Leaving a Legacy by C. de los Angeles
The answer is Yes. Anyway you look at it we have been under attack for years with China slowly escalating and we have been doing nothing to stop it, in fact our politicians have been unknowingly or willingly supporting our enemy.
Last March 2021, the Philippines protested the presence of more than 200 fishing vessels or Chinese militia ships (depending on who you ask) within the Philippines’ exclusive economic zone at Julian Felipe Reef off Palawan. The Chinese ambassador at the time said they were seeking shelter from bad weather.
Weeks have passed and they are still there, in fact the Armed Forces of the Philippines are uncertain if they have increased because they have spread out over more areas than before.
This prompted on April 3, 2021 for Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana to issue a strongly worded statement,
I am no fool… The weather has been good so far, so they have no other reason to stay thereDefense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana
The Chinese finally showed their real intent and how they have been deceitful in their past communications. After Defense Secretary Lorenzana’s strongly worded statement the Chinese embassy in Manila issued the following statement:
The Niu’e Jiao is part of China’s Nansha Islands. The waters around Niu’e Jiao has been a traditional fishing ground for Chinese fishermen for many years…Chinese Ambassador to Manila, Mr. Huang Xilian
This statement obviously shows they have laid claimed to our territory right before our eyes. Their use of their own names for our land and their claim it has been traditional fishing ground for many years is in support of their claim that it is historically theirs.
The Chinese taking advantage of our predicament with COVID-19 which originated from them shows they have no intention in being a big brother to our Asian neighbors but being our ruler with us all as their slaves.
What went before?
UNCLOS or the United Nations Convention for the Law of the Sea which both China and the Philippines are signatories came into operation and became effective from the 16th November 1982. Significant in this law of the sea is it provides full money rights to nations for a 200-mile zone by their shoreline. The sea and oceanic bed extending this area is regarded to be an Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) and any country can use these waters for its economic utilization.
What’s in a name?
Since the largest sea off China is called the South China Sea they have marked the whole area with what they call the nine dash line. Laying claim to the whole sea is in violation of UNCLOS and at the expense of all the asian countries that boarder the South China Sea or what we now call the West Philippine Sea.
Philippines files a legal protest
Without thinking about execution or enforceability our so called legal luminaries at the time like former Justice Carpio filed and won a ruling in the international arbiter tribunal on 12 July 2016. The decision states that China’s nine dash line has no legal basis and awards the Philippines its EEZ.
However, China quickly builds a fortified military base on one of the reefs with missiles and fighter jets to secure the area while the Philippines could only watch and its so called allies offering no assistance except lip service.
China’s expansionist strategy
Their strategy is to occupy with civilian forces and then build to control. They have successfully done it before and they continue to do it. In the Himalayas with their border dispute with India they have likewise built villages in contested areas knowing that any violence against civilians will be tantamount to war. So they send civilians or militias in to occupy the area while you are helpless to defend unless you counter it with your own.
The recent events off Palawan show China repeating their successful strategy? They have deployed hundreds of fishing boats or militia ships tightly bound together all across the area. They will surround the area and harass anyone entering their areas.
But Chinese expansionist strategy is far more complicated than the use of civilian militia. In the Philippines, we learned under the guise or Trojan Horse of POGOs the Chinese have sent over 3 million citizens the past 4 years with average age of 25 years which is the military age.
Second, entry points such as selected ports are controlled by China as part of their Silk Road Initiative.
Third, the entry of a third telecommunication player, DITTO, which is partly owned by the Chinese and who was allowed by out military to set up cell towers in all of our military bases in exchange for internet and communications. How could we allow the current threat to our country control our military communications?
Fourth, with the China sourced Covid 19 problem our country has been demoralized. It is interesting or suspicious that of all of our asian neighbors we are the most hardly hit by Covid. With the 3 million Chinese in the country, it is possible that they are intentionally spreading the virus. It was well documented that the Chinese had set up their own hospitals to cater to them and they seemed to be immune or not as affected by the virus unlike all of us. Is it possible this is some biological warfare to weaken us so they can annex us?
Fifth, as mentioned earlier, as we suffer from the pandemic, China heartlessly annexed our territory amassing ships in various areas around Palawan.
NATO forces have deployed various submarines in the area with a French and US naval submarines well documented patrolling the seas to ensure safe passage.
For some reason, both the Chinese and US have sent research vessels to the area probably in the guise to monitor each other’s activities.
Chinese vs Philippines Military
Based on the CIA World Factbook, China has an annual military budget of 228 billion dollars while the Philippines only has 3 billion dollars.
The Chinese have an active military force of 2.3 million soldiers compared to 125,000 for the Philippines while the reserve personnel of the Chinese is 8 million and our reserve is only 180,000.
For our land forces, the Philippines has zero tanks compared to 7,760 for China. Even with artillery we only have 323 compared to 9,726.
Our air force is a joke, we only have 219 aircrafts comprised mostly of helicopters and cargo planes. The Philippines only has 12 fighter aircraft compared to China’s 4,182 aircraft of which 1,150 are fighter aircraft.
While our Navy has 129 ships compared to China’s 780 of which 76 are submarines.
Anyway we look at it the odds are against us but does not mean we should just allow them to take over our country.
Vietnam in the past fought back although China retaliated and many Vietnamese were killed. China is more wary of encroaching on Vietnamese areas compared to the Philippines.
In hindsight, before filing with UNCLOS we should have occupied as many of the reefs as possible similar to what we did when we ran aground a ship on one of our reefs as a makeshift base. And built communities in the area to make it harder for us to be removed.
Although it may be late we should still prepare for any eventuality. We need to start thinking and preparing and stop talking.
How can we build defense for our country?
With our obvious limited budget we need to explore new technologies and use our ingenious and creative ways in how we can defend the country and improve our defense.
Who will be with us to protect us?
Identify and communicate with our allies if there are any as well as those with aligned interests like our ASEAN neighbors. There is strength in numbers.
What are our current capabilities in defense?
In World war 2, Winston Churchill utilized even private boats to help evacuate their soldiers. We need to identify all assets whether military or civilian so we know what is at our disposal. We need to activate the reservists and recruit more patriots to be ready in case of any situation.
This is not only militarily but economically. We need to identify essential items the country needs, are we self sufficient or do we need to import? From where do we import? If it’s from China we need to identify alternative sources and start stockpiling.
Worst case evacuation scenario
And should our efforts be too late we need to have an evacuation plan. Identify areas we can fall back to, to easily defend and regroup while we plan our next steps.
Either way the time to act is NOW. We should not lose HOPE. We must stand TALL and like our forefathers before us be willing to TAKE UP ARMS to DEFEND OUR COUNTRY to our very LAST DROP OF OUR BLOOD.