Fake News is Not Worth Dying for! Don’t Get in Crossfire

Fake News Brings PHL Closer to War, No Beneficiary 

The Philippines is coming close to a war, not one of its own making, not one in its interests.  It is a war between US and China, continually escalating at the initiatives of the US, from trade into technology, into scientific research; interference in the internal security affairs of  countries.  Given a hot US elections, war might be needed to garner patriotic votes.  The Philippines should avoid being incited into a conflict again that it can sidestep and actually benefit from. 

“False Flags”, in political terminology, are lies that lead a public to fight, support a war.  Practiced by some nations in history, this has become a standard procedure of the US, detailed in disclosures of former government operatives, including some from the highest levels.  Admissions today include the Iraq Wars, by Colin Powell, then US Secretary of State, who stated to the UN  “There is no doubt in my mind…” that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction.  Actual transcripts of declassified intelligence now show there was no such empirical information, and events proved there was none, but over a million Iraqis have died.  The Spanish American war where the Philippines was bloodily taken over by the US, was incited by Hearst and Pulitzer papers falsely reporting an attack by Spain.  This media practice of lying to the public is now called “Yellow Journalism”.  Robert McNamara, Secretary of State in the time of Kennedy and Johnson, over 30 years after the events, admitted the Vietnam war was falsely triggered by the second attack in Tonkin on US ships which never happened.  Fifty-six thousand US soldiers died, some 3 million Vietnamese were killed, and more than 3 million deformed and missing limbs until today due to US massive chemical warfare.  Similar stories in the Middle East, Libya, Syria, Venezuela, etc…

The Philippines is being incited by the increasing “False Flags” in our media, which are not always outright lies; but include managed informations that are magnified, applied with bias, or timed to coincide with a national event, ignoring contrary informations or normal perspectives, to whip up emotions.  A continuing barrage of events are dug up in media whenever the Philippines and China have some relationship-building occasion coming up.

Examples: On Aug 20, 2020 Rappler reported, without question, on DFA lodging a protest against China for her Coast Guard allegedly confiscating the payaos, fishing devices, of Filipino fishermen in Panatag, which actually took place in May.  Context: May 1 to mid August is the annual fishing reserve period in the Scarborough, implemented by China to help replenish the area’s fish stock, which even Filipino fishermen have admitted has helped improve their catch, while coastal fishing in the Philippines has depleted.  This is not to accept the control of the Chinese, but to show far more nuanced contexts are behind the story.

 In June 2018, a few days before Independence Day, a GMA News reporter Jun Veneracion went out to SCS to find news, found none, used an old cellphone of alleged Chinese stealing 2 pieces of fish from Filipino fishermen, who later explained that the barter of consumer items for the fish had taken place.

Inquirer published a story of the Philippines donating emergency medical supplies to China in mid-March, at the height of the pandemic in Manila, when the token donation was actually sent in February, height of the pandemic in China.  

The same media that criticise hardly report the massive and immediate assistances that came from China philanthropists, corporations, and the government, not just during the covid crisis, but also in Taal and other crises.  Smaller donations by other countries and groups are given larger front page news. 

The report of the Chinese Navy pointing a radar gun on the Philippine navy was reported in April 23, but it happened in February.  Media reports made it appear that China was taking advantage of the PH covid crisis.  Context: in February, the Covid crisis was far worse in China and not blown up yet in the Philippines… The report also failed to provide context that these are radar devices that are used in-line with standard procedures in the middle of the sea when foreign warships cross each other— whereas the US pointed real guns on Filipino coast guard in Tubbataha, which very few media reported on or agencies made an issue of.

Philippines, a province of China?  The tarpaulins posted on overpasses around Metro Manila had been photographed to have been put up in the presence of an opposition blogger.  The China flags sold in Luneta were admitted by the vendors to have been supplied by Filipinos who paid them to sell the flags.  It is not unusual to sell flags, shirts, caps, etc. of different countries on occasions, although normally the host country flag is also sold.  The point not being that it is right, but that it happens, and has on occasions been shown to likely have been planted.  

The wording on the label of the Binondo-based beauty product, while a “repulsive offense againstour nation”  is true, could have been planted, and is being investigated.  Either way, 1) it is the Philippines’ prerogative to close down the enterprises and protest in appropriate manner, 2) it is not worthy of extended attention of national level politicians or headlines,  3) it is not a position of China, yet some media continue to confound the public by referring to small, isolated incidents as somehow linked to the official bilateral relations. 

China does not want the Philippines as a province, neither does the US.  The cost of managing it will be far higher than just doing business with, travelling to, paying for each other’s goods and services.  Philippines GDP at 360 billion USD in 2019, is less than 2.7 pct of China GDP,  less than half a year’s 6 pct growth; it is less than 2 pct of US GDP.  Philippines’ value is strategic in physical position, we should use that to our advantage. 

On labels, why are our “nationalist-experts” Carpio, Hilbay, Batongbacal, Rappler not making a bigger issue about the US recently implying in writing that Sabah belongs to Malaysia?  Is not Sabah a much bigger issue than some labels? Yet think tanks and politicians raising issues in unison with the US do not bring these up.  Is not EDCA a foreign sovereignty in our actual territory, where Filipino presidents need to ask permission to visit?  What about the island Vietnam finessed from Philippine occupation?  Or US free accesses through the Philippines internal waters without permission… if one country is allowed by international law, as claimed by the US, are the same principles espoused allowed evenly with others? 

The Philippines should prioritize high-value-yielding activities and focus on managing our domestic issues of health, corruption, logistically, planned infrastructure, environment, enterprise creation.  In this we can work with the US, China, Japan, everyone.  This is being practiced by the fast rising countries like Vietnam, India, Japan, South Korea, that continue positive, productive, conflict-minimizing, economy-enhancing relations with the very same nations they have disputes with.  Time for Filipinos to stop thinking nationalism is shown by fighting and dying. 

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