Senate Committee of the Whole Hearing on Tongpats, Food Security and ASF

Mr. Senate President and Chairman of the Committee of the Whole,

I could not think of an act more cruel than beating to death somebody who is already dying. Such is the fate of our 80,000 local backyard hog raisers – sa kamay ng dapat sana ay ang kanilang pangunahing tagakalinga, ang Kagawaran ng Agrikultura, after their plea was ignored with the signing of Executive Order No. 128 series of 2021 last Wednesday.

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Araw ng Kagitingan 2021

Isang pagpupugay sa ating mga frontliners! Higit sa pagsalamat sa kanila, nararapat na tugunan ang kanilang pangangailangan, para sa ikabubuti ng ating bayan.

On Sen. Drilon’s Suggestion for a Special Session to Pass Bayanihan 3

While the intention may be good, let us first take a serious look at the situation. Since the Department of Budget and Management already said that the government coffers have dried up, hence funds are no longer available, the bigger question remains: Can we still afford more borrowings intended for dole-outs instead of for other productive purposes to boost our economy? The last thing we need is ending up in a ‘Sisyphean’ situation.

Our best option is to have a sense of urgency and allow the private sector more participation with better flexibility in the vaccination program – true to the government’s ‘whole-of-nation approach’ theme, which is turning out to be mere platitude and lip service.

Then, if we really need to pass Bayanihan 3, the national and local governments must first get their act together to update the data on the intended recipients of the social amelioration program since what the Department of Social Welfare and Development is using is a five-year-old list that is already out of date – hence real-time needs and priorities are not being properly addressed, not to mention the corruption involved in the distribution of such dole-outs because of such a defective list.

*****

On Diplomatic Protests against Repeated Chinese Incursions

Diplomatic protests may not be too helpful anymore as China continues to ignore the same. Further, while it is a standard document used to call the attention of the other party, China’s consistent attitude of taking for granted such action taken by the DFA reduces it to a mere point of information.

That said, perhaps China would not be so dismissive if we and our allies, both in the Asia-Pacific and the west, show we can band together to maintain a balance of power in the region, including the West Philippine Sea.

*****

On the Continued Presence of Chinese Ships at Julian Felipe Reef

Filipinos should stand foursquare behind DND Secretary Delfin Lorenzana for making known his strong position in defending our country’s sovereign rights over the Whitsun Reef (Julian Felipe Reef) – and before that, the Mischief Reef, occupied by the Chinese during the period 1994-1995 and the Scarborough Shoal, which China cordoned off in 2012. All these have legal basis under the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea and the existing arbitral ruling in our favor.

A sad reality is that while the ruling is permanent, it is unenforceable. The situation is made worse when our country’s leaders and foreign policy decision makers resort to acquiesce bordering on implied derogation of our sovereignty.

Even amid this pandemic, such “health crisis opportunism” being applied by China does not speak well of the assumed trust and goodwill between the two Asian allies. That said, our country is losing tens of billions of pesos a year in “stolen” aquatic resources, not to mention the wanton destruction of corals within our Exclusive Economic Zone that threatens our food security.

The fact that we are a militarily weak country that cannot match China’s military power should compel us to resort to establishing stronger alliances not only with other Asia-Pacific neighbors like Australia and Japan and the other ASEAN countries, but our long-standing western allies like the US and Europe.

Only through a clear message that the presence of “balance of power” in the West Philippine Sea can help us in this regard.

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On the President’s Allowing the Private Sector to Import COVID-19 Vaccines ‘At Will’

I would say, it is the President’s best birthday gift to himself.

The next challenge, however, is compliance to his instructions by the concerned health authorities – including how long it will take to approve the applications to import their vaccines under the existing tripartite agreement. Then there’s the availability of vaccines in the world market, not to mention the time lag between booking and actual deliveries of the vaccines.

Had the order been issued at the time when the private sector was clamoring to be allowed to procure their own vaccines, subject to the usual existing regulations and protocols issued by the World Health Organization, by now the country would likely have been vaccinating en masse and nearing herd immunity, thanks in large part to the private sector.

As I had repeatedly suggested in the past, in a time of crisis, government should look at the private sector as partners rather than competitors. Unfortunately, some of those in charge of handling the pandemic do not think the same way as most of us do.

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Litratong Pumoporma sa 2022, Pinalagan ni Ping

Pinakilos na ni Senador Panfilo Lacson ang kanyang mga tauhan para malantad ang mga nasa likod ng pagkalat ng litratong nagtataglay ng mensaheng pomoporma at namumulitika siya para sa 2022 elections.

Ang litratong tinutukoy ni Lacson ay nakasalut ang pangalang “PING” na nilagyan ng kahulugan na “Pangulong Iaayos Na muli ang Gobyerno.”

“It is a dirty hatchet job, to put it mildly – being circulated at a time when some propagandists, with the aid of troll farms, are accusing me of politicking by criticizing the handling of the pandemic,” seryosong pahayag ng senador.

“Now comes this photo to make it appear that I’m really politicizing the situation – and nothing can be further from the truth,” dagdag ng mambabatas.

Related: Dirty Hatchet Job: Lacson Slams Malicious Photo on Social Media
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Dirty Hatchet Job: Lacson Slams Malicious Photo on Social Media

Sen. Panfilo M. Lacson slammed Thursday evening a malicious photo posted on social media that insinuated he is posturing for the 2022 elections.

Lacson said he has instructed his staff to identify those responsible for the malicious circulation of his photo with the caption “P-angulong I-aayos N-a muli ang G-obyerno,” and to uncover those behind the manipulated photo, which his office has already reported to Facebook as it is unauthorized.

“It is a dirty hatchet job, to put it mildly – being circulated at a time when some propagandists, with the aid of troll farms, are accusing me of politicking by criticizing the handling of the pandemic,” he said.

“Now comes this photo to make it appear that I’m really politicizing the situation – and nothing can be further from the truth,” he added.

Related: Litratong Pumoporma sa 2022, Pinalagan ni Ping
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Si Ping at native na manok [Abante Tonite]

From Carlito Evangelista’s column in Abante Tonite: Kaya nga ba kumikilos na din si Ping para malaman ang katotohanan sa likod ng pagbaha ng imported na karne sa bansa, lalo na ang manok at baboy.

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Sponsorship Speech for 5 Ambassadors, 51 Senior DFA Officers at the Commission on Appointments

Mr. Chairman, distinguished members of the Commission on Appointments, this Representation as Chairman of the Committee on Foreign Affairs, presided over a public hearing this morning to deliberate on the nominations of five (5) Ambassadors Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary.

The Committee likewise deliberated on the ad interim appointments of fifty-one (51) Senior Officers of the Department of Foreign Affairs consisting of six (6) Senior Officials who are promoted to the rank of Chief of Mission, Class I; ten (10) Senior Officials promoted to the rank of Chief of Mission, Class II; ten (10) Senior Officials promoted to the rank of Career Minister; and, twenty-five (25) Senior Officials promoted to the rank of Foreign Service Officer, Class I.

Your Committee, after deliberating on their qualifications and fitness during the public hearing, determined that they are fit and qualified to be in the posts where they are nominated and appointed, and therefore ruled to recommend to the plenary their appointments for the consent and approval of this body.

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