Standing alone after VFA; what it takes

Starting a nation? Aguinaldo and cohorts in exile in Hong Kong 1898. See reference below.

By Joe America

President Duterte has cancelled the Visiting Forces Agreement (VFA) with the United States, to the surprise of the US and many other people. How can a nation facing off against China toss aside the most powerful military backstop in the world?

Well, it’s easy if you aren’t really facing off against China.

Duterte has played his China card in a big, bold way. He likely calculates that the people will love him no matter what he does, and for most Filipinos, that’s true. China is just one more boss in the back room doing nothing for them, as the US really did nothing for them

. . . in their eyes . . .

which did not see the troops getting Tacloban open after Yolanda, or the drones protecting AFP troops who will now be killed more often, or the money for Marawi and Taal, or the military training . . . but I belabor the point. Most Filipinos have no idea what an alliance is about. US. China. Russia. Kazakhstan. All the same to them. Just another overlord.

And most Filipinos, even those running the country, have no idea what “standing alone” and independent really means. Because they don’t grasp the essential purpose of the Constitution, which is to form a nation. And they don’t understand the concept of accountability, or GIVING of oneself to help others.

A nation is country that puts in place a set of rules and leaders that unify and inspire citizens, and keep them safe. A whole lot of countries fail to do this. They are not really nations. They are just countries pretending nationhood.

The Philippines is a country with a set of rules that its balkanized factions ignore as they seek power and riches. Jose Rizal wrote about this in 1896. Local police. Spanish constabulary. Mayor. Rebels. Scholars. Priests. Neighboring factions. Manila. Spain. Everybody in charge. Nobody in charge.

President Duterte’s government is very 1896. He divides with intent . . . and conquers. He is not building a nation. He is building a personal empire.

To stand alone and be truly independent, the Philippines must convert an ideal, a vision, to achievement.

I frankly don’t have much confidence that the Duterte Government can build a strong, independent, stand-alone nation.

But I’ve been wrong before.

Here’s what has to happen for the Philippines to stand strong and independent as a NATION:

  • She must cherish every Filipino life, even those of the poor and the disenfranchised whose miserable lot in life has pushed them to drugs. Leaders should also care about AFP lives . . . something the VFA protected. A nation exists to care for her people.
  • She must have allies, but direct those alliances in her own best interest. Operating alone in a global community is not independence. It is vulnerability. It’s like a woman in jewels and fine clothes taking a solitary stroll through Tondo at three in the morning. Risky. Alliances: Japan, US, Australia, China, Singapore, Viet Nam, South Korea, Malaysia, Indonesia, Russia. Taiwan. Politically neutral. Totally self-serving.
  • She must stop playing bitter attack politics domestically and start building according to well-thought out priorities. Not personal whims that direct billions to mysterious intelligence funds instead of to military gear. Or instead of to schools and hospitals. She must end the arbitrary limits that say no infrastructure should be started if projects cannot be completed by end of the President’s term. Dumbest “anti-nation” policy I’ve ever seen.
  • She must end corruption, pay professionals professional wages, and realign tax allotments to fit with goals. She must prize competence instead of comfort and favor. She must get out of the business of propaganda and into the business of being honest and earnest.
  • She must reconfigure education to develop proud thinkers who can look forward and manage the future, rather than be proudly resilient people who react to what happens and keep rebuilding haphazardly. She must have good health care and social safety nets for the poor.

Those are a few starters.

President Aquino was on this track. President Duterte is going the other way.

The next President may set out to build a nation. I hope so. Or the President may keep running an 1896 balkanized state.

That’s actually fine with me if Filipinos like that kind of country. I love living history that is so tangible you can personally smell the stink.


 For more on the photograph, refer to this excerpt from: Philippine-American War, 1899-1902 by Arnaldo Dumindin

193 Responses to “Standing alone after VFA; what it takes”
  1. I hope DU30 has read “the Art of the Deal”.

    Of course it’s a negotiation ploy, but the calculation shoulda been does the Trump administration really need the Philippines. With another 4 years of Trump, not likely (sorry , Bernie— I’m voting for Bernie this cycle).

    Realistically, the answer is NO.

    DU30 should start negotiations there.

    • Micha says:

      Way to go brother. Bernie 2020. 🙂

    • karlgarcia says:

      You just told Bernie that you are sorry that you are voting for him.

      • Ooops, just read it again. It does read weirdly.

        “not likely” is for the first sentence of that paragraph– Trump’s US doesn’t need the Philippines.

        Saying sorry to Bernie becuz more than likely Trump will get his 2nd term. But I’m still voting for Bernie.

        • Micha says:

          Wait till Bernie and Trump square off on debate stage corporal, you might be in for some surprises.

          Assuming of course that Democratic Establishment aka Clinton/Obama/Wall Street wing of the party does not succeed in cheating and robbing Bernie of the nomination.

        • Micha says:

          And take a load of this :


          • Thanks, Micha. I’m rooting for Bernie (they shoulda gave him his run back in 2016, we’d never have Trump ).

            I agree Bernie’s still strong in the Rust Belt, where it matters. But I’m hedging because the Dems just look like eunuchs in DC right now.

            IF (if) Bernie wins, then the Philippines will have a great ally re climate change, but no more military give aways. Bernie will in essence continue MAGA policies, though softer in tone.

            So Trump or Bernie in 2020, is still the Philippines lost given its current trajectory towards China ,

            better for the Philippines to have a plan in how they can be valuable now and in the future, and I still think the Philippines can expand the Costa Rican business model: ,

            or whatever niche it expresses its value to the world, it needs to stop begging for scraps. My point Bernie will still continue nationalist policies, gone are the days where globalists kept on giving the Philippines something for nothing.

            Never coming back. Those days are gone.

      • Easier to conquer and hold than the already more ORGANIZED places in Asia, maybe?

        The future Indonesians ALLOWED Portuguese and Spanish to trade, it was the Sultans of Ternate and Tidore gaming THEM, respectively.

        Filipinos gamed Magellan, but Legaspi came and gamed them. Probably they, the Iberians, told each other more stories of how the datus dealt and so they collectively learned.

        There is also record of how the Portuguese knew when the Spanish entered their area – possibly tapping existing maritime grapevine in the Malay region. No indication of that with wa-is Humabon, not even Suleyman of Manila – zero foresight again one just assume.

        Anyhow, it took the steamroller power of the Dutch East Indies company and its merciless mercenaries to conquer future Indonesia. Filipino datus decided to swear allegiance to King Philipp II, a few who rebelled in the 1580s were exiled. The rest of Asia was colonized later.

    • DU30 has to understand that even if Bernie wins, both Bernie and Trump are nationalists, whilst Hillary and Biden are the globalists.

      I hope DU30 will not equate Bernie with Hillary and Biden.

      At stake here is the Philippines value to the US, not vice versa anymore.

      • karlgarcia says:

        The answer would be Filipino nurses.

        • sonny says:

          Many major hospitals and home care facilities in Chicago are staffed by young capable Filipino nurses. I think that Filipino hallmark of service have by and large survived and prevailed. I am happy to observe.

          • karlgarcia says:

            I just had a reunion with my RN cousin from Chicago, remember my request to you to do a contact tracing of sorts, it wasn’t the cousin I mentioned who came, but her sister
            I still thank you Uncle Sonny for emailing them back then.

            • sonny says:

              Very welcome, Neph. 🙂

              Illinois Masonic of Chicago is one such hospital where Filipino nurses hold exemplary duties over patient care, my wife was one recipient. I had hoped to meet you and them at the time. But chance will be more auspicious some time, Karl.

  2. karlgarcia says:

    Just another overlord.

    If that is the case,
    better the devil you know.

  3. Micha says:

    The US has bases and military agreements with countries all over Asia so the VFA is not really a strategic loss for America. What the scrapping does is cement Duterte’s pivot and become Xi Jinping’s official lapdog.

  4. karlgarcia says:

    The US can strike from anywhere.

    Only our grade school teachers tell us that we are strategically located.

    • sonny says:

      “… the Philippines is strategically located …”

      So many times we’ve been told that, Karl. Not once have we been shown why nor how it is so. 😦

      • karlgarcia says:

        Even the galleon trade only used us for ship building, most of the veggies in Bahay kubo are imported, we did not have gold and silver, what did we have?

      • The trade route from Malacca, coming from the West to Japan and leading across the Pacific eventually IS strategic, or became so when the connections were discovered.

        Brunei controlling Palawan and Manila was logical in terms of that route.

        The old Silk Road less effective due to it I think as water transport is cheaper than land. Why did the Chinese only conquer Taiwan/Formosa after the Dutch and the Spanish? Because the route started to matter and they needed to block a part of it, maybe?

        Control of the Philippines can mean getting back Taiwan eventually, for Mainland China.

        Just like it is trying to retrace the Portuguese trade routes, going backwards via Cambodia not Malacca, Sri Lanka instead of Goa, Djibouti and not Aden. Imperialism is BUSINESS.

        Trump IS, I think, playing it cool. Poker can mean bluffing, did Visayans invent it or Yanks?

        • karlgarcia says:

          As far as I know, Duterte and Panelo are poker player wannabees without the poker faces.

        • karlgarcia says:

          This is no longer poker, this is not even Sun Tzu .
          This is in your face

          In 2015, Chinese President Xi Jinping pledged that China had no intention of militarizing its bases in the South China Sea. However, in December 2016, satellite imagery showed air defense weaponry installed on several of the Chinese-controlled islands. In January 2018, Chinese state-owned media suggested that the People’s Liberation Army would have to increase its presence in the region, and blamed the United States for the growing pace of military activity in the South China Sea.

        • sonny says:

          The Moluccan spice route was followed by the Spanish Elcano after the debacle at Mactan. The Portuguese earlier discovered the Spice Road used by Moslem traders transporting spices from Ternate and Tidore by water. Elcano and company loaded spices on the remaining boat of Magellan’s caravelles and limped back to Spain eluding the Portuguese.

          • Yep, I was in the still running exhibition at Sevilla, about Magellan’s voyage. Elcano fled across the Indian ocean nonstop from the Moluccas, fearing the Portuguese who had already imprisoned the crew of one ship. They returned a bit later via Lisbon prison.

            True, the maritime spice trade was originally an Arab route, also the route of Islamization. Portugal it seems tried to find out what it could from the Arabs left in the Algarve, this is what I recall having read, Henry the Navigator was very keen on information and know-how. After going around Africa they just followed the old Arab routes, probably they had some Arab maps as they made it to Goa, Malacca, Ternate, Macau and Nagasaki very quickly.

        • karlgarcia says:

          The Silk roads were a major Arab trade route, the Arabs brought Chinese goods to Europe.

          • karlgarcia says:

            Not quite.
            Wrong again, (forehead slap)

            The silk trade route was strictly used by the Chinese.

            • Technically you’re correct, karl.

              The Chinese didn’t traverse the Silk Road, their products did. So the Romans (even Greeks) moved products from the East to West; then with Islam the Arabs, then with the Renaissance the Venetians/Italians. They were the reason the Spanish and Portuguese , decided to deal them out by going around them.

              The folks that now live in the ‘stan countries look the way they look because of this back and forth.

    • I agree w/ you , karl.

      Theres trade routes and there’s military routes, or strategic pre-positioning. With faster ships, and planes, really no need for Philippines, just go around.

      Thus China too has no real need for Philippines. their game here is simply to push the US farther out, away from their sphere.

      Aside from people, I don’t think the Philippines has something that China really needs (ex. Japan needs Filipinos for its old folks). China has plenty of Chinese.

      Ditto for the US, what is the Philippines comparative advantage here? Nada. Thus the US can do w/out the Philippines, militarily and in trade.

      I hope DU30 weighs all this out, he may be overplaying his cards.

  5. karlgarcia says:

    With due respect to Micha. unless what she proposes that Congress use their power of the purse plus all the MMTs are fully realized, we will have trouble paying all the government workers if we keep increasing their salaries.

    The AFP, must have its own pension system, because it is eating up our budget.
    Loans must be mostly domestic and no longer be first resort.(as opposed to last resort)

    How can we function if we keep doing what we are doing?

    • Micha says:

      What kind of “trouble” are you seeing if we increase the salaries of government workers karl?

      • karlgarcia says:

        Many would be forced to early retirement, or forced resignation, then they will hire casual employees with less benefits.
        Just like when you increase the minimum wage, some SMEs can’t take it and close shop.

        • Micha says:

          The finances of a monetarily sovereign national government is not like the finances of private businesses so the corollary doesn’t wash. If congress authorizes and funds the wage increase for government workers I don’t see any trouble that you suggest manifesting. They are, afterall, paid in pesos not dollars, right?

          • karlgarcia says:

            Sanders needs honest to goodness allies in Congress and not butt kissers, if he wins.
            If he will get a pretentious lot then they will shoot down his agenda after pushing for it in the start.

  6. karlgarcia says:

    Even in the states, since MMT has yet to show its teeth, how will the Medicare for all be funded?

    • Micha says:

      M4A will be funded in the very same way we fund the multi trillion dollar budget we allocate to our military-industrial complex. Have you noticed why nobody is asking how are we gonna pay for our bloated military weaponries, submarines, aircraft carriers, F-15’s, nuke armed ICBM’s and military bases all over the world?

  7. karlgarcia says:

  8. karlgarcia says:

    • kasambahay says:

      when is lorenzana ever going to be ready? hoped he has learned to dance the bullet dance, haha. dodging zipping bullets here and there, his head bobbing up and down while downing a bottle of vodka. ay, kalinka, he be cuzack (deliberately misspelt) then.

      lorenzana is never ready, if he was, things would have been different.

      nah, it’s not lorenzana’s call, ph being ruskie’s weapon hub. lorenzana is just part of the furniture, ask duterte, haha. lorenzana has played all his cards, now he is left to play with bottle tops.

      sir! yes, sir! the military is ready when duterte says it is.

  9. popoy says:

    JoeAm and Karl if worth of your tweets :

    The strategic location of the Philippines for whatever purposes is a cosmic geologic fault in global earth that can only be undone and may be set aright by global warming when the oceans surrounding it SINK more than half of it 20 meters below sea level.

    In defense of countries of the free world, a country with a people like the South Koreans with brains and muscles and the guts to be economics-savvy (watch their movies and teleseryes), peaceniks ready to kick bullies and war ready to make it so strategic needed only a few a decades to make their country STRATEGIC. Philippines with centuries to be really STRATEGIC, just BLEW IT.

    But, BUT for now China needs only mammoth transport. No need for soldiers and ordnance and drones. Not even a single shot from a pistol. In the dead of the night (from 8pm to 4am) China CAN LAND all over the Philippines archipelago (with the world’s longest coastline) UNARMED 50 million of its common people and THERE YOU GO, China a country has hundreds of millions of peaceful people TO GO for a willing customer. NO NEED to pull the trigger or push an ICBM button. Rizal’s brilliance can shine blinding the blindsided: For willing slaves there will always be willing enslavers.

    There will come a time (are we there yet? Or there already?) when countries in strategic geographic locations count NO MORE; repeat COUNT NO MORE. When the leading free country can immobilize, pulverize, then vaporize any hugely populated belligerent country that threatens the liberty and pursuit of happiness of peoples in the Free World.

    Times there are too, when deductive thoughts make inductive perorations mere eche bucheches.

    • You read my mind, as Filipino my be a category of being going extinct for lack of vision and determination. I’ve never witnessed such abject apathy before, as if people don’t know the forces coming at them.

      • sonny says:

        Joe, sadly the current leadership has devolved the country from being an entrepot of the Spanish to a mere stopover for “business” of any kind. (my flash of cynicism)

    • karlgarcia says:

      Like I said, we are not only sitting ducks, we are accommodating ducks.

  10. Micha says:

    VFA or not, both countries face a common enemy.

  11. Joe the Kano says:

    It’s pretty sad to see how recklessly this has all gone down. Attempting to cloak this debacle in a veneer of nationalist rhetoric is simply preposterous. It’s nothing but an enormous, shameless sell-out by boot-licking twits.

  12. What the heck are these “violations” by ABS-CBN puppy dog moron APC is talking about?

    Okay now I low key #YESTOABSCBN shutdown. If that’s what it takes to get these butts out on the streets #OUSTDUTERTE2020

    • Micha says:

      Can’t stand the dumbfuckery ABS-CBN dishes out to its viewers everyday so I, for one, is in favor of shutting it down.

      And while he’s at it, Duterds might as well nationalize Meralco and Manila Water too.

      • How do you reconcile that view to the popularity of the shows. It seems to me the viewers who like the show rate as much consideration as your view. I get stuck on that because I agree with you, it is mind-numbing content, a real dumb-down. But it is a free country.

        • Micha says:

          The connection is real Joe. Viewers of ABS-CBN shows are being dumbed down. Many of these same dumbed down viewers most probably voted for Duterte too.

          What is it they say about not interrupting your enemy as he self-destructs?

          • kasambahay says:

            mayor joy belmonte of quezon city sabi, abs-cbn is one of the top tax payer, gives employment to around 11 thousand people, does charity work like sponsoring a media school where students learn the ins and out of journalism, may sagip kapamilya pa that gives relief to the needy specially during sakuna, bagyo, earthquakes, etc. often going to places where media rarely go, highlighting what more need to be done. its reporter once got kidnapped by abu sayyaf and paid ransom, ces drilon?

            abs-cbn know its own audience well and cater for it. abs-cbn may not be for the intelligentsia and it does no pretend to be, but overall it provides escapism to an otherwise mundane existance. many of our celebs started their humble beginning sa abs-cbn. it’s where they first learned to cut their teeth.

            like sen nancy binay, I’m for abs-cbn renewing its license.

            • kasambahay says:

              the president through solgen calida mayhap wanted abs-cbn be defunct. apparently, a close friend of the president, a business scion, wants to buy abs-cbn but when abc-cbn refused to sell, calida comes in with quo warranto and straight to the supreme court; trial court is not good enough for the solgen.

              instead of making his own media house from scratch, business scion wants both abs-cbn and its nationwide followers on the platter. opinion ko lang po.

              • karlgarcia says:

                I can’t think of any other reason.

                Small list of oligarchs.
                Is Razon/Arroyo into broadcasting?

                Pangilinan is the only player that has a stake in media aside from owners of GMA.
                But Duterte is not pleased. Maybe he wants a direct line to Salin.

              • kasambahay says:

                business scion heads a communication group aligned to the chinese.

              • karlgarcia says:

                Da who?

              • kasambahay says:

                ah, you have an inkling, congrats po. my lips are sealed na.

              • karlgarcia says:

                *Salim not Salin

                Before Razon showed up,
                Duterte was a little softer with Maynilad.

                It is common knowledgr that MVP is the proxy of the Salim family.
                I do not want to call him a dummy because that implies someone’s hand is in his…..

              • karlgarcia says:

                Behind or backside.

      • karlgarcia says:

        Fortunately or Unfortunately White nights and angel investors will just keep on showing up.

    • Cayetano is a sick man, whipping out his God talk and lies at the same time. Satan has him by his handles.

  13. karlgarcia says:

    Kasambahay jokingly or seriously said that thescrapping of VFA will be Bon for the NPA and the left and they will celebrate nationwide.

    Again, we will double our internal security spending, because of new perceived strengths and weaknesses from the left and the right.

    • karlgarcia says:

      As I said the intent of the AFP modernization law was to gradually transfer Internnal security operations to the Police, but that never happened and it will never happen with the way things are going.

      Most of the wish lets will remain wish lists because there will be new sets of priorities no matter how many times the per quarter AFP chief of staff will say they will increase their military spending for external defense.

      We can not stand alone, with friends like us, who needs enemies.

      • kasambahay says:

        chain of command po, AFP answers to the president and will do as the president wants and can only modernize as the president sees fit. else, insubordination then court martial.

        I heard the president is modernizing military and veterans hospital, his wounded soldiers to be given the best of medical care.

        • karlgarcia says:

          I am for that because ang mahal mahospital matanda na mga magulang ko.

        • NHerrera says:

          Chief (Librarian) Karl:

          Thanks a lot for that SWS link. It complements very well the current blog article. Thanks very much too for the timely TSH blog, Joeam.

          The SWS link you gave further gives another link, inside of which, at the end, gives a 1.4MB downloadable 14-page set of graphs showing clearly, the different surveys. Relevant to the current TSH blog are the last 4 pages, starting with page 11 — concerning Filipinos attitude, beliefs about the US, China and related matters.

          The 2020 SWS Survey Review – Diliman Edition
          by  Social Weather Stations  |  Feb 13, 2020  10:27:20 AM

  14. karlgarcia says:

    On my concern about a bloated bureacracy.
    AI will make my concern moot.

      • karlgarcia says:

        I reiterate 1.1 T out of 4.1 T for personnel services is not troubling?
        Then the automatic appropriation for debt services, it can be half a trillion more or less.
        How can we operate with this?

        Copy the Sander’s template and even reduce defense spending.(not good for us)
        Eliminate pork and other insertions
        I still do not think we can afford to nationalize with our current setup.

      • sonny says:

        Great article: spot-on objective, comprehensive overview, scalable areas for strategy & tactics. Thanks for finding & sharng, Neph. Only two comments, sadly even though both are good reactions.

        • karlgarcia says:

          The comment with meat wants entrepreneurship in the curriculum, maybe elementary onwards.
          I agree with Micha, that the 1 percent rule must stop one day.

          But the problem is everyone wants to be big , once they are big, there is no looking back.

  15. Andres 2018. says:

    If US did something last time during the Scarborough Incident Pinoys would be cheering for Americans even until now. But no, they did not, thats why they are viewed as useless.

    Time to replace those M16 with QBZ.

    • They are not viewed as useless. The US remains popular among Filipinos. China not. The VFA was terminated out of Duterte/Go/Yang/Uycabal’s desire to bring China in. DFA and defense argued to keep the VFA in place. Your post is a pile of poppycock and you know it. How can we trust anything you say, eh?

      • Andres 2018. says:

        Well, the “essence” of my post is actually to question what did US “helped” when China hits Scarborough. Would be glad if you or anyone will enlighten.

        • We could assume the US figured it was not worth American lives to defend Scarborough. It was not the right trigger to the MDT. Other than that, your guess is as good as anyone’s, but you ought to stop with the misstatements. You are not in moderation whereas an American corporal is. Go figure. You need to earn your freedom, however.

          • kasambahay says:

            our defense chief was verifying and verifying again chinese presence in scarborough.

            scarborough is not american territory for americans to defend. it is ours, we should be the ones defending scarborough and not passing the buck to americans.

            chain of command, defense chief listens to the president. and when the president said leave the chinese in scarborough alone for they are friends and will make us rich, defense chief can only salute, sir, yes, sir.

            • kasambahay says:

              sadly the chinese did not make us rich, only added more to our misery. chinese criminals are now in the country, running prostitution dens, kidnapping fellow chinese, operating gambling houses, etc, and spreading covid-19.

            • Andres is talking about the tensions in play when both Chinese and Filipino ships occupied the shoal. Filipino ships left but Chinese ships did not. Andres and trolls argue the US made them leave, thus turning the shoal over to the Chinese. I understand from Sen Trillanes (direct and in person) that it was more complex than that. Specifics are still sealed, secret and confidential.

      • karlgarcia says:

        So many claimants to the disputed islands, you want the US to dip their fingers in that dispute without a code of conduct?

        That is in addition to what Joe and kb said.

  16. Filipinos are probably adjusting to the idea of a Chinese-oriented country already, just like they adjusted from a Spanish to an American Philippines, the a Japanese Philippines and back.

    In Bicol, the old guard was nationalistic when the US came, seeking to keep their privileges. Americanistas were the upstarts who hoped to gain by carrying favor with the new masters.

    Nancy Binay is nationalistic these days because she knows the Chinese will treat her like a maid. Other Filipinos like Krizette Laureta Chu probably hope to pass for almost real Chinese very soon.

    • Andres 2018. says:

      China is sweeping the world, my friend from US sent me a balikbayan box with made-in-china goods. China will invade (or invaded) the Philippines by becoming its market. Its a matter of time that our military gadgets will all be made-in-china. More like an “economic” invasion. China militarization will be limited only in those islands, i doubt if China will try to have a military base within the Philippine mainland like what US did. And of course, Filipino oligarchs already knew this, and they already know what to do.

      • Micha says:

        I don’t think that this hostile aggressive economic strategy is sustainable. China is nothing but the factory floor of the world right now. The goods that your friend sent you might be made in China but the trademark brands are still, I would guess, American.

        If China continues to behave as a hostile economic power, it will only be a matter of time that the rest of the world will push back and yank the privilege of being granted the hub of cheap manufacturing.

        Already, strains do appear in Chinese economic landscape as workers start to demand for higher wages undermining its leverage on cheap labor.

        And why are those Chinese nationals in the Philippines looking for work?

    • Eye-opening perspective. Thanks. And many will take up Mandarin. I chuckle though, that all the legal documents are written in English.

      • kasambahay says:

        I’m taking up mandarin mostly because I want to know what the chinese are saying right in front of me and also behind my back, thick as thieves they are, yapping and talking among themselves, and whispering softly when people like me is nearby, haha.

        learning another language is not only a challenge and good for self improvement, but also good for orientation and though processes.

        and even if I speak fluent mandarin, I doubt if the chinese will take me into their confidence. I dont have the pedigree of being of true chinese blood, both parents bred and born in china, their names found in centuries old chinese scrolls.

  17. Centuries of colonialism have bred Filipino elites that are mostly content with selling whatever they can sell to each new conqueror than doing the hard work of building a true nation with its own industries and defence. Sure that is a luxurious, comfortable life. For those at the top it is.

    • Micha says:

      Philippine economy is largely a conglomeration of rent seeking business mafia. They’ve divvied up the spoils and crown jewels of the country without producing much of anything.

      We went from agriculture base and leap-frogged to service economy bypassing the industrialization phase.

      Now we have mafia groupings like Lopez Group of Companies or JG Summit Holdings, or Metro Pacific Corporation engaged in monopolies of public utilities, service industry, media ownership and banking..

      GDP growth is mostly concentrated on this sector and therefore wealth accumulates only at the top and we have billionaire taipans while the rest of the country are fed morsels and scrap, if at all.

      That’s what it means when they brandish a 6 or 8% growth in the economy.

      6% growth but you keep on seeing emaciated, ill-nourished folks everywhere.

      We have growth alright, but growth for whom?

      • karlgarcia says:

        Each and every nation has their version of the one percenters.

        Trickle down economics only ends in someone’s pockets.

        • Micha says:

          Which is why confronting the Lopezes on their ABS franchise is a step in the right direction.

          • karlgarcia says:

            Part of me wants to agree with you, more than 40 percent maybe.
            But unless small players can provide thousands of jobs.
            Or a hundred small players hire hundreds of workers…
            ??? Out of words.

            • Micha says:

              Small players in what?

              • karlgarcia says:

                Forget players – SMEs

              • Micha says:

                You mean you want SME’s to provide employment for those affected by ABS-CBN closing?

              • karlgarcia says:

                I hope this makes sense.

                I hope there would be small media players to hire related positions.
                Those unrelated positions can hopefully be absorbed by others.

                I agree with you that it is not the end of the world and nationalization minus my arguments on the how, will solve many things.

              • Micha says:

                The purpose of closing ABS-CBN is to deny the Lopez oligarchs the platform to numb and dumb the masses with idiotic telenovelas, tabloid news, and noontime circus while their rent seeking enterprises go on looting the country’s crown jewels.

            • sonny says:

              Karl, intuitively I must say all positive inputs must be employed, e.g. the trimming of the non-qualifying patronage/padrino spillover payroll of the gov’t bureaucracies that will be displaced, improving the performance of the PISA population, employing the displaced castoffs of public & private sectors via SME enterprises, providing co-op (OTJ) opportunities for the tech-voc graduates, etc.

            • Big players who personally own huge firms are rare in Germany nowadays. The times when Krupp and the Kaiser met personally and Krupp cast steel for the military, when Siemens was still Dr. Werner von.. all stockholder owned companies nowadays.

              The only big player where the majority stockholder is still visible and directly influential is BTW with the Quandt family. Susanne Klatten became the most visible member of the family a decade ago when Swiss con man / gigolo Helg Sgarbi tricked her out of millions.

              In Germany you will have solidly upper to upper middle class families (but also banks and insurances) with their fingers in stocks, in the USA it is the large pension funds.

              SMEs alone will not employ everyone. When I think of the phone shops that sell phones and contracts over here, what would they sell without the telecoms firms and phone manufacturers? Three bargain chains have replaced old grocery stores over here.

              There are dozens of (rarely nice) property developers and not just a Cynthia Villar here.

              • joint stock firms work well I think in countries where people can be trusted with other people’s money. I doubt that a public company in the Philippines without one big man at least in charge would last for long without getting looted.

                Just like real political parties work only were politicians are true representatives of the mandate given them, like someone given power of attorney must be trustworthy.

                Big man politics and business is the natural consequence of a low trust society.

              • karlgarcia says:


              • sonny says:

                Karl, the Chicago City Gov’t and Cook County where Chicago is situated is in my opinion a very good example of citizen governance riddled with special interests engaged in a “mexican standoff” with everyone walking a tightrope above a crocodile-infested river of power/greed. Inspite of this, the citizens get the net takeaway of being a city that works. Unbelievable but true.

              • karlgarcia says:

                Al Capone lives.

            • kasambahay says:

              I’ll go with karlg, let sleeping dogs lie. though I probly go further and say people wants their usual dose of melancholia abs-cbn provides. there’s nothing wrong with being dumb, born that way sila. will never be smart like others. to each his own. and being made scapegoat for all that ails the nation is not going to make dumb people like me smart. we’ll just dig in deeper.

              why kneecap abs-cbn? surely there are media houses who can compete, do better and hit much better type of audience. why are they not giving their all and compete to the high heaves? ans. because they own shares and have invested heavily in abs-cbn. gives them high return for their money. I’ll drink to that!

              • kasambahay says:

                solgen calida wants to kill the golden goose abs-cbn.

              • kasambahay says:

                once the golden goose is dead, there is no guarantee the next goose is going to do better and be what the golden goose is not.

                though new goose can be as the previous goose, or do worse. for it would have to cater to the same dumb audience that love the same dumb shows, or risk losing patronage.

              • karlgarcia says:

                Btw I tweeted a paraphrased comment of yours about Bato”s sibling’s.

              • kasambahay says:

                cheers, karlg, and stay out of trouble, haha.

              • karlgarcia says:

                Will do kb.

  18. Cant believe DDS are still this retarded😂

  19. karlgarcia says:

    Andres wants us to welcome Chinese weapons manufacturerd or trade with them.

    Here are the implications.
    The firm that intends to deal with us is a sanctioned entity.

    The CAATS act should be condidered.

    Duterte is now praising Trump after being told: “Good Riddance!”

  20. Dippindotz says:


    “We have still have a long way to go before solving the problem of partisanship.”-Jay Van Bavel, TED-Ed Video.

    Indeed, we are living in a very partisan world: North vs. South, East vs. West, monotheism vs. atheism, democracy vs. communism, eco warriors vs. polluters, modernism vs tradition, globalist vs. nationalists, scientists/professionals vs. trapos, intellectuals vs. tyrants, elites vs. peons, this network vs. that network, upper vs. middle vs. lower classes, enlightened vs. close-minded, anti-sociopathy vs. pro-sociopathy, Lakers vs. Bucks, browns vs. yellows, and so much more!

    There’s so much ego, pride, and self-interests getting in the way of truth. As long as we don’t prioritize the central principles like truth, faith, and love, we will all live in conflict. There is no justice nor law without truth. There is no courage nor hope without faith. There is no kindness nor solidarity nor life without love.

    Do we have the time before the Doomsday clock runs out???

    • Ego, pride, and self interests getting in the way of truth. Which, of course, means most of humankind is dealing dishonestly. And doesn’t know it. But we can certainly see it. I’m not optimistic.

      • Dippindotz says:

        I’ve seen and felt it up close a few times. One memorable instance happened a long time ago, in a leadership seminar. There was a discussion and an exercise (I don’t remember exactly how this went now) led by a mentor about the ego and its pitfalls against success. Although I think the points were well presented there was an individual who got offended during h** turn, stepped out of the room crying, and never got back. However, the reason for the misunderstanding could be anything, like, psychological, wrong choice of words, perception, etc. I think the person never really got the point.

        In today’s culture and society, people go for “the need for validation” for one’s existence because it feels good. Being superior over others feels really good and somewhat addictive. Another case in point is the cover-up of managerial blunders (of governments) to keep a spotless performance for…”national pride”.

        Anyway, one of the valuable takeaways in the seminar was “truth/facts does not hurt…it is your ego that hurts,” and people usually can’t handle it.

        Off topic:

        If the names you posted recently on twitter and that which PDI posted in today’s “More Voices” are synonymous to evil (+Maduro, Assad), we might be living in these times right now: 1 John 2: 18-19. Also, some in your list parallels that of Billy Eddy’s in:

        Cheers! 100 mins. to midnight!

  21. NHerrera says:


    In the two charts below [taken from The Economist] about the effects of covid-19, I am more focused on the chart at the left.

    The left chart tells the effects on several items which involves the inventory buffer days for the items versus alternative sources of supply, considering that the worldwide supply chain depends a lot on China, the center of the covid-19 storm.

    It is understandable, for example, that apparel, though having a 20-day inventory buffer days, have alternative sources and thus has less risk. But not so tech items. But I am more concerned about pharma items which although it has a 40-day buffer poses a greater risk because in the supply chain a lot comes from China, and so alternative sources are scarce. Note that if Jan 20 is the reference date from which date the confirmed cases of the virus ballooned, then 40 days is about the end of this February.

    The poor will again be badly hit [including poor me] with the price rise in pharmaceutical products.

    • NHerrera says:

      Regarding the time-extent of covid-19, we have these:

      Last week, top Chinese epidemiologist Zhong Nanshan said the epidemic should peak in China this month before subsiding, but the WHO said the outbreak remained hard to assess.

      “I think it’s way too early to try to predict the beginning, the middle or the end of this epidemic right now,” said Michael Ryan, head of the WHO’s health emergencies programme.

      “This is continuing to grow in scope and magnitude,” said William Reinsch, a senior adviser at the Center for Strategic and International Studies. “It could end being really, really big, and really, really serious.”

      And these are experts talking!

      Methinks between the Chinese [read, Xi Jingping’s] expert and the other experts, the reality may come to something in between?

      Which brings me back to the current blog. Between the US and China, Filipinos should not treat statements coming from either as “gospel,” but something in between — but closer to US’s [I am of course biased].

        • Marijke says:

          @karlgarcia, “If the H5N1 virus were to change and become easily transmissible from person to person while retaining its capacity to cause severe disease, the consequences for public health could be very serious,” WHO said in a statement.

          It is possible, but difficult, to transmit bird flu from person to person, according to the World Health Organisation (WHO).

          If, if, if, …….

          • NHerrera says:

            That is some relief. If …
            Just joking here, Marijke.

            • Marijke says:

              Why China’s commitment and ability to contain the coronavirus outbreak should not be doubted:

              – Confidence in Beijing’s pledge to end the epidemic is rooted in the country’s record in mass mobilization to achieve objectives, including poverty alleviation.
              – The party leadership has also shown a willingness to change and correct mistakes, as seen in its admission of shortcomings in containment efforts so far.


              • NHerrera says:

                Agreed. But let me add: but protect the the reputation of President-for-life Xi Jingping by all means, at least in China. Read this:


                By the way, that Jan 7 statement of Xi was released by China’s official-dome. Because, I believe, that the relevant content of that will come out sooner rather than later.

                Cheers to you too.

              • Marijke says:

                @ NHerrera. Instead of looking at the will of an entire system of government acting faster than any other government on the planet could, we are one month later, still busy bashing a few local government officials in Wuhan and Xi who should have told us a couple weeks sooner. And yes, that is true those local officials screwed up.

                Secondly, on this point, every provincial government has sent out a notice to its government officials pretty much saying that if they are stupid enough to do the same, they will face the wrath of harsh punishment. I don’t doubt it for a moment. Lets contrast to what countless western politicians have gotten away with and remain in office to remind all of us that human error, stupidity and greed is not unique to any particular skin color or race or country.

              • Marijke says:

                And regarding the doctor, in fact he was spreading rumours. He was telling his friends in WeChat group that SARS is coming back after he only saw seven suspected cases. And he made the conclusion on the next day without any in-depth study on this new virus. He was too rush to make the conclusion.


              • kasambahay says:

                since nherrera is away, kasambahay mouse will play! yahhhoooooo!

                okay, marijke’s ‘countless western politicians have gotten away with and remain in office to remind all of us that human error, stupidity and greed is not unique to any particular skin color or race or country.’ is almighty conundrumous and highly so.

                marijke need not worry about western politicians, they got changed regularly via democratic election, unlike china that has a president for life. xi has not appointed a successor? what happen when the car xi’s traveling got eaten by sinkhole chilna is famous for? who’ll rule china then? what if xi has heart attack and his bodyguards/medics cannot give him help on time?

                in case of emergency, western politicians have sworn stand ins ready to take over the govt and the running of the nation, transition will be smooth. no need for them to be running around like headless chickens looking for successor in all nooks and crannies.

              • kasambahay says:

                since no one is speaking for the dead chinese whistle blower doctor, if that’s the doctor marijke is talking about, him being rush to jump to conclusion, I will speak on the doctor’s behalf and damn all!

                the doctor was treated badly when he was alive and now dead, treated badly still. and that really make the hairs in me nose curled in anger.

                rushing and jumping to conclusion was the doctor’s right and I invoke his profession. he has to keep up the status quo, participate in research, contribute to knowledge base and publish finding, and he did all! discussed with his friends and fellow doctors and published finding in the internet, fastest way to reach out to others of his ilk. time was of the essence, the virus has no respect for time, it was a killing machine that killed in less than 10 days of infection. sadly for the doctor, govt officials got to him and punished him for spreading fake news that turned out to be the truest of news.

                it was regrettable the chinese minister of health did not get on board earlier and took control of the situation. if there was power play, the whistleblower doctor was at the receiving end, and paid for his life. he succumbed to the virus. 6 other health workers succumbed as well. may they all rest in peace.

          • karlgarcia says:

            Then there is no reason to cull the chicjens.
            Let us all eat Fried Chicken.

          • karlgarcia says:

            If only there is no such thing inter-species transmission.
            The ASF should be a lesson, if we buy infected pigs, we might still spread ASF to other swine because of the lefrovers fed to them.

            For bird flu, though chicken feed hopefully does not have chicken parts unlike pig slop that may contain pig parts…
            Call it fear of the unknown. Thanks

      • NHerrera says:

        karl: When it rains, it pours.

  22. NHerrera says:


    In an editorial, Inquirer wrote about the “Inhospitable Climate” for this. There are external causes, of course, but there are internal causes too which the editorial explains.

    Moving forward, will the cause include also the “pivot to China” — which will be aided by the recent move against the VFA?

    • karlgarcia says:

      Yikes NH,
      I read big business and I remembered what kb said about let sleeping dogs lie.

      I do not want to peeve Micha by talking about her pet peeve.

    • kasambahay says:

      ayay, solgen calida wants to quo warranto abs-cbn dahil foreign owned kuno, maybe because the lopezes ay mukhang mga mestizo, haha.

      • karlgarcia says:

        ‘I Am Chinese’: Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte’s Awkward Charm Offensive in China

        He already told the world that he is Chinese.(2016)

        • kasambahay says:

          one time, maranaw kuno siya, that was to endear hisself to the people of marawi hoping maybe, they’d stop insisting on rehab of the bedraggled marawi city, still ruins up to now.

          then, tausog kuno siya, hoping to appease the abu sayaffers, kinship rules!

          and he being chinese is to me, the bottom of the pit. his mother had she been alive, must be wondering what sort of cuckoo she had brought up, haha.

          would have been better had he wed a maranaw, a tausog, and a chinese, so he can claim kinship to all three, therefore by proxy, an authority of the subject.

          china-sation of abs-cbn is what he is about. apparently, the chinese are not foreigners.

  23. Wal says:

    There is a law in the Philippines that would prohibit a foreigner from being politically sensitive.

    Punishment could be deportation. And yes, you remain a foreigner even if you were born here and grew up here but has no Filipino parent. If the government feels that you are having a sentiment contrary to the laws of the Philippines, whether moral or no, you maybe deported.

    • What’s your point, Wal? You making a threat? I don’t engage in politics. I write opinions. The Philippines allows them. But its leaders do what they want, so we all bear risks. Even innocents such as yourself can end up on a list.

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