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ROUGH CUTS | The new group of ‘Utok Pulbora’




LEST we forget, we are extending our heartfelt felicitation to a good friend of ours lawyer Ruben Abarquez who celebrated his birthday yesterday.

We won’t bother asking him how old he is. Instead we will ask our friend Atty. Ruben how long he intends to keep practicing his law profession.

We know he has been through thick and thin in his lawyering, winning a number of cases but sometimes losing some. But we know his satisfaction is when he saves an innocent suspect from incarceration.

Once he was an ideal public servant although it was only short live. He was an OIC councilor of Davao City. But when he offered himself for election the undiscerning Davaoenos neglected him. In effect, we lost someone who could have been an asset in good governance.

Anyhow, we wish Attorney Ruben our best wishes and hope that in his own way he can serve the people of Davao not necessarily through dirty and deceptive politics.


Indeed there are some among us Filipinos who are quick to take advantage of making hay while the whole population is suffering from the brunt of the pandemic brought about by the Corona Virus Disease.

Imagine some medical practitioners who are themselves running the operations of some private and even public hospitals, declaring some patients sick with CoVid or have died with various level of CoViD complications and charging their bill to the country’s health insurance system, Philhealth! Good if the charges are simply the real ones.

But God, they overcharge the bill by declaring simple coughs as serious pneumonia or making it appear that the patients were admitted for a number of days when in truth they are out-patients only.

And the latest of these shenanigans we heard is the over-priced known medicine against Covid – Remdicivir which in certain hospitals in the National Capital Region (NCR) some medical representatives or “agents” of pharmaceutical companies are reported lining up at the lobby waiting for CoViD patients’ relatives carrying prescriptions for Remdicivir from certain doctors.

The problem as found out by the Department of Health is that because there is still limited supply of the medicine most relatives of patients easily fall prey to the wiles of the overpricing agents who’d always present a bleak picture of the drug’s dire supply situation. Thus, the need for them to purchase the medicine even if its cost is exorbitant.

Then we have some people who proudly claim that they are advocates of health freedom. They keep lambasting police and other law enforcement authorities running after sellers or agents of unauthorized or over-priced drugs as curtailing the rights of the infirmed for immediate healing.

To our mind we believe that the authorities are simply doing their job of protecting the over-all interest of the public. May be it would not matter much if the majority of those who will be spending much for the medicine or services belong to the ten percent of the Filipinos who are lording it over the wealth and resources of the country. But most of the victims are those who are economically hard-up because they are the once that are most vulnerable to the disease.


Yesterday we devoted our column solely on the issue of our claims on some islands and resources in the West Philippine Sea.

We said that even with our “win” in the International Arbitral Tribunal where our claims of sovereignty over areas covered by the so-called Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) of the Philippines, there is no assurance that China, the earlier claimant of the WPS which it calls as the South China Sea, will hand it over to us in silver platter.

The reason advanced by China is that it has the legal and historical basis of its claims. Though we are not certain about the legal basis, the historical one may be so. Why because as early as before Magellan came to the Philippines there were already Chinese here. And it is unlikely that they did not use or fail to discover the WPS and the islands thereat.

Hence they’re naming the particular body of water the South China Sea.
In this particular International Tribunal case raised by the Philippines China is the aggressor. But it cannot be denied that it is a much stronger country economically and militarily than the Philippines, the aggrieved party.

Moreover, it is clear in the agreed authority of the International Court of Arbitration that it cannot impose its ruling for and on behalf of the aggrieved country. Therefore, the Philippines has to resort to self-help if it wants the ruling accepted by China.

And for a weaker country like the Philippines, we cannot afford to risk a shooting war. Not even a “show of force” because our force, while ready to fight to the death, cannot even be enough to be considered a force to show. So it is just proper that our government still maintains that the present tact of resorting to diplomatic strategy in resolving the issue is the best option that is being taken by the government.

And would a UN resolution pressuring China to agree to the Arbitration body ruling work for the Philippines? We have no idea. We even wonder if the UN or any of its major agencies will be goaded to pass such a resolution. After all, the UN Security Council has for its permanent members China, Russia, France, Great Britain and the United States.

All of them are trading partners with the US having the most volume. Yes, these countries can afford having a “show of force”, but can they risk going to war against one of them for and on behalf of the Philippines when they all know such conflict will not only destroy them economically but also devastate them materially and physically?

Hence, we still strongly agree that the present Philippine dispensation continues the diplomatic trust that it is undertaking even as it continues to manifests its disagreements through diplomatic protests. It should not fall for the prodding of the group who are the new “Utok Pulbora” instead of “peace makers.”

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