A critique of the critiques of the SONA

duterte-sonaI have this personal quirk. When there is a major speech on television, I watch the speech and as soon as it is over, I turn off the TV. I don’t want the pundits cluttering my take-away. What I do instead is think about what was said, how it was said, and what it means.

That’s also what I did with President Duterte’s State of the Nation Address (SONA), and I trust you have had ample time to digest the speech and take in such outside observations as you find helpful.

My main concern here is the reaction to the speech, which I would put into three big, wide buckets, with some sloshing around between them.

Duterte Supporters

They loved it. This was their man. Action oriented, bigger than life, bold, charismatic, a wicked sense of humor. They high-fived . . . or rather plunged their fist into the air . . . with each declarative statement, from trebling the anti-drug effort to passport extensions. They nodded vigorously when he spoke of the druggies being a huge problem and human rights being mis-applied to destroy the nation. This was a home run speech. Well, it rambled some, but that is his humanity that makes the Big Boss so adorable.

Duterte Haters Critics (see discussion re. change; ed.)

The speech was a major turn-off.

These are the people the Duterte trolls call the “yellows”, as if anyone with a complaint must obviously have a political goal that prevents them from speaking honestly and reasonably. The trolls put me in that group, wrongly, I think. But let them dwell in their misshapen reality. It is an ideological or principled bucket, with a goodly number of former Roxas supporters as members, along with some Poe and Santiago supporters, and maybe even a Binay backer or two. It can’t be a political advocacy, can it? The election is done, the candidates lost and have moved on.

The trolls have not.

By my definition, the “yellows” form a group that finds comfort in convention. In order. In conservative values. In reason over emotion. They are of a well-traveled or international point of view as to the standards a modern nation ought to set for itself. Rampant killings upset them. Throwing human rights under the bus upsets them. Not praising the nation’s hard-won arbitration finding bugs them. Thuggish, dictatorial ways, like Executive taking command of the legislature, bother them.

They liked very little in the speech. The speech confirmed that this guy is a lunatic, rambling, blustering, crude, law-breaking. A dictator in every way except he has not yet ordered the army to take control of the courts. Yeah, the passport thing is nice, but if society is going to hell, what does it matter?

Those who listened first and judged later

Well, some of the reaction of people in the “listening” group for sure depends on where they started. If they leaned toward Duterte, their take-away would be different than if they leaned yellow (toward conventional values; not the political definition). But generally they heard:

  • A strong anti-drug campaign that accepts human rights as important, but, hey, put them in perspective as to the urgency of the need for a fix. More drug rehabilitation centers. Teaching about the dangers of drugs in schools.
  • A quiet voice on China, merely acknowledging the arbitration finding as an important contribution.
  • A strong outreach for peace with CPP/NPA and Muslim Mindanao; declaration of an immediate ceasefire.
  • A whole lot of good ideas about making the country work better:
    • Agencies need to use computers to stop hassling people; get people out of lines.
    • Agencies better clean up their act; if government people abuse their authority there will be hell to pay.
    • Passport extensions; drivers license extensions; other ideas to move processing along.
    • More and faster trains to up the carry load; need for special powers to reconfigure stations and traffic.
    • Push RH so families have choices; this can improve their ability to get jobs.
    • Focus on health, education, food, housing and preservation.
    • Will crush Abu Sayyaf and external terrorism, working with Malaysia, Indonesia and others.
    • Taxation reform; simple, fair.
    • Improve investment climate; end red tape and restrictions.
    • Invest in roads, irrigation, harvest support, national soil analysis/rehab, fishing laws.
    • Improve infrastructure: roads, inter-island transport and rails; relief for NAIA via Clark or Cavite.
    • Preference for a federalized government with a president.
    • 888 anti-corruption, anti-drug line.
    • OFW one-stop shop.
    • Full support for Secretary Lopez to caretake mining and logging resources.
    • People’s broadcasting network, patterned after the BBC.
    • Task force on media killings; more public attorneys; strengthen witness protection program.
    • Strong effort to stop human trafficking.
    • Climate considerations must be balanced with the nation’s great need for power.
    • Dealing with squatters fairly and firmly.
    • Reduce peoples’ vulnerabilities: self-reliant, education and dangers of drugs, universal health insurance, protect women’s rights, indigenous people’s rights.

Some of these ideas key off of initiatives already underway (more train cars), but some are unique (shifting private air out of NAIA). If we focus on whether or not they are good for the country, we can avoid the political brickbats and claim staking. There are a lot of good things on this list, and it is very upbeat for the nation, Philippines.


If we set personality aside . . . every individual is entitled to one, and it is good that there are so many different characters for entertainment value  . . . then we can better look at the issues.

For me, with a pro-human rights bias, and anti-China bias, I sort the entire speech into five issues for further consideration and debate:

  1. Human rights and the anti-drug initiative: I am extremely troubled by the extra-judicial killings and what it means if it becomes the mode of operation of government, permanently.
  2. China: sovereignty versus islands versus the need for oil and investment in railways: I don’t think China is a good investment partner.
  3. Federalism or the form of government adopted by the nation’s people. Certainly, the joke called a House of Representatives – where the majority also leads the minority through a hijacked procedure – stands as a good reason to tear up what now exists.
  4. Transparency and government control over the information flows we receive: I am wary about trolls, propaganda, and manipulation of the truth. Transparency can be a smokescreen initiative. If no data are recorded about police killings, there is nothing to report.
  5. Pragmatic acts to upgrade the way the nation works: wonderful plans and programs. (Is this Lieutenant Go’s work? If so, kudos to him. Or to whomever summarized the action steps mentioned in the SONA.) I wish major success to the National Government in the implementation of these ideas.

The agencies are now in the spotlight.

Results, Mr. or Ms. Secretary. Results!


237 Responses to “A critique of the critiques of the SONA”
  1. “The agencies are now in the spotlight.”

    Joe, can you do a series on each of the agencies (or a handful of the more significant ones)? thanks.

    And thanks for this summary, I tried watching it, but DU30 kept going on long tangents in Tagalog, in his mumbling way.

  2. Vanesa Aquino says:

    I am “yellow” as well but I would like to throw in my support to his government, we cannot rise as a nation if we keep on bringing others down. Lets wish the Duterte govt success and pray for them to be guided all the time.

    • Joe America says:

      Interesting point you bring to mind, Vanesa, that President Duterte made it a point not to point fingers at the prior administration, but to focus on things that need to be done.

  3. Randolf says:

    Yes the DU30 admin likes to work with china and it is frustrating. Look what they want to do focus more in internal security instead of buying military assests for territorial defense. Well blame Pnoy at a point allowing generals ti scrap Shore base missile system in exchange of force protection and communication equipment. Now the modernization is in trouble. Then send ramos for talks when during his term we lost nischief reef. He listen a lot to this west pointer freek. During his term no efforts were made to mdernize the afp. This west pointer freek also wants to start the negotion by scarpping the permanent court decision. A total communist west pointer freek. Rampant vigilante killing and no respect to human right might shoo investors away. federalism at this point we are not prepared…political families will only feudelize the state

    • Joe America says:

      “Blame Pnoy” Why? He was the architect for peaceful resolution to disputes, bringing the BBL to completion, something that President Duterte emphasized is important to carry through. He had the CPP/NPA at the bargaining table working toward an agreement as well. And he had the courage to put forward the arbitration filing, the outcome which has benefited the global community. I don’t get this “blame” mentality, as opposed to seeing the bigger picture and context of where they were when in office, and giving credit where due. The blame approach is tiresome, rather like trolling is becoming on FB and elsewhere. Best to work to build something rather than tear it down.

      • Randolf says:

        It is not about those things. I blame PNoy. When he allowed some important military assests to be shelve off. Whem he gave in to the request Iriberri to re-align the Shore based missile project for helmet and vest and other military stuff intended for internal security. Yes I commend him for all this is things you have said. Also for AFP modernization. But at some point allowed lobbying delaying of important military hardware. Like the brand new frigate still in bidding status.

        • Joe America says:

          He listened to the advice of staff, and made a decision you dislike. I blame you for armchair quarterbacking, with none of the information or accountability.

          • Randolf says:

            Well I dont blame you if you dont get it. But we who are also following afp modernization active in a community of blog like this focus on defenese is really frustrated about. Also frustrated now with another shift from external to internal defense. Bay the way Shore base missile system was already in the signature stage with israel when they shelve it off and that project is part of horizon 1 of modernization program of army and the helmets and vest are horizon 2 see the lobbying… if you are interested you might read it http://maxdefense.blogspot.com/2015/07/snafu-in-philippine-army-with-shore.html?m=1

            • Joe America says:

              Thanks for the information. I read about it at the time and also did not like the decision. What I am working against is the ongoing politicization of the discussion, and the relentless running down of a President who did so much for the nation. It also has precious little to do with President Duterte’s SONA.

              • Randolf says:

                Sorry if I am a little bit off topic. Joe notice DU30 style is give the people they want go straight and hard. Then he will do what he wants. He is realy good in playing with people. Filipinos have the problem of fanaticism. Example Genebra the team give some something that the fans wants. Now these filipinos are duterte fanatics. notice in his sona he rant at the rich, the politicians and other people percieved by the masa as oppressors. They cheered and loved it. Like the romans the romans gave gladiatorial games to tame the masa

              • Gladiatorial games… that would be a good idea… have the poor kill each other and have people watch in bloodthirsty awe… wait… I have seen more dying and dead in the last few days than in my whole life. 😦 Ave Duterte, morituri te salutant!

        • karlgarcia says:

          correction .since you have been reading max defense, you might have read that the frigate aquisition is past the post qualification stage.India’s graden reach bid the lowest but failed in the post qual,because they can not deliver financially and they already have many pending projects.
          Hyundai won the bidding.Now I am hoping that this would not be scrapped,together with the f50 trainer jets.
          It is a little bit frustrating,but I still give credit to the past admin,they did a lot for AFP mod,notwithstanding the issues you have mentioned.

          Ramos can not be blamed , he made sure an AFP modernization law was passed, i really fo not know what happened to the FT,Boni sale.

          We kicked out the Americans,without having a modernized Military.Now we want them back.(by we,I mean many)

          • karlgarcia says:

            This is the first time we aquire a frigate, might as well do it right the first time.

            • karlgarcia says:

              I heard comments of could have would have should have about that second hand ship which is more costly to maintain from Tiglao,Cong Golez,etc.
              Randolf,would you have preferred that ship instead of the brand new one.?

          • Randolf says:

            Yes you are right about the frigates and other stuffs but now they are fighting for their life. Sir max said there are a lot of lobbying now that happens just to scrap it. I still blame ramos he had all the oppurtunity but failed. Bought all 3 peacock corvettes scrap of all necessary equipments..

            • karlgarcia says:

              Even the Hamilton came here with no equipment and it was the Americans who removed all of them,because it is not free meaning not a donation.

              • Ethan says:

                But we bought those corvettes they where not donated. And also during his time the dollar exchange was low. Why on earth he did not bought assest?instead bought a squadron of ex jordian f 5. While he can buy f 15

              • Joe America says:

                Off topic. Move on.

              • karlgarcia says:

                Yes, rewinding back, the effects of Asian Crisis was still a year later.
                I might want to ask my dad he was the one assigned for modernization,but it was during the early years of the Rams admin,and maybe he still had knowledge during his as anAsec in DND for plans during late 97. (no time to plan only 5 months)

                They sold it cheap for 20 million USD,even in 20 :1 peso to dollar it is still cheap.

                kakarnehin ysn ng mga brits o Hongkingers,di lang tayo ang marunong mangahoy at nangarne.

              • karlgarcia says:

                so sorry for the typos.

              • karlgarcia says:

                I will attempt to make it in topic by posting the plans of the current Secretary of Defense.
                This was not clear in the SONA as far as I am concerned.All I heard was pasabugin you even if they surrender(so much for not killing Filipinos).


                Indeed Secretary Kerry’s visit was impeccably timed. I hope no matter who replaces him after a few months gives us the same counsel.
                My impressions on Yasay changed for the better,I hope I am not wrong.

                Sorry if this is still off topic,but will now move on.

              • Joe America says:

                On topic, as to information not addressed in the SONA. I appreciate the article, but am somewhat amused. I recall writing that peace is very important in Mindanao so that AFP resources can be dedicated to defense of the seas. The Secretary sees it exactly the opposite.

              • karlgarcia says:

                Yes,Speaker Alvarez is saying no need for BBL and the so-called minority may agree.

              • karlgarcia says:

                And with that Ceasefire immediately violated,the ambushes continue,so Internal defense is still a priority.
                The war games conspiracy theorist will say,this war is just manufactured.

                Going back to that Rappler article.
                The defense secretary rightfully acknowledged the efforts of the past administration in terms of AFP modernization.

              • karlgarcia says:

                On what I read from you about Yasay,I maybe back to my lack of confidence in him soon enough.

          • Joe America says:

            @Karl, did I ever formally give you the Society’s Military Liaison position? If no, I herein grant it, and will let you tell me when your various titles get too much to juggle, Your librarian work is exceptional. I can place the tanod role elsewhere unless you find the knocking of heads now and then to be, ummm, refreshing.

  4. madlanglupa says:

    > Well blame Pnoy at a point allowing generals ti scrap Shore base missile system in exchange of force protection and communication equipment.

    Some people — maybe the Maoists — would argue that the cost of a missile per unit is more than three or four jeepneys put together in terms of price or enough to build a couple of school buildings; others feel that China would see the missile systems as saber-rattling, who might counter the upgrade with their own.

    • Randolf says:

      But still we need military deterance and a good economy is backed by a strong military

      • madlanglupa says:

        We want to, but there’s a lot of political roadblocks. Only way is to play the geopolitical mahjongg.

        • Randolf says:

          We realy luck patriotism. I am wondering how can this be instil this in our minds

          • madlanglupa says:

            Some of us are patriotic. But some of us are more interested in either showbiz heroes or in greener pastures. The current climate isn’t much helping… If anything, the spate of violence right now is making people think twice about stability under this new order.

  5. I find the National Security Council meeting with the 4 former presidents as a welcome development.

    The devil is in the details. It is always in the implementation that one finds the complications. Each project is a gordian knot. Duterte is an Alexander wannabe but if his secretary delivers he would be an Alexander heir.

    • Joe America says:

      Absolutely agree. It brings their experience and perspectives together, and they leave the room as partners in what is done, presuming they can reach some reasonable consensus, or at least are genuinely heard.

      • Joe America says:

        John Kerry’s visit was impeccably timed, I think, counter-balancing the schmoozing that had been done by the Chinese ambassador. As I understand it, he is taking back the Philippine commitments to deploy EDCA fully, and base discussions with China on the Hague finding.

        • Joe America says:

          OOps. Secretary Kerry. Forgot the title. I rather see him as a brother, both of us having been in Viet Nam (him in dicey combat situations, me in safe havens), and both opposing the war, later on. Plus he’s tall, and rather a nice guy. A little put offish, perhaps, but we can’t all have President Duterte’s schmoozability.

          • Randolf says:

            I just hope that secretary kerry will enlighten our president the need to counter china treats by focusing on territorial defense and countinue the modernization program as scheduled. Specialy the hardwares we really need we cannot be contented to 3 40 year old hamilton cutters.

            • mel says:

              one way to enlighten pdu30 is to offer that us lease some of the island in clear rp territory to build an ala diego garcia island depot/station…make it a 99 year lease…us to pay for all the development cost with rp having a co-basing rights. the payment will be modernnization equipment for afp. just imagine the labor jobs created, let pinoys be ofw’s in their own territory. just a thought. how do you all like this idea. us and rp signing a lease contract will definitely make china think twice to further intrude near these as it is an affirmation by us that these island are rp properties.

          • NHerrera says:

            Talking about tall. I don’t believe Sec Yasay is short but look how Sec Kerry dwarfs him.

            • Joe America says:

              The Secretary is 6’4″ tall. Abe Lincoln was also about that height.

              • Ethan says:

                Given the hieght Joe and also the size of brain ysay speaks and does not know what he is saying. I guess this guy loves the chinese he was not that happy when the ruling came out. I also hate this unitary cease fire. It just gives reds the chance to regroup. And now they are the one laying the terms for peace. More so I am do not want these political prisoners free. It took blood to catch them and they cause a lot of troubles before.

              • Joe America says:

                Randolf, or Ethan, kindly use just one screen name so as not to confuse the readers. Thanks.

    • Randolf says:

      I just hope Pnoy would give emphasis on not to do bilateral talks with china, focus more on external defenense and modernization of navy and air force. And off course change ramos and ysay.

  6. Ed Gamboa says:

    Like you Joe, I am very concerned about extra-judicial killings. But I wish the new government success. If President Duterte accomplishes half of the SONA laundry list, the nation would be better off. Again, my plea is that in the war against drugs, we do not need to look to Attila the Hun for methods or revert back to the Dark Ages. We are way past the Enlightenment Era of Desacartes, Kant, Hegel et alii.
    Keep writing,Joe!

  7. raggster says:

    As an observer leaning “yellow” of center:

    1. At first glance, a lot of people thought Duterte’s comments about not pointing fingers was a swipe at former President Aquino (which would be ironic, since a swipe is akin to finger pointing anyway). The danger I see in that statement is that it may also be expanded to include all past administrations, ultimately including that of Marcos. Worrisome in a political climate where the premium is on personal loyalties over loyalty to the country.

    2. Duterte did make some very good points throughout his otherwise cluttered and disjointed SONA. However, for its length (IIRC longest ever SONA to date, 1 hour 32 minutes) there was very little said about *how* these goals are to be accomplished. I was waiting for a roadmap; all I got were GPS coordinates of the best places in town.

    3. A few of his SONA items felt like bones being thrown at specific advocacy groups/noisy crowds in order to appease them. Top of mind are RH, tax reform, MRT fixes, and traffic woes.

    4. That said, given the current railroading going in the House of Representatives, I am wary of how this administration is promising many things, some of which aren’t even fully compatible with one another, as I feel it may be at a cost that is too high.

    5. Which brings me to EJKs, or as I refer to them, state-abetted murders. In my view, his adlib on the Inquirer front-page photo of a woman cradling her executed partner in her arms, dismissing it as “kadramahan,” spoke more about his mindset on governance and law enforcement than anything else he said. Like you, I hope to see this President take a firmer stand and clearer directives to law enforcement to investigate the murders and put a stop to them as reasonably as can be done.

    • madlanglupa says:

      > A few of his SONA items felt like bones being thrown at specific advocacy groups/noisy crowds in order to appease them. Top of mind are RH, tax reform, MRT fixes, and traffic woes.

      That’s the “bread and circuses”.

      > In my view, his adlib on the Inquirer front-page photo of a woman cradling her executed partner in her arms, dismissing it as “kadramahan,” spoke more about his mindset on governance and law enforcement than anything else he said.

      It’s indeed the mindset. Education and employment, both of which should be long-term yet preventive solutions to the “cause” of poverty and drug abuse, are given short shrift in favor of dealing with the “effect”.

    • Joe America says:

      Thanks, raggster. I appreciate the readout, much of which I share. The apparent control the President has on the Legislature has a potentially bad quality, if he uses it to avoid inquiry or support an authoritarian drift, or a potentially good quality, if the Legislature expedites things the country needs. So far, it seems to be the latter based on the Senate fast-tracking some of his initiatives, like special authority to deal with Manila traffic.

    • Francis says:

      Better than reading his speech is watching/listening to it. The video is the one to pay attention to—not the transcript. It can be said that a lot of the promises were just him reading through stuff as bones to throw to particular interest groups. And if anything—Duterte seems to be the sort-of guy who has little interest in stuff outside his expertise (outside of Mindanao and Peace & Order) as it were.

      Which is not a not bad thing per se—it could mean he can and will delegate. So—for the stuff he seems to be really reading through—look to the agency heads concerned.

      But watch out for the stuff he slows down/makes kuwento (storytells)/shows much emotion as that’s the stuff he’s attached to. And when it comes to the stuff he’s attached to—he’s firm…

  8. Francis says:

    A little and trivial point on words used:

    “Supporter” is to “Critic” as “Fanatic” is to “Hater”. “Hater” is bit too strong of a term, if paired with “Supporter”. -_- 😉

  9. NHerrera says:

    Sub-category 3 — Those who listened first and did not judge to preserve one’s sanity.

    Corny joke.

    Seriously, thumbs up on the timely blog.

    • NHerrera says:

      In order of seniority as Philippine President:

      – FVR with black beret, jacket and faded blue jeans with a nice smile and looking young for his age

      – Erap as Erap with a smile

      – GMA without the signature Neck Brace with a smile, with an aged-face not quite the face we saw during her prime

      – Pnoy with his signature yellow ribbon with dropping lips not quite a smile

      – PRD not his best picture with a masa-certified wrinkled white barong and what is coming out to be his signature on a barong: rolled — above the wrist watch — long-sleeve barong.

      • edgar lores says:

        GMA’s handbag is wearing the neck brace. It’s securing the PCSO millions.

        • NHerrera says:

          Sharp. I didn’t notice that. Poor eye sight for an old man — I will have to go to my optometrist pronto.

          • NHerrera says:

            Which means too that I have to be carrying a 15-inch smartphone if I have to go hunting for Pokémons. Just when I am raring to go with my Pokémon Go app. Shucks. 🙂

      • andy ibay says:

        Presidential Pic, a rare photo indeed. Only (probably) St. Peter of the Pearly Gates would shake his head in holy disgust knowing what those in photos had done and will do to their country and people. What exulted positions can do to those empowered to make and unmake positions of integrity and honor awaiting the clapping and obeisance of the innocents.

      • There is another photo, made by the Ghostbusters of Malacanan themselves…

      • Jonet says:

        I think the rolled up barong sleeve was first done by FVR… as in “let’s roll up our sleeves and get to work”.

  10. Would an integrated social, economic, spiritual and judicial approach to combat the drug problem, in lieu of the ongoing inflexible crusade happening now, have a chance of success? Would such a program meet the same opposition as the current campaign? Federalism, though heard and mentioned years ago, seems as foreign now to our populace as it was then. The concept is vague to most citizen, and yet we hear our president talking about it, and the Duterte supporters agreeing to it without knowing what it entails, the pros, and cons of such a set up. Development in Mindanao is long overdue, the vast wealth to be tapped and utilized for its people could have made extremism unnecessary if not altogether passe. Countries capable of assisting our government in achieving progress and Mindanao are many, their intent, their characters easy to discern. Compared to cutting down red tape, prolonging the validity of passports and drivers licenses, executing orders for the FOI, these can be done quickly and will be met with applause and a quick thank you sir…but for the first parts, much time to study,consult, plan and implement should be undertaken. The rush to implement leads to lapses and the lapses are the bone of contention between the people(yellows and listeners alike) and this administration.

    • Bill in Oz says:

      Elmer..Re your comment “but for the first parts, much time to study,consult, plan and implement should be undertaken.”….I suspect that much study and consultation will happen.But it will be on a time frame set by Duterte & with the groups and people Duterte thinks important and not necessarily those who want to be part of the process with a view to stopping & slowing things to prevent change. And i suspect not subject to being TRO’d. either..Emperors tend to not attract such things for fear of consequences.

      A general thought : I am perplexed by one thing in this conversation.Duterte is not a lowly naive political ‘wonderkid’ as some have implied here. ‘just a mayor’

      Duterte is 72 years old. He has lived his entire life within the Filipino political scene. Mostly that has been in his chosen area of direct control, as mayor of Davao. And there he changed the character of the city in the way he wanted. He has deep and long experience of how things are done or have been done; and have not worked in the Philippines. And as for what he has done in Davao, I have not been there. But all the expats I have read on Davao are full some in praise. And that is not just Wallace in his columns in the Enquirer on Thursday.

  11. edgar lores says:

    1. What is a SONA?

    2. A SONA can be many things: a looking back, a looking forward, a rallying cry, a call to the deepest nationalistic sentiments, a pep talk, a narrative, a roadmap, or a vision.

    3. A first SONA should be a looking forward, a roadmap of the future, and the narration of a vision.

    4. As it has been mentioned, a plus of Duterte’s first SONA is that it did not look back. And it definitely was a looking forward.

    5. The looking forward can be divided into the external and the internal, the macro and the micro. I define the macro – in consonance with my typology of transformational, transactional and transitional presidents — as the areas in which Duterte can prove to be a truly transformational president.

    5.1. The externals were the arbitration, climate change and external terrorism. All the rest were internals.

    5.2. The macro in the externals was the arbitration.

    5.3. The macros in the internals were the anti-drug campaign, the outreach for peace with the Left and Muslim Mindanao (including Abu Sayyaf), federalization, and squatting.

    6. As to arbitration, I would have wanted a strong statement on the nation’s direction in the protection of its EEZ assets.

    7. As to the anti-drug campaign, I am against the use of methodical violence. I am for reconciliation with the Left providing they give up armed struggle. I am for a version of the BBL. I am for the resolution of the squatter problem. I am neutral on federalization.

    8. My main criticism with the whole of the SONA is the lack of specificity in most of the macros and the micros. What is there are practically motherhood statements. A SONA as a roadmap should be more detailed. This should include not only the specific direction, but also the major programs and projects, the major steps, and the timetable. There should be detailed concrete proposals. Take, for example, taxation reform: simple and fair. But how?

    8.1. Perhaps I am spoiled. In Oz, the equivalent of the SONA would be Budget Night, wherein the government delineates the economic outlook and programs for the current year and three forward financial years. It details the government’s social, political and economic priorities and how it intends to go about in achieving these.

    8.2. I believe there may be a systemic problem with the Duterte’s first SONA. There seems to be a lack of concrete and detailed contributions from the Cabinet secretaries. This is partly due to their being new appointees. In Oz, as previously mentioned, an opposition party gaining government would have had a shadow cabinet. Apart from that, the supporting staff in the various government departments are tenured professionals, so there is continuity in functionality and expertise.

    9. As a final measure, was the SONA the narration of a splendid vision for the nation’s future? How did the citizens feel after the SONA? Were they enthralled, enthused? Did they take greater courage that tomorrow would be peaceful and orderly? Did they have renewed hopes in their hearts for a brighter future?

    • Bill in Oz says:

      Edgar..I read your comments 8 to 9 with interest…You are right in your description of the process of a budget night here in Oz..But I have reservations about this aspect of Australian political process..

      Our nations are like ships sailing & trading in a globalised world..We cannot control the global economic weather nor often what the other ships ( nations ) do…And so there is precious little real ability to control our financial fortunes three years out…Or on occasions the annual budget has needed major changes…( I suspect only Stalin with his 5 year plans had absolute control..But what damage he did. )

      So maybe, with just 3 weeks under his belt..Duterte is better off giving aims and goals but not giving detailed plans & programs at this stage..

      • edgar lores says:

        Bill in Oz, thanks.

        The Philippine political “methodology” — which is too grand a term for the disorganization that exists in reality — is indicative of the lack of maturity of political parties. The aims and goals, and most of the programs and methods to achieve them should be pre-defined. New administrations should hit the ground running. It is a systemic problem.

        The aim of political parties here is to gain power with hardly any plan or vision as what to do with it once that power is gained. As it is, most everything is ad hoc.

        The SONA is ad hoc.

        Is it any wonder the country lurches east to west, sometimes going south instead of north, and sometimes standing still?

        • Joe America says:

          There you go, imposing western standards on the Philippines. “Maturity” is in the mind of the beholder, and Philippine personality politics is as mature as mature gets. It is as old as Enrile and five times as durable. Achieving economic progress or having nice homes and good food is an artificial standard concocted by outsiders, and it has no bearing on our sophisticated way of keeping people needy so that we can move in as the people who promise to fulfill their needs and get rich in the doing. We would make a mistake to fulfill their needs, however, or we end up like that Aquino guy, reviled for showing up the rest of us with his honesty and good deeds. No, in our mature, sophisticated way, we know that abuse is how you keep people happy because their joy is found in anger, and our power and enrichment follows from that.

          • edgar lores says:

            Planning is not a “Western” governmental standard. It is mandatory for all governments, East and West.

            • Joe America says:

              There are plans here. People plan for their own success rigorously. They are architects of laws and a system that keep the entitled well cared for. What you object to, I think, is that ordinary people are not cared for in plans. Well, that is a western concept. Here, we use them.

          • edgar lores says:

            Sorry, I did not detect the tone.

        • Francis says:

          “…Philippine personality politics is as mature as mature gets. It is as old as Enrile and five times as durable.”

          A valid sentiment. I think that it would be wrong to assume that corrupt systems are always less sophisticated and complex compared to “effective” and/or “democratic” systems. The corrupt system can have her own unholy beauty in complexity–and that shouldn’t be underestimated by anyone desiring reform.

          “Backward” can sometimes be merely a frame of mind–just “forward” in a different direction.

          The weird sort of feudalism we have here has her own institutions. Even her own ideology–even if that ideology has never ever been written on paper. The trapo is not the real enemy. To defeat the trapo is to dismantle the institutions that foster him. To dismantle the institutions that foster trapos is to dismantle the ideology that governs them all.

          Attack the institutions. FOI and moves to ban dynasties do that. Attack the ideology. Outside the Left–that requires much more work on part of democrats here.


          I detected the tone of the quote above. 😉 I just feel that this is worth noting.

          • Joe America says:

            @Francis, you interpreted well what was cruising through my mind in making that statement. Thanks. I agree that chipping away at the granite eventually reshapes it. Whether it is the thinker or a greek god without a penis is yet to be seen . . .

          • edgar lores says:


            1. No doubt politics is Byzantine.

            2. It is true all motion is relative. But relative to what? The referent is positional. It may be a bystander or a goal. If it is a goal, the terms “forward” and “backward” apply.

            3. The logic on trapos is nicely constructed. We just have to be careful.

            3.1. One aspect of the institutions that allow trapos to exist consists of the political ideology of democracy and the constructs of democracy. One can, and must, defeat the trapo without dismantling the democratic institutions.

            3.2. The other aspect consists of the cultural constructs, and I know this is what you are referring to. Apart from dynasties, there is the culture of patronage and impunity.

            3.2.1. The culture of impunity may be dismantled by the application of swift and fair justice.

            3.2.2. The culture of patronage may be dismantled by identifying the practices, and (a) by crafting and enforcing the necessary laws, or (b) by social conditioning. As to (a) for example, there are laws against vote buying and selling. As to (b), the church can actively discourage the practice of getting politicians to act as ninongs and ninangs.

            3.2.3. All these are easier said than done.

            • Francis says:

              If I may reply point-by-point. VERY SORRY for the length. Much pardon for being more than a bit off-topic.

              1. Truly.

              2. Let us assume the following. North is complexity. South is simplicity. East is democratic. West is non-democratic. The way I see it is this: the PH is North-West, but what it should (well—in my opinion) is North-East. My point is just that we shouldn’t think that East is only South-East (assuming that non-democratic—in this* case: corrupt systems—systems are less complex than “democratic” systems) as it were.

              Granted I do feel that I am indulging in a bit of sophistry here—but I stand at least by the spirit of my point: corrupt systems should be taken seriously (by that I mean that I mean corrupt systems should be taken as serious competing/rival systems “democratic”/”effective” ones—with institutions and ideologies that can be just as complex) if ever one wants to be reformed/changed.

              Especially if you live in a young Third World democracy.

              *Okay. I’ll admit that there’s corruption and patronage in democratic systems too. My amateurish distinction between a corrupt system and a democratic system is as follows—is patronage the servant of democracy or is democracy the servant of patronage?

              3. Thanks.

              3.1 and 3.2. Thanks for the political ideology/cultural construct framework. Helped a lot in clarifying my muddled thoughts. Pardon though if I’ll be giving points a bit scattered. Pleasantries aside:

              i. In this discussion—my primary and foremost concern was how people—democrats like many in this blog in particular—viewed the corruption in the Philippines. Embedded in how they viewed corruption was how they saw solutions to it.

              ii. I feel that—assuming within this discussion at least—there are three general views of corruption with their own respective approaches for solutions: non-systemic adjustment, systemic adjustment and systemic overhaul.

              iii. Borrowing the framework you used in your reply above—the two spheres: political and cultural—one can define these views under these terms as follows.

              The “non-systemic adjustment” stance would hold that the political and cultural spheres are alright, and that any flaw within the system is superficial. Using a car engine metaphor as an analogy—some regular cleaning of the piping. Opposite directly to this is the “systemic overhaul” stance which would hold that the entire system needs to be replaced; the political and cultural spheres are both superficially and fundamentally flawed. The only solution is complete replacement; keeping with the car engine metaphor—replace the entire engine with a new one.

              In between these two is what I see as your stance—a “systemic adjustment” stance. There is a fundamental flaw in one of either of the political and the cultural spheres. Or there can be fundamental flaws in both spheres. The problem is superficial and fundamental—and that warrants an immediate and decisive response—but the fundamental flaw in question/these fundamental flaws do not warrant a complete replacement of the system; again keeping woth the car engine metaphor—replace the broken gears/key components in the engine but the engine need not be replaced by an entirely new one.

              iv. My personal stance is uncertain—the optimistic part of me (the part that knows the PH as a nation possessing one of the oldest Third World democracies with one of the most vibrant civil societies in the world; a civil society that made the EDSAs possible) tends toward your stance, but the contrarian and pessimistic part of me leans towards the “systemic overhaul” stance.

              As such—I felt uncertain whether I should even contest your points as I am not so sure of my contrarian points as well. However—after some time—I’ve come to the conclusion that it would be a worthwhile thought experiment to offer a contrarian view of things. Just keep in mind that I have my own doubts here.

              I plead guilty. There is more than a little narcissism here. And being a contrarian is fun. 🙂 😉

              v. Okay. I see your stance going like this. The political components are okay. The cultural components need replacing. The “democratic” political components of “Philippine Democracy” are primarily malfunctioning (i.e. the creation and fostering of trapos) because of broken cultural components in Philippine society. Is this is a correct interpretation?

              vi. But the contrarian-in-me would contend—can the political components of society be ever truly analyzed separately from the cultural components of society? Or are they so intertwined that a fundamental flaw in one will necessarily imply a fundamental flaw in another? Given these questions—the contrarian-in-me will further ask, “Given the excessive presence of the culture of impunity and the culture of patronage in Philippine society—have “democratic” political components been so altered/twisted that they cannot be considered “democratic” anymore as it were? Or were they even “democratic” in the first place?”

              vii. I assume that “ideal democracy” or “ideal feudalism/patronage” exists. Just systems with characteristics of both as it were. We make conclusions however on whether a system is a “democracy” by assessing whether its “democratic” traits are majority or a minority of its traits. America has patronage true—but her democratic elements outweigh her elements of patronage in her political sphere. The contrarian-in-me thinks the PH is the reverse; it is more a feudal than a democratic system.

              vii. The contrarian-in-me holds that the PH political sphere is should not be described as “democratic” then. Of course–this brings up references to the PH’s “formal” democracy. But putting a label entitled “orange” on an apple does not make that apple an orange. What matters is not what is written on a piece of paper (i.e. the constitution) but whether the spirit behind the words on that piece of paper is shared by the citizens?

              Someone once said that a nation IS a daily plebescite by its people. Do Filipino citizens have a “democratic” spirit in them? A “republican” temperment? The contrarian-in-me points at the 90-plus approval ratings of our President as an answer. The contrarian-in-me points at his anecdotal experience of seeing a majority of the few objections to the killings (from the normal people on FB and not from the intelligentsia) as the moral/religious objection of “against God’s will” and not as the secular/republican-democratic objection “against rule of law” as an answer.

              viii. The contrarian-in-me pulls his reading assignment two years ago in Second Year High School—Orwell’s 1984. He asks, “Doesn’t the Philippine Congress feel like Minitrue? Minitrue is the Ministry of Truth yet it peddles lies. The Philippine Congress supposedly represents the will of the people—but in practice it only represents the will of a few clans who pass around office like musical chairs.” Our “democratic” institutions claim to be democratic, yes…

              And the academe will say “technically they are.” But to the average Juan Dela Cruz—does he feel that he lives in a democracy?

              ix. This is a bit unrelated but look at our elite. Democracies don’t obliterate hierarchies, Democracies have elites too—but difference is that democratic elites represent/claim to represent the various sectors that make up society. They are represent people. Look at America as an example. The American elite from the Republican Party tend to be businessmen and evangelical pastors; so they represent the small business and evangelical Christians. The American elite from the Democratic Party tend to be union bossess and activists; so they represent workers, minorities, environmentalists, etc.

              In democracies—elities ideally do not exist for themselves or are their own ends. They exist to represent groups in society that want/need representation and are means to the ultimate end of representation.

              Compare that to the PH. Yes—I will concede that EDSA 1 put more than a few families out of power and breathed in a new breed of businessmen and activists. The contrarian-in-me however would point out that these businessmen and activists did not organize parties to represent their respective peers. Instead they set up new dynasties of their own. They merely injected “new blood” into the nobility.

              Our politicians are not “democratic” elite. They represent no one but themselves and/or their clans. And no—representing a geographic district does not count; that only makes a congressman as representative as a noble with titled estate in the House of Lords. Another evidence towards our democracy being non-democratic as the contrarian-in-me points out.

              x. So the call to democrats—given contrarian-in-me’s take on things—is to install democratic institutions that have never been truly there in the first place. We’re not fixing the engine. We’re bringing in a new engine. Let us not forget now—especially in this era of Trump: that democratic and republican ideals used to be radical.

              3.2.1 True. If I may add: swift justice delivered fairly—and most importantly–consistently.

              3.2.2. Dismantling the political component that are the dynasties here and the the cultural component that is patronage and impunity requires simultaeneous attack as it were; the politics and culture must be both changed. Suffice to say that democrats should look Leftwards. The Left considers the struggle of the farmer to be the struggle of the teacher to be the struggle of the worker to be the struggle of women; the struggle for agrarian reform is the struggle against K-12 is the struggle againsg endo is the struggle against VAW.

              They have so many beacheads because they aren’t “reforming” society. They are “building” a new one more in line with their values and principles. Democrats could learn a thing or two from that mindset—even if the optimist pipes in me, “We have the ballsiest press in the world! That’s institutionalized freedom of expression right there! We’re a democracy you know!”

              Okay things aren’t that bad. True—there are already significant liberal and democatic elements present within our society. That this blog still stands is proof of that. That the Inquirer can express editorial displeasure is another. So the reality is the middle ground; synthesizing the optimist-in-me and contrarian-in-me’s views—I could say that the PH political component is in a “tipping point” as it were. It’s not democratic. It’s not “not” democratic. Like that quantum physicist’s cat. Yes, there are dynasties. Yes. there’s a free-wheeling press. But the house of democracy is not broken but half-built. Much has been built—but it is up to us to build the rest.

              Democrats should not aim to merely fix democracy in the PH. In this time of New Society nostalgia, Duterte and the return of populism in the West—Filipino democrats should aim to build democracy. To sell democracy to the Filipino people. It grinds my gears a bit—and it should rouse a bit of envy in you all—to see that there is at least a vague awareness in Juan Dela Cruz’s head that agrarian reform and anti-endo efforts are “Leftist” as it were.

              Yet the average citizen is not aware that the FOI he so clamors for and the CHR he so despises arise from the same liberal, democratic and republican principles. I wish democrats out there tell the Filipino people that all the reforms out there—from the famous FOI to the obscure BUB—arise from the same grand project, a project as majestic as the Leftist’s end-goal of socialism and communism: democracy.

              3.2.3. In this time of Trump—I have hope for the Philippines. I have a belief that democracy’s best days are yet to come—and they’ll come in the young Third World. Where the story of democracy has been barely written. Isn’t that exciting?

              I fully agree. Easier said than done. But at least there is still hope to talk about the future here ’round the Orient, unlike the low-energy^ Occident—where hope is in such short supply that people can barely muster hope to talk—and would much rather chant in desperation, “Heil Trump! Heil the Master Race!”

              ^Laugh if you get it.


              Again pardon of the length.

              • edgar lores says:


                2. I understand why your mapping of East and West is democratic vs. non-democratic. What I do not understand is why you equate non-democratic with corrupt systems.

                2.1. Your East-West axis is a mapping of systems (or forms) of government. Corrupt systems are NOT a form of government.

                2.2. Corruption can exist in any form of government. Hence corruption is a subsystem if it is systematic, or it is a disorder if it is not systematic.

                2.3. The East-West axis mapping should really be Autocratic vs. Democratic.

                2.3.1. But to be more accurate, it should be Autocratic vs. Democratic vs. Anarchic. That is, from Rule of One… to Rule of Many… to Rule of None. (One can arrange it as Many to One to None.)

                2.4. Your North-South axis is Complexity vs. Simplicity. This can apply to all forms of government, which is our agreed point in item #1: that politics is Byzantine.

                2.5. This should lend some clarity to your question: “Is patronage the servant of democracy or is democracy the servant of patronage?” My answer would be that there is no direct correlation between the two. In Oz politics, we seldom witness the degree of patronage that is rife in Philippine politics.

                3.ii. Agree.

                3.iii. You are correct: my stance is one of systemic adjustment. And the sphere that needs most adjustment is the cultural sphere. The political sphere does need some adjustment in the things that we have overlaid on the basic structure of democracy.

                3.iii.a. If I may extend your analogy from a car engine to a bus. The political sphere, which is the form of government, is the bus. It is the vehicle we have chosen to take us to our destiny. The cultural sphere, which is the people, are the passengers. Congress are the people who craft or procure spare parts. The Judiciary are the mechanics. And the President is the driver.

                3.v. The cultural components do not need replacing. They are people after all. They need refining.

                3.vi. Yes, the cultural components can be analyzed separately from the political components. (Note simply that the essence of the political sphere (the bus) is the Separation of Powers.)

                3.vii. Agree that PH is more feudal than democratic.

                3.vii. Agree that the people are not imbued with the Republican spirit. What we have is a democratic form where the people yearn for an autocratic leader. This is the character of neediness that JoeAm has so clearly described in so many blogs.

                3.viii. Agree that Congress feels like Minitrue.

                3.ix. Agree that democracies do not obliterate elites and, in fact, may create some.

                3.x. Not install. We are upgrading and repainting the bus?

                3.2.2. In dismantling dynasties and the cultures of patronage and impunity, we are not dismantling the political sphere (the bus). We are simply re-arranging the passengers in the bus (dynasties), and telling them to stop these unseemly attachments (patronage) and to behave themselves (impunity).

                Agree with all that you say.

                3.2.3. Amen.

              • Joe America says:


    • Joe America says:

      Working backward:

      9. Mixed reviews. Many found it cluttered and rambling. But it was concrete enough to moderate a lot of concerns about a wild-eyed killer. Like caliphman, they are now willing to give consideration. I think it is rare for a speech to change minds like that, and this suggests it was a winner.

      8.2 He was giving marching orders to his cabinet, really. It’s effective, I suspect.

      8.1 The audience he was speaking to in the main does not comprehend GDP. They comprehend their problems and jobs, matters he spoke to.

      8 He was speaking to his constituency, not the elite, educated, well-traveled. He was speaking to people tired of being treated poorly, and that was his macro vision. Plus being a man of action. That theme also came through.

      7. You are in the listening crowd, slanted yellow from the getgo.

      6. His stance was intentionally VERY low key, and US Secretary of State Kerry commended the Philippine government on being so yesterday.

      5 through 5.3 Interesting parsing. Thanks.

      1 through 4. It was a sound SONA. hehe

  12. josephivo says:

    Maybe I was looking to the screen from the wrong angle, but I couldn’t see the big picture. Or was it the mix of styles? A lot was pointillism, some expressionism and some looked as abstract to me.

    Human rights to protect human dignity, but how can human dignity hinder the nation? Or how can neglect of laws trump lawfulness? When to ignore laws, when to apply laws, when to improve implementation, when to adjust laws or the? What went wrong in the past, how does the proposed solution eliminates the root cause? The why. Drugs suck away money from the poor? Drugs create criminal organizations stronger than the state? Addicts are marked for life, a burden for society? War on drugs corrupts the police and people in power? Drugs are sinful, against my beliefs?

    Peace in Mindanao and with NPA I understand.

    Continuing the previous administration economic policies. But cutting taxes and raising expenses needed some explanation.

    I lose time for my driver license once every 1000 days, for my passport once every 1500 days, but hinder in traffic every single day, missed the perspective of it all.

    What stops/delays investments? Red tape yes, but more so fear for corruption, “who else expects a cut?”, a weak justice system, changing commitments… First commit to CO2 reduction, then no more because we can’t afford it and/or we don’t believe that you rich nations will support our green efforts as promised.

    Did the secretaries feed him the big picture or only anecdotic immediate intensions?

    • Joe America says:

      Perhaps you are overthinking things, and he was definitely not speaking to you as his audience. 🙂 His theme was a government breaking through nonsense with sense, action oriented, working for the people. His examples (drivers license) were powerful and simple. His comments on the economy were essentially that we will continue the work being done well, and then he moved on. His audience does not need concepts and statistics, it needs the idea he is working for them. In those terms, it was a great speech.

      • edgar lores says:

        I find it hard to believe that the extended life of passports and drivers licenses should be noteworthy in a SONA.

        These are simple measures that should have been implemented long ago.

        Again, what is missing are the implementation details. Such as:

        1. These documents will have expiry dates of either 5 or 10 years. (It could be 4, 8 and 12.)

        2. The processing fees will vary according to the expiry date chosen. Longer expiry dates will attract higher fees.

        3. Access to longer expiry dates on the drivers license will be conditional on the driver’s registration age and medical condition. For example, at age 60 and older, a driver is only qualified for the 5-year license… subject to the submission of a formal medical certificate.

        • Joe America says:

          It isn’t the particulars that are important, but what they represent. Steps to end the nonsense. Yes, that should have been done long ago, along with many other things. But when a nation, and its government, are in the pits of poverty and operate a bureaucracy built on people without skills, it takes one step at a time. The first step is getting honest (Aquino), the next step is getting efficient (Duterte). The particulars of the licenses are not what is important, what is important is the sum of all these things that say, yes, we are going to get government working again. That was the message that the particulars represented. Trust me, it was very noteworthy to a people who spend hours in lines and doing nonsense.

          • edgar lores says:

            I agree the details of passports and drivers licenses should not be in the passport. What should be mentioned, if at all, are the tier offerings. There have been queues since OFWS started roaming the world. This was during the time of the Marcos dictatorship. In all that time, no one thought of copying other countries with tier offerings of these documents?

            I think each cabinet department have study grants for senior officers. What have they been doing on their trips abroad? These study trips are not even necessary now with the advent of the World Wide Web. These document features can be studied and accessed so readily. This is why to me, these improvements are not worthy of being mentioned in a SONA in 2016.

            • Joe America says:

              Okay. The criticism is legitimate, for sure. I do think using the examples was effective, nonetheless, as a point that the government is now chartered to do things better. I don’t know how else he could make that statement. Apologize that things are done so poorly? Not cite a tangible improvement his audience can relate to? I fear you put him in a box that he ought not be telling the people that these are the changes he promised, because the nation has been so backward in the past. I feel frustrated on his behalf, ahahaha, that you muzzle him with high falutin’ demands. 🙂

              • Edgar Lores says:


                You will understand that my criticism on this issue was less of the SONA than of the lack of innovation in past administrations.

                Still and all, I think Duterte should address all the people (including the high falutin’ ones) and not just the man in the street. As PNoy — who talked to his bosses straight… and in the vernacular — did.

              • Joe America says:

                It is startling, in a way. His dramatic work to cleanse Bilibad prison comes across as . . . duh, why didn’t someone do this before? Why did they let it rot? And the answer probably is in the priorities, the money, the time not being right due to politics and policies and laws. When you don’t have to follow process or regulations or worry about what is right and just do the job, you enter a new world entirely, from that of the past. That, in its way, is the promise of extrajudicial acts, aside from killing. You do the things that should be done and you don’t worry about the fall-out.

                It is very different.

                Continuing my defense of President Duterte’s SONA, I’d guess he reached the broad audience better than President Aquino generally did (in part because he is ‘one of us’ and a jokester), and he still spoke to educated people, who have to deal with stupid stuff like a broken down LTO. That is just my guess. Caliphman’s positive reading, and mine, are not isolated, I think. He spoke practicalities, and it connected. And which is better, a properly structured speech that does not connect, or a rambling pile of specifics that resonates?

              • edgar lores says:

                I am wary of dichotomies. A well-structured speech is not only internally consistent but should also be favorably received externally because it is well thought out. It considers not only internal presentation but external logic as well.

                A well-structured speech should resonate. If it doesn’t perhaps the fault may be in the delivery or in the audience.

                A pile of specifics may not necessarily be rambling. Such a speech may intend to cover a lot of ground, as indeed a SONA should.

                If a speech that is a pile of specifics resonates, it may be because there is something for everyone. But are the specifics well thought out? Or are they sops to populism?

                My main criticism of the Duterte SONA was that some of the specifics were not specific enough.

              • Joe America says:

                Yes, that is a legitimate criticism. Well, I don’t think they have the kinds of specifics you want, but are winging it with some ideas. As I wrote to Micha about the economy, I’m seeing some decided drift on things, some indecision, a court ruling, and expect the bureaucracy and ineptitude strewn here and there across the agencies will soon give the Admin a dose of real world. They will start lagging on everything, hitting the problems, and falling short of targets. It will eventually slow the economy. Benchmark the peso/dollar rate at 47.13 today. I’m betting infrastructure spending slows rather than goes up as they plan.

              • The specifics of the specifics must yet be specified.

              • edgar lores says:


              • Joe America says:

                Haha, exactly!

        • It is the age of instant gratification, edgar. The PNoy administration was critized as “teka teka” or having “analysis paralysis” because it is thorough and diligent. It believes in the value of delayed gratification and getting the best ROI in its spending, programs and investments. PDiggy’s administration seems to know that Filipinos like short cuts and instant gratification. They want something and they want it NOW NA. Giving them bread and circuses (passport and license extension, shock-and-awe war on drugs) as madlanglupa said, will make them happy and grateful for a while.

          • Francis says:

            I think the lesson moderates and centrists have to learn from this era of Trump and Duterte is the necessity of confidence-building measures every step of the way. One can’t just expect citizens “to understand that it is for the common good” all the time or even some of the time.

            Never forget the sugar or salt.

            • Juana Pilipinas says:

              I agree but a healthy dose of skepticism does not hurt anybody.

              How about Trump encouraging the Russians to hack Hillary’s e-mail? He will have a hard time building confidence with that move.

            • karlgarcia says:

              I like your mixed metaphors,in this case mixed salt and sugar.
              Next time I offer coffee,I will ask,Sugar or Salt?😉

          • You seem to present short-term actions as shallow and idiotic and long-term actions as the diligent and smart. But really now, is it not possible to diversify?

            How about a scenario?

            I don’t know if you’re familiar with C5, but just in case: C5 is a major thoroughfare like EDSA, also providing routes to the major business districts of Ortigas, Makati, and BGC, minus the availability of inter-city public transport.

            During the time of Bayani Fernando and his stint at MMDA, plans were already underway for a Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) system for the said stretch of road to reduce private vehicle volume.Not to mention that it’ll also help in decongesting EDSA by offering another route as it does also pass through some common major city centers. Basically something that’ll actually help a lot. Then came the next administration and it seems that they found that a train line would be a better solution than the former. Given this, they scrapped and shelved the previous project, because hey, trains bitches.

            Though yes, I really can’t deny that a train line is indeed a good long-term plan. However, do you think that a leaning towards rail is enough reason to scrap the plans for BRT during the time? The thing is, there is a problem [now], and they can actually do something about it [now]. Is alleviating the slow bleeding of the people because of the said problem really not worth the shit because: “We have better plans for you. You just have to wait.”

            Now change this C5 BRT v. C5 Trains options with other government plans.

            And you wonder why the people are irritated?

            • “You seem to present short-term actions as shallow and idiotic and long-term actions as the diligent and smart. But really now, is it not possible to diversify?”

              You seem to have a penchant for using strong words. Shallow and idiotic? They are not the antonyms of thorough and diligent. Comparing and contrasting administration methodology and the universal instant vs delayed gratification behavior does not equate to what you hatched or perceived. In short, your perception and what you intuit is not my reality.

              Diversity is good. Your example of mixed transportation modes to solve traffic in EDSA is laudable. It could work, despite the fact that Filipinos are now buying more cars, hence more traffic problems. On tangent, where is the money coming from to buy all these added vehicles on the street? From the economic bounty that does not trickle to the middle and lower classes?

              Lower taxes, raising military salaries and SSS benefits, giving rice to 4P recipient and all the other socialist and populist programs promised. How are these going to be funded by a government that is just creeping out of the bankruptcy hole?

              Maybe it is time for the little people of PH to be taken care of by the government. As the palace speaker said, PRD was mainly trying to reach the CDE classes but contradictions abounds that makes me skeptic.

              • Rereading what I’ve written, it does seem like that I have used strong words that may be inappropriate for the discussion. Sorry about that. Will try to minimize it.

                However, could you elaborate more on your ‘reality’? It is just that I think that what I’ve said still stands. That these people who clamor for short-term actions are being labeled as people just looking for instant-gratification and shortcuts. And these labels seems to have a connotation that these people are indeed shallow as they seem to lack the thinking faculties to look at the long run. Though it is debatable if the connotation is indeed true, I think that none can deny that we do indeed entertain this connotation every now and then. And in addition to that, many here do seem to have a tendency of choosing the long-term plan rather than the short-term plan, when in reality, we probably need some sort of compromise between the two. But do correct me if I’m wrong.

                And on the contradiction of taxes and expenses, though the government will indeed try to reduce income tax, they will be increasing other excise taxes. I remember posting about it but I’m currently on mobile. The gist of it however is: lower income tax may actually result in more revenue as collections will be made much easier as the government will not have to deal with disgruntled people anymore. They’ll probably be more willing to cooperate also if they will immediately feel that there taxes are going somewhere. In addition to that, lower income taxes would also translate to more consumer spending and given the planned increase in excise taxes, we’ll probably be taxing them the same as before. It was just made as less apparent. But given this, it will surely be a delicate balancing act in part of the government

              • @intuitiveperceiving

                My reality is: I do not think people who want instant gratification are shallow and idiotic nor are the people giving them what they want. I believe that the band-aid method will only solve superficial problems. It will not cure infections nor ascertain if there is internal hemorrhage involved. I think it is impulsive and reckless to slap a band-aid on a bleeding accident victim and send him home. Short-term plans are well and good but there should also be a long-term plan so the problem will have the chance to be truly solved. In your example, the BRT plan should had been saved in conjunction with the trains. If the buses are already alleviating the traffic congestion, then the addition of the trains might altogether solve the problem.

                Excise taxes? Very sly. I do not like them. They are sleight of hand that will be appreciated by those who do not understand taxation but will annoy and infuriate those who do. It’s like Trump telling American voters that he will bring back US jobs by slapping higher tariffs on China (45%) and Mexico (35%). Really? How he will do that bewilder a lot of economists and bean counters but the real clincher is: it sounds good but when you start crunching the number, the Americans will be the losers in this proposal. Take for example a product from China that is priced at $100 now, with 45% tariff, it will costs $145 to the consumer. Sounds like the excise tax scheme, huh?

              • Trump is for making Chinese products hideously expensive that the public will no longer be tempted to buy them, which could be his purpose all along. Some Filipinos and even the Fil-Chinese citizens has proposed boycotting of these products to the point of identifying the bar codes that would identify them but it’s not yet effective to date, I don’t know it it’s because of lack of patriotism or what…Excise tax can could be done here, but the trouble is, the Chinese can buy the staff manning the ports, the custom or the Divisoria malls, so they get away with selling a lot of cheap, smuggled basic products to the detriment of our local producers.

              • Juana Pilipinas says:


                Might be but his discriminatory stance tells me that he is bound to strengthen the myth that America is an imperialist bully. I do not subscribe to that because I believe that, collectively, Americans are good, generous, and compassionate people.

                That is what I am saying all along. Do a thorough study of the situation. Do not put a band-aid on a toothache. Examine it and do a root canal if necessary. In the proliferation of smuggled cheap and inferior products that undermines the local ones, do not KILL the consumers, remove the infected pulp(s) at the port of entries that causes the infection. Corruption of Filipinos at the Customs needs the root canal therapy. Overhaul Customs by removing the corrupt bantay-salakay then clean and seal its personnel and procedures to prevent reoccurrence.

  13. mel says:

    rh law and illegal drugs kills have similar objectives…check over population of pinas. these are man-made methods to control population. then there is by natural law which are famine, disaster, tsunami, earthquake, disease epidemic, etc…anything that involves death is sad even if it is mercy killing. but i can only follow what is the Great Creator has in His Will and Infinite Wisdom. This is where i can find rationale and understanding of the senseless killings that is happening. Praise be Allah, the God of Abraham, ang Bathala ng mga Sinaunang Pilipino and may HE BLESS our philippines.

    • Are you saying that the present administration is putting in practice the Malthusian theory? Genocide and birth control as Malthusian (over population) check? And the plot thickens…

      • mel says:

        i do not know malthusian theory, so i cant comment. all i know is that there is a Divine reason why people die. what this Divine reason, your guess is as good as mine. i do know that for every effect there is a cause, as every cause gives an effect. may kasabihan, ang mabuting damo ay agad kinukuha ni Lord…i read this as pampagaan ng loob sa mga namatayan. for me to get over the sadness of the too much killing is that ‘if this is the Creator’s Will, who am i to disagree’… every group deserves their kind of leader so much so that people (the majority) deserves their kind of government…(majority of the peole either accepted their leader wholeheartedly, or they did not like their leader but refused to do anything about it, or they don’t care who their leader is or others are just too scared to say they do not like their leader). my thoughts are the result of experience and interface with other people.

      • Jake says:

        It comes off as like that except that, it is to “reduce” the population of the poor by killing them — EJK, reinstatement of death penalty — in which most victims are poor. You never see a plunder in the death row. They rather just get a fancy house arrest

        • I hope we will take the lesson learned from Rwanda and Burundi about the unintended consequences of government encouragement to kill others:

          Click to access RwandaPopulationArticle.pdf

          The contradictions are what I am skeptical about, Jake. The talking out both sides of the mouth bothers me. The socialist and populist promises laced with government encouragement to kill the very people these promises are aimed at irks me to no end.

          I might go on leave here shortly because I am getting too incensed with obfuscated messages I have been hearing lately.

          • karlgarcia says:

            Another tanod will go on leave then. Mary Grace was literally stressed out to the max (also because of stressful activities outside TSH like FB).I too got stressed out last year.
            Make it a short break Juana.😉

          • Waray-waray says:

            Same here. The normal course when we have just a new elected government is to feel hopeful and optimistic. But I just feel the opposite – I am feeling angrier and so stressed out everyday I read the news. I should be shutting off myself from the news and Fbs. It is much easier to be indifferent. The hubby said that we are not traveling to the Philippines if it’s not really very important. We do not feel safe. When in MNL I often commute, I ride the tricycle, the van, the bus going to Quezon province, the jeepney even the trisikad to keep my feet on the ground. I stay in Paranaque and just this week a woman in her 40s was shot in La Huerta. She looked decent and I was wondering what was her “crime”.

            • Waray-waray….we need to pray for our loved ones, for their safety and well being. I just shared in FB a news item about :

              LINGAYEN, Pangasinan—One is a graduating Mass Communication student. The other is about to finish a seaman’s course.

              Both had been killed in the continuing spate of street executions of drug suspects in the province which is part of a nationwide orgy of summary killings apparently inspired by the Duterte administration’s promise to end a drug menace that President Duterte said is the evil that is destroying the country.

              But the killings of Rowena Tiamson, 22, and Roman Clifford Manaois, 20, bore the signs of a brutal war on drugs gone astray.

              Rowena was found dead on July 19 on a village road in Manaoag town. She was tied and her face wrapped in packaging tape. Strung around her neck was a piece of cardboard with the written words: “Don’t emulate, she is a pusher.”

              Shot in the head

              On the same day Rowena was found, Roman was riding a tricycle with a friend to the public market of Dagupan City for a meal. Along the way, Roman’s friend who was driving the tricycle picked up a man, Zaldy Abalos. As Abalos alighted in the village of Lucao, gunmen came and opened fire apparently targeting Abalos but also hitting Roman.

              According to a Facebook post of Roman’s grandfather, Melandrew Velasco, the gunmen made sure Roman was dead. His grandson, Velasco said, was shot in the right temple.

              Found on Roman’s body is a white bond paper with the written words: “Don’t emulate me. I am a pusher. I am a killer and you’re next—DDS.” It was not clear what the initials DDS meant but they were the same initials used for the Davao Death Squad, a vigilante group which has been blamed for a spate of extrajudicial killings of crime suspects in Davao City.

              Rowena’s killing shocked and enraged friends and relatives, who swore that she was neither a drug pusher nor a user.

              In their Facebook posts, Rowena’s friends remembered her as a good singer, an honor student and an active church choir member, all indications that drugs were not part of her life.

              Roman’s grandfather, Velasco, said in his post that Roman’s killing is a tragic event for the family.

              “How come innocent men like Oman (Roman’s nickname) are being summarily executed?” Velasco said in his post.

              Velasco said Roman’s grandmother, Leoning, cried and “was asking me why President Duterte is allowing the killing of innocent persons.”

              Negative for drugs

              “I was lost for words to answer Ate Leoning’s question,” Velasco wrote in his post.

              Results of an autopsy on Roman’s remains showed he has not been using drugs, Velasco said.

              Read more: http://newsinfo.inquirer.net/…/2-students-dead-in-street-ki…

              • Joe America says:

                I wonder if President Duterte will visit the funeral services.

              • Waray-waray says:

                I could only pray for our loved ones in the Philippines. So many innocent victims who have a promising future ahead of them. Hope and future snuffed just like that and people are just shrugging off their shoulders saying there would always be collateral damage in this war against drugs. To date I knew of two young women in their 20’s and about five men also in their 20s. It is the most undignified kind of death to be mistakenly labeled with a cardboard and worst wrapped with packing tape worst than the fate of a convicted terrorist. Their families would cry to high heavens that they were just mistakenly killed as drug users or pushers but there would be people who would cast doubts on these dead youths about their persons. They were already unfairly judged long before they could be accused.

            • Jake says:

              Gone are the days when you’ll only be wary of mandurukots and snactchers, which can be remedied by being more vigilant. Now, these people are showed in the back because the new worry is vigilantes/police will mistake you as a drug user/addict simply because of what you wear

              Better wear coat and tie when doing groceries!

  14. Ed Celis says:

    There is NO death penalty under the Constitution, therefore the police executing these mass killings, as ordered by the president are now the criminals. They took their oath to defend and protect the people under the rule of Law. ..

    1987 PHILIPPINE Saligang-Batas Artikulo III, Bill NG KARAPATAN Seksyon 1. Walang tao ay dapat bawian ng buhay, kalayaan, o ari-arian nang walang angkop na proseso ng batas, at hindi rin ay tao anumang tanggihan ang pantay na pangangalaga ng batas. Seksyon 2. Ang karapatan ng mga tao upang maging ligtas sa kanilang mga tao, mga bahay, mga papeles, at mga epekto laban sa walang katwiran paghahanap at seizures ng anumang likas na katangian at para sa anumang layunin ay dapat na hindi dapat labagin, at walang search warrant o warrant sa pagdakip ay maglalabas maliban sa maaaring mangyari sanhi upang maging natutukoy sa pamamagitan ng personal na mga hukom pagkatapos ng pagsusuri sa ilalim ng panunumpa o paninindigan ng nagrereklamo at ang saksi ay maaaring makagawa siya, at lalo na naglalarawan sa lugar na hahanapin at ang mga tao o mga bagay na dapat ay kinuha. Seksyon 3. (1) Ang privacy ng komunikasyon at pag-uusap ay magiging hindi dapat labagin maliban sa legal-sunod ng mga hukuman, o kapag ang kaligtasan ng publiko o order ay nangangailangan kung hindi man, bilang inireseta ng batas. (2) Ang anumang ebidensya na nakuha sa paglabag sa mga ito o sa susunod na seksyon ay dapat na hindi tinatagusan para sa anumang layunin sa anumang magpatuloy. Seksyon 4. Walang batas ay lumipas abridging ang kalayaan ng pananalita, sa pagpapahayag, o ng mga press, o sa kanan ng mga tao peaceably upang magtipon at magpetisyon sa pamahalaan para sa pagtutuwid ng grievances.


    1987 Philippine Constitution Article III, Bill RIGHTS Section 1. No person shall be deprived of life, liberty, or property without due process of law, nor is any man deny equal protection of the laws. Section 2. The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects against unreasonable searches and seizures of whatever nature and for any purpose shall be inviolable, and no search warrant or warrant of arrest shall issue except on probable cause to be determined personally by the judge after examination under oath or affirmation of the complainant and the witnesses he may produce, and particularly describing the place to be look at the people or things that should be taken. Section 3. (1) The privacy of communication and correspondence shall be inviolable except upon lawful order of the court, or when public safety or order requires otherwise, as prescribed by law. (2) Any evidence obtained in violation of this or the next section shall be inadmissible for any purpose in any proceeding. Section 4. No law shall be passed abridging the freedom of speech, of expression, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble and petition the government for redress of grievances.
    —————————————————————————————————————————“The care of human life and happiness, and not their destruction, is the first and only object of good government.– Thomas Jefferson

    • mel says:

      the rule of law are for the educated, enlightened, sane, and similarly situated people. the rule of the gun prevails unless one wants to be a dead hero. a dead hero inspires if one is popular. a dead hero is just a dead person if one is a common tao. the bicol man says be cool dude. me says kiss (keep it simple stud, live simply and one will be happy)… do no harm to others and more likely no harm will come your way, if it does it is an accident.

      • madlanglupa says:

        So as to speak, Mao Zedong declared, “Political power grows out of the barrel of a gun”.

        • The reality for most Filipinos is rule of law does not help them most of the time but harrasses them sometimes, much like in the time of Rizal.

          Rule of the gun was also the reality for most even before now where it got worse.

          • madlanglupa says:

            *sighs* Now I am thinking more about that infamous line: “Russia loves to feel the whip!” To instill discipline, hew to the line, and make sure children are in their beds before 9pm, to show what this New Order means by killing the troublemakers and the undesirables.

            • Bill in Oz says:

              Ahhh Madlanglupa ! Russia and Russians are so different to the Philippines and Filipinos.. I think that Russia are afflicted with SAD due to lack of sunlight in the long dark winters, and are thus more likely to suffer from depression…And the location of the Philippines in the sunny tropics guarantees that this will not happens to Filipinos…

              By the way, my understanding about the new ‘law’ of teenagers at night is that it does not apply if they are with parents & family..IE that it is directed at kids & teenagers wandering the streets at night without any parental supervision..But I may be wrong or have misunderstood.

              • chempo says:

                The new law in Philippines is — the sins of the father do not visit the son, but the sins of the children visit the parents.

          • Maybe the Legislative branch should take time to review ALL laws that are not helping the citizenry? Purge the antiquated and update those with teeth?

    • Joe America says:

      The Constitution, in its simplest sense, assures us all of safety and security. So those killed are definitely being violated, along with the law of the land. Thanks for that clear, hard statement, Ed.

  15. caliphman says:

    If I were to be lumped into those 3 critique categories during the campaign, without doubt I would be tossed in the dread the coming of Duterte bucket. Duterte’s conduct post inauguration has significantly changed in my opinion that I now belong to the wait and see if good things can come out from his presidency. The biases of those for and against Duterte are so predictable that while they may be worth noting, they are of lesser interest than the fact seems to be acting fast on many things which in my opinion are good for the country but have for one reason or another been languishing on the side.

    For me, this includes lower taxes which should spur the economy and help the poor who are regressively burdened with income in addition to VAT taxation. The FOI is also great in a corrupt government culture if the media and public apply it as a resource to expose the shenanigans of public officials and agencies. Those who claim lack of records or info will have to explain to the public why critical or important data they should be keeping track off is not being kept. There were things at the SONA that is very concerning of course including the all out war on drugs and government sanctioned vigilante justice. But all in all, there was enough there to lay the ground for some hope and less pessimism in Duterte’s predidency.

  16. karlgarcia says:

    @ Francis,
    I would like to read a guest blog from you.
    Another reader I am interested in reading is @ intutiveperceiving.

    Looking forward to your favorable response.

    • caliphman says:

      Thanks for the kind words, Karl. I wish I had the time right now to do so. As it is, I can barely manage to read the blogs and post a quick comment.

    • @karlgarcia, I just saw this now and, to be honest, I’m flattered. =) However, I really don’t know what I will write about. And even if I did, I think I can only offer random musings and insights at best. But to give you an idea of how it may be like, think of the recent SONA of PDuts: A long seemingly disjunct speech with some good points here and there, then some ramblings every now and then.

      I think I remember saying before that I do somehow relate to the thought process of Duterte. But speaking for myself, [though I think it is also probably the same with Duterte], giving the floor solely to me will probably not yield an exceptional result given the huge tendency to ramble. Nevertheless, what I usually thrive at is in an informal and open discussion with another knowledgeable person that will steer the conversation. The said person introduces an insight then I bring up another which may agree or disagree with it. But usually, the insight usually both agrees and disagrees as rather than bring up the pros and cons, I usually like to bring up the greys. So another better scenario is if I find myself with two or more people having opposing stances with each other. Because rather than arguing with each other, trying to disprove each other’s points, what I’ll usually do is I try to fit every insight into a common framework by trying to see the little commonalities and compatibilities. In a way, a Frankenstein’s monster of ideas is usually born. And given this propensity to constantly gather many different insights, I also have the tendency to constantly backtrack on what I say as I try to rebuild the entire framework to accommodate the new insights.

      But I think I’m starting to ramble now. Heh. Though still, if you could give me an idea what to write about, let me see if I can whip out something. =D

  17. Sup says:

    OT…Miracles still happen in the Philippines..

    No wheelchair, no brace…all gone..only big smile….
    Must be a good healing priest somewhere in the Philippines.. 🙂


    • Jake says:


      Even Casino, Reyes, Colmenares who were very vocal against Gloria are mum with her acquittal

      But of course, they were easily spotted when Kerry came for a state visit

  18. NHerrera says:

    Off topic

    Re your link on Heydarian’s “Manila’s Tough Post-Arbitration Options” — thanks. A good read.

    As usual, Heydarian knows his Foreign Affairs — a nuanced article on the subject. The SC’s final decision on EDCA and US Sec Kerry’s visit and statement, capped with his meeting with PRD is a nice sequel.

  19. karlgarcia says:

    “You are being played, you know. There is a big brother, and he is playing you.”

    I recommend Jason Bourne.

  20. NHerrera says:


    I am beginning to think that the killings and the seeming condonation of these is being used as a tool to keep the bureaucracy in line including the TRO-trigger-happy Judiciary. For in other matters, I have noticed a softening or re-calibration of the initial stance. My opinion and I may be wrong.

  21. NHerrera says:

    Off topic

    It is now a background material because of the PCA Arbitration Ruling, but Dr. Robles article posted in Raissa’s Blogsite on “China’s Attempts to Lobby the Tribunal and the Permanent Court of Arbitration” provides interesting reading on the behavior of a country who wants to be treated with respect for an economic and military power that it is but does not behave as such.

    The delicate but firm response of the PCA on this Lobby Attempt is worthy of that Tribunal!

    I am sad about this because China, I believe, did not always behave like the rich-but-loud-noisy Tourist that it has become. I have Chinese ancestry and I say China has a rich history that showed that it is worthy of respect. I hope it recovers its sense.

    • Bill in Oz says:

      N’Hererra there was a very insightful TV program about China on the Australian Broadcasting Commission TV last Tuesday night..
      Here is the link. It also has a transcript for those of us with slow download speeds.

      The interviews in it with ordinary working Chinese people are extraordinary. Their views on the Communist national government leadership are essential seeing/reading.

      The Philippines is a nation – a ship of state- in a globalised world. For over a hundred years it has lived behind the wonderful shield of the US military..And so sees the world via that USA lens..But now USA military capacity & cultural influence is under challenge from a massive powerful neighbour named China. It is important for Filipinos now to know and understand this resurgent nation, it’s strengths and it’s curious weaknesses…

      • Joe America says:

        The gist of the article is that the “happy worker” idea is false, that there are a lot of problems in the labor market. I think, under the Chinese social and government stratification, Filipinos could look forward to being laborers and second class peoples. I also think China would be a lousy commercial partner.

        • Bill in Oz says:

          It may be that the transcript does not indicate the strength of Chinese worker disenchantment ……All I can say is that if workers here in Oz were that disenchanted with a Labor government, that government is cactus….It is a very raw uncensored perspective from the bottom of the Chinese nation..

          Some other interesting bits of data :
          There have been massive sustained outflows of foreign currency from China since early 2013. There have been substantially increased numbers of Mainland Chinese seeking to migrate or move or study in other countries. There are now over 55 million mainland Chinese born Chinese living outside China in places like.Italy, the Philippines, Indonesia, Argentina, France the UK, Australia, Canada, Thailand, and of course the USA…

          There is no civil war in China or significant terror threat. But economic circumstances have deteriorated in many areas and the Xi government has lead a crackdown on corruption that has seen the execution of those convicted and the seizure of many ‘family’ fortunes worth billions US.

          And the other day we discussed the internal governance issues of Xi versus Li.

          All this gives insight into the nature of Chinese society now and the Chinese Communist regime…

          My conclusion is that while China now has a powerful military machine and is has de facto control of the WPS. it is in actually in economic & political turmoil….And that is not a sign of strength…

          It is important that the Filipino government form it’s policies to China with all this in mind. Doing nothing and playing a waiting game may be the very very best option

          • Micha says:

            I agree.

            Currently, there’s a glut in both steel and cement production in China. Many factories are either closing down or downsizing. Workers are suffering. Plutocracy has taken over.

          • Joe America says:

            Makes a whole lot of sense to me. Except I would not let China develop Scarborough.

      • NHerrera says:

        Thanks. When I opened the link it said “Service unavailable. DNS failure.” I will try again later.

        • NHerrera says:

          Bill in Oz,

          I finally opened the link successfully.

          That’s the problem with an economy hurtling along before at 12-14% a year then a slow down to what — about 6%? And that is the average, meaning it may be from 2% to 10% depending on the sector and the area. The labor complaints are coming from the construction, coal and steel sector. Those are the guys where the sectoral growth is probably about 2%. Poor workers, meantime the fat cats are still … fat cats.

          Thanks again for the link.

  22. Micha says:

    Is the passenger train project across the country a serious proposal from Duterte?

    • Joe America says:

      Yes, in a broad conceptual sense. I don’t know that it has been priced out. Inter-island transport was also mentioned as a priority. I think it all fits together in a concept that has yet to be tested, financially.

      • Micha says:

        It will most likely be funded from a loan package from China and will be built by a Chinese company using Chinese steel which, incidentally, the New Zealanders have found out is of vastly inferior quality.

        The Chinese have been doing these infrastructure projects in Africa and South America as well in a sort of parallel or in competition with what the IMF-World Bank is doing.

        I’d say we should take a careful look at this proposal and not fall for it hook line and sinker and later find out we’re so heavily indebted to the Chinese they could effectively dictate how or what policies should be made in the country.

        • Bill in Oz says:

          Cheap inferior short lived steel is a real problem for all building & infrastructure projects

          • karlgarcia says:

            The biggest imorter of scrap metal is Turkey,if they all came from China good luck to their new structures.

            During the last earth quake in Bohol, some new churches was outlived by older ones,maybe they were made of Chinese materials.

            What do the Chinese do to make steel inferrior,they melt the same iron, is it in the thickness of the bars?
            Paging NHerrera,are you a civil engineer?

            • Bill in Oz says:

              Impurities from the recycling of scrap metals may be an issue. But the iron ore is good quality from the enormous open cut mines in the Pilbarra in Australia. Or simply not cooking/smelting it long enough as a way of cutting costs…

            • karl, now I have a stressful worry about the steel rods being used by the Chinese developers hereabouts in their high rise developments, what with the big one scare and the earthquake drills going on citiwide…I hope the condo unit I have invested in is structurally sound.

              • karlgarcia says:

                You have reason to worry,but I hope the big named developers even with Chinese blood,source only the best materials.

        • Joe America says:

          Agree all the way.

          • caliphman says:

            Lets be clear on what the Philippine constitution prohibits and that is our government giving up our land and resources to another sovereign state. It does not ban development deals with foreign corporations whether it involve modernizing communications systems such as the corruption-ridden GMA-ZTE affair or in the case of PRD the idea of China financing and building a railway system in the South. I do not think for a moment any deal is being contemplated where Philippine territory or rights whether disputed or not is going to be ceded to another country in exchange for such a system. Nevermind that many of these Chinese private entities are sponsored or owned by members of the Politburo or the Peoples Liberation Army but so long as the arrangements are legal and do not compromise Philippine sovereignty, other nation states including Saudi Arabia, South Africa have been doing such deals for ages.

            • Joe America says:

              The problem seems to be that China does not accept a deal under Philippine laws because that negates Chinese sovereignty over the territories. But we’ll watch it play out. There is a bit of an eruption in that Secretary Yasay apparently instructed ASEAN to delete references to the arbitration hearing from the ASEAN statement. There seem to be two tracks. What is said and what is done.

              • caliphman says:

                I have not read the ASEAN statement so I cannot comment on it. If the Chinese are insisting on sovereignty over the waters and rocks or reefs covered by their 9-line, then it is not only the arbitration hearing but the entire UNCLOS treaty they are dismissing which China signed and ratified. For the Philippines to acqueisce to this sweeping claim is not only in violation of the Philippine constitution but also established international laws and principles.

              • Joe America says:

                Justice Carpio said it would be an impeachable offense, not that this particular House would ever go that direction.

            • Bill in Oz says:

              Caliphman Re your comment ” the Philippine constitution prohibits and that is our government giving up our land and resources to another sovereign state.”

              This seems a bit moot when the Chinese have been ‘buying’ clay, soil & rock from mines in Zambales province in the Philippines to make their artificial islands in the WPS..And all this happened during the Aquino period of government. Was somebody asleep or just did not care or were they paid to not see ?

              • karlgarcia says:

                Bill remember our discussion anout Chinese buying vast land in Oz?
                Arroyo government once offered ten percent of our agricultural lands to the Chinese elite(mainland chinese).
                Maybe the SC stopped it,and if they did,that is one TRO,I agree with.

              • caliphman says:

                Bill, my response to your comment ended being sent to Karl. Karl, the kickbacks under that deal rival or exceeded those under PDAFgate which was the primary motivation for it. It was not an issue involving giving up territory. China is the Philippines largest trading partner, a huge market for our mine and agricultural products and our primary supplier for consumer goods. By all means, the Philippines should use boycotts or bans on Chinese joint ventures and goods but lets make sure we do not suffer more injury than China as a result.

              • karlgarcia says:

                Yes,I understand SM,Robinsons,Rustan’s,etc source most of their consumer goods from China.
                The agricultural land lease deal was opposed by pressure groups,I was not sure if a “permanent” TRO was issued,maybe the proponent just simply gave up on the deal.

              • Joe America says:

                I wonder when the left is going to start being the left again, and marching for principles. Now that Will is a member, maybe he can inspire them in that direction. Students are out of it. LP people are too conservative. The only REAL opposition here are the leftists. I may join them after canceling all the blogs I’ve done over the years ridiculing them.

              • karlgarcia says:

                Will did reinforce my feelings about the left,which was really mixed to begin with.

              • Bill in Oz says:

                Karl, Caliphman, Joe..The complexities of this boondoggle leave me bewildered….I have read that Australia has exported enough Iron ore to china to cover an area the size of Tasmania to one meter….That’s a lot of ‘dirt’ but at current value of A $45.00 a ton probably too expensive to build artificial islands with 🙂

                I still think that the Zambales export deal amounts to Filipinos assisting China create islands in the Philippines WPS exclusive economic zone, which are controlled and the exclusive possession of China.Given the public international legal dispute between Philippines & China. On the face of it, to me that seems to be treason.

                Looking through some of the comments online in the Enquirer about this issue were interesting.There was a good deal of gloating by some commentators who supported China.

            • karlgarcia says:

              During that ZTE nbn issue,I asked blog commenters what they think if everything was above board,would it be ok,many still do not want the Chinese involved.Now even Jun Lozada says we need an NBN.

              • caliphman says:

                If it happened at all, it was most likely not a government but a business or private party involved. It may be morally unconscionable and unpatriotic, but unless war has been declared on China, it is as I am reiterating again, its not illegal.

              • karlgarcia says:

                Bill comment above was for you,btw,the incumbent governor of Zambales is putting the blame on his predecessor ex gov Hermogenes Ebdane.

        • chempo says:

          Micha, your comment on New Zealand’s problems with China steel.
          I think it’s related to my comment I placed under the MRT article on trains that cracked

          chempo says:
          July 14, 2016 at 8:35 pm (sorry I don’t know how to link comments — Karl??)

          • karlgarcia says:

            At your service in a few minutes.

          • karlgarcia says:

            New admin is boasting of getting increased trains within 100 days, but no one is giving credit to the previous admin for the work done so far.

            But before giving credit, I have very important caveat to the public.

            Concern was raised by interested parties that the DOTC was getting the coaches from a company with no prior experience. The company was indicated as Dalian Locomotive & Rolling Stock Co Ltd. Is the full name of this company CNR Dalian Locomotive & Rolling Stock Co Ltd? I think so, but I’m not 100% sure.

            The CNR group has much experience in China. However, here’s a scary story that you guys need to know of.

            Singapore MRT purchased some 36 coashes from a Japan-China consortium (Kawasaki-Sifang). 26 out of the 36 trains had problems (cracks on some body parts). Spore sent 26 trains back to China for repairs. They did it quietly. But the story broke in HK media and Spore MRT is getting hell from the public. The Spore MRT, China and Japan parties down-played it, that it’s not life threatening, and that repairs will be using Japanese parts.

            Now it seems the cracks were due to the alluminium alloy mix. It’s not simple some parts giving problem. It’s the damn materials itself. Material weakness problem often will surface years later. In Spore we have LRT trains (LRT is lighter system than our MRT) and these LRT trains are now showing problems in the undercarriage metals. The metal weaknesses are now showing up after 16 years. The new 36 MRT trains, and existing LRT trains, came from Sifang.

            In 2014 CSR Sifang made a bid for a subway train contract for Boston. The lost when Massachusetts transport officials ruled that the technical, manufacturing and quality assurance components of its bid were “unacceptable”. That contract was won by a Chinese firm CNR (I think stands for China National Railway)

            Here’s the rub. Last year CNR and CSR merged to form CRRC, (China Railway Rolling Stock Corp). CNR Dalian Locomotive & Rolling Stock Co Ltd is a subsidiary of CRRC.

            So guys, better get the metals analysed and tested..

  23. Micha says:

    Rodrigo also said his administration will pursue “prudent fiscal and monetary policies”.

    Translation : expect mediocre improvement in the economy, if at all.

    • Joe America says:

      I’m sensing early on that they are working to deliver what they promised, but there is a significant slide in “doability” because, after all, it is newbies in a bureaucracy filled with a lot of slugs who are probably very indecisive now, not knowing if they will have a job or be shot. I think they’ll be hard-pressed to reach mediocre.

  24. NHerrera says:


    If I have not misheard, the exhortation is to kill not only the illegal drug lords/ protectors and drug pushers but also the drug addicts or users.

    The Dangerous Drug Board under the Office of the President estimates the drug users in the Philippines at 1.3 Million with the following profile of the drug users:

    Mean Age:  20-29 years old

    Ratio of Male is to Female Users: 10:1

    Civil Status: Married

    Employment Status: Employed

    Educational Attainment: High School Level

    If the drug users are not themselves the object of the kill order, but meant only to scare them, let us turn our attention to the pushers. Say we have a pusher for every 100 users, then we have 13,000 pushers. If we have a drug lord for every 50 pushers then we have about 260 drug lords.

    Then in round numbers, considering my assumptions:

    1,000,000 users/addicts requiring rehab and massive funding
    10,000 drug pushers
    300 drug lords

    Considering the reports and commentaries, most of those killed were users in “tsinelas” or bare feet. But the “kill” (sorry to sound barbaric) should be trained on the 10,000 drug pushers and the 300 drug lords. If I have not misread, there was so far only one true-blue drug lord killed.

    So we have barely scratched the surface so to speak.

    This Administration has 72 months. If only 1 drug lord is killed for every month that will mean only some 70 drug lords killed. One has to increase the efficiency to 4 per month to get practically all of the drug lords. On the pusher side one requires 140 pushers killed per month.

    • Joe America says:

      They need to up the kill rate markedly then, as they are under the urgency of a six month deadline. They have stepped away from living up to that promise, but, still, a six year effort would be a failure.

      Thanks for giving this a size.

    • edgar lores says:


      When you speak of increasing the efficiency of anti-drugs killing, that is chilling.

      You have laid out the calculus of death.

      I do not wish to derogate The Holocaust, and so I shall not use the term. But what we have here is butchery.

      I wonder if anyone is keeping track of the collateral damage. The name Sunshine Mallari Capinpin sticks in my mind. She might have been the first innocent death.

      I shall not murder
      The mankind of her going with a grave truth
      Nor blaspheme down the stations of the breath
      With any further
      Elegy of innocence and youth.

      …After the first death, there is no other.

      After the first death, there should be no other.

      • Two of my last articles are meditations on death and killing and humanity… based on what I have heard about Yugoslavia which is nearby, and even more intensely on last Friday…


        Kanya-kanyang interpretasyon siyempre ang mga iba’t-ibang panig sa kasaysayan. Hindi lang iyon, nahaluan na talaga ng kasinungalingan at black propaganda. May kasabihan rito sa Europe: katotohanan ang unang biktima kapag may gyera. Mukhang ang politika ngayon, kahit saan, gyera na rin. Ang tuluyang nangyari, madugo sa Bosnia. May pelikula tungkol rito – Savior (link) – gawa ni Oliver Stone at malapit sa talagang nangyari. Hayaan natin kung Amerikano ang bida doon, ganyan talaga kapag pelikulang Amerikano, sanay na tayo diyan di ba?

        Marami akong narinig na kuwento lalo na tungkol sa Bosnia. Sa mga iba’t-ibang lahing tagaroon, na halos magka-ubusan ng lahi noong araw. Marami kasing napunta rito sa Munich, o naandito na pero hindi rin mapakali dahil may kamag-anak doon. Kahit dating magkaibigan, magkapitbahay naging kaaway o nagkalayo. Iyong mga may lahing halu-halo, kadalasan hindi na bumalik. Pero heto ang hindi ko malimutan, mula sa isang kalbo at muskulado na dating kasama sa gyera doon: “ang tao, tao. Hindi mahalaga ang relihiyon. Pulitika ang sumisira sa atin”.


        All people have an animal inside them. Some more and some less, and also dependent on mood and things that alter them like alcohol – or drugs which are a rising problem in the entire world. Social cohesion and rule of law prevent that animal from causing too much damage. Social cohesion seems to have broken down in Metro Manila especially, which does not surprise me given that all cities with more than 10 million people have special issues – Tokyo is a notable exception but the Japanese have strong social cohesion and self-discipline plus they are highly organized.

        Last Friday, David S. went on a rampage. “Vengeance was his” too (link) and he used the “Darknet” (link) to get a gun. Inspite of some difficult moments, by and large the city stuck together. There was no harrassment of anyone by police or residents, not even of the shooter’s Iranian father who went to the police when he saw his son on a viral video. There was some tension and still is, but there is no widespread looking for culprits, no calls for more blood to be shed. Cardboard was used for another purpose over here (link) – to cheer up a city in a state of shock at what happened.

        Human rights are seen as highfalutin Western stuff by many in the Philippines. But could it be that the trail of blood especially in much of Europe’s history has turned the EU into the major promoter of human rights? My articles try to convey the experience and look at things inductively to show that human rights are not only better from the moral point of view, but also from a long-term practical point of view… two major calls to the police helped identify last Friday’s Munich shooter – his own father and a friend who both saw him on a viral video. Both of foreign origin – now would they have gone to the cops if they still were anything like the Munich cops of around 80 years ago? I doubt it… Somehow after last Friday, I understand Camus’ stuff a bit more than before.

        • edgar lores says:

          Irineo, thanks for the European input. The last paragraph of your second blog is worth quoting:

          “There are rich and poor in Munich, but no ghettos and no gated communities. The city in fact as policy tries to mingle groups, which in my observation keeps some grounded and some disciplined – one example is a recent witnessed clean-up of balconies in an apartment block which neighbors saw as an eyesore. Heavy use of public transport also leads to mingling of different groups of people on a daily basis, even if they sometimes don’t really like each other. But just seeing the other is HUMAN helps – in not hating each other. And a system that dispenses justice, not vengeance.

    • edgar lores says:


      I miss the 5 generals and the 20 or so town mayors in the calculus.


    The US is giving a $32M grant to the Philippines for its law enforcement training:


    My, my, that is a lot of Dirty Harry and its 4 sequels videos. 🙂

  26. edgar lores says:


    1. Is the Duterte administration thinking things through? Why the flip-flop on a Con-con?

    2. The original decision indicated Duterte had partly suppressed his rash revolutionary bent and graduated to a demeanour of reflection and considered judgment.

    3. The argument of cost does not wash. If the suggested improvements in the Constitution, particularly the amendment of the economic provisions, are intended to bring in greater foreign investments, why skimp?

    4. The argument of no conflict of interest also does not wash. Is it likely that a Con-ass will spell out anti-dynasty provisions? Is it likely that a Con-ass will dismantle the party list system?

    4.1. Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez, who is spearheading this initiative, is the congressman who would intimidate Senator Leila De Lima with a probe.

    5. A Con-ass will leave out the contributions of worthy Con-con delegates. There are Jose Manuel Diokno, Amado Valdez, Randy David, Cielito Habito, Tony La Vina, Walden Bello and Mel Sta. Maria to name a few.

    • Joe America says:

      Expediency. They can ram the program through in a few months. The internet brigade is already pre-selling it.

      • Joe America says:

        The ‘ass’ is also better suited to the project, as in what part of the people’s anatomy is being jammed upwardly.

        • Geezzzz, Joe! I thought I am the only one losing it about the inconsistencies. 🙂

          • Joe America says:

            No, it is a total caricature, and if you factor in Secretary Yasay, it becomes hilarious. But it is not, really. It is two faced, both sides of the mouth, flip-flopping or outright lying. Or some very dense people . . . which I doubt.

            My trust rating of anything from the admin is actually below the ground, or wherever they record a minus number.

            • …and the irony to beat all ironies – the PA survey gave it a 91% approval rating…The mob cheered the boxing match between the cyclist and the reservist before scampering when bullets were fired by the reservist killing the cyclist and seriously wounding a bystander…in much the same way that the majority are cheering the EJK and praising PDu30 to high heavens. I know for sure, I have a cousin-in-law who was a former college professor and a Christian pastor before migrating to the US…he is praising this admin in his timeline and blocking anyone who STRONGLY disagrees with him, and calling them bitter, sour grapes for not realizing that PDu30 is the answer to all the ills that were the Philippines misfortune since PNOY took over. In his daily rants against the anti-PDu30, his friends are posting “Amen” and echoing his “bitter, sour grapes” label for those who don’t agree.

              • Joe America says:

                There is what I would call a new social disease going around that I’ve been working to grasp, but it has to do with people being psychologically disenfranchised. That is, at some core emotional level that psychologists would have to pinpoint, there is a need to “get even” for their perceived ineffectualness, or lack of station in life. I think social media aggravate the situation by bringing “names” and famous and rich people into the mainstream with us, and yet we are not one of them. “It isn’t fair.” Because the disease is a psychological neediness, those afflicted have a need to shut out any rational challenges to their position, lest they discover who the real culprit is. Them, and their inability to cope in a world that is moving fast, and, in their psyche, leaving them behind.

                Anything that gives them power, like attaching to the team of a power broker like Duterte or Trump, gives meaning to their lives. It is not a rational situation so you can’t really reason with them. Now that I’m close to recognizing the characteristics of the social illness, it may be possible to work on some ways to break through and communicate. From that, hopefully one can get them to find meaning in a return to compassion and reason.

              • Right and true…in all ways there are…I forgot to mention, this cousin-in-law is rooting for Trump and is attacking Hilary with all the vigor of his attacking PNOY.

              • This was his post:

                “We are on the brink of getting out of the MIRE we have sunked (sunk) in for so long and yet it’s puzzling that you seem to still want to WALLOW in it just because your candidate LOST.” – – Author unknown

                “When instead of being thankful for the good things (changes) that are happening, you choose to ignore them, and you rather create negative scenarios, you are the PROBLEM! Stop the BITTERNESS and SOUR GRAPING for your own sake!”

                My response:

                “Being against killing without due process – is that being bitter, and with crab mentality? What if one of your children or your spouse, or a relative becomes a victim of mistaken identity, or accused but totally innocent, killed without some sort of defense – vigilante style, how would you react? Empathy not bitterness, my dear…we’re all in the same boat, we all want this menace of drug addiction to be solved, drug lords reigning in the streets tempting politicians and generals, but how about the collateral damage to innocent victims…? The rich are accorded due process like GMA, the Chinese drug lords, but the poor ones…is that how we will eliminate poverty? by killing the poor, innocent, defenseless because they have no money to afford an Estelito Mendoza or a connection to enter the gates of Malacañang Palace to talk to PDu30?…Even death penalties had been reviewed in the past by the ultimate arbiter of a convicted person’s innocence or guilt, the Supreme Court of the Philippines, though proven itself not infallible, at least there was a due process. That process separates as from animals in a jungle or from dictators in an African state.”

                His next comment:

                “Haters are going to hate. They hate because they are sour grapes… because they could not accept the fact that they were wrong. And that is because of pride, the sin that caused the father of all lies to fall down from heaven.”

              • Waray-waray says:

                Oh Mary Grace.. why do they sound so alike? Same here with some of our colleagues in the Charismatic community. Oppositions like us us are just bitter and cannot move on. And they are liking and posting Trump’s nonsense.

              • @ Waray-waray

                They do sound alike, and worse they keep repeating their mantra in spite of our effort to engage them with all the common sense and a few legal and constitutional arguments.

                Makes me feel tired and depressed.

        • Joe, JP, I posted here once, I prefer Con Con to Cons Ass…I ended my post with ” I so hate Con Ass….holes”


          • Joe America says:

            You said what many of us are thinking, so no problem. The best I saw was on twitter where a Akbayan rep said using ConAss would be like having a bunch of zombies write the constitution. Evidently his appraisal of his colleagues is pretty much aligned with my own.

            • I’d like to share this column as it makes sense and put into words what I feel about COn-Ass

              Con-ass will create even fatter dynasties
              By: Antonio Montalvan II
              Philippine Daily Inquirer

              EXPECT POLITICIANS to invoke their favorite but deeply flawed “Vox populi vox Dei” line.

              Sen. Nancy Binay once sneered: “It’s the people who will vote.” Is it really the people who will vote? Studies show otherwise.

              Approximately 70 percent of our legislators come from political dynasties. Forty percent of them have ties to legislators as far as three Congresses prior. In the study by Pablo Querubin (holder of a doctor’s degree in economics, MIT) of New York University, 77 percent of legislators between the ages 26 and 40 are also dynastic, indicating that the malaise has metastasized to the second and third generations of political dynasties in the Philippines. Contrast that to the last US Congress where only 6 percent of members belonged to dynasties.

              Dynasties restrict choice. Beatriz Paterno (“The Philippines Must Break the Power of Political Dynasties,” Global Anticorruption Blog, December 2014) describes how one family fielded a staggering 80 of its family members in the 2013 elections. Nancy Binay must be reminded that in the Philippines, votes are sold to the highest bidder—the fatter the dynasty, the bigger the amount for vote-buying. When suffrage is for sale, the voice of the people is not the voice of God. No rocket scientist is needed to figure that out.
              In fact, political dynasties devalue suffrage because they work against political inclusiveness. When power is concentrated in one family, political accountability becomes the next casualty.

              Corruption and then impunity lie not far behind.

              The study made by the AIM Policy Center (Ronald Mendoza [master’s and doctor’s degrees in economics, Fordham University], Edsel Beja, Victor Venida, David Yap) shows the correlation of political dynasties and their inimical effects on social development. Dynastic politicians tend to be more affluent than nondynastic politicians; legislators who belong to political dynasties also win by wider margins relative to those who are not clan members (more public money to steal and buy votes with?); on average they can be found on jurisdictions that have relatively higher inequality and poverty levels.
              From 2004 to 2013, there was a 47-percent increase of Philippine dynasties. Provinces began with “slight” dynasties. By 2013, the dynasties became “fatter.” A dynasty is fat if there are multiple family members occupying various elected offices in the province during the same term, the sabay-sabay variety. The fattest dynasties or those with the most number of family members in elective office are seen to be concentrated in the poorest regions of the country.

              Poverty breeds strong patron-client relationships. Voters vote according to utang na loob (debt of gratitude). It is not just meaningful choice that is taken away from the voter. Dynasties are hotbeds of corruption. They also undermine the rule of law.
              Paterno relates: “After one representative was found guilty of murdering the sons of his political rival, his seat in the House was taken over by his wife, ensuring that the family name remained relevant long enough for him to seek reelection after the appellate court cleared him of all charges.”

              Politicians regale us with political gobbledygook when arguing for dynasties. They actually lose sight of the ultimate aim. Passing the bill into law will allow more Filipinos to participate in politics and governance, thus effecting political inclusiveness through equal opportunity. Democracy is the one important dimension of an antidynasty bill.

              A study cited by the Philippine Institute for Development Studies notes that in Latin American countries with similar political climates as the Philippines, there was growing evidence of improvements in the democratic processes after reforms against political dynasties were introduced. Countries with antidynasty regulations are Costa Rica, Honduras, El Salvador, Guatemala, Nicaragua, Brazil, Colombia and Paraguay.
              Framers of the 1987 Constitution were initially divided on banning political dynasties.

              Pro dynasty proponents cried antidemocratic, arguing that it disqualifies competent and honest candidates from political families. What was reached was an impressively educated consensus—the effect of excluding a dynast was deemed far smaller than the exclusionary effect of many political candidates from humble backgrounds who had the misfortune of not belonging to political clans. It is in fact one of the most propoor provisions of the 1987 Constitution.

              Benigno Aquino III vowed to ban dynasties when he ran in 2010. His term’s recorded history tells us he abandoned that crusade. Now under a new administration elected as a harbinger of hope, it appears we are on the way instead to abandon all hopes. President Duterte’s announcement of a constitutional assembly to amend our Constitution will do exactly what we reasonably fear—perpetuate political dynasties. Legislators are not the solution—they are the problem. Federalism—the perceived cure to the Manila-centric malady ailing the nation—is secondary only to the need to pass an antidynasty law. Without it, expect dynasties to become fatter in federal states.

              The same goes true for a Bangsamoro political entity. It is doomed to fail without demolishing the power of the feudal royal families and the ruling political elite that fuel socioeconomic poverty, as is also true elsewhere in the Philippine countryside. Federalism will be mere talk and no walk.

              To break the gangrenous cycle of dynasties, one method remains—a constitutional convention where family members, consanguineal or affinal, of political dynasties will be banned from running. It will be a bitter pill to swallow for our thieving politicians, but who cares about them? What should matter is the ultimate good for the greater populace. The new constitution to be crafted can be more forthright and defining of the ban on political dynasties.


              • Joe America says:

                Thank, Mary Grace. The goal, break the dynastic hold, the entitlements, via Constitutional Convention. That makes a good deal of sense. Now how to get the House lackeys and self-dealers from approving that kind of Con-Con . . .

                To be consistent with my guidance to other commenters, I would note that I am discouraging people from copy/pasting entire columns here. Copyright laws are aimed at controlling that, without proper permissions. A summary, or takeaway, or excerpts, with a link is preferred. Thanks.

            • Once more, from Mareng Winnie Monsod…

              “In yesterday’s news, PDu30 said a constituent assembly (Con-ass), not a constitutional convention (Con-con), would be the mechanism for a change to a federal-parliamentary system.

              This, reportedly after he was told that a Con-con would cost P6-7 billion. By whom? By Senate President Koko Pimentel, Budget Secretary Ben Diokno, and House Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez.

              Understand, Reader, that previously, PDu30’s view was to put the question of federalism under study by a commission, with Moros, Christians and lumad as members, as well as experts on the federal form of government (“Duterte: Polls on federalism in 2 yrs,” News, 5/20/16). Only after they have performed the task of detailing how the country could effect the shift to a federal form of government would PDu30 call for a Con-con. He thought this could be done in two years. Notice that he never used the term “parliamentary.” He was thinking about a federal-presidential system a la the United States.

              At Monday’s Sona, he talked about the French system, “which is a federal-parliamentary, but with a president.” He preferred that system, he said. I hope he studied it. Because the French 5th Republic with this system replaced the 4th Republic’s purely parliamentary system, the French having decided that they wanted to have a president also with great power.

              But, Reader, the French system is NOT a federal system.

              How this system is better than ours, I would not care to guess. But it is not federal, so what is PDu30 talking about? Good grief! Talk about shoot first and ask questions later!

              To top it all, the latest version is to have the Con-ass make the decisions. Because a Con-con would cost P6-7 billion. But have they figured out how much a Con-ass would cost? In terms of the amount of time lost, from needing to rationalize our current laws and creating new ones? Be reminded, also, that the Con-ass is dominated by dynasties, landowners, mine-owners. The elite, in other words. What do you think they will do when it comes to changing the Constitution? Where will our poor be?”


  27. chempo says:

    Regarding Passports and Driving Licences — Let’s see how fast they can implement:

    (1) Republic Act 18239 — Republic of Philippines Passport Act 1996 SECTION 10. Validity is 5 years. So they need first to legislate.

    (2) REPUBLIC ACT No. 4136 – AN ACT TO COMPILE THE LAWS RELATIVE TO LAND TRANSPORTATION AND TRAFFIC RULES Section 26. Renewal of license. – “Any license not renewed on or before the last working day of the month when the applicant was born shall become delinquent and invalid” — instead of saying in plan simple English “annually”. So again, legislate first.

    About opening many offices in various provinces so as to make services readily available — remember Pacman’s bill that he tabled in Congress (his single bill, and proud of?) — they need a bill to enable a branch of a govt entity to be opened in Sarrangani (was it Comelec or SSS or Philhealth, can’t remember). So there you go….bills need to open passport and drivers’ licence offices.

    • @Chempo is passport validity date legislated in SG or is it determined by the ministry of foreign affairs?

      We really need to devolve a lot of stuff like this from legislated to policy determined by inn our case Departments.

      • edgar lores says:

        Hah! A law to state the term of validity of a passport. That surprised me as well.

      • chempo says:

        Generally, on matters of law, it works like this. There is a legislature on matters where such are required. The particular Act defines various stuff like the laws, the processes, the duties and responsibilities of various entities, the punishments, the exceptions, the governing bodies and their powers, etc. It leaves out rules and regulations and other parameters which which are expected to change over time (such as validity of passports) to governing bodies which can make such changes simply by inserting into what we call Govt gazettes. Of course such changes have been discussed in Parliament. You can view such gazette entries like program fixes. After many such fixes over the years, the piece of legislation is amended, much like after many fixes on version 1.0 you then overhaul to version 2.0.

        Underlying laws rarely change, it’s the processes, the punishments, governing body changes, etc that change over time. We need to have a mechanism that facilitate changes in these parameters without having to re-legislate.

        To you question, yes we do have a passport law with stated validity period — but the governing body, in this case the Controller of Immigration, acting under the Minister of Home Affairs, can extend the validity.

        • If the president really does want the government to work for the people he has to begin the change in how congress handles its duties through his almost supermajority in both houses.

        • Joe America says:

          The Philippine building code is a national law. If climate change or other development (asbestos) mandates an upgrade in materials, the legislature has to make the change. Many salaries are in national laws, fixed with no adjustment mechanism other than a change to the law. It boggles the mind.

    • Joe America says:

      Gadzooks, the first order of business for a CEO-style president would be to get the trivial details out of the national laws and delegate their management to agencies. It wouldn’t be to start shooting eccentric clients, for sure. That’s bad for business.

    • @Chempo I am not sure I am basing this on my interactions with HDMF.

      Opening of branch for these agencies cost money thus they are done carefully. Some places have little economic activity to make branches uneconomical. I believe the reason Pacquiao needed to legislate a branch to existence is because a law will force the agency to create a branch.

      I maybe wrong but if he just used his considerable charm he could just have asked the president to direct the agency to open the branch and if it wasn’t against the law that would happen.

      Don’t know why people can’t play this game well.

      • chempo says:

        I understand you, and you may be right.

        I have seen in some Phils acts that specifically state such and such Agency may open a new branch where it so fits and directed by so & so. I would think that it then means that where the law is silent, it implies the Agencies cannot open branches adhoc however cost-justified.

  28. chempo says:

    And oh, about the People’s Televison Network that will be revamped to the BBC model —

    The PTN Act 7306 of 1992 was amended in 2012 under Rep Act 10390 and Pnoy set in motion in 2013 steps to revitalise the broadcasting services with injection of billions of funding and reorganisation. So how much is continuity, or is it a reorgainisation of a reorganisation. Or heck was it somebody’s idea? And if to be modelled on BBC, please may we have the standards of BBC’s editorial independence?

    • Bill in Oz says:

      Yes to editorial independance but please let it reflect the views of most Filipinos..The BBC has of late been more & more a bull horn for the politically correct elites of London.. And for them Brexit was a huge shock.The majority ordinary folks in the UK did not do what they were urged ( IE told ) to do

    • Francis says:

      I took a few minutes to skim the RA 7306 and RA 10390.

      To describe PTV briefly: RA 7306 gave us public television that got money like a begging monk and RA 10390 got us state television with ads. Yes. I am not mincing words. I’m no expert on the law or broadcasting–but my common sense insists that RA 10390 actually made PTV worse.

      The administration could actually make PTV closer to BBC just by repealing RA 10390.

      Uh. To explain. RA 7306 created a public broadcaster with most of the powers of a corporate/private broadcaster. Okay. They had policy–as for most public and state broadcasters–that dictated they show educational, nation-building and wholesome entertainment; they also can’t be racist or racy. Okay. It was directed by a board of five guys appointed by the President; two from government, two from private and one from education. Neat. These guys–who had a no-reappointment four-year term–either appointed one of their own or somebody outside to the Network Manager; NM is essentially CEO. Okay.

      The law said they could earn money from ads until Year Nine. From then on–no advertising. There was no guaranteed money from the government; all the law said was they could “raise or borrow” money from “public and private” sources. They did have the “power” of a corporation to raise money and essentially do all the other stuff a broadcasting corporation can do like borrow or raise money. Besides have ads.

      To my layman’s mind–and correct me if I am wrong–I didn’t know how they could earn any money besides virtually begging from public and private sources and donations. Sad.

      Except RA 10390 is worse. RA 10390 is worse because–first and foremost–it lessened whatever independence PTV actually had. But before we mention the bad stuff–let us mention the good stuff. They exempted creative workers from Civil Service stuff. They also created an Advisory Council (voluntary/unpaid/no allowances) of people from the media and creative industries to selected by the board of five guys to advise them.

      Ah. How long is the term of the people on the Advisory Council? One year. Like the board of five guys under the new law. One year for the five guys–subject to reappointment to the President. What a Sword of Damocles. Also–the five guys no longer have the option to select somebody outside their group for NM; they have to select one of their own. Heck, it can’t raise money freely anymore; that has to now explicitly go through BSP and DOF. So there goes editorial independence.

      The sorta-good news is now they can put as much ads as they like. Which really is weird for something that is supposed to be public television but at least they can now have the cash–a percentage of which the President can direct to the Treasury? And the board comes from a shortlist by the Governance Commission for GOOCs. Which at least ensures that the board will be good with money.

      The secret to BBC is the license fee. Everyone is supposed to pay up if they watch television. This goes directly to the BBC and the BBC alone. BBC therefore not only has degree of independence from the state–it has no ads! Financial Independence is Editorial Independence.

      BBC the PTV is not.


      Please correct any errors/mis-interpretation if present. This is all just based on me skimming through the two laws and skimming through a reddit thread on BBC v. PBS and a Guardian article on the BBC. And I’m no expert at all.

      • Bill in Oz says:

        Sounds like a sorry mess Francis..

        In Oz there is the ABC.This is funded directly via an annual budgetary allocation from public finances. There is no annual license fee as this would discriminate against the poor
        and deprive them of opportunities to be informed or entertained.

        The ABC board is made up of individuals nominated by the Governor General ( our head of state & a non government position ).The board is not accountable to the government; it is actually independent like the BBC but is obliged to operate within a “National Charter’…

        The ABC runs regional, metropolitan & national radio & TV stations. It also has a series of major web sites. All this is done with public money and no advertising is permitted. I think the last budget was for A $870 million (= 28,710, 000,000 pesos ? )

        • Bill in Oz says:

          PS As there is also an ABC in the USA..I should have said the Australian Broadcasting Corporation..If you do a search for ‘ABC’ 95% of the hits will be for the US private corporation

      • chempo says:

        Francis — the BBC has 2 or 3 other commercial units. These commercial units sustain them. The BBC itself is public service, more or less.So I’m wondering what commercial units PTN will have, I mean, how much can they syndicate out their programs worldwide. Not saying so with sacarcism, but more from like to know kinda.

    • madlanglupa says:

      Suddenly I recall how Japan’s NHK tried to sustain itself by having agents walk up to houses and ask for a small TV fee in exchange for a little sticker denoting that they have paid up. Most Japanese saw this as a small annoyance.

  29. Nani Banaticla says:

    In the midst of globalization, seems we are fast becoming parochial. Is this good or bad?

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