PHILIPPINE HEADLINE NEWS ONLINE: Since 1997 © Copyright (PHNO) http://newsflash.org



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

EDITORIAL (CHA-CHA): DEVIL IS IN THE DETAILS
[Two very contentious issues, Charter change (cha-cha) and a shift in the system of government, will be brought before the nation and the debates to ensue will likely shape the initial years of President Duterte. The federal concept has long been espoused by primarily Mindanao groups that rail against Imperial Manila or the highly centralized presidential form of government which benefits mainly the capital Manila.]


AUGUST 2 -Two very contentious issues, Charter change (cha-cha) and a shift in the system of government, will be brought before the nation and the debates to ensue will likely shape the initial years of President Duterte. The federal concept has long been espoused by primarily Mindanao groups that rail against Imperial Manila or the highly centralized presidential form of government which benefits mainly the capital Manila.The establishment of different states with autonomous policies were considered the best solution to speed up the development of provinces outside Metro Manila. Former Senate President Aquilino “Nene” Pimentel, who has been pushing for the adoption of the Federal system for ages said Federalism allows the more equitable distribution of powers to the country’s regions.Pimentel said that government powers have been so concentrated in the central government in Metro Manila that the regional or local governments have been paralyzed into being so dependent on the central government even in matters affecting them directly. The step toward Federalism is also considered as an alternative to the forming of the Bangsamoro substate which failed to take off during the term of Noynoy mainly due to the patently unconstitutional provisions in the proposed Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL) that would create it. Providentially, it was the political instincts of members of Congress that did in the unpopular BBL bill since the deliberations for it happened too close to the recently held elections. The enactment of the bill failed despite Noynoy aggressively pushing for it as his legacy law. The Mamasapano massacre in January 25, 2015 in which 44 Special Action Force (SAF) commandos were slain by a combined group of Moro Islamic Liberation Front and the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF) resulted in the negative public sentiment on the BBL, which was the product of an agreement between Noynoy and the MILF. READ MORE...

ALSO: EDITORIAL - Duterte’s ‘Purgatory’


AUGUST 5 -What’s going “viral,” the millenials’ term for popular, is a photo taken by a foreign news service that depicts the backlash of President Duterte’s war on drugs which are detainees packed like sardines in jail.Phelim Kine, Human Rights Watch (HRW) Asia Division deputy director, aptly described the scene as an image straight out of Dante’s “Purgatory.”  The photo showed, according to Kine, hundreds of half-naked men sprawled on the pavement in the sweltering heat, desperately trying to sleep amid the cramped chaos.Words indeed are not enough to describe the horror that emanates from the snapshot of the deplorable condition of the country’s penitentiaries.In his visit to the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) Medical Center, Duterte promised that the government will procure the best facilities and equipment and would fast-track all projects.Hopefully, Duterte would also include prison facilities in his immediate priorities since the modernization of penitentiaries is one of the stalled projects under the private-public partnership (PPP) program. Duterte and his wards hail as a success the ongoing campaign against drugs that they claim resulted in the surrender of thousands amid the killing spree on the streets of purported drug traffickers.
These “surrenderees” are now being stacked into the already crowded prison cells. Many of them are using jails as sanctuary against the indiscriminate street executions that can come either from the drug lords themselves to cover their tracks or from trigger happy police officers who are gung ho over Duterte’s order to exterminate all those involved in the narcotics trade. The Philippine National Police (PNP) said more than 125,000 suspected drug dealers and users have surrendered to authorities since the day it became clear that Duterte would win the elections last May 9. An estimated 10,000 alleged drug dealers and drug users surrendered in Pampanga province on July 21 alone. Kine said the motivations of those who surrender are clear, which was the fear of Duterte’s “war on drugs, which is linked to hundreds of police killings of suspected drug dealers and users as well as summary murders by unidentified vigilante-style killers.”  READ MORE...


ALSO: Dangerous DU30 tinge emerges


AUGUST 4 -
After an almost two-month self-imposed boycott on media, tough guy Rody is trying to cover lost grounds by talking his head off. At a press briefing last Monday, Duterte warned local companies against contractualization or casual jobs where employees are not paid benefits which are required under the law.
Among young Filipinos, the practice is more popularly known as endo, or end of contract meaning employment based on short-term, usually six month contracts, to skirt the labor code requirement of a worker attaining regular status with full benefits after six months of work. Duterte warned all companies, big or small, to comply with his order to end contractualization or he will go down hard on them. “Don’t wait for me to catch you. I will just simply close your plant and (I) would always find a thousand reasons to do it, believe me,” he said. Yet in the same interview, Duterte said that the Department of Labor and Employment does not have enough hands to inspect all companies regarding their employment schemes and that the government does not have the money to improve the situation. Duterte also hit out at the practice of subcontracting or outsourcing employment, which is being abused and allows big companies to skirt the labor law. Duterte also followed up the warnings with tough words, saying “sometimes we Filipinos are very stubborn, I will not go easy on you,” Duterte told those whom he was addressing.
The left-leaning labor group Kilusang Mayo Uno was not totally convinced, saying that Duterte should present “concrete policies” to back up his tough talk against contractualization. Even Labor Secretary Silvestro Bello had said that revisions in the law are needed to end contractualization because of loopholes in the Labor Code and Bello even defended some big companies taking in “seasonal” employees. While wooing workers through his fighting words, Duterte also gave Jose Maria Sison, symbolic of the communist movement, a nasty beating even referring to him as spitting saliva all over when angered. READ MORE...

ALSO: CHA-CHA -Congressional haste makes too much waste


AUGUST 5 -Changing the current Constitution is to be done through two bodies: An appointed constitutional commission (con-com) and a constituent assembly (con-ass). This is the latest project of Rody Duterte and his House of Representatives, to speed up the Charter change (cha-cha). Obviously, Rody will have what he wants — by way of a federal-parliamentary form and system of government under a new Charter, mainly because it will not be the electorate that will choose the delegates to draft a new Constitution. It will naturally be the Rody chosen con-com commissioners who will be drafting the new Constitution. This con-com will then be no different from the con-com created by the late Cory Aquino, who had handpicked the con-com commissioners, virtually all of whom were her allies. There were just about two opposition commissioners out of 50. It will likely be the same in the appointments to be made by Rody, who will naturally appoint some of his close friends, aside from a sprinkling of justices and constitutionalists. It should be recalled that, in spite of having a con-com during Cory’s time, the Filipinos ended up with a 1987 Constitution that has too many flaws that were left unchecked, part of which was the very provision on the modes of amending and revising the Charter, which has created the problem of the two congressional chambers voting jointly on a three-fourths vote, which is the reason the con-ass mode will not fly — unless the Senate toes the Palace line and gives in to senators having no voice in revising the Constitution. But say that the Senate and the House agree to engage in joint voting. Just what influence will that con-com draft of a new Charter have on the con-ass? For a number of congressmen who hardly take their duties as the representatives of the people, they will likely just pass anything, rather than do an honest to goodness research on federalism and a parliamentary system and how it will really impact on the nation politically, socially and economically, despite the con-com draft, because the truth of the matter is that it is never the system and form of government that changes a nation, but the proper implementation of the Constitution and its laws that does. READ MORE...


READ FULL MEDIA REPORTS HERE:

Devil is in the details

MANILA, AUGUST 8, 2016 (TRIBUNE) Written by Tribune Editorial Tuesday, 02 August 2016 - Two very contentious issues, Charter change (cha-cha) and a shift in the system of government, will be brought before the nation and the debates to ensue will likely shape the initial years of President Duterte.

The federal concept has long been espoused by primarily Mindanao groups that rail against Imperial Manila or the highly centralized presidential form of government which benefits mainly the capital Manila.

The establishment of different states with autonomous policies were considered the best solution to speed up the development of provinces outside Metro Manila.

Former Senate President Aquilino “Nene” Pimentel, who has been pushing for the adoption of the Federal system for ages said Federalism allows the more equitable distribution of powers to the country’s regions.

Pimentel said that government powers have been so concentrated in the central government in Metro Manila that the regional or local governments have been paralyzed into being so dependent on the central government even in matters affecting them directly.

The step toward Federalism is also considered as an alternative to the forming of the Bangsamoro substate which failed to take off during the term of Noynoy mainly due to the patently unconstitutional provisions in the proposed Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL) that would create it.

Providentially, it was the political instincts of members of Congress that did in the unpopular BBL bill since the deliberations for it happened too close to the recently held elections.

The enactment of the bill failed despite Noynoy aggressively pushing for it as his legacy law.

The Mamasapano massacre in January 25, 2015 in which 44 Special Action Force (SAF) commandos were slain by a combined group of Moro Islamic Liberation Front and the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF) resulted in the negative public sentiment on the BBL, which was the product of an agreement between Noynoy and the MILF.

READ MORE...

Under the federal system, Bangsamoro, subdivided into Mainland Muslims composed of Maranaws, Maguindanaos and subtribes, and Off-Shore Island Muslims or those in Basilan, Sulu and Tawi-Tawi, is one of the 11 proposed states.

Among the major changes under the shift would be instead of 24 senators, the Federal government will have a total of 72 members of the Senate.

As soon as the proposals are put forward for public review, the better it will be since a cloud of doubt had hovered over these efforts during previous administrations.

Such doubts were mainly the result of the public not fully grasping what those in power plan to undertake by tinkering with the Constitution.

The proposed mode now is a constituent assembly (con-ass) that has found notoriety in the past as a self-serving measure among legislators and Palace officials to extend their terms.

The apparent reason for the sudden choice of con-ass in favor of the earlier espoused constitutional convention is that the tedious and at the same time expensive process to elect con-con delegates may have the new Constitution enacted, if ever, after the Duterte administration.

If Duterte’s clairvoyance in his State of the Nation Address (Sona) holds then the new Charter might even be called a Tito Sotto Constitution instead of a Duterte Constitution.

The level of public skepticism, however, would be several notches higher on a cha-cha through con-ass rather than through a con-con with its elected delegates which may tell on the results of a referendum.

The timing is right, when the administration is fresh and suspicions of term extension is low, but the Federalism proponents appear to have a better chance for the tough measure if most of the doubts are eased along the way.


Duterte’s ‘Purgatory’ Written by Tribune Editorial Friday, 05 August 2016 00:00


What’s going “viral,” the millenials’ term for popular, is a photo taken by a foreign news service that depicts the backlash of President Duterte’s war on drugs which are detainees packed like sardines in jail.

Phelim Kine, Human Rights Watch (HRW) Asia Division deputy director, aptly described the scene as an image straight out of Dante’s “Purgatory.”

The photo showed, according to Kine, hundreds of half-naked men sprawled on the pavement in the sweltering heat, desperately trying to sleep amid the cramped chaos.

Words indeed are not enough to describe the horror that emanates from the snapshot of the deplorable condition of the country’s penitentiaries.

In his visit to the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) Medical Center, Duterte promised that the government will procure the best facilities and equipment and would fast-track all projects.

Hopefully, Duterte would also include prison facilities in his immediate priorities since the modernization of penitentiaries is one of the stalled projects under the private-public partnership (PPP) program.

Duterte and his wards hail as a success the ongoing campaign against drugs that they claim resulted in the surrender of thousands amid the killing spree on the streets of purported drug traffickers.

These “surrenderees” are now being stacked into the already crowded prison cells. Many of them are using jails as sanctuary against the indiscriminate street executions that can come either from the drug lords themselves to cover their tracks or from trigger happy police officers who are gung ho over Duterte’s order to exterminate all those involved in the narcotics trade.

The Philippine National Police (PNP) said more than 125,000 suspected drug dealers and users have surrendered to authorities since the day it became clear that Duterte would win the elections last May 9.

An estimated 10,000 alleged drug dealers and drug users surrendered in Pampanga province on July 21 alone.

Kine said the motivations of those who surrender are clear, which was the fear of Duterte’s “war on drugs, which is linked to hundreds of police killings of suspected drug dealers and users as well as summary murders by unidentified vigilante-style killers.”

READ MORE...

The police do not detain all of those who turned themselves in but the thousands who are put behind bars are pushing the capacity of jails and detention centers to the breaking point.

Kine said the conditions in the local jails exacerbate the humanitarian crisis already existing inside Philippine jails.

He said that local penitentiaries are already plagued by serious sanitation and health problems, including rampant tuberculosis.

“Human Rights Watch has found that many Philippine jails fail to meet the minimum United Nations standards by not providing adequate amounts of food, poor nutrition and sanitation,” he said.


A policeman looks on at prisoners crowded into a detention cell in Manila, Philippines

Kine urged the government to deal with the deplorable state of its detention centers while also stemming “the rising fear of many Filipinos and take measures to stop the surge in police killings of suspected drug dealers and users.”

The HRW sought an urgent probe into the alarming increase of deaths related to Duterte’s drugs war, “as well as the hundreds of murders by vigilante-style killers.”

It said that in the longer term, the government needs to recognize that Duterte’s war on drugs is an abusive and counterproductive approach to the complex problem of mitigating the public health consequences of illegal drug use.

Expect yet more suspected drug dealers and users to seek the “safety” of detention centers over the risk of death on the streets if Duterte does not calm fears by publicly denouncing unlawful killings and reiterating support for rule of law, Kine said.

Duterte would have to make good his promise to make one of the 7,100 islands a prison facility if the current situation persists.

That presents another problem since the experience at the National Bilibid Prison is that it has become a safe house for drug lords and their minions as prison guards and officials are often coopted by drug money.

A prison island may be akin to giving drug lords a holiday spot.


Dangerous DU30 tinge emerges Written by Tribune Editorial Thursday, 04 August 2016 00:00


After an almost two-month self-imposed boycott on media, tough guy Rody is trying to cover lost grounds by talking his head off.

At a press briefing last Monday, Duterte warned local companies against contractualization or casual jobs where employees are not paid benefits which are required under the law.

Among young Filipinos, the practice is more popularly known as endo, or end of contract meaning employment based on short-term, usually six month contracts, to skirt the labor code requirement of a worker attaining regular status with full benefits after six months of work.

Duterte warned all companies, big or small, to comply with his order to end contractualization or he will go down hard on them.

“Don’t wait for me to catch you. I will just simply close your plant and (I) would always find a thousand reasons to do it, believe me,” he said.

Yet in the same interview, Duterte said that the Department of Labor and Employment does not have enough hands to inspect all companies regarding their employment schemes and that the government does not have the money to improve the situation.

Duterte also hit out at the practice of subcontracting or outsourcing employment, which is being abused and allows big companies to skirt the labor law.

Duterte also followed up the warnings with tough words, saying “sometimes we Filipinos are very stubborn, I will not go easy on you,” Duterte told those whom he was addressing.

The left-leaning labor group Kilusang Mayo Uno was not totally convinced, saying that Duterte should present “concrete policies” to back up his tough talk against contractualization.

Even Labor Secretary Silvestro Bello had said that revisions in the law are needed to end contractualization because of loopholes in the Labor Code and Bello even defended some big companies taking in “seasonal” employees.

While wooing workers through his fighting words, Duterte also gave Jose Maria Sison, symbolic of the communist movement, a nasty beating even referring to him as spitting saliva all over when angered.

READ MORE...

Sison, of course, was livid after Duterte went through with lifting his unilateral ceasefire after a deadline he gave had expired.

Sison called Duterte “volatile,” adding that he can’t impose an ultimatum and that the lifting of the truce showed “lack of prudence in something as sensitive and delicate as peace negotiations between two armed fighting sides.”

Sison and the communist movement strangely found the unilateral ceasefire of Duterte as “hollow” and without meaning for them.

Duterte said in response that he has the mandate of about 16.6 million Filipinos while “they couldn’t even get to elect a leftist.”

Duterte was sounding off the communist movement when the peace negotiations begin in Oslo, Norway on August 20 that the government will drive a hard bargain using his strong mandate from the recent elections as leverage.

Duterte in dictating the terms, however, provided a rigid parameter for his negotiators who would be led by Jess Dureza as reflected in the question he asked reporters “who would you rather believe, me or them?”

Such impatience in Duterte becomes a real danger when frustration sets in later in his term as he realizes not all will happen according to his timetable.

The war on drugs is an example of how Duterte wants to get things done, which is to cut corners in the law to achieve a six-month deadline.

Duterte has a lot on his plate, foremost of which are Federalism and the peace process aside from restoring peace and order which his predecessor Noynoy neglected, and which he expects to finish within six years.

“Brasuhin ko yan” which means “I’ll ram it through” is what Duterte usually says when hitting an obstacle in his roadmap.
It is dangerously close to professing autocratic means.


Congressional haste makes too much waste Written by Ninez Cacho-Olivares Friday, 05 August 2016 00:00

Changing the current Constitution is to be done through two bodies: An appointed constitutional commission (con-com) and a constituent assembly (con-ass).

This is the latest project of Rody Duterte and his House of Representatives, to speed up the Charter change (cha-cha).

Obviously, Rody will have what he wants — by way of a federal-parliamentary form and system of government under a new Charter, mainly because it will not be the electorate that will choose the delegates to draft a new Constitution. It will naturally be the Rody chosen con-com commissioners who will be drafting the new Constitution.

This con-com will then be no different from the con-com created by the late Cory Aquino, who had handpicked the con-com commissioners, virtually all of whom were her allies. There were just about two opposition commissioners out of 50.

It will likely be the same in the appointments to be made by Rody, who will naturally appoint some of his close friends, aside from a sprinkling of justices and constitutionalists.

It should be recalled that, in spite of having a con-com during Cory’s time, the Filipinos ended up with a 1987 Constitution that has too many flaws that were left unchecked, part of which was the very provision on the modes of amending and revising the Charter, which has created the problem of the two congressional chambers voting jointly on a three-fourths vote, which is the reason the con-ass mode will not fly — unless the Senate toes the Palace line and gives in to senators having no voice in revising the Constitution.

But say that the Senate and the House agree to engage in joint voting. Just what influence will that con-com draft of a new Charter have on the con-ass?

For a number of congressmen who hardly take their duties as the representatives of the people, they will likely just pass anything, rather than do an honest to goodness research on federalism and a parliamentary system and how it will really impact on the nation politically, socially and economically, despite the con-com draft, because the truth of the matter is that it is never the system and form of government that changes a nation, but the proper implementation of the Constitution and its laws that does.

READ MORE...

Some amendments to the present Constitution would be workable for the nation if laws are implemented properly and efficiently and if the leaders of the country obey the Constitution and dutifully abide by its provisions.

But more often that not, constitutional provisions are violated and with impunity, and laws are ignored by them.

Is it likely that a federal-parliamentary system will change all that? Hardly. It will be the same thing, with violations multiplied in several states.

What is also likely to happen is that whatever the con-com draft charter surfaces, this will be quickly approved by the House, probably in toto, as the House, having a super majority, wants a revised draft charter rushed, because Rody wants this rushed.

The bigger problem really is that 73 percent of Filipinos, as reflected in a Pulse Asia survey, either know nothing about the Constitution or are unaware of it, although out of those who know about charter change, a plurality of 44 percent are against the cha-cha.

In much the same way, the electorate, in 1986, just ratified the draft charter without really knowing what they were ratifying.

The information drive the Aquino government came up with was based on fear, with statements of rushing the approval of the 1987 Charter due to political instability driven by the coups being staged, which the new ratified Charter, however, failed to bring about political stability.

Creating a federal-parliamentary system will not bring about the changes needed in this nation. For one, even Rody does not appear to know just what kind of federal and parliamentary system he wants.

He talks of the US model, which is certainly not a Parliamentary government, although the US does operate under a federal system, with two congressional chambers: The Senate and the House of Representatives.

The French system is parliamentary, but France, while having a president and prime minister, does not operate under a federal system and form of government.

Germany has a parliamentary government operating under a federal system. The United Kingdom has a parliamentary system, as Spain also has, whose regions are autonomous. Both are monarchies.

If Rody and his allies don’t really know what they want except to change the Constitution, how can they possibly know just what a new Constitution that will bring about a federal-parliamentary government will benefit the nation, politically, socially and economically?


Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi

© Copyright, 2016 by PHILIPPINE HEADLINE NEWS ONLINE
All rights reserved


PHILIPPINE HEADLINE NEWS ONLINE [PHNO] WEBSITE