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RIZAL DAY: PHILIPPINES STILL FIGHTING FOR INDEPENDENCE IN POST-RIZAL ERA - DUTERTE
[RELATED: Duterte challenges Filipinos: push change Rizal had started]


DECEMBER 30 -President Rodrigo Duterte said on Friday that the country is still fighting for indepence against poverty, crime, illegal drugs, and corruption. AP/Aaron Favila, file
As the Philippines commemorates the martyrdom of Jose Rizal, President Rodrigo Duterte called for national unity. Duterte said in his message for the remembrance of Rizal that in this “challenging and perilous times” the country is still fighting for freedom. He said that nation is battling against poverty, crime, illegal drugs and corruption. “Indeed, they are our present enemies. They are the modern invaders that subjugate our people’s hearts, minds and spirits,” the statement read. READ MORE...RELATED, Duterte challenges Filipinos: push change Rizal had started...

ALSO: FROM THE U.S. On Rizal Day VP tells Pinoys - Take courage for truth, human rights, freedom
[RELATED: VP’s wish for 2017: Good kind of change]
RELATED COMMENTARY: Loida loves Leni]


DECEMBER 30 -Vice President Leni Robredo on Friday called on Filipinos to honor the legacy of Dr. Jose Rizal by defending the rights of fellowmen and the country's freedom. In her message for Rizal Day, Robredo said the national hero's "legacy is a continuing reminder that it is the duty of every Filipino to find the courage to always speak [the] truth and unfailingly safeguard the freedom of its people." "Let us stand united in the face of adversities and bravely defend the rights of our fellow Filipinos as we celebrate [Rizal's] memory and legacy," she said. She quoted a line from Rizal's letter to Marcelo H. del Pilar in 1889, where the national hero said they were fighting for "more justice and more liberty, and for the sacred rights of man." READ MORE...RELATED, VP’s wish for 2017: Good kind of change... RELATED(2) MANILA STANDARD COMMENTARY Loida loves Leni...WATCH VIDEOS FROM FACEBOOK...

ALSO: Be a hero like Rizal: act vs lies, abuses in society - De Lima [RELATED: De Lima's New Year wish: Light after darkness]


DECEMBER 30 -How many more lives must be sacrificed before the people would act and put an end to violence in the society? -De Lima
Senator Leila de Lima, a human rights advocate, raised this question on Friday as she called on the people to reflect on the lessons of Dr. Jose Rizal, who was executed by firing squad at the Luneta on Dec. 30, 1896. In her message on the commemoration of Rizal’s martyrdom, De Lima cited this quote from Elias, a character in Rizal’s novel, “Noli Me Tangere”: “Mamamatay akong hindi man lang makikita ang ningning ng bukang-liwayway sa aking Bayan. Kayong mga makakakita, salubungin ninyo siya at huwag ninyong kalimutan ang mga taong nalugmok sa dilim ng gabi.” READ MORE...RELATED,
De Lima's New Year wish: Light after darkness ...

ALSO Duterte: Martial law will lead to downfall of the country
[RELATED Lacson: Compensation for 'unintended killings' or 'collateral damage' in drug war]


DECEMBER 29 -President Rodrigo Duterte on a one-on-one interview with Jessica Soho | screen grabbed from GMA News | Manila Bulletin
President Rodrigo Duterte assured the Filipino people that he will never declare martial law, saying it will lead to the downfall of the country. “It will lead to the downfall of the country. I will not declare it. I don’t need it,” President Rodrigo Duterte said in a live interview with GMA News on Thursday, December 29. President Duterte made this assurance amid concerns expressed by some sectors and individuals including Vice President Leni Robredo that he wanted to declare martial law. “Why I should do it? I’m already okay with lawless violence,” the president said, referring to the state of lawless violence he declared after the Davao City bombing that killed 15 people last September. READ MORE...RELATED, Lacson: Compensation for 'unintended killings' or 'collateral damage' in drug war...

ALSO: Duterte on killing criminals - Those who believe me are 'stupid'


DECEMBER 30 -
President Rodrigo Duterte on Thursday said people who believe that he killed criminals when he was still Davao City mayor are "stupid". "I'm facing stupid people so, I cannot really do anything for them," Duterte told ABS-CBN News in an exclusive interview. "If you do not find out, spend time to validate and verify, it's your problem," Duterte said when asked to clarify about his previous statements that he killed and would be "happy to slaughter" three million drug addicts. "Ang masama nito, mga g*** na ito, sabi killing suspects. I was fighting criminals," Duterte added. (The bad thing about it was these people kept on saying I killed suspects. I was fighting criminals.) READ MORE...

ALSO: PNP's Oplan Tokhang story - 'New year, new life, new hope'[RELATED: Duterte's New Year message: Spread love and positivity]


DECEMBER 31 -By making these delicate figurines of the Holy Family, drug surrenderers in Barangay Silangan, Quezon City, hope to make their dream of real change a reality. (Photo by NIÑO JESUS ORBETA/Philippine Daily Inquirer)
In Barangay Bagong Silangan, Quezon City, former drug users and pushers who earlier surrendered under the government’s Oplan Tokhang have started their journey toward a new life at the San Isidro Labrador Parish. Inside a room equipped with power tools and sandpaper, the group has been tirelessly making small resin figurines of the Holy Family, hoping that the fruits of their labor will pave the way for their reintegration into society. Initiated by the Diocese of Novaliches in cooperation with Barangay Silangan, the project is part of the community-based drug recovery program which hopes to give surrenderers an alternative source of livelihood. READ MORE...
Duterte's New Year message: Spread love and positivity...


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Philippines still fighting for independence in post-Rizal era — Duterte


President Rodrigo Duterte said on Friday that the country is still fighting for indepence against poverty, crime, illegal drugs, and corruption. AP/Aaron Favila, file

MANILA, JANUARY 2, 2016 (PHILSTAR) By AJ Bolando December 30, 2016 - As the Philippines commemorates the martyrdom of Jose Rizal, President Rodrigo Duterte called for national unity.

Duterte said in his message for the remembrance of Rizal that in this “challenging and perilous times” the country is still fighting for freedom.

He said that nation is battling against poverty, crime, illegal drugs and corruption.

“Indeed, they are our present enemies. They are the modern invaders that subjugate our people’s hearts, minds and spirits,” the statement read.

READ MORE...

The president called for the active involvement of all sectors to attain the “genuine change” in our society as the country heads for betterment.

READ: ‘Sorry for unintended killings in drug war’

“As the nation undergoes a significant phase of social development and economic growth, a period of national unity that calls for the cooperation, patience, and sacrifice of our people is necessary,” Duterte said.

Duterte asked the Filipinos to become heroes of the country by emulating the traits of Rizal — patriotic, faithful and loyal to the motherland.

“We may also awaken and become our own heroes – committed to advocate good governance and uphold the rule of law, steadfast to end criminality and all forms of government corruption; and compassionate to the plight of the poor and less privileged.”

Since assuming his post in June, the government launched the war on illegal drugs which earned criticisms from the local and international community.

Around 6,000 deaths were recorded, including the “collateral” innocent victims of the war which the president apologized for in a one-on-one interview Thursday.

RELATED: Duterte sorry for innocent killed in war on drugs

“I would admit there were killings that were really unintended, like the children who were caught in a crossfire. Collateral damage, and I’m sorry,” the president told ABS-CBN News in an exclusive interview.

However, Duterte vowed that the war will continue until the end of his term or until the last drug offender is killed or placed behind bars.

“Until the last pusher is out of the street, I’ll be very frank with you, until the last drug lord is killed, this campaign will continue until the very last day of my term,” he said.

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RELATED FROM THE MANILA BULLETIN

Duterte challenges Filipinos: push change Rizal had started 2 SHARES Share it! Published December 30, 2016, 11:32 AM By Philippine News Agency


President Rodrigo Duterte accompanied by National Historical Commission of the Philippines (NHCP) Acting Chair and Commissioner Dr. Rene R. Escalante(left) and Lieutenant General Eduardo Año(right) Armed Forces chief of staff, leads the wreath laying ceremony during the 120th celebration of the martyrdom of Dr. Jose Rizal on December 30, 2016 at the Rizal National Monument in Rizal Park, Manila.(PNA photo by Jess M. Escaros Jr.)FPV/jme | Manila Bulletin

President Rodrigo Duterte called on the Filipino people to emulate the traits of Dr. Jose Rizal and push the true change that the national hero had unselfishly started for the country.

President Duterte made this challenge as he led the commemoration of the 120th anniversary of Rizal’s martyrdom at the Rizal National Monument in Rizal Park, Manila on Friday, December 30.

“This day of commemoration is a day of grateful remembrance of his martyrdom so that we may also awaken and become our own heroes,” the president said in his message.

President Duterte said the Filipinos could be heroes on their own little way by committing to advocate good governance and uphold the rule of law, steadfast to end criminality and all of forms of government corruption, and compassionate to the plight of the poor and less privileged.

The President said the Filipino people are fortunate recipients of the fruits of Dr. Jose Rizal’s sacrifices, freedom he fought for, and the self-identity and honor that he strongly believed the Filipinos ought to defend.

“Beyond his prodigious and various talents, Rizal is best honored when we regard him as a beacon and moral compass in these challenging and perilous times,” he said.

BONDAGE OF POVERTY, CRIME, ILLEGAL DRUGS. CORRUPTION

President Duterte emphasized that the country is still fighting for independence from bondage of poverty, crime, illegal drugs and corruption.

“Indeed, they are our present enemies; they are the modern invaders that subjugate our people’s hearts, minds and spirits. The government needs the active involvement of all sectors to help us in this war to bring about genuine change in our society.”

The president said the national unity that calls for cooperation, patience and sacrifice is necessary as the nation undergoes a significant phase of social development and economic growth.

“Each of us should manifest the same fervor and dedication that moved and motivated Jose Rizal to action. Let us therefore emulate the traits of Rizal; let us be willing heroes—patriotic, faithful, and loyal tour motherland.

“Sa ngalan ni Rizal, ituloy natin ang sinimulang pagbabago. Mabuhay ang ating Inang Bayan. (In the name of Rizal, let us continue the change he had started. Long live to our mother nation),” the president said.

Commemorating Rizal’s martyrdom for the first time as president, Duterte arrived at the Rizal Park five minutes ahead of the 7:00 a.m. program.


President Rodrigo Duterte on Friday led the commemoration rites of the Rizal Day in Luneta, Manila, his first as the country's chief executive.

Accompanied by Armed Forces of the Philippines chief of staff Lt. Gen. Eduardo Año, the president received arrival military honor before joining other officials including former president and now Manila mayor Joseph Ejercito Estrada in raising the national flag.

The president spearheaded the traditional wreath-laying ceremonies in front of Rizal’s monument.

Before leaving, President Duterte spent at least 30 minutes greeting, talking and even gamely posing for photo opportunity with hundreds of well-wishers including Jose Rizal’s descendants and foreign diplomats.

“It’s my honor to meet you guys. Our country is okay now. I will finish my fight against illegal drugs even if it cost my life, my presidency and my honor,” the president told well-wishers.

He said six years of his presidency will be “kind of adjustment for everybody” but assured that it will be a comfortable life.

The president said he will proceed to Leyte to visit the victims of the last Wednesday’s bombing that injured 34 people during Hilongos town’s fiesta before flying back home to Davao City to spend New Year with his family.


GMA NEWS NETWORK

ON RIZAL DAY Robredo tells Pinoys: Take courage for truth, human rights, freedom Published December 30, 2016 1:15pm By ROSE-AN JESSICA DIOQUINO, GMA News\\n\\n

Vice President Leni Robredo on Friday called on Filipinos to honor the legacy of Dr. Jose Rizal by defending the rights of fellowmen and the country's freedom.

In her message for Rizal Day, Robredo said the national hero's "legacy is a continuing reminder that it is the duty of every Filipino to find the courage to always speak [the] truth and unfailingly safeguard the freedom of its people."

"Let us stand united in the face of adversities and bravely defend the rights of our fellow Filipinos as we celebrate [Rizal's] memory and legacy," she said.

She quoted a line from Rizal's letter to Marcelo H. del Pilar in 1889, where the national hero said they were fighting for "more justice and more liberty, and for the sacred rights of man."

READ MORE...

Rizal's life and work "have brought hope to those in despair, and courage to those living in fear."

"Today, we honor his sacrifice as we learn by his example, and emulate his love for our country," she added.

Robredo has been vocal about certain issues hounding the Rodrigo Duterte administration, including the anti-drug war that has led to a spate killings, the burial of the late Ferdinand Marcos at the Libingan ng mga Bayani, the maneuvers to reimpose the death penalty, and the move to lower the age of criminal liability.

She resigned as Housing chair earlier this month, after President Rodrigo Duterte instructed her to "desist from attending" meetings.

Palace officials later cited her "irreconcilable differences" with the President over issues as reason for the directive.

In an interview with GMA News' Jessica Soho on Thursday, Duterte affirmed the Palace's statement about the seeming "incongruity" of Robredo's continued stay in his Cabinet.

"Ang relasyon namin maganda. Ang problema, si Leni nakikita ko sa—hindi ko masabi 'wag—nakikita ko sa rally ... 'yung oust Duterte."

"Ngayon, nakikita ko siya. Kinabukasan, o one week after, mag-Cabinet meeting kami. We face each other. I'm always courteous to everybody, I say, 'Ma'am, magandang umaga po.' Don't you think there's an incongruity there? Parang... Is it incongruity or awkwardness?" Duterte added.

After her resignation from Cabinet, Robredo said that she is willing to be the "unifying factor" for the "discordant voices of those who are critical of the administration's policies."

Last week, she scored Duterte after he spoke against the constitutional provisions that said Congress and the Supreme Court may review a sitting president's declaration of martial law. —LBG, GMA News

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RELATED FROM PHILSTAR

VP’s wish for 2017: Good kind of change By Janvic Mateo and Jess Diaz (The Philippine Star) | Updated January 1, 2017 - 12:00am googleplus


In her New Year message, the Vice President urged Filipinos to remain hopeful and have faith that the good and the right would prevail in the end. “This coming year, may the good kind of change be placed in our hearts, in our daily lives and in our being Filipinos,” Vice President Leni Robredo, who resigned from the Cabinet on Dec. 4, said. lenirobredo.com

MANILA, Philippines – Vice President Leni Robredo is hoping for a “good kind of change” this 2017.

In her New Year message, the Vice President urged Filipinos to remain hopeful and have faith that the good and the right would prevail in the end.

“This coming year, may the good kind of change be placed in our hearts, in our daily lives and in our being Filipinos,” Robredo, who resigned from the Cabinet on Dec. 4, said.

LENI STILL IN THE US

The Vice President, who is in the United States to spend the holidays with her family, said the New Year brings new opportunities for everyone, expressing hope that Filipinos would welcome 2017 with peace and light in their hearts.

“Let us live simply, appreciate the simple joys, deepen our service to our loved ones and widen our understanding of the plight of those in the margins,” she added.

“Peace in our homes enables us to remain strong whatever storms may come to our country. We can see the light even in the darkest night as long as we know how to be thankful in our hearts,” she added.

Robredo has vowed to continue working with the administration even while criticizing its policies that are deemed to be against the people and democracy.

She also denied involvement in supposed plots to oust President Duterte, saying criticisms should not be taken as a part of conspiracy to remove the Chief Executive from office.

 
https://youtu.be/Njy_YyPZSOY?t=5 --FROM FACEBOOK
VP Leni arrived in New York.. to meet with Loida Nicolas-Lewis?? PRRD realworld PRRD realworld Subscribe10,158 Add to Share More 2,341 views 5 29 Published on Dec 24, 2016 My sources informed me that Leni Robredo recently entered the US via New York City.. ShareEmbedEmail  Start at: 1:17 Published on Dec 24, 2016 My sources informed me that Leni Robredo recently entered the US via New York City.
.Click here ...LENI VISITS ARRIVE IN NEW YORK

Change in form of government Meanwhile, Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez vowed yesterday that he and his colleagues would work on the shift to the federal system this year.

“As we enter 2017, let us forge a strong unity behind the reform agenda of the Duterte administration. Let us all work together to put an end to mass poverty, strengthen our democratic institutions and move our country forward,” he said in a New Year’s message to the nation.

“Let us take the first of the many giant steps we as one nation must undertake to effect a paradigm shift by changing our form of government from presidential to federal,” he said.

“Let’s all open our eyes that it is only through federalism that we can break the barriers of a fatally flawed Manila-centrist government to one that grants political and economic autonomy to all of our country’s regions,” he said.

Duterte has said he was willing to accept a shortened term of office if the country shifts to the federal system before his tenure ends in 2022.

Alvarez also promised that the House of Representatives would work harder this year.

He said he considered the first six months of the 17th Congress as “very productive.”

“We have deliberated upon and passed meaningful legislation aimed at enhancing economic growth, social progress and political stability over the long term. I am proud to say that the House of Representatives worked really hard in the past six months to pass laws consistent with the comprehensive reform program of the Duterte administration,” he said.

“But we cannot be complacent. Much work remains to be done, and we commit to work even harder in the months ahead so that our nation can attain peace and prosperity that we all hope for,” he said.

He added that Filipinos have much to be thankful for in 2016.

“We conducted free and fair elections in May and elected Rodrigo Duterte as President for the next six years,” he added.

Alvarez pointed out that in his its first six months in office, Duterte and his administration have “made significant gains not only in the war on illegal drugs and in fighting crime and corruption, but also in laying the ground for sustained socio-economic advance, lasting peace and political reforms.”

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RELATED(2)  FROM MANILA STANDARD COMMENTARY

Loida loves Leni posted December 08, 2016 at 12:01 am by Jojo Robles


JOJO ROBLES

I’m glad Loida Nicolas Lewis, the Arianna Huffington wannabe originally from Sorsogon City but now based in New York City, has shown her true colors.

And yes, Lewis is as Yellow as can be, with an important difference: she has a billion-dollar fortune inherited from her deceased junk-bond trader-husband Reginald, which she uses to fund her favored politicians back home in the “PI,” as longtime Filipino immigrants to the US call the old country.

Lewis has called on President Rodrigo Duterte to resign, after Duterte 86’d Lewis’ favorite Yellow in power, Vice President Leni Robredo, from the Cabinet.

When Loida Lewis speaks, the Yellows get all het up, thinking perhaps of the millions that their US-based Mommy Warbucks has judiciously used to keep them in power for the past 30 years.

And Robredo has long been a pet project of Lewis. If a disqualification case filed against her in 2013 by former Camarines Sur Rep. Luis Villafuerte Sr. is to be believed, Lewis bankrolled Leni’s campaign, albeit indirectly through US-based persons and entities.


PHILANTHROPIST LEWIS, BIG LP ELECTION SUPPORTER

Villafuerte, who lost his Congress seat to Robredo in the elections that year, alleged that Lewis funneled money through persons and corporations in the US, despite the prohibition on foreigners making campaign contributions under Philippine election laws. (In a counter-affidavit, Robredo denied soliciting and receiving foreign donations, even if her Facebook account urged US donors to “mail check[s] payable to Loida Lewis ITF [in trust for] Leni Robredo, PO Box 1080, Gracie Station, NY NY 10028”; the FB account “Atty Leni Robredo,” where the funding request was made, was taken down shortly after Villafuerte filed his suit.

Robredo, like her losing 2016 running mate Mar Roxas, was also supposed to have received money from Lewis to fund her vice presidential run this year, as well. Lewis’ contributions are believed to have made up a substantial portion of the P423.1 million in contributions she received, giving her the biggest war chest by a vice presidential candidate; no wonder Lewis is now acting to protect her investment.

I don’t know where Lewis, who was also a major booster of losing Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton, gets the chutzpah to call for Duterte’s resignation. All I know is, she has no call to meddle in our affairs, never mind if she’s bankrolled Yellow candidates since the time of Cory Aquino.

Philanthropy, which is supposed to be Lewis’ avocation, is one thing.

Partisan political interference from abroad, simply because you can afford it, is quite another.

LOOK: VP LENI ROBREDO CALLED LOIDA LEWIS

 
https://youtu.be/eXLNMJlNmR8?t=4 
Leni Robredo Call - Loida Nicolas Lewis - Wife of Sec. Jesse Robredo Calls Home Video Kids & Babies Home Video Kids & Babies Subscribe266 Add to Share More 14,673 views 14 13 Published on Aug 20, 2012 http://www.1millionfilipinos.com

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THE REDS

The business community is getting antsy over the continued depredations of the Communist New People’s Army in the countryside, despite the peace talks that have been restarted under the term of President Rodrigo Duterte.

In Mindanao in the past two weeks, Communist rebels have burned four Yellow Bus Line buses and torched heavy earth-moving equipment belonging to various construction companies, and yet the military seems helpless to stop the attacks.

Military sources have told me that they have been ordered to “stand down” and downplay the NPA attacks because of the current talks. Meanwhile, in Manila, the Communists and their front organizations have stepped up their demands for Duterte’s government to free hundreds of their detained comrades, who have remained in jail pending the resolution of criminal charges filed against them.

It is to Duterte’s credit that he has brought back the Communists to the negotiating table, after they were shunned by the previous administration because of the supposed unreasonable demands made by their representatives to the on-again, off-again talks. But it seems that the Communists are still unhappy with Duterte’s broad gestures for peace, which include a unilateral nationwide ceasefire that the rebels have yet to reciprocate.

Duterte has indeed bent over backwards to accommodate the Left, even appointing their leaders to high Cabinet positions. He has also hosted the entire leadership of the CPP-NPA-NDF at a dinner in Malacañang Palace, something no president has ever done.

So far, Duterte has relied on his excellent and longtime relationship with the Communists, forged when he was still mayor of Davao City, to entice the rebels to stop fighting and to talk peace instead. But many people are starting to worry that the Reds really have no desire to end their decades-long rebellion and are merely waiting for an excuse to resume full-blown hostilities with the military, particularly in the countryside.

Critics of the administration have maintained that Duterte may be demoralizing the military by being too chummy with the Reds, who have not been as receptive to his peace initiatives, in the opinion of military field commanders. Duterte himself has struggled to explain that what he really wants is to end all domestic insurrections —not the Communist rebellion but also the Muslim one—in various visits to military camps all over the country.

But the local businessmen who are still being continually harassed by the rebels need more protection from the collectors of the rebels’ “revolutionary taxes.”

And if Duterte will not be sensitive to their pleas for help, they, too, could become disenchanted with the change that has not yet come.


INQUIRER

Be a hero like Rizal: act vs lies, abuses in society - De Lima 'emulate Rizal's nationalism, resiliency' By: Maila Ager - Reporter / @MAgerINQ INQUIRER.net / 10:18 AM December 30, 2016


DECEMBER 30 -How many more lives must be sacrificed before the people would act and put an end to violence in the society? -De Lima

Senator Leila de Lima, a human rights advocate, raised this question on Friday as she called on the people to reflect on the lessons of Dr. Jose Rizal, who was executed by firing squad at the Luneta on Dec. 30, 1896.

In her message on the commemoration of Rizal’s martyrdom, De Lima cited this quote from Elias, a character in Rizal’s novel, “Noli Me Tangere”: “Mamamatay akong hindi man lang makikita ang ningning ng bukang-liwayway sa aking Bayan. Kayong mga makakakita, salubungin ninyo siya at huwag ninyong kalimutan ang mga taong nalugmok sa dilim ng gabi.”

READ MORE...

(I will die without seeing the glow of dawn in my country. Those of you who will see it, welcome it and forget not those who fell in the dark of the night.)

Like Elias, De Lima said, Rizal gave up his life for the love of his country and for his desire to awaken Filipinos about the abuses of the people in power.

“Sa paggunita natin ngayong araw sa kadakilaan at kabayanihan ni Gat Rizal, inaanyayahan ko kayong magnilay sa aral na iniwan ng ating Pambansang Bayani. Tayong nakakita ng liwanag mula sa madidilim na kabanata ng ating kasaysayan; tayong nabiyayaan ng pagkakataong makapagsarili; tayong tumatamasa ng kalayaang diniligan ng dugo at ibinunga ng sakripisyo ng mga bayaning Pilipino, ay may tungkuling pangalagaan ang Inang Bayan, upang hindi na muli pang pagharian ng mga ganid at lasing sa kapangyarihan,” the senator said.

(As we commemorate the heroism of Gat Rizal, I invite you to reflect on the lessons left by our National Hero. We who see the light in the the dark chapters of our history, we who are blessed with sovereignty, we who enjoy the freedom born out of the blood and sacrifices of Filipino heroes have a duty to protect our Motherland so that it won’t fall into the hands of the power-hungry.)

“Tandaan sana natin: Hangga’t may nagbubulag-bulagan sa katotohanan, magpapatuloy ang panlilinlang at pang-aabuso ng ilan; hangga’t marami ang nananahimik, laging mangingibabaw ang takot at dahas. Ilang Rizal o Elias pa kaya ang mapapatay, ilang musmos o inosenteng sibilyan pa ang madadamay, bago tayo kumilos at mahinto ang karahasan sa ating lipunan?”

(Let’s keep in mind: As long as there are those who turn a blind eye on the truth, the lies and abuses of some will continue; as long as many choose to remain silent, fear and violence shall reign. How many Rizals or Eliases will die, how many children and innocent civilians will be caught in the crossfire before we make a move and stop violence in society?)

De Lima has been vocal against what she described as abuse of power by no less than President Rodrigo Duterte, who has accused her of involvement in illegal drugs.

RELATED: Follow Rizal’s lead, Filipinos told

Senator Francis Pangilinan described Rizal as a “millennial” of his era and a “multi-tasker,” being a writer, a doctor, and a teacher at the same time.

“Wala pang 25 ang edad ni Ka Pepe nang isulat niya ang Noli Me Tangere, ang nobelang naglantad sa mapaniil at katawa-tawang kalagayan ng mga Pilipino noong ika-19 na siglo. Parang ‘millennial’ din siya noong panahon niya. Millennial na may pakialam,” Pangilinan said in a statement.

(Ka Pepe had not even reached the age of 25 when he wrote ‘Noli Me Tangere,’ the novel that revealed the pathetic situation of the Filipinos in the 19th century. He was like a ‘millennial’ during his time. A millennial who was socially aware.”

He said Rizal did what he had to do for the country despite being called a “hypocrite,” “sensitive” and “rebel.”

“Hindi dapat mamatay para ituring tulad ni Ka Pepe (You need not die to be like Ka Pepe),” Pangilinan said, citing the modern day heroes like the overseas Filipino workers and those facing the daily challenges of poverty and inequality in the country.

Joining the commemoration, Senator Loren Legarda called on Filipinos to emulate the values and principles of Rizal, especially his nationalism.

“Dr. Jose Rizal was an unparalleled visionary whose thoughts and actions changed the landscape of our identity as Filipinos. His ideas began the revolution that earned us our freedom, and his integrity and nationalism continue to inspire new generations,” Legarda said in a separate statement.

Just like Rizal, she said, Filipinos also possessed a resilient spirit that enables them to weather challenges, even the worst economic and social conditions.

“Even after experiencing the worst disasters, Filipinos find reason to smile and laugh, help others even if they are victims too, and immediately go about their business and it is something to be proud of,” she said.

“Rizal was the epitome of strength and resiliency and overcame the monumental challenges he faced as we know from our nation’s history. He drew strength from his family, his faith and his beloved nation. I hope Filipinos would follow his example.”

Legarda also renewed her call for Filipinos to respect and preserve the nation’s heritage, saying Rizal himself had expressed the need to embrace one’s roots.

She said Rizal loved his native tongue even while he was fluent in several foreign languages, recognized the exceptional artistry and craftsmanship of Filipinos, and was fond of indigenous Philippine textiles. Many of his works, she said, also described the beauty of the Philippines and its people.

“Like Dr. Rizal, we, too, should take pride in our heritage. We will be more confident of ourselves if we know who we are and if we understand our roots. We must all strive to know about our heritage, appreciate it and preserve it for the future generations,” the senator added. CDG/rga

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RELATED FROM RAPPLER.COM

De Lima's New Year wish: Light after darkness Pia Ranada @piaranada Published 3:52 PM, December 31, 2016 Updated 3:52 PM, December 31, 2016

Senator Leila de Lima asks, 'How does one celebrate when the killings and loss of justice continue?'


REMEMBER THE DEAD. Senator Leila de Lima asks Filipinos to remember victims of extrajudicial killings in 2016. File photo by Joel Liporada/Rappler


MANILA, Philippines – Senator Leila de Lima said she hopes 2017 will herald more respect for human rights in the country after the spate of extrajudicial killings in 2016.

"With the coming of the New Year, I believe in the compassion of Filipinos toward their fellow Filipinos and respect for human rights," De Lima said in Filipino in her New Year message, sent to the media on Saturday, December 31.

De Lima, among the fiercest critics of President Rodrigo Duterte and his bloody war on drugs, remembered the victims of drug-related killings in her message.

(READ: Impunity: The night before Christmas)

"We have countrymen who were killed even before they had a chance to start anew. Amidst the celebrations and shiny decorations, we have countrymen who are mourning and grieving as they remember their parents, children, sibling, spouse, or friend who were killed. How does one celebrate when the killings and loss of justice continue?" she said.

But the lady senator is hopeful there will be "light" after the "darkness" of 2016.

"However heavy the challenges in life, however dark the chapter our country is in, I have faith that light will come," she said.

"With God's guidance, let us unite for a truly peaceful and just county," she added.

'Stay strong'

Senator Francis Pangilinan too had regrets about 2016, but remains hopeful about the New Year.

"Many unexpected events have happened, especially in global politics. What I did not expect to happen after we ousted a dictator during EDSA People Power happened," said Pangilinan in Filipino.

In 2016, the remains of strongman Ferdinand Marcos were buried at the Libingan ng mga Bayani in fulfillment of Duterte's campaign promise.

Duterte himself has stoked fears that he will become a dictator after saying he has been "tempted" to declare martial law.

Pangilinan called on Filipinos to stay strong no matter what adversity comes their way, like farmers who must adapt to harsh conditions.

"Sometimes, you will face storms, you will fall to your knees, your integrity will be tested, but you must plant and plant because that is your job," he said.

The senator hopes that 2017 will not be a year of hate but a year of love.

"This coming 2017, let us plant not ill will, but good will borne out of hope and love," he said.

Senator Panfilo Lacson's New Year message focused on his wish for Duterte to change his ways and become a better leader. – Rappler.com


MANILA BULLETIN

Duterte: Martial law will lead to downfall of the country 41 SHARES Share it! Published December 30, 2016, 11:38 AM By Philippine News Agency


President Rodrigo Duterte on a one-on-one interview with Jessica Soho | screen grabbed from GMA News | Manila Bulletin

President Rodrigo Duterte assured the Filipino people that he will never declare martial law, saying it will lead to the downfall of the country.

“It will lead to the downfall of the country. I will not declare it. I don’t need it,” President Rodrigo Duterte said in a live interview with GMA News on Thursday, December 29.

President Duterte made this assurance amid concerns expressed by some sectors and individuals including Vice President Leni Robredo that he wanted to declare martial law.

“Why I should do it? I’m already okay with lawless violence,” the president said, referring to the state of lawless violence he declared after the Davao City bombing that killed 15 people last September.

READ MORE...

The president said that he even advised the military to develop their loyalty only to the Philippine Constitution. “I said to the military, do not develop your loyalty to me, develop your loyalty to the Constitution.”

In his speech in Pampanga last December 22, President Duterte talked about martial law.

“If I declare martial law and there is an invasion or war, I cannot proceed on and on, especially if there is trouble. I have to go to Congress, I have to go to the Supreme Court if anybody would file a complaint to look into the factual [basis of the declaration].

“But what if the world is in chaos? That’s why there is martial law, so that only one person would be giving directions. That’s why I want to change that. But there is a safety measure there. I’ll tell you later.”

The president’s statement drew flak, with Robredo saying “this is a battle we will not take sitting down.”

Presidential spokesman Ernesto Abella has said the vice president was merely “amplifying” concerns to make it appear as if President Duterte was actively planning to declare martial law.

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RELATED FROM PHILSTAR

Lacson: Compensation for 'collateral damage' in drug war By AJ Bolando (philstar.com) | Updated December 31, 2016 - 12:15pm 1 19 googleplus0 0


Sen. Panfilo "Ping" Lacson said that innocent victims on the government's war on drugs must be compensated. Twitter/Ping Lacson

MANILA, Philippines – Sen. Panfilo “Ping” Lacson, chair of the Senate committee on public order, wants the government to compensate the “collaterals” in its war against illegal drugs.

Lacson aired his proposal through his Twitter account Friday, a day after President Rodrigo Duterte admitted that innocent lives were also taken.

“Unintended killings or collateral damage, especially the ‘slippers’ victims of the government's anti-drug war, must at least be compensated,” the senator posted. 'Slippers' refer to the poor, who make up the bulk of those killed in drug raids and in unsolved vigilante killings.

READ: ‘Sorry for unintended killings in drug war’

Duterte, in an exclusive interview with ABS-CBN on Thursday, apologized for the unintended deaths since the government launched its campaign against illegal drugs in July.

“I would admit there were killings that were really unintended, like the children who were caught in a crossfire. Collateral damage, and I’m sorry,” the president said.

Since the start of the war on drugs, 2,165 supposed drug personalities have been killed in police operations. Police have said that these deaths were caused by suspects choosing to shoot it out with police. Around 4,000 have also been killed by unknown attackers. The authorities have blamed the deaths on vigilantes and on drug syndicates going after each other and "cleansing" their ranks.

Duterte, who said he would eliminate drugs and crime within six months before asking for a six-month extension on the deadline, said the war is far from over.

READ: Apology for killings not enough – CHR, senators

“Until the last pusher is out of the street, I’ll be very frank with you, until the last drug lord is killed, this campaign will continue until the very last day of my term,” he said.

Earlier this month, Lacson slammed what he said was a double standard in the war on drugs by the administration after Duterte admitted that he ordered the reinstatement of Superintendent Marvin Marcos as Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (CIDG) chief in Region 8.

Marcos was relieved by Philippine National Police Director General Ronald "Bato" Dela Rosa after receiving information that the CIDG-8 head was involved in illegal drugs. Marcos was reinstated on the same day that he was relieved.

READ DEC 3 REPORT: Lacson slams Duterte's drug war: Change isn’t coming after all

[DECEMBER 3 NEWS REPORT: Lacson was unable to hide his dismay over the admission of Duterte that he ordered Philippine National Police (PNP) Chief Gen. Ronald “Bato” dela Rosa to reinstate Superintendent Marvin Marcos as Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (CIDG) chief in Region 8.]

“I thought it was an all-out drug war I was supporting. Talk about double-standard. Talk about double-speak," the senator said last December 3.

"Change isn’t coming after all,” he added.


ABS-CBN

Duterte on killing criminals: Those who believe me are 'stupid' ABS-CBN News
Posted at Dec 29 2016 11:11 PM



President Rodrigo Duterte on Thursday said people who believe that he killed criminals when he was still Davao City mayor are "stupid"."

"I'm facing stupid people so, I cannot really do anything for them," Duterte told ABS-CBN News in an exclusive interview.

"If you do not find out, spend time to validate and verify, it's your problem," Duterte said when asked to clarify about his previous statements that he killed and would be "happy to slaughter" three million drug addicts.

"Ang masama nito, mga g*** na ito, sabi killing suspects. I was fighting criminals," Duterte added.
(The bad thing about it was these people kept on saying I killed suspects. I was fighting criminals.)

READ MORE...

When asked to further clarify his confusing rhetoric, Duterte said,

"Basta ako, mahal ko ang bayan ko. 'Wag mo sirain. T****** yayariin kita."
(I just love my country. Don't destroy it, otherwise I'll destroy you.)

Asked in a separate interview with GMA News on whether he has killed people who did not fight back, Duterte said, "You can never get a validation from me or if it happened or it didn't happen."


INQUIRER

New year, new life, new hope By: Jhesset O. Enano - Reporter / @JhessetEnanoINQ
Philippine Daily Inquirer / 09:19 PM December 31, 2016


By making these delicate figurines of the Holy Family, drug surrenderers in Barangay Silangan, Quezon City, hope to make their dream of real change a reality. (Photo by NIÑO JESUS ORBETA/Philippine Daily Inquirer)

In Barangay Bagong Silangan, Quezon City, former drug users and pushers who earlier surrendered under the government’s Oplan Tokhang have started their journey toward a new life at the San Isidro Labrador Parish.

Inside a room equipped with power tools and sandpaper, the group has been tirelessly making small resin figurines of the Holy Family, hoping that the fruits of their labor will pave the way for their reintegration into society.

Initiated by the Diocese of Novaliches in cooperation with Barangay Silangan, the project is part of the community-based drug recovery program which hopes to give surrenderers an alternative source of livelihood.

READ MORE

San Isidro Labrador Parish priest Fr. Gilbert Billena, who is in charge of the project, said that making the Holy Family figurines could be considered an extension of the former drug dependents’ longing to rebuild their homes and family ties.

Hope, not condemnation

“In their new journey, this is a symbol of their healing and hope despite the difficulties and trials in their lives,” he said. “It is better to give them hope than condemnation.”

According to him, many of the surrenderers got into the drug trade because they were unemployed.

Others were forced to take “shabu” (methamphetamine hydrochloride) because they wanted to work longer hours to make more money.

“After surrendering, many of them did not have any idea where to go or what to do next,” he said. “With this atmosphere of impunity, it is important that we offer them hope…that there is freedom from drug dependency.”

The Philippine National Police estimates that nearly a million drug pushers and users have surrendered under Oplan Tokhang. But months since the government launched an all-out war on drugs, it has yet to lay down its specific program for surrenderers who are looking to turn their lives around.

This encouraged the Church to come up with a holistic approach to the drug problem, including programs on faith renewal, and health and wellness.

With a P5,000 fund donated by the parish, the Holy Family resin figurines project kicked off in November. Since then, they have earned at least P30,000 from the sale of the items (prices range from P85 to P150, depending on the size and color).

The workers get a commission from each piece sold on top of an allowance. Some of the money is spent on food while the rest goes into a revolving fund which is used to buy more art materials for the program.


What is Oplan Tokhang? A project of Philippine National Police (PNP) called “Oplan Tokhang” , a national law enforcement project was implemented all over the country. A visayan word, “TOKHANG” means to approach and talk. This was launched as part of the campaign to warn illegal drug traffickers and users to stop their activities.

Supportive, not judgmental

“We thought that people would be judgmental but they actually support our project,” Billena said. Through word-of-mouth and social media, big batches of orders have been pouring in, keeping everyone in the program busy.

But many surrenderers hoping for a second change still live with the fear of persecution and judgment.

Richard Mejia, 37, spends every day in the parish creating the figurines from scratch. In just a few weeks, he learned the proper mix of chemicals and the process of turning the dirty white polymer into palm-sized works of art.

It was something he never thought he would be able to do. After all, he looked more like a gang member than an artist, with his long hair and right arm covered in tattoos.

There is one on his left wrist, however, that says something about his determination to turn his life around. It reads: “One Life.”

The father of four was a former drug pusher in the barangay. But Mejia said he turned his back on the trade when he left the area in 2012.

When he returned in May 2015, he was dismayed to find his name on the Batasan police’s watch list of notorious drug personalities.

“I have stopped dealing drugs for years now but my past still haunts me,” he said. “I discovered that my name and photo were on a hit list. They were going to kill me.”

Mejia admitted that he still fears for his life. In Bagong Silangan, 26 drug suspects have been killed so far, some in police operation and the others by vigilantes. Barangay officials have stopped trying to classify the deaths, only saying that these were all undeserved.

Hidden talent

It is in the church of San Isidro Labrador, who is coincidentally known for his piety toward the poor, that Mejia found refuge and discovered his artistic side.

As Mejia works on the figurines—the process requires a quick hand as the resin hardens fast—he only hopes that he will get the chance others were deprived of.

“I don’t understand [why they are still after me] but I am doing everything I can to change my life…to show that we are capable of change,” he said.

For other former drug dependents, the project comes with a new mission—saving lives and inspiring change.

Bong Bautista, president of the parish pastoral council, serves as the group’s art mentor, teaching and guiding them through the entire artistic process. But his story is also one he hopes others will draw inspiration from.

In 1986, the young Bautista ended up in New Bilibid Prison for his involvement in drugs. In the 10 years he spent behind bars, he found a renewed faith in God and learned the craft he now teaches the drug surrenderers.

“It feels like we have snatched them from death,” Bautista said. “I only pray that they share what they learned and pay it forward, just as I have.”

Lucky escape


On July 16, 2016, at the Calamba Multi - Purpose Gymnasium. The Municipality of Calamba and its Local Government with the Philippine National Police took part of the Project TOKHANG. Wherein 199 surrenders took oath and signed a covenant that they will stop all their illegal drug activities (Users, Pushers).

In his case, Geronimo Jarabelo exerts every effort to reach out to those still in the grip of drug addiction.

A former drug user and peddler, the 59-year-old considers himself lucky as he managed to get out of the drug trade just before President Duterte took over.

These days, Jarabelo roams around Bagong Silangan, doing his own version of Oplan Tokhang. He knocks on the houses of drug suspects and tries to convince them to join the community-based recovery program.

“Perhaps the Lord has a reason why I got involved in drugs before; to use me now as an instrument to save others,” he told the Inquirer.

Back when he was an infamous drug dealer, he was known as “Bigote.” “But Bigote is dead. Now, I am Ronnie. And I am writing a new and beautiful chapter in my life.”

As he smoothens out the features of Mary who is holding Baby Jesus, Jarabelo is teary-eyed as he recalled his hopes for his own family.

His house which used to be a drug den is now finally a home, and the family that he once hid secrets from could be now proud of him.

“I used to hold in my hands aluminum foil and shabu,” he said. “Now I am able to create works of art and I am always reminded of the Lord’s image when I hold these figurines in my hands.”

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

RELATED FROM THE INQUIRER

Duterte's New Year message: Spread love and positivity By CNN Philippines Staff
Updated 15:51 PM PHT Sat, December 31, 2016
2.7K1

Metro Manila (CNN Philippines) — President Rodrigo Duterte wished Filipinos a meaningful and fruitful New Year celebration.

Enjoy the revelries "by demonstrating love, solidarity, understanding, happiness, and optimism" — not only for personal growth — but also for the development of the nation, Duterte said in a statement on Saturday.

Despite the various criticisms faced by the administration, the President assured the public the government will not lose sight of issues that matter most.

"We, in the government, will remember because it is our solemn duty to evaluate our work and make sure that its gains redound to the common good," he said.

Duterte invited Filipinos to be partners of the government in its fight against illegal drugs, criminality, and corruption.

"Let us all welcome 2017 with renewed determination and a reinvigorated spirit so we can surmount the challenges ahead," he said.

The President will be spending New Year with his family in Davao City.


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