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Tag: Vantage Point

Philippine train wreck

LIVING in the Philippines has always been challenging and difficult for many Filipinos. But never since the Marcos dictatorship has it been more dangerous than today for Lumad, dissenters, women, human rights defenders and the poor.

Ship of fools

WERE they fools duped into boarding the “federalist ship,” and drafting and defending a constitution that would supposedly bring into fruition President Rodrigo Duterte’s oft-repeated claim that a shift to a federal form of government would accelerate the development of the country’s poorest regions? At least one member of the Duterte-appointed Consultative Committee (Con-Com), who helped write the draft that’s now in Congress, is beginning to think so.

Death wish

No, he doesn’t want to die; he just wants others put to death.

The ignorance that kills

Within months of his coming to power in 2016, President Rodrigo Duterte’s profanities, tirades, threats, outrageous remarks about women, human rights, heads of foreign states, and what he was actually doing, had called the attention of international media -- in Japan, the United States and Europe -- to what was happening in the Philippines.

Theater of the Absurd

A television comedy director was supposed to direct it, and did hold at least one rehearsal over the weekend. But the directorial prowess of Joyce Bernal wasn’t in much evidence except in President Rodrigo Duterte’s subdued though less than forthright State of the Nation Address (SONA) this year.

Better silenced than silent

Some 21.9 million Filipinos, notes the National Anti-Poverty Commission’s Reforming Philippine Anti-Poverty Policy (Manila: NAPC Secretariat, 2017), are officially considered poor.

Offender of the faith

Before Rodrigo Duterte, no Philippine president, as morally challenged as some of them may have been, had ever disparaged Catholicism and Christianity, much less cursed the God Christians, Muslims, and Jews worship in common. Even Ferdinand Marcos, to whose overthrow in 1986 both the institutional Church as well as its activists contributed, did not take that path, although among the victims of his terrorist regime were nuns, priests, pastors, and other religious workers.

Destroyer of worlds

In a far from modest and less than truthful description of itself, the Philippine government, said a Malacañang statement, is “headed by someone who has strong political will, decisive leadership, and compassion for his fellow men,” hence the “fruitful” first two years of the six-year Rodrigo Duterte presidency.

Standby regime

President Rodrigo Duterte has denied ordering the arrest of “istambay” (the plural form of Filipino nouns is not formed with an “s”) despite the Philippine National Police’s detention of over 7,000 mostly young people, and the death, most likely through a police beating, of at least one individual who had stepped shirtless out of his home to get a cellphone “load” only to be arrested and jailed.

A matter of time

The killing of three priests over the last six months -- of Fr. Marcelito Paez last December, 2017, Fr. Mark Ventura in April, and Fr. Richmond Nilo this June -- has provoked both outrage as well as fears that it is part of the Duterte regime’s campaign to silence its critics.

Dependence Day

With no sense of irony, it seems, did the United States “grant” Philippine independence on the same date as its own independence day, nearly half a century after Emilio Aguinaldo proclaimed independence in Kawit, Cavite on June 12, 1898, and the First Republic was established in Malolos, Bulacan on Jan. 23, 1899.

Surveillance state

Upon the declaration of martial law in 1972 and in the 14 years that followed, the Marcos terror regime arrested, abducted, and detained over a hundred thousand political activists; artists, writers and critical journalists; teachers, professors, lawyers and other professionals; student, labor and peasant leaders; Muslims and indigenous people; and members of the opposition and other regime critics.

Divide into two

His attacks on the press are “repulsive,” and “he should be the figure of suspicion, not the press,” when it comes to “fake news.” A president who “constantly deflects and distorts and distracts -- who must find someone else to blame -- is charting a very dangerous path.”

After the Supreme Court — the Senate?

The newly elected president of the Senate has been accused of plagiarism, of disrespecting women, of cluelessness about the most pressing issues of public...

It’s not just about Sereno

The unprecedented removal through quo warranto proceedings of Chief Justice Ma. Lourdes Sereno from her post isn’t only about her, or solely about the...

‘Protection’s’ price

President Rodrigo Duterte’s statement that China has promised to protect the Philippines from external threats immediately raises two questions. Who or what these external threats...

Proving RSF right

Four media-related events occurred within days of each other last week. One was the release by the press freedom watch group Reporters Sans Frontieres (RSF...

Just for laughs

The gulf between what President Rodrigo Duterte says and what he does is raising already dangerous levels of cynicism about government and governance even...

Made in China

In the aftermath of President Rodrigo Duterte’s visit to China, Presidential Communications Operations Office (PCOO) Secretary Martin Andanar announced the availability in that country...

Mere anarchy

His defenders and partisans, as well as the trolls his regime pays out of public funds, describe President Rodrigo Duterte’s “leadership” as “decisive.” They’re referring...

Two countries called Philippines

There are two countries that go by the name “Philippines.” The real, historical one is home to the Filipino millions, nearly half of whom...

Branded

Communications Secretary Martin Andanar announced last weekend that his office will soon launch a “big project.” He was referring to a program to promote...

Blaming the victim

They said they weren’t pressured -- nor, presumably, bought and paid-for, promised any favors or gifts, or intimidated -- to make it. But the...

Warning to power

The International Criminal Court (ICC) isn’t as useless as President Rodrigo Duterte described it when he learned it was looking into the possibility of...

Decline and fall

President Rodrigo Duterte described the civilian-military mutiny known as the “People Power Revolution” that overthrew the Marcos terror regime 32 years ago as among...

No better time than never

Former chief justice Reynato Puno says this is the “better time” to shift to a federal form of government. He didn’t say what he...

Dictatorship and its delusions

President Rodrigo Duterte’s admission that he’s a dictator, and his obvious pride in that fact, were premised on at least three assumptions. The first is...

Against the few for the many

The admonition that University of the Philippines students shouldn’t be protesting in the streets but should instead be in their classrooms, and that by...

The worst of times

“The best in the world” was how former chief justice Hilario Davide, Jr. described during a Senate hearing the 1987 Philippine Constitution that he...

Black Friday: Only the beginning

Any regime that calls itself democratic would have erred on the side of press freedom and free expression if there were any doubts about...

The poverty of anti-poverty policy

Almost every Philippine regime since that of Diosdado Macapagal has at least paid lip service to ending the poverty that in varying degrees of...

Conspiracy 2018

A plot is afoot to stop the holding of the 2019 midterm elections. But that already base scheme doesn’t stop there. Once constitutional amendments are approved,...

Truth telling in Duterte land

Almost every government official has the same message whenever the birth or death anniversaries of the country’s heroes are marked: it is to remember...

Bad new times

The year 2017 isn’t exactly auld lang syne, or good old times, and 2018 is not only likely to be a repeat of it....

Repeating history

There was hardly any question about it. The dominance of the Duterte “supermajority” in both houses of Congress made the one-year extension of martial...

Ending the information crisis

The reformists and revolutionaries of the late 19th century; those who fought the Japanese invaders during World War II; and the professionals, workers, and...

Opportunity missed

Is jeepney “modernization” the answer to the Philippines’ land transportation woes? Or does the solution lie elsewhere? Will that scheme put in place a...

Terminal

The Philippine crisis is reaching another acute stage 45 years after Ferdinand Marcos declared martial law in 1972. The country barely survived it then....

No place for human rights

Human rights defenders are understandably disappointed with the Nov. 13-14 31st ASEAN Summit. Not only were human rights the least of the concerns of...

A league of his own

Even if he’s serious about it, President Rodrigo Duterte’s offer for the Philippines to host a high-level meeting, or summit, on human rights is...

Communication as manipulation

The designation of lawyer Harry Roque as presidential spokesman suggests that President Rodrigo Duterte suspects that what’s driving his approval ratings and other indicators...

The US Trump card

The United States has announced that President Donald Trump will take up human rights issues in the Philippines with President Rodrigo Duterte in their...

Wishful thinking

After saying that he still “has to talk to the NPA (New People’s Army),” by which statement he meant that the Government of the...

A coup by any other name

The Marcos terror regime may have been overthrown 31 years ago, the institutions of liberal democracy restored, and a new Constitution drafted. But the...

License to chill

Whether they’re in the opposition or administration side, the distinguished senators of this endangered Republic, who’re otherwise hopelessly fractious, share one thing: their hatred...