Tuesday July 17, 2018

Ledesma: Musings from afar

LAKE TAHOE, Nevada -- On the average two out of ten tourists I've encountered in my seven-state tour in the US of A are Chinese. But Filipinos are not to be outdone. Out of 36 in this overland safari are 14 Pinoys. The only interesting part is that except for me and my wife Jay, these Pinoys are American citizens from California and New York. Everyone appeared to be a great fan of President Rodrigo Duterte except for one, who admitted that in their family of five she is the only one, who is not for Digong.

Three days on the road, they later learned we are from Davao City home of the president. A couple said that last month they were in Davao and excitedly said that they went to see the house of Duterte and were amazed how frugal the President seemed to be. They love their stay at Marco Polo Hotel and the Pearl Farm resort where they went diving in the marine preserve, which to them was so awe-inspiring.

Back to the Chinese invasion of America, while back home we hallucinate about America coming to our rescue in the event China confronts the Philippine navy, real politic dictates this consummation is as hollow as it is feeble. I don't have the time to check but if America's tourism industry had perked up, I would attribute that solely to the Chinese globe trotters. And think of this. I bought three ball caps from different states and all of them are made in China. Shocked to find this out I hurriedly checked on the five "pasalubong" t-shirts and discovered they're all made in China.

So those of you who are still dreaming of America's naval pivot to Asia means it will come to our rescue or intervene in our behalf, you better wake up to the reality of that indubitable doctrine: "there are no permanent friends, only permanent interest."

Unless one is a fatalistically pro-America, there is sanity and realism to President Duterte's stand to pursue bilateral talks with China on territorial issues. It's simple. If far-flung America is exploiting to the hilt its trade relations with China, why can't we? Also forget that notion that China will ignite conflict in the now-you-see-it-now-you-don't islands in the Spratlys. That's part of China's trade route so why create a storm in the calm sea if the biggest loser will be China itself? I don't think the present Chinese generation that have seen and enjoyed the progress and development under the new dispensation will ever want to live behind the bamboo curtain again.

In the meantime let's look at us. We are so pregnant over Kian, the young adult who happened to be where he shouldn't be and in the process was slain, we forgot that the government is set to launch the most extensive infrastructure projects designed to move our economy forward and absorb idle labor.

America's impressive road and railway infrastructures move goods from one state to the other. Giant refer trucks dominate the freeways from west to east and vice versa. So imagine if Luzon, Visayas and Mindanao will be linked up with railways and highways. Farmers and hog producers, from Mindanao will be encouraged to produce more given the access to the consumer markets in Metro Manila. Modern infrastructures in areas outside the traditional EPZA and the national capital region will serve as magnets to new investments and maybe relocate some to either Visayas or Mindanao. Shouldn't this preoccupy us than our present proclivity for politicized necrology?

The suspects in Kian's killing are confined to barracks and will be tried, so the President had spoken. Meantime big fishes involved in drugs are either neutralized or effectively detained. Damn those who mistake incarceration for abetting drug distribution inside the country's prime penitentiary as political harassment and violation of human rights. As another couple of Filipino immigrants in California would describe the transformation taking place in their Sampaloc neighborhood: "napakalaki ng pinagbago ng aming lugar mula ng naupo si President Duterte. Sana ituloy nya ang kanyang kampanya laban sa krimen at druga".

We are about to end our brief vacation. Am impressed by the fact that our compatriots in the USofA are well abreast with what's going on in their native land. Some of them wish to come home someday and all that depends on what permanent changes and reform the Duterte government can achieve in his six years of presidency.