Drama at Tubbataha-A A +A
Thursday, January 24, 2013
FOR your eyes only. I am not referring to a 1981 James Bond movie wherein Roger Moore and Carole Bouquet made an underwater excursion to find out what was at the bottom of the ocean. Could it be possible that the USS Guardian, a US Navy minesweeper, would be running aground off Tubbataha Reef?
It may sound believable. This is 2013 and America is using the latest state-of-the-art technology and its minesweeper ended up just like a frog in a hole. The story could have been made less fantastical, and more realistic. Well, the story does not end here. We expect more versions coupled with hydraulic leaking actions, just like the Bond film. Everything here could be amazingly flexible depending on the script and choreography.
Why is the USS Guardian here? Have we forgotten that we asked for help from Uncle Sam? PNoy was bringing Chinese bullying in the Spratlys in all corners of his international meetings. Uncle Sam is a poker player. At first, he did not react. He is waiting for the right cards and the right opportunity. The Tubbataha Reef could be the right setting to unfold a performance that is pitch perfect and emerge as having a signature role to achieve box office success.
Our government will file damage claims against the United States. This could be a corny statement that even the reservoir dogs will not agree. Secretary Joseph Emilio Abaya, on behalf of the Filipinos and his Transportation and Communications Department, is very emphatic about the damage claim. May I remind Sec. Abaya, where was the Philippine government when F/V Hoi Wan was chased by our park rangers patrolling at Tubbataha Reefs in 2006? On board were 30 Chinese and in the cargo hold were 800 live fish, 300 of which happened to be rare Napoleon wrasses.
The Napoleon wrasse is a protected fauna under the Convention on International Trade of Endangered Species. Nothing much was done about that incident. There were also other poaching ships... F/V Tai Sha, F/V King KingHai, Quang Mei (Vietnam). This is a painful joke because in the intercession of the embassies, the sovereign Republic of the Philippines invariably ordered their release in the name of diplomatic ties. Chinese and Vietnamese poachers will continue to infect the Tubbataha Reef, a UNESCO World Heritage Site and heirloom of our country. It's no longer funny!
By the ephemeral nature of human existence and by our closeness to Uncle Sam, this damage claim will suffer a natural death and will have its escape.
Uncle Sam is a businessman. He will request Lara Croft to do a three-dimensional underwater exploration to find out how big the oil deposit is down there. Soon, investors will join Uncle Sam and that will include China and Japan. The Filipinos will welcome this as an economic opportunity with comic ineptitude. More investors will do business because it's more fun in the Philippines. What is in there would be more of an underwater festival. Uncle Sam will continue to be there as guardian of the world's treasure... as the number one supporter of UNESCO.
For our vigilant environmentalists wearing full metal jackets, that could be the end of the watch for the dark shadows. The conquest siege ends with zero dark thirty.
Published in the Sun.Star Bacolod newspaper on January 25, 2013.