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Wednesday, March 29, 2017

The NYT’s hatchet job on Duterte: We should all be outraged

IF, after reading with a critical eye, the New York Times’ editorial last Friday entitled “Accountability for Duterte,” and you aren’t outraged and even cheer it—as Vice President Robredo and the news website Rappler seem to have—you have lost all sense of being Filipino.
Because of the stupidity and temerity of that NYT piece, by-lined by the paper’s “Editorial Board*”, I am convinced that it is part of a Yellow plot to oust President Duterte.
What the NYT piece asked the US government and the world to do is an outrage: “The EU has proposed hitting his government where it may hurt the most — by imposing tariffs on Philippine goods. Other democratic trading partners should do the same,” the editorial proposed. This sentence alone indicates how rushed or ignorant the NYT piece is, that it is simply a cheap black propaganda.
The NYT—whose biggest stockholder is the world’s second richest man, the Mexican businessman Carlos Slim—is disseminating fake news: that European nations have condemned Duterte and are in the process of imposing sanctions against us. Or perhaps the NYT editors are ignorant of what the EU is and its institutions.
It is not the EU—the union of 28 nations in Europe of 510 million citizens—that has proposed reducing our access to European markets to punish us.
Rather it was only a resolution—and not even a bill—of the European Parliament (EP), which is just one of the three institutions of the EU, the other being the more powerful Council of the European Union (which passes laws with the EP) and the “executive” body, the European Commission. Members of the Council and the Commission are appointed by the governments of the EU nations; the EP by direct vote of each EU nation, in special elections.
A resolution of the EP has as much chance of being implemented by the EU as the thousands of resolutions by members of our Congress which are approved only for the sake of camaraderie but which everyone there knows won’t be implemented, since a law – an entirely different thing – would be required for that. House Resolution CR 0004 “granting consent to Senator Drilon to accept the Grand Cordon of Order of the Rising Sun from Japan” by any stretch of the imagination can’t be interpreted as the wish of the entire nation.
More importantly, though, how can the NYT so cavalierly – or ignorantly – ask that our country’s “democratic trading partners,” which includes the US, renege on their multilateral commitments to the World Trade Organization and bilaterally to the Philippine state and impose economic sanctions that will hurt not just our businessmen but the poor, especially destitute farmers? When China slowed down their exports of bananas because of President Aquino’s belligerent stance against it, was it Davao’s banana magnates who cried, or was it rather the thousands of minimum-wage banana plantation workers?
The short 400-word (a third of the length of this column) NYT proposal is so idiotic as it is appalling that it could have been drafted not by a professional journalist concerned with facts or logic or even human rights, but by a Filipino political partisan launching a black propaganda drive against Duterte. Was it something a rich New Yorker Filipina handed over to a NYT editorial writer after dinner at her posh Manhattan apartment, telling him: “Just my draft, do whatever you want with it.”
How many countries in the world have the US and the EU imposed trade and other economic sanctions against in the postwar period?
Seven, four of which are troublesome—or “hate-America”—Middle East countries: 1) Iran, as a means to force it to stop its nuclear-bomb program; 2) Iraq, when it invaded Kuwait in 1990; 3) North Korea, also over its nuclear-bomb and missile delivery system; 4) Russia, for its invasion of the Ukraine’s Crimea territory; 5) Burma (Myanmar), in order to force it to free the renowned democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi and undertake free elections; 6) Libya to stop alleged killing of anti-government protesters; and 7) Syria, ostensibly to stop its President Bashar al-Assad from killing the opposition, but in reality to force him out of office.

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