• Could the PH be a David against the Chinese Goliath?


    CHINA is a bully in the contested West Philippine Sea. Could it be tamed by a small country like the Philippines?

    China’s massive reclamation work in the WPS it justifies as an exercise of sovereignty shows that it’s obeying only what it considers its national interest and no friends can stop it, especially a puny country like the Philippines. What was that joke again that if all Chinese would pee at the same time, the Philippines would be flooded?

    Understandably, the Armed Forces of the Philippines believes this reclamation work constitutes a “clear and present danger” in the WPS, as China could restrict passage thru the contested waters once it completes its reclamation project. (President BS Aquino The Last doesn’t see the situation as that critical for he has refused to convene the National Security Council to tackle this powder keg of an issue.)
    This fear was heightened last week when China’s Coast Guard used water cannons to drive away Filipino fishermen from the area.

    Friendship was far from the mind of one Chinese leader who had the gall to ask the Philippines “to educate its fishermen about Chinese territory.” In the past, numerous Chinese fishermen were caught poaching in Philippine waters and our officials never said anything as insulting as this.

    Lt. Gen. Antonio Sotelo (ret.), former AFP vice chief of staff, says that the Philippines should stop preparing the Navy and Air Force for conventional war by procuring weapons like warplanes, warships and radars.

    “We may multiply the ships, planes and radars by tens and we will not even dent the balance of power with China. By any measure, we can’t match China’s in conventional fire power. We should be more practical rather than be carried away in pursuit of a macho image,” he said.
    How then should the Philippines face the bullying tactics of China?
    “Follow the example set by Vietnam,” Sotelo proposes.

    China and Vietnam have overlapping claims in the Paracels and Vietnam is not backing off. Here’s how Vietnam is addressing the conflict with China, according to Sotelo, whose defection from Marcos was the turning point in EDSA 1.

    “Without fanfare, Vietnam is developing its armed forces based on submarines and small boats. In contrast, we are developing our defense capability based on surface ships, fighter planes and radars,” he noted.
    He sees the wisdom and logic in Vietnam’s military scheme.

    “Submarines could be deployed undetected in ambush positions across the vast expanse of the sea, thereby sowing apprehension to the adversary. Small boats could sward the enemy, fire missiles or torpedoes, then withdraw to their sanctuary. Surely, they are vulnerable but one of the many may get through to its target,” he explained.

    He cited examples in history where the weak won over the strong by employing unconventional warfare.

    “The Bible tells us how shepherd David killed the warrior Goliath with a sling shot. In recent history, there was Vietnam winning against the United States. Today, Al Qaeda is fighting the United States without a navy, air force or a standing party. One thing we must remember is that the sophistication of the strong is its own vulnerability,” Sotelo said.

    He favors the granting of basing facilities to the forces of Philippine allies who have interests in the area and who are capable of standing up to China’s growing naval capability. I don’t think this is feasible, as it needs an amendment of the Constitution. There are many, however, who are saying the Philippines now needs American and Japanese assistance and are regretting that the Philippine Senate terminated the bases treaty with the US.

    I hope our military strategists and defense officials would seriously consider his proposals, except that of providing basing facilities for foreign troops.

    Oh yes, he added that aside from its proven effectiveness against stronger opponents, unconventional warfare also entails smaller expense. When I heard this addendum, I began to entertain doubts that his proposal would ever see the light of day. Our AFP modernization program almost always entails the purchase of the more expensive weapons, ships, radars and planes. And more often than not, they’re not only overpriced but also virtually useless in actual combat.



    Please follow our commenting guidelines.


    1. it’s not david against goliath. it’s should be called morons (we) against smarts (China).

    2. Best action to do is shut up swallow pride , fortify defenses on islands we occupy and start our own reclaimation or start a fight with China and end up losing Palawan instead , and another reminder our AFP is incompetent and
      Led by stand down generals who look like PIGs .

    3. Two or 3 squadrons of modern PT boats, equipped with exocet missiles will give the Chinese navy to think about. Or install a string of exocet missile bases along our shorelines from north to south facing West Philippine Sea. We wont need more ships by doing this. It has a range enough to protect our economic zones. I saw on TV the other day that the government has an unspent fund of around 3 billion pesos. Perhaps we can utilize this for this project.

    4. Oh I almost forgot. We can also purchase thousands of “Mines” – these are cheap and can be used as “Area Denial’ for Chinese surface as well as underwater ships.

      Wala silang magawa diyan. Hindi sila makapasok, hindi rin sila makalabas. Mapipilitan silang tumira sa atin. Once they do, we can invoke teh Mutual Defense Treaty with USA. If the US does not come to our aid, they will “Lose Face”.

      This is what the Israelites have done. They even get paid for doing so !!!
      Tie the Americans to us so near that an attack on us is considered an attack on the US in the eyes of the American populace.

    5. Submarines are more expensive to buy & maintain than ordinary surface ships.
      But it is the way forward.
      Swarms of ships. Robotized ships are also good.
      Blimps are also good for recon.
      We should also launch our own defense/science/business satellites using European/Japanese or even Chinese rockets !
      Coastal radars can also be used for both Weather & Military purposes.
      All of these should be handled by the brightest minds in our military and scientific community. We should not leave it to the “tangengots” in our country.

    6. The only way is to return to the negotiating table with China. Even many years before not only China have been fishing on our territories, I’ve been into diving tourism and we normally encounter them even at the innermost Philippine seas. If nobody have interests into these submerged coral reefs and left it to our country’s disposal, who would `benefit? Us, ordinary Filipinos? China has been with us even before the Spaniards, etc., Most of those who fought for our independence are from Chinese ancestry, somehow most of us understands their cultures and traditions. I am not anti-American but not Anti-Chinese as well. Revisit these Nation’s history and decide for yourselves.

    7. Modern and expensive armaments do not always guarantee victory or dominance. With all its faults and failings our universe is still a moral universe which in the West Philippine sea issue means that might is not necessarily right but being right can be might. Let’s rediscover the lifestyle and techniques of India’s Mahatma Gandhi and his followers. Their non-violent protest brought the superpower of the Era to its knees. The Pilipino’s 1987 People Power revolt galvanized the people into standing up for what is right and brought major changes to the state of affairs. I can see our fishing communities
      standing up to the bullying and rape of the marine life and spawning islands and reefs by China through her reclamation projects. What our fishermen and ecowarriors can do is mount a sea borne version of people power. In the Central Philippine this ancient sea ritual is called Biraybiray. Usually this is done to honor Patron Saints in a fluvial procession. This can be done big time with the BantayDagat knights in the lead. All kinds of sea going vessels are tied up together: launches, pump boats, banc as, bandongs, etc. in all kinds of teams and formations to effect a blockade and show of protest. The bigger and more powerful boats will pull the smaller ones.Done properly it can become a massive citizens “navy” that will shake the conscience of the world and showcase the Pilipino’s Bayanihan spirit that has helped the nation overcome all kinds of adversities since ancient time. The ancient Greeks have done it. The Allies also did this at Dunkirk. Our Muslim warriors have also done this to the Spanish conquestadores by skillfully harnessing their vintas before modern navies were ever built. Of course if non-violent means fail, the way to fight a superior adversary is always through unconventional warfare. In this mode the Pilipino warriors don’t need outside mentors. After all the natives fought the conquestador, the then world power for more than 300 years.

    8. Vicente Penetrante on

      We admire Vietnam because she got guts. We only have tongues. Let us use them to spit at China.

    9. Stop dreaming of stopping China with our puny military and economic capability David killed goliath only because God ordained it to be so and perhaps if we pray hard enough we will get divine inspiration on what to do. There are some suggestions here that I find ridiculous like preparing our youth for war by diverting their attention from too much entertainment and another suggestion that we stop importing products made in China, what are they talking about! I suggest the path of bilateral talks where we humbly sue for appeasement what else can we realistically do anyway. It’s just the way things are our country is a small and poor country currently led by a dolt who can’t even think better than the likes of catapang and del Rosario who talk as if they can frighten China with their bravado while at the same time rousing everyone to join their condemnation of china. It’s so pathetic that the rest of asean have just ignored their calls, we cannot risk losing our trade relations with China they all say. It’s again a case of a dumb and dumber situation for our government officials I sorry to say. God have mercy on us.

    10. I think there are 3 immediate lines of action to prepare the Philippines- a. closely monitor the procurement of new and unconventional weapons to avoid corruption b. educate our youth to be prepared to fight in case of war (revive ROTC and create a program for girls); eliminate too much focus on entertainment and fads while pretending that everything is okay.
      c. enforce laws on trade, labor, etc. with fairness. Once and for all, let’s show our love for our country. (Sometimes, I’m inclined to think that maybe we have to face an actual war in order to unite our people and pursue for what God had intended this country to be.)

    11. To defeat China is to beat them in their own game…economy. What we need is to stop importing from China. We need to produce products that they export to other countries. Our balance of trade with China is pathetic. It’s in favor of China for many years.