WATCH: DENR Sec. Gen. Roy Cimatu addresses foreign business leaders

IN FOCUS: General Roy Cimatu, DENR Secretary
15 June 2017, Makati Shangri-la

TALKING POINTS:
1. Joint Crediting Mechanism (JCM) between Japan & the Philippines
2. Environmental Clearances for Investors
3. Waste to Energy Projects through the aid of foreign countries
4. Water Security through DENR’s National Water Security Roadmap
5. Developments in the Philippine Mining Industry and the new fiscal regime

 

JOINT FOREIGN CHAMBER MEETING:
European Chamber of Commerce (ECCP)
Australian-New Zealand Chamber of Commerce (ANZCHAM)
American Chamber of Commerce (AMCHAM)
Canadian Chamber of Commerce (CANCHAM)

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All rights reserved © Maria Paula Tolentino

Why Margaux (Mocha) Uson has my support

11 May 2017 – Among the many appointees of PRRD, Margaux ‘Mocha’ Uson is one of those controversial people in the Duterte team I would like to see kicked out. For the longest time, I have questioned (and even scorned) her presence in Malacanang.

Now that she is officially part of the team, instead of annoyance, I have become immensely curious as to her background and I am glad I followed that curiosity. There is so much more to this woman than meets the eye.

Uson may not be as eloquent, politically-correct and diplomatic as the rest of us, but similar to PRRD, she is plain spoken and straightforward. Despite the rough edges, I believe there is genuine character within that appalling faux-leather jacket she always wears. (Come on Mocha, it’s the middle of the Philippine summer!)

She maybe a feminist’s worst nightmare (with her connection to the entertainment industry as a sexy dancer while branding herself as a sex therapist to her many (male) online followers), but what is intriguing about her is the unresolved murder of her father, Judge Oscar Uson of Pangasinan.

Like any grieving daughter, Uson wants justice. Justice that has fallen on deaf ears since President Arroyo’s term, right until Rodrigo Duterte came along. In her unsophisticated mind, she believes that a man like Duterte can end criminality in this country. Her faith on such a man is endearing, and her only redeeming quality, despite the sexy image. To a certain degree, she has come to represent the common Filipino who thirsts for justice. It is through her fervor to support Duterte that she may actually give voice to the typical Juan, and eventually, reach a government that has long ignored the plight of the poor.

However, may I caution the lovely lady who holds such a critical role in our government: man is capricious and changeable. No man is perfect and that includes Mr. Duterte (and his cabinet). Supporting a particular person’s cause is completely different from blind worship. Margaux, I hope you find that balance between effective public service and painting a true picture of our current government. Your communications role is pivotal in helping shape a free press this country is staunchly known for.

As far as her salary goes, and I want this made perfectly clear, money shouldn’t even be an issue! In this day and age, why is the woman’s salary even being questioned in the first place? Why is her salary being made public when salaries like Martin Andanar’s isn’t? It’s appalling how the media and netizens would stir so much controversy about her salary yet don’t extend the same treatment to her male colleagues.

Being a taxpayer, I have no qualms of giving Mocha a part of that tax money – on the caveat that she does her job honestly and well. And given that argument, I expect the same kind of work ethic from Andanar, et al., An honest public servant who works hard should fit the salary they receive, regardless of gender.

For the time being, I am reserving my judgements and let Margaux prove herself. The sexy starlet Mocha Uson is gone. I look forward to what Margaux Uson, the woman, has to contribute to our country’s public affairs.

-end-

First journalist killed under Pres. Duterte

This post is dedicated to slain journalist Larry Que. All content is from the International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) and its affiliate the National Union of Journalists of the Philippines (NUJP). Photo courtesy of Manila Bulletin.

larry-que-manila-bulletin

Slain Journalist & Columnist Larry Que. Photo courtesy of Manila Bulletin.

The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) joins its affiliate the National Union of Journalists of the Philippines (NUJP) in deploring the brutal murder of Philippine journalist and columnist Larry Que on Monday December 19, 2016. The IFJ and NUJP demand the Presidential Task Force on Violations of the Right to Life, Liberty and Security of the Members of the Media, to immediately investigate the murder.

On Monday, Larry Que, the new publisher of Catadunanes News Now was shot in the head as he was entering his offices, in Virac, Catadunanes, in central Philippines. He died from his injuries early on Tuesday morning in hospital. Que’s murder came after he published his column, which criticised local officials and their alleged negligence in allowing the setting up on the island-province of a recently raided shabu laboratory that authorities claimed was the “biggest” so far discovered in the country.

According to the NUJP, a second journalist, broadcaster Jinky Tabor, who was a witness to the raids that discovered the lab has also received death threats.

In a statement NUJP secretary general Dabet Panelo said: “We call on this administration to walk the talk and prove its professed respect for press freedom, not only by quickly solving these brazen assaults on press freedom but, just as importantly, by ending its penchant of falsely blaming media for deliberately misinterpreting its often inconsistent and incoherent messages and instead working on making its communications crystal-clear.”

IFJ general secretary, Anthony Bellanger, said: “”We deplore the brutal murder of Larry Que in the Philippines yesterday. Que’s murder demonstrates the increasing challenges that journalists in the Philippines face reporting on drugs. Action needs to be taken by the Duterte administration to guarantee the safety and security of the media across the country, and work to strengthen the freedom of the press to report on stories of public interest.”

Larry Que is the first journalist killed in the Philippines under the new Duterte administration, however the Philippines remains one of the deadliest countries for journalists worldwide. According to IFJ research since 1990 more than 145 journalists have been killed in the Philippines.

For the full story, please download the official press release from the IFJ – ifj-first-journo-killed-under-duterte

Davao Bombing: The First of Many

We have forgotten: there are no winners in war.

The recent bombing in Davao city is a direct attack on the Duterte Administration with the Filipino people as its biggest casualties.

The campaign to cleanse the Philippine system of drugs, oligarchy, and terrorism may be what this country needs but such an approach comes with a price. More often than not, it comes in the form of disunity and the loss of human life.

This attack is a hard slap on the face of Duterte who, prior to winning the 2016 Presidential elections, superbly championed Davao as his showcase city for good governance. What once was an inviolable and safe city is now marred with death and fear. It is no longer the Davao it once was (and it may never be again). This a direct assault on the President’s reliability and credibility as the tough-talking mayor who once made Davao the envy of the whole archipelago.

With the President’s hard lining fight against drugs and name-shame campaign, the violent groups responsible for this bombing are only getting started. They will not stop unless the President gives in (which out of pride, ego or plain narcissism, may never happen). But we forget that in the middle of this war, the biggest losers and the biggest casualties are the Filipinos.

This country is now living in very dangerous times. And we still choose not to see and hear the repercussions of his bull-headed decisions. The 16M Filipinos has chosen a leader, who himself, espouses violence so why should anyone be spared from the barrel of the gun?

The country will continue to live in fear, trepidation and insecurity as long as we have a President who refuses to acknowledge the error of his judgments.

It has now come to a point wherein Rodrigo Duterte is not only a danger to himself but also to his fellow Filipinos.

****

Being the first Mindanawon President to sit in Malacañang, it is not surprising if the lenses of our nation are now refocused on the most culturally diverse island of the Philippines. A ‘land of promise’, this potential cannot be realized until the peace and security issues are addressed.

Security researcher specializing in the Middle East, Gregory Wyatt says that if the peace process is stalled, there will be continued radicalization with a huge potential for sectarian violence targeting innocent civilians either as a tactic borrowed from ISIS or violence against Muslims justified with the specter of ISIS.

For the full story, turn to page 28-30 Issue 3 of the Philippine Resources Journal.

 

Mining Pro Murdered: Social Media’s Role

With what happened to the recent murder of a colleague in the industry, this story in particular, hit too close to home. Similar to those who are actively engaged in social media, I am tempted to share such news on my various social media accounts. However, there were a couple of things that stopped me.

Ethics. Sensitivity. Respect.

I am deeply saddened by his death, and condemn the murderers who are responsible. However, if I share such sentiments, what good will it bring? Will it bring back his life? Will it give the man and his family peace?

Ethics.

As a media professional, news like this are DELICIOUS. And as human beings, we are wired to share, share, share. If you’ve had the privilege to work with, or were close to the victim, more so the appeal of sharing it on your Facebook walls. It takes a lot of self control, discretion and strength to NOT SHARE. It may get attention, but give it a few months, his case will be shelved.

The question to ask oneself: What is your purpose of sharing such information? What good will sharing such an information bring your audience/readers? It all boils down to intent.

Sensitivity.

The horrors of terrorism which include rape, extortion and murder are far, far too real, especially in this industry we all call home. Such horrors shouldn’t be taken lightly, nor carelessly shared on social media. By sharing news of his beheading and posting pictures of such a violent crime, will only encourage more acts of terrorism. You may actually be making another insurgent/terrorist happy by sharing his “masterpiece”. Balance the public’s need for information against potential harm.

Respect.

Realize that private people have a greater right to control information about themselves than public figures. Weigh the consequences of publishing or broadcasting personal information. The man murdered was a private individual. He no longer has the power to say no. Respect that.

With his decapitation, the images are next to useless, creating a culture of indifference. The “viral” sharing risks a sense of emptiness, creating a “numbing” effect, to shock without informing, to feed a form of slacktivism (a kind of “armchair” activism, which does not require great effort or commitment and involvement).

“I published a post, shared a photo, etc. I am at peace with my conscience, I received my amount of likes, and now we can go on with the photos of the vacation or the comments on the football match.” It is good to know that in a context such as this someone has decided to become the custodian of the awakening of consciences (again, this is the most popular explanation among those who choose to share). Or is it subtly to glorify oneself?

But the question to be asked here: will there be any concrete positive effects?

One thing is certain: if one really needs a gallery of dead bodies to become aware of the human suffering that exists around us, then we have a big problem. It can be risky in the long run to convince ourselves of the need to use death for a purpose (no matter if it sensitizes, informs, sells, etc.). There is a risk of addiction. Think of the hundreds of newspapers with photos of decapitated people? It’s entertainment.

We cannot ignore the banality of the horror included in the “save image” and “share” command. Don’t you think we’ve had enough of the panic, fear and intimidation these terrorists have sown in our senses? The buck should stop with us. Avoid pandering to lurid curiosity, even if others do.

I long for common decency, respect and humanity. Rest in peace John. May you be the last in this industry.

For more information about this post, please see my references:
Journalist’s Code of Ethics
Ethics of Sharing in Social Media 
Social Media Curbs or Promotes Terrorism and Violence 
To share or not to share