Digong, Catriona electrify our nationalism

IN the span of three short days, a former mayor of the country’s remotest major city, and a Filipino-Australian born in far north Queensland have strengthened — electrified really — our sense of nationalism.

The easiest way to see this as not an exaggeration is to think of that exclamation expressed, separately, when the Balangiga bells were returned on December 15 to the Philippines after President Duterte’s intense lobbying and when Catriona Gray won the Miss Universe title on December 17: “Proud to be a Filipino!”.

To realize this on a deeper level, one has to understand the groundbreaking insights on nationalism of the late Cornell University political scientist and historian Benedict Anderson, which he explained in his academic bestseller, the 1983 book Imagined Communities: Reflections on the Origin and Spread of Nationalism.

For starters, we have to disabuse our minds that, contrary to what an unfortunately growing number of “globalists” — really little brown Americans — claim, it is nationalism, or the intensity of a people’s sense of belonging to this association called the nation, that has been the biggest factor in all countries’ growth and prosperity.

This is an incontestable fact of history around the globe. It is only when these countries have become rich nations that they have espoused “globalism,” a tactic one Korean nationalist economist claimed was a form of “pushing the ladder away” after they’ve reached the summit of their countries’ development.

Most important organization
The nation is the most important organization modern man belongs to since its situation mostly determines his fate. Just think of the grossly contrasting fates of an ordinary Filipino worker’s family if he stays here or migrates to the US.

Anderson pointed out though how difficult it is for a people to be nationalistic, since the nation is really an “imagined community.” It is different from “real communities” such as the family, the clan, the tribe, or even the fraternities to which it is just natural to have an allegiance to, since we get to be acquainted with each and every member of these organizations. These are after all simply collections of relatives or friends we know.

December 15, return of Balangiga Bells; December 17, Catriona Gray crowned Miss Universe.


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Balangiga bells’ recovery a boost to Duterte’s prestige — even globally

THE return to the country of the so-called Balangiga bells looted by American troops in 1901 from a Samar town as war trophies after defeating — massacring, Filipino historians claim — Waray insurgents hugely raises President Duterte’s prestige not only in the country but even on the world stage.

Despite pathetic attempts by the Yellows, such as the blabbermouth Sen. Risa Hontiveros, to wrench off this feather in the President’s cap, I don’t think there is any doubt over Duterte’s crucial role in getting the US to return the bells, as I will discuss below.

Historians will all be reporting: “Under Duterte’s leadership and with his pressure on the US government, the Philippines after 117 years recovered very important symbols of its nationalist aspirations and its people’s sacrifices to establish an independent nation.”

This is a President that understands the subtle requirements for building a nation: symbols.

What hasn’t been given enough attention is the fact that his success in convincing the Americans to give the bells back to the Philippines strengthens even in a small way as another precedent, the efforts of over a dozen colonized nations to get their former colonial masters to return their own looted treasures.

The three-feet-tall 19th century church bells of course are far from the level — in value or antiquity — of, for instance, the looted ancient Parthenon sculptures Greece has been demanding for decades Great Britain to return, or the Chinese zodiac bronze heads that were at Beijing’s Summer Palace and stolen by the British and French troops in the 1860 so-called “Opium War,” which the Chinese have been demanding to be returned to China. A distinction might also be made of a “war trophy,” which the bells were, and treasures of a nation looted by a conquering army.

Same crime
However, the principle — or the crime — is the same. A European colonizer or invading state takes as war booty a defeated nation’s property and keeps it in their museums, or as in the Balangiga case, in a US Air Force War museum. The Balangiga bells after all were not pistols or swords — the usual war trophies — but were religious artifacts of our Spanish colonial history, having been cast circa-1863, and were the property of the Franciscans whose coat of arms is even etched on them.

Symbols of our aspirations for an independent nation recovered.


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Sison’s Communist Party must be outlawed

THE primordial duty of any nation-state is to defend its existence. This is the reason why all nations in the world, except for the pseudo-state called The Vatican, each have an army. Other than its armed forces, a state’s weapon for defending its existence is through laws that it can apply within its sovereign territory.

Why the hell don’t we have a law banning the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) — the Maoist organization founded by the permanent Netherlands blabbermouth Jose Ma. Sison — its New People’s Army, its negotiating arm and propagandist the National Democratic Front, and its front organizations such as Bayan Muna, Anakpawis, Gabriela and several other so-called party-list organizations?

The CPP’s Constitution (available on the internet) very categorically declares that its goal is to overthrow our democratic, republican system using the weapons of “revolutionary armed struggle and the national united front.” Its program declares that is to be done by building guerilla fronts “to encircle the cities from the countryside… until it becomes possible to seize power in the cities.”

And what will replace the Philippine Republic, its Congress and Constitution? “The Party as the ruling party, in representation of the working class, shall form the government,” the CPP program declares.

Yesterday, the party even had the gall to issue a statement — carried by all newspapers — ordering the NPA to attack, that is, to kill without provocation our soldiers and policemen. The statement declared: “ The CPP calls on the NPA to mount tactical offensives across the country in response to the extension of martial law in Mindanao. All NPA units must exert all possible effort to punish the worst fascist units and officers of the AFP…”

Congress threatened
What is shocking in the CPP statement is that it even threatened Congress: “Everyone who voted in favor of extending martial rule in Mindanao will have their names tainted with the blood of each and every victim of Duterte’s all-out war.” In the CPP’s code, to be “tainted with blood” means to have “blood-debts,” and therefore to be executed under its brand of “revolutionary justice.”

CPP statement ordering killing of soldiers and police in response to extension of martial law in its website philippinerevolution.info.

Have we become a nation of masochists that we don’t have a law to ban an organization that has declared war on our way of life?


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Thanks to Ressa and Coronel, PH press viewed as bad as in NKorea and Myanmar

IT was shocking for international human rights lawyer Amal Alamuddin Clooney, whose fame was boosted by her marriage to the actor George Clooney, to casually portray Philippine media as being subjugated as that of North Korea or targeted for attack by an “autocratic” regime as that of Myanmar.

What makes Clooney’s remarks so damaging for the country is that they were made in an international event, the United Nations Correspondents Association Awards in New York last week, and in the course of bashing the US president, Donald Trump.

Claiming that the press globally is under attack as never before, Clooney said: “The chilling effect is real and it has already been felt, not only in Myanmar but further afield as…by autocratic regimes from North Korea to the Philippines… The US President has given such regimes a green light and labelled the press in this country the enemy of the people.”

We should protest such atrocious claims by Clooney. It just boggles the mind that we are compared to North Korea, ruled by a one-man dictator where all media outlets are controlled by the state. It just boggles the mind that we are compared to Myanmar, where a judge in September convicted three Reuters correspondents to seven years in prison for allegedly violating that country’s laws in their reportage.

How could the Philippine press be like the state-controlled media in North Korea when anti-government outfits like the Philippine Daily Inquirer have not let up in their penchant for spinning news events so President Duterte is portrayed as an autocrat, and his allies as corrupt?

…When the largest newspaper in the country, with a mass following that dwarfs all the other broadsheets, has its editor writing daily columns which do not miss a single day badmouthing Duterte in the most vulgar manner that throws reason to the garbage? (Example: “Paninira, pagmumura at pang-aalipusta ni P-DU30 sa Simbahan, pantakip sa kapalpakan ng administrasyon?”)

…When the three biggest broadcast companies — ABS-CBN, GMA7 and Channel 5 — control 80 percent of the country’s viewership, all of which jump at the slightest excuse to criticize this administration?

Happy to paint the country black: Coronel presenting award to Ressa.


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Revilla was a ‘presidentiable’ ruined by the pork-barrel scam the Yellows had weaponized

WHATEVER one thinks of Sen. Ramon “Bong” Revilla Jr.’s acquittal by the Sandiganbayan of the charge of plunder last week, there was a particular engine that drove the past administration’s purposive campaign to prosecute him, as well as Sen. Jinggoy Estrada in 2014.

The Yellow regime wanted to leave no stone unturned for Mar Roxas to win the presidency and for the opposition not to have a viable candidate. It was to be, in their dreams, a Yellow regime for 12 years, and even more.

While there was no consensus among the opposition over who would be its standard bearer, Revilla and Estrada’s names had been frequently raised in their meetings.

While the two were hardly stellar legislators, the street-smart pragmatists in the opposition party then, the merged Lakas-Kampi-CMD, claimed that Philippine elections, ever since Joseph Estrada won the presidency, had become celebrity or name-recall contests, and Revilla and even Jinggoy could replicate what Erap had done in 1998.


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Duterte: Bayan Muna, KMU, Gabriela are communist fronts

AT long last, we have a president so bold, and so not a pulitiko that he tells it like it is, what the political class and media have known for years but do not say for various reasons.

Duterte recently declared that a group of so-called party-list organizations — he specifically pointed to Bayan Muna, Gabriela and Kilusang Mayo Uno — are communist fronts directed by the Maoist Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP), the goal of which is to violently overthrow our Republic and install its one-party dictatorship.

Included among these are the other members of the so-called, misnamed Makabayan bloc in our Congress: Act Teachers, Anakpawis and Kabataan.

The Communist Party calls these and similar bodies as “mass organizations,” at the core of which is what is called the party group, consisting of three or more cadres. (In schools, factories and territorial areas, it is called the party branch.)

After this command cell are widening circles of members who are gradually brainwashed to become party members. The heads of these party groups report to a higher party organ for guidance.

These communist party-list organizations easily manage to get seats every election, not only because the Communist Party’s 50-year network nationwide is mobilized and turned into electoral campaign machines. The party’s New People’s Army (NPA) allegedly even threaten voters in the hinterlands to vote for its candidates or face violent retaliation. The communists also strike deals with local politicians to support their candidates in exchange for the latter’s safety when campaigning even in the remotest municipalities.

Communist ideologue Sison apparently impressing Cory, who freed him in 1986 a week after she took power.


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Ressa’s sickening culture of impunity, and her patent lies against us

WE should be outraged at the lies Maria Ressa, the president of the news website Rappler, has been spreading all over the world in order to cover up her and her media outfit’s violations of the law. Such is the extent to which she has gone in her culture of impunity, that she is above our nation’s laws.

In her speech* before gullible (and mostly anti-Trump) Americans in New York on November 21, for accepting an award from the Committee to Protect Journalists, Ressa portrayed the country as one where press freedom has been suppressed by the Duterte administration, and that only she and Rappler are “carrying the torch of freedom.”

While she may have lived and worked abroad for most of her childhood and her working life, I still hope that she can find an ember of patriotism in her soul to stop her perverted portrayal of the country as being under a ruthless dictatorship.

It is not Duterte she is really bashing, but us Filipinos, including journalists, who she in effect is saying are cowards who have stopped fighting for democracy. As Columbia University journalism professor Sheila Coronel who worked for Ressa’s award puts this canard in her paean to her: “The Philippine press has been cowed by threats. Not Rappler, not Maria.” Why doesn’t Coronel just come home from New York, write the most scathing articles against Duterte, and find out if government would threaten her?


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Yellow oligarch firm puts words in Duterte’s mouth, falsely claims it has his backing

AS happens to most oligarchs facing their downfall, the owners of Panay Electric Co. (PECO) are in a mad frenzy to hold on to their 95-year monopoly of electricity distribution in Iloilo City, which not only the city’s leaders but also Congress have concluded to be so scandalously inefficient and expensive.

PECO through its lawyer two weeks ago allegedly claimed that electricity distribution in Iloilo City will be stopped if their franchise, which expires in January next year, is not renewed.

The threat was taken seriously since the House of Representatives and the Senate that give such permits had given the franchise to MORE Electric and Power Corp., controlled by port-management and casino billionaire Enrique Razon, and sat on PECO’s request to renew its 25-year-old franchise. Since the electricity-distribution infrastructure is under PECO’s control, MORE’s takeover will require its cooperation, if power disruptions are to be prevented.  (more…)

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Is Carpio General Almonte’s mouthpiece?

NOT a few people have been wondering why Senior Associate Justice Antonio Carpio has suddenly emerged just in the past few years as the de facto spokesman — and even ideologue — of the vociferous anti-China group over our territorial disputes in the West Philippine Sea.

Indeed, Carpio had never before demonstrated any interest in geopolitics. His field was corporate law, having been the founder of what had been the most powerful and lucrative law firm for big businesses during the Fidel Ramos administration, and during part of Gloria Arroyo’s term.

Yet now he has shown so much passion against China’s claims in the South China Sea that he warns that one day, Chinese warships will be patrolling the region. Why, he even melodramatically says — and stretches his imagination so much — that fighting China for our claims in the area “is the 21st century equivalent of the battles that our forebears waged against Western and Eastern colonizers from the 16th to the 20th century.”

Carpio has never written a book, nor even a single article in legal journals. Yet in 2016 he wrote a 247-page e-book against the Chinese claims, profusely illustrated and with over 100 old maps. I can’t remember Carpio being quoted by the press or giving public speeches before. Since 2015 though, he has given 140 lectures, even to Filipinos in 15 countries, battering China’s claims in the South China Sea and commenting on the latest news on the territorial dispute.

About a year ago, a colleague of Carpio — who has been in the inner circles of past administrations — told me that “it was a fact” for him that it was retired general Jose Almonte, the national security adviser of Fidel Ramos, that was behind the senior associate justice’s “crusade” against Chinese claims in the West Philippine Sea. “He can’t say no to Joal,” the source said. He then related to me the details of why, which I cannot report, though, as it would be libelous and, unless I get documentary proof, hearsay.

I didn’t make this the topic of a column as this would be at the edge of an ad hominem argument, so I instead presented logical and information-based reasons to show that Carpio’s disputations versus China’s territorial claims were erroneous. (See for example my columns “Intellectual dishonesty the likes of Justice Carpio’s will keep us as US proxy in Asia,” May 25, 2018 and “Carpio continues to mislead us on South China Sea issue,” May 30, 2018. )

Guru and disciple? Almonte and Carpio

However. I have decided that it is an important allegation that Carpio could be simply Almonte’s mouthpiece. This should warn us to take Carpio’s claims on the South China Sea issue not just with a grain of salt but with extreme skepticism since Almonte’s own motives in this issue are suspect.  (more…)

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