President Duterte: It’s all about Mindanao

MNLF_flag wiki

MNLF Flag [Wikipedia]

This report is speculation and nothing but speculation. If you want the truth and nothing but the truth, you have to crank it out of someone other than me. Lots of luck with that. JA


I’ve been trying to piece things together, doing the deductions, adding the numbers, calculating the odds. I even spied one of those old Sherlock Holmes caps in the costume department of Gaisano Mall in Ormoc, and plopped down P265 to buy it in hopes that some of the great detective’s lore might rub off on me.

Never mind that Sherlock was a dope addict and would have been shot on sight as soon as he stepped from the boat onto Philippine soil.

I am forced into this deductive mindset because, like so many Filipinos who try to make sense out of current events, I can’t figure out the man they elected as President. He says one thing then does another, or withdraws his claim, or changes the time-frames, or snubs the Vice President then appoints her to a very substantial position on the strength of a smile at the changing of the guard at a military ceremony. To say he is unpredictable is like saying Donald Trump is loud.

So, as I expressed before, I am confused. Off balance . . . perhaps the way he likes it.

If he spoke directly, with commitment and accountability, I could know what he means, and trust what he says. But he does not, so I am left with these calculations.

If they are unfair or unkind to the President, I apologize. I am only trying to do my job to be an intelligent guardian of my citizen son and a worthy caretaker of my citizen wife. Who is also off balance . . .

So I ask readers to indulge me. Kindly take all that you see and understand about President Duterte, all that you see and don’t understand, and all the questions you have, the rumors, the data, the headlines, the trolls, the yellows, the memes and speeches . . . and throw everything high into the air. Way up there.

Then let it drift down and assume shape, each part linked in some way to another.

That’s what I’ve done.

This blog will tell you about it. It will put together all these observations, and connect them into one pattern that makes sense. That pattern may be wholly wrong, but  . . .

. . . at least it makes sense, whereas current events do not.

Besides, you are not inutile here, you may shoot down my observations and deductions, confirm them, modify them, or provide your own computations. Indeed, President Duterte or his top staff . . . rather than claiming I am irresponsible for trying to attach some sense to activities that seem to make none . . . can do the same thing by explaining what in the hell is going on these days in the Philippines.

mindanao theconservativeeconomist

[Source: The Conservative Economist on WordPress]

Why did Mayor Duterte run for President?

Speculation. He ran because he was da man in Mindanao, and there is no way for da man or Mindanao, his realm and his heirs, to go up unless he could make something more out of that region than being mayor for a lifetime.

He did not run because he had a vision for the Philippines.

He ran because he had a vision for Mindanao.

In Mindanao, da man is da warlord with the biggest set of juevos and cannons and friends in powerful places. Mayor Duterte has huge juevos and death just a plank in his political platform. He has cannons in the hands of people who are not afraid to use them, and a lot of friends in powerful places, from the head of the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) to the leaders of the armed and dangerous New People’s Army (NPA), to Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) leader Nur Misuari, the man who led the deadly hostage taking in Zamboanga a few years ago, to two former presidents and the son of a dictator longing to run the nation again: the honorables Fidel Ramos, Gloria Arroyo and Bong Bong Marcos. He also has a Filipino-Chinese strategist and working aide who is Mr. Duterte’s youth on steroids, a bright and hard-working guy by the name of Christopher “Bong” Go,

This is no hick town “Hi’ya podner!” ex-mayor. This is a powerful strongman, a warlord, a clan kingpin, a master of strategy and a superb executioner, of both tactics and people. Don’t let the debate yucks, the jet-ski comedy, or tears at his mother’s grave mislead you about the heart of iron that beats in this man’s very intelligent soul.

He is a gameplayer, a calculator, a master of manipulation. A nice guy one day, a terror the next.

As I see the pieces of evidence float leisurely down from the sky, I’d guess that President Duterte would happily deal-in former presidents Arroyo and Ramos, or Bong Bong Marcos, to take the national government off his hands . . . on his terms . . . when he is done with it. He only wants Mindanao. And he can use his band of rebellious brothers to defend Mindanao while he works to raise the economy of the region to emulate that of Hong Kong or Taiwan or Singapore. It’s a bigger place, after all.

He’d be the biggest rebel and kingfish the Philippines has seen since . . . since . . . ever . . .

President for life of the Independent Republic of Mindanao, homeland to the great Moro peoples and a lot of other groups who have never been fully welcomed into the Philippines. Leftists among them.

And his heirs would have a lock on the rule of that land for way past our lifetimes . . .

  • All he would need is an economic launch pad and cross-island infrastructure along the lines of that proposed by forward-looking Sir Joseph America in his article “Manila is to New York as Davao is to Los Angeles”.
  • He would need China, or a deal with China, for the infrastructure, for a tap into the lucrative drug pipelines, and for the riches to be obtained by selling ore and labor to China. The last thing he would want would be a war with China over a few islands that have absolutely no place in his calculus.
  • He would need federalism as the jumping-off platform to independence.
  • He would need power and control over the political groups who could block him; it’s astounding how such a radical man has so quickly put together dominant groups in both the House and Senate. He’d need the drug dealers who could protect and fund him, and he’d need the island’s vast physical resources to build a powerful economy.
  • And he would have to gain the support of former enemies who would become his hired enforcers in order to reach the goal of independence for their promised land, and the riches that would soon flow from it.

Well, that is the picture that fell from the sky. Yes, it is speculative, for sure. But we can do some more work, get to some meat, perhaps, or some “what ifs” that may add more depth to the speculations.


Here’s what the Pimentel federalism draft legislation says on Page 4 under a proposed new section under “Article I. National Territory”:

New Section. Article I. Dissolution, Secession or Separation of States. No State may dissolve itself, secede or separate from the Federal Republic unless it first secures the approval of two-thirds of its qualified voters in a plebiscite called for that purpose. Thereafter, the Congress may, by a vote of two-thirds of all its members, voting separately, act on the proposed dissolution, secession or separation of the State concerned.

If something along these lines will be inserted into the expected federalism proposal being advocated by President Duterte, then the steps needed to secure an independent Mindanao are:

  1. Plebescite vote of two-thirds of Mindanao voters. Easy.
  2. Vote of two-thirds of all members of Congress. Not so easy, but there are two paths to securing this vote: (1) apply power, favor and money to obtain the backing of compliant legislators, or . . . not preferred . . . (2) engage in war to force secession.

Juevos and cannons.


Mindanao has absolutely no use for the United States. The only linkage between the US and Mindanao is American backing of the war on terror: the satellites, drones, intelligence personnel and training of the AFP. This is an entirely separate skirmish than the matter of islands in the West Philippine Sea.

What if President Duterte calls off the American dogs as a part of his peace agreement with the CPP and the arch-terrorists, Abu Sayyaf? That is a powerful negotiating chip.

The fundamental question is, can militant Muslim Mindanao be brought into the government of Mindanao to satisfy their desire for a national homeland? Will they be willing to share power with, but under, the Duterte clan?

I don’t know. But I can see that the US is a bother and China is more of a resource to Mindanao than a threat. China is a market for ore and labor, an inward bound pipeline for drugs, and a funding source for empowerment and infrastructure. All President Duterte needs to do is keep the Philippines out of any shooting contest between the West and China, and posture the Philippines as a commercial ally of China, under the correct terms.

That’s a tough task, but it for sure reconciles the conflict we see between what the Constitution says and what DFA Secretary Yasay told AFP (Richard Hedarian) the other day:

  1. The Constitution: The government must manage territories for the exclusive and sovereign use of Filipinos.
  2. Secretary Yasay: The government can allow China or other neighboring states to share the Philippine Exclusive Economic Zone.

What does Mindanao care about relationships with Australia or Japan or ASEAN states? Nothing. Mindanao only cares about Sabah in Malaysia as territory for expansion, down the road. If the power of the Philippine state can help move in that direction, great. Not crucial, mind you. But an interest.

The war on drugs can be used as a smokescreen, or as a way to deliver to China a clear path to the distribution of drugs in the Philippines once the small fry are out of the picture. It makes it look like the President is a tough guy, hard at work for the nation, Philippines. He’s the macho man his followers adore. It’s a diversion, a very visible and deadly one. If there is a sucker born every minute, a lot of them lined up to vote for death, mistaking it for authority.

Doing the arithmetic

Remember, President Duterte can relegate all this speculation to dust. Easy. He just needs to explain why he does what he does, to the apparent detriment of civility, human rights, judicial process and Philippine sovereignty.

He only needs to start delivering big drug lords connected with China . . . not PNP generals with no announced evidence to back up his charge . . . become a firm advocate for Philippine sovereignty over the nation’s Exclusive Economic Zone, build a well-equipped and trained military working directly with the US to defend that sovereignty, stop coddling the terrorist and extortionist gangsters of Mindanao and hunt them down for the criminals they are, go anywhere but China for infrastructure development, and lose the Mindanao-centric thinking.

He only needs to start thinking and acting like the leader of the entire free Philippines. A law-abiding straight-shooter looking out for the best interest of all Filipinos.

Think about a few things.

  • There are 3.5 million Filipinos living in the US and 1,200 living in mainland China, yet President Duterte is cold to the US and warm to China.
  • President Duterte has said that Abu Sayyaf is not an enemy of the Philippines. Beyond that, the US is the “cause” of the problems in Muslim nations.
  • The anti-drug crusade has not yet reached a connection to China where most drugs are widely said to be sourced.
  • The Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) is pursuing a path of appeasement with China over the nation’s Exclusive Economic Zone. In doing so, DFA is tossing aside all the chips earned by the Philippines, all the alliances and credibility and leadership, built up during recent years.
  • The mining industry, so vital to an independent Mindanao, has been brought under President Duterte’s control.
  • President Duterte presents Imperial Manila as a problem, as the “enemy”, a place to be avoided, rather than as the grand economic centerpiece of a vibrant, growing nation. The Philippine nation to his marketing people is a grainy black and white photo of dirt, drugs, poverty and crime. It’s a false photo. It’s a photographer’s set, a set-up, one dingy alleyway in a vibrant city and nation.
  • The Office of the President operates an active propaganda program to control the set of ideas expressed in mainstream and social media. Critics are viewed as unpatriotic. They are threatened by thuggish internet storm troopers encouraged by the government of the land.

The picture fits

The picture explains why internationally recognized standards of human rights do not matter to the President . . . nor does the nation’s reputation internationally, nor its security blanket, the United States . . .

Why, we can even go so far as to say that, yes, indeed, the West Philippine Sea is not a meaningful sovereign rights issue . . .

. . . for the Independent Republic of Mindanao.

What does your picture look like? The one falling from the sky?


323 Responses to “President Duterte: It’s all about Mindanao”
  1. “Mindanao has absolutely no use for the United States. The only linkage between the US and Mindanao is American backing of the war on terror: the satellites, drones, intelligence personnel and training of the AFP. This is an entirely separate skirmish than the matter of islands in the West Philippine Sea.”


    I disagree w/ the ‘only linkage’ statement (read link further below), and though I tend to agree both South China sea and Muslim Mindanao are “entirely separate”, when you pan further out, like China’s being in Malaysia’s Sabah, etc. it turns out not to be “entirely separate”— it’s all connected, Joe.

    “What if President Duterte calls off the American dogs as a part of his peace agreement with the CPP and the arch-terrorists, Abu Sayyaf? That is a powerful negotiating chip.”

    There’ s no more Dept. of Defense ops in Mindanao, all that’s left is EDCA. So are you talking about EDCA when speaking of “American dogs”?

  2. andrewlim8 says:


    Just to add to your line of speculative thinking, the presumptive Speaker of Congress was head of the One People Mindanao (OPM) lobby, a movement calling for the establishment of a Mindanao republic. Clearly a separatist initiative.

  3. junie garcia says:

    I just can’t understand why this government is so anxious and eager to start talks with China. What’s the trade off? A railway for the country’s patrimony? I’m afraid we may be looking at another sellout similar to the time of a previous President.

    • Joe America says:

      Quacks like a duck, walks like a duck . . .

    • Well, from what I gathered, the government isn’t actually eager to start talks with China. It has been said a lot of times already that Duterte will indeed give multilateral arbitration a chance. However, only up to a point. He gave it time limit of 2-3 years and if nothing promising will turn up by then, then he’ll just proceed to bilateral talks. And it does seem to be a reasonable stance.

      How about look at it this way:

      Though yes, we won the the arbitration, however, analyzing it deeper, the tribunal is supposedly neutral. Yes, they do weigh and decide what is right, however, they do NOT enforce what is right. So if no other country will stand with us against China: Then we really are just an individual country that tried to discredit this giant. [Which the PH did.]

      But then again, the country had actually shown that we could still somewhat win against it. Because of this, other countries may now grow some balls and start to imitate what the PH did. This can probably be a spark for a chain of events that may in turn bring down this bully.

      But then again AGAIN, there is still actually no certainty that other countries will also stand against China. Also, even if they do stand up against China, it will still take time. Given that, all that we could really do is just wait for now. Taking an aggressive stance should probably be minimized because China is surely pissed and it may do something undesirable against our country and its citizens. So waiting would probably be for the best of our interest. What happened now is an investment and it we had just gotten news that we can profit. Yes we could use our leverage up immediately, either by being aggressive or compliant with China, but it won’t probably return any good news. However, we could choose to wait and let it mature and actually get better returns. A good poker face helps a lot in this situation.

      As for what actions to take while waiting, we could actually quietly urge the other countries to start moving as well. But we do have to keep it low key so we can still still try to maintain and develop our relations with China. It’ll be a complicated balancing act but it is still possible and probably within the capabilities of our diplomats. At least by doing this, we can at least have a fall back in case the arbitration does not deliver? Pragmatism at its finest?

      So I’m calling it now: Don’t expect any any solid stance with regards to the the W PH Sea / S CH Sea issue for at least a year. The game had just begun.

      • Joe America says:

        If a law-based approach were continued, the next step could be to challenge China’s occupation of specific Philippine territory in a court that has punitive jurisdiction, and where China has material assets. The court could award the Philippines monetary damages or assets. I read about that a while back, but don’t have all the details. Start with the artificial island built within the PH EEZ. MATERIAL damage to seabeds. Or start with Panatag. PH fisherman made whole again, financially.

        • Andres IV says:

          China will never leave West Philippine Sea. Whether we like it or not, or believe it or not, they already taken the whole South China Sea by force. What can we do? Should we drive them off using the decision of the PCA? We cannot enforce it, we are not physically capable of sending out China if they insist to stay. Its like a policeman armed with a baton arresting a criminal armed with an M4A1. What can we do? Let them stay there, but let our fishermen fish on the area, and build as a railroad and many more, bilateral talk.

          • Joe America says:

            “The rationalizations of the appeasers” sounds like a good future blog to me.

          • karlgarcia says:

            What’s your opinion on renaming WPS back to SCS?

          • If China don’t want to follow the ruling of the UN arbitration court it can seriously damage their reputation of becoming the world leader, isolate themselves from the rest of the law abiding countries & becoming a transgression country would not help them to advance.

            • Andres IV says:

              They are superpowers, they have this unfair power not to follow the international laws. Like the United States mining the lawns of Nicaragua. Here is the wiki link. Maybe the flight of WPS issue will be like this.


              • Joe America says:

                Totally irrelevant point, a trollish intent to demean the US with an incident devoid of any context. Also, you are arguing for law avoidance, something that seems like a set-up for the Philippines not to follow the live laws issued by the arbitration panel. You have adopted the point of Philippine helplessness, and I have explained how that is not so. So now you move on to muddy the water some more with diversions and irrelevancies. The Philippines is not hopeless, against the giants. That is EXACTLY what the arbitration panel ruling proved.

              • Andres IV says:

                Joe, my citation of USA-Nicaragua case is just an actual example of how superpowers may refuse acceptance of international law rulings. Im being a realist in here, UN or PCA is not a military organization, unlike NATO. PCA, the most they can do is to issue that ruling acknowledging those claims of the Philippines but the enforcement of it depends on the Philippines as i understand it. Look, Philippines is not as helpless as i see it, bilateral talk is there, and Duterte’s “closeness” with China i think will play a major role. We have all the right to kick China out of our EEZ but the question i would like to throw is how? How can we kick them out?

              • Joe America says:

                As I have said several times, through court actions that levy financial punishments. Or sea maneuvers that are not direct confrontations, except at China’s initiative, which will kick in the Mutual Defense treaty. Okay, we agree to disagree. You like bilateral talks, and I do not. And I don’t t4rust Secretary Yasay to represent the Philippine best interests, based on his weak response to the court ruling. Who ever heard of taking up a negotiation by showing weakness? Only those who WANT TO LOSE do that.

              • Andres IV says:

                @Joe. Maybe you could create another article about the things that the Philippine can do after the win in court. That would be very informative. I am not a writer and my english is not that great so…

              • Joe America says:

                That is quite a good idea, Andres, thanks. I may take that up.

              • LG says:

                Joe, i second the motion of Andres 1V re: Philippine options to put LIFE to the WPS win.

      • karlgarcia says:

        Yasay gives it more than a year……

        “The sovereign claims that we have should not be solved by us and cannot be solved by us in this generation, but we will leave it for the next generation to solve. Maybe they will be much wiser than the present generation,” he said.

        • Well, that was indeed stupid of Yasay. -_- (Or as you’ve said, maybe he’s bluffing? Wow. He surely had many fooled if that was indeed the case.)

          But that statement was made before the ruling, yes? I guess we just have to wait for a new statement from the government so that we can know their leanings. And this one is within a week though. =P

          • Joe America says:

            One wonders why a statement was not ready. Every expert opined that the Philippines was going to win big. Diplomacy is not this administration’s strength, for sure.

            • LG says:

              China is hazing them. Bunch of neophytes for world affairs.

              I agree Duterte or Yasay should have been ready with a forceful, yet diplomatic, eloquent statement on the win. Not read, but confidently spoken like from the ❤️.

            • Even the non-experts had been thinking about what they will say in advance of the ruling. Heh.

              IMO, it seems like the current government really likes having everybody waiting in suspense. Keeping everybody on their toes and whatnot. That has been happening for a while now and they’ll probably keep doing that in the future.

              And also, with the SCS/WPS issue, I think the government is aware of the fact that all of the world’s eyes is on them now. Given that, they probably know that everybody will wait for a statement. So why not maximize it? They’ll have the time to prepare for it and they’ll have already seen the response of all parties involved. I think I won’t be surprised if the statement that they will give for the ruling will actually be praiseworthy.

              As LG said below, it’ll probably be a forceful, yet diplomatic, eloquent statement on the win. Not read, but confidently spoken like from the ❤️.

              But don’t take my word for it. =D

              • Joe America says:

                That could be. For sure this is not a predictable or conventional administration. It increases suspense, but sacrifices trust and confidence, I think. It is not the work of a set of leaders who have their act together and want to demonstrate competence.

              • LG says:

                The latest trust rating/SWS, of the Prez before the ruling was 83%, from 26% after the elections. The ABCs gave him higher rating than did the DEs. Interesting.

                One wonders what it would be in the next SWS survey?

              • Joe America says:

                Yes, but it is astounding to me how that 83% rating came in. Power = trust? Not integrity?

              • LG says:

                Respondents must not comprehend the question,

                Funny, I’ve never been one of the SWS respondents. Wonder, how they get the sample?

              • Joe America says:

                Hehehe, they look at IQ maybe, and you are too high. (sorry to the respondents, for that)

              • LG says:

                I know, they use the same sample over and over. He he he.

            • DAgimas says:

              reports say the statement was already prepared by the Aquino govt. they just added something like sobriety

              • LG says:

                Dagimas, Expect me to believe that, they used what’s prepared already by the Aquino govt? Give me a break! They have the rep of being “original” and tough. Don’t they?

              • @LG, had they not also said many times that they’ll copy everything that seems good? Then just put their own twist to it?

          • karlgarcia says:

            5 days is better than one generation,but why was their no prepared statement.That’s it,I have lost confidence in Yasay,he is no bluffer he is turning out to a genuine dud. Can Alan Peter Cayetano do any better?

            • Joe America says:

              Even Senator Nancy Binay got a congratulatory note out today. Just about every official in the land EXCEPT the President. Can a Duterte backer kindly explain this to me???? Why?

              • karlgarcia says:

                SOLGEN was to too busy lambasting DeLima and the senators calling for investigations.

              • LG says:

                Senators gang up on Duterte, China will gang up on Duterte. Erudites gang up on Duterte. Watch out for the profanities soon….

            • LG says:

              Duda ako, Alan can do better. He is practiced at researching senate probes in the aid of legislation but what legislation has be crafted based on the probes on Binay, etc? None of international relations sort, I don’t think. The promised DFA position is a Thank you card for being a good campaign spokesman for his boss.

      • Bert says:

        “Though yes, we won the the arbitration, however, analyzing it deeper, the tribunal is supposedly neutral. Yes, they do weigh and decide what is right, however, they do NOT enforce what is right. So if no other country will stand with us against China: Then we really are just an individual country that tried to discredit this giant. [Which the PH did.]”—intuitive

        Hi, intuitive. Pls. let me respond.

        1. That no other country will will stand with us against China in a conflict over Scarborough Shoal is purely a very negative speculation I think. The US, Japan, Australia, Singapore, UK, the EU, etc. will not stand idly by if any hostility broke out between China and the Philippine in the Scarborough. These countries will definitely stand with us. This is pure speculation as well but positive. Your ten wins 100 if I lose a bet on this, :).

        2. This conflict in the West Philippine Sea is not a matter of the Philippines discrediting a giant, what made you think that way? We are trying to stake our claim to our territories and you’re discrediting that claim? Why?

        3. Are you in favor of a Duterte administration doing bilateral talks with China allowing joint exploration with China in the Scarborough Shoal area in effect allowing China to construct structures in the Scarborough?

        • 1 That specific part is indeed purely negative speculation. Hence the paragraph after that which addressed it.

          And as for what you said, probably no need to bet. I’d lose. lol. But then again, the catch is: “if any hostility broke out”. So how much hostility anyways is needed before it’ll be considered “broken out” before those countries will support us? China seems to be tiptoeing around that line and these countries can’t seem decide because they probably think that they may get the short end of the stick. I think this is why China had even managed to build artificial islands and bases without any apparent sanctions.

          2. It was copy-pasted. Sorry. The context of that is the following:

          “Angola, Liberia, Madagascar, Papua New Guinea, Senegal, among others, have also expressed their support for China’s stance since early July, according to Lu.
          Individual countries who are trying to discredit China through the arbitration cannot claim to represent the international community, Lu said.”

          And what do you mean that I’m discrediting the PH’s claim to our territories? Even without the context, what I said is: The PH had indeed discredited CH’s claim because of the arbitration. Wasn’t that the goal anyways?

          3. Bilateral talks? Well, depending on the terms and context agreed upon prior to having it. I think it is very important that everybody knows what one means by what, who actually owns what and who actually can do what. And IMO, I think the PH does indeed own it. If CH can agree to those kind of terms before negotiating, then we could probably proceed with the talks. I think I could even agree with a joint exploration if that happens (I think some sort of BOT or BOOT scheme is okay?). But it is of course unconstitutional at the moment. So I don’t know about that. But again, it’ll probably depend on the terms agreed upon. For example, any kind of threat to the country’s sovereignty is of course non-negotiable.

          • Bert says:

            You’re arguing based on the presumption that no country will stand with us against China thus the arbitration ruling is nothing but this, your words:

            “Then we really are just an individual country that tried to discredit this giant. [Which the PH did.]””

            Isn’t that clear enough?

            • Then you seem to be indeed taking it out of context.

              “So **if** no other country will stand with us against China: Then we really are just an individual country that tried to discredit this giant. [Which the PH did.]””

              Do note the operative word “IF”. So given that, assuming that IF no countries stand with us, THEN the arbitration ruling is indeed useless. Is it clear enough now?

              And again, read the next paragraph. You know what, how about I quote it as well:

              “But then again, the country had actually shown that we could still somewhat win against it. Because of this, other countries may now grow some balls and start to imitate what the PH did. This can probably be a spark for a chain of events that may, in turn, bring down this bully.”

              • Bert says:

                :), You’re assuming that “no countries stand with us” knowing fully well that that’s a false statement (you conceded the bet, remember?) then it follows that your contention that the arbitration ruling is useless is false as well. Your false assumption based on your arguments follows a false conclusion, isn’t that right? Then your “if” is not good enough.

                Now that’s clearer.


              • Bert says:

                Okay, intuitive, I read again your original statement and got a clearer picture of what you want to convey. I agree with it. Thanks for indulging me.

              • @Bert, I just realized now that another operative word that I should’ve included was “currently”. So in a way, it isn’t actually an assumption? Because as of now, there still hasn’t been any country that explicitly stated that they will stand with the PH, against China.

                Oh, and if you could elaborate on your understanding of what I said, it’ll surely be appreciated. I like having other people’s perspective as I find that one can’t really have enough of it. =D

              • Bert says:

                No, thanks, intuitive, I’m not going to elaborate as doing so might give me reason to change my mind about agreeing with it and then we’ll be boring our dear Joe here of our endless rants, :D, :D, :).

              • Joe America says:

                Dear Joe is amused by two people talking past one another. haha

  4. karlgarcia says:

    We still have to negotiate and avoid a war.
    Even ex DFA sec del Rosario said so back in February.
    MANILA, Philippines – Outgoing Foreign Affairs Secretary Albert del Rosario on Friday suggested that the Philippines should initiate bilateral talks with China if the Permanent Court of Arbitration in The Hague, Netherlands will rule in its favor.

    “A bilateral approach is good. I think the timing is what is essential here. When the conclusion of the arbitration is headed down and if it is in our favor I think we should initiate a bilateral (talk),” Del Rosario said in an interview with ANC’s Headstart.

    Del Rosario noted that the decision of the international tribunal would provide the Philippines a platform to approach the negotiating table.

    • Joe America says:

      Yes, but one should enter into a negotiation with a strong hand, which can only come by recognizing and being enthusiastic about the finding under law. DFA Yasay has signaled “weakness” already, and the Admin, I think, is having a hard time making things make sense.

      But no way the PH should strive for a WEAK position going into bilateral talks.

      • LG says:

        Poker, it is. Justice Carpio and then Sol Gen Jardeleza are strong cards; can help curve a strong stance.

        • chemrock says:

          What poker? There are no more chips to play. China already know what Duterte wants. Screw the US, go with China for development aids. To retain the chips , Duterte need to do lots of damage control with US. It’s a pride that the man simply will never swallow.

          In case you guys never noticed. Vietnamese boats chased Chinese out of their waters in the failed attempt to build an oil rig there, and Vietnamese people rampaged against Chinese factories in Ho Chi Minh City, and recently Sorkor naval vessel fired warning shots at a Chinese vessel that entered Sorkor waters illegally, AND LO AND BEHOLD, China did nothing. Why? Because these 2 countries have US bases and defense agreements. Are you listening, Philippines?

          • chemrock says:

            The US card is the ace that Duterte threw away.

          • LG says:

            Thank you Chemrock for your insights. Such international defense dynamics would be too layered and intricate for a no read, no comprendo Duterte. He does no homework, acts on whims, if not on long kept personal issues. Worse, he knows not how to reflect on anything he does, before or after.

      • karlgarcia says:

        Then someone gag Yasay and let someone good at poker or at least has a poker face take over.What if Yasay is not really a dud and was just bluffing?

      • chempo says:

        Like I said, after inauguration, Du30 should hv paid a visit to Washington. That would hv sent a very strong signal. These guys don’t understand how to conduct international affairs.

        • Joe America says:

          They understand, I think. But their goals are different than yours or mine. So their acts conform to their goals.

        • LG says:

          Chempo, the Prez’ s excuse: Probinsyano kc ako. Anong malay ko sa inte- international na yan?

          • karlgarcia says:

            Chempo is Singaporean,well like Bill he can ask around for translations.

            • LG says:


              My apologies. Here’s my translation above of my 10:58am today reply to you.

              “Because I am from the province, I am clueless on international issues”. Best I can do. Lol.

              I admit, the Tagalog version sounds like the words came directly from Duterte’s lips. Lol again.

      • DAgimas says:

        one columnist said all the appointments of DU3 seems to be doing good except Mr Yasay. Maybe he should have appointed that ambassador in Japan

        • LG says:

          Dagimas, in two weeks doing good for only reading/reviewing what they have gotten. No urgencies. Lucky them😊 PoorYasay ☹️

  5. junie garcia says:

    If I were the President, I would encourage, though not openly, our fishermen to go about their daily activities in our waters. My feeling is China will back off from its harassment activities as it can not afford being criticized by world powers soon after the tribunal’s ruling.

  6. LG says:

    I see the West Philippine Sea Award to the country akin to the awarding of a piece of land to poor farmers to develop and profit from for life. But, in the absence of required resources to do so, sell it instead for a fraction of cost to fund their basic daily needs.

    China has the troll character to persist its historical claim and push beyond limits Duterte n Yasay to accept bilateral negotiations.

    To the pol sci buffs and brats of THS:

    Do the SC and the Legislature have the power and responsibility, amid negotiations, to intervene a sell/trade offs, to fund our imminent infra needs?

  7. Bill in Oz says:

    Joe…It is the 13th of July..Duterte has been in the job for 2 weeks..I find this post all a bit over the top.
    Why in Hell’s name would he want to take Mindanao down a path to contested succession, when he is already President of the whole shebang with the vocal support of lots of Phiippinos to change make changes..This is not like 1861 pre civil war USA….

    • Joe America says:

      Don’t worry about the “over the top” aspects of the blog. My job is to generate discussion. Yours is to stick with the issues and explain things like how extrajudicial killings and appeasement with China make good sense for the whole of the Philippines.

    • Jun Reyes says:

      I don’t think he plans to be president of a new Republic of Mindanao, since he’s already president of the entire nation. Ibelieve he is doing this to pave the way for an independent Mindanao, and let Mindanaoans govern themselves – that is a clamour by his people for decades.

      • Joe America says:

        Al righty, then. He is not interested in Mindanao for himself, but for the peoples of Mindanao. So Mindanao does not see much use in being a part of the Philippines, I deduce from that.

        And President Duterte believes he is serving the Philippines well by spinning off Mindanao?

        • The question is, all these years, was there an administration that paid much attention to Mindanao’s needs? None. That’s what Duterte is doing. Here’s the thing, now that the lenses are giving more focus to Mindanao, people like you somehow protest against it, however, all these years, the previous Presidents just turned a blind eye when Mindaonans were crying for the same attention. Besides, he’s not even neglecting Visayas and Mindanao, in fact, he even wants to build trains connecting all cities in Luzon, same in Visayas, and MIndanao. I think this is just too much of a conspiracy. He’s simply trying to make peace with the Mindanao rebels to ensure that there’s no more war in there. It’s all about bringing peace to the entire nation. From how I see it, the peace that you only acknowledge is within the oligarchs and the masses.. Well, there’s more diversity going on in Mindanao than what you know.. I’m from Davao, and I get to experience that Diversity all the time, especially between Christian and other sectors of the Muslim community.
          Again, this is too much of a conspiracy theory, I say you’re overthinking.

          Also as for the extrajudicial killing. My take on that is, the big fishes are cleaning up any tracks that might lead to them, which explains the dead bodies gunned down by unidentified people. In Davao, addicts are only gunned down if:
          1.) after rehab the still continue using drugs.
          2.) they fight back when arrested (not just for drug pushers, but also for all law offenders)
          This is why the people in Davao claims that only the criminals are afraid to roam the streets at night. It’s immoral and illegal – yes. However, It’s effective in keeping the law abiding citizens safe. I always walk my way home from work or a night out when I was in Davao, but I never had any fear of being mugged or texting while walking, no vigilante ever approached me and gunned me down, same goes for the rest of dabawenyos who are still enjoying the safety of the city.
          Besides, the justice system in the country sucks big time, if you’re a rape or murder victim by these criminals, you dont really get any justice at all, especially if you’re poor. So it might as well be them (criminals and druggies) than us (law abiding citizen). I hope that the justice system gets better with Duterte, especially justice system for the poor.

          Just to give you an idea, a gunned down drug addict is no longer a headline in Davao. People’s mind are already conditioned that if you’re an addict or a drug users, you’ll eventually have it coming if you’re not gonna break that bad habit. As what ive said, those drug users that were gunned down in Davao, they’ve all been given a chance to change: they were rehabbed. If in the event they go back to their old habits, they get gunned down, they already know that. For those who fights back when they’re arrested (applies to all sorts of criminals), they get shot at of course.

          What’s happening now though is, big time drug lords are also out to clean any trace of evidence that would lead to them, that includes killing these drug users who might point their fingers at them. Then leaving all the blame to Duterte’s initiative. It’s a flaw, yes, and I really hope they get to pin point these people who are behind these killings, Im pretty sure some of them are police officials who are in the run to cover their asses.

          • Joe America says:

            Thanks for the note, Aryadna. Yes, sometimes I succumb to over-thinking. But mainly I pose a hypothesis, and the future will bear the proof or denial. In the meantime, we get to read thoughtful inputs, such as yours.

          • LG says:

            Aryadna, what rehab are the druggies and pushers doing, that you alluded to?

            • For one, women have their own separate prisons. I know one who got jailed for estafa, and she was brought to a place that’s more like a rehab center than a prison. Women who were also caught due to drug use are in the same establishment. They get to do a lot of livelihood stuff there, my mom once paid her a visit. According to my mom, it didnt feel like prison at all. It’s quite far from Davao, it’s at the border of Davao and Tagum I think. On the other hand, there’s also a jail for men somewhere in Panabo (also near the borders of Davao and another city), it’s called Davao Penal Colony, it’s situated inside a banana plantation. That place is pretty much like the correction facility for women, but it’s bigger. Had my immersion in one of the nearby towns in that area, and we were able to visit that place. The prison was not as good as the one for the women, however, the same rehabilitation practices are applied, but are more tailored for men like the presence of a basket ball court.
              I think what Duterte should do right now is to pin down these “vigilantes” who are trying to bring down all of its connections, cos it’s basically a trying to play within the loopholes of his initiatives.

              As for the issue about the South China Sea, I’m not really well versed about this matter, however, I do believe that China won’t really take the decision lightly. Even though we won, that wont mean they’ll back down, and have their ships pulled back, because from what Ive read, there’s was no direct order from the council telling them to withdraw all their naval fleets. If that’s the case, I think we should work around this issue with China as peacefully as possible. I dont think coming strong at them would actually help. We cant be at war with them, we’ll be squashed instantly! Oh noooo. Might as well talk it out with them and stop appearing arrogant to their faces just because we won, than to have us bombed with their missles. T__T
              I’m for peace, not war..
              Also, it would be good if China could help us eliminate Abu sayaff. They’re a bigger threat to our country I think, because theyre associated with ISIS. 😱😱😱😱😱😱

          • Francis says:

            Wish I read this before I posted a comment. Does much to nuance things.

          • karlgarcia says:

            In Davao, addicts are only gunned down if:
            1.) after rehab the still continue using drugs.

            What is wrong with this picture?

            • Bill In Oz says:

              Karl, Here is a bigger picture :
              The focus here has been on the number of drug pushers who are now dead. And how their human right are being ignored…Police are definitely involved in some of these killings.But also plain ordinary civilians seem to be involved.

              And that is interesting.Why is it happening ? Maybe because a whole lot of people are sick & tired of the criminality in the areas; sick & tired of being ignored by a slow tired slack arsed justice system that exists mainly to ‘feed’ lawyers and protect their rich clients. And that’s what happens when Justice is corrupted. Even in the United States. Ordinary law abiding people have rights as well..And maybe they think that their human rights to a neighbourhood without drugs, pushers & associated criminality, are more important.

              Another interesting thing : now that death is a real ‘option’ for druggies & pushers, thousands of them are showing up at official police ceremonies to declare they will reform and stop.

              I think that courtesy of the new president, protection is no longer available.

              • karlgarcia says:

                And you like what you see in that bigger picture? I say no to vigilante justice and no to not following rules of engagement. And no to anarchy.

              • Bill In Oz says:

                Karl..I have no opinion about whether I like it or not. For a start I am not Filipino. And for second I am don’t have to live with the consequences.So I have no right to say whether this is good or bad. That is for Filipinos to decide

                But If I was a Filipino living in a bario where drugs and pushers and theft flourished because the justice system did not work And live was awful as a result I would want to be taking action to stop it..Especially I was a dad with children being put in an unsafe situation…

                It’s so easy for us who are well off and who live in safe protected locations to pontificate about the humans rights of criminals…But there is another perspective.

                Today’s paper version of the Enquirer in a back page described a police raid on a drug gang.They built 2 shacks last year in village in Manila and put the fear of death into the residents to prevent anyone stopping them..But recently someone did go to the police and there was a buy bust operation the other day..When the drug gang realised they were busted they started shooting..The police returned fire..All 4 were killed..The police found the body of a 5th person inside ..The informer had been killed by he gang by hanging him..Lots of weapons and drugs & money also found.

                Now that is interesting ehh ?

                Consider this : How do the police know where & when to do raids ? Maybe the police raids are being driven by locals sick of criminals in their baranguays and organisng the cops to raid the crims..After all the locals know who the crims are and what they are doing

              • karlgarcia says:

                I have seen that news too,and one of those killed recently surrendered,but since there are too many of them,they just got his personal info and released with the knowledge of his being monitored if he fouls up again.
                That is another dilemma,you surrender only to be killed later,so do you surrender or just continue hiding?

              • Bill In Oz says:

                If you have been a druggie & ‘surrendered’, you will be watched by your own bario neighbours..They will see if you stop or not…(There is no privacy in the Philippines for most folks..You only get privacy if you are real rich.)

                If you stay stopped maybe things work out.But if you are part of a gang still selling and killing..I suggest you will be dealt with very soon nowadays

                Another interesting news item : Police on boats raided a big boat off the coast of Subic Bay.It was a mobile drug manufacturing laboratory with 4 people on board…Locals told the police about it..And it was ‘gone’..But I wonder how long it has been here in the Philippines moving from island to island selling it’s drugs.

              • karlgarcia says:

                Yeah Lance posted a picture of it somewhere.Maybe in the previous article.

              • karlgarcia says:

                Here is the picture.

            • LG says:

              For the real drug addict, the ‘rehab’ recipe used must have been the wrong one. He he he.

            • LG says:

              ???? rehab = relapse = death

          • chempo says:

            Why is he not going after Ronald Singson!

  8. NHerrera says:

    Joe, you have done a fine job of “tossing past statements and actions of PRD and his Administration into the air” and see what settles — your version described in the blog, that is.

    I can see the the intellectual and creative juices flowing-in and I look forward to the enlightening exchanges. Oftentimes I don’t want to post to disrupt and lessen my enjoyment of such exchanges.

    It is a timely and important topic you provoked as usual. Thanks for the good read.

  9. Chivas says:

    Bong Go is either Martin Bormann or Deng Xiaoping in my eyes. Organized, perfectionist, genius in streamlining, positioning and packaging things in place.

    He’s interviewed and he said his main function in an honest way: “Taga-ayos at taga-linis”.

  10. uht says:

    After what went down the last few days, all I can say is, Yasay is not really Perfecto. 😀

    • LG says:

      Yasay may be replaced sooner. He comes short and small for the job.

      • uht says:

        The question would be whether Duterte decides to replace him…..

        Is there any other way to do it other than that?

        • LG says:

          There may not be a replacement for him, who is not an amateur like him, on the issue in question.

          China will likely exploit our reps’ lack of knowledge depth, as well as experience and preparation to deal with the maritime issue, regardless of the PCA decision. The Chinese reps know the issue by heart, can twist the issue by heart, having been at it for at least 3 years. Ours, not even two weeks on the job,

          • Andres IV says:

            What we should be afraid of is the lurking shadows of war. We cannot rejoice to the victory of legalities as China will answer it with force. It will not take 3 years of experience to understand the depth that China will never concede defeat. They got arguably the 2nd biggest military force and what we have, 2 fighter jets? Look what they did in East China Sea, Japan was helpless way back there. What would be the best path of action for the Philippines? I’m sure, use of force is not advisable.

            • Bill in Oz says:

              If Indonesia can sieze Chinese their fishing boats when they intrude on Indonesia ‘s EEZ why can’t the Philippines.Stop being an appeasing coward Andre. And then maybe the Philippines will dsicover it has more friends & supporters than it expects…

              One thing certain : cowards get bullied whether they are individuals or nations.

              • Andres IV says:

                Take note, it was a fishing boat that the Indonesian Navy warded off. What can a fishing boat do? And China has no dispute with Indonesia. Unlike the WPS that China already constructed an airfield! Now if you can suggest how can Philippines enforce the PCA verdict I would be glad.

              • Bill In Oz says:

                What can fishing boats do ?
                They can steal and over fish ( destroy ) a genuine Filipino resource that could be harvested for generations by Filipinos
                Andres clearly you are not well informed about Indonesia & China. The Indonesian naval boat seized the Chinese fishing boat operating In Indonesian waters ( near the Natuna islands mate ) Chinese coast guard boats tried to stop this. And Indonesia went ahead anyway..

                And the President of Indonesia then went to the Natuna Islands and sailed on an Indonesian naval ship in the area checking out what was happening and encouraging his men…He also arranged for photographers to be there taking photoos..He sent a message to China “Fuck off from our seas !!”..Politely of course as the Indonesians never use such language..But the meaning was the same…

              • Andres IV says:

                @Bill. Fishing boats can fish but they have no guns and bombs to fight back. I would like to point out your statement “Chinese coast guard boats tried to stop this”, this was not in the news, i doubt this statement of yours happened. The incident is not “Indonesian Navy vs Chinese fishermen back with Chinese Navy”, it was “Indonesian Navy caught Chinese fishermen illegally fishing in their seas.” If what Widodo did was also done by PNoy wayback in 2012 that would be great, but no show of force was done. I could not blame PNoy for that because, maybe, our BRP Gregoria Del Pilar has no torpedoes that time. Here is an article about the strength of our Navy.


              • karlgarcia says:

                Against China we are no match,but the suggestion of PDuterte’s adviser’s to stall external defense will make us laggards even to the likes of Bangladesh who is supposedly poorer than us.
                Here is another contradiction, he stated to just concentrate on internal defense at the same time said to stop fighting and just talk.Stop killing Filipinos,he says .criminals have no human rights and no Filipino citizenship.
                That is way beyond double speak.

              • Andres IV says:

                @Karl. Haha that shrewd old man. He is iron inside his house but shrink when it comes to his “certain” neighbor.

              • karlgarcia says:

                Bill was not BSing about the Chinese Coast Guard.


              • Andres IV says:

                @Karl. Ow, Bill refers to the incident in March 2016 that the illegal chinese fishermen was able to escape with the help of chinese coastguard. While i am referring to the incident in June 2016 that the illegal chinese fishermen was caught and after that Widodo physically visit the area. Here.


                Considering the incident you posted, see how that chinese coastguard helped his fellow chinese fishermen escape capture? that rings the bell to me.

              • karlgarcia says:

                Too many incidents Andres. Too many Andreses too,what happened to Andres III?

              • Andres IV says:

                @Karl. Yeah, Andres III was the father, Andres IV was his son. Their grandfathers Andres Sr and Andres Jr I have no idea about them. Ahaha im using two accounts, Andres III and Andres IV, i am not the owner of any Andres that may came out. Joe suspend my Andres III account for 30 days so im using this one. It seems Andres III issued harsh and trollish statements, im trying to be “soft” in Andres IV. 😀

              • karlgarcia says:

                Andres IV.

            • Joe America says:

              You know, Andres, I once did an article about guys I would welcome in my foxhole, when fighting. You would not be amongst them, for sure. You are out looking for problems, not solutions. You are ducking and covering, not standing tall for the Philippines.

              Just my humble opinion, just that . . .

              • Andres IV says:

                Joe, my stand is peaceful negotiation. I am willing to accept China in WPS provided they will give us something in return. I would not dare to kick them out because happenings now are suggesting that you can only kick them out via force. I doubt US will back us up directly, there was no more US base in Subic.

              • Joe America says:

                Appeasement. The problem with negotiating is that the starting position is always to recognize China’s sovereignty. To do that now would be to give up Philippine sovereignty, and that borders on treason. If it is Philippine sovereignty, that means Philippine laws apply, and China will not do that. So bilateral talks to me are a complete waste of time.

                There are a couple of next steps possible. One is to take a case where the court says China has violated the law, and sue them for damages. Another is to set up a new outpost in the Spratleys, within the West Philippine Sea, to demonstrate claim. If China takes an aggressive stance, it will test the THEORY that the US will not assist. I can tell you that two US air craft carrier fleets roaming the seas a few weeks ago were not as a sign of weakness or apathy. It is a THEORY well worth testing.

              • LG says:

                Just getting enlightened about bilateral (with Phil) or multilateral (with all the countries claiming stakes of the WPS) talks that China pushes after the ruling. Brilliant minds the Chinese have. Yes to their bait, tells them recognition of their sovereignty, at least part of the WPS. Traders talk it will become.

              • Andres IV says:

                @Joe, good point, that was the condition of bilateral talk, to recognize China’s sovereignty, almost forget that, but i think that was before PNoy’s time right? Hopefully, yes THEORY, Duterte’s Admin can go with that without surrendering our EEZ rights to China. Like what China and Japan did to exploit the natural gas reserves in East China Sea. If its the other way around, which is force, then the horror of war is just on the corner. US will fight for freedom of navigation i think, anyways, its still a war on our backyard.

            • LG says:

              Even if we are prepared logistically, we can’t win a war vs China.

              Today in PDI, Trident Defense Chair, Rodrigo Mejia, suggests a “freeze muna” stage post WIN ruling for 1-2 years. Not to engage belligerent China yet. He says. (Don’t know how to copy and paste the link). I relate to the rest of his statement.

              Yet, the Prez is urged to have his first state visit with China. Some options told him, the Prez, including sending FVR as envoy. Ugh😡

            • Bert says:

              Andres, don’t cower yet. War with China over WPS is not that fearsome if it comes to that, don’t worry.. After all we are in good hands, our President Duterte is such a brave president. What good would that 2nd biggest military force be against our brave president riding a jetski to confront them? Nada, zilth, zero.

  11. NHerrera says:


    With the right moves, the Philippines can profit from the fortuitous turn of events in so far as the WPS/SCS issue is concerned.

    Think about it. Without the picture of a “large” Duterte in the horizon about a year earlier when the issue was being deliberated upon before the PCA and with Pres Aquino characterizing China in the two-countries war of words as a Hitler and China responding in kind, the post-PCA ruling picture would be different. It would have been difficult to unknot the knot which has been pulled tight by both sides even if the PCA ruled as it did if Aquino were still at the helm.

    The coming into the picture of Duterte with a warming attitude towards China may just be fortuitous for the country. Using the PCA ruling, the previously — and currently — displayed warmth of Duterte to China, and the call for sobriety, if used well in the actions that will follow, can be very strategic for the country. An arrogant stand of China towards PRD and his government now will not profit China. For one, China may get a dose of PRD’s unpredictability.

    More than the fight on drug crimes and the constitutional change the appropriate singular move of PRD on the China issue in the WPS case can define him in our history books in my opinion.

  12. grammy2342 says:

    Yasay with the Faux British Accent. I wonder…But true, Digong says one thing and does another. In the game of thrones, Philippine Style, he would be a counterpoint to Daenerys and Tyrion and Cersei combined. Poor Philippine Jon Snow…

  13. RFB says:

    Does anybody really think that the US will take sitting down its being sidelined by Duterte in this geopolitically vital region? “Regime change” has always been and will always be a potent instrument in the American toolbox.

  14. Javier Gris says:

    Reading your article with zero knowledge, I can only say that your argument looks unassailable (well, never mind that it fell from the sky). But, JoeAm, the guy’s got only six years. Let’s hope the damage isn’t irreparable by then. And yes, with every move,ent of his body, he loathes “imperial Manila.” Imagine! Attending the houseblessing of his official residence here in Manila dressed only in, ah, casual clothing! I am a firm believer in dressing for comfort, but man, you are the president! At least wear some shoes!

  15. Francis says:

    This triggers much of the primal and tribal part of the nationalism that I hold.

    Yet, taking a step back–I must note that I am conflicted and frankly split between my inner Democrat and my inner Nationalist.

    My inner Democrat would sadly concede that Mindanao never was quite that integrated into the Christian and Hispanic “Filipinas” as Luzon and Visayas were. That the people of Mindanao may indeed have a valid right to self-determination (like Scotland?) and that–we are not just a nation, but a democratic nation grounded on democratic principles–it is our duty to respect those principles to the ultimate extent.

    A nation that is a democracy do what it must. It must respect the self-determination of nations within it, in order for other democracies to respect her own self-determination. She who has liberty must respect the liberty of others.

    My inner Nationalist, on the other hand, would–pardon the sentiment, for those who hail from the south–bitterly ask how long they’ll last.

    I am torn.

  16. sunset5site says:

    Nice analysis. One thing Duterte does not foresee, or might have forgotten: federalism will actually undo Mindanao. Once Mindanao is off to its lonely self, the various warring groups there will go after each other’s territories. The MILF will go after the MNLF (and vice versa). The CPP/NPA/NDF will battle for control against those two. The ASG will wreak havoc over Mindanao. Mindanao will quickly go to the dogs and will have its “President for life” Duterte cornered by his own doing, surrounded by feuding warlords for the spoils. He would ironically bring Mindanao to its knees much faster than ever.

    • Joe America says:

      That’s a most interesting take, sunset. It entered my mind in wondering if Abu Sayyaf would really lay down arms, or the MNLF. I noticed that CPP head Sison was almost issuing instructions to Mr. Duterte when he announced the cabinet seats. So many strong heads, all wanting to be boss.

      • Bill in Oz says:

        Today;s Enquirer…tucked away somewhere in a back page…
        22 Abu Sayyaf dead & 8 others wounded in ongoing military operations in Basilan & Jolo..Finally the Philippines military are going after the bastards in a big way..I wonder if this is courtesy of Duterte’s orders Or Aquino’s orders issued ages ago. ? To me it feels like the former..
        There is a regular war going on and the armed forces are now fighting. Good.

        In any other country this would be front page news…But for Manila focused Enquirer, it’s mentioned way, way on a back page.And that says something about Manila and what things are important for this national paper

        • LG says:

          News layout, what news goes where, is Nery’s office job, if not his.

          • Bill in Oz says:

            Well I guess someone thinks that a major successful military operation against Abu Sayyaff ain’t important..Very Stupid or incompetent.

            • karlgarcia says:

              You try not to put that in front page because there are too many travel advisories already against going to Mindanao.

              • Joe America says:

                Why it got such weak coverage is interesting. I think it has to do with who caused the problem, and AFP operations or motor vehicle accidents (15 killed here got about an inch of coverage a couple of years ago) are just routine in a land where lives are cheap and death a neighborly occurrence. Now had it been an important personage, or especially one who is being above the rest of us, showing us up, by being a good manager or worker (Aquino), then screw the bastard. 64 point headlines for weeks.

              • Bill In Oz says:

                There’s lot of travel adviseries by Ex Pats saying where in Mindanao is dangerous. Curious Davao is regarded as safe & clean and well run in the reports I’ve seen..

                The battles with Aby Syaff are hundreds of ks away from Davao…And anyway that news of good news as it about the armed forces actaully taking Abus out…Previously gossip was that the AFP ignored the problem

              • LG says:

                KG. Am tardy with mainstream news. What advisories vs Mindanao travel. ABusaf related?

              • karlgarcia says:

                LG one example.

                The Department of State warns U.S. citizens to avoid all non-essential travel to the Sulu Archipelago and through the southern Sulu Sea, and to exercise extreme caution when traveling to the island of Mindanao, due to continued terrorist threats, insurgent activities and kidnappings. This Travel Warning replaces the Travel Warning dated October 21, 2015.

                U.S. citizens should continue to defer non-essential travel to the Sulu Archipelago, due to the high threat of kidnapping of international travelers, increased threat of maritime kidnappings against small boats in the vicinity of the Sulu Archipelago, and violence linked to insurgency and terrorism there.

                U.S. citizens should defer non-essential travel through the southern Sulu Sea region from the southern tip of Palawan, along the coast of Sabah, Malaysia and the islands of the Sulu Archipelago, up to Zamboanga City, Mindanao. Terrorist and insurgent groups based in the Sulu Archipelago continue to target foreigners for kidnapping in the Eastern Sabah province of Malaysia and in the southern Sulu Sea area.

                U.S. citizens should also continue to exercise extreme caution if traveling to certain regions and cities of the island of Mindanao. Separatist and terrorist groups continue to carry out attacks and kidnappings against civilians, foreigners, political leaders, and Philippine security forces in Mindanao. Since January 2015, at least 15 separate kidnappings have been reported across Mindanao. In western Mindanao, terrorist, insurgent, and criminal gangs regularly conduct kidnappings for ransom, including the kidnapping of a foreigner in Dipolog City in early October 2015 by unknown assailants. In central Mindanao, the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF) remains active in the Cotabato City area, and in the Maguindanao, North Cotabato, and Sultan Kudarat provinces, where the government maintains a state of emergency and a greater police presence. While there have been no recent reported terrorist threats or incidents within the Davao City or Surigao city limits, eastern Mindanao is not free from threats. In September 2015, assailants belonging to the Abu Sayyaf Group kidnapped four individuals, including three foreigners, from the popular resort island of Samal, a 15 minute boat ride from Davao City. There have been no reports of U.S. citizens in Mindanao targeted specifically for their nationality; however, general threats to U.S. citizens and other foreigners throughout Mindanao remain a concern.

                Although U.S. government officials in the Philippines travel to Mindanao for official business without incident, the Embassy has imposed strict restrictions on all but the most essential travel to the area, and Embassy employees must receive special authorization from Embassy security officials to travel to any location in Mindanao or the Sulu Archipelago.

              • Joe America says:

                Well, I had a residence in “safe” Northern Mindanao when the NPA came tromping through my home looking for me. In my opinion, the whole of Mindanao, under the current administration, has been opened up for lawlessness. I’d never let my family go to Mindanao, not Davao, not CDO, not anywhere.

              • LG says:

                Mindanao’s loss, Samar’s gain.

              • karlgarcia says:

                Sorry to hear that Joe.

    • Javier Gris says:

      Joe, I do believe sunset’s got a (titillating? You know, pride cometh before the fall shit – for Duterte, that is) point. The minute Mindanao secedes, everybody’ll be wanting to sit on the Iron Throne.

      • LG says:

        Prison activities is not rehab.

      • Joe America says:

        Agree, the evidence is there to suggest it would not be a harmonious place. And it might be deadly. Think ISIS breeding ground, with no US intelligence.

      • Bill in Oz says:

        Ain’t gonna happen Javier..Duterte & his mate have got the whole sheebang now since being sworn in 14 days ago.
        I think they are going to try & make a good fist of it for the sake not just of people in Mindanao but mos Filipinos.

        The focus here has been on the number of drug pushers who are now dead. And how their human right are being ignored…Police are involved in some of these killings.But also plain ordinary civilians seem to be involved.

        And that is interesting.Why is it happening ? Maybe because a whole lot of people are sick & tired of the criminality in the areas; sick & tired of being ignored by a slow tired slack arsed justice system that exists mainly to ‘feed’ lawyers and protect their rich clients. And that’s what happens when Justice is corrupted. Even in the United States. Ordinary law abiding people have rights as well..And maybe they think that their human rights to a neighbourhood without drugs, pushers & associated criminality, are more important.

        Another interesting thing : now that death is a real ‘option’ for druggies & pushers, thousands of them are showing up at official police ceremonies to declare they will reform and stop.

        I think that courtesy of the new president, protection is no longer available.

        • Vicara says:

          A friend from Mindanao told me that there’s a rush among drug dealers to get rid of inventory, so now they’re offering once-in-a-lifetime buy-one, take-one deals. So adding to the general melee of searches and seizures and shooting and shakedowns, you have a lot of already thoroughly whacked citizens pushing their shabu intake to a whole new level.

          Oh, and a little girl was shot near where I used to live; collateral damage when the one driving her was killed by an assassination tandem on motorbike. Was the driver a drug dealer? Maybe. Maybe not. But we’ll never know, will we?

          You’re right, Bill in Oz. Protection is no longer available. Not for anyone, druggie or not.

          • In the US, meth was largely monopolized by the Hell’s Angels in the 60s. Then some chemist in Wisconsin published a how to cook meth book and that book took off (now in its 8th edition I think), so basically once you get hold of ingredients its just a matter of cooking it— then its just about marketing and quality control (ie. “Breaking Bad”).

            Now I know meth is different from heroin and cocaine, where there’s more monopolization in place, ie. supply chain to market. Where as meth is more democratized.

            But as far as the violence you’re now seeing the closest recent example is Colombia, where there was gov’t effort, then a civilian effort, as part of the pincer strategy.

            The US gov’t supported both efforts, tax dollars dumped into this fight, and though it cleaned up Colombia for sure, from a return of investment American tax dollar perspective, it only moved the problem closer to home— Mexico.

            When civilians feel empowered to take on drug lords or cartels, or simply small time operations, you’ll usually be able to connect the dots on personal levels, vendettas namely, where a dad’s daughter was ravaged, now he can exact his own justice on known perpetrators… that kinda stuff.

            Personal stuff usually subside, it’s eye for an eye, they won’t usually turn Punisher and take on the mantle of vengeance as career. So that’s the good news, the bad news are collaterals (like the little girl you mentioned, Vicara).

            But cocaine in Colombia is no more.

            Another good place to look is China in the 1850s between the Opium wars. And look at the policies implemented by two warring entities within China as a result of those wars, and the opening of China to foreign powers.

            The Taipeng (which was a millenerian movement not unlike your Pulahanes in the late 1890s, except more organized) vs. the Qing empire.

            The Taipeng who had more a moralist bent, simply mowed down Opium addicts in China, who they associated to the Qing Empire and the rich, since many were associated with Qing bureaucracy.

            The Qing empire on the other hand, when they finally put their foot down, re British Opium for tea, saw Chinese heroin addicts more as victims of foreign powers so they had rehab and education, and they hired those addicts who sobered up to help the gov’t help out other addicts— a rehab to jobs program.

            My personal take on shabu itself is that it’s not as addicting as heroin, which is more a physical addiction. Shabu I’d place with cocaine/crack, it’s more a psychological high than anything (though certain folks will get addicted). For people who can’t get the good stuff, like heroin and cocaine, they have to settle for meth (shabu).

            Essentially, and this is from my talks with taxi drivers and prostitutes over there, people take shabu to numb themselves. People take heroin for that sense of euphoria and cocaine for that sense of power. So this numbing effect is somewhat specific to meth, same over here.

            In shabu’s crystal form, when you buy it, usually packed in foil then open and fire up underneath the foil, when heated, crystals liquify then evaporate, you’ll see the thick substance rise up and you inhale it with a straw or emptied pen… the high can last 6 to 10 hours. The first weird thing you feel is your sense of swallowing is gone, as such you’ll not feel hungry.

            I think what works over here, are before and after photos shown in drug awareness classes to kids. So go the visual route when talking about its dangerous affects, but to me the most important issue to focus is why these users want and need this numbness?

            Any talk of rehab, should talk about this need.

          • Nate says:

            Oh, a body is dumped in a dark place in our subdivision’s park on a weekly basis. In Davao P20,000 is the going price for a low hit,

    • Nate says:

      Don’t forget the Moro Islamic Freedom Fighters (MIFF). I’ve noticed that There’s always a new Muslim group that breaks away and rises up in what seems to be a never ending cycle. First the MNLF, now the MILF. After the MILF would have gotten it’s own autonomous region, the emerging MIFF will be next and son ad infnitum until Mindanao runs out of territories for them to rule. there is also the Ampatuans, Mangudadatus, the Zubiris, the Barbers, don’t forget the Floirendo family, the President’s biggest campaign contributor. They’ll also want their own Federal state The list of warlords and dynasties is endless.I see the same scenarios in Luzon and the Visayas. Whew this reminds me to dispose some of my land and invest instead in stocks and hedge funds abroad. he..he.he..

    • Nate says:

      Sorry, this is a reply to the above post I hope. I mistakenly put it in another post.

      Don’t forget the Moro Islamic Freedom Fighters (MIFF). I’ve noticed that There’s always a new Muslim group that breaks away and rises up in what seems to be a never ending cycle. First the MNLF, now the MILF. After the MILF would have gotten it’s own autonomous region, the emerging MIFF will be next then another ad infnitum until Mindanao runs out of territories for them to rule. there is also the Ampatuans, Mangudadatus, the Zubiris, the Barbers, don’t forget the Floirendo family, the President’s biggest campaign contributor. They’ll also want their own Federal state The list of warlords and dynasties is endless.I see the same scenarios in Luzon and the Visayas. Whew this reminds me to dispose some of my land and invest instead in stocks and hedge funds abroad. he..he.he

  17. Eye opener!!! Now I’m really worried.

    • Joe America says:

      Hi, Robert. So it makes sense to you, that scenario? It’s the only scenario that connects the dots for me. Otherwise, nothing makes sense, on behalf of the whole of the Philippines. Indeed, if you destroy what exists, it is easier to rebuild it to your liking.

  18. An-Marie Villarin says:

    My picture is exactly like yours, Joe.

  19. DAgimas says:

    maybe breaking up the Philippines is a good thing. the ARMM is a losing enterprise. don’t know about the other regions but resource exploitation is not the future.

    politicians from Mindanao think that because they are resource rich, they could stand on their own but it takes more than resources to prosper. Pimentel have been there long enough but I cant remember any multinational company even put up a factory in his city other than the dole/del monte nearby. if they are really thinking about their constituents, Duterte included. how come they never attracted investors to put up industrial zones to manufacture products for exports? and yet the strong man Marcos built more infrastructure in Mindanao than he did in Northern Luzon? and yet Baguio got one EPZA and never Mindanao? Pimentel should have asked for EPZA too in CDO if he is really forward looking.

    theres more to prosperity than autonomy or statehood. I would stick to Luzon due to its location vis a vis China, the economic giant up north

    • ARMM is really a heavy drag on the Philippines progress, what do we benefit from including them to the republic when they strongly denounce themselves to be part of the Philippines.
      When the Republic of Ireland finally give up the Northern part then it reduce the level of violence, they power share, the citizens of the North can choose what passport they want.

    • You can either pillage what’s on the ground and sell abroad (with profits usually not returning to area from whence it was pillaged), or

      profit from protecting what already plentiful above ground, study and follow the Costa Rican model, give the local communities direct access to profits while protecting and appreciating their area.

      Before eco-tourism was about getting pictures of this bird and that bird, etc. Nowadays, it’s outdoor education and survival/adventure courses. Over here many yuppies go to Costa Rica for some cheap but educational experiences.

      The flipside is that you’ll be inviting certain types of tourists , instead of the sex-tourist variety or businesses who simply want to dig and run (with Colombia’s cocaine industry gone, gold miners a plenty have descended into the forests, where cocaine only affected de-forestation, now with gold mining, pollution of water source is now an added issue).

      So Mindanao w/out a bunch of multi-nationals is probably a good thing, but the result is basically Las Vegas in the 60s, before multi-nationals bought up the casinos, lots of killings and people disappearing in the middle of the desert.

      The Costa Rican eco-tourism model represents something in between. But because of all the bombings, kidnappings and killings, many wary travelers will opt out… so maybe DU30 can reach out to AirBnB, , open up communities directly to adventurous type travelers and have them tweet and instagram the shit out of Mindanao.

      Get tourists (not the takers, but the globally minded, who ‘ll be more adventurous) to descend on Mindanao. If this simple social media via AirBnB campaign works, then have the gov’t fast track more Nat’l Parks and eco-tourist zones from Mati to Tawi-Tawi, CDO to Gen San.

      Study Costa Rica.

        • Knowing Filipinos, as soon as this gets set-up in towns and villages across Mindanao, they’ll invariably will start bad mouthing each others’ bed and breakfast operation. This will give tourists a bad experience, it’s bad business all together, so get Bam Aquino’s Negosyo Center to professionalize this project, coordination and logistics should be tight, drama will only serve to undermine, so nip this in the bud early on.

      • DAgimas says:

        i like the view (including the background) hahaha the pic is like dakak

      • DAgimas says:

        if they want to go the tourism way, it would be better if they mandate that the architecture should be based on Maranaw houses. cant understand why we always copy western architecture. western tourists are not impressed by our houses. they could see that in Florida. that’s why they flock to Thailand and even Myanmar because what they see is really exotic

        • Exactly, DAgimas, this is exactly what people want to see, not trees made of cement, or better yet, why not simply use bamboo? Bamboo is grass, more than sustainable,

          • Joe America says:

            My favorite hotel in Ormoc (Ormoc Villa Hotel) has a little restaurant, kind of Mexican patio style, with trees made of cement. They are so realistic, I bruised my knuckles knocking. Not a one had termites, unlike the wood around my house. I’m thinking about cementing my whole backyard, rather like a minecraft production, with trees of cement and vines of carbon fiber.

      • karlgarcia says:

        Dagimas said Dakak and not The c__k lol

        • “ZAMBOANGA DEL NORTE, Philippines – Businessman and former Zamboanga del Norte representative Romeo Jalosjos has presented to Mindanao development officials his plan to develop a tiny island off Dapitan into a P1.7 billion ($38.42 million) 7-star island resort.

          Jalosjos, owner of Dakak Beach Resort and a known political kingpin in Zamboanga Del Norte, said the plan includes the construction of an airstrip in Aliguay Island that can accommodate 24-seat planes.

          “So far our biggest problem is not money, but the advisories of other countries relative to the peace and order situation in Mindanao. That’s why we need the help of Mindanao Development Authority (MinDA) chairperson Luwalhati Antonino,” Jalosjos said.

          Antonino assured him that the government wants to turn Mindanao into a tourism destination, beginning with Dapitan.

          Development plans for Dapitan include the expansion of the Pulauan Port to accommodate bigger ships, the construction of grain silos, and expansion of roads leading to the port.

          Antonino said the MinDA development plan involves the integration of all ports, airports, and commercial and municipal ports in Mindanao.

          “It’s physically possible [because] we have the money. That is what’s good with daang matuwid (straight path) because we’ll have lots of money.”

          Daang matuwid or straight path is the Aquino administration’s campaign against corruption.

          Jalosjos was convicted in 1997 for raping an 11-year-old girl but was freed in 2009. In 2002, the Supreme Court upheld his conviction with finality. He is barred from running for elective office.

    • Joe America says:

      It’s hard to build an economy when industrialized nations tell their citizens not to visit Mindanao. That’s a little bit of logic that the extortionists don’t quite grasp, their own contribution to their own poverty.

      • Hence, open it up to , Joe. It doesn’t have to be Dakak or Boracay, just cheap and fun… plenty of travelers don’t really pay attention to Dept of State travel advisories, and local villages and towns can actively promote themselves in an effort to negate official advisories via social media.

        The Dakak model presupposes already powerful folks dictating how tourism in Mindanao will look like, which is the anti-Costa Rica model… with Airbnb or a set-up similar it empowers regular home owners to open up a room or two. As a way to entice potential tourists they’ll have to have something compelling to visit, nature or an experience (like adventure or survival, etc.)—- this they can’t do on their own, so

        they’ll have to come together as a town or community, ie. these guys handle transport, these guys handle services, markets, take care of Nat’l Parks, green zones, etc. The big picture will require something like Bam’s Negosyo Center to coordinate these folks, collate lessons learned from other eco-tourist examples world wide.

        But by-passing folks like Jolosjos should be the priority, when it comes to tourism in the Philippines.

        • Joe America says:

          When I first arrived in Mindanao, I wanted to do a tours business, and visited the various prospective tour locations. Most were in very poor condition, and too many involved taking clients to risky areas. I also wanted to climb Mt. Apo, but was advised against it. These local hooligans have to come to an understanding that an economy is built by RESIDENTS, not some great God from Manila or big-hearted oligarchs. They have to WANT tourists, and the money they will bring in. Not chop off their heads or extort money from resort owners.

          • I totally agree, Joe, and I think (long-shot i know), that this airbnb thing (I’ve never used it, only read about it) is what will empower these residents who want the world to visit them. Once the world visits, assuming they’ll fall in love with Mindanao, they’ll becoming vested to Mindanao and their adopted community (and family), they’ll partake in stewardship— that’s the idea here.

            So here instead of relying on “It’s more FUN in the Philippines” ads, have individuals and towns advertise themselves to the world. Once the world is there, better security, better governance ideally follows—- these mining companies only stand to pillage the countryside, so there has to be a more ideal way to use the resources available.

            Let Indonesia burn their forests, let Malaysia mine their countryside, Thailand can corner the sex-industry, Vietnam can have all these special economic tax free zones, but the Philippines will be the Costa Rica of South East Asia… the question is how? Airbnb is one way, what are other ways? 😉

      • DAgimas says:

        but at least they could have invited industrialists to manufacture for exports. its hard to keep security for tourists but a couple of EPZAs could be easier to secure. I never heard the steel mill in iligan were ever bombed? or the pineapple plantations?

    • josephivo says:

      Mindanao is still an agricultural society. A breakthrough to improve the livelihood of poor farmers will automatically lead to growth in all sectors and not the other way around.

      It is all about “delivery”. We know what, we know how, the people are eager to improve, but means and knowledge don’t reach them, the delivery fails. And money is not the problem because of the huge opportunities to increase yields. “Look at these numbers: Rice yield in the Philippines is 3.9 metric tons per hectare; in Vietnam it’s 5.6 mt/ha. For corn, it’s 2.9 vs. 4.4; coconut 4.3 vs. 9.7; sugarcane 5.8 vs. 6.5; coffee 0.34 vs. 2.5; cassava 10.9 vs. 17.9” Peter Wallace, FDI, July 14

      But who wants to bring better seeds to far flung places? Who wants to set up a cooperative to get fertilizer at affordable prices, who wants to finance the warehouse to store them? Who wants to get lost way back in the mountains to share good ideas? Correct, nobody. Except maybe some outsider NGO’s, unfamiliar with local situations, losing a lot of resources in getting “protection”, paying too much for too little quality.

      The only real solution is Politics. When the invisible hand fails to do its job, the state should interfere and “the state” means politics. Who are the performing majors? And how to improve access for more willing politicians? And a healthy fishes with a stinking heads?

      • DAgimas says:

        so would Federalism solved the problem of Mindanao? I suppose those in MM or other more prosperous regions would balk if the IRA will still be there if federalism is in place

  20. Nate says:

    When people say they don’t understand him, again, I feel the urgent need to keep posting this from Dr. Natividad Dayan, former president of the International Council of Psychologists.

    He does what he does because he is a Sociopath. He has an “Antisocial Narcissistic Personality Disorder,” he doesn’t care about anyone, gross indifference to others. He is insensitive and self-centered. He is self righteous, has a grandiose sense of self-entitlement. He has a manipulative behavior, he likes to control people. He takes pride in demeaning, humiliating others and violate their rights and feelings. and his character, his actions all start to make sense or no sense at all.

    • Joe America says:

      That would explain his sloppy dress and slippers in meeting Japanese dignitaries the other day. What a reputation he is earning for the Philippines.

    • karlgarcia says:

      He said not to take him seriously because he has bipolar disorder.Was he serious when he said that?

      • Thea says:

        There are manifestations. His “hybernations” for one. His no show on some important functions. His excessive sleeping (office hour will start at 2PM(?) which may mean a depressive stage. On the otherhand, his jokes and pronouncements which are always out of context and jumping around the topics and his feeling of grandiosity and disregard of the consequences show a manic stage. Some patients with this problem are very creative,as most artists are. (But he is not an artist!!!!!)
        I look at him on the surface and I can imagine the people sorrounding him, the emotional stress that they may experience on a day to day basis.
        And people, if he is truly a bipolar, he can be manipulated (that will contradict Joe’s manipulator statement) or can be balistic at times.

        • karlgarcia says:

          Thank you for your expert opinion Thea.👍🏻

        • LG says:

          The Prez, in addition to his already clinically diagnosed personality disorders, may just have cyclothymic p.d., not bipolar disorder, mixed type. “Bipolar” is spoken too commonly now, I observe, to jokingly excuse one self or another from inappropriateness.

  21. karlgarcia says:

    Vietnam is contemplating if they will go to the Hague for their Paracel islands or if nothing happens to our case,then why bother. They are watching the developments with interest.

    • Joe America says:

      Why other nations don’t use the legal facility available to them is peculiar. It provides a stepping stone for further legal remedies. For example (speculation), rather than building ballistic missiles, the Philippines could file a case against China in Canada for damages at Panatag, and when the win comes down, acquire a pile of money or Chinese assets in Canada. The UN finding is needed as the basis for that specific follow-up suit for damages.

      Far be it for me to provide Viet Nam with guidance, as I tend to accord them a certain earned respect . . . but . . . time is flying . . .

  22. edgar lores says:

    My understanding of President Duterte is this:

    1. I do not believe he ran because of a firm vision for the country; he was pushed by people who wanted to exercise power for their own ends.

    1.1. Despite appearances, he has no burning will to power. He may have had that will once, but it is hardly there now because of age and disease.

    1.2. To be sure, the man must have some inkling he could make a difference. In particular about peace and order and a train transport system. He should have realized the difference were just pieces, important pieces but nevertheless just two pieces, of the nation as a whole.

    2. Because he is not fully motivated internally, he is a second-rater.

    2.1. As there is no will to power, there is also no burning will to excel.

    2.1.1. We see this in the lack of drive and ability to get things right the first time. We see it in the mediocre and copycat ideas, the imprecision of their expression, the slow and hesitant decisions, and the backtracking and reversal of decisions.

    2.1.2. We see this in his shabby dress sense. He does not seem to realize he represents a nation and that he should present himself in such a way as to make the nation proud… even if only sartorially.

    2.2. His unpredictability is not a strategy; it is a lack of direction.

    3. And because he has no firm vision, no burning will to power and no burning will to excel, he is not his own man.

    3.1. We see this in his slowness to act and react, and his reliance on advisers.

    3.2. We see this in his reliance on past decisions at the city level superimposed on the national level.

    3.2.1. What is going on right now is a culling of human pests. Even genocide is too grandiose a term because the victims are seen as less than human.

    3.3. We feel this in the sense the Philippine ship is adrift and has no captain manning the rudder.

    4. The projection and promise of bold leadership were a mirage. All we have and all we see are idiosyncrasies of an old man.

    4.1. It is not about love for Mindanao. If it were, that would perhaps be forgivable. I believe it is about weakness and love of self, ego.

    • Joe America says:

      Powerful, Edgar. Powerful.

    • Bill In Oz says:

      Hi Edgar..Sometimes we disagree…And now is one of those times..Here we are 14 days in the Duterte government & you have condemned him completely….Sucha rush to judgement !!
      Your take is a also very ‘high elite’ one..And so it it does not mean a goddam thing for the vast majority of Filipinos..They like his dress sense. They like his informality…

      Your views sound very much like what the British used to say about Australians..And we did not give a flying fuck..

      Similarly the vast bulk of Filipino people here ( with much poorer English skils ) will make their judgements over time and according to their own sense of what is important.

      I’m just an ex-pat here.I’ll wait around and see what that judgement is..

      • Joe America says:

        Bill, Bill, Bill. Kindly distinguish the issue from the person. If you have a problem with Edgar’s portrayal, cite the line and the opposing view. I actually find your take amusing because you, to me, always seem quick to rush to judgment with little background, and your views are often attached to swearings and other methods of intimidation and exclamation points, daring others to disagree.

        It is a simple discipline, really. Respect Edgar. Take issue with the issue. Explain your point of view.

        • Joe America says:

          I would add that Edgar’s method is designed to make a response to issue easy because you can say, “well, 2.1 seems to me to be a little premature because he has not had enough time to chair cabinet meetings and inspire or impel his staff to excellence. I’ll opt for waiting before judging.”

          • Joe America says:

            Hahaha, pps, I’m going to start running a daily “swear word” counter on you. So that you are well aware of the sailor’s bar syndrome that follows behind your posts.

            Counter registers 3 so far on July 14, 2016.

        • Bill In Oz says:

          As I said Joe
          1 I disagree with Edgar..

          2 I will be patient and come to some conclusions after a reasonable period of time not after just 14 days.

          3 I will try to pay attention in making those conclusions, to the views, the perspectives of ordinary, mostly poor, Filipinos with mostly poorer English skills. I will pay less attention to the opinions & prejudices of wealthy, middle class Filipinos

          4: I use ‘scatalogical English’ occasionally because I want to emphasise a point and because it is more entertaining. Not to intimidate.

          5 I will only use first person singular I instead of ‘we’ to express my opinions.Because I am just one man, myself.I am not a king with the self arrogated right to the royal plural ‘we”.

          6 : I think Edgar’s views about Duterte are mostly about his personality and character..And yes he is 72 years old and changes his mind & opinions..But he demonstrates the capacity ‘to see through brick walls’..It just takes a while.

          7 I think there are other issues where Duterte’s government could make mistakes. Agriculture under Manny Pinol is one major example

          • Joe America says:

            I appreciate the response, to issue. As for swearing, I understand that it is a literary technique little different than satire or exaggeration, but if all I wrote was satire, people would never take me seriously, and I think that is also true for someone who is often relying on cursing to make his point. I suggest reach for other tools, or even an exclamation point now and then. Frankly, I don’t want other readers to swear every time they have a point to underscore as the blog would not be considered a respectful place to converse.

        • edgar lores says:


          Duterte (and Cayetano) promised to double police salaries and now we find out that his promise was not costed.

          In Oz, he would be the object of vast derision.

          There is no defined comprehensive program of government set out by the new administration. In Oz, a new government would be working out the implementation of their promises from Day 1. The so-called “budget night” would give us the details, the nuts and bolts, of new legislation.

          What we have in Manila is a directionless and clueless cohort, wanly waving the banners of their pipedreams.

          • karlgarcia says:

            This sentence means never.

            ” The problem is that the government already owes so much to the pension fund of the (soldiers) and policemen. It has ballooned,”

            They owe police and soldiers their pension.
            The problem is the pension of soldiers and pnp equals to their last salary,and their pensions increase if the salaries of the active increases.

            There are more than 200 thousand of them and rising everytime a soldier or a police retires.
            They must first form a new rsbs and doing that takes time.
            Rude awaking it is.

            Add to that the rehab center problem,and the funeral parlor problem.

            • LG says:

              + the promise of increasing the SSS pension of seniors + the cry for ‘justice’ of the MMSPano survivors (I bet not the head of Aquino et al.). the list goes on…

          • Add to this the scraping of BUB and the malicious but probably true revelation of Toby tiangco of 80M pork barrel for congress people.

      • edgar lores says:


        Didn’t you have a sense that Tony Abbott was a dud even before he assumed the mantle of prime ministership? I had.

        I hope I am wrong about President Duterte.

        • Bill In Oz says:

          Abbot won for 2 reasons :
          1 because he put forward strongly, that Labor was incompetent with it’s ‘boat people policy’. And clearly Labor was incompetent.

          2;Because Labor was dishonest with it’s Carbon tax policy.If you say “No carbon tax ” to the Australian people in an election..And then you go ahead & do one you are a discredited lier,

          3 Abbot was also a captive of a far right conservative faction of the Liberal party.That made him a dud. And that’s why he was dumped by his own party

          4: Duterte I will wait to form my opinions about.Can he solve the huge traffic log jam outside my hotel ? Will his drug policy work in the longer term ? Will he use the gift of the Hague court ruling on the WPS to best advantage for the Philippines ? Will he clean up the justice system so it is not a plaything of the rich & powerful ? Will his Federalism policy be implemented in a way that promotes the welfare of most Filipinos ? Will Manny Pinol get away with keeping the stolen cocout fund levy money instead of giving it back to the farmers as even the supreme court said to do ?

          These questions cannot be answered yet.

    • #4 – PDiggy is the wizard of Oz. The man behind the curtain. The wonderful and terrible, wizard of Oz.

      “The iconic character of the Wizard can appear to be a rather controversial one. At times the Wizard seems charming, genuine and caring, yet at others Oz’s true intentions can seem rather questionable to the point of looking quite sociopathic.”

      PCIJ recently reprinted an interview with PRD by Arguillas of Mindanews on November 28, 29 and 30 in 2001. What bothered me is THIS statement:

      “Q. It seems like some other local chief executives are following your example.

      A. Copycats. (Pause). Ah, example? Eh kung pinapatay ninyo, gago kayo, bawal yan. Salita lang, hanggang salita ka lang dapat dyan tapos let the others do it if they want. But if they are caught, again it’s your duty to punish them. Sakyan mo na lang….”

      (Answer of PRD: Copycats. Ah, example? If you are killing them, you are stupid, because it’s against the law. Words only, you just utter the words then let the others do it if they want. But if they are caught, again it’s your duty to punish them. Just ride the tide.”)

      Conclusion: He’s no Dirty Harry. He is the wizard of Oz.

    • NHerrera says:


      I buy that — old man not in the pink of health, most probably sickly, pushed to power without the drive needed for the Presidency; and ego, yes. (Re 2.1, I earlier wrote without much conviction that his unpredictability is a strategy. If it is seen as such, it may be at the urgings also of his closest adviser.)

      One of the guys who urged him is FVR — more of an old man but taking good care of his health. He has big-size ego too. The guy wants to make the faded glory shine once more.

      • Joe America says:

        I’ll start taking FVR seriously when he loses the beanie.

        • LG says:

          He needs attention n involvement. Bored in retirement?

          • Joe America says:

            His headwear reflects a need to be recognized for his past military bravado and I liken it to President Aquino’s yellow ribbon, making the wrong statement for the right reasons. He has reason to be proud of all he has done. “Selling” it to us every day is, to me, not a sign of humility.

            • NHerrera says:

              That is a Pershing hat or beanie isn’t it? He probably is making a statement with that beanie. But it may be dual purpose. Some old men with balding pate can’t quite accept nature. One thing I can say about PRD — he has a nice set of thick hair. Someone here mentioned he dyes that. There is vanity for you. But I were him, no dyes. He can look very presidential and wise with white but abundant hair. Presidential and wise, but will he look tough? Give me that abundant white hair and I will turn a supporter yet. (Sorry for the rant on abundant white hair. This old man is vain too.)

      • LG says:

        NH, I don’t know FVR, how well he governed as President, had a low trust rating on exit as president. Would he make a decent envoy to China now? Was he good at international relations when he was the president?

        • karlgarcia says:

          1992 to June 1998 defined the four core priorities of Philippine foreign policy namely: the enhancement of national security, promotion of economic diplomacy, protection of overseas Filipino workers and Filipino nationals abroad, and the projection of a good image of the country abroad.

          President Ramos boosted foreign trade, investments and official development assistance to the Philippines through his state visits and summit meetings. In 1996, the Philippines successfully hosted the APEC Leaders’ Summit, which resulted in the Manila Action Plan for APEC 1996 (MAPA ’96).

          The Migrant Workers and Overseas Filipinos Act of 1995 (R.A. 8042) provided a framework for stronger protection of Filipino workers abroad, with the creation of the Legal Assistance Fund and the Assistance-to-Nationals Fund, and the designation in the DFA of a Legal Assistant for Migrant Workers’ Affairs, with the rank of Undersecretary of Foreign Affairs.

          Among the other significant events in foreign affairs during the Ramos years were: the adoption by ASEAN in 1992, upon Philippine initiative, of the Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the South China Sea aimed at confidence-building and avoidance of conflict among claimant states; the establishment of the Brunei, Indonesia, Malaysia, and Philippines (BIMP)-East Asia Growth area in 1994; the establishment of the ASEAN Regional Forum (ARF) in 1994 as the only multilateral security dialogue in the Asia-Pacific region conducted at the government level; and the signing between the Philippine Government and the Moro National Liberation Front on 2 September 1996 of the Mindanao Peace Agreement.

          • LG says:

            KG, based on your above post, FVR appears to have done fairly well, beyond national borders. What gave, that he got such a low trust rating on exit as president?

            • karlgarcia says:

              FVR’s time

              By mid-1991, however, public optimism began to recover. Hope had come in sight, with the impending renewal of the political leadership in the fast-approaching presidential election of May 1992.
              Fidel Ramos was a popular candidate, with net satisfaction ratings as defense secretary in the +50s. He stood for the stability of the newly-restored democracy, whereas his opponent Miriam Defensor-Santiago (equally popular at that time) stood for the eradication of corruption in government.
              FVR’s narrow 3-point victory over Miriam only showed that the 1992 election was hard-fought. It did not hinder his honeymoon, with net ratings in the +60s after his first 100 days in office.
              The SWS surveys of 1991-92 never had Joseph ‘Erap’ Estrada as a close challenger to FVR. It proved a wise decision for him to go for the vice-presidency, which he won easily as predicted by the SWS surveys — which also showed that only Miriam Santiago could have beaten him in that race.
              FVR got through the power crisis years of 1992-93 handily, with his net ratings staying in the +50s. Filipinos have always appreciated this workaholic President.
              1995 was the bad time. In the first semester, the Flor Contemplacion tragedy caused an across-the-board plummet in governmental ratings. FVR’s ratings fell to the +30s. Two cabinet members were let go.
              Yet the second semester was worse. For fear of affecting the 1995 senatorial election in May, the government refused to admit the seriousness of the rice shortage, and consequently failed to import enough rice for the lean months. FVR’s net ratings fell to their lowest point of +15 or so.
              The 1995 inflation was so bad, not merely because it hit 10 percent but because it was due to a doubling of the domestic price of rice — which happened nowhere else in the world except in the Philippines, which still refuses to free the international rice trade from government monopoly.
              Thanks to Cory Aquino and Fidel Ramos, Filipinos can now take the stability of their democratic system for granted. As long as this over-riding issue is out of the way, the people’s three top concerns, per the SWS surveys, are: No. 1, inflation; No. 2, graft and corruption; and No. 3, crime.
              From 1996 to mid-1997, public confidence recovered. Inflation fell to the maximum tolerable 5 percent; anything more is a failure by international standards. The APEC summit was a grand success. FVR’s ratings rose above +40 again.

              • karlgarcia says:


                From a six-year perspective, i.e., treating the Flor Contemplation and rice price crises of 1995 as special circumstances, the downward trend of the Ramos rating is much less steep than that of Cory Aquino.
                Although my last column told the general story about FVR’s ratings correctly, its numbers were imprecise since I was just writing from memory. To remedy that, the table below has the exact SWS survey figures.
                In April to May 1998, Pres. Ramos’s gross satisfaction rates were all absolute majorities, with his latest net score at +28 as of May 2-4. In comparison, Pres. Aquino had 41 percent gross satisfaction, net +13, in February 1992; and 38 percent gross satisfaction, net +7, in April 1992.

                Table 1. Ratings of Pres. Fidel V. Ramos in the SWS Surveys, 1992-98
                Date % Satisfied % Dissatisfied Net
                Sep 92 70 4 +66
                Dec 92 68 8 +60
                Apr 93 73 7 +66
                Jul 93 75 6 +69
                Sep 93 71 9 +62
                Dec 93 74 9 +65
                Apr 94 75 8 +67
                Aug 94 66 11 +55
                Nov 94 64 15 +49
                Dec 94 66 16 +50
                Mar 95 49 25 +24
                Jun 95 51 25 +26
                Oct 95 38 31 +7
                Dec 95 41 39 +2
                Apr 96 47 30 +17
                Jun 96 50 31 +19
                Sep 96 50 29 +21
                Dec 96 52 28 +24
                Apr 97 68 18 +50
                Jun 97 69 20 +49
                Sep 97 60 25 +35
                Dec 97 61 21 +40
                Jan 98 48 35 +13
                Feb 98 52 32 +20
                16-21 Mar 98 49 35 +14
                25 Mar – 5 Apr 98 59 29 +30
                8-16 Apr 98 52 33 +19
                2-4 May 98 57

              • LG says:

                Thanks a lot KG. FVR was a pretty decent head then.

              • LG says:

                You have an impeccable memory + fast multitasking fingers that can paste a reference link on thought. Gifted.

              • LG says:


                My reply, re: the gifts of memory and thinking fingers, are for u exclusively. 🎩

              • NHerrera says:

                Karl, thanks for that extended info on FVR. I do not have to do some googling to respond to LG. Thanks again Chief Librarian.

              • LG says:

                You’re kind NH👍. Thanks for considering to oblige this newbie.

              • karlgarcia says:

                You are welcome LG and Manong NH. At the same time thank you.😄👍🏻

          • LG says:

            The FVR narrative is really quite exhaustive, Karl, particularly that you impressively wrote it from memory. I just reread it.

            Was it FVR who initiated the international trade missions? Exports of native products began to rise then? I have a few friends who were enriched by the then export business.

        • LG says:

          Thanks Karl G. for posting the PDI link above. Also for giving your take on FVR as potential envoy to China.

      • caliphman says:

        I am not sure what the fuss is all about. I could have said much of what edgar is saying about Duterte before the election…and as a matter of fact I did. He is not as many maintain a cunning old man with method and deliberation to his madness. He is a loose cannon and the shells he unleashes are unguided so best that everyone beware. This unpredictability and predilection to use force and extralegal shortcuts is what makes his presidency dangerous, not that those who might be tempted to seize power from him offer the nationn a better alternative.

        Having said all that and even if most of what edgar says about him is true, he was legally elected president with all the attendant faults and risks evident if ignored during the campaign. Maybe even those of us who did not vote for him should man up and give his administration some time to see if they can their way inspite of all their shortcomings and perhaps misplaced motivations. No blog or posting can sway me to think that Duterte is a wizard or genious but the country has survived and even thrived under less qualified leaders and perhaps this president will be no exception. For one thing, he has learned to speak with decorum and sans expletives showing even old dogs can learn new tricks…hehehe.

        • NHerrera says:

          Fait accompli and all that. I too have that feeling: we will survive this one as we have done the others in the past; perhaps even the TSH itself may get a surprise one cool sunny day — as a January in the Philippines — and end up smiling as Wilfredo, as he jogs with his dogs in tow.

          • caliphman says:

            All I am saying is that even if Duterte may not be the sharpest or best tool in the shed,

            • caliphman says:

              his administration may turn out to be a passable if not a good one. The folks at GRP must have gnashed when Aquino who they considered a doofus first assumed office. Look how his presidency turned out six years later, not perfect but with remarkable accomplishments. Even presidents deserve to be granted a learning curve.

              • Joe America says:

                Hahaha, and as they (GRP writers/readers) always said when I complained that they were giving President Aquino a bad rap, “criticism is important” to encourage improvement. The shoes are on the other feet I suppose.

    • LG says:

      👍 Well put, Edgar Lores. All points make sense.

    • Andres IV says:

      To summarize…. “Duterte is a BIG JOKE.” ??

  23. chempo says:

    It’s all about Mindanao — It’s all about economics—- It’s all about mining —- it’s all about the personal interests of a few.

    It’s always about economics, stupid.

    I’m all for responsible mining. So has lots of other politicians. Grace Poe said so — but then she was supported by the SM people, and her husband worked there. Mar said so — but then his family has large sums of money parked in mining equities (they are not owners, just investors), SR Metals supported LP, Eric Rice (loud mouth piece for Mar in 2016 election) is long serving director there, Zamora of Nickel Asia is strong LP supporter. And Marcos — well the Romualdez has Benguet Corp.

    And Du30 ? Flip flopping as usual. At first he said mining is no good, govt don’t get enough returns, mining destroys the country, lots of social cost. Then in a Wallace Business Forum he said mining is OK so long as they follow Aussie standards. Hmmmm — the Alcantaras of Alson Consolidated Resources was strong Du30 supporter and he recently bought over the Aussie mining company Indophil Resources. And of course, not to forget, he was very interested in setting up a steel plant.

    Watch-out. Powerful mining interest at work. Follow developments in this sector may provide clarity to what it’s all about.

    • Sup says:

      “In any country that has progressed there has to be industrialization. To create jobs we must create factories, we have to build industries. We have to realize our long dream of having our own steel industry…the mother of all industries…the backbone of industrialization…It’s about time we have our own. ” – Duterte

    • karlgarcia says:

      Who are you calling stupid Governor Clinton?
      Joking aside I watched Monsod’s interview of Gina Lopez and she already had a rude awakening at the Pasig River Development,where most of her initiatives failed like the unused Recycling machines, no land to recycle or put the garbage no MRF…..
      So all she can do now is audit.
      After the audit what would be her excuse if she fails to deliver,Blood is thicker than water ?
      Or the president changed his mind about mining?

    • NHerrera says:


      Edgar and chempo touched on PRD’s flip-flopping on issues. I see this as two-sided.

      There is the good side. It will said of him that he listens to good advices against his previous statements or sentiments on important country issues. Who knows: the good aspect of this flip-flopping may lead to a better action — from the Philippine perspective — with respect to China, now that the Philippines was awarded a much sought-after, much worked-after decision from the PCA.

      One bad side to it is the concept that a country’s leader uses a few important currencies, one of the most important being his credibility or trustworthiness. Erosion of that because of flip-flopping and one ends up with, well, like a flip-flop slipper of a leader. Which will then be an oxymoron for a leader.

      • karlgarcia says:

        Thanks for that perspective Manong.
        That means he listens,and there will alway be good councel.

      • edgar lores says:

        1. There are two categories of flip-flopping.

        1.1. Where a decision on a single issue changes several times.
        1.2. Where decisions on several issues change at least once.

        2. An example of the first category is the SC decision on FASAP. Duterte’s decisions fall into the second category.

        3. Both categories are indicative of judgmental disability. Reversals in the first category would indicate to me that the primary underlying principle has not been found. Reversals in the second category would indicate to me a consistent miscomprehension of basic issues… as well as a lack of underlying principles.

        4. NHerrera, you are right: reversals are not bad per se. They are good and necessary when they are corrective of initial erroneous decisions. In a way, reversals indicate an open-mindedness and a flexibility on one hand; and a lack of understanding, firmness and foresight on the other hand. Trust is won — or lost — on the quality and quantity of these demonstrated attributes.

        • NHerrera says:

          Thanks for categorizing this flip-flopping business. I note, you remember well the SC flip-flopping on the FASAP case. I believe you are being generous there. As I understand it (I hope not too incorrectly) the SC had been ‘awed’ by the legal brilliance of Marcos’s former SolGen Mendoza.

  24. arlene says:

    It’s getting scary, two weeks into the job 😦 Yasay is not fit for the DFA post. I heard him say (right after he was appointed) that he does not have any experience in foreign policy. Pagbigyan lang daw ng isang taon. Oh my, would it be an experiment for both of them?

    • gubatvoces says:

      I think Yasay is just keeping the seat warm for Bongbong Marcos. Duterte promised the DFA post to Bongbong Marcos after the one year ban expires.

      • karlgarcia says:

        I thought he promised DFA to Alan Peter Cayetano?

        • arlene says:

          Karl, Cayetano is not even in the news nowadays. Licking deep wounds? DFA is a sensitive post, it is our window to the whole world, why would the president choose someone who knows nothing about how it is run?

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  1. […] By Joe America: “President Duterte: It’s all about Mindanao“ […]

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