A blip, not a strain, on PH-Taiwan relations

It is most unfortunate that the government of Taiwan has suspended the issuance of visas to Filipinos intending to either work or visit their island. The suspension was in reaction to the unfortunate killing of a Taiwanese fisherman by the Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) in contested waters a few days ago.
The emotional reaction is understandable because Taiwan considers itself the aggrieved party. But Taiwan-Philippine relations have always been excellent, and there is no reason why they should not continue to remain so.

Sooner or later, the incident will be seen in its proper perspective. The PCG was only doing its job, and had no intention of inflicting harm, much less causing the death, of the fisherman from Taiwan. A representative from the Philippine government has already visited the family of the victim to offer condolences and to explain why the country had to act the way it did.

The Taiwanese should understand the Philippines’ situation vis-à-vis its territorial waters. China, for one, has been aggressively asserting its claim on Philippine territory in recent months and taking no action against perceived threats is not an acceptable option.

Unlike China, Taiwan may be easier to talk to where territorial conflicts are concerned.

One tragic event should not permanently strain Philippine-Taiwan relations.


Political Families Have Much to Celebrate After Philippine Elections

In the Philippines, a political family that runs together, wins big together.

Former Philippine first lady Imelda Marcos, with her children Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr., right, and daughter Irene Marcos-Araneta, left, fill in ballots on Monday in the country’s midterm elections.

And among them, the family of Vice President Jejomar Binay appears the biggest winner after Monday’s midterm elections.  Mr. Binay wasn’t running in the elections. But two of his daughters were vying for seats in the Philippine Congress: Nancy, for a seat in the Senate, while Abigail sought re-election as Makati representative.  Mr. Binay’s son and namesake, Jejomar Jr., sought a second-term as mayor of Makati, the position that his father last held before winning the vice presidency.

Both Jejomar Jr. and Abigail Binay won re-election by landslides, while Nancy came in fifth among the top vote-getters for the 12 seats up for grabs in the Senate.

The family of the late President Ferdinand Marcos also continued to dominate politics in his home province of Ilocos Norte. His 83-year-old widow Imelda won another term as congresswoman by a landslide and his eldest daughter, Imee, won after running unopposed as governor of the province some 480 kilometers north of Manila. Ferdinand Marcos Jr. was elected senator in 2010 and won’t be up for re-election until 2016. Before he was elected as senator, he served as congressman and governor of Ilocos Norte, positions now held by his mother and sister, respectively.

In the south, boxing superstar Emmanuel “Pacman” Pacquiao will comfortably win a second term as representative of the lone congressional district of the province of Sarangani. His wife,  Marie Geraldine, better known as Jinkee, a political neophyte, is leading her rival to the post of vice governor of Sarangani. Roel Pacquiao, the youngest brother of the congressman, is seeking a congressional seat in the first district of South Cotabato.

Roel Pacquiao, the youngest brother of the congressman who was himself running for a congressional seat in the first district of South Cotabato, trails his rival.

Joseph Estrada won as mayor of Manila more than 12 years after being removed from the presidency by a popular uprising. Another son of Mr. Estrada, Joseph Victor, ran for a seat in the Senate and is among the 12 that will serve for six years until 2019. The mother of Joseph Victor won re-election bid as mayor of San Juan, the position that Mr. Estrada first held when he entered politics in 1967. The new mayor of Manila’s nephew, Emilio Ramon Ejercito, won a re-election bid as governor of Laguna, a neighboring province of Manila. Another son, Jose, is an incumbent senator.

Senator Alan Peter Cayetano is also in the top four spots in the preliminary count in the Senate race while his wife, Lani, is set to win a second term as mayor of Taguig City. A brother, Lino, is running as congressional district in Taguig City and is leading the count. Pia Cayetano is an incumbent senator, whose term ends in 2016.

Not everyone with a famous family name is a sure winner. Jack Enrile, son of Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile, is ranked 16th in the race for the Senate. Only the first 12 top vote-getters will win a six-year term.

A study by the Center for People Empowerment in Governance, a local public policy center founded in 2004, showed that 160 families have continuously served both houses of Congress from 1907 to 2004. After the 2010 elections, the policy center found that political dynasties have thrived and their membership even increased.

Philippines Named ‘Most Stupid Country to Elect a 20-Year OJT as a Senator’ by Time Magazine

Flag of PhilippinesMANILA, Philippines — The Philippines has been named as Time’s “Most STUPID Country to Elect a 20-Year OJT as a Senator”.

“The overwhelming victory of a self-professed on-the-job trainee-cum-Senator in the recently held election in the Philippines cemented the country’s fate,” wrote Time’s news director Marilou C. Martin.

She added, “Falling for the diversionary tactics of an inexperienced candidate that saw her steer the issue away from her credibility to her skin complexion to make herself look like the underdog; gave us no choice but to bestow such title to a country, who was destined for greatness before the elections.”

“And yes, we intentionally all-capped the word stupid for added emphasis,” according to Martin.

Time gave special attention to the country’s 11,789,643 registered voters (as of press time) who voted for Nancy Binay, as contributing to the country’s “overall stupidity rating index”.

“These are probably the same 11,289,648 people who had no access to the internet to witness the criticism their bet received for her lack political background or experience.”

The magazine didn’t wait for Comelec’s final and official number of votes Binay received before coming out with the latest issue saying that, “The amount of gullibility and the unprecedented level of idiocy forced us to go to press immediately.”

The article also noted that the country’s saving grace, namely its recent credit rating upgrade, Manny Pacquiao, Jessica Sanchez or Jada Pinkett-Smith asking for a copy of Jericho Rosales’ film did not help one bit.

“Those are only minor achievements as compared to the repercussions the sheer amount of stupidity the recent actions of the Filipino people entails.”

“It’s these kind of situations that not even Lou Diamond Philips winning the Oscars  or the Philippines winning the next Miss Universe can help with your country’s image,” said Martin.

All is not lost however, according to political analyst Mak Jendoza.

Ladies and gentlemen, your future Mayor, Vice Mayor, President, First Lady, Pope and Vice President.

Andyan na yan eh, ano pa magagawa natin (She’s already there, what else can we do)?” said Jendoza. “Siguraduhin nalang natin na hindi na mauulit ito pagdating ng 2016 (We just have to make sure that we shall not repeat this same mistake come 2016).”

Abe eh kung maging presidente ang tatay nyan at madagdagan pa ng isang kapatid sa Senado sa 2016, baka pati ang United Nations hirangin na din tayong mga inutil (If ever her dad became president and another one of her sibling became a senator in 2016, even the United Nations shall name us stupid),” warned Jendoza.

“I can’t say that I’m proud of this recent ‘achievement’ of our country,” said Johnny Manuel Ebola after learning about the magazine cover. “But at least I’m proud to say that I’m not one of those 11,789,643 nincompoops!”