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.

Philippines: President Rodrigo Duterte – Christmas Message (25.12.2019)

Philippines: Statement of Vice President Leni Robredo on the President’s plan to “ignore” the arbitral ruling in favor of joint exploration with China in the West Philippine Sea (12.09.2019)

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