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Opinion

No nuclear war

SENTINEL - Ramon T. Tulfo - The Philippine Star

The tense situation at the Ayungin Shoal, which China and the Philippines claim as part of their respective territories, will not lead to a shooting war between our giant neighbor and the United States.

The US has warned China that if it fired at any Philippine vessel, such an incident would set off an armed confrontation between the two countries.

The United States is obligated to defend the Philippines under a mutual defense treaty signed between the two countries in 1951.

If at all, the confrontation between China and the US in the West Philippine Sea – which China calls the South China Sea – will be a game of chicken, with nobody winning or losing.

“Chicken” is a game where two drivers drive toward each other at full speed on a collision course; whoever swerves away first loses.

China would most likely not back out from the confrontation to save its face in the eyes of the world.

The US, as the world’s policeman, would assert its duty to defend the weak from the mighty.

Both sides, seeing the danger of a nuclear holocaust, would just turn away from each other, thereby saving each other’s face.

It would be a repeat of the Cuban Missile Crisis in 1962 between the US and the Soviet Union that nearly embroiled the entire world in a nuclear holocaust.

Because of this, China would open the South China Sea to navigation by any country and “lose interest” in asserting its ownership of parts in that ocean that are also being claimed by other countries.

Methinks the Chinese leadership would eventually realize the folly of being a bully towards its neighbors which have puny armed forces, like the Philippines.

Leaders from both sides – the US and China – would not be stupid enough to go into a nuclear war over some protrusions of rocks and land in the West Philippine Sea.

*      *      *

Over 70 million Pinoys Still unvaccinated – news headline.

The news is depressing, as it shows that the country is far from attaining herd immunity.

To reach herd immunity, a large portion of a community should become immune to a disease, such that infection from person to person is unlikely.

Based on the report that over 70 million Pinoys are not yet vaccinated, only 40 million have been vaccinated against COVID-19 in a country with a population of 110 million.

For the country to reach herd immunity, 70 percent of our population, or 77 million people, should have received full doses of COVID-19 vaccines.

That means that 37 million more people will have to be vaccinated for the Philippines to attain herd immunity. That will take time.

*      *      *

I was amused while watching a virtual court hearing in Metro Manila.

The judge, who looked like a grandmother, asked a uniformed policeman who was an assigned witness in a criminal case whether he was a graduate of the Philippine Military Academy (PMA) or that “school in Cavite,” referring to the Philippine National Academy (PNPA) in Silang town.

The uniformed cop appearing in her court that day was a master sergeant, and to ask him whether he was a graduate of the PMA or PNPA was just, well, naïve, to put it kindly.

Graduates of the PMA and PNPA become lieutenants who one day will become full-fledged colonels or generals.

A master sergeant, who holds the highest position in the rank and file in both the police and the military, is not a graduate of either academy. His chances of becoming a general – no offense meant – are nil.

The judge, who probably hears many criminal cases where policemen are witnesses, should brush up on her knowledge of the rankings in the executive branch of government.

Another amusing booboo made by the elderly judge is asking a victim in a frustrated homicide case, “Buhay ka pa (Are you still alive)?”

The shooting victim was lying in a hospital bed, and to ask if he was still alive was plain stupid and insensitive!

*      *      *

The Diocese of Balanga (Bataan) may want to practice the Christian charity that it teaches its faithful by sending to college a young man who’s a son of one of its priests.

The young man, Sherwin (not his real name), is a product of a love affair between Father Vince (an assumed name) and his mother.

Fr. Vince died of a heart attack in August this year without leaving anything for Sherwin’s mother, Alma.

Alma, a volunteer church worker, and the priest met in one of the functions of Fr. Vince’s parish in Balanga.

Alma’s clandestine meetings with the priest bore Sherwin.

Vince kept promising Alma he would leave the priesthood as Sherwin was growing up.

He told Alma they would live as husband and wife.

Vince said he could support his family by getting a job like teaching. Priests take up college courses while in the seminary.

Alma took Vince at his word.

But alas and alack, she found out later after Vince was gone that she was not the only one the priest impregnated! There were two of them.

It was apparent that Vince was lying to Alma; that he had no intention of quitting the priesthood as he was also having illicit relations with another woman.

Sherwin, already 20 years old, wants to go to college but needs some financial support.

Alma approached the Diocese of Balanga to help in Sherwin’s studies.

But instead of listening to her with understanding, some priests even laughed at her.

Is this the way to treat a woman who made a mistake of having a relationship with a priest?

From where I sit, priests are supposed to be sympathetic and empathetic to people in trouble like Alma.

What kind of religious people are these?

AYUNGIN SHOAL
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