1. Manila Bus Hostage Crisis
This hostage crisis happened on August 23, 2010 at the Quirino Grandstand, Rizal Park in Manila where former Philippine National Police Senior Inspector Rolando Mendoza which he was dismissed of being police officer due to some cases in relation to drugs in 2008 which the Ombudsman found the said police officer and four others guilty due to misconduct and ordered dismissal from the service and his benefits especially if he will retired from the office, it will be forfeited.
In the afternoon on the said date, there was some Hong Kong tourists was freed, it includes and couple which is an senior citizen, a woman with two children and a 12-year-old child and it includes a Filipino tour guide and two photographers. Also, the said bus hostage crisis was broadcasted live on several television network both local and international especially during the primetime newscasts of the several local television network which brings threat to our peace and order especially to the tourists which the place where the incident happened is also a tourist spot and a part also of tourism belt of the city.
During the live broadcast of the said hostage crisis, we saw the bus driver which he escaped from the bus and the encounter of the Manila Police District-SWAT Team and the dismissed police officer which resulted to the death of eight hostages including Mendoza and others are injured. This gun battle lasted for 1 hour and 30 minutes.
At the aftermath of the incident, both Philippine and Hong Kong governments conducted separate investigations in this incident and they concluded that the Philippine official including former Manila Mayor Alfredo Lim, several police officers of the local police which is the Manila Police District was failed to handle the said hostage crisis which resulted to the death of eight Hong Kong tourists. 1Due to this incident, the government of Hong Kong has issued a âblackâ travel alert as an outcome of the affair.
In February 2014, the Hong Kong government started implementing sanctions on the country by ending visa-free visits by holders of official passport of the Philippine government but ordinary Filipino travelers is not included on the said sanction. But two months later, the Philippines-Hong Kong diplomatic ties was normalize when the Hong Kong government has finally accepted the apology of the Philippines when Manila Mayor Joseph Estrada with other government officials including Secretary of the Cabinet Jose Rene Almendras, Manila 3rd District Councilor Bernie Ang went to Hong Kong to deliver a formal apology.
2. Territorial Disputes on West Philippine Sea
The disputed islands within the West Philippine Sea are the Scarborough Shoal or Panatag Shoal, Bajo de Masinloc and it is located 220 km from the Province of Zambales. Another disputed island is the Spratlys Island or South Sand Islands, it is located near the Province of Palawan. Both disputed islands are both claimed by China and the Philippines due to historical reasons. Just like on the Scarborough Shoal which according to the Chinese government that this shoal is part of their territory since 1279 during the Yuan Dynasty. And also for the Philippines, they claimed the said disputed shoal based on our old maps which used during the Spanish Colonial Period and it is called âCarta hydrographica y chorographica de las Islas Filipinasâ and according to this map, it was called Panacot Shoal which is the former name of the disputed shoal during that time. Also, during the Spanish Era the said shoal was used as traditional fishing ground and shelter during inclement weather by the Filipino fishermen.
On April 8, 2012, the Philippine Navy apprehended eight mainland Chinese fishing vessels in the Scarborough Shoal which those Chinese fishing vessels contains live sharks, corals and giant clams which was seen illegally compiled. This incident affects the diplomatic relations between China and the Philippines both economic and political. Because there was several protests happened in both Chinese and Philippine Embassies which was participated mostly by activists groups. Also, it affects on our national economy especially in our tourism which most of the Chinese travel agencies cancelled their tours in the country which there will be a declined number of tourist arrivals by 9% according to Department of Tourism. There was also a fishing ban which was imposed by the Chinese government in the said shoal from May-August 2012 and didnât recognized by the government. And there was several incidents of cyber-attack exchanges, and stricter rules regarding on the Philippine bananas, pineapples and other fruits.
On January 2014 and April 2015, a Chinese Coast Guard vessel used water cannons on fishing boats owned by the Filipinos and seized the catch of some boats in waters near the shoal and Chinese government dismissed reports regarding to the incident but reiterated their claim on the shoal and the United States called the actions of the Chinese Coast Guard as âprovocativeâ.
Recently, there was several hearings which the said issues are now discussed at the Arbitral Tribunal of the Permanent Court of Arbitration in The Hague, Netherlands and the Philippines presenting their arguments against China last July 2015 which there was several oral arguments happened. 2 According to DFA Secretary Albert del Rosario that the China is not entitled to exercise based on the âhistoric rightsâ over the waters, seabed and subsoil beyond the limits of its entitlements under the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea or UNCLOS.
3. Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement (EDCA)
It is a military agreement between the Philippines and the United States and it was signed on April 28, 2014. The said event was coincide with the State Visit of United States President Barack Obama which was happened until the next day. The said military agreement was signed by Secretary of National Defense Voltaire Gazmin and the United States Ambassador of the Philippines Philip Goldberg.
This is the first military agreement between these two countries since the American troops withdrew from the naval bases in the Philippines in early 1990s during the administration of Former President Corazon Aquino. This military agreement seeks to boost the Philippines-United States Security relationship by allowing the United States to place their troops and operations on the Philippine territory. And one of the conditions on the said agreement that the United States is not allowed to store or position any nuclear weapons on the Philippine territory in accordance in the Article II, Sec. 8 of the 1987 Philippine Constitution.
Some groups especially the leftist groups challenged the constitutionality of the said military agreement which they said that the Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement is a treaty and not just an executive agreement which it needs senate concurrence. 3The government said that the military agreement is constitutional because the entry of the United States troops for military exercised and other approved activities is already allowed under the Visiting Forces Agreement which it was concurred by the Senate and upheld by the Supreme Court and with full respect for the 1987 Philippine Constitution and other laws of the country. Until now, there was no ruling yet regarding to the military agreement which will be upheld by the countryâs highest judicial body.
4. Bangsamoro Basic Law and Mamasapano Clash
The Bangsamoro Basic Law is a proposed law which establish a proposed new autonomous political entity that will replace the current Autonomous Region on Muslim Mindanao. The said basic law will bring everlasting peace which most of the residents of the ARMM they want to achieve it because they are already tired on the several wars in the said region in the past years.
It was started on October 2012 which the preliminary peace agreement called Framework Agreement on the Bangsamoro was signed between the Moro Islamic Liberation Front or MILF and the Philippine Government which also the Prime Minister of Malaysia Najib Razak and other officials of the MILF and Organization of Islamic Cooperation was present. Also on March 2014, a final peace agreement called the Comprehensive Framework on the Bangsamoro was signed and witnessed by officials and members of MILF and the Philippine government and by Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak which his country served as the third-party negotiator in the peace talks.
Last January 25, 2015, the Mamasapano Clash was occurred in Tukanalipao, Mamasapano, Maguindanao which it is also called Oplan Exodus to capture or kill Malaysian terrorist and bomb maker Marwan or Zulkifli Abhdir, Abdu Basit Usman and other Malaysian terrorists and high ranking officials of the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters or BIFF.
It led to the demise of 44 members of the Philippine National Police-Special Action Force members, 18 members of the MILF, 5 members of BIFF and other civilians and also Marwan was killed which was confirmed by both PNP and the United States Federal Bureau of Investigation. The said clash caused the House of Representatives to delay the passage of the Bangsamoro Basic Law which effectively endangering the peace process between the Government and the MILF.
5. 2013 Lahad Datu Standoff
The 2013 Lahad Datu Standoff is a military conflict started from February 11 to March 24, 2013 which the Royal Security Forces of the Sultanate of Sulu and North Borneo was sent Jamalul Kiram III to assert the unresolved territorial claim of the Philippines to Eastern Sabah. This standoff was resulted to the deaths of 68 people which included 2 civilian casualties.
4This attack brought by Kiram affects its trade relations especially in Tawi-Tawi which most of their good sources are from Sabah and there was a proposed ban over the activities recently this year by the Malaysian police which it was opposed by our counterparts which it will affect their regions.
6. USS Guardian Grounding
The said military ship of the United States Navy was ran aground on Tubbataha Reef which it is located about 130 km southeast of Palawan which the said vessel was travelling from Subic Bay to Indonesia. Original estimates were that 4000 square meters of reef was devastated but a survey done after removal of the said vessel which led by the World Wide Fund for Nature-Philippines and the Tubbataha Management Office and measured the damaged area at 2, 345. 67 square meters. Also the said reef natural park is also declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Due to this incident, the United States Federal Government apologized to the Philippine Government and relieved its four officers including the officer of the deck and it was caused by human error and the said grounding incident is preventable entirely. 5Recently, the government received nearly $2 million from the United States to pay damage caused by this incident which it help rehabilitate and protect the reef and to enhance monitoring on the area to prevent the repeat of the said incident and they will assist the Philippine Coast Guard in upgrading its station at the reef.
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