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An arrogant diplomat

First, a joke.

Philippine National Police Chief Ronald dela Rosa intends to run for the Senate and also wants to be a member of the Duterte Cabinet.

Santa Banana, what gall! What has Dela Rosa done to stop extrajudicial killings that have embarrassed the Duterte government among his local and international critics?

Dela Rosa’s only achievement was to protect policemen involved in the detention of a dozen suspected people allegedly involved in illegal drugs in a secret jail cell in Tondo.

Now that was not funny, was it?

* * *

China’s envoy to the Philippines Ambassador, Zhiao Jianhua, may have committed a serious diplomatic faux pas. He declared that the Philippines was illegally occupying Pag-asa Island, part of the Kalayaan municipality in Palawan.

Zhiao made the statement in response to questions from Filipino reporters concerning President Duterte’s tour of the Chinese warships which docked at the Sasa port in Davao City. in the course of a recent goodwill visit to the Philippines!

Reporters asked Zhiao why the Chinese military contingent to Subi Reef had warned and even challenged a Philippine Air Force plane carrying Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana, AFP chief Eduardo Año, other Philippine officials and journalists, who were visiting Pag-asa located some 480 kilometers west of Puerto Princesa City. This has not been reported in mainstream media.

Do you know what Zhiao said, speaking for his government, China? “We view the occupation of those islands by the Philippine side as illegal. And so the buildings on it are also illegal.”

Zhiao also told reporters: “In our position, we have ownership of those islands and reefs. And whichever airplanes or aircraft intrude, we will give them warnings.”

Santa Banana, the Chinese envoy’s statements can only be interpreted as arrogance. He was being openly hostile to his host country, the Philippines.

I am not sure President Duterte heard Zhiao. Otherwise, he would have reacted.

Zhiao failed to consider common courtesy, let alone diplomatic niceties, which dictate that he should have taken cognizance of the sensibilities of his Filipino hosts.

His statements were particularly galling. The United Nations Permanent Court of Arbitration had ruled last year that there was no legal basis for China to claim historic rights and ownership over the resources falling within its self-proclaimed “nine-dash line.” In doing so, China violated the Philippines’ sovereign rights in its exclusive economic zone.

In another country, Zhiao’s naughty pronouncement, abrasive language and boorish behavior may be sufficient for him to be declared as “persona non grata.” It would at least be enough ground for the Foreign Affairs office to send a strong note verbale to the Chinese embassy.

The Kalayaan Island Group, including Pag-asa, was incorporated in 1972 as a municipality of Palawan. Its status as part of the country was reinforced by Presidential Decree 1599 issued by President Ferdinand Marcos in June 1978. This established an exclusive economic zone for the Philippines.

I wonder how President Duterte would react to Zhiao’s pronouncement that the Philippines was “illegally occupying” Pag-asa.

On the other hand, Zhiao may have been emboldened by the President’s conciliatory approach to China, and his support to Chinese moves and actions regarding the dispute.

This included deletion of any mention of the arbitral court’s decision in the statement released by him as Chairman of the recent summit meeting of the 10-member Asean held in the country. Santa Banana, this makes some people wonder: On whose side is the President, really?

Zhiao acted like a guest you graciously welcome into your home but who tells you that you are illegally occupying the land which you have been tilling, and on which your home is built.

This behavior of Zhao is quite strange for a seasoned diplomat like him. The Chinese are known to be polite, humble, friendly and considerate. I should know—I have many friends in the Chinese-Filipino community.

Zhao may not be aware of it, but even some members of this community find him aloof and unapproachable.

* * *

The revelation of Communist Party of the Philippines founder Jose Maria Sison that the leaders of the National Democratic Front negotiating panel based in Utrecht do not have control over the movements of the new People’s Army, despite the ongoing peace negotiation between the government and the communist rebels tells us a lot.

The Communist movement is no longer monolithic. Sison and his partner, Luis Jalandoni, no longer have control over the New People’s Army.

And that’s the reason why despite the ongoing peace talks in The Netherlands with CPP leaders and the insurgents’ political arm the NDF, the atrocities of the NPA continue. And their excuse is almost always that the Armed Forces continue to go after them.

Sison said that “the collective leading organs of the CPP, NPA, NDFP, which are based in the Philippines are the principal of the NDFP Negotiating Panel. They give orders and instructions to the NDFP negotiating panel, meaning that the controlling factor of the insurgency comes from the lower echelons.”

The reason is that a younger generation of cadres recently took over the CPP’s central committee. This was disclosed during the Second Party Congress last October.

So with whom is the government panel talking to? Does this mean that whatever is resolved between communist leaders in Utrecht is not final? Does this not make the peace talks useless and invalid?

* * *

The Kasambahay Law mandates that household helpers including drivers should have a contract with their employers to qualify them for Social Security System membership and hence partake of benefits.

That’s about the most useless law there is since only about 10 percent of those it covers are observing it. Santa Banana, how can you have a contract with your household help when they come and go as they please?

Helpers prefer not to have contracts since becoming members of the SSS and PhilHealth cuts heavily into their pay. They prefer to borrow from their employers who don’t charge them interest.

This law is just impractical.

Topics: Emil Jurado , An arrogant diplomat , Philippine National Police , Chief Ronald dela Rosa , China , Ambassador Zhiao Jianhua , Pag-asa Island , Communist Party of the Philippines , Jose Maria Sison , New People’s Army , Kasambahay Law
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