Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Delayed Apocalypse by Erick San Juan

Delayed Apocalypse by Erick San Juan

When humanity entered the month of December, perhaps there is only one thing on their minds, will the world end on December 21? The hype as propagated by the internet fear mongers especially those social networking sites has affected portions of the netizens and non-netizens alike.  And December 21 has passed and so was the rumor-mongering that has sowed fear to many.

Although something did happen for real, the successful rocket launch of North Korea last December 12 that has caught everyone by surprise. The time frame was given for the said launch but still the world didn’t know that it will happen that soon. The United Sates and its allies were quick to condemn North Korea for such action and NoKor has violated the United Nations ban on "any launch using ballistic missile technology."

Remember in April, after the failed rocket launch of North Korea, the UN Security Council has demanded Pyongyang a halt to any further launches using ballistic missile technology and expressed its determination to take action in the event of another launch. Now that NoKor has done it (again) successfully this time, a new round of sanctions are being discussed by the UN Security Council.

Here at home, the third Philippines and US Bilateral Strategic Dialogue was held last December 11-12 and both countries “strongly condemned the rocket launch by North Korea utilizing ballistic missile technology and emphasized that this highly provocative act is in direct violation of relevant UN Security Council Resolutions, contravenes North Korea’s international obligations, and undermines the global non-proliferation regime. Given this current threat to regional security, both sides will strengthen and increase their close alliance coordination.” (Source: Dept. of Foreign Affairs website)

The said Bilateral Strategic Dialogue was the reason why the US officials were here namely, Assistant Secretary of State Kurt M. Campbell and Assistant Secretary of Defense Mark W. Lippert, while for their counterparts here are Foreign Affairs Undersecretary for Policy Erlinda Basilio and National Defense Undersecretary Pio Lorenzo Batino.

What concerns many is the increased rotational presence of US troops in the country vis-à-vis the warships and aircrafts that will freely come and go as they pleased. Will there be any conditions or prohibitions for this said additional military presence in the country?

According to Defense Undersecretary Pio Lorenzo Batino – “modifying the Visiting Forces Agreement (VFA) is not necessary for the increase in the number of US military ships, aircraft and troops rotating through the Philippines since everything is being viewed as an implementation of the Mutual Defense Treaty and the Visiting Forces Agreement. We can’t go into specifics but of course as mentioned. both parties agreed that everything that will be implemented should be in accordance with the Philippine Constitution, the US Constitution and pertinent laws.” (Source: philstar.com)

The above-mentioned statement by the DND undersecretary

is perceived as another rhetoric, nice to hear but in the midst of too much tensions in the SCS or the West Philippine Sea, we just cannot afford to have such deception coming from the government’s trusted official.

We have witnessed a lot of incidents in the past wherein US soldiers has committed violations of the Mutual Defense Treaty (MDT) and Visiting Forces Agreement (VFA) and even our own constitution. Not to include the recent dumping of ‘toxic wastes’ in our waters.

The bottom line here is – until we suffer another accident or dilemma courtesy of Uncle Sam’s soldiers, we will keep on repeating history of being shortchanged in the process. And, I will never get tired of reminding this government that all these agreements (treaties) we made with the Americans were not ratified by the US Senate and only  binding as Executive Agreement. Like this so-called Bilateral Strategic Dialogue, where in the Second Dialogue, and in the Philippines-US 2+2 meeting in Washington last April, it was agreed upon that there will be an increased both of the rotational US troops and military exercises in the country. So, where does the entire nation’s populace fit in this scenario, where only the top level officials talked about making the whole archipelago as “the Uncle’s military outpost and doormat” in this region? Are we going to be sacrificed again?

The whole nation is being put in the cross-hairs by our own trusted officials. We have to be vigilant as we enter the new year of more exciting times. We might be caught unaware because we did not do our role in helping the present leadership realize the need for more patriotism and nationalism to save our sovereignty.

Many cynics believe that the doubling of military budgets by big powers could be a preparation for something else. Some pundits are saying that this could be our last Christmas festivities before World war 3 erupt.

May God bless us all. Happy holidays!

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