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ITCZ affecting Southern Luzon, Visayas

Obet Badrina of the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical, and Astronomical Services Administration said the ITCZ will bring cloudy skies with light to moderate rains and thunderstorms over Ilocos Norte, Ilocos Sur, La Union, Pangasinan, Abra, Benguet, Ifugao, Kalinga, Mountain Province, Apayao, Aurora, Bataan, Bulacan, Nueva Ecija, Pampanga, Tarlac, Zambales, Cavite, Laguna, Batangas, Rizal, Quezon, Oriental Mindoro, Occidental Mindoro, Marinduque, Romblon, Palawan, Albay, Camarines Norte, Camarines Sur, Catanduanes, Sorsogon, Zamboanga del Norte, Zamboanga del Sur, Zamboanga Sibugay, Camiguin, Misamis Oriental, Lanao del Norte, Bukidnon, Misamis Occidental, Agusan del Norte, Agusan del Sur, Surigao del Norte, Surigao del Sur, and Dinagat Islands.

The Philippines and China have agreed to hold the next round of the dialogue to manage the dispute in the South China Sea (SCS) and explore areas of cooperation in the second half of the year.

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There is nothing unlawful with the recent visit of the country’s defense and military officials to Pag-asa Island, a Philippine-owned territory, Malacañang said yesterday.

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WE must learn the lessons of the West Philippine Sea (WPS) and how this is applied for the “Philippine Ridge” or Benham Rise. Assurances by China which violated “innocent passage”, by conducting oceanographic studies, crisscrossing the area to Surigao Strait, cannot be trusted. Theodore Roosevelt popularized the “Talk softly, but carry a big stick”. Breaking down diplomatic protocols coached in gracious speeches, the “big stick” is the language in realpolitik when international leaders face each other. Presidents, prime ministers, premieres etc. logically have this at the back of their minds – How big a stick is their counterpart carrying in terms of economy, potential trade, and military arsenal. This determines the tipping of the calculus, whether a State Visit is of “equals”, or of Emperors with vassals paying homage?

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The 24-million hectare Benham Rise undersea plateau east of Luzon has potential methane hydrates that could be a possible source of energy for the Philippines.

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AS I first made a prediction back in 2016 in this column, sounding the alarm, of an impending reality unfortunately coming to pass. Scarborough Shoal (SS), also known as Panatag Shoal, will be taken by China. A few days ago, the Mayor of Sansha, Xiao Jie, announced there would be monitoring stations built in six islands and reefs, to include SS of the northwestern Philippines. Hainan Daily newspaper seconded the announcement by stating, this was “among the government’s priorities for 2017”.   

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