Monthly Archives: June 2016

Duterte’s inaugural speech: ‘The fight will be relentless, it will be sustaine

EPCC NEWS

June 30, 2016

Duterte’s inaugural speech: ‘The fight will be relentless, it will be sustained’

Mysterious-image-appeared-onPH-flag-during-Dutertes-inaugural-speechPresident Fidel Ramos, sir, salamat po sa tulong mo making me President; President Joseph Ejercito Estrada; Senate President Franklin Drilon and the members of the Senate; Speaker Feliciano Belmonte and the members of the House of Representatives; Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno and Associate Justices of the Supreme Court; His Excellency Guiseppe Pinto and the members of the Diplomatic Corps; incoming members of the Cabinet; fellow workers in government; my fellow countrymen. [applause]

No leader, however strong, can succeed at anything of national importance or significance unless he has the support and cooperation of the people he is tasked to lead and sworn to serve.

It is the people from whom democratic governments draw strength and this administration is no exception. That is why we have to listen to the murmurings of the people, feel their pulse, supply their needs and fortify their faith and trust in us whom they elected to public office. [applause]

There are many amongst us who advance the assessment that the problems that bedevil our country today which need to be addressed with urgency, are corruption, both in the high and low echelons of government, criminality in the streets, and the rampant sale of illegal drugs in all strata of Philippine society and the breakdown of law and order. True, but not absolutely so. For I see these ills as mere symptoms of a virulent social disease that creeps and cuts into the moral fiber of Philippine society. I sense a problem deeper and more serious than any of those mentioned or all of them put together. But of course, it is not to say that we will ignore them because they have to be stopped by all means that the law allows.

Erosion of faith and trust in government – that is the real problem that confronts us. Resulting therefrom, I see the erosion of the people’s trust in our country’s leaders; the erosion of faith in our judicial system; the erosion of confidence in the capacity of our public servants to make the people’s lives better, safer and healthier. [applause]

Indeed ours is a problem that dampens the human spirit. But all is not lost.

I know that there are those who do not approve of my methods of fighting criminality, the sale and use of illegal drugs and corruption. They say that my methods are unorthodox and verge on the illegal. In response let me say this:

I have seen how corruption bled the government of funds, which were allocated for the use in uplifting the poor from the mire that they are in.

I have seen how illegal drugs destroyed individuals and ruined family relationships.

I have seen how criminality, by means all foul, snatched from the innocent and the unsuspecting, the years and years of accumulated savings. Years of toil and then, suddenly, they are back to where they started.

Look at this from that perspective and tell me that I am wrong.

In this fight, I ask Congress and the Commission on Human Rights and all others who are similarly situated to allow us a level of governance that is consistent to our mandate. The fight will be relentless and it will be sustained. [applause]

As a lawyer and a former prosecutor, I know the limits of the power and authority of the president.  I know what is legal and what is not. [applause]

My adherence to due process and the rule of law is uncompromising.[applause]

You mind your work and I will mind mine. [applause and cheers]

“Malasakit;” “Tunay na Pagbabago; Tinud-anay (real) nga Kausaban(change)” [applause] – these are words which catapulted me to the presidency. These slogans were conceptualized not for the sole purpose of securing the votes of the electorate.  “Tinud-anay nga kabag-uhan (real change). Mao kana ang tumong sa atong pang-gobyerno (this is the direction of our government).” [applause]

Far from that. These were battle cries articulated by me in behalf of the people hungry for genuine and meaningful change. But the change, if it is to be permanent and significant, must start with us and in us. [applause]

To borrow the language of F. Sionil Jose, we have become our own worst enemies. And we must have the courage and the will to change ourselves.

Love of country, subordination of personal interests to the common good, concern and care for the helpless and the impoverished – these are among the lost and faded values that we seek to recover and revitalize as we commence our journey towards a better Philippines. [applause] The ride will be rough. But come and join me just the same. Together, shoulder to shoulder, let us take the first wobbly steps in this quest.

There are two quotations from revered figures that shall serve as the foundation upon which this administration shall be built.

“The test of government is not whether we add more to the abundance of those who have much; it is whether we provide for those who have little.”

–  Franklin Delano Roosevelt

[applause]

And from (Abraham) Lincoln I draw this expression:

“You cannot strengthen the weak by weakening the strong; You cannot help the poor by discouraging the rich; You cannot help the wage earner by pulling down the wage payer; You cannot further the brotherhood by inciting class hatred among men.”

[applause]

My economic and financial, political policies are contained in those quotations, though couched in general terms. Read between the lines. I need not go into specifics now. They shall be supplied to you in due time.

However, there are certain policies and specifics of which cannot wait for tomorrow to be announced.

Therefore, I direct all department secretaries and the heads of agencies to reduce requirements and the processing time of all applications, [applause] from the submission to the release. I order all department secretaries and heads of agencies to remove redundant requirements and compliance with one department or agency, shall be accepted as sufficient for all. [applause]

I order all department secretaries and heads of agencies to refrain from changing and bending the rules government contracts, transactions and projects already approved and awaiting implementation. [applause] Changing the rules when the game is on-going is wrong.

I abhor secrecy and instead advocate transparency [applause] in all government contracts, projects and business transactions from submission of proposals to negotiation to perfection and finally, to consummation.

Do them and we will work together. [applause] Do not do them, we will part sooner than later. [applause]

On the international front and community of nations, let me reiterate that the Republic of the Philippines will honor treaties and international obligations. [applause]

On the domestic front, my administration is committed to implement all signed peace agreements in step with constitutional and legal reforms.

duterte-joma-sisonI am elated by the expression of unity among our Moro brothers and leaders, and the response of everyone else to my call for peace.

I look forward to the participation of all other stakeholders, particularly our indigenous peoples, to ensure inclusivity in the peace process. [applause]

Let me remind in the end of this talk, that I was elected to the presidency to serve the entire country. I was not elected to serve the interests of any one person or any group or any one class. I serve every one and not only one. [applause]

That is why I have adapted as an article of faith, the following lines written by someone whose name I could no longer recall. He said:

“I have no friends to serve, I have no enemies to harm.” [applause]

Prescinding therefrom, I now ask everyone, and I mean everyone, to join me as we embark on this crusade for a better and brighter tomorrow.

But before I end, let me express the nations, on behalf of the people, our condolences to the Republic of Turkey of what has happened in the place. We offer our deepest condolences.

Why am I here? Hindi kasali ito diyan. [laughs] The past tense was, I am here because I love my country and I love the people of the Philippines. I am here, why? Because I am ready to start my work for the nation. [applause]

Thank you and good afternoon.

—From Presidential News Desk

END

 

**

MIXED SIGNALS

KOMUNIDAD
June 27, 2016

MIXED SIGNALS

By Arturo P. Garcia

duterte-joma-sison

On thing I learned in my years of as reporting and writing for the last 45 years is to write the news as they happened and how the personalities said what they said.

I never gave politicians especially incoming Presidents any benefit of the doubt. Or what the media says “the honey moon period”

One writer quipped, “ I am not married to him anyways. Why should I give him a honeymoon.” I think she is right.

For the incoming President-Elect Rodrigo Duterte, I think he does not need any honeymoon period with the press.

In the first place, after being elected and giving press interviews for hours in the wee hours of the morning, he antagonized the media and accused them by twisting his words . Visibly angry, he banned media interviews to the consternation of many media people.

By the words of one of his trusted advisers, “ No interviews, No mistakes.”

But who can blame Duterte but himself and his big mouth. Like any Filipino people he loved to give statements but loved also to deny them, modify them and re-interpret it depending on how he loved to say it with added expletives.

Being in the media, we are used to these politicians. Even during the campaign Duterte has been doing that. And the media who wanted scoop, loved to twist it, add or reinterpret it to make it more sensational. The sensentionalist media and Duterte loved each other.

Even the left and some in the progressive sector is equally guilty in building up the Duterte myth. Especially with the peace process, they are even saying “he is the first left president” and “socialist” or revolutionary at that.

If we will make a list of Dutertespeak, it can equal to Joseph Estrada’s Erapspeak that made money.

But whatever happened to the aphorism of one of our heroes, Emilio Jacinto, the “Brains of the Katipunan”; “ Sa taong may hiya, ang Salita ay gawa” ( “To real man, the word is his bond”)

Well, politics is like that. Let us just hope that Duterte proves his detractors wrong and made good of all the promises he made.

Or else, he will gain the wrath of the Filipino people when the day of reckoning comes.

Leaders are not judge by the words they made, but he actions they take.

****

 

LA PWC MARKED 55 YEARS OF COMMUNITY SERVICE

EPCC NEWS
June 27, 2016

LA PWC MARKED 55 YEARS OF COMMUNITY SERVICE

13524422_1085380738221773_4875494859585353238_nLos Angeles– “The oldies but the goodies.”

The Los Angeles Philippine Women’s Club ( LA PWC),the oldest Filipino American women’s organization, marked their 55th years of community service by installing its new officers and new members.

In her welcome address, Past President Amelia Arichea lauded its officers. She said, “ I thought I was too old, too tired and just want to retire but the president, Ms, Linda Jones then sold her house and relocated to Arizona, thus I have to assume the presidency again.

But when I see Mrs. Ruby Cube who is older then me who still works, then I said, when should I rest and retire?”

She also mentioned that, ” the LA PWC has the distinction of the only API organization whose came is the the marker of the Music Center at the Ahmanson Theater in DTLA. The LA PWC supported the project,”

A Happy Occasion

The happy occasion was held at the Manila Terrace Social hall at 2328 W. Temple St. at Historic FIlipinotown, DTLA .

Their guest speaker was Ruby Cube, Past president of the California Federation of Women’s Club, Los Cerritos District.

She was introduced by LA PWC Vice President and work horse, Rosalie Caratao who was also the installing officer for the installation of new officers and members of the LA PWC..

New Officers, New Members

She swore in the new set of officers led by President Perla Santos and nine new members of the LA PWC.

After the new President Perla Santos accepted her post and Mrs.
Linda Maestro conducted the Cadena De Amor ceremony,

Atty. Roman Mosqueda and Sir Knight Commander of the KOr-HFT Art Garcia regaled the crowd with their songs.Maestro Buddy Reyes played his music and accompanied the singers.

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SCOTUS AFFIRMED RACIST STATUS QUO BY ITS ANTI-IMMIGRANT RULING

ALLIANCE NEWS
June 23, 2016

SCOTUS AFFIRMED RACIST STATUS QUO BY ITS ANTI-IMMIGRANT RULING

Los Angeles– The SCOTUS just affirmed today it’s racist and anti-immigrant biased laws.

Rally For Akai Gurley

The Alliance Philippines is not surprised with the racist and anti-immigrant decision of the Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS) with its 4-4 decision today that affirmed the status quo against DAPA and DACA or the Executive Actions of President Barack Obama to the delight of the reactionaries all over the land.

The SCOTUS is only affirming it’s long and racist tradition for the status quo like the recent decision affirming police power over the people and the recent decision that affirmed centuries old “insular act” ” that ruled against the Samoans and other API peoples colonized by the US are “nationals” not worthy of American citizenship.

The Anti-Filipino WWII Veterans Ruling

This colonial ruling of the Insular Act of 1901 by Justice Brown was used by the SCOTUS to deny the JFAV appeal for a certiorari in 2015. This denial was given after the JFAV appeal on the 9th Court of Appeals in Northern California was also denied.

This denial “for the lack of merit” affirmed the that the Filipino World War II Veterans are “nationals and therefore not “American citizens” are not “eligible for benefits and rights under the American law” . Again, this was reiterated by the Recision Act of 1946 by the 79th US Congress in February 18, 1946.

After the Supreme Court ruling blocking expansion of DACA, we must remind ourselves and remember that our power as people does not depend on the courts.

We got DACA from community power and we will use community power to move forward.

Fight Back! No Reactionary Laws Can Subdue The People’s Will!

Alliance- Philippines
Los Angeles,

June 23, 2016

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JFAV CONDEMNED THE SCOTUS PRO RACIST STATUS QUO AND ANTI-IMMIGRANT RULING

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Justice for Filipino American Veterans (JFAV)
June 25, 2016

JFAV CONDEMNED THE SCOTUS PRO RACIST STATUS QUO AND ANTI-IMMIGRANT RULING

KmB at IWD MArch, March 06, 2016Los Angeles– The Justice for Filipino American Veterans (JFAV) vehemently condemned the SCOTUS affirmation of it’s racist and anti-immigrant biased laws.

JFAV National Coordinator Arturo P. Garcia said, “ we were not surprised with the racist and anti-immigrant decision of the Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS) with its 4-4 decision last June 23.

The SCOTUS is just being consistent as the bastion of conservatism and reaction as it has handed rulings against the people like the “Separate but Equal”

Garcia added, “ and now the ruling just re-affirmed the status quo against DAPA and DACA or the Executive Actions of President Barack Obama to the delight of the reactionaries all over the land.:”

The die-In at the 15th JFAV Annual veterans Day Protest March:Rally in Hollywood, November 11, 2015A Series of Anti-Immigrant and anti-Veteran Rulings

JFAV Garcia also said, “ It is still fresh on our minds that the SCOTUS made the recent decision that affirmed centuries old “insular act of 1901 ” ” that ruled against the Samoans and other API Veterans of US foreign wars. The ruling said, “ colonized people by the US are “nationals” not worthy of American citizenship,”

Garcia reminded the public that the SCOTUS is consistent with its anti-Filipino and anti-Veterans ruling. This colonial ruling of the Insular Act of 1901 by Justice Brown was used by the SCOTUS to deny the JFAV appeal for a certiorari in 2015. This denial was given after the JFAV appeal on the 9th Court of Appeals in Northern California was also denied.

This denial “for the lack of merit” affirmed the that the Filipino World War II Veterans are “nationals and therefore not “American citizens” Therefore are not “eligible for benefits and rights under the American law” . Again, this was reiterated by the unjust Rescission Act of 1946 by the 79th US Congress in February 18, 1946.

Unite and Fight BackJFAV:KmB.Ugnayan Lobbyist in the US Capitol, February 28-March 2, 2016

The JFAV asks the Filipino-American community and all its allied and all activist: “ After the Supreme Court ruling blocking expansion of DACA, we must remind ourselves and remember that our power as people does not depend on the courts. We must not be moved!

We should not let this great injustice pass. Thousands of immigrant and their rights are in jeopardy. That includes thousands  of Filipino-Americans  children and parents who availed of DACA and DAPA. All their efforts have gone to naught because oft his terrible decision of the SCOTUS.

We got the Filipino World War II benefits by lobbying and fighting for the last 23 years. We got DACA from community power for more than 12 years, and we will use community power to move forward.

We did not rely on the courts to stop the Vietnam War and fight for our civil rights. But we must fight in all court of laws all racist and unjust rulings and acts. We must united and fight back.” Garcia ended.

Fight Back! No Reactionary Laws Can Subdue The People’s Will!

Arturo P. Garcia
JFAV National Coordinator
Los Angeles,

June 24, 2016

END

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QUO VADIS ,UK?

KOMUNIDAD
June 24, 2016

QUO VADIS ,UK?

By Arturo P. Garcia

11260831_450563181735389_4676403690791692439_n

Goodbye EU, BREXIT or Leave EU won by 52% to 48%.

The referendum turnout was 71.8%, with more than 30 million people voting. It was the highest turnout in a UK-wide vote since the 1992 general election. England voted strongly for Brexit, by 53.4% to 46.6%, as did Wales, with Leave getting 52.5% of the vote and Remain 47.5%.

Scotland and Northern Ireland both backed staying in the EU. Scotland backed Remain by 62% to 38%, while 55.8% in Northern Ireland voted Remain and 44.2% Leave.

What is the beef between UK and the he European Union – often known as the EU? For those who don’t know, EU is an economic and political partnership involving 28 European countries It began after World War Two to foster economic co-operation, with the idea that countries which trade together are more likely to avoid going to war with each other.

It has since grown to become a “single market” allowing goods and people to move around, basically as if the member states were one country. It has its own currency, the euro, which is used by 19 of the member countries, its own parliament and it now sets rules in a wide range of areas – including on the environment, transport, consumer rights and even things such as mobile phone charges.

But a word of caution and not so fast for those are overjoyed with the BREXIT. EU law still stands in the UK until it ceases being a member – and that process could take some time.The UK will continue to abide by EU treaties and laws, but not take part in any decision-making, as it negotiates a withdrawal agreement and the terms of its relationship with the now 27 nation bloc.

A lot depends on the kind of deal the UK agrees with the EU after exit. If it remains within the single market, it would almost certainly retain free movement rights, allowing UK citizens to work in the EU and vice versa.

UK is one of 10 member states who pay more into the EU budget than they get out, only France and Germany contribute more. In 2014/15, Poland was the largest beneficiary, followed by Hungary and Greece.

The UK also gets an annual rebate that was negotiated by Margaret Thatcher and money back, in the form of regional development grants and payments to farmers, which added up to £4.6bn in 2014/15. According to the latest Treasury figures, the UK’s net contribution for 2014/15 was £8.8bn – nearly double what it was in 2009/10.

HM Revenue and Customs have suggested about 20,000 EU nationals receive child benefit payments in respect of 34,000 children in their country of origin at an estimated cost of about £30m.

The anti-immigrant bias in the UK contributed to the win of BREXIT. Many Britons are alarmed with the more than 300,ooo immigrants a year flooding the USK from the other 28 EU members.

If the government opted to impose work permit restrictions, as UKIP wants, then other countries could reciprocate, meaning Britons would have to apply for visas to work.

Again, it depends on whether the UK government decides to introduce a work permit system of the kind that currently applies to non-EU citizens, limiting entry to skilled workers in professions where there are shortages.

The single market is seen by its advocates as the EU’s biggest achievement and one of the main reasons it was set up in the first place.

Britain was a member of a free trade area in Europe before it joined what was then known as the common market. In a free trade area countries can trade with each other without paying tariffs – but it is not a single market because the member states do not have to merge their economies together.

The European Union single market, which was completed in 1992, allows the free movement of goods, services, money and people within the European Union, as if it was a single country.

It is possible to set up a business or take a job anywhere within it. The idea was to boost trade, create jobs and lower prices. But it requires common law-making to ensure products are made to the same technical standards and imposes other rules to ensure a “level playing field”.

Critics say it generates too many petty regulations and robs members of control over their own affairs. Mass migration from poorer to richer countries has also raised questions about the free movement rule.

During the referendum campaign, the prime minister said the so-called “triple lock” for state pensions would be threatened by a UK exit. This is the agreement by which pensions increase by at least the level of earnings, inflation or 2.5% every year – whichever is the highest.

If economic performance deteriorates, the Bank of England could decide on a further programme of quantitative easing, as an alternative to cutting interest rates, which would lower bond yields and with them annuity rates. So anyone taking out a pension annuity could get less income for their money.

The Bank of England may consider raising interest rates to combat extra pressure on inflation. That would make mortgages and loans more expensive to repay but would be good news for savers.

The Treasury previously forecast a rise of between 0.7% and 1.1% in mortgage borrowing costs, with the prime minister claiming the average cost of a mortgage could increase by up to £1,000 a year.

The Treasury argued during the referendum campaign that UK shares would become less attractive to foreign investors in the event of Brexit and would therefore decline in value, but in the longer term shares typically rise with company profits.

Big exporters might benefit from the weaker pound, so the value of their shares might well rise, while importers might see profits squeezed.

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THE STRUGGLE INSIDE CHINA

 

EPCC NEWS

June 24, 2016

THE STRUGGLE INSIDE CHINA

JFAV Welcome Press Con:Rally

With a decision from an international ad hoc tribunal tasked with reviewing China’s maritime claims in the South China Sea looming, regional tensions are running high. A key problem is that no nation involved in the current round of tension — not even China itself — has a crystal-clear view of what exactly Beijing is trying to achieve in the South China Sea.

That’s because three different schools of thought are each struggling for dominance in Chinese analytical and policy-making circles. A look at the debate within China helps explain the lack of effective communication and the rise of strategic distrust between China, Southeast Asian nations with competing claims, and the United States.

China’s leaders — from President Xi Jinping to Foreign Minister Wang Yi to military leaders like Admiral Sun Jianguo — repeat the well-worn lines that the South China Sea islands have always been Chinese territory, China’s actions are legitimate measures to safeguard its own sovereignty, China will not pursue expansive policies beyond legitimate territorial claims, and limited military installations on newly built islands are for defensive purposes. Some countries in ASEAN (the Association of Southeast Asian Nations), however, find these explanations unconvincing, feel threatened by China’s island-building, and therefore want the United States to check Chinese power. Some U.S. officials have claimed that China is seeking “militarization” in the region, or even “hegemony.”

RealpolitikFight For Veterans, Give Them Benefits

But in reality, it’s not at all clear that China itself really knows what it wants to achieve in the South China Sea. Broadly speaking, there are three schools of thought among Chinese analysts about optimal policies toward the region: let’s call them realists, hardliners, and moderates. Chinese academic publications, media reports, and online opinions offer a glimpse into these different views. Since last year, I have also talked to a large number of Chinese scholars, government officials, and ordinary citizens. These three camps are representative of the diversity of Chinese views, although they are certainly not exhaustive of all the different views.

Because of the intensity of current tensions, Chinese analysts are under pressure to reflect vague government talking points, and sharp criticisms are rarely aired. This may explain why the outside world has commonly missed those debates. But in fact, China’s domestic debates about the South China Sea are of major importance for understanding the future directions of Chinese policy.

The Realist

China’s realists believe that the fundamentals of China’s current South China Sea policy are sound, with no adjustment needed. They recognize the diplomatic and reputational costs incurred, but tend to slight them because they value China’s physical presence and material capability much more highly than its image abroad. Their belief is underpinned by a crude realist understanding of international politics: material power — and not ephemeral (and in any case un-measurable) factors such as reputation, image, or international law — is the decisive factor in international politics. They thus think time is on China’s side, as long as China can manage its rise. This kind of realpolitik thinking now dominates China’s South China Sea decision-making.

Realists think they are safeguarding China’s national interests by enhancing its material presence in the South China Sea. But they are uncertain about what to do with the newly constructed islands. Should Beijing push for a new round of military installations including placing offensive weapons systems, or are defensive equipments really sufficient for the status quo? Realists want power in the South China Sea, yet are unsure how much power is enough.

The Hardliners

A second school of thought — the hardliners — provides alarming answers to the questions realists haven’t yet answered. Not only do they think China should present the seven new islands —constructed out of existing features, including Fiery Cross Reef, Subi Reef, and Mischief Reef — as faits accompli to the outside world, but China should further expand its territorial and military reach in the South China Sea. Such expansion could include: building the islands into mini-bases, conquering some if not all of the features currently under other countries’ control, or turning the Nine-Dash Line map, first published in 1947 and which now serves as Beijing’s legal basis for its claims in the South China Sea, into a territorial demarcation line, thus claiming most of the South China Sea’s territorial waters for China.

Hardliners have no regard for the concerns and anxieties of the outside world; they wish only to maximize China’s self-interest.

It is clear that some international media reports about China claiming 90 percent of the South China Sea are actually describing this, and only this, school of thought inside China. The good news is that this view does not yet dominate high-level decision-making. Hardliners within government are usually found in the military and law enforcement agencies. A maximalist policy toward the South China Sea would certainly serve their parochial bureaucratic interests. But hardliners also reside in the Chinese general public, the vast majority of which only has a superficial and impressionistic view of the South China Sea situation. Grassroots hardliner calls for assertiveness are based on emotional nationalism, not a studied consideration of China’s interests.

The difference between the hardliners and the realists is that, while the hardliners’ views are also based on realpolitik, there is an additional underpinning of hyper-nationalism, making accommodation with other countries especially difficult. Although the hardliners are not dominating current policy, the leadership cannot easily ignore or dismiss them for fear of stoking popular nationalism, a grassroots force which can easily spin out of control.

The Moderates

The third group, the moderates, believe it’s time for China to adjust its policy to clarify, if only gradually, its goals in the South China Sea. Moderates recognize that Beijing’s current ambiguity about its territorial claims and strategic design is feeding the outside world’s fear and distrust. They fault the government for failing to provide a compelling strategic narrative and promote effective communication with the outside world.

China’s habitual just-do-it approach when it comes to major strategic decisions such as island building is actually harmful to its own self-interest.

By forgoing any attempt to legitimize island-building, it ensures international suspicion of rather than sympathy for China’s actions.

Moderates argue that China needs to gradually clarify the Nine-Dash Line. Maintaining deliberate ambiguity would simply make the map a historical burden and an unnecessary obstacle to reaching diplomatic compromiseIn their view, it is counterproductive to interpret the map as a territorial demarcation line, because doing so would make China an adversary of most Southeast Asian states as well as the United States. Were China to go down this path, they argue, it would eventually face the ominous danger of strategic over-stretch. The biggest problem for China, the moderates observe, is that it lacks a clear and effective strategy for the South China Sea.

The moderates differ much from the realists and the hardliners. But the three share an extremely important area of agreement: the necessity of island-building. During my extensive conversations with leading Chinese scholars and government officials since last year, I have not come across a single person who would say island building is a mistake.

They may give different reasons for construction and offer different assessments of the consequences, but they all believe that this is something China must do, sooner or later. These reasons range from the more strategic to the more mundane; from establishing a strategic foothold in the South China Sea to providing better living conditions for Chinese personnel stationed there. But they all feel that given the current stage of China’s rise, Beijing must establish a presence in the South China Sea commensurate with its newfound power and status, especially since most other claimant states already have decades-old presences in the region.

Members of the international community have repeatedly criticized China’s island-building. But given the apparent national consensus inside China, and also given the fact that the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea does not strictly proscribe building on existing maritime features, is it a good policy to keep targeting island building activities themselves? Wouldn’t it be in every nation’s interest to move on to the more strategic question of creating a new but stable regional status quo?

A new status quo demands China clarify its strategic intentions. Right now, not even the Chinese leadership has a clear answer to that question. Among the three schools analyzed above, only the extreme hardliners have a quick, but highly destabilizing, answer. The rest of China is debating what China’s strategy toward the South China Sea should be. This is an important fact. It suggests that China’s South China Sea policy has not hardened yet, and is thus malleable.

The international community — especially the United States and ASEAN — should create favorable conditions for shaping China’s policy toward a more conciliatory and cooperative direction. In particular, they should help raise the importance of the moderates in Chinese decision-making, turning them from a minority view to a majority consensus. The unfortunate effect of some of the rhetoricfrom U.S. officials about Chinese “hegemony” in East Asia is to confirm the hardliners’ view that the United States wants to contain China, thus undermining the moderates’ position within China’s domestic debate.

Among the three schools discussed above, only hardliners unequivocally seek some sort of military hegemony. If American officials take this view as China’s national policy, they will simply talk past their more moderate Chinese interlocutors, creating a potentially dangerous communication gap between the two sides.

For its part, China needs to clarify its policy goals and reassure its neighbors, as well as the United States. A veteran Chinese diplomat recently told me that Chinese diplomacy is currently in its “adolescence.” But a rising China with regional and global responsibilities needs to learn quickly to become an adult.

****

MULA SA MASA, PARA SA MASA

CULTURAL NOTES
June 23, 2016

Kidapawan Detainees, April 16, 2016

[a quote from Chairman Mao Zedong, used by Duterte in the campaign]

By Arturo P. Garcia

Still in denial, outgoing President Benigno S. Aquino III attributes the landslide victory of the incoming President Digong Duterte to “ an exceptionally unconventional campaign.”

Is this a smack of sour grapes reaction? But was it an exceptional unconventional campaign?

According to Joselito “Penpen” Libres, also a former rebel like Evasco, there was no complicated strategy in the campaign. It was simply a mass movement for change, he said.

This may explain why one of Duterte’s favorite lines is “gikan sa masa, para sa masa (from the masses, to the masses),” lifted from a quote by Chinese revolutionary leader Mao Zedong and which Duterte used as the title of his weekly TV program in the city.

According to Libres, grassroots leaders of the Duterte campaign, especially in Mindanao, believed that the people wanted change and saw it was possible through Duterte. It was a belief in the people’s capacity to bring about change when the chance to do it, in this case the elections, presented itself.

“The principal strategy was to push for a campaign that relies on mass movement,” said Libres, one of the prime movers of the Duterte campaign in Mindanao.

Libres said it was a three-step strategy—inform, organize and mobilize. It sounds like a classic leftist strategy. And it is.

Libres said the campaign team was composed mainly of former leftist activists who bravely fought the Marcos dictatorship.

He said former cadres, who went underground during the dark days of martial law, composed the core of Duterte’s campaign team in Mindanao.

“Many of the members of the campaign have activist backgrounds,” Libres said.

“In the grassroots level, there were many former activists, who now work in government, NGOs and private businesses, who were involved in the campaign,” Libres told Inquirer.

He said many former activists, who surfaced after the fall of the Marcos dictatorship and supported Duterte, kept communication lines open with former comrades who were still in the armed struggle.

The main advantage of a campaign run by former cadres and activists, according to Libres, was it gave the campaign a grassroots touch and helped build a foundation that would be uncompromising on principles and a pro-poor agenda.

So that’s the exceptionally unconventional campaign Aquino III is talking about.

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THE KNIGHTS OF RIZAL IN THE UNITED STATES

CULTURAL NOTES
June 22, 2016

THE KNIGHTS OF RIZAL IN THE UNITED STATES

By Arturo P. Garcia

For me, it was an amazing discovery.

jose-rizal3As I was browsing some books in the Filipino American Library (FAL) in our new JFAV office by Filipino American Service Group Inc.( FASGI), I came across an unbelievable but inconvertible historical fact. That the Filipinos who came in America, antedated the founding of the Knights of Rizal in the Philippines by five years.

I found that it was not only one, but TWO (2) chapters of the Knights of Rizal was established in the United States in 1906. The first one was the Rizal Club and Commercial Society established in Seattle, Washington State on March 25, 1906.

The other one was the Knights of Rizal in Chicago, Illinois also in 1906. This KOR chapter was established by Filipino students at the University of Chicago on the first week of September 1906.

I found it out in my reading the the book, “Filipinos In America” by Hyung Chan Kim and Cynthia Mejia, p. 3.) It antedated the KOR known then as the Caballeros De Rizal that was established in the Philippines in 1911.

It was an honor for us to know that it was the Filipino immigrants who came to in America who pioneered the formation of the Knights of Rizal, in advocating for his principles and doctrines for freedom, love of country and international peace and solidarity.

To complete the history of the KOR, The Order of the Knights of Rizal was first organized out of a group of nine men by Manila Police Chief Colonel Antonio Torres on Rizal Day, December 30, 1911 in Manila, Philippines to commemorate martyrdom of Philippine national hero, Dr. Jose Rizal.

Exactly a year later, a state funeral was held to transfer Rizal’s remains from his family’s house in Binondo, Manila for a wake in the Ayuntamiento (City Hall) and finally a burial in Luneta where the Order of the Knights of Rizal acted as the honor guards.

Since then, the order has led commemorations of Rizal’s birth anniversaries and plays a prominent role during Rizal Day ceremonies commemorating his death anniversary.

In 1951, the order pushed for filing a bill in the Philippine Congress to grant the Order of the Knights of Rizal a legislative charter. Senators Enrique Magalona, Lorenzo Sumulong, Esteban Abada, Emiliano Tria Tirona, Camilo Osias, Geronima Pecson, Jose Avelino and Ramon Torres sponsored the bill in the Senate while Congressman Manuel Zosa of Cebu was the principal sponsor in the Congress.

In the accompanying explanatory note of the bill it said that the bill’s purpose to accord to the civic and patriotic organization the same kind of official recognition and encouragement as that accorded to the Boy Scouts of the Philippines by Commonwealth Act No. 11. By granting to its legislative Charter and investing it with the necessary powers to enable it more fully and more effectively to accomplish its goals.

The bill was signed into law by Philippine President Elpidio Quirino on June 14, 1951 as Republic Act 646. Thus making the KOR the only congressional mandated organization in and outside the Philippines, worldwide.

The Order was granted a legislative charter by President Elpidio Quirino ] as a non-sectarian, non-partisan, non-racial civic, patriotic, and cultural organization under Republic Act 646 on June 14, 1951. The Order’s insignia has since been approved to be worn by the Philippine diplomatic corps.

Since its founding, the Order has grown to more than 10,000 members belonging to more than fifteen chapters around the its international headquarters is located on Bonifacio Drive in Port Area, Manila.

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BREXIT OR NOT

KOMUNIDAD
June 22, 2016

BREXIT OR NOT

By Arturo Garcia

Two days from now,on June 23, the British people will vote on a referendum on the withdrawal of the United Kingdom from the European Union, often shortened to combining the words “Britain” and “exit, following the ‘Grexit’ or Greece Exit that did not prosper as an example.

Brexit is a political goal that has been pursued by various individuals , advocacy groups, and political parties since United Kingdom
(UK) joined the precursor of the European Union (EU) in 1973.

The turn of event turned for the worst when a pro-Brexit patriot shot and killed an anti Brexit parliament member Jo Cox in broad daylight, shouting: “Britain First.” Now the pro and anti Brexit advocates are in a stalemate.

There is a big implication for immigrants in UK and in EU on this referendum. There are a lot of Filipinos in Britain. There are more than 25o,000 FilBrits in the United Kingdom.

The second largest after Italy ( 271,000). For our brothers and sisters in England and those living in the EU countries, this will have a very great effect on their lives especially if the Cameroon capitalist reforms takes effect years from now.

For some progressive British political analysts, this is a ploy by the ruling class led by Prime Minister David Cameron who sought an agreement with other European Union leaders to change the terms of Britain’s membership. The deal is very one sided, in favor of the ruling class and against the working people especially the immigrants in England.

The UK wanted to get out of the burden of subsidizing the rest of the 15 members of the EU like what Germany. The Netherlands and France do. But this is for the benefit of the whole Europe. And yet the UK wanted to keep its capitalist freedom for itself.

He says the deal, which will take effect immediately if the UK votes to remain in the EU, gives Britain “special” status within the 28 nation club, and will help sort out some of the things British people say they don’t like about the EU, such as high levels of immigration and giving up the ability to run our own affairs.

The main points of the deal are: On Child benefits – Migrant workers will still be able to send child benefit payments back to their home country –

Mr Cameron had wanted to end this practice – but the payments will be set at a level reflecting the cost of living in their home country rather than the full UK rate. A very clear British capitalist accumulation on the backs of the working people.

On Migrant welfare payments – Mr Cameron says cutting the amount of benefits low paid workers from other EU nations can claim when they take a job in the UK will remove one of the reasons people come to Britain in such large numbers (critics say it will make little difference).

He did not get the blanket ban he wanted. New arrivals will not be able to claim tax credits and other welfare payments straight away – but will gradually gain the right to more benefits the longer they stay, at a rate yet to be decided.

Keeping the pound – Mr Cameron has said Britain will never join the euro. He secured assurances that the eurozone countries will not discriminate against Britain for having a different currency. Any British money spent on bailing out eurozone nations that get into trouble will also be reimbursed.

Protection for the City of London – Safeguards for Britain’s large financial services industry to prevent eurozone regulations being imposed on it

Running its own affairs – For the first time, there will be a clear commitment that Britain is not part of a move towards “ever closer union” with other EU member states – one of the core principles of the EU.

This will be incorporated in an EU treaty change. Mr Cameron also secured a “red card” system for national parliaments making it easier for governments to band together to block unwanted legislation.

If 55% of national EU parliaments object to a piece of EU legislation it will be rethought. Critics say it is not clear if this would ever be used in practice.

In summary, this is British autonomy under the EU’s centralized system. Well, Britain is an island and wanted protection for itself.  They want to have their cake, the EU cake and eat it too.

Let us see how the BREXIT referendum on June 23 goes.

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