Still optimistic PDF Print E-mail
Saturday, 19 May 2018 13:15

BEHIND  THE  LINES

BY BOB JALDON

San Jose, CA. — Reading the newspapers, watching news on television or listening to ponderous analysts drive their omnipotent views of politics leave you less optimistic of the future already shrouded with a vast sea of question marks concluding with three exclamation points. First, we don’t know where we’re going, politically and economically. There’s instability in the 24-member Senate and inflation isn’t going anywhere but up.  Re-do your budgets. They have been slackened by high prices of goods and services. It’s not refreshing to have a bottle of coke and smile afterwards.

There’s tension in the Pacific. When everybody thought that North Korea has acceded, or has shown signs, to denuclearize ahead of the meeting with the United States in Singapore of June 12 ( the Memorial Day designated by Pres. Diosdado Macapagal as our Independence Day),  Pres. Kim Jung Un announces that his country won’t stop its nuclear program, derailing any hopes of achieving a nuclear-free Korean Peninsula. Still, Pres. Donald Trump is optimistic that North Korea will come to the table to talk about the mechanics of denuclearization in exchange, may be, for some economic concessions.

“We’ll see what happens,” mused Mr. Trump whenever he’s asked about the U.S.-North Korea meeting. (Sounds like Tita Caling’s “Mira quita” response to media questions on politics.)

There’s restiveness in the Middle East, particularly in Jerusalem where Palestinians are up in arms against the recognition by the United States of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel. So far, dozens of protesters have been killed in bloody confrontations between Israelis and Palestinians.

The rebellion in Syria seems endless. And because the U.S. has pulled out of the deal that would stop Iran  from developing a nuclear weapon, there is uncertainty as to what such a withdrawal would mean to the peace efforts in that part of the Middle East.

In the Philippines, there’s distrust and mistrust about what is real news to shaggy-dog stories. What Malacanang’s intentions are in pivoting towards the People’s Republic of China, while turning a blind eye on what the Chinese are building on our protected and sovereign territories in the South China Sea are still unclear. Yes, we’ll never win in a shooting war against China. We will be obliterated in less than one day if we try to reclaim what’s ours. Are we helpless without those promised soft, hefty loans from China under its “One Belt, One Road” project for this administration’s “Build, Build, Build” program?

The legal profession is utterly divided. Constitutionalists insist that only Congress, through the Senate acting as an impeachment court, can remove Chief Justice Lourdes Sereno, she being an impeachable officer. Those at the other side of the fence contend that the quo warranto petition is enough to remove her from office. Another radical view is that only the president, after he declares a revolutionary government, can REMOVE EVERYBODY in the government. Or, if a military take-over or coup d’etat happens. Other than these remedies, the CJ, according to constitutionalist, can only be removed through impeachment by the Senate. Otherwise, they say, the Solicitor General, other than the president, becomes the most feared and powerful figure in the country.

Writing for TIME, billionaire Bill Gates said: “To some extent, it is good that bad news gets attention. If you want to improve the world, you need something to be mad about.” True enough. A quarter of the country is mad. The trolls and the bloggers from both sides made sure that that situation exists. The politician-lawyers and politician-frustrated lawyers affirm this as they grapple for attention from their constituents and recognition from Malacanang.

Complaining about being “invaded” by the Chinese the last two years? Did we complain when the Koreans stepped on our shores 15 years ago and some of them overstayed to become gambling lords? The chinks have been in the Philippines since the time of Pres. Diosdado Macapagal. Instead of embracing our customs after they were sworn in as Filipinos, Cesar C. Climaco said, they embraced the Bureau of Customs.

Some Chinese with dubious immigration papers are engaged in smuggling of protected and endangered marine products. Do you know how much a kilo of seahorse cost? Or a sack of black corrals? Or a kilo of abalone or shark’s fin?

Years ago, I warned a Zamboangueno-Chinese that sooner or later, the “reds” will take over business in Zamboanga. They have this cabal, an association, that protects its members unlike the descendants of Chang Kai Chek.

But, we’re still optimistic that something good will come around. For example, two giant malls are coming up in four years. That’s going to generate employment and encourage consumer spending which is good for the economy as we prepare to be knighted as the independent, highly-urbanized federal city of Zamboanga.

And then, we shall have a base load power plant with a generating capacity of 105 megawatts that will go into operation, barring hitches, in 2021. That is our guarantee that Zamboanga will have sufficient, efficient, affordable power for the next 25 years or so.

Zamboanga is improving. What matters now is for our quarreling politicians to make it better.