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General Discussion / US defense chief visits Philippines anew
« Last post by adroth on Today at 06:13:15 AM »
US defense chief visits Philippines anew
THIRD ANNE PERALTA-MALONZO
February 01, 2023

https://www.sunstar.com.ph/article/1952313/manila/local-news/us-defense-chief-visits-philippines-anew

UNITED States (US) Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin is back in the Philippines after nearly a year and a half.

Austin arrived in the country on Tuesday evening, January 31, 2023. He was welcomed by US Ambassador to the Philippines Marykay Carlson.

In a Twitter post, Austin said he will meet with Defense Secretary Carlito Galvez Jr. and other senior government officials “to build on our strong bilateral relationship, discuss a range of security initiatives, and advance our shared vision of a #freeandopenpacific.”

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Indonesia / Re: Jakarta - Bandung High Speed Railway
« Last post by adroth on February 01, 2023, 03:35:04 PM »
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Mb-c85acS3U

Southeast Asia’s first high-speed rail line is almost complete.
The network connects the Indonesian capital, Jakarta, with Bandung in West Java.
It is one of China’s most high-profile international infrastructure projects.
But there is a growing concern about costs.
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Indonesia / Re: Jakarta - Bandung High Speed Railway
« Last post by adroth on February 01, 2023, 03:32:12 PM »
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TGLzuwa34dc

Indonesia's first high-speed railway has passed a decisive stage ahead of its commercial debut. The Chinese-made bullet train successfully completed its first trial run on November 16, 2022. Chinese President Xi Jinping and Indonesian President Joko Widodo were on hand for the test of the Jakarta-Bandung high-speed railway, which is expected to start operations in June 2023. The project is a part of the Belt and Road Initiative, Beijing’s to link the world through infrastructure and trade.
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China / China’s Population Shrinks for First Time Since 1960s in Seismic Shift
« Last post by adroth on January 29, 2023, 04:01:50 PM »
China’s Population Shrinks for First Time Since 1960s in Seismic Shift
ByBloomberg News
January 16, 2023

https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2023-01-17/china-s-population-starts-shrinking-first-drop-since-1960s

Births decline despite efforts to encourage bigger families

Nation already facing increasingly serious demographic crisis
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PRO-Davao SITG: Killing of businesswoman may have been a ‘crime of passion’
KRIZZY S. DAUGDAUG
January 25, 2023

https://www.sunstar.com.ph/article/1951786/davao/local-news/pro-davao-sitg-killing-of-businesswoman-may-have-been-a-crime-of-passion

THE Police Regional Office-Davao’s (PRO-Davao) Special Investigation Task Group Plaza (SITG) bared that the murder of businesswoman Yvonne Chua Plaza may have been a crime of passion.

On January 25, 2025, the SITG said they have identified ten persons who are allegedly involved in the murder of Plaza. Of the 10, seven are personnel of the 1001st Brigade of the Philippine Army, one is a civilian, and two other "John Does," who have yet to be determined if they are civilians or part of the same brigade.

According to SITG, the main person allegedly behind the death of Plaza is BGen. Jesus Durante III, a Brigade Commander of 1001st Brigade under the 10th Infantry Division (10ID).

“Based on our witness, the victim already has sensitive information against General Durante and she uses it to blackmail him,” Regional Director of PRO Davao PBGen. Benjamin Silo Jr. said during the SITG Plaza press conference at the Bagani Hall of Police Regional Office Davao Region (PRO-Davao) on January 25, 2023.

On December 28, 2022, Plaza was killed outside her house by two gunmen.

Although Durante initially denied accusations that he allegedly killed the victim, whom he described as a “friend," the SITG claims that evidence could be pointing towards him.

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“The macbook recovered from the victim’s house contained contacts, intimate photos, and email messages directed to Gen. Durante,” SITG said.

According to SITG, Durante gave instructions to “liquidate the victim” to Deputy Brigade Commander Michael Licyayo and five other suspects under his command – SSg. Gilbert Plaza, who was identified as the team leader; CPL. Adrian Cachero, the motorcycle driver; SGT. Delfin Sialsa, the gunman; and CPL. Romar Longakit and CPL, Rolly Cabal, who were assigned to casing surveillance.

Another suspect named Noel Hapitan was identified as the "striker."

Silo said they suspect jealousy as one of the reasons why Plaza was killed, but they could not verify if she was pregnant as the autopsy of the body was not focused on identifying this.

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Space / Green comet
« Last post by adroth on January 29, 2023, 05:14:43 AM »
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Infrastructure and Nautical Highways / Panay Railway Project
« Last post by adroth on January 28, 2023, 03:48:39 PM »
https://notices.philgeps.gov.ph/GEPSNONPILOT/Tender/SplashBidNoticeAbstractUI.aspx?menuIndex=3&refID=9428431&highlight=true

Description

1. The Department of Transportation (DOTr), through the CY 2022 General Appropriations Act (GAA) intends to apply the sum of Forty-Nine Million, Nine Hundred Ninety-Nine Thousand, Nine Hundred Ninety-Nine Pesos and Ninety-Nine Centavos (Php49,999,999.99) being the Approved Budget for the Contract (ABC) to payments under the contract. Bids received in excess of the ABC shall be automatically rejected at the opening of the financial proposals.

2. The Department of Transportation now calls for the submission of eligibility documents for the Consulting Services for the Conduct of the Feasibility Study for the Panay Railway Project. Eligibility documents of interested consultants must be duly received by the BAC Secretariat on or before at 10:00AM, 03 February 2023 at Unit 61 BAC Secretariat Division, The Columbia Towers, Ortigas Avenue, Brgy. Wack-wack, Mandaluyong City. Applications for eligibility will be evaluated based on a non-discretionary “pass/fail” criterion. Late submission of Eligibility Documents shall not be accepted.

3. Interested bidders may obtain further information from the BAC Secretariat and inspect the Bidding Documents at the address given below during Mondays to Fridays 7:00AM to 4:00PM. Bidders may also inspect the Bidding Documents uploaded in the websites of the DOTr at www.dotr.gov.ph, and Philippine Government Electronic Procurement System (PhilGEPS) at www.philgeps.gov.ph.

4. A complete set of Eligibility Documents may be acquired by interested Bidders from 26 January 2023 until 10:00AM of 03 February 2023, from the address below provided that consultants shall pay a non-refundable fee for the Eligibility Documents in the amount of Five Thousand Pesos (Php5,000.00). Bidder’s authorized representative shall present a government-issued ID and shall submit a duly signed authorization letter with a copy of a government-issued ID of the one who issued the authorization.

It may also be downloaded free of charge from the website of the Philippine Government Electronic Procurement System (PhilGEPS) and the website of the Procuring Entity, providedthat Bidders shall pay the applicable fee for the Bidding Documents not later than the submission of their bids.

5. The CBAC shall draw up the short list of consultants from those who have submitted Expression of Interest, including the eligibility documents, and have been determined as eligible in accordance with the provisions of Republic Act 9184 (RA 9184), otherwise known as the “Government Procurement Reform Act”, and its Implementing Rules and Regulations (IRR). Should only one (1) or less than the required number apply for the eligibility and shortlisting pass the eligibility check, and/or pass the minimum score required in the shortlisting, the BAC shall consider the same. The criteria and rating system for short listing:

CRITERIA POINTS

Qualification of Key Personnel who may be
assigned to the Job vis-à-vis extent and 70
complexity of the undertaking

Applicable Experience of the Firm; and 15

Current Workload Relative to Capacity 15

TOTAL : 100

The applicants shall then be ranked according to their “Total Points” and the top three (3) shall be considered as the shortlist and qualify them to bid for the contemplated contract. Should less than the required number apply for eligibility and shortlisting, pass the eligibility check, and/or pass the minimum score required in the shortlisting, the BAC shall consider the same. Further, applicants must obtain a minimum score of 70 points to qualify for shortlisting.

6. Bidding will be conducted through open competitive bidding procedures using non-discretionary “pass/fail” criterion as specified in the IRR of RA 9184.

Bidding is restricted to Filipino citizens/sole proprietorships, cooperatives, and partnerships or organizations with at least sixty percent (60%) interest or outstanding capital stock belonging to citizens of the Philippines.

7. The Procuring Entity shall evaluate bids using the Quality-Cost Based Evaluation/Selection (QCBE/QCBS) procedure. The Technical and Financial Proposals shall be given weights of seventy percent (70%) and thirty percent (30%), respectively, for a total of one hundred percent (100%) with a minimum score of 70 points. The criteria and rating system for the evaluation of bids shall be provided in the Instructions to Bidders.

8. The contract shall be completed within Three Hundred Sixty-Five (365) calendar days or twelve (12) months from the Notice to Proceed.

9. The Department of Transportation reserves the right to reject any and all bids, declare a failure of bidding, or not award the contract at any time prior to contract award in accordance with Section 41ofRA9184 and its IRR, without there by incurring any liability to the affected bidder or bidders.
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U.S. will send Abrams tanks to Ukraine ahead of expected Russian offensive
PUBLISHED WED, JAN 25 202312:00 PM ESTUPDATED WED, JAN 25 20232:40 PM EST
Amanda Macias
@AMANDA_M_MACIAS

https://www.cnbc.com/2023/01/25/ukraine-war-news-us-will-send-abrams-tanks.html

KEY POINTS

The Biden administration will send 31 M1A1 Abrams tanks to Ukraine as the country prepares for a fresh Russian offensive in the coming months.

The move is a reversal after the U.S. hesitated for weeks to arm Kyiv with tanks.

The development came as Germany also moved to send tanks to help Ukraine in its fight.

< Edited >

The Pentagon has been tasked with providing the training, maintenance and logistics support for the M1A1 tanks, according to the official. Another U.S. official said that the training on how to use the tanks, which will take several months, will occur outside of Ukraine.

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Army takes custody of ex-PSG chief over murder of Davao businesswoman
THIRD ANNE PERALTA-MALONZO
January 26, 2023

https://www.sunstar.com.ph/article/1951818/manila/local-news/army-takes-custody-of-ex-psg-chief-over-murder-of-davao-businesswoman

THE Philippine Army (PA) has taken into custody former Presidential Security Group (PSG) chief Jesus Durante Jr. after he was identified as the alleged mastermind in the killing of Davao-based businesswoman-model Yvonette Chua Plaza.

In a radio interview, PA chief Lieutenant General Romeo Brawner said Durante was relieved from his post as brigade commander of 1001st Brigade under the 10th Infantry Division (10ID) to ensure impartial investigation on the matter.

“Hindi po natin tino-tolerate ‘yung mga ganitong wrongdoings o itong criminal acts, kahit na ano pong ranggo ng ating mga sundalo, maging opisyal or enlisted personnel ay parepareho po ‘yung treatment natin sa kanila,” he said.

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(So when we found out that there was a report like this and that General Durante was a person of interest, we immediately had a conference and then we decided to first remove him from his position as commander of the 1001st Brigade so that the investigation would be impartial and thorough. That is standard operating procedure.)

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Turkey’s president says no support for Sweden’s NATO bid
By ZEYNEP BILGINSOY
January 23, 2023

https://apnews.com/article/nato-politics-turkey-government-recep-tayyip-erdogan-f9a568da05914a4143a033e74067b6f4

ISTANBUL (AP) — Turkey’s president cast serious doubt on NATO’s expansion Monday after warning Sweden not to expect support for its bid for membership into the military alliance following weekend protests in Stockholm by an anti-Islam activist and pro-Kurdish groups.

President Recep Tayyip Erdogan slammed Rasmus Paludan’s Quran-burning protest on Saturday, saying it was an insult to everyone, especially to Muslims. He was particularly incensed at Swedish authorities for allowing the demonstration to take place outside the Turkish Embassy in Stockholm under “the protection” of security forces.

“It is clear that those who allowed such vileness to take place in front of our embassy can no longer expect any charity from us regarding their NATO membership application,” Erdogan said in his first comments regarding the weekend protests, saying Sweden must have calculated the consequences of permitting Paludan’s demonstration.

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