Daily Archives: May 19, 2016

Dont Wave a Big Stick With the New Philippines President


May 19, 2016

Dont Wave a Big Stick With the New Philippines President

Ninotchka Rosca

Ninotchka Rosca is a Philippine-born writer, activist and advocate for women’s rights. She is the author of “State of War” and “Twice Blessed.”

UPDATED MAY 19, 2016, 3:20 AM

The day after Rodrigo Duterte’s election as president of the Philippines became fait accompli, his advisers were busy adjusting his campaign’s flimsy economic program to prevent capital flight, currency depreciation and a drying up of foreign investments.

Speak softly and be aware of the country’s economic and psychic vulnerabilities, and Duterte’s very real grudges with the United States.

The Philippines has a predominantly service economy, dependent on overseas connections. Nearly 14 percent of its gross domestic productcomes from tourism, 11 percent from remittances from Filipino workers overseas, and call centers and other business processing — mostly for U.S. corporations — comes in at 10 percent.

This economic inflexibility does not mean that the United States is in a position to wave a big stick at the incoming Philippine president to counter his overt hostility to U.S. presence in the country’s internal political discourse.

Accustomed to the urbanized administrations of Benigno Aquino III, Gloria Macapagal and others, U.S. officials have had little practice in the native bedrock modes of people like Duterte, who has lived most of his life deep in the rural culture of Mindanao.

He is a man of the “duro” — the piercing retort to intimidation — which is how one faces public ridicule or criticism, deserved or undeserved. He used it when the ambassadors of Australia and the United States scolded him for joking that he should have been first among the attackers who raped a missionary. He used it when Singapore decried a fake report that its prime minister had endorsed his candidacy. The duro tests how far opponents will go in response. Will they go “amok” and take it to the edge, or fall silent? This is how respect, and shame — “kahihiyan” — is framed in the culture. “Bigyan ng kahihiyan,” as it is said in the Philippines: Do not accept disrespect in public.

This is why hardly anyone apologizes or backs down from a mistake in Philippine politics.

So it is risky for the United States to assume that the Philippines’ dependence on the U.S. military for defense against Chinese incursion allows it to wave a big stick over the incoming Duterte government. Few believe the United States will go down to the wire before the Chinese challenge. That’s a conviction rooted in the history of how American troops abandoned the archipelago to Japanese occupation during World War II. The Rescission Act of 1946, which effectively nullified Franklin D. Roosevelt’s 1941 promise that all those fighting against the Japanese in the Philippines, would be considered part of the U.S. Commonwealth Army, is a historic experience of how the United States does not deliver on its promises. The act deprived Filipinos and Filipino-Americans access to veteran benefits, a situation only partly corrected to this day.

A stronger and more overt U.S. commitment toward defense of the disputedSpratly Islands would help, combined with a reduction of U.S. military privileges in the Philippines. Last year’s murder of the transgender woman Jennifer Laude by a U.S. marine underscores how disadvantaged Philippine law enforcement is under the Status of Forces Agreement.

So, speak softly and be aware of the country’s economic and psychic vulnerabilities. Let others – nongovernmental agencies, international human- and women’s-right groups, and the Philippines’ own formidable cause-oriented organizations – carry the big stick over concerns about death squads, acceptance of rape, a possible abandonment of democratic values. Their battles will undoubtedly be uphill; but for them, what battle hasn’t been? It has been largely through their efforts that governance has advanced, by fits and starts, from 20th century feudalism toward a semblance of modernity.

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Topics: Asia, Philippines, defense, human rights




May 18, 2016




Los Angeles–Presenting. The 4th Historic Filipintown Philippine (118th) Independence Day Committee.

At KAPISTAHAN GRILL, May 12, 2016 dinner-meeting.

Preparing for the parade around Historic Filipinotown on June 04, 2016.

As of the press time, there are already 27 organizations participating in this year’s parade.

Thank you to District 13 Office of Councilman Mitch O’ Farrell for confirming your participation.

Still waiting for ASM Jimmy Gomez District 51 Office’s confirmation. He will be the guest speaker at the parade’s end at FASGI House,  135 N.Parkview St. Los Angeles, CA 90026 on June 04, 2016



May 17, 2016


By Arturo P. Garcia

There are different reactions to the offer of the presumptive President Digong Duterte to the National Democratic Front and the Communist Party of the Philippines of four cabinet positions .

For the incoming Duterte, it is as a sign of goodwill and confidence building leading the peace talks and eventually an end to the 47 years of hostilities of communist insurgency.

But Duterte made it clear that “the communist must realized that I am the government. I am their enemy. But I extend my hand, let’s talk peace.”

But while motions are in place like the return of Prof Jose Ma. Sison to lead the peace talks with the Duterte government in Manila and the visit of Duterte to Europe with the NDF, the communist have made it clear its position on Duterte. They say:

“ While engaging the Duterte regime in peace negotiations and possible alliance in order to advance the national and democratic aspirations of the Filipino people, the revolutionary forces will continue to relentlessly advance the people’s armed resistance and democratic mass struggles. While open to cooperation and alliance, they must relentlessly criticize and oppose any and all anti-people and pro-imperialist policy and measure. There will be no honeymoon with the Duterte regime.

While incoming GRP President Duterte has displayed progressive aspects, the revolutionary forces are also aware that he is mainly a part of the ruling class political elite.

For the past four decades, he has served the system as a bureaucrat and implemented its laws and policies. He has worked with foreign and local big capitalists, plantation owners and big landlords who expect returns under his regime. The masses of workers, peasants and farm workers in Davao City have long-suffered from the oppressive and exploitative conditions in the big plantations and export-oriented contract-growing businesses.

In his policy pronouncements, Duterte has yet to declare a clear deviation from the dominant neoliberal economic thinking which has brought about grave hardships to the Filipino people for more than three decades.”

Revolutionaries and reactionaries of the ruling classes all over the world sees the significance of peace talks. Each side use the peace talks to gain advantage over each other. Mainly each side uses their position of strength to win. Or use the peace talks . from the position of weakness to gain respite, rest or to pose to fight again.

During the World War II, Russia used the Ribbentrop-Molotov Agreement of 1939 to prepare for the eventual attack of the Nazi on the Soviet Union. And when Germany tore the agreement and launched the “ Operation Barbarossa” to invade the Soviet Union in June 1941, they were defeated.

The Paris Talks of 1969 was used by the Vietnamese to stop the bombing of the North and the eventual launched offensives in 1973 and in 1975 to unify their nation and end the 20 years war against the United States.

The Cory Aquino Government used the GRP-NDF failed peace talks in 1986-1987 to spy on the NPA forces and gain 25% data on the NPA and launched OPLAN LAMBAT-BITAG that almost decimated the NPA forces.

The Sri-Lankan government used the peace talks from 2002 to 2009 to eventually crush the Tamil Tigers (LTTE) that fought for 60 years and erased the rebel resistance in the island for good.

We can judge now what is the motive of the Duterte Regime in its peace talks with the communists. Its too early to judge.

But we can remember what Mao said about the peace talks. They are at best, “sugar-coated bullets” That is why Mao also suggested the way to genuine peace talks is “talk, talk, fight, fight.” And not surrender.

Sugar coated bullets kills but it kills best than real bullets. It’s a slow killer like diabetes.

Giving concessions and not real changes . They are sugar-coated bullets. Let s see how the peace talks and Digong’s change will go.