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Death Penalty on Ash Wednesday

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The City Administrator’s Office, in coordination with the Zamboanga City Police Office (ZCPO), is conducting an intensified implementation of the city's Revised Traffic Code. City Administrator Marie Angelique Go said the implementation focuses on the parking regulations to ease the flow of traffic and maintain order especially at the central business district.

Under the traffic code’s parking regulations, no parking or stopping, loading and unloading, shall be allowed on the side of the street immediately fronting the gates and entrances to public buildings, schools, churches, hospitals, theaters, banks, military camps, private driveways and other similar establishments used for public gatherings. Vehicles are likewise not allowed to park on any designated pedestrian lane, within five meters from fire hydrants, within six meters from any intersection or street corners, and on any approaches to bridges as defined in the ordinance. Go announced that a public consultation has been scheduled at 1:30 p.m., Friday, March 3 at City Hall Conference Room regarding the proposed “one way” street scheme.

Repeat – “… implementation focuses on the parking regulations to ease the flow of traffic and maintain order especially at the central business district.”

That is a very specific mandate - “…focus(es) on the parking regulations…”

But it seems, folks, that is not the focus of the enforcers. From what WS observes, concentration is centered on helmet use.

Oh, gosh… Do we repeat our disappointment on such a law that is forced down our throat just because it an edict, no matter how foolishly enacted - a law that, except for on highways, does serve its purpose on the narrow busy streets of the city.

Citing a few, that helmet law is disregarded in the cities of Pagadian, Dipolog, Ozamis and seems so, too, in Cagayan de Oro.

Only in Zambonga City...

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Mayor Maria Isabelle Climaco-Salazar motu propio declares support at a 101 percent level, the revival of the centuries old business practice and a tourist attraction in Zamboanga City - barter trading. “Barter trading is a big boost to our economy. Tourists and visitors coming over will never miss going to the barter trade (center) where they can buy imported goods at cheaper prices,” she said.

Salazar said barter trading will also bring about more livelihood and even job opportunities for the people of the city. Bureau of Customs Commissioner Nicanor Faeldon announced during his visit to the city last week that he was instructed by President Rodrigo Duterte to study the possibility of reviving the age-old barter trading in this part of the country.

And he urged local business to revive the barter trade, believing that it will suppress smuggling of goods from neighboring countries like Malaysia and Indonesia.

Zamboanga City was the center of barter trading among Chinese, Malays and the native Tausugs, Samals, Subanons, and the Badjaos as early as the 13th and 14th centuries.

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No hard feelings, Sen. Ralph G. Recto, grandson of nationalist Senator Claro M. Recto and the lone survivor of the Senate purge last Monday tells his colleagues in the Liberal Party (LP) as their differing positions on certain matters turned full circle due to the Senate revamp.

Recto was voted by 17 members of the 24-man Upper House as Senate President Pro Tempore replacing Sen. Franklin M. Drilon, a former Senate President and LP vice chairman.

The pro-Duterte senators felt that their erstwhile LP allies were proving to be thorns. Their divergent concerns include the controversial extrajudicial killings (EJKs), the Davao Death Squad (DDS), Marcos burial, death penalty bill, corruption at the Bureau of Immigration (BI) and lowering of the age of criminal liability of minors.

In one decisive motion in last Monday’s plenary session presided by Senate President Aquilino Pimentel III, Pacquiao knocked four of the five LP senators out of the coalition, apart from  ally Risa Hontiveros.

Recto, 53, is one of the five LP senators in the Senate. He had aligned himself with the pro-Duterte senators led by Pimentel, president of PDP-Laban party where Duterte is a party member.

Aside from Recto and Drilon, the other LP members in the Senate are Francis Pangilinan, LP president; Paolo Benigno Aquino IV; and Leila de Lima.

But Recto, who was pulled out as Senate Minority Leader and made Senate President Pro Tempore, maintained he is still an LP member but on “purely legislative’’ reasons.

Recto explained, he accepted the post of Senate President Pro Tempore to help craft the legislative agenda of the Senate as minority leader – to be in a better position to fiscalize.

Justifying further his shift, he said, “I have no problems with my colleagues in the minority or with members of the LP. Remember ha, I was Minority Leader and they were majority. Now I’m in the majority. (And) They are now in the minority. No hard feelings.’’ he said.

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Averring the Philippine National Police (PNP) does not want the anti-drug operations to be bloody, the PNP command cannot guarantee that the resumption of “Oplan Tokhang” will be less bloody, PNP chief Director General Ronald dela Rosa said yesterday.

“A bloody campaign is unavoidable as drug traffickers do not give up easily. People involved in the illegal drug trade will not leave a billion-peso industry without a fight,” Dela Rosa explained.

“If they want it to be bloody, we will give it to them. But if they do not endanger the lives of our operatives, then why would it be bloody?” he said.

Before the suspension of the war on illegal drugs, over 7,000 people had been killed either in police operations or at the hands of vigilantes.

That’s very well laid down, Chief, for WS agrees, police operations that result in deaths are often due to the resistance of drug suspects, not wanting to part with their huge profits.

Dela Rosa said they would form a new drug enforcement group composed of officers without record of corruption, stressing that no policeman with shady character would be involved this time.

Sen. Alan Peter Cayetano welcomed the government’s decision to step up its anti-drug war by involving efficient and honest police personnel.

He said the President’s order to relaunch the anti-drug campaign still under the supervision of the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) and backed by honest and clean police officers augurs well for the objectives he set.

He cited the PNP’s 160,000 manpower with jurisdiction down to the barangay level and PDEA’s proven tactical operations culled from focused intelligence data on drug syndicates.

“A successful anti-drug campaign will mean fewer crimes and more peaceful communities, with our families as the biggest gainers in the process,” Cayetano said.

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The House of Representatives approved on second reading the bill seeking to restore the death penalty in the country’s penal system, disregarding calls to suspend voting due to the observance of Ash Wednesday by the Catholic faithful.

In a viva voce vote registered by 229 congressmen present, the “ayes” prevailed to pass on second reading House Bill 4727.

The bill, however, as amended now covers only offenses that violate the gravest acts that are meted with life imprisonment as provided by Republic Act 9165 or the Dangerous Drugs Code.

Earlier, Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez imposed a policy to sanction House leaders who vote against the death penalty bill and is believed to neutralize the threat he perceives from former President and Pampanga Rep. Gloria Macapagal Arroyo. It was said Alvarez began to feel insecure about Arroyo, who holds the position of deputy speaker, when he had a falling out with Rep. Antonio Floirendo, the biggest campaign financier of President Rodrigo Duterte, who is said to have contributed P75 million to the Duterte, making him the biggest donor, based on a Commission on Elections report.

And it was Floirendo who also reportedly supported Alvarez’s bid to become speaker.

As of Wednesday though, there were no signs of a revamp in the House, as congressmen were busy proposing amendments to the watered-down death penalty bill.

Amid all these, Alvarez is determined to sanction the administration allies who did not toe the line, to strip them of their posts

Despite the warning, former president and Deputy Speaker Gloria Macapagal Arroyo clearly defied the directive to support the death penalty restoration, and voted against it.

Is that of an impending Floirendo-led coup? You tell...

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WS sees the New York-based Human Rights Watch (HRW) resumption of rearing its ugly head in Philippine affairs will only seek to rip apart the healing, if not already healed, relations among our country, the United States and many other nations.

The body has come up with a damaging report on the state of Philippine governance in relation to its handling of the drug menace. In the same breath, the group made equally stinging recommendations that would surely fire up our hot-head President.

It said, President Duterte and his men are criminally liable for drug war-related extrajudicial killings, which may be considered crimes against humanity.

The 124-page report claims that police are involved in so-called vigilante killings and are planting evidence in crime scenes.

It says poor communities are being terrorized by killings which appear to be “systematic.”

And the report recommends the immediate end of the war on drugs and the suspension of assistance to the Philippines by its foreign partners.

Can you beat that. Shoo..! (By Jimmy Cabato)




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