By Herbert Vego
THIS corner believes that, in the spirit of the Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement (EDCA) between the Philippines and the United States, the latter would exert greater military presence here to deter “bullying” by China.
The EDCA, signed by the then Philippine Defense Secretary Voltaire Gazmin and U.S. Ambassador to the Philippines Philip Goldberg in Manila in 2014, provides for an increased rotational presence of American troops in the country to advance the implementation of the 1951 PH-US Mutual Defense Treaty (MDT).
China’s scores of “provocative” actions in the West Philippine Sea have irreparably strained its “friendship” with us and compels us to depend on the United States and other foreign allies for protection.
China is guilty of violating the July 2016 ruling of the United Nations-backed Arbitral Tribunal which declared several areas in the West Philippine Sea (WPS) part of the exclusive economic zone (EEZ) of the Philippines.
The June 9, 2019 “maritime incident” that nearly drowned 22 Filipino fishermen on board a fishing vessel rammed and sunk by a bigger Chinese boat at Reed Bank should have been enough to warn us against China’s intrusion in Philippine territory.
“We’re the owners of the resources there,” former Supreme Court Associate Justice Antonio Carpio lamented. “There is no legal dispute as to the ownership of oil, fish, and gas. It belongs exclusively to the Philippines. The only problem is how to get China to comply.”
As US President Joe Biden and other top U.S. officials have stated in different words, Beijing’s maritime aggression must be repelled.
It is unthinkable for the US to just watch while China is fishing and reclaiming lands off our reefs. She has reclaimed Zamora Reef in the Spratlys for military build-up, building a three-kilometer airstrip surrounded by hangars, radars, missile shelters and weapons systems.
The choice is ours: Our tested alliance with a democratic super power, or with an expansionist communist?
In his book Sitting in Darkness, American author David Howard Bain wrote that because of massive poverty in the Philippines, Filipinos would welcome foreign military alliances. Any contrary argument would be likened to a painted wall that keeps poverty “out of sight.”
MORE ON THE RACI SURVEY IN ILOILO CITY
IN our previous column, we lauded Iloilo City Mayor Jerry P. Treñas for funding a survey out of his own pocket to feel the pulse of his constituents over the services performed by the city government.
The face-to-face survey done by the prestigious Random Access Consultants Inc. (RACI) comprises samplings from respondents in all seven districts of Arevalo, City Proper, Jaro, La Paz, Lapuz, Mandurriao and Molo.
The No. 1 and most important question asked, “Are you contended with your life in Iloilo?”
The respondents came up with a net satisfaction of +66.3% (VERY GOOD), meaning that 76% answered “contented”; 15% “not contented”; 6.3% “very contented”; 1.7% no opinion; and 1% “very discontented”.
Question No. 2 — “Are you contented with the rehabilitation work done in the public plazas?” – got the highest net satisfaction rating of 82.7% (excellent).
Question No. 4 — “Are you contented with the traffic management?” — polled the lowest net satisfaction rating of 12% (poor).
Having covered five questions/answers in our previous column, let me just summarize the remaining ones.
No. 6: “Are you contented with garbage collection in the city?”
Exactly 63% said “Yes” (very good).
No. 7: “Have you heard of a reclamation project being done?”
“No” topped with 66%.
No. 8: “Will you support the project?”
“Yes” netted 40.3%, while 0.3% opposed. Others had no response or had not heard of the project.
No. 9: “Would you want a water line (MIWD) in your place?”
“Yes” was the plurality answer at 40% while 37% is, “already connected”.
No. 10: “Where do you get your drinking water?”
Surprisingly, the majority of 98.3% are distrustful of the water system; they buy water from a refilling station. Only 1% drink MIWD water; the rest from a deep well.
To the 11th question on sources of water for bath, laundry and plants, 67.3% answered “deep well; 32.7, MIWD.
No. 12: “Have you visited a health center in the past three months?”
“No” was the answer of 60.7%; yes, 39.3%.
No. 13: “Why do you go there?”
“For check-up,” said 77.1%. The rest do so to ask for free medicines and supplements, among others.
No. 14: “How do you dispose of your garbage?”
“Have it picked up by garbage truck,” 94.7% answered. The rest burn it, drop it in a compost pit or hole, bring it to the garbage dump, dump it in the sea or river, or throw it out of the house.
No. 15: “What problem do you see in garbage management in your barangay?”
“Scattered by dogs,” said 40%. Others blamed improper storage, indiscriminate throwing anywhere, and delay of pick-up.
No. 16: “Does your barangay have material recovery facility?”
“None,” responded 51%; yes, 39%; the rest, unsure.
No. 17: “Do you segregate biodegradable from non-biodegradable garbage?”
The majority of 52% do not; 35.3% do always; and 12.7%, sometimes.