"How irresponsible can our mainstream media be on such a vital issue as water?"
Philippine Foreign Secretary Teodoro “Teddy Boy” Locsin, Jr. pretty much said it all when he said during his visit to his counterpart in China, Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi, that “I speak for my country which wants to see much to hope for, and nothing to fear from the rise of a new power...” It’s clear that many more countries in the world is agreeing with our foreign secretary, like Italy which is signing an MOU to join the multi-Trillion, visionary Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) connect 65 countries to date (and more to come) by land, sea and the digital highway to push global prosperity and peace.
While the Philippines and China are on the way to establishing joint oil and sea exploration in the areas of the Spratlys that have overlapping claims of the two countries as well as more investments in the Philippines, Italy is looking forward to boosting its access to the Chinese market with the MOU on the BRI. Despite the brickbats and road blocks detractors of China and its far-sighted multi-trillion global infrastructure, investment and connectivity crusade continue to overcome the short-sighted and often deliberate negativity to the BRI unfolding such as false accusations of debt traps and land grabs.
The proof of the world’s acceptance of China’s best intentions is the latest global Gallup polls showing China's global leadership image rating rising to its highest in almost a decade, climbing higher at 34 percent than the U.S. at 31 percent. The approval ratings of China's leadership rose dramatically—by at least 10 percentage points or more—in over a dozen countries, while losing in relatively only a few. This improvement is despite the countless campaigns to denigrate China’s global “soft power” by detractors from the West. This development casts doubt on local Philippine surveys putting a negative spin on Filipinos’ views of China.
Evidence of the deliberate distortions of China’s intentions by media is clear in the reportage of the mainstream media outfits of controversies in our recent water supply crisis. It is a historical fact that the Kaliwa Dam plans to supply additional water to Metro Manila were drawn up way back in the 70s but it is being made to appear now that it is a project set up for the convenience of China by the Duterte administration. That’s a total lie. The project has also been submitted to many financial institutions like the World Bank but protests from the usual Church and activist groups delayed it without end.
Then there’s the weir-d Japanese proposal that popped up the last minute as the Duterte government pushed to fast track the Chinese funding for the Kaliwa Dam recently. The Japanese private company Global Utility Development Corporation (GUDC) claiming its “weir” dam proposal is cheaper at $410 million and would supply Metro Manila with 550 MLD versus the Chinese plan its claims cost $800 million for only 600 MLD, and newspaper like the Inquirer in its editorial even cited the $800-million figure in questioning the China proposal. The truth is, as MWSS pointed out, the China proposal is actually only $248 million.
Consider the design, China’s proposal which was vetted by our own Filipino engineers and experts, specify a 73-meter concrete dam with a water impounding capacity of 600 MLD while the Japanese GUDC “weir” is not mainly for impounding water but, as the Wikipedia explains for simplicity, “specifically designed to alter the river flow characteristics” for “control of invasive species, watermills, flood control and altering river conditions”. A weir is filled only while rain and other sources of water feeds it but it does not store water for lean water months. How irresponsible can our mainstream media be on such a vital issue as water?
Going back to Italy’s pact with China’s BRI dream, as milestone has been achieved here as Italy’s the first G7 country to join and over the vocal objections of the United States and some EU countries: “US Official suggests Italy avoid China's “Belt and Road plan’” quoting U.S. national security adviser spokesman Garrett Marquis last March 10: “Italy is a major global economy and great investment destination. No need for the Italian government to lend legitimacy to China's infrastructure vanity project ..." But Italy for its own national interest went ahead with cooperation with China and the BRI.
If China’s standing in the global leadership echelons is rising it is because Locsin, though an American Boy all his life, has learned the new reality of the 21st century, the more and more in the world “see much to hope for, and nothing to fear from the rise of a new power.”