October 17, 2017, 11:50 am
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1 Philippine Peso = 0.0717 UAE Dirham
1 Philippine Peso = 2.20871 Albanian Lek
1 Philippine Peso = 0.03475 Neth Antilles Guilder
1 Philippine Peso = 0.33813 Argentine Peso
1 Philippine Peso = 0.0248 Australian Dollar
1 Philippine Peso = 0.03475 Aruba Florin
1 Philippine Peso = 0.03905 Barbados Dollar
1 Philippine Peso = 1.57731 Bangladesh Taka
1 Philippine Peso = 0.03233 Bulgarian Lev
1 Philippine Peso = 0.00736 Bahraini Dinar
1 Philippine Peso = 33.79539 Burundi Franc
1 Philippine Peso = 0.01952 Bermuda Dollar
1 Philippine Peso = 0.02637 Brunei Dollar
1 Philippine Peso = 0.13393 Bolivian Boliviano
1 Philippine Peso = 0.0616 Brazilian Real
1 Philippine Peso = 0.01952 Bahamian Dollar
1 Philippine Peso = 1.2666 Bhutan Ngultrum
1 Philippine Peso = 0.19953 Botswana Pula
1 Philippine Peso = 390.86294 Belarus Ruble
1 Philippine Peso = 0.039 Belize Dollar
1 Philippine Peso = 0.02447 Canadian Dollar
1 Philippine Peso = 0.01905 Swiss Franc
1 Philippine Peso = 12.09684 Chilean Peso
1 Philippine Peso = 0.12863 Chinese Yuan
1 Philippine Peso = 57.20812 Colombian Peso
1 Philippine Peso = 11.07243 Costa Rica Colon
1 Philippine Peso = 0.01952 Cuban Peso
1 Philippine Peso = 1.82351 Cape Verde Escudo
1 Philippine Peso = 0.42558 Czech Koruna
1 Philippine Peso = 3.46544 Djibouti Franc
1 Philippine Peso = 0.12309 Danish Krone
1 Philippine Peso = 0.92112 Dominican Peso
1 Philippine Peso = 2.21712 Algerian Dinar
1 Philippine Peso = 0.25865 Estonian Kroon
1 Philippine Peso = 0.3441 Egyptian Pound
1 Philippine Peso = 0.52519 Ethiopian Birr
1 Philippine Peso = 0.01653 Euro
1 Philippine Peso = 0.0399 Fiji Dollar
1 Philippine Peso = 0.01467 Falkland Islands Pound
1 Philippine Peso = 0.01471 British Pound
1 Philippine Peso = 0.08578 Ghanaian Cedi
1 Philippine Peso = 0.91761 Gambian Dalasi
1 Philippine Peso = 173.50644 Guinea Franc
1 Philippine Peso = 0.14337 Guatemala Quetzal
1 Philippine Peso = 3.9752 Guyana Dollar
1 Philippine Peso = 0.15244 Hong Kong Dollar
1 Philippine Peso = 0.45638 Honduras Lempira
1 Philippine Peso = 0.12402 Croatian Kuna
1 Philippine Peso = 1.19621 Haiti Gourde
1 Philippine Peso = 5.08551 Hungarian Forint
1 Philippine Peso = 263.17844 Indonesian Rupiah
1 Philippine Peso = 0.0682 Israeli Shekel
1 Philippine Peso = 1.26328 Indian Rupee
1 Philippine Peso = 22.78407 Iraqi Dinar
1 Philippine Peso = 667.88363 Iran Rial
1 Philippine Peso = 2.04705 Iceland Krona
1 Philippine Peso = 2.48653 Jamaican Dollar
1 Philippine Peso = 0.01381 Jordanian Dinar
1 Philippine Peso = 2.1829 Japanese Yen
1 Philippine Peso = 2.01386 Kenyan Shilling
1 Philippine Peso = 1.33715 Kyrgyzstan Som
1 Philippine Peso = 78.73877 Cambodia Riel
1 Philippine Peso = 8.09352 Comoros Franc
1 Philippine Peso = 17.57126 North Korean Won
1 Philippine Peso = 21.9875 Korean Won
1 Philippine Peso = 0.00589 Kuwaiti Dinar
1 Philippine Peso = 0.01601 Cayman Islands Dollar
1 Philippine Peso = 6.51054 Kazakhstan Tenge
1 Philippine Peso = 161.47403 Lao Kip
1 Philippine Peso = 29.39672 Lebanese Pound
1 Philippine Peso = 2.99785 Sri Lanka Rupee
1 Philippine Peso = 2.29988 Liberian Dollar
1 Philippine Peso = 0.25908 Lesotho Loti
1 Philippine Peso = 0.05952 Lithuanian Lita
1 Philippine Peso = 0.01212 Latvian Lat
1 Philippine Peso = 0.02662 Libyan Dinar
1 Philippine Peso = 0.18372 Moroccan Dirham
1 Philippine Peso = 0.33809 Moldovan Leu
1 Philippine Peso = 1.01269 Macedonian Denar
1 Philippine Peso = 26.59117 Myanmar Kyat
1 Philippine Peso = 47.89145 Mongolian Tugrik
1 Philippine Peso = 0.157 Macau Pataca
1 Philippine Peso = 7.04803 Mauritania Ougulya
1 Philippine Peso = 0.65892 Mauritius Rupee
1 Philippine Peso = 0.3034 Maldives Rufiyaa
1 Philippine Peso = 13.98223 Malawi Kwacha
1 Philippine Peso = 0.37125 Mexican Peso
1 Philippine Peso = 0.0823 Malaysian Ringgit
1 Philippine Peso = 0.25884 Namibian Dollar
1 Philippine Peso = 6.89184 Nigerian Naira
1 Philippine Peso = 0.59176 Nicaragua Cordoba
1 Philippine Peso = 0.15391 Norwegian Krone
1 Philippine Peso = 2.0285 Nepalese Rupee
1 Philippine Peso = 0.02714 New Zealand Dollar
1 Philippine Peso = 0.00751 Omani Rial
1 Philippine Peso = 0.01952 Panama Balboa
1 Philippine Peso = 0.06338 Peruvian Nuevo Sol
1 Philippine Peso = 0.06228 Papua New Guinea Kina
1 Philippine Peso = 1 Philippine Peso
1 Philippine Peso = 2.05076 Pakistani Rupee
1 Philippine Peso = 0.07005 Polish Zloty
1 Philippine Peso = 109.88871 Paraguayan Guarani
1 Philippine Peso = 0.07106 Qatar Rial
1 Philippine Peso = 0.07576 Romanian New Leu
1 Philippine Peso = 1.11582 Russian Rouble
1 Philippine Peso = 16.21398 Rwanda Franc
1 Philippine Peso = 0.07321 Saudi Arabian Riyal
1 Philippine Peso = 0.15248 Solomon Islands Dollar
1 Philippine Peso = 0.26667 Seychelles Rupee
1 Philippine Peso = 0.13003 Sudanese Pound
1 Philippine Peso = 0.15841 Swedish Krona
1 Philippine Peso = 0.02638 Singapore Dollar
1 Philippine Peso = 0.01468 St Helena Pound
1 Philippine Peso = 0.43354 Slovak Koruna
1 Philippine Peso = 148.77001 Sierra Leone Leone
1 Philippine Peso = 10.91371 Somali Shilling
1 Philippine Peso = 405.15812 Sao Tome Dobra
1 Philippine Peso = 0.17083 El Salvador Colon
1 Philippine Peso = 10.05428 Syrian Pound
1 Philippine Peso = 0.25884 Swaziland Lilageni
1 Philippine Peso = 0.64526 Thai Baht
1 Philippine Peso = 0.04826 Tunisian Dinar
1 Philippine Peso = 0.04364 Tongan paʻanga
1 Philippine Peso = 0.07093 Turkish Lira
1 Philippine Peso = 0.13039 Trinidad Tobago Dollar
1 Philippine Peso = 0.58821 Taiwan Dollar
1 Philippine Peso = 43.69387 Tanzanian Shilling
1 Philippine Peso = 0.51738 Ukraine Hryvnia
1 Philippine Peso = 71.10504 Ugandan Shilling
1 Philippine Peso = 0.01952 United States Dollar
1 Philippine Peso = 0.57321 Uruguayan New Peso
1 Philippine Peso = 156.77469 Uzbekistan Sum
1 Philippine Peso = 0.19475 Venezuelan Bolivar
1 Philippine Peso = 443.49862 Vietnam Dong
1 Philippine Peso = 2.03026 Vanuatu Vatu
1 Philippine Peso = 0.0495 Samoa Tala
1 Philippine Peso = 10.83639 CFA Franc (BEAC)
1 Philippine Peso = 0.05271 East Caribbean Dollar
1 Philippine Peso = 10.75752 CFA Franc (BCEAO)
1 Philippine Peso = 1.96193 Pacific Franc
1 Philippine Peso = 4.87895 Yemen Riyal
1 Philippine Peso = 0.259 South African Rand
1 Philippine Peso = 101.31784 Zambian Kwacha
1 Philippine Peso = 7.0656 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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Column of the Day

An ode to Complete Staff Work

By ABIGAIL VALTE | October 17,2017
‘The concept of complete staff work is an essential tool to surviving staff life.’

Opinion of the Day

CIA

By REY O. ARCILLA | October 17, 2017
‘Digong ought to be reminded that he himself has said our military is pro-US. He should perhaps always bear that in mind.’