If it would not be said in the context of Chinese astrology, I would think Metal Rat were a name of a hard rock band. But as tradition goes, it’s a rat year. (Doesn’t mouse bear a better connotation?) In keeping with the banging drums that danced along dragons and lions last Saturday, let’s look at the nation’s international interactions. We know all the drama that has gone on with the nation and China for roughly a decade now. But wait, the Middle Kingdom up north isn’t alone in that sort of dealings.
Recently, tensions heated anew between the Philippines and Kuwait (or is it just between President Duterte and Kuwait?). Another Filipina domestic personnel has been a victim of abuse leading to her death. It’s simply heartbreaking how one princess of the Pearl of the Orient was cruelly stripped of her humanity. I wonder why and how such atrocities proliferate in the Middle East? Is it a cultural anomaly? (Well, in the spirit of fairness, there had been similar cases which involved Japanese employers.) To give credit to the Kuwaitis, the culprit has been reportedly apprehended and incarcerated. Our President, being the Punisher from Davao that he is, quickly responded with an employment ban to the Arab nation, considering the unfortunate event as utter disrespect of the Kuwaiti government of the relations between the nations. In case you forgot, there had been an earlier employment ban for Filipinos going to Kuwait which was resolved after commitments on safeguards on the safety of Filipina domestic workers. (Yeah right, as if that’s going to hurt Kuwait. Keeping Filipinos from employment there would only make space and opportunity for Indians, Pakistanis and other nationalities in the same work force.)
Recently, the President has given orders to review the repeal of the Visiting Forces Agreement with the United States; reportedly because Sen. Bato’s US visa was canceled. (So much for watching a Paquiao match in Vegas) The presidential spokesperson of course says that there are other reasons for the President’s decision and the visa cancellation is just the tipping point. But the man himself strongly spews out his sentiments against what he considers as humiliation of the Philippine police and military as a whole. (Really? Maybe he’s the only one who sees it that way because no one else reacted in a similar manner.)The United States also barred the President himself and Mocca Uson from entry to the land of the free and home of the brave. The American government, media and public from Capitol Hill to Comedy Central, have long been critical of the Duterte administration because of the infamy of allegations of extra-judicial killings. Oh yes, there was also a time when President Duterte threatened to declare war against Canada if they had not taken back their shiploads of trash.
Now, on the other corner, we have China. I don’t want to bother looking up when the whole intrusion on the Philippine territory started. It has probably been going on since the time I was in high school. Well, as China claims the territory in question has been traditionally and culturally part of their country, so it could have run for centuries. At least within this century, they have set up camps in islands with Filipino names. They have built artificial islands as military camps. They have intimidated Filipino fishermen who were peacefully and rightfully exercising their trade within the nation’s territorial waters, which has escalated to actually physically hitting a fishing vessel. Right now, they’re still there. For the longest time, it has been obvious that the supply of shabu (the one illicit drug that could be credited for a number of social ills) can be traced to China or Chinese citizens inside the country. Recently, they have brought in another vice in the form of gambling with the pogoes. But I suppose that’s legal. News are filled with apprehended prostitution rings with Chinese prostitutes run by Chinee pimps. There would be reports of Chinese stealing from Chinese, Chinese killing Chinese, in the Philippines. Many Metro Manila residents wouldtestify how Chinese citizens cockily occupy condominium units or hotel rooms seemingly in complete disrespect of neighborly peace and sanitation. The latest import is a deadly virus which is elevating to an epidemic of global scale. Don’t get me wrong. I’m not anti-Chinese. I love my lauriat and all, but they’re trashing the Philippines big time.
But the greatest mystery of all is that despite all of these “kababuyan”, the President has not considered any of the actions of the Chinese as humiliation of any Filipino or the Filipino nation. He did not decide to severe ties, rather, he entered into new agreements, thus establishing new friendships. The President did not order a travel ban or an employment ban to China. He did not threaten a declaration war. I wonder why.
“Open your mouth, judge righteously, defend the rights of the poor and needy.” Proverbs 31:9