Now they don’t want EDCA? Former Reuters correspondent Manny Mogato writes about the “genuine concerns from some sectors about a looming conflict in the region” in the context of the ramping up of the United States’ military presence in the Philippines within the frame of the Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement (EDCA). Mogato expresses his skepticism over Philippine foreign secretary Enrique Manalo’s “assurances” that the Philippine government “would still discuss what activities would be allowed in the four new military bases where American troops were allowed access.”
…the Philippines has no capability to detect if munitions and other materiel stored in the EDCA sites are nuclear-capable.
The US has a policy of neither confirming nor denying if its ships and planes are carrying nuclear weapons. However, any nuclear-powered attack submarine that lurks somewhere in the Indo-Pacific area has strategic nuclear missiles.
Are we to believe the Americans that they will remove these strategic weapons every time an Ohio-class ballistic missile submarine visits the country?
The opposition can’t make up its mind. At this point, no critical thinking Pinoy is naive enough to think that the Americans won’t test the limits of EDCA. They’ve had plenty of experience when they still had their bases in the country. Anyone think that Philippine President Bongbong Marcos is naive as well? Of course not. When your family is forcibly deported from your own country by a foreign power which also engineered the ouster of your father, being naive is being stupid and Marcos is not stupid. Marcos is going on an official visit to the US. He’s going to see Biden in the White House. This has been his goal. Western validation. The removal of the family stigma of being pariahs since 1986.
Meanwhile, the new Chinese State Councilor and Foreign Minister Qin Gang is on an official visit to the country. How Marcos and the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) will balance out the diplomatic relationship between the two powers remains to be seen. But it’s clear the Philippines is the odd man out in the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) again with our categorical support for the US and the EDCA bases they have in the country now. China has been making their displeasure known in the disputed waters with the increased number of vessels on patrol. China hasn’t deployed gray ships yet but they have done so in the Taiwan strait.
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Interestingly, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) has revised its economic forecast for the Philippines. We’re the niño bonito again. Perhaps Marcos believes that the US continues to hold that kind of power in the same manner the IMF torpedoed the Philippine economy from 1983-1986, setting off the political crisis to justify the economic contraction. Most Filipinos are pro-US so Marcos feels safe with his pivot. It also neutralizes the opposition because the Americans won’t tolerate any destabilization attempt, not that the opposition is capable of anything serious at this point. When you have jokes for leaders then there are no available options.
On the local front, it’s open season for those who are part of the inner circle. The Philippine National Police (PNP) is playing with drugs again. The Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) is happily back in the arms of their American counterparts. Again, this ensures that Marcos’ tenure is secure. The infrastructure deficit continues to rear its ugly head as it affects anything and everything. Just look at how expressways became parking lots during the holy week break. Supply can’t keep up with demand but that’s virtually impossible. This is why there’s a need for better transport options such as rail.
No need to elaborate about what’s wrong with our country. It’s also getting to be tiring barking up at the tree as it’s beginning to look like genuine reform is hopeless. The best we can do is just enjoy the optics of the Marcos Presidency. At this point, it’s the best show that’s on.
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