EDITORIALS & OPINIONS OF THE WEEK:
(Mini Reads followed by Full Commentary below)

FROM THE MANILA BULLETIN

EDITORIAL: PRESIDENT'S FINAL WORD ON MAMASAPANO
Our attention must now move on to the issue of the Bangsamoro autonomous region and its implications for peace in Mindanao and in the entire country. Editorial.


“Maliban na lang kung may kailanganin pang paglinaw mula sa akin ng kinauukulan, ito na ang huling pagkakataon na magsasalita ako tungkol sa isyung ito (Unless the need should arise for any further explanation from me, this will be the last time that I will speak on this issue),” President Aquino said, referring to the Mamasapano case, in his speech at the graduation rites of the Philippine National Police Academy (PNPA) last Thursday. He reiterated his earlier statements that he regrets having trusted people who concealed the truth from him. If he had known, he said, that the Special Action Force (SAF) commandos were in great danger, he would have sent help right away. There was no urgency in the text messages he was receiving, he said. It appeared that the operation in Mamasapano had already ended or was coming to an end because mechanized and artillery support from the military was on the way. READ MORE...

ALSO Editorial: Clearing up issues in the Mamasapano tragedy
Mamasapano is a tragedy which happened because of so many lapses on the part of so many people.It is good that the President has admitted he may have been at fault, after so many weeks during which his subordinates did everything to blame everyone else. Editorial.


THE COMMANDER-IN-CHIEF 
“The chain of command is simply the line of authority, responsibility, and communication in any organization. It defines and establishes the superior-subordinate relationship and is always depicted graphically in an organizational chart.”  With these words, former Senator Panfilo Lacson the other day contributed his bit to clearing up the issues in the Mamasapano incident. The question of chain of command is one of these issues . In an apparent effort to shield the President and former Philippine National Police chief Director General Alan Purisima, Secretary of Justice Leila de Lima came up with the claim that there is no “chain of command “ in a civilian organization such as the PNP. This clarification by former Senator Lacson should stop Secretary De Lima from insisting on her claim. There is also Article VII, Section 18, of the Constitution: “The President shall be the commander-in-chief of all armed forces of the Philippines.…”   The PNP is certainly one of the country’s armed forces and there is no doubt that the President is its commander-in-chief.   There is, in addition, former President Fidel V. Ramos’ statement that in 1995, he issued Executive Order No. 226 institutionalizing “command responsibility” in all government offices, including the PNP. READ MORE...

ALSO: Mamasapano and the BBL


by Florangel Rosario Braid  The effect of the Mamasapano tragedy on the Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL) and people’s perception of the presidency is that it had divided public opinion on whether the BBL should be passed, as well as perception of the credibility of the present leadership. This is validated in the recent Pulse Asia survey which noted that while 44% disagreed with the passing of the BBL, only 21% was in agreement. There was a 99% awareness of Mamasapano, with 79% saying that they were not satisfied with the national administration’s explanation and 10% saying it was enough. On whether President Aquino should resign, 29% agreed, while 42% disagreed. And what do leaders of various sectors think about these issues? The Third Party Monitoring Team of the Comprehensive Agreement on the Peace

Process says that further discussion of the BBL should be done after resolving the Mamasapano case. The Senate Committee on Local Government chaired by Senator Bongbong Marcos will be willing to resume the hearings on the BBL this April only after the MILF submits its report. Senator Miriam Santiago wants the BBL scrapped, and renegotiate the peace agreement. But the Palace thinks crafting the BBL is not an easy process. President Aquino has remained firm on his desire to move the peace process forward. The private sector, represented by Makati Business Club President, Ramon del Rosario listed Mamasapano and the BBL as priorities for the President to consider during the last year and a half of his presidency. Bring the BBL back on the legislative track, quickly, carry out the peace process to fruition, and render a full accounting of the complete facts surrounding the Mamasapano incident to meet the demands of justice, del Rosario said. READ MORE...

ALSO Editorial: Balikatan 2015 and the 26th ASEAN Summit


This year’s Balikatan Exercises will be held April 20-30 by Filipino and American troops, with the participation of Australian forces. This year’s exercises will have three basic components. There will be the usual humanitarian civic assistance projects, with personnel of the three nations assisting local communities in Palawan and Panay island. There will be field training on land in Tarlac, Pampanga, Nueva Ecija, Cavite, and Zambales. Some 5,000 Filipino troops and 6,500 American servicemen will be participating in these war games on land. And there will be naval and airpower exercises in the South China Sea, which we now choose to call West Philippine Sea. Participating in the maritime exercise are one Philippine and three American warships, and 76 American and 15 Philippine airplanes. Philippine and American officials have stressed that Balikatan 2015 is not directed at any nation, but considering recent events in the area, the military exercise will be seen as sending a pointed message to China, which has made a claim that the South China Sea is Chinese territory by virtue of a nine-dash line looping around most of the sea. READ MORE...

ALSO: Mohagher Iqbal


 by Emeterio Barcelon  My doctor queried me as to why Mr. Iqbal and Ms. Ferrer were getting the Masterson Award from Xavier University. It was because they worked to establish the Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL) that could be the start for peace in Mindanao. History plays tricks on us. Mr. Iqbal and the Philippine panel tried their best to try to stop this sporadic fighting between the government armed forces and the children of the historic Moros of Mindanao. They do have some claim as the historic people of southwestern Mindanao and part of northern Mindanao. But time has passed them by. Instead of insisting on their feudal system and the periodic “ridos” (family feuds), they would be better off as ordinary Filipino citizens provided they get what other Filipino citizens get, above all peace.

All of us have seen the wooden footbridge of Mamasapano River which is a poster picture of the negligence of the central government on this area. A poster of this wooden bridge should be placed beside the picture of the elevated roads of Manila and the wide bridges of central Luzon. There is enough reason to ask for Mindanao independence since the Manila colonizers do not see or concern themselves with the problems and aspirations of the people of Mindanao. (This is the sentiment of some.) The Muslim minority, because of constitutional promises of some degree of autonomy, have proposed the Bangsamoro Basic Law. There is a good chance it will pass but there are also good reasons it will not pass. No law is perfect and so is this one. The prejudice of the people of Luzon is palpable and strong and those who do not want Pres. PNoy to succeed with fight against this BBL just because it is sponsored by one they do not like. READ MORE...

ALSO: Winding down


As President Noy Aquino winds down his six-year term of office, there are unresolved issues and events that need to be sorted out, which are mostly of his own making. If the passion and sacrifices of Jesus Christ during Holy Week for the atonement and forgiveness of sins have not delivered a message of enlightenment and compassion to President Benigno “Noynoy” Simeon Aquino, nothing ever will. After 2016, President Noynoy Aquino will be remembered for his vindictiveness, arrogance, deep-seated prejudices, and political vendetta pari-passu with the sole consoling attribute of being perceived to be personally honest with money matters. Moreover, “karma” has come to haunt President Noy Aquino. What started of as a promising presidency has become anticlimactic in the end. For openers, at his inaugural oath-taking, by deliberately ignoring and snubbing the sitting Supreme Court Chief Justice, and subsequently having him impeached and convicted for non-impeachable offenses, by hook or by crook, the moral responsibility rests with President Aquino. READ MORE...

ALSO: Where to, graduates?
[However, the graduates should not assume that with their diplomas, they will automatically make good in whatever jobs they pursue. Their challenge is to apply what they have learned in the real world of their respective professions. But I am confident they will do well with their competence and their character. The 2015 graduates can only go forward.]


by Melito Salazar Jr. It is the season for commencement exercises with graduates and parents full of the joy of accomplishment. The years of sacrifices of the parents and the hard work and perseverance of their children has paid off with the treasured diplomas now displayed proudly in their abodes. Teachers and mentors are also gratified that their daily preparations, their facilitation of the sharing and learning process, and their nurturing in their students the lifelong love of learning and the core values of excellence and integrity have produced a crop of graduates, competent and with character. Amidst these positive sentiments, the graduates wonder what the future will bring? Will there be employment opportunities in the country or will they have to line up for employment abroad?

I have good news for the graduates. In the commencement exercises of the Philippine Normal University where I am a regent, DepEd Secretary Bro. Luistro, who was conferred an honorary degree of Doctor of Education, assured the graduates of job vacancies of around 30,000 teaching positions which they can qualify for after their licensure exams. In the private education sector, the entry of large corporate players has improved the sustainability of these institutions and the assurance of continuing employment of the present teachers and the availability of job openings in the future. READ MORE...

ALSO: Also known as…’
[I do not know if, before signing the Bangsamoro Agreement, the real man behind Mohager Iqbal showed his passport or birth certificate and executed an affidavit to attest that the aka Mohager Iqbal is one and the same person in the passport (or birth certificate), who is executing the affidavit. In the conduct of diplomacy, states must be safer than safe, surer than sure.]


By Jose Abeto Zaide
I didn’t understand what the flap over the signing of the Comprehensive Agreement on Bangsamoro was all about. I thought he was who he was, until I heard the brouhaha that the MILF chief peace negotiator’s name Mohager Iqbal is just one of his nom de guerre. As of press time, we still do not know who he really is. Gary Lising asks if he was being patriotic when he reminded us that Marcelo H. del Pilar had 7 nom de guerres? You can have as many lawyers with as many opinions as you may find in a room about a chief peace negotiator who signs an agreement with his nom de guerre. Justice Secretary Leila de Lima came to the rescue by assuring that there’s nothing wrong signing with his nom de guerre, if we know him to be who he really is. Now Romeo Acop, Karlo Nograles, and other congressmen want her to confirm that legal opinion in writing (signing in her own real name). READ MORE...


READ FULL MEDIA EDITORIALS & OPINIONS  HERE:

Editorial: President’s final word on Mamasapano


SPEECH AT PNP COMMENCEMENT RITES

MANILA, APRIL 13, 2015 (MANILA BULLETIN) March 31, 2015 - “Maliban na lang kung may kailanganin pang paglinaw mula sa akin ng kinauukulan, ito na ang huling pagkakataon na magsasalita ako tungkol sa isyung ito (Unless the need should arise for any further explanation from me, this will be the last time that I will speak on this issue),” President Aquino said, referring to the Mamasapano case, in his speech at the graduation rites of the Philippine National Police Academy (PNPA) last Thursday.

He reiterated his earlier statements that he regrets having trusted people who concealed the truth from him. If he had known, he said, that the Special Action Force (SAF) commandos were in great danger, he would have sent help right away. There was no urgency in the text messages he was receiving, he said. It appeared that the operation in Mamasapano had already ended or was coming to an end because mechanized and artillery support from the military was on the way.

READ MORE...
He admitted responsibility as President for the 100 million Filipinos and for any result of any undertaking for peace and security. He said nothing, however, about responsibility for the failed Mamasapano operation itself. And he did not offer any apology. He asked instead for understanding.

As may be expected, reactions to his speech varied. Speaker Feliciano Belmonte Jr. said he was satisfied with the President’s explanation. “It is time to move on,” he said. Leyte Rep. Ferdinand Martin Romualdez, who heads the independent minority bloc in the House, said the President evaded accountability when he stopped short of saying sorry and appealed instead for public understanding.

The President issued this last statement on Mamasapano on the same day that Pulse Asia came out with its survey findings showing steep drops in the President’s approval and trust ratings. Optimists in his camp can only hope that the President’s words before the PNPA will help improve his ratings in the next survey.

The President himself appears ready to move on. Last Friday, he announced his creation of a council of respected national and community leaders, including Manila Archbishop Luis Antonio Cardinal Tagle and former Chief Justice Hilario Davide Jr., and asked them to lead a “National Peace Summit.” Its goal would be to review and improve the Bangsamoro Basic Law and help the people understand it.

The BBL bill is now stranded in Congress, with many senators and congressmen reluctant to approve it in the wake of Mamasapano. It appears to have so many provisions of doubtful constitutionality but its chances of congressional approval have been set back even more by the fact that it is an undertaking principally of the Moro Islamic Liberation Force (MILF), the main force that encountered the SAF and caused the death of the Gallant 44 in Mamasapano.

The Mamasapano debacle itself should now be left behind, especially now that President Aquino has said his last word on it. History will judge him and the men responsible for the tragedy.

Our attention must now move on to the issue of the Bangsamoro autonomous region and its implications for peace in Mindanao and in the entire country.


Editorial: Clearing up issues in the Mamasapano tragedy March 25, 2015


THE COMMANDER-IN-CHIEF

“The chain of command is simply the line of authority, responsibility, and communication in any organization. It defines and establishes the superior-subordinate relationship and is always depicted graphically in an organizational chart.”

With these words, former Senator Panfilo Lacson the other day contributed his bit to clearing up the issues in the Mamasapano incident.

The question of chain of command is one of these issues . In an apparent effort to shield the President and former Philippine National Police chief Director General Alan Purisima, Secretary of Justice Leila de Lima came up with the claim that there is no “chain of command “ in a civilian organization such as the PNP.

This clarification by former Senator Lacson should stop Secretary De Lima from insisting on her claim. There is also Article VII, Section 18, of the Constitution: “The President shall be the commander-in-chief of all armed forces of the Philippines.…”

The PNP is certainly one of the country’s armed forces and there is no doubt that the President is its commander-in-chief.

There is, in addition, former President Fidel V. Ramos’ statement that in 1995, he issued Executive Order No. 226 institutionalizing “command responsibility” in all government offices, including the PNP.

READ MORE...
The issue of chain of command came up because President Aquino appeared to have been relying on suspended PNP Director Purisima in the final stages of the Mamasapano operation, instead of the PNP officer-in-charge, Deputy Director General Leonardo Espina. In his defense, the President said the other day that he was fully aware that Purisima had been suspended by the Ombudsman and so he told Purisima to coodinate with Espina. He said Purisima never responded.

This, according to Secretary De Lima, is where the President may have erred. He trusted the wrong people. It was not a criminal offense, she stressed. It was more of an error of judgment The President himself admitted: “If ever I was at fault here, it was because I trusted these people.”

Mamasapano is a tragedy which happened because of so many lapses on the part of so many people.

It is good that the President has admitted he may have been at fault, after so many weeks during which his subordinates did everything to blame everyone else.

It is a big step towards clearing up the Mamasapano tragedy. After a succession of separate investigations by the Senate, the PNP Board of Inquiry, and the House, we may soon resolve most – if not all – the issues in this unfortunate incident.


Mamasapano and the BBL by Florangel Rosario Braid March 20, 2015


by Florangel Rosario Braid 

The effect of the Mamasapano tragedy on the Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL) and people’s perception of the presidency is that it had divided public opinion on whether the BBL should be passed, as well as perception of the credibility of the present leadership.

This is validated in the recent Pulse Asia survey which noted that while 44% disagreed with the passing of the BBL, only 21% was in agreement. There was a 99% awareness of Mamasapano, with 79% saying that they were not satisfied with the national administration’s explanation and 10% saying it was enough. On whether President Aquino should resign, 29% agreed, while 42% disagreed.

And what do leaders of various sectors think about these issues? The Third Party Monitoring Team of the Comprehensive Agreement on the Peace Process says that further discussion of the BBL should be done after resolving the Mamasapano case.

The Senate Committee on Local Government chaired by Senator Bongbong Marcos will be willing to resume the hearings on the BBL this April only after the MILF submits its report. Senator Miriam Santiago wants the BBL scrapped, and renegotiate the peace agreement. But the Palace thinks crafting the BBL is not an easy process. President Aquino has remained firm on his desire to move the peace process forward.

The private sector, represented by Makati Business Club President, Ramon del Rosario listed Mamasapano and the BBL as priorities for the President to consider during the last year and a half of his presidency. Bring the BBL back on the legislative track, quickly, carry out the peace process to fruition, and render a full accounting of the complete facts surrounding the Mamasapano incident to meet the demands of justice, del Rosario said.

READ MORE...
A comprehensive analysis and recommendations on options that the country can take on these issues were made by Jesus Dureza, former Secretary of OPAPP who suggested three tracks:

The first requires “re-engaging the public and stakeholders through focused group discussions to exorcise the public mind of the negative spectre spawned by the Mamasapano tragedy and restore the eroded trust of the public on the BBL while Congress does its job.

Track Two will require making the BBL more ‘inclusive’ and to bring in all together other Bangsamoro sectors who appear to be ‘excluded’ and ‘sidelined’. Pertinent provisions of the IPRA (indigenous people’s law) can be consolidated with the BBL to arrest the apprehension of the indigenous peoples that their ancestral domains will be jeopardized.

Track Three will consider these scenarios: (a) delay in the approval of the BBL; (b) MILF rejects the final version; (c) delay in the Supreme Court if a petition is filed; and (d) Supreme Court rule its unconstitutionality”.

Dureza stresses the importance of looking at a Plan B or other options.

One such alternative is to start implementing a Massive Development Plan in the area, establish a Bangsamoro Development Authority which will negotiate with international development agencies and which will help government in carrying out this task.

Former Secretary Dureza wants to disabuse the minds of those who question the sincerity of the MILF in seeking a peaceful settlement by citing his experiences while working with the late MILF Chairman Hashim Salamat and Chairman Kagi Murad who, he noted, had “transitioned from struggle for independence to enhanced empowerment”.

This kind of planning is realistic as it anticipates all sorts of possibilities that may happen, and suggests what it considers viable alternatives.


Editorial: Balikatan 2015 and the 26th ASEAN Summit April 10, 2015

This year’s Balikatan Exercises will be held April 20-30 by Filipino and American troops, with the participation of Australian forces.

This year’s exercises will have three basic components. There will be the usual humanitarian civic assistance projects, with personnel of the three nations assisting local communities in Palawan and Panay island. There will be field training on land in Tarlac, Pampanga, Nueva Ecija, Cavite, and Zambales. Some 5,000 Filipino troops and 6,500 American servicemen will be participating in these war games on land.

And there will be naval and airpower exercises in the South China Sea, which we now choose to call West Philippine Sea. Participating in the maritime exercise are one Philippine and three American warships, and 76 American and 15 Philippine airplanes.

Philippine and American officials have stressed that Balikatan 2015 is not directed at any nation, but considering recent events in the area, the military exercise will be seen as sending a pointed message to China, which has made a claim that the South China Sea is Chinese territory by virtue of a nine-dash line looping around most of the sea.

READ MORE...
Some years ago, China disputed Philippine efforts to develop shoals close to Luzon and Palawan, within the Philippines’ Exclusive Economic Zone. The Philippines backed down to avoid direct conflict. In recent months, however, China has increased its land areas of several reefs and shoals, including two claimed by the Philippines.

By itself, the Philippines cannot do much to press its claims. It has filed a claim before the Arbitral Court of the United Nations seeking a ruling based on the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS). But China has refused to participate in the proceedings, insisting instead on bilateral negotiations.

On April 26-28, – at the same time that Balikatan will be underway – leaders of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) will be having their 26th ASEAN Summit in Malaysia. There, President Aquino plans to push for a binding Code of Conduct in the South China Sea that will govern the moves of various nations in that vital body of water.

This will be one more venue open to the Philippines in its search for a solution to the South China Sea problem. It is hoped that talks and forums like this will find a way to solve the problem of conflicting claims in the area. Such diplomatic efforts are infinitely more desirable than a show of force in military exercises like Balikatan.


Mohagher Iqbal by Emeterio Barcelon April 9, 2015

My doctor queried me as to why Mr. Iqbal and Ms. Ferrer were getting the Masterson Award from Xavier University. It was because they worked to establish the Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL) that could be the start for peace in Mindanao.

History plays tricks on us. Mr. Iqbal and the Philippine panel tried their best to try to stop this sporadic fighting between the government armed forces and the children of the historic Moros of Mindanao.

They do have some claim as the historic people of southwestern Mindanao and part of northern Mindanao. But time has passed them by. Instead of insisting on their feudal system and the periodic “ridos” (family feuds), they would be better off as ordinary Filipino citizens provided they get what other Filipino citizens get, above all peace.

All of us have seen the wooden footbridge of Mamasapano River which is a poster picture of the negligence of the central government on this area.

A poster of this wooden bridge should be placed beside the picture of the elevated roads of Manila and the wide bridges of central Luzon. There is enough reason to ask for Mindanao independence since the Manila colonizers do not see or concern themselves with the problems and aspirations of the people of Mindanao. (This is the sentiment of some.)

The Muslim minority, because of constitutional promises of some degree of autonomy, have proposed the Bangsamoro Basic Law. There is a good chance it will pass but there are also good reasons it will not pass. No law is perfect and so is this one.

The prejudice of the people of Luzon is palpable and strong and those who do not want Pres. PNoy to succeed with fight against this BBL just because it is sponsored by one they do not like.

READ MORE...
Asked what is his vision of Mindanao ten years from now and 50 years from now, Iqbal’s answer was unclear because of his soft voice and mumbling. One thing clear is that they (MILF) would not go back to fighting if the BBL is not passed.

They would prefer to renegotiate in the next Congress, than for it to be mangled. The people of Mindanao even the non-Muslims feel the discrimination against them in the common economy that should be built all over the whole country.

Our Manila legislators would deny that they are biased against Mindanao, which may be true because they are not privy to its problems and aspirations. Two things have recently helped Manila to see more of Mindanao; the cheap air fares to Mindanao and the RORO routes that have been established.

Muslim Mindanao needs some sort of autonomy to give them justice. They may not be able to fare any better with more autonomy but at least they can try.

The Muslim sector is most affected but even the non-Muslim citizens of Mindanao are also restless about the neglect. Mindanao can produce all the grain, both rice and corn, for the whole country so the other parts of the country can focus on high-value crops. Mindanao has enormous amounts of mineral resources which Manila has blocked consistently.

It also has fisheries, cattle, seaweed resources which are not being developed properly. Half of the coconut produce of the country is from Mindanao and almost all of the banana and pineapple come from this island.

We have fast flowing rivers by flat lands as the picture in Mamasapano show. But these are left neglected. We have to right not only this injustice but also to foster what could be a salvation for the whole country.

Mindanao during the time of Filemon Rodriguez was supposed to be industrialized because of availability of cheap electricity.

But that is no longer true. The available electricity has not increased. There still is plenty to be harnessed in the form of hydro, wind, and solar sources but that is not being done.

Instead coal plants are springing up. The government has inhibited itself in power production. There are good reasons for this. But there are also reasons why this can be set aside in Mindanao. Mindanao does not have the private funds to work on its own.

There must be a collaboration of the government and private sector to fund the big hydros that are possible in Mindanao which are no longer available in other parts of the country.

If the vision is a prosperous highly industrialized Mindanao, it must start with power. And the government must be part of it. <emeteriobarcelon@yahoo.com


Winding down by Former Press Secretary Hector R. Villanueva April 9, 2015

As President Noy Aquino winds down his six-year term of office, there are unresolved issues and events that need to be sorted out, which are mostly of his own making.

If the passion and sacrifices of Jesus Christ during Holy Week for the atonement and forgiveness of sins have not delivered a message of enlightenment and compassion to President Benigno “Noynoy” Simeon Aquino, nothing ever will.

After 2016, President Noynoy Aquino will be remembered for his vindictiveness, arrogance, deep-seated prejudices, and political vendetta pari-passu with the sole consoling attribute of being perceived to be personally honest with money matters.

Moreover, “karma” has come to haunt President Noy Aquino.

What started of as a promising presidency has become anticlimactic in the end.

For openers, at his inaugural oath-taking, by deliberately ignoring and snubbing the sitting Supreme Court Chief Justice, and subsequently having him impeached and convicted for non-impeachable offenses, by hook or by crook, the moral responsibility rests with President Aquino.

READ MORE...
Second, as seriously ailing former President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo continuous to languish in jail without bail and trial, the continued hospital arrest of the former President can only be condemned as a gross miscarriage of justice usually associated with authoritarian regimes.

As she celebrates her 68th birthday in incarceration in painful physical discomfort, President Aquino has shown no remorse or compassion for a prisoner whose guilt has not been established, and has not stood trial.

Third, there are the three outstanding opposition senators who have been singled out for plunder and corruption charges associated with the Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) and the Disbursement Acceleration Fund (DAP), and detained and judged guilty until found innocent.

Thus, all five years have been devoted to political retribution with very little political and economic reforms in the Executive Department or in both Houses of Congress.

Fourth, as President Benigno Simeon Aquino glides to retirement as a non-visionary leader, the passage of the Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL) in its unamended entirety will be the biggest blunder of his administration and will be remembered as his lasting legacy together with the Mamasapano massacre and fiasco.

When all is said and done, it has been opined that if the next president is only half as vindictive, nasty, biased, and stubborn, the nation’s prisons will be bursting at the seams with Aquino officials and appointees to be led by President Benigno Noynoy Aquino himself.

Indeed, the redeeming legacy of President Aquino will be the hosting of the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Leaders’ Summit in November.

One more spectacular blunder will make President Benigno Noy Aquino the worst postwar president after the Marcos dictatorship.

You be the judge.


Where to, graduates? by Melito Salazar Jr. April 12, 2015


Melito Salazar Jr. ---He is a BSBA and MBA graduate of the University of the Philippines and attended executive education and training programs in the Harvard Business School, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill and INSEAD in France. Mr. Salazar is Chairman of the Chamber of Commerce of the Philippines Foundation, Chairman of Inter-Asia Development Bank, Vice-Chairman of the (Philippine Veterans Bank) PVB Card Inc., weekly columnist and Vice- President of the Manila Bulletin

It is the season for commencement exercises with graduates and parents full of the joy of accomplishment. The years of sacrifices of the parents and the hard work and perseverance of their children has paid off with the treasured diplomas now displayed proudly in their abodes.

Teachers and mentors are also gratified that their daily preparations, their facilitation of the sharing and learning process, and their nurturing in their students the lifelong love of learning and the core values of excellence and integrity have produced a crop of graduates, competent and with character.

Amidst these positive sentiments, the graduates wonder what the future will bring?

Will there be employment opportunities in the country or will they have to line up for employment abroad?

I have good news for the graduates. In the commencement exercises of the Philippine Normal University where I am a regent, DepEd Secretary Bro. Luistro, who was conferred an honorary degree of Doctor of Education, assured the graduates of job vacancies of around 30,000 teaching positions which they can qualify for after their licensure exams.

In the private education sector, the entry of large corporate players has improved the sustainability of these institutions and the assurance of continuing employment of the present teachers and the availability of job openings in the future.

The ASEAN Economic Community will provide greater job openings as our ASEAN neighbors take advantage of free entry of investments, buying into existing enterprises like banks, going into joint ventures in manufacturing and agriculture, and establishing 100% foreign-owned enterprises in the liberalized sectors.

Existing senior professionals may be pirated by these firms leaving gaps for the young ones to be up and for fresh graduates in turn to come in. The chain reaction will be a welcome development for Philippine human resources.

The strong economic growth of the Philippines under the Aquino administration is beckoning these foreign funds to come in while, at the same time, assuring the Filipino businessmen to expand their operations.

Unlike previous years where a forthcoming elections make investors put on hold their plans, the firm and perceived sustainable economic foundations planted by President Benigno Simeon Aquino III is instilling, the confidence in businessmen to continue their expansion plans.

They are also of the view that the core values of honesty, transparency, and accountability have been imprinted in the Filipino masses that whoever succeeds him in the presidency will have to walk the straight and narrow path.

These are strong expectations and woe to the Philippine president who will dare to follow a diametrically different path. Thus, the business sector is bullish now and will continue to be so in the coming years.

The growth and optimism is not just in Metro Manila and urban areas but most importantly in the countryside. As I go around the country, I am inspired by the new developments in housing, in the service sector, and even in both the manufacturing and agricultural sectors. More significantly, the Filipino people are ignoring the “political circus” especially in the Senate investigations in “aid of legislation” and are focusing on the opportunities provided by the strong economic growth due to the economic team of Finance Secretary Cesar Purisima, BSP Governor Say Tetangco, and Budget Secretary Butch Abad, the completed infrastructures of the Department of Public Works under Secretary Babes Singson, and the flood of tourists due to the promotional efforts of DOT under Secretary Mon Jimenez.

However, the graduates should not assume that with their diplomas, they will automatically make good in whatever jobs they pursue. Their challenge is to apply what they have learned in the real world of their respective professions. But I am confident they will do well with their competence and their character. The 2015 graduates can only go forward.


Also known as…’ by Jose Abeto Zaide April 12, 2015


Jose Abeto Zaide : He is a former Amabassador of the Philippines to France and permanent Delegate to UNESCO. Ambassador Zaide has been elected as chairman of the Asean Paris Committee.

I didn’t understand what the flap over the signing of the Comprehensive Agreement on Bangsamoro was all about. I thought he was who he was, until I heard the brouhaha that the MILF chief peace negotiator’s name Mohager Iqbal is just one of his nom de guerre. As of press time, we still do not know who he really is.

Gary Lising asks if he was being patriotic when he reminded us that Marcelo H. del Pilar had 7 nom de guerres?

You can have as many lawyers with as many opinions as you may find in a room about a chief peace negotiator who signs an agreement with his nom de guerre.

Justice Secretary Leila de Lima came to the rescue by assuring that there’s nothing wrong signing with his nom de guerre, if we know him to be who he really is.

Now Romeo Acop, Karlo Nograles, and other congressmen want her to confirm that legal opinion in writing (signing in her own real name).

READ MORE...
I do not know if, before signing the Bangsamoro Agreement, the real man behind Mohager Iqbal showed his passport or birth certificate and executed an affidavit to attest that the aka Mohager Iqbal is one and the same person in the passport (or birth certificate), who is executing the affidavit.

In the conduct of diplomacy, states must be safer than safe, surer than sure. Which is why ambassadors bear a Letter of Credence signed by the sovereign of the sending state addressed to the head of state of the receiving state.

In highfalutin language, it declares that the bearer is who the letter says he is, and that he is ambassador extraordinary and plenipotentiary with full powers to conduct bilateral relations, sign treaties, etc., including causing war or peace.

When the ambassador-designate of Iraq whom the Philippines had previously cleared and accepted as his country’s envoy to the PH arrived in 2003, there was a protocolar hiccup.

Between the time that Manila granted the argement to accept him as envoy and his arrival, the Iraq War broke out and PH was among first to sign on as Country of the Willing (COW) – a post-1990 political phrase for participants in military intervention that fall outside of UN peace-keeping operations.

(Disclosure: When push came to shove and Iraqi kidnappers threatened to execute a Filipino OFW Robert Tarongoy, President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo was COW-ed and withdrew the Philippine contingent in 2005.)

According to strict protocol, the Iraqi ambassador-designate was to present his credentials to the Philippine president 14 days after arrival in Manila. Two other foreign envoys who arrived after him were to follow.

But true to our gentleman’s agreement, the ambassador succumbed to “diplomatic illness” before the day itself, and DFA was advised that he would be unable to present his credentials.

The affairs of the embassy was left to a chargé d’affaires, until the Iraqi war ended, conditions abated, and the new government of Iraq sent a new envoy.

From the sublime to the ridiculous: Ambassador Andy del Rosario flew in to Budapest handcarrying his spit-and-polish monkey suit to assume his first embassy, only to discover that his letter of credence was addressed to the wrong president.

Quick-stepping protocol convinced President GMA to sign a new, correct letter of credence, which arrived in time via diplomatic courier.

BTW, notwithstanding the overarching full powers of an ambassador, before entering into a specific agreement, an envoy must present a new specific authority – like getting a special power-of-attorney to sign an IOU.

Back to the serious, non-funny situation about the aka nom de guerre, nobody seems to have bothered to check the credentials of both sides in the Bangsamoro negotiations.

MILF assumed that its counterpart GRP Peace Panel chair Miriam Coronel Ferrer across the table had in her pocket full powers from PH Congress and sway with the PH Constitution.

Someone pointed out that when Malacañang presented its side as the Government of the Republic of the PH (GRP) Peace Panel, it was doing the other side the ultimate favor of negotiating with a sovereign country (and by inference upgrading the MILF’s stature).

(Does the MILF speak for the Filipino Moslems – MNLF, BIFF, future splinter groups, the silent majority, and the duly elected Muslim representatives in congress and local governments?)

And another question that won’t go away: Is Bangsamoro a substate?

We still don’t know his real name. But someone pointed out that the MILF chief peace negotiator aka Mohager Iqbal is a dead-ringer for our colleague in our 1990’s stint at the Philippine mission in Brussels, who is now a senior ambassador and heads one of our principal missions. Perhaps, just 15 pounds heftier, given the heavy regimen of diplomatic receptions.?

We wondered if it is possible that he is who we thought he was, one of our former drinking buddies?

But a quick check reassured us that our friend remains very much at his diplomatic post and that he never left his desk abroad to engage in sub rosa Bangsamoro negotiations.


Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi

© Copyright, 2014 by PHILIPPINE HEADLINE NEWS ONLINE
All rights reserved


PHILIPPINE HEADLINE NEWS ONLINE [PHNO] WEBSITE