BEFORE moving on, birthday greetings are in order, first of all, to my beautiful and very supportive editor, ‘Mommy’ Tess Lardizabal, without whom my other tasks as an officer of the National Press Club and presently, as a returning student plus my other “sidelines,” would have been impossible to attend to. May God continue to shower you with blessings! Muwah!
Ditto to my “kumpadre” and “comrade” of nearly 3 decades now, Eric Garafil, who is now on “second childhood” and now loves to spend his time “toying” with his collection of miniature models of warships and tanks. Magpakan…ton, ka naman, brod!
And finally, our congratulations to Lt. General Noel Clement, who is to succeed our good friend, AFP chief, Gen. Benjie Madrigal.
Soon-to-be-full-fledged general Clement would be making a “history” of sorts as he would be the very few among the commanders of the Central Command (covering the Visayas) to be appointed as AFP chief.
But then, he used to be the commander of the 10th ‘Agila’ Division, which, with the “collapse” of the CPP-NPA front in Southern Tagalog and Southern Luzon during the last years of the Macapagal Arroyo administration, has become the “training ground” for our future military leaders, many of whom are also good friends to yours truly.
I never had the occasion to personally meet with Gen. Clement but I am also sure that the BOG (Board of Generals) which recommended him to PDU30 has done its job right.
Incidentally too, with Gen. Clement’s appointment, his ‘Sandiwa Class’ of 1985 of the Philippine Military Academy (PMA) would be “duplicating” the record of the PMA’s ‘Matikas Class’ of 1983, which counts 3 AFP chiefs in its ranks, all good friends of yours truly— Gen. Hernando DCA ‘Dodo’ Iriberri, Gen. Ricardo ‘Bong’ Visaya and my “favourite” among them, Gen. Eduardo ‘Ed’ Año, now the DILG secretary.
Clement would be succeeding two of his “mistah” to the post, Gen. Carlito Gálvez, now our peace adviser and Gen. Benjie. Now, whether Gen. Benjie would also get another government job is a development worth waiting kaya… abangan!
By the time you get to read this, dear readers, yours truly plus other aging, err, veteran journalists from the Philippines would have landed in Beijing for a 10-day friendly and “familiarisation” visit to the Chinese mainland.
China, of course, is a beehive of activity these days as it prepares for the 70th year of its founding as a “people’s republic” (translation: socialist republic) after a bitter civil war lasting more than two decades.
Unfortunately, we would not have the opportunity to be part of the mammoth crowd expected to see China’s military parade, whose grandeur and awesomeness is only rivaled by the military parade of the Russian Federation to commemorate their victory (under the banner of the USSR) against Nazism and which effectively ended World War 2 in 1945.
By the time China’s assortment of military hardware and their highly disciplined PLA (as shown by the precision of their march) rolled out on Tiananmen Square on October 1 (the day Chairman Mao announced the founding of the ‘People’s Republic of China’), we would have been back in Manila, agh!
The rise of China as a global superpower, replacing the USSR and rivaling US Imperialism can no longer be avoided nor ignored.
But for yours truly, its rise to global preeminence should not elicit fear but instead, inspiration, to the rest of those in the third world. China, after all, is the best example of how a third world country “beat” the Western Imperialism in its own game— the creation of the World Trade Organization (WTO) in 1994, three years after the breakup of the USSR.
It should be noted that the WTO (where we prided ourselves as “founding member”) is meant to “consolidate” and ensure the perpetuation of the global capitalist system by taking advantage of the global areas (markets) made available with the demise of the USSR.
The WTO, in other words, is created to ensure that no other economic system would rise to challenge capitalism thru the systems and procedures it created that all favoured only the capitalist system. “Exploitation,” which has become the essence of capitalism, is here to stay, ad infinitum.
China was only accepted as a member of the WTO in December 2001 and less than 20 years later today, it has become the global economic power house, even outpacing US imperialism and Japan here in Asia.
But before doing so, China send out its young people, its academics and scholars to “study” WTO thoroughly so it would not be compromising its own interests should it become a member.
I believe that it is along this premise— China is playing by the global rules of behaviour laid down by Imperialism— that we should view the “frustration” and “antagonism” of Western governments against China and which is also why their ranks are divided on how to deal with China.
I mean, the accusation by the capitalist camp that China is “cheating” and is “not playing by the rules” lack credibility considering that they were the ones who created the “rules” to begin with.
Kumbaga, paano pagbibintangan ng Kapitalismo ng “pandaraya” ang China eh, “sila” ang gumawa ng mga batas at regulasyon, aber?
Of course, the more rational people in the West also realized this basic fact, thus making it hard for those arguing for “sanctions” against China to drive home their point.
In our case, we “blindly” and “recklessly” joined the WTO in 1994, with our economy and our people wholly unprepared to deal with its negative consequences, consequences that are the cause of many of our sufferings today.
In other words, China “played smartly”and we did not. We played dumb. That’s the lesson we must all learn.