What if China claims Palawan is theirs?-A A +A
By Max Sangil
Wednesday, September 19, 2012
I CONDUCTED a joint committee meeting of the business development and subsidiaries’ affiliate management committees last Monday at the boardroom of the Fort Bonifacio Development Authority with my fellow director Elmar Gomez, and we discussed asset disposition of properties considered “crown jewels” that would raise billions of pesos for government.
Seated beside me was another director, my best friend in the Bases Conversion and Development Authority (BCDA), Ferdinand “Toto” Golez, former flag officer in command of the Philippine Navy. I asked him how much a complete weapon outfitted ship will cost. Toto, with his winning smile that curled to the farthest corners of his mouth, said $2 billion! Wow! Double wow!
Elmar heard our conversation and he whispered to me that what we can raise from the sale of a 33-hectare property may only be good in buying one modern fighter jet. I turned to Toto and asked further, “How can we fight the intruders?” His answer was a Mona Lisa smile: “We should not have renamed South China Sea to West Philippine Sea.”
More than a week ago, American warship vessels docked at the Alava pier of the Subic Bay Freeport. Olongapo City Mayor James Gordon in a press statement said “more American presence in Subic is welcome. They are our closest ally. We have an underutilized seaport and airport. We have a problem with China. It's high time for the US to return after 20 years. Our economy will benefit and we will have regional security.”
I hope that public affairs programs of popular radio stations in Metro Manila will conduct a poll, and ask: Do you wish the United States Navy to maintain presence at the Subic Freeport while we are at odds with China over the Spratly Group of Islands? To you readers, what do you think?
As far as people of communities around the former Clark Air Force Base are concerned, I for one wouldn't favor the return of the Americans. As it is now, the former US military installation is now a successful freeport. With almost 500 locators and with more than 60,000 workers as against the 22,000 employees when the Americans left in 1991, many will oppose the return of the GIs.
The increase in the military strength of China and its feud with neighboring countries over disputed territories has given goose bumps to strategists of the Pentagon, and we can expect the increase of military presence of the American military in our region to counter whatever move the China government is planning. This is geographical politics, but we are very much affected. Our future is at stake. What if China suddenly says it owns Palawan?
In the forthcoming elections in May next year, our voters should carefully choose who they are going to vote for senators. For me, I will vote those who will be truly opposition in order to create a balance in the Senate, the likes of Migs Zubiri and Mitos Magsaysay. In the impeachment trial of Chief Justice Renato Corona, it showed how a Senate acts when it is marching to the roll of the drums of the Palace. Where can you find an august body where the minority floor leader is allied with the majority and with the administration? Only in the Philippines.
With the kind of congressmen we have in the country who will sign a very important document without reading it in exchange of early release of pork barrel funds -- a slice of which lines their pockets – voters in May need further enlightening. God save this country with these kinds of politicians.
Published in the Sun.Star Pampanga newspaper on September 20, 2012.