Emergency powers for President only for traffic? PDF Print E-mail
Wednesday, 27 July 2016 15:48

Table Talk

BY Mike S Apostol

There were three very important matters for the Filipinos, among others, announced by President Rodrigo Duterte in his State of the Nation Address (SONA). Although delivered informally, the President’s original and unique style in public speaking, the message to Congress was very, very clear and heard throughout the country. First, the President, requested Congress to grant him emergency powers to address the worsening traffic problem in Metro Manila. Second, a unilateral laying down of arms and ceasefire and immediately, between the Armed Forces and the New People’s Army (NPA) of the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) and third, his request to Congress of the Philippines to approve the bill for the creation of the Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL) minus the contentious unconstitutional provisions.

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These three pronouncements actually affect the country except for the BBL, which is the “Sword of Damocles” of many Mindanaoans, both peaceful Christians and Muslims. It is a clash of many issues. The historical errors and alleged injustices committed by leaders of the past. Religious beliefs and the general perception of animosity and mistrust, as among many causes.

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Emergency powers to solve traffic is more on the urgent release of infrastructures without the delays of government processing procedures and to the legal aspects that cause delays on road projects like widening and demolition of road obstructions. Emergency powers are needed to fast track needed traffic innovations.

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A unilateral ceasefire between the AFP and the CPP/NPA will ensure the immediate halting of the decades-old conflict. However, this will only be successful and effective if the ceasefire is done with sincerity from all factions. The AFP and CPP/NPA will police their ranks without need of monitoring by a third party. Numerous ceasefires have already been implemented in the past, but only during holidays and special occasions and more often than not, it did not last long because of insincerity from both sides.

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There should be a general emergency powers for the President on these pronouncements, as a “check process” and for immediate remedial measures should one faction violate the condition for peace. Why did President Duterte singled out the CPP/NPA for a unilateral ceasefire and did not include the warring factions of MILF and MNLF for the ceasefire and disarmament? The BBL even without the Constitutional violations is not a total guarantee for a lasting peace in Mindanao, for as long as they are armed to the teeth.

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A shift to federalism in the country will work if all Filipinos are literate and educated and understand how the system of government work. It will never be successful if one group thinks only of their regional interest and believes that federalism is like independence, where a Federal region is allowed by the federal government to implement their own set of laws. This is the danger that most learned citizens of the country are wary about. There must be a “clean-cut “ government policy on federalism and not only the distribution of the country’s wealth and resources.France’s  federal-presidential system of government has its flaws. It has a serious problem on the abuses of immigrants mostly from the Middle East.

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Scoop: The death penalty must be reinstated in the Philippines as a deterrence to heinous crimes and hardened criminals. Government should have total control on public order. Do you believe in the religious saying of “a tooth for a tooth and an eye for an eye”? This is what we need. Agree or dosagree.