Asian Century By Herman Tiu Laurel
The Family Income and Expenditure Survey (FIES) is conducted every three years, and reporting on poverty incidence rising to 18.1% from 16.7% to 18.1% from 2018 to 2021, the very recent editorial of a major mainstream newspaper described the latest Philippines’ poverty data correctly as “grim”.
My personal monitoring of the poverty level of our people also indicates this continuing deterioration. I know this from the text appeals I receive from families I know personally seeking small handouts to buy rice and milk to whom I send by P100 to P 200 via GCash. These appeals used to be monthly, and then became weekly, and, in the past month became twice weekly.
This is one reason why I doubt seriously the veracity and reliability of DSWD claims that some 1.3 million Filipino households have already graduated from extreme poverty and will be removed from the 4Ps anti-poverty assistance rolls.
Feedback from my DSWD links confirms my suspicion, and these FIES data is additional validation.
Truly, the poverty picture is looking really worse.
Profiteering over Economic Rescue
The Covid-19 pandemic continues to persist though on a milder scale even as the “Forever War” and U.S. sanctions disrupt all efforts at global economic recovery. These U.S. sanctions are solely to forestall its own complete socio-economic collapse while maintaining the perception among its vassal-allies in the rest of the world that it is virile, ready and able to defend them despite pushing proxy wars on them.
The Pelosi caper in Taiwan, the most recent U.S. destabilization of the world, was, parried masterfully by China who turned the tables on the U.S. by averting any untoward repercussions on the world economy and, closer to home, any untoward impact on the Philippines. Instead, I wrote that “Taiwan’s adversity is the Philippines’ opportunity” to take over China’s export market for of the Taiwanese products it has banned.
Instead of seizing the opportunity, however, the Philippine government and economic ruling class seem determined to turn their sight to other things, such as: maximizing corporate profits from privatized public utilities and commodities, bureaucrats profiteering from quotas, selling government positions to highest bidders and selling the country to U.S. warmongers for their next proxy war.
These are reflected from the unprecedented profits of Meralco, Petron, Shell, Aboitiz, San Miguel in the energy sector, while the sugar import quota scandal and Pastrana appointments confirm the others, including the resurrection of U.S.-PHL joint sea patrols, which were shelved previously by Duterte, now being raised by the DFA and the DND sans PBBM nods!
We are not yet seeing any hopeful signs that the people will be prioritized over profiteers.
World supports PBBM on “Strongest Partner”
A Yahoo! Finance news item of August 11, 2022 reports that “About 78.34 percent of respondents from 22 countries believe the Chinese economy has become the engine of the world economy.” This is from a survey of respondents, averaging 39 years old, across the U.S., U.K., Australia, Japan as well as developing countries Brazil, India, UAE and South Africa.
A compelling 91.46 percent of those polled from Africa extol China’s economic achievements and believe China has become the world’s economic engine; European respondents follow with a share of 81.6 percent and 78.09%; and respondents from North America rank third with 78.09 percent. Overall, 76.23% of respondents expect China will play a crucial role in promoting global economic development.
A sizeable 34.55% believe the world will be “multipolar” in the future, while only 6.31% think the world will continue to be unipolar and dominated by the U.S. 56% of respondents from all parts of the globe are certain that Western politicians are scaremongering “the China Threat” due to their dismay and alarm over China’s rise.
Veritably, 61.29% support China’s vison of “a community with a shared future” to avoid conflict.
I bring these up as some Philippine bureaucrats, defense officials and media people do not to appreciate PBBM’s initiative to engage strongly with China.
Instead, they are making attempts to sabotage PBBM by pushing the “China Threat” agenda of the U.S., promoting US-PHL joint sea patrols, joint military “Balikatan” drills, and fortifying the MDT, VFA and EDCA, all of which should be scrapped to ensure a peaceful Asia.
US Joint-sea patrols a provocation
The few Philippine proponents who push US-PHL Joint Sea Patrols forget the meaning of gunboat diplomacy that the U.S. used to conquer Asia and the Philippines. Admiral George Dewey was in Manila Bay with his battleship waiting for the end of the mock battle with Spaniards to then take over the Philippine islands. In Japan, it was Commodore Perry’s cannons that were aimed at the Meiji rulers ad nauseam.
During the anniversary of the Presidential Airlift Wing at Villamor Air Base In 2016, President Rodrigo R. Duterte banned the US-Philippine joint patrols saying, “We will not join any expedition or patrolling. I will not allow it because I do not want my country to be involved in a hostile act,”.
Hostile act are words that should reverberate with the DFA and DND who have revived the idea in talks with the Americans.
The littoral states of the South China Sea and other ASEAN and Asian nations that have a stake in the security and environmental preservation of this body of water should providing security for it together, not intruders who are former invaders and colonizers from 10,000 miles away who are now seeking to cow and sucker foolish West-worshipers and vassals to bite into the “China Threat” bait.
China has been engaged with the Philippine for up to 1,200 years and never has it sent invading forces to any part of the Philippines. In fact, there is a traditional Chinese arch in Indanan, Sulu, commemorating the friendly visit of China’s Pei Pei Xien from the Ming court, who is said to be part of Admiral Zheng He’s fleet and is now known as Poon Tao Kong.
Reviving China rail loan talks laudable
Fortunately, the PBBM administration has overcome the very aggressive disinformation war of the U.S. on Chinese Overseas Development Assistance (ODA) for the Philippines, including the outright lies about the “debt trap and high interest rates”. On August 15, the PBBM administration’s DOTr Secretary Jaime Bautista has finally resumed talks with a visit to Chinese Ambassador Huang Xilian.
The DOTR Secretary said that “the two officials discussed the resumption of talks on the major China-funded railway projects, including the PNR South Long Haul Project (North-South Commuter Railway), Subic-Clark Railway, and Mindanao Railway (Tagum-Davao-Digos),” as well as PHL and Chinese Coast Guards Maritime cooperation, particularly communication and legal affairs cooperation.
That’s very good news!
Also discussed is the revival of PHL and China talks on another very vital project, the Joint Oil-Gas 60/40 Deal favoring the Philippines. Former President Rodrigo R. Duterte had appealed to his own government officials to ensure the talks fulfillment, but powerful vested interests blocked it with the inexplicable termination of the deal by Sec. Teddy Boy Locsin who has yet to show any document to back his verbal canard.
In June, PNOC director Michael T. Macapagal noted that the PBBM is inclined to “overturn” the Locsin verbal decision given technical studies confirming rich oil and natural gas deposits the country needs for energy independence. The project will never push through without China’s concurrence so PBBM must steel his resolve and override the Philippine oligarchs and proceed apace.
Focus, focus, focus
There are countless and ceaseless pressures that threaten constantly to divide the President’s attention; hence it is always timely to issue a reminder to focus, focus, focus, on the imperative of the times.
Today, tomorrow and at least the next four years, it will be “Revive the economy… Stupid” that all Filipinos should keep in mind.
The main enemy against Philippine economic recovery and progress is imperial America who continues to sabotage the Philippines’ cooperation with China, the global engine for economic growth. We can see clearly the consistent pattern of information sabotage and political interference using Amboys (American boys) to waylay government and media.
Even the UN representative was encouraged by the “Babes” Amboy Romualdez, Philippine Ambassador to Washington, who has the ulterior motive of setting up a meeting between PBBM and Biden to upstage PBBM’s visit to China. Together, the local Foreign Affairs and Armed Forces Amboys are throwing in poisoned proposals to spoil Philippine relations with ASEAN and China.
We wish PBBM the best in all his efforts to subdue the challenges to the nation’s recovery and pursue the path to prosperity, hence these observations for his consideration.
This information is likewise for readers to consider, propagating these messages of great urgency and import to their friends and groups in social media.