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DUTERTE SET FOR WILD FOREIGN POLICY RIDE


MAY 11 -Presidential candidate Mayor Rodrigo Duterte (MB File/AP/Bullit Marquez)
 After proposing a jet-ski mission to defend remote islands against China, daring the United States to sever ties and joking about burning Singapore’s flag, Rodrigo Duterte is set for a wild foreign policy ride as the next Philippine president. The firebrand politician stormed to victory in national elections this week using an incendiary brand of populism and nationalism that his aides insist he will moderate once he has the keys to the presidential palace on June 30. Duterte branded the pope a “son of a whore” and angrily told the US and Australian ambassadors to “shut their mouths” after they criticized a joke he made about rape. The 71-year-old offered no apologies when asked by AFP on election night for a message to members of the international diplomatic community who may be concerned. “It is not to contribute to the comfort of other nations. I have to make the Filipino comfortable first before I give you comfort, outside my country,” he said. Duterte, the long-time mayor of southern Davao City, thrilled his supporters but outraged his critics with a series of diplomatic firebombs on the campaign trail. While his insults caused gasps in various capitals, his foray into a delicate maritime dispute with China — involving many nations but with the Philippines a key player — may have the most far-reaching impact. Playing to nationalist sentiment, Duterte vowed to ride a jet ski to plant a Philippine flag on remote South China Sea islands, where Beijing is accused of using bully-boy tactics to intimidate smaller nations with rival claims. But he also signaled a potentially significant reversal of government policy, saying he would be prepared to hold direct talks with China on the issue — potentially shattering the united front of claimant nations backed by the United States. “By the Philippines breaking ranks over this issue, it might affect... efforts to fend off China’s intrusion. There is a need to be united over this issue,” said Faisal Syam Hazis, head of the Center for Asia Studies at the National University of Malaysia.Insults fly Other foreign policy stumbles sprang from Duterte’s no-holds-barred election pitch. At one rally he recounted how he had personally killed inmates who had staged a 1989 Davao prison riot. But he also said that in the aftermath of the riot he discovered that an Australian missionary had been raped and murdered. “I was mad she was raped. But she was so beautiful. I thought: ‘The mayor should have been first (to rape her)’,” said Duterte, who on the cam paign trail also repeatedly boasted about his mistresses and sexual prowess. The Australian and US ambassadors criticized the comments, triggering a furious reaction from the contender, who told them not to interfere and raised the prospect of cutting diplomatic ties. READ MORE...RELATED, US, Israel congratulate Duterte ...

ALSO: Aquino, Duterte form group for smooth transfer of power
[RELATED: EDITORIAL - Dictated by the weather]


MAY 11 -In Photo: Customers walk in a shop selling souvenir items, such as commemorative car plates, T-shirts, stickers of leading presidential candidate Mayor Rodrigo R. Duterte, as business resumes in his hometown of Davao City in southern Philippines on Wednesday. Duterte has widened his lead in unofficial tally, but still refuses to claim victory.
PRESIDENT Aquino has reached out to the camp of incoming President and Davao City Mayor Rodrigo R. Duterte to commit to a smooth transition of power come June 30. Aquino talked to Duterte’s executive assistant Bong Go to tell him that Executive Secretary Paquito N. Ochoa Jr. shall head the Aquino administration’s transition team, which will coordinate with Duterte’s camp on matters relating to the transfer of power. “I talked to Mr. Bong Go yesterday [Tuesday] to relay to Mayor Duterte that an administrative order is being drafted, designating the executive secretary as head of the transition team. I further offered that the Cabinet stands ready to brief his team on any and all of their concerns. Lastly, we are committed to effecting the smoothest transition possible,” Mr. Aquino said in a news statement released on Wednesday. Presidential Communications Secretary Herminio B. Coloma Jr. said Duterte will have a free hand in appointing his trusted allies to government positions, as mandated by law, and by Mr. Aquino’s personal dislike for midnight appointments. “In our appointment papers and in our oath of office, there is a stipulation there that we are coterminus with the appointing authority, and we all know that our appointment shall only be until 12 noon of June 30, 2016,” Coloma said. READ MORE...RELATED, EDITORIAL: Dictated by the weather...

ALSO: Rody - FOI to be an executive order


MAY 12 -Front-running presidential candidate Mayor Rodrigo Duterte gestures during his second news conference after voting in a polling precinct at Daniel R. Aguinaldo National High School, Matina district, his hometown in Davao city in southern Philippines Monday, May 9, 2016. Duterte was leading by a wide margin in unofficial tallies but still refuses to claim victory. AP Photo/Bullit Marquez 
As part of his commitment to transparency, winning presidential candidate Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte said yesterday he would push for the immediate approval of the Freedom of Information (FOI) Act as soon as he is proclaimed.
Duterte said he would allow the public – through the mass media – greater access to government documents to ensure that every transaction is aboveboard. He stressed he does not even have to wait for legislation to ensure transparency in government as he is willing to order executive offices and local governments “to open up documents” for scrutiny. He said local government officials should not be afraid of allowing public access to documents – that is if they’re not hiding anything. The presumptive president also urged the media to be vigilant and to expose anomalous or questionable transactions in government. But he warned media members allegedly on the take to shut up. He said he is prepared to do “anything that makes the Filipinos comfortable” and shun what makes them “uncomfortable.” READ MORE...RELATED,

ALSO: Joma, Digong set meeting in Europe


MAY 12 -RENDEZVOUS IN EUROPE Jose Maria Sison,Communist Party of the Philippines founder, hopes to meet presumptive President RodrigoDuterte in Europe before the latter assumes office in Malacañang. INQUIRER FILEPHOTO 
LUCENA CITY—Exiled Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) founder Jose Maria Sison is looking forward to meet Davao City Mayor Rodrigo “Digong” Duterte in Europe before he assumes the presidency.
On his Facebook (FB) page on Wednesday, Sison also urged Duterte to order the arrest of President Aquino and Budget Secretary Florencio “Butch” Abad for plunder in connection with the alleged misuse of the congressional Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF). He said the President and Secretary Abad were “responsible for looting and unprecedented corruption” in the allocation of the PDAF, or pork barrel, which the Supreme Court has declared unconstitutional. “It is the hope that we can meet before his oath-taking as he promised during my Skype conference with him on April 25. He said he would come soon after [he is elected President],” Sison said in an online interview with the Inquirer on Wednesday on his anticipated meeting with Duterte. Sison said representatives of the CPP and Duterte were holding preparatory talks for the visit, the date of which he did not disclose. “I expect to meet President Duterte soon in Europe, whether the meeting is preceded by, concurrent with or followed by preliminary meetings of the GPH (Government of the Philippines) and NDFP (National Democratic Front of the Philippines) negotiating panels,” Sison said. READ MORE...

ALSO: US, China ready to work with Duterte


MAY 11 -DUTERTE Washington/Beijing – The United States and China signaled Tuesday that they are ready to work with the apparent victor of the Philippines presidential elections, Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte, despite allegations of human rights abuses in the city he has led for over two decades. Washington’s stance reflects the reality that US national security interests will outweigh human rights concerns given China’s increasingly assertive stance in the region and the maritime disputes in the South China Sea, Asia analysts said. “Washington respects the choice of the Philippine people. We gladly work with the leaders they’ve selected,” State Department spokeswoman Elizabeth Trudeau said when asked about Monday’s election. An official winner had not been declared but an unofficial count by election commission-accredited watchdog Parish Pastoral Council for responsible Voting (PPCRV) showed Duterte had a huge lead over his two closest rivals, both of whom conceded defeat. China, on the other hand, said it hopes to work with the Philippines’ new government to resolve territorial disputes in the South China Sea, but insisted the onus is on Manila to lower tensions. Beijing hopes the Philippines will “meet China halfway, taking concrete measures to properly deal with the disputes so as to put the ties of the two countries back on the track of sound development,” Foreign Ministry spokesman Lu Kang said at a daily news briefing. Lu said that while the two countries have a traditional friendship, bilateral relations have been “hit by major setbacks in recent years, due to reasons known to all” – a reference to moves by the Philippines to assert its claims and activities by the US challenging China’s actions. US RESPECTS PH POLLS When pressed whether Washington had concerns about positions advocated by the tough-talking Duterte, including extrajudicial killings to stamp out crime and drugs, Trudeau repeated her statement that Washington respected the choice of the voters. “We look forward to working with the leader that the Philippines has elected,” she said. Duterte’s vows to restore law and order resonated with Philippine voters, but his incendiary rhetoric and advocacy of extrajudicial killings to stamp out crime and drugs alarmed many people, who saw it as harkening back to the country’s authoritarian past. READ MORE...


READ FULL MEDIA REPORTS HERE:

Duterte set for wild foreign policy ride


Front-running presidential candidate Mayor Rodrigo Duterte smiles during a news conference shortly after voting in a polling precinct at Daniel R. Aguinaldo National High School, Matina district, his hometown in Davao city, southern Philippines Monday, May 9, 2016. Duterte was the last to vote among five presidential hopefuls. (AP Photo/Bullit Marquez)

MANILA, MAY 16, 2016 (MANILA BULLETIN) by AFP May 11, 2016 - After proposing a jet-ski mission to defend remote islands against China, daring the United States to sever ties and joking about burning Singapore’s flag, Rodrigo Duterte is set for a wild foreign policy ride as the next Philippine president.

The firebrand politician stormed to victory in national elections this week using an incendiary brand of populism and nationalism that his aides insist he will moderate once he has the keys to the presidential palace on June 30.

Duterte branded the pope a “son of a whore” and angrily told the US and Australian ambassadors to “shut their mouths” after they criticized a joke he made about rape.

The 71-year-old offered no apologies when asked by AFP on election night for a message to members of the international diplomatic community who may be concerned.

“It is not to contribute to the comfort of other nations. I have to make the Filipino comfortable first before I give you comfort, outside my country,” he said.

Duterte, the long-time mayor of southern Davao city, thrilled his supporters but outraged his critics with a series of diplomatic firebombs on the campaign trail.

While his insults caused gasps in various capitals, his foray into a delicate maritime dispute with China — involving many nations but with the Philippines a key player — may have the most far-reaching impact.

Playing to nationalist sentiment, Duterte vowed to ride a jet ski to plant a Philippine flag on remote South China Sea islands, where Beijing is accused of using bully-boy tactics to intimidate smaller nations with rival claims.

But he also signaled a potentially significant reversal of government policy, saying he would be prepared to hold direct talks with China on the issue — potentially shattering the united front of claimant nations backed by the United States.

“By the Philippines breaking ranks over this issue, it might affect… efforts to fend off China’s intrusion. There is a need to be united over this issue,” said Faisal Syam Hazis, head of the Centre for Asia Studies at the National University of Malaysia.

- Insults fly -

Other foreign policy stumbles sprang from Duterte’s no-holds-barred election pitch. At one rally he recounted how he had personally killed inmates who had staged a 1989 Davao prison riot.

But he also said that in the aftermath of the riot he discovered that an Australian missionary had been raped and murdered.

“I was mad she was raped. But she was so beautiful. I thought: ‘The mayor should have been first’,” said Duterte, who on the campaign trail also repeatedly boasted about his mistresses and sexual prowess.

The Australian and US ambassadors criticised the comments, triggering a furious reaction from the contender, who told them not to interfere and raised the prospect of cutting diplomatic ties.

Duterte also enraged Singapore when he said at a rally he would burn its flag in reaction to its embassy disavowing a hoax statement which purportedly said it endorsed him.

A different Duterte?

Diplomats can expect a different Duterte when he becomes president, according to his spokesman, Peter Laviña.

“You have to understand the Philippine style of elections. The context is most of our politicians need to communicate to our audience so many of our politicians sing and dance,” Laviña told reporters on Tuesday when explaining that the Singapore flag burning remark was a joke.

“Some make jokes, some make funny faces. Some dress outrageously. So it is all in this context that all these jokes, bantering, happen during the campaign. We don’t expect the same attitude of our officials thereafter.”

Laviña acknowledged there were “problems” with the US, Australian and — particularly — the Singaporean embassies.

“We need to send out personal envoys to open lines of communication and express openness to cooperate,” he said.

However on election night Duterte appeared to still be in campaign mode when asked if would seek to fix ties with the United States and Australia.

“I will not mend,” he said. “It is up to them if they want to mend their ways.”

China thaw?


A DIFFERENT DUTERTE? PHOTO COURTESY OF MALAYSIA TODAY

In China, at least, his foreign policy platform has been welcomed — despite the jet ski jibe.

Relations went into deep freeze during the current administration of President Aquino due to the maritime dispute which has seen Washington send warships close to the islands.

“The United States will be concerned if, in the new regime, they have a leader that is more willing to negotiate some of the... red lines that are shaping up around the South China Sea disputes,” said Ashley Townshend from the University of Sydney.

The Communist Party-backed Global Times on Wednesday sounded a hopeful note.

“He opposes the idea of going to war with China, wants direct negotiation with Beijing about the South China Sea, and doesn’t believe in solving the conflict through an international tribunal,” it said.

“If there is anything that can be changed by Duterte, it will be diplomacy.”

Digong reveals possible members of Cabinet


According to his spokesman, Peter Laviña, the Transition committee is now filled. Writing down the names of the people who will back up Duterte on his sit in the Presidency. Peter Lavina. Photo courtesy of Twitter
Leoncio Jun Evasco, campaign manager; Christopher "Bong" Go, assistant campaign manager and executive assistant; Carlos Dominguez, former Cabinet member and head of Duterte's campaign finance committee; Salvador Medialdea, Duterte's personal lawyer; Loreto Ata, personal lawyer; and Peter Laviña, spokesperson. Laviña earlier said Duterte's transition committee will be composed of four teams:

an over-all committee, a policy group that would draft his plans in his first 100 days, a selection committee that will select his Cabinet, and an inauguration committee that will prepare ceremonies for his assumption into office.


Mayor Leoncio Evasco Jr. of Maribojoc, Bohol (Photo from www.maribojoc.


Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte’s executive assistant, Christopher “Bong” Go shows reporters the mayor’s certificate of candidacy as a re-electionist. Duterte’s COC was filed Thursday afternoon before the Commission on Elections office in Davao City. (Ace R. Morandante/davaotoday.com)


Carlos Dominguez who served as agriculture secretary during the administration of the late President Corazon Aquino, to be the next finance secretary. President Benigno Aquino III has assigned Executive Secretary Paquito Ochoa to head the PALACE TRANSITION committee.


Atty. Medialdea was President of the Integrated Bar of the Philippines (Rizal Chapter) from 1985 to 1987 and was its Director from 1983 to 1985. He is a charter member of the Rotary Club of Makati Southwest and is presently the Secretary General of the Asean Law Association Golfers’ Club (ALA). He is also a member of the Board of Trustees of the San Beda Law Alumni Association (SBLAA). FROM

Duterte has bared some possible members of his Cabinet, including secretaries from the previous administrations and a former military general.

The Davao City mayor, who is leading the partial unofficial election results, told reporters that he has yet to talk to other people whom he would consider to be part of his Official Family.

In dialogs with businessmen prior to the May 9 elections, Duterte said that he would appoint as his peace adviser his former classmate and fellow Davaoeno, Jesus Dureza, who served as the peace adviser and press secretary of former president Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo.

He was also eying hotel owner Carlos Dominguez to be his secretary at the Department of Finance or the Department of Transportation and Commu-nications.

Duterte was also considering his running mate Sen.Alan Peter Cayetano to head the Department of Foreign Affairs after the one year ban for losing candidates.

The incoming president said that Leoncio Evasco, his chief of staff and former member of the leftist New People’s Army, would stay beside him. But he did not mention yet the position he would give to Evasco, incumbent mayor of Maribojoc town in central province of Bohol.

Duterte said that former Armed Forces of the Philippines chief of staff Hermogenes Esperon Jr. would also be part of the Cabinet. Esperon also served the Arroyo government as head of the Presidential Management Staff Office.

Presidential Communication Operations Office Secretary Herminio Coloma Jr. said the Aquino administration is prepared for the smooth transition of the government.
AFP and Xinhua

---------------------------------

RELATED FROM PHILSTAR

US, Israel congratulate Duterte By Pia Lee-Brago Jose Katigbak, STAR Washington bureau (The Philippine Star) | Updated May 14, 2016 - 12:00am 3 43 googleplus0 0


“Congratulations to presumptive president-elect Rodrigo Duterte and to the Philippines for record voter turnout,” US Ambassador Philip Goldberg said on his Twitter account. KRIS JOHN ROSALES

MANILA, Philippines - The United States and Israel have congratulated incoming president Rodrigo Duterte and the Filipino people for the success of the general elections.

“Congratulations to presumptive president-elect Rodrigo Duterte and to the Philippines for record voter turnout,” US Ambassador Philip Goldberg said on his Twitter account.

“The successful elections in the Philippines, and its record-setting number of voters, are a testament to the Philippines’ vibrant democracy. The United States looks forward to continuing to deepen our bilateral partnership with the new administration as we address common challenges and issues of mutual interest,” the US embassy in Manila said in a statement issued yesterday.

The embassy also said it looks forward to the official conclusion of the electoral process for the many offices contested in the national elections.

Camarines Sur Rep. Leni Robredo is still leading in the vice presidential race by over 200,000 votes against closest rival Sen. Ferdinand Marcos Jr.

Since the vote counting is ongoing and Robredo only has a slim lead, the vice presidential race is not yet over.

Meanwhile, Israel thanked outgoing President Aquino and his administration for the friendship and support of the Philippines.

“We wish him and the outgoing government good health, happiness and success in their future endeavors,” said Israeli Ambassador Effie Ben Matityau in his speech at the celebration of the 68th anniversary of the Independence of Israel on Thursday.

Matityau also said Israel looks forward to working with Duterte and his administration “to further develop special friendship and relations in the future.”

Matityau noted that the relationship of the Philippines and Israel is not ordinary for Israel and the Jewish people because the ties started before the two nations became fully independent.


Manuel L. Quezón, the first president of the Commonwealth of the Philippines (from 1935 to 1944)

Manuel Quezon, the first elected president of the Commonwealth, came across the growing plight of Jewish communities under the Nazi regime.

On purely moral grounds and conviction, Quezon decided that the Philippines give refuge to Jewish refugees and made arrangements to absorb 170,000 of them in 1937.

“Unfortunately, politics and the start of World War II in the Philippines enabled only 1,300 to reach the shores of this country, saving them from certain death.

Manuel Quezon’s goodwill was defined as the ‘open door policy’ and it was met with the open hearts and friendship of the Filipino people,” Matityau said.

Quezon’s policy and deeds earned him and the Philippines the gratefulness of a Jewish nation and gave Manila a moral victory at a time when the world was suffering collapse and defeat.

In 1947, the Philippines, under President Manuel Roxas, became the only Asian country in the United Nations to cast a vote in favor of the creation of the state of Israel.

“And that was a critical vote, which makes it possible for us to celebrate our national days ever since. So we have 1,301 good reasons to thank you Philippines – and friends in need are friends indeed became the foundation of our relations, and much has happened over the years,” Matityau said.


BUSINESS MIRROR

Aquino, Duterte form group for smooth transfer of power NewsBM ReportTop Newsby David Cagahastian - May 11, 2016


In Photo: Customers walk in a shop selling souvenir items, such as commemorative car plates, T-shirts, stickers of leading presidential candidate Mayor Rodrigo R. Duterte, as business resumes in his hometown of Davao City in southern Philippines on Wednesday. Duterte has widened his lead in unofficial tally, but still refuses to claim victory.

PRESIDENT Aquino has reached out to the camp of incoming President and Davao City Mayor Rodrigo R. Duterte to commit to a smooth transition of power come June 30.


Bye bye na: Aquino assigns Ochoa to head transition body. “I talked to Mr. Bong Go yesterday (Tuesday) to relay to Mayor Duterte that an Administrative Order (AO) is being drafted designating the Executive Secretary as head of the transition team,” Aquino was quoted saying referring to Duterte’s executive assistant Bong Go and his Executive Secretary Paquito Ochoa. FROM POLITICS.COM.PH

Aquino talked to Duterte’s executive assistant Bong Go to tell him that Executive Secretary Paquito N. Ochoa Jr. shall head the Aquino administration’s transition team, which will coordinate with Duterte’s camp on matters relating to the transfer of power.

“I talked to Mr. Bong Go yesterday [Tuesday] to relay to Mayor Duterte that an administrative order is being drafted, designating the executive secretary as head of the transition team. I further offered that the Cabinet stands ready to brief his team on any and all of their concerns. Lastly, we are committed to effecting the smoothest transition possible,” Mr. Aquino said in a news statement released on Wednesday. Presidential Communications Secretary Herminio B. Coloma Jr. said Duterte will have a free hand in appointing his trusted allies to government positions, as mandated by law, and by Mr. Aquino’s personal dislike for midnight appointments. “In our appointment papers and in our oath of office, there is a stipulation there that we are coterminus with the appointing authority, and we all know that our appointment shall only be until 12 noon of June 30, 2016,” Coloma said.

READ MORE...

“Those employees which were appointed by me, they are also coterminus with me and the appointments have the same expiry date, so the incoming administration will have a free hand in appointing or choosing other persons who will join the administration,” he added.

Duterte team

In Davao City, meanwhile, the camp of Mayor Duterte has created its own transition committee on Wednesday to be headed by the presumptive president’s Campaign Manager Leoncio Jun Evasco, the Philippines News Agency (PNA) reported.

The rest of the team, the PNA dispatch said, are: Assistant Campaign Manager and Executive Assistant Christopher Bong Go; Carlos G. Dominguez, former Cabinet member and head of Campaign Finance Committee; lawyers Salvador Medialdea and Loreto Ata, Duterte’s personal attorneys; and Peter Laviña, head of the Duterte-Cayetano Media Team.

Also around to provide support were members of the core group composed of defeated vice-presidential candidate Sen. Alan Peter S. Cayetano; former Transportation Secretary and elected Rep. Pantaleon Alvarez of Davao del Norte; former Press Secretary Jesus Dureza and Rep. Karlo Alexei Nograles of First Distric of Davao City. Former presidential assistant for Mindanao Paul Dominguez was also seen at the Marco Polo in Davao City.

The meeting followed a call from Mr. Aquino to Duterte congratulating the latter for winning the presidential elections with an assurance of facilitating a smooth transition.

The transition team will only be one of the groups that will be formed to lay the grounds for Duterte’s
assumption into office. Earlier, Laviña said there is also the search committee and the team that will plan for
Duterte’s inauguration.

The transition committee, he added, will help the mayor identify members of the Cabinet and create a team to review Duterte and Cayetano’s policy statements during the campaign.

For the inauguration, Laviña said they would coordinate with Malacañang on protocols.


For Muslim Traders In Metro Manila: No One Else But Duterte For President In 2016 FROM http://www.mirajnews.com/

A team will also be identifying personal envoy to communicate with head of embassies in the Philippines, churches, civil society organizations, Armed Forces of the Philippines, Philippine National Police, business chambers, the World Bank, Japan International Cooperation Agency and the Asian Development Bank, among others.

Meanwhile, the members of the mayor’s core group vowed to work for the success of the Duterte administration. When asked if there are senators or congressional representatives who have jumped ship or expressed to support Duterte, Cayetano said it is up to the members of both Houses if they want to support the administration, but hastened to add that the Duterte administration will always welcome offers of support.

Alvarez said they are doing their best that Duterte’s administration will not be a failure. “Ayaw natin na failure ang bagong administration, kaya ginagawa natin ito para suportahan ’yung bagong nakaupo kung ano ang programa niya [We do not want the new administration to be a failure that is why we are doing this, so that the new one
who sits there is supported…what is his program],” Alvarez said. Alvarez added that it should not be if “you are on the other side, you are already an enemy.”

On the other hand, Go assured that Duterte is not vindictive. “’Pag tapos na ang election talo na ang tao, bagsak na, tutulungan ka pa. Hindi vindictive si mayor [When the election is finished…he would still help the person who lost and is down. The mayor is not vindictive],” he assured. (With PNA)

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RELATED FROM THE MANILA STANDARD

EDITORIAL: Dictated by the weather posted May 15, 2016 at 12:01 am The past several months were tough—and we don’t mean in politics.

The El Niño phenomenon wrought so much suffering on millions of Filipinos. More than the punishing heat that people experienced, the drought brought unimaginable damage on the livelihood of our already beaten farmers. It heightened the tragic irony of food producers not having anything to eat.

With the coming of the rainy season comes not so much relief but yet more reasons to worry.

Pagasa this week set up a “La Niña Watch” to remind people to prepare for the opposite of drought, which may be equally damaging to lives and livelihood of Filipinos especially those in vulnerable areas.

We know this too well already because we experience it year after year, although perhaps more intensely and devastatingly in recent ones. The changing climate has the capacity to brew stronger and more frequent weather patterns. Such, experts say, is the “new normal.”

The looming shift in the weather coincides with the transition from an old to a new administration. Of the old, we have seen how disaster risk reduction and management has become a buzzword out of firsthand experience: the national and local governments as well as communities have established DRRM practices, but in varying degrees, often depending on the leaders’ priorities.

The incoming administration has drafted an agenda that includes improving the country’s viability as a destination for long-term investment. Ultimately, the objective is to make nominal income growth inclusive as well, so that more Filipinos can observe some improvement in their economic lives and have more options for their children.

This, however, would be meaningless if modest gains are washed away by a single episode of typhoon and flooding, setting back communities by years, if not decades.

The new administration should ensure local governments and communities across the country are equally resilient in the face of disaster in whatever form. Especially so in emergencies, nobody should be left behind.


PHILSTAR

Rody: FOI to be an executive order By Robertzon Ramirez (The Philippine Star) | Updated May 12, 2016 - 12:00am 0 0 googleplus0 0


Front-running presidential candidate Mayor Rodrigo Duterte gestures during his second news conference after voting in a polling precinct at Daniel R. Aguinaldo National High School, Matina district, his hometown in Davao city in southern Philippines Monday, May 9, 2016. Duterte was leading by a wide margin in unofficial tallies but still refuses to claim victory. AP Photo/Bullit Marquez

MANILA, Philippines – As part of his commitment to transparency, winning presidential candidate Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte said yesterday he would push for the immediate approval of the Freedom of Information (FOI) Act as soon as he is proclaimed.

Duterte said he would allow the public – through the mass media – greater access to government documents to ensure that every transaction is aboveboard.

He stressed he does not even have to wait for legislation to ensure transparency in government as he is willing to order executive offices and local governments “to open up documents” for scrutiny.

He said local government officials should not be afraid of allowing public access to documents – that is if they’re not hiding anything.

The presumptive president also urged the media to be vigilant and to expose anomalous or questionable transactions in government. But he warned media members allegedly on the take to shut up.

He said he is prepared to do “anything that makes the Filipinos comfortable” and shun what makes them “uncomfortable.”

READ MORE...

Duterte’s spokesman Peter Laviña said Duterte is ready to push for FOI as he believes transparency is a key to progress.

Transparency, Laviña told The STAR, “is a key policy” in Davao City. The FOI bill is still pending in Congress.

The Duterte camp also questioned Malacañang’s pronouncement that his landslide victory does not mean the defeat of the administration or its daang matuwid platform.

Duterte’s legal team head Vitaliano Aguirre II said the presidential election last Monday was a referendum on the administration of President Aquino.

“This victory really is an expression of protest against the present government. The people have lost the patience they kept for many years,” Aguirre told The STAR over the phone.

Aguirre, who is reportedly being eyed by Duterte as his justice secretary, stressed that the mayor has criticized in his campaign the performance of the current administration, especially on issues of public transportation, disaster response and combating crime.

“He has promised change in governance and that really resonated well with the people as evidently shown in overwhelming votes he got,” the lawyer pointed out.

For this reason, Aguirre explained that part of the mandate of the coming leadership is to exact accountability on officials of the outgoing administration involved in anomalies.

He said Duterte believes such problems in governance are deeply embedded that they need strong political will to be addressed.

“In the past 30 years, those elected in power would make so many promises during campaign. But once they win, those promises are forgotten. This system has not changed and this is what he wants to change,” he added.

With his proclamation just around the corner, Duterte has appealed for “healing” and reconciliation following the divisive and bitter campaign.

Aguirre also appealed for understanding for the offensive language of Duterte, whom he has known since their law school years in San Beda College in Manila back in the late 1960s.

“He is very sincere in really wanting to change our country despite his foul language. You have to look behind that. He was just saying those words because he is angry,” he explained.

Caught by surprise The lawyer also admitted that the landslide victory of Duterte actually caught them by surprise.

“In our first convention we knew we had a fighting chance and he could win, but we never expected that the support of the people would be this overwhelming. I saw the people in the campaign and I must say that the numbers were really surprising,” Aguirre bared.

He said the figures for Duterte were higher than expected, considering the last-minute efforts to destroy his reputation, including the allegations of hidden wealth hurled by Sen. Antonio Trillanes IV.

Given limited resources, Aguirre said that Duterte’s persona and platforms were the only assets they relied on.

“Although we don’t have the funds, the big organizations and political machinery, one thing that worked well for us was that we had a very sellable and popular candidate,” he explained.

“Our campaign was full of volunteerism because we really did not have funds to match the other candidates,” he added.

Meanwhile, the people of Mindanao are thrilled that one of their own will for the first time lead the nation as president, winning senatorial candidate Juan Miguel Zubiri said yesterday.

“Politics aside, this is a proud and emotional moment for all of Mindanao,” he said.

Zubiri, who is from Bukidnon, ran as an independent but Duterte adopted him in his senatorial ticket.

“We are very grateful for the trust voters have bestowed. We will work indefatigably in the Senate, so we can promptly craft measures meant to forcefully create jobs and new opportunities for Filipino families to achieve a higher standard of living,” he said.

“Filipinos voted for strong action, not politics as usual, in Monday’s elections,” Zubiri said.

“Our people clearly want government, including the Senate, to get more work done faster – toward enabling every Filipino family to enjoy a superior quality of life,” he said.

“We have high hopes that members of the next Senate can set aside partisan politics and work together to solve the country’s pressing challenges, especially the lack of gainful employment,” he said.

Re-elected Manila Mayor Joseph Estrada also said Duterte’s landslide victory is a strong indication of the people’s clamor for peace and order.

Estrada said he hopes to meet one-on-on-one with Duterte.

“I can silently give him suggestions. I hope he makes a strong man and do all what he says. I hope that we can talk to each other. I’m willing to give him advice silently,” Estrada said.

He said it was the lack of peace and order that stymied the country’s progress. – With Edu Punay, Jess Diaz, Jose Rodel Clapano


INQUIRER

Joma, Digong set meeting in Europe SHARES: 336 VIEW COMMENTS By: Delfin T. Mallari Jr. @inquirerdotnet Inquirer Southern Luzon 12:53 AM May 12th, 2016


MAY 12 -RENDEZVOUS IN EUROPE Jose Maria Sison,Communist Party of the Philippines founder, hopes to meet presumptive President RodrigoDuterte in Europe before the latter assumes office in Malacañang. INQUIRER FILEPHOTO

LUCENA CITY—Exiled Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) founder Jose Maria Sison is looking forward to meet Davao City Mayor Rodrigo “Digong” Duterte in Europe before he assumes the presidency.

On his Facebook (FB) page on Wednesday, Sison also urged Duterte to order the arrest of President Aquino and Budget Secretary Florencio “Butch” Abad for plunder in connection with the alleged misuse of the congressional Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF).

He said the President and Secretary Abad were “responsible for looting and unprecedented corruption” in the allocation of the PDAF, or pork barrel, which the Supreme Court has declared unconstitutional.

“It is the hope that we can meet before his oath-taking as he promised during my Skype conference with him on April 25. He said he would come soon after [he is elected President],” Sison said in an online interview with the Inquirer on Wednesday on his anticipated meeting with Duterte.

Sison said representatives of the CPP and Duterte were holding preparatory talks for the visit, the date of which he did not disclose.

“I expect to meet President Duterte soon in Europe, whether the meeting is preceded by, concurrent with or followed by preliminary meetings of the GPH (Government of the Philippines) and NDFP (National Democratic Front of the Philippines) negotiating panels,” Sison said.

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The CPP leader hopes that the meeting would be held before Duterte’s oath-taking on June 30.

Video recording

Sison sent a video recording of his Skype conversation with Duterte, where the Davao mayor mentioned his plan to visit the CPP leader based in Utrecht, The Netherlands.

Duterte, in the video recording, said his meeting with Sison was aimed at preparing the agenda for the resumption of peace talks and threshing out related issues.

Sison, in the Inquirer interview, also welcomed the declaration of Duterte’s spokesperson, Peter Laviña, that the incoming President may release jailed communist rebels.

In an interview with Agence France-Presse on Tuesday, Laviña also disclosed that Duterte would allow Sison and other exiled communist leaders to return to the country for the resumption of the peace talks and to review the status of political prisoners.

“Of course, I am hoping for the release of all political prisoners,” Sison said.

“They have long been unjustly detained on false charges of common crimes by the Arroyo and Aquino regimes,” he added.

Their release, Sison said, “will be conducive to an immediate mutual ceasefire and cooperation and the accelerated negotiation of the comprehensive agreements on social, economic and political reforms.”

He said the release of political prisoners had been done during the administrations of Corazon Aquino and Fidel Ramos.

Sison said communist rebels were open to the crafting of a new democratic Constitution and to Duterte’s proposal to study federalism as a form of government for the country.

Political will

In a previous interview, Sison said “political will,” for the sake of peace, is key to end the more than 40 years of armed conflict between the government and the New People’s Army (NPA), the armed wing of the CPP.

Also earlier, Luis Jalandoni, chair of the NDFP peace panel, said the return to the peace table would depend on the release of political prisoners and “peace consultants.”

Among the 528 political prisoners and 17 NDFP consultants are spouses Benito and Wilma Tiamzon, whom the government tagged as top officials of the CPP-NPA. The two were arrested in Cebu province in March 2014. With a report from Nikko Dizon


MANILA BULLETIN

US, China ready to work with Duterte by Reuters and AP May 11, 2016 (updated) Share0 Tweet0 Share0 Email0 Share18

Washington/Beijing – The United States and China signaled Tuesday that they are ready to work with the apparent victor of the Philippines presidential elections, Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte, despite allegations of human rights abuses in the city he has led for over two decades.

Washington’s stance reflects the reality that US national security interests will outweigh human rights concerns given China’s increasingly assertive stance in the region and the maritime disputes in the South China Sea, Asia analysts said.

“Washington respects the choice of the Philippine people. We gladly work with the leaders they’ve selected,” State Department spokeswoman Elizabeth Trudeau said when asked about Monday’s election.

An official winner had not been declared but an unofficial count by election commission-accredited watchdog Parish Pastoral Council for responsible Voting (PPCRV) showed Duterte had a huge lead over his two closest rivals, both of whom conceded defeat.

China, on the other hand, said it hopes to work with the Philippines’ new government to resolve territorial disputes in the South China Sea, but insisted the onus is on Manila to lower tensions.

Beijing hopes the Philippines will “meet China halfway, taking concrete measures to properly deal with the disputes so as to put the ties of the two countries back on the track of sound development,” Foreign Ministry spokesman Lu Kang said at a daily news briefing.

Lu said that while the two countries have a traditional friendship, bilateral relations have been “hit by major setbacks in recent years, due to reasons known to all” – a reference to moves by the Philippines to assert its claims and activities by the US challenging China’s actions.

US RESPECTS PH POLLS

When pressed whether Washington had concerns about positions advocated by the tough-talking Duterte, including extrajudicial killings to stamp out crime and drugs, Trudeau repeated her statement that Washington respected the choice of the voters.

“We look forward to working with the leader that the Philippines has elected,” she said.

Duterte’s vows to restore law and order resonated with Philippine voters, but his incendiary rhetoric and advocacy of extrajudicial killings to stamp out crime and drugs alarmed many people, who saw it as harkening back to the country’s authoritarian past.

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Duterte has been criticized for allowing a spree of vigilante killings in Davao City and critics fear he could let them happen on a larger scale as president.

Duterte dominated campaign media coverage and generated international headlines with his relentless gutter talk, branding the pope a “son of a whore” and boasting repeatedly about his Viagra-fuelled affairs.

He caused further disgust in diplomatic circles by joking that he would have wanted to rape an Australian missionary who was killed in a 1989 Philippine prison riot.

A DIFFERENT DUTERTE?

But the mayor’s spokesman, Peter Lavina, said diplomats can expect a different Duterte when he becomes president.

“You have to understand the Philippine style of elections. The context is most of our politicians need to communicate to our audience so many of our politicians sing and dance,’’ Laviña told reporters on Tuesday when explaining that the Singapore flag burning remark was a joke.

“Some make jokes, some make funny faces. Some dress outrageously. So it is all in this context that all these jokes, bantering, happen during the campaign. We don’t expect the same attitude of our officials thereafter.’’

Laviña acknowledged there were “problems” with the US, Australian and – particularly – the Singaporean embassies.

“We need to send out personal envoys to open lines of communication and express openness to cooperate,” he said.

IT’S UP TO THEM

However, on election night Duterte appeared to still be in campaign mode when asked if he would seek to fix ties with the United States and Australia.

“I will not mend,” he said. “It is up to them if they want to mend their ways.”

Duterte was enraged when the US and Australian ambassadors criticized his comments and even threatened to break ties with Washington, one of the Philippines’ closest allies.

He said it was up to US officials to repair relations with him and indicated that he was prepared to hold direct talks with Beijing over a sensitive territorial dispute in the South China Sea.

This, at least, did not cause offense.

“The United States has consistently expressed support for nations to exercise peaceful means to resolve territorial or maritime disputes without the use of force, intimidation or coercion,” Trudeau said.

The US stance on Duterte could echo its approach toward Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi. At one point, Modi was unable to obtain a US visa because of concerns about sectarian riots in the state of Gujarat when he was chief minister, but was later invited to the White House when he became prime minister.

“His human rights record does give them pause, but he was elected by the Philippine people,” said Murray Hiebert, an Asia analyst at the Center for Strategic and International Studies think tank in Washington. “They have to deal with him.”

Although the United States closed its military bases in the Philippines in 1992, the two nations are bound by a 1951 mutual defense treaty and the former colony is a key element of the US policy of “rebalancing” its foreign policy toward Asia.

In April, US Defense Secretary Ash Carter said US troops and military equipment would be sent on regular rotations in the Philippines and that the countries had started joint patrols in the South China Sea as China asserts its territorial claims.

China claims 90 percent of the South China Sea, which is believed to be rich in oil and gas, its claims overlapping with those of Brunei, Malaysia, the Philippines, Vietnam, and Taiwan.

Beijing and Manila have for years accused one another of infringing on each other’s territory in the South China Sea, which China claims virtually in its entirety.

Duterte has said he would negotiate directly with China on the dispute, aligning with China’s stance, as reiterated by Lu, that disputes “should be properly settled by countries directly concerned through negotiation and consultation while respecting the historical facts and international law.”

However, Duterte has also said that if negotiations fail, he would sail to one of China’s newly built artificial islands and plant the Philippine flag on it.

GOOD NEWS FOR CHINA

Duterte’s election should be good news for Beijing, which is known to disdain outgoing President Aquino over his legal challenges to China’s sovereignty claims and moves to strengthen security cooperation with the US, a key treaty ally of Manila.

Although he has not articulated an overall foreign policy, Duterte has described himself as a socialist wary of the US-Philippine security alliance. He has worried members of the Armed Forces by saying that communist rebels could play a role in his government.

Asia Pacific analyst Patrick Cronin cited three reasons for the Philippines strategic importance: its location in the “first island chain” of major archipelagos from the East Asian mainland, its status as the only US ally among the South China Sea claimants and the regional focus on those maritime disputes.

“The South China Sea has become a litmus test for American staying power and commitment to the Asia-Pacific region,” said Cronin of the Center for a New American Security think tank. “If we falter over the defense of Philippine interests … then we lose credibility and (our) commitment is questioned,” he added. (With a report from Agence France-Presse)


Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi

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