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.

Opinion: Boris is copying Rodrigo now!

We are living in a weird world and a bizarre timeline in 2020. Just the other day Prime Minister Boris Johnson wanted to prove his health with push-ups on the floor. At that point he was copying Ugandan President Yoweri Kaguta Museveni. That was all over the front pages of a national newspaper and not a sketch.

Now Prime Minister Johnson is launching his: Build Build Build. He is launching his program of infrastructure spending like this: “ British Prime Minister Boris Johnson will set out plans to spend the economy out of its coronavirus-induced crisis with a speech on Tuesday promising to fast-track 5 billion pounds ($6.15 billion) of infrastructure investment” (News18 – ‘ ‘Build, Build, Build’: UK PM Johnson’s Answer to Covid-19 Downturn’ 30.06.2020).

Also explained by the government like this: “Prime Minister Boris Johnson will today (Tuesday 30th June) announce a “New Deal” which puts jobs and infrastructure at the centre of the government’s economic growth strategy. In a speech in the West Midlands, the Prime Minister will underline his commitment to ‘build, build, build’ in order to upgrade Britain’s infrastructure and skills to fuel economic recovery across the UK” (Gov.uk – ‘‘Build build build’: Prime Minister announces New Deal for Britain’ 30.06.2020).

If you feel you have heard the same before, then read this from the Philippines: “President Rodrigo Duterte’s administration will soon launch the biggest infrastructure push in Philippine history to propel economic growth in the next five-and-a-half years. Big-ticket infrastructure projects, specifically roads and bridges, mass urban transport and alternative green city solutions are among the key investments to be made by the Philippine government. These are aimed at solving the problems brought about by traffic congestion, inadequate mass transport facilities, air pollution, and the lack of healthy, green liveable community spaces. The development mantra is: build, build and build” (Bases Conversation and Development Authority (BCDA) – ‘BUILD, BUILD, BUILD’ 25.10.2017).

So yes, the Prime Minister’s Build Build Build is copying Duterte’s Build! Build! Build! Programme. They are actually doing the same. Boris is copying Rodrigo. It is just like he will steal the paperwork from Manilla and change a few of the places and road-names. Then call it a day and loaf around in his apartartment.

I am impressed that Boris is copying the exact words. Just like he did on the pages saying it was taken inspiration from Roosevelt’s New Deal. That is fine and dandy, but saying Build Build Build after the Philippines has had this program for three years or so now. It is impressive, that he couldn’t mention that too. Give some credit, where credit is due.

I’m sure Manila isn’t the first place coming to mind in London, but they should maybe see what are doing lately. The PM is copying both a Ugandan President and the Philippines. Who is up next? Will he take the Big Four from the Jubilee and Uhuru Kenyatta too?

Johnson should step up and give credit where it is due. Especially, when his copying this easily from Duterte. If you don’t know, now you know. Peace.

Philippines: Statement – Participation of President Rodrigo Roa Duterte in the 36th ASEAN Summit (26.06.2020)

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.

Philippines: The Animo’s Official Statement on ABS-CBN Shutdown (05.05.2020)

Philippines: Free Legal Assistance Group (FLAG) – “This Is How Liberty Dies…” (05.05.2020)

Opinion: The ABS-CBN closure is political retribution and nothing else

The ABS-CBN sent a few questionable and harsh ads towards the President Rodrigo Duterte during the 2016 campaign for his election. This is certainly the reason why the termination of license of the franchise and the gag-order earlier in the year was put on the media company. As this company has the ability to put pressure on the hard-headed Presidents of its time. That is why the last time it happen it was in 1972. A record Duterte should compete with, but clearly he wants too.

This is a battle and method of retaliation of the President and his team. As this is silencing a open critic. Just like they did with Leila De Lima and Antonio Trilanes. The state has also been fierce against the independent media house Rappler too. So, its not like ABS-CBN is getting a new treatment.

It might be a temporary set-back as a way of the President to prove that you don’t mess with him. That is why I call it a retaliation, because the Senate is the final place for consideration of the license of the Franchise. Even if the National Telecommunication Commission put the cease and desist order on the media house.

What we do know, is for the ones claiming that the owners are not paying taxes. The government as late as February 2020 said they were no liabilities and no arrears. The company has paid its taxes and paid its employees. Therefore, the thought of using as an argument for the closure is futile. Unless, your docile and believe anything.

ABS-CBN only gets this, because it dared to challenge Duterte and aired certain ads. This is his way of firing back and showing flex. Not that its any good. It only shows that he doesn’t have the heart or the ability to strike back with sense. The President doesn’t have the arguments or the ads to address his opposition. Instead, he uses his office and his power together with comrades to close it for a while. Just to show the owners, the journalists, that they should all be like 24 Oras on the GMA Network, because they will never sound the whistle at any government.

That’s why we are here today. We are in our 1972 moment. Where a President and his team uses their office to silence critics and by all means. Rappler was the owner structure and ABS-CBN its the franchise and its license. I am sure the government friendly press will never get into these issues. The ones who doesn’t air critical ads and content, which challenge the President in any form. But if you do, you better lawyer up and have your tools ready. Because, its going to get rocky and the road to redemption is long.

ABS-CBN is getting the full Duterte treatment. The full fury and furious intervention, maybe he will beg for forgiveness later. If he cares about the 11,000 people in limbo. However, that is not so important, as long as the President can signal that he doesn’t accept critical ads. ABS-CBN better follow the Duterte line, if not they will walk the plank. Peace.

Philippines: Department of Health – Announcement (11.04.2020)

Philippines: President Rodrigo Duterte – Executive Order No. 110 – Institutionalizating the Comprehensive Social Benefits Program (07.04.2020)

 

Philippines: City Council, City of Manila – Ordinance No. 8624 (02.04.2020)