Posts Tagged ‘Philippine Military Academy’

Philippine President Declares Martial Law in Mindanao: Spokesman

May 23, 2017

(Reuters) – Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte on Tuesday declared martial law in southern Mindanao province after fighting raged in southern Marawi City between the army and militants linked to Islamic state.

Presidential spokesman Ernesto Abella made the announcement in Moscow, where the president is on a visit.

A meeting with Dmitry Medvedev will be canceled on Wednesday but Duterte will remain in Russia, Foreign Minister Alan Peter Cayetano said in a televised news conference.

(Reporting by Martin Petty; Editing by Hugh Lawson)






Philippine President Duterte talks About a “Junta.” He’s just joking, right?

May 22, 2017
/ 12:09 AM May 22, 2017

Just before leaving for Cambodia last May 10, President Duterte announced the appointments of Sen. Alan Peter Cayetano as secretary of foreign affairs and Gen. Eduardo Año as secretary of the interior and local government. Earlier, the President named Gen. Roy Cimatu, a former AFP chief of staff, as environment and natural resources secretary.

Año is scheduled to assume his new post on June 2. Although up for compulsory retirement in October yet, Año will take early leave from the service to allow for his move to the Department of the Interior and Local Government. That makes four former military officers in President Duterte’s Cabinet which already has retired generals Delfin Lorenzana and Hermogenes Esperon Jr.

All four are graduates of the Philippine Military Academy and served continuously in the military organization throughout their professional careers. None of them are lawyers. But what they bring to the table are the old-fashioned values of discipline, a capacity for hard work, a willingness to place community interests above self, and most of all, a love of country. They also have their share of critics. Upon leaving the service, they automatically became civilians bringing with them their military background and experience.

In the Duterte Cabinet, there are two key groups that oversee and control government operations. One is the triad of economic managers made up of Finance Secretary Sonny Dominguez, Socioeconomic Secretary Ernesto Pernia, and Budget Secretary Benjamin Diokno. The other group is the other triad of former military officers that include Lorenzana, Esperon, and incoming Interior Secretary Año.

When the President jokingly announced that Año’s appointment completes his “junta,” perhaps he was not joking. With Año taking over the DILG, a key Cabinet position will be in the hands of a professional soldier with no political attachments and a reputation for getting the job done while instilling discipline in the organization. You will note that in Año’s short stint as AFP chief of staff, a more effective offensive was waged against the Abu Sayyaf and the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters, resulting in greater casualties inflicted on those terror groups.

General Año’s unusually early appointment also closes the door to interested parties who would have used the office for political advantage.

This move of the President reveals an aspect of his character that has escaped earlier notice. When we speak of a “junta,” the image it conjures is that of a military group controlling government operations, especially after a revolutionary seizure of power. The best example of such a group would be the Egyptian military led by Gen. Abdel Fattah el-Sisi. After overthrowing the civilian government of President Mohammed Morsi of the Muslim Brotherhood, the junta called for elections with El-Sisi running for president. He won with 96 percent of the vote in an election international observers described as rigged.

Closer to home is the Thai military junta known as the National Council for Peace and Order that overthrew Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra in 2014. After a few years, elections were held with the junta leader Gen. Prayut Chan-o-cha being appointed prime minister by a military-dominated legislature with the blessings of the Royal Palace.

A junta can also be civilian in composition and can come about in a peaceful setting. The word “junta” is derived from the Latin “jungere” meaning “to join.”

In theory the three branches of our government serve as a system of checks and balances to make sure no one branch becomes too powerful. But the reality in the Philippines is that the legislative branch is practically an adjunct of the executive. After every presidential election, most elected representatives, regardless of original party affiliation, move over to the administration party or the party in power, citing all kinds of reasons. This provides the administration party with a supermajority to ensure that what the president wants the president gets. Even the official House minority bloc is often referred to as a company union. This supermajority also provides insurance against any impeachment complaints filed against the president.

The other branch, the judiciary, has often been described as “dysfunctional” with all pillars of the criminal justice system in disarray. Justice moves in painfully slow steps with cases often requiring many years before decisions are made. It is a system that favors the moneyed and the influential. And so our detention facilities are overcrowded with mostly the poor and marginalized; and often they are not even facing charges, but unfortunately they have no access to legal help for the paperwork that would get them released.

It is a system where the word “temporary” as in “temporary restraining order” (TRO) can sometimes mean eternity. Even the President has expressed alarm and displeasure with the issuance of TROs that delay the speedy implementation of infrastructure projects. It is a system crying out for reforms.

In truth, we do not have a working system of checks and balances. Whether we like it or not, what we do have is a powerful junta within the executive branch composed of six civilians under the President. This is the body that will make and implement the most important decisions affecting the nation and the lives of our people.

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Philippines: Doctor Shortage — Why Not Pay Tuitions With Government Funds To Get More Doctors? (Editorial)

March 20, 2017

Philippines: Doctor Shortage — Why Not Pay Tuitions With Government Funds To Get More Doctors? (Editorial)

Taxpayers spend P2.5 million over four years to produce a graduate of the Philippine Military Academy. Why not make the same investment in producing surgeons and other physicians?

The proposal was made by Senate President Pro Tempore Ralph Recto, who noted that the Department of Health already has an existing scholarship program for aspiring doctors. All that’s needed is to expand the program while at the same time making compensation and benefits more attractive for physicians working for the DOH.

Unless remuneration is improved, the nation may see its shortage of doctors worsen, especially in rural areas. Recto noted that of the 946 available slots in the government’s Doctor to the Barrios program from 2015 to 2016, only 320 were filled. The program is meant to provide at least one doctor in each low-income municipality, but there were few takers. Those 626 unfilled slots meant that millions were deprived of the services of a doctor in their communities.

The medical profession can pay handsomely – but only after many years of grueling studies and substantial financial investment in schooling and specialized training. The cost of medical textbooks alone can be beyond the reach of a low-income household.

Parents who have invested their life savings to send their child to medical school would naturally be reluctant to let the new doctor volunteer for a rural assignment that pays P56,000 a month, especially in conflict zones. The medical community is still waiting for justice for a Doctor to the Barrio volunteer, Dreyfuss Perlas, who was shot dead by still unknown assailants last March 1 while serving in Lanao del Norte.

If the government shoulders the schooling expenses of deserving medical scholars, the nation may be assured of a steady supply of physicians, even if the beneficiaries leave the DOH after a mandatory four-year service. The government may then have at least one doctor for every municipality, with the scholars encouraged to serve in their hometowns.

Health experts estimate that the country currently faces a shortage of 60,000 doctors. This means six out of every 10 Filipinos die without seeing a doctor. This need not be the case. The government is recruiting more police and military personnel. Why not boost resources to produce and recruit more doctors?

Philippines: Incoming Philippines National Police Chief Raises “Bounty” For Drug Lords

June 9, 2016


By Trishia Billones, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Jun 09 2016 11:08 AM | Updated as of Jun 09 2016 12:28 PM

“Bring it on.” This is Chief Superintendent and incoming national police chief Ronald “Bato” Dela Rosa’s challenge to drug lords who have allegedly offered 50-million-peso bounties for his head and that of President-elect Rodrigo Duterte.

Dela Rosa, the incoming Philippines National Police chief, said the bounties were raised from the previous P10 million.

Incoming Philippines National Police chief, Ronald dela Rosa is called “Bato” (the Rock) for his solid build. JAYMEE T. GAMIL

“As of yesterday, they increased the bounty to P50 million. P50 million for Mayor Duterte, P50 million for me. In-increase nila dahil nahirapan daw silang maghanap ng takers. No takers sa P10 million, so in-increase nila to 50 million,” he told ANC’s Headstart.

“Bring it on, really. Bring it on. O, mas malaki, 50 million. Okay, you come. Bring it on anytime—anytime of the day, any place. Bring it on,” he added.

Dela Rosa said the PNP has already identified big-time drug lords allegedly offering the bounties. He said law enforcers are already planning their next moves against these criminals.

“Kahit na hindi sila mag-death threat sa akin, may action talaga kaming gagawin sa kanila. Dahil sa atraso nila sa drugs, may aksyon talaga kaming gagawin,” he said.

READ: How Duterte’s ‘Rock’ plans to crush crime

Dela Rosa, 54, said that once he is PNP chief, he will start ordering the relief of majority of police regional directors.

Susuriin namin ang ad na ito upang mapabuti ang iyong karanasan sa hinaharap.
Tulungan kaming magpakita sa iyo ng mas mahusay na mga ad sa pamamagitan ng pag-update sa iyong mga setting ng ad.


“Sa regional directors, halos lahat. There are 18 regional directors. Sa tinitignan ko ngayong listahan, baka isa, dalawa, tatlo ang maiiwan. All the rest will be papalitan talaga,” he said.

The incoming regional directors then will be mandated to deliver peace and security to the people within three months.

“It can be a very violent war; it can be a bloody war,” he said.

Dela Rosa said the drug lords they have to take down are moneyed and they flaunt it by buying out the services of the police, media, fiscals, judges, and prison officials.

“Literally, mababayaran nila ‘yan dahil sa pera nila. So they won’t give up just like that kung papasok tayo. They have to fight it out with us. Kung ganun, talagang we expect fireworks,” he said.


Dela Rosa headed the Davao police from January 2012 to October 2013, and is credited for the Oplan Tuktok-Hangyo, where policemen knock on the homes of suspected criminals and warn them to stop their illegal activities.

He said Duterte wants to expand Oplan TukHang to the national level to address the small-time drug offenders.

The incoming PNP chief said they will take a different approach when dealing with the “bigger fishes” as they partner up with the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) and the PNP Anti-Illegal Drugs Group (AIDG).

“Iba yung approach dito sa taas, iba yung sa ilalim. So double-barrel approach,” he said.

Dela Rosa admitted eradicating all crime in the Philippines is impossible but noted that he wants to reduce crime to the “lowest level.”

“What I mean by lowest level, kami sa PNP, meron kaming gagawing target setting na kailangan within this period of time, you have to achieve these targets. If not, then papalitan ko yung commander,” he said.

He also admitted that taking on the PNP post would mean some of his Philippine Military Academy upperclassmen would have missed their opportunities for the post.

“Mananalitili pa rin yung respeto ko sa kanila bilang upperclassmen. Tatawagin nila akong ‘Sir’ dahil ako ang Chief PNP; tatawagin ko ring ‘Sir’dahil sila ay aking mga upperclassmen ng PMA,” he said.

And if he finds that these upperclassmen of his are involved in the drug trade?

“Pagdating naman sa bagay na ganyan, nobody can intimidate me—kahit nga pa si George Bush, o si Clinton, o si Barack Obama, they cannot intimidate me pagdating sa law enforcement,” he said.