Chrislam spirit in Rody’s anti-discrimination law

BY ROGER M. BALANZA

Christians and Muslims living together in peaceful co-existence in single communities is one of the missions of a local ordinance proposed by Vice Mayor Rodrigo Duterte, which would also among others make religious discrimination a crime.

CHRISTIAN AND MUSLIM women side by side in last year’s gathering for solidarity and cooperation for peace and development organized by Davao City’s Barangay Ilang headed by village chairman Romeo B. Cabling. ROGER M. BALANZA

With social justice as its main soul, Duterte’s anti-discrimination measure would prohibit housing subdivisions from denying applications by Muslims on account of their religion.

The pro-Muslim spirit stretches to opportunities for employment, with business establishments told to scratch off religion as a factor for hiring.

In the Gikan sa Masa Para sa Masa television program on Sunday on ABS/CBN, Duterte said the ordinance would address discrimination against religion, sex, employment, race and other concerns in a bid to make the playing field even for all.

Admitting that the proposed ordinance has roots in the constitutional provisions on social justice, Duterte said he expects the measure to impact on the lives of the Dabawenyos who shall be standing on equal footing with each other.

“This is going to change the entire paradigm of the city,” he said in the show co-hosted by broadcaster Leo Villareal. He said he would mass-produce draft of the proposed ordinance for public distribution, before endorsing it for consideration by the city council.

Davao City is home to five Muslim tribes—Maguindanao, Maranao, Tausug and the native Sama and Kalagan—whose representation in the local government has been institutionalized with the appointment of deputy mayors for each tribe.

Using political muscles, he installed the Davao City Council’s first Muslim councilor in Barangay Captain Amilbangsa Manding in 1992, representing the barangay, the seat now held by son councilor Paolo Duterte.

The Muslim representation in the local legislative body remains to this day with Jashera Gonzales, a Kalagan, sitting as councilor representing the youth sector. Before her, another Kalagan Halila Sudagar held the position.

City Hall also has stretched its tolerance for small Muslims traders, who have taken over side-walk vending that was once a Christian domain. RMB

 

Sara as Army lawyer?

Being promoted as a lieutenant colonel in the reserved forces of the Philippine Army’s 22nd Infantry Division does not stop with the ceremony.

Mayor Sara Duterte, who took the promotion last week in a simple ceremony at City Hall presided by Defense Secretary Voltaire Gazmin and Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) Chief-of-Staff General Ricardo David Jr., could join the Army’s legal panel.

LT. COL. MAYOR INDAY.  Mayor Sara Duterte earning the promotion in a simple ceremony at City Hall presided by Defense Secretary Voltaire Gazmin, left,  and Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) Chief-of-Staff General Ricardo David Jr. BERT TOMAS

“Being a lawyer she comes in as one of our assets in our legal outreach in the Armed Forces,” said Gazmin, adding the mayor would be as big asset to the Philippine Army.

More than the honor, Gazmin said the position bestowed by the Philippine Army also adds to the power of the city mayor.

“More than the concomitant prestige and honor her new rank brings, it accords her with added vital instrument in the exercise of her duties and functions as an elective official of our government. She has now that direct access to the doors of our armed forces on all matters affecting the protection and security needs of her citizens in this part of the country,” he said.

Duterte’s new rank is a jump away from being a captain of the reserved forces given her by AFP when she was the vice mayor.

Gazmin said her promotion is consonant with our laws by virtue of her being elected as city mayor of Davao City.”

I will serve and support the Army and the President, Dutertetold media after the ceremony, adding the Army reserve helps in delivery of socio-economic services and during disasters and other crisis situations.

Davao City mayor to meet with local rebel commanders

FOR LOCALIZED PEACE TALKS

By ROGER M. BALANZA

Mayor Sara Duterte sitting down to negotiate peace with communist leaders Ka Parago, Ka Oris and other top guns of the National Democratic Front (NDF) and the New People’s Army?

This scenario is possible as Duterte said she may take an active role in bridging talks with local rebel leaders if it could help end the 40 year old communist insurgency.

This developed as days are being counted before the Government of the Republic of the Philippines (GRP) and the NDF sit down to start new negotiations for lasting peace, with preliminary talks to be held in Malaysia and Oslo next month.

Duterte said she broached last week the idea about a face-to-face encounter with the communist leaders in a localized peace talks to Maj. Gen. Arthur Tabaquero, commander of the Eastern Mindanao Command, when the Army official paid the mayor a visit at City Hall.

Tabaquero, said Duterte, expressed support to her plan to meet with rebel leaders.

If this would materialize, the localized peace talks could possibly include Ka Parago, true name Leoncio Pitao, the head of the NPA First Pulang Bagani Command operating in the boundaries of Davao City, Davao del Norte and Bukidnon, and Ka Oris, true name Jorge Madlos, the spokesman of the NDF in Southern Mindanao, who are the famous faces of the communist movement in Southern Mindanao.

Duterte said she was elated that the military supports initiatives by local officials to backstop top level negotiations between GRP and NDF.

It is enlightening to know that the military is open to local government officials talking directly with the rebels, she said.

Duterte however said she is still clueless about the mechanics of localized peace talks or its value to the top-level peace negotiations between GRP and NDF.

The NDF earlier had frowned on local rebel leaders being lured into localized peace talks, describing it as a government ploy to split the revolutionary movement.

Duterte’s idea of meeting with the rebel leaders comes a week after her father, Vice Mayor Rodrigo Duterte, assailed the regional command of the Philippine National Police (PNP) of derailing President Benigno Aquino’s peace initiatives with the communists.

The elder Duterte scored PNP regional commander Pedro Tango for the New Year’s Day arrest of Edwin Brigano, 53, a member of the NPA, by agents of the Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (CIDG) and the Special Action Battalion while the Yuletide truce—from December 16 to January 3–between the military and the NPA was still in force.

The vice mayor said the arrest of Brigano while the Yuletide ceasefire was in effect could have destroyed confidence building initiatives by local government officials that President Aquino had encouraged.

The arrest was a slap on the face of the president, he said on television where he also threatened to stop local government aid to the local police. He said he would ask President Aquino to kick out Tango from the regional command, saying his poor judgment indicated that the police officer “had no use for the gray matter between his ears.”

“If you create a bigger problem, if you are incompetent and do not know what you are doing for the country, then you must go,” said Duterte in a message to Tango, adding the police action spoiled what could have been a perfect brew that could help local efforts leading to peace.

The Dutertes earlier before Christmas had invited Parago and other local rebels to come down from their hinterland territories to the city proper to celebrate with the Dabawenyos the City Hall-initiated Pasko Fiesta, with assurance of their safety.

Duterte said her offer to sit down with the rebels is unilateral that has yet to get a response, and would not say if she would lead the government panel in the localized peace talk.

Rody-Tango row bad for seized troopers, cops

The sad fall-out from the conflict between Vice Mayor Rodrigo Duterte and police regional director Pedro Tango would take its toll most heavily on soldiers and policemen seized by communist rebels.

The former mayor had been the New People’s Army’s favorite go-between in negotiations for release of the captives in the Davao Region, a job that Duterte would no longer take after the police arrest of a communist rebel on New Year’s Day.

In his Ato Ni Bay television program on cable television on Monday last week, Duterte said he will no longer go up the mountains to the rebel lairs to negotiate the release of abducted troopers or policemen.

And the task might as well fall on Mayor Sara Duterte, who said she would fill in the void, if her father call it quits.

Mayor Duterte, in reaction to her father’s statement, said she would be willing to meet with rebels to negotiate the release of an abducted soldier or policeman, but prayed there would be no abductions coming.

Paolo Duterte is Mindanao VP for barangay league

Barangay captain Paolo Duterte of Catalunan Grande in Davao City won unopposed as vice president for Mindanao in last week’s election of officials of the national Liga ng mga Barangay held in Metro Manila.

Paolo is the representative of Liga Davao City to the City Council.

In his speech, Paolo emphasized the need for Mindanao leaders “to push for genuine programs and projects long wanted by the people in the island, programs that reflect the need of the people.”

“We stand together as one people, one island for a strong Mindanao,” he said in Visayan.

The oth officers are reelected national president Rico Echiverri, executive national vice president Ramon Revilla III, secretary general Vicente Pagurayan, auditor Arsenio Kho JR., VP for Luzon Edmund Abesamis, and VP for Visayas Janeda Salceda.

In relared development, Duterte said he wants to set up a legal and medical assistance center for barangay captains in Davao City.

Duterte said many barangay leaders are apprehensive in the execution of laws in their areas because of the financial and legal constraints should anyone file a complaint against them in the exercise of the duties.

“The barangay leaders are often forced to loan or mortgage their properties in facing charges because no government resources can support them. That’s why I decided to set up a common fund for the purpose,” Duterte said.

He said the funds will also help the medical needs of barangay captains. EDITHA CADUAYA

No Favor Nor Fear