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˜ The Manila Times

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WEDNESDAY May 1, 2019




US govt funding for anti-Duterte media: P74M This revelation is not from some anonymous source, but from the website of the US AID itself and its main conduit, the National Endowment for Democracy. (Credit is to the popular blogger Rey Joseph Nieto for pointing me to these websites. His articles on these are posted at his blog ThinkingPinoy.) These media firms are the Philippine Center for Investigative Journalism (PCIJ), VERA Files, the Center for Media Freedom and Responsibility (CMFR), and Rappler. The amounts are huge for thinly staffed websites with little overhead and none of the huge paper costs that burden newspapers. These therefore mainly went to the salaries (reported as “allowances� by its few operators). No wonder these four have ignored my private and public requests to them to disclose their funding sources. We are a sovereign nation. Why do we allow a foreign power to fund media entities dedicated to painting the duly elected president black, in the hope that the masses, or the military, would be roused to topple him? In its article posted on its website, the PCIJ even shamelessly concealed its main source of funding, which is the AID. It claimed that the bulk of its funding came from “interest income from an endowment fund that Ford Foundation gave in 2003 and from ‘patrons.’�

AID It didn’t mention at all that most of its funds, at least since 2009 (for which data is available), totaling P25 million, came from the US federal government’s AID, disbursed annually without interruption. This was coursed through the US State Department, and then through the private foundation, the National Endowment for Democracy (NED). The CMFR on the other hand, which has a working staff of four, surprisingly was the biggest recipient of the AID-NED funding, totaling P35 million in the same period. It has been headed since its organization in 1989 by Melinda Quintos de Jesus, the sister of former president Benigno Aquino 3rd’s “peace adviser� Ging Deles, and the wife of Edilberto de Jesus, an adviser in the Corazon Aquino government. The CMFR does not disclose its funders in its website. It arrogantly refused to do so when I requested its head to do so in an email last year, claiming I “was belligerent.� CMFR has been a strident a n t i - D u t e r t e n e ws we b s i t e, routinely republishing articles from Rappler and PCIJ critical of this administration as well as opinion pieces bylined only by “CMFR� that propagate the propaganda thrust of the Yellows. For instance, its current website has a banner statement that screams as it lies: “An Attack on One is an Attack on All:

Q Where the four ‘independent media’ get their money. The Center for Media Freedom a massacre but a clash beand Responsibility condemns tween police and Moro rebels. the arrest of Rappler CEO and Executive Editor Maria Ressa on Fact-checker cyber libel charges filed several years after the alleged offense On the other hand, VERA Files, a “fact checker� for Facebook, got was supposedly committed.� CMFR however has been as P6.5 million from NED for its 2016 critical of Duterte as much as and 2017 funding and P2.2 million it has been slavish to Aquino from Asia Foundation, which has 3rd when he was in power. For also been alleged to be a conduit for example, in the weeks after the CIA operations to mold the minds Mamasapano bloody fiasco of a target population. It got an adthat resulted from Aquino’s ditional P750,000 from the NGO incompetence and his reliance Reporters without Borders, which on his close friends, police is also funded by NED. The organization’s founder chief Alan Purisima (who was under a court suspension at Allen Weinstein himself had the time for graft charges), pointed out that NED “has been the CMFR scolded mainstream doing what the Central Intellimedia as being hysterical, and gence Agency did� in molding claimed that the incident wasn’t public opinion in its “target�



Transparency crisis ing erroneously prompting the Comelec to retrieve all the 76,000 COMPACTlASH OR3$ CARDSINSTALLED in the PCOS machines. Not known to many was another irregularity that transpired at the time. It was the nontesting and certification of the PCOS computer program. How could you ensure accuracy in a week’s time when in fact retrieving, testing and putting back these cards would take one month at most? These irregularities have not been attended to seriously by concerned agencies, especially the Comelec. They instead focused on other irrelevant projects early this year like the testing of the oter REGISTRATIONVERIkCATIONMACHINES 626- TOGETRIDOFlYINGVOTERS in some pilot areas come midterm elections. They forgot the technical evaluation committee CERTIkCATION OF THE !%3 WHICH IS far more important to ensure accuracy, reliability and security of the electoral process. Like the VRVM, it will face a similar fate like the ultra violet scanning device that Comelec employed in 2010 to detect fake ballots — a waste of money, time and effort on not so important project activities. Even the Ombudsman has not given the election petitioners a chance TOHEARTHEIRCOMPLAINTSkLEDFROM 2010 and before the 2016 elections. They got tired of submitting complaints about irregularities experienced in the 2016 elections as they thought that it would be useless to pursue. Meanwhile, the mainstream media and most of our incumbent politicians are very silent about the hearings, discussed and reports submitted about irregularities to the joint congressional oversight committee (JCOC) on AES. Worse, no hearings were called or somehow these were so delayed that deliberating, say the privilege speeches of Sen. Tito Sotto in March 2018 about the irregularities in the 2016 elections, become moot and academic before the 2019 midterm elections. To AES Watch, for Comelec not to promulgate the Implementing Rules and Regulations (IRR) of the AES Law is also an irregularity. With no IRR since 1997, or 22 years ago, Comelec could just interpret the law at their own whim. Comelec would always say that machine digital signature is the right thing to do vis its real

definition in e-Commerce Law, or RA 8792, and the Supreme Court’s Rules on Electronic Evidence. Ironically, what recent Comelec officials didn’t know WASTHATTHE#OMELECOFkCIALSIN 2003 implemented digital signing based on RA 8792 though the AES Law then (RA 8436) did not mandate it. Hence, from the time of former Comelec chairman Melo up to chairman Abas, they all contradicted their predecessors in understanding the real essence of digital signing. Surprisingly, Comelec officials in 2003 were actually trained by e-PLDT, PLDT’s subsidiary, in using Verisign, a digital signing solution commonly used by the banking sector. Therefore, Comelec cannot just tell us that they would just stick with their old practice and would not promulgate IRR. That’s irregular! There’s one irregularity that was corrected weeks before the 2016 elections; that is, noncompliance of Comelec with the generation of voter-verifiable paper audit trail (VVPAT), or voter’s receipt, in 2010 and 2013. Sen. Dick Gordon petitioned the SC to implement the AES Law concerning VVPAT. n the SC’s oral argument, Comelec argued that the ballot itself is the receipt. OMG! Nevertheless, the SC ruled that Comelec should follow what’s in the law. Thus, we had voter receipts in 2016. This is another case of Comelec’s misinterpretation of a provision in the AES Law because of the lack of IRR. There’s another kind of irregularity — stopping righteous people in exposing irregularities. Let me quote former Biliran Rep. Glenn Chong during the CNN Senatorial Debate 2019 at the University of Santo Tomas on April 27: “x x x Pero, kung ang ating halalan ay parang ibinebenta na parang isda at karne sa palengke ng sindikatong Comelec-Smartmatic, wala tayong kalaban-laban. x x x Sinasabi kong sindikato ito (Comelec at Smartmatic), dahil noong 2014, inalok na po ako — ‘tumahimik ka, papanalunin ka namin.’ Pero pinili kong lumaban para sa bayan, para sa kinabukasan nating lahat.� With due respect, the government should already intervene as these election automation irregularities have caused a transparency crisis for more than a decade now. Let this not escalate in 2022!

STOP THE INTIMIDATION OF INDEPENDENT MEDIA ONE week has passed and MalacaĂąang and the Manila Times have not come up with anything to back up their false report alleging that journalists, news organizations and a lawyers’ group were involved in an oust-Duterte plot. VERA Files condemns the spread of falsehood by no less than the President through his spokesman, Salvador Panelo and special envoy for international public relations Dante A. Ang, Manila Times Chairman Emeritus, linking us to an alleged destabilization plot. On April 22, Manila Times came out with a story titled “OUST-DUTERTE PLOT BAREDâ€? complete with a matrix alleging that VERA Files President Ellen Tordesillas acted “as the nexus and distributorâ€? of the “Bikoyâ€? video which narrated the alleged involvement of the president’s family members in the illegal drug trade. Alongside Ang’s story was an opinion piece by columnist Rigoberto D. Tiglao on the same subject. Ang said his information came from “a highly placed source in the Office of the President.â€?

countries. A State Department official in a congressional budget hearing explained: “What was done was to shift many of the awful things [done by the CIA] to a new organization, with a nice sounding name. The creation of the NED was a masterpiece. Of politics, of public relations, and of cynicism.� With Rappler in the past two years being reported in US media as Duterte’s most vociferous critic in media, NED probably got a State Department order for it to give Rappler money, which it did last year, amounting to P7.5 million. It was a lifeline that it would be getting regularly, as Rappler’s funds from two US firms had been used up fast. The NED funding was disguised as a grant to it for a project tilted “Understanding and Addressing Disinformation’s Impact on Democracy.� That’s so ironic as it was 2APPLER THAT kRST SPREAD THE VILE disinformation that the police had killed “7,080� from July 2016 to January 2017 in the government’s war against drugs. The anti-Duterte media here and in the US used that kGURE TO EXTRAPOLATE VERY FALSELY that by 2018, there were “21,000� killed in the anti-drug war — 7,000 multiplied by three (years).

Internal Revenue’s tax-evasion case kLEDAGAINST2APPLER ITPOINTEDOUT that the funds Rappler received from San Francisco firm North Base Media and Omidyar Network amounted to P180 million. That explains why Rappler has been able to afford extremely expensive Internet tools — which no other local website can afford — for it to quickly expand its footprint, such as software to make its articles appear high in google search results. 4HESEMEDIAOUTkTSWONTALASTA week without the American funds. And they dare to call themselves the “independent media�? I had written several columns POINTING OUT THAT THESE OUTkTS are violating the constitutional ban on any foreign participation in media, with recent laws unequivocally classifying internetonly news websites as media. The Securities and Exchange Commission had ruled that anything less than “100 percent� control violates the Constitution. Never did it cross my mind that they are funded by the US government, which has a very strategic interest in molding Filipino minds, especially at this time when China is challenging its decades-old hegemony in Asia. Why do we allow that?

Omidyar The P7.5-million funding from NED was small change though, compared to the colossal funding Rappler got from two American OUTkTS IN  )N THE "UREAU OF

Email: tiglao.manilatimes@ Facebook: Rigoberto Tiglao Twitter: @bobitiglao Book orders:

That same day, Panelo in his press briefing said the source of the Manila Times story was “the President himself.â€? Asked by a reporter for more details about the so-called intelligence report, Panelo said, “Galing kay presidente kaya paniwalaan ninyo.â€? The whole story is completely false. Even worse, Duterte, Panelo and Ang didn’t even bother to verify the information in the so-called matrix. Luz Rimban and Jennifer Santiago are no longer with VERA Files. Rimban resigned in 2018 and Santiago in January 2019. Female trustees were identified as male. If there is any orchestration being done, it is by MalacaĂąang and Manila Times to intimidate media who are holding Duterte accountable for his questionable decisions and actions. The matrix story would have been laughable if it was not deliberately manufactured to muddle the mind of the public with lies and endanger the lives of the persons named in that diagram. That it came from the highest official of the land who took his oath to preserve and defend the Constitution and “do justice to every manâ€? is most disturbing and must not be tolerated. The law provides relief for those whose rights have been violated and we are keeping our options open. VERA Files Board of Trustees: Joel Butuyan, Booma Cruz, Chi Liquicia, Rosal Revaldo, Ellen Tordesillas

Taiwan’s advances in digital healthcare Helping other countries achieve universal health coverage by 2030


HIS year marks the 24th anniversary of Taiwan’s implementation of universal health coverage. Taiwan’s National Health Insurance (NHI) covers the full spectrum of essential and high-quality health services, from prevention and treatment to rehabilitation and palliative care. In the 1960s, Taiwan’s progressive health sector began the process of incorporating laborers, farmers and government employees into the health insurance system. It is now widely regarded as one of the best in the world. The NHI ranked 14th in the 2017 Global Access to Healthcare Index of The Economist , and ninth in the 2018 Health Care Efficiency Index of Bloomberg Finance. The success of Taiwan’s NHI can be attributed to several key factors. First, it adopted a single-payer model with contributions from individuals, employers and the government. A supplementary premium is also charged based on payers’ income levels. Second, to control medical expenses, a budget payment system was adopted to set caps on healthcare costs paid by the government. Under these caps, Taiwan’s medical expenses accounted for only 6.4 percent of GDP in 2017, lower than the OECD average. In the same year, the NHI’s administrative costs

were kept under 1 percent of its total budget, and the public satisfaction rate was 86 percent. Third, the NHI’s integrated preventive healthcare services and pay for performance programs have ensured a high quality of healthcare and encouraged continued improvement of health standards. Fourth, to reduce health inequalities, premium subsidies are provided to disadvantaged groups such as low-income households and the unemployed. The provision of preventive and primary healthcare is the most cost-efficient approach to achieving universal health coverage. Taiwan’s Ministry of Health and Welfare has developed tools utilizing artificial intelligence and cloud computing to access the massive databases it has built over the past 24 years. For instance, the MediCloud system was launched to enable healthcare providers to query patients’ medical records within the NHI system, while the PharmaCloud system provides prescription drug information to physicians and pharmacists. Currently, through digital cloud tools, community-based primary care providers in Taiwan can RETRIEVE TEST REPORTSINCLUDING CT scans, MRIs, ultrasounds, gastroscopies, colonoscopies AND 8 RAYSFROM SECONDARY AND

tertiary institutions and receive prescription information. These digital health technologies have enhanced care services in many ways. They have improved the quality of care and reduced costs, in terms of both time and money, by properly matching health services with the locations where these services are provided. They have also lowered the potential risks arising from repeated examinations. Related systems are patient-centered, meaning that they are organized around the complex needs and expectations of patients and communities, helping realize the concept of good hospitals in the community and good doctors in the neighborhood. Taiwan has learned how to utilize its competitive advantages in information technology and medicine to deliver better care and enhance the health of the overall population. In response to the goals set by the Health Workforce 2030 of the World Health Organization (WHO), Taiwan has also provided scholarships for in-service programs and higher education to thousands of people, both Taiwanese AND FOREIGN NATIONALS  IN kELDS such as medicine, nursing, dentistry, healthcare administration and public health. At a time when achieving uni-

versal health coverage has never been more urgent and important, Taiwan has actively sought to share its first-rate experience in healthcare reform. Regrettably, political obstruction has deprived Taiwan of the right to participate in and contribute to the World Health Assembly, the WHO’s decision-making body. In the past two years, WHO has denied Taiwanese delegates, who represent the 23 million citizens of a democratic and peaceful country, access to the assembly. Nevertheless, Taiwan remains committed to enhancing regional and global health cooperation, sharing its experience and capacity in healthcare reform with countries in need, and making universal health coverage a reality by 2030. Against this backdrop, we urge WHO to respond favorably to the widespread calls for Taiwan’s inclusion in the World Health Assembly and related technical meetings, mechanisms and activities. WHO should abide by its own principles of inclusiveness and universal participation. Taiwan is a worthy and reliable partner that can help countries around the world achieve the meaningful goal of universal health coverage by 2030.

Taipei Economic and Cultural OfkCEINTHE0HILIPPINES-AKATI#ITY

Profile for The Manila Times


The Manila Times is one of the leading national broadsheets in the Philippines. It is also one of the oldest, having been founded in 1898.


The Manila Times is one of the leading national broadsheets in the Philippines. It is also one of the oldest, having been founded in 1898.