Category: At Ground Level

Under EDCA, Balikatan drills become slippery slope

Judging by this year’s version of the US-Philippine joint military exercises, Balikatan 2016 has taken a new direction, courtesy of the Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement. From the declared purpose, since 2002, of “enhancing interoperability” between the two allied armed forces, Balikatan is now being placed by the American side squarely within the “context of existing…

Pursue diplomacy, restrain belligerence in sea dispute

Starting Monday the 15th annual US-Philippine joint (Balikatan) military exercises under the 1999 Visiting Forces Agreement will roll out in various sites in the country. Nearly 10,000 American and Filipino soldiers will undergo 10 days of training in warfare. This is a massive exercise for the US, which will deploy 55 aircraft, including its much-touted…

Foreign chambers: Gov’t actions ‘great’ but slow

Six years ago, when President Aquino was still campaigning for the presidency, his platform had already adopted the recommendations of the Joint Foreign Chambers of Commerce, which were formally presented to his administration in a 400-page paper titled “Arangkada Philippines.” This week the JFC issued its fifth assessment of the government’s performance on those recommendations…

Dictators ousted and placed on trial

Two weeks ago in Dakar, Senegal a special inter-African court appointed by the African Union wound up the trial of Hissene Habre, the former president/dictator of Chad (1982-1990), for crimes against humanity, war crimes and torture. International legal observers say the prosecution, which urged life imprisonment for the dictator and confiscation of all of his…

Global corporations’ schemes to avoid taxes

By Satur C. Ocampo At Ground Level | The Philippine Star For several years now, multinational corporations – including the biggest in the United States – have resorted to various schemes to avoid paying the right taxes. They thus defraud the governments, and the peoples too, in their home countries and the nations hosting them.…

By Satur C. Ocampo At Ground Level | The Philippine Star Two months ago, as the Supreme Court deliberated on the two petitions urging it to declare the Phl-US Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement unconstitutional, I wrote about former US Senator Mike Gravel’s warning, via his petition-in-intervention filed through Filipino lawyers, that the EDCA could lead…