Certainly, the massive loans given to the “Build! Build! Build” are starting to cost. As the big infrastructure projects and other loans are taking their toll on the economy. Therefore, the Philippines and President Rodrigo Duterte are trying to collect something. It seems like the Chinese counterparts are getting lots of collateral and salvage the spent funds in Philippines. Because, as the weeks goes by and the ASEAN friends, the one with the upper-hand is China.
This is surely not how Duterte want it too look, as they are having a bargain. There has already been putting into question the control of Benham Rise and the hard-won control of the island there. Still, the Republic haven’t fought with tooth and nail to get it back. This week, it seems like there are more installations on it. The sovereign Philippines are being toyed with by China. They are being fooled and has to accept deals, because of the loans to Beijing. Manila is indebted and has to give concessions. Why else, would this week be filled with new Chinese interference and getting licenses in the Philippines?
Weather Station Controversy:
““It is currently coordinating with concerned government agencies, as well as with the Philippine Embassy in Beijing to verify the existence or non-existence of these alleged facilities,” he said. Panelo earlier addressed this concern on Monday saying Foreign Affairs Secretary Teodoro Locsin jr. will “do his job” once the reports have been verified. China’s Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Lu Kang announced on November 1 that Beijing has already begun operating weather stations on the artificial islands in South China Sea. “These projects are designed to observe the maritime, hydrological, meteorological conditions and air qualities, and provide such services as maritime warning and forecast, tsunami alert, weather forecast, air quality forecast, and disaster prevention and relief,” Lu Kang said in a press conference” (Janine Peralta – ‘Philippines to take action if Chinese weather stations in South China Sea are verified — Palace’ 06.11.2018 link: http://cnnphilippines.com/news/2018/11/06/ph-china-south-china-sea-panelo.html).
“One of the projects included an exploration between state-owned Philippine National Oil Company (PNOC) and Chinese state-owned CNOOC Ltd., located off Calamian in southwestern Palawan province, Cusi told Manila Bulletin in a news briefing. Cusi was referring to Service Contract 57 which covers an oil and gas project awarded to PNOC’s exploration unit, and picked CNOOC as a partner. Cusi did not share details for Service Contract 72, an exploration permit held by the Philippines’ PXP Energy Corp. for Reed Bank, but clarified that the Reed Bank, another disputed South China Sea area, is not of the two” (Meanne Rosales – ‘ PH to seal 2 exploration deals with China’ 09.11.2018, link: https://powerphilippines.com/2018/11/09/ph-seal-2-exploration-deals-china/)
Chinese Telecommunication as the Third Telco:
“Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte has lauded the entry of China Telecommunications Corp., or China Telecom, in his country’s telecommunication industry, saying the Philippines stands to benefit from the “good competition” that a Chinese company will bring to the industry” (…) “Duterte said that China “has proved to be of very incredibly high quality of electronics.” “(Xinhuanet – ‘Duterte welcomes China Telecom’s operating in Philippines’ 08.11.2018).
As we see, the sudden Benham Rise in the South China Sea and the will of China to takeover the place, while the Malacañang are preoccupied with sneering at priests, Rappler and who else who hurt their pride. They are not seeing or looking away from the sovereign implications on Benham Rise. As there are talks already of military installations, but now also monitoring equipment and a weather station. Clearly, the Chinese sees it as their land, while the PH are busy trying to find out what is happening there.
Than, you have the oil-fields in the same region, where the Chinese National Offshore Oil Company (CNOOC) have gotten licenses to drill oil there. Clearly, this is all intentional, as well as they are the lucky third Telecommunication Company and getting into the Cellphone business too. This is just fitting as a glove. They are both getting territory in the South China Sea, they are getting exploitation opportunities and steady profits through a cell-phone carrier. All this they have gotten for dropping some loans, that is hard for the Philippines to repay in cash.
That is why they are allowed to get these things, as collateral for the debt. This is a game the Chinese plays well. That is why this is all happening. We have seen similar efforts done in Sri Lanka. That will surely happen in the Philippines too. As the Chinese is not forgiving with their loans. They want points on the dollar. Not loose money and certainly not lose face on the investments made. Peace.
“And that question is: ”How old is 15, really?” No, that’s a good question. I’m not saying that a person is as smart as they’re gonna be at 15. That’s not what I’m saying, man. But I am saying, 15 to me… is old enough to decide… whether or not you want to be pissed on. That’s me. If you can’t make a decision like that by the time you’re 15… then just give up, motherfucker, because life is way harder than that” – Dave Chappelle from ‘For What it’s Worth’ (2004)
I know that Dave Chappelle isn’t a politician, but he is a comedian. But I had to start with him, as this here piece will be about age. Because suddenly now Senate President Sotto in the Philippines, wants to make the legal age for prosecution and able to answer for their crimes down to thirteen (13). As of today, it is already fifteen (15). Therefore, the legal age are already low and early to be able to serve time for possible crimes.
I want to ask the politician, if he could change the legal age for other things, as they should not only have possibility to fine, detain and prosecute the youth, but also other things. Because, why is it just the negative aspect and the positive aspect of life that is given to the thirteen year old. Since, if your opening the gates to make them liable, shouldn’t they be able to do more other things too, without concern of the state?
“MANILA — Alarmed by the rise in the number of crimes now being committed by minors, Senate President Vicente Sotto III is pushing for the lowering of the age of criminal responsibility to 13 years old. In filing Senate Bill 2026, Sotto noted that criminal syndicates are exploiting the provisions of Republic Act 9344 of the Juvenile Justice and Welfare Act of 2006 by using minors in the commission of crimes” (…) “In his explanatory note for Senate Bill 2026, Sotto said, “Due to the continuing challenge in the implementation of RA 9344, as amended, the aforesaid law must be further amended to lower the minimum age of criminal liability in order to adapt to the changing times.” “This bill will finally give clarity to the true intention of the law. The amendment to the law will institutionalize the criminal liability of teenagers who committed serious criminal offense,” Sotto said. He added that not only was the law abused by criminals but the innocence of these youngsters were deliberately taken from them” (Philippines News Agency – ‘ Sotto wants to lower age of criminal liability to 13’ 25.09.2018 link: http://www.pna.gov.ph/articles/1049043).
With this Senate President Sotto, shouldn’t they be allowed to run for any public office in an election? Why cannot even a thirteen year old vote in the Sangguniang Kabataan (SK) elections? In the recent election the youngest ones to vote in the SK in 2018 was 15 years old. Therefore, they cannot elect anyone or be eligible to get public office. But behind bars is fine and dandy. They have to wait to be 18 to be a candidate for Municipal Councilor, 21 years to be a candidate either for ARMM Regional Assemblyman or Mayor/Vice Mayor of City. To get into House of Representatives, you have to be 25 years old or in the Senate being 35 years old. If you considering to run for the two highest offices you have to be 40 years old, this being Vice-President and President. Therefore, the youths of age thirteen can be criminal liable, but cannot ever consider to run for office, not even in their local SK Election.
That is why Sotto, should consider his approach, as he can criminalize these youths, but they have no initial power. While it coming to work, the DOLE Guidelines of 1st January 2018 of work for minors states: “Under Republic Act No. 9231, children below the age of 15 are not allowed to be employed in any public or private establishment except when they work directly under the sole responsibility of their parents or guardian or when their participation in public entertainment or public information is essential. In any of the exceptions, the employer, parent or guardian should first secure working child permit from DOLE before engaging the services of the child” (Philippines Information Agency – ‘DOLE issues new guidelines on employment of minors in public entertainment’ 09.11.2017 link: https://pia.gov.ph/news/articles/1001624).
The DOLE has such strict rules about a minor, which is a thirteen years old individual, as they cannot work without guardians approval or the DOLE too as well. Therefore, when they need this to work together with parents or their approval for work, why can the same individual be criminal liable? Shouldn’t it be automatic to be working too?
So, we have quickly figured out they cannot vote, not be eligible to elected or work unless DOLE gives them permit. Should they still be able to become outlaws and get a criminal record? Really?
Just to put it further to prove the dire need to question it, is that a person between 18 to 21 needs consent of marriage from either father, mother or legal guardian to be allowed to married in the Philippines. So a person, cannot without consent of their parents get married, but they can get legal ramifications for their actions? Have Sotto even thought of all of this?
That is why I am writing this, because it is natural as a youth, a teen starting life, not fully matured or even considering of the implications of your acts. Shouldn’t be able to do all adulting first, before you get cost of being grown. However, the Senate President thinks otherwise.
Therefore, Mr. Sotto, should you allow them to work, married or even be eligible to get elected into office? Since you propose them to be criminal liable. If they can get punished by the state, shouldn’t they get all the opportunities of the state as well. Peace.
“If you owe your bank a hundred pounds, you have a problem. But if you owe a million, it has.” – John Maynard Keynes
There are worries about the rising levels of debt the Philippines has to China. That should worry all Filipino. Since, this will be repaid, even as the infrastructure projects under the President is served now. The time for repaying these debts will come. This might be the next one after President Rodrigo Roa Duterte might have to answer for that. But he should be worry himself of the levels he is putting the Republic in, unless he wants important parts of the infrastructure be “given” to the Chinese as a way of repaying the debt like Sri Lanka did.
“The conclusion of an agreement with China to manage the Hambantota port was seen as inevitable after the government buckled under Chinese pressure when the China Communication and Construction Co Ltd, which was building the port city, demanded USD 143 million as compensation for the stalling of the work. The Sri Lankan government was also compelled to renegotiate the Colombo Port city project last year, which had been suspended due to criticism about the Chinese ownership of 20 hectares of freehold land as well as controversy over the project’s possible negative environmental impact” (Smruti S. Pattanaik – ‘New Hambantota Port Deal: China Consolidates its Stakes in Sri Lanka’ 17.08.2017).
This story should be worrying for the Philippines as the rising debt to China will come to roost one day. Duterte has accepted and taken it for his projects, but will it be sustainable. That is something he himself should ask himself and also if they can repay this debt without paying a high price.
Jovito Jose P. Katigbak reported in June 2018 this: “Another issue worth noting is debt sustainability. There are concerns that borrowing heavily from China will lead the country into a debt trap. A 2017 Forbes article contends that the Philippine government debt could swell up to USD 452 billion by 2027, which translates to a debt-to-GDP ratio of 197 percent. The estimated figure is based on an annual 10 percent interest rate on loans levied by the Chinese government, hence tying the Philippines into a “virtual debt bondage”” (CIRSS Commentaries – ‘BRIDGING THE INFRASTRUCTURE INVESTMENT GAP THROUGH FOREIGN AID: A BRIEFER ON CHINESE ODA’ June 2018).
If the Filipino doesn’t get to worried about the amount they are borrowing from China. It isn’t only Sri Lanka who has eaten over more debt than they can swallow and has to repay with other means. There are worry in the Pacific island of Tonga.
As reported from Tonga: “Chinese aid in the Pacific region has increased dramatically in recent years and the country has become the region’s second-largest donor. Tonga’s debt to China has been estimated to be more than $100m by Australia’s Lowy Institute think-tank. The prime minister told local media last week that countries would get together to ask the Chinese government to “forgive their debts”. “To me, that is the only way we can all move forward, if we just can’t pay off our debts,” he added. Beijing has refused to write off loans in the past but has given Tonga an amnesty on repayments” (Simone Rench – ‘Tonga premier to ask China to ‘forgive’ Pacific debts’ 21.08.2018 link: https://www.publicfinanceinternational.org/news/2018/08/tonga-premier-ask-china-forgive-pacific-debts).
We have seen what the Chinese done to the Sri Lankan and Tongan counterparts. Both of instances could be happening to the Philippines. Not that you wish that, but the repayments of the growing debt will happen at one point. Even if there is long grace-period of lower rates on the interests as promised to Manila. You can wonder when the Beijing want to recoup the funds and the debt.
Right now, Duterte has a good relationship with Beijing, but when do they feel they have invested enough in the Build! Build! Build! (BBB) projects and wants profits and returns on the investments?
Because the Chinese will not do this forever. They might act nice at first and investing in infrastructure projects as a part of the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), but when time goes by and lack of repayment hits the fan. The familiar faces of Beijing will get their value for the money and the sovereignty will be taken away. As a port, a piece of mines or exploration of some sort of industrial output will go directly to Beijing and a state owned company. Since they will get their repayment for all the offered debt to the nation.
That is what Duterte is risking, if it is oil exploration and extraction, mineral resources or even ports that is vital to the business done in the Philippines. Does he wants to risk that for the signature building of the BBB?
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 us or Our 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.
Writer of Minbane
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
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.
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.