DND Sec. Gazmin at IISS-Need Experts Like Him!
By Erick San Juan
No matter how negative is the perception of the Palace people to opinion writers and columnists, we can’t help say our piece to this new appointment made by President Noy to a very crucial post. We are just doing our job as the messenger in airing the public’s sentiment on very controversial and timely issues.
Domingo Lee, according to what was written on April 15 at Ellen Tordesillas’ blog that : “But family friendship might work for another ambassador to China aspirant: Domingo Lee, whose only qualification for that very important post is, he is a friend of the Aquino family. A source said the one pushing Lee’s appointment is Eldon Cruz, husband of presidential sister Ballsy Cruz. We wonder why.”
Yes, we are wondering why “family friend” is now considered as an important part in one’s application paper to get a government post. Or was it the usual trend? Just asking.
And according to news report that - “What we gather is that he has no experience in foreign affairs,” a senior diplomat told the Tribune. “He would probably have to undergo on the job training to learn the ropes of diplomacy, the challenges of the maritime conflict we are now facing against China and other policy issues.”
In this crucial point in Manila’s relations with China, it is important to have a competent ambassador who can handle complex diplomatic and international issues and is aggressive enough to uphold the country’s national interest.
“We would have been more comfortable if a career ambassador had been nominated instead by the President,” the diplomat said.
Amid several reported Chinese incursions in the Spratlys, the Philippine Embassy in China has been without an ambassador since February, following the recall of another political appointee and businessman Francisco Benedicto. (The Tribune 6-5-2011)
We were right all along, in the midst of the brewing conflict in the South China Sea, there is nobody minding the store (so to speak). For over three months now and yet no ambassador to Beijing? And then we will hear that the Palace has appointed a “family friend”? We were told that Lee is more closer to Taiwan than to China. He's even a party member of ROC's Kuomintang.
Are we that confident enough to face China because Uncle Sam is behind us? Please think again!
We have been saying all along that what we don’t have in military powers, we can do with the right foreign policy i.e. defense policy through diplomacy and having the right person on the post who knows geopolitics/geostrategy.
The President together with the people in his loop should know this and need not be told. In the era of high technology and cyber war, we just can’t afford to be sitting (and sleeping) on a very important post – the ambassador to China.
This is our fight for the sake of the nation’s interest and should not rely much on the Big Brother’s help. Everything can be resolved through peaceful means with the right person ON THE JOB. I am emphasizing the phrase 'on the job', not on another 'job trainee'.
We have wasted several months already and any mistake might lead us to a mutually assured destruction if we will not be cautious.
The Shangri-la Dialogue
The recently concluded Shangri-La Dialogue which I attended and our Defense Secretary Voltaire Gazmin was one of the resource speaker, has served its purpose of coming together top government and military officials, political analysts and top caliber think tank groups to discuss issues like regional and world security.
The Shangri-La Dialogue is an inter-governmental security forum. It's hosted every year by London's International Institute for Strategic Studies, and assisted by the Singaporean Defense Ministry.
The forum gets its name from the elegant Shangri-La hotel in Singapore where it has been held since 2002. The idea for the forum came from it's hard working and cheerful director-general and chief executive, Sir John Chipman in 2001. Asia Pacific defense ministers could engage in dialogue aimed at building confidence and fostering practical security cooperation.
At present, the Shangri-La Dialogue is the only forum to gather defense ministers, permanent heads of Ministries and military chiefs of 28 major Asia-Pacific states.
Government delegations use the opportunity for bilateral meetings with other delegations on the sidelines.
Sec. Voltaire Gazmin as one of the resource speakers had the opportunity to tackle the South China Sea issue with China and with the other claimants.
It is very clear how important the role of a diplomat is, especially the country’s next ambassador to Beijing. Our good Defense Secretary has done his homework and has that much to portray in the Dialogue to help ease the tensions. We need officials like him. He is the right emissary that could help in ironing out the disputes.
May his tribe increase!