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EDITORIAL: TRUMP DECIDES TO ACT ON CYBER ATTACKS
(US President-elect Trump will launch his administration’s own program to meet the challenge of the Russian hacking of the US elections.)


JANUARY 11 -United States President-elect Donald Trump found himself in a truly difficult position when reports came out that Russian hackers, on orders of President Vladimir Putin, interfered in the recent US presidential election. They allegedly broke into the files of the Democratic National Committee and Hillary Clinton’s campaign. Russian teams then allegedly leaked the information, some of it embarrassing, through Wikileaks and mobilized an army of paid trolls who deluged US voters on social media with posts and comments designed to hurt Clinton and help Trump. Trump’s immediate reaction was to call the report a “political witch hunt” – an understandable position, lest he cast doubt on his own election. But he met with the top four US intelligence officials. At the end of the meeting in New York, he said: “While Russia, China, other countries, other outside groups and people are constantly trying to break through the cyber infrastructure of our government institutions, businesses, and organizations, including the Democratic National Committee, there was absolutely no effect on the outcome of the election.” READ MORE...

ALSO: Editorial - A gov’t that sees common people’s needs


JANUARY 14 -It was a choice between the stand taken by three economic managers in the cabinet and a group of secretaries concerned with more human needs and problems. President Duterte decided for the latter and thus approved a proposed increase in the pensions of old retired members of the Social Security System (SSS). An increase of P1,000 will be given immediately this month – a long awaited blessing for many old workers who need help with their medical bills. After four years, or even earlier, as the SSS improves its finances through better management in collections and investments, another P1,000 will be given, SSS Chairman Amado Valdez and SSS President Emmanuel Dooc assured. This will be one welcome January for so many retirees who, only a year ago, had gone through the same process of great expectations, only to be sorely disappointed when then President Benigno Aquino III vetoed the law increasing their pensions, claiming it would cause “dire financial consequences.” Candidate Duterte, even then, had seen the plight of the retirees, some of them had pensions as low as P2,500. If elected president, he said then, he would support a refiled SSS pension bill. READ MORE...

ALSO: By Richard Javad Heydarian - Duterte and the New Year


JANUARY 11 -By Richard Javad Heydarian - “As the water shapes itself to the vessel that contains it, so a wise man adapts himself to circumstances,” Confucius, the legendary Chinese sage, once said. As we enter a new year, it is incumbent upon us, including our political leaders, to reflect on 2016 and draw necessary lessons for years to come. Six months into office, President Rodrigo Duterte remains a highly popular and trusted leader. Latest surveys suggest that as many as 8 out of 10 Filipinos have “much trust” in the President. A similar number, 77% of adult Filipinos are satisfied with his performance, so far. Public mood is generally buoyant, with 95 percent of adult Filipinos expressing hope for better conditions in the New Year. Similar levels of optimism were recorded back in 2003 (after the EDSA II revolt) and 2012 (as the Aquino administration moved ahead with “good governance” reforms). In short, the Duterte administration enters the New Year with some confidence in terms of public support and satisfaction. READ MORE...

ALSO: By Manny Villar - On service to the country


JANUARY 11 -Manny Villar
Late last year, during the centennial celebration of my alma mater, I was invited to talk about an interesting and rather difficult topic, “On Service to the Country.” This column is based loosely on this speech which I delivered during the alumni homecoming of the University of the Philippines-College of Business Administration last December 6, 2016. It was a challenging topic to discuss because I believed that service to the country is deeply personal. No one person or group has the monopoly of serving the country. I certainly do not claim expertise on this topic. The arena within which one can serve the country is not limited to government service or the so-called parliament of the streets. The world is big enough for our good intentions and patriotic endeavors. But I think there are certain ideals that we can agree on. For instance, service to the country must have as a precondition love of country.READ MORE...


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Trump decides to act on cyber attacks

MANILA, JANUARY 16, 2017 (BULLETIN) January 11, 2017, 12:05 AM - United States President-elect Donald Trump found himself in a truly difficult position when reports came out that Russian hackers, on orders of President Vladimir Putin, interfered in the recent US presidential election.

They allegedly broke into the files of the Democratic National Committee and Hillary Clinton’s campaign. Russian teams then allegedly leaked the information, some of it embarrassing, through Wikileaks and mobilized an army of paid trolls who deluged US voters on social media with posts and comments designed to hurt Clinton and help Trump.

Trump’s immediate reaction was to call the report a “political witch hunt” – an understandable position, lest he cast doubt on his own election. But he met with the top four US intelligence officials. At the end of the meeting in New York, he said: “While Russia, China, other countries, other outside groups and people are constantly trying to break through the cyber infrastructure of our government institutions, businesses, and organizations, including the Democratic National Committee, there was absolutely no effect on the outcome of the election.”

READ MORE...

Trump, however, did not totally reject the findings of the four organizations – the Directorate of National Intelligence, the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), and the National Security Agency (NSA). After the meeting, he said that as soon as he assumes office on January 20, he will form his own team and give it 90 days to come up with a plan to halt cyber attacks on the US.

This is not the first time the US has suffered from a cyber attack.

In 2015, the records of 18 million federal employees were exposed when hackers got into the files of the US Office of Personnel Management.

The US military now has its own “cyber mission force” to support its operations around the world. Similar units working in cyberspace are reported active in China, North Korea, and in private organizations.

We, too have our own problems with hackers in the Philippines.

The Commission on Elections today is under investigation on the hacking of its website last March, two months before the May election. For his alleged inaction, the Comelec chairman has been recommended for prosecution.

The automation of Philippine elections itself has long been opposed by some quarters who question the lack of transparency in a system where machines – which can be programmed – do the counting, the canvassing, and the transmission of election returns.

The cyberworld is indeed a big question mark, with seemingly solid protective walls set up by computer experts apparently vulnerable to the expertise of other experts.

US President-elect Trump will launch his administration’s own program to meet the challenge of the Russian hacking of the US elections.

Our own cyber problem in the Philippines may not be as crucial as that of the US but our own government should be taking steps in this direction on this worldwide problem of cyber attacks and security.


Editorial: : A gov’t that sees common people’s needs 3 SHARES Share it! Published January 14, 2017, 12:05 AM

It was a choice between the stand taken by three economic managers in the cabinet and a group of secretaries concerned with more human needs and problems. President Duterte decided for the latter and thus approved a proposed increase in the pensions of old retired members of the Social Security System (SSS).

An increase of P1,000 will be given immediately this month – a long awaited blessing for many old workers who need help with their medical bills. After four years, or even earlier, as the SSS improves its finances through better management in collections and investments, another P1,000 will be given, SSS Chairman Amado Valdez and SSS President Emmanuel Dooc assured.

This will be one welcome January for so many retirees who, only a year ago, had gone through the same process of great expectations, only to be sorely disappointed when then President Benigno Aquino III vetoed the law increasing their pensions, claiming it would cause “dire financial consequences.” Candidate Duterte, even then, had seen the plight of the retirees, some of them had pensions as low as P2,500. If elected president, he said then, he would support a refiled SSS pension bill.

READ MORE...

To help make up for the additional funding needed by SSS, the President directed SSS officials to crack down on employers who fail to remit the SSS contributions of their employees. He also ordered a stop to excessive allowances and honorariums the SSS pays some of its top officials.

It is said that some other government-owned or controlled corporations have similar liberal allowances and other remunerations for their officials. Now that he has started with the SSS, the President might want to carry out the cleansing process in these other government corporations.

The SSS officials must be commended for it is they who proposed the two-installment pension plan after they made a study of their own finances. They and the majority of Cabinet members who helped President Duterte make up his mind in favor of a pension increase — no matter how limited – are the kind of officials we hope to see more of in government.

We value the expertise of economists in government who look at the big picture of national finances, with eyes fixed on such statistics as Gross Domestic Product (GDP) growth. But along with such statistical prosperity, we value a government that sees and understands common people’s needs and strives to meet them.

Tags: A gov’t that sees common people’s needs, increase, Manila Bulletin, mb.com.ph, President Duterte, Social Security System (SSS), workers


Duterte and the New Year (Part I) 111 SHARES Share it! Published January 10, 2017, 10:00 PM By Richard Javad Heydarian


JANUARY 11 -By Richard Javad Heydarian -

“As the water shapes itself to the vessel that contains it, so a wise man adapts himself to circumstances,” Confucius, the legendary Chinese sage, once said. As we enter a new year, it is incumbent upon us, including our political leaders, to reflect on 2016 and draw necessary lessons for years to come.

Six months into office, President Rodrigo Duterte remains a highly popular and trusted leader. Latest surveys suggest that as many as 8 out of 10 Filipinos have “much trust” in the President. A similar number, 77% of adult Filipinos are satisfied with his performance, so far.

Public mood is generally buoyant, with 95 percent of adult Filipinos expressing hope for better conditions in the New Year. Similar levels of optimism were recorded back in 2003 (after the EDSA II revolt) and 2012 (as the Aquino administration moved ahead with “good governance” reforms). In short, the Duterte administration enters the New Year with some confidence in terms of public support and satisfaction.

READ MORE...

Without a question, the first six months of the Rodrigo Duterte administration have been among the most testosterone-filled and suspense-laden moments in our political history.

Running on a campaign promise of restoring law and order, swiftly mopping out crime and corruption, and restoring our national dignity, the Duterte administration adopted a “shock and awe” strategy in dealing with both domestic and foreign policy challenges.

True to his campaign promise, the President adopted extraordinary measures to mop out the proliferation of illegal drugs in the country. Despite international and local outcry over human rights concerns, surveys suggest more than 8 out of 10 Filipinos support the President’s war on drugs.

MASSIVE REHAB CENTER

As many as 1 million suspected drugs users and pushers have surrendered, according to the government.

A massive Drug Abuse Treatment and Rehabilitation Center has been built in Fort Magsaysay, Nueva Ecija. Bureaucratic reforms have also kicked in, with 1,419 cities and municipalities around the country (87% of total) streamlining licensing system and processing of business permits.

ONE-STOP SERVICE FOR OFWs

A one-stop service center for Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs) has been established, while, in order to ease commuting concerns, around 21 premium Mercedes Benz buses have been brought on stream to handle passengers from Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) to Roxas Boulevard and Makati City.

Under the leadership of Gina Lopez, the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) has also implemented more stringent monitoring to ensure compliance among mining companies operating in the country. Up to 30 metallic mines companies were or faced suspensions.

PEACE TALKS

Peace talks with the Communist rebels have never looked better, while preceding negotiations with Islamist rebels, particularly the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF), have been expanded to include other major forces such as the Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF).

CHINA SEA

In terms of foreign policy, the Duterte administration seems to have secured a modus vivendi with China in the West Philippine Sea, particularly in the Scarborough Shoal. This has contributed to easing of tensions in the high seas, raising hopes for a peaceful dialogue-based resolution of territorial spats. Or at least their effective management by rival claimant states.

Obviously, six months is never enough to institute structural reforms and overcoming endemic maladies in our society. There have been misses in both domestic and foreign policy fronts. Fundamental problems such as poverty, unemployment, and food insecurity abound. Domestic and international security concerns are bound to intensify, not subside anytime soon.

INTERNATIONAL PRESSURE

And international pressure vis-à-vis Duterte’s war on drugs won’t fizzle out anytime soon, especially under the leadership of António Guterres, the articulate and indefatigable new secretary general of the United Nations, who, as a prime minster, implemented a radically different approach to the drug problem back in Portugal.This year will bring new and unique challenges for the Duterte administration.


On service to the country 0 SHARES Share it! Published January 10, 2017, 10:00 PM By Manny Villar


Manny Villar

Late last year, during the centennial celebration of my alma mater, I was invited to talk about an interesting and rather difficult topic, “On Service to the Country.” This column is based loosely on this speech which I delivered during the alumni homecoming of the University of the Philippines-College of Business Administration last December 6, 2016.

It was a challenging topic to discuss because I believed that service to the country is deeply personal. No one person or group has the monopoly of serving the country. I certainly do not claim expertise on this topic. The arena within which one can serve the country is not limited to government service or the so-called parliament of the streets. The world is big enough for our good intentions and patriotic endeavors.

But I think there are certain ideals that we can agree on. For instance, service to the country must have as a precondition love of country.

READ MORE...

Patriotism precedes service to country for how can you serve a country which you do not love? Was is not Andres Bonifacio who wrote, “Pakatandaang lagi na ang tunay na pagibig sa Dios ay siya ring pagibig sa Tinubuan, at iyan din ang pagibig sa kapwa” (Remember that true love of God is also love of country as well as love of countrymen)

This is the real historic role of the University of the Philippines and other institutions of learning.

Our schools must play their role in educating young Filipinos, not just to become good employees or good business persons, but also to become good Filipinos by imbibing in them love of country or “pagibig sa tinubuang lupa.”

Do you still recall the “Panatang Makabayan” which our schools made us recite every day? The last part of the current version goes like this: “Iaalay ko ang aking buhay, pangarap, pagsisikap sa bansang Pilipinas.”

But I like the old one better not just because I was more familiar with it but because I think it is more poetic and stronger in commitment: “Paglilingkuran ko ang aking bayan ng walang pag-iimbot at ng buong katapatan. Sisikapin kong maging isang tunay na Pilipino sa isip, sa salita, at sa gawa.”

When I was growing up, my dreams were simple, just like most young kids at the time — a better life, a bright future. But it was not big. I had no interest in politics. I never dreamed about becoming a congressman or a senator or a president.

That all changed when I entered UP in 1966. The years I spent in UP, particularly at the College of Business Administration, were a turning point in my life as they gave me the opportunity to dream big.

I met passionate and intelligent people my age who have dreams larger than they are. Many of my classmates at that time wanted to change the world. I said to myself, “Gusto ko lang baguhin e palakihin negosyo namin samantalang itong mga kaklase ko gustong baguhin ang mundo.”

It was my encounter with the best and the brightest in the country that allowed me to dream big. Sure, I still want to give my family a better life but I realized that as I work on this, I can also fight for better lives for my neighbors, my community, and my country.

I do not think there is a sufficient handbook or a guidebook on how to serve the country because, as I wrote in the beginning, serving the country is inherently personal. As a Filipino, you harness your own talents, passion, patriotism, and knowledge to help the country in the best way you can.

Set up a business, pay your taxes, employ Filipinos and give them the benefits they deserve. Or you may want to work in government and efficiently and honestly provide public service. Others may want to speak the truth through journalism or the new media. Still others might go to foreign lands to provide for their families and at the same time help the Philippine economy through their remittances.

Serve the country in your own personal way.

But remember that while service to the country driven by patriotism is deeply personal, it is also inevitably communal. Serving the country requires the collaboration of each and every one of us. Precisely because dreaming big means dreaming for people beyond your family, beyond the people you know.

I remember during the last year of my UP college life, I would join demonstrations and rallies, just like most students in UP in those days. The First Quarter Storm was raging and we would board buses from Diliman to Agrifina Circle where we would start our march to Malacañang.

I was not the radical “aktibista” but I remember being amazed at the power of social consciousness in uniting a bunch of young people with diverse backgrounds into a common cause. It was an amazing feeling. It was an experience that changed my life. It was a period in our history that changed the country.


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