Posts by Robert:

    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?

    *              *              *

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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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    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.

    *              *              *

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    *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.

    *              *              *

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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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    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.

    *              *              *

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    * 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 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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    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?

    *              *              *

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    *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 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.

    *              *              *

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    *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 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.

    *              *              *

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

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    On Boracay casino: Let’s stop it*

    April 19th, 2018

    A LOT of people still suspect that the closure of Boracay beginning April 26 was to give way to the construction of a 23-hectare, USD500-million resort- casino on the island by the Macau-based Galaxy Entertainment Group.

    Since the news broke out, netizens were up in arms, knowing that Boracay is respected, admired and ranked Number 1 among the “Best Islands in the World”. With the construction of a casino, critics doubt the government’s sincerity to protect the popular tourist destination.

    President Duterte denied knowing about plans to put up a casino on Boracay. What’s puzzling was a photo supposedly released by Malacañang in 2017 that showed him in a meeting with officials of a Chinese company behind the planned casino.

    In a press conference, Duterte clarified that “there are no plans for a casino. Let’s stop it because it’s too much. There’s a casino here, casino there.”

    What the President did mention was his intention to “consider Boracay a land reform area. I will give it to the farmers, to the Filipinos first.”

    Duterte promised to issue a proclamation since, according to the law, Boracay is mostly comprised of agricultural and forestland. He revealed that the six-month closure order would be in preparation for the return of the land to the people who need it the most.

    But Duterte’s statement brought confusion to the 36,000 people who would be rendered jobless due to Boracay’s closure like the vendors, boatmen, and diving instructors, as well as the employees of hotels and restaurants, all striving to make a living to support their loved ones. What job awaits them after six months? And what becomes of the island’s tourism if it becomes an agricultural land?

    Former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo’s Proclamation 1064 classified Boracay Island into 400 hectares of reserved forestland and 628.96 hectares of agricultural land. But the question is can the land truly support any kind of farming activity?

    If Boracay would indeed be given to farmers, some people doubt the timing of the closure since it would supposedly coincide with the construction of the massive casino on the island. Would this turn the island into a gambler’s paradise or heaven for the elite and make it lose the reputation that has endeared it to tourists around the globe?

    Salute Duterte for stopping the casino construction on Boracay. He should be praised for thinking about the Filipinos and prioritizing them in his plans. Thank you, Mr. President. Firing Line and the Filipino people hold you to your word.

    *              *              *

    SHORT BURSTS. For comments or reactions, email 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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    Problemang Boracay*

    April 17th, 2018

    NAKIKISIMPATYA tayo sa libu-libong nakatakdang mawalan ng trabaho kapag ipinasara ang Boracay sa loob ng anim na buwan simula sa Abril 26.

    Kabilang na rito ang mga empleyado ng hotel at restawran. Kasama rin ang mga masahista, bangkero, tindero at diving instructor na mga maralitang nagsisikap kumayod para sa kanilang pamilya. Hindi biru-biro ang bilang na 36,000 na biglang mawawalan ng pinagkakakitaan. Pare-pareho silang may binubuhay na pamilya at mga anak na pinag-aaral. Ang tanong ay saan sila kukuha ng kanilang ikabubuhay?

    Ayon umano sa Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) ay 5,000 trabaho lamang ang kaya nilang mahanap. Pero sa matitirang 31,000 mawawalan ng kabuhayan ay wala silang kasagutan.

    Ang Boracay ay nanguna sa “Best Islands in the World”. Ito ay itinuturing na paraiso na nirerespeto at hinahangaan sa buong mundo. Sa katunayan ay kabilang ito sa “best beaches around the world”.

    Gayunman ay tinawag itong palikuran ni President Duterte. Ayon kasi sa mga eksperto, ang kapasidad ng pasilidad sa Boracay para magproseso ng dumi na iniwan ng mga tao ay hindi na sapat.

    Nagkaisa naman ang ilang ahensya ng gobyerno sa pagpapasara upang linisin umano ang isla. Ayon sa National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) ay minimal ang magiging impact nito sa ekonomiya. Nagpahayag naman ang Department of Tourism (DOT) na limitado ang magiging epekto nito. Ang Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG), Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) at DOT ang mga ahensya na nagrekomendang ipasara ang Boracay.

    Binalewala nila ang katotohanan na sa nakalipas na 2017 ay lumikha ang Boracay ng 17,737 trabaho na itinuturing na pinakamalaki sa Western Visayas. Hindi rin dapat isantabi ang dalawang milyong turista na bumisita sa isla. Kung turismo naman ng bansa ang pag-uusapan ay sinasabing 20 porsyento ang nagmumula sa Boracay.

    Kaya masakit malaman na ngayong Abril 2018 ay 700,000 bookings ang kinansela dahil sa nalalapit na pagsasara. At ayon sa Boracay Chamber of Commerce ay P56 bilyon ang kita na mawawala sa ekonomiya. Bakit hindi ipasara ang isla sa panahon na hindi ito dinadagsa ng turista? Kung lalabas na hindi maaasahan ang turismo sa Boracay ay hindi ba maaapektuhan ang imahe ng Pilipinas sa abroad?

    Bakit hindi pinansin ang ibang ahensya na taliwas ang pananaw at nagsabing makabubuti kung gagawing yugto-yugto ang paglilinis sa isla at masyadong maaga para ito ay ipasara? Hindi tuloy maiwasan na magduda ang iba sa pagdedesisyon ng gobyerno ngayong lumalabas na pinarurusahan daw nila ang lahat dahil sa nagawang kapabayaan ng iilan.

    *              *              *

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


    No loss of life*

    April 12th, 2018

    AFTER being plagued for months by thousands of deaths of suspects who supposedly resisted arrest since the onset of President Duterte’s campaign against illegal drugs, it is truly pleasing to learn of an anti-drug operation that resulted in the successful apprehension of the wrongdoers without any loss of life.

    An undercover cop among the joint operatives from the Quezon City Police District (QCPD) purchased a sachet of shabu worth P20,000 from Marc Dytioco, 36, and Iris Caraan, 40, around 3 a.m. on Masbate Street in Barangay Nayong Kaunlaran. The police said Dytioco had already been under surveillance for quite some time.

    During the transaction, however, the suspects allegedly sensed that they were dealing with a cop. They sped off in their white BMW car in an attempt to escape. A 15-minute chase ensued and ended only when the cops’ car rammed the suspects’ vehicle.

    Apart from the marked money used in the transaction, the suspects reportedly yielded several sachets of shabu with a street value of P125,000.

    Apparently, the two were no small-time dealers based on the amount of the confiscated shabu and the type of car they rode.

    The suspects should be thankful that they are still alive after the operation.

    Not only should the QCPD under Chief Superintendent Guillermo Lorenzo “Guilor” Eleazar should be commended. There are many other anti-drug operations in Metro Manila and other parts of the country that end up successful and without any loss of life.

    Firing Line fully supports the government’s campaign against illegal drugs which have destroyed the lives of countless men, women, and children — our country’s future.

    What this corner disapproves of are the not so few cases of police scalawags who abuse their power by assassinating targets and without any regard to “collateral damage”. These are young victims whom policemen made it appear that they shot it out with arresting officers even though they were unarmed and not peddling drugs.

    To this day, a lot of people still doubt if all the suspects who perished in anti-drug stings were truly armed and resisted arrest and if some supposedly legitimate operations were actually “scripted”.

    Can anyone blame them?

    *              *              *

    SHORT BURSTS. For comments or reactions, email 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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    Jueteng may basbas?*

    April 10th, 2018

    MARAMI ang naghihinala na baka may basbas at sadyang kinukunsinti umano ng mga awtoridad ang jueteng operations sa area ng Southern Police District (SPD).

    Ayon sa ating source ay bago na ang jueteng lord na humahawak sa lugar ng SPD at ito ay walang iba kundi ang isang alyas “Jun Viloria.” Pinayagan na raw ito na mag-operate ng ilang corrupt na pulis na nakadikit sa tanggapan ng direktor ng SPD.

    Pati ang suporta ng mga dating kabo at personnel ng dating nagpapatakbo ng jueteng sa teritoryo ng SPD ay nakuha raw ni Viloria matapos niyang mahuli ang kiliti ng mga ito nang taasan nang 40 porsyento ang kanilang kita. Dahil dito ay hindi na kataka-taka na naglipatan sila sa panig ni Viloria.

    Hindi lang natin alam kung anong “salamangka” ang ginawa ni Viloria kung nakuha nga niya ang basbas ng mga tiwaling pulis. Akalain ninyong pati raw ang mga chief of police at kapitan ng barangay sa mga lugar ng kanyang jueteng operations ay ipinagmamalaki ni Viloria na nakuha na niya. Bukod diyan ay wala na rin daw problema sa mga alkalde na nakasasakop sa lugar dahil “inayos” na niya ang mga ito.

    Hindi pa natin iisa-isahin ang pangalan ng mga alkalde at chief of police na ito na nakapuwesto sa southern part ng Metro Manila upang hindi naman sila malagay sa kahihiyan at maging sentro ng usap-usapan. Alam naman ng lahat kung sinu-sino ang tinutukoy natin.

    Pero kung totoong sinusuportahan nila ang operasyon ng jueteng kaya hindi pa rin nila inaaksyunan ang pamamayagpag na ito ni Viloria sa kanilang teritoryo ay makaaasa sila na hindi tayo mananahimik. Alalahaning hindi raw makalulusot ang jueteng o anumang ilegal na sugal sa mga alkalde kung hindi nila ito pinakikinabangan.

    Marami ang nagdududa sa katapatan ng mga opisyal dahil alam nila na matinik ang mga pulis at matatalas ang kanilang pang-amoy kapag may ilegal na aktibidad na nagaganap sa kanilang nasasakupan. Ang puna nga ng iba ay hindi nga lang daw ito nakikita ng kapulisan kung sadyang nagbubulag-bulagan dahil “tinatapalan” sila ng pera sa mukha ng mga iligalista.

    Sadya ba nilang binabalewala o hindi lang talaga nirerespeto ang utos ni Philippine National Police (PNP) chief Director-General Ronald “Bato” dela Rosa na sugpuin ang ilegal na sugal sa kanilang nasasakupan?

    Kapag naupo na si PNP-National Capital Region Police Office (NCRPO) chief Director Oscar Albayalde bilang bagong PNP chief sana ay hindi ganito ang magiging kalakaran.

    *              *              *

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

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    April 5th, 2018

    THE question still remains why Malacañang gave its nod to the Macau-based Galaxy Entertainment Group to put up a casino worth USD500 million on Boracay when along with the moves to rehabilitate the island include a suspension on new construction projects in the area.

    The proposed temporary closure of the island was made after President Rodrigo Duterte expressed that Boracay has become a “cesspool”. Still, some people think it was meant to give way to the casino project although Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque already denied this.

    Also, Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) Secretary Roy Cimatu admitted that Galaxy’s plan seemed to contradict government moves to free up space in Boracay.

    Galaxy’s local partner, Leisure Resorts World Corporation (LRWC), earlier announced the acquisition of a 23-hectare property for the project in Barangay Manoc-Manoc, one of the three barangays on the 1,032-hectare island. However, Barangay Manoc-Manoc officials said they were totally unaware that a casino worth USD500 million would be erected in their village.

    Meanwhile, Senate President Aquilino “Koko” Pimentel disclosed that the project should not push through without the approval of the people of Malay, Aklan that has jurisdiction over the area since they would be the first ones to be affected by the good or bad results derived from the casino.

    Even if the shift to federalism has not happened yet, Pimentel clarified that there is no legal impediment to adopt the principle of consultation.

    Kalibo Bishop Jose Corazon Tala-oc said casinos destroy the moral fiber of families and may result in other vices. He and other worried residents are ready to conduct peaceful prayer rallies to oppose the project.

    Karen Davila tweeted that “Boracay’s capacity is only 40,000 a day but tourists are at 54,000. DENR even thought about limiting tourists to save the island. How then can a new casino help in this move?”

    Experts found that the capacity of existing facilities in Boracay to process waste left by people is already inadequate. If a casino is constructed, would this not generate more waste way beyond its capacity?

    More importantly, we have seen so many people who got hooked on gambling lose all their money, got separated from their wives and families with their children at the losing end. Casinos could also serve as nests for drug lords and breed more problems if tourists and locals had easier access to narcotics. Why destroy the beauty of nature along with the lives of the people?

    *              *              *

    SHORT BURSTS. For comments or reactions, email 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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    Resort-casino kailangan ba?*

    April 3rd, 2018

    MAINIT pa rin ang talakayan hanggang ngayon kung dapat ba talagang magtayo ang China ng isang resort-casino sa Boracay.

    Maging ang kalihim ng Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) na si Roy Cimatu ay umamin na ang pagsisikap upang mapaluwag ang Boracay ay hindi tumutugma sa plano ng Galaxy Entertainment Group na nakabase sa Macau na magtayo ng casino na may sukat na 23-ektarya, posibleng magkaroon ng 250 silid at nagkakahalaga ng $500 milyon sa naturang isla.

    Sa kabila ng katotohanang nabigyan na ng provincial license ang Galaxy para magpatakbo ng casino ay kailangan din umano nilang makatupad sa hinihinging requirements ng DENR bago nila maituloy ang proyekto.

    Inatasan na raw ni Cimatu ang DENR ecosystems research and development bureau upang alamin ang maximum na bilang ng tao na puwedeng kumasya sa isla. Ang unang pagsasaliksik ay ginawa may 10 taon na raw ang nakalilipas at sa panahong iyon ay natuklasan na malapit na raw umabot sa limitasyon ang kapasidad ng Boracay.

    Pagkalipas ng 10 taon ay hindi naman imposibleng isipin na naabot na ng Boracay ang limitasyon nito.

    Sa bagong pag-aaral na ito na iniutos ni Cimatu nakasalalay kung ang Galaxy ay mabibigyan ng environmental compliance certificate (ECC). Ang ECC ay kinakailangan bago payagan ang pagtatayo ng bagong istruktura sa isla.

    Iba-iba ang tinatantiyang bilang ng mga turista na bumibisita sa Boracay. Ayon sa grupong Tourism Congress of the Philippines ay 18,800 na mga turista ang regular na bumibisita sa isla at nagtatagal dito ng tatlong araw. Nagpahayag naman si tourism development specialist Mark Evidente na ang mga turista sa Boracay ay 14,182 araw-araw. Ang maliwanag nga lang ay nagtataas ito sa pagdaan ng mga taon.

    Nagpahayag si Presidente Rodrigo Duterte sa hangaring ipasara ang Boracay dahil naging palikuran umano ito. Ayon sa DENR ay may 17.5 milyong litro ng wastewater ang pinakakawalan ng isla ng Boracay araw-araw. Kalahati raw nito ang nabibigyan ng kaukulang treatment samantalang ang natitirang kalahati ay hindi. Ang 30 hanggang 40 porsyento ng hindi na-treat na wastewater ay mula sa mga pribadong bahay at ang iba ay sa mga establisimiyentong pangnegosyo.

    May nagtataka kung bakit napunta ang atensyon ng Malacañang sa Boracay. Pero ang kuwestyon ng Firing Line ay kung bakit pumayag ang Malacañang na makapasok ang proyekto ng pagtatayo ng casino sa Boracay habang nasa kasagsagan ng mga plano para ma-rehabilitate ang isla kung saan kasama ang pasususpinde rito ng mga bagong proyekto ng konstruksyon?

    *              *              *

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

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    Casino-resort in Boracay*

    March 29th, 2018

    AMID moves to shut down Boracay for a year comes the news that the government has approved the construction of a big casino-resort on the world-famous island in 2019.

    The Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation (Pagcor) granted Macau based casino giant Galaxy Entertainment Group and its Filipino partner Leisure and Resorts World Corporation provisional approval to build a 23-hectare casino-resort worth USD500 million on the island despite the temporary total closure proposed by several government agencies.

    It turned out that in 2017, President Duterte met with the executives of Galaxy who expressed their plan to build an entertainment complex in Boracay along with the promise to comply with government environmental guidelines.

    However, a lot of people were quick to assume that the decision to shut down Boracay was to give way to the casino project which Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque immediately denied.

    Roque explained that the casino project would have zero discharge, which means it would reuse all waste water, treat it and reuse it either for flushing or gardening purposes. It would be required to have not just a sewage treatment plant but a water-recycling treatment facility.

    Duterte expressed earlier his intention to shut Boracay down, saying it has become a “cesspool.”

    The opinion of the President was shared by the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR), Department of Tourism (DoT), and Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) assigned to make a recommendation for the resolution on the alleged degradation of Boracay.

    These government agencies suggested a total closure of the island for one year while undergoing rehabilitation although the Tourism department acknowledged that the closure would affect the tourist arrival target under the National Tourism Development Plan.

    Several things should be considered here especially the effect that the construction of a casino-resort would have on the island of Boracay. Architect and urban planner Felino “Jun” Palafox said the construction should not be allowed on the white-sand beaches since it would damage the quality of the sand.

    More importantly, Boracay is known for the attraction its waters and sunsets have on tourists. The island is for beach lovers who want to have fun and frolic in the sand. It was never meant for gambling purposes. Why then is there a need to put up a gambling hub in Boracay when there are so many casinos in Manila if the people are truly looking for a betting center?

    *              *              *

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

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

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    Huwag magpadalus-dalos*  

    March 27th, 2018

    SANA ay huwag magpadalus-dalos ang gobyerno sa pagpapasara ng sikat na Boracay Island at bigyan ng pansin ang mga kawalan na idudulot nito, hindi lamang sa bilyun-biyong pisong kinikita ng mga establisimyento kundi ang libu-libong tao na mawawalan ng trabaho.

    Hindi biru-biro na mahigit 36,000 trabaho ang maaapektuhan at higit P56 bilyon ang mawawala sa buwis sakali mang magdesisyon ang administrasyon ni President Duterte na ipasara ang naturang isla upang maayos ang mga problema na natuklasan dito.

    Ayon kay Leonard Tirol, direktor ng Boracay Foundation Incorporated, isang non-profit at non-stock na asosasyon, mahigit 17,000 empleyado ng mga hotel, resort, restawran, dive shop, souvenir shop, tour activist center at transport provider ang direktang maaapektuhan kapag ipinasara ang mga negosyo kahit na pansamantala lamang. Bukod dito ay apektado rin ang 19,000 na naglilingkod bilang mga masahista sa beach, tattoo artist at mga vendor.

    Nagpahayag naman ang mga stakeholder ng Boracay na kinabibilangan ng Philippine Travel Agencies Association, Tourism Congress Philippines, Philippine Tour Operators Association at Organization of Hotel Sales and Marketing Professionals na hindi rin dapat balewalain umano ang katotohanan na sa kabuuang kinita ng turismo mula Enero hanggang Septyembre 2017 ay 20 porsyento o P56 bilyon ang nagmula sa Boracay.

    Ayon sa opisyal ng isa sa mga stakeholder, ang ilan sa kanilang mga kliyente na nag-advance booking ay nagtatanong at nag-aalala sa nakaambang pagpapasara sa isla at nagagalit na sa kanila. Marahil ay mayroon naman ibang epektibong hakbang na puwede umanong isagawa upang maisaayos ang isla.

    Sa tingin ng taga-Boracay Foundation ay dapat mabigyan ng 60 araw ang stakeholders mula Abril hanggang Mayo upang makapagsagawa sila ng sariling mga pagsisikap tungo sa paglilinis at rehabilitasyon ng kanilang paligid.

    Naniniwala ang Firing Line na dapat pagtuunan muna ng pansin ng gobyerno ang mga lumabag sa umiiral nating environmental laws pero hayaang mag-operate ang mga sumusunod sa batas. Gayunman, kailangang magtulung-tulong ang mga stakeholder, local at pati na ang national government sa paglilinis at pagre-rehabilitate ng Boracay.

    Nauunawaan natin ang hangarin ng gobyerno sa pangunguna ni Duterte na mapangalagaan ang ating kalikasan. Pero mahalaga rin at hindi dapat balewalain ang kapakanan ng 36,000 tao na mawawalan ng trabaho kung isasara ang Boracay.

    At dahil nakatuon na rin ang gobyerno sa pangangalaga ng kalikasan ay dapat inspeksyonin din ang ibang tourist spots sa bansa upang makatiyak na ang lahat ay sumusunod sa ating mga batas. Ang mga matutuklasang lumalabag ay dapat lang aksyunan upang maagapan ang problema at matiyak na hindi ito matutulad sa Boracay.

    *              *              *

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

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    Ibawal ang political dynasty*

    March 22nd, 2018

    SA kabila ng katotohanang mandato ng Kongreso, batay sa 1987 Constitution, na magpasa ng batas sa anti-political dynasty upang mapigilan ang pananatili sa kapangyarihan ng ilang mga angkang pampulitika ay patuloy na namamayagpag ang mga ito.

    Ayon sa Article II Section 26 ng 1987 Constitution, “The state shall guarantee equal access to opportunities for public service, and prohibit political dynasties as may be defined by law.”

    Ipinagbabawal man ng Konstitusyon ang political dynasties ay hinayaan nito sa Kongreso ang pagpapasa ng batas laban dito, na maliwanag naman na hindi nila inaksyunan. Ito ay sa kadahilanang ang karamihan sa mga mambabatas ay pawang miyembro ng dynasty na hangaring lansagin ng Saligang Batas. Wala pang naisasabatas hanggang sa kasalukuyan kaugnay ng status ng political dynasties sa Pilipinas.

    Sa Local Government Code ay isinasaad ang hangganan ng termino ng mga opisyal ng local government. Pero gayun man ay wala naman sinasabi ritong limitasyon sa pagtakbo ng mga kaanak ng nakapuwestong opisyal o sa paghawak ng maraming puwestong pampulitika ng iisang pamilya.

    Ang abogadong si Christian Monsod na isa sa mga bumuo ng 1987 Constitution ay aminadong nagsisisi siya na hindi sila nakapaglagay ng eksaktong probisyon laban sa political dynasties na dapat daw sana ay aabot sa ikaapat na degree ng pagiging magkaanak ang pagbabawal. Kung ito ang nangyari, kahit ang mga mag-first cousin ay masasakop ng pagbabawal.

    Sa botong 10 laban sa siyam sa talakayan ng mga posibleng pag-aamyenda na puwedeng gawin sa Konstitusyon ay nanaig ang mungkahi na maglagay ng regulasyon sa halip na ipagbawal nang tuluyan ang political dynasties. Ang puna nga ng isa sa mga bumoto para magkaroon ng ban ay magkakaroon lang ng mga butas na puwedeng gamiting palusot kung regulasyon lamang ang ipatutupad.

    Sa regulasyon ay palalawigin hanggang sa second degree ang relasyon ng magkakamag-anak kung saan kabilang ang mga lolo, lola, apo, mga kapatid ng pulitiko, biyenan at pati na ang mga bayaw, hipag, lolo at lola ng kanyang asawa.

    Kung hindi rin makapagpapatupad ng buong pagbabawal ay makabubuti nang magkaroon man lang ng kaunting regulasyon upang mabawasan naman ang sangkaterbang magkakaanak na nakapuwesto nang sabay-sabay sa local at national positions habang nagpapasasa sa kapangyarihan.

    Pero huwag sana nating kalilimutan na dapat ay buong pagbabawal ang maipatupad upang maging pantay-pantay ang pulitika at hindi sinasamantala ng mga ganid sa kapangyarihan na bumabalewala sa Konstitusyon at nananatiling nakakapit sa puwesto para sa pansarili nilang kapakanan. Ito ay malaking insulto sa ating mga mamamayang nagmamahal sa tunay na demokrasya.

    *              *              *

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    Dare to care for orphans*

    March 20th, 2018

    JAPANESE-American tapestry artist Tetsuo “Leo” Orii, author of the war-romance novel “Sampaguita and Gold Button,” says the story is not just about World War II and the love between a Japanese sailor and a comely lass from Cebu. It also poses a challenge to Filipinos to care for the orphans.

    In one of our coffee table talks last month, the 81-year-old author reinforced the dare after I egged him earlier on to reveal his reason for penning the novel. He turned his iPad on and showed me a document titled “Why I wrote Sampaguita and Gold Button”. As it turned out, he wrote his answer to my query originally in Nihongo and had it translated to English.

    This was his reply in part:

    When I first came to the Philippines, I saw street children begging in the streets, and I remembered something. In 1945, after Japan’s defeat to the United States in World War 2, my family returned to Japan from Manchuria (currently Harbin in China). I was eight years old at the time.

    To my surprise, many orphans, who had lost their parents in the war, helplessly wandered the streets all across the devastated country. However, within a short span of time, all those orphans disappeared from the streets of Japan.

    During the post-war chaos, a large orphanage was established in northern Japan’s Hokkaido. The children were brought up with compassion, love, and care.

    I was thinking about the future of the next generation.

    No matter how well we raise our own children, they will be living alongside street children who grew up in a less fortunate environment, after we are long gone. There must be something we can do right now for the children, and the coming generation.

    The Philippines is blessed with beautiful islands. If the nation comes together with each person donating one peso a day, along with donations from various countries, I believe it is more than enough to operate a world-class orphanage we can show to the world.

    Many volunteers who sow love and compassion such as doctors and teachers from various countries will gladly apply to work for a fixed term. Since there will be foreign volunteers, the children will have access to international learning. There will be food, clothes, and medical supplies for the orphans.

    If we can do this, the program will gain international recognition.

    Imagine the positive impact this will create. There is so much we can do for our next generation and this country. They can grow up to do what they really want to do.

    The vision hidden in Sampaguita and Gold Button is the hope we bring to our next generation.

    In a nutshell, build an orphanage and school on an island. Invite international volunteers. Fund the project. NGOs, any takers?

    Read the book and get inspired. It is available at National Book Store in Glorietta 1, Greenbelt, and Power Plant Mall-Rockwell, all in Makati; Uptown Place Mall and SM Aura, both at BGC, Taguig. One may also grab a copy at National Artist for Literature F. Sionil Jose’s Solidaridad bookshop on Padre Faura St. in Manila.

    *              *              *

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


    * The opinion of these authors are theirs alone. It is not necessarily the views of Beyond Deadlines.


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    Threat to our rights*

    March 15th, 2018

    WE understand that President Rodrigo Duterte signed into law Republic Act 10973, giving subpoena powers to the chief of the Philippine National Police (PNP) along with the director and deputy director for administration of the Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (CIDG), in order to intensify his anti-criminality campaign.

    Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque has clarified that being issued a subpoena does not mean instant incarceration, although the state can file a petition for indirect contempt on the person. But what other choice does that leave its subject since he will be indicted if he fails to abide by the subpoena?

    Cristina Antonio from the Center for International Law or CenterLaw, a law firm co-founded by Roque, says these new subpoena powers are blatant, gross violations of the right to life and liberty, the right against unreasonable searches and seizures, the rights of the accused under arrest and custodial investigation under the Constitution and our laws.

    In plain and simple words, Antonio describes these powers as downright illegal.

    Human rights lawyer Edre Olalia of the National Union of People’s Lawyers (NUPL), who represents victims of drug war abuses, believes these powers are a legalization of a step that the police could not do before.

    *              *              *

    Before, police operatives who wanted to search a house would have to apply for a search warrant in court, answer certain questions from the judge, and describe in detail what they were searching for.

    With the new law, the search powers of the police were increased since it states that the subpoena only has to contain a reasonable description of the things demanded which must be relevant to the investigation. Only the police could decide on what would be relevant or not.

    And how many people would be brazen enough to defy a subpoena signed by no less than PNP Chief Director-General Ronald “Bato” dela Rosa? If one does defy the subpoena and gets charged, he would have to spend money, be inconvenienced, and face a damaged reputation even if he wins the case.

    Firing Line would like to point out that this could lead to a warrant-less arrest since an officer could already arrest an individual legally if there was probable cause to believe that person committed an offense.

    And more importantly, it could violate the constitutional rights of persons under custodial investigation as well as the Bill of Rights which guarantees the security of a person and his property against unreasonable searches and seizures.

    *              *              *

    SHORT BURSTS. For comments or reactions, email 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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    Iligal na sugal hindi matuldukan*

    March 13th, 2018

    NAKALULUNGKOT isipin na sa kabila ng masinsinang kampanya ni Presidente Rodrigo Duterte laban sa lumalabag sa batas ay hindi matuldukan ang pamamayagpag ng iligal na sugal.

    At lalong nakagugulat na may maliliit na perya na binansagang “pergalan” na naghahandog ng bawal na sugal na tulad ng “color games” at “drop ball” na garapalang tumatakbo kahit na malapit sa mga himpilan ng pulis na inatasang patigilin ang mga ito.

    Halimbawa rito ang color games ng tinaguriang “reyna” ng pergalan na si “Marissa” na may puwesto sa Ilaya sa Divisoria na malapit sa mismong police community precinct o PCP at pati sa simbahan. Hinihintay lang na magsara ang simbahan bago buksan ang kanyang sugalan. May puwesto rin siya sa Batanes Street at sa Blumentritt sa lugar ng Sampaloc.

    Marami ang nagtataka kung bakit parang walang takot si Marissa sa pagpapatakbo ng iligal na sugal kahit naging kapitbahay pa niya ang tahanan ng Panginoon o ang presinto ng kapulisan.

    Nananawagan tayo kay Superintendent Santiago Pascual III, ang hepe ng Manila Police District (MPD) Station 2 na nakasasakop sa Ilaya sa Divisoria, at kay Superintendent Aquino Olivar, hepe ng MPD Station 4 na may sakop sa Batanes at Blumentritt.

    Huwag ninyong hayaang paglaruan ni Marissa ang batas na tungkulin ninyong ipatupad. Aksyunan ang pamamayagpag na ito upang hindi maghinala ang publiko na nakikinabang kayo sa pergalan ni Marissa.

    Totoo kaya ang bali-balita na kahit kay Mayor Erap Estrada ay malakas ang reyna ng pergalan? Kung totoo ito, sino naman kaya ang kapit niya para makaporma sa Manila City Hall?

    *              *              *

    Sa lugar ng Pasay ay color games at black jack naman ang talamak ngayon. Halimbawang may burol sa looban, sa kanto pa lang ay ipupuwesto na ang color games at black jack para makapang-akit ng manlalaro.

    Pinatatakbo ito nina “Christian” at umano ng isang PO3 Bebet. Itong si Bebet ay nakatalaga umano sa Headquarters Support Group ng Region 3 pero hindi nagdyu-duty. Bukod sa color games ay nagsisilbi rin umano itong kolekor ng opisyales ng ilang police districts.

    Si Christian naman ay unang nakilala sa pagpapatakbo ng bookies ng karera sa iba’t ibang sulok ng Pasay. Naniniwala ang marami na batid ng mga awtoridad na si Christian ang operator pero hindi ito ginagalaw dahil kaanak umano ito ng isang konsehal sa Pasay.

    May mga nagtatanong kung hanggang ngayon ba ay bulag ang buong Pasay City police at pati na si Mayor Tony Calixto sa pamamayagpag ng iligal na sugal sa kanilang nasasakupan?

    *              *              *

    SHORT BURSTS. Para sa mga komento o reaksiyon, mag-email sa 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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    Think of other OFWs as well*

    March 8th, 2018

    By Robert Roque

    THE Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) may widen the deployment ban on overseas Filipino workers to Kuwait by covering other countries in the Middle East as well.

    Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III says an expanded deployment ban may be enforced if other Arab countries with cases of abuse and maltreatment still fail to support and strengthen the rights of OFWs.

    Among the provisions that the Philippine government is pushing for in the memorandum of agreement being negotiated with the Kuwaiti government is the scrapping of the kafala system, which is allegedly a malpractice where employers can trade or switch their workers with other employers.

    The kafala system, which is also being practiced in Saudi Arabia, disallows a worker from quitting or switching jobs without the employer’s consent. It is a sponsorship system which also prohibits OFWs from leaving the country without the consent of their employers.

    The government has sent a team to the Middle East to assess the problems faced by our OFWs. Rampant cases of maltreatment in spite of the existence of a bilateral labor agreement mean that the agreement needs to be amended.

    Bello says President Duterte’s demand is to allow the deployment of our workers only to countries where they are being properly and effectively protected.

    Our county’s efforts in wanting to help OFWs who were victimized and want to come home should be praised.

    Still, issuing a deployment ban to the Middle East may affect all Filipinos who enjoy a wonderful working relationship with their employers. How can they continue to support their families if their employment is terminated by our own government? Providing P20,000 or more to OFWs who return home cannot compare with the money they are earning in that corner of the globe.

    We understand the President was enraged after the remains of Filipina domestic helper Joanna Demafelis were discovered in a freezer in an apartment in Kuwait.

    But there must be a way to get justice for Demafelis and force Kuwaiti officials to guarantee OFW protection while allowing deployment of skilled workers who are not prone to abuses, unlike Household Service Workers (HSWs).

    This corner prays that Kuwaiti officials, who are expected to arrive in Manila next week for talks with Labor officials, will agree to the additional conditions to protect OFW rights. The sooner a new agreement is inked, the better for our OFWs and their families and Kuwaiti’s economy.

    *              *              *

    SHORT BURSTS. For comments or reactions, email 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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    Tuloy ang laban*

    March 6th, 2018

    SA tingin ng iba ay nagiging desperado ang ilang mambabatas, lalo na nang hilingin ng ilang miyembro ng oposisyon ng Kongreso na makialam si President Duterte sa pagsisikap ng gobyerno na imbestigahan ang pagkasawi ng mga bata na naturukan ng kontrobersyal na bakuna na Dengvaxia.

    Sa tingin nila ang Pangulo ang dapat magresolba sa isyu at dapat niyang utusan si Public Attorney’s Office (PAO) chief Attorney Persida Acosta na makipag-ugnayan sa mga dalubhasa ng University of the Philippines-Philippine General Hospital (UP-PGH) at Department of Health (DOH). Nais din nilang ipatigil ni Duterte ang tinagurian nilang “pseudo-forensic intervention” na isinasagawa raw nina Acosta sa mga nasawi.

    Nakaligtaan yata ng Kongreso na pareho sila ng PAO na may tungkulin na dapat gampanan kaugnay ng Dengvaxia.

    Binuksan muli ng Kongreso ang pagsisiyasat sa programa matapos aminin ng gumawa ng naturang bakuna na Sanofi Pasteur noong Nobyembre 2017 na hindi dapat bigyan ng Dengvaxia ang mga tao na hindi pa tinatamaan ng dengue dahil baka maging sanhi ito mas matinding sintomas ng sakit.

    Ang pahayag ng Sanofi ay bunga umano ng resulta ng pag-aaral sa Dengvaxia. Dahil dito ay ipinatigil ng gobyerno ang anti-dengue nilang programa. Ang problema nga lang ay naturukan na ang mahigit 800,000 bata sa malawakang pagbabakuna bago ito ipinatigil.

    Hindi maitatanggi na lumikha ng takot ang Dengvaxia at ang ibang mga bakuna sa iba nating kababayan. Bunga nito ay inatasan ng Department of Justice (DOJ) ang PAO na siyasatin ang mga bata na naturukan ng Dengvaxia at kinalaunan ay nasawi. Hindi nagtagal ay bumuo rin ang DOH ng grupo mula sa UP-PGH para imbestigahan ang isyu.

    Dahil sa mga natuklasan ni PAO forensic laboratory director Erwin Erfe ay nagpahayag ang PAO na dapat kasuhan ang mga opisyal ng DOH at pati na ang ilang nagtatrabaho sa Sanofi sa pakasawi ng isang bata.

    Pero ang mga dalubhasa ng UP-PGH ay hindi makakita ng ebidensya na direktang mag-uugnay ng mga pagkasawi sa Dengvaxia. Hiningi nila sa PAO ang tissue samples ng mga bata na nasawi upang mapag-aralan pero hindi sila pinagbigyan ni Acosta.

    Para kasi kay Acosta ay may “conflict of interest” sa DOH dahil ang ilang opisyal nito ay maaaring makasuhan bunga ng kaguluhan sa Dengvaxia. Para sa mga kumokontrang mambabatas ay pananaw lang ito ni Acosta sa kabila ng katotohanang ang tinutukoy ng PAO chief ay isang malaking posibilidad.

    Tama ba na busalan ang PAO sa pagsisiyasat sa katotohanan? Bakit hindi kayo magkanya-kanya ng imbestigasyon at pag-isahin ito sa bandang huli?

    *              *              *

    SHORT BURSTS. Para sa mga komento o reaksiyon, mag-email sa 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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    Why was Dengvaxia deal rushed?*

    March 1st, 2018

    A LOT of people want to know why the government’s PhP3.55-billion Dengvaxia deal with French vaccine maker Sanofi Pasteur was completed in a hurried manner.

    Last Monday, the Public Attorney’s Office (PAO) revealed in a congressional inquiry that the Health department allegedly pushed through with the Dengvaxia program in 2016 even if the vaccine was still undergoing clinical trial phase 3.

    PAO chief Attorney Persida Acosta stated that Sanofi was still conducting clinical phase 3 of the vaccine in November 2016 while Dengvaxia was already being administered to thousands of children.

    The Formulary Executive Council (FEC) of advisers urged caution over the vaccine in 2016 because it said its safety and cost-effectiveness had not been established. It said Dengvaxia should be introduced through small-scale pilot tests and phased implementation rather than across three regions in the country at the same time. It added that the vaccine should be given only after a baseline study of the prevalence and strains of dengue in the targeted area.

    Unfortunately, these recommendations were all ignored.

    The results of the clinical trial phase 3 released in November 2017 showed that in some cases, Dengvaxia increased the risk of severe dengue in patients not previously infected by the virus. This would explain why Sanofi admitted that the vaccine could cause more severe symptoms of dengue only last November.

    However, FDA Director Nela Charade Puno said their investigation revealed that Sanofi already knew about the vaccine’s risks when its application for a Certificate of Product Registration (CPR) in Singapore in 2015 announced that it was not to be used for patients who had not contracted dengue.

    Acosta said a dengue vaccine report from Sanofi warned of viscerotropism, neurotropism, anaphylactic allergy and severe dengue in some Dengvaxia recipients.

    The PAO forensic team conducted autopsies on 26 of the 29 children who died after receiving Dengvaxia. In one patient, PAO found the immediate cause of death as acute respiratory failure and the antecedent cause was pulmonary hemorrhage in all areas of the lungs.

    PAO forensic expert Doctor Erwin Erfe said the underlying cause was viscerotropic-like disease secondary to Dengvaxia vaccination.

    Can anyone now blame the Department of Justice for forming a panel to investigate the criminal complaint against former President Noynoy Aquino, his former Health Secretary Janette Garin and former Budget Secretary Florencio Abad, along with several DOH undersecretaries and employees of Sanofi?

    And is there any plausible explanation why the deal had to be rushed?

    *              *              *

    SHORT BURSTS. For comments or reactions, email or tweet @Side_View. Read current and past issues of this column at


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


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