United States

Art of War: ADIZ

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opinyon-politics

By Erick San Juan

CHINA established an “East China Sea Air Defense Identification Zone (ADIZ)” effective as of 10 am on November 23. China’s Ministry of National Defense also announced Aircraft Identification Rules for the ADIZ, which include a warning that “defensive emergency measures” would be adopted to respond to aircraft that refuse to follow the instructions.All nations have the right to  establish reasonable conditions of entry into their territory. An ADIZ is a declaration of a perimeter within which unidentified aircraft can be intercepted and prevented from illegally proceeding to enter national airspace. It serves essentially as a national defense boundary for aerial incursions. There are no international rules or laws that determine the size of an ADIZ. Over 20 nations have an ADIZ, including the United States, Japan, South Korea, Indonesia, and Taiwan in the West Pacific. ADIZs typically are much more extensive than a country’s territorial airspace. (Source: China’s ADIZ undermines regional stability by Bonnie S Glaser)

Another move by Beijing – by establishing an Air Defense Identification Zone (ADIZ) in East China Sea last November 23, it has also created a very tense situation that made the neighborhood really nervous in the process. But a lot of observers are wondering why the hell Uncle Sam is furious with this move by Beijing while in reality ADIZ is not a new specie. There are existing ADIZs around the world including the mighty America and of course, Japan. So what else is new?

Could there be another reason? Here is what we found out posted at Information Clearing House (December 1, 2013)-  The escalation of military tensions between Washington and Beijing in the East China Sea is superficially over China’s unilateral declaration of an air defense zone. But the real reason for Washington’s ire is the recent Chinese announcement that it is planning to reduce its holdings of the US dollar.

That move to offload some of its 3.5 trillion in US dollar reserves combined with China’s increasing global trade in oil based on national currencies presents a mortal threat to the American petrodollar and the entire American economy.
This threat to US viability – already teetering on bankruptcy, record debt and social meltdown – would explain why Washington has responded with such belligerence to China setting up an Air Defense Identification Zone (ADIZ) last week extending some 400 miles from its coast into the East China Sea.

Beijing said the zone was aimed at halting intrusive military maneuvers by US spy planes over its territory. The US has been conducting military flights over Chinese territory for decades without giving Beijing the slightest notification. (Dollar Survival Behind US-China Tensions by Finian Cunningham)

So it is still economy, hmmm…. But if not handled with cooler heads, this planned escalation in retaliation to the Beijing’s ADIZ can actually snowballed into a regional conflict that will drag other allied nations from both sides and will end up into a global war.
Like what the blogger, with the pseudonym The Saker wrote – “First, imagine just for a second that the Chinese had shot down the two US bombers. Then what? Would the US, which did not even have the balls to strike Iran or Syria, attack China? The US for sure could not go to the United Nations Security Council for support where they would be laughed out from the council chambers by both Russia and China and, probably most other members too.

So, did the Americans count on the Chinese doing the right thing? If that is the case, then the only message sent to Beijing is “Look, we are irresponsible and reckless, and we count on your sanity”. This is most unlikely to impress anybody in China. Second, now that the Chinese did the smart thing and ignored the US alleged stupidity, what has this move achieved beyond alienating China even further?

One really ought to know absolutely nothing about Asia to believe that you can impose a major loss of face on a superpower like China and not have to pay dearly for it. Pundits believe the big difference between the US and China is that the former acts like a spoiled teenager brat with an attention and memory span in the 5-10 minutes range: “The Chinese did not attack our bombers – that must mean that we taught them a good lesson!”

Wrong.

The Chinese will make you pay – dearly – for each such humiliation (and God knows there have been many such humiliations the past couple of decades – remember the Chinese embassy in Belgrade?), but they will make you pay on their own time, when they decide, and that could take literally centuries.”

There are too many flashpoints already in existence, and to add more to a very tense region could really put all of us in big trouble whether we like it or not.

The moral lesson of the story, don’t add more fuel to the already fiery situation like what our government officials are saying. Let us be vigilant and put diplomacy and some expertise in geostrategy. May God help us all pass through this global hurdle involving the giants.

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Say Cheese

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by Dr. Joseph D. Lim

WHILE food may be seen by many as the culprit in bad teeth, it is not so. Brushing your teeth and flossing regularly prevent tooth decay and gum disease. A regular visit to the dentist is also a must to maintain healthy teeth. Having said that, it is pleasant to note that some foods may actually help in oral health care.

According to researchers at the University of Illinois at Chicago, for example, chemical components in black tea inhibit the growth of glucosyltransferase, an enzyme that helps plaque adhere to tooth enamel. Eating crispy fresh fruits and vegetables stimulates the gums and enhances saliva secretion that helps rid sugars and food particles.

If water is food, then it is glorious food in maintaining good oral health. Water prevents stained and discolored teeth caused by drinking all those tea, coffee and red wine. But here’s the really good news, for spaghetti, pizza and pasta lovers: cheese reduces the demineralization of enamel and neutralizes acids formed in plaques and, much like fruits and vegetables, helps flush out the sugar by encouraging the secretion of saliva.

Cheese also contains alkali which neutralizes the acid left by the food on your teeth. Cheddar cheese reportedly has the highest alkali content. Cheese, according to nutrition and dietetics instructor Katie Eliot at the Saint Louis University Medical Center, “is actually one of the most concentrated sources of key nutrients including protein, calcium and vitamin A and can be found in many reduced fat versions.”

Portion control is, however, essential. This is because cheese is high in saturated fat. Eating cheese the size similar to, say, two diced tofu or tokwa is already equivalent to one-third of the daily recommended saturated fat. Not all cheeses are created equal, Eliot says. She recommends serving harder cheeses, which are aged longer and typically more flavorful. This means a little will go a long, saving you fat and calories.

Mozzarella, because it is made of water buffalo (carabao) milk naturally contains less saturated fat than most other cheeses; mozzarella is also the most popular cheese in the United States. There are many ways to enjoy cheese, says Eliot who recommends, among many others, fondue. Use different flavors and combine some reduced-fat cheeses with regular varieties, she says, adding that ideal dippers are vegetables and fruits.

In making the classic macaroni and cheese, use whole grain pasta and mix in reduced fat and strong flavored cheeses like Gouda and cheddar. Place small bites of cheese and vegetables in barbecue sticks and grill; to reduce fat, use mozzarella. Cottage cheese is another low-fat food ideal for dips. So there you have it. Not only is cheese a good ally in oral health care, it is also delicious food in many ways.

This is one instance when you can have your cake, or cheese, and eat it too – without pangs of guilt.
***
Dr. Joseph D. Lim is  the Dean of the College of Dentistry, National University, President/CEO of Dr. Smile Dental Care & Laser Center and honorary fellow of the Asian Oral Implant Academy and the Japan College of Oral Implantologists. For questions on dental health, e-mail jdlim2008@gmail.com or text 0917-8591515.

FROM THE CHAIRMAN: Inciting Upheaval

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By Ray L. Junia

RAPID changes are occuring in the economic front, hence OpinYon’s focus on its dynamics and how it shapes the fate–and future–of ordinary Filipinos as they plod on with their daily lives. In this week’s issue, we are delving into the widening and alarming rich-poor gap, often glossed over by the mainstream media in favor of sensational political stories. Research-based and interpreted in a layman’s language,  the story aims to be a wake-up call for the decision makers, both in government and private sectors, to assess how and why policy measures failed miserably in stemming the surging tide of disparity in democratizing the wealth of the nation.

Our Asian neighbors like Thailand and Malaysia succeeded in scaling down the dominant control of their economy by few families and there’s no reason why we can’t do the same for the sake of millions of Filipinos who continue to languish in silence under the yoke of poverty and deprivation.

Certainly, the people are sick and tired of glowing and self-serving government statements that the economy is booming. To them, economic growth is an empty boast as it has failed to uplift the quality of their lives.

Our government takes pride in being democratic. But in reality, it’s a subtle form of dictatorship by proxy in disguise because it it allows the oligarchs to reign supreme in the economy.

Unless decisively addressed, the worsening rise of poverty incidence vis-a-vis the insatiable appetite of the rich to rake in more profits may be likened to a ticking time bomb.

If the economic system is flawed, then why the heck do we insist on it? The clamor for a drastic change is resounding and unless we heed it, we may find ourselves jolted again by an onslaught of an irreversible political upheaval.

Bothered, Bewildered and Bewitched

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by Mentong Tiu-Laurel

“PEOPLE are always blaming circumstances for what they are. But the people who get on in this world are those who get up and look for the circumstances they want, and if they can’t find them, they make them.” – George Bernard Shaw

We’ve see the tragic result of this nation complaining about its circumstances but incapable of defining what it wants and taking steps to making them happen. Vision and planning – strategic thinking, without this activity is just as Einstein described – insanity, repeating a thing over and over expecting a different result. The Philippines has a history of natural calamities and tragedies from Ormoc in 1990 with 5,100 dead to Sendon’s 1300 dead in 2011, and now Yolanda’s 5,000 and still growing number of casualties. It was not always like this, in Marcos’s time government had helicopters, amphibious vessels, and the disciplined government machinery – then Edsa I and the Yellows arrived on the scene.

Bothered

In Yolanda’s wake we find this nation’s “dependent personality disorder” become a trait of the national psyche. A people bothered and blaming ceaselessly, many had in 2010 actually voted to power the inexperienced and clueless government they are blaming today. The circumstances they bellyache about today are also caused by two decades of Edsa I that a majority of the population also supported – including dismantling and privatization of the nation’s strategic assets (power, water, infra, etc.) to local oligarchs backed by global monopoly-finance-capital (Goldman Sachs, Salim, IMF, etc.) siphoning trillions out and leaving the people impoverished, a plundered economy and a government bereft of resources.

The bothersome mendicancy of the Filipinos and its government, was perfected since Edsa I for the resurgence of neo-colonial control by its traditional master – the U.S. which supports corrupt and inept political leadership (Amb. Thomas congratulated BS Aquino even before proclamation) performed with perfect ineptitude in the Yolanda crisis, allowing the “international community” to takeover all aspects of rescue and recovery to smother the last breath of national dignity and sovereignty. The petty Philippine “social media” joined in self-deprecating everything Filipino, contributing to CNN’s blog the insults damning all Filipinos as an incapable of changing their corrupt rulers.

Bewildered

Dependency pervades the Filipino mind, including its bewilderment on climate issues led by environmental groups controlled by Western interests and institutions. Remember W.H.O. peddling the 2009 Swine Flu panic for global Big Pharma’s multi-billions sales of vaccines; the panic was baseless. The IPCC, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, is another, peddling a “consensus” on Anthropogenic (man-made) Global Warming (AGW) where there is none, while the global financial institutions rake it in on “cap-and-trade” of carbon credits. Haiyan/Yolanda became the “strongest” typhoon to dramatize the Warsaw Climate Change Conference and further instill in Filipinos the false AGW theory.

Meteorologist Dr. Ryan Maue at Weather BELL Analytics, LLC, Florida, formerly with Naval Research Laboratory, Twitted: “Over past 1,000 years, Philippines have been hit by 10-20 thousand tropical cyclones. Don’t be so arrogant to believe Man caused Haiyan.” And demolishes claims that Typhoon Haiyan was ‘strongest storm ever with the “‘Fact: Haiyan is 58th Super Typhoon since 1950 to reach central pressure of 900 mb (1 millibar = 0.145 lbs. /sq. inch) or lower from historical records’ — Maue: ’50 of 58 Super Typhoons with pressure of 900 mb or lower occurred from 1950-1987 — only 8 in past 25 years’” but Philippine media and crying Yeb Sano claims it is the strongest ever.

Bewitched

Bewitching PMSM, Phil. MainStream Media, serves Western propaganda and discounts China’s view, as in “US bombers enter China’s claimed air defense zone” highlighting U.S. spokesman Jen Psaki “This will raise regional tensions … “. ADIZes are not new, from Wiki:  “An air defense command … was developed in 1950 … The Air Defense Identification Zone (ADIZ) is an area – in which the ready identification, location, and control of civil aircraft over land or water is required … under … North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD) … aircraft entering an ADIZ is required to radio its planned course…” Jets and missiles fly 60 km. per minute, crossing China’s ADIZ takes only 3 minutes.

From Yomiuri Shimbun: Nov. 27, 2013, “Countries such as Japan, the United States, South Korea and Taiwan have set their ADIZ in areas surrounding their airspace, asking aircraft that pass through the zones to give prior notice for the purpose of confirming whether such aircraft pose a threat.” But as far as PMSM is concerned the Western interpretation of news is highlighted and China’s ADIZ is treated pejoratively. PMSM is also biased for dumbing down the pubic, like making boxers heroes (like Pacquiao) and quibbling over his tax tiff with government while scant priority is given to meager salaries of weather experts who are thus leaving the country in droves for high paying foreign jobs.

Also, befuddled

News touted the World Bank’s $ 500-M loan for Yolanda assistance, but in July 2012 the Philippines lent $ 1-billion to Europe! Media trumpets that GDP will not be direly affected by Yolanda, yet the P 2-Billion the privatized NGCP’s (National Grid) will charge taxpayers for damage to its grid in Yolanda’s wake – that goes into the GDP “growth”. A business daily headlined “National government debt drops to P 5.61T” – fantabulous good news, but behind the lead is the real story: “The total national government debt, however, increased by 7.6 percent if compared to the P 5.213- trillion recorded in September last year.” Arroyo’s 2010 debt was P 4.9-T, Aquino added almost P 600-billion in three years.
The Filipino is really befuddled in his economics. The U.S.-Iran “detante” changing the face of Middle East politics has brought down world oil prices. U.S. gasoline prices have gone down as a consequence, equivalent to P 42/liter in peso terms, but in the Philippines gasoline is still P 52/liter while auto LPG has gone up by almost P 2.00/liter. People complain not about this but about the BIR’s Pacquiao tax persecution (reportedly because he didn’t drop by Malacañang after winning vs. Rios). Two top Inquirer columnists wrote about Pacquiao, i.e. “Being a hero” and “TKO” but nothing on these befuddling material issues (get it?). No wonder this nation is befuddled in almost all the important matters.

Strategic thinking

The Filipino nation is bothered, bewitched, bewildered and befuddled because it has no strategic view – a strategic vision – of what it wants, how to attain it and who can lead the nation with intellectual honest and executive ability. Observe the leadership choices in the past five elections and two coup d’états disguised as “People Power” – the social elite, the PMSM (mainstream media), the social media and its core of “civil society” political-socialites defined the circumstances. The people were hoodwinked to accept BS Aquino, they’ll be hoodwinked again with a new set of false hopes (especially one poe-seur) who are from the same storeroom of puppets of the Status Quo.
***
The People’s Struggle should be focused on clarifying this strategic vision and leadership. Keep reading this space for it. (Watch “Nature’s defence for shoreline communities” with environmental “Bakawan” advocate Jaime Layug: GNN Destiny Cable Channel 8, Skycable Channel 213, www.gnntv-asia.com Sat., 8 p.m. and replay Sun., 8 a.m.; tune to 1098AM, Tues. to Fri. 5pm; ; visit http://newkatipunero.blogspot.com; and text reactions to 0923-4095739)

GILLES GARACHON : Promoting French Tourism in the PH

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FROM being an unknown destination, the Philippines is slowly becoming a favorite destination for the French. And part of the growing interest in the Philippines is a result of the efforts made by French Ambassador to the Philippines Gilles Garachon.

Tour of Duty

Serving in Manila since 2012, Garachon has almost 27 years experience in the diplomatic service, having started his career in this field in 1985. Garachon is no stranger to Asia as he was named first secretary at the French embassy in New Delhi in 1989 and later became the consul of France in Hong Kong in 1993.

AMBASSADOR GILLES GARACHON AND WIFE ISABELLE
Ambassador Garachon and wife Isabelle

He served as his country’s political counselor in Bangkok (1999–2003) and as cultural counselor in Jakarta (2003–2007). Before his present assignment, he headed the human resources department of the French Ministry of Foreign Affairs. While based here in Manila, Ambassador Garachon will concurrently serve as France’s non-resident ambassador to Palau, the Federated States of Micronesia, and the Marshall Islands. He succeeded former French envoy to the Philippines, Thierry Borja de Mozata.

Keep Momentum

Since taking the Philippine post, Garachon said French awareness of the Philippines has been increasing steadily because of aggressive cultural, political and academic exchanges between the two countries. “There is a momentum. And I think we have to keep this momentum. This is going to increase, I’m sure. There is plenty of room to increase the relations—of course—there is cultural relations, but also in the field of trade, in the field of politics, also the exchange of students between universities,” Garachon said in a newspaper interview during the French Embassy’s celebration of Bastille Day at his Makati City residence last July 14.

Embassy data showed French tourist arrivals in the Philippines increased by 14 percent from 29,591 in 2011 to 33,709 in 2012.
Garachon said promoting the Philippines in France was his “main difficulty” as an ambassador, as most French knew only nations that figured in their history.

“French people… see the geography very linked to history. And if a country has historical links with France, then it appears on the map. But for the Philippines, we never had any historical connection. Not at all. So for French people, the Philippines is just a question mark,” Garachon said.

“So part of my job and part of the job of the ambassador of the Philippines in Paris is to make French people discover more about the Philippines,” Garachon, who had been posted to Hong Kong, Jakarta and Bangkok before being assigned to Manila, said.

Philippine Exhibit

To boost its image in France the Philippines hosted a three-month exhibit of pre-colonial art at the Quai Branly Museum in Paris from April to July. “I think this exhibit is a great occasion. [All over] Paris, you had a signboard about this exhibit about the Philippines, with beautiful pictures,” Garachon said.

“People loved it and because they were discovering something completely new. In France, nobody knows about the art of the Philippines. And so they discovered it and they enjoyed it very much,” he said.

The exhibit brings together Philippine pre-colonial art and artifacts from collections in the Philippines, Spain, Belgium, the Netherlands, Austria and the United States.

It is the largest exhibit of Philippine art in Europe, according to the French Embassy in Manila.

History of Relations

History tells us that the relations between the Philippines and France go beyond 60 years. A French consulate was established in Manila in the late 19th century, during the time when the Philippines was still a colony of Spain.

When the Spanish expedition under Ferdinand Magellan reached the Philippines, 15 Frenchmen were among its crew. This includes Jean Petit of Angers, lieutenant of Trinidad and Bernard Calmette, chaplain of San Antonio.

French missionaries also contributed to the spread of Christianity in the Philippines. The first Diocesan seminary in the Philippines, the seminary of St. Clement in Manila, was set up with the aid of French Monsignor Charles-Thomas Maillard de Tournon in 1704.
French traders, technicians, soldiers, and officers and crews under the Manila Galleon trade also came to the Philippines. The French recognized the potentials of the Philippines in the trading sector by the 17th century. France discovered the potential use of abaca in the manufacture of naval supplies, particularly ropes. Despite the Spanish colonial government’s restrictions against foreign trade, French and other foreign traders were already in Manila before it was formally opened for foreign trade.

First Consul

France became the first country to establish a consul in Spanish Philippines, followed by Belgium, the United States and finally Great Britain in November 1844. France established its consul in Manila in March 1824.

Diplomatic relations between France and the Philippines was officially established on June 26, 1947 with the signing of the Treaty of Amity. The short-lived First Philippine Republic had a diplomatic representative in Paris in 1898 when the United States and Spain were negotiating the terms for peace in what has come down in history as the Treaty of Paris.

French travel accounts of the Philippines in the 18th and 19th centuries help Filipino historians recreate the past. These publications are illustrated with charming photographs and engravings that provide a visual link to the Spanish Philippines.

Historic Visit

In a historic visit to the Philippines last October French Prime Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault met with President Benigno Aquino III and discussed ways to enhance the two countries’ political, economic and cultural relations.

Ayrault was accompanied by a 130-member delegation composed of ministers, parliamentarians and businessmen. The visit, founded on the theme, “Enhancing Philippine-French Relations Through Political, Economic and Cultural Cooperation” is intended to renew bilateral ties between the Philippines and France and propel the countries economic partnerships to greater heights.

Bilateral Trade

According to the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA), bilateral trade between the the Philippines and France amounted to U$1.143 billion in 2011 as French investments in the Philippines reflected a “significant increase” with total approved investments of PhP1.145 billion, up 90 percent compared to 2010.

The DFA said that French companies such as LaFarge, Total, AXA and Alcatel “have strong presence in the country and have committed to increase their investments in the coming years.”

Leading French companies like RATP Dev and Thales have also expressed their interest to participate in the bidding for flagship projects under the country’s Public-Private Partnership (PPP) program.

The Philippines and France are expected to be sign contracts in various various sectors such as energy, aviation and aeronautics, transportation, infrastructures, electronics, healthcare and environment in the next few years.

France has been supportive of Aquino administration’s development priorities particularly in the areas of “climate change, green infrastructures, sustainable urban development and services including transport, water supply and sanitation, agro-forestry and biodiversity protection, and capacity building for local government units.”

People Exchange

Both countries also enjoy a strong people-to-people exchange as there are 50,000 Filipinos in France and about 4,000 French nationals living in the Philippines.

Most Filipinos in France are engaged in the services sector and skilled professionals. In 2011, Filipinos in France remitted a total of $51.3 million.

China’s Mad

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by Erick San Juan

“NOTHING in China happens overnight,” Stephanie Kleine-Ahlbrandt, the director of Asia-Pacific programs at the United States Institute of Peace, said. “Any move you see was planned and prepared for years, if not more. So obviously this maritime issue is very important to China.”The maritime issue referred here is the contested area in the South China Sea and there is another one with Japan in the East China Sea. These two areas in the region, believed to be likened to a ticking bomb just waiting for a trigger to ignite it and explode into a world war in the process.It is quite obvious by now that one of the reasons why China and the other claimants are restive in the disputed area in the South China Sea is about oil (and natural gas).

And maybe the so-called freedom of navigation that Washington has been insisting that China has to abide with, by not bullying its neighbors.But what about the maritime issue of China with Japan? In an article by Perry Diaz of Global Balita – Xi Jinping’s ‘Pax Sinica’, he wrote : With no economic value that’s worth fighting for, it makes one wonder what do these eight uninhabited small islands and islets have that is making China go gaga over them? Could it be that there is something else that China wants that is of far greater value than these desolate specks of land in the middle of East China Sea?

If China gained control of the Senkaku group of islands, which is 114 nautical miles west of Miyako Island, she would be in a position to control or block the Miyako Strait, which connects the East China Sea to the Philippine Sea… and the Pacific Ocean beyond.Like in the case of the Luzon Strait – “the most likely route for Chinese submarines into the wider Pacific Ocean is through the Luzon Strait, which is situated between Taiwan and the Philippines. It provides direct access into the Philippine Sea.

The Luzon Strait is a safer access point than those that lie north between Taiwan and Japan because the Philippines does not have an anti-submarine warfare capability and Taiwan’s anti-submarine capability is relatively limited, especially when compared to Japan’s. Furthermore, U.S. conventional forces are not stationed in Taiwan or the Philippines like they are in South Korea and Japan.” (PH Sea, Luzon Strait Key to China Nuke Ambitions, Stratfor, re-published @manila times online)

The geostrategic plan of China through its People’s Liberation Army Navy, is to become a naval power in the very near future is being manifested today with Beijing’s relationship with its neighbors and most recently with Japan.“Last October 31, 2013, China’s state-run Global Times published an article, saying that escalating tensions between China and Japan over territorial claims to the Senkaku Islands could ignite a war. It said that Beijing was preparing for a “worst-case” scenario of military conflict over the disputed islands.

It seems that China’s “worst-case” scenario is a deliberate attempt to fulfill Xi’s “Chinese Dream,” which is the revival of imperial China — or Pax Sinica (Chinese Peace) – that had maintained Chinese hegemony in Asia during the reign of the Ming dynasty. “The great revival of the Chinese nation is the greatest Chinese Dream,” Xi said before taking office in November 2012.Surmise it to say, China’s carefully orchestrated actions in the past two years are leading to war against Japan… and ultimately against the United States, with the goal of ending American hegemony – Pax Americana — in the Pacific.” (Perry Diaz)

Basically all these preparations by China lead to its goal of countering the move by the United States in its pivot to Asia-Pacific. Although there are other plans like “Operating from the East China Sea, South China Sea or Yellow Sea, Chinese submarines will soon have a credible sea-based nuclear deterrent against Russia and India. But the Chinese submarine fleet will still need to access the open waters beyond the first island chain to maintain a sea-based deterrent against Western Europe and the United States.

Until China builds a nuclear submarine fleet (with well-trained crew and support) stealthy enough to routinely attempt access into the Philippine Sea, or submarine-launched ballistic missiles with enough range to target the continental United States, it will have to rely on its land-based strategic nuclear forces as the primary nuclear deterrent against the United States.” (Stratfor)There seems to be no stopping China’s PLA Navy with its orchestrated moves in the East and South China Sea. It is really a full-speed ahead scenario and anyone caught in the way, might lead to a mutually assured destruction.

FURY

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by Ronald Roy

IF English dramatist William Congreve (1670-1729) were alive today, he probably would apply to Sen. Miriam Defensor-Santiago (MDS), alleged PDAF scam mastermind Janet Lim-Napoles (JLN) and Supertyphoon Yolanda his most famous quote (The Mourning Bride): “Heaven has no rage like love to hatred turned, nor hell to fury like a woman scorned.”

The much-awaited appearance of JLN before the Senate Blue Ribbon Committee (SBRC) last November 7 turned out to be a big disappointment for viewers and listeners nationwide. For hours they held their breath — from the moment she stepped into the senate session hall escorted by a horde of policemen garbed in full battle gear, until adjournment — expecting holocaustic entertainment, but nothing like that happened.

I was amused for the first hour or so, then I got bored. Sure, I admit I was out for entertainment, but heck, I thought that a bloody confrontation between JLN and all of them was what we needed to be set free by the truth.
It’s baloney that the SBRC Chairman, Sen. Teofisto “TG” Guingona, Jr., purposefully convened the investigation “in aid of legislation”. But I do not blame him for having done so. Otherwise, he would have been criticized for having lent refuge to his confreres undergoing trial, including himself. For him it was a damned-if-you-do-damned-if-you-don’t dilemma which would give him flack either way.

As for the forthcoming SBRC investigation of JLN’s husband, Jaime Napoles, there is no reason to expect any enlightenment coming therefrom, as he will be at least as clever a witness as his wife, if his being a PMA co-graduate and RAM buddy of Sen. Gringo Honasan is any indication. But the scheduled hearing will proceed just the same, the utter waste of people’s money and the investigation’s futility notwithstanding.

What I would have wanted to see and hear was a no-holds-barred SBRC session involving a furiously questioning MDS, a furiously answering JLN, and other senators furiously defending their integrity, such as in the following scenario.

After JLN has taken her oath to tell the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth, Chair TG allows MDS to fire the first salvo. MDS: “Do you know who I am?” JLN: “Yes, you are Sen. Miriam Defensor…Defensor…what’s your surname na ba?” MDS: “Don’t play games with me!” JLN: “I’m sorry that I cannot remember your name. But why do you ask me, ma’am, don’t you know your own name?” MDS: “Hoy, buang ka, ha?!” JLN: “Buang ka rin!!” MDS: “Gaga ka! I can have you cited for contempt, and that means we can jail you!!” JLN: “E, kung hindi ka naman mas gaga, sa kulungan na nga ako nakatira!!” MDS: “Hoy, if you do not stop your kabastusan, I will shoot you!!” JLN (taking off her bullet-proof jacket):”Go ahead, shoot me!!”

Instantly, security details have completely surrounded JLN with firearms aimed at MDS, the senators and the gallery. Pandemonium ensues. Everyone is screaming and taking cover, Chair TG fires a 45 cal. pistol in the air, and order is gradually restored. Session is suspended for 15 minutes, after which he yields the interrogation to a lady colleague (LC).

LC: “Can you tell us if anyone here has in any way diverted his pork barrel allocation to his pocket?” JLN: “Yes, ma’am, you. I personally gave you your kickback in your bedroom.” LC: “What?! Let me remind you you’re under oath!!” JLN: “Precisely, that’s why I am telling the truth, ma’am.” LC: “$&@%#!!!” JLN: “$&@%# also!!!” Etcetera, etcetera, etcetera.

I am certain that if the foregoing imaginary scenario had happened, the general public would have appreciated a clearer picture of the pork scam. More importantly, it would have quickened the pace of imprisoning guilty parties. Incidentally, some people suggest the PDAF and DAP scandals will continue to wreak havoc on us for karmic reasons.

Hmmm…I wonder if the fury of Yolanda, the Category 5 Supertyphoon, is karmic.(In Hindu and Buddhist theory, karma is the sum of a person’s actions in this and previous states of existence, viewed as deciding the fate in future existences). How then can Yolanda be explained?

What foreign experts say

Courtesy of the Inquirer, WASHINGTON — Nature and man together cooked up the disaster in the Philippines. Geography, meteorology, poverty, shoddy construction, a booming population and xxx climate change combine to make the Philippines the nation most vulnerable to killer typhoons, according to several scientific studies, xxx and Supertyphoon “Yolanda” (international name: Haiyan) was one mighty storm.

What P-Noy says

Tacloban City was ruled by anarchists after Yolanda battered it. Vandals and looters smashed open stores and the San Miguel Brewery plant to take everything they could get their hands on. Clearly, there was a breakdown of law and order — a “lawless violence” condition that justified martial law under his mother’s Constitution.
Well, P-Noy is reported to have said to a local city leader, who proposed the imposition of martial law, ” Ha?! Bakit, buhay ka pa naman, e! “, thereby betraying a childish bias against anything reminiscent of Ferdinand E. Marcos.

What a reader says

Expressing the sentiments of many citizens, a reader texted: “I’m ashamed to be a Filipino. A CNN team reached Leyte ahead of our national officials by coming one day before Yolanda struck! Then something extraordinary happened: The President disputed CNN’s estimate of 10,000 people dead with a more accurate count of around 2000 dead. 10,000 fatalities would have drawn a lot of assistance, but he chose to be honest!!

On balance, you’re okay, Sir!
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