Is DOLE’s Suspension Of OFW Deployment To Qatar Premature?

IMG_2015Just a day after several Arab nations cut ties with Qatar accusing it of supporting terrorism, the Philippines’ Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) suspended the deployment of Filipino workers to the kingdom.

While it is prudent for DOLE to “assess the situation,” its reason for doing so, in the words of Secretary Sylvester Bello, are “the wild rumors going around and the (sic) things are not going well in Qatar.”

One would think that there would be a more rationale basis for the department order.

There are over 200,000 Filipinos living or working in Qatar and hundreds more are awaiting to leave the Philippines to report to their prospective employers.

Suspending deployment at this early stage will definitely have serious consequences not only on the part of the OFWs but on the Philippines’ overall overseas employment program.

A few of Politikal Pinoy’s friends and followers based in Qatar have confirmed that they are “just fine,” and that the DOLE decision to suspend further deployment to the kingdom is without sound basis. At least at this point in time.

DOLE should focus on the “assessment” first before making any decision to cut off, albeit temporarily, the deployment of OFWs. (The non-deployment of the OFWs could result in a permanent loss of their potential employment.)

It is a given that many other countries will be affected by the Qatar situation.  Like the Philippines, other countries have a significant number of their citizens employed in the kingdom.

Even the United States has a big stake in Qatar which is host to one of the more strategic US military bases in the region.  America, for sure, is also assessing the situation.

The Philippines’ overseas employment program is too critical and valuable to many of our fellow Filipinos and their families.  It behooves upon DOLE to seriously consider the impact of its actions and not rush to any judgment that it will later regret, to the detriment of the OFWs.



Senator Risa Hontiveros’ Fake Definition Of ‘Rebellion And Invasion’

IMG_2006MANILA, Philippines (The Adobo Chronicles, Manila Bureau) – In a recent television interview, Senator Risa Hontiveros insisted that the siege on Marawi City  does not constitute either rebellion or invasion thereby making President Rodrigo Duterte’s declaration of Martial Law in Mindanao uncalled for.

“Rebellion and invasion” as we know from the 1987 Philippine Constitution are grounds for the declaration of Martial Law and the suspension of the Writ of Habeas Corpus.  But the Constitutional provision goes beyond the two terms:

Section 18. The President shall be the Commander-in-Chief of all armed forces of the Philippines and whenever it becomes necessary, he may call out such armed forces to prevent or suppress lawless violence, invasion or rebellion. In case of invasion or rebellion, when the public safety requires it, he may, for a period not exceeding sixty days, suspend the privilege of the writ of habeas corpus or place the Philippines or any part thereof under martial law. Within forty-eight hours from the proclamation of martial law or the suspension of the privilege of the writ of habeas corpus, the President shall submit a report in person or in writing to the Congress. The Congress, voting jointly, by a vote of at least a majority of all its Members in regular or special session, may revoke such proclamation or suspension, which revocation shall not be set aside by the President. Upon the initiative of the President, the Congress may, in the same manner, extend such proclamation or suspension for a period to be determined by the Congress, if the invasion or rebellion shall persist and public safety requires it.

Perhaps, the smart lady senator skipped over two equally important phrases when she read the Constitution: “suppress lawless violence,” and “when the public safety requires it.

From all indications regarding the Marawi siege, there was lawless violence, and the lives and safety of the Marawi citizens were seriously threatened and compromised.

But it gets worse.

Hontiveros, quoting from some unknown sources — or quoting from the left side of her brain — said that in order to consider the Marawi incident as a rebellion, a section of the Marawi local government or its citizens must be involved in a move to separate from the national government.

Based on her theory, Filipinos living in Batanes could go to Batangas and stage a violent siege and that would not constitute rebellion because it does not involve the local government and citizens of Batangas.

Then, in an apparent self-contradiction, Hontiveros said there was no invasion in Marawi because for invasion to occur, OUTSIDE FORCES must descend upon a territory to try to seize the duly-constituted authority and stage violent acts against that territory’s citizens.

It does not matter that Hontiveros just minutes after answered in the affirmative when the show’s host asked her point blank if the Maute group members belonged to “outside” forces and that they staged a violent siege, raising a flag that does not represent the Philippines.

Unfortunately, politicians don’t have to go through any professional regulatory examination in order to be elected into office.

Maybe, all candidates and elected officials should pass a national civics board exam or something before being allowed to run for public office. Starting with Hontiveros.

Or maybe, as the satire site The Adobo Chronicles reported, Hontiveros should just focus on less controversial issues, like proposing a bill to ban fake chicharron.

This Is What Terrorism Looks Like, But It’s Not The Worst Of It (Discretion Advised)

Video credit: Leakedreality

I’ve hesitated for some time to re-post this video of the Maute terrorist siege on Marawi City.

On one hand, I didn’t want to contribute to giving terrorists free publicity.  On the other hand, this video serves as a reality check for those who continue to criticize the declaration of Martial Law in Mindanao by Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte.

I am sure that for majority of devout Filipino Catholics, this video will elicit outrage, and hopefully for those who are critical of ML in Mindanao, give them pause to rethink their stand.

But I’ve got news for you.

This is not the worst about terrorism.

Think about the human lives lost, homes razed, innocent citizens displaced and the climate of fear that has taken over their lives.

Religious statues and icons can be replaced. Churches can be rebuilt.  But a human life lost remains lost forever.

We Don’t Need A Rappler

IMG_1962We dont’ need any animation to prove to us that Rappler is biased.

We don’t need a foreign-funded online “news organization” to help us sift through what’s fact or fiction.

We don’t need a Rappler to take back the Internet from us. It doesn’t own it in the first place.

We don’t need a Rappler to feed the international news media with untruths.

We don’t need a Rappler to tell us the difference between terrorism and a robbery.

We don’t need a Rappler to act as a propaganda machine for the crumbling political opposition. You should be the one dismantling your propaganda machine.

We don’t need a Rappler to divide the nation. It’s already divided, with 91% supporting our President.

We don’t need Rappler. Period.

We need it to go away.


A Fragmented Marawi Relief Donation Campaign Not The Best Model

IMG_1952At the church services I attended this Sunday, there was a second collection specifically designated for Marawi relief operations. It is just one of many efforts to help those affected by the terrorist siege of this Mindanao city.

When calamity or misfortune befall upon our countrymen, we are inclined to reach deep into our pockets to show our unity and concern for the victims.

But as with any other relief campaigns, there are important things to consider when choosing where to course our contributions, among them accountability and capability.

The Office of the Vice President seems to have mastered the art of begging.  Seeking donations is their automatic response to national and local issues, despite the fact that it does not really have the infrastructure and resources to manage the contributions.  “Partnering with other organizations” can only add another level of bureaucracy that can cause a delay in helping those in need.  Besides, the OVP has not proven itself to be truly committed to transparency and accountability.  Think about its refusal — even under the Freedom of Information (FOI) — to divulge Leni Robredo’s travel fund sources.

It is also quite common for the news media to conduct a donation campaign among its readers and subscribers.  This works well for donors who love to see their names printed.  It does them good on their resumes.  But when such a campaign is conducted by a newspaper that owes the government billions of pesos in unpaid rent, then we start to question the integrity of its efforts.  Yes, we’re talking about the Inquirer.

While most Filipino Catholics have full trust in donation campaigns organized by the Church, there are those who are uncomfortable handing out extra in a Sunday second collection. Part of this discomfort stems from the fact that the Philippine Catholic Church is among the largest investors in the stock market.  Shouldn’t it be setting aside amounts from that investment for relief and emergency operations rather than turning to the collection basket each time?

Of course, there’s the Red Cross which is recognized worldwide as the premier charity organization.  It has the resources and infrastructure to deal with emergency and relief operations.  Although its reputation is sometimes tarnished by leaders or personnel managing its operations, it pretty much is a safe institution to make your contributions.

Then there’s The Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD).  Again, because of its reputation under previous administrations, Filipinos seem hesitant to make their donations to this government agency.  But change has come under the leadership of Secretary Judy Taguiwalo.

In fact, DSWD did not rush to seek donations in the aftermath of the Marawi siege.  It had the resources and infrastructure — as it should — to deal with the needs of the victims.  It also has the advantage of calling upon its fellow government institutions to facilitate relief — from rice supply to transportation and communication to rescue operations.

But DSWD stood out among all donation seekers when it reminded donors to be “culturally-sensitive” when making contributions, noting that most of the victims are Muslim brothers and sisters.  This graphical reminder from Secretary Taguiwalo shows a well thought-out and truly competent response to the emergency.



But the bottom line for an effective relief campaign is to discourage fragmented operations.  Rather, there should be ONE central point through which donations are coursed.  This would ensure that contributions reach those who are most in need in a timely manner, and that what they receive are things that they really could use.  It would also be easier to demand transparency and accountability if we’re dealing with a single agency rather than multiple, smaller — or even fly-by-night — donation seekers.

From all indications, that ONE central point should be the DSWD.  If there had to be a second organization, we would recommend the Red Cross.

Time For Senate Five To Stop Being Obstructionist

IMG_1848Politikal Pinoy understands the need for the so-called opposition to remain relevant, at least in the eyes of their followers.  But when it comes to the nation’s peace and security, Senators Franklin Drilon, Antonio Trillanes, Kiko Pangilinan, Risa Hontiveros and Bam Aquino should stop being obstructionist, because that’s what they’re trying to be.

Why waste any more taxpayer money convening a joint session of Congress to review President Rodrigo Duterte’s declaration of Martial Law in Mindanao when the majority of the Filipino people have already spoken? Yes, including the Senate and the House of Representatives.

The House of Representatives on Wednesday night approved a resolution expressing its “full support” for President Rodrigo Duterte’s declaration of martial law in Mindanao.
Resolution 1050 was adopted via viva voce vote at the plenary session, mere hours after it got the nod of the House, functioning as the Committee of the Whole. It states that the House “finds no reason to revoke” the President’s proclamation, which placed the whole of Mindanao under martial law for 60 days and suspended the writ of habeas corpus.

Earlier, 15 out of 24 Senators found the declaration, through Senate Resolution 388, to be ‘satisfactory, constitutional, and in accordance with the law…and finds no compelling reason to revoke the same.’

While the government battles the terrorists, the Senate Five should choose their own battles.  Because putting up a fight against the popular will won’t get them anywhere.

It’s time that they prove to the nation that like the rest of the country, they, too, are on the side of peace and freedom for the Filipino people.

“Sa manlulupig, di ka pasisiil.”


Below The Belt Fake News

IMG_1837.PNGThere’s fake news, and there’s below the belt fake news.

As a satire writer (Adobo Chronicles), I do include fiction in my “news stories.” But there are disclaimers all over my satire site to warn my readers that not everything they read is factual.  The site thrives on a humorous take on factual happenings.

“Adobo” is a mixture of soy sauce and vinegar; Adobo Chronicles is a mixture of fact and fiction.

But there are a few things that I would never  include in my posts.  Among them, fake deaths and fake stories about unfortunate situations that befall people. Like HIV/AIDS.

Recently, there were posts about the supposed death of former First Lady Imelda Romualdez Marcos due to cardiac arrest, and about Sharon Cuneta admitting to her being HIV positive.

Both fake posts need to be condemned. And shame on those who knowingly share the fakery on their social media accounts — regardless of their political leanings.

And for those who are gullible to believe that what they’re reading and sharing is factual, there’s Google to check what’s factual and what’s not.

Let’s not be too eager to press that ‘send’ or ‘share’ button.

Just think about being the subject of fakery.  How would you feel?



The Deadly And Illegal Drug Trade In The West Is Proof Of The Height Of Hypocrisy

Photo: Washington Post

While America and its Western allies condemn the Philippines’ war on drugs, the deadly illegal drug trade continues unabated just south of the U.S. border. America has a lot to do with it, with Mexico supplying 90% of the U.S. demand for heroin.

But the U.S. media are either quiet or tolerant and generous in their reporting of the drug menace in their backyard, and the U.N. and European Union (EU) seem to be oblivious or playing deaf and blind.

Such is the arrogance and hypocrisy of the West.



A MessageTo Duterte’s Warriors: They Go Low, We Go High

IMG_1742“They go low, we go high.”

That, of course, is a famous quote from former First Lady Michele Obama during last year’s U.S. presidential campaign.  It is a message that Politikal Pinoy would like to impart to all our Duterte warriors and supporters, especially on social media.

Lately, I’ve been seeing a lot of supposed quotes from anti-Duterte folks, many of which have no basis in fact.  In other words, fake quotes being passed on as fact (we’re not talking about satirical posts here.)

While it is quite entertaining to read the reactions from the Duterte camp, it is, at the same time, frustrating that some people on our side are resorting to the very same tactics that we criticize the ‘ Yellowtards’ for — trolls and fakes.

By all means, let’s respond with all our might to the stupid and dumb comments of those who oppose the President and his actions, but let us ourselves not be purveyors of fakery and below-the belt messages.  Before we hit that “send” or “share” button, let’s take a moment to fact check and verify to make sure that we don’t go down to the level of our opponents where their desperation breeds nothing but falsehood.

Otherwise, we’re just giving more ammunition to our opponents to try to malign us and our advocacies.


Dear President Duterte

Singapore PhilippinesDear Mr. President,

It was only a few days ago when I proclaimed to the world that I am proud to be a “Dutertard.”  That hasn’t changed.  I still am a supporter, but as I’ve said in the past, I am not a blind follower.

So you must understand that when you made that recent rape joke, I was not a happy camper.

It wasn’t the first time you did it.  And the first time, while  many have condemned your statement, I stood by you, believing that it was never your intention to degrade women or think lightly of a heinous crime like rape. I still believe that.

I had hoped that you have  understood the outrage from those of us who love their mothers and their sisters and their nieces and their grand nieces.

But you crossed the line again, Mr. President, with your recent rape joke as you  addressed the men who are carrying out your declaration of Martial Law in Mindanao.

I for one, can excuse you once.  But I am outraged the second time around.

It is wrong, Mr. President, to joke about rape. Again.

It is my hope that the women around you — from both your blood family as well as your political family — will have the courage to call you out to say enough of the rape jokes.

By writing this open letter, I may earn the ire of other Dutertards like myself, but I feel that I have to speak out as one who loves his late mother, sisters, nieces and the many wonderful women in my life.


Politikal Pinoy