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Recto Bank incident

Cong B. Corrales .

“Satire is a very effective way of exposing the falsity of positions issue by issue and politician by politician.” -Barney Frank

POLITICOS and government functionaries always have their own ways of wiggling in and out of arguments. But they are most entertaining when they paint themselves into a corner, so to speak.

I am, of course, talking about the functionaries who have taken up the cudgels for the President who was woefully quite days after a Chinese boat (which would later be identified as a militia vessel) rammed a Filipino fishing boat and were left for dead well within our country’s exclusive economic zone — Recto Bank.

I loved seeing the social media cussing foreign affairs secretary who joined in the fray with his “collision-allision” difference analysis. Secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr. argued that no collision happened since boats on water will always move with the waves even when they are anchored. Hence, an allision happened rather than a collision.

Merriam-Webster defines allision “as the action of dashing against or striking upon or the running of one ship upon another ship that is stationary — distinguished from a collision.”

So, based on the definition, a boat can be stationary at sea. For whatever intent or purpose of the good secretary, it did not change the fact that Filipino fishermen were left for dead after the collision or allision or any thingamajig you want to use. My point being is that Locsin’s analysis was never near concerning our fisherfolk’s welfare. It was just a display of random factoid that doesn’t help the situation.

I also loved seeing Palace Spokesman Salvador Panelo try to slither and slide his way through an interview with an unrelenting anchor of ANC, who kept on poking holes at his every argument.

Panelo insisted that the Palace has been consistent with its stand on the Recto Bank incident. But when the anchor unfurled Panelo’s statements in a corresponding timeline, Panelo was visibly irked and went on to ramble that what he said was consistent on that particular time as more information came in about the incident. Nice try but not good enough.

Sports commentator turned politico turned functionary Emmanuel Piñol was also entertaining during the unraveling of events in the past days.

His response to the incident was ostentatious. First, a phalanx of anti-riot police was deployed outside the house of the Filipino boat’s captain. Second, he gave boats that could not venture anywhere near the fisherfolk’s usual fishing grounds. Third, he gave the fisherfolk a loan. Let me repeat that, a loan and let that sink in.

After all these fisherfolk have gone through by now, a loan is the last thing on their minds.

I find it funny that Piñol belabored the point that since fisherfolk and farmers are under the purview of his department that he should have a first crack at the aftermath of the incident.

These functionaries held different, nay conflicting stands on the Recto Bank incident. Unfortunately, the same could not be said with the President’s and the Chinese envoy’s statement which were almost copy-paste statements. The Chinese envoy came out with a statement first, that the incident was a “simple maritime accident.” After days of silence, the President released his statement which eerily echoed what the foreign diplomat said — “simpleng banggaan ang nangyari.”

What all three of the above-mentioned functionaries failed to zero-in on is the simple fact that the incident involved foreign vessels inside our country’s exclusive economic zone. Our coastguard and Marina should only come in if two Filipino boats collided in our EEZ. This is a matter for the United Nations Convention for the Law of the Sea (period).

***

While all that drama has been unfolding in the national scene, here, the Capitol’s legal counsel is doing such a banged up job of promoting Gov. Yevgeny Vincente Emano’s pro-poor brand: “Basta taga Misamis Oriental ka, secure ka!”

The evacuees of Mincamansi, Lagonglong certainly didn’t feel secure when they were shooed away from the capitol grounds. Misamis Oriental officials turned its back on the people who needed them most.

It based its decision on some mundane definition of what a temporary and permanent “structure” is. A local paper (not this paper) even had the incident live streamed. In the video, a certain representative from the Office of the Building Official read a decision that the evacuees’ “structures” would be demolished for violating, I guess, the building code.

However, city administrator Teodoro Sabuga-a Jr. denied that the OBO issued an order to demolish the temporary structures the evacuees built in the capitol grounds.

Sabuga-a pointed out that even though the capitol grounds are located right smack at the center of the city, it is under the control of the provincial government.

Well, I guess this is the change that this administration has been bannering about.

Exacerbating the aggravation to this highly divisive issue on the evacuees are supposed friends who are so quick to dismiss the evacuees as if it were their fault that their ancestral land holds riches that moneyed firms covet. Pfft.

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TREND MAKER. Mindanao Gold Star Daily was established in 1989 to set ablaze a new meaning & flame to the local newspaper business. Throughout the years it continued its focus and interest in the rural areas & pioneered the growth of countryside journalism.

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