AYALA Corporation President and CEO Fernando Zobel de Ayala (FZA) and then Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) Chief of Staff General Cirlito Sobejana recently signed an agreement between Ayala and the AFP to strengthen their long-standing partnership through Ayala's Saludo sa Serbisyo program.
Saludo sa Serbisyo provides uniformed personnel expanded access to the Ayala group's products and services, including offers on housing and vehicles, financial education and livelihood training, and health and wellness caravans. It also endeavors to provide employment opportunities in the Ayala group to AFP retirees and their qualified dependents.
FZA said during the MOA signing: "Both Ayala and AFP have demonstrated how impactful our actions can be when we work in unity. As we continue our partnership moving forward, we remain committed to further ramp up our projects with the AFP and strengthen the bonds of friendship that we have nurtured over the years. We certainly look forward to having more joint initiatives with you in the near future."
In response, General Sobejana thanked the Ayala group "for not forgetting our soldiers who work tirelessly and put their lives on the line to protect the land and serve the Filipino people. You all have our utmost respect and admiration."
FZA was joined by Ayala group executives, including AC Industrials CEO Arthur Tan, Ayala Chief Legal Officer Solomon Hermosura, Chief HR Officer John Philip Orbeta and Ayala Foundation President Ruel Maranan.
Here is a look back to Ayala's support to the uniformed services over the years.
1939 -- The first McMicking Gold Wings was given to Second Lieutenant Renato Barreto, a pilot cadet of the Philippine Air Force Flying School. The award for the school's best all-around flyer was suggested by and named for Colonel Joseph R. McMicking. A stalwart of the Ayala group, McMicking was a pilot, a flying instructor, and a decorated war veteran, who served as a member of General Douglas MacArthurs's staff throughout World War II.
1988 -- Jaime Zobel de Ayala (JZA) and other industry leaders formed Hero (Help Educate and Rear Orphans) Foundation. Ayala and Ayala Land Inc. continue to support the education of the children of fallen soldiers. FZA currently serves as Hero Foundation's Chairman.
2018 -- Ayala pioneers the Saludo sa Serbisyo program for the Philippine National Police-Special Action Force, CEISSAFP, the Philippine Air Force, and the Bureau of Fire Protection-NCR.
Why the US failed in Afghanistan
Just days after the US threw in the towel in Afghanistan, arm chair analysts are already busy offering various reasons why the US adventure ended so disastrously.
One pundit offers this explanation:
It is a well-tested military maxim that to win, one side need only to outlast the will of those fighting them. And in Afghanistan, the will of the Taliban clearly prevailed. It was not so much the Taliban's military superiority. It was simply because the Americans have lost the will to fight. Not so for the Taliban. A much quoted Taliban saying goes something like this -- "You may have a watch, but we have the time."
Immediately, after 9/11, the so-called "war against terror," launched by President George W. Bush, was very popular. There was a surge of enlistment to avenge the attack on American soil, the worst since Pearl Harbor. But as the years passed, the popular support started to wane. This might have started with the realization that the US went to war, initially in Iraq, for the wrong reason. No weapons of mass destruction were ever uncovered in Iraq. The financial crisis of 2008 exacerbated the situation. The US populace realized that the US was spending trillions of dollars abroad when much more was needed at home to fix the economy. It is estimated that the US spent at least 1 million dollars a year to send one foot soldier abroad.
Starting with President Obama, the US already signaled that the US has had enough of its adventurism abroad. This was a view supported by then Vice President Biden. (In his early 30s, the young politician Biden campaigned on an anti-Vietnam war platform.) President Trump then had a deal with the Taliban, even releasing dozens of Taliban prisoners, without getting any clear concessions. Poor Joe Biden, he just did not have a good exit plan.
Working them to death
I am shocked to learn, through BBC News, that workers in China still go through the "brutal 996 hours." That's 9 am to 9 pm, six days a week, a total of 72 hours per week.
According to China's labour laws, a standard work day is eight hours-long, with a maximum of 44 hours a week. But this has not been well enforced.
Earlier this year, two employees at e-commerce platform Pinduoduo died weeks apart -- a young worker collapsed on the way home after working long hours, while another died by suicide.
A food delivery driver set himself on fire after he was allegedly denied $770 in overdue wages, just one month after a worker had died while delivering meals for online platform Ele.me.
According to BBC News, employees have grumbled about their brutal schedules over the years, and some have even tried to fight back. Yet, the grueling "996" culture has persisted, with the government generally taking a hands-off approach.
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