OFFLINE: 3 easy, logical choices for BBM

During his campaign for the presidency, critics of Ferdinand ‘Bongbong’ Marcos Jr. accused him of being many things. He never earned a college degree, which put to question either his intelligence or his willingness to put in the hard work necessary to get that diploma.

Former president Rodrigo Duterte even accused him of being a drug user, specifically cocaine, which led to his being called ‘Boy Singhot’ or Boy Sniffer over social media.

So is he a dumb, lazy, drug user?

I don’t think so. He appears to be a senior citizen of average intelligence who wants to nothing more than to correct the negative reputation of the Marcos family in the history books, which is not likely to happen.

He can, however, still do something about his own reputation now that he is the most powerful leader in the land. Some say he cheated his way to the presidency, but this is difficult if not impossible to prove. This is because ‘cheating’ is a relative word.

Did the family spend the hidden billions they are believed to have in order for them to return to Malacanang?

It’s possible, but again it’s also extremely hard to prove.

The best thing for him to do at this point is to show the Filipino people and the rest of the world that he is able to provide the necessary leadership to get the country out of the mess it’s in now.

It has to start with admitting that not all is not well and good and beautiful in the Republic of the Philippines.

He did inherit a ton of very serious problems from his predecessor, Digong Duterte, while he also caused some of the current issues of his administration due to either his action or inaction.

The country’s most important problem is China, and Duterte must bear the full responsibility of how that Asian power is treating the Philippines like a poor relative who has no choice but to follow whatever their President Xi wants.

Recall that it was during the Duterte years that the former Davao mayor ‘pivoted’ the country towards China, and allowed himself to appear like a lapdog of Xi.

China had been intruding into Philippine waters before, but under Duterte they all but took control of the West Philippine Sea.

Marcos says that the Philippines is walking a tightrope between the two superpowers.

I say not so. In wanting to retain the “friendship” of China, he has allowed Chinese fishing boats to intrude into Philippine waters again and again. Worse, they still drive away helpless and unarmed Filipino fishermen from the country’s waters. The latest incident happened just this week.

Marcos must realize that the only way to undo the damage that Duterte did is to pivot back to the US. He must allow US warships to ply Philippine waters as much as they want.

Reason? Chinese vessels steal the fish that rightfully belongs to Filipino fishermen. American vessels do no such thing. All the US wants to do is to flex its muscle, and show China who’s boss.

The nationalists and pseudo-nationalists should keep their traps shut, as they have never offered any truly workable solution to the China problem.

Welcoming the US does not mean that we become subordinate to them. It only means that we are allowing their mighty 7th Fleet to roam our seas, instantly providing protection to our fisherfolk.

This week, the idea of joint PH-US patrols has been brought up.

What harm can it do, really? The answer: nothing. It can do no harm to our sovereign state, but will instead send the signal to Xi that maybe he should rethink his policies, relative to its peaceful neighbors.

The second problem that the Philippines has is also a country. This would be Kuwait, which is again hogging the news because a Kuwaiti who is a minor apparently raped, impregnated, killed, then desecrated the remains of an overseas Filipino worker.

This is not the first time an OFW was brutalized and killed. It’s not even the second time. The country had previously declared a ban on the deployment of workers to Kuwait.

What Marcos should do is to once again enforce that ban, but only on domestic workers.

There is something quite sick about how some Kuwaitis have an apparent disregard for Filipino workers, specifically domestic helpers.

Secretary Toots Ople means well, but her rejecting another ban is a wrong move. Surely as night follows day, some vicious Kuwaiti family will commit more sickening atrocities against Filipino domestic workers somewhere down the road.

What Marcos can do is to order Ople to enforce a ban on the deployment of domestic workers only. The Philippines can still send its laborers, skilled workers, office staff, and storekeepers to the Mideast state.

It’s easy enough to say that the brutalization of female OFWs in the recent past were isolated cases.

My question is, when does it stop? Sue me, but I believe that Kuwaitis in particular do not deserve to have Filipino women working in their private residence as helpers.

The third and last thing that Marcos must do soonest is so obvious that he himself knows the problem, but his pride will not let him take the sensible step.

The country’s agriculture sector is in the worst shape that it’s been in decades. During the Marcos era, Filipino consumers have face shortages or outrageously high prices for a number of commodities.

Begin with rice, then onions, and now eggs. These are all staples necessary in every Filipino kitchen.

Some government officials have pointed out the problem – traders are hoarding the commodities, thereby causing artificial shortages. Once prices have reached their peak, they release their hidden stocks, and voila! They have just earned hundreds of millions of pesos, perhaps billions, among themselves.

Officials know that the commodities are stored in huge warehouses, and in case Marcos is not aware of it, warehouses are huge and therefore not easily hidden.

Marcos said that being president and concurrent Agriculture secretary will result in quick action to solve any agri-related problem that crops up.

Why then hasn’t he corrected the imbalance between supply and demand of essential commodities?

He needs to appoint an Agriculture secretary soonest.

Please do not say that you are new to the job, Mr. President. You’ve been CEO of Philippines, Inc. for seven months now, and you have nothing to show for it.

If the Philippines were indeed a private corporation, I as stockholder would have demanded that an emergency meeting be called to determine if the chief executive is doing his job.

And if he’s not, the next logical step should be obvious, right? In business language gibberish: Before it’s too late, Mr. Marcos should do the needful.