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Duterte announces: "We are being sabotaged" - Let's brace ourselves for massive demonstrations ~SHARE

I had a creeping suspicion that the deaths of Kian, Arnaiz, and Kulot were part of a conspiracy to bring down the government of Presiden...

Saturday, October 21, 2017


Ballot boxes in Calbayog City contained 2013 ballots, Francis Tolentino says


Former Metropolitan Manila Development Authority chairman and incumbent presidential political adviser Francis Tolentino on Friday claimed several ballot boxes in pilot precincts in Calbayog City, Samar contained ballots during the 2013 midterm elections.
"As per revision merong mga ballots na 2013 elections, we are referring to the 2016 elections. So kinukwestyon namin yun bakit yung laman nung iba is 2013 ballots," Tolentino said in an interview outside the Senate Electoral Tribunal (SET).
"Iba yung kulay ng 2013 ballots e at iba rin yung sine-shade na pangalan. 'Di naman ako kandidato nung 2013, wala ngang presidential elections noon. Paano nakasali yung 2013 sa 2016? Pagkatapos ng election inaalis na yun e unless merong (electoral) protest," he added.

Presidential adviser Francis Tolentino is here at the Senate Electoral Tribunal to monitor his poll protest vs Sen. Leila De Lima @gmanews
The SET started the manual recount of more than 600 ballot boxes on Wednesday as part of Tolentino's electoral protest against the victory of detained Sen. Leila De Lima. 
Tolentino, who ran as an independent candidate, lost to then-candidate De Lima of the Liberal Party by more than 1.2 million votes for a spot in "Magic 12" winning candidates.
Tolentino said De Lima's lead is already doubtful since the gap between the 12th and 13th candidate is only around 40,000 votes, based in history.
"Kahit review-hin niyo physically, lahat ng labanan sa 12 to 13 ang lamangan diyan 40,000. Ngayon lang biglang nag-balloon ng one million," he said.
Tolentino also questioned why he received zero votes in several areas of Basilan -- Isabela City, Sumisip, and Tabuan-Lasa -- and Maguindanao -- Datu Sinsuat, Parang, and Matanog.
"For instance yung Maguindanao, province-wide I won so statistically improbable naman na may towns ka na zero when you won in the province," Tolentino said.
The former MMDA chief added that no votes were also tallied for him in Turtle Island, Tawi-Tawi.
Tolentino further said at least one polling precinct in Bocaue, Bulacan showed he led De Lima, who is detained at the Philippine National Police Custodial Center on drug charges, by at least 30 votes after the recount.
De Lima's side
Sought for comment, De Lima's lawyer, Teddy Rigoroso, told GMA News Online that it is only natural that clustered Precinct No. 8 of Calbayog City to contain 2013 ballots because the city treasurer submitted the wrong ballot box.
“What was given by the city treasurer was a ballot box for the 2013 elections and the contents were also for the 2013 elections. This was of no fault of De Lima because at the time of retrieval we already manifested that it may be a wrong box,” Rigoroso said in a text message.
Rigoro then affirmed that Tolentino received zero votes in several precincts in Maguindanao and Basilan. He, however, said De Lima also had zero votes in some of these areas.
He cited the one clustered precinct each in the towns of Datu Sinsuat and Matanog in Maguindanao, and Sumisip and Tabuan-lasa in Basilan where De Lima had zero votes.
Rigoroso said in areas where Tolentino garnered zero votes , De Lima received a total of 389.
As for Turtle Island, Rigoroso said Tolentino received zero votes in Clustered Precinct no. 4 where De Lima only had three votes.
Hybrid elections
Meanwhile, Tolentino said his electoral protest proves the flaws of the automated election system.
He said the government should instead implement a hybrid election system where the vote counting at the precinct level is done manually.
"Bahagi ng reklamo natin noon ay may failure talaga ang automated nun kaya nga ang sinusulong ko hybrid. Yung bilangan sa baba, sa presinto, ay dapat mano-mano," Tolentino said.

"Yung pag-submit sa canvass yun ang gawing automated hindi yung pure automated. Ang pilipino naman handang magpuyat para bilangin yung boto e. Binilisan nga natin yung accuracy naman hindi katanggap-tanggap sa iba," he added. — RSJ/KBK, GMA News

Has Looting Pig (LP) Drilon Gotten Away with Billions of Pork Barrel Funds?

Four years after the Pork Barrel Scam led to a rally of sorts at Rizal Park, it seems that most people have forgotten the theft of up to 14 billion pesos in Priority Development Assistance Funds and the many questions that were never asked or answered at the height of the biggest corruption controversy in the Philippines.
It was a good thing that, a couple of days ago, former Makati Vice Mayor Bobby Brillante came out to urge the present administration and senate leadership to re-open investigations into the Pork Barrel Fund Scam.
Speaking as the convener of the Campaign for Public Accountability, Brillante said that the previous probe of the scandal under the past administration of Pres. Benigno ‘Noynoy’ Aquino III was “derailed” and ended up “covering up” for other personalities whose names also got dragged into the issue.
“During the Aquino administration, the Senate, headed by Sen. Drilon, was bent on derailing the issues and covering up for some people (and) at the same time pin down the (members of the) opposition,” Brillante said.

“Their investigation focused only on three opposition senators,” Brillante added, in reference to then senators Juan Ponce Enrile, Jinggoy Estrada and Ramon ‘Bong’ Revilla, the only high-profile personalities charged and subsequently detained over the scandal.

“This time around we hope that an investigation will produce a more complete picture of all those involved in the pork barrel scam.”
Allies of Looting Pigs who say that Brillante is lying will be slapped in the face by clear evidence of Looting Pig Drilon stone walling the senate’s investigation. LP Drilon had initially refused to approve a subpoena for Janet Lim Napoles to appear before the Senate Blue Ribbon Committee hearing — which was, back then, led by Drilon’s fellow Looting Pig TG Guingona.
Of course, Drilon was expected to find a way to keep Napoles quiet and divert the investigation because Napoles had reportedly given P100 million for the Looting Pigs election campaign fund.
That is, of course, besides the enormous help that Napoles gave to Looting Pig senators and congressmen who wanted to steal millions from their pork barrel funds.
Funny thing though… Despite the fact that the Duterte Administration has done away with Senator Leila De Lima and shredded the reputation of Senator Antonio Trillanes (who are more likely the Looting Pigs ground commanders), Duterte has yet to train his guns on Drilon who is most likely one of the high commanders of the Looting Pigs.
Seeing how his resolve had won his administration victory over ISIS in Marawi, it seems only natural to expect his resolve to rid the country of corruption would lead to the charging and incarceration of Drilon. (That is, if we can expect that what happened to Enrile, Estrada and Revilla can be applied to Drilon.)
Then again, it occurs to us that maybe Duterte has to work through his allies in the senate. One of them being Senator Dick Gordon, a man whom Duterte said should be the country’s next president.
In May this year, current Senate Blue Ribbon Committee Chairman Dick Gordon said he would re-open the investigation into the Pork Barrel Scam IF NEW EVIDENCE TURNS UP.
This seems like a particularly LIMP stand right now, especially after Secretary of Justice Vitaliano Aguirre recently said that Napoles had tagged Drilon in the Pork Barrel Scam.
As far as I can tell, this is NEW EVIDENCE and Gordon should have immediately scheduled an investigation. But he hasn’t.
What’s the matter Gordon? Nanlalambot ka ba kay Drilon?



October 21, 2017 - Fidelity to the Holy Spirit’s Inspirations

Saturday of the Twenty-Eighth Week in Ordinary Time

Father James Swanson, LC
Luke 12:8-12

Jesus said to his disciples: "I tell you, everyone who acknowledges me before others the Son of Man will acknowledge before the angels of God. But whoever denies me before others will be denied before the angels of God. Everyone who speaks a word against the Son of Man will be forgiven, but the one who blasphemes against the Holy Spirit will not be forgiven. When they take you before synagogues and before rulers and authorities, do not worry about how or what your defense will be or about what you are to say. For the Holy Spirit will teach you at that moment what you should say."

Introductory Prayer: Lord, I believe that you are present here as I turn to you in prayer. I trust and have confidence in your desire to give me every grace I need to receive today. Thank you for your love, thank you for your immense generosity toward me. I give you my life and my love in return.

Petition: Grant me, Lord, the grace to stand up for my beliefs today.

1. Too Cowardly for Martyrdom: Sometimes it’s very difficult to acknowledge Jesus before others. We think of the possibility of martyrdom, and we all wonder if we would be able to be faithful to Jesus if it meant death. We may think that we witness to him pretty well in our everyday lives, but do we really? We listen to attacks on Jesus and his Church without objection. Sometimes we even kind of nod or smile as if to let on that we agree. We would never say such things ourselves, but we don’t really stand up for Jesus even when there is no possibility of martyrdom. How many of us have a terrible time just making the sign of the Cross in a public place? It’s a simple thing, something I do every time I come to the table to eat, but somehow, it can be incredibly difficult in a restaurant, where the only burden is that “people might think I’m a Catholic.”

2. Accepting the Truth: Christ’s teaching about blasphemy against the Holy Spirit may be worrisome because we may think that there exists some unforgivable sin. Yet, there is no unforgivable sin. God’s love and mercy is all-powerful against sin. Blasphemy against the Holy Spirit has been understood by the Church to mean final impenitence -- that the Holy Spirit is trying to convince us of our sins and we won’t accept them. If we are finally convinced, there is no blasphemy against the Holy Spirit. However, if we die without having accepted his truth, then we will be guilty of blasphemy against the Holy Spirit. Do I let the Holy Spirit convince me of my sinfulness? Are there things that the Church teaches as wrong that I don’t want to accept? Are there sins that I think aren’t too bad because I want to make them a part of my life? Sins cannot be forgiven if they are not accepted as sins.

3. Witnessing with My Life: Maybe we don’t worry too much about being hauled into court for our Christianity, but we still have to testify to it every day with our lives. No matter where we go or what we do, we are witnesses to our belief in Christ. The Greek word “martyr” means “witness.” I need to let the Holy Spirit speak through me when I am in front of others. People will be judging not just me, but all Christians by my actions, so I need to live charity as the mark of a genuine Christian. I need to foster the humility of a person who looks at the greatness and holiness of God the Father and yet recognizes his own pettiness and sinfulness. I need to live all the virtues in the concrete circumstances of my daily life. The only way I can do all these things is by letting the Holy Spirit speak through the actions of my life, so that my life is the testimony that others need it to be.

Conversation with Christ: Dear Jesus, I can hear your call to a deeper intimacy with you. I want to draw closer, yet at times, I also feel reluctance. Help my weak will. Inflame my heart with a greater love for you so that I can be a true “martyr”, a witness to your faithful love. Open my heart to your Holy Spirit so that I live as a true Christian.

Resolution: When I am in front of others, I will foster the awareness that I am a witness to the truth of Christ’s revelation and try to let the Holy Spirit speak through my actions.

Pinoy Ako Blog’s popularity with some academics at ADMU & UP proof of their mediocrity

Jover Laurio of Pinoy Ako Blog now basks under the limelight playing the all-too-familiar Victim Card.
Recently I sat back and watched while one of our former hecklers got a dose of her own medicine. I felt validated that I had proven again that the best defence against our detractors is patience and the discipline to allow them the time and space to dig their own graves. I always knew that those who accuse us of being Marcos paid hacks were going to regret they ever made those accusations. The fact that they couldn’t provide proof, but still insisted in what they believe about us says a lot about them – they are irrational and desperate.
Having said that, it is never a good thing to get bashed on social media. Being a regular recipient of hate messages, I wouldn’t wish it on others. I have too much empathy that I even feel sorry for bullies who get bullied online. Once cornered, a bully just looks like a loser. But on the other hand, there are some bullies who can turn things around by playing the victim card. Those bullies do not get any sympathy from me. One would think that a bully getting a taste of her own medicine would somehow feel remorseful and apologise for what she had done to others, but it is quite the opposite. Some have a talent for turning things around and getting support from others who do not know the full history of their abusive behaviour. In other words, some bullies behave like sociopaths and do not feel sorry for their victims.
Bullies are actually insecure people deep inside. They simply mask their insecurities by acting tough. They enjoy putting people down and harassing them because they are trying to prove that they are better than others. They get a kick out of making fun of others because they are bitter about their own circumstances.
The once anonymous blogger Jover Laurio was forced to admit she is the blogger behind anti-Duterte site Pinoy Ako Blog. She said she had no choice but to come out because she feared for her life after blogger RJ Nieto (a.k.a. Thinking Pinoy) identified her as the blogger behind vile posts directed at politicians and pro-Duterte bloggers. I don’t know what her basis for fearing for her life was because now that she is out, she has been enjoying the limelight. Members of mainstream media allied with the Opposition have been giving her air time interviewing her and giving her opportunity to say that she is the victim of cyber bullying by Duterte supporters: never mind that, when she was still anonymous, she did not hesitate to post hateful stuff against others.
The British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) surprisingly gave Laurio exclusive air time immediately after her outing. One wonders how in the world a blogger from the Philippines got the attention of the international media. I didn’t even know Pinoy Ako Blog existed until it got in trouble with seven senators that the site maligned a couple of weeks ago, but I did know of Laurio because she actively pursued us before. One can be forgiven for thinking that a member of local mainstream media contacted the foreign news agency and gave them a one-sided version of the issue because the British journalist was only concerned about her and not her victims. The journalist should have interviewed one of her victims as well to get both sides. It’s not fair that they only got Laurio’s side. Laurio went on to claim that she is being silenced because she was critical of the Duterte administration. Suffice to say Laurio is getting a lot of support from the Opposition and she is enjoying her fifteen minutes of fame.
Some members of the academic community from the Ateneo de Manila University (ADMU) and University of the Philippines even hailed Laurio a “hero” for being “brave” enough to speak out against what they call a “tyrannical” government. They made her a special guest in their forums, never mind that critics like Laurio have been abusing their freedom of speech by spreading lies and maligning others who don’t agree with her views. I and other writers of Get Real Post were also subjected to her style of bullying back in 2016. We did not complain nor retaliate when she did it to us. In fact, we ignored her because we didn’t want to give her the attention she craved for. I had to block her on Twitter for being so unpleasant.
Jover Laurio may be in possession of information about some people that could have been acquired through illegal means.
Laurio was likely upset about her idol Mar Roxas losing the 2016 Presidential election and blamed us for being critical of the Liberal Party. She threatened to reveal private information about us in an attempt to stop us from posting stuff against her idols. She accused us of being Marcos paid hacks or “bayaran”. She did not provide proof though. She just kept telling us she knew a lot about us, as if that even makes a difference as far as our views on and arguments against the Liberal Party. Laurio could not even produce a photo of us with any of the Marcoses, but for people like her, just being a Liberal Party critic already makes us Marcos supporters. Meanwhile, she proudly displays her photo with all the Liberal Party bigwigs as proof that she is a rabid supporter. Being partisan does not make her objective.
Now that Laurio’s identity has been outed, a lot of people are watching and waiting if she will have the same “courage” to malign others the way she used to when she was anonymous. It’s actually surprising why she chose to be anonymous considering she had a problem with other anonymous bloggers before. She also made it look like she was very concerned about her privacy, but all her personal photos were publicly available including the ones of her in a revealing two-piece beach outfit.
Laurio focused her attention on being a rabid anti-Duterte blogger and also targeted other pro-Duterte bloggers through Pinoy Ako Blog. She nitpicked on small issues, but ignored the faux pas and incompetence of members of the Liberal Party like Vice President Leni Robredo. During a televised interview, she justified calling pro-Duterte supporter and Manila Times columnist Professor Antonio Contreras “vulgar” or balahura because he was critical of Robredo. Meaning, in her mind, she was just coming to Robredo’s rescue. She also called another pro-Duterte supporter Sass Sasot a prostitute. For Laurio, people who don’t share her views are fair game. Sasot will be filing a libel case against Laurio soon as reported in the news. Senator Tito Sotto is also investigating the bloggers behind those who accused him of being a rapist. It remains to be seen if she is one of those who will have to answer to the senator.
It’s baffling why folks from elite schools like the ADMU and UP are defending Laurio. For one thing, they are usually pedantic about grammar and form. Now they give Laurio’s posts a pass just because she is critical of the Duterte government. Laurio’s posts don’t even have substance. Her work certainly won’t win any Nobel Peace Prizes any time soon.  Senator Leila De Lima likewise compared Laurio to the founders of revolutionary newspaper La Solaridad whose writers were critical of the Spanish colonisers back in 1888. The founders must be rolling in their graves, cringing.
It seems Lauro is the Opposition’s only answer to counter pro-Duterte bloggers. They do not have anyone with enough gravitas to write quality articles against the Duterte government. Whatever happened to the products of Philippine elite schools? They don’t have the “courage” to write critical pieces I suppose. They leave it up to someone like Laurio to represent them. What a sad and sorry state members of the elite have become, indeed.

Friday, October 20, 2017

Backlash for Euro-cash

Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte and Trade Secretary Ramon Lopez at an ASEAN Opening Ceremony

Critics of Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte (photo, left) are having another hissy fit. This time it’s over his decision to reject European Union (EU) aid grants to his country; a decision confirmed by Foreign Affairs Secretary, Peter Alan Cayetano, yesterday. Duterte’s detractors on social media seemed to be wondering if this was ‘further evidence’ that the president’s lost his marbles. After all, they ask, how could he turn down free money? The fact is though, he didn’t; it’s not free. In fact it comes at quite a cost.

We’ll come to that in a moment, but more significant than the head-scratching that’s going on among Duterte-bashers, is the reaction to this news by European businessmen based in the Philippines. No hissy-fit from them; in fact quite the reverse. As far as the European Chamber of Commerce of the Philippines (ECCP) is concerned, this latest spat between Brussels and Manila is of no consequence.

Guenter Taus, president of the ECCP – this organisation has maintained a Philippine presence for more than 40 years and represents some 600 companies from right across the quilt of Europe – said this: “We are business as usual. Nothing has changed and we intend to keep it that way. We in business do not mingle in politics; that is for politicians to do. We see to it that business gets addressed and addressed adequately”.

A voice of sanity, then, explaining the reality of yet another storm in a political teacup which the anti-Duterte crowd would like to escalate to a tempest. Taus also confirmed that the current rift between the EU and Manila has had no detrimental effect on investments from Europe and is unlikely to. “No reason for us to leave the country or think investments are not happening,” he said.

Thus, any economic fallout from Duterte’s decision which those in the political opposition might have hoped for – to add economic mismanagement to the list of charges they’ve brought against him – hasn’t materialised. So what does this rejection of EU aid actually mean? Let’s put a more helpful perspective on that in both economic and sovereignty terms.

This year, under the EU’s Multiannual Indicative Programme (MIP), the Philippines received PHP247.75 million. In terms of the country’s 2017 national budget – PHP3.35 trillion – that doesn’t amount to a mole hill of beans. In other words, the Philippine Treasury can live without it with very little belt-tightening.

That same sum was due to be delivered for each of the next three years; meaning that the Philippines will forfeit a total of PHP7.73 billion from next year until 2020. That’s the end of the maths.

Of course, if you look at that last figure without understanding the terms of the MIP, it might appear as if Duterte’s been reckless – PHP7.73 billion could pay for quite a lump of much-needed infrastructure. But that’s not how it works. The EU more or less designates, or at least has a large say, as to where and how the cash is spent.

Furthermore – and this is the real crux of the issue – the money isn’t some no-strings-attached gift from Europe. There are many attached conditions. It’s described variously as both “aid” and “funding”, but in fact it’s being used – and more visibly so since Duterte took office – to further EU global policy. This was always the case, but previously it was never challenged.

What’s brought things to a head, and actually made it an issue, however, is the orchestrated opposition to Duterte’s rule which has been building for more than a year. That opposition seized on the president’s anti-drugs campaign – his policy to rid his country of illegal narcotics – and was developed a narrative to show widespread human-rights abuses in the execution of that campaign. The opposition’s mantra for this is “Extrajudicial Killings” – the notion that all unexplained deaths in the Philippines can be attributed to rogue police actions inspired by Duterte.

But what finally spiked the boil was the appearance in Manila two weeks ago of a Member of the European Parliament (MEP) – along with other Euro-politicos in the Left-elitist Progressive Alliance. They were there to denounce Duterte’s anti-drugs policy once more and issue veiled threats that the Philippines could lose a deal that provides tariff-free entry for its products entering the EU area. Euro-septics in Manila.

This is what that MEP, Arne Leitz, said: “If the human rights standards are not upheld, then there may be consequences in the Philippines’ inclusion in the special trading instrument of the EU – [the General System of Preference, or, GSP+ which is currently under review]”.

The fact is, had there been no War on Drugs, that opposition – coalesced around the Liberal Party which believes it should still be running the country – would have found something else to undermine the presidency.

Certainly, the EU grant, if it was applied in the spirit of its two proclaimed strategic objectives – (a) Inclusive growth through access to sustainable energy and job creation. (b) Strengthening the rule of law through judicial and legal reform – would be gratefully received by Duterte.

Despite what the mainstream media likes to put out, his government is fully committed to those issues. Its socio-economic agenda is heavily geared to poverty alleviation and inclusive growth – indeed it was the lack of inclusive growth under the previous Liberal Party administration of Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino that played a big part in ensuring Duterte’s election victory in May last year.

As far as strengthening the rule of law through judicial and legal reform is concerned, that’s also a government priority. There’s no bigger critic of the country’s antiquated and hopeless courts system than Duterte – apart from possibly The Volatilian™. He’s also committed to stamping out official corruption at all levels and providing greater transparency of government affairs.

Let’s not forget it was Duterte who, just 24 days into his presidency, signed the executive order for freedom of information (FOI) – an order that covers all departments, bureaux, agencies, state-run firms, universities and colleges that come under the executive branch. If he could write a similar order for Congress, he would. But the separation of powers – affirming the independence of the legislature – prohibits that; though he continually urges lawmakers to pass an FOI Act.

Certainly, then, there’s full agreement on the MIP’s objectives – but there are conditions attached to them which can, and have, been used to show that the programme is a carrot-and-stick approach by Brussels to impose its political will on Manila. And, to put it crudely, the carrot’s too small and the stick’s too big.

This paragraph from the EU Commission Directorate General for Development and Cooperation (or, Europeaid) gives a taste of what’s involved. In explaining the objectives of the MIP package it states: “… cross-cutting issues such as – the improvement of governance, human rights issues, gender, children (in particular children associated with armed groups), indigenous peoples’ rights, social dimension of globalisation, cultural issues, disaster risk reduction and resilience building for the most vulnerable populations , environmental protection and conflict prevention – will be systematically mainstreamed in all development programmes covered by this MIP”.

As they say, the devil is in the detail; and the devilish detail in that paragraph are two phrases; the first being “human rights issues”. Of course it should be there and the present and past administrations, respectively, has and have had no problem with that. Its how it’s used and interpreted that’s important. If the EU decides there’s been a violation of human rights in a country to which it provides aid, it can cancel that aid unilaterally.

And so it’s that other phrase, “systematically mainstreamed”, where the real licence lies for the anti-Duterte movement in Europe – ably aided abetted and encouraged by the Philippine Liberal Party and its tame packs of human-rights jackals and media sycophants – to fashion the issue into a weapon. They’ve been able to put pressure on the president by keeping human rights first and forefront of all dialogue surrounding the Philippines.

The ‘Systematic mainstreaming’ of human rights in the context of Duterte has been conducted ruthlessly and relentlessly by the Liberals. And not least by the party’s chairman and the country’s vice president, Leni Robredo; senator-in-custody, former justice secretary and alleged drugs queen, Leila De Lima, along with the Philippine Commission on Human Rights – now engaged in probing the country’s military for possible human-rights violations committed by government troops during the battle to retake Marawi City in the south of the country from Islamist militants, bishops of the Philippine Roman Catholic Church, and shed loads of Left-loving academics, media hacks, student groups and all their international associates.

Between them, they’ve systematically lobbied the EU, the United Nations, the US Congress, the International Criminal Court and anyone else they could find to listen. And it’s against that backdrop that this issue was brought to a head.

Calls from Duterte’s political opponents for the EU to place sanctions on his government – for example, the removal of those trade-tariff preferences for Philippine goods – to bring him to submission and end his drugs war, is seen by Duterte not simply as an attack on him but an attack on his country and his people. An attack, in fact on Philippine sovereignty.

And that’s something he’ll never stand for. Furthermore, the EU Commission which along with the European Action Service administers the MIP, should know that. This is precisely the sort of interference in the internal affairs of the Philippines that caused Duterte to switch Philippine foreign policy away from the US and towards China – thus effectively ending a 70-year-old relationship.

It was even over the same issue. Former US president Barack Obama had sought to lecture Duterte on human rights and criticised his drugs war. So, why would any Brussels bureaucrat believe that some misplaced EU authority could bring him to heel? Don’t they study people; analyse events? Or are they so preoccupied with notions of their own grandeur that they believe one word from them and a little country like the Philippines will suddenly jump into line?

Here, for their benefit, is what Trade Secretary Ramon Lopez (photo, right) said on the issue: “The President has made it clear, no interference … that is the position of the government … What we’re just emphasising is the importance of mutual respect for sovereignty”.

And if that’s not explicit enough, he added this: “If there is a clear interference from any group … [the president] has mentioned that even trade, he is willing to sacrifice”. Those who meddle in the Philippines, he said, can expect a “strong reaction”.

Trade losses, of course, would have an effect on the Philippine economy – Lopez reckons that Philippine exports to the EU could reach US$10 billion this year – but it should also leave the EU in no doubt how passionately Duterte prizes his country’s sovereignty. It comes above all other considerations and he will have it respected.

Part of the problem, of course, is that the EU doesn’t give a hoot about the sovereignty of any of its own member states – one reason, in fact for Britain exiting that autocratic abomination – so it’s unlikely to have considered Philippines’ sovereignty to be of much consequence.

That though amounts to cultural ignorance – Asia isn’t Europe. The EU may be able to trample over the sovereignties of Greece or Hungary, but in this region the Philippines has provided just a foretaste of what it can expect. The EU would get a similar reaction from any of the 10 countries which make up the Association of Southeast Asian Nations. See what happens if Brussels starts telling Singapore how to run its internal affairs – or Thailand, or Indonesia or anywhere else. It’ll soon find they, too, can do without its grants.


DAGDAG KAALAMAN- Marawi in the aftermath- By Atty: Trexie Angeles

List of Duterte's achievements on his first year as the president, released

Pres. Rodrigo Duterte | Photo from Google
In the said post, Gallardo said that many of the things included on the list are 'unprecedented' or never done before.

The said list, according to Gallardo, was from a Sammy De Leon Deleña.


Duterte's 1st year achievements, many of them unprecedented. Maybe you can add some more. This list is from Sammy De Leon Deleña.

1. PH external debt sheds $5.2B as of June 2017.
2. Highest PSEi closed at all-time high 8,312.93
3. Crime rate in Manila drops by 38% for the past 12 months.
4. Duterte's Political Will costs: 6B from Lucio Tan, 1.7B w/o Tax from Mile Long Property and 25B from Mighty Cigarettes
5. Free tuition in SUCs
6. Free internet in public places
7. Passport validity extension to ten years
8. Driver's license validity extension to five years
9. Stiffer penalties for hospitals refusing to treat patients
10. The indefinite ceasefire between the MNLF, MILF, CPP NDF and the government (held in Norway)
11. The centralised complaint and action hotlines - 911 and 8888
12. The one stop shop for OFW in POEA which is way better than before
13. The removal of processing fee on travel tax exemption 
14. The 2,000 pesos SSS pension raise
15. The much empowered servicemen who are now willing to serve the country with pride and higher self esteem
16. The servicemen's one in a million dinner at Malacanang opportunity 
17. The rounds in all of the defense camps to see what each station needs so that they can give better service to the country
18. The shutdown/closure of some mining companies that destroy the country's natural resources
19. The removal of the fishing fences in Manila Bay to give other small fishermen a fair chance to use it for their livelihood
20. The new buses from the airport to many major hubs in nearby cities
21. The one sack rice added to 4Ps cash assistance to our less fortunate fellowmen
22. The salary increase of the servicemen which is bound to happen any moment soon - and the soon to be state of the art equipped hospital for them.
23. The hastened benefits claiming of the family of our fallen men 
24. The increased allowance of our olympics delegates
25. The immediate signing of Freedom of Information
26. The exposés against local executives, police generals, judges and other top officials in government 
27.The now better looking cleaner Baclaran, Divisoria and other public places
28. The employment increase and unemployment decrease
29. The exposés against olligarchs who have been evading to pay taxes
30. The lower street crimes because most of the nutters who are more likely to commit the crimes have already surrendered and therefore identified
31. The Mindanao peace process that has resumed again in Malaysia
32. The bilateral talks with China over the WPS dispute
33. The launch of Oplan Tokhang which has more positive results - including the not so good ones
34. The cooperation and openness of fenced elite subdivisions for Oplan Tokhang as they show support to the war on drugs campaign
35. The billions worth of drugs seized in the operation
36. The closure of so many drug labs all over the country 
37. The more regulated and SAF manned BUCOR
38. The no VIP treatment for government officials in airports
39. The ongoing improvements of MRT/LRT service and other major thoroughfares
40. The customs installation of CCTVs all over the place to promote transparency

Tet Gallardo | Photo from Facebook
41. The crackdown of Bilibid Drug Trade and the expose' of Lielie de Lima 
42. DFA is now faster in processing passports.
43. Fixers are now out of sight
44. End of Contractualization
45. No more age limit requirements to all job seekers. 
46. The closure of online gambling. From 4 thousand outlets during the arroyo admin, to 8 thousand outlets during Aquino admin
47. OEC exemption for OFWs returning to same employer! Finally no need to pay and go through the troublesome process of acquiring OEC.
48. The extension of passport validity to 10 years
49. The curfew hours for minors.
50. free tuition in state universities and colleges for Filipino undergraduate students starting Academic Year 2017-2018; 
51. free irrigation;
52. free medical assistance in six hospitals that offer the Libreng Gamot Para sa Masa (Lingap) program which benefited some 9,429 indigents (from March to June 9);
53. microfinancing assistance that gives Pondo sa Pagbabago at Pag-asenso (P3) program for the underprivileged Filipino entrepreneurs, with Mindoro, Leyte, and Sarangani as pilot provinces;
54. additional P600 rice subsidy to each Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program (4Ps) household beneficiary; 
55. strict enforcement of labor laws particularly on security of tenure, which saw the regularization of 45,605 workers (from July 2016 to March 2017); 
56. across-the-board increase in the monthly pension of more than two-million Social Security System (SSS) retirees;
57. awarding of Certificates of Land Ownership Award (CLOAs) to Hacienda Luisita farmers starting with 111 beneficiaries, as of February 2017; and
58. fast-tracking the rehabilitation of Yolanda-affected areas with the construction of 50,791 housing units and 1,790 new classrooms and the repair of 701 state colleges and universities, 38 airport facilities, and 27 seaport facilities, as of the first quarter of 2017.
59 implementation of the Freedom of Information (FOI) in the Executive Branch;
60 creation of 8888 Citizen's Complaint Hotline for erring government officials;
61 online streaming of closed-circuit television (CCTV) inside the offices at the Bure59au of Customs (BOC);
62 social media livestreams of the President’s activities and Palace briefings;
63 the creation of a presidential task force on media security;
64 reduction of processing days of business permits and licenses (down to 2 days for new business registration and 1 day for renewals), Tax Clearance Certificates (TCC) (down to 2 working days from submission of complete documents), and certificates authorizing registration (down to 5 days from the previous 10 days); 
65 extension of the validity of driver’s licenses from 3 years to 5 years; 
66 implementation of a 3-day maximum time for Maritime Industry Authority (MARINA) applications; and
67 establishment of a one-stop service center for OFWs.
68. The distribution of the agricultural equipment that were purchased by the previous government but weren't distributed for some political reasons
69. The immediate repatriation of stranded OFWs in Saudi Arabia (which if I remember it right, one Kuya was crying when he finally touched base simply because he could now be reunited with his loved ones because those who were sent by the previous government only visited them to have some selfies with them.)
70. The laglag bala at the airport has finally stopped right after PRRD took office. I personally experienced that worry free moment and noticed that no more luggages with plastic wraps. 
71. The services in the government agencies are much faster and employees have started to treat the people with some respect and even with a smile. The transactions are much better these days.
72. The legit balikbayan boxes are no longer mishandled.
73. Memorandum Circular 25 directing the display of visual representations of Philippine Heroes in lieu of elected or appointed government officials.
74. Removal of giving scheduled passport renewal slots fo travel agencies.
75. The opening of the DAR gates which where were closed for 18 years
76. The distribution of the long overdue Hacienda Luisita to the farmers
77. The irrigation projects for the farmers have already started and nationwide - not to mention the distribution of many boats for our fishermen too.
78. The almost 700,000 surrenderees who have realized that drugs won't give them the future they're hoping for

Source: Tet Gallardo