POSTSCRIPT / July 9, 2017 / Sunday

By FEDERICO D. PASCUAL JR.

Opinion Columnist

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Proof of rebellion stares at Duterte

RATHER than underscore his regime’s being propped up by martial law, the repeated failure of President Rodrigo Duterte to enter war-torn Marawi City dramatizes the reality of that Muslim redoubt being in the throes of a rebellion.

Rebellion as the factual basis of the President’s Proclamation No. 216 placing Mindanao under martial law was recognized on July 4 by the Supreme Court by a vote of 11-3-1.

The President’s inability to enter Marawi revalidated the existence of rebellion, one of two situations (the other one being an invasion, which is absent) justifying the imposition of martial law when the public safety requires it.

Under Article 134 of the Revised Penal Code, “The crime of rebellion or insurrection is committed by rising and taking arms against the Government for the purpose of removing from the allegiance to said Government or its laws, the territory of the Republic of the Philippines or any part thereof, of any body of land, naval or other armed forces, or depriving the Chief Executive or the Legislature, wholly or partially, of any of their powers or prerogatives.”

The media reported yesterday that President Duterte again failed Friday to enter Marawi. His not proceeding was attributed to bad weather, but sources said it was actually due to concerns over his safety.

The President in a camouflage combat getup made it only as far as Iligan City until he was prevailed upon not to proceed to Marawi where terrorist holdouts have been battling government forces for almost seven weeks.

It was reportedly the Commander-in-Chief’s fourth failed attempt to enter Marawi to show government’s regaining full control of the devastated city from rebels reportedly inspired by the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria.

The administration is torn between admitting a rebellion to justify martial law and denying violent instability that may scare away tourists and investors. The impact on the economy of the ongoing insurrection could be costly.

There is also the problem of financing a warlike situation that sees the Commander-in-Chief using extra billions to keep up the morale of soldiers and policemen, and spending outside the budget for war materiel and mobilization.

• Can faster Internet be legislated?

WITH its average Internet connection speed of just 5.5 Mbps (Megabits per second), the Philippines ranks No. 100 globally, with South Korea No. 1 at 28.6 Mbps, and Paraguay No. 148 at 1.4 Mbps.

No wonder we still hear such apocryphal stories as that of a junior executive in Makati texting his wife in Quezon City, driving through the horrendous EDSA traffic and arriving home ahead of his message.

Makati City Rep. Luis Campos Jr. has filed House Bill 5337giving regulators powers to compel providers to improve service by mandating their escalating connection speeds within deadlines and imposing heavy fines for laggards.

In Asia Pacific, the Philippines’ 5.5 Mbps is way behind Thailand’s 16 Mbps, Vietnam’s 9.5 Mbps, Malaysia’s 8.9 Mbps and Indonesia’s 7.2 Mbps, according to Akamai Technologies Inc.’s global Internet report as of the first quarter of 2017.

Akamai reported that in the first quarter, the global average peak connection speed increased 28 percent year-over-year to 44.6 Mbps. In the Americas, the United States had the highest average connection speed at 18.7 Mbps, and the highest peak connection speed at 86.5 Mbps.

The global average peak connection speed is 44.6 Mbps, while the global average connection speed is 7.2 Mbps. Singapore had the highest peak connection speed at 184.5 Mbps, and South Korea again had the highest average connection speed at 28.6 Mbps.

Campos’ bill seeks to classify Internet service as “a basic telecommunications function.” At present, it is a “value-added service,” making it difficult for the National Telecommunications Commission to require higher standards.

“We want to upgrade the country’s sluggish, inefficient and costly Internet services,” Campos said. “This is in keeping with the view of the United Nations Human Rights Council that all people have a right to Internet access, or the right to broadband, in order to exercise and enjoy other fundamental rights.”

• Top Chinese airline to serve Clark

CHINA EASTERN Airlines, China’s second largest passenger carrier, is set to begin on Oct. 18 its flights from Clark International Airport (CRK) in Pampanga to Shanghai’s Pudong International Airport.

China Eastern is a legacy carrier with a strong presence on routes in Asia, North America and Australia. Of the deal making Clark another CEA hub, Alexander Cauguiran, CIAC President/CEO, said:

“The great news is that travelers from North and Central Luzon may now fly China Eastern from Clark to Shanghai and easily connect to the US and other major destinations in Europe and Asia and other international routes.”

Clark logged 6,205 international and domestic flights with 950,732 passengers for local and foreign routes in 2016. From January to May 2017, Clark airport has registered 632,713 passengers and 4,603 domestic and international flights.  Clark now has 130 international flights and 114 domestic flights weekly.  Passenger traffic is projected to reach 1.5 million by end of 2017.

Btw, in my Postscript last Thursday, one paragraph that I was compressing ended up saying erroneously that the Tutuban (Manila)-Clark railroad line will start operating in the last quarter of 2017. That is impossible!

The correct original paragraph read: “Thirteen train sets of eight cars each running at up to 120 km/hour are expected to carry some 350,000 passengers in the first year of operations. Construction will start in the last quarter of 2017 and be completed by the last quarter of 2021. The two-hour trip by bus between Clark and Manila will be slashed to some 55 minutes by train.”

(First published in the Philippine STAR of July 9, 2017)

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