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Talumpati ng Kagalang-galang Benigno S. Aquino III Pangulo ng Pilipinas Ukol sa balangkas ng kasunduan sa Moro Islamic Liberation Front

[Inihayag sa Palasyo ng Malakanyang noong ika-7 ng Oktubre 2012]

Dalawang henerasyon na po ang lumilipas mula noong magsimula ang hidwaan sa Mindanao. Isang siklo ng karahasang umangkin sa buhay ng mahigit isandaang libong Pilipino—hindi lamang ng mga kawal at mandirigma, kundi pati mga inosenteng sibilyang dumanak ang dugo dahil sa alitang puwede namang naiwasan.

Marami na pong solusyong sinubok upang matapos ang hidwaang ito; nakailang peace agreement na po tayo, ngunit hindi pa rin tayo umuusad tungo sa katuparan ng ating mga pangarap para sa rehiyon. Nabigyan ng poder ang ilan, ngunit imbes na iangat ang kaledad ng buhay sa rehiyon, nagbunga ito ng istrukturang lalo silang iginapos sa kahirapan. Nagkaroon ng mga command votes na ginamit upang pagtibayin ang pyudal na kalakaran; naglipana ang mga ghost roads, ghost bridges, ghost schools, ghost teachers, at ghost students, habang tumaba naman ang bulsa ng iilan. Nag-usbungan ang mga warlord na humawak sa timbangan ng buhay at kamatayan para sa maraming mamamayan. Umiral ang isang kultura kung saan walang nananagutan, at walang katarungan; nawalan ng pagtitiwala ang mamamayan sa sistema, at nagnais na kumalas sa ating bansa.

The ARMM is a failed experiment. Many of the people continue to feel alienated by the system, and those who feel that there is no way out will continue to articulate their grievances through the barrel of a gun. We cannot change this without structural reform.

This is the context that informed our negotiations throughout the peace process. And now, we have forged an agreement that seeks to correct these problems. It defines our parameters and our objectives, while upholding the integrity and sovereignty of our nation.

This agreement creates a new political entity, and it deserves a name that symbolizes and honors the struggles of our forebears in Mindanao, and celebrates the history and character of that part of our nation. That name will be Bangsamoro.

We are doing everything to ensure that other Bangsamoro stakeholders are brought in to this process so that this peace can be claimed and sustained by all. Sovereignty resides in the people, and consistent with the constitution, a basic law will be drafted by a transition commission and will go through the full process of legislation in Congress. My administration has pledged to supporting a law that will truly embody the values and aspirations of the people of Bangsamoro. Any proposed law resulting from this framework will be subject to ratification through a plebiscite. Once approved, there will be elections.

This Framework Agreement paves the way for a final, enduring peace in Mindanao. It brings all former secessionist groups into the fold; no longer does the Moro Islamic Liberation Front aspire for a separate state. This means that hands that once held rifles will be put to use tilling land, selling produce, manning work stations, and opening doorways of opportunity for other citizens.

National government will continue to exercise exclusive powers of defense and security, foreign policy, monetary policy and coinage, citizenship, and naturalization. The Constitution and lawful processes shall govern the transition to the Bangsamoro, and this agreement will ensure that the Philippines remains one nation and one people, with all of our diverse cultures and narratives seeking the common goal. The Filipinos of Bangsamoro, on the other hand, will be assured a fair and equitable share of taxation, revenues, and the fruits of national patrimony. They will enjoy equal protection of laws and access to impartial justice.

We have gotten this far because of the trust extended to us by Al Haj Murad and his Central Committee, and the members of the MILF negotiating panel led by Mohagher Iqbal. They recognized our administration’s sincerity, and our shared principles and aspirations. Together, we traversed the distance between us until we finally met in a handshake and an embrace as fellow citizens of the Philippines.

We would like to thank the government of Malaysia, who stood as facilitators as we realized our aspirations for peace; we thank in particular Prime Minister Dato’ Sri Mohammad Najib bin Tun Abdul Razak, whose commitment remained firm despite considerable political and personal risk. We would also like to thank the members of the International Contact Group: the governments of the United Kingdom, Japan, Turkey, and Saudi Arabia, and also international nongovernment organizations like Conciliation Resources, the Center for Humanitarian Dialogue, the Asia Foundation, and Muhamadiyah. Our people are also grateful for the help of the International Monitoring Team composed of the governments of Malaysia, Brunei, Libya, Norway, Indonesia, the European Union and Japan. We would also like to thank the United States, Australia, and the World Bank, among several other countries and institutions, have also provided invaluable support during the course of this process.

None of this would have been possible without the tireless efforts also of Secretary Ging Deles, Dean Marvic Leonen, his negotiating panel, and their dedicated staff at the Office of the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process. There can be no better example of true peace advocates.

This framework agreement is about rising above our prejudices. It is about casting aside the distrust and myopia that has plagued the efforts of the past; it is about learning hard lessons and building on the gains we have achieved. It is about acknowledging that trust has to be earned—it is about forging a partnership that rests on the bedrock of sincerity, good will, and hard work.

The work does not end here. There are still details that both sides must hammer out. Promises must be kept, institutions must be fixed, and new capacities must be built nationally and regionally in order to effectively administer the Bangsamoro. The citizenry, especially the youth, must be empowered so that new leaders may emerge.

Sa mga susunod na araw, ilalathala ang balangkas at mga prinsipyo ng kasunduang ito sa mga pahayagan; makikita ang kabuoan nito sa Official Gazette ng ating pamahalaan. Inaanyayahan ko po ang lahat na makilahok sa pampublikong diskurso ukol sa kasunduan, bago magkaroon ng pinal na pirmahan. Nakalahad po ang lahat, at wala kaming tangkang magkubli o maglihim. Sinuri po namin nang maigi ang kasunduang ito; balanse ang ating naabot. Itinatama nito ang mali, at naglalagay ng mga mekanismo upang hindi na maulit ang nangyari sa nakaraan.

Basahin po sana natin ang kasunduang ito hindi bilang “sila” at “kami,” kundi bilang nagkakaisang “tayo” sa ilalim ng bandilang Pilipino. Tapos na po ang panahon ng hindi pagkakaunawaan, at kung iisipin natin ang kapakanan ng isa’t isa, oras na lang ang usapan; oras na lang bago matapos ang karahasan; oras na lang bago maabot ang normalidad sa buhay ng mga Pilipinong nasa Bangsamoro.

Umabot tayo sa puntong ito dahil sa tiwalang pumalit sa pagdududa. May mga hamon pa po tayong kakaharapin, at hinihimok ko ang bawat Pilipinong naghahangad ng kapayapaan: Gumawa po tayo ng paraan upang lalo pang lumawak ang tiwala sa mga araw na parating. Manganganak ito ng sunud-sunod na tagumpay. Tuloy-tuloy ang magiging pag-abot ng istabilidad; damay-damay ang buong bayan sa pag-unlad ng isang bahagi ng Pilipinas; dire-diretso tayo sa katuparan ng ating mga pangarap.

Alam po ninyo, may edad na RIN ako, at mas may edad po nang kaunti sa akin si Al Haj Murad. Darating ang panahong pareho kaming wala na sa poder. Nagkakaisa po kami sa hangaring magpamana sa susunod na salinlahi ng mas mabuting situwasyon sa mga bahagi ng Mindanao na matagal nang pinupunit ng hidwaan. At dahil po sa kasunduang ito, puwede na kaming mangarap: Malapit na ang panahon na kapag may dayuhang bibisita sa Pilipinas, kasama ang mga lalawigan ng Bangsamoro sa listahan ng kanyang pupuntahan. Malapit na ang panahon na ang gustong magbakasyon sa Pagudpud, puwede na ring sa Sulu magpunta. Magiging pareho ang kaalaman ng kabataang papasok sa eskuwela, sa Quezon City man o sa Lamitan; pumunta ka man sa ospital sa Pasig o sa Patikul, magagamot ang iyong karamdaman; lalago ang iyong negosyo, sa Marikina o sa Marawi ka man mamuhunan.

Ang tagal pong naging imposibleng isipin ng mga ito. Pero napatunayan natin: Walang imposible sa mga handang magkaisa, makiambag sa mga solusyon, at kumilos tungo sa pagkakasundo. Sa wakas, naabot na natin ang kapayapaang pundasyon ng ating mga mithiin para sa Bangsamoro, para sa Mindanao, at para sa buong Pilipinas.

Maraming salamat po.

Source: http://www.gov.ph/2012/10/07/speech-of-president-aquino-on-the-framework-agreement-with-the-milf-october-7-2012/

DAVAO CITY, Philippines-A four-year old girl in an evacuation center in Datu Saudi Ampatuan, Maguindanao was killed by stray bullets, allegedly coming from government forces Thursday evening, August 21, a human rights group said.

Bai Ali Indayla, secretary general of Moro human rights organization Kawagib, said that the incident happened in an evacuation center in Mahad Nurul Ittihad in Salbo, Datu Saudi Ampatuan at around 11 in the evening.

Arsad Mujahed Usman, a 33-year old evacuee, said that he and his family were sleeping when bullets started to hit their tent.

Usman narrated that a bullet hit his left foot and then went directly to his daughter’s stomach.

Kawagib reported that Usman’s daughter, Asmayra, was killed instantly.

Usman said that he later learned from the other people staying in the evacuation center that the gunfire came from government troops camped at Barangay Bagan in the nearby town of Guindulungan claiming to be an effort to pursue members of the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters.

Col Prudencio Asto, spokesperson of the military’s 6th Infantry Division, denied the accusations saying that the military is following the proper rules of engagements.

“These are not our guns. We only fire on enemy targets and not on civilians,” Asto said.

He added that the gunfire must be from the BIFF explaining that the group uses caliber 50 sniper rifles that can be very lethal even at the range of 3 kilometers.

The Usman family is one of the 400 families, which evacuated from Barangay Iganagampong, Datu Unsay town since August 6, Kawagib said.

Thousands of internally displaced persons are currently taking shelter on various evacuation centers in the different towns of Maguindanao and some parts of North Cotabato after the conflict between government forces and the BIFF worsened.

The recent skirmishes between government forces and the BIFF escalated when the Moro rebel group led by Ameril Umra Kato launched daring simultaneous attacks on military installations earlier this month.

Kawagib challenged the government and the military to conduct a thorough investigation to deliver justice for the victims of the incident.

“We strongly believe that the only way to a just and lasting peace is by addressing the roots of the conflict, political will and sincerity, not through militarization,” Indayla said.

Indayla added that they would help the Usman family in filing cases against the military at the Commission on Human Rights.

 

 

Many mining tunnels in Compostela Valley were left empty on Monday as hundreds of small-scale miners joined the State of the Nation Address protests in Davao City to criticize the alleged failure of the Aquino administration to provide substantial support to the country’s local mining industry.

The small-scale miners asserted that the “daang matuwid” promise of the administration was not felt in the community as it favored foreign large-scale mining corporations instead of providing assistance for the local miners.

Aquino’s new mining executive order would also further strengthen the domination of foreign companies in the exploration and extraction of mineral resources in the country, the small-scale miners said.

Rogelio Simbajon, a small-scale miner who is working in the tunnels for more than 30 years in the gold rush community of Gumayan in the town of in Compostela Valley said that Aquino in his SONA have only mentioned revenue collection from mining.

Aquino said that out of the P145 billion total income derived from the mining operations in the country, only P13.4 billion went to the government.

“But Aquino have not mentioned anything about any plans or programs to support and improve the local mining industry,” Simbajon said.

The small-scale miners also criticized the mining policy of Aquino for limiting the operations to the “minahang bayan”.

“The government wanted our operations limited to the minahang bayan, which is just a small piece of land compared to the thousands of hectares given to foreign corporations. Why is the government taking side with these foreigners and big corporations while turning a blind eye on its constituents who are poor and hungry?” remarked Simbajon.

Citing the case of the mining tenement in Panganason, Pantukan, the protesting small-scale miners said that only 81 hectares were declared as “minahang bayan” while 1,656 hectares were approved for the mining claim awarded to the National Development Corporation.

Expressing the fear of the small-scale mining community, Simbajon said that deputizing government troops to protect big mining companies would worsen the confusion and conflict in the area.

He added that these military forces would be utilized to expel the mining tenements established by small-scale miners to make way for the entry of foreign corporations.

“Sooner or later, these soldiers deployed in our area would be used to evict us from our lands,” Simbajon said.

The miners also cried foul over the ban in the use of mercury on mining operations as stipulated by the government’s new mining policy.

“It’s a trap. They wanted us off the land that is why they wanted to declare our operations illegal,” said Gil Aguilar Jr, a small-scale miner from Panganason, Pantukan.

Mercury was banned by the government for its harmful effects to the health of the people living in the mining communities and to the environment.

However, the miners said that mercury is the easiest and cheapest chemical agent in extracting gold from the ores.

“Yes, we know that there are detrimental effects by using mercury but this is the only method that we know and that is accessible. If the government wanted to change this practice then they should send people to provide technical services to us instead of yacking as if Aquino knows the real condition of the miners,” Aquilar said.

The small-scale miners claimed that the new mining policy and the existing mining laws are failures because it failed in providing assistance and development for the small-scale miners and the mining communities.

The call for respect for the right to freedom of opinion and expression reverberates as the world celebrates Press Freedom Day today.

This is an important day as this is a reminder of a crucial requisite for a free society: a free press.

Sadly, in this country, a lot about this call remains unheeded to this day. This is reflected with the way President Benigno Aquino III thinks condescendingly about members of the media. This is seen with the way crimes are still being committed against journalists by persons in power. This is shown with the way media establishment owners continue to disrespect the rights of media workers.

Indeed, the country remains to be one of the world’s most dangerous places to be a journalist.

Any violence against media is a major attack on press freedom and free speech. Silencing the media is depriving the public not only of information, but of a voice and weapon to defend itself.

The media in Davao has had a long share of this assault. Media killings have not stopped sending dread among the ranks.  In fact, another killing occurred in the city recently where the victim, Aldion Layao, a former radio reporter and blocktimer and at the same time, a Barangay Chairman. This happened while past murders of mediamen remain unsolved, such as the killing of Jesiderio Camangyan, a blocktimer who was critical of the issue of environmental destruction in Davao Oriental, and Nestor Bedolido of Davao del Sur. The failure of authorities to bring the perpetrators to justice has contributed to the impunity with which media workers are being killed.

It does not help that the present mindset towards media who are critical to society’s ills remain antagonistic. We saw this happened in another recent case of a colleague in Davao media, Karlos Manlupig, who after writing for the Philippine Daily Inquirer about an incident regarding a church security guard who threw out a shirtless man, was tagged as a “terrorist.” A certain Monica Arevalo posted this message on the facebook, along with pictures of Manlupig in his student days as an activist. Arevalo also threatened to spread a “wanted” poster if Manlupig does not stop “destroying the reputation of the church.”

Such intolerance is made even more worse with how majority of media practitioners in Davao and elsewhere grapple with low wages, non-existent benefits and no unions. The media’s low economic status make them vulnerable to bribery, harassment and other forms of human rights violations.

If there are those who dared to organize themselves into unions to advance their rights, they are also met with repression by the owners of the media establishments. Rank and file workers of the RMN Davao Employees Union fought to secure a substantial Collective Bargaining Agreement with the company, a year after the latter unjustly terminated its station manager, Dodong Solis. After almost a decade of working sans union and a CBA, RDEU workers have learned to fight tooth and nail to resist the company’s repressive measures—from harassment of union officers to declaring a no-wage increase policy. Other media workers in Davao city and elsewhere in Southern Mindanao are inspired with their struggle to form their own unions and advance their interest.

The Filipino media workers’ fight for a free press continues. If there is one thing worth celebrating about today, it is their hard struggle, their continued vigilance and militant action toward this goal.

A media suppressed by the fear of attack or retaliation from anyone it criticizes is not a free media. A free press is a condition of a free society and creating a free society can be achieved if the press can truly be free.

Long live the struggle of the Filipino working press!

For Reference:

Jessie Casalda

Chairperson

AGREEMENT

Between the

GOVERNMENT OF THE REPUBLIC OF THE PHILIPPINES

and the

GOVERNMENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA

Regarding the Treatment of United States Armed Forces Visiting the Philippines

Preamble

The Government of the United States of America and the Government of the Republic of the Philippines,

Reaffirming their faith in the purposes and principles of the Charter of the United Nations and their desire to strengthen international and regional security in the Pacific area;

Reaffirming their obligations under the Mutual Defense Treaty of August 30, 1951;

Noting that from time to time elements of the United States armed forces may visit the Republic of the Philippines;  

Considering that cooperation between the United States and the Republic of the Philippines promotes their common security interests;

  Recognizing the desirability of defining the treatment of United States personnel visiting the Republic of the Philippines;

 

Have agreed as follows:

 

Article I

Definitions

As used in this Agreement, “United States personnel” means United States military and civilian personnel temporarily in the Philippines in connection with activities approved by the Philippine Government.

Within this definition:

1. The term “military personnel” refers to military members of the United States Army, Navy, Marine Corps, Air Force, and Coast Guard.

2. The term “civilian personnel” refers to individuals who are neither nationals of nor ordinarily resident in the Philippines and who are employed by the United States armed forces or who are accompanying the United States armed forces, such as employees of the American Red Cross and the United Services Organization.

Article II

Respect for Law

It is the duty of United States personnel to respect the laws of the Republic of the Philippines and to abstain from any activity inconsistent with the spirit of this agreement, and, in particular, from any political activity in the Philippines. The Government of the United States shall take all measures within its authority to ensure that this is done.

 

Article III

Entry and Departure

1. The Government of the Philippines shall facilitate the admission of United States personnel and their departure from the Philippines in connection with activities covered by this agreement.

2. United States military personnel shall be exempt from passport and visa regulations upon entering and departing the Philippines.

3. The following documents only, which shall be presented on demand, shall be required in respect of United States military personnel who enter the Philippines:

(a) personal identity card issued by the appropriate United States authority showing full name, date of birth, rank or grade and service number (if any), branch of service and photograph; and

(b) individual or collective document issued by the appropriate United States authority, authorizing the travel or visit and identifying the individual or group as United States military personnel.

(c) the commanding officer of a military aircraft or vessel shall present a declaration of health, and when required by the cognizant representative of the Government of the Philippines, shall conduct a quarantine inspection and will certify that the aircraft or vessel is free from quarantinable diseases. Any quarantine inspection of United States aircraft, or vessels, or cargoes thereon, shall be conducted by the United States commanding officer in accordance with the international health regulations as promulgated by the World Health Organization, and mutually agreed procedures.

4. United States civilian personnel shall be exempt from visa requirements but shall present, upon demand, valid passports upon entry and departure of the Philippines.

5. If the Government of the Philippines has requested the removal of any United States personnel from its territory, the United States authorities shall be responsible for receiving the person concerned within its own territory or otherwise disposing of said person outside of the Philippines.

 

Article IV

Driving and Vehicle Registration

1. Philippine authorities shall accept as valid, without test or fee, a driving permit or license issued by the appropriate United States authority to United States personnel for the operation of military or official vehicles.

2. Vehicles owned by the Government of the United States need not be registered, but shall have appropriate markings.

Article V

Criminal Jurisdiction

1. Subject to the provisions of this article:

(a) Philippine authorities shall have jurisdiction over United States personnel with respect to offenses committed within the Philippines and punishable under the law of the Philippines.

(b) United States military authorities shall have the right to exercise within the Philippines all criminal and disciplinary jurisdiction conferred on them by the military law of the United States over United States personnel in the Philippines.

2. (a) Philippine authorities exercise exclusive jurisdiction over United States personnel with respect to offenses, including offenses relating to the security of the Philippines, punishable under the laws of the Philippines, but not under the laws of the United States.

(b) United States authorities exercise exclusive jurisdiction over United States personnel with respect to offenses, including offenses relating to the security of the United States, punishable under the laws of the United States, but not under the laws of the Philippines.

(c) For the purposes of this paragraph and paragraph 3 of this article, an offense relating to security means:

(1) treason;

(2) sabotage, espionage or violation of any law relating to national defense.

3. In cases where the right to exercise jurisdiction is concurrent, the following rules shall apply:

(a) Philippine authorities shall have the primary right to exercise jurisdiction over all offenses committed by United States personnel, except in cases provided for in paragraphs l (b), 2 (b), and 3 (b) of this Article.

(b) United States military authorities shall have the primary right to exercise jurisdiction over United States personnel subject to the military law of the United States in relation to:

(1) offenses solely against the property or security of the United States or offenses solely against the property or person of United States personnel; and

(2) offenses arising out of any act or omission done in performance of official duty.

(c) The authorities of either government may request the authorities of the other government to waive their primary right to exercise jurisdiction in a particular case.

(d) Recognizing the responsibility of the United States military authorities to maintain good order and discipline among their forces, Philippine authorities will, upon request by the United States, waive their primary right to exercise jurisdiction except in cases of particular importance to the Philippines. If the Government of the Philippines determines that the case is of particular importance, it shall communicate such determination to the United States authorities within twenty (20) days after the Philippine authorities receive the United States request.

(e) When the United States military commander determines that an offense charged by authorities of the Philippines against United States personnel arises out of an act or omission done in the performance of official duty, the commander will issue a certificate setting forth such determination. This certificate will be transmitted to the appropriate authorities of the Philippines and will constitute sufficient proof of performance of official duty for the purposes of paragraph 3(b)(2) of this article. In those cases where the Government of the Philippines believes the circumstances of the case require a review of the duty certificate, United States military authorities and Philippine authorities shall consult immediately. Philippine authorities at the highest levels may also present any information bearing on its validity. United States military authorities shall take full account of the Philippine position. Where appropriate, United States military authorities will take disciplinary or other action against offenders in official duty cases, and notify the Government of the Philippines of the actions taken.

(f) If the government having the primary right does not exercise jurisdiction, it shall notify the authorities of the other government as soon as possible.

(g) The authorities of the Philippines and the United States shall notify each other of the disposition of all cases in which both the authorities of the Philippines and the United States have the right to exercise jurisdiction.

4. Within the scope of their legal competence, the authorities of the Philippines and the United States shall assist each other in the arrest of United States personnel in the Philippines and in handing them over to authorities who are to exercise jurisdiction in accordance with the provisions of this article.

5. United States military authorities shall promptly notify Philippine authorities of the arrest or detention of United States personnel who are subject to Philippine primary or exclusive jurisdiction. Philippine authorities shall promptly notify United States military authorities of the arrest or detention of any United States personnel.

6. The custody of any United States personnel over whom the Philippines is to exercise jurisdiction shall immediately reside with United States military authorities, if they so request, from the commission of the offense until completion of all judicial proceedings. United States military authorities shall, upon formal notification by the Philippine authorities and without delay, make such personnel available to those authorities in time for any investigative or judicial proceedings relating to the offense with which the person has been charged. In extraordinary cases, the Philippine Government shall present its position to the United States Government regarding custody, which the United States Government shall take into full account. In the event Philippine judicial proceedings are not completed within one year, the United States shall be relieved of any obligations under this paragraph. The one year period will not include the time necessary to appeal. Also, the one year period will not include any time during which scheduled trial procedures are delayed because United States authorities, after timely notification by Philippine authorities to arrange for the presence of the accused, fail to do so.

7. Within the scope of their legal authority, United States and Philippine authorities shall assist each other in the carrying out of all necessary investigations into offenses and shall cooperate in providing for the attendance of witnesses and in the collection and production of evidence, including seizure and, in proper cases, the delivery of objects connected with an offense.

8. When United States personnel have been tried in accordance with the provisions of this article and have been acquitted or have been convicted and are serving, or have served their sentence, or have had their sentence remitted or suspended, or have been pardoned, they may not be tried again for the same offense in the Philippines. Nothing in this paragraph, however, shall prevent United States military authorities from trying United States personnel for any violation of rules of discipline arising from the act or omission which constituted an offense for which they were tried by Philippine authorities.

9. When United States personnel are detained, taken into custody, or prosecuted by Philippine authorities, they shall be accorded all procedural safeguards established by the law of the Philippines. At the minimum, United States personnel shall be entitled:

(a) To a prompt and speedy trial;

(b) To be informed in advance of trial of the specific charge or charges made against them and to have reasonable time to prepare a defense;

(c) To be confronted with witnesses against them and to cross examine such witnesses;

(d) To present evidence in their defense and to have compulsory process for obtaining witnesses;

(e) To have free and assisted legal representation of their own choice on the same basis as nationals of the Philippines;

(f) To have the services of a competent interpreter;

(g) To communicate promptly with and to be visited regularly by United States authorities, and to have such authorities present at all judicial proceedings. These proceedings shall be public unless the court, in accordance with Philippine law, excludes persons who have no role in the proceedings.

10. The confinement or detention by Philippine authorities of United States personnel shall be carried out in facilities agreed on by appropriate Philippine and United States authorities. United States personnel serving sentences in the Philippines shall have the right to visits and material assistance.

11. United States personnel shall be subject to trial only in Philippine courts of ordinary jurisdiction, and shall not be subject to the jurisdiction of Philippine military or religious courts.

Article VI

Claims

1. Except for contractual arrangements, including United States foreign military sales letters of offer and acceptance and leases of military equipment, both governments waive any and all claims against each other for damage, loss or destruction to property of each other’s armed forces or for death or injury to their military and civilian personnel arising from activities to which this aggreement applies.

2. For claims against the United States, other than contractual claims and those to which paragraph 1 applies, the United States Government, in accordance with United States law regarding foreign claims, will pay just and reasonable compensation in settlement of meritorious claims for damage, loss, personal injury or death, caused by acts or omissions of United States personnel, or otherwise incident to the non-combat activities of the United States forces.

Article VII

Importation and Exportation

1. United States Government equipment, materials, supplies, and other property imported into or acquired in the Philippines by or on behalf of the United States armed forces in connection with activities to which this agreement applies, shall be free of all Philippine duties, taxes and other similar charges. Title to such property shall remain with the United States, which may remove such property from the Philippines at any time, free from export duties, taxes, and other similar charges. The exemptions provided in this paragraph shall also extend to any duty, tax, or other similar charges which would otherwise be assessed upon such property after importation into, or acquisition within, the Philippines. Such property may be removed from the Philippines, or disposed of therein, provided that disposition of such property in the Philippines to persons or entities not entitled to exemption from applicable taxes and duties shall be subject to payment of such taxes, and duties and prior approval of the Philippine Government.

2. Reasonable quantities of personal baggage, personal effects, and other property for the personal use of United States personnel may be imported into and used in the Philippines free of all duties, taxes and other similar charges during the period of their temporary stay in the Philippines. Transfers to persons or entities in the Philippines not entitled to import privileges may only be made upon prior approval of the appropriate Philippine authorities including payment by the recipient of applicable duties and taxes imposed in accordance with the laws of the Philippines. The exportation of such property and of property acquired in the Philippines by United States personnel shall be free of all Philippine duties, taxes, and other similar charges.

 

Article VIII

 Movement of Vessels and Aircraft

1. Aircraft operated by or for the United States armed forces may enter the Philippines upon approval of the Government of the Philippines in accordance with procedures stipulated in implementing arrangements.

2. Vessels operated by or for the United States armed forces may enter the Philippines upon approval of the Government of the Philippines. The movement of vessels shall be in accordance with international custom and practice governing such vessels, and such agreed implementing arrangements as necessary.

3. Vehicles, vessels, and aircraft operated by or for the United States armed forces shall not be subject to the payment of landing or port fees, navigation or overflight charges, or tolls or other use charges, including light and harbor dues, while in the Philippines. Aircraft operated by or for the United States armed forces shall observe local air traffic control regulations while in the Philippines. Vessels owned or operated by the United States solely on United States Government non-commercial service shall not be subject to compulsory pilotage at Philippine ports.

Article IX

Duration and Termination

This agreement shall enter into force on the date on which the parties have notified each other in writing through the diplomatic channel that they have completed their constitutional requirements for entry into force. This agreement shall remain in force until the expiration of 180 days from the date on which either party gives the other party notice in writing that it desires to terminate the agreement.

IN WITNESS WHEREOF the undersigned, being duly authorized by their respective governments, have signed this agreement.

DONE in duplicate at Manila, The Philippines, this 10th day of February, 1998.

FOR THE GOVERNMENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA

Thomas C. Hubbard

FOR THE GOVERNMENT OF THE REPUBLIC OF THE PHILIPPINES

Domingo L. Siazon, Jr.