BY REY O. ARCILLA
‘If the MILF-proposed Comprehensive Compact is a mere “re-framing” of the MOA-AD, I am afraid it will not fly.’
THE recent bloody riots in London and environs that victimized three Filipinos may have subsided for now but there is no telling if and when they might erupt again.
So how come no travel advisory has been issued by our government cautioning Filipinos who may have plans to go to UK? A small explosion down our southern parts that kills no one and the British government is quick to issue travel advisories against us. Our so-called leaders should learn a game called “tit for tat”.
Resigned tourism secretary Alberto Lim said he was quitting because “my responsibilities require a great deal of travel and time away from my loved ones.”
Whoever said the tourism head must per se be the number one tourist of the country?
That has been the problem of Lim’s predecessors as well.
What is lacking in our tourism sector is the involvement of all the stakeholders in the industry. In Thailand, for instance, where tourism is one of the major foreign exchange earners, there is cooperation and coordination among hotels, tour operators, travel agencies, tourist destinations, tour bus operators, business establishments that cater to tourists, etc. Dito, kanya-kanya.
I did not intend to speculate further on Noynoy’s peace initiative with the MILF. However, my hopes for its success are fading fast. I hope I’m wrong.
My hopes began to fade when I read that the Comprehensive Compact that the MILF was referring to is in fact a “re-framing”, according to MILF peace panel head Mohagher Iqbal, of the Supreme Court-rejected MOA-AD on the establishment of a Bangsamoro Juridical Entity. Iqbal says the Compact does not include the parts regarded as unconstitutional by the high tribunal. I doubt it. New words and phrases were probably used but it will still be the same dog with a different collar.
Fortunately, Noynoy found an escape route from a probable debacle by insisting that whatever may be arrived at with the MILF will be subjected to a plebiscite by all stakeholders and possible congressional action.
The warning by Nur Misuari that absorption of the ARMM by the MILF-proposed Bangsamoro Republic or sub-state is not likely to work should not be taken lightly. I think what he actually meant is that the MNLF will never allow the ARMM to be part of the MILF proposal.
I find bothersome the deafening silence of the US and other western powers, including the European Union, on the Noynoy-initiated peace move with the MILF. Ordinarily, these powers are quick to issue statements of encouragement for the early settlement of the problem in the south. This time, not one of them has so far uttered words of encouragement. Strange.
Either they are in on it or they were completely left out by Noynoy and are waiting for more details before making a pronouncement. Your guess is as good as mine. In guessing though, we would do well to bear in mind that the aborted Bangsamoro Juridical Entity was engineered by the US together with Arroyo and her cohorts.
The American agenda has long ago been laid bare by their insistence on staying permanently in Mindanao under the cover of the Visiting Forces Agreement (VFA). They would rather now deal with a Bangsamoro Republic or whatever, rather than with imperial Manila and its pesky mass media. The US motive? Maintain a presence in the South China Sea and not be left out in the exploration and exploitation of our natural resources in the area.
After the DFA spokesman announced that an investigation will be launched to find out the identity of a career diplomat who allegedly branded Noynoy’s meeting with MILF head Murad Ibrahim in Tokyo as an act of treason, Foreign Secretary Albert del Rosario asked the DFA personnel after last Monday’s flag raising ceremony to do their “patriotic duty by providing information” on the unnamed diplomat.
To do their patriotic duty or to snitch on one of theirs?
I doubt if the investigation will get anywhere. The journalist who wrote the story will never reveal his source. To do so would mean the end of his “sourcing” prowess.
The DFA has been eerily silent about the situation in Syria where thousands of OFWs are located. What gives? The situation in that conflict-torn country is worsening by the day.
I hope the DFA is not waiting for one of our nationals to get hurt or killed before issuing some kind of situationer there. I’m sure the relatives of those who are there will appreciate one.
I understand Del Rosario has dispatched his favorite future ex-undersecretary Rafael Seguis to Syria to assess the situation. (Why not Undersecretary Esteban Conejos who is actually in charge of migrant workers’ affairs in the department?) Let’s see what Seguis will report on his return.
Seguis was supposed to lead a security and assessment team to Baghdad almost a month ago. I hope he is taking the opportunity to go there too. It’s about time Del Rosario decided to either terminate the lease of the embassy premises there which has not been in use for the last 7 or 8 years at a reported cost of US$70,000 yearly or about P3 million at current exchange rate. Or he can finally instruct Ambassador Bayani Mangibin and his staff to proceed to that post. Mangibin was named by Gloria Arroyo ambassador to Iraq but has been cooling his heels in Amman, Jordan, since April of last year.
A former Philippine ambassador to a Middle Eastern country may reportedly be charged with corruption. Insiders say the reason may have something to do with the disposition of blood money for the relatives of victims killed by a Filipino.
I have received documents pertaining to the remittance by the DFA of the amount of P17 million to the account of the Philippine Embassy to that Middle Eastern country in November 2009. The money came from the Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office (PCSO).
The ambassador concerned may, in the meantime, take comfort in looking at the giant smiley posted by Del Rosario at the entrance of the DFA building.
I am informed that Michael Macaraig, a minor DFA functionary who was suspended for violation of rules and regulations by Del Rosario for one year without pay will appeal his suspension,
I wish to point out that under Sections 37 (b) and (d), Article IX of Presidential Decree No. 807 prescribing the powers and functions of the Civil Service Commission, the penalty meted out to Macaraig, even when appealed, shall be executory.
In particular, sub-section (d) states: “An appeal shall not stop the decision from being executory, and in case the penalty is suspension or removal, the respondent shall be considered as having been under preventive suspension during the pendency of the appeal in the event he wins an appeal.”
So there. It would be foolish on the part of the office of administration under future ex-undersecretary Seguis to do otherwise.
People wonder where former President Fidel Ramos got the cockeyed notion that Noynoy’s anti-corruption platform is driving investors away.
Any businessman will tell you that one of the main reasons foreign investors have moved out and are moving out and others staying away is the corruption here. The other factor is the high energy cost which started to rise during the time of Ramos. He allegedly signed too many contracts with independent power producers which were no longer needed at the time.
Ramos also allegedly branded as witch hunt the investigation of anomalies during the Arroyo regime. Maybe he was likening Gloria Arroyo to a witch? Perhaps Noynoy should also initiate the investigation of alleged anomalies during Ramos’ watch and see what he calls it. Tabako hunt?
A special report by Mary Ann Ll. Reyes of the Philippine Star revealed irregularities in the reinsurance business of the GSIS during Winston Garcia’s watch (reminder 5 below). Paging Robert Vergara, current GSIS head. Hoy gising!!!
Reminders (for Noynoy’s action):
1) Filing of charges against the previous administration’s National Food Administration officials for the anomalous importation of rice. (Noynoy himself said there is documentary evidence to prove the anomaly.)
The report that the NFA lost a mind-boggling P100 billion in the last 10 years should spur Noynoy to go posthaste after those responsible for that grievous crime against his bosses, the people.
2) Facilitating the investigation of the rampant corruption in the military, including the uncovered anomaly in gas allowances.
3) Expeditious action by the AFP on the case of Jonas Burgos.
4) Preliminary investigation by the Department of Justice of the graft complaint filed late last year by Bayan Muna against Gloria Arroyo in connection with the aborted $329 million ZTE-NBN deal.
5) Investigation of the reported anomalies in the GSIS during the watch of Winston Garcia and the scandalous allowances and excessive benefits the members of the Board of Trustees allotted themselves (P11 million each) in 2009 alone.
Reports that the GSIS has stopped giving housing loans to members due to lack of funds gives urgency to Noynoy ordering the new GSIS management to act expeditiously on cases to be lodged against Garcia. People are anxiously waiting for them.
From an internet friend:
To Maintain A Healthy Level Of Insanity
1. At lunch time, sit in your parked car with sunglasses on and point a hair dryer at passing cars. See if they slow down.
2. Page yourself over the intercom. Don’t disguise your voice!
3. Every time someone asks you to do something, ask if they want fries with that.
4. Put decaf in the coffee maker for 3 weeks. Once everyone has gotten over their caffeine addictions, switch to espresso.
5. In the memo field of all your checks, write “For Marijuana”.
6. Skip down the hall rather than walk and see how many looks you get.
7. Order a diet water whenever you go out to eat, with a serious face.
These are all for now. The rest will be included in my next column.
Today is the 110th day of the fifth year of Jonas Burgos’ disappearance.