Posts by Robert:

    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.

    *              *              *

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    * 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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    Pag-aarmas sa pari*

    June 26th, 2018

    MUKHANG nagpa-panic na ang mga alagad ng Simbahan dahil sa magkakasunod na pagpatay sa mga pari nitong mga nakalipas na buwan.

    Akalain ninyong walang iba kundi si Philippine National Police (PNP) Director General Oscar Albayalde ang nagpahayag sa isang pulong balitaan na umabot umano ng 246 ang bilang ng mga pari at ministro na humiling sa PNP na payagan silang magdala ng mga baril sa labas ng kanilang tahanan.

    Sa madaling salita ay nagmay-ari na sila ng mga baril dati pa kaya hindi ang lisensya na magkaroon ng armas ang kanilang hiniling kundi ang pahintulot na makapagdala nito sa labas.

    Kung tutuusin ay hindi naman masisisi ang mga pari kung mataranta man sila dahil tatlo sa kanilang mga kabaro ang napaslang sa loob lamang ng pitong buwan sa pangalawang taon ng pamumuno ni President Duterte.

    Marami ang nag-aalala sa bilang na ito lalo na kung ikukumpara sa 13 pari na napaslang sa loob ng 44 taon mula martial law noong 1972 sa ilalim ni President Ferdinand Marcos hanggang matapos ang panunungkulan ni dating President Noynoy Aquino.

    Halimbawang pumayag ang gobyerno, hindi kaya mag-iba ang tingin ng mga mamamayan sa kanilang mga pari kung makikita na may nakasukbit na kalibre 45 sa baywang sa ilalim ng abito nito habang nagsasagawa siya ng misa?

    At paano natin aasahan na makasusunod nang husto ang mga pari sa utos ng Panginoon na “Huwag kang papatay” kung sila mismo ay may dalang mga instrumento ng kamatayan na puwedeng makapaslang ng kanilang kapwa?

    Mayroon bang katiyakan na kung may mabaril man sila ay mababalda lamang ito at hindi masasawi? Nagdaan ba sila ng mahalagang pagsasanay para matiyak na asintado sila at laging sapul ang kanilang inaasinta? Kung dumating man ang pagkakataon na makapatay ng tao ang isang alagad ng Panginoon, paano ito tatratuhin, haharapin o bibigyan ng katwiran ng Simbahan nang hindi sumasalungat sa mga sagrado nilang katuruan?

    Higit sa lahat, matagal na panahon na rin na may mga pari na nababalita na nagkaroon ng ugnayan o relasyon sa mga babae at lalaki at ang iba sa kanila ay nagkaroon pa raw ng anak. May pangamba na hindi kaya lalong mapadali ang mga pananamantala umanong ito kung may dala silang armas na puwedeng itutok sa kanilang magiging “biktima”?

    Kung halimbawang pagbibigyan ang hiling ng mahigit 200 pari at ministro na makapagdala ng baril sa labas ng kanilang tahanan, hindi kaya ninyo gagawing kampon ng kadiliman ang mga alagad ng Simbahan na dapat sanang nagpapatupad at nagtuturo ng mga Salita ng Diyos?

    *              *              *

    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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    Bad example*

    June 21st, 2018

    IT appears that the submissive response chosen by our government as a reaction to China’s aggressiveness of China towards Filipinos in the West Philippine Sea has begun to take its toll.

    Some Filipino fishermen have started to accept the cruelties being demonstrated by the China Coast Guard while out on patrol on Panatag (Scarborough) Shoal in Zambales. They would approach their boats and ask for fish while others would even be audacious enough to take some of the finest among their catch without any permission.

    The Chinese believe the disputed territory belongs to them and are exercising full control in the area on some foreign fishermen. But for a number of Filipinos, this is hard to accept especially since they are aware that the shoal, including all its fish, minerals and natural resources belongs to us since it is located within the exclusive economic zone (EEZ) of the Philippines.

    Several Filipinos say the absence of any member of the Philippine Coast Guard out on patrol on the shoal clearly shows that the territory is under the control of the Chinese Coast Guard.

    Since President Duterte is in good terms with President Xi Jinping, the Chinese harassment on our fishermen has stopped. The Chinese Coast Guard and Navy have allowed the Filipinos to fish in the area using small boats.

    Other Filipino fishermen have learned to accept the cigarettes, noodles or two bottles of mineral water that some coast guard would shamelessly give in exchange for 15 kilos of fish that they took. After all, life will be harder if they are not allowed to fish.

    But apart from the China Coast Guard, some Vietnamese fishermen have begun to enter the scene. Perhaps, seeing the passive attitude of our officials towards the Chinese may have emboldened some fishermen from that country to inch closer to the shorelines of Zambales.

    Let me remind our fishermen of the decision of the international arbitration court that allows Filipinos, Chinese as well as our neighboring fishermen to catch fish on Scarborough Shoal.

    What the government should do is to fully implement this decision, exercise control over the area, and disallow China from treating it as part of its territory. If the situation worsens and other foreign fishermen begin to pillage our waters and natural resources, how will then our government officials react?

    *              *              *

    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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    ‘Buaya’ ng karagatan*

    June 19th, 2018

    HINDI maitatanggi na nagmimistulang “buaya ng karagatan” ang China Coast Guard dahil sa kawalanghiyaan at kasuwapangan na ipinakikita nila sa mga mangingisdang Pilipino sa West Philippine Sea.

    Dati nating tinalakay na kapag dumarating ang bangka ng mangingisdang Pinoy sa Panatag (Scarborough) Shoal sa Zambales ay sumasampa umano ang Chinese Coast Guard at hinihingi ang isda na kanilang nahuli. Ang iba nga sa kanila ay sobra raw ang kapal ng mukha na kinukuha ang magagandang isda na kanilang nahuli nang walang paalam at nakunan pa ito ng video.

    Kamakailan ay naulat naman na ang iba ay nagbibigay rin ng kapalit sa mga kinuha nilang isda. Akalain ninyong kumukuha raw sila ng ilang kilo ng isda na nagkakahalaga ng PhP3,000 o higit pa at pinapalitan ito ng dalawang bote ng mineral water. Ang iba naman ay nagbibigay ng sigarilyo o kaya ay noodles bilang kapalit ng kanilang kinuhang isda.

    Hindi ba pagpapakita ito ng labis na panggugulang sa ating mga kababayan na nagpapakahirap na manghuli ng isda upang buhayin ang kanilang pamilya at mga mahal sa buhay?

    Walang kuwestyon na ang Panatag Shoal ay pag-aari ng Pilipinas dahil nasasakupan ito ng ating exclusive economic zone (EEC). Pero sa kabila ng katotohanang ito ay inangkin pa rin ng China ang lugar mula nang pasukin nila ito noong 2012 at magkairingan sila ng Philippine Navy. Dahil sa pagmamatigas ng China ay napilitang umatras ang puwersa ng ating navy kaya minabuti ng gobyerno na maghain ng protesta sa United Nations.

    Pero ang masakit ay binalewala ng China ang international court kahit na nagdesisyon ito ng pabor sa ating protesta at nagdeklara na ang Scarborough Shoal ay puwedeng pangisdaan ng mga Pilipino, Tsino at mga kapitbahay nating mangingisda kahit nasa loob ito ng EEZ ng ating bansa.

    Sa katunayan ay hayagang ipinakikita ng China na kontrolado nila ang lugar dahil ang pinapayagan lang nila na manghuli ng isda ay maliliit na bangka natin at hindi pinapapasok ang malalaking barko. Bukod dito, ayon sa ating mga mangingisda ay China Coast Guard lang ang nakikita nilang nagpapatrolya sa lugar at hindi ang Philippine Coast Guard.

    Noong una ay pinagbawalan tayo ng China na mangisda sa Panatag. Nang magkaroon ng kaunting kaluwagan at payagan ang maliliit nating bangka ay sumasampa naman sila sa mga ito para makuha ang magagandang klase ng nahuling isda.

    Kailan nga ba tuluyang magwawakas ang pagpapahirap na ipinalalasap ng China sa ating mga mangingisda? Kailan sila magigising sa katotohanan na namamayagpag sila sa teritoryo na hindi naman kanila?

    *              *              *

    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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    Independence Day*

    June 14th, 2018

    SEVERAL people were disappointed with the 120th anniversary celebration of our Independence Day last Tuesday in Kawit, Cavite led by President Duterte. They expected the Chief Executive to discuss the country’s foreign threats to our independence, particularly China’s harassment of our fishermen and navy.

    Like many of his speeches, the President first talked about his advocacies against corruption and illegal drugs. He mentioned his efforts for peace with communist rebels. He also talked about the first Filipino hero Lapu-Lapu. These are all good.

    What dismayed a number of listeners, however, was his failure to mention the West Philippine Sea issue and the alleged abuses that Filipinos continue to endure in the hands of the Chinese coast guard.

    This was much-awaited since our country’s recent note verbale against China which contained incidents such as the installation of missiles on Spratlys and the Chinese navy chopper’s harassment of a Philippine Navy rubber boat transporting supplies to our soldiers on Ayungin Shoal last May 11.

    Apart from this were the recent reports of continued maltreatment of Filipino fishermen by the Chinese coast guard on Panatag (Scarborough) Shoal in Zambales. Patrolling coast guards would regularly board their boats, choose the finest fish among their catch, and obtain as many as they could without permission. This was all caught on video which was shown on television.

    Some officials assured the fishermen that the Chinese authorities pledged to apply the full force of the law on those who would violate their laws and abuse the Filipinos. Although earlier, reports said some local officials were supposedly irked at the fishermen who chose to inform media.

    Bear in mind that if these fisherfolk are forbidden to speak out their concerns, who in the world could they turn to? Are they fated to remain silent and simply accept the maltreatment?

    In spite of the assistance given to the fishermen, our officials clarified that only small boats were allowed to fish in the area, not big fishing vessels.

    This is a clear violation of the decision rendered by the international arbitration court saying that Filipinos, Chinese and our neighboring fishermen can catch fish on Scarborough Shoal although the area is within our country’s exclusive economic zone (EEZ).

    How can we even speak of independence when we have territories that remain under the control of foreigners?

    *              *              *

    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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    Mapagsamantala*

    June 12th, 2018

    MAPAGSAMANTALA. Mapang-abuso. Mapang-api. Ganid. Suwapang.

    Ito ay ilan lamang sa mga salitang naglalarawan sa kahayupang inaasal at ipinakikita ng mga coast guard ng China sa sarili nating mga kababayan sa West Philippine Sea.

    Kamakailan lang ay tinalakay natin ang note verbale ng Pilipinas laban sa China na naglalaman ng mga insidenteng naganap sa ating karagatan tulad ng instalasyon ng mga missile ng China sa Spratlys at pangha-harass ng mga helicopter ng navy ng China sa rubber boat ng Philippine Navy habang naghahatid ito ng supplies sa ating mga sundalo sa Ayungin Shoal nitong nakalipas na Mayo 11.

    Akalain ninyong bukod pala sa mga kaganapang ito ay naulat na regular din umanong nakararanas ng pang-aapi at pang-aabuso ang ating mga mangingisda sa kamay ng mga mapagsamantalang miyembro ng China Coast Guard sa Panatag (Scarborough) Shoal sa lalawigan ng Zambales.

    Bilang patunay ay ipinakita sa isang news program ang phone video ng mga lalaki na sakay ng isang China Coast Guard speed boat na sumampa sa bangka ng mga Pilipino at kinuha ang ilan sa magagandang isda na kanilang nahuli.

    Regular daw itong ginagawa ng mga speed boat ng China Coast Guard sa mga bangka ng mga Pinoy habang nag-iikot sa karagatan. Hinahalungkat nila ang mga nahuli, kinukuha na lang ang nagustuhan at inilalagay sa plastik para iuwi.

    Maaalalang nagkairingan ang Philippine Navy at Chinese Coast Guard sa karagatan ng Panatag Shoal noong 2012 sa panahon ni President Noynoy Aquino. Nagmatigas ang China kaya napaatras ang puwersa ng mga Pinoy hanggang sa tuluyang napunta sa Beijing ang kontrol sa lugar.

    Dahil dito ay nagprotesta ang Pilipinas at nang mapuwesto si Presidente Rodrigo Duterte ay nagdesisyon ang international court na ang Scarborough Shoal ay puwedeng pangisdaan ng mga Pilipino, Tsino at ng mga kapitbahay nating mangingisda kahit na nakapaloob ito sa exclusive economic zone (EEZ) ng ating bansa.

    Sa kabila ng naturang desisyon ay hindi pa rin binitiwan ng China ang lugar at ibang mga kalapit na teritoryo na pag-aari ng Pilipinas hanggang sa kasalukuyan.

    Ang phone video na ipinakita sa telebisyon ay nagpapakita na kontrolado pa rin nang husto ng China ang teritoryo. Walang magawa at hindi man lang kayang makapalag ng mga Pilipino kahit na ang kanilang kabuhayan na inilaan para sa kanilang mga pamilya at mahal sa buhay ay harap-harapang dinudugas ng China.

    May mga nagtatanong kung ito ba ang resulta ng ipinagmamalaki ni Duterte ng magandang relasyon natin sa China na bunga ng pakikipagmabutihan niya sa Beijing at sa pangulo nito?

    *              *              *

    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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    A question of integrity*

    June 7th, 2018

    THE respect and trust that each member of Congress or government official deserves comes into question when they themselves start accusing each other of crimes like common criminals or petty thieves.

    An example comes to mind when Akbayan Representative Tom Villarin filed a complaint of theft, backed by photos and CCTV footage, against former congressman and now Labor Undersecretary Jacinto “Jing” Paras at the Quezon City Prosecutor’s Office last week.

    Villarin said he was at a hearing of the House Committee on Labor when he was approached by Paras who mentioned that he (Villarin) is together with Senator Risa Hontiveros, a statement that supposedly hinted malice. Villarin said he looked at Paras and, after a few seconds, was surprised to learn that his cell phone was gone.

    He reported the matter House security. The missing phone was found in another room a few hours later. The House chose not to release the CCTV footage of the incident to the media. However, Villarin said Paras was seen holding two cell phones in one of the photos he attached to his complaint.

    A photo was released quickly on social media, showing Paras with a group that included Villarin and Hontiveros. The caption was written in capital letters punctuated with exclamation points, exposing the alleged relationship between Hontiveros and Villarin. If you click on the post, however, there was nothing to see but Villarin’s press conference. This was really nothing but a clear example of fake news.

    For his part, Paras did not deny taking Villarin’s cell phone but refused to accept the term “steal”. He said that he placed his phone on the table while talking to the congressman and must have accidentally lifted the phone of Villarin as well when he took his phone and proceeded to another hearing. The security may have found the missing cell phone there and turned it over to the lawmaker’s staff. Paras asked: How could he gain access to Villarin’s phone when it is password-protected?

    A word of advice from Firing Line: Paras, like any Duterte appointee, should be cautious of his actions since anything he does reflects on the President himself and adds to the negative image that he has already earned for himself.

    *              *              *

    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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    Isapubliko*

    June 5th, 2018

    HINIHIMOK ng ilang eksperto na isapubliko ng Pilipinas ang diplomatic protests nito laban sa mga pinaggagawa ng China sa West Philippine Sea dahil hindi umano sapat ang papa-file ng Maynila ng note verbale laban sa Beijing.

    Naulat na tinukoy raw ni Asia Maritime Transparency Initiative (AMTI) director Gregory Poling na ang tanging paraan para makumbinsi ang China na ituring ang ating claims nang naaayon sa international law at tratuhin nang patas sa mga kalapit nating bansa ay ang gamitan sila ng international pressure, maging diplomatic man o economic, upang makumbinsi sila na may kailangang pagbayaran ang kanilang ginagawa.

    Hindi raw makatutulong ang tahimik na pagbibigay ng notes sa Beijing at pagtanggi na kilalanin ang kanilang pangha-harass. Sa nakalipas na dalawang taon ay nadagdagan ang militarisasyon ng China, pangha-harass sa tropang Pilipino, economic activities sa ating karagatan, mga pangako ng pamumuhunan na hindi pa nagkakatotoo, pag-uusap ukol sa code of conduct at pagsasanib tungo sa kaunlaran na mukhang wala umanong pupuntahan.

    Ayon sa ulat, kabilang umano sa note verbale ng Pilipinas laban sa China ang mga insidenteng naganap sa West Philippine Sea tulad ng instalasyon ng mga missile sa Spratlys at pangha-harass ng mga helicopter ng navy ng China sa rubber boat ng Philippine Navy habang nagdadala ito ng supplies sa ating mga sundalo sa Ayungin Shoal nitong nakalipas na Mayo 11.

    Nagpahayag ang security expert na si Rommel Banlaoi na makabubuti kung isasapubliko ng Pilipinas ang diplomatic protests na sa tingin nito ay makapagpapakalma sa pagdududa ng mamamayang Pilipino.

    Ayon kay Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) Secretary Alan Peter Cayetano, ang negatibong verbal comment ay maituturing daw na diplomatic protest. Pero ang puna ni Magdalo Representative Gary Alejano, kung sa palagay raw ni Cayetano ay maituturing na diplomatic protests ang simpleng nabanggit na salita ay ano ang ipinagkaiba nito sa isinulat sa tubig? Tinukoy ni Alejano na ang diplomatic protest ay dapat nakasulat o nasa written form. Magsisilbi raw itong rekord sa kasaysayan kung paano tayo tumugon sa mga paglabag na ginawa sa atin ng ibang bansa.

    Nang makipagpulong si President Duterte kina Secretary Cayetano at Philippine Ambassador to China Chito Santa Romana ay binanggit ng Pangulo na concerned daw siya sa kaligtasan ng mga kawal na Pilipino kaugnay ng pangha-harass ng China sa rubber boat ng Philippine Navy.

    Gayunman ay wala ring nabago. Nananatili pa ring nakatali ang kamay ng Pangulo para umiwas na makadigmaan ang China. May mga nagtatanong tuloy kung may hawak ba ang China laban kay Duterte?

    *              *              *

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

     

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    Speculations*

    May 31st, 2018

    A LOT of speculations have cropped up regarding China’s seemingly all-powerful and incomprehensible influence over our country, on our territories, and even over President Duterte himself.

    It is an undeniable fact that the independence of our country was achieved through the sacrifice of innumerable lives of our countrymen during the last world war.

    In spite of our victory over the peaceful arbitration hearing in 2016, China seemed undaunted and has successfully created artificial islands, airstrips over our waters and armed them with planes and bombers as if preparing for war. To make things worse, even our President has been constantly discouraging our people from making any action that could agitate China.

    Many of our people are bewildered and suspect that China may allegedly have something on Duterte. Undeniably, the President has repeatedly defended China and his Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) has shown uncertainty in issuing any kind of protest over the militarization of artificial islands constructed within our territory. A lot of people want to know if this cannot be considered betrayal of public trust and the President’s constitutional mandate?

    *              *              *

    Many questions have formed in the minds of people due to the President’s soft stance towards China, which many find ludicrous but cannot be ignored. Among them are:

    What if the reports were true that a private Chinese plane was indeed parked in Davao during the presidential election campaign? Could this have any bearing on Chinese interests that have been apparently influencing Filipino policies in Marawi and Boracay? There were rumors of a flood of Chinese immigrants passing through Clark International Airport.

    What if China contributed heavily to Duterte’s campaign kitty by cash or through social media management?

    What if China holds some private information on the President and is blackmailing him?

    What if China assured Duterte or his successor of a permanent presidency or leadership?

    And finally, Duterte admitted in a report that President Xi Jin Ping assured him that he would not be ousted from the presidency. Does this have anything to do with the President’s continued defense of China?

    *              *              *

    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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    Umiiwas sa digmaan*

    May 29th, 2018

    BAGAMAN maliwanag na may katwiran si President Duterte sa pagiwas na makagawa ng hakbang na puwedeng ikagalit ng China para makipagdigmaan ito sa ating bansa, sa pananaw ng marami ay nagpapakita ang Pangulo ng labis na kahinaan sa kanyang ginagawa.

    Ayon sa Pangulo ay hindi niya kakayaning pumasok sa digmaan kung saan hindi siya magwawagi at magreresulta sa pagbubuwis ng buhay ng mga kasapi ng Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP).

    Pero wala bang magagawa ang bansa kundi hayaan ang hayagang pananamantala ng China sa teritoryo na nasasakop ng Pilipinas?

    Marahil ay dapat bawas-bawasan ng Pangulo ang pagbibigay ng pahayag kung saan agad niyang inaamin ang pagkatalo at pagtanggap na hindi kakayanin ng Pilipinas ang pumasok sa gulo at makipagdigmaan sa China. Pinalalakas lang ni Duterte ang loob ng China sa mga naturang pahayag upang ipagpatuloy ang pagangkin at paggawa ng mga itinatayo nila sa ating teritoryo.

    Sa halip na makipagalitan ay kailangang palakasin ni Duterte ang pakikipagugnayan sa Amerika at ipagpatuloy ang pagsasagawa ng joint patrols ng militar ng Pilipinas at United States. Dapat din natin hilingin sa Amerika na ideklara na ipagtatanggol nila ang ating karagatan sa mga mananakop alinsunod sa tratado ng dalawang bansa na nilagdaan noong 1951 na nagsasaad na susuportahan natin ang isa’t isa sakali mang sinalakay tayo ng ibang bansa.

    Tiyak na magdadalawang isip ang China at mababawasan ang kanilang tapang kapag nakita nilang kasama natin ang Amerika sa pag-aasikaso ng mga suliranin kaugnay ng ating teritoryo.

    Ayon kay Senior Associate Justice Antonio Carpio, isa sa mga naghanda ng matagumpay nating arbitration case laban sa China, dapat tayong mag-file ng malakas at pormal na protesta laban sa mga itinatayo ng China sa ating teritoryo. Ito ang ginawa ng Vietnam nang magpadala ang China ng cruise tours sa pinagtatalunang Paracels.

    Kailangang atasan ang Philippine Navy na magpatrolya sa Scarborough Shoal. Kung sasalakayin ng China ang ating barko ay puwedeng tawagan ni Duterte ang Amerika upang maipatupad ang tratado.

    Puwede ring hilingin ng Pilipinas na ideklara ng Amerika na ang Scarborough Shoal ay bahagi ng teritoryo ng bansa para sa tratado tulad nang ideklara ng US ang Senkaku na parte ng teritoryo ng Japan para sa tratado nila sa Japan.

    May nagtatanong kung dapat sundin ang hangarin ni Duterte na umiwas sa digmaan? Maaalalang marami tayong ninuno na nagbuwis ng buhay para ipaglaban ang kalayaan. Naalala ko tuloy ang bahagi ng Pambansang Awit na nagsasabing “…Sa manlulupig ‘di ka pasisiil…” at “…Ang mamatay nang dahil sa iyo.”

    *              *              *

    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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    Disregard for the law*

    May 24th, 2018

    THE 8-6 result of the Quo Warranto petition against Chief Justice Lourdes Sereno was unexpected and it shocked the public.

    It came as an all-time low for the Supreme Court (SC) to allegedly twist the rule of law and manipulate it in favor of a petition against its very own leader. Many people supposedly still find it hard to believe that such a travesty occurred in our country’s history.

    Sereno’s fate was placed in the hands of five justices who had earlier accused and testified against her at the House of Representatives.

    Instead of inhibiting from making a vote, they clearly made use of their number in their plan to unseat the SC chief. They should have inhibited or recused themselves from hearing the case if there was even a hint of a possible conflict of interest or lack of impartiality.

    More shocking was the fact that this was all accomplished by justices in an open disregard for the Constitution which clearly states that “The President, the Vice-President, the Members of the Supreme Court, the Members of the Constitutional Commissions, and the Ombudsman may be removed from office on impeachment for, and conviction of, culpable violation of the Constitution, treason, bribery, graft and corruption, other high crimes, or betrayal of public trust. All other public officers and employees may be removed from office as provided by law, but not by impeachment”.

    The question now in the minds of our people is how can our respectable justices validate a decision that was publicly perceived to be illegal from the very beginning?

    *              *              *

    The SC reportedly found that Sereno violated the Constitution by failing to file all the necessary statements of assets, liabilities, and net worth (SALNs) when she applied for the position of chief justice (CJ) and lied before the Judicial and Bar Council (JBC).

    If this was the case, the JBC should have dealt with matter there and then by not clearing her as a nominee for the position. When Sereno was appointed CJ, the only legal way to remove her from her post was through impeachment.

    When the SC learned that Sereno failed to file her SALNs and if it truly believed that what she did was an impeachable offense, it should have allowed Congress to go through the process of impeachment.

    Congress is tasked by the Constitution the sensitive job of removing impeachable officials. For its part, the Senate acts as the impeachment court. However, the Quo Warranto case was intentionally filed to avoid all these. The SC’s action robbed Congress and the Senate of their legal functions and rendered them useless.

    If the SC can do this to Sereno, what does the future hold for Juan dela Cruz?

    *              *              *

    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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    Impeachment, Quo Warranto*

    May 22nd, 2018

    HINDI maitatanggi na naging kontrobersyal ang pagpapatalsik ng Supreme Court kay Chief Justice Lourdes Sereno.

    Hindi ito naaayon sa Konstitusyon na nagsasaad na ang Pangulo, Bise Presidente, mga mahistrado ng Supreme Court, mga commissioner ng Civil Service Commission, Commission on Elections, Commission on Audit at ang Ombudsman ay maaari lang alisin sa puwesto sa pamamagitan ng impeachment.

    Ang impeachment ang proseso kung saan ang mga nabanggit na opisyal ay puwedeng mapatalsik sa puwesto kapag may nagsampa ng reklamong impeachment na sinisimulan sa Kongreso at kapag nakapasa ay lilitisin ito sa Senado. Alalahanin na ang naturang mga opisyal lang ang puwedeng paalisin sa puwesto sa pamamagitan ng impeachment.

    Ang ibang public officials at employees ay puwede namang mapaalis sa puwesto nang naaayon sa batas pero hindi sa prosesong impeachment.

    Idinaraan sa impeachment ang reklamo upang matiyak na ang mga nabanggit na opisyal na tulad ng Pangulo at mga mahistrado ng SC na humahawak ng mga sensitibong posisyon ay mananatili sa puwesto at makapagtatrabaho nang maluwag, malaya at walang agam-agam sa mga pagbabanta na baka mapatalsik sila sa puwesto dahil may mga hindi sumasang-ayon sa kanilang mga naging desisyon.

    Sa kabilang banda, ang Quo Warranto naman ay legal proceeding kung saan ang isang public officer ay kinukuwestyon sa paghawak ng puwesto sa gobyerno nang ilegal o labag sa batas. Sa madaling salita ay kinukuwestyon ang kuwalipikasyon ng naturang public official sa paghawak ng puwesto.

    Ang Quo Warranto ay puwedeng magamit sa lahat ng public officers at employees maliban sa mga opisyal na puwedeng ma-impeach tulad ng Pangulo, Bise Presidente at ng kanilang mga kagrupo.

    Ang tanong tuloy ng marami ay maaari kayang manaig ang Quo Warranto sa ating Konstitusyon? Ang sagot ay hindi dahil ang Konstitusyon ang pinakamataas na batas samantalang ang Quo Warranto ay ni hindi batas kundi isang patakaran lamang.

    Masisisi ba natin ang maraming tao kung magkaroon sila ng pagdududa ngayon sa pagpapatalsik kay Sereno? Nagduda tuloy sila sa sinseridad ng SC na gampanan ang tungkulin at batayan sa pagpapaalis kay Sereno. Sinibak si Sereno dahil nabigo raw itong mag-file ng SALN sa loob ng ilang taon at umabuso raw sa kapangyarihan.

    Mapai-impeach lang ang opisyal sa paglabag sa Konstitusyon, treason, bribery, graft and corruption a betrayal of public trust. Kung nagsinungaling si Sereno nang mag-apply sa Judicial and Bar Council ay dapat umaksyon ang JBC at hindi siya pinayagang mapuwesto. Ngayong CJ na si Sereno ay mapatatalsik lang siya sa pamamagitan ng impeachment at walang iba pa. Iyan ang isinasaad ng batas.

    *              *              *

    SHORT BURSTS. Para sa mga komento o reaksiyon, mag-email safiringline@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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    Renewal of ties*

    May 17th, 2018

    BEFORE the Philippines and Kuwait signed a memorandum of agreement last week, providing additional protection for overseas Filipino workers (OFWs), the relationship between the two countries already seemed headed for a better and brighter future.

    A delegation of Filipino officials composed of Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III, presidential spokesperson Harry Roque, former Labor Secretary Marianito Roque, Labor Attaché Rustico dela Fuente and Deputy Chief to the Mission in Kuwait Mohd Noordin Lomondot met with officials from Kuwait’s Interior Ministry earlier in an attempt to normalize ties between the two countries.

    The relationship between the Philippines and Kuwait plunged to an all-time low after several distressed Filipino workers were “rescued” in operations that became controversial after some Kuwaiti officials said these were accomplished without the proper authority and disregarded the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations.

    A report revealed the “rescue” was allegedly authorized by Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) Undersecretary Sara Lou Arriola.

    The meeting between officials from the Philippines and Kuwait drew positive results since four drivers from the Philippine embassy who were detained, following the controversial operations, were released. It also resulted in a guarantee from Kuwaiti officials that all remaining undocumented Filipinos, except those with pending cases, would be allowed to go home. Some 150 workers joined Philippine officials on their flight home.

    Kuwait also agreed to create a special unit in its police force that would be available 24 hours a day which the Philippine embassy could coordinate with to act on complaints by troubled OFWs. Filipinos would be given a number they could call whenever they need assistance.

    Apparently missing from the Philippine delegation was DFA Secretary Alan Peter Cayetano who was earlier reported to have been involved in a shouting match with Bello over who was to blame for the Kuwait problem. The DFA, however, denied such incident occurred and claimed that no DFA official wrote the Palace asking for Cayetano’s resignation.

    Cayetano clearly made up for his absence when he participated in the milestone signing of the MOA which was also attended by Bello, Roque and an official from Kuwait.

    Firing Line prays for the continued safety of our OFWs in all parts of the globe.

    *              *              *

    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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    Tagumpay*

    May 15th, 2018

    SA WAKAS ay nagtagumpay ang mga pagsisikap ng mga opisyal ng Pilipinas upang maprotektahan ang mga overseas Filipino worker sa Kuwait.

    Nakahinga nang maluwag ang mga mangggagawa ng lagdaan ng Pilipinas at Kuwait ang memorandum of agreement nitong nagdaang Biyernes na nagbibigay ng karagdagang proteksyon sa mga OFW.

    Dapat purihin si President Rodrigo Duterte, Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) Secretary Alan Peter Cayetano at ibang mga opisyal sa tagumpay na ito.

    Hindi na inaasahan ng marami na matutuloy pa ang lagdaang ito bunga ng iringan ng dalawang bansa lalo nang ideklarang “persona non grata” ang Philippine Ambassador to Kuwait na si Renato Villa dahil sa pagliligtas ng mga naglilingkod sa embahada sa mga inaabusong OFW.

    Pero sana ay maalala ng lahat ng naging bahagi ng makasaysayang pirmahang ito na ang kanilang napagkasunduan ay hindi dapat manatili hanggang papel lamang. Dapat ay magtulungan sila sa pagpapatupad nito upang tuluyang mapigilan ang mga pang-aabuso sa ating mga OFW.

    Alalahanin na ginagarantiyahan ng mismong labor laws ng Kuwait ang mas mabuting labor conditions para sa ating OFWs. Dapat laging maging mapagmatiyag ang gobyerno ng Pilipinas upang matiyak na tutuparin ng gobyerno ng Kuwait ang kanilang bahagi ng kasunduan.

    Batay sa kasunduan, ang mga amo ay obligadong magbigay ng disenteng pagkain, matutuluyan at damit sa mga OFW at irehistro sila sa health insurance system. Hindi na puwedeng kumpiskahin ang passports at ibang travel documents ng mga Pinoy o pagbawalan sila na gumamit ng cell phones.

    Kailangan din tulungan ng employer ang kanilang OFW na makapagbukas ng bank account sa sariling pangalan ng manggagawa at payagan sila na magkaroon ng oportunidad na makapag-remit ng kanilang buwanang suweldo sa Pilipinas.

    Ang mga manggagawang Pinoy ay papayagang mabigyan ng serbisyo ng Kuwait’s Department of Domestic Labor upang maayos ang mga hidwaan. Ang mga amo na dati nang lumabag sa mga kontrata o umabuso sa kanilang empleyado ay hindi na papayagang makakuha ng manggagawa.

    Hindi na papayagang ilipat ang OFW sa ibang amo kung ayaw nila, wala silang pahintulot at kailangan ang pagpayag ng Philippine Overseas Labor Office. Dapat din tiyakin ng Pilipinas na ang mga OFW ay dumaan sa nararapat na pagsasanay at nabigyan ng sertipikasyon sa trabahong bahay, Dapat din nilang mapag-aralan ang mga batas at kaugalian sa Kuwait.

    Mabuti naman at naayos na ang problema nang dalawang bansa. Kung tutupad sila sa kasunduan, umaasa tayo na ito nang simula ng panibagong buhay at magandang kinabukasan para sa mga OFW natin sa Kuwait.

    *              *              *

    SHORT BURSTS. Para sa mga komento o reaksiyon, mag-email safiringline@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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    Protecting workers in Kuwait*

    May 9th, 2018

    KUWAIT is a country with a diverse society.

    Of its 4.2 million people, 70 percent or 2.9 million are expatriates. Of these, 260,000 are Filipinos employed either as household help or skilled workers such as nurses, doctors, teachers, mechanics, chefs, and hotel and restaurant managers, to name a few. Obviously, for whatever nationality, it is a place of great opportunity — greener pastures that their country cannot provide.

    Believe it or not, the United Nations has recognized the humanitarian leadership of Kuwait’s emir, Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah, and Kuwait as International Humanitarian Center. So why the hell are there a spate of reports of workers being abused, their human rights violated?

    Everyone knows that such reports, including the murder of Joanna Demafelis, have triggered the Philippines to issue a deployment ban.

    We also know that the Philippine embassy staff’s “rescue” of a worker, whose video footage went viral on the web and which Kuwait felt was a breach of its sovereignty, has resulted in the expulsion of the Philippine ambassador, the detention of some embassy staff, and the recall of the Kuwaiti envoy.

    Kuwait does not condone modern-day slavery. If we read the news and blogs, and hear the views of workers from varied jobs, we come to a conclusion that skilled workers are generally treated well. Incidences of abuses are high only in the level of Household Service Workers (HSWs) or domestic workers.

    So what’s happening in several Kuwaiti households?

    Many employers abuse the contracts they sign with the house help. They maltreat them, physically or verbally, force salary deductions and do not pay them on time. Several confiscate the worker’s passport and forbid her from possessing a mobile phone, which keeps her connected to loved ones back home and eases the feeling of solitude.

    Any contract signed between the employer and domestic helper should be honored. Any party that breaches it must bear the responsibility. This is understood.

    Many workers, however, feel helpless because if they file a complaint with the police, the employers either fire them or file trumped-up charges against them.

    Kuwaiti authorities should address these issues by ensuring employers treat HSWs humanely and with respect — as if they are part of their own family, and not as slaves. Abusers should be dealt with harshly.

    They should ensure that HSWs are allowed to keep their phones and passports or allow the embassy to hold the sovereign document for them.

    Allow HSWs to open bank accounts where employers can deposit their salaries. This way, the government can monitor whether or not employers adhere to their financial obligation.

    There must also be some form of standard to determine if a household is qualified to hire an HSW, perhaps, considering the size of the house, availability of a private room for the worker with basic amenities such as bed, television, etcetera.

    Kuwaitis cannot deny that Filipinos are an integral part of their society. Pinoys are among the 2.9 million expats who help boost the emirate’s economy as well as the Philippines’s. Both governments should find a win-win solution to this impasse based on long-held friendship and reciprocity.

    *              *              *

    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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    Kinidnap?*

    May 8th, 2018

    MARAMI ang nagulat sa balita na inakusahan ng Kuwait ang mga opisyal ng ating embahada ng pangingidnap sa sarili nating mga kababayan na kanilang iniligtas umano sa nakitang emergency na kanilang kinasangkutan.

    Nilinaw ni Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) Secretary Alan Peter Cayetano na wala raw krimen sa pagsasalba sa ilang problemadong Overseas Filipino Worker (OFW) na nauwi sa pagpapatalsik kay Philippine Ambassador Renato Villa na idineklarang “persona non grata” at pag-isyu ng arrest warrant sa ilang empleyado ng embahada.

    Ang ugat ng problema ay hindi nagustuhan ng Kuwait ang video na inilabas sa publiko sa naganap na rescue operations. Inakusahan ng Kuwait ang mga opisyal ng embahada na lumabag daw sa Vienna Convention for Diplomatic Relations kaya naglabas sila ng arrest warrant sa ilang embassy personnel.

    Pero tahasan itong itinanggi ni Cayetano na nagpahayag na wala umanong krimen na naganap. Ipinaliwanag ni Cayetano na hindi raw tumutugon ang embahada sa mga request mula sa mga problemadong Pilipino nang walang koordinasyon sa gobyerno ng Kuwait.

    Kaya nga raw ang 35 sa 38 na iniligtas ay coordinated at ang tatlo ay pinaniniwalaan nilang kailangang aksyunan agad-agad. Tungkulin daw nila ito na hindi puwedeng pabayaan sa ilalim ng international law.

    Pero nagdulot daw ito ng komosyon para sa Kuwait kaya nasabi niyang humihingi siya ng paumanhin sa kanilang nagawa kung sa palagay nila ay nalabag ang kanilang sovereignty pero tinitiyak niya na nangyari lang ito para protektahan ang mga kababayang Pilipino.

    Ayon kay Cayetano ay nag-isyu ng arrest warrants laban sa personnel ng embahada para sa kidnapping pero nasasakop daw ang ating mga kababayan ng diplomatic immunity. At kahit na hindi raw sila napailalim ng naturang immunity ay walang naganap na krimen. Kailangan lang daw nila itong suriin, imbestigahan ng Kuwait upang mapalapit sa pagkakaunawaan nila ng isa’t isa.

    Bunga raw ng iringan ay umasim ang relasyon ng dalawang bansa. Akalain ninyong humantong ito sa biglaang pagpapauwi ng Kuwait Foreign Ministry sa kanilang ambassador na nakatalaga sa Pilipinas.

    Dahil sa nagkakainitan ang Pilipinas at Kuwait ay patuloy na hinihimok ni President Duterte ang mga OFW na bumalik sa ating bansa. Sa katunayan ay libu-libong Pilipino na ang tumugon at umuwi sa Pilipinas.

    Para kay Senator Risa Hontiveros ay isinusugal ni Duterte ang buhay at trabaho ng OFWs sa pagpapauwi sa kanila. Hindi raw ito laro dahil buhay at kinabukasan ng OFWs at kanilang mahal sa buhay ang sangkot. Kaya bang bigyan ng gobyerno ng trabaho ang lahat ng OFW na uuwi sa bansa?

    *              *              *

    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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    Kuwait ready to cooperate*

    May 3rd, 2018

    CERTAINLY, it is good to note that Kuwait is ready to cooperate with the Philippines in exploring all means to address labor issues, including that of the 800 Filipinos who are currently in shelter centers.

    Kuwait’s Deputy Foreign Minister Khaled Al-Jarallah said the emirate is keen on maintaining the safety and rights of all expatriates, including Filipinos, within the labor laws of the country which have been praised by international human rights agencies. He, however, said his country will also “act decisively” against attempts to breach its sovereignty.

    Al-Jarallah appreciated the contributions of the Filipino community, noted Manila’s support of Kuwait during the 1990-91 Iraqi invasion, and described “the historic friendship” between the two countries could help overcome this diplomatic row.

    This is all well and good but does Al-Jarallah’s statement have any effect on President Duterte who is now calling on Filipino workers in Kuwait to return home?

    Duterte’s recent appeal was directed mainly at Household Service Workers (HSWs), not professionals whose working conditions are generally trouble-free.

    Earlier, the President issued a total ban on the deployment of workers to Kuwait following the death of HSW Joanna Demafelis whose body was found in a freezer in February. Thousands of OFWs were repatriated since the ban’s implementation.

    Duterte appealed to the Kuwaiti government and household employers not to harm the workers. He promised to look for the money to take home all of them. He said might use the financial aid from China to help them leave Kuwait. This money was originally allotted for hospitals outside Metro Manila. The government would also help the workers pay off their debts. The President said he could also use the emergency fund since he believes the workers’ situation is a calamity.

    However, the OFW group Migrante International believes returning workers may end up unemployed or underemployed. It will not do them any good and can supposedly worsen their situation. These workers may just return to Kuwait through illegal means. They can even fall victim to human trafficking.

    *              *              *

    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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    Nakalilito, nakaliligalig*

    April 30th, 2018

    NAKALILIGALIG na ang ginagawa ng gobyerno ng Kuwait sa mga Pilipino, pati na sa mga opisyal ng embahada na ang tanging hangarin ay matulungan ang mga kababayan natin na inaapi sa naturang lugar.

    Maituturing na hayagang pambabastos ang pag-isyu ng Kuwait ng arrest warrants sa tatlong diplomat na Pilipino habang nakapiit ang apat pang Pilipino na naglilingkod sa embahada. Bukod dito ay nagawa pa nilang patalsikin ang ambassador ng Pilipinas na si Renato Villa at ideklara itong “persona non grata.”

    Nauna rito ay iniulat ng Kuwait News Agency na dalawang Pilipino ang inaresto dahil inuudyukan umano nila ang mga Pilipinang kasambahay na takasan ang kanilang mga amo. Habang isinasailalim sa interogasyon ay inamin daw ng dalawang Pilipino ang krimen bukod pa sa ibang mga katulad na paglabag na nagawa sa iba-ibang rehiyon ng kanilang bansa.

    Maliwanag pa sa sikat ng araw na taliwas ang ginawa ng Kuwait sa pahayag ng kanilang ambassador na si Saleh Ahmad Althwaikh nang makipag-meeting kay Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) Secretary Alan Peter Cayetano kamakailan at makipagkasundo na magtutulungan upang mapagbuti ang relasyon ng dalawang bansa.

    At dahil sa ginawa ng Kuwait, ang anumang pinaplantsang memorandum of understanding (MOU) ng Pilipinas at Kuwait upang matanggal ang deployment ban sa ating mga kababayan na nais magtrabaho sa naturang bansa ay wala na. Ayon mismo kay President Duterte ay permanente na raw ang ban.

    Noong isang linggo ay humingi ng paumanhin ang Pilipinas sa Kuwait dahil sa pag-rescue na isinagawa upang protektahan ang mga Pilipino. Kahit saang anggulo tingnan ay tungkulin ng mga opisyal ng embahada na tulungan ang mga Pilipina na hindi tinatrato nang maganda ng kanilang employer. Alalahaning maaari silang masisi kung naging pabaya sa trabaho pero hindi kailan man sa pagtupad sa kanilang tungkulin.

    Marahil ay marahas ang Kuwait pero mali rin ang embahada natin dahil kinuhanan pa nila ng video ang isinagawang pag-”rescue” na naging viral sa web.

    Tinapakan din nila ang karapatan ng Kuwait sa sarili nilang bansa dahil walang paalam ang kanilang ginawa. Inakusahan ng Kuwait ang embahada ng maliwanag na paglabag sa mga patakaran ukol sa aksyong pangdiplomasya nang tulungan ang mga Pilipina na tumakas.

    Kung ilalagay natin ang sarili natin sa sapatos ng Kuwait at sa atin ginawa ang pag-rescue sa kanilang nationals dito sa bansa nang walang paalam, ano ang mararamdaman ng gobyerno natin?

    Sa tingin ng marami ay tama ‘yung pag-“rescue” kung totoong nanghingi ng tulong at hindi inudyukan ang Household Service Worker na tumakas sa amo pero hindi na sana ikinalat ang video.

    *              *              *

    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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    Boracay’s woes begin*

    April 26th, 2018

    THE woes of thousands of workers rendered jobless for six months while Boracay is on lockdown begin today.

    Hotel and restaurant employees, vendors, boatmen, tattoo artists and other people who make a living on the beach remain unaware if the government can or will provide new job opportunities for them during the shutdown.

    However, the people allowed to work on the island during the cleanup process first need to secure identification passes to enter. The designated entry and exit points are the Caticlan port in mainland Malay and the Cagban port in Manoc-Manoc.

    Jetty Port administrator-designate Niven Maquirang has clarified that since April 18, only non-resident workers of the island are required to secure Worker’s Terminal Identification Pass (TIP). They can fill out application forms at the Caticlan and Cagban ports without paying any fee. Still, they are required to submit a valid government-issued identification card and a certification of employment from a company operating and located on Boracay.

    Although residents of the island’s three barangays – Yapak, Balabag and Manoc-Manoc – are exempted from getting terminal passes, they still need to present their barangay identification cards or any valid government identification card indicating their home address on Boracay. They are not allowed to enter the Caticlan and Cagban ports without these IDs.

    According to Maquirang, members of the Philippine National Police (PNP) are ready to assist the residents and workers concerning entry and exit issues. Meanwhile, boat trips of the Caticlan Boracay Transport Multi-purpose Cooperative for the Caticlan-Cagban routes are scheduled from 6 a.m. until 10 p.m.

    *              *              *

    Apart from these new rules, the prospect of a massive casino being put up on the island still remains a problem.

    Contrary to the statement of the Department of Tourism, Leisure and Resorts World Corporation said it has not abandoned its plans to build a casino with Galaxy Entertainment Group on Boracay.

    Leisure and Resorts World is the local partner of the Macau-based Galaxy Entertainment Group in the planned construction of a gambling palace on a 23-hectare lot worth $500 million.

    If the project pushes through due to the casino giant’s doggedness, it challenges Malacañang’s statement that there will be no casinos on Boracay. Do the men behind Galaxy and Resorts World dare contradict President Duterte himself?

    *              *              *

    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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    Planong casino, mga patakaran sa Boracay*

    April 24th, 2018

    MUKHANG tuluyan nang hindi matutuloy ang planong pagtatayo ng higanteng casino sa Boracay.

    Tahimik na ipinagbunyi ng marami ang pahayag ng Department of Tourism (DOT) na umatras na ang Galaxy Entertainment Group na nakabase sa Macau sa pagtatayo ng casino na nagkakahalaga ng us$500 milyon sa 23 ektarya ng lupa sa Boracay.

    Pero itinanggi naman ng Leisure and Resorts World Corporation, ang local partner ng Galaxy, na inabandona ang planong pagtatayo nila ng casino.

    Maaalalang tumanggap ng sari-saring batikos ang itatayo sanang casino lalo na’t natiyempo ang pagpapagawa nito sa panahon na isasara ang isla sa mga turista sa loob ng anim na buwan simula sa Abril 26.

    Ayon kay President Duterte ay naging palikuran na ang Boracay matapos makitang hindi sapat ang kapasidad ng mga pasilidad na magproseso ng dumi na iniwan ng mga tao.

    Mawala man ang suliranin sa casino, maraming paghihigpit ang isasakatuparan sa isla ng Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG).

    Halimbawa rito ang pagbabawal sa mga turista na makapasok sa isla kaya sa Jetty Port sa Malay Aklan ay pipigilan na sila. Papayagan ang mga residente, manggagawa at may-ari ng resort na makapasok sa isla kung mayroon silang identification cards na makapagpapakita kung saan sila nanunuluyan sa Boracay. Ang mga ID na inisyu ng gobyerno ay kikilalanin. Ang mga ID na hindi nagmula sa gobyerno ay tatanggapin kung may kasamang barangay certificate.

    Bawal ang paglangoy sa mga turista samantalang ang mga residente ay papayagang mag-swimming sa Angol Beach sa station 3 mula 6 a.m. hanggang 5 p.m.

    Walang papapasuking bisita ng mga residente ng Boracay maliban lang kung may emergency at may clearance mula sa security committee na kinabibilangan ng kinatawan ng DILG, pulis at lokal na opisyal ng gobyerno. Pati mga taga-media ay papapasukin lang kung inaprubahan ng DOT at itinakda kung hanggang kailan sila magtatagal.

    Hindi papayagan ang mga lumulutang na istruktura nang hanggang 15 kilometro mula sa baybayin. Ang mga dayuhang residente naman ng Boracay ay kailangang ipasuri ang kanilang papeles sa Bureau of Immigration. At isa lang ang itatakdang lugar sa isla kung saan puwedeng pumasok at lumabas ang mga tao.

    Kahit nangangapa sa dilim ang 36,000 indibidwal na pare-parehong may binubuhay na pamilya at anak na pinag-aaral na biglang mawawalan ng pinagkakakitaan ay may mga patakaran pa pala silang kailangang sundin tulad ng ibang residente sa isla.

    Ang puna ng iba ay parang batas-militar dahil sobrang higpit naman daw ng mga patakaran na ipatutupad para sa problemang pampalikuran lamang.

    *              *              *

    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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