Thu. Dec 3rd, 2020

A Thailand broadsheet headlined – ‘Pastillas scheme’ bribe takers got P40 billion from Chinese – repeating the fake news that Philippine senator Risa Hontiveros spread during a hearing involving some Bureau of Immigration personnel. The Thais must be laughing at us. The total number of Chinese tourists who came to the Philippines from 2017 to 2019 was four million. That’s for three years. In 2019 alone, nearly 11 million Chinese nationals visited Thailand, out of a total of 39.8 million foreign tourist arrivals. That’s for one year alone.

Senator Riza Hontiveros is showing signs of schizophrenia, exhibiting symptoms including paranoia and delusions which has been clearly exhibited in several public displays during Senate hearings, reported and published in the broadcast and print media.

Hontiveros has not been alone, she has been joined in by Dick Gordon with his “PLA hiding under the PRA retirees bed” aped by Joel Villanueva, and Kiko Pangilinan with their sinophobic version of “soft invasion” that the Inquirer regurgitated to prolong the totally baseless and ridiculous allegations of a Chinese threat.

 In the most recent “red-tagging” hearings of the senate the lady senator has been recorded and reported making the following statements:

1) “We should not spend such an inordinate amount of time and money on an agency running after ordinary citizens using the communist bogeyman.”

2) “Is this not a more imminent and more compelling threat? All focused on the CPP and NPA— the remnants of an insurgency facing imminent defeat in the battlefield — but there is no objection to the entry in our country by one foreign country. Who is the real peril to our country’s national security? A waning insurgency, or an external threat from a superpower country?”.

In an earlier senate hearing on the Philippine Retirement Authority (PRA) historically railed and flailed at data (one could literally imagine her pulling at her hair and frothing in the mouth from the press reports) of so-called “4-million Chinese invasion” from 2017 to 2019 that upon closer scrutiny are actually figures of official DOT figures of Chinese tourist arrivals those 3 years.

The DOT (Department of Tourism) tried to clarify all these but the modern-day Doña Sisang (the crazy lady in Rizal’s ‘Noli Mi Tangere” has just gone and on with her wild grumblings in one senate hearing after another.

I read one report that cited the DOT’s reaction trying to explain that all the 4-million were tourists and of that only around 30,000 overstayed on average each year, after legally converting their visas for various reasons.

Immigration spokesperson Dana Sandoval confirmed in a radio interview that out of total 4 million arrivals, not more than 100,000 converted their visas during the past three years using the Visa-Upon-Arrival (VUA) window.

The VUA program has already been suspended last January because of the Covid crisis. Since then it has been submitted for review by the Department of Justice for streamlining, and as soon as the pandemic ends, it will no longer grant extensions up to six months but only for a maximum period of 30 days.

Far from the Hontiveros’ allegations, Immigration Jaime Morente has ordered some 3,000 Chinese nationals self-deport because their VUAs have lapsed. This would not have been possibly if the bureau was not strictly monitoring arrivals and expirations.

Riza Hontiveros in the PRA hearing also wildly claimed that the “pastillas” or bribes to Bureau of Immigration officials amount to P 40-billion, computing P10,000 for each of the 4-million. This is not just false math but fake news. As I have already explained, those 4-million were regular tourists that didn’t have to pay anything illegal to enter the country.

They were positive and positive contributors to our economy. Chinese tourists spent a total of $ 2.2-billion last year, this is direly need financial infusion for out Covid debt laden and investment starved economy going forward.  

Besides, 19 immigration employees have been charged among 44 that have been suspended for six months by the Ombudsman over the “pastillas” scam. Even if those charged could not have fleeced more than a few million pesos, harsh disciplinary action await the scalawags.

Bogeyman?

As for Hontiveros’ claim that the communist insurgency is a “bogeyman”, that is “a type of mythical creature used by adults to frighten children…” the facts of past and current history prove otherwise.

Through the period of the first communist insurgency in the time of former President Marcos, the estimated insurgents killed was up to 45,000.

Currently, in the first half of 2020 alone the AFP reports 124 of the CPP-NPA-NDF “terrorists” have been killed by government forces, while effective government civil-military operations have netted 1,705 surrenderees and 378 assorted firearms.

A great part of this success has been the “whole-of-nation” approach of the Task Force in Ending Local Communist Armed Conflict (NTF-ELCAC) also known as the President Duterte’s Balik-Loob Program.  From July 1, 2016 to August 30, 2020 -13,460 former members of the CPP-NPA-NDF have surrendered and availed of Balik-Loob.

This must be the reason why Madame Riza “Sisang” Hontiveros, seems to be panicking and vigorous in her attempt to reframe the narrative to external forces instead of a homegrown communist insurgency.

The senator is a ranking member of Akbayan, yet another member of the Makabayan bloc that Lt. General Anotnio Parlade PA has renamed Kamatayan Bloc.

The CPP-NPA-NDF is no bogeyman just to scare and terrify little children or the naïve, and the deadly figures and statistics of its failed revolution should teach one and all that only the gullible could swallow the naïve generalities senator Riza blabbers off from her mouth.

More than fifty years of this insurgency has taken its toll on the national budget and peace and stability upon which an undisturbed economic development could have prospered without hindrance.

As to the question Hontiveros posed at the senate hearing on “red tagging”, i.e. “Who is the real peril to our country’s national security? A waning insurgency, or an external threat from a superpower country?” the statistics of the insurgency speaks for itself and answer the first question. The second part of her question begs the question.

Senator Hontiveros by the “external threat” refers to China, but that is a fallacy from the very start. If she was referring to the U.S. then there is no dispute as the history of the US with the Philippines has been one of deceit, treachery, betrayal, colonization, mass murder, domination and, in modern times, regime change after regimes change.

But China? For the past millennium China and the Philippines have maintained not only friendly and productive trade but even fraternal and burgeoning commerce. Recorded history marks the start by a few hundred years even before the narrative of the trade missions of Rajah Kiling of the Kingdom of Butuan, and 700 years ago the Voyage of the Sultan of Sulu Paduka Batara of Emperor Yongle of China.

In the era of President Duterte the gift of $ 25-billion investments, loans, donations in just three short years are actualizing before the eyes of the Filipino people. Two bridges over the Pasig will be used by almost a hundred thousand motorists each day by the middle of 2021, and of course dozens of donated projects are already in use the past years ranging from irrigation systems to drug rehab centers.

The $ 4-billion investments in the soon-to-be top Telco “DITO” will vastly boost Internet service speed and cut costs dramatically improve the nation’s economic productivity, but this Hontiveros moans again about her own “bogeyman” of cell site towers of DITO being in Philippine military camps even though scrutinized and approved by our security authorities under similar arrangements with Globe and Smart.

There are now fewer and fewer Filipinos that are afflicted with the colonial mental disease of Sinophobia that the Yellow political movements directed by the Amboys (American boys) and Americans themselves deliberately inculcated over decades and accentuated under the six-years of the Noynoy government.

It is ironic that the last to recover sanity are those elements in the senate, most likely still yearning for American support to restore they Yellow movement to power.

It is vital at this point to inform all Filipinos that these senators are putting the Philippines in a perilous situation of being left behind by the times again. This happened in the 80s when myopic, shortsighted, self-absorbed narrow-nationalism lost the Philippines the first wave of Japanese relocation of its industries to Taiwan, South Korea and Malaysia.

This sinophobe-mania is surfacing again in the Philippines.

While these senators are making every effort to alienate our country and people from the now globally acknowledged largest economy of the world, China having become the top trading partner of 130 countries all over the globe and having fully controlled its Covid outbreaks, the other Asian and Asean countries are rushing to re-open their doors to Chinese official government, business and even tourist travelers.

Here are the latest updates from the Asian travel sector:

“Singapore will lift its border restrictions for visitors from the Chinese mainland and Australia’s Victoria state, starting from November 6…. Other Asian countries are taking similar actions.

“Japan will lift its entry ban on foreign travelers from China, South Korea and six other countries as well as China’s Taiwan region from November for non-tourist arrivals, officials said…

“Thailand has also welcomed two flights with Chinese visitors on the new Special Tourist Visa….”

The Duterte administration has shown its foresight in signing the “green lane” agreement with China the facilitation of essential official and business travel between China and the Philippines, it is high time that the country start preparing for re-opening to Chinese tourists just as Vietnam and Thailand are doing now, and hope for the return of the mass of tourists eager to R & R after the vaccines are widely available and the sense of security is restored.

The Statista site puts the number of Filipinos directly and indirectly employed by the tourism industry at 31.2 million. I was staggered by that number, that considers the hotel and resorts sectors, the food supplies and restaurants, entertainment and ambulant tourist souvenirs vendors ang so many others.

In the Covid-damaged economy and the millions of unemployed by it these tourism jobs should be re-opened as soon as possible, as the universal dictum states – “Two tourists create one local job”.

The Chinese tourists to the Philippines are also the biggest spenders, outspending the South Korean who are the top arrivals in 2019.

How can senators miss all these survival issues for the Filipinos and so mindlessly antagonize the faultless Chinese?

The issues against these senators have been aired not only by me but by several of our colleagues, such as Anna Malindog-Uy in this SovereignPH.com site and Manila Standard columnist Rod Kapunan.

I hope my fellow Filipinos will take note of all these malicious sins of the sinophobe-manic senators and boot them out of the senate in the 2022 elections.

JOIN “POWER THINKS” WITH KA MENTONG LAUREL AND GUESTS

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READ ABOUT COMMUNISM IN AMERICA AND HOW IT GOT TO THE PHILIPPINES:

Part 1: https://sovereignph.com/2020/08/09/weighing-war-zones-the-marxist-connection-so-covert-naked-eye-would-most-likely-miss-it/

Part 2: https://sovereignph.com/2020/09/16/weighing-war-zones-the-marxist-connection-so-overt-naked-eye-would-still-most-likely-miss-it/

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