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PH TO OPEN A GIANT DRUG REHAB CENTER IN FORT MAGSAYSAY FUNDED BY CHINESE TYCOON
[WORLD NEWS REPORT FROM UK: 'He's vulgar – but honest': Filipinos on Duterte's first 100 days in office]
(Filipinos may be divided in what they think of their president, but for the majority of the population he is seen as someone fighting for the dignity of the country and doing so with a can-do attitude. Father Joey Evangelista said: “The world did not care about the Philippines before. Why is it, all of a sudden, concerned about the Philippines now?”)
OCTOBER 12 -A policeman, holding a handcuffs, gestures toward a resident during a drug raid in Quezon City, Metro Manila, Philippines, October 12, 2016. REUTERS/Damir Sagolj The Philippines on Wednesday announced plans to open in November what it called a "mega" drug rehabilitation facility, funded by a Chinese tycoon, to treat up to 10,000 patients in President Rodrigo Duterte's war on drugs. The news comes six days ahead of a visit to Beijing by Duterte, accompanied by hundreds of businessmen, as he seeks to forge closer ties with the Asian giant and daily airs his dissatisfaction with traditional ally the United States. Several thousand people, mostly small-time drug users and dealers, have died at the hands of police and suspected vigilantes since Duterte took office on June 30, promising to eradicate the drug menace. "This initiative will not only benefit these drug victims whom we want to help and reach out to, but also for the change that we envision for our country," Health Secretary Paulyn Jean Rosell-Ubial told a news conference. The center, located in a military camp north of the capital, Manila, was paid for by Chinese philanthropist and real estate developer Huang Rulun, whose net worth Forbes magazine has estimated at $3.9 billion. READ MORE...WORLD NEWS REPORT: 'He's vulgar – but honest': Filipinos on Duterte's first 100 days in office...
ALSO SWS survey: self-rated poverty at new record low
[RELATED: Duterte signs EO establishing rehab centers for 'Tokhang' surrenderees]
OCTOBER 13 -They may have “roof” under their heads, but this family caught yesterday sleeping under a bridge on President Quirino Avenue in Paco, Manila, is certainly not a beneficiaries of the government’s housing program. (MB.COM.PH) The number of Filipino families who considered themselves poor and “food-poor” hit a new record low, the latest Social Weather Stations (SWS) survey results show. 42 percent of Filipino families—equivalent to 9.4 million families—rated themselves poor in the past three months, based on the nationwide survey conducted last September 24–27 among 1,200 respondents and first published on BusinessWorld. This is down from 45 percent or about 10.5 million households in the June survey, and the lowest self-rated poverty rate since the survey commenced in April 1983. The previous record-low, 43 percent, was recorded in March 1987 and March 2010. READ MORE...RELATED, Duterte signs EO establishing rehab centers for 'Tokhang' surrenderees...
Duterte seeks money, respect in China
(READ: Duterte optimistic on state visit to China, trade deals)
[RELATED: US supports Rody's effort to boost ties with China]
OCTOBER 13 -President Rodrigo Duterte. AP Photo MANILA—Firebrand Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte heads to China next week seeking billions of dollars in investments and buckets of respect, as he pivots angrily away from traditional ally the United States. Chinese President Xi Jinping is set to give the mercurial leader a warm welcome after Duterte threatened to end a decades-long alliance with the United States and gave Beijing a timely boost in its quest for more control over the strategically vital South China Sea. READ: Duterte optimistic on state visit to China, trade deals Duterte, 71, has said he is trying to wean the Philippines off an unhealthy reliance on its former colonial ruler, although he has signalled the shift is also due to his outrage at US criticism of his deadly war on crime. READ MORE...RELATED, PH sees $3B investments, trade from China visit ...RELATED, US backs Rody effort to boost ties with China...
ALSO: Duterte forms task force on media violence, killings
[RELATED: Duterte tells foes: God made me president ]
(Like Job, President Rodrigo Duterte believes that God gives and takes away.)
OCTOBER 14 -Members of the media may report threats to the task force, which will then monitor and provide assistance to the journalists concerned. Philstar.com/File photo President Rodrigo Duterte has formed a task force that will ensure a safe environment for members of the media amid growing concerns over the harassment of journalists who have reported critically of the administration. The creation of the presidential task force on violations to the media’s right to life, liberty and security is the first administrative order of Duterte, who has had a love-hate relationship with journalists. The president signed the order last October 11. “The reason why the president wanted this Administrative Order no. 1 is because he cares for you, for us. And he believes in freedom of the press,” Presidential Communications Secretary Martin Andanar told reporters in Malacañang Thursday. READ MORE... RELATED,
ALSO: Duterte says he will humiliate US, EU, UN in rights debate
[RELATED: EDITORIAL - Sound advice]
OCTOBER 14 -The president said he would use his experience as a trial lawyer in a debate with US, UN and EU representatives. AP/Bullit Marquez, file photo Maybe God gave you the money but we have the brains. This was President Rodrigo Duterte’s message Thursday to the United States, the United Nations and the European Union as he vowed to humiliate them in a debate on human rights that he claimed would provide “entertainment” to those who will watch it. Duterte said he has written letters to US President Barack Obama, US State Secretary John Kerry, the UN, and the EU inviting them to visit the Philippines to probe the killings linked to his brutal war on illegal drugs. “Come here. Investigate me. But give me also the right to be heard. So I will have to ask you questions after questioning me. I’ll let them play into my hands,” Duterte said during the 42nd Philippine Business Conference and Expo in Pasay. “I’m very sure they can never be brighter than me. Believe me,” he added. READ MORE...RELATED EDITORIAL, Sound advice...
READ FULL MEDIA REPORTS HERE:
Philippines to open giant rehab center soon, funded by China tycoon
A policeman, holding a handcuffs, gestures toward a resident during a drug raid in Quezon City, Metro Manila, Philippines, October 12, 2016. REUTERS/Damir Sagolj
MANILA, OCTOBER 17, 2016 (REUTERS) WORLD NEWS | Wed Oct 12, 2016 | 9:05am EDT By Karen Lema - The Philippines on Wednesday announced plans to open in November what it called a "mega" drug rehabilitation facility, funded by a Chinese tycoon, to treat up to 10,000 patients in President Rodrigo Duterte's war on drugs.
The news comes six days ahead of a visit to Beijing by Duterte, accompanied by hundreds of businessmen, as he seeks to forge closer ties with the Asian giant and daily airs his dissatisfaction with traditional ally the United States.
Several thousand people, mostly small-time drug users and dealers, have died at the hands of police and suspected vigilantes since Duterte took office on June 30, promising to eradicate the drug menace.
"This initiative will not only benefit these drug victims whom we want to help and reach out to, but also for the change that we envision for our country," Health Secretary Paulyn Jean Rosell-Ubial told a news conference.
The center, located in a military camp north of the capital, Manila, was paid for by Chinese philanthropist and real estate developer Huang Rulun, whose net worth Forbes magazine has estimated at $3.9 billion.
It will be built using 75 shipping containers of material imported from China, said Ubial.
The government plans to build four more mega treatment and rehabilitation facilities elsewhere in the country and many donors, including Chinese, have come forward, she added.
Duterte has repeatedly said the Chinese have expressed their readiness to help his government fight illegal drugs, which he estimates to have affected more than 3 million Filipinos.
But he has also criticized China for not doing enough to stem the flow of methamphetamines into the Philippines.
Just one or two percent of declared drug addicts, or "surrenderers", as they are known in the Philippines, will receive in-patient treatment at the sprawling center, however.
Roughly 700,000 such addicts have come forward to register with the authorities, but the country currently has few facilities to help them.
The Philippines is training hundreds of people to staff the new center, which will require 900 personnel to treat the first batch of 2,500 patients.
Duterte, who has admonished rights groups and foreign governments which raised concerns about the drugs crackdown, called his critics "stupid" and "idiots", in a speech on Wednesday.
He confirmed he had officially invited a United Nations special rapporteur on extrajudicial executions to investigate the drug killings.
"It will be open to the public, " Duterte said, describing such an inquiry.
"Ask me any question under the sun, just afford me the right to be heard."
(Reporting by Karen Lema Writing by Kanupriya Kapoor; Editing by Martin Petty and Clarence Fernandez)
FEATURE WORLD NEWS REPORT FROM THE GUARDIAN, UK
'He's vulgar – but honest': Filipinos on Duterte's first 100 days in office Rachel Obordo
@bordeaux8 Saturday 8 October 2016 08.00 BST Last modified on Saturday 8 October 2016 09.27 BST
The international audience may find Rodrigo Duterte shocking, but how do Filipinos feel he has performed as president of the Philippines?
President Rodrigo Duterte poses with Philippine army officers during his visit to their headquarters in Taguig. Photograph: Bullit Marquez/AP
Rodrigo Duterte’s first 100 days in office as president of the Philippines have been a busy time. With more than 16m votes in May’s election, nearly 39% of the total vote and 6.6m more than his rival Mar Roxas, Duterte secured a landslide victory that saw him sworn into office a month later at the presidential residence, Malacañang Palace.
Over the past three months he has followed through his election promise to tackle the drug trade in the country; a campaign that has seen more than 2,400 people killed and thousands more turn themselves in to the authorities. Duterte’s public encouragement for civilians to take matters into their own hands and alleged use of secret death squads have outraged human rights groups and foreign governments.
Duterte’s approach to the war on drugs may come as a shock to the international community but, as Joanna Fuertes-Knight says in her piece, the president is a breath of fresh air for many Filipinos, who say “some action is better than no action”.
Bong, 31, from Cebu said: “I think it’s good that he is addressing issues like crime, drugs and corruption. I used to worry about getting robbed downtown but it’s much safer now to walk around.”
Ferdinand A Almoradie, who lives in Cagayan de Oro, says drugs were frequently sold near his home. “You could buy them on the roadside as easily as you would buy rice,” he said. “Duterte has accomplished a lot and is the right leader to serve and protect the integrity of all Filipinos. I hope that one day the Philippines will be a drug free country so that my children and grandchildren can feel safe.”
A police officer moves between houses during a police operation against illegal drugs at a slum area in Manila. Photograph: Mark R. Cristino/EPA
Carla from Tacloban, the city largely destroyed by typhoon Haiyan, believes that regardless of what one may think of the president personally, there have been visible changes to the everyday lives of Filipinos. “I have friends and acquaintances who have been using meth for years, their families destroyed by their addiction. But today they are back with their families and trying to make up for their mistakes.
“He is a man of and for the people. Yes, he is vulgar, foul-mouthed, and says what he thinks without a filter. But he is also sincere, honest, and hardworking, and he loves the poor and the weak. And he has a sense of humour to boot. Despite his rough rhetoric and unpolished behaviour, he is intelligent and clever and he thinks and plans strategically.”
Drugs may be a problem in the Philippines but not everyone agrees with the way the issue is being addressed. Chili Sal, a 44-year-old banker living in Manila, thinks Duterte is unfit for the job. “He has and continues to exhibit appalling, unstatesmanlike behaviour when faced with criticisms of his policy in addressing the war on drugs. His blabbering blustering machismo attitude clearly shows he is inept.
“What is more worrying is his attitude that he is beyond reproach, thereby seemingly encouraging a somewhat culture of impunity amongst the ranks fighting his drug war for him. He is also a major failure in diplomacy and foreign relations. I can’t even begin to fathom the damage or strain in relations with the US and EU he has caused during the short time that he has been president. He is an embarrassment.”
From the hundreds of responses we received to our callout the main objection against the international media was not criticism for what Duterte has said or done, but the lack of recognition for the positive things his administration has implemented.
FORMER PRESIDENT NOY AQUINO -INQUIRER FILE PHOTO
The gates of the Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR) have reopened for the first time in 18 years, after they were closed to stop protesters from accessing the building.
During his administration, former president Benigno Aquino III ordered for metal grills to be installed on windows and doors to protect employees. Opening the gates in July, the agrarian reform secretary, Rafael Mariano, one of Duterte’s cabinet ministers, said he hoped to break down walls. “This symbolises that DAR, on all levels, will maintain open. We will follow a policy of continuing open and productive dialogues between the officials and employees of DAR and other stakeholders of agrarian reform, especially our farmers and agricultural workers, and advocates.”
A Filipino woman holding a sign to international media asking them to stop ‘destabilising my country Philippines’.
There has also been a decrease in 'laglag bala' (literally “drop bullet”) incidents at airports, after Duterte prevented authorities from arresting passengers who were found with bullets in their baggage. The tanim bala (bullet planting) scam saw staff insert bullets into the luggage of passengers as a means to extort them for money.
Other developments have included a proposed nationwide ban on karaoke sound systems after 10pm, the removal of age limit requirements for job seekers, as well as the assurance that overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) will be protected from corruption and abuse abroad.
It is these changes that persuade people like Nique, from Baguio, that Duterte is the right president for the Philippines. “I think he has his hits and misses but more so on the hits. He did warn us that the war against drugs would be bloody, and here it is happening. Foreigners expect that a president should be prim and proper but he was voted by the majority of the Filipinos despite knowing his reputation as then-mayor of Davao.”
For 47-year-old driver and father of two LeeMar, however, people seem disillusioned by Duterte. “Many Filipinos seem to be under a spell. They have become fanatical and smug in defending Duterte from any criticism, and have become intolerant towards others who dare to speak against him. I am deeply troubled of what I am seeing. I see a people with their good values slowly being destroyed.”
Duterte also prompted an international backlash after calling both Barack Obama and Pope Francis a “son of a whore”. He has said he would end joint US-Philippine military drills, and more recently appeared to compare himself to Hitler. Responding to questions on the criticism he has received Duterte said: “Masyado kayong bilib sa America, bumilib kayo dito sa atin [You believe too much in America, believe in us].”
The undersecretary and presidential spokesman for Duterte, Ernesto Abella, was also reported as saying, “Let’s try to use our creative imagination OK? Wag tayo masyadong literal [Let’s not be too literal].”
Father Joey Evangelista, a Roman Catholic priest based in Mindanao, says Duterte’s way of simplifying things is his major flaw. “He is unable to perceive nuances in many delicate issues. He looks at things in black or white, which is dangerous when you are in a position of power.”
Filipino church-goers attend a mass with human rights advocates condemning extrajudicial killings at the Redemptorist Church in Pasay. Photograph: Francis R. Malasig/EPA
A 35-year-old woman from Taguig says she is no supporter of Duterte’s war on drugs but some of the things he says are misunderstood. “He never swore at Obama. That was a misunderstanding of Tagalog vernacular. I also think the international media are ignoring the fact that he is outspoken about the control the United States has on the Philippines for their failure to answer for the abuses they committed during their occupation of our country.
“As a nationalist, I absolutely agree with him that the US has been abusing its relationship with the Philippines to gain unfair strategic military advantage in south-east Asia.”
Randal, who originally voted for Grace Poe but now supports Duterte, said: “His implementation is coming in fast. He did more for our country in just three months compared to other past presidents. I believe he is the right kind of leader in this point in our nation’s history. I believe he will wipe out crime and corruption more than anyone can, and will also bring order and discipline which we desperately need. He is a wonderful president but needs to shut up sometimes.”
But for an anonymous 28-year-old government employee, Duterte’s performance so far has been dismal. “He is singlehandedly destroying democracy and decency in our country. If there is any move to kick him out of office, count me in.”
According to a survey by leading Philippine public opinion polling body Social Weather Stations, Duterte’s first 100 days as president have been “very good”, with 76% of the 1,200 respondents saying they were satisfied with his performance.
Filipinos may be divided in what they think of their president, but for the majority of the population he is seen as someone fighting for the dignity of the country and doing so with a can-do attitude.
But what about what the rest of the world think? Father Joey Evangelista said: “The world did not care about the Philippines before. Why is it, all of a sudden, concerned about the Philippines now?”
SWS survey: self-rated poverty at new record low by Ellalyn De Vera October 13, 2016 Share1 Tweet0 Share0 Email0 Share16
They may have “roof” under their heads, but this family caught yesterday sleeping under a bridge on President Quirino Avenue in Paco, Manila, is certainly not a beneficiaries of the government’s housing program. (MB.COM.PH)
The number of Filipino families who considered themselves poor and “food-poor” hit a new record low, the latest Social Weather Stations (SWS) survey results show.
42 percent of Filipino families—equivalent to 9.4 million families—rated themselves poor in the past three months, based on the nationwide survey conducted last September 24–27 among 1,200 respondents and first published on BusinessWorld.
This is down from 45 percent or about 10.5 million households in the June survey, and the lowest self-rated poverty rate since the survey commenced in April 1983.
The previous record-low, 43 percent, was recorded in March 1987 and March 2010.
The pollster also pointed out that the self-rated poverty result “has been either steady or declining for eight consecutive quarters” as follows:
•52 percent in December 2014
•51 percent in March 2015 and June 2015
•50 percent in September 2015 and December 2015
•46 percent in April 2016
•45 percent in June 2016, and
•42 percent in September 2016.
SWS said there were fewer Filipino families claiming they are poor in the rest of Luzon (from 41 percent to 34 percent) and Mindanao (from 54 percent to 49 percent).
However, self-rated poverty increased in Metro Manila (from 32 percent to 36 percent) and Visayas (from 52 percent to 56 percent).
The same survey found that 30 percent or 6.7 million families considered themselves “food-poor,” compared with 31 percent or an estimated 6.9 million households three months ago.
“Food-poor” means families consider the food they eat as poor.
SWS noted this is slightly lower than the record-low 31 percent reported in April and June 2016.
RELATED FROM PHILSTAR
Duterte signs EO establishing rehab centers for 'Tokhang' surrenderees By Jelly F. Musico (philstar.com) | Updated October 15, 2016 - 3:56pm 1 10 googleplus0 0
An Inter-Agency Task Force will be created to oversee the establishment of the drug abuse treatment and rehabilitation centers primarily to help drug dependents who surrendered to the authorities amid the drug war. Philstar's NewsLab/Efigenio Toledo IV -PHILSTAR NEWSLAB LINK-
MANILA, Philippines - President Rodrigo Duterte has signed Executive Order (EO) No. 04 providing for the establishment and support of drug abuse treatment and rehabilitation centers (DATRCs) across the country.
Under the EO signed last October 11, an Inter-Agency Task Force will be created to oversee the establishment of the DATRCs primarily to help drug dependents who surrendered to authorities amid the Duterte administration’s war on drugs.
The task force will be chaired by the secretary of the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG), with the health secretary as co-chair and secretaries of social welfare and budget, Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) director general, and a representative of the Office of the President as members.
To address the congested rehab centers, the task force shall establish DATRCs in the available space of military reservations, subject to the approval of the memorandum of agreements between and among concerned agencies.
The EO also encourages all departments, agencies and instrumentalities of the government to provide support and assistance in establishing DATRCs.
The initial funding shall be sourced from the appropriations of the members of the task force.
The functions of the task force include:
Determine the type, capacity and suitable locations of the DATRCs with the long-term goal of having at least one center in every province; Establish the needed DATRCs and provide support for their operations with the authority to call upon any concerned agencies for assistance;
•Enjoin the cooperation of local government units (LGUs) in the establishment and support of the DATRCs; and
•Issue relevant guidelines for the effective implementation of the EO.
For the first three months of the intensified campaign against illegal drugs of Duterte, more than 700,000 drug dependents have surrendered themselves to authorities.
Duterte seeks money, respect in China Agence France-Presse / 02:57 PM October 13, 2016 Rodrigo Duterte
President Rodrigo Duterte. AP Photo
MANILA—Firebrand Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte heads to China next week seeking billions of dollars in investments and buckets of respect, as he pivots angrily away from traditional ally the United States.
Chinese President Xi Jinping is set to give the mercurial leader a warm welcome after Duterte threatened to end a decades-long alliance with the United States and gave Beijing a timely boost in its quest for more control over the strategically vital South China Sea.
READ: Duterte optimistic on state visit to China, trade deals
Duterte, 71, has said he is trying to wean the Philippines off an unhealthy reliance on its former colonial ruler, although he has signalled the shift is also due to his outrage at US criticism of his deadly war on crime.
Analysts believe Duterte’s attraction to a rising China is typical of his ultra-pragmatic governing style, following repeated speeches from him highlighting what he believes is the United States’ diminishing economic and military might.
“He is a results-oriented person, Machiavellian, too,” University of the Philippines political science professor Clarita Carlos told AFP.
“The guy knows if he can find markets for our bananas, pineapples, and create employment, whether it’s China, Russia or Mali, that’s where we are going. Whatever works.”
Duterte is bringing along a delegation of hundreds of businessmen, including many of the Philippines’ most powerful tycoons, in a bid to capitalise on the warming of relations that have taken place due to his efforts to placate Beijing on the South China Sea row.
China claims nearly all of the strategically vital sea, even waters approaching the Philippines and other Southeast Asian nations, and has in recent years built artificial islands in the disputed areas that are capable of hosting military bases.
Duterte’s predecessor, Benigno Aquino, infuriated Beijing by challenging it on a range of fronts.
Aquino allowed American troops to be stationed in the Philippines, launched joint patrols in the sea, filed a legal case at a UN-backed tribunal, repeatedly raised the issue at regional summits and refused to hold direct negotiations with Beijing.
In July, 12 days after Duterte took office, the international tribunal handed the Philippines a surprisingly resounding victory, ruling that China’s claims to most of the sea had no legal basis and that its artificial island-building was illegal.
But, instead of using the verdict to pressure China as Aquino would have done, Duterte sought to mend ties with Beijing.
He also launched a sustained verbal assault on the United States, scrapping the joint patrols as well as a series of annual war games.
READ: Duterte determined to stop joint patrols in South China Sea
During the election campaign, Duterte said he was willing to “set aside” the South China Sea dispute in return for China building a railway through the impoverished southern Philippine region of Mindanao.
He also said it was not in the nation’s interest to insist on its claim over Scarborough Shoal, a fishing ground within the Philippines’ exclusive economic zone that China seized in 2012.
“Let’s just not dwell on Scarborough because we cannot fight them,” Duterte said this week.
Duterte has also signalled he wants to go to Beijing to enjoy some respect, following relentless criticism from the West about alleged extrajudicial killings in his war on crime.
More than 3,300 people have been killed in the crackdown, and US President Barack Obama has been among the many critics to express concern about an apparent breakdown in the rule of law.
“Eventually I might in my term, break up with America. I would rather go to Russia or to China. Even if we do not agree with their ideology, they have respect for the people. Respect is important,” Duterte said this month.
He also said he hoped to visit Russia soon after China.
Maritime law expert Jay Batongbacal warned Duterte’s approach was a big gamble for the Philippines, with China the only sure winner at this stage.
Duterte “is taking a huge risk, betting all on China’s goodwill and beneficence without the insurance provided by the diversified, multilateral support of historical and traditional friends and allies”, Batongbacal, a University of the Philippines law professor, wrote this week.
Still, it is too early for China to claim victory, according to Richard Javad Heydarian, a regional expert at De La Salle University in Manila.
“I won’t be surprised if at some point Duterte will hedge his bets and pivot back to the US if he fails to get any satisfactory concession from China,” Heydarian said./rga
RELATED FROM PHILSTAR
US backs Rody effort to boost ties with China By Jose Katigbak ,STAR Washington bureau (The Philippine Star) | Updated October 16, 2016 - 12:00am 0 27 googleplus0 0
In this photo, President Rodrigo Duterte chats with Chinese Ambassador to the Philippines Zhao Jianhua at the 115th anniversary of the Philippine National Police in Camp Crame. PPD/Toto Lozano
WASHINGTON – The United States supports Philippine efforts to strengthen its ties with China and does not view President Duterte’s state visit to Beijing as a slight, State Department deputy spokesman Mark Toner said yesterday.
“As to whether he’s pivoting east or west, I can’t speak to that. Certainly, it’s in the Philippines’ interest to have strong relations in the region, and as much as this is an effort in that direction, we would support it,” Toner said when asked how he viewed Duterte’s visit in China.
Washington is focused on maintaining close relations and cooperation with Manila in many areas including counternarcotics as well as security, Toner said.
“That said – and this is not specific to the Philippines – we’re always going to be clear when we see credible allegations of human rights abuses or of any kind of actions by the government or by security forces,” he said.
Duterte continues to lash back at US criticism of summary killings in his war on drugs but Toner said despite the rhetoric and some of the things said by the leadership in the Philippines, “we have not seen any indication at the working level of a turning away from the United States.”
“We have a very strong, very long historic relationship with the Philippines and we’re going to continue to pursue that,” he added.
At the same time the United States would encourage the Duterte administration to conduct thorough and transparent investigations where there are credible reports of extrajudicial killings by or at the behest of government authorities, Toner said.
He urged the government to ensure its law enforcement officers are consistent with their international human rights obligations.
MALAYA BUSINESS INSIGHT
PH sees $3B investments, trade from China visit October 14, 2016
Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte, third from left, gestures, with members of a Filipino business sector, prior to addressing them in suburban Pasay city south of Manila, Philippines Thursday, Oct. 13, 2016. Duterte has been under criticism by international human rights groups, the United Nations, European Union and the United States for the more than 3,000 deaths of mostly suspected drug-users and drug-pushers in his so-called "War on Drugs" campaign since assuming the presidency on June 30. Second from left is Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez. AP Photo/Bullit Marquez PHILSTAR FILE
The Philippines hopes to sign $3 billion worth of trade and investment commitments with China when President Duterte visits the country next week, according to Ramon Lopez, secretary of the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI).
“I’ve been hearing funds commitment running to billions of US dollars, over $3 billion. It means we will have a lot of funds for whatever projects we’d like to get in both private and government. We are reviewing all these offers as well that can possibly turn into MOUs (memoranda of understanding),” said Lopez.
But he clarified these will not be all automatic investments but that they could also include soft loans and funding.
“These are all in forms of support, either funding support, commitment, there will be of course specific… business-to-business, there will be of course commercial transactions. Deals that are being signed specifically government-to-government will be more on economic cooperation, trade and investment cooperation,” Lopez said.
He said the Philippines aims to enhance trade with China, currently the country’s second largest trading partner.
Topics like trade facilitation, standards, reduction of non-tariff measures would also cover the discussions.
“We expect more Chinese investments definitely (after the state visit),” said Lopez, saying these cuts across all industries as gleaned from the delegates from all sectors.
Lopez noted that while big ticket items like energy and infrastructure would be on the table, the Philippines will also push support for agriculture as well as for micro, small and medium enterprises.
Parallel with government-to-government bilateral talks are private sector initiatives like banks which are committing funds in support of the growth of the economy.
Duterte forms task force on media violence, killings By Alexis Romero (philstar.com) | Updated October 13, 2016 - 5:44pm 2 16 googleplus0 0
Members of the media may report threats to the task force, which will then monitor and provide assistance to the journalists concerned. Philstar.com/File photo
MANILA, Philippines – President Rodrigo Duterte has formed a task force that will ensure a safe environment for members of the media amid growing concerns over the harassment of journalists who have reported critically of the administration.
The creation of the presidential task force on violations to the media’s right to life, liberty and security is the first administrative order of Duterte, who has had a love-hate relationship with journalists. The president signed the order last October 11.
“The reason why the president wanted this Administrative Order no. 1 is because he cares for you, for us. And he believes in freedom of the press,” Presidential Communications Secretary Martin Andanar told reporters in Malacañang Thursday.
In the AO, Duterte cited a 2014 Human Rights Watch report which stated that the Philippines is one of the most dangerous places in the world to be a journalist because of killings and enforced disappearances. According to the report, the killing and disappearance of journalists “rarely result in a successful and punishment of the perpetrator.”
“The continuing attack on media workers is not only erosive of press freedom and free expression but also impedes the flow of information in community,” the president said.
“The murders and violent incidents against journalists create an impression of a culture of impunity, wherein security establishments of the state and non-state forces have been accused of silencing through violence and intimidation, legitimate dissent and opposition raised by members of the press,” he added.
The presidential task force on violence against media workers will be led by Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre II while Andanar will serve as its co-chairperson. The task force will consist of the secretaries of the interior and local government, and national defense, the solicitor-general, the executive director of the Presidential Human Rights Committee, the chiefs of the military and the police and the director of the National Bureau of Investigation.
The chairperson of the Commission on Human Rights, the Ombudsman, and the heads of media organizations National Press Club, National Union of Journalists of the Philippines, Kapisanan ng mga Brodkaster sa Pilipinas, Publishers Association of the Philippines and the Philippine Press Institute will be invited as observers and resource persons.
Andanar said the task force would meet after Duterte’s state visit to China.
The task force has been directed to conduct an inventory of all cases against media workers within its first 30 days. The cases will be categorized as unsolved, under investigation, under preliminary investigation, under trial and under appeal. After conducting the inventory, the task force will assign special investigation teams that will handle unsolved cases.
“Greater priority shall be given to high profile cases perpetrated during more recent years to take advantage of leads that have yet to stale,” Duterte said.
The task force will also form a special oversight team that will actively monitor developments on the cases included in the inventory of cases and regularly submit recommendations.
Members of the media may also report threats to the task force, which will then monitor and, if necessary, provide assistance to the journalists concerned.
Online threats Asked if the task force would cover online threats to journalists, Andanar replied: “I have not seen it here but… if you are threatened anywhere, be that online or on the ground, it’s still a threat. And it still violates your security and your right to have a good life, liberty and security as mentioned in this administrative order.”
“You can report threats. It will be discussed by different agencies,” he added.
Andanar said mechanisms to protect journalists from online harassment may be included in the implementing rules of the AO.
Some journalists who have written critical pieces about Duterte have been subjected to online harassment and threats, prompting media groups to ask the government to protect freedom of expression.
Last month, freelance journalist Gretchen Malalad and Al Jazeera correspondent Jamela Alindogan-Caudron received threats of rape and physical harm from social media users who claim to be supporters of Duterte.
Manuel Mogato and Karen Lema of international news agency Reuters were also branded by bashers as “enemies of democracy” after they reported about Duterte’s remark on German leader Adolf Hitler, who ordered the killing of millions of Jews during World War II.
Duterte has urged his supporters to stop threatening journalists to allow them to report about the true state of the country.
The task force will also designate a team that will investigate new cases of media killings and violence. It will also receive, process and act on the complaints of abuse and other acts of violence filed by media workers in coordination with the justice department.
The presidential task force will likewise help in facilitating the protection of witnesses upon the request of the justice department. Duterte has ordered the task force to submit an accomplishment report after six months.
The budget department will determine the source for the initial requirements of the task force. Andanar said the funding for the task force is not yet included in next year’s budget.
The AO supersedes Administrative Order no. 35, which created an interagency committee on extralegal killings in 2012
RELATED FROM THE INQUIRER
Duterte tells foes: God made me president
(Like Job, President Rodrigo Duterte believes that God gives and takes away.)
(As IN Job 1:21 – God Gives and God Takes Away - After the first wave of troubles comes to Job, he stoically accepts what happens as God's will. It is God who gives and, therefore, God can take away. -BIBLE.ORG)
By: Gil C. Cabacungan / @inquirerdotnet
Philippine Daily Inquirer / 02:24 AM October 15, 2016
President Rodrigo Duterte. SIMEON CELI/PPD
So if God wants him to finish his entire six-year term, it’s tough luck for his opponents. They just have to endure it.
In a speech in Batanes province on Friday, Mr. Duterte talked extensively about how improbable his victory was in May’s presidential election—no financial resources and a national political machinery—and, after 100 days in office, he said, “I tend to believe now, that it was God who gave it to me.”
‘Part of my destiny’
And since he became President due to divine intervention, Mr. Duterte said it was easy for him to brush aside rumors of his imminent exit, either through impeachment or coup d’etat or assassination by the Central Intelligence Agency.
READ: Duterte: ‘Susmaryosep,’ CIA is planning to kill me
“Don’t scare me, you people from Manila with your plan to hold a rally next year and remove me from office. Because if I go, that is part of my destiny. That is what it is so don’t come out in newspapers warning Dutere about a coup d’etat or others,” he said.
“If I become President for just two months or two years, that is part of my destiny, what God gave me. So I just let them threaten me with launching a coup d’etat or people power, these sons of a…,” he said.
“But if I reach six years, you’re all dead,” he added.
As God was his main backer, Mr. Duterte said he owed nothing to anybody, even the “rich” kingmakers who refused to contribute to his campaign until they were sure of his victory.
But by that time, Mr. Duterte said it was too late and he rejected their contributions.
Not new to intrigue
He said he was not new to these kinds of intrigue in office, starting with his more than two decades as Davao City mayor during which time allegations of his ties to liquidation squads hounded him.
He said he got through the worst of what his political rivals, the “yellow,” threw at him in the elections, especially when they realized that he wasn’t going down in the polls before Election Day.
He said this was the time when “garbage” like the death squad allegations and Sen. Antonio Trillanes IV’s exposé on billions of pesos allegedly stashed in his undisclosed bank accounts started to come out.
“If I had that much money, you won’t even see me here. At my age of 71, I’d rather travel anywhere,” he said.
Duterte says he will humiliate US, EU, UN in rights debate By Alexis Romero (philstar.com) | Updated October 13, 2016 - 9:31pm 8 79 googleplus0 0
The president said he would use his experience as a trial lawyer in a debate with US, UN and EU representatives. AP/Bullit Marquez, file photo
MANILA, Philippines -- Maybe God gave you the money but we have the brains.
This was President Rodrigo Duterte’s message Thursday to the United States, the United Nations and the European Union as he vowed to humiliate them in a debate on human rights that he claimed would provide “entertainment” to those who will watch it.
Duterte said he has written letters to US President Barack Obama, US State Secretary John Kerry, the UN, and the EU inviting them to visit the Philippines to probe the killings linked to his brutal war on illegal drugs.
“Come here. Investigate me. But give me also the right to be heard. So I will have to ask you questions after questioning me. I’ll let them play into my hands,” Duterte said during the 42nd Philippine Business Conference and Expo in Pasay.
“I’m very sure they can never be brighter than me. Believe me,” he added.
Duterte said he would use his experience as a trial lawyer to question critics who have been calling him out for the alleged extrajudicial killing of drug suspects.
“I’ve been a trial lawyer for many years. I’ll play with you in public. I’ll ask five questions that will humiliate you. I’ll ask 10 questions where you will agree with me,” the president said.
“Watch for it. It will be a spectacle. It will be good. It will give you entertainment,” he added, referring to the debate.
“They thought the Philippines is just a small nation. Maybe God gave you the money but we have the brains.”
Duterte has been at odds with the US, EU and UN over his intensified campaign against narcotics, which has left about 3,000 drug suspects dead.
He said the US, the EU and the UN had humiliated him before the international community and were trying to interfere with the Philippines’ affairs
Malacañang has formally invited UN special rapporteur Agnes Callamard to the Philippines to look into the cases of extrajudicial killings allegedly spawned by Duterte’s war on drugs.
In the letter, Executive Secretary Salvador Medialdea asked Callamard to also probe the killing of policemen by drug suspects so she would have “an accurate perspective” of the drug menace in the Philippines.
It remains unclear though whether Malacañang has already sent the letters to Obama, Kerry and the EU.
Duterte believes his critics are trying to make a big deal out of his threats to criminals, which he said is not prohibited by law. He also dismissed as “garbage” allegations that he is involved in extrajudicial killings.
“Torture is very odious to me. If you want to kill that guy, fire a single shot. You make a choice: head or heart,” the president added.
Earlier this month, the UN Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (CESCR) noted its worries on the drastic rise in extrajudicial killings of drug suspects under the current administration and the hike in arrests and detainment in already overcrowded prisons.
It also noted with concern the apparent encouragement and legitimization of drug killings in the Philippines by top officials, whom the committee did not name.
READ: UN body 'deeply concerned' over top officials encouraging drug killings
Duterte stressed that his administration would continue the bloody war on drugs “until the last drug lord and last drug pusher is out of the street.”
“I will not allow my country or the next generation to be compromised,” he said.
“I said I’ll kill you if you do drugs in the country. I don’t give a s**t. I’ll do it. If you destroy the next generation or compromise their future, I’ll do it.
RELATED FROM THE MANILA STANDARD (EDITORIAL)
Sound advice posted October 15, 2016 at 12:01 am
Aproud, macho culture dictates that the man of the house is expected to make all the decisions. Nobody should dare question him or point out his excesses and weaknesses.
Anybody bold enough to challenge the leader will risk earning his ire—and who knows what may emerge from this resentment? Cutting words, insults, or a dismissal as a valued member of the group are possibilities.
The man will then proceed with his actions, rightly or wrongly, and perhaps talk more defensively, his ego having been slighted.
These days it appears that President Rodrigo Duterte is becoming that person, slamming or at best ignoring those who dish out advice no matter how well-meaning these may be.
Indeed it appears that his first 100 days in office have gone for much longer than they actually have. This is because instead of focusing on the real ills of the country—economic inequality, security, and yes, illegal drugs—the President and his alter egos have also had to deal with putting out fires that originated from Mr. Duterte’s liberal tongue.
Instead of building and fortifying relationships with existing allies, the President’s tough talk antagonizes them, creating problems that were not even there to begin with.
This is not a children’s playground where being friends with one does not mean becoming enemies with another.
Those who expressed support for Mr. Duterte’s resolute brand of leadership at the outset, like former President Fidel Ramos, are now disappointed at how Mr. Duterte has conducted himself in his first months in office. The counterproductive verbal assaults now have the potential to derail the country from its path to sustainable development.
Those who dare call out the President for his outbursts find themselves mobbed by supporters who readily attack the persons of the critics and who believe their idol can do no wrong.
But nobody can do no wrong, not even the President, despite his election victory by a convincing plurality. Everybody benefits from at least listening to the opinion of others however different they may be.
These days as we plod through the remainder of Mr. Duterte’s six-year term, we can only hope that the members of his inner circle could snap out of being “yes men.”
The most valid criticism, after all, comes not from enemies who wish you ill but from friends who genuinely want you to do well.
There is just too much at stake for the President to let his pride get in the way.
Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi
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