Philippines: Present Coalition – Pursue a Peaceful and Innovative Path to End Poverty! Tag the Present Bill as Urgent! (11.02.2021)

Philippines: President Rodrigo Roa Duterte – Ratification of the Treaty on hte Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons (TPNW) – (01.02.2021)

Opinion: Red-Tagging could happen to you

Just as the Philippines government are red tagging people. This as part of their activities to hurt the New People’s Army (NPA) and the whole CPP-NPA. It is natural that the government and the army is working to dismantle the insurgency of the communist army in the Republic. That is all natural.

However, the tool of red tagging of people might hit the public wrongly. As it is proven that loud activists and “non-associated” people with the CPP-NPA have been targeted by state this way. They have been wire-tapped and monitored. The people could easily be detained without warrants, restricted travels, examinations of bank accounts and seizure of assets. That is the powers the state takes if they have red tagged you.

If that is done wrongly, then the state has the powers of deeming you associated, connected or abating terrorists. That the state works to stop terrorism and organizations is all natural. That is to safeguard the public and the citizens from the dangers of extremists. However, the red tagging might not work for its purpose.

Especially, when there is knowledge and been reported that the activists who has spoken out against gender violence. There even been in the past where the government has gone after supposed “front-groups” of the CPP-NPA without any basis or claim. Where they could not identify the association or accessory to it. Therefore, undermining its own efforts. Targeting individuals and organizations without basis to do so. Just to justify their efforts against terrorism.

The red tagging has even gone as far as targeting outspoken celebrities. These have gotten bad mouthed and been listed. Because they dared to speak out against the government stance. Which by the act of doing so isn’t abiding or association with terrorism, but just using their free speech to speak their minds.

Just like the red tagging is easily applied on other civil society organization and non-governmental organizations. Which in the end would target the ones who works against government policy and therefore, easily deemed fit for the programme. Then the program is more of a tagging the ones daring to speak out against it, then for the purpose of labelling the ones who is associated with the CPP-NPA.

So, the idea itself to identify and label terrorist and the ones associated isn’t that bad. That has been done by governments since forever. However, targeting all left-wing and outspoken critics of the government. That is a bad look, as most of them is most likely not associated with the groups in question. They are not financially backing them or supporting in any fashion. Only because of a inkling of “red” and the state can use their powers to suffocate you. Take away your freedom and liberties. Destroy your image and your livelihood.

If these folks are supporting the CPP-NPA it is understandable. As the state is working to destroy and annihilate this threat to the Republic. That if someone would use their time, effort and machinery to support the CPP-NPA. This makes sense and I can understand the actions made. So, that these folks doesn’t get support or help from outside forces. However, the red tagging might cover a broad spectrum of people, than just these ones.

That is the problem with it. This can be used to muffle critics and CSO’s who works in good spirit, but not always following the state or its objectives. Because, they work after other charters and ideas for a better society. That is how things has always been. Someone on the front-line being revolutionary, being radical, but later will deemed as a normal thought. That’s because of the ideals and political standpoints. Which today might differ from the state, but later would be deemed as reasonable. Therefore, the red tagging might target these folks, instead of the ones supporting terrorists.

That is the whole problem and why we got to discuss it. Since this isn’t making the Republic better, but instead making it easier to silence critics. Which isn’t a sign of strength, but a sign of weakness. Peace.

Phillippines: National Security Council (NSC) – Jevilyn Cullamat was a Victim of the Armed Movement We Condemn, Not a Martyr Whose Death is to be Romanticized (01.12.2020)

Phillippines: UN extends call for help to Typhoon Vamco-affected areas in Northern Luzon (27.11.2020)

Philippines: Duterte should apologize to the VP [for his 20 minute rant against her]

Should you become the President, if you want, buy a lot of swimsuits and swim when the floods come” – President Rodrigo Duterte addressing Vice President Leni Robredo

In the last few days Vice President Leni Robredo have worked on sites at typhoon hit areas after the ‘Goni’, ‘Rolly’ and ‘Ulysses’. She has been out to the areas and been a public face in the midst of trouble for the citizens in these areas. With this she has proven her character and been vocal to get more help for the ones in need. That has hurt Malacañang Palace and President Rodrigo Duterte.

We could clearly see by the statement of the live nation address and the 20 minutes long infuriated rant on her. Instead of addressing the needs of the people. The President was focused on her and was lying. He was trying to forge a narrative and wasn’t sincere. That because he wants to have the glory and be the big-man. Accordingly, Leni was his target because of her efforts after these storms and typhoons.

Clearly, Duterte pride was hurt as Robredo has been in the field and acted like a public servant. This is something that makes him look and indecisive. He knows that this make him look weak and not capable. As she is out there and participating in the emergency response to the affected areas of the typhoons.

Yes, Duterte is a President. A head of state and doesn’t have to be everywhere and cannot be everywhere at any time. Just like any other person. However, if he wanted to show his face and be with some of the ones who are hurt by the typhoons. He could have taken a day-trip without it hurting the programs, the plans and the scheduled affairs of the Presidency. Yes, the old man could be afraid of COVID-19, but his supposed to be in Davao. A region that is hit hard with the sickness and he cannot be sheltered from it forever.

President Duterte was in the wrong. To ask for accountability of each other is fine. However, using lies and misogyny has no place. That the President uses this to make himself look good. Is just a dumb move. If he wanted to look great. He should have taken a trip and been visible. Everyone understand that he cannot always go and has business to attend too. Nevertheless, that cannot be reason all the time. Especially, in crisis like these and where the Republic is hit with more and more troubles.

Leni Robredo isn’t the one who usually tends and attends things correctly. The VP has created unnecessary storms and conflicts, because she haven’t done the right thing. Where she haven’t filed the right papers or informed the authorities accordingly. Therefore, she can be wrong too. It is not about that. I’m not a great fan of Robredo. No, I am not, but here Duterte is off the rails.

Duterte should not get away with this. This sort of behaviour isn’t cool, it isn’t funny and shouldn’t be a thing. Rodrigo should act like a man and not like spoiled brat. That is seeing someone else is playing with his toys. He better get a grip and maybe even talk to the VP. Give her a call and apologize. Because, this is beneath his station. The rant shouldn’t have happened. The man should know better. Would the man accept this sort of talk about his daughter [Sara Duterte] and Mayor of Davao? I doubt he would accept it. He would hunt the man down… asap.

Therefore, when we knows. The President should pay amends and also see what the VP have done of late. Which has been the right thing for the same government that his serving. The President and VP serves the same government and is responsible for the same citizens.

President Duterte, this was wrong and dumb. Your better than this. I hope, because this isn’t cutting it. Peace.

Philippines: Kagawaran ng Katungan – Anti-Terrorism Council – Press Statement (14.10.2020)

Philippines: National Security Council – The P16,44 B Barangay Development Program is meant to Empower Communities Suffering from the Violence of the NPA (30.09.2020)

Philippines: New Anti-Terrorism Law might have some unfortunate consequences…

That the government of the Philippines wants to strengthen its legislation and its power to contain and control terrorists makes sense. Especially with the recent insurgency in Marawi in Mindanao and the Red Brigade there. The Government is within its right to extend its powers, ensure safety of its territory and rules to stop future insurgencies and terror attacks on the Filipino Nation. That is all understandable, however, they should still consider the implications and what a new law does to freedom of expression, liberty and justice for all. That it doesn’t come in conflict with these ideals.

Some of the things that is striking out in this new anti-terrorist law is that it will create a new legal instrument, a new precedence, where appointed top cabinet officials will have the opportunity to participate and issue arrest orders through the Anti-Terror Council (ATC). Meaning, it is lawmakers and technocrats who are finding whose deemed fit for becoming terror suspect and whose associated with terrorist. This is not done by detective or intelligence officers, no, but appointed cronies of the state. That is worrying enough itself.

That the law also stretches the ability to keep people arrested without warrants and eases the means of wire-tapping, surveillance and such. It is surely done in a sense of safeguarding the public, but at the same time. If the ATC somehow deems someone randomly, they can easily arrest someone in the name of terror, allegedly say they are terrorist without a trial keep someone in custody for about 14 days with a possibility of a 10 day extension.

If a person is really unlucky, let’s say a journalist or an activists. Whose suddenly posting a press release or statement from a questionable organization. That the ATC might deem as Terrorist. Than, the person might be charged with 12 years in prison for helping to distribute illegal material and promoting the organization. Even if the intent was only to inform the public and not get people to participate in terrorism. That is what is also dangerous about this law.

It opens up to wormholes like this and it depends on the powers at the ATC and the agencies of the Philippines to set it out and in order. The ideals are good, the steps are positives, we all should strive to combat and defeat terrorism, in all sorts and fashion. That is fine and dandy. However, this legislation is stretching things far and makes it possible to arrest someone on the hunch and on a limb. When, they might was just posting some random tweets or random Facebook posts. They were not doing it malice or with intent to incite terror, but it was from the wrong group. Therefore, they could get into trouble.

That is my worry here. Many parts of the law is reasonable and makes sense. As a sovereign and as a state, you want to have the ability to surveillance and to gather evidence of possible people who wants to commit these sorts of activities. However, when this law is make it so broad and gives huge powers to Council not made-up of intelligence officers nor law enforcement. That opens up the gates for possible political mind-games, where the political enemies becomes terrorists. Even if the only thing they do is to buy rice and flowers for the people of their Barangay.

I hope this get dealt with positively, but this is passing all parts of the Congress, the House of Representatives and the Senate has all agreed upon the articles. It only need the Presidential signature and seal before becoming law. That is why the ATC and whose getting there is important. Because, they will become the Terrorist Hunters and the ones deciding the fate of people. They will be vital in this and have the last word in a way. Peace.

Philippines-USA: A tit-for-tat, a diplomatic dispute over one jailbird

We are now seeing the consequences of the financial budget of 20th December 2019 in the United States. Which there was some stipulations, where the United States and the Secretary of State Michael Pompeo will sanction officials connected in the their deemed “illegal” arrest of Senator De Lima.

There is no official stance nor anyone listed in the Philippines, as this is just one statute and one promise. As the Department of State have to prove evidence and be able to connect the dots of the arrest and the charges put on the hostile President Rodrigo Duterte critic, Senator Leila De Lima. With that in mind, it didn’t take long before President Duterte retaliated against the U.S. and the ones sponsoring this sort accusation.

Now we know the deal and it is a reality. The President has already restricted Sen. Dick Durbin, Sen. Partick Learhy and the third Sen. Edward Markey. These are the authors of the amendment, which states this about the Philippines.

Clear as the message sends, the Philippines doesn’t accept being a whipping-boy or one whose getting humiliated by the United States. As they are already on the daily basis now doing human rights violations on their borders, detaining kids, separating kids and toddlers from their parents and not even having hospital conditions for the refugees and asylum-seekers. So in this regard, as there are thousands of lives in jeopardy on the Southern Border of the United States. Maybe, the Senators in the U.S. should focus on them for a minute.

In regards to De Lima, she is most likely in jail because she’s defying the President and got into legal trouble because of that. Just like former Senator Antonio Trilanes too. All who dares to defy to a certain amount of level gets into trouble. One way or another.

What I do like about this, is that the Filipino administration dares to retaliate. Even if it is to opposition Senators in the United States. It would have been more provoking, if the Filipino went after Republicans and the others who voted it in. As the Senate needs Republican support to get it through. Even if this is just one mere amendment.

The U.S. likes to have the upper-hand and expect everyone just to bow down. I like the touch of returning of the favour. Even if it amounts to nothing. Not like Durbin, Learhy or Markey have any investments, anything substantial to gain from the Filipino republic. Still, the sentiment I like. Because, it shows pride and courage of their sovereign state.

While the U.S. are allowed to this, use their legal framework to sanction people. But when they dare another sovereign. Expect to be retaliate against. Not just begging and kneeling underlings asking for mercy. That will not happen from this administration and certainly not from Duterte.

What I really wonder about: Is this really worth it all? Even for criminal injustice? The reality is that the men amending the law in the U.S. doesn’t change the charge nor the incarceration of De Lima. Only amplifying the Filipino to be more hostile. If they wanted legal justice for her, they should maybe have used more diplomatic means. Than, using the sanctions this way.

I might think the charges on De Lima is wrong, but the outcome of using your means this way. Will not do anything constructive. Especially, knowing the administration your dealing with. It is like these naive Yankees didn’t know. Yankee Doodle Ho. Peace.