Herman Tiu Laurel

By Perfecto T. Raymundo, Jr. 

PASIG CITY — Herman Tiu Laurel, President of Asian Century Philippines Strategic Studies Institute, Inc. (ACPSSII), on Saturday (Jan. 13) said that the start of the New Year (2024) brings new hope for the Philippines. 

During the Media Forum at the ACPSSII Center in Mega Plaza, Ortigas, Pasig City, Laurel noted the rise of the “Multipolar World, which is strengthening and has become more visible.” 

He cited the triumph of the African National Congress with the prevailing freedom in South Africa. 

However, the ACPSSII chief executive said that the new emerging nations are now fighting for newly-found freedom through the BRICS. 

“The Multipolar World rises again,” Laurel stressed. 

He recalled that the Philippines’ independent foreign policy had been prevalent more than 30 years ago during the time of then President Ferdinand Edralin Marcos, Sr. 

Laurel noted that the independent foreign policy was again revived and strengthened during the time of then President Rodrigo Roa Duterte. 

Under the government’s “Build, Build, Build” projects in 2021 are real development, Laurel noted. 

The ACPSSII President cited the “accelerated development under the IFP is invariably reversed to become development debacles under the US-sponsored regimes such as Corazon Aquino government and now under PBBM as infrastructure and economic development programs are shelved while the US capitalist-backed oligarchy take over physical assets of the nation for exploitation and looting.” 

Laurel added the “Duterte’s Strategic Cooperation with China established great infrastructures, from the Php4.372-billion Chico River Dam Irrigation project to the Kaliwa Dam, and donations such as the three multi-billion-peso Estrella-Pantaleon, Binondo-Intramuros and Davao-Bucana bridges, and more. PBBM is cancelling more projects and can think up none for his ‘Build, Better, More’ that has become nil.” 

It can be noted that the Php20.2-billion Kaliwa Dam can generate 600 million liters per day in Metro Manila with 20 million population and Southern region. 

Likewise, Laurel stressed that the hidden intention of Charter Change is to erase Article XVII, Section 25 of the 1987 Philippine Constitution, specifically, the “anti-foreign military bases” provision. 

He cited that there is now a “campaign to ensure perpetuity of the US EDCA military bases in the country in initiating a ‘People’s Initiative’ to remove the present Philippine Constitution’s Article XVII, Section 25 that states: 

“… foreign military bases, troops, or facilities shall not be allowed in the Philippines except under a treaty duly concurred in by the Senate and, when the Congress so requires, ratified by a majority of the votes cast by the people in a national referendum held for that purpose, and recognized as a treaty by the other contracting State.” 

“The proposed ‘voting as one of the Senate and Lower House’ is intended to overwhelm the objectors in the numerically inferior Senate who would have the veto power if voting separately. Money talks in both Houses but there are recalcitrant in the Senate as shown by the 2015 Senate vote against the US EDCA military bases,” Laurel said. 

The ACPSSII chief executive quoted Chinese President Xi Jinping as saying: “the world is changing not seen in 100 years (ang mundo ay nagbabago na hindi nakita sa 100 taon).” 

Laurel noted that South Africa has filed a case for genocide against Israel in connection with the alleged murder of hundreds of innocent Palestinian civilians, especially children, in the ongoing war between Israel and the Hamas militant group. 

He assured that the ACPSSII is a “singular voice” in countering disinformation, citing for an instance the apartheid in South Africa, noting that, the ACPSSII will continue to tell the truth about the current events as the history of the world unfolds. 

For her part, Prof. Anna Marie Malindog-Uy said that there was no information about the landing of foreign aircrafts in the Philippines. 

It could not have been known, Uy said, if not for the pictures taken by Filipino private citizens and posted it on the social media platform. 

The longer strategic plan is more important than a shorter one when it comes to IFP and Multipolar World, which has become volatile. 

Uy stressed that there is a need to review the Expanded Defense Cooperation Agreement (EDCA) and the Mutual Defense Treaty (MDT) in order to sustain an IFP. 

She pointed out that the 1987 Philippine Constitution prohibits the presence of foreign military bases and troops in the country. 

Uy noted that “the EDCA has circumvented the 1987 Philippine Constitution.” 

“There are 400 military bases which are now surrounding China,” she said, considering that, Taiwan will conduct its presidential elections next week. 

She added that the current administration should know that the 1987 Philippine Constitution explicitly prohibits the presence of foreign military bases and troops in Philippine soil. 

Uy stressed that the Philippines may end up like Ukraine, which is now embattled with the war with Russia. 

She pointed out that Filipinos must oppose the expansion of EDCA sites in the Philippines in order to preserve the independence, sovereignty, and territorial integrity of the country. 

Uy said that the independent foreign policy is enshrined in the Constitution such that the Philippines should have a “balanced” diplomatic relations with China, United States and other countries.

She added that to maintain this independent foreign policy is to conduct a review of the military agreements such as EDCA with the United States. 

“Friends to all and enemy to none”, which for Uy, is not anymore working for the Philippines’ independent foreign policy, in the sense that there should be a “balancing act” with the United States and China and avoid sensitive issues with them. 

“There is now an emerging new ‘World Order’ and that is the, ‘Multipolar World’,” Uy said. 

“President Ferdinand ‘Bongbong’ Marcos, Jr., as the Chief Architect of the country’s foreign policy, can maintain an independent foreign policy through a ‘balancing act’,” Uy added. 

For his part, Ado Paglinawan, ACPSSII vice president, said that “the EDCA will expire on April 28, 2024.” 

Paglinawan noted that the “Ascending Reality” is with China, Russia, and South Africa and the “Declining Failure” is with G-7. 

He cited that Raymond Powell, of US Naval Georgian Knots Center, has surrendered and admitted that the Philippines needs a “new compensation”. 

Paglinawan said that the “Project Myushu” was a complete failure. 

He noted that based on documented US Congressional hearing, “At least Php250 million was received by the Philippine Coast Guard with Jay Tarriela as its spokesman.” 

“US$1 million was received by Rappler and Vera Files, and they were not even branded as ‘traitors’,” Paglinawan said. 

Paglinawan cited that Senator Imee Marcos has confirmed and validated his findings and analysis of the Arbitral ruling insofar as the South China Sea territorial dispute or the Philippines’ claims for territorial integrity and sovereignty are concerned. 

“Despite the failure of Project Myushu, water cannon incident, Christmas convoy, Raymond Powell, and Jay Tarriela, Filipinos are still very much concerned about the country’s economy/inflation,” he said. 

“If China is the problem, China is the solution,” he added. 

Paglinawan pointed out that based on Article 18 and Article 19 of UNCLOS (United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea), “joint patrols” or military passages, are not allowed even in the 200-mile exclusive economic zone of the South China Sea. 

“We cannot war with China,” he quoted former President Rodrigo Roa Duterte as saying. 

Paglinawan said that the “paradigm shift” of Defense Secretary Gibo Teodoro is going to “joint patrols”, which Paglinawan termed as “grandeurism”, adding that, “What happened to our composure?” 

“Let us never negotiate out of fear, but let us not fear to negotiate,” Paglinawan quoted former US President John F. Kennedy as saying. 

“The South China Sea is not the totality of our relations with China, however, the Philippines is now invoking ‘third parties’ through joint patrols,” he said. 

“Non-lethal weapons (NLWS/water cannons), acoustics (laser gun) as employed by China in the South China Sea, are allowed by the Geneva Convention,” he added. 

“Paradigm shift should be towards priorities on economic development and tourism industry,” Paglinawan said. 

He also cited that Indonesia from 2013 to 2023 under President Joko Widodo, has become the No. 10 manufacturer in the world.