Monday, June 28, 2010

People vs Puno & Amurao

Chester Cabalza recommends his visitors to please read the original & full text of the case cited. Xie xie!

People vs Puno & Amurao
G.R. No. 97471
February 17, 1993

Facts:


The primal issue for resolution in this case is whether accused-appellants committed the felony of kidnapping for ransom under Article 267 of the Revised Penal Code, as charged in the information; or a violation of Presidential Decree No. 532 (Anti-Piracy and Anti-Highway Robbery Law of 1974), as contended by the Solicitor General and found by the trial court; or the offense of simple robbery punished by Paragraph 5, Article 294 of the Revised Penal Code, as claimed by the defense.

On January 13, 1988 in Quezon City, the said accused Isabelo Puno and Enrique Amurao, being then private individuals, feloniously kidnapped Maria del Socorro Sarmiento for the purpose of extorting ransom, to the damage and prejudice of the said offended party in such amount as may be awarded to her under the provisions of the Civil Code.

On a plea of not guilty when arraigned, appellants went to trial which ultimately resulted in a judgment promulgated on September 26, 1990 finding them guilty of robbery with extortion committed on a highway, punishable under Presidential Decree No. 532.

On their appeal, appellants contended that the court a quo erred (1) in convicting them under Presidential Decree No. 532 since they were not expressly charged with a crime therein; (2) in applying Sections 4 and 5, Rule 120 of the Rules of Court since the charge under said presidential decree is not the offense proved and cannot rightly be used as the offense proved which is necessarily included in the offense charged.

Issue:

W/N accused-appellants can be charged of indeterminate sentence for violating the crime of robbery as punished in Paragraph 5 of Article 294, in relation to Article 295, of the Revised Penal Code?

Held:

Accordingly, it was held that the offense committed by appellants is simple robbery defined in Article 293 and punished under Paragraph 5 of Article 294 of the Revised Penal Code with prision correccional in its maximum period to prision mayor in its medium period. Appellants have indisputably acted in conspiracy as shown by their concerted acts evidentiary of a unity of thought and community of purpose. In the determination of their respective liabilities, the aggravating circumstances of craft shall be appreciated against both appellants and that of abuse of confidence shall be further applied against appellant Puno, with no mitigating circumstance in favor of either of them. At any rate, the intimidation having been made with the use of a firearm, the penalty shall be imposed in the maximum period as decreed by Article 295 of the Code

However, the assailed judgment of the trial court was hereby SET ASIDE and another one was rendered CONVICTING accused-appellants Isabelo Puno y Guevarra and Enrique Amurao y Puno of robbery as Punished in Paragraph 5 of Article 294, in relation to Article 295, of the Revised Penal Code and IMPOSING on each of them an indeterminate sentence of four (4) years and two (2) months of prision correccional, as minimum, to ten (10) years of prision mayor, as maximum, and jointly and severally pay the offended party, Maria del Socorro M. Sarmiento, the amounts of P7,000.00 as actual damages and P20,000.00 as moral damages, with costs.

Villegas vs Hiu Chiong Tsai Pao Ho & Judge Arca

Chester Cabalza recommends his visitors to please read the original & full text of the case cited. Xie xie!

Villegas vs Hiu Chiong Tsai Pao Ho & Judge Arca
G..R. No. L-29646
November 10, 1978

Facts:


This is a petition for certiorari to review tile decision dated September 17, 1968 of respondent Judge Francisco Arca of the Court of First Instance of Manila, Branch I, in Civil Case No. 72797. The controverted Ordinance No. 6537 was passed by the Municipal Board of Manila on February 22, 1968 and signed by the herein petitioner Mayor Antonio J. Villegas of Manila on March 27, 1968.

Section 1 of said Ordinance No. 6537 prohibits aliens from being employed or to engage or participate in any position or occupation or business enumerated therein, whether permanent, temporary or casual, without first securing an employment permit from the Mayor of Manila and paying the permit fee of P50.00 except persons employed in the diplomatic or consular missions of foreign countries, or in the technical assistance programs of both the Philippine Government and any foreign government, and those working in their respective households, and members of religious orders or congregations, sect or denomination, who are not paid monetarily or in kind.

Violations of this ordinance is punishable by an imprisonment of not less than three (3) months to six (6) months or fine of not less than P100.00 but not more than P200.00 or both such fine and imprisonment, upon conviction.

On May 4, 1968, private respondent Hiu Chiong Tsai Pao Ho who was employed in Manila, filed a petition with the Court of First Instance of Manila, Branch I, denominated as Civil Case No. 72797, praying for the issuance of the writ of preliminary injunction and restraining order to stop the enforcement of Ordinance No. 6537 as well as for a judgment declaring said Ordinance No. 6537 null and void.

In this petition, Hiu Chiong Tsai Pao Ho assigned the following as his grounds for wanting the ordinance declared null and void: As a police power measure, it makes no distinction between useful and non-useful occupations, imposing a fixed P50.00 employment permit, which is out of proportion to the cost of registration and that it fails to prescribe any standard to guide and/or limit the action of the Mayor, thus, violating the fundamental principle on illegal delegation of legislative powers

Issue:

Whether or not respondent judge erred in ruling ordinance 6537 and violated the cardinal rule of uniformity of taxation, the principle against undue designation of legislative power, and due process and equal protection clauses of the Constitution

Held:

Ordinance No. 6537 does not lay down any criterion or standard to guide the Mayor in the exercise of his discretion. It has been held that where an ordinance of a municipality fails to state any policy or to set up any standard to guide or limit the mayor's action, expresses no purpose to be attained by requiring a permit, enumerates no conditions for its grant or refusal, and entirely lacks standard, thus conferring upon the Mayor arbitrary and unrestricted power to grant or deny the issuance of building permits, such ordinance is invalid, being an undefined and unlimited delegation of power to allow or prevent an activity per se lawful.

Ordinance No. 6537 is void because it does not contain or suggest any standard or criterion to guide the mayor in the exercise of the power which has been granted to him by the ordinance.

The ordinance in question violates the due process of law and equal protection rule of the Constitution.

Requiring a person before he can be employed to get a permit from the City Mayor of Manila who may withhold or refuse it at will is tantamount to denying him the basic right of the people in the Philippines to engage in a means of livelihood. While it is true that the Philippines as a State is not obliged to admit aliens within its territory, once an alien is admitted, he cannot be deprived of life without due process of law. This guarantee includes the means of livelihood. The shelter of protection under the due process and equal protection clause is given to all persons, both aliens and citizens.

The trial court did not commit the errors assigned.

WHEREFORE, the decision appealed from is hereby affirmed, without pronouncement as to costs. SO ORDERED.

Monday, June 21, 2010

The ASEAN Charter

Declaration of Asean Concord II (Bali Concord II)

Asean leaders agreed to establish an “ASEAN Community” supported by three pillars, namely:

 ASEAN Security Community

 ASEAN Economic Community

 ASEAN Socio-Cultural Community

In the 37th Asean Ministerial Meeting in Jakarta, Indonesia last June 2004, Asean Foreign Ministers agreed to work towards development of an Asean Charter which would reaffirm the regional organization’s goals and principles, particularly:

 Ensuring non-aggression and respect for each other’s sovereignty and territorial integrity;

 Promotion and protection of human rights;

 Maintenance of political stability, regional peace and economic progress; and

 The establishment of effective and efficient institutional framework for Asean


In the 10th Asean Summit held at Vientiane on 29 November 2004, Asean leaders directed their Ministers, Senior Officials and Asean Secretariat to continue the work of developing the Asean Charter to:

 Review the frequency of Asean’s mechanism; and

 Review the frequency of Asean’s meetings and rationalize and make them more effective

The Charter should also strengthen the Asean Secretariat in undertaking policy analysis and providing recommendations to Asean Member countries on cooperation.

Eminent Persons Group on the Asean Charter

On 12 December 2005 in the Kuala Lumpur Declaration on the Establishment of the Asean Charter, the leaders agreed on establishing an Eminent Persons Group (EPG). Leaders also tasked their Ministers to establish a High Level Task Force to carry out the drafting of the Asean Charter based of the Declarations and the recommendations of the EPG.

The EPG is tasked to recommend to the Leaders broad policy guidelines on the drafting of the Asean Charter and the directions to take in realizing an Asean Community. Tasked to think “out of the box” and make innovative proposals to make Asean more effective.

Each Asean member country is represented by one eminent person recognized in his country as a highly distinguished and well respected leader. They are not beholden, in their recommendations, to any government of Asean member states. EPG held more than eight (8) meetings and consulted various national and regional stakeholders, including Asean leaders.

In the 12th Asean Summit in Cebu, Philippines, last January 2007, Asean Leaders outlined EPG’s views about Asean, how to strengthen it and recommendations for the Asean Charter. The report contained the following general recommendations:

 Establish greater political commitment within Asean to realize vision of an Asean community;

 Resource mobilization and creation of a special fund to narrow the development gap;

 Creation of measures to ensure compliance and effective implementation (i.e. Dispute Settlement Mechanism);

 Strengthening Organizational Effectiveness;

 Creation of measures that will lead to effective decision making; and

 Creation of people-oriented Asean

Cebu Declaration on the Blueprint for the Asean Charter


The Asean Charter “will serve s a firm foundation in achieving one ASEAN Community by providing an enhanced institutional framework as well as conferring a legal personality for Asean.”

Asean Foreign Ministers agreed on the formation of the High Level Task Force (HLTF) at the 39th AMM in Kuala Lumpur. They were tasked to draft the Asean Charter based on directions given by the leaders and in consideration of the recommendations by the EPG and the relevant Asean documents.

HLTF have had 13 meetings since February 2007 and have reported thrice to the Asean Foreign ministers. HLTF have had dialogues with the following Asean senior officials and stakeholders, namely:

 Civil Society Organizations (CSOs)

 High Level Task Force on Economic Integration

 Senior Officials attending the Asean Socio-cultural Community Coordination Conference (SOC-COM)

 Asean Inter-parliamentary Assembly (AIPA)

 National Human Rights Institutions (NHRIs) of Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, and Thailand

 Senior Officials attending the Asean Security Community Coordination Conference (ASCCO)

Characteristics of the ASEAN Charter

 A visionary and inspiring document;

 Brief but comprehensive;

 Written in clear, unequivocal statements;

 Flexible and enduring document;

 People-oriented;

 Basis for a cohesive, strong, and rules-based inter-governmental organization

What is the Asean Charter?


The Asean Charter is premised to be the Constitution of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN). It will provide the constitutional framework for Asean Member States to work together in a rules-based environment where decisions are legally binding. It will be the foundation of member-states to further build on the Asean Community beyond 2015. It was drafted on the form of a treaty and has to be signed by the Heads of States / Government of Asean and ratified by the member-states to go into effect. Hence, it will be registered with the United Nations Secretariat. The four major sources of Asean Charter (draft) include the following:

 EPG Report;

 Directives from Asean Leaders;

 Existing commitments in various Asean milestone documents and agreements since 1967; and

 Guidance from Foreign Ministers

Skeleton of the ASEAN Charter

Preamble

Chapter I: Purposes and Principles

Chapter II: Legal Personality

Chapter III: Membership

Chapter IV: Organs

Chapter V: Entities Associated with Asean

Chapter VI: Immunities and Privileges

Chapter VII: Decision-Making

Chapter VIII: Settlement of Disputes

Chapter IX: Budget and Finance

Chapter X: Administration and Procedures

Chapter XI: Identity and Symbols

Chapter XII: External Relations

Chapter XIII: General and Final Provisions

Annexes

Annex 1: Asean Sectoral Ministerial Bodies

Annex 2: Entities Associated with Asean

Annex 3: Asean Flag

Annex 4: Asean Emblem

What is the ASEAN Charter expected to achieve?

The Asean Charter is succinctly captured in its preamble, the history, evolution and vision, and aspiration of Asean, its member-states, and its people. It shall confer a legal personality on Asean. The regional organization also can sue and be sued. It shall strengthen the role and mandate of the Secretary-General of Asean and the Asean Secretariat. The HLTF have agreed on the following Organs:

 Asean Summit

This will comprise the Heads of State / Government of the Member States and be the supreme policy-making body of Asean. Thus, it shall provide the regional organization of Asean into new directions

 Asean Coordinating Council

It shall comprise the Asean Foreign Ministers to prepare for the sessions and meetings of the Asean Summit. Coordinate with the Asean Community Councils in enhancing policy coherence, efficiency, and cooperation among them. The Asean Coordinating Council shall also coordinate the reports of the Asean Community Councils to the Asean Summit.

 Asean Community Councils

These are comprised of the following: (a) Asean Political-Security Community (APSC) Council, (b) Asean Economic Community (AEC) Council, and (c) Asean Socio-Cultural Community (ASCC) Council. It shall have under its purview the relevant Sectoral Ministerial bodies. Each member states shall designate its national representation for each Community Council meeting. Each Community Council shall: (a) Ensure the implementation of the relevant decisions of the Asean Summit, (b) Coordinate the work of the different sectors under its purview, and on issues which cut across the other Communities; and (c) Submit reports and recommendations to the Asean summit on matters under its purview. Each Asean Community Council shall be supported by the relevant senior officials of Asean Member States.

 Asean Sectoral Ministerial Bodies

It shall function in accordance with their respective established mandates. It shall implement agreements and decisions of the Asean Summit and submit reports to their community councils.

 Secretary-General of Asean and Asean Secretariat

The Secretary-General of Asean shall: (a) be appointed by the Asean Summit; (b) have a non-renewable term of office of five years; (c) carry out duties and responsibilities of the post in accordance with the provisions of this Charter and relevant Asean Instruments, protocols and established practices; (d) be the Chief Administrative Officer of Asean; and (e) participate in meetings of the Asean Summit, the Community Councils, the Asean Coordinating Council, and Sectoral Ministerial bodies and other relevant Asean Meetings.

 Committee of Permanent Representatives to Asean

They are appointed by each Asean Member State with the rank of Ambassador, based in Jakarta. It shall support the work of the Asean Community Councils and Sectoral Ministerial bodies. It will coordinate with Asean National Secretariats and other sectoral bodies. It shall liaise with the Secretary-General and Secretariat and facilitate cooperation with Asean external partners.

 Asean National Secretariats

The region’s national secretariats will serve as national focal points; be the repository of information on all Asean matters at the national level; to coordinate the implementation of Asean decisions at national level. It shall coordinate and support national preparations of Asean meetings; to promote Asean identity at national level and contribute to Asean community building.

 Asean Human Rights Body

This is the Philippine initiative in the Asean Charter. During the Ministerial Retreat at the 40th AMM in Manila, the HTLF submitted their Second Progress Report to the Asean Foreign Ministers. Thus, they decided to include in the Asean Charter a provision on the establishment of an Asean human rights body. Te Asean Foreign Ministers also decided that the body shall operate in accordance with the Terms of Reference (TOR) to be determined by the Asean Foreign Ministers Meeting.

 Asean Foundation

It will support the Secretary-General of Asean to collaborate with relevant Asean bodies. It shall promote greater awareness of the region’s identity, people-to-people interaction, and close collaboration among business sector, civil society, academia and other stakeholders.

Furthermore, the Asean Charter is expected to enhance the role and functions of the Asean Chair; provide for the establishment of an appropriate dispute settlement mechanism; promote Asean identity and symbols; and strengthen Asean’s external relations to enhance Asean centrality in the processes and for a that Asean has initiated for dialogue and cooperation.

Friday, June 18, 2010

Thunderbird Poro Point (Greek-Inspired Santorini Resort)

Photographs by Chester B. Cabalza
Copyright © 2011 by Chester B. Cabalza. All Rights Reserved.


Where on earth this paradise island resort and golf club found up North in La Union? The Thunderbird Resorts at Poro Point is truly majestic with breathtaking seascape, Santorini-inspired, blue and white dome and five-star hotel edifice, and stylishly nestled on a scenic cliff.

I bet everybody will have fun on this new "it" hideout up North!















Thursday, June 17, 2010

My Beat on Environmental Security

Blogger's Notes:
Commentary of an Academic 
(Copyright @ 2010 by Chester B Cabalza. All Rights Reserved).

by Chester B. Cabalza

I believe that environmental issues should not only be regarded as fad or trend but a reality that the entire humanity must confront with. The emphasis on environmental security should not sugarcoat the core issues that each country with various ecological situations face up to and the universal ecological issues that everyone of us share with.

To wit, environmental security according to http://www.envirosecurity.org, is the relation between the environment and the security of humans and nature has been the object of much research and the subject of many publications in recent decades, but is only becoming an important focus of environmental policy.

In the readings on Locating Environmental Security, it traces back the emerging and sometimes elusive discipline of environmental security since the end of Cold War. Albeit, its definition is still unclear; has evolved only into an ad hoc manner with various interpretations vying for credibility.

It is true that awareness and cognizance on the ecology and its impact on environmental security are re-emerging into our consciousness due to continuous and stronger global catastrophes we are experiencing. However, I do deem that, as nature takes its course, we have more chances to care for the environment and mitigate with its wrath. Therefore, we must synergize to put together our best efforts to give emphasis on environmental security.

In the Philippines, environmental consciousness assumed prominence very little until we residents in Metro Manila suffered much during the fateful day of September 26, 2009 when tropical storm Ondoy with international name Ketsana, stormed us with torrential rainfall, causing floods and toll deaths in the metro and nearby provinces.

Certainly, Climate Change has become a fad word after that great catastrophe; the most googled word we searched in the net in order to learn from this environmental issue.

There are endless list of things to think which will be affected by climate change. The climate of the earth is always changing according to the documentary film of former US Vice President Gore on “An Inconvenient Truth”. Two of the most evident concerns are the increasing number of severe storms and droughts and climate-sensitive diseases. The impact of these two cases directly link to climate change that are unparralled according to the data presented by some of the world’s renowned scientists and environmental advocates.

Hence environmental effects to human society are truly devastating. Particularly to the common people whose livelihood sources come first-hand from the natural environment. Ironically, the common people are the ones who have very little access or none at all, to the information regarding environmental and ecological issues. Although, indigenous knowledge on the environment has been highly commendable among indigenous communities.

Because of this, our government reacted much with the need to strengthen our environmental laws. This pushed our legislators to pass, without doubt, the Climage Change Act of 2009 and the Disaster Management Bill to put more emphasis of environmental security.

In fact, last year a landmark case was decided on environmental law, in MMDA vs. Concerned Residents of Manila Bay and other concerned government agencies. In the Manila Bay case, the court has the power to evict any individual from his or her home without first giving notice.

Atty. Antonio Oposa, a renowned UP law professor, who made famous the “Oposa Doctrine” in the international legal circles, that ultimately gave him a Ramon Magsaysay Award (Asia’s counterpart of Nobel Peace Prize). He’s currently the prominent Filipino environmental attorney who sits as the Board of Trustees of the Center for International Environmental Law (CIEL) to serve a three-year term on its board. In a landmark case he petitioned, this was a class action he filed in which forty-three minors asked government to cancel timber licenses on the grounds that rampant logging violated their constitutional rights to a healthy environment. In a 1993 decision, the Supreme Court upheld the principle of "intergenerational equity," affirming Oposa's argument that the interests of future generations could be protected in court. A triumph of principle, the case set a precedent for how citizens can leverage the law to protect the environment.

Now the next issue poses the question on should we treat the environment with the same degree of seriousness, analysis, and funding as we do in economic and military security or should environmental security have higher or lower priority?

It was reported in http://www.envirosecurity.org that the environment is the most transnational of transnational issues, and its security is an important dimension of peace, national security, and human rights that is just now being understood. Thus, over the next 100 years, one third of current global land cover will be transformed, with the world facing increasingly hard choices among consumption, ecosystem services, restoration, and conservation and management. Hence, environmental security is central to national security, comprising the dynamics and interconnections among the natural resource base, the social fabric of the state, and the economic engine for local and regional stability.

My contention is that environmental security must be given high priority since it does not only affect our self interests, or a country’s priorities, but the humankind and its institutions and organizations anywhere and at anytime. For example, after the eruption of Mount Pinatubo in the Philippines, a hazy graying blanket of ash covered the Earth and the world temperature dropped.

The lessons learned from the Kyoto Protocol to the Copenhagen Climate Change Accord, where every countries of the world, participated on it, believed that we must protect the only planet earth we live in. There must be much regard and priority allotted for the protection of Mother Nature in preserving our human race. This is all our concerns as citizens of this world.

Present global institutions were established in response to two world wars fought in the last century. A cause for great concern is that the world's political, legal and economic institutions from the global to the local level operate on outdated concepts and trail behind in formulating and implementing preventive policies through improved and innovative institutional and financial arrangements. Global institutions need to be equipped for the 21st Century and resolve environmental security challenges by peaceful means.

This is to prevent wars and conflicts. Nations have often fought to assert or resist control over environmental resources such as energy supplies, land, river basins, sea passages, water, and more. Hence access to and control over natural resources has been a root cause of tension and conflict (Diehl and Gleditsch, 2001).

In my mind, this is the reason why we have to put equal degree of importance, seriousness, analysis and funding, the same as we give high-regard to economic and military security. In the end, environmental security must be tackled with strategic measurement given its significance for international understanding and global security. And in the academic sphere, environmental security is defined as the relationship between security concerns such as armed conflict and the natural environment.

Friday, June 11, 2010

The Shipyard (A Short Story by Chester Cabalza)

Copyright © 2010 by Chester B Cabalza. All Rights Reserved.

“IMAGINE HOW MANY GALLEONS ducked in this site, do you?” the chief archaeologist asks his wife after he wore his mini telescope that could peek the farthest sight and where bluish seascape laps with clouds like aphids.

He traverses the beach resort at the Golden Black Seaport in Appari, thinking some great galleons drowned in the seabed and its treasures untouched by the fishermen and local divers. That was almost five hundred years ago but until now some locals confirmed none of the treasures below had neither been recovered nor stolen for the past decades. As a prime archaeologist, Charles is commissioned by the National Museum after his controversial discovery of the ancient bones and the brick kiln in Liwan Valley. In his new mission, the now famed archaeologist, exuding a bright aura, will carve another history in the making to unearth treasures of the lost Dutch galleon.

The Golden Black Seaport is indeed an archaeological site. A known resort and storage of great legends and artifacts. Some says that it was an erstwhile metal smelting archaeological site during the Manila-Acapulco trade. The vast property maybe a shipyard for ship fastenings in the past.

Charles spots an abrupt change in his domain; not by its geomorphology, but because a dangerous, threatening living specimen steps in his property. The barangay captain broaches him to Darwin – a young yet aloof balikbayan anthropologist from University of Arizona. The wannabe protégé has debunked contentious discoveries of his uncle Charles in either academic journals or international forums as both untrue and hoaxes, and later to claim honor and prestige in the academe. He even maligns the older Indiana Jones’ credibility in front of his imported team.

The noon roofs the archeological site as the sun ascends and reaches its strategic throne. Charles stops his workers from clearing wild grasses, cogon and bamboos. He heads straight to the site laboratory where his wife Minerva and research assistant Bridgett stay for lunch.

He freaks out!

The seasoned archeologist amoks with immense frustration with Darwin’s sudden unfriendly visit to the site. He cuts into pieces the alidade mapping, although the ladies were used to his temper, and then they just scorn him.

“What’s your freaking problem, Charles?” Minerva inquires but he remains rough with himself.

He knows that his nephew would become his top rival in the project. He cautions the ladies inside the room to stay away from him.

“He’s a big threat to us!”

“What made you think of that, sir?” Bridget asks him.

“I just know it. I can’t explain! He has all the keys and secrets,” he says while chasing hardly his breath.

“Let me see,” his wife thinks, “it’s better if we hire a local historian, maybe this could help us…” Minerva suggests while chewing a spoon of rice.

“No!” he adamantly replies.

The night entangles the surrounding. Sea waves harmoniously blend with the strong wind dancing with sundry trees and its million foliages. Lola Juana, a native narrator and one of the fine storytellers arrives at the laboratory. She engages herself with intimate stories about the place to the ladies. Although, that time Charles retires early and refuses meeting the old oracle. Out of the blue, he changes his mind when his wife admonishes that she would not sleep beside him unless he will talk to the chronicler.

“Good evening, sir!” she utters in her sore voice.

“What can I do for you?” he asks.

Minerva starts explaining, by her suggestion that noon to hire a local historian, and so, able to convince the old woman to come. Lola Juana is articulate as ever as enchanting, possesses a surprising youthful charm then reiterates her story when seven Moro pirates attacked a Spanish galleon in the old port near the resort. In her story, the ruling Spaniards defeated the pirates. It was a bloody fight. Many foreigners died. Blood spilled to the sea. Local residents got scared when Moro virtas frequented the horizon. As a result, inhabitants abandoned the village and chose to settle in Allacapan.

“In what place?” Charles catches her saying while holding tightly his cup of coffee. His drug every time he appears haggard.

“The creepy town!” she reiterates.

“Do you know about the map?” the archeologist asks boldly.

She looks abysmal and pauses after his inquiry. He psyches then scrutinizes every detail of her words; her expressions and thoughts. Startlingly the beautiful storyteller perspires heavily, as if she sits in the inquisition, and wipes her sweats with black handkerchief. That proves his prejudged impression that she might be one of the witches in the small town based from the local historian’s facade.

“Don Vargas!” she hastily utters, “Sir...I really have to go now…” she appears so clumsy. She stands up nervously and strides toward the closed tent door. Meanwhile Minerva requests the two other scientists to accompany her at the bank after that she paddles quickly her boat.

The full moon shines so enthrallingly that its light has illuminated the shores of the famed seaport. During the anchovy season from November to March, fishing boats and outfits operating nets, the largest of the local outfits cease to work, and their absence marks the “low season” as typified by a retreating flow of fish.

Midnight enclosed the place yet both of them could not sleep. Perhaps baffled of the accounts told by the local historian. Suddenly he froze by the cold wind, prompted from the shore. He wrapped doubly his body with coat and blanket. As he turned to her, he smacked his wife a stolen kiss before sleeping, and suddenly, she pushed him away and wept.

“You shouldn’t have asked about the map!” her voice quaked.

“What are you talking about my lovely wife,” he snorted haughtily, “next time when you get a squealer, make sure she is credible,” as he embraced her, “common, let’s sleep now. You promised!”

“Shut up! What if she’s telling the truth?” she murmured.

“Show me the evidence! Simple as that,” he reasoned out.

The next sunny day, Darwin commanded his workers and built the grid system located near the pond.

“Geomorphology…” he conversed with his workers, “…this site is prone to flood. This is a stream delta surrounded by mangrove under the brackish swampy to marshy environment,” thus referred to the area, “adjust it to S7 E25 and move to the east, instead change it to S7 E26,” he taught his team, measured the grid before laying it out with strings and stakes.

“Stop!” warned his Uncle Charles, “you don’t have a permit from the National Museum to excavate!”

Darwin did not listen to his livid, fuming Uncle Charles and persevered in his task. Immense wrath invaded the archeologist’s nerves. He even neared him and blocked the presumptuous dilettante anthropologist. But tactful, as a result, in Darwin’s haste displeasure to his rival excavator, he haughtily showed the permit in front his uncle’s two stuffed eyes.

“This is a lesson for you, Uncle Charles!” Darwin ridiculed him.

But Charles stared minutely at him and then turned his back. Late in the afternoon, the thwarted archaeologist sat aguishly at the beach and threw pebbles and dead shells back to the sea. Excitedly, he sighted dolphins which had consequently uplifted his drive. It was a therapeutic view for him. Those marvelous sea mammals passed the luminous sea; chased by a motorized boat that ferried French and Taiwanese tourists and a local folk. They crusaded its path and photographed. Tourists and fishermen always got excited of that tame underwater species. As he watched them, his mind wandered mysteriously - the sun quickly vanished into the twilight then it settled at its cot, clouds moved fast forward and transformed from orange to gray, the stars and moonlight glowed extremely then planets revolved in three dimensional positions, tsunamis and tidal waves flooded his face, drowned him together with a vast galleon. All of the things he saw, including him had been drowned by a corpulent shark. His vista turned so surreal.

“Remove it!” he pulled out the fingers covering his eyes. Immediately he recovered his consciousness but saw everything around him back to normal. The sleepy sun was descending from its throne and boats strolled the waves of a dazzling seascape.

“Sorry, lonely boy,” equipped Bridget and took out her fingers from his weary eyes. She appeared horny in her bathing suit and jumped off the big waves.

“No!” he shouted at them. “Don’t swim!” he cautioned after a strain in his bizarre daydreaming.

“Why sir?” responded loudly by his associates, already half-naked and guys chased the lone babe in the cold waves. They swam gaily. They braved each other and swam farther away from the shoreline. Charles stammered at the coastline. He quickly returned to the laboratory. As he passed the site, Darwin’s team had already dug deeply, about two hundred meters from the LDP at quadrant one and one hundred fifty meters at quadrant two. They exposed a strange stone formation. Some of them wondered that it might lead to the hidden treasures but the budding anthropologist was still secretive about it. Then, he intentionally roofed his prized artifacts with pages of newspapers from the eyes of his archrival.

“This is espionage!” he alleged to his men while his uncle passed by their square.

Charles arrived enraged at the villa. His wife gladly saluted him in great ecstasy especially that she could already present proofs to him about the tales of her informant that she indeed was telling the truth based from historical literatures of the town. Hastily, she showed some books but frustrated by her husband’s vacillating feeling.

“We could not make it. I’m totally lost!” he consulted her, “he has the map!”

“Who? Your evil nephew? Don’t lose hope, darling? We have one more alas,” she fortified his ego. She believed that his husband’s strength would rebound after he read the notes she jotted.

He rested on his favorite chair. It comforted his back. Then, she took off his shoes and odorous socks. Sit back and relax. While he read those thick ethnographies and notes his wife shown to him about the shipyard, suddenly, it pasted him an envious smile. It certainly shimmered his odd feeling. He fell to sleep but waves of noises disturbed and drove him mad. As he stood and peeked at the window, he went out, and sternly summoned his staff by his irate voice.

“What the heck you’re shouting about?” bellowed Charles. Minerva was surprised too. The group of swimmers neared him. Still, their bodies soaked with salt water and handed down a beautiful unbroken kendi or a pouring vessel.

“We found it beneath the sea of only ten feet deep,” narrated Bridgett.

“Bring it to the laboratory,” he commanded his researchers, “and you lady, put on your clothes,” he looked at her with discontentment, “we got work to do now!”

Immediately, his fervor ingenuity and skills had flourished, challenged by the existence of that miniature kendi. He sensed it would give him a lead. It seemed his instinct had rejuvenated and his renewed zest had unfolded his mission in unveiling the kendi’s mystery. Perhaps, a key to the lost Dutch galleon he had been searching for many decades. As he entered the laboratory, he walked silently to the computer and analyzed a graphic matrix. The battle between two galleons under Spanish Lt. Gov. Gen. Antonio de Morga and Dutch Admiral Oliver Van Noort off Batangas on sixteen hundred. A first marine battle between two European powers to attain glory. Spain versus Netherlands. Unfortunately, it defeated Spain’s San Diego, also known as San Antonio. It carried bountiful relics, though. In fact, that fateful event pioneered the underwater archaeology in the archipelago.

“Bring to me the kendi. What’s the date?” he asked the stunning tall Bridgett.

“Almost five hundred years old,” she replied.

“Okay! Come to think of it! Did westerners show interest in Chinese things?”
“Of course!” glided Minerva while he attentively eavesdropping to him.

“First thing first. Let’s study the trading route of the galleons,” he drilled his team.

“But sir, this place is a shipbuilding site during the Spanish regime!” Bridget echoed, “Naturally, galleons did come in this place, right?” she stretched her point.

“Perhaps one of the many uncovered sites, “ Charles quickly added.

“So, the great archaeologist did found his momentum!” Darwin suddenly intruded around the busy team, “Well, that’s certainly good news. Now we have the same score, uncle. I also found a Dutch wine bottle, probably in the same period as that of your kendi.”

“What are you doing here?” Charles asked fiercely.

“Just adding information,” his infuriating words, “I challenge you uncle, whoever gets the first grand lead will get the recognition…” he smirked sheepishly at him, as if not afraid of the big fish.

“I certainly take the challenge!” he stated very strongly.

Charles’ team noticed that the terrain had silty clay loam with grayish color closer to black containing bountiful organic materials, eco-facts, and artifacts like brick tiles, pot fragments, mirrors, fragment of glasses, shells and corals of recent time. After the exhausting excavation, both teams finished their ordinary day with no extraordinary discoveries. But Darwin’s team, still pompous of their stone formations. Headway to new, stronger links to the treasures of the lost Dutch galleon. In no haste, Charles could not resist with enormous evidences on slag and fuel, metals and iron, proving smelting was one of the major activities undertaken in the coast before; backed up with oral and archaeological evidences. It surely showed that shipbuilding industry thrived in the newest hub.

Later that chilly night, the prime archeologist’s team worked overtime. They brainstormed. Talked about updated theoretical frameworks in doing the excavation in saving portions of the site for the next generation archaeologists who may have equipped with high-tech gadgets. Archaeology may sometimes mean destruction. They drunk cold beers while softly discussed of where to search the real map. Though at the back of his mind, he was convinced that his nephew did not have the authentic map, by reason that up to that moment he fretted his lead. Obsessively he observed the kendi. He reviewed it as one of the many artifacts retrieved from the Spanish navio (merchant ship) of San Antonio, off Fortune Islands. Startlingly, his wife appeared to them. With her wizardry of the subject, she presented the route of the Dutch armada Mauritius, thinking it would help him in his quest of the map. Then, they all headed in front the IBM computer.

“Look at this perspective,” she took a big breath while holding closely the mouse. “Noort left Holland in fifteen ninety-seven with two hundred forty-eight men and four ships,” pointed the jpeg picture to her husband, “Passing Strait off Magellan, he attacked shipping on the west coast of South America, raided Valparaiso in Chile and directly sailed to the Philippines.”

“Then what happened?” he asked more questions.

“He landed first near Capul Island just inside the Strait of San Bernardino,” she pointed the map, “and then by some circumstances, he might had passed Cagayan,” she looked at him, still thinking deeply.

“Interesting!” Bridget claimed.

“For sure we are not looking for Mauritius,” he cautioned them, “that theory may be true, but what we are searching are other Dutch galleons who may have the same path as that of victorious Mauritius...”

“Exactly!” his wife retorted.



THAT VERY same evening, the local historian bothered again the couple. But then, he affably conversed at her inside his well-lit laboratory. He listened conscientiously to her. He thought she could be a credible source ready to help him in his mission.

“I heard the last word you mentioned before was Don Miguel Vargas, right? That’s the father of my grandfather” he recapped.

“Yes, sir,” she nodded.

“Why you mentioned his name?” he asked her while playing his hands, “are you saying then that he...you know...that Vargas let’s say has connection to the treasures of the lost Dutch galleon?”

“A galleon? There were also mini-galleons,” she corrected him, “mini-galleons were built here,” she told him.

“Honey,” Minerva interrupted him, “I think she’s right. She must have a better clue,” she then concluded.
“Continue please madam,” he courteously uttered and addressed the guest with some respect, “and the old town you’re referring? What is the relation of all these – Don Vargas and the mini-galleons?” putting into sequence the facts.

“Very important!”

“What about?” he mellowed his temper.

“Go to Daan-Ili in Allacapan and you will meet Ildandencio. I will ask my grandson Puto to meet you at the riverbank, beside the market, early in the morning. He knows about the map. Just tell the codename, Biuag and Malana. Remember, follow the river,” her firm instruction.

“Biuag and Malana?” he snooped, “you mean the local epic heroes?”

“Do it quickly! There’s no time left…”

“Why?” his last query.

“I really have to go now,” and she hurriedly walked off.

“Daan-Ili? No, don’t go there, honey! Please, listen to me!” she hysterically cautioned him as her eyes struck with fear.

“Call them all!” he commanded his wife, “I need to talk to them!” in his trademark furious words, walloped inside the laboratory.

His whole staff was already asleep when they gathered in front of him. Bridgett was in her pajamas and her face polished with cream. Charles instructed each one of his men and women. He gave them special missions especially Bridgett to head a team to the old, creepy town by land.

“I don’t wanna go to that old town! They say it’s dangerous out there! Assign me another work, please!” Bridgett grumbled girlishly.

“I will head the team,” Minerva unwaveringly volunteered.

“Not in your condition. You will stay here. Guard our plots in the site!” he said to her.

“No!” Glenda protested.

“Mark my word!” he insisted.
“Hell! I hate it! I don’t like adventures!” Bridgett muttered. She frowned as she returned to her room.

“You’ll love it soon – it’s like the Callao Caves adventure, babe!” Charles wheedled her.

The sun had not yet risen when Charles met Puto at the riverbank. They navigated the trail of the long Cagayan River. Bridgett headed the all boys team to Daan-Ili, known to be a garrison during the Japanese invasion and cradle of fierce Huks after the liberation. It maybe the road was narrow and rough that caused the Nissan highlander to wiggle but they reached the far-off place safely. Even before the sudden expedition, sages of the town had been discouraging visitors to reach the so-called ghost town.

At the campsite Minerva guarded the tent, disturbed by the unceasing barking of dogs. Her eyes, so keen enough to her surrounding. She hid behind the half closed tent to sneak a quick look at the passersby. Darwin’s team hobbled at the camp and carried scuba gears with them, she suddenly suspected something terrible, and perhaps the rival team might have an option. She felt skeptic of my nephew’s team, thinking they might have found the authentic map. When she peeked at them, for the second time, all of the diggers grandiosely wear scuba gears, and attentively listened to Darwin.

Finally, Charles and his team met at the ‘old creepy town’. More than anything else, the place was as lovely as its orchards and gardens. Amazed eyes towed to the kaleidoscopic sceneries of mountains and river, deceived by people who claimed the place as an ugly town. The heritage Spanish villas, cemeteries, and its baroque church were still preserved.

“Never been to Oz!” Charles proclaimed upon stepping the town.

As he surfaced from the boat, Puto stayed behind. He walked freely, but not tensed. His paces tracked by his anxious team but saw people living quietly in the enamored town. And later they bumped estrange camouflaged men behind an impressive Spanish villa. The haunted-like villa silently opened its door and they hauled in sudden jolt. They were frightened to enter the house and chirped like noisy children.

“Silence!” Charles shouted, “I will go first...” and climbed up the stairs.

“Codename!” says a voice, perhaps from the guard he deemed.

“Biuag and Malana,” he replied fretfully.

The door opened. Bridget and the guys climbed up also the stairs. They entered half-heartedly but as soon as they were inside, the guards shut the huge door, and a platoon showed up. A wise bearded hermit sat at the nucleus of the archaic room, surrounded by his feisty guards.

Then, the archaeologist spoke gently, “You must be Ildandecio,” and he told about the map.

“Many have tried to come into this place thinking they would get the map,” the wise man had spoken, “but they failed!” he said in his stern admonition.

“What would you do once you have searched the treasures?” he asked.

“The country owns the treasures,” Charles in his bold utterance, “it is better to bring back to where it truly belonged!”

The wise man agreed and said, “Don’t forget to give a piece of that treasure to this town so that children here will remember that once, this town became part of our history.”

“I will build a museum in this town, maybe soon...” he replied.

“Where’s the map?” Charles turned so impatient.

“You already had it?” he bluffed, “you already found it Charles, do you?” the wise man beamed.

“No. I still don’t have.”

“Go home and you will see it. Go!” the wise man uttered his final say.

As he woke up that day, his joints and bones were aching, as if he had traveled so far and toiled so hard from the excavation, but as he tried to recall, he had never accomplished a heavyweight task since day one of his project. He moved to the laboratory and asked his wife if the local historian returned last night, hastily she confirmed, the sage was frightened to return, perhaps afraid of him. He felt confused. Abruptly, his scientific illustrator ran to him. He reported that Darwin’s team had begun undertaking a preliminary underwater mapping at the nearby coast. Sudden loath subdued his sanity. Immediately, Minerva prepared his coffee. As soon as Bridget entered the laboratory, fresh from bath, she went straight to dating artifacts. He looked at her. And then inquired her if she recalled a trip to the old town of Daan-Ili. Yet she responded that she had never been to the creepy town. He turned so paranoid, perhaps paranoid of his dream. He was thinking where he bore the codename Biuag and Malana? Out of nowhere. Then, the seasoned archaeologist turned his neck, stretched it with simple calisthenics. But when he came to face the kendi, suddenly the stunning scientist astounded also at the relic, as she sealed it with a plaster of Paris for restoration, words of the wise man in his dream rewind so fast, and in a haste circumstance, the kendi fell from her hands.

“Oh no!” she screamed, “I broke it!”

Charles ran. He glimpsed at the broken relic.
“It’s okay,” he said as she shriveled on his shoulder. As he looked down, he saw a crumpled map that suggested its oldness.
“Goodness! It’s a…” he deceased to name it. His men neared them; shocked of what was inside the broken kendi.

“Thanks my genie!” Charles excitedly declared, “don’t tell to anyone about this!”

But suddenly, an elderly man in patchwork attire entered the tent and searched the chief archeologist. When he turned his happy eyes to the guest, unexpectedly, he recalled a face similar in his madcap dream. He surely knew he already met him - somewhere.

“I am Ildandencio,” the man identified himself.

Charles still mystified. He scrutinized his hermit-like face. And then, he felt a bit scared as soon as he realized his dream was coming into reality.

“I could help you in your quest!” said Ildandencio.

“How?” the archeologist asserted.

“Sir, I heard about your search of the Dutch galleon. I dreamed of you many nights with the kendi,” his face bewailed trying to convince him, “that broken object came from me. Yesterday I was in the boat. I was with some tourists and I dropped it in the sea, so your men would retrieve it. I wanted to personally give it to you but I was afraid you wouldn’t believe me…so…” he punned.

“Where did it come from?” he asked him.

“My grandparents gave it to me. It was a gift of great Don Vargas to them, after saving his life from the pirates” he stressed, “the kendi was popularly known here as Biuag and Malana,” he narrated.

Charles eavesdropped attentively, though he had still queries in mind. The strange man also recounted that pirates had stolen the kendi. The kendi, in fact, turned to be a mythical object. Believed that whoever held it would become immortal. So, there was a massive search for the antique. When it was found by a group of treasure hunters in Babuyan Island from the pirates’ wrecked vista, drowned by raging sea, unluckily they died in an ambush in Happy Valley. Many decades passed when Ildandencio’s kindred found it from the communist’s camp, after a bloody retaliation of the marines in Marrag Valley.

Actually, numerous Chinese porcelains and kendis had been bartered with Dutch explorers for food and wine. But Spaniards and Dutch always fought in the high seas and a number of Dutch Galleons were drowned and for centuries, it rested on the waterbed.



THE EXPEDITION was a grandiose event. It took several months to muster experts and workers in the waterworld site. They had recovered bounty of relics and treasures of the biggest Dutch Galleon, wrecked beneath the waters of Golden Black Resort in Happy Valley. Charles led his thirty-eight-man team combined with Darwin’s dozen-man team, and some elite associates of the Underwater Archeology Division of the National Museum. It composed of professional divers trained in France, having diplomas at International Certificate of Scientific Research Diving, documenters, photographers, scientific illustrators, and technicians. They toiled impressively. Under the sea, a three hundred-meter long suction tube, and deep tow nuclear magnetic resonance magnetometers and recording equipment, imported from the U.S. and Europe helped them saved its hidden treasures. Ten professional divers including Charles and Darwin dived the cold water initially for transects. Indeed, layers of sands and tons of rocks on the seabed had tremendously sheltered the ship and its priceless artifacts.

“Do you hear me? Copy! Copy!” said Charles submerged two hundred fifty-nine meters feet like a merman in his scuba-diving gear, as he deciphered and transmitted codes to Minerva at the laboratory.

“Copy. We found the ship. Positive,” Darwin sighted with various marine species and planktons that cased the wreck galleon.

After they cleared the site with suction tubes innovated by Darwin, together they finished the daunting task of clearing the vessel, for barely six weeks, after which, the exigent underwater mapping had been undertaken. In his passion to collect almost all of its antiquities systematically, Charles planned conscientiously its recovery: small to grandiose materials, scanned through navigational screens. An astringent assignment. Charles hindered by his age to dive its depth, and so, he retired and stayed at the campsite. Inside his spacious tent, it housed hi-tech equipment. From the screens, he led and commanded his mermen workers using the enormous navigational submarine-like equipment named Superstar. A high-powered remote-controlled machine that could easily triple a human’s manual work with tape measures, to transmit information below with its plotting cameras, laser beams, and the video cameras, hanging on the exterior shooting a three-D moving pictures of the wrecked ship.

The ship was a trading Dutch Galleon. Though, he expected rigorous recovery, his very tired, laborious team retrieved half only of the relics during the first season of their expedition. Happily, Darwin discovered more Dutch wine bottles, same old as the bottle he unearthed in his excavation at the shipyard. Every time, divers cautiously ascended from the seabed, they held tightly those priceless collections, graceful in their movements. Copious Chinese porcelain wares and glazed vases probably during the Ming dynasty of Ching Tai-Chia Ching astonished them. And exquisite gold and diamonds from Europe and Mexico sparkled its luster. Earthenwares for food and water storage robed by intricate coral reef. And sailors’ bones resurrected.

“The treasures of Happy Valley are bounty,” Charles said to his nephew.

“And the collections speak for itself, my great uncle” Darwin thanked him.

During the second season of the expedition, he and his wife joined the team at the sea, but they stayed at the hundred-foot-long platform vessel. It served as their headquarters above the sea. Bridget also escorted them at the vessel. When most of the artifacts had been retrieved, the team laboriously processed it at the campsite: they cleaned, dried, accessioned and recorded all its archeological richness. Since the end of the project, Darwin changed a lot. He cordially congratulated the chief archeologist for his dedication and leadership.

They were saviors of great treasures.

Darwin wrote me in New York after their successful expedition.

He said that the galleon once shone like a gigantic star under the sea. But the sea, unmasked with mysterious tales. The earthen vessel had been deciphered with profound antiquities. Almost five hundred years, a memory withdrawn in oblivion before the truth had been revealed. A mythical history by a heroic story. It bedazzled our minds of Don Vargas’ one-act play? In Golden Black Seaport: a place of outright cowardice. When Dutch galleons fired cannon balls to admired Spanish galleons. But the largest Dutch fleet sunk. Shipwrecks haunted by a mendacious ghost. Yes buried and rebuked under the sea of disgraced tidal waves. Its antiquities spoke for it. It happened here. The once majestic Dutch galleon sunk in its purest soul. But resurrected with grandiose mysteries and discoveries. Thus, it became the soul of the past...

After that, they ferried the collections through a cargo ship to Manila with the help of Kim’s new marine transport industry and carefully wrapped in bubble bags and Styrofoam. Everything went smoothly. The biggest bonanza turned to be so extraordinary. Triumphant days for the seasoned archaeologist, rightfully able to attain his lead and owned the valued recognition. In fact, his archrival nephew recognized his ingenuity. Darwin even supported him in his reports and presentation.

The chief archeologist had saved the resort. He built a small museum at the old town of Daan-Ili as promised to the wise man in his dream. And every time tourists and investors stepped down the hub, a massive archaeological landmark would be seen, recognized historically by the National Historical Institute. Charles and Darwin weaved fabrics of the unforgotten splendor of Happy Valley.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Pinoy Top Thinkers Today (2010)

Copyright © 2010 by Chester B Cabalza. All Rights Reserved.

I have the honor to present my gallery of best and brightest intellectuals in the Philippines, whose views and ideas, are blazingly scorching as the recent el niño phenomenon, stalwartly smashing as supertyphoons to come, have seismic repercussions of a raging volcano, but refreshing as our first nationwide automated presidential elections.

Thus, a new dawn unfolds in our history today with the proclamation of president-elect Benigno Simeon "Noynoy" Aquino III and Vice President-elect Jejomar Binay.

This personal roster of scholars, now on my third year of paying tribute to top Filipino thinkers, (the lists of previous distinguished thinkers in 2008 and 2009 are still available at http://cbclawmatters.blogspot.com) was inspired by the annual top 100 public intellectuals of the powerful Foreign Policy (FP) Magazine.

The objective of this yearly honor roll affirms my proposition that the Filipino intelligence has a league of its own. This is a time to recognize few of our contemporary and influential scholars. To further bring cognizance among netizens in the cyberspace an elite pool of top brass thinking Filipinos.

You might argue why some of your Pinoy darling cerebral figures are not included in this year’s roster despite of their achievements over the years. However, I must write here that perhaps most of them were already part in my previous rankings for the past two years. Albeit, very few of them has had the opportunity to be repeatedly cited in the said list; perhaps their thoughts and voices are undoubtedly significant now, and are becoming stronger in the coming years, or maybe just because our land is so blessed with bands of smart people.

The same measure is used on this year’s best thinkers, instrumental from my previous citations in 2008 and 2009 – i.e., based from a mixture of articles, books, blogs, columns, essays, interviews, lectures, overviews, poems, prose, publications, and research papers, they pen or written about them. A variety of comments and thoughts from popular mediums such as boobtube and youtube, social networking, campaigns, conferences, forums, speeches, print media, internet sources, and other significant academic distinctions. Lastly, I also based it from their professional, public, civic achievements, and perceptions that made them who they are today as the leading Filipino thinkers!

This year’s pool of thinkers is special to me because majority in my list are academics – mostly in the field of economics, political science, law, anthropology, comparative literature, business administration, journalism, and geology. However, some of brightest personalities in the business community are still regarded this year. But unlike in 2008 where policy-makers, diplomats, and scholars ruled the list; the succeeding year was mainly dominated by seasoned politicians, environmentalists, entrepreneurs, entertainers, philanthropists, and sportsman. In 2010, I also included legitimate and duly-elected president and vice president, and an outgoing president turned representative. But artists will always have a place in my listing, thus, giving a soul in the company of great thinkers each year.

Once again let’s adulate the movers and shakers in this year of the tiger whose beautiful minds are either idolized or scorned but certainly can make wave through the battle of ideas that truly shape our distinct Filipino society and the world we live in as well.

Surnames in the list are in alphabetical order. This is not a ranking from highest to lowest. But the names appear here are equally as powerful as the one from top to bottom.

Benigno Simeon "Noynoy" Aquino III (president-elect of the Philippines) – his legion of supporters has now spoken. Almost half of the Filipino voting population favored him. His character destined him on top. For six years starting from June 30, (hopefully without fortuitous event), his policies will impact on us, as the 15th president of our beloved country Philippines. I voted for him despite of insurmountable mudslinging and negative campaigning. However, is history reversing its tide? Remember that his father was a key opposition senator during a Marcos dictatorial regime, but now under his administration, a young senator-elect and future presidential contender Bongbong Marcos will probably form part the opposition bloc. Twist of fate? The president-elect Noynoy Aquino is the People’s president according to a top newspaper publication, but he must learn to survive political shenanigans and legal impediments from an ex-president vying for speakership, a well-loved former president of the masses whom he thought should not be pardoned, the wife and son of an erstwhile tyrant president both elected in a bicameral Congress, a wealthy defeated presidential candidate who is back in the Senate to reclaim a senate presidency, a newly-appointed but unlikely chief justice from the previous administration, and young idealistic cavaliers who might stage coup attempts. The country's first and only bachelor president must recruit the best and brightest young technocrats and civil servants and not just recycle old faces from previous administrations – (give chance to others to prove their worth and capacity!); succeed in unifying this divided yet forgiving nation; audit corrupt practices of warlords and political dynasties; boost confidence in the business community; restore peace and order amidst insurgency and terrorism; repaint our country’s image from a gloomy to a brighter future; continue his moral ascendancy to his people; and must do his very best to make our country great and wealthy again. He may have a lackluster track record during his legislative stints as an architect of laws but everyone deserves a second chance to shine! Maybe his time to shine will manifest when compelled to hold power as the next chief executive officer of our nation. To quote Elisabeth Kubler-Ross, “people are like stained glass windows; they sparkle and shine when the sun is out, but when the darkness sets in, their true beauty is revealed only if there is a light within.”

Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo (outgoing Philippine president, representative) – either you love her or hate her. But surveys reveal she’s the most unpopular president our country has had but will history be fair with her? For almost a decade, being the second female and next longest serving president in the country after Ferdinand Marcos, her policies had certainly impacted on us. Now she’s taking a lead as a congresswoman vying for the assumed ‘premiership’ in the House of Representatives in case a plan for Charter Change succeeds. In her reign as the 14th president, she survived three coup attempts and encompassed powerful foes who died naturally - a cardinal, a beloved icon of democracy, and a king of Philippine movies. Proclaimed by Forbes Magazine as the 4th and 9th most powerful woman in the world in 2005 and 2004, respectively. She exuded power as the former commander-in-chief of the AFP for nine years where she learned how to waltz with retiring generals to ensure her staying power in the palace and act as a master strategist in the art of politics. She quite excelled in her economic policies, being a scholar, educator, and practitioner of her chosen field, having obtained a PhD in Economics at UP Diliman, an MA at the ADMU, and as a magna cum laude from Assumption College, embedded with a short course from Georgetown University, and for being classmates with then U.S. president Bill Clinton. She gave birth to and strengthened various job employments unknown to previous administrations, such as the BPO and mining; implemented the controversial policy of holiday economics. In 2007, our economy grew at its fastest pace in three decades with real GDP growth exceeding 7 percent and the peso strengthened by nearly 20 percent making it by far as Asia's best performing currency for that year due to OFW remittances. As a farewell bid to her post, in a recent television ad, she boasted her accomplishments boosting a variety of achievements in building more infrastructures nationwide compared from combined programs of her three predecessors. However, under her presidential tenure, our country remained poor - poverty and corruption, terrorism and insurgency, dishonesty and greed, brain drain and unemployment, were unresolved – making our beloved nation-state still a laggard in the region! This year, a Truth Commission was formed under the new administration, to unearth shenanigans in her administration. By twist of fate, the said Truth Commission to investigate her wrongful deeds, was decided unconstitutional, by majority of the justices she appointed during her tenure as president. Clever and Strategic for her! But will truth set her free?

Jejomar Binay (vice president-elect) – a dark horse during the vice presidential race in the May automated poll. He is an epitome of an Ybanag indigenous descent who is gifted with bright mind, representing this highly educated lowland ethnic group that I also belong, who regards most importantly the value of education. Despite being short (although most Ibanags are tall), he stands giant dwarfing any Makati skyscrapers to alleviate poor neighborhood in his wealthy city by sending indigent kids to schools and universities, bringing the sick to modernized hospitals, and the elderly enjoy benefits. They called him "Burak" Obama. Small but terrible. But his meekness has become his hallmark. He earned his Political Science and Law degrees from the premier University of the Philippines in Diliman and Master in National Security Administration (MNSA) at the National Defense College of the Philippines with a commissioned rank of lieutenant colonel in the Philippine Army. In his victory to the vice presidential seat, a big support was contributed by Sen. Chiz Escudero's last minute endorsement. Although he ran under the banner of former president Estrada, his connection with the Aquino family began when he was appointed as the mayor of the country’s financial district. For more than a decade now, his family ruled Makati City – starting with him, then his wife, and at present his son as the mayor of said premier city. In 2006, he and his vice mayor and councilors, were suspended by the Department of Interior and Local Government following an accusation of “ghost employees” on the city payroll, but rumors spread that he may concurrently helm the said powerful government agency when he assumes his post as the vice president. However, recent twist of fate shows that he might no longer be part of the incoming president's cabinet.But in the end, he accepted the post as the Housing czar of the Housing and Urban Development Coordinating Council (HUDCC) under the new Aquino administration.

Tony Tan Caktiong (world entrepreneur awardee) – everybody loves Jolibee for sure assuming you’re a real Pinoy! Balikbayans will always crave for chicken joy whenever they come home for a brief visit or for good. Children alike will always want to have their birthdays be celebrated here to party with the likeable Jolibee mascot. Behind the genius success of Jolibee fast food chain is a UST alumnus with a degree in chemical engineering who became the 2004 World Entrepreneur Awardee and an inspiration among Asian managers. His revenues are often reported in CNN Business news. His impressive Jolibee Foods Corporation has a chapter in the MBA module at Harvard University. From a simple ice cream parlor - his business ventured into adding hamburgers, French fries, and the world famous fried chicken. Now expanding his fast food chain as one of the largest on earth, by acquiring the Greenwich Pizza in 1994, Chowking in 2000, and Hongzhuangyuan in 2007, including Red Ribbon, Delifrance Philippines, Manong Pepe, and Tita Frita’s Uling-Uling under its portfolio. On October 2010, he bought the rising food-chain of Mang Inasal for 3 billion pesos but rid off Delifrance. A well-loved Filipino brand, sharing its tasteful recipes globally, as it conquers the world through its stores in Brunei, Indonesia, Vietnam, China, Saudi Arabia, UAE, and the US. Recently, in one of the episodes in the fast-rising U.S. TV hit show Glee, the popular Pinoy fast food resto Jolibee, makes a cameo in a scene where Glee characters were in a dream sequence.

Charo Santos-Concio (tv network president, multi-awarded actress) – our country has already produced an actor-turned-president and two female presidents of the republic. But to have a lady president for the largest network where brightest and most-promising stars come from is a smart idea, after ABS-CBN Broadcasting Corporation, almost lost its momentum as the No.1 multi-media network in previous years, by its rival TV network. Upon her ascend as top powerpuff media lady executive today, this smart but graceful, elegant yet beautiful, multi-awarded actress and drama anthology show host, regains her station’s status as leader in the broadcasting industry, premier Filipino channel nationwide and globally, when she became the 5th President of ABS-CBN, making her the first woman president of this media conglomerate and Lopez Group of Companies. An alumna of Harvard University for the advanced management course she earned and an awardee of Manuel de Leon Award from the Film Academy of the Philippines (FAP) for her work in the entertainment industry.

Clarita Carlos (former NDCP president, political scientist) – her words are like gospels in our day-to-day political life when we watch her interviews in various newscasts and sensible talk shows. A product of the UP Political Science department who shares her expertise and thoughts on politics (be it domestic and international) as a full professor. She pursued post-doctoral degrees in Political Psychology and Foreign Policy Analysis at Cornell University and UCLA, respectively. She was my professor in one of my subjects in International Studies before I was employed at the National Defense College of the Philippines as a researcher, where she was then its president. As NDCP president, she was known for her strictness, but well-loved by employees of the government’s only security and defense academic institution. Indeed, she is a respected political analyst and academic in the Philippines today. Recently, Dr. Carlos’ daughter wrote a note in her facebook that garnered more than 350 comments and 880 ‘I like’ in her defensive post against a TV network staff because of inappropriate verbal treatment of the latter to this eminent scholar. The lesson’s learned here is to treat our scholars conscientiously the way we treat them as our important talents.

Eduardo “Danding” Cojuanco (industrialist, horse breeder, haciendero) – he made San Miguel corporation the largest food beverage in the ASEAN region. A truly Filipino global brand. My self-esteem skyrockets each time Chinese folks drink San Miguel beer in cans and see top celebrities in Hongkong endorse this Pinoy giant brand every visit I make in the tiny island of HK, China’s special gem. Under his leadership as an influential tycoon that began in 1998, San Miguel became so bullish and accumulated a pile of cash that funded a wave of local and overseas mergers and acquisitions, allowed the entry of Kirin Holdings as a strategic partner, and altered the model of a conglomerate to allow its diversification into capital-intensive but potentially higher-yielding industries. An alumnus of the University of the Philippines-Los Baños (UPLB) and the California State College, who attempted a presidential bid in 1992 but dropped off his support to his favorite nephew, Atty. Gilbert “Gibo” Teodoro, who ran but ranked fourth in the recent 2010 presidential automation poll. He is a political guru and sought for important blessings from aspiring and among elderly politicians. In his online account, it was written that, as a keen businessman, he commandeered cargo ships through Russian and Chinese seas, much to the disappointment of American competitors. He loves breeding horses and some of his horses raced in the American Colt Manila and won the 1986 Breeders’ Cup Turf; the 2002 Australian Derby winner; and the multiple Group 1 winner of Desert War. He is often called as The Man of the Earth and also dubbed as one of the country's most influential people by the Philippine Tatler’s list of Who's Who of the Philippines.

Cielito Habito (economist, columnist, professor) – currently a professor of economics and director of the Ateneo Center for Economic Research and Development (ACERD). He sits in the Boards of several corporations and foundations. Dr. Habito also writes the weekly column “No Free Lunch” in the Philippine Daily Inquirer. A summa cum laude from UPLB with a BS in Agricultural Economics degree. He obtained his MA and PhD in Economics from Harvard University. This savvy yet charismatic technocrat was the youngest member of the Cabinet of former president FVR as Secretary of Socioeconomic Planning/NEDA Director-General while he concurrently chaired the Philippine Council for Sustainable Development from 1992-1998. He was elected Chair of the Sixth Session of the UN Commission on Sustainable Development in New York from 1997-1998. His first-rate resume includes being a former professor and chairman of the Economics Department at UPLB. He also worked at Kyoto University and the World Bank.

F. Landa Jocano (anthropologist, professor emeritus) – considered as an eminent historian and anthropologist who once debunked the theory pronounced by H. Otley Beyer (the father of Philippine Anthropology) on waves of migration, contradicting the Caucasian social scientist’s earlier hypothesis, by correcting the statement that we all came from the genus homo sapiens. He has written extensive scholastic works including studies on rural communities, ethnicities, corporate organizations, and the Filipino culture and society as a whole. He is currently a Professor Emeritus at the UP Asian Center and the Executive Director of PUNLAD Research House, Inc. In 2000, Dr. Jocano, who obtained his PhD from the University of Chicago, was awarded a special citation for a lifetime of writing and publishing on various aspects of Philippine culture, by the Manila Critics Circle.

Antonio La Viña (dean, lawyer, professor) – he helms deanship of the reinvigorated Ateneo de Manila School of Government, whose background as a human rights attorney, educator, and environmental expert, has made the school he’s representing more appealing and credible. He obtained his Master of Laws and Doctor of Juridical Science degrees from Yale University, focusing his academic interests in international law and policy on climate change. He also taught at ADMU, Xavier University, and UP. He has co-founded the Legal Rights and Natural Resources Center – Kasama sa Kalikasan. Dr. La Viña was a former bureaucrat at the Department of Environment and Natural Resources and worked as a former senior fellow in Institutions and Governance of the World Resources Institute (WRI) in Washington D.C. In addition to his work in Ashoka, following seven years with WRI, he also directed and manned the Biological Resources Program. The attorney’s strengths as environmental and human rights lawyer advances his interests into broad research topics such as governance, trade and agriculture, the impact of globalization on poor communities, genetic engineering and bio-safety, and environmental governance in Southeast Asia and China.

Alberto Lim (executive director of MBC) – an outspoken yet beloved leader of the influential Makati Business Club, whose views on economics, trade, and business are often quoted by news organizations. His hard-hitting analysis and outlook during the height of the global financial crisis was commendable. A Harvard-educated intellectual who received an MBA at Harvard Graduate School of Business and an MPA at the Kennedy School of Government. He is the youngest brother of multi-awarded and credible journalist, Cheche Lazaro. He also holds key positions aside from being an executive director of MBC. Concurrently, he is the President/Trustee of El Nido Foundation, President/Trustee of Culion Foundation, Chairman of Corporate Network for Disaster Response, President/Trustee of Manindigan!, Treasurer/Trustee of Samahan para sa Katotohanan at Kinabukasan Foundation, Inc., President/Trustee of Aldaba-Lim Foundation, Inc., Chair Rules and Regulations Committee as well as Member of the Executive Committee of the El Nido Protected Area Management Board, and Trustee of the Children’s Hour Foundation. But will he increase tourism receipts in the country as the top honcho of the tourism department? However, in his interim tenure, his "Pilipinas Kay Ganda" (How Beautiful the Philippines Is) slogan took much criticisms. Can he revive a culture of tourism in the Philippines that lags behind with other countries in the region which prides its catchy and very effective slogans, despite of our archipelagic country's advantages on having very rich ecological wonders and warm and smiling people?

Benito Lim (political scientist, professor) – very reserved in various electronic and internet sources where he owns neither a wikipedia account nor blogs to flaunt and show off his credentials as a respected political analyst today (I admire this humble act!) But everytime he is interviewed for his analysis on politics in the country, his thoughts are much appreciated and esteemed. A retired political science professor at UP Diliman but is now a prized possession of the ADMU polsci department for whose scholastic credentials are admirable.

Antonio Lopez (publisher, journalist) – once a reader reads his pieces and articles on business, globalization, politics, economics, and profiles of tycoons and taipans, in his highly-esteemed BizNews Asia magazine, (admittedly I am a fan of this glossy but informative magazine), his thoughts and voice are as powerful and logical than any Caucasian or Sinitic-looking entrepreneurs and industrialists. But this TOYM awardee, prolific brown Filipino publisher and journalist explains issues positively, comparatively, and objectively, without you perplexed or quizzical on various issues. He is so brave for continuously publishing the very informative BizNews Asia magazine with incisive reports and analyses on Filipino corporations and general socio-economic outlook of our country - from past, present, and future administrations! He was a senior correspondent of the now defunct Asiaweek. The youngest business editor of The Times Journal. He deserved to be named as Journalist of the Year by the Pilipino Reporter and a distinguished foreign correspondent from the Rotary. He has now a TV talk show entitled "BizNews' at NBN 4. His educational background is impressive with a journalism and economics degree, magna cum laude, from UST and global journalism from the University of Stockholm, Sweden in 2005.

Jose Melo (comelec chairman, former associate justice) – he truly upholds integrity as he promised to deliver our first nationwide automated election system clean, credible, and “generally-trouble free” despite of qualms that our historic computerized election would fail and regardless of headaches and issues of glitches brought by the emergence of “koala bear” to taint the integrity of election results. He obtained his law degree from Manuel L. Quezon University and graduated Master of Laws, “Meritissimus” at the University of Santo Tomas. He was appointed by then president Corazon Aquino to the Philippine Court of Appeals and by former president Fidel Ramos as an associate justice to the Supreme Court. His stand on the replacement of Chief of Justice Puno only this year reflected his adamant belief that Section 261 of the Omnibus Election Code bans the appointment of “any head, official or appointing officer of a government office or agency” within the election period. As a Comelec chairman, he stated that, the election period officially started on January 10 and ends on June 9, 2010. Early next year, he will resign from his post; and to him he has already accomplished what he was mandated to do, to give Filipinos a successful and credible and pioneering nationwide automated election! Job well done!

Felipe Miranda (professor, research director) – the moment he lectures in forums and conferences, after a convincing and dependable speech, silence suddenly emanates from function halls. Participants would automatically appear awe-inspired from this distinguished speaker until he breaks the silence by asking queries. Truly, he is an authority on Philippine politics, the military, public opinion being the research director of Pulse Asia, and national security issues. Prof. Miranda who obtained his MA Political Science from the University of Chicago, teaches political science at UP Diliman for over 35 years and has melded academic discipline with social acuity to become one of the nation’s leading political analysts. He has contributed abundantly to professional journals and books, local and foreign. A regular resource person for Philippines print and the broadcast media whose opinion has been sought by international media, including such institution as the New York Times, Washington Post, Time Magazine, The New Yorker, NHK, SBN and CNN International TV Network. He is a founding fellow of the Social Weather Station (SWS).

Reynato Puno (retired chief justice) – his retirement as the Chief Justice in the primus inter pares collegial judiciary branch of the Philippine government, made alarming noises on whether or not a new associate justice will wear his robe, and assume his highest position as the next chief justice, thus, insinuating various interpretations whether his vacancy in the high tribunal is constitutional. In the end, his last days in office were stained by a controversy over the naming of his successor. Despite of that, he has made a mark in the Supreme Court by initiating judicial reforms and exuding moral force on his non-elective but appointive judicial position only by a sitting president. He is known as a man of law, prose, and religion, thus he exemplifies the modern Filipino intellectual, according to a website in the Supreme Court. This TOYM awardee also inked the promulgation of the writ of amparo, wrote the tightly reasoned ponencias, and propagated his justice in wheels program. Two landmark cases were decided under his watch as the chief justice, highlighting the Manila Bay decision and the MOA on ancestral domain decision. This UP law graduate and western-educated chief justice obtained his LLM degree from the University of Berkley in California and his PhD academic units from the University of Illinois. He is awarded with various honoris causa in and out of the country. He was once pushed to run for the presidency but opted to uphold integrity and moral force in government service. He was awarded the 2008 Human Cultural Asset International by the World Peace Prize Awarding Council (WPPAC). Only this year, he was awarded the prestigious Elise and Walter A. Hass International Award by the University of California Berkeley.

Harry Roque (constitutional and human rights lawyer) – better known today as one of the legal counsels to the relatives of the murdered journalists and civilians in the Maguindanao massacre of November 2009. Professor Roque obtained his Master of Law (LLM) from the London School of Economics in 1996, Bachelor of Laws from the University of the Philippines in 1990, and BA Economics and Political Science from the University of Michigan in 1985. He has published articles on variety of local and international security from terrorism to globalization to human rights and international law. He was admitted to practice before the United Nations War Crimes Tribunal for Rwanda in 2004 and before the International Criminal Court in 2005.

Emerlinda Roman (university president) – based from her profile in a UP website, she is the 19th President of the University of the Philippines, is the first woman in a long line of distinguished individuals who have served the UP with unflagging dedication and have guided it throughout the periods of Philippine history. Truly homegrown, she obtained her highschool, undergraduate, master’s and doctoral degrees from the officially proclaimed National University of the Philippines. She was UP Diliman Chancellor in 1991-1993 (her first term) and in 1999-2005 (her second and third terms). It was during her terms as UP Diliman Chancellor that the Diliman Interactive Learning Center (DILC), the Center for International Studies (CIS), the Computerized Registration System, the Research Dissemination Grant for faculty, artists and writers, researchers, staff, students and varsity athletes came into being. Under her aegis as the UP president, newly high-tech and ultramodern buildings and infrastructures were erected like the imposing UP-Ayala Technohub as the university’s answer to Stanford University’s Silicon Valley or Cambridge University’s MIT’s Route 28. There’s the newest high-tech academic and research space in the College of Engineering. The trendy museum and hip home of library collection on Asian Studies literatures at the Asian Center. Soon new buildings and better student dormitory will rise under her watch.

Renato Solidum (phivolcs chief, scientist) – he’s very candid whenever he attends forums and conferences braised with his loud baritone voice. Expect from him his very active participation and obsessive chipping in of ideas during focus group discussions. Hence, this Phivolcs director, assumed office left by the revered chief scientist Dr. Raymundo Punongbayan, who reached the compulsory age of retirement. Dr. Solidum, a class valedictorian, both in grade school and high school; was educated at UP Diliman as geologist; and took further studies at the University of Illinois in Chicago for his master’s degree in Geological Science and at Scripps Institute of Oceanography in University of California, San Diego for his doctorate degree in Earth Science. His career has become successful from a low-profile Science Research Specialist I in 1984 to becoming the high-profile director of Phivolcs in 2003. A true-blooded thinker, he started as a solid researcher and later authored several papers with his interests in Geochemistry, Marine Geology, Volcano and Earthquake Geology, Geologic Hazards Assessment and Awareness, and Earth Science Education.

Miguel Syjuco (novelist, 2008 man asia literary prize winner) – reading his multi-awarded novel Ilustrado made me adulate Philippine literature again. The only Filipino yet to have won the prestigious Hongkong-based Man Asian Literary Prize in 2008, sponsored by the London financial-services firm Man Group PLC, which in Britain sponsors the Man Booker Prize for Fiction and the Man Booker International Prize. This critically-acclaimed novel was the same entry he submitted at the premier Philippine literary awards of Don Palanca that gave him top honors for his brilliantly conceived and stylishly executed novel, written in English. The first fiction novel I’ve read with footnotes that uses tumultuous historical period to better comprehend our country’s state from the perspective of a bourgeois class. This newly high-breed novelist and wordsmith obtained his English Literature degree from ADMU, completed his master’s degree in Fine Arts from Columbia University, and currently on a scholarship to finish his PhD in English Literature from the University of Adelaide. His masterpiece is now sold in leading bookstores.

The Rise of China and India: Challenges for Asia and the World

Blogger's Notes:
Commentary of an Academic 

(Copyright @ 2015 by Chester B Cabalza. All Rights Reserved).

by Chester B Cabalza

"Both China and India are on the fast track of economic and social development, demonstrating to the world the bright future of the two countries and the promise of a revitalized Asia" - Prime Minister Hu Jintao, People’s Republic of China

Introduction

Asia is vast. It is the largest and most populous continent in the world. Given its size, complexity, longevity, and diversity, Asia is more a cultural concept incorporating its four geographical regions than a homogenous physical entity. Culturally, four earliest great civilizations developed interdependently in Asia with the rise of: Sumerian/Mesopotamian civilization in West Asia; the Indus civilization in South Asia; the Sinitic civilization in Northeast Asia; and the agrarian/maritime civilization in Southeast Asia.

But two longest geographical centers in Asia survived by the Indus (Indian) and Sinitic (Chinese) civilizations are now re-emerging in the 21st century, reversing the tide and centrifugal force in trade and commerce, power and wealth, and leveling off the playing field in a fast globalizng world.

The Dragon’s Peaceful Rise

“The Chinese poet had written: "All people have their day, and the new generation will invariably succeed the old."

China is the world’s oldest continuous civilization but its official policy on peaceful rise must be inferential. However, too few detailed case studies exist of specific interactive situations involving the People’ Republic of China (PRC) to lay foundation for systematic generalization (Macridis, 1998), until lately when it opened up to the world.

Shared memories and beliefs shape international relations of all countries. One way that memories of events are passed from generation to generation is via writing and interpreting of history. In few countries no history play a greater role than in China (Graver, 2003).

For more than two millennia, successive imperial dynasties and generations of Confucian scholar-officials found in the history of earlier eras explanations of the moral waxing and waning of society and its institutions. From this they drew conclusions about how the affairs of their own era ought to be governed. The legitimacy of each dynasty was closely tied to this historical explanation, and each dynasty produced an orthodox history justifying its rise to power.

In the case of China, Marxism, with its search for historical “laws”, coincided with and reinforced China’s hoary concern with the past. In Marxism, as in Confucianism, the fundamental workings of society and the relationship between power and morality is revealed through a study of history. The propensity of both Confucianism and Marxism to explain and justify policy in terms of historical principles probably contributed to the intellectual appeal of various grand theories of international relations to the leaders of the PRC. The PRC leaders have usually felt a need to frame their foreign policies in terms of broad historical epochs and categories.

By 1972, Beijing had formulated a new grand scheme, the Three Worlds Theory, in which the US and the USSR made the First World, the economically developed capitalist and socialist countries other than US and the USSR made up the Second World War, and the developing countries constituted the Third World. Historical necessity and progress required, according to this theory, that the Second and Third worlds unite against the First World. While these various historical schemes were rooted in China’s immediate political situation and needs, they also reflected traditional Chinese notions about the appropriate relationship between power and morality. Power had to serve a moral purpose which was derived from a study of history.

The Myth of National Humiliation


The central aspect of recent Chinese history, as interpreted by the Chinese Communist Party (CCP), is the Chinese people’s struggle against the “humiliation” of China by foreign imperialism during the 110 years between 1839 and 1949. To the CCP, the era between the first opium war and the establishment of the People’s Republic of China is essentially a chronicle of wars imposed by aggressive and arrogant imperialist powers, and, increasingly, harsh terms forced on China the consequence of its defeat in those wars.

The century of National Humiliation can be termed myth, but not because the episodes pointed to by Chinese scholars did not occur. It is mythic, rather, in the sense that the fact of belief is more important than what actually occurred. The story of National Humiliation is constantly told and retold in Chinese schools, in mass media, and in countless mandatory study sessions attended by Chinese citizens. Belief in the century of National Humiliation is virtually universal in China; even most dissidents share it.

The myth of National Humiliation stands at the center of the political culture of PRC. It has greatly influenced China’s approach to the world by giving rise to an ardent determination to end all aspects of China’s “humiliation”, to blot out all remnants of China’s past weakness and degradation.

But other scholars differ regarding the impact of the foreign influence on China in the century 1839 to 1949. Some attribute it to endogenous variables as population growth, exhaustion of available arable land, and the emergence of new social elites and classes.

The experience of National Humiliation was a major factor impelling many young Chinese to embrace the doctrine of Marxism-Leninism in the early 20th century. Lenin’s theory about the evolution of industrial capitalism into imperialism and his observations about the rapacious nature of imperialism seemed to fit with the facts as seen by many young Chinese.

The Japanese invasion of China during the 1930s was, from the Chinese perspective, the bitter culmination of the century of National Humiliation.

The Sino-Japanese war of 1937-1945 was a brutal, searing experience for China. Japanese occupation forces were imbued with a spirit of contempt for China and the Chinese, and they often acted barbarically. The murder of perhaps 200,000 civilians in Nanjing after the fall of the city in December 1937, is an example.

The Japanese aggression from 1931 to 1945 had a deep impact on PRC foreign relations. Fears of Japan rooted in that experience contributed to China’s 1949 decision to ally with the USSR and again in the 1980s to the decision to normalize relations with Moscow as Tokyo reemerged as a major military power.

The Traditional and Modern Chinese World Order

Perhaps, the most bitter aspect for Chinese growing contact with the west, is the fact that, China was inferior to the foreign powers in the very areas of Confucianism which was long held to be the proof of China’s superiority over others. Confucianism had held that skill in the art of governance and superior material well-being were proof of China’s higher level of civilization.

By the time of the Tang dynasty (618-907 AD), educated Chinese generally accepted the idea that lands populated by Chinese and making up the Chinese cultural area ought to be united under a single ruler. This idea was handed down from generation to generation and still has a significant influence on the behavior of China’s leaders.

The Triangular Alignments:

- Alignment with the USSR against the US (1949-1963)

- Alignment with the US against the USSR (1972-1982)

- Opposition to both the US and USSR (1945-1949 and 1963-1970) and cordial relations with both superpowers (1986-1992)

In 1949 to 1950 there was a more balanced PRC relation with the US and the Soviet Union. Several factors combined to rule out a more neutral PRC orientation toward the superpowers in 1949. Mao and other CCP leaders were dedicated Marxist-Leninists. Though critical of Stalin’s “great-power chauvinism,” they considered the USSR a progressive, socialist country and the US a monopoly capitalist, imperialist country.

Foreign Influence and Maintaining Chinese Essence

The problem Chinese faced, as they realized that they would have to adopt many ideas and techniques from the west, was how to assimilate western thoughts without allowing those foreign thoughts to corrode China’s distinctive moral essence.

While western science, technology, and organizational methods are welcome, these imports are not to be allowed to erode China’s distinctive, superior and socialist morality. In 1980, Deng authorized suppression of the movement of dissident young intellectuals advocating western-style liberty. In 1983, there was another campaign against western-derived “spiritual pollution”. In 1987 another campaign was launched against ‘bourgeois liberalism.” In 1989, another clampdown on all forms of heterodox thinking and activity.

The Retreat from the Revolution

China’s relation with Southeast Asia, started since the Western Han times (206 BCE-220 CE) through trade and commerce, was diplomatic rather than cultural. The emperors of China assumed the status of paramount patrons and protectors of the rulers in Southeast Asia, a status that was acknowledged by the dispatch of occasional diplomatic envoys to the Chinese court.

Bordering on China itself, Tonkin (in the northern area of present Vietnam) felt Chinese power and influence more directly, than any other part of Southeast Asia. Successive regimes in China brought Tonkin under control, and the eastern Han followed the example about the middle of the first century CE.

In modern times, this is apparent with the succeeding love-hate relation of both communist capitals of Peking and Saigon at that period of the post-Cold War confrontations. In fact, (Graver, 2003:170) the deterioration of Sino-Vietnamese relations in the late 1970s pushed Beijing toward disengagement from insurgent movements.

In November 1978, as the Sino-Vietnamese confrontation neared the point of war, Deng Xiaoping visited several Southeast Asian countries to rally support for China. Deng’s visit came shortly after a similar tour by Vietnamese Premier Pham Van Dong, in which Dong had pledged that Vietnam would not support foreign insurgencies. Deng refused to make a similar promise, but argued that China would not let party-to-party ties interfere with the improvement of state relations.

In February 1981, Premier Zhao Ziyang went a step further, during a state visit to Bangkok, saying that CCP relations with Southeast Asian Communist parties were only “political and moral”, and that China would “make efforts” to ensure that relations with these parties, saying that it “would not affect our friendship and cooperation with ASEAN countries”.

China’s New Official Policy

There are four characteristics which distinguish ASEAN-China ties in the post-Cold War era: First, the disappearance of the ideological barriers that eventually paved the way for the restoration or establishment of diplomatic ties between China and all ASEAN states in 1991. Second, the importance of economic links that have created both convergent and divergent interests for the two sides. Third, the salience of the Spartly territorial disputes in shaping the ASEAN-China interactions. Fourth, the gradual emergence of multilateralism as a mode of diplomatic interaction between the PRC and ASEAN countries (Kuik Cheng-Chwee, 2005:103).

Simon Tay asks, why, then, East Asia now? Several factors are at play:

1) past economic crisis;

2) cooperation has grown; and

3) regionalism is a process for dealing with globalization.

In fact, Kuik Cheng-Chwee (2005:103) narrates that the attendance of the then Chinese Foreign Minister Qian Qichen at the opening session of the 24th ASEAN Ministerial meeting on July 1991, as a guest of Malaysia, was an important event for Sino-ASEAN relations.

This was followed by China’s presence in the ASEAN meeting in its capacity as the group’s consultative partner in 1992, as well as its attendance at the inaugural meeting of the ASEAN Regional Forum (ARF) in 1994.

Together, these events marked the beginning of the multilateral process between China and the ASEAN States. According to Kuik Cheng-Chwee (2005), he agrees that Beijing’s move to engage itself in ASEAN activities since the early 1990s was part of the country’s “good neighborliness” policy and China now views multilateral institutions as useful diplomatic platforms that can be utilized to advance its own foreign policy objectives.

Such perceptual changes have slowly, but significantly, led to a greater emphasis on multilateral diplomacy in China’s ASEAN policy. Multilateralism strengthens regionalism and now plays a complementary, rather than a supplementary, role to bilateralism in the conduct of Chinese foreign policy towards ASEAN in the age of globalization.


The Elephant’s Roots of Look East Policy

“I reiterate India’s commitment to work with ASEAN and other East Asian countries to make the 21st century truly an Asian century” - Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, India

India has geographical proximity to Southeast Asia and it shares maritime boundaries as well as land borders with Southeast Asia. India’s association with Southeast Asia can be traced back to ancient times. No other country has influenced the region as much as India by way of religion, language, culture, and civilization. There is also enormous historical evidence to suggest that there were flourishing economic and cultural relations between India and the countries of Southeast Asia in the pre-colonial era.

In the first half of the 20th century, the common colonial past was a strong feature, which united India and Southeast Asia. India’s freedom struggle for independence was a great source of inspiration for the freedom movements in Southeast Asian nations. The first closer relations resurfaced against colonialism at the Asian Relations Conference in New Delhi in 1947. The move to end colonialism acted as the cohesive bond that brought India and Southeast Asia together. Furthermore, the Bandung Conference of 1955, which laid down the principle of peaceful coexistence, had given a new direction.

In the post-second war phase, global politics was defined by Cold War power politics and military alliance system. In the early sixties, the Cold War bloc politics caused a great deal of insecurity, which affected India’s relations with Southeast Asia, and both were placed at opposite sides of the Cold War divide. As a newly emerging country, India had tried to remain outside the alliance system and voiced its opinion through its Non-alignment policy. Indonesia also became a founding member of the Non-alignment movement. However, the regional geopolitical and strategic equation had changed due to the Cold War power politics. In the meantime, the Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN) was formed. India’s response to the formation of the ASEAN was not very encouraging. Earlier, India did not welcome South East Asia Treaty Organization (SEATO).

India perceived that some of the ASEAN countries had direct defense link with the United States. India’s foreign policy, at one stage, was closely linked with the erstwhile Soviet Union, which led to unfavorable relations with the United States and her allies. It had difficult relations with China. At the same time, the stand of the Western powers was critical on the issue of Kashmir. It was a coincidence that the Soviet Union, India, and Vietnam became close friends and the dynamics of the Cold War placed them on the opposite side of the ASEAN. India could not build good relations because they were pro-west and anti-communist. India’s stand on the issue of Vietnam and Cambodian crisis had created further mistrust among some ASEAN countries. Thus, India’s relations with ASEAN worsened since 1980s. However, the end of the Cold War had given a new opportunity to rehabilitate their relationship.

The ASEAN countries realized that India was becoming an important player in shaping the future political and security environment in Asia. They see India’s competitive strength in democratic tradition, resilience, and stability of India’s political institutions. In the meantime, economic liberalization, initiated by Prime Minister Rao in 1991, has given a new direction for the global economy with a special emphasis on economic diplomacy.

As a result, India formally shaped the Look East Policy to foster closer economic ties with its South and Southeast Asian neighbors with emphasis on renewing political and economic contacts with ASEAN members. This policy has led to making India a Sectoral Dialogue Partner of ASEAN. This has resulted in a wider engagement and India becomes a Full Dialogue Partner of ASEAN at the fifth summit in Bangkok in December 1995. This institutional linkage further enhanced in July 1996 when India became a member of ASEAN Regional Forum (ARF), which deals with strategic and political issues in the Asia Pacific region. In November 2002, the first ASEAN-India summit was held in Phnom Penh, Cambodia to mark a major milestone in integrating India into Southeast Asia. The fifth India-ASEAN summit recently held in Cebu, Philippines in January 2007 resolved to implement free trade agreement and is considered a significant breakthrough for the Look East Policy.

The Rise of China and India: Security Challenges

"Let us work together to enhance China-India strategic and cooperative partnership, build a world of enduring peace and common prosperity and create a bright future for our two countries and two peoples," - Prime Minister Hu Jintao, People’s Republic of China

An offshoot of the increasing economic power of the two giant countries in Asia, China and India are now playing major actors in many bilateral and multilateral engagements in the Asia-Pacific region.
Rajeshwar (2008) deems that China’s relations with India’s neighboring countries have always concerned India. Chinese and Indian analysts view events differently.

China-Pakistan Relations – China-Pakistan relations are not recent. The intention of China’s policy is to befriend all its neighbors. However, India and Pakistan have acquired nuclear weapons capability, which extremely worries China that any escalation of conflicts over Kashmir could precipitate nuclear exchange with horrifying consequences. But Indian analysts see it the other way around, that China behaves differently by building strategic vantage points to India’s neighbors. Hence, China founded several naval projects from Pakistan to Bangladesh to Sri Lanka to Maldives, seen as China’s quiet encirclement of India.

The US Factor – India has been facing terrorism for quite some time and has acquired a lot of expertise from the US on this matter. However, the US has placed both China and India as key partners in achieving regional stability and harmony. It engages both nations now at a higher level. The relations between India and China are naturally bound to be affected by such rigorous engagement.

Nuclear Weapons – One of the key issues that caused turbulence in China-India relations was the Indian nuclear explosion in 1998. Nevertheless, China has targeted India since 1970s, and currently has 66 nuclear missiles that can reach all of India’s major cities and military bases. Chinese feelings toward India soured temporarily after India’s 1998 nuclear testing, though China insists it was not the tests themselves that they perceived as a threat. However, China asserts that India is not a major security concern to China today. But Chinese analysts feel that China should handle the requirements posed by India on a similar platform as they would for other countries also looking for nuclear power.

Environment and other Dimensions – There are a number of issues that concern both China and India, which, in a globalized world, are becoming important. Resource (water) and energy needs (including nuclear energy) in sustaining growth and development, even environmental issues, are aspects which are likely to govern their relations.

The Importance of ARF – Each member of the ARF has had a prior link to ASEAN. Apparently, ARF is built upon the structures of ASEAN. The reason why China engaged in multilateral forum like the ARF (its first involvement) is to shift its perception from a threat neighborhood to a friendly Big Brother after realizing the process of participating is not to isolate itself in the region. Copying it from the ASEAN model and operationalized on the basis of “ASEAN Way”, ARF features in the forms of informal, wide consultative, consensus and incremental approach. On the other hand, India has become a member of ARF in 1996. There has been the growing cooperation on security issues between India and ASEAN countries through dialogue and practical measures, as well as through the establishment of legal frameworks under the ARF. The ARF is the only political and security dialogue forum in the region. It helps India to work jointly with the ASEAN countries for ensuring regional peace and stability. India has, for many years, consistently urged the ARF to take up the issue of global terrorism which has remained one of the principal security challenges of present times.

Bilateral and Multilateral Agreements

Hu Jintao quoted Chinese sage and philosopher Confucius, who had said, "One who wishes to achieve success should also help others achieve success," to illustrate the point that the rise of India and the rise of China are "not mutually exclusive but mutually reinforcing" and both countries can help each other in achieving larger developmental goals.

China and India Policies

China's “Good Neighborliness” Policy

Bilateralism:

Free Trade Agreement (FTA) with each of the ten-member countries of ASEAN which prospered to become China-ASEAN Free Trade Agreement (CAFTA)

Multilateralism

ASEAN-China Joint Cooperation Committee (ACJCC;
ASEAN Regional Forum (ARF);
ASEAN Plus Three (APT);
Asia-Europe Meeting (ASEM);
Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC);
China-ASEAN Free Trade Agreement (CAFTA);
China-ASEAN Summit;
East Asia Summit (EAS)

India's "Look East" Policy

Bilateralism

Comprehensive Economic Cooperation Agreement (CECA) between India and Singapore;
Free Trade Agreement (FTA) with Thailand

Multilateralism

ASEAN Regional Forum (ARF);
Bay of Bengal initiative for Multi-Sectoral Economic and Technological Cooperation (BIMSTEC);
Indo-ASEAN Summit;
East Asia Summit (EAS);
Kunming Initiative (KI);
Mekong Ganga Cooperation(MGC)


References

Brookes, Peter. (2001). Dragon’s Dance: The Evolving Security Situation in Northeast Asia, in Julian Weiss (Ed), Tigers’ Roar: Asia’s Recovery and Its Impact, Armonk: New York and London: England, An East Gate Book Publication.

Cabalza, Chester (2007). The Dragon’s Peaceful Rise: A New Dawn for Sino-Asean Relations. (Unpublished paper) University of the Philippines, Asian Center.

Cheng-Chwee, Kuik. (2005). Multilateralism in China’s ASEAN Policy: Its Evolution, Characteristics, and Aspiration. Contemporary Southeast Asia 27, no.1:102-121.

Dilip Gogoi (2007). East through Northeast: India and Southeast Asia in the New Asia, (Unpublished Paper) Gauhati University, Assam, India.

Graver, John W. (2003). Foreign Relations of the People’s Republic of China. New Jersey: Prentice Hall, Englewood Cliffs.

Rajeshwar, PS Col. (2008). India-China Relations: Its Implications on the Asean. National Defense College of the Philippines (thesis).

Schwarz, Adam. (2001). ASEAN, Asia, and the Rise of Regional Identity, in Julian Weiss (Ed), Tigers’ Roar: Asia’s Recovery and Its Impact, Armonk: New York and London: England, An East Gate Book Publication.

Tay, Simon, S.C. (2001). ASEAN, East Asia and the Pacific Rim: Thoughts on the New Regionalism, in Julian Weiss (Ed), Tigers’ Roar: Asia’s Recovery and Its Impact, Armonk: New York and London: England, An East Gate Book Publication.