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Some are smarter than others

(Ed: With the author’s apologies to Ricardo Manapat’s book with the same title but with the appendage “the history of Marcos’ crony capitalism’).

Man Smart, Woman Smarter. Eugene Torre was a 22-year-old mophead when he became the first Filipino chess grandmaster at the 1974 World Chess Olympiad in Nice, France, on 27 June 1976.

Fast-forward to today: 40 years later, Janelle Mae Frayna became the first Filipina chess grandmaster. Braulio Tansinsin wrote that Janelle’s older brother taught her the basics of chess; so she became a national master at age 11, woman international master at age 18, and woman grandmaster this year at age 20. Janelle Frayna is a cum laude candidate in BS Psychology at FEU.

That’s right, the woman is, uhh, ¯smarter, that’s right…that’s right! — Harry Belafonte.

U-Turn for Miss Universe? A rumble that seeks to tumble Tourism Secretary Wanda Corazon Teshiba Tulfo-Teo’s flagship plans to host the 2017 Miss Universe pageant in the Philippines is percolating. Former Philippine Tourism Secretaries Narzalina Lim, Vince Carlos, and Gemma Cruz Araneta, (the last of whom was herself our Miss International) are of one mind that hosting Miss Universe 2016 is at the wrong time and will send the wrong signals.

Thanks, But No Thanks. The Chinese patriotic newspaper Global Times editorializes that to reciprocate the gesture of PDu30 in not raising the UN arbitral tribunal’s decision, China should allow Filipinos to fish at Scarborough Shoal. But former Ambassador Rodolfo Arizala declines the bait and points to UNCLOS, international law,  and jurists, stating that nobody owns the fish at sea until they are caught.

The following is expurgated from Arizala’s learned treatise: “Under UNCLOS, we may enter into fishery agreement because it does not involve ‘acquisition’ or ‘loss’ of territory (maritime or land) but merely demarcating or designating maritime zones wherein both countries could use as common fishing grounds or for ‘sea-use rights over maritime zones.’ No sovereign ownership is involved.

“Furthermore, 1). The Law of the Sea is clear: although the right to fish may be exclusive, the fish are not ‘owned’ by the coastal State. Rather, the coastal State has a right to fish but the fish remain un-owned until caught.2). Coastal States have no enforcement jurisdiction on the high seas nor is there enforcement jurisdiction against warships…

“Thus China cannot grant what it does not own. The Arbitral Award is clear on this: that Scarborough is traditional fishing ground for various nationalities including Filipinos, who have the right to fish there under International Law.”

Climate Change. Thanks to Yolanda, which made the Philippines the poster boy of the effects of climate change, then President Benigno Aquino shared center stage with UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon and the host French President Francois Hollande at the final conference of the COP21, the United Nations conference on Climate Change in Paris last December, 2015.

Fast-forward to today: PDu30 intimated some sort of climate change when in an exuberant mood he declared during his state visit in Beijing an alliance of PH with China and Russia against all the others. The dramatic announcement was a surprise to both China and Russia and pretty much to the rest of the Philippines.

On the “end of US relations” and “joining Russia-China axis,” the gadfly Senator Ralph Recto reminds that in the game that nations play, foreign policy rebalancing should not mean swinging the pendulum to the other extreme. (“You need not unfriend someone to befriend another. Any drastic shift in our foreign policy should be well-thought-out” because we cannot fly now, pay later.) As to our joining Russia and China in a new axis, he concluded, “let us fix our traffic first before we insert ourselves in the power games of nuclear states…”

Which reminds us that that the other theater where PDu30 can make visible and measureable impact is in solving or alleviating metropolitan traffic. His anointed traffic czar, DOTr Secretary Arthur Tugade, needs help to clear the bar at the Commission on Appointments and to get emergency powers. (Tugade was class valedictorian and PDu30’s initial choice for trade secretary before he was tasked with the Gordian Knot Challenge As Secretary Of Transport.)

Apres Vous… If the visit to Russia materializes in the immediate future, PDu30 may find his kindred spirit in Vladimir Putin whose mere mention of name instills discipline in motorists and jaywalkers in Moscow. An article “Better Traffic Manners Where an Iron Fist Rules” circulating on Internet tells of how after the heady vodka days of former President Boris Yeltsin, a more orderly and civil traffic returned to Moscow. Thanks to Putin, technology, a beautified city, and the teaching of good manners and right conduct down to the level of school children.

Our man in London? Despite of our change of plans, the Court of St. Jame’s proceeded with Protocol’s calendar for H.M. Queen Elizabeth II to receive on 12 October 2016 the credentials of our Ambassador-designate Evan Garcia. He was accompanied by the Philippine Embassy delegation including his spouse, Ambassador Jocelyn Garcia (who took leave from her duties as DFA assistant secretary for internal audit services). All ASEAN envoys were invited to a reception which followed. In another time and place, the Philippine Commission on Appointments confirmed on 19 October the designation of Ambassador Antonio Manuel Lagdameo as the Philippine envoy to the United Kingdom and Northern Ireland. Evan Garcia, a second generation career diplomat, may yet rate in the Guinness Book of Records to have the shortest stint as his country’s envoy to a sovereign country.

Feedback: joseabetozaide@gail.com