Today, Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte announced that the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) will replace and take charge of the Bureau of Customs. That is an added extension of the army and secondly, also of the use of soldiers. Then, they are not there anymore just to add safety of the sovereign borders and create peace in the land. But scan and secure all passengers and goods passing into the Republic.
Isn’t that a bit extensive for the armed forces? Meaning, the army needs brigades for all Border Posts and every where the Bureau of Customs (BOC) is operating. They have to add much more trained man-power and this is excessive use of the army. The AFP should clearly focus on other tasks, than check what sort of goods that is coming into the Philippines. This is a foolish move by the President.
Take a look!
ABS-CBN News reported this earlier today:
““They will be replaced, all of them, by military men. It will be a takeover of the Armed Forces in the matter of operating, in the meantime, while we are sorting out how to effectively meet the challenges of corruption in this country,” Duterte said” (…) “”I want to put on notice everybody in the Bureau of Customs, they are all in floating status. Maybe start again working, but I said, they are all floating status,” he said in a speech during the thanksgiving dinner of former Foreign Affairs Secretary Alan Peter Cayetano in Davao City. “The Customs intelligence unit, they are to report to Malacañang, all of them. I’m ordering everybody to report to my office. Maybe I’ll issue the memorandum. They will hold office there at the Malacañang Gymnasium. Lahat,” Duterte added” (ABS-CBN News – ‘Duterte temporarily puts Bureau of Customs under military control’ 29.10.2018, link: https://news.abs-cbn.com/business/10/29/18/duterte-temporarily-puts-bureau-of-customs-under-military-control).
If he takes away the trained personnel for a soldier, he is clearly forgetting the task at hand and the long time it takes to know the trademarks of counterfeit goods and also drug-smuggling, which both is sophisticated industries. Where the men and cartels behind it uses all methods to pass through the check-points, the border-points and get through the Customs search. This is well-known and the ones working has to be vigilant and see for the signs to find the culprits bringing the illegal goods across the borders.
Soldiers are trained for a whole different operations and operative in a different way, than the Customs Units. That is evident and doesn’t need rocket-science to understand. It is vile attempt of control and this will not eradicate the imports of illegal substances and drugs. As they will finds way to trick these soldiers and methods, which are to smart for these soldiers whose used in shooting guns. Not questioning paperwork, licenses and if a kids-toys or lipsticks are filled with cocaine.
Secondly, if the President really does this to the BOC. Should we anticipate the soldiers also to takeover the Philippines Ports Authority (PPA). Since they already are running the Customs, wouldn’t it be more significant and more likely take all drug-dealers if they have the whole ports under siege in the Republic? To ensure the imports to the airports, shouldn’t soldiers also run the The Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines (CAAP)? While they are at it, shouldn’t they also have soldiers running the Philippine Postal Corporation (PHILPOST)?
Because, by that time, they have control of the Customs, the Ports, the Airports and the Post by soldiers, shouldn’t that stop it all from coming to the shores. As you cannot trust civil servants or experts to do their jobs. All are corruptible and the only ones that cease to be following codes are the soldiers. I know I am taking it far, but isn’t it a bit far-fetched and worrying if you needs soldiers who is trained to kill, to check if it is Menthos or a spliff passing by at the Customs at Manila Ninoy Aquino Airport?
Since you cannot trust the BOC, maybe you cannot trust the management of the ports, the airports, the post or even the Barangay Captain who just happens to pick up a package sent to his uncle. Who knows, right?
There been reports of violence, killings and even arrests as the public are preparing to go the polls. After my calculations over 20 people have died in incidents connected with the elections. Therefore, the elections has already cost lives, which shouldn’t be necessary, in the Barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan Elections of 2018 or in election for that matter!
Let’s hope the added military and police in the streets will make it peaceful, also the ban of fire-arms and alcohol can secure all of it. That the public holiday the election day can be plus. Even as the possible pay-offs on Saturday and Sunday, may sway voters in their directions, as the incumbents and others are trying to secure their post for this term. Let’s hope people go for the ones, who is less corrupt and the ones with integrity, even as the posts are paying little. However, it is a elected public office, so your not supposed to take that for wealth, but for will of serving the community. Even in the smallest office as a captain and councilors at the local Barangay. Your not supposed to enrich yourself or your clan. You are supposed to serve the community.
Let’s hope and pray for peaceful affairs and not more loss of lives. This is small local positions, this is not an election for the Parliament, like the Representatives and Senators even. These are the position in the local council and local government levels. Therefore, lets hope the candidates, the local security officials and that the volunteers trained by the COMELEC are ready for the elections. Make them as fair as possible, and that they make sure that, this a credible election. Even as there are some irregularities that I have mentioned in a previous post. But let’s still be hopeful.
We can hope and live in these days, that the Security Officials and that the ones contesting are acting within reason, as well as the polling staff will act according to protocol and not rig it. There will always be some who wants to take advantage of a situation, but that doesn’t mean everyone. Like there are reports from various provinces that the Barangay’s haven been frenetically candidates buying votes. Therefore, this may sway the electorate to one direction from another. As well as in certain Barangay’s there are many unopposed, meaning they will go straight back to office without any real contest. These are the bad signs connected with the sad deaths. However, not all are, so let’s still be a bit hopeful.
But let’s hope for peaceful election day, let’s pray for safety of all people and also, for a credible affair, where the best candidates wins. Peace.
Just as the President has ordered, a holiday for the Barangay and SK Election on the 14th May and the short campaign season are starting in two days. The Parish Pastoral Council for Responsible Voting (PPCRV) have been reported to lack volunteers for being Pollwatcher’s during these elections. The PPCRV has announced only to have 70,000 out of 370,000 needed personnel. This people needs training and are to assist the Commission on Elections (COMELEC).
Therefore, the authorities has a lot of work to do, to secure the ballots and the elections in the coming days. If these reported numbers are true, as the elections has already been postponed more than once since October 2017.
We already know the COMELEC has saved a lot of headache with the Press Release in January 2018, where they stated: “The Commission on Elections is set to use the already printed October 23, 2017 official ballots, accountable and non-accountable forms for purposes of the May 14, 2018 Barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan (SK) Elections in an effort to save public funds and government resources”(COMELEC, 18.01.2018). That just begs the question if they can fill in new names on the ballot or if the candidates was pre-fixed for this election? Because times change, and someone might drop their candidate between the October 2017 and the May 2018.
Therefore, there are some hurdles for perfection concerning governance, though understandable from a budgetary standpoint. That is just from the offset questions that can be risen. That the applications and candidates for these elections might differ from the previous ones of last year.
The state clearly has postponed already twice, so they are in need of holding it. So they have legitimate local government bodies within the Republic. However, the simple questions, that are stated these days comes quickly to mind. When the Commissioners will lack PollWatchers.
There are 42,026 Barangays around the Republic, meaning there is in dire need of brief and quick teachings of process and protocol of Pollwatcher’s to overlook the election. To secure the credible results and secure a legitimate local government in and around the country. If there were only two polling stations in each Barangay, which is most likely to small of number, then the need for watchers would be 84,000 of them. However, the PPCRV asked for the estimated 370,000 and that has to be achieved.
A good thing about this election is the direct spending limit for candidates, as the incentive to spend money to buy voters should become less evident, even if previous elections has been filled with kick-backs and promises. “The spending limit for the #BSKE2018 is 5 pesos per voter in the barangay where the candidate is running for office. For Example: if Barangay X has 3,000 registered voters, then the spending cap for candidates running in Barangay X is 3,000 x 5 pesos, or 15,000 pesos. In the same example, if neighbouring Barangay Y has 20,000 voters, then the spending cap for Barangay Y candidates will be 20,000 x 5 pesos, or 100,000 pesos. Note that the spending limit is based on REGISTERED VOTERS, not population” (COMELEC, 2018).
I hope for good and clean campaigns, without too much interference and issues that overshadow the democratic process. However, you never know, when the Narco-Listed and Hot-Spots list are coming in a narrow time frame concerning the official holiday announcement.
We can just hope that the candidates are prepared, all the electoral bodies and that the Electoral Officials and everyone involved will deliver a credible election, where the will of the public happens and not predetermined results. There are some pieces you can question, because it leaves doubt in the voting material, but that might be altered to fit this compared to the ones in October 2017.
Let’s hope and see, hopefully the ones who has the most drive, talent and are accountable to their public. Get their places locally, not just political dynasties, and their narrative to control the pockets of their local barangay. Peace.
“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