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Archive for the tag “Philippines”

NDF of the Philippines: Duterte-Lorenzana Notion of Localized Peace talks is totally absurd and stupid for Five Major Reasons (16.07.2018)

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My letter to President Duterte: Let us have a conversation!

Dear Honorable Sir, President Rodrigo Roa Duterte!

The reason why I write you, is because your misconception. Let me first allow you and say to you. Your allowed to say anything between the moon, the stars and the deepest sea-bed of the kingdom I reside in. President Duterte you can call Norway by all names of the book, say anything you want about or Prime Minister, about our traditions and even our strict-rules foreign workers to get visa. Please, talk about it. I have no trouble with it. It is a good thing to be questioned and get criticism from afar, from someone looking in and questioning our possible misgivings. We have loads of mistakes and things that is not working in Norway. Therefore, please address if you may, especially if you ever come to visit here, when you might resume the peace-talks with the red-army in Mindanao. Please, talk about our ways and politics. Feel free, Mr. President!

Now, that I have allowed you to do that, let me look into one of your statements, that Rappler has reported today!

DAVAO CITY, Philippines – Critics are welcome to say all they want about his governance, but President Rodrigo Duterte said they have to make sure they’re not foreigners in his country. “Every Filipino is entitled to criticize me as a matter of right. Okay sa akin ‘yan (That is fine with me), but certainly not a foreigner, however holy you are. I will not allow [you] to do it in my country,” Duterte said in his speech on Saturday, July 7, at the inauguration of Malayan Colleges Mindanao in Davao City. He added, “After all, we’re not supposed to do it in your country.“” (Basa, 2018)

I don’t why your so bitter, so sour, and don’t know if foreigners ever hurt your pride and your vision. I understand that your battling belittling aid and donor loans, that trigger the Republic and the ways it has maneuver to get the grants and donations, where your state would be monitored and muffled with to get donations from abroad. That I get and that is more damaging, than even development. Where the donations would belittle you and your administration. That I respect and understand. But this here, I don’t get.

Why can they not question the government and say something about it? Why can’t I? I know I am not a citizen of the wonderful island republic of the Philippines. However, if there are misgivings, an outsider might have the balls to say it, while the insider might be afraid to lose the job or even not get hired again. Have you considered that? Did that cross your mind?

If a Filipino might address you wrong or even cross you badly, you might re-appoint someone else or even revoke their licenses? What about that then? You don’t have the same power over the foreign nationals inside the Republic. That also comes with the power of the state and the diplomatic disputes it might create. You got criticism for the sudden detention of the Australian Nun. That was to be expected, no matter she has done or what she hasn’t done. If she has broken the codes of entry or broken codes of law. It would be fine, but if she just was a vocal human being, then it is wrong.

So as I stated, President Duterte. Please say all the wrongs about Europe or Norway, as much as you please. Please call it out and call us ice-cold Vikings, who isn’t treating Filipino foreign workers well. Say it and than the diplomat’s can address it. We can carry it, but we hope you could extend the hand. Let people like me address you and understand why I do it.

It is healthy to have a conversation, to have people who looks with another view and with another perspective, than the narrative and the possible outcome might be better. The different views and the enriched discussion might lead to something fruitful and also give it another direction. Instead of being ignorant.

So, Please Mr. President do it in my country, if your ever has the chance, because it is healthy. We need conversations and perspectives to broaden our insights to life.

Best Regard

Writer of Minbane

Reference:

Basa, Mick – ‘Duterte says he welcomes criticism, but not from foreigners in PH’ (07.07.2018) link: https://www.rappler.com/nation/206730-duterte-criticism-foreigners-philippines?utm_campaign=Echobox&utm_medium=Social&utm_source=Twitter#Echobox=1530968818

Opinion: OVP Robredo cannot the filing options for travel expenditure, isn’t that weird?

Newly elected Philippine Vice-President Maria Leonor Gerona Robredo delivers a speech after taking her oath during an inauguration ceremony in Quezon city, metro Manila, Philippines June 30, 2016. REUTERS/Romeo Ranoco

Well, it is just me, but I am not surprised anymore, but the Office of the Vice President Leni Robredo had first in 2016, under used funds, but in 2017, the same office cannot deliver the supporting documents in time. That is just weird, as this is the next-highest public office under the President. It isn’t merely public servants in a get-away and remote island dozens of miles away from Manila. No, this is one of the highest regarding places close to the Malacañang. Therefore, that this office is under scrutiny for their practices are not a good look.

MANILA – The Commission on Audit (COA) has flagged cash advances for local travels made by personnel of the office of Vice President Leni Robredo that were not liquidated within 30 days. In its annual audit report on the Office of the Vice President, the COA said traveling expenses of the agency amounted to P26.446 million for local travel and P953,550.75 for foreign trips in 2017. Delays in liquidation ranged from two days to 116 days” (Ayalin, 2018).

It is hard to believe that the OVP employees and secretaries, public officials in general are that lax with recites and with transactions papers, that they are losing it or forgetting to fill the forms for 116 days. They just don’t do that, unless it is deliberate. You don’t wait months upon months to deliver what your obligated to deliver. That is what you do in a public office and to prove your spending of the state coffers. That is all natural. Unless, you want to hide your spending and usage of the funds. Since using up to 116 to show where the money is spent is ruthless at best.

That VP Robredo should feel ashamed, she should, as her office is not following standard practice. Even if they might have cleared the accounts and the funds, that has been in question. Still, it opens up a huge level of doubts and possible misuse of state funds. Because, if the employees and the officials within the office are using so long to fill the forms and prove the spending. Than, in practice, it can go to mistresses, to pay for businesses or even perks beside the offices. Who knows right? They might spend it elsewhere and not on local travel as part of the job. Since the proof of that is coming months later and are later proven.

At this point, when the COA can find this maladministration and this lack of compliance with the codes of conduct as public servants/officials, you know there are underlying problems and somewhat something else beneath numbers. If there was even more to question, it should be digging into as well. Since these offices could be doing more with the funds they are getting. This is just the travel expenses and the advanced payouts, what about the salaries itself or the other perks as the high office it is?

That should be real question and since the COA is flagging it and the OVP says they have complied. Why should COA not have the proof of the real transactions, while the OVP trying to clean their hand of dirt? They have already not complied and not shown character, they are already proving lack of trust and lack of care for public funds. Peace.

Reference:

Ayalin, Adrian – ‘COA flags delayed liquidation of OVP cash advances; Robredo’s office says amounts ‘fully liquidated’’ (29.06.2018) link: http://news.abs-cbn.com/news/06/29/18/coa-flags-delayed-liquidation-of-ovp-cash-advances-robredos-office-says-amounts-fully-liquidated

Maybe Duterte should be more fixated on the economy, and not insult God!

President Rodrigo Duterte has been under fire lately for his statements on the bible and the way the world was created in the holy scripture. He has also kissed a married South Korean lady on stage, while being on state visit in South Korea. So, there is never a dull moment in the life of Duterte. However, before be goes into to deep into the ignorance of faith and lack of understanding of gender equality from the President. Both deserves scrutiny. From I know, both has been discussed and also tarnished Duterte in Rappler and everywhere else. All of that is deserved. He should show respect to the faith and its origin, as well as other shows respect each other faith. Secondly, you should never misuse power to gain sexual advances, that is just wrong and should be condemned.

However, this piece is not about that, this is about how the man who has insulted bible and the other gender recently. Should be more careful with his words. When your discussing the stupidity of the bible. Maybe, should be more careful with throwing that around. That being said, he cannot be as wise, when all the economic signs of late is dire. There is nothing in the recent days and the collected effort that lights hope for the economic situation. These are all reports, that shows the signs of weaken state and also, needs of a serious boost. If they are planning to revive the Peso and the economy in general.

Philippine Statistic Authority on the 7th June 2018 states that from last year, the wholesale price of the well-milled rice has gone up by 6,63 %, the same commodity in the retailers has also risen in price, that has gone up 5,58 %. This is huge amount of money, when it is concerning the staple food, that most eats to every meal, every single day. That means the people are paying more for the same.

Heydarian writes on foreign investments in the Philippines: “During the first half of 2017, there was a 90% year-on-year drop in new investment pledges from $1.45 billion to $141 million. During Duterte’s first year in office, South Korean investments plunged by 93%, while American investment dropped by 70%. Meanwhile, the ranking of the Philippines in the global corruption index hit a five-year low in 2017. During the first quarter of 2018, new investment pledges dropped by 38% on a year-on year basis, reaching the lowest level since 2010” (Richard Heydarian – ‘More Duterte fallout on the Philippine economy’ 21.06.2018 link: https://asia.nikkei.com/Opinion/More-Duterte-fallout-on-the-Philippine-economy)

Xinhua states: “MANILA, June 19 (Xinhua) — The Philippines is planning to issue about 1 billion U.S. dollars worth of Samurai bonds this year, the country’s finance department said in a statement released in Manila on Tuesday” (…) “”This year, we are also planning to issue around 1 billion U.S. dollars worth of Samurai bonds,” Dominguez told Japanese businessmen. Dominguez did not give other details of the planned yen-denominated bond float in his speech, but he has said earlier that the government will proceed with it by September or October this year” (Xinhua – ‘Philippines plans to issue 1-bln-USD Samurai bond’ 19.06.2018, link: http://www.xinhuanet.com/english/2018-06/19/c_137265039.htm).

Bilyonaryo states this: “The peso has lost a big chunk or P3.29 over the last six months to 53.28 to $1 last week from 49.99 as of end-2017 making it the weakest currency in the region. Since Duterte’s entry in Malacanang, the peso has dropped 14 percent from 46.86 to $1” (Bilyonaryo – ‘PH peso is Asia’s worst performing currency; even Duterte admits economy in the ‘doldrums’’ 24.06.2018, link: http://bilyonaryo.com.ph/2018/06/24/ph-peso-is-asias-worst-performing-currency-even-duterte-admits-economy-in-the-doldrums/

There is a worry when the prices of rices goes up that, together with a weakened peso. Both are proving that imports of rice will be more expensive, and not only hit the consumers who needs to pay more for the same commodity. Combined with the losing interest of foreign investments, that short-fall is planned to be undermined by government bonds, which is state created short-term debt to cover the deficit created by the lack of investments. All of this is short-term efforts to cover the stop of funds from abroad. Adding more bonds, will also mature more of the previous bonds and add the collected debt of the Republic. This is not sound economics, but more punching more holes in the bag and hoping the rice doesn’t go out to fast.

The ones losing the citizens of Philippines who will pay for the economic progress or lack of thereof, with a weak currency, higher prices on staple food and also more state debt. That is why I want a President who creates all of that, to respect God a little bit more. Because he cannot be so wise, if he is in-charge of the rising prices of rice, devaluing the currency and adding more government debt. While doing so, scaring away foreign investors and trying to take out more debt to cover the shortfall. That is the only thing it looks like. When the government plans to add the same amount as they are losing in investments. This is a way of getting fresh funds and foreign currency into the market, but not generating more revenue directly.

Time for Duterte to get his focus straight, as KPMG states: “For example, even if government expenditures are below program, they will still be at magnitudes well above those in the past. Foreign grants help, but the country does not depend on them to grow today and those that it lost could be replaced with aid from other countries like China and Japan who are willing to give and are already doing so. At worst, these risks, if they occur, could bring GDP growth down to a still lofty six percent or so average in this decade. In summary, the Philippines will remain among the region’s fastest growing economies even if many of these risks were to occur and is on track towards significantly reducing poverty and strengthening the domestic market over the medium-term. The present leadership has smartly placed the stewardship of the country’s economy at the hands of well intentioned and bright managers bent on pursuing rational policies and carrying on from past successes” (IT Report: Philippines – 2018 Investment Guide by KPMG in the Philippines, P: 15, 2018).

So all hope aren’t lost, but the Philippines and the President should be aware of the policies put forward. They are risking the future, today as they are moving forward. The decisions made are vital and crucial for how the prices, inflation, growth and if the currency even will be worth something abroad. Even if some numbers are going up, all of them aren’t and some are more worrying. As the prices on food and others are rising to. So the growth is eaten up before it is felt, while the state isn’t acting within reason.

So please Duterte, look into the measures and into the economic landscape. Let the people of faith be and respect woman. Please start to look at some of the parts thta are not working. Find out the reasons why the Peso is weak, the rice more expensive and the foreign investors are not arriving. Government Bonds isn’t the solution, that is short-term fix, but not a steady economic policy, which would bring stability to the currency, rising inflation and the prices in general. Therefore, the value of the growth is lost in the deep dark hole of inflation, added prices and weak currency. Peace.

Has the Chinese hit President Duterte in the gut?

What is up with President Rodrigo Duterte?

First it was the Benham Rise, where the Philippines won’t send the army or the field researchers on it. As the Chinese have named the area and several government leaders are we’re at one point saying that the Republic wasn’t sovereign to have control over it. Therefore, they have already shown deep weakness towards Beijing. They have accepted to muffled and tussled with by Xi Jinping and his brigades, as the Philippines are less powerful, than the Chinese.

Secondly, Duterte has again shown that he is this weak, as the war-planes and war-ships are put into the South China Sea, as the administration will not react or make a diplomatic spat with them. Even if this is military movement in the nearby area or anything else. Its like he has lost the power of sovereign nation and become a groveling poor uncle to the grandest family member in Beijing. Rodrigo just have to bow his knees and kiss the ring. Accept to be violated and played with, instead of standing ground on the principals of his state. That is not going to war, but questioning the motive of Beijing. Since, they are putting a lot of force close to its borders. That should worry him as the President of his Republic.

The Philippines said it is “closely monitoring developments” in the area, but diplomatic actions against China’s intrusive behavior will not be publicized. “It is not our policy to publicize every action taken by the Philippine government whenever there are reported developments taking place in the West Philippine Sea and the South China Sea,” the Department of Foreign Affairs said. The department noted the improved relations between China and the Philippines under President Rodrigo Duterte and said it will avoid steps that could undermine the situation. “Moving forward, we are taking a different approach to avoid any drawbacks and challenges,” the department said. Duterte on Saturday said he cannot do anything to oppose China’s militarization of the islands and that he would not risk deploying forces in the South China Sea. However, he said he will eventually bring up the dispute later in his term” (Mikhail Flores – ‘Philippines stops short of condemning China over bombers’ 21.05.2018, Asia Nikkei).

This here shows how careful the Philippines are with their powerful neighbor. They might do something later, they accept to kicked in the guts by the Chinese and trying to keep cool. Usually, Duterte is a hot-head who speak his mind first and begs for forgiveness. Therefore, this is a bit weird coming from him and his administration. He has no trouble getting rid of enemies and people who questioning his powers. However, the Chinese can power-play and mock him even, in his backyard with their military force.

You can wonder if the promised Chinese investments deals and aid agreements are the reasons for this carefulness, as well as the lack of territorial integrity on Benham Rise and now with the militarization of the South China Sea. It is like the Chinese are not as friendly as it seems, more like they want to show their strength and not play on others people’s terms, but their own. If they are toying around with the Philippines and showing whose the boss.

It must hurt the pride of Duterte, who likes to be the strong-man, the big-man, the ones whose words matters and decrees are honored. Now, he is played around by Beijing and has to anticipate his next actions. That is not typical Duterte, not at all.

A humiliation doesn’t fit him or his republic well, it is weird. Peace.

Barangay and SK Election: Final Update before the polls!

There been reports of violence, killings and even arrests as the public are preparing to go the polls. After my calculations over 20 people have died in incidents connected with the elections. Therefore, the elections has already cost lives, which shouldn’t be necessary, in the Barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan Elections of 2018 or in election for that matter! 

Let’s hope the added military and police in the streets will make it peaceful, also the ban of fire-arms and alcohol can secure all of it. That the public holiday the election day can be plus. Even as the possible pay-offs on Saturday and Sunday, may sway voters in their directions, as the incumbents and others are trying to secure their post for this term. Let’s hope people go for the ones, who is less corrupt and the ones with integrity, even as the posts are paying little. However, it is a elected public office, so your not supposed to take that for wealth, but for will of serving the community. Even in the smallest office as a captain and councilors at the local Barangay. Your not supposed to enrich yourself or your clan. You are supposed to serve the community. 

Let’s hope and pray for peaceful affairs and not more loss of lives. This is small local positions, this is not an election for the Parliament, like the Representatives and Senators even. These are the position in the local council and local government levels. Therefore, lets hope the candidates, the local security officials and that the volunteers trained by the COMELEC are ready for the elections. Make them as fair as possible, and that they make sure that, this a credible election. Even as there are some irregularities that I have mentioned in a previous post. But let’s still be hopeful.

We can hope and live in these days, that the Security Officials and that the ones contesting are acting within reason, as well as the polling staff will act according to protocol and not rig it. There will always be some who wants to take advantage of a situation, but that doesn’t mean everyone. Like there are reports from various provinces that the Barangay’s haven been frenetically candidates buying votes. Therefore, this may sway the electorate to one direction from another. As well as in certain Barangay’s there are many unopposed, meaning they will go straight back to office without any real contest. These are the bad signs connected with the sad deaths. However, not all are, so let’s still be a bit hopeful. 

But let’s hope for peaceful election day, let’s pray for safety of all people and also, for a credible affair, where the best candidates wins. Peace.

Philippines: National Privacy Commission orders Jollibee to suspend jollibeedelivery.com amid data breach (04.05.2018)

A brief look at the Barangay and SK Election on 14th May 2018!

Just as the President has ordered, a holiday for the Barangay and SK Election on the 14th May and the short campaign season are starting in two days. The Parish Pastoral Council for Responsible Voting (PPCRV) have been reported to lack volunteers for being Pollwatcher’s during these elections. The PPCRV has announced only to have 70,000 out of 370,000 needed personnel. This people needs training and are to assist the Commission on Elections (COMELEC).

Therefore, the authorities has a lot of work to do, to secure the ballots and the elections in the coming days. If these reported numbers are true, as the elections has already been postponed more than once since October 2017.

We already know the COMELEC has saved a lot of headache with the Press Release in January 2018, where they stated: “The Commission on Elections is set to use the already printed October 23, 2017 official ballots, accountable and non-accountable forms for purposes of the May 14, 2018 Barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan (SK) Elections in an effort to save public funds and government resources”(COMELEC, 18.01.2018). That just begs the question if they can fill in new names on the ballot or if the candidates was pre-fixed for this election? Because times change, and someone might drop their candidate between the October 2017 and the May 2018.

Therefore, there are some hurdles for perfection concerning governance, though understandable from a budgetary standpoint. That is just from the offset questions that can be risen. That the applications and candidates for these elections might differ from the previous ones of last year.

The state clearly has postponed already twice, so they are in need of holding it. So they have legitimate local government bodies within the Republic. However, the simple questions, that are stated these days comes quickly to mind. When the Commissioners will lack PollWatchers.

There are 42,026 Barangays around the Republic, meaning there is in dire need of brief and quick teachings of process and protocol of Pollwatcher’s to overlook the election. To secure the credible results and secure a legitimate local government in and around the country. If there were only two polling stations in each Barangay, which is most likely to small of number, then the need for watchers would be 84,000 of them. However, the PPCRV asked for the estimated 370,000 and that has to be achieved.

A good thing about this election is the direct spending limit for candidates, as the incentive to spend money to buy voters should become less evident, even if previous elections has been filled with kick-backs and promises. “The spending limit for the #BSKE2018 is 5 pesos per voter in the barangay where the candidate is running for office. For Example: if Barangay X has 3,000 registered voters, then the spending cap for candidates running in Barangay X is 3,000 x 5 pesos, or 15,000 pesos. In the same example, if neighbouring Barangay Y has 20,000 voters, then the spending cap for Barangay Y candidates will be 20,000 x 5 pesos, or 100,000 pesos. Note that the spending limit is based on REGISTERED VOTERS, not population” (COMELEC, 2018).

I hope for good and clean campaigns, without too much interference and issues that overshadow the democratic process. However, you never know, when the Narco-Listed and Hot-Spots list are coming in a narrow time frame concerning the official holiday announcement.

We can just hope that the candidates are prepared, all the electoral bodies and that the Electoral Officials and everyone involved will deliver a credible election, where the will of the public happens and not predetermined results. There are some pieces you can question, because it leaves doubt in the voting material, but that might be altered to fit this compared to the ones in October 2017.

Let’s hope and see, hopefully the ones who has the most drive, talent and are accountable to their public. Get their places locally, not just political dynasties, and their narrative to control the pockets of their local barangay. Peace.

Philippines: President Durterte – “Declaring Monday, 14 May 2018, as a Special (Non-Working) Day throught the country” (02.05.2018)

Philippines: President Duterte 32nd EDSA Message (24.02.2018)

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