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EDITORIALS & OPINIONS OF THE WEEK:
(Mini Reads followed by Full news commentary)

FROM THE INQUIRER

BY PETER WALLACET: A CLEAN PHILIPPINES


MAY 19 -By: Peter Wallace
 It’s hard to go beyond discussing Rodrigo Duterte because, really, what else is there? The subject must consume our interest because it will consume our lives over the next six years. (And, yes, Mr. Ferdinand Marcos Jr., it will be six years. There is no “Plan B” or any other wild idea. And in regard to the VP race, I hope whoever loses has as much love for the Philippines as Mar Roxas does. He said: “It’s not about me. It’s not about anyone. It’s about how we love our country and how we’ll do all that we can for her.” The loser should not drag out the decision, but just accept it graciously.) Today I’m going to suggest a few things that presumptive President-elect Duterte might want to do. The people voted for him because he promised what this administration didn’t give: action. It was change they wanted; the straight path (daang matuwid) was but a rutted dirt road. They want a cemented one, built fast. But fast wasn’t in this administration’s vocabulary. Expectations are high, but so is the level of fear. No one quite knows what to expect from this enigma of a man. A man who came from nowhere to become the leader of 100 million people. What will he do? Are his threats and outrageous comments just comments? Or is it really the way he is going to direct the country? If I were an optimist I’d say, as his supporters have, that it’s all just winning talk. He’ll be different. A pessimist would fear the return to Marcosian dictatorship. Well, I’m neither an optimist nor a pessimist. As an engineer, I’m a realist. The glass isn’t half-full or half-empty; it’s too big. Disciplining buses on Edsa or restricting them to curbside lanes won’t solve the problem, as optimists might hope. Taking half of them off the road and paying drivers a fixed salary will. President Duterte needs to start with some quick actions that have immediate and noticeable impact so that people come quickly on board. They can say, “Wow, this is a man who gets things done.” Longer term support then follows. President Aquino’s “no wangwang” policy had that effect. But he didn’t go beyond it, so it remained an isolated, out-of-the-box change. I believe Duterte is going to be very out-of-the-box, sometimes—and it may be cause for worry—on things about which we may not be too happy. For instance, I don’t believe in a liquor ban or in any other ban unless really, really necessary. Bans only encourage violation and crime. READ MORE...

ALSO: YOUNG BLOOD - Leni’s narrative


MAY 19 -BY Mary Grace Nidoy Social Author @gracenidoy As I write this, Camarines Sur Rep. Leni Robredo is leading Sen. Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. in the vice presidential race by more than 200,000 votes. It has been a nail-biting race to the position which was once perceived only as a “spare tire,” and which has now become truly relevant. And it should be. Perhaps it is because we are reminded of what happened in the past: a widow beating a powerful dictator. But Leni, who is up against the dictator’s son, is more than a widow. Her journey from being a lawyer of the grassroots to a vice presidential candidate has prepared her to come out from the shadow of her husband, Jesse Robredo. Long before the call arose for her to run, she had been helping those on the outskirts of society. As my mentor put it, “she has been walking the talk long before the talk started.” I have been asked many times why I voted for Leni and not for Marcos given that, by parentage, I am an Ilocano, born and bred in Mindanao. But I have always thought that the demand for real change should cut across allegiance to one’s ethnicity, province or region. This is not just a fight between Ilocanos and Bicolanos, between activists and apologists. Voting for Leni was not betraying my roots but being loyal to my country and what it has fought for: freedom, democracy and transparency. Her team is right. Leni’s fight for good governance is our fight. She has never stopped seeking justice for the victims of martial law. She has never stopped demanding an apology from Marcos for all the atrocities during his father’s dictatorship. She has never stopped calling on him to explain his family’s hidden wealth. She never gets tired of recounting her experience during Edsa I to the younger generation. READ MORE...

ALSO: Editorial - Street smarts


MAY 19 - It’s a sight that city dwellers have learned to live with: glassy-eyed children mindlessly sniffing glue on street corners, or dashing between vehicles selling flowers and sundries, or begging for alms. In crime-prone areas, young people barely in their teens loiter in the streets for a chance to snatch mobile phones, jewelry and other valuables from distracted motorists. Others more desperate are easily recruited into trading drugs or sex. So common are these squalid encounters with street children that presumptive President-elect Rodrigo Duterte’s announcement of a nationwide crackdown on unaccompanied minors roaming the streets past 10 p.m. seems timely and laudable. Duterte said the kids would be turned over for custody to government agencies, like the Department of Social Welfare and Development, and their parents arrested for abandonment. Such a curfew ordinance is in place in Davao City, his base. According to the Council for the Welfare of Children, there were some 45,000 street kids nationwide in 2000. Surely the figure must have risen many times over since then. Of that number, 75 percent were known to wander the streets, while 20 percent practically lived in them—alone or with their families or friends. The rest could be considered abandoned, runaways or engaged in illegal activities. For sure, the planned curfew is intended to take children off the streets where they risk life and limb in vehicular traffic, and where they are in danger of embracing a life of crime, thanks to syndicates that prey on the young, weak and vulnerable. For sure, the curfew for street children and the arrest of negligent parents are meant as a deterrent to street crimes and a means of getting more children into school. But the plan requires close scrutiny. Last year, two women in Davao City were arrested for violating Republic Act No. 7610 which, among others, obligates parents to be the added layer of protection for their children against abuse. The two women were mothers of minors found sleeping in the streets. But one said she had to leave her children at home so she could work as a housemaid, while the other said she and her husband had tried, but failed, to find their child who ran away from home. READ MORE...

 ALSO: By MaCeres Doyo -Duterte’s speech writers and other thoughts


MAY 19 -By: Ma. Ceres P. Doyo
Presumptive President-elect Rodrigo Duterte has rightly earned the moniker “The Mouth” because of the expletives and strong words he issued during the election campaign. Analysts of every color and odor who have come out of the woodwork during this season of surprises even attribute to Duterte’s foul language the voters’ attraction to him. He was supposedly saying for them what they could not say out loud. Including his cursing of the Pope and the Pope’s mother? Including his rape wish? Foul language has so punctuated social media postings on the elections that even the young have taken to it. What a pity. So young and already so foul-mouthed can aptly describe these nubile cyberdenizens who post before they think. Having taken the lead in the <@!*&%#^-^> language department during the campaign period, Duterte should now sanitize his mouth a bit without entirely losing his penchant for colorful language. I heard some of his handlers say that it behooves their principal to sound more presidential now that he has gotten the majority’s mandate. Duterte is known to ignore prepared speeches and go extemporaneous. We saw that when he spoke before members of the Makati Business Club who were eager to hear him speak about broad economic policies, but toward the end, he instead perorated on the so-called “5-6” scheme of Indian moneylenders in cash-strapped communities. He left no time for an open forum—a subtle but smart move to avoid questions. But now that Duterte is going to be the president of this once-woebegone nation now out of its sickbed—a development for which President Aquino is not getting enough credit—will there be a makeover, at least in Duterte’s way with words? Who will be his wordsmiths, the writers who will second-guess the Duterte mind and articulate what he needs to say to 100 million Filipinos? Who will be burning the midnight oil for next day’s oral delivery? READ MORE...


READ FULL MEDIA REPORTS HERE:

A clean Philippines


By: Peter Wallace

MANILA, MAY 23, 2016 (INQUIRER) LIKE IT IS By: Peter Wallace @inquirerdotnet  May 19th, 2016 - It’s hard to go beyond discussing Rodrigo Duterte because, really, what else is there? The subject must consume our interest because it will consume our lives over the next six years. (And, yes, Mr. Ferdinand Marcos Jr., it will be six years. There is no “Plan B” or any other wild idea. And in regard to the VP race, I hope whoever loses has as much love for the Philippines as Mar Roxas does. He said: “It’s not about me. It’s not about anyone. It’s about how we love our country and how we’ll do all that we can for her.” The loser should not drag out the decision, but just accept it graciously.)

Today I’m going to suggest a few things that presumptive President-elect Duterte might want to do. The people voted for him because he promised what this administration didn’t give: action. It was change they wanted; the straight path (daang matuwid) was but a rutted dirt road. They want a cemented one, built fast. But fast wasn’t in this administration’s vocabulary.

Expectations are high, but so is the level of fear. No one quite knows what to expect from this enigma of a man. A man who came from nowhere to become the leader of 100 million people. What will he do? Are his threats and outrageous comments just comments? Or is it really the way he is going to direct the country?

If I were an optimist I’d say, as his supporters have, that it’s all just winning talk. He’ll be different. A pessimist would fear the return to Marcosian dictatorship. Well, I’m neither an optimist nor a pessimist. As an engineer, I’m a realist. The glass isn’t half-full or half-empty; it’s too big. Disciplining buses on Edsa or restricting them to curbside lanes won’t solve the problem, as optimists might hope. Taking half of them off the road and paying drivers a fixed salary will.

President Duterte needs to start with some quick actions that have immediate and noticeable impact so that people come quickly on board. They can say, “Wow, this is a man who gets things done.” Longer term support then follows.

President Aquino’s “no wangwang” policy had that effect. But he didn’t go beyond it, so it remained an isolated, out-of-the-box change. I believe Duterte is going to be very out-of-the-box, sometimes—and it may be cause for worry—on things about which we may not be too happy. For instance, I don’t believe in a liquor ban or in any other ban unless really, really necessary. Bans only encourage violation and crime.

READ MORE...

There are things I’d do immediately that would really make people sit up and take notice: Declare a clean Philippines, rice at half price, and free-flowing traffic in Manila.

Puerto Princesa is a clean city. It is because there are rubbish bins everywhere and littering is penalized. The bins aren’t stolen because there are holes in them (you can’t take them home for storing rice or water), and the penalty for theft is high. President Duterte can order it nationwide. He did at his miting de avance in Luneta, and several hundred thousand people took their trash with them. Those at the rallies of others, or at the polling stations, didn’t, because there was nowhere in which to put the trash. And people are careless of their trash.

So, bins. Let the private sector provide them so none of the nonsense of public bidding, lower bidder (a subject I’ll discuss one day), etc. Corporations can do it as a public service and, in return, be allowed to advertise on the bins.

I’d also require the beneficiaries of the conditional cash transfer program to devote a day a week to cleaning their environs as payment for the handout. Then establish awards (Filipinos love awards) for the cleanest city, the most beautiful city, overall cleanest and most beautiful. Let’s have a clean Philippines.

As to rice, I mentioned this in my column on Nov. 12, 2015 (“Give the consumer a break”). Unbelievably (does no one want cheaper rice?), there was no reaction. A well-researched PIDS (Philippine Institute for Development Studies) report determined that if rice were traded on an open market, it would, like other products openly marketed, result in lower prices as competition and source selection flourish. The study concluded that if the National Food Authority were taken out of the trade and control of rice and tariffs were removed, the price of regular milled rice would fall from P33.08 per kilogram to P19.80/kg. I venture to say that 100 million Filipinos would be very happy about that.

The negative side is that it would make life even more difficult for the 2.4 million rice-growers. But would it? It wouldn’t if they were assisted to shift to other, higher-value crops, and if they were provided with the water, the seeds, the tools and the techniques that rice farmers in Vietnam and Thailand use. The soil and climate are much the same, so the differences are man-determined. And so, man can fix them.

The thing is it can be done if the will is there.

There’s a third thing I’d do for Manila, and that’s get traffic moving. It can be done by implementing the one word that defines Duterte: discipline. Buses and jeepneys stopping only at designated stops and close to the curb. Malls and schools with off-street parking, pickup and drop-off areas. Intersections kept clear. Traffic aides trained in ensuring rapid traffic flow. The Metropolitan Manila Development Authority given full authority (which local mayors will agree to cede) over traffic movement on all roads. There’s much, much more that’s beyond this column, but has been well detailed by Eddie Yap of the Management Association of the Philippines and others (myself, too, in my column on July 9, 2015, “Get Angry”). It can be done. Discipline.

A clean Philippines, cheap rice, traffic moving. Awake to a new day. With a new President.


Leni’s narrative YOUNG BLOOD By: Mary Grace Nidoy @inquirerdotnet Philippine Daily Inquirer 12:20 AM May 19th, 2016


BY Mary Grace Nidoy Social Author @gracenidoy

As I write this, Camarines Sur Rep. Leni Robredo is leading Sen. Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. in the vice presidential race by more than 200,000 votes. It has been a nail-biting race to the position which was once perceived only as a “spare tire,” and which has now become truly relevant. And it should be.

Perhaps it is because we are reminded of what happened in the past: a widow beating a powerful dictator.

But Leni, who is up against the dictator’s son, is more than a widow. Her journey from being a lawyer of the grassroots to a vice presidential candidate has prepared her to come out from the shadow of her husband, Jesse Robredo. Long before the call arose for her to run, she had been helping those on the outskirts of society.

As my mentor put it, “she has been walking the talk long before the talk started.”

I have been asked many times why I voted for Leni and not for Marcos given that, by parentage, I am an Ilocano, born and bred in Mindanao. But I have always thought that the demand for real change should cut across allegiance to one’s ethnicity, province or region. This is not just a fight between Ilocanos and Bicolanos, between activists and apologists.

Voting for Leni was not betraying my roots but being loyal to my country and what it has fought for: freedom, democracy and transparency. Her team is right. Leni’s fight for good governance is our fight. She has never stopped seeking justice for the victims of martial law. She has never stopped demanding an apology from Marcos for all the atrocities during his father’s dictatorship. She has never stopped calling on him to explain his family’s hidden wealth. She never gets tired of recounting her experience during Edsa I to the younger generation.

READ MORE...

My generation has been criticized for being distant from the past. Some put the blame on our history books, some on technology, specifically social media. A leader like Leni will remind us that we should never forget what the older generations fought for. Perhaps, shades of the past will have to happen again, because somehow we never learn and there are those who want to change the narrative of our history. Perhaps, we need another widow to wake us up from the reality.

Our team espousing good governance is now being accused of manipulating the vote, of perpetrating election fraud. Our fight is not yet over. I urge my generation and every supporter to be vigilant. I urge my generation to pray for Leni’s triumph, and for real change to happen. We owe this to the nameless heroes, to our parents and grandparents who fought for our rights and freedom. We owe this to all the victims of martial law whose names have yet to be written in our history.

I hope that Leni’s narrative gets the kind of ending that it deserves. I am optimistic that the race will come to an end with Leni winning, fair and square. After all, she once declared: “Sa dakong huli, tayo ang mananaig.” We shall overcome.

Mary Grace Nidoy, 25, is a development communicator at the Philippine Rice Research Institute.


EDITORIAL: Street smarts @inquirerdotnet Philippine Daily Inquirer 12:38 AM May 19th, 2016


It’s a sight that city dwellers have learned to live with: glassy-eyed children mindlessly sniffing glue on street corners, or dashing between vehicles selling flowers and sundries, or begging for alms.

In crime-prone areas, young people barely in their teens loiter in the streets for a chance to snatch mobile phones, jewelry and other valuables from distracted motorists. Others more desperate are easily recruited into trading drugs or sex.

So common are these squalid encounters with street children that presumptive President-elect Rodrigo Duterte’s announcement of a nationwide crackdown on unaccompanied minors roaming the streets past 10 p.m. seems timely and laudable. Duterte said the kids would be turned over for custody to government agencies, like the Department of Social Welfare and Development, and their parents arrested for abandonment. Such a curfew ordinance is in place in Davao City, his base.

According to the Council for the Welfare of Children, there were some 45,000 street kids nationwide in 2000. Surely the figure must have risen many times over since then. Of that number, 75 percent were known to wander the streets, while 20 percent practically lived in them—alone or with their families or friends. The rest could be considered abandoned, runaways or engaged in illegal activities.

For sure, the planned curfew is intended to take children off the streets where they risk life and limb in vehicular traffic, and where they are in danger of embracing a life of crime, thanks to syndicates that prey on the young, weak and vulnerable. For sure, the curfew for street children and the arrest of negligent parents are meant as a deterrent to street crimes and a means of getting more children into school. But the plan requires close scrutiny.

Last year, two women in Davao City were arrested for violating Republic Act No. 7610 which, among others, obligates parents to be the added layer of protection for their children against abuse. The two women were mothers of minors found sleeping in the streets. But one said she had to leave her children at home so she could work as a housemaid, while the other said she and her husband had tried, but failed, to find their child who ran away from home.

READ MORE...

Why blame the women who were only trying to provide for their children? the party-list group Gabriela demanded to know. It added: “Most women are not given enough chances to get a decent job with enough pay that would provide for their family. Most women don’t even have access to government social services. It’s so unfair for mothers who have been desperately trying hard to provide for her children to get all the blame and be immediately dismissed as bad mothers just because they are poor.”

Indeed. It would be so easy to arrest negligent parents and sweep their kids off the streets and into DSWD custody—where they would likely be released back to the parents in a futile cycle of deferred accountability and dire straits.

What may be more effective in keeping children off the streets—but admittedly more difficult—is providing a whole package of services that can benefit families faced with having to make the heartbreaking choice of making a living or making a home.

For a start, the incoming administration, which has expressed support for the Reproductive Health Law, can provide basic family planning information and services in public clinics to make these accessible to families on the margins. After all, taking control of one’s life often begins with being able to plan one’s family.

Creating more jobs is part of the package, as crime in the streets is often propelled by extreme need. Providing people with jobs will keep them productive and busy as well, breed self-respect, and keep restless youth off mischief. So will education and a vigorous sports program in schools that should give young folk a handy outlet for all that excess energy.

Lastly, should certain street children prove to be repeat offenders and require being put in government custody, the incoming administration must endeavor to provide children’s shelters with rehabilitative services, counselors, alternative schooling opportunities, and on-site healthcare.

Because while being tough on hardened criminals may be a necessity, coaxing young offenders back into the fold is a better, and smart, alternative.


Duterte’s speech writers and other thoughts HUMAN FACE:SHARES: 1464 VIEW COMMENTS By: Ma. Ceres P. Doyo @inquirerdotnet Philippine Daily Inquirer 12:30 AM May 19th, 2016


By: Ma. Ceres P. Doyo

Presumptive President-elect Rodrigo Duterte has rightly earned the moniker “The Mouth” because of the expletives and strong words he issued during the election campaign. Analysts of every color and odor who have come out of the woodwork during this season of surprises even attribute to Duterte’s foul language the voters’ attraction to him. He was supposedly saying for them what they could not say out loud. Including his cursing of the Pope and the Pope’s mother? Including his rape wish?

Foul language has so punctuated social media postings on the elections that even the young have taken to it. What a pity. So young and already so foul-mouthed can aptly describe these nubile cyberdenizens who post before they think.

Having taken the lead in the <@!*&%#^-^> language department during the campaign period, Duterte should now sanitize his mouth a bit without entirely losing his penchant for colorful language. I heard some of his handlers say that it behooves their principal to sound more presidential now that he has gotten the majority’s mandate.

Duterte is known to ignore prepared speeches and go extemporaneous. We saw that when he spoke before members of the Makati Business Club who were eager to hear him speak about broad economic policies, but toward the end, he instead perorated on the so-called “5-6” scheme of Indian moneylenders in cash-strapped communities. He left no time for an open forum—a subtle but smart move to avoid questions.

But now that Duterte is going to be the president of this once-woebegone nation now out of its sickbed—a development for which President Aquino is not getting enough credit—will there be a makeover, at least in Duterte’s way with words? Who will be his wordsmiths, the writers who will second-guess the Duterte mind and articulate what he needs to say to 100 million Filipinos? Who will be burning the midnight oil for next day’s oral delivery?

READ MORE...

What will Duterte’s speeches now be like? For starters, his inaugural speech? Will his speeches be in elegant language—Filipino, English or Cebuano—or will they be deliberately gruff, made to sound off-the-cuff, with pauses for grunts while he chews his cud? (Is he into gum or does he need a denture change or something?)

Some might say that words are just words and that concrete deeds on the ground are more important. Sure. But we also need to hear about them first. The way the British Royal Navy needed to hear Winston Churchill roar, “Sink the Bismarck!” And, in a call to arms, call Hitler a “maniac,” a “monstrous apparition,” and end his speech with “march[ing] together through the fire.” It’s on YouTube.

Those who diminish the importance of the written and spoken word need only to consider the Bible and those who wrote the stories in it, the writers who inspired revolutions, the poets who stirred patriotic passions. As the biblically inclined would often say, quoting scriptures, “In the beginning was the word…” Think of Rizal’s novels. And who is not moved by a recitation of Amado V. Hernandez’s “Lumuha ka, aking bayan…” or the singing of Andres Bonifacio’s “Aling pag-ibig pa ang hihigit kaya?”

One of my all-time favorites is a line from Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru’s speech on the eve of India’s independence in August 1947. “At the stroke of the midnight hour, when the world sleeps, India will awake to life and freedom. A moment comes, which comes but rarely in history, when we step out from the old to the new, when an age ends, and when the soul of a nation, long suppressed, finds utterance.” I first read it in “Freedom at Midnight” (by Dominique Lapierre and Larry Collins) when I was in my 20s and was smitten by the sound of the words.

Remember President John F. Kennedy’s inaugural address and Abraham Lincoln’s Gettysburg address?

But we have ours. Before me now are five CDs that contain “20 Speeches that Moved a Nation,” speeches delivered by Filipino men and women during their time and worth listening to by generations. For the recording, the speeches were recited by theater people mostly. Each CD has the transcript of the speeches. The “20 Speeches” were compiled years ago by Manuel L. Quezon III, grandson and namesake of President Manuel L. Quezon. He produced the set before he took a post in the Aquino administration, a hidden position that meant giving up his column in Inquirer Opinion (his space was right below mine) and to which, I hope, he returns. Only now I remember and see that I had written a blurb to go with the set; that’s why I was given one.

I am curious as to who will be writing Duterte’s speeches and how he will deliver them. At 71, Duterte is the oldest to be elected to the presidency, and old habits die hard. Will he read from paper or does he have to learn to use a teleprompter? President Aquino appeared at home with the gadget and, with his good speaking voice, delivered relatively well in both Filipino and English, sarcastic punches included.

Speeches, like homilies, are meant to be heard. Delivering a speech is talking to an audience. Content is important, but so is the sound of the words, the length of the sentences, the rhyme, the rhythm, the cadence, the syntax. The tone of voice. There are four big reasons for a speech, says author George Plimpton: to inspire, to persuade, to entertain, to instruct. Also, to inform.

Those who invite us to speak think that because we are writers, we can just show up tomorrow and spew out the words. Mark Twain said, “It takes three weeks to prepare a good ad-lib speech.” Writing to be read is different from writing to be heard, although as writers, we want our words on the page to sound as if spoken, to sing as if sung.


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