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Monday, July 25, 2016

Ten Things Duterte is expected to say in his 1st SONA

Will Duterte do a Brillante Mendoza and tell us the brutal truth? Or will he follow the sins of his predecessors and bore us with things we already know?

It's just 20 mins before Duterte delivers his State of the Nation address. What are the 10 things I expect Duterte to say in his first SONA.

1. The crime problem is worse than what he thinks it is. He will likewise use the oft-repeated line about the fate of our kids if we don't solve the drug problem.
2. He will discourage the House to probe the killings which already claimed the lives of at least 300 people since May.
3. He will announce a "lay-off" policy when it comes to managing the economy.
4. He will push for the conclusion of the peace talks with the Left.
5. He will urge Congress to pass the bills which would call for a Constitutional Convention for the shift to Federalism
6. He will urge the people for support.
7. He will emphasize his adherence to human rights and the first thing he will announce is the FOI executive order
8. He will also give the go-signal for the talks about the Spratlys issue
9. He will urge his Cabinet members to walk the talk with him.
10. He will talk about poverty alleviation.

What I want Duterte to do?

Scold these bureaucrat capitalists and warn them that if they refuse to help his administration and if they continue to oppress the people, they would receive the harsh-est punishment from the people.

How change would really be relevant in our time

CHANGE IS DEFINITELY COMING. I wrote an earlier blog but sadly, it disappeared here. Anyway, I have high hopes that this President would deliver the goods so to speak.

But, let's not kid ourselves.

Six years is surely not enough to really change things. For one, this system has been designed to benefit the few, the forty wealthy families identified by Forbes which control 85% of our country's resources. From the very day we created this Republic, there was no plan for the basic masses to benefit from the economic gains of this system precisely because the very system we adopted, which is capitalism, is really not designed to benefit the many. Under this system, expect a monopoly of capital because that is exactly how capitalism was designed--capital as concentrated in the hands of the few. The very laws from which relationships are based in our society created this anomaly and our problems right now is not a question of what kind of governance model we adopt--it is basically what kind of economy we want that is most relevant.

But of course, the discussion right now is centering on the change in the governance model because the elites of this country do not want to share or re-distribute their wealth with the rest of us. And why would they? They think that they earned their status thru their industriousness, their honesty and the ways they conducted themselves in business.

" That is the job of government--to cure poverty," says " Them". Poverty is the result of a disparity in access to capital. Many people are hungry and are living in poverty because they were deprived of the economic opportunities which the traditional elites actually enjoy.

Study how these elites of today earn their fantabulous wealth and one common denominator exists--land. Even in a capitalist system, land obviously is one darn asset. In an underdeveloped society such as ours, development can only come thru the development of land, and the use of land is one thing which the elites have exploited to the hilt.

Re-distribution of wealth is the best solution to poverty because it will allow people to gain more access to capital. Of course, this cannot be done now, oh no. These elites would never allow a change in the relationship of production and even in the change of property rights, because this is precisely what gives these elites the advantage over most of us, ordinary mortals.

That explains why government right now has no choice---instead of the elite, it would have to be government to create the necessary conditions for the people to gain more access to capital.

At the onset, the government needs to lower basic taxes for people to enjoy the value of their monies more and spend more. Spending is the one keeping this economy afloat, and consumer confidence would surely rise if the government lowers income tax, not corporate tax.

The government should likewise use its regulatory powers to put businesses in line with the law. If the Duterte administration could only lessen the abuses committed by private enterprises against the people, that would surely ease things a lot. For example, if the Duterte administration succeeds in lowering rates in electricity, water, and telecommunications, that would not just improve the quality and standard of life--it would benefit the people directly and even improve the SME sector.

These are doable. We don't really need a change in the governance model but we definitely need a change in the way the economy is being handled. In the interim, keeping this capitalist system as the basic economic platform is okay but eventually, we need to transition more towards a Socialist-inspired economic system if we hope to change things.

If we don't do this, we would not solve the poverty problem and would even see the exacerbation of things which we eventually lead to a crisis of capitalism. The more we mismanage surplus capital, the more things within capitalism get worse which inevitably lead to more crises.

Now, again, let us not kid ourselves that under this administration or any other administration, we would be able to totally eradicate the scourge of poverty. Like I said, poverty is the primary feature of capitalism because it is a symptom of a bigger problem in terms of relation and control the means of production.

Federalism as a governance model would not permanently solve the problem---it would even worsen things because developmental funds from the government would benefit political families who now control these local economies.

Let us break the economic hold of these political families first before we entertain shifts in the governance model. If don't do this, there would never be a change in our affairs. The fact is---things would surely lead to a perpetuation of these traditional elite power centers and people would still get the brunt end of the bargain.

If Duterte truly means change, heed the advice of the people and change the economic system.

Monday, July 18, 2016

Alta Masa to be revived against drugs

Let’s be clear.

Anti-criminality against drug lords and others, checked.

Mobilization of government resources to curb the spread of drug addiction, checked.

Allocation of government resources for the rehabilitation of drug addicts, checked.

Government support for an Alsa Masa against drugs? Whattt??

I thought the Duterte administration is against the spread of vigilantism? President Duterte and PNP chief Director General Bato dela Rosa have been quoted several times discouraging such formation of citizen’s groups. Former presidential spokesperson and a lawyer himself, Sal Panelo even reiterated this several times—that the President does not condone armed civilians prowling in the streets looking for drug addicts and drug pushers.

Now, here comes the appointed drug czar, Isidro Napenas, the man now heading the Presidential Drugs Enforcement Agency or PDEA expressing his approval to the formation of an “Alsa Masa” type of organization among civilians.

The name “Alsa Masa” became notorious during the Marcos dictatorial regime as the name of a Davao vigilante group supported by the AFP. They were used against Communist rebels operating in Davao and the rest of Mindanao.

Alsa Masa groups were heavily criticized for large-scale killings and human rights violations. Thousands of people were summarily executed most in a gruesome manner, while hundreds of families displaced and rights violated.

Is’nt it enough that we have a 140,000 strong police force coupled by another 150,000 military personnel? During the elections, Duterte boasted that he can mobilize government resources and these resources are enough to stem the tide of drug infiltration in communities and barangays throughout the country.

Why are we reviving the ghosts of the previous Marcos dictatorial regime?

Napenas was quick to clarify his approval of the formation of anti-drugs “Alsa Masa” groups”---unlike the previous one, this new Alsa Masa would just be an intelligence network of civilians. They would not be armed.

Crap. Bull. This is bull crap.

If we give this power to civilians, and we make them intelligence agents, then we also give them the power to arm themselves. Don’t tell me that these people would just agree to fight these drug lords off unarmed? They would surely ask for arms.

We have so many intelligence units out there—not just in the PNP but in the AFP and even the Office of the President has one—and don’t tell me these are not enough to pinpoint whose responsible for the sale and distribution of illicit drugs in the country?

I thought the palace already had their list, verified list of drug offenders and drug lords? Then, why do we need to revive a failed experiment like the Alsa Masa?

Are we ready for the expected local and international backlash the moment these groups begin abusing their powers?

This suggestion is actually more than just for anti-drugs campaign. I think this administration wants nothing more than fortify its hold in the grass roots level, since the Party of the President is just a paper tiger.

Likewise, this administration is preparing to strengthen and consolidate the coercive forces available for it at the grassroots level so that it is strong enough to pulverize its political enemies in the future.

Remember---the moment this lust for blood begins, abuses are expected to follow the path of the perpetuators. At this early, there are reports already surfacing of several cases of killings against suspected drug addicts and drug pushers which are unverified—meaning they were killed summarily and not based on the police rules of engagement.

With an Alsa masa out there and blatantly displaying their power, we will be creating a monster likened to the dreaded Filipino collaborators during WW2, who just fingered people, particularly those they had enmity with or their political enemies.

Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Tribunal ruling will test China as a responsible world leader

Im not a kill joy but I really expeccted us to win the case before the arbitral tribunal.China did not take part in the proceedings, therefore, what do we expect as a result? Any lawyer knows that courts would definitely rule in favor of the petitioner in such cases.

And even if China took part, the same ruling would be given since the case stemmed from the alleged violations China committed against the UNCLOS. China is a signatory of this international convention.

These rocks form part of the exclusive economic zone of the Philippines, according to UNCLOS. The convention says the body of water from the baseline up to 200 nautical miles out is considered the breadth of territorial waters under the exclusive economic zone (EEZ).

China does not recognize such rulings because it is not claiming the Spratlys based on law--it is using history and its alleged use of these seas since historic times. IN its statement today, China claims that they were using these seas since 2,000 years ago. Hence, China thinks that it owns the area.

Well, it is not just China which used these seas for navigation. Almost all peoples living in Southeast and East Asia have used these sea lanes for inter-country trading. So, using the Chinese "logic", everyone owns these seas and rocks and islets.

That is exactly why the international community agreed to craft or create an international convention. IN these modern times, disputes arise between and among states. Without such conventions, how would the world maintain the peace?

China must recognize that this ruling made by the UNCLOS is a test. It is a test of how China sees the world. It likewise shows the world how China would act in the event it assumes its leadership in the world stage.

Questions are being put forward right now---which is important to China: its international standing or its so-called historical claims? Would China become a militarist power or would it just maintain its current status as an economic superpower?

Every state in the world considers China as a world superpower. Its economy is bigger than the United States. Now, would it follow the US example and become the world's next top cop? Or, would it follow the Russian example?

I remember what Deng Xiaoping expressed when he was still alive--of how he fears the day when China becomes or decides to become a global imperialist. Xiaoping knows his history and had the foresight of China's ascension to the global stage. He knew that China would one day arise from its disappointing past and assume a bigger role in international affairs. The question which Deng failed to resolve was the question of what kind of leader would China assume by that time. I'm sure that Deng wanted nothing more than a different reputation for China.

The problem really is that China seems set on repeating the very mistakes which the US and Russia did in the past and it is believing in the dictum, " might is right."

By how China approaches this Spratlys problem would dictate what kind of leader it would assume in the future. The problem with China is that, compared with the United States whose assumption as a world superpower came without it asking for it, is that it does not represent anything.

Does China intend to chart a different course and assume the top spot in the world as a Socialist or rule the world as a traditional imperialist like how the US did in the previous past.

The only thing that hampers China from getting the respect of the world is this issue. This early, China is losing its bearings and is engaging the US in its own rules. The world believes that China is slowly developing as a superpower bully, and having this kind of reputation does not augur well for Asia's dragon.

The US is losing to China because the Asian country is besting the North American superpower in the economics front. The US economy remains in the doldrums while China's economy continues to surge ahead. China got rich without annexing any foreign territory, a stark contrast tas o how the US made its billions through imperialism.

The Spratlys issue is showing a China which the world fears--not a China that espouses Socialism. Like its Communist predecessor Russia, China is trying to assert itself as a military power instead of just maintaining its current status as the world's best businessman.

The problem with China assuming a militarist track is that, in its history, nowhere do we find a China successful in winning wars. Yes, its peoples engaged in a brutal centuries-long civil war but when it comes to wars against foreign enemies, China has repeatedly failed in so many fronts: its war against the British literally broke China into different pieces. Japan's annexation of China left it with deep historical scars.

Compared with the United States, China has not waged a war with anybody except puny Tibet. The last time the Chinese People's Liberation Army went out of China to fight a war was when it sided with North Korea in the fifties. It did, however, took part in the proxy war over Vietnam. Other than this, China has not really been as prolific as a warrior state unlike the US which has been at war with others, especially in the Middle East for more than half a century. The US armed forces is the best trained standing military force in the world today.

China must always remember the lessons of history. Chinese leaders, especially those young turks over there at the Politburo must always remember that thunder always strike twice. Yes, China has built a more technologically advanced war machine over time. Yet, its lack of war experience makes it vulnerable and

I disagree with Prof. Richard Heydarian that since we are weaker militarily against China and it is uncertain if the US will honor its commitment as stated in the US-RP Military pact and recently re-stated in EDCA, it is best for President Duterte to just maintain a magnanimous stance and assume a reconciliatory tone to re-open negotiations with China.

Likewise still, I abhor what this so-called "political analyst" Celso Cainglet says that we stand to lose out of this because everybody at ASEAN is cooperating with China and he believes that we must do so too. Malaysia, for example, is actively engaged with China, and other states, except Vietnam are maintaining good relations with the Asian giant.

These two do not realize that this ruling not just gave us the trump card when it comes to negotiations--it cloaked our claim with such a thick legal coat that it insulates us from getting flak from just about anybody.

For example, if we do issue a stronger statement urging China to respect the ruling, the world will give us a pass because we are reacting from a ruling issued by the international community.

Why fear China? China will not engage us in a military way, no. China will not use its military to fight over these rocks jutting out of the West Palawan sea. China is no fool. Its leaders know that the minute they flex their muscles over these rocks, this will give its traditional enemy, the US enough reason to cut China down.

China will be defeated in a naval war over the Spratlys. That's for sure. If China engages us in a war and drags the US and Japan with it, this will spell the beginning of the end of China. This is exactly what the US and its economic allies want--for China to take the false step and engage these Western powers in a naval war. Lacking battle experience, China would be defeated easily by a combined US-Japan force. This will be a repeat of what exactly happened to China in the 19th century when it engaged the British in a naval war over its mistaken belief that it was already capable of warring another country and winning. China got the brunt end of the bargain when it lost several of its cities to the British as war booties. It is not to the best interest of China if it presumes that it is already at par with other powers in terms of war capabilities. Yes, the next war is to be decided by how technologically advanced a state is. The wars in the last several decades have shown that, having the technological advantage does not assure one of victory. Again, let me reiterate what I wrote in previous posts that this is the era of the small wars.

Going back, what I'm saying is this:

1. we can be more blunt now and make a stronger assertion of our claims over these islands and this would not place us in a precarious position vis-a-vis China. The fact is--it is the moral duty of this administration to issue a strongly worded statement instead of a "pacifist" one because that would give us the respect we lost when we approached this issue like how sheep acts when it face a wolf. China does not have any trump card--we have.

2. we don't need to worry about China again using its military to further violate our rights in these group of islands. There is an observation being spread right now of how wrong we were when we resorted to arbitral ruling instead of just continuing with bilateral talks. Had we not filed that case before the tribunal, it would not have given us the advantage such a favorable ruling right now gives us. what we lack in military strength, we compensate with diplomacy or our skill of maneuvering or committing a strategic push for our interests.

China will not move in a way which will harm its own interests. This ruling is like a Damocles sword hanging over China's head. The fact is--this ruling is expected to be the long sought-after deterrent against China's plans of further expanding its interests over the Spratlys. Why? If China moves and further show its assertiveness through further exploration and reclamation, China would be attracting strong opposition from our political and economic allies.

Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Pork to be enjoyed once more by Congressmen--and you're just sitting there?

While the government entertains us with these massive killings all in the name of anti-drugs and anti-criminality, here we hear of  members of the 16th Congress demanding that their right to determine projects to be funded for by government, be given back to them.

Incoming speaker Bebot Alvarez justified this by saying that "Congressmen are "representatives"--therefore, as representatives, they know exactly what projects are good for their respective constituents. The incoming Congressmen want the DBM to allocated 80 million pesos per Congressman. Alvarez wants to assert that every Congressman needs that amount and that they are authorize to spend that amount based on his own discretion.

Meaning--they want to legalize their pork allocations, period. That is precisely why we militated for nine long years during the time of Arroyo because of the wanton disregard for the use of public funds. Now, Alvarez is bringing back the very same practice that we fought hard against during the previous administrations.

Yes, we need someone like Duterte--he is oozing with political will. However, if he's just a showcase which is precisely what people behind him want him to be while they do their own thing, then, we need to be very vigilant because this is not a genuine revolution, oh no.

Duterte may actually mean what he said and promised--a better life for the Filipinos. I am very curious how he'll handle his political and economic allies who are now planning to raid the public coffers once more---the very same way they did for years.

Monday, July 11, 2016

Philippine Government should seriously consider next steps after UNCLOS ruling

Just because we are evidently weaker militarily ranged against China, we will just offer them a cooperative venture to exploit the islands of Spratlys? What a very stupid proposition. And to think that it came from the mouth of Duterte's foreign secretary made it worse.

Tomorrow, the United Nation's tribunal will release its ruling on the case filed by our government against China. The case is based on the United Nations' Convention on the Law of the Sea or UNCLOS, of which the Philippines and China are signatories. The Convention entered into force for the Philippines on 16 November 1994.

Our position is simple--those islands belonged to us based on Article 57 of UNCLOS which establishes the breadth of the exclusive economic zone agreed upon by every nation as basis for claiming sovereignty over lands and islands from the baselines. It says "Breadth of the exclusive economic zone: The exclusive economic zone shall not extend beyond 200 nautical miles from the baselines from which the breadth of the territorial sea is measured."

The provision is very clear---eezs shall  "not extend beyond nautical miles from the baselines" because it is the measure of the "breadth of the territorial sea." As defined in the UNCLOS, the territorial sea is that belt of sea, including archipelagic waters, beyond the land territory of the state. The sovereignty of the coastal state, according to UNCLOS, extends to the air space, as well as to its bed and subsoil. (Article 2 of UNCLOS)

Reading the UNCLOS, the size of the territorial sea starts from the baseline up to 12 nautical miles. The baseline is the low water along the coasts, so for us, starting at that point up to a distance of 12 nautical miles--that's our territorial sea.

So the breadth of our territory by which we can exert sovereignty is about 212 nautical miles from the baseline.

Anyway, I cannot seem to rationalize what Foreign Affairs secretary Perfecto Yasay said that the UNCLOS ruling will not touch on the subject of "sovereignty" when this phrase is specifically why the UNCLOS was established and every coastal state was made to sign for---the convention specifically establishes the exercise of sovereign rights of coastal states.

Article 48 clearly establishes that.

Now, in this case the stand of the Philippines is very simple---these islands being claimed by China is ours and therefore, we exercise sovereign rights over these islands because they are within the exclusive economic zone as defined by UNCLOS. Just look at the map and it clearly shows those islands are within the Philippine exclusive economic zone.

If UNCLOS submits and favorable ruling, the Philippine government should not squander the opportunity and assert its rights over these islands.

The government, particularly Philippine president Rodrigo Duterte should seriously consider its next steps because the entire international community is observing our moves and if we move that seriously undermines the credibility and integrity of the UNCLOS, this does not just affect our standing--but it likewise affects the very integrity and credibility of the UN as an arbitral body.

Saturday, July 9, 2016

Dugong's anti-drugs campaign is anti-poor?

I heard President Digong over the radio announcing the names of five police generals reportedly involved in the illicit drug trade. It’s just a week after Digong’s inauguration, and his impressive anti-drugs record is surely for the books—105 people killed, two of them reportedly notorious drug lords. PDEA’s statistics show about 2 billion plus pesos worth of shabu confiscated and several Filipino and foreigners arrested, including a Taiwanese chemist who was kept alive. Some would say, “ we see Filipino street level drug pushers dead in the streets, while this Taiwanese chemist even manages to smile.”

Obviously, those fingered by Duterte professed their innocence. One of them, a former general now mayor of a town in Cebu swears that his 200 million plus assets came from “legitimate sources.” He has an industrious wife who sells pieces of jewelry and they manage numerous firms two of which are real estate companies. Another swears that his old folks did not raise him to become a drug lord protector while another asked his friends to tell journalists how he hated drugs because it caused the death of his cousin and made his elder brother sick.

While these generals are just lucky enough to be alive and even managed to have a conference with the PNP chief in his air-conditioned room at the PNP headquarters, street level drug pushers and addicts do not enjoy the same privileges. Some stories show how lopsided this campaign is being undertaken. I remember one story where a cop allowed the mob to maul a suspected rapist. At the police station, the suspect was even interviewed still alive. After a few hours, he was pronounced dead, when he reportedly wrestled with a cop for his gun. The victim had a bullet hole right smack in his heart. TV Patrol aired an interview with one of the sisters of the alleged drug pushers and she saw them still alive when the two were invited inside the office of the local police chief. Later, in just two hours, police reported the two dead—the very same way others died—by resisting arrest or by trying to get a cop’s gun. Such are the fates of these men who, by their sordid and lowly station in life, decided to lay their lives on the line just to get by.

And what made me sick was when this PNP chief dela Rosa again made a public boasts---he intends to go to the Bilibid and confront the drug lord who raised the alleged bounty for his head. When asked what he’ll do the minute he faces the drug lord, Dela Rosa intends to say “hi.” Wah?

While scores of cops just barrel their ways inside shanties of suspected drug offenders, those who profit immensely from this illicit trade, enjoy a visit and some talk with the PNP chief himself? Dela Rosa says in one interview that cops have a different approach when it comes to these big-time drug lords. “ They’re rich,” says Dela Rosa, “ and they have the means to file cases against us.” Okey, so that’s it.

So, when cops encounter rich men selling drugs, they would just secure warrants first before entering their palatial houses. While, when the offender just lives in a lowly, rag-tag house made from floating debris off the Pasig, no need for warrants. Cops can do whatever they want to do with the person—they can kill him or throw his butt to prison.

This campaign exposes how even in anti-criminality, the poor amongst us always gets the brunt end of the bargain.

Wednesday, July 6, 2016

Pasay, Quezon City and Caloocan--city havens for drug lords. Kill the shabu chemists!!

I read a confidential report and I noted three names of cities in Metro Manila listed namely, Pasay, Quezon City and Caloocan as among those seriously affected by the drug menace. However, I really don't hear anything big happening in the anti-drugs front in these areas.

Everyone knows how drug pushers and their big-time drug lords have transformed that street in Pasay as a veritable drug-crazed community. There is a street there called  "Tramo" where young students buy their illicit stuff. Several other areas are likewise called "shabu streets" due to the proliferation of shabu and other drugs there. The reason why Pasay is like that is because the city is near those casinos. Some casino players get their stuff from special hostesses who get theirs from drug pushers based in Pasay and Paranaque.

Perla street in Pasay is also notorious for being the place where drugs are sold even in broad daylight. Tramo street should be cleansed of all filth caused by drugs.

In Quezon City, the Timog area as well as those small inns and hostels along E. Rod are reportedly where drug addicts and their suppliers meet. Likewise, Novaliches suffers from a very serious drug problem. Drug pushers there and their suppliers act like they own the place. This place should be cleansed as well.

Finally, Caloocan. There are two communities near the boundary of Caloocan and Novaliches which have shabu labs. These should likewise be identified, raided and those chemists shot and killed.

I noticed that among those being killed by cops, there is not one single chemist killed. Aside from drug lords, cops should also execute these Chinese and Taiwanese chemists as well as their big-time financiers who are mostly businessmen living in posh subdivisions in Metro Manila and nearby provinces.

Kill the chemists and that will surely deal a big blow against these notorious drug syndicates.

Five drug generals should be treated like how cops treated lowly drug pushers

Mayor president Rody Duterte has identified five generals within the Philippine National Police (PNP) who are, in one way or another, involved in the illicit drug trade. Duterte pointed to Generals Garbo, Diaz, Joel Pagdilao (whose brother Sammy even ran and lost a senatorial bid), Vicente Loot and Ed Tinio. The good mayor said he heard the names of these generals when he was still Davao city mayor.

Senator Panfilo "Ping" Lacson validated two of the five names, while former Army colonel and now Senator Gringo Honasan cautioned Duterte from unduly placing these generals under the spotlight since what Duterte did was just accusations and there is still no criminal case filed against the five. Honasan worries about the families of these generals.

While Honasan has a point, but why react only now when generals are concerned? When cops arrest and kill ordinary drug pushers and drug addicts, no one among the senators, even Honasan, offered a reaction. When ordinary street level pushers are subjected to intense humiliation, even some subjected to maulings by the mob, no one raised a howl.

Mr. Senator, these people have families and you are not concerned about them? Why be concerned about the families of these five generals who are responsible for large scale drug distribution here in our country.

If proven true, these generals should be stripped naked of all their ranks and emoluments and paraded before the people, naked, just like what that Batangas mayor did to suspected drug pushers and users. Frankly, these generals deserve more than a mob beating--they deserve to be hanged.

But why expose only police generals? Duterte needs to deepen his intelligence more and expose those people within the AFP involved in the transit, delivery and distribution also of drugs. Military officials who are involved in the illicit drug trade should likewise be shot, or hanged, or slowly executed by exposing their insides, until they bleed to death.

Likewise, let's go deeper still.

Duterte must expose those private citizens who are financiers of the illegal drug trade--regardless of how high their station in life is.

The people's retribution knows no class.

Duterte is right---this is the time when the people's Justice must claim its sordid victims.

Tuesday, July 5, 2016

Duterte's administration staying on course: FOI to be signed

Seems like change is really coming? President Rodrigo Duterte is signing an Executive Order in relation to the Freedom on Information. This is something which his predecessor promised but never delivered.

Why is this significant? Because this shows that this president is a man of his word. Duterte promised to sign an EO for FOI when he assumes power. And he is now doing it.

However, let's see what's inside that EO first.

He has also deployed strong willed individuals to head various agencies, especially the PNP, NBI etal to lead the fight against criminality and drugs. The only thing is, we don't have any inkling or any information if they are indeed on target.

How will we know if the people being killed are really listed as those involved in the drug trade? Only thru the say-so of police. There must be a superbody which will manage this very delicate operation since we are toying with lives here.

While we are being entertained by all these "deaths of criminals", let's be vigilant on the other kinds of criminals--those of the corporate ones.

I heard from reliable sources that at least 10 oligarchs are now being targetted for reputation liquidation. These oligarchs have been known to have transacted with government and given us, the people, several bum sneers. These people should be punished for their collective sins.

Aside from this, let's observe the behavior of some of Duterte's men--if they will or will not succumb to the sweet offers of firms especially those under regulation.

I am betting my bottom dollar on Al Cusi, who is now handling the Department of Energy. Cusi has pending graft cases and this involves the airport operations which under his management, became one of the worse airports in the world. Cusi, according to sources, is an "operator". I really don't know why Duterte appointed this person there when there is Vince Perez, former energy secretary who has proven himself highly competent during his stint at DOE.

There are several others highly competent than Cusi just waiting to be offered this post and without interests.

Cusi is a known associate of the Aboitizes. The Aboitizes have firms involved in energy-related services.

I heard of several other appointments which are highy irregular like that of Lito Banayo as MECO representative. Everyone knows how "lucrative" this post is, and Banayo has been lusting for this post since time immemorial. In fact, Banayo once asked former president Gloria Arroyo for this post. Banayo is facing numerous graft charges before the Sandiganbayan. What happens now with all these cases?

Several "operators" have also gotten themselves lucrative sinecures which eventually could be termites that would eat up the public's trust behind the Duterte administration.

I hope these people reveal their true selves immediately so that Duterte would cut them off asap.

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Duterte administration on the right track

The incoming administration's ten point economic agenda seems very promising. First off, it is doable. Second, it specifically addresses major stumbling blocks in the country's progress and thirdly, the agenda seemed necessary for the Philippines to immediately leap-frog itself to industrialization. Let's discuss one-by-one:

  1. The adoption of comprehensive tax reform. This is necessary because income and corporate taxes here are higher than other Asian countries. Lowering income tax to 10-12% would spur further economic growth because it would enable all Filipinos to enjoy the value of their salaries. This will definitely lead to a faster growth of SMEs in this country, as people would now have a higher spending capability than before. 
  2. The adoption of a national ID system. Government spends so much in ID's that one singular ID should be adopted. This, however, necessitates the creation of a unified IT network. Prior to the creation of an ID system, there should already be an established National IT network and integration should have been in place already. 
  3. Further ease in doing business. This point is dependent on the connectivity issues as discussed in 2. In the interim, what agencies can do to further ease the process is eliminate clogs in the system especially the number of signatories and of course, the frequency of human intervention. 
  4. The improvement of telecommunications and internet services. Open the industry to foreign players so that the entire government is not beholden to just two (2) telecom giants or what others call a duopoly. 
  5. The delivery of support services to farmers such as financing, technology and logistics. This is entirely necessary since the infrastructure is already established. What government needs is to prioritize funding for this. 
  6. The implementation of responsible mining, with local value-added such as processing, while limiting raw ore exports. I don't know how this administration define "responsible mining" but what the admin probably meant is beneficial mining, meaning, more revenues should be enjoyed by the LGU's instead of just the mining firms benefitting from the mining activities. Government should re-establish our former industries such as Copper, Nickel, Steel industries.
  7. The development of regional industries while equipping the local workforce with necessary skills. There must be a comprehensive development road map, identifying major industries per region and minimising competition between and among regions. For example, in regions where they are always subject to natural disasters like typhoons, and the soil in these areas are not suited for agriculture, be transformed as mining areas. 
  8. The improvement of transport networks across the country to foster connectivity. There is already a plan for this. This however, does not need emergency powers to be effected. It just needs a responsible manager to coordinate everything in a smoother, faster pace.
  9. A review of the conditional cash transfer program, as it promotes dependency on the government. I think in this aspect they are mistaken. GOvernment needs to continue this for the next two years because the poor here in the Philippines is poorer than what other Asian countries classify them to. 
  10. The speedy implementation of public-private partnership and infrastructure projects as well as respecting the sanctity of contracts. Question---what if a particular project is superfluous and does not fit in the overall scheme of things--will this be continued because this administration vows to respect the sanctity of contracts? I think this is inserted by business groups formerly allied with the previous administrations. 

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Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Brewing coup against Duterte soon?

A confidential survey shows a drastic reduction in the popularity and trust survey of incoming president Rody DUterte. I don't know if members of the transition team saw or even read this, but the results are disappointing. It seems that Duterte's base is eroding and it is eroding fast.

What Duterte and his group failed to realize is that winning the election is one thing, maintaining oneself in power is another one. Presidential power is illusory. It depends on how people perceive the one holding the scepter.

Duterte must renew his links with the media. He cannot forever boycott the very platform he used in winning these elections. Without media, Duterte stands naked. There is no other institution which could protect him in the event of an extra-constitutional grab of power.

Seems like some people are giving this administration a few months only. Some say these missteps and decisions on a flop are signs of a very disorganized leadership. I hope that the incoming president realizes that governance is not a game and this thing which he so involved himself with is serious stuff.

Anyway, I hold faith that these forces who are readying and preparing themselves for another shot at power also know what they are doing.

Personally, I think Duterte is on the right track. His strategies though somewhat different, are better than previous ones.