"The ambassador’s words, not mine."
The past week saw a flurry of major international news events led by the backing down of China over the extradition bill that triggered a million protesters on the streets of Hong Kong. This is a seismic setback for the ruling cabal in Beijing. The march of protesters demonstrated that people can stand up to China if they have the political resolve instead of splaying their legs wider to a rapist. Filipinos. take note. We don’t have to declare war on China. Our government keeps saying we cannot win because the Chinese have a mightier army.
Short of saying China lost, as it would be a loss of face, Hong Kong Chief Administrator Carrie Lam declared the extradition bill that would try Hong Kong suspects in the mainland is “dead.”
With the defeat of the extradition bill, Lam’s own political future is probably dead too. Expect Beijing to appoint a new administrator for Hong Kong to push its one country, two systems model for the former British Crown Colony. Decades of British colonial rule in Hong Kong have given the Hong Kong people a life of free political and human rights that China cannot simply set aside. London is holding Beijing to respect the turnover treaty wherein both countries will observe Hong Kong’s liberal policy.
Then again, mainland China has shown that it does not abide by international law. It has also ignored ruling of the Permanent Court of Arbitration in The Hague that its sweeping claim of the entire South China Sea is illegal.
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The next big news on the international scene was the British ambassador to Washington calling US President Donald Trump as “inept and insecure.” Did I hear someone saying the same could describe Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte? His words, not mine!
President Duterte, after all, was rated “very good” in the latest Social Weather Stations public acceptance survey. What do the other foreign ambassadors posted in Manila say about the Philippine president? So far, there is no leak on foreign embassy cables like what happened in the case of British Ambassador Kim Darroch. Supported by British Prime Minister Theresa May, Darroch nonetheless resigned as he could no longer serve effectively in his capacity after Trump said he would no longer deal with him. That is the proper thing to do by Darroch before he is declared persona non grata by Washington and before US-UK bilateral relations get even more strained.
The other news of concern is the report that German Chancellor Angla Merkel is suffering from some kind of disease that causes her body and hand to tremble. Merkel, one of the three Big Ms in Europe—the other two being UK’s May and France’s Emmanuel Macron, downplayed her ailment and said it is not going to affect her performance of her duties as Chancellor.
In the Middle East, the Strait of Hormuz is proving to be a flashpoint with Iran imposing its control of the narrow passage for international oil tankers as Tehran’s dispute with the US reaches an escalation tip. Iranian gunboats this week tried to seize a British oil tanker by ordering it to Iranian waters. The British tanker escorted by armed British ships resisted the order and was able to sail past the Straits of Hormuz.
For sure, there will be more incidents with Iran which has increased its uranium level.
On the local scene, overseas Filipino workers are protesting the payment of Social Security fees before their papers are processed by the Philippine Overseas Employment Agency. The OFWs claim it is unfair that they are made to pay the SSS fees even before they are able to work in foreign lands. This, plus the fact that foreign employers do not pay the counterpart amount their workers pay to the Philippine government. Clearly, this is a burden on our OFWs who go abroad because there is no work available here.
While the intent of the SSS requirement is good in the long run for the OFWs when they return to the country, P2400 is a big amount to be deducted when this can go instead to their family being supported back home.