(I wrote not too long ago that if for nothing else, President Noynoy Aquino will be long remembered if he were to support and "steer" the passage of an RH law.)
The new Philippine Navy chief, Vice Adm. Jose Luis Alano, vowed to make the country's territorial waters safe. I suppose that also means keeping them free of foreign interlopers.
Does his vow include ejecting Chinese vessels from our Panatag Shoal? It should.
But, of course, he can only do that upon orders of the commander-in-chief, President Noynoy Aquino.
That takes me back to my oft-asked question... "why hasn't Noynoy given the order till now to send back our ships to Panatag Shoal?" What is really stopping him? What ever happened to his brave rhetoric about "what is ours is ours and that we will defend it to our last breath", or some such words?
Here we have a foreign power invading our territory and we haven't really done anything to repel it. The navy and the coast guard have already made clear they are ready to go back which means they are prepared to make the ultimate sacrifice in defense of the homeland.
What if the Chinese try to board, search and expel our ships? We won't know that until we dispatch them to the area.
If they do, forcibly or violently, then we would have at least a very valid reason to bring the case to the United Nations which the Chinese dread. Some quarters may claim such a move is not possible or difficult to do, given China's influence in the world body. But there is a way and I am prepared to discuss it with the proper authorities if they want.
Another advantage of sending our ships back to Panatag Shoal now is we will know what the US, on whom we depend so much, would do. Will she be true to her commitments under the Mutual Defense Treaty? Or will she drop us like a hot potato?
If she does, then Noynoy (rhymes with "Amboy") and his Amboy of a foreign secretary Albert del Rosario might see the light and decide to deal with this problem on our own and talk directly with China about joint development, setting aside in the meantime the question of sovereignty over the disputed areas. That, or we stubbornly cling to the stalemate which will continue for a very long time and which does not benefit us in any manner.
Can we trust the Chinese? I think we can, as long as we talk with them seriously without interference from any quarter. They are a very pragmatic people, especially when it comes to business.
But we are so small and powerless compared to China... Ah, but she has no track record of exploiting the resources of other countries without the appurtenant mutual benefits... unlike certain developed and erstwhile colonial powers. A prime example is the Malampaya natural gas project – 45 percent Shell, 45 percent Chevron and 10 percent Philippine National Oil Company!?! Omigosh... how did that happen?! Because we let it happen, plain and simple.
Incidentally, why the heck do we have to welcome and hail the appointment of a new US Secretary of State? Do we ever do that sort of thing for any other country? Is it another way of sucking up to the US? Just asking.
There are signs that the peace agreement the Aquino administration reached with the rebel MILF group may be unraveling. The latest is the report that the MILF chief negotiator Mohagher Iqbal, lost his cool in Kuala Lumpur recently over something that may be regarded as "minor", i.e., he wanted the transition authority to craft the enabling law for the agreement to be called "MILF-led Transition Authority", while the government wants it to be called "Bangsamoro-led Transition Authority".
If that is considered a minor matter, imagine how much more difficult it will be to reach agreement on the wealth-sharing aspect of the peace deal, for instance.
I hope I'm wrong but I believe Noynoy made a grievous error by appointing former peace panel head Marvic Leonen to the Supreme Court at this time. It definitely smacks of changing horses in midstream, the consequences of which could be disastrous.
If he really wanted Leonen to be rewarded for his efforts in successfully negotiating the framework agreement, Noynoy could have waited for the entire process to be completed. After all, Leonen is still quite young and there will soon be other members of the high court reaching retirement age.
We have heard it before... a new Philippine National Police chief vowing to eradicate "jueteng", curb crime and cleanse its ranks. But where are we now?
Newly appointed PNP chief Alan Purisima said the same things over again.
Oh, and if DILG secretary Mar Roxas thinks that promising to eradicate jueteng would boost his chances of winning the presidency, i.e., if he decides to go for it in 2016, he is sadly mistaken.
First, it cannot be done unless they actually begin throwing jueteng lords to jail. As far as is known, the only jueteng lords who have ended up in jail are those who committed other more serious crimes such as rape and murder.
And, last I heard, money still talks and when money talks, even the angels listen. Can anyone, including Roxas, realistically do anything about that?
Roxas I'm sure is well motivated. But he should know fighting words are not enough to get rid of jueteng. No way! We have heard and seen it before. The game caters to the millions of poor people who hope that their present plight would be temporarily alleviated through the more easily won illegal game than the government sweepstakes.
Chances of eliminating jueteng may be likened to those of a snowball in hell. I think the best thing to do is to legalize and strictly regulate the game. That way, the government at least earns revenue from it to add to the funds needed for projects intended to help the poor. Give back their money in another form.
I suppose we can all rejoice now that the Mayan prophecy of the world's destruction last December 21 did not come to pass. But can we, really?
Certainly not for the thousands who lost their loved ones, properties and means of livelihood in Compostela Valley, Davao Oriental and elsewhere due to super typhoon Pablo...
Certainly not for the families and friends of those 20 children and 7 adults killed senselessly in Newtown, Connecticut, USA...
Certainly not for the millions of poor people in our midst who could not afford even a decent fare for noche buena this Christmas... The Catholic bishops need only to think of them as they (bishops) "grieve" over the passage of the RH law...
In this regard, I wrote not too long ago that if for nothing else, President Noynoy Aquino will be long remembered if he were to support and "steer" the passage of an RH law. His place in history is now secure. Credit, of course, should also go to the members of the Senate and the House who doggedly fought for its passage.
Reminders (for Noynoy's action):
1) Filing of charges against officials of the National Food Administration (NFA) during Arroyo's illegitimate regime. Noynoy himself said on several occasions that there is documentary evidence to prove the venalities in the past in that agency.
Ironically, after two and a half years of inaction on Noynoy's part, his erstwhile appointee as head of the NFA is now under Senate investigation for alleged anomalies during his stewardship of the agency.
2) Investigation of reported anomalies in the GSIS during the watch of Winston Garcia.
Now that there appears to be a falling out between the Aquino administration and the Garcia family of Cebu (its governor is still resisting her suspension from office for six months), it is hoped that an investigation of Winston Garcia, a brother of the suspended governor, would now proceed.
3) Facilitating the investigation of rampant corruption in the military and police establishments.
4) Expeditious action by the AFP on the case of Jonas Burgos
Today is the 233rd day of the sixth year of Jonas Burgos' disappearance.
Finally, Noynoy has signed the bill criminalizing enforced disappearances.
According to its principal author in the House, Congressman Edcel Lagman, "the law seeks to end impunity of offenders even as it envisions a new or a better breed of military, police and civilian officials and employees who respect and defend the human rights and civil liberties of the people they are sworn to protect and serve and who observe the rule of law at all times."
The law is truly a landmark legislation that hopefully will put a stop not only to enforced disappearances, but also lead to the prosecution and conviction of those who have committed the crime.
From an internet friend:
As I was lying in bed pondering the problems of the world, I rapidly realized that I don't really give a rat's hiney (ass). It's the tortoise life for me!
1. If walking is good for your health, the postman would be immortal.
2. A whale swims all day, only eats fish, drinks water, and is fat.
3. A rabbit runs and hops and only lives 15 years.
4. A tortoise doesn't run and does nothing, yet it lives for 450 years.
And you tell me to exercise? I don't think so!
MERRY CHRISTMAS TO ONE AND ALL!
25 December 2012 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org