Salim (aka MVP), Razon, Ongpin’s project behind Aquino’s discord with China

Part 1: Has Carpio been their lawyer?
CONCEALED by the flag-waving histrionics of Antonio Carpio and Albert del Rosario is a classic case of oligarchic rule.

What triggered the Aquino 3rd regime’s conflict with the Chinese that led to the unprecedented Philippine arbitration suit against China and which sustains the Sinophobic campaign in the country was the ambitious, rushed project of three tycoons and their companies to become energy giants in a few years.

The project was the extraction of natural gas from the Sampaguita Gas Field in the Reed (Recto) Bank in the Spratly (Kalayaan Islands). That Sampaguita field was estimated in 2005 to have as much as the gas deposits of the Malampaya well off Palawan, which has provided a fifth of the country’s energy requirements since 2002.

The tycoons who challenged China: (Clockwise) Salim and his CEO Pangilinan, Razon and Ongpin. PHOTOS FROM ANNUAL REPORTS

However, the Malampaya well — 90 percent owned by Shell Petroleum and Chevron with the Philippines having a 10 percent stake — is estimated to run out of gas starting 2024. The three magnates figured through Reed Bank, they would be among the region’s largest energy firms. Since it started in 2002, revenues of Shell and Chevron from Malampaya have been estimated to total $90 billion.

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Arbitration ‘award’: A P1-billion useless piece of paper

PRESIDENT Duterte was absolutely correct when he remarked the other night that the “award” (i.e., ruling) of the arbitration suit that the Aquino 3rd administration brought against China in 2013 was a useless “piece of paper.”

It is useless, since the “award,” after extensively discussing the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea (Unclos) provisions and the Philippine claims for 500 pages, does not order China to do anything. It even emphasized that its “award” was “without prejudice to any questions of sovereignty or maritime boundary delimitation.”

(I place the term “award” in quotation marks as it is used in the document of the arbitration panel, not in the ordinary sense of something substantial being given. The panel uses that term only since it can’t use “decision” or “ruling” as it is not a court of law. The “award” awards nothing. Read it and it turns out to be merely in the nature of an academic discussion.)

The “award” most definitely doesn’t declare, as our Twitter-mad foreign affairs secretary ignorantly claims, that the “West Philippine Sea” — which nomenclature the arbitration totally ignored — is ours.

It doesn’t order China to vacate the seven features in the South China Sea (SCS) that it has occupied since 1988. It doesn’t order it not to undertake patrols by its Coast Guard, “maritime militia, “and even by the People’s Liberation Army Navy in our exclusive economic zone (EEZ) and in that part of the Spratlys that we claim, the Kalayaan Island Group (KIG).

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Twitter-mad Locsin a disgrace to the country

FOREIGN Affairs Secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr., whose claim to fame in his senior years is that he has tweeted more than Donald Trump, is a disgrace to our country, to our diplomatic corps and to President Duterte. The President must not allow such a scoundrel to remain in office a second longer.

His tweet against China is such a gaffe that if he has an ounce of integrity left, he should resign.

Can you imagine any official of any country in charge of its relations with the world insulting in such a vulgar manner another country: “How politely can I put it? Let me see… O…GET THE F**K OUT. You’re like an ugly oaf forcing your attention on a handsome guy who wants to be a friend; not to father a Chinese province …” And to use such expletives against China, the nation that in our pandemic crisis immediately provided us with 2.5 million vaccine doses, compared with that from the Covax vaccine alliance totaling only 500,000 doses?

Doesn’t he care at all that with our top diplomat being so vulgar that the rest of the world will think that Filipinos haven’t heard of “tact,” “civilized manners” and “diplomacy”? US President Theodore Roosevelt popularized that adage in diplomacy: “Speak softly and carry a big stick.” Locsin speaks too vulgarly yet carries not even a toothpick.

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Carpio and Sison are PH’s biggest liars

FORMER Supreme Court Justice Antonio Carpio will go down in our history as one of the biggest liars ever, over a public discourse affecting our national interest.

Only Communist Party of the Philippines founder Jose Maria Sison overshadows Carpio as the country’s biggest fabricator in his lie Philippine democracy is entirely an exploiter’s tool and in his Manichean mindset US imperialism is the devil incarnate.

For Carpio, the devil is China.

Sison’s lies had traction because he exploited the emotions boiling out of people’s misery. Carpio is exploiting humankind’s ancient tribalism in its modern form of xenophobia. Both also stoke the infantile sense of victimhood; in Sison’s worldview, by the US as the opressor; in Carpio’s, by the slant-eyed “bully” in the region.

Yes, our exclusive economic zone (EEZ, green line), illustrated here without the delimitations with other EEZs and territorial seas of other nations, encompasses part of the Spratly. But China and Vietnam claim all of it as part of their sovereign territory.
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Should NCR Plus workers, rather than seniors, be vaccinated first?

Right now, it looks like we won’t be getting the vaccines we need to inoculate even 10 percent of our population or 10 million this year. We have to rationally determine, and decide very soon, how to allocate the vaccines that will be available.

The biggest chunk of vaccines will come from China, with which we have a firm order of 25 million, with 1 million given as donation to the Armed Forces of the Philippines. The US and the West have hoarded as much of the vaccines as they can and will decide only later if they would be kind enough to allow poorer nations to get these life-saving dosages.

According to Secretary Carlito Galvez Jr., chief implementer of the National Task Force Against Covid-19, other vaccines to be delivered by June are 2 million doses of the Russian Sputnik V, 1.3 million of AstraZeneca (from the Covax Alliance) and 194,000 of Moderna. Rollout of Sputnik and Moderna will not be as fast as Sinovac as they require special below-zero degrees storage, which is not easy to install or may even be available.

We have to face the harsh reality of deciding how best to allocate the vaccines that would be available. At present, the vaccination priority are frontline health workers (A1), senior citizens (A2), persons with co-morbidities (A3), frontline personnel in essential sectors including uniformed personnel (A4) and “indigent” population (A4), which, however, is vaguely defined.

Priority B are teachers and social workers, “other government” workers, “other essential workers,” those with a “significantly higher risk other than senior citizens and poor population, overseas Filipino workers, and finally “other remaining workforce.”

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Economist’s fake news on Sinovac efficacy

THE worst fake news, because it clothes itself in half-truths, is that which maliciously does not report information or newer data essential to establishing the facts. This is exactly the case in the British Economist magazine’s April 15 “Daily Chart” section, the least trusted of this magazine’s sections since it often simplifies things to fit into its charts.

The Economist article claimed: “Phase-three trials yielded an efficacy rate (for the Chinese vaccine Sinovac) of just 50.7 percent.” The article’s title made it a tabloid piece: “In clinical and real world trials, China’s Sinovac underperforms.” The clear message: Sinovac doesn’t work, avoid it. 

Unfortunately, it is Sinovac that has been, and will likely be, the most widely available vaccine in this country, as the US and other Western nations have hoarded and cornered the supply of the vaccines produced in their soils. As such this Economist fake news is so despicable.

Info on six vaccines. From the New York Times.
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Del Rosario lost Panatag to China

THE gall of former foreign secretary Albert del Rosario to even open his mouth on the Whitsun Reef brouhaha and to admonish the Duterte administration to do this or that in dealing with China. 

In an article prominently posted yesterday in the Philippine Star, owned by the Indonesian-controlled First Pacific where del Rosario got  most of his income for two decades, he wrote: “On Panatag/Scarborough, an agreement in settling an impasse in 2012 was brokered by the US. It involved the withdrawal of all ships on both sides by a certain time. We withdrew while China deceitfully breached our agreement.”

That is a gargantuan lie. Not even the US claims that. Only del Rosario, nobody else – not even his fellow Sinophobe Antonio Carpio or even President Aquino 3rd  – dares repeat that lie that has been incontrovertibly proven as such. Del Rosario in fact will go down in Philippine history as the person to have dropped the ball  so that this Republic lost its first ever territory. For that alone, del Rosario should have the decency to shut up on our territorial disputes with China.

US official Campbell (left) told del Rosario the Chinese would leave Panatag. Del Rosario believed him and ordered our ships out of the shoal. That’s how we lost Philippine territory.
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Chinese maritime militia invasion a hoax; Duterte should fire Lorenzana and Locsin

A MONTH after the hysterics, sadly participated in by our own defense and foreign affairs secretaries, the so-called “intrusion” by 200 Chinese “maritime militia in our territory” is turning out to be a hoax.

It is a hoax, since no iota of evidence has been presented that the vessels were China’s maritime militia. They were Chinese fishing fleets, huge ones, yes, because these are deep-sea fishing vessels. They massed at the Julian Felipe Reef not because they were in a military formation but because that is what fishing fleets do to brace against storms, in this case against a fierce northeast monsoon last month. It gives the vessels more stability when they are tied up together, ensuring that a lone vessel does not float away helpless in a storm.

Even the Asian Maritime Transparency Initiative (AMTI), an anti-China think tank set up by US propagandists and intelligence in 2013, couldn’t really provide evidence that the vessels were Chinese maritime militia ships.

Yet its article on Whitsun Reef is a classic of disinformation. It titled the article  “Caught on camera: Two dozen militia boats at Whitsun Reef identified.” What that headline really means is that out of the 200 vessels at Whitsun Reef which the Philippine defense secretary claimed were Chinese maritime militia, it has identified the registered names for 23  of the vessels. 

Homeports of Chinese Vessels Identified at Whitsun Reef
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Use P15B for new Senate building to defend PH sovereignty

IT is so hypocritical for senators like Panfilo Lacson, Risa Hontiveros and Franklin Drilon to be flag-waving hysterically over the Julian Felipe (Whitsun) Reef incident and condemning the Duterte government for, as the former put it, “resorting to acquiescence bordering on implied derogation of our sovereignty.”

If they just bother to study the territorial disputes in the South China Sea – and I would gladly send them the internet links to my two dozen columns on this – they would realize the following two realities.

First, the occupation of features in the Spratly archipelago by three countries and Taiwan is a fait accompli. These are:

PRIORITIES: Top, illustration of P15 billion new Senate building; middle, our ‘installation’ at Ayungin Shoal; bottom, Chinese installation at Mischief Reef.
PRIORITIES: Top, illustration of P15 billion new Senate building; middle, our ‘installation’ at Ayungin Shoal; bottom, Chinese installation at Mischief Reef.
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Yehey! I got my first jab — of Sinovac, what else?

Long live me!
Long live me!

AND I unabashedly thank President Duterte and China, and his government for the efficient distribution of the vaccines. If Duterte hadn’t reversed the witless Benigno Aquino 3rd’s hostile stance against China – and if  he had capitulated to the Yellow-led irrational anti-Chinese mob pretending to be nationalists — I probably wouldn’t get any vaccine and would be vulnerable to the most communicable and deadly virus in our lifetime. 

The 525,000 doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine obtained through the Covax Facility*, would have been prioritized to medical personnel and other frontliners, as well as for seniors in the metropolis, which is much worst hit by Covid-19, compared to the semi-rural town I live in, where total cases have been low. China has shipped 2.5 million doses of its Sinovac to the Philippines, and commits to provide 22.5 million more this year, expanding the pool of vaccines the government can distribute.

In the meanwhile, the US and Europe, countries that usually raise a storm over human rights abuses here and elsewhere in Asia, have hoarded the vaccines, taking advantage of the fact that their manufacturers are in their territories. “Die!” they might as well have told the rest of world. To be sure, not a single dose leaks to locals, US and European embassies aren’t even providing vaccines to their citizens abroad.

President Biden’s state and defense secretaries as well as his national security agencies have been calling their counterparts here, not to give the smallest assurance that they will help us get US-made vaccines, but to goad them to fight the Chinese.

It is shameless for sinophobes here to denigrate the Chinese benefaction. “The vaccines are in exchange for giving up Julian Felipe reef,” top Sinophobe Antonio Carpio very stupidly says. And what reefs did Indonesia and Brazil, which got 20 million Sinovac vaccines, surrender to China, can he tell us?

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