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Archive for the tag “President Duterte”

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.

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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)

Opinion: Is President Duterte showing weakness, since he cannot stomach a reporter from Rappler?

In the Philippines, President Rodrigo Duterte has been a strongman whose fought the good fight for the people against government corruption, also used martial law to beat Islamist’s in Marawi on the island of Mindanao. Now, he has also broken the dialogue with the communists rebels, of the militia of the New People’s Army. Therefore, as he has used the army and police to battle drug-cartels and militias. You would expect a fellow President to manage a few journalists.

President Duterte has now started a spat and unnecessary, as the Christopher Lawrence “Bong” has stated today to the media after 48 hours of foolishness from themselves. This is crisis made out of stupidity made by the Malacañang. Duterte and Bong just acting dumb by kicking out a reporter from Rappler. Pia Randa yesterday on the 20th February and then barring her from entering today.

They have stated this to the media:

Let us be clear: The case of Rappler is not an attack on press freedom. Members of the media, including the Philippine Daily Inquirer, continue to be hard-hitting yet they can cover the activities of the President. Ms. Ranada’s accreditation, which would give her access to Palace activities, lies on Rappler’s accreditation. If Rappler wants to have direct coverage of certain events inside and outside Malacañang, it may apply for Foreign Correspondents Association of the Philippines (FOCAP) accreditation. Two things could have avoided Rappler’s present predicament: One, get a temporary restraining order. Two, be a Filipino corporation. Unfortunately, Rappler failed to obtain a TRO and failed to show that it is a Filipino entity” (Presidential Communications Operations Office – ‘From the Presidential Spokesperson – On Rappler’ 21.02.2018).

By the standard of the ownership of Rappler, it is owned by Dolphin Fire Group (31%), Maria Resa (23%), Hatchd Group (17% ), Benjamin So (17%), Public Trust and Media Group (5%) and 4 minority owners with about 5%. So the ownership of Rappler and Rappler Holding Company is based in the Philippines, even if they have gotten funding from abroad Omidyar Network and North Base Media. Both foreign, but the ownership is still Philippines based. Therefore, the attacks on this is a bit strange.

That is just the quick defense of Rappler and their ownership, which should be easily accessed to the President and his associates. Since they can get all registers and all files on the company. Since the Rappler Holding Corporation has to pay taxes and levies like any other. I would expect the Spokesperson to the President knowing this. Even I could find this information without very little research, since this is public, as a public company and with open access to the domain.

However, this isn’t just about press freedom, this is about the open scar of weakness. That the President doesn’t like one story about Navy Frigate Deal. Maybe, the President should be transparent about the trade and deal, also show the process of the agreement with set supplier of the boat. Not just spray venom and show fury over Rappler writing a story. Show the truth, drop the arrangement, mark the classified details, which only the military can know and show the paper-trail if the story is false. That would be mature and prove transparency in his actions. However, he takes away press credentials and beats the messenger, instead of showing the true face of Navy Frigate deal.

I hate to say it, but Duterte looks weak and foolish with this. He could have shown his true character and riding the storm. Instead he seems hot-headed and unwise. Duterte been swift and wise in cracking down on terrorists and communist rebels. But doing this to a report from Rappler is childish and petty. He is supposed to be better and have better reasoning behind it. Clearly, he lost it a bit and need guidance.

Sometimes the ego of a person goes to far, in this instance it has. Duterte forgotten, that he represent all parts of the people, even the critical ones. They are labeling Rappler foreign when its not, and trying to muffle their reports. However, instead of debunking and showing the legitimate agreement, which is the main reason for this attack on the media company.

The reporter in question is known for being critical of Duterte, that is fact, still Duterte and Malacañang press corps could need that. But the administration and the president seems misguided. Duterte should show strength, not weakness. This is weak, really weak, petty even.

President Duterte, you have been able to beat the hell out of terrorists and are doing what you can beat communist rebels. Two noble fights, also the third to get rid of the drug-cartels. All of that has been for the betterment of the republic. However, this attack on Rappler, as it has been now from the administration since January 2018. This is just the latest after the state revoked it license. Seemingly, you have the courage and boldness to beat the ones with guns, ammunition and drugs.

But, you cannot manage a report from Rappler? Is that your Achilles heel? That is weak tea. Really weak tea. Steaming hot water, but with no flavor. Peace.

Philippines: DILG’s directive of creating a BIT registry will make it harder for the Barangay’s officials to eat the money!

President Duterte’s unwavering political resolve to defeat corruption and bring about positive change makes our efforts all worthwhile” – Carlos Dominguez III

On the 14th May 2018, the Barangay and Sangguniang Elections are scheduled to take place in the Philippines. Therefore the Commission on Elections (COMELEC) are preparing elections. This is the local elections for the local government, meaning wards and municipalities are preparing for the coming elections, where mayors, councilors and governors are elected. Therefore, this is vital for the local democracy and the city halls. Also for the parties and the citizens as a whole to see the state of affairs and the leadership. If they need renewal of the incumbents or need new blood to generate change. If the citizens locally can change out the old and get fresh eyes to local questions and budgets. To secure better service delivery.

The good news from the Central Government and the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) are preparing this for the election and future leadership of the Local Government:

As part of the DILG’s preparations for the forthcoming Barangay Elections this May, DILG OIC-Secretary Eduardo Ano is directing all incumbent punong barangays to conduct an inventory of barangay financial records and properties under their custody from the start of their term of office up to the present” (…) “Ano issued the directive this early to ensure smooth and systematic transition from the outgoing barangay officials to the incoming newly elected or re-elected barangay officials come June 30” (…) “This is also part of our efforts to sustain transparent and accountable local governance at the barangay level and to further ensure that all concerned barangay officials exercise due diligence in using barangay funds and properties,” he said” (…) “Under the directive, a Barangay Inventory Team (BIT) shall be created in each barangay to be chaired by the punong barangay. Its members shall include at least two kagawads, a barangay secretary, a barangay treasurer, a bookkeeper or city or municipal representative, and at least two civil society organization (CSO) representatives, preferably from a faith-based organization or members of the Barangay Development Council” (…) “Part of the functions of the BIT is to ensure the completeness of all barangay properties, financial records and documents (BPFRDs). BPFRDs include legislative and administrative records, transcript or minutes of meetings, list and status of complaints filed before the Lupong Tagapamayapa, updated registry of barangay inhabitants, list or inventory of current local or international development assisted projects, and all other documents containing barangay transactions” (DILG, 2018).

So this directive made by Minister Eduardo Ano is clearly setting up guidelines and the protocols to secure the funds of the Local Government. The new officials will have to keep the books and records of spending or financial transactions. This so the local officials cannot embezzle and misuse the public funds. This is yet another measure to stop corrupt behavior by President Rodrigo Duterte who has already established an Anti-Corruption Commission or the Philippines Truth Commission (PTC) in October 2017. The Philippines already have the Revenue Integrity Protection Service (RIPS), who was established in 2003 to also combat corruption, but this is made strictly for the ill-behavior in the Department of Finance. You also have the Office of the Ombudsman who has a mandate, which is specified to this: “The Ombudsman shall give priority to complaints filed against high ranking government officials and/or those occupying supervisory positions, complaints involving grave offenses as well as complaints involving large sums of money and/or properties (Sec. 15, R.A. No. 6770)” (Ombudsman.gov.ph – about us – Mandate). Final institution to look into the Finances and Assets of the Government concerning corruption is the Commission of Audit, the Komisyon ng Pangsuri. Which is also mandated to examine, audit and settle all accounts of the government. Check if the local authorities are following procedure or if they have overpaid for their services.

So Ano with the directive with Local BIT within every Barangay plus the already sufficient monitoring agents of RIPS, Ombudsman, COA and PTC. There should be such amount of measures to stop graft, corruption and kickbacks. Even if someone will always try to use their power for favors, build the most fantastic house in field outside of town or just making sure Mayor can use the ATM at the City Hall more than anyone else. Now they have the BIT to make sure the jobs of COA, Ombudsman and PTC is easier. Since the Barangay has to make sure their portfolio and their assets are verified before a transition. The local government has to deliver stocks, accounts and the lists of properties. To prove what they do have and not hide funds away from the Central Government. Clearly, this is a trick to make sure the Public Officials doesn’t misuse or hide information, values that the tax-payer pays for or even funds that embezzled from the public coffers.

If mayors or Barangay officials has misused funds and cannot account for the funds before the election. There are several bodies that can investigate it and if it is big enough, the Department of Finance might send others too. What this is a sign off, is that the Philippines are trying to tackle the amounts of corruption and known behavior it has had in the past and present. So that all the different parts of the government has to use even more effort to be able to get away with corruption. That the state now even makes list of inventory, funds and assets in general at the Barangay level. Proves the will of combating it and using stronger means stop it. It isn’t just words, since it is done right before elections. Therefore, the bragging lists and the possible truths of stocks can come forward. Because if the Barangay officials lie and someone else get elected. Finds nothing in the account. Clearly, its starting to report the previous local official to either of the bodies fighting corruption. So that the Barangay can get back the funds and assets the previous ones took from the state. Peace.

Reference:

DILG – ‘Año to brgy chiefs: Prepare inventory for turnover to next brgy officials’ (08.02.2018) link: http://www.dilg.gov.ph/news/Ao-to-brgy-chiefs-Prepare-inventory-for-turnover-to-next-brgy-officials/NC-2018-1017

Duterte’s Administration is relentless: Since the Philippines declined EU Aid today out of Sovereignty!

Today, the European Union’s grants through the EU-Philippines Trade Related Technical Assistance IV, the fourth project and continuation of state aid between them was declined today. The Southern Asian State protested the language and certain parts of agreement, that the EU was proposing. The republic of Philippines has declined it, because they feel the money is tainted and belittling them. That is why the Rodrigo Duterte administration has decided to leave the money on the table and not take it.

This sort of act is something the EU isn’t used too. It is rare, but the State Aid in the Program of TRTA-IV has its bounds and they setting the score for what and how the Philippines can act. It put boundaries and levels to how it can act, as the EU will monitor and check if the state is complying directly with UN Conventions.

That is putting the granted money in a possible questionable state and insult the Asian counterparts, even if they not even signed into UN Conventions that they could be breaking. This is the sort of attack on the sovereign will the Duterte Administration doesn’t want to comply too. That should be respected, since the EU is also right to put strains on their given funds, but then they shouldn’t expect the receiver to just take it anyway.

Expected results:

– EU-Philippines Trade Related Technical Assistance IV The project contributes primarily to the progressive achievement of SDG Goal 8 “Decent Work and Economic Growth” but also promotes progress towards Goal 1 “No Poverty” and Goal 10 “Reduced Inequalities”. It will support the uptake of GSP+ preferential tariffs by Philippine exporters therefore offering incentives to comply with UN Conventions on Human Rights which are a prerequisite before GSP+ can be granted (and maintained). The EU monitors compliance with HR Conventions annually. Besides, the action is expected to support FTA negotiations including on labour rights with a view to align the Philippine legislation and enforcement on international best practices” (EU, P: 4, 2016).

As we sees in the documentation of 2016, is really compelling what the EU expect to do. They are really telling that the incentives are made for them to follow UN Conventions, if not the grants will not be maintained or granted the development, nor the projects in the TRTA-IV. The Philippines are in their right mind, to not take the money that would put strains and also be monitored. So if the Philippines wouldn’t comply to the demands of the grants, they would be withheld. Secondly, that meaning, that if the Philippines took the money. They could possibly loose them if the EU doesn’t think they are following the right UN Convention on any given day or by any evidence of violence. Without taking the context or the reason for it. Because that would play to European narrative of the violence and the Drug War, not the basic understanding or the popularity of the war against the political and drug-infested triad’s, that has been in Philippines. So the Duterte administration has their reasons for doing it, not that its beautiful or a success story, but a needed remedy for a already problematic state of drug triad’s in certain parts of the Republic.

So I was happy, when I heard!

MANILA, Philippines (UPDATED) – The Philippines formally rejected at least P380 million (6.1 million euros) in aid from the European Union, Ambassador Franz Jessen confirmed Wednesday, January 24. Jessen, head of the EU Delegation to the Philippines, was referring to the EU-Philippine Trade Related Technical Assistance (TRTA) worth 6.1 million euros, or around P383.64 million. Asked if the Philippines has ever formalized the rejection of EU aid, Jessen said: “It was formalized in the sense that we had, for example, the TRTA, a document that actually had to be signed by the end of the year. And that has been returned to us unsigned.” In an interview with reporters after the weekly Kapihan sa Manila Bay, Jessen said the TRTA “was rejected at the end of the past year.” The Philippines earlier said it is rejecting all forms of aid that come with conditions, such as respecting human rights” (Esmaquel III, 2018).

That the EU Ambassador Jessen feels slapped in face and humiliated is natural in the circumstances. He should know how Duterte defended his nation in 2017. This isn’t news, they are not accepting to be belittled and told by foreign powers how to act and do. Neither does the EU want to be played second fiddle by the United States or Russia. Neither wants the Philippines. TRTA-4 are now suspended or never unleashed, since the EU-Philippines has had this formal agreements and grants for decades. So the previous government of Philippines has accepted the contracts and Memorandum of Understandings in TRTA to TRTA-III. Now the TRTA-4 had different sorts of things to achieve and projects to support. All from Electricity and Power projects in Mindanao to other sustainable initiatives.

But the 6.1M Euros was the price and the loss for the Philippines. But they would have been monitored and checked their grants by EU Monitors. It wasn’t just the use of Human Rights, but the continues checks to be allowed to get the grants. That is the paternal instinct of a more powerful ally. That is what the EU would have done to the Duterte Administration. Rodrigo Duterte didn’t accept this, neither did his closest allies. Clearly, they didn’t want to risk the embarrassment or being questioned for their internal affairs. Especially not a grant of 6 million euros. That would be a cheap trade for what sort of behavior the EU could do and that should be insulting for any statesman. Peace.

Reference:

European Union (EU) – ‘Annual Action Programmes 2016 Part IV and 2017 Part I in favour of the Asia region to be financed from the general budget of the European Union’ (05.07.2016)

Esmaquel III, Paterno – ‘Philippines formally rejects P380 million in EU aid’ (24.01.2018) link: https://www.rappler.com/nation/194426-philippines-formally-rejects-european-union-aid

The North Korean Embassy of Jakarta (DPRK) Letter to the Commonwealth of Australia – “Open Letter to Parliaments of Different Countries” (28.09.2017)

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