ASEAN 50: Duterte's coup of sorts
There is no question that the ASEAN 50 Summit is off to a rousing start with all the ASEAN members, Vietnam's Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc, Thailand Prime Minister Prayut Chan-O-cha, Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong, Myanmar State CounsellorAung San Suu Kyi, Malaysia Prime MinisterNajibRazak,BruneiSultanHassanalBolkiah,Cambodia Prime Minister Hun Sen and Indonesian President Joko Widodo all in Manila today for ASEAN's 50th anniversary.
Best of all, ASEAN's dialogue partners are all here, beginning with US President Donald Trump, Canada Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull, China's Premier Li Keqiang, Japan Prime Minister ShinzoAbe, United Nations Secretary GeneralAntonio Guterres, European Council President Donald Tusk, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern, Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev and South Korean President Moon Jae-In.
That the 50thASEAN anniversary brought all these world leaders to the Philippines is a sign of the respect that they have for the leadership of Pres. Rodrigo "Digong" Duterte as head of ASEAN. No doubt we all have a shared interest and challenges. This ASEAN trip of US Pres. Donald Trump came up with a meeting with Chinese leader Xi Jinping and a short but fruitful meeting with Russia's Vladimir Putin is the most significant trip and American President has done in just a few short days.
Of course the Yellowtards are disappointed just like their leftist friends of Bayan Muna who held a rally, which was dispersed by the police. They wanted the issue of extra-judicial killings as a main topic of the ASEAN Summit. But in truth, ASEAN has many human rights issues like Myanmar's Rohingya issue, which I'm sure, makes Aung Sang Suu Kyi very uncomfortable. In short, the human rights issue will be taking a back seat against more pressing challenges that the ASEAN leaders would be discussing in the Manila Summit.
Meanwhile it is quite reassuring that US Pres. Donald Trump wants to re-energize RP-US partnership in the light of issues like North Korea and the South China Sea. I dare say that when Duterte showed the Americans (then it was under Pres. Barrack Obama) that the Philippines can free itself fromAmerican influence and made friends with Chinese leader Xi Jinping, despite the issues hounding us in the South China Sea, we actually got more than we bargained for with our friendship with China. Add Pres. Duterte's making friends with Russian President Vladimir Putin; I dare say that it was a diplomatic coup of sorts.
For too long, our partnership with the US was tied with so many strings, which then Secretary of State Hillary Clinton unabashedly told us that we should allow for abortion and contraception without which no US aid would be given. At this point, we can only hope that this new friendship between Pres. Trump and Pres. Duterte would result in a real partnership where both nations would reap benefits from. At this point we congratulate Pres. Duterte for successfully hosting ASEAN 50th, which will certainly be part of Philippine history.
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I didn't know what was written in the Facebook page of Mayor Tomas Osmeña until I read that opposition councilors were thinking of suing the latter for using foul language in his FB account when he described the smell of a woman's genitalia. In fairness to Mayor Osmeña, he already apologized for this faux pas and had the item stricken off his FB. But as they say, the deed has been done and whether an apology is enough is something to ponder about.
Indeed, I have long suspected that it was not Mayor Osmeña who personally handles his FB account. In fact, I too was subjected to foul language when I wrote an article about his being authorized to borrow P3 billion from Land Bank of the Philippines. Mayor Osmeña replied to that column questioning whether I was already mentally deranged. In truth only radio commentators use such ugly language and yes Mayor Osmeña never apologized to me for using such language.
I hope Mayor Osmeña learns his lesson here. That either he handles his FB account himself or drop it because if he continues to allow another person to handle the account when it appears in his FB account then he must accept that it comes from him and not blame anyone else.