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

BY NESTOR MATA: THE U.N. SLAMMED FOR FAILED DRUG WAR


SEPTEMBER 7 -NESTOR MATA SOON after President Rodrigo Roa Duterte declared that he would continue his war on illegal drugs, and Singapore’s Minister of Home Affairs K. Shanmugam refused to soften his anti-drug policy, over a thousand other individuals slammed the United Nations for its failure to end the global drug war. In an open letter addressed to United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, current and former heads of state, human rights activists, celebrities, academics, doctors and politicians, voiced their protests before the UN General Assembly Special Session (UNGASS) conference was convened to debate the global war on drugs, endless violence, corruption and authoritarianism. They all protested the UN’s failure to keep its promise to implement meaningful reforms. And it faces widespread criticism amid accusations its proposed solutions are “tepid reiterations of draconian frameworks.” Not only this, they noted “a wide-ranging and open debate” had not happened – “at least within the confines of the United Nations” – and called on the Secretary- General Ban to guide the special assembly toward progress. “A new global response to drugs is needed,” they stated in their letter. “and it should be grounded in science, compassion, health and human rights.” READ MORE...

ALSO: By Ellen Tordesillas - Obama remarks on Duterte’s anti-drug campaign and human rights


SEPTEMBER 9 -By Ellen Tordesillas HERE are, in capsule, stories that came out of the summit of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations followed by meeting with their dialogue partners in Vientiane, Laos after US President Obama cancelled the scheduled meeting with President Rodrigo Duterte. Duterte did not attend three meetings: the Asean-US, Asean-India, and Asean-UN. Malacañang said he was not feeling well. Last Tuesday, after the cancellation by the White House of the Obama-Duterte meeting over the expletive-filled remarks directed at Obama made by Duterte before leaving Laos Monday, Malacanang released a statement that at the Asean gala dinner Wednesday, “Presidents Duterte and Obama will be seated next to each other, which expectedly, will focus all cameras on them to deliver to the world the encounter of the two. Incidentally, UN Secretary General Ban Ki Moon is also seated on the other side of President Duterte.” The excitement that is conveyed by that statement was complemented by Presidential spokesperson Ernesto Abella who said, ‘’In a meeting like this, there are always opportunities for warmth and civility so let us expect that they will have an encounter. And it will be, from the looks of it, civil and warm.’’ There was no photo of Obama-Duterte-Moon exchanging pleasantries over dinner. Reports about the gala dinner said contrary to Malacanang’s announcement, Duterte was not seated between Obama and Moon. READ MORE...

ALSO EDITORIAL: Words matter, yes but actions matter most


SEPTEMBER 9 -IT took the President of the Philippines with his loose-cannon ways and his irreverent choice of words to unite feuding politicians in the United States. Both Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump, they of the opposing political parties who do not mince words and always on the lookout for opportunities to hit each other, had to come to the defense of their outgoing president, Barack Obama, who they thought was the latest victim of Duterte slur. Stressing Obama was right in cancelling the meeting with Duterte in Laos, Clinton said, “When the President of the Philippines insulted our President, it was appropriate in a very low-key way to say: sorry, no meeting.” Trump himself was astonished, and commiserated with Obama for being the subject of the Philippine president’s brash vocabulary, on the same day that China refused to roll their red carpet for Air Force One. Reeling from the insult, State Department spokesperson Mark Toner told a press conference, “Words matter, and we want to see an atmosphere that is cordial and open to strong cooperation.”  Words matter, it’s true. How many times in the more than a century of Philippines-US relations did the Americans reneged on their word?  READ MORE...

ALSO: By Nestor Mata - A plot to unseat Duterte


SEPTEMBER 6 -NESTOR MATA PRESIDENT Rodrigo Roa Duterte, now on his 67th day in office, faces a plot by his political enemies to unseat him by blocking his war on illegal drugs, corruption and reforms for change in government. This plot was exposed just before Duterte’s first trip abroad to attend an annual Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean) Summit in Vientiane, Laos starting today September 6th to the 8th. He and US President Barack Obama plan to meet on the sidelines. Obama previously spoke to Duterte last May 31, congratulating him on winning the presidency, and he also praised the Philippines “vibrant democracy.” Human rights concerns and the head-line-making statements on his war on drugs will dominate his upcoming conversation with Obama. Before his trip to Laos, Duterte’s first stopover was Brunei, but this was cancelled following a deadly bomb blast in Davao City’s night market. He quickly placed the nation in a “state of lawlessness” but made it clear it was not a declaration of martial law. He still left to attend the ASEAN summit in Vientiane, Laos. Now, to go back to the plot against Duterte, this was first revealed in a social media post of Jose Alejandrino, former Presidential Assistant for Economic Affairs in the administration of then President Fidel V. Ramos. According to Alejadrino, the sinister plan was hatched by the political opposition to destroy Duterte’s reputation, obstruct his program, erode his popularity, and replace him with Vice President Leni Robredo of the Liberal Party. Not only this, Alejandrino also disclosed that “there are an Intel reports of an assassination plot against the President financed by drug lords, some rich oligarchs, and some members of the previous Aquino administration who fear being tried for corruption by the Duterte government.”  Soon after this expose, the police claimed to have thwarted the slay plot after busting a suspected gun smuggling syndicate supposed to sell gun parts to a group planning to kill President Duterte. EAD MORE...


READ FULL MEDIA REPORTS HERE:

The UN slammed for failed global drug war


NESTOR MATA

MANILA, SEPTEMBER 12, 2016 (MAALAYA) By NESTOR MATA September 08, 2016 - SOON after President Rodrigo Roa Duterte declared that he would continue his war on illegal drugs, and Singapore’s Minister of Home Affairs K. Shanmugam refused to soften his anti-drug policy, over a thousand other individuals slammed the United Nations for its failure to end the global drug war.

OPEN LETTER

In an open letter addressed to United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, current and former heads of state, human rights activists, celebrities, academics, doctors and politicians, voiced their protests before the UN General Assembly Special Session (UNGASS) conference was convened to debate the global war on drugs, endless violence, corruption and authoritarianism.

They all protested the UN’s failure to keep its promise to implement meaningful reforms. And it faces widespread criticism amid accusations its proposed solutions are “tepid reiterations of draconian frameworks.”

Not only this, they noted “a wide-ranging and open debate” had not happened – “at least within the confines of the United Nations” – and called on the Secretary- General Ban to guide the special assembly toward progress.

“A new global response to drugs is needed,” they stated in their letter. “and it should be grounded in science, compassion, health and human rights.”

READ MORE...

According to a separate statement by 194 advocacy organizations, the outcome of the UN document contained myriad flaws:

 “Given the highly problematic, non-inclusive and non-transparent nature of the preparatory process,” the systematic failure of the UN system.”

Ultimately, the joint-statement said the UN document was “out of sync,” arguing “the draft simply reaffirms the current approach and is devastating in its failure to acknowledge the damage of punitive policies.”

So, it urged representatives from UN member states to prepare their statements. Though the stipulations of the UNGASS document are all but established, representatives from countries around the world spoke out against it.

The dissenting voices have already stood up and called on UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon to set the state “for real reform of global drug control policy, which is the only way forward.

Many of them have vowed to fight for more meaningful reforms at the next meeting of UNGASS in 2019.

***

President Duterte communicated his firm policy of eradicating the scourge of illicit drugs and countering the menace of terrorism in a speech at the Association of Southeast Asian Nations summit in Vientiane, Laos. It was his first trip abroad to attend the 49th year of the 10-member ASEAN. Its 50th year will be hosted by the Philippines in 2017.

Before Duterte left for the summit, he defended his anti-illegal drugs campaign when he welcomed repatriated OFWs from Saudi Arabia. He explained that he is just reiterating that the government is doing its best to eliminate illegal drugs and criminality in the country.

Finally, Duterte told them, “I have no plans of becoming a dictator. I am a lawyer, and my mother was a Yellow Friday leader in Davao City.... I am just doing my duty or else I will compromise our next generation. Then we will have a safe country!”

***

Soon after his arrival in Laos for the ASEAN summit, President Duterte voiced his regret for a tirade against President Barack Obama. “While the immediate cause was my strong comments to certain questions of the press that elicited concern and distress, we also regret it came out in the press as a personal attack on President Obama,” he said. It happened during his pre-departure press briefing in Davao City.

His tirade pushed Obama to cancel what would have been their first face-to-face conversation on the sidelines of the summit. But upon his arrival in Vientiane, he said that he wouldn’t want to start a fight with the “most powerful president on the planet.”

Then Duterte announced that their meeting has been mutually agreed upon to be moved to a later date. “We look forward to ironing out differences arising out of national priorities and perceptions, and working in mutually responsible ways to both countries,”

Duterte said, as quoted in a report of Agence France-Presse from Vientiane. “Our primary intention is to chart an independent foreign policy while promoting closer ties with all nations, especially the United States.” with which we have had a long-standing partnership.”

Well, the hubbub certainly will not cause a diplomatic rupture in the long-standing partnership of the Philippines and the United States.

***

Quote of the Day: “Ask not what your country can do for you, but what you can do for your country!” – John F. Kennedy


OPINION: Obama remarks on Duterte’s anti-drug campaign and human rights By Ellen Tordesillas September 09, 2016


By Ellen Tordesillas

HERE are, in capsule, stories that came out of the summit of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations followed by meeting with their dialogue partners in Vientiane, Laos after US President Obama cancelled the scheduled meeting with President Rodrigo Duterte.

Duterte did not attend three meetings: the Asean-US, Asean-India, and Asean-UN.

Malacañang said he was not feeling well.

Last Tuesday, after the cancellation by the White House of the Obama-Duterte meeting over the expletive-filled remarks directed at Obama made by Duterte before leaving Laos Monday, Malacanang released a statement that at the Asean gala dinner Wednesday, “Presidents Duterte and Obama will be seated next to each other, which expectedly, will focus all cameras on them to deliver to the world the encounter of the two. Incidentally, UN Secretary General Ban Ki Moon is also seated on the other side of President Duterte.”

The excitement that is conveyed by that statement was complemented by Presidential spokesperson Ernesto Abella who said, ‘’In a meeting like this, there are always opportunities for warmth and civility so let us expect that they will have an encounter. And it will be, from the looks of it, civil and warm.’’

There was no photo of Obama-Duterte-Moon exchanging pleasantries over dinner. Reports about the gala dinner said contrary to Malacanang’s announcement, Duterte was not seated between Obama and Moon.

READ MORE...

The pictures showed Duterte was seated between Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev and Indonesia’s President Joko Widodo at the gala dinner during the second day of the Asean summit in Vientiane. Obama, meanwhile, was seated beside Brunei’s Sultan Hassanal Bolkiah and the Vietnam prime minister’s wife.

But before the dinner, while the leaders were in the holding room, Obama and Duterte were able to talk briefly.

It was a big deal for Foreign Secretary Perfecto Yasay who said it’s proof of strong US-Philippine relations.

“They met at the holding room and they were the last people to leave the holding room. I can’t say how long they met,” Yasay said.

“I’m very happy that it happened. It all springs from the fact that the relationship between the Philippines and the United States is firm, very strong,” he said.

The White House statement about the meeting was terse: “Obama had a brief discussion with President Duterte before the Asean Gala Dinner in the leaders’ hold space. The exchange consisted of pleasantries between the two.”

Obama was asked by reporters about that meeting and he said: “I did shake hands with President Duterte last night. It was not a long interaction, and what I indicated to him is that my team should be meeting with his and determine how we can move forward on a whole range of issues.”

What are those issues that the US wants to work with the Philippines?

One is illegal drug trafficking, a subject close to Duterte’s heart.

“..we want to partner with the Philippines on the particular issue of narco-traffickers, which is a serious problem in the Philippines. It’s a serious problem in United States and around the world,” he said.

But he stressed: “On that narrow issue, we do want to make sure the partnership we have is consistent with international norms and rule of law. So, we’re not going to back off from our position that if we’re working with a country, whether it’s on anti- terrorism, whether it’s on going after drug traffickers, as despicable as these networks may be, as much damage as they do, it is important, from our perspective, to make sure that we do it the right way because the consequences of when you do it the wrong way is innocent people get hurt.”

Obama still made his point. That’s how a world class leader does it.


EDITORIAL: Words matter, yes but actions matter most September 09, 2016

IT took the President of the Philippines with his loose-cannon ways and his irreverent choice of words to unite feuding politicians in the United States.

Both Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump, they of the opposing political parties who do not mince words and always on the lookout for opportunities to hit each other, had to come to the defense of their outgoing president, Barack Obama, who they thought was the latest victim of Duterte slur.

Stressing Obama was right in cancelling the meeting with Duterte in Laos, Clinton said, “When the President of the Philippines insulted our President, it was appropriate in a very low-key way to say: sorry, no meeting.”

Trump himself was astonished, and commiserated with Obama for being the subject of the Philippine president’s brash vocabulary, on the same day that China refused to roll their red carpet for Air Force One.

Reeling from the insult, State Department spokesperson Mark Toner told a press conference, “Words matter, and we want to see an atmosphere that is cordial and open to strong cooperation.”

Words matter, it’s true.

How many times in the more than a century of Philippines-US relations did the Americans reneged on their word?

READ MORE...

It took a courageous president like Duterte to say to an American President to his face: we are no longer colony. We do not conduct business according to your rules.

Before Digong, there was President Joseph “Erap” Estrada who defiantly told US President Bill Clinton that he could not give in to his request to stay the Camp Abubakar siege. Erap was unseated weeks after that, presumably through machinations of the US and its local tentacles.

More than a century ago, American Admiral George Dewey sent word to Emilio Aguinaldo from off the coast of Manila Bay to wait for them and together, they would storm Malacañang to drive away the Spaniards.

Ever trusting and unschooled in international politics, Aguinaldo was deceived and when Filipino revolutionaries reached Malacañang, the US flag already flew there.

This led to the Filipino-American war in 1901 during which Gen. Jacob Smith in Balangiga, Samar ordered his troops to kill every male over the age of 10.

Words matter, yes, but actions matter most.


OPINION:

A plot to unseat Duterte By NESTOR MATA September 06, 2016


NESTOR MATA

PRESIDENT Rodrigo Roa Duterte, now on his 67th day in office, faces a plot by his political enemies to unseat him by blocking his war on illegal drugs, corruption and reforms for change in government.

This plot was exposed just before Duterte’s first trip abroad to attend an annual Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean) Summit in Vientiane, Laos starting today September 6th to the 8th. He and US President Barack Obama plan to meet on the sidelines. Obama previously spoke to Duterte last May 31, congratulating him on winning the presidency, and he also praised the Philippines “vibrant democracy.” Human rights concerns and the head-line-making statements on his war on drugs will dominate his upcoming conversation with Obama.

Before his trip to Laos, Duterte’s first stopover was Brunei, but this was cancelled following a deadly bomb blast in Davao City’s night market. He quickly placed the nation in a “state of lawlessness” but made it clear it was not a declaration of martial law. He still left to attend the ASEAN summit in Vientiane, Laos.

LP PLOT

Now, to go back to the plot against Duterte, this was first revealed in a social media post of Jose Alejandrino, former Presidential Assistant for Economic Affairs in the administration of then President Fidel V. Ramos. According to Alejadrino, the sinister plan was hatched by the political opposition to destroy Duterte’s reputation, obstruct his program, erode his popularity, and replace him with Vice President Leni Robredo of the Liberal Party.

Not only this, Alejandrino also disclosed that “there are an Intel reports of an assassination plot against the President financed by drug lords, some rich oligarchs, and some members of the previous Aquino administration who fear being tried for corruption by the Duterte government.”

Soon after this expose, the police claimed to have thwarted the slay plot after busting a suspected gun smuggling syndicate supposed to sell gun parts to a group planning to kill President Duterte.

READ MORE...

“The President is pretty much untouched by these threats,” presidential spokesman Ernesto Abella told a news conference in Malacañang. He explained that Duterte himself knew that he is putting his life in danger as he pursued his campaign against illegal drugs and terrorism.

“He eats threats for breakfast,” Abella added. “Meaning to say, it is not something new to him. He said it again and again that he puts his honor, his life, his presidency on the line. It is a very heroic stand because he really understands that there is a call to war on several fronts already: war on drugs, war on terrorism, and war on crime. He is engaged in several fronts and he is really aware that his life is constantly under threat.”

Actually, there has been popular support for Duterte’s war on illegal drugs, but the wave of extra-judicial killings that happened as he carried out his pledge to wipe out illegal drug trade has alarmed human rights groups.

40 PAGED EXPLANATION OF RISING KILLINGS

So, Duterte’s officials have readied a 40-page pamphlet to explain the rising count of drug-related killings. This would be issued on the President’s first trip abroad today, according to his communications secretary, Martin Andanar. “Some people abroad have to understand why so many people are getting killed in the anti-drug campaign,” he said. “They must understand this is a war and there are casualties.”

“The pamphlet,” he went on to say, “will inform and explain that the government was not killing people at random, that these killings are not extra-judicial in nature but as part of the anti-crime campaign. Some of those killed were police officers who are involved in criminal activities.”

As a matter of fact, President Duterte’s war on drugs is indeed justified. The latest report by the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) has disclosed that 2.1 percent of Filipinos aged 16 to 64 were using illegal drugs, or “shabu”, continues to be the main drug threat in the country.

The PDEA records show that there were 9,850 anti-illegal drug operations which resulted in the arrest of 8,491 suspects and 9,995 cases were filed. The agency seized 250 kilos of shabu, aside from 4.8 million marijuana plants, 17,222 grams of cocaine and 960 Ecstacy tablets.

Ethnic Chinese organized crime groups, according to the report, continue to be the primary organizers and financiers of illegal drug trafficking in the country. However, the law enforcement agencies, the PDEA and the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) noted that the new trend of African-produced shabu being smuggled into the Philippines through the airports for onward distribution throughout Southeast Asia.

This supports the findings of law enforcers that the continuing decline in industrial-sized shabu or “methamphetamine” laboratories in the country due to the improved detection and law enforcement efforts.

The report also said that Manila “continued to face the daunting task of tackling transnational drug trafficking organizations without strong legal tools, such as a provision for the judicially authorized interception of criminal communications, plea bargaining and an efficient drug asset forfeiture process.” With these important tools, it added, law enforcers’ ability to gather evidence against high-level drug traffickers remains limited.

No wonder there have been few signs in the country of a backlash against President Duterte’s crackdown on illegal drugs, except from his political enemies who are plotting to unseat him from the presidency.

***

Quote of the Day: “When there is moral rot within a nation, its government topples easily; but with honest, sensible leaders there is stability.” – From the Bible (Proverbs 28.2).


Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi

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