The kind of dialogue that promotes unity

President Elect Rody Duterte [Photo source: Manila Buletin]

President Elect Rody Duterte [Photo source: Manila Bulletin]

We hear a lot of talk about unity, but then the person doing the talking turns around and makes a decision or pronouncement that is sure to divide? Why is that?

A part of the problem is that the speaker . . . a politician or government official or pundit . . . does not actually welcome dissent because it may undermine his position. He is intolerant, no matter the popular grand ideas about unity.

Another part of the problem is that the audience . . .  us . . . is unforgiving. We like our own solutions better. Or we don’t welcome opposition gracefully because we have pride, or face, or esteem, or whatever drives us to defend a view first and seek information later. If at all.

So we argue and defend our view and the Game of Thrones continues . . .

Well, I’m no different than most people, and can be found regularly getting testy with people who are going against my personal grain, especially if they are inclined to use labels or slurs or other condescension aimed at diminishing opponents.

Then along comes outspoken President Elect Rody Duterte, a guy many of us have been working hard to diminish, as a candidate, in favor of a more traditional leader and set of values.

Perhaps because he won, and defeated us, we might want to try to chop him back down to size. The nerve of the guy, eh? Actually winning the election and tossing all our hard work and argument to the four winds.

And for sure he has some personal qualities that test our values.

And yet . . . and yet . . . his personal character is not an issue until it becomes an issue. If he is discreet, his personal life is none of our business. If he is more careful with his words in office, his past statements don’t count. If he made promises, we can try to hold him to them, I suppose. But we ought to reflect on whether or not he was dealing political hyperbole or meant it. We’d have the same issue no matter who won, even the straight and narrow Mar Roxas. Just as President Aquino’s straight path is often ridiculed for winding now and then, even though it has been the principle that has driven much of his good work in office.

Our pool of readers is probably 80% to 90% pro-Aquino. Some have poured their hearts into backing Mar Roxas, and a good many preferred Senator Poe. Now the arch-rival is heading for the presidency and we have to deal with that.

Some of us are wary, skeptical, or working our way out of shock about a Duterte presidency.

But let me state, clearly, that this blog has no partisan stance. The ONLY bias allowed under the editorial principles is to advocate for the well-being of the Philippines.

Well, the shoe is on the other foot. An ardent Roxas backer who arrives to relentlessly undermine President Elect Duterte becomes a troll, eh? An anti, of the GRP ilk.

The editorial position of this blog is that President Elect Duterte has won office in an open and free democratic process. He MUST be accorded the respect that the position warrants.

Issues will emerge from his presidency that we can discuss in a straightforward way. He is dropping names for a cabinet, has put forward an eight point economic program to assure stability in financial markets (an excellent step, I would opine), and has said Leni Robredo will hold a cabinet post. Other acts and deeds are coming forth. They suggest the Duterte presidency recognizes that change must come on top of stability and growth.

How shall we proceed. How shall we proceed.

I would ask that those who choose to comment here work hard to set aside the past political wars and center on building something. That can’t be done in an arena of complaint and negativity or trying to win old battles. It can be done by forthright argument, focus on issues, constructive criticism, and respect for the idea that people who are wholly unlike ourselves may just be the right person for the job.

And . . . just maybe . . . we can find a new, giving part of ourselves that will help President Elect Duterte succeed. For sure, if he fails, the Philippines fails. We ought not be bitter losers helping him to fail. That would be “The vanity of the crabs”. 

Two simple principles will drive the editorial policies of the blog as we move through a delicate transition period. I would request help from commenters to:

Build, don’t just complain.

Be respectful, don’t diminish the President of the Philippines.


192 Responses to “The kind of dialogue that promotes unity”
  1. andrewlim8 says:

    Thanks for this Joe. Not that many can articulate this as well. This is patriotism, not nationalism of the highest order. We get a glimpse of how great nations are made when foreign nationals like you express love of country in this manner. Keep blogging!m

    • Joe America says:

      Thank you for your long-enduring contributions and encouragement, andrew.

      • Thelma V.Launo says:

        Romans 13:1-7 Everyone must submit to governing authorities .For all authority comes from God ,and those in positions of authority have been placed there by God.So anyone who rebels against authority is rebelling against what God has instituted, and they will be punished. For the authorities do not strike fear in people who are doing right, but in those who are doing wrong.Would you like to live without fear of the authorities? Do what is right, and they will owner you. The authorities are God’s servants, sent for your good.But if you are doing wrong,of course you should be afraid, for they have the power to punish you.They are God’s servants, sent for the very purpose of punishing those who do what is wrong . So you must submit to them ,not only to avoid punishment ,but also to keep a clear conscience .Pay your taxes ,too,for these same reasons .For government workers need to be paid .They are serving God in what they do.Give to everyone what you owe them : Pay your taxes and government fees to those who collect them, and give respect and honor to those who are in authority.
        I am for Mar and Leni and withstood all odds .Quoted things I should not for them ,now all I have to do is remind myself of these verses .The outcome whether we like it or not is now in place. So I need to submit and be part of the solution not a problem .The outcome is what we deserve either you see it as a blessing or not.Move on let go of pride and excuses defending what we know, what is best on our own perspective ,let go! God is still in control!Let us pray for the best of our country which is best for all of us.

        • chempo says:

          God do work in ways we cannot understand, sometimes. I wonder about Hitler, Mao Tse Tung, Pol Pot and a host of others.

          • sonny says:

            @ Thelma & Chempo, yours are both strong pegs to hang thoughts and deeds from. one the hope and confidence that Somebody takes care of his people, the other a reminder that we act on what that Somebody has furnished us to fulfill the good that he constantly wills for everybody and that he will do the rest. Both I keep.

        • Amalia says:

          Very well said let us abide and live what God has given us,Gods ways are not our ways,lets pray for our country and May God bless the Philippines now and forever

        • NHerrera says:

          This is not a contrary thought. It is a complementary thought.

          Jesus I believe did advise to obey authorities who have been placed there by God (through the voters?). And so we must. But we are still a democracy right — also through divine help? We must obey and praise, but we must also offer constructive suggestions and criticisms when warranted.

  2. Acts 2:1–6: And when the day of Pentecost was fully come, they were all with one accord in one place. And suddenly there came a sound from heaven as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled all the house where they were sitting. And there appeared unto them cloven tongues like as of fire, and it sat upon each of them. And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit, and began to speak with other languages, as the Spirit gave them utterance. And there were dwelling at Jerusalem Jews, devout men, out of every nation under heaven. Now when this was noised abroad, the multitude came together, and were confounded, because that every man heard them speak in his own language.

    Today is the anniversary of Christianity. For a community to be built, one must speak in tongues. The Philippines has more than a hundred languages. The President-elect speaks two of the major languages (the Visayan languages are similar enough to be mutually intelligible so he has good coverage) and the official language. The hopeful Vice-President Leni Robredo is from Bikol where language and culture are in between Visayan language and culture.

    The major issue of the Philippines is communication I think. Not just language. Communication has so many aspects every call center agent will learn in basic courses:

    1) empathy – showing understanding for example why a customer is angry. By expressing empathy the anger is defused.

    2) emotional intelligence – owning up to how one feels about the situation. Tell the customer for example that harrassing the agent makes him feel bad and does not contribute to a solution.

    3) back to facts and finding solutions. This will also be in most consultant / agent courses.

    4) listen, listen, listen. Good consultants / agent put themselves in the customer’s place.

    5) explain things clearly. Seek to use pictures and analogies to reach for example the customer at the level at which he is. Some people are verbal (yellow), some are visual (red), some are emotional/tactile (blue) – a model one of my best coaches taught me a decade ago.

    Knowing oneself is also important in communicating. I for example am red/blue by nature – visual and emotional. So if I am talking to a verbal/logical person (yellow) I have to take an effort to find the logical and verbal aspect of things which is NOT my natural strength – yet I have worked on it. Reaching red people one has to use memes or describe things in pictorial analogies, reaching the emotional (blue) people one has to appeal to their emotions also. There is of course also the more complex Myer-Briggs model, where I am clearly an INTJ – I as a “red/blue” person prefer the simpler red/yellow/blue model because it is easier to remember. We all have to practice talking to people who are NOT like ourselves, and avoid being judgemental and self-centered. Often we are too self-absorbed to properly gauge what others are trying to tell us, or what they don’t know yet.

    The main weakness of the Aquino government WAS/IS communication. But having worked with Filipino teams in IT I know that communication IS a Filipino weakness – even a Filipino boss told me that. So learning how to communicate properly can be like finally speaking in tongues.

    India has over 10 times as many languages and people than the Philippines yet is successful. What I have seen of Indian IT teams is – they work together, could that be a difference in attitude? Filipino IT teams I have experienced tended to crab and play on-upmanship and gang up games. Same thing that was done to Aquino and Roxas, but Joe is perfectly right by saying we should NOT go down to that level. Nitpicking is useless, better to lead by example. By making constructive suggestions for example. Article by Karl tomorrow in my blog coming up with some!

    • Joe America says:

      The art and science of communication. Black propaganda seems to dominate social media in the Philippines. There is a natural draw to lies and rumors and a disdain for information that contradicts. The Duterte strength seems to be communication, not in the high-falutin’ terms we are used to, but in terms of resonance with his listeners. I think if his programs are good, his communication will be excellent. If his programs are “bad” . . . we will see . . .

      • Amalia says:

        We will just wait and see,too early to make comments,but pray for the good of our country,we can not fathom Gods plan.

    • sonny says:

      Why the IT analogy? IT is good at data-speak which is good for paradigm formulation and in turn good for error-success analyses and feedback for improvement re-inforcement and deficiency-elimination. (Just thinking aloud as ex-IT practitioner. 🙂 )

  3. Calls for unity but with crossed fingers behind their backs, I must say. I could only sigh, Joe. Last night was brutal in Twitter.

    Their “call for unity” is nothing more than their way of saying “we already won, so shut up.”.

    • Who are THEY? Are they Borg? I think there are like everywhere the normal ones and the fanatical ones maybe still more among them so I don’t look at Twitter much.

      All this THEM and US thinking is an error in itself. There are those who say we are all yellows on this blog, there are those who talk to us in a civil manner.

      I prefer to channel all this them or us thinking into the Barangay Ginebra type of fandom – yes, Bayern München won the German soccer cup once more just days ago.

        • That makes sense… in general Filipinos with power are usually NOT fair to others. Most of the Marcos KBL back in the days was domineering towards non-KBLs – at least the LP even if it was reviled by some was ONLY arrogant – and only a certain part of it.

          Rizal already said: what if the slaves of today become the tyrants of tomorrow? He knew the Filipinos best. The attitudes have to change and change must start with oneself…

        • Joe America says:

          The letter asks Duterte fans to grow up. I find Noemi to be perplexing. She was one of my first blogging colleages here, but we’ve grown apart as I supported the Aquino Administration and she was largely critical. I wonder if she and people like Ellen Tordesillas even comprehend that they helped lay the bed of discontent and complaint that ushered President Duterte in. I’m sure they would rationalize it in some way, but they for sure helped with the piling on. Rather than building strength in the OFFICE of the President, if they didn’t like the man occupying the desk.

            • Joe America says:

              The letter criticizes mainstream leftists for aligning with Poe, and praises Mindanao leftists for not doing so. I think we could do a list of make or break “patriotic” initiatives for President Duterte:

              – Economy
              – China/US/Alliances
              – Leftists/Communists

              Lavina criticizes Poe for not being truly interested in the Philippines. How dedicated is President Duterte to sovereignty and national (economic) strength?

            • Actually this letter impresses me… he is telling the left they may be just trapos, something I have known since they used us young people in the fight against Marcos. I was young and angry then – hardly different from some Duterte supporters. 16 years old, high testosterone, even higher on teenage insecurity, and still a virgin then – exactly the profile of recruits for suicide bombings or radical groups, but I realized on time how we were being manipulated.

              And the start of the letter corresponds to my key principle: “A mistake not corrected becomes an error. A mistake may not be intentional, but to commit the same could be fatal.” – Filipinos often stick to mistakes because of hardheadedness, and I include President Aquino sometimes.

            • Vicara says:

              I happen to agree with what Peter Tiu Lavina says, but found my eyebrows lifting over his hectoring tone. I assume that Mr. Lavinia continues serving in his role as spokesman for presumptive president Duterte. Is he then speaking in this FB post on behalf of Mr. Duterte, or stating his own strong views? The one news item I’ve seen on this seems to take it for granted that they think as one.

              Expect the more blunt Mindanaoan manner of discourse to become the new norm in Malacanang. This is a an example of it.

              I support the Office of the President, and the preservation of civil liberties. That’s it for now.

              • Hehe I have a Mindanaoan, even a Davaoeno thirty-something in the FB page of my blog…

                We have argued at times, bluntly, but as a resident of the German South for 20 years I have shed a lot (but not all :cry:) of my original sensitivity. It is a bit like playing soccer… you bump into each other but you try not to get into a real fight. My father once said Filipinos will never be good at soccer because they would kill each other in that contact sport. Now maybe the solution is to get rid of the kapikunan that over-sensitivity breeds. Learn from Mindanaoans?

              • Vicara says:

                Worked in Mindanao for several years. Had a bit of contact with a couple of the inner circle people. Learned all I need to know for now. Will postpone my kumbaya celebration. 🙂

              • same here Vicara.
                I am not holding my breathe.
                I have low expectations.
                My hope is that like PNoy he grows into the office.
                My hope is that unlike PNoy his loyalty does not make him such an easy target by critics.

              • Joe America says:

                The fire against him from LP’s ‘Ampalaya’ crowd is unrelenting.

              • It’s just one week joe. Healing takes time. Let us grieve and move on.

              • My soccer analogy of a contact sport was intentional. Soccer makes basketball look like a really nice game. I remember a World Cup where the USA played well but WAY too fair…

                I have no illusions that these people from Mindanao can be ruthless like Pacquiao at his best. Cha is right that society and politics will change – but partly wrong they already HAVE changed. Those who were in denial so far will have to adjust to the somewhat rougher new way of things.

                If you want to play fair but win in soccer you have to try to defend your space against being edged out, not be a pushover in any sort of way. Sometimes you have to position yourself in such a way that the offensive charges into you, yet not fall. But avoid being the one who fouls.

              • Joe America says:

                And if you quit the game, you have no say in the outcome whatsoever.

              • I made that mistake once – completely turned my back on the Philippines when Arroyo came in.

                Felt exactly the same way many might feel now about Duterte, that it would be a catastrophe. This time my decision is to continue to observe, but negativity will NOT bring all of us forward.

                In fact I do hope that TSM and others who belong to the more enlightened Philippine crowd – including the constructive advocates of federalism and other changes – mine the articles from my blog for ideas. It is up to them to adapt them in a way that is suitable at ground level.

    • Joe America says:

      Yes, Twitter is a nest of venom and attack, still. But I don’t think we are powerless if the message is framed right. The economy speaks volumes to Duterte, I think, and stands as a litmus test of his presidency. If it fails, he fails. He can’t wage his war on poverty ONLY by redistributing wealth (and offending the rich). He MUST generate more of the stuff. The twitter and facebook chatter had its day during the campaign, but it can’t make the economy work, I think.

  4. Jaime B. Rigodon says:

    I doff my hat on you Joe. You are an officer and a gentleman. I’ve been following your blog since and felt your pen is like a two-edge sword that cut to the chase. I used to be a fan of Duterte before the election, but changed my choice at the polls. I believed we should give Duterte due respect and support because he was chosen through a democratic processes. The Filipinos should be united on this matter. Nevertheless, we should be vigilant during his term and check the promises he made during the campaign period, if these were fulfilled. Keep on bloggin’ man!

  5. Jes says:

    I campaigned aggressively for RoRo and lost some close friends along the way.

    Let’s not forget that only 4 out 10 voters selected him and he only topped 3 out of the 18 regions in the country.

    But I like how CBCP immediately came to the right attitude by declaring critical collaboration with the incoming administration.

    I will propose and praise what is good but will curse with full invectives what I see as bad by Digong.

    • Joe America says:

      Carry on, Jes, but keep it focused on the issues as much as possible. Tearing down the President of the Philippines does not strengthen the Philippines.

      • Jes says:

        …as long as the Duterte rabid supporters do not tear us all down apart 6 months from now when they realize that no ONE person (even if he’s the Messiah) can really suppress crime and drugs and make a corruption-free Philippines.

        The extreme backlash will come from the 16M who voted for him.

        Mark my words, Joe.

        PS correction: CBCP used the term “vigilant collaboration”. Nice.

  6. Yes, I am proud I voted for Mar. I am sad that Duterte won. However, I am willing to wait and see. But I will be vigilant that he accomplishes what he promised of ridding the country of drugs and crime within 6 months. For the sake of the Philippines that I love dearly, I am eagerly awaiting to be proven wrong.

  7. It is indeed difficult to accept the defeat of our candidate. It also takes time to move on. However, hard though it might be, we have a new President. Maybe if he surrounds himself with good people it will work. Each one of us are in a wait and see mode. No turning back. All that we can do is to pray for our country! It is the only one we have

    • Joe America says:

      Well, Linda, I think we need not give President Duterte a free ride, but we should not be exorcising the demons from the election for six years. We should give him the right to have his own personality, and judge his policies and programs fairly. Thanks for stopping by with a comment.

  8. “We either make ourselves miserable or we make ourselves strong.

    The amount of work is the same.” – Carlos Castaneda

  9. caliphman says:

    Aquino was a surprise gift to the country, his administration bringing with it significant progress in cleaning up corruption and in national economic growth. Was it perfect? Definitely not, its biggest Achilles heel being Aquino’s partiality to close friends and allies in his flawed version of Daang Matuwid. Was the economic growth meaningful? For those who know a little bit of what a good economy means, the simple questions are did the pie grow and did most everyone partake in the bigger pie? The answers are respectively definitively yes and definitively no, with the latter manifesting itself in Daang Matuwid’s progress in the ballot box.

    My hope is that the Duterte administration will also be perceived 2022 as a welcome surprise.I have long warned that a Duterte victory will herald the death of democracy. This was based on words and deeds before the election. One thing that the man has shown is his ability and flexibility to change when necessary. Already there are signs that many economic goals if not programs espoused during the Aquino regime will remain unchanged.

    For this reason, I believe he deserves a chance tp prove he is not the brutal dictator nor the economic bull o a china shop I feared him to be. We should not only be vigilant and constructively critical when called for as his presidency begins to unfold.cac

  10. karlgarcia says:

    Days before and the day ofthe elections I was sort of terrified of a Duterte presidency, and then I saw Joe’s guiding light of congraturing the presumptive president,I said I would do the same and all the fears and anxieties went away.Now I can talk to my pro Duterte friends and relatives comfortably,even Those “I told you so “fellows.

    • Joe America says:

      Yes, it creates a fresh start without regret or bitterness. We get our own emotional sensitivity out of the picture.

      • So that we don’t behave like the Filipinos in the Heneral Luna movie – including Heneral Luna who put his quarrel with Mascardo (which started by telegram, the social media of then) on top priority and left the front for that – hope MRP is now proven wrong in his suspicion that Filipinos have learning disability, a suspicion which I sometimes share. But this article and the reactions (and the Tonyo Cruz letter to the Duterte crowd on Twitter shared by “momblogger”) show that there may be some lessons learned. Hope they stick.

        • Joe America says:

          Haha, to me, the bigger issue is, does President Elect Duterte have a learning disability? I don’t mean this critically, but in terms of adaptability. That is, can he become a nationalist himself, rather than a local warlord? I’m writing on this matter, scheduled for Thursday.

          • That is the key question. Genghis Khan when he occupied China was still a Mongol warlord.

            Kublai Khan learned from the more civilized Chinese and his reign flourished – but he was the grandson of Genghis Khan, so it took three generations. The Khans decided to sleep in the Palace in Peking eventually but in a tent in the middle of the courtyard, as it was Mongol nomadic tradition to never sleep under the roof of a house. I wonder how fast Duterte at his age will learn to adapt. He is adaptable. But he will see that Manila is a different ballgame…

            • karlgarcia says:

              They built the great wall to prevent any Khan from returning.

            • chempo says:

              Lessons learnt.
              Muammar Gadaffi alss live in a tent in his palace grounds.
              Idi Amin went one better — he had a tent with a very low entrance so foreign dignitaries had to practically crawl in. So he could tell his people how great he is, foreigners crawl to him.

            • Andres III says:

              And Duterte said he find it difficult sleeping in Malacanang. LoL, could he be copying what the Khans did? Could we assume that Duterte will do parallelism with that of the Khans? Take it or live it, Duterte really studying how the ancient leaders handles a nation. Adopting the cultures of the conquered (copying Aquino’s economic policies), befriending enemies, (assuring Robredo of a seat) among others.

              • Joe America says:

                P.E. Duterte (President Elect Duterte), it would seem, is one of those elderly persons who has certain hard and fast rules. He likes his eight hours of sleep and simple meals, as a huge feast causes him to lose his appetite. He can’t wear polyester and so requires an upgrade of his entire wardrobe . . . to cotton . . . and of a style more suitable to the presidency than plaid shirts and jeans. His partner of some years, the mother to their 12 year old daughter, seems quite a pragmatic woman, and will work behind the scenes to keep his domestic affairs comfortable as his older daughter by his marriage performs the duties of first lady in greeting heads of state. That marriage ended back in 1998 or thereabouts.

                I’m starting to find some things I can appreciate about the President in Waiting. I cannot stand synthetics and insist on cotton clothing, have a wife who is good at purchasing same, and have had a number of relationships both documented and freestyle, one of whom has already expired. I’m inclined not to insist that others fit into my way of things. The question is, can they get the job done.

    • karlgarcia says:


    • NHerrera says:

      karl, I see a new avatar. Nice. This guy looks like one fresh from military refresher — the military bearing. Compare that with the one who calls himself Joe. Both undoubtedly exude wisdom. 🙂

      • karlgarcia says:

        Why thank you Manong NH,Mercy said i used the old avatar to hide from a failed relationship.Hehehe😄

  11. David says:

    Joe America

    A few thing that I learn to live with while living in this Republic:

    One is to stay out of their politics scenarios and dramas.

    There is a proper way for your voice to be heard, but Filipino Politics is not one of them, There is other issues and needy reasons to be concern about, instead of the local insane politics.

    I do stay away from Bars and night clubs, I rather do my drink on at home! Matter-fact, Ill drink spirits only selected friends in my neighborhood only after midnight DEC31. 359 DAYS of the year I’m sober for 364 days a year, except on the Dec 31. as long I don’t have to drive our car under the influence of alcohol, I have way too many responsibilities in my plate, many commitment and to much loyalty and dedication to my wife and kids.

    I will get involve withing my community: in activities such as Village Basketball tournaments and other events. Yes I’m a force to be reckon with when it comes to our Home Owner Association my voice is heard loudly,Because I represent my wife and kids, all done with respect and integrity.

    Yes, I will follow the law even do, the local population wont follow them at all.

    Again, their local political drama is not my CUP OF Tea.
    Is their country not yours, the fact is! we are just visitors with limitations.


    Another American!

    • karlgarcia says:

      But Joe is good at it,sir.

      • Joe America says:

        Where’s your tip jar?

        • karlgarcia says:

          😄👛 i only found a pink coin purse.

          • Joe America says:

            PINK!!!! . . . ahahahaha!

            It’s not exactly a military color. 🙂 🙂 🙂

            • karlgarcia says:


            • David says:

              Joe America

              I still use and sleep under my combat tested, faithful, faded, patch-up camouflage poncho liner.

              It reminds me to be in guard and alert at all times and not to drop my guard,

              My kids love to sleep with my poncho liner, and for me it is a form of reward. To see them able to sleep in comfort is my reward.


              • Joe America says:

                Ah, one of my daughters inherited my poncho liner. Light, warm, fast-drying, they are miracle cloth. Mine was getting a little tattered from serving in campgrounds and picnics and as a tarpaulin to ward off the rain. The most perverse use of it was to shelter about a dozen people from the rain in LA’s San Fernando Valley as we listened to anti-war speeches by Kuntsler, Hayden and Rubin. I got an FBI file from that little episode, as I made the mistake of driving . . . but that’s a different story altogether . . .

        • David says:

          Joe America

          In which order do you prefer?
          My order of the day are My Kids, My only Wife in my Life, and last is me!
          I serve already one empire, one is enough in a life time.

          Since, I found and discover a better purpose to give and share with, that will be My other half and my own blood.

          • Joe America says:

            Well, to tell the truth, David, that is a bit off topic, as I am not really the subject of the blog. My young son did ask me today who I loved best, him or his mother. I told him there was no need to choose because you can’t weigh love.

          • David, your order is closer to the traditional Filipino way – or the traditional way in many places.

            Don’t get involved… but Joe happens to choose to involve himself which is a respectable thing. Those who don’t get involved – can find the world around them involves them at some point…

            • Joe America says:

              “You put your big toe in, you pull your big toe out, you do the hanky panky as you twist it all about.” Pretty soon, your up to your neck in hanky panky, which is, in this instance, a metaphor for blogging.

              • David says:

                You gave me the right song and idea, to have a jump rope competition with my kids, LOL

            • David says:

              Irineo B. R. Salazar

              No worries, I never did and wont get involve in the circus and drama of politics.

    • Joe America says:

      Hello, David. Great lifestyle. I agree contributing at the local level can be very, very rewarding and helpful.

    • There are two kinds of politics (I wrote an article about that in my blog):

      1) The Game of Thrones kind of politics – who is going to be in power, what group?

      2) Politics in its original meaning – everything that is for the well-being of the community – Greek politikos comes from polis or city, where the original democracy got started.

      Yes, I also wrote in that article that Greek democracy was carried out in agoras or marketplaces, and that knowing today’s Greeks as a loud and passionate people, it was probably as raucous as present-day Filipino democracy in the agora of today’s social media.

      A stranger or a guest in Greek is a xenos. Joe doesn’t quite see himself as a guest anymore. Some do, could it be they have xenophobia? Phobos is fear. Filipinos usually don’t fear guests…

      • sonny says:

        PiE, I guess politics for me is of the second kind: politics is making square pegs fit all round holes and even as homonyms to the ‘polishing’ of rough edges (stones rubbing against other stones in the unrelenting surf)

    • Bert says:

      In time, David, in time. Stay with us here in the Society and in this Republic longer. Who knows what transformation might take place in your opinions of our local politics might take place. In time.

      It took some time for Joe to be like what he is now, and I knew Joe for very long time already. I think it’s because of his fervent love for his Filipino wife and son that stoke his love for this Republic we are living in.

      We Filipinos are lucky and so thankful for having such rare kind of a visitor as our Joe here.

      Btw, David, Joe’s cup of tea is his Father-in-Law’s lambanog, :).

  12. Jean says:

    I am glad to read this entry today, Joeam. I had been a reader since last year and loved reading your positive views on what the Aquino government has been doing and achieved so far. I’ve even used some of your articles as a jumping board for discussion in my college English class… but you lost me when the articles became ‘rabidly’ anti-Duterte. But that is your prerogative, this is your blog. However, one day I just couldn’t take how one article was so divisive… But that’s all in the past.

    I am equally excited to see what the next 6 years will be like for our beloved country. And my hope is that we all rally round the incoming president. He needs us. Judging from the interviews he granted in the past week, he feels the weight of the office especially now that he has seen the huge trust that the people has given him after seeing the wide margin that sets him ahead of his opponents. From our experience in this part of the country, he will make an effort to be the people’s president. At the risk of being accused of giving in to personality cult, I don’t hesitate to say that Duterte has the concerns of the Filipino people in his heart. He is a patriot through and through.

    Thank you for this article that truly seeks unity! Very much needed for healing and nation-building.

    Great evening, everyone!

    • Joe America says:

      He and I have different values, but he’s the President (Elect) of the Philippines and I’m a blogger. 🙂 Both of us are for the Philippines, as far as I can tell.

  13. arlene says:

    Will six months be alright before I give my own assessment if he is true to his words or not? I campaigned and voted for RORO and still is a member of TSM. What I don’t like about the Duterte fans is that they have transferred their hate to Leni Robredo who in my own opinion does not deserve such bashing.

    • The AlDub (Alyansa Duterte-Bongbong) is hateful towards Leni, unfortunately. The Du-Ro group (Duterte-Robredo, I personally know some of them) is of course different…

      TSM I have seen wants to continue its work – the more constructive Change is Coming people and TSM may be the seed of true people’s political parties in the Philippines, as opposed to the dynastic parties of before which were only there to support the old, tired Game of Thrones…

    • Joe America says:

      Yes, I think a part of our exercise here will be to encourage the Duterte fan base to think of the Philippines as one diverse place, and not a realm that they have inherited. Some things have to be earned, and humility goes a long way toward gaining support rather than opposition. I do take President Elect Duterte at his word, that he wants to unify the nation. I take that not as an IMPOSED unity (as do those of his fans who are rabid and unkind), but an earned unity.

      • arlene says:

        That’s what I don’t understand, they have won, their brand of campaigning paid off but some of them can’t keep quiet, still posting harsh words intended to discredit the present administration. Like you, I am optimistic that given the sincere support of the Filipino people, we will succeed. Do you think Pres. Elect Duterte would let Joma Sison meddle when he assumes office? That’s what I am afraid of.

        • Joe America says:

          I don’t think Sison will return. Sison has already tried to meddle, specifying what he expected of President Duterte. If I were the President Elect, I would be offended by Sison’s arrogance, but maybe they are friends, I don’t know.

          • Joma was Duterte’s professor from what I read… but it surprises me because Joma was UP… Mentor is what I have read somewhere, so I guess he can’t be TOO rude to him this is indeed Asian tradition even for someone like Duterte, so Lavina talking could be the indirect way…

            There are a few things which indeed go without saying in Philippine customs – just like I didn’t argue with FB friends who are Binay and Duterte supporters… face is important all over Asia.

  14. josephivo says:

    The right motivation and the wrong results or the wrong motivation with the right results, what’s better? Being extremely careful but accidently causing a deadly avalanche or being rude and reckless but having the luck that no big boulder starts rolling?

    Should we only judge the main results? Poverty alleviation and poverty alleviation potential as public health, education, infrastructure, corruption reduction, economic growth…? Or are the right intentions sufficient, trying to do the right things for the right reasons and acting within the rule of the current laws?

    • Joe America says:

      Therein is the challenge of being President, so many demands, so many worthwhile initiatives. We can perhaps work out some key performance benchmarks ourselves. That would be an interesting article. Take the global indicators, for instance, look at the past, and project forward.

      Thanks for the good idea.

      • A colored command-center kind of map similar to the Rappler election map maybe? – but with stats on poverty, crime etc.?

        UN agencies did this globally for millenium goals in the 1990s to monitor and track progress…

        The data seems to be there, PNP and DSWD will have the data for sure, even if incomplete.

        Would be a job for business intelligence professionals, Philippines has a number of them.

  15. Susan says:

    There were two indelible memories I have of Mar during the campaign that can help promote unity in the dialogue: His spiritual creed: The Golden Rule and I am my brother’s keeper.
    In every decision that he makes, it has always been for the common good. I have heard Duterte in his recent interview and I want to believe he was sincere in saying, ” I only have the interest of the Filipinos in my mind, nothing else. Let us continue to pray unceasingly for him and especially for Pastor Quibuloy who has a big influence on Digong that they will discern and be consumed by the power of the Holy Spirit in every decision that Duterte makes.

  16. cwl says:

    After this bitter election, I understand the call to move on and do whatever is necessary for a patriotic citizen to help build this country. But at the back of my mind, I just can’t help but recall the the infamous “critical collaboration” dogma of the Catholic Church, notably Cardinal Sin, vis a vis the Marcos martial law regime. I hope that this Duterte presidency is not as vicious as the marcos regime.
    But i am sure the people will support the Duterte presidency given the wide mandate he received and will move on and forget the pain of lies and deception in last campaign period,
    After all, our favorite trait as a people is that we easily forgive and forget. For good or bad.

    • Joe America says:

      I suppose there was some bitterness to the election, CFL, but no more or less than I’ve witnessed in US campaigns. I don’t think bitterness was more dominant than just plain advocacy. Democracy ain’t pretty, I suppose.

      The lies and deceptions thrived because people demanded them. Social media are strange that way, and the immaturity of people on it. I’d say it is rather like a brush fire. Future politicians will have to develop a way to counter the deceits because I don’t think they are going away soon. The slope of advocacy is slippery, and even LP people were shading the truth and attaching as much slander as possible to messages. They just rarely outright lied.

      Rather than forgive and forget, I’d recommend accept and learn. Heads up. Keep contributing.

  17. Donna says:

    I hope PNoy gets the same respect when he leaves office. Surely he is not perfect, but he has done a lot of good for the nation. Calls for whatever presidential crime they want to throw at him should be trash right away and for media not to rub it in but of course we know that he has made a lot of enemies because he wanted to strengthen our democratic institutions while at the same time protecting some of his friends in government who may not be corrupt but simply incompetent. The challenge now is how to communicate to the Filipino people and esp the millennials the real essence of nation building, that our leaders can only do so much, and the citizenry must do their part. How must we do it Joe? Seems like our educational system is failing in this regard. Some people think that giving their opinions in social media, bashing people who do not share their views and complaining about anything and everything under the sun and then come election time they will pin their dreams and aspirations to the President of their choice depending on their need of the moment. The media are easily swayed by spin doctors that you don’t know anymore who to believe, when they have a big responsibility to ensure that our democracy works. Also, I think The economic gains of daang matuwid has bred a yuppy batch whose problems are mainly of the traffic and car plate types but whose voices and anger are heard all over social media that you would think PNoy admin has not done anything at all! Honestly, I have not moved on yet. I pity Mar and his campaign team. Sayang, Mar, where did you go wrong? anyway, I pray to God that Leni will be proclaimed soon and Digong will have his road to “Damascus experience” to become a truly enlightened leader we all deserve. Thank you for the space.

    • Joe America says:

      President Aquino’s trust ratings remain higher than any prior president, so I think he does get a great deal of respect. The complaints are mainly the work of crooks, crabs, leftists and malcontents, and together they were able to command the tabloid press headlines and undermine the good works being done. But President Aquino knows the truth. He worked diligently and earnestly for a better nation, and left the place in much better shape than when he arrived.

      The educational system is missing a few bricks, for sure. Civic sacrifice, thinking critically, history (Marcos era). I think DepEd is working on it, but they get overwhelmed with matters of classrooms, teachers and text books.

      • Donna says:

        You got it Joe, overwhelmed is the word not only by the DepEd team, but mostly all the Departments in the Executive branch. 6 years not enough, but good governance must continue…

        • Joe America says:

          I have a different view, actually. I think some departments did very well: DFA, DOD, DSWD, DPWH, Finance, DBM, DOT, DILG. Some struggled, BOC under Finance, DOTC. DepEd was consumed by K-12. DOJ by limited resources. Overall, I’d give the Aquino Administration high marks, considering the barriers to success when they started: lousy automation, little infrastructure investment, corruption, and poor managers.

          • Donna says:

            I must say thou that perception of ineffectiveness was successfully highlighted by the enemies of the PNoy admin as the communication department lacks the much needed charisma to bring the right message across.

      • Waray-waray says:

        One TSM volunteer’s plan is gearing towards voters education. IMO learning from the results of the elections, this is one way going forward. Chapters are now being organised and formalised this early with plans in that direction. Education and civic groups must start and compliment working together to educate the citizenry especially on matters about history with emphasis on Martial Law.

        I feel a positive development coming out of a somewhat negative result.

  18. Glad you mentioned that ilk-troll GRP.

  19. Rickya says:

    There is NO duty to unify if by unify, you mean consensus. We have a duty to engage. We have a duty to support if we agree. We have a duty to oppose if we don’t agree.

    As to belittling Duterte, we have NO obligation to stop doing that. If he does somethig stupid, he needs to be belittled.

    • Joe America says:

      In your own time and space, but not in my blog. I strive for discussion, for dialogue, for listening and learning. I believe that is a better way to build than attacking and undermining and closing ears to ideas. Given that we have different principles, and you find separation a satisfactory solution, I’d suggest you not enter into the discussions here.

    • manangbok says:

      We (by “we” I assume you mean “Filipino people” and “people whose interest is the welfare of the Philippines” ?) have a duty to engage, but only up to a certain point.

      To move forward as a country, there are times (a lot of times) when we must reach a consensus. That consensus may be painful (for our pride, if not our physical selves) but a country (like a family) must not be in a constant state of war with itself.

      Belittling Duterte should not mean belittling the “presidency”. The “presidency” is about us. Our conversations must be constructive and not just an exercise in pointing out the flaws of one man. My 2 cents … hi Rickya 🙂

    • uht says:

      But even the opposition must be done with the nation in mind. We should not isolate other people just for the sake of it. We are stuck in all this together; some will say it’s a muddy rut and others will say it’s a clear pool. But we do need to help each other, agree sometimes for the sake of the other guy who’s in the rut.

  20. manangbok says:

    Well said, Mr. J ! 🙂

    It is not about the man, it is about the position he holds and what it represents to us as a nation.

    The presidency is NOT about Duterte, the man; ultimately it is about the aspiration, hopes and intentions of the almost 40% (according to recent data I’ve seen in who voted for him. We may not be part of that 40% … but we are of the same country and even in our disagreements, we must find a way to live and thrive with each other.

    So fine … congratulations Mr. Duterte … first president from Mindanao who provoked such passionate response from other Filipinos I have engaged in political discussions with.

    If there is one good thing that came out of the seeming divisiveness of this election, I think it jerked a lot of people out of their apathy and inspired them (us) to engage in meaningful conversations (arguments, debates, twitter and facebook wars) with each other about our visions for our Mother Philippines.

    So kudos to us 🙂 This is the triumph of 2016 election, I should think. And we must certainly keep it up — the conversation we have started before May 9, 2016 should be continued well into the next 6 years of this administration. Only … let’s be gentle with each other and treat even the snarkiest ideas and statements with some modicum of respect (within reason of course :))

  21. NHerrera says:

    I can see the refreshing initial balancing or adjustment of attitudes in the coming Administration of President Elect Duterte for the good.

    There is of course the friendly relations between former student and teacher — PE Duterte and Joma Sison. On the other hand, there is the pre-election criticisms of the Makabayan Group — with its president Satur Ocampo, and cochairs Liza Maza and Rafael Mariano, all prominent activists in the leftist movement — on Duterte’s Camp. Makabayan who supported Poe at that time, thereby supported the senatorial bid of its associate Neri Colmenares. But with the loss of Poe and Colmenares, Makabayan does not want to miss out on the gravy train of PE Duterte. Hence the shift of support to PE Duterte from Poe.

    PE Duterte’s spokesman Peter Lavina will not just let Makabayan go easy:
    Laviña fired a shot at the left for criticizing Duterte’s economic agenda and for “mouthing their usual criticism of others but not undertaking their own criticism, self-criticism” … He advised the leftists to “dialogue with the incoming government instead of mounting black propaganda.”

    Comes now Joma Sison as he tries to mediate — that Makabayan is not mounting black propaganda etc etc.

    I find the nuances refreshing and interesting.

    • NHerrera says:

      Meaning — to my mind — that although the coming Admin finds giving the Left a chance to go on board for national unity and peace, it is not a blanket endorsement of the bunch of them. There are the good and the bad lot — just as there are the good and the bad religious people.

  22. cha says:

    I do think the Philippines is actually better off, in the short term, with Duterte’s victory at the polls. Had it been otherwise, had Mar Roxas perhaps won instead, these calls for unity and for Filipinos to unite behind their new president is not likely to have come from Duterte’s supporters. It would have been a completely different scenario given how they have already been so conditioned to believe, in the days preceding the actual elections, that their candidate can only lose if cheating occurs.

    I can only hope, however, that I might be wrong as to the long term repercussions on Philippine society, culture and politics of all that has transpired in this election. I will just keep my thoughts tp myself in keeping with the intentions put forward in this blog. But it will probably be a while before I am able to contribute positively here again. Rest assured I will be around (mostly silently) supporting your efforts to help push our country forward in its continuing journey as a developing nation.

    “Bear with me; my heart is in the coffin there with Caesar, and I must pause till it comes back to me.”

    • NHerrera says:

      May I share in the sentiment of your first two paragraphs of post.

      This to me is a reflection of the general character of the other side, including The Society — the maturity and honesty of being sincerely gracious mixed with a big portion of hope.

    • Joe America says:

      I’ve received a wide range of reactions from the blog repositioning, which is not really a repositioning, just a refocus on a very different personality leading government, with an open mindedness toward the good and bad that might be forthcoming from it, and a determination not to overlook the good in the interest of hyping the bad to make someone else’s prophecy get fulfilled. Some are walking away from the blog, some are supporting the idea, and I’m just taking it one article at a time. If the mood strikes for you to participate, it will, and if it does not, I’m sorry about that, for sure. Duterte’s election promises no one a rose garden. There are chasms to left and crevasses to right, and if I must walk amongst them alone, that is where you will find me.

      • cha says:

        Oh no, my not being able to contribute at this time has nothing to do with the repositioning of the blog. I actually think it’s the right thing to do. I have nothing but admiration for how you are showing to Filipinos a most mature and rational response to the outcome of this election. In time, I hope to be able to join you there. But while I’m in this dark cave grappling for a way out into the light, I think it is best I keep my less than optimistic sentiments and assessments to myself in the meantime, that’s all. Just imposing a bit of self-censorship.

    • Waray-waray says:

      I feel you Cha.

  23. cwl says:

    I hope that your call for other commenters not sharing your call for constructive dialog to leave here is borne out by sincere effort to come out with a unifying agenda for a better Philippines.
    No one will resist a constructive dialog but singing in monotonous pitch is different, I think.
    I view this blog as bastion of democratic thoughts and imposing “self-restraint” on my future comments I believe negate that notion.
    So, I will not wait to be told, albeit, politely to stop from posting comments contrary to your liking. So, I will refrain.

    • Joe America says:

      I’m sorry you believe you cannot exercise the kind of restraint I’m requesting. I didn’t realize my request would be so offensive to people, as I am only asking them to refrain from name-calling the President of the Philippines, avoid extending the campaign as a bitter lens through which to frame issues, and emphasize the positive . . . building . . . rather than tearing down. But if people find they can’t contribute on those terms, what’s an editor to do, if he believes that is the most constructive kind of forum for the Philippines? The sun will rise in the morning, I am sure of that. I’ll be here, and you will be where you need to be.

      • Joe America says:

        I would add that – if you are considering my response to Rikya – the activity I objected to was “belittling Duterte”, as I am reminded of all the times President Aquino was insulted for his looks, or gait, or lifestyle . . . for the emotional effect and crablike attempt to bring him down.

        I’m not saying support Duterte or go away.

      • I think Joe’s aim is simple don’t be GRP.
        We have been telling the people for years now to not let our different choice of president to blind us from the good that President Aquino has done.

        It is only fair that we extend that to the presumptive President.

        • Joe America says:

          Right. I’m basically implementing the spirit of what Mar Roxas said:

        • NHerrera says:

          And he has not officially started acting as President. We have time enough to see the forest and the trees. I sure hope we do not lose the contributors here with their bright minds that so attracted us here. I believe sincerely that Joe is trying to reduce if not prevent the sad experience of the current President with the likes of the GRP types.

          • I really hope Gibo takes the DND post. Too young to have thrown in the towel and go towards anonymity.

            Also curious what he could accomplish with the leaner, better funded, better trained, more professional military that he is inheriting.

            Also NDRRMC co chair means something he needs to redeem himself from the unfair shadow his former boss has cast over his once bright star.

  24. purple says:

    Let’s see how the military feels about the NPA in government. And not just a little in government, but controlling 4 major departments.

    • Joe America says:

      I think it might be a mistake to judge the proposal as a “done deal”. We’ve found that P.E. Duterte often speaks for effect, judges the feedback, consults with others, and then makes a decision. I once had a boss who did that kind of thing in the corporate arena. He confided to me one day that there was a reason, that chemical reactions speed up if you apply some heat. Or maybe it’s like a naval barrage, softening up the beach to prepare for the landing.

      • NHerrera says:

        I like that “phrase softening up the beach to prepare for the landing.” My complementary view is that Duterte has a great advantage in that he has the reasonable trust of the Chinese and the Left. But he can use this to advantage for the greater good if that greater good does not consist of greatly favoring these sectors over the many sectors of the country. If the Left will not accept the reasonable moves of Duterte, they may find that the train will leave them without a viable alternative. If they cannot reasonably negotiate with Duterte — who has given them a chance — who do they expect to get in the future?

        With respect to the Chinese, there may be a reasonable chance that — in keeping with the concept of saving face, especially with Asians — the situation may evolve into something that will be good overall for the Philippines, the Chinese, the ASEAN and the US. I cannot quite define it, but I have this feeling.

        • Joe America says:

          Could be. I have a counter opinion but will save it for Thursday’s blog. But I do note that P. E. Duterte is questioning how Scarborough was “lost” to the Chinese. That’s rather simple to me. China reneged on the deal for both sides to pull out. But I think Duterte wants to know what backroom avenues were used. Senator Trillanes refuses to cite how he was used because it is a “state secret”. However, July 1 or shortly thereafter, I presume Duterte will know the whole story. Or maybe before, if DFA briefs him up. He and Senator Trillanes have been spitting at each other on the deal, Duterte threatening to charge Trillanes with treason and Trillanes threatening to impeach Duterte if he cedes Scarborough to the Chinese. It is hard to sort out personal animosities from policy. A mayor, of course, would mix the two because his turf is his turf. A president ought not. Unless he is autocratic.

          This is a test of Duterte, more than Trillanes, I think. Does national interest or Duterte interest rule the roost?

          • NHerrera says:

            Benefit of the doubt for PE Duterte for now then. Until he sees the BIG PICTURE when he Is in office. Nothing like viewing that picture from a bird’s eye. Then we will see. A big initial test, I agree, if it comes into prominence the first few days into his office. But as you wrote you have something related for your Thursday blog. I will wait for that.

      • sonny says:

        Chemical reactions I know a little about, Joe. There are also catalysts, retardants and outright poisons to a reaction. And of course, thermodynamics dictates all possible outcomes. 🙂

        • Joe America says:

          Haha, yes, where would we be without catalysts, retardants and poisons? When we visit the supermarket during our monthly excursion for goodies not found locally (ground coffee, for instance), we fill the shopping cart. The back part is reserved for foods. The front part for chemicals and poisons. Such is life in the era of scientists and marketing professionals.

  25. I wish to believe what he promised to Joma Sison about focusing on education for a productive industrialization that will surely bring progress and prosperity that will uplift poverty mitigating social ills towards a tolerable peaceful society. It is not a stop gap measure but can’t be done overnite. Please prove this wrong.

    • The proof will be in how he implements what he wants to do – especially if he is able to build on the foundations that Aquino has created like K-12 for education and 4Ps for uplifting poverty.

      His inauguration speech (goals) and the SONAs to come (progress) will give us a picture.

  26. I really want to support Duterte. I really do. But until he clears up the Human Rights and hidden wealth issues, I won’t be able to support him. I do want him to succeed though, because as they say, his success is also the nation’s.

  27. Ed Gamboa says:

    Sensible words, Joe. Keep the flame alive.

  28. How much Joe’s words make sense is captured in this – at first glance – unrelated video of a rumble at Aguas Azules Resort in Binangonan, Rizal yesterday… now this is a quite nice-looking place but the way the people treat each other… somehow reminds me of Philippine politics…

    • I see something deeply wrong with a society where this (and the recent stuff against Leni) is happening. Many people have snapped already and I don’t quite get why it became this way.

      This isn’t about slum kids taking drugs, or jumping on the roofs of jeepneys – this is middle class.

      • Joe America says:

        The riots of the disenfranchised.

      • NHerrera says:

        May this not be a global phenomenon and borne out of social media with its relative anonymity. It is said too that one will not usually behave like one but behaves quite differently placed in a crowd or mob — in the present case the mob of social media.

        • Social media I might still get… but physical violence in a middle-class swimming resort on a Sunday? People are no longer anonymous in that situation and even women joined in.

          • NHerrera says:

            Is it possible the foul words flying thick and fast in social media and even on TV also trigger physical violence? No sociologist or psychologist here but what is cause what is effect. Interesting times we live in at the very least. Crime reduction and drug-free environment was promised. Could some civility as an objective be included. It seems the benefit/cost for the latter is big. It can start with leaders showing examples and admonishing al — post-election that is.

            • That might in fact be true… and that too much social media reduces the capability of people to relate to one another face-to-face as well. There was a stampede years ago at a concert in Germany were people died. There were recent incidents in Saxony where a crowd cheered while a (luckily still empty) refugee shelter burned. Interesting times… There is a “fake map” over her in Germany BTW showing fake incidents being spread on social media about refugees, a tabloid (!) took a right-wing politician to court for faking a headline on Facebook…

          • karlgarcia says:

            Remember the fraternity rumbles,many of them are rich kids.

  29. Bellesouth says:

    Very hard not to feel anguished that he offered cabinet positions e.g DAR, DENR and DOLE to communist CPP..

    • sonny says:

      That is ominous, Bellesouth.

    • I heard that too, as well as Winnie Monsod’s take on that, aired on GMA 7 this morning. Winnie said that CPP must first state that the party is not contemplating the use violence to overthrow the government before it joins the same. I agree. I hope Duterte would not be misled by his former teacher, Joma Sison.

      Let’s wait and see.

      • Jaime Rigodon says:

        There should be peace talk first before they will assume a seat in the government. The peace process should include the disbanding of their military arm the NPA or be integrated with the Philippines armed forces. Communists are prone to violence and overthrow of existing democratic form of government.  God forbid that we will become The Peoples Republic of the Philippines.

    • chempo says:

      There is one aspect of communism that most people do not fully appreciate, but I certainly hope the president-elect does.

      To the communists, there is no peace until they have taken control of the land by all means possible — be deceit or by force, For them, they are still at war until the enemy has been subjudicated. Norkor is always on a war footing with Sorkor. ROC and Taiwan are technically still at war, Russia and China are still on war footing with the West although military engagement has been put on the back burner and they are engaged in economic warfare.

      Communists diehards are really an impressive lot for their fanatical dedication to their ideology and their cause. The amount of physical hardships that they can endure and the long term views that they hold, most of us cannot comprehend. There is similarity to Islamic fanatics. Communits cadres are men driven by ideologies and these are a different breed of humanity. No appeasement approaches can truly satisfy them. Their end game is set on imposing their ideology on the land. Period. Whatever their participation in governance, whether as some principal actors, or as some political partnership, is only an end to their means. This is a factual lesson from various countries all over the world, the closest to home are the battles of the British armed forces vs the Malayan communists. To believe otherwise is folly.

      In the initial struggle for Singapore’s independence from the British, Lee Kuan Yew took a calculated risk to join forces with the communists which at that time had tremendous public support. Lee’s People’s Action Party at the time was a small player compared to the communist Socialist Party. Without communists’ muscles, it owuld have been difficult to move the masses against the British. He knew very well what the communists were capable of. It was a period he called “riding the tiger”. Fortunately, he out-witted and out-maneouvered the communits and thus sparred Spore from turning red.

      Winnie Monsod is absolutely correct. The olive branch can only be extended to communists if they pledge non-violence, and for that, they have to dis-band the military wing and turn over their weaponries. Anything short of that is a political gamble. Certainly everyone would be happy if the NPA problem can be peacefully resolved, but the status quo in the Philippines at the moment does not require the govt to take a gamble, not when Malacanang is talking from a position of strength.

      It is left to be seen how much the political arm of the communist, specifically as represented by Sison, has control over the military arm, the NPA. My gut feeling is that majority of the NPA cadres are fringes of banditry and not real ideologues. If that is the case, political overtures are not the solution. It is similar to the Abu Sayaf disease. It’s nothing but bandits behind religious cloaks. And I note that president-elect has vowed to go after them, ala Erap. I say bravo to that and hope under his toughie leadership he can clean up the place. The inability to wipe out Abu Sayaf is one of my disappointments of the Pnoy admin.

  30. Netizens are going bananas about Duterte’s reservation of the 4 cabinet post for the communist. Oh! I am telling you Filipinos hates so much the communists this guy is putting himself in trouble. Get ready people, some of you would eat your own puke.

    • Joe America says:

      Descriptive, James, descriptive. Spot on, as well.

      • David says:

        James de Valera and Joe America

        1- The Concepts and theories of Communism,

        It is interesting to learn and read about some of the written books on The principles and theories of Communism,

        2-The human experience with communism

        But, in the human experience and practice on society and nations, that specific theory has shown many negative results, bloody and volatile results to man kind.

        Assuming everything will be alright,
        Yet, lets not draw conclusions!
        but be vigilant of your constitutional rights, a true democrat and constitutionally supportive of your laws.

        This 100% Gringo

    • NHerrera says:

      It may just be me but the four departments offered to the Left — Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR), Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR), Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD), and the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) — are substantial but interesting. If the Left fails on those to give “satisfaction” to the intended beneficiaries, they, the Left, will inherit a firestorm. Methinks Duterte is shrewd.

    • Andres III says:

      This is how Duterte handles insurgency, assimilate them in your rank. They may hate the communist, but hate for what reason exactly?

      • Joe America says:

        I think for killing soldiers and innocents, and using extortion to fund their marauding.

        • chempo says:

          and for the die-hard intent to impose their ideology, by he barrel of their guns, on a country where 99++% of people reject it and the world has shown central planning brings misery to the citizenry.

        • Andres III says:

          I think we should consider that communism in Philippines went two ways, the legal one (CPP) and the illegal one (NPA). Some are true to their ideology, some are just plain bandits. From your replies you guys hate communism basically because of the arm struggle. But lets think why they are doing this? They may say because of the government failure of giving basic services to the people, e.g. land reform, labor contractualization, etc. Notice that the post Duterte gave them are concerned mainly of rendering basic services. Get the connection now? They complain of failed basic services, solution, you do the servicing yourself. CPP may think many times of accepting this as they will be handling the things that they themselves complain about. If CPP will accept this, the ball will be in their court, if they don’t then this will prove that they were never been true to what they are fighting for and they are no less than the bandits we all hate about. This sly shrewd old-man.

          • Joe America says:

            It is an interesting test, in those terms. My dislike for the ideologically bound left is the disconnect between the good ends they profess and the unkind and illegal means they use to assert themselves, generally punishing the people they say they want to help. I mean, how many electrical towers can you blow up to help make people’lives better? My own situation was that I lived in Northern Mindanao until the day when the extortionist-minded NPA came looking for me (I was fortunately in the US). Lost to the local community on my flight were three good jobs, medical aid to the needy, sponsorship for local sports programs, and several college scholarships. So now the leaders of this bunch of gangsters may assume legitimate, very important jobs?

            The “old man” may be shrewd, and I appreciate your recognizing that aspect of him. But I’d imagine there are some honorable, law-abiding people who deserve those jobs. And some lieutenants in those departments who provide valuable services who will be sorely tested to stay on.

            • Andres III says:

              Those NPAs just right after the fall of Marcos are good guys, they even get the support of rural local areas. In my experience, when i was little and that time i was leaving with my grand parents in a rural community, some five or seven armed men will come in the house, ask for some food and water and will rest for a while, and then leave peacefully. Please note that the attitude of rural folks that time are so hospitable that they are always inviting any stranger that pass along for a breakfast or lunch (i missed those people). Sometimes, i ask my parents/grandparents about these NPAs, what if you will not give them food? And they will reply, we will not give them food if we have none. Did they threaten you? And they will reply, they never, they will just leave. Now, i was even shock that NPAs are doing some close to terroristic acts. They are no longer like before. We have different experience with these NPA guys, lets just say that NPAs have “good guys” and “bad guys” too. We have also these RPA-ABB, those guys let themselves used by politicians.

              Well, i think Duterte chose the CPP instead of some qualified law-abiding people because, first, its mainstream, done by previous administration already. Second, not all seats are given to them, just some, so they can have a piece of governance. Third, CPP leaders are noted for their undying, unyielding ideology and Duterte believes that it is possible to use that rock-like affirmation to good use.

          • Caliphman says:

            Has anyone bothered to visit the CPP, NPA, and NDFP websites? The NPA is the military arm of the CPP, the Communist Party of the Philippines, and is under its command according to the latters website. The CPP is committed to the overthrow of the Philippine government in its present form, in the case of the NPA through violence and military combat. It may interest people to know that SIson is not only chairman of the CPP but also part of the NPA military leadership where he goes under the nom de guerre Kumander Liwanag.

            That Duterte has a personal relationship with Sison who was his teacher allows close communications and a working relationship with Sison and his communist organizations. It makes possible the resumption of a military ceasefire that was in place before it broke down during the GMA administration. It would be a mistake to think that Sison is even considering the possibility of the communist movement being integrated as part of the government working on shared common goals. The Marxist ideology that he and the CPP espouse views Philippine history and the future as a continuing class struggle that will eventually culminate in the overthrow of the governing elite of which Duterte is only the latest incarnation and representative of.

            To think that Duterte is shrewd and outsmarting Sison by inviting the CCP to appoint the leaders of these four goverment agencies and have the communist movement assume the risk of failure at these agencies is a very naive presumption. If anyone will be proceeding gradually and deliberately in dealing with this invitation, it will not be Duterte but Sison. He would be pursuing this invitation only if it is to his advantage in achieving the CPP goal which is the overthrow of the government, and the leaders they choose will have this foremost in mind if and when they start running these agencies. Will they put aside the goals of their ideology and focus in ameliorating the plight of the masses their movement and these agencies are supposed to serve? I hope so but I have very serious apprehensions and doubts that they wont and cannot. That is for Sison and Duterte’s more clever advisors to work out, assuming they think things through.

            It would have been better I think if Duterte had just stuck to his promise of making peace with the NPA and CPP instead of extending this novel but questionable initiative. For one thing, the ceasefire was already in place for some time and a no arrest or detention for members of either organization in effect. Then as it is probably more so now, the NPA leadership ranks have been decimated by combat losses or capture so it is in their interest to have a cease fire and a temporary peace restored to refit and recuperate. One would think that Sison would seize a ceasefire or peace opportunity, but if one reads the CPP websites there is an exhortation for the NPA to continue its attacks. Why? Because in the murderous schism within the ranks of the NPA in the nineties, the cause was none other than Sison reaffirming that the communist movement could not allow itself to become part of the the goverment representing the ruling classes it was vowed to destroy.

  31. Enrique Sanchez says:

    My true concern over a Duterte Presidency is the scalability challenge of implementing an aggressive anti-crime initiative on a national scale. Implementing this involves placing significant power into the hands of those who may not truly share Duterte’s vision & passions. For example, this article from

    This is the first of, I assume, many programs to empower local officials to aggressively prosecute criminals… and by “aggressive” I mean shooting-to-kill. Combined with a federalist platform, over time the nation may devolve into a decentralized warlord-driven system, with each province enjoying a high-degree of extrajudicial autonomy.

    Of course if all the parties involved were altruistic and well-meaning crime fighters, then this would go swimmingly. The reality, however, is that Filipinos are driven by emotion and clan-based hatreds. An inordinate amount of trust is being placed in those who are more than likely to abuse that trust in a very violent way.

    At the end of the day, this leads to chaos and anarchy… both of which create a domino effect in terms of crippling economic progress and innovation.

    The road to Hell is paved with good intentions. I think the new Administration has ‘good intentions’ in abundance and are buoyed by their somewhat-successful implementation at the local level. Scaling this decentralized approach to the national level, though, is (I believe) a recipe for disaster.

    Joe, kindly note that I am not detracting from P.E. Duterte nor wish to see failure. I’m simply sharing my thoughts as I see them. Thanks.

    • Joe America says:

      I think your analysis is excellent, Enrique, and I hope that someone on Duterte’s staff will read it. Thank you for offering the constructive thoughts.

      • purple says:

        His crime rhetoric is a smokescreen for establishing a paramilitary loyal only to him.

        Once his paramilitary gets established he will be unstoppable.

        p.s. Anyone buddies with the Ampatuans is not tough on crime.

    • CAFGUs I think had already been abolished. They used to be called CHDF in Marcos days – Civilian Home Defence Forces. Their reputation for abuse and intimidation was very high in the provinces, because these were not professionally trained people at all for the most part.

      Before Marcos there were the goon armies of the warlords who sprung up almost immediately after the USA left… and in Spanish times native policemen or cuadrilleros were often known to abuse their power. Centuries-old habits of misusing power are very hard to eradicate.

      Warlords in the early Republic and abuses of Army, PC and CHDF in Marcos times all contributed to people fleeing the provinces, even at the risk of landing in Manila slums. Only a lasting sense of safety in the countryside will decongest cities – which is one of Duterte’s goals.

    • NHerrera says:

      In science there is what is known as entropy — the tendency of which is to increase: an increase of disorder or if you will an increase in chaos. In terms outside of science — to increase order one has to institute considerable energy or force. Instead of some “free-market” sense of order, an enforced order may really require a big amount of force in a country of 100 million and 7000 islands.

      So @Enrique Sanchez, your observation is supported even by the science of entropy.

      • Enrique Sanchez says:

        Thank you for the kind reply @NHerrera, I like your comparison to the world of science. Being an IT guy myself, I tend to default to terms like ‘scalability’… and, apparently, ‘default’ as well.

        I’ve attempted to mentally create a decision-tree in terms of what to expect in the coming months. Some stream-of-consciousness thoughts:

        The resources & effort required to make such anti-crime programs a reality would be considerable. Will such be used? And what happens when a province, perhaps in Roxas-favored Negros, simply ignores the President’s mandates? What happens when the Congress, dominated by non-Duterte aligned parties, simply ignores his wishes?

        There is no history of the P.E. backing down and it’s highly doubtful that he would, particularly when emotions come to the fore… which they tend to do with the President-Elect.

        So what are the next steps? The only options seem to be a) stepping back and following the will of the legislature or b) taking it to the next level. What does taking it to the next level involve? Unless I’m missing something, dictatorship seems to be the only viable option.

        All of these thoughts weigh heavily on my mind and the PRC / SCS issue even takes precedence over the concerns outlined above. My apologies for sounding negative, but I want to be realistic as well. The fact is that I have invested heavily in this country in terms of a home and my family. The potential for chaos in this region looms large for me and it is with a heavy heart that I would leave… but it’s the only option if my fears come to fruition.

        • Go one step further – if the P.E. tries to implement a dictatorship he can expect resistance even within the Armed Forces – there is one particular Senator and his people who come to mind…

          In any case my analysis sees the Philippines at the brink of civil war if one is not very careful.

          Which is why in this situation, I think Joe’s approach is the best – all who are concerned about the country should try to calmly steer it from the brink of potential disaster. Too much emotion coming from all sides will only heat things up more. The old drama is too dangerous now. Like Vicara has mentioned the people from Mindanao are coming into power. These people do not just play telenovelas like in Manila. But: fear and silence is not a solution either. Vigilance is.

          • purple says:

            -In any case my analysis sees the Philippines at the brink of civil war if one is not very careful.-

            I agree. Duterte is dangerous, period. He clearly wants to set up a parallel military force that will have unquestioned loyalty to him. This will done under the smokescreen of crime prevention.

            He ran Davao for 30 years with Kim Jong Un levels of voting support. That’s not a democrat, but someone who terrifies into submission.

            Add to this the major players like the US and China and these are dangerous times indeed.

            • Andres III says:

              “He ran Davao for 30 years with Kim Jong Un levels of voting support. That’s not a democrat, but someone who terrifies into submission.” – can you back this claim up?

              The armed civilians will be realized only if he is not satisfied with the existing law enforcement. So no armed civilians if the police do their jobs well, and i hope they will. Any creeping of Duterte’s paramilitary force will be easily noticeable, and will be welcome with protest. Right now, we have these Barangay Tanods, armed with their faithful “batota”, and i dont know if they even passed certain requirements to be one because many of them seems cannot intimidate a “snatcher.” These Tanods should usually patrol certain areas at nights, but they are not doing any. If these armed civilians Duterte is talking about is just an Upgraded Tanods, with hand-gun instead of batota, with proper training and with certain qualifications then its well and good. Of course, we can easily and obviously sense if those armed civilians are really Duterte’s personal military. If ever this armed civilians will be created, lets judge them on their performance, not on our unknown fear.

          • Enrique Sanchez says:

            “all who are concerned about the country should try to calmly steer it from the brink of potential disaster. Too much emotion coming from all sides will only heat things up more. The old drama is too dangerous now.”

            Thanks Irineo, I think your analysis is spot-on. Regarding steering the country from potential disaster via de-escalation, cognitively I agree with you 100%. It is absolutely the right approach for the betterment of the Filipino people as a whole.

            The logical half of me finds solace in your words and our shared opinion. The pragmatic side of me is steeped in history… characterized by a morose, inconsolable perspective of how humans have acted throughout the ages. This side of me knows, without doubt, that disaster will indeed visit the Philippines. Good intentions will be served by the back of a hand and facilitated by those who place their own petty desires above the good of the community.

            While I deeply care for the Philippines and its future, all of this will eventually become a footnote in history… and my immediate concerns focus more on the safety of my family above all else.

        • NHerrera says:

          Thanks for your additional thoughts. I too, an engineer BTW and in my old age, tend to look at the horizon and give rein to my analysis and numbers game. If some say Duterte is innately good — not taking account of the pre-election words and hyperbole, again they say — then he may still surprise us. But I hope his more intelligent non-rabid lieutenants truly after their boss will take a leaf and read us here. We are for his success and our words here are mostly supportive or cautionary and I hope it will continue to be so.

    • josephivo says:

      Civility, progress and happiness all go hand in hand. A crucial aspect of civility is the position of physical power, it always should be the monopoly of the state. Laws and legislation should guarantee proportional and effective use of this power by the state, free from individual whimsicalities by any representative of the state.

      Killing is the ultimate form of physical power and proportionality requires that it only should be used to prevent more killings. The only thing equally valuable with a human live is another human live, property or principles are always of a lesser value. Prevention (the Jesse Robredo way?) is always more effective than correction or punishment. Evidence based efficiency should always trump personal convictions. (Just as an afterthought, tabaco, alcohol, refined sugars kill and marihuana is quite harmless according statistics by reputable US universities…)

      Killing is quite a drastic solution that cannot be reversed by any means. So one should always err at the safe side, better to let a guilty go unharmed than killing an innocent, or the burden of proof should always be with the prosecutor.

      I hope evidence will prove that Duterte shares these convictions.

      • Joe America says:

        The evidence as cited in his comments does not indicate he shares these convictions, but maybe his advisors can intermediate on behalf of citizens. I wonder what Senator Pia Cayetano thinks about your assessment.

  32. GMA have done it with the Ampatuan in Maguindanao, arm them, give them an extra power so that they can help to control other Muslim rebel group in the area.
    So what happened is a complete disaster in an unimaginable scale, the Ampatuan enjoy the power, purchased more guns until reach the point that they feel they are untouchable.
    Plain & simple example there to be learn mr. President.

  33. inquirercet says:

    How do you convince people to abandon respect for life? That divide is just to big to cross. I am afraid that Duterte will usher in a new level of divisiveness in this country. One that is possibly irreversible and will come with horrific results.

  34. zgob says:

    What do you think of this Joe? Sober analysis of Du30? Perhaps you can come up with an article on this one —

    • Joe America says:

      I think PickJuan is a strange publication. It recorded 67% of its reader’s “votes” as being for Rody Duterte back in Jan 3-9, 2016. Miriam Santiago was second at 19% and Senator Poe had 0%. I can’t watch videos due to slow internet speed, but find the description of Heydarian’s commentary as “brilliant” to be stark opinion mongering, removing any objectivity from the assessment. Given that I pretty much hate pundits who try to tell me what I should be thinking, I think I’ll attach zero credibility to the report. I for sure will not do any report like anybody else, as I just keep thinking for myself and the writing comes out as it will.

      • zgob says:

        I’m reading Heydarian’s article at THEWORLDPOST. Interesting. I may question a thing or two in the article, but on the whole Heydarian’s analysis is credible. His take on the Du30 phenom is incisive and nuanced (compared to another article i read recently from a university prof, whose take on Du30 appeared to be quoted from tabloid headlines–pretty pathetic for a prof!).

      • josephivo says:

        The young De La Salle assistant professor is of Persian decent but indoctrinated in Philippine culture, with the use of the word transmogrification as proof. I saw him on Karen Davila and was impressed by his freshness and meaningful comments.

        (Will try to find his book on the South China Sea, seems to have done his homework in collecting facts and figures and has fresh new ideas)

        • Joe America says:

          I’ve read his works, and he has a great grasp of issues here. Still, I will make up my own mind on Mr. Duterte’s performance based on first-hand information rather than rely on media pundits.

  35. kaye says:

    A consistent basher of PNoy once told us..let us support President Elect Duterte, his failure will be ours, but why when Pnoy is trying so hard all they dis was to bash him? #sadbuttrue

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