Benham Rise to Philippine Rise: what is in a name?

It really blows my mind why we have to change the name Benham Rise to Philippine Rise if all these years we know that it is undeniably ours?

Would the 13 million-hectare underwater region, which is deemed to be rich in mineral, oil and gas resources and confirmed by the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) as part of the country’s continental shelf and territory, be more ours by renaming it to Philippine Rise?

What is in a name, anyway, if the same gives inspiration and hope for a better future for the country and the next generation of Filipinos while respectfully remembering and extolling the memory of an American admiral and geologist, Andrew Benham, who made history by discovering it and by some twist of fate made the Philippines its rightful owner? (http://www.philstar.com/headlines/2016/05/18/1584439/benham-rise-philippiness-new-territory).

We owe it to the man and I don’t see therefore the importance or significance of changing names now or at any other time in the future. Benham Rise is already part of our history and we could not be more fortunate that it belongs to the Philippines.

If changing Benham Rise to Philippine Rise is “to emphasize Philippine sovereignty rights and jurisdiction over the area”, as claimed, how much absurd can we get!

Is the Duterte government directing this stand against China, as if warning the hegemonic giant country to stay away from his part of the country’s territory facing the Pacific Ocean as it has no right whatsoever claiming this part of our sovereignty, as it blatantly did at the South China Sea side of the Philippines?

That is really wishful thinking and that is what I mean.

Whether it is Benham Rise or Philippine Rise, to China it is the same banana for their picking.

China is so deep inside us now both in land and maritime affairs that driving them out of the country and its maritime territorial limits is next to impossible. Doing this can be interpreted as declaring war and this to us can be likened to a suicidal act which we don’t really want to happened.

It’s the familiar sense of déjà vu we are seeing and feeling at Benham Rise.

In the same manner that China showed no respect at UNCLOS when it made reefs into militarized islands even at our own backyards at the South China Sea, this time at Benham Rise, China also showed nothing but insolence even as UNCLOS approved the submission of the Philippines in 2009 with respect to the limits of its continental shelf in the Benham Rise region, saying, “But it does not mean that the Philippines can take it as its own territory”. End of controversy.

It is hard to imagine now the Philippines exploring and developing its own natural resources in and under the sea without China having a part, nay, a greater part of it.

It is bad enough that we are poor and powerless, but it is even worse that President Duterte seemed to have consigned ours and the country’s future and fate to China.

What a lamentable prospect!

 

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Robredo UN message slanders the Philippines

 

Vice President Leni Robredo

Some Filipinos might think that Vice President Leni Robredo was doing the country a big favor when she video-taped a message, supposedly coming from the Office of the Vice President, and sent it to the 60th annual meeting of the UN Commission on Narcotic Drugs in Vienna, Austria.

I actually wrote about this already and you can read it at this link https://quierosaber.wordpress.com/2017/03/15/robredos-palit-ulo-allegations/.

The reason why I am writing about this again is simply to show you another interesting link that also criticizes the way Robredo painted an image of the country under the Duterte administration generalizing the belief that the Filipinos now feel “hopeless and helpless” because of the president’s bloody war on drugs.

This link is a good read and an excellent rejoinder of Robredos’s scandalous remarks: http://politics.com.ph/ex-unga-delegate-slams-robredo-misrepresenting-pinoys/.

Many Filipinos, however, think that Robredo’s slander was short of saying that the Philippines is in bad shape and in dire need of help, which is just actually the opposite of where we are today – in the verge of growing and developing faster and optimistic of the future, thanks to the unconventional leadership style of Duterte.

I consider therefore the entirety of Robredo’s message as fake news, at best, and, at worst, a self-serving communication that she is trying to take advantage of because of her sinking credibility and her inadequacy and ineffectiveness as vice president.

Unless Robredo can prove that the extrajudicial killings are state sanctioned and the ridiculous “palit-ulo” scheme exist, then she has got nothing but alternative facts.

That there is now a plan to impeach her because she derided the Philippines in the international scene is good news.

I will not doubt that she is also being used and manipulated by her party mates to advance their political agenda, but the Filipino people had had enough of their inept and corrupt political culture that the change and reforms Duterte is implementing in government is a very much welcomed development.

I am just including here the video Robredo sent for your information and evaluation.

Duterte and Robredo

 

President Rodrigo Duterte and Vice President Leni Robredo

President Rodrigo Duterte and Vice President Leni Robredo

We are all aware why President Rodrigo Duterte and Vice President Leni Robredo had separate venues for their inaugural rites, but wasn’t it simply poignant that at the end of the day the latter was not present during the first Cabinet meeting held in Malacañang?

This must have been the lamentable sentiment of many upon seeing that, indeed, it seems that in the Duterte administration the vice presidency is positioned to be just a spare tire, as we have all been made to believe.

But if one listened closely to the inaugural speeches of both officials, one could immediately notice how similar they are in their determination and commitment to serve the best interest of the country and the Filipinos.

While they may be glaringly poles apart in character, language and behavior, one could right away discern that both are not traditional politicians who are comfortable having people to serve them instead of them serving the people.

There is no mistaking that, unlike many leaders before them and the numerous political sycophants now basking in glory with the new president and the party he belongs to, both Duterte and Robredo can truly be considered as servant leaders.

They are exemplars of what a public official should be, having opted to enter government. They know whereof they speak. They have become a role model in their own rights, whether in a conventional way or out-of-the-box leadership.

Servant leadership varies in style, as one notice with Duterte’s and Robredo’s, but just the same their peculiarities and techniques become the foundation for leading others effectively for greater interest of country and people.

Servant leaders know that no one is perfect, and everyone makes mistake –including themselves. Yet, they push for high standards and service quality for what they have promised to do while holding themselves and those working for them in government accountable for their performance.

Hopefully, now that Duterte and Robredo have finally met, that friendship will ensue and trust between one another will develop such that the former will consider his vice president an asset rather than a liability in pursuing reforms in government and for him to welcome Robredo to his administration.

The interesting incoming Duterte presidency

 

President-elect Rodrigo Duterte

President-elect Rodrigo Duterte

There is no doubt that like most of us in the country the outside world are also all eyes at the incoming administration of president-elect Rodrigo Duterte with thought-provoking interest.

And for a compelling reason!

Not only is it interesting to note that over 16 million Filipinos gave Duterte the authorization to go ahead with his bold plan of fighting corruption, criminality and drugs, not to mention the resolute idea of changing the existing form of government to federalism in order for peace and stability to be finally realized and sustained all over the archipelago, but more enthralling is the manner by which Duterte was able to win the support of practically all the political parties, including the once formidable Liberal party.

Duterte has not been sworn in to office yet, but it seems that events are unfolding already the way he planned it with the acceptance and endorsement of his programs and policies by government officials, especially the politicians in both houses of congress.

I would like to believe that more than political expediency, political will and the fearless and no-nonsense leadership of Duterte is what entices the people in government to support the president-elect’s advocacies which all redounds to improving lives of Filipinos under a country that will soon get rid of its ills.

With the speakership and the senate presidency tucked in under the belt of Duterte appointees, it will now be easier for Duterte to make things happen faster without much contentious debate that can be frustrating at times.

It is interesting and encouraging to see how the drug menace is being attended to by the police today. Perhaps we are looking at a preview of what to expect when the Duterte administration takes over, but this is just a milder view of it, I suppose.

I can’t wait to see the all out war against corruption, criminality and drugs. Many were skeptical including me that this could be solved within six months, but the way things are going the chances that it could be done is darn good!

Never has an incoming president of the country silenced the Church, but there is now a deafening silence from its high officials.

Never has an incoming president been brutally frank to the media about their faults and disallowed them to cover him even when the ‘honeymoon’ hasn’t started yet.

Never has an incoming president disparaged at high ranking UN personnel who warned him against “inciting violence” after he made his controversial remarks on media killings.

Expect many more of Duterte’s quirks when he assumes office.

This is what makes him totally different from other presidents we had had.

This is what makes him more interesting and intriguing political animal worthy of praise.