TaN: In today’s (Mar 11) hard print news article in The Philippine STAR, titled “China allays Phl concern over its ships’ activities“, it reported in the lead statement in its lead paragraph that “China yesterday said it was merely exercising freedom of navigation in Benham Rise…”. This is a clear case of China’s bullying and its deplorable and feeble attempt to distort and redefine and mis-apply terms to suit its own ends and interests.
“Freedom of navigation”, as the United States of America has been conducting in the South China Sea, is applicable only when done on (supposed) international waters or terrain. In the case of the USA, the freedom of navigation was done outside of the territorial boundary of the islands claimed by China to be “within its territory”.
However, in the case of Benham Rise, it is not only obviously the territory of the Philippines but it has already been filed with the United Nations and there, as far as I can determine, no other claimant contesting the Philippines’ assertion. Therefore, when China conducts “freedom of navigation” exercises in Benham Rise, it is a clear encroachment of the territory of the Philippines. China can only conduct freedom of navigation activities in Benham Rise if and only if the Philippines has not yet laid claim to it — aside from the blatant fact that it is within the limits and boundaries set or agreed upon under international law (of the seas).
TaN: The situation with the Duterte administration is, for all intents and purposes, a dictatorship — anyone with a dissenting opinion is or will be (eventually) ousted from government and considered as critics and treated as opposition out to destabilize the government. This is not only true of Mr Duterte and his Cabinet but it is likewise showing in the House of Representatives (with the statement of Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez some time last month as titled in The Philippine STAR: “Anti-death penalty lawmakers can leave coalition“, dated February 9).
It is a pity that there is so little tolerance in the Duterte administration for dissenting opinions and views and so much prejudice against anyone and everyone who dares to speak his/her mind that runs counter to the prevailing thinking of Mr Duterte. It is likewise embarrassing for the country to call itself democratic and adhering to the principles of human rights but news and social media show fascistic intolerance and violations of the most fundamental of human rights and civil liberty occurring left and right.
However, it is not surprising if and when you consider Mr Duterte’s mindset and personality. He has consistently exhibited the behavior of a bully — someone who “respects” or understands only power. A bully bows to a bigger bully and knows only violence — i.e., violence is the solution to everything, to every problem, to every situation. A bully, on occasion, may engage in dialogue (but it frequently is actually a monologue) which is more of verbal intimidation but it makes little difference as the outcome will still be violence.
Bullies have the need to be in control and refuses to accept dissent. They feel that dissent and dissimilar views and opinions challenge their very person and feel threatened, and then to be very intolerant regarding such.
Bullies have the need to feel they are the center of universe and they surround themselves with lackeys and stooges and cohorts who must feed their (the former’s) ego every so often, and do they have an EGO!
Bullies have a constant need to exhibit control and many are prone to micromanage (just to ensure that their control over things and people are still intact as well as to show that they “care”). However, to be fair, every person has a little bully in their throughout life. It is an integral and important part of one’s life. It has a (special and unique) purpose and, as written in Ecclesiastes 3:1-8 in the Holy Scriptures: “(1) To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven: (2) A time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck up that which is planted; (3) A time to KILL [emphasis mine], and a time to heal; a time to break down, and a time to build up; (4) A time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance; (5) A time to cast away stones, and a time gather stone together; a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing; (6) A time to get, and a time to lose; a time to jeep, and a time to cast away; (7) A time to rend, and a time to sew; a time to keep silence, and a time to speak; (8) A time to love, and a time to hate; a time of WAR [again, emphasis mine], and a time of peace.” — KJV As in this excerpt, there is a time to “bully” and that time has passed for many of us, especially those who have grown up. The problem is another saying (which applies to all): Growing old is mandatory; Growing up is optional.
Surprisingly, many likewise exhibit good qualities, especially towards the family and the poor — very much like that case as shown in the film The Godfather, where the mafia is portrayed as doting family patriarchs. This is an endearing quality that tend to cover up their dark side which beneficiaries of their “compassion” are prone to overlook.
They can be very charming (especially when they have too) and feel as if they are a ladies’ man…God’s gift to women. They have the constant need to feel important and their propensity for things that represent power (such as guns and fast cars and adoration of/from the public, especially women).
In conclusion, bullies are juvenile. They have not outgrown their childish attitude which is actually their way of overcoming their inferiority complex. Many people with inferiority complexes feel that they have to overcompensate by being a bully to cover up their insecurities and fears. True men are confident of their own manhood and manliness and do not have to need to express them at every opportunity. And mature people shun violence because it is the way of children — which is why we frequently see children engage in physical conflicts and quarrels when things are not going the way they want. And this is what dictatorship is all about — a juvenile’s method of dealing with (pressing) life’s events.
TaN: One major reason why the Philippines, which has all the potentials to become a world economic power, has been, is and will be wallowing in the doldrums of a Third World developing nation status is principally due to the maturity level of the general population and their corresponding good but misguided value system. Please permit me to elaborate and elucidate.
First, on having the potential to become a world economic power, it is undeniable that natural resources are so abundant it seems almost inexhaustible. With the proper exploitation — i.e., sustainably done and for the Philippines’ needs first — there is no need to be dependent on foreign assistance, financial, technical, technological, or otherwise. The problem is we have leaders who still think in the traditional foreign messiah complex — that it must take foreigners and foreign assistance to help us develop and exploit our natural resources. Nothing is further from the truth.
Unfortunately, it is sad that it should be the natives who ought to take advantage of what is (rightfully) theirs but, instead, it is the foreigners who are benefiting (immensely). And this is the main reason why I am against exports, especially if the needs of other countries are prioritized over the needs of the locals. Export is only sustainable if and when only the excesses in production and from domestic consumption are exported. Moreover, the exported excess should only be due to the inability of domestic consumption to avail of the production and not because overproduction was deliberate in order to create a scenario of excess so that there can be plenty to export.
In addition, should it be that there are natural resources which the domestic market cannot or have no use for, this should never be grounds to export.
Finally, with so much natural resources and foreign business just salivating and falling over each other trying to convince the Philippines that only the former has the capability to exploit and develop the natural resources, it should be the latter that dictate the terms and conditions and not the other way around, which is precisely what is happening from ever since.
Second, on a misguided value system, the Philippines has a value system that has been hijacked and manipulated by both domestic and (frequently in cahoots with) foreign interests for their greed-driven and profit-oriented agendas. If one does not have a strong foundation on values and the proper concept and interpretation or the rationale behind each value, people can easily be led into a mistaken application of good values.
A case in point would be returning a favor or debt of gratitude when the act is wrong or immoral — as in agreeing to (but unknowingly) be a co-conspirator in something illegal or unethical or immoral, like turning a blind eye or keeping silent when a friend is taking home office supplies or using company time to play games or doing personal work.
Another case would be camaraderie or fellowship, where people cooperate with others for a common cause or for the sake of unity and conformity. Most people confuse or mis-understand this value as some sort of mandatory to extend cooperation to or in an endeavor or activity regardless of whether it is wrong or immoral or illegal.
Many fail to understand the limitations and conditions where values operate or are applied. They fail to understand that once the parameters within which values are confined are exceeded or breached, they cease to be values. Further elaboration will be the subject for another time.
And the value system of the Filipinos are one of the best but most Filipinos today do not know the proper usage and become subject to abuse and mis-use. The two aforementioned instances are among the more familiar incidents of the incorrect application and often lead to something bad instead of good.
Last, Filipinos — i.e., the average typical Filipino — strangely are a race with a Dr-Jekyll-and-Mr-Hyde syndrome. They are globally known to be very honest and industrious and excel in almost any chosen field. But that is when they are overseas. However, back at home, they exhibit a very different set of behavior. If Filipinos behave at home the same way as they do overseas, no country in the world can beat the Philippines. The country is rich in natural resources (almost unparalleled anywhere on the planet), the people are multi-talented (and are frequently acclaimed by their foreign peers) and very creative, and there are more than enough laws to create a utopia. It is a wonder why the Philippines cannot seem to develop and improve and why corruption continues to hound it.
If only someone can think of or devise a way in which most, if not all, Filipinos can shed the pervasive culture of mis-appropriated and ill-applied values, then (and only then) will there be a certainty of the Philippines developing and joining the ranks of global developed countries.
I hope I am wrong and this will be one of the few instances when I will wish I am wrong but this is just wishful thinking.