Challenges for the Presidential Hopefuls: Contemporary and Strategic

As predicted and highlighted since early January, there is now an emerging confluence of important developments in the Philippines, in the Asia-Pacific region, and also around the world in terms of global security and well-being of Mother Earth’s people. While this series of current and forthcoming events may be seen as serious setbacks to the administration of President Benigno S….

Proceedings of MBFs 107 & 108

The 107th Maritime Breakfast Forum (MBF) was hosted by the Department of Transportation and Communications (DOTC), and held at Columbia Tower, Ortigas Avenue, Mandaluyong City, on 25 Nov 2015. Undersecretary EDWIN LOPEZ (Operations and PPP, DOTC) welcomed the attendees on behalf of SEC. JOSEPH ABAYA. COMMO. CARLOS L. AGUSTIN (Ret.) (President, Maritime League) chaired the Maritime Forums. ENGR. ENRICO FERRE…

Developing the Eastern Luzon Strategic Seaboard

Atty. Romeo G. Roxas, Romy to his friends, is having double-vision – figuratively. Standing on his corner office overlooking Ayala’s Makati development, he sees the effort put into the land, from a raw price of P50 per square meter back in the day to a steep P200,000 — a condo in Rockwell goes for P25 million. At nearby Bonifacio Global…

Capt. Dan Gruta Mentors Children of Seafarers

In a recent visit to the Philippines, retired US Navy Captain Dan Gruta was invited by Joel and Tessa Yuvienco, co-owners of Ekindling Inc. (a blended learning company) to conduct a mentorship session with the school children (K- 12) of Filipino seafarers at the San Pancras School at AMOSUP’s Seaman’s Village in Dasmarinas, Cavite. Capt. Gruta accepted the offer with…

South China Sea/West Philippine Sea Dispute

About half of the world’s seaborne trade passes through the South China Sea (SCS) valued at US$5.3 trillion annually. The SCS dispute has the potential to overturn the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS), the constitution for the earth’s oceans and seas. For the Philippines, at stake in the West Philippine Sea (WPS) are: (1) 80%…

The Sinking of SS Corregidor

Looking for an idea for this issue’s column, I reviewed my e-mail files and came across what a friend and classmate, Capt. Frank Bessenger USN (Ret) sent me in April 2011. He recalled his last tour of duty working for the late VADM John D. Bulkeley, USN as a member of the Board of Inspection and Survey (INSURV) in Washington,…

The Royal Netherlands Navy’s First Hybrid Tugboat

The first of a series of three ASD TUGs 2810 Hybrid was navigated into the Den Helder Harbour by the Royal Netherlands Navy (RNLN) on February 20th. This hybrid tug boat that bears the name Noordzee is almost 29 meters long and is the first standard hybrid tug supplied by Damen Shipyard to the RNLN.

Taiwan’s New President

In 16-January 2016, J.R. Wu and Ben Blanchard reported on Asia Times that Taiwan’s President-elect Tsai Ing-wen called for freedom of navigation in the disputed South China Sea, and for a peaceful resolution to the growing dispute in the area.

Come ride the floating bus … Sakay na!

Vallacar Transit Incorporated (VTI) began as a family-owned and managed business that has grown from a lone 14- seater jeepney business called Ceres Liner plying a single route, to a conglomerate of transportation companies with a combined number of 4,000 transport vehicles nation wide. The company pioneered inter-modal services between Negros, Cebu, Mindanao, Leyte, Panay, and Luzon. It also pioneered inter-modal transport services…

Proceedings of MBFs 105 & 106

The Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) hosted the 105th MBF, led by RADM. WILLIAM MELAD on behalf of VADM.RODOLFO ISORENA, and was held on 18 September 2015 at the Hub, Rizal Park, Ermita, Manila.

Indonesian Firm picks Catamaran Design

Indonesia’s largest marine tourism operator, Bali Hai Cruises, has awarded a contract to International Maritime Consultants (IMC) for the design of its next generation day-cruise catamarans.

APECCS: APEC/APEX of the Future?

In the shadows of today’s global problems – principal among them were terrorist attacks in Paris last 13 November that claimed 130 lives with others still in critical condition (and threats of more of the same in other countries in Europe and the U.S. by ISIS terrorists) – the Philippines hosted this week the 2015 Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Leaders’ Meeting.

Shift Lanes To Save The Whales

Every year, about 300 whales feeding near the southern coast of Sri Lanka are hit more than a thousand times by large carriers up to 300 meters long. About 50 of these collisions are likely to be lethal for the rare Pygmy Blue Whales indigenous to Sri Lanka waters. Next year could likely be the “Year of No Return” of…

The West Philippine Sea Situation

My involvement in the Spratlys, South China Sea and West Philippine Sea issue goes back a long way. As a junior  officer, fresh from the Naval Academy, I was part of a secret mission sometime in 1971. I transported troops,weapons, equipment and supplies to the islands we occupied in Freedomland, now called the Kalayaan Island Group.