Monday, June 28, 2010

P-Noy for Pinoys

P-Noy for Pinoys
By Erick San Juan

There is so much to be expected on the new administration especially on the Philippines’ economic and geopolitical relations with the two powerful nations – US and China. It is quite obvious that their ambassadors were the first ones who gave the premature visits to P-Noy (President Noynoy Aquino) even before the official proclamation. Why?

China views the Yellow Sea, East China Sea, and South China Sea - the so-called "near seas" - as core regions of strategic interest in which the Chinese seek to become the predominant military power. (US and China Can't Calm South China Sea by Peter J. Brown). But of course, the US will not allow such dominance by their rival nation in the most strategic region in the world to materialize. Each country wanted the needed “support” by their “friends” such as the Philippines. We will now play a very important role as Japan did when they had a very tight situation in the relocation of the Okinawa US marine base that led to the resignation of a nationalist leader who used the US base as his campaign issue. Now that Japan has a US-friendly Prime Minister(Kan), could it be possible that our new president will do the same?

The "war" has started between the US and China right here in our backyard and we just can’t stand on the side and watch as they settle their conflicts at sea. The demand to take side between the warring nations is too strong for P-Noy to decide upon as the country’s new leader. But this is one challenge that he must confront with the heart and mind of a true nationalist leader and will not kowtow to a perceived master.

Enough of the stupidity that our leaders did in the past that made us what we are today, for they are embedded in our minds through miseducation that everything which are foreign are great than ours. Methinks that this will be the right moment to inculcate a nationalist ideology that will spare this nation from further destruction like the rape of our natural resources and its balkanization.

As John Mangun’s(Businessmirror,June 22, 2010) question put it – “Where does the Philippines stand in the war? Neutral is not a possibility. It is not a matter of choosing sides; it is a matter of protecting the nation.”

Here, P-Noy will be tested if he will stand for the benefit of all the PINOYS now and the generations to come. And not to put this country in a tight situation and go to another war not of our liking.

“For P-Noy to ensure his most fervent wish, he must address the idiocy — Filipinos not knowing the historical truth — that is pervasive in the land. Like other great national leaders, P-Noy should reform not only the governance but also the mindset and culture of the governed.” (William Esposo, As I Wreck this Chair, Philippine Star June 2010).

God bless the Philippines! Congratulations to the incoming president, Benigno Aquino III. Nobody can really stop destiny.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

The Persistent “Visitor”

The Persistent “Visitor”
By Erick San Juan

The president – elect Benigno S. Aquino III, now with less than a week, will take his oath as the 15th President on June 30. The future president is now battered by so many issues and concerns from the very controversial Hacienda Luisita and his smoking habit to something as trivial as his “first lady”. But to top it all, is the ever persistent “visitor” via the Visiting Forces Agreement (VFA), a very important concern not only by Senator Miriam Santiago but all of us patriotic Filipinos awaiting the course of action by the incoming administration on the said matter.
The timing is ripe to remind the soon-to-be President about the review of the VFA due to the untimely “friendly visit” of the new US Ambassador at his residence. The nation should know Mr. Aquino’s stand now that he will occupy the highest position of the land. If he will be true to his previous stand when he was a senator and supported the Senate Resolution to revoke the Agreement (VFA) to give way for the review of its provisions that are unfair to the Filipinos and clearly violates our constitution.
It is a fact that the presence of the American troops in the south for a decade now did not produce positive results on the war against the bandits and secessionist groups. Furthermore, it only brought doubts on the real intentions of the visiting US forces in the area believed to be rich in natural resources. Another nightmare of the Mindanaoans is the possible connivance to bring about a divided Mindanao and the balkanization of our country as a whole.
It would be important to consider the daily international situation that involves the US, when it comes to its geopolitical positioning especially here in the Asian region. We cannot disregard the reality of the ever growing tension in this part of the globe that implicates the US and its perceived rivals in military and global economy like China and North Korea, and the rest of Asia. And the fact that the Obama administration’s Asian coordinator on the global war on terror (GWOT) will be leaving her post soon. That made the US Ambassador’s visit to the incoming president very suspicious.
The decisive action of the new administration regarding the VFA will clearly set the tone on the Manila-Washington relations. That is the reason why I am strongly in favor of a true nationalist ideology to be part of the school curriculum in all aspects of our educational system. Through the teaching of ideology, all Filipinos will learn the importance of a united citizenry in order to be always on our guard against manipulation. This I strongly adhere to avoid history being repeated that will put us all at the losing end.
We need neighbors and friends to survive in the international community of sovereign nations. That is why we must be very careful especially now that we are entering another phase in our history with the new set of leaders. May the past mistakes bring the much needed wisdom to those who will lead this country. May God bless us all!

Sunday, June 13, 2010

“Pressurized” Leadership

“Pressurized” Leadership
By Erick San Juan

Now that the whole nation got hold of its wits after a roller coaster ride via AES, all of us are now trying to digest the outcome of the recent elections from the highest to the lowest position in government. After the official proclamation of the President and Vice President by the joint Congress, this country is all set for a fresh start come June 30, 2010. On second thought, it depends if the incoming administration will stick to its promises.
When it comes to international relations through our nation’s foreign policy, every time a new administration is installed, the global community is closely watching and a new set of guidelines especially from close allies is "whispered". (This could be the reason for the premature congratulatory visits from the representatives of some close “friends”.)
Such event occurred in Japan when the nine-month old administration of Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama ended when he resigned last June 2 after citing confusion over the relocation of the United States Marine Corps air station on Okinawa as the main reason. It was reported that the recently elected mayor of Nago - Susumu Inamine, an independent, and ran with the support of Hatoyama's ruling Democratic Party, used the issue of the US marine base relocation as its rallying point during the campaign. The result of the said election made PM Hatoyama to re-assess the 2006 Tokyo - Washington agreement on the base relocation that ended with his resignation as Prime Minister. The Okinawa base is not the only promise Hatoyama and his Democratic Party of Japan have failed to keep. Most campaign pledges of the DPJ remain unrealized including the party’s promise of "change" and clean-up of Japanese politics. Pressure from those who voted for Hatoyama and his party (maybe from Washington too) made Ichiro Ozawa quit as DPJ’s secretary-general and who was allegedly involved in financial and corruption scandals.
Then came Japanese Finance Minister Naoto Kan who is now the country's fifth prime minister within four years following his selection last June 4 as leader of the Democratic Party of Japan (DPJ) to succeed Hatoyama. Prime Minister Kan, 63 years old, is said to be pro-US and might end up giving in to Washington’s “request” on the base relocation. Meaning, this change of leadership will make up for a win-win solution for the Japanese as well as for its “long-time ally”. There is no other solution for the pressure is too strong and the much needed US base is crucial for Washington in its geopolitical game in this very important region.
Back home, the new leadership has so much to offer and promises that must be kept in order to survive for six years without interruptions. Although the “friendly visits” might be perceived as pressure and translated as foreign interference, the new administration should learn from the mistakes of the Japanese and show its firm commitment to the Filipino people with or without the “pressure”. I repeat, U.S. is not our enemy but we have to get what's due us. We must all work for the success of the incoming administration and be vigilant at all times.

Sunday, June 6, 2010

“Sovereign Apparent”

“Sovereign Apparent”
By Erick San Juan

What could have been a simple diplomatic protocol became a controversial visit when former assemblyman Homobono Adaza took the responsibility of filing a case against the diplomats who gave their courtesy call (too soon) to President - apparent Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino III. US Ambassador Harry Thomas visited Sen. Benigno Aquino III in his residence at Times Street in Quezon City several days before the Congressional canvassing started. Consequently the “visit” served as a sign for other ambassadors to follow, namely: China, Japan and European Union member-states.

Senate Minority Leader Aquilino Pimentel Jr. also gave his comment regarding this matter:
“Noynoy will be proclaimed but is it proper for foreign diplomats to publicly pay their respects to Noynoy before official proclamation? The Philippines is supposed to be a sovereign nation, not their fiefdom.”

Other personalities like Nicanor Perlas and JC delos Reyes also aired their observations through their Facebook account that such visit was premature and asked – Are we under the US?

Historically, the US has been meddling with our political exercises such as the national elections through covert operations, and sadly these operations were carried out systematically in collaboration with corrupt politicians.

Nationalists reacted that this undiplomatic act by the US (and other diplomats) is tantamount to foreign intervention and blatant intimidation on the sovereign will of the Filipinos as a nation. By publicly announcing their support for President-apparent Noynoy Aquino, they actually preempted the official proclamation by the Philippine Congress and disregard the whole process. Somehow telling us that we should not question the outcome of this elections and the AES as a whole,( even if it is full of irregularities and questionable statistics).

Obviously, underneath this so called courtesy call, the countries represented by these ambassadors had already expressed their “special interest” for their own benefit. Again, we have entered another phase of a “friendly” relation that might put this country in the losing end. These diplomats had already sent signals regarding their interest in the so called “peace process” in Mindanao, particularly the European Union who just entered the process as part of the International Monitoring team. Here we go again, the Americans “helped” in the peace process in Mindanao for a decade now and still the problems of insurgency and the presence of the secessionists are still prevailing. What can the EU do when the world’s only superpower did not solve the Mindanao problem?

Methinks we are in to another “diplomatic” relation that might threatened our sovereignty, translation – balkanization. These foreign meddling just gave the secessionists a status of belligerency.

As for the soon-to-be president,Noynoy, he should have reminded the ambassadors that whatever their intention is, they must follow the procedures in a good diplomatic relation between sovereign nations. The President-apparent must always remember that he will be representing the whole nation and that he should put our best interest first before ourforeign“friends”.
A diplomat friend of mine told me that our leaders should be wary on how to deal with foreign governments. It's a no-no to meet with them unprepared with no policy direction and talking points. These foreign dignitaries went to Aquino's residence not just to congratulate him but to assess his plans and future policies. They want an assurance of policy continuity and renewal (translation- what's in it for them). But what's in it for us? God bless the Philippines!