By Herbert Vego
ABOUT the reported warning of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) chief General Romeo Brawner on an alleged plot to oust President Ferdinand Marcos Jr., my view or “kuru-kuro” is that it has no chance of succeeding.
The coup d’etat rumor originated from inactive and retired military personnel identified with former President Rodrigo “Digong” Duterte, who is no doubt interested in seeing his daughter, Vice-President Sara Duterte-Carpio, take over the presidency without having to wait and run for it in 2028.
To quote a portion of Brawner’s speech delivered in Zamboanga City during a turnover of command at the AFP’s Western Mindanao Command on November 3, “Once we find out that any of our active personnel are involved in this, we will act swiftly.”
It would be foolish for the active soldiers to try toppling the present government when they see no chance of succeeding. There is really nothing in it for them but the risk of dying for a past ruler not worth dying for.
The recent two-day visit to Manila of Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida showed that, like the rest of our allies — the United States, United Kingdom, Europe, Australia, New Zealand and the entire Southeast Asia – Japan is committed to support the Marcos administration in order to prevent China from expanding territories along the China Sea.
Unless prevented, China could make use of the Philippines as a staging ground for its troops to attack and regain Taiwan, a former territory which is now self-governing.
Going back to Digong, if his daughter becomes President, he could continue to escape accountability for “extra-judicial killings” (EJKs) done from way back his time as mayor of Davao City. As stated by the Commission on Human Rights (CHR), no less than 30,000 lives had perished in his bloody “war on drugs”. The Philippine National Police (PNP), on the other hand, insists it’s only 6,000. Both figures, however, express disrespect for rule of law.
Duterte-identified bloggers and vloggers have been exposing graft and corruption in the Marcos government – a clear sign that not all is well with the BBM-Sara “uniteam”. While there are nuggets of truth in their contents – as in rampant smuggling and importation of overpriced agricultural products by cronies – these could not cover up the worse crimes done by the previous administration.
With his own rule threatened, does that not tempt BBM, the “lesser evil,” to hand over his pro-China predecessor to the International Criminal Court (ICC)? Hmm, a matter of time?
‘GASTRONOMIC BOOM’ FOR ILOILO CITY
I was about to say “economic boom” to describe Iloilo City’s phenomenal growth but changed my mind. Having been described by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) as one of this year’s seven “Creative Cities for Gastronomy,” our city would soon experience a “gastronomic boom”.
What I mean is that the rich and famous from all over the world – especially the finicky gourmets – would come here primarily to feast on our delicacies. In fact, they have already been coming in droves, and that must have driven UNESCO to stamp our city with international gastronomic recognition along with Batambang, Cambodia; Chaozhou, China; Fribourg, Switzerland; Gangneung, South Korea; Harakleion, Greece; and Nkongsamba, Cameroon.
To quote Mayor Jerry P. Treñas, a weekend home cooker, “Now, we can proudly say Ilonggo cuisine is taking the stage in the international gastronomy scene.”
Of course, the city leadership has worked hard to deserve the honor this year. You see, it failed the first time it applied with UNESCO for the gastronomy category in 2021. As the saying goes, “If at first you don’t succeed, try and try again.”
Iloilo City is famous for original native dishes, which have been compiled in a 208-page cookbook, Flavors of Iloilo by Rafael “Chef Tibong” Jardeleza. Our renowned merienda meals like La Paz Batchoy and Pansit Molo may also be eaten for lunch and dinner.
It must have amazed our friend Tara Yap that with thousands of eateries sprouting in the city, it is impossible for her to eat in all of them.
THANKFUL FOR ICPO’S SUPPORT
KUDOS to MORE Power President Roel Z. Castro, who visited the Iloilo City Police Office (ICPO) on General Luna Street to express gratitude for the role that it has played in combating power pilferage, thus reducing the system’s loss from 30 percent to only 5 percent.
It has helped lower the electricity rates. For instance, the distribution utility’s residential rate for the billing cycle October 18 to November 14, 2023 has decreased to P10.55 per kilowatt-hour.
Castro brought with him a donation of three brand-new air-conditioning units which, he believes, would keep the ICPO office more conducive for efficiency and productivity.
In his message, Castro thanked the ICPO, led by P/Col. Joeresty Cornica, for fighting power pilferage which could be harmful and life-threatening. We know for a fact that when pilferers tamper with electricity meters and leave wires or connections exposed or loose, it can cause overheating and fire.
Republic Act 7832 prohibits and penalizes the stealing and reselling of electricity and line parts. The penalty of prision mayor or a fine ranging from ten thousand pesos (P10,000) to twenty thousand pesos (P20,000) or both, at the discretion of the court, may be imposed on the guilty pilferers.
That reminds us: Once charged with power pilferage, a municipal mayor has learned his lesson.