Duterte’s economic narrative

“The economy is sinking deeper and deeper,” President Rodrigo Duterte admitted in a pre-recorded briefing on Monday, February 1. He claimed, though, that the Philippines is not alone as other countries are also struggling to keep their economies afloat.

Or maybe not. While the rest of the world are suffering from recession, China, Taiwan and Vietnam are projected to have positive gross domestic product (GDP) as of December 2020. GDP is defined as “the final value of the goods and services produced within the geographic boundaries of a country during a specified period of time”.

Mr. Duterte is known for his jokes but this time, he seems serious. As recorded by the Philippine Statistics Authority, the country’s GDP plunged to -9.5% or one notch lower than the Asian Development Bank’s prediction of 8.5%. The figure is far lower than the GDP in the remaining years of President Ferdinand Marcos and almost the same as the figures during World War 2.

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Lorenzana’s logic

The unilateral abrogation by Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana of the 1989 aagreement between the University of the Philippines (UP) and the Department of Defense was like throwing a stone to a beehive. Signed on June 30, 1989, the accord gives prior notice before police and military could enter UP campuses. With the bees stirred, Lorenzana is now on a defensive.

Lorenzana claims that the accord is a hindrance to providing peace and security to those inside the UP campuses, and that the state university is becoming a haven for communists. Netizens have been bombarding him with comments one of which is a piece by Atty. Wilfredo Garrido that summarizes everything. The piece is copied below.

UP DOES NOT OWE LORENZANA AN EXPLANATION

Secretary Lorenzana is being presumptuous demanding that UP explain why some its students join the NPA. UP is not in any way obliged any more than San Beda is obliged to explain why it produced Rodrigo Duterte.

UP doesn’t control the lives of its students outside the campus. It does have a say on its curriculum, and the faculty that implements it, and to this extent, it controls their education. But not a step farther.

What the students choose to do with their education, for ill or good, is entirely up to them.

In the same manner, the PMA does not owe the nation an explanation why it produced Delfin Lorenzana or why he turned out the way he did – a lackey of China who sold out the West Philippine Sea and opened up the military camps to Chinese spying. The PMA doesn’t owe us an explanation why it graduated Bato. Or Carlos Garcia. Or Honasan. Or Mancao. Or Lacson.

Lorenzana is asking for the impossible. For how can anyone explain destiny?

In the 1970s, Lt. Victor Corpuz raided the PMA armory and defected to the NPA. Did the military kill him? After being captured by Marcos and then released in the 1980s he was reinstated, promoted to colonel, then general and was even made chief of ISAFP by FVR.

In the 1990s, General Raymundo Jarque, who was notorious for human rights violations in Negros Island, defected to the NPA and was indoctrinated in communism but was later amnestied. Was he killed? No, he was allowed to retire.

Yes, General Carlos Garcia, former Army comptroller, jailed for plunder and whose wife was held by US immigration for trying to smuggle hundreds of thousands of dollars – which case was one of the sparks of the Oakwood mutiny.

The case of Ronald Cardema, kicked out of the PMA for harboring Communist thoughts, now a diehard DDS. We the public never demanded an accounting from the PMA for producing him and other misfits.

How hypocritical of Lorenzana then to demand an accounting from UP for producing bad apples.

All institutions have their share of bad apples.

Schools are repository of ideas. Ideas are food for the soul. How students turn up after they had drunk their ideas from the horn of plenty no one, but no one, can predict. They are not uniform products of a factory with warranty cards that guarantee they will function in a certain way. Each of them unique, with great potential.

It is part of academic freedom to tinker with, share, discover and express ideas. Let the military and police interfere with this sacrosanct freedom and it will only alienate the students away from their studies and turn the campus into the devil’s playground. UP will lose more of them to the enemies of the State and suffer an erosion of its academic standards.

Instead of an explanation for how some students go astray, which consist an infinitesimal portion of its population, what UP can do is guarantee Lorenzana that its students come from the cream of the crop, that they are taught to the highest standards of honor and excellence and that when they exit its august halls with their diplomas they will be a considerable force in nation-building, which they have proved time and time again.

Now, Mr. Secretary, do your part in nation-building and defend the West Philippine Sea.

Never-ending election protests and political reform proposals

The first post in my Twitter feed today is the stepping down of Jaen, Nueva Ecija Mayor Sylvia Austria after losing in a recount filed by her 2019 contender Antonio Prospero Esquivel. In a recount, Esquivel garnered 18,737 votes while Austria got 14,392 for the May 13, 2019 elections.

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How the Philippines can control COVID-19 without a vaccine

Is it possible to control the spread of Coronavirus disease (COVID)-19 in the Philippines even without a vaccine? Some says it is possible sans the government’s top government officials.

Apart from issuing problematic and mostly confusing COVID-19 policies, Filipino politicians and officials also fail to lead by example. In May, Philippine National Police (PNP) General Debold Sinas, for example, violated quarantine rules by holding a birthday party or mañanita. Despite the violations, he was absolved by President Rodrigo Duterte and instead appointed him as the Chief PNP.

The birthday mañanita of General Debold Sinas at the height of the COVID-19 pandemic,
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Why Duterte’s anti-corruption efforts are destined to fail

When Rodrigo Duterte was still a presidential candidate, he dared to be killed if he can’t end corruption in 6 months. Four years in office, nothing happened. Where did he go wrong?

In 2016, a Philippine presidential wannabe dared, “Kill me if I fail to bust crime, corruption in 6 months“. Mind you, he won and became known as President Rodrigo Roa Duterte (PRRD). However, four years later, corruption not only remained but even became worse, prompting Duterte to declare that he will devote his remaining years in office to fight it and even created a mega-task force for the purpose. Will he finally do it well this time?

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