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Palace official issues anomalous order backing Chinese firm illegally mining nickel

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MALACAÑANG’s deputy executive secretary for legal affairs (Desla), Anna Liza Logan, known to be close to first lady Liza Araneta-Marcos, on December 23 blocked a directive by the Department of Environment and Natural Resources-Environmental Management Bureau that ordered a Chinese-controlled firm, Yinglong Steel Corp., to stop its illegal nickel-mining operations in Zambales because it didn’t have the required environmental clearance certificate (ECC).

The December 23 order appears to be part of a coordinated plan. Just a week after, on December 29, Yinglong was given by the DENR Regional Office 3 a permit to transport 250,000 metric tons of nickel ore, and an export permit for 50,000 MT of laterite nickel ore. At laterite nickel’s current price of $100 per metric ton, Yinglong would have shipped $4.5 million, or P250 million worth of the metal.


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‘Lifestyle check’ order worsens PNP demoralization

PNP chief Gen. Rodolfo Azurin Jr. File Photo

PHILIPPINE National Police (PNP) chief Gen. Rodolfo Azurin Jr.’s announcement that the so-called lifestyle checks will also be undertaken on the organization’s over 600 generals and colonels has worsened the demoralization of the country’s police force.

The disaffection with the PNP’s leadership and its official supervisor Interior Secretary Benhur Abalos was triggered last week by the latter’s order for the top PNP officers to submit “courtesy resignations” to make the task of “cleansing the police” of its scalawags easier.


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‘Courtesy resignations’: Baseless, pointless and destabilizing

Aquino invented it; Marcos is using it. PUBLIC DOMAIN PHOTO

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THE Interior and Local Government secretary Benhur Abalos’ campaign to get the Philippine National Police’s 479 generals and colonels to submit this only-in-the-Philippines thing called “courtesy resignations” — wholeheartedly backed by President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. — will be among this administration’s colossal governance blunders.

Talk of historical irony. It was Marcos’ nemesis who invented this fiction of courtesy resignation.

“Courtesy resignation” is the pulled-out-of-thin-air invention that President Corazon Aquino used in her Proclamation 1, issued Feb. 25, 1986, or the day she claimed to have assumed the presidency. In that proclamation, she said: “As a first step to restore public confidence, I expect all appointed public officials to submit their courtesy resignations beginning with members of the Supreme Court.”

“Courtesy resignation” was obviously a public relations spin for Aquino’s dictatorial order: “All you Marcos minions, including the Supreme Court, step down now!” The Supreme Court justices of course ignored Aquino’s order and so did Marcos Cabinet ministers and deputies who simply didn’t go to office, didn’t even bother to submit “courtesy resignations” and faded away from the government — refusing to pay “courtesy” to the new one-woman ruler. Even the highest ranking official after Marcos, Prime Minister Cesar Virata refused to vacate his post, pointing out that it wasn’t Marcos who appointed him but members of the Batasan Pambansa.


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Tsunami of demoralization hits police, military

Department of Interior and Local Government Secretary Benjamin Abalos Jr. answers questions during a press conference at Camp Crame national police headquarters in Quezon City on Wednesday, Jan. 4, 2023 after he accused some 300 police colonels and generals to resign over their alleged involvement in the illegal drug trade. He accused them of ‘infecting’ the government’s war on drugs. PHOTO BY JOHN ORVEN VERDOTE

First of 2 parts

IN a span of just a week, a tsunami of demoralization has hit the police and the military.

This was the result, first, of an ill-advised move by Local Government and Interior Secretary Benjamin “Benhur” Abalos Jr. to publicly “persuade” police generals and colonels to submit “courtesy resignations” so he could fire those officials suspected of corruption or involvement in illegal drugs.

Their fate though would be decided by a five-man board, including retired generals — practically a star chamber that has no basis in the Constitution or any law. While police officials expressed support for it of course — lest their refusal be taken as evidence of their guilt — they view it as an attack on the integrity of the entire officers’ corps of the Philippine National Police, as it declares that they are guilty until proven innocent.

The second trigger has been Marcos’ appointment as Armed Forces chief of staff (AFPCOS) on January 6 of Gen. Andres Centino — whom he had removed from his post two months after he assumed office in July 1 — replacing him with Lt. Gen. Bartolome Bacarro. Apparently in protest at the appointment, Jose Faustino, the defense department officer in charge and several other DND officials, submitted their resignations. Marcos has neither accepted nor rejected these so far.


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Airport foul-up should remind us: We need a brand-new international airport, ASAP!

THE gargantuan mess that shut down our international airports on, of all days, New Year’s Day, should be a slap on our nation’s face. It was a harsh reminder that in contrast to most of our neighbors, we have neglected to build what is indubitably a crucial element of economic growth: an efficient, no-fail international airport.

The Manila International Airport in fact is a symbol of our economic decay over the years. Manila had the first modern international airport when it started operations in 1961 — when we were the most developed country in Asia — thanks to the runway the US built in the latter years of World War 2 to accommodate even its biggest bombers, positioned to destroy Japan.

An artist’s rendition of the international airport in Bulacan that the SMC is proposing. SMC PHOTO

Six decades later our international airport still uses basically the same runway, with the main addition being the construction of two new terminals, Terminal 2 in 1999 and 3 in 2008, after useless legal battles against it.


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Marcos officials blame Duterte administration for colossal airport boo-boo

A sarcastic post at Reddit.

THAT’s the tack that President Marcos Jr.’s airport officials, particularly his Transport Secretary Jaime Bautista, are using to explain the unprecedented shutdown of the Philippines’ airspace on New Year’s Day, which resulted in the cancellation of flights to and from Manila, stranding 60,000 passengers.

They claimed that the country’s Communications, Navigation and Surveillance Systems for Air Traffic Management (CNS/ATM) system conked out because its two power supplies failed, that it was an old system.

What really happened was an unbelievable howler: airport technicians plugged the 220-volt system to a 380-volt power line, damaging it.

Yet Bautista’s explanation was preposterous; he claimed the CNS/ATM system that the previous Duterte administration bought and installed was outdated.


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Three issues Marcos should keep in mind during his China visit

THERE are three crucial points President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. must keep in mind, or work for, in his meetings in China, especially with its President Xi Jinping. I didn’t pull these points out of thin air but are based on the intensive research I did in 2014-2016 that was the basis of my book, Debacle: The Aquino Regime’s Scarborough Fiasco and the South China Sea Arbitration Deception.*

First, forget — and bury 6 feet under — the silliness that is the 2016 arbitration ruling by a three-man panel, which the Aquino 3rd regime itself appointed. Six years after it was handed down, the world has forgotten about it. Except, of course, the US (with its usual minions), which after all maneuvered the witless President Aquino 3rd into filing the case, as a smokescreen for his colossal fiasco of losing Scarborough Shoal in the standoff with China in 2012 and in his naiveté that it would recover that lost territory.

This should be Marcos’ top priority. The Sampaguita gas deposits in GSEC 101 is just 200 kilometers from the Malampaya facility, with its pipeline to Batangas. CHART FROM DEBACLE

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