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Going down China lane (Daily Tribune)

The South China Sea

South China Sea

Malacañang thumbed down the already approved contract with a French firm for some 70 or so Ro-Ro (roll-on-roll-off) projects, claiming that the contract is anomalous, apart from the Palace claim that the Philippines does not need that many Ro-Ros.

Yet there Noynoy and Mar Roxas went, attempting to make a deal with China for the Ro-Ro projects — and in a big way.

Roxas, the Transport secretary, said the Philippine government will be signing a memorandum of understanding “to physically explore the setting up of this South China Sea Ro-Roro but clarified that the signing of the MoU does not mean the two countries will commit investment for the project.

What will be done is to direct the appropriate agencies on both sides in taking steps to set up the rules on Immigration, Customs and other needs related to the transfer of goods, Roxas said, adding that this would be implemented by next year.

He explained that enforcing the agreement is important to the Philippines, since the country does not share a land border with China, unlike other Asean countries and pointed out that Asean countries and China had already forged their maritime transport agreement for “facilitation and cooperation in improving the conditions under which maritime cargo and passenger transport operations are carried out between the ports of the contracting parties.”

Translation: Nothing much is expected to occur under the MoU Roxas talks about,

In the case of the North Rail project, the idea, it was said, is for the Philippine government to have the chance to talk about this project, and how this could be improved and corrected. The North Rail project cost has balooned and the Noynoy administration has branded this North Rail project as anomalous and graft-ridden.

It is however unlikely that China will suddenly bite the Aquino line of the North Rail project being anomalous nor, for that matter, will China be likely to go back to the original North Rail cost — after losing so much — just to please Noynoy and Mar.

But going by Noynoy and Roxas’ moves with regard to approved contracts that they get into and then cancel, it seems that while they reject earlier contracts entered into by the previous government, the Noynoy administration wants to go ahead and forge even bigger contracts for more or less the same projects — but now entered into by them.

This early, it is being speculated that coming in with “new” and “improved” contracts woud be no different from the previous administration’s approved contracts, the difference being that the commissions, kickbacks and overprice will now go to the incumbent administration’s pockets.

It is, after all, the Aquino administration that has claimed over and over again, that the many contracts entered into by the previous administration were riddled with corruption, despite the fact that neither Noynoy nor his boys have bothered to point out just what was anomalous about these contracts, and where the anomaly lies.

All they did was to announce that the contracts have been cancelled, without even as much as discussing these with the foreign contractors.

This happened in the case of the Belgian contractor on the Laguna Lake dredging project, which cancellation was announced by Noynoy during his maiden State of the Nation Address.

In much the same manner, Noynoy simply announced the cancellation of the Ro-Ro contract with a French firm that is now set to sue the Philippine government for not honoring the contract for which investment money had already been poured.

There is doubt that much will be achieved by Noynoy and his boys during the state visit to China. Already, a Chinese daily, which is said to be the voice of the Chinese goevrnment, has said that the sincerity of Noynoy is in doubt with regard to the Spratly’s dispute.

Even more telling is the fact that the $1 billion oil investment that Noynoy and his boys bragged about, was shelved just a day before Noynoy left for China.

Unless the Chinese culture has undergone a dramatic western change, the Chinese are hardly ever blunt. They prefer subdued but deadly signals of their disapproval.


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Freelance writer


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Asian News


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Thủy tinh vỡ: Freelance writer
Age: Bính Thìn
Location: Hồ Chí Minh


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