Sickening politicization of the pandemic

IT’s sickening how the Yellows and those claiming to be better leaders of the country have politicized the issue of controlling the Covid-19 pandemic.

Instead of uniting just once so we can better meet this threat, even really know-nothing politicians like Vice President Leni Robredo and Sen. Nancy Binay seem to think that they could hog the headlines — for the 2022 elections of course — by taking potshots at the government’s efforts to contain the disease.

Binay, for instance, went for the quotable rather than substance by claiming that the government has had a ningas cogon attitude in combating the pandemic.

Doesn’t she read the papers, watch TV programs, in which officials of the Duterte task force on the pandemic have been briefing the nation almost daily on what it’s been doing since it was organized last year? Hasn’t she heard that government is currently deploying 52 million doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech, Oxford-AstraZeneca and the Chinese-made vaccines? Hasn’t she heard that government has firmed up purchase orders for 20 million doses of the Moderna vaccine, 30 million of the US-developed, Indian-manufactured Novavax/Covovax, and 15 million of the Russian Sputnik V — despite the mad scramble in the world to hoard vaccine supplies?

Rather than blabbering inanities, Binay should instead show how Covid-19 should be contained in her hometown, Makati. After all, her family has total control of the city. Yet despite being the richest city with P18 billion in revenues, and among the smallest, and with so many hospitals, Makati has the third largest cases of the disease among the country’s cities, with 20,330 as of March 23. That’s Health department data. The Makati City Facebook page reports only 13,224 cases.


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SWS, Pew Research: Filipinos feel PH under Duterte as freest, most democratic

LAST March 18, a wacky group announced that it would organize the country’s “democratic forces” in order to resist President Duterte’s “authoritarianism.” The very next day, the Social Weather Stations released the results of its November 21-25 survey that very much belies their claim and shows how detached they are from reality they should start talking to ordinary folk.

The SWS poll showed that 65 percent of its respondents agreed with the statement: “I can say anything I want, openly and without fear, even it is against the administration.”  That 65 percent “grade” is the highest since September 1988, through three decades, and through five administrations. 

It is only lower than the 74 percent who agreed to that statement in March 1987. I even suspect that was a statistical error, since it steeply dived in the next poll, in September 1988 to 46 percent. President Corazon Aquino averaged just 54 percent for this measure of freedom for her entire administration. Duterte’s average so far is 58 percent.


Continue ReadingSWS, Pew Research: Filipinos feel PH under Duterte as freest, most democratic

China, US should thank Carpio, del Rosario — profusely

I SWEAR, the Yellow opposition have lost their minds: Antonio Carpio and Albert del Rosario as “convenors” for organizing the “democratic forces” in 2022? That is not just scraping the bottom of the barrel, they’re throwing the barrel at whatever anti-Duterte group that could form next year.

Former Supreme Court justice Carpio was the brains of the ill-conceived arbitration suit against China filed in 2013. Del Rosario, a longtime First Pacific high-ranking officer before he joined government, was President Benigno Aquino 3rd’s Foreign secretary, who led the anti-China campaign. These two manipulated the witless Aquino into what was the worst foreign policy direction the Philippine government ever took.

Despite their flag-waving melodramatics, their intention, wittingly or unwittingly, was to force China to allow an ambitious project of the Indonesian-owned First Pacific conglomerate to explore and exploit gas and oil in the Reed (Recto) Bank, which the Asian superpower and Vietnam claim.

Eight years after that arbitration suit was filed in 2013 and four years after the panel handed down its decision in 2016, only the ignorant or those psychotically denying reality will refuse to see not only how useless that “lawfare” — Carpio‘s term — was but the damage it wrought on us, which would have been catastrophic if Duterte had not reversed it and adopted a rapprochement policy with China.

The two men (top row) made China and the United States very happy. The two ladies lied about chief justice Renato Corona’s dollar accounts in his impeachment trial.

Continue ReadingChina, US should thank Carpio, del Rosario — profusely

Duterte extracted benefits from China and US

Second of 3 parts

RATHER than making the Philippines a “province of China” as the ignorant Yellows keep on ranting in their delirium, President Duterte’s rapprochement with the Asian superpower allowed the country to extract benefits from both the Chinese and the US. This is according to a study by entitled “An Analysis of the Philippines’ Policy Shift on the South China Sea Disputes.” Manantan is a research fellow at the Center for Southeast Asian Studies at the National Chengchi University in Taiwan.

Manantan summarized his study: “The Philippines under Duterte is using China as leverage in its alliance with the United States. By exploiting the ‘China card’ and downplaying the arbitration case, the Philippines has extracted concessions from Beijing and Washington. In capitalizing on the Sino-American rivalry, Manila has reaffirmed its strategic value within the US-Philippines alliance while benefiting more visibly from Chinese foreign aid and investment pledges.”

He explained: “The looming competition between the United States and China in the region is a springboard for the Philippines to further push its burden-sharing approach. As the great powers compete for dominance in the region, the Philippines is exploiting the conducive geopolitical environment to pursue its inherent interests. Therefore, the Philippines, under the Duterte government, gained an upper advantage which led to extracting benefits from two competing powers.”

The study continued: “Recognizing that the institutional mechanisms that would otherwise enforce the arbitral ruling are lacking, and that the Philippines’ weak defense capabilities would do little to deter China from pressing its sovereign claims in the South China Sea, the Duterte government has instead resorted to embracing China’s preference for bilateral talks. This has afforded the Philippines the chance to diversify its policy options by normalizing relations with China, and consequently benefiting from bilateral economic cooperation between the two countries.”

Manantan noted that China had immediately and even massively responded positively to Duterte’s extension of the Philippines’ hand in friendship: “Setting aside the South China Sea issue, Duterte’s four-day visit to Beijing from Oct. 18 to 21, 2016, generated deeper economic and diplomatic engagement with China. Duterte attained $24 billion worth of funding and investment pledges, and Trade and Industry Secretary Ramon Lopez subsequently listed the funding deals: $9 billion for soft loans, including a $3 billion credit line with the Bank of China, and economic investments worth $15 billion. The $9 billion in soft loans were earmarked for development programs, and a $15 million package was designated for drug rehabilitation programs.”


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Scholars praise Duterte’s China policy

First of 2 parts
PRESIDENT Rodrigo Duterte’s pivot away from his predecessor’s belligerent stance toward China was a tour de force in crisis management, a bold move that stopped what would have been the country’s catastrophic conflict with the Asian superpower — with the United States and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations most likely abandoning us — the latter, who are really our competitors, with hidden glee even.

It was also a stroke of genius in diplomacy in that Duterte’s independent foreign policy extracted benefits for the Philippines not only from China but also the US as the two rival superpowers scrambled to compete for the country’s support.

I am not presenting my opinion or analysis here — although I have drawn similar conclusions in many of my past columns. I am merely presenting the conclusions of two scholars who studied comprehensively the country’s foreign relations with China through the Aquino years to the present, seeing through the propaganda of the pro-American former foreign affairs secretary Albert del Rosario and former Supreme Court justice Antonio Carpio.

The first study is by Peter Kreuzer, titled “Dealing with China in the South China Sea” published as Report 3/2018 by the Peace Research Institute Frankfurt, a highly respected think tank and the largest in Germany. It was established in 1970 and focuses on research on international and internal conflicts. Kreuzer is a PhD and a senior researcher at the institute. Kreuzer explains why the arbitration suit has merely provoked the Asian superpower to harden its stance in the South China Sea disputes.

Peace Research Institute Frankfurt: ‘If [Benigno] Aquino [3rd] remained in power, the conflict with China would have escalated, with the Philippines on the losing end.’ Photo: Rodrigo Duterte meets Xi Jinping in Beijing in October 2016.

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Monsod’s biggest, most brazen lie

SOLITA Monsod, the Philippine Daily Inquirer’s columnist most emblematic of its politics, last week wrote a column titled “The administration’s biggest, most brazen lie.” It is ironic — even hilarious if not for the seriousness of the topic — that she bases such a declaration on what is clearly, totally, indisputably, inarguably a lie. It is the most shameful, and so far most sickening, of Monsod’s string of Duterte-demonizing pieces.

You don’t even need to do research to immediately suspect that she is lying when she wrote:
“Mr. [Rodrigo] Duterte’s total number of extrajudicial killings (EJKs) issued [sic] by the government: 20,322. That figure appears in the government’s report of accomplishments issued at the end of 2017 and circulated in the media, covering the period July 1, 2016 to Nov. 27, 2017. So, that is only 18 months of Mr. Duterte.”

C’mon, would the government, in this case the Presidential Communications Operations Office which issued that report (and accessible in the internet), report that in its “accomplishments”? If it did, I don’t think its most efficient head, Martin Andanar, would have lasted this long in his post.


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US and West hoard vaccines; China, Russia ship to over 60 countries

SO much for the US and the West’s incessant portrayal, to borrow that old US Cold War warrior Ronald Reagan’s famous term, of Russia and China as the “evil empires.” So much for their declarations that they are champions of globalism and human rights. The pandemic has torn down their mask: for them, it’s every nation for itself, and who cares if millions more of human lives in the poorer part of the world are killed by Covid-19.

When the vaccine has emerged as the world’s best hope to stop the spread of the deadly Covid-19 pandemic that has snuffed out 2.6 million souls so far, the US, the UK and the European Union have cornered and hoarded the vaccines produced within their borders.

If it is for ulterior motives, that is, to prettify their image and project their power, I wouldn’t care: China and Russia have shipped nearly 1 billion doses to over 60 countries, including huge countries hit badly by the pandemic, such as Indonesia, Brazil, Turkey and Chile. Most of China’s shipments so far were donations, as in our case.

In fact, the only vaccines we have been able to secure because of the West’s hoarding are 600,000 doses of the Chinese-made Sinovac, and 400,000 of AstraZeneca, made possible by Covax, a global vaccine-sharing facility set up by the World Health Organization and other philanthropic organizations with funding from the world’s richest nations. For the Yellows to claim that the Sinovac donation is in exchange for our giving up our South China Sea claims is nauseatingly stupid.


Continue ReadingUS and West hoard vaccines; China, Russia ship to over 60 countries

Drilon and Robredo’s sickening lies on PH vaccination

I FIND it sickening for the Yellows, especially its eldest stalwart Sen. Franklin Drilon and Vice President Leonor Robredo, to use the Covid-19 pandemic – which should be uniting us all to contain it – to irresponsibly throw mud at the government’s efforts to procure the needed vaccines. 

Drilon in a recent press release “lamented how the Philippines is lagging behind several countries in its Covid-19 vaccination plans, citing that six out of 10 countries in Southeast Asia have already begun their vaccination programs while the Philippines is still scrambling to secure supplies. Among the countries that have started rolling out the jabs are Singapore, Indonesia, Cambodia, Vietnam, Laos and Myanmar, leaving the Philippines, Brunei, Malaysia and Thailand behind.” Robredo similarly claimed that the Philippines is “behind other neighboring  countries” in vaccinating its citizens.

Drilon is lying, or hasn’t bothered to use a centavo of his office’s P100 million annual budget to do a bit of research. As usual, Robredo is clueless about what she is talking about.


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Robredo abandons presidential bid

EIGHT months before the October deadline for the filing of candidacy certificates for the two highest posts of the land, Vice President Leonor Robredo has all but given her up her ambition to be president in 2022.

While still saying – but as an afterthought – that that option is still open, Robredo in the GMA TV show “Mangahas Interviews” last March 5 said she was instead thinking or running as governor or as congressman, or even going back to just lawyering for NGOs. 

Surprisingly, she even disclosed for the first time that she was also considering a post “in the judiciary.” But judges in the Philippines up to Supreme Court are appointed by the president: Is Robredo sending a message to Duterte?

Did she really need to have that portrait beside her?

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Abolish our useless, wasteful post of vice president

The only country to have such

IF there is a silver lining in having a ridiculous, whining Leonor Robredo as vice president for four years, it is the nation’s realization that this post should be abolished as South Korea did in 1960.

We cannot have a vice president opposing every move of the president, saying absolutely nothing good about the country’s elected leader; that is just plain stupid.

We can’t have a vice president telling lies to the world as Robredo has been doing by claiming massive human rights violations in the Philippines. That is treasonous.


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