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FROM THE MANILA BULLETIN

EDITORIAL: DUTERTE'S CORDIAL TALK WITH TRUMP


DECEMBER 7 -Those who may have feared that President Duterte is leading the Philippines away from its close relations with the United States may be having second thoughts now that he has had a talk with United States President-elect Donald Trump. President Duterte was free with his usual coarse language when he recently rejected President Barack Obama’s expression of concern over his anti-drug campaign. Subsequently, he announced an end to joint military exercises with American troops, although he later modified this stand to say that the next joint exercises will focus not on repelling some invading country but on terrorism and corruption. During his state visit to China, he declared he was ready to join China and Russia in an alliance against the world. Last Friday, President Duterte called President Trump to congratulate him on his election and the two appeared to have reached a level of understanding that was not there with the previous US president. Where Obama had said Duterte must carry out his drug war “the right way” – referring to possible human rights violations – Trump told Duterte he was doing it precisely ”the right way.”  READ MORE...

ALSO: EDITORIAL - Concerns raised over Leni resignation
(The Robredo resignation incident may have some political repercussions, but we hope they will not set back the bigger picture of economic growth and development in this first year of the new administration).


DECEMBER 8 -A great deal of concern has been expressed over the sudden resignation of Vice President Leni Robredo from President Duterte’s Cabinet, where she was chairman of the Housing and Urban Development Coordinating Council. She had been texted by Cabinet Secretary Leoncio Evasco Jr. that the President did not want her to attend any more Cabinet meetings starting Monday, December 5. “The reason is there are irreconcilable differences between VP Robredo and the administration,” Evasco said. Her decision was welcomed by her partymates in the Liberal Party (LP). Sen. Francis Pangilinan, president of the LP, was critical of the way she was told she was no longer wanted at Cabinet meetings. “She should have been treated with greater respect,” he said. Another partymate, Ifugao Rep. Teddy Baguilat, saw the incident as an opportunity for the LP to “close ranks and form the country’s real opposition bloc.” The LP, majority party for six years, had quickly disintegrated into a minor player in the government after President Duterte’s win, many of the LPs joining his “super-majority” in the House. REAAAD MORE...

ALSO: By Gemma Cruz Araneta - Worried
(In my opinion, the only flaw of this splendid program is its name, “Duterte’s Kitchen,” which might soon be criticized like all other projects that bear the names and photos of their official patrons. Why not call it, “Kain na, Aral pa” or “Lakas Katawan, Linaw Utak” — something like that.)


DECEMBER 7 -There is now a Duterte Kitchen near the MRT of Cubao, a flagship project of the PDP-Laban, the ruling political party, which aims to uplift the lives of indigent street children by giving them three meals a day, medical care, and literacy classes. Initially, the kitchen was meant to feed only 50 to 70 children but because hunger is quite pervasive, adults are also welcome to Duterte’s Kitchen. Happily, the World Bank approves and is supporting Duterte’s Kitchen just as it did the “Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program (4Ps)” of the Aquino administration. Already, there are many videos online about the kitchen. I watched a couple of these and noticed that it was run by volunteers more of which are increasingly required. There was also quite a mouth-watering menu, in large fonts, posted near the entrance. Meals are served thrice a day – lugaw and champurrado for breakfast, a stew of vegetables, chicken, fish or meat for lunch and dinner. READ MORE...

ALSO: By Julie Yap Daza - Leni & Co.
(Between Ms. Leni, backed by her party, and Digong, defended by his spokesmen, the tension is felt by the people trapped in the middle: “It’s their feud, should we care?”)


DECEMBER 7 -By Jullie Yap Daza
Is it President Duterte’s “destiny” to run into headstrong women for the duration of his political career? With Supreme Court Chief Justice Lourdes Sereno, he had a battle of words until the CJ refused to oblige him on the second round. A few sparks flew with Ombudsman Conchita Carpio Morales. Flamethrowers are the weapon of choice in the ongoing war between DU30 and Senator Leila de Lima. Now it’s VP Leni Robredo’s turn to roast him; fortunately for the rest of the country, it’s the President’s men who are doing the talking and answering back (as of this writing, late Tuesday night). READ MORE...


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EDITORIAL: Duterte’s cordial talk with Trump

MANILA, DECEMBER 12, 2016 (MANILA BULLETIN)  3 SHARES Share it! Published December 7, 2016 -Those who may have feared that President Duterte is leading the Philippines away from its close relations with the United States may be having second thoughts now that he has had a talk with United States President-elect Donald Trump.

President Duterte was free with his usual coarse language when he recently rejected President Barack Obama’s expression of concern over his anti-drug campaign. Subsequently, he announced an end to joint military exercises with American troops, although he later modified this stand to say that the next joint exercises will focus not on repelling some invading country but on terrorism and corruption. During his state visit to China, he declared he was ready to join China and Russia in an alliance against the world.

Last Friday, President Duterte called President Trump to congratulate him on his election and the two appeared to have reached a level of understanding that was not there with the previous US president. Where Obama had said Duterte must carry out his drug war “the right way” – referring to possible human rights violations – Trump told Duterte he was doing it precisely ”the right way.”

READ MORE...

President Duterte later commented he could “sense a good rapport” with Trump, who invited him to visit New York and Washington, DC, and Duterte in turn invited him to the Philippines when it hosts the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) Summit next year.

The conversation may signal a change in President Duterte’s hostile attitude to the White House, according to presidential spokesman Ernesto Abella.

The US has also sent a new ambassador, Sung Kim, who does not fit the mold of the usual American diplomat.

On his first speaking engagement Saturday night, he came in plain white shirt, slacks, and loafers without socks. He and President Duterte should get along well.

We are all for developing closer relations with other countries, especially China and Russia, but have all along expressed the hope that this will not be at the expense of our long and close relationship with the United States.

With Duterte’s cordial conversation with Trump last Friday, it looks like the Philippines will continue to work closely with the US as it carries out its independent foreign policy.


Concerns raised over Leni resignation 1 SHARES Share it! Published December 8, 2016, 12:05 AM

A great deal of concern has been expressed over the sudden resignation of Vice President Leni Robredo from President Duterte’s Cabinet, where she was chairman of the Housing and Urban Development Coordinating Council.

She had been texted by Cabinet Secretary Leoncio Evasco Jr. that the President did not want her to attend any more Cabinet meetings starting Monday, December 5. “The reason is there are irreconcilable differences between VP Robredo and the administration,” Evasco said.

Her decision was welcomed by her partymates in the Liberal Party (LP). Sen. Francis Pangilinan, president of the LP, was critical of the way she was told she was no longer wanted at Cabinet meetings. “She should have been treated with greater respect,” he said.

Another partymate, Ifugao Rep. Teddy Baguilat, saw the incident as an opportunity for the LP to “close ranks and form the country’s real opposition bloc.” The LP, majority party for six years, had quickly disintegrated into a minor player in the government after President Duterte’s win, many of the LPs joining his “super-majority” in the House.

READ MORE...

Still another reaction came from Sen. Francis Escudero, who had run with Sen. Grace Poe in their own party in the last election. “I cannot help but be saddened that this early, the Duterte government will be in for a rough political time in 2017 which, in turn, will inevitably have an effect on the economy,” he said.

Vice President Robredo herself saw the presidential order to exclude her from Cabinet meetings as resulting from her opposition to some issues such as the burial of former President Marcos at the Libingan ng mga Bayani, extrajudicial killings, reinstating the death penalty, lowering the age of criminal liability, and sexual attacks against women.”

The objection to extrajudicial killings certainly ranks as an “irreconcilable difference” between her and the President. It may be recalled that on this same issue, President Duterte had lashed out at United States President Barack Obama as well as against United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon and the European Union.

There are bound to be some political repercussions from the Robredo resignation, but not enough, we hope, to derail the economic plans of President Duterte for the nation. The LP may well consider the proposal that it organize itself into a viable opposition party, instead of losing itself as a minor cog in the administration wheel. But on major economic programs to improve the lives of the Filipino people, they should work together.

The new administration is about to embark on a major infrastructure program with billions of pesos set aside for new roads, bridges, ports, airports, and other structures that should get the economy going.

The Robredo resignation incident may have some political repercussions, but we hope they will not set back the bigger picture of economic growth and development in this first year of the new administration.


Worried 0 SHARES Share it! Published December 7, 2016, 10:00 PM By Gemma Cruz Araneta

There is now a Duterte Kitchen near the MRT of Cubao, a flagship project of the PDP-Laban, the ruling political party, which aims to uplift the lives of indigent street children by giving them three meals a day, medical care, and literacy classes.

Initially, the kitchen was meant to feed only 50 to 70 children but because hunger is quite pervasive, adults are also welcome to Duterte’s Kitchen. Happily, the World Bank approves and is supporting Duterte’s Kitchen just as it did the “Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program (4Ps)” of the Aquino administration.

Already, there are many videos online about the kitchen. I watched a couple of these and noticed that it was run by volunteers more of which are increasingly required. There was also quite a mouth-watering menu, in large fonts, posted near the entrance. Meals are served thrice a day – lugaw and champurrado for breakfast, a stew of vegetables, chicken, fish or meat for lunch and dinner. A blue plastic water dispenser stood in a corner near the kitchen counter.

The place was teeming with children of all ages, in shorts, tees and flip-flops. Toddlers perched on mono bloc chairs under the watchful eyes of older sisters. One boy cuddled his baby brother and was tenderly giving him something to drink. The other boys his age were slouched around a table, some with feet up, waiting to be served, parodies of the grown-ups in their barangays.

READ MORE...

It is uncanny how easily children pick up the body language and behavior of their elders. Someone was celebrating a birthday so a box of brightly decorated muffins materialized, to everyone’s delight. I wonder how they compare to Nancy Binay’s birthday cakes.

A feeding program for street children can never be excessive or superfluous, and if it includes adults, specially seniors, so much the better. While working for the city of Manila, I had the opportunity to visit many public elementary and high schools (usually to represent Mayor Alfredo S. Lim) and found out that most of those institutions were and are in dire need of a sustainable feeding program of healthy food, not Jesli Lapuz’s plastic noodles which were totally bereft of nutrients. Alarmingly, there are far too many children whose parents cannot afford even breakfast.

When I visited the Antonio Maceda Integrated School, which has an unusual architectural design, one of the teachers told me that many students are so impoverished they have to work in Divisoria market in the wee hours, carrying bulks and bundles, just to earn a few pesos for their families. By the time they get to school, they are exhausted and famished, too sleepy to learn. Incredibly kind, teachers spend their own money to feed their needy pupils. One of them told me how pained she felt when she saw some of her pupils begging in the streets near the school.

As we all know, nutrition is crucial during a child’s formative years, chronic hunger stupefies, stunts the thinking process, which is vital to a responsible citizen of a democratic republic. This is where the Duterte’s Kitchen can play a significant role.

After hunger pangs are satiated with a well-balanced meal of carbs, veggies, and protein, the dessert is literacy classes, food for thought, literally speaking.

In my opinion, the only flaw of that splendid program is its name, “Duterte’s Kitchen,” which might soon be criticized like all other projects that bear the names and photos of their official patrons. Why not call it, “Kain na, Aral pa” or “Lakas Katawan, Linaw Utak” — something like that.

Anyway, what’s in a name? There are more important things to worry about and the most compelling are hunger, which is killing our children, and illiteracy that is destroying our country. The Duterte’s Kitchen is meant to address these severe maladies, just as it is extirpating narco-politics.

May the Duterte’s Kitchen engender a 100 million healthy, educated voters, intelligent and discerning enough to elect public officials like Rizal, Bonifacio, Mabini, and Luna who had a splendid vision for this nation. When that time comes, Filipinos will have nothing more to worry about but the weather.


By Gemma Cruz Araneta


Leni & Co. 18 SHARES Share it! Published December 7, 2016, 10:00 PM By Jullie Yap Daza


By Jullie Yap Daza

Is it President Duterte’s “destiny” to run into headstrong women for the duration of his political career?

With Supreme Court Chief Justice Lourdes Sereno, he had a battle of words until the CJ refused to oblige him on the second round. A few sparks flew with Ombudsman Conchita Carpio Morales. Flamethrowers are the weapon of choice in the ongoing war between DU30 and Senator Leila de Lima. Now it’s VP Leni Robredo’s turn to roast him; fortunately for the rest of the country, it’s the President’s men who are doing the talking and answering back (as of this writing, late Tuesday night).

READ MORE...

For someone who makes a show of appreciating the charms of women, Mr. Digong has had his comeuppance from the fairer sex, not excluding journalists. In a so-called matriarchal society where the men are spoiled by their mothers, wives, daughters, and girlfriends, he has cracked unchivalrous jokes as he has also paid unwanted attention to the VP’s short skirts and “rounded knees” (quoted from Senator Riza Hontiveros’ quote).

Between Ms. Leni, backed by her party, and Digong, defended by his spokesmen, the tension is felt by the people trapped in the middle: “It’s their feud, should we care?”

They cared that VP Robredo did the right thing when it was the only thing to do. She refused to stay one hour longer in a place where she was not wanted, then fought back by promising to, aha!, lead the opposition. In contrast, the words from Malacańang carried a bizarre ring. One official cited “irreconcilable differences” as if a divorce were in the works. And if that was not sexy or sexist enough, the hint at a marital discord was underlined by the suggested inability of the two officials “to be in one room.”

Otherwise, the VP’s resignation was just another one in a long trail of VPs who quit on the presidents that they could not stomach:

Binay on Aquino, Guingona on Arroyo, Arroyo on Estrada, and so on. A commentator asked if there was a curse on the vice presidency. It’s not a curse, dear, it’s the Constitution that allows president and vice president to come from different parties.


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