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Opinion

Differences between neighbors

SENTINEL - Ramon T. Tulfo - The Philippine Star

President Marcos says the country’s differences with China on the South China Sea issue should not detract from our diplomatic and trade relations with our giant neighbor.

Marcos and President Xi Jinping, meeting on the sidelines of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Summit in Bangkok, agreed that “maritime issues do not define the totality of Philippine-China relations.”

It’s just as well. Even in a big family, for example, differences among siblings are common. But eventually, they reconcile through dialogues.

I’ve heard that even in monasteries, some monks bicker over big or small issues, but that they eventually iron out their differences through proper talks.

Misunderstandings over certain issues is a human frailty.

*      *      *

President Bongbong Marcos is resurrecting the Bataan Nuclear Power Plant, one of his father’s pet projects that was mothballed by president Cory Aquino, allegedly due to safety concerns.

Marcos is eyeing France as a partner since that European country is successful in harnessing nuclear power.

He met with French President Emmanuel Macron on the sidelines of the APEC Summit in Bangkok.

Had the Bataan nuclear plant pushed through, the country would not be suffering from a lack of electricity.

We would not be having power failures, called “brownouts,” in most parts of the country.

Expensive power generation is one of the reasons why foreign companies avoid the Philippines as their hub.

The country’s central location in Asia would have been conducive to it becoming an industrial haven.

The first Aquino administration said the Bataan nuclear plant was a danger to surrounding areas, if a massive earthquake struck that part of Luzon.

Westinghouse, a US company that built the plant, took all precautions against possible nuclear fallout in case of an accident.

The company learned lessons from the Three-Mile Island disaster in Pennsylvania in 1979.

The Cory government used the Chernobyl disaster in the then Soviet Union as an excuse to stop the nearly finished nuclear power plant.

But people in the know think the Bataan power project was discontinued due to politics.

*      *      *

Aquilino “Koko” Pimentel III, one of the brilliant minds in the Senate, vehemently opposes the allocation of confidential and intelligence funds (CIF) to government agencies that do not have law enforcement and security functions.

The topnotcher of the 1990 Bar exams called on his Senate colleagues and the public to join him.

Pimentel and Sen. Risa Hontiveros singled out the Department of Education (DepEd) and the Office of the Vice President (OVP) as those utterly undeserving of CIF allocations.

“We hope (fellow lawmakers will join us), especially once they feel the mounting public pressure that the people are now alarmed why we are giving P500 million in confidential funds for the OVP and another P150 million for the DepEd,” Pimentel said.

It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to know that the DepEd and the Office of the Vice President don’t have security and law enforcement functions.

What would these offices spend the funds for?

Intelligence funds are usually spent on government informants, called assets, who report about the activities of the “other side.”

Unless the DepEd utilizes public school teachers to spy on communist and Moro secessionist rebels, it has no business handling intelligence funds.

*      *      *

If his father is telling me the truth, Mark Anthony Sayarot, 42, one of those arrested in the drug bust in the gated Ayala Alabang village, was a victim of circumstance.

Cavite multimillionaire Danilo Sayarot, 71, who was once my partner in a used car business, said Mark owned one of the houses that was raided by government anti-narcotics agents.

The elder Sayarot said Mark Anthony rented the house out to French national Aurelien Cythere, who was found in possession of 20 kilos of freshly “cooked” meth in the house on Mabolo Street.

I don’t know about Mark Anthony but Danny, as far as I know, is a fiercely law-abiding businessman.

*      *      *

Former justice secretary Menardo Guevarra, now the country’s solicitor general, said he never consented to a business partnership between a private corporation and the director of the Bureau of Corrections (BuCor).

Had the partnership pushed through, Agua Tierra Oro Mina Development (ATOM) would donate 234 hectares of land to BuCor to relocate the national penitentiary somewhere else.

In exchange, ATOM would develop the 375-hectare prison facility reservation in Muntinlupa into a commercial and residential area.

Guevarra said he disapproved of the project that the now suspended BuCor chief Gerald Bantag undertook without the permission of the Department of Justice. BuCor is one of the bureaus of the DOJ.

Because the DOJ thumbed it down, then president Rodrigo Duterte didn’t attend the project’s groundbreaking.

Why, oh why, wasn’t Bantag kicked out even then for insubordination?

Was Bantag so influential with the powers that be that he could not be dismissed for an egregious blunder?

*      *      *

Joke! Joke! Joke!

When a man checked into a hotel, he saw a computer on the room’s table, so he decided to send an e-mail to his wife.

However, he accidentally typed the wrong e-mail address. A widow, who had just returned from her husband’s funeral, read it and fainted.

The son rushed into her room, found his mother on the floor and saw the missent e-mail on the computer screen.

The e-mail read:

“To my loving wife, I know you are surprised to hear from me. They have computers here and we are allowed to send mails to our loved ones. I’ve just checked in. How are you and the kids? The place is really nice but I’m lonely here. I have made the necessary arrangements for your arrival tomorrow. I can hardly wait for you. Expecting you, darling.”

SOUTH CHINA SEA

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