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US-bound finally

January 27, 2020 - Monday 4:01 AM by Jimmy Laking

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My gut feel is that President Duterte is going to Las Vegas finally this March to attend the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN)-U.S. summit.

Also invited by U.S. President Donald Trump are the various heads of states of the ASEAN who are certain to make it.

This will essentially be more than a meeting of allies. As head of a state that is a member of the ASEAN, President Duterte’s presence will be crucial and will add more prestige and color to this regional grouping and to whatever positions or pronouncements it would take or make. How they would love to have him.

And how certainly would Trump love to have him.

Unlike the others, the Philippines’ relations with the United States of America goes back more than a hundred years.

Both fought common enemies during WWII and during the Korean War. The Philippines also sent a contingent of troops to Saigon at the height of the Vietnam War.

Both countries are linked by a mutual defense treaty signed in Washington in 1951. The accord mandated that both nations would support each other if either the Philippines or the United States of America were to be attacked by an enemy. It was not exactly an ideal set-up but at least the territory of the Philippines remained intact.

For decades, the United States maintained a military base in Clark and a navy base in Subic. It was not until 1991 that the Philippine Senate voted to end the RP-US treaty. But it was the eruption of Mt. Pinatubo in June 1991 that induced US planes and its warships and submarines to vacate Clark and Subic, respectively.

Then-Senator Agapito Aquino described the decision to end the treaty as the “dawn of our nation’s birth.” I am at a loss to decipher this considering that in the years to come, the Philippines was virtually left defenseless against China’s systematic take-over of the West Philippine Sea. Anyways, this is water under the bridge.

Talk about timing, this is just about the best time for President Duterte to be in Las Vegas when spring is in full swing.  The temperature will be just about right.

Homesickness will not be an issue. Greater Los Angeles alone has a population of over 600,000 Filipinos, considered the largest Filipino community in the United States where 3,166,327  Filipinos are earning their keep or have settled permanently.

So if there is a place to reach out to Filipino communities in the U.S., Los Angeles would be most appropriate.

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The Merriam-Webster dictionary has cited coronavirus as among the defining words for the past week.

It defined coronavirus as “any of a family (Coronaviridae) of single-stranded RNA viruses that have a lipid envelope studded with club-shaped projects causative agents of MERS and SARS.”

It added that the word was coined in 1968, by a group of virologists writing in the journal Nature; they noted that virus had an appearance similar to that of a solar corona or a “usually colored circle often seen around and close to a luminous body such as the sun or the moon.”

What is to be done?  It quoted Marnie Hunter of CNN as saying: “Much is still unknown about the Wuhan coronavirus outbreak and health officials are urging vigilance. That means travelers crisscrossing the globe should be aware of the virus, steer clear of heavily impacted areas and exercise some of the same kinds of preventive measures they’d use to avoid influenza and other illnesses.”

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