The view of Magdalo representative Gary Alejano last Friday that the statement made by President Rodrigo Duterte claiming that China is “already in possession “ of the West Philippine Sea (WPS) is a message of surrender needs clarification.
First of all the President merely stated a fact that China several years back already began expanding its influence in the WPS and had begun occupying disputed reefs, atolls and other islets in the Spratly islands. This is already established and is known to the world. So when Digong said that China is already in possession of the WPS he is simply stating the truth.
To be honest about it President Duterte may have actually been challenging his colleagues in the Association of South East Asian Nations who participated in the 33rd ASEAN Summit and Related Summits last Thursday in Singapore, to wake up and become united against the expansionist threat posed by China. Obviously the President was also trying to warn fellow neighbors in the ASEAN that now is not the time to conduct war games or war exercises in the WPS considering the possibility of “friction” which might force China to respond.
Digong was simply being practical about the present situation in the WPS. While the Philippines will always insist in its sovereignty over its territories the reality is our Armed Forces of the Philippines is still building up its military might to effectively deter and repulse any aggressive foreign outside threat and so the President is just buying time for the AFP so that it can modernize its capabilities and resources.
Right now the best thing for the ASEAN members to do is to solidify their position with respect to the WPS and conduct dialogues with the claimant nations in order to encourage them to ease the tension by going to the table for discussion.
There is no denying the fact that China is now the big bully in the WPS and while it is seen as a helping hand for some poor and developing countries by offering financial resources and economic assistance, it can also be viewed as a nation advancing mightily its plan to expand its borders.
The President knows how puny we are militarily when compared with China and he knows that for now the only way to deter the latter’s aggressive actions in the WPS is through diplomacy, until of course such time that we can either harness enough allies with enough or more than the military might of China and thus be able to discourage further advances in the WPS by the latter, or in an extreme scenario the Philippines is able to raise and modernize its military to the extent that it can aggressively and effectively protect its borders and even capable of retaliatory action when the need arises.
But right now the President can only hope that somehow his diplomatic tact is capable of subduing even for a moment the aggressive intentions of China in the WPS.
Agresibong itataguyod ng League of Municipalities (LMP) sa pamumuno ni dating Kongresista, ngayo’y LMPAbra president JB Bernos, na...