For quite some time now, I have kept my silence on the West Philippine Sea (WPS) dispute. It’s not that I have lost interest or have have adopted a defeatist perspective but it’s just that I am too infoxiated by it. Apparently, any issue, no matter how relevant, loses its “bite” when one is inundated by it. At first, I thought I can train my mind and body to endure processing 200-300 news feeds for a few hours everyday. I did. However, after a couple of months, the topic lost its flavor and I sank into a writing stupor.
However, thanks to a red Congressman, it is at an end.
As I was driving to work, as always, my radio was on. It was on the AM. By happenstance, I caught two Congressmen(?) having a go at each other’s throats. The argument was about the West Philippine Sea / South China Sea Dispute. At first, I dismissed it as a run-of-the-mill discussion about the advantages and disadvantages of having US bases here in the Philippines. But it went further, the topic side-stepped to 2016 elections politicking, UNCLOS, arbitration, AEDC, ADIZ, Japan, USA, Erap, and China.
At this point, I tasted vomit at the back of my mouth. And as I write this, I can not shake it out.
Out of all the hullabaloo, this is what I gathered from Congressman A:
- Push for bilateral talks with China. He insists that there is no other way. We can’t win militarily, diplomatically, economically, and legally;
- Slam US-PH Agreement on Enhanced Defense Cooperation (AEDC). He says that it will just invite more trouble for the Philippines. He adds that the, SCS/WPS dispute is isolated to the US and China;
- Respect China’s Historical rights on the WPS;
- Set aside the UNCLOS because it can’t do anything for us; and
- Due to Erap’s so-called success in handling the Hong Kong row, recommend the former-President-now-Manila-Mayor to represent the Philippines in the China-PH bilateral talks.
Mr. Congressman, what the Hell? Have you lost your marbles? How much? How much are they paying you to take up the cudgels for them? Haven’t you read any article on the SCS/WPS Issue?
Open your eyes Mr. Congressman. China will not follow any agreement it signs in to. Look at the UNCLOS. Look at what they did in the Paracel Islands. Look at what they are doing to Ayungin Shoal, Spratlys, Bajo de Masinloc, and the BRP Sierra Madre! Look at what they are doing to our fishermen! Look!!! These are but a few examples of how they treat International agreements that they sign into. Open your eyes. If they can not follow the conventions of the United Nations, how can you expect that to honor one-on-one agreements? They are acting in bad faith. Open your eyes!
It’s very simple Mr. Congressman, the UNCLOS expunges all historical and traditional claims to the seas. All countries who are party to the convention know this simple fact. But why, oh why do you still insist that this is a factor in the settlement of the SCS/WPS Dispute? Or rather, is this why you want to set aside the UNCLOS? No UNCLOS, no rules? Is that it?
Another, what’s wrong with US-PH Agreement on Enhanced Defense Cooperation (AEDC)? Admittedly, we are a small and weak nation. We don’t have the population and logistics to protect our territories. Obviously, we can’t fight on our own. We need help against China. As opposed to your arguments, we are not inviting military conflict or war. We are just trying to get leverage against the Red Bully in our seas. We need a deterrent force to counter balance China.
Fine, the US is an imperialist hegemonistic state, but what the hell? To protect our way of life, we must choose between them. And I choose the lesser evil. I choose the hegemon that does not encroach on our territories. I choose the hegemon that let us be. I choose the hegemon that does not exploit our resources.
But for argument’s sake, if we reject Uncle Sam’s help, what do you recommend? Instead of getting US help, are you telling us to just sell the Philippines piece by piece? Install a puppet government? What? If not, are you willing to fight in the mountains? Will you lay down your life for your country?
I don’t think so.
Finally, the impact of Erap’s participation in the Hong Kong diplomatic row is still debatable. And really, you’re campaigning this early?
History is a very cruel and unforgiving mistress. It frowns upon the cowardly, the stupid, the mediocre, and the traitors. Look at the Nacionalistas of World War II Philippines. Benigno Ramos, its founder, was a well intentioned man who sought reforms in the American-run Philippines. He extended social and political awareness to all Filipinos. However, due to his frustration and obvious hatred of his former boss, President Manuel L. Quezon, he collaborated with the Japanese. From that point-on, the Nacionalista party and propaganda group, transformed into the MAKAPILI or the “Makabayang Katipunan ng mga Pilipino,” the most feared and hated division of the Japanese Imperial Army.
Potential traitors and collaborators beware.