Now we know

Opinion Sideglance

The continued military posturing demonstrated by China in the South China Sea is a clear manifestation of its desire to not only to maintain its influence over the Asian region but also to express its clear intent of expanding its territory and sovereignty in the area.

Take note of the recent statement made by Chinese President Xi Jinping when he defended his country’s claim over the disputed islands in the South China Sea when he said that  “from the territory left by our ancestors, [we will not] give up even one inch.” Very clearly he was talking about the islands in the South China Sea which they say is their territory by way of historical claim. It can be recalled that The Permanent Court of Arbitration in The Hague, ruling in favor of the Philippines, junked China’s “nine-dash-line” map covering practically the entire South China Sea.

Here is clear evidence in the words of their President that China will not budge down an inch nor reduce in any way their military presence in the disputed islands which they have occupied and are continuing to fortify into military fortresses.

This should be a wakeup call to the Philippines in its continuing development and upgrade of its military, the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP). A step in the positive direction is the recent announcement by the Philippine Navy that they are in the process of buying one or two submarines to augment its present complement of naval vessels and strengthen its naval presence along the maritime borders of the country.

But along with the plan to increase the number of naval vessels and the procurement of submarines the country’s military leadership should also recommend the purchase of modern warplanes which can increase the chances of attaining not only naval superiority but also air superiority.

It is also important to upgrade the military technology currently being utilized by the AFP to bolster overall efforts towards the modernization of the AFP.

Since there are plans by Malacanang to transform the present unitary government into a federal type of government then perhaps plans must also be made to put up regional military forces with adequate and appropriate armed personnel and modern armaments and technology. That way the defense of the archipelago can be a shared responsibility of the regions to be created under the federal government.

Likewise, there must be measures to further enhance and fortify existing military bases in the country as well as increase their number especially in areas where there is a high possibility of intrusion by foreign elements or forces.

With the firm stand of the Chinese President regarding their claims in the South China Sea it would only be logical and practical for the Philippines to arm itself to the teeth to dissuade any military adventurism from the acknowledged military power in Asia. Someone has to stand up to a bully and the country would do well to prepare itself for any eventuality.