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I agree 100% with Marcos

THAT is, with the then senator Ferdinand Marcos Jr.’s stance, as reported in a Senate press release of March 22, 2016, as follows:

“The next administration should revisit the Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement (EDCA) between the Philippines and [the] United States (US) to make sure the Philippines gets the best terms under the agreement.”

In a press conference in Olongapo City, Marcos said the fact that the agreement did not pass through the scrutiny of the Senate was enough reason why the deal should be reviewed by the next administration.

“I still maintain my position that the agreement should have been ratified by the Senate, but it was not submitted to us so we did not have any means to review it,” he said.

He said that while it would not be possible to rescind the deal at this point because its constitutionality had already been upheld by the Supreme Court, the deal should still be reviewed to make sure that we are not put at a disadvantage.


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US asked for, DND, AFP OK’d, Cagayan airport as EDCA site

We’re now the US’ unsinkable aircraft carrier

THE Americans asked the Philippine government to designate the Cagayan North International Airport in the north to be one of the additional four sites they could use as their forward operating sites (FOS) in war mobilization under the Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement (EDCA) between the two countries. President Aquino 3rd first agreed to the pact in 2014, with President Marcos Jr. expanding the number of FOS that the US could use.

Two government confidential documents provided me with such a plan. First was a late 2022 letter addressed to Jose Chan-Gonzaga, the assistant secretary for American affairs at the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA), that was sent by Pablo Lorenzo, assistant secretary for strategic assessments and international affairs at the Department of National Defense (DND).

The letter asserted: “This pertains to the inclusion of the Basa Air Base (BAB) Runway Repair Project and the Cagayan North International Airport (CNIA) as additional project and additional location, respectively, under the EDCA. As recommended by the Armed Forces of the Philippines, the department shares the view that developing the CNIA as an additional proposed location as well as the inclusion of the BAB runway project as an additional project under EDCA may be favorably considered given its strategic value of constructing facilities and pre-positioning defense assets in these areas.” (emphasis mine)


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Tremendous pressure on Marcos for expanded EDCA, why?

TREMENDOUS pressure was put on President Ferdinand R. Marcos, Jr. to implement quickly and expand the Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement (EDCA), sources in the Foreign affairs department disclosed.

They pointed out that the US ambassador to Manila, MaryKay Loss Carlson, even inadvertently revealed such pressure when she said in a recent TV interview: “Never in my 38 years as a diplomat have I seen so many of our top officials talk to a head of state in such a short span of time.”

Document (redacted) showing DFA and DND lower officials agreeing to
                             Cagayan North International Airport as a new EDCA site.

She said: “Three of what we call the ‘big four’ have been here to talk to Marcos: Vice President Kamala Harris, Secretary of State Antony Blinken and Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin. And not only that, you have had visit here the secretary of the Navy, the commandant of the US Marine Corps, the undersecretary of state for political affairs Victoria Nuland, and in the coming week the secretary of the Air Force.”

Indeed as the US ambassador pointed out, that number and quality of US leaders talking to Marcos in such a short time — when the US has been busy with the Russian war to take over Ukraine — is unprecedented. And I certainly don’t think all those high-ranking US officials were here for just getting-to-know-you chit-chats or without any agenda in their talks with Marcos.


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EDCAs vs Russia, now vs China

TO be honest, I am in awe of the United States, its strategic thinking and moves to maintain its hegemony over the globe forever. In 2005 and 2006, it struck so-called defense agreements with Romania and Bulgaria, respectively, which allows US military forces to use military camps to stockpile their war material and station its troops for an emerging war.

Sixteen to 17 years later, these camps are proving to be of great strategic value if Russia’s war against Ukraine spills over to Eastern Europe: the US forces will be using those bases against the Russians. They will also be used if Bulgaria and Romania agree to allow these camps to serve as a staging ground for the delivery of weapons from the US and NATO to Ukraine.

US can use military bases of Romania and Bulgaria, Ukraine’s neighbors

Of course these defense agreements — that would allow the US to use Bulgarian and Romanian camps — were among the US and its allies’ moves (the most important of which is the prodding of Ukrainian leaders to get their country to become a NATO member) that convinced Putin that Russia was being encircled. In Putin’s mind, he had to stop that and invade Ukraine. He fell though into the US’ hands, and is now demonized as a ruthless killer of Ukrainian civilians.


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Why it’s crucial to understand what the nine-dash line means

Last of 2 parts

IF the nine-dash line does not represent China’s territorial boundaries in the South China Sea, as I have explained Wednesday, then what is it?

The line first appeared in the “Map Showing the Location of the Various Islands in the South Sea” in the February 1948 Atlas of Administrative Areas of the then Kuomintang-controlled Republic of China. Subsequent maps of China, issued in certain years starting 1958 to 2001 contained the line. It originally consisted of 11 dashes, but were reduced to nine in 1952, upon orders of Mao Zedong so as not to include North Vietnam’s Gulf of Tonkin, as a gesture of solidarity with another communist-ruled state.

https://www.researchgate.net/ Copy of “The Location Map of South China Sea Islands in 1947 (1:4,000,000)”

That it was not really a territorial boundary is evident in the fact that China has never given its geographical coordinates, and the dashes’ positions in its 2009 map submitted to the UN are even slightly different from its previous maps.

One probable explanation for the line’s continued use is that if the Communist Party of China deleted the line in its official maps, it would seriously dent its nationalist credentials, and its archenemy the Kuomintang Party — under whose rule the line was first drawn — would condemn it for relinquishing Chinese territory and therefore that it is betraying China.


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FIGURE 1: Official China map (2001) showing nine-dash line and the Spratlys that it calls Nansha.
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Understanding the nine-dash phantom line

First of 3 parts

IN recent days, this paper has been the venue for the dominant American propaganda line against China’s alleged expansionism in the South China Sea. Not coincidentally this line, a lie, was put into high gear after President Obama launched his so-called Pivot to Asia policy, a thinly disguised program to contain the rise of China as the Asian superpower.

That line goes like this: China on its own drew a nine-dash line around most of the South China Sea on its map of its territory, and then claims everything within it as its own, demanding that the world, especially the nations bordering that sea, to recognize its sovereignty over the features and waters inside the line. China bashers here and abroad have claimed that the line is “the main driver of the South China dispute.”

Recently, a columnist cut-and-pasted reviews (not even the publication itself) of a book he raved over as explaining definitely, what the nine-dash line is and that it has no basis in international law. The book’s cleverness — and that of American propagandists — is that it exploits people’s fondness for fairy tales, with heroes or villains. In that particular book, it claims that “a singular cartographic combatant” in 1936 created that nine-dash line that the author asserts “is at the heart of today’s struggle over the South China Sea.” The heights of imagination indeed; “A cartographic combatant!”


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Govt helpless, leaderless in Mindoro oil spill

THE term “oil spill” conceals the enormity of the disaster from the MT Princess Empress when it sank off the coast of Pola town in Oriental Mindoro. Oil wasn’t just discharged from the vessel — it is still being discharged. There’s still a lot of oil spilling to our seas, to our seashores.

Other than the actual damage to the environment as well as to the health and livelihood of the residents of the coastal villages already affected by it, there could be another cost, as the oil slick could reach internationally known tourist beach resorts as Boracay and Coron in Palawan, as the tourism department tactlessly announced.

The damage to our economy could even be just because of perceptions. The respected British newspaper The Guardian published a long article replete with vivid photos of oil darkening a white-sand beach, while the Washington Post headline was: “A tanker sank and spilled oil. Then came reports of nausea, headaches.” The Philippine-hater Agence France-Presse sent throughout the world its dispatch entitled, “Sunken Philippine tanker leaks industrial fuel oil into sea, concern for environment, tourism.” The headline of Splash247.com, a popular website for the maritime industry, was cruel for us: “Tanker oil spill spreads far and wide in central Philippines.”


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Will EDCA stop Chinese ‘intrusions’ into PH waters?

ABSOLUTELY not, even if we give the Americans 10, even a hundred more of our military installations that they can use as their bases under the Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement (EDCA) for a war they’ll fight in Asia.

Already, China has responded to our giving the US four more of our military bases by escalating their presence in the disputed areas.

The Philippine Coast Guard has reported that several Chinese vessels — a Navy and Coast Guard ships with 40 “Chinese militia vessels” — have anchored in the past several days 8 to 15 kilometers off our Pag-asa Island, which it said “was well within that island’s territorial waters.”

Interpreting the expanded EDCA as an acceleration of its “encirclement” by the US, China will most likely retaliate: A classic case of blowback.

What’s very sad is that the US can’t help us in our territorial and maritime-area disputes with China now, nor when they have their troops stationed in nine of our military camps. This is because it is not party to these disputes. In short, we’re just being used by the US in its geopolitical strategy against China, to prevent its rise as a superpower. If it does interfere, that would trigger a war with the superpower, with China having the high moral ground because of its claims of sovereignty over the disputed islands. In contrast, the US has no territorial claims in the South China Sea; it has no business really being in the region, except for its self-appointed role as the world’s policeman during the heyday of its hegemony in the world.


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Why did the jeepney not evolve into Kias and Hyundais, to become a national headache?

SILLY question? Read on and the answer will be like lightning over a dark landscape.

We were not the only country in Asia where the US army left — or were sold by its entrepreneurial soldiers on the black market — thousands of its all-terrain, hardy vehicle, the Willys Quad (for its four-wheel drive), which got to be called Jeep, for GP, or “General Purpose” vehicle. Filipino entrepreneurs refurbished these vehicles for public transport, its body altered to accommodate up to even 14 passengers much than the four-pax military version.

Jeepneys in 1950s: Korean version, left; Filipino, right.

Five years after World War 2 ended, the US was in another major war where it used Jeepneys — the Korean War of 1950-1953. After the war, as in the Philippines, the US left a huge number of of the same kind of Jeeps.

A Korean auto mechanic, Choi Mu-seong, and his three brothers managed to buy hundreds of these Jeeps, and modified them to also become public transport vehicles, in this case as taxicabs. The vehicle was called “Sibal,” Korean for “beginning.” And indeed it was the beginning of Korea’s automobile industry which is now the fifth largest in the world.


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‘What’s happening to our country, General?’

THE then assemblyman and Minister of State Emmanuel Pelaez in July 1982 asked this question of Quezon City Gen. Tomas Karingal as he was being wheeled into the hospital emergency room, after surviving an ambush near his home in which his driver was killed.

It was really a rhetorical question that has become a classic over the years to express protest over a perceived serious deterioration of peace and order or of even other unpleasant developments in the country.

If Negros Oriental Gov. Roel Degamo had survived the attack on his home the other day, he would have likely also asked the same question.

I haven’t heard of a more horrific audacious attack against a governor, a member of the most powerful class of politicians in this country that includes senators and congressmen. It was a massacre in broad daylight (9:45 a.m.) the other day, with at least five killers in army-type uniforms firing their assault weapons to shoot five of the governor’s innocent constituents dead at the residence’s makeshift assembly hall.


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