WE believe that the Office of the Vice President (OVP) of the Philippines is well into the right path leading to the hearts and minds of the Filipinos. What with the launching by the Vice President and the Secretary of the Department of Transportation (DOTr) the other day of the “Libreng Sakay Project” under the helm of the two offices. The free transportation ride is initially offered in Metro Manila, Cebu City, Davao City and Bacolod..

     While initially the number of buses being fielded for the project is very limited and the short hours with which the trips are to be done both in the morning and in the afternoon, still those who will have the opportunity to avail of the free ride will be able to save a lot in terms of their daily fare expenses. And we are certain that despite the limited trips many commuters will still be able to take advantage of the “Libreng Sakay.”

     This kind of project will surely be appreciated because chances are, more people can benefit from it compared to some other projects implemented in the past where only the “chosen” or “lucky” ones can avail. In other words the project is clearly pro-people especially the working class, the students and ordinary citizens.

     Hence, if the OVP and the DOTr will be able to sustain the project for a much longer period of time and perhaps even enhance the number of buses plying the routes in recipient local government units, then this can even be the possible carrier of VP Sara to where she is looking at as her final destination.


     It’s a good thing the Local Government of Davao City has taken advantage of the Brigada Eskwela in its desire to bring the anti-CoViD 19 vaccination service to as many people as possible. Yes, we got it from news reports that local vaccination teams are going to schools where there are ongoing Brigada activities to offer the vaccine to those who have yet to get the shot or its booster.

     The city is doing everything to ensure that it can help in the over-all efforts to reach the maximum number of vaccinated individuals in the country. It also wanted to make sure that local residents will already be protected from possible CoViD infection when there will be convergence of a lot of people in the city in the duration of the Kadayawan Festival this month. 

     In other words the local government is obviating any possibility that the Kadayawan celebration will become a super spreader of the virus which of late, has been well-managed by the city.

     With this move we’d like to give the credit first and foremost to the new Mayor who might have given due weight to the advice of health authorities, the brains behind the aggressive vaccination drive led by no less than the acting City Health Officer Dr. Ashley Lopez, and the Department of Education headed by former Mayor Sara Duterte-Carpio who is now the Vice President and concurrent Secretary of the Education Department. DepEd could not be wrong in adopting the innovations introduced in the Brigada Eskwela program.


     A friend of ours, former Regional State Prosecutor Antonio Arellano posted on Facebook some snippets on the Philippines’ inclusion in – and later departure from – the membership in the International Criminal Court (ICC).

     In his post, retired Regional Prosecutor Arellano said that “in 2011 the Senate almost unanimously ratified the Treaty that made our country a member of the ICC with only one, Sen. Juan Ponce Enrile, voting against.” He added that later during the Duterte administration when the ICC sought to investigate the reported Extra Judicial Killings or EJKs, the country’s membership was withdrawn and President BBM seems unwilling to renew the Philippines’ participation. He went on to ask: “What is your take on this?”

     Our take is that the Senators in 2011, the year that the late President Benigno Simeon Aquino III assumed office, were convinced that the country’s Judicial System was not working based on their expectation. And the seeming “breakdown” happened during the administration of President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo.  And why was there not any whimper of complaint from the ICC during the Aquino 3 regime? Our take is that the administration and its law enforcement agencies did not exert enough efforts to deter the “narcoticization” of the country because, as was discovered later, policemen from the entire echelon were found to be either protectors or personally engaged in the illegal trade.

     That was why when the Duterte administration came in the illegal drugs business in the country was already very enormous that we were on the verge of becoming a “narco state.” So Duterte launched the anti-drug war which became bloody because those whose multi-billion pesos illegal drugs businesses were affected never wanted to give even an inch of ground without a fight. And not only that, they did their own “purge” or “cleansing” which was later charged as extra-judicial killings by the Duterte government.

     And woe unto those drug dealers and small time distributors who are dispensable. They are the first to be eliminated by the “big ones” using law enforcers under their payroll. And the ICC, with the prodding of Philippine-based human rights advocates and the political opposition of course, is quick to call it as “crime against humanity.”





Source: Mindanao Times ( https://mindanaotimes.com.ph/2022/08/05/rough-cuts-22/#utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=rough-cuts-22)