Tue. May 24th, 2022
Herman ‘Ka Mentong” Tiu Laurel

On February 11, 2020 President Rodrigo R. Duterte towered high in the Pantheon of Philippine historical figures after sending the formal notice of termination of the Visiting Forces Agreement (VFA) to the U.S. government.

Countless Lilliputians – in his cabinet, in the Senate and Congress, and in the Philippine diplomatic corps – scampered around the soles of his feet in mortification.

These Filipino Lilliputians tried with all their might to put the president’s command in doubt and in a bad light, straining to subvert his sovereign will. Predictably, they failed. And now, their citizenship should all be put under question.

“About Face, Forward March”

If you have watched a military parade, heard the commands and been awed at the unison with which soldiers comply with the command “about face, forward march” you can visualize what the president just did.

Imagine the phalanx of soldiers used to marching in cadence in the past towards the enemies set by the United States of America, who are now commanded to reverse course towards peace and neutrality.

Today, “Forward March” is towards the preservation of security, tranquility and amity with all nations on earth while genuinely stabilizing the internal security of the nation, which is what President Rodrigo R. Duterte set out to do from the very beginning.

The sovereign spirit starts echoing

The spirit of sovereignty begins to echo across the land. From the traditional dependent attitude of the Philippine Armed Forces, we now hear its new Chief of Staff, Gen. Felimon Santos Jr. saying:

“We can live without VFA.  … Nung nawala yung (Military) Bases Agreement … wala namang nangyari sa atin… It will make us more eager to build our own capability…”

That’s the spirit, soldier! That’s the Filipino, unbound!

If Teddy Boy Locsin, Koko Pimentel, Kiko Pangilinan, Dick Gordon et al, had their way, we would still be prostrate before America and parasitic in our foreign and military policy seeking handouts that ultimate defeat the aspirations of the nation.

Friend to All, Enemy to None

All of the Asian and ASEAN neighbors are friends, as they are to China and Russia. Nobody here declares any other nation an enemy or “peer competitor” as the U.S. does of China and Russia.

President Rodrigo R. Duterte and President Xi Jinping elevated Philippine-China ties in November of 2018 in the latter’s visit to Manila to a “comprehensive, strategic cooperation.” In 2019, President Putin declared the Philippines a “very important partner”.

U.S. Defense chief Mark Esper says that the Duterte cancellation of the VFA is a “move in the wrong direction” in this so-called “era of great power competition”; however, it is only the U.S. endlessly seeking competition and surrounding China and Russia with 800 military bases.

China, Millennial Friend

Since 1000 A.D,. Rajah Kiling of the Kingdom of Butuan has been sending trade missions to China, on to Sultan Paduka Batara of the Sulu Sultanate who was declared by Emperor Yongle a brother and the Eastern King.

Through the Galleon Trade, China supplied the tea, silk and porcelain that transited the Philippines through Spain and was sold to Europe. To this day, billions of revenue dollars – from Chinese imports of bananas and other goods and Chinese tourists and businesses –propel the Philippine GDP growth.

In the South China Sea, PHL-China dialogue and cooperation have achieved a 60/40 oil and gas development deal in favor of the Philippines who stands to gain over a hundred billions oil dollars, as well as tens of billions in investments and infrastructures.

Treacherous U.S. aid

In 2017, ISIS-linked Maute jihadists held hostage Marawi City for six months, battling Philippine armed forces. Ironically, ISIS was created by the U.S. CIA, funded by U.S. ally Saudi Arabia, and “sicced” on both enemies and friends of the U.S. to peddle the American “War on Terror.”

The U.S. had mastered the art of terrorist double-dealing earlier in the Afghan war when it recruited Osama bin Laden to form a jihadist group to fight the U.S.S.R. After that war, the jihadists have spread throughout the world and terrorized all continents for the past four decades.

In fact, Ambassador Kristie Kenny of the U.S. has a famous pictured MILF chief Murad Ebrahim in 2008 as they collaborated to create the Bangsamoro Juridical Entity. Any claim to U.S. assistance to the AFP in the Marawi Battle can be correctly understood only in this light.

Pivot to a World free of U.S. hegemony

In 1899, the Philippines was occupied by the United States of America after fighting a mock battle with previous colonizer Spain and paying the latter compensation of $20. And to rid itself of the burden of rebuilding the Philippines after World War II, it granted the latter a sham independence in 1945.

Post-1945 the U.S. imposed Parity Right, and with the Military Bases Agreement, Mutual Defense Treaty (MDT), Visiting Forces Agreement (VFA) and the Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement (EDCA) – the Philippine Republic became no more than a neo-colony.

With President Duterte’s recent abrogation of the VFA, which also practically scuttle the MDT and EDCA, the Philippines has gained full sovereignty and pivots – not to China, as the Amboy would like to say – but an Asia that is free of U.S. hegemony.

No Fear

The fear mongering of the American boys fell flat before these facts: (a) the U.S. is a far third as economic trading partner of the Philippines; (b) American business discount politics in their search for profits; and (c) any American threats of sanctions will isolate the U.S. from Asia more than it does the Philippines.

The Philippines is now free to establish its own arms industry. For example, it can now consider the Russian offer of setting up a joint venture in the manufacture of weapons, including the more reliable AK-47 and its variants.

We shall be free of any chance of violence we see now in the Middle East where drone assassins from Qatar’s U.S. bases kill in Iraq, and Iran responds bombing U.S. bases in Iraq. Would the U.S. and Iran one day bomb the whole of the Middle East to neutralize each other?

In Asia one likely scenario is a self-inflicted false flag on a U.S. Freedom of Navigation (FONOP) that starts an exchange of missiles between China and U.S. hitting also U.S. bases in Philippine communities in the crossfire.

A Lasting Legacy of the True Filipino Leader

President Duterte has already exceeded all expectations of the pledges he enunciated in his inaugural speech in 2016 of “True and meaningful change”.

Indeed, President Duterte has changed Philippine history in the same manner as the founding revolutionaries of the 1896 Revolution and the founding parents of the First Philippine Republic in 1899. (IAMIGO/sovereignph.com)

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