It is no longer a standoff, we are now officially overwhelmed
THE apparent “utak pulbura” and pro-American mindset of President Benigno Simeon Aquino III are partly to be blamed for our precarious situation in Panatag Reef where two of our ships are being overwhelmed by the presence of 14 People’s Republic of China maritime vessels.
Had Aquino did not partly militarized the whole thing and tried to involve the United States in our territorial dispute against China over some jutting rocks in the West Philippine Sea things could have been very different and we won’t be in our current predicament.
Due to the “utak pulbura” mind-set, the impulse to showcase our newly acquired hand me down high endurance cutter BRP Gregorio Del Pilar became irresistible. Aquino apparently tried to bluff the China into standing down by sending our lone 1960’s era ship to Panatag Reef to apprehend illegal Chinese fishermen. Unfortunately the Chinese called Aquino’s bluff which was proven later to be pure bluster. So now the Chinese have 14 ships in the area compared to only rickety two of ours.
Imagine sending in a military unit to do a policeman’s job (the Philippine Coast Guard). What the tenant of Malacañang did is over kill. It is pure bravado (yabang) and akin to sending in the marines to arrest petty thieves in the backyard.
Aquino’s pro-American mindset was proven to be a liability and was substantiated when the U.S. refused to side with us in our territorial dispute against China or even just condemn the occupation of our territory. It proved once again the maxim that there are no friends in international relations, only interest.
As it is right now, the United States, which has a larger economic interest in China than with us, firmly refused to be drawn to our quarrel with China while the Association of Southeast Asian Nations has remained ominously quiet. Like an orphan we are all alone. So what is to be done then?
Since we cannot win a war against China there are several options that I humbly suggest the government undertake:
* Bring the Panatag Reef issue to the International Court of Justice as soon as possible;
* Immediately start formulating a foreign policy based on a new pro-Filipino paradigm. This would not only bring out self confidence and independence but the respect of neighboring countries;
* Start an industrialization program to make our country a reliable manufacturing state;
* Redirect the Armed Forces of the Philippines from its counter-insurgency orientation to one solely dedicated to defending our nation’s sovereignty from foreign aggression;
* Strengthen the Philippine Navy and Air Force;
* Establish closer relationship with ASEAN member nations and forge military alliances with them if possible, and
* Most importantly rally the people support our just claims over Panatag Reef and to defend our sovereignty not only in the West Philippine Sea but in other areas as well.
These are just some of what the government can do now. It is a start. May God be with us all in these trying times.
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