POSTSCRIPT / July 11, 2004 / Sunday

By FEDERICO D. PASCUAL JR.

Philippine STAR Columnist

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RP has more to gain pulling out from Iraq

SUBIC BAY: By the time you read this, President Arroyo would have decided whether or not to pull out the remnants of the Filipino peacekeeping force in Iraq in compliance with the demand of Iraqi militants holding hostage a driver from Pampanga.

But regardless of the militants’ threat to execute their hostage, President Arroyo should really bring home the Philippine force right away. This will not be in reaction to the militant’s demand but in compliance with the dictates of law and reason.

Between saving a Filipino and pleasing President George W. Bush, the choice is clear. Or should be.

It is high time we distanced ourselves from the American invasion and occupation of Iraq, a co-equal sovereign state and fellow member of the United Nations. Pulling out now will start our disengagement from an illegal and immoral war.

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FAKE PEACEKEEPERS: Ours is a bogus peacekeeping force. Our boys are naked before the world — they were sent on a mission without United Nations cover and without a direct invitation from the sovereign Iraqi government.

We sent a uniformed force only on the say-so of America, not Iraq the host country. We rushed over to show solidarity with President Bush, whose use of war as an instrument of political policy needed a show of flags to deodorize it.

Having cuddled up too close to the Texan at the White House, we cannot be a credible peacekeeper. We do not have the cold neutrality of an objective referee in a conflict.

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U.S. PERFIDY: But we stand to gain a lot if we remain by the side of Bush?

Nonsense! What have we collected since President Arroyo started this political liaison with her White House counterpart? Check the record and compare what Bush has promised the trusting Ms Arroyo and what he actually delivered.

Check also what other countries that have been less naïve and that have not been as friendly to the US have received in their symbiotic relations with the US.

In fact, we can go back in history and rake up the many instances of breach of promise. The dwindling ranks of our veterans who fought without question under the Stars and Stripes during the last Pacific War are a living testimony of that perfidy.

In short, as even this writer can say from personal experience, we cannot trust American officials to make good their promises.

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CIVILIAN VICTIM: It would be a big blow to President Bush — not necessarily to America and to the American people — for President Arroyo to announce that she was pulling out the so-called peacekeeping Philippine force in Iraq.

How will Filipinos — her real constituents — react to something like that? It will depend on how she explains it to us.

A good explanation, we think, is that she wanted to save a Filipino in trouble in a distant and inhospitable land, that faced with a choice between displeasing an American president and saving a Filipino, the choice is clear.

Remember that Angelo dela Cruz, the hostage, is not a soldier. He is not a combatant, but a civilian who just happened to be in Iraq (he is based in Saudi Arabia) in the course of his earning an honest living for his big family back home.

If he were a soldier, say a member of the Philippine peacekeeping force, he would be fully aware and in implied acceptance of the risks attendant to his being on military duty in a war zone.

But Angelo is just a civilian truck driver, a desperate breadwinner pushed to the Middle East by the hard times.

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SUBIC SEMINAR: Btw, we are in this seaport nestled between the bay and the mountains of Bataan to lecture on Newspaper Management in a media seminar on trends and ethics of the profession.

The seminar is organized by the National Press Club and the Center for Culture and Mass Media Foundation.

Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority chairman Felicito Payumo was on hand to welcome the participants and explain what they do in this freeport that now employs double the number of personnel that the US Navy had at the height of the Vietnam war.

The item in the Powerpoint presentation of Payumo that caught our eye was the Subic-Clark corridor that President Arroyo mentioned as one of the 10 priority items in her six-year agenda. Reviewing his performance, we think Payumo is doing a great job, albeit quietly.

The dedicated 30-kilometer highway to link the two former US bases (Subic and Clark) will give landlocked Luzon provinces a quick access to the sea, stimulate development in the region and balance the southward expansion of Metro Manila.

More on this next time.

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HEALTH TIPS: We are not done yet with the serialization of the health tips of Dr. Yasuy Moralla, who is spreading the gospel of healing nature’s way. She frowns on synthetic medicines, surgery and hospitalization.

We ask readers who want to get the complete list of said health tips not to send their email address by cellphone but by emailing their requests to us at fdp333@info.com.ph. We find it complicated sending a long message to a cellphone user.

Here are more Moralla health tips:

* Sign of being healthy: poo-poo and discharges (such as menstruation) should not have any bad (“malansa”) smell.

* Most synthetic drugs are not chilated, i.e. they do not get absorbed by the body 100 percent. A large percentage still accumulates in the kidneys, which is why it’s not good to be dependent on medicine. In this case, one sickness leads to another. Carl Linnaeus said, “To live by medicine is to live horribly.” Hippocrates said, “Thy food shall be thy medicine.” That is why we simply have to eat well to get well.

* Vetsin (MSG or monosodium glutamate) is bad for the health. Though the source of MSG is sugar cane (which is very natural), chemicals have been added while being processed. It contains sulfur and some benzoate that becomes insoluble in the body. In short, they become toxins. That is why MSG also causes bloating.

* Commercial chicken is stuffed with steroids and antibiotics to make them fat and resistant to diseases. Unfortunately, they don’t exactly do the same good thing to those eating them.

* Since fried chicken from fast food joints are breaded, they are fattening. That’s because starch, when cooked with fat, cannot be utilized by the body. It just gets stored in the body.

* Premenstrual syndrome (PMS) is a sign of hormonal fluctuations. Girls who suffer from PMS have a large probability of becoming infertile later in life.

* If meat is rare or medium-rare, the fats will enter the body as grasa or in the liquid form. Small amounts of it can even be used as lubrication for the blood. But if meat is well-done or overcooked, the fats just remain as plaques, which become the arteries’ worst enemies.

* Some meat-processing plants put estrogen patches on cows to make them nice and fat (because we love soft, fat beef). Estrogen makes meat more tender because it puts the meat and the fat into short, alternate layers (so that the meat feels tender and juicy when we bite into it).

* The human digestive system can only digest and absorb food that is broken down into its simplest form. But the higher the temperature and pressure the food is subjected to, the more its chemical structure is altered — therefore, the less digestible it becomes. We love to put meat in pressure cookers and to cook it for 45 minutes or longer, particularly in nilagang baka .

But prolonged cooking of meat makes it less digestible, no matter how soft it may become. The result? It becomes putrified, dead matter in the intestines. They’re just as good as toxins. And since they don’t get digested, they just get “stuck” in the intestines. That’s why we get constipated after eating too much meat.

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(First published in the Philippine STAR of July 11, 2004)

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