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The Realist President

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First day implementation of the experimental traffic’s first phase was observed fruitful. Traffic flowed freely. The scheme calls for one way-streets, covering west coast-plying vehicles. The implementation started 7 a.m. to end at 8 p.m. from Monday to Friday, excluding holidays. With the experimental traffic scheme in place, mandated under Executive Order 250, the truck ban in Baliwasan area will also be lifted.

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P/Sup Ariel Huesca, Police Station 11 Chief scores again, arresting seven clearly shameless individuals, engaging in a pot session at a storage area of the Mercedes-bound passenger jeepneys, along Cervantes Street Zone IV, and at almost high noon.

Imagine that. Unabashed, really. And to think one is them is an Uro - middle name of SS.

Huesca said the arrest came, following a tip from an informant.

Recovered were illegal drugs paraphernalia and an emptied small-size plastic sachet of suspected methamphetamine chloride or locally known as “shabu.” He said the suspects are detained at the Police Station 11 headquarters pending preparation of corresponding charges against them.

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President Duterte vows for a sustained war on drugs, that will be “brutal.”

Thus, declared the president shrugging off an impeachment complaint and threats to bring him before the International Criminal Court (ICC) for summary killings.

In a press conference at the Davao International Airport yesterday before leaving for Myanmar and Thailand on official visits, Duterte was quoted saying, “Listen to me: I will deliver my promises even if it will cost me my life, my honor and the presidency. I can let these go, but I will comply with my promise,” he pointed out.

“The drive against corruption, the drive against criminality and drugs will resume and it will continue and it will be brutal… Suppression includes all,” he added.

“… I will not be intimidated or I shall not be stopped by just, what – an International  Criminal Court? Impeachment?”

He again threatened drug lords, operators, suspects and users to stop their illegal acts or face the consequences.

As of 6 a.m. yesterday, 34 were already killed in only 11 days after the Philippine National Police (PNP) launched the renewed drug war “Oplan Double Barrel Reloaded,” overriding the PNP chief Director General Ronald dela Rosa promise for it to be less bloody and more humane.

Meanwhile, the President told the European Parliament last night to stop meddling in Philippine affairs.

He said he couldn’t accept that the European Parliament is imposing its ways into the country when there are differences in cultures.

Duterte also slammed European Union special rapporteurs appealing to the government to prevent the return of death penalty in the country.

“Itong mga buwang na ito (these crazy people), why are you trying to impose on us? Why don’t you mind your business?” Duterte said. “Why don’t (do) you have to fuck with us…God damn it!”

Duterte, who had called the EU “fools” in the past, again spewed expletives for issuing a resolution against his drug war.

The President questioned the EU for recommending that those hooked on shabu be given shabu in a center, the same way, for those addicted to marijuana and cocaine.

Ha! That is crazy. The EU is asking Duterte to throw the proverbial turtle into the river. Free chow pa (Illegal drugs.) Cracked indeed them guys.

Duterte also denied having a hand in moves of his allies in the House of Representatives to impeach Vice President Leni Robredo after she sent a video message to the United Nations, criticizing the summary killings in Duterte’s drug war.

As to Duterte’s impeachment, his party, Partido Demokratiko-Lakas ng Bayan (PDP-Laban), and its allies will counter the impeachment case against Duterte by securing at least 100 signatures for the impeachment of Robredo.

Benito Ranque, PDP-Laban deputy secretary general, “We will give the Magdalo party-list group a dose of their own medicine... It will be a choice between the Vice President and President,” he said.

A group of volunteer lawyers is now preparing the articles of impeachment against Robredo when Congress resumes session on May 2.

Malacañang is leaving it up to the House leadership to determine the credibility of the impeachment against the President and Vice President.

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National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) director general Ernesto Pernia and Vice Minister of Commerce Fu Ziying on Friday, inked a six-year Philippines-China trade and economic development program.

Vice Minister Fu and Chinese Vice Premier Wang Yang were in Davao City for a four-day visit and met with some of the cabinet officials of President Rodrigo R. Duterte, including Secs. of Finance, Carlos Dominguez III; Budget, Benjamin Diokno; Transportation, Arthur Tugade; and NEDA Director General Pernia.

Aside from the trade and economic development agreement, the two countries agreed to undertake feasibility studies for the first two of nine projects, the construction of the Panay-Guimaras-Negros Bridges Project and the Davao City Expressway Project, in line with China’s grant of assistance worth $91 million.

The visit of the Chinese diplomats in the city was welcomed by the business community here, who said they expect more opportunities to follow up for investment, trade, and commerce for the city of Davao.

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Barring more major setbacks on the ground, Philippine Government (GRP) Peace Panel Chairman Silvestre Bello said he was confident that a final peace agreement with Communist insurgents could be forged by August this year.

Last Friday, Bello said that a major factor that could lead to the signing of the historic agreement, to bring an end 48 years of armed conflict, would be the finalization of a Comprehensive Agreement on Socio-Economic Reforms (CASER).

And if discussions on the CASER could proceed as planned in the next round of formal talks in The Netherlands from April 1 to 7, this vital agreement could be signed by the end of June, according to Bello.

The CASER covers such sensitive issues like genuine land reform, and independent foreign policy, and national industrialization.

National Democratic Front (NDF) Peace Panel senior adviser Luis Jalandoni had earlier

Optimism runs high for President Rodrigo Duterte about the future relations of the Philippines and the United States.

“I think we’re headed to something…an understanding platform for both countries,” President Duterte told reporters in an interview following his arrival in Myanmar for a short official visit.

A major part of this optimism arises from the fact that, according to Duterte, US President Donald Trump is a “realist.”

“He does not engage in theories,” said the President in describing his American counterpart. “Even in the matter of human rights, he takes into account everything.”

Philippine-US relations had gone sour after Washington began criticizing President Duterte’s campaign against illegal drugs last year.

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President Rodrigo Duterte is a realist, admitting on Sunday he could not stop China from building on a disputed shoal near the Philippine west coast because it was too powerful, “We cannot stop China from doing those things. Even the Americans could not stop them.”

“What do you want me to do? Declare war against China? I can’t. We will lose all our military and policemen tomorrow and we (will be) a destroyed nation.”

Mr. Duterte said he would tell the Chinese: “Just keep it (the waters) open and do not interfere with our Coast Guard.”

On that, America bared it fangs, boldly declaring, it will not allow anyone to block our fleet from navigating in the waters in the South China (West Philippine) Sea that China claims to be theirs.

However, analysts warned that China’s building on Panatag Shoal would radically change the situation since it is just 230 kilometers (143 miles) from Luzon.

Outposts on the shoal would put Chinese jet fighters and missiles within easy striking distance of military bases in the Philippines, some of which could host US troops.

The shoal also commands the northeast exit of the sea, so a Chinese military outpost there could stop other countries’ navies from using the waters.




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