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

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Leadership style

President Rodrigo Roa Duterte

In 2016 presidential election the Filipino people no longer felt sympathetic to traditionalist politicians, the likes of those that came after the despot Marcos, to lead the country as they saw in each of them that the country was not going anywhere with their brand of leadership.

Thus, when a strong-willed, uncouth and invective-spewing candidate from Mindanao, in the person of Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Roa Duterte, decided to run for president at the last minute people went agog not only because he was strongly perceived as an unorthodox politician that could make a difference, but more so because of how he became a legend in his iron-fisted, crime-busting, tough-talking and action-oriented governance when he transformed lawless Davao City into a safe, progressive and livable place that became the envy of other cities in Luzon and the Visayas regions.

Duterte’s brand of leadership resonated well with the people that he won the presidency with an overwhelming majority and, to this day, has been able to sustain his popularity rating despite the series of controversial issues that have been used as a battering ram against him and his administration.

What Duterte promised to do during his campaign about drugs, corruption and criminality was being fulfilled at the start of his term, but these social plagues have been discovered to be well entrenched in Philippine society that three years into his presidency, Duterte is still pursuing his bloody war against the most dangerous scourge of all – drugs.

What stands out, however, as an undeniable achievement of the Duterte administration, even as he continues his relentless war against drug, is his exercise of political will in embarking on his Build, Build, Build program. It is a plan which envisions the ushering in of the “Golden Age of Infrastructure”, the goal of which is to reduce poverty, encourage economic growth and reduce congestion in Metro Manila (MM), and this is happening now. Suffice it to say that before Duterte’s presidency is over the Filipino people and the rest of the world will witness a transformation in MM that only could have been made possible by a maverick president like Duterte.

But what I am really trying to point out here and question at the same time is what will happen after the Duterte presidency is over? Shall we be looking for another iron-fisted, foul-mouthed and out-of-the-box presidential candidate to continue Duterte’s leadership style in order to sustain the growth and progress that the nation is thankfully undergoing at last?

Well, not really. Duterte’s elevation to the presidency came at a time when nobody else among his rivals showed promise of being a non-traditional leader. We seem to have accepted the fact that Duterte’s unorthodox style of leadership was a panacea to our country’s problems.

But then there is now Manila Mayor Isko Moreno brandishing another admirable leadership style that is less controversial, less divisive and more refined compared to Duterte’s, yet equally forceful, determined and effective for the good of country and people that could serve as a remedy to our leadership woes.

What a promising alternative!

No second chance

Ang Probinsyano Rep. Alfred de los Santos and the punch that landed on the victim’s head.

That quick, crisp punch that unexpectedly landed on the head of 20-year old Christian Kent Alejo, a waiter at Biggs Diner in Albay, courtesy of Ang Probinsyano Rep. Alfred de los Santos, could only come from one already drunk of power.

Suffice to say that a politician who is drunk of power is even more dangerous than one who is under the influence of alcohol because in the latter condition, more likely than not, the politician is apt to hurting himself only and not intentionally inflicting pain on others, for no other reason than to show-off his influence.

And we are talking here of one who has just been elected as party-list representative and who aims to improve the lives of those working in the provinces. He has not even warmed his seat in Congress, so to speak, because de los Santos is still celebrating his victory, yet he is already walking around with an inflated ego. This is what makes this neophyte congressman dangerous.

What is even ominous here is that de los Santos vented his ire at the very person who typifies the Ang Probinsyano profile, one that is eking a menial, yet decent job, at a restaurant in the province of Albay. Indeed, what a way to lead a crusade that tends to alleviate the plight of the marginalized in the provinces!

Thus, it is encouraging and reassuring at the same time that labor groups are one in condemning the atrocious behavior of de los Santos and demanding that he resigns. It is only right and just that the group not only denounce the abusive demeanor of the young and neophyte congressman, but punish him for what could be an unwarranted flare of anger that reflects the kind of person he really is. Truly, it does not speak well of a public official and a newbie at that.

No amount of apology can change the perception about what de los Santos has become now that he has achieved fame and clout. The public have seen what he did and seeing who he was with his apologetic face, it was all the more unconvincing, with many probably cursing him under their breath.

Hopefully the victim of de los Santos’ ire will have the courage to accept the urges from the Associated Labor Unions-Trade Union Congress of the Philippines (ALU-TUCP) to “proceed and file a complaint” against the bully, saying it was willing to extend “legal and political support”, rather than cower in fear or, at the least, agree to a settlement of any kind that will still make him a member of Congress.

Penalizing abusive elective officials is the only way people can be assured of a responsible representation, reflective of a servant leader, who will truly consider the interest and aspirations of his constituents.

A political bully, whether young or old, experienced or not, deserves no second chance whatsoever.

The importance of peace

Truth to tell is that the Philippines’ predicament in the South China Sea (SCS) vis-à-vis China, in the latter’s quest for hegemony in this part of the world, cannot be compared to any other sovereign states within the region where both islands and maritime claims are being disputed.

I am referring to Malaysia, Brunei, Vietnam and Taiwan, that like the Philippines, are also challenging China’s use of a nine-dash line to define its claims to about 90 percent of the SCS or the equivalent of over 3.5 million-square-kilometers of sea. At best it is China’s assertive “historic” claim to sovereignty and control over all of the features, land, water, and seabed within the area bounded by the nine-dash line.

The nine-dash line that is continuous in U-shaped form extends 2,000km from the Chinese mainland to within a few hundred kilometers of the Philippines, Malaysia and Vietnam. It goes without saying then that the continuous line include all contested waters of said countries where the controversial islands like the Paracel, the Spratly, the James Shoal and the Scarborough Shoal are located.

While all claimant-nations in the vast expanse of the body of sea have been made suckers of China’s insatiable ambition of becoming a geopolitical and military power in this part of the world, what made it stand-out the most for the Philippines is that it is in its territorial waters that China decided to establish its bastion of military might with impunity.

Seeing the Philippines as the weakest link in the chain of sovereign nations in the region, China took advantage of our vulnerabilities and shortcomings as people and as a nation, violating even the United Nations Convention for the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS), a law that embody customs, treaties, and international agreements by which governments maintain order, productivity, and peaceful relations on the sea.

Not only that. What is despairing and mentally agonizing is the fact that the Chinese president, Xi Jinping, said China’s “territorial sovereignty and marine rights” in the seas would not be affected by the 2016 Hague ruling, which declared large areas of the sea to be neutral international waters or the exclusive economic zones of other countries. Yet, no Western power strongly contradicted it, let alone forcefully negated it in support for our sovereign rights.

Thus, it is under these circumstances that I find the statements of Senior Supreme Court Justice Antonio Carpio, Vice President Leni  Robredo, Senator Francis Pangilinan and the rest of their ilk as rather unnerving, if not unreasonable, in criticizing President Duterte for allowing Chinese fishermen to continue exploiting the rich marine resources in our country’s exclusive economic zone (EEZ), saying, that it violates our Constitution.  Tell that to the Chinese!

Our country’s alliance with China, therefore, shall always be different and in no way comparable to the seemingly assertive stance shown by a claimant country, like Vietnam, when it comes to encroaches in its own EEZs. Our complex relationship with China in contending with its strong military presence in our own backyard makes us adapt a more amiable stand where the preservation of peace becomes of utmost importance.

That is all there is to it.

 

To impeach or not

President Rodrigo Duterte

I am talking of course about President Rodrigo Duterte who finds himself at the eye of an impeachment storm brought about by his critics.

This, after a Filipino fishing boat was sunk by a Chinese ship in Recto Bank (Reed Bank) leaving the fishermen helplessly adrift at sea despite their cry for help. The bank is within the Philippines’ 200-nautical mile exclusive economic zone.

The political critics of the president took the cudgels for the ill-fated fishermen who had been clamoring then, and more so now, for the Duterte administration to assert the exclusivity of the Philippine EEZ, but which Duterte ignored, saying instead that being friends with China he will continue allowing it to fish in the West Philippine Sea (WPS).

Unbeknownst to many, this was in apparent reference to a fishing deal made by Duterte and Chinese President Xi Jinping were they agreed, as early as 2016, that Chinese fishermen would no longer block Filipino fishermen from Scarborough Shoal as long as the Chinese would have access to Recto Bank.

Presumably, and although this agreement was not formally documented, it also meant that violation of the accord could have grieve consequences more detrimental to our nation and people especially knowing that China has also a claim of practically the whole of South China Sea (SCS), of which the WPS is part. The irony of it all is that no Western democratic power in the world has forcefully tried to stop China’s expansionism. This is not to mention the ominous military presence of China in our own backyard, so to speak. What makes it even more ominous is that China has done its mighty presence with impunity in defiance to laws, norms, propriety and decency,

“Will you allow the Chinese to fish? Of course. That’s what we talked about before, that’s why we talked. And that was why we were allowed to fish again. It was a mutual agreement,” Duterte said at a speech in Malacañan.

Duterte very well know whereof he speaks, yet the political critics of Duterte are trying to ride on Supreme Court (SC) Senior Associate Justice Antonio Carpio’s grievance against Duterte’s seemingly lenient policy towards China by citing Section 2, Article XII of the Constitution that says: “The State shall protect the nation’s marine wealth in its…exclusive economic zone, and reserve its use and enjoyment exclusively to Filipino citizens.”

Many were dismayed and, in fact, floated the idea of impeachment when Duterte said that the provision cited by Carpio was “for the thoughtless and the senseless” as he claimed that he was protecting the Filipino people.

“That piece of paper, the Constitution, would become meaningless with no spirit except desperation, agony and suffering. Kasi pagpunta mo roon (Because when you go there) how do you drive them away?” the president argued.

Indeed, how and with what would you drive away the Chinese fishing vessels that are guarded  by superior Chinese militias?

Another discordant voice joining the fray against Duterte is Vice Pres. Leni Robredo who ignorantly thinks that Indonesia and Vietnam are in the same footing with us vis-à-vis China. Until and unless these two neighboring countries experience seeing China creating islands in their backyards to sustain mostly military infrastructure, including runways long enough to accommodate bombers, these countries could never be compared to our predicament.

Political demise

Former Cebu City Mayor Tomas Osmeña

The unsavory behavior exhibited by former Cebu City Mayor Tomas Osmeña in venting his ire at his own room on the 8th floor of the city hall building, by stripping it bare of necessary and useful features befitting an office of the highest official of the city is one that could only be done by a hopeless person who finds himself at the end of his political career.

That Osmeña included even the floor tiles, ceilings, electrical wiring and water pipe fittings for the toilet bowl only shows that he has destructively done his final act and written his obituary for his political demise.

For how else should one describe this reprehensible and revolting act of a person who bears the hallowed name that is analogous to Cebu City itself?

That Osmeña did not lived up to his name at the end, but rather became destructive, abusive, disrespectful and vengeful only magnifies his real intention of having himself elected all these times as mayor of Cebu City, and that is to serve his own interest and advantage and not really the motivation to serve the interest and welfare of the electorate.

After the backlash that Osmeña received from every sector of society, he must be ruing for the despicable act he did, for people are now asking whether or not we are seeing also the extinction of the Bando Osmeña-Pundok Kauswagan (BO-PK) party.

There is no doubt in the people’s mind that despite Osmeña’s debacle in the last mayoralty election he still holds sway over BO-PK’s direction and machination. But whether or not he is still going to be effective, because of a chink in his armor, is a question one can only answer after having determined how Mayor Edgardo Labella will be holding up as the new Cebu City chief executive.

In the mean time, while we commiserate with Mayor Labella’s situation, where he will be holding the same office with the Vice Mayor momentarily until he finds his own space, we appreciate his hitting the ground running in leading to solve the city’s traffic, garbage and water supply problems and we look forward to whatever legal action he might take against Osmeña’s destruction of what was supposed to be his office too.

What treason?

At this stage when the Philippine government, nor the most powerful nation on Earth- the USA, and not even the United Nations, whose objective, among others, is maintaining international peace and security, has not been able to deter the encroachment, build-up of artificial islands and the eventual militarization in the South China Seas (SCS) of which the West Philippine Sea (WPS) is part of it, who are we to be talking about sovereignty over an area of ocean extending 200 nautical miles from our coast called the Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ)?

That the build-up of artificial islands within our supposed territorial waters was done with impunity following China’s nine-dash demarcation of its historic claim to the SCS and disregarding even the Hague tribunal’s findings that China had violated the Philippines’ sovereign rights in its EEZ, only shows that what China  claim as its “territorial maritime sovereignty and marine rights” shall always be advocated and sustained by China’s leadership.

Now, that being the reality of events happening in our territorial waters, there is really nothing that we can do but share whatever marine resources we think is ours with the Chinese. What is important, however, is adhering to and honoring whatever agreements/arrangements are crafted by representatives of both nations with regards to certain activities and/or projects in the disputed area.

Perhaps we feel disadvantaged, as we already are, but being unreasonable and unrealistic in challenging China’s arrogant presence and brazen actions is more detrimental not only to our bilateral relationship, but even disastrous to our existence as a nation and as people.

There is nothing treasonous, therefore, when President Duterte openly declared that the Chinese can fish in the EEZ of the Philippines in the disputed SCS. Certainly he is not betraying the country, but rather acting judicious and considerate to another country that he considers a friend. Indeed, this is not a one-way indulgence, for China is also doing its share of providing investment, credit and loan pledges and staunchly supporting Duterte’s Build, Build, Build program.

What I find absurd, however, and adding fuel to the fire, is Supreme Court Senior Associate Justice Antonio Carpio’s statement, saying, that allowing China to fish in the Philippines’ EEZ is a violation of the Constitution. He further added that the President, as commander-in-chief of the Armed Forces, has the constitutional duty to order the military to protect the nation’s marine wealth.

Carpio knows very well how militarily inadequate we are against China and yet he is prodding Duterte to use military action in protecting the country’s fishing grounds in the WPS. If this is not wishful thinking, I don’t know what is.

If it was this easy and simple, then why did we not use military force against China’s military aggression in the WPS in the first place?

Besides how could it be a violation of the Constitution when it is within Duterte’s discretion as President to allow anybody, including China, to fish in the country’s EEZs?

Deliberate or accidental

Rescued Filipino fishermen and their destroyed fishing boat.

The ramming of an anchored Filipino fishing boat F/B Gem-Ver 1 on June 9 with 22 personnel near Recto Bank (Reed Bank) in the West Philippine Sea (WPS) and leaving them in peril continues to raise the question whether or not the incident was deliberate or accidental.

That the much bigger and powerful Chinese fishing vessel continued its route and deserted the area as if nothing happened even raises a more profound question about the duty to rescue persons in distress at sea.

But, was the destruction of the F/B Gem-Ver 1 really deliberate or was it accidental?

Until an in-depth neutral third party investigation is conducted we will never know the truth about what really happened.

What seems to muddle the initial account of the incident is the way it is being reported by the media. When different observations and conjectures are being added it distorts the truth that it becomes at times incredible whether or not some events, as told, really happened.

Take for instance the statement/description given that after noticing that the Chinese vessel had hit something, that it turned around to verify what it was and found out that it just sunk a fishing boat with people in the sea shouting for help, only to be abandoned.

If this was the case then the Chinese crew members should be categorically condemned for their barbaric and criminal act. But then again, in the same vein, it was reported that they hurriedly left the area afraid that other Filipino fishermen may gang up on them if they linger further. So, which is which now?

With China now forcefully claiming and converting into a military garrison what is rightfully ours in the WPS, while we leave our fate to God, would they still have the brazenness to destroy the livelihood of our fisher folks?

I for one would like to believe that if China can claim the whole of the South China Sea (SCS), of which the WPS is part of it, with impunity and construct sophisticated military bases even inside Philippine territorial waters just so it can control this part of the world, then one could just imagine how insignificant a third world country and the Filipino race is to them. Talking about arrogance, abuse and disrespect despite the altruism the Philippine government has shown them.

But there is really nothing much that can be done about the maritime incident. Unless proven without doubt by a neutral maritime investigative body that it was accidental rather than deliberate, then so be it. Otherwise the incident will always be construed not only that China’s vessel is culpable for deliberately ramming the Filipino fishing vessel, but that falsehood is also being rammed down our throat.

This is the price we are paying for being poor and powerless.