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

FROM THE MALAYA BUSINESS INSIGHTS

By JB BAYLON: A NEW MEANING FOR 'DC'
[Damage Control. May this NOT be the hallmark of the next six years!]


JUNE 3 -By Jose Bayani Baylon DURING the recently concluded presidential campaign, many of my friends were eagerly sporting “DC” stickers on their car or using the “DC” logo as their Facebook images. I couldn’t, because I wasn’t a “DuCay” supporter – I was for PoeCay. But I liked some of the designs of the DC logo because they were meant to look like the logo of the DC comics of my youth. But while I was not a “DuCay” supporter, I very often ribbed the DU supporters for being unworthy of their leader, whom they wanted to vote for so that he could bring change into the country. How can you be for change and for DU, I told them on FB, when you wantonly disregard his own instructions that were as clear as day: “Kung hindi ninyo iboboto si Alan, huwag ninyo ako iboboto.” And yet the DU supporters voted for DU while scattering their votes for vice president elsewhere. Hmmph. If that’s not a sign na matigas pa rin ang ulo ng Pinoy and that change will not come as fully and as quickly as we say we desire, then I do not know what is. First instructions of Duterte and they -- his voters -- can’t follow. How can I have faith that they can follow his future pronouncements? Luckily for Alan Cayetano, he may have lost in the race for VP but because his candidate won as President he can have some influence in the Administration for the next six years. Maybe he can still fight for the changes he would have wanted to champion had he won as VP, albeit with less clout because he is not one heartbeat away from the Presidency. If only for that hope, I am willing to give the DU Administration a six month “honeymoon period” because I believe that is enough time for the new President to set a new course for the country. My new worry, however, is that the letters “DC” are taking on a new meaning. To think that the Duterte Administration only officially takes office 27 days from today. READ MORE...

ALSO: By Amado Macasaet - RULE OF THE GUN, BUT NOT OF THE LAW


JUNE 3 -By Amado P. Macasaet
President Duterte has said he has nothing against the killing of corrupt and thieving members of media. He does not seem to remember this country is one of the most dangerous places for journalists. If he pushes through his plan he would have made the Philippines the most dangerous place for members of media. I would not object to killing thieving members of media for as long as there is a semblance of the rule of law. The way President-elect Duterte sounded, this country cannot have peace if the law is observed. I do not believe that. It is enforcement that bends the law. He may start prosecuting the enforcers of the law before he goes out on a rampage killing journalists who he suspects are corrupt. I have long noticed the enforcers of the law -- police, prosecutors and judges of few of whom may be members of the highest tribunal --compromise law enforcement by soliciting bribes or accepting them. If this goes on, we will end up a country run by the gun and not the law. The problem with corrupt journalists is the judicial system is biased for members of media. This is a case of “you scratch my back I scratch yours.” I will admit this practice emboldens the enforcers and corrupt media practitioners. In my 50 years of journalism I have been sued as a main respondent only twice. The first was filed by Ramon Jacinto for consistently holding the belief that the Jacintos were responsible for the abortion of the integrated iron and steel industry. READ MORE...

ALSO: Ellen Tordesillas - DUTERTE SPOKESMEN’S DAMAGE CONTROL ONLY ADD INSULT TO INJURY


JUNE 3 -By Ellen Tordesillas TO control the damage wrought by President-elect Rodrigo Duterte’s verbal assault on media during his press conference Tuesday justifying the extra-judicial killing of journalists, Peter Laviña, spokesman for Duterte’s transition team said his principal’s remarks were “taken out of context, misinterpreted, and misunderstood.” That is adding insult to injury. That is like saying media did not report accurately Duterte’s statements. Same thing with Duterte’s spokesman press secretary Salvador Panelo’s statement that GMA-7 reporter Mariz Umali “should be complimented” for the president-elect wolf-whistling or cat-calling at her when she asked a question. Panelo said: “Mayor Duterte is a very kind, playful individual. Pag siya’y pumito, ibig sabihin he’s fond of you, ibig sabihin mahal ka niya, kaya ka binibiro. Hindi po isang pambabastos yun. On the contrary, the receiver of that should be complimented.” Matutuwa dahil binastos ka? Only those with warped minds would it a compliment. Umali’s husband Raffy Tima, also a GMA-7 reporter, is not amused and definitely he does not consider it a compliment In his Facebook post, Tima said, “Catcalling my wife is wrong in so many levels. I expected that from a Mayor Duterte. I know his reputation well enough not to be shocked by it, but that does not make it right. For someone who espouses leadership by example, catcalling anyone in a press conference with all cameras trained on him defies logic. Then again, that’s Mayor Duterte.” But what hurt Tima more was the reactions of people in the room where the presscon was held: “What appalled me even more was how some people in the room reacted. Most laughed, others made teasing noises and basically urged the mayor to dish some more! And he did. I do hope none of them were journalists because if they were, shame on them.” READ MORE...

ALSO: By Dody Lacuna - A DESTINY APART
[Duterte’s defining moment has come without him taking hold of the power and leadership that his grand executive mantle now decrees in a way that this world wants him to. He cannot be judged as being the “master of his fate” and father of the nation at the same time today. Cumulative moments of greatness only become huge but hollowed media fodder for those confusing destiny with ascendancy. A God-given destiny must be recognized to be so.]


By DODY LACUNA
RODRIGO Duterte made good his word of snubbing his proclamation by Congress as the16th president of our land, and thus, as another major broadsheet put it, let the moment pass of “boldly taking upon himself the powerful symbol of leadership and formally grasping victory in his hands”. The president-elect has taken to the extreme his vaunted abhorrence for rituals and ceremonies probably marked by lessons in history that claiming one’s destiny - as attested by the presence of his Malacañang predecessors during their official proclamations - does not define its essence and virtue. GMA and outgoing President Noynoy Aquino basked in what they thought to be the most momentous event of their lives only to scuttle it halfway through their terms. (Arroyo, of course, so grieviously faltered by ensuring her reelection through massive electoral fraud which doomed her lamentable second term.) Ninoy Aquino did not live to be president, as what he and half of the nation believed to be his destiny and, for the worst part, had been inherited by his wife and son. It was President Cory then who freed the political prisoners as Ninoy would have done, but the legacy ended when she openly and unduly favored the leftist rebels without as much as an earnest and genuine reconciliation with the military and rightist leaders of her government. Ninoy would have been more progressively inclusive as a man who knew his real destiny. It was his shadow and not the symbolic Cory that tore apart the Marcos regime in February 1986 and indeed it became evident that EDSA 1 had made the destiny of Ninoy more alive than ever. Manuel Roxas, the first president of the Philippine Republic, was a guerrilla leader. He lived through several harrowing hours when he sat down and engaged the colonel of the Japanese Imperial Army who had orders to execute him by firing squad. He talked about his deep love for his country and people and lectured on the hard lessons of history. He shone with a remarkable depth and brilliance of mind that so impressed the Japanese officer who decided to spare his life. The Japanese was quoted as saying that a man like Roxas lives only once in a hundred years. Reconstruction of a war-ravaged Philippines fell on his shoulders and seemed poised to define his destiny but, just over a year into his term he was felled by a heart attack. Thomas Edison’s destiny was to co-found the historic General Electric. He was able to grasp its mysterious beginnings many years earlier when a big fire gutted his laboratory - and his two decades of persistent, hard work. As he watched the raging inferno he gathered his family and workers around him telling them to witness that his old experiments, equipment and studies most of which had been failures were going up in smoke. He also asked everyone to thank God because “we can start anew.” Six months later the Bible-reading Edison would produce the first phonograph and then the electric bulb. READ MORE...

ALSO: EDITORIAL - DIGONG AND FREEDOM OF INFORMATION


JUNE 6 -WALANG SATSAT' FROM DAY 1 | Report: FOI will be an executive order - Duterte THE INCOMING administration of President-elect Rodrigo “Digong” Duterte has promised, during the campaign, to pass and implement the Freedom of Information (FOI) Bill, a proposed legislation that remained a proposal from the days of President Cory Aquino and Congressman Oscar Orbos who first drafted it based on the American concept of freedom of information. The FOI never saw the light of day as a law because the successive Congresses and Malacanang administrations deliberately emasculated its importance. Just like the proposed legislation against political dynasties, the FOI Bill goes against the interest of the ruling class. It will take a President from the Left – Duterte says he is the first President from this side of the political spectrum – to see its fruition. On paper, specifically his 2016 Budget Message to Congress, President Benigno Aquino III endorsed the FOI, saying “greater fiscal transparency leads to a more responsive government.” To ensure the permanency of transparency policies, Aquino urged Congress to pass the Freedom of Information Act. Aquino had a formal document, the Good Governance and Anti-Corruption Plan of 2012-2016 and boasted that the FOI was an integral element of this plan. The fact that nothing happened to the FOI bill says much of the achievements and sincerity of “Daang Matuwid.” President Duterte starts his management of the nation at noon on June 30 with complete, even brimming, political capital of popular support. He will have a golden opportunity to really make a difference in the area of information freedom towards fiscal transparency, honesty in government, etc. READ MORE...


READ FULL MEDIA REPORTS HERE:

A NEW MEANING FOR ‘DC’


Jose Bayani Baylon

MANILA, JUNE 6, 2016 (MALAYA) By Jose Bayani Baylon June 03, 2016 - DURING the recently concluded presidential campaign, many of my friends were eagerly sporting “DC” stickers on their car or using the “DC” logo as their Facebook images.

I couldn’t, because I wasn’t a “DuCay” supporter – I was for PoeCay. But I liked some of the designs of the DC logo because they were meant to look like the logo of the DC comics of my youth.

But while I was not a “DuCay” supporter, I very often ribbed the DU supporters for being unworthy of their leader, whom they wanted to vote for so that he could bring change into the country. How can you be for change and for DU, I told them on FB, when you wantonly disregard his own instructions that were as clear as day: “Kung hindi ninyo iboboto si Alan, huwag ninyo ako iboboto.”

And yet the DU supporters voted for DU while scattering their votes for vice president elsewhere. Hmmph. If that’s not a sign na matigas pa rin ang ulo ng Pinoy and that change will not come as fully and as quickly as we say we desire, then I do not know what is.

First instructions of Duterte and they -- his voters -- can’t follow. How can I have faith that they can follow his future pronouncements?

Luckily for Alan Cayetano, he may have lost in the race for VP but because his candidate won as President he can have some influence in the Administration for the next six years. Maybe he can still fight for the changes he would have wanted to champion had he won as VP, albeit with less clout because he is not one heartbeat away from the Presidency. If only for that hope, I am willing to give the DU Administration a six month “honeymoon period” because I believe that is enough time for the new President to set a new course for the country.

My new worry, however, is that the letters “DC” are taking on a new meaning. To think that the Duterte Administration only officially takes office 27 days from today.

READ MORE...

That new meaning is Damage Control, and it may become a hallmark of the next six years if the last three or four months are any indication of how the next President will govern.

Most of the Damage Control that may very well mark the next six years will come as a result, I suspect, of the penchant for the next President to say what he thinks and/or what comes to mind whenever a question is asked and an answer is expected – in front of a live microphone.

This “transparency” reminds me of many photos posted on FB with the label “no filter”. Because that is how the next President responds to questions from the media – sans a filter. So much so that from one statement to the next he has shocked, dismayed and angered various groups who find some of his public pronouncements unfortunate at best, insulting at worst.

Take the recent brouhaha about media killings, and the statement that those who were killed were most probably the corrupt ones who were on the take. The firestorm this created – including media attention beyond our shores – was such that the incoming presidential spokesman had to issue the usual excuse – that the president was misunderstood and taken out of context. At other times the excuse is that the next President, being a Visayan speaker, is lost in translation when he speaks in English or Filipino.

How many times since the campaign have we heard those lines? Taken out of context. Misunderstood. Misconstrued. And then we have already been warned: do not take everything that is said seriously, because the speaker could be joking or teasing or provoking. I appreciate the warning, but I worry: will we always have to wait for the official explanation from the official spokesperson before we can take the next President’s uttered words for their face value?

Soon, the next President will be facing questions not from local journalists but from foreign ones. Heck he will be facing questions from fellow Heads of State, many of whom I am sure are curious to meet and greet the new leader of the Philippine Republic. How will they know when he is joking?

I have my own joke: how would you know by just looking at the sign language interpreter that it is Rodrigo Duterte who is speaking? You’ll know if, once in a while, you see the sign language guy make the dirty finger.

Then again maybe I am not joking.

I cannot help but compare our Duterte to America’s Trump who two days ago accused all political reporters as being corrupt. In one press conference Trump even singled out an ABC correspondent in the audience and insulted the man. Happily our DU has more political sense than Trump and does not go about insulting specific journalists especially those in the corps that shadows him; but his statement about the reason for media killings comes close.

I am all at once amused and aghast at the thought of six years of our President being as honest and as open as saying what he thinks and not filtering his thoughts, and I wonder how many of our ambassadors will be summoned by the Foreign Ministries to explain the utterances of the Philippine Head of State.

Then again maybe the next President is just enjoying his last three weeks of talking, walking and acting as Mayor of a Philippine city, aware as he is of the consequences that a quip made by the President of a country can have – internally as well as internationally.

Damage Control.

May this NOT be the hallmark of the next six years!


RULE OF THE GUN, BUT NOT OF THE LAW By Amado P. Macasaet June 03, 2016


By Amado P. Macasaet

President Duterte has said he has nothing against the killing of corrupt and thieving members of media. He does not seem to remember this country is one of the most dangerous places for journalists. If he pushes through his plan he would have made the Philippines the most dangerous place for members of media.

I would not object to killing thieving members of media for as long as there is a semblance of the rule of law. The way President-elect Duterte sounded, this country cannot have peace if the law is observed. I do not believe that.

It is enforcement that bends the law. He may start prosecuting the enforcers of the law before he goes out on a rampage killing journalists who he suspects are corrupt.

I have long noticed the enforcers of the law -- police, prosecutors and judges of few of whom may be members of the highest tribunal --compromise law enforcement by soliciting bribes or accepting them. If this goes on, we will end up a country run by the gun and not the law.

The problem with corrupt journalists is the judicial system is biased for members of media. This is a case of “you scratch my back I scratch yours.” I will admit this practice emboldens the enforcers and corrupt media practitioners.

In my 50 years of journalism I have been sued as a main respondent only twice. The first was filed by Ramon Jacinto for consistently holding the belief that the Jacintos were responsible for the abortion of the integrated iron and steel industry.

READ MORE...

The reason I say this is the fact that the Jacinto plant, headed by their father Don Fernando who founded Integrated Steel Mills was foreclosed by the DBP which had to honor millions of dollars in direct borrowing and guarantees.

They were not even tried obviously because they used their influence to buy their way out. Until now, the government has not moved to file a deficiency claim of around P400 million. This case could be reopened by President Duterte if the crime has not prescribed.

Media members are prone to abusing their right of free expression. They forget this right is accompanied by awesome responsibility.

I remember the three newsmen who were jailed for writing stories about the “sins or crimes” of the American GI, Harry Stonehill, who ran a cigarette company. If I had been close to the President I would have suggested that he start at the bottom of criminality.

By this, I meant I would have ordered the immediate review by a special panel or the Supreme Court of thousand of prisoners who are languishing in jail because they do not have the money.

Finally, I would suggest a thorough probe of corrupt law enforcers, yank them out of the service and replace them with graduates of the Philippine National Police Academy.

Before they are admitted I would subject them to a thorough psychological examination to see whether they are fit to enforce the law.


DUTERTE SPOKESMEN’S DAMAGE CONTROL EFFORTS ONLY ADD INSULT TO INJURY By Ellen Tordesillas June 03, 2016


By Ellen Tordesillas

TO control the damage wrought by President-elect Rodrigo Duterte’s verbal assault on media during his press conference Tuesday justifying the extra-judicial killing of journalists, Peter Laviña, spokesman for Duterte’s transition team said his principal’s remarks were “taken out of context, misinterpreted, and misunderstood.”

That is adding insult to injury. That is like saying media did not report accurately Duterte’s statements.

Same thing with Duterte’s spokesman press secretary Salvador Panelo’s statement that GMA-7 reporter Mariz Umali “should be complimented” for the president-elect wolf-whistling or cat-calling at her when she asked a question.

Panelo said: “Mayor Duterte is a very kind, playful individual. Pag siya’y pumito, ibig sabihin he’s fond of you, ibig sabihin mahal ka niya, kaya ka binibiro. Hindi po isang pambabastos yun. On the contrary, the receiver of that should be complimented.”

Matutuwa dahil binastos ka? Only those with warped minds would it a compliment.

Umali’s husband Raffy Tima, also a GMA-7 reporter, is not amused and definitely he does not consider it a compliment

In his Facebook post, Tima said, “Catcalling my wife is wrong in so many levels. I expected that from a Mayor Duterte. I know his reputation well enough not to be shocked by it, but that does not make it right.

For someone who espouses leadership by example, catcalling anyone in a press conference with all cameras trained on him defies logic. Then again, that’s Mayor Duterte.”

But what hurt Tima more was the reactions of people in the room where the presscon was held: “What appalled me even more was how some people in the room reacted. Most laughed, others made teasing noises and basically urged the mayor to dish some more! And he did. I do hope none of them were journalists because if they were, shame on them.”

READ MORE...

Tima further: “When you see or hear anyone say something wrong you do not encourage it, you do the opposite. Or in that particular instance at least, they should have kept quiet and in their silence gave the message that what the mayor did was wrong. Some jokes are funny and should be laughed at. But disrespecting women is definitely is not one of them.” Definitely.

In fact, Duterte’s very own city’s Women Development Code as embodied in Davao City’s Ordinance No. 5004 and Executive Order No. 24 considers “Cursing, whistling, or calling a woman in public with words having dirty connotations or implications which tend to ridicule, humiliate, or embarrass the woman such as ‘puta (prostitute),’ ‘boring,’ ‘peste (pest),’ etc” a form of sexual harassment.

Media groups have expressed alarm over Duterte’s statements saying most of the journalists killed were corrupt. He said a mouthful to amplify his stand that “You won’t be killed if you don’t do anything wrong… If you are a journalist who is doing what is right, nobody will touch you, especially if (what you write) us true.”

Duterte’s statement is not supported by the cases of slain journalists in the Philippines (176 since 1986). The National Union of Journalists of the Philippines cites “the murders of Edgar Damalerio of Pagadian City, Marlene Esperat of Tacurong City, and Gerry Ortega of Puerto Princesa City, and, of course, the most heinous of all, the November 23, 2009 Ampatuan massacre, of which 32 of the 58 victims were media workers, making it not only the worst case of electoral violence in recent Philippine history but the single deadliest attack on journalists ever.”

And even if some of those journalists were corrupt, killing them is not justifiable. There are many ways to fight media corruption – report them to their editors and publisher. File cases against them.

Reporters Without Borders (RSF), the Paris-based organization that promotes and defends the freedom to be informed and to inform others throughout the world, is appalled by the Philippine president-elect’s statements. “Not only are these statements unworthy of a president but they could also be regarded as violations of the law on defamation or even the law on inciting hatred and violence,” said Benjamin Ismaïl, the head of RSF’s Asia-Pacific desk.

RSF urged Philippine media to demand an apology from Duterte and “to boycott the Duterte administration’s news conferences until the media community gets a public apology.”

I don’t agree on a media boycott. That would be reneging on your responsibility to inform the public of happenings that affect them.

This is not the first time that a Philippine president has insulted media. In 2014, in his visit to Brussels, the outgoing president, Benigno Aquino III, in defending his administration’s disappointing human rights record said, “For instance, in the media killings, some who used to work in media died. Did they die because they were investigative journalists? Were they exercising their profession in a responsible manner, living up to journalistic ethics? Or did they perish because of other reasons?”

During Gloria Arroyo’s time, it was her husband, Mike Arroyo, who mouthed the same lines.

Whether the journalist’s killing was work-related or not, that is murder. Murder is a crime.

A president is supposed to fight crime, not encourage it.


A DESTINY APART By DODY LACUNA June 02, 2016


By DODY LACUNA

RODRIGO Duterte made good his word of snubbing his proclamation by Congress as the16th president of our land, and thus, as another major broadsheet put it, let the moment pass of “boldly taking upon himself the powerful symbol of leadership and formally grasping victory in his hands”. The president-elect has taken to the extreme his vaunted abhorrence for rituals and ceremonies probably marked by lessons in history that claiming one’s destiny - as attested by the presence of his Malacañang predecessors during their official proclamations - does not define its essence and virtue.

GMA and outgoing President Noynoy Aquino basked in what they thought to be the most momentous event of their lives only to scuttle it halfway through their terms. (Arroyo, of course, so grieviously faltered by ensuring her reelection through massive electoral fraud which doomed her lamentable second term.) Ninoy Aquino did not live to be president, as what he and half of the nation believed to be his destiny and, for the worst part, had been inherited by his wife and son.

It was President Cory then who freed the political prisoners as Ninoy would have done, but the legacy ended when she openly and unduly favored the leftist rebels without as much as an earnest and genuine reconciliation with the military and rightist leaders of her government. Ninoy would have been more progressively inclusive as a man who knew his real destiny. It was his shadow and not the symbolic Cory that tore apart the Marcos regime in February 1986 and indeed it became evident that EDSA 1 had made the destiny of Ninoy more alive than ever.

Manuel Roxas, the first president of the Philippine Republic, was a guerrilla leader. He lived through several harrowing hours when he sat down and engaged the colonel of the Japanese Imperial Army who had orders to execute him by firing squad.

He talked about his deep love for his country and people and lectured on the hard lessons of history. He shone with a remarkable depth and brilliance of mind that so impressed the Japanese officer who decided to spare his life. The Japanese was quoted as saying that a man like Roxas lives only once in a hundred years.

Reconstruction of a war-ravaged Philippines fell on his shoulders and seemed poised to define his destiny but, just over a year into his term he was felled by a heart attack. Thomas Edison’s destiny was to co-found the historic General Electric. He was able to grasp its mysterious beginnings many years earlier when a big fire gutted his laboratory - and his two decades of persistent, hard work.

As he watched the raging inferno he gathered his family and workers around him telling them to witness that his old experiments, equipment and studies most of which had been failures were going up in smoke. He also asked everyone to thank God because “we can start anew.” Six months later the Bible-reading Edison would produce the first phonograph and then the electric bulb.

READ MORE...

Samuel Morse knew the eternal calling of his destiny. The first message sent by the first telegraph service from Washington that his assistant had lifted from the book of Deutoronomy in the Bible delighted him. It was the passage, “What God has wrought”, a firm testament to the wondrous power of the Almighty to make our lives better.

The vindictive Edward Stanton knew then that his calling was to demolish the career of Abraham Lincoln until one day when his fortunes were reversed by the man whom he also branded as the “ugly ape”. When Lincoln became president, he invited Stanton to be his Secretary of War. Overwhelmed and with tears and his eyes he accepted the honor. Stanton told the messenger, “tell him that such magnanimity will make me work with him as man was never served before.”

America’s greatest president could not realize his own destiny without crafting the legacy of his gifted nemesis. Lincoln himself only came face to face with utter anguish in his heart as he stood before thousands of soldiers from the Northern and Southern states being buried after the final battle at Gettysburg.

And he wept inconsolably for many hours after believing without doubt that Christ should be the true Lord and Savior of his nation. He knew that he, too, had died. From that day on he would embark on a real and relentless healing campaign visiting hospitals and cemeteries across his war-torn country and reaching out to the officials and people of the Southern states. He shunned any political or military reprisals, issued a general amnesty promptly freeing all war prisoners and opened up government job positions for his former foes. And he would read to them the Bible.

Duterte’s defining moment has come without him taking hold of the power and leadership that his grand executive mantle now decrees in a way that this world wants him to. He cannot be judged as being the “master of his fate” and father of the nation at the same time today. Cumulative moments of greatness only become huge but hollowed media fodder for those confusing destiny with ascendancy. A God-given destiny must be recognized to be so.


DIGONG AND FREEDOM OF INFORMATION June 06, 2016


WALANG SATSAT' FROM DAY 1 | Report: FOI will be an executive order - Duterte

THE INCOMING administration of President-elect Rodrigo “Digong” Duterte has promised, during the campaign, to pass and implement the Freedom of Information (FOI) Bill, a proposed legislation that remained a proposal from the days of President Cory Aquino and Congressman Oscar Orbos who first drafted it based on the American concept of freedom of information.

The FOI never saw the light of day as a law because the successive Congresses and Malacanang administrations deliberately emasculated its importance.

Just like the proposed legislation against political dynasties, the FOI Bill goes against the interest of the ruling class. It will take a President from the Left – Duterte says he is the first President from this side of the political spectrum – to see its fruition.

On paper, specifically his 2016 Budget Message to Congress, President Benigno Aquino III endorsed the FOI, saying “greater fiscal transparency leads to a more responsive government.” To ensure the permanency of transparency policies, Aquino urged Congress to pass the Freedom of Information Act.

Aquino had a formal document, the Good Governance and Anti-Corruption Plan of 2012-2016 and boasted that the FOI was an integral element of this plan. The fact that nothing happened to the FOI bill says much of the achievements and sincerity of “Daang Matuwid.”

President Duterte starts his management of the nation at noon on June 30 with complete, even brimming, political capital of popular support. He will have a golden opportunity to really make a difference in the area of information freedom towards fiscal transparency, honesty in government, etc.

READ MORE...

It is mildly reassuring, therefore, to hear from one of the President’s spokesmen that the new President will issue an executive order providing for most of what the FOI bill contains.

This, we believe, will just be a stop-gap measure until the real FOI law is enacted by the incoming Congress. Since the President’s powers do not include those of the judiciary and the legislative branch, an executive order is only a temporary measure, a token gesture, of the government’s policy on transparency.

Duterte’s often bickering with the reporters covering his pre-proclamation period and his recent pronouncements on media killings put under a cloud of doubt the chances of a genuine FOI policy being forged soon.

Just like his boast to kill the peddlers of illegal drugs, Duterte’s campaign promise for the passage of the FOI bill is something for the rest of the nation to be vigilant about.


Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi

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