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MESSAGE TO PH: 'MR. DUTERTE IS REPEATING MY MISTAKE'
[RELATED: Ex-president of Colombia an idiot – Duterte]
FEBRUARY 9 -Former Colombia President César Gaviria AFP FILE PHOTO llegal drugs are a matter of national security, but the war against them cannot be won by armed forces and law enforcement agencies alone. Throwing more soldiers and police at the drug users is not just a waste of money but also can actually make the problem worse. Locking up nonviolent offenders and drug users almost always backfires, instead strengthening organized crime. Message to the world That is the message I would like to send to the world and, especially, to President Rodrigo Duterte of the Philippines. Trust me, I learned the hard way. We Colombians know a thing or two about fighting drugs. Our country has long been one of the world’s primary suppliers of cocaine. With support from North American and Western European governments, we have poured billions of dollars into a relentless campaign to eradicate drugs and destroy cartels. READ MORE...RELATED. Ex-president of Colombia an idiot – Duterte...
ALSO: Duterte to Gaviria - 'I'll not make the same mistake, I'm not as stupid as you'
[RELATED: ‘Bato’ cites big difference between RP, Colombia illegal drug menace]
FEBRUARY 19 -President Rodrigo Duterte on Friday continued to lash out at former Colombian President Cesar Gaviria, who earlier criticized his campaign against illegal drugs. "Itong tontong Presidente ng -- he must be stupid. Itong ex-president ng Colombia, sabi niya, 'Duterte is committing the same mistake.' We cannot never be in the same mistake because I am not stupid, you are," Duterte told a business forum in Davao City. "Nagyayabang naman itong former President that I have committed the same mistake. That is only possible Mr. Ex-President if I am as stupid as you, I said. But unfortunately I am not," he added. In an opinion piece in the New York Times, Gaviria warned that Duterte is committing his mistake by taking a tough stance against drugs. He suggested that instead of using force against drug users and traffickers, Duterte should start looking at the drug situation in the country as a social problem. READ MORE...RELATED, ‘Bato’ cites big difference between RP, Colombia illegal drug menace...
ALSO A MUST-READ: COMPREHENSIVE ANALYSIS -President Duterte of the Philippines for Dummies, From Manila and Davao.
DECEMBER 2916 -PHOTO OF THE THE WRITER:Text and photos by Andre Vltchek. Andre Vltchek is a philosopher, novelist, filmmaker and investigative journalist. He has covered wars and conflicts in dozens of countries. Three of his latest books are revolutionary novel “Aurora” and two bestselling works of political non-fiction: “Exposing Lies Of The Empire” and “Fighting Against Western Imperialism”. View his other books here. Andre is making films for teleSUR and Al-Mayadeen. After having lived in Latin America, Africa and Oceania, Vltchek presently resides in East Asia and the Middle East, and continues to work around the world. He can be reached through his website and his Twitter. When Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez ascended to power in 1999, almost no one in the West, in Asia and even in most of the Latin American countries knew much about his new militant revolutionary anti-imperialism. From the mass media outlets like CNN and the BBC, to local televisions and newspapers (influenced or directly sponsored by Western sources), the ‘information’ that was flowing was clearly biased, extremely critical, and even derogatory. A few months into his rule, I came to Caracas and was told repeatedly by several local journalists: Almost all of us are supporting President Chavez, but we’d be fired if we’d dare to write one single article in his support.” In New York City and Paris, in Buenos Aires and Hong Kong, the then consensus was almost unanimous: “Chavez was a vulgar populist, a demagogue, a military strongman, and potentially a ‘dangerous dictator’”. History repeats itself. Now President Rodrigo Duterte of the Philippines is demonized and ‘mistrusted’, ridiculed and dismissed as a demagogue, condemned as a rough element, mocked as a buffoon. READ FROM THE BEGINNING...
ALSO: Philippines should learn from Colombia's experience, says Leni
[RELATED: PH antidrug drive differs from Colombia’s - Dangerous Drug Board chief]
FEBRUARY 9 -Vice President Leni Robredo said that it would be good for the Philippines to learn from the experience of other countries in their fight against illegal drugs. Philstar.com/File Photo Vice President Leni Robredo supported the position of a former president of Colombia that the government of President Rodrigo Duterte is committing a mistake in its approach to illegal drugs. In her first press conference since resigning from the Cabinet, Robredo said that the Philippines should learn from the experiences of countries that tried militarily fighting drugs. Robredo said that it was important for the government to listen to the experiences of these nations so the Philippines would not commit the mistakes they did. "Tingin ko mahalaga yung statement nung former president of Colombia dahil dumaan siya sa ganun na track. Mahalaga yung kwento niya hindi para sundin kundi para pulutan natin ng aral," the vice president said. READ MORE...RELATED, PH antidrug drive differs from Colombia’s - Dangerous Drug Board chief...
ALSO: DU30 not ‘The Punisher’ but a ‘visionary’ — Palace
[ALSO: COMMENTARY -Sovereignty should be also economic, not just political]
FEBRUARY 12 -If former President Fidel V. Ramos thinks of President Duterte as “The Punisher” who sows fear, Malacañang yesterday defended the incumbent Chief Executive, saying he’s a visionary. Presidential spokesman Ernesto Abella, in an interview over state-run dzRB radio, said Duterte isn’t insecure of himself as Ramos claimed in an online interview with news site Rappler the other day. “Magkaiba po ‘yung managerial styles nung dalawa. Si Ramos po kasi is more managerial, more corporate, more managerial siya. But President Duterte is what you would call a transformational leader. Yun bang out of nothing may nagagawa siya,” Abella said. “President Duterte is more visionary. Hindi po ibig sabihin na insecure ‘yung kanya,” he added. Ramos accused Duterte of not maintaining good communications with his advisers and Cabinet secretaries which accordingly hints anxiety from the latter’s end. READ MORE...ALSO COMMENTARY, Sovereignty should be also economic, not just political...
ALSO: Palace debunks UN official’s claim on culture of impunity
FEBRUARY 12 -Presidential spokesman Ernesto Abella downplayed the statement made by Agnes Callamard, UN special rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions, that there were signs of mounting opposition within the Philippines to Duterte’s war on drugs. United Nations/Loey Felipe Manila, Philippines - Malacañang debunked yesterday a United Nations human rights investigator’s claim that President Duterte’s bloody drug war has generated a culture of impunity among men in uniform. Presidential spokesman Ernesto Abella downplayed the statement made by Agnes Callamard, UN special rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions, that there were signs of mounting opposition within the Philippines to Duterte’s war on drugs. In a radio interview, Abella reiterated that the administration’s drug war was aimed at saving the country from illegal drugs. Callamard earlier said the drug killings that reached over 7,000 had given rise to a sense of impunity, which could lead to increase in violence and lawlessness. READ MORE...
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Message to PH: ‘Mr. Duterte is repeating my mistakes’
Former Colombia President César Gaviria AFP FILE PHOTO
BOGOTA, COLOMBIA, FEBRUARY 13, 2017 (INQUIRER) By: César Gaviria - Former president of Colombia - @inquirerdotnetNew York Times News Service / 12:54 AM February 09, 2017 - llegal drugs are a matter of national security, but the war against them cannot be won by armed forces and law enforcement agencies alone.
Throwing more soldiers and police at the drug users is not just a waste of money but also can actually make the problem worse.
Locking up nonviolent offenders and drug users almost always backfires, instead strengthening organized crime.
Message to the world
That is the message I would like to send to the world and, especially, to President Rodrigo Duterte of the Philippines. Trust me, I learned the hard way.
We Colombians know a thing or two about fighting drugs.
Our country has long been one of the world’s primary suppliers of cocaine.
With support from North American and Western European governments, we have poured billions of dollars into a relentless campaign to eradicate drugs and destroy cartels.
I was personally involved in taking down the planet’s most notorious drug trafficker, Pablo Escobar, in 1993.
While we managed to make Colombia a bit safer, it came at a tremendous price.
My government and every administration since threw everything at the problem—from fumigating crops to jailing every drug pusher in sight.
New problems created
Not only did we fail to eradicate drug production, trafficking and consumption in Colombia, but we also pushed drugs and crime into neighboring countries.
And we created new problems.
Tens of thousands of people were slaughtered in our antidrug crusade.
Many of our brightest politicians, judges, police officers and journalists were assassinated.
At the same time, the vast funds earned by drug cartels were spent to corrupt our executive, judicial and legislative branches of government.
This heavy-handed approach to drugs did little to diminish the drug supply and demand in Colombia, much less in markets like Western Europe and the United States.
In fact, drugs such as cocaine and heroin are as accessible as ever from Bogotá to New York to Manila.
War on people
The war on drugs is essentially a war on people.
But old habits die hard. Many countries are still addicted to waging this war.
As Colombia’s current president, Juan Manuel Santos, said, “We are still thinking within the same framework as we have done for the last 40 years.”
Fortunately, more and more governments also concede that a new approach is needed, one that strips out the profits that accompany drug sales while ensuring the basic human rights and public health of all citizens.
If we are going to get drugs under control, we need to have an honest conversation.
The Global Commission on Drug Policy—of which I am a founding member—has supported an open, evidence-based debate on drugs since 2011.
We strongly support reducing drug supply and demand, but differ fundamentally with hard-liners about how this should be achieved.
We are not soft on drugs. Far from it. What do we propose?
Wrong ways to go
Well, for one, we do not believe that military hardware, repressive policing and bigger prisons are the answer.
Real reductions in drug supply and demand will come through improving public health and safety, strengthening anticorruption measures—especially those that combat money laundering—and investing in sustainable development.
We also believe that the smartest pathway to tackling drugs is decriminalizing consumption and ensuring that governments regulate certain drugs, including for medical and recreational purposes.
While the Filipino government has a duty to provide for the security of its people, there is a real risk that a heavy-handed approach will do more harm than good.
There is no doubt that tough penalties are necessary to deter organized crime.
But extrajudicial killings and vigilantism are the wrong ways to go.
After the killing of a South Korean businessman, Mr. Duterte seemed as if he might be closer to realizing this.
But bringing the Army in to fight the drug war, as he now suggests, would also be disastrous.
The fight against drugs has to be balanced so that it does not infringe on the rights and well-being of citizens.
Winning the fight against drugs requires dealing with not just crime, but also public health, human rights and economic development.
No matter what Mr. Duterte believes, there will always be drugs and drug users in the Philippines.
But it is important to put the problem in perspective: The Philippines already has a low number of regular drug users.
The application of severe penalties and extrajudicial violence against drug consumers makes it almost impossible for people with drug addiction problems to find treatment.
Instead, they resort to dangerous habits and the criminal economy.
Indeed, the criminalization of drug users runs counter to all available scientific evidence of what works.
Taking a hard line against criminals is always popular for politicians. I was also seduced into taking a tough stance on drugs during my time as president.
The polls suggest that Mr. Duterte’s war on drugs is equally popular. But he will find that it is unwinnable.
Enormous human costs
I also discovered that the human costs were enormous.
We could not win the war on drugs through killing petty criminals and addicts.
We started making positive impact only when we changed tack, designating drugs as a social problem and not a military one.
A successful president makes decisions that strengthen the public good. This means investing in solutions that meet the basic standards of basic rights and minimize unnecessary pain and suffering.
The fight against drugs is no exception. Strategies that target violent criminals and undermine money laundering are critical.
So, too, are measures that decriminalize drug users, support alternative sentencing for low-level nonviolent offenders and provide a range of treatment options for drug abusers.
This is a test that many of my Colombian compatriots have failed. I hope Mr. Duterte does not fall into the same trap.
(Editor’s Note: César Augusto Gaviria Trujillo [pronounced tru-hi-yo] served as president of Colombia from 1990 to 1994 and as secretary general of the Organization of American States from 1994 to 2004.)
IRELATED FROM THE NQUIRER
Ex-president of Colombia an idiot – Duterte By: Nestor Corrales - Reporter / @NCorralesINQINQUIRER.net / 01:03 AM February 09, 2017
President Rodrigo Roa Duterte lauds the Bureau of Customs (BOC) for its continuing anti-corruption drive in his keynote address during the 115th Anniversary celebration of BOC at the Port of Manila on February 9, 2017. SIMEON CELI JR./Presidential Photo
President Duterte on Wednesday called former President César Gaviria of Colombia an “idiot” for telling him that the war on drugs could not be won by the police and the military alone.
“Colombia has been lecturing me, that idiot,” Mr. Duterte said in a speech at the 115th anniversary of the Bureau of Customs, referring to Gaviria’s advice to him that was published in the international edition of The New York Times.
Gaviria wrote that essentially, a war on drugs is a war on people and that military hardware, repressive policing and bigger prisons were not the answer to the drug menace.
“Winning the fight against drugs requires dealing with not just crime, but also public health, human rights and economic development,” Gaviria wrote.
Duterte knows that
Presidential spokesperson Ernesto Abella said Malacañang respected Gaviria’s opinion.
“The Philippine President rightly understood the same insight when he began to address not just crime and illegal drugs but also broadened government efforts into a public health issue,” he said.
The Philippine National Police chief, Director General Ronald dela Rosa, traveled to Bogota, Colombia, last September to attend a counterterrorism and counternarcotics conference.
Dela Rosa learned that legislation played a key role in Colombia’s fight against drugs, such as allowing police to wiretap suspected criminals, particularly drug traffickers.
He said he wanted to adopt some of Colombia’s narcoterrorism measures for the Philippines’ own war on drugs. —WITH A REPORT FROM INQUIRER RESEARCH
Duterte to Gaviria: 'I'll not make the same mistake, I'm not as stupid as you' Published February 10, 2017 4:03pm
By TRISHA MACAS, GMA News
President Rodrigo Duterte on Friday continued to lash out at former Colombian President Cesar Gaviria, who earlier criticized his campaign against illegal drugs.
"Itong tontong Presidente ng -- he must be stupid. Itong ex-president ng Colombia, sabi niya, 'Duterte is committing the same mistake.' We cannot never be in the same mistake because I am not stupid, you are," Duterte told a business forum in Davao City.
"Nagyayabang naman itong former President that I have committed the same mistake. That is only possible Mr. Ex-President if I am as stupid as you, I said. But unfortunately I am not," he added.
In an opinion piece in the New York Times, Gaviria warned that Duterte is committing his mistake by taking a tough stance against drugs. He suggested that instead of using force against drug users and traffickers, Duterte should start looking at the drug situation in the country as a social problem.
Gaviria was president of Colombia at the height of the notoriety of slain drug kingpin Pablo Escobar, during which his country was one of the primary suppliers of cocaine to the world.
Gaviria's heavy-handed approach to the problem, he admitted, has done more harm than good.
But in his speech, Duterte, who had previously called Gaviria an "idiot," pointed out that Colombia got the help of United States in its anti-drug war.
"Kasi ang Amerika, nagbuhos ng bilyon because they were flooding America with...All the supplies of cocaine and heroin came from that country. Anong tinulong ng America dito except to recommend for my prosecution in the International Court of Justice, International Criminal Court?" he added.
Duterte's campaign against illegal drugs has been blamed for the deaths of over 7,000 people, most of them drug suspects. —KBK, GMA News
RELATED FROM THE TRIBUNE
‘Bato’ cites big difference between RP, Colombia illegal drug menace Written by Mario J. Mallari Monday, 13 February 2017 00:00
Philippine National Police (PNP) chief Director General Ronald de la Rosa said that the Philippine drug problem should not be compared to that of Colombia as he defended President Duterte’s stance in fighting illegal drugs in the country.
De la Rosa stressed that there is actually a big difference between an illegal drug-producing country like Colombia and one that is on the receiving end or consume prohibited substances like the Philippines.
“Take note that there is difference in the situation in Colombia and in the Philippines.
First, Philippines is not producing cocaine, Colombia is manufacturing cocaine and trafficking it to the United States,” explained de la Rosa.
“Here, we are the ones receiving the shabu coming from other countries,” he added.
In an opinion article published in the New York Times last week, former Colombian President Gaviria warned that Duterte is committing the mistakes he made by taking a tough stance against drugs.
Gaviria even suggested that instead of using force against drug users and traffickers, Duterte should start looking at the drug situation in the country as a social problem.
Gaviria was president of Colombia at the height of the notoriety of slain drug kingpin Pablo Escobar, during which his country was one of the primary suppliers of cocaine to the world.
According to Gaviria, his government’s heavy-handed approach to the Columbian drug problem has done more harm than good.
TRAFFIC REDUCTION VS DEMAND REDUCTION
“It’s different – their problem there (Colombia) is more on traffic reduction, for us the problem is demand reduction…because we are the consuming public we are not the supplying public…I know that because I went there…the President (Duterte) is right in saying the situation is different,” said de la Rosa.
Duterte lashed back at Gaviria calling the former Columbian leader an “idiot” and “stupid.”
Upon his assumption last year, Duterte immediately appointed de la Rosa as chief PNP and tasked the police to address the illegal drugs problem within six months.
De la Rosa launched his brainchild Project Double Barrel and Oplan Tokhang.
However, Duterte ordered the PNP to stop all its anti-illegal drug operations after the kidnap-slaying of South Korean Jee Ick Joo allegedly by policemen who found ways to make money out of “Tokhang.”
Until its stoppage last January 30, the PNP’s Project Double Barrel 1 and 2 resulted in the killing of more than 2,000 drug personalities while Oplan “Tokhang” led to the surrender of more than a million drug users and pushers.
offGUARDIAN.COM (COMPREHENSIVE ANALYSISY)
President Duterte of the Philippines for Dummies, From Manila and Davao.
Text and photos by Andre Vltchek. Andre Vltchek is a philosopher, novelist, filmmaker and investigative journalist. He has covered wars and conflicts in dozens of countries. Three of his latest books are revolutionary novel “Aurora” and two bestselling works of political non-fiction: “Exposing Lies Of The Empire” and “Fighting Against Western Imperialism”. View his other books here. Andre is making films for teleSUR and Al-Mayadeen. After having lived in Latin America, Africa and Oceania, Vltchek presently resides in East Asia and the Middle East, and continues to work around the world. He can be reached through his website and his Twitter.
Philippines’ President Rodrigo Duterte (Photo credit: MANMAN DEJETO/AFP/Getty Images)
When Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez ascended to power in 1999, almost no one in the West, in Asia and even in most of the Latin American countries knew much about his new militant revolutionary anti-imperialism. From the mass media outlets like CNN and the BBC, to local televisions and newspapers (influenced or directly sponsored by Western sources), the ‘information’ that was flowing was clearly biased, extremely critical, and even derogatory.
A few months into his rule, I came to Caracas and was told repeatedly by several local journalists:
"Almost all of us are supporting President Chavez, but we’d be fired if we’d dare to write one single article in his support.”
In New York City and Paris, in Buenos Aires and Hong Kong, the then consensus was almost unanimous: “Chavez was a vulgar populist, a demagogue, a military strongman, and potentially a ‘dangerous dictator’”.
In South Korea and the UK, in Qatar and Turkey, people who could hardly place Venezuela on the world map, were expressing their ‘strong opinions’, mocking and smearing the man who would later be revered as a Latin American hero. Even many of those who would usually ‘distrust’ mainstream media were then clearly convinced about the sinister nature of the Process and the ‘Bolivarian Revolution’.
History repeats itself.
Now President Rodrigo Duterte of the Philippines is demonized and ‘mistrusted’, ridiculed and dismissed as a demagogue, condemned as a rough element, mocked as a buffoon.
In his own country he is enjoying the highest popularity rating of any president in its history: at least well over 70 percent, but often even over 80 percent.
“Show me one woman or man who hates Duterte in this city”, smiles a city hall employee of Davao (located on the restive Mindanao Island) where Duterte served as a Mayor for 22 years. “I will buy that person an exquisite dinner, from my own pocket … that is how confident I am”.
“People of the Philippines are totally free now to express their opinions, to criticize the government”, explains Eduardo Tadem, a leading academic, Professorial Lecturer of Asian Studies (UP). “He says: ‘they want to protest? Good!’ People can rally or riot without any permit from the authorities.”
Like in the days of Hugo Chavez in Venezuela, in the Philippines, the press, which is mainly owned by right-wing business interests and by pro-Western collaborators, is now reaching a crescendo, barking and insulting the President, inventing stories and spreading unconfirmed rumors, something unimaginable even in a place like the U.K. with its draconian ‘defamation’ laws.
So it is not fear that is securing the great support of the people for Duterte in his own country. It is definitely not fear!
I visited some of the toughest slums of the nation; I worked in the middle of deadly cemeteries, just recently battered by crime and drugs, where people had been literally rotting alive, crying for help and mercy in absolute desperation. I also spoke to the top academics and historians of the country, to former colleagues of Duterte and to overseas workers in the U.A.E. and elsewhere.
The louder was the hate speech from abroad and from local mass media outlets, the stronger Duterte’s nation stood by its leader.
Men and women who were just one year ago living in total desperation and anger were now looking forward with hope, straight towards the future. Suddenly, everything seemed to be possible!
In my first report this month I wrote:
“There is a sense of change in those narrow and desperate alleys of the Baseco slum in the Philippines’ capital Manila.
For the first time in many years a beautiful, noble lady visited; against all odds she decided to stay. Her name is Hope.”
I stand by my words, now more than ever.
However, I also feel that I have to explain in more detail what is really happening in the Philippines and why.
Life in the Baseco slum
My only request, my appeal to all those people all over the planet who know nothing or very little about this part of the world in general and about the Philippines in particular, would be:
“Please do not pass judgments based only on what you read in your own language and especially in English, and from the sources that have been, on so many occasions, and so thoroughly discredited. Come by yourself, come and see and listen. Like Venezuela many years ago, what is taking place in the Philippines is ‘an unknown territory’, an absolutely new concept. Something different and unprecedented, is developing, taking shape. This is like no other revolution that took place before. Do not take part in ridiculing it, do not help to choke it, do not do anything damaging before you come and see for yourself, before you face those pleading eyes of the millions of people who were defenseless and abused for so long and who are all of a sudden standing tall, facing life with great hope and pride”.
Do not participate in depriving them of their own country. For the first time, after centuries of brutal colonialism, it is truly theirs. I repeat: for the first time. Now!
Do not deprive them of hope: it is all that they have, and it is much more than anything they ever had in decades and centuries.
Fidel Castro used to say: “Revolution is not a bed of roses.”
Revolution is a tough, often very hard job. It is never perfect; it could never be. To destroy any deeply rooted evil system takes guts, and inevitably, blood is spilled.
Duterte is not as ‘poetic’ as Fidel. He is a Visaya, a brilliant but rough, candid and an outspoken man. Often he is hyperbolic. He likes to shock his listeners, followers and foes.
But who is he, really? Who is this man who is threatening to close down all US military bases, to reach permanent peace with the Communists and Muslim insurgents, to realign his foreign policy and ideology with China and Russia, and to save the lives of tens of millions of poor people of the Philippines?
In search for the answers, let’s listen to those who really matter – the people of the Philippines.
Let’s silence the toxic waterfall of insults and selected pieces of ‘information’, coming from defunct Western media outlets; let’s silence it by adopting ‘Duterte’s outrageous but honest lexicon:
“You propaganda media of the West, you animal, fuck you!”
WHO IS PRESIDENT DUTERTE, REALLY? WHY DOES HE SWEAR SO MUCH, WHY DOES HE INSULT EVERYONE, FROM PRESIDENT OBAMA TO SUCH MIGHTY INSTITUTIONS LIKE THE U.N., THE EU, EVEN THE POPE?
Ms. Luzviminda Ilagan
“He comes from the South”, explains Ms. Luzviminda Ilagan, a former member of the Congress, and one of the country’s leading feminists:
He is a Visaya. In Luzon, they speak Tagalog, they are ‘well-behaved’, and they look down at us.
Politically, here we say ‘imperialist Manila’. Ironically, Mindanao contributes greatly to Manila’s coffers: there is extensive mining here,
there are fruit plantations, rice fields; but very little is shared with us, in terms of the budgets…. And suddenly, here comes a Mayor from Davao,
from the South, and he is even speaking the language that they hate. He is angry at the situation in his country, and he is swearing and cursing.
It is cultural; after all, he is Visaya! In Manila and abroad, it is all misinterpreted: here you don’t swear at somebody; you just swear, period.
Yes, he is different. He tells the truth, and he speaks our language.”
Why should he not be angry? Once the richest country in Asia, the Philippines is now one of the poorest. Its appalling slums are housing millions, and further millions are caught in a vicious cycle of drug addiction and crime. Crime rate is one of the highest on the continent. There is a brutal civil war with both Muslim and Communist rebels.
And for centuries, the West is mistreating and plundering this country with no shame and no mercy. Whenever the people decide to rebel, as it was the case more than a century ago, they are massacred like cattle. The US butchered 1/6 of the population more than a century ago, some 1.5 million men, women and children.
‘Dynasties’ are ruling undemocratically, with an iron fist.
“In the Congress, the House of Representatives and the Senate, some 74% of the seats are taken by members of local dynasties”, explains Prof. Roland Simbulan. “This is according to serious academic studies”.
Before President Duterte came to power, most of the social indicators were nearing the regional bottom. The country lost its voice, fully collaborating with the West, particularly against China.
An angry man, a socialist, President Duterte is outraged by the present and the past, but especially by the ruthlessness of Western imperialism.
He talks but above all he acts. He takes one decisive step after another. He pushes reforms further and further, he retreats when an entire project gets endangered. He is steering his ship through terrible storms, through the waters that were never navigated before.
One error and his entire revolution will go to hell. In that case, tens of millions of the poor will remain where they were for decades – in the gutter. One wrong move and his country will never manage to rise from its knees.
So he swears. So he is moving forward, cursing.
WHY DOES THE WEST WANT TO OVERTHROW DUTERTE?
First of all, how could the United States and Europe not hate someone who is so out-rightly rejecting imperialism and the horrid colonialist past to which the Philippines was subjected for the centuries? To the past, however, we will return later in this essay.
A legendary academic, Prof Roland Simbulan (photo), from the Department of Social Sciences of the University of the Philippines, explained, during our daylong encounter in Manila:
Duterte reads a lot, and he admires Hugo Chavez. He is actually holding very similar positions as Chavez. He is strongly critical of Western imperialism in such places as Afghanistan, Iraq and Syria. He cannot stand how the West is treating his own country.
"Duterte reads a lot, and he admires Hugo Chavez. He is actually holding very similar positions as Chavez.
He is strongly critical of Western imperialism in such places as Afghanistan, Iraq and Syria.
He cannot stand how the West is treating his own country. He was always persistent in his anti-imperialist policy.
Even as Mayor of Davao he banned all US-Philippine military exercises. The US negotiated; it offered plenty of money.
It wanted to build a huge drone base in Mindanao, but Duterte refused.”
As ‘punishment’, two bombs exploded in Davao: one at the pier, one at the international airport.
Lately, he ordered to stop all US-Philippine joined military exercises and he keeps threatening to close all US military facilities on the territory of his country.
A couple consisting of leading Philippine Academics, Eduardo and Teresa Tadem, have no doubts about direction of Duterte’s foreign policy:
"The trend is clear: away from the West, towards China and Russia. We think that he will soon reach a territorial agreement with China.
Plenty of goodwill is now coming from President Xi Jinping. Things are done quietly,
but some great concessions are already visible: our fishermen are allowed to return to the disputed area.
China is pledging foreign aid, investment, and it is promising to make our railways work again.”
All this is a nightmare for the aggressively anti-Chinese foreign policy of the West, particularly that of the United States. Provoking still the militarily weak China, eventually even triggering a military conflict with it, appears to be the main goal of Western imperialism. If the Philippines reach a compromise with China, Vietnam will most likely follow. The aggressive Asian anti-Chinese ‘coalition’ hammered together by the West, would then most likely collapse, consisting only of Taiwan, Japan and possibly South Korea.
“Duterte is just being sensible. What China is doing is defensive. The West is behind the confrontation”, explained a leading historian Dr. Rey Ileto:
“Just to put this into perspective: Gloria Arroyo – she visited China ahead of the US. She moved closer to China. They got her indicted for corruption! Only Duterte released her…”
To the West, Duterte’s Philippines is like a new Asian contagious disease; a virus that has to be contained, liquidated as soon as possible. Countless independent (at least on the paper) but in reality controlled and humiliated nations of the region could get otherwise inspired, rebel, and begin to follow Duterte’s example.
The West is in panic. Its propaganda machine is in full gear. Different strategies on how to unseat the ‘unruly’ president are being designed and tried. Local ‘elites’ and the NGOs are collaborating shamelessly.
IS DUTERTE REALLY A SOCIALIST?
Yes and no, but definitely more yes than no. He is actually a self-proclaimed socialist, and for years, he has been forging extremely close links with the Marxists.
Prof. Roland Simbulan explains:
"When Duterte was a college student, he joined KM, the leftist student organization. He understands the ideology of the left.
He also understands the roots of the insurgencies in his country, both Communist and Muslim.
He keeps repeating: ‘you cannot defeat the insurgency militarily: you have to address socio-economic problems that has led to it.”
He invited Marxists into his administration, even before they asked him to join. He is gradually releasing political prisoners, who were captured and locked up during the previous administrations.
COURTESY OF https://www.facebook.com/ed.tadem . Eduardo C. Tadem
Professors Teresa and Eduardo Tadem agree:
"Social reforms are part of the peace talks. The fact that a Communist leader used to be Duterte’s professor is also helping.
Duterte introduced a moratorium on land conversions, so the land of the peasants could be preserved for agriculture.
Labor is also enjoying many good things. He is bringing an end to short contracts, to so called contractualisation.
Basically, the government is trying to make sure that after people get hired, they get benefits, immediately.
There are many positive changes taking place in such a short time: environment, social issues,
social justice, education, health, housing, science…”
Social reforms are part of the peace talks. The fact that a Communist leader used to be Duterte’s professor is also helping. Duterte introduced a moratorium on land conversions, so the land of the peasants could be preserved for agriculture. Labor is also enjoying many good things. He is bringing an end to short contracts, to so called contractualisation. Basically, the government is trying to make sure that after people get hired, they get benefits, immediately.
There are many positive changes taking place in such a short time: environment, social issues, social justice, education, health, housing, science…”
Duterte recently sent his Health Secretary to Havana, to study the Cuban model. The visit was so successful that he is now planning to fly an entire government delegation, including the ministers, to the revolutionary island.
However, while he is certainly putting great accent on social justice and independent anti-imperialist foreign policy, there are still finances, trade and economic policies firmly in the hands of the pro-market ministers.
“When Duterte was a mayor”, explains Prof Simbulan, “he acted as a pragmatist, valuing harmony above all. However, one thing has to be remembered: whenever there arose some irreconcilable conflict between labor or indigenous people or the poor and big business or plantation owners, at the end he’d always take the side of the ‘small people’. This is how he managed to convince the left that he is one of them.”
In the brutal Baseco slum, built from rotting metal sheets and containers around the docks and shipyards, everyone seems to agree that the new President brought both hope and long overdue changes.
“Now people have free education here”, explains Ms. Imelda Rodriguez, a physiotherapist employed by the Department of Social Welfare and Development:
There are also free ‘medical missions’ in this settlement, where people can get all sorts of check-ups and consultations. We also get certain cash allowances. The government creates jobs. Of course much more still has to be done, but there is undeniably great progress, already.”
Social progress is evident in the city of Davao, where Duterte served for 22 years as a mayor. Once a crime-ridden hellhole with collapsed social structure, Davao now is a modern and forward looking city, with relatively good social services and improving infrastructure, as well as new public parks and green areas.
“So many things got better for the poor people here”, explains the driver, taking me from the Municipality to my hotel. “In just two decades, the city became unrecognizable. We are now proud to be living here.”
At the City Government of Davao, Mr. Jefry M. Tupas showers me with the information and data I came to request: the resettlement areas for the poor and homeless people, the public housing for the rebels who recently surrendered, ‘slum improvement resettlements’; the number of projects is endless.
Like in the revolutionary countries of Latin America, the enthusiasm of the people involved in the ‘process’ is contagious and pure. At the medical centers doctors and nurses speak proudly about new immunization plans, free medicine for diabetes and high blood pressure, treatment of tuberculosis and family planning centers.
“Now we also hope that things will improve economically as a whole, if we don’t depend on the US, anymore”, says Ms. Luzviminda Ilagan. “If we now open up to much friendlier countries like China and Russia, there is great hope for all of us! Before, in Mindanao, we only had Western mining companies: from places like Australia and Canada. As a result, all profits went abroad, and Mindanao people are still dirt poor. Under President Duterte, all this is dramatically changing!”
IS DUTERTE REALLY A MASS MURDERER?
If you read (exclusively) the Western and local right-wing press, you could be excused if you start to believe that Duterte is ‘personally responsible’ for some 5.000+ ‘murders’ in what is now customarily labeled as his ‘war on drugs’.
However, talk directly to the people of the Philippines, and you’ll get an absolutely different picture.
The Philippines before Duterte were overwhelmed by crime rates unseen anywhere else in Asia Pacific. According to the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), in 2014 the homicide rate of the country stood at a staggering 9.9 per 100.000 inhabitants, compared to 2.3 in Malaysia, 3.9 in the United States, 5.9 in Kenya, 6.5 in Afghanistan, 7.5 in Zimbabwe and not much below war-torn countries like the Democratic Republic of Congo (13.5).
Drug gangs used to control the streets of all major cities. Very often, the military and police generals and other top brass were actually controlling the gangs.
The situation was clearly getting out of control, entire communities living in desperation and fear. For many, the cities were turning into real battlegrounds.
A driver taking me to the South Cemetery in Manila recalled: “In my neighborhood, we just had a horrid killing: a teenager got decapitated by a drug pusher…”
Teresa (Tesa) S. Encarnacion Tadem is Professor of Political Science, UP DILIMAN GOOGLED IMAGE
Profs Teresa and Eduardo Tadem explained:
"In Davao, the crime rate was horrible. Generally, in this country, people are so fed-up with crime that they’d support anything …
Duterte encouraged the police to act. He is a lawyer, so he tries to stay within the legal limits.
He says: ‘If they surrender, bring them in, if they resist, shoot!’ More than 5.000 died so far, but who is doing the killings?
Often it is vigilantes, motorcycle gangs…”
Prof Roland Simbulan clarifies further:
"Many killings are taking place … We can never be sure who actually kills whom, whether for instance some rival drug lords
do the killings in order to destroy their competition. In the Philippines we have terrible corruption, and even officers
and generals are involved in the drug trade. Police periodically conducts raids, and then recycles captured drugs.
Even the BBC interviewed gangs that confirmed the police gave them a list of whom to murder.
What makes Duterte so vulnerable is his language, his strong words. What he says is very often misinterpreted.”
In the slums and cemeteries inhabited by the poorest of the poor, an overwhelming majority of the people would support much tougher measures than those implemented now. As I am told by the South Cemetery dwellers:
"Here we hate those who are investigating so called extrajudicial killings.
They only care about the rights of the suspects. But we, good citizens who have been
suffering so much for decades, weren’t protected at all, before this President got elected.”
In Davao, Ms. Luzviminda Ilagan is standing by her President, determinately:
"It is totally understandable why the President is waging a war on corruption and drugs.
And if the opposition talks about the extrajudicial killings, it should be obliged to prove
that they are actually committed on the orders of the authorities… Could it be proved?
“The situation is complicated, of course people are getting killed.
But look at the numbers: they are much lower now than those during Benigno Aquino:
during his administration, farmers, indigenous people and the urban poor were constantly murdered –
people who were fighting for their basic human rights … And under Gloria, mining companies were
actually given permission to enter the country and to kill those who stood in their way …
Under the previous administrations, things got even worse: the military received an exceptional permission
to deliver ‘security services’ to the mining companies’. All this is now changing!”
Even the most vitriolic critics of President Duterte, who are claiming that ‘his war on drugs’ killed over 5.000 people, now have to admit that the ‘itemization of the killings’ is ‘slightly’ more complicated. As reported by Al-Jazeera on December 13, 2016:
Police records show 5,882 people were killed across the country since Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte took office on June 30.
Of that number 2,041 drug suspects were killed during police operations from July 1 to December 6,
while another 3,841 were killed by unknown gunmen from July 1 to November 30.”
So around 2,000 people died during battles between police and drug gangs, which are the deadliest and the most heavily armed in the entire Asia Pacific. Fair enough. Who are those ‘unknown gunmen’ and why is the mainstream press immediately pointing fingers at the president, relying only on the statements coming from his archenemies like Senator de Lima?
Isn’t the coverage of the Philippines by Western mainstream media becoming as ridiculous, propagandist and one-sided as that of Aleppo and Syria, as well as of the Russian involvement there?
Also, are Philippines local narcos being just mercilessly slaughtered, or should a little bit more be added to the story? Isn’t there something being constantly left out?
Peter Lee writes on the ‘rehabilitation’ of drug addicts and on China’s help:
"Another area of potential Philippine-PRC cooperation is PRC assistance in a crash program to rehabilitate the Philippine drug users who have turned themselves in to the police to avoid getting targeted by the death squads. Though virtually unreported in the Western media, over 700,000 users have turned themselves in. Let me repeat that. 700,000 drug users have turned themselves in. And they presumably need to get a clean “rehab” chit to live safely in their communities, presenting a major challenge for the Philippines drug rehabilitation infrastructure. Duterte has called on the Philippine military to make base acreage available for additional rehab camps and the first one will apparently be at Camp Ramon Magsaysay. Duterte has turned to the PRC to demand they fund construction of drug treatment facilities, and the PRC has obliged. According to Duterte and his spokesman, preparatory work for the Magsaysay facility has already begun. There’s an amusing wrinkle here. Magsaysay is the largest military reservation in the Philippines. It is also the jewel in the diadem, I might say, of the five Philippine bases envisioned for US use under EDCA, the Enhanced Defence Cooperation Agreement that officially returned US troops to Philippine bases. It looks like the US military might be sharing Magsaysay with thousands of drug users…and PRC construction workers.”
DUTERTE AND MARCOS
What shocked many recently was Duterte’s decision to re-bury former dictator Ferdinand Marcos at the ‘Heroes’ Cemetery’.
“Has the President gone mad?” asked some. “Is he joining some right-wing cult?” exclaimed others.
None of the above! President Duterte is a left-wing revolutionary, but he is also perfectly well aware that in the morally debased society controlled by vicious political clans and corrupt military and police officers and generals, one has to be a great chess player in order to survive, while pushing essential reforms forward.
“The move was not at all ideological”, clarifies Prof. Rolan Simbulan:
“It was clearly a pragmatic move. He took some money, and he openly admitted that he took some money for his election campaign … Then, in exchange for some votes he promised the burial of Ferdinand Marcos at the ‘Heroes’ Cemetery’. Marcos Junior wanted to run as his Vice-President, but he lost to Leni …”
Dr. Reynaldo Ileto, a leading historian, adds: “the Cemetery has bayani or the ‘hero’ name, but in fact it is a cemetery for almost all former presidents … The focus of the opposition on the Marcos burial is deliberate, it is to avoid real and important issues.”
“Duterte is stubborn”, Eduardo and Teresa Tadem told me:
“He made his promise to the Marcos family and he kept it … Does he admire Marcos? If he admires him for anything, it is only for being strong and uncompromising. Marcos brought the country to ruins, but after him, things never improved, and so he is judged positively by some sectors of society. But overall: Duterte’s decision to burry him at Bayani Cemetery was a gross miscalculation.”
“What is this never-ending obsession of so many people in the Philippines with Marcos?” I asked a leading left-wing journalist and thinker Benjie Oliveros. “Could it be compared to Peron in Argentina?”
“Oh yes”, he replied. “That seems to be a good comparison.”
“Duterte, a supporter of Marcos?” Luz Ilagan rolls her eyes:
“During the martial law, he was a prosecutor in Davao. He always protected the activists here. ‘Release them to me!’ he often ordered. He saved lives. His father served as a minor minister in Marcos’ government, before the martial law, but his mother played a very important role in the protest movement. She was a vocal, a fearless woman … She had huge influence on her son.”
DOES DUTERTE REALLY DESPISE WOMEN?
Again, it has to be remembered that Duterte is a Visaya man. He is outspoken, often graphic and definitely ‘politically incorrect’.
But we always compare his words to his deeds, to what he has done for our women. He always helped; he always protected us. His Davao got awards for being a women-sensitive city. He created the ‘integrated gender development office’, the first one in the Philippines, and other cities are now copying the concept. Every year, before the Women’s Day celebration, women evaluate the performance of the office, and they submit a new agenda. Everything is very transparent.”
In an international hotel in Sharjah, United Arab Emirates, I spoke to a group of women workers from the Philippines. What do they think about their new president?
While answering (and they did not hesitate to answer for one second), I realized that two of them had tears in their eyes:
For the first time in our lives, we feel proud to belong to our country. Duterte gave us our dignity back.
He gave us hope. To say that we support him would be to say too little.
We love him; we feel enormous gratitude. He is liberating us; he is liberating our country!”
DUTERTE AND THE PAST OF THE PHILIPPINES
President Duterte is not only outraged about the present, he is furious about the past.
“American scholarship in the Philippines – it created an entire mindset”, explained Dr. Reynaldo Ileto to me in Manila. “The America-Philippine War is a non-event; people don’t know about it. Everything was ‘sanitized’”.
“We still have not recovered from the hangover caused by US colonialism”, sights a novelist Sionil Jose.
US colonialism was nothing less than genocide.
Alfonso Velázquez wrote:
“Between the years 1899 and 1913 the United States of America wrote the darkest pages of its history. The invasion of the Philippines, for no other reason than acquiring imperial possessions, prompted a fierce reaction of the Filipino people. 126000 American soldiers were brought in to quell the resistance. As a result, 400000 Filipino “insurrectos” died under American fire and one million Filipino civilians died because of the hardship, mass killings and scorched earth tactics carried out by the Americans. In total the American war against a peaceful people who fairly ignored the existence of the Americans until their arrival wiped out 1/6 of the population of the country. One hundred years have passed. Isn’t it high time that the USA army, Congress and Government apologised for the horrendous crimes and monstruous sufferings that were inflicted upon the peoples of Filipinas?”
Gore Vidal confirmed:
“The comparison of this highly successful operation with our less successful adventure in Vietnam was made by, among others, Bernard Fall, who referred to our conquest of the Philippines as “the bloodiest colonial war (in proportion to population) ever fought by a white power in Asia; it cost the lives of 3,000,000 Filipinos.” (cf. E. Ahmed’s “The Theory and Fallacies of Counter-Insurgency,” The Nation, August 2, 1971.) General Bell himself, the old sweetheart, estimated that we killed one-sixth of the population of the main island of Luzon—some 600,000 people.
Now a Mr. Creamer quotes a Mr. Hill (“who grew up in Manila,” presumably counting skulls) who suggests that the bodycount for all the islands is 300,000 men, women, and children—or half what General Bell admitted to.
I am amused to learn that I have wandered “so far from easily verified fact.” There are no easily verified facts when it comes to this particular experiment in genocide. At the time when I first made reference to the 3,000,000 (NYR, October 18, 1973), a Filipino wrote me to say she was writing her master’s thesis on the subject. She was inclined to accept Fall’s figures but she said that since few records were kept and entire villages were totally destroyed, there was no way to discover, exactly, those “facts” historians like to “verify.” In any case, none of this is supposed to have happened and so, as far as those history books that we use to indoctrinate the young go, it did not happen.”
It was reported that in September 2016, at the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean) Summit which was also attended by President Obama, Duterte produced a picture of the killings done by American soldiers in the past and said:
I visited several bookstores in Manila, including National and Solidaridad. In both places the staff looked baffled when I asked about books dealing with the massacres committed by US troops on the territory of the Philippines.
All this may change now, soon. Duterte is openly speaking about US colonialist wars and invasions, about the massacres in Luzon and Mindanao Islands.
For decades, the US was portraying itself as the ‘liberator’ of the Philippines. Now, Duterte depicts it as a country of mass murderers, rapists and thieves. According to him, the countries of the West have no moral mandate to criticize anybody for violations of human rights. He described President Obama as a son-of-a-bitch. He shouted ‘Fuck you!’ at the European Union. He has had enough of hypocrisy.
In this part of the world, such emotional outbursts could ignite rebellion. I have worked in Southeast Asia for many years, and I know what a thick blanket of lies covers the history of the region.
Southeast Asia lost tens of millions of people in the midst of outrageous, brutal European colonialism. It lost millions in Indochina (Vietnam, Cambodia and Laos) during the so-called ‘Vietnam War’ (or ‘American War’ as it is known in Vietnam). Between 1 and 3 million Indonesians vanished during the US-sponsored coup in Jakarta in 1965/66, and the genocide in the Philippines took nearly 1.5 million fighters-patriots, but mostly civilians. The East Timorese lost around one third of its entire population, after Indonesia invaded, backed by the US, UK and Australia.
Such history is as explosive as dynamite. I have spoken to hundreds of people in this part of the world. They keep quiet, but they remember. They know who the real murderers are, who their real enemies are.
President Duterte is not only playing with fire. He is also re-writing and changing the entire twisted Western narrative. The whole region is watching, breathless. Both horror and hope are detectable in the air, and so are the strong smells of blood and dynamite.
That’s how President Duterte sees the world: it is simple, reduced to the essence. He further clarifies:
He said to Chinese officials, during his visit on October 20, 2016:
A deafening applause followed.
Duterte actually talked to President Putin on the sidelines of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation Leaders’ Meeting in Lima, Peru, in November 2016.
The new era for the Philippines has begun: cooperation with China, Russia, Cuba, and Vietnam. A growing distance between this huge and important archipelago, and the West.
He calls Americans “sons of bitches” and “hypocrites”, and he tells the superpower straight in the face:
WHAT ABOUT TRUMP?
These days, to be a friend of the West is a terrible liability. A leader from a colonized country could be easily discredited by just one friendly phrase, one friendly gesture towards some US or UK official, towards the Western regime, or its corporation.
The Western mass media is well aware of it.
That is why, when President Duterte spoke on the phone with President elect Donald Trump, it immediately began reporting that the two men are on a similar wavelength.
Hardly. Once Mr. Trump begins his reign, President Duterte’s close ties with China, Cuba and other socialist countries will soon reinstate his name on the extended hit list of the Empire’s regime. He already is on it, under Obama’s administration (even the coup attempts plotted from the US were already exposed and stopped). It would be a miracle if the racist and anti-Chinese/anti-Asian Donald Trump would actually decide to spare an anti-imperialist Southeast Asian leader.
Duterte and Trump are still talking politely. Duterte even offered a compliment to his US counterpart: “”I like your mouth, it’s like mine”. Well, hardly a proof of warming-up of the relationship between two countries.
My Filipino colleagues kept warning me: “Please do not read commentaries of the pro-Western media. If you want to judge, demand the full transcript of the conversation … Is there actually any transcript available?”
In the meantime, Washington is sugarcoating the obvious bitterness of the relationship between the US and the Philippines. The new US envoy, Ambassador Sung Kim, a Korean-American, is all smiles and ‘respect’:
For me the most meaningful, the most fundamental is the deep and extraordinary warmth in the peoples of the two countries…”
What could President Duterte reply to this? Definitely not: Fuck you, son of a bitch!” In Asia, courtesy is met with courtesy. However, no matter what, each week, the Philippines are moving further away from the West, as planned and as foretold.
WHO HATES DUTERTE AND WHO IS AFRAID OF HIM?
As we established earlier, the West hates him, and especially those there who are trying to trigger wars with China and Russia. Duterte admires both countries, saying that China has “the kindest soul of all”, while openly admiring Russian President Vladimir Putin. “(Russians) they do not insult people, they do not interfere,” Duterte declared.
Big multinational corporations hate him, particularly those huge mining conglomerates that were operating in the Philippines for years and decades, murdering thousands of defenseless Filipino people, plundering natural resources and devastating the environment. President Duterte is putting a full stop to such, feudal, fascist lawlessness.
He is hated by the mass media, at home and abroad, for ‘understandable reasons’.
He is hated by many local and international NGOs, often because they are simply paid to hate him, or because they mean well but are badly informed about the situation “on the ground” (in his country), or simply because they are accustomed to using the Western perspectives to judge occurrences in all corners of the world.
Some victims of the Marcos dictatorship hate him, but definitely not all of them. Many present-day ‘activists’ have actually too close ties with the West, at least for my taste. Ms. Susan D. Macabuag, who is in charge of Bantayog ng mga Bayani (A Tribute To Martial Law Heroes and Martyrs) and a person whom I met on several previous occasions, is not hiding her antipathy towards the President:
It is pity it is Duterte who is saying things that he says about the US … If another person would say it, it would go a long way.”
She then made several statements illustrating her dislike of China. Later she added:
“My son lives in the US. Many of us have families in the United States. We are very concerned about the situation …”
For a while, I was trying to figure out what exactly she meant, but then I decided to let it go.
At a small but iconic intellectual bookstore Solidaridad, I met the most respected living novelist of the Philippines, F. Sionil Jose, who was just celebrating his 92nd birthday. For a while, we spoke about Russia, about Indonesia, about the modern literature. Then I asked him point blank: “Do you like President Duterte?”
“I like him, and I don’t like him”, replied an iconic author, evasively, while smiling. “But I have to say: he is a narcissist.”
Ms. Leni Robredo, Duterte’s vice-President (and former MP and HR lawyer), hates her boss. Constitutionally, he couldn’t fire her as a Vice-President, so he at least blocked her from attending his regular cabinet meetings earlier in December. (‘He doesn’t trust her, anymore.’ He believes that her party tries to depose him). Later she resigned from her position as a chairperson of the Housing and Urban Development Coordinating Council (HUDCC), and began gathering forces against Duterte’s administration.
“There are so many of us against the policies of the president. I hope I will be able to portray the role of unifying all the discordant voices,” Robredo told Reuters in an interview at her office in Manila’s Quezon City.
Ms. Robredo is an important figure in the “yellow” Liberal Party. As early as on September 13, 2016, Inquirer reported:
“Without directly mentioning the LP, Duterte on Monday accused “yellow” forces of mounting moves to impeach him by highlighting the issue of human rights violations under his administration.
“Let’s not fool ourselves. Do you know who’s behind this? It’s the yellow,” the President said, referring to the LP’s political color.”
On December 5th, I met historian Dr. Reynaldo Ileto in Manila, who said: “Leni is tugging the same (Western) policy on the South China Sea…”
We discussed the “color revolutions” triggered by the West, and the pattern: Ukraine, Brazil, Argentina, and Arroyo in the Philippines, after she dared to move closer to China. Will Robredo try to do to Duterte what Temer did to Dilma? Is there going to be yet another ‘revolution’ in the name of some ‘anti-corruption drive’ or ‘human rights’?
Dynasties, powerful political and business clans, also hate President Duterte. Of course they do! In the past, I got to know them, gained ‘access’ to some. I was shown how they operate: shamelessly, brutally and with total impunity.
The dynasties had been killing and raping those who stood in their way. They have been plundering the country for centuries. Like in Central America (the Spanish and US colonialist legacies) they never hesitated to sacrifice thousands, even millions of ‘peons’.
The top military brass, educated in the United States and elsewhere in the West, hates him. It actually hates him passionately.
He is hated by millions of Filipinos living in the United States. He has to be careful while dealing with some of them. Recently, in the city of Davao, President Duterte declared:
In fact, he is hated by so many from the ‘elites’ and by so many in the West, that it appears to be a miracle that he is still alive and in charge.
The coup plots have been exposed. Entire Western mainstream propaganda apparatus has been employed in order to weaken and to discredit him.
He does not care. He is now 71. His is in poor health. He does not believe that he will make it till the end of his term. He is a warrior. He never kneels in front of the former or present colonizers. Recently, he said:
That is what Chavez, Morales or Fidel would say. That is what gets people murdered by the Empire, by the Western regime. As simple as that!
The Empire knows what is at stake.
The Philippines is a nation with more than 100 million inhabitants, strategically located on some of the most important maritime routes. It used to be one of the most obedient, and resigned countries in Asia Pacific.
It is no more! Its people are suddenly waking up, defiant and angry. The West has been killing, plundering and humiliating them for centuries. The education had been twisted to glorify invaders. The culture was stripped of its essence, and injected with deadly doses of Western pop.
Again and again I was told that if President Duterte is killed or deposed, the country would explode. There would be a civil war. Once rebellion ignites millions of souls, no way back is possible.
Unless some people have failed to notice by now, this is a genuine revolution. It is an extremely slow and painful revolution. It is not a ‘beautiful’, or operatic revolution. But a revolution it is.
“If Duterte moves too fast, he will be overthrown by the military”, uttered Prof Roland Simbulan.
Duterte says “Bye-bye America!”
He is cancelling common military exercises, while he is also talking to Donald Trump, politely. The atmosphere is extremely tense. Anything could happen at any moment: an assassination, a coup … It is a minefield all around him, almost right there, under his feet.
He is aware of it. This is how history is written; with blood, with one’s own blood.
What is taking place in Manila now is not a board meeting of some Western-sponsored human rights NGO. It is a striking, shocking image of a huge, scarred, tortured nation, getting up from its deathbed, still covered by blood and puss, but suddenly daring to hope for survival, angry and defiant but determined to live, to prevail.
In order to live, it will have to dare, to fight, perhaps against all odds.
In the middle of the horrid cemeteries inhabited by the wretched human beings, I witnessed hope. I testify that I did. Those who don’t believe me, those who do not understand, should go and see with their own eyes. They should go to the horrendous Baseco slum, and to the city of Davao. Then they can speak. Otherwise, they should be quiet!
I testify that the Philippines is a country in rebellion, galvanized by one man and his tremendous determination and courage.
Is he a saint? No, he is not. He himself says that he is not. Anyway, I don’t believe in saints, do you?
Duterte cannot afford to be a saint. There is more than one hundred million men, women and children behind him, clinging to his back, right now … most of them very poor, most of them robbed of absolutely everything.
If he gets through the storm, most of them will survive, will benefit. Therefore, exhausted and injured, he is marching forward. His fists are clenched, he is cursing. He has no right to fail or to fall. He has to, he is obliged to get through: in the name of one hundred million of his people.
As he hears insults, feels punches, as he envisions assassins waiting for him all along the way, most likely he keeps repeating in his mind what his great hero, Hugo Chavez used to shout until the very end:
“Here No One Surrenders!”
Philippines should learn from Colombia's experience, says Leni By Audrey Morallo (philstar.com) | Updated February 9, 2017 - 3:59pm 2 8 googleplus0 0
Vice President Leni Robredo said that it would be good for the Philippines to learn from the experience of other countries in their fight against illegal drugs. Philstar.com/File Photo
MANILA, Philippines — Vice President Leni Robredo supported the position of a former president of Colombia that the government of President Rodrigo Duterte is committing a mistake in its approach to illegal drugs.
In her first press conference since resigning from the Cabinet, Robredo said that the Philippines should learn from the experiences of countries that tried militarily fighting drugs.
Robredo said that it was important for the government to listen to the experiences of these nations so the Philippines would not commit the mistakes they did.
"Tingin ko mahalaga yung statement nung former president of Colombia dahil dumaan siya sa ganun na track. Mahalaga yung kwento niya hindi para sundin kundi para pulutan natin ng aral," the vice president said.
In an opinion piece that appeared in the New York Times, Colombian former President Cesar Gaviria said that Duterte was repeating his mistakes.
READ: Colombian ex-president: Duterte repeating my mistakes in drug war
"Throwing more soldiers and police at the drug users is not just a waste of money but also can actually make the problem worse," the leader of Colombia from 1990 to 1994 said.
Characteristically, Duterte shot back at Gaviria and called him an "idiot."
READ: Duterte calls Colombian ex-president "idiot"
"Sabi nila yung Colombia has been lecturing me about my, that idiot," Duterte said in a speech before the Customs Bureau on Wednesday.
Robredo said that it would be beneficial for the Philippines to study the points raised by Gaviria in his opinion piece such as the decriminalization of drug use which was effective in Portugal.
Robredo also urged the government to treat the drug problem of the country as a social problem instead of a military one.
Duterte's campaign against illegal drugs has claimed about 7,000 lives. Local and international human rights groups and individuals have criticized the government for alleged human rights violations committed in the name of the government's efforts to eradicate illegal narcotics in the the country.
RELATED FROM THE INQUIRER
PH antidrug drive differs from Colombia’s, exec notes By: Jhesset O. Enano - Reporter / @JhessetEnanoINQPhilippine Daily Inquirer / 01:30 AM February 10, 2017
The Philippine approach against illegal drugs and substance abuse is unique, and should not be compared with the methods of other countries, said Dangerous Drugs Board chair Benjamin Reyes on Thursday.
Reyes was reacting to the open letter by former Colombia President Cesar Gaviria to President Duterte in which Gaviria warned Mr. Duterte against committing Colombia’s mistakes in waging war on drugs.
Reyes highlighted the difference of substance choice in the two countries, which Mr. Duterte also earlier mentioned.
“The substance of choice in Colombia is heroin… and cocaine,” Reyes told reporters. “At the same time, Colombia’s approach was purely enforcement. They were funded by the United States to destroy their well-entrenched cartels.”
Reyes cited an HBO documentary that claimed methamphetamine hydrochloride, commonly known in the streets as “shabu,” as the “most dangerous substance right now.”
“[With methamphetamine], it is more dangerous because you can see chronic neurological problems in as short as 15 days,” he said. “With heroin, you can employ substitute therapy. But that is not our drug of choice.”
Reyes said the Philippines was following the general strategies of the United Nations in combating illegal drugs. However, he noted that these methods were tweaked to conform with the culture and resources available in the country.
The official added, however, that he hoped that the Philippine approach would work in the drug war and even become a model for other countries.
“If I may brag a little, our approach is more comprehensive than the approach in Colombia,” he said.
DU30 not ‘The Punisher’ but a ‘visionary’ — Palace Written by Ted Tuvera Sunday, 12 February 2017 00:00
If former President Fidel V. Ramos thinks of President Duterte as “The Punisher” who sows fear, Malacañang yesterday defended the incumbent Chief Executive, saying he’s a visionary.
Presidential spokesman Ernesto Abella, in an interview over state-run dzRB radio, said Duterte isn’t insecure of himself as Ramos claimed in an online interview with news site Rappler the other day.
“Magkaiba po ‘yung managerial styles nung dalawa. Si Ramos po kasi is more managerial, more corporate, more managerial siya. But President Duterte is what you would call a transformational leader. Yun bang out of nothing may nagagawa siya,” Abella said.
“President Duterte is more visionary. Hindi po ibig sabihin na insecure ‘yung kanya,” he added.
Ramos accused Duterte of not maintaining good communications with his advisers and Cabinet secretaries which accordingly hints anxiety from the latter’s end.
“The way it is, there is a lack of consultation, as I said in the beginning, not just with his active commanders. Maybe not even with the Cabinet members concerned, but also with the rest of the citizenry,” said the former President who was among those who supported Duterte’s Malacañang bid a year ago.
“A lot of these fears are being generated by him because he is afraid of fear or he is...insecure,” Ramos added.
But Abella denied such views, saying the incumbent President is “a leader who listens.”
“Kaya lang po ang proseso niya is slightly different but that doesn’t mean to say hindi siya kumokonsulta, nakikinig po talaga siya,” he insisted.
ALSO MANILA TIMES COMMENTARY
Sovereignty should be also economic, not just political BY FRANCISCO TATAD ON FEBRUARY 13, 2017 OPINION ON PAGE ONE
FRANCISCO S. TATAD
AT the Manila Times business forum in Davao City last Friday, the paper proclaimed its guest of honor and speaker, President Rodrigo Duterte, as Man of the Year for 2016. I write three times a week on the Times’s front page, but I had no involvement in this project.
In his speech, the President, who has been in office for less than a year, said he was accepting the award, but admonished his audience, with obvious playfulness, not to read the paper’s columnists. I felt obviously referred to, having been reviled in an earlier nationwide broadcast over a controversial piece, but having but having pointed out in my column, that same Friday, that his rant was entirely misplaced, I thought this was his merry way of putting his error to rest.
I was happy to hear it. Pax Christi, Mr. President.
But given the many controversial things the President wants to do—the drug war, the restoration of the capital sentence, lowering the age of criminal responsibility to nine years old, limiting the number of children per family to three, peace talks or total war with the CPP/NPA/NDF, preventing the arms buildup for Islamic extremists, an independent and balanced foreign policy posture vis-a-vis China, Japan and the US, etc.—he would be crossing a vast minefield in the next five years. He will have to tread gently on all these issues, and in dealing with his local and foreign critics, in official and unofficial circles around the world.
Although Himmler mechanically drew his revolver every time anyone tried to reason with him, DU30 cannot simply continue to call stupid, idiot or sonofabitch, etc. everyone who disagrees with him or crosses his path.
The killings not the drug war
He needs to serve the rule of law in truth, with reason and justice, avoiding all non sequiturs and specious arguments. On the issue of the extra-judicial killings, for instance, he has to see that no one who condemns the killings is against the war on drugs as a legitimate activity of the State. But he has to show that every drug killing is documented, unavoidable and justified.
During his Philconsa speech on February 8 at the Manila Hotel, Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre II said the Constitution provides that “the maintenance of peace and order, the protection of life, liberty and property, and the promotion of the general welfare are essential for the enjoyment by all the people of the blessings of democracy,” and then asked whether the government should do nothing in the face of the horrible drug menace?
It does not. But that is not the issue before DU30 and the public. The issue is whether the extra-judicial killings are necessary, unavoidable and justified. Former Mayor Alfred Lim of Manila, who used to be also a chief of the Manila police and of the National Bureau of Investigation, told Aguirre that when he was both mayor, police and NBI chief, every police killing of a suspected criminal resulted in an investigation and charges being filed against the responsible policeman, whether he was guilty or not. It was then left for the legal process to determine his innocence or guilt.
He wanted to know whether this standard procedure was still being followed still. The justice secretary did not have a ready answer, but with close to 7,000 suspects already killed, there is no indication that the deaths have been investigated and that corresponding charges have been filed.
Clarity in everything
Beyond the drug problem, the President will have to make a clear and convincing presentation of his position on all issues, so that the public and the courts, if ever they are called to do so, could decide correctly and intelligently whether he is in the right or not. He should be open to discussion of every issue, especially when not all the facts are known, or when the known facts could be easily controverted.
He cannot allow false pride and intellectual conceit to scorn the empirical experience by others, such as Colombia’s former President Cesar Gaviria’s recounting of his own errors in fighting his country’s murderous drug cartels.
He cannot insist on his word being automatically the last word on anything or everything, from which there is no appeal; this risks a despotism against which all the various political, economic and social forces could coalesce. He cannot fail as a democrat by trying to succeed as a despot.
The death proposals
On the proposal to revive the capital sentence on heinous crimes, lower the age of criminal liability from 15 years to nine, and limit the number of children per family, DU30 must have the humility to recognize that these are highly divisive issues that cannot be easily resolved by imperial diktat from Davao.
These are matters of conscience, and no matter what kind of political opportunism keeps the so-called “super majority” together, DU30 and his puppet Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez do not have the power to abolish the conscience of legislators.
Alvarez has warned congressmen, including former President and Deputy Speaker Gloria Macapagal Arroyo, that they could be ousted from their House positions if they failed to toe the line on the death sentence. The choice is between their committee positions and the peace of their souls.
The man is utterly ill-mannered and power-drunk and has even learned to use DU30’s foul language in talking to department undersecretaries attending committee hearings. But he could still be left holding an empty bag in the end.
A number of congressmen appear to be seriously considering the idea of having the Speakership declared vacant in order to install GMA as Speaker. DU30 should welcome this, if he wants to instill some credibility and respect in the House of Representatives. He could always send Alvarez back to the Department of Transportation, which he used to head and where he reportedly left a lot of “unfinished business.”
The truth about the peace talks and the ‘terrorist organization’
DU30 needs to provide even greater clarity on his decision to scuttle the peace talks with the CPP/NPA/NDF and to resume the shooting war. Just what is the real score here? After DU30 branded the CPP/NPA/NDF a “terrorist organization,” the rebel group said DU30 could not scuttle the peace talks even if the fighting should continue. Then DU30 started praising his communist appointees instead of weeding them out for being part of the “terrorist organization.”
Will DU30 soon tell us he was merely joking when he called the CPP/NPA/NDF a “terrorist organization”? Where will the double-speak end?
The CPP/NPA/NDF blamed DU30 for his failure to release all the political prisoners they had asked him to release. So the ceasefire collapsed, and some soldiers were killed by insurgents. But what did the CPP/NPA/NDF promise the government? Did they ever commit to disarm and demobilize and subsequently reintegrate into the mainstream? Or did DU30 agree to an undeclared transition to a resurgent communist state, led by his communist Cabinet appointees, and supported by the CPP-led Kilusang Pagbabago (Movement for Change) and its barangay-based MASA-MASID?
In theory, a communist resurgence seems totally absurd. The Cold War has long ended, the market political economy has won, and even China, the biggest remaining communist nation, now practices free market economics. But highly informed sources within the country and outside claim that a spate of arms shipments from communist sources within the region had entered the country to promote a resurgence of armed conflict within our basically Catholic Christian country.
When the CPP/NPA/NDF says the peace talks “cannot not continue,” and the presidential spokesman says DU30 is a “listening President” and may have to resume talks with the “terrorist organization,” does it mean the State is being effectively disarmed, while a more powerful and better armed “alternative state” (if this term is permissible) is being prepared to take its place?
We could use a clearer exposition on this from Malacañang.
Rebalancing our foreign policy
In the end, the major players—the US, Japan and China—will decide whether we are going to have stability or instability, peace or war in Asia. A proper balance has yet to be found between US State Secretary Rex Tillerson’s tough position on China and Defense Secretary James Mattis’s advocacy of “less dramatic” moves in the area, but DU30 could help shape the direction of US-China relations.
DU30 has clearly reconsidered his threat to “separate” economically and militarily from the US and align himself with China and Russia “against the world,” after Barack Obama, with whom he had a run-in on the drug killings, left the presidency. He should now work for an equidistant relationship with the US and China.
Despite his declared support for Trump, DU30 has announced he is not sending a permanent Philippine ambassador to Washington, D.C. for a while; this happens only when diplomatic relations between two countries have soured. He seems to suspect that despite Trump, the US government is capable of taking him to the International Criminal Court at The Hague for the drug killings.
Nikki Haley, Trump’s permanent representative to the UN, has already threatened to look into the matter; she appears to have prevailed upon Trump not to lift sanctions against Moscow. While relations with the US remain fluid, DU30 appears to be in the best of terms with Beijing.
I doubt that this paper’s news reporting is correct, but it says the Chinese ambassador in Manila has proposed the grant of “emergency powers” to DU30 in implementing projects funded by Beijing. That would put DU30’s “independent foreign policy” in serious trouble.
In a recent forum, several analysts argued the real test of DU30’s “independence” is economic and financial rather than political. The loosening of our political entanglement with one power and the strengthening of our economic ties with another should help our pursuit of economic and financial sovereignty rather than constrict it. But we have to make sure that we have not replaced one political master with a new economic master.
Still, our ultimate goal should be how to break away from the international financial and monetary system run by the global moneylending oligarchy through the central banks, which control governments instead of being controlled by them.
This is the challenge to all governments, including the most powerful.
We do not have the space or time now, but we only have to look at our most vital economic institutions. Take the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas. As one analyst points out, the BSP operates independently of, and above, the national government, it is not subject to the Commission on Audit, or to congressional hearings on the international reserves it manages, the income it derives from gold trading, and securities, among others, the cost of security paper and of printing our money abroad or the metal content of coins it mints, or reports of corruption in the ranks.
The BSP post—a litmus test
So, although DU30 has left economic policymaking solely in the hands of his economic managers, it is to be hoped that after BSP Governor Amando Tetangco retires in July, DU30 would name in his place a highly qualified, forward-looking banker who would like to see the BSP become more transparent, accountable and responsive to the nation’s massive development potential.
This has to be someone other than the names we are hearing from the boardroom lobby—a non-performing Cabinet member with unresolved criminal court cases, a reputed “toy boy” of a prominent high society matron, and a BSP insider with some unexplained involvements.
Whoever is named should be prepared to pursue the economic and financial sovereignty of the Philippines, rather than serve the usual international masters.
There is no room for failure here.
Palace debunks UN official’s claim on culture of impunity By Christina Mendez (The Philippine Star) | Updated February 12, 2017 - 12:00am 2 27 googleplus0 0
Presidential spokesman Ernesto Abella downplayed the statement made by Agnes Callamard, UN special rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions, that there were signs of mounting opposition within the Philippines to Duterte’s war on drugs. United Nations/Loey Felipe
Manila, Philippines - Malacañang debunked yesterday a United Nations human rights investigator’s claim that President Duterte’s bloody drug war has generated a culture of impunity among men in uniform.
Presidential spokesman Ernesto Abella downplayed the statement made by Agnes Callamard, UN special rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions, that there were signs of mounting opposition within the Philippines to Duterte’s war on drugs.
In a radio interview, Abella reiterated that the administration’s drug war was aimed at saving the country from illegal drugs.
Callamard earlier said the drug killings that reached over 7,000 had given rise to a sense of impunity, which could lead to increase in violence and lawlessness.
“What we hear from the outside are mainly criticisms. But we also have to understand that the critics are also the voices of other forces or groups pushing their own agenda,” Abella said.
“If we continue to work together and listen, if we will look at the response of the Filipino people, we will see that the President’s efforts against drugs are well appreciated,” he added.
While there is an increasing concern about human rights abuses, the Palace spokesman noted that Duterte has been listening to feedbacks from the people.
He cited the President’s decision to suspend police operation Tokhang following the brutal murder of Korean businessman Jee Ick-joo right inside the Philippine National Police headquarters at Camp Crame last year.
“If there’s a mounting opposition, it’s a minority voice that favors liberal politics,” Abella said, adding that the Palace respects public opinion.
“We are not saying they’re wrong, we are saying that we understand where they are coming from,” he added.
11 held in PDEA stings Meanwhile, 11 people were arrested in anti-drug operations across the country, the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) reported yesterday.
In Davao City, two employees of the Department of Social Welfare and Development Regional Office 11 were nabbed for alleged drug pushing, according to PDEA director general Isidro Lapeña.
Lapeña identified the suspects as Rexford Irvin Pardillo, 29, and Mark Ugmad, 33.
The two were apprehended on Wednesday for allegedly selling a sachet of shabu to an anti-narcotics operative who posed as a buyer.
Pardillo and Ugman reportedly yielded four sachets of shabu.
In Cebu City, a police officer who went AWOL (absent without official leave) was collared in a suspected drug den in Barangay Calamba on Tuesday.
Police Officer 1 Julius Cuyos was arrested along with Grace Escopete, 35, and Edgar Rafols, 67.
PDEA agents said they recovered from the suspects 50 grams of shabu worth P130,000 and drug paraphernalia.
In La Union, Eduardo Cabanban Jr., councilman of Barangay Sto. Rosario, was apprehended at his house in San Juan town on Tuesday.
Cabanban was tagged as the alleged leader of the Macato drug group operating in the province.
The PDEA said they recovered P10,000 worth of shabu and drug paraphernalia from Cabanban.
Nigerian Daniel Ukah and his Filipino companion, Jo Marlon Abad, were arrested in an anti-drug operation in Barangay III Norte, also in La Union. – With Emmanuel Tupas, Ric Sapnu
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