Archive for December, 2017

Binaril iyong Pranses

Title- Executed (6211517393)noong Dec. 30, 2018 sa harap ng Rizal monument. “Subrang bait ni Rizal” sabi ng Pangulong Duterte “nagtiwala masyado sa puti, o – siya pa ang pinatay!”. “Itong si Aquino, ganyan din, parang si Ibarra na subra ang tiwala sa Western solutions, ayan, niluko siya nitong mga Sanoping gago!”. Tuloy-tuloy magsalita ang Presidente, nakakapagtaka. “tayo ngayon, hindi na. Halimbawa iyang ebi-ebidensiya na iyan, kailangan lang ng mga Westerner iyan dahil mas tanga sila kaysa sa atin! Tayo, naamoy natin kung may maling ginawa ang tao”. “Mga konyo tulad ni Aquino, hindi na”.

“O, bakit laging mali si Presidente Aquino?” sabi ni Duterte. “Sa Mamasapano, sa Sanopi, kahit saan!”. “E tayo, alam natin, ramdam natin”. “Di ba nalaman sa imbestigasyon tungkol sa van doon sa Mandaluyong noong isang taon, may kinalaman pala sa druga iyong mga nasa loob?” Hinaplos ni Duterte ang kanyang pisngi. “O iyan, di tama naman pala ang mga barangay tanod at mga PNP!” “Pasalamat tayo kay Secretary Aguirre na magaling mag-imbestiga.” (Palakpakan). “Kaya ngayon, bakit pa natin kailangang magpunta rito si Calamaris? Bias naman talaga iyan mag-imbestiga!”.

“Tayo kapag pumapatay, para sa kinabukasan ng mga anak natin. Kaya ang Westerner, huwag makialam! Si Lapu-Lapu ba humingi ng permiso sa UN at EU bago patayin si Magellan? Hindi!” “Putangina talaga.” Patingin-tingin ang Pangulo sa kanyang mga panauhin. “Kasi parang amoy iyan. Iyong mga Westerner, kailangan pa ng ebidensiya dahil wala silang pang-amoy. Kaya sila ang baho ng kilikili, tayo malayo pa lang amoy na natin”. “Tulad ni Calamaris na iyan, sa itsura pa lang niya, alam ko na mabaho puki ng Pransesa na iyan.” (Tawanan). Biglang naputol ang livestream..

At napalitan ng isang video ng pagpapasabog sa aircraft carrier Liaoning malapit sa may Palawan. Matagumpay sila Anselmo sa kanilang misyon. Patago nilang nakarga ang tatlong Exocet missile mula Samar hanggang sa may Palawan. Papalit-palit ng barko, minsan pasimple pa nga sa ilalim ng mga kalawangin na passenger ship sa may Mindanao, minsan naman mabilisan sa gabi, sa loob ng mga speedboat. Sa bandang huli, ikinarga at inihanda sa may bundok at inabangan ang Liaoning. Kilalang missile ang Exocet sa pagwasak ng mga barko, maliit, mabilis at malakas ang pagsabog.

Isa sa gitna, isa sa harap, isa sa likod. Akala ng mga Tsino ligtas sila dahil jammed nila ang GPS at hawak nila ng Ruso ang Glonass, pero sistemang Galileo ang ginamit ng missile para hanaping ang kanyang destinasyon, sa tulong ng maliliit na drone. Isa ring maliit na drone ang kumuha ng video sa pagwasak ng aircraft carrier. Iyong pag-hijack sa Facebook Live ng Malacanan, ibang istorya. Nagulat ang PCOO, akala kasi nila sagot sila ng China Telecom – pero may taga-Pasig na nakalusot. Biglang itinigil ang hijacking para hindi matrace. Bumalik sa ngangang Pangulo ang livestream.

Pawis na pawis tignan si Andanar – habang naghahanap ng paliwanag kay Presidenteng galit na galit. Si Mocha naman, ang laki ng mata sa pagkagulat sa nangyari – habang nakaupo lang sa may kalsada. Dumilim ang livestream ng PCOO. “Buti nga!” Tumawa si Ricardo. Nakasakay sila ni Anselmo sa speedboat papuntang Puerto Princesa. Doon sa malapit bumaba. Pasimpleng nag-bus papuntang port. May ticket na sila sa barkong papuntang Maynila. Napakagulo ng halos tapos nang naging taong 2018. Malayo pa sa kaligtasan ang bayan. Hindi pagdiriwang ang pupuntahan nila.

Sana naman huwag maging ganyan ang 2018. O ganito (link) – o kaya naman ganito (link).
Happy New Year mula sa Munich galing kay Irineo B. R. Salazar, ika-30 ng Disyembre 2017.

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Basta may postura

'Tis the seasonOK lahat, inggit lang sila, tayo pataas na. Hindi nahuhulog sa motorsiklo o nagpapakumbaba. Di bale kung ang apo mukhang Christmas tree sa dami ng kristal, bagay naman sa time of the year! At bakit naman bababa si lolo sa Biliran, ano siya isang Mar Roxas na magmumukhang tanga? Tama na hindi niya pinansin iyong itim na mayabang na iyan, iyang Obama – kay Trump siya ngayon malakas, sa puti mismo!  At problema ng dilaw kung kikita tayo ngayon sa bagong telecom na galing Tsina, pagkat sila kumita na, tayo naman ngayon. Balang araw, sila ang katulong natin.

At bakit daw masama ang Harvard ni Aika? Ugok, ang liwanag! Iyang pag-aaral na iyan, para lang iyan sa Ingles na magandang pakinggan. Anong napala ng tangang Mar Roxas sa Waharton niya? WALAAA!! Ni MRT di niya maayos! E si Aquino na Atenista? Nadenggoy sa bakuna! HAHAHAAA! Tayong mga DDS, matitinik talaga. Alam natin kung saan ang pera at kapangyarihan, so needed pa ba ang mag-aral ng marami? Tignan ninyo ang susunod nating Presidenteng si Manny Pacquiao! DISKARTE ang kailangan. Aasenso tayo, iyong mga dilawan na iyan, hahalikan nila paa natin!

Eh bakit daw kamo plastik si Leni? Siyempre, bakit ka pa bibili ng damit na simpleng tignan kung mamahalin naman pala? Ibig sabihin noon, marami kang pera masyado, ano iyon gagastos ka na hindi kita ng mga tao? Malay natin, may mga barko at Ferrari sila sa may bandang Hollywood. Iyong hindi natin kita, mga ka-DDS! Ganyan talaga iyong mga ipokritong maka-USA na ganyan. Kuripot sa Pilipino, pero pag sa labas sosyal! Lalo na pag nagpaplano sila nila Loida Nicolas-Lewis. Daig pa si Imelda sa luho! Buti pa tayo, tunay na tao. Nakikita kung saan napupunta ang pera!

At ano iyong puro ngiti-ngiti ni Leni na akala mo ang bait-bait? Walang tao na ganyang kabait! Magbait-baitan ka lang ng ganyan kung waitress ka na sumisilbi sa mayaman at mataas. Kung may class ka, dapat mataray ka. Tulad ni Mocha. Tulad na Isabelle Duterte na nagtweet ng “some dumbfucks think I am 15”. O kaya iyong sumampal sa taxi driver noong isang araw. Iyon ang tama. Dapat alam ng mabababang tao kung nasa lugar sila o hindi. Wala naman talagang pantay-pantay. At iyong mga adik at pusher? Alam naman nila ang mangyayari, bakit di sila nagbago? Mga tanga!

Petmalu ang uso talaga ngayon. Malupet! Kung mataas ka at puwedeng makipag-junket ka Tatay Digong, gud! Kung hindi, at least naman meron ka sanang wang-wang! Kung hindi pa rin, astig ka dapat kung mag-counterflow. Buti pa sa ganoon kung medyo may dugo kang Intsik at mukha kang siga, masisindak sila sa iyo, akalain nilang anak ka ng tulad nila Peter Lim, na hindi magagalaw! Kung madiskarte ka, gradweyt ka sa level nila Polong. Ganda ng kinabukasan. Iiyot ka ng maganda. Sa Solaire Casino ka tataya. Condo sa BGC. Tangina nila. Masagasaan man sila. Basta tayo asenso!

Irineo B. R. Salazar wishes all readers a Merry Christmas
from München this 20th of December, two-thousand seventeen.

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Dengvaxia until 2015

Dengue fever symptomslooks clearer to me now, after my first article (link), the Senate hearing (link) and more research. After the 2012 SONA where President Aquino mentioned initial successes in dengue prevention, there were newspaper articles which mentioned a rise in dengue (link), doubting its success. What I wonder is if the increased spread of dengue is related to climate change and to rapid urbanization in the Philippines – with the slums that result, the stagnant pools of water you often have there and of course a population density that makes it easier for the mosquito to travel from person to person.

Phase 3 Tests

The development of Dengvaxia goes way back, but the two most important Phase 3 tests started in June 2011 – one in Asia and one in Latin America (link). CYD 14 (Asia) had over 10 thousand volunteers while CYD 15 (Latin America) had almost 21 thousand volunteers. The active phase of CYD 14 ended in December 2013, that of CYD 15 in April 2014, with Sanofi reporting the success of Phase 3 some months later (link). Phase 3 is needed to apply for approval. The Philippines played a key role in all three test phases (link): 3,500 children were from the Philippines, setting up clinical trial sites in Alabang, Muntinlupa City (Phase 1); Barangay Del Remedios in San Pablo City (Phase 2); and Barangay Guadalupe in Cebu City along with Barangay Del Remedios (Phase 3) with Dr. Maria Rosario Capeding, head of the Department of Microbiology of the Research Institute for Tropical Medicine (RITM)  – an agency of the Department of Health – playing a key role (link), including writing key scientific papers (link) and even experiencing how her own child got dengue (link). Seems the most important seroprevalence data came from San Pablo (link).

Since national data on seroprevalence (how many % of the population had virus exposure) did not exist, it was extrapolated to some areas where dengue is endemic (link). Some might consider this a doubtful methodology, but then again such authorities as Balik-Scientist Dr. Edcel Salvana have mentioned approximately 87% as the seroprevalence (see my previous article) and I see no reason to doubt that they are right, give or take a certain margin. He also writes (link) about why he sees the vaccine as good – if used properly. What is also important, however, is that the Phase 3 studies (link) included an active phase of follow-up for one year after the last dose of vaccine in the series (25 months from dose 1) and include a hospital-based follow-up period of four additional years. The follow-up phase for the Asian phase 3 study seems to have ended in November 2017.

A related research paper (with Dr. Capeding as a co-author) says that in the ongoing longer-term follow-up (from year 3 to year 6) to assess safety, we are monitoring the incidence of hospitalization for dengue as a surrogate end point for disease severity in order to evaluate a potential predisposition in vaccinated persons to increased severity of disease. I do wonder if there is a relation between the planned end of the follow-up phase and the warning by Sanofi not to vaccinate seronegatives (people without any virus exposure) anymore due to risk of severe dengue.

Getting Things Ready

In July 2014, then-Health Secretary Enrique Ona (link) sounded quite confident about the new vaccine (link) and the hope then was that it would be out by July 2015. The success of the Latin American study was announced by Sanofi on Sept. 3, 2014 (link). President Aquino met with Sanofi representatives on Nov. 9, 2014 (link) which was pretty soon after these events, then a year later in Paris on Dec. 1, 2015 when he was there for the Climate Change Conference – a meeting that was openly mentioned in the Philippine press (link), not done stealthily as some are insinuating.

There also was a dinner in Paris in May 2015 (link) involving ex-Secretary Garin and Sanofi, and before that Sanofi submitted papers for Philippine FDA requirements in January 2015 (link). Mexico, Brazil and the Philippines (link) approved the vaccine in December 2015. The end of December brought a number of events which were seen as rushed, which President Aquino in the hearing explained as being in order to get things done in his term, saying the new administrations often lose time in the beginning, and also explained why budget maneuvers were needed (link).


Now for Questions

Assuming the best (which I do now after having seen how Aquino acted at the hearing) there are still a number of questions. There were still some years of observation being conducted, who knew about this and who was (not) informed including possible risk factors, if already known then? As for monitoring, Dr. Melgar who was with the DOH when the program started has this to say (link): I know that the Family Health Office and the Epidemiology Bureau of the DOH have been doing due diligence in monitoring all adverse effects from the beginning. Sounds properly done.

Dr. Salvana would be the right person to ask on seroprevalence, and on why certain extrapolations were considered OK. I am satisfied with that for now, what I computed in my previous article still stands – those who WILL get sicker should be few. And I believe Aquino didn’t know the science.

What one knows

depends on eyes, ears and brain – and on their human and man-made extensions, meaning the people who inform and educate you. We all know about the information overload modern social media brings with the world practically spilling into our brains, including all sights and sounds. What more is a President constantly subjected to a barrage of information? So he needs his people. To filter what is important and what is not, to give him what he needs to be able to make decisions. What if they mislead him? He has to counter-check if possible. Mayors in cities have it much easier.

It is I think possible to get an intuitive feel for a city. Mayor Duterte may have known Davao in and out, therefore being instinctively able to tell bullshit from truth. At national level it isn’t that easy. Spurious drug lists have shown the limits of an intuitive, seat of the pants approach to governing. At national level and even more in specialized areas, one may need to have additional sources. Seems that the Presidential Management Office would have specialists (link), even if I am not sure if they are used as extensively and as focused as the staff of Germany’s Federal Chancellery (link) which has the job to (translated from German) obtain and keep ready the information the Chancellor needs for his/her work. Its divisions mirror related ministries and directly contact them for detailed information: Division 1 for interior and justice, Division 2 for foreign, defence and development affairs, Division 3 for social, health, labor, infrastructure and social matters, Division 4 for financial and economic matters, Division 5 for Europe and Division 6 for intelligence matters. With a nerve center like that, no need to rely only on Ministers – who are also politicians after all.

How one leads

Could it be that Aquino relied too much on his Cabinet members alone? A second opinion is good not only when one goes to doctors privately! It may be even more crucial in matters of state. The fact that ex-Secretary Garin now seems to have connections to the other side is a bit interesting. Somewhat like how PNPs Napenas was a candidate for an opposing party in the 2016 elections. Trust, but verify is usually better. And even a highly efficient apparatus can be sidelined at times, as was shown recently by the controversy in Germany regarding the herbicide glyphosate (link).

Another possibility is what I sense – that Aquino tends to push through with things he wants to do, at some point no longer reconsidering. That is a very Filipino trait which his successor also has, as in the Philippines, too much reconsidering can make one lose respect. The other side dislikes it, yes. But there is to me not much evidence of significant counter-indications known at that time, at least in a form understandable to laymen or managers. Specialists speak in details, managers think in terms of consequences, that gap must always be bridged whether in IT – my field – or elsewhere.


My personal opinion

There are terms like “lighthouse customer” for those who adopt a certain product first. Sometimes vendors (in any industry including mine) manage to make lighthouse customers pay normal prices. Other customers negotiate a deal which fairly considers their role in being one of the first to buy. Possibly the Philippines bought too many vaccines to soon at a slightly too high price. Asking for a refund is a maximum demand Sanofi will probably not accede to. But maybe a rebate as not all things were really made clear, since around 800 thousand kids will have to be monitored and a few, hopefully very few, may have to be hospitalized, is an idea. Sanofi does not want the PR damage from a long public conflict – nor does the Philippines want to look like a backwater where they accuse foreign firms of witchcraft. There are many ways forward. But let us look at 2016-2017 next.

Irineo B. R. Salazar
München, 15 December 2017

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Speaker Barry Roque

Lechonwas served as lechon in Balintawak by the KFF on Human Rights Day 2018. “He was a pig, not human”, said the Punong Tagpaghusga of the Kalookan Freedom Fighters in Filipino. “sabi niya tutulungan niya kaming mga mahihirap samantalang ang dami sa aming mga pinapatay nila.”. “Bakit naman nila sinasabing mga terorista tayo, kung pinagtatanggol lang natin sarili natin?” isinagot ng Punong Tagapagtanggol, sabay shabu. “at heto naman, kailangan natin ito para hindi tayo mapagod, at walang tigil ang laban”. Sinigaw niya: “mabuhay tayo! mamatay ang kalaban!”.

“Putang ina kayo” sabi ng Pangulong Duterte sa isang talumpati sa Federal Palace na nasa Mactan. “pati Speaker ko kinain na ninyo”. “Bakit hindi kasi si Franklin Drilon ang patulan ninyo, iyong dilawan dapat ang parosahan huwag kami rito” itinuloy niya “iyang mga naglalason ng kabataan, kaibigan ng mga drug lord na ilegal pati na iyong mga drug lord na ligal kuno na galing sa pisteng EU na iyan, mga Sanopi.” Pinahid ng Pangulo ang pisngi niya. “they gone to an international court, can you imagine that? We are a sovereign country with our own justice system and witnesses!”.

“We even have forensic evidence but they say we are planting our evidence. Itanong ninyo kay Secretary Mariano what we are planting. Rice, kamote, coconuts, so use your coconut you stupid EU de puta dilawan who kill our children with vaccines!” Duterte continued. “and that crazy EU really removed our GSP+ privileges and are asking for us to pay duties, sons of BITCHES, what business do they have teaching us about human rights if they poison Filipino children? Tell me!”. Duterte looked at the audience. “Now they should not complain if our customs asks extra money”.

“Customs and traditions, kasama na doon ang corruption”. Napatawa si Anselmo sa harap ng TV. “Sa Catbalogan tayo tumuloy bukas” sabi ng kasama niyang si Ricardo. “Nasa may Sorsogon na ang Kano, nasa bandang Leyte na ang Tsino”. “Kailangan i-secure natin ang Samar to prevent landing”.

In the port of Catarman, Ricardo and Anselmo loaded the French Exocet missiles unto the harmless looking coast guard vessel. The rest of the crew were waiting in Calbayog, hopefully not too drunk. The last sighting of Chinese ships had been off the coast of Bogo City. There was little time left.

Irineo B. R. Salazar
München, 10 December 2017

 

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Up to 200 Filipino children risk severe dengue

Aedes Aegypti Mosquitoes (26444925321)based on three numbers: 730K vaccinated, 87% previously infected (link) and 2 of 1000 risk (link) of severe dengue according to Sanofi among those vaccinated but not previously infected: “The increased risk identified from the new analysis translated to two additional cases of ‘severe dengue’ out of 1,000 previously dengue-uninfected people vaccinated over five years of follow-up,” the company said in an emailed statement. Certainly not good, but a far cry from the panic in a video (link) by “major blogger” Sass Rogando Sasot implying that 700 thousand kids were at risk.

Who said what

997 children got sick after vaccination (link) say a Philstar headline – in the article it says that the Department of Health (DOH) reported that between March 18, 2016 and Aug. 20 of the same year, there were 997 “adverse events following immunization, 30 of which were considered serious cases that needed hospitalization.” The 30 serious cases included two deaths. But the DOH said these “were not related to the immunization program,” which was launched in early 2016. Other cases are claimed outside the DOH statistics, and insufficient monitoring is alleged.

There is also a difference between articles that claim WHO recommended Dengvaxia (link) and clarifications by WHO itself that it (linkdid not include a recommendation to countries to introduce the dengue vaccine into their national immunization programs. Rather, WHO outlined a series of considerations national governments should take into account in deciding whether to introduce the vaccine, based on a review of available data at the time, along with possible risks. Among other things recommending to vaccinate in areas with over 70% dengue exposure.

When what happened

Who published its position on the dengue vaccine in July 2016, based on a preliminary advice by an expert group from April 2016. The Philippines started vaccinating in April 2016 (link) – ignoring or setting aside opinions like those of UP College of Medicine Prof. Dr Antonio Dans, who warned that while the vaccine could reduce the number of dengue cases, it could later increase the disease’s severity, a phenomenon known as “antibody- dependent enhancement” – or Dr. Anthony Leachon who said the DOH should first wait for the WHO study – which came out in July 2016.

Further doubts Dr. Leachon had were also about long-term safety (link) especially with previously non-infected persons. Studies in September 2016 (link and link) and articles in CNN (link) and Voice of America (link) in late 2016 also mentioned those risks, but the DOH under a new administration continued the program (link) while having doubts on efficacy. There was a Senate hearing in December 2016 (link) but it seems it was more about the way the program was funded.  The decision to end the program after the third round of vaccination was taken in May 2017 (link).

Still, it seems that 67 thousand kids in the Central Visayas got vaccinated in August 2017 (link). Other countries like Malaysia (link, June 2016) and India (link, Oct. 2016) were more reluctant – even in April 2017 (link) and November 2017 (link). Brazil was the other country that vaccinated, the observations from there are going to be interesting. Sanofi was right to pull the brakes in late November 2017. Imagine if, let us say 20 million Filipinos had been vaccinated at a prevalence of 80% – that would have been 0.2% of 20% of 20 million at risk of severe dengue, meaning 8000.


Science and Risk

ICE4 FrontA major derailment happened in Eschede in 1998 (link) when the German speed train or ICE was hardly a decade old. A train derailed and folded together at high speed due to wheel fracture (link). 101 people died, tabloids reported scenes of horror. Yet no witch-hunts. Causes (link) were analyzed and consequences (link) – also legal ones – were decided upon. The program was not stopped, instead ICE model 1 was improved, later new models came out, new routes were built. This Friday, the Munich-Berlin route (link) shall cross 623 km in about 4 hours. Using ICE 4 (link) trains.

A book I read (link) mentions how the aircraft industry and airlines improved a lot of things by analyzing black boxes from airplane crashes and other incidents – but mentions issues in introducing similar measures in medicine. I wonder if the touch of arrogance attributed to the medical profession in the book also applies to the pharmaceutical industry. Many circles also accuse the pharma industry using third world countries as guinea pigs. But only a modern, evidence-based approach will help prove what is true. And pin down possible accountability. 

Capulet and Montague

There will probably be a hearing in aid of legislation at the Philippine Senate – once again. Which I do not expect much from. The usual political stuff, names of Presidents and Health Secretaries. VACC loudly claiming deaths NOW from last year (link) added to the fray, hardly looking credible.

Better not just allege deaths without proof as in hard evidence. Sanofi might go for an international case. Not like the De Lima case or the wannabe impeachment against Sereno. Real lawyers will be needed – like Sereno for Fraport or Carpio for ITLOS. The kind of talent the country hates (link).

One should also see that around half of the vaccinations were during the Aquino administration, the other half during the Duterte administration. Finding out the entire truth will be a long process – if the Filipino public is really interested in the truth and not just own emotional or group needs.


Galileo and Newton

The modern world is too complex for the petty village mentality on show in Filipino politics, the lack of getting the big picture. India seemed to have dealt with Dengvaxia way more maturely – but then again they send rockets into space (link). How could one deal with this in a rational manner?

200 kids are at risk, if one is to believe a certain set of numbers. What is the solution? First – monitor things. Senator Hontiveros wants that to happen in form of a database (link). Possibly, measures from this experience could be used to improve health monitoring in the Philippines.

Second – all lab data on present alleged cases (link) should be gathered in a transparent manner. Just in case there really was negligence on part of Sanofi, it can be proven in an auditable way. There is a certain self-discipline needed here, as Filipinos very often lack objective attitudes.

The Big Picture - The Noun ProjectThird – look at the big picture. Few newspapers, few experts, few leaders in the Philippines are good at that. Data is not information is not knowledge is not wisdom. This Rappler timeline (link) of what happened locally is at least information. Knowledge? We know a little, need to learn more.

In some papers I read about 3.5 billion being for vaccines only. In some I read it was for the vaccines and the entire program including monitoring for five years. Some state that monitoring was insufficient in the beginning. How was the experience in Brazil? And the more cautious countries?

India wanted to make own tests with monkeys before starting, later on Assam state decided to make a random test to check for at least 70% prevalence before going for vaccination. Malaysia wanted to wait for fourth phase tests. All in the sources quoted above. Where is the best balance?

Finding scapegoats is too easy as well – especially if the issue could be caused by weak institutions with systemic problems (link) that go beyond individual leaders. Maybe Dengvaxia could be an opportunity to learn and reform some things? There is a lot of ground to be covered I think.

Irineo B. R. Salazar
Munich, 6 December 2017

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The New Constitution of the Philippines

Fisherman bugasongwas enacted on Mactan Island on November 30, 2018, in a ceremony presided over by Prime Minister Pimentel, President Duterte and Chief Magistrate Calida. In Accordance with Article II, Section 1: “The Philippines is an Asian democracy. All sovereignty resides in the barangays.” the three took their oaths in front of the 42 thousand plus barangay captains of all islands. In return, they assured all barangays of full legal autonomy in matters of communal cohesion, including the disposal of dissenters, drug addicts and other nuisances. Over 42 thousand fists greeted in return.

The BIR no longer existed. Tax collection has been given to the barangay captains, under the supervision of mayors, governors and state prime ministers. In his long, rambling speech, President Duterte once more defended the system, saying “the national budgeting system was too complicated, and it was also leaking – let us better be honest and let everybody have their cut”. COA, PCGG and CHR have been replaced by the Office of General Audit of Government (OGAG), with the President saying “just one check and balance is enough, so that nobody abuses too much!”

The President emphasized the importance of Article III, Section I: “Only real Filipinos have the right to life, liberty and property. Real Filipinos are free of the wrong ideas of Western liberalism and the temptations of drug addiction” and of Section II: “the right of the barangay to inspect the houses of its citizens to ensure peace, order and harmony shall not be abridged by any laws”. “This is finally a Constitution that is true to our way of life and customs”  said Duterte: “truly free of the ungodly Western temptations of liberty that led our youth to liberal disrespect and drugs”.

Outside the zone of the ceremony, a fisherman watched. Strange, thought Anselmo. No mention of the Bikolano separation, declared in Naga the day before by State Prime Minister Robredo and State Interior Minister Trillanes, a week after Leila de Lima was found hanged in her Crame cell. No mention of wide areas of Manila under Martial Law since the the May insurrections of Caloocan that spread throughout the Metro area after police shot a large number of middle class children. No curses yet in his speech, thought Anselmo: nothing to disturb his false picture of peace and order.

Chinese ships in the surrounding sea joined the Philippine Navy in giving the new Philippine Government a salute. We, the sovereign Filipino people, imploring the aid of the People’s Republic of China against colonial Western oppression.. was after all how the new Constitution started. Nonetheless, the USS Gerald R. Ford aircraft carrier was docked in Legazpi harbor, waiting for orders. Anselmo took a load of fish from his boat to take them to market. Then he would visit a woman he knew well. Better to wait for the high alert stage to end first. Then he would slip away.

Irineo B. R. Salazar
München, 1 December 2017

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