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Thread: Philippine politics and economics

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  1. #1097

    US Embassy Travel Warning

    For anyone who might be interested, here's a copy of the latest travel warning for the Philippines from the US Embassy:

    The Department of State warns USA Citizens to avoid all non-essential travel to the city of Marawi, Mindanao and the Sulu Archipelago including the southern Sulu Sea, and to exercise extreme caution when traveling to other regions of Mindanao, due to terrorist threats, insurgent activities, and kidnappings. Similar threats also occurred throughout the Philippines in 2017. This replaces the Travel Warning dated December 20,2016.

    There is a threat of kidnappings-for-ransom of foreigners, including USA Citizens, from terrorist and insurgent groups based in the Sulu Archipelago and in the southern Sulu Sea area. This area stretches from the southern tip of Palawan, along the coast of eastern Sabah, Malaysia and the islands of the Sulu Archipelago, up to Zamboanga City, Mindanao. The USA Embassy requires USA Government personnel to obtain special authorization before traveling to Mindanao and the Sulu Archipelago.

    Separatist and terrorist groups continue to attack and kidnap civilians, foreigners, political leaders, and Philippine security forces in Mindanao. On May 23,2017, the Philippine government declared martial law throughout the Mindanao region. Review the following information:

    In September 2016, a terrorist group detonated a bomb in Davao City, killing 14 and wounding at least 70 people. Following the attack, the Philippine government declared a "State of National Emergency on Account of Lawless Violence in Mindanao. ".

    In May 2017, an ongoing conflict erupted between terrorist groups and Philippine security forces in Marawi City, Mindanao, resulting in multiple dead and injured.

    In central Mindanao, extremist groups aligned with the Islamic State, the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters, and other armed groups have carried out attacks on local government institutions, civilians, and security forces in the Cotabato City area, and in the Maguindanao, North Cotabato, and Sultan Kudarat provinces, where the government maintains a state of emergency and a greater police presence.

    In Mindanao, terrorists, insurgents, and criminal gangs regularly conduct kidnappings for ransom. Since January 2017, at least six separate kidnappings have been reported.

    In western Mindanao, terrorists, insurgents, and criminal gangs regularly conduct kidnappings for ransom.

    The USA Embassy has restricted USA Government personnel travel to Mindanao.

    There have been no reports of USA Citizens in Mindanao targeted specifically for their nationality; however, general threats to USA Citizens and other foreigners throughout Mindanao remain a concern.

    Recent terrorist threats, kidnappings, and bombings have occurred throughout the Philippines. USA Embassy Manila received credible information that terrorists planned to conduct kidnappings in Palawan, Cebu, and Bohol provinces in 2017. In November 2016, a terrorist group planted an Improvised Explosive Device near the USA Embassy in Metro Manila. In April and May 2017, bombings in Quiapo, Manila killed two and injured twenty.

    For further information:

    See the State Department's travel website for the Worldwide Caution, Travel Warnings, Travel Alerts, and the Philippines Country Specific Information.

    Enroll in the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP) to receive security messages and make it easier to locate you in an emergency.

    Contact the USA Embassy in Manila, Philippines, located at 1201 Roxas Boulevard, at +(63) (2) 301-2000, from 7:30 am To 4:00 pm Monday through Friday. After-hours emergency number for USA Citizens is +(63) (2) 301-2000.

    Call 1-888-407-4747 toll-free in the United States and Canada or 1-202-501-4444 from other countries from 8:00 am To 8:00 pm Eastern Standard Time, Monday through Friday (except USA Federal holidays).

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  2. #1096

    Rappler

    Interesting articles recently by each of Rigoberto Tiglao, Sass Rogando Sasot, and RJ Nieto (aka Thinking Pinoy) about the Philippine news website, Rappler.

    In a nutshell, in the words of Tiglao, "How can we not be in outrage against a news outfit funded hugely by foreigners (in violation of the Philippine Constitution) that spreads lies about our country"?

    OM.

  3. #1095
    Quote Originally Posted by Omega3  [View Original Post]
    WR is right on point.

    I think that the most recent prior claim to fame by Senator Antonio Trillanes was his attempted "coup" in 2007. That was his second attempted coup which ended in complete failure (other than to gain notoriety and PR, which probably enabled him to get elected to the Senate in the first place). Reportedly, the 2007 "coup" lasted about 3 hours, while Trillanes was holed up in the Makati Peninsula hotel (obviously, at great personal hardship). The "coup" collapsed ignominiously and abruptly when a Philippine Army APC showed up.

    Honest, I'm not making this up!

    OM.
    Another of the coup soldiers is also a senator who has filed (and failed) in an impeachment complaint against D30 and also filed similar with the ICC in the Hague. I think he is a party of one but is with Trillianes in hating this administration.

    Intersting spot on the Hardtalk interview when Sakur asked Trillianes if he supported D30 in dealing with drugs etc given the guy was elected on that mandate and had a 75% approval rating. Trillanes squirmed and tried to slide out of that question which my friends noticed (said to me "unpatriotic" and that it showed he just wanted the LP back at any costs).

    Politics anywhere is a dirty game just more open in the Philippines LOL.

  4. #1094
    Quote Originally Posted by WickedRoger  [View Original Post]
    Friends (pinoys) all found it highly amusing and said proved a point that he had no clue.

    The Daily Tribune said he showed he was not in tune with the public and a D30 news page thanks the BBC for its in depth research etc as Sakur did have facts to hand to challenge him.

    https://www.facebook.com/DuterteFSup...WSFEED&fref=nf

    http://www.tribune.net.ph/headlines/...h-public-pulse

    As for mainstream media in the Philippines I did not read anything but as others have pointed out those outlets are generally anti D30 and the President himself did say he would sue the Inquirer (I think) for taking cash for an advet it did not run etc. Politics and the media worldwide is a messy business.
    WR is right on point.

    I think that the most recent prior claim to fame by Senator Antonio Trillanes was his attempted "coup" in 2007. That was his second attempted coup which ended in complete failure (other than to gain notoriety and PR, which probably enabled him to get elected to the Senate in the first place). Reportedly, the 2007 "coup" lasted about 3 hours, while Trillanes was holed up in the Makati Peninsula hotel (obviously, at great personal hardship). The "coup" collapsed ignominiously and abruptly when a Philippine Army APC showed up.

    Honest, I'm not making this up!

    OM.

  5. #1093
    Quote Originally Posted by ShiningWit  [View Original Post]
    On the topic of BBC's HARDTalk, has anybody watched Stephen Sackur's interview with Sen. Trillanes? Apart from Sackur's expression at somewhere around 7 minutes, what was interesting was that at the close of the programme he referred to Antonio Trillanes and not Senator. Normally, I would expect howls of protest from certain quarters of the media at how he had been disrespected, but checking the online coverage of both Inquirer and Post? - zip. The Manila Times does have an opinion piece on it, slating Trillanes performance.

    Does anybody on the ground have any more info on the media response?
    Friends (pinoys) all found it highly amusing and said proved a point that he had no clue.

    The Daily Tribune said he showed he was not in tune with the public and a D30 news page thanks the BBC for its in depth research etc as Sakur did have facts to hand to challenge him.

    https://www.facebook.com/DuterteFSup...WSFEED&fref=nf

    http://www.tribune.net.ph/headlines/...h-public-pulse

    As for mainstream media in the Philippines I did not read anything but as others have pointed out those outlets are generally anti D30 and the President himself did say he would sue the Inquirer (I think) for taking cash for an advet it did not run etc. Politics and the media worldwide is a messy business.

  6. #1092
    Quote Originally Posted by GoodEnough  [View Original Post]
    I don't think this is very recent, but it's an interesting video by thee BBC on the conflict between economic growth and unchecked population growth. It's worth the 25 minutes or so it takes to view. https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=A0XUQa55OhI&feature=share.

    GE.
    On the topic of BBC's HARDTalk, has anybody watched Stephen Sackur's interview with Sen. Trillanes? Apart from Sackur's expression at somewhere around 7 minutes, what was interesting was that at the close of the programme he referred to Antonio Trillanes and not Senator. Normally, I would expect howls of protest from certain quarters of the media at how he had been disrespected, but checking the online coverage of both Inquirer and Post? - zip. The Manila Times does have an opinion piece on it, slating Trillanes performance.

    Does anybody on the ground have any more info on the media response?

  7. #1091
    I don't think this is very recent, but it's an interesting video by thee BBC on the conflict between economic growth and unchecked population growth. It's worth the 25 minutes or so it takes to view. https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=A0XUQa55OhI&feature=share.

    GE.

  8. #1090

    With AFP distracted in Marawi, Communist rebels strike elsewhere

    Video of the recent NPA rebel raid on the Maasin municipal police station in Iloilo.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GRNJjal4s7A

    It seems that the NPA is taking the opportunity carry out operations in other areas while the AFP is busy trying to put down ISIS in Marawi. This may mean insurgent activity in previously quiet areas. Mongers living in or visiting these areas should take note that local security conditions can change suddenly without warning.

    http://pinoytrendingnews.net/look-ac...lo-goes-viral/

  9. #1089

    Rebels Raid Iloilo Police Station

    Suspected members of the communist New People's Army (NPA) raided Sunday, June 18, the municipal police station of Maasin in Iloilo province. Chief Inspector Aaron Palomo, public information officer (PIO) of Philippine National Police Iloilo Provincial Office, said 50 to 70 armed men swooped down on the station at about 11 am Sunday. No one was hurt in the incident, but the rebels carted away four Glock pistols and nine Armalite rifles, Palomo said in a telephone interview.

    In a tweet, the Communist Party of the Philippines information bureau said NPA-Panay took M16 rifles and four pistols during the raid, which was carried out at 10:30 am Sunday. Palomo said the rebels also took the patrol car, but later abandoned this in the neighboring town of Alimodian. "We have recovered the patrol car as well as the truck used by the rebels. Follow-up operations are ongoing," Palomo said. Prior to the raid, two suspected rebels went inside the station to supposedly have an incident recorded in the police blotter. While the duty officer was interviewing them, a truck full of armed men arrived at the station and the two rebels inside announced a raid. By then, the rebels have blocked major roads leading to the station. "It happened fast. They announced a raid, handcuffed our men, took their firearms and left. No one was injured," Palomo said, adding that five policemen were in the station at that time.

    Maasin is a fourth-class town situated about 28 kilometers west of Iloilo City, the capital of Iloilo province. Iloilo City Mayor Jed Patrick Mabilog placed the entire city on Sunday in full alert status as a precautionary measure shortly after the NPA raid in Maasin. "All barangay captains and barangay officials together with their barangay tanods and CVOs (civilian volunteer organizations) shall strictly monitor their respective barangays and report any suspicious movement that may compromise the peace and order situation of the city," Mabilog stated in a post on his official Facebook page. The barangays were also instructed to "collaborate with their respective district police stations in the maintenance of peace and order. " Mabilog asked the public to remain calm, but vigilant.

    Read more: http://www.sunstar.com.ph/iloilo/loc...station-548108.

  10. #1088

    Good point

    Quote Originally Posted by GoodEnough  [View Original Post]
    I, in my dotage, am cynical enough to believe that the endless immersion of the US in unwinnable wars may be explained by the same sort of heuristic: there's too much money to be made by politicians and arms manufacturers and the cash flow would diminish if peace were to break out.
    GE.
    Ya. And according to this reporter, a ridiculous amount of tonnage is supplied by the United States directly to the terrorists and the country most involved in exporting the extreme ideology it claims it's trying to irradiate. https://consortiumnews.com/2017/06/2...ists-in-syria/.

  11. #1087
    Quote Originally Posted by GoodEnough  [View Original Post]
    there's too much money to be made by politicians and arms manufacturers and the cash flow would diminish if peace were to break out. Young men fight and die so that old men can reap enormous financial rewards.

    GE.
    Not too far off, I reckon, GE. Already the American press is teeing up the "strong potential" for US to engage Iran in armed conflict. It's never-ending. War is big business, and it's financially addictive to the scumbags who legislate it. Someone said "old men make wars; young men fight them."

    I remember being physically assaulted when coming out of my little country town Catholic church by an upstanding church member because I'd declared and been granted a deferment as a conscientious objector in 1969. How dare I not want to go and kill those godless commies in Vietnam. I also remember some of my high school mates going to war and not even knowing where Vietnam was on a map. But they valiantly went to defend the homeland.

    No wonder so many of us have no desire to live in the Excited States anymore.

  12. #1086
    Quote Originally Posted by Hutsori  [View Original Post]
    Understood. But even very well trained, highly professional militaries with overwhelming conventional fire power such as America's and Israel's are constrained by political leaders' concern over public sentiment and international opinion. Surely both militaries could wipe insurgents off the planet if the battle space was declared a free-fire zone.

    It seems to me Beijing has the better strategy. It can behave egregiously with some outside criticism, and once in a while toss a bone to the international community, for example the Paris Climate Accord, which doesn't require China to do anything until 2030, and be lauded. (China will simply move its most polluting factories to less developed countries that have a longer period to comply. It's a shell game, IMO.) Even America at its worst is a better partner than China at its best. Just its adherence to the rule of law vice the rule by law makes it so. Trump gets a lot a criticism, justly so, yet in no way is he as powerful as Xi and Kim Jong Un. The rule of law constrains him.

    I've digressed.
    You haven't digressed, and you've made your point rather eloquently, and I cannot disagree, that some countries (probably all of the west) are held to a higher set of moral expectations than others. And it's also true that any American President does not wield the same almost unlimited power of Xi or the North Korean dictator, as he's circumscribed by the law and its institutions. However, I don't believe that the problem here is that the US would cut off, or threaten to cut off munitions. Duterte, who has taken a very strident, public stance on rebalancing his foreign policy and distancing himself from US influence, wants his military to be seen as doing this on its own. Thus, he pretended to be surprised that US special forces were somehow involved in logistical support of his troops. The problem is, as I've said in a prior post, that the AFP isn't capable of doing it on its own, and there's a lot of informed speculation that those who benefit most directly from the ongoing conflicts on both sides, don't want to see them ended. I, in my dotage, am cynical enough to believe that the endless immersion of the US in unwinnable wars may be explained by the same sort of heuristic: there's too much money to be made by politicians and arms manufacturers and the cash flow would diminish if peace were to break out. Young men fight and die so that old men can reap enormous financial rewards.

    GE.

  13. #1085
    Quote Originally Posted by GoodEnough  [View Original Post]
    Huts, the Philippines is constrained because its army is poorly trained, its generals are corrupt and gain financially from the $40 million or so the US gives in military assistance each year, because the command structure is like a Rube Goldberg cartoon, because it has no Air Force or navy to speak of, and because it invests so little of its GDP in defense spending. Under this US administration I doubt the US cares if the AFP destroys the entire city to eradicate these guys. As countless others have pointed out before me, long before the eruption of the Marawi crisis, the power elites on both sides profit hugely from sustaining the conflict, which was been going on, intermittently, for more than 5 decades. The only thing that's changed much with the emergence of ISIS is that there's now a deeper pool of intransigents, the weapons are better and they're better trained, and there's zero commitment on the part of the government to exterminate them, so they'll retreat back to the jungles in Sulu and plant their next forays.
    Understood. But even very well trained, highly professional militaries with overwhelming conventional fire power such as America's and Israel's are constrained by political leaders' concern over public sentiment and international opinion. Surely both militaries could wipe insurgents off the planet if the battle space was declared a free-fire zone.

    I should have been more explicit in my earlier comment. A US administration, even Trump's, faces scrutiny and demands unlike Beijing. Even a poorly trained army requires a resupply of munitions to sustain the fight, but if the supplier, i.e. Washington in this context, cuts off the pipeline that's the end of the battle. Sri Lanka, which isn't an army of excellence too and may even be as bumbling as the Philippines', had a more reliable supplier, one which didn't care about international opinion. Many pander to Beijing and are easily cowed by it. Both Colombo and Beijing remained resolute. The Sri Lankans kicked out the NGOs, kept the international press out, and let it rip. Beijing provided the weaponry. The result: they won. The only documentation we have is "war trophy" videos shot on mobile phones, and this episode is largely forgotten about.

    What we have is a public of inconsistent, even mercurial, morality. It demands higher morality from some and disregards the breaches by others. We hold China to low expectations and expect better, if not perfection, from the west, chiefly the US and the UK. Alinsky's Rules for Radicals #4, "Make the enemy live up to its own book of rules. You can kill them with this because no one can possibly obey all of their own rules," is applied.

    It seems to me Beijing has the better strategy. It can behave egregiously with some outside criticism, and once in a while toss a bone to the international community, for example the Paris Climate Accord, which doesn't require China to do anything until 2030, and be lauded. (China will simply move its most polluting factories to less developed countries that have a longer period to comply. It's a shell game, IMO.) Even America at its worst is a better partner than China at its best. Just its adherence to the rule of law vice the rule by law makes it so. Trump gets a lot a criticism, justly so, yet in no way is he as powerful as Xi and Kim Jong Un. The rule of law constrains him.

    I've digressed.

  14. #1084
    Quote Originally Posted by Hutsori  [View Original Post]

    The Philippines is constrained because the US is its weapons supplier. Sri Lanka was armed by Chinese, and Beijing doesn't play the westerners' game.
    Huts, the Philippines is constrained because its army is poorly trained, its generals are corrupt and gain financially from the $40 million or so the US gives in military assistance each year, because the command structure is like a Rube Goldberg cartoon, because it has no Air Force or navy to speak of, and because it invests so little of its GDP in defense spending. Under this US administration I doubt the US cares if the AFP destroys the entire city to eradicate these guys. As countless others have pointed out before me, long before the eruption of the Marawi crisis, the power elites on both sides profit hugely from sustaining the conflict, which was been going on, intermittently, for more than 5 decades. The only thing that's changed much with the emergence of ISIS is that there's now a deeper pool of intransigents, the weapons are better and they're better trained, and there's zero commitment on the part of the government to exterminate them, so they'll retreat back to the jungles in Sulu and plant their next forays.

    As to the lack of difference in violence between left / right, populism / globalism, or whatever the labels are au courant, I agree. The anomaly may be Syria, where labels mean nothing, there are no good guys, and no one has an upper hand militarily. My response to that fiasco would be to pull out and let them fight it out themselves. What sickens me about that imbroglio, and those in Libya, Yemen, and Iraq is the lack of any strategy. What does "winning" look like in those situations, and why are any of them worth the sacrifice of a single Western solider?

    You might want to add Switzerland, Denamark and perhaps the Netherlands to your short list of civilized countries.

    GE.

  15. #1083
    Quote Originally Posted by SoapySmith  [View Original Post]
    I think you miss the larger point. The connection between words and violence is that words strung together--often through interaction among groups of like-minded people--create attitudes that allow the adherents to justify violence toward those they dislike.
    No, I didn't miss the larger point. I think it's an overwrought if not an invalid point. It's used by authoritarians of the left and right to trample on the liberties of the people. The irony is that those who say they're fighting violence are the violent group.

    Quote Originally Posted by SoapySmith  [View Original Post]
    "Prayer Patriots" on the same campus.
    Yes, I saw the video of them the other day. One group (of students and their academic supporters) took over the campus and held uni administrators in an office to address their demands. The president was told to "hold it" when he asked to use the toilet and was later escorted to it to be monitored by students. You have professors teaching their classes off campus because police told them stay away for their own safety. The other group, "Prayer Patriots", is a half dozen religious fundamentalists who came to the campus in response to the turmoil, score some points, and gain a bit of notoriety, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=H-jelGZjVUI Yep, they're equivalent actions.

    Quote Originally Posted by SoapySmith  [View Original Post]
    I cannot recall any previous US presidential candidate openly justifying a crowd of supporters to rough up protestors who showed up for a campaign event.
    I think you ought to delve back in US history. US politics was a violent affair, and so it has been in many other places. https://www.universityofcalifornia.e...us-about-today.

    Quote Originally Posted by SoapySmith  [View Original Post]
    The secrecy with which the Marcos administration carried out its violence is deplorable, but at least the secrecy suggests that he understood what he was doing was not acceptable enough to be done openly.
    I think Marcos had to be careful with his statements or else his patrons in Washington would have been upset.

    Quote Originally Posted by SoapySmith  [View Original Post]
    ... but I think most of us had hoped that the civilized world had learned the lesson of Nazi Germany.
    Right there is only half of the problem. Not only was the left as brutal, it was even deadlier. Somehow it gets a pass, or at least it's ignored. "They were the wrong type of Socialists" and "That wasn't real Socialism. " Could you imagine large groups of people including journalists and academics saying Naziism was simply the wrong execution of National Socialism?

    The civilised world exists in only a handful of countries, and seeing what's happening in some of them such as covering up mass crime I think calling them civilised is a bit of stretch. The facade is crumbling because certain political parties won't call a spade a spade. It's places like Singapore and S. Korea that are civilised, and they don't put up with much BS.

    Anyway, I think the left-right dichotomy is kind of stale and ought not be the sole lens to view events. Most of the contemporary issues seem to be populist versus globalist, rural versus urban, logos versus pathos, individualism versus identitarianism, even-tempered liberalism versus emotive power politics. I think we're in a era of what Jung described as the devouring mother versus the tyrant king. You could see the writing on the wall when Perot won about 20% of the vote in '92. Sadly, it's about 15 to 20% of the population who are extremists on both sides and the rest are trying to go about their lives.

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