November 24, 2017, 10:51 pm
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South Korean investors

MY heart skips a bit whenever I learn of the appointment of a political ambassador to one of our diplomatic posts abroad. This is because I used to be a member of the career Foreign Service corps in a previous incarnation. 
After going through the most difficult and rigorous government examination there is, the Foreign Service Officer examination, it is but natural for a successful examinee to aspire for and hope that one day, after some twenty years later, s/he would be appointed as an ambassador even to the most difficult post abroad. In many cases, this dream remained unrealized because of the appointment of so many political ambassadors.
There are posts that are “traditionally” given to political appointees such as the one in Washington. Other “juicy” posts like the UN in New York, Beijing, Tokyo, London and other capitals in Western Europe like Budapest, Lisbon, Prague and Rome have at one time or another been manned by political appointees. To be fair, some of them were good but others certainly were not. Often, the suspicion is that some of them allegedly got their appointments for millions of reasons, so to speak.
I, for one, concede that this practice is perhaps unavoidable for political or other considerations. However, as I have been advocating over the years, there are posts that must be manned by trained, experienced and deserving professionals only – like those in Asean capitals and permanent missions to the UN.
President Rodrigo Roa Duterte aka Digong has already named political ambassadors to Myanmar and Singapore. Fortunately, the one named for Brunei did not make it through the Commission on Appointments.


Of late, the Foreign Office is abuzz with informal information (alright, call it rumor) that a retired, later recycled as the incumbent undersecretary for administration, is eying the post in Argentina. This was after a couple of also retired and recycled career officers were relieved from their position as undersecretaries in the Department.
This informal information, if it turns out to be true and the person concerned is appointed, will make my heart skip a bit too. She would then belong to the genre of political ambassadors.
This retired officer has been derisively referred to as “anak ng Diyos” during her entire career in the Department. She had always gotten what she wanted in terms of postings abroad and in the Home Office. For what reason, nobody seems to know, except that she belongs “kuno” to a well-connected political family.
Foreign Secretary Alan Cayetano may wish to take note of this. If this retired officer again gets what she wants, it will definitely cause demoralization in the Department. 
In a previous column, I pleaded with Digong to “please do not destroy the Foreign Service”. I wish to reiterate that plea.


A bit of disturbing news that did not seem to have caught the attention of the relevant government authorities is the recent revelation of the Korean Chamber of Commerce of the Philippines president Ho Ik Lee.
Many Korean companies, according to Lee, are leaving the country for a couple of reasons – the higher cost of doing business and the lack of incentives in the country. They have begun to close down their Philippine offices to transfer to Vietnam. Ouch!
What Lee did not mention, perhaps so as not to embarrass us, is the lack of infrastructure and the problem of corruption, particularly in the Bureau of Customs (BOC). A couple of South Korean friends, both businessmen, have told me that the number of signatures and documents required at the BOC is horrendous, not to mention the red tape they encounter in other relevant government agencies. 
I have seen how Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore and Thailand caught up with us and even surpassed us. And now Vietnam too?! 
I am almost certain that firms from other countries with investments here are also experiencing the same woes. Pretty soon, they too will start leaving if we do not address the problems they encounter pronto.
Speaking of the South Koreans, have you seen how they deal with corruption? 
Witness how swiftly they recently deposed a president for alleged corruption! 
And the heir of the gigantic firm, Samsung, being sent to jail for five years for bribery!
The pace with which they dispense justice, regardless of the political position or financial status of individuals involved, is truly phenomenal compared to the glacial pace of our justice system.


The news report that three representatives of the so-called Council for Asian Liberals and Democrats visited incarcerated Sen. Leila de Lima made me curse ala Digong.
To begin with, why were they allowed to visit De Lima? What business is it of theirs to tell us what to do with her? Such a thing will never happen in any Asean country, for instance. 
Listen to what one of these nitwits had to say: “We have a lot of respect for her (De Lima) and, of course, we talked to many Filipinos and we think that she has been treated very unjustly and we do not know why she is in detention. She is the people’s representative.”
 “We talked to many Filipinos” – How many? How long did they stay here?
 “We do not know why she is in detention.” - What the heck! They don’t even know why after talking to “many Filipinos”?!
 “She is the people’s representative.” – Have they read or heard of “many Filipinos” protesting her incarceration. 
I believe the government should henceforth not allow any meddling foreigner to visit or much less interview De Lima. 


All of a sudden, there seems to be a news blackout on the impeachment case against Comelec chairman Andres Bautista. What gives?
And now, there is the impeachment case against Supreme Court Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno. 
If both cases prosper in the House of Representatives, the Senate, for the first time in its history, will have to deal with two impeachment cases. Maybe even three. The Volunteer Against Crime and Corruption says it will soon file an impeachment case against Ombudsman Conchita Morales.
I guess that would be better than having to watch and listen to the vaudevillian spectacle that has been inordinately inflicted on us for the last two weeks on the Bureau of Customs fiasco. 
Puro na lang hearings in both chambers in aid of legislation, kuno. Wala namang nangyayari. Our honorable legislators should for a change busy themselves with doing work more deserving of their time and effort – yes, such as impeaching unworthy constitutional officers.
Today is the 123rd 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:
An elderly couple, Margaret and Bert, moved to Wyoming, Bert always wanted a pair of authentic cowboy boots, so, seeing some on sale, he bought them and wore them home. Walking proudly, he sauntered into the kitchen and said to his wife, “Notice anything different about me?” 
Margaret looked him over, “Nope.” Frustrated, Bert stormed off into the bathroom, undressed and walked back into the kitchen completely naked except for the boots. 
Again he asked Margaret, a little louder this time, “Notice anything different now?” 
Margaret looked up and said in her best deadpan, “Bert, what’s different? It’s hanging down today, it was hanging down yesterday, it’ll be hanging down tomorrow.” 
Furious, Bert yelled, “And do you know why it’s hanging down?”
“Nope, not a clue”, she replied.
“It’s hanging down, because it’s looking at my new boots!
Without missing a beat Margaret replied, “Shoulda bought a hat, Bert, shoulda bought a hat...” 
Average: 4.7 (3 votes)

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