BY ALL indications, China has already invaded the Philippines without firing a shot. In a new book “Destined for War” (2017 Edition), author Graham Allison mentioned China’s geo-economic strategy, which harks back to Sun Tzu’s maxim: “Ultimate excellence lies not in winning every battle, but in defeating the enemy without ever fighting.”
Sometime last July 2019, two islands had been the subject of agreements made between Chinese “investors” and the Philippine Government as part of China’s Belt and Road Initiative: Fuga Island (about 10,000 hectares) off Cagayan province, and Grande Island off Subic.
In 2015, 9,114 Alien Employment Permits (AEPs) were issued by the Aquino government to Chinese nationals and more than doubled during the first year of the Duterte administration in 2016 to 18,920. The latest data (2018) shows that Chinese AEPs shot up to 33,516, or more than three times that in the last year of the Aquino administration.
According to UP Prof. Solita Monsod, the Bureau of Immigration (BI) also issues Special Working Permits (SWPs). The data for 2017 and 2018 show that SWPs issued to Chinese nationals almost quadrupled in that period, from 15,500 to 75,400. The BI, it seems, gave out more permits than the DOLE. So, in 2018 alone, almost 110,000 Chinese were given permits to work.
The data refer only to Chinese who have working permits issued by the Department of Labor and Employment (Dole) and the BI. These do not include the alarming number of more than a million illegal Chinese who Duterte refused to deport for fear of displeasing China (PDI-Feb. 25, 2019).
The gradual invasion by China is shown by photographs furnished by a reliable source sometime in February 2018. The photos show China’s transformation of seven reefs claimed by the Philippines into island fortresses. A maritime expert has warned that the relentless military build-up will enable Asia’s economic giant to establish its ultimate supremacy over all rival claimants to the strategic waterway.
Aside from the gradual military conquest, China is using economic instruments to subjugate unwary nations, like foreign aid, trade, and loans which our government has secured but has refused to inform the people of their conditionalities. With these billions of pesos in loans from China, we might ultimately fall into a “debt trap.” This is what analysts call “geo-economics” which China has mastered to achieve hegemony in the Pacific region.
Early in his presidency, President Rodrigo Duterte stated that he might make our country a “province” of China. He was perhaps joking but if we won’t be vigilant, that joke, God forbid, might become a reality.