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Duterte Warns Us All: Digong Wants to be President

Digong declared: “Summary execution of criminals remains the most effective way to crush kidnapping and illegal drugs

 

by Ducky Paredes

Digong ( Rodrigo) Duterte was born March 28, 1945 in Maasin, Leyte to Vicente G. Duterte, a lawyer and Soledad Roa, a school teacher.

His mother “Soleng” Roa-Duterte, came from Agusan del Norte, the daughter  of Eleno Roa and Fortunata Gonzales. Graduating with  a degree in education at the Philippine Normal School in Manila in 1939, she joined the Bureau of Public Schools as a teacher. The man she married, Vicente Duterte was a former mayor of Danao City. Digong’s cousin Ronald, also served as Cebu City mayor from 1983 to 1986. Ronald’s father, Ramon Duterte, also held the position from 1957 to 1959. The Dutertes regard the political families of the Durano and the Almendras clans as relatives.

The Dutertes arrived in Davao in 1951. Vicente, a lawyer, engaged in private practice; Soledad, the teacher, taught in the public school. Mrs. Duterte retired as a supervisor in 1952 when her huband Vicente became a politican.

Dingcong finished his elementry at the Sta. Ana Elementary School in Davao City, graduating in 1956. He finished High School at the Holy Cross Academy in Digos  after being expelled twice from other schools, including  the Ateneo de Davao  due to misconduct.

For his college, he took a Bachelor of Arts degree at the Lyceum of the Philippines University in Manila in 1968. He also obtained a law degree from San Beda College, in 1972, passing the bar in the same year. Digong eventually joined the City Prosecution Office in Davao City where he stayed from 1977 to 1986.

Duterte has three siblings. Benjamin “Bong” Duterte  was a one-term city councilor of Davao between 1992-1995, younger sister Jocelyn Duterte lost in several attempts to win a city council seat as well as the mayoralty in 2001;  Blue Boy Duterte ran and lost in the First District congressional race in 1998.

Dingcong is known for his straightforward and vocal attitude in public especially in interviews, showing no hesitation in using profanity profusely live on-screen in numerous occasions despite formal requests by media groups and schools to tone it down.

* * *

Rodrigo Duterte was once married to Elizabeth Abellana Zimmerman, a flight stewardess from  Davao City of German American descent, with whom he had three children namely: Paolo (”Pulong”), Sara (”Inday Sara”) and Sebastian (”Baste”). Two (Paolo and Sara) ventured into politics while Baste is a businesman.

Digong  was very open about his infidelity and philandering during his marriage with Zimmerman and admits it is the reason for the failed marriage.

In 1998, Zimmerman filed a petition with the Regional Trial Court in Pasig to nullify her marriage. Duterte never protest ed Zimmerman’s petition. Two years later, the court decided in her favor, ending their 27-year marriage. Duterte and Zimmerman have been on good terms in recent years with Zimmerman stating, “Yes, he is really a very good leader. That is all he is. But when it comes to family, he is not capable of taking care of it.” 

Duterte and Zimmerman are said to have patched things up and appear to be civil to one another. Zimmerman also emphasized in an interview that despite Duterte’s womanizing, he listens to activist women and set up a program that mainstreams “gender and development” issues resulting to Davao City winning the Galing Pook award for “gender-responsive” governance in 2004.

While Dingcong is listed as single in the Davao City website, he is currently living with a partner, a nurse, with whom he has one daughter named Veronica (”Kitty”).

Duterte is an avid fan of big bikes but detests luxury cars. He once owned a second-hand Harley Davidson and currently rides  a Yamaha Virago.

After the 1986 People Power Revolution, Duterte was appointed OIC vice mayor. In 1988, he ran for mayor and won, serving until 1998. He set a precedent when he appointed  deputy mayors to take care of the Lumad and the Moro in the city government. This was later copied in other parts of the country.

In 1998, because he was term-limited to run again for mayor, he ran for the House of Representatives and won as Congressman of the 1st District of Davao City. In 2001, he ran again for mayor in Davao and was again elected for his fourth term. He was also reelected in 2004 and in 2007.

In 2010, he was elected vice mayor, while his daughter, Sara Duterte-Carpio was elected mayor. He was offered the Interior Secretary post four times, by presidents Fidel V. RamosJoseph Ejercito EstradaGloria Macapagal-Arroyo, and Benigno S. Aquino III.  He declined,. In April 2014, he also declined a nomination for the World Mayor Prize, given by an international body to outstanding mayors saying “he was just doing his job.” Among the other awards Duterte also refused to accept for Davao City includes the one given by the American Cancer Society and the 2010 anti-smoking award in Singapore.

Davao City under Duterte won the National Literacy Hall of Fame Award for being a three-time first-place winner in the Outstanding Local Government Unit Highly Urbanized City category.

Crime figures reported by Duterte, notes that crime in Davao was significantly reduced during the period 1985–2000. Duterte notes that there was a decrease in the crime rate from triple-digit per 1,000 people in 1985 to 0.8 cases per 10,000 inhabitants in the period 1999 to 2005.

Digong patrols Davao City’s streets on one of his big motorcycles, leading a convoy complete with blaring sirens and M16 rifles. In early September 2015, an incident was reported regarding a tourist who was forced to swallow his own cigarette butt in a local bar after the tourist arrogantly refused to comply with the public anti-smoking ordinance of the city.

Duterte was personally contacted by the bar owner.  Digong forced the tourist to swallow his cigarette butt to which the tourist readily obliged. Duterte was criticized for this  by the Commission on Human Rights (CHR).

While he supports the extrajudicial killings of habitual drug users and dealers, Duterte akso used city government funds to build a P12-million drug rehabilitation and treatment center which provides 24-hour services. In 2003, he offered a P2,000 monthly allowance to drug addicts who personally approached him and committed to kick the habit.

In a survey released by crowd-sourced rating site Numbeo.com dated April 30, 2015, Davao City ranked 9th as the safest city in the world. In the following month, Davao City’s rank moved up to the 5th spot and since June 2015, Davao City held the 4th spot as the safest city in the world.

Duterte also has his own local program in Davao City called Gikan Sa Masa, Para Sa Masa (”From the Masses, For the Masses”) on ABS-CBN Davao.

In 2014, Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte initiated the holding of a summit: ”I am calling on all responsible leaders in the island, from government and civil society organizations, from the business and academe sectors, the leaders of the Church, the military and the youth, let us all forge a well-informed, united front, so we could craft a collective plan of action for Mindanao’s true identity reflective of what its peoples and tribes truly wish and aspire for”, Duterte said in a statement.

Local government heads from Mindanao cities, towns and provinces are also expected to attend, as well as Catholic bishops and Muslim religious leaders.

In September 2014, Duterte met with former mayors and governors in an initial effort to revive calls for a federal form of government. The group, which called itself Mindanao Council of Leaders, made their position public after an informal caucus. Present during the said meeting were Bukidnon Governor Jose Maria Zubiri, former Cagayan de Oro mayors Reuben Canoy and Vicente Emano, former Zamboanga del Norte congressman Romeo Jalosjos, and former Davao del Norte representative Pantaleon Alvarez.

Duterte,  dubbed “The Punisher” by Time magazine, has been criticized by human rights groups and by Amnesty International for tolerating extrajudicial killings of alleged criminals allegedly by the Davao death squads. Duterte has been heavily criticised by numerous organizations for condoning and even inciting murders to take place during his leadership.

In the April 2009 UN General Assembly of the Human Rights Council, the UN report (Eleventh Session Agenda item 3, par 21) said, “The Mayor of Davao City has done nothing to prevent these killings, and his public comments suggest that he is, in fact, supportive.” Human Rights Watch reported that in 2001-2002, Duterte appeared on local television and radio and announced the names of “criminals”, some of whom were later executed. In July 2005 at a crime summit in the Manila Hotel, Dingcong declared: “Summary execution of criminals remains the most effective way to crush kidnapping and illegal drugs”.

In 2009 Duterte said: “If you are doing an illegal activity in my city, if you are a criminal or part of a syndicate that preys on the innocent people of the city, for as long as I am the mayor, you are a legitimate target of assassination.”

Duterte responding to the reported arrest and subsequent release of a notorious drug lord in Manila is quoted as saying: “Here in Davao, you can’t go out alive. You can go out, but inside a coffin. Is that what you call extra-judicial killing? Then I will just bring a drug lord to a judge and kill him there, that will no longer be extra-judicial.”

Following Duterte’s comments in relation to killing a person suspected of smuggling rice, the office of the President of the Philippines issued a statement saying, “Killing a person is against the law. The President has been firm in the belief that no one is above the law. We must not resort to extralegal methods.”

In 2015, Duterte confirmed his links to extrajudicial killings in Davao, and warned that if elected president he may end up killing up to 100,000 criminals.

 

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Serge Osmena, Independent Senator

10.25.15 ManilaSpeak

“Although he never obtained a
university degree, he studied in various educational institutions including
University
of San Carlos
text-underline:none”>University of the Philippines, Los BañosHarvard
University
,
and
Georgetown
University
.”

 

  

By Ducky Paredes

            Senator
Serge Osmena is running for re-election to the Senate as an independent – a
true indepndent.

One would have expected him to
run in the ticket of theLiberal party. After all, he was the chief strategist
in the campaign for the presidency of President Benigno Simon Aquino, Jr. in
2010. Of late, however, he has been critical of the President and the Liberal
party.

As an independnet, Serge  has been offered slots in the tickets of
Presidential Candidates Senator Grace Poe and
Senator Miriam Defensor Santiago but has refused to join their line-ups.
Earlier in the campaign even before Leni Robredo was chosen as the vice
presidential candidate of the Liberal Party, Serge predicted that Robredo would
beat vice presidential candidate Senator Chiz Escudero, who is the vice
presidential candidate of Poe and possibly her Svengali , because Chiz seems to
be her main strategist and  closest political
adviser.

Osmeña was born in  text-decoration:none;text-underline:none”>Manila to Sergio
“Serging” Osmeña, Jr.
 of  none;text-underline:none”>Cebu and  none;text-underline:none”>Lourdes de la Rama of  text-decoration:none;text-underline:none”>Negros Occidental. He finished
his elementary studies at 
text-underline:none”>De La Salle College. He took up his secondary
studies at the St. Clement’s College in Iloilo, 
Ateneo
de Manila
 and  text-decoration:none;text-underline:none”>Beaumont College in  text-decoration:none;text-underline:none”>Berkshire text-decoration:none;text-underline:none”>England. Although he
never obtained a university degree, he studied in various educational
institutions including
University
of San Carlos
text-underline:none”>University of the Philippines, Los BañosHarvard
University
,
and
Georgetown
University
.

Only because he was a son of the
dictator’s’ political rival, Serge  was
imprisoned by Dictator Ferdinand Marcos in 1972. In November 1974, Serge and
his cell mate,
color:windowtext;text-decoration:none;text-underline:none”>ABS-CBN’s Eugenio
“Geny” Lopez, Jr.
went on a hunger strike to protest the
unjust detention of thousands of innocent Filipinos. This resulted in the
release of 1,022 political prisoners in December 1974.

Osmeña and Lopez escaped from their
maximum security prison cell in 
text-decoration:none;text-underline:none”>Fort Bonifacio in 1977.
This was made into the 1995 movie, “Eskapo.”

While in exile at the United States,
Serge Osmeña served as the Director for Movement for a Free Philippines. He was
also the Founding Director of the Justice for Aquino Justice for All (JAJA)
Movement.

At the end of the  Marcos dictatorship and  with the advent of People Power, Serge returned
to the Philippines and held positions in business and government corporations
in the 1990s.

He served as Secretary General of
the 
text-underline:none”>Progressive Party cluster  text-decoration:none;text-underline:none”>NUCD-UMDP from
1991–1992. When it merged with 
text-decoration:none;text-underline:none”>Lakas Tao in 1992,
he served as a member of the National Directorate.

In 1992, Osmena ran for Congressman in
Cebu’s Sixth District and lost.

In 1995, Osmeña was invited by President  text-decoration:none;text-underline:none”>Fidel Ramos to join
in the senatorial campaign under the 
text-decoration:none;text-underline:none”>Lakas- text-underline:none”>Laban ticket. He won in the elections and served his term as
senator from 1995-2001. During that term he was asked to look for a new site of
the Senate after the old Executive Building will be renovated for the National
Museum. The Senate offices and session hall were transferred to the GSIS
Building at the Financial Center in 
text-decoration:none;text-underline:none”>Pasay City.

In 1997, Osmeña bolted  text-decoration:none;text-underline:none”>Lakas NUCD to be an
independent senator. In 1998, he joined the 
Liberal
Party
.
Osmeña succeeded Senator Edgardo J. Angara as Chair of the powerful Committee
on Agriculture and Food and the Congressional Oversight Committee on
Agricultural and Fisheries Modernization (COCAFM). As Chair, Osmeña tried to
block the approval of the construction of the Casecnan and the San Roque dams
having discovered gross discrepancies in the costs and benefits of the
projects.

It was Osmeña who pointed out that the
government would be investing a ridiculous amount of more than P385,000 to
irrigate an additional hectare of rice paddy. The expose led to the
cancellation of the proposed Balog-Balog irrigation project.

In 2001, Osmeña was one of the senators
who voted in favor of opening the second bank envelope for the impeachment case
filed against 
Joseph
Estrada
.
The motion was outnumbered, and it led to the 
text-decoration:none;text-underline:none”>second EDSA People Power Revolution. He ran as independent
for the position of Senator under the People Power Coalition. He won in the
elections and served his second term as senator from 2001-2007. Right after
Senator 
Aquilino
Pimentel Jr.
 was replaced by Senator  text-decoration:none;text-underline:none”>Franklin Drilon as
Senate President, he joined Pimentel’s party 
none;text-underline:none”>PDP-Laban. His mandate as senator for the second
term expired in 2007.

Running independent again in 2010
(although adopted by the Liberal Party
text-decoration:none;text-underline:none”>[2] and the
Partido ng Masang Pilipino), Osmeña refused to participate in the sorties of
his adoptive parties and instead campaigned all by himself. He graced radio
programs and television interviews.

Running on a shoe-string budget, Osmeña
did not have the volume of posters and billboards of his opponents. He had
television advertisements that to him would be more effective and more prudent
to reach the electorate. Osmeña placed tenth and became a senator again for the
third time. 

Osmeña campaigned for justice for
victims of toxic wastes at the former U.S. bases in 
text-decoration:none;text-underline:none”>Clark Air Base and  text-decoration:none;text-underline:none”>Subic Bay. He has
extended assistance to victims in the form of hospitalization and financial
support. He earned the respect of many for his exposes on graft and corruption,
among others the anomalous IMPSA-CBK, 
text-underline:none”>PIATCO, Tiwi-Makban, Marconi and Casecnan
contracts, saving billions of pesos for the Filipino people. During his first
year in the Philippine Senate in 1995, he was already recognized by the Free
Press magazine as “Most Outstanding Freshman Senator” for these
exposes.

Serge has also been criticized for being
a political turncoat. He was initially part of 
text-decoration:none;text-underline:none”>Lakas-NUCD-UMDP in the
early 1990s then transferred to the 
Liberal
Party
.
He then joined the People Power Coalition in early 2001 and transferred
to 
none;text-underline:none”>PDP-Laban in late 2001. His grandfather,  text-decoration:none;text-underline:none”>Sergio Osmeña belonged
to the 
Nacionalista
Party
 while
his father Sergio Osmeña Jr. was once a member of the 
Nacionalista
Party
 but
transferred to 
Liberal
Party
 when
he challenged 
text-decoration:none;text-underline:none”>Ferdinand Marcos in
the 
text-underline:none”>1969 presidential election.

Aligning himself with Benigno
“Noynoy” Aquino III, the leading presidential candidate in the 2010
election, he refused to stand beside Ralph Recto whose advocacy on the EVat ran
counter to his own.

Serge, as many people call him, is a
farmer and businessman by training and was educated at Harvard, Georgetown, and
the University of the Philippines. He is married to Isabel “Bettina”
Mejia Lopez. He has six children.

Serge comes from a family of senators.
His grandfather Sergio Sr. served during the American colonial period. His
father Sergio Jr. served in the 1960s. His cousin, John Henry served in the
Senate from 1971–1972, 1987–1992, 1992–1995 and 1998-2004. His maternal
grandfather, Esteban de la Rama of 
text-decoration:none;text-underline:none”>Negros Occidental was also
a senator.

Osmeña has been
independent at the Senate, even grilling Aquino appointees at the Commission on
Appointments. Still, some observers think the senator may side with the LP bloc
consisting of Senators Franklin Drilon, Francis Pangilinan, Ralph Recto and
Teofisto Guingona III.

Osmeña was among the
senator-judges who voted to open the controversial second envelope allegedly
containing incriminating evidence against Estrada. They were overruled, though,
in an 11-10 vote. This led to a walkout of prosecutors and the People Power
uprising that toppled Estrada.

In December 2011, he said,
“Remember, in the impeachment trial of Joseph Estrada, we lost the vote
but it was the public who said he was guilty.”

Even before
Corona’s impeachment, Osmeña defended President Aquino’s criticism of the
Supreme Court. While not mentioning Corona, the senator told ABS-CBN News that
most justices in the High Court are openly partisan toward Arroyo.He said,
“You cannot continue tolerating a court until they’re 70 and they’ve been
appointed by Gloria. They have been so partial to Gloria that who’s going to
stand up for the Filipino people?”

 Osmeña said he supports the Aquino
administration’s “overall goal to throw out crooks and corrupt people in
government.”

He says, ”Gloria
Arroyo really abused her power. So, to cover up for all her corruption, she set
up a lot of land mines. She put Merceditas Gutierrez in the Office of the
Ombudsman, and Renato Corona and some funny guys in the Supreme Court. All of
them.”

* * *

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commment on this blog by writing toduckyparedes@gmail.com,
All of my writings also appear onduckyparedes.com/blogs.

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Our Poverty and the Crooked Politicos

11.02.15 ManilaSpeak.com

“(T)he Ombudsman has disqualified the guilty from again serving the people.”

Why so many of us are poor seems to me the result of public money being pocketed by the corrupt and not being used to improve the economy or to provide what the government is supposed to provide as service to its people. While corruption is not the sole reason why we have widespread poerty in the Philippines, clearly corruption is a major contributor to the continued existence of massive poverty.
I am glad that in addition to finding many officials guilty of taking public moneys, the Ombudsman has disqualified the guilty from again serving the people. This should have been done years ago. For now, none of these officials disqualified have complained, probably too embarrassed to openly opplose the Ombudsman.
From Bantayog ng Mga Bayani Foundation, which honors the Martyrs and Heroes of the struggle against dictaorship in the Philippines (1972-1986)., we have this listing of where one of the Marcoses spent our money.
September 1976: Ten years after assuming the presidency, Imelda and Ferdinand bought a condo on Fifth Avenue in New York. Eventually, they bought 3 more condos paying a total of $ 4,000,000.00
October 13,1977: After addressing the United Nations, Imelda went shopping, She spent $384,000.00– $50,000 for a platinum bracelet with rublies; $50,000 for deiamond bracelet and $ 68,000 for a pin with diamonds.
November 2, 1977. Shopping again, Imelda paid $ 450,000 for a gold necklace and bracelet with emeralds, rubies and diamonds; $300,000 for a ring with emeralds and diamonds and $300,000 for a gold pendant with diamonds, rubies and thirty-nine emeralds.
July 1976. Coming from Russia, Imelda arrived in New York to shop — $193,320 for antiques bought in the name of the Philippine consulae to avoid paying the sales tax.
A week later, she spent $ 2,181,000.00 in one day –$1,150,00 for a platinum and emerald bracelet with diamonds from Bulgari; $330,000 for a a necklace, $300,000 for a ring; $78,000 for 18-carat gold ear clips and $300,000 for a pendant with canary diamonds, rubies and emerads on a gold chain
May 1979, Imelda and Ferdinand clebrated their 25th wedding anniversary in aparty that cost us poor Pinoys $5,000,000.00.
November 23, 1978. A house was purchased in Cherry Hill, New Jersey for Bongbong who was taking courses in Philadelphia at the time. The house was for the use of servants and Bongbong’s security.
Also in 1978 and 1979, they puchased two properties – a 15-acre estate to be used by Imee as she attended Princeton and a house in Cherry Hill for the use of Bongbong.
June 1980. For $1,577.000.00, Imelda buys Webster Hotel in New York with Gen. Romeo Gatan as a limited partner. (Gatan arrested Ninoy Aqjino at the beginning of Martial Law.)
February 16, 1986, On this day, a large sum was paid out to Assemblyman Arturo Pacificadaor. A few days later, Evelio Javier was watching the votes being counted in San Jose, Antique when two carloads of men opend fire and gunned down Javier. Pacificador was later convicted of the murder.
February 25, 1986. The Dictator Marcos fled the country leaving behind a foreign debt of $27 billion
The Central Bank printed millions of peso bills, many with the same serial number. Sixty million pesos in newly printed bills were found in a vehicle owned by Imelda’s brother Bejo in the Port Area of Manila, and another Php 100 million aboard the MV Legaspi also owned by Bejo Romualdez.
How massive and humongous a loot Marcos took can be deduced from the known losses he left behind. The losses he left at the Central Bank included $1.2 billion in missing reserves and $6 billion in Special Accounts.
Imelda charged off most of her spending sprees to the Philippine National Bank which creatively wrote off her debts as “unresponded transfers”.
The known losses at the PNB amounted to Php72.1 billion. At the DBP, the losses Marcos left behind totaled Php85 billion; at Philguarantee, it was Php 6.2 billion ; and at the National Investment and Development Corporation (NDC) – the losses amounted to Php 2.8 billion.
The cronies enjoyed their closeness to Marcos. With him they formed a Grand Coalition. They participated in the exercise of dictatorship. But Marcos owned them. The wealth of the cronies belonged to him.
The conservative Grand Total for losses Marcos left behind (and therefore the kind of loot he grabbed and hid) amounted to $17.1 billion. The Central Bank, the PNB, and other financial institutions badly need an audit. The special review (not regular audit because there seems not to have been any – there are no records anyway) did not uncover Imelda’s spending – her name never appeared. The review gave no hint of theft or missing money, only “downward adjustments” and “proposed adjustments” to “deficiencies” and “shortages of money”.
February 26, 1986. A few hours after the Marcos party landed in Honolulu, their luggage arrived – 300 crates on board a C-141 cargo jet. It took twenty-five customs officers five hours to tag the bags and identify the contents. The process was videotaped because of all the money and jewelry found.
There were 278 crates of jewelry and art worth an estimated US$5 million. Twenty-two crates contained more than Php27.7 million in newly minted currency, mostly hundred-peso denominations worth approximately US $1,270,000. 00 (It was illegal at that time for anyone to depart the Philippines carrying more than Php500 in cash.) There were other certificates of deposit from Philippine banks worth about US$1 million, five handguns, 154 videotapes, seventeen cassette tapes, and 2,068 pages of documents – all of which were impounded by US Customs.
The Marcos party was allowed to keep only US$300,000.00 in gold and $150,000.00 in bearer bonds that they brought in with their personal luggage because they declared them and thus broke no US customs laws.
There were 24 one-kilo gold bars fitted into 2 $17,000 hand-tooled Gucci briefcase with a solid gold buckle and a plaque on it that read, “To Ferdinand Marcos, from Imelda, on the Occasion of our 24th Wedding Anniversary.”
February 1986. When Marcos departed the Philippines, the losses in the three Central Bank accounts surpassed Php 122 billion (more than $6 billion). The big bulk of losses was attributed to the RIR account mainly due to two items: forward cover and swap contracts.
Forward cover referred to foreign exchange provided by the CB at a fixed exchange rate to importers of essential commodities. Swap contracts referred to CB’s receiving foreign exchange from banks in exchange for pesos at the prevailing rate with a promise to deliver the foreign exchange back to them at an agreed future date. There was no mention of losses due to CB transactions in gold or foreign exchange.
And, Vice Presidential Candidate Bongbong now says that this country does not deserve an explanation and that his parents did the country well and they have nothing to be ashamed of.
Elect a Marcos again and have more of the same shenanigna again!
* * *
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Bantayog vs. Bong Bong

10.16.15 ManilaSpeak 

by Ducky Paredes

Whnever the argument comes up (as Bongbong Marcos constangtly reminds us) that we should move on and away  from beinging up stories about the Martial Law years, which he considers unfair personal attacks, I turn to the Bantayog ng Mga Bayani Foundation that  honors the Martyrs and Heroes of the struggle against dicatorship in the Philippines. For me, who will never vote for any Marcos, the Martial Law years should never be allowed again under any circumstances. Unlimited powers bring out the worst in the Dictator and his cronies.

The following is taken from the Bantayog blog (https//facebook.com/bantayog ng mga bayan):

“Among the victims was a young lawyer. Evelio Javier, who at the age of 29 defeated an entrenched incumbent and became the youngest provincial governor in the Philippines. Throughout martial law he steadfastly maintained his political independence from the Marcos regime. This independence cost him his life.

“Javier studied at the Ateneo, where he finished high school and college. He became president of the student council and while in law school, editor-in-chief of the Guidon.

“Imbued with the idea that ‘politics is the concern of good and decent people,’ he returned to Antique after having taught at the Ateneo for five years. He ran for governor, and won, serving for the next eight years despite his personal opposition to martial law.

“’His first instinct was to resign,’ recounted a friend, ‘but he was prevailed upon by his family, friends and supporters because everybody thought that martial law, being a temporary measure, was not going to last long.’ As it turned out, the temporary measure became a permanent way of life,” and he realized that ‘it was preferable for the Antiqueños to have a leader in such times than none at all.’

“After that he declined to serve another term, and instead went to Harvard University to take up a master’s course in public administration at the John F. Kennedy School of Government.”

“Shortly after Benigno Aquino’s assassination in 1983, Javier returned to the Philippines and ran for a seat in the Batasan (martial law parliament) as representative of Antique. Shortly before the elections, seven of his supporters were killed in an ambush. In what was seen as a sham election, the Marcos-aligned warlord Arturo Pacificador was proclaimed the winner. (At the Batasan, Pacificador would be chosen majority floorleader for the Marcos party, Kilusang Bagong Lipunan.)

“Undeterred by this defeat, and despite threats to his life, Javier next focused his energies on campaigning for Corazon Aquino and Salvador Laurel who were facing President Marcos in the snap presidential elections set for the first week of February 1986. He played a key role in uniting the opposition behind Mrs. Aquino. He served as provincial chair of the Unido-Laban party.

“Five days after the snap presidential elections, Javier was shot dead by hooded men in broad daylight and less than 100 meters away from the provincial capitol where election returns were being canvassed and tallied. The first volley wounded Javier but the assassins were able to corner and finish him off some distance away.

“Seventeen persons, including Arturo Pacificador and his son Rodolfo, and a notorious ex-PC soldier, were indicted with the Ministry of Justice. The ex-assemblyman was arrested only in 1995, to be acquitted by the regional trial court in Antique for the prosecution’s failure (the court said) to establish Pacificador’s involvement in the murder.

“Evelio Javier, 44, was killed at a time when public outrage was at its height against the Marcos dictatorship. In fact, just days later, Marcos with his family and close friends would be flown out of Malacanang to exile in Hawaii. Months later, in September 1986, the Supreme Court nullified the proclamation of Arturo Pacificador as congressman of Antique.

 “Javier’s body was flown to Manila where it lay in state at the Ateneo de Manila and served as rallying point for the forces which coalesced to become the EDSA people power. It was then flown back to Antique for burial. Provincemates mourned their young leader’s death in an epic funeral procession that ran the 160-kilometer length of the island of Panay.”

* * *

On a more prosaic note, a much needed reform in the the rules governing the issuance of driver’s licenses that is hoped to improve the capability of the driver as well as streamline the application process have been put out by the DOTC.  The new process takes effect within the first half of November 2015, and will cover all four types of licenses.

According to Department of Transportation and Communications (DOTC) Secretary Jun Abaya: “The revised rules will serve two purposes: first, they will better ensure the fitness and capability of license card holders to drive on our streets; and second, they will streamline the application process and make it more convenient for the public.”

Covered are professional driver’s licenses (PDLs); non-professional driver’s licenses (NPDLs); student’s permits (SPs); and conductor’s licenses (CLs).

The LTO imposes higher standards and requirements for professional driver’s license (PDL) applicants:

Applicants for PDLs to operate light vehicles must have had a valid SP for at least  6 months prior to the application. 

In cases of heavy vehicles, the PDL applicant must have either a valid NPDL for at least 1 year prior to the application, or a valid PDL to operate light vehicles for at least 6 months prior to the same.

Under the present rules a 5-month holder of an SP or a 4-month holder of an NPDL may apply for a PDL.

At the same time, the LTO is tightening its eligibility criteria by disqualifying PDL applicants who have had two or more citations for reckless driving during the validity period of their existing license. This is meant to incentivize disciplined, law-abiding, and orderly driving among would-be PDL applicants.

These restrictions will apply to the four types of PDL examinations: those for tricycles, for light vehicles, for heavy vehicles, as well as for conductors.

For the convenience of applicants, the LTO will accept  medical certificates issued by any duly-licensed and practicing physician, instead of restricting these to accredited doctors stationed at LTO offices.

This will allow applicants to have themselves examined by a doctor of their own choosing, at a time and place convenient to them. However, the revised rules require that a medical certificate submitted during application should have been issued no more than 15 days prior. The LTO will not accept medical certificates which are over 15 days old.

For uniformity, the LTO will provide a Medical Certificate form which will be free of charge and will be available for downloading from the DOTC and LTO websites.  The form must state that the applicant is physically and mentally fit to drive, as well as the condition of their hearing and eyesight. 

The LTO will also implement a merit system as an incntive for good behavior and disciplined driving among license holders. Currently, licenses have a 3-year validity period based on the license holder’s date of birth.

Under this new system, a PDL or NPDL holder who has not committed any violation during the 3-year validity period will be entitled to a 5-year validity period for their next license upon renewal. For those who have committed a violation, they will be eligible for the regular 3-year validity period only upon renewal.

Lectures or seminars prior to the written and practical examinations will no longer be conducted by the agency. Instead, the LTO will release reviewers containing all possible questions to the public. The reviewers will be given to those who are issued SPs, and will be made available to anyone at LTO offices and on the websites of the DOTC and the LTO.

Applicants who fail the Basic Driving Theory Test and/or the Practical Driving Test twice shall not be allowed to apply for the same within a period of 1 year. An applicant who fails either of the tests for the third time will not be allowed to apply for a period of 2 years.

Lastly, the minimum age requirement for SPs will be raised from the current 16 years old to 17 years old. In the same vein, the minimum age for NPDL applicants will be raised from 17 years old to 18 years old.

(A personal note: I bought my first car, a VW Beetle at about 23. Since I would be driving for the first time, I asked a cousin (then 14 y.o.) who was the regular driver for my uncle to teach me. I learned enough to drive myself even as my young instructor told me: “If you have to go between two busses, just speed up.” He believed that, as in the cartoons, the car gets thinner and elongates with speed.) Of course, I never tried to see whether my young  teacher was right.

* * *

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Too Many VPs?

“Should we do this as the Americans do their elections where a vote for the President is also a vote for the vice president.”

 

By Ducky Paredes

 

 

            We have a plethora of politicos running  for vice President. Never have so many wanted to be Vice President. This is unexplainable unless they know something that we do not know.  Are any of the Presidintiables  in danger of croaking in the next six years?  Or, have they found a quicker way to the Presidency?

            The vice presiden’s main purpose for being is to take over should the President die. That has always been the Veep’s main job.

            Senate President Pro-Tempore Ralph Recto says about this: Leni is the perfect match and a great catch for Mar.

            “If Gringo will join the fray, Leni will be the fourth Bicolano to throw her hat into the vice presidential ring. Batangueno Sonny Trillanes’ mom is from Bicol, which makes him an oragon.

            “Sa unang pagkakataon, mas maraming “vice presidentiable” na magmumula sa Bicol sa taong ito kesa sa bagyo. It is becoming the cradle of VPs. National leaders are becoming its major export. Bicol is punching above its weight.

            “Like a sili, the presence of Bicol stalwarts will add spice to the vice presidential contest. As they share the same homeland, I foresee a friendly but fierce contest among kababayans.

            “I wish Sonny, Greg, Leni, and Chiz good luck as they wage the good fight. They, including Alan and Bongbong, are all eminently qualified for the post they are seeking.”

Sergio Osmena was the first vice President to inherit the  Presidency when Manuel Quezon died in office during the Japanese Occupatiion. He served  until Manuel Roxas was elected President in 1947. Roxas served only for one year, 10 months  and 21 days as President. Elpidio Quirino, the vice President, took over  when Roxas died of a heart attack. Carlos Garcia, vice President to Ramon Magsaysay, became President when Magsaysay died in a plane crash on March 17, 1957.

At one time, it looked like the Vice Presidency  was the sure route to becoming President.

But no other Presidents died in office after Magsaysay. After Garcia, Diosdado Macpagal was elected President until the Marcos years.  Ferdinand was elected President in 1965 and ended his reign on February 25, 1986 as Dictator. His Vice President Fernando Lopez served the longest as VP and never was President.

Then we had Corazon Aqino  as president with Salvador Laurel as Vice President. There is a tale told in Malacanang that in one of those uprisings during Cory’s presidency, Laurel was in Hongkong ready to declare himself President had  the rebels succeeded in ousting Cory. That never happenned, of course and Cory was succeeded by Fidel Ramos and his Vice President, Joseph Estrada, who succeeded Ramos as President  with Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo as vice President.

Gloria did  something that could be behind the glut in the number of candidates for the post of Vice President in this year’s election. She had Estrada declared unfit as President and took over as President on January 20, 2001. She served Erap’s unserved term and six years of her own as President up to June 20, 2010, when the present occupant Benigno Aquino III was elected President!

* * *

One wonders if this is what has attracted so many to run for the vice presidency? After all, the most popular candidate Grace Poe, the American, could be found ineligibe after the elections and would be unable to sit as President, no matter how well she does in the election. Another Presidential candidate could also be declared unfit for the Presidency with all the charges against him and would be placed in jail instead of in Malacanang. That’s another straight route to the presidency.

And taking a clue from Gloria, the winning president could be made so unpopular that he could be charged with all sorts of crimes and his win in the elections taken away from him and the vice president again takes over to serve the unserved presidential term and the term of the new president for another  term like Gloria who had the presidency for close to nine years total.

* * *

Of the  candidates for Vice President four are Bicolanos. We have never had a Bicolano Vice President or President, Is it now the time for those from Bicol to take a leadershjip role?

After trying out a parnership with just about everyone, Presidential Candidate Jejomar Binay has decided on Senator Gregorio “Gringo” Honasan as his VP. This is his final break with the President who appointed him because he was a lawyer-member of Mabini, admired for their ideals and help for the downtrodden, as mayor of Makati and a cabinet member in the presidency of the present President Aquino. Honasan, as a rebel, would have killed Cory if he ever had the chance. The rebels he commanded cerrtainly tried. In fact, Cory’s son, the present President still has a rebel’s bullet in his body.

Leni Robredo, the widow of the most admired cabinet member of the present administration is a congressman who was picked by Mar Roxas to be his Vice President early on but she could not decide since her three daughters did not want mom to take on higher responsibilities than she already had as congresswoman. She finally decided recently and looks primed for the rocky road ahead.

Senator Chiz Escudero has  always been the friend of Presidential Candidate Grace Poe and has always been her choice for VP.

Senator  Antonuio Tillanes is also in the race for VP and is the fourth of the Bicolano candidates. He is also campaigning for Grace Poe for President

Two VP candidates running on their own as independents are Senators Alan Peter Cayetano who hopes that Davao City Mayor Dingcong Duterte will run and Ferdinand (Bong Bong) Marcos, Jr. Cayetano has banners with Duterte- Cayetano as candidates even as Duterte has yet to decide whether to make a run for the presidency.

Who will win and will we be better off wth the next president and whoever wins as vice president?

Maybe we should we change the way we choose our leaders, as many have suggested.  Should we do as the Americans do their elections where a vote for the President is also a vote for the vice president? That might sound like a good suggestion but wouldn’t that be too boring for many of our voters?

* * *

Readers can commment on this blog by writing toduckyparedes@gmail.com, All of my writings also appear onduckyparedes.com/blogs.

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Readers who missed a column can access www.duckyparedes.com/blogs. This is updated daily. Your reactions are welcome at duckyparedes@gmail.com or you can send me a message through Twitter @diretsahan.

A Trip to Puerto Princesa

09.26.15 Manila Speak.com

 ”If they were not respnsible for the murder of Ka Gerry, why did they have to hide out in Phuket?”

 by Ducky Paredes  

            The PAL plane I took arrived in Puerto Princesa City just a few hours before the plane with the fugitiveReyes brothers on board arrived. They had been arrested and sent back home from Phucket by the authorities in Thailand. Taken in by our aithorities in Metro Manila, former Palawan Governor  Joel and his brother Mario Tolentino Reyes, Jr. former Mayor of Coron town were suspects in the murder of Radioman  Gerry Ortega in 2011.

“Doc Gerry” or “Ka Gerry” was a journalist, veterinarian, politician, environmental activist, and community organizer best known for his work to promote crocodile farming in the Philippines. Ortega has often been lauded as a hero of the Philippine Environment  since he was assassinated on January 24, 2011, allegedly due to his anti-mining advocacy.

Doc Gerry was the son of a Mayor of Aborlan. He earned his Doctor of Veterinary Medicine degree from the Gregorio Araneta University Foundation.  Ortega was a devout Roman Catholic and was one of the local leaders of the Catholic group, Couples for Christ, in Palawan.[11]

In 1988 Ortega began working at the Palawan Wildlife Rescue and Rehabilitation Center in Irawan, Puerto Princesa, Palawan.[11]In 1989, he became the institute’s director.

The  Crocodile Farm project, which was run by the Department of Environment and Natural Resources, and funded by the Japan International Cooperation Agency.

Ortega resigned from his post at Crocodile Farm in time to run for a position in the Provincial Board of Palawan in 2001. He won and held that post until 2004., Ortega became “the foremost critic of then Governor Mario Joel T. Reyes.”

In 2004, Ortega ran for Governor of Palawan, under a good governance platform. He lost. Governor Mario Joel T. Reyes was declared the winner.

Sometime later that year, the ABS-CBN Foundation recruited Ortega to become project director of Bantay Kalikasan-Palawan.

On January 24, 2011, Ortega had just finished broadcasting on his morning show “Ramatak” for RMN’s Palawan station DWAR-FM. He stopped at an “Ukay Ukay” (used clothing) Thrift store in Barangay San Pedro, near the veterinary clinic he shared with his wife Patty.

It was here that a gunman came up behind Ortega, and shot him in the back of the head.

 In 2013, the Reyes brothers disappeared and were returned to Palawan on the day I arrived.

* * *

My friend Mar, who met me at the Puero Princesa airport has a theory about the Reyes brothers. “Mar” is short for “Margarito” and not” Manuel A. Roxas.” He says that he believes that the Reyes brothers returned on time for the filing of their certificates of candidacy next month. Ater which, ala Trillanes, both will run for governor and Mayor while under detention.

Could they still won? Since I know litle about Palawan politics, I have to tke his word for it.

He does not believe that Governor Joel is the kind who would kill off his enemies. I have to agree that Palawan politics confuses me. For instance, what is happenning now in Puerto Princesa. I cannot understand why a losing candidate in 2013 will still file for a recount with the next election happening justa few months away.

At any rate, on his way home, my friend Mar reports that he could not pass on the road leading to the city jail where the brothers Reyes are being held. He says that the road was packed with people who were there because they wanted to show their support for their former governor.

I can see why the people congregated in the vicinity of the Puerto Princesa city jail. Perhaps, curiosity. But, I have to ask:”If they were not respnsible for the murder of Ka Gerry, why did the Reyes brothers have to leave thecountry and hide out in Phuket?”

* * *

Readers can commment on this blog by writing to duckyparedes@gmail.com, All of my writings also appear on duckyparedes.com/blogs.

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Readers who missed a column can access www.duckyparedes.com/blogs. This is updated daily. Your reactions are welcome at duckyparedes@gmail.com or you can send me a message through Twitter @diretsahan.

On Senator Grace Poe as R.P. President

09.23.15 ManilaSpeak

“(O)ur President says that we should allow Senator Grace Poe run for President .”

by Ducky Paredes 

             Who should we believe? Those who say that the constiturion says that only naturai-born Filipinos can be elected as  president which means that only those father or  mother is Filipino. (This is in contrast to the law in the US where a Pinoy born in US territory  because that makes him a natural-born American can be elected president of the US.)

            Or, should we go by what our President says that we should allow Senator Grace Poe to run for President. Then, if after the elections, she is the winner, that is when  we can decide what to do. The President apparently believes that the winner should have the chance to be President. Or, should the many who  do not even want her name to be on the ballot because, although  the chances are better than good  that the foundling in the Jaro Cathedral would actually be the child of a Pinoy or Pinay (or both)  living in the town of Jaro in 1968., there is still the off-chance that she would not be a “natural-born” Filipina by definition.  

Only on the off-chance that she was born of a foreign couple living in the town of Jaro in 1968, would her candidacy violate our constitution.

* * *

Wouldn’t she be a far better President than having a full-blooded natural-born Filipino crook for our next President?

* * *

She became a citizen of the United States in 2001 and was back in the Philippines in 2005. On October 21, 2010, she formally swore allegiance again to the Philippines, according to the records of the United States Bureau of Consular Services.

She was married in 2012 to an American, Neil Llamanzares. They have three children – Brian, Hanna and Jesusa, all of whom are Philippine citizens, with dual citizenships as Americans.

(I have no quarrel with that. My wife had am American father. We have four children all of whom are U.S. Citizens. I continue as the lone Filipino in my immediate family.)

* * *

President Benigno S. Aquino III was in a joking mood in discussing China’s territorial claims in the disputed West Philippine Sea as he again rejected bilateral talks with the Asian bully.

In a television intervies, Aquino cakked out China for seeking joint development in the West Philippine Sea while claiming almost all of the West Philippine Sea.

The President said: “The joke then was it seemed like China was saying ‘what is ours is ours and what is yours, we share.’ And I was like of course, I laughed at that time.

Apparently,  Manila should never have joint ventures with Beijing in the West Philippine Sea.

“Our laws recognize that we can have foreign investors, for instance, in an oil exploration in the West Philippine Sea. I think the discussions bogged down in terms of conflict resolution,” Aquino noted.

“Assuming there is a disagreement between the joint venture partners, whose laws apply? And that becomes again laws apply for sovereignty.”

The president also maintained his opposition to bilateral negotiations with China to resolve the territorial dispute.

Aquino insisted that the sea row is not only a bilateral concern as it involves other members of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN).

“They keep saying ‘let’s have a bilateral dialogue’. And our position is, Spratlys is multilateral foreign ASEAN alone, plus Taiwan, plus China, there’s six of us,” Aquino said.

“How can two bind the other four into any agreement? It has to be a multilateral fora so that we have a lasting agreement amongst ourselves,” he adds.

            Talking with China, one cannot possilby win. What does one do, if one wins the argument but China insists on doing what it pleases. The argument comes down to who has the more powerful military force and the superios firepower.

            This is why we can only be hapier that Japan has decided to stop being a pacifist nation to one that will, when necessary, defend itself and its allies.

* * *

Readers can commment on this blog by writing to duckyparedes@gmail.com, All of my writings also appear on duckyparedes.com/blogs.

# # # #

 

Readers who missed a column can access www.duckyparedes.com/blogs. This is updated daily. Your reactions are welcome at duckyparedes@gmail.com or you can send me a message through Twitter @diretsahan.

Japan Reacts to the Chinese Bully

09.21.15 Manila Speak

Japanese assertiveness in the face of the Chinese threats is a welcome change.”

by Ducky Paredes

    Japan’s parliament has voted into law a defense policy shift that allows Japanese troops to again fight overseas for the first time since 1945, a milestone in Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s push to loosen the limits of the pacifist Constitution on the military.

Abe says the shift, the biggest change in Japan’s defense policy since the creation of its post-war military in 1954, is vital to meet new challenges such as an overly aggressive China.

The legislation “is necessary to protect the people’s lives and prevent wars,” Abe told reporters after the bills were approved by the upper house Abe added: “I want to keep explaining the laws tenaciously and courteously.”

Japan’s ally the United States welcomed the changes but China which sees itself as the cause of the policy shift, has expressed concern about the legislation.

China’s Foreign Ministry said: “We solemnly urge Japan to learn the lessons of history… uphold the path of peaceful development and act cautiously in the areas of the military and security, and do more to help push regional peace and stability rather than the opposite.”

“We demand that Japan genuinely listen to just appeals from both at home and abroad, learning from historical lessons and adhering to the path of peaceful development,” said Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Hong Lei.

This seems out of place amid Chinese rhetoric extolling its military as the most feared in Asia.

The Philippines, at odds with China over territorial disputes in the South China Sea, seesJapan’s move as welcome.

Foreign Affairs Secretary Albert del Rosario said: “We look forward to efforts that strengthen our Strategic Partnership with Japan and those that would contribute further to shared goals of greater peace, stability, and mutual prosperity in the international community.”

The legislation, already approved by Japan parliament’s lower house, was voted into law by the upper chamber despite opposition parties’ efforts to block a vote by submitting censure motions and a no-confidence motion against Abe’s cabinet in the lower house. All were defeated.

A key feature of the laws is an end to a long-standing ban on exercising the right of collective self-defense, or defending the United States or another friendly country that comes under attack, in cases where Japan faces a “threat to its survival.”

Parliament protesters, estimated at over 10,000, raised their voices louder as news of the decision spread through the crowd, chanting: “Protect the Constitution.” One sign read: “Spread peace not war.”

Fifty-five years ago after forcing a US-Japan security treaty through parliament, Abe’s grandfather, Nobusuke Kishi, was forced to resign.

The changes still leave Japan constrained in overseas military operations by legal limits and a deeply rooted public anti-war mindset.

            For the Philippines which has been subject to the taunts and aggressive behaviour  of the Chinese bully in our own Philippine sea, the Japanese move is a good one – for the Philippines and Japan and for the rest of Asia. No one among our neighbors wants a war in Asia.  For the Philippines, however, in the face of the Chinese bullying  and threats against  the Philippines, Japan’sassertiveness in the face of the Chinese threats is a welcome change.

            We may not have too strong a military capability against China’s evil designs but a strong Japan and a strong United States might help to temper Chinese designs on our country.

* * *

House Deputy Minority Leader and LPG-MA Rep. Arnel Ty has good advice for Senator Grace Poe Lllamansares: “Senator Poe is fairly young at 47. She can always run for president in 2022, when she will be 53 years old. Meantime, she should seek the vice presidency to obtain more experience.” 

Grace is obviously not listening and will probably continues. She has made up her mind even to boasting that she will be our “next President.”

“But Congressman Ty says: “The longer Senator Poe serves the country, either as vice president or as senator, the better. She will also be able to convince a greater number of Filipinos that she is here to stay for good.” 

Grace, according to herself,  spent much of her adult life in the United States, and decided to be an American citizen in 2001, returning home only in 2004.

 It is not even clear if she finally returned here in 2004, or if she still went back and forth the US and the Philippines between 2004 and 2010, considering that she gave up her US citizenship only in 2010, when she was named chairperson of the Movie and Television Review and Classification Board.

 “As a presidential hopeful, in a four- or five-way fight, Senator Poe will be up against tough and tested rivals who will surely give her a run for her money,” says Ty said.

 “In fact, the 2016 battle lines in many provinces have been draw this early, mainly between resigned Interior Secretary Mar Roxas and Vice President Jejomar Binay.”

But if Poe runs for vice president, she is “virtually unbeatable” in 2016, regardless whether she runs in tandem with Roxas, Binay, Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte, or Sen. Miriam Santiago, Ty said.

He said Poe, who is only on her third year in the Senate, could also choose to just finish her initial six-year term, and then seek re-election in 2019, before running for president in 2022.

 “Either way, by 2022, she will have gained considerable know-how, and she will have also demonstrated to everybody that she is here to serve and stay permanently,” Ty said.

As for Duterte, Ty believes the mayor will run for president, despite his previous statements to the contrary.

* * *

Readers can commment on this blog by writing to duckyparedes@gmail.com, All of my writings also appear on duckyparedes.com/blogs.

# # # #

 

Readers who missed a column can access www.duckyparedes.com/blogs. This is updated daily. Your reactions are welcome at duckyparedes@gmail.com or you can send me a message through Twitter @diretsahan.

Japan Reacts to the Chinese Bully

09.21.15 Manila Speak

Japanese assertiveness in the face of the Chinese threats is a welcome change.”

by Ducky Paredes

    Japan’s parliament has voted into law a defense policy shift that allows Japanese troops to again fight overseas for the first time since 1945, a milestone in Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s push to loosen the limits of the pacifist Constitution on the military.

Abe says the shift, the biggest change in Japan’s defense policy since the creation of its post-war military in 1954, is vital to meet new challenges such as an overly aggressive China.

The legislation “is necessary to protect the people’s lives and prevent wars,” Abe told reporters after the bills were approved by the upper house Abe added: “I want to keep explaining the laws tenaciously and courteously.”

Japan’s ally the United States welcomed the changes but China which sees itself as the cause of the policy shift, has expressed concern about the legislation.

China’s Foreign Ministry said: “We solemnly urge Japan to learn the lessons of history… uphold the path of peaceful development and act cautiously in the areas of the military and security, and do more to help push regional peace and stability rather than the opposite.”

“We demand that Japan genuinely listen to just appeals from both at home and abroad, learning from historical lessons and adhering to the path of peaceful development,” said Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Hong Lei.

This seems out of place amid Chinese rhetoric extolling its military as the most feared in Asia.

The Philippines, at odds with China over territorial disputes in the South China Sea, seesJapan’s move as welcome.

Foreign Affairs Secretary Albert del Rosario said: “We look forward to efforts that strengthen our Strategic Partnership with Japan and those that would contribute further to shared goals of greater peace, stability, and mutual prosperity in the international community.”

The legislation, already approved by Japan parliament’s lower house, was voted into law by the upper chamber despite opposition parties’ efforts to block a vote by submitting censure motions and a no-confidence motion against Abe’s cabinet in the lower house. All were defeated.

A key feature of the laws is an end to a long-standing ban on exercising the right of collective self-defense, or defending the United States or another friendly country that comes under attack, in cases where Japan faces a “threat to its survival.”

Parliament protesters, estimated at over 10,000, raised their voices louder as news of the decision spread through the crowd, chanting: “Protect the Constitution.” One sign read: “Spread peace not war.”

Fifty-five years ago after forcing a US-Japan security treaty through parliament, Abe’s grandfather, Nobusuke Kishi, was forced to resign.

The changes still leave Japan constrained in overseas military operations by legal limits and a deeply rooted public anti-war mindset.

            For the Philippines which has been subject to the taunts and aggressive behaviour  of the Chinese bully in our own Philippine sea, the Japanese move is a good one – for the Philippines and Japan and for the rest of Asia. No one among our neighbors wants a war in Asia.  For the Philippines, however, in the face of the Chinese bullying  and threats against  the Philippines, Japan’sassertiveness in the face of the Chinese threats is a welcome change.

            We may not have too strong a military capability against China’s evil designs but a strong Japan and a strong United States might help to temper Chinese designs on our country.

* * *

House Deputy Minority Leader and LPG-MA Rep. Arnel Ty has good advice for Senator Grace Poe Lllamansares: “Senator Poe is fairly young at 47. She can always run for president in 2022, when she will be 53 years old. Meantime, she should seek the vice presidency to obtain more experience.” 

Grace is obviously not listening and will probably continues. She has made up her mind even to boasting that she will be our “next President.”

“But Congressman Ty says: “The longer Senator Poe serves the country, either as vice president or as senator, the better. She will also be able to convince a greater number of Filipinos that she is here to stay for good.” 

Grace, according to herself,  spent much of her adult life in the United States, and decided to be an American citizen in 2001, returning home only in 2004.

 It is not even clear if she finally returned here in 2004, or if she still went back and forth the US and the Philippines between 2004 and 2010, considering that she gave up her US citizenship only in 2010, when she was named chairperson of the Movie and Television Review and Classification Board.

 “As a presidential hopeful, in a four- or five-way fight, Senator Poe will be up against tough and tested rivals who will surely give her a run for her money,” says Ty said.

 “In fact, the 2016 battle lines in many provinces have been draw this early, mainly between resigned Interior Secretary Mar Roxas and Vice President Jejomar Binay.”

But if Poe runs for vice president, she is “virtually unbeatable” in 2016, regardless whether she runs in tandem with Roxas, Binay, Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte, or Sen. Miriam Santiago, Ty said.

He said Poe, who is only on her third year in the Senate, could also choose to just finish her initial six-year term, and then seek re-election in 2019, before running for president in 2022.

 “Either way, by 2022, she will have gained considerable know-how, and she will have also demonstrated to everybody that she is here to serve and stay permanently,” Ty said.

As for Duterte, Ty believes the mayor will run for president, despite his previous statements to the contrary.

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President Grace Poe? Palafox on Metro Manila

09.18.15 ManilaSpeak

Palafox says  that from the 1900s to the 1970s, “Metro Manila was a model for planning and infrastructure.

By Ducky Paredes

The saving grace for me about the presidential run of Senadora Grace Poe is that she is sold on the “Daang Matuwid” of the present President.

In announcing her candidacy for the Presidency at the University of the Philippines Alumni Hall, she said: “Walang iisang tao o grupo ang may monopolya sa tuwid na daan. Malaki at malayo na ang nagawa ni Pangulong Aquino kaugnay sa pagpapanagot sa mga tiwali, at ako’y nagpapasalamat sa kanya dahil nanumbalik muli ang kumpyansa natin sa isang lider na tapat. Dapat lang na ituloy at paigtingin ang pagsugpo sa korupsyon.”

Poe, adopted daughter of the late actor Fernando Poe, Jr. and actress Susan Roces, said her decision was borne out of her desire to fulfill her father’s wish for a better Philippines.

FPJ ran and lost in the 2004 presidential elections against President Gloria Arroyo. He died in December, 2004, after suffering a stroke.

Malacañang wished Poe “all the best” in her decision to run for president in the 2016 elections.

Why not? After all, now there are two candidates advocating the daang matuwid Malacanang:

Says Malacanang: “On the statement of Sen. Grace Poe that we do not have a monopoly on Daang Matuwid, what is clear is we’re running on the platform of Daang Matuwid or of continuity of the reforms President Aquino has undertaken.”

 “I will hold the corrupt responsible for their acts, whether they are my friends or foes. But this aspiration should not be controlled by select people or party, but by every Filipino),” Grace says.

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The lasting solution to the worsening traffic and general urban congestion plaguing Metro Manila cannot be found in simply deploying the Highway Patrol to to attend to the traffic. That is not enough. Clearly, we need more roads and urban planner Felino Palafox Jr. says: “There is hope if we address traffic comprehensively, through urban planning, transport/land-use planning, traffic engineering, education and enforcement. We also need a visionary leadership with a strong political will, good planning, good design and good governance.”

But Palafox does see meaningful changes soon. He says that immediate action must be undertaken in the next 100 days, followed by short-term goals to be met in 2016, which should lead to medium-term goals from 2021 to 2025, and ultimately, for the long term from 2025 to 2050.

According to Palafox: “Many of the solutions had been put forward since the 1970s. The World Bank-funded MMetroPlan 1975-77 where I was team leader submitted over 300 recommendations to address land-use transport traffic development. We proposed eight LRT lines to be completed in 15 years. In 1984, Metro Manila had one of the most modern LRTs in the world. We proposed congestion charges on congested areas at peak hours of the day (a year behind Singapore), dedicated bus lanes, flood control and drainage systems to address transport traffic development concerns and issues.”

Palafox says  that from the 1900s to the 1970s, “Metro Manila was a model for planning and infrastructure.”

Perhaps, we ought to adopt  some solutions that worked in Singapore such as no parking on the streets, having a garage at home before one can buy a car, paying a toll to enter specific streets at certain hours and having busses that run on a strict schedule to avoid having too many busses bunched up in certain streets.

In his Manila Megalopolis 2020 paper written in 2003 which he presented at the Harvard Graduate School of Design, Palafox said that presentation included planning “urban growth centers as counter magnets to the fastest-growing metropolis in the world (Metro Manila grew at 60 persons per hour, according to a 2000 Harvard Study).”

According to the Urban Planner, “in 1945, the US Corps of Engineers proposed 10 radial roads and 6 circumferential roads. Today, C-6 is not yet fully realized.

“In my Manila Megalopolis, I’m recommending 10 circumferential roads and railways,” says Palafox.

He also  recommends linking the whole Philippines with railways and bridges towards 2050.  But as long as Manila traffic remains as bad as it is today, perhaps we ought to concentrate first on solving  Metro Manila before turning our attention to other areas.

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Readers can commment on this blog by writing to duckyparedes@gmail.com, All of my writings also appear on duckyparedes.com/blogs.

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Readers who missed a column can access www.duckyparedes.com/blogs. This is updated daily. Your reactions are welcome at duckyparedes@gmail.com or you can send me a message through Twitter @diretsahan.