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The UN report on drug war/ A city built by coconut

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“In l935 when President Manuel Quezon was installed as president of the newly established Philippine Commonwealth, he pleaded with President Roosevelt to help  in budget funding his new government. The year before, the US Congress passed a law (Public Act No. 127, 73rd Congress) imposing a tax on all coconut oil products that were imported by the US from the Philippines. This became known as the Coconut Oil Excise Tax. This law was passed purportedly to protect the US vegetable oil and dairy industries from the competition by coconut oil imports which could not be really mitigated due to the huge demand for coconut products.

The US Congress agreed to Roosevelt's request to return the tax collections to the Philippine government on one condition: “Not a single cent or centavo of these shall be used to develop the Philippine coconut industry.”

President Quezon after his visit to Mexico City dreamt of a new city that would become the future capital of the Philippines.

In l938 he railroaded the idea of this new city by first purchasing the 1,529 hectare Diliman Estate of the Tuason family. Then he convinced the Commonwealth National Assembly to enact Commonwealth Act 502 known as the Charter of Quezon City (originally called Balintawak City) on Oct. 12, 1939. The city later expanded to 165 square kilometers to include parts of Caloocan, Mandaluyong, Rizal and Bulacan. In creating Quezon City, President Quezon “envisioned a place where the common man will find his place with dignity.” And where did he get the funds to built and expand his dream city? From the Coconut Oil Excise Tax. It was the first coconut levy. It may have inspired the second coconut levy of the Marcos-Cojuangco partnership. The results of giving returns from the industry to the coconut farmers has them the poorest among farmers.”

On Friday, the group who set up Coconut House in the Quezon Memorial Circle will meet with Mayor Bagabaldo and the dedicated Nilo Valdecantos to discuss whether the town can have a coconut center where farmers in the surrounding areas can have a workshop, Duterte critics (primarily the Liberals and Aquino Yellow brigade) should now stop using the United Nations as their tool to bring down the President. The United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) has made its own review on the Philippines. It does not support criticisms that the Philippine president’s war on drugs is responsible for what they call “extrajudicial judicial killings.” Kit Tatad made the accusation by just pulling a figure from out of the blue. Someone should challenge him where he got the figure of 14,000 EJKs without rhyme or reason. From this invented figure he then goes on to say “it has been adopted as a state policy of the anti-narcotics campaign.”

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It does not help when Filipinos like him go out publicly with the aim to put down his own country when it is well known that the war on drugs is worldwide. The UNHRC itself, in its periodic review says so. It is a problem of the problem of the world and member-states were “coaxed to discuss human rights policies and exchange views on how to improve the global rights situation.” It is the best argument against Filipino critics using the issue for their particular political ends.

A wrong picture of the Philippine situation is being made using Western media and mindless Filipino Liberals. It was good that Foreign Affairs Secretary Alan Peter Cayetano spoke before the UNHRC to explain the situation in the Philippines.

The UN proceedings showed that the Philippines is only one of nearly 47 countries with campaign against drugs and marred by accusations of human rights violations.

The bigger UN concerns were repression of human rights workers around the globe. The Philippines was not included in the report. Countries named in the report were Algeria, Bahrain, Burundi, China, Cuba, Egypt, Eritrea, Honduras, India, Iran, Israel, Mauritania, Mexico, Morocco, Myanmar, Oman, Pakistan, Rwanda, Saudi Arabia, South Sudan, Sri Lanka, Sudan, Tajikistan, Thailand, Turkey, Turkmenistan, United Arab Emirates, Uzbekistan and Venezuela.

“Eleven of the States are current members of the Human Rights Council. Some have featured in the annual report on reprisals nearly every year since it was instituted in 2010,” according to the report.

Meanwhile Taiwan has asked this column to say that “it has never been the source of illegal drugs entering the Philippines. Rather, Taiwan is the best partner for the Philippines to jointly combat against the illegal transnational drugs.”

“In recent years, Taiwan and the Philippines have established cooperation mechanisms and systems for the two countries to fight against the illegal transnational drug trafficking. At present, Taiwan and the Philippines have signed “Mutual Legal Assistance Agreement between TECO and MECO in criminal matters,” “MOU between TECO and MECO on combatting transnational crimes,” and “MOU on Cooperation of Anti-Illegal Drugs,” it said in the press release.

“The achievements of the bilateral Philippines-Taiwan  cooperation are marvelous in the recent three years. As a result of the joint efforts, the Philippine authorities have been able to root out 12 important cases resulting in the confiscation of over 1,000 kilograms of shabu (finished products), more than 8,000 kilograms of semi-finished products and raw materials, 3 shabu laboratories, 1 distribution station and 6 shipments via the air cargo and sea container. The market value of the above seizures is more than NT $2 billion (equivalent to about P3.2 billion).”

Through various agreements and MOUs signed by Taiwan and the Philippines, the Philippine government’s anti-drug policy has gradually attained the goal of crushing the illegal transnational drugs syndicates.

Dr. Gary Song-Huann Lin, representative of Taiwan/ROC to the Philippines, has recently approached the relevant Philippine governmental agencies and the Senate to clarify the situation.

Unknown to most Filipinos. “Taiwan has never been the source of illegal drugs and that according to the available PDEA statistics, the majority of the drug is actually manufactured in the Philippines, not from overseas.”

He highlighted the need and the importance of joint efforts in fighting against drugs in an era of global village and globalization facing Taiwan and the Philippines today.

 

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