China at the Spratlys 2

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By Ver F. Pacete

As I See It

Thursday, March 27, 2014


THERE could have been some kind of horse trading between China and the Philippines. Mark Valencia, an expert on South China said, “Probably for higher political purposes, the Philippines agreed to these joint surveys that include parts of its legal continental shelf that China and Vietnam don’t even claim.

We know that our country is militarily weak and lagging economically but it did not sound good that the previous administrations opened not only our doors but all the windows for China. After we have capitulated, China offered a wonderful loan of $2 billion until 2010 for government projects. The government of China is not dumb. It was doing it as if anticipating a favor from a new found ally. We all witnessed the overflowing projects from China (only 4 percent interest until 2010): Northrail, Southrail, NBN ZTE deal, and a dozen other China-funded projects.

In 2007 alone, Juan de la Cruz (under PGMA Administration) signed 33 new projects for financing by China Export-Import Bank. Jun Lozada, the infamous whistleblower, made a sworn-statement that there were government officials closest to PGMA who benefited at least 20 percent of the minimum kickback. We still remember that from 2005 up to 2010, those in the government who are the anointed ones received at least $400 million a year from $2 billion releases from China.

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All of these have been chronicled by my friend, Jarius Bondoc, in his “Investigative Reporting on Clean Government.” We (all of us) will pay the loans for many years. Those who received the kickback harvested multimillions. China has the documents (joint exploration) which they are using as cover for poaching in Philippine waters. We allowed the Chinese to do what is best for them. The authority came from the government that lasted until 2010. Now, can we blame the Chinese if they are in Spratlys?

Under the PNoy Administration, we ask help from our neighbors because we are bullied by China. Did our neighbors help us? Ricky Carandang knows that the answer is “No.” Ricky wrote an article, “Treason,” wherein he classified that our country has overlapping claims on the Spratlys with China, Taiwan, Vietnam Malaysia, Indonesia and Brunei. We all know together with our neighbors that our “Kalayaan” has huge oil reserves of oil and natural gas.

All the past chief executives of our country have all stood firm against Chinese incursions in the “Kalayaan” area that we believe is ours. It was only Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo who signed a covenant with China for joint seismic studies and oil and gas exploration. Can you blame our neighbor countries if they condemned what our government did? Sen. Franklin Drilon (who at that time was a PGMA ally) knew about it all the time.

If we read the mind of Jarius Bondoc, we can ask this question, “Why Arroyo would sign a deal that potentially undermines regional stability, possibly grants China parity sights to oil reserves in the Spratlys that we claim as ours, and likely violates our Constitution? “The Spratly deal was an explicit precondition to the $2 billion loan (development assistance).

China loan is attractive with low interest rate, and repayment term is so lenient. And, (this is important) China Loan does not have the cumbersome requirements that the loans from the US, Japan, the EU, and other big multilateral lenders have. If we have a deal like this, there is no doubt the devils of hell could be witnesses. Graft and corruption is expected to bloom and bear fruits.

Could we now justify why we are bullied by the Chinese? Do we have now the answer why our neighbors do not have heartfelt sympathy for us? Do we have the reason why Uncle Sam is not that ready to stop the Chinese sea shell gathering activity in our Spratlys? The previous administration pampered China and now that the Chinese are here, the PNoy administration cannot just kick the head of the Dragon.

We want Uncle Sam to bring back the US bases here. That could be possible but we all know that Uncle Sam will demand a big favor from us at our expense. The next Eagle nest could be in Mindanao, in the Morobangsa Region. Later, Uncle Sam may want to deal with the Moro Islamic Liberation Front, not with the President anymore. We know how Uncle Sam plays his cards. American can play economics with China and they will buy the world. The Philippines can have surplus materials. This is just a hypothesis. Do you like the deal? (Thanks Jarius!).

Published in the Sun.Star Bacolod newspaper on March 27, 2014.

Opinion

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