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Philippines Leader Pokes Fun at Beijing's South China Sea Claims, Praises Japan

Philippine President Benigno Aquino on Tuesday joked about China's disputed maritime territorial claims and praised Beijing's regional rival Japan for passing new legislation allowing the nation's troops to fight abroad.

Speaking in an interview with ABS-CBN television, Aquino said that China had proposed the joint development of the South China Sea while at the same time claiming almost all of the strategically sensitive waters.

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Muslim Extremists Free Abductees after Philippine Army Chase

A Muslim extremist group known for beheading some victims has released a group of kidnapped road workers following an intense police and military pursuit in the southern Philippines, an official said Tuesday.

The 11 hostages were seized by the Abu Sayyaf on Monday while on their way to work at a road project funded by the government on the remote island of Basilan.

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Muslim Extremists Abduct 11 Workers in Southern Philippines

Muslim extremists with a history of beheading their captives abducted 11 workers on a government road project in the strife-torn southern Philippines on Monday, the military said.

The workers were escorting a water truck to the project on the island of Basilan when members of the Abu Sayyaf group waylaid them and took them into the surrounding jungle, a statement from the island's military unit said.

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Philippines: China Must Drop 'Deceitful Rhetoric' on Disputed Sea

Beijing must offer more than hollow promises if it wishes to secure peace in the disputed South China Sea and beyond, a spokesman for the Philippine defence department said Sunday. 

The remarks came days after China flaunted its military might with a massive parade to mark the end of World War II, though President Xi Jinping said at the event his country was dedicated to peace and does "not seek hegemony".

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Outrage after Three Journalists Killed in Philippines

Three journalists in the Philippines have been shot dead just days apart, press groups said Tuesday, as they warned of further media bloodshed without serious government action.

The nation of 100 million people has long been one of the world’s most dangerous places for journalists, with powerful figures able to kill critics in the knowledge they will rarely face punishment.

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Three Islamic Militants Killed in Philippine Military Clash

Three Islamic militants were killed after the Philippine military on Friday launched a second attempt in two weeks to rescue hostages held by the Abu Sayyaf rebels, the army said.

About 300 Abu Sayyaf fighters retreated after the hour-long firefight in the jungles of the remote southern island of Jolo, said Brigadier-General Alan Arrojado, the military commander in the area.

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Philippines Seeks U.S. 'Assistance' in South China Sea

The Philippines has asked the U.S. to provide military "assistance" in resupplying and rotating Manila's forces in the South China Sea because they face harassment from regional power China, a military spokesman said Thursday.

The request was made the previous day by Philippine Defense Secretary Voltaire Gazmin in a meeting with Admiral Harry Harris, head of U.S. Pacific Command, according to Colonel Restituto Padilla.

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U.S., Philippines Hold Talks on Boosting Military Capacity

America's Pacific commander held talks with the Philippine military Wednesday on ways to strengthen U.S. capacity in the region to deter conflict and maintain freedom of navigation, a Filipino spokesman said.

Admiral Harry Harris, head of the U.S. Pacific Command, outlined a freshly drafted Pentagon report highlighting issues in the South China Sea, where China is in dispute with the Philippines and other neighbors over islands, reefs and waters, said military spokesman Colonel Restituto Padilla.

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Typhoon Goni Threatens Japan after Killing 26 in Philippines

Typhoon Goni killed at least 26 people in landslides and floods in the Philippines, officials said Monday, as the storm bore down on Japan. 

Rescue teams clawed away at a mountainside near the remote mining town of Mankayan in the country's north, after recovering the bodies of 13 miners buried by a landslide that struck the area two days earlier. 

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Seven Killed as Typhoon Hits Northern Philippines

Seven people were killed while thousands fled to higher ground as powerful typhoon Goni brought torrential rains to the northern Philippines, triggering landslides and floods, officials said Saturday.

Six people died in Mountain Province and Benguet in the northern highlands after they were buried in rocks and mud. A man was killed in nearby Ilocos Norte province after he was hit by a falling tree, the national disaster council said in a report.

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