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

Panatag Shoal: from fishing ground to solid military ground

 

We all have heard of Panatag Shoal or most commonly known as Scarborough Shoal at the height of the South China Sea (SCS) territorial dispute when China unequivocally closed off the shoal from Filipino fishermen in 2012.

The shoal off the coast of Zambales lies within the Philippines’ exclusive economic zone (EEZ) and as such fishermen from this coastal region consider the shoal their fishing ground since time immemorial.

The shoal became even determinedly for the Filipinos when the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) ruled the granting of 200 nautical miles (approximately 370 km) EEZ for island nations, which in reality exceeds the distance compared to where Panatag Shoal is which is only 119 nautical miles (approximately 220 km) west of Zambales.

With the ascendancy , however, of Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte to the presidency, and especially after he made a state visit to China’s President Xi Jinping in October 2016, the strained relationship between the two countries got better and the Filipino fishermen were allowed access to the rich fishing ground again.

We were hoping that this kind of access to the fishing ground was granted for good and for humanitarian reason especially that Duterte did not and has not in any way agreed or concurred with the international arbitral tribunal ruling favoring the Philippines in its maritime case against China.

Suffice to say that Duterte, like the leadership of China, ignored the arbitral ruling and, in fact, supported China’s continued island building and militarization of the area even as it was being built at our own backyard already.

Seemingly doing China a favor Duterte made it known that he wanted China’s patronage in return to jump-start the development of the country, thus, the pouring in of cash from China today.

But what is disheartening now, if not alarming, is that China has decided to convert Panatag Shoal, yes, the rich fishing ground belonging to the Philippines, into a solid military ground, just like the others, where it plans to build environmental monitoring stations, whatever that means.

If this is not a classic case of ‘giving them a hand and they will take an arm’ or ‘giving them an inch and they will take a mile’, I don’t know what is.

But what is worse is that the military build-up, for how else would one describe it, can be found at our turf!

I had been supportive of Duterte and even in his stand that if the most powerful country in the world was not able to stop China from militarizing the SCS, who are we to halt them?

I hope Duterte this time realizes that our generosity, if not our naivete, is being taken advantaged to the hilt by his more calculating, wily and farsighted Chinese counterpart.

What is disturbing and frightening is that when push comes to shove between two powerful contending nations having a stake in this part of the globe, the Philippines is right there included in the cross-hair of China’s enemy.

There is definitely no if and buts about it.

Robredo UN message slanders the Philippines

 

Vice President Leni Robredo

Some Filipinos might think that Vice President Leni Robredo was doing the country a big favor when she video-taped a message, supposedly coming from the Office of the Vice President, and sent it to the 60th annual meeting of the UN Commission on Narcotic Drugs in Vienna, Austria.

I actually wrote about this already and you can read it at this link https://quierosaber.wordpress.com/2017/03/15/robredos-palit-ulo-allegations/.

The reason why I am writing about this again is simply to show you another interesting link that also criticizes the way Robredo painted an image of the country under the Duterte administration generalizing the belief that the Filipinos now feel “hopeless and helpless” because of the president’s bloody war on drugs.

This link is a good read and an excellent rejoinder of Robredos’s scandalous remarks: http://politics.com.ph/ex-unga-delegate-slams-robredo-misrepresenting-pinoys/.

Many Filipinos, however, think that Robredo’s slander was short of saying that the Philippines is in bad shape and in dire need of help, which is just actually the opposite of where we are today – in the verge of growing and developing faster and optimistic of the future, thanks to the unconventional leadership style of Duterte.

I consider therefore the entirety of Robredo’s message as fake news, at best, and, at worst, a self-serving communication that she is trying to take advantage of because of her sinking credibility and her inadequacy and ineffectiveness as vice president.

Unless Robredo can prove that the extrajudicial killings are state sanctioned and the ridiculous “palit-ulo” scheme exist, then she has got nothing but alternative facts.

That there is now a plan to impeach her because she derided the Philippines in the international scene is good news.

I will not doubt that she is also being used and manipulated by her party mates to advance their political agenda, but the Filipino people had had enough of their inept and corrupt political culture that the change and reforms Duterte is implementing in government is a very much welcomed development.

I am just including here the video Robredo sent for your information and evaluation.

MEP’s meddling an utter rudeness

 

The European Parliament

I am actually referring to the arrogance and brazenness of some Members of the European Parliament (MEP) who are meddling in the political affairs of the Philippines, a sovereign country at that, by filing a resolution calling for the release of Sen. Leila de Lima and quashing the drug charges against her.

If this is not a blatant show of superiority complex, I don’t know how else to interpret it.

Let me just qualify what I mean by superiority complex. Surely, it is not about intellectual superiority, nor in terms of integrity and morality, but this pompous and imperious bunch of people think they belong to a superior race because they come from a much developed country and they are white.

That is all there is to it and they think that because they are the high and mighty, that they have the ascendancy, the authority, nay, the ‘sovereign obligation’, to bully and lecture us about justice.

Justice my ass! Justice for de Lima?

But of course justice has been done, and where she finds herself now is the kind of justice that she deserves.

And they don’t have to worry about her safety. She definitely is in good hands. She has to be because the Filipino people would really like to see how the de Lima saga ends, if only to prove that indeed she was deeply entrenched in the drug activities.

This bunch of swaggering and pontificating MEPs think that it was all the time fine and dandy and much better in the Philippines before Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte got voted to the presidency.

I am sure de Lima saw what was coming to her after she won a slot in the senatorial race allegedly with the help of drug money, and seeing, too, that Duterte captured the presidency.

De Lima must have felt sorry in hindsight that she was not able to gather enough evidence to prove that Duterte was behind the much ballyhooed killings in Davao while the latter was the mayor and the former as chair of the Commission on Human Rights (CHR) and thence Secretary of the Department of Justice (DOJ).

What de Lima is getting is payback time from Duterte, after what he went through being falsely accused and humiliated by her.

Now the table is turned against de Lima and for the information of the MEPs, this is a welcome development for the country.

Duterte’s relentless and bloody war against illegal drugs, not to mention criminality and corruption, is giving most Filipinos hope that under his leadership the Philippines will grow and develop faster.

In fact Duterte’s brand of leadership for many is a breath of fresh air, even with the alleged extrajudicial killings brouhaha, but, unfortunately, the meddling of the MEPs is fouling the atmosphere somehow.

 

Impeachment complaint against Duterte an exercise in futility

 

Magdalo Rep. Gary Alejano showing his file of impeachment charges against Pres. Duterte.

The writing on the wall clearly points to Sen. Antonio Trillanes as the master mind in Magdalo Rep. Gary Alejano’s impeachment complaint filed against Presdent Rodrigo Duterte.

Not only have the duo been together in the infamous Oakwood mutiny in 2003 that was intended to topple down the Arroyo presidency, but the three main charges in the complaint just sounds too familiar that it is simply irrational not to mention Trillanes as the one behind it.

The fact alone that the House has the exclusive power to initiate the impeachment process only shows that Trillanes has used a loyal yes-person in Alejano to file the following charges against Duterte accusing him of:

  • betrayal of public trust, culpable violation of the Constitution, and other high crimes for his war on drugs which, according to the complaint, the President has used to “induce” policemen into killing alleged drug dealers and users without regard for the law, and making this as basis for their promotion in the police.
  • betrayal of public trust, bribery, graft and corruption, and culpable violation of the Constitution for allegedly creating the Davao Death Squad (DDS) when he was mayor of Davao, citing the testimonies of self-confessed DDS members retired policeman Arturo Lascañas and Edgar Matobato.
  • of graft and corruption and other high crimes for his alleged unexplained wealth and his hiring of contractual employees as mayor. Among the annexes in the complaint are the alleged bank accounts of Duterte and his family.

If these Madalo pair of lawmakers is not grandstanding and ego tripping for their own selfish agenda, I do not know how else to describe it since they know very well that the 1987 Philippine Constitution sets specific grounds for impeachment of the president which are treason, bribery, graft and corruption, other high crimes or betrayal of public trust.

What I am saying and asking is: Do this pair of former renegade soldiers have enough solid evidences that would substantiate their allegations/charges so that they could nail Duterte to the cross?

Or are these former comrades in arms solely dependent on what is more commonly used phrase now – the alternative facts – which in reality are false facts or what is bluntly called as lies, especially coming from questionable, if not unreliable, witnesses against Duterte?

I am not even asking if both Trillanes and Alejano have enough followers in the House to muster enough votes to make the case against Duterte prosper.

No wonder Sen. Panfilo Lacson wished them good luck!

But what we should be asking really are:

  • Was there treason, betrayal of public trust, graft and corruption, and high crime committed by Duterte while still the mayor of Davao City?
  • How does Davao City now compare with other major cities in the country?
  • What does the Commission on Human Rights have to legally uphold Duterte’s human right violation?
  • Wasn’t the reason Duterte won overwhelmingly the presidential race is because the people want the country to be transformed the way he changed Davao city into a safe and livable place?

Thus, I would say that the impeachment complaint against Duterte is nothing but noise and an exercise in futility.

 

Robredo’s “palit-ulo” allegations

 

Vice President Leni Robredo

It is unfortunate, if not saddening, that Vice President Leni Robredo, a lawyer, has gone down to the gutter-level of attacking and debasing President Rodrigo Duterte about some serious allegation which has still to be proven by her.

While Duterte has recently absolved Robredo of being a party to a destabilization campaign being waged against him, the fact remains, however, that the vice president is spearheading the opposition group that is very vocal against the president’s bloody war on illegal drugs that has cost thousands of lives already.

It is in this context that Robredo newly and publicly revealed a new heinous scheme called “palit-ulo”, literally translated as “exchange heads/swap heads”, being employed by the government operatives in the slums or poverty-stricken areas when searching for persons of interest involved in illegal drugs.

Robredo elaborated this by completing the story, saying, “They (communities) told us of the ‘palit-ulo’ scheme which means ‘exchange heads’ where the wife, husband or relative in a so-called drug list will be taken if the person himself could not be found.”

This unconfirmed and unsubstantiated story, while prejudicial and damaging to President Duterte, has actually been recorded and scheduled to be played at the 60th annual meeting of the United Nations Commission on Narcotic Drugs in Vienna, Austria.

Robredo’s message obviously did not sit well with Malacañang as Presidential Spokesperson Ernesto Abella immediately issued the following statements:

“Eight months into our campaign against illegal drugs, Vice President Robredo, suddenly refers to an alleged ‘palit-ulo’ scheme – which she mistakenly describes as substituting a relative for a missing drug personality.”

“While she has the right to speak freely on matters of public concern, she also has the responsibility to be careful with her statements especially avoiding unfounded allegations from questionable sources.”

While Abella admits the existence of a “palit-ulo scheme”, he explained, however, that this game plan involves “a commitment of a drug suspect to provide assistance in the arrest of a ‘bigger fish’ in the illegal drug syndicate”, which could earn the former a plea for lighter charges.

That is all there is to it, but having said that, Robredo has still to justify or prove that indeed an actual swapping of heads occurred.

Now I am wondering if Bongbong Marcos would have been a better vice president.

Sec. Gina Lopez and the mining industry

 

DENR Secretary Gina Lopez

We all know that President Rodrigo Duterte appointed Ms. Gina Lopez as Secretary of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) on the strength of her intensely passionate and unwavering advocacy for green or eco-friendly environment.

No one can ever question her resolve in protecting the environment and in so doing making it clean and friendly to the people. We have seen her zeal and devotion when she served as chairperson of Pasig River Rehabilitation Commission and her involvement in Bantay Kalikasan (Nature Watch) which was launched as a response to the worsening state of the environment, especially in Metro Manila.

While many appreciate the idealism of Lopez for the environment, the same morals or philosophy, if you may, when applied to the mining companies in the country should have been tempered with greater understanding and rationality.

I am saying this because Lopez is now at the receiving end of the wrath expressed by some mining officials whose company was targeted for closure and/or suspension of operation for the reason that it has been causing havoc to the environment.

That Lopez has been the subject of displeasure and indignation by the mining companies, which is even affecting her confirmation as DENR secretary, is only fair and par for the course because its mining operation should have been vetted first on the context on whether or not they are International Standards Organization (ISO) compliant.

This should have been the due process extended to the mining companies instead of shutting them down unceremoniously.

There is no doubt Lopez knows about the ISO certification because she herself stated the following upon assuming the position from former DENR Secretary Ramon Paje: “ISO 14001 is one way of saying responsible mining.”

The ISO 14001 standard is the most important within the ISO 14000 series. ISO 14001 specifies the requirements of an environmental management system (EMS) for small to large organizations. An EMS is a systemic approach to handling environmental issues within an organization.

Lopez further added that the assessment will determine if mining operations are “… good to the people or are they killing the rivers, streams? Are they creating suffering to our farmers and fishermen? We have to evaluate it, but my stand on the common good is non-negotiable.”

The “non-negotiable” stand of Lopez can be likened to the shit hitting the fan!

This hardline policy/posturing of Lopez just won’t work especially if the mining industries earn billions of pesos for the country, creates job for the people in the community and contribute to the infrastructure needs of the community.

Personal or subjective opinion should never play a rule in this kind of controversial problems especially if it has to do with the economy, jobs, lives of employed workers, and yes, the environment. The benefits gained should not be held hostage just because the whim and caprice of a popular DENR Secretary is not accommodated.

To compromise is the way to go so it will not create a negative impact on all factors considered for a win-win situation could only be attained if a review of the ISO standards is done regularly by DENR so that anomalies can be corrected to help minimize the potential present and long term damage to the environment from mining activities.