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Saturday, April 12, 2014

Chaos at the MRT

MRT3 General Manager Al Vitangcol admitted that the MRT system was not meant for the future. Meaning, those who constructed the railway system did not anticipate the possibility of achieving maximum limits when it comes to ridership.

Now, we see long lines every single day, an inconvenience to thousands of MRT commuters.  The government has not admitted it, but we are already experiencing what experts call "traffic armageddon." The system has reached its limits. Sadly, the government is unable to correct the problem.

Now, even if we follow what Communications secretary Sonny Coloma suggested to find alternative ways of transport, there is not much around. Government should have anticipated this early on.

This only means that our government lacks the vision and the pro-activeness expected of it. How then can we sustain the so-called "gains" when there is a lack or even in some aspects, absence of necessary infrastructure?

It is a good idea to involve business enterprises yet, the sad fact really is these companies are after huge profits. Government is supposed to regulate the greed, but because government is itself, greedy, it allows these companies to do what it wants to the detriment of millions of Filipino consumers and commuters.

This is the bleak future we see in the horizon. This is the collusion that harms most of us. Is it possible to break it? Yes, it is possible through an overhaul of the entire system.

Pacquiao at six: Killer Instincts Regained

He says he feels that he's just starting. At 35 years old, and nearly 15 years of boxing, and Manny Pacquiao feels he's stronger and has regained the fighting form he once had when he was 25.

This is good to hear. Pacquiao has been criticized for losing his killer instincts. In his previous fights, Manny is often seen fidgeting and even wtihdrawing his punches whenever he sees his opponent hurt.  In previous entries, I have noted how Pacquiao has lost that animal instinct in him, that's why we see a mellower, and "kinder" boxer.

For that, Pacquiao lost most of his titles. Tomorrow, the former world pound-for-pound boxer will try to regain the glory he once had.

Some say, when Pacquiao transformed himself into a renewed Christian, out came his desire to hurt other people. Credit that to wrongful teaching by some of the Christian "pastors" that preached to him.

Killing someone is not ungodly for as long as God allows you to. Hurting someone when it is God's will is true Christianity, because you are just obeying the will of God.

Biblical heroes such as Saul, and even David slew thousands of people during their lifetimes. They did these without any misgivings because they were doing it "in accordance with God's will."

Previous to them, Joshua and even Moses ordered the slaughter of entire races because it was God who ordered them to. Samson, the mythical super human who, like Jesus, was born thru virgin birth, killed many by just using his bare hands. Again, his killings were all in the name of God.

Every fighter out there survives his every bout because he maintains himself at the level of a killer. For a boxer to avoid being hurt, he must "kill" his opponent in the fastest time possible, meaning he must knock out his opponent even at the first round, so that that person will not be able to hurt him anymore.

When Pacquiao decided to be kind to his opponent, he disobeyed God. God wants him to be His fighter.

By tomorrow, we will see if indeed, Pacquiao has regained most of the fantastic form God gave him in the first place.

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

ZTE-NBN like scandal at DOTC unravelling

Two weeks from now and we will be treated with another kind of spectacle--the despicable kind, I might say, that will rival every single conceivable graft you could ever imagine that would happen in this sun drenched country of 90 million.

Everyone is aware of how this administration wants to make itself known of--it wants to leave an infrastructure legacy. Yes, nothing wrong with that. Everyone wants people to think that Aquino has left the country in a good condition and what better to do this than showing that off with new roads, new bridges, new airports and new ports.

However, laudable as these things might sound but many people are dubious of the real reasons for this. For one, these projects are being "fast-tracked" and are being undertaken at the last minute. The DOTC for one, is awarding projects left and right to companies with either dubious records or has conflicts of interests.

In the past years, the DOTC has been the subject of intense scrutiny. This agency whose responsibilities lie on infrastructure development has been the center of controversies, simply because of the way it conducts itself. People have been assigned to head this agency, people as incompetent and as clueless of their real functions are except of course, being political operators. Look at the names appointed to head the DOTC these past few years and you'll notice that their only qualifications lie on their proximity to the Center of Power and their previous work as political animals of the mischievous kind.

These appointments only show one thing--the government thinks that this agency is just a mere source of political funds, nothing more. Hence, people in this agency thinks of satisfying the appointing power instead of doing their jobs right.

Of course, the appointing power's interests is purely political--it wants to perpetuate its powers perpetually. And the only way to do this is thru funds.

I am now giving Malacanang a heads up--in the next few weeks, this administration will be rocked by a monumental scandal so vile and so gross, that it probably eclipses the ZTE-NBN scandal several years back.

These DOTC officials have prostituted themselves before the Mammon and once more, transformed this agency into a money making machine just to ingratiate themselves before their political benefactor.

These DOTC officials have turned a blind eye and have abandoned the tuwid na daan and instead turned into a "tuwad na daan"---prostituting themselves for the spoils and the future rewards their decisions have earned from the private companies they have so involved in their nefarious schemes.

Let the anvil falls. Those who have sinned against the Filipino People will merit the obvious punishment like what their predecessors got when they were the ones in power. 

Why is Malacanang sticking its neck out for beleaguered MRT manager Al Vitangcol who is accused of extortion by Czech ambassador

The DOTC-Inekon scandal is getting bigger by the day simply because of the "omission" made by the Czech ambassador. This "omission" pricked the curiosity of many people--why omit the name of this very important person or VIP in this scandal and focus on crucifying the small prys. One explanation given was these DOTC officials probably name dropped this VIP and there is no evidence that would link "him and her" to the controversy. Such evidence is definitely hard to find. You can't prove that this presidential sister and her husband are the "principals" of the proposers, meaning, MRT General Manager Al Vitangcol and allegedly, this Mr. de Vera, unless of course, these two present evidence establishing that they went to those meetings with the Ambassador with the expressed understanding that they are representing the couple and not just themselves.

What has damned this issue from the onset is the differing stance of this Ambassador. At one point, he is entirely sure of the involvement of the two. In other instances, the ambassador expressed doubts if the couple is really involved.

In a press statement, the Ambassador says he is willing to face Al Vitangcol in a Senate inquiry. This just means that the Ambassador is ready to even risk his diplomatic status just to prove a point.

What is most obvious in this scandal is the fact that Vitangcol remains in office--he should have been at the very least, asked to file a Sabbatical leave, to give the NBI and other investigators a free hand in determining his innocence or culpability.

Yet no. Vitangcol, an appointee of declared presidential candidate Mar Roxas remains in office inspite of the various problems the MRT is encountering. Clearly, just for incompetence sake, Vitangcol should have been asked to resign or just summarily fired for being incompetent. But, no. Malacanang is sticking to their man for no apparent reason, other than, what most people think--Vitangcol is probably really very close to the "VIP" mentioned by the Ambassador, that explains why he remains glued to his seat.

What the Palace should have done in the first place is make an example out of Vitangcol. He should have been asked, quietly, to vacate his post, out of delicadeza.

By allowing Vitangcol to stay, Malacanang is sending a wrong message to the people.

Yes, Al Vitangcol is just being accused of extortion and is not proven yet if he did. For delicadeza's sake, Vitangcol's case should have been handled properly

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Political implications of jailing three incumbent Senators--linked to the passage of the Bangsamoro basic law and Cha-Cha?

The Department of Justice has recommended the filing of graft charges against three incumbent senators. The Ombudsman is expected to follow suit. In the first of three expected "filing surges", three senators have been charged---Senators Juan Ponce Enrile, Jinggoy Estrada and Bong Revilla. These people are being accused of using their PDAF that funded bogus NGOs established by pork barrel scam queen Janet Lim-Napoles.

Senator Chiz Escudero and his colleague, Bong Bong Marcos expressed contrasting views on this, symptomatic of how divided the middle and upper middle class forces are when it comes to this issue.

Marcos, a political ally of Enrile and Estrada, called for sobriety. Marcos used the presumption of innocence card, saying that these senators ought to be given their day in court and should be treated not as criminals, but as "innocents." They haven't been adjudged guilty yet of the crime charged and therefore, as "innocent" as any other citizen out there.

Well, this is partially true. For one, a governmental agency has already found sufficient evidence to support the previous charges of graft. It will be now up to the courts, meaning the Sandiganbayan, to determine if these charges do satisfy the requisites of the crime as charged.

Escudero has expressed a view far away from the "adjudged innocent until proven guilty" view by saying that these senators deserve "common jail cells" instead of special ones. I simply dont know what Escudero means about "common cells", but if his class is to be asked, the "common cell" probably describes a nice room complete with airconditioning.

Both gentlemen missed the bus so to speak when it comes to this issue. For one, these fine gentlemen may never be jailed at all, because of the political implications of such a move by the State.

Everyone knows that in the next few months in Congress, one critical issue remains before legislators to resolve---the Bangsamoro Law.

Aquino and the MILF have signed the Bangsamoro agreement, the first legal step towards the creation of the Bangsamoro Law. Aquino is very persistent in this. He wants to leave a legacy, since he already failed on curbing graft and corruption and poverty.

The Chief Executive has done his thing. It is now up to Congress to verify what the Chief Executive had accomplished in so short a time.

In such constitutional issues, both Houses are expectedly to vote separately. With three anti-administration senators out of the picture, it would now very easy for the palace to push for their agenda since they already "politically neuthered" the House. Fact is, any administration backed measure is sure to pass the "scrunity" of the House.

Is this part of the ultimate strategy--to prevent those who are at the other side of the political fence to make their moves and oppose this Aquino legacy from being implemented?

I hope in the future, anti-graft campaigns are used to really prosecute the sinners and not those whose sin is they believe otherwise.

Friday, March 28, 2014

Malaysia's interest in the Bangsamoro peace deal: Regional Effects of this deal

Malaysia's Prime Minister Najib Razak came to the Philippines to witness a peace deal forged between his Islamic brothers and sisters with those of their fellow non-Islamic believers. Known to many, Malaysia has been playing an active part in negotiating for peace in the Southern Philippines. Unknown to many, several countries should likewise be thanked for, like the United States, Indonesia, Japan, Libya and Saudi Arabia. These countries worked behind the scenes so that the aspiration of the Bangsamoro to live in a state of being dictated by his own religion Islam is achieved.

However, there are obviously state-related interests here. Malaysia considers the south as something to be managed because of its proximity to the Islamic country. Border security is one. Malaysia has a serious immigration issue. However, last year, Malaysia realized the criticality of resolving the issue of peace when adherents of the Sultan of Sulu came barging into their borders.

If left unattended, Mindanao could have transformed itself into a radical Islamist state which would harm the very security of Malaysia. Through the years, with the fires of Islamist struggle raging, several groups turned the revolutionary struggle into a higher struggle, agreeing to host regional terrorists whose beliefs in the creation of a regional Sultanate surpasses that of the original striving of just creating a Bangsamoro state.

Had the Philippine government failed in this peace deal with the MILF, the possibility of extremism rising is huge. The impact is unimaginable. Think of the effects of more than 12,000 armed men rising simultaneously and occupying territories right and left. That is not just a local security nightmare but a potential serious regional security threat even to neighbours of Mindanao, such as Malaysia.

A peace deal would allow the economic development of Mindanao to proceed in break neck speed. Malaysia is expected to benefit largely from the development of Mindanao. It would develop the regions of Malaysia which lie proximate to the new Bangsamoro state, and the possibility of this state even surpassing the growth of Metro Manila as a center of trade and commerce is big. The Southern trade corridor became undeveloped due to the serious security issues which hamper the free flow of trade. With the huge security threat lifted, it is highly probable that economic development would follow unhampered in that side of the Philippines.

Saudi Arabia, for one, has intimated its desire to invest big in the Bangsamoro state. With Middle Eastern monies flowing in Mindanao, this will create thousands of jobs and trade opportunities in that side of the world.

This explains why this Bangsamoro peace deal is historic and its effects far reaching. This does not just end years of infighting, but will eventually spur development in that region left neglected by political-economic interests based in Manila for decades.

Expect this Bangsamoro state to become a new center of trade and commerce in the BIMP-EAGA region, another potential Islamic center, even better than Singapore. Note that Mindanao has rich natural resources. Note that Mindanao has vast lands underdeveloped. And note that Mindanao has a huge consumer market just waiting for peace to come so that traders of all shapes and sizes would be able to do their businesses uninterrupted.

The Bangsamoro--the peace deal that affirms the rise of a Nation among nations

Just before dusk yesterday, the Bangsamoro fighters signed a peace deal that will hopefully end their political struggle and give them the peace they so longed for, for centuries. President Benigno S. Aquino III, and the Malaysian Prime Minister witnessed the signing of a pact that took seventeen years in the making. Al-Haj Murad, the MILF's political head and Prof. Miriam Coronel both affixed their signatures in a pact that will lead to the rising of the Bangsamoro.

Unknown to many, I became part of the creation of this deal, especially in determining the true concept of the Bangsamoro. One of the things which the government panel considered before resuming talks with the MILF is the striving towards a fuller understanding of what the MILF is fighting for.

More than territory, more than political hegemony and more than resource sharing is the true striving of the Filipino Moro towards a state of being, that is Bangsamoro.

Let me reiterate here that the concept of the Bangsamoro is more than the creation of a State--it is an affirmation of the existence of a Nation. The concept of the Bangsamoro arose from the very genuine aspiration of the Filipino Moro for recognition of its unique identity separate from the rest of the Nation.

Yes, he is part of the Filipino nation. Yes, in the interim, he is one among many Nations comprising the Philippine state.

For the true believer of Islam, he is part of a bigger and higher state of Being--the Nation of Islam. This Nation of Islam embraces those who believe in Islam, the religion as set forth in the Noble Qu'ran by the Prophet Muhammad PBUH upon the prodding of Allah SWT.

This concept is beyond the political concept of the State. Bangsamoro is not just a state, but a Nation of believers in the true path towards salvation.

What our fellow brothers and sisters in Islam born and living in Mindanao have achieved is not just political victory but a reclamation of the lands given to them as blessing by Allah SWT. Politics is definitely not the true striving of the Pious Believer but the affirmation of the right over the lands that Allah SWT gave him when he was born and what Allah SWT gave his ancestors when they first set foot in Mindanao.

It is upon the will of Allah SWT that the Bangsamoro rises.

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Is Noynoy's "political blessing" a factor in the 2016 presidential elections?

Many people are asking me thru email if President Benigno S. Aquino III's political annointment a critical factor in the victory of a presidential bet in 2016?

Let me qualify my answer here. Let us go back in history.

With the exception of Vice President Joseph Estrada, no other presidential annointee has been victorious at the polls since 1986. Estrada won largely because of his own effort.

History shows that a government official annointed by a sitting president as his successor stands to lose against another bet who is perceived to be in opposition to the sitting president.

Fidel Valdez Ramos is an exception. He was Cory's anointed (actually Cory anointed Speaker Ramon Mitra Sr first before changing her mind and instead threw her support behind Ramos, at the last minute). He won largely due to the efforts of his own men, mostly members of the ever-growing Christian democrats and military men.

During Ramos' time, it was also the period when the military clique found their own place in the government bureaucracy. Notice that from the time of Ramos, military men have taken full and firm control not just in the DND, but in other agencies handling critical infrastructure, including the DPWH, DOTC while leaving other agencies under civilian rule.

Ramos' bet Speaker Jose de Venecia Jr. lost overwhelmingly against President Estrada. Estrada rode on the crest of a rising anti-criminality campaign.  When Estrada changed the rules of the game midstream, this was used as an occasion by several powerful forces close to Ramos to consolidate forces and drum support for a coup masked as a revolt. Estrada's ouster led to the ascension of Vice President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo.

When Arroyo fielded her defense secretary Teodoro as her presidential bet last 2010, he lost considerably against President Noynoy who was perceived as a "safe" bet for the presidency.

Now that 2016 is just around the corner, will Noynoy's annointment matter in 2016? Several people think that Noynoy still enjoys tremendous trust and support from the grassroots. However, many people in the know and have access to surveys will tell you otherwise.

If Noynoy agrees on anointing DILG secretary Mar Roxas, Roxas will lose the presidency once more. If elections are held today, surely voters from Visayas and Mindanao and some parts of Luzon will remember those natural calamities and vote against Roxas.

If Noynoy anoints Binay, Binay will lose the elections and will open the possibility of Roxas snatching the post away from him. Why? Roxas will be perceived as an underdog. And underdogs are always supported by an electorate whose thirst for melodramas persists.

If Noynoy annoints an "outsider", that outsider stands a chance of winning the top post. However, should the president choose among his present political allies, that ally will not benefit from this annointment and instead, stands a great chance of losing the elections altogether.

I still believe that a person who is perceived as fresh, incorruptible, without perceived business interests backing him up and widely perceived as being supported strongly by the United States and several grassroots based groups stands a very strong chance of winning come 2016.

The Philippines circa 2014

As the Aquino administration winds itself down and prepares for a transition to 2016, several things are happening all at the same time.

Since President Aquino is desirous to leave an "infrastructure" legacy, he has ordered agencies of government to speed up construction of several legacy projects, including the construction of new airports, roads, highways, bridges and development of other infrastructures such as communication and transport.

Two things why Aquino wants all these: first, this is to reward private companies who put their bets on him last 2010 and spur additional jobs and employment to the poor. Since most or all of these projects are funded initially by private enterprises, the effects of these so-called Public-Private partnerships will not take effect instantaneously. The burden will be shouldered by the tax paying public shortly after 2016 in the form of toll fees.

This explains why private firms are jockeying to get these plum projects precisely because, as seen in the NLEX, power and water utilities projects, the rewards are juicy and run in the astronomical billions. By 2020, we will all have to face the prospects not just of higher prices of goods and services, but the prospect of paying higher toll fees in the guise of convenience and faster ways of going from a to b. Whoever gets most of these projects will enjoy humonguous profits.

Come 2016, and we will see a new landscape not just in Metro Manila but in other metropolitan centers. The downloading of public funds to private hands will result to more employment and possibly more business opportunities for SMEs.

These are all good. However, one question really is--whatever happened to the promised eradication of graft and corruption?

The very first speech of the President indicated his desire to reform government by campaigning against graft and corruption. What resulted was a selective prosecution of those seriously involved in these scandalous affairs. Instead of being an honest-to-goodness campaign, the anti-graft campaign became a political circus rather than a serious effort at looking for solutions to finally address the issue.

This perception, fueled by vocal and incendiary political speeches coming from affected political actors, has resulted to a mockery of the entire campaign. Aquino's resistence to calls for an impartial anti-graft probe is the reason why the current campaign is not being taken seriously by the masses especially by the middle classes. Like all other anti-graft campaigns, the one being waged by the present administration is more cosmetic and propaganda-driven rather than a serious attempt at finally putting behind bars, those responsible for stealing the people's monies.

And this campaign is not expected to fly even post-Aquino. This early, two of the main frontrunners in the presidential fight come 2016, have indicated their unwillingness to pursue what Aquino and the rest of this administration have sacrificed their reputations to.

Worse because of the failure of this administration to curb graft, it has finally taken a new lease of life with the State's dealings with businesses who indicated their willingness to pursue these PPP projects.  Two foremost examples are the things which happened in the Inekon project and the Mactan airport project. And there are many others.

The simple solution really is adherence to the law. What government people should do really is to implement the law strictly and without consideration to anything, political or economic gains.

The thing is, these people in government are unwilling to do what is best and what is right, because of the very fact that they see the loopholes of the law and most of them want to skirt these. They don't fear prosecution precisely because they don't see themselves being punished by the State.

Hence, some or even most of these people see PPP projects as merely for personal or political gains of their principals come 2016. They are not being considered for their strategic value rather they are considered for their temporal gains.

Thus, many people already consider these things as failures.

So there.

Many people applaud President Aquino for leading the peace caravan and eventually providing a solution to the Bangsamoro problem. This historic deal which would result to the establishment of a Bangsamoro state, is really a step towards the right direction.

What the State should be made aware of is the prospect of hostilities breaking out in Mindanao. First, traditional power centers oppose this deal. They are expected to unleash their private armies to oppose the Bangsamoro state security forces.

Remember that Muslims do not comprise majority of the peoples in Mindanao. There are millions who adhere to Christianity and indigenous beliefs. Remember that large landholdings are owned by the Philippine elite, especially sugar barons close to a presidential bet.

Problems will arise the minute the MILF assert its legal and constitutional territorial right. Since government agreed on expanding Bangsamoro territory, will the government assist the MILF in claiming territories owned by big landlords?

How about political forces who will be displaced once the state is established? Traditional political families rule Mindanao politics since the 1900s. With the emergence of the Bangsamoro state, they are expected to wither away. Of course, that is not the situation in real politik. These political forces will either fight it out or acquiesce their traditional powers.

As what this writer wrote several entries ago, the signing of this agreement is one step towards the right direction. The problem will be on enforcement.

The second stage of this Bangsamoro peace drama is Congress. Expect several members of Congress to either oppose or engage in transactional politics with the MILF. Up to what extent is the MILF willing to bet their territories or powers with these traditional politicians?

While these are ongoing at the surface, dissent and the feeling of distrust will fester among members of the underground, specifically those who initially oppose this peace deal. This wait-and-see attitude will actually benefit these forces, since the "impasse" will allow them to reconsolidate their forces and prepare militarily. These forces are just waiting for the deal to encounter tough and rough opposition before Congress.

Arrest of Tiamzon a strategic error

Many analysts see the arrest of the Tiamzon couple as an opportunity for "moderate" factions of the Communist Party of the Philippines to open the possibility of resuming peace talks with the Aquino administration. Reports say, the Tiamzon couple is an obstacle to the peace process, and their arrest was ordered so that a group within the Party would be able to open the discussion for peace talks with the administration.

The question really is---will this arrest prod these "moderate elements" to reveal themselves openly in the Party's plenum, or will they instead support the old party line of active resistence as espoused by the Tiamzons? Several reports say that the party's founder favors a resumption of talks, which was opposed largely by members of the Politburo. Without the Tiamzons, will the Party now entertain the possibility of peace talks with government?

The military intelligence reports say that they have monitored the movements of the Tiamzon couple since last year. Reports say the Tiamzons have been staying in their house in Carcar Cebu since last year. The operation for their arrests however, was planned for two months. Meaning, intelligence operatives have already identified the location of the subjects and it was just a matter of two months before these operatives or their principals gave the go-ahead. The arrests was really timed to coincide with the anniversary of the Party.

Now, many say that the arrests will lead to a weakening of the Party. Analyzing everything that had happened in the past and the present condition of the struggle, the assertion is far from the truth.

First, there is a belief that the Tiamzons have taken a "sabatical leave" to allow younger members of the Party to take full control of Party activities. The Tiamzons have been staying in Cebu for a year now, contrary to earlier sightings pointing their location in Mindanao. This only shows that younger party members are now managing the affairs of the Party and they continue to engage in active political work to further develop their mass bases.

Hence, even without the Tiamzons at the helm of the Party, the Party and its armed wing are expected to continue their activities in their respective areas of operation.

Fact is, the arrest may even trigger a revitalization of the Party, making it stronger and more aggressive as it enters its fiftieth year of staging the People's protracted war.

There are younger leaders in their forties who are more strategic in terms of decision-making, bolder and more creative in tactical execution who are just waiting in the wings to ascend the higher rungs of the Party leadership.

With the Tiamzons out, there is a possibility that younger leaders would ascend the CPP-NPA-NDF leadership and usher the Party and its armed wing, the NPA to greater heights of struggle.

Let's consider the present and objective conditions of the struggle.

With 3,000 armed adherents, the NPA remains a major threat against the government. Their units are still spread throughout the archipelago. Their recruitment remains active.

What the government is not saying is the fact that the countrysides remain as fertile grounds for active involvement in the struggle. The Party and its revolutionary organisations enjoy a massive and widely extensive support base. These bases are still being managed directly by the Party and remains far away from the reach and grasp of government.

Central Visayas and Mindanao remain as active venues for recruitment precisely because of widespread disenchantment with government. The continued bungling of rehabilitation efforts in these parts would result to a horizontal increase of Party supporters and possibly from within, development of new cadres who are bolder and more aggressive than the rest.

The NPA is expected to change their tactics from merely political organizing to political-military work. In order to increase their ranks, they have to engage in active resistance, puncture rural centers of activities and engage in strategic and tactical alliances with other groups to further increase their chances of success against government forces.

With the signing of a peace agreement with the MILF, government will now face new and fresh opposition from groups who oppose the peace deal. These groups are composed not just of Islamic elements but criminal elements funded by traditional power blocs in Mindanao who fear of losing their lands once the Bangsamoro state is established.

Fresh anti-government initiatives are expected to break out in Mindanao which would divide the attention of the state's security forces.

Conflicts within the center of power will continue with elite groups fighting within themselves and government unable to provide sufficient solutions to consumer-related issues. As prices spiral out of control and government continues on its neo-liberal policy of non-interventionism when it comes to prices, dissent will surely increase not just from the ranks of the militants but likewise more political opposition to develop within the ranks of the middle class itself.

These things will develop for the next few months. The worse thing that would happen is when political forces intervene to further heighten these political tensions resulting to a further weakening of the State as it enters another historical milestone in 2016.

Two things are expected to develop as the direct result of the arrests of the Tiamzons. First, a revitalization of the Party and its armed wing and second, a development of a stronger, and more united Front which, given two or three years, would result to the achievement of the strategic stalemate status.

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Tiamzon couple's arrest may lead to a resumption of peace talks?

The arrest of the Tiamzon couple is described by President Aquino as a "big blow" to the CPP-NPA-NDF. For nearly two decades already, the Tiamzons, specifically Benito and his common-law wife, Wilma Austria have managed to control the levers of power of the Communist Party of the Philippines, as its chairman and finance officer, respectively. Now, with their second arrest, it seems that this is the end of the line, particularly for "Ka Cello", or Benito Tiamzon.

Or, so they thought.

The CPP is made up of at least ffteen revolutionary groups. It is a closed and monolithic organisation. I am pretty sure that the CPP-NPA-NDF have already resolved the issue of succession many moons ago. And it would be easy for them to resolve this one now, with Benito Tiamzon. Fact is, the party may have already called for a plenum and elected a replacement for Tiamzon.

There are talks however, that the Tiamzons were arrested after a high Party official tipped the government off. Why would this official give that tip?

Last year, peace adviser Alex Padilla threw his hands in the air as a sign of surrender. Padilla revealed that Jose Maria Sison, the founder of the party and now consultant of the NDF based in Utretcht is reportedly open to the possibility of resuming peace talks. The problem is, forces "on the ground", meaning members of the Politburo reportedly disagreed with Sison, particularly the "power couple", the Tiamzons.

There are persistent talks that the Tiamzon couple oppose the peace talks because they don't trust President Aquino. The Tiamzons likewise echoed the general sentiments of members of the Politburo.

Now, with the Tiamzons out of the equation, will the NDF based in Utretcht convey a message to the Philippine panel of their willingness to open the discussion? Joma Sison in an interview over at ABS-CBN revealed that the NDF panel will travel to Oslo, Norway to express their willingness to resume talks with the Philippine government.

Will these talks proceed as promised, given that the Tiamzons have already been "neutralized"?

Monday, March 24, 2014

Offloading and the Right to Travel: Unmasking the Foreigners for Justice group

These bogus group Foreigners for Justice which is as fictitious as Pinnocchio, and was made specifically by human traffickers, allege that the Bureau of Immigration is implementing gestapo methods through "offloading". According to the group, more than 40 people are being offloaded every day at the NAIA.

Let us resolve this issue once and for all--is "offloading" a violation of a citizen's right to travel?

I don't need to state here the exact provisions of section 6, of Article 3 of the 1987 Constitution except to say that the right to travel, though described by Senator Loi Ejercito in Senate Bill no. 174, as being ranked as the one of the highest in term of its value to a Filipino, is unfortunately not absolute.

The right to travel can be impaired by a law in pursuit of national security, public safety and public health. According to Senator Ejercito, the "exceptions" to this right or a person can "only be restricted upon a clear showing of reasonable and compelling reasons that the proposed travel is plainly harmful conduct to national security, public safety and public health."

Now, if a person is asked to momentarily suspend his travel abroad because his proposed travel is "plainly harmful conduct to national security, public safety and public health", is that a violation of his right? No, obviously because, again, the right to travel is not absolute.

People who were offloaded are not being denied their right to travel, oh no. These people can travel again, provide that the next time they present themselves before the Immigration personnel, they present clear pieces of evidence which point to their legitimacy of their travel. Meaning, those offloaded can very well, travel outside the country again, provided that they present documents and true reasons why they want to leave the country.

Now, who are the "people" behind the Foreigners for Justice group? Are they legitimate NGO? Answer--NO. 

This is a bogus group, a creation of some people inside the Bureau of Immigration who now suffer from "financial distress". Why? Because they are not anymore earning from fixing visas and other things from foreigners whom they fool with their promises. 

These people have lost their "monthly tara" or "take" the day the Bureau of Immigration chief Siegfred Mison swept the fixers out of the bureau.

Foremost of these people are two mothers, one is called "Betty Boop" and the other "Anna". These bigtime fixers allow the smuggling of Chinese mainlanders to the Philippines. 

They are very close to an insider at the bureau. They likewise give monies to a Manila city government official.

The thing is, the monies these two "ladies" give, came from the Chinese triad, who pay these ladies millions so that this Manila city government official maintains his lavish lifestyle and for some people inside the bureau to cast their gaze away from the illicit acts of these ladies and this fine City government official whose son was involved in a big-time syndicated crime.

to these people---your time is up! Everyone knows what you are doing and it will be a matter of time before the claws of justice reach you!!

to those unpatriotic elements within the bureau who miss those heady days of theirs profitting from allowing pedophiles, criminals, drug lords, smuggling lords, and serial killers to enter this country, this is your last warning--BEWARE. You have been unmasked!!!

The Filipino People will not allow you and your group to forever demean our country. You have been forewarned. 

What this group wants is for the Bureau of Immigration to go back to its corrupt ways and bring back personnel who will again, escort willing or unwilling victims of human trafficking and illegal recruitment, allow foreigners to violate our laws and escape justice and to smuggle as many Chinese mainlanders into the country and deprive Filipinos of their rights to trade in Divisoria.

What is so bad with preventing human trafficking and illegal recruitment from skyrocketing? I mean, why would other Filipinos especially the middle class militate against this thing being undertaken by the Bureau of Immigration when they themselves are not being offloaded?

Some allege that the BI is being arbitrary in their decision to offload Filipinos. The Bureau of Immigration has already explained that what they follow are guidelines as set forth by the IACAT or the inter-agency council on trafficking which is a creation of law.

To avoid being "offloaded", then the person who wishes to travel abroad must secure authentic documents and complete them to satisfy the inquiry of the immigration personnel. Period. Is that hard?

We all must contribute towards making sure that the inroads we have now gained from the fight against human trafficking would be preserved.

Let us not make a mountain out of an asp's hill. Do not allow yourself to be a party of populist yet stupid, non-sensical and idiotic arguments using the Constitution and the Right. These people who use the Constitution have nothing but air in them. They are simply trying to fan the flames of dissent when there is nothing to argue or militate against!

Instead of helping human trafficking groups, why not help the Bureau fight against these criminal syndicates?