The ANC Brief: Unfriendly advances in the West Philippine Sea


Posted at Aug 21 2019 04:00 AM

It’s Ninoy Aquino Day today and it’s only fitting that we take time to reflect on the life of the man whose assassination sparked a revolution that toppled a dictatorship. Meanwhile, here are the big stories making the headlines on ANC today:

Unfriendly advances
Philippine officials are pushing the rhetoric against China before President Duterte’s trip to Beijing. According to Presidential spokesperson Salvador Panelo, the government will act in an “unfriendly manner” in dealing with unauthorized passage of sea vessels. Defense Sec. Delfin Lorenzana said he would defer to the Philippine Navy on how to “operationalize” Panelo’s statement. Duterte is set to leave for Beijing on Aug. 28. It’s his fifth trip to China in his presidency. A code of conduct for the West Philippine Sea will be in the agenda.

Big budget
The Department of Budget and Management (DBM) has submitted the 2020 P4.1 trillion national budget, the country’s largest budget so far. It’s 12% higher than the previous year and includes a hefty P166.5 billion for the Universal Health Care program. The Duterte administration operated on a reenacted 2018 budget from January to April this year. The delay dragged on spending and growth in the first half of the year. ANC will break down the new national budget and delve into the key item.

Hatched in hell
The spotlight is set to shine again on the 1993 UP Los Banos rape and murder case as convicted rapist and murderer ex-Calauan mayor Antonio Sanchez is set to be released from prison in about two months. A new law increasing good conduct time allowances and a Supreme Court decision applying this law retroactively will pave the way for Sanchez’ release. Sanchez was convicted on March 11, 1995 for the rape and murder of Eileen Sarmenta and Allan Gomez. Judge Harriet Demetriou, who handed down the sentence, said the crime was “a plot seemingly hatched in hell.”

Got schooled
Sen. Ronald Dela Rosa got a lesson in gender discrimination during a hearing in the Senate on a bill prohibiting gender-based discrimination. Dela Rosa said straight men could pretend to be a trans woman, enter a public female bathroom and harass the women inside. But LGBT group Ganda Pilipinas said there are no proven cases of transgender women harassing females in comfort rooms. Stranger-to-stranger sexual violence is rare and studies show most victims of sexual abuse knew their aggressors personally. 

Domestic diva
Martha Stewart was in town and she was treated to a Filipino feast at the National Museum of Natural History. There, as ANCX reports, the lifestyle maven tasted everything, from Zubuchon to Pepita’s lechon, taking sincere interest in the flavors new to her palate.