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Home Sections Politics Loida Lewis & Company Try to Drag Filipino Americans into Frivolous Sinophobia
Loida Lewis & Company Try to Drag Filipino Americans into Frivolous Sinophobia PDF Print E-mail
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Sections - Politics
Written by Ado Paglinawan   
Saturday, 27 August 2011 09:21

 

 

By Ado Paglinawan of Washington, DC

 

On August 21, my wife Margi and I attended a prayer forum. We are fulltime lay missionaries; we will do anything for prayer.

 

As it turned out, the Filipino-American community here in Metropolitan Washington, DC, was invited to the National Philippine Multicultural Center by organizers in small prints "epeoplepower.ph" and "usp4gg.org" to pray for peace in the Spratlys.

 

But duh, an expensive poster was stuck to the podium: "Our Soil, Our Oil!"

 

The program started with the reading of a short prayer and that was it for prayer.

 

The toastmaster set the tone. She thanked us for coming and added something to the effect that after supporting President Noynoy Aquino for the presidency during the last elections, they formed the “US Pinoys for Good Governance” (USP4GG). Oops, I felt something was wrong with this picture.

 

But a well-prepared and enthralling dissertation on Ninoy Aquino's martyrdom followed so I stayed on my seat.

 

The what-could-have-been-a-hard-sell fizzled off. A video message by USP4GG organizer Loida Nicolas Lewis was discontinued because the material blabbered as it was just starting.  

 

It was followed by a PowerPoint presentation showing the map of the Spratlys with emphasis given on the sailing of the US-donated BRP Del Pilar from the west coast to Manila and new aircraft carrier built by the Chinese. The presenter was clearly war-mongering, dealing emotionally with the issues and speaking of "bloodshed". He even suggested that the BRP crew when it sails to the Spratlys could be our first martyrs.

 

As expected by most who merely guests, as the three other speakers took their turns at the podium, the issues started becoming frivolous.

 

The first one was a Muslim who argued that the Sultanate of Sulu has all rights to the Spratlys since 1450. However, he repeated what the program mentioned – that the Chinese have laid claim to the islands as early as the Han dynasty in 102 A.D.

 

Besides, I cannot subscribe to any Sultanate historiography because conflicting Bangsa Moro claims against the Republic of the Philippines will just muddle the issues because the Spanish never ceded Sulu to the Americans in the Treaty of Paris (because Spain did not really have control of the Sulu Sultanate).

 

The next one was a former US consul, who spent his time dozing cold water over the heightened emotions of Chinese bullying that the organizers had painted. He emphasized that the US response to the issue is not to address any speculation when it comes to the engagement of military forces.

 

On top of this he said, the US will most likely have the affected parties – the Filipinos, the Vietnamese, the Malaysians, the Taiwanese and other claimants –discuss this with China on the basis of diplomacy rather than armed confrontation.

 

He was honest enough to admit that China is the holder of a substantial portion of the $14-trillion US debt, and engaging in hostility with China at this point may not be a good idea at all.

 

The US Consul was objective in accepting that the issues involving the Spratlys on both sides have become inflamed due to a series of unfortunate events that have shaken the Philippine-China relations of late. Foremost among these were a Philippine congressman caught with drugs while passing China, the massacre of Chinese tourists at the Luneta Park, and Filipino drug mules convicted (and executed) in China.

 

The Philippine ambassador to the United States was last to speak announcing that the Philippine President has already accepted the invitation to visit China before the end of this month.

 

A mb. Jose Cuisia said "President Aquino would likely talk about the 'cooperation' when it comes to the Spratlys and of course Chinese assistance and investments." He failed to mention, however, that President Noynoy will be accompanied by some 300 Filipino-Chinese businessmen.

 

Finally, the ambassador confirmed the frivolity of all this hype about the Spratlys when he quoted Secretary Albert del Rosario who said the Declaration of Conduct in South China Sea with members of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) had no (repeat no) binding rules that could prevent military incursions, particularly from China.

 

Truly as the Manila Mail of Washington, DC, printed in its July 31, 2011 issue, Secretary Del Rosario said that "based on the implementing guidelines, the decision to implement concrete measures or activities of the DOC would be based on consensus among parties concerned and lead to the eventual (yes eventual) realization of a Code of Conduct."

 

During the open forum, I made statement saying that the Chinese had already invaded the Philippines.

 

C hinatown has been in what we call Binondo since time immemorial. (I forgot to mention that I was born at Benavidez Street. I also forgot to mention that US Life, the mother company of Philamlife that Ambassador Cuisia used to work for was in Juan Luna Street. I know, because my father Antonio was the assistant resident manager of US Life.) Then there is what Filipinos call the "Binondo Central Bank," which allegedly controls foreign-exchange transactions in the country. 

 

Chinatown has morphed to Sta. Mesa Heights where Banawe is and to almost the majority of Greenhills. It had captured Cebu City and most Philippine cities. The Chinese now own most of the rice mills in the countryside.

 

In fact the Chinese now control Divisoria and Tutuban at the end of Claro M. Recto Avenue, so the Aquino SONA rhetoric about them occupying the Recto reef in the Spratlys was so cavalier, the joke is not funny. (I forgot to ask the women in the audience if they have visited the "168" mall and bought cheap signature handbags from the 168 mall.)

 

Chinese investments channeled through Henry Sy, the Gokongweis, the Gaisanos, etc. is self-evident in the numerous malls around the country and in the skyscrapers from Manila to Tagaytay in the south and from Chinatown to Quezon City on the north.

 

The province of Cavite alone has five SM megamalls. Bacoor, Imus, Dasmarinas, Rosario and Tagaytay and the biggest bank today, BDO, is owned by Henry Sy.

 

On top of this the Chinese are even reconstructing the railway from Clark to Manila to Batangas, and maybe eventually all the way back to Damortis on the north and Legazpi to the south.

 

I asked "what would we feel if the Chinese in the Philippines organize, just like the USP4GG, their own forums in the Philippines and sided with the Mainland China on the issue of the Spratlys?"

 

The ambassador responded by identifying $300-billion of Chinese investments in the Philippines, not including government assistance. Ambassador Cuisia said most of the Philippine taipans are his friends, he has worked for them, and there is no doubt in his mind that they are proud to be Filipinos.

 

When the Filipino envoy said this, the audience broke into applause. You see talk of this kind, we understand and relate with.

 

The Chinese are no threat to us. They have been our friends.

 

My first girlfriend was Bee Quiok. Felipe Co, Tan Hua Beng, Richard Chua, Wilson Sy, Joseph Li and Wilson Lim of the Abenson appliance stores, were my high-school classmates. And in college, John Tan, son of the original manufacturer of Alexander Worcestershire Sauce, was my best friend.

 

Jaime Cardinal Sin officiated in my silver wedding mass. And before I forgot, my mother was fourth-Chinese. She was a Quizon of Tiaong, Tayabas, now the Province of Quezon.  My wife Margi looks Hispanic, but actually she hails from Lingayen (Pangasinan) where Lim Ah Hong built a colony.

 

Lest I get distracted, my point is sovereignty is only as good as we can defend it. Saber-rattling and the fear factor ill never help us.

 

What we should pray about is that President Noynoy sober up from for all incompetence and lack of governance and face up to this opportunity of achieving something of historical value – the Philippines' own space, side-by-side and not in contradiction of China.

 

Australia established agreements on continental shelf beyond 200 miles with France (1983), Australia again with Solomon Islands 1988), the United States with the Russian Federation (1990), the United Kingdom with Ireland (1990 also), and the United States with Mexico (2000).

 

Why can't we do our own thing with China

 

The answer is because our colonial mind makes us hide under the skirts of the Americans. Our lack of confidence makes us blind without ASEAN that is so divided and toothless anyway.

 

The Americans are so busy trying to avoid further downgrading as it go into another recession with President Obama still not seeing the wisdom of a balanced budget. He is pulling out troops from Afghanistan to save billions a day, now tell me if he will commit to another war front.

 

China is the world's biggest consumer. It is the custodian of the world's largest foreign-currency reserves. All China has to do is increase interest on the American debts that it holds by 1% and this nation of milk and honey will go Third World.

 

When that happens, without a single bullet being fired just like Spain at the turn of the 19th century trapped in Manila Bay when Admiral Dewey intruded into Philippine waters, America today would ill afford even sending its navy out of San Diego.

 

Remote for now, but since the Americans have not put its act together domestically, pundits are already beginning to ask, “Have we entered the post-American era?”

 

In closing, I asked the organizing US Pinoys for Good Governance, why aren't we talking instead of two major issues of national interests that have clearly torn the Philippines to deep division and hostility, maybe even permanent division and imminent war, far more than the Spratlys.

 

I referred to the Reproductive Health (RH) bill that endangers the sanctity of life and family provisions of the Constitution, and the MOA-AD that the Supreme Court has declared unconstitutional for reframing to give the Moro Islamic Liberation Front a "sub-state". These two issues are clearly more urgent governance issues than the Spratlys where the Philippines cannot exercise any control. We are claiming oil that we cannot drill and islands that we cannot defend with force.

 

The toastmaster arrogantly answered "We have yet to take up the MILF issue but insofar as the RH bill is concerned, our (USP4GG) board has decided – we will go in favor of the RH bill."

 

OMG, on August 21, the USP4GG gathered us into a prayer forum attempting to plant Sinophobia in our minds while claiming to rally for unity and here they are going for a proposed law that has divided our countrymen back home for the past ten years. 

 

Sorry but I guess USP4GG had just blown its cover – it is just a mouthpiece for President Noynoy Aquino organized by friends of Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. 

 

But don't I remember these people in bed with Gloria Arroyo too when she was President? # # #

 

 



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