August 19, 2017, 8:51 pm
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1 Philippine Peso = 0.07443 UAE Dirham
1 Philippine Peso = 2.4017 Albanian Lek
1 Philippine Peso = 0.03628 Neth Antilles Guilder
1 Philippine Peso = 0.32436 Argentine Peso
1 Philippine Peso = 0.02723 Australian Dollar
1 Philippine Peso = 0.03626 Aruba Florin
1 Philippine Peso = 0.04054 Barbados Dollar
1 Philippine Peso = 1.63579 Bangladesh Taka
1 Philippine Peso = 0.03534 Bulgarian Lev
1 Philippine Peso = 0.00763 Bahraini Dinar
1 Philippine Peso = 34.60377 Burundi Franc
1 Philippine Peso = 0.02027 Bermuda Dollar
1 Philippine Peso = 0.02797 Brunei Dollar
1 Philippine Peso = 0.13904 Bolivian Boliviano
1 Philippine Peso = 0.06579 Brazilian Real
1 Philippine Peso = 0.02027 Bahamian Dollar
1 Philippine Peso = 1.30624 Bhutan Ngultrum
1 Philippine Peso = 0.20692 Botswana Pula
1 Philippine Peso = 405.75598 Belarus Ruble
1 Philippine Peso = 0.04049 Belize Dollar
1 Philippine Peso = 0.02733 Canadian Dollar
1 Philippine Peso = 0.01952 Swiss Franc
1 Philippine Peso = 13.57175 Chilean Peso
1 Philippine Peso = 0.13799 Chinese Yuan
1 Philippine Peso = 58.59343 Colombian Peso
1 Philippine Peso = 11.43535 Costa Rica Colon
1 Philippine Peso = 0.02027 Cuban Peso
1 Philippine Peso = 1.98075 Cape Verde Escudo
1 Philippine Peso = 0.47231 Czech Koruna
1 Philippine Peso = 3.59951 Djibouti Franc
1 Philippine Peso = 0.13357 Danish Krone
1 Philippine Peso = 0.95278 Dominican Peso
1 Philippine Peso = 2.19181 Algerian Dinar
1 Philippine Peso = 0.28109 Estonian Kroon
1 Philippine Peso = 0.36583 Egyptian Pound
1 Philippine Peso = 0.46433 Ethiopian Birr
1 Philippine Peso = 0.01797 Euro
1 Philippine Peso = 0.04244 Fiji Dollar
1 Philippine Peso = 0.01573 Falkland Islands Pound
1 Philippine Peso = 0.01572 British Pound
1 Philippine Peso = 0.08685 Ghanaian Cedi
1 Philippine Peso = 0.91021 Gambian Dalasi
1 Philippine Peso = 182.75233 Guinea Franc
1 Philippine Peso = 0.1491 Guatemala Quetzal
1 Philippine Peso = 4.14512 Guyana Dollar
1 Philippine Peso = 0.15784 Hong Kong Dollar
1 Philippine Peso = 0.47422 Honduras Lempira
1 Philippine Peso = 0.13229 Croatian Kuna
1 Philippine Peso = 1.24625 Haiti Gourde
1 Philippine Peso = 5.54195 Hungarian Forint
1 Philippine Peso = 269.57844 Indonesian Rupiah
1 Philippine Peso = 0.07211 Israeli Shekel
1 Philippine Peso = 1.30521 Indian Rupee
1 Philippine Peso = 23.93595 Iraqi Dinar
1 Philippine Peso = 657.62059 Iran Rial
1 Philippine Peso = 1.9771 Iceland Krona
1 Philippine Peso = 2.6139 Jamaican Dollar
1 Philippine Peso = 0.01433 Jordanian Dinar
1 Philippine Peso = 2.23666 Japanese Yen
1 Philippine Peso = 2.0906 Kenyan Shilling
1 Philippine Peso = 1.38113 Kyrgyzstan Som
1 Philippine Peso = 81.57681 Cambodia Riel
1 Philippine Peso = 9.12404 Comoros Franc
1 Philippine Peso = 18.24078 North Korean Won
1 Philippine Peso = 22.6366 Korean Won
1 Philippine Peso = 0.00614 Kuwaiti Dinar
1 Philippine Peso = 0.01662 Cayman Islands Dollar
1 Philippine Peso = 6.364 Kazakhstan Tenge
1 Philippine Peso = 166.08836 Lao Kip
1 Philippine Peso = 30.51277 Lebanese Pound
1 Philippine Peso = 3.08877 Sri Lanka Rupee
1 Philippine Peso = 1.84435 Liberian Dollar
1 Philippine Peso = 0.25922 Lesotho Loti
1 Philippine Peso = 0.06179 Lithuanian Lita
1 Philippine Peso = 0.01258 Latvian Lat
1 Philippine Peso = 0.02821 Libyan Dinar
1 Philippine Peso = 0.19642 Moroccan Dirham
1 Philippine Peso = 0.36735 Moldovan Leu
1 Philippine Peso = 1.09972 Macedonian Denar
1 Philippine Peso = 27.52331 Myanmar Kyat
1 Philippine Peso = 48.27726 Mongolian Tugrik
1 Philippine Peso = 0.16258 Macau Pataca
1 Philippine Peso = 7.25578 Mauritania Ougulya
1 Philippine Peso = 0.70024 Mauritius Rupee
1 Philippine Peso = 0.31394 Maldives Rufiyaa
1 Philippine Peso = 14.54094 Malawi Kwacha
1 Philippine Peso = 0.37863 Mexican Peso
1 Philippine Peso = 0.08672 Malaysian Ringgit
1 Philippine Peso = 0.2604 Namibian Dollar
1 Philippine Peso = 6.52615 Nigerian Naira
1 Philippine Peso = 0.59972 Nicaragua Cordoba
1 Philippine Peso = 0.17055 Norwegian Krone
1 Philippine Peso = 2.08654 Nepalese Rupee
1 Philippine Peso = 0.02835 New Zealand Dollar
1 Philippine Peso = 0.00779 Omani Rial
1 Philippine Peso = 0.02027 Panama Balboa
1 Philippine Peso = 0.06622 Peruvian Nuevo Sol
1 Philippine Peso = 0.06654 Papua New Guinea Kina
1 Philippine Peso = 1 Philippine Peso
1 Philippine Peso = 2.11897 Pakistani Rupee
1 Philippine Peso = 0.0753 Polish Zloty
1 Philippine Peso = 112.82935 Paraguayan Guarani
1 Philippine Peso = 0.0738 Qatar Rial
1 Philippine Peso = 0.08196 Romanian New Leu
1 Philippine Peso = 1.14766 Russian Rouble
1 Philippine Peso = 16.61897 Rwanda Franc
1 Philippine Peso = 0.076 Saudi Arabian Riyal
1 Philippine Peso = 0.16004 Solomon Islands Dollar
1 Philippine Peso = 0.26836 Seychelles Rupee
1 Philippine Peso = 0.13498 Sudanese Pound
1 Philippine Peso = 0.17451 Swedish Krona
1 Philippine Peso = 0.02797 Singapore Dollar
1 Philippine Peso = 0.01573 St Helena Pound
1 Philippine Peso = 0.45006 Slovak Koruna
1 Philippine Peso = 152.00649 Sierra Leone Leone
1 Philippine Peso = 11.08634 Somali Shilling
1 Philippine Peso = 435.85326 Sao Tome Dobra
1 Philippine Peso = 0.17678 El Salvador Colon
1 Philippine Peso = 10.43737 Syrian Pound
1 Philippine Peso = 0.26014 Swaziland Lilageni
1 Philippine Peso = 0.6897 Thai Baht
1 Philippine Peso = 0.04917 Tunisian Dinar
1 Philippine Peso = 0.04647 Tongan paʻanga
1 Philippine Peso = 0.0711 Turkish Lira
1 Philippine Peso = 0.13537 Trinidad Tobago Dollar
1 Philippine Peso = 0.61011 Taiwan Dollar
1 Philippine Peso = 45.17633 Tanzanian Shilling
1 Philippine Peso = 0.53223 Ukraine Hryvnia
1 Philippine Peso = 72.78071 Ugandan Shilling
1 Philippine Peso = 0.02027 United States Dollar
1 Philippine Peso = 0.57377 Uruguayan New Peso
1 Philippine Peso = 77.82732 Uzbekistan Sum
1 Philippine Peso = 0.20216 Venezuelan Bolivar
1 Philippine Peso = 459.54601 Vietnam Dong
1 Philippine Peso = 2.18241 Vanuatu Vatu
1 Philippine Peso = 0.05201 Samoa Tala
1 Philippine Peso = 11.77483 CFA Franc (BEAC)
1 Philippine Peso = 0.05472 East Caribbean Dollar
1 Philippine Peso = 11.82205 CFA Franc (BCEAO)
1 Philippine Peso = 2.13174 Pacific Franc
1 Philippine Peso = 5.06546 Yemen Riyal
1 Philippine Peso = 0.25921 South African Rand
1 Philippine Peso = 105.17835 Zambian Kwacha
1 Philippine Peso = 7.33482 Zimbabwe dollar

Bravo, Secretary Cayetano!

I would be less than candid if I did not admit I was pleasantly surprised at what Foreign Secretary Alan Peter Cayetano reportedly said last week in a press briefing about PH-US relations in particular and our foreign policy in general.
 “That’s the point of the independent foreign policy.  In areas where we share common interests, we’re together.  But in areas where our interests clash, don’t expect us just to say yes.  We have to start defining very clearly what our interests are and who will help us in those interests”, Cayetano said.
Surprised, because I thought I would never see the day when a Philippine foreign secretary would utter such words that now clearly define the basis of our relationship with the US and, indeed, with all other countries, including China and Russia.
Of course, Cayetano was merely echoing the independent foreign policy already set in motion by President Rodrigo Roa Duterte aka Digong.
Cayetano was briefing the press on the proposed joint exploration and development agreement with China which has drawn criticism from the usual suspects. 
He said, among others, that not a “single inch” of Philippine territory would be lost in case the deal materializes; that any deal would be in conformity with our Constitution and laws; and that any future deals would be more beneficial to the Philippines than the agreement on the Malampaya development.
Speaking of the Malampaya development, I understand that 45 percent of it is owned by Chevron and another 45 percent by Shell.  Only 10 percent is owned by the Philippine Government.  If this is true till today, then the agreement is clearly not in accord with the relevant constitutional provision/s. 
Yet, interestingly, Cayetano pointed out that the joint venture was approved by the Supreme Court.
Cayetano also said during the press briefing that the Philippines would consult first with individual ASEAN members  before taking action on the joint venture proposal.
He likewise took the occasion to criticize the US for “making it appear it was totally supporting the Philippines’ position on the South China Sea maritime dispute”.
 “Do not pretend that you’re protecting the Philippines. You’re protecting your interest,” he said.
He then cited the unequivocal support given by the US to Japan on the latter’s dispute with China over the Senkaku islands.  In contrast, the US has said it is neutral on the territorial dispute we have with China.  How can she stay neutral when, for instance, Panatag (Scarborough) Shoal is within the 200-nautical mile Exclusive Economic Zone of the Philippines?
 “So they (US) can’t keep telling us what to do as far as our strategy is concerned when sila mismo hindi signatory (to UNCLOS) and sila mismo na treaty ally natin is not ready to give us the same guarantees that they are giving to Japan,” Cayetano said.
I believe our diplomatic representation in Washington and the relevant agencies would be well-advised to absorb and digest everything that Cayetano has said.

Bravo, Mr. Secretary!
***
Oh, by the way, my dear friend and former DFA colleague Ben Hur Ong asked me if I noticed “the sudden avalanche of goodies from the US, with more to come – including and specially all three Balangiga bells?  Might appear to be too good to be true, but hey, why should I object.” 
Right on, Ben!  I think you and I know to what we may attribute the apparent change in the US attitude towards us.  Right again, Ben – Digong’s shift to an independent foreign policy!
***
For a number of years, this space has been taking up the cudgels for DFA officials and staff who have complained to me about being inconvenienced by the closure of the service road in front of the Seafront compound of the US Embassy on the eastern side of Roxas Boulevard.
For reasons that could only be attributed to the “reticence” of concerned DFA officials from the secretary down, no serious action had been taken on the complaint.  A common excuse was that it was the Pasay City government that should be the one to take action.  Another stock reply was, “mahirap, US Embassy ‘yan!”  Garbage!
Last week, the road was finally re-opened for the motoring public.  Bakit?  US Embassy pa rin ‘yun, ah? 
Without a doubt, it is because of Digong’s policy on how we should deal with matters involving foreign countries, not only the US.  We should start asserting ourselves as an independent and sovereign nation, especially on our own turf. 
And, I like to believe, the present generation of Foreign Service Officers who have now assumed positions of responsibility in the DFA are better “enlightened” and more assertive at promoting and protecting the national interest, inspired no doubt by Digong’s example.

ASEAN AT 50
In exactly one week’s time, Asean will be celebrating its fifty years of existence.
It was on 8 August 1967 when the so-called Bangkok Declaration was officially promulgated in the Thai capital, thus giving birth to the Association.
But actually, the Declaration was negotiated and finally approved on 6 August 1967 in Bang-saen, a beach resort south of Bangkok, by the foreign ministers of the original five members.  They were Adam Malik of Indonesia, Tun Abdul Razak of Malaysia, Narciso Ramos of the Philippines, S. Rajaratnam of Singapore and Thanat Khoman of Thailand.
 (I was then assigned at the Philippine Embassy in Bangkok as a staff employee.  I was the lone secretariat member of the Philippine Delegation.  I had to lug an Underwood typewriter.  Also, for lack of sufficient hotel accommodations, I had to sleep on the floor of the suite assigned to Secretary Ramos – with his kind consent, of course.)
After they reached final agreement on the declaration on August 6, the ministers repaired to Bangkok.  Two days later, the Bangkok Declaration was signed.
 (Note:  I tailed the official motorcade in my own car on the return trip to Bangkok with my dear friend Nestor Mata as passenger.  He covered the meetings in Bang-saen.  As I was not supposed to be in the official motorcade, the police escort cut me off.  Nestor and I nearly fell into a “klong” [canal] on the side of the road.) 
After I took Nestor to his hotel, I went home only to find out that my wife was in the hospital.  She had given birth to our third boy a few hours before.
Happy 50th birthday to Asean!  And, coincidentally, to my third son, Reggie!
***
Today is the 95th day of the eleventh year of the enforced disappearance of Jonas Burgos, son of the late press icon and founder of this newspaper.
The family and friends of Jonas hope that the Duterte administration will exert serious efforts to find and haul the perpetrators of Jonas’ disappearance to justice.
***
From an internet friend:
Outside a pharmacy in a busy street, a poor man is clutching onto a pole for dear life, not breathing, not moving, not twitching a muscle, just standing there, frozen. 
The pharmacist goes up to his assistant and asks: “What’s the matter with that guy? Wasn’t he in here earlier?”
Assistant replies: “Yes he was. He had the most terrible cough and none of my prescriptions seemed to help.”
Pharmacist says: “He seems to be fine now.”
Assistant replies: “Sure, he does. I gave him a box of the strongest laxatives on the market. Now he won’t dare cough!”
***
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