Bicol Peryodiko

DIGONG’S EMPTY THREAT

“If they (the US) can’t deliver at least 20 million doses (of anti-COVID-19 vaccine) at a minimum, they better get out.  No vaccine, no stay here,” declared President Rodrigo “Digong” Duterte.

He was referring to the Visiting Forces Agreement (VFA) with the US which he has ordered abrogated by August 10 this year.  

He, however, did not specify when the US must have the doses delivered.  

He should have done so.  Otherwise, his is an empty threat at best.  What if the US tells him it could only deliver by the third quarter of the year?  We need the vaccine like yesterday!  What will he do then?  The answer would seem obvious – abrogate the VFA without waiting for August 10!

According to his DFA chief, Teodoro “Tweeterboy” Locsin, Jr., the US promised to deliver 10 million doses of the vaccine by this month.  He should have demanded that it sticks to that commitment… unless, of course, there was no such commitment at all, in which case, he should kick Locsin out to the nearest garbage dump.  His ambassador to the US too, Jose Romualdez!

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To begin with, Digong was wrong to initially premise the abrogation of the VFA on the US cancellation of the visa of his crony, former police chief Bato dela Rosa, now a senator of the Republic.  (Ridiculous!  Can you imagine a matter of such national importance made to hinge on a person’s visa?!)  Word is that the US is ready, if it hasn’t yet, to restore Dela Rosa’s visa.

Now, Digong is basing the VFA abrogation on the wrong premise again, i.e., “no COVID-19 vaccine, no VFA”!  Does that mean that if the US delivers the vaccine to us on time, whenever that may be, VFA stays?  

Wrong, wrong, wrong!  The VFA abrogation should have been premised from the start solely on the fact that it, together with the EDCA and the MDT, is not consistent with an independent foreign policy as mandated by the Constitution.  As we have also seen time and again and as Digong himself once said so, the military alliance with the US has not served the best interest of the country, period! 

He also said he doesn’t want any more alliance with any foreign power, be it China, Russia or the US.  Empty words?

PREDICTIONS FOR THE FUTURE

My dear friend, Romy Isip, sent me the following very interesting (some welcome, others disturbing) predictions for the future.  No author has, however, been mentioned:

1- Conventional car repair workshops will vanish over a period of time.

2 – A petrol engine/diesel engine-driven car has almost 20,000 individual components.  An electrical vehicle has less than 50.

In the future, electric cars will be sold with a life-time warranty and will be repaired only by authorized outlets.  It will take only a few minutes to remove and replace an electric motor in a battery-powered vehicle.

3 – Faulty electric motors are not repaired in the conventional car workshops teeming with mechanics, but will be sent to an automated repair shop that repairs them using robots.


4 – If the electric motor in your electric vehicle malfunctions, a warning light goes on, so you drive up to what looks like a car wash and your car is towed inside. While you have a cup of coffee, out comes your car with a repaired electric motor!

5 – Petrol pumps will go away.

6 – Street corners will have power meters that will dispense electricity.  Power companies/utility companies will install electrical recharging stations at street corners.  In fact, they’ve already started in advanced countries like Sweden, Denmark and Holland.

7 – Smart major auto manufacturers across the world like Honda, Toyota and Samsung have already invested billions of dollars to start building new manufacturing plants that will only build electric cars. 

8 – Coal Mining industry will sink without a trace.  Petroleum companies will vanish.  Drilling for oil will gradually reduce.  Say good-bye to the power-wielding OPEC.  The Middle-East is heading for trouble.

9 – Homes will produce and store more electrical energy during the daytime and will consume only a part of the power generated and will sell most of the power back to the power grid.  The power grid will store the power and will distribute the power to industries that are high-intensive power users.  Has anybody thought of a Tesla on the  roof ?

10 – A baby of today, will only see personal cars in museums.  The future, an era of disruption, is approaching faster than most of us can handle.

11 – In 1980, Kodak had 170,000 employees worldwide and sold 85% of all photographic film-rolls across the world.  Within just a couple of decades, their business model crashed and Kodak went bankrupt.  Who would have thought of that ever happening?

12 – What happened to Kodak and Polaroid will happen to a lot of industries in the next  5-10 years… and most people don’t see them coming.

13 – Did you think in 2000 that five years later, you would never take pictures using photographic film again?  With today’s smart phones, who owns a camera these days?

14 – Digital Cameras were invented around 1975.  The initial models only had clarity/resolution of 10,000 pixels, but improved vastly following Moore’s laws, as it happens with all futuristic technologies.

15 – It will now happen again (but much faster) with artificial intelligence. Medical diagnostics, autonomous electric cars, online education, 3D printing, hydroponic agriculture will change the world beyond imagination.

16 – Forget the old book “Future Shock”.  Welcome to the 4th Industrial Revolution.

17 – Artificial intelligence, robotics and 3D printing have already disrupted and will continue to disrupt most traditional manufacturing industries in the next ten years.

18 – UBER is just a software company.  They don’t own any cars and UBER is now the biggest taxi company in the world.  Ask any taxi driver if any of them saw that coming.

19 – AirBnB is now the biggest hotel company in the world, although they don’t own any hotel properties.  Ask Hilton or Meridian Hotels if they saw that coming. 

20 – Artificial Intelligence:  Computers will become exponentially powerful and more accurate in understanding all facets of  the world.  This year, a computer beat the best Go-player in the world, 10 years earlier than expected.

21 – In the USA, young lawyers already don’t get jobs easily.  Because of  IBM’s Watson, you can get legal advice (right now, only the basic legal advice) within seconds, with 90% accuracy as compared with 70% accuracy when given by human beings.  So, if you are planning to study law, please change your career plan.  There will be 90% fewer lawyers in the future, only super-specialists will remain.

22 – IBM Watson already helps doctors in diagnosing cancer.  IBM Watson is many times more accurate than human doctors.

23 – Facebook now has a pattern recognition software that can recognize faces better than humans. In 2030, computers will become far more  intelligent than humans.

24 – Autonomous cars:  In 2020 several models of self-driving cars were already launched.  In the next five years, the entire industry will be disrupted.  You don’t need to own a car anymore as you will call a car with your mobile phone.  It will show up at your location and will drive you to your destination.

25 – You will not need to park your car.  You will only pay for the driven distance and you can be productive while being driven in a driverless car.  The younger children of today’s generation will never get a driver’s license and will never own a car.

26 – This will change our cities because we will need 90% fewer cars.  We can transform parking spaces into green parks.

27 – About 1.2 million people die each year in car accidents worldwide, including distracted drivers or due to drunk driving.  We now have one accident for every 60,000 miles of driving.  With autonomous driving, that will probably drop to 1 accident in 6 million miles of driving.  That will save almost a million lives worldwide each year. 

28 – Most traditional car companies will doubtless become financially unviable, with their current business models.  They will try the traditional evolutionary approach and try to build better cars, while tech companies (Tesla, Apple, Google) will take up a revolutionary approach and build a computer on wheels.

29 – Look at what Volvo is doing right now.  No more internal combustion engines in their cars starting with the year 2025, using mostly electric motors, with the intent of phasing out hybrid models.

30 – Engineers from Mercedes, BMW, Volkswagen and Audi are completely terrified of Tesla.   Look at all the global companies offering electric vehicles. They were unheard of only a few years ago.

31 – Insurance companies will have massive trouble.  Without many road accidents, the insurance premiums will crash.  The car insurance business will taper down with the passage of time.

32 – Real estate business models will undergo drastic change.   Because if you can work on your laptop while you commute, people will abandon their down-town apartments, to move far away to more beautiful and affordable neighborhoods in distant suburbs.


33  -Electric cars will become mainstream by 2040. Cities will be less noisy because all new cars will run mostly on batteries.

34 – Cities will have much cleaner, ambient atmosphere.

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