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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Presidential plane

I don’t know why some quarters in our society are making a big fuss about government’s plan to buy a presidential plane.

If one has to look at it objectively, the acquisition of one is long overdue. Perhaps government could have started planning seriously its purchase right after the death of the well-loved president, dubbed as the “champion of the masses”, Ramon Magsaysay, who died riding a Douglas C-47, a plane initially used to haul cargo, transport troops, drop paratroops, tow gliders, and as a flying ambulance, that continued in service long after the end of WWII. It crashed at Mt. Manunggal in Cebu on March 17, 1957.

While it is true that the Philippine Airlines has been tasked to provide a presidential aircraft to ferry the President for his state visits, it’s all together a different story when it comes to the personal travels of the president at home.

Even if one is president, it is simply inappropriate for him to commander a country’s airline at his whim and for whatever reason. Delicadeza or the sense of propriety will always refrain you from doing it and more so for a president like former Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte who does not want to flaunt his power, much less abuse it.

Since 1980, the official presidential aircraft has been a Fokker F-28 with the 250th Presidential Airlift Wing of the Philippine Air Force given the responsibility to provide safe, secure and effective air transportation to the President of the Republic of the Philippines, his / her family, visiting Heads of state, and other the local and foreign VIPs.

The Fokker plane has been seldom used by the executive branch such that during the first few months of Duterte’s term in 2016, he ordered the presidential plane converted into an air ambulance.

Thus, it is about time that one has to come to terms, that having a presidential plane is a necessity not only for the president and his entourage’s safety and security, but more so for easier and faster mobility especially during emergencies.

If wealthy owners of corporations have their own aircraft to fly them around the country for them to attend expeditiously to their business exigencies, the more reason that the country has to have a presidential plane at the president’s immediate disposal for a productive visit and effective governance especially considering that the country is an archipelago.

The government’s purchase of a P2-billion Gulfstream G280 jet is just what the president needs. It is definitely a smaller plane that does not need a long runway. It is a 10-seater plane that when carrying the defense secretary and senior military leaders, it could be used for command and control functions.

The G280 is the kind of plane that is built for emergencies, thus, the plane is constantly ready to get moving – 24 hours a day, seven days a week. This is what the president needs instead of chartering or borrowing planes, or worse taking commercial flight that would not only inconvenience himself but the rest of the passengers because of security reasons.

That government will be spending millions of dollars for the comfort of officials, while ordinary Filipinos endure the daily horrors of the transport crisis is simply a flawed statement that lacks the respect and appreciation of the office of the president.

MRF inside a subdivision

Republic Act (RA) 9003, also known as Solid Waste Management Act, has made recycling as among the programs being pushed and encouraged by this law to reduce the volume of waste for disposal while providing people livelihood.

Under RA 9003, solid waste management is defined as “the discipline associated with the control of generation, storage, collection, transfer and transport, processing, and disposal of solid wastes in a manner that is in accord with the best principles of public health, economics, engineering, conservation, aesthetics, and other environmental considerations, and that is also responsive to public attitudes.”

For this purpose, the law requires that Material Recovery Facility (MRF) or solid waste recovery facility “shall be established in a barangay-owned or -leased land or any suitable open space to be determined by the barangay through its Sanggunian.”

The main function of the MRF, therefore, is to maximize the quantity of recyclables processed, while producing materials that will generate the highest possible revenues in the market under a continued healthful environment.

What is important to remember, however, is that one could not just put up an MRF on any land. It has to follow some location criteria such as being close to existing road, not near schools, hospitals, park and residential areas, and not on sloping and flood prone areas.

Such being the case, why then is Greenhills Subdivision in Casuntingan, Mandaue City allowed to operate its own MRF when it is in blatant violation of all the location criteria mentioned and more?

It is bad enough that the subdivision’s MRF is located a stone-throw away from the nearest homeowner’s house or that it is on a flood prone area located near the edge of a slope going down the Butuanon River, but what is even worse is that the MRF itself has deprived the homeowners of a playground, an amenity that the developers provided for kids to have a safe place for playing growing up.

And we are not even talking yet about the obnoxious smell that the MRF generates and blown wherever the wind is blowing!

What is also adding to the homeowners woes about the existence of the MRF inside the subdivision is the fear that the leachate generated may contaminate the groundwater which we all know is the source of water for aquifers, springs, and wells.

Greenhills subdivision is endowed with a steady supply of good water from its deepwell which the homeowners have been dependent upon for well over 35 years now.

I know this because I live in Greenhills and all I want is for the proper authorities to look into the matter.

 

 

Locsin’s address at the UN

Foreign Affairs Secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr and President Rodrigo Duterte.

One of the judicious decisions that President Rodrigo Duterte made for his administration is in choosing lawyer and journalist, Teodoro Locsin Jr, as his Foreign Affairs Secretary.

While his being a lawyer by profession is serving him in good stead, it is his being an erudite and an accomplished journalist that makes him stand out head and shoulder above other diplomats here and abroad. He explicitly knows his trade and it bodes well for him in his position.

Who would ever forget Locsin’s independence of mind when, upon assumption of office, his opening salvo to the employees of the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) was: “It is not independent foreign policy if you simply switch the master that you are kneeling before. Independent foreign policy means getting off your knees, on your feet, to stand up for our country.”

This immediately set the tone and direction of how he was to oversee his relations with other countries in the international stage which, for all intents and purposes, runs in conjunction with the policies and programs of the Duterte administration and the direction towards which the president wants the country to go.

Locsin epitomizes not only Duterte’s abhorrence for illegal drugs, corruption and criminality but even the president’s decision to establish common grounds with China where the South China Sea (SCS) is concern.

Duterte and Locsin are the most unlikely pair in a pea pod, with the former uncouth in his manner and the latter with a cultured upbringing, yet both possesses the same nationalistic views for the country.

Thus, during Locsin’s recent speech at the United Nations (UN) in New York he made it known to everyone present that the international body should not interfere in the Philippines’ affairs when it comes to how it is handling its anti-narcotics campaign and the South China Sea dispute.

What Locsin was simply saying is that the Philippine government is still a government of law, not of men, and while the fight against illegal drug was made the centerpiece of the Duterte administration, the president is going to carry on the fight relentlessly the way he sees fit.

Duterte was given this mandate to govern with iron hands when he won overwhelmingly during the 2016 presidential election and the Filipino people continue to support him to this day.

Locsin’s comment obviously come after a July 11 resolution, introduced by Iceland, that sought to look into the human rights situation in the Philippines in connection Duterte’s anti-illegal drug campaign that has killed thousands.

The resolution was adopted by the UN Human Rights Council with a vote of 18 in favor and 14 against, with 15 abstentions. Twenty-four other nations that co-sponsored the resolution did not vote.

Suffice to say that what Locsin was driving at was for member states not to use the UN as a platform to threaten other nations, especially members of the third world country like the Philippines, with accountability on how it addresses crime.

As to the SCS issue, member states of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), including the Philippines, are currently negotiating with China on a legally binding Code of Conduct (COC).

Realistically, according to Locsin, the COC in the SCS would implicitly recognize Beijing’s dominance in the region, but it is a deal that will not in any way compromise or curtail the country’s sovereign and international rights.

Unquestionably, Duterte shares the same perspective.

On halted foreign grants and loans

 

A debate is raging in the country today ever since President Rodrigo Duterte, through Executive Secretary Salvador Medialdea, instructed government agencies and state-run firms and government financial institutions to halt negotiations and agreements on grants and loans from 18 countries that backed a United Nations (UN) investigation into his bloody war on drugs.

This goes back in July 2019 when Iceland spearheaded a UN resolution urging the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights to probe the alleged killings of more than 6000 suspected drug pushers and users and other alleged human rights abuses since Duterte assumed the presidency in 2016.

The resolution on the Philippines was adopted by the U.N. Human Rights Council by a vote of 18 countries in favor and 14 against, with 15 abstentions. The 18 countries are Argentina, Australia, Austria, Bahamas, Bulgaria, Croatia, Czech Republic, Denmark, Fiji, Italy, Mexico, Peru, Slovakia, Spain, Ukraine, the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, and Uruguay.

Malacañang has called the resolution “grotesquely one-sided, outrageously narrow, and maliciously partisan,” arguing that it lacked legitimacy because the 18 council members who backed it was less than the 14 votes against and 15 abstentions combined.

No doubt then that foremost in Duterte’s crosshairs for verbal barb is Iceland which he described as an ice-eating nation that doesn’t understand the deeply rooted plague ravaging the country today, yet has the gall to criticize our human rights record when the Icelanders themselves has a law reportedly allowing abortion until the end of the 22nd week of pregnancy! How much more defenseless can the fetus be when compared to a drug-deranged addict who is being killed for not heeding the policeman’s call to surrender?

On what moral ground then is Iceland’s idiotic law better than ours? At least in the Philippines, the Responsible Parenthood and Reproductive Health Act of 2012 mandates prison terms of up to six years for people who have abortions and for anyone who assists in the illegal procedure.

But that is neither here nor there. What the controversy is all about is whether or not Duterte is morally justified in halting negotiations and agreements on grants and loans from the 18 countries that supported Iceland to have the Philippines investigated for his bloody war on drugs and perceived thousands of extrajudicial killings in the course of battling drugs?

Perhaps of greatest consideration is whether or not the amount of aid being held up by Duterte’s order is substantial enough that it would make a great deal of a negative difference in the government’s infrastructure projects and the people’s lives in particular?

Foreign Secretary Teodoro Locsin, however, said in a tweet that going by past records, the funds from the countries were “not worth the candle considering the amounts and the terms and the money goes mostly to consultants.” Furthermore he said that the Philippines could manage without the loans from states that voted in favor of an Iceland-led resolution with string attached when it sought in return a review of the human rights situation in the country.

“We don’t need the money; we’ve more than enough without turning to anyone outside except Japan of course whose generosity is unconditional, quick; and whose motivation is honestly to help the Philippines. The rest are tongue in cheek and negligible,” Locsin said on his official Twitter account.

Indeed, these are telling tweets from Locsin! Do I have reason to doubt him? Not at all because he is one Cabinet member who does his homework diligently.

 

The WPS joint exploration

China President Xi Jinping and President Rodrigo Duterte

After the Philippines and China signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) in November last year for the joint oil and gas development in the West Philippine Sea (WPS), governments of both countries are now in the process of creating an intergovernmental steering committee that would supervise the projects.

The MOU has adopted a 60-40 sharing scheme favoring the Philippines, which President Rodrigo Duterte acknowledged as acceptable to him.

What is making the MOU contentious, however, especially among the opposition, is the statement made by Duterte earlier saying that China had vowed to adopt a 60-40 sharing in exchange for setting aside the 2016 landmark ruling by the arbitral tribunal.

To be specific, what made Duterte’s statement disagreeable and disturbing is his use of the word “ignored”, like saying that the arbitral ruling on the exclusive economic zone (EEZ) would be “ignored” so that China could help the Philippines spur “economic activity” in the country’s EEZ.

Well, we all know that Duterte does not have the gift of gab, so why would the critics of Duterte continue believing immediately what he says instead of maintaining a degree of skepticism about its truth?

Thankfully, Presidential spokesman Salvador Panelo, who knows Duterte like the palm of his hand, is ingenious enough to explain and make sense of what the president wants to convey to the public.

Thus, Panelo was able to clarify that what Duterte actually meant by ignoring the 2016 arbitral court ruling on the South China Sea is to leave it at that since the ruling is deemed permanent, binding, final and in the words of Panelo, unappealable.

I think Duterte, astute as he is, knows where he stands because even as he raised the 2016 landmark ruling by the arbitral tribunal Beijing still refused to budge from its claim of ownership over most of the South China Sea, including areas within the Philippines’ exclusive economic zone.

So why not just take the opportunity and let the joint exploration happen? Clearly, we could never do it on our own and with China so entrenched in the area it is sheer folly to expect that some foreign nation will come and dare partner with us in exploring for gas and oil in the area.

Ignoring instead China’s offer to have its resources and expertise available for oil and gas exploration on the WPS is further stagnating the country rather than reaping the benefits that will help propel the country forward and alleviate the lives of Filipinos while complementing at the same time the financial assistance China is offering to countries for their infrastructure projects.

Bato’s wacky metaphor

Senator Ronald “Bato” dela Rosa

Handpicked by then presumptive President Rodrigo Duterte as the new Philippine National Police (PNP) Chief on May 19, 2016, then Chief Supt. Ronald “Bato” dela Rosa already showed his propensity to be funny.

But since Bato was not born comic, his jokes simply appear to be nonsensical, but just the same people laugh half-heartedly to make him feel good. Perhaps this is his way of making rapport with his audience, but it does not really work for him. Being funny is not his forte.

And so, even as a senator he continues to display that penchant to be funny as in the metaphor he gave when he likened the responsibility of all Bureau of Corrections (BuCor) chiefs to waiters in a restaurant and the legislators who crafted Republic Act 10592, otherwise known as the  Good Conduct Time Allowance (GCTA) law, as the cooks.

“Why pin the blame on us? We are just implementing the law,” Dela Rosa told ANC. “Hindi naman kami ‘yung gumawa ng batas na yan. Nagi-implement na lang kami diyan.” (We are not the ones who made the law. We just implement it.)

He further explained, saying, “Ikaw ba nag-order ng pagkain, [pag] hindi masarap ‘yung pagkain, pagalitan mo ‘yung waiter? Dapat ang pagalitan mo yung chef na nagluto ng pagkain, hindi ‘yung waiter. Ang waiter, nag-serve lang ‘yan ng pagkain,” (When you order food and it is not good, are you going to scold the waiter? The one to be scolded should be the chef who cooked the food and not the waiter. The waiter only served the food.)

I am not disagreeing with the senator’s explanation, but I definitely have an issue at the kind of metaphor he used.

The analogy Bato used is simply wacky, if not irrational, and in the context that he used it, one can only describe it as out-of-whack!

I mean, how self-deprecating can he be about himself and the other generals who have been BuCor chiefs to compare their military rank and position to that of a lowly waiter?

I think the senator has really overlooked or failed to understand the essential or important part of being a BuCor chief and why the choice for a high ranking military officer who has gone to the premier military school of the land to manage it, and not with the mentality of a lowly waiter trying to eke a decent living.

That the brain and brawn of Bato has been cut out for military service that I do not doubt. But what I doubt very much is whether or not he would be apt to his job as a senator.

It appears that his simplistic analogy comparing BuCor chiefs to waiters does not speak well of him as a member of the senate.

The real culprit

 

The public uproar, turned outrage, created by the near release of convicted murderer/rapist, then-Calauan, Laguna, Mayor Antonio Sanchez, can only be construed as divine intervention.

Divine intervention in the sense that it not only opened the public’s eye to the corrupt practices existing inside the New Bilibid Prison (NBP) under the watch of the Bureau of Corrections (BuCor), but in learning about the sad fact that the suppose impartiality of Lady Justice in her blindfold with regards to wealth, power and other status do not hold true anymore inside the correctional facility.

The scandalous controversy involving Sanchez’s aborted release, after having been sentenced to seven terms (1 term is equivalent to 40 years ) of reclusion perpetua in 1995 for the rape-slay of University of the Philippines Los Baños student Eileen Sarmenta and the murder of her boyfriend, Allan Gomez in 1993, comes on the heels of a successful, yet fishy, discharge from the NBP of three convicts sentenced to 40 years in prison for the rape and killing of sisters Marijoy and Jacqueline Chiong of Cebu City in 1997.

The common denominator for the two heinous cases is the now much talked about Republic Act No. 10592 or better known as the Good Conduct Time Allowance (GCTA) law.

For all intents and purposes it is a law that rewards good behavior in detention, but for the presumptuous, incompetent and unscrupulous members of the management organizational hierarchy of BuCor who simply reads but not learn by heart the statutory provisions of the law, there is bound to be failure or anomaly in the implementation of the requirements or non-requirements of the law.

Such has been the justifiable reason for the public outcry when BuCor signed the release papers of hundreds of prisoners, including convicted rapists, murderers and drug traffickers, when, in fact, under the GCTA law criminals convicted with heinous crimes are excluded from its benefits along with habitual delinquents, escapees and recidivists, but allows for a reduction of sentences of other persons deprived of liberty (PDLs), depending on how well they abide by rules and regulations inside “any penal institution, rehabilitation, or detention center or any other local jail.”

The GCTA law had the humane purpose to not only help unclog the country’s overcrowded jails, but giving chance to those deemed rehabilitated, including the infirm and the elderly whose sentence does not fall under the category of heinous crimes.

Unfortunately, the BuCor allowed the GCTA law to be bastardized, corrupted and made a lucrative business at the expense of even those not convicted of heinous crime, but trying to get rehabilitated, productive and living exemplary lives inside the NBP so that, through the GCTA law, they could earn good-conduct credits for them to be freed sooner than their full term sentence requires.

Thus, there is nothing morally wrong with the GCTA law, and neither can we blame those already freed, especially those imprisoned for murder, rape and other heinous crime, whom President Duterte is calling and directing to surrender or they would be considered fugitives with bounty on their heads.

The truth of the matter is that the real culprit could only be the BuCor hierarchy for their blatant display of ignorance of the GCTA law in its entirety.