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Friday, May 31, 2019

The World is Safe Because China is Not as Racist as The European Empires of The Recent Past

Written by Adam Garrie on 2019-05-29

Because European empires caused both World Wars of the 20th century, after 1945 there was somewhat of a public move towards contrition in European political and intellectual circles, due to the damage that European armies along with their aggressive Japanese friends had done to the wider world. Ultimately, the wars fought among competing empires eventually destroyed all of the very empires that the wars sought to entrench. Mid-20th century liberation struggles throughout the world saw a de-colonisation movement take hold, even if it was often fiercely and violently resisted by the reactionary forces that still commanded influence in London, Paris, Amsterdam, Brussels, Madrid and Lisbon.
Today, the nations that won their liberation from European domination will never be returned to slavery. However, many developing nations are today experiencing a new kind of repression from their former imperial masters in the form of unequal treaties through which European states and the US seek to plunder the resources of Africa and Asia whilst giving little back to the masses.
China is well aware of these methods as China itself fell victim to war, imperialism, exploitation and forced narcotics sales at the hands of western empires beginning in 1839, when the British Empire commenced a war of aggression against China. The First Opium War was launched by the British Empire in order to force China to accept the import of dangerous narcotics sold by British merchants. It was this war which began a century of unequal treaties forced upon China by aggressive foreign powers that aimed to seize Chinese land, dominate Chinese ports and weaken China’s legally defined leadership.
As 2019 marks the 70th anniversary of the founding of the People’s Republic of China (PRC), it is helpful to remember that one of the motivating factors behind the PRC’s founding leadership was to end the century of humiliation which began with the First Opium War and to restore China’s status as a dignified, independent and productive nation. As China was a great civilisation long before European societies developed any form of cultural enlightenment, China quickly re-familiarised itself with strength and dignity whilst the Reform and Opening Up of 1978 helped China to become the world’s most dynamic economy. This is why it should not be surprising that in 2014, China overtook the United States to become the strongest economy when measured in terms of purchasing power parity (PPP).
And yet China’s restoration of greatness was not achieved through conquest, war or exploitation, but through a tireless internal drive towards economic modernisation, social harmony, a just and uniformly implemented legal system and an emphasis on ethical cultural characteristics. China knows all too well of the dangers inherent in an aggressive path towards material enrichment, which is why the PRC has uniformly renounced such methods as both an internal development model and as an international trading model.
In spite of these clear facts, many western “intellectuals”, politicians and propagandists continue to worry that China will use its economic strength to exploit western nations in the way that western nations once directly exploited China or furthermore, in the way in which western nations continue to economically exploit the less powerful nations of Asia and Africa. Those who propose such absurd hypotheses about China are experiencing the phenomenon of psychological projection. Psychological projection is when one denies one’s own neuroses and instead attributes these psychological flaws to others. In this case, some westerners who cannot come to grips with their own blood-soaked history of aggression against Asia, Africa and indigenous Americans, are projecting their own wicked characteristics onto the leadership of China.
It is because of these deep psychological flaws that some westerners cannot come to grips with the fact that China seeks only win-win, as opposed to exploitative zero-sum relations with all of its foreign partners. Likewise, Faustian Europeans are unable to come to grips with the long term strategy of China’s leadership which realises that peace is a better means of achieving sustainable prosperity than any form of war (including trade wars and cold wars).
But at a time when Europe’s economy continues to stagnate and in some cases contract, at least some European leaders realise that revitalising their economies will be impossible if they cling to the old parochial model of an economic fortress Europe. Perhaps this is why the UK Prime Minister moved quickly to de-escalate tensions after her Defence Minister Gavin Williamson made supremely threatening remarks towards China.
Although Williamson might imagine himself as a captain of a Royal Navy ship during the Opium Wars, the reality is that the European countries that once plundered and enslaved their way towards prosperity, must now do things the ethical way. No matter what future economic model they ultimately choose, deep down the more pragmatic European leaders know that the style of aggression promulgated by people like Gavin Williamson has no place in the 21st century.
Ultimately, European leaders ought to understand that China is happy and willing to cooperate with any and all economic partners so long as agreements are conducted on a win-win basis within the framework of a rules based international economic order. Rather than hide behind the bellicose rhetoric of the 19th century, European leaders should wake up to the fact that while some of them spout threats, it is their own economic prosperity that is threatened and that furthermore, the enemy is entirely an enemy within.

Maligned businessman, hopefully our social media, big winners in Bikoy saga


THE so-called “Bikoy” black propaganda that maligned President Duterte and his family boomeranged against the Yellows, and contributed to voters’ anger toward their candidates, which led to their electoral rout.
It will also likely be another case that will help to finally bring the troublemaker Antonio Trillanes 4th to jail.
The episode though will likely be a boon for Bicolano businessmen Elizaldy Co and his partners in the Misibis Bay resort in Albay. Co last week filed libel charges against Google Philippines, the owner of YouTube and Facebook, and demanded P1.1 billion in damages under the country’s Cybercrime Act.
Included in the charge were the two internet giants’ country directors Kenneth Lingan and John Rubio, respectively. These two though are either just moronic servants, or Yellow sympathizers. Co should sue Google CEO Sundar Pichai and Facebook founder and head Mark Zuckerberg for a billion dollars for their lies against the Republic’s President that their companies spread. That would prod international media — which has been silent on the libel suit — to report it.
Maybe include in the suit the brains of the Bikoy video, Sen. Antonio Trillanes 4th, as soon as there is the slightest evidence that it was mostly his handiwork.
Episode 5 of the Bikoy videos, which Duterte himself has claimed was the handiwork of his strident critic Trillanes, alleged that the businessman Co was the leader of a drug syndicate operating in the region and that the criminal operations were undertaken inside his posh Misibis Bay resort.
Co has vehemently denied these, and claimed that the allegations not only severely tainted his reputation but drastically affected his business, leading to huge financial losses, with banks even closing their credit lines to him.
Open and shut
The suit appears to be an open-and-shut case that would make Co a billion-peso richer. Jurisprudence in many Western countries has turned up decisions that favor similar complainants, although involving much smaller monetary claims. The courts pointed out that such social media businesses that have been making billions of dollars in profits have the responsibility to allocate a few millions to ensure that they do not publish in cyberspace malicious lies against innocent citizens.

Libelous video still out there (above is time-stamp of author’s computer).

However, a few cases in the US, UK and Canada were resolved in favor of the social media platforms, based on two notions.
The first involves the so-called “notice-and-take-down” declared policy of social media platforms. There have been court rulings in the West that acquitted social media venues on the ground that the libelous postings were taken down as soon as the aggrieved party called their attention to it.
However, bolstering many netizens’ suspicions that Facebook and YouTube are run by Filipinos sympathetic to the Yellow Cult, both completely ignored the Bicolano businessman’s demand to take down the video and any postings on the Bikoy allegations last April 26, or four days after Episode 5 containing the libelous accusations was released.
All previous four episodes are in fact still there, YouTube’s way of telling our country to f**k off.
Social media companies’ second defense is that rather than newspapers, their platforms are in reality “libraries,” a notion contained in one US judge’s ruling in 1992 (when social media was in its infancy), which led to the now infamous “Section 230” in the US Communications Decency Act of 1996.
Library books
That is, Section 230 has been used to make the claim that social media postings are just like books in a library, with the library’s owner not even knowing what books were being borrowed, and therefore not liable for their contents.

That certainly would appear to be a preposterous defense for Facebook’s Bikoy video, as the issue had hogged the headlines for a month, with the President of the Republic himself talking about it. It is impossible for Facebook and YouTube not to have noticed the libelous allegations, in which their social media platforms served as the mechanism for their dissemination, not just here but world-wide.
But that kind of defense is obviously applicable only in the 1990s when social media didn’t yet have the colossal audience Facebook and YouTube have now, that they can mold public opinion.
It is indeed so appalling that an anonymous Bikoy would claim without any basis at all that a businessman is a drug lord, with that slander viewed and heard by probably more than 100,000 people viewing his allegation in YouTube, and the accusation having to be reported by traditional media with another 200,000 as its audience. No way can YouTube and Facebook claim they are not involved in this vile deed.
The Bikoy video should be a wake-up call for our judiciary to enforce quickly and strictly the cyberlibel provisions of the 2012 Cybercrime Prevention Act. Maybe even for Congress to amend the law to make it stricter and to require law enforcers to enforce it even before formal court proceedings.
Isn’t it quite ironic — or maybe they’re just demonstrating their Yellow feathers — that Ellen Tordesillas, the head of Vera Files, which is one of Facebook’s “fact-checkers,” strived to get people to view the Bikoy videos, which turned out to be a colossal case of the fakest news? She even tried hard to sell the videos to the country, claiming that they were reporting the truth that the allegations there were, in her words, “riveting”?
Maybe this sickening Bikoy episode will lead to something good: For Facebook and YouTube to stop being venues for spreading calumnies against Filipinos, especially the politically motivated Yellow kind, that are really intended to oust a duly elected president.
Despite its Yellow biases, the kind of lies contained in the Bikoy videos wouldn’t have been published or aired by traditional media, which are by their nature required to comply with journalistic standards of assessing the validity of allegations made against people, even government officials.
Email: tiglao.manilatimes@gmail.com

Facebook: Rigoberto Tiglao

Twitter: @bobitiglao
Book orders: www.rigobertotiglao.com/debunked


Why do some Filipinos delight in lying to the world about their country?


I’D certainly understand it if American journalists, many with a secret racism against non-whites, do so. The website Rappler’s Maria Ressa for instance is an American, who took on Filipino citizenship for convenience, later in life.
But it baffles me why a few Filipino journalists patently lie to the world to bash their own country, and to portray their countrymen as so stupid as to support President Duterte, or accuse media people here of being cowards for not defending the press which they claim is under siege by this government.
They are either bird-brained, or too egoistic to accept the reality that doesn’t conform to their political stances.
Take the “opinion piece” which editor Vergel Santos, chairman of the US-government funded Center for Media Freedom and Responsibility, managed to get published in the New York Times last week about the recently concluded elections.
He describes Filipinos who gave President Duterte’s senatorial candidates an overwhelming victory as “unchastened by a past too ignoble, too repetitive and too recent to be forgotten: They endorsed the repressive presidency of Rodrigo Duterte.”
By “past,” he was referring to the dictatorial regime of President Marcos, whom he however served as the strongman brother-in-law’s point man in setting up the Times Journal, and especially its near-monopoly in the sex-and-crime tabloid business, the People’s Journal. (He quickly changed to Yellow feathers after Marcos fell, and got into the good graces of the anti-Marcos journalism icon, Chino Roces — I guess through some personal connection.)

What makes my blood boil over Santos’ piece in the NYT — which has a huge print and digital circulation of 2 million, 250,000 of that international — is that he outrightly lies to paint the Philippines as a place where thousands of innocents are being killed, yet which is being ignored by its citizens and cowardly press.
Santos wrote: “Duterte has waged a war on drugs estimated to have produced more than 5,000 extrajudicial killings as of late December.”
But the URL link embedded in that 5,000 figure, the source of his information, leads to the UK-based Guardian newspaper article which reported that according to the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA), between July 2016 and the end of November this year, 5,050 lives were lost in firefights between the police and suspected drug dealers.
Either Santos doesn’t understand the term “extrajudicial killing,” or he distorts the PDEA figures for his political bias. Those 5,050 killed were not “extrajudicial killings,” or summary executions by the police that totally disregard the rule of law. Unless proven otherwise – as in the case of the 2016 murder of a teen-ager by three Caloocan cops — these 5,000 were killed by policemen defending themselves. If Santos believes otherwise, such extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence.
The 5,050 is practically the same figure (5,021) that even the anti-Duterte Ateneo Policy Center, funded by a Columbia University unit, reported was the total of “drug-related deaths” it compiled from news reports between May 10, 2016 and Sept. 29, 2017.

I would respect Santos’ political beliefs, but he is telling lies about my country.
Santos wrote: “Duterte’s camp holds 20 of the 24 seats in the Senate.” He therefore is a strongman just like Marcos was, he tries to tell the world.
His source for that claim? An opinion article in the stridently anti-Duterte news internet site, Rappler, which Santos again distorts, as that 20-man figure refers to the probable coalition of senators to constitute what is called the “parliamentary majority.”
Out of the 24 sitting senators starting July, only four would be the real “Duterte senators,” or those who wouldn’t have won if not for Duterte’s campaigning for them — his former police chief Ronald dela Rosa, his former aide Bong Go, reelectionist Koko Pimentel and Francis Tolentino. Their anti-thesis are the four remaining Yellow Cultists in the Senate until 2022: Francis Pangilinan, Franklin Drilon, Risa Hontiveros, and the jailed Leila de Lima.
Santos is making the preposterous claim that independent-minded senators like Grace Poe, Panfilo Lacson, Richard Gordon, Cynthia Villar and Imee Marcos are Duterte’s minions. Many of the non-Yellow senators of course would likely support Duterte’s legislative agenda, because they think these new laws would benefit the country, but Santos insults them by labeling them as the “strongman’s puppets.”
Filipinos overwhelmingly supported “Duterte’s candidates” as much as they overwhelmingly rejected the Yellow candidates, even Mar Roxas who ran for president in 2016, and Ninoy Aquino’s nephew.
To explain what he cannot accept, Santos again lies to the world: “The voting on May 13 was heavily clouded by election-day violence and anomalies at polling stations and, later, by inexplicable delays by the election commission.” His source for that claim? A biased article again in the anti-Duterte news website Rappler.

The article didn’t even report that it was “heavily clouded.” It merely said that the Yellow-controlled election watchdog Namfrel was “concerned over election violence, irregularities.”
Filipinos exercised their democratic right and everyone — even the Yellow candidates — has concluded that while there had been a few glitches in the registration and processing of over 47 million votes, all made in one day, the elections faithfully reported the country’s decision whom to put in power. Filipinos should be proud that they undertook the seventh biggest elections in the world.
Yet Santos tells the world that the recent elections were as dirty and rigged as in some backward African nations that Duterte’s candidates won.
Santos seems to be so distraught that the elections didn’t comply with his wishes on who should be senator that his NYT piece sets a record for an anti-Duterte piece with the most lies.
To lie to the world that Duterte is a corrupt strongman, Santos wrote: “The president’s inner circle has been accused of maintaining links to major drug traffickers.” His source for that statement?

Again, the anti-Duterte website Rappler, in its report that struggled to give credibility to the claims made in YouTube-posted videos, produced by Antonio Trillanes 4th, and narrated by the hitherto anonymous Bikoy, which even the Yellows now say is a total fraud.
I guess Santos hadn’t predicted, when he submitted that piece days before it was published on May 25, that Bikoy would come out on May 23 to confess that what he alleged about Duterte and his family were all lies, and that the propaganda operation was Trillanes’ handiwork.
What really infuriates me is that Santos portrays Filipinos as so stupid and immoral that they would support Duterte, as demonstrated in his statements:
“Filipinos have [an] enduring attraction to strongmen leaders despite the abuses they have endured.”
“Voters are more than ready to look past his authoritarianism — apparently for the sake of quick justice and a semblance of security, however slight.”
And the supreme insult: “Filipinos certainly continue to endorse Mr. Duterte. It seems that more and more, the people of the Philippines may well have the president they deserve.”
If this piece sounds angry, it is because its author is.
CNN interview
Santos in a CNN interview pontificated that journalists (which obviously includes me) who don’t believe in his and the Yellows’ yarn that Rappler is being persecuted by government, but think instead that it is merely called to account for its violations of the law, which includes tax evasion, should quit their job.

Why, he even accused us of being cowards, because we “aren’t defending press freedom.”
This from a mercenary who advised Kokoy Romualdez to set up tabloids in the 1980s as this was the best way to get the masses to Marcos’ side, and stayed in five-star hotels in Britain ostensibly so he could get insights into how the British, who to this day are the masters of yellow journalism, do it.
While I, among others who don’t see the Philippine press as being under attack today, spent time in Marcos’ political prisons, and in my case, was threatened by “disente” government bankers that I would never get another job in journalism if I didn’t stop my exposés on how they were fooling the world.
Santos even lied about himself to the NYT, as he described himself as “a journalist in the Philippines.” Maybe he was, many years ago. No longer now.
Other than his anti-Duterte rants which only Rappler publishes, Santos’ sole work is being chairman of the Center for Media Freedom and Responsibility, funded almost entirely in the last 10 years by the US State Department, coursed through the National Endowment for Democracy.
NYT for accuracy should have described him as a contractual, indirect US government employee.
Email: tiglao.manilatimes@gmail.com

Facebook: Rigoberto Tiglao
Twitter: @bobitiglao
Book orders: www.rigobertotiglao.com/debunked


May 31, 2019 – Pentecost Anticipated

Feast of the Visitation of the Blessed Virgin Mary

Father Walter Schu, LC

Luke 1:39-56

Mary set out and traveled to the hill country in haste to a town of Judah, where she entered the house of Zechariah and greeted Elizabeth. When Elizabeth heard Mary’s greeting, the infant leaped in her womb, and Elizabeth, filled with the Holy Spirit, cried out in a loud voice and said, “Most blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb. And how does this happen to me, that the mother of my Lord should come to me? For at the moment the sound of your greeting reached my ears, the infant in my womb leaped for joy. Blessed are you who believed that what was spoken to you by the Lord would be fulfilled.” And Mary said: “My soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord; my spirit rejoices in God my savior. For he has looked upon his handmaid’s lowliness; behold, from now on will all ages call me blessed. The Mighty One has done great things for me, and holy is his name. His mercy is from age to age to those who fear him. He has shown might with his arm, dispersed the arrogant of mind and heart. He has thrown down the rulers from their thrones but lifted up the lowly. The hungry he has filled with good things; the rich he has sent away empty. He has helped Israel his servant, remembering his mercy, according to his promise to our fathers, to Abraham and to his descendants forever.” Mary remained with her about three months and then returned to her home.
Introductory Prayer: Lord, I believe in your supreme goodness and love. I entrust my entire self to you with all of my hopes, fears and joys. Thank you for giving us the gift of yourself in the Eucharist. Thank you, too, for giving us your own mother to be our mother during our exile on this earth and journey home to you in heaven. Here I am, like her, to do your will.
Petition: Mary, help me to grow in humility.
  1. Prompt and Joyful Charity: What has impelled Mary to undertake her perilous journey not only alone, but also in haste? An irresistible force was acting within Mary: the presence of the Holy Spirit overshadowed and filled her since the moment of the Annunciation. This same Holy Spirit has filled the heart of Elizabeth at Mary’s greeting and moved the infant within her womb. What is the first fruit of the fullness of the Holy Spirit? Joy. Pope-Emeritus Benedict XVI comments on the relationship of joy to the truth who is Christ himself: “Jesus Christ, who is the fullness of truth, attracts to himself the heart of every man, dilates it, and fills it with joy. Only the truth is capable of invading the mind and making it fully joyful. This joy expands the dimensions of the human spirit, raising it from the anxieties of egoism, making it capable of authentic love” (Discourse to the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, February 10, 2005).
  1. Elizabeth – The Unworthy Host: Elizabeth’s moving question reflects the one virtue necessary for a person to be invaded by the Holy Spirit: humility. Elizabeth is profoundly aware of her own lowliness in the face of a visit from the mother of her Lord. Mary herself echoes these sentiments of deep humility throughout her Magnificat. What is the reason her Creator has done great things for her, so much so that all generations will call her blessed? It is not due to any talent or quality she might possess of herself. There is no magnificent grandeur by which she has captivated the Almighty. God has simply “looked upon his handmaid’s lowliness.” Do I rejoice in my own littleness, knowing that it enables the Holy Spirit to make his dwelling within me and do great things for Christ with my life?
  1. The Hymn of God’s Praise: Mary is so filled with the Holy Spirit that her whole being bursts forth in a hymn of joy and praise to the Almighty. Pope-Emeritus Benedict reflects on Mary’s joy at the infant Lord’s presence within her womb: “This is the joy the heart feels when we kneel to adore Jesus in faith” (Discourse to the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, February 10, 2005). The joy of Christ, the joy of the Holy Spirit, gratitude to God for the great things he has done in us, impels us to bring Our Lord to others, just as Mary brought him to Elizabeth even before his birth. As she sings her Magnificat, Mary does not remain closed within herself, but reflects on what God has done for her in light of his saving plan for all his people. May the joy of the Holy Spirit bring about a new Pentecost that radiates from our lives.
Conversation with Christ: Thank you, Lord! The great gift of your Holy Spirit fills our lives with the unspeakable joy of your own presence within us. Help me to respond with haste — as Mary did — to the impulses of charity from the Holy Spirit.
Resolution: I will look for occasions to speak about Christ with others and do acts of charity for them with joy and haste, just as Mary did in the Gospel.


Duterte’s Spirit of Pan-Asian Openness Will be Enhanced Through Proper Constitutional Reforms

Written by Adam Garrie on 2019-05-30

Under the leadership of President Rodrigo Duterte, The Philippines has experienced an upturn in its economic fortunes with both Asian and western investors looking at the potential of a consistently growing ASEAN economy that is both ideally located as well as being home to a young widely English speaking population that is hungry for new opportunities.

Duterte’s foreign partnership model is one that seeks friendship and economic connectivity with all, and hostility with none. As such, Duterte has worked with fellow ASEAN partners towards common regional development goals, whilst also building new bridges to major Asian powers including China, Russia, Turkey and India. All the while, Duterte has strengthened relations with Japan and The Republic of Korea while developing a healthy working relationship with Donald Trump. The success of Duterte’s most recent visit to Japan is a further example of how Duterte’s leadership has allowed The Philippines to “punch about its weight”.

With respect to both the lingering territorial disputes with Malaysia, and the South China Sea issue, Duterte has renounced hostility, opting instead to operate on a model that prioritises cooperative solutions for win-win economic enrichment. Duterte’s confirmed personal attendance of April’s Belt and Road forum in China demonstrates his overall commitment to integrating the Philippine economy into the world’s most dynamic multilateral development initiative.

Duterte has shown a positive attitude to the wider world whilst also helping to make The Philippines a more secure place for international investment. The Philippines however continues to face challenges that are unique when compared to fellow ASEAN states like Singapore and Malaysia.

In spite of provocations from opponents, Duterte has yet again confirmed that he rejects the notion of any hostility against China and that he is committed to peace, dialogue and cooperation in the South China Sea region.

At present, The Philippines has a largely protectionist constitution that limits opportunities for the kind of foreign direct investment which transformed the economies of Singapore, Malaysia, Vietnam and China. Beyond this, the structural problems in Philippine governance that Singapore founder Lee Kuan Yew was never shy about pointing out, remain. This is the case in spite of Duterte’s reformist and modern attitude.

The worry for both Asian, European and American investors is that after 2022 when Duterte will be legally forced out of office, hard-line protectionists and petty nationalists may come back to power. Because of this, long term sustainable investment may well be scared off through a combination of constitutional limits on foreign direct investment and a political system that does not ensure the kind of stability and consistency that is present in ASEAN’s most successful nations.

Fortunately, there are positive signs that The Philippines will move towards a more stable and investment friendly system that will serve to benefit the material condition of the Filipino people. President Duterte has often spoken about the need to modernise foreign direct investment restrictions as well as move towards a parliamentary system that has brought stability to Singapore and Malaysia.

The grass roots Filipino CoRRECT Movement continues to use social media and public events to promote a pro-trade, pro-investment, pro-political stability shift to a new constitutional model that will federalise the country, create a parliamentary system nationwide and abolish constitutional restrictions on foreign direct investment.

In monetary policy, Gresham’s law states that “bad money drives out good”. The same is true in respect of foreign direct investment. In a country that makes it difficult to bring in clean investment, all that will be available are unsound investments. As such, The Philippines and its multiple partners can benefit from embracing an open, modern approach to the rules based economic order that has benefited many ASEAN members and many emerging Asian markets more widely.

A more open approach to foreign direct investment can help multiple partners from all sides of the world bring more prosperity to The Philippines while a less chaotic political system will help to assure investors that their projects in The Philippines will be secure in the long term.


Thursday, May 30, 2019

May 30, 2019 – I Am a Witness to You

May 30, 2019 – I Am a Witness to You
Daily Meditation

00:00 / 5:11

Ascension Thursday

Luke 24:46-53

And Jesus said to them, “Thus it is written that the Messiah would suffer and rise from the dead on the third day and that repentance, for the forgiveness of sins, would be preached in his name to all the nations, beginning from Jerusalem. You are witnesses of these things. And behold I am sending the promise of my Father upon you; but stay in the city until you are clothed with power from on high.” Then he led them out as far as Bethany, raised his hands, and blessed them. As he blessed them, he parted from them and was taken up to heaven. They did him homage and then returned to Jerusalem with great joy, and they were continually in the Temple praising God.
Introductory Prayer: Lord, as I begin this prayer, I offer you my whole self: my thoughts, desires, decisions, actions, hopes, fears, weaknesses, failures and petty successes. I open my entire being to you, aware that you know everything already. I’m certain of your mercy and of the purifying power of your penetrating, loving gaze.
Petition: Lord, help me to praise you and spread your message everywhere.
  1. We Too Are Witnesses to the Work of Jesus Christ: What a beautiful scene. Our Lord suffered, died, rose on the third day and then spent 40 days with the apostles and the disciples. Now, just before he ascends into heaven, he leaves his Church with this message of love — mercy and forgiveness. The apostles experienced Our Lord’s mercy. Now he gives them the commission to go out into the whole world and preach forgiveness of sins in the power of the most holy of names: “Jesus.” Because the apostles preached as Christ had told them, we are all beneficiaries of Our Lord’s mercy. We have experienced this in our hearts. We, too, must bear witness to the work of Jesus Christ.
  1. Clothe Me with Your Holy Power, Lord Jesus: We know that an apple seed, if given proper nourishment, will become an apple tree and produce many apples through many seasons. We know this through experience. God made the apple seed, and he gave it power to become an apple tree. Now Christ tells the apostles he will clothe them with power from on high so that they will be blessed with something that is well beyond their own human nature and power. They will be given the power to bear abundant fruit for the kingdom of Christ. Two thousand years later, Christ is still clothing people with this power from on high: with the gifts of the Holy Spirit, which we received when we were baptized and in greater proportion when we were confirmed. Through prayer we begin to see with supernatural vision the person we can be and the fruit we can produce.
  1. May I Give You Only Praise and Adoration: The apostles were sad and dejected when Our Lord told them he would be leaving. Now, they are filled with awe and praise. The scales have fallen from their eyes. The shadow of the cross no longer strikes the same fear in their hearts. Christ has conquered sin and death, and they are witnesses to this, for they have experienced it in their own lives. This past Lent we accompanied Our Lord during his passion and death. We then witnessed his resurrection. Now we see him ascending into heaven. Like the apostles, we, too, are so moved to stand in awe of so great a God that we are compelled to sing his praises day and night. This attitude goes hand-in-hand with being messengers of his love to all peoples.
Conversation with Christ: Lord Jesus, I want to be a holy dwelling place for the Holy Spirit. Your gift to me is your Spirit of truth and love. You nourish me with the things of heaven. May I decrease so that you may increase.
Resolution: I will speak well of others today and shun all tendency to judge others or speak badly of them.

The Only Thing That is Gravely Ill in Philippine Politics is The System

Written by Adam Garrie on 2019-05-28

For decades, Philippine governance has been the proverbial sick man of south east Asia. This is why it is all the more scandalous that corporate media in The Philippines sadistically spreads falsehoods regarding President Rodrigo Duterte’s health while ignoring the fact that it is the system that is gravely ill.

Duterte’s reforms are helping to bring The Philippines out of a dark age of crime, geopolitical regression, economic corruption and infrastructural embarrassment, but as Duterte has often admitted there is only so much a President can do in a single six-year term as mandated by the 1987 Constitution which continues to strangulate The Philippines.

Indeed, even if a would be Prime Minister Duterte was ill, in a parliamentary system, unified and disciplined political parties are able to continue governing without any significant interruption. This is the case even if a key member of the government falls ill. 

This is why Duterte’s lasting legacy to his nation must be constitutional reform designed to eliminate the most regressive elements of the toxic 1987 Constitution.

Restrictions on Foreign Direct Investment (FDI)

even under present conditions, US News and World Report ranked The Philippines as the world’s top investment destination. If anything, foreign investors would prefer Duterte to stay in power beyond 2022 as it has been under Duterte that foreign investment in the country has increased and investor confidence has reached new heights. In general, foreign investors look for political stability in markets where they seek to invest their capital. Where that stability comes from is typically irrelevant to most mature and rational business minded people and in any case, Duterte is seen as a man firmly in charge of his country’s destiny with a clearer mandate for genuine reform than any of his recent predecessors.

The Philippines does however have a problem when it comes to attracting the right kind of foreign investment and it has nothing to do with Duterte. On the contrary, this problem is derived from clauses in the 1987 Constitution of The Philippines which prohibit non-Filipinos from owning more than 40% in a company or property in The Philippines. The so-called 60-40 rule restricting foreign direct investment (FDI) which was intended as a protectionist measure to prevent too much foreign speculation in the domestic market has resulted in the country lagging behind many of its fellow ASEAN partners including Singapore, Malaysia and Vietnam.

Singapore in particular was an early pioneer in courting copious amounts of foreign investment which helped the country’s founder Lee Kuan Yew to transform a backward swampland into one of the leading economies and most safe and peaceful societies in the modern world. China’s opening up of its economy which began in 1978 under the reforms of Deng Xiaoping is currently being celebrated throughout China as 2018 marks the 40th anniversary of a reformist drive that helped China to reduce poverty rates from a staggering 88% in the early 1980s to just under 2% today while the country looks to eliminate poverty completely in under two years.

As China looks to open up its markets further to both direct capital investment and trade from both developing and developing economies, Beijing’s leaders have proved that confidence in one’s domestic strengths and optimism in a more inter-connected future go hand in hand as an increasingly open China is set to shortly become the world’s overall leading economy – overtaking the neo-protectionist United States.

While Duterte’s reforms have encouraged both individual investment from throughout the world while attracting further investment from China, South Korea and Japan, if The Philippines is to truly become economically self-sufficient, it must unleash the creative genius of both local entrepreneurs and foreign investors and utilise this to maximum effect just as Lee Kuan Yew did in Singapore and as the current Malaysian Premier Mahathir Mohammad began doing in the 1980s during his first history making period in power.  Ironically, the importance of trashing the 60-40 rule was even once picked up by the stridently anti-Duterte publication Rappler which in 2012, prior to the arrival of ‘Duterte Derangement Syndrome‘ actually ran a piece sympathetic to reforming the 60-40 clause of the 1987 Constitution that Liberal publications today rally around as if it were The Bible. In reality the only thing the 60-40 rule has done is to make the domestic economy overly reliant on a small and corrupt class of business oligarchs who would be instantly swept away is serious foreign investors were allowed to do in The Philippines what they were able to do in Singapore.

Logic dictates that a foreign investor looking to inject significant amounts of cash into a growing economy is not going to want anything less than a 50% stake in his or her investment. In reality, the more serious the investor, the more likely such a person is to want a share that vastly exceeds 50%. And yet by prohibiting those looking to inject FDI into the Philippine economy from having control over their own investment, the 1987 Constitution is automatically frightening away fresh investments into the economy and thus prohibiting a 1970s style Singaporean economic revolution or a 1980s style Malaysian economic revolution from occurring in The Philippines.

When the economic conditions are suitable, investors will come to nations in the midst of civil conflict, nations run by actual dictators and nations with severe sectarian problems. If any Filipino actually believes that the democratically elected, reform minded and highly popular Duterte is frightening any foreign investors except those interested in the black market rather than clean money, they are clearly deluding themselves.

The 60-40 FDI rule is the only thing prohibiting The Philippines from transforming itself into a place where meaningful foreign investment is able to change the economic reality of the nation and in so doing transform the material condition of the people. There is a clear reason why Singapore, China, Malaysia and Vietnam continue to move forward as The Philippine economy while growing, nevertheless remains in need of a fresh start. This fresh start that people today and future generations require can only come from casting out the obsolete 1987 Constitution and creating a new reality that says plainly and clearly that The Philippines is open to virtually unlimited amounts of FDI.

To put it simply, by eliminating the 60-40 clause, The Philippines will be sending a message to the world that the country is open for business.

The need for a Federal-Parliamentary system 

Today’s democracy in The Philippines is effectively a bastardisation of the indirect democratic presidential system of the United States where a House of Representatives, Senate and President are all elected separately and therefore, under certain circumstances will act in a manner that is confrontational with one another, thus resulting in deadlock rather than in anything approximating the rule of the people. Making matters even more dysfunctional than in the US model which has generally been saved from chaos due to having the world’s strongest economy (soon to be overtaken by China), in The Philippines, the office of Vice President is elected separately from the office of President thus taking the potential for political deadlock and needless confrontation to stratospheric levels.

Singapore’s founder Lee Kuan Yew was aware that complex political systems which prioritise the germination of conflict over professional problem solving were a detriment to any developing nation. But Lee also realised that a system which takes the fate of the people out of the people’s hands was also detrimental to social harmony and individual enlightenment. For Lee, the solution was a unicameral parliamentary system that was orderly, efficient and representative of the national consensus formed during his long period of popular leadership.

Unlike Singapore, The Philippines is a large state with a disunited geographical space owing to the archipelago composition of the nation. Because of this, a system of local control that itself could borrow from a 1977 Libyan model with Philippine characteristics when combined with a central unicameral parliament on the Singapore model is the most practicable solution to address the current political malaise in the nation.

One of the biggest roadblocks on the path to democracy is the legal erection of arbitrary restrictions to the people’s will. This is most readily revealed in the preposterous concept of term limits that continue to blight many US style presidential systems, including and especially that of The Philippines. Under the current system, a popular President can be restricted from being re-elected after a single six year term even if he or she is popular – aka representing the will of the people. Likewise, if a Philippine president shows him or herself to be inadequate after a single year, the country is more or less stuck with such an incompetent leader as the threshold for impeachment remains far higher than requiring a simple disapproval by the people.

By contrast, a parliamentary system’s leadership is determined by the confidence a prime minister can command in his or her parliamentary chamber. This is what allowed a popular and successful leader like Lee Kuan Yew in Singapore to remain in office for over thirty years, while it is also why unpopular leaders can be readily disposed of through a simple vote of no confidence. Furthermore, if a democratically elected prime minister feels that he or she does not have sufficient support among the parliament, the prime minister can call for new elections in order to build a desired majority that will be required to exercise important reforms.

Thus, while the strength and longevity of a government in a parliamentary system is derived from the support a leader has among fellow elected representatives, in the current Philippine system, deadlock is both a material reality of the system while the people cannot do anything to change this short of petitioning for a complex, burdensome and often expensive impeachment process. In other words, the rule of the people is far more direct and efficient in a parliamentary system which in the Philippines ought to be distributed in terms of power between a central government and devolved federal units.

While through most of its history, the Philippines has been governed through a strong presidential system, in 1978 and 1984, elections for a Batasang Pambansa (National Assembly) were held during a time when President Marcos experimented with a hybrid parliamentary system that was established in the 1973 Constitutional Referendum. In 1987, the country formally switched back to a strong presidential system on a model not dissimilar to that of the United States.

There are many options for a contemporary parliamentary system in The Philippines. Naturally, the debate should be held based on what objectively is the most democratically representative, politically efficient and cost effective political system.

The following is my personal proposal for how a new parliamentary system could operate, run elections and govern the Philippines.

Here’s how various parliamentary systems would look in The Philippines:

a. Party-list proportional representational

Sarah lives in Metro Manila and on election day votes for PDP–Laban. Assuming most people in the country vote like Sarah, it means that PDP-Laban will send the greatest number of party members to parliament. Sarah’s neighbour Maria votes for the Liberal Party. Assuming the second largest group of Filipino voters are like Sarah, it means that the Liberals will send the second highest amount of party members to the new parliament.

b. First past the post 

Sergio lives in Davao city zone A (large cities usually have more than one zone in first past the post systems). Sergio supports PDP–Laban and in his area, PDP–Laban’s candidate for member of parliament is Rodrigo Roa Duterte. Therefore, Sergio checks the box that says ‘Rodirgo Roa Duterte, candidate for PDP–Laban’.

Weighing the options 

Most parliamentary systems, particularly the more modern ones, tend to use a form of party-list proportional representation. However, during the most recent election for Russia’s parliament, the State Duma, officials decided to allow some areas to vote in a first past the post system while the majority of Duma deputies (members) were elected via party-list proportional representation.

In a federal Philippines, the most effective way to vote for a member of parliament would be for all localities to vote on the basis of a party list whose members will be determined via proportional representation, while additionally, each federal unit of the country will have a set number of single candidates who will be voted for on a first past the post basis.

In such a system, Sarah who lives in the would-be federal district of Metro Manila will cast one vote for the party of her choice (PDP-Laban, Liberal, Nacionalista etc), while also voting for a given number of candidates for her federal district, for example, three representatives who will be unique to Manila. Here she can vote for candidates all from the same party, or three candidates she personally likes from different parties. This also allows independent candidates a chance to enter parliament.

Such a system will guarantee that a healthy mix of party popularity combined with that of stand-out individuals at a federal level, will help to comprise a balanced yet diverse make-up of a parliament.

Parliamentary composition

In a party list proportional representational system, the parties get to choose which representatives will be the first to enter a parliament. Traditionally this means that party leaders and would-be cabinet ministers get the first seats available, while further seats are allocated to the younger and less experienced candidates. In reality, this means that if a party gets few votes, its leader and senior party figures will enter parliament while other junior members will have to wait and hope that their party gets more votes at the next election. By contrast, a highly popular party could see both the party leadership and a large number of younger candidates win seats.

Whichever party wins the most votes will get to form a government. This means that the winning party’s leader will become the Prime Minister/Head of Government. The Prime Minister can then choose which fellow party members of parliament should take on important cabinet positions including Secretary of Foreign Affairs, Secretary of Finance, etc. If the winning party gets less than 50% of parliamentary seats, the party will likely have to form a coalition government with one, two or even three other parties in order to form a government.

Unlike in a presidential system where cabinet members can be appointed from anyone in the nation, in most parliamentary systems, cabinet members must first be elected to parliament, something which is quite easy in the party-list system, as would be cabinet members are put towards the top of the party list. For example, if a party leader wants a certain individual to be his Secretary of Foreign Affairs, the party leader will simply put such an individual high on the party-list. This insures that all national officials have to face the electorate, while all parties with a serious chance of governing will be able to get their top officials into the parliament.

Term of a parliament 

The lengths of most parliaments range from 4 to 7 years. For The Philippines, based on the current term length of the office of President, new elections for a parliament should be held once every six years. However, in a parliamentary system, if a government becomes unpopular, it can be voted out by a majority of members of parliament. This is called a ‘vote of no confidence’.  Votes of no confidence are especially common when the ruling party is part of a coalition.


In order to make The Philippines even more democratic than many other parliamentary systems, major issues should be decided via referendum – the first of which should be the decision to adopt a federal-parliamentary system. A system of frequent referenda on major issues has been most successful in Switzerland, one of the world’s wealthiest and most placid countries. In Switzerland, while the parliament debates and votes on many new laws and regulations, for major issues, the people have a direct say in multiple smoothly executed referenda.

It is crucial for The Philippines that in such a parliamentary system, it is written into constitutional law that all such referendum votes are legally binding, meaning that parliament can not vote to overturn the will of the people as expressed in a referendum.


The Supreme Court in many parliamentary systems, is able to hold parliament to account, were parliamentarians to vote through measures which violate the constitution. Such a system tends to work effectively throughout many nations.

A President 

In parliamentary republics, there are typically weak Presidents whose role is generally ceremonial. To save costs, all members of parliament should also be eligible to run for president. Therefore, one could have parliamentary elections and presidential elections on the same day. For example, in a parliamentary system, Rodrigo Duterte could stand as the leader of his party, while also running for the less important role of President. If his party wins the parliamentary election and he personally wins the presidential election, he will hold both titles. If he were to win the parliamentary election but lost the presidency, he would still hold the most power, but could not be referred to as President when travelling abroad. Likewise, if he won the Presidency but his party did not come out on top in the parliamentary vote, his role would be limited to a ceremonial position while the Prime Minister would be the country’s most important political leader.


A unicameral parliament is among the most efficient and most democratic ways to run a modern government. Such a system has clear advantages over the convoluted and often adversarial system in place today. This is of course, just one proposal, there are other varieties of parliamentary system as well as other original ideas that can and should be debated before The Philippines embarks on a positive road to political change with an open economy and transparent, meritocratic political structure.

At present, the system in The Philippines is broken and the only fix is to totally overhaul it and replace it with the kind of system that has been so successful in Singapore, a country itself shaped by a strong and visionary leader who like Duterte refused to compromise with those who did not have the best interests of the country in mind. That man was of course Lee Kuan Yew. Duterte deserves the change to consolidate his popularity in the kind of political system that allowed Lee to transform Singapore from a swamp to an economic leader.

There should be no delay in such a referendum. The endless debates are stiffing productivity, progress and development all the while tipping the scales in favour of the obstructionists who have robbed The Philippines blind since 1987. A new system is needed to thrust The Philippines into the moderately prosperous future that Duterte can deliver if he is given the proper political tools. It is time for the people to demand that politicians talk less and allow the voters to simply have their short and simple say in the matter. While officials work on presenting proposals to the current President, there is no reason why the people themselves cannot decide on which of the multiple proposals they are most comfortable with.