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Archive for the category “Asia”

Maldives: Save Maldives Team list of Business People who can be sanctioned soon by the Government (15.03.2018)


Maldives: Dunya Maumoon resigns as the Minister of State for Health (27.02.2018)

Philippines: President Duterte 32nd EDSA Message (24.02.2018)

Opinion: Is President Duterte showing weakness, since he cannot stomach a reporter from Rappler?

In the Philippines, President Rodrigo Duterte has been a strongman whose fought the good fight for the people against government corruption, also used martial law to beat Islamist’s in Marawi on the island of Mindanao. Now, he has also broken the dialogue with the communists rebels, of the militia of the New People’s Army. Therefore, as he has used the army and police to battle drug-cartels and militias. You would expect a fellow President to manage a few journalists.

President Duterte has now started a spat and unnecessary, as the Christopher Lawrence “Bong” has stated today to the media after 48 hours of foolishness from themselves. This is crisis made out of stupidity made by the Malacañang. Duterte and Bong just acting dumb by kicking out a reporter from Rappler. Pia Randa yesterday on the 20th February and then barring her from entering today.

They have stated this to the media:

Let us be clear: The case of Rappler is not an attack on press freedom. Members of the media, including the Philippine Daily Inquirer, continue to be hard-hitting yet they can cover the activities of the President. Ms. Ranada’s accreditation, which would give her access to Palace activities, lies on Rappler’s accreditation. If Rappler wants to have direct coverage of certain events inside and outside Malacañang, it may apply for Foreign Correspondents Association of the Philippines (FOCAP) accreditation. Two things could have avoided Rappler’s present predicament: One, get a temporary restraining order. Two, be a Filipino corporation. Unfortunately, Rappler failed to obtain a TRO and failed to show that it is a Filipino entity” (Presidential Communications Operations Office – ‘From the Presidential Spokesperson – On Rappler’ 21.02.2018).

By the standard of the ownership of Rappler, it is owned by Dolphin Fire Group (31%), Maria Resa (23%), Hatchd Group (17% ), Benjamin So (17%), Public Trust and Media Group (5%) and 4 minority owners with about 5%. So the ownership of Rappler and Rappler Holding Company is based in the Philippines, even if they have gotten funding from abroad Omidyar Network and North Base Media. Both foreign, but the ownership is still Philippines based. Therefore, the attacks on this is a bit strange.

That is just the quick defense of Rappler and their ownership, which should be easily accessed to the President and his associates. Since they can get all registers and all files on the company. Since the Rappler Holding Corporation has to pay taxes and levies like any other. I would expect the Spokesperson to the President knowing this. Even I could find this information without very little research, since this is public, as a public company and with open access to the domain.

However, this isn’t just about press freedom, this is about the open scar of weakness. That the President doesn’t like one story about Navy Frigate Deal. Maybe, the President should be transparent about the trade and deal, also show the process of the agreement with set supplier of the boat. Not just spray venom and show fury over Rappler writing a story. Show the truth, drop the arrangement, mark the classified details, which only the military can know and show the paper-trail if the story is false. That would be mature and prove transparency in his actions. However, he takes away press credentials and beats the messenger, instead of showing the true face of Navy Frigate deal.

I hate to say it, but Duterte looks weak and foolish with this. He could have shown his true character and riding the storm. Instead he seems hot-headed and unwise. Duterte been swift and wise in cracking down on terrorists and communist rebels. But doing this to a report from Rappler is childish and petty. He is supposed to be better and have better reasoning behind it. Clearly, he lost it a bit and need guidance.

Sometimes the ego of a person goes to far, in this instance it has. Duterte forgotten, that he represent all parts of the people, even the critical ones. They are labeling Rappler foreign when its not, and trying to muffle their reports. However, instead of debunking and showing the legitimate agreement, which is the main reason for this attack on the media company.

The reporter in question is known for being critical of Duterte, that is fact, still Duterte and Malacañang press corps could need that. But the administration and the president seems misguided. Duterte should show strength, not weakness. This is weak, really weak, petty even.

President Duterte, you have been able to beat the hell out of terrorists and are doing what you can beat communist rebels. Two noble fights, also the third to get rid of the drug-cartels. All of that has been for the betterment of the republic. However, this attack on Rappler, as it has been now from the administration since January 2018. This is just the latest after the state revoked it license. Seemingly, you have the courage and boldness to beat the ones with guns, ammunition and drugs.

But, you cannot manage a report from Rappler? Is that your Achilles heel? That is weak tea. Really weak tea. Steaming hot water, but with no flavor. Peace.

Maldives: LAM raises concern over the effect on Tourism due to political issues (21.02.2018)

Trouble in Paradise X: A new Illegal extension of the State of Emergency!

Today, for yet another day, where the Constitution of the Maldives has no value for the President Abdualla Yameen. Since he had a vote, where many of the opposition Members of Parliament are still behind bars. This after the Supreme Court ruled against the President on the 1st February 2018. Therefore, the attack recent attacks on the Majlis and the Supreme Court. The President clearly doesn’t mind the constitution. If he did, he would have done today’s action differently.

That is proven with the Constitution saying this about any vote in the Majlis, In article 87 says: “Despite the provisions of Article 86 of this Constitution, voting on any matter requiring compliance by citizens shall only be undertaken when more than half of the total membership of the People’s Majlis are present at the sitting at which the matter is voted upon” (Constitution of the Republic of Maldives, 2010).

So if the state wanted the extension legally out of 85 members, they need at least 43 MPs to vote for the State of Emergency, even if it was illegally enacted. Since I have already shown that when it occurred. President Yameen did it illegally last time. So he could have used the legal ways, but he has been busy detaining opposition and silencing media who questions him.

Maldives Independent reported it like this: “Only 38 MPs were present for the vote, which took place hours before the state of emergency was due to expire, despite 43 lawmakers being needed for the vote to take place as required by the constitution. All 38 were from the ruling party and all 38 approved the extension” (Maldives Independent, 20.02.2018).

Therefore, the President and his party has again illegally put forward the State of Emergency, as he continues to a dictator, who silence opposition and detains them for any reason. The list of MPs, former Presidents and other political prisoners, who are against the President himself.

It is weird that the Official Statement of the President said this today: “Nonetheless the declaration of the State of Emergency is not included as a matter which requires compliance by citizens as per Section 38 of the Regulation of the Parliament. Hence, the sitting was preceded taking into view that the quorum needed to pass the Presidential Decree declaring the State of Emergency and the consequent amendments were that which is stipulated in Article 86 of the Constitution. The Parliament at session also decided to seek legal advice of the Supreme Court under Article 95 of the Constitution in relation to the questions raised by some of the members of Parliament with regard to the Parliament’s quorum” (The Presidency of the Republic of the Maldives – ‘Official Statement on Parliament confirmation of The President’s Proposed Extension, with amendments, to the State of Emergency’ 20.02.2018).

So, the State trying to prevent an issue as the demonstrations are still in the street. The violations of the Judiciary earlier this month, also throwing two Supreme Court judges in jail. We can certainly imagine, that ones remaining will make favors and make sure the legality, even if its all seemingly countering the law itself. Just like the weird statement from the President. Who knows he is wrong, but trying to counter with something else, as the people are not represented or had their voice. Because they are either barred from entering or detained. However, that is how it is when you act all gangster and not as a man who respects the law. Now the outlaws are ruling with impunity. Peace.

Maldives Police Service – Press Statement: “Their view of Opposition Demonstrations” (17.02.2018)

Maldives: “Joint Opposition Statement: The Joint Opposition Requests the UN Secretary General to Mediate in All- Party Talks” (15.02.2018)

15 February, Male’: The Joint Opposition has requested the United Nations Secretary-General to initiate and act as mediator for all-party dialogue in the Maldives.

The Joint Opposition’s request follows a statement by the UN Secretary-General on 2 February, reiterating the United Nations’ offer to facilitate all-party dialogue.

In a letter sent to the Secretary-General this week, the Joint Opposition, while welcoming dialogue in principle, expressed concern that the Government’s call for talks is an attempt to ease international condemnation over its recent actions.

The Joint Opposition is also concerned that the appeal for dialogue is a cynical attempt by the President to buy time in order to consolidate his illegal grip on the State — a tactic the President has employed before.

The Joint Opposition believes that only internationally mediated and guaranteed talks are acceptable. The Joint Opposition believes that for meaningful talks to take place, the Yameen administration must halt its full-scale assault on democracy, the rule of law, and the Constitution.

In its letter, the Joint Opposition urged the UN Secretary-General to urge the Government of Maldives to create an acceptable environment for dialogue. In order to create a conducive environment, the Government of Maldives must:

● Immediately and fully implement the Supreme Court ruling of 1 February, and release the political prisoners;
● Release the Chief Justice Abdulla Saeed and Supreme Court Justice Ali Hameed;
● Release President Maumoon Abdul Gayoom, MP Faris Maumoon, MP Abdulla Sinan, MP Ilham Ahmed, and their families, including Mohamed Nadheem and Siyad Qasim, and all others detained following the purge on the opposition;
● withdraw the military from Parliament, and allow the opening and full functioning of the Parliament.

On 14 February, President Yameen stepped up his assault on the democratic institutions of the Maldives, by ordering the military to seal off the parliament to prevent MPs from entering.

Five opposition MPs were physically removed from the parliament compound by the armed forces, who were acting on President Yameen’s orders.

Joint Opposition appeals to the international community to use all means available to peacefully resolve the crisis and hold President Yameen accountable to Maldives commitments under international law. Past two weeks is a strong reminder of the regime’s blatant refusal to respect Maldives Constitution and international law and that the government will not relinquish power at any cost.

Philippines: DILG’s directive of creating a BIT registry will make it harder for the Barangay’s officials to eat the money!

President Duterte’s unwavering political resolve to defeat corruption and bring about positive change makes our efforts all worthwhile” – Carlos Dominguez III

On the 14th May 2018, the Barangay and Sangguniang Elections are scheduled to take place in the Philippines. Therefore the Commission on Elections (COMELEC) are preparing elections. This is the local elections for the local government, meaning wards and municipalities are preparing for the coming elections, where mayors, councilors and governors are elected. Therefore, this is vital for the local democracy and the city halls. Also for the parties and the citizens as a whole to see the state of affairs and the leadership. If they need renewal of the incumbents or need new blood to generate change. If the citizens locally can change out the old and get fresh eyes to local questions and budgets. To secure better service delivery.

The good news from the Central Government and the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) are preparing this for the election and future leadership of the Local Government:

As part of the DILG’s preparations for the forthcoming Barangay Elections this May, DILG OIC-Secretary Eduardo Ano is directing all incumbent punong barangays to conduct an inventory of barangay financial records and properties under their custody from the start of their term of office up to the present” (…) “Ano issued the directive this early to ensure smooth and systematic transition from the outgoing barangay officials to the incoming newly elected or re-elected barangay officials come June 30” (…) “This is also part of our efforts to sustain transparent and accountable local governance at the barangay level and to further ensure that all concerned barangay officials exercise due diligence in using barangay funds and properties,” he said” (…) “Under the directive, a Barangay Inventory Team (BIT) shall be created in each barangay to be chaired by the punong barangay. Its members shall include at least two kagawads, a barangay secretary, a barangay treasurer, a bookkeeper or city or municipal representative, and at least two civil society organization (CSO) representatives, preferably from a faith-based organization or members of the Barangay Development Council” (…) “Part of the functions of the BIT is to ensure the completeness of all barangay properties, financial records and documents (BPFRDs). BPFRDs include legislative and administrative records, transcript or minutes of meetings, list and status of complaints filed before the Lupong Tagapamayapa, updated registry of barangay inhabitants, list or inventory of current local or international development assisted projects, and all other documents containing barangay transactions” (DILG, 2018).

So this directive made by Minister Eduardo Ano is clearly setting up guidelines and the protocols to secure the funds of the Local Government. The new officials will have to keep the books and records of spending or financial transactions. This so the local officials cannot embezzle and misuse the public funds. This is yet another measure to stop corrupt behavior by President Rodrigo Duterte who has already established an Anti-Corruption Commission or the Philippines Truth Commission (PTC) in October 2017. The Philippines already have the Revenue Integrity Protection Service (RIPS), who was established in 2003 to also combat corruption, but this is made strictly for the ill-behavior in the Department of Finance. You also have the Office of the Ombudsman who has a mandate, which is specified to this: “The Ombudsman shall give priority to complaints filed against high ranking government officials and/or those occupying supervisory positions, complaints involving grave offenses as well as complaints involving large sums of money and/or properties (Sec. 15, R.A. No. 6770)” (Ombudsman.gov.ph – about us – Mandate). Final institution to look into the Finances and Assets of the Government concerning corruption is the Commission of Audit, the Komisyon ng Pangsuri. Which is also mandated to examine, audit and settle all accounts of the government. Check if the local authorities are following procedure or if they have overpaid for their services.

So Ano with the directive with Local BIT within every Barangay plus the already sufficient monitoring agents of RIPS, Ombudsman, COA and PTC. There should be such amount of measures to stop graft, corruption and kickbacks. Even if someone will always try to use their power for favors, build the most fantastic house in field outside of town or just making sure Mayor can use the ATM at the City Hall more than anyone else. Now they have the BIT to make sure the jobs of COA, Ombudsman and PTC is easier. Since the Barangay has to make sure their portfolio and their assets are verified before a transition. The local government has to deliver stocks, accounts and the lists of properties. To prove what they do have and not hide funds away from the Central Government. Clearly, this is a trick to make sure the Public Officials doesn’t misuse or hide information, values that the tax-payer pays for or even funds that embezzled from the public coffers.

If mayors or Barangay officials has misused funds and cannot account for the funds before the election. There are several bodies that can investigate it and if it is big enough, the Department of Finance might send others too. What this is a sign off, is that the Philippines are trying to tackle the amounts of corruption and known behavior it has had in the past and present. So that all the different parts of the government has to use even more effort to be able to get away with corruption. That the state now even makes list of inventory, funds and assets in general at the Barangay level. Proves the will of combating it and using stronger means stop it. It isn’t just words, since it is done right before elections. Therefore, the bragging lists and the possible truths of stocks can come forward. Because if the Barangay officials lie and someone else get elected. Finds nothing in the account. Clearly, its starting to report the previous local official to either of the bodies fighting corruption. So that the Barangay can get back the funds and assets the previous ones took from the state. Peace.


DILG – ‘Año to brgy chiefs: Prepare inventory for turnover to next brgy officials’ (08.02.2018) link: http://www.dilg.gov.ph/news/Ao-to-brgy-chiefs-Prepare-inventory-for-turnover-to-next-brgy-officials/NC-2018-1017

Trouble in Paradise VIII: President Yameen is silencing the media and the MoD warns people not to disclose information!

Police Service has handed over 2 individuals, a British national and an Indian National to Immigration Authorities. These individuals were found to be working and reporting as journalists while on a tourist visa, in contravention to the Immigration Act and Regulations” (Maldives Police, 09.02.2018).

So the oppression in Maldives is continuing as the PPM Party are holding lavish rallies, while opposition are met with police brutality, journalists detained and more MPs behind bars. The State of Emergency is used to harass and control all parts of society. They are now even taking foreign nationals as they are covering the constitutional crisis and the implications it has. We know this has negative affect as the Republic need a positive perception as Tourism is a vital part of the economy. On the 8th February Maldives Voice reported that 40% of Guest Houses are facing cancellation because of the crisis. That is big number of tourists who will go elsewhere for their holidays and honeymoons. Which would have brought needed foreign exchange and work in general for the people. That is why Fitch Ratings, even has said the volatile could change their rating and degrade the economy.

Received information about an Indian national, Money Sharma, working as a journalist, who has been detained by the Maldivian authorities. We have asked our Embassy to get in touch with the local authorities to ascertain more details of the case” (India TV, 09.02.2018). There is also report that two Indian Reporters working for Agence France-Presse (AFP) who is also arrested today. While a Chinese Journalist has been allowed to take pictures of the protest happening today in Male.

You know it isn’t going well, when the Ministry of Defense are coming with this sort of statement:

Ministry of Defence and National Security has warned that action will be taken without prior warning, against those who disclose information that endangers national security. In a press release on Thursday night, the ministry said many are publishing content which endangers national security, regarding the state of emergency declared as per clause 253 of the Constitution. The ministry also stated that live programs broadcasted on various media platforms are creating discord and inciting fear in the hearts of the public” (Vnews, 2018).

And the Police Service saying this:

Maldives Police Service has handed over two individuals, a British national and an Indian National to Immigration Authorities. These individuals were found to be working and reporting as journalists while on a tourist visa, in contravention to the Immigration Act and Regulations. We urge all foreign nationals to adhere to immigration guidelines and acquire the relevant visa that corresponds to the purpose of their visit. We note that several foreign journalists are currently working in the Maldives and welcome all those who wish to do so in the future” (Maldives Police Service, 09.02.2018).

So the Army is saying people has to be careful with spreading news and information. Meaning, the Central Government and President Yameen wants to control the news and headlines. So that the tight-grip and the assault on the Judiciary doesn’t spin-off. Secondly that the State of Emergency doesn’t get into question, even if that is not following the Constitutional Codes itself. Since the Parliament hasn’t been notified or the proper reasons for issuing it hasn’t happen. Unless, that the President was afraid in his own skin about the Supreme Court Ruling of 1st February and had to revise it to save face. That is why the chaos has happen in the first place. Therefore, he is creating a police state, because Yameen cannot manage to loose face or power.

Yesterday, the Raajje TV was closed from Broadcast, that was the biggest Television broadcaster in the Maldives. So the government are working in full speed to takeover and silence dissidents. They are not accepting anyone else. That is why the Chief Justice Saaed is in jail, while MPs and such are there too. People who was ordered freed, but was overturned on the 8th February 2018. This was intended by the President to revise the order, but only solidify his attacks on the Judiciary.

A typical sign of oppression is while the government party PPM are having grand rallies and speeches, the opposition rallies are destroyed by the Police, even as they are acting peaceful in Male. So the gatherings are allowed for PPM and Yameen, but not the rest. That is typical sign of dictatorship, where government party has advantages, while the rest has to suffer for their freedom of expression. That is now shown by the state, with the army and police stopping media from working as normal. Even spreading fear to Raajje TV. They are not defending, but opposing free media.

While also keeping MPs and Opposition leaders behind bars, while stopping believing in rule of law or respecting the Constitution. That is worrying signs and proving how neglectful Yameen is at this point. Peace.


Vnews – ‘Defence ministry warns action for disclosing information that endangers national security’ (09.02.2018) link: http://vnews.mv/95358

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