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ROUGH CUTS | This ‘loss of trust and confidence’ thing

A SURVEY CONDUCTED by the University of Mindanao’s Institute of Public Opinion (UM-IPO) recently disclosed that Mindanaoans are “cautiously optimistic” about the presence of a United States military base in the old Lumbia Airport in Cagayan de Oro City.

Of course we Mindanaoans have to be so. We know that should there be war between the United States and its allies that include the Philippines, against other nation or group of nations adverse to the former countries military installations will be the priority targets of any of the adversaries’ attacks. Therefore a US military base in that Northern Mindanao City will be a magnet to enemy fires using perhaps the most devastating or war materiel in its arsenal.

Given the sophistication of modern arms, should any missile carrying nuclear warheads land at any of the US bases in the Philippines could mean a whole wide range of destruction that would start at the time of explosion until several days or months and even years that nuclear elements remain in the atmosphere.

But the “die is cast,” so says a common adage. Meaning, a decision has already been made by the government to allow the establishment of the US bases as part of the Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement (EDCA) entered into by our country and the US.

In other words, by our country’s entering into the EDCA our leaders effectively agreed to allow the setting up of new US Military bases in some five (5) locations in the Philippines. Therefore, the previous leaders of our country effectively put all Filipinos, especially those residing in the areas near the military bases, literally in the immediate vicinity of the target installation or right on the center of the fire that will erupt during an attack.

So, can we blame the Mindanaoans like us to be “cautiously optimistic” with the presence of a US military base in Cagayan de Oro City which is barely seven to eight hours travel by land from Davao City?

And definitely nuclear radiation travels many, many, times faster in the atmosphere than any vehicle on land or water. Hence, a Lumbia US military base attack could bring destruction to the whole of this southern Philippines Island in basically similar devastating effect as it would have in Cagayan de Oro City.


Now things are settled insofar as the sudden ouster and replacement of erstwhile Chairperson of the Mindanao Development Authority (MinDA) Ma. Belen S. Acosta. The issue raised by Acosta was that her replacement was illegal and contrary to the provision of the law that created the agency citing that the term of office of the Chair is six (6) years.

Therefore, according to Acosta in her Open Statement, her term is until January of 2028. Unfortunately for the former Chair and long-time Davao City Councilor, the MinDA chairmanship is a political appointee and not a career executive service. Meaning, one’s stay in the position is dependent on the appointing authority. And that position of MinDA chair is, like any other similarly created government agencies, is under one unwritten provision of the law that creates the same. And that is, the term of office of anyone placed as head of the agency is subject to the “trust and confidence” of the appointing power. Unluckily for Madam Acosta she was appointed by the former President who was once a close friend of the incumbent head of state. With her appointing authority now locked in a bitter struggle against the incumbent President for reason they alone know, naturally any Duterte remnant appointees’ loyalty becomes subject to doubt.

Thus, in the letter of Executive Secretary Lucas Bersamin to Acosta, he simply, yet curtly told the former MinDA chair that the incumbent President has lost his “trust and confidence” to the Duterte-appointed chair.

In other words, by her being a political appointee of the former President now the top critic of President Bongbong Marcos, Jr. both as President and as a person, Acosta became “fair game” to the incumbent.
Could this also be the reason why during the visit of the President in Dumaguete City where he distributed Certificates of Land Ownership Award (CLOA) to Agrarian Reform beneficiaries we did not see DAR Region 7 Director Leomides Villareal? We hope what happened to Acosta will not befall on our friend and former broadcast media colleague-turned government servant courtesy of former President Duterte.


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