"They no longer have immediate interest at stake."
The country is now facing a twin crisis. First the threat of a full-blown war in the Middle East where over a million of our countrymen are currently working. The second is happening in our own backyard—the impending eruption of Taal Volcano.
Whereas before, the Americans have portrayed themselves as our Big Brother, ready to assist us anytime we are in “dire need,” this time, they are nowhere to be found.
Of course, in the first case, we can’t expect them to assist us in evacuating Filipinos who could be affected should a full-blown war erupt. After all, it is they who are involved, following their assassination of an Iranian military commander Qassem Suleimani last Jan. 3, in Iraq where there are 1,640 Filipinos currently working.
Much to the surprise of rabid pro-Americans here, it is the Chinese who have offered to help the Philippines bring home overseas Filipino workers in the Middle East to help them escape a full-blown war that could break out between the United States and Iran.
This was confirmed no less by the Chinese Embassy in Manila after Chinese Ambassador Huang Xilian received a request from President Rodrigo Duterte for assistance in repatriating OFWs if it becomes necessary.
Quoting Ambassador Huang, Liu Yiqun, chief of the Media and Public Relations Department of the Chinese Embassy to the Philippines: “As a close friend of the Philippines, China will, as always, provide necessary assistance to the Philippines in times of need.”
On the second issue, that of the Taal Volcano erupting, it’s pretty much different when Pinatubo erupted. Americans were almost on top of the relief and rehab operation in Central Luzon.
But of course they had to, as among those greatly affected by Pinatubo’s fury were their bases in Clark and Subic. They had to ensure then that operations not only in both camps returned to normal. Nearby areas also had to be secured as they cater to the needs of their military camps.
But since they no longer have immediate interest at stake in the eruption of Taal Volcano, their help could hardly be felt.
And surprisingly, it’s again the Chinese who were quick to the draw to extend assistance.
Earlier this week, Chinese Coast Vessel 5204 called port in Manila and delivered relief goods like rice, oil, and N95 masks for evacuees affected by Taal’s volcanic activities.
In both instances, the Americans never lifted a finger in assisting us. If ever they had been busy aside from engaging war with other countries, it is demonizing those who have been helping us, particularly China.
* * *
Speaking of Taal Volcano’s unleashing its fury, while government officials, especially from the LGUs, were again caught unprepared by the volcanic eruption (which is really surprising considering Taal has been on Alert Level 1 for months now, it was a good thing there was Senator Francis “Tol” Tolentino, a former mayor of Tagaytay City, who readily called an Inter-Agency Coordination Meeting on Monday morning to coordinate all government efforts to cope with the disaster.
Being a former chairman of the Metro Manila Development Authority during the previous administration and President Rodrigo Duterte’s pointman in man-made and natural disaster which hit the country before, Tolentino is no stranger to the job.
To ensure an effective and coordinated action in response to Taal’s eruption, Tolentino made sure of the presence of all agencies involved in the disaster mitigation effort—AFP, DSWD, DOH, DPWH, NDRRMC, local government units of Batangas and Cavite, Phivolcs, etc.
Nice job, Sen! With the Taal eruption registering zero casualty up to now, we can say all the agencies have been delivering as expected.