Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Blunder Strikes Again

Blunder Strikes Again by Erick San Juan

The administration of President Benigno Aquino III is being put to test again when it comes to foreign policy and diplomacy, and so is the rest of the nation. The Filipino people are again divided on their views of the recent event, the deportation of the 14 Taiwanese nationals suspected of fraud to China for crimes against Chinese nationals.

As what most ordinary Filipinos said through the internet, this could be strike three for PNoy’s administration. First, the Manila bus hostage crisis followed by the controversial boycott by our country of the Nobel peace prize awarding. The said events call for the expertise of professionals in the field of foreign policy.

I recall the fear of some critics at the start of PNoy’s governance, that the people around him (including PNoy himself) are not capable of handling situations like this and might end up creating more problems in the process.

The modern global diplomacy coupled with the fast high technology means of communication had to be dealt with caution amongst leaders of the world. Diplomats and government functionaries should see the connection between the weight of public opinion and effective international policy-making. In the situations I mentioned, public opinion was too loud to be discredited, like what happened with Hongkongers and now with the Taiwanese people. The Aquino government should stop releasing statements that might put the country in jeopardy, especially those coming from his cabinet officials.

The undercurrents in this recent episode in Philippines foreign policy is too deep that this administration’s move had to be taken with great caution. Although we uphold the reason of the government that we have to protect our national interests, still there are a lot of factors to be considered especially our overseas Filipino workers (OFW) working there.

As of this writing, an emissary will be sent to Taiwan (with unofficial capacity) and this move will somehow settle the doubts clouding the issue at hand and will explain further the said deportation to China by our government.

And for the part of Taiwan, its government has called for the immediate forging of a mutual legal assistance agreement with the Philippines to shield its nationals against unlawful arrests and deportations to third countries.

In a statement sent to the Daily Tribune by the Taiwan Economic and Cultural Office (Teco), Taiwan’s de facto embassy in Manila explained that such legal bilateral mechanism would allow the Philippines and Taiwan to assist each other in the investigative, prosecutorial and judicial processes related to criminal matters involving their respective nationals.

“To prevent such undesirable consequences from happening again in the future, an agreement on mutual judicial assistance between Taiwan and the Philippines should be concluded as soon as possible,” the Teco statement said. (Daily Tribune 2/14/2011)

These move signifies that governments can always find ways to solve such problems. Compromises between power centers could remain a matter of calculating interests in the hope of avoiding conflicts and for maintaining peace in this region.

For the sake of this country’s survival through the remittances of our OFWs, the government should do its homework so as not to repeat the same mistake.

There are now several flashpoints in the region like the ongoing clash between the Thai and the Cambodian troops but ours could worsen if our government will not be wary. There's a false flag operation which could lead to attacks especially in Mindanao where our GRP panel insists in dealing with the MILF whose leadership is questioned by the faction of Ameril Umbra Kato. Kumander Kato created his own militia named BIFF-Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters, after the the failure of the MOA-AD (memorandum of agreement on ancestral domain).

The arrival of the USS Blue Ridge, the mother ship of the 7th Fleet, make some of our politicians jitter and become suspicious. Pundits believe that aircraft carriers will not deployed unnecessarily if there's no turbulence in the region. When the late president, Ferdinand Marcos was ousted, the 7th Fleet was nearby. Before the ouster of Egyptian president, Hosni Mubarak, there was a concentration of naval capacity in the middle east region, all in the immediate proximity to Egypt and the middle east theater especially the Red Sea (

The ongoing investigation of corrupt practices in the government and the military could also trigger chaos especially if the corruptors and their hired PR people will be successful in stopping the investigations in respect "kuno" of Gen. Angelo Reyes "sacrifice" by killing himself.

Let's be watchful and vigilant for a possible confluence of events.

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