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“How shall freedom be defended? By arms when it is attacked by arms, by truth when it is attacked by lies, by faith when it is attacked by authoritarian dogma. Always, in the final act, by determination and faith.”

― Archibald MacLeish

Saturday, September 3, 2016

Duterte's “State Of Lawlessness”, A Simulation For Martial Law?

Duterte's “State Of Lawlessness”, 
A Simulation For Martial Law?
From Inquirer:
President Duterte early today said he was declaring a “state of lawlessness” in the whole country, following a deadly explosion at a bustling night market in his hometown of Davao City.
Mr. Duterte was quick to say that this was not martial law.
“I’m declaring now a state of lawlessness. It is not martial law. It has nothing to do with the suspension of the writ of habeas corpus,” he told reporters after inspecting the blast site shortly before dawn.
The declaration will remain until he decides that it is safe for everybody.
He said the state of lawlessness means there will be more security forces around the country carrying out his instructions.
“Any punitive or any action taken by the security forces would be in furtherance to stop terrorism,” he said.
“And I am including drugs because of so many killings unfairly attributed to the police, as if they are the handiwork of the police,” he said.
Today is Duterte's 66th day in office. PH stock market has plunged per TIME. At least 2,000 EJKs. Happy?
From Inquirer
SYDNEY, Australia—The president of the Philippines, Rodrigo Duterte, unfortunately cannot be accused of not trying to live up to his campaign promises.
As a candidate, he declared that death by summary execution would be the preferred fate of anyone associated with the drug trade. The fish in Manila Bay, he vowed, would grow fat feeding on corpses. He cited the figure of 100,000 as an appropriate target.
Two months into Duterte’s presidency, the toll is believed to stand at about 2,000, with the nation’s police ostensibly responsible for less than half of those killings. Self-ordained vigilantes may account for some of the other deaths, but the police also freely employ contract killers.
Last week, the BBC published an interview with “a diminutive, nervous young woman carrying a baby” who is part of a female hit team valued for the ability of its members to “get close to their victims without arousing the same suspicion a man would”. She had thus far killed six people, lately under orders from a police officer.
It’s a lucrative profession, each hit rewarded with more than $400, a windfall for the impoverished and the unemployed. It’s also a trap, because there’s no easy way out once you take the plunge.
And who exactly are the victims? In his rhetoric, Duterte has often failed to make a clear distinction between kingpins, dealers and addicts. On the campaign trail, asked what he would do if he discovered one of his children was involved in drugs, the candidate spontaneously responded: “I will kill him.”
It wasn’t any of his kids, though, but five-year-old Danica May Garcia who was shot dead last week when gunmen on motorbikes came for her grandfather in Dagupan City. The intended target escaped with a wound.
During any killing spree, the prospect of innocents getting caught up in the crossfire is almost guaranteed. Even beyond that, though, never mind the identities of those who are being targeted — be it on the basis of suspicions, rumors, innuendo or local vendettas — the very idea of state agencies blatantly playing judge, jury and executioner is exceedingly uncivilized.
It is not hard to accept that rampant trade in drugs and growing rates of addiction are a serious problem in the Philippines, as they are in so many other countries, the main culprit in this case being what is known as crystal meth or ice, locally known as shabu. But even if one overlooks the rather obvious fact that such problems are invariably at least as much the symptoms as the cause of societal malaise, a crackdown on drug dealing and manufacture should entail arrests, fair trials and commensurate punishment, while addicts deserve treatment rather than elimination.
Extreme measures reflect not so much the coercive power of the state machinery as its inadequacies. Furthermore, they tend to backfire. Not only is the Philippines likely to pay a heavy price for the state-sanctioned brutalization of society to an arguably unprecedented extent, but chances are that the scourge of drugs will not disappear either.
Both during the campaign and following his inauguration, Duterte has also lived up to his reputation as an exceptionally foul-mouthed politician, with the targets of his crude tongue-lashings ranging from the Pope to the US ambassador in Manila. The Pope effectively turned the other cheek; Washington remonstrated, but only mildly — after all, the Philippines is a key Asian ally and Subic Bay is once again a regular port of call for US warships amid an unresolved, and quite possibly unnecessary, spat with Beijing over islands in the South China Sea.
Duterte is also prone to shooting his mouth off at the United Nations and threatening to quit it, but, interestingly, he has thus far not deemed it fit to publicly insult China. Perhaps he has a reasonably good idea of what he can get away with.
Parallels have inevitably been drawn between Duterte and Donald Trump, and a few of them are reasonably valid. The most potent one is that were Trump by some misfortune to be elected in November, the biggest threat to the US would be based in the White House. 
The Philippines has a head start: the greatest danger to the republic already resides in Malacañang Palace.
Philippine Equities Plunge, Erasing the Rally That Has Happened Since Rodrigo Duterte Took Office
From TIME
Foreign fund withdrawals have accelerated the decline
Philippine equities sank more than any other regional stocks last month, completely erasing the rally that had taken place since pugnacious President Rodrigo Duterte took office in June.
According to Bloomberg, the slide was accelerated by foreign fund managers withdrawing some $248 million from the country since the middle of August. One Singaporean fund manager was quoted as saying “I can’t find a good stock to buy.”
The news will be disappointing to a strongman leader who has been touted as good for business. It also comes days before he is expected to defend his murderous war on drugs to U.S. President Barack Obama, when the two leaders meet next week at the East Asia summit in Laos.
At least 2,400 people have been killed since Duterte’s crackdown on drugs began, at least half of them by vigilantes. The extrajudicial killings have caused deep concern among rights groups, both in the Philippines and internationally.
Duterte has defended the slaughter by dismissing drug users as subhuman. He has also threatened to declare martial law if the judiciary attempts to put a stop to the killings.
From Business World
THE government’s war on the illegal drug trade is “not good for business,” the president of the Nordic Chamber of Commerce of the Philippines (NorCham) said, expressing both optimism and dismay over a “promising” ten point economic agenda but with the rising pile of dead drug suspects in the background.
“The headline news we have seen in the couple of months is not good for business. What’s gonna play out I cannot tell,” NordCham President Bo Lundqvist told reporters in a briefing on Thursday night.
“And the news that we see now could be a deterrent. From our perspective, we see it really as a threat for foreign investment in the Philippines also from the countries we represent.”
Similar sentiments were expressed by the President of the European Chamber of Commerce of the Philippines (ECCP) earlier in August.
ECCP President Guenter Taus said that there is a general sense of hesitation in the part of European investors due to the spate of suspected extrajudicial killings in the course of President Rodrigo R. Duterte’s campaign against illegal drug trade.
From Bloomberg News
Decoding Duterte: Philippine Leader’s Flip-Flops Sow Confusion
On a range of other issues, Duterte has sent confusing signals. Some have been as innocuous as his choice of residence. Others have carried more weight, such as whether the Philippines intends to negotiate with China over territory in the South China Sea, or whether the country can live without mining, or if he really means to ban online gambling.
“We have to get used to the president -- his ranting and his off-the-cuff remarks -- but we’ll see,” said Joey Cuyegkeng, an economist at ING Groep in Manila. “Sometimes he recovers from those things.”
Either way, here are seven matters on which Duterte has appeared to flip flop since he came to power.
1) Playing Games
At his first Cabinet meeting, Duterte ordered a halt to online gambling. He followed up with a speech on August 3 singling out then-PhilWeb Corp. Chairman Roberto Ongpin as he promised to curb big business influence on government. The Philippine gaming regulator decided not to renew PhilWeb’s contract supplying so-called ‘e-games cafes’, which offer patrons electronic casino games such as baccarat, blackjack, slot machines and video poker.
Then on August 24 Duterte said the Philippines would allow online gambling to resume, provided operators paid proper taxes and electronic casinos were located away from schools and churches.
2) Separating From UN
At 3am on August 21, Duterte said he may withdraw the Philippines from the United Nations, after UN officials criticized his war on illegal drugs. “Take us out of your organization. You have done nothing anyway,” Duterte, 71, said. The following day, Foreign Affairs Secretary Perfecto Yasay issued a clarification, saying the Philippines remained committed to the international body. “Can’t you take a joke?," Duterte asked on August 23.
“Similar to the extrajudicial killings, we regard the comments as having the potential to harm the business climate and investor sentiment,” said Kyran Curry, a sovereign analyst at S&P Global Inc., in an e-mail commenting on Duterte’s threat to withdraw from the UN.
3) Navigating South China Sea
After China refused to acknowledge an international court ruling in favor of the Philippines that rejected China’s claims to more than 80 percent of the South China Sea, Duterte responded first by sticking to his pledge not to "flaunt or taunt" the decision. On August 23 Duterte said he expected to have bilateral talks with China within the year. But the next day, he warned China against invading Philippine territory, saying “it will be bloody and we will not give it to them easily.” Duterte is due to meet senior Chinese officials at the Association of Southeast Asian Nations summit in Laos the week of Sept. 5.
4) Living Without Mining
Riffing on the subject of mining regulations in early August, Duterte told the country’s miners, the world’s biggest suppliers of nickel, that the Philippines could live without them. “You obey or we will survive as a nation without you,” Duterte said. Three days later, in a televised speech in the southern city of Davao, Duterte tweaked his threat. He suggested that further mining permits would still be granted, while stressing there must be a limit to mining activities, saying it was time to reconfigure wealth distribution in the Philippines.
5) Stance on Abu Sayyaf
“You’ve never heard me say that they are criminals,” Duterte said in a July 8 speech in Davao on the subject of Islamic insurgent group Abu Sayyaf, which operates in the southwestern Philippines. With a history of bombings, extortion and targeted assassinations, Duterte said Abu Sayyaf “were driven to desperation” by failed promises made under previous governments.
Still, by the end of July he referred to Abu Sayyaf as “enemies that have to be destroyed,” and last week reiterated the bandits must be tackled: “Seek them out in their lairs and destroy them - the Abu Sayyaf. Destroy them, period.”
6) Where To Live
In the run up to his inauguration, Duterte often said he planned to take a commercial flight each morning from his home in Davao to the capital Manila, and return every evening. “My bed is here. My room is here. My home is my comfort zone. It’s important that I can sleep and take a shower comfortably,” he said in late May. Then in early July, Duterte announced his decision to follow predecessor Benigno Aquino by making the palace in Malacanang his official residence.
7) Climate Change
In mid July, Duterte said his administration would not honor the Paris pact on climate change that his country adopted along with 200 or so nations last December, arguing the Philippines wasn’t sufficiently industrialized and its requirements differed. Just days later Duterte changed tack, saying the Philippines would be willing to talk about signing the pact if it took into account his plans for the economy.