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EDITORIALS & OPINIONS OF THE WEEK:
(Mini Reads followed by Full news commentary)
FROM CEBU 'THE FREEMAN' (PHILSTAR)

By CLARENCE PAUL OARMINAL: SEN. BOY HERRERA's SPEECH ON ILLEGAL DRUGS IN 1989


SEPTEMBER 30 - CEBUpedia By Clarence Paul Oaminal (THE FREEMAN) The drug menace has been in this country more than a century ago. Narcopolitics is not new to this country. When the Americans replaced the Spaniards as colonizers though they did not absolutely tolerate the illegal drug trade, they merely regulated its use and sale. In Cebu, the American constables (aside from the local police, there were American soldiers who at that part of the invading army later after the sporadic rebellion of Cebuano patriots in 1901 were adopted as law enforcement officers of the Insular Government) were hesitant in conducting law enforcement operations against the opium traders because they included a powerful political clan. Opium was imported from China, though it originally came from India, a colony of the British Empire. The records of the Supreme Court lists cases on violations of the Opium Law but only involved small time Chinese opium users and retailers but never the importers who were openly known to the public. Decades ago a Senator from Samboan, Cebu championed the anti-drug crusade, he was the late Senator Ernesto "Boy" F. Herrera. He made a speech which proved proverbial and still up to now relevant to what is happening in country. A portion of his speech delivered in the halls of the Senate on September 21, 1989 is quoted: CONTINUE READING...

ALSO: By Korina Sanchez - Here we go again
(So we now have two cabinet secretaries trying to explain on behalf of Duterte's latest pronouncements concerning the US. I guess we will have to wait again for further explanations, clarifications, even rebukes for once again misinterpreting Dutertes's statements, which are actually very clear. I mean, he said this would be the last, and that China doesn't want them. He is also warming up to China and Russia. Can't get any clearer than that).


SEPTEMBER 30 -By Korina Sanchez Budget Secretary Diokno was quick to refute President Duterte's statement that the US was behind the manipulation of the peso, causing it to be at its lowest in nine years vis-à-vis the US dollar. According to Diokno, the US economy is much better nowadays, which is why foreign investors are now investing back in the US. The US Federal Reserve has also wanted to raise interest rates. With the better economy, it now has a reason to do so, hence the appreciation of the greenback. Sec. Diokno also gave some advice to investors not to be distracted by all the "noise," "and to see the forest, and not the trees." I leave it up to you to figure out what the "noise and the trees" are. But there are those that believe that President Duterte's acerbic comments towards the US, the UN and now the EU have something to do not only with the depreciation of the peso, but the outlook of the country in terms of business and investment. For several days now, foreign investors have cashed out of the stock market. Then there is Standard & Poor's recent outlook, which Duterte doesn't care about. More recently, the country slipped to 57th place in the 2016 World Economic Forum Global Competitiveness report, ten notches lower than the previous report. Again, depending on who you ask, there are reasons why this is so. READ MORE...

ALSO: EDITORIAL - No real reform in reform tax package


SEPTEMBER 30 -Reform is a positive thing. It is something good, not bad. It is progressive, not retrogressive. That is how most people understand it. That is how all dictionaries define it. It is the improvement or correction of what is wrong, evil or corrupt. It is a rectification, an abandonment of that which is incorrect. It is a change for the better. In this context, which is the only context there is, the government's proposed comprehensive tax reform measure is almost a complete misnomer. Yes, it does seek to lower income taxes, which, as among the highest in Asia, if not the world, had long been the bane of the country's wage earners. But while it does give in some areas, it takes away in others, making it not a completely good thing. The worst part of the proposed tax reform measure is its intent to withdraw from senior citizens and persons with disabilities their value added tax exemption privileges. Nothing can be more incomprehensibly insensitive and mean than this particular proposal. Of all people the measure seeks to deprive some badly-needed privileges from, it had to pick on the senior citizens and PWDs. How very cruel indeed. READ MORE...

ALSO: From Cebu - PhilRussiaBusinessAssembly backs Duterte’s bid to ally with Russia, China


SEPTEMBER 29 -CEBU, Philippines - President Rodrigo Duterte’s plan to forge strong alliances with Russia and China gained support from the Philippine Russia-Business Assembly (PRBA). "We are going to meet with the PRBA members and stakeholders to assist the Philippine government to move forward," said Honorary Consul of the Russian Federation Armi L. Garcia in an interview. Garcia said the Russian government is delighted and welcomes the recent pronouncement of the President, adding that Russia is largely an unexplored market for the Philippines, and vice-versa. PRBA, founded by Garcia, is an organization of Philippine and Russian business people in the Philippines. Its counterpart in Russia is the Russian-Philippines Business Council of the Russian Chamber of Commerce and Industry. Interest of Russian investors to the Philippines is consistently on a high note Garcia said, mentioning the country's appeal on waste management system, defense or military technology or hardware, as well as tourism. READ MORE...


READ FULL MEDIA REPORTS HERE:

Sen. Boy Herrera’s speech on illegal drugs in 1989


CEBUpedia By Clarence Paul Oaminal

MANILA, OCTOBER 3, 2016 (THE FREEMAN OPINION (CEBU) ) CEBUpedia By Clarence Paul Oaminal (The Freeman) | Updated September 30, 2016 - The drug menace has been in this country more than a century ago. Narcopolitics is not new to this country.

When the Americans replaced the Spaniards as colonizers though they did not absolutely tolerate the illegal drug trade, they merely regulated its use and sale.

In Cebu, the American constables (aside from the local police, there were American soldiers who at that part of the invading army later after the sporadic rebellion of Cebuano patriots in 1901 were adopted as law enforcement officers of the Insular Government) were hesitant in conducting law enforcement operations against the opium traders because they included a powerful political clan. Opium was imported from China, though it originally came from India, a colony of the British Empire.

The records of the Supreme Court lists cases on violations of the Opium Law but only involved small time Chinese opium users and retailers but never the importers who were openly known to the public.

Decades ago a Senator from Samboan, Cebu championed the anti-drug crusade, he was the late Senator Ernesto "Boy" F. Herrera.

He made a speech which proved proverbial and still up to now relevant to what is happening in country. A portion of his speech delivered in the halls of the Senate on September 21, 1989 is quoted:

CONTINUE READING...

"Why Does the Drug Abuse Continue to Exist?

In 1988, the total worth of drugs seized amounted to P719 million and the year before that, in 1987, to P308 million. The abuse of drugs continues to escalate at an exponential rate.

With perennial campaigns being launched against drug abuse, and with laws against drug trafficking and pushing in place, why does the problem of drug abuse continue to exist?

Let me recount to you this frustrating tale. On downtown Avenida Rizal, right in front of the Robin Theater, there is an old woman selling magazines. She has an interesting clientele for her wares, consisting of lean and scruffy-looking street children, whose you will most likely see pressed against car windows begging for alms. The vender sells them solvents on the side, at P7 per bottle, or a few pesos less for those in plastic bags.

There is even a new trend in solvent-sniffing, making use of chemicals used to prevent nail varnish from evaporating. This has replaced rugby in popularity with street children.

Under Presidential Decree 1619 on the illegal sale and use of volatile substances such as solvents, the old woman should have been sentenced to from six months to four years in prison or fined P600 to P4,000. A WPD policeman swore that the old vendor has already been arrested several times, but she has managed to return to the street each time.

For there are laws and, then again, there are the laws of the streets. And these are the laws that most people live by. How can a patrolman paid a salary of P1,000 resist the temptation of a P10,000 bribe? How about the scalawags in the Narcotics Command who are said to be on the payroll of these drugs syndicates?

Why Drug Syndicates Remain Unfazed

Let us be frank. We are living in a country where law enforcers can be bribed, court cases fixed and protection from the law can be had for a monthly retainer.

As Nacrom Chief David said, while Singapore boasts of a 95 percent conviction rate for drug felons, our country has an embarrassing 5 percent. Out of every 100 cases filed, only 5 are resolved. This constitutes one of the major reasons why these drug syndicates have remained unfazed.

Congress should study the reasons behind the chronic history of low conviction rates for drug-related violations.

In a recent speech, David cited this low rate as one of the demoralizing factors in the Narcom's campaign against illegal drugs. He himself said that more often than not, violators are able to fix their cases and therefore evade the penalty called for in the law.

A look at comparative statistics of arrests and prosecutions from 1984 to 1989 shows that only a fraction of actual cases filed has been resolved within a year's time."


Here we go again THAT DOES IT By Korina Sanchez (The Freeman) | Updated September 30, 2016 - 12:00am 0 0 googleplus0 0


By Korina Sanchez

Budget Secretary Diokno was quick to refute President Duterte's statement that the US was behind the manipulation of the peso, causing it to be at its lowest in nine years vis-à-vis the US dollar.

According to Diokno, the US economy is much better nowadays, which is why foreign investors are now investing back in the US. The US Federal Reserve has also wanted to raise interest rates. With the better economy, it now has a reason to do so, hence the appreciation of the greenback.

Sec. Diokno also gave some advice to investors not to be distracted by all the "noise," "and to see the forest, and not the trees." I leave it up to you to figure out what the "noise and the trees" are.

But there are those that believe that President Duterte's acerbic comments towards the US, the UN and now the EU have something to do not only with the depreciation of the peso, but the outlook of the country in terms of business and investment.

For several days now, foreign investors have cashed out of the stock market. Then there is Standard & Poor's recent outlook, which Duterte doesn't care about. More recently, the country slipped to 57th place in the 2016 World Economic Forum Global Competitiveness report, ten notches lower than the previous report. Again, depending on who you ask, there are reasons why this is so.

READ MORE...

I then came across what Duterte said in Hanoi, Vietnam, where he went on a 2-day official visit. He said that this year's war games with the US would be the last, and that he is "serving notice now to the Americans," also claiming that China does not want these war games.

The US and the Philippines hold annual war games, which has been ongoing for the longest time since the Mutual Defense Treaty of the '50s. We also have the Visiting Forces Agreement and the Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement. So what does Duterte exactly mean by this year's war games with the US being the last?

Enter the president's men. According to National Security Adviser Hermogenes Esperon Jr., the president only meant that it will be the last for the year, and not the last ever. That's his take on what Duterte said in Hanoi. But when DFA Sec. Yasay was asked, who by the way was apparently sitting on stage when Duterte was giving his usual profanity-laced speech, he said he did not hear Duterte say he was putting an end to US-PH war games.

Perhaps he already took the advice of Sec. Diokno not to listen to the "noise." Or was he just plain not listening to the speech of his boss. Nonetheless, Yasay goes on to say that we have standing treaties with the US that will go beyond Duterte's term, and that the President just cannot abrogate them.

So we now have two cabinet secretaries trying to explain on behalf of Duterte's latest pronouncements concerning the US. I guess we will have to wait again for further explanations, clarifications, even rebukes for once again misinterpreting Dutertes's statements, which are actually very clear. I mean, he said this would be the last, and that China doesn't want them. He is also warming up to China and Russia. Can't get any clearer than that.


EDITORIAL - No real reform in reform tax package (The Freeman) | Updated September 29, 2016 - 12:00am 4 1 googleplus0 0

Reform is a positive thing. It is something good, not bad. It is progressive, not retrogressive. That is how most people understand it. That is how all dictionaries define it. It is the improvement or correction of what is wrong, evil or corrupt. It is a rectification, an abandonment of that which is incorrect. It is a change for the better.

In this context, which is the only context there is, the government's proposed comprehensive tax reform measure is almost a complete misnomer. Yes, it does seek to lower income taxes, which, as among the highest in Asia, if not the world, had long been the bane of the country's wage earners. But while it does give in some areas, it takes away in others, making it not a completely good thing.

The worst part of the proposed tax reform measure is its intent to withdraw from senior citizens and persons with disabilities their value added tax exemption privileges. Nothing can be more incomprehensibly insensitive and mean than this particular proposal. Of all people the measure seeks to deprive some badly-needed privileges from, it had to pick on the senior citizens and PWDs. How very cruel indeed.

READ MORE...

As a reform package, the measure ought not to make any deprivations. It ought not to take anything away that is already beneficially enjoyed. If, because of the lowering of income taxes, the revenues that are due the government are severely affected, the government can always compensate by stepping up its tax collection efforts. It can always crack the whip in this regard. That is if it truly wants to.

But even if it doesn't want to, it has to. That is because fighting corruption is one of the foundations upon which the Duterte administration is built. The promise to eliminate corruption is one of its main sources of popularity, and therefore strength. And it knows, as do the rest of the Filipinos, that corruption is the single biggest reason why government cannot collect the kind of revenues it is supposed to be collecting.

Most senior citizens are already retired and live off pensions that are more often than not inadequate and unable to keep what remains of their life at least comfortable. PWDs, on the other hand, do not have the means to compete with the rest of the population for a better life. Instead of being deprived of the little that they have, they should in fact be given more.

Another area where the measure seeks to recover what it expects to lose by lowering income taxes is slapping higher taxes on fuel products. It does not take much of an education to know that this will result in a spike in fuel prices, which in turn will drive prices of everything else up. When that happens, the whole country will be worse off than before, in which case no reform really takes place, only a worsening of the Philippine condition.


PRBA backs Duterte’s bid to ally with Russia, China By Ehda M. Dagooc (Banat) | Updated September 29, 2016 - 12:00am 2 12 googleplus0 0



CEBU, Philippines - President Rodrigo Duterte’s plan to forge strong alliances with Russia and China gained support from the Philippine Russia-Business Assembly (PRBA).

"We are going to meet with the PRBA members and stakeholders to assist the Philippine government to move forward," said Honorary Consul of the Russian Federation Armi L. Garcia in an interview.

Garcia said the Russian government is delighted and welcomes the recent pronouncement of the President, adding that Russia is largely an unexplored market for the Philippines, and vice-versa.

PRBA, founded by Garcia, is an organization of Philippine and Russian business people in the Philippines. Its counterpart in Russia is the Russian-Philippines Business Council of the Russian Chamber of Commerce and Industry.

Interest of Russian investors to the Philippines is consistently on a high note Garcia said, mentioning the country's appeal on waste management system, defense or military technology or hardware, as well as tourism.

READ MORE...

Garcia said that in her recent conversation with Russian Ambassador to the Philippines Igor Khovaev, she learned that the Russian government is happy with the recent development, referring on Duterte's friendly gesture towards Russia.

Last Tuesday, Duterte said he would build by next year “new alliances” with China and Russia to cushion a possible withdrawal of the United States from the Philippines.

“I am asking the Filipinos in the coming days, if America will make good its threat, I’m going to ask you to sacrifice a little bit. But by next year, I would have entered into so many new alliances with so many countries,” the President was quoted in a report.

Among the top interests of the country in Russia include oil and gas, food, agriculture, infrastructure development, telecommunications, tourism, manpower services, and general trade.

According to the Consulate of Russian Federation in the Philippines, bilateral trade between the two countries grew by more than 80 percent in 2010 to exceed US$713 million.

Top Philippine exports to Russia include desiccated coconut, carrageenan, lighters, personal care products, and banana chips.

Both the Philippines and Russia are member economies of Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC). (FREEMAN)


Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi

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