Aldrin M. Galang
Scarborough Shoal or Scarborough Reef, also known as Huangyan Island (simplified Chinese: 黄岩岛; traditional Chinese: 黃岩島;pinyin: Huángyán Dǎo) or Panatag Shoal (Filipino: Kulumpol ng Panatag), is located between the Macclesfield Bank and Luzon Island of thePhilippines in the South China Sea. It is more correctly described as a group of rocks or very small islands plus reefs in an atoll shape, rather than as a shoal. Scarborough Shoal is a disputed territory claimed by the People's Republic of China, Republic of China (Taiwan), and the Philippines. The shoal's status is often discussed in conjunction with other territorial disputes in the South China Sea such as those involving the Spratley Islands or the separate Paracel Islands. The shoal was named after the East India Company tea-trade ship Scarborough which was wrecked on one of its rocks on 12 September 1784 with all lives lost. Scarborough Shoal/Panatag forms a triangle-shaped chain of reefs and rocks or very small islands 55 kilometres (34 mi) in circumference with a total area including shallow water areas of 150 square kilometers. The shoal encompasses a shallow lagoon measuring 130 km² and approximately 15 metres (49 ft) deep. The shoal is a protrusion from a 3,500 m deep abyssal plain. Several of the rocks or small islands including "South Rock" are 1/2 m to 3 m high, and many of the reefs are just below water at high tide. To the east of the shoal is the 5,000 - 6,000 meter deep Manila Trench. Near the mouth of the lagoon are the ruins of an iron tower, 8.3 m high, that was constructed by the Philippine Navy as a lighthouse in 1965. The shoal is about 123 miles (198 km) west of Subic Bay. The nearest landmass is Palauig, Zambales, on Luzon Island in the Philippines, 137 miles (220 km) due east.
The Spratly Islands are a group of more than 750 reefs, islets, atolls, cays and islands in the South China Sea. The archipelago lies off the coasts of the Philippines and Malaysia (Sabah), about one third of the way from there to southern Vietnam. They contain less than four square kilometers of land area spread over more than 425,000 square kilometers of sea. The Spratlys are one of three archipelagos of the South China Sea which comprise more than 30,000 islands and reefs and which complicate governance and economics in that region of Southeast Asia. Such small and remote islands have little economic value in themselves, but are important in establishing international boundaries. There are no native islanders but there are, at least for now, rich fishing grounds; and initial surveys indicate the islands may contain significant reserves of oil and natural gas. About 45 islands are occupied by relatively small numbers of military forces from Vietnam, the People's Republic of China, the Republic of China (Taiwan), Malaysia and the Philippines. Brunei has also claimed an Exclusive Economic Zone in the southeastern part of the Spratlys encompassing just one area of small islands above mean high water (on Louisa Reef). This has led to escalating tensions over the Islands' disputed status.
Reproductive Health Bill (RH Bill)
The Reproductive Health Bill, informally known as the RH Bill, are proposed laws in the Republic of the Philippines aiming to guarantee universal access to methods on contraception,abortion, fertility control, sexual education, and maternal care. There are two bills with the same intended goals:
* House Bill # 4244 ─ An Act Providing for a Comprehensive Policy on Responsible Parenthood, Reproductive Health, and Population and Development, and For Other Purposes * Senate Bill # 2378 ─ An Act Providing For a National Policy on Reproductive Health and Population and Development While there is general agreement about its provisions on maternal and child health, there is great debate on its key proposal that the Philippine government and the private sector will fund and...
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