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Hong Kong protests keep the mighty dragon wide awake

October 13, 2019

ROLLY G. REYES

I have mentioned before that Hong Kong was a former British colony and that it was handed back to China in 1997. I was part of the coverage team tasked to record the event for ABS-CBN. There was no trace of apprehension as fireworks were witnessed by the HK citizens in a celebratory mood.

The agreement was the now famous “One Country, One System,” complete with ingredient, including a certain level of autonomy that has a distinct legal system separate from mainland China. It was also agreed upon that freedom of assembly and freedom of speech would be duly protected.

The problem started in April, when city leader Carrie Lam and her Beijing team filed a resolution to allow extradition of HK criminal suspects to mainland China. This was met with a series of protest rallies in various areas.

Lam offered to suspend the resolution, but it was quite late. The protesters continued with their demonstrations in a more vigorous way, marked by violence from both sides. Then the extradition bill was formally withdrawn last September.

I used to sympathize with pro-democracy protesters of HK, seeing them conduct rallies peacefully and even cleaning up their mess in the aftermath. They held their rallies during weekends in pinpointed areas like the Central District or Causeway Bay as an alternative.

But after almost four months, they have resorted to vandalizing public and private properties, disrupting airport traffic and mass transport system, throwing stones at authorities, setting fires and placing fellow civilians in harm’s way. By doing these, they are no different than their perceived oppressors. They are now hurting business opportunities big time. Defiance to relay messages is alright, but a sudden turn to destructive behavior and hooliganism lowers the brand of democracy that they are fighting for.

By this time, the demands and the protesters’ tactics have changed. More violent clashes erupted, with police using tear gas and rubber bullets in increasing frequency. Protesters demand for full democracy and stormed the parliament at one time, destroying some parts of the structure. Rallyists still fear that the extradition treaty could be revived at any given time.

Complications were added when a masked mob, rumored to be members of the Triad, mauled some protesters with clubs. One protester’s eye was injured that gave birth to demonstrators wearing eye patches. Then the “occupy” action of Hong Kong International Airport led to several

canceled flights.

This prompted Beijing to station police and military personnel in Shenzhen to deliver the message that they are ready to respond in any eventualities that may threaten mainland’s sovereignty. More demands were thrown like amnesty to jailed protesters, that protests should not be called “riots,” independent investigation on police brutality and universal suffrage to elect a new legislative council.

As I have said before, Beijing has a lot of aces in her sleeves. To blink in this confrontation is quite very hard to imagine. Other ports are just dying to replace the trouble-ridden Hong Kong, such as Shenzhen, Shanghai and Xiamen. Yes, Hong Kong is about money and even its Taipans will not get sentimental not to move to other areas where their companies can survive and continue minting their gold.

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Some senators suggested to Philippine National Police (PNP) chief Oscar Albayalde to get a good lawyer after they finalize their report. Like a good soldier, he followed their suggestion by coordinating with veteran lawyer Estelito Mendoza in his plan to file charges against his tormentors. Before this move, he lamented that his fellow officers in the service were seemingly “ganging up on him.”

From what I know, Mendoza is a very expensive lawyer and unless he is doing it pro bono, many will begin to wonder how the beleaguered general will pay one of the country’s top lawyers. It will be hard to believe that Attorney Mendoza will do it for a song or for the sake of publicity.

I find it quite unusual his “ganging up” claim. It needs a lot of guts to just “gang up” on a single person with just hearsays to pin him down. I am not very sure that Benjamin Magalong, Aaron Aquino and Rudy Lacadin will surely not take this sitting down. Indeed, he needs a good lawyer to prove his claim.

“Ninja cops” disgraced three things: The credibility of the War on Drugs, PNP and the Philippine Military Academy. Like everyone else, these stealthy corrupt cops should be punished.

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It was reported that feisty Jane Fonda was handcuffed while protesting in front of the US Capitol. She has been a strong advocate of climate change. I am sure that she will be a head-“Turner” for CNN Headline News.

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Update on the Department of the Interior and Local Government’s (DILG) reclamation of public roads:

The good news as per their press releases is that 80 percent complied within the prescribed deadline. The bad news is that 97 city and municipal mayors failed to hurdle the deadline. I expect Presidential spokesman Salvador Panelo to test the traffic in these areas. I expect his paycheck to decrease for being late in reporting for work. Dear mayors: DILG Memorandum 2019-21 is not meant to be a joke. That famous mayor of Davao City is not kidding.

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Good work, good deeds and good faith to all.

Credit belongs to : www.manilatimes.net

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