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)

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.

Philippine Overseas Employment Administration: Advisory No. 56 – Series of 2020 – No POEA Governing Board Resolution Requiring Payment of Philippine Health Insurance Corporation (Philhealth) Contribution in the Issuance of Overseas Employment Certifications (OECs) for Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs) – (04.05.2020)

Philippines: Duterte backtracks mandatory premium contributions to PHILHEALTH for Filipino abroad

Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs) no longer have to worry about paying higher PhilHealth premium contributions at this time of health crisis brought by the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19). This is after President Rodrigo Roa Duterte’s decision for the Philippine Health Insurance Corporation (PhilHealth) to make payment for PhilHealth premiums voluntary for OFW” (Presidential Communications Operations Office, PCOO – ‘PH gov’t suspends PhilHealth premium payments for OFWs – Palace’ 04.05.2020).

Today, there is news that President Rodrigo Duterte has suspended or backtracked the Premium Contributions for Philippine Health Insurance Company Circular Number 14, which stated that all Filipino citizens abroad would be mandatory pay hefty contribution to PHILHEALTH. Even as they are abroad, living in other nations where they either have insurance or taxed for services where they resides.

This is why I didn’t like the idea and what the circular would do to the Filipinos abroad. It would kill the need for dual-citizenship, as the Filipino’s abroad would pay for services not rendered. They would have insurance or taxes for services where they working overseas and also paying in the Philippines. That would make sense if the Filipino have spouse or children left behind. However, making it mandatory for everyone is insincere and banking on its citizens.

That is why President and Chief Director Richardo C. Morales, should step up his game if he believed in this scheme and pay double taxes for the same services. Since, that is what he initially initiated. Maybe he doesn’t see it that way, but he should get his mind correct. Unless, he has unlimited pesos from his work to pay double premium contributions to PHILHEALTH. Because, that is what the Overseas Filipinos would do.

The mentality of ushering this in. On a circular, really shows the intentions. Even if the President suspends it now. The cat is out of the bag. Someone else than Richardo might bring it back. Because, this will be funds in the bank. That the Overseas Filipino Workers (OFW), Seafares and everyone living abroad can be tricked by the state. Since, they would have to pay into a scheme, which they don’t get served. Doesn’t matter if the Filipino lives in the United States, Middle East or Europe. None of them get to enjoy the perks of PHILHEALTH. They are paying for the system in the nation where they reside. That should be a given, but clearly not for the Richardo.

That is why the President has to backtrack the ideas of Richardo and his PHILHEALTH. If Richardo wants the Filipino abroad to invest in it. Make it accessible and also favourable. Not only put “dollar dollar bills y’all” and remember to pay out 3 % of your salaries to me! Since, that is what the man did and what he ordered every Filipino abroad. He found a cow and wanted to milk it dry. That’s why it went up from 60,000 pesos to 100,000 pesos within a few years time.

Richardo should donate that first and show the check to the public. If he believed in this thing. Since, his the Chief Director of PHILHEALTH. Not only expect hardworking Filipino abroad to cover the shortfall of the insurance company.

Well, the President saved the day after outrage from the ones abroad feeling hoodwinked. Richardo is surely dumfounded, but we are awaiting him to pay double tax and smile to the bank. Like he should smile and grin, even post it on social media. To prove the greatness.

Since, it is suspended, but if they don’t want this thing. Then the state should abolish the idea and silence PHILHEALTH. So, they cannot re-issue this at a later date, when the rainfall has stopped. Peace.

Philippines: The PHILHEALTH Overseas Filipino Premium Contribution scheme is a daylight robbery…

There is simple basics in life. Very simple basics, there is always two things that are certain. It is death and taxes. In this regard to all the Filipino who lives abroad, neither registered as Overseas Filipino Worker (OFW) or not. As long as you are a citizen, you have to pay premiums for the Premium Contribution to the National Health Insurance Programme (NHIP).

It would make sense, if this are seafares and the ones directly registered to the OFW alone. They are in the programme of the state and by their working contracts are often at home in the Philippines. However, most of the ones in the circular is not. They are targeting the ones with dual-citizenship. They are targeting every single citizen abroad. Even overseas Filipinos in distress. Because, the ones whose distresses has the funds to contribute to yet another tax.

The ones who has spouses and kids at home in the Philippines. It is fine that they are paying health insurance at home. Even as they most likely is contributing taxes where they are staying. Even if it is in Europe, United States or wherever overseas. That is a natural given. They should pay within their reach and what is needed for the family left behind. However, this scheme makes it mandatory and makes it expensive to live abroad.

This circular PHILHEALTH Circular Number 0014 of 2020 is outrageous. That is just to put it blindly. That this is even an idea and the scope of it all. It is like the people of PHILHEALTH never consider the remittance of the citizens, neither the costs of doing so. Not even the exchange rate. Secondly, if they are paying so high premiums to the PHILHEALTH. How much money will they remit to their families? Some periods and months, I expect none. Especially in the year of 2021 to 2025. When the price hikes for things has gone bonkers. Who wants to spend a 100,000 pesos on a service they are not using? Except if your a rich CEO in Luzon who can buy a ranch by the blink of an eye.

This sort of scheme, which the PHILHEALTH makes mandatory. Is only ensuring that the ones whose dual-citizenship. Will revoke it and only be European or American citizens from now on. Because, why pay fortunes for services not rendered? Secondly, why work hard abroad to help family at home? When so much of the money goes to PHILHEALTH and not THEM. They went abroad for a better life and earn money to help their families. Not feed the PHILHEALTH.

If they wanted more people to use and pay, they should have some leverage. Which they don’t, unless like I told you with family members and such in need. Than, the citizens abroad could pay voluntarily, as they deem fit. Because, making it mandatory only eradicate the ideals and principals of fair treatment. This is a get-rich scheme, as they anticipate the ones already paying tax in foreign countries, using the health care coverage there. Shall also pay for health care treatment at home, which they will only use every blue moon. This is paying premiums for blue moon treatments. That is not fair.

This will only make two things more reasonable. Because a citizen where they are residing. Rescind their registration as OFW and also revoke their citizenship. Also, ensure that people doesn’t travel to the Philippines, as the repercussions of doing so. If you have defaulted on the scheme. Since, you will either wait to you have gotten a citizenship in a foreign land. Where you are residing and using their health care system.

It will also destroy the remittance to the families, to the ones close to your heart. As the premiums with the agents will take away the funds. Since, these people are already paying taxes in their respective countries, already using their livelihoods to live and also buys what they need their. Plus sent surplus to their families. Which they cannot do, when the PHILHEALTH is taken so much funds away in this premiums scheme.

I don’t know Ricardo Morales, the President and Chief Director of PHILHEALTH. But I doubt for a one second, that he would like to pay double taxes and premiums upon premiums on his salary. Because, that is what he orders right now. I can most likely say, that he thinks one time is enough. However, this scheme is making one person pay for health care in Land A and Land B. While only most of the time using the services of Land A, while the Land B get the free-for-all.

This is how Morales maybe get the budgets to cut the shortfall of fiscal funds, but also ensures that plenty of OFW and overseas Filipino become naturalized citizens where they are residing. Because, this trick isn’t any good. This is a trade, where only one party wins and its not the overseas Filipino, but the state. The citizen only get a taxed, but no representation. Since, they are already taxed or having insurance where they are. That is not fair and surely Morales and everyone involved in this scheme should pay double to, in solidarity with the OFWs. Peace.