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EDITORIAL: YOLANDA -BUILDING BACK, THREE YEARS AFTER


NOVEMBER 8 -The graves now have crosses with markers identifying the deceased, but thousands remain missing. Some of the fatalities are believed buried under a ship that a powerful storm surge pushed ashore. The ship has been turned into a memorial, commemorating Super Typhoon Yolanda, the cataclysm that flattened Tacloban City and much of Eastern Samar and Leyte three years ago today. As residents lit candles for their dead or missing loved ones beginning yesterday, reports said some 200,000 Yolanda survivors continued to live in makeshift shelters. Farms planted mostly to coconut need more time to fully recover. Basic services have been restored, but rebuilding infrastructure can move faster. READ MORE...

ALSO: By Alex Magno - Transition


NOVEMBER 12 -By Alex Magno
Moments after his shocking win was sealed, Donald Trump transformed into a different person. He toned down his rhetoric. He was more conciliatory. This has to be a case of Jekyll becoming Trump – or the other way around. It was almost like we saw one person during the most divisive campaign in US political history and another as the crucial transition began. The divisiveness of the campaign spilled into the streets hours after the results became clear, with thousands protesting in the streets.The polarized public sentiment will likely linger on. Like Al Gore in 2000, Hillary Clinton edged out Trump in the popular vote although she lost heavily in the Electoral College votes. READ MORE...

ALSO EDITORIAL - Not the least guilty


NOVEMBER 12 -President Duterte has often said he wants his police force to wage his war on criminality without fear of facing legal problems. He is taking full responsibility, he likes to reassure the police, and he’s the only one who will go to jail, just in case. Cops like to hear this, but it should not mean condoning wrongdoing, especially in an organization with a lot of rotten eggs. Returning to the country from Malaysia and Thailand, the President expressed support for the police team that killed Albuera Mayor Rolando Espinosa and another inmate in their cells at the Leyte sub-provincial jail in Baybay City early last Saturday. The President issued the statement a day after senators concluded, at the end of a daylong questioning of the policemen from the Criminal Investigation and Detection Group who conducted the operation, that the killing of Espinosa was “premeditated” and staged using a “bad script.” The CIDG has grounded the team members and reassigned them to Camp Crame.


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EDITORIAL - Building back, three years after

MANILA, NOVEMBER 14, 2016 (PHILSTAR) November 8, 2016 - The graves now have crosses with markers identifying the deceased, but thousands remain missing. Some of the fatalities are believed buried under a ship that a powerful storm surge pushed ashore. The ship has been turned into a memorial, commemorating Super Typhoon Yolanda, the cataclysm that flattened Tacloban City and much of Eastern Samar and Leyte three years ago today.

As residents lit candles for their dead or missing loved ones beginning yesterday, reports said some 200,000 Yolanda survivors continued to live in makeshift shelters. Farms planted mostly to coconut need more time to fully recover. Basic services have been restored, but rebuilding infrastructure can move faster.

READ MORE...

No one said reconstruction would be easy following the apocalyptic destruction wreaked by Yolanda. Especially if you’re trying to “build back better” – the mantra at the height of the clearing efforts. Those involved in the reconstruction said the work could take many years.

Haiti has not fully recovered from the magnitude-7.0 earthquake in January 2010 that left at least 100,000 to 160,000 people dead – but that’s Haiti. The Philippines, no stranger to typhoons, was supposed to be better prepared for disaster.

And even if Yolanda proved to be a monster howler, described by weather experts as the most powerful typhoon to ever make landfall, the Philippines received an avalanche of assistance from the international community. Several countries particularly the United States, Australia and European nations have sustained their aid efforts in the disaster zones.

Infrastructure development moves slowly even in Metro Manila. Merely clearing the rubble from the Yolanda-devastated zone took some time because of concerns over matters such as property ownership. A well-meaning effort to prevent the misuse of foreign aid and reconstruction funds slowed down the rebuilding.

Certain aspects of reconstruction, however, can be fast-tracked. The provision of permanent shelters in particular can be speeded up.

The typhoon-hit areas can use more support from the national government in attracting businesses to create jobs and livelihood opportunities. Tourism development can also create employment and generate local revenue. The annual commemoration of Yolanda should inject more energy into the rebuilding effort.


Transition FIRST PERSON By Alex Magno (The Philippine Star) | Updated November 12, 2016 - 12:00am 0 4 googleplus0 0


By Alex Magno

Moments after his shocking win was sealed, Donald Trump transformed into a different person. He toned down his rhetoric. He was more conciliatory.

This has to be a case of Jekyll becoming Trump – or the other way around. It was almost like we saw one person during the most divisive campaign in US political history and another as the crucial transition began.

The divisiveness of the campaign spilled into the streets hours after the results became clear, with thousands protesting in the streets.The polarized public sentiment will likely linger on. Like Al Gore in 2000, Hillary Clinton edged out Trump in the popular vote although she lost heavily in the Electoral College votes.

READ MORE...

There is America and then there is Middle America. The Democratic Party dominated in the more liberal Northeast and West Coast. The Republican Party won nearly everything in between.

Clinton won in the urban centers, among the college educated, the young, ethnic minorities and white women. Trump won among the less educated, rural communities and white males. He won in the Midwest and the South, in the so-called Rust Belt and among the retiree population in Florida.

It is as if America were two nations. One is more engaged with the rest of the world; the other fearful of foreigners and free trade. One is more socially liberal, multicultural and more permissive. The other is socially conservative, preferring to hold on to traditional values and a more homogenous society.

It could be that Trump won and the Republican Party lost, although they retained their majorities in both the Senate and the House of Representatives. The candidate was an outsider, one who many years ago declared that should he run for President he would do so under the Republican Party because its voters tend to believe anything said on Fox News.

The Republican establishment has little love for Trump. He represented an insurgency within the party directed against the party’s elite. He differed with the party over many issues. When Trump won the primaries and forced himself on the GOP, the old Republicans grumbled. When his campaign rhetoric grew darker, the old Republicans openly rebuked the party’s candidate.

There are sharp policy disagreements between Trump and the mainstream Republicans. The President-elect can only govern by finding common ground with the party mainstream. For that alone, he needs to dramatically change what comes out of his mouth or what appears in his tweets.

Trump’s voter numbers closely resemble those that voted for Britain to exit the European Union. They were mostly the less skilled who were fearful of migrants with superior skills. They were rural and less cosmopolitan than urban voters. They tended to be older.

Trump’s voters, like those who chose Brexit, were fearful of a world with no borders. They saw globalization as a process that took away their jobs. They see countries that export to the US as enemies and would rather see national economies as protectionist bastions.

Those voters, who see Trump’s most scandalous remarks as ideological doctrine, are likely to be very disappointed over the next few months. There is not going to be a wall at the Mexican border and much less likely that the southern neighbor will pay for this monstrosity. There will be no massive deportation of the 11 million illegal aliens; it is simply impracticable.

Notwithstanding his spectacular victory at the polls, Trump must now hew more closely with the Republican mainstream that truly controls Washington DC. If he continues warring against his own party, he cannot govern. He cannot push his agenda forward, whatever that agenda might be.

A day after the count confirmed his victory, Trump visited Barack Obama at the White House. He described the sitting president a “good man.” The meeting was apparently cordial. It was necessary to heal the wounds of the campaign and prevent polarization from deepening.

This is the magic of electoral democracy. Whatever words were exchanged during the campaign, each must show a common resolve to work for the betterment of the country.

Both Trump and Obama were surprisingly polite. They have to be. There were ominous demonstrations in the streets of dozens of American cities.

Trump’s victory is also fortuitous for a certain Rodrigo Roa Duterte. It gives him an opportunity to reset his own position on our bilateral relationship with the US.

Although Duterte once described Trump a “bigot,” it was clear he preferred Trump over Clinton. He sees in the Trump vote something akin to the voter rebellion that propelled him to power last May. It is a rebellion of the excluded, the disadvantaged and the disillusioned.

In his own campaign to be President, Duterte employed populist rhetoric much like Trump did. Having rose to power on a populist tide, both of them must now try to calm the masses and moderate expectations.

As a gesture of friendship to the American president-elect, Duterte announced that joint military exercises will continue as planned. He reaffirmed the vitality of bilateral relations between our two countries. That turn-around must have been met with a sigh of relief in Washington.

While resetting his position on our bilateral relations, Duterte also announced he will sign the Paris Accord on climate change. He has apparently been won over by his more sober Cabinet.

They say an electoral campaign is waged on poetry while governing is done in prose. Trump showed the way by graciousness to the extreme after winning the elections.

Duterte might learn something from that about governing in prose.


EDITORIAL - Not the least guilty (The Philippine Star) | Updated November 12, 2016 - 12:00am 2 1 googleplus0 0

President Duterte has often said he wants his police force to wage his war on criminality without fear of facing legal problems. He is taking full responsibility, he likes to reassure the police, and he’s the only one who will go to jail, just in case. Cops like to hear this, but it should not mean condoning wrongdoing, especially in an organization with a lot of rotten eggs.

Returning to the country from Malaysia and Thailand, the President expressed support for the police team that killed Albuera Mayor Rolando Espinosa and another inmate in their cells at the Leyte sub-provincial jail in Baybay City early last Saturday.

The President issued the statement a day after senators concluded, at the end of a daylong questioning of the policemen from the Criminal Investigation and Detection Group who conducted the operation, that the killing of Espinosa was “premeditated” and staged using a “bad script.” The CIDG has grounded the team members and reassigned them to Camp Crame.

READ MORE...

With the President openly supporting the CIDG version that they killed Espinosa because he fired at them first, concerns have been raised about the safety of the mayor’s son Kerwin, who is returning to the country after being apprehended by authorities in Abu Dhabi.

The concerns are not unfounded. Since President Duterte identified Espinosa as a narco politician, six bodyguards of Kerwin, the mayor’s lawyer and a female companion have been gunned down by police. Espinosa himself had tagged his son as the drug lord of Albuera town. Kerwin reportedly wants to turn state witness, if only to ensure his personal safety.

If the accusations are true, Kerwin is a top-tier drug dealer and he cannot qualify as a state witness. But his assistance in fighting the drug menace and the corruption it engenders can be a mitigating circumstance in the criminal case to be filed against him, which could earn him life in prison. Identifying his cohorts and coddlers can mean serving fewer years behind bars.

Even if Kerwin cannot be a state witness, it is the duty of the state to keep a person in its custody safe from harm. Kerwin may have a compelling story to tell about the drug trade, but there must be a competent authority that can vet him for truthfulness and accuracy. He does not seem to be the least guilty in this case. Protect Kerwin, but don’t give him immunity from prosecution.


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