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: Duterte’s inconsistency…

Well, it is about that time. When you can show to the fact that someone has a strong opinion and uses massive force against certain people, but when the buck stops. The person changes totally. For God knows what reasons, but usually monetary gains is the long-term perspective for why.

In this instance, it’s the hypocrisy and the double standard from President Rodrigo Roa Duterte. The President has used the law enforcement and the army to kill, destroy and detain the cartels, the drug-smuggling rings and the addicts as well. He has used extra judicial killings and went after these criminals with brutal during his reign.

The same man has also been very vocal about his disdain on the matter of independence and sovereign as a state and would not accept interference from other states on its behalf. Especially, in concern to this violent crackdown and the use of force against criminal civilians. However, now … his issuing a pardon to a soldier, a U.S. Marine who has committed a homicide or a murder in the Republic.

This is from the same President that went on a warpath against a nun, who dared to question his moral authority. The same man that has accepted to criminalize a certain aspect of society and deemed it fit to kill them without a trial. The same person is now pardoning Joseph Scott Pemberton with an absolute pardon.

That amazes me and the double standard is obvious. Because, if this man wasn’t a soldier, a U.S. Citizen and someone with suction within the army. There would be nowhere in hell that he would walk free after this. He would answer to the courts of law and would be in deep trouble. Because, he took a life and killed another civilian. That’s what the soldier did. Killed a Filipina in cold blood and his getting away it.

That should be a thing. It shouldn’t’ have happened, but not that it has occurred, and the life is taken. The soldier should at least answer for it and be tried in courts. That is, if life has any value and people are subjects under the same law. The soldier has done something illegal and beyond his jurisdiction. He has committed a crime, just like the criminals selling drugs. So, if the President should be fair. He should be killed to in the streets like thief and a drug-dealer. Alas, this man is walking free. Just because he has a US Passport and is part of the US Army.

This is all just to do a friendly political move towards the US. So, that the Trump Administration can free one of their own and send the private home. To be an example of good graces and show how much power the US still have globally. Since, they could free a man who was detained rightfully for homicide. Still, that life didn’t matter to Duterte nor the US.

Pemberton is now the epitome of injustice. He walks away from the burden of answering from his crimes. Since, his is possibly a bargain chip in a political gambit of the President and his administration. While the remaining family of the deceased will never see the return of the family member that got murdered. That is the injustice in this.

This is all happening from the same President who has no issues taking lives and using extra judicial killings as a method to stop drug cartels. The same man clearly should see the double standard and as the mischief this is. As he issues a pardon for homicide.

There shouldn’t be vindication for this, as the victim cannot be returned, and the damage is indefinitely. If life matters, if justice matters, he should answer for it. Just like any other criminal, but instead because of circumstances. He gets off easy and with very little cost. Peace.

Opinion: The Duterte Administration doesn’t want a free-media, but a gang of YES-MEN!

Today its official the House of Representative has put the nail in the coffin for the renewal of the media house and franchise ABS-CBN. This has been an on-going battle for the media company and its associates. What this does is close radio stations across the Republic and also TV stations. They are deliberately closing one of the strong independent media houses.

ABS-CBN have had the ability to actually bring content of facts. Yes, it has its wrong like everyone does. Everyone who publish, distribute and address news will sooner or later do blunders. What this Presidency is doing is to silence and muffle media houses that dares to question them. Just like Ressa of Rappler, the ABS-CBN is in the same regard. They dared to have provocative ads and such in the campaign ahead of this administration. That’s why this sort of thing is a retaliation, as the Congress is filled with YES-MEN and people blindly loyal to the President. He won the recent mid-term election and has less of opposition to ever stop him. Everyone that oppose get into dire waters and awaiting sharks.

ABS-CBN now is in the same waters. Rappler, which is a small digital operation has survived. Even when the authorities and the state has challenged it at every possible way. Now the media house of ABS-CBN is getting detained and possibly closed because it offended the Don in the previous Presidential Elections.

There is no other way to see this. It is a political retaliation. They can use legal means and spin-it, but that is the end-game. If ABS-CBN had been positive and been less objective, if it had been as friendly as GMA and 24 Oras. They wouldn’t come in this situation. The ABS-CBN is here, because it dares to question the powers to be. It dares to challenge and also go nuts about it. If it didn’t do that and was a only broadcasting what Malacanang and the PCOO wants spread. They are just to copy verbatim and memos without questioning it.

If you do that? Then, your in trouble. Big trouble, possibly either losing your job or getting court-side. The government will figure one way or another to bring you down.

With this in mind. If anyone in the House of Representatives that voted for the closure of ABS-CBN ever speaks of freedom of speech and liberty to express themselves. Than, they got to look in the mirror and remember what they did today. The 70 members should be remember, because they clearly don’t give an rats ass about freedom of expression. They are just loyal lackey’s of Duterte.

This here shows that this administration again doesn’t trust the media to cover their actions. Neither, does it accept them pressing on issues. They are just supposed to dance along with the President and his team. Not supposed to question or speak up. If you do?

You gone go missing and be denied. Just like the ABS-CBN or Rappler who both been under fire. The ones loosing out is the public, the employees and in the end, also the men who stopped ABS-CBN. Unless they want to clap in the same echo-chamber and wants the same psalms to sing from Manila to Davao. They just wants empty-headed tabloids and scripted songs in favour of the administration. These representative don’t want to be questioned or investigated by reports. They want to have empty love like celebrities.

These people want the red-carpet treatment, they want to be kissed and get the love. That’s why they are closing ABS-CBN. To prove a point, but its a flawed point. Only undressing their motives and the message is clear.

If you don’t show us love, we will close you down. Peace.

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: Anticipate rising rice prices ahead

In these times were living in, the Department of Agriculture or other authorities cannot monitor or control every avenue of the Republic. The President and his associates can issue and ask for the public to follow guidelines. However, this will be hard to follow in the days ahead. As the exports of rice from Vietnam will dwindle. Even as the DA has stockpiled enough for 75 days. There will still be questioned, as the public are on lockdown and people cannot move as they used too.

The Luzon is already under quarantine and under direct lockdown. While Mindanao isn’t under that yet. Still, this will stop the movement of rice and other goods. With this in mind and with the COVID-19 or Coronavirus outbreak. The most likely thing to happen, when the public are not allowed to cross checkpoints and leave their homes. The traders, the farmers and everyone involved will need to be compensated. This will make the process more expensive, as well as the ability to import rice from Vietnam and elsewhere will be harder too. With all of those pieces in mind, the price from farm-gate to the consumer will rise.

The DA can by all means, monitor and challenge the rises of prices. They can send out information about their stockpile and the previously bought stock of rise in 2019. However, now in 2020, as people are living and seeing the spread of virus. The stops, roadblocks and lack of imports will make the prices go up. That is common sense.

The stockpiling which was done is positive. That the DA has stocks for three months of ordinary supply is good. However, the ability to transfer, the ability to get the rice moved will be harder. When the army and police is guarding the barangays and the communities. This will hit it and the ports will not as open as before, because the state has already issued guidelines.

With all this in mind, the prices are most likely rising and the basic commodity of rice will go up. Even if the warning letters comes the way of the DA. They cannot stop the inevitable. This is not just scrupulous traders, but usual tendencies when situations like these transpire. If there becomes shortage in Zambonga Del Sur or del Norte. Expect the prices to sudden rise. That because the rice from the stockpile in Luzon isn’t arriving there. The rice from Davao isn’t crossing Mindanao, because of the social distancing and the authorities are blocking the movement. Which likely could happen too.

Even if the ASEAN partners wants to help, they still got their own neck to consider too in this crisis. COVID-19 is hitting worldwide and therefore, the damage is everywhere. Philippines will be hit like everyone else. In this instance with imports of rice, as Vietnam and Thailand is not doing as much as they did in the past. That will affect the prices and will limit the scope. As well, as the other travel advisory and other measures made across Asian nations in concern of exports an so-on.

The DA and the authorities means well, they are trying to signal positivity in the midst of a crisis. However, initial thoughts from me is that with a crisis like this the prices will rise. Unless, the state decrees the prices. They nationalize all parts the food-chain from the farmer to the consumer. Where every party has a fixed price and therefore the rice is costing a much as they set it to be. If they don’t do that, then the prices will spiral and go up. As the fear, the ability locally and in the Barangay’s can use their means to put it up. Since it is less movement, they can initiate a jump of prices and the national authorities cannot follow-up in all areas.

That is why this will most likely happen. It is a force of nature. Even with a giant stockpile. That stockpile is one place and not made across the Republic. The rural Barangay’s will not get their additional loads of rice quickly. Not in this time. Because, the state and authorities doesn’t have the capacity or ability to move that quick. Therefore, there will be change of prices and costs will go up. They can try to stagnate it, but if they wanted to control it. They should do so on decree and nationalize it. 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.

Philippines: President Rodrigo Duterte – Christmas Message (25.12.2019)

Philippines: Memorandum for the Secretary of Foreign Affairs – Chinese Apology on the Recto Bank Collision Incident (28.08.2019)

Philippines: Department of Foreign Affairs – Documentary Requirements for the Renewal of Regular Passports (15.01.2019)