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Duterte’s defeatism

"We don’t have to go to the extreme of going to war with China."

I said that as a whole, President Rodrigo Duterte’s State of the Nation Address last Monday was honest and frank. But there were some parts with which I disagree.

I felt it was a big letdown for the President to say that he could not go to war against China because we are “inutile.” China has all the arms, he said, and we cannot assert our rights in the West Philippine Sea because China is already in possession of the disputed territory.

My gulay, do we have to go to war against China to assert our sovereign rights? This defeatist attitude, to me, is truly unfair to thousands of Filipinos who sacrificed their lives against colonizers.

(During the last two years of the Japanese Occupation, my entire family lived from town to town so we could be with my two brothers who were members of the guerilla movement in the North.)

I would also like to ask the President: Is it all right to simply allow China to bully us, in exchange of all the aid, loans and investments?

Vietnam, Malaysia and Indonesia are also asserting their rights against China on many disputed islands. And they are not waging war.

Our distinct advantage as a country belonging to the community of nations is that we are bound by international laws, and we are allied with superpowers. This, aside from the fact that a national policy, the Philippines renounces war, my gulay!

It is also for this reason why I am not surprised that some senators have denounced the defeatist attitude of Duterte, as well as his policy of acquiescence and accommodation as he pivots to China.

Another distinct advantage is that we have already won our arbitration claim against China before the Permanent Court of Arbitration in The Hague. Why won’t Mr. Duterte assert our victory, I wonder.

The problem with Duterte saying that we are “inutile” is that it encourages China to continue bullying us. No amount of diplomatic protest can change China’s aggressiveness.

**

“Oligarch” now seems to be a dirty word. President Duterte boasted that he had successfully dismantled the oligarchy without even declaring martial law.

Santa Banana, he mentioned in his Sona the names of Manny Pangilinan and the Ayalas who own the two water concessionaires – Maynilad and Manila Water, respectively. But as far as I am not concerned, not all billionaires and businessmen who own conglomerates are not oligarchs.

An oligarch uses money, politics and power for his own purposes. That surely fits the Lopezes. But it seems with the rate Duterte is going after Pangilinan and the Ayalas, who also own Smart and Globe, respectively, they really have to improve their services – or earn his ire.

The question is, are Pangilinan and the Ayalas really using money, power and politics? Far from it.

It’s only when rich people use money, politics and power that they can be called oligarchs.

Unfortunately, the President is dividing the people when we desperately need to be united.

**

If there is one things that President Duterte should focus on, it is instilling discipline among the people in the wake of the surge of new cases of COVID-19. The University of the Philippines predicts that the number of COVID-19 cases will reach 140,000 by August.

There has been increased mobility, to be sure. People also tend to disregard the wearing of face masks, washing of hands, and maintaining social distance.

This is why the barangays have to enforce stricter measures. If there is need for draconian measures, so be it.

**

President Duterte will find it difficult to push for the enactment of the revival of the death penalty. There is absolutely no evidence that the death penalty can deter crime.

This is aside from the fact that most Filipinos are Catholic in practice.

Topics: Emil Jurado , President Rodrigo Duterte , State of the Nation Address , SONA
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