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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Too close for comfort

Zhang Jian and Dong Fang Hong 3

The sighting of two Chinese oceanographic survey ships within the country’s exclusive economic zone (EEZ), as reported by Ryan Martinson, an assistant professor at the China Maritime Studies Institute of the United States Naval War College, is a clear warning to President Duterte and his government that Chinese presence in our coastal waters is getting too close for comfort.

What is disturbing about this observation is that the two ships, Zhang Jian and Dong Fang Hong 3, were spotted not at the contested waters in the West Philippine Sea (WPS), where we all assume it would be, but rather in the unlikely waters of eastern and northern Philippines respectively.

But what is really unsettling, if not alarming, about the sighting reports is that both Chinese vessels have not communicated with the government authorities about their presence nor their intentions of being in the area.

If the ships are indeed used for survey/research of any kind, then the Chinese government has the obligation to ask permission from the Philippine government, especially that it has been found out that both vessels had been operating in the country’s EEZ.

As it is, the Chinese oceanographic survey ships arrogantly violated Article 246 of the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS), stating that “Marine scientific research in the exclusive economic zone and on the continental shelf shall be conducted with the consent of the coastal State.” Note that both the Philippines and China are signatories in the UNCLOS.

Following a pattern well established by the Chinese in the WPS, where they operate with impunity whenever and however it pleases them within the country’s EEZ, they also presumptuously assume that they can do the same on the other side of the Pacific Ocean.

This assumption is especially anchored, and had been taken advantage of by China, considering the fact that the Philippines is inadequately capable of monitoring its territorial waters around the archipelago.

We can only thank that there is a Ryan Martinson who has been monitoring movement of Chinese ships not only in the disputed South China Sea (SCS), of which the WPS is part of, but also on the side of the Pacific Ocean, where in a series of tweets he posted photos of the ships and their track.

Thus, it is in this light that the Filipino people should feel heartened that it has finally dawned on the country’s government officials to seek help from the United States by invoking the Mutual Defense Treaty (MDT) signed by Manila and Washington in 1951 so the country can be assisted in monitoring Chinese vessels in the Philippines’ EEZ, especially  in the aftermath of reports saying that Chinese warships, including its only aircraft carrier, Liaoning, passed through Sibutu Strait without clearance.

 

NWRB ORDERS brazenly ignored

On February 21, 2019, the National Water Resources Board (NWRB) came out with an ORDER addressed to the president of Greenhills Homeowners’ Association, Inc. (GHAI) at Casuntingan, Mandaue City, directing him and all persons acting in his behalf, to CEASE AND DESIST (CDO) from further appropriating/utilizing water and to cause the CLOSURE AND SEALING OF THE WELL within five (5) days from receipt of the directive and to submit to NWRB an affidavit of compliance within the same period.

The questionable deepwell not only lacks the required local and national permits, but utterly contradicts the May 31, 2007 NWRB Board Resolution (BR) No. 004-0507, Policy Guidelines for Metro Cebu, for water quality management which includes a moratorium on the acceptance of water permit applications particularly in the areas of Consolacion, Liloan, Cebu City, Mandaue City and the whole of Mactan Island , where there is a continuous decline of the water level and deterioration of the groundwater quality as reported by NWRB-commissioned Consultants for Engineering, Science and Technology (CEST), and University of San Carlos-Water Resources Hydraulic Center in Cebu.

However, on July 2, 2019, upon verification/inspection made by one of NWRB’s staff of the subject deepwell at Greenhills subdivision, it was found out that there was no permanent sealing made.

It was in this context that NWRB issued a warning, saying, that it had no other recourse but to order the permanent sealing of the deepwell at the expense of the homeowners association.

Thus, on July 8, 2019, by virtue of Section 86 of the Implementing Rules and Regulation (IRR) of the Water Code of the Philippines, NWRB once more directed its Monitoring and Enforcement Division to CLOSE AND SEAL the said deepwell on July 19, 2019.

Sadly, however, NWRB’s second ORDER for closure and permanent sealing on the date specified did not materialize, and this became the subject of an article published in Sunstar, titled, Attention: NWRB Cebu, dated, July 22, 2019.

Not only were NWRB’s lawful ORDERS brazenly ignored on two (2) occasions, i.e., February 21, 2019 and July 8, 2019, but lately, on August 06, 2019, the same GHAI Officers had the presumptuousness to take it upon themselves to install a metal enclosure around the protruding ground water pipe and apply cement at its base, clearly contradicting the manner of permanently closing and sealing such, as described by Engr. Jayrald Carbonell, NWRB Engineering Assistant, Visayas Extension Office, which is that of cutting the protruding ground water pipe to ground level and pouring cement thereafter to forever seal it.

Is NWRB, which is tasked to regulate and control the utilization, exploitation, development, conservation and protection of all water resources no longer able to forcefully implement its mandate? Or is it all together getting irrelevant?

Just asking.

 

 

In possession and in position

The 2019 State of the Nation Address (SONA) of President Duterte quite stirred a controversy when he was talking about the West Philippine Sea (WPS) because of the confusion it created by the seemingly similarly sounding words “possession” and “position”.

WPS is the local name of the waters within the Philippines’ 370-kilometer exclusive economic zone (EEZ) in the South China Sea (SCS), nearly all of which China claims.

But according to a Palace transcript the President said: “China also claims the property and he is in possession. That is the problem. They are in possession and claiming all the resources there as an owner.”

This was, however, refuted by National Security Adviser Hermogenes Esperon Jr., saying, “I think the President did not say that they are ‘in possession’ but they are ‘in position.’” He said China’s militarization in the SCS from 2012 to 2016 enabled it to take “positional advantage” over its rivals for territory in the strategic waterway.

Even Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana chimed in, saying, “They are in position on their islands, but they are not in possession of the WPS because we are also claiming it.”

Certainly both of the President’s men are wrong for the simple reason that the transcript speaks for itself and Duterte unquestionably meant exactly what he said, prompting Supreme Court Senior Associate Justice Antonio Carpio to challenge the President’s claim that China was in possession of the West Philippine Sea.

But how else would one describe really the unequivocal presence of the Chinese people who has not only established a well entrenched position in man-made islands turned military outposts, but whose country, a powerhouse of its own, is also claiming almost all of the SCS, including what is legally ours in the WPS, according to the arbitral tribunal at the Hague?

Since no other nation, except us, has called on China to either uphold/respect the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS), a body of customs, treaties, and international agreements by which governments maintain order, productivity, and peaceful relations on the sea or the conclusive decision of the arbitral tribunal that the Philippines has exclusive sovereign rights over the West Philippine Sea (in the South China Sea) and that China’s “nine-dash line” is invalid, China, thus, continues doing what it pleases them in the disputed maritime area.

No amount of diplomatic protests then could ever change China’s military posturing that signals its economic and military expansion, if not domination, in this part of the world. Suffice to say that frontal confrontation is no longer an option as this will be disastrous to humanity.

This is the problem that President Duterte recognizes in the WPS – China in possession of it and in position to defend it at all cost.

Arrogant passage

Chinese aircraft carrier CV-16 Liaoning

The question on whether or not the Chinese aircraft carrier CV-16 Liaoning passed through Sibutu Strait in Tawi-Tawi is a disturbing issue for the simple reason that sincerity and truth matters between Philippine-China relations.

Sibutu Strait lies between Tawi-Tawi’s main island and Sibutu island, which is part of Tawi-Tawi province. Although part of the country’s maritime territory, the strait has been declared an international sea lane where foreign commercial ships have the right of innocent passage. The latter is a concept in the law of the sea that allows for a vessel to pass through the territorial waters of another state, subject to certain restrictions. Part of these restrictions is how China’s only aircraft carrier became an issue.

While it is true that under international maritime law commercial vessels may sail through this passage without informing the Philippine government, the same does not apply however to navy ships from any foreign nation, including China, whose military presence in the West Philippine Sea (WPS) is palpable because of its nine-dash line claim that encircles as much as 90 per cent of the South China Sea (SCS). As a rule, military vessels that pass through our territory ask for diplomatic clearance.

But what is disturbing/unnerving about China’s People’s Liberation Army (PLA) Navy warships is that it has been navigating this international sea lane with impunity, as if the passage belongs to China, thus, prompting Supreme Court Senior Associate Justice Antonio Carpio to criticize China’s “double standard” as it would not have allowed Philippine vessels easy passage in its own waters, or even Philippine waters China claims for itself.

What is ironic about what I describe as “arrogant passage” by the aircraft carrier Liaoning is that the incident was revealed first by Carpio and not by the country’s military authorities who should have known it earlier and protested because of their inherent duty to protect the national security of the country.

Sought for comment, Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana apparently was clueless about Carpio’s revelation and even as he consulted Chinese Ambassador Zhao Jianhua about it, the latter denied it, which no doubt raises the question of his sincerity and honesty in his dealings with the Duterte’s government.

After being told that Chinese warships were seen passing through the Sibutu Strait in Tawi-Tawi with its Automatic Identification System intentionally turned off to avoid detection, although still visible by the naked eye, Ambassador Zhao extricated himself by saying that “in the future, we will require those ships to inform the Chinese embassy here in Manila about intended passage in Sibutu.” Isn’t that a clear reaction to an afterthought?

And this of course after the wily Chinese ambassador learned that the Taiwanese defense ministry confirmed a Taiwanese media report showing how the aircraft carrier Liaoning passed through Sibutu Strait before entering the West Philippine Sea.

Talking about being caught red-handed!

To probe or not

 

The issue of having UN-backed human rights group investigate the country’s human rights situation only became a focal point when President Duterte started his relentless war on drugs upon his assumption into office in 2016.

It even became a magnet for foreign investigative scope when it was notoriously described as bloody, when the count of dead bodies were adding up and incidental killings rising, too, characterized as collateral damage.

Three years into his presidency and Duterte is just as determined and fierce in waging war against what appears to be a never ending flow of drugs into the country that, instead of being reported to the authorities, are being peddled with impunity destroying the social fabric that binds us together and compromising the future of young Filipinos.

Thus, I understand every time Duterte expresses his outrage against the proliferation and use of drugs because we are seeing today that many parents are working abroad to be able to earn sufficient amount of money to provide comfortable living for their families, but also leaving behind vulnerable children that may very well fall prey to drug vultures abounding in the whole country today.

This is what some sanctimonious human rights group, the latest of which is the UN Human Rights Council, does not understand. President Duterte is taking to heart his moral obligation as leader of the country to protect the lives of innocent Filipinos and if it takes for his administration’s police force to kill the menace and evil of society, then so be it. I think he knows what he is doing.

I am not expressing my opposition at foreign human rights group or Western countries advocating for the respect of human rights if they can just be objective in their approach. By being objective it shall be without discrimination especially knowing that human rights are rights inherent to all human beings, regardless of race, sex, nationality, ethnicity, language, religion, or any other status.

But why are foreign human rights group so obsessed at probing into the Philippines’ human rights situation and so indifferent to the massive and systematic human rights violations taking place at the United States (US) southern border with Mexico, where the US Border Patrol is holding many children, including some who are much too young to take care of themselves, in jail-like border facilities for weeks at a time without contact with family members, or regular access to showers, clean clothes, toothbrushes, or proper beds? Many are dying, too, so do these not brazenly violate federal and international laws?

As a third world country, thank goodness that ours is still “a government of laws, not of men” that even Chief Justice Lucas Bersamin has implied that our justice system is “robust” and insist that other countries should not interfere in the internal affairs of the Philippines. Following the rule of law, we are simply eliminating an evil that tends to destroy the future of our country and its youth, as oppose to preachy human rights advocates who violate their very own visions of a world where every person lives with dignity, freedom, justice, equality and peace.

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Attention: NWRB Cebu

(This article is posted in my blog site hoping that perchance any of the NWRB Officers from the main office in Manila will be able to read it and feel the blame in their heart for their ineptness in implementing strictly what is a reasonable and lawful directive for the benefit of the greater number of people in and out of the subdivision. – Quierosaber)   

In the morning of July 19, 2019, Jayrald Carbonell, National Water Resource Board (NWRB) Engineering Assistant at the Visayas Extension Office, arrived at Greenhills Subdivision, Casuntingan, Mandaue City, empathically saying that he was implementing an ORDER, dated July 8, 2019, for the permanent closure and sealing of a deepwell. The ORDER was by the Authority of the Board and signed by Dr. Sevillo D. David, Executive Director.

Before executing the order, however, Carbonell went to meet with some of the Greenhills Homeowners Association, Inc. (GHAI) Officers and Board of Directors (BOD), who, themselves, are the proponents for the deepwell. After about an hour of conference, Carbonell went back to the deepwell site singing a different tune when he told the group opposing the deepwell that he could no longer carry out the ORDER of Dr. David since, according to him, the proponents had been able to file a Motion for an extension of fifteen (15) days. However, when asked for a copy of the Motion, he could not produce it.

Please note that the July 19, 2019 ORDER was not the first directive to be addressed to the GHAI Officers and BOD. Much earlier, on February 21, 2019, by authority of the NWRB Board, Dr. Sevillo D. David, ordered the cancellation/revocation of the GHAI Conditional Water Permit (CWP) considering that the location of the deepwell is now under Moratorium pursuant to NWRB Board Resolution No. 004-0507 where, among other things, there will be a suspension on the acceptance and processing of water permit applications in portions of the areas of Consolacion, Liloan, Cebu City, Mandaue City and the whole area of Mactan Island, where the condition of the groundwater has reached critical level.

The GHAI officers and BOD were ordered further to Cease and Desist (CDO) from appropriating/utilizing water and to cause the CLOSURE AND SEALING OF THE WELL within five (5) days upon receipt of the ORDER. They were warned that failure to comply with the directive within the period provided shall constrain the NWRB BOARD to institute appropriate administrative and/or criminal charges in accordance with law.

In view of the documented events mentioned above, where the GHAI Officers and BOD seem to blatantly ignore/disrespect the NWRB ORDER and the Monitoring and Enforcement Staff of the NWRB, represented by Carbonell, equally defying openly the same, those opposing the deepwell cannot help but question the legitimacy or legality of such an ORDER or whether it is for real or not.

Indeed, why can’t NWRB implement a lawful ORDER firmly and strictly so that there will be an immediate, fair and just settlement of issues, instead of bending over too much backwards for some people to the detriment of peace  and harmony among homeowners?

 

 

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!