By Virginia J. Pasalo


“Yes! There is nothing like neutrality!” is the comment of Fr. Eliseo Mercado on my post of May 16: “We decide everyday how to live our lives, by doing something, or doing nothing, by hating or loving. The choice is ours.”

I countered, “Neutrality is a position of nothing. It is like the “or” in between choices.”

Farah Decano asked, “What about fusion? That grey area between choices. The happy middle?”

Marcelo Estrada remarked, “The worst is making others do the deciding for oneself.”

Mildred Yamzon maintains neutrality is synonymous to fence sitting, while Marilyn Revote Eleno considers it “the lost zone … or the hub zone because you just want to be nice for everyone. With the fusion…you lost your true stand and becomes nothing.”

On my post yesterday of May 24 captioned “Cowardice hides in curses”, I was asked, “This page should be politically neutral?”

The post is about Indonesian President Joko Widodo who was described by MaxDefense Philippines to have travelled in a rusty 34-year old missile-less Soviet-era corvette and went to Natuna Islands whose Exclusive Economic Zone had been encroached upon by the Chinese coast guards and fishing ships. He asserted Indonesia’s right, and the Navy arrested Chinese fishermen illegally fishing in Natuna’s EEZ, and blew their ships to pieces. The article compares the circumstances and the response of Widodo vis-à-vis the positioning of the Philippines on the territories claimed by China, which in President Duterte’s calculation, will lead us to war.

My reply to the “neutral” question was this:

“Thank you for your question, Don GidoFredo DeVera. There are 11 Commissioners at the Pangasinan Historical and Cultural Commission (PHCC). They all have strong opinions and are never neutral. They have their own advocacies. Each Commissioner is given a chance to post in this page, articles that pertain to their specific work and advocacy. Others, like Commissioners Gonzalo Duque and Santiago Villafania prefer to post in their own FB timelines.

My advocacy is to preserve the integrity of our environment and to work for women empowerment. That is the reason why, I sued, together with another woman, Julia Senga, then President Noynoy Aquino and Ramón Paje, then Secretary of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) for the cutting of trees along the Manila North Road (MNR). This time, I cannot be “neutral” about our territorial integrity, which should never be compromised for economic gain. There are diplomatic ways (and more creative ways) to approach our predicament, not necessarily ending in war. Here, I totally disagree with the dire warning and scare tactics of President Rodrigo Duterte, that asserting our right and defending our territories, will inevitably, lead to war with China.

The other issue I am concerned with is his denigration and lack of respect for women. This violates my core as a woman, and I stand with other women in trying to preserve the gains we have so painstakingly worked for over the years. It goes against our cultural fiber and destroys the fabric we have woven to strengthen ourselves.”

No matter how we aim for it, there is no neutrality in real life, because we all respond based on what we know, or think we know, and the values we live by. That, in its core, is a bias.


Go, Go, Sago!

Let’s go, sago!
Jetski to Scarborough!

Let them go, sago!
I have somewhere else to go!

Let them, Bratatatatat
China will not let me go!

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