Sagging Sabah


All of a sudden, from out of nowhere, just as the Aquino (Part II) administration struggles with the territorial dispute with China in the West Philippine Sea, another sovereignty issue over Sabah confronts our leader Benigno Simeon (aka BS), that is sagging the country’s image before foreign media.

In other countries, times like these are more likely to unite the citizenry rather than provoke them to trash their leader. Here, certain politicos are trying to disparage our leader, BS, for taking an anti-violence stand on the Sabah issue.

The stance of our Commander-in-Chief is simply to restore prudence and sobriety in the Philippine claim over Sabah, for the simple reason that violence will not solve anything. True, our leader, BS, says he respects the claim of the Sultanate of Sulu over the territory that is now under the rule of the Malaysian government. Still, according to the position enunciated by our leader, BS, over television recently, our disputes with other countries, particularly our neighbors, cannot be resolved just through force, and the right and honorable approach should be diplomacy first.

Question: Is our leader, BS, just trying to do the right thing?

Down here in my barangay, the guys are just as alarmed as any politico can be by the Malaysian military’s audacious use of fighter jets to bomb the Filipino followers of Sulu Sultan Jamalul Kiram III, but the issue over Sabah may have as much bearing on their daily lives as … well, the plummeting meteor in Russia.

Really, it is just too way above our heads for most of us.

Thus, the critical question remains: Do we believe that sending armed men to Sabah, whether followers of the Sultan of Sulu or the military forces of this republic, with the aim of retaking the resource-rich territory from Malaysia, by hook or by crook, is really the superior idea over, say, nonviolent approach such as diplomacy and legal resolution of the cases in the international forum?

I thought so too.

What then explains the attacks against our leader, BS, for his position in trying to avoid bloodshed in addressing the Sabah issue which, by the way, already escalated to the use of well-trained forces and sophisticated military hardware by one side in the conflict?

To me, in the Philippine claim over Sabah, the Aquino (Part II) administration is just being consistent in its position over territorial disputes, such as the one with China over the West Philippine Sea, which is, of course, “diplomacy first.”

In fact, a dissimilar approach in the Sabah claim, such as a violent confrontation with the Malaysian people, would only weaken the Philippine stand in the other territorial dispute with China.

In both our claims in the West Philippine Sea and in Sabah, the guys down here simply must trust our leader, BS, to go through the peaceful processes—including diplomatic negotiations, good offices, commission of inquiry, arbitration and resort to the International Court of Justice.

After all, the whole darn thing is already an intricate balancing act for our government. We cannot add to the weight that our leader, BS, has to carry.

*   *   *

Uh-oh, now the shoe is on the other foot.

Last week, reports said a deadly landslide, leaving some 45 workers dead and several others missing, occurred at the geothermal site of Energy Development Corp., or EDC, the world’s second-biggest producer of geothermal power, which the Lopez group (Meralco, ABS-CBN and Rockwell Land) acquired from the government.

The question now goes around business circles, particularly the “big” mining and the coal power plant sectors, on whether or not the government, particularly the Department of Energy and Natural Resources—yes, the almighty DENR—would impose tough measures, or even sanctions, on the EDC.

It seems the disastrous landslide occurred in the EDC Leyte site where another Lopez company, First Balfour, had a construction project, although the dead workers actually belonged to the subcontractor, JA Arradaza Construction.

The geothermal field acquired by EDC from the government during the time of the cute administration of Gloriaetta was supposedly the biggest wet steam field in the world covering more than 100,000 hectares.

According to Leyte Governor Mimiette Bagulaya, the EDC site has never been known as a landslide-prone area, so she wanted the LGUs in the province—more than national offices like the DENR—to investigate the cause of what the EDC claimed to be an accident.

The initial reports indicated that top officials of EDC ordered their people to block the entry into the landslide area of well-equipped personnel from the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council, or the NDRRMC, an agency under the Department of National Defense that deals with cases of emergencies and disasters.

Not only that, EDC officials reportedly even prevented LGU rescue volunteers from helping save the victims, although reports—coming much later—suggested that EDC officials finally acceded to the plea of the LGU volunteers to help in the search-and-rescue operations.

In life-or-death situations like the landslide at the EDC site, time is a critical element for the helpless victims. I thought EDC officials should have welcomed the rescue volunteers with wide-open arms, if not hugs and kisses. What could have been their reason?

Like it or not, the geothermal energy business is also an extraction activity, as much as mining and quarrying, for instance, which have been getting all sorts of flak from so-called pro-environment groups.

Recently they attacked with complete abandon the “incident” at the Padcal mine in Benguet province, operated by listed firm Philex in which, at the height of a strong typhoon, one of the tailings ponds of the mining firm supposedly leaked out some waste materials, albeit non-toxic.

Under pressure from the genuine and the bogus pro-environment groups, the DENR had to order the closure of the Padcal mine and, later, imposed a punitive P1-billion fine on the company, on top of another P100-million fine imposed by the Pollution Adjudication Board (PAB) for “violation” of the Clean Water Act.

Then there was the incident in the coal-mining site on Semirara island operated by DMCI, in which people also died and disappeared, prompting the same groups to denounce the negligence of the mining firm, again forcing the government to suspend operations immediately.

Such environment activism is well appreciated by the guys down here in my barangay. The thing is, we are hearing hardly anything from the same groups, not even some incoherent mumble, over the landslide at the EDC site in Leyte.

Part of the group is of course the “eco-warriors” led by Gina Lopez, widely known in media as the role model of pro-environment activists, who happens to belong to the same family running the EDC, which by the way expects its revenue to hit P30 billion this year.

The pro-environment groups are mysteriously mum on the Leyte landslide. Obviously there is no pressure on the government to impose penalties on the company that was formerly owned by the state-run Philippine National Oil Co.

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Disclaimer: The comments uploaded on this site do not necessarily represent or reflect the views of management and owner of We reserve the right to exclude comments that we deem to be inconsistent with our editorial standards.

  • Exo

    Mao Mao is from China.

  • FernandoBusi

    The BS should have acted before those men even got their. The Kiram’s tried to get the attention of both the Malaysian and Philippine governments but were ignored. This is the result of the way people in Manila think about the concerns of the south. As long as people don’t take arms you ignore them.

  • roy roy

    PNoy, Noynoy, Aquino are the common terms to refer to the current president. This BS thing is clearly a dig at the president. You can criticize without doing that. When did Inquirer become a tabloid?

  • vaporub123

    hindi agad pinapasok ng EDC ang mga volunteers?baka may tinatago o ginagawa ang mga EDC tulad ng mga pagmimina?ang 100,000 ektaryang lupa ay mahirap imomonitor.dapat makiki-alam ang DENR dito.

  • Catdoggie

    The writer certainly knows how to use and emphasize the initial “BS” in some way. But then again, I might be wrong.

  • Albert Einstien

    ·        “All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing.” (Edmund Burke)
       ….the TRUTH is …….pnoy the MALASya spokesman  is NOT a born leader..his being president is a result of his mother’s death..& for LACK of CREDIBLE & popular political contender at that time…& people would like to GIVE him a chance ..but NOW as we can SEE it…he is a FAILURE…….it is FACT amount of propaganda & paid surveys can veil that…….we should accept reality that pnoy cant handle MULTI-FARIOUS PROBLEMS of govt… is better for him & for the COUNTRY to delegate govt .matters or RESIGN & declare snap elections and just endorse his candidate…….the COUNTRY FIRST before anything else….we can not let OURSELVES see that our PEOPLE are MASSACRED in front of our very EYES & THE WORLD watching……
    WAR & CHAOS erupted due to pnoy’s ARROGANCE & LOYALTY  for his boss malaysian najib…
    ·        MALAYSIAN DROPPING NAPALM BOMBS to filipino citizens  “Napalm is the most terrible pain you can imagine,” said Kim Phúc, a napalm bombing survivor known from a famous Vietnam War photograph. “Water boils at 100 degrees Celsius (212°F). Napalm generates temperatures of 800 to 1,200 degrees Celsius (1,500-2,200°F).”. The effect was not always purely physical as napalm had psychological effects on the enemy as well…….such INHUMAN & BARBARIC treatment of our citizens..   who can stomach this abomination if not  the evil spirit..
    ·        ALL because we have M A K A P I L I and MALASia spokesperson for a leader….

    · What is so HARD in just FILING a CLAIM for SABAH in ICJ…& DENOUNCING MALAYSIA for using excessive force a HUMAN RIGHTs violation..……your MALAYSIAN BOSS will understand because you are  SUPPOSED to be the president of a country……that is ALL the SULU ARMY wants .. (so that the BLOODSHED will stop …but NOW it’s TOO LATE already you IGNITED CHAOS..)….which is in FACT the DUTY of pnoy & govt….INSTEAD pnoy arrogantly DISMISSed the legitimate grievance of its citizens , THREATENED to IMPRISON them when they return home ( he pushed them against the wall ) & COLLABORATED with the ENEMY STATE who is KILLING our HAPLESS citizens by NAPALM BOMBS & robbing our resources , our territory & sovereignty for 50 long years ALREADY….!.

    BLOOD in your HANDS PNOY..can you still SLEEP at night ?
    DEVIL lang MAKAKASIKMURA na IPA-MASAKER ang mga CITIZENS.. sa mga BANYAGAng MALAYSIANs……. It’s EVIL that is ALLOWING our people to get MASSACRED by excessive force ..jet bombers & massive military artillery attacks against FLESH & bare hands….it’s HUMAN RIGHTS VIOLATION..·
    ·        TIME to GET REAL…
    2013 PNOY M A K A P I L I for MALAYSIA…pnoy’ boss is MALAYSIAN NAJIB
    1944 JAPANESE Collaboration ( MAKAPILI tawag sa mga pilipinong TRAYDOR dati )-Benigno Aquino SR…captured in japan & sent here in the Philippines charged with TREASON !..
    1968 NINOY AQUINO … exposed the RE-TAKING by marcos of our OIL RICH SABAH… … Benigno” NINOY” Aquino Jr. he is a a FRIEND of malaysian leaders..

  • PurpleDaisy13

    The fact is that…

    ** The Sultan of Sulu owned North Borneo (Sabah) since being awarded as a gift from the Sultan of Brunei for helping end Civil War in Brunei in 1658.

    ** The Sultan of Sulu or any man in the right mind would NEVER AGREE to “sell” and “cede” the entire land of North Borneo (Sabah) the enormous size of Mindanao for just $85,000 bucks ($1700 per year since 1963).  When in fact, North Borneo (Sabah) is rich in Gold and Oil equivalent to more than $6,200,000,000 (billion) A YEAR.

    ** The Sultan of Sulu never engaged in a formal legal Contract Agreement with the Federation of Malaysia in 1963 to negotiate new increased “rental fees” since the 1878 agreement between the British North Borneo Company and the Sultan of Sulu automatically terminated due to the British North Borneo Company’s admission to no longer hold the property as underlined and stated below:

    “the grantees (British North Borneo Company) promised to pay as compensation to the Sultan (Sulu), his heirs or successors, the sum of 5,000 dollars per annum; and the said territories were thereby declared vested in the grantees, co-jointly, their heirs, associates, successors, or assigns, for as long as they should choose or desire to hold them”

    Any manipulated laws and views dismissing these significant points is a distortion to the meaning of true “JUSTICE”.

    Meanwhile, the Philippines government HAS Dominion and Sovereignty over North Borneo (Sabah) as specified under the Philippines Republic Act of 5446 of 1968 which states the following under section 2:

    “Section 2. The definition of the baselines of the territorial sea of the Philippine Archipelago as provided in this Act is without prejudice to the delineation of the baselines of the territorial sea around the territory of Sabah, situated in North Borneo, over which the Republic of the Philippines has acquired dominion and sovereignty.

    Also, in 2011 Supreme Court decision (GR No. 187167) rules on the Republic of the Philippine’s retention and continued Dominion and Sovereignty over North Borneo (Sabah) as stated:

    “Section 2 of RA 5446, which RA 9522 did not repeal, keeps open the door for drawing the baselines of Sabah”

    • Mao Mao Chamn

      blah…blah…blah….sabah….blah…blah….blah……you lowly Philippino-chinese……I thought you’re dead…….get me spring rolls and wonton soup……hurry……before I kick your butt.

      • Keighley Guevara

        Between the “lowly” Philippino-Chinese’s educational comment and your statement, I’d think the term “lowly” applies as an accolade to yourself. 

      • markmagbabakal

         you, lazy malay, spent money for lavish lifestyle in expense of minority people in your country.

      • gilmano

        Mr. Mao Mao, are you Malaysian? Well, if you are then you sure have a way of telling us what kind of people you are. Uncivilized.

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