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SEA Games hosting helps build nationalism

I CAN’T remember anything recently quite like it. But there was inarguably so much joy among Filipinos who saw — directly or through videos — the opening ceremonies of the Southeast Asian (SEA) Games 2019 in New Clark City the other night.

What was amazing was that two words were often used to describe their feelings: “goose bumps” and” tears.”

Veteran journalist Jay Sonza, whom one would expect to be so jaded with his long career, posted in his Facebook time-line: “Noong sindihan ni Pacquiao iyong cauldron at magliyab ito, kasabay ng world-class fireworks sa loob ng Class 1A Olympic Track and Field sa Athletes’ Village, New Clark City, nanindig ang balahibo ko, sabay nangilid ang aking mata sa tuwa at kagalakan.We have built a monument, a work of art, and a remembrance of good governance.”

“Goosebumps and tears! World-class ceremonies indeed! So proud to be a Filipino! We win as one! Go Philippines!,” wrote TV presenter Gretchen Fulido. “Naiiyak ako with pride seeing the entire Team Philippines take center stage,” renowned singer Gary Valenciano said.

It was also sheer genius for the organizers to have our eight ‘legendary’ sports heroes carry in a dramatic way the SEA Games federation flag. That made it an event in which we were reminded that the Filipino could be world-class. (more…)

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Sy Jr., Porsche dealer, China state firm make P171-B super profits from electricity grid

WHATEVER hard-core believers of the once-upon-a-time magic wand called “privatization” will tell you, I’m sure you’ll find something deeply wrong here.

Henry Sy Jr. of the SM empire; insurance tycoon Robert Coyuito, known more as the dealer of Porsche here; and a Chinese state-owned company have been making super profits as owners of the monopoly that runs the country’s electricity transmission network, the National Grid Corp. of the Philippines (NGCP).

Sy has 30 percent of NGCP, officially through his One Taipan Holdings and then through Monte Oro Grid Resources. Coyiuto owns 30 percent through his Calaca High Power Corp. It is not clear though if Sy, who is either vice chairman or chairman of most of the SM conglomerate’s firms, represents the investments of that group in the NGCP or his own personal investments. I suspect though that while he may have his own money there, the SM empire’s money accounts for the bulk of One Taipan’s holdings.

The Chinese firm with 40-percent holdings is the Chinese government-owned State Grid Corp. of China, which was the second largest firm in the world in 2018 in terms of revenue. You read that right: it is second only to Walmart and had bigger profits than Royal Dutch Shell, Aramco, Apple and Toyota.

They run the firm that transmits electricity to us: Sy, 30 percent; Coyuito, 30 percent; China state firm, 40 percent. COMPANY PHOTOS


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Sick and tired of blah-blah by, and on, Robredo

I’M sick and tried of all the blah-blah by, and on,Vice President Maria Leonor Robredo these past three years. As vice president, she has accomplished nothing and said nothing really substantial or reasonable. Why the heck do we spend time talking about her?

To be honest, this column is obviously another such blah-blah on Robredo, but what I can do when media has been over-reporting her? C’mon, what’s really the news value justifying banner headlines yesterday reporting Robredo’s inane remarks like, “I have only started” (The Manila Times and Philippine Star) and “Leni to DU30: What are you scared of?” (Philippine Daily Inquirer). (To save this column from being another total blah-blah, I raise later below issues confronting the war against drugs I hope government will consider.)

After three years of bashing Duterte and painting the country, in the words of her cheerleader Maria Ressa, a “war zone” where corpses by the President’s death squads litter the streets, she is still “starting”? Then that mindless question by Robredo asking if Duterte is scared is big news deserving banner treatment?

I dare to lecture my media colleagues: Banner headlines are for, to exaggerate it, earth-shaking events, or statements by people who have some kind of power to walk the talk. If, say, in the context of hypothetical news that some stupid UN human rights group comes out with a report condemning alleged extrajudicial killings in the Philippines, Duterte says, “I have just started,” that is big, fearful news. He has the authority and resources to walk his talk.

But a vice president with no political power, and obviously not enough brains, mouthing a sound bite? (more…)

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US Navy confirms real intent of PH arbitration vs China

THE US Navy last week, in its actions and official statements, in effect revealed what was really one of the real aims of the Philippines’ arbitration suit that President Aquino 3rd and his foreign secretary Albert del Rosario brought against China in 2013.

It wasn’t to win back for the Philippines islands or reefs it claims to own in the Spratly islands, which it alleges China grabbed from it. The arbitration was intended — other than to demonize China as an evil aggressor in the South China Sea — to provide the US Navy with additional legal justification to undertake its so-called freedom of navigation operations (Fonops) in the South China Sea, a major part of the American “Pivot to Asia” program started by President Obama in 2011.

The Fonop has been the US’ way of challenging what it thinks are territorial waters and maritime zones that countries have declared but which it thinks are illegal. It does this by having a warship sail into such waters and zones to challenge the claiming countries to enforce what they claim are their sovereign rights – which of course they don’t, faced with the might of the US navy.

US combat ship Gabrielle Giffords: Free to patrol the Spratlys, thanks to PH arbitration suit. US NAVY PHOTO

On November 18, the littoral combat ship USS Gabrielle Giffords passed by Mischief Reef in the Spratlys, occupied by China on which it has built an artificial island. China as well as the Philippines and Vietnam claim the reef as part of their sovereign territory. China calls the Spratlys its Nánshā Qúndǎo, the Philippines its Kalayaan Island Group, and Vietnam, Quần đảo Trường Sa.

The US ship deliberately sailed within 12 nautical miles of the artificial island, or within its theoretical territorial sea. (more…)

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Pasig Mayor Sotto coddles a KMU union

TO be frank, I find it astonishing that a young mayor of a major city in Metro Manila, the scion of wealthy celebrity parents and educated in the most expensive school in the country could be so naïve or brainwashed by the Yellow Cult as to allow himself to be used by a Red front. And all along he deludes himself as defending “workers fighting for what they believe is just.”

I am talking about Vico Sotto, mayor of Pasig City and son of showbiz celebrities Vic Sotto and Coney Reyes, who has gone all-out in support of a group of workers battling snack-food manufacturer Regent Foods Corp., which has been doing business in his city since 1988, or a year before he was born.

The alleged union, Unyon ng mga Manggagawa sa Regent Food Corp. — “alleged” as there is another bigger union recognized by management for years and dealing with the company — appears to have been organized by cadres of, or is affiliated with, the once-powerful leftist group Kilusang Mayo Uno (KMU). Check out the KMU Facebook page to find out how deeply involved they are with this “Unyon.”

The company had issued a statement that this KMU union, which is the minority union in the company, blocked the entrance to the company factory with its pickets, forcing it close down. When Mayor Sotto refused to intervene in the dispute, the company secured a private security firm to guard the gates so its employees could resume their work.

The KMU union clashed with the security men and, according to the company, attacked them even using knives. Several of the security agents were injured, and one is still in critical condition. The Pasig police, who were at the scene, arrested 23 of the workers whom they claimed were responsible for the violence. The KMU and other leftist organizations, as has been their template, launched a campaign to “free the Regent 23.”

Astonishingly, Sotto paid the bail of the arrested KMU workers, and claimed that they “were just fighting for their rights.” He told the company that it must drop its charges against the workers if they want a “healthy relationship with the city government.”

The company, as its statement put it, “refused to be cowed,” saying that it might as well transfer its factory elsewhere than give in to the KMU strikers.

KMU happy over Mayor Sotto’s help. From its Facebook page


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Lunacy of leftists, middling minds of (some) media men

IF this brouhaha over the communists’ vandalism of the Manila’s iconic Lagusnilad (the first underpass in the country) tells us anything, it is as follows:

Communist activists today are lunatics, yet they astonishingly are still able to get some media people to buy into their crazy narrative.

I do not exaggerate when I call them lunatics. The slogan painted by the communist vandals of the group Panday Sining on Lagusnilad’s white-tiled walls was “Digmang [sic] Bayan, Sagot sa Martial Law” (People’s War, Response to Martial Law).

That slogan was what we — that is, when I was a fire-breathing activist in my youth — splashed on walls in 1971, when rumors were rife that then-President Marcos was poised to declare martial law, in response to the bombing of Plaza Miranda — which many years later would be proven to have been actually done by the Communist Party to foment chaos.

There was even a twist, hilarious but tragic, to that slogan. Then Communist Party chieftain Jose Ma. Sison boasted at the time that Marcos would be overthrown by “people’s war” if he declared martial law.

In panic
When Marcos did impose martial law in September 1972, Sison and his core group scampered away in panic, so much so that he was able to contact the New People’s Army leadership, based in Isabela, only after two years. Worse, in a few years’ time after martial law, nearly the entire communist leadership would be killed or arrested, including Sison and his military commander, Kumander Dante. Martial law proved to be a boon for Marcos, enabling him to rule the country for a decade with hardly any opposition.

It is the year 2019 today, how can you not call these communist vandals lunatics if they’re in a time warp, using a slogan that is 38 years old? How can you not call them lunatics if there has been no people’s war breaking out in Mindanao, where Duterte did declare martial law?

The slogan symbolizes the overall lunacy of the Left. How else can one explain their view of the Philippines as ripe for revolution through a “people’s army” of peasants encircling the cities; their continuing embrace of “Mao Zedong Thought” and “dialectical materialism”; and their veneration of their guru Jose Ma. Sison who has lived very comfortably for 22 years in a country that is part of the imperialist camp? They have even a stark-mad slogan: “Down with Duterte-US-Chinese Imperialism”.

The utter ludicrousness of the graffiti in Lagusnilad, which a representative of Panday Sining, Francis Joven, claims is “protest art,” is even demonstrated in one detail. The vandal who painted the graffiti misspelled “digmaang” (war) as “digmang.” That either shows how bad our educational system has become, or the vandal was so terrified at what he was doing he misspelled a word he obviously has been fond of using.

This brouhaha reveals another astonishing yet very disappointing fact. Our media — at least a few of them — have become so weak-minded as to be drawn into the communist justification for their vandalism, that it is “protest art.”

Top panels, vandalism by street gangs; bottom left, street art, Athens, right, Beirut. Bantay Manila, bklyner.com, thewildmagazine.com, and nahamet.com

Supposedly a veteran journalist, Ed Lingao was a mouse when he interviewed the Panday Sining head, who exuded the arrogance of a fanatic lecturing him on art. Lingao even claimed that there was “debate” in social media whether the Lagusnilad graffiti was vandalism or protest art, and titled his program “Street art or vandalism?” (more…)

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Drilon, Robredo — and PDI — pushing opposition to extinction

AT the rate the Yellow Cult leaders are demonstrating how incompetent they are, and with the Philippine Daily Inquirer unwittingly broadcasting their ineptness, there won’t be any opposition in the next national elections in 2022.

In the span of a few days, Sen. Franklin Drilon, the most experienced and smartest Liberal Party leader, and Vice President Maria Leonor Robredo showed how blatantly incompetent they are to be leaders of the nation.

Of all criticisms against the Duterte administration, Drilon attacked what is inarguably the most popular — among all classes — and most solid accomplishment of this administration: its massive “Build, Build, Build” infrastructure program, its roads and bridges component led by the most respected Cabinet member, Public Works and Highways Secretary Mark Villar.

If there’s anything wrong with the “Build, Build, Build” program, it is whether the massive infusion of funds into the system would be inflationary or whether government can sustain the debt burden on borrowed funds used for it.

I won’t waste this space debunking point by point Drilon’s claim that the Build, Build, Build program is a dismal failure. (Check out the rebuttals of Duterte’s spokesman Salvador Panelo and his adviser on flagship Vince Dizon who have very ably shown Drilon to be ignorant, bigtime.) (more…)

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Ressa was never a war correspondent; she just watched CNN’s video tapes

Finally, Rappler Chief Executive Officer Maria Ressa revealed so starkly her delusions, the absurd extent her humongous lies about our country and the Duterte administration.

In a recent “60 Minutes” program of the American TV network CBS, she said: “The situation in Manila is far worse than any war zone that I’ve been in. In a war zone you know exactly where the threats are coming from. I plan my way in and we plan our way out and you’re there for a limited period of time. We’ve been living through three years of this kind of hell.”

For somebody who pontificates in detail how to act in a war zone, Ressa was never a war correspondent

To bolster her credibility, the “60 Minutes” interviewer, Bill Whitaker, even exaggerated Ressa’s background as a “war correspondent.” In Whitaker’s very first statement in his introduction to his interview, he says, “For more than 30 years, Filipino journalist Maria Ressa has risked her life in war zones.”

As a CNN foreign correspondent (she was an American citizen) the only countries Ressa covered was the Philippines from 1988 to 1995 and then Indonesia from 1995 to 2005, hardly war zones. She was recruited because she had a Filipino mother and an Indonesian parent, whose family networks, the CNN thought, made it easy for anybody, even for a greenhorn or even for one with a lackluster performance in one job, to cover the two countries. Ressa was recruited in that period when most media men thought CNN didn’t have chance against media giants ABC, CBS, NBC and CBN. And after all, CNN paid pittance salaries that few journalist dreaming to become a “foreign correspondent” thought of joining.


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A unifying president?

PRESIDENT Duterte’s appointment of the unoccupied Vice President Leonor Robredo as vice chairman of the Inter-Agency Committee on Anti-Illegal Drugs (ICAD) was certainly unexpected. Just as unexpected was Robredo’s near-immediate acceptance of the appointment.

Perhaps it is a reflection of our sick political culture that many of the reactions to this turn of events pontificated on Duterte’s political motivation. For example, one early reaction was that it was a a devious move (if she had rejected it) for him to unmask the Vice President’s hollowness, that she was all blah-blah against the war on drugs, but really wouldn’t want to be waking up every morning to do some real work.

The Yellows, on the other hand, are applauding Robredo’s decision, claiming that it turns out to be a big mistake for Duterte, who thought that she wouldn’t call his bluff. One such couldn’t help herself from showing her glee, writing in her column: “Look whose star has risen in the firmament.” On the other hand, another anti-Duterte critic wrote:”Duterte is cleverly setting up Robredo as a scapegoat, for the failure of the war vs drugs. “

Hold on. Forget whatever motivation Duterte may have, and just focus on what the President did objectively.

Not because of the leadership but simply because she occupies the highest ranking post in government, Robredo is chairman of the Liberal Party, its symbolic head. And the Liberal Party is the opposition party, isn’t it? (more…)

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1974 ‘massacre’ hoax recycled for a 2014 moneymaking scam

Second of 4 parts
THE colossal hoax contrived in 1974 by the insurgent Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) of an alleged massacre of 1,500 Muslims in a barangay called Malisbong in Sultan Kudarat province, was intended to rouse to anger Muslim Arab leaders, especially the fiery Libyan strongman Muammar Gaddafi, so they would support, with their newfound oil wealth, the fledgling Moro insurgency.

The idea came from the propaganda success of the so-called Jabidah “massacre,” another hoax — that earlier case a concoction of then opposition leader Benigno Aquino Jr. — which had convinced many Muslim students in Manila to join the MNLF. Because “Jabidah” revealed Marcos’ secret plans to invade Sabah, it prodded Malaysia into throwing its full support behind the MNLF, giving it huge funds to buy arms, training its first corps of military officers, and providing its leaders refuge in their territory.

Do the photos express horror over a massacre? Zeitlin in Palimbang, where the purported ‘massacre’ occurred, a few days after the alleged event happened. From Amaral, A.E. The Awakening of Milbuk: Diary of a Missionary Priest (2016: Authorhouse, Indiana)


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