By Rey O. Arcilla
(Noynoy should forego his planned trip to Washington. His bosses, the people, would not want him to embarrass himself and the country too).
The Chinese must be laughing their heads off.
When President Noynoy Aquino’s errand boys, Foreign Secretary Albert “Amboy” del Rosario and Defense Secretary Voltaire Gazmin went to Washington last weekend for talks with their US counterparts, they were apparently hoping they would get a firm commitment from the US 1) to come to our aid “forthwith” (a la North Atlantic Treaty), not in accordance with “constitutional processes” (a la Mutual Defense Treaty) in case of a shooting fray with China in Scarborough Shoal and 2) to provide us with military hardware (warships, planes) to give us a “credible defense posture”.
They got neither. All they got was the “neutral” stance of the US on the Scarborough Shoal issue and a confirmation of an earlier commitment to sell us another ancient coast guard cutter. Oh, Del Rosario, through the DFA spokesman, later made a flourish of announcing that we will get a $30 million increase in military aid from the US next year. That’s next year!
Geeez, big deal! That won’t even buy us one solitary jet fighter. Ang babaw naman ng kaligayahan nitong si Del Rosario!
When the two errand boys left for Washington, China had 13 vessels in Scarborough Shoal. By the time they finished talking with their counterparts two days later, China had 23 vessels in the Shoal – undoubtedly because of the “neutral” stance taken by the US. It was so funny I felt like crying.
Senior officials of the DFA and the US Statement Department laid the groundwork for the ministerial talks months before. Everything that was in the Joint Statement issued after the meeting have been said and made public before. Ergo, Del Rosario and Gazmin must have known beforehand what to expect in Washington. But still they went. Were they hoping the US would change her mind and give us what we want? How naive!
The two must have also known that one day after their talks, Hillary Clinton was going to Beijing for the US-China Strategic and Economic Dialogue.
Among others, Clinton sought China’s help to “rein in the nuclear activities of Iran and North Korea and pressure the Syrian government to stop the violence against its people”; tried to get China to re-value the yuan; and sort out the knotty human rights problem presented by the blind Chinese dissident Chen Guangcheng.
And they expected the US to change her previously stated stance on the Scarborough Shoal standoff?! Again, how naïve! Not only did they embarrass themselves but the country as well!
Now that the US has proven once again, repeat once again, that she does not believe in the saying “a friend in need is a friend indeed”, what are we to do?
First, Noynoy should forego his planned trip to Washington. His bosses, the people, would not want him to embarrass himself and the country too. Never mind his two errand boys. That’s done.
Second, Noynoy should start being wary of advice given by Del Rosario when it comes to PH-US relations. The man is obviously a dyed-in-the-wool pro-American. This advice, unsolicited as it is, is of course based on the assumption that he (Noynoy) is not an Amboy himself. If he is, there goes our pursuit of an “independent foreign policy” as mandated by the Constitution no less. We also have to live with the snickering of friends and foes alike.
Third, forget about seeking advice from international legal experts on how to pursue our claim. Waste of time and money. Nothing will come out of it especially now, given the “neutral” stance of the US. Besides, China will never agree to adjudication by third parties on the question of ownership of the Shoal. Is there anything realistic that we can do to change her mind? Nada.
Fourth, maintain our position of seeking a peaceful and diplomatic solution to the problem (we have no other choice) while at the same time keeping our presence in the Shoal. We could be in it for the long haul. But stay we must and fervently hope that the Chinese do not lose their patience and decide to blow us out of the water. If that happens, we can be sure the US will not retaliate instantly against the Chinese on our behalf. What she would do instead will be to help us bring the matter up to the UN Security Council as provided for in the MDT. Needless to say, by that time many of our people would already have lost their lives. Are we prepared to take that risk? We should be if we are to preserve our self-respect as a nation.
Fifth, appoint a truly qualified ambassador to Beijing forthwith, one who has a thorough knowledge of the Chinese way of thinking, how to deal with them effectively and one who has the complete trust and confidence of Noynoy, one who can communicate with him directly.
Sixth, Noynoy should seek the views and advice of private sector leaders, particularly those who are of Chinese descent like him and who have been dealing with Chinese officials and businessmen in establishing and maintaining their business ventures in China. They must have a pretty accurate insight on how the Chinese think and react to situations.
What bothers me at this time is what concessions Del Rosario has given the US. Has he committed to give the US her desired “expanded” presence in the country in the form of greater access for US naval and air forces to our ports and airfields and the basing of troops (and military hardware) in the country on a “rotational” basis? Nonoy, not Del Rosario, should report to his bosses what agreement has actually been reached with the US in this regard. Have you noticed Del Rosario has said nothing about it? I can’t blame him though. He’s just a messenger. I am not even sure whose.
After what happened in Washington, I now dare Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile to put his money where his mouth is. Senators Joker Arroyo and Gregorio Honasan too. They should now initiate a move in the Senate to have the MDT and the VFA abrogated.
Come to think of it, isn’t there a resolution already passed by the Senate, sponsored by Senator Miriam Santiago sometime ago, to have the VFA abrogated or reviewed? If so, they only need to revive that resolution and
amend it to include the MDT.
What say you, gentlemen? Puro lang yata kayo dada pag dating sa mga Kano!
Noynoy says corruption in the country is over. Not so fast, Sir. You might
have to eat your words later. Many allege that right in your backyard, corruption persists. Your bosses insist that you look closely there first before making such a ludicrous claim. Some progress has been achieved, no doubt, but a lot still remains to be done.
This brings to mind your spotty record in prosecuting cases of corruption during the unlamented Arroyo regime. For instance, in your address before the ADB board of governors meeting you again referred for the umpteenth time, repeat for the umpteenth time, to “rice, imported at inflated cost by the government, was rotting away in rented warehouses”.
So pray tell, Mr. President, why you have not done anything to prosecute those responsible for that horrendous crime against your bosses after almost two years in office. You first mentioned it during your inaugural speech, remember?
Reminders (for Noynoy’s action):
1) Filing of charges against officials of the National Food Administration during Arroyo’s illegitimate regime. Noynoy himself said on several occasions that there is documentary evidence to prove the venalities in the past in that agency; 2) investigation of reported anomalies in the GSIS during the watch of Winston Garcia; 3) facilitating the investigation of rampant corruption in the military and police establishments; and 4) expeditious action by the AFP on the case of Jonas Burgos.
Today is the 10th day of the sixth year of Jonas Burgos’ disappearance.
From an internet friend:
A man came home after a two-day golf outing about which he didn’t tell his wife.
His wife yelled: “How would you feel if you don’t see me for two days?”
The man couldn’t believe his luck: “That would be great!” he exclaimed.
Monday passed and he didn’t see her… Tuesday and Wednesday passed
On Thursday his swelling began to subside… And now he could see her from the corner of one eye.