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EDITORIALS & OPINIONS OF THE WEEK:
(Mini Reads followed by Full news commentary)
FROM ABS-CBN NEWS

BY TIN BARTOLOME: ADDICTION


OCTOBER 7 -Addiction is a symptom of a bigger problem. And though the bigger problem seems to have been accepted as part of life, the victims of this problem are the ones paying such a high price without getting relief. Addiction is only one of the effects of this “bigger problem,” which is poverty.As an identified patient, an addict is like the child who suddenly “acts up,” causes trouble and embarrassment and is then sent to a counselor. Does one shoot a child whose grades suddenly plummet—or who suddenly withdraws from his or her own family? While it is true that someone addicted to substances can pose great danger—and in fact, hurt, maim or even kill others (besides stealing from them), a closer look at why that person got there is important. READ MORE...

ALSO: By Buddy Gomez - Duterte’s bloody drug war deception


OCTOBER 14 -Let me be absolutely and unmistakably unequivocal about illegal drugs. They are a pestilence.
There is no society in the world that does not have a problem with illegal drugs of varying degrees of severity and damage. Society, through its government, must always act to prevent and to repel its distribution and its deleterious consequences. Always, intelligent and effective action must be harnessed to combat this malevolence. It is a war, government ought to and must lead to fight and win, upholding the law and honoring the processes of justice, observing the basics of human rights. Those are incontestable, non-negotiable and irreplaceable tenets. According to the latest national opinion pulse-taking, fighting the drug war in the Philippines is highly popular, what with President Rodrigo R. Duterte at its gory and bloody violent forefront, boosted by the ferocious use of social media legerdemain. However, even more popular, as interpreted from the latest Social Weather Stations survey, is the people’s desire to see addicts, deviants, pushers, users and victims--the unconvicted although perceived guilty--be kept alive to face due process! In other words, people in general abhor violence but the Filipino people, like most human beings, hate the sight of blood! And wish for the rule of law to prevail! READ MORE...

ALSO: Richard Heydarian  - Duterte and an Independent Foreign Policy


OCTOBER 14 -Richard Heydarian Time and again, President Rodrigo Duterte has called for an “independent” foreign policy. But what does it exactly mean? Can a mid-sized, developing country like the Philippines ever achieve it? Does it even make sense to talk about such in our globalized world? To better understand the issue, it behooves us to take a glance at contemporary history, particularly the experience of other independent-minded developing countries, whose leaders sounded not too different from our own Duterte. Back in the Cold War years, a number of audacious leaders from the post-colonial world envisioned a new path for their nations -- one that was marked by self-reliance, independence, and reflexive pursuit of self-determination. Critical of Western imperialism, represented by the “First World” capitalist democracies, and appalled by Communist tyranny, represented by the “Second World” Soviet bloc, they opted for a third way. This gave birth to the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM), with the 1955 Bandung Conference serving as its foundational meeting. The titans of what would later on be termed as the “Third World” were Sukarno (Indonesia), Gamal Abdel Nasser (Egypt), Jawaharlal Nehru (India), Kwame Nkrumah (Ghana), and Josip Broz Tito (Yugoslavia). These leaders collectively served as the conscience of the majority of human population, who were unwilling to be embroiled in the destructive rivalry of the superpowers. READ MORE...

ALSO: By E. Tordesillas - FVR has earned the right to critique Duterte


OCTOBER 13 -The critique of former President Fidel V. Ramos of President Duterte’s first 100 days should be a warning to the latter that he cannot go on with his “Kill, Kill” mantra with five years and nine months more to go in his presidency. FVR burst the bubble of Malacañang’s euphoria over the President’s 76 percent satisfaction rating (Social Weather Stations September 24-27, 2016 survey) with a commentary in the Oct. 9 issue of the Manila Bulletin that “..we find our team Philippines losing in the first 100 days of DU30’s administration – and losing badly. This is a huge disappointment and let-down to many of us. “Team Philippines” refers to the 101 million Filipinos.
Ramos said Duterte could have done better “..if he had hit the ground running instead of being stuck in unending controversies about extra-judicial killings of drug suspects and in his ability at using cuss-words and insults instead of civilized language.”  If it were not FVR saying this, Duterte and his supporters could have easily dismissed it as part of a CIA-sponsored campaign to bring down the popular president. But this is FVR, the person Duterte especially thanked for his becoming president during his inauguration. This is FVR, who had proven to be the most competent of the post-Marcos presidents. He knows what he is talking about when he says that new administration failed “on two concepts of primordial importance – Leadership and Teamwork.” One of the issues FVR took Duterte to task was on his puzzling animosity towards the United States. Ramos said: “Equally discombobulating are the mix of ‘off-and-on’ statements by P. Digong on Philippines-U.S. relations, particularly on security and economic matters.” READ MORE...


READ FULL MEDIA REPORTS HERE:

OPINION: Addiction

MANILA, OCTOBER 17, 2016 (ABS-CBN) Tin Bartolome Posted at Oct 07 2016 10:16 PM - Addiction is a symptom of a bigger problem. And though the bigger problem seems to have been accepted as part of life, the victims of this problem are the ones paying such a high price without getting relief. Addiction is only one of the effects of this “bigger problem,” which is poverty.

As an identified patient, an addict is like the child who suddenly “acts up,” causes trouble and embarrassment and is then sent to a counselor. Does one shoot a child whose grades suddenly plummet—or who suddenly withdraws from his or her own family?

While it is true that someone addicted to substances can pose great danger—and in fact, hurt, maim or even kill others (besides stealing from them), a closer look at why that person got there is important.

READ MORE...

Individuals hooked on substances have the option to enter rehabilitation centers if they can afford it. They can avail of counseling there, along with their families. But larger groups of substance abusers need something else— something more than just rehab and counseling.

Knowing why and not just how a person becomes an addict would be more useful than just killing them off. Other addictions may surface or develop, just as other substances may be used to “get high”—so the important thing is to address what makes them do it.

Education, jobs, alternative livelihood, sports, poverty eradication—other ways of addressing these problems—not wiping these addicts out may be the solution. Because in the end, we become worse creatures if we just kill them like that.

While it is true that apprehending the pushers and everyone else in the chain is a big step, it seems like there is a bias in favor of the powerful ones. Their pawns are the ones getting killed!

Perhaps, looking into the different kinds of pastoral help could provide a perspective that is more respectful of human rights.

“Because human beings are a mixture or synthesis of spirit and nature, their behavior is a product of both free decision and various forms of conditionedness,” writes Donald Browning in Clinical Handbook of Pastoral Counseling.

To say that these addicts are not human and that they deserve to die denies this belief.

Come to think of it, even the hardest of hearts sometimes succumbs to a cute puppy wagging its tail or a kitten trapped on the branch of a tree. If hard hearts can feel for these creatures, I would imagine that it would be easier to feel sympathy at least, for other humans.

The crusade against drugs is truly laudable, but summary killings are not.

Summary executions deprive victims, perpetrators and onlookers (who would not lift a finger to prevent them) their dignity and humanity.


Duterte’s bloody drug war deception Buddy Gomez Posted at Oct 14 2016 04:37 AM



Let me be absolutely and unmistakably unequivocal about illegal drugs. They are a pestilence.

There is no society in the world that does not have a problem with illegal drugs of varying degrees of severity and damage.

Society, through its government, must always act to prevent and to repel its distribution and its deleterious consequences.

Always, intelligent and effective action must be harnessed to combat this malevolence. It is a war, government ought to and must lead to fight and win, upholding the law and honoring the processes of justice, observing the basics of human rights. Those are incontestable, non-negotiable and irreplaceable tenets.

According to the latest national opinion pulse-taking, fighting the drug war in the Philippines is highly popular, what with President Rodrigo R. Duterte at its gory and bloody violent forefront, boosted by the ferocious use of social media legerdemain.

However, even more popular, as interpreted from the latest Social Weather Stations survey, is the people’s desire to see addicts, deviants, pushers, users and victims--the unconvicted although perceived guilty--be kept alive to face due process! In other words, people in general abhor violence but the Filipino people, like most human beings, hate the sight of blood! And wish for the rule of law to prevail!

READ MORE...

The bloody body count of this war against illegal drugs has breached 3,500 even before President Duterte had completed first 100 days in office.

Today, Philippine society is witnessing an unprecedented era of violence and bloodletting, worsened by the predominating participation of police authorities. There is no question in this correspondent’s mind that this is happening because we elected a President, who once a Mayor of a notoriously bloody and violent community now casts his earned craft nationwide! Because of his documented statements and stances, it is inevitable that Duterte’s infamy and increasingly suspected psychiatric condition are called into question. Does the President have a fetish for public blood spilling and murderous gore?

Today, despite expressed concerns and advice from the highest and most experienced, respected international precincts, our President angrily persists, boneheadedly, in employing methods that have, in the past, failed and have been debunked in every vicinity where these have been employed.

KILLING AS A PERSONAL PRIORITY

The killing, nay, the wanton slaughter of drug users, addicts and those tainted with illegal drugs in whatever scent, shape or form, is a personal priority of President Duterte, bar none. It is now evident that his administration entertains no other focus of similar intensity.

With regularity, he has proclaimed that the country’s illegal drug subculture consists of 3 million addicts. Then, it becomes 3.7 million. Lately, he mentioned 4 million. (OK. He did express delight in slaughtering 3 million. Remember?) Please take into mind that these numbers, the foundation of Duterte’s unchallenged populist palaver of saving Philippine society, represent the self-assessed and self-proclaimed enormity of the drug menace. (As though we are not beset by other problems!)

And that is why, of course, he has come to rescue and to protect the next generation from sure perdition. He alone possesses the ability and the resolve to rid the country of the drug menace, with finality! He never misses the opportunity to so declare, with the supportive complicity of and the distracting noise created by, Duterte’s mercenary cyber warriors.

A MANDATE BASED ON DECEPTION

It is to combat such drug menace, if we are to believe the cacophonous ululations of his addled clientele, that he has been mandated by 16.6 million votes--the 39.1 % plurality that constitutionally allowed him to claim electoral victory. But his drug menace is not the reason he is our President!

The matter of illegal drugs and drug addiction is not enrolled in the people’s priority of concerns as much as those of poverty, employment, health, pollution and Metro Manila traffic/congestion, as well as general peace and order/crimes do. In other words, Philippine society faces other problems of greater import and priority that require more rigorous and saner attention, than what Duterte has already squandered chasing after an exaggerated sham, his personal war against drugs!

Of course, illegal drugs are a monumental problem. But certainly not in the magnitude to which heady heights the President’s better lights have been marooned, all by his own psychotic self! Duterte must wake up from his self-inflicted black phantasma. We remain hopeful as we are undenying that he is not beyond rehabilitation!

The President does not hold an authoritative basis for repeatedly claiming that there are 3 or 4 million drug addicts lurking in society’s shadows. Therefore, we now dare call his bluff and bluster. To repeat, there is no factual basis for the drug numbers Duterte has consistently scared the public with, successfully shoring up his bluff with an artificially induced morbid perception based on manufactured exaggeration! The hyped enormity of the drug menace he is battling may really be all just inside his head!

THE OFFICIAL DATA

The uncontested official data available through the Dangerous Drugs Board and the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency show that the latest drug addiction figure for 2015 (released on September 19, 2016) is 1.8 million addicts! NOT the 3 or 4 million that Duterte bandies about.

In fact, it was during the Aquino administration that this incidence went down to 1.3 million from a high of 5.8 to 6.7 million during the 1999 to 2004 years covered by the official report. Undisturbed by truth, the Duterte choir has the unabashed effrontery to claim that the drug problem was inherited from and therefore blame is due to, a negligent Aquino presidency. Ridiculous, is it not?

That would also mean that the witnesses presented during the Congressional charade-cum-witch hunt against Sen. Leila de Lima, were criminals arrested, tried, convicted and imprisoned during the Aquino administration!

INTERNATIONAL CRIMINAL COURT

The International Criminal Court is waiting!

Because this gory spectacle ensues from Presidential behavior and utterances, the on-going carnage is easily interpreted and accepted to be State-encouraged, if not sponsored. The killing spree is undoubtedly personally inspired by this President. His harangues are all a matter of incontestable evidentiary record, with personal encouragements and re-echoed enticements of lucrative material rewards for the uniformed killers.

While there is not a single execution that is attended by legal due process much less by a judicial conviction, Duterte vituperates against critics (leaders of the USA, UN, EU, the Church and the Laity) cursing them and proudly, sneeringly proclaiming that he does not give a damn about human rights! Well, we may have something to see about that.

By his insane wont, I am convinced that Duterte is not only daring, but indeed handing over to the International Criminal Court a cause celebre case of crimes against humanity, ready-made for indictment!

By the way, has the International Criminal Court ever exonerated an indictee by reason of insanity? Just asking!


Duterte and an Independent Foreign Policy Richard Heydarian Posted at Oct 13 2016 04:10 AM | Updated as of Oct 13 2016 03:48 PM


Richard Heydarian

Time and again, President Rodrigo Duterte has called for an “independent” foreign policy. But what does it exactly mean? Can a mid-sized, developing country like the Philippines ever achieve it? Does it even make sense to talk about such in our globalized world?

To better understand the issue, it behooves us to take a glance at contemporary history, particularly the experience of other independent-minded developing countries, whose leaders sounded not too different from our own Duterte.

Back in the Cold War years, a number of audacious leaders from the post-colonial world envisioned a new path for their nations -- one that was marked by self-reliance, independence, and reflexive pursuit of self-determination.

Critical of Western imperialism, represented by the “First World” capitalist democracies, and appalled by Communist tyranny, represented by the “Second World” Soviet bloc, they opted for a third way. This gave birth to the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM), with the 1955 Bandung Conference serving as its foundational meeting.

The titans of what would later on be termed as the “Third World” were Sukarno (Indonesia), Gamal Abdel Nasser (Egypt), Jawaharlal Nehru (India), Kwame Nkrumah (Ghana), and Josip Broz Tito (Yugoslavia). These leaders collectively served as the conscience of the majority of human population, who were unwilling to be embroiled in the destructive rivalry of the superpowers.

READ MORE...

What they cared about were not world domination or vanity of universalism, but instead the particularity of national development. They dreamed of an independent, autarkic and prosperous nation for their countrymen. Yet, it didn’t take long before a painful realization settled in.

The sheer asymmetry of material and ideological power between these post-colonial nations, on one hand, and the capitalist and communist blocs, on the other, were too large to ignore. It was impossible to be fully independent in a valley of giants, which had enough capabilities to turbocharge your national development as well as reduce your country into ashes.

So eventually, many of the Third World’s most ambitious leaders ended up playing a dangerous but inevitable game. To preserve their room for strategic maneuver and a semblance of national independence, they had to play one superpower against the other.

While Tito of Yugoslavia constantly resisted an overbearing Moscow and maintained a non-confrontational relationship vis-a-vis Western Europe, Nasser opted for a strategic alliance with Moscow in order counter Western imperialism in the Middle East.

For them, independence was not about jumping from one superpower camp to the other. That would have nullified the whole point of pursuing national independence. Instead, it was about building friendly relations with the lesser evil in order to keep the bigger threat at bay.

For some post-colonial nations, the Eastern power of Soviet Union was the bigger threat, while for others it was the Americans. The end of the Cold War, however, created an illusion of democratization in global affairs.

Yet, it soon became clear that nations faced two stark choices: Either accept American supremacy and embrace democratic capitalism or, instead, be branded as a rogue state. Given America’s full-spectrum dominance, whether in military or economy and culture, most nations toed the line.

The rapid ascent of China, however, has revived memories of Cold War and a binary competition between the East and the West. Once again, we are talking about the battle between the West and the East. We are again talking about ideological competition, or at least that is what Duterte has invoked, when he threatened joining the “other side of the ideological barrier” with no point of return

Yet, our world is fundamentally different from that of Nasser’s and Tito’s. We live in a highly integrated, globalized world, where the prospect of war between the two superpowers is comparatively lower, if not unthinkable. We live in a world where it is hard to talk about full self-reliance, that is to say autarky, even if you come from the Hermit kingdom of North Korea, which heavily relies on Chinese assistance.

This is not the world where you can play Moscow against Washington, because there is no Cold War between the giants, at least no yet. We live in a world where pure “independence” is impossible, unless you’re the global hegemon, which can shape global financial markets, dictate agreements on weaker nations, and command a globetrotting military.

Mid-sized, developing countries like the Philippines, however, can pursue a foreign policy that is not subservient to one superpower or aligned to one against the other. It can pursue a strategy, whereby it has equi-proximate relations with all major forces, so we can benefit the most out of each and every one of them.

This is easier said than done, but as the recent experience of countries such as South Korea, Singapore, and Vietnam shows, it is doable. Yet, we can’t also deny that not all superpowers are the same. There are always more benign ones, while others could be more vicious and exploitative.

The question now is whether we are Yugoslavia or Egypt, because that will help us to appreciate which superpower we should be kept at bay more than the other.
-----------
Editor's note:
Richard Heydarian is an academic, internationally published author, and a widely consulted policy adviser, focusing on Asia-Pacific affairs. This is his first regular blog/opinion piece for news.abs-cbn.com. He will soon be appearing regularly on the ABS-CBN News Channel (ANC) to give in-depth analyses of current affairs.
As an academic, he has taught at De La Salle University as well as Ateneo de Manila University in the Philippines, and been invited to talk at conferences in leading universities around the world. His latest book is Asia's New Battlefield: US, China and the Struggle for the Western Pacific (Zed, London).


FVR has earned the right to critique Duterte Ellen T. Tordesillas Posted at Oct 12 2016 03:43 PM

The critique of former President Fidel V. Ramos of President Duterte’s first 100 days should be a warning to the latter that he cannot go on with his “Kill, Kill” mantra with five years and nine months more to go in his presidency.

FVR burst the bubble of Malacañang’s euphoria over the President’s 76 percent satisfaction rating (Social Weather Stations September 24-27, 2016 survey) with a commentary in the Oct. 9 issue of the Manila Bulletin that “..we find our team Philippines losing in the first 100 days of DU30’s administration – and losing badly. This is a huge disappointment and let-down to many of us.

“Team Philippines” refers to the 101 million Filipinos.

Ramos said Duterte could have done better “..if he had hit the ground running instead of being stuck in unending controversies about extra-judicial killings of drug suspects and in his ability at using cuss-words and insults instead of civilized language.”

If it were not FVR saying this, Duterte and his supporters could have easily dismissed it as part of a CIA-sponsored campaign to bring down the popular president.

But this is FVR, the person Duterte especially thanked for his becoming president during his inauguration.

This is FVR, who had proven to be the most competent of the post-Marcos presidents. He knows what he is talking about when he says that new administration failed “on two concepts of primordial importance – Leadership and Teamwork.”

One of the issues FVR took Duterte to task was on his puzzling animosity towards the United States.

Ramos said: “Equally discombobulating are the mix of ‘off-and-on’ statements by P. Digong on Philippines-U.S. relations, particularly on security and economic matters.”

READ MORE...

He noted the bizarre timing of Duterte’s tirades: “At the time when (1) DFA Secretary Jun Yasay was addressing the U.N. in New York; (2) DOF Secretary Sonny Dominguez was leading a trade delegation to the U.S.. and, (3) DND Secretary Del Lorenzana was huddling on South China Sea/West Philippine Sea concerns with U.S. Defense Chief Ash Carter and the other ASEAN Defense Ministers in Honolulu, our president continued to berate outgoing President Barack Obama, outgoing U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon, and terminated RP-U.S. Military exercises by end-2016.”

“So, what gives??,” Ramos asked with a double question mark.

The West Pointer asked the questions which are in the minds of Philippine military officials: “ Are we throwing away decades of military partnership, tactical proficiency, compatible weaponry, predictable logistics, and soldier-to-soldier camaraderie just like that??”

“On P. Du30’s say-so???” he asked with three question marks.

In a talk with him the other day, he said major policy shifts should be decided upon consultation with the Filipino people.
Ramos, who was named by Duterte as special envoy to China, will not be joining the President’s state visit to China on Oct. 18 to 21.

He said he has performed his job as “ice-breaker” in Philippine-China relations which was strained during the Aquino administration with his team’s meeting in Hong Kong last Aug. 11 with Chinese friends and officials.

His team was supposed to have gone to China last week of September for a second meeting with Chinese officials but it was cancelled. Reason given was the President’s state visit.

One sensed frustration in FVR’s voice when he said that “That was it” for his special envoy role.

Duterte has not reacted to FVR’s commentary but Presidential Spokesperson Ernesto Abella said they see the former President as “ acting in a sense like a father.”

Will the President/child listen?


Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi

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