MAYBE it’s just me, but the February 26 letter of the House of Representatives’ Committee on Legislative Franchises to the National Telecommunications Commission (NTC) sounds either like it’s mocking ABS-CBN Corp.’s application for a franchise or sending the message to the firm to give up and just prepare to close down.
First, the letter signed by its chairman, Palawan Rep. Franz Alvarez and concurred in by Speaker Alan Peter Cayetano took a swipe at Sen. Mary Grace Poe’s hearing last week, telling the NTC that the House “has the exclusive jurisdiction and authority to act on franchise applications.”
Second, the letter says, “We enjoin you to grant ABS-CBN Corp. a provisional authority to operate effective May 4, 2020 until such time that the House has made a decision on its application.”
ONCE in a while I chance upon a Facebook post that I feel should be read by more people. One such post is by a certain Jun Abines, whose ordinariness is highlighted by the fact that he was in his youth a “billiard boy” in a pool hall, who obviously struggled to obtain enough education in schools in Cebu and get an accountant’s degree.
I think his piece with the above title, which I edited a bit for misspellings and grammatical errors, reflects what most ordinary Filipinos feel about President Duterte, which explains his record-breaking satisfaction ratings. The latest poll conducted in December by the Social Weather Stations shows that 82 percent of respondents are satisfied with him. His average net satisfaction rating for 2019 is 68 percent, beating the 63 percent of Cory Aquino in 1986, which was at the height of the Yellow Cult’s hold on the nation’s consciousness with its propaganda weapons as ABS-CBN extolling her virtues daily and the supposed glory of the People Power Revolt.
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.
THE clerics and would-be champions of the Catholic Church who are having fits of apoplexy over President Duterte’s remarks about the Judeo-Christian deity in the Book of Genesis better control themselves.
In their harangue against Duterte for insulting their God, they are putting this President on the same level as our national hero Jose Rizal.
Rizal and now Duterte are the only Filipinos of national stature who did not mince words in attacking the Catholic Church, with our national hero in fact making a name for himself through his compelling and vivid novels against it, which inspired the Philippine Revolution against Spain. Duterte’s critics wouldn’t want that, would they? (more…)