The Philippines and China must be good friends
SHOOTING STRAIGHT - Bobit S. Avila (The Philippine Star) - November 22, 2018 - 12:00am

The Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA)-Visayas warned us to brace for the entry of a strong weather disturbance that is predicted to cross Cebu last Tuesday and Wednesday. We also got hold of an emergency meeting that the Regional Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (RDRRMC) had over the weekend to discuss the preparations of each agency and office headed by the Office of Civil Defense in Central Visayas (OCD-Region 7) calling for the pre-disaster risk assessment in Cebu City of each entity especially for the local disaster units.

Tuesday morning came but there wasn’t even any rain in the Visayas… then Wednesday came and still no rain nor any sight of Typhoon “Samuel”. I’m sure PAGASA-Visayas which also briefed the officials and representatives of the trajectory of tropical depression Samuel and its possible impact on the region must have been taken by surprise. With classes suspended, that was the only good thing that happened… less traffic and of course no typhoon emergencies. Indeed our weather is unpredictable! Or at least, Cebuanos are blessed to have good weather even if PAGASA predicts a typhoon!

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Chinese President Xi Jinping visited  the Philippines Tuesday and yesterday and he said in his arrival statement that “Maintaining “good neighborliness and friendship” is the only “right choice” for China and the Philippines to achieve their goals and mutual interests amid “profound and complex changes in the world.” He added that “China stands ready to work with the Philippines for even greater progress in our relations, our peoples have higher expectations for stronger ties and cooperation across the board between our two sides.” 

President Xi also reiterated his government’s promise to work on consensus as it joins the Philippines and the rest of the 10-member Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) in crafting a code of conduct on the South China Sea within three years.

Xi said, “China and the Philippines have a lot of common interests in the South China Sea. We will continue to manage contentious issues and promote maritime cooperation through friendly consultation and we will work alongside other ASEAN countries towards the conclusion of COC based on consultations, based on consensus within three years and continue our share to peace, stability and welfare in this region.”

Who can quarrel with this kind of statement except that in the disputed Spratly Islands, where China constructed a military base out of nothing… the Chinese Navy patrols that disputed area to the disgust of many Filipinos… I just hope that the Chinese soldiers there would be as diplomatic as their chosen leader who is acceptable to us in every way! The Chinese leader said he was looking forward to meeting with Duterte for an in-depth exchange of views on further strengthening China-Philippine relations as well as on regional and international issues of mutual interest.

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For senior citizens like me who grew up during the days of Camelot in the White House or the Kennedy years, today is the 55th anniversary of the assassination of US President John F. Kennedy who was shot inside the official limo in Dealy Plaza in Dallas, Texas. It was one of America’s greatest tragedies, which created conspiracy theories that haunted America.

I was a 12-year-old kid serving the holy mass at the Redemptorist Church in Cebu when the priest announced the death of JFK in the pulpit. JFK was assassinated on Nov. 22,1963 on a Friday but due to the time difference we got the news on Saturday morning in the Philippines. I’m not ashamed to tell my friends that I grew up with the ideals of JFK and followed his life up to his assassination. I watched the movie “PT-109” Starring Cliff Robertson and realized that 55 years ago, Cebu City didn’t have a TV news unlike what we have today. News was via radio or newsreel film shown free in any theater showing MGM or Warner Brothers films. Two of our theaters had these newsreels. Our Oriente Theater was an MGM house.

We saw little John-John Kennedy make that emotional salute as the casket of his father passed him…we also saw the funeral cortege where Philippine President Diosdado Macapagal walked behind Jackie Kennedy and brother-in-law Robert Kennedy who was also later assassinated. The news media learned a lot from this event, seeing Jackie Kennedy’s bloodstained pink clothes. It also showed live on TV the assassination of Lee Harvey Oswald by Jack Ruby, which supported more conspiracy theories. When I went to the Henry Ford Museum, the Kennedy car was on display there except that the Secret Service bolted the bubble top roof on the Lincoln Continental.

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