Category Archives: Spratleys

Chinese Vessels Spotted Near Pag-asa Island in South China Sea

House of Representatives member and former marine officer Gary Alejano warned that Chinese vessels are massing near a Philippine-inhabited island in the South China Sea. He added that the vessels have already blocked a Philippine-government ship from going to the island. Secretary Alan Cayetano, however, replied that there is no reason for alarm. The foreign affairs chief said that even US ships pass through the area, even as he… Continue reading


Philippines to Tap P140-B Loan from China

The government is seeking a P140-billion loan from China to finance three major projects, namely an irrigation system in the north, a dam that would serve as an alternative water source for the capital region, and a rail line from Manila to the southern end of Luzon. Economic officials said that they would ask for official development assistance with interest rate of no more than 2% per annum. Negotiations… Continue reading

US Turns Over Two Reconnaissance Plans to Armed Forces of the Philippines

The military received two reconnaissance planes from the US for deployment in Marawi and in disputed areas in the South China Sea. The defense establishment said that these are the country’s most modern planes and would serve to further strengthen the ties of the two nations. President Rodrigo Duterte was noticeably absent during the turnover ceremony, though Foreign Affairs secretary Alan Cayetano said that the president values… Continue reading

Philippines, US Conduct Joint Naval Exercises in Visayas

Another round of joint military activities with the United States has been conducted in the central Philippines. The maritime exercise would focus on humanitarian assistance and disaster relief. Still, this is considered significant given President Rodrigo Duterte’s repeated threats that exercises with the US would be cancelled. He has since backtracked after admitting that the military already has a rapport with US troops and that the… Continue reading

Duterte Thumbs Down Second Hand Military Equipment from US, Eyes New Weapons from Other Countries

President Rodrigo Duterte resumed his criticism of the US, declaring that he would not accept second-hand weapons and military equipment from American military forces. He said that he is willing to double the Philippine military’s procurement budget, so long as the weapons are brand new. He added that he would source new top of the line equipment from two nations; these are most likely to be Russia and China, with which… Continue reading

Who Benefits from China’s Loans and Grants to the Philippines?

Concerns have been raised on what the country has to give up for Chinese assistance. Aside from the effects of Chinese loans on the Philippine debt burden, there are warnings of a possible imbalance in the deals, as China would be providing everything from the banks and investment money to the materials and industry. Some have also connected President Rodrigo Duterte’s friendlier mining stance to the relationship with China, as the country is a major source of nickel ore. Background… Continue reading

China Commits Additional $26 Billion for Infrastructure

President Rodrigo Duterte announced that China has committed an additional $26 billion in loans, grants, and investments. The commitment was made during the One Belt One Road summit in Beijing. The two sides also firmed up one of several infrastructure deals that would see the building of two key bridges to ease traffic in Metro Manila. Defense and military officials were also ordered to check on the compatibility of Chinese armsContinue reading