Hello world!

doy1

I shall be writing topics as it comes to mind. It could be topics, past or present, but relative to the times. I shall also be reacting to articles published, whether domestic or foreign, and voicing my opinion. My views shall always be objective.

Every now and then I shall also be sharing with you videos, photos, sayings and graphics of people, animals, places, etc., that I find interesting, which I hope you will appreciate.

Also, there are times when I will be posting articles about facts – why it happened that way or what could have been if something else happened.

I welcome you to my blog site and I look forward to inter-acting with you. Your participation, your thoughts and commentaries, either for or against, will be very much appreciated. We may have differences in opinion but that is the essence of being rational, to be able to agree to disagree. It is my aim that as we go along we enlighten not only ourselves but also those that finds the opportunity/chance to visit this site. Let us enrich each other in knowledge and build each other up in friendship. Thank you. Jesus Sievert a.k.a  Quierosaber

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¡Hola mundo!

Escribiré temas como estos vienen a la mente. Esto podría ser temas, pasadas o presentes, pero con relación a los tiempos. También reaccionaré a artículos publicados, doméstico o extranjero, y expresaré mi opinión. Mis vistas siempre serán objetivo.

De vez en cuando también compartiré con ustedes vídeos, fotos, refranes y gráficos de la gente, animales, lugares, etc., que encuentro interesante y espero que lo aprecian.

También, hay tiempos cuando fijaré artículos sobre hechos – por qué pasó así o lo que podría haber sido si algo más pasara.

Bienvenidos a mi sitio de blog y espero colaborar con Vd. en el futuro.

Su participación, sus pensamientos y comentarios, para o contra, serán muy apreciados. Podemos tener diferencias en la opinión pero eso es la esencia de ser racional, ser capaz de consentir en discrepar. Esto es mi objetivo que como continuamos, aclaramos no sólo nosotros mismos sino también aquellos  que encuentran  la oportunidad/posibilidad de visitar este sitio. Déjenos enriquecer el uno al otro en el conocimiento y en la amistad. Gracias. Jesus Sievert alias Quierosaber

Robredo’s dilemma

Vice President Leni Robredo

After Vice President Leni Robredo has been unceremoniously dismissed as co-chair of the Inter-agency Committee on Anti-Illegal Drugs (ICAD) by President Rodrigo Duterte, the question now that many are asking is whether or not this is a boon or a bane to her political future.

Being just a heart-beat away from the presidency there is no doubt that she covets the position and there seems to be no other political stalwart in the opposition that can surpass her popularity nor her perceived leadership status as being the forceful person that could likely unseat Duterte.

There could not be a better exemplification of this than the latest saga of her 19-day stint as anti-drug czar when she ended being booted out by the president for not delivering the suitable solution to Duterte’s anti-drug campaign, which Robredo criticized as “obviously not working”.

While Robredo may be right in recognizing that Duterte’s war on drugs should not only be viewed in the context of a criminal offense but also in relation to medical and sociological problem, what made her acceptance of the very sensitive job dubious is the fact that until her last day she did not have anything to offer that could be considered the policy foundation of her own anti-drug campaign.

Because Robredo has been very critical of Duterte’s bloody war on drugs, the people in general, and Duterte in particular, was expecting that as soon as she accepted the ICAD position that she would hit the ground running with her concrete and decisive steps to make the government’s war against illegal drugs more effective with less destructive of lives, in contrast to Duterte’s style that has been highly denounced as cold-blooded.

Alas, it did not come out as highly expected and it disillusioned everybody, including the president. This even prompted Duterte’s sidekick, Sen. Bong Go, to twit Robredo, saying, ‘Tokhang’ turns to ‘toklang [talk lang]’, in reference to Duterte’s distrust of Robreddo when the former noted that the latter has been talking to various groups critical of his war on drugs right after she accepted the position to be the government’s drug czar.

“The problem with Robredo is this. Right after she was appointed, she began talking publicly about inviting the Human Rights Commission, she was talking to the United Nations, she would want to talk to the European, and she talks too much,” Duterte was quoted as saying.

And so, what is making it a dilemma for Robredo now is that right after Duterte dismissed her as ICAD co-chair she vowed to continue the fight and announced that she would disclose something she discovered in the course of waging her version of the war on drugs.

“In the coming days I will give a report to the people. I will reveal what I discovered and my recommendations,” Robredo said.

Well, it has been over a week now since her firing and still no published revelations of her discovery. What is it really that she wants the Filipino people to know about Duterte’s war on drugs?

Are these unfavorable or unpalatable revelations going to be part of the weapons in Robredo’s political arsenal to be used against Duterte in her quest for the presidency in 2022?

What to reveal is a dilemma hounding Robredo at the moment, but her greatest dilemma of all, however, is in her presidential aspiration where she has to turn around to her favor the high satisfaction rating Duterte is presently getting in his war on drugs and an equally high approval rating that Duterte is enjoying as president.

 

 

Robredo’s ouster

 

Vice President Leni Robredo

Vice President Leni Robredo’s acceptance and ouster as co-chair of the Inter-Agency Committee on Anti-Illegal Drugs (ICAD) in a very short period of 19 days did not really come as a surprise to many.

The fact alone that at the very start there were already speculations whether or not it was a political trap, or whether President Rodrigo Duterte was really serious and sincere or not in his offer to name her as senior partner, together with Philippine Drug enforcement Agency (PDEA) chief Aaron Aquino, in the war against illegal drug proliferating in the country, could only mean that her taking the job was based on shaky grounds.

What made Robredo’s acceptance even more tenuous is the fact that she did not have the courtesy nor the gumption to seek an audience with Duterte to discuss the parameters of her new assignment so she could be guided, even a she pursues her argument that the fight against illegal drugs is not about killing but rather the saving of lives.

“We should also look at it not just using the lens of crimes or criminal justice but also using the lens of health and the fact that addiction is a medical and a sociological problem,” Robredo has said.

I am sure Duterte would have granted Robredo the opportunity to meet with him, but the problem is that Robredo arrogantly thought that she already had the solutions for Duterte’s anti-drug campaign, which Robredo herself criticized as “obviously not working”.

Surely, Duterte was expecting Robredo to hit the ground running with her concrete and decisive steps to make the government’s war against illegal drugs more effective and less destructive of lives, in contrast to Duterte’s style that has been highly denounced as cold-blooded.

Lamentably, the 19 days that Robredo was co-chair 0f ICAD did not impress Duterte, and for a reason. It only showed that Robredo did not have the ability nor the competence to lead the campaign against illegal drugs which remains a priority of the Duterte administration.

For Duterte 19 days let-up is a long time for a campaign against illegal drugs that he has described as relentless. This is how grave the drug scourge is afflicting the country and how earnest and determined Duterte is and has been in eradicating it, or at least minimizing it.

Apparently, Robredo has not shown this kind of urgency in her 19-day stint as co-chair of ICAD and her inadequacy has only given the unscrupulous people in the illegal drug trade business more time to proliferate and in the process victimize more and more innocent Filipinos.

Yet Robredo had the gall to bluster that her firing was not the end in her involvement in the illegal drug campaign, as she has known in her 19-day period as drug czar, but only the beginning. She even had the chutzpah to boast that they, I suppose Duterte and his cohorts, do not know her!

C’mon! Of course they do, and that is that Robredo does not have what it takes to solve the country’s drug problem.

Drug war at standstill

Vice President Leni Robredo

There seems to be an ominous silence in the country’s war on drugs ever since the title of ‘drug czar’ was bestowed on Vice President Leni Robredo.

The fact alone that there are no drug-related reports being cited lately in the news, either favorable or not, could only mean that something portentous is in the offing.

I cannot simply imagine the war on drug has come to a standstill just because Robredo has been named co-chair of the ICAD (Inter-Agency Committee on Anti-Illegal Drugs). On the contrary I consider the lull as the proverbial calm before the storm.

This seemingly period of tranquility is simply unnerving because as sure as night follows day, it is likely to presage the revival of a bloody war against drugs that will surely surprise Robredo.

One can only surmise what is happening now. Because of police inactivity, as it awaits Robredo’s orders to do what she wants done as the newly installed drug war chief, perhaps the main players and members of the drug syndicate are taking advantage of the standstill and moving their illegal commodity fast and efficiently all over the country.

By the time Robredo decides to activate her game plan, the unscrupulous people plying the drug trade have already made millions victimizing a number of innocent Filipinos.

This is the problem when one takes the risk of accepting a dare and does not hit the road running not because of lack of guts and determination, but more because of the lack of know-how and involvement in the process of battling illegal drugs.

That is why when one criticizes, like when Robredo described Duterte’s anti-drug campaign as “obviously not working”, he or she must also be ready to offer suggestions based on facts, truth and reality that his or her idea can result to better accomplishments.

Indeed, why talk immediately to the various international organizations critical of Duterte’s  drug war when it is worth listening and knowing firsthand from our own intelligence community and the heads of the government entities tasked to fight illegal drugs about how and where the country stands in its war against drugs?

It is no doubt a virtue to be patient, open and perceptive rather than promptly flaunting about a knowledge inadequately learned, much less validated, like when Robredo blurted out, as the co-chair of the ICAD, that most of the illegal drugs shipped to the Philippines come from China. PDEA (Philippine Drug enforcement Agency) chief Aaron Aquino was only too ready to contradict her, saying, no, that most of the illegal drugs come from the Golden Triangle, an area where the borders of Thailand, Laos, and Myanmar meet at the confluence of the Ruak and Mekong rivers. I am sure this elucidating information given to Robredo by Aquino has been attested to by our ASEAN (Association of Southeast Asian Nation) neighbors.

If for some reason President Duterte is not satisfied with Robredo’s performance, the latter could only be blamed for her inadequacy in taking decisive steps to make the government’s war against drug effective and less destructive of lives.

To the extent that the war against drug is at standstill after weeks of being appointed co-chair of the government’s anti-narcotics body, is tantamount to failure that does not sit well with Duterte who has made this program the center piece of his administration.

 

 

Special powers for DU30

Rep. Joey Salceda

It is about time and a step in the right direction that a bill seeking to give President Rodrigo Duterte special powers to expedite the implementation of his administration’s “Build, Build, Build” (BBB) program has been filed in the House of Representatives.

At least Albay 2nd District Rep. Joey Salceda had the wisdom and fortitude to file House Bill No. 5456 that would fast track the 75 flagship projects under the Duterte’s administration’s ambitious infrastructure program.

This, of course, after Duterte has come under pressure to deliver on his government’s promise of ushering in the “golden age of infrastructure,” which it has partly done through low-cost loans from Japan and from China, the latter a neighboring powerhouse that has, literally, established a foothold in the West Philippine Sea from which the president has been warming up in exchange for investments in the country rather than be at war.

But the basic, central or critical point of granting Duterte special powers is considering the fact that there are only three more years remaining in his presidency and it is a must that he has to comply an obligation he has promised to the Filipino people.

In fact, under Section 13 of the proposed measure it specifies that the special powers for Duterte will be “valid and effective for a period of three (3) years.”

Known for his resoluteness in exercising political will, for as long as it benefits the country and its people, perhaps the likes of Salceda thought that there is no better time than now, when Duterte is the president, to have House Bill 5456 passed into law if only to have the BBB program implemented expeditiously and effectively.

What is noteworthy about House Bill 5456 is that Duterte is not only given the authority to exercise all powers needed to carry out a national policy to implement the government’s infrastructure program “unhampered by existing laws, agreements, regulations, court orders and procedures that would cause delays in addressing exclusively the implementation of flagship projects”, but could also “utilize all necessary government resources, exercise police power and employ executive actions” for the implementation of the billions-worth of priority projects under the BBB program.

Another meaningful feature of House Bill 5456 is that it also disallows courts – except the Supreme Court – to issue temporary restraining orders or preliminary injunctions that would impede the speedy implementation of the projects.

What I am simply saying here is that the Filipino people have, for a long time now, been suffering from the encumbrances and inconveniences brought about by a progressing nation that, unfortunately, has been long held hostage by partisan politics and politicizing it further will only exacerbate the dire situation we are all in now.

House Bill 5456 may not be a cure all for the existing horrendous problems affecting public transport systems and infrastructures in Metro Manila and other major cities in the country, but at least it gives us a window to peek on how things could be better if managed responsibly.

 

 

Political revival or bust

Vice President Leni Robredo

While President Rodrigo Duterte may be serious and sincere in offering Vice President Leni Robredo the co-chairmanship of the Inter-agency Council on Anti-Illegal Drugs (ICAD), together with Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) chief Aaron Aquino, one can only wonder what is really behind this abrupt political gambit.

Whether it is accepting the stark reality that Duterte could not deliver what he promised the Filipino people about the eradication of the drug menace a few months after assuming the presidency, and not even after six years of his presidency in 2022, or making Robredo, a fierce critic in Duterte’s deadly crackdown against drugs, look foolish herself knowing that the drug problem in the country is insurmountable without killings, we really would not know what Duterte’s motive is in offering Robredo the title of drug czar.

But whatever Duterte’s hidden agenda is about the offer, I see it as a political miscalculation on his part and a catalyst on the dwindling political persuasion of Robredo, thus, debunking the fear of her supporters and allies that the offer could be a political ploy to destroy her. Needless to say that Robredo sees this offer to co-chair the ICAD committee that includes the police and the military tasked with overseeing and coordinating the government’s efforts to combat illegal drugs as a vehicle for her political revival.

There is no doubt that Robredo will try to be different and pursue ardently the idea that the fight against illegal drugs is not about killing but rather the saving of lives.

“We should also look at it not just using the lens of crimes or criminal justice but also using the lens of health and the fact that addiction is a medical and a sociological problem,” Robredo opined.

I don’t think anybody will disagree with her opinion, but she is in a better position now to assess the drug situation in the country, whether or not what is needed is more of medical and sociological attention or much more of the same police operation.

It is a welcome gesture that Robredo expressed her willingness in joining PDEA operatives in anti-drug operations if only to gain firsthand knowledge of what goes on, how critical the situation is and why it so important that one goes inside the lair ready to kill rather than be killed by drug pushers or users who value their prohibited trade more than their lives.

From this reality Robredo would be able to outline the steps/procedure to be followed depending on the situation and if she finds each doable and successful without any loss of life, then the nation owes her gratitude big time!

Robredo’s success must be a big blow to Duterte’s macho ego not only because she is a woman, but more so because she did not exhibit braggadocio in pursuing her anti-drug campaign.

Definitely Robredo’s positive achievement will boost her political revival and would even strongly pave the way for her presidential ambition which I am sure she covets.

On the other hand if she fails, Duterte can claim back his popularity and can only say to Robredo, ‘I told you so’, and be assured of a Duterte ally winning the presidency in 2022.

 

 

Lives matter

Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo

Presidential Spokesman Salvador Panelo is seen to having always the penchant to be funny or to be very casual or carefree during media briefings.

There is nothing wrong with it really as it makes the event more spontaneous, livelier, and in many ways informative.

But certainly not all press briefings are lighthearted and jovial. It can also be serious and consequential that should be treated by any Malacañang mouthpiece with utmost concern and trepidation because of its circumstances..

I am referring particularly to the recent regrettable incident where a Chinese vessel that introduced itself as a “naval warship” harassed a Filipino-crewed crude oil tanker in Panatag Shoal (Scarborough Shoal) in the West Philippine Sea (WPS) on September 30.

As a backgrounder the Scarborough Shoal was the site of a 2012 standoff between the Philippines and China. The standoff erupted when Manila sent its biggest warship to chase off Chinese poachers.

The US brokered a deal for the Philippines and China to withdraw their respective ships from the resource-rich fishing ground, “but China refused to follow” even though the Philippines pulled out its Navy flagship, BRP Gregorio del Pilar. In the process China aggressively and haughtily placed Scarborough Shoal, located only 124 nautical miles off Zambales and is within the Philippines’ 200-nautical mile exclusive economic zone, under its control to this day.

So this is the situation when ship captain Manolo Ebora and his crew of 21 fellow Filipinos   onboard the Liberia-flagged, Greek-owned crude oil tanker Green Aura were passing 6 nautical miles from Scarborough, or Panatag, Shoal off Zambales at around 7:30 pm on September 30 when their radar detected the presence of several Chinese vessels in the vicinity, many of them registered as belonging to China Coast Guard (CCG).

That the Green Aura was accosted/harassed by the CCG arrogantly feigning as a “naval warship” is to me par for the course considering that the presence Chinese military vessels in the area is palpable and irrefutable.

Although Ebora showed bravado at first by imposing his competence and knowledge of the area and of the law of the sea, pointing out that they had the right to innocent passage, thus, resisting to change course when ordered by the CCG which claimed that the area “is under the jurisdiction of Chinese government, at the end he relented and veered away when he noticed that one of the nearby vessels, China Coast Guard 3302, started moving towards the Green Aura’s path in what he perceived as an attempt to block their path.

While why and how the CCG reacted towards the Filipino-crewed crude oil tanker is a foregone conclusion, what is dismaying and disturbing, however, is Panelo’s point of view that the regrettable incident at the Panatag or Scarborough Shoal is not a concern of the Philippine government since the Filipino-crewed ship was a foreign-flagged one.

What a porous bone of contention if I have ever heard of one! I mean whatever and whoever passes in our territorial waters, disputed or not, is government’s concern. It is not just about the vessel, but more than that it is the people manning the vessel. Lives matter and because they are Filipinos the more it should matter to government.

What failure?

 

Vice President Leni Robredo

This is partly a reaction to Fr. Ramon Echica’s article, Failure, published on October 28, 2019, and my own take on Vice President Leni Robredo’s remark that the administration’s ongoing war on drugs is a failure.

Not only did Echica agreed to Robredo’s statement, but in no uncertain terms also subscribed to her suggestion that President Rodrigo Duterte should allow the United Nations (UN) to investigate his war on drugs as it is affecting the country’s international image.

For both Echica and Robredo, Duterte’s violent rhetoric was aiding a culture of police impunity for which international help should be sought if the government refused to change tack – a euphemism for less killing and respecting human rights instead.

Is it abetting really and what would be the UN’s solution to our country’s drug problem?

I still have to hear a foolproof anti-drug campaign model courtesy of the UN that is applicable to every country plagued by drug problem and proclaimed as successful. Practically every country in the world has this scourge and each has its unique way of combating it and until Duterte assumed the presidency he did not know that the overall drug business was that ghastly and woeful considering that it has inflicted deeply and widely the growing population of the country.

It is for this reason that Duterte’s war on drugs has become the centerpiece program of his administration, ensuring that we will not become a nation of drug addicts. Thus, it must be remembered that while on one hand the administration has been relentless in stopping drugs, on the other hand, government has also been preparing rehabilitation programs and facilities for those needing it.

It is therefore lamentable that Echica not only contradicted the observation by the Dangerous Drug Board (DDB) that Robredo was “misled” about Duterte’s bloody war against drugs, but in the process also took swipes at Duterte for his ineptness in resolving the drug problem he promised to fix very much earlier in his presidency and those whom he called the ‘Diehard Duterte Supporters (DDS)’.

I am sure it is not a sin to have the DDS on Echica’s crosshairs, but it sure leaves a bad taste in the mouth when one criticizes the president and his supporters without proffering an iota of suggestion, nay, idea on what is heavenly best to defeat the drug menace in our society or at least minimize its proliferation in the country.

The way Duterte is conducting his war on drugs may be far from being the best, but it could have been worst if the country was led by someone who lacked the dogged determination and the political will to go relentless no matter the consequences.

Duterte is not admitting failure but rather expressing his despondency and regret that the administration he succeeded of which Robredo was very much a part of did not give a hoot about the ominous trend the drug problem was shaping up in the country.

What failure then is Robredo, Echica and their ilk is talking about when only recently the DDB cited the Philippines’ successes in the global community, after it was selected as chair of the Treatment and Rehabilitation Cluster of the ASEAN Senior Officials on Drug Matters? What is even more pleasing is that the DDB Executive Director got elected as Chair of the Heads of National Drug Law Enforcement Agencies for Asia and the Pacific (HONLEA) during its 43rd Session in Bangkok, Thailand. HONLEA is a subsidiary body of the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime which aims to enhance cooperation in drug law enforcement activities at the Asia and the Pacific Region.

Is this not a recognition of success rather than a failure?