Monday, 14 December 2015

Why I believe Mayor Duterte is not ready for presidency: Part 2

First, an update in my previous post Why I believe Mayor Duterte is not ready for presidency "Reason no. 1" and that is he doesn't understand how international diplomacy works, nor does he give any importance to it. Somehow, this is reflective to his supporters as well. The media firestorm it had brought focused on "moral standing" and does he have the right to curse the Pope yada yada yada, while the counter-argument was "the traffic congestion in Metro Manila" as if that is the responsibility of the President. I have to point out that Mayor Duterte is, well he says so anyway, a staunch supporter of Federalism, but no one sees the irony of him focusing on Metro Manila traffic if he'll be President *shrug* *shrug* *shrug*

Which brings me to conclude Reason no. 2 - He thinks Philippines is one gigantic Davao City, and plans to implement local ordinances at nationwide scale. A lot of interview excerpts pointed this out, latest of which is Duterte on nationwide smoking, liquor ban: Be brutal to protect public health. Here's what I think on the following points:

1. No Smoking "in implementing an anti-smoking ordinance on a national scale, [Mayor Duterte] would be lenient in the requirements pertaining to the determination of smoking areas... [He says] Just like Davao but you have to soften the rigors of the requirement, that there would be smoking areas but it should not be in a contained area."

  • The President can issue Executive Orders on banning smoking inside buildings and vehicles through DTI (private-owned buildings), DepEd (schools and universities), DILG (government complex),  HUDCC (public housing) and DOTC (terminals, ports, public transport, vehicles in public roads).
  • THAT'S AS FAR AS HE CAN GO. Designation of smoking areas in public spaces are under the responsibility of local governments.
2. Still on No Smoking. "Duterte said that he is prepared to lose votes and is ready to face resistance in implementing the said policy as he only wanted to protect the health of Filipinos, most especially those of non-smokers."
  • Oh please don't be so dramatic like you are Zorro resurrecting out from hell. Like I said, this can be done by Executive Orders (which will expire until the President's term) to be implemented by concerned Departments. The only way this could be a real threat is if he will be passing a bill through Congress, which would be then become law of the land, but he is not running for Senator.
  • This goes to show the mayor doesn't know how our national government works - it has 3 branches, while local governments function as both executive and legislative branches. That is why Mayors have to appeal to the public and the city council if he wants to have an ordinance passed, but the President need only to worry if he and his Secretaries (appointed by himself) will make the EO as their priorities.
3. Curfew for Alcohol. "Another policy that he would like to implement is a nationwide liquor ban and the closure of establishments offering alcoholic beverages by 3 in the morning."

  • Again, curfews can only be issued by local governments UNLESS under emergency powers. Any curfews implemented in long-term is precursor to Martial Law which I think is unconstitutional. Either he just outed himself as a dictator or he forgot he is not running for Mayor of The Philippines. 
  • Public intoxication laws are akin to those BAWAL UMIHI DITO signs you see and I don't want my President to be bothered by such trivial things.
  • Selling of liquor at certain times is controlled by DTI. Saying he is gearing up for public backlash on something within his executive powers is just blatant fear-mongering. Also, what's up with 3AM? looks like he just pulled that number out of his ass.
4. “Bakit ko ginagawa ito? Para sa kapakanan ng mga Pilipino. It is to protect public health… If you have to protect the public, you must brutal about it,” 
  • The only thing brutal here is the obvious signs of the Mayor's simple mindedness. Brutal things are the following (which I iterate for examples' sake but DOES NOT NECESSARILY MEAN my support of these suggestions):
  • Stricter implementation on legal age of consent. That means even adults passing cigarettes/alcohol to minors (e.g. a father to his 17 year old son) will be persecuted.
  • Changing said legal age of consent accordingly. Like 21 years old if Mayor Duterte really thinks that 18 years old college/university students are still too young and should be at their homes by 1AM.
  • Banning cigarette and alcohol ads in mainstream media. If health hazards on smoking and drinking are really serious concerns, then a radical step, that is practiced in almost all countries now, is to stop their suggestive exposures to minors. This means total ban on these ads in (mainstream) TV, radio, publications. No billboards on these products is allowed anymore. Additionally, this includes stopping sponsorships to PBA teams and that idiotic government signages like MILITARY CHECKPOINT donated by GINEBRA.
  • Reducing the power of tobacco and alcohol industries. 
    • Which would mean further increase of taxes to counter the negative influences of their products (to fund increased healthcare services, further education on public health, etc.). 
    • Further reduction of power can also be done by demotion of brands. You see this in cartons of cigarettes with pictures of lung cancer and aborted babies, while the brand names are reduced according to state-mandated font sizes and styles. 
    • A more radical idea which is already practiced in other countries is the inability of these companies to venture in other industries, thereby eliminating their powers in real estates/development, media, transportation, pharmaceuticals or other bigger industries that can amplify their influence in the economy and government.
I could go on but I leave those to the candidates' creativity, which so far I think Mayor Duterte has none. I am dismayed over the the fundamental belief of his supporters to "make the entire Philippines as peaceful and clean as Davao City". While the sentiment is good, it is just short of naive. FYI no big nations were able to do this except city states like Singapore because they are precisely that: they are first cities that had gained the status of statehood later on.

In conclusion, I suggest to the well-meaning Mayor to do more homework on National governance, because as President he has to share power with other 2 branches of government. And seemingly he doesn't have Senators in his party, so he has to learn domestic as well as international diplomacy. Probably #Duterte2022 along with #Poe2022?

Friday, 11 December 2015

Remittances from SG to PH: DBS vs i-Remit

Hi fellow SG-OFWs. Have you noticed that the online DBS remit to Philippines ( has S$0 transfer fee when you remit to home, or is it just a Christmas promo?

Even if it's just a holiday promo, using DBS is now better than, for example, i-Remit. The forex in DBS is recently comparative to Philippine ones (S$1 SGD = 33.35 PHP in DBS vs =33.41 PHP in i-Remit). Additionally, Philippine remit services have about S$4.00 service fee per transaction, which would end up DBS to be cheaper. Not to mention that DBS transfer can be done online, while Philippine remittance needs to be a personal transaction with online appointment (, which would mean going through long lines in Lucky Plaza.

So, at least until the holidays are over, using DBS is way more convenient and sometimes cheaper than using Philippine-based services. Do you agree? How about other banks e.g. OCBC and SingPOST?

Wednesday, 2 December 2015

Sen. Grace Poe's disquailification and the ageing of our Constitution

The first day of December would be the last for Sen. Grace Poe's presidential campaign: GMA News - Comelec division disqualifies Poe from 2016 presidential race. There is no contest, the 1987 Constitution clearly states, and so much insists that right below "Section 1. The executive power shall be vested in the President of the Philippines." Section 2 states "No person may be elected President unless he is a natural-born citizen of the Philippines...". Unfortunately for Sen. Poe, who is the adopted daughter of Fernando Poe, Jr. and Susan Roces, the humiliating DNA testing gave an even more damning result, she cannot prove her Filipino parentage (and how could she, she's a foundling!).

What Sen. Poe can do at this point is to open the debate for constitutional reform in Congress, or what we deliciously call CHArter CHAnge (cha-cha, get it?). It is high time that we question our 28-year old Constitution, what is the basis that ONLY natural-born Filipinos are fit for the highest office of the land? Are we given divine birth-right to governance that other ethnicities do not possess? Hypothetically, if US actress Tia Carrere ( - definitely natural-born Filipina, decides to live in Philippines for 10 years and out of the blue, runs for president in 2028, the Constitution says she is more qualified than Sen. Poe WILL EVER BE by birth-right (don't believe me? read the Article VII here)

In all fairness, in the said COMELEC resolution, they contested more on the issue on the aspirant's 10-year residency. But really, Sen. Poe is nearing her full-term in the Senate (that is, 6 years) with, while not an exceptional record, a transparent and honest one. With my hypothetical question above, isn't a 6-year time as a Senator more than qualified compared to a full 10-year doing something else?

I guess my abject criticism in this issue is, we absolutely follow what the Constitution says with no contest. However, we can question and reform it for the betterment of the future generation. Our current Constitution is nothing short of racist and bigoted, because what else do you call something that labels people as "natural race" or not? It is not surprising, Filipinos are proudly racist - we nonchalantly laugh at dark-skinned indigenous neighbours and those with African ancestry (before we had those descended from African-Americans, we also had some share with African slaves from Latin Americas and Caribbeans during the Spanish colonization: Isn't this great shame for our children to be forced to practice this?

So, Sen. Poe, while you will definitely not be a President, you can spearhead Cha-cha and update our obsolete Constitution. And you couldn't do that as President but only as a member of Congress. So it may have been God's will that you stay in the Senate and advocate basic human rights for foundlings and people of different ancestry.

Tuesday, 1 December 2015

Why I believe Mayor Duterte is not ready for presidency

Finally, I have a platform to defend why I am not for his presidency: ABS-CBN News - Duterte under fire for cursing Pope Francis

It's not the manner on how Mayor Duterte said it. Heck in some sense I applaud for his brashness against the Catholic Church which I feel has gone uncontested far too long.

But please think on what he actually said and understand his mindset. Is he that arrogant to not give special attention to Pope Francis, or another sensitive example, to Pres. Xi Jinping should they visit Manila just to accommodate his Filipino machoism and humble bragging? What if these persons get assassinated just because we wouldn't want to let common Filipinos get stuck in traffic for 5 hours? Or we leave a such humiliating welcome (or lack thereof) that they would cut diplomatic and economic ties with the country? If I may give a reminder, The Philippines just cannot be simplified to Davao City - no matter how poor we do have international presence. Mayor Duterte maybe headstrong domestically (although I have my doubts, but that's another post), but he drastically needs training on international diplomacy . So I am sorry to say but I just couldn't picture him as our next President.

Oh and by the way, it is common (sense) practice to have almost a week of standoff during state visits and international summit. When I was in Nice during a G20 summit the airport was shutdown for days. Road traffic was blockaded until off-hours during the state heads' arrival [DW; Riviera Times] So yeah, Philippines is not the only one. We really are not special, like really!