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Provocative words worsen tiff with China


President Aquino is ill advised in aggravating our dispute with China over the Scarborough Shoal and the Spratlys by making provocative statements.

The arrival of BRP Ramon Alcaraz, the country’s latest acquisition of hand-me-downs from Uncle Sam, was another reason for the President to make a provocative statement.

During welcoming ceremonies held at Subic Bay Freeport for BRP Ramon Alcaraz, a 3,250-ton former ship of the US Coast Guard, the President said:

“Now that the BRP Ramon Alcaraz is here, we’re certain that this would intensify the patrol of the Philippine Economic Zone, as well as our capability to overcome any threat from bad elements, respond to search and rescue operations and protect our resources.”

Referring to China as one of the “bad elements” was uncalled for.

Such a provocative statement would only add fuel to the already “hot” issue we have with China.

The President could have specified that the new Navy ship would be used in going after pirates that prowl on commercial ships passing through our country’s territorial waters.

*                                *                           *

Let’s face it: We don’t have the capability.

The country would be like an ant fighting an elephant.

If you think the US would come to our aid in case we go to war against China, think again.

The US has a huge economic stake in China and vice versa.

What would Uncle Sam gain in defending a poor nephew, who always begs for aid, against a wealthy business partner?

*                                    *                                *

What P90 million ghost deals are they talking about? –Agriculture Secretary Proceso Alcala.

Alcala told the President that if ever the Department of Agriculture was able to release funds to dubious organizations such as the ones of Janet Lim-Napoles, they were made in good faith.

For more than two years after he assumed office, Alcala said he withheld agrifishery projects under the Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) of legislators.

However, Alcala said some legislators and even the Department of Budget Management (DBM) told him it was irregular for him to do that.

But he installed safeguards like forming a special committee to ensure that only legitimate nongovernment organizations (NGOs) and people’s organizations (POs) were accredited.

Of the P83.2 million (not P90 million as reported) worth of projects from some legislators’ PDAF, only P44.95 million has been released by the agriculture department so far, according to Alcala.

“Kung nalusutan man kami, ito’y sa pagbibigay ng accreditation sa mga maling grupo. Hahabulin namin sila (If ever we were fooled, it was giving accreditation to the wrong groups. We will go after them),” Alcala told this columnist.

The President would be well advised not to listen to intrigues from parties interested in taking over the Department of Agriculture.

*                               *                         *

Saudi Arabian Fouzi Ali Bondagji, deported years ago for being a security risk, was reportedly able to get a special investor’s resident visa for $75,000 (P3.2 million at the current rate of P43.62 to the  dollar).

For a measly sum, we allow a suspected terrorist to stay in the country?

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Tags: Agriculture Secretary Proceso Alcala , agrifishery projects , BRP Ramon Alcaraz , Department of Agriculture , Janet Lim Napoles , P90 million ghost deals , PDAF , President Aquino , Priority Development Assistance Fund , Scarborough shoal , Spratlys

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