Year: 2020

Robredo’s massive failure of mind

IN a report from her 18-day stint as co-chairman of the Inter-Agency Committee on Anti-Illegal Drugs (ICAD), Vice President Maria Leonor Robredo has concluded that President Duterte’s key program, his war on illegal drugs, was a “massive failure.”

It seems though that, based on one of her main arguments for that, she has demonstrated a massive failure of mind.

Robredo claimed in her report: “More than 1.2 million users had surrendered since 2016, while 300,000 had been arrested in police operations, for a total of 1.5 million. If we use the 4 million estimate of drug users and pushers, and only 1.5 million had been accounted for, where are the 2.5 million?”

That the 1.5 million had been “accounted for” means that number of addicts and pushers has been taken out of the population involved in illegal drugs. While there would definitely be backsliders, it is very reasonable to assume that most of these have stopped being addicts and therefore users, and sellers of illegal drugs.

That means approximately a 38 percent reduction in our illegal-drugs world. To use Duterte’s metaphor of war, that means that more than one-fourth of the battlefield has been won by the Duterte administration.

That’s certainly not bad at all. The past Yellow regime in its six years of power had allowed it to prosper. Why, its Justice secretary, Leila de Lima, according to the government charges against her, even protected the drug lords, and allowed its prison to be the nerve center of the trade. After decades of fighting it, other countries with similar scourges — Mexico is a prime example — have seen it even worsen, giving rise to that term “narco state,” or governments controlled by the drug lords.

Yet Robredo claims that she’d give this administration a success grade of 1 percent. Continue reading

Filed under: Manila Times Columns

Airport immigration offices a disgrace

TO be fair, this kind of nightmare for airline travelers has always been a perennial problem during the holidays, when the number of international travelers drastically increase. Then President Gloria Arroyo in 2003 even had to make a surprise visit to the airport to knock airport authorities’ heads to make the gates to our country tourist- and OFW-friendly.

I am referring to the unbelievably long, nightmarish queues at the immigration counters I myself witnessed returning from an overseas vacation during the holidays.

Worse, Philippine Airlines Terminal 2 doesn’t appear to have been improved at all so that passengers have to be brought from their planes to the terminal on buses. The terminal though was so crowded because of the long immigration queues that the arriving passengers had to wait in their buses — which either had no air-conditioning or had malfunctioning ones. Continue reading

Filed under: Manila Times Columns

Arbitration tribunal’s most useless ruling, and its worst

Last of four parts
THE tribunal’s ruling that was most hailed by the Yellow regime as well by the United States government and media was its judgment that China’s so-called, even infamous “nine-dash line” has no legal basis under the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (Unclos). Benigno Aquino 3rd’s Foreign Affairs secretary, Albert del Rosario, claimed, and continues to claim, that the Chinese therefore have no right to be occupying features within that line, which includes eight reefs in our Kalayaan Island Group (KIG) and Bajo de Masinloc, off Zambales.

The tribunal did rule that the line has no justification under Unclos. However, that was really one of its most useless rulings: China’s claims in the South China Sea are not based on maritime entitlements specified by the Unclos.

Even the official Chinese documents (among these, the Declaration of the Government of the People’s Republic of China on the Territorial Sea of 1958 and the Law of the People’s Republic of China on the Territorial Sea and the Contiguous Zone of 1992) in the post-war era that declared that the Nansha Islands (Spratlys), Xisha (Paracels), and Zhongsha (Macclesfield Bank, which it claims includes our Bajo de Masinloc) are part of its sovereign territory, do not even mention the nine-dash line. Continue reading

Filed under: Manila Times Columns