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RODY TO PEOPLE: WANT TO STOP CORRUPTION? 'MAKE A SCENE' TO ASSERT YOUR RIGHTS (President insists the public must do its part to stamp out corruption in the govt)


President Rodrigo Duterte explains that his hatred for illegal drugs is born out of his genuine love for the country and his fellow Filipinos in his speech during the the 49th Installation of the Davao City Chamber of Commerce and Industry Inc. (DCCII) at the Marco Polo Hotel in Davao City on January 14, 2017. (Simon Celi Jr./Presidential Photo) | mb.com.ph President Rodrigo Duterte made an impassioned plea anew to Filipinos to assert their rights when confronted with extortion attempts and other forms of corruption in the bureaucracy. Speaking before a forum with businessmen in Davao City last Saturday night, January 14, the president said corruption will stop if ordinary citizens would put their foot down against erring public servants, admitting that he could not eliminate it alone. “Dito sa graft and corruption, alam mo kayo lang ang makahinto niyan eh, hindi ako. Kayo lang talaga,” the president said. “The Filipino guy must be assertive. Do not be afraid of government employees even the military and the police if you are right.” READ MORE...

ALSO: DUTERTE APPROVED P1,000 HIKE IN SSS PENSION
[RELATED: Duterte defies economic execs, okays SSS pension hike]


JANUARY 11 -Social Security System Chair Amado Valdez
Finally, the 2.2 million retired members of the Social Security System (SSS) will start receiving additional P1,000 in their monthly pension starting this January at the earliest. President Duterte on Tuesday approved the across-the-board increase in the monthly pension of SSS retirees in what Malacañang described as a realization of his “social contract with the Filipino people.”  The pension raise, however, was made on the condition that the SSS would raise by 1.5 percentage points the monthly premiums of active members. This would increase their monthly contributions to 12.5 percent of their monthly salary credit. The higher monthly premiums will start in May. READ MORE...RELATED, Duterte defies economic execs, okays SSS pension hike...

ALSO:
Japan’s PM Abe visits Davao

[RELATED: Breakfast at Duterte’s]


JANUARY13 -PRIME MINISTER'S ARRIVAL. Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe arrives at the Davao International Airport in Davao City on Thursday evening, Jan. 12, 2015. (Paulo C. Rizal/davaotoday.com)
DAVAO CITY, Philippines — Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe arrived at the Francisco Bangoy International Airport here Thursday night as part of his two-day state visit in the country. Abe will be the first head of state to visit the country under the term of President Rodrigo Duterte. He is also the first leader that Duterte will receive in Davao as president. Abe was accompanied by his wife, Madame Akie Abe. Davao region officials who received them included Davao del Norte Governor Antonio del Rosario and Compostela Valley Governor Tyron Uy, Davao Oriental Governor Nelson Dayanghirang, Davao Occidental Governor Claude Bautista and Davao del Sur Governor Douglas Cagas. Madam Akie Abe is scheduled to visit Mintal Japanese Cemetery in Barangay Mintal Friday morning. READ MORE...RELATED,
Breakfast at Duterte’s...

ALSO: President's welcome speech - 'Kampai!' (Cheers!) says Duterte in first vin d'honneur toast
 [RELATED: Palace promises Leni exclusive VP banquet]


JANUARY 11 -SCREENGRAB: President Rodrigo Duterte drew chuckles from members of the international community in a toast during his first vin d'honneur in Malacañang Wednesday. "Kampai! Bottom's up!" said Duterte as he raised a toast to strengthening the Philippines' friendship with other countries. Amid amused laughs from his audience, he explained: "In sub-diplomatic gatherings, especially in Asia, we say 'kampai.' It's always 'bottom's up.' So be careful of our Asian brothers and sisters. When they say 'kampai,' no, just [drink] half of the kampai." Before the toast, Duterte vowed that his administration will pursue new ties with other countries even as it nurtures time-tested friendships. READ MORE...WATCH VIDEO...RELATED,
Palace promises Leni exclusive VP banquet...

ALSO DUTERTE URGED TO NAME NAMES: Palace summons ‘narco-mayors’
[RELATED: Duterte threatens, curses at mayors during Palace meeting]


IJANUARY 11 -N THIS JULY 11, 2016 PHOTO from The PhilStar, President Duterte is set to identify the 23 mayors allegedly involved in the illegal drug trade, the 23 mayors allegedly involved in the illegal drug trade will have to face the accusations against them because “no one is above the law,” the national president of the League of Cities of the Philippines (LCP) said . Go ahead, name the “narco mayors.” The head of the League of Municipalities of the Philippines also said he did not see anything wrong with President Duterte’s plan to name the mayors with alleged links to drugs. AP/Bullit Marquez, File
PRESIDENT Rodrigo Duterte has invited mayors linked to the illegal drug trade to a meeting in Malacañang today, Wednesday. Special Assistant to the President Christopher “Bong” Go confirmed this to The Manila Times on Tuesday. Go, however, did not give details on the agenda of the scheduled meeting. “Yes. No idea what pag-uusapan,” Go told The Times in a text message when asked to confirm if all mayors were asked to go to Malacañang. Duterte, in a speech in the Palace on Monday, said he wanted to confront mayors named in his final list of government officials involved in drugs, and warned them to resign and stop their drug trade. READ MORE...RELATED, Duterte threatens, curses at mayors during Palace meeting...

ALSO: CHR tells gov’t - Take human rights seriously
[RELATED INQUIRER COMMENTARY: Leading rights advocates stand up to Duterte]


JANUARY 16 -“While the investigations the HRW undertakes are independent and separate from what CHR itself does, we are always prepared to cooperate with them and cross-validate their data,” CHR Chairman Chito Gascon said. AP/Bullit Marquez
 The government must heed observations of heightened human rights violations in the country, particularly by international monitor Human Rights Watch (HRW), the head of the Commission on Human Rights (CHR) said yesterday. “While the investigations the HRW undertakes are independent and separate from what CHR itself does, we are always prepared to cooperate with them and cross-validate their data,” CHR Chairman Chito Gascon said. Gascon was reacting to HRW’s annual human rights situation report released on Friday, which noted an unprecedented level of killings by law enforcement since President Duterte took office. “This annual report, as well as that regularly issued by Amnesty International, should be taken seriously by all government agencies, particularly the executive and the judiciary, as well as monitoring bodies, such as the CHR,” Gascon said. READ MORE...RELATED INQUIRER COMMENTARY, Leading rights advocates stand up to Duterte...


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Want to stop corruption? ‘Make a scene’ to assert your rights, says Duterte

President insists the public must do its part to stamp out corruption in the government


President Rodrigo Duterte explains that his hatred for illegal drugs is born out of his genuine love for the country and his fellow Filipinos in his speech during the the 49th Installation of the Davao City Chamber of Commerce and Industry Inc. (DCCII) at the Marco Polo Hotel in Davao City on January 14, 2017. (Simon Celi Jr./Presidential Photo) | mb.com.ph

MANILA, JANUARY 16, 2016 (MANILA BULLETIN) January 15, 2017, 2:46 PM By Genalyn Kabiling - President Rodrigo Duterte made an impassioned plea anew to Filipinos to assert their rights when confronted with extortion attempts and other forms of corruption in the bureaucracy.

Speaking before a forum with businessmen in Davao City last Saturday night, January 14, the president said corruption will stop if ordinary citizens would put their foot down against erring public servants, admitting that he could not eliminate it alone.

“Dito sa graft and corruption, alam mo kayo lang ang makahinto niyan eh, hindi ako. Kayo lang talaga,” the president said. “The Filipino guy must be assertive. Do not be afraid of government employees even the military and the police if you are right.”

READ MORE...

Duterte even urged Filipinos to “create a scene” if a customs agents or other government officials ask for a bribe in exchange of release of their packages or faster service. He said they report corruption complaints via the government hotline 8888 for action.

“All you have to be is just assert, demand the service. Huwag kayong magbigay, you create a scene, at saka magkagulo iyan, I will eventually take notice of it,” he said.

Duterte affirmed that he has “zero tolerance” for corruption, saying he will ask erring officials to step down.

“We would really want to avoid the embarrassment but sometimes we cannot help it. Kaya as much as possible, kung ano just go into the night without any ruckus.”

Earlier, the president advised the public to slap government officials engaged in irregularities in processing permits and other documents.

Duterte said they should “raise hell” so it would attract media attention and will be raised to his level.

Tags: 8888, assert rights, bureaucracy, corruption, Davao City, Manila Bulletin, Rodrigo Duterte, Want to stop corruption? ‘Make a scene’ to assert your rights says Duterte, zero toleranc


INQUIRER

P1,000 hike in SSS pension approved


Social Security System Chair Amado Valdez

By: Leila B. Salaverria, Marlon Ramos - @inquirerdotnet January 11, 2017 - Finally, the 2.2 million retired members of the Social Security System (SSS) will start receiving additional P1,000 in their monthly pension starting this January at the earliest.

President Duterte on Tuesday approved the across-the-board increase in the monthly pension of SSS retirees in what Malacañang described as a realization of his “social contract with the Filipino people.”

The pension raise, however, was made on the condition that the SSS would raise by 1.5 percentage points the monthly premiums of active members. This would increase their monthly contributions to 12.5 percent of their monthly salary credit. The higher monthly premiums will start in May.

READ MORE...

The President also ordered the increase in maximum monthly salary credit from P16,000 to P20,000 on which the monthly premium is based.

Second P1,000 increase

At a press briefing, SSS Chair Amado Valdez said a pension increase of another P1,000 could come in 2022 or earlier, in 2019.

The pension hike signaled the defeat of the proposal of Mr. Duterte’s economic managers to grant the increase only after the approval of the tax reform law that would make it easier to increase members’ contribution to the fund.

Last month, the finance, budget and socioeconomic planning secretaries warned that without an increase in members’ and employers’ contributions, the P2,000 increase would cut the actuarial life of the pension fund by 14 to 17 years.

They said the SSS would have to shell out an additional P32 billion annually to cover the initial P1,000 increase and P62 billion for the entire P2,000 increase in monthly payments.

The President’s spokesperson, Ernesto Abella, said Mr. Duterte approved the pension increase “while exercising fiscal responsibility to ensure the economic sustainability” of the private pension fund.

“As the President has emphasized, he is the President of an entire nation and not just a particular social class,” Abella read from a prepared statement.

Long-term savings

“The proper perspective is to view SSS as a long-term savings and not as an expense. Actively paying SSS members, after all, enjoy benefits, specifically six benefits and loan privileges,” he added.

Abella said the SSS leadership would implement legal measures to improve its collection efficiency and ensure the financial viability of the pension fund.

“The President is not amenable to using taxpayer money to fund the pension increase since the SSS is a private pension fund. Its total assets are P487 billion as of October 2016 and its fund life is until 2042,” he said.

“Even with the P1,000 increase, the fund life will continue until 2040 by May 2017 when the contribution rate and increase in monthly salary credit are implemented,” he said.

Agriculture Secretary Manny Piñol said there was a “long and intense” discussion in Malacañang on Monday night on the proposed pension increase.

Lines were drawn between economic managers who questioned the pension increase and secretaries identified with progressive groups, he said.

Among those who pushed for the pension increase at the meeting were Social Welfare Secretary Judy Taguiwalo, Agrarian Reform Secretary Rafael Mariano and National Anti-Poverty Commission Secretary Liza Maza.

In a paper presented at the Cabinet meeting, the three secretaries described as “unfounded” the insistence of finance officials that the state-run SSS would go bankrupt if Mr. Duterte raised the pension of SSS members.

They blamed past SSS officials for poor fund management and reminded the President of his campaign promise to give SSS pensioners an additional P2,000 a month.

Delinquent employers

“In the end, President Duterte decided to fulfill his commitment of additional pension for the retirees but only after reforms to ensure the viability of the SSS have been implemented,” Piñol said in a post on Facebook.

On the delinquent employers, he quoted the President as ordering the filing of charges against them and their arrest.

Mr. Duterte, he said, learned from a briefing with SSS Chair Valdez that only 40 percent of the 33 million SSS members were paying their premiums.

As for the supposedly excessive allowances and honorariums of SSS officials, Piñol said measures would be undertaken to streamline and ensure the viability of the agency.

The SSS president, Emmanuel Dooc, on Tuesday said the pension fund for workers in the private sector would step up efforts to collect contributions from employers and improve investment of its funds.

Dooc said the SSS would also seek more powers from Congress to be able to condone penalties to widen the contribution base and ask for an executive order from Mr. Duterte to require an SSS certification from companies that would do business with the government.

In the coming days, cases will be filed against erring employers who do not submit contributions, while those who ignore summonses will be cited in contempt, according to Valdez.

To improve SSS investments, Valdez said the agency was planning to fund the construction of toll roads. —WITH A REPORT FROM DONA Z. PAZZIBUGAN

VIDEO : Published on Jan 2, 2017
Budget Secretary Benjamin Diokno says it’s unfair for Congress to pass the P2,000 pension hike to President Rodrigo Duterte after former president Benigno Aquino vetoed it.
'Using taxpayer’s money to fund SSS pension hike unfair'–Diokno –Budget chief Diokno

 
https://youtu.be/dh7wmVqQ0PE?t=41
Budget Secretary Benjamin Diokno on Tuesday said it was unfair to use taxpayer’s money to subsidize the P2,000 pension hike for Social Security Members (SSS).INQUIRER.net INQUIRER.net Subscribe68,407

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RELATED FROM THE TRIBUNE

Duterte defies economic execs, okays SSS pension hike Written by Ted Tuvera Wednesday, 11 January 2017 00:00


ABELLA AND PERNIA

President Duterte, going against the advice of his economic managers, approved yesterday a P1,000 increase in the Social Security System (SSS) monthly pension for immediate implementation.

In a memorandum last month, Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez, Budget Secretary Benjamin Diokno and Socioeconomic Planning Secretary Ernesto Pernia urged Duterte not to implement the first phase of the SSS pension increase that already obtained the approval from Congress without a counterpart plan to raise collections of the state pension fund.

The economic officials warned the fund would run out by 2032 if Mr Duterte approves the pension, which, however, was among his campaign promises.

In a joint press conference with SSS executives, Presidential spokesman Ernesto Abella said the President chose to fulfill the “social contract” he has with the people over his supposed “fiscal responsibility,” saying that Mr. Duterte is “President of an entire nation and not just a particular social class”.

The pension hike, however comes with a slight increase of 1.5 percent in the monthly collection of employees currently enrolled in the SSS.

“The President has approved a P1,000 pension increase this month, with a corresponding 1.5 percent contribution rate hike in May 2017 and an increase in monthly salary credit to 20,000 based from 16,000,” Abella said.

“President Duterte seeks to fullfill a social contract with the Filipino people especially the elderly and the poor, to give them their best lives in service. Whileexercising fiscal responsibility, to ensure the economic sustainability and protect those who invested in the nations future,” he added.

No subsidy for pension hike

Abella allayed fears of the SSS fund being depleted saying its life is good until 2042, adding that the President is confident that it will be eventually recovered through measures raised during a Cabinet meeting last Monday night.
“The President is not amenable to using taxpayers’ money to fund the pension increase since the SSS is a private pension fund. Its total assets are P487 billion as of October 2016 and its fund life is until 2042. Even with the thousand peso increase, the fund life will continue until 2040 by May 2017 when the contribution rate and increase in monthly salary credit is implemented,” Abella said.

“By May 2017, a 1.5 contribution rate increase will be implemented or 12.5 percent from the current 11 percent contribution rate. In peso value, the additional total contribution will range from P15 to P740 equally shared by employer and employee,” he explained.

Abella also noted that the President is going to hunt down employers who do not remit employees contributions.
“To ensure sustainability, SSS is setting in place, one: legal action plans to reduce contribution delinquency. For example, intensify legal collection and referred delinquent and non-compliant employers,” he said.

Anticipating a potential backlash when it comes to fiscal concerns, SSS President Emmanuel Dooc said increasing SSS contributions was inevitable.

“We need to increase the contribution so we can afford to pay for the across-the-board pension increase. We will be increasing the contribution rate by 1.5 percent every year. This is calibrated,” Dooc said, noting that all SSS members are covered by the contribution rate hike.

“We know the impact if we implement the increase at the same time... We need to come up with a formula to calculate the right benefits for members,” he added.

Moreover, the SSS President says that the pension increase will be felt by beneficiaries by February, not this month, due to some technical and system matters.

“We can effect the payment of additional pension increase by February. But don’t be concerned with the fund for the pension hike. We have already set that aside,” Dooc said.

First filed in the 16th congress by militant lawmakers, the SSS pension hike originally amounts to P2,000 with the first tranche at P1,000.

Nonetheless, former University of East Law Dean and SSS chairman Amado Valdez said that the second tranche (or the other half of the proposed P2,000 pension increase) is likely to be given by 2022 or even at an earlier year if the SSS is able to “collect contributions effectively”.

“We’re committed that this is not just the first ameliorative move but a start of a series. Our objective for another P1,000 increase is until 2022. It may even come by 2019, who knows,” Valdez said.

“The SSS is confident that we can shore up the actuarial life of the fund. We should create that self-reliance because an institution like the SSS is a dependent institution,” he stressed.

Counterpart measures needed

Duterte instructed the SSS to incorporate the proposal of the economic managers to ensure the sustainability of the pension fund by implementing an additional 1.5 percent contribution rate and lifting the maximum monthly salary credit (MSC) to P20,000 from the current P16,000 by May 2017.

Duterte said that “SSS should be seen as long-term savings and not an expense,” adding that actively-paying members enjoy six types of benefits and loan privileges.

The President added that legal enforcement of the SSS Law will be strengthened through the issuance of Executive Orders to ensure social protection of workers.

Valdez thanked the President on his decision to grant the pension hike. He also acknowledged the assistance of economic managers and lawmakers who showed concern for SSS pensioners and members.

“This shows that the President truly cares for our elderly who have been waiting for the outcome of the proposed P2,000 increase,” he said.

“At the same time, his decision to implement the pension increase with a corresponding contribution hike and increasing the MSC limits supports the continuing reforms in SSS to consider the welfare of the greater population of over 30 million members, who look forward to their own SSS pensions at the time of their retirement,” he added.

Once implemented, the combination of additional contributions and increasing the MSC ceiling would put the SSS lifespan at 2040 as of 2017.

Valdez concurred with the Chief Executive’s pronouncement that the taxpayer’s money should not be used to fund the SSS pension hike. “He is being responsible when he said the government should not subsidize the pension hike because SSS is a private pension fund by nature and it is unfair for taxpayers to shoulder increases in SSS benefits.”
“We will make sure that compensation is performance-based. If all the targets we have set have been accomplished, then I think it is just fair to give incentives for good performance. This is, after all, is a practice in all government offices and private corporations,” said Valdez.

Solons laud Duterte

Assistant Majority Leaders Bernadette Herrera-Dy (Bagong Henerasyon) and Sherwin Tugna (Cibac), expressed gratitude to Duterte’s decision to increase the monthly pension of retirees.

The two solons pledged to back moves by the SSS to raise enough money to finance the increase.

“All we have to do now is to help the SSS raise the much-needed fund to implement the pension hike, “ said Herrera-Dy.

Tugna said the P1,000 increase represents the “middle-ground” in the controversy. He had previously backed a P1,000 monthly increase when government financial managers declared that the P2,000 hike may be out reach.

Former Bayan Muna Rep. Neri Colmenares, one of the authors originally filed and approved in the 16th Congress only to be vetoed by former President Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino, joined lawmakers in praising Duterte for making good his campaign promise to approve a P2,000 increase in retirement pension.

“This means a lot to our senior citizens. It means that the work that everyone did since we filed the bill in 2011 has not been in vain,” said Colmenares.

However, the former party-list reprerentative said only half of the work has been done as the SSS will have to increase its collection and investment revenue to implement the pension hike.

Another author of the original bill, former Kabataan Rep. Terry Ridon, also expressed his gratitude to Duterte.
Ridon is now chair of the Presidential commission on Urban Poor (PCUP).

Ridon said that approving the pension hike was a social justice measure aimed squarely at providing immediate economic relief to millions of pensioners beset with mounting medical and monthly bills.

“More than an fulfilling an election promise, we believe the President has approved the pension hike because government wants to take care of our pensioners until the end of their days,” said Ridon.

Ridon said the President was swept to power on the strength of his support for the pension hike, and his clear concern for the day-to-day problems of our people.

“There is no clearer proof of his commitment to the public than this.”

Ridon also said that the approval proves to the nation that the Duterte government puts the ordinary Filipino at the center of government concerns.

Several lawmakers proposed that government should grant P500 monthly subsidy to SSS retirees and other senior citizens in the country, stressing that this represents a possible solution to the fund shortage that SSS has feared in case it implements a P2,000 pension hike.

Reps. Jericho Nograles (PBA), Rodel Batocabe (Ako Bicol) and Carlos Uybarreta (1Care) expressed their willingness to author a bill that would allocate P20 billion to fund a social subsidy program guaranteeing P500 monthly allowance for all senior citizens in the country.

The three lawmakers said the bill aims to unload the SSS of the heavy financial burden it faces over the popular legislative proposal that seeks to grant P2,000 hike in monthly pension for all retirees int he private sector.

Under the proposals of the three congressmen, government will shoulder P500 from the proposed pension increase, leaving the SSS only P1,500 to raise monthly for each pensioners.
Charlie V. Manalo


DAVAO TODAY

Japan’s PM Abe visits Davao Jan. 13, 2017 ZEA IO MING C. CAPISTRANO


PRIME MINISTER'S ARRIVAL. Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe arrives at the Davao International Airport in Davao City on Thursday evening, Jan. 12, 2015. (Paulo C. Rizal/davaotoday.com)

DAVAO CITY, Philippines — Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe arrived at the Francisco Bangoy International Airport here Thursday night as part of his two-day state visit in the country.

Abe will be the first head of state to visit the country under the term of President Rodrigo Duterte. He is also the first leader that Duterte will receive in Davao as president.

Abe was accompanied by his wife, Madame Akie Abe. Davao region officials who received them included Davao del Norte Governor Antonio del Rosario and Compostela Valley Governor Tyron Uy, Davao Oriental Governor Nelson Dayanghirang, Davao Occidental Governor Claude Bautista and Davao del Sur Governor Douglas Cagas.

Madam Akie Abe is scheduled to visit Mintal Japanese Cemetery in Barangay Mintal Friday morning.

READ MORE...

Meanwhile, the Japanese Prime Minister and Pres. Duterte will be meeting with Filipino and Japanese businessmen at the Waterfront Insular Hotel in Davao City before departing around noon time Friday. He will also be gracing a ceremony where he will name an eagle.

In a press briefing in Malacañang on Thursday afternoon, Abe said he chose the Philippines as his first destination of his overseas visits this year to demonstrate that he “place much emphasis on my relationship with President Duterte and with the Philippines.”

This will be the third time that the two state leaders met.

The first was during the ASEAN leaders meeting in Laos in September last year. Duterte also visited Tokyo in October last year.


Students of Mintal Elementary School wave Japanese and Philippine flags on Friday morning, Jan. 13, 2017 as they await for the arrival of Japan First Lady Akie Abe in Barangay Mintal. The village is known as the Little Tokyo of prewar Philippines. (Christine Megriño/davaotoday.com)

Japan Press Secretary Yasuhisa Kawamura said in a press briefing in Malacañang that Abe is looking forward to visit Davao City, the hometown of the first Mindanawon president.

Kawamura said Abe’s visit to Davao City represents the strong ties of the two countries.

“So this represents how our two countries are close in terms of spiritual, mental relations,” he said, describing it as an “eloquent reflection of existing confidence, trust between the two leaders.”

Duterte also described Japan as a “friend unlike any other.”

Support to ASEAN

Abe’s visit to the Philippines came a few days before the launching of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations Summit which the Philippines will host. The ASEAN 2017 launching is set at the SMX Convention Center in Lanang here on Sunday, Jan. 15.

Abe vowed that Japan will provide maximum support to the East Asia summit and the ASEAN related meetings.

“This year the Philippines will have the chairmanship of the ASEAN which celebrates its 50th anniversary. We support the ASEAN and its attempt to strengthen unity and centrality and to develop as a free and open community,” he said.

Japan-PHL partnership

The two countries exchanged notes and signed agreements including the grant aid of 600 million yen for the acquisition of high-peed boats and other counterterror equipment for the Phlippine Coast Guard.

Japan and the Philippines also signed a memorandum of cooperation on the low carbon growth partnership joint crediting mechanism which involves the creation of a joint committee to establish the basis by which the two countries will “promote investments and the use of technologies, product systems, services and infrastructures to achieve low carbon growth in the Philippines.”

The other agreements signed include: a memorandum of cooperation was also signed between the Japanese and Philippines coast guards to promote maritime safety, security and marine environment protection; memorandum of cooperation between the Philippines communications operations office and the Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communication of Japan for the proof of concept and testing of road traffic information system through data broadcasting; and a loan agreement and guarantee letter for harnessing agribusiness opportunities.

Mindanao’s peace and development


In this photo provided by the Presidential Photographers Division Malacanang Palace, Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte second right, and his partner Honeylet Avancena, right, chat with visiting Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and his wife Akie at the President's residence at Dona Luisa Village in Davao City, Friday, Jan. 13, 2017, in the southern Philippines. Abe capped his two-day official visit to the Philippines by having breakfast with Duterte at his home in Davao city. (Rene Lumawag, Presidential Photographers' Division via AP) less

The visit of the Prime Minister also highlighted Japan’s support for the peace and development in Mindanao.

Duterte said during their meeting peace and development in the Southern Philippines “continue to be a priority for our countries.”

“We both reaffirmed the need to ramp up efforts to bring just and lasting peace and development in Mindanao,” he said in his speech in Malacañang on Thursday.

Abe announced that there is now a go signal to study the urban development and the flood control of Davao City.

Kawamura pegged the ODA (Official Development Assistance) fund of Japan to the Philippines at $20 billion since it started in 1954.

Kawamura added that Japan is the Philippines top donor with 50 percent of the ODA comes from Japan.

‘Two-way street’

But Kawamura said Abe underlined the importance of cooperation between the two countries.

“This is a two way street. This is not just one way of inflow of investments, of money from Japan,”he said.

Kawamura said in order to have “a very effective and comprehensive development of the Philippine economy,” the Philippines should keep a business-friendly environment.

“So we very much appreciate if the PH, the officials and the private sectors understand this point and cooperate with us,” he said. (With a report by Paulo C. Rizal/davaotoday.com)


PHILSTAR

Breakfast at Duterte’s By Edith Regalado (The Philippine Star) | Updated January 14, 2017 - 12:00am 1 4 googleplus0 0


President Duterte and his partner Honeylet Avanceña applaud as Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and wife Akie receive a stuffed replica of ‘Sakura,’ the Philippine Eagle adopted by the visiting leader during a ceremony at the Waterfront Hotel in Davao City yesterday. Rody: Japan closer than a brother

DAVAO CITY, Philippines – Japan Prime Minister Shinzo Abe feasted on mung bean soup and kakanin (rice cakes) at the home of President Duterte yesterday, getting a first-hand look at the down-to-earth living of a volatile new friend who is shaking up the status quo in Asia.

With a backdrop of family photos, cups hanging from kitchen cabinets and clusters of used beer and wine bottles, Abe ate Duterte’s favorite breakfast in this city and was given a tour of his creaky two-story house, including the bedroom that featured the white mosquito net the President sleeps under on most weekends.

Nothing was renovated or newly constructed at Duterte’s house even when the Prime Minister’s visit was anticipated.

READ MORE...

Duterte’s simple living is part of the man-of-the-people style that endeared him to millions of Filipino voters who in May favored an abrasive city mayor over wealthy politicians on a largely Manila-centric ballot.

Abe’s visit comes as the Philippines edges closer to becoming a geostrategic battleground, with China offering billions in loans and investments, as Duterte opts to befriend Beijing and avoid challenging its maritime claims while ramping up hostility toward historic ally Washington.

While Japan’s allies in the West ponder how to deal with the hot-headed new leader, Abe has formed a close bond with Duterte during the four times they have met.

“They had a very animated talk. It was in a relaxed mood when the Prime Minister came to the President’s house,” special assistant to the President Christopher Go told The STAR.

Posting several pictures on Facebook, Go said the visit lasted at least 45 minutes and described Abe’s disposition as “happy.”

The President previously said he treats Abe as “a friend closer than a brother.”

In his speech in Malacañang Thursday night, Duterte described the country’s friendship with Japan as one “whose value is beyond any measure.”

“Tonight, let me reiterate that Japan is a friend closer than a brother. That means Japan is a friend unlike any other,” Duterte said in his speech at Malacañang.

Abe described his being the first leader to visit Duterte this year as a “tremendous honor.”

President Duterte gives Prime Minister Shinzo Abe a tour of his Davao home, which started yesterday with (clockwise, from bottom left) breakfast followed by a glimpse of the view from the window, a taste of durian and a look at the presidential bed draped with a mosquito net. Special presidential assistant Christopher Go provided the photos.

“I chose the Philippines as my first destination this year and that is testament to my primary emphasis on our bilateral relationship,” the Prime Minister said.

Japan is one of the biggest investors in the Philippines, mainly in electronics, financial services and auto manufacturing, through firms that include Toyota, Mitsubishi and Canon.

Simple food

Honeylet Avanceña, Duterte’s partner, and an interpreter later joined Abe and the President at the dining table for breakfast.

Aside from mongo soup served with smoked fish and spinach, the table was filled with ripe mango, pomelo, rambutan, the ‘senyorita’ variety of bananas and durian. Coffee, black tea and buko (young coconut) juice were available, but Abe chose yogurt to go with his fruit and vegetable breakfast.

Katusuyuki Kawai, special adviser to the Prime Minister and a member of the House of Representatives, told The STAR that the Prime Minister is not really a heavy eater when it comes to breakfast.

After breakfast, the President and Abe proceeded to the Waterfront Insular Hotel Davao for a series of engagements including a meet-and-greet with members of the local business community and the Japanese businessmen who were with the delegation of the Prime Minister and the ceremonial naming of a Philippine Eagle.

LITTLE TOKYO

Avanceña and the Prime Minister’s wife Akie went to Barangay Mintal, considered the city’s Little Tokyo of pre-war Philippines, for a separate engagement that included a visit to the Japanese cemetery.

The village used to be the site of the largest concentration of Japanese nationals working at abaca plantations about a century ago.

MONUMENT OF REGRET

Akie also visited the Monument of No Regret, which Duterte ordered built in 2013 when he was still the city’s mayor.

“President Duterte built a monument with his own money when he was still serving as the mayor of Davao City in honor of the friendship between Japan and the Philippines. The monument of no regret [Ureinashi No Hi] has a plaque inscribed with a Japanese message of Mr. President. In English, it says: ‘Every human being is my brother, my sister and my child’,” Abe said during the state dinner in Malacañang Thursday night.

Akie lighted a candle and prayed before one of the tombs and offered a wreath at the monument.

They all had lunch at the Waterfront Hotel Davao where they were served Imbao soup, pomelo and fern salad with avocado aioli and tuna belly in mangosteen glaze with corn grits. Their dessert included durian panna cotta with civet coffee jelly and one round of soda and Davao punch for drinks.

A whole tuna carved out for sashimi servings caught the Prime Minister’s attention that he even went to the tuna station to talk with Japanese chef Nobuyuku Imamura.

“Where did you get your tuna?” Abe asked Imamura, resident chef of Mizu Japanese restaurant in Waterfront Cebu Hotel, in Nihonggo.

Imamura told Abe that it came from General Santos City, about three hours away.

Bryan Lasala, manager of Waterfront Insular Hotel Davao, said that it was not hard to please the Prime Minister when it came to food.

“There really was no special request for anything. Whatever was served for him and the President was also served for everybody,” Lasala said.

In the afternoon, Abe and the President went to the Nikkei Jinkai Japanese School for a short visit.

The Prime Minister and his wife arrived in Davao City at around 9:45 p.m. Thursday night and left at a little past 12:20 p.m. yesterday for Sydney, Australia as part of his seven-day series of visits in various countries.


ABS-CBN

'Kampai!' says Duterte in first vin d'honneur toast ABS-CBN News Posted at Jan 11 2017 01:19 PM | Updated as of Jan 11 2017 02:54 PM

President Rodrigo Duterte drew chuckles from members of the international community in a toast during his first vin d'honneur in Malacañang Wednesday.

"Kampai! Bottom's up!" said Duterte as he raised a toast to strengthening the Philippines' friendship with other countries.

Amid amused laughs from his audience, he explained: "In sub-diplomatic gatherings, especially in Asia, we say 'kampai.' It's always 'bottom's up.' So be careful of our Asian brothers and sisters. When they say 'kampai,' no, just [drink] half of the kampai."

Before the toast, Duterte vowed that his administration will pursue new ties with other countries even as it nurtures time-tested friendships.

READ MORE...

"We value partners as we strengthen existing friendships even as we pursue new ones. We believe that friends help each other and utilize constructive engagement to achieve common goals," he said.

"In a world that recognizes our interconnectedness and respects each other's sovereign independence, the horizons and frontiers of cooperation are virtually limitless. Friendship, after all, knows no bounds. The Philippines has and will continue to build on our friendship founded on common objectives, shared values and time-honored principles of international law."

Duterte also reaffirmed his commitment to fighting poverty, corruption and illegal drugs.

 
http://news.abs-cbn.com/video/news/01/11/17/kampai-says-duterte-in-first-vin-dhonneur-toast
Watch also in iWantv or TFC.tv

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RELATED FROM THE TRIBUNE

Palace promises Leni exclusive VP banquet Written by Tribune Wires Friday, 13 January 2017 00:00 By Julius Leonen and Ted Tuvera

Since Vice President Leni Robredo was offended after being disinvited during the annual vin d’honneur, Palace officials promised to arrange one exclusively for her next year.

Presidential Communications Office (PCO) Secretary Martin Andanar said Executive Secretary Salvador Medialdea made the suggestion for a separate state banquet only for the Vice President.

“I asked (Executive Secretary Salvador) Medialdea if the Vice President was invited for (the vin d’honneur). He told me: ‘yeah, she can have an exclusive vin d’honneur next year for her alone,’” Andanar said.

Robredo was disconsolate over the withdrawal of the invitation on her through a text message.

The annual vin d’honneur is a diplomatic function where top government and diplomatic officials are invited to attend.

“If they’re mad at me, then be mad at me. But (the Palace) should have at least shown my office some respect,” Robredo said.

READ MORE...

The Palace event is a traditional diplomatic function hosted by the President to mark the New Year. The Vice President is traditionally invited to such functions.The Vice President is traditionally invited to such functions.

Supreme Court Chief Justice, who has been attending former President Benigno Aquino’s vin d’honneur was also a no-show. It is not known if she was invited.

Robredo said the Palace had informed her office through text message that she was disinvited to the diplomatic function because the seats were full and they could no longer accommodate her despite being the country’s second-highest executive official.

Robredo said she received the invitation to the event through email and replied that she would attend. The Palace, however, retracted the invitation for the Vice President a week after.

“When I was in Bicol and I was inspecting hard-hit areas damaged by the typhoon, I was told that we received an email on December 28,” Robredo said.

“My Chief of Staff called me. He said that we received an invitation (from the Palace), he asked me if I will attend. I said “Yes,” if we are invited, then we’ll go,” she said.

“Last January 4, our office received a text message that we were disinvited, because the seats (in the function) were limited,” she said.

Duterte and Robredo’s relationship had turned sour following allegations that the latter has been conspiring an alleged ouster plot against the President over the administration’s stance regarding extrajudicial killings and its support towards the burial of a late dictator at the Heroes’ Cemetery.

 ROBREDO AS THEIR LEADER

Elements of the opposition, particularly the Liberal Party, consider Robredo its leader following her resignation from the Cabinet as Housing secretary. Robredo blamed Duterte for her resignation, saying that she was barred by the President from attending Cabinet meetings.

Andanar last month said Robredo was barred from the Cabinet meetings because Duterte no longer has trust and confidence in the Vice President.

Robredo had also admitted that communication lines between her and the President had been cut following her resignation. She said that they have not talked ever since. Robredo however maintained that she and Duterte are not enemies.

Robredo off limits

Andanar moreover confirmed that the real reason Robredo was not invited during the traditional gathering of top government leaders and members of the Diplomatic Corps is because she is “not welcome” in Malacañang as far as Mr. Duterte is concerned.

“Honestly, it will be awkward. Let’s say that it’s just like somebody, say a friend, that’s not welcome in your household. See, it’s awkward,” Andanar separately said in an ambush interview with reporters at the sidelines of the arrival ceremonies for Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe in Malacanang.

“It is always the President’s prerogative who to invite. After all, Malacañang is his house,” he added.

Andanar said the Office of the Vice President should respect the fact that Mr. Duterte is not comfortable with the second highest official of the land.

MARTIAL LAW

Robredo also expressed hopes that Mr. Duterte would stop his martial law rhetoric following a recently released Pulse Asia poll showing that most Filipinos still oppose the proposition to have the country under military rule.

According to the Pulse Asia survey, 74 percent of Filipinos said that they do not see the reimposition of Martial Law as a necessity to solve the nation’s crises, while only 12 percent agreed with reimposing military rule over the country.

Mr. Duterte had raised the possibility of imposing Martial Law to bolster his war on drugs. He however immediately shot down fears of the reimposition of the military rule, insisting that Martial Law has not been beneficial to the country’s progress.

The President however is still enjoying high trust and approval ratings, according to multiple public trust and satisfaction surveys, despite controversies surrounding his administration, particularly the issue on extrajudicial killings and the burial of a late dictator at the Heroes’ Cemetery.

In a statement issued yesterday, Robredo welcomed the Pulse Asia results, saying that her camp stands “with majority of Filipinos, who believe that there is no need to impose Martial Law “to solve the many crises of the nation.”

“We fought against the Marcos dictatorship to restore our democracy. We remain committed to defending our freedom and rights as Filipinos, at the same time as ensuring that our hard won democracy serves the best interest of our people, especially the poor and marginalized,” Robredo said.

“We urge the public to remain vigilant. May the results of the survey serve as a clear signal to the administration that the Filipino people will not tolerate the revival of Martial Law,” she said.

Low ratings won’t deter opposition

She also maintained that dwindling trust ratings will not hold back the opposition from standing up to President Rodrigo Duterte following reports that Robredo, who has been hailed as the opposition’s leader, is losing public trust.

In a recently released Pulse Asia poll, numbers showed that the Vice President has taken a nose dive in her net trust ratings, ending up with only a net trust of +58 in December after losing 7 points trust nationwide from +65 in September.

Robredo, despite enjoying a “majority trust rating,” still fell in every geographic area and in every social class. The survey was conducted on December 6 to 11, during the fallout of the Vice President’s resignation from her Cabinet post as Housing secretary.

Speaking to reporters yesterday at an outreach program in Tondo, Manila, Robredo maintained that the opposition will not be swayed by dwindling trust ratings, even if it costs their popularity among Filipinos.

“Our basis for being vocal members of the opposition on the administration’s policies is our belief that there are many opportunities for a public official to do deeds despite its unpopularity because you need to do it [as a public official],” Robredo said.

Despite President Duterte’s high trust and approval ratings among his constituents, Robredo said that they are willing to risk their popularity by opposing the President, insisting that it is their obligation to express their views on key issues.

President Duterte, according to multiple trust polls, is still enjoying high trust ratings among Filipinos despite controversies involving extrajudicial killings and the burial of a late dictator at the Heroes’ Cemetery.

“It does not mean that I shouldn’t say it [because it’s unpopular]. I think it’s my obligation to say what I feel about an issue, even if it’s in support or in opposition towards the President’s stance,” Robredo said.

“In this situation, popularity is only secondary. I prefer to look at the numbers based on what we are doing right or wrong,” she said.

“Expressing our opposition towards the extrajudicial killings and the reimposition of the death penalty worth risking our popularity for, rather than keep silent so our popularity won’t be affected,” Robredo said.

Robredo, who had emerged as the default leader of the political opposition following her break up with the Duterte administration’s Cabinet, has been facing a seemingly endless wave of allegations that she had been collaborating Liberal Party stalwarts to oust President Duterte.

The Vice President has been vocal against the Duterte administration’s positions on key issues, among them is the internationally-condemned extrajudicial killings in Duterte’s war on drugs and the sneakily-executed burial of late dictator Ferdinand Marcos at the Heroes’ Cemetery.


MANILA TIMES

DUTERTE URGED TO NAME NAMES Palace summons ‘narco-mayors’ 6 BY CATHERINE S. VALENTE, TMT ON JANUARY 11, 2017 HEADLINES


IN THIS JULY 11, 2016 PHOTO from The PhilStar, President Duterte is set to identify the 23 mayors allegedly involved in the illegal drug trade, the 23 mayors allegedly involved in the illegal drug trade will have to face the accusations against them because “no one is above the law,” the national president of the League of Cities of the Philippines (LCP) said . Go ahead, name the “narco mayors.” The head of the League of Municipalities of the Philippines also said he did not see anything wrong with President Duterte’s plan to name the mayors with alleged links to drugs. AP/Bullit Marquez, File

PRESIDENT Rodrigo Duterte has invited mayors linked to the illegal drug trade to a meeting in Malacañang today, Wednesday.

Special Assistant to the President Christopher “Bong” Go confirmed this to The Manila Times on Tuesday.

Go, however, did not give details on the agenda of the scheduled meeting. “Yes. No idea what pag-uusapan,” Go told The Times in a text message when asked to confirm if all mayors were asked to go to Malacañang.

Duterte, in a speech in the Palace on Monday, said he wanted to confront mayors named in his final list of government officials involved in drugs, and warned them to resign and stop their drug trade.

READ MORE...

“I will call the mayors, I will lock them in so it’s just us. I will really tell them, ‘The list I gave you is this thick. Look for your name there, mayor. If your name is there, son of a bitch, you have a problem,” he said.

“Either you resign or make a clean break of everything, come up with a clean nose and we’ll talk,” the President added.

In a news conference, presidential spokesman Ernesto Abella said Duterte’s statement against the “narco-mayors” was merely his “messaging style to underline his intentions.”

“It’s just meant to underline his seriousness in making sure that nobody is corrupt and involved in criminalities,” he added.

Duterte earlier said the drug list submitted to him by security forces contained the names of about 2,000 mayors, governors, congressmen and barangay (village) chairmen.

Duterte’s drug war has seen the arrest and subsequent killing by the police of the mayor of Albuera town in Leyte, Rolando Espinosa Sr.

About 50 government officials, including mayors, were linked to drugs in Duterte’s initial name-and-shame campaign in August last year. Many turned themselves in to the police but were later freed, as there were no cases against them.

‘Name names’

Rep. Robert Ace Barbers of Surigao del Norte on Tuesday called on the President to name names.

“The President should name the people in his list [of officials involved in the drug trade]. Aside from mayors, vice mayors and vice governors could also be involved,” Barbers, chairman of the House Committee on Dangerous Drugs, said.

“Besides, their constituents have the right to know if their leaders are involved with drugs,” he added. Barbers also urged those guilty not to dismiss the President’s threat.

“They should heed the President’s call or they might suffer the consequences,” he said. Barbers, however, said the list should be verified.

“The information should be verified, because politics could also play a factor here. The narco-list could also be used by politicians to smear each other,” Barbers added.

Vice President Maria Leonor “Leni” Robredo warned Duterte against threatening to kill “narco-mayors,” saying that only courts could determine the guilt of and penalties for criminals.

“We caution the President in making such pronouncements. We believe in the rule of law and believe that only the courts can decide if mayors in the drug list are guilty or innocent. We hope the President was only exaggerating when he talked of killing mayors included in his drug list,” Robredo said.

---------------------------

RELATED FROM THE INQUIRER

Duterte threatens, curses at mayors during Palace meeting By: Nestor Corrales - Reporter / @NCorralesINQ INQUIRER.net / 07:19 PM January 11, 2017


President Rodrigo Duterte. INQUIRER FILE PHOTO / GRIG C. MONTEGRANDE

President Duterte was in a “very bad mood” when he met all the country’s mayors at Malacañang on Wednesday afternoon.

A mayor from a Luzon province, who asked not to be named, told INQUIRER.net that Duterte “cursed at” and “threatened” local chief executives involved in the illegal drug trade.

“(He was in a) very bad mood. Minura at pinagbantaan ang mayors na involved sa illegal drugs at corrupt (Mayors into illegal drugs and corruption were cursed at and threatened),” the Luzon mayor said in a text message.

The source said Duterte again named former police officer and now Daanbantayan, Cebu Mayor Vicente Loot as among those involved in the drug trade. The source added that Duterte also named nine judges.

Duterte’s meeting with mayors came days after he said in a speech that local chief executives who are on his drug list must resign and stop engaging in narcotics trade or face death.

“I might go down in the history as the butcher. It’s up to you,” said the President on Monday. Duterte’s deadly drug war has led to the deaths of more than 6,000 drug suspects.

The President has claimed that his “narco-list,” which he earlier said contained names of judges, congressman and police officials, also had the names of local chief executives.

On Wednesday noon, busloads of local chief executives arrived at the Malacañang grounds after Duterte summoned them amid his threat to kill narcomayors.


PHILSTAR

CHR tells gov’t: Take human rights seriously By Janvic Mateo and Christina Mendez (The Philippine Star) | Updated January 15, 2017 - 12:00am 0 16 googleplus0 0


“While the investigations the HRW undertakes are independent and separate from what CHR itself does, we are always prepared to cooperate with them and cross-validate their data,” CHR Chairman Chito Gascon said. AP/Bullit Marquez

MANILA, Philippines - The government must heed observations of heightened human rights violations in the country, particularly by international monitor Human Rights Watch (HRW), the head of the Commission on Human Rights (CHR) said yesterday.

“While the investigations the HRW undertakes are independent and separate from what CHR itself does, we are always prepared to cooperate with them and cross-validate their data,” CHR Chairman Chito Gascon said.

Gascon was reacting to HRW’s annual human rights situation report released on Friday, which noted an unprecedented level of killings by law enforcement since President Duterte took office.

“This annual report, as well as that regularly issued by Amnesty International, should be taken seriously by all government agencies, particularly the executive and the judiciary, as well as monitoring bodies, such as the CHR,” Gascon said.

READ MORE...

“The police categorize those killings as ‘deaths under investigation,’ but there is no evidence that the police are actively probing the circumstances in which they occurred,” the HRW report read.

“Duterte has ignored calls for an official probe into these killings. Instead, he has said the killings show the ‘success’ of his anti-drug campaign and urged police to ‘seize the momentum’,” it added.

HRW deputy Asia director Phelim Kine said Duterte has steamrolled human rights protections and elevated unlawful killings of criminal suspects as a cornerstone of government policy.

“Friends of the Philippines need to make clear that it can’t be business as usual until the killings stop and there are meaningful moves toward accountability,” Kine stressed.

Aside from extrajudicial killings, the HRW also noted other key human rights events in the Philippines last year.

These include issues on the rights of indigenous peoples, violations of reproductive health rights, child labor and stigma and discrimination related to the HIV/AIDS crisis.

A la Lee Kwan Yew

Meanwhile, Presidential spokesman Ernesto Abella compared Duterte’s leadership style to that of the late Singapore Prime Minister Lee Kwan Yew amid HRW’s concerns over Duterte’s “authoritarian tendencies.”

Abella said Duterte has become a very decisive leader in whatever he wants to attain as President, after serving as city mayor for 23 years.

“The President is very authoritative and we can see it on how he does his work, and let us remember that he goes by the rule of law,” Abella said over state-run radio dzRB. “Maybe, that’s why they call him (as such), especially the liberal media and the liberal political order. They are antagonistic on more authoritative forms or styles of governance.”

The Palace spokesman pointed out that Lee, who was very strict as a leader, led his nation to progress.

Abella urged the public to be not only ideological but also consider the citizens’ welfare.

---------------------------------------------------

RELATED FROM THE INQUIRER (COMMENTARY)

Leading rights advocates stand up to Duterte By: Amando Doronila - @inquirerdotnet
Philippine Daily Inquirer / 12:11 AM June 15, 2016


DORONILA

CANBERRA—The past two weeks, from the proclamation of Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte as president-elect to this writing, were marred by acrimonious warnings about his dictatorial tendencies.

Close on the heels of the strong condemnation by UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon of Duterte’s apparent endorsement of extrajudicial killings in the Philippines, Loretta Ann Rosales, former chair of the Commission on Human Rights (CHR), raised the issue of the rise of death squad killings.

In a message to the Inquirer, she said the incoming Duterte administration should be reminded that it should refrain from making policies and pronouncements antagonistic to democracy.

She denounced Duterte for announcing “an explosive anticrime campaign that includes the summary killing of criminal suspects, especially drug dealers,” and for warning the incoming Congress “not to make the mistake” of investigating his law enforcement measures.

“It is an old adage that has been said over and over again: A government that rules in a climate of fear does not make the place safer for its citizens. It only makes the citizens weaker before the government,” Rosales said.

Duterte, a former government prosecutor, has also vowed to restore the death penalty, with hanging as a preferred method.


Former Commission on Human Rights chair Etta Rosales. INQUIRER FILE PHOTO

Rosales, a survivor of human rights abuses during the dictatorship of Ferdinand Marcos, lamented the “creeping censorship,” noting that so few poliltical leaders seemed willing to challenge Duterte’s views on human rights and free speech. “We experienced this in 14 years of dictatorial rule under Marcos where citizens were cowed into timidity and fear. We learned to liberate ourselves from fear and timidity when we gradually understood the meaning of four basic rights the way our forefathers did, and… we were able to overcome the dictatorship,” she said.

She also noted that Duterte’s promise to eradicate crime was welcome, but his lack of tolerance for reminders about the observance of rights was alarming.

“While the entire nation fully supports a relentless drive against crime, illegal drugs and corruption, the incoming administration expresses little tolerance, or none at all, for those who remind him that the rule of law, including the human rights law, must govern policies in the pursuit of criminals while due process must prevail in dealing with those arrested,” she said.

“The daily news of bust operations arresting suspected drug users and drug lords by an energized Philippine National Police is an encouraging sign that there is much resolve in the drive to eradicate crime. But to keep silent in the face of summary killings without the benefit of investigation is to abdicate responsibility as law enforcers, making a mockery of the rule of law and civilized government,” she stressed, adding that this was the reason why it was so important to make the human rights issue known to the public and to air the side of the CHR against the current attitude of arrogance and condenscension drawn from the might of the popular vote.

She was referring to the statements of her successor, CHR Jose Luis Martin Gascon, one of the few officials who dared to stand up to Duterte, earning him a stinging rebuke from the President-elect. In May, in response to a CHR report finding the President-elect liable for violations of the Magna Carta for Women for his outrageous remark about the gang rape and murder of an Australian missionary during a prison riot in Davao City in 1989, Duterte called Gascon an “idiot.”

At a CHR event last week, Gascon spoke about the promises and threats made by the incoming Duterte administration, vowing to respond only to events and facts instead of speculations and rumors. If the events and facts suggest there’s repression rather than promotion of human rights, the CHR is prepared to stand firm in the defense of the rights of all people, the CHR chief said, pointing out that his role was only that of a referee. “As referee, our job is to call out if the line has been crossed. Let’s not take offense. If there are abuses, we will say ‘this goes against the Constitution.’ All leaders of the nation, from the president to the barangay tanod, have the responsibility to act according to the Constitution.”

Rosales said that Independence Day, which was celebrated on June 12, should remind Duterte and his people of their moral obligation to respect human dignity. These principles, she said are now enshrined in eight of nine human rights treaties the Philippines has ratified, which oblige as well the country to comply with international human rights standards and norms.

Apparently, Duterte is not impressed with these norms. He has derided human rights as a western concept that does not apply to the Philippines. He has been linked to death squads that, allegedly, have killed more than 1,000 criminal suspects in Davao City. He has denied any role in the killings, and no charges have been brought against him. But during the campaign, he vowed to kill tens of thousands of criminals and dump their bodies—not in Davao Gulf—but in Manila Bay, where the fish would grow fat from feeding on the corpses.

Amando Doronila was a regular columnist of the Inquirer from 1994 to May 2016.


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