The tragedy of EDSA

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THE tragedy of the “EDSA People Power Revolution” involves three inarguable facts. It merely reinstated elite rule, and the political system that maintains their power. It allowed the growth of insurgencies that have scared away investments. It demonized the kind of state-directed economic policy responsible for the growth of the “Dragon and Tiger” economies of Asia.

The tragedy of EDSA is that it didn’t help us much in achieving economic growth on a scale our neighbors did.

First, while toppling a dictatorship, EDSA swiftly restored the Philippines’ anarchy of elite families that was the situation since the nation’s birth. This reality has always been and still is, though concealed through the scheme of popular voting that also prevents inter-elite conflicts from turning violent that would be disastrous for everyone.

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RCEP: Finally, the ultimate solution to the South China Sea disputes?

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YET this “solution” hit the headlines the other day, with most people not realizing its vast geopolitical ramifications, that it could finally end the possibility of war over the South China Sea disputes. It’s often referred to by its acronym RCEP, which makes it appear more inscrutable.

source Wikipedia

RCEP stands for Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership, with the Philippines the 15th East Asian country to ratify it, just the other day β€” after China, Japan, South Korea, Australia, New Zealand, and Singapore and eight Asean members in the past two years. It calls for the elimination of 90 percent of the member countries’ tariffs in a phased manner within 20 years of their ratification.

While its proponents boast that it will be the world’s biggest free-trade bloc, representing 30 percent of world GDP, hardly pointed out that China accounts for a huge chunk of this β€” 18.5 percent of the global economy. The shares of the other members of RCEP are far smaller: Japan 9.3 percent, Korea 1.7 percent, and Australia 0.9 percent. Except for its undiplomatic tone, it could be more accurately called the Regional China Comprehensive Economic Partnership.

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ICC case totally based on biased, inaccurate reports

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Last of 2 parts

LAST Monday I wrote about how the International Criminal Court’s two prosecutors’ report on alleged widespread extrajudicial killings (EJKs) under President Duterte’s war on illegal drugs (WoD) were to a great extent based on biased and false articles in the news website Rappler, which was dedicated to demonize the former president. In short, it relied for its accusations on media accounts, which in a system of justice are mere hearsay, inadmissible as evidence.

More than 27 percent (116 out of 441 citations) of the sources the ICC used were from Rappler, which strived for six years now to portray Duterte as a bloody authoritarian. The ICC prosecutors swallowed hook, line and sinker that outfit’s claims, even if many of these β€” such as their false report on number of those killed β€” had been incontrovertibly proven to be false. Very anomalously, the ICC prosecutors didn’t cite articles in mainstream media that had been operating for decades and had proven to be accurate and objective, and which presented a different picture from what that website, just a few years old then, claimed.

The ICC based its recommendation to undertake a full-blown investigation of alleged EJKs during Duterte’s administration on three other sources that were nearly as fanatically partisan against the WoD as Rappler. These were Reuters’ reportage from December 2016 to mid-2017, as well as those also during this period by the Manila office of Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International.

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ICC report vs Duterte based solely on Rappler, biased media reports

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First of 2 Parts

THE International Criminal Court’s demand for an investigation of alleged widespread extrajudicial killings (EJKs) during President Duterte’s war against illegal drugs (WoD) is not only an intrusion into our sovereignty. If you read the two prosecutors’ June 2021 report* recommending the probe, you will be shocked:

Her Rappler was the ICC’s main source of β€˜information.’ (Rear left, her executive editor.)

It is totally based on biased media reports β€” legally hearsay in the justice system of civilized countries.

Indeed, in its September reply to the ICC prosecutors’ report, the Office of the Solicitor General pointed out: “The Office of the Prosecutor (OTP) predominantly relied on media reports… and failed to explain its lack of consideration for government’s explanations.”

The OSG argued that this violated a provision of the Rome Statute that created the ICC, which requires the OPT to “investigate incriminating and exonerating circumstances equally.”

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US intends PH to be its ‘Asian Ukraine’

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IN order to prevent the rise of China as the hegemonic power in Asia, the US has been maneuvering to make the Philippines its “Asian Ukraine” β€” that is, its proxy to provoke the Asian superpower to undertake aggressive actions against us or even the US Navy, in order to demonize it as the Evil Empire of the region.

Make no mistake about it: I condemn Russia’s near-genocidal war against Ukraine, a country poorer than us, killing tens of thousands of civilians and destroying Ukrainian homes and infrastructure that would take them as least half a century to rebuild. There is just no excuse for such horror inflicted on a country.

However there is consensus among Western scholars and observers that the US had provoked Russia, which calculated that Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy’s moves to make his country a member of North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) represented the last stages of its encirclement by the West.

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Ayungin incident: China’s first move vs Marcos’ US embrace?

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I CERTAINLY hope it is just coincidental, but a Chinese coast guard’s recent blocking of a Philippine Coast Guard ship delivering supplies to a platoon of Marines stationed at the Ayungin Shoal (Second Thomas Shoal) could be China’s first response to President Ferdinand Marcos Jr.’s recent moves to place the country in alliance with the United States.

Marcos on February 2 agreed to allow the US to use as it pleases four more of our military camps (on top of the five that President Benigno Aquino 3rd gave it in 2014) under the 2014 Enhanced Cooperation Defense Agreement. The Ayungin incident occurred on February 6.

The Chinese move was quite serious. The Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) in a statement said that a Chinese Coast Guard vessel shone a “military-grade” green laser light twice at the Philippine ship, “causing temporary blindness to her crew at the bridge.” This is the first time the Chinese have done this.

“Temporary blindness” would be the least of the PCG’s worries.

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The only benefit from expanded EDCA

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Read more about the article The only benefit from expanded EDCA
credits:Bioshock: Infinite/2K Games

Last of 3 parts

AND the boon is this: a media sympathetic to President Ferdinand Marcos, strengthening his hold on the Philippine press.

credits:Bioshock: Infinite/2K Games

Marcos and the US defense secretary jointly announced last February 2 that the Americans would have four more of our military camps that they can use under the Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement (EDCA).

So telling that in their first columns after this announcement, rabid Yellow anti-Marcos columnists praised him to high heavens.

One Philippine Daily Inquirer columnist, who had been vociferously against the elder Marcos as well, titled his piece “EDCA: Marcos, Jr.’s bold move.” He couldn’t contain himself lauding Marcos for his “decisiveness to raise and enhance the profile of the Philippines.” Another columnist in the same newspaper, a certified Yellow ideologue, on the same day titled his, “EDCA: Marcos Jr.’s game-changer move,” practically saying that Marcos’ big move will be the key in giving the Philippines the leverage to “confront China.”

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Expanded EDCA will have severe economic backlash

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With friends like this… Marcos with Xi on Jan. 6 2023, and with US Defense Secretary Austin 27 days later.

PRESIDENT Ferdinand Marcos Jr.’s stunning announcement last week that four more of our military camps may be used by the US armed forces in case of and a US war with China β€” this time directed to defend Taiwan from a Chinese invasion β€” endangers both our national security and our economy.

I discussed last Monday the rather obvious risk that the new agreement puts us in the Chinese line of fire in case of a war with the US. No other Southeast Asian country or territory has such US or any foreign military bases.

Congress in 1991 expressed the national consensus that Filipinos don’t want foreign arms and troops on our soil. The late President Benigno Aquino 3rd disregarded this consensus and agreed to allow the US to transform five military camps into theirs under the so-called 2014 Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement (EDCA). President Duterte in practice shelved it. Marcos has not only revived it, he has expanded it.

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Marcos puts us further in harm’s way, to help US in a Taiwan war

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First of 3 parts

PRESIDENT Ferdinand Marcos Jr.’s move to give the US four additional military camps that it can use to station its troops and stockpile war materiel for a war in the region has placed the country further in harm’s way. As a result, there are now nine camps from Cagayan in the north to Palawan in the south that are now in the cross-hairs of China’s People’s Liberation Army, if ever the two superpowers’ rivalry in the region turns into war, or even just a limited conflict.

In our relationship with the US, Bongbong is Noynoy 2.0, adding four more camps to the five that the late President Benigno Aquino 3rd gave the US military full access to under the 2014 Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement (EDCA). The members of our Congress should find deep in their hearts some ember of patriotism and call Marcos to its halls to publicly explain why, with totally no consultations at all with them, he gave the US practically all they wanted.

China immediately angrily reacted to this news. Its spokesman in Beijing described Marcos’ deal as leading to “the strengthening of the US deployment in the Asia-Pacific.”

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Marcos’ advantage: An acquiescent press

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QUITE surprisingly, given the 36 years his family had been demonized by the media, President Ferdinand Marcos Jr.’s big advantage over most of his predecessors has been an acquiescent press.

The firing by The Philippine Star of columnist Ramon Tulfo last Monday β€” who had shifted just in the past few months from being a friend of the Marcos couple to a vehement critic β€” is another step in strengthening the administration’s hold over media, or alternatively, it represents another nail in the coffin of press freedom.*

I was shocked that not a single broadsheet or tabloid reported Tulfo’s sacking, with the Star arrogantly not even bothering to explain why it kicked out its most widely read columnist. Love Tulfo or hate him, he has been a major personality in the Philippine press, and his dismissal is news. And to use a version of that clichΓ©, if a newspaper could do that to a Tulfo, it can do that to any media man.

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