July 22, 2018, 11:59 pm
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Digong to visit US?

US AMBASSADOR Sung Kim went on a media blitz last week in an attempt to portray his country as a true and reliable friend and ally of the Philippines.
“It is clear to me that our future is brightest when our two countries remain the closest of friends, partners and allies,” Kim said.
Oh sure, but please, no longer at the expense of our friendship and partnership with other countries like China and Russia.
After President Rodrigo Roa Duterte, aka Digong, implemented an independent foreign policy for the country, pursuant to Section 7, Article II, of the Constitution, the US now appears to be trying to regain her former domination over nearly all aspects of Philippine life.
Digong has succeeded in befriending the two other world powers, China and Russia, to the chagrin no doubt of the US. But that’s her fault. She has not proven to be the true and reliable friend of the Philippines as shown in years past, notwithstanding the existence of a Mutual Defense Treaty between us, the 1998 Visiting Forces Agreement (they are still visiting after 20 years!) and the Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement that calls for the provision of sites in the country where US troops will be based on a rotational basis and, worse, the pre-positioning in designated areas of their military equipment and armaments which could include nuclear weapons. The Constitution (Section 8, Article II) prohibits the entry of nuclear weapons into the country.
Kim was also harping on the “very strong relationship” between Digong and US President Donald Trump. Being a professional, Kim must know that that relationship will not ultimately dictate the future direction of PH-US relations. Such will be dictated by other power centers in Washington like the US Congress, the military, the bureaucracy and the private sector, among others.
One thing is for certain, though. The excellent people-to-people relations between our two countries will continue for the simple reason that there are some four million Filipinos living in the US. Given the great number of relatives in their extended families, the vast reservoir of goodwill towards Americans will always be there.

DIGONG TO VISIT
WASHINGTON?

Kim also revealed that his government is pushing for the visit of Digong to Washington this year.
“I think there is strong interest in both sides in facilitating the visit to Washington so we’ll continue to work at it,” Kim said.
Hmm… Is there? Is that one of the reasons half-American Foreign Secretary Alan Cayetano went to pay obeisance to his counterpart in Washington recently? 
Everyone is aware of Digong’s vow never to set foot on US soil. Will he be true to his word? Is he beginning to soften his stance towards the US? (Who can forget his famous words about the presence of US troops in the country, to wit: “I really hate it. I don’t want it. We don’t need it. US shouldn’t treat the Philippines like a ‘dog with a leash’.”)
Maybe… Or maybe not…
Just recently, Digong said should a full-blown war against terrorists occur in Mindanao, he would seek military assistance from China rather than the US. He expressed doubts the US would help us. 
“If I run out of bullets, I run out of everything, I’ll go to China. I won’t go to America,” he said.
Once burnt, twice shy, I suppose.
It will be recalled that the US failed to deliver some 26,000 rifles when the military needed them most during the terrorist siege of Marawi due to the objection of two US senators.
“The (US) President and Congress seem to be in parity, not co-equal. They are really in parity of powers,” Digong said.
Were it not for the timely assistance of China and Russia by giving us weapons, ammunition and military vehicles we needed, the Marawi siege could have lasted much longer at the cost of many more lives.
More… Who can forget the US stance before China occupied Scarborough Shoal? She said she was “neutral” on the issue and that she does not involve herself in territorial disputes between countries. That’s a true ally and friend?!
And let us face it, had the US acted in a determined and concrete manner, there would be no Chinese reclaimed and militarized isles and reefs in the Paracels and the Spratlys which the US is now using as a bogeyman to “frighten” the countries in the region.
No doubt, the US can easily obliterate those isles and reefs but will she do it? Nah… unless she wants to risk Chinese retaliation. China is now the second biggest economy in the world, soon to be number one, experts say. And the US owes her trillions of dollars!
More importantly, China is now a military power of great consequence, being in possession of ICBMs (intercontinental ballistic missiles) herself. I dread to think of the consequences of a China-US military confrontation to the Philippines, Japan, South Korea and even Australia, they being military outposts of the US. 
As I said, I doubt the US will risk a military confrontation with China, especially at a time when the former has serious problems in her relations with her European and Canadian lackeys and Russia, as well as her present preoccupation with trying to reach a détente with North Korea, a process where China could play a significant part.

FREEDOM OF
NAVIGATION IN SCS

Kim also said the US is committed to freedom of navigation in the South China Sea (SCS) and, inferentially, the unimpeded flow of commerce in the area.
I believe China has been saying the same thing. There is, therefore, a commonality of purpose in the presence of both in the area. 
Doesn’t it stand to reason then that it would be best for them to cooperate with each other?
As I wrote previously, for China to impede freedom of navigation and the flow of commerce in the area would be like cutting her nose to spite her face. The bulk of her exports and imports to and from Southeast Asia, West Asia, the Middle East, Africa and Europe go through the same sea lanes. I think she realizes that if she did that, she would be no match against the combined forces of the US, Japan, South Korea, Australia and even Taiwan. 

US POSITION
ON INTL LAW

Finally, asked what he thought of Digong’s statement that the US was not helping the Philippines enough in the South China Sea dispute, Kim said:
“Our position I think has been very clear. We believe all countries should act according to international law and principles.” 
Huh? Has he not heard of his government’s past ventures in Iraq, Cambodia, Vietnam, Libya, Chile, Grenada, Panama, etc., ad nauseam?
***
REMINDERS 
This segment is intended to remind the Duterte administration of some of its yet unfulfilled promises and matters that need attention and/or follow-up action. More importantly, the people are entitled to know what’s being done about them.
1) Digong’s promise to rid the country of foreign troops. This, of course, necessitates re-visiting the lopsided VFA and the EDCA with the US. 
2) Reciprocal visa arrangements with the US and other countries. (What is the DFA doing about this? Our embassy in Washington?) 
3) The retrieval of the Balangiga bells. (Sources say the return of the bells is now awaiting a certification of some kind from the US Defense Department to be submitted to the US Congress. Is our embassy in Washington on top of this?)
4) The return of the Canadian waste. (Sources say the DOJ has filed a motion before the proper court for the importer to return the waste to Canada. No decision yet. No word about what Canada is doing.)
***
Today is the 73rd day of the twelfth year of the enforced disappearance of Jonas Burgos, son of the late press icon and founder of this newspaper, Joe Burgos.
After the acquittal of Major Harry Baliaga, Jr., the only person formally charged with Jonas’ kidnapping, I guess what happens next is now up to Divine Providence.
***
From an internet friend:
The cowboy lay sprawled across three entire seats in the theater.
When the usher came by and noticed this, he whispered to the cowboy, “Sorry, sir, but you’re only allowed one seat.”
The cowboy groaned but didn’t budge.
The usher became more impatient. “Sir, if you don’t get up from there, I’m going to have to call the manager.”
The cowboy just groaned.
The usher marched briskly back up the aisle. In a moment, he had returned with the manager.
Together, the two of them tried repeatedly to move the cowboy, but with no success.
Finally, they summoned the police. The cop surveyed the situation briefly then asked, “All right buddy, what’s your name?”
“Sam,” the cowboy moaned.
“Where ya from, Sam?”
With pain in his voice Sam replied... “The balcony.”
***
10 July 2018
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