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CHINA SEA: DUTERTE SEEKS BALANCE BETWEEN U.S. & CHINA, EXPERTS SAY


JUNE 28 -In this photo released by the Office of the City Mayor of Davao City, President-elect Rodrigo Duterte, right, receives a copy of the book on Chinese President Xi Jinping from Chinese Ambassador to the Philippines Zhao Jianhua during a courtesy call in Davao City in the southern Philippines, Monday, May 16, 2016. Office of the City Mayor Davao City via AP, file
WASHINGTON DC– Incoming Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte is not expected to swing to China’s side opposite of the United States but will instead place the country in between the two big powers, foreign policy and defense experts said in an Asia Pacific Foreign Policy and Defense Seminar at the East West Center last week. Dr. Evelyn Goh, Shedden professor of Strategic Policy Studies, Australian National University said,“The Philippines right now is very much on the side of the US but it will come back closer to the midpoint. It doesn’t mean Duterte is going to move the Philippines from the US's to China's side. It will just bring the Philippines back to where it was kind of before, more along the mainstream where some Southeast Asian countries have thrived to keep the relations close to both US and China.” Goh believes that the positioning by Duterte will make China back off a little and lower the tension in Philippine-China relations. She said the commonly expressed regional concern had been “how the Philippines has stuck its neck quite far from the regional mainstream to the extent of endangering everyone else.” During his campaign for the presidency, Duterte said he would engage in bilateral talks with China, a departure from the pro-US policy undertaken by his predecessor President Benigno Aquino III,, that the Philippines will only negotiate with China on the conflicting territorial claims in the South China Sea with other claimants namely Brunei, Malaysia, Vietnam and Taiwan. Duterte has also said he will set aside the issue of sovereignty over the disputed islands if China would build trains around the country. READ MORE...

ALSO: Rows in South China sea can be managed but not resolved -US security analyst


JUNE 29 -Filipino soldiers gesture at a Chinese Coast Guard vessel on the disputed Second Thomas Shoal -
A UN tribunal ruling could trigger the next round of brinksmanship in the West Philippine Sea (South China Sea) as early as next week. But don’t expect the ruling to end the dispute, especially since the Chinese have already vowed to ignore an adverse ruling. “It’s…not likely to be resolved this year or by one international ruling, no matter how brilliant the arbitrators are,” said Patrick Cronin of the Center for a New American Security. “So it’s going to be a long-term issue for the next administration.” (UN Ruling Won’t End South China Sea Dispute: Navy Studies Next Clash by Sydney J. Freedberg, Jr. 6-20-2016) Anytime soon, the much awaited United Nations tribunal’s decision will be released and this will coincide with the Rim of the Pacific Exercise (Rimpac 2016. Conducted biennially (every even year) under the leadership of the US Third Fleet, Rimpac is a multinational, combined sea mobility exercise in which the Republic of Korea, US, Australia, Canada, Chile, England and Japan have participated since 1971. It is designed to enhance the tactical capabilities and cooperation of participating nations in various aspects of maritime operations at sea. The exercise is held with the objective of increasing mutual cooperation and enhancing the combined operations capabilities among the countries around the rim of the Pacific Ocean so that they can ensure the safety of major sea lines of communication (SLOC) and improve their combined response capabilities in the event of conflict on the sea. READ MORE...

ALSO: 'People's Agenda' -Militants' 15-point program for Du30’s 1st 100 days[“This is not just a one-day affair. The People’s Agenda will be crucial to the discussions and mobilizations on June 30 and beyond, including the upcoming State of the Nation Address of the President. We will rally around the People’s Agenda as we encourage the new administration to walk the extra mile for genuine change and a just peace,” SeC gENERAL Reyes said.]


JUNE 29 -People's Agenda -Around a thousand militant leaders converged in Quezon City to present a 15-point agenda for President-elect Rodrigo Duterte’s first 100 days in office. PHOTO BY ARIES JOSEPH HEGINA/INQUIRER.net
Leaders and members of militant organizations converged on Wednesday at University of the Philippines (UP) Diliman to present a 15-point program which encapsulate their demands for President-elect Rodrigo Duterte. The said program, also known as the People’s Agenda for Change, was presented to incoming Agrarian Reform Secretary Rafael Mariano and incoming Social Welfare and Development Secretary Judy Taguiwalo.
READ: Bayan to hold summit before pro-Duterte rally on Inauguration Day Also present to receive the agenda from militants are lawmakers from the left-leaning Makabayan coalition and representatives of Senators Grace Poe, Francis Escudero and Alan Peter Cayetano. The People’s Agenda is divided into five topics: economic development, social policy, peace and human rights, governance and democracy and foreign policy and sovereignty. In the economic field, the People’s Agenda urges Duterte to implement national industrialization of strategic industries and to reorient the economy towards domestic needs and development. The social policy recommendations of the People’s Agenda include budget increases for the education and health sectors, enactment of pension hike for Social Security System (SSS) pensioners, improved services for Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs), increased minimum broadband speed to at least 1.5 Mbps and the removal of the data cap for internet users. Proposals to promote peace and human rights zeroed in on the resumption of peace talks between the government and the National Democratic Front of the Philippines and the cessation of militarization in indigenous communities. In terms of governance, the People’s Agenda backed the government’s anti-corruption drive and proposed the abolition of the pork barrel system. Accountability for the supposed irregularities that transpired during the administration of outgoing President Benigno Aquino III was also demanded. Lastly, the foreign policy recommendations incorporated in the agenda include the adoption of a truly independent foreign policy and the rejection of the Visiting Forces Agreement and the Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement. READ MORE...

ALSO: Duterte looking to end reign of ‘Imperial Manila’


JUNE 28 -President-elect Rodrigo Duterte takes office this week looking to end the domination of “Imperial Manila” with a radical shift to federalism that he says is vital to fighting poverty and ending a deadly Muslim separatist insurgency. Duterte has vowed to have the Constitution rewritten to achieve his bold plans — which would see power devolved from the central government in the nation’s capital, Manila, to newly created states governing the 81 provinces in the Philippines at present. “It [the current system] is an excuse for them to hang onto power in ‘Imperial Manila.’ They have always been there in one single office, running the Philippines,” the then-presidential candidate said in a speech during the election campaign. Such comments are typical fare for Duterte, an anti-establishment figure who relentlessly rails against the elites who have mostly ruled the Philippines since independence from the United States after World War II. On Thursday, he will take over from Benigno Aquino 3rd, who remains a generally popular figure but nevertheless comes from one of the remarkably small number of wealthy clans that have long dominated national politics and overseen one of Asia’s biggest rich-poor divides. Duterte will become the first president from the vast southern region of Mindanao, which is one of the nation’s poorest areas and home to decades-old communist and Muslim insurgencies that have claimed tens of thousands of lives. Highlighting his antipathy for Manila rule, Duterte snubbed his proclamation by Congress as the winner of the elections — an event normally rich in tradition and ceremony. He has also traveled to the capital just once since winning the elections, and vowed to spend the bulk of his six years as President based in Davao City, which has less than two percent of the nation’s population and is 1,000 kilometers from Manila. Peace, poverty hopes Under Duterte’s federal set-up, the states will be largely autonomous and allowed to retain most of their income, rather than remitting it to the central government, which he believes will be a key driver of economic growth in the impoverished countryside. READ MORE...

ALSO: ‘Rody can deliver on promises’ - lawmakers, neophytes


JUNE 30 -Lawmakers said president-elect Rodrigo Duterte’s promise of getting things done quickly and efficiently – especially in fighting crime and in addressing Metro Manila’s transport woes – has earned him wide and well deserved support  Philstar.com/AJ Bolando
Veteran and neophyte lawmakers alike have expressed optimism about president-elect Rodrigo Duterte’s delivering on his promise of change as the former Davao City mayor officially begins his six-year term today as the country’s 16th chief executive. Lawmakers said Duterte’s promise of getting things done quickly and efficiently – especially in fighting crime and in addressing Metro Manila’s transport woes – has earned him wide and well deserved support. “By looking at P-Digong’s public service track record, he is a man of action. I think things will move fast especially in fighting crime,” neophyte incoming senator Sherwin Gatchalian said. – Christina Mendez, Roel Pareño, Paolo Romero, Danny Dangcalan
THE FULL REPORT.


READ FULL MEDIA REPORTS HERE:

Duterte seeks balance between US and China, experts say


In this photo released by the Office of the City Mayor of Davao City, President-elect Rodrigo Duterte, right, receives a copy of the book on Chinese President Xi Jinping from Chinese Ambassador to the Philippines Zhao Jianhua during a courtesy call in Davao City in the southern Philippines, Monday, May 16, 2016. Office of the City Mayor Davao City via AP, file

WASHINGTON, DC, JUNE 30, 2016 (PHILSTAR) By Charmaine Deogracias (Vera Files) | Updated June 28, 2016 - Incoming Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte is not expected to swing to China’s side opposite of the United States but will instead place the country in between the two big powers, foreign policy and defense experts said in an Asia Pacific Foreign Policy and Defense Seminar at the East West Center last week.

Dr. Evelyn Goh, Shedden professor of Strategic Policy Studies, Australian National University said,“The Philippines right now is very much on the side of the US but it will come back closer to the midpoint. It doesn’t mean Duterte is going to move the Philippines from the US's to China's side. It will just bring the Philippines back to where it was kind of before, more along the mainstream where some Southeast Asian countries have thrived to keep the relations close to both US and China.”

Goh believes that the positioning by Duterte will make China back off a little and lower the tension in Philippine-China relations. She said the commonly expressed regional concern had been “how the Philippines has stuck its neck quite far from the regional mainstream to the extent of endangering everyone else.”

During his campaign for the presidency, Duterte said he would engage in bilateral talks with China, a departure from the pro-US policy undertaken by his predecessor President Benigno Aquino III,, that the Philippines will only negotiate with China on the conflicting territorial claims in the South China Sea with other claimants namely Brunei, Malaysia, Vietnam and Taiwan.

Duterte has also said he will set aside the issue of sovereignty over the disputed islands if China would build trains around the country.

READ MORE...

The Philippines has filed a case against China over maritime claims in the South China Sea before the United National Arbitral Court. A decision is expected in the first week of July.

On the other hand, Duterte slammed US Ambassador Philip Goldberg for agreeing with the Australian ambassador who expressed dismay over the vulgar remarks of the Davao City mayor about an Australian missionary who was raped and killed by prisoners in a Davao jail.

Dr. Evan Medeiros, managing director for Asia, Eurasia Group, said that the US would not see a better Philippine-China relationship “in a zero-sum framework.”

Zero-sum is a situation in game theory in which one person's gain is equivalent to another's loss, so the net change in wealth or benefit is zero.

He said, the more tensions are reduced in the region, the more flexibility the Philippines or the United States has, the more space there is in the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), within the ASEAN Regional Forum or the East Asia Summit (EAS) to work on other issues.

“I would be encouraging Duterte to find a way to strike the right balance among these multiple and competing interests but not in a way that would cost him to compromise what he believes are Philippine security interests," Medeiros said.

Dr. Bates Gill, professor of Asia-Pacific Strategic Studies, Australian National University, also does not think Duterte would abrogate the Philippine-US Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement recently declared by the Supreme Court as constitutional. “There is no reason why he will do that.”

Gill, Goh and Dr. Chin-Hao Huang, assistant professor of Political Science, Yale-NUS College are the authors of “The Dynamics of US-China-Southeast Asia Relations” for the United States Studies Centre at the University of Sydney. They analyzed that in Southeast Asia most governments are committed to preventing the emergence of any single hegemon.

“Strategic viewpoints combined with a deep interdependence Indo-Pacific countries have with China and the US means they are looking to strike a cautious balance between Beijing and Washington. Some will lean more favorably towards China and others towards the US, and the degree of preference will differ across varying interests and issues,” the report cited.

Commenting on the report, Medeiros said that Southeast Asia as a region is going through a very substantial transition politically as in the recent elections in the Philippines and Vietnam. Other countries in the region, except those two, are facing serious economic difficulties.

“For Southeast Asian nations, the ability to carry out that transition will have very big impact on their strategic choices,” Medieros said.

The writer is now on a residency research study for the Asia Studies Fellowship Program of the East West Center in Washington DC. VERA Files is put out by veteran journalists taking a deeper look at current issues. Vera is Latin for “true.”


MANILA TIMES

Rows in South China sea can be managed but not resolved June 28, 2016 10:32 pm by ERICK SAN JUAN, CONTRIBUTOR


JUNE 29 -Filipino soldiers gesture at a Chinese Coast Guard vessel on the disputed Second Thomas Shoal,

A UN tribunal ruling could trigger the next round of brinksmanship in the West Philippine Sea (South China Sea) as early as next week. But don’t expect the ruling to end the dispute, especially since the Chinese have already vowed to ignore an adverse ruling.


Patrick Cronin, Senior Advisor and Senior Director of the Asia-Pacific Security Program at the Center for a New American Security (CNAS)

“It’s…not likely to be resolved this year or by one international ruling, no matter how brilliant the arbitrators are,” said Patrick Cronin of the Center for a New American Security. “So it’s going to be a long-term issue for the next administration.” (UN Ruling Won’t End South China Sea Dispute: Navy Studies Next Clash by Sydney J. Freedberg, Jr. 6-20-2016)
Anytime soon, the much awaited United Nations tribunal’s decision will be released and this will coincide with the Rim of the Pacific Exercise (Rimpac 2016.

Conducted biennially (every even year) under the leadership of the US Third Fleet, Rimpac is a multinational, combined sea mobility exercise in which the Republic of Korea, US, Australia, Canada, Chile, England and Japan have participated since 1971. It is designed to enhance the tactical capabilities and cooperation of participating nations in various aspects of maritime operations at sea.

The exercise is held with the objective of increasing mutual cooperation and enhancing the combined operations capabilities among the countries around the rim of the Pacific Ocean so that they can ensure the safety of major sea lines of communication (SLOC) and improve their combined response capabilities in the event of conflict on the sea.

READ MORE...

China’s debut in the world’s largest naval exercise is a “leap of trust” as it teams with the United States and US allies at a time of heightened regional tension over territorial disputes.

Despite growing tensions over the “militarization” of the South China Sea, China’s navy confirmed on June 2 that it will take part in Rimpac. China sent five ships to join the Pacific Rim military exercises that began on June 1 and will last until August 1, near the Hawaiian Islands. China’s Defense Ministry said a fleet of its naval vessels is heading for Hawaii to join US-led multinational naval drills. The five Chinese vessels, including a missile destroyer and a frigate, will engage in electronic communication training with the US Navy en route. They are scheduled to arrive in Hawaii on June 29.

According to official reports, 45 ships, five submarines and 200 aircraft from 27 nations, with 25,000 military personnel, will take part in the event, staging fire, anti-piracy, search and rescue, and, notably, Aegis missile-interception drills. Three Aegis-equipped fleets from the US, Japan and South Korea will practice intelligence coordination amid growing concerns of North Korea’s nuclear weapons program. This year’s exercise includes forces from Australia, Brazil, Brunei Darussalam, Canada, Chile, Colombia, Denmark, France, Germany, India, Indonesia, Italy, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, The Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, China, Peru, the Republic of Korea, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, Tonga, the United Kingdom and the United States. Russia took part in 2012, but canceled its participation in 2014 owing to interrupted military cooperation between Moscow and Washington over ongoing territorial disputes in Ukraine. (globalsecurity.org)

FROM ANALYSTS

The following are from analysts that will somehow give us ideas on the possible scenario after the release of the UN tribunal decision.

According to Cronin, “There’s some hope after the Unclos [United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea] ruling that we’re going to be at least managing the tensions. China could certainly escalate if they desired, but lately, he said, “the Chinese have been looking to ratchet down the tensions even while they’ve tried to move their influence forward.” In other words, don’t expect fighting, but don’t expect acquiescence to the UN ruling either.

“Patrick Cronin is right: The ruling solves nothing, nor was it meant to,” said Gregory Poling of the Center for Strategic and International Security. “It will add additional pressure on Beijing, and it will help define the boundaries of any future negotiations–likely years away–but it cannot resolve the disputes.”

Fellow CSIS scholar Bonnie Glaser said “the ruling is likely to increase tensions at least in the near term. In a sense it already has, as China has rejected the ruling, and many countries of the world have taken sides, with the US is seeking to rally nations in support of international law and a rules-based order–i.e. against China’s rejection.”

“In the short-term, we’ll probably see China engage in some new escalation to punish Manila and signal that it will not be bound by the ruling,” Poling said. For example, said Glaser, “China may establish baselines for its territorial claims in the Spratlys, a precursor to announcing an ADIZ (Air Defense Identification Zone).”

Besides the legal and maritime maneuverings, Poling said, “we will also see the start of the next phase of the battle over competing narratives, this time focused on how many countries Manila and friends can get to voice public support for the ruling as legally binding and demand China complies. The question will be, whether or not they can maintain that pressure from a broad swath of countries over the long-term” in the face of Chinese diplomatic and economic pressure.

“The South China Sea territorial disputes are likely to persist for a long time,” said Glaser.

“The question is whether they can be managed, not resolved.”

In these exciting times, in the midst of the biggest military exercise, let us all be prepared and hope for something better as we await the UN tribunal ruling.

And with the incoming President, with his wisdom, we pray that the South China Sea dispute can still be managed and war can be avoided.
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One Response to Rows in South China sea can be managed but not resolved
Josie says:
June 29, 2016 at 5:53 am
I think the only language that China can understand and will understand is if the whole world will BOYCOTT its products. Then will it pay attention. What ARROGANCE AND PRIDE China is showing that it will not recognize the United Nations decision!.
Can the world do the same as what it has done to IRAN? Put sanctions on China in place?
Reply


INQUIRER

Militants present 15-point program for Duterte’s first 100 days By: Aries Joseph Hegina
@AHeginaINQ INQUIRER.net 03:28 PM June 29th, 2016


People's Agenda -Around a thousand militant leaders converged in Quezon City to present a 15-point agenda for President-elect Rodrigo Duterte’s first 100 days in office. PHOTO BY ARIES JOSEPH HEGINA/INQUIRER.net

Leaders and members of militant organizations converged on Wednesday at University of the Philippines (UP) Diliman to present a 15-point program which encapsulate their demands for President-elect Rodrigo Duterte.

The said program, also known as the People’s Agenda for Change, was presented to incoming Agrarian Reform Secretary Rafael Mariano and incoming Social Welfare and Development Secretary Judy Taguiwalo.

READ: Bayan to hold summit before pro-Duterte rally on Inauguration Day

Also present to receive the agenda from militants are lawmakers from the left-leaning Makabayan coalition and representatives of Senators Grace Poe, Francis Escudero and Alan Peter Cayetano.

The People’s Agenda is divided into five topics: economic development, social policy, peace and human rights, governance and democracy and foreign policy and sovereignty.

In the economic field, the People’s Agenda urges Duterte to implement national industrialization of strategic industries and to reorient the economy towards domestic needs and development.

The social policy recommendations of the People’s Agenda include budget increases for the education and health sectors, enactment of pension hike for Social Security System (SSS) pensioners, improved services for Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs), increased minimum broadband speed to at least 1.5 Mbps and the removal of the data cap for internet users.

Proposals to promote peace and human rights zeroed in on the resumption of peace talks between the government and the National Democratic Front of the Philippines and the cessation of militarization in indigenous communities.

In terms of governance, the People’s Agenda backed the government’s anti-corruption drive and proposed the abolition of the pork barrel system. Accountability for the supposed irregularities that transpired during the administration of outgoing President Benigno Aquino III was also demanded.

Lastly, the foreign policy recommendations incorporated in the agenda include the adoption of a truly independent foreign policy and the rejection of the Visiting Forces Agreement and the Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement.

READ MORE...

In his speech, Bayan Muna party-list Representative Carlos Isagani Zarate said that the People’s Agenda is a result of the clamor of Filipinos for genuine change.


Bayan Muna Rep. Carlos Zarate

He also extolled Duterte for extending a hand of peace to the National Democratic Front of the Philippines.

“Mga kasama, mga kauban, pinakamahalaga ang pakikipag-mabutihan ni Pangulong Digong sa kaliwa dahil sa malalim na pag-unawa niya sa inhustisya at di-makatarungang sistema na nagbubunga ng militante at armadong paglaban ng mamamayan dito man sa kasiyudaran at sa dayuhan.”

(My comrades, the most important is President Digong’s [Duterte’s nickname] negotiations with the Left due to his in-depth understanding of the injustice and unjust system causing the militants and citizens armed fight in the city and in foreign land.)

“Kung gayon, sa pagkakaroon ng presidente ng pagkakaibigan at bukas na progresibong kilusan, nagbubukas ang pagkakataon sa atin para ihain ang makabayan at demokratikong programa ng mamamayan. Kung magpapatuloy ang positibong takbo ng mga pangyayari at patuloy na mangingibabaw ang progresibong katangian ni Digong, maraming mga tagumpay na maaring makamit ang ating mga mamamayan,” Zarate said.

(With the President’s good relations and openness to progressive movement, it gives us the opportunity to present the nationalistic and democratic program of the citizens. If the positive flow of events would continue and Digong’s progressive trait would prevail, our citizens would achieve success.)


 Aiza Seguerra

Also present in the program were the celebrity couple Aiza Seguerra and Liza Diño.

Seguerra, a supporter of the firebrand President, performed an original song which calls for change.

The People’s Agenda, according to Bagong Alyansang Makabayan Secretary General Renato Reyes Jr., is a result of a number of consultations with various groups.

In closing Wednesday’s program, Reyes said that Filipinos should now be vigilant if the incoming Duterte administration will stick to the People’s Agenda.

“This is not just a one-day affair. The People’s Agenda will be crucial to the discussions and mobilizations on June 30 and beyond, including the upcoming State of the Nation Address of the President. We will rally around the People’s Agenda as we encourage the new administration to walk the extra mile for genuine change and a just peace,” Reyes said.

The militants will stage a rally coinciding with Duterte’s inauguration on Thursday to support his pro-people pronouncements. Paul Xavier Jaehwa Bernardo, INQUIRER.net trainee/RAM


MANILA TIMES

Duterte looking to end reign of ‘Imperial Manila’ June 28, 2016 10:33 pm

President-elect Rodrigo Duterte takes office this week looking to end the domination of “Imperial Manila” with a radical shift to federalism that he says is vital to fighting poverty and ending a deadly Muslim separatist insurgency.

Duterte has vowed to have the Constitution rewritten to achieve his bold plans — which would see power devolved from the central government in the nation’s capital, Manila, to newly created states governing the 81 provinces in the Philippines at present.

“It [the current system] is an excuse for them to hang onto power in ‘Imperial Manila.’ They have always been there in one single office, running the Philippines,” the then-presidential candidate said in a speech during the election campaign.

Such comments are typical fare for Duterte, an anti-establishment figure who relentlessly rails against the elites who have mostly ruled the Philippines since independence from the United States after World War II.

On Thursday, he will take over from Benigno Aquino 3rd, who remains a generally popular figure but nevertheless comes from one of the remarkably small number of wealthy clans that have long dominated national politics and overseen one of Asia’s biggest rich-poor divides.

Duterte will become the first president from the vast southern region of Mindanao, which is one of the nation’s poorest areas and home to decades-old communist and Muslim insurgencies that have claimed tens of thousands of lives.

Highlighting his antipathy for Manila rule, Duterte snubbed his proclamation by Congress as the winner of the elections — an event normally rich in tradition and ceremony.

He has also traveled to the capital just once since winning the elections, and vowed to spend the bulk of his six years as President based in Davao City, which has less than two percent of the nation’s population and is 1,000 kilometers from Manila.

Peace, poverty hopes

Under Duterte’s federal set-up, the states will be largely autonomous and allowed to retain most of their income, rather than remitting it to the central government, which he believes will be a key driver of economic growth in the impoverished countryside.

READ MORE...

He has said the central government would retain essential national functions, such as defense, foreign policy and Customs.

Duterte has repeatedly said one of the main benefits of federalism would be to end separatist rebellions waged by the country’s poor Muslim minority because they would in effect have autonomy in the new states.

“Nothing short of a federal structure will give Mindanao peace,” he said on the campaign trail, and broadly supportive comments from Muslim rebel leaders in recent weeks indicated that they are receptive to the plans.

Amending the Constitution is a highly sensitive subject in the Philippines.

Lawmakers have not touched it since it was rewritten in 1987, the year after the “People Power” revolution that overthrew Ferdinand Marcos.

The Constitution was redrawn to put in place safeguards to avoid another strongman rule, including limiting presidents to a single term of six years.

Tentative attempts by previous presidents to revise the Constitution failed amid strong opposition from groups that feared the leaders were merely seeking to extend their reigns.

Riding high

But Duterte, flush with his election success that has seen political opponents swiftly shift allegiances to him, is confident of enjoying big majorities in both Houses of Congress, as well as broad popular support, to propel his push.

With Duterte due to turn 77 at the end of his presidential term, many voters do not see him as someone who will want to extend his rule.

Seeking to capitalize on his early-term popularity, he is aiming to lay the framework for a referendum to change the Constitution in the first half of his presidency, according to his allies.

Still, what would be the biggest shake-up to Philippine democracy since 1987 is by no means assured, and political analysts say opposition could build.

Critics have accused Duterte of being very vague about his plans, questioned whether federalism is indeed the panacea to the nation’s woes, and warned that it could cause more problems than it solved.


Rivera, Temario, PhD PHOTO FROM halalan.up.edu.ph

In nations like the Philippines that already has issues with weak governance, federalism might result at worst in the break-up of the country, according to Temario Rivera, chairman of the Center for People Empowerment in Governance think-tank.

He said federalism could strengthen the hold of political dynasties or clans that already monopolize power in local governments, often through the use of private armies, with a weakened central authority unable to respond.

“Shifting to a federal system will have uncertain and unpredictable results,” Rivera warned.
AFP
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One Response to Duterte looking to end reign of ‘Imperial Manila’
Johnny Randal says:
June 29, 2016 at 3:32 am
He is the boss…….Federalism…..it will happen or may not…..My conclusion the boss always win…
Reply


PHILSTAR

‘Rody can deliver on promises’ (The Philippine Star) | Updated June 30, 2016 - 12:00am 0 1 googleplus0 0


Lawmakers said president-elect Rodrigo Duterte’s promise of getting things done quickly and efficiently – especially in fighting crime and in addressing Metro Manila’s transport woes – has earned him wide and well deserved support  Philstar.com/AJ Bolando

 MANILA, Philippines – Veteran and neophyte lawmakers alike have expressed optimism about president-elect Rodrigo Duterte’s delivering on his promise of change as the former Davao City mayor officially begins his six-year term today as the country’s 16th chief executive.

Lawmakers said Duterte’s promise of getting things done quickly and efficiently – especially in fighting crime and in addressing Metro Manila’s transport woes – has earned him wide and well deserved support.

“By looking at P-Digong’s public service track record, he is a man of action. I think things will move fast especially in fighting crime,” neophyte incoming senator Sherwin Gatchalian said. – Christina Mendez, Roel Pareño, Paolo Romero, Danny Dangcalan


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