the essential partnership between diplomacy and defense.

If we are to secure our people and our nation, we would need to strengthen both diplomacy and defense.

Some time ago, we developed a policy and arrived at an understanding with the United States, our treaty ally, on increased rotational presence.

This week, diplomacy and defense will once again intersect to secure our nation. This week will mark the start of our negotiations with the United States to institutionalize this policy of increased rotational presence through a framework agreement.

For Philippine diplomacy, this raises our already deep and historic strategic relations with a key partner to even greater heights.  By highlighting our treaty commitments under our Mutual Defense Treaty and the Visiting Forces Agreement, we serve to keep our region stable and secure.

Through increased rotational presence, we can moreover expect:

·         That modernization can begin even before we are able to purchase the necessary defense systems;

·         That deterrence can be enhanced even before modernization;

·         That maritime security and maritime domain awareness will be given a boost even before we have ships and aircraft that we need;

·         That even before we have the advanced hardware we wish for, we will know how to operate and maintain them; and,  equally important,

·         That our ability to provide our people and the region with timely and responsive humanitarian and disaster relief will be vastly improved.

Our Philippine negotiators have been given parameters that require them to ensure that our Constitution and laws are fully respected. They have been tasked to ensure that Philippine interests are preserved and promoted.

They have also been tasked to keep your goodselves, our public and Congress informed. Last week, Secretary Gazmin and l formally advised Congress of these negotiations. We committed to brief them after every round of negotiations.  The Philippine Panel will also brief media after every round and make themselves available for media queries.

Ladies and Gentlemen:

Transparency is extremely important in these negotiations. Our people need to know that our laws are observed and our interests are protected at all times.

Our region would also need to know that we are steadfastly for peace; but that we stand ready to tap every resource, to call on every alliance, to do what is necessary in order to defend what is ours, to secure our nation and to keep our people safe.

Thank you for your kind attention.

Thursday, August 8, 2013

Moving Manila's Traffic and Congestion to Clark

Welcome to Clark

The state-owned Bases Conversion and Development Authority (BCDA) said the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) Board Committee on Infrastructure (Infracom) has given its seal of approval for the development of some 36,000 hectares in the Clark Freeport and Special Economic Zone into a new city half the size of Metro Manila.

BCDA President and CEO Arnel Paciano D. Casanova said the NEDA Infracom, chaired by Socioeconomic Planning Secretary and NEDA Director-General Arsenio Balisacan, has agreed to endorse the Clark Green City Master Development Plan to President Benigno S. Aquino III for final approval.

“We are very pleased that NEDA Infracom has approved our plans for Clark Green City, and hope that President Aquino will approve the project. This [project] promises to be one of the most important destinations not just in Central Luzon, but the country as a whole, for local and international residents, locators and investors,” Casanova added.

He said once President Aquino approves the Clark Green City Master Development Plan, BCDA can start the disposition and development of the property by next year.

Casanova added the development of the Clark Green City is expected to contribute in attracting investments, generating more jobs, boosting the economy and sustaining inclusive growth.
“Once at full development, Clark Green City would generate approximately P1.57 trillion per year to the economy of the country,” Casanova said. He added that jobs that will be generated will reach 925,000 jobs.

He said by developing the area which is at the moment idle land, BCDA would be able to unlock the value of the land that will benefit not only people in Central Luzon but in the rest of the country as well. He added that development of Clark Green City will generate inclusive growth because Clark Green City will provide opportunities for everyone.

Casanova noted at the heart of the 36,000-hectare property is a 9,450-hectare metropolis. “We will start by developing 1,321 hectares for the first phase,” he said

According to Casanova an approximate P59 billion will be used for the first five years of development. He clarified that the bulk of the development cost will be shouldered by the private sector since the mode of development will be through Public-Private-Partnership (PPP).

Casanova said Clark Green City is the first project of this magnitude that will be undertaken in the history of the country. “Not only are we building a new city, we are building the most modern city in the entire country,” he said.

He added that Clark Green City will also play a major role in decongesting Metro Manila not to mention sustain the country’s economic growth.

Casanova noted that Clark Green City will completely revolutionize the way people live, work and interact. “It will be a place where one’s home, place of work, and places of recreation are within walking or biking distances from each other. It will be a place where everyone is connected by both culture and technology. And with sustainability as number one priority in building the city, it is truly designed with future generations in mind,” Casanova said.

Casanova also said that the project will also serve as a showcase of what the country can offer in terms of urban planning and sustainable development.

“With the trend in building sustainable and modern cities in major countries across the world, through Clark Green City, we will be able to show our neighbors that the Philippines can likewise make a huge step in modern, sustainable development,” he said.

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Anatomy of a Manila taxi robbery


Much as I want to share the good news, I believe you need to read this. My daughter was nearly victimized by a modus operandi yesterday night but she wasn’t because the scene sounded so familiar. As the surreal incident unfolded, she slowly planned her escape. I used to think this stuff happens only in forwarded emails where I can’t verify the truth of the content. Turns out one of these forwarded notes or emails have some truth.

I learned to let go of my two adult daughters as early as college but totally letting go once they graduated. My girls got to use the public transportation system only in college. By that time, I learned to let go of worry. I am aware of the dangers and risks in our transport system but I didn’t want them to live in a perpetual cloak of fear. During their pre-college years, it was either me or the driver that brought them to school or any destination in Manila. It was easier to control their activities when they were younger since they were a bit obedient in those days with limited social life to boot.

My only request from my girls are SMS updates and be safe and responsible. Not a small feat to ask.

I was expecting my daughter to be at the MRT station in Megamall at 8:30 PM but it was taking her some time. I dragged my husband to drive for me since I was so tired. She sent me a text message, that indicated the plate number of the cab. It is normal practice for my girls to take down the plate number. I pray to high heavens for a blanket of protection to my girls as they commute or drive.

Before I could reply, she called me:”Mom, I nearly got victimized from a modus operandi but nothing was taken from me.

I am here at the Makati Public Safety Authority (MAPSA) outpost near Cash and Carry. Please pick me up here”.

Glad that she was safe, I am thankful that she left the taxicab during a traffic stop.

When we picked her up at the nearby KFC restaurant, the first thing she told us “I read this facebook note about a modus operandi and felt it was going to happen to me..”

Here is that facebook note:

    From:mary ruth causing [mailto:causingmaryruth@ ...]
    Sent: Thursday, October 09, 2008 10:59 PM
    To: mary ruth causing
    Subject: Warning of a Modus Operandi

    Dear friends,

    I’d like to share a story of what happened to me last Monday, October 6, which appears to be a modus operandi done by people with criminal intentions. My purpose for sharing this with you is to forewarn you of such incidents so that you may keep yourselves safe.

    At about a quarter to 7 in the evening, last Monday, I left the office and walked out of Tektite building towards San Miguel Avenue , Ortigas, to ride a cab. It was just right after a brief drizzle, so the roads were almost empty of cars and people, although it was still a bit early. I’m accustomed to going home by myself if I feel like it, and riding cabs without any problems for the longest time.

    I was walking along Exchange Road in front of our building, and have already crossed Pearl Drive , when I saw a cab slowly cruising along Exchange Road from San Miguel Avenue . It was an old, a bit dilapidated, white (seemingly) Toyota Corolla, with a yellow-lighted “taxi” on the roof, with black scrawl of the taxi’s “name” on the side (I didn’t notice the name written there). It didn’t have any passengers on board and I thought it a bit odd that a passenger-less cab would be coming from San Miguel Avenue towards Tektite at a time when taxis are supposedly full. I was more accustomed to seeing taxis with no passengers coming from Pearl Drive towards Tektite on its way out back towards EDSA or in the opposite direction of C-5. But it didn’t quite get to me. I was tired and needed to go home to rest. I just thought that the driver was trying to get passengers.

    I flagged down the slow moving taxi and got in. I said I was going towards EDSA, so the cab went its usual familiar route of rounding the one-way Exchange Road , out to San Miguel Avenue , left to Megamall, and right towards EDSA. I normally would text Tony of the plate number of the taxi, but at that time, I didn’t. I normally would check the locks of the car doors, but this time, I only locked the ones on the front and back passenger seats (right side, because I saw that the left side door was locked). Everything was normal, except that
    it was still going its slow pace. The driver was a slim-built, middle-aged man, with balding head (some hairs on the side), wore a baseball cap and a worn-out but decent white polo jacket.

    Near the foot of the flyover towards Ortigas Avenue and EDSA, he requested me in a kindly manner to please move to the other end of the passenger seat because “ma-fla-flat na po yung gulong ko. Spare lang yan e.” where I was sitting. I was sitting at the right side of the passenger seat at the back, and promptly moved to the left side. I was even able to converse with him, saying “a ganun ba? Hindi ba delikado yun na tumatakbo tayo sa EDSA na pa-flat na gulong n’yo?” “Hindi po, malapit lang naman po kayo, di ba? Kaya pa po yun,” he smilingly said. And, all along, we were slowly moving across the flyover at EDSA. After the flyover, he slowly veered towards the inner side of the yellow lane, but I thought it was because “inaalalayan niya yung sasakyan.”

    When the taxi crossed the gate of Corinthian Gardens , it further slowed down, and I saw from afar two men seemingly waiting for a bus. When the taxi neared the two men, they gestured towards the taxi, and it suddenly dawned on me that this could be a hold-up. I initially tried getting the lock of the door to my side open, and was stricken by horror that it didn’t budge. It seemed to be jammed (or perhaps child-locked, on hindsight). And the horror of horrors happened. The taxi stopped by the two men, and the driver announced, “‘wag ka gagawa ng iskandalo, hold-up ‘to,” and promptly opened the locked doors on the right side doors of the front and back passenger seats. Everything went fast.

    The two men briskly went in, one at the front passenger seat, the other beside me on my right. I thought in horror “this can’t be happening to me!” All I can scream was “ay! ay! Diyos ko! Diyos ko!” The driver said to the two men, “wag n’yong sasaktan ‘yan, mabait si ma’am.” And, to me, “pera lang ang kailangan namin. Hindi ka masasaktan kung susundin mo kami.” One of the two men was also middle-aged, slim-built, with balding hair. The other was younger, about in his mid- to late-twenties, gaunt-looking, with high cheek bones, with a thick head of hair. He struck me as someone who was taking drugs.

    The next two hours were a gruelling ordeal. They rummaged through my bag and got my money, ATM and credit cards, cellphones, and my jewelry, including my wedding ring. They gave back my bag and wallet, though, but without the money and the cards. We spent the hours going around EDSA from Kamuning to Quezon Avenue , stopping at banks where one of the men went to the ATM machines to try and get cash from my savings ATM and credit cards. They didn’t let me out of the taxi to do the transactions. While one man did the transactions at the ATMs, the taxi kept going round and round the Kamuning and Quezon Avenue u-turns. They took away my glasses so that I can’t see where we’re going. But I was familiar with the places we passed – Timog Avenue , Agham Road , near the Napocor area, and back again to EDSA to go to the ATMs for transactions. They pressed me for the PIN of the credit cards, but I didn’t memorize them, but gave them some numbers that I’m not even sure of.

    Towards the end, they were pissed off because they couldn’t get through the credit cards, and I was afraid that they’d do me in. But, in the end, they let me go, the driver warning me sternly, “wag kang lilingon sa kaliwa o kanan. Dire-direcho lang, kung hindi, babarilin talaga kita.” They gave a 100 peso bill “pamasahe para makauwi.” They dropped me off at Agham Road , near the Philippine Children’s Medical Center (formerly Lungsod ng Kabataan) at about 9:30 p.m. There was no one in sight, another light drizzle has already passed.
    One of the men accompanied me out of the taxi, pushed me forward, and ran back to the taxi. That’s when I ran and ran towards Quezon Avenue until I boarded a jeepney at a stop light. The kindly jeepney driver motioned me to a mobile police patrol when we passed by one, and I finally came to the police precinct at Kamuning EDSA to tell my tale. I didn’t even get to see the taxi’s plate number.

    They informed me there that that has been a modus operandi of these criminal elements, plying the route of Quezon Avenue , Timog, Agham, even Kamuning areas. They also would give some money for “pamasahe.” They would say it’s for a sick wife, etc.

    I have talked to some employees of a company in the Ortigas area who fell victim to the same modus operandi. Same taxi, same description of the driver, same alibi about a flat tire, requesting the passenger to move to the left side of the passenger seat, where the door’s lock is jammed. Same giving of the 100 peso bill at the end of the hold-up. Last December, an employee rode the dubious taxi at SM Megamall at about 9 p.m. and the hold-up was announced when some men boarded the taxi at Star Mall. The person was held-up until 11 p.m. The other, with the person’s 6-year old child, boarded the taxi at the Robinson’s Galleria and was also held-up by men who went inside the taxi. I myself, boarded the taxi near where I work, imagine that. And, the security guards were just a few meters away.

    Please be forewarned of this modus operandi. We’re facing harder times, and December is nearing. Take extra care, friends. As for me, I believe it was the prayers that helped me. All throughout the ordeal, my Savior was there, guiding me in what to say or do so as not to aggravate the situation until freedom came. They didn’t touch or harm me. Praise God!

    God bless us,

There are some similarities to the above facebook note except that she was able to escape. Some notes she told me:

1. The taxi cab was old . The driver was also older older than us.

2. The driver kept telling sordid details about rape victims. He found delight in conveying rape stories.

3. He told her to move to the right side because he wanted to check if a piece of paper was below her seat. He told her to bend and search for that “imaginary paper” below the seat. She refused to move and left the cab during traffic stop.

There is more but it is sick and perverted. You know the drift?

It was at this point that she chose to leave the cab and reported the incident to the MAPSA.

There is one good thing that happened in this incident. She met Field Inspector Renato Escotido who assisted her with the police report. Apparently this modus operandi indeed occurs.

It pays to read some of this forwarded notes or email about modus operandi. Who knows it could be true?

You are reading it from me, a mom that you know.

My daughter’s advice:

1. If it feels funny, it is probably is. Trust your instincts.

2. Huwag ka na mahiya . Don’t look back to pay the cab. Just leave .

3. Look for police or traffic outpost to report incident.

4. Taxi drivers have no right to interrogate you about your life. Stick to politics or current events.

(Will update soon as we get back from the Land Transportation Franchising & Regulatory Board LTFRB)

Safety Tips when taking a Taxi

Report abusive taxi drivers to the LTFRB Hotline (0921) 448-7777 or the Department of Transportation and Communications (DOTC) Hotline 7890.

1. Send an SMS to a friend/family member, noting the taxi’s plate number, as soon as you get in.

2. Always sit in the back and keep your belongings right beside you. Also, make sure all doors are locked.

3. Keep to general conversation with the driver. Never disclose personal information.

4. Watch out for sleep-deprived drivers. If you feel uncomfortable, ask the driver to stop in a busy familiar area and immediately get out of the taxi.

5. Make it a point to familiarize yourself with your destination by looking at a map or asking directions from someone familiar with the place. Advise the taxi driver in advance not to take shortcuts and stick to major roads, especially at night. If the driver insists on taking his own route, get out at the earliest opportunity.

6. Never share a taxi with strangers.

George Dewey High School Reunion

DAYTONA BEACH — Where do you hold high school reunions when the school you attended on a naval base in the Philippines became rundown not long after a volcanic eruption left it covered in ash?

Anywhere you want.

"Anybody who ever went to George Dewey, we invite," said Marlon Urbano, one of the organizers of Saturday afternoon's East Coast reunion, held in Daytona Beach.

George Dewey High School was a school of about 500 students located on U.S. Naval Base Subic Bay. In June 1991, the eruption of Mount Pinatubo, located about 20 miles from the school, left the area covered in ash. After the Subic Bay base was reverted back to the control of the Philippine government, many military families returned to the U.S.

As far as many alumni know, their alma mater has been abandoned with overgrown grass around it.

"It saddens us that our school is in disarray," said Sarah Bass, 47, of Winston-Salem, N.C.

Those at the reunion, held at City Island Park, said there have been a few attempts to try and organize a reunion in the Philippines, but with most of them living in the U.S. it's easier to keep the reunions stateside. They said a large number of George Dewey attendees now live in California, but with some of them living in Florida, an East Coast reunion group was started. The first East Coast reunion was held in Jacksonville last year.

"Those of us who went to a school like that, there's a certain bond we have with each other," said 51-year-old Cheryl Cabbage Stanbro, one of the organizers.

Stanbro, who lives in Brandon, and a few others reflected on what it was like growing up in the Philippines.

For many military families, the economy allowed them to have their own maid and, oftentimes, their own seamstress.

Urbano, 52, of Jacksonville, remembers he could usually point to an item in an American clothing catalogue and the seamstress would recreate it.

Though the reunions are held stateside, the group recreates as much as they can from the place where they went to high school, including bringing traditional Filipino dishes. Available this year was lumpia, the Filipino version of egg rolls, pancit, a noodle dish with vegetables, and halo halo, a dessert made from a mixture of shaved ice, sweetened evaporated milk and sweet fruits and beans.

"Imagine (halo halo) was your treat on the beach," said 48-year-old Rowena Preszler, of Riverview, one of the organizers.

The group also tries to maintain a casual atmosphere reflective of the time they spent in the Philippines.

Urbano organized last year's reunion in Jacksonville and said the goal for this year, like last year, was to keep things as cheap as they could, making it easier for people from all over the East Coast to attend.

"A typical reunion has a banquet and you've got to pay all this money upfront," Urbano said. "We didn't want to do that."

Even alumni from Midwestern states made it to Daytona Beach for the reunion.

"You have something in common that most people don't understand," said 50-year-old Diane Pike of Madison, Wis.

Even if they didn't graduate the same year, the alumni said it's easy to make friends with each other after all these years because of the unique experience they share.

"It's a small world -- the military," Urbano said.

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Barretto 7-11 to close

The bad news is the Barretto 7-11 will in fact close as scheduled mid-September. But since it is one of the busiest stores in the Olongapo chain it will reopen in a larger space. It will be located on the same side of the street in the Toucan bar area of the barrio.

Monday, August 5, 2013

Corrupt officials?

Ocean Adventure owner sues SBMA chair

by Randy V. Datu

SUBIC BAY FREEPORT, Philippines – An American businessman and theme park owner in this freeport has filed a case before the Ombudsman against Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority (SBMA) Chairman Roberto Garcia for allegedly "masterminding" attacks against his company.

Timothy Desmond, chair and CEO of Subic Bay Marine Exploratorium Inc. (SBMEI), which operates the Ocean Adventure marine park, filed the case before the Office of the Ombudsman in Luzon.

In his complaint, Desmond said the SBMA chief was behind "false accusations of non-performance" that resulted in loss of investor confidence in his company and damaged its reputation.

Desmond said SBMEI also now "runs the risk of loan default and invalidation of its business insurances" and its employees are being put out of work and illegally detained.

Desmond claimed that Garcia appeared to be coddling corrupt officials of the SBMA.

"We brought the conduct of several of them to his attention with well documented instances of malfeasance. Our hopes, however, were dashed when he aligned himself with these unscrupulous persons rather than taking disciplinary action. We earned his ire by not letting the damage of his inaction be swept under the rug," Desmond's complaint read.

"The situation developed into an all-out campaign to put us out of business with the imposition of Common Use Service Area (CUSA) fees," it added.

Desmond said he was "the most vocal and leading oppositor" of CUSA fees. He said such fees were beyond SMBA's power to impose and were "a blatant violation" of the existing lease agreement between SBMEI and SBMA.

Garcia previously said that CUSA fees were necessary to recover the cost of municipal services such as street cleaning, street lighting, fire fighting and law enforcement inside the free port.

He said stiff fines and penalties would be imposed on locators who would not pay the fees, such as the cancelation of their certificates of registration and tax exemption, effectively shutting down their businesses.

As of the moment, Garcia has not issued a statement in response to the charges filed against him.

Desmond claimed that Garcia singled out his company for opposing to pay CUSA fees. He said Garcia, in a meeting with Ocean Park officials on January 18, offered to support SBMEI on the issue of land friction cost if the company, in turn, supported the imposition of CUSA fees.

He said in his complaint: "Garcia categorically stated that if we want our issue on the land friction cost supported by SBMA, we should reverse our opposition on the CUSA. He likewise stated that the CUSA was his pet project and that any opposition to it will be treated commensurately. We argued that we can not bring the CUSA issue on the table together with the Land Friction cost because we sincerely felt that the CUSA is illegal for being in violation of our Lease Agreement and a veiled taxation on the locators which is beyond SBMA’s authority to impose. We requested him to let the judicial process handle/settle the CUSA issue. "

According to the affidavits included in the complaint, Garcia told him, “No, we deal with things holistically. We are aligned on everything or none at all.”

In addition, Desmond said Garcia stated in that meeting that a lot of “people in Malacañang are upset about the dolphin situation” in Ocean Park and that "we could have trouble with our next import of dolphins."

"He made it clear that unless we backed down on our CUSA lawsuit we would get nothing from SBMA," Desmond said. –

Sunday, August 4, 2013

Filipino food craze

Behold Halo-Halo, the Filipino Dessert That's Taking Over New York City


Okay, nothing is really going to beat the cronut. We know that. But, in all seriousness, Filipino food has swiftly become one of the sexiest cuisines in the country, thanks in part to its takeover of New York City and the fact that, well, Filipino cuisine relies on pork—one of the two things in life that makes me believe there is a higher power (Beyoncé is the other) we must all answer to.

Filipino restaurants in New York City — namely, Maharlika, Pig and Khao, and Jeepney — have all found spots in The New York Times's Dining section and have been reviewed favorably by the Gray Lady's critics. The Spotted Pig, a darling in the food world, recently hosted a Filipino night. And for the past year, experts have been saying Filipino food is the next big thing. So it comes as no surprise that there seems to be an interest in the distinctly Filipino dessert known as halo-halo (pronounced like hah-low rather than hay-low; it means "mix" in Tagalog).

Let me come clean here and risk being disowned by my family by saying that I am not the biggest fan of halo-halo. I hated it as a child. Today, I think it's a fine dessert, but there are better Filipino desserts out there (I still cannot fathom putting beans into a dessert...we'll get to this in a bit). I'd rather have leche flan, the Filipino take on flan, and would, in fact, break my own jaw for some right now. Brazo de mercedes, a rolled cake made with egg whites and egg yolks, and bibingka, a rice cake, I think are also much better.

With that disclaimer out of the way, here is your guide to all things halo-halo.

Some desserts, like the cronut (although it is a breakfast pastry, it is fried and frosted, which really makes it a dessert), are lauded for their refinement and go about satisfying your tastebuds in a surgical manner. If the dessert world were tennis, those precious French pastries would be like Roger Federer—utterly refined, effortless, and delicate. Halo-halo, on the other hand, would be more like the physical behemoths that are Rafael Nadal and Serena Williams—instead of seducing your taste buds with style and delicacy, it obliterates them with muscle and force.

Anthony Bourdain does not kid about food. But, yes, that's part of the reason I didn't like it when I was a kid: halo-halo looks like an ice cream sundae, but tastes nothing like one. Over the years, I found out that you (at your own risk) can get versions of halo-halo without beans, or even with jackfruit. Sometimes the fruit changes. Sometimes the ice cream flavors change. And that's sort of the beauty of halo-halo—you can put anything you want in it, but the base stays the same—shaved ice, ice cream (purple yam), fresh fruit, some kind of jelly-like object, some kind of crunchy object like Rice Krispies, and milk or evaporated milk.

Serious Eats's Brooke Porter has a good rundown of three kinds of halo-halo being served in New York City, detailing one restaurant, Talde, that uses Cap'n Crunch cereal while another, Pig & Khao, incorporates caramelized plantains. Porter explains:

Halo-halo is traditionally served in layers in a cup or bowl: First comes a hodgepodge of ingredients that can range from red beans and cocoa to fresh fruit, followed by a healthy scoop of shaved ice. This is all topped with evaporated milk, leche flan, ube(purple yam) ice cream, caramelized plantains, and strands of macapuno (coconut).

Sorry. I'm still not convinced.

I don't really blame you. Neither do the chefs who make them. "I'm not sure why people order it. If I heard the description, I would think it wouldn't taste good at all. It's definitely not for everybody," chef Dale Talde, who makes the Cap' N Crunch version, told Porter. In learning to love halo-halo, I've learned that one of the big reasons people like it is that, in spite of the bevy ingredients that go into making one of these bizarro parfaits, it's actually a pretty light dessert.

I realize that isn't exactly the best shill for halo-halo. And you're going to have to be okay with that. The truth is, not everyone is going to love it, and though the chefs who are making their own versions would like lines like the one that swivels around the block for cronuts, it's hard to see that happening for halo-halo. Still, you should at least try it — or else risk missing out on New York's latest foodie craze.

Reprinted from Atlantic wire

Saturday, August 3, 2013

Mind Over Money

The Bugle from time to time gets some of his financial device from the Motley Fool.  For those not familiar with them you can just head on over to and check them out.  One of their recent newsletters had an interesting article within that some of the retirees in our local area might be interested in so I took the liberty to post it here,

     Need another reason besides cold, hard cash to push off retirement? A new study by a French governmental health agency reveals that delaying retirement can help keep dementia at bay. The study found that for each additional year near-retirees continue to work, the risk of getting dementia drops by 3.2%. Researchers studied more than 400,000 retired French workers with an average age of 74 who had been retired for an average of 12 years. They found that workers who retired at 65 had a 15% lower risk of developing dementia compared with someone who retired at 60. So if you’re closing in on retirement, remember that working longer can bring important mental-health benefits, too!

Funny to say that the Bugle agrees with the French but in this case I guess keeping busy might just be good for us all.

Friday, August 2, 2013

Grand opening Saturday night

We stopped in Alaska last night. Some changes. The pool table in back room is gone. The bar has been moved into that room. Where the bar once was in the main room more customer tables have been added. There is an additional dance floor for the ladies. A bunch of antlers have been added to the walls. Deer, elk, moose? Not sure. The CR's are exactly the same and beer is P80.   

Thursday, August 1, 2013

SM Olongapo elevator girl goes viral

A video of a "funny" yet dedicated elevator attendant is making the rounds online, drawing laughter among netizens and also inspiring Filipino workers.
The video, posted by a certain Dave Pronto on the video-sharing site YouTube, shows a perky SM City Olongapo elevator attendant identified as Cheridel Alejandrino patiently informing the passengers of establishments found at a specific floor.
She is also seen greeting every elevator passenger, even singing at one point.
The video has inspired many viewers, drawing various positive comments. As of posting time, the video has been viewed over 62,000 times.
"I smiled and cried while watching this video.. u need not to have a high paying job para maging masaya at makuntento.. just being greatful and enjoying what you have is a wealth that many people fail to see these days... IN EVERYTHING GIVE THANKS FOR THIS IS THE WILL OF GOD.. God bless you miss," said YouTube user huffle32 in her comment.

Internet Blues

A reader from the freeport sent this in and asked us to get the word out.

Welcome to Subic Bay Freeport, where you only have to pay double for your Internet from PLDT as you would pay outside the Freeport from PLDT!

Since Subictel has been a monopoly in the Freeport since the creation of the Freeport in 1991. They've gotten quite spoiled being the only game in town, just ask anyone who has the (dis)pleasure of dealing with their (sic) customer service. They've also fought hard to keep themselves a monopoly by suing Globe Telecom in court for daring to offer freeport locators a choice.

But here's the part that really gets my goat. While PLDT outside the freeport just doubled the speeds they give their residential clients, inside they continue to give the bare minimum to their clients.


The packages I'm describing here, are both separate from the required PLDT phone line which is required to get DSL service. Both inside and outside you pay P600 for the landline, which is frustrating for people who don't use it, but their reliable DSL speeds more than make up for this when you compare it to the alternatives available in Olongapo and Subic

Inside the Freeport:
Xperience 999 1Mbps/down
Xcel 3000 3Mbps/down

Outside the Freeport:
Plan 999 3Mbps/down
Plan 3000 8Mbps/down

For a comparison the Cable TV company outside the freeport says they offer 2Mbps:

Unfortunately the truth is they don't even deliver 25% of that with speeds usually below 512Kbps, just ask someone on Click to go to: and see what results they get.

Do you think it's fair that PLDT Subictel charges 200% more than outside the freeport than PLDT outisde? Let them know how you feel...

252-2000 Main line

252-2375 DSL Sales