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Tell me who your friends are

Something goes wrong when Asians play the role of big benevolent brothers to other Asians. On the Japanese perspective, the World War 2 territorial conquests were a promotion of what they called an Asian Co-Prosperity Sphere. It was supposed to be a unification of Asian nations for what they deem as “prosperity”, in a society which rekindles Asian cultural roots, rid free of all Western influence. Well, on a cultural standpoint, that could awaken patriotic passions. I guess, that’s why Emilio Aguinaldo decided to support Japanese aims then. But then that prosperity would turn out to be pitiless penalty for East Asia from north to south. Now, from the recesses of the rape of Nanking, rises a revolution of relations. This incarnation does not come in imperial conquest, but with loans with high interest. Maybe Asian authority works for one nation upholding its own welfare, like the Thais remaining unconquered through centuries, and the Vietnamese kicking out the French and the Americans, one after the other. But if one Oriental nation tries to make our version of NATO or Eastern bloc, it doesn’t really go very far. What ever happened to ASEAN 2015 integration?

We were going to get convinced that majority of the Filipinos have become anti-vaccine advocates. When Sinovac first came, , the queue grew few because the petitioners suddenly remembered they had left lucky charms at home. Doctors had to go on air to desperately campaign against rejection of injection. (Actually, government people bear the responsibility for this sort of response. When the vaccine was just a dream, high ranking officials openly opined of their preferences for Pfizer, and not for them to get the shots first for fear of them being guinea pigs for experiment. These sentiments naturally trickled down the populace. Now, they’re wondering why many Filipinos don’t want to roll up their sleeves..) These past weeks, when the stateside vaccine touched the shores, Pinoys in Manila flocked in designated sites for the shots, neglecting social distance, to get some PX goods in vials. It turns out that Filipinos are not really afraid of the needle. In fact, they would go out of their way to crowd like teenage girls in a BTS concert. According to reports, in many cases, the Pfizer vials have been all taken, while the Sinovac ones still had a considerable number remaining. How ironic. Despite the campaign of the democratically elected President who should be representing the people, and his associates who advocated for Filipinos “not to be choosy”, which translates to “choose Chinese”, the people whom they are supposed to be representing and serving, with fervor, en masse resolved to turn the opposite way. This is an open defiance against the one who wants to go and shake the hands of another national leader to express humble gratitude for donations for inoculation. It is a statement saying, |it’s not that we don’t want the vaccines. We just don’t want ‘your vaccines”.

The President’s allies insist that his position has not swayed on Chinese ships on the West Philippine Sea from hither to thither and back again. But as far as we could recall, the President have been friendly, submissive and permissive in consenting that collision of Chinese ships against Filipino fishing vessels could have been something like an accident. Then, time came when he surprised us with a strong stand for the respect of international law and international waters. Then, the pendulum would swing towards the position of sharing our waters with our Chinese neighbors. Then, we swing again to a push for fishermen to continue fishing despite the Chinese fishing ban. The administration seems to be too confused to notice that they have confused themselves.

Yes, our military resources could not stand toe to toe with their overwhelming naval horde. There could have been only one force that could intimidate back our uninvited guests. The Russians could not possibly fit the bill. We’re not sure if the European Union could stand up to it. Even before the controversies on extra-judicial killing and war on drugs, the President has made his anti-American stance and rhetoric very clear. Then he further estranged himself away with policies that left a bad taste on the mouths of US, EU and UN, then decided to cancel the Visiting Forces Agreement because Sen. Bato de la Rosa was denied entry to the next Paquiao fight in Las Vegas, and Mocha Uson barred entry to California which she allegedly thinks is not part of the United States. Now, when the big boss whom you decided to side with, ignores and repeatedly steps at your feet, despite religious devotion, who can you run to? The administration tries to stand up for Filipino rights because that is the noble and reasonable way to go, but retreats when it remembers that it does not pack guns and it could not call a friend who surely packs firepower. What do you do when you need a friend to help you against the one you consider a “friend”?

“Do not be misled: “Bad company corrupts good character.” -1 Corinthians 15:33


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