Russia to the rescue?

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    FOREIGN Secretary Teodoro “Tweeterboy” Locsin, Jr. reportedly said in a recent TV interview that waging war with China should always remain an option for us in defending our territorial waters and Exclusive Economic Zone in the South China Sea (SCS).

    However, his boss, President Duterte, has been saying that such action would only lead to the massacre of Filipino troops, not to mention the possibility of the utter destruction of parts of the country, especially where US troops, military bases and prepositioned arsenal are located. This possibility, of course, depends on whether or not the US decides to come to our succor. (My crystal ball says the US will never risk armed confrontation with China over the South China Sea territorial disputes.)

    “You see that is the problem, that is how Duterte looks (sic), we will get hurt and we cannot hurt back and it’s true, that is how you look at it.”

    Locsin then cited how Vietnam resisted China’s putting up an oil rig in the former’s claimed territorial waters and EEZ in the Paracels some five years ago.

    “The Vietnamese came in with the Russians. Smart… I don’t know why we don’t do it with the Russians. China tried to push them (Vietnam) out and they are still pushing back but that is because they have Russia,” he said.

    But why go to the Russians?  Why not ask the US?  Didn’t Tweeterboy insist at least twice before that the US is our only military ally?

    Or is he now convinced that the US will never risk confronting China over our territorial dispute in the South China Sea, notwithstanding the 1951 PH-US Mutual Defense Treaty?  Does he now believe the US was serious when she said that she is neutral when it comes to the SCS territorial disputes?

    Is he now in the process of trying to shed his image as an Amboy?

    Is that the reason, or one of the reasons, why he said Duterte is going to Russia next month?

    Don’t get me wrong.  I am all for it. We should always keep our options open.  Undue reliance on a single power, the US, is neither healthy nor prudent.

    ***

    Incidentally, Locsin reportedly said it would be a safer world if only “the greatest power on earth led by the example of subscribing to the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS).”

    He made the statement during the opening ceremony of the 7th Biennial Conference of the Asian Society of International Law late last month.

    He was obviously referring to the United States which has never ratified the UNCLOS.

    But why couldn’t or wouldn’t Locsin name the US?  Afraid he might offend or, worse, incur the wrath of Washington?

    “Despite near universal acceptance by 168 states parties, the most imminent and potentially the most disastrous dangers in our world today pertain to marine and maritime affairs — the Persian Gulf and the South China Sea,” Locsin said.

    He also apparently took a dig at China, an UNCLOS signatory, when he said:

    “If only we respected pacta sunt servanda (Latin for “agreements must be kept”) in our obligations under UNCLOS, there would be less animosity with its greater likelihood of conflict.”
    Beijing, Moscow and Washington almost certainly must already be aware of his sentiments.

    BONG GO

    Christopher Lawrence “Bong” Go hasn’t ceased to be the “alalay” (Man Friday) of President Duterte even after his election as a senator.

    To begin with, how can he possibly spend so much time travelling or just being with Duterte and at the same time do justice to his job as a senator?

    Duterte should have just made him run for senator in the next election.  In the meantime, he could have perhaps simply concentrated on his Malasakit Centers aside, of course, from being Duterte’s chief aide.

    Go’s long association with Duterte has also apparently influenced his way of thinking or talking.

    For example, he said the next Bureau of Corrections director general should be a “killer.”  What does he mean by that?

    Has it got something to do with what he later said about drug convicts paying for unnecessary hospitalization in the national penitentiary who should be poisoned?

    “Dapat ‘yong mga drug lords na nagpa-confine dapat hindi ginagamot, dapat saksakan ng lason ang dextrose… di na kayo makalabas sa ospital, morgue na kayo,” he said

    Then again, maybe he is right.  Those vicious criminals have no place in any society.

    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 abrogating the MDT and the lopsided and constitutionally infirm VFA and the EDCA.

    2. Reciprocal visa arrangements with the US and other countries.  What is Amboy Locsin doing about this?  Our embassy in Washington?  No less than President Digong has said he wanted this done about three years ago.  Has he changed his mind?  If not, Locsin should be directed to start things moving, or else…???

    Needless to say, such reciprocal arrangements should also be pursued with all other countries.

    Oh, I know that certain offices in the government, the Department of Tourism for one, and some members of the private sector resist such a move for the cockeyed reason that it will lessen the number of tourists coming here.

    That’s pure hogwash! As long as we get our acts together and make the country attractive to foreigners, they, including Americans, will come with or without visa fees.

    Incidentally, now that a modified Visa Upon Arrival (VUA) will continue to be given to Chinese nationals, we should ask China to extend the same privilege to our travelers, that is, if no such arrangement yet exists.

    ***

    Today is the 141st day of the 13th 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:

    Two blondes wait at a bus stop.

    A bus pulls up and opens the door. One of the blondes leans inside and asks the driver, “Will this bus take me to 5th Avenue?”

    The bus driver says, “No, I’m sorry.”

    The other blonde leans inside and asks, “How about me?”

    ***

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