Sen. Leila M. de lima’s statement on President Rodrigo Duterte’s pronouncements of “separation” from the United States, and ideological alignment with China and Russia as “against the world”:
“I was listening to that and couldn’t help but think:bakit sa isang foreign visit n’ya in-announce iyang kagimbal-gimbal na foreign policy n’ya? It’s one thing to keep your Cabinet members in the dark – which is deeply troubling in itself – but it’s a whole level of betrayal to keep that from the Filipino people, and to announce it for the first time in front of foreigners.
Probing questions must be asked in light of these earth-shaking policy overhaul. What does “separation from the US, both in military and economics” mean, and what are its consequences to our national interests? Are we really completely abrogating our 70-year-old alliance with America? What will be the impact of this separation, particularly in terms of trade and investment? And, by saying that he has “realigned himself” with the “ideological flow” of China, is the President saying that he’s going to sponsor a change in our democratic set-up of government into something that approximates or resembles the communist or totalitarian system of mainland China? Mabibigat na usapin ito that goes into the very basis and philosophy of our foreign policy in particular, and the democratic character of our government in general. Mga usapin ito ng bawat Pilipino.
To borrow the eloquent words of my colleague Senator Gordon, what a “material concealment” from the Filipino people! Obviously, this is not what they signed up for when they cast their vote last May 2016, if we go by the huge disparity between the trust rating that the US garnered vs. China, where Filipinos themselves said that they trust the US most and China least!
And with good reason!
Kapag naghanap ka ng kaibigan, hindi mo lang hinahanap yung mayaman, yung papautangin ka, yung maraming toy guns na ipapahiram sa’yo – tinitignan mo rin kung paano ka n’ya ita-trato bilang tao at kung kaya at handa s’yang ipagtanggol ka. Makipaglaro man sa’yo, wala namang assurance na igagalang n’ya ang pagkatao mo.
I’m not saying that China or Russia is not capable of respecting our people’s human rights, but we have to look at facts and reality, not the romantic picture that our star-struck and starry-eyed President wants to see. If their own people have limited expectations about respect for their human rights, labor law protections and, in general, freedom from violence from their own government, palagay mo ba tayong mga Pilipino can expect more?
Oo nga siguro, mas mahirap makakuha ng visa sa mga bansang katulad ng US, pero iyon ay dahil may kaakibat na pangakong mas magandang buhay, hindi pamumuhay na ikaw ay ituturing na basura oless than human. Parang illegal recruiter lang ‘yan,if it’s too easy and if it sounds too good to be true,malamang kapahamakan at pang-aapi ang naghihintay sa’yo diyan.
Ilang mga Pilipino, kabilang na mga OFWs, ang nasaChina at Russia? Ilang mga Pilipino ang nasa ibang bansa, hindi lang sa US? If you position yourself as the single third world country in the company of two huge, but isolated nations, who do you go to for help if there are OFWs and other Filipinos in trouble in those other countries? Palagay mo kaya mo mag-isa? Palagay mo tutulungan ka lagi ngChina at Russia? Palagay mo they are even in a position to help you under most circumstances?
I’m not only talking about material aid, but in terms of leverage and negotiating power with other countries. If you isolate yourself from the world, it isn’t you who suffers, Mr. President, it is the Filipino people. By all means, make friends! But stop making yourself the enemy of the world!
Masaya ka na papautangin ka ng isang bansa. Oo nga pero, kung isang bansa lang ang kausap mo at in-isolate mo ang sarili mo sa buong mundo, palagay mo competitive ang level ng interest rates o iba pang kondisyon na ipapataw sa’yo bilang kapalit?
President Duterte has a really inflated, if not delusional, view of himself as a strongman at the level of China and Russia’s leadership.
But he’s only proving that he’s a naïve child, looking at the world through distorted lenses when it comes to a lot of things, including foreign policy – absolutely no concept or care for the consequences of his actions. But that’s what you get from violently and vengefully silencing the voices that try show you reason – you deny yourself the chance to mature.
This is what an official visit to China looks like: they will wine you, dine you, roll out the red carpets and treat you like queens and kings. It’s a really good feeling. Pero hindi ka pwedeng magpadaan sa bulaklak, pangako at bola. Mag-isip ka dahil hindi lang buhay mo ang nakataya, kundi buhay at kabuhayan ng milyon-milyong Pilipino. Huwag mong ibenta ang mga Pilipino sa idelohiyang tatalikod sa minamahal nilang kalayaan at demokratikong pamumuhay sa ilalim ng ating Konstitusyon. Nangako kang tatalima sa Konstitusyon, do it. You have no right to put yourself above the sovereignty of the people. Hindi ka diyos.
It’s saddening, frightening and highly incensing that this President does not have a true servant-leader’s capacity to put the interests of the people ahead of his own bitterness. Biruin mo, na-deny ka lang ng US visa noon, hindi ka lang naka-move on, itinanim mo pa ang bitterness mo nang ilang taon hanggang sa maging Presidente ka at magamit mo ang posisyon mo para gumanti sa pakiramdam mo ay atraso sa’yo. Sounds familiar? It does to me, painfully and personally familiar.¨
Malacañang to conduct information campaign on TRAIN Law
FILE PHOTO: President Rodrigo Duterte
MANILA, Philippines — President Rodrigo Duterte wants the public to understand everything about the provisions and the purpose of the Tax Reform for Acceleration and Inclusion or TRAIN Law.
This, following a series of increases in prices of goods and services in the country.
In line with this, the government will conduct an intensified information dissemination about TRAIN.
“I also know that PCOO is working double time to embark on a dissemination campaign on the salient features of TRAIN. Likewise, the DTI (Department of Trade and Industry) will not hesitate to prosecute individuals who will take advantage of price hikes invoking TRAIN as a legal basis,” said Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque.
Roque also assured that government agencies like the DTI will not allow businessmen to exploit the system for their own gains.
“Ang excise tax naman po pinapataw hindi dun sa old inventory kundi sa mga bagong inventory. So walang dahilan para tumaas ang presyo on day 1 of the effectivity of the law (The excise tax is imposed not on the old inventory but on the new inventory. Therefore, there is no reason to increase prices on day one of the effectivity of the law),” Roque said.
Meanwhile, the government will improve the cash transfer fund in order to ease the burden of poor families.
“We already have a list of beneficiaries on the conditional cash transfer. It would be the same population that will benefit from this cash mitigation which is a provision of the Tax Reform Act or TRAIN,” the spokesperson added. — Grace Casin | UNTV News & Rescue
Lawmakers oppose possible term extension for President Rodrigo Duterte
FILE PHOTOS: (Left-Right) Sen. Francis “Kiko” Pangilinan and Rep. Edcel Lagman
MANILA, Philippines — President Rodrigo Duterte’s term will end in 2022.
However, owing to the proposed shift to a federal form of government, Senate President Koko Pimentel noted the possible extension of the chief executive’s term to pave way for the transition period.
With this, opposition senator Francis “Kiko” Pangilinan expressed concern that changing the Constitution and the system of the government will not only extend the term of the president but also give him more powers.
The senator noted one of these powers might be the creation of laws that would no longer need the approval of Congress.
According to Albay Representative Edcel Lagman, the President can manipulate the decision of the constituent assembly to implement the changes he wants in the Constitution.
Lagman explained this is because of the existing administration-allied supermajority in Congress.
On the other hand, Malacañang strongly denied the alleged term extension of the chief executive.
“I would like to repeat, the President does not want his term to be extended. In fact, he wants to shorten it,” Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said.
Meanwhile, House Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez clarified the issue on the alleged possibility of a ‘no-election’ scenario. Alvarez said it might happen in the 2019 senatorial polls and not in the 2022 presidential elections.
He explained, should the charter change push through to pave the way for federalism, the structure of the government will change.
The House speaker said it might affect the senators whose term will end in 2025, noting it is practical to not hold an election in 2019 so that all senators will simultaneously end their terms in 2022.
Alvarez added that election for local positions and lawmakers in the House of Representatives might push through in 2019. — Grace Casin | UNTV News & Rescue
PH to welcome other foreign telcos if China won’t accept deal according to constitutional requirement
FILE PHOTO: President Rodrigo Duterte shake hands with Chinese Prime Minister Li Keqiang during the Chinese official visited the country.
MANILA, Philippines — The Philippines may possibly open the playing field for telecommunications providers to other foreign companies.
Malacañang said that it is not yet final if the third telecommunications company to be joining the country’s playing field will be coming from China.
This, despite the fact that President Rodrigo Duterte offered this to Chinese Prime Minister Li Keqiang when the Chinese official visited the country.
Presidential spokesperson Secretary Harry Roque said if Chinese telecom will not heed with the 60/40 percent constitutional foreign-ownership provision, the Philippines will open the market to other foreign companies.
“We gave China the option but if this is not acceptable to it, unfortunately, we will have to look for other players because we will have to honor what the Constitution provides — 60/40 in terms of owning a telecoms company,” he said.
Roque, however, said they do not see any indication that China will not push through with the project.
President Duterte is determined to implement the project the soonest possible time to create better competition and better telecommunications service for the public.
“So far, as far as I know, it has been offered to China. We don’t know what the details are but the deadline is fast approaching. The President wants it up and about in the first quarter of this year,” the spokesperson added. — Rosalie Coz | UNTV News & Rescue