Duterte’s 7 breakthroughs and their limits

IN his five years in office, President Duterte has changed the course of Philippine history, although his breakthroughs conceivably can still be reversed if there is no Duterte 2.0.

First, he has all but routed the communist insurgency. Duterte is the first president to undertake an all-out drive to end this scourge after 40 years, since Marcos’ in the early 1970s.

Except for Duterte, all the five presidents immediately preceding him shirked in fighting the communists either because they were plain naïve (as Corazon “Cory” Aquino was) or were political opportunists that they couldn’t risk losing the support of the Left and its many allies.

Cory even strengthened the communists, releasing, as soon as she grabbed power, its top leader and tactician par excellence, Jose Ma. Sison, whom Marcos had arrested in 1977. Cory even romanticized them as freedom fighters and undertook “peace talks” with them, which was nothing but the vast “democratic space” they used to expand their ranks. Cory got the Constitutional Commission she commanded to create the so-called party-list system, which the communists expertly maneuvered both to become major participants in Congress and to raise funds for their New People’s Army.

Never before has there been a broad “National Task Force to End Local Communist Conflict” that has fought the communists in all fields – from propaganda to economic development of communities organizing the insurgents’ victims to the battlefield.

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Colonial mentality and stenographic journalism in PH media

THE Philippine media is going to the dogs. Colonial mentality and stenographic journalism among our media people have become worse, afflicting not just the new generation but even the old.

I borrow that 1960s term “colonial mentality” to refer to many Filipino journalists’ mindset that if a US, European or even Japanese news outlet reports something, then it’s true beyond contention.

Some columnists even revere articles from The New York Times or the Washington Post as if they are scripture; even cutting and pasting them at length in their pieces. Have they forgotten the fact that these two newspapers, and nearly all of Western mainstream media, swallowed hook, line and sinker, and disseminated the biggest lie of this century that Iraq’s Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction and, therefore, deserved to be invaded, which cost the lives of 1 million Iraqis?

A recent example of this colonial mentality was the uncritical embrace of the New York-based Bloomberg’s report several weeks ago that ranked the Philippines second to the last in “resiliency” to the Covid-19 pandemic.

Your usual Yellow papers, the Philippine Daily Inquirer and The Philippine Star, of course, reported it with glee, with not a single critical sentence, such as: “This contradicts data that the Philippines has only 13,888 cases per 1 million population and 67 deaths per 1 million compared to the United States’ 24,941 and 1,882, respectively, and that in the Johns Hopkins and Worldometers listing of countries with their Covid statistic, there are 22 other countries much worse than us.

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‘For the funds of it’

THERE is one phrase familiar to media people, but which laymen probably have never heard of: “For the funds of it.” I first heard the phrase used at the National Press Club elections long ago, but it actually refers mostly to elections for government posts.

A twist on the more familiar “for the fun of it,” it points to one of the main reasons – other than megalomania – why so many seem to want to run for Philippine electoral posts, even for national posts. It’s an income-generating project.

This column of course was not inspired by the announcement the other day by Senators Panfilo Lacson and Vicente Sotto 3rd of their “firm” decision to run for president and vice president, respectively, in the elections next year.

The phrase describes the strange phenomenon in Philippine elections in which candidates, except for the very rich, end up richer after an election, whether they win or lose. It happens in the following way.

Politicians and government officials in the course of their careers develop friends – okay, let’s call a spade a spade, “clients” – among businessmen and the rich, which they help one way or another because of their political clout or even control over some government office.

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PH the only country in the world without an official map

FOR all the previous Aquino 3rd administration’s fixation (or pretended concern) over Philippine sovereign rights in the South China Sea, as defined by the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea (Unclos), it didn’t bother with actually producing an official map that shows the breadth of both our territorial sea and its exclusive economic zone (EEZ). Officially therefore, we still can’t claim where our maritime zones (EEZ and territorial sea) begin and end.

This only confirms my thesis that the Aquino regime and the likes of his foreign secretary Albert del Rosario and foremost Sinophobe Antonio Carpio weren’t really concerned about our nation’s sovereignty and sovereign rights. Carpio’s maps, as well as those presented by the Philippines in the arbitration suit, are therefore spurious in that they are not official maps.

The arbitration they forced on China was really intended to pressure it to agree to – as the then solicitor-general Florin Hilbay only recently confirmed – a joint development for gas and oil extraction in the Reed Bank between the Chinese firm and First Pacific Co. in which, not coincidentally, del Rosario has been an officer for decades.

The US enthusiastically supported the suit against China as it demonized its rival superpower as an expansionist power in the South China Sea. The arbitral panel also ruled that practically most of that sea are international waters, with just islets and rocks entitled only to tiny 12-nautical mile territorial seas – allowing US warships, conventional or nuclear, to roam there as they please, without the need to announce their presence.

Where the Chinese ship was ordered out by the Philippine Coast Guard BY AUTHOR USING GOOGLE EARTH PRO
Where the Chinese ship was ordered out by the Philippine Coast Guard BY AUTHOR USING GOOGLE EARTH PRO
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Abaya must explain hand in hoax-making US firm Simularity

PETER Anthony Abaya, the bro-ther of the late former president Benigno Simeon “Noynoy” Aquino 3rd’s transport and communications secretary Joseph Abaya, should explain his role in transforming the small tech firm Simularity Inc. into a clever generator of fake news against China in its territorial dispute with the Philippines. This is important to us as a nation, as I hope everyone will realize after reading this column.

The tiny Florida-based tech company, Simularity, in the past week, had gone on a campaign to claim that Chinese vessels were heavily polluting the Union Banks area in the Spratlys with what it outrightly referred to – in its supposed scientific paper – as “poop” and “shit.”

Simularity fake news: not in Spratlys but in Great Barrier Reef; not poop but dredge; and not Chinese but Australian
Simularity fake news: not in Spratlys but in Great Barrier Reef; not poop but dredge; and not Chinese but Australian
Abaya: Who was he the agent of? PHOTO ABS-CBN
Abaya: Who was he the agent of? PHOTO ABS-CBN

The firm cleverly got to spread its fake news through gullible media, notably GMA 7 and Channel 5’s “OneNews,” by posting together with its supposedly objective but questionable analysis a photograph taken from a low-flying airplane of a ship with a brownish trail anyone would conclude, because of the report’s headline, as human waste discharged by the vessel.

The photo, however, was immediately tracked down by an alert netizen as one appearing in Australia’s Daily Mail in 2014 in the Great Barrier Reef in Cairns. The unidentified ship wasn’t even discharging waste. It was undertaking dredging operations with the brown material being the usual sediments at the sea’s bottom.

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Aquino official behind US firm spreading fake news on Chinese activities in SCS

A RANKING official of the past Benigno Aquino 3rd regime is behind the Florida-based Simularity Corp., which has been disseminating black propaganda, though in a very devious manner, against China over its activities in the South China Sea.

The firm, one source claimed, had been contracted by the US State Department to set up a “South China Sea Rapid Alert Forum,” its platform for manufacturing anti-China propaganda using its interpretations of satellite images.

The former Aquino official is Peter Anthony Abaya, the brother of Aquino’s former transportation and communications secretary, Joseph Abaya. Simularity Vice President Peter Konig confirmed in an email that Abaya is a director of the firm.

Abaya’s last posting in the previous government was as general manager of the National Reclamation Authority. He was an undersecretary of the energy department, sources claimed, when the First Pacific-led triad of oligarchs started to lobby the government to allow it to explore and extract gas from the Reed Bank, which China and Vietnam also claim.

The Simularity report with fake photo SCREENGRAB
The Simularity report with fake photo SCREENGRAB
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‘Arbitration victory’ today’s American WMD lie

REMEMBER George W. Bush’s hysterical claim in 2003 that Iraq had horrible “weapons of mass destruction” – WMDs, deadly chemical and biological weapons that could kill millions – which the US and its allies used as an excuse to invade Iraq?

That was one of the most terrible crimes against humanity in our generation. It killed a million Iraqis and triggered the civil wars chaos that continues to this day in that country, in Afghanistan, in Syria, in Yemen and in Libya.

Remember that even the supposedly best newspapers in the world swallowed hook, line and sinker that claim, probably the worst hoaxes ever foisted on humanity in the 21st century? That the New York Times, which a few of my colleagues think is the modern bible, profusely apologized that they were hoodwinked by Bush over WMD, that their coverage was so totally wrong? That an American Pulitzer Prize winner was found to have fabricated her articles on the WMD?

Reading US State Secretary Anthony Blinken’s statement yesterday – as his predecessor last year did – praising the 2016 arbitration “against China,” and making the totally unfounded claim that “China continues to coerce and intimidate Southeast Asian coastal states,” and how, except for a few, the political elite and media are praising it and still can’t see it as a sham, I can only conclude the following:

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Vietnam: Proof that ‘arbitral victory’ is a colossal fraud

A Vietnamese military outpost in the Kalayaan area, after upgrading in June 2016. PHOTO VNEXPRESS.NET
A Vietnamese military outpost in the Kalayaan area, after upgrading in June 2016. PHOTO VNEXPRESS.NET

First of 2 parts

THERE is incontrovertible proof that what the Yellows claim as the country’s “victory” in the compulsory arbitration the Aquino regime brought against China in 2013 is fraudulent: Vietnam claims the Spratlys (Truong Sa to them, Kalayaan Island Group to us) as their sovereign territory, as much as does China (Nansha Qundao).

If, for argument’s sake, the arbitral panel ruled illegal China’s sovereignty in the Spratlys and ordered it to vacate the seven reefs it occupies, on which it built artificial islands, the Philippines still won’t be able to get these. It will have to contend with a fiercer claimant: Vietnam, which claims as much as China does and with as much intense nationalist fervor as the Chinese do.

A very rough analogy would be if an Atty. A convinced you to file a suit against Mr. C to declare him as having no legitimate claim to a land you claim to own. You win the suit, pay huge attorney’s fees, but then you later find out that a Mr. V also has claim, a bigger one, on it. And worse, Atty. A was actually working for Mr. V. You were scammed.

If China vacates the Spratlys, Vietnam would be rushing in to occupy the Chinese-claimed territories and even those that we do. In such an eventuality, do you think United States would help us? Unlikely, as it has been wooing Vietnam since it broke off from the Chinese aegis in 1978. Another war against the Vietnamese? Never, US media would shriek.

The United States and the likes of former foreign secretary Albert del Rosario and foremost Sinophobe Antonio Carpio can’t run to the West claiming a superpower is bullying the Philippines.

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Run, Pacman, run!

AFTER having been very critical of his ambitious plans, I thought about the issue the past few days, and I’ve changed my mind. I’m convinced Sen. Emmanuel “Pacman” Pacquiao should run for the post of President of the Republic.

His candidacy will be good for our democracy and the country’s image, especially globally, which is in tatters because of the US media and their brown minions’ relentless tirades against President Duterte.

For a dirt-poor Filipino to become one of the greatest boxers of all time, and to cap his career by going for the highest post of the land, Pacquiao running for president will show the world that we are such a vibrant democracy, where anybody can vie for the position. The downside to this of course is the possibility that there would be a deluge of young Filipinos going into boxing rather than college, believing they could, like “Pacman,” later in their life get a four-year course in three months.

The silly reportage of US media and by the likes of Maria Ressa, Randy David and Sheila Coronel that we have an authoritarian government will be totally debunked if Pacman runs for president. The Philippines will be the darling of the foreign press, as we will be only the second country after Liberia to have a sports celebrity running for president. (The football star succeeded in Liberia.)

The boxing celebrity TIMES FILE PHOTO
The boxing celebrity TIMES FILE PHOT
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Hilbay rats on Carpio, reveals real aim of suit vs China

INDEED this often happens after a crime, when the gang members disagree among themselves, and they end up ratting on each other.

His shiny ego pricked by former Supreme Court justice Antonio Carpio’s thinly veiled criticism of him in his July 1, 2021 Philippine Daily Inquirer column, that he purportedly tried to block the filing of the arbitration case against China,  former Solicitor General Florin Hilbay immediately hit back at Carpio the following day. 

Inadvertently, he disclosed the real goal of the arbitration: To remove the Chinese blocking of certain oligarchs’ natural-gasextraction project in the disputed Reed Bank.

In a self-congratulatory, five-page document he posted in his Facebook wall, Hilbay revealed what I have been claiming in several past columns.  It wasn’t patriotism that drove former foreign secretary Albert del Rosario and Carpio to propose and undertake vigorously the arbitration suit against China.

Carpio and Hilbay: Both probably right.
Carpio and Hilbay: Both probably right.
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