Displaying items by tag: duterte

Duterte vows to restore Marawi glory

By: Leila B. Salaverria - Reporter / @LeilasINQPhilippine Daily Inquirer 

Photo: Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte gestures while addressing Filipino Muslim leaders during a reception at the Presidential Palace to celebrate the end of the Holy Month of Ramadan known as Eid al-Fitr in Manila, Philippines Tuesday, June 27, 2017. Duterte promised to rebuild Marawi city as the siege by Muslim militants continues for over a month now.(AP Photo/Bullit Marquez)

President Rodrigo Duterte on Tuesday promised to rebuild Marawi and see to it that the city become prosperous again even as he acknowledged that the fight against the terrorists holed up there would be a long one.

Emerging from a six-day absence from the public eye to lead Eid al-Fitr celebrations in Malacañang, Mr. Duterte said he took no pleasure in winning the war and that he was hurting from the destruction and the deaths in Marawi.

“I am not happy that the Maranaos are dying. I am not happy with the hardships you are facing. I see no satisfaction even in winning the war. I just want this thing over, and these radicals and extremists out of the Muslim world,” Mr. Duterte said.


He also said he knew there would be a long battle in Marawi when he declared martial law in Mindanao from Moscow last month.

Long fight
“I knew how long it would take for us and I knew the deployment of the snipers and where they kept their arms. I already had the complete picture and I knew that would be a long fight,” Mr. Duterte said.

“But if you ask if I am happy, son of a… I am also bleeding like you,” he added.

Mr. Duterte said he had cousins who joined the Maute, one of the groups that rampaged through Marawi whose leaders had pledged allegiance to the Islamic State (IS) jihadist group in Iraq and Syria.

He vowed to end the conflict and promised to restore Marawi’s glory.

“But one thing I will promise you, my brother Moro, I will see to it that Marawi will rise as a prosperous city again,” he said.

Mr. Duterte has set aside P20 billion to rebuild the city, and said he will allocate more if necessary.

“I will rebuild Marawi because if not, I will remain forever the villain,” he said.


Mr. Duterte stressed that his administration was committed to the pursuit of peace.

“[I]t is by dedicating our lives to the betterment of humanity that we can best demonstrate our obedience and devotion to Allah,” he added.



Is Digong Duterte losing it?

This is not to insult the fans and followers of President Rodrigo ‘Digong’ Duterte, -- I am sure there are still a handful of them out there – but we really have to now ask, Is he still of sound mind?
From his latest words and actions, it would seem that the country’s chief executive is losing it. Literally, losing it.
He appears almost clueless as to what is happening in Marawi now. Mr. Duterte must be reminded that he is also commander in chief of the Armed Forces of the Philippines. His claim that he was not aware that US troops had joined the AFP in ending the crisis in Marawi is mind boggling.
He has also said in various occasions that the NPA and Nur Misuari’s MNLF should join the fray, then backtracked by saying that the underground Left should not have a part in the government’s efforts to wipe out the Maute group, which remains in control of some parts of Marawi as of this writing.
Recall that the president said the Marawi “incident” would be over by May 31 and that the Maute group was little more than a nuisance, a ragtag band that had been created by a group of drug dealers.
Not true, of course. The ISIS-linked Maute group has proven itself to be a major thorn on the side of the AFP, and driving them out of Marawi could take a few more weeks, perhaps months.
Yes, Mr. Duterte has paid tribute to the AFP’s men who have fallen in the ongoing battle for the city. He has attended their wakes and promised to help their families. This is all well and good, and is part of the job of the president. He must not only condole with the country’s fallen heroes, he must be seen by the people to be doing so.
Being commander in chief involves so much more than public perceptions though. To admit that he was not aware that foreign troops were actively engaged in the battle against homegrown terrorists means that he is no longer totally in charge of his mental facilities.
That the Marawi attack happened at all indicates that there was a failure of the intelligence community to keep tabs on what was already a known terrorist organization that was active in the area.
In the private sector, when a chief executive officer is no longer able to perform the task of running the company, the course of action to be taken is obvious. That CEO is asked to resign, or is relieved of his post if he fails to admit that he is no longer able to run the company.
Digong Duterte’s absence during this week’s Independence Day rites is yet another reason to believe that he is no longer fit for office. The poor excuse that he was “not feeling well” is lame, at best, and was an outright lie, at worst.
All he needed to do was to wake up early, head for Rizal Park, and give a short speech. He was not being asked to deliver a Gettysburg address. It was nothing more than a photo op to show the people that their president is alive and well and in control.
One day after he missed that very important event, Malacanang had the temerity to announce that the president was in excellent health and only needed some rest.
Already, there is talk that Mr. Duterte should simply be allowed to play the role of president by cutting ribbons and showing up at public events on a regular basis, while letting his Cabinet run the country as some kind of cabal whose only goal is to stay in power until the end of the president’s term.
This same cabal has already gotten used to disseminating false news and getting away with it.
As the latest proof, so-called Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre showed “evidence” that opposition senators were behind the Marawi attack by displaying an old picture of those lawmakers having lunch. After his falsehood was exposed, Aguirre was not even man enough to admit his mistake.
Meanwhile, the Palace’s spin doctors announced that the injustice sec was doing a terrific job and had the full confidence of the president.
For ordinary citizens, it can be downright scary to see a president losing control, all the while surrounded by yes men and sycophants telling him – and us – that all is well and good.
This is what it was like during dictator Ferdinand Marcos’s waning years of misrule. A sick man is the head of state and he is now lost.
Why we are back to this sorry state is difficult to fathom. But this is exactly where we are.


Duterte 'ignorant' about drugs, says neuroscientist



Columbia University neuroscientist Dr. Carl Hart hit back anew at the Duterte administration's war on drugs, calling the president "ignorant" for the latter's understanding of drugs and drug abuse.

"When you have a president making such ignorant comments about drugs (as if) he's a pharmacologist—and when society allows that? And the scientific community doesn't say it's wrong? They have much bigger problems," Hart said in an interview with PRI.org's GlobalPost.

"Duterte's ignorance is only surpassed by those who support him on this issue," he added. "He is way out of his league when he talks about drugs."

'Duterte's most abhorrent claim'

Hart, who chairs  Columbia University's Department of Psychology, challenged Duterte's claim that methamphetamine—locally called "shabu"—shrinks people's brains.

"A year or more of shabu use would shrink the brain of a person and therefore he is no longer viable for rehabilitation," Duterte said in his keynote speech at the Philippine National Police's (PNP's) 115th Police Service anniversary in August last year.

"This is the most abhorrent claim made by (Duterte). Millions of people around the world take this drug. For a variety of conditions. We don't see anyone's brain shrinking," Hart said.

Myth of shrinking brains

"We've never seen, in the methamphetamine doses humans take, any shrinking brains or destroyed brain cells. It's a ridiculous notion," he underscored.

Hart pointed out that brain shrinkage has not been seen in relation to most drugs other than alcohol—and even then, he argues, it only happened with extremely large doses and not as a direct result of the alcohol itself.

He said that with the very high doses used in lab experiments—as much as 80 times the normal dose—some brain damage can be expected, even from such a mundane drug as ibuprofen, an off-the-counter medicine used to treat fever and pain.

Medical uses of amphetamines

Hart said he is no stranger to the effects of methamphetamine on people.

"I've given out hundreds of doses of methamphetamine, approaching thousands. I've never seen anyone become violent," he said.

Hart stressed that methamphetamine is "essentially the same drug as" amphetamine, a medicine commonly and legally prescribed by doctors around the world to treat a wide variety of diseases including ADHD, depression, narcolepsy, and obesity.

"In the United States, (amphetamines are) the number one drug for attention deficit disorder—prescribed to children as young as five years old," he said.

"Amphetamines are used widely but you don't see all this violence that people are claiming. It's just a myth," Hart underscored.

Earlier brush with Duterte

This is not the first time that Hart has butted heads with the country's head of state over the drug war.

Last May, Hart flew in to give a talk on drugs and drug abuse at the University of the Philippines.

At the event, he maintained that shabu use alone does not lead to violence nor causes brain damage by itself. He also said that drug abuse should be countered by public education and alternative solutions for would-be drug abusers.

Hart's views were shared by United Nations special rapporteur Agnes Callamard, a move which prompted the Philippine president to snap back at the pair:

"She should go on a honeymoon with that black guy," Duterte said.

"They have prejudged shabu and announced—ewan ko kung scientific (or) not—(that) it is not a virulent chemical. Pagka ganon, wala na tayong pag-uusapan," he added.

Hart said that he had received death threats in the wake of his controversial talk and left the country shortly thereafter. — GMA News


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