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June 25, 2018 - Unjust Judges

June 25, 2018 - Unjust Judges Monday of the Twelfth Week in Ordinary Time Father Edward McIlmail, LC   Matthew 7:1-5 Jesus sa...

Thursday, September 20, 2018

The increase in rice prices is not an act of God nor is it an act of Duterte

The “debate” around the best short-term solution to combat the rise of the prices of rice mirrors the overall flaw in the traditional “activist” rhetoric. Shrill communist and Opposition “activists” want lower prices (supposedly empathising with the kawawa naman poor). Yet they cannot reconcile this cry for cheap rice with the plight of the farmers who will further be impoverished by lower prices.
These same activists are going all rah-rah over the sophomoric recommendations of their demi-god Mar Roxas who wants all roadblocks to importation lifted to flood the market with piles of rice and exert this much-needed crushing effect on prices. Farmers left out of the equation just the same. Filipino-farmed rice is, of course, no match for the rice produced from the high-yield farms of excellent farmers in Thailand and Vietnam that is moved through their world-class infrastructure and logistics chains up until these are unloaded on Philippine ports.
This is the trouble with mere virtue signalling and the appeals to emotion this dishonest approach to advocacy produces. It is easy for “activists” to come up with their quaint picketline chants to demand “lower rice prices” and conveniently fail to understand that if you pull back one lever in the economic equation, another lever pushes forward. This is no different from all the other “advocacies” of these militant “activists”. They campaign against “increased tuition fees”, rail against a lack of state dole-outs, and strike at the first sign of a fuel price increase. Yet when asked to balance the fiscals and cough up tax revenues, they balk and coddle the “victimised” members of the “informal” economy who are subsidised by the minority Filipino taxpaying community.
People need to understand that there are deeper systemic problems at play in the way commodity prices behave in a national economy. Indeed, a no-brainer factor that just literally stormed in was Typhoon Ompong itself which decimated harvests across much of Luzon further putting pressure on domestic supply and, as the Law of Supply-and-Demand dictates, puts more rockets underneath the inflation rate.
Much as the Philippine Opposition led by the Liberal Party (a.k.a. the Yellowtards) would like to think that their nemesis, current Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte, is a major contributor to the ebbs and flows of the Philippine economy, the reality is that much of the way the economy behaves has nothing to do with who is sitting in the Office of the President. Come to think of it, when one considers that the Philippines is Asia’s most prayerful nation, it seems God himself has nothing to do with Filipinos’ fortunes either.
The bottomline is that things happen as an outcome of a chain of cause-and-effect that can be explained ifmodern intelligence is applied to the “debate”. If Filipinos can learn to analyse and solve their problems without undue reference to mysterious and imagined political and religious “forces”, they will go a longer way towards truly understanding what needs to be done to change their personal and collective fortunes.
For now, political agendas rule the “debate” over the prices of rice. There are short-term solutions where some may win (consumers) and many will lose (domestic producers) much the same way as combatting overall inflation (reducing consumption) will not make certain retail barons very happy this Christmas. Long-term solutions offer more win-win scenarios. But these demand the energies of smart people to implement. And therein lies the million-dollar question: Are Filipinos smart enough to come up with real solutions to their problems?

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benign0 is the Webmaster of GetRealPhilippines.com.



Mar resurfaces


WHY would anyone listen to advice from Mar Roxas about anything, least of all how to solve the rice crisis? What did Roxas do when he held the reins of power — or when he was so close to them that he could almost taste the top spot — to make him an authority on running a proper government?
And I didn’t come away with any new understanding or insight, apart from the conviction that perhaps Roxas should have picked up a newspaper or two before posting his Facebook treatise, so that he could at least have been updated about what the Duterte administration has been doing to solve the crisis of increasing prices and the lack of stocks of cheap varieties of the staple for the poor.
More importations? President Rodrigo Duterte has been ordering that this be done since the beginning of the year, even if the National Food Authority Council has been repeatedly dragging its feet on the directive; even now, imported rice from the Indochinese countries where they were sourced are already in Manila and other local ports, with more in the pipeline.
Increasing the minimum access volume program? That ship has long sailed, since Duterte has already announced that he is embarking of a program of tariffication for importation by everyone, as long as they pay the proper fees to protect local producers.
Suspending the tax reform program because of its effect on the prices of rice? That’s just plain wrong — and uninformed — because the twin problems of increasing prices and lack of supply of cheap rice have been hardly affected by the usual factors that have been causing food inflation.
Those, in a nutshell, are what Roxas has proposed. All of which leads me to suspect that perhaps giving constructive advice to the Duterte administration wasn’t really the point of Roxas’ social media peroration.
If you take a step backward, perhaps you’ll see the bigger picture — and the real reason why Roxas, Vice President Maria Leonor Robredo, former Commission on Audit chief Heidi Mendoza and even Sen. Antonio Trillanes 4th seem to be making coordinated noises again these days. And it has to do with this annual Yellow gig that they’re calling this year the 46th anniversary of the declaration of martial law by the late President Ferdinand Marcos.
Robredo, of course, has done her bit by contrasting her supposed leadership style to Duterte’s in the aftermath of the devastation caused by the recent Typhoon Ompong. In an interview with the Yellow house organ Rappler, Robredo said that a leader need not be loud and iron-fisted to command respect.
“For me, I’d like to show that there is a different kind of leadership and citizenship than what the present administration is showing us,” Robredo said, channeling all the “soft power” she can muster. “For example, if they’re doing things by force, by shouting, I want to show that you can have better results through calm and quiet courage.”
As for Mendoza — who gained fame during the impeachment trial of the late chief justice Renato Corona by adding up all transactions in the chief magistrate’s dollar account, counting even withdrawals as deposits — she has taken umbrage at Duterte’s expressed displeasure about government auditing regulations during times of calamity. All the way from the United Nations, where she reportedly got a cushy million-dollar-a-year job on the recommendation of her old boss Noynoy Aquino, Mendoza took up the cudgels for government auditors and their procedures — even if the President was not railing against what she did at CoA but about the here and now, because of complaints about the difficulty in accessing calamity funds.
And, finally, there’s the long-running, two-week-long, uninterrupted press conference going on in the Senate, being conducted by Trillanes. Trillanes, in his last media outburst, has been warning darkly not only about his house and his staff being “cased” by supposed government agents but also about possibly joining the Yellow rally on September 21 — as if anyone really cared if he attended or not.
Thing is, you won’t be able to understand Roxas’ attempt at advising Duterte on rice if you don’t take it in the context of the latest bid of the Yellows to gather a critical base of mass support for their continuing campaign to, as one misguided University of the Philippines dean put it, “engineer the overthrow of Duterte.” Of course, whether or not they are even able to attract enough people to join them in their cause is another kettle of galunggong altogether.
But that’s what Roxas, Robredo and their crew do. They will seize any opportunity, no matter how spectral or fleeting, to bring down Duterte, whose 2016 victory they still can’t accept more than two years after the fact.
No one can say when these people will be convinced that theirs is a pointless task. Or when they will run out of funds that will make them stop doing what they’ve been doing since Duterte became president.
But Duterte will not be moved by these half-assed efforts at regime change simply because his greatest strength remains the people themselves. And as long as the people — who long ago realized that the Yellows have never worked to uplift their lives — remain solidly behind Duterte, the best-laid plans of these remnants of the Aquino regime are bound to fail.
Of course, nobody can legally prevent the Yellows from doing what they want, as long as they aren’t violating the law. But it helps to look deeper into what the anti-Duterte forces are doing in order not to fall into the trap that they’re setting for those gullible enough to believe them.
After all, if Mar Roxas can’t even properly explain why he chose those Mahindra police vans over the more reliable brands that our law enforcers have been using for decades now, how can he tell us how to solve the rice crisis? But that message (posted on Facebook, of all places) wasn’t really for Duterte, or he wouldn’t have written the President a letter or used other proper channels.
Mar is just making his presence felt, perhaps even to test the waters for a Senate run next year. But if Roxas thinks that he can just resurface with ideas that aren’t really new or even well-thought out because he thinks people have already forgotten what he and his confederates during the Noynoy years did, then he’s in for a real surprise.


Wednesday, September 19, 2018

'Di talaga kakasuhan ni Pulong si TRILLANES ng libel ukol sa DROGA dahil sa SENATE sinabi' -Trixie

Trillanes went berserk over Duterte, forgetting he’s the duly elected President


HIS big mouth has put Antonio Trillanes 4th in another big trouble, this time for allegedly violating the nation’s anti-sedition laws.
The non-lawyer forgot or didn’t know — perhaps in his panic or shock over President Duterte’s move against him — that calling for the overthrow of a Philippine president other than through impeachment, violates our anti-sedition laws, which most countries also have.
Trillanes talked — or shrieked — too much in his daily press conferences against Duterte after the President voided his amnesty on September 4. His rantings against Duterte, according to a suit filed September 14 by former Negros congressman Jacinto Paras and three others, were in violation of the anti-sedition provisions of the Revised Penal Code (Article 142), or the listing of most crimes and the penalties for these.
These among others clearly specify that to incite “people against the lawful authorities” is sedition and punishable from six months to six years imprisonment.
Duterte issued his proclamation against Trillanes, but then asked the courts to issue the warrant of arrest. Obviously afraid of spending a single night in some grubby police jail, Trillanes has holed up in the Senate (for the 15th day today), and threw vitriol against the President, calling for his overthrow almost every day.
In short, Duterte gave him enough rope to hang himself with the anti-sedition laws.
Courts to decide
To be sure, it would be up to the courts to decide whether Trillanes did or did not utter seditious statements. But c’mon, we’d be fooling ourselves if we thought he did not call for Duterte’s violent ouster, and merely criticized him and suggested his impeachment, the only legal way to remove a sitting president.
I myself am looking forward to the day when Trillanes hilariously tries to wiggle out of his quagmire and claims he never called for Duterte’s overthrow, that he was just being constructive in his criticisms of the President, that he did not call him a dictator to be ousted as soon as possible.
The Yellows and Trillanes’ gang will of course call the sedition suit another Duterte move to pin down the mutineer, that it’s another act of political persecution.
But so what? We are a government of laws, and its foundation is the principle of “dura lex, sed lex” (the law may be harsh, but it is the law). There’s not a single court that would accept the argument from an accused that he’s just being politically persecuted.
The unscientific-minded dean of the UP College of Engineering, Rizalinda de Leon, has a bit more sense than Trillanes. Last September 11, she issued a “Pledge of Support” for a scheduled September 21 rally by UP activists, saying that she supports the banner of “Engineer the Downfall of Tyrant and Dictator Duterte.”
But she backpedaled on September 17 and issued a “clarification” that it was an “editing misunderstanding” with the “Uprise” group that had asked for a statement from her. She said she does not “and will not instigate the downfall of any person or leader, including President Duterte.”
De Leon may have realized her stupidity in the wave of netizens’ outrage against the statement. I suspect though that some lawyer friend whispered to her that to call for the “downfall of tyrant and Dictator Duterte” is an unarguably seditious act under our Revised Penal Code. A government employee calling for the President’s overthrow? She should be fired on the basis of her first statement.
Seditious senator
Trillanes ignored our anti-sedition laws obviously because of his experience not only in making statements for overthrowing two presidents (Duterte and Arroyo) but actually undertaking armed actions to topple Arroyo in 2003 and 2007, when he and his gang forcibly occupied Oakwood and then the Manila Peninsula hotels, foolishly thinking their “last stand” would trigger another People Power uprising as Enrile and Ramos’ did in 1986 in Camp Crame. Yet for his blatant violations of our anti-sedition laws, he even got to be a senator of the Republic.
However, this time around, the President he is calling to be overthrown is fighting back, and will be throwing the book at him, to put him away for many years.
Another reason why Trillanes forgot that there are such things as anti-sedition laws is that it has been forgotten that calling for the overthrow of a duly elected president is a crime in our country (and nearly all other nations). This is because of the two historic events in which elected presidents, after a campaign of intensive seditious propaganda against them, were overthrown by extra-constitutional means: Marcos in 1986 and Estrada in 2001.
It also has been the accomplishment of the Communist Party of the Philippines to propagate the view that there is nothing wrong with calling for the violent overthrow of a democratically elected president, every single one of whom — except Corazon Aquino who freed its head Jose Sison — they claimed to be a dictator and at the same time a puppet of the US.
The communists’ many front organizations like the Kabataang Makabayan and the National Democratic Front since the 1970s made such seditious statements without fear of the law since they were underground, and therefore its leaders or those responsible for making such statements were beyond the reach of authorities.
Somehow over the years, especially with the advent of social media, it didn’t seem to be a violation of any law to call for the overthrow of an elected government.
Pillar of nations
But anti-sedition laws have been for centuries a pillar of all sovereign states, the notion having been first conceived when nations started to emerge on the world stage in 1351 under the English Statute of Treasons. Anti-sedition laws are part of the common law in Great Britain and in all of its colonies that have become independent nations. In the so-called land of the free, i.e., the US, seditious conspiracy is punishable by 20 years’ imprisonment, with the “delay in the execution of any law of the United States” being included in that crime.
After all, how can a nation become cohesive even with the Hobbesian “social contract” between rulers and ruled, if a few of its members are allowed to freely call for the ouster of a leader who has been elected by the majority?
In our part of the world, we actually have the weakest anti-sedition laws, which have been little enforced since 1986.
Malaysia even tightened its anti-sedition laws in 2015, setting a maximum of 20 years’ jail, and allowing indefinite detention without trial. More than 78 Malaysians since 2014 have been charged and are in jail for allegedly violating anti-sedition laws. In Singapore in 2015, a 16-year-old posted a YouTube rant against Lee Kuan Yew, for which he got four weeks’ imprisonment, and such a stern warning that the teenager profusely apologized.
South Korea, China, Taiwan, Japan, and Thailand all have tougher anti-sedition laws than the Philippines. Maybe that’s one reason why they’ve managed to be so united that they have developed their economies faster than we have. Here, our political and economic elites seem to value “freedom of speech” over the need for strengthening the nation.
The strict implementation of our anti-sedition laws could be one good result of this Trillanes chapter.
Email: tiglao.manilatimes@gmail.com
Facebook: Rigoberto Tiglao
Twitter: @bobitiglao
Archives at: www.rigobertotiglao.com


Malcolm Conlan


Just wanted to put on record that following my status update a few days ago on my feelings, I had received a number of messages of support from members of the Filipino community around the globe, but also some message and comments of hate and upset.

I wanted to make it very clear that first and foremost, I love the Philippines and Filipino people with all my heart. Long before I got involved with politics, I used to support Filipino issues through petitions, protests and writing open letters, defending issues of racism, prejudice and discrimination against Filipinos. Why?

My family are from the Philippines, I love the country and people with a passion, this first started when I was around 18, having first visited the country.
Over the years, I have been involved in the Filipino community in the UK, running a Filipino events website, Fil-Event.com and supporting filipino events.

I have also had the privilege of meeting two former Philippine Presidents and various Filipino politicians over the years. Something which was an honour. My philosophy in life, is to try and see the best in everyone as much as possible. I am not doing any of this to try and be popular, I genuinely care, particularly when my own family are Filipino.

Just because I happen to support the current President of the Philippines, Rodrigo Duterte, does it mean all my good work and diplomacy is forgotten?

I support President Duterte as I truly believe he cares for the Filipino people. I have seen a lot of positive changes in the country. Improving healthcare, infrastructure spend, reducing crime, reduction in corruption, in fact zero tolerance on those who are corrupt.

Thank you.

September 19, 2018 – Perpetually Dissatisfied

Wednesday of the Twenty-fourth Week in Ordinary Time

Father Robert Presutti

Luke 7:31-35
“Then to what shall I compare the people of this generation? What are they like? They are like children who sit in the marketplace and call to one another, ‘We played the flute for you, but you did not dance. We sang a dirge, but you did not weep.’ For John the Baptist came neither eating food nor drinking wine, and you said, ‘He is possessed by a demon.’ The Son of Man came eating and drinking and you said, ‘Look, he is a glutton and a drunkard, a friend of tax collectors and sinners.’ But wisdom is vindicated by all her children.”
Introductory Prayer: Eternal God, prayer is your gift to me. I believe that you give me complete and unlimited access to your power and mercy. I want to value this gift of prayer above all things. As I begin this meditation, I renew my faith, my hope and my love for you.
Petition: Lord, give me discernment and constancy in my efforts to follow you.
  1. Endless Excuses: Some very good and religious people in Jesus’ day complained about John the Baptist, precursor of the Messiah, because of his austere lifestyle. “He must be crazy,” they said. They also complained about Jesus’ apparently excessive liberality with sinners and nonbelievers. The habit of constantly sifting reality through our own preconceptions can lead us to reject the things of God. This is the opposite of faith. It is even the opposite of the healthy exercise of reason and has become a limiting rationalism. Rather than seeking to place God neatly in our own self-created and prearranged world, we need to let ourselves be shaped by God’s criteria.
  1. Fickleness: Spiritual fickleness inevitable leads us to reject God. The inability to follow through on a particular spiritual path necessarily leaves us midcourse, far from the goal. It does not matter whether we follow the austerity of the disciple John or the apparently liberality of the disciples of Jesus. What matters is that we follow through to completion whatever particular path God has given us. As long as we move, God can guide our steps. If we don’t move, there is nothing to guide. Waiting around for some mythical “perfect conditions” is in reality capriciousness and unwillingness to commit.
  1. Wisdom: Wisdom is a gift of the Holy Spirit by which we are able to see and comprehend the divine and human realities from God’s perspective. Wisdom leads to equilibrium and balance in our judgments and assessments. We prepare for this gift by our effort to make good decisions and live by them. The supernatural gifts build upon the human virtues.
Conversation with Christ: Lord Jesus, I am indebted to you for your teaching and for your example. Help me to learn from your life and your example and keep me from ever dismissing them as irrelevant. Help me to be constant in my resolutions so that I will continue to grow closer to you and serve you better.
Resolution: I will avoid making excuses today.