Thursday, June 20, 2019

Tell it to SunStar: Disrespecting with impunity

WITH the military might of China well entrenched in the West Philippine Sea, the Chinese arrogance and aggressiveness towards our country has never been as opprobrious as it is today.

It seems that China’s unimpeded stay in the disputed waters has given the occupants the entitlement to do what it pleases it, even to the extent of violating and disrespecting the rights of a poor and disadvantaged country like the Philippines.

But we can only take so much of the despotic attitude of China’s leadership, thus, it is only appropriate that President Rodrigo Duterte be commended for standing up against China at the time when his strong leadership is urgently needed.

This, after the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) has reported that a surge of Chinese vessels has been circling Pag-asa Island since January 2019.

Accordingly, this corroborates an earlier report by the Washington-based Asia Maritime Transparency Initiative that China deployed Chinese militia to the vicinity of said island after the Philippines began building a beaching ramp for large navy cargo ships for easier unloading of construction materials for the repairs of military facilities like the Rancudo Airfield and even the building of a safe harbor which is a project of the local government.

Pag-asa Island is a 37-hectare island, the largest of the Kalayaan Island Group territories claimed by the Philippines and is part of the municipality of Palawan. According to the 2015 census, it has a population of 184 people. Aside from an airstrip, it has a commercial communications tower, power generators, a five-bed lying-in clinic and a small elementary school.

There is no doubt that the commanding presence of Chinese flotilla in the area is not only to monitor what is being done in the island, but its show of intimidating force is simply sending an explicit message and warning that it is the Filipinos that are the intruders in what is now their exclusive maritime territory according to their own historical facts, which for all intents and purposes have been debunked by The Hague tribunal.

Each one of the militia vessels seems to echo the mantra of unjustified ownership that “what is ours is ours and what is yours is ours too”!

This abusive and despotic behavior certainly does not sit well with Filipinos as China’s action not only violates our country’s sovereignty, but most of all it disrespects with impunity human value and decency.

Thankfully, it has finally dawned on President Duterte that even his deportment as being non-confrontational towards China in the WPS is being taken advantage of and, thus, it is inspiring to know that the President is reacting the way many people want him to do, including those in the opposition, by strongly pushing back at the Chinese machination in Pag-asa Island.

It is good to receive investment help from China to finance Duterte’s economic Build, Build, Build agenda, which could be the start of an infrastructure boom in the Philippines, but it is quite the contrary when the dignity of the Filipino, as a race, is being debased and disrespected with impunity in his own turf.


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