2017 SONA "Comfortable Life For All!"From CNN Philippines
Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, July 23) — President Rodrigo Duterte will report on the state of the country a year after he assumed office at his second State of the Nation Address (SONA) on July 24.
The SONA, which is mandated by Art. 7, Sec. 23 of the 1987 Constitution, is delivered before a joint session of the 17th Congress at the Batasang Pambansa in Quezon City.
"The President's State of the Nation Address will be rendered in broad strokes reviewing past achievements, stating the present situation and announcing future prospects," he said.
"The President's Report to the People will be available online shortly after the President has spoken. On the whole it will be frank, challenging, realistic but hopeful."
This year's theme is "a comfortable life for all," supported by the administration’s three key agendas — prosperity for all, law and order, and peace.
Philippine police use chaos of Duterte’s drug war to extort families in distressFrom Washington Post:
MANILA — When investigators from the Philippine Commission on Human Rights arrived at Police Station No. 1, nothing seemed amiss.
They were working a tip about people being plucked from the slums by police, held captive at the station and ransomed for money. But as they surveyed the office of the local anti-drug unit, things looked normal: desks, two sofas, a bookshelf.
Officers assigned to the station kept glancing at the bookshelf.
With news cameras rolling and police looking on, an investigator knocked on it. Someone knocked back. When the false door was finally opened, investigators found a dozen people packed into a small concrete cell, one bloodied, one with a swollen jaw.
“How much did they want for you?” an investigator called to them.
People are detained in a hidden cell behind a police station’s bookshelf on April 27, 2017, in Manila. The Commission on Human Rights raided a Manila police station to uncover a space of about 3 by 15 feet, where dozens were detained for a week and allegedly brought out to be beaten or tortured, according to reports.
A year after Rodrigo Duterte won the presidency on a promise to kill all the country’s drug users and dealers, an estimated 9,000 people are dead, either shot in police raids with high death tolls and few witnesses, or killed by assailants on motorbikes, often after being named by police.
President Trump recently praised the campaign, but several investigations have found that police routinely fabricate reports to justify extrajudicial killings.
Less well-documented is how Philippine police are capitalizing on the chaos. The investigative raid on Police Station No. 1, reconstructed based on previously unreleased footage from the scene, provides the closest look yet at how officers allegedly use illegal detention and violence to extort cash — and how tough it is to stop them.
With pictures of the prisoners splashed across television screens, Duterte, in a rare admission of potential police wrongdoing, was forced to call for an investigation. But more than a month on, no officer has been charged. Nor, for that matter, have the detainees been freed.
In a twist that shows the inability of Philippine institutions to protect people from drug-war abuses, the men and women whose rescue was filmed and broadcast were never rescued at all.
Instead, they were handed straight back to the police.
Behind the bookshelf
Abuses by Philippine police did not start with Duterte, but the president’s vow to protect law enforcement personnel from prosecution has created a climate ripe for abuse. Police officers act without fear of punishment, said Philippine Sen. Leila de Lima, a longtime Duterte critic who is now in jail on dubious drug charges.
“This is definitely the height of impunity,” she wrote from her jail cell.
“It’s the total breakdown of discipline within the ranks,” said Sen. Antonio Trillanes, who recently filed a complaint against Duterte at the International Criminal Court.
For months, reporters and rights activists in Manila had heard stories of families being asked to pay to get their loved ones out of detention, or to stop them from being put on a drug list, or to keep them alive. For the most part, terrified witnesses did not want those stories shared.
It took the killing of a South Korean executive at national police headquarters — and a subsequent attempt to extort his wife — to garner a government response; Duterte promised to suspend anti-drug operations to clean up a force that was, as he put it, “rotten to the core.”
The Philippines has an agency that was set up to investigate rights abuses. The Commission on Human Rights, an independent office, was mandated by the country’s 1987 constitution.
When CHR investigators arrived that day to inspect Station No. 1’s anti-drug office, they found people waiting outside with food. The likely conclusion was that they had brought it for family members detained inside. But the station commander, Robert Domingo, said there were no detainees at the station.
"Manila as safe as Singapore"
CayetanoAlan Peter Cayetano said, because of Duterte’s efforts, the Philippines is now a safer place for Filipinos.
“It’s not perfect. In fact the president very candidly said he needs another six months pero let us be honest to ourselves, it is happening. The Philippines is becoming more like Singapore in terms of being able to walk the streets at anytime at night,” Cayetano said in a privilege speech.
“What do we want? Bumalik tayo six years past o ipagpatuloy natin ang pagbabago? Do we go back or do we go forward? More of the same or change? Gusto ba natin na takot ang tao at ang criminal hindi takot?”
(What do we want, go back six years past or continue the change? Do we go back or do we go forward? More of the same or change? Do we want an environment where the people are afraid and the criminals are not?) From ABS-CBN News
A President for Asia’s ‘Shoot-to-Kill’ Republic?