In his Manila Standard column today, Lito Banayo beseeches the President, “Please listen to your sister”. Banayo refers to the issue of the Afghan refugees that the United States are suggesting should be temporarily accommodated in the Philippines while they are being cleared for resettlement in the US. Banayo credits said sister, Senator Imee Marcos, with consistently taking “an independent stand” to her brother’s and does so now “particularly on the proposal of the American government to send Afghan refugees to the Philippines for ‘processing’.”
Safe to say that he’s playing deaf as the president is surrounded by two Romualdez cousins; Ambassador to the US Babe and House Speaker Martin. To these two, what Uncle Sam wants, Uncle Sam will get. There’s no limit as to what they’re willing to do for as long as they’re in the good graces of our former colonial master.
The South Vietnamese were left behind by the Americans when they were routed by the North Vietnamese. The boat people fled Vietnam and sought shelter in nearby countries but with the Philippines being the nearest, we ended up with the most number refugees housed in Morong, Bataan and Sta. Lourdes, Palawan where they established Vietville. The rescue of the Vietnamese in the South China Sea waters was humanitarian in nature. What the US wants with the Afghan refugees is an imposition. Why the Philippines to begin with? Probably because we’re not the type to complain and say yes faster than the Americans can finish making the request. The Romualdezes are too eager.
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When Presidents Quezon and Quirino welcomed separately Jewish refugees to the country, we had plenty of land to spare as our population in those times were not as large as now when we are bursting at the seams with 114 million and more.
So this is not about being less humanitarian than our predecessors; it is about the coping mechanisms of our economy. It is about national security and threats of terrorism.
The other interesting point brought up by Banayo is the evacuation of overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) in Taiwan in the event hostilities between the US and China erupt. We’re not capable of doing so. It remains to be seen if this has been discussed with the Americans at the level of Babe and Martin.
At this point, Imee is scoring points against her brother and cousin by not toeing the line. Maybe this is why she’s not included in the provincial and foreign trips. A gadfly is of little use to the inner circle which has access to the president. For our sake, we need more Imee’s and less Romualdez’s. We aren’t getting much, again, for the access to the EDCA bases. We should be getting more. Let’s not forget that Uncle Sam was willing to use the Covid vaccine as leverage for the VFA.
The Americans don’t give a rat’s ass about us. More than likely they will abandon us like they did in World War II, if they go to war with China. We need to be practical and not be stupid idiots again.
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