Trash wars and other Philippine nonsense

Trash leaving for Canada. [Photo by Nilo Palaya, AP]

By JoeAm

The Philippines almost went to war over trash from Canada, imported by Filipinos, and blamed on Canada. The 69 containers of nasty trash evidently sat in Customs stinking up the docks for six years and no one did anything about it. There was no reason, no money to be made in doing something, I suppose.

Then, suddenly, President Duterte blew his cork about it and threatened war. Well, he is an actor and joker so we can figure the tantrum was mainly just for show. He wanted to please China and please his base.

Background: China was angry at Canada. Canada had arrested Chinese tech giant Huawei’s CFO Meng Wanzhou, daughter of company founder Ren Zhengfei, at the request of the US where she had been indicted for fraud. President Duterte made Canada the villain as well. He did not rant at Australia or China, both of whom had containers of trash sitting in the Philippines at that same time. He did not rant at the Filipino importers. He ranted at Canada.

One can calculate that the issue had nothing at all to do with trash, which the Philippines is full of given that most of her people and none of her leaders have a real sense of what global warming is all about, how communities care for themselves, or how to use trash cans. It was political.

Feeling a tad satirical, I wrote on Twitter and Facebook:

Congratulations to the Philippines for winning the battle over trash with Canada. It was awesome to behold the firm fist of authority deployed so forcefully. Never has the nation been able to preen and posture on the international stage so magnificently!

The Facebook posting featured balloons and ribbons flying across the page. A lot of people were confused by the posting. Trolls following Foreign Affairs Secretary Locsin around thought it was a serious endorsement of his grand national achievement.

Nonsense in action. [Photo by Bullit Marquez, AP]

Well, I suppose he did accomplish his assigned task, so kudos to him. But it would be a lot more impressive if he and his boss could muster up a loud and serious protest of Chinese boats making off with Filipino foods from Philippine seas using swarms of militarized fishing boats. Instead, the President and his Foreign Affairs henchman diverted attention to Canada by emotionalizing the trash incident.

That is the nonsense part of this episode. It was used to evade accountability for allowing China to continue to plunder Philippine seas.

Accountability is not a concept that most Filipinos grasp. In the Philippines, admitting to a mistake is sure to draw ridicule or punishment, so why do it? That thinking is among the most destructive of Filipino values.

Why do it? Why accept personal accountability?

To learn from the mistake and avoid similar mistakes in the future. To stop making innocents angry by foisting blame on them. As was done with Canada.

Admitting a mistake takes honesty . . . with oneself. And it takes intelligence to dissect it properly, and courage to face any criticism that may arise. Shuffling it off to someone else . . . as was done in the trash incident . . .  takes deceit. And illogical reasoning. And cowardice.

The Philippines needs a mass psychological counseling session, lasting about three years, to teach leaders and people what accountability is all about, and to show how the nation cannot benefit by refusing to take ownership of its acts. People have to CARE FOR one another to build a nation that works. They have to be honest with themselves to be competent. They have to be smart enough and courageous enough to learn something from mistakes.

I even think people in the Philippines look to God too much rather than look to themselves. They escape accountability too easily. Free will is free. And it requires will.

So the trash war is nonsense. The Philippines’ Chinese policy is nonsense. Government undertakes nonsense more than sense most of the time, and we can expect a lot more of it given the results of the latest nonsensical election. Flamboyant showmen like Spokesman Panelo and Secretary Locsin and, yes, even the President himself, represent a grand diversion from the honest, honorable work needed to get things done to benefit Filipinos.

Nonsense is tragic. It is Filipinos hurting Filipinos . . .

Most Filipinos are over their eyeballs in deceptions and diversions strewn about by the privileged for whom accountability is a disease and scapegoating a national sport.


74 Responses to “Trash wars and other Philippine nonsense”
  1. David C. Martinez says:

    Hey there, Joe. Just wondering if you ever received my book [A Country of Our Own].

  2. David C. Martinez says:

    Re: A Message to Enlightened Filipinos

    Was this intended for all 12 of them?


  3. helosardig says:

    I would like to respectfully request that you cover the aspect of what the future holds for the Philippines. With the degree of urgency the president shows to break away from the Chinese loans we can foresee a future much like Africa. China is taking piece by piece of vital shipyards to setup military bases because they are unable to master the skill of aircraft carriers. Reverse engineering this technology seems to be a unattainable goal for the Chinese. So they are compensating with remote bases till they finish fiddling around with a technology they can’t master. So that brings us back to the fate of the Philippines. Most Americans are planners. “If you fail to plan then you plan to fail.” With this in mind we find Du30 is much like the captain of the Titanic. Soon he will hit his iceberg and the Filipinos will stand around with a shocked look on their face. At that point China will be in charge of the life boats. Money will buy you a seat for you and your family. China had no concern for the condition and fate of the ship. But ultimately it leads me to this point. Nearly all the Expats here will ride the pine of safety. The Chinese will use this to their advantage. Many more Filipinos will find that the only option is being a OFW. This will leave the remaining family to be placed as second class citizens in their own country. But for us Expats we must accept this. The ship is going down and their is nothing that can stop it. Some will call me a Ghoul. But I plan to us this misfortune, because the Chinese will flock here in droves. Du30 threw open that door. For every failure there affords an opportunity. The Chinese will be looking for services when they get here and I will be ready for them.

    • I’ve started on such an article, actually. It is consistent with your view, but I don’t condemn it. It sees a Chinese powered economy, authoritarian democracy, an upper class of impunity and dynastic power, and working Filipinos relegated to under-class stature. Where they are comfortable.

      • popoy says:

        Hi JoeAm, I thought I could nitpick your piece and elaborate on it. But suffice at the moment for me to say; reminds me of being Grade One in1946 being taught good manners and right conduct. The present article should be an excellent lesson for a subject on Good Manners and right conduct for Grade school pupils considering they are so advance now with most having attended nursery and kindergarten before grade one; considering too that high school now has swallowed the first two years of college as Grades 11 and 12.

        On varying degrees of their corruption, I know of dynamic Filipino values still adhered to by baby boomers (not by millennials anymore, may be) like “utang na loob, hiya, kumpadre system, pakikisama, at paggalang sa matatanda. When suhol (bribe) becomes regalo (gift). etcetera, bad etcetera becomes good eche bucheche.

  4. karlgarcia says:

    Back to trash.
    China’s Green Fence was the reason for trash to go to Malaysia and the Philippines.

    Malaysia suddenly had many recyclers sprout like mushrooms that is why they imported the trash, but not everything can be recycled so you have additional trash.

    Here, Cement manufacturers tried adding plastic to cement making insted of mining and quarrying, sure they have saved the mountains or what is left of it, but would it have been better to mine the landfills and dumps.
    It maybe better, but no way would it be easier.

    Before the cement manufacturers there was the WTE proposals five to ten years ago, I think they are also part of the solution that became part of the problem.

    • karlgarcia says:

      Some rambling thoughts.

      Duterte also took Trudeau’s drug war comments personally.

      He also ordered Trash from South Korea returned maybe because of the Hanjin bankruptcy or something else that is more than meets the eye.

      That speech asking why China wants to claim a whole ocean is for show of course and his remarks of reaching out to America to end the trade war reminded me of the jetski speech.

      Lastly, I mentioned Malaysia’s own problem with imported trash, they will also ship back the garbage to its source, and Duterte can now claim that he did it first.

  5. madlanglupa says:

    “The Philippines needs a mass psychological counseling session, lasting about three years”

    A mutual friend said of what to do should the country are rid of RRD, Arroyo, the Marcoses and their accomplices: denazify the country, condemn them for polarizing the country.

    The idea of the old man hating on Canada (ironically, this and other British Commonwealth nations are now choice immigration destinations before and should the shit hits the fan) and its leader Trudeau is as much as him hating Obama for being virtuous.

    • popoy says:

      About the Philippines, In old age, I still search for lessons from words like a rotten apple could negate a basketfull of good apples. Harvested panicles of rice need to be threshed and winnowed by the wind; so is a country of 110 million with but a few million bad apples and silos of empty chaff of rice; spare them from criticism and anger they who are good apples and the countless existential grain. Some stupid criminals may be are Filipinos but surely the Filipinos ARE NOT all stupid criminals.

    • Bon says:

      Abusrdity. Are you a competent clinical medical expert to issue a diagnosis?

      Rubbish! Find ways to eliminate not export.

      • madlanglupa says:

        I don’t know what is more absurd, Marcoses allowed to participate in bidding for their ill-gotten jewelry, or the COMELEC calling this year’s election a “success” despite widespread machinations. I could go on and say this deceitful government has turned this country into Absurdistan.

        I am sorry to say that I must have offended your reactionary sensitivities.

  6. “accountability is a disease and scapegoating a national sport.” Exactly! The more power you have there, the less blame is assigned to you. Poor drug addicts and poor 12 year old kids are the least powerful and most likely scapegoats.

    The best place to be is to be able to grin and evade like Imee. Doesn’t every Filipino dream of such untouchable power? While PNoy told the people they were his bosses, losing respect. And of course a Filipino boss will look for a scapegoat, what else! PNoy became one.

    How can that really be changed? I don’t know.

  7. Ancient Mariner says:

    After living in Pampaga, happily married to a lovely Filipina lady for 15 years, I have come to the conclusion that the average Filipino/Filipina lives in a “me bubble” and goes about his/her daily life without giving consideration to the effect of their actions on others. From motor cycle, tricycle, jeepney drivers and mobile phone users all the way up to our elected politicians it is sad to observe how they live their lives apparently oblivious to those around them.

    • Bon says:

      Funny, does living in Pampanga for years earned you a degree in group behavior? Lol

      By the way, your conclusion is way off and is sincerely ignorant. I should know.

      • The basic rule for participating in this blog is to discuss the issue and not attack the contributor. That way opposing views can be discussed rather than have the blog descend into childish name-calling and other tantrums. You are new so I suppose you merely bring in what you have learned in other social media. But here, we speak honorably.

  8. Joe the Kano says:

    The most ridiculous thing is that Canada had already agreed to take back the trash, so Dturd’s blustery demands and threats were totally uncalled for and nothing but empty posturing to distract from his craven subservience to Chinese masters.
    No silly diagrams are necessary to see that, so it’s quite sad that some really stupid people fall for this clown show.

  9. Sup says:

    Now i know why the ”Tulfo’s” lost their security detail..
    They went to Chel Diokno and Erin Tañada et all………

    Maybe i am just deaming……hhhhhhhhhmmmmmmmmmmm…..

    • Shocking in being helpful rather than greedy or political. I’m stunned. Maybe they will start to act more like adults now. I hope so.

      • popoy says:

        Human Rights is protective of all homo sapiens that includes creatures of Congress, the Judiciary and the Executive Branch UNLESS they are sus scrofa.

  10. popoy says:

    This is out of topic therefore out of place lifted for my Book I Volume II of poetry already year long delayed publication for which JoeAm had kindly written the preface delayed because of my hundreds of eche bucheche like this post which make me remember General McArthur who influenced the unicameral Philippine National Assembly when the country was still a Commonwealth of the USA Filipino politicians passed its first law as National Defense Act No. 1 mandating ROTC now already abolished and being debated to be restored below is my watered down thoughts on the issue because TRAINING MATTERS in inculcating patriotism among young men and women I was there in the UP Diliman ROTC turned over ceremonies of command from a Boy Corps Commander to the first Girl Corps Commander of the entire UP Diliman ROTC Unit the historic event was attended by the COS AFP well try to read if you were able to breath reading a paragraph without punctuation marks.

    Echoes from an Academic Wall

    What I dished out here are merely echoes
    of an academic mostly colored
    and enslaved by my last field of
    experience which is public administration
    my biased territory of thought.

    Why fix the national defense act
    when it ain’t broke? For and in whose
    treasonous interest (who benefits?)
    should it be done?

    I PERSONALLY think abolition
    of the ROTC is All WET and WRONG.
    From being a reluctant PMT cadet
    In high school to being a Basic and Advanced
    ROTC cadet to completion of 2nd Lt Trng,
    Made big part of me to what I am to age 80.

    I think it’s more than 80% of my character.
    “he who never learned to obey
    Will never learn to command”
    Cogito ergo sum. And so, I think that
    happened also to the millions of others
    who complied with the National Defense Act
    with of course the exception of
    hundreds turned scalawags.

    Wishy -washy fiddling by the politicians of
    the concepts of national defense vis-a-vis
    national security is according to military parlance:
    fighting the problem, not solving it to avoid
    splitting hairs.

    The nation, its territory and
    its wealth of natural resources, its world image
    of honor and the integrity of its name in
    the conduct of human and world affairs are all
    constitutive of national interest, the pursuit
    of happiness and the good life, and the majesty
    of its people are which constitute

    Tenets of national defense sharing the foxhole with national security
    comprise the entire armada of bloody or peaceful eche bucheche
    of keeping intact like body and soul of the nation and its people.
    This rambling should clarify the conceptual relationships between
    national/public interest vis-a-vis national defense/national security.
    – September 24, 2017 as edited in June 2, 2019.

    Whaddaya know, the above could be a bit relevant to the topic in this space.

  11. Bon says:

    Silly spinster.

    Fact: Trudeau dragged feet over Ph repeated demands for Canada to have its misdeclared shit back in compliance with Basel Treaty on waste. The horrendous and illegal waste export was perpetuated by nefarious Canadian crap traders.

    Duterte has had enough and called on Canaddian government’s irresponsibility and callousness. Duterte rightfully appealed for Trudeau to exercise responsibility and gave an ultimatum.

    Canada acted swidtly and correctly on Ph demands.

    • Joe the Kano says:

      Canada had agreed to repatriate waste that was shipped from Canada by a private company and accepted in the Philippines by another private company. An arbitrary deadline was silly and unnecessary.
      The volume of waste was insignificant compared to the waste generated in Manila alone on a daily basis. But don’t think about that, just be angry at the evil Canadians….
      This was all a big useless show of “standing up to the [white] foreigners” to impress those who suffer from colonial mentality and other insecurities.
      And, of course, to distract the simple-minded from the current Chinese colonial reality.
      This is political theater for retarded children.

    • Sup says:

      Timeline about the trash from Canada……I think a good read for Sir Bon.
      It is not that simplistic.

      • edgar lores says:

        What staggers me is that trash — “plastic bottles, plastic bags, newspapers, household garbage, and used adult diapers” — is being shipped from one country to another over the vast oceans.

        As if these were precious cargo.

        • It is rather absurd, isn’t it?

        • chemrock says:

          For Phillipines it’s easy. Open a company. Import goods (trash). Use a customs agent . When good arrive, dont collect. Close company. Disappear.

          It’s the only business where the exporter pays the importer. Guaranteed winner.

          Just rub some hands to get the import permit. That’s all.

          • kasambahay says:

            sir! yes, sir! customs is now militarized, manila water as well, sooner.

            all the while I thought the military is result oriented, I dont know.

  12. Sup says:

    Panelo etc did complain about only 2 luggage carousels working at Naia…
    At least they had time to pay their taxes for shopping i guess?

    Duterte goes shopping in Japan
    “Binilhan nila si Kitty ng Apple watch. Si Madam Honeylet ay damit, at si PRRD ay laptop (They bought an Apple Watch for Kitty. While Madam Honeylet and Duterte bought clothes and laptop, respectively),” Go, Duterte’s former special aide, said in a text message.

    • Like movie stars, they live out the dreams common people have. The 200 strong junket to Japan looked like a group of typical Filipino migrants or OFWs – who just won the lottery. This is why most people will not care about the money wasted – they would do the same.

      • sonny says:

        “… looked like a group of typical Filipino migrants or OFWs – who just won the lottery.”

        The year was 1969 for me, the world opened up huge possibilities: from Manila Bay to Sn Bernardino Strait, the Philippine Deep and the Pacific Ocean and finally the foreign shore of San Francisco Bay. While going under the Golden Gate Bridge, with eyes in awe I prayed that something like this would happen to every Filipino. More were yet to come, travelling to the American heartland by car. 🙂

        • kasambahay says:

          more than ofws, are the 200 junketeers. after winning at election, they were gifted with trip to japan. but that would not end there for there could well be string attached. the junketeers will now have to show gratitude and support duterte in all his ways. the gift that keeps on giving.

          • sonny says:

            Well aware of what you’re saying, K. Am just expressing the possibility (silver-lining) that some of the ‘junketeers’ will see the light, the differences between our country and Japan and go for the changes for the good.

  13. Sup says:

    Philippine nonsense:
    MANILA, Philippines — The Commission on Elections (Comelec) on Tuesday approved the petition for substitution of former National Youth Commission (NYC) chairman Ronald Cardema as Duterte Youth party-list nominee.

    In a resolution, the Comelec has granted Cardema’s request for substitution, with Commissioner Rowena Guanzon dissenting and Commissioner Luie Tito Guia abstaining.

  14. Andres 2018 says:

    The Canada Trash Issue. Good job on PRRD’s part, his war bluff worked. Its proper to give credit when due. Well, trash was not that big of an issue compare to the West Philippine Sea, but job done is a job done, no matter how small.

    • Joe the Kano says:

      “His war bluff worked.”
      You’re kidding, right?
      Because not only had Canada agreed to ship the trash before Dturd started running his mouth, but his talk of war just made the Philippines look like a ridiculous backwater run by the drunken old blowhard at the end of the bar.
      And then there’s the cold, hard fact that the Philippines has perhaps one or two small warships that could even make it to Canada in calm weather with borrowed fuel, but could never pose even the slightest military threat to a canoe full of angry Canadian wankers armed with rusty shotguns and rubber dildoes.
      It would be absurd for anyone to take Dturd’s silly rants as an actual threat of war. And it would be simply preposterous for anyone to believe that stupid shit somehow muscled Canada into taking a course of action it would not otherwise have taken.
      If anything at all were to force Canada’s hand, it would be a threat to restrict the supply of cheap labor and skilled nurses who are desperate to escape the fouled-up Philippines and work with more dignity and higher wages elsewhere.

      • Personally, i think all this hoopla is just evidence of DU30’s skill in knowing who to kow-tow and who to dis’.

        I’m sure there’s more trash over there from the US, but I don’t see DU30 threatening war with the US. Different strokes for different folks, DU30 knows this. Canada he can bully (sticks and stones may break my bones… ).

        I dunno if you guys are tracking the Democrats over here, wherein everyone all 23 of them are fallin’ on each other to apologize for anything and to anyone, about anything. It’s a big ‘apology’ orgy. Canada is that country, just wants to apologize (all the time).

        If anything , it’s a business dispute. like chemp said above, import-export. Find the businessmen involved, and have them clean this mess up. It’s a disservice to both nations involved to treat this as a political issue.

        Both Canada and the Philippines should find their respective culprits in all this and crucify them for all to see, as examples. Even better switch culprits, the Canadian culprit goes to the Philippines (faces Philippine justice), and vice versa.


        Panning out, of course this is all a bigger wider world issue facing all nations. Namely, trash. All schools should be watching WALL-E, over and over. Filipinos should stop making historical period pieces of heroes past, I just saw the live-action “Aladdin” movie , they should remake WALL-E over there (reach out to Disney) but with WALL-E as a Filipino.


        As for all this talk on the efficacy of “democracy” below,

        I’ve been all thru out the 3rd world, and I do agree that “democracy” is just not for everyone. So if the process of democracy is co-opted by the majority to return to one leader rule, that’s essentially the will of democracy as ironic as that sounds.

        No one really cares about the South China sea issues, or Rule of law, Ireneo ‘s been writing about how Filipinos are just too narrow minded, too tribal to care about bigger issues.

        But this trash stuff

        I think it has the potential to galvanize Filipinos to action. The irony is, having seen personally the Filipinos relationship to trash, throwing trash everywhere, peeing and pooping everywhere, the irony is that Filipinos under DU30’s watch are actually pissed off, feeling insulted, by Canada’s trash, when they

        themselves throw their trash where they stand, oblivious to where trash goes.

        My point, if they can be pissed off that foreigners just throw their trash in the Philippines, they the Filipinos should now be as pissed when Filipinos themselves trash the Philippines.

        That’s the “mass psychological counseling session” that need to happen over there. 😉



        why the need to return the trash to Canada when there are Filipinos who would fall head over heels to have a go at those cargo containers full of trash,

        • Andres 2018. says:

          “Filipinos relationship to trash, throwing trash everywhere, peeing and pooping everywhere.”

          I know of a place where Filipinos take good care of their trash, – Puerto Princesa, Palawan. Street food vendors, balot vendors, are all taking back those plastic wrappers and egg shells. Households are quite disciplined to have their own garbage cans where the garbage trucks could pick up daily, 2 times a day. Yes! Two times a day the dump trucks are collecting trash, compared to my city here where the dump trucks visit like 2 or 3 times a week.

      • Andres 2018. says:

        It was called a bluff because it was, you are absolutely correct that Philippines could not go to war out of military incapability. The threat of war and the trash talking is all about gaining attention.

        Oh no, please don’t blame Du30 on the cheap labor and on the nurses who are desperate to escape the fouled-up Philippines. Well, just saying in advance because maybe you will raise that argument.

        Fouled-up Philippines, i could see that you are filled with frustrations right there.

    • kasambahay says:

      give credit when due but could prevention be better? duterte ought to tell his men specially those he appointed to higher places to please stop importing garbage, be vigilant about it and to ensure no more garbage is imported in the future.

      some of those imported garbage even landed in mindanaw, within sight of duterte, lol!

      there were oversights kuno, well duterte’s best and brightest ought to make sure there is no more oversights.

  15. Andres 2018 says:

    On the “need of the Philippines to have a mass counseling session”

    Let me put it this way,

    Filipinos, as individualistic as they are, have each own thought on all matters, have each own ways of doing things, have each own criteria of which side to pick. If the Filipino thought or the Filipino ways differ than that of someone, lets exercise utmost understanding and respect. The call of mass counseling is uncalled for, i believe. What rigth does someone have to give that mass counseling to Filipinos? What i could call for is democracy, let the majority thought and the majority ways prevail.

    • It depends on what the goals are. If it is to subsist through struggle, then I’d agree with you. If it is to become wealthier, stronger, and better able to provide health, security, and personal fulfillment, then Filipinos need a different personal value set. I can see why Chinese interests would take your position, for sure.

      • Andres 2018. says:

        Values develop through time, base on our experiences through out. Values we have inherited from our forefathers will sooner be replaced as we seek which sets of values we think are the best. And in time, we could create our sets of values which we will pass on to the next generation.

        Primary factors that determine what value we are adopting was just mentioned by you, security, wealth, health, fulfillment. We choose our sets of values base on that. Its part of our growth, like the seedlings who will always seek the sunshine, we are part of nature after all. However, if someone will to counsel, it would be unnatural because its the counselor that will influence the people. Most probably, the counselor will inculcate his own sets of values, which he had created base on his own experiences different from the experience and the situation of the people being counseled. Yet, a good counselor needs to know all things, the history, the situation, the environment of the people being counseled to counsel properly. And who would be that good counselor that can do that?

    • Dippindotz says:

      Argumentum ad populum.

  16. caliphman says:

    Andres, in principle I would tend to agree with you that in a democracy the will and the ways of the majority should in general prevail. More importantly I would toss in their choice of goals and priorities. But the caveat that majority rule should not be at the sacrifice of the basic rights to life, liberty, and opportunities for the minority. Also, the interests of future generations who are voiceless should be considered. This is what a constitutional democracy is supposed to guaranty; following the will of the people while still legally protecting the rights and interests of minorities and future generations. Otherwise the nation is governed by a dictatorship or enlightened few who decides what is good for the people and how they should be ruled.

    • Andres 2018 says:

      How can that be? Majority rule and minority interest are on polar opposites.

      I could only see one winning card for the minority, the law. Morals, ethics, values, traditions, have no fangs and claws at all.

      I could not hate on dictatorship or the government of the enlightened few if the majority wants it and are contended by it. They are just form of goverment afterall. What is wrong with a dictatorship if the people are well feed and fulfilled?

      • Joe the Kano says:

        Um, that’s a really big “if” and once you let that genie out of the bottle it’s pretty hard to stuff it back in if things go wrong.

        Like, say, government “security” forces start executing people who are merely suspected of crimes, with no semblance of due process.

        Or corrupt officials start selling the country out to a bullying neighbor country for peanuts.

        Or the top leader is a ranting lunatic who lives in a make-believe world in which he is the star of a shitty low-budget one-man-army-revenge-fantasy action flick marketed to ignorant teenagers.

        Just ask Germany how the whole dictatorship thing worked out.

      • caliphman says: seem to have difficulty discerning the fact that once a people agrees to a dictatorship it ceases being a democracy.

        • Andres 2018 says:

          No ser, what i am saying, in theoritical plane, is that i am not particular into what form of government, dictatorship or democracy. What is democracy if the rich becomes richer and the poor becomes poorer? What is dictatorship if all are well feed? I believe that a form of goverment is appropriate to a certain point of time, and a different era will need a different one that is more proper.

          Philippines, democracy, constitutional democracy, the majority rule is limited by what was legal. We both agree on that. In our Constitution, what was mentioned was “common good” and i dont think if “greater good” was mentioned somewhere. With this is my disagreement to you that our constitution will not prioritize minority interest as a limiting factor for majority rule, though, individual basic human rights will.

          • caliphman says:

            I do not follow your train of thought. When you start off that the majority should prevail as the Philippines is a democracy. But that claim will not fly in a constitutional democracy. Then a nonsequitur argument that a dictatorship that a dictatorship is a viable alternative to democracy inspite of the fact that it is illegal under the Philippine constitution. And now you say ditch the idea of democracy and the concept of people choosing their own government ifvcd a dictatorship is better for the common good. Let me remind you, this is not China where what is for the common good is dictated by a one party politburo and not by the will of the people. I refuse to delve into your fixation with minority rights which is obviosly an extension of individual rights that is protected by the constitition. Sorry but its helpful if one is bit more coherent in one’s reasoming here.

            • sonny says:

              Maybe a definition of terms is in order – like malevolent dictator vs benevolent one? Then retrofit a ‘BTW aside’ on the terms form and substance on the idea of democracy? Lots of conflation I can see. (Just trying to create a coherent stew here) 🙂 Maybe failing anyway.

            • Andres 2018. says:


              Well, let me put it this way.

              I believe there are two topics here:

              Topic 1. On the actual Philippine situation, the Philippine constitutional democracy.

              We both agree that majority rule are limited by the law, individual rights to be exact. My disagreement here is that minority interest is not a limitation of the majority rule. You argue that minority rights is an extension of individual rights. And my argument on this is that, the Philippine Constitution have not mentioned any minority rights but a lot when its about the individual human rights. I don’t think minority rights is an extension of human rights. For example, one of the hot topic today, the LGBT community, each gay person obviously have human rights, but what was their minority rights?

              Topic 2. On the forms of government, dictatorship and democracy.

              This is independent of topic 1, this dwells on the theoretical plane. Hence, the “what if” situations i have sited. Maybe the argument is that you value democracy above all, while i do not.

              I hope this made something coherent.

              • caliphman says:

                I am sorry I have to be very brief because I have neither the time nor the inclination to pursue your separate topics and threads of thoughts. Saying its all separate separate after being rebutted does not make it any less inconherent. And last I knew a minority is an aggroupation of indivuduals and it is their individual constitutual rights that is typically being violated and at issue. For example, the more than 1 million Chinese muslims that are being fircibly detained in Xinjiang province are being deprived of their individual rights and not so much their rights as a minority Lets cover this anothrt time perhaps?

              • Andres 2018. says:

                Sure thing.

  17. NHerrera says:


    Heydarian, in an Inquirer article

    writes praisingly about our type of military mind — a contrast to the Ver, Bato kind or the Pakastani, Mayanmar kind — and singles out Lorenzana:

    A careful observation of the former generals in Mr. Duterte’s core Cabinet, however, evinces a highly encouraging dynamic. Starting with Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana, both former and current top military brass has acted, just as Huntington described, as “a force for caution, sanity, and realism.” … Our democracy is still alive and kicking, largely thanks to our professional armed forces.

    Heydarian notes Duterte’s monthly ritual of visiting military camps — which he sensed as the continuing courtship of the military, something that resulted in Marcos essentially winning over the military completely in his own time, prior to the latter’s declaration of Martial Law.


    I may add to my note above, the situation of the Philippine Senate come July. From the news reports on the Pacquiao-inspired resolution signed by 11 senators — excluding Legarda, Escudero and Honasan of the 6 “graduating senators”: Legarda, Escudero, Honasan, Aquino, Ejercito, Escudero — expressing the support of the continued Senate Presidency of Sotto, I imagine about 5 Senate Blocs in the new Senate. [Admittedly, Sotto can still be dislodged in a formal vote when the new senate is activated in July. One also needs 13 votes out of the 24 Senators to make the Senate Presidency a reality.]

    As an incurable numbers man, I ran a Shapley Value Algorithm to weigh the effective strength of the five coalition blocs I will show below. The Shapley Algorithm is related to Game Theory. Here is an illustrative example. Suppose there are three persons with 7 left-handed gloves, 5 with left-handed gloves, and 2 with right-handed gloves, respectively. If the object is to form as much “pairs of left and right handed gloves” as possible, the Shapley Algorithm comes out with the weight or “strength” of the three persons as follows: 1/6, 1/6, 4/6 (or 2/3), respectively. It does not matter how many gloves the three persons have, the one with the right-handed gloves carries the most influence or weight. You may label me as sexist [I hope not] but this example is similar to the situation of 2 men marooned in an island with 1 woman — the woman carries the most weight in the “mating game.”

    Now to the new senate. I imagine 5 blocs shown below, labeled as Sotto bloc, Drilon bloc, Villar bloc, Go bloc, and “Saling Pusa” bloc with memberships shown: In running the Shapely Algorithm, I use the following criteria focused on major contentious issues based on rational sentiments or ideology:

    – Sotto bloc may coalesce with Drilon bloc but not with the others;

    – Drilon bloc may coalesce with Sotto bloc but not with the others;

    – Villar bloc may coalesce with the Go and Saling Pusa blocs but not with the others;

    – Go bloc may coalesce with the Villar and Saling Pusa blocs but not with the others.

    With the above as the criteria, the Shapley Algorithm yields the following:

    That is, the relative weights of Sotto bloc, Drilon bloc, Villar bloc, Go bloc, and “Saling Pusa” bloc are 0.35, 0.35, 0.10, 0.10, and 0.10, respectively.

    Thus, the election of Marcos, Tolentino, Go, Bato [ Cayetano, Revilla and Lapid are old hands in the Senate] are effectively neutered or deprived of the vigor that some people may imagine them to have in the new senate.

    • Fascinating. Certainly this seems to have been true in keeping Sotto as president of the Senate. Villar was huffing about snarling at Pacquiao.

    • This post is a gem, NH. Thanks!

      You may label me as sexist [I hope not] but this example is similar to the situation of 2 men marooned in an island with 1 woman — the woman carries the most weight in the “mating game.”

      As to this analogy, they say the Birds of Paradise found in the mountains PNG, and i guess all other bird species pretty much if one surveys photos of male-female dimorphism, are for the most part the result of female preference ,

      To extend your analogy, the Filipino people are the female birds, whilst their leaders the males of the species. At some point, though beautiful, too much specialized feathers become counter-productive.

      Also, found amongst monkeys,

      • chemrock says:

        Birds of paradise..
        Look Lance, evolution…

        • NHerrera says:

          Beautiful plant/ flower!

          • from Wiki: “Strelitzia reginae, the crane flower or bird of paradise, is a species of flowering plant indigenous to South Africa. An evergreen perennial, it is widely cultivated for its dramatic flowers. In temperate areas it is a popular houseplant.

            Strelitzia reginae is very popular as an ornamental plant. It was first introduced to Britain in 1773, when it was grown at the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew. Since then, it has been widely introduced around the world, including the Americas and Australia, growing well in any area that is sunny and warm. In the United States, Florida and California are the main areas of cultivation, due to their warm climate. It is a common ornamental plant in Southern California, and has been chosen as the Official Flower of the City of Los Angeles.

            In the UK it is normally grown under glass, in a cool sunny position such as a greenhouse or conservatory, as it does not tolerate temperatures below 10 °C (50 °F). However it may be placed outside during the summer months. It has gained the Royal Horticultural Society’s Award of Garden Merit.”

            not as hardy as a rose. 😉


            Speaking of evolution, the Bird of Paradise from South Africa as domesticated plant is fairly recent, comparatively the rose is the most domesticated flowering plant in human history.

            So human induced evolution has given us thousands of different rose species; while not so much for Bird of Paradise yet, though there are ones now with different colours but still the same basic shape of the flower, if you apply the same cultivation techniques as the rose to the bird of paradise, I’m sure variants will be a plenty— though as source plants go not so hardy as a rose.

            Thus, “What’s in a name? That which we call a rose,
            By any other word would smell as sweet.”


            Speaking of “paradise”, I’ve just googled Andres‘ Palawan description of clean above,

            “Is the Philippine government not strong enough to implement its laws? And how about the agencies involved in the protection of the environment? Are they not doing their jobs to curb irregularities? Do we need international support to drum up efforts to protect our own backyard?

            Section 48 of Republic Act 9003 or the Ecological Solid Waste Management Act of 2000 clearly states the requirement and has tough penalties on offending entities. But there are still gaps on how this is properly enforced.

            Here in Palawan, especially in Puerto Princesa City, we have been a role model and has been considered to be the cleanest and greenest in the whole country. But how about now? Are we losing this title?

            These questions left us hanging – what are we doing in our own personal capacities and in our own backyards to protect our very own Palawan?

            We should not wait for the moment where we will be overtaken by the wastes we once thrown before we take action and heed not just our environmental laws but also the law of nature.”

            (El Nido, Palawan , 2018)

            Paradise lost???

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