Home Tags Rafael M. Alunan III

Tag: Rafael M. Alunan III

Hong Kong’s long march

Hong Kong has captivated the world these past 15 weeks, awed by the tenacity of its citizens to live free and stay free. But this has forced the dragon, which we had hoped would evolve peacefully into a responsible global citizen and stabilizing force for good, to carefully weigh its options. Today, we liberally quote two respected thinkers — Alexander Neill and Shyam Saran — who have written of the risks that lie ahead. Mr. Neill is the IISS Shangri-La Dialogue Senior Fellow for Asia-Pacific security, while Mr. Saran is a former Foreign Minister of India.

Heroism beckons

After three years, we need to undo, trash, and reset relations with China. Trust, sincerity, mutuality and reciprocity must define it. There’s a clear observable pattern of imperial abuse and coercion by China reported in media.

Divided by land, connected by sea

I just returned the other day from a trip to India on the invitation of Johnny Chotrani, Chair of the Philippine-India Business Council (PIBC) of which I’m a member. We met with the ASEAN-India Business Council (AIBC), the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce Inc. (FICCI), and the Chamber of Indian Industry (CII). The trip had a dual purpose: it included matters pertaining to the Philippine Council for Foreign Relations (PCFR), which I chair, and where Johnny’s a member. I met with Philippihne Ambassador to India Dondon Bagatsing, our Defense Attaché and officials of India’s Ministry of External Affairs (MFA).


Reliable sources have disclosed that Operation “Awakening the Believers” was rolled out globally in early July. Simultaneous attacks were launched in Syria, Libya, Mozambique, Somalia, Tunisia, Afghanistan, Egypt, and Iraq. Islamic State Southeast Asia (ISEA) will allegedly follow suit with multiple coordinated attacks in the Philippines, Thailand, and Indonesia. The attacks will reportedly come in waves, first from July to September, then another wave till the end of the year. High value targets such as churches, hotels, malls, public transport, and other heavily populated areas are reportedly in their sights.

How much do we know about 21st century warfare?

For today’s column, I abridged an article entitled “A New Generation of Unrestricted Warfare” by David Barno and Nora Bensahel. Lt. General David W. Barno, USA (Ret.) is a Distinguished Practitioner in Residence, and Dr. Nora Bensahel is a Distinguished Scholar in Residence, at the School of International Service at American University. Both also serve as non-resident Senior Fellows at the Atlantic Council.

ISIS on the comeback trail

On June 28, news filtered in from Indanan, Sulu that two suicide bombers had penetrated the headquarters of the Army’s 1st Brigade Combat Team. As of the latest reports, eight people were killed (the two bombers, three soldiers, and three civilians); while 22 were wounded (12 soldiers and 10 civilians). The Islamic State East Asia Province (ISEAP) allegedly claimed responsibility for the attack.

The Chinese Maritime Militia

I’m directing this column to our national and local leaders whose duty is to defend the country, protect the people, and secure our natural resources. There’s a need to adapt mindsets to a deteriorating security situation in the South China Sea -- fueled by China’s spurious claims of “indisputable sovereignty” over this vital body of water -- by thinking, speaking, and acting as one united leadership to confront the external and internal threats to our national security.

Moving in the right direction

I’ve noted three positive directions being taken by President Rodrigo Duterte and his administration that points to legacy and a lighter load for the next administration.

Observations and telltale signs

A week after the e-lections, citizens are questioning its integrity. Just like before, we hear cries of “dagdag-bawas,” be it manual or electronic. But who has the smoking gun? Only telltale signs, so far, that aren’t admissible in court. It’s a given that some won hands down on their own merit and those who fell short of the mark. What we don’t know is the exact count, whether some winners are really losers and if some losers actually won.

Arroyo to endorse Alunan

Speaker Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo said she is set to endorse former interior secretary Rafael M. Alunan III in Pampanga on Wednesday.

Brexit, Bremain, Bruckyou, Bremorse

While researching on the subject matter to understand the motivations behind it, I came across this piece from the Daily Pnut. Below is the abridged version of this amusing analysis.

Special Forces combat mission teaches 11 brilliant lessons in leadership

Writer Jeff Haden spoke to a number of Special Forces operators about perseverance, developing the right mindset, and how the only limits we really have are self-imposed -- adaptability, attitude, mental toughness -- and that in life there’s no finish line. One of them, Herbert Thompson, a Special Forces (Green Beret) team leader shared a story of a combat mission he undertook replete with leadership lessons.

Is there a silver lining to the gloom and doom?

Filipinos are being destabilized by all kinds of risks -- political, safety and security, economic and external. It’s not that we’re new to it but we’ve never been through all that’s happening at the same time in rising intensity, real or imagined. What am I referring to? Hang on to your seats as I run through my list.

We’re stuck in a time and mind warp

As a direct witness to history spanning 48 years since my graduation from college, I can say that we haven’t learned from history’s valuable lessons.

Defense buildup

As far back as 1991, I was vocal about investing in our defense should the government decide to let go of the US bases on account of a provision in the 1987 Constitution mandating “no foreign troops on Philippine soil.” Up to that point the US was our defense shield, and if we were to give it up then we would have to be responsible for the country’s defense.


WHEN government and society come together to address a national problem, the “whole-of-nation” principle is at work. It epitomizes national unity, solidarity, and teamwork. This is what Rotary Club of Manila’s (RCM) “One Rotary, One Philippines, One for Marawi” attempts to do — harnessing private sector companies and civic groups to partner with government agencies to address humanitarian assistance needs of people impacted by armed conflict and natural disasters.

Kwentas klaras

Am I for Federalism? My answer is a qualified yes if it meets certain preconditions. No partisan color here, just a citizen’s assessment of what is best for the country given our present circumstances from over half a century of observation and experience.

One more bucket list item accomplished

Ten years ago, my family took our first ever cruise to celebrate three milestones: my 38th wedding anniversary, 60th birthday and my youngest daughter’s 28th birthday. We chose Alaska via Vancouver (first time for all of us) and, on our return spent a week in Whistler, a skier’s destination, before returning home. Not sure now if we flew PAL or Cathay Pacific, but our cruise line was Royal Caribbean.

Marawi one year ago and after

Tomorrow, May 23, is the first anniversary of the Marawi siege. The battle began when Islamic State loyalists, the Maute group, supported by terrorists...

Economic ‘invasion’ — boon and bane?

In its May 4 report, Bloomberg news revealed that in Metro Manila’s main financial district and its fringes, signs of new inhabitants are everywhere. “Around...

Transforming our political culture and mind-set

The political season is upon us. This May we will hold our barangay and SK elections. Next May, the mid-term elections will be for...

What do we do?

For those who know the drill, disaster response consists of a series of deliberately taken steps -- awareness, mitigation, preparation, response, management, relief-rehabilitation, and...

Security concerns

Last week, I was drawn to various conferences that swirled around unending security issues. I’ll share some of the more important ones and try...


Just exactly do we mean when we talk about dynasties? Far from what we read in myths and legends, and see in the movies,...

The unfinished revolution

So here we are, 32 years later after those four fateful days in February 1986 that began as a revolt and then morphed into...

TRAIN ride or wreck?

On Dec. 19, 2017, President Duterte signed the Tax Reformation for Acceleration and Inclusion (TRAIN) bill into law, branded as the first tax reform...

Our EEZ is 360 degrees

Scarborough Shoal (also known as Bajo de Masinloc, Panatag, Panacot), Benham Rise (now Philippine Rise) and the Celebes Sea have been making the news...

The exceptional Mayo Lopez

“Epiphany” has taken on a new meaning for me. Previously, it was about the 3 Kings or 3 wise men who went to see...

Year of the Earth Dog

Happy New Year! It only seemed like yesterday when we were greeting 2017. Where did time go? Why does it feel like we’re on...

Understanding independent foreign policy

Last week, I was invited by the AFP’s Office of Strategic Studies and Strategy Management, the National Defense College of the Philippines and the...

Cost and Benefits of hosting ASEAN 50

Every Filipino, as a citizen of Southeast Asia, is foreseen to benefit from ASEAN 2017, from each of the following six thematic priorities under...

How is ASEAN Integration coming along?

The Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) was founded on Aug. 8, 1967 by Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore and Thailand. Since then, its...

One Rotary, One Philippines, One for Marawi

In early July, Jackie Rodriguez joined me on a fact-finding mission for the Rotary Club of Manila (RCM) to determine the humanitarian assistance gaps...

How I see it

In 1972 I gave martial law a chance to prove itself. The first 2-3 years were peaceful and orderly that gave hopes to a promising...

What Shakespeare can tell CEOs about leadership in disruptive times

I found this article that’s worth sharing, authored by David G. Pumphrey, a partner emeritus of Heidrick & Struggles’ CEO & Board Practice and...