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RP: A ‘Junrey Balawing’ forever? DIE HARD III Herman Tiu Laurel 06/20/2011

Monday, June 20, 2011

RP: A ‘Junrey Balawing’ forever?

Herman Tiu Laurel
A mainstream daily came out with the headline, “PH flexes naval muscle,” with a huge photo of the BRP Humabon, a vintage World War II destroyer escort/frigate that is the only warship of the Philippine Navy. Why it decided to put out such a headline projecting the country’s total incapacity to present a credible naval deterrence is beyond me. Was it for self-ridicule (which it did rather successfully)? Or was it to provoke better armed foreign navies to “pick” on us?

As former US Secretary of State Donald Rumsfeld said of his country’s position in the world when he quit his post in 2006, “Today, it should be clear that not only is weakness provocative, but the perception of weakness on our part can be provocative as well.”

Thus, if you are a Filipino like Junrey Balawing, 23.5 inches in height, adjudged by the Guinness World Records as the shortest living man in the world, and acting menacing by flexing your pea-sized muscle, the neighborhood bully may well be provoked to beat the crap out of you even just for laughs.

Worse, if that pea-sized muscle is tied to a pea-sized brain, as what TV news anchor Noli de Castro exhibited on air a few days ago, then we know we have a really dumbed-down lot in our midst — unless we expose and discard each one in due course.
It was on one of De Castro’s evening programs, where news reporter Willard Cheng presented both sides in the current Spratlys issue in an even-handed and balanced manner, that the anchor followed Cheng’s closing blurb “Willard Cheng reporting for…” with a sarcastic “China ha… Cheng ha…” that oozed with prejudice and innuendo.

The fact that De Castro was installed as vice-president of this country already speaks a lot about our sad state of affairs; but to hear him blabber such nonsense without seemingly gaining a bit of depth from more than six years in high office certainly beats the midget Junrey’s shortness.

A little study of naval ships reveals the limited capabilities of the BRP Humabon, which is a mere escort ship. Compared to our Asean neighbors, the Philippines has fallen a long way off from the time of Marcos when the Philippine Navy was able to present an imposing presence.

I remember that at the height of the Sabah crisis, the Philippine newspapers presented graphic comparisons of Malaysian and Philippine naval assets, and those silhouettes of ships on the Philippine side outnumbered the Malaysian’s significantly.

Today, Malaysia has two Scorpène class submarines, two Leiku class frigates armed with Exocet missiles, two German Kasturi class frigates, plus an anti-submarine helicopter, corvettes, among others. Singapore has two new Swedish-made submarines launched in 2010, augmenting or substituting four Challenger class submarines. Thailand, meanwhile, is now the only Asean country with an aircraft carrier, the Chakri Naruebet.

Vietnam has spent $1.5 billion (or P64.5 billion) for 6 “Kilo” class submarines from Russia scheduled for delivery in 2010. By 2015, according to Chinese intelligence, Vietnam will receive from the Russian navy two 11,661-type frigates, as well as “Ruby” supersonic anti-ship missiles.

One Chinese view is that since Vietnam neither has nuclear submarines nor “Chinese Aegis” (Ballistic Missile Defense) class destroyers but has “the equipment in the coastal waters (with) anti-ship combat capability… (in the event of any) Sino-Vietnamese naval clashes in the South China Sea,” Vietnam’s occupied territories or facilities may not be lost to the Chinese Navy. In other words, Vietnam is capable of holding its own.

In stark contrast, the only acquisitions the Philippine Navy has made of late are several outmoded Hamilton class cutters which reportedly will be purchased out of the royalty earnings from the Malampaya natural gas production. Yet, these potentially include submarines that can’t resurface after submerging.

Philippine defense policy has always been skewed by a neocolonial, pro-oligarchy orientation. It is anti-insurgency insofar as only protecting the economic holdings of the ruling elite against a rebellious, impoverished people, while neglecting our naval and coastal defenses.

The then Armed Forces of the Philippines was still at its peak under Marcos and was to have been the perfect model for sustaining and expanding our country’s defense capabilities. But instead of building on it, the regimes that followed allowed it to rot. The arms manufacturing that was started during Marcos’ time went to seed while the ship-building facilities, which could have built most of the new naval assets the country needed, were allowed to rust into oblivion.
Our nation’s resource base eroded with the collapse of the “11 Industrial Projects” as well as the loss of Sabah (revenues upon which Malaysia built its wealth and defense capabilities). It will take a new leadership of the patriotic and nationalist kind let the Philippines outgrow its status as the Junrey Balawing of the region.
Should we continue to remain the air-weight of Asia, like Junrey Balawing at five kilos, deserving of a place only in a freaks’ gallery? Are we man or mouse? Are we sheepish slaves or free men?

Any muscle building begins first in the mind and the will. Muscles are built by nutritious food and strength training; hence, the need for national food self-sufficiency and accessibility, to heave against the proverbial Sisyphus-ian rock over the mountain. The will is strengthened by self-consciousness; hence, the need to restore our historical and nationalist education and cultural awareness. The sinews of a national economy are made up of iron and steel, and its blood, the energy industry; hence, our “nation-al” economic and industrial development.

At the top of all this is the set of goals in our consciousness, the ideology that unites all of the energies of our people. While the leadership that can carry this through is not in a position to take charge yet, we must therefore prepare the people’s consciousness for it today.

(Tune in to Radyo OpinYon, Monday to Friday, 5 to 6 p.m., and Sulo ng Pilipino, Monday, Wednesday, and Friday, 6 to 7 p.m. on 1098AM; Talk News TV with HTL, Tuesday, 8 to 9 p.m., with replay at 11 p.m., on GNN, Destiny Cable Channel 8, on “GSIS Union Victory vs Winton’s Outrages”; visit http://newkatipunero.blogspot.com and http://hermantiulaurel.blogspot.com for our articles plus TV and radio archives)

(Reprinted with permission from Mr. Herman Tiu-Laurel)

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/commentary/20110620com5.html

Don Quijote lives EDITORIAL 06/20/2011

Don Quijote lives

Click to enlarge
Noynoy is doing a Don Quijote.
The sending of a World War II vintage destroyer, the Humabon, which is the best that the Philippine Navy has, can be described only as quixotic, ranged with the mighty naval forces of China and is commendable — had the purpose been only to show Filipino courage amid the tall odds.

Which was not the case. The ship was sent as the country is holding war games, with United States forces around and appears to be a well-placed taunt on China while American warships and equipment are near the disputed Spratlys area.

The sending of the Humabon to patrol the seas near Scarborough Shoal is being billed by the Palace as a way of the country flexing whatever little available maritime muscle it has, but the show is being made behind the back of the American forces, which is as disgraceful as surrendering the Spratlys to China.

Noynoy may go down in Philippine history as the most American-reliant president ever, with his actions dictated by what the US government is ready to provide when trouble erupts. That is, if the Philippines can even rely on the US if and when trouble erupts..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/commentary/20110620com1.html

In lies, truth wins FRONTLINE Ninez Cacho-Olivares 06/20/2011

In lies, truth wins

Ninez Cacho-Olivares
It is hardly a question of pitting Noynoy against outgoing Department of Transportation and Communications (DoTC) Secretary Ping de Jesus, but a question of Malacañang continuing to lie about the truth of Noynoy’s refusal to let go of his KKKs (Kaibigan, Kaklase and Kabarilan), despite their having erred and therefore should be make accountable. But the issue is that he insists on rejecting any move to dismiss Virginia Torres from her Land Transportation Office (LTO) high post.

Noynoy, through his mouthpiece Abigail Valte, appealed for an end to efforts to pit Ping against Noynoy, insisting to this day, that there was never any memorandum from Ping to Noynoy, through the executive secretary, urging Noynoy to discipline Torres of the LTO for gross insubordination and gross negligence as not only has she not been obeying legal orders from her superiors but has also gets actively involved in intra-corporate fights by leading a raid with her favored corporate faction..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/commentary/20110620com2.html

Hopes and fears rise in Karabakh conflict ANALYSIS 06/20/2011

Hopes and fears rise in Karabakh conflict


TBILISI — Hopes have been raised of progress towards a peace deal to end the long-running stand-off between Armenia and Azerbaijan over Nagorny Karabakh, but analysts warn that a return to war is also possible.

There has been speculation ahead of talks between the Armenian and Azerbaijani presidents on June 25 in the Russian city of Kazan that the bitter enemies could sign a “basic principles” agreement — a small step on a long road to a settlement of the dispute over the mountainous region.

But 17 years after the ceasefire that ended all-out hostilities, tensions have risen again with regular firefights along the Karabakh frontline and repeated threats from Baku to seize the region back by force if talks don’t yield results.

In response, the ethnic Armenian forces who have controlled Karabakh since the war and their backers in Yerevan have threatened large-scale retaliation if Baku takes military action..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/commentary/20110620com3.html

So what else is new? C.R.O.S.S.R.O.A.D.S Jonathan De la Cruz 06/20/2011

So what else is new?

Jonathan De la Cruz
The more our officials talk about change, the more things stay the same. Maybe even worse. As our neighborhood pundit tells us: Pare-pareho lang (same-same in street lingo) which is a variation of the now famous weder-weder lang of recent memory. Indeed, what else is new? Every change in administration brings a change in characters, a change in style, even language. But these are mere cosmetic changes. The rapacity, the greed, the brazenness are there. And, sadly in this administration’s case, the cluelessness (some say stupidity) is overwhelming.

Take the case of Presidential Communications Development and Strategic Planning Secretary Ricky Carandang and his twin in that Palace media troika, Presidential Spokesman Edwin Lacierda. As the outcry over reported intrusions by Chinese vessels into Philippine territory in the West Philippine Sea (South China Sea) got heated up a few days ago Carandang came out with a statement on the possibility of “joint exploration with China” as a way out of the dispute which some sectors described as clueless if not outrightly stupid..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/commentary/20110620com4.html

Noy’s KKK Torres defies odds, back as LTO chief 06/20/2011


Noy’s KKK Torres defies odds, back as LTO chief

The Palace said President Aquino’s shooting buddy Virginia Torres will definitely return as Land Transportation Office (LTO) chief after taking a two-month leave despite the mounting calls for Aquino to stop protecting his so-called “KKKs” who are Aquino’s Kaibigan (crony), Kaklase (classmate) and Kabarilan (target range shooting buddy) and despite the recommendation of the Department of Justice (DoJ) to dismiss Torres from service after finding probable cause on the charges leveled against her.

Deputy presidential spokesman Abigail Valte said the DoJ recommendation is still under review and so far it is not considered a hindrance to Torres coming back on 21st. “I am aware (LTO information technology system provider) Stradcom has filed against Torres. But as far the DoJ fact finding results are concerned, they are still being studied,” Valte said.

With regard to other KKKs, Valte said the Commission on Appointments (CA) would be the proper venue for raising issues against Aquino’s appointees. “We should trust legislators who sit in the CA to properly raise concerns. As we’ve seen in the members of the Cabinet which are discussed in the CA, we try to answer them to their satisfaction,” she said..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/headlines/20110620hed1.html

Binay wary of vague US pledge; AFP says naval ship to enforce maritime law By Michaela P. del Callar and Mario J. Mallari 06/20/2011

Binay wary of vague US pledge; AFP says naval ship to enforce maritime law

By Michaela P. del Callar and Mario J. Mallari 06/20/2011
Vice President Jejomar Binay yesterday said the United States must clarify how and in what form does it intend to support the Philippines in case of a shooting war with China amid heightening tensions in the disputed Spratlys in the South China Sea.

Binay noted that he finds vague the US government’s recent declaration of support to the Philippines, saying its statements are open to any kind of interpretation.

“They said they will help, but did not give any specifics,” Binay told a press conference in Manila upon his arrival from an official US trip. “It’s like telling us it’s up to you to interpret that, but we will help and will not abandon the Philippines.”.... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/headlines/20110620hed6.html

UAE offers loans to OFWs — Labor secretary By Mina Diaz 06/20/2011

UAE offers loans to OFWs — Labor secretary

By Mina Diaz 06/20/2011
Labor Secretary Rosalinda Baldoz announced that the United Arab Emirates will offer overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) and their families low-cost loans under the Emirates’ Wage Protection Scheme.

She made the announcement after meeting with Minister of Labor of the United Arab Emirates Sarq Ghobash where both attended the 100th International Labor Organization (ILO) conference.

Baldoz was joined at the meeting by Ivan Garcia, Philippine Permanent Representative to the UN Mission in Geneva , and Labor Attache Manuel Imson..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/nation/20110620nat4.html

Troops rescue abducted engineer in Basilan By Mario J. Mallari 06/20/2011

Troops rescue abducted engineer in Basilan

By Mario J. Mallari 06/20/2011
Elite forces of the Army rescued an engineer from the hands of the terrorist Abu Sayyaf group in Basilan last Saturday night after more than two weeks in captivity.

Col. Alexander Macario, commander of the Army’s Special Operations Task Force, said that engineer Virgilio Fernandez was rescued by combined elements of the Scout Rangers and Special Forces during an operation last Saturday night in the outskirts of Barangay Magkawa in Albarka town.

“We now have Engineer Virgilio Fernandez in our hands at 9 a.m. today (Sunday). Our brave soldiers snatched him from his captors last night and they escaped together toward the rendezvous point with my command post,” Macario said..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/nation/20110620nat1.html

WHO, DoH hail Caloocan City’s campaign against deadly dengue By Arlie O. Calalo 06/20/2011

WHO, DoH hail Caloocan City’s campaign against deadly dengue

By Arlie O. Calalo 06/20/2011
The World Health Organization (WHO) and the Department of Health (DoH) have commended the local government of Caloocan City for maximizing its resources in the continuing and relentless campaign against the deadly dengue disease.

To further acknowledge the effort of the city government, WHO representatives and DoH officials decided to hold a motorcade late last week in key areas in Caloocan City which was joined by local officials led by Mayor Enrico “Recom” Echiverri and son Councilor RJ Echiverri, president of the Liga ng mga Barangay sa Pilipinas.

The event, which was followed by a series of dialogs with the local residents, was in observance of the Asean Dengue Day in the Southeast Asia Region which carries a theme: “Dengue is everybody’s concern, causing socio-economic burden, but it is preventable,” a DoH statement said..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/metro/20110620met2.html

Noy told: Forget friendship, don’t reinstate LTO chief By Mario J. Mallari 06/20/2011

Noy told: Forget friendship, don’t reinstate LTO chief

By Mario J. Mallari 06/20/2011

It seems only Malacañang does not know about the April 6 memorandum of outgoing Department of Transportation and Communications Secretary Jose “Ping” de Jesus urging President Aquino to impose disciplinary actions on his shooting-buddy Land Transportation Office (LTO) chief Assistant Secretary Virginia Torres.

Yesterday, Federation of Jeepney Operators and Drivers Association of the Philippines (Fejodap) president Zeny Maranan cited the same memorandum by De Jesus in reiterating the group’s opposition to the reinstatement of Torres as LTO chief next week.

Maranan, at the same time, expressed concerns on how Malacañang is handling the LTO issue, citing reports of missing departmental memos like the April 6 memorandum of De Jesus to the President, through the Office of the Executive Secretary Pacquito Ochoa..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/metro/20110620met1.html

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