Herman Tiu Laurel / Phil-BRICS Strategic Studies / August 14, 2020

(Part 1)

Professor Elmer M. Soriano (MPA) and Dean of the College of Political science and Pubic Administration of the Polytechnic University of the Philippines (PUP) conducted a “Survey on Filipino Perceptions on Covid-19 through July 1 to 17, 2020. Some of the key findings in connection with perceptions of China and the U.S. are as follows:

1)      Awareness of countries that demonstrated Global Leadership: China, 38.7%; USA, 19.7%

2)      How do you rate the following country’s Policy Response?: China 6.6; USA, 4.8

3)      Which of the following countries do you think can develop a new coronavirus vaccine the fastest possible?: China, 26.1%; USA, 20.3%

4)      Which country has demonstrated its global leadership during the Covid-19 pandemic?: China, 40.2%; USA, 16.2%

5)      Which countries or international organizations you are aware of are helping the Philippines fight against the Covid-19 pandemic?: China, 66.4%; USA, 34.5%

6)      Which of the following countries would you expect to have a rapid recovery from the crisis? China, 50.7%; USA, 12.3%

95.6% of respondents had Tertiary/University education or higher, 54.1% between ages 18-34, 72.9% from Metro-Manila and 77.1% are Filipinos.

What the figures show is a growing margin of Filipinos finally awakening to the competence and benevolence of China, its good works in the world and with the Philippines, lie perceptions of the U.S.A. are becoming more realistic and sobering.

This shift in positive attitudes to China has been a global trend as we reported previously from the German Dalia Global Perception Survey (see June 23, 2020 sovereignph.com issue), “… only three countries out of the 53 surveyed say the US handled the coronavirus better than China, and only a third of people around the world said the US responded well compared to 60% who said China was better.”

The “Ungga-Unggas”: PDI, JPE, Bono et al.

This article was originally a response to two Facebook posts, one by former Senator Juan Ponce Enrile expressing supposed concern about the Fuga Islands group that “… a foreign power, directly or indirectly, and most especially a foreign power like red China” seeks to control them and threaten the security of the Philippines. The other former assemblyman Homobono Adaza’s usual diarrhea of words on foreign affairs and China.

“Ungga-ungga” is an Indo-Malay mythical figure which in Pilipino folklore is described by illustrator and playwright Carlo Vergara “aswang” but disembodies from the neck and the head flies about seeking humans to eat. Enrile tried to raise an “ungga-ungga” to frighten childish minds around his posts that panders intellectual fakery, demagoguery and mental incompetence.

JPE unmasks himself as a slapdash in geostrategy when he describes the Fuga Island group as a “dagger pointed at the very heart of the country,” the heart which he mistakes methinks to be his home province of Cagayan which is only the heart of the used car smuggling industry in Enrile’s political turf in the early 2000s – which fortunately today has been curbed by the new CEZA.

Bono Adaza on the other hand went into his usual diarrhea (1,800 words) rambling from Mark Anthony’s eulogy to the Godfather, to the fine taste for women of Digong and Enrile then sandwiching in just one sentence his point, “Allowing China direct or indirect control of Fuga Island group is… prejudicial to those who are using the sea lands in the area like the United States of America. It is a wake-up call…”

The real cat jumped out of the bag.

These two are the “ungga-unggas” codding the perilous (to the Filipino nation) security interest of the U.S.A, it has long been using the waters around the Fuga islands as its gateway to the China Sea – to intimidate, harass, threaten with their submarines. It is the US, the invader and inveigler of the Philippines and its Revolution, behind these two “ungga-unggas.”

But let me add the PDI (Philippine Daily Inquirer) to the “ungga-ungga” swarm for its persistent though baseless China-bashing and Duterte demolition theme recently displayed in its editorial on “And now, POGOS and pangolins” throwing 31,000 Filipinos jobs and tens of billions of tax revenues with the bathwater on dubious claims of causing pangolin trafficking. Again, PDI is basing an editorial on ignorance.

In China pangolins are “first class protected animals” and hunting it prohibited since 2007, it is on the same level as the endangered Giant Panda. It is a sign of the endemic Philippine poverty and enforcement limitations of the DENR in stopping trafficking in such species. Instead of blaming POGOs PDI and the foreign funded “Traffic” should be helping the crack down  –- and BTW pangolins are a delicacy in all of Asia, not only China.

It is this callousness of the “ungga-unggas” over economic consequences and jobs losses that raises the hackles, especially during these times when hundreds of thousands of OFWs are repatriating without jobs waiting and literally millions of domestic jobs are already lost and many no longer to be replaced.

The “ungga-unggas” are not mythical figures – they are real economic saboteurs and criminals.

For the Duterte administration the POGOs are still a party to negotiations over taxes and security measures, while tens of thousands of Filipino jobs continue to be sustained. Pagcor continues to support the POGOs keeping at bay their threatened exodus to other countries.

That’s welcome for 31,000 Filipino workers and even more downstream service industries catering to persona needs (helpers, cooks, taxi drivers, etc.) of POGO Mandarin-speaking service agents.

Idyllic Fuga: HK and Hawaii in one

Like POGO, the commercial propositions for the development of the Fuga Islands group are purely capitalist schemes to generate business and profit – and tangentially, for national economic planners jump start regional economic development in under-invested and under-developed areas such as northern Luzon which has been a severe case of neglected development – it may even be the backwaters of Luzon.

Because the “ungga-unggas” Enrile and Bono Adaza sees the world and the Philippines through the eyes of Amboys, American Boys if the reader is not old enough to know, they see only the security angle to the group of islands. These two has-beens are inured to the poverty of their nation and have only loquacious but feigned interest in real economic development.

Businessmen the world other have also only one perspective, seeing opportunities for business and profit when they see one. That’s what they see in the Fuga islands group amazed by the islands’ unique sands, shores, seas and ocean – and proximity to Taiwan, Hong Kong (and China. Those Chinese financial hubs are just 45 minutes and one-hour by plane to Fuga while its two hours away from Aparri.

In the early 1990s the late Tsinoy super-tycoon Tan Yu, said to be a Kuomintang crony (though wisely also a heavy investor in mainland China) bought Fuga and some of its adjacent islands to develop into the $ 12-billion “Hong Kong and Hawaii of the 21st Century”. He envisioned the islands as a haven for Chinese investors to lead to the economic development of the entire northern Luzon.

Tan Yu passed away before the dream could be realized, the islands and northern Luzon slept for three decades more – except for frequent nightmares of senate investigations of massive used-car smuggling in the turf of then Senator Juan Ponce Enrile and Pecabar dragged in.

The CEZA (Cagayan Economic Zone Authority) continued to welcome similar proposition for the Fuga islands and one did come in 2019, from a business group in Fujian, China.

Several project proposals have cropped up over the decades but only recently did some serious one land on the CEZA table for consideration, but quicker than one can wink an eye the usual suspect Amboy media and politicos raised howls that up to this time rages.

The infamously National Endowment for Democracy (CIA 2.0) – funded Rappler went on a rampage, Inquirer’s Ceres Doyo dons her Jeanne d’Arc armor, Richard Heydarian jumps into action in Asia Times, now JPE and Bona ad nausea.

All the Amboys and their media have one and only one scintillating heroic cry – National Interest and National Security!

What’s Philippine’s National Interest?

The “ungga-unggas” repeat the mantra of “national interest” and “national security” in their opposition to anything and any issue relating to China, as in the Fuga case.

Except for the debunked “territorial claim” dispute which Manila Times columnist Bobi Tiglao quotes Paul calls the “Yellow zombie idea” quoting Paul Krugman on an idea “that should have been killed by contrary evidence, but instead keep shambling along, eating people’s brains.”

For the record, with two quotes plus the empirical experience of the past four years we debunk this “arbitration” again.

In July 2016 U.N. spokesman Stephane Dujarric said, “The UN doesn’t have a position on the legal and procedural merits” of the South China Sea arbitration case, and International Court of Justice magistrate Abdul Koroma in the same period diplomatically said, “The Tribunal on S. China Sea disputes not primary judicial branch of UN…”

Those two statements explain why the arbitration “award” to the Philippines is just a “zombie idea” kept alive by US Dollars to Philippine media, and still pollutes the public mind though in diminishing severity through the past four years.

The Amboys zombies, i.e. PDI, Rappler, Enrile, Bono Adaza et al, are the incarnations of intellectual depravity and treason against the Filipino culture.

Let us state the plain, simple and true definition of our National Interest upon which our National Security depend, just two words – Economic Development. There can hardly be any national security for a nation that’s too poor to afford a decent life for its masses, hence poverty is the real enemy.

Poverty is also the main ally of the subversives and insurgents from the NPA to the Abu Sayyaf.

The other ally of poverty is the United States of America which has kept the Philippines under its debt trap throughout the entire 20th century, de-industrialized it and privatized its public utilities to the detriment of economic development. Plus regular “regime change” color revolutions unseating truly independent leaders such as Ferdinand E. Marcos, Joseph E. Estrada and now if they could, President Rodrigo R. Duterte.

The U.S. continues to be the chief enemy of our Philippine National Interest and main threat to our National Security by it tenacious support for the destabilizers of our society – rallying to the defense of destructive human rights activists and NPA terrorists degrading the order and security of Philippine society, backing the rabid information war against the government and its independent foreign policy, and to put us as a shield against China.

Now, the U.S. wants to stop economic development in the Fuga group of islands.

For an excuse against the proposed business proposals, various Philippine power elite factions genuflecting to the Americans (with some in the Philippine Navy brass lying supine) hastily submit a plan for a Philippine Naval Base installation on Fuga Island – as if a Naval base necessarily negates the feasibility of an economic development project around it.

The prospect of tens of billion of dollars investment to develop Fuga island and its adjacent assets including northern Luzon, is defeated by a proposition for a Naval Base that only god knows what development it could bring.

The U.S. and its minions here obviously believe that will stop U.S. rivals from tracking passing U.S. submarines – but that, of course, is fallacious and China doesn’t need any base in Fuga or adjacent islands at all.

The loser in the Fuga Islands “ungga-ungga” farce is the Filipino people. China is already winning on all fronts, in the eyes of the Filipino people as well as the COVID-19 survey shows, and that is only the beginning.

For those who genuinely love the Filipino people and care for their economic growth and prosperity, this is the moment to burn the “ungga-unggas” at the stake and secure the prospects of Philippine economic prosperity with unhindered cooperation with China. (ia/SPH)

(Next: China, Pillar for Philippine Economic Growth)

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