As Doronila reported: “The Philippines’ second warship acquired from the United States, the BRP Ramon Alcaraz, arrived on Sunday at the former US naval base in Subic Bay amid conflict between Manila and Beijing over ownership of territories in the West Philippine Sea (South China Sea).
“The Philippine government hailed the arrival of the Hamilton-class cutter, a World War II vessel that had been decommissioned by the US Coast Guard, as a step toward beefing up the Philippine Navy’s capability to counter what Foreign Secretary Albert Del Rosario denounced as China’s “massive military buildup in the West Philippine Sea.””
The Philippine Foreign Secretary Albert Del Rosario, speaking at an expert’s conference on maritime security in the Belgian capital last month, said that China’s assertion of ownership of all the West Philippine Sea “could restrict freedom of navigation in sea-lanes critical to global trade.
Indeed, the bully’s “overwhelming naval and maritime presence far beyond its mainland shores” will undeniably raise “regional tensions” in the sea.
To date, the Chinese brigand has committed numerous and multiple incursions of its vessels into shoals and islets “well within the Philippines’ 360-kilometre exclusive economic zone.”
As Doronila pointed out: “Del Rosario castigated China for its “unilateral coercive actions,” saying these seemed an assertion of sovereignty over territories within Beijing’s self-proclaimed “nine-dash-line” map that embraces most of the sea, including waters within the economic exclusion zones of Southeast Asian nations.”
Del Rosario warned that: “The delineation of the nine-dash-line zone “is extremely close to the coasts of other littoral states…”
Further, he stated that: “Arbitrary claims to maritime territory could also be arbitrarily invoked to regulate passage of ships through the large maritime areas the nine-dash line encloses…”
Hence, “on its face, this expansive claim could turn an international body of water into a lake of one nation…”
Undeniably, “in the Brussels conference, the Philippines was lining up support for its arbitration bid in the United Nations seeking a peaceful settlement of conflicting territorial claims in the West Philippine Sea involving China, the Philippines, Brunei, Malaysia, Vietnam and Taiwan.”
I vehemently disagree with the writer that “this diplomatic initiative has so far failed to gain ground” by virtue of the fact that despite the Philippines “which has one of the weakest navies in the region” has consistently stood and fought with China since April of last year.
Though this country is small and militarily weak, we have the guts to stand up against a bullish giant.
In fact, in the region, it is only the Philippines and Vietnam that are brave and vocal to warn their fellow ASEAN members and the world about China’s aggression, bullyism and imperialist/expansionist designs.
Though the territorial conflict has the dangerous tendency to degenerate towards “the brink of gunboat confrontations among China, the United States, Japan, Vietnam and, to a lesser extent, the Philippines, which has one of weakest navies in the region” the latter has chosen the most reasonable and civil way of asserting its sovereignty claims and that is by invoking international law and voluntarily bringing into arbitration process its issues and claims.
Nonetheless, the Philippines, while relying on international law and custom, has also begun to upgrade and modernise its military and navy.
As Doronila reported: “The second Philippine warship, the Ramon Alcaraz, which arrived on Sunday after a two-month voyage from South Carolina, is to join its sister ship, the BRP Gregorio del Pilar, also a decommissioned Hamilton-class cutter acquired by the Philippines from the US Coast Guard in August 2011.
“The two ships will patrol Philippine coastal waters in the face of China’s growing naval power and assertiveness in the West Philippine Sea.”
I commend the Philippines for its desire to develop and upgrade its military and naval defence, but I am also wondering why it is that what they are buying is decommissioned and old ships? What can these obsolete machines do in the face of China’s vast and modern navy?
I agree with the critics that these are mere junk. Why the hell a so-called supposed friend will give a rubbish product to its so-called “old and reliable friend”?
Another pertinent question on my mind is: why always buy from the US? Why not ask and approach Germany, France, UK and even Russia for modern weapons and armoury? We have good trading and diplomatic relations with these countries, why the option is always Uncle Sam?
Does it mean that up to this day, this so-called independent republic is still, in fact a lapdog of US imperialism?
If the Philippines cannot defend its territory and sovereignty without always calling the “help” of “big brother,” then ought we not to admit a brutal and horrendous truth: That we don’t deserve to be a free and independent republic?
My view on the whole matter is simple and clear cut: Down with US and Chinese imperialism!
The US imperialists since day one were here, not because they are our friends, but simply to protect their interest on this part of the world.
Only an idiot of the highest order would say that the US military is a friend of the Filipinos and a creature is a super dunce indeed, to say that the Americans will help us in fighting the bloody Chinese in case of a full-scale war that might erupt on the region!
Let us not forget that those Americans abandoned us during World War II. Practically, it was the Filipinos who fought and struggled against the Japanese Imperial Army.
When those American “brothers” returned, they did not only liberate the country, they also destroyed Manila. Because of that great feat of the Americans, Manila landed on world history “as the second most destroyed city during World War II next to Warsaw”.
The greedy Chinese, realising that Uncle Sam’s star is already waning and knowing for a fact that the Philippines’ military is weak are here to assert their new found global dominance and to “test the waters” repeatedly to the prejudice of the different ASEAN members.
I wonder whether these Chinese freaks had already forgotten their destruction during World War II. Do I have to remind them about their “Rape of Nanking” of 1937 committed barbarically by the Japanese invaders?
To the Chinese military
Both of our countries had suffered during World War II, both of us stood and fought valiantly resisting the invaders; now my question is: why are you trying to do to us and to the other ASEAN members what those Japanese did?
Are you now the new Japan?
For the nth time, may I remind you that the Philippines may be small, weak and its leaders may be stupid, but you must clearly make your distinction!
There is an extreme difference between the Philippine government and the Filipino people! We will fight you not because the government ordered us to do so, but because that is the right and the moral thing to do!
The Filipinos are known all over the world as one of the fiercest warriors! Please don’t dare us, because we will surely fight you — to the death!
You may capture all our cities, invade our seas and even occupy the country, but you can never ever conquer our hearts and souls; you can never ever defeat our minds and character, for we have the guts to struggle until the very end! We will resist you in whatever method and means we can — until the end!
If necessary, you have killed us all in order for you to completely own this land! Yet, be put on notice that we will also try to kill all of you, too — in our own small and “humble” way!
Hence, you have been warned!
The Chinese fleets’ incursion and aggression
I agree with the writer that, “since May last year, Chinese fishing fleets, escorted by gunboats, have entered and left Philippine waters virtually at will. The Inquirer has reported that Chinese ships, after disappearing for a few days early last month, have returned to Panatag Shoal (Scarborough Shoal), a rich fishing ground west of Zambales province and within the Philippines’ exclusive economic zone.
“Three Chinese vessels have also converged on Ayungin Shoal (Second Thomas Shoal) in the Philippines’ part of the Spratly archipelago in the middle of the West Philippine Sea.
“The impunity with which Chinese ships penetrate Philippine waters while mocking claims of Philippine sovereignty over disputed territories has led to the establishment of a de facto Chinese rule of law in the region, a sort of Pax Sinica enforced at the point of the guns of the Chinese Navy.”
The Philippines cannot rely to the US, because the US is a false friend and another opportunist imperial empire.
In the same vein that the Philippines cannot talk with China, because to talk with China under their own terms is for us to lose everything; that includes not only our sovereignty, worst our dignity, respect and sense of shame as a nation and as a people!
We must not surrender either to the US or to China. In my view, both of them are the same!
The Philippines’ must continue to stand up and fight China relying on its own with the help of its true friends and that is ASEAN.
Finally ASEAN unity
As reported by AFP, “ASEAN vows unity on South China Sea”, August 18: “Southeast Asian nations on Wednesday vowed unity in pressing China to accept a binding code of conduct for handling disputes in the South China Sea, the Thai foreign ministry said.
“Competing claims to the sea have for decades stirred tension in the region and the waterway, which is believed to sit atop vast deposits of oil and natural gas, has long been seen as one of Asia’s potential military flashpoints.
“Foreign ministers from the 10-member Association of Southeast Asian Nations agreed “to speak in one voice” while seeking an ‘early conclusion of a code of conduct,’ a foreign ministry spokesman told AFP, without giving a timeframe.”
Further, a spokesman at the said event categorically stated that: “ASEAN will have to speak with one voice and be unified. This does not mean speaking against anyone… ASEAN is united so it’s easy to discuss and talk with it…”
“The code of conduct should have the objective of enhancing confidence between ASEAN and China… and preventing any untoward incidents from taking place in the South China Sea.”
Hence, in my view, these two (the Philippines’ invocation of international law and its ASEAN membership) are the primary weapons of the country in fighting China. Yet, as a realist, I know that they might not be enough; therefore while the Philippines are utilising these areas of struggle they must at the same time develop and upgrade (in the real sense of the word) their military and navy to boost their naval defence.
The Filipinos must first and foremost rely upon themselves!Jose Mario Dolor De Vega
College of Arts and Letters
Polytechnic University of the Philippines
- China says Philippines stirring trouble by asking US for help (chinadailymail.com)
- [Blog] The Philippines must continue standing up against China with the help of International Law and the ASEAN by Jose Mario De Vega (hronlineph.com)
- Asean adopts one voice on China issues (manilastandardtoday.com)
- âUnited Asean will try to convince China on sea code of conductâ (globalnation.inquirer.net)
- Del Rosario pushes talks on sea issue with China (manilastandardtoday.com)
- Deal with China? Winner takes all (opinion.inquirer.net)
- PH, US begin talks on bases access (rappler.com)
- PH, US set talks on deployment of troops (mst.ph)
- PH, US start talks on bases access Wednesday (rappler.com)
- PH to China: Be a ‘responsible nation’ (rappler.com)
- Dark Dates in Chinese and Philippine Histories (opinion.inquirer.net)