David, Goliath, Bato and a visa


    BREAK na tayo!”

    How many hearts, young or old, straight or gay, will be hearing these words today?

    Because just as Valentine’s Day is that one single day of the year when most relationships are sealed (in the literal as much as the figurative way, I guess) it is also one of the most “popular” days in the year for break-ups.

    Imagine that.

    Of course, while the words could be traumatic to some (most?), they could mean relief for others.

    Imagine this one: as soon as you say “break na tayo” the other party hugs you and peppers you with kisses while saying “thank you” over and over again.

    It seems to me that this is how the President of the United States is taking the break-up being initiated by the President of the Philippines. He is hugging and kissing ours and telling ours “thank you thank you thank you” over and over again. “We save money” is how he puts it in a most unromantic way.

    “Ayaw mo? Ok tenks bye.” That’s how younger generations would put it.

    At first, I was trying to cast the whole “let’s tear up the VFA” as a David vs. Goliath story, except the David (our PRRD) and the Goliath (POTUS) are not actually enemies nor are they even arguing with each other. And the rock? Well, it’s actually not a rock but a “Bato” in the form of a senator whose visa got cancelled in accordance with some US law that “punishes” human rights violators. When the rock (Bato) got his visa cancelled – and which perhaps served as an omen that others were to be cancelled as well – our David saw an opportunity to do something he may have been wanting to do for some time and so he declared that the 20+ year-old Visiting Forces Agreement was now history.

    Except that Goliath reacted in an unexpected way. Rather than fighting back he has just shrugged and walked away.

    Turns out he was just happy to get to this point!

    And that’s how many love stories often end up anyway. Both parties win and both parties lose. We are rid of a vestige of colonialism and they are rid of a cost center. We lose the technical and materiel support of America and they lose an additional training ground and listening post.

    Which means we have no VFA and they have some savings.

    Everybody — but one — is happy.

    Because the Bato still has no visa.

    I guess no one can pressure Uncle Sam to issue a visa when he sure doesn’t want to!


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