By: Wenceslao E. Mateo Jr.
OUR WARMEST CONDOLENCES to the family of the late Col. Virgilio Silva, who died last July 11.
He was an “Outstanding Lincolnian”, graduating his college course at the defunct Lincoln College in the 60s. The school, which was located on Ledesma St., Iloilo City Proper, was razed down by fire in 1965.
Councilor Dave Jamora represented the Jamora family, who owned the school, during the necrological services evening of last Friday, July 20, at the Gegato-Abecia funeral parlor.
This columnist, a Lincolnian himself, also attended the necrological services with two officers of the Lincoln College Alumni Association – Ismael Militar and Rosa Vila.
Vir, may you rest in peace!
FOR SURE, many will take that planned first direct flight between Singapore and Iloilo City in November, this year.
But will there be subsequent flights? Cebu Pacific, which will take this direct route, is a commercial company. It operates on the prospects of profit. In other words, it will continue its operations on this flight schedule only if the route also continues to be profitable. Otherwise, it would suspend, if not entirely abandon, this route until better times, and probably just provide it on a charter basis.
Well, if there’s a will there’s a way. I mean, Cebu Pacific and the Ilonggos devoted to its success can make things continue favorably by being able to help make this direct route continually profitable -- like establishing new or additional business links in Singapore, even this early, which may also encourage Singaporeans to make their own business links with Iloilo requiring them to make their calls here at the Iloilo International Airport more often.
Reminds me of the early years of a shipping company that carried passengers and cargo between Iloilo and Mindanao. As related by a friend, who was an official of the company, the company assured itself of cargo on its first trips by initially closing cargo contracts with businessmen on both ends far ahead of their first voyage. It also bought a ranch in Mindanao to raise cows they could carry to Iloilo to slaughter for beef here.
TESTING THE SINCERITY OF CHINA FOR PEACEFUL TALKS. We have no reason to take things by violent acts over our claim to the Scarborough (Panatag) Shoal. We are a small and ill-equipped nation for war. Only China could think of that, being a superpower.
China has, nonetheless, hinted it wants to talk about our overlapping claim in a peaceful way. How? Well, it has yet to express that in a more assuring sense to leave no doubt on our part.
But can China be sincere about a peaceful talk to resolve this conflict? What does history say?
As it is, there is only one way to find out, according to my friend. And that is by seizing its fishing vessels that come fishing within our 200-mile economic zone, just like what Russia did recently with the Chinese fishing boats found fishing within its 200-mile economic zone.
If China is sincere about a peaceful resolution of the conflict, it would not order its battle ships to fire at our coastguards doing the seizure, or in any other way act with demonstrated violence. And instead just file a protest with our Dept. of Foreign Affairs. If it is not sincere, then it will fire on our coastguards, or in any other way show its might by force.
But will the Aquino Adm. dare do that? “Why not?” My friend said. We lose nothing doing that -- seizing these Chinese fishing vessels instead of just looking at them in fear. It would also show that we are not abandoning our rights to it by exercising what we ought to do to maintain or acquire control over it.
If China instead files a protest, “Fine!”, my friend say, as that means it is sincere in undertaking peaceful talks on this conflict over Panatag Shoal. Otherwise, if it fires at our coastguards, or in any other way makes violent reactions, then the world will know that it is not sincere about its hinted interest for a peaceful resolution of the conflict, which will be bad for its image in the world.
But if we are fired at, should we return fire? If we mean to resolve conflicts peacefully, we should not fire back, though, my friend said. Nor ask the United States to come and fight for us, though it might show some act of taking our side without getting violent because of our mutual defense pact.
We should instead withdraw, my friend stressed, and release the Chinese fishing vessels. And, instead, file a protest before the International Court. This should compel China, he pointed out, to appear, which it has always wanted to avoid. If it wouldn’t do that, he added, that is another bad point for it in the international community of nations.
How about that? Well, I am keeping my fingers crossed. By the way, there might just be less risky means to compel China to come to the table for talks on a peaceful settlement of the conflict over Panatag Shoal.