hile the Aquino
administration has been making many of the right moves lately, such moves
remain woefully inadequate given the
situation the Philippines faces with China. If President Benigno Aquino III
entertains any hope of keeping our islands in the Spratlys, he needs to get
off his behind this minute and start building a strong coalition with other nations.
This is one situation where
only a true leader can make the cut. Unfortunately Aquino, whose tenure as
congressman and senator can be described as nothing beyond mediocre, may not
have what it takes to rally support across the globe; because that is what
it will take to stop China.
After centuries of Spanish
domination, coupled with heavy-handed Catholic indoctrination, most
Filipinos see themselves as inferior to other races. They feel more at ease
just sitting in a corner and following others rather than taking
center-stage and leading. This makes it even more difficult for someone like
Aquino—who even by Filipino standards is seen as middling—to do what he must
do: hop across the globe from country to country; press the flesh with
presidents and prime ministers; argue the Philippine case; and secure
commitments and support. If Aquino fails to do this, then Filipinos
may as well give up all their Spratly claims because China will seize
them—one island at a time.
In the mean time, here’s
what we Filipinos can do to help our president. Remember Sadam Hussain’s use
of civilians as human shields to prevent the coalition forces from bombing
certain sites during the 1992 Iraq war?
Filipinos can create our own version of this tactic by taking a trip to
Pag-asa Island. Pag-asa is the second largest island in the Spratly’s chain.
It already has a landing strip built by the Philippine military which can
accommodate small and medium-sized aircraft—including military C130 cargo
planes. Let us charter flights and set up island tours. The island appears
surrounded by white sandy beaches ala Boracay. It would certainly be
“more fun in Pag-asa.”
Make no mistake; China
wants to get their hands on Pag-asa more than any other island in the
Spratlys. Pag-asa will easily allow them to project military force all
across the region. The island is strategically located almost at the center
of the South China Sea and because of its size, it can be used as a base for
China's air and naval forces.
An article written by Chan
Kai Yee in the China Daily Mail on January 13, 2014, compared Zhongye (Pag-asa)
Island and the world’s largest aircraft carrier the USS Gerald R. Ford.
noted that “the Ford, costs $12.8 billion to build but has only a deck area
of 0.026 square km. An air base established on Zhongye Island will be a
dozen times larger and cost much less.” It will also be unsinkable and have
a very long service life, the author added.
Given that Pag-asa is an
extremely important component to the Chinese quest for dominion over all of
Southeast Asia, there’s no time for Filipinos to dilly-dally. Start the
tours, send in the tourists, make Pag-asa the IN place to be this
If we do nothing except run
to the UN and file cases against China’s creeping invasion of our islands,
we will wake up one day to find all of them gone! The situation is that dire
my fellow countrymen. So pack the suntan lotion, the straw hat, and the
margarita mix, and head for the island. You’ll be doing your country a great
service while having fun under the sun in Pag-asa.
We’ve all heard the saying “justice delayed is justice denied.” That maxim has been around since time immemorial. In fact the Pirkei Avot (Hebrew for “Ethics of the Fathers”) which dates back to the 1st century B.C. mentions an old rabbi saying that goes: “the sword comes into the world, because of justice delayed and justice denied." In 1215 A.D. a clause from the Magna Carta similarly declares that “to no one will we refuse or delay, right or justice."
Okay so she's George Clooney's wife, she's got great looks, a law degree and ambitious enough to make a name for herself apart from that of her superstar husband. Fair enough. So Amal Alamuddin Clooney decides to take on high profile cases of injustice around the world. Even better. But filing a complaint with the United Nations Human Rights Council on behalf of former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo? What's up with that? Better do your homework Mrs. Clooney. It won't take long for you to realize that Arroyo is getting exactly what she deserves.
Manny Pacquiao Should Not Be Given a Tax Exemption
Senator Aquilino "Koko" Pimentel III has proposed a bill to grant Manny Pacquiao a special tax exemption for the income he will earn from his May 2nd boxing match with Floyd Mayweather Jr. Pimentel justifies his bill as a "fitting tribute" to the Filipino eight-division world champion adding that "Manny is now part of our history and of world sports history. Let’s give him this tax incentive in recognition to his invaluable efforts to promote boxing and the country around the world."
With Negotiators Like These on Our Team, Who Needs an Opposing Side?
What on earth happened to these two women—supposedly handpicked by the president himself to argue on behalf of the Philippine government in peace negotiations with the Moro Islamic Liberation Front—who now seem to be mouthpieces for the Moros? Have Secretary Teresita Deles, Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process and Professor Miriam Coronel-Ferrer, chair of the negotiating panel become mesmerized by the tough "macho" image the rebels project?
Why is the NBI Going After Those Who Uploaded the Sagonoy Video?
According to NBI Director Virgilio Mendez, they have identified the individuals who uploaded the video showing the coldblooded killing of PO2 Joseph Sagonoy. The cellphone video was purportedly taken by Muslim rebels during the Jan. 25, 2014 encounter between the Philippine National Police-Special Action Force and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front rebel group. The video shows a wounded Sagonoy who is shot twice in the head at close range.
Twice the Heroes—the SAF 44 Who Lost Lives in Mamasapano
The 44 members of the Philippine National Police-Special Action Force (SAF) who were brutally killed in Mamasapano, Maguindanao on January 25, 2015 are heroes twice over: first, they paid the ultimate sacrifice while serving their country; second, they exposed for all to see, the dangers the country will face if the Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL) is passed.
No More Bangsamoro, Period!
With each passing day, it is becoming increasingly clear that the idea of a Bangsamoro is a bad idea. Just as the Memorandum of Agreement on Ancestral Domain (MOA-AD) spearheaded by former president Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo was a bad idea (and declared unconstitutional in 2008 by the Supreme Court). Just as the failed Autonomous Region for Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) during the 1990s was a bad idea.
After the Mamasapano Massacre, Plans for a Bangsamoro Must Be Scrapped
What happened in Mamasapano, Maguindanao on January 25 is a "game changer"—make no mistake about it. Reality as we saw it before this event is not the reality we see now...everything is different; everything has "changed. When the Philippine National Police's (PNP) elite team known as the Special Action Force or SAF set out to arrest Zulkifli bin Hir alias Marwan, it had actionable intelligence that the Malaysian fugitive was hiding in the town of Mamasapano. Marwan, an expert bomb maker, is a core member of the terrorist group Jemaah Islamiyah.
President Aquino Should Fly to Saudi Arabia and Pay His Last Respects to King Abdullah
Presidents and prime ministers, kings and queens; from Prince Charles and Prime Minister David Cameron of Britain, President Francois Hollande of France, President Abdel Fattah el-Sissi of Egypt, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan of Turkey and many other heads of state from all corners of the globe have gone or are headed to Riyadh to pay their respects to the late King Abdullah. Even U.S. President Barack Obama cut short his state visit to India to fly to Saudi Arabia.
After the Pope's Visit: What We Filipinos Now Must Do
We put on a good show for Pope Francis. He loved it; we loved it; the world loved it. Now the long and painful task of bringing about the changes the pope asked for begins. Start with the Philippine Catholic Church. It should refocus its efforts towards the poor. As we wrote in previous editorials, many priests and bishops see themselves as members of the rich and privileged class. They feel more at home in country clubs and dining in expensive restaurants, than they do helping the poor who live in the squatter communities that dot most cities in the Philippines.