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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From Philippines to Maharlika

 

I find few disagreements with President Duterte’s words and deeds, but next to his supercilious designation of the late dictator Marcos as a hero who deserves to be buried at the Libingan ng mga Bayani (Heroes Cemetery), I find his latest caper of floating and signifying his interest in changing the name Philippines to Maharlika the highest of absurdities, if I may call it that way.

It is one thing to put on the highest pedestal ones idol and hero, like Duterte has done about Marcos, but it is another thing to ram it down the throat of the Filipino people because it was once the dream and aspiration of the person you greatly admired.

I do not know if changing the country’s name to Maharlika matters really because if Wikipedia has the comprehensive answer for everything then its connotation is not what we want it to be or what we perceived it to be because it says that the origin of the word is Indian-inspired word that influenced our culture as members of the Malay race.

When put in the proper context, historians and scholars agree on one thing and it is that Maharlika means anything but “a concept of serenity and peace”, as Duterte imputed it to be, or “a royalty” as presidential spokesperson Salvador Panelo wants us to believe it is.

In fact award-winning novelist Abdon Balde Jr. shared his views in the social media saying that the word Maharlika was included in the Vocabulario de la lengua tagala (vocabulary of the tagalog language) that showed its meaning, when translated from Spanish to Tagalog, as “alipin na itinuring na malaya“, which means in English as ‘a slave deemed/considered free’. I would assume that Maharlika was translated in Spanish as “esclavo considerado libre”.

Balde’s views are irrefutably confirmed by historian Rolando Borrinaga of the National Commission for Culture and Arts, during an interview with radio station DZBB, that Maharlika actually means “free man.”

The reason why I am expounding on this alternative name is because it puzzles me why Duterte is picking up where Marcos has left off when what the latter was mainly interested in was having his ego inflated by fantasizing and falsely reviving that the name Maharlika was ancient Filipino nobility.

It is even discombobulating that heroes like Mabini, Luna, del Pilar, Aguinaldo, Bonifacio and notably Rizal did not belittled the name Philippines and in fact were proud being called Filipinos who wrote, condemned, fought and died valiantly for the country against the abuses and atrocities of both the Spanish colonial rulers and the Spanish friars.

It is perhaps prudent for our leaders to be reminded that the name Philippines is not what made us who we are today but, rather, it is us, the people who has given the country the ambiguities perceived today by the peoples in the world community.

Voting wisely

How I wish the preponderance of millennials voting on May 2019 senatorial election will gather their acts together this early and try to find time in knowing who were elected senators in the past by the Filipino people.  

Perhaps they can go as far back as the Fifth Congress when then Senator Ferdinand Marcos was the Senate President.

The reason why I am suggesting this idea to the millennial generation is so they could make early assessment on who were the candidates preferred by most Filipinos in the past to study and enact laws in the Senate.

Most of all my intention is for the millenials to compare who the past senators were as individuals against those presently serving in the Senate, those who are seeking re-election and the numerous new faces that are running for senator in the coming May elections. I am particularly referring to our current crop of politicians who uses their popularity and/or notoriety to further their own political and personal interests rather than those of the country and its people.

This comparison is the only way that the voters, collectively, will be able to determine if, indeed, the current senators running for re-election, the ex-senators who want re-elected and the new candidates all possess the character deserving of our trust.

What I am trying to say and emphasize here is that there has never been a time such as today, and in this generation, the urgency to admit and accept the importance of voting wisely for the good of the country and the Filipino people.

By voting wisely, and I mean voting intelligently, one finds satisfaction that, after deep and careful consideration,  the choices for senatorial bets are deemed to be adequately qualified and competent to legislate the laws of the land based on their educational background and relative experiences.

That he or she must also be articulate, reputable, responsible, and conscientious, to mention a few excellent qualities of a high-ranking public servant.

Sadly, the same cannot be said of some of our present senators and more so of many of those running for the elective office.

It does not mean to say also that just because they are the favored candidates of President Duterte and her daughter, Sara, that they have to be voted on for the reason that we are strong supporter of the Dutertes. Following our leaders blindly will only make us complicit.

This is where prudence and utmost caution is necessary among the voters because while we are aware who the undesirable and rouge politicians are, we do not have control over those trying to play political patronage and political gamesmanship.

Simply said, it is incumbent upon us the voters, that includes now more of the millennials, to carefully and earnestly separate the chaff from the grain in every election time for it is the only way that we can be sure that our future and the future of those that will follow us shall always be in good and reliable hands.

 

West Philippine Sea Victory Day

Senator Leila de Lima

It is lamentable that progressive and powerful countries in the world advocating strong support or protection for democratic principles have remained silent and noncommittal towards our plight over China’s egregious military build-up in the West Philippine Sea (WPS).

But what makes it even more ridiculous now is a bill filed by Senator Leila de Lima seeking to declare July 12 of every year as the “West Philippine Sea Victory Day”.

I mean why call for a yearly moral victory celebration when China has positioned itself intrinsically at will to continue bullying us?

Senate Bill 2201 may be right in describing the arbitral tribunal’s decision on July 12, 2016 as a landmark victory for the country when it favored the country’s sovereign rights in the WPS, as stipulated by the United Nations Convention for the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS), also known as the Law of the Sea Treaty which, among other things, defines the rights and responsibilities of nations in their use of the world’s oceans, establishing guidelines for businesses, the environment, and the management of marine natural resources.

In effect, the same tribunal invalidated China’s expansive claims ruling that it had no legal basis to claim the area within its nine-dash lines demarcation.

Ironically the opposite has happened because even as the Permanent Court of Arbitration (PCA) was resolving the issue of sovereign rights over the disputed waters, China was busy developing the man-made islands into military bases with deep water ports and airports, after which all sorts of armaments were installed.

So while China would consider the area within the nine-dash line its territory, other countries were assured, if not pacified, that they would still have freedom of navigation,

How could de Lima, therefore, say it is a victory worth commemorating every July 12th when it is hollow and ineffectual, to say the least? Let us not fool ourselves.

What I am saying is that for as long as China stays militarily and permanently entrenched in our territorial waters and has claimed the rights to activities ranging from fishing to prospecting and mining for energy or mineral resources, while nobody in the world can admonish its hegemonic ambitions in the area, then one can never declare himself victorious in the true sense of the word.

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China’s maritime rescue center

 

SC Associate Justice Antonio Carpio

Aside from the expanding militarization of the artificial islands built by China in the West Philippine Sea (WPS), what got the attention lately of Supreme Court Associate Justice Antonio Carpio is the news that China had constructed what it called a “maritime rescue center” in Kagitingan Reef (Fiery Cross Reef), which is a disputed territory.

Carpio’s concern is that the Duterte’s government should not just let this pass, meaning that it should file a protest so that it cannot be said that we have consented to China’s act of putting up a maritime rescue center, whatever it means, or else it might be interpreted that we are recognizing China’s right to occupy and use Fiery Cross Reef when it is the Philippines that has the exclusive rights over it.

There is no doubt that Carpio’s legal advice is worth heeding for it is strengthening and upholding the country’s claim of the WPS according to the rules established by the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS).

Carpio’s recommendation also seeks to give credence to the July 2016 ruling by the Permanent Court of Arbitration declaring, among other things, that China violated its obligations under UNCLOS with its island-building activities on several features, including Kagitingan Reef. Also, that China’s nine-dash lines had no legal basis for maritime claims.

But what good would Carpio’s proposition really do when China has established her dominion in the WPS with impunity, does not give a hoot about UNCLOS and simply brushes off the decision of the United Nations-backed arbitral tribunal?

Needless to say that China is staying in the WPS forever and nobody, not even the US nor the UN, can stop their continuing military build-up in the disputed waters. The strategic importance of the place, both for military and economic purposes, cannot be overemphasized and China can only gloat for the success it has attained in having the vast area under its control today.

Had the Duterte government protested when China started building the now existing maritime observation center, a meteorological observatory, and a national environmental and air quality monitoring station, all on the pretext that it was built for humanitarian reasons?

How about when China quietly installed defensive missile systems and military jamming equipment, which disrupts communications and radar systems?

It never did.

The fact is that protesting against a superpower like China whose formidable military presence can be felt in our backyard is not only dispiriting, but is in itself an exercise in futility. We are on our own and the best way forward is not to antagonize but rather focus on economic cooperation while maintaining our self-respect.

Minimum age of criminal responsibility

Debates about the lowering of the minimum age of criminal responsibility (MACR) has been a contentious issue among some sectors of society that finally both the House and the Senate seemed to have agreed to amend the existing law lowering it from 15 to 12 years old.

Under the amended law, a child aged 12 to 18 would be sent to an intervention center called the Bahay Pag-Asa if he or she commits the crimes of rape, murder or violation of the Dangerous Drugs Act.

The reason why some sectors, including the ranking members of the Catholic Church and the Child Rights group, decry the lowering further of the age where a child can be prosecuted within the country’s justice system is because they think and believe that these kids are still young and innocent when caught committing the aforementioned crimes.

What this presupposes is that a 12-year-old kid still lacks the discernment to understand the moral and psychological components of criminal responsibility and the consequences of the wrongful act committed.

Scientific studies, on the other hand, has shown that discernment on decisions and actions—which is apart from the ability to distinguish right and wrong—does not develop until adolescent years.

I cannot agree more with the ideal truth, but the reality however is that in countries where poverty is overwhelming there is not really that much difference in the thinking, language and deeds of the 12 and 15-year-old kids in the streets. Mark difference can only be seen in their size.

Thus, to me, I am more hopeful of a transformation happening in their lives when these kids are brought to the Bahay Pag-asa once they find themselves in conflict with the law. With competent administrators/psychologists in place to care and teach them values and guide them to become better persons, there is no doubt these kids will come out more better than when given just a slap on their hands and entrusted back to their parents who am sure won’t give much a hoot about their future.

It is along this frame of thought that I disagree with the appeal made by the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) to Congress to re-consider the amendment declaring that lowering the minimum age of criminal responsibility poses ‘greater harm’ and is therefore anathema to a ‘civilized society’ like ours.

The truth is that the younger we teach and inculcate in the kid’s mind values, the sooner they can have sharpened discernment about the legality of their decisions and actions.

Save Hanjin Philippines

 

The government of Pres. Rodrigo Duterte is finding itself in a predicament over the declared bankruptcy early this year of Hanjin Heavy Industries and Construction Philippines – the Korean shipbuilding company based in the country.

Hanjin Philippines together with a big Japanese shipbuilding company, Tsuneishi, located in Cebu, has put the Philippines on the map as the fourth largest shipbuilder in the world.

But more than these companies being our sources of pride, it is about the boon it has given the country for employing thousands of workers most of which are skilled workers. Needless to say that Hanjin Philippines is one of the big employers in the country.

Whatever the truth is about the company’s closure, whether it is mismanagement, or liquidity problems to repay its debts, or the unexpected glut in shipbuilding demand, the fact remains that the huge Korean shipbuilding facility, which started construction in 2006 on a foreign investment locator within the Subic Freeport area, is not only a mecca for employment but also a valuable contributor to the economic growth of the country that it would be a grave mistake to leave it non-operational for a long time.

One can’t help but wonder why this misfortune affecting Hanjin Philippines came about when it is supposedly safeguarded by generous subsidies and strong support by government for foreign investors to thrive?

But that is neither here nor there now.

What is important is for President Duterte and his government to look for viable solutions to address what economist Gerardo Sicat described as “the biggest corporate bankruptcy to ever hit the Philippines.”

Offhand, Sicat’s glaring statement seems to warn that it would be foolish for government to declare a takeover for we are a big debtor country already, not to mention that we don’t have the capability and expertise to manage a complex shipbuilding operation the size of Hanjin Philippines.

Even Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana’s contention that the government’s takeover of Hanjin would result in our capability to build warships of all sorts needed to protect our territorial integrity is wishful thinking.

It would be to our country’s advantage if government instead invites the soonest possible time multinational shipbuilding companies, including China, and hear what they have to offer before the complex deteriorates.

National security breaches, as some politicians worry about, is not about the existence of foreign nationals in our country. That is nonsense. It is more about the competency and efficacy of our government operatives to make our country safe.

De Lima’s dilemma

 

Arch-enemies Duterte and De Lima.

One can only admire the diligence of Senator Leila de Lima in regularly coming out with hand-written dispatches from her detention cell at the Philippine National Police Custodial Center, in Quezon City, which contains almost always barbs against her arch-enemy, President Rodrigo Duterte.

“Without access to any electronic gadget and communication device, the written word is my only weapon while in detention,” De Lima, the first prominent politician jailed under the Duterte regime, said.

Admitting that she could still use her pen and paper in expressing her thoughts on important issues like Duterte’s war on drugs, extra-judicial killings, human rights and governance among others, and able to share her feelings about her current situation only means that her voice has not been suppressed and that she is using it brazenly as a weapon not only to destroy Duterte but also to play upon the emotions of people.

On one hand Duterte has prevented de Lima from gallivanting, but on the other hand de Lima can’t really complain because she continues to exercise her freedom of expression to the fullest, which includes taking potshots at Duterte. For this she should be thankful because it is as if she has taken the floor of the senate to lambast Duterte.

In de Lima’s latest transmittal she is reminding people again, least they forget, that Duterte is and has always been the chief instigator of thousands of extra-judicial killings and a foremost misogynist.

That Duterte’s tirades and blasphemies against the Church and the Catholic faith have gone beyond what is acceptable, according to her, as he seems to be inciting his base of supporters to rob and /or kill bishops.

The truth is that, carried by her unhinged emotions, de Lima could no longer see anything that is good in what Duterte is doing for the country. She thrives in sowing fear like saying that Duterte has treasonously sold us out to China for refusing to assert the Hague ruling in exchange for dubious loans, or that Duterte is now more likely to harm, harass or even kill human rights defenders (HRDs) as he has now tagged them as “enemies of the State”. Worse still is that de Lima is peddling the idea that Duterte wants to be a dictator.

The irony here is that in de Lima’s quest to be perceived by the populace as the mouthpiece of  political critics of Duterte, she has forgotten that she is in jail mainly because she is facing serious and credible drug charges while heading the Department of Justice during the Aquino administration.

The people, therefore, know who de Lima is and know even better who Duterte is – warts and all.