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BY INDAY VARONA: FILIPINOS SEE FATAL FLAW IN DU30's WAR ON DRUGS


DECEMBER 24 -INDAY VARONA- Filipinos have found their footing six months into the turbulent rule of President Rodrigo Duterte, telling him they want an end to the bloodbath that has left thousands of suspected drug addicts and pushers dead.The latest Social Weather Stations (SWS) survey, conducted conducted from December 3-6 and released today, showed an overwhelming number of Filipinos, 94%, want drug suspects captured alive, while almost 8 of ten respondents say they fear ending up a statistic in the autocratic leader’s “war on drugs.” The survey results are a big victory for human rights advocates in the country, who have been jeered at and threatened by Duterte and his loyal supporters.READ: 8 in 10 Pinoys fear dying in drug war, says poll FATAL FLAW No longer can Duterte and die-hard fans scoff at growing concern by citing the 16 million who voted him for office. The results of the survey do not surprise me. In social media threads, even those who still support him have acknowledged growing concern over the strategies and tactics employed in the crackdown. Privately, more express worries at the contradictions in the President’s promise to rid the nation of the scourge of drugs.READ MORE ...

ALSO: By Buddy Gomez - Is the Liberal Party debasing Philippine democracy?


DECEMBER 23 -Is the Liberal Party (LP) asleep?
Asleep at the Opposition’s wheel, that is. Lethargy is injurious, you know! Have they forgotten about the solemn role they must now perforce perform, having been reduced to a minority, after the last election’s defeat? The largest of the minorities in a body politic represents the leadership of the Opposition. But is the Liberal Party leading the opposition as society’s watchdog, in exacting accountability of those holding the reins of administration? Is the Liberal Party shoring up the people’s morale, promoting political consciousness and standing up for the better interests of the people--thus invigorating democracy? A misinformed population, abetted by the Opposition’s silence, begets an ignorant society. A misinformed citizenry is a threat to democracy. Thus, an “Opposition” behaving otherwise debases and diminishes democracy! Is the Liberal Party fit and in fighting form? In fighting back form, that is! READ MORE...

ALSO: By Richrd Heydarian - Time for Quality Education in the Philippines


DECEMBER 22 -I can’t stop remembering how some (Ivy League-trained) professors back in college never stopped reminding us, with much lament, how the University of the Philippines (UP) used to be among the best in the world. This was the ‘golden age’ of Philippine education, around the 1960s and 1970s, when we stood atop the regional pecking order. The educational legacy of America, our linguistic grasp of the lingua franca (English), and countless bright minds that populated UP and other leading universities -- all of these collectively made us a center of educational excellence in Asia. I grew up with this vision of UP, an impression that would soon be shattered when I realized, with profound sorrow, how our even our country’s flagship university barely rang a bell beyond our borders. This realization dawned upon me, with a shattering force, when, during my visits and talks at leading universities around the world, the conversation shifted to my academic training. We have among the oldest institutions of higher learning in the world, and yet it is the much younger universities in neighboring countries, including the National University of Singapore, which are now knocking on the door of the world’s best. Many of our peers are now light years ahead of us. In the words of one professor and mentor, Felipe “Pepe” Miranda, our beloved UP was, nowadays, more of a ‘glorified high school’. READ MORE...

In tonight's Teditorial, Teddy Locsin Jr. talks about Christmas and the real change from within. - The World Tonight, ANC, December 22, 2016


DECEMBER 22 -WATCH TEDDY ON TEDITORIAL ..CLICK LINK BELOW.....


READ FULL MEDIA REPORTS HERE BELOW
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Filipinos see fatal flaw in Duterte’s war on drugs

MANILA, DECEMBER 26, 2016 (ABS-CBN) Inday Espina-Varona Posted at Dec 19 2016 03:49 PM - Filipinos have found their footing six months into the turbulent rule of President Rodrigo Duterte, telling him they want an end to the bloodbath that has left thousands of suspected drug addicts and pushers dead.

The latest Social Weather Stations (SWS) survey, conducted conducted from December 3-6 and released today,
 showed an overwhelming number of Filipinos, 94%, want drug suspects captured alive, while almost 8 of ten respondents say they fear ending up a statistic in the autocratic leader’s “war on drugs.”

The survey results are a big victory for human rights advocates in the country, who have been jeered at and threatened by Duterte and his loyal supporters.

READ: 8 in 10 Pinoys fear dying in drug war, says poll

FATAL FLAW

No longer can Duterte and die-hard fans scoff at growing concern by citing the 16 million who voted him for office.
The results of the survey do not surprise me. In social media threads, even those who still support him have acknowledged growing concern over the strategies and tactics employed in the crackdown. Privately, more express worries at the contradictions in the President’s promise to rid the nation of the scourge of drugs.

READ MORE...

At the heart of these worries is the fatal flaw of Duterte’s war – a contempt for an admittedly flawed justice system.
At the onset of the official campaign, Duterte and his national police chief, Director General Ronald “Bato” dela Rosa shrugged off the killings, even as they washed their hands of murders supposedly instigated by vigilantes or henchmen of narcotics kingpins.

It is a strange position. Duterte has acknowledged corruption as the root of the spread of narcotics gangs in the country. Yet he has done little to arrest and charge the big guns he accuses of protecting the drug syndicates.
None of the police generals he tagged as drug protectors have been charged even as he has hinted strongly that many of the killings were launched by drug gangs cleansing their ranks of their weakest members.

In fact, Duterte has insisted he will defend any cop charged with extra-judicial killings until they are proven guilty by the courts.

He invoked this pledge, claiming he does not want to demoralize cops, when senior police officials in Eastern Visayas were implicated in the prison murder of Albuera Mayor and suspected drug dealer Rolando Espinosa Sr.

READ: Police in Espinosa 'rubout' won't go to prison: Duterte

Duterte, touted by fans for his “strategic brilliance,” has long boasted that he plants evidence and manipulates rival drug personalities into taking out each other.

But these are discredited tactics, cited as among the reasons behind the creation of virtual narco states in Latin American.

Letting the deaths of pushers go unpunished does not lessen the power of the drug gangs. It only allows the strongest to consolidate their power.

By the time Duterte unleashes his rage on lords of drugs and their lieutenants – IF he actually does – the wages of impunity will have allowed criminals to take over law enforcement agencies.

As a result of the perceived impunity enjoyed by law enforcers, there has been a sea change in the one-time blind trust given to Duterte and, by extension, law enforcers.

The SWS survey results showed 78% of respondents are worried they or anyone they know will die due to the drug campaign. Almost half, 45% say they are “very worried” and 33% “somewhat worried.”

Only 10% were not too worried and 12% “not worried at all.” Not too long ago, many believed only the guilty need to worry.

Sixty-nine percent of respondents are worried about the seriousness of extra-judicial killings; 22% are undecided. Only nine percent do not see this as a serious problem.

CAVALIER APPROACH

Duterte’s crackdown against drug syndicates has been characterized by incendiary messages from the President, a cavalier regard for “intelligence” and record-keeping, and what citizens increasingly perceive as double standards in the treatment of suspects and rogue law enforcers.

While Duterte takes pleasure in lugging around a thick file of supposed drug coddlers and dealers in government agencies and local bureaucracies, his first announcements included long dead judges. The Supreme Court, which initiated a probe into a few judges named by Duterte, has cleared them of wrong doing.

READ: Supreme Court clears 3 judges on 'narco list'

The Philippine National Police (PNP) claims that 6,000 have died in the anti-drugs campaign. ABS-CBN’s investigative team, however, reports that the confirmed dead number 2,102 people with 40,932 others arrested, according to official police rosters that identify the victims.

Almost as many of the dead were killed by mysterious riding-in-tandem assassins or abducted by unknown parties and then dumped dead, their bodies showing signs of torture.

Duterte repeatedly cites numbers and claims to defend his bloody purge. Yet, investigative news reports have showed the data sets to be flawed.

He says there are almost 4 million addicts in the country. Yet official government data shows only 1.8 million drug users – which probably explains the police goal of getting 1.8 million surrenders.

But a third of these have taken drugs only once in the previous 13 months. Fewer than half have touched the dreaded shabu or crystal meth.

Experts also note that only a third of drug users are true dependents in need of medical rehabilitation; the others can be set straight by some counselling and community and family support.

READ: Dubious data in DU30s war on drugs

READ: Duterte’s office replies to questions on Reuters investigation

This penchant of the administration has cost substantial trust in the anti-drug campaign. Forty-two percent of respondents are now undecided about believing PNP claims, with 29% expressing disbelief and almost the same number still believing cops.

DANGEROUS WORLDVIEW

Beyond the question of sound strategy, it is Duterte’s dangerous justice worldview that needs to be challenged.
He stands on very shaky ground when he claims persons who have used drugs for a year or two have no hope of rehabilitation.

The problem in the country is the dearth of affordable rehab centers – only more than 3,000 beds available for an estimated half a million dependents, if you get a third of 1.8 million.

While Duterte is building mammoth rehab centers, his war has also snuffed out the lives of thousands who may yet be saved – and, according to families of reformed users, has also killed those who have actually pulled themselves out of the drug abyss.

Operation Tokhang, the witch hunt for drug suspects, also leaves no innocent wriggle room. The police knock on doors with an implied threat against anyone who does not obey the summons to surrender and pledge never to do drugs again. Everyone who obeys gets a mug shot and is logged on to a government data base. They are only allowed two questions – whether they are addicts or users. Those to protest their inclusion in the drugs watchlist will have to wait three months to be cleared. Meanwhile, they are sitting ducks.

It is too easy to see that Duterte’s draconian methods can be used by unscrupulous government officials to take out pesky parties like anti-corruption advocates.

This is already happening to militant activists and advocates of good governance at the grassroots.

The Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP), taking advantage of a unilateral ceasefire by the National Democratic Front (NDF), are entering rural communities, demanding surrenders by perceived supporters – or inclusion in the feared drug lists.

Duterte prides himself on being a former prosecutor who knows how to read the fine print of laws. But increasingly, what he has shown is hostility towards concepts of justice enshrined in the country’s constitution, concepts that millions of Filipinos have fought for – and died for.

READ: How do you parse ‘extrajudicial killings’?

Like most autocrats, however, he is faced with one enduring truth about Filipinos: for as many times that we flirt with disaster, we always manage to set ourselves straight and pull bank from the brink.

Duterte can show his mettle as a leader and heed his people. Or he can go sneering and cursing over the edge of that abyss.


Is the Liberal Party debasing Philippine democracy? Buddy Gomez Posted at Dec 23 2016 12:07 AM



Is the Liberal Party (LP) asleep?
Asleep at the Opposition’s wheel, that is. Lethargy is injurious, you know! Have they forgotten about the solemn role they must now perforce perform, having been reduced to a minority, after the last election’s defeat?

The largest of the minorities in a body politic represents the leadership of the Opposition. But is the Liberal Party leading the opposition as society’s watchdog, in exacting accountability of those holding the reins of administration?

Is the Liberal Party shoring up the people’s morale, promoting political consciousness and standing up for the better interests of the people--thus invigorating democracy?

A misinformed population, abetted by the Opposition’s silence, begets an ignorant society. A misinformed citizenry is a threat to democracy. Thus, an “Opposition” behaving otherwise debases and diminishes democracy!

Is the Liberal Party fit and in fighting form? In fighting back form, that is!

READ MORE...

The Duterte administration with all government facilities and perks at its command, aided by its rabid cohorts, mercenary cyber warriors and idolaters, all from their so-called “sixteen million,” are engaged in a rampaging, wanton abuse and molestation of the truth. It is no different, perhaps even a more evil reinforcement of the very manner by which a plurality allowed Duterte his victory at the polls. They gloat over their Faustian mastery of social media! This highly orchestrated social media disinformation barrage is indeed a frontal assault upon democracy.

To be complacent is to be complicit! What is the Liberal Party doing about this travesty? Is the Liberal Party asleep at the Opposition’s wheel? When will the Liberal Party lead again? What must the Party do when society is assaulted by lies and disinformation?

Archibald MacLeish and Ninoy

The martyred Ninoy Aquino was a Senator of the Republic and the secretary-general of the Liberal Party when the darkness of Martial Law descended upon our Motherland. After having lectured and served a fellowship at Harvard during his exile in the early 1980’s, Ninoy was wont to quote the celebrated poet and Harvard lawyer, Archibald McLeish.

“How shall freedom be defended? By arms when it is attacked by arms; by Truth when it is attacked by lies; by democratic faith when attacked by authoritarian dogma. Always and in the final act, by faith and determination.”
Please ponder upon MacLeish and ask: How has the Liberal Party measured up?

Have we heard an official stand against the Duterte-inspired extra-judicial killings? Against the obscene attacks and the orchestrated blitzkrieg of calumny, mudslinging and slut-shaming of a lady Senator? Has the Liberal Party officially come out in staunch defense of the abused and mortally molested Leila de Lima?

Duterte’s Bogus Data, once more with feeling! And that other IED!

This national issue has truly required effective, corrective drilling into the suckered thick skulled in our midst, mainly belonging to the so-called Duterte’s “sixteen million.” So, once again, with greater feeling.

The nation’s sense of well-being and equanimity may very well depend upon an appreciation and acceptance of the Truth, the unburnished truth about the illegal drug situation in the country. After all, by precipitate Duterte police action, fear has already been strewn amongst a vast majority of the population. We must not forget that the problem’s concocted and hyped severity is the unrivalled cause celebre of Duterte’s performance. In reality, it is nothing more than a continuing attempt to pass on his demented “drug war” as artifice and substitute for governance.

Besides enjoying the residual inertia, and in fact enjoying the direct benefits and vibrant fruition, flowing from programs, projects, initiatives and activities of the preceding Aquino administration falling into place only after the 2016 elections, Duterte has really nothing to show except for turbulence in much of everything he has touched!

The Philippines like most nations on planet earth has an illegal drugs problem. “The scourge of addiction is a worldwide problem and does serious harm….to our society.” (James Taylor) Beyond doubt, it is evil and a cause for alarm. There is absolutely no way that this human concern can ever be swept away. We are, however, not a narco-state as some highly placed imbecile has been ranting. Illegal drugs do not encapsulate the only problem the country faces. Neither is it the major and principal problem. Poverty is. Don’t we know it! Poverty is the root of it all!

That is the barest, irreducible truth.

Our great misfortune is that the illegal drugs problem in the country has been exaggerated and further manufactured to the magnitude of a bugaboo, a lethal straw man, especially created to insanely justify one man’s pathological blood lust. He started and pulled off from thin air 3 million addicts! And in a matter of weeks, his recent scare shrill, it is now 4 million!

In the meantime, the death toll has exceeded 6,000 (and counting) in less than 6 months! And don’t we all remember, Duterte bragging about happily desirous of slaughtering three million more, ala Hitler!

Official statistics from both the Dangerous Drugs Board and the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency deny President Duterte’s numbers. The empirical data have remained, happily, undisturbed. The actual number stands at 1.8 million. The highest incidence of addiction was in 2004 when the count went up to 6.7 million addicts.

Government was evidently hard at work since. That prevalence has been tamed down dramatically to 1.8 million in 2015, without hype, ballyhoo nor breast-beating political histrionics! In fact, Drug Raids, Arrests and Rehab activities were at its highest during the Aquino years!

Shouldn't the Liberal Party have spearheaded an investigation into this anomaly right off, unmasking it as a monumental hoodwink of the people?

Bogus data is the raison d’etre, the anchor of President Duterte’s rants. Such frenzy of blatant falsehood foisted upon a gullible people would have otherwise been a call to arms for an Opposition fit and furious to pick the fight. A red flag!

But why has the Liberal Party not challenged the President? I am perplexed. I am demoralized. The immediacy of a vigorous response to Duterte’s hullucinations not being taken up by the Opposition, is a social service opportunity lost. Silence has become a disservice to democracy!

The incalculable damage that Duterte’s ‘drug war’ (including ramifications into trumped up accusations and charges, humiliation and vilification of party mate Sen. Leila de Lima) brought upon the reputation and well-being of our country, ought to have already shaken off the apparent browbeaten stupor besetting the Liberal Party after its defeat in the last elections. But must an IED (improvised explosive device) first be detonated in their butts for them to have acted?

Or are they in mortal fright of Duterte’s IED? President Duterte is suspected of severely suffering from IED, an inevitable side effect of his favorite pain-killing opiate--Fentanyl. That other IED is “Intermittent Explosive Disorder” which psychiatrists describe as “behavioral disorder characterized by explosive outbursts of anger and violence.”

Quo Vadis, Liberal Party!

Time is past nigh for the Liberal Party, both as a collective and/or as individuals, to break off and unleash from vainly leeching off that Duterte-dominated lapdog legislative Supermajority from whose imagined trough for selfish personal expediencies they expect to slop-feed from.

There is unfailing awareness on the part of civil society of this continuing perfidy, more indecent even in its recidivism, of LP politicians abandoning their party, by whose loyal constituencies they had, in truth, won their elective posts. Such gratitude! It is a shameless display of expedience over moral values and democratic faith.

Inevitably, it has led to the loss of people’s respect. Hence, there is people’s anger and disquiet apparently rising. Eager voices galore in search of leadership. Indeed, a call for a grand coalition against a common foe becomes incumbent. Will the Liberal Party lead?

The LP must not be insensitive. There are now many issues around which the Liberal Party can lead a reinvigorated coalition from which to consolidate; and, from which to radiate and campaign nationwide for new stalwart memberships as it rekindles fervor among the remaining faithful, an apostolate for the renewal of democratic commitment--all of which can define, redefine and refine the Liberal Party.

We now have issues of Federalism, Constitutional Reform, the Death Penalty, Sen. De Lima’s calvary, the UN Rapporteur’s investigation of Extra-Judicial Killings, the Drug War itself, the poorly veiled super-uber left (communist plot) ‘Kilusang Pagbabago.’ The country may again be primed and readied for an issues-driven politics as it was in 1946 with the debate over Parity Rights.

These are political kindlings awaiting the spark that will ignite a resurgence of democratic vigor. Of faith in democracy! Of loyalty to Party and its values!

Quo Vadis, Liberal Party?


Time for Quality Education in the Philippines Richard Heydarian Posted at Dec 22 2016 03:02 PM


Richard Heydarian

I can’t stop remembering how some (Ivy League-trained) professors back in college never stopped reminding us, with much lament, how the University of the Philippines (UP) used to be among the best in the world.

This was the ‘golden age’ of Philippine education, around the 1960s and 1970s, when we stood atop the regional pecking order.

The educational legacy of America, our linguistic grasp of the lingua franca (English), and countless bright minds that populated UP and other leading universities -- all of these collectively made us a center of educational excellence in Asia. I grew up with this vision of UP, an impression that would soon be shattered when I realized, with profound sorrow, how our even our country’s flagship university barely rang a bell beyond our borders.

This realization dawned upon me, with a shattering force, when, during my visits and talks at leading universities around the world, the conversation shifted to my academic training. We have among the oldest institutions of higher learning in the world, and yet it is the much younger universities in neighboring countries, including the National University of Singapore, which are now knocking on the door of the world’s best. Many of our peers are now light years ahead of us. In the words of one professor and mentor, Felipe “Pepe” Miranda, our beloved UP was, nowadays, more of a ‘glorified high school’.

READ MORE...

Of course, I welcomed, wholeheartedly, the recent news about ‘free education’ at our state universities and colleges. Access to education remains a big concern in this country. News of students taking their lives over tuition fee struggles are heart wrenching to say the least and totally unacceptable in our democracy. Economic status should never be an obstacle to educational attainment. Our low-income students should have maximum possible access to education. This is the essence of our egalitarian constitution.

At the same time, we should not forget about the other crisis in our educational institutions: quality. Much to my horror, as a UP alumnus and educator in private universities such as Ateneo De Manila University (ADMU) and De La Salle University (DLSU), I have witnessed the dramatic decline of the prestige and competitiveness of our universities on the global stage in recent years.

This is a strange and paradoxical phenomenon, considering how our country has emerged as one of the fastest growing economies on earth in the past 5 years. Theoretically, improved economic conditions should translate into qualitative improvement in institutions of a specific country. We clearly see this in the case of rapidly growing economies such as China, Turkey, and the United Arab Emirates, which saw an impressive uptick in the ranks and competitiveness of their universities sin the past decade.

In the Philippines, the trend seems to be the opposite. Back in 2009, for instance, ADMU ranked a respectable 234th among the world’s elite universities, ahead of UP, which ranked 262nd, in the Quacquarelli Symonds (QS) university ranking. DLSU and the University of Santo Tomas, among the oldest in the world, managed to be included in the rankings too.

By 2013, none of the ‘Quartet’ of elite Philippine universities featured in the Times Higher Education (THE) survey of top 400 institutions of higher learning in the world. The QS Survey reflected a similar alarming trend. In more recent years, only UP has managed to register some presence among the global elite schools. The rest have effectively fallen off the global radar. By and large, nowadays, our presence is confined to the Asian rankings.

In the more rigorous Academic Ranking of World Universities (ARWU), which measures research output and impact, Philippine universities have been essentially absent throughout the years. Obviously, no ranking is perfect. We can always raise questions vis-à-vis the validity and reliability of global rankings. But it is undeniable that even the Philippines’ leading universities are struggling to keep up with globalization.

In many ways, the sorry state of the Quartet is the tip of the iceberg of educational crisis in this country. Aside from educational democracy, the government should also focus on enhancing the quality of education in this country. Beyond free education, we also need quality education.


In tonight's Teditorial, Teddy Locsin Jr. talks about Christmas and the real change from within. - The World Tonight, ANC, December 22, 2016

PLEASE CLICK THE LINK TO WATCH TEDITORIAL ON ABS-CBN OPINION:

http://news.abs-cbn.com/video/opinions/12/22/16/opinion-meaning-of-christmas
 


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