Unrequited love

"President Duterte should stand up to Xi Jinping instead of keeping silent."


Presidential Spokesman Harry Roque now says that President Duterte has not been silent in the wake of the incursion of more than 200 Chinese coast guard and fishing vessels on an Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) off eastern Palawan known as the “Julian Felipe Reef” at the West Philippine Sea.

After a series of diplomatic protests filed against China for this incursion, the Chinese ambassador lied through his teeth, claiming that those vessels suspected to be militia were for shelter. He contradicted himself, later claiming that the Julian Felipe Reef was part of Nansha Island which is part of the Chinese territory. But, when a group of ABS-CBN journalists took the initiative of going to the Reef for a look-see, they were chased by a Chinese Coast Guard vessel. This was clearly a form of harassment. And yet President Duterte kept on with his deafening silence, my gulay!

Through all this, Duterte hasn’t uttered a single word, raising the question of Duterte’s unrequited love for Chinese President Xi Jinping. Sure, Jinping promised us loans and investments, but now Duterte’s pivot to China is under scrutiny.

Is the pivot all worth all the bullying we are experiencing from China?

Roque now has the temerity to tell us that Duterte has not been silent over the issue on Chinese incursion into our territory. Roque says Duterte is employing “private diplomacy,” talking to Xi and his Chinese friends privately. 

Now, what malarkey is this? 

Duterte should make it clear to the FIlipinos what’s going on. This issue is a threat to our national security and sovereignty. My gulay, should he and his spokesman just keep to themselves what’s going on in a matter of grave concern?

Yes, I admit that when it comes to foreign policy, only the President can issue a policy with the Department of Foreign Affairs as his spokesman. But what is happening at Julian Felipe Reef is no longer just a matter between Xi and Duterte. Will we soon become part of Chinese territory? This prospect to me is frightening because there seems to be nothing we can do about it.

What we need as a nation is for the President to raise his voice against what his Chinese friends are doing against us. In other words, we want a President to echo the sentiment of the nation against his Chinese friends. 

* * *

Santa Banana, amid the depressing news of the surging new cases of COVID-19 every day, and with the higher number of daily fatalities and the fact that hospitals and health workers are now overwhelmed with sick people dying in make-shift tents, waiting for ERs and ICUs to accommodate them, now we hear that richer nations have cornered 87 percent of all the vaccines available, according to the World Health Organization.

The WHO reported that rich countries have received more than 87 percent of vaccines available and the low-income countries, including the Philippines, got just 0.2 percent of available vaccines.

That should well explain the slow and delayed vaccine rollout. This is why we cannot hope to achieve“herd immunity” anytime soon.

So far only the vaccines available are from Sinovac and AstraZeneca from Great Britain. The government is still expecting procurements from Pfizer in the coming months. 

The worst part of it all is that 50 percent of Filipinos continue to doubt the safety and efficacy of vaccines of whatever brand. This contributes to more deaths. And Santa Banana, we have a President who continues to doom vaccine doubters instead of making them have faith and confidence on vaccines!

As I have said from the start, the reason there is so much doubt on the safety and efficacy of vaccines is that there has been no effort on the part of the President and his vaccine czar Carlito Galvez Jr. to conduct a massive education and information program on the benefits of getting vaccinated. 

As the country grapples with the long-delayed arrival of vaccines, there is a growing desperation of people to resort to whatever means as a cure to COVID-19. Filipinos are trying ivermectin, and virgin coconut oil.

The Food and Drug Administration has granted another hospital a “compassionate special permit” to use ivermectin, a drug intended to cure the parasites of animals, as an emergency cure.

Topics: Emil Jurado , President Rodrigo Duterte , Exclusive Economic Zone , EEZ , Julian Felipe Reef , West Philippine Sea , China , Chinese President Xi Jinping
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