Tuesday, October 25, 2016

"Galit sa Mundo' by Erick San Juan

"[The damage control] is the latest in a string of flip-flops, walk-backs and backtracks that have come to define Duterte's tenure, leaving Filipino and foreign observers unsure where rhetoric ends and real policy moves begin."
                                                   – The Washington Post, October 21

The above-mentioned excerpt from The Washington Post is just one of the many published reactions from international news organizations that had put our country in the limelight again due to the careless not-so-thought about comments from President Rody Duterte.

Such play of words also created a divided Philippines, those who are for and against the current administration, and recently after the China trip, those who are for and against China and the US.

Since the campaign period people in the Duterte’s loop were saying that it is his style of speaking with several use of bad words and name-calling against people. Maybe the DU30 is still in the transition period from being just a mayor of a provincial city to the highest position of the land. He forgot to leave in Davao City his attitude where he can say bad words and be very brutally frank to people without having second thoughts. Of course the effect of such manners, now that he is the president is very different, not just national but worldwide.

He had to internalize the importance of being the leader of a nation and act like one. Being brave and patriotic for the good of one’s country are not the issues, it is how he treats leaders of other countries or organizations. DU30’s ways can be classified as somehow barbaric, we are now living in a world of civilized people and more so living interdependently among nations.

People in his loop will not always kowtow to his whims and will not do the backtracking and apologizing for him especially when the situation can really be very complicated that might lead to international sanctions among others.

Various experts have expressed their views on the latest flip-flop of DU30 while in Beijing. Like a true expert in their field of geopolitics and diplomacy, the line of DU30 on the independent foreign policy issue vis-à-vis our US military and economic ties are worth considering so as to avoid unexpected confluence of events.

One such analysis about independent foreign policy came from Francisco Tatad:

“I do not at all wonder, and no one else should, why President Duterte has been talking of an “independent foreign policy.” What puzzles me, as it should everybody else, is why neither he nor his foreign secretary, Perfecto Yasay Jr., has said how the government intends to carry it out. By asking the US forces in Mindanao to leave? By dismantling the Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement with the US? By buying weapons from China and Russia? Every Tom, Dick and Harry wants to throw in his two cents’ worth.

Section 7 of Article II—Declaration of Principles and State Policies—-is clear: “The State shall pursue an independent foreign policy. In relations with other states the paramount consideration shall be national sovereignty, territorial integrity, national interest, and the right to self-determination.” Each of the four phrases is known, if vaguely, to the average citizen. Otherwise the Constitution and the spirit of our laws make them plain.

“The Philippines is a democratic and republican state,” says the first section of Article II. “Sovereignty resides in the people and all government authority emanates from them.”

National territory is that over which we exercise jurisdiction and control, and whose borders no state should try to change or promote secessionism within.

National interest, or “raison d’Etat” (reason of State) to the French, has a long history that evolved from the 1648 Peace of Westphalia that ended the Thirty Years War. We know it as our own political, economic, military and cultural goals and ambitions as distinguished from those of our closest friends and allies.

DU30 has proclaimed his desire to pursue an “independent foreign policy,” but has yet to pronounce what he means. Does “independent” mean renouncing any security alliance with our current major ally? If so, this would mean scrapping the Mutual Defense Treaty with the US, the Visiting Forces Agreement and the Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement, and possibly pursuing a policy of neutrality like the Vatican or Switzerland.”

The mere fact that we are historically part of every existing international groupings with specific missions and objectives to live harmoniously, in just one utterance from a city mayor-turned-president all these will be a thing of the past? Duh? Diplomacy and interdependence are not as simple as that.

Rhetoric is rhetoric. National foreign policy is different, it should be planned and discussed among experts in and out of the government. DU30 must consult experts in proper diplomacy, how it works and why it is needed in international protocols.

Many pundits are worried and asking why the president is acting with mixed emotion? "Parang galit sa mundo." Meaning him against the world. Cussing and calling world leaders who irritates him names. It is believed that these leaders and allies might not ignore his antics and will not take those insults sitting down which could drag us into chaos. Remember what happened to the late Indonesian President Sukarno. I hope it will not happen here.

Lastly, if he really loves this nation and the Filipino people, he should have raised the South China Sea issue with China and now with Japan, the issue of the Filipino comfort women. Need we say more?

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Threats by Erick San Juan

Threats by Erick San Juan

"Why is US President Barack Obama threatening Russia with World War 3 right before the election?" A very profound question and actually the title of the article by Michael Snyder published at redflagnews.com which he began with “It sure seems like an odd time to be provoking a war with Russia.  As I write this, we stand just a little bit more than three weeks away from one of the most pivotal elections in U.S. history, and Barack Obama has chosen this moment to strongly threaten the Russians. Reuters reported that Obama is contemplating “direct U.S. military action” against Syrian military targets, and the Russians have already indicated that any assault on Syrian forces would be considered an attack on themselves.  The rapidly deteriorating crisis in Syria has already caused tensions with Russia to rise to the highest level since the end of the Cold War.”

Maybe a lot will wonder why Russia and the United States are dragged into this civil war inside Syria. Here is the analysis of Michael Snyder : “But without a doubt the crisis in Syria is not going to be resolved any time soon because it is one giant mess.  Most people don’t realize that the Syrian civil war has essentially been a proxy war between Sunni Islam and Shia Islam from the very beginning.  Jihadist rebels that are being armed and funded by Saudi Arabia and Turkey are fighting Hezbollah troops that are being armed and funded by Iran.  And now Turkish forces have invaded northern Syria, and this threatens to cause a full-blown war to erupt between Turkey and the Syrian Kurds.  Of course ISIS is right in the middle of everything causing havoc, blowing stuff up and beheading anyone that doesn’t believe in their radical version of Sunni Islam.

It is absolutely insane that the United States and Russia could potentially go to war because of this conflict.  Both sides are determined to show the other how tough they are, and one false move could set off a spiral of events from which there may be no recovery.”

Just like a ticking bomb, any false move or maybe a false flag operation orchestrated by covert operatives, the world can be dragged to another world war.

In the heat of the November US elections, barely three weeks to go, the Obama administration accused Russia of hacking and meddling with the coming election.

“The Obama administration is contemplating an unprecedented cyber covert action against Russia in retaliation for alleged Russian interference in the American presidential election, U.S. intelligence officials told NBC News.

Current and former officials with direct knowledge of the situation say the CIA has been asked to deliver options to the White House for a wide-ranging “clandestine” cyber operation designed to harass and 'embarrass' the Kremlin leadership.

The sources did not elaborate on the exact measures the CIA was considering, but said the agency has already begun opening cyber doors, selecting targets and making other preparations for an operation.

Somebody should tell Obama that he is not playing a video game.  A cyber attack is considered to be an act of war, and the Russians would inevitably retaliate.  And considering how exceedingly vulnerable our cyber infrastructure is, I don’t know if that is something that we want to invite.

At the end of last week, Vice President Joe Biden also publicly threatened the Russians…

On Friday, Vice President Joe Biden met “Meet the Press” host Chuck Todd for an interview that has raised serious concern in Russia.

Without bothering to question the authenticity of the claims, Todd took the allegations of Russian hacking at face value, opening his interview with a loaded question: “Why haven’t we sent a message yet to Putin?”

After a moment of stunned silence, Biden responded, “We’re sending a message. We have the capacity to do it and it will be at the time of our choosing, and under the circumstances that will have the greatest impact.”

When Todd asked if the public will know a message was sent, Biden replied, “Hope not.”

The Russians firmly deny that they have any involvement in the hacking, and so far the Obama administration has not publicly produced any firm evidence that the Russians were behind it.

Perhaps the Obama administration privately has some evidence, but at this point they have not shown that evidence to the American public.” (Ibid)

From a possible shooting war to cyber war, either way there seems to be no stopping this madness unless cooler heads will interfere and prevail. Until then the Russians are being advised through their state-owned television channel that they have to be prepared for a  possible US nuclear attack and always be alert as to where they can find the nearest bomb shelter, just in case.

Are these threats and wars the necessary evil to achieve a one world control? Is Obama being programmed to do an FDR (Pres. Franklin Delano Roosevelt) war presidency which could hijack the November US presidential elections?

The big powers are actually preparing for the big one, a nuclear war, how about us? Still trapped with politics and a lot of word wars and rhetoric. When are we going to gather our act together and prepare for the worst?

Tuesday, October 11, 2016

Elder's Advice by Erick San Juan

Elder's Advice by Erick San Juan

‘Colorful person’ and a person with ‘colorful language’ that is President Rody Duterte according to US President Barack Obama and Jose Almonte (former national security adviser).  The former attribute may refer to a politician who can be seen dealing across the political spectrum, from left to right. While the latter, a description given to Pres. Duterte or shall I say a criticism, due to his use of cuss words especially to foreign top officials and organizations.

A hundred days of the 6-year term of the Duterte administration has been colorful enough that almost everyday in the tri-media, here and abroad, he always have those quotable quotes – may be good or bad to fill in that has caused the trending and debates between the for and against the president.

Even the former president and statesman in the international community as the most traveled leader of the country, former Pres. Fidel V. Ramos gave his comments on the performance of Pres. Duterte on his first 100 days in office. For him, Team Philippines is losing due to some incidents and broken promises. For PFVR, the status of the Philippines in the world as a community is important especially our economic and military ties with the United States.

Our status as an ally of the US with several existing treaties, from economic to military had gone a long, long way that will just end because Pres. Rody says so.

Like what PFVR said in his column, “are we throwing away decades of military partnership, tactical proficiency, compatible weaponry, predictable logistics, and soldier-to-soldier camaraderie just like that?

FVR’s focus regarding this assessment of Du30’s first 100 days is based simply on two concepts of primordial importance – LEADERSHIP and TEAMWORK – because that is where the perceived failures have emerged at this point in time.

Let all do-gooders, Pres. Rody included, please help the president's trusted lieutenants Jun Yasay(DFA), Lorenzana (DND), Ernie Abella and others clarify, contextualize, disbewilder, soothe, detoxify and otherwise enlighten most of us who believe that -in the 21st century – harmony, peace, inclusiveness, connectivity, and mutual benefit, etc. are people’s highest aspirations.”

As for Ms. Carmen N. Pedrosa in her column – ‘Joal’s reluctant admiration of Duterte’, she writes – “Both he (Jo Almonte) and President Duterte come from lower middle class (not rich but not very poor either). It is from these origins that both strove to make something of themselves through self-study and use real life experiences as their higher education.

They have developed extraordinary careers in their chosen fields of endeavor. Joal as an intellectual soldier (hard to find these days) and Duterte as an unorthodox politician (a rara avis). On the unorthodox politician most of us thought it would take a miracle to have one and win as President in an elite-dominated society like the Philippines. You must be acceptable to big business.

Almonte conceded that Duterte has done well, fulfilling most of his campaign promises in his first 100 days. He admitted it was Duterte’s approach to the country’s  fundamental problems – “internal war, broken politics and monopolized business.” He said Duterte’s record was exceptional. But like many others he criticized the President for his “colorful language.”

I beg to differ.

I think it was this “colorful language” that connected him with the masses and that to me is the most significant job in putting this country together. It is divided not just by politics as we know it. “Let us all be friends” is not the mantra for a well-run democratic society. What is, is “how to manage our differences” with strong institutions.

I don’t know how Duterte developed his “colorful language.” Did he plan it or did it come to him naturally that it was the style needed to get the attention and friendship of the masses?

I think Almonte referring to Duterte’s “colorful language” was more concerned with his tirades against President Obama and other western leaders. It is obviously coming from a deeply felt anti-colonialism.

Almonte says he (PRRD) should tone down his language. It detracts from his accomplishments.

I do not think so. Netanyahu also told Obama to go to hell but got what he wanted anyway. US criticisms of his war on illegal drugs, Duterte also told Obama to “go to hell” and warned he may decide to “break up with America.” There are other examples but it is not true that polite language is more effective. Rightly or wrongly polite language represents the power of the status quo when they ask Duterte to conform.

Duterte wants to change the world order into something less hypocritical. The history of US-Philippine relations shows that the ”good boy” behavior only gets them bullied.

But Duterte has a wild card – a review of the (EDCA) Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement which President Obama carried home with speed and haste before we even realized how it would affect our security and well-being.

President Duterte has said it often enough that his foreign policy is to be friends with everyone, including the United States and China. But to put such foreign policy in place, he must give notice to the world that it will no longer be America’s patsy in the region.

Joal must have had a tough time maneuvering thru the issue of Duterte’s “colorful language” and a desire to convince the general Filipino public that this is the heart of the problem. In fact the two are components of the push for a more independent Philippines.

Frankly, that capability has long been delayed by timid Philippine presidents who did not dare to cross the line. Duterte did. For that he faces the danger of being removed from political scene because it's the common perception that what America wants, America gets.”

Is it?

I agree with PFVR that the Duterte administration’s next 100 days (or the rest of his term) will be much, much better, considering the entire gamut of Philippine problems, starting with poverty.

Lets get our act together.

Wednesday, October 5, 2016

Who's Fault: The Salesmen or The Product? by Erick San Juan

Who's Fault: The Salesmen or The Product? by Erick San Juan

Another war is going on, aside from the war on drugs, it's coming from the very vocal supporters and non-supporters of President Rody Duterte. Strong words coming from both sides are everywhere – on the internet via the social media especially at the Facebook and Twitter, the texters who are very active giving their views even on radio and on television. And there are radio stations giving air time to callers airing their sentiments and can easily be recognized if one is for or against the present administration.

There is a growing number of Filipinos who are perceived gradually realizing that they voted a leader who is fast becoming an enemy, not only inside the country but even outside of this country but no matter what, the pro-Duterte will always fight to defend their leader up to the end.

Sadly the country is again divided, as if nobody is minding the store. Blunder after blunder, mistakes not checked by people in his loop before releasing information to the public. If only some key people in the Palace are responsible enough and did their homework, ‘hindi malulubak ng madalas ang Pangulo’. Although there are several times that it’s the President’s fault when he made remarks against people or organization due to his heightened emotion based on past experiences. But if President Duterte is quick to make harsh comments, he is also quick to apologize if he believes he committed a mistake. But pundits believe that a leader should act and talk as real head of the state. Some concerned citizens on air requested the president not to talk like he owns the nation and drag everyone in a possible war which we will all regret. Another unsolicited advice on air this afternoon was about 'respect begets respect' and cussing and loose talk could backfire.

Close to his first 100 days in office, a lot of positive things happened especially on the war on drugs despite the expected jailing of big fishes, masterminds and financiers from the underworld. Everybody were shock to see thousands of users-pushers surrendered. But in the process he is now fighting several fronts as the growing number of pros and cons are in the ‘blame game’ mode.

So much can be seen of these pros and cons in front of national TV as the country’s legislators are investigating the so-called extra-judicial killings in aid of legislation.

On the internet, several points were given in favor of the President. The Republic Defenders, a group of

respected professionals commented that- "In our 71 years of being independent, this is the first time we have a president who is not like the rest. He is genuinely pro-poor and was elected by the people without the support of traditional politicians and self serving businessmen. Some people are afraid that because of PRRD's political will and genuine desire to improve our country's plight, the oligarchs may be displaced. The traditional politicians' shenanigans may be uncovered. The narco generals and their lieutenants and the narco politicians may be unmasked. The gambling lords may lose their business. All of them run the risk of ending up in jail and/or losing their riches."

"These are the conditions that is why President Duterte is already fighting so many fronts, in various factions because he is very firm and sincere in his war on drugs and corruption that those who are hit, tends to retaliate by finding ways to topple him down or worst, assassinate him."

"PRRD is not the typical president who had to horse trade to win. Thus, he has a free hand to do as he deems best for the Philippines. This is the first time his supporters which run into the millions continue to involve themselves in the affairs of government and openly declare support for PRRD to the extent of using their own funds."

"His cabinet is composed mostly of septuagenarians, where money is no longer the main objective, but to leave legacies behind."

"He touched base with the poor specially the leftists such that for the first time, his SONA was not picketed but supported by the masses."

"PRRD is tough and walks his talk. He and his selected men cannot be bribed. Therefore, the crooked and the rich are no longer within their comfort zones."

The above-mentioned are just some of the statements observed by those in favor of the leadership of the present administration.

On the contrary, the opposite are also aired through the internet by some factions who are not in favor of what the present leadership is doing and saying.

They see the push for an independent foreign policy of the government (but in favor of China and Russia) as an “attack on the west to appease the east” particularly the country’s decades-long ties with the United States and our membership with the United Nations.

It is some kind of a suicidal move to break our tie with the US by putting an end to all military exercises and in the process scrapping bilateral military agreements.

Some anti-communist groups are more fiery in their attack against PRRD claiming that " if you quack like a duck, walk like a duck, you're a duck." They said that the people should not just be vigilant every time PRRD talks but be wary of his actions.

A former communist turned nationalist warned that a possible repeat of the Bolshevik revolution, a Stalin or Castro of Cuba takeover is in the offing.

A retired military officer disclosed that it could be a combination of all scenarios. He reminded discreetly some of his friends that it could be what they call in the intelligence lingo 'painting in the west but fighting in the east'. Meaning the possible air,sea and land battle between China and other country claimants at the South China Sea is not feasible due to so many allies war machines nearby.

But a purging from within is believed to be a possibility especially now that the PRRD administration has given the left an alliance which the left hardliners could fast-track their real agenda. He added that since the AFP and the Department of Education scrapped the ROTC military training including the hibernated Congressional Committee Against Anti-Filipino Activities, it reportedly emboldened China to recruit young Chinoys to be sleepers and trained PLA soldiers in disguise as taking their vacation in mainland China.

A scary scenario which happened in the past when the Japanese OFW's in the Philippines metamorphosed into officers of the Japanese Imperial Army when the war broke out.

The President's men were put on the spot on how and what to answer when asked if the government is really serious about his move without hurting our diplomatic ties with the US and PRRD's image in the international scene.

Really, a lot of balancing act like we are in a circus, and the Duterte administration is just beginning.

How far can the President’s men and women go to defend his every word that is not music to a lot of ears, and how often they will say sorry to every mistake? And in the end, when worse comes to worst, who’s fault? The salesman or the product?

 May the good Lord guide PRRD to have wisdom in all his undertakings.