Wednesday, June 24, 2009

The beach revelers who don’t see the mega tidal wave about to hit them

by William M. Esposo
from Philstar

They have been partying late into the night — too engrossed with the lifestyle of the rich and infamous that they have been enjoying since taking to the beach. They had lost sight of the fact that there are bigger realities out there and that the wheel of life can suddenly turn — sans any warning — to transform the joyful to the sorrowful.

Oblivious to the great danger of a 100-foot mega tidal wave threatening them, the beach revelers continued to feast on gourmet food, drink expensive wine and carouse with the finest specimens for personal playmates that their money could buy. When the mega tidal wave finally hits them, there is little doubt if any of them will be around to offer another toast to the lifestyle of the rich and infamous.

Madame Gloria Macapagal Arroyo (GMA), her cronies and kin can be likened to the beach revelers. Drunk with power and given the false feeling of complacency that nothing in the puny and divided Opposition can deter them from continuing their beach party — they have altogether forgotten the realities and lessons of contemporary Philippine history.

Like the beach revelers, instead of planning their transition and developing their exit points — they have foolishly decided to dig in, order more intoxicating wine and indulge in the ultimate Bacchanalia which is to party forever and ever.

Their wine is branded as Cha cha (Charter change). After gaining a reputation for uttering falsehoods and being associated with cheating and other forms of chicanery, they have deluded themselves into thinking that the nation will buy their rationale for offering Cha cha as the means for economic reform.
Many Filipinos may be drowning in poverty but they are not about to take the offer of the Great White Shark for a ride on its back all the way to the shore. Despite their problems in coping with the Information and Education Gaps, the street smart Filipinos realize that the only place they will land if they accept the offer of the Great White Shark is inside the shark’s belly.
Filipinos know only too well that they have never been as miserable as they have been during the last eight years under GMA. In their minds and hearts, Filipinos know that there is no hope of economic salvation under the present dispensation.

Failing to remember the lessons of our experience with Ferdinand Marcos’ imposition of martial law, GMA and her bunch of party revelers lost sight of the fact that the Opposition is not the only stumbling block they must hurdle in order to keep on partying.

They continue to underestimate the pubic discontent which is not easily detected because it has already advanced from dissatisfaction to cynicism. They also pretend that they do not have a rebellious faction in the military waiting for the time to ripen to make their move.

Most of all, they have forgotten that there is a superpower to which our national fortunes are tied — the US. Anyone who reads contemporary Philippine history will know that nothing significant happens in our country without the shadow of the US behind it — nothing.

Typical of the thinking that fails to see beyond their pug noses, GMA and her bunch of power drunk accomplices forgot about the superpower that can easily engineer mega tidal waves which can alter overnight the political landscape of the country.

The beach revelers forgot that it was the US that sponsored our 1972 martial law imposition and it was also the US that played a key role in ending the Marcos dictatorship. They also forgot that when the December 1, 1989 coup was about to topple the Cory Aquino government, it was the US ‘persuasion flights’ that compelled the military rebels to stand-down.

GMA forgot that the approval of then US President Bill Clinton (through a known golf course designer and close Clinton friend) was secured by the real movers of EDSA II before engaging in activities that resulted in the 2001 turnover of presidential power here.

But then, there is a world of difference between GMA and Ferdinand Marcos. Where GMA can only account for a track record of dubious transactions and elections during her eight years as president, Marcos had always displayed a keen appreciation of history which enabled him to save his life and the lives of his family. Marcos knew when it was time to listen to his US sponsors — to cut and cut clean.

Where Marcos knew his limitations and never lost sight of the fact where his point of orbit was in the galaxy of nations, GMA seems over intoxicated with power and has lost track of the geopolitical realities governing our country. She gravitated to China and it does require too much intelligence to fathom how the US feels about that.

Knowing his geopolitical ABCs, Marcos immediately complied with US suggestion that he hold the 1986 Snap Presidential Election in order to diffuse the political fallout created by the August 21, 1983 assassination of Senator Ninoy Aquino. A political genius like Marcos knew that the Snap Election could well be the US plan for a transition from martial law and the return to democracy. But because it was the US that asked for it, Marcos complied.

In his historic inaugural address, US President Barack Obama warned despotic and corrupt regimes that their days were numbered. One would sense that the warning is to be immediately applied to US vassal states like the Philippines.

During his recent Manila visit, US Defense Secretary Robert Gates stated that the US expects the 2010 presidential elections to proceed without a hitch. In her June 12 address to the Filipino people — without even mentioning once the name of GMA — State Secretary Hillary Clinton emphasized the importance of the Philippines as a beacon of democracy in the world.
Those are the President, Defense Secretary and State Secretary of the US stating clearly and without equivocation their commitment to the Filipino people that the US is there to help democracy flourish here. Any one of those three is enough to state US preference or policy in the Philippines. Therefore, you have to be especially inebriated with the wine of power not to hear what all three of them are saying.

Still, GMA and her cohorts think that they can party forever and ever. It is said: “Pride goeth before the fall.” It is also said: “Whom the gods would destroy, they first make mad.”

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Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Pinoys puzzled by GMA’s ’secret trip’ to Colombia

by Michaela del Callar
from The Daily Tribune

Eyebrows furrowed at the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) after its officers and staff learned that President Arroyo would make side trip to Colombia before heading for Brazil for a state visit. But no one among them could provide a definite answer on why Mrs. Arroyo squeezed her trip to Colombia in between her state visits to Japan and Brazil.

“There will be no official meetings. This is just a private visit,” a DFA source, who did not want to be identified, told the Tribune without elaborating. Other sources were one in saying that only members of the Arroyo family would join the President during her visit to the coastal city of Cartagena off the Caribbean.

Vera Files, which publishes in-depth reports on various socio-political issues, described Mrs. Arroyo’s trip as “secret” and reported that DFA personnel were taken aback that Malaca├▒ang had not disclosed to them the scheduled trip to Cartagena.

According to Vera Files, Philippines has no embassy in Colombia, although Colombia has an honorary consul in the Philippines in the person of former Miss International Stella Marquez-Araneta.

When it asked why the President was traveling to Colombia, Vera Files said a person close to Mrs. Arroyo and whom it did not name answered: “I am asking the same question.”

From Japan, Arroyo was scheduled to fly to San Francisco, California on Saturday for a brief half-a-day stopover before proceeding to Cartagena, Columbia on the same day for the private visit. She will leave Cartagena on Monday for her state visit to Brazil, the sources said.

DFA sources said Mrs. Arroyo declined to be accompanied by her official delegation during the visit to the coastal city of Cartagena off the Carribean.

Vera Files reported that while in Colombia, the First Couple would be the house guests of Jaime Augusto de Zobel and his wife Lizzie. In her first trip to Colombia, Mrs. Arroyo guested the Zobels’ house after she attended the 16th Asia- Pacific Economic Cooperation leaders’ summit in Lima, Peru in November 2008.

This is the second time that Mrs. Arroyo is visiting Colombia while on official trip.

After Colombia, the President will fly to Brazil for a two-day state visit on June 24 and 25 upon the invitation of the Brazilian President Luis Inacio Lula da Silva.

Her trip to Brazil is the first visit of a Philippine leader to the Latin American state. The highest ranking Philippine official to have visited Brazil was Mrs. Arroyo’s father, late President Diosdado Macapagal, who went to Brazil in 1960 when he was Vice President.

Bilateral trade between the two countries has significantly improved over the last four years. The Philippines has significant investments in Recife, in Swape port, with shipping magnate Enrique Razon as the principal investor.

Brazil is also the Philippines’ second largest trade partner in the Latin American region.

Both countries have also forged a Memorandum of Understanding on the Establishment of Bilateral Consultation Mechanism and the Protocol of Intent on Technical Cooperation in the Area of Agrarian Reform.

The Philippines and Brazil are also considered key movers in other regional fora such as the Forum for East Asia-Latin America Cooperation (FEALAC), of which the two countries are members.

Mrs. Arroyo’s husband, Jose Miguel Arroyo, is traveling with her and this will be the first time (if ever he will be on the plane that will make a stopover in San Francisco, California) he will again set foot in the United States after his aborted trip to Lima, Peru with the president.

Last year, Mr. Arroyo was supposedly part of the Philippine delegation to the APEC leaders’ summit. While they were heading to California for a brief stopover prior to reaching Lima, Peru, Mr. Arroyo reportedly experienced abdominal pains that were later attributed to diarrhea and the presidential plane turned back and landed in Osaka, Japan, from where Mr. Arroyo was flown home to Manila for medical treatment.

Months after the APEC leaders’ summit in Peru, coffee houses buzzed with speculations about Mr. Arroyo’s aborted trip to Peru.

Vera Files said the political opposition hinted that Mr. Arroyo was intentionally avoiding the U.S. because, it said, American authorities had wanted to question him about his supposed investments in a number of giant American investment houses that had collapsed.

Mr. Arroyo, Vera Files, said, has not set foot on U.S. soil since, even for the celebrated boxing matches of Manny Pacquiao, of whom he is one of the top patrons.

Vera Files also recalled a side visit President Arroyo made to Washington D. C. in February. At that time, Mrs. Arroyo was en route to the Middle East but she made the side trip to the US capital to attend the National Breakfast Prayer where U.S. President Barack Obama was a speaker. The DFA, however, was informed of the change in itinerary, Vera Files said.

The other day, Philippine Daily Inquirer columnist Amando Doronila, noting the President’ s frequent overseas trips, said she should start arranging for asylum in safe havens before the storm breaks out in Manila. Arroyo’s term ends in June 2010.