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)

My letter to President Duterte: What about showing Christians some grace?

1st January 2019, Oslo

Dear Sir, His Excellency, President Rodrigo Duterte!

I am writing you again, as you have a re-ignited issue.

This is something you repeat, but changes the angles. You might not looking directly into the mirror, but surely your nearly seeing the same thing. Again and again.

I don’t know how Christians has hit your pride, Mr. President. Certainly, they have hit your honour and devalued your name. As your blasting the faith in God, the Trinity and everything else within the religion. Your attacking the bishops and the priests. Surely, all of them is not Noble people, who have honour or even should be teachers and shepherds of the people. However, this still happens to be there and need further guidance themselves.

What I don’t like is how you mock God, how you are speaking ill of the Trinity and of the Holy. As man in a Catholic Nation. There are so many who looks up to the Catholic Church and Faith. You should respect this and be part of it. Not talk crap about it. Their God is the guiding star, before you got in power and when you leave power.

God will be there before you entered into power and when you leaves power. He is eternal, we two are just mere mortal. We have to accept this and therefore, you should respect the deities and the holiness, which we cannot all understand. There is deeper profound things in the holiness of God and the principals that the Bible is telling about. Which we as men, cannot have the full understanding off. That is why it is insensitive of you to mock it and joke about it. Your the Commander-In-Chief, the President and the man with the highest office of the Republic.

I understand, that you don’t like being questioned by Bishops and other Christian Leaders, who are asking of you another path. They want you to be accountable and asks for other ways to lead the public. I understand, that you disagree with them, that you don’t accept their message and they themselves needs to clean their house. There are ills within the Church, there are deceiving people within the Church. We know this and these people have to addressed, by their actions and not shielded because it is Church.

However, as I state that. That doesn’t mean, you as President. Has the right to assault and mock the Divine, the Holy and the Eternal. The spirits and the powerful transcendent forces that touches planet earth. Which is so big and enormous, that mere mortals struggles with expressing their powers.

Duterte, I am not asking you to be a man of faith, I am asking you to be a man, who respect other people’s faith. As a man, who see what so many people believes in and show them justice. Not tricking around it and blasting it.

It is time that you show them some mercy and also some humility. You don’t want people to talk about you the way, you talk about their religion? Do you want me to talk crap about you, the way you speak ill of my believes?

Nah, you don’t want that. We all know that. Time for you to man up and show some grace.

Best Regards

Writer of Minbane

Philippines: President Duterte – New Years Message (01.01.2019)

Philippines: President Rodrigo Duterte – Christmas Message (25.12.2018)

Philippines: Executive Order No. 65 – Promulgating the Eleventh Regular Foreign Investment Negative List (29.10.2018)