February 22, 2024

Of course, United States Pres. Donald Trump welcomes the decision of the Philippine government to put an end to the U.S.-RP Visiting Forces Agreement (VFA). We would think the Philippines, especially our military, need the VFA more than the U.S. does.
Trump says the U.S. will save a lot of money with the VFA termination. He may be right. And that money can now be spent for his pet project to erect a border wall between the U.S. and Mexico.
Our chains of connection with the U.S. are slowly disappearing. In 1991, the Philippine Senate voted to reject the continued stay of U.S. bases in the country by voting against the extension of the 1947 U.S.-Philippine agreement. The 1991 Mt. Pinatubo eruption helped to convince the Americans to quickly pack up and go.
Since 1997, however, there were efforts to repair the deteriorating state in Phil-American military relations. But because of the recent decision of the Philippine government to end the VFA, the 1951 Mutual Defense Treaty and the 2014 Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement, may now be on shaky grounds.
But the decision to cut the U.S. umbilical cord is certainly logical, if it is our desire to be truly free and independent from foreign dictation, influence, and pressure. It is long overdue that the country should learn to stand on its own. But at this stage in our history, can we? But if we do not do it now, when?
If we were severing the VFA on grounds of national dignity and sovereignty, Filipinos should support the lofty and noble effort. But if it is in retaliation for the revocation of the U.S. visa of a Philippine senator, then the request of some senators to study the matter some more may also make more sense, even just to search for a better excuse.

The novel coronavirus has a new name. It shall henceforth be officially called “Covid-19.”
But what is in a name? The virus by any other name would still be as deadly.
The truth of the matter is that no one really knows exactly what to do with it. Everyone is a beginner at this stage. If China, the U.S., and other more developed countries are still groping in the dark over what to do with the virus, then don’t expect that the Philippines, not even Quiboloy, would know how to stop it.
However, if you want to be somewhat reassured, perhaps you should watch the TV address on YouTube given by Singapore’s Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong on the coronavirus and how the Singapore government is dealing with it.
Listen to him, and just pretend that he is talking about the Philippines, addressing the Filipino people and the Philippine government. He does not have the answers, nor the cure, but somehow, he makes you calmer and “safer.”

In the Ilocos, during a wake, relatives, friends, neighbors and others would stay up late to keep the bereaved family company, by playing mahjong and other cards games.
The Ilocos PNP has banned the practice. That means goodbye to another Ilocos “tradition.” Aginom tayo laengen.
When we were still students at the UP, we were also forbidden from gambling in the campus.
But we would nevertheless gamble by making bets on the ending of the plate numbers of the vehicles that pass by the school. Another version was to randomly open our law books and he who opens the page with the highest ending page number wins.
Would that kind of betting also be forbidden during the wakes of the dead in the Ilocos? If someone goes to a wake carrying a thick law book, don’t believe that he is reviewing for the Bar.