Case vs Chinese president can spur Filipino resistance
GOTCHA - Jarius Bondoc (The Philippine Star) - March 25, 2019 - 12:00am

Sen. Panfilo Lacson calls it a “patriotic act.” Vice President Leni Robredo says “it gives Filipinos hope.” The international case filed against Chinese President Xi Jinping by two former Filipino officials has potential to multiply. It can spur numerous creative actions against China’s illegal occupation and exploitation of Philippine resources.

Such actions would be largely citizens’ initiatives. Those can range from fishermen’s demonstrations on land and at sea to online appeals for global help. The government can be jolted into boldness, or else be isolated for capitulating to a foreign master. Presently it prefers appeasement despite Xi’s grab of Scarborough Shoal and concreting of Philippine reefs into island-fortresses.

Ex-foreign secretary Albert del Rosario and ex-ombudsman Conchita Carpio Morales filed Mar. 15 for Xi’s prosecution by the International Criminal Court. Along with Filipino fishermen, they accused the Chinese leader of crime against humanity. That’s due to environmental damage in Xi’s artificial-island building in the South China Sea.

Reefs are fertile fishing grounds. From Xi’s reef destruction, hundreds of thousands of Filipino fishermen were deprived of livelihood source, del Rosario and Carpio Morales averred. Present and future generations too are affected in the Philippines and neighboring countries.

In July 2016 a UN arbitral court ruled, among others, that China wrecked the environment around the reefs. The seamarks are within the Philippines’ 200-mile exclusive economic zone, yet 650 miles from China. Beijing has refused to accept the UN verdict. The Duterte administration shelved the ruling purportedly for a more opportune time; it is now nearly halfway into its six-year term.

International law experts have been urging Manila to file a second arbitration – this time to collect damages for the environmental ruin. With China adamant against participating in UN proceedings, it is bound to lose. The government has ignored the idea, however. The complaint by del Rosario and Carpio Morales is an alternative citizens’ action against Xi’s environmental degradation.

This is not the first time that Filipinos acted despite their government’s reluctance. In Apr. 1986, 9,539 victims of martial law atrocities filed a class action against dictator Ferdinand Marcos’ estate. Venue was the US district court in Honolulu, Hawaii, as Marcos was known to have stashed stolen wealth in America. The claimants won $2 billion in damages, and have been paid part of it from the liquidation of Marcos ranches and a building. More are to come from auctioned art masterpieces.

Filipino fishermen and youths have staged protest voyages to the South China Sea, also called West Philippine Sea. In Dec. 2015 Malacañang stopped a fishers’ flotilla from Zambales to Scarborough, against China’s illegal occupation. Only 40 of 10,000 student volunteers were allowed to proceed from Palawan to Pag-asa Island in the Spratlys.

Various other actions can be launched, including boycotts of Chinese brands and projects. Overseas Filipinos have been lobbying foreign governments for sympathy against China’s bullying of Filipino fishermen and oil explorers inside their own maritime jurisdiction. Citizens’ independent actions can avert untoward violent retaliations against Chinese nationals.

Chinese coast guards bar Filipinos from entering their traditional fishing grounds in Scarborough. Their boats are rammed or water-cannoned, and their catch are confiscated.

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Trouble is brewing at the country’s premiere St. Luke’s Medical Center. Through power play and machinations Dr. Brian Cabral is being eased out as medical director and senior VP of the hospital’s Bonifacio Global City branch. This is after the topnotch nephrologist was asked to forgo his specialization to master in hospital management and his consequent ten years of building up a renal department and new site.

Cabral was told to resign supposedly on orders of the board of trustees. It turned out that there never was such a board decision, but only a whim of one of Cabral’s superiors. That superior’s reason merely is “difference in management style”, which Cabral finds too flimsy to oust him. He is asking the board for due process, or else fire him for just and legal cause.

Cabral was starting a thriving practice a decade ago when he dutifully complied with requests to obtain a Master in Medical Management from the prestigious Carnegie Mellon University in Pennsylvania. Thereafter he headed St. Luke’s BGC’s Center for Renal Disease, while concurrently serving as assistant director for medical education, then assistant VP for medical practice. In 2017 he became medical director and senior VP for the Medical Practice Group. As a clinician he brought P100 million last year alone into the hospital.

An initial attempt to oust Cabral was by threats of supposed complaints, none of which materialized. His wife too allegedly was harassed with office intrigue of her medical practice.

This is the sort of corporate trouble that, if protracted, can lead to demoralization and deteriorated service.

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It’s the ‘70s once more on Mar. 27, 8 p.m., at SMX Convention Center, SM Aura, Bonifacio Global City, Taguig. “Hotdog Minus 1”, a tribute concert for band original Rene Garcia, is led by composer-brother Dennis. Plus one very special guest: Boy Camara. (Rene passed away six months ago.)

For red-hot tickets, call (0917) 7069986 or (0945) 4864399.

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Catch Sapol radio show, Saturdays, 8-10 a.m., DWIZ (882-AM).

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