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Former President Fidel V. Ramos dished out yesterday more “constructive suggestions” or what he called friendly “USA” (Unsolicited Advice) to President Duterte in their common aspiration to move the Philippine Team forward faster.
In his Sunday column at the Manila Bulletin entitled “P. Duterte and Malacañang need to learn more,” the former President said he was amazed but even more “appalled by the continuing innuendoes, gaffes, disinformation, etc. being dished out by PDuterte.”
Ramos said that although these may be unintentional, they create among Duterte’s audiences confusion, disorientation, unbelief, and even loss of credibility. “But let’s give him (Duterte) the benefit of the doubt in the meantime,” he said.
Ramos scored the President’s vast Malacañang staff and “highly educated Cabinet” for their loose handling of, or carelessness with facts, figures, and historical events, and for not briefing President Duterte on a timely basis.
He cited as an example Duterte’s tirade during the recent Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation Leaders’ Summit held in Lima, Peru on the bullying that the Philippines had to endure from the West and how the Philippines had to send troops to Iraq, Vietnam, and South Korea at different times.
“Definitely, the Philippines was not bullied neither dragged to join the West in foreign wars,” Ramos said.
He pointed out that at the outbreak of the Korean War in June 1950, many members of the Armed Forces of the Philippines volunteered to carry out the mandate of Congress and Commander-in-Chief (President Elpidio Quirino during that time) to “help defend freedom and democracy” in the Korean peninsula.
“Thus, many AFP veterans of the Korean War feel trivialized and stung by P.DU30’s words – as if we were mercenaries and not loyal Filipino soldiers. We were, in fact, Filipino soldiers also fighting for freedom and democracy for our homeland against Hukbalahap communists,” he stressed.
Ramos added that the dispatch of military assistance to Korea distinguished the Philippines as the first Asian country to respond to a United Nations Security Council resolution passed on June 27, 1950 asking UN members to join what was wrongly called a “police action” in Korea.
He said the Philippines decided to send troops to the Korean peninsula despite the fact that contributing a significant part of our Armed Forces was inopportune at that time, the Philippines being just a four-year-old republic and still recovering from World War 2.
To formalize Philippine assistance to the UN war effort, legislators enacted Republic Act 573 or the “Philippine Military Aid to the United Nations Act” on September 7, 1950. Thus, the Philippine Expeditionary Force to Korea or PEFTOK was formed. The 10th Battalion Combat Team was selected as the initial PEFTOK contingent. Its totals strength was 64 officers and 1,303 enlisted men.
They were sent off quite enthusiastically at the Rizal Memorial Stadium in Manila on September 2, 1950 by some 60,000 exuberant people who had converged in the send-off rites.
Quirino stressed the historical significance of the Philippines’ participation in the Korean conflict by saying that the battalion’s warriors “would be the first to carry the Philippine flag abroad in the war for freedom.”
“In our participation in the Korean War, AFP volunteers fought under the authority of Philippine Congress, the Philippine President/Commander-in-Chief, and their commanding officers – all Filipinos,” Ramos emphasized.
The hardships, setbacks, and valorous deeds of our BCTs are recorded in various history books, including the “Official History of the Korean war” by the Republic of Korea Ministry of National Defense. (Isabel C. De Leon)