July 26, 2017, 2:48 am
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Armageddon

My God… I hate corruption! – President Rodrigo Roa Duterte aka Digong.

Now, if only the heads of the other branches of government, the legislative and the judiciary, could also utter the same words with gritted teeth and determination, this country could easily pick itself up from the morass it is in.

Digong has already set the example by giving substance and meaning to his assertion.  He has, for instance,   fired the DILG secretary and the NIA Administration, both old friends, and some 90 other government officials for corruption. 

Senate President Koko Pimentel, House Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez and Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno should do their part in ridding their respective turf of corruption. 

Everyone who cares knows that many honorable members of Congress are still merrily indulging themselves and spending people’s money in the process. 

Honorable senators and congressmen, for instance, have been going on junkets lately.  (Senators going to Paris to “study” climate change?!  Congressmen and House staff members, reportedly to be accompanied by Department of Tourism officials, going to Iceland and Norway, perhaps to witness and marvel at the sun that “never” sets in those two countries at this time of the year?!)

Early this year, Senator Panfilo Lacson also insisted that pork barrel, declared illegal by the Supreme Court, has been included in the 2017 national budget.

As to the judiciary, it is common knowledge that some of its members are not immune to corrupt practices.

When will the heads of these agencies begin to follow Digong’s example?  Needless to say, his efforts to get rid of, if not minimize, corruption also depends significantly on the 7cooperation of these two branches of government. 

We can only hope that the officials concerned have as much love for the country and have the same desire as Digong to serve the Filipino people.

SPECIAL ENVOY TO US

An American friend asked me what Digong’s appointment of a Special Envoy to the US means. 

 “Why not a full-fledged ambassador with residence in Washington?  Does it mean a downgrading of Philippine relations with the US?” he asked.

I told my friend I could only guess what Digong’s reasons might be.

First, he has not found one with the same mindset that he has regarding the form and substance of PH-US relations that are consistent with his decision to pursue a foreign policy that, before his time, was anchored mainly on dependence on the US.

I think he is also waiting for the Trump administration to lay bare its eventual and ultimate policy towards PH-US relations.  Right now, Trump is still preoccupied with issues involving Europe, the European Union, Russia, Syria, North Korea and China.  These issues, like it or not, are far more pressing and important to Washington at this time.

In the meantime, Trump has decided to adopt a friendly and supportive stance towards Digong by expressing support for what the latter is doing about the drug menace.  I suspect though that Trump is simply trying to keep Digong, for the time being, from straying too far from the US fold and falling into the Chinese and Russian embrace.

There is no denying that Digong’s independent foreign policy has already borne fruit.

Witness, for instance, the US’ more forthcoming and supportive attitude towards us, e.g., her unexpected and sudden delivery of previously withheld arms and ammunition for use by the AFP in ridding Marawi of Muslim terrorists, followed by the USAID announcement that it was delivering aid to the victims of the ongoing conflict. 

Note, however, that the US action came in the wake of China’s delivery not only of weapons needed by the AFP, but also her immediate contribution of P15 million towards the rehabilitation of the battered city.

Russia, Japan, South Korea and Australia, among others, have also pledged to help in the rehabilitation of Marawi.  I have not read or heard of any rich Islamic country pledge assistance.

Here, I would like to quote and thank one “Jaundiced Yellowista” for his/her very succinct comments in one local daily on Digong’s foreign policy , to wit:

 “Not to put too fine a point on it, both US and China are vying to be on the good graces of Duterte. Even Japan is not far behind. There’s just too much geopolitical interest at stake for these countries. They know it, Duterte knows it, and they know that Duterte has the full measure of our country’s geostrategic importance to them all. No other president in our nation’s history understood geopolitics so well as Duterte does. And no other president played the superpowers with such acumen as Duterte has done. That’s also because we now have more choices as opposed to the bipolar world order of the Cold War or the subsequent unipolar world order of Pax Americana. In this day and age of the mutli-polar world order, we got more choices to choose from.”

PHOENIX PETROLEUM

A word of thanks is in order to certain private sector companies and businessmen for their ready response to help the people of Marawi. 

The latest among these civic-minded entrepreneurs is a friend, Dennis Uy who is president and chief executive officer of Phoenix Petroleum. 

Uy announced during the celebration of the tenth anniversary of his company’s listing in the PSEI the creation of a P100 million fund he called LIFE, to help soldiers and policemen who were and are fighting in Marawi “secure sustainable livelihood, achieve independence, sustain their families and provide education for their children”.

He said businesses should “recognize and assist security forces as they are the ones who make celebrations of milestones of companies possible”.

 “These times call for a decisive action and a community spirit,” he added.

NORTH KOREA

Another American friend asked me what I thought of the North Korean issue. 

I gather that many Americans are worried about the issue, principally because of Trump’s warning that North Korea could face “some pretty severe” consequences after its defiant test of an intercontinental ballistic missile.  They think Trump is “reckless” enough to take such action.

I told my friend that my considered view is that there is nothing to worry about North Korea or the US launching a nuclear strike against each other any time soon.

To begin with, I do not think Trump is that “reckless”, especially given the problems he faces at the moment with, among others, China and Russia which are friends of North Korea.

North Korea, on the other hand, will do no such thing without clearance from China.  And such clearance is not forthcoming. 

I also believe Kim Jung Un knows his country will be obliterated from the face of the earth should he, in a moment of madness perhaps, decide to attack US territory or overseas military facilities. 

If that happens, China will be faced with the dilemma of either standing idly by while the US takes retaliatory action against North Korea, or resorting to a military confrontation with the US.  In case of the latter scenario, Armageddon would very likely ensue. 

I don’t think anybody would want that. 

Then again, I could be wrong.

MANNY PACQUIAO 

Digong was right when he told boxing icon Manny Pacquiao who lost his welterweight crown to Australian Jeff Horn that “weather-weather lang ‘yan”, which means in Tagalog “pana-panahon lang ‘yan”.

What Digong meant was that the defeat to Horn was merely a temporary setback.

I take a different view.  Pacquiao’s “weather” or “panahon” is over.  He is already past his prime.  He doesn’t have the killer punch anymore, as seen in his last few fights, because of Father Time.  He should heed the plea of his wife and mother, and the advice of his trainer Freddie Roach to quit now.  We do not want to see him end up like Muhammad “The Greatest” Ali, for instance, or some other pugilists who suffered a similar fate.

*** 

Today is the 81st day of the eleventh year of the enforced disappearance of Jonas Burgos, son of the late press icon and founder of this newspaper.

The family and friends of Jonas hope that the Duterte administration will exert serious efforts to find and haul the perpetrators of Jonas’ disappearance to justice.

***

From an internet friend:

Welcome to the Golden Years --

They weren’t in my pockets. Suddenly I realized I must have left them in the car.  Frantically, I headed for the parking lot.  

My husband has scolded me many times for leaving my keys in the car’s ignition.  

He’s afraid that the car could be stolen. As I looked around the parking lot,

I realized he was right. The parking lot was empty. I immediately called the police.

I gave them my location, confessed that I had left my keys in the car, and that it had been stolen. 

Then I made the most difficult call of all to my husband:  “I left my keys in the car and it’s been stolen.” 

There was a moment of silence.  I thought the call had been disconnected, but then I heard his voice.  “Are you kidding me?” he barked, “I dropped off!” 

Now it was my turn to be silent. Embarrassed, I said, “Well, come and get me.” 

He retorted, “I will, as soon as I convince this cop that I didn’t steal your car!”

*** 

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