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Archive for the category “Asia”

Opinion: US-China relations sours even more…

It is like the United States own failures is used as an option to hurt Chinese Business interests. This is not only the sanctions and stopping of Huawei trading in the United States. The US has sanctioned 24 entities yesterday for their connections to the Chinese Military. Also on the same day, the US Commerce did also put sanctions on 9 companies connected to the oppression of Uighur in Xinjiang province.

That means the US has put their mission and blocks certain companies. Also ensures that these corporations or entities less traction in International trading. Just as the US Department of Commerce put it: “The Department of Commerce’s Bureau of Industry and Security (BIS) announced it will add 24 governmental and commercial organizations to the Entity List for engaging in activities contrary to the national security or foreign policy interests of the United States. The entities, based in China, Hong Kong, and the Cayman Islands, represent a significant risk of supporting procurement of items for military end-use in China” (Commerce.gov, 22.05.2020).

Also, the other piece from them state this: “These nine parties are complicit in human rights violations and abuses committed in China’s campaign of repression, mass arbitrary detention, forced labor and high-technology surveillance against Uighurs, ethnic Kazakhs, and other members of Muslim minority groups in the Xinjiang Uighur Autonomous Region (XUAR). This action will supplement BIS’s first tranche of Entity List designations in October 2019 involving 28 parties engaged in the XUAR repression campaign in Xinjiang” (Commerce.gov, 22.05.2020).

Yes, the actions of China and Chinese government in concern to the Uighur people is outrageous and morally wrong. No question in my mind. The activity and the destruction of them as a minority is wrong. However, in my mind, this is using them as en excuse for US selfish reasons. This is insincere. Because, its not like the US will open the arms for immigrants fleeing similar situations elsewhere. The US is building walls and closing its borders for asylum seekers fleeing situations like the Uighurs. So, the US is using this an argument, but not a legit one from this administration.

This administration cannot even make good lies. They are so open on their motives. This is direct trade-war and efforts as a scapegoat in the midst of the tragic COVID-19 Pandemic. The US needs a scapegoat and righteously so is it fitting to blame Beijing and China. Instead of looking at own inaction and lack of concern to what happen.

The US has also already put tariffs on Chinese production and products already. Therefore, this is a continuation. However, by every step and every action. The US is losing leverage and they are also paying the price. They need to go elsewhere for trading similar things. If not pay more, as they are stopping certain parts of imports from there.

The Chinese are doing their wrongs too. Nevertheless, the Foreign Affairs wrote this yesterday, which state it perfectly: We urge the US side to abandon its Cold War mentality and ideological bias, follow the trend of the times, view China and China-US relations in an objective and rational way, immediately stop interfering in China’s internal affairs, harming China’s interests or undermining China-US relations, and work with China to bring bilateral relations back onto the right track” (Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Zhao Lijian’s Regular Press Conference on May 22, 2020).

This here says it all. Yes, the relations is based on both parties gives and takes. However, right now, the reality is that the one aiming and hitting one party. Is the US whose shooting down and tracing their targeted companies or entities. Just like last years tariffs and such, which has also slowed things down. The US is doing this and the Chinese has retaliated. This will continue. Just like the Chinese banned certain journalists and media houses within the Republic. That is all natural in the sense of the relations between them.

This is all hostile. There is not function or care. The US President says everything is China’s fault. While he hasn’t carried water for happen within his own borders. Therefore, that isn’t a fair assessment. It is an easy victimhood in this pandemic. Yes, the origin was from China. They didn’t do enough and do it correctly. Still, the US didn’t care about the warning signs either or did what they should have done. That is the 20/20 hindsight, which deems both parties wrong in the sense of acting in accordingly to the danger of COVID-19.

However, this is about the trade war. Where for every step the US is attacking and targeting companies of Chinese origin. They have to release proof of these allegations now. Especially, the list of Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD). Where the Commerce Secretary says these companies are connected with this. If so, I would like to see proof and leaked documentation of sensitive intelligence. To actually prove the allegations. If not, the US is just using their power and means to kick the Chinese. Because, it is useful to have an enemy in this troubling time.

The Chinese is far from perfect and their reign within the One-Party state isn’t peaceful nor democratically anything to aspire too. Nevertheless, the US isn’t that great on this either. Especially, the way Trump Administration is just another epitome of baroque king-pin from the Big-Apple and Trump tower in New York. That is why these measures has to be explained to be believable.

The US cannot con the world anymore. They could in the past, but not now. This US-China Trade-War is only proving what sort of hostile force it is. Instead of finding diplomatic measures or even doing the hard work of talks between the parties. It is easier to sanction and block someone, than actually do the work. That is how it seems. They are using excuses and arguments of legit reasons to do something. But, a very important but, they are not proving the reasons for doing so.

If these companies are what they claim. Prove it and show it. Unless, they hare having a smokescreen and another visionary moment similar to the Iraqi WMDs in the early 2000s. Well, I’m looking forward to see that.

Until then, this is a propaganda victory for the Trump Administration with no hold in reality. Since, they are just blocking someone without any proof. They could say whatever and argue for it. Still, a man like me wants reasons for it.

Unless, they are just finding fitting measures to pressure Beijing, but that is not something they can do too long. Because, Washington D.C. doesn’t have that much leverage. Since, for every step they do. There is less of a reason for the Chinese to serve or even work in association with the US anyway. Peace.

Philippines: The levels of quarantines can boggle you mind!

Well, its about that time. Well, it isn’t really… Just another Sunday in quarantine and awaiting the “new normal” or back-to-life. If I may, this is about the news updates and the Omnibus Guidelines on community quarantine from the Inter-Agency Task Force of the Philippines. Which is fine by itself, but it’s sort of flexibility between similar terms can make a brother fuzz a little bit.

Because you have the “General Community Quarantine” for instance. Than you have the Enhanced Community Quarantine”. If you thought it was tricky, no you have the Modified Enhanced Community Quarantine” and the Modified General Community Quarantine”. Last, but not least of these is the Modified Community Quarantine”

The big one of these is the ECQ (Enhanced Community Quarantine) and the GCQ (General Community Quarantine). With the ones in between. A mind can be messed up by less. By all means, these words are in play, because of the variations of spread of COVID-19 and the ratio per capita. However, its still hard to know what all means. Even with the Omnibus Guidelines. Its a hectic mess.

In this sense, there is five quick types of Community Quarantine and to get the grip of that. We all there is levels to this, but just to listen. You could easily get confused. Very few read the whole Omnibus Guidelines and what it entails. It’s like a whole mix of statutes and measures. There isn’t in the guidelines any tables showing the vast difference. They are lined down after each other, but you have to really study it to see the minor differences.

Since, there is so many of them and the way they are mentioned in News Flashes on 24 Oras or other broadcasts. Its hard to follow or even get a grip. It isn’t well explained in a simplified fashion. Its all hectic and bunch of both legal terms and medical terms. Which in the end only confuse a brother even more.

It is easy to understand the basics, but when you blend in five types of quarantine and also has various of types of lockdowns. You just loose the understanding of things. It might been done for the common good, but the reality is that this shouldn’t be this hard.

You should easily know what to do in a quarantine. Whose allowed and what. Who should stay home, who can go to work and who has to close. If schools are open, if factories can remain open or closed. If ports can continue or if people can go to the market for a limited time. If there is a curfew and if they need a paper-stamped for passage through road-blocks. All of that would make sense.

However, when you have so many different terms, so many words and so many types. Its easy to be confused. Get your mind boggled. Especially, if a local mayor changes or Barangay Captain changes from one of those Modified Community Quarantine to a General Community Quarantine. Because, then what happens or is it just paper tigers playing around with words?

The essential thing so be to ensure the stop of the spread of COVID-19. That the public respect the quarantine and that the state delivers it promise of funds to its workers and the public in general. In the time of need. That the ones whose eating to much get called out and the get punished for the punitive damage they do to the other workers. When they are promised thousands of peso’s, but only getting leftovers. That’s not right and the ones eating the pork should be punished.

With this in mind, the variations of quarantine is a maze. You can wonder what does what and even reading the guidelines confuses me. Like I said, it would be nice with a table showing the difference. So its idiot proof. Nothing ever is, but simplifying things is positive. Especially, when you have such a vast lingo of terms. Peace.

Opinion: We don’t need a new WMD moment in 2020

Back in the day of 5th February 2003, United States Secretary of State Colin Powell presented the United Nations Security Council with the intelligence of Weapons of Mass Destruction. A effort being made to ensure the legitimacy of a new gulf war and reasons to overthrow then Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussain. Not that President Saddam Hussain was a choir-boy or anything, but WMD he didn’t have or the capacity to built at the time. Just like that President George W. Bush had a “valid” and “accurate” argument to start war.

Just as those days, which is now 17 years ago. I had little faith, as the Iraqi didn’t have the weapons. They didn’t have the ability nor wealth to generate the weaponry in question. As they we’re sanctioned and had been both in past gulf-wars, bloody extortion of own citizens who opposed the regime and was enemies of Teheran. So, not like Baghdad had the time nor the opportunity to do what the US claimed.

That is why I am feeling I am living through the same moment. Just as United States Secretary of State Michael Pompeo and President Donald J. Trump proclaims the Chinese are manufacturing the disease and the COVID-19 or the Coronavirus. They did it in a secret lab in Wuhan and spread it like hot garbage to the whole world. It’s not like the origins isn’t proven already. However, the US claims certain things, but isn’t proving it. They need a scapegoat.

The failure internally in the US is the reason why the bad-guy needs to be China. Just like in older movies when the bad-guys of Hollywood, where either smoking Eastern-European fellas or Chinese. That was the code, they were the evil bastard who only wanted harm and they smoke Malboro.

Soon, they will deliver a rapport. Surely one of the big-men of the administration with pictures, red-tape and whole she-bang in public. They will profess and state this with the full intent of the getting the coalition of the willing. The United Kingdom, Samoa and Tuvalu to join on the Crusade against Beijing. Just like they did with Baghdad in a not to far distant time. They need the support of these nations, as they are following the gallant example of the hope of the West.

While really, they are the self-destruction of the West. They cannot wait to create havoc and unruly behaviour wherever they may go. So, now they just have created a new culture war and another enemy. With their propaganda and their mind-games. Where they hope they are capable of selling it.

Not that China is innocent in this. They have tried to distort and discredit the faith in their leadership. They have unquestionable behaviour and acted badly in the sense of this pandemic. They have not been transparent, but neither has the Trump Presidency ever been. That is why his Tax Returns is still a myth and hieroglyphics from ancient times are more accessible.

So, its not like Trump is transparent either. Xi Jinping is at least honest about his betrayal of public scrutiny. The Trump Administration is bullshitting it and with full disregard of the people, while they trying to act like the holiest men on planet earth, except for the Pope. That is just the way it is.

In that sense, the act of WMD in 2020 will be the origin of COVID-19. The public display, which will not be based on scientifically facts, but instead on political mind-games. It will be like the manufactured WMDs of 2003. Instead of a Colin, it will be a Mike. The UNSC might be used this time. If not it will be on Fox News and OAN. It will be ugly, but the lie is still a lie.

Yes, the origin was in Wuhan, but it was at the Huanan Seafood market in Wuhan, Hubei Province. The US might want to fix that, just like the Chinese authorities also claimed something else in April. However, it will not work. Not when the reports are written and all traces goes there.

You can say that someone got the WMD, but that doesn’t make it more true. You can scream that they got WMD. Nevertheless, that doesn’t make it true either. Your just making noise and not stating the fact. We know, we know and you better stop lying. Your not good at it. Peace.

Philippines: The Animo’s Official Statement on ABS-CBN Shutdown (05.05.2020)

Philippines: Free Legal Assistance Group (FLAG) – “This Is How Liberty Dies…” (05.05.2020)

Opinion: The ABS-CBN closure is political retribution and nothing else

The ABS-CBN sent a few questionable and harsh ads towards the President Rodrigo Duterte during the 2016 campaign for his election. This is certainly the reason why the termination of license of the franchise and the gag-order earlier in the year was put on the media company. As this company has the ability to put pressure on the hard-headed Presidents of its time. That is why the last time it happen it was in 1972. A record Duterte should compete with, but clearly he wants too.

This is a battle and method of retaliation of the President and his team. As this is silencing a open critic. Just like they did with Leila De Lima and Antonio Trilanes. The state has also been fierce against the independent media house Rappler too. So, its not like ABS-CBN is getting a new treatment.

It might be a temporary set-back as a way of the President to prove that you don’t mess with him. That is why I call it a retaliation, because the Senate is the final place for consideration of the license of the Franchise. Even if the National Telecommunication Commission put the cease and desist order on the media house.

What we do know, is for the ones claiming that the owners are not paying taxes. The government as late as February 2020 said they were no liabilities and no arrears. The company has paid its taxes and paid its employees. Therefore, the thought of using as an argument for the closure is futile. Unless, your docile and believe anything.

ABS-CBN only gets this, because it dared to challenge Duterte and aired certain ads. This is his way of firing back and showing flex. Not that its any good. It only shows that he doesn’t have the heart or the ability to strike back with sense. The President doesn’t have the arguments or the ads to address his opposition. Instead, he uses his office and his power together with comrades to close it for a while. Just to show the owners, the journalists, that they should all be like 24 Oras on the GMA Network, because they will never sound the whistle at any government.

That’s why we are here today. We are in our 1972 moment. Where a President and his team uses their office to silence critics and by all means. Rappler was the owner structure and ABS-CBN its the franchise and its license. I am sure the government friendly press will never get into these issues. The ones who doesn’t air critical ads and content, which challenge the President in any form. But if you do, you better lawyer up and have your tools ready. Because, its going to get rocky and the road to redemption is long.

ABS-CBN is getting the full Duterte treatment. The full fury and furious intervention, maybe he will beg for forgiveness later. If he cares about the 11,000 people in limbo. However, that is not so important, as long as the President can signal that he doesn’t accept critical ads. ABS-CBN better follow the Duterte line, if not they will walk the plank. Peace.

Philippine Overseas Employment Administration: Advisory No. 56 – Series of 2020 – No POEA Governing Board Resolution Requiring Payment of Philippine Health Insurance Corporation (Philhealth) Contribution in the Issuance of Overseas Employment Certifications (OECs) for Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs) – (04.05.2020)

Philippines: Duterte backtracks mandatory premium contributions to PHILHEALTH for Filipino abroad

Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs) no longer have to worry about paying higher PhilHealth premium contributions at this time of health crisis brought by the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19). This is after President Rodrigo Roa Duterte’s decision for the Philippine Health Insurance Corporation (PhilHealth) to make payment for PhilHealth premiums voluntary for OFW” (Presidential Communications Operations Office, PCOO – ‘PH gov’t suspends PhilHealth premium payments for OFWs – Palace’ 04.05.2020).

Today, there is news that President Rodrigo Duterte has suspended or backtracked the Premium Contributions for Philippine Health Insurance Company Circular Number 14, which stated that all Filipino citizens abroad would be mandatory pay hefty contribution to PHILHEALTH. Even as they are abroad, living in other nations where they either have insurance or taxed for services where they resides.

This is why I didn’t like the idea and what the circular would do to the Filipinos abroad. It would kill the need for dual-citizenship, as the Filipino’s abroad would pay for services not rendered. They would have insurance or taxes for services where they working overseas and also paying in the Philippines. That would make sense if the Filipino have spouse or children left behind. However, making it mandatory for everyone is insincere and banking on its citizens.

That is why President and Chief Director Richardo C. Morales, should step up his game if he believed in this scheme and pay double taxes for the same services. Since, that is what he initially initiated. Maybe he doesn’t see it that way, but he should get his mind correct. Unless, he has unlimited pesos from his work to pay double premium contributions to PHILHEALTH. Because, that is what the Overseas Filipinos would do.

The mentality of ushering this in. On a circular, really shows the intentions. Even if the President suspends it now. The cat is out of the bag. Someone else than Richardo might bring it back. Because, this will be funds in the bank. That the Overseas Filipino Workers (OFW), Seafares and everyone living abroad can be tricked by the state. Since, they would have to pay into a scheme, which they don’t get served. Doesn’t matter if the Filipino lives in the United States, Middle East or Europe. None of them get to enjoy the perks of PHILHEALTH. They are paying for the system in the nation where they reside. That should be a given, but clearly not for the Richardo.

That is why the President has to backtrack the ideas of Richardo and his PHILHEALTH. If Richardo wants the Filipino abroad to invest in it. Make it accessible and also favourable. Not only put “dollar dollar bills y’all” and remember to pay out 3 % of your salaries to me! Since, that is what the man did and what he ordered every Filipino abroad. He found a cow and wanted to milk it dry. That’s why it went up from 60,000 pesos to 100,000 pesos within a few years time.

Richardo should donate that first and show the check to the public. If he believed in this thing. Since, his the Chief Director of PHILHEALTH. Not only expect hardworking Filipino abroad to cover the shortfall of the insurance company.

Well, the President saved the day after outrage from the ones abroad feeling hoodwinked. Richardo is surely dumfounded, but we are awaiting him to pay double tax and smile to the bank. Like he should smile and grin, even post it on social media. To prove the greatness.

Since, it is suspended, but if they don’t want this thing. Then the state should abolish the idea and silence PHILHEALTH. So, they cannot re-issue this at a later date, when the rainfall has stopped. Peace.

Philippines: Free Legal Assistance Group (FLAG) – Statement of Solidarity on the Occasion of World Press Freedom Day 2020 (03.05.2020)

Philippines: The PHILHEALTH Overseas Filipino Premium Contribution scheme is a daylight robbery…

There is simple basics in life. Very simple basics, there is always two things that are certain. It is death and taxes. In this regard to all the Filipino who lives abroad, neither registered as Overseas Filipino Worker (OFW) or not. As long as you are a citizen, you have to pay premiums for the Premium Contribution to the National Health Insurance Programme (NHIP).

It would make sense, if this are seafares and the ones directly registered to the OFW alone. They are in the programme of the state and by their working contracts are often at home in the Philippines. However, most of the ones in the circular is not. They are targeting the ones with dual-citizenship. They are targeting every single citizen abroad. Even overseas Filipinos in distress. Because, the ones whose distresses has the funds to contribute to yet another tax.

The ones who has spouses and kids at home in the Philippines. It is fine that they are paying health insurance at home. Even as they most likely is contributing taxes where they are staying. Even if it is in Europe, United States or wherever overseas. That is a natural given. They should pay within their reach and what is needed for the family left behind. However, this scheme makes it mandatory and makes it expensive to live abroad.

This circular PHILHEALTH Circular Number 0014 of 2020 is outrageous. That is just to put it blindly. That this is even an idea and the scope of it all. It is like the people of PHILHEALTH never consider the remittance of the citizens, neither the costs of doing so. Not even the exchange rate. Secondly, if they are paying so high premiums to the PHILHEALTH. How much money will they remit to their families? Some periods and months, I expect none. Especially in the year of 2021 to 2025. When the price hikes for things has gone bonkers. Who wants to spend a 100,000 pesos on a service they are not using? Except if your a rich CEO in Luzon who can buy a ranch by the blink of an eye.

This sort of scheme, which the PHILHEALTH makes mandatory. Is only ensuring that the ones whose dual-citizenship. Will revoke it and only be European or American citizens from now on. Because, why pay fortunes for services not rendered? Secondly, why work hard abroad to help family at home? When so much of the money goes to PHILHEALTH and not THEM. They went abroad for a better life and earn money to help their families. Not feed the PHILHEALTH.

If they wanted more people to use and pay, they should have some leverage. Which they don’t, unless like I told you with family members and such in need. Than, the citizens abroad could pay voluntarily, as they deem fit. Because, making it mandatory only eradicate the ideals and principals of fair treatment. This is a get-rich scheme, as they anticipate the ones already paying tax in foreign countries, using the health care coverage there. Shall also pay for health care treatment at home, which they will only use every blue moon. This is paying premiums for blue moon treatments. That is not fair.

This will only make two things more reasonable. Because a citizen where they are residing. Rescind their registration as OFW and also revoke their citizenship. Also, ensure that people doesn’t travel to the Philippines, as the repercussions of doing so. If you have defaulted on the scheme. Since, you will either wait to you have gotten a citizenship in a foreign land. Where you are residing and using their health care system.

It will also destroy the remittance to the families, to the ones close to your heart. As the premiums with the agents will take away the funds. Since, these people are already paying taxes in their respective countries, already using their livelihoods to live and also buys what they need their. Plus sent surplus to their families. Which they cannot do, when the PHILHEALTH is taken so much funds away in this premiums scheme.

I don’t know Ricardo Morales, the President and Chief Director of PHILHEALTH. But I doubt for a one second, that he would like to pay double taxes and premiums upon premiums on his salary. Because, that is what he orders right now. I can most likely say, that he thinks one time is enough. However, this scheme is making one person pay for health care in Land A and Land B. While only most of the time using the services of Land A, while the Land B get the free-for-all.

This is how Morales maybe get the budgets to cut the shortfall of fiscal funds, but also ensures that plenty of OFW and overseas Filipino become naturalized citizens where they are residing. Because, this trick isn’t any good. This is a trade, where only one party wins and its not the overseas Filipino, but the state. The citizen only get a taxed, but no representation. Since, they are already taxed or having insurance where they are. That is not fair and surely Morales and everyone involved in this scheme should pay double to, in solidarity with the OFWs. Peace.

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