DAVAO CITY — UNPREDICTABLE — Will North Korea pull the trigger? Everyone is waiting with bated breath. The new and young North Korean president (said to be below 30 years old and described as “unpredictable”) is bringing the world closer to the “brink”. But come to think of it, even if the young leader is an idiot who may be trigger happy, I cannot believe the other North Korean leaders are also fools like him. To announce to the world that it is preparing to do nuclear attack on a super-power like the US is inviting pre-emptive strikes. Any right thinking man knows that starting a nuclear war that way is one sure way to self-destruct.
MISCALCULATION –My take on this is: He is like his late father whom he succeeded, playing “brinksmanship” for a stronger negotiating playing card against the world. It’s a game, but it can be deadly! The only complication here is: miscalculation! And it can be tragic. This young Korean juvenile may just be playing games. He may fire a dud, harmless missile for its acoustic value at some safe targets. But a launch from North Korea can trigger a quick protective launch from the US and its allies. The dire consequence is unthinkable! Well, this world of ours is always not short of crazy nincompoops! As our favorite line goes: this makes the world go round!
CHINESE AMBASSADOR – Chinese Ambassador Ma, the charming lady diplomat came to Davao and stayed for a few days until the weekend. She met with Mayor Rody Duterte upon her arrival and then had some fellowship with the local Chinese community with some site visits on the side.
I had an interesting chat with her for about an hour at Marco Polo. With her first Mindanao visit, I’m sure Davao City and Mindanao will be in the Ambassador’s (and hopefully Beijing’s) radar screen. I still have to find out if she tried durian while here.
RIPPLES IN SABAH —I am getting reports that while the Sabah “stand-off” has eased, there are still on-going ripples. Our Tausug brothers are still crossing over, not so much anymore because they want to support the claim of the Sultanate of Sulu. They continue to go there to take care of relatives and friends who are texting and sending word of their dire predicament due to the Malaysian crackdown.
If this continues, we may witness a prolonged “on and off” conflict situation there.
MALAYSIA — Of course, Malaysia will not allow this to happen. It has its own draconian laws to protect itself. And we should not begrudge Malaysia for doing whatever it can as a nation to uphold its sovereignty and territorial integrity. It will NOT compromise this especially when the Malaysian voters are about to go to the polls. And Malaysian politicians will of course, have to play to their own gallery.
On the other hand, the Philippines must also stand up for its own sovereign rights and interests of Filipinos. It cannot also just sweep under the rug the Sultanate of Sulu’s claim to Sabah. It has prima facie historical and legal basis. And it cannot just stand idly by as its own citizens suffer some ordeal in the hands of Malaysian authorities applying their own laws. It is also facing an election.
So, when two sovereign rights and interests collide, both countries are expected to uphold their individual interests. But at the same time, they must mutually find ways to wiggle out of the situation. And look for a fair resolution.
That’s what international diplomacy and statecraft are all about.
POWER — Good to know that the government is looking at stop gap measures due to the acute power situation now. Take note that summer months and the dry spell just started, so expect the situation to further worsen when our dams will not have enough water to run our hydro plants.
So, expect the worse is yet to come.
CHEAPER ALTERNATIVE — I just found out there’s a viable new alternative for electric coops to consider. The biomass technology that uses waste (like rice and corn husks, hulls that are just dumped to rot everywhere in agri areas) to generate electricity is the latest. One small plant can give one (1) or two (2) or a bit more megawatt to a locality and it can be quickly installed and operational in less than one year or even after six (6) months. It can augment the shortfall somehow that giant, big power plants cannot fully provide now. We know that those mega plants take four (4) years to build.
‘EMBEDDED” — One advantage of this bio-mass small plant is that it is “embedded” in an area and when crunch time comes with a shortage in the whole grid, the locality where it is built has a “back-up” source of its own. Also, due to the use of wastes, local farmers make money out of their throwaway wastes.
And most importantly, the cost of power is of course considerably cheaper than power from generators fueled by diesel or bunker or coal.
I attended one briefing session in Manila earlier this week and saw how the technology works. There’s a group even, which will finance the cost of the plant.
Call me and I can link you up with them. (Lawyer Jesus G. Dureza was government peace panel chair in the negotiations with the MILF under the Arroyo administration from 2001 to 2003 and was later named Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process (2005 to 2008). He heads Advocacy MindaNOW Foundation, Inc. and is currently the publisher of the Davao City-based Mindanao Times. This piece is from his syndicated column, Advocacy MindaNOW).