People Power-A A +A
Thursday, January 24, 2013
ABOUT time our government did it. I refer to the complaint that the Department of Foreign Affairs filed with the United Nations Arbitration Tribunal against China because of the latter's brazen attempt to incorporate a part of our Philippine territory. After the series of failed note verbales and attempts at a one-on-one dialogue with Chinese officials, the next logical step was indeed to elevate the issue up to the family of nations via international arbitration.
About time we citizens of the Philippines did out part, too. I expect the Chinese to thumb their noses at Ambassador Alberto del Rosario and his Department's request for arbitration, if that document does not carry with it the full, open and vigorous support of Filipinos. If there is one thing the Chinese people respect more than a mere show of military or diplomatic might, it is a show of a strong, united and agitated public opinion.
I still remember the shouts of recrimination and the rallies in Hong Kong and in Mainland China when former policeman Rolando Mendoza shot, killed and injured several Chinese tourists within the Quirino Grandstand area August 23 of 2010. Those angry and insulting words and mass actions directed against us as a people and as a nation affected us deeply. They gouged at our psyche most painfully. We could not apologize enough to the Chinese people. That is what a mass action does.
Now recall the attack made by a Chinese upon Filipino businessman Emmanuel Madrigal and his daughter Regina Mia in 2005. Their tragic death in the hands of a scythe-wielding Chinese at the Tiananmen Square was totally unnecessary and uncalled for. There was no motive or reason for it. Yet, because we Filipinos did not react with strong words and with rallies the way the Chinese did when Rolando Mendoza just as senselessly murdered their countrymen at the Quirino Grandstand, because we were satisfied merely with a note verbale delivered to their Embassy in Manila, what happened did not even merit front-page news in China. We were snubbed and were taken for granted. And because of our inaction as a people, we deserved it.
What China is doing to us now is a million times more insulting than if they killed one or more of us senselessly again. They have thumbed their noses at us and have unilaterally grabbed huge portions of territory that we claim as ours. And they're doing it because they know that we do not possess the military might to stand up to their own show of force. And they have no respect for our note verbales.
But we have something even they respect.
In support of the action taken by our government, elevating the territorial conflict issue to international arbitration, we citizens must make our voices heard and make the noise that China will listen to and will respect. We call on all citizens and citizen organizations to come out with messages and resolutions expressing our unity with the government in asking the U.N. Arbitration Tribunal to review and interpret the provisions of the U.N. Convention of the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS), of which both the Philippines and China are signatories, and settle the issue which has rankled the sensibilities of both countries once and for all.
As a nation let us direct a clear message to China in the language which they, like us, understand and respect,
Published in the Sun.Star Bacolod newspaper on January 25, 2013.