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UP professor Nemenzo on the South China Sea disputes

I AM devoting this column and the next to an article on the South China Sea (SCS) disputes by Dr. Francisco “Dodong” Nemenzo, professor emeritus in political science at the University of the Philippines (UP).

Nemenzo in my view is the preeminent political scientist of his generation and the next. It is sad though, and a testament to the poor quality of UP as an academic institution, that very few if any of his students and proteges have inherited his intellectual brilliance.

He was the 18th president of the UP (from 1999-2000), third chancellor of the UP Visayas, faculty regent and dean of the College of Arts and Sciences Diliman. At 85 years old, Nemenzo obviously has an analytical mind that cuts through US propaganda.

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‘Weapons of mass destruction’ then, ‘Chinese aggression’ now

REMEMBER the colossal US lie that Iraq had “weapons of mass destruction” consisting of nuclear, chemical and biological weapons, which made it necessary to invade that nation in 2003, which resulted in a million direct and indirect killings of human beings.

That the US propaganda machine was so powerful the lie was widely believed even by the most renowned US newspapers, such as the New York Times and Washington Post, which, however, would issue an apology in 2004 that they failed to fact-check the US government’s fabrications?

The WMD equivalent is now “Chinese aggression in the South China Sea.” It’s intention? In the long run, to demonize China to prevent it from replacing the US as the preeminent superpower in the region. In the medium term, to make the Philippines its military base for America’s commitment to defend Taiwan from being taken over by China.

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Marcos distorts Ayungin pacts to accuse Duterte of betraying country

IT is so despicable for the President of the Republic to distort and use an important issue that would have shed light on this government’s quarrel with China over a part of the Spratlys (Kalayaan Islands to us) to portray former president Rodrigo Duterte, whose political clout was crucial in getting him the presidency, as having betrayed his country to China.

I am referring to the controversy over the agreement between the Philippines and China made in 1999 over the handling of the removal of the BRP Sierra Madre in Ayungin Shoal. The landing ship was grounded there in May 1999 by the Philippine Navy, reportedly without President Estrada’s approval, on the justification that the ship stranded there as listed Philippine assets “represented the Philippines” over a disputed territory.

Official memos indicating there was an agreement.

That was, of course, a birdbrained idea, as any international law expert will tell you, with the status of shipwrecks not even mentioned in the UN Convention of the Law of the Sea (Unclos). Even the US State Department doesn’t list Ayungin Shoal as having a Philippine outpost. The 2007 Nairobi International Convention on the Removal of Wrecks even requires owners of shipwrecks to remove them as soon as possible.

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Read more about the article Marcos has already fallen from his horse
Nothing happening after Marcos’ many trips abroad. GRAPHIC FROM BSP
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Marcos has already fallen from his horse

I MEAN President Ferdinand Marcos Jr., after completing two years of his six-month presidency, has fallen from the horse that was his vast political support that brought him to power in 2022. This is supported by two recent surveys by different polling enterprises:

– The PulseAsia survey done last month shows Marcos’ approval ratings dropping 13 percentage points from 68 percent in December 2023 to 55 points in March. Compare that to former president Rodrigo Duterte’s approval rating, at 88 percent in June 2018, in the same duration of two years of his administration, or in June 2018.

– The University of the Philippines professors’ OCTA Research polls undertaken last month show only less than a third of Filipinos, or 31 percent, support Marcos and his administration, while 20 percent support the Duterte family and their political allies. Add those who “support the opposition” and those “who do not support the administration, the Duterte family and the family,” and we have a huge 53 percent of Filipinos who do not support Marcos.

The OCTA findings are highly unusual as Filipinos’ support for an incumbent president diminishes below 50 percent only after he has finished half his term.

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We’re now the US’ puppet state, and a boiling frog

NOT in my worst nightmare did I think the US could revert us to puppet status in less than two years, a status that ended when a nationalistic Senate kicked out American military bases here in 1999, despite the popular Corazon Aquino’s huge efforts to retain them.

One is defending his country’s huge territory; the other is fighting for a dilapidated, rust-covered WW2 ship. PHOTOS FROM AFP AND BBM FACEBOOK

Ironically, President Ferdinand Marcos Jr., the son of the dictator whom Aquino believed had her husband killed, has now trampled on our independence to make the country the US’ certified vassal — the squire-member more accurately of “trilateral alliances” among the US, Japan and Australia, designed to contain the rise of China, the superpower challenging US hegemony. We’re now Asia’s Ukraine.

But the vassal state is in a boiling-frog situation: While its puppetry right now has put it in the tepid waters of a pan, it is under a fire that will slowly boil, not perceiving the mortal danger it is in until it is too weak to escape.

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PH-China dispute really easily resolved if…

OUR territorial and maritime disputes with China in the South China Sea (SCS) is really an easily resolved one, if one looks at it pragmatically and realizes that is the United States that is making it such a big issue to advance its own superpower agenda, which is to turn the Philippines into the Asian version of Ukraine, a country it will use to advance its agenda in a region it has no business to be in.

In fact, while we continue to refer to the “South China Sea” (SCS) dispute between China and the Philippines, in reality the dispute now, as I explain below, is solely over Ayungin Shoal, a permanently submerged, useless small area that could fit in half of Taal Lake and partly Scarborough Shoal — areas that 99.99 percent of Filipinos haven’t visited and whose location they do not know. Rather than an “SCS dispute” we have merely a dispute over shoals.

Really, do we want to go to war with a superpower over this, or cut trading ties with Asia’s economic superpower, our biggest trading partner?

Unfortunately, American propagandists are adept at stoking emotions against their perceived enemy, that the witless President Benigno Aquino 3rd and his officials made an issue of national pride. “We will not yield an inch,” he repeatedly said, a worn-out cliché recently used by the Taiwanese [leader] referring to Taiwan, and Donald Trump, referring to his about-to-be-confiscated Trump Tower.

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Implementation of useless ID card project a national disgrace, end it

THE Philippine National ID system project, intended to give Filipinos an ID attesting to and symbolic of their citizenship, is a total disgrace to our nation. It is deeply flawed, among others, because it doesn’t even have the specimen signatures of the subject, which all cards, from your membership card in some club to your credit cards, have.

It is useless, and government can’t require private firms and even banks actually, despite the Bangko Sentral’s order, to recognize these. The P8 billion spent to produce these cards has been for naught. Stop its further implementation, which would cost another P10 billion.

My wife and I registered to get the card in 2020. I got mine three months ago; my wife hasn’t, and it’s already 2024. But I wasn’t overjoyed receiving it. In fact, I was shocked: the ID card delivered to me was a small “identification” printed on paper of a cheap grade, which was sent to me not even contained in an envelope.

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Debunking the Christ myth

THIS week is the time of the year when even the state, by declaring three “holy” days related to the Christ myth as official holidays, strengthens superstitious beliefs created centuries ago when superstition and baseless dogmas, rather than science and rationality, dominated the human mind.

As an analogy, we believed in ghosts, Santa Claus, angels in our childhood. These beliefs — except for a few and for a certain kind of mind — vanished unnoticed in our adulthood, as we imbibed civilization’s greatest tools of the science and rationality

A Filipino woman this time pretending to be the Messiah. AFP PHOTO

To start getting out of one’s mindset built since childhood, you have to recognize that in this modern age, science has been the singularly powerful tool for us to understand reality, to separate what’s false and mythical, and what’s true and factual (or historical). Science just in a brief span of 100 years of the modern human’s 200,000 years of existence has unlocked the mysteries of the atom and of the human genome, so we understand now that the world is not composed of “earth, air, water and fire,” nor are we just a more sophisticated form of dust.

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2016 arbitral ruling supports China’s Ayungin actions

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The Philippine military’s ignorant spokesmen’s, as well as the envoys of America’s vassal countries (like Japan and Australia), recent statements on the Ayungin Shoal tension are close to being hilarious.

They claim that China was ignoring the July 12, 2016 decision of the ad hoc arbitral tribunal on the suit filed by the Philippines against China in 2013, when Chinese vessels blocked and water-cannoned a boat that the Philippine Navy had hired to deliver supplies to the BRP Sierra Madre grounded at Ayungin Shoal.

Why don’t they read the decision itself? Even if China rejected the entire arbitration (proceedings) — after all, how can an arbitration be an arbitration if only one party participates? — one of its rulings basically supports Chinese actions in that shoal.

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