Friday, October 30, 2009

Criminal Law I Cases Digests: Part 2

Chester Cabalza recommends his visitors to please read the original & full texts of the cases cited. Xie xie!

Enrile vs Salazar
G.R. No. 92163
June 5, 1990


In the afternoon of February 27, 1990, Senate Minority Floor Leader Juan Ponce Enrile was arrested by law enforcement officers led by Director Alfredo Lim of the National Bureau of Investigation on the strength of a warrant issued by Hon. Jaime Salazar of the Regional Trial Court of Quezon City Branch 103, in Criminal Case No. 9010941.

The warrant had issued on an information signed and earlier that day filed by a panel of prosecutors composed of Senior State Prosecutor Aurelio C. Trampe, State Prosecutor Ferdinand R. Abesamis and Assistant City Prosecutor Eulogio Mananquil, Jr., charging Senator Enrile, the spouses Rebecco and Erlinda Panlilio, and Gregorio Honasan with the crime of rebellion with murder and multiple frustrated murder allegedly committed during the period of the failed coup attempt from November 29 to December 10, 1990.

Senator Enrile was taken to and held overnight at the NBI headquarters on Taft Avenue, Manila, without bail, none having been recommended in the information and none fixed in the arrest warrant. The following morning, February 28, 1990, he was brought to Camp Tomas Karingal in Quezon City where he was given over to the custody of the Superintendent of the Northern Police District, Brig. Gen. Edgardo Dula Torres.

On the same date of February 28, 1990, Senator Enrile, through counsel, filed the petition for habeas corpus herein (which was followed by a supplemental petition filed on March 2, 1990), alleging that he was deprived of his constitutional rights.


(a) Whether the petitioner has committed complex crimes (delito compleio) arising from an offense being a necessary means for committing another, which is referred to in the second clause of Article 48, Revised Penal Code?


There is one other reason and a fundamental one at that why Article 48 of the Penal Code cannot be applied in the case at bar. If murder were not complexed with rebellion, and the two crimes were punished separately (assuming that this could be done), the following penalties would be imposable upon the movant, namely: (1) for the crime of rebellion, a fine not exceeding P20,000 and prision mayor, in the corresponding period, depending upon the modifying circumstances present, but never exceeding 12 years of prision mayor, and (2) for the crime of murder, reclusion temporal in its maximum period to death, depending upon the modifying circumstances present. In other words, in the absence of aggravating circumstances, the extreme penalty could not be imposed upon him. However, under Article 48 said penalty would have to be meted out to him, even in the absence of a single aggravating circumstance. Thus, said provision, if construed in conformity with the theory of the prosecution, would be unfavorable to the movant.

The plaint of petitioner's counsel that he is charged with a crime that does not exist in the statute books, while technically correct so far as the Court has ruled that rebellion may not be complexed with other offenses committed on the occasion thereof, must therefore be dismissed as a mere flight of rhetoric. Read in the context of Hernandez, the information does indeed charge the petitioner with a crime defined and punished by the Revised Penal Code: simple rebellion.

Petitioner finally claims that he was denied the right to bail. In the light of the Court's reaffirmation of Hernandez as applicable to petitioner's case, and of the logical and necessary corollary that the information against him should be considered as charging only the crime of simple rebellion, which is bailable before conviction, that must now be accepted as a correct proposition. But the question remains: Given the facts from which this case arose, was a petition for habeas corpus in this Court the appropriate vehicle for asserting a right to bail or vindicating its denial? The criminal case before the respondent Judge was the normal venue for invoking the petitioner's right to have provisional liberty pending trial and judgment. The original jurisdiction to grant or deny bail rested with said respondent. The correct course was for petitioner to invoke that jurisdiction by filing a petition to be admitted to bail, claiming a right to bail per se by reason of the weakness of the evidence against him. Only after that remedy was denied by the trial court should the review jurisdiction of this Court have been invoked, and even then, not without first applying to the Court of Appeals if appropriate relief was also available there.

The Court reiterates that based on the doctrine enunciated in People vs. Hernandez, the questioned information filed against petitioners Juan Ponce Enrile and the spouses Rebecco and Erlinda Panlilio must be read as charging simple rebellion only, hence said petitioners are entitled to bail, before final conviction, as a matter of right. The Court's earlier grant of bail to petitioners being merely provisional in character, the proceedings in both cases are ordered remanded to the respondent Judge to fix the amount of bail to be posted by the petitioners. Once bail is fixed by said respondent for any of the petitioners, the corresponding bail bond flied with this Court shall become functus oficio. No pronouncement as to costs.

Case Digest by: cbcabalza2009


Santiago vs Garchitorena
G.R. No. 109266
December, 2 1993

Narvasa, C.J., Cruz, Padilla, Bidin, Regalado, Davide, Jr., Nocon, Bellosillo, Melo and Puno, JJ., concur.


On May 1, 1991, petitioner Santiago was charged by the Sandiganbayan with violation of Section 3(e) of R.A. No. 3019, as amended, otherwise known as the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act, allegedly committed by her favoring "unqualified" aliens with the benefits of the Alien Legalization Program.

On May 24, 1991, petitioner filed a petition for certiorari and prohibition to enjoin the Sandiganbayan from proceeding with criminal case on the ground that said case was intended solely to harass her as she was then a presidential candidate. She alleged that this was in violation of Section 10, Article IX-C of the Constitution which provides that "(b)ona fide candidates for any public office shall be free from any form of harassment and discrimination." The petition was dismissed on January 13, 1992.

On October 16, 1992, petitioner filed a motion for inhibition of Presiding Justice Garchitorena, which motion was set for hearing on November 13, 1992. ten days after, the Sandiganbayan (First Division), of which Presiding Justice Garchitorena is a member, set the criminal case for arraignment on November 13, 1992. On November 6, 1992, petitioner moved to defer the arraignment on the grounds that there was a pending motion for inhibition, and that petitioner intended to file a motion for a bill of particulars. However, on November 9, 1992, the Sandiganbayan (First Division) denied the motion to defer the arraignment.

More so, the petitioner cannot accept the legal morality of Sandiganbayan Justice Francis Garchitorena who would her from going abroad for a Harvard scholarship because of graft charges against her. It appears that petitioner tried to leave the country without first securing the permission of the Sandiganbayan, prompting it to issue the hold-departure order which. The letter of Presiding Justice Garchitorena, written in defense of the dignity and integrity of the Sandiganbayan, merely stated that all persons facing criminal charges in court, with no exception, have to secure permission to leave the country.

The court issued the Resolution dated March 25, 1993, ordering Presiding Justice Garchitorena "to CEASE and DESIST from sitting in the case until the question of his disqualification is finally resolved by this Court and from enforcing the resolution dated March 11, 1993, ordering petitioner to post bail bonds for the 32 Amended Informations and from proceeding with the arraignment on
April 12, 1993.


(a) Whether the petitioner is charged with continued crime (delito continuado) under Article 48 of the Revised Penal Code?


The 32 Amended Informations charged to the petitioner is known as delito continuado or "continued crime" and sometimes referred to as "continuous crime." In fairness to the Ombudsman's Office of the Special Prosecutor, it should be borne in mind that the concept of delito continuado has been a vexing problem in Criminal Law — difficult as it is to define and more difficult to apply.

The concept of delito continuado, although an outcry of the Spanish Penal Code, has been applied to crimes penalized under special laws, e.g. violation of R.A. No. 145 penalizing the charging of fees for services rendered following up claims for war veteran's benefits (People v. Sabbun, 10 SCRA 156 [1964] ). Under Article 10 of the Revised Penal Code, the Code shall be supplementary to special laws, unless the latter provide the contrary. Hence, legal principles developed from the Penal Code may be applied in a supplementary capacity to crimes punished under special laws.

In the case at bench, the original information charged petitioner with performing a single criminal act that of her approving the application for legalization of aliens not qualified under the law to enjoy such privilege. The original information also averred that the criminal act : (i) committed by petitioner was in violation of a law - Executive Order No. 324 dated April 13, 1988, (ii) caused an undue injury to one offended party, the Government, and (iii) was done on a single day, i.e., on or about October 17, 1988.

The Resolution dated March 3, 1993 in Criminal Case No. 16698 of the Sandiganbayan (First Division) is affirmed and its Resolution dated March 11, 1993 in Criminal Case No. 16698 is modified in the sense that the Office of the Special Prosecutor of the Office of the Ombudsman is directed to consolidate the 32 Amended Informations (Criminal Cases Nos. 18371 to 18402) into one information charging only one offense under the original case number, i.e., No. 16698. The temporary restraining order issued by this Court on March 25, 1993 is lifted insofar as to the disqualification of Presiding Justice Francis Garchitorena is concerned.

Case Digest by: cbcabalza2009


Francisco vs Court of Appeals
G.R. No. 108747
April 6, 1995

Narvasa, C.J., Feliciano, Padilla, Bidin and Regalado, JJ., concur.


Petitioner Pablo C. Francisco, upon humiliating his employees, was accused of multiple grave oral defamation in five (5) separate Informations instituted by five of his employees, each Information charging him with gravely maligning them on four different days, i.e., from 9 to 12 April 1980.

On 2 January 1990, after nearly ten (10) years, the Metropolitan Trial Court of Makati, Br. 61, found petitioner Pablo C. Francisco, guilty of grave oral defamation, in four (4) of the five (5) cases filed against him, and sentenced him to a prison term of one (1) year and one (l) day to one (1) year and eight (8) months of prision correccional "in each crime committed on each date of each case, as alleged in the information(s)," ordered him to indemnify each of the offended parties, Victoria Gatchalian, Rowena Ruiz, Linda Marie Ayala Pigar and Marie Solis, P10,000.00 as exemplary damages, and P5,000.00 for attorney's fees, plus costs of suit. However, he was acquitted in for persistent failure of the offended party, Edgar Colindres, to appear and testify.


(a) Whether petitioner is still qualified to avail of probation even after appealing his conviction to the RTC which affirmed the MeTC except with regard to the duration of the penalties imposed.


Fixing the cut-off point at a maximum term of six (6) years imprisonment for probation is based on the assumption that those sentenced to higher penalties pose too great a risk to society, not just because of their demonstrated capability for serious wrong doing but because of the gravity and serious consequences of the offense they might further commit.

The Probation Law, as amended, disqualifies only those who have been convicted of grave felonies as defined in Art. 9 in relation to Art. 25 of the Revised Penal Code, and not necessarily those who have been convicted of multiple offenses in a single proceeding who are deemed to be less perverse.

Hence, the basis of the disqualification of the petitioner is principally on the gravity of the offense committed and the concomitant degree of penalty imposed. Those sentenced to a maximum term not exceeding six (6) years are not generally considered callous, hard core criminals, and thus may avail of probation.

The Court hereby finds the accused Pablo C. Francisco GUILTY beyond reasonable doubt in each of the above entitled cases and appreciating in his favor the mitigating circumstance which is analogous to passion or obfuscation, the Court hereby sentences the said accused in each case to a straight penalty of eight months imprisonment, with the accessory penalties prescribed by law; and to pay the costs.

The argument that petitioner had to await the remand of the case to the MeTC, which necessarily must be after the decision of the RTC had become final, for him to file the application for probation with the trial court, is to stretch the law beyond comprehension. The law, simply, does not allow probation after an appeal has been perfected.

Accordingly, considering that prevailing jurisprudence treats appeal and probation as mutually exclusive remedies, and petitioner appealed from his conviction by the MeTC although the imposed penalties were already probationable, and in his appeal, he asserted only his innocence and did not even raise the issue of the propriety of the penalties imposed on him, and finally, he filed an application for probation outside the period for perfecting an appeal granting he was otherwise eligible for probation, the instant petition for review should be as it is hereby DENIED.

Case Digest by: cbcabalza2009


People vs Ranin
G.R. No. 173023
June 25, 2008


Based on the antecedent facts culled from the records, in the morning of February 18, 1999, Lina de Castro, a lady guard detailed at Palma Hall in the University of the Philippines (UP), Diliman Campus, noticed appellant Ranin pacing the pathway. Appellant Ranin intermittently glanced at a photo which he kept in his pocket while his three companions sat on a bench. Sensing that the four were outsiders, de Castro asked them to leave.

Yet again, at around 3:30 p.m. the following day, de Castro saw appellant Ranin walking by the CASAA canteen as his companions rested on a bench. De Castro accosted appellant Ranin and demanded that he leave. Without responding, the latter headed towards the photocopying machine at the Arts and Sciences Building and then back. He did this routine four times while constantly checking a photo hidden in his pocket.

Meanwhile, Nino Calinao was seated on a bench with other UP students. When appellant Ranin neared their bench, he suddenly fired two successive shots at Calinao. The other students ran away as Calinao fell to the ground. While the latter was crawling on the ground holding his stomach, appellant Ranin shot him a third time. Then, appellant Ranin fired a fourth time at the fallen body of Calinao. De Castro tugged on appellant Ranin's shirt and told him, "Dodong, Dodong, tama na yan, patay na yang bata." Appellant Ranin pointed the gun at her but put it down right away. After that, appellant Ranin and his companions fled.

On September 21, 1999, Resurreccion Ranin, Jr. y Jamali, Besmart Al-Baddar Lauppah y Umparah, Rizal Sarri Lamsani y Jamang and Ommar Hadjula y Kainong were charged with murder in an Information which reads as follows:

On or about February 19, 1999, in Quezon City, Metro Manila, and within the jurisdiction of this Honorable Court, the above-named accused, while confederating, conniving, conspiring and mutually helping and aiding one another, with evident premeditation and treachery, taking advantage of superior strength and employing means to weaken the defense of the victim, did then and there, with criminal and malicious intent to kill, wilfully, unlawfully, feloniously, shoot Nino Calinao with a .45 caliber pistol which caused his instantaneous death, to the damage and prejudice of his heirs.


(a) Whether appellant Ranin be punished of death penalty against the provision of RA No. 9346 on the prohibition of the imposition of death penalty.


The Court likewise agrees with the trial court that treachery and evident premeditation attended the killing which qualified the offense to murder. There is treachery when the means, methods and forms of execution employed gave the person attacked no opportunity to defend himself or to retaliate; and such means, methods and forms of execution were deliberately and consciously adopted by the accused without danger to his person. The essence of evident premeditation, for its part, is that the execution of the criminal act was preceded by cool thought and reflection upon the resolution to carry out the criminal intent during a space of time sufficient to arrive at a calm judgment.

Evidently, Calinao was unaware of the impending danger as appellant Ranin suddenly fired two successive shots at him.

Now, as to the imposable penalty on appellant Ranin, we take into account the passage of Republic Act No. 9346, which was signed into law by President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo on June 24, 2006. The pertinent provisions of said law states that:

Section 1. The imposition of the penalty of death is hereby prohibited. Accordingly, R.A. No. 8177, otherwise known as the Act Designating Death by Lethal Injection, is hereby repealed. Republic Act No. R.A. No. 7659, otherwise known as the Death Penalty Law, and all other laws, executive orders and decrees, insofar as they impose the death penalty are hereby repealed or amended accordingly.

Section 2. In lieu of the death penalty, the following shall be imposed: (a) the penalty of reclusion perpetua, when the law violated makes use of the nomenclature of the penalties of the Revised Penal Code; or

Section 3. Persons convicted of offenses punished with reclusion perpetua, or whose sentences will be reduced to reclusion perpetua, by reason of this Act, shall not be eligible for parole under Act No. 4103, otherwise known as the Indeterminate Sentence Law, as amended.

The assailed Decision and Resolution of the Court of Appeals are hereby affirmed with modification. In view of Rep. Act No. 9346 prohibiting the imposition of the death penalty, appellant Ranin is hereby sentenced to reclusion perpetua without possibility of parole. The award of actual damages is reduced to P42,000, while that of moral damages is also reduced to P50,000. The appellant is further ordered to pay the heirs of Nino Calinao P75, 000 as civil indemnity and P25, 000 as exemplary damages. No pronouncement as to costs.

Case Digest by: cbcabalza2009


People vs Dela Torre
G.R. No. 137953-58
April 11, 2002


Appellee WILFREDO DELA TORRE had three (3) children with his common-law wife Melinda Torre, namely: M1, M2 and M3. Melinda left her family when M1 was about seven (7) years old bringing with her M3. The victim lived with her father and brother M2 in Sta. Cruz, Zambales.

In January of 1997, Felita Sobrevilla, teacher of M1, noticed sudden changes in her behavior and when confronted, the latter admitted that she was sexually abused by her father. Her head teacher informed her Aunt Elpidia Balindo about the sexual abuses. They referred the case to the DSWD who took her under its custody.

M1 testified that her father committed sexual abuses on her on the following dates: September 30, 1996, October 10, 1996, October 18, 1996, November 01, 1996, November 12, 1996 and December 23, 1996.

A medical examination conducted by Dr. Milagrina Mayor, Rural Health Physician of Sta. Cruz, Zambales, on Mary Rose revealed that her hymen was broken with healed lacerations at the 3:00, 6:00 and 9:00 nine o’clock positions. The girl also suffered from urinary tract infection.


(a) Whether appellee should be penalized with reclusion perpetua in each of the four indictments for rape, instead of imposing the supreme penalty of death as mandated by R.A. No. 7659.

(b) Whether an increase in the penalty imposed by the lower court will violate the right of the accused against double jeopardy.


The RTC ruled that "it was duly established that accused Wilfredo committed acts of lasciviousness against M1 on 30 September 1996 and 10 October 1996, and had carnal knowledge [of] M1 on 18 October 1996, 01 November 1996, 12 November 1996 and 23 December 1996." Further, the trial court added that the moral ascendancy of appellee over the victim was equivalent to intimidation. It did not give any probative value to his uncorroborated and unsubstantiated defenses of denial and alibi.

However, the court refused to impose the supreme penalty of death on appellee. It maintained that there were circumstances that mitigated the gravity of the offenses.

The prosecution asks this Court to modify the RTC Decision by imposing the supreme penalty of death on the accused. It argues that it has proven that the victim is the daughter of the accused, and that she was below eighteen (18) years old when the rapes took place. As a consequence, the trial court should have imposed the penalty of death pursuant to Section 11 of RA 7659.

Under Section 1, Rule 122 of the 2000 Rules of Criminal Procedure, any party may appeal from a judgment or final order, unless the accused will be placed in double jeopardy. This provision is substantially the same as that provided by the 1985 Rules.

In several cases, this Court has already definitively ruled on this issue. Recently, in People v. Leones, it unmistakably declared that "[w]hile it is true that this Court is the Court of last resort, there are allegations of error committed by a lower court which we ought not to look into to uphold the right of the accused. Such is the case in an appeal by the prosecution seeking to increase the penalty imposed upon the accused for this runs afoul of the right of the accused against double jeopardy."

The ban on double jeopardy is deeply rooted in jurisprudence. The doctrine has several avowed purposes. Primarily, it prevents the State from using its criminal processes as an instrument of harassment to wear out the accused by a multitude of cases with accumulated trials. It also serves the additional purpose of precluding the State, following an acquittal, from successively retrying the defendant in the hope of securing a conviction. And finally, it prevents the State, following conviction, from retrying the defendant again in the hope of securing a greater penalty.

"While certiorari may be used to correct an abusive acquittal, the petitioner in such extraordinary proceeding must clearly demonstrate that the lower court blatantly abused its authority to a point so grave as to deprive it of its very power to dispense justice. On the other hand, if the petition, regardless of its nomenclature, merely calls for an ordinary review of the findings of the court a quo, the constitutional right against double jeopardy would be violated. Such recourse is tantamount to converting the petition for certiorari into an appeal, contrary to the express injunction of the Constitution, the Rules of Court and prevailing jurisprudence on double jeopardy."

Case Digest by: cbcabalza2009

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Climate Change Act of 2009 (RA No. 9729)

On 26-28 October 2009, this blogger, attended the National Conference on Climate Change Adaptation + 2, which commenced at the Diamond Hotel and culminated at the Heroes Hall in Malacanang Palace. The Climate Change Act of 2009 is said to be a landmark law in Asia on Global Warming and Climate Change. Below is the newly enacted law:

S. No. 2583
H. No. 5982

Republic of the Philippines
Congress of the Philippines
Metro Manila

Fourteenth Congress
Third Regular Session

Begun and held in Metro Manila, on Monday, the twenty-seventh day of July, two thousand nine.


[REPUBLIC A CT N O . 9729]


Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the Philippines in Congress assembled:

SECTION 1. Title. – This Act shall be known as the “Climate Change Act of 2009”.

SEC . 2. Declaration of Policy. – It is the policy of the State to afford full protection and the advancement of the right of the people to a healthful ecology in accord with the rhythm and harmony of nature. In this light, the State has adopted the Philippine Agenda 21 framework which espouses sustainable development, to fulfill human needs while maintaining the quality of the natural environment for current and future generations.

Towards this end, the State adopts the principle of protecting the climate system for the benefit of humankind, on the basis of climate justice or common but differentiated responsibilities and the Precautionary Principle to guide decision-making in climate risk management. As a party to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, the State adopts the ultimate objective of the Convention which is the stabilization of greenhouse gas concentrations in the atmosphere at a level that would prevent dangerous anthropogenic interference with the climate system which should be achieved within a time frame sufficient to allow ecosystems to adapt naturally to climate change, to ensure that food production is not threatened and to enable economic development to proceed in a sustainable manner. As a party to the Hyogo Framework for Action, the State likewise adopts the strategic goals in order to build national and local resilience to climate change-related disasters.

Recognizing the vulnerability of the Philippine archipelago and its local communities, particularly the poor, women, and children, to potential dangerous consequences of climate change such as rising seas, changing landscapes, increasing frequency and/or severity of droughts, fires, floods and storms, climate-related illnesses and diseases, damage to ecosystems, biodiversity loss that affect the country’s environment, culture, and economy, the State shall cooperate with the global community in the resolution of climate change issues, including disaster risk reduction. It shall be the policy of the State to enjoin the participation of national and local governments, businesses, nongovernment organizations, local communities and the public to prevent and reduce the adverse impacts of climate change and, at the same time, maximize the benefits of climate change. It shall also be the policy of the State to incorporate a gender-sensitive, pro-children and pro-poor perspective in all climate change and renewable energy efforts, plans and programs. In view thereof, the State shall strengthen, integrate, consolidate and institutionalize government initiatives to achieve coordination in the implementation of plans and programs to address climate change in the context of sustainable development.

Further recognizing that climate change and disaster risk reduction are closely interrelated and effective disaster risk reduction will enhance climate change adaptive capacity, the State shall integrate disaster risk reduction into climate change programs and initiatives.

Cognizant of the need to ensure that national and subnational government policies, plans, programs and projects are founded upon sound environmental considerations and the principle of sustainable development, it is hereby declared the policy of the State to systematically integrate the concept of climate change in various phases of policy formulation, development plans, poverty reduction strategies and other development tools and techniques by all agencies and instrumentalities of the government.

SEC . 3. Definition of Terms. – For purposes of this Act, the following shall have the corresponding meanings:

(a) “Adaptation” refers to the adjustment in natural or human systems in response to actual or expected climatic stimuli or their effects, which moderates harm or exploits beneficial opportunities.

(b) “Adaptive capacity” refers to the ability of ecological, social or economic systems to adjust to climate change including climate variability and extremes, to moderate or offset potential damages and to take advantage of associated opportunities with changes in climate or to cope with the consequences thereof.

(c) “Anthropogenic causes” refer to causes resulting from human activities or produced by human beings.

(d) “Climate Change” refers to a change in climate that can be identified by changes in the mean and/or variability of its properties and that persists for an extended period typically decades or longer, whether due to natural variability or as a result of human activity.

(e) “Climate Variability” refers to the variations in the average state and in other statistics of the climate on all temporal and spatial scales beyond that of individual weather events.

(f) “Climate Risk” refers to the product of climate and related hazards working over the vulnerability of human and natural ecosystems.

(g) “Disaster” refers to a serious disruption of the functioning of a community or a society involving widespread human, material, economic or environmental losses and impacts which exceed the ability of the affected community or society to cope using its own resources.

(h) “Disaster risk reduction” refers to the concept and practice of reducing disaster risks through systematic efforts to analyze and manage the causal factors of disasters, including through reduced exposure to hazards, lessened vulnerability of people and property, wise management of land and the environment, and improved preparedness for adverse events.

(i) “Gender mainstreaming” refers to the strategy for making women’s as well as men’s concerns and experiences an integral dimension of the design, implementation, monitoring, and evaluation of policies and programs in all political, economic, and societal spheres so that women and men benefit equally and inequality is not perpetuated. It is the process of assessing the implications for women and men of any planned action, including legislation, policies, or programs in all areas and at all levels.

(j) “Global Warming” refers to the increase in the average temperature of the Earth’s near-surface air and oceans that is associated with the increased concentration of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere.

(k) “Greenhouse effect” refers to the process by which the absorption of infrared radiation by the atmosphere warms the Earth.

(l) “Greenhouse gases (GHG)” refers to constituents of the atmosphere that contribute to the greenhouse effect including, but not limited to, carbon dioxide, methane, nitrous oxide, hydrofluorocarbons, perfluorocarbons and sulfur hexafluoride.

(m) “Mainstreaming” refers to the integration of policies and measures that address climate change into development planning and sectoral decision-making.

(n) “Mitigation” in the context of climate change, refers to human intervention to address anthropogenic emissions by sources and removals by sinks of all GHG, including ozone- depleting substances and their substitutes.

(o) “Mitigation potential” shall refer to the scale of GHG reductions that could be made, relative to emission baselines, for a given level of carbon price (expressed in cost per unit of carbon dioxide equivalent emissions avoided or reduced).

(p) “Sea level rise” refers to an increase in sea level which may be influenced by factors like global warming through expansion of sea water as the oceans warm and melting of ice over land and local factors such as land subsidence.

(q) “Vulnerability” refers to the degree to which a system is susceptible to, or unable to cope with, adverse effects of climate change, including climate variability and extremes. Vulnerability is a function of the character, magnitude, and rate of climate change and variation to which a system is exposed, its sensitivity, and its adaptive capacity.

SEC . 4. Creation of the Climate Change Commission. – There is hereby established a Climate Change Commission, hereinafter referred to as the Commission.
The Commission shall be an independent and autonomous body and shall have the same status as that of a national government agency. It shall be attached to the Office of the President.

The Commission shall be the sole policy-making body of the government which shall be tasked to coordinate, monitor and evaluate the programs and action plans of the government relating to climate change pursuant to the provisions of this Act.
The Commission shall be organized within sixty (60) days from the effectivity of this Act.

SEC . 5. Composition of the Commission. – The Commission shall be composed of the President of the Republic of the Philippines who shall serve as the Chairperson, and three (3) Commissioners to be appointed by the President, one of whom shall serve as the Vice Chairperson of the Commission.

The Commission shall have an advisory board composed of the following:

(a) Secretary of the Department of Agriculture;

(b) Secretary of the Department of Energy;

(c) Secretary of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources;

(d) Secretary of the Department of Education;

(e) Secretary of the Department of Foreign Affairs;

(f) Secretary of the Department of Health;

(g) Secretary of the Department of the Interior and Local Government;

(h) Secretary of the Department of National Defense, in his capacity as Chair of the National Disaster Coordinating Council;

(i) Secretary of the Department of Public Works and Highways;

(j) Secretary of the Department of Science and Technology;

(k) Secretary of the Department of Social Welfare and Development;

(l) Secretary of the Department of Trade and Industry;

(m) Secretary of the Department of Transportation and Communications;

(n) Director-General of the National Economic and Development Authority, in his capacity as Chair of the Philippine Council for Sustainable Development;

(o) Director-General of the National Security Council;

(p) Chairperson of the National Commission on the Role of Filipino Women;

(q) President of the League of Provinces;

(r) President of the League of Cities;

(s) President of the League of Municipalities;

(t) President of the Liga ng mga Barangay;

(u) Representative from the academe;

(v) Representative from the business sector; and

(w) Representative from nongovernmental organizations.

At least one (1) of the sectoral representatives shall come from the disaster risk reduction community.

The representatives shall be appointed by the President from a list of nominees submitted by their respective groups. They shall serve for a term of six (6) years without reappointment unless their representation is withdrawn by the sector they represent. Appointment to any vacancy shall be only for the unexpired term of the predecessor.

Only the ex officio members of the advisory board shall appoint a qualified representative who shall hold a rank of no less than an Undersecretary.

SEC . 6. Meetings of the Commission. – The Commission shall meet once every three (3) months, or as often as may be deemed necessary by the Chairperson. The Chairperson may likewise call upon other government agencies for the proper implementation of this Act.

SEC. 7. Qualifications, Tenure, Compensation of Commissioners. – The Commissioners must be Filipino citizens, residents of the Philippines, at least thirty (30) years of age at the time of appointment, with at least ten (10) years of experience on climate change and of proven honesty and integrity.

The Commissioners shall be experts in climate change by virtue of their educational background, training and experience: Provided, That at least one (1) Commissioner shall be female: Provided, further, That in no case shall the Commissioners come from the same sector: Provided, finally, That in no case shall any of the Commissioners appoint representatives to act on their behalf.

The Commissioners shall hold office for a period of six (6) years, and may be subjected to reappointment: Provided, That no person shall serve for more than two (2) consecutive terms: Provided, further, That in case of a vacancy, the new appointee shall fully meet the qualifications of a Commissioner and shall hold office for the unexpired portion of the term only: Provided, finally, That in no case shall a Commissioner be designated in a temporary or acting capacity.
The Vice Chairperson and the Commissioners shall have the rank and privileges of a Department Secretary and Undersecretary, respectively. They shall be entitled to corresponding compensation and other emoluments and shall be subject to the same disqualifications.

SEC . 8. Climate Change Office. – There is hereby created a Climate Change Office that shall assist the Commission. It shall be headed by a Vice Chairperson of the Commission who shall act as the Executive Director of the Office. The Commission shall have the authority to determine the number of staff and create corresponding positions necessary to facilitate the proper implementation of this Act, subject to civil service laws, rules and regulations. The officers and employees of the Commission shall be appointed by the Executive Director.

S EC . 9. Powers and Functions of the Commission. – The Commission shall have the following powers and functions:

(a) Ensure the mainstreaming of climate change, in synergy with disaster risk reduction, into the national, sectoral and local development plans and programs;

(b) Coordinate and synchronize climate change programs of national government agencies;

(c) Formulate a Framework Strategy on Climate Change to serve as the basis for a program for climate change planning, research and development, extension, and monitoring of activities on climate change;

(d) Exercise policy coordination to ensure the attainment of goals set in the framework strategy and program on climate change;

(e) Recommend legislation, policies, strategies, programs on and appropriations for climate change adaptation and mitigation and other related activities;

(f) Recommend key development investments in climate- sensitive sectors such as water resources, agriculture, forestry, coastal and marine resources, health, and infrastructure to ensure the achievement of national sustainable development goals;

(g) Create an enabling environment for the design of relevant and appropriate risk-sharing and risk-transfer instruments;

(h) Create an enabling environment that shall promote broader multi-stakeholder participation and integrate climate change mitigation and adaptation;

(i) Formulate strategies on mitigating GHG and other anthropogenic causes of climate change;

(j) Coordinate and establish a close partnership with the National Disaster Coordinating Council in order to increase efficiency and effectiveness in reducing the people’s vulnerability to climate-related disasters;

(k) In coordination with the Department of Foreign Affairs, represent the Philippines in the climate change negotiations;

(l) Formulate and update guidelines for determining vulnerability to climate change impacts and adaptation assessments and facilitate the provision of technical assistance for their implementation and monitoring;

(m) Coordinate with local government units (LGUs) and private entities to address vulnerability to climate change impacts of regions, provinces, cities and municipalities;

(n) Facilitate capacity building for local adaptation planning, implementation and monitoring of climate change initiatives in vulnerable communities and areas;

(o) Promote and provide technical and financial support to local research and development programs and projects in vulnerable communities and areas; and

(p) Oversee the dissemination of information on climate change, local vulnerabilities and risks, relevant laws and protocols and adaptation and mitigation measures.

SEC . 10. Panel of Technical Experts. – The Commission shall constitute a national panel of technical experts consisting of practitioners in disciplines that are related to climate change, including disaster risk reduction.

The Panel shall provide technical advice to the Commission in climate science, technologies, and best practices for risk assessment and enhancement of adaptive capacity of vulnerable human settlements to potential impacts of climate change.
The Commission shall set the qualifications and compensation for the technical experts. It shall provide resources for the operations and activities of the Panel.

SEC . 11. Framework Strategy and Program on Climate Change. – The Commission shall, within six (6) months from the effectivity of this Act, formulate a Framework Strategy on Climate Change. The Framework shall serve as the basis for a program for climate change planning, research and development, extension, and monitoring of activities to protect vulnerable communities from the adverse effects of climate change.

The Framework shall be formulated based on climate change vulnerabilities, specific adaptation needs, and mitigation potential, and in accordance with the international agreements.

The Framework shall be reviewed every three (3) years, or as may be deemed necessary.
SEC. 12. Components of the Framework Strategy and Program on Climate Change. – The Framework shall include, but not limited to, the following components:

(a) National priorities;

(b) Impact, vulnerability and adaptation assessments;

(c) Policy formulation;

(d) Compliance with international commitments;

(e) Research and development;

(f) Database development and management;

(g) Academic programs, capability building and mainstreaming;

(h) Advocacy and information dissemination;

(i) Monitoring and evaluation; and

(j) Gender mainstreaming.

SEC . 13. National Climate Change Action Plan . – The Commission shall formulate a National Climate Change Action Plan in accordance with the Framework within one (1) year after the formulation of the latter.

The National Climate Change Action Plan shall include, but not limited to, the following components:

(a) Assessment of the national impact of climate change;

(b) The identification of the most vulnerable communities/areas, including ecosystems to the impacts of climate change, variability and extremes;

(c) The identification of differential impacts of climate change on men, women and children;

(d) The assessment and management of risk and vulnerability;

(e) The identification of GHG mitigation potentials; and

(f) The identification of options, prioritization of appropriate adaptation measures for joint projects of national and local governments.

SEC. 14. Local Climate Change Action Plan. – The LGUs shall be the frontline agencies in the formulation, planning and implementation of climate change action plans in their respective areas, consistent with the provisions of the Local Government Code, the Framework, and the National Climate Change Action Plan.

Barangays shall be directly involved with municipal and city governments in prioritizing climate change issues and in identifying and implementing best practices and other solutions. Municipal and city governments shall consider climate change adaptation, as one of their regular functions. Provincial governments shall provide technical assistance, enforcement and information management in support of municipal and city climate change action plans. Inter-local government unit collaboration shall be maximized in the conduct of climate- related activities.

LGUs shall regularly update their respective action plans to reflect changing social, economic, and environmental conditions and emerging issues. The LGUs shall furnish the Commission with copies of their action plans and all subsequent amendments, modifications and revisions thereof, within one (1) month from their adoption. The LGUs shall mobilize and allocate necessary personnel, resources and logistics to effectively implement their respective action plans.

The local chief executive shall appoint the person responsible for the formulation and implementation of the local action plan.

It shall be the responsibility of the national government to extend technical and financial assistance to LGUs for the accomplishment of their Local Climate Change Action Plans.

The LGU is hereby expressly authorized to appropriate and use the amount from its Internal Revenue Allotment necessary to implement said local plan effectively, any provision in the Local Government Code to the contrary notwithstanding.

SEC. 15. Role of Government Agencies. – To ensure the effective implementation of the framework strategy and program on climate change, concerned agencies shall perform the following functions:

(a) The Department of Education (DepED) shall integrate climate change into the primary and secondary education curricula and/or subjects, such as, but not limited to, science, biology, sibika, history, including textbooks, primers and other educational materials, basic climate change principles and concepts;

(b) The Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) and Local Government Academy shall facilitate the development and provision of a training program for LGUs in climate change. The training program shall include socioeconomic, geophysical, policy, and other content necessary to address the prevailing and forecasted conditions and risks of particular LGUs. It shall likewise focus on women and children, especially in the rural areas, since they are the most vulnerable;

(c) The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) shall oversee the establishment and maintenance of a climate change information management system and network, including on climate change risks, activities and investments, in collaboration with other concerned national government agencies, institutions and LGUs;

(d) The Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) shall review international agreements related to climate change and make the necessary recommendation for ratification and compliance by the government on matters pertaining thereto;

(e) The Philippine Information Agency (PIA) shall disseminate information on climate change, local vulnerabilities and risk, relevant laws and protocols and adaptation and mitigation measures; and

(f) Government financial institutions, shall, any provision in their respective charters to the contrary notwithstanding, provide preferential financial packages for climate change- related projects. In consultation with the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP), they shall, within thirty (30) days from the effectivity of this Act, issue and promulgate the implementing guidelines therefor.

The Commission shall evaluate, recommend the approval of loans and monitor the use of said funds of LGUs.

SEC. 16. Coordination with Various Sectors. – In the development and implementation of the National Climate Change Action Plan, and the local action plans, the Commission shall coordinate with the nongovernment organizations (NGOs), civic organizations, academe, people’s organizations, the private and corporate sectors and other concerned stakeholder groups.

SEC. 17. Authority to Receive Donations and/or Grants. – The Commission is hereby authorized to accept grants, contributions, donations, endowments, bequests, or gifts in cash, or in kind from local and foreign sources in support of the development and implementation of climate change programs and plans: Provided, That in case of donations from foreign governments, acceptance thereof shall be subject to prior clearance and approval of the President of the Philippines upon recommendation of the Secretary of Foreign Affairs: Provided, further, That such donations shall not be used to fund personal services expenditures and other operating expenses of the Commission.

The proceeds shall be used to finance:

(a) Research, development, demonstration and promotion of technologies;

(b) Conduct of assessment of vulnerabilities to climate change impacts, resource inventory, and adaptation capability building;

(c) Advocacy, networking and communication activities in the conduct of information campaign; and

(d) Conduct of such other activities reasonably necessary to carry out the objectives of this Act, as may be defined by the Commission.

SEC. 18. Funding Allocation for Climate Change. – All relevant government agencies and LGUs shall allocate from their annual appropriations adequate funds for the formulation, development and implementation, including training, capacity building and direct intervention, of their respective climate change programs and plans. It shall also include public awareness campaigns on the effects of climate change and energy-saving solutions to mitigate these effects, and initiatives, through educational and training programs and micro-credit schemes, especially for women in rural areas. In subsequent budget proposals, the concerned offices and units shall appropriate funds for program/project development and implementation including continuing training and education in climate change.

SEC. 19. Joint Congressional Oversight Committee. – There is hereby created a Joint Congressional Oversight Committee to monitor the implementation of this Act. The Oversight Committee shall be composed of five (5) Senators and five (5) Representatives to be appointed by the Senate President and the Speaker of the House of Representatives, respectively. The Oversight Committee shall be co-chaired by a Senator and a Representative to be designated by the Senate President and the Speaker of the House of Representatives, respectively. Its funding requirement shall be charged against the appropriations of Congress.

SEC. 20. Annual Report. – The Commission shall submit to the President and to both Houses of Congress, not later than March 30 of every year following the effectivity of this Act, or upon the request of the Congressional Oversight Committee, a report giving a detailed account of the status of the implementation of this Act, a progress report on the implementation of the National Climate Change Action Plan and recommend legislation, where applicable and necessary. LGUs shall submit annual progress reports on the implementation of their respective local action plan to the Commission within the first quarter of the following year.

SEC. 21. Appropriations. – The sum of Fifty million pesos (Php50,000,000.00) is hereby appropriated as initial operating fund in addition to the unutilized fund of the Presidential Task Force on Climate Change and the Office of the Presidential Adviser on Global Warming and Climate Change. The sum shall be sourced from the President’s contingent fund.

Thereafter, the amount necessary to effectively carry out the provisions of this Act shall be included in the annual General Appropriations Act.

SEC. 22. Implementing Rules and Regulations. – Within ninety (90) days after the approval of this Act, the Commission shall, upon consultation with government agencies, LGUs, private sector, NGOs and civil society, promulgate the implementing rules and regulations of this Act: Provided, That failure to issue rules and regulations shall not in any manner affect the executory nature of the provisions of this Act.

SEC.23. Transitory Provisions. – Upon the organization of the Commission, the Presidential Task Force on Climate Change created under Administrative Order No. 171 and the Inter-Agency Committee on Climate Change created by virtue of Administrative Order No. 220, shall be abolished: Provided, That their powers and functions shall be absorbed by the Commission: Provided, further, That the officers and employees thereof shall continue in a holdover capacity until such time as the new officers and employees of the Commission shall have been duly appointed pursuant to the provisions of this Act. All qualified regular or permanent employees who may be transferred to the Commission shall not suffer any loss in seniority or rank or decrease in emoluments. Any employee who cannot be absorbed by the Commission shall be entitled to a separation pay under existing retirement laws.

SEC. 24. Separability Clause. – If for any reason any section or provision of this Act is declared as unconstitutional or invalid, the other sections or provisions hereof shall not be affected thereby.

SEC. 25. Repealing Clause. – All laws, ordinances, rules and regulations, and other issuances or parts thereof which are inconsistent with this Act are hereby repealed or modified accordingly.

SEC. 26. Effectivity. – This Act shall take effect fifteen (15) days after the completion of its publication in the Official Gazette or in at least two (2) national newspapers of general circulation.

Speaker of the House of Representatives

President of the Senate

This Act which is a consolidation of Senate Bill No. 2583 and House Bill No. 5982 was finally passed by the Senate and the House of Representatives on August 25, 2009 and September 2, 2009, respectively.

Secretary General
House of Representatives

Secretary of the Senate

President of the Philippines

Friday, October 23, 2009

RP-US Free Trade Agreement

Copyright © 2009 by Chester B Cabalza. All Rights Reserved.


Three years ago, celebrating the 60 years of the Philippines-United States Friendship and the Centennial of Filipino Migration to Hawaii and the United States, President Gloria Arroyo’s visit to Honolulu on 17 September 2006 underscored enduring bilateral ties as she stated, “…the Philippine-American relations is at its closest and most vibrant in more than a decade”.

But the apparent love-hate relations between the two allies has constantly been redefined and solidified through the past six decades, from such collaborative efforts as their common stand in the great ideological struggle of the Cold War period to their important cooperation in the war against terrorism in the 21st century to the spirit of free enterprise; the continuing promotion of important economic linkages even as today’s world witnesses the intense competition in a globalizing world.

It is a fact that today we are all functioning in a world fundamentally characterized by objects in motion. There is a tremendous mobility brought about by globalization where immense flood of capital, ideas, labor, profits and technology are rapidly moving across the four bounds of the earth.

Cognizant of the improving bilateral relations of the Philippines-United States, the Free Trade Agreement (FTA) is viewed as a strategy that should be carefully crafted, negotiated and implemented. The Philippine government should especially work on leveling the playing field to cushion the possible negative impact to affected sectors (Medalla & Balboa, 2006).


This article shall look back and scrutinize the past RP-US economic relations that apparently have declined over the years after the Americans withdrew its largest military bases in the Philippines. And now as a result of the changing conditions in the world market and increasing regional integration and global competition, trade arrangements have become a part of economic and development strategies of each nation-state. Furthermore, the study shall explore the issues, challenges and prospects in forging an FTA between the Philippines and the United States and future trends in trade particularly the business process outsourcings (BPO).

Nevertheless, in the ASEAN region, Singapore has already signed for Free Trade Agreement (FTA) with the United States. Similarly, an US-Thailand FTA is in the process of negotiation. The Philippines is eyeing to be the next. With this kind of economic arrangements in the region, a domino effect might transform Philippine economic engagement with the United States. To put it more aptly, will future FTAs among Southeast Asian countries adopt the US-Singapore FTA (USSFTA) template? Furthermore, will an FTA more likely enhance RP-US bilateral relations in the future?

Since the September 11 terrorist attack, it seems that the United States has a strong strategic vision on how to define the evolving security landscape for the Philippines and Southeast Asia. Indeed, security has inevitable effects and impacts on the commercial ties of the United States to its oldest ally in Asia, the Philippines. In this view, is security issue more highlighted than trade and commerce?

Definition of Terms

Free Trade Agreement is seen as an opportunity to eliminate tariffs and quantitative controls and freedom from US farm programs, which have distorting effects on prices (Medalla & Balboa, 2006). An FTA is expected to pave way for preferential access for exports to the US market for garments and textile products, especially that it has to face growing competition from China’s similar exports. Furthermore, bilateral economic partnerships are expected to spur “forced efficiency” effect that will induce efficiency and productivity gains and to restructure the economy to improve the domestic supply chain (Naya, 2005:5).

Frameworks of Analyses

The author shall use the frameworks of trade liberalization in the current trends of globalization by looking at Thomas Friedman’s arguments in outsourcing and offshoring that has allowed companies to split service and manufacturing activities into components, with each component performed in most efficient, cost-effective way. Also it will look at new regionalism and export theory frameworks to analyze the impacts of current bilateral trade of the Philippines and the United States.

The new regionalism theory (Eul-Soo Pang: 2003) incorporates trade creation opportunities for state and non-state actors, but also highlights the interaction between trade and flows of foreign direct investments (FDI) and foreign portfolio investment (FPI). Transnational production systems, cross-border financing, and access to world market are new factors in play. It builds new safety net for a country’s external economy.

On other hand, export theory suggests that exports are important for growth and this has been determined even in the case of Asian countries. This approach is in line with the standard theoretical contention that the growth often reflect one, or a combination of, several factors such as a greater degree of competitiveness, achieving scale of economies, improved technology, higher production according to a country’s comparative advantage and greater market outreach (Clemes, Arifa and Gani: 2003).

The RP-US Trade Relations from Post-Cold War to Post 9/11

According to a Filipino economist G.F. Sicat, for most of the first 60 years of the 20th century, the Philippine trade policy was governed by the colonial authorities in Washington D.C. Since World War II, the bilateral trade and investment cooperation had become somehow dynamic dimension of RP-US engagement. The United States believes that the Philippines’ sustainable economic development will make it a stronger ally. But the Philippines insist that the US engagement in the country should be comprehensive, covering both security and economic development dimensions.

From 1974-1984, the overall trade balance was still favorable to the Philippines. But the Philippines did no longer imports US consumer goods, but instead, imports have shifted to capital goods and raw materials.

In terms of investments, American products have become household names in the Philippines (e.g. Coca-Cola, Marlboro, Tang, Colgate). These names are such familiar parts of the Philippine scene that the Filipino cannot be blamed for thinking the US firms continue to dominate our economy that time. Hence, the sudden rise of Japan as an economic power in Asia-Pacific rivaled the huge investments of the US to the Philippines. Hence, Japanese products (e.g. Sony, Toyota, Canon, Fuji) have also entered Filipino consciousness during those periods and still have stronger product recalls even today.

Meanwhile, the US share in Philippines trade has declined since post-EDSA I, but it still accounts for at least 18 percent of Philippine Exports (valued at US$7 million) and 19 percent of Philippine Imports (valued at US$8 million) in 2004. Hence, the Philippines was a recepient of Php3.6 billion of Foreign Direct Investments (FDI) from the United States. Prior to 2002, United States was the top foreign direct investor in the country.

The US is still the leading destination of Overseas Filipino Workers (OFW). From 1998-2002, around 18,854 OFWs were documented to have worked in the US. Remittances amounting to US$4.18 billion was recorded in 2003 alone. However, in the past two years, OFWs destined to US declined to –9.7 percent due to more restrictive entry in the US especially in the aftermath of the September 11 terrorist attack in 2001 (Medalla & Balboa: 2006).

Hence, economic and trade relations with the United States as aptly described by President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo has been “elevated to a level of maturity”, anchored on the mutual recognition of sovereign equality and on mutual respect. In her words on the occasion of DFA Foundation Day on 24 July 2004, she stated:

“The Philippines and the United States have centuries-old bonds, tightened by a common political tradition, by world wars fought together, by tens of thousands of brave soldiers dying in the battlefield of freedom. That is a relationship between two peoples. No President can break that bond because it is held together by a permanent history. Our partnership for a better world is stronger than ever.”

In 2005, total RP-US trade amounted to US$16.5 billion. The US investments in the country for the last two years were mostly in Information Technology (IT) and IT-enabled businesses (e.g. Call Centers, Business Process Outsourcing, and Software Development). American investors are also active in mining, banking, insurance, power, oil exploration, and information technology.

According to Dennis Arnold he stated that the FDI in this phase is represented by the continuing relocation of production. FDI inflows to individual ASEAN members vary considerably, and although absolute amounts of FDI have stabilized since 2000 following the Asian Financial Crisis. Meanwhile, FDI inflows dropped in Southeast Asia from US$27.7 billion in 1997 to US$14 billion in 2002.

Meanwhile an interview with Ma. Carolina Apostol , she says that bilateral trade and investment cooperation is dynamic between RP-US relations. In 2006, two-way RP-US trade amounted to US$16.99 billion. In other words, the Philippines experienced trade surplus with the United States. She adds that the US remains to be the country’s number one trading partner as a top export market and top import source of the Philippines last year.

Today, the US economy is currently twice the size of Japan, the world’s second largest economy. The US is the preferred destination for scientifically trained foreign workers, and popular destination for foreign firms with China as its main rival. It attracts more than 1/3 of world’s inflow of direct investments. The US expenditure in R&D nearly equalled those of the next seven richest countries combined.

Growth in ASEAN Region

Prior to the domino effects of the East Asian financial and economic crisis in 1997-1998, Southeast Asian countries have been the favorite hubs for many multinational-manufacturing companies. The ASEAN Five countries attracted considerable international attention primarily as a result of their phenomenal gross domestic product (GDP) growth rates. Much of the robust growth was driven by the rapid expansion of both the services and the manufacturing sectors. Similarly, the manufacturing sector has also expanded in several parts of developing as well as the developed world, although, at a slower pace than the services sector (Clemes, Arifa and Gani: 2003).

Japan at that time, as a proxy power of the US in the region and the second largest economy in the world, aimed to turn ASEAN into an integrated production base for Japanese production. Based from Walden Bello (1997) he said that prior to the 1997 Asian economic crisis, a massive influx of Japanese FDI with US$48 billion spread in ASEAN 5 countries. But the Plaza Accord of 1985 triggered further damage, because there was a pressure from the US which sought to reduce its gaping trade deficit with Japan by ‘cheapening’ its exports and making its imports from Japan more expensive in dollars in terms of US consumers.

During that period and even today, the US still plays a significant role in ASEAN’s economy. Being a world economic power, Southeast Asian markets are bandwagoning with the hegemonic power of the US. Albeit the Philippines, having the smallest volume of exports to the US can be inferred that its products are not competitive and attractive and US top exporters are from developed economies.

There are three major sectoral composition of ASEAN’s economies: agriculture, manufacturing and services. The figures below speak about the supremacy of the Philippines in 1970s in the manufacturing sector around that period, thus Singapore becoming a manufacturing powerhouse in 1980s that sustained the Lion City’s premiere position today as the leading economic power and the most duty free country in the region, followed by Thailand when it was chosen as the favorite manufacturing hub in the 1990s.

Over-expansion in the construction and services before achieving industrial maturity created a big dent to Indonesia’s, Malaysia’s and Thailand’s capacity to finance industrial and technology development. While the Philippines faced de-industralization even before the manufacturing sector had achieved adequate structural transformation. Unlike Singapore and other industralized countries, where the transition to services was achieved after extensive industrial deepening and productivity increments, accelerated expansion in construction and services (Embong and Rudolph, 2000).

In a deterrirtorialized world, increases in global exports have been largely concentrated between two sectoral outputs: exports of manufactures and exports of services. The growth of manufacturing and services in the last two decades in Southeast Asia and Northeast Asia have outpaced all other regions around the world.

The services sector is now becoming an increasingly important to the GDP of emerging economies in ASEAN. Hence, several factors are identified as contributory to the transformation of the service economy and among the salient features are: globalization, deregulation and privatization, and the advancement of technology. Currently, services represent approximately 25 percent of the world trade.

Meanwhile, in the Asia-Pacific region, the Philippines still lags behind with its neighbors based from the 2007 State of Philippine Competitiveness (see Table 8 on International Trade Performance) Based from the study of Asian Institute of Management (AIM), the Philippine business achieved strengths through the following conditions: it has the lowest cost of living in the region, ranked 14th in account balance, 17th in exports of goods, 19th in trade-to-GDP ratio and 21st in long-term unexployment. For its weaknesses, it ranks 59th in GDP per capita in the world, 58th in GDP (PPP) per capita, 55th in relocation of production, 54th in both consumer price inflation and employment.

As Thomas Friedman observes and few other economists (Clemes, Arifa and Gani: 2003) some service organizations in higher wage countries are beginning to outsource work at an increasing scale to those countries that have highly skilled labor available at lower charge-out rates. The increase in the growth of services sector has also triggered a growth in demand for a variety of manufactured goods such as computers, cell phones, digital scanners and optical linkages.

Security Dimension in the Totality of RP-US Relations

When the Amerians fled the Clark Air Field and Subic Naval Base, it became an emotionally charged issue that greatly affected the RP-US relations. The American penchant for overtly or covertly influencing the internal affairs is motivated primarily by strategic interest in these two bases. Hence each year, the base contribute, in terms of local spending, US$230 million to the Philippine economy. The Bases Agreement had direct expenditures covering the period 1985-1989 that can provide for US$900 million in potential economic benefits.

On the other hand, the Philippines attempted to charge rent for the bases instead of accepting “best effort” compensations; however the Americans steadfastly object to paying rent based from the US position on the following reasons:

1. the security of the region is a shared responsibility;
2. regional stability benefits the Philippines; and
3. the Philippine contribution resulting from two abovementioned reasons, to provide land on which the bases are established.

Cognizant of the relevant 1986 Constitution provisions and laws that guided the revitalized defense cooperation, both countries negotiated and concluded a Visiting Forces Agreement (VFA) in 1999. Among the many exercises, the better known is ‘Balikatan’, being the largest in scale and maximize the interoperability between the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) and the US.

After the September 11, 2001 terrorist attack in the US, a revatalized defense cooperation was forged with the full support endowned by President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo to President George W. Bush of the United States. With this kind of agreement, the US political-military/security assistance to the Philippines in 2005 amounted to US$103.7 million. Since 2002, the annual US Security Assistance (SA) extended to AFP is estimated at approximatelt US$72.15 million, broken down as follows: US$93.5 million in 2020; US$78.58 million in 2003; US$63.18 million in 2004; and US$53.37 million in 2005.

The messianic role and unilateralist position of the United States being the sole superpower in the world is currently externalized by looking at the safety of its citizens and the security of its terrirory. Since 9/11 it seems that the US has a strong strategic vision on how to define the evolving security landscape for the Philippines, Southeast Asia, and the world. According to an interview with US trade attache David Rovinsky, the US current obsession has been their security. Security has placed significant roles in their bilateral relations with various countries. Hence, under George W. Bush administration, they obviously allotted a huge budget in their defense and military.

But based on an interview with Ma. Corina Apostol , she deems that RP’s support to the US in terrorism then has helped strengthened RP’s commercial ties with the US. The hegemonic power of the US helped the Philippines gain more access to the US markets through certain grants and lower tariff treatment in trade.

Recently, the Philippines was once again placed on a compromising position pursuing its relationship with the United States. Firstly, when an OFW (Angelo dela Cruz) was set free from a terrorist group in Iraq and in return the Philippines withdrew its troops in the war-torn country of then Saddam Hussein that caused so muh criticism from the US but praises from the international community. Secondly, the accidental death of an American Peace Corp volunteer Julia Campbell in the famous Batad, Mt. Province. And thirdly, the imapct of the Nicole-Smith rape case, in which the Philippine government, in spite of the local court’s decision, decided to give the US Embassy custody over an American troop convicted of raping a Filipina.

USSFTA – A Model for Prospective RP-US Free Trade

It is a pre-resquisite for the Americans to forge Free Trade Agreement (FTA) with different countries once these nation-states are members of the World Trade Organization (WTO) and have partnered with the Trade and Investments Framework Agreement (TIFA).

Singapore is the first and only country yet to have signed an FTA with the United States among the other member countries in Southeast Asia and Asia as a whole since the Philippines closed down the US naval and air stations in 1991. The United States-Singapore Free Trade Agreements (USSFTA) was a result of an economic and trade negotiation in 2003, that placed both countries advatageous with each other to increase their investments and trade. For the US, the FTA as an enterprise makes little economic sense; it has created an asymmetry of opportunities for the trade goods and services in favor of the city-state. And for Singapore, ‘survival’ has been the foremost preoccupation since independence and has been the city-state’s credo in its [economic] policy ( Eul-Song Pang: 2007).

Based from my personal interview with David Rovinsky, he thinks that Singapore model for future FTA with the Philippines and other Southeast Asian countries is not possible because of varying economic diversity in the region. Singapore has its own concerns, issues and vulnerabilities. Thus, considering the status of Singapore being the most duty-free country, an entrepot economy, and the second largest port in the world.

On the other hand, in my interview with Ma. Corina Apostol, she thinks that an FTA with the United States will surely be beneficial to the country and will certainly enhance RP-US relations. However, the US has set new conditionalities on trade, which have the effect of raising compliance standards for potential US FTA partners. This does not preclude the government from exploring ways on how negotiations for an FTA with the US may commence.

Furthermore, based from the study of the PIDS (2006), Singapore is the most free trade country in Asia Pacific. The city-state guarantees zero tariff in all US goods. On the other hand, US goods entering Singapore will have a zero tariff in 10-year period at the same time Singapore will consider the same treatment. In terms of services, trade liberalization will be best considered. Hence, the lion city can put this policy aptly by stating, “Singapore will treat you as a services supplier like your own services”. Hence, Singapore can guarantee duty free on all US products.

Thailand, Malaysia, the Philippines, Indonesia, Korea, Taiwan and Vietnam are eyeing to be the next countries to forge an FTA with the US. But In August 2006 the US offered to consider an FTA with ASEAN.

In the case of Thailand, David Rovinsky alludes that the US ceased its negotiation on FTA with the Thai government after the recent coup in Bangkok. The US engages talks only with democratic countries. Although, it is unfortunate that the negotiation is nearing to its final agreement. What will happen on December 23 is still anticipated.

Rovinsky believes that in the case of the Philippines, USSFTA is not possible and would not be a good model for future engagement of FTA with the US. He thinks that US-Chile FTA model is best considered especially on issues of agricultural sector. While Chile has many agricultural issues, it ended up having an FTA with the largest economic power in the world, the United States.

Accodring to the Philippine Institute for Development Studies (2006), they see more positive prospects in engaging an FTA with the US. Expected benefits would strengthen linkages with American business sector, improvement of employment opportunities, improvement of the economic image of the Philippines, become an instrument for technology transfer, enhancement of trade and investment, and creation of national policies on the movement of the people. On the other hand, there are also disadvantages, like the issue of national treatment in which case the Philippines would only serve the “most favored nation treatment”.

The Philippine government should especially work on leveling off the playing field to cushion negative impacts to affected sectors like the Information and Communication Technology (ICT) and weak Philippine financial sectors.

Furthermore, David Rovinsky looks at the viability of the business process outsourcing (BPO) sector in the Philippines in which American businesses see much potential investsments (e.g. Texas Instrument have invested over a billion dollars in Clark, prefering the Philippines than China and Vietnam).

Official Development Assistance (ODA) in the Philippines through the US Agency for International Development (USAID)

Based from the figures released by the USAID through George T Kurina’s New Book of World Rankings, RP is only ranked 17th as a recipient of US economic aid from 1946-1981 and even lower 19th as a recipient of US military aid from 1946-1980. Only in 2005, USAID funding level to the Philippines stood at US$111.071 million and in 2006, a total of US$69.973M (and an additional US$20M). Through development interventions of the USAID, the US has given assistance in the Philippines totaling to more than US$5 billion in more than four decades, in the following program areas: market reforms and good governance, population, health and nutrition; energy and environmental resource management; and economic transformation in Mindanao in support of the peace process.


Some observers say that the Philippines cannot free itself from such an unequal relationship with the US, because the Philippines is arguably, a weak state. International Relations scholars have argued that we are living in a unipolar world when the Cold War ended in 1991, with the US as the only remaining superpower. It has enough influence to determine how the rest of the world will live. US scholars argued, on the other hand, that there has been misconception about how the US exercises its power and that it is not true that US supremacy or unipolarity is the defining feature on international relations today. Amidst all the contending theories and observations as to how the US uses its power, it is quite obvious that the US has a profound influence over the Philippines’ political, cultural and economic life.

According to the Philippine Institute for Development Studies (2006), the prospective RP-US FTA is a potentially controversial development policy option for the Philippines. There is a need to continue conducting in-depth studies on identified sectors and areas for negotiations. It is suggested that a coalition which will oversee preparations and negotiations for an RP-US FTA be formed. At the sectoral level, several studies also reveal that an FTA could be used as a platform to advance policies that would enhance competitiveness of local industries. Lastly, PIDS concluded, it should be emphasized that an FTA with the Americans, or any other country, is not an end in itself, but a means towards achieving our development goals and towards integrating the economy in the rapid global trading environment.


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Medalla, Erlinda M. and Balboa, Jenny D., (February 2006), Deliberating a Philippine-US Free Trade Agreement: Issues, Challenges and Prospects, Discussion Paper Series No. 2006-03, Philippine Institute for Development Studies: Makati City, Philippines.

Pang, Eul-Soo. (2007), Embedding Security into Free Trade: The Case of the United States-Singapore Free Trade Agreement, Contemporary Southeast Asia Vol. 29, No. 1 (2007), pp. 1-32, Institute of Southeast Asia Studies: Singapore.

Simbulan, Roland G., (August 22, 2002), US Policy in Asia and the State of Philippine-US Security Relations, Speech before the Founding Conference of the Asian Peace Alliance, University of the Philippines, Asian Center.

Urubio, Erika Aubrey U. (2007), Re-Examining Philippine-US Relations, In DIGEST A Forum for Security and Defense Issues, Office of Strategic and Special Studies, Armed Forces of the Philippines, 2nd and 3rd Quarter, pp.24.

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Key Informants

Ma Corina R. Apostol
Principal Assistant
US Division
Office of American Affairs
Department of Foreign Affairs

David J. Rovinsky
Second Secretary
Economic Section
American Embassy Manila

Monday, October 19, 2009

The Boon of Business Process Outsourcing (BPO) in the Philippines

Copyright © 2009 by Chester B Cabalza. All Rights Reserved.

I am re-posting this article, which I had written early last year (2008), in view that the business process outsourcing in the Philippines is one of the fastest and boldest income-generating sectors our country must treasure most. Below is my essay posted also at

My younger brother works as a program manager in one of the booming contact centers in Makati. It is prominently known in the Philippines as call center, a version of voice subsector of the sprouting and quite lucrative business process outsourcing (BPO). He was recently awarded as one of the best five performing managers worldwide based from the global poll of the outsourcing company he is associated with. He belongs to a ‘protean’ generation who twists his tongue for a well-versed American accent – who gurgles with bottles of beer early in the morning after work and gulps Starbucks coffee and enjoys puffing his cigarettes to stay alert all night long. Then he sleeps at daytime living like a modern Dracula who anticipates another graveyard to stay alive and kicking.

While my wife who sacrificed the unfriendly schedule of becoming a full-pledged flight attendant and instead shifted to becoming an editor of thick outsourced and imported legal and business contracts from key world cities of North America and Western Europe, was then part of non-voice subsector of the growing BPO. Many of the non-voice subsector includes back office jobs like animation, legal and medical transcription, accounting, digital content, software development, auditing, and engineering design - outsourced by developed countries to young talents in still developing Asian countries like the Philippines, India, and China. Furthermore, they call this as ‘reverse colonialism’ where former colonial lords rely much to the manpower of colonized states who mastered their language and doubled their skills to achieve leverage in a flat world.

Having the rise of globalization on the economic sphere, the BPO has been one of its salient features. Indeed synanymous with the rise of global trade. It is an important employment-generating sector that has been playing through waves of services sector. Reality bites, we are enmeshed in the increasing interconnections of trade and the movement of people, but will our country maintain its historical position as bastion of Asia’s best English speakers?

As Thomas Friedman observes and some other economists like Clemens, Arifa and Gani, some service organizations in higher wage countries are beginning to outsource work at an increasing scale to those countries that have highly skilled labor available at lower charge-out rates like what our country partly experiences at the moment.

While BPO around the world began as early as 1990s, Filipino economists like Magtibay-Ramos, et. al confirm that it was only in the early part of the new millenium that outsourcing opportunities gained ground in the Philippines. From Php2 billion in 2000, investment in the BPO industry, it rose to Php11 billion in 2001, then settled to about Php5-7 billion annually in the next four years. The Philippine BPO sector is projected to provide 7-11 percent of the new jobs for the labor force entrants between 2007 and 2010. Meanwhile, it is also estimated that its total workforce size will reach 500,000 to 600,000 in 2010, which is considerable for a single economic activity.

Apparently, BPO is highly concentrated in mostly urban cities around Makati, Libis Quezon City, Ortigas Center, Alabang, Baguio City, Subic and Clark, and Cebu City. Lately BPO investors realized expansion and plan to tap possible and prospective places from Tuguegarao City and Cabanatuan City in the north to Cagayan de Oro City and Davao City in the south to supply unbeatable talents for the growing worldwide demands.

Before, the Philippines had a strong economy, a well educated English-proficient workforce, strong technical and managerial classes and an apparently thriving industrial sector. Within the Southeast Asian region it was favored by foreign investors. Moreover, it was a parliamentary democracy with a vigorous press and a strong civil society, again pointing to what the rest of ASEAN might become. In 1994, just two and a half decades later, the Philippine economy has only slowly restarted after nearly a decade of regression. Unfortunately, the Philippines have been left behind by its ASEAN neighbors. It now has a lower per capita income and has been shunned by foreign investors who have poured money into other countries in the region.

But ten years after the Asian fiscal crisis, the Philippines has still experienced enormous social and political instability, including insurgency and terrorism. If one characteristic of contemporary ASEAN countries is the presence of a strong state and a weak civil society then the Philippines is the major exception. It has a weak state and a fragmented society. Although the country has been slightly affected by the Asian financial crisis in 1997 and weathered the recent global financial crisis in 2008, it still bears high unemployment and brain drain.

The good news now is, we are on the right track in achieving favorable GDP compared from the past regretful years, should not undermine our strength that we can climb up again to stability. With the highest portfolio investments or ‘hot money’ in 2007 around the ASEAN region and quite improved economic policies, we should not miss this momentum and strive more and work harder.

The playing field is hot and opens leverage for our country. We have a young and dynamic population, educated and technologically savvy for the knowledge economy. Hence, the current growth in BPO sector in the Philippines, that is largely driven by the contact or call center subsector has a large share in total BPO employment and revenue, thus is drawing positive economic climate in the country.

Call centers in general see highest turnover particularly due to the work demands, talent acquisition within the industry in itself and also due to adapting to the work hour expectations.

India cannot be divorced from the topic when it comes to the BPO industry. The emerging economy of India is the role model in this kind of transborder industry. The surge in the BPO sector in India resulted to the well-educated English-speaking students and a group of enterprising local citizens who capitalized on the global shortage of programmers and the high demand for business solutions occurring in the 1990s. Hence, Indian expatriate in the US, especially IT professionals in Silicon Valley, is providing a crucial role in the rapid development of the Indian BPO sector through their investment sectors, partnership with large US software firms which they later on convinced to set up operations in India.

According to one online research in 2007, the Asian contact center market is projected to experience strong growth, with the Philippines and Thailand, both projected to grow at 33 percent. Singapore and Malaysia are both growing at 32 percent, while China is tipped to grow by 22 percent in seat numbers in 2007, a rate that compares with other mature markets in the region such as India.

In terms of compensation among BPO industries in Asia, the Philippines pays in the middle with an entry level call center earning US$5,547 yearly only while an employee with higher expertise level such as team lead earns an average of $9,153 yearly only - offering the US a labor cost savings of over 80 percent. But salary levels in the Philippines is slightly higher than other Asian countries like India and China. On the other hand, Singapore as a high-end BPO destination, pays the highest in the region with an entry level four times higher than what call center agent working in the Philippines is receiving.

In terms of services, India more than China holds lucrative service-oriented investments in Asia particularly the BPO services. The Philippines has more likely specialized on services, thus, economic policies must pave way and shift to a clearer and more competitive stance in securing and improving the impacts of services sector in our economy. We must emulate and if not outpace our neighbors in services sector in BPO, having sufficient intelligent and young talents to supply this emerging demand. On the other hand, the government should take care of these ‘new young heroes’ and ‘home-grown talents’ who are new earners and bourgeoisie.

Cyberterrorism and its Implications on Global-Local (Glocal) Discourse in Southeast Asia

Copyright © 2009 by Chester B Cabalza. All Rights Reserved.

This paper was presented by Chester B. Cabalza, during the 2nd Singapore Graduate Forum on Southeast Asia Studies of the Asia Research Institute of the National University of Singapore, on 26-27 July 2007, at the NUS, Bukit Timah Campus.


The twenty-first century has beckoned the rapid and massive importance of the information age. The boom of the Internet, Information and Communication Technology (ICT) system, wireless and 3G technologies have indeed inescapably transformed today and tomorrow’s pace of living. The birth of the dotcom era, likewise decongests and shrinks the world into a global village. In effect, terrorists have learned and acquired the technology, and exploit it as a weapon of destruction in its pursuit to use cyberterrorism.

As information and communication technologies continue to invade and pervade human life; the risks for cyberterrorism, without doubt, will continue to grow. Certainly the use of technology in cyberterrorists attacks is plausible. Our very global way of life depends on the secure and safe operations of critical systems that depend on cyberspace. Ensuring cyber security requires a high degree of competency and technical expertise from concerned agencies. Likewise, on the part of cyber users who frequently enter the realm of cyberzones as part of their daily routines, should be cautioned by becoming targets of cyberterrorists.

Cyberspace has led to some government and private experts to conclude that terrorists are at the threshold of using the Internet as a direct instrument of bloodshed. The new threat bears little resemblance to familiar financial disruptions by hackers for viruses and worms. American Intelligence reports that this capability is used for communicating with terrorist cells in Southeast Asia as well as throughout the world for gathering and mining intelligence on potential targets, spreading propaganda and recruiting.

A primary cause of alarm is the reality that cyberterrorism is another tool of destruction as are explosives and other deadly weapons. Furthermore, the resources to launch a cyber attack are very easy to access and one may not even know that the attack has taken place until only sometime after it was launched.

The perceived notion that terrorist groups may employ IT as useful medium does not robotically mean that information infrastructure will constitute the next target. For terrorists to exploit it, extended use and familiarization with technology is a necessary step before deciding to turn against their enemies.

In the process of acquiring and learning the use of IT for strategic and organizational purposes, cyberterrorists will more likely apply it as an offensive weapon to destroy and disrupt.

Contending Definitions of Terrorism and Cyberterrorism

Terrorism (Vorobieva: 2002) is a multi-faceted phenomenon. It contains political, legal, psychological, philosophical, historical, technological and other components. Terrorism constitutes the illegitimate use of force and is premeditated, deliberate, systematic murder, mayhem, and threatening of the innocent to create fear and intimidation in order to gain a political or tactical advantage, usually to influence an audience, as articulated by Walter Lacquer and James Poland.

On the other hand, cyberterrorism is any premeditated, politically motivated attack against information, computer systems, computer programs, and data that results in violence against non-combatant targets by sub-national groups or clandestine agents.

In my own personal view, terrorism resembles an iceberg, with the tip of shocking attacks, e.g. cyberterrorism, and with the base of multidisciplinary issues like religious radicalization and poverty. To annihilate and wipe out an iceberg, one must destroy it from the base. Similarly, terrorism should be properly addressed by resolving the issues that support the tip.

Cyberterrorism Threats in Southeast Asia

In Southeast Asia, audio-visual, print and especially the Internet have now emerged as the principal medium to disseminate jihadi ideologies and as tools for recruitment. For example, al Qaeda documents and training CDs have been found in Thai Islamic schools. Given this scenario, the propagation of malicious websites, unregulated Internet access, and basically the use of IT has led government experts and some scholars to document and understand this explosive phenomenon.

Furthermore, this paper shall categorically contribute to the study of cyberterrorism and its implications to the growing issues of international terrorism and globalization. It will fill in gaps of research on cyberterrorism in Southeast Asia. Also, it will certainly address issues and concerns within the region that needs to be studied for future and further researches.

In Southeast Asia, domestic terrorism overlaps with global terrorism that often exploits local grievances and resentments. The symbolic repercussions of terrorism can mine root causes ranging from hatred, discrimination, loose policies, poverty, and religious fundamentalism.

Hence, the resilience of terrorist groups in the region comes from robust networking among fundamentalist groups using the cyberspace as mode of communication, recruitment, logistics and operations.

Cyberterrorism and Globalization

There are many authors who have written extensively on the course of globalization and international terrorism. But Thomas Friedman (2005), N. Jayaram (2002), and Benedict Anderson (1983) are three interesting scholars who apparently caught my attention and keenly used their bright ideas as primary sources in writing my related literature and theoretical framework for this paper. Their insights are very strong in addressing and narrating the current course of history in our post-modern society, paving a great way into a more global and inter-connected society where the wisdom or knowledge are merited in a competitive world of Information Technology (IT).

There are western and few Asian authors that should be given magnitude, especially in enlightening me of their discourses about broad concepts like globalization (Blassof 2002; N. Jayaram 2002; Hague & Harrop 2004; Friedman 2005), terrorism and cyberterrorism (Quarles 2000; Denning 2000; Simon 2001; Rolfe 2002; Rosario 2002; Vorobieva 2002; Abuza 2003, Buzan & Waever 2003, Collin 2003, Banlaoi 2004; Dillon 2004, Khan 2004; Friedman 2005); and “imagined-community” (Anderson 1983; N. Jayaram 2002).

The initial theoretical framework that comes to my mind into understanding terrorism vis a vis cyberterrorism, as one of its branches is the underlying factor that Anderson's historical examination of the concoction of nationalism seems to have merits. However, he leaves open the idea that it is an ongoing and dynamic process. His framework lays the foundation for future examinations of "imagined communities" in new forms, especially when his popularized notion of “imagined communities” could be transformed into a virtual reality whereas the incursion of Information and Communication Technology (ICT) via the borders of cyberspace is now being felt.

It is a fact that today, we are all functioning in a world fundamentally characterized by objects in motion. There is a tremendous mobility brought about by globalization where immense flood of capital, ideas, labor, profits and technology are rapidly moving across the four bounds of the earth. The explosive growth of cyber cafés in the so-called new economy and wisdom market affirm the net’s comfy uses and trendy functions that permit dissemination of any kind of data through images, music, speech, text and video. It surmounts distance and pays scant regard to territorial boundaries. But sad to say, with cheap accessibility for all, cyberterrorists can now gauge the opportunities to wave and secure publicity. Their superior aptitude for technologies offers them advanced prospects to shape and control the content of their websites and manipulate the images and texts of their foes.

The appalling side of the Internet is the quiet emergence of hundreds of uncensored websites that cling to radicalism and rampant disinformation that entice cyber users to join cyberterrorists in their war. Recruiters exploit the medium of interactive Internet technology to wander in online chat rooms, searching for fellow brethren to sympathize with their cause and ideologies. Knowing the strengths of any terrorist groups, especially in their grand mission to instill fright to sundry citizens and cyber users. It could also cause economic mess for countries that turn against them. As seen by some analysts, since the Information Superhighway trespasses a country’s sovereignty, given that there is little regulation on the Internet; cyber attackers can mete out wide-scale reparations, malicious and damaging softwares that ultimately would create havoc without fear of prosecution.

Beyond all these perks for cyber attackers in the countenance of Internet’s viability to merge together comrades in brotherhood - be it ethnic, political and religious in nature; it has also created a new forum for worldwide information warfare and a novel force in transforming today’s geopolitics in a globalizing transborder universe. Without much ado, cyberterrorists will grab every opportunities and issues to foster their ideals in the net’s increasing bastion of freedom of expression that will resonate effectively with their own fellows and supporters.

The consequence of ‘virtual global community’ influx bridged by the supreme netscape paves a way for every cyber users to empathize with their own roots and cultures. For instance, as ably articulated by Friedman, the Internet would help coagulate the revival of Muslim identity and solidarity with Muslims in one country much able to see and commiserate with the struggles of their brethren in another country. With the Internet’s free flowing information, it would certainly indoctrinate a curious brethren who has access to a jihadi website. At the end, it would be graceful gain for a terrorist as he espouses the objectives of the group; especially if the group he wants to belong to suffers extreme profiling and marginalization against the ‘Others’. Indeed, this ‘virtual global community’ has an appeal to younger generations who may have entrée and exposure to seditious information through the Internet, cable or satellite TV where images and texts are potent sources for propaganda and wiles to spread out terror. This gives them various options to post and spread prisms of terrorism.

Precisely, in this age where ideology or ideas have a very powerful way of shaping a person’s cognition, facilitating the person to adopt pseudo-personality. The terrorist groups exert authoritative persuasion over their members. The sense of belonging and exclusivity diminishes the individual’s personal and moral judgment. This is the power that can make violence against the perceived enemy not just acceptable but necessary. As the new ambassadors of political and religious fundamentalism, they can stimulate or carry out attacks by summoning and undermining loose policies of the “Others” that don’t subscribe to their cause at the expense of their own beliefs and welfare. Their apparent angst are either posted in jihadi websites or disseminated through CD-ROMs.

The fluidity of cyberspace absorbed by the ‘virtual global community’ could succumb further tension and deepen international debate due to escalating schism and difference among conflicting groups.

Government and Private Vulnerability

It would not be surprising, if by all means government official websites usually hosted by sometimes sloppy private industry Internet Service Providers (ISP) could increase espionage from cyberterrorists and cause massive electronic attacks due to lack of security mechanisms on computer systems. Besides violations can occur when an unauthorized user illegally accesses network computers that are forbidden to access. There’s a leeway that cyberterrorists could scythe critical and vital military, commercial or monetary institutions from remote locations to disrupt the free world’s defense and communications systems. Possibly, attackers could hack into computer systems for information gathering or data altering, sabotage, and installing malicious codes. These malicious codes may be distorted in the form of Trojans, worms, and viruses. There are also Deadly Distributed Denial of Service (DdoS) attacks which employ “zombie” machines that are controlled by a master server. It has the ability for taking down entire networks.

Meanwhile, cyberterrorists could also apply information hiding by means of stegonography where one can simply take one piece of information and hides it with another picture or document. This well-planned strategy could cripple infrastructures and bug down key government sites and services. Cyberterrorists have the clout to destroy and disrupt critical infrastructures in split seconds. With just the hit of a keystroke, one can send a fatal blow by simply sitting in his armchair, from thousand of miles away. That could wreak greater threats to a wider gamut of annihilation from a mere nuisance to larger national security problem.

Therefore, in reality there exist scores of cyberterrorists that I would like to call them as cyber bugs because they keep on distracting the stream of Information Superhighway. There are also fears escalating among experts that countries may be progressively vulnerable to major attack by hackers and cyber bugs. They consider that both civil and military institutions, as well as key companies, are in danger of a cyber attack – possibly as a ground for terrorist attack on the country or simply as a challenge for expert young computer geeks. They need to be halted; albeit their mushrooming websites couldn’t be prohibited because with all due respect, they are accorded with all the rights and privileges to engage in the cyberspace; in whatever means there is. So, the initial course to silently crash these cyber bugs is to write laws on terrorism and give teeth to decrees that would cover cyberterrorism.

I exactly remember the case of a Filipino cyber geek who created the famed “I Love You” bug that rapidly troubled the fall of London stock market when it was accidentally launched and drove controversies worldwide. At that time, there was no available Philippine criminal cyber law to prosecute the accused. But that circumstance ignited the brilliant minds of our lawmakers to consider writing laws on cyber crimes.

The problem with jurisdictional and lack of laws in some countries may impede investigations. But once a government, and also a regional bloc, e.g. the ASEAN, enacts agreements in countering terrorism; the task of enforcing rules would legitimize the prosecution and extradition of criminals vis a vis terrorists in a current deterritorialized community. Cyberterrorism is now being fought at the international level and recently the UN formed Counter Terrorism Committee responsible for coordinating cyberterrorism-related response and information exchange. Meanwhile, our prosecutors and lawyers need not only learn cyberterrorism laws but they must also be trained conscientiously to ride with the use of fast-changing fads of technology and the many surprises of the Internet.

In a flat world as described by Thomas Friedman; in his metaphor to imply the “playing field is flat” in a competitive sense; blazes up the dissertation that local connects with global vis a vis global affects local will certainly influence the internationalization and mainstreaming of terrorism blended with political and religious zeal based from robust networking empowered by the revolution of the ICT.

Conclusions and Recommendations

Southeast Asia provides a topography that makes it clear to conduct terrorist operations, with features such as thousand of small islands, very large, difficult-to-patrol coastline, and some large land areas that are only tenuously under the control of central governments.

Since the cyber infrastructures apparently affect worldwide security and lifestyles of cyber users, the world is flatly decongested. In a scenario like this, issues of globalization and nationalistic uprisings of peoples with various faiths and ideologies may impinge on the complex issue of global terrorism where terrorists now engage on the use of the cyberspace as a convenient mode to ebb fear and disrupt.

In a region like Southeast Asia, which has experienced various faces and prisms of terrorism, it is necessary for the region’s most diverse nation-states to have a cyber security coordination center and forge agreements based from the following recommendations:

1. Build cooperation and networks for intelligence reports among ASEAN countries.

2. Engage in government and private cooperation.

3. Intensive research on the security of the region’s infostructures.

4. Minimize duplication of efforts.

5. Organize fora for stakeholders (e.g. enforcers, prosecutors and cyber users).

6. Undertake the collection and analysis of cyber security related information.

Hence, the government and private industry cooperation and international treatises are necessary, mainly because:

1. Cyberterrorism is multi-jurisdictional and cuts across border.

2. It increases and ignites high-awareness level on cyberterrorism.

3. Law enforcement is hampered by lack of private cooperation.

4. Very few treatise or conventions that address computer crimes across borders exist today.

Since, terrorism is multi-dimensional, social problems should also be prescribed to resolve social ills that undermine national, regional and global security. Hence, it is necessary to address issues by:

1. Educating the minors who frequently use the Internet to spread peace and understanding instead of hatred and war campaigns.

2. Sustainable development and livelihood in communities where terrorist are based to eradicate poverty.

With the help and presence of cyberspace to virtually merge together the borderless zones of the region through ICT and the Internet, fighting cyberterrorism has become a daunting task among the governments of Southeast Asian states. Since cyberterrorists are at the stage of familiarization and comprehensive use of these cutting-edged technologies in their own gains, on the other side of the coin, law enforcers and government authorities must as well acquire the knowledge and enact laws to cope with the changing times and the fast advancement of technology in a flat and globalizing world.

The big leap was made by ASEAN leaders with the signing of the ASEAN Convention on Counter Terrorism will optimistically help prosecute terrorist and cyberterrorists to its full extent and for governments to exchange intelligence and extradite suspected terrorists in a borderless regional bloc.

At the end, proper handling of terrorism related information through the use of various cyber investigative techniques is very significant to help eliminate or reduce such threats. Sustained training programs on cyberterrorism among governments of Southeast Asia will be helpful to continuously develop and improve the competency and skills of law enforcers in confronting such threats in the region.


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