By Bernie Lopez Philippine Daily Inquirer contributing columnist email@example.com
HILLARY WILL TRIGGER WORLD WAR III
US politics has reversed. The liberal Democrats have become conservative, the conservative Republican liberal. At first thought, with his wild reckless shoot-from-the-hip comments on the Middle East, and anti-immigrant sentiments, many believed Trump would be the candidate to easily trigger World War III. But then again, Hillary, with her anti-Russian stance, may be a better candidate.
Trump leans towards dialogue with Russia. He wants to distance the US from NATO, which is planning to place more troops and missiles in Poland and the Balkans. On the other hand, Hillary’s first anti-Russian move would be to fulfill NATO plans, the best way to achieve World War III. Russia, extremely nervous of NATO missiles and troops building up near its borders, says it would not back down from any confrontation. There are reports both Russia and the US are planning ‘pre-emptive strikes’. Like a cowboy movie, the fastest gun wins, but there are no winners in a US-Russia war.
FEDERALISM WILL INTENSIFY CORRUPTION A Federal form of government is an American system of governance which will not work for the Philippines. Considering we are in the top five most-corrupt nations worldwide, federalism will decentralize and intensify corruption to the high heavens. Federalism will give local governments independent executive-legislative-judicial branches. They will double to quadruple their spending quickly based on loans from the IMF-World Bank Consortium before their term runs out. Runaway borrowings will dramatically increase our external debt. And the money borrowed will feed local corruption. It is economic suicide. Corrupt forces and the IMF-World Bank are the ultimate beneficiaries of federalism.
The status quo has its weaknesses and defects, but are we willing to risk irreversibly an unpredictable federal government system whose ramifications we know little about, which may be a jump from frying pan to fire?
Like Brexit, no one knows the deep implications of federalism until we get there. Ninety percent of British voters never knew what hit them until it was too late. They were carried away by the pro-exit propaganda blitz with its nationalism rhetoric. Those who knew the real implications were never heard until after the voting. In the same way, the pro-feds will launch a propaganda blitz for their own selfish benefits. And voters will react in the same way, ignorant of the reality and unpredictability of federalism.
I understand the sentiments of the Mindanao people and Duterte about the “hegemony of Manila”, which has been ‘fleecing’ and ‘impoverishing’ resource-rich Mindanao. But federalism may not be the solution but the problem at this time. Corruption will undermine federalism and divert Mindanao resources to corrupt power politicians. The absolute pre-requisite to good governance is no or little corruption. We are not there yet. Federalism is dangerous.
WHY LLDA CAN’T FULFILL DUTERTE’S LAGUNA LAKE VISION As soon as Duterte announced his dream that Laguna Lake had to be developed into an economic model, the Laguna Lake Development Authority (LLDA), within days, issued a press release saying they needed half a billion pesos to do it. LDDA is not in a position to fix Laguna Lake. Why?
First, in the last few decades, LLDA has been collecting millions in ‘environmental fees’ from firms along the Laguna Lake shore, numbering about 350 a decade ago. Yet LLDA has done very little to rehabilitate the lake. Where did the money go? LLDA has to give an accounting of this money before they are given more. Greenpeace quoted LLDA as saying the lake will die in five years (by 2012) if no rehab is done. Rehab will cost billions at this late stage when nothing substantial has been done, or cumulative pollution through the decades may be impossible to reverse. Laguna Lake is a ticking environmental time bomb because the 220-km. lakeshore population is a staggering 15 million in 2010 (NSO). Household waste accounted for 77%. Greenpeace reports that shore towns have been dumping garbage in landfills very near the shores, defying ordinances banning it. Laguna Lake is fed by 22 major tributaries in a massive 45,000 sq. km. catchment area, which hosts many export processing zones, some having semiconductor and other polluting firms. Heavy metals from industrial sites have settled on the lake bed cumulatively through the decades, which may be impossible or expensive to rehab this late.
Maynilad, which taps 100 million liters of water a day from Laguna Lake, may want to look for alternative water sources. It experienced a ‘manganese surge’ in water supplied to 1.2 million consumers at the peak of El Nino in April 2016. Prior to that, they rationed water due to red tide.
BREXIT BLUNDER – IGNORANCE OF THE ISSUE IS NO EXCUSE
Many say it is the greatest blunder of the century, to isolate one’s self in a period when globalization is intensifying, when partnership and coalition are critical for economic survival. Ninety percent of British voters never really knew what Brexit was all about when they voted. The implications were gradually seen later – massive hemorrhages in international trade and banking. They were instead immersed in a media barrage of rhetoric on misplaced nationalism and independence. To think that in this greatest blunder of the century, the exit votes beat the no-exit by a hair.
Bernie V. Lopez, firstname.lastname@example.org Philippine Daily Inquirer contributing columnist-feature writer, blogger, Filipino senior columnist in the last 20 years, former Radio-Veritas and GNN broadcaster, former documentary producer-director for ABS-CBN, GMA7, and TVS of Tokyo, and former Ateneo University professor.
**************** eastwind Meditation Corner
**************** for every dunkirk there is a normandy for every pearl harbor a hiroshima for every 9/11 a thousand killer drones ten eyes for an eye, a pail of tears for a tear yet, vengeance is Mine, says the Lord
**************** when you get to the top by stepping on others you will discover that there is nothing up there except emptiness and desolation but if you help people along your way to the top you will notice that there is nothing up there except their support and your inner peace
**************** My kingdom is not found in lofty mountains or lush valleys but in hungry beggars reaching out a hand to you in dark nooks of despair and distress where you can bring a glimmer of My Light and hope for Me
**************** you do not need a palace to be happy you do not need fame to be fulfilled you can live in the middle of nowhere with inner peace, and not feel alone all you need are – simplicity – sincerity – serendipity