Velez: Collisions


ONCE there was a mayor who burned the Singapore flag in protest of the hanging of an OFW in that country way back in 1995. This was his way of joining the people’s anger on how the government failed to defend her case, a murder case which was not handled well in court and she was executed by hanging.

When asked about the consequence of his action, he said he could not care less. A suspension from office. A demand for an apology or retraction of his action. He did not care. For one life he was willing to stake his career.

I kind of miss that guy who now sits in Malacañang, and is missing that fire when a Chinese vessel intruded into the Recto Bank and rammed a fishing boat that nearly drowned 22 of our fishermen.

The president’s remark on this was to call it “a little maritime accident” with just “a small boat”, which doesn’t need us to create tension or go to war.

Even if a protest is already raised to China, the president’s response is tamed compared to his fiery words on other nations. He threatened war on Canada over the unclaimed garbage in our ports. He cursed at the American president for their atrocities in the Filipino-American War.

The Malacañang spokesperson explained why the president’s stance is like this is because he is “cautious” and “mature” in handling this issue.

But aren’t mature men be able to stand on their ground when they felt they are being stepped on?

Aren’t they able to assert that legally, the West Philippine Sea (South China Sea) is ours? We won this case in the Hague tribunal during the Noynoy Aquino presidency.

The least we can expect from government is a strong statement demanding an apology from China for such accident and leaving the fishermen awash on the sea.

As the independent bloc Bayan Muna points out, it seems the government is doing the defense of China rather than for the fisherfolk.

Perhaps, Malacañang is saying the caution is due to the fact that China is their trade and investment partner, and China’s geopolitics, where its marines and ships occupy 85 percent of WPS, is a power that the government can’t collide on.

But by avoiding that kind of collision, the government is risking more. Just listen to the stories of fishermen in the past few years, they felt the sea is no longer ours. There’s no navy nor president to wave the flag to protect us.


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