Posts by Robert:

    Obsession and avoidance?*

    September 21st, 2018

    IT was quite obvious in the recent dialogue between President Duterte and Presidential Legal Counsel Sal Panelo that the President kept on bringing the issue back to Senator Antonio Trillanes IV.

    Some people noted that Duterte appeared to be obsessed with his number one critic. Could we blame anyone for such an assumption when there was a time in the midst of their conversation about rice and Cabinet meetings that the President brought the topic back to Trillanes?

    Apparently, Duterte was unsatisfied with the time he spent defending his action to nullify former President Noynoy Aquino’s amnesty grant to Trillanes.

    Panelo tried to talk about the President’s health condition, which his critics like Joma Sison, founder of the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) and former professor of Duterte, kept on hitting.

    Duterte answered by exposing that there was an alleged conspiracy between the communists and Trillanes’s group Magdalo to overthrow his administration. To many, Trillanes conspiring with the communists was not that easy to accept.

    More surprising was the President’s statement that they possess the evidence of the perpetrators’ constant communication provided by a foreign country which would reportedly be shown any day now. When Panelo tried to shift the conversation back to Duterte’s health, the President chose not to give any comment.

    *              *              *

    Some people believe Duterte may have been rattled by Trillanes openly challenging Proclamation 572. Such defiance has gained widespread support, what with the failure of the military to arrest the senator. Trillanes is looking more heroic as the government displays its mean streak.

    They want to know if Duterte is now allowing a foreign country to dip its finger into our country’s affairs? Can this be considered legal while we have a law against wiretapping?

    *              *              *

    Some took notice of Duterte appearing ill, out of focus, and would suddenly talk about Trillanes even if he and Panelo were discussing a different topic. He supposedly appeared to have suffered a stroke, had very dark skin as well as a dark face like someone who had undergone radiation therapy. It was in congruent with his arms’ skin color.

    These are just observations of some people. Whether or not I agree with them is of no consequence since it is the right of the public to know the truth about the President’s current state of health.

     *              *              *

     SHORT BURSTS. For comments or reactions, email firingline@ymail.com or tweet @Side_View.

     

    *The opinion of this author is his/hers alone. It is not necessarily the views of Beyond Deadlines.

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    Palakpakan*

    September 18th, 2018

    SA pagkakataong ito ay hayaan ninyong purihin natin ang dapat purihin at ito ay walang iba kundi si Presidente Rodrigo Duterte, ang kanyang Gabinete at lahat ng mga nagtulung-tulong upang harapin ang kinatatakutang super-lakas na bagyong Ompong.

    Ang naturang bagyo ay may lakas na 205 kilometers at bugso na 255 kilometers per hour at malawak ang sinasakop. Kung titingnan sa mapa ay halos kasing laki ng buong Luzon ang parating na bagyo.

    Maaga pa lang ay nagsagawa na ng mga preparasyon ang mga tauhan ng Pangulo. Noong Huwebes ay nakitang si Duterte ang nasa tuktok ng mga preparasyon dahil siya mismo ang namuno sa pagpupulong ng National Disaster Risk Reduction Management Council (NDRRMC) at nagtatanong sa mga miyembro ng kanyang Gabinete kung ano ang aksyon na kanilang ginawa para paghandaan ang bagyo.

    Noong Huwebes at Biyernes ay abala ang kanyang mga opisyal dahil libu-libo ang pinalikas sa kanilang mga tahanan sa northern tip ng Luzon kung saan inaasahang direktang tatama ang bagyo. Gayon din ang mga pagsisikap na ibinuhos ng mga taong-gobyerno sa paghahanda ng mga evacuation center para sa mga naninirahan sa mababang lugar na madalas makaranas ng matinding pagbaha.

    Ang mga residente naman sa mga lalawigan ay naging abala sa pagtatakip ng kanilang mga bintana, pagse-secure ng kanilang mga bubong at pagtatali sa kanilang kabahayan sa mga poste at puno upang hindi matangay ng malakas na hangin. Maraming magsasaka ang maagang nagsagawa ng kanilang pag-ani bago pa ito masira sa pagragasa ng bagyo.

    May average na 20 bagyong tumatama sa ating bansa bawat taon at si Ompong ang maituturing na pinakamalakas. Akalain ninyong isinailalim sa storm signal number 4 ang ilang lugar na tulad ng Cagayan, Ilocos Norte, Abra, northern Isabela, Babuyan Group of Islands at ibang mga lugar.

    Maging ang Metro Manila na nasa ilalim ng storm signal number 1 ay hindi nakaligtas. Magdamag itong nakaranas ng pagbayo ng malakas na hangin at tuluy-tuloy na pagbuhos ng ulan mula Biyernes ng gabi hanggang Sabado sa pagpasok ni Ompong sa Philippine area of responsibility.

    Pero bukod kina Duterte ay dapat din purihin ang mga kapatid natin sa hanapbuhay sa media dahil hindi sila nagkulang sa paghahatid ng kinakailangang impormasyon upang makapaghanda ang mga mamamayan at iparating ang mga kaganapan kaugnay ng pananalasa ng bagyo.

    May mga nagsasabi na overkill o sobra-sobra ang preparasyon na ibinuhos nina Duterte sa pagdating ng bagyo pero mas mabuti na ito kaysa magkulang sa paghahanda at magsisisi tayo sa huli dahll marami ang napinsala at nabiktima.

    *              *              *

    SHORT BURSTS. Para sa mga komento o reaksiyon, mag-email sa firingline@ymail.com o mag-tweet sa @Side_View.

     

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    Unpredictable*

    September 13th, 2018

    MANY people have learned that nothing is definite under this regime save for the continuous rise in inflation and the unpredictability of the President’s statements and actions.

    Today’s high cost of living has quite affected every person, especially the poor. Prices of commodities are skyrocketing. President Duterte, on the other hand, carries on with issuing offending statements about rape and other topics which his spokesperson would later classify as jokes.

    Then, Duterte came up with Proclamation 572 revoking the amnesty granted to Senator Antonio Trillanes IV in 2011 by then President Noynoy Aquino and his Congress. The amnesty was allegedly void since the beginning and does not need the concurrence of our lawmakers to revoke it.

    To many, a presidential amnesty cannot be withdrawn. To them, Duterte was willing to disregard the Constitution in his eagerness to silence a staunch critic who exposed his alleged unexplained bank accounts and reportedly supported whistle-blowers who divulged his involvement in the Davao Death Squad.

    Logically, jailing Trillanes would diminish the political noise that the senator generates, the significant role he plays in the opposition, and his influence over the Magdalo movement composed of young military officers.

    It would also please former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, now Speaker of the House. She was then president when Trillanes led the 2003 Oakwood mutiny and the 2007 siege on the Manila Peninsula.

    *              *              *

    With the Trillanes amnesty revoked, what does fate have in store for his fellow mutineers like Representative Gary Alejano, likewise a critic of Duterte and one of the senatorial candidates of the opposition in next year’s elections?

    And what of the other beneficiaries of the amnesty who are now working for the President like Danny Lim of the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA), Jason Aquino of the National Food Authority (NFA), and Nick Faeldon of the Office of Civil Defense? Will they all go to jail and end up as collateral damage?

    Apart from this, some quarters suspect that revoking Trillanes’s amnesty is simply an effective way to steal the attention away from the rising inflation.

    *              *              *

    SHORT BURSTS. For comments or reactions, email firingline@ymail.com or tweet @Side_View.

     

    *The opinion of this author is his/hers alone. It is not necessarily the views of Beyond Deadlines.

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    Nahimasmasan*

    September 11th, 2018

    GINULAT ni Presidente Rodrigo Duterte ang sambayanan kamakailan sa pag-iisyu ng Proclamation 572 na nagdeklarang wala umanong bisa ang amnesty na ibinigay ni dating President Noynoy Aquino at ng kanyang Kongreso sa pinakamasugid niyang kritikong si Senador Antonio Trillanes IV.

    Nakabibigla rin ang pahayag ng Department of Justice (DOJ) na hindi na kakailanganin ni Duterte ang pagsang-ayon ng Kongreso sa desisyon. Inutos din ng Pangulo ang agarang pag-aresto kay Trillanes. Naging palaisipan tuloy ito para sa marami na kumukuwestyon kung sinakop na raw ba ni Duterte ang mga sangay ng gobyerno na ehekutibo, lehislatura at hudikatura sa kanyang ginawa.

    Gayunman ay mukhang nahimasmasan ang nagliliyab na galit ni Duterte kay Trillanes nang magdesisyon itong maghintay raw muna na mag-isyu ang korte ng arrest warrant sa halip na mag-utos ng military arrest sa senador. Mabuti at nakinig si Duterte sa paliwanag ng mga miyembro ng kanyang Gabinete. Dapat nauunawaan ni Duterte bilang dating piskal na ang korte lang ang puwedeng maglabas ng arrest warrant sa huhulihing tao.

    Pero may nakapagsabi raw sa Pangulo na maaaring arestuhin ng militar ang senador dahil ang paglilitis sa court martial ay hindi na-dismiss at naka-pending pa rin. Hindi nila iniintindi ang ipinaliliwanag ni Trillanes na wala nang hurisdiksyon sa kanya ang military courts mula nang magbitiw siya sa pagkasundalo apat na taon bago mabigyan ng amnesty.

    Ang tanong ng iba ay kung bakit minamadali na maipakulong si Trillanes samantalang ang paglilitis ng court martial ay kaugnay lang ng paglabag sa Article 96 ng Articles of War dahil umano sa “conduct unbecoming of an officer and a gentleman”. Ang pinakamabigat na parusa rito ay ma-dismiss sa serbisyo. Nakalimutan ba nila na hindi na sundalo ang naturang senador?

    Mukhang nakaligtaan din nila na noong 2011 ay idineklara ng Supreme Court na legal ang amnesty na iginawad ni Aquino kay Trillanes at sa ibang mga kawal na sangkot sa Oakwood mutiny noong Hulyo 2003, sa kumprontasyon ng mga Marine noong Pebrero 2006 at sa pagsugod nila sa Manila Peninsula noong Nobyembre 2007 na pawang pagtatangka upang mapabagsak ang administrasyong Arroyo. Pinamunuan ni Trillanes ang pagsalakay sa Oakwood at Manila Peninsula.

    Marami ang naniniwala na si Duterte ay biktima ng witch hunt. Pero sa pagkakakulong ni De Lima at posibleng pati na si Trillanes ay parang ang Pangulo pa ang namumuno nito. Ginagawa nilang bayani si Trillanes.

    Sa palagay ng nakararami, kapag naigawad na ang amnesty ay hindi na ito puwedeng bawiin. Hindi ako sang-ayon na ginagawang laruan ang Konstitusyon kaya sa unang pagkakataon ay sumusuporta ako kay Trillanes.

    *              *              *

    SHORT BURSTS. Para sa mga komento o reaksiyon, mag-email sa firingline@ymail.com o mag-tweet sa @Side_View.

     

    *The opinion of this author is his/hers alone. It is not necessarily the views of Beyond Deadlines.

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    Protect the youth*

    September 6th, 2018

    IT IS but proper to finally pay attention to the welfare of our daughters in the face of some lustful men who may be overcome by sexual desires and find satisfaction in abusing and depriving them of their innocence.

    Detained Senator Leila de Lima has filed a bill seeking to raise the age of sexual consent from the current 12 to 18 to protect the youth from sexual exploitation. The senator pointed out that under the 1997 Anti-Rape Law, the country’s age of sexual consent is one of the lowest in the world.

    In increasing the age of consent to 18 years, the state would be sending a message that the youth would be protected by all means and at all costs. The innocence of the youth would be guarded and it would prevent sexual predators from deflowering our children.

    De Lima explained that a 12-year-old kid has only reached the sixth grade and has barely gone through puberty. Most of them have barely gone into a relationship with the opposite sex.

    The child hardly knows about sexual intercourse due to lack of sexual education and is prohibited from availing condoms and other contraception until she has reached the age of majority, conceived or suffered a miscarriage. Allowing them at the age of 12 to decide on their own if they should engage in sexual intercourse would be too precarious for their future.

    I must admit that although under detention, De Lima still functions as a senator should and made her point of view clear as day. More importantly, a government official finally showed genuine concern for our children, especially our young daughters, under a law that has been enforced for more than 20 years.

    *              *              *

    Kudos to Barangay Chairperson Nancy Amante of Barangay Palanan, Makati for taking swift action on the complaint of Mr. Jhoe Chan.

    Mr. Chan narrated to Firing Line how Amante and her Bantay Bayan officers – Marvin Esteban, Joel Quirante, and Leoncio dela Cruz – solved his problem of laborers throwing trash, including dried cement and cigarette butts, and dumping urine in his back yard during the construction of a house on Laredo Street, which is situated behind his residence on Madras St. There was also an instance when a steel pipe fell on the rooftop.

    After being slapped with a couple of warnings, the construction foreman was obliged to install debris netting to avoid future problems for Mr. Chan.

    To this, Firing Line salutes Chairperson Amante and her people.

    *              *              *

    SHORT BURSTS. For comments or reactions, email firingline@ymail.com or tweet @Side_View. Read current and past issues of this column at http://www.tempo.com.ph/category/opinion/firing-line/

     

    *The opinion of this author is his/hers alone. It is not necessarily the views of Beyond Deadlines.

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    Rice smuggling tuldukan*

    September 4th, 2018

    HINDI maitatanggi na bukod sa kawalan sa buwis ng gobyerno na tinatantiyang nasa halagang PhP2 bilyon na napupunta sa bulsa ng mga suwapang na tiwaling opisyal ng mga ahensya ng pamahalaan ay patuloy rin nagsisilbing banta at nagpapahirap sa mga magsasaka ng bigas ang rice smuggling lalo na sa Mindanao.

    Kaya buong-buo ang suporta ng Firing Line sa mungkahi ng Department of Agriculture (DA) na pinamumunuan ni Secretary Manny Piñol sa National Food Authority na maglunsad ng rice trading center sa Tawi-Tawi na kontrolado ng NFA upang tuluyang matuldukan ang rice smuggling sa mga isla ng Southern Philippines.

    Ayon kay Piñol, ang Tawi Tawi Rice Trading Center ay inaasahang magbibigay sa pamahalaan ng buong kontrol upang mapangasiwaan ang ilegal na bentahan ng bigas na ilang dekada nang pinamamahalaan ng mga smuggler sa mga lugar ng Zamboanga, Basilan, Sulu at Tawi-Tawi na kilala sa bansag na Zambasulta.

    Maibibigay rin nito sa Zambasulta ang sapat na supply ng bigas na naputol matapos ang matagumpay na operasyon ng gobyerno laban sa nagpupuslit ng bigas sa pagitan ng Sabah at Southern Islands. Akalain ninyong dahil sa kakulangan ng supply sa rehiyon ay nagtaasan ang presyo ng bigas hanggang sa PhP60 kada kilo sa Zamboanga City at PhP100 sa Tawi-Tawi.

    Tinatantiyang nasa 200,000 metric tons ng bigas mula Vietnam at Thailand ang ipinupuslit taun-taon na idinaraan sa backdoor ng transshipment ports ng Sandakan at Labuan sa Malaysia. Ang Zambasulta ay nakalilikha lamang ng 22,000 metric tons ng bigas.

    Ang pagpupuslit na ito ay nagresulta sa “pagkamatay” ng industriya ng bigas sa Zambasulta bunga ng pag-abandona ng mga magsasaka at trader sa rice industry dahil hindi nila kayang makipagkumpetensya sa mababang presyo ng smugglers.

    Sa ilalim ng rice trading center ay maglulunsad ng pasilidad sa Tawi-Tawi kung saan ang lahat ng imported na bigas ay kakailanganing maging dokumentado na may kaukulang binayarang taripa at nasunod na sanitary at phytosanitary quarantine requirements.

    Bukod sa rice trading center, isang medium-term solution ay ang PhP100-M Production Loan Easy Access (PLEA) na ibibigay sa Zamboanga Sibugay upang mapataas ang produksyon ng bigas at masuplayan nito ang bahagi ng pangangailangan ng Zambasulta. Kabilang sa long-term programs ay ang pagdedebelop ng hindi bababa sa 1,000 ektaryang bukirin ng bigas sa kasunduang partnership ng DA at ng local government units.

    Kapag muling nabuhay ang industriya ng bigas ay mababawasan ang imported rice na papapasukin sa Tawi-Tawi Rice Trading Center upang hindi maapektuhan at tuluyang masira ang kabuhayan ng mga magsasaka ng bigas.

    *              *              *

    SHORT BURSTS. Para sa mga komento o reaksiyon, mag-email sa firingline@ymail.com o mag-tweet sa @Side_View.

     

    *The opinion of this author is his/hers alone. It is not necessarily the views of Beyond Deadlines.

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    Public right*

    August 30th, 2018

    CURRENTLY hot in the minds of some people is the issue on President Duterte’s true state of health, and if he is still capable to lead the country.

    Can anyone be blamed for speculating on the subject? The President himself earlier threatened to quit his job supposedly because he is tired and frustrated with corrupt public officials, although this has been a problem for past presidents as well.

    More disappointing was his desire to choose his successor since Vice President Leni Robredo is allegedly incapable to do the job. Duterte wanted either the military or former Senator Bongbong Marcos to be his successor.

    To many, this was an irresponsible statement coming from the President who should lead by example by following the Constitution on the issue of succession and allowing the vice president to take over if he ever decided to leave his post.

    Why should he choose the military when we are clearly not under a junta? Unwittingly, Duterte may have even planted an idea in the minds of the generals to take over the government in the near future. And why should the President choose Marcos when he lost the vice presidency to Robredo? Some people think this was the President’s way of telling the Supreme Court, which is acting as an electoral tribunal, to favor Marcos in his protest against Robredo.

    Newly appointed to head it is Chief Justice Teresita Leonardo de Castro who, then as an associate justice, voted in favor of burying Bongbong’s father, the late strongman Ferdinand Marcos, at the Libingan ng mga Bayani.

    Based on his own statement, a lot of people believe that the President is more than tired and could possibly be ill. Health is a serious concern especially for a Chief Executive who is tasked to govern an entire nation. He has to make right decisions with full awareness of their consequences.

    Remember, Duterte has been talking about quitting the presidency as early as September last year. He went to the hospital allegedly for a checkup on the eve of his State of the Nation Address (SONA) on July 23. Some people believe that the visit was more than just a checkup after supposedly noticing that he was not himself the following day and stuck to the teleprompter as he delivered his SONA, an unusual behavior for the President.

    Firing Line believes that it is the right of the people to know the truth. Article VII, Section 12 of the 1987 Constitution states that in case of serious illness of the President, the public shall be informed of the state of his health. It is a public right to know that we have a full-functioning president.

    *              *              *

    SHORT BURSTS. For comments or reactions, email firingline@ymail.com or tweet @Side_View.

     

    *The opinion of this author is his/hers alone. It is not necessarily the views of Beyond Deadlines.

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    Krisis sa bigas*

    August 28th, 2018

    ANG krisis sa bigas sa lungsod ng Zamboanga at sa mga lalawigan ng Basilan, Sulu at Tawi-tawi (Zambasulta) ay matinding babala sa kapalaran na maaari nating sapitin kung magtatagumpay ang mga economic manager sa kanilang mungkahi na umasa sa inangkat na bigas at bawasan ang paggasta sa programa ng gobyerno sa bigas sa Pilipinas.

    Ayon kay Agriculture Secretary Manny Piñol, ang mga lugar na nasasakupan ng Zambasulta ay umasa sa smuggled rice mula sa Vietnam at Thailand na idinaraan sa Sabah, Malaysia sa loob ng maraming taon at ibinebenta sa palengke sa mas mababang presyo kaysa sa commercial rice. Akalain ninyong ibinebenta ito sa halagang PhP29 sa mga isla at hindi bababa sa PhP35 sa Zamboanga City.

    Natigil lang ito tatlong linggo na ang nakalilipas matapos makipagpulong kay President Duterte ang bagong namumuno sa Malaysia na si Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad at magdesisyon itong ipatigil ang ilegal na aktibidad sa mga border ng dalawang bansa.

    Sa palagay ni Piñol ay nakatuon ang desisyon laban sa aktibidad ng mga terorista pero mabuti na lang at natigil din ang operasyon ng smuggling bunga nito. Ang problema ay nagtaasan ang presyo ng bigas sa Zambasulta kaya biglang hinanap ng mga mamimili ang bigas mula sa National Food Authority (NFA) na dati nilang binabalewala.

    Para kay Piñol, kung aasa sa inangkat na bigas at babawasan ang paggastos ng gobyerno sa rice program ay maitataboy ang mga magsasaka palayo sa kanilang taniman. Baka mag-iba na lang sila ng itatanim o ipaupa ang kanilang mga lupa.

    Ang dami ng bigas na ibinebenta sa world market taun-taon ay higit-kumulang 40 million metric tons. Dahil may banta ng climate change, ang bigas na magmumula sa ibang bansa ay maaaring maapektuhan ng El Niño o mga pagbaha. Kapag nangyari ito ay puwedeng mabawasan ang dami ng bigas na ipadadala nila. Kahit na may pera tayo ay mahihirapan tayo kung walang mabibiling bigas sa world market.

    Tulad ng Pilipinas, lumalaki ang populasyon ng mga bansang nag-aangkat ng bigas. Darating daw ang panahon na ang pangangailangan ng sarili nilang mamamayan ang pipigil sa kanila na makapag-export ng bigas.

    Nais ng Department of Agriculture na mapalakas ang produksyon natin ng bigas upang makapag-supply na rin ng bilang ng aangkatin natin mula sa ibang bansa kung kakailanganin para maprotektahan ang ating palengke sa manipulasyon ng rice traders.

    Sang-ayon ang Firing Line kay Piñol na hindi tayo dapat umasa sa inangkat na bigas dahil baka balang-araw ay maging alipin tayo at sunud-sunuran sa pagsasamantala ng mga dayuhang negosyante at supplier.

    *              *              *

    SHORT BURSTS. Para sa mga komento o reaksiyon, mag-email sa firingline@ymail.com o mag-tweet sa @Side_View.

     

    *The opinion of this author is his/hers alone. It is not necessarily the views of Beyond Deadlines.

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    Losing battle*

    August 24th, 2018

    WE tackled in a previous column the possible scenarios that could happen if war broke out between the Philippines and the all-powerful China which a lot of people believe we would naturally lose without the help of foreign allies.

    Since anything could happen at any given time, the question in the minds of some people is that how would the country’s armed forces fare if pitted against a much smaller and less powerful nation like Vietnam in a battle without assistance from an ally or nuclear intervention?

    A current military specialist at the United Nations Space Command revealed that Vietnam has 500,000 personnel, 64 T-90S, 200 T-62, 1,000 upgraded T-55, 500 BMP-2, 500 M113 APC and dozens of Mi-24 attack helicopters. Sad to admit, the Philippines pales in comparison with only 164,000 personnel, no tanks, and 114 M113 APC. We could not possibly match the Vietnamese in terms of equipment in a land battle.

    Would things be different if the confrontation were at sea? Vietnam has four Gepard Class Frigate (Kh-35, 130-kilometer range), six Kilo Class Submarine (Klub-S, 200-km range), and 14 Corvettes while the Philippines has three Gregorio del Pilar Class (OTO Melara gun, 16-km range), 10 Corvettes and nothing more.

    It is quite apparent in this situation that Vietnam would still dictate the outcome of the confrontation since the ships of the Philippines would obviously be defenseless. Our country would lose its sea territory in no time.

    If the conflict were set in the air, Vietnam brags of its 40 SU-30 and 12 SU-27 while the Philippines has 12 FA-50 and clearly nothing to boast of. With her superiority and firepower, Vietnam could possibly control our air space as well.

    The Vietnamese Army, Marines, and Air Force could assist one another in launching attacks on our small and less populated islands. It is an undeniable fact that they are stronger than their Philippine counterpart in all aspects. It would be a losing battle for the Philippine military.

    However, an assault on the island of Luzon could prove to be unwise and detrimental to the invading force. Vietnam’s economy and military industry are still weak and would make it impossible for her to launch an invasion.

    Nevertheless, it is in the Philippines’ best interest to maintain friendly ties with her neighbors while speaking up to protect her territorial rights.

    No matter which administration, the government should also be consistent in its policy to modernize the military and ensure that a big chunk of the defense budget does not end up in the pockets of the corrupt.

    *              *              *

    SHORT BURSTS. For comments or reactions, email firingline@ymail.com or tweet @Side_View.

     

    *The opinion of this author is his/hers alone. It is not necessarily the views of Beyond Deadlines.

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    Korapsyon sa militar*

    August 21st, 2018

    HINDI maitatanggi na napakalalim na ng pagkakabaon ng kuko ng korapsyon sa iba’t ibang ahensya ng pamahalaan.

    Maging ang mundo ng mga sundalo ay hindi pinatawad at patunay rito ang pagkakasibak ni President Duterte kamakailan sa 20 opisyal ng Armed Forces Medical Center na dating kilala sa pangalang V. Luna. kabilang ang commander ng ospital at ang pinuno ng overall health service unit ng militar.

    Ayon kay Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque ay nagkakahalaga ng nakalululang PhP1.49 milyon ang unang dokumentadong ghost transaction rito. Nagpahayag naman si General Carlito Galvez Jr., Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) Chief of Staff, na aabot sa PhP200 milyon ang pagsisiyasat nila sa korapsyon.

    Hindi na bago ang isyu kaya hindi ito kagulat-gulat. Sariwa pa sa isipan ng marami nang pumutok ang isyu ng korapsyon sa militar at naging malaking iskandalo ito noong si Speaker Gloria Arroyo pa ang pangulo ng bansa. Nabunyag ang ill-gotten wealth umano ni Major General Carlos Garcia na matagal na namuno bilang comptroller ng AFP kaya ito kinasuhan ng plunder o pandarambong na kinalaunan ay pinababa.

    Dahil kay Garcia ay ibinasura ang office of the comptrollership at nagkaroon ng malawakang pagsisiyasat sa Kongreso na umabot hanggang sa termino ni dating President Noynoy Aquino. Sa katunayan ay ito ang naging dahilan ng pagpapatiwakal ng noon ay kalihim ng national defense na si Angelo Reyes na malapit kay Garcia matapos siyang maiugnay sa tinaguriang mafia sa tanggapan ng comptroller. Akalain ninyong binaril niya ang sarili sa harap mismo ng puntod ng kanyang ina.

    Dahil sa kakulangan ng pera ay naghanap noon ng paraan o sistema ang militar upang makalusot at mapondohan ang pagbili nila ng mga bala, gas, pagkain, medisina at iba’t ibang bagay. Kinalaunan ay hindi nakuntento ang mga tiwaling opisyal at isinama ang pagpopondo sa pagbiyahe nila sa labas ng bansa, ang pagpapagawa ng kanilang mansyon at pati na ang pang-shopping ng kanilang mga kabit.

    Sa sistema, halimbawang ang isang heneral ay kailangang gumasta ng PhP700 milyon para makabili ng dalawang mamahaling condominiums ay puwede niyang gamitin ang pera ng taxpayer kung ire-release niya ang naturang halaga sa V. Luna.

    Dahil kontrolado ito ng militar, magiging lehitimo ang transaksyon sa mga resibo ng V. Luna na magpapakitang bumili sila ng medisina na nagkakahalaga ng PhP700 milyon. Ang naturang halaga ay palalabasing ibinayad sa ghost suppliers pero ang totoo ay paghahati-hatian nila ang pera.

    Bukod sa droga ay mukhang mahihirapan talaga ang Pangulo na buwagin ang pagkakabaon ng kuko ng korapsyon sa gobyerno.

    *              *              *

    SHORT BURSTS. Para sa mga komento o reaksiyon, mag-email sa firingline@ymail.com o mag-tweet sa @Side_View.

     

    *The opinion of this author is his/hers alone. It is not necessarily the views of Beyond Deadlines.

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    What if war breaks out?*

    August 16th, 2018

    FEAR that war may break out any time between the Philippines and China continues to haunt many Filipinos with the growing presence and repeated incursions of the Chinese military and its ships in the West Philippine Sea.

    Having foreign soldiers in Philippine waters with vessels armed with missiles is no laughing matter and remains a threat. Members of the China Coast Guard regularly board the boats of Filipino fishermen, pick out the best among their catch and take it home sometimes without any permission at all.

    It seems that China is merely waiting for any move from the Philippines that could be deemed a provocation for them to justify military action.

    A former Beijing bureau chief for an international news network disclosed that in the Philippine territorial waters, China has laid out an inner layer that consists of Chinese fishermen. Found on the layer above it are the paramilitary maritime unit known as China Marine Surveillance (CMS) and Fisheries Law Enforcement Command (FLEC), a unit assigned to protect Chinese fishermen. These two units are heavily armed but still considered civilian units. The warships of the navy are in the outermost layer where they hover to protect all the other layers.

    This is called the “Cabbage strategy,” a blockade made up of several layers. This whole setup is some sort of trap merely waiting to ensnare the Filipinos who would make a mistake of provoking them into action. It intends to squeeze out Filipinos from their own territory.

    Experts believe that Manila could be spared from any attack. But the Chinese could divert their attention to the Kalayaan Group of Islands which they claim as part of their territory or another islet or shoal. They could simply occupy and control these islands without breaking a sweat by preventing the supplies from coming in.

    But China should not be too overconfident since this sort of action could make its neighbors cautious enough to band together and ally themselves with the leading world power, the United States, which still has a treaty to side with our country in case of invasion.

    President Duterte has continued to maintain good ties with Beijing after admitting that the country has no chance of surviving a war against China. There is no question that our military pales in comparison with the forces of the gargantuan China. But what Filipinos can boast of is the brave heart that we and our ancestors possess that has enabled us to endure and rise against foreign invasion as our history reveals.

    *              *              *

    SHORT BURSTS. For comments or reactions, email firingline@ymail.com or tweet @Side_View. Read current and past issues of this column at http://www.tempo.com.ph/category/opinion/firing-line/

     

    *The opinion of this author is his/hers alone. It is not necessarily the views of Beyond Deadlines.

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    Problemang shabu tuldukan*

    August 14th, 2018

    PATULOY ang masinsinan na pagtutok at pagtugis ng mga elemento ng Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency laban sa ipinagbabawal na drogang shabu at sa mga demonyong nagpapakalat nito.

    Akalain ninyong kamakailan lang ay natuklasan ng PDEA ang 500 kilo ng shabu na nagkakahalaga ng PhP4.3 bilyon na itinago sa dalawang magnetic scrap lifters sa loob ng isang container sa Manila International Container Port (MICP) na malamang ay inabandona dahil sa pangamba na mahuhuli ito ng mga awtoridad.

    Dahil nakatago sa magnetic lifters ay hirap ang mga K9 na maamoy ang ilegal na droga mula sa labas ng container.

    Nakuha ng PDEA ang pangalan ng kompanya na dapat sana ay tatanggap nito at pati na ang nagmamay-ari nito na kanilang ipatatawag at hihingan ng paliwanag sa ilegal na kargamento. Sisilipin din nila kung may katotohanan na ang may-ari ng kompanya at ang grupo nito ay sangkot sa pag-aangkat ng shabu sa bansa sa loob ng ilang taon ngunit patuloy lang na nakalulusot at hindi nahuhuli.

    Ang kontrabando ay dumating sa bansa noong Hunyo 28 mula Malaysia pero naniniwala ang mga awtoridad na nanggaling ito sa China. Inaalam din ng ahensya kung sangkot ang mga kilalang sindikato tulad ng Bamboo Triad, 14K o Hong Kong Triad sa naturang shipment.

    Ang tinututukan ngayon ni PDEA chief Aaron Aquino at ng kanyang mga tauhan ay ang posibilidad na may lima pang ibang shipments ng shabu na posibleng nakalusot sa Bureau of Customs. Nakatanggap kasi sina Aquino ng impormasyon na maaaring anim na container ang pinaglagyan ng droga.

    Ngayon pa lang ay pinupuri na natin ang PDEA dahil sa walang humpay nilang pagtugis sa ilegal na droga. Pero upang tuluyang mawala ang pagdududa nino man na baka pinakikinabangan ng mga tiwaling opisyal ng gobyerno ang mga nakukumpiskang bawal na droga ay makabubuting ipakita sa publiko ang gagawing pagsunog sa shabu. Hindi maiiwasang may magduda na baka ma-recycle lang ang nakumpiskang droga at maibenta pa rin sa mga adik.

    Higit sa lahat, makabubuting magsagawa ng malalim na imbestigasyon upang matukoy kung sino man ang nagparating ng droga at pati na ang walang konsensyang nakatakda sanang tumanggap nito.

    Hindi maitatanggi na malalim na ang impluwensya na naitanim ng ilegal na droga sa halos lahat ng barangay sa bansa. Dapat maputol nang tuluyan ang pinag-uugatan ng droga kung nagmumula man ito sa abroad o ginagawa lang dito sa atin. Ilang buhay at kinabukasan na ang gumuho at nawasak bunga ng ipinagbabawal na droga kaya dapat itong tuluyang matuldukan.

    *              *              *

    SHORT BURSTS. Para sa mga komento o reaksiyon, mag-email sa firingline@ymail.com o mag-tweet sa @Side_View.

     

    *The opinion of this author is his/hers alone. It is not necessarily the views of Beyond Deadlines.

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    Respect for life*

    August 9th, 2018

    IT is truly saddening to note that several government officials are still pushing for the restoration of the death penalty.

    The House of Representatives approved in March last year a bill restoring the death penalty on third and final reading for drug-related offenses, believing that it is an acceptable means of safeguarding the common good. However, its counterpart measure remains pending in the Senate as some senators are not that eager to bring back such a barbaric form of punishment.

    It is an undeniable fact that almost 80 percent of Filipinos are Catholics. Pope Francis recently declared that the death penalty is “inadmissible” in the teachings of the Catholic Church because it is an attack on the inviolability and dignity of the person.

    The Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) stated that the Pope’s declaration clears any vagueness on the position of the Church on death penalty. There is allegedly no reason to justify its imposition. It should not be considered in all cases. In fact, the Church intends to work with determination for the abolition of the death penalty worldwide.

    Even the Catholic Women’s League (CWL) is steadfast in opposing its restoration after Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque stated that the death penalty law’s passage remains a priority of the government.

    What continues to surprise our people is the fact that even Senator Manny Pacquiao, who professes to be a religious person, appears to have no respect for life and is pushing for capital punishment.

    Pacquiao believes that capital punishment is acceptable since it is reportedly written in the Bible that government has the authority to enforce the death penalty on those who commit heinous crimes.

    But a staunch Pacquiao supporter in the person of Buhay Partylist Representative Lito Atienza thinks that it does not deter crime. He said all countries that played around with the death penalty did not prevent the commission of crimes and instead aggravated the situation.

    Bear in mind that hardened criminals are unafraid of death. Firing Line believes that death is an easy way out for these lawbreakers who could suffer even more if meted out life imprisonment.

    And never forget that we are a signatory to the United Nations agreement that the death penalty will never be reintroduced in the country and it was, sadly, violated last year in Congress.

    *              *              *

    SHORT BURSTS. For comments or reactions, email firingline@ymail.com or tweet @Side_View. Read current and past issues of this column at http://www.tempo.com.ph/category/opinion/firing-line/

     

    * The opinion of this author is his/hers alone. It is not necessarily the views of Beyond Deadlines.

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    Anino ng terorismo*

    August 7th, 2018

    HINDI maitatanggi na hanggang ngayon ay may mga pagkakataon na nalililiman pa rin tayo ng anino ng terorismo na kahit paunti-unti ay biglaang nagpaparamdam ng kalupitan sa ating kawawa at walang kamalay-malay na mga mamamayan.

    Kamakailan nga lang ay muli itong naganap nang makalusot na naman ang mga terorista sa dapat sana’y mahigpit, tuluy-tuloy at walang puknat na pagbabantay ng ating mga militar nang magpasabog sila ng bomba sa loob ng isang van sa security checkpoint sa Lamitan, Basilan. Akalain ninyong pinahinto lang umano ng mga kawal ang sasakyan na naglalaman ng mga bomba na biglang pinasabog ng driver nito.

    Ayon sa malupit na grupo ng teroristang Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS), sila ang nasa likod ng naturang suicide attack na pumaslang sa isang sundalo, limang militiamen ng gobyerno, apat na sibilyan at pati na sa mismong driver ng van. Ayon sa grupo ng mga Amerikano na nagmo-monitor ng aktibidad online ng mga terorista ay isang Moroccan ang nagpasabog ng sasakyan

    Pero hindi naniwala ang ating militar at sinabing propaganda lang ito. Nanindigan ang Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) sa paniniwalang ang nagsagawa ng pambobomba ay walang iba kundi ang lokal na Abu Sayyaf. Malabo raw na isang dayuhan ang nagpasabog ng bomba dahil mahihirapan siyang magmaneho ng isang sasakyan sa lugar na hindi siya pamilyar. Bukod dito ay may natanggap daw silang intelligence reports na balak magsagawa ng mga pambobomba sa Basilan ang grupong Abu Sayyaf.

    Ayon naman kay Senator Panfilo Lacson ay maaaring ito ang unang kaso ng suicide bombing sa ating bansa na posibleng gayahin ng ibang mga teroristang grupo at gawin sa matataong lugar kaya dapat imbestigahan nang husto.

    May posibilidad din na ang naganap na pambobomba ay paraan ng isa o higit pang mga grupo upang iparamdam ang kanilang pagtutol sa Bangsamoro Organic Law na inaprubahan kamakailan. Maaaring simula pa lang ito ng magaganap pang mga pangguguglo sa hinaharap.

    Pero ISIS man o Sayyaf ang tunay na nagsagawa ng pambobomba, ang maliwanag ay trinabaho ito ng mga demonyong terorista. At ang kailangan ay ibayong pagtutok at paghihigpit sa ipinatutupad na seguridad.

    Batid naman ng mga elemento ng AFP na hindi sila puwedeng magpahinga o magluwag nang kahit kaunti sa kanilang pagtutok dahil ang mga terorista ay nagtatago lang sa paligid at naghihintay ng pagkakataon na puwede silang makapaghasik ng lagim sa lipunan nang kahit anong oras — umaga, tanghali, gabi o kahit madaling-araw.  Maghihigpit lang ba ang militar kapag tapos na ang pambobomba?

    *              *              *

    SHORT BURSTS. Para sa mga komento o reaksiyon, mag-email sa firingline@ymail.com o mag-tweet sa @Side_View.

     

    * The opinion of this author is his/hers alone. It is not necessarily the views of Beyond Deadlines.

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    In the claws of Dengvaxia*

    August 2nd, 2018

    PANIC continues to grip the poor parents of kids who were administered the controversial vaccine Dengvaxia especially now that the drug was condemned anew by the Public Attorney’s Office (PAO) over the death of the 71st child.

    PAO chief Attorney Persida Acosta said the death took place on July 19, just a few days after the passing of the 70th victim. Like many of the victims, the last two displayed common signs and symptoms like headache, body ache, bleeding, and difficulty in breathing. No matter what effort the doctors tried to extend to these children, their immune system was too weak that their condition worsened until they fell into a coma and died.

    Acosta again called on the Department of Health (DoH) to declare the rising number of victims of the Dengvaxia vaccine a health emergency. She compared their efforts to those of the Biblical Noah who warned about the coming of a great flood but people would not believe him. Acosta has been asking for a declaration of a health emergency since January.

    But is there is any truth to the news that the DoH is extending efforts to cover up the deaths of those children instead of preventing the demise of other inoculated kids?

    This can hardly be taken for granted since Acosta’s sources are the parents of the victims themselves who revealed that the DoH has been providing PHp50,000 worth of subsidy for them along with a waiver they needed to sign, saying the deaths of their children are not related to Dengvaxia.

    Truth to tell, there is no reason for the parents to fabricate any story related to the deaths since the children’s bodies were all examined by PAO.

    The DoH should be sensible enough to join hands with PAO and other government agencies to prevent more deaths.

    *              *              *

    SHORT BURSTS. Congratulations Gabriel C. Barretto for gaining your license as Environmental Planner after being one of the 1,891 examinees who passed the Environmental Planners Licensure Exam 2018 given by the PRC last June 6-7.

    Barretto, who is the dean of the Real Estate Management Department at Gardner College, North Avenue, Quezon City, also holds licenses as a Real Estate Broker and Real Estate Appraiser…

    For comments or reactions, email firingline@ymail.com or tweet @Side_View.

     

    * The opinion of this author is his/hers alone. It is not necessarily the views of Beyond Deadlines.

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    Plantsadong balakin?*

    July 31st, 2018

    KUNG ikukumpara sa sport na boxing ay masasabing nagwagi na si dating President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo dahil naagaw na niya ang pinakamimithing titulo sa House of Representatives mula kay Congressman Pantaleon Alvarez bilang Speaker of the House.

    Gayunman ay marami ang nagtaka kung bakit lumalabas na minadali ito at itinaon pa sa araw mismo ng pagbibigay ng State of the Nation Address (SONA) ni President Duterte. Pero kahit buo ang paniniwala ni GMA na dumaan siya sa legal na proseso sa unang panunumpa bilang bagong House Speaker bago dumating si Duterte ay inulit pa rin ito kinagabihan.

    Hindi maitatanggi na marami ang naguluhan sa ginawang ito ni Arroyo. Pero sa palagay ng iba, ang bawat hakbang ni GMA ay bahagi ng plantsadong balakin na pinag-aralan nang husto bilang paghahanda sa katuparan ng kanyang mga plano na maging Prime Minister sa oras na matuloy ang planong pagpapalit ng gobyerno tungo sa pederalismo na sinusuportahan ni Duterte.

    Sa nakitang suporta na nakuha ni Arroyo mula sa mga kaalyado niyang kongresista ay kayang kaya niyang maisakatuparan ang hangaring ito kung magkakaroon ng ganitong puwesto sa maaaprubahang pederalismo.

    Kapag naging Prime Minister si Arroyo ay parang nakabalik siya sa tuktok ng kapangyarihan dito sa bansa at puwede pa siyang manatili sa puwesto nang kahit gaano katagal hangga’t patuloy siyang ibinoboto ng mga kaalyado niyang kongresista. Alam naman natin na ang alin mang grupo na may pinakamaraming bilang ang laging nagwawagi sa Kongreso na palagiang numbers game ang batayan.

    Sang-ayon man tayo o hindi ay hindi natin masisisi ang sino man kung magduda man sila kay GMA. Ayos lang sana ang lahat kung naging malinis at walang bahid-dungis ang pamumuno ni Arroyo noong siya ang Pangulo.

    Pero hanggang ngayon ay sariwa pa sa isipan ng marami ang mga kapalpakan at kalokohan na kinasangkutan noon ni GMA at nangangamba sila sa posibilidad na maulit ang mga ito, lalo na ang pandaraya sa halalan. Pero kung hawak na ni Arroyo ang karamihan ng kongresista na kanya na palang kaalyado ay hindi na kakailanganing magkaroon pa ng dayaan dahil puwede na siyang manatli sa puwesto nang tuluy-tuloy.

    *              *              *

    SHORT BURSTS. Para sa mga komento o reaksiyon, mag-email sa firingline@ymail.com o mag-tweet sa @Side_View.

     

     

    * The opinion of this author is his/hers alone. It is not necessarily the views of Beyond Deadlines.

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    House coup*

    July 26th, 2018

    IN a most unprecedented and unexpected manner, the leadership of the House of Representatives changed hands a few minutes before the scheduled State of the Nation Address of the President.

    As a result, the much anticipated SONA was delayed for an hour and 20 minutes. Apart from this, a very important law failed to be ratified and there was a quandary among the people present as to who was really the Speaker of the House.

    For some of the audience, they were bearing witness to a coup of some sort on the House leadership of Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez by supporters of Deputy Speaker Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo.

    The problem lies in how the people would see our House leaders trying to grab power from each other like street urchins trying to outwit each other in a game of basketball or another contest in an alley. Talk about maturity among our lawmakers gone down the drain. This leaves a negative public impression on our leaders.

    A lot of people believe that GMA should have relented somehow at the time considering the effect it would create on the SONA. Not only did it delay the President’s address, GMA wanted to assume the position right away.

    *              *              *

    Arroyo was sworn in as House Speaker by her colleagues without the benefit of a microphone, which made it difficult for anyone to understand what she was saying, although it was quite apparent that she was being sworn into office.

    There was also the absence of the House Mace which signified that the Lower House was in session. According to the official website of the House of Representatives, the Mace of the House is a symbol of authority which is displayed at the foot of the Speaker’s Rostrum whenever the House is in session.

    A professor from the University of the Philippines said the absence of the Mace made the incident an unofficial gathering of congressmen. A lot of people believe that GMA got what she wanted.

    This corner believes that we may not yet see the end of this power-grab.

    *              *              *

    SHORT BURSTS. For comments or reactions, email firingline@ymail.com or tweet @Side_View. Read current and past issues of this column at http://www.tempo.com.ph/category/opinion/firing-line/

     

     

    *Ang mga pananaw sa artikulong ito ay sa sumulat.  Maaring hindi ito ang opisyal na posisyon ng Beyond Deadlines.

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    Modelong opisyal*

    July 24th, 2018

    SA GITNA ng santambak na intriga at kontrobersya na kinakaharap ng Philippine National Police bunga ng katiwalian at kabalbalan ng ilang bugok nilang kasapi ay nakatutuwang malaman na may mga opisyal pa rin na tunay na may malasakit sa organisasyon at tumutupad sa kanilang sinumpaang tungkulin na magpatupad ng batas, kahit na may kabaro silang masasagasaan.

    Halimbawa na rito ang direktor ng National Capital Region Police Office (PNP-NCRPO) na si Chief Superintendent Guillermo Lorenzo Eleazar dahil tunay na masinsinan, walang patid at walang sinasanto ang kanyang kampanya laban sa mga kriminal na pulis upang manumbalik ang tiwala ng mga mamamayan sa mga alagad ng batas.

    Sinalakay nila kamakailan ang mismong Muntinlupa City police headquarters at inaresto ang apat na pulis na inakusahan ng pangingikil ng pera kapalit ng pagpapalaya sa isang babae at sa pitong-taong-gulang na anak nito. Ang hepe ng drug enforcement unit ng naturang himpilan at tatlo pa nilang mga pulis ay pawang nakatakas at pinaghahanap pa hanggang sa kasalukuyan.

    Hiningan nila umano ng PhP400,000 ang isang construction foreman para mapalaya ang babaing kinakasama nito at ang anak nilang paslit na kinuha nang magsagawa ang mga pulis ng anti-illegal drug operation sa Barangay Tunasan.

    Hindi pa nakuntento, kinulimbat pa rin umano nila ang ibang gamit ng biktima kabilang na ang alahas, LED television set, cell phones, laptop at pati pera. Nakiusap ang foreman kung puwedeng mapababa ang hinihingi at nagkasundo sila sa halagang PhP40,000.

    Walang kaalam-alam ang mga sinasabing corrupt na pulis na nagsampa ng reklamo ang lalaki sa NCRPO. Nagresulta ito sa agarang pagsibak ni Eleazar sa walong pulis na sangkot sa operasyon at pati na sa hepe ng Muntinlupa police dahil sa command responsibility. Nahaharap ang mga nahuling pulis sa kasong kidnapping, robbery at extortion.

    Kung nangingikil man ang pulis ilang dekada na ang nakalilipas ay baka dahil sa tunay na maliit ang tinatanggap nilang suweldo. Pero hindi nila ito puwedeng ikatwiran sa kasalukuyan dahil inaalagaan sila ng Pangulo at tinitiyak na ang suweldo nila ay sapat para sa kanilang pamilya.

    Ayon kay Eleazar ay hindi siya magpapakita ng awa sa mga pulis na gumagawa ng ilegal lalo na ang pangingikil at kidnapping. Ito ay karapat-dapat dahil ang iilang pulis na gumagawa ng kagaguhan at kawalanghiyaan sa ngayon ay maituturing na tunay na bandido.

    Sa kasalukuyang takbo ng kapulisan na kung ilang ulit na nabubuko ang mga kalokohang ginagawa ng ilang pulis ay tunay na kinakailangan ang isang opisyal na tulad ni Eleazar na walang kinikilingan sa pagpapatupad ng batas.

    *              *              *

    SHORT BURSTS. Para sa mga komento o reaksiyon, mag-email sa firingline@ymail.com o mag-tweet sa @Side_View.

    *Ang mga pananaw sa artikulong ito ay sa sumulat.  Maaring hindi ito ang opisyal na posisyon ng Beyond Deadlines.

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    Do what is right*

    July 19th, 2018

    THE Philippines recently marked the second anniversary of its landmark 2016 victory in the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS). The arbitral tribunal’s decision on the case invalidated China’s supposed historic nine-dash claim on the South China Sea.

    The problem, however, remains as China refuses to acknowledge the ruling and continues to bully our fishermen. Chinese forces have prevented our fishermen from fully pursuing their livelihood in our own exclusive economic zone (EEZ), blocked the development of our natural resources, and erected military facilities. Their leader even blatantly confronted our President with the threat of war.

    It is quite clear that China created its nine-dash claim to dominate the South China Sea and become the new regional superpower by controlling more than three million square kilometers of one of the world’s most important sea lanes and Southeast Asia’s most critical marine resource that millions depend on for food and livelihood.

    In plain and simple words, most people believe China’s plan is to make a work of fiction concerning a false claim come to life by hijacking and owning an entire sea and all that lies beneath it.

    This is why the arbitral tribunal’s favorable decision is of paramount importance to our country and to all peace-loving people who have faith in the law. Any claim not supported by UNCLOS should be denied. Our victory is a vindication against China’s continued unlawful activities in our territory.

    The historic arbitral decision should have encouraged Filipinos to further unite with greater confidence in its position on the West Philippine Sea. However, the hopes and dreams of our people crumbled with China’s decision to ignore the decision despite the fact that it is recognized by international law.

    To make things worse, our government allows China to deprive our people of what is ours by continuing to put on hold the implementation of the decision. Because of this, China stands proud and confident that we would not dare make her angry if we want to avoid the possibility of war.

    However, a professor from an American university disclosed that war would not be a good option for China since its economy, including its fuel supply, is reliant on global trade which needs open shipping lines such as the Malacca Strait and the Indian Ocean which are dominated by US naval power.

    Should we then be afraid of China and keep our hands tied at all times?

    *              *              *

    SHORT BURSTS. For comments or reactions, email firingline@ymail.com or tweet @Side_View. Read current and past issues of this column at http://www.tempo.com.ph/category/opinion/firing-line/

     

    * The opinion of this author is his/hers alone. It is not necessarily the views of Beyond Deadlines.

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    Duterte mananahimik?*

    July 17th, 2018

    PUMAYAG umano si President Duterte na tumigil sa paglalabas ng mga pahayag tungkol sa simbahan matapos makipagpulong nang one-on-one sa pangulo ng Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines na si Archbishop Romulo Valles.

    Maaalalang naging kontrobersyal ang sunud-sunod na pagbatikos ni Duterte laban sa simbahan na humantong pa sa pagtawag niya na estupido raw ang Diyos at pagkuwestyon sa lohika ng kuwento ng “Creation” sa Bibliya.

    Pinagdudahan din niya ang konsepto ng “original sin” at pagkalipas ng ilang araw ay kinuwestyon naman ang mga karakter sa “Last Supper” na ginawa raw mga santo dahil naroon lang sila sa painting. Kung inyong natatandaan, ang Last Supper sa Bibliya ay naglalarawan sa huling hapunan ni Kristo na kasama ang 12 niyang Apostoles bago siya hinuli at isinailalim sa mga pagpapahirap, pagpapako sa krus at pagkasawi.

    Akalain ninyong umabot pa ito sa punto na naglatag ang Punong Ehekutibo ng imposibleng hamon na handa raw siyang magbitiw sa puwesto kung may makakukuha ng selfie sa pamamagitan ng cell phone bilang patunay na totoong may Diyos.

    Pero palaisipan para sa marami kung mapangangatawanan nga ni Duterte ang pangako. Panahon pa ng kampanya ay binabatikos na ni Duterte ang kaparian na inakusahan niya ng korapsyon at pang-aabuso sa kapangyarihan. Hindi rin niya inilihim na ang kinikimkim na galit ay nag-ugat umano sa hindi magandang karanasan niya sa kamay ng pari noong estudyante pa lang siya.

    Sa pananaw ng marami ay dapat lang tuparin ni Duterte ang binitiwang pangako bago manumpa sa tungkulin bilang Pangulo ng Pilipinas na ititigil ang labis na pagmumura at kikilos nang naaayon sa isang presidente bilang paggalang sa puwesto na kanyang hawak.

    Bilang Pangulo ay nararapat lang niyang igalang ang lahat ng relihiyon ng mga mamamayan na nasa ilalim ng kanyang pamumuno. Hindi na angkop ang estilong bira rito, bira roon na parang isang sanggano na laging matapang, mainit ang ulo at nakikipag-away kung kani-kanino.

    Alalahaning ang pagiging Pangulo ay nagbibigay sa kanya ng responsibilidad para maging ama ng buong bansa kaya dapat na niyang iwaksi sa isipan ang personal na karanasan sa kamay ng pari kahit na maituturing na mapait pa ito. Hindi siya ipinuwesto ng mga mamamayan para makapaghiganti sa kanyang dating mga nakaalitan.

    At higit sa lahat, bilang pinuno ng bansa ay dapat niyang bigyan ng respeto ang Konstitusyon na kumikilala at nagbibigay- galang sa kahalagahan ng Panginoon at humihingi ng tulong sa Kanya para sa ikabubuti ng buhay ng bawat mamamayan.

    *              *              *

    SHORT BURSTS. Para sa mga komento o reaksiyon, mag-email sa firingline@ymail.com o mag-tweet sa @Side_View.

     

    * The opinion of this author is his/hers alone. It is not necessarily the views of Beyond Deadlines.

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    Breaking point*

    July 12th, 2018

    THERE comes a time in a person’s life when continued anger and agitation being held back becomes harder and harder to control until it reaches a breaking point and he lets go of his rage.

    Just recently, a news footage came out showing an official of the US discussing what China had done in the past months over the Spratlys, including the creation of artificial islands, the construction of runways, militarization of the area, and blatant disregard of the decision of an arbitration court, saying its supposedly historic “nine-dash claim” on the territory is non-existent.

    Both the Philippines and Vietnam have kept crying foul over the dominance of China in areas located within its exclusive economic zones (EEZs) as declared by the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Seas (UNCLOS).

    Fishermen have been bullied and taken advantage of by members of the China Coast Guard who would approach the boats of the Filipinos on Panatag Shoal, ask or simply take the finest among their catch without any permission whatsoever.

    Up to this day, most Filipinos still find it hard to believe and accept why our government has allowed China to continually dominate and take control of our territorial waters over the years.

    *              *              *

    The problem began during the time of former President Noynoy Aquino who chose to file a legal protest over the matter in the United Nations.

    The decision was resolved by an arbitration court in our favor in 2016 during President Duterte’s term but the Chief Executive has continually put on hold its implementation since he considers China a close ally.

    But if things unexpectedly take a turn for the worse and the US goes to war with China over its continued activities over Spratlys, the question that comes to mind is who will the Philippines support between the two?

    Undoubtedly, we have an obligation to side with the US since we have an existing treaty signed in 1951, pointing out that the Philippines and US would support each other in case of an attack or foreign invasion.

    But the problem remains that for Duterte, China is a close friend and he wants to stay in good terms with Chinese President Xi Jinping. If possible, the President wants their friendship to prosper even further in the coming years.

    How will our officials then react and who will we side with if war suddenly breaks out?

    *              *              *

    SHORT BURSTS. For comments or reactions, email firingline@ymail.com or tweet @Side_View. Read current and past issues of this column at http://www.tempo.com.ph/category/opinion/firing-line/

     

    * The opinion of this author is his/hers alone. It is not necessarily the views of Beyond Deadlines.

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    Ipit sa sitwasyon*

    July 10th, 2018

    BATID ng lahat na halos nakabaon pa rin ang puwersa ng buong Philippine National Police (PNP) sa kontrobersya at kahihiyan bunga ng kapalpakan na nagawa ng ilang bugok nilang kabaro.

    Halos araw-araw ay may nauulat na pulis o kanilang opisyal na sangkot sa krimen tulad ng pagkakadawit sa ilegal na droga, pangongotong, panggagahasa o paggawa ng kalaswaan at iba pa. Hindi na rin mabilang ang mga pagkakataon na nakapatay ang pulis sa katwirang nanlaban ang kanyang hinuhuli o kaya ay nang-agaw umano ito ng baril.

    Alalahanin na tungkulin ng pulis na magpatupad ng batas at manghuli ng suspek na naaktuhan niya sa paggawa ng krimen. Pero ang uniporme niya at tsapa ay hindi nagbibigay ng lisensya para kumitil ng buhay lalo na ng mga inosente.

    Maaalalang isa sa mga pangako na binitiwan ni President Duterte habang nangangampanya ay wawakasan niya ang illegal na droga sa loob daw ng tatlo hanggang anim na buwan. Pero dalawang taon na siya sa puwesto at libu-libong suspek na ang namatay pero naririyan pa rin ang ipinagbabawal na gamot.

    Nangako rin siya na tatapusin ang ilegal na sugal pero alam nating lahat na hanggang ngayon ay namamayagpag ang jueteng sa iba’t ibang bahagi ng bansa.

    Nagmungkahi ang Pangulo kamakailan sa kapulisan na luwagan ang kampanya laban sa jueteng. Kapag may jueteng ay umiikot daw ang pera kahit na paano. Nag-aalala raw ang Pangulo na kapag nawala ang jueteng ay lalo pang lalala ang problema sa bentahan ng ilegal na droga na gamit ang jueteng operators.

    Pumasok si Senator Panfilo “Ping” Lacson sa eksena at nagbabala sa kapulisan laban sa pagsunod sa mga ilegal na kautusan kabilang na ang pagtigil ng kampanya sa jueteng. Ang pagsunod sa ilegal na utos kahit na nagmula ito sa Pangulo o ibang superiors ay hindi raw magsisilbing sapat na legal na depensa sa korte.

    Kung tutuusin ay hindi dapat balewalain ng kapulisan ang babala ni Lacson dahil may sapat na kaalaman ito sa kanyang sinasabi. Huwag kalilimutan na dati itong nagsilbi bilang hepe ng buong PNP.

    Tandaan na ang kapulisan ay may tungkulin na dapat gampanan at ipatupad. Kapag nakakita sila ng gumagawa ng krimen kaugnay man ito ng ilegal na droga, ilegal na sugal, pagnanakaw, pamamaslang o anumang labag sa batas ay dapat nilang hulihin ito at ikalaboso.

    Pero ang tanong ay paano kaya nila babalewalain ang utos ng Pangulo na kanilang Commander in Chief kung puwedeng mangahulugan ito ng pagkakasibak nila sa puwesto?

    *              *              *

    SHORT BURSTS. Para sa mga komento o reaksiyon, mag-email sa firingline@ymail.com o mag-tweet sa @Side_View.

     

    *Ang mga pananaw sa artikulong ito ay sa sumulat. Maaring hindi ito ang opisyal na posisyon ng Beyond Deadlines.

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    Unfulfilled promises*

    July 5th, 2018

    I OFTEN hear people say promises are made to be broken and lies are meant to be kept. It is true that most, not all, people fail to fulfill their vows one time too many. Even the country’s president is no exception.

    In his two years in office, President Duterte made several promises that he failed to fulfill.

    Leading the list was his campaign promise to end his usual cursing at people who earned his ire. He also vowed to behave properly in respect to the position he holds. Two years into his term, he continued to cuss and hurl invectives at his detractors and make sick jokes and remarks that are seen by many as improper for a person in his position.

    Also during the campaign, the President promised to ride a jetski to the Spratly Islands and plant a Philippine flag there. He reiterated that promise in 2017 when he said he would do it on Independence Day. He eventually canceled the plan two months before the supposed event upon the request of China.

    Duterte also promised to assert the decision by an arbitration court in The Hague on a petition where the Philippines won against China concerning our territory in the West Philippine Sea. Until today, he has continued to put on hold the decision to invoke the ruling.

    Duterte also vowed to sail to the Philippine (Benham) Rise last May. All the preparations were made including the media that would cover the event. However, observers could only shake their heads after learning that the preparations were intended for publicity. The President gave a speech on a Navy boat docked on Casiguran Bay in the province of Aurora and left before it could sail to the Philippine Rise.

    *              *              *

    People say that a man’s true worth can be measured through his word of honor. And for a leader of a nation, his people fully depend and place their hopes on him and how he values his word.

    If a promise made is from the heart and it is something one believes he can fulfill, then there is hardly a chance that he can break it.

    It is quite apparent that even Duterte cannot be expected to fulfill every promise he made especially if its fulfillment would earn the ire of China, which the President considers an extremely close ally. We can only hope and pray that he considers the welfare of the Filipinos first before that of his foreign friends at all times.

    *              *              *

    SHORT BURSTS. For comments or reactions, email firingline@ymail.com or tweet @Side_View. Read current and past issues of this column at http://www.tempo.com.ph/category/opinion/firing-line/

     

    * The opinion of this author is his/hers alone. It is not necessarily the views of Beyond Deadlines.

     

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    Kawalan ng respeto*

    July 3rd, 2018

    MARAMI ang nadismaya at hindi mabilang na mga tao ang nagalit nang tawagin ni President Duterte na “estupido” ang Diyos

    Ayon sa Philippine Council of Evangelical Churches ay nasaktan ito nang husto sa birada ni Duterte laban sa Simbahan. Nagpahayag naman ang isang grupo ng mga Kristiyano na nakagawa umano si Duterte ng pinakamabigat na kasalanan na tanging si Satanas lang ang makagagawa. Hindi rin nagpahuli ang iba’t ibang pinuno ng Simbahan sa pagbatikos sa Pangulo.

    Maging si Jesus Is Lord (JIL) Church founder Brother Eddie Villanueva ay hindi nakapagpigil sa pagpapakawala ng nadaramang “banal na galit” umano sa mga sinabi ni Duterte. Nilabag daw nito ang mismong Konstitusyon na dapat sana niyang sinusunod higit kanino man.

    Maliwanag kasing nakasaad ang pagkilala sa Diyos lalo na sa simula pa lang ng Preamble ng 1987 Constitution na nagsasabing “We, the sovereign Filipino people, imploring the aid of Almighty God…”

    Hindi masisisi kung marami man ang sumama ang loob dahil si Duterte ang Pangulo ng Plipinas at ng bawat isang Pilipino. Nararapat lang sanang maibigay niya ang karampatang paggalang sa bawat sektor ng lipunan, anuman ang relihiyon na kanilang kinabibilangan.

    Pero sa halip na respetuhin ang bawat relihiyon ay tinawag niyang estupido ang Diyos, kinuwestyon ang kuwento ng “creation” at pinagdudahan ang konsepto ng “original sin”. Hindi pa nakuntento, pagkalipas ng ilang araw ay kinuwestyon naman ng Pangulo ang mga karakter sa “Last Supper” na ginawa raw santo dahil naroon lang sila sa painting.

    Ang Last Supper ay ang kuwento sa Bibliya sa huling hapunan ni Kristo kung saan niya nakasama ang 12 niyang Apostoles na hinugasan niya ang mga paa sa bisperas ng daraanang mga pagpapahirap, pagpapako sa krus at pagkasawi.

    Noong panahon ng kampanya ay hindi itinago ni Duterte ang galit sa kaparian na nag-ugat umano sa hindi magandang karanasan niya habang estudyante sa kamay nang isang pari. Kaya naman sa hindi mabilang na mga talumpati ay ilang ulit minura ng Pangulo ang mga pari at inakusahan sila ng korapsyon at pang-aabuso sa kapangyarihan.

    Pero marami ang naniniwala na panahon na para maghunos-dili at magpreno si Duterte sa mga birada sa kaparian. Dapat daw igalang ni Duterte ang lahat ng relihiyon at umakto bilang tunay na pinuno ng bansa at hindi isang siga-siga. Kailangan umanong tuparin ni Duterte ang binitiwang pangako isang buwan bago manumpa sa tungkulin bilang Pangulo ng bansa na titigilan na niya ang labis na pagmumura at kikilos nang naayon sa isang presidente bilang respeto sa kanyang puwesto.

    *              *              *

    SHORT BURSTS. Para sa mga komento o reaksiyon, mag-email sa firingline@ymail.com o mag-tweet sa @Side_View.

     

    *Ang mga pananaw sa artikulong ito ay sa sumulat.  Maaring hindi ito ang opisyal na posisyon ng Beyond Deadlines.

     

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    Only human*

    June 28th, 2018

    CATHOLICS widely believe and accept that priests are representations of the Divine Creator on this earth.

    They are anointed to preach the Word of God and guide the people to the right path towards a blissful existence that would unite them one day with the Lord.

    Still, it cannot be denied that priests are also human, like each and every member of the flock, subject to mistakes in life.

    This is the reason why there are priests who have broken both God’s and man’s laws. Some are found to have had sexual relations with girls, single and married women, and even fathered some of their children. Some even allegedly abuse and maintain relations with young boys.

    The issue has surfaced not only in the Philippines but in different parts of the globe as well. A lot of priests, it turns out, could not uphold the vow of celibacy and weak to resist the feeling of deprivation to release their natural desires as a human being.

    And these uncontrollable needs of some priests are seen by some people as the reason why they are being slain as in the case of three of their colleagues in the past seven months of the second year under the leadership of President Duterte. In Iloilo, Duterte has claimed that some of the priests who were recently killed had affairs with women.

    The President said he respects the priests. Yet, he has displayed his animosity towards the priesthood and has hurled curse-laden insults at clergymen whom he accused of corruption and abuse of power. This anger has been attributed to a foul experience that Duterte allegedly had gone through as a young student in the hands of a priest. At one point, Duterte told an audience not to trust priests and instead address their problems straight to God.

    Some people believe that the President should refrain from hurling invectives at the Church. Seeing that Duterte himself has no liking or regard for clergymen could embolden some criminals to strike at and victimize priests whenever they want to.

    And as for the many of our honorable, respectable priests, how can you successfully lead a congregation and show them the true path if your fellow shepherds are seen involved in illicit activities and forbidden relationships?

    Some shepherds need shepherding.

    *              *              *

    During my sojourn in Japan last week for some Lions Club meetings, I met Shoji Masamichi, my friend of 27 years, who, I have learned, now has a gyoza (Japanese dumpling) business in Yokohama.

    I tasted his Appare gyoza. It’s delicious. It already has a fine taste even without dipping it in soy sauce.

    I encouraged him to bring his business to the Philippines. Yoshi! (All right!)

    *              *              *

    SHORT BURSTS. For comments or reactions, email firingline@ymail.com or tweet @Side_View. Read current and past issues of this column at http://www.tempo.com.ph/category/opinion/firing-line/

     

    * The opinion of this author is his/hers alone. It is not necessarily the views of Beyond Deadlines.

     

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