PH losing ‘war’ due to DFA’s wimpy response

TOUGH TALK  Sen. Teofisto Guingona 3rd (left) listens as former senator Leticia Ramos-Shahani shares her views on the West Philippine Sea issue during a Senate hearing last Thursday. CONTRIBUTED PHOTO

Sen. Teofisto Guingona 3rd (left) listens as former senator Leticia Ramos-Shahani shares her views on the West Philippine Sea issue during a Senate hearing last Thursday. CONTRIBUTED PHOTO

FORMER senator Leticia Ramos-Shahani criticized Manila’s wimpy response to China’s aggressive acts in disputed areas in the West Philippine Sea, saying the country seems “to be losing the psychological aspect of war.”

Ramos-Shahani, a former United Nations official and a seasoned diplomat before turning to politics in 1987, made the statement in Thursday’s Senate hearing.

“We seem to be losing the psychological aspect of war, as if Filipinos are wimps compared to the Chinese, as if Filipinos are cowards compared to the Chinese. Because we don’t say anything,” she said.

Shahani said the worsening threat posed by the Chinese should not be ignored and should be addressed “beyond diplomacy”.

“All we do is paper protest – a paper protest that is just ignored. We are not even ashamed of that, we seem to accept it as part of diplomatic practice. This is why we should go beyond diplomatic protocol,” she said.

Ramos-Shahani said local governments should now be involved in the West Philippine Sea issue as it has already directly affected the livelihood of people especially those living in coastal communities in the country’s western regions.

“It’s no longer an issue of foreign affairs. This is also domestic affairs. This is an issue where the vital interest of poor fishermen coincide with the most stylish diplomat we have in the Philippine foreign service,” she said.

“I know Masinloc, I don’t know Scarborough Shoal. That’s the English term. But Masinloc is what’s known to our children in Zambales, Bataan, Lingayen. Let’s bring the issue back to the people,” she said.

In the same public hearing, Harry Roque Jr., an international law professor, said that China’s reclamation activities in the West Philippine Sea do not really have any substantial effect under international law.

He also accused the Armed Forces of just creating unnecessary public hysteria.

Roque, director of the University of the Philippines Law Center Institute of International Legal Studies, said that what China is doing is really to seek to annex the disputed territories. He said China’s actions are not different from Israel’s building of a wall within the Palestinian territories which has an effect of a de facto occupation.

Roque said regardless of how big the island China is building in the disputed territory, the area continues to be disputed.

“In fact, even if they build an artificial island the size of mainland China, (by) itself it cannot result in a title,” Roque noted.

This is because the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) doesn’t recognize low-tide elevation islands just like the ones being reclaimed by China.

“Moreover because China has been reclaiming these islands by way of conquest, by use of military force, they will never mature in to a valid title for China,” he added.


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  1. Roldan Guerrero on

    This administration is headed by a STUPID president.His Cabinet, technocrats, his LP allies and KKKs are mostly incompetent and embezzlers. What do you think will happen? BSA does not deserve Pnoy as name…He should be called PIGNOY. Binaboy nya ang sambayanang Pilipinas at mga mamamayan!

  2. Robert Feliciano on

    Roque’s use of the wall erected by Israel is inappropriate for this comparison. Israel erected the wall to provide a defensive barrier to help protect its citizens from attacks by Arab terrorists and suicide bombers. China’s reclamation in the West Philippine Sea is much less based on defensive considerations. A more appropriate example would be China’s occupation and annexation of Tibet which has been far longer and more brutal.

  3. Vicente Penetrante on

    I have just commented on Gabonton’s above column regarding China’s aggressive acts in the West PH Sea. I would like to repeat: Let us do our own land-fill of the areas by dumping all our garbage, including the rotting Canadian garbage at the port. We may be able to elicit a response from China and the whole world.

  4. I thought I heard enough from the dumb and dumber gang of del Rosario gazmin and catapang then along comes harry roque and shahani spewing worse inanities that will only aggravate the China tension. Equally moronic are statements of roque that even if China reclaims land “as big” as it’s mainland (absurd!)and even if China claims such lands by “conquest” it cannot have “title” to the area. Who cares about “titles” when China will just assert its ownership by military occupation.

  5. The problem here is President B.S.Aquino administration,it is a coward administration full of fear,fear,fear.

  6. sonny dela cruz on

    Mr. Harry Roque jr. is missing the point regarding the reclaimation issue of the islets in the west Philippine sea area. It is not the title for the reclaimed islets to be acquired by the Chinese. It is the military installation or basing of their military armaments, maybe a missile sites and when their missile is fired against the Philippines it will not take hours to hit the their target and we have no defense against it. This is no longer a knowledge of international law as Mr. Roque is an expert but the question of what we have to do now. One thing I have in mind is propaganda campaign of Democracy to the Chinese people in the mainland Communist China. The Philippines should set up a very strong radio signal that can penetrate the airwaves of the mainland China and Hongkong. I have been trying to propagate my song that I did and successfully went through inside China but never heard of what happen next. The song its about democracy and the title of my song is “I’m Coming to China Gate” This is what we have to do a propaganda war against China.

    • Roldan Guerrero on

      Filipinos are fond of word wars. Most talk so much and just like that nothing happens afterall. Since WW1 and worst in WW2, the Phils. had been dependent on foreign ally protection specially America. Within the Asian Region it is only the Phils. that cant protect itself from foreign intruders. Sabah is now considered a part of Malaysia since we are not confident of winning a war against Malaysia who even support terrorist groups to create civil war in our own territory. Look at Viet Nam, this is the only country that defeated America in war, a very small, poor and helpless nation but its citizens love their country so much. How can there be peace and progress in a country whose citizens are killing each other? How can we rise if our own government officials embezzle and plunder every goverment resources available? This country cant even purchase a reliable and new weather forecasting devices yet funds are just used to bribe lawmakers to oust a political enemy?The problem is Filipinos love their country just in word but never by deeds.

  7. Ma’am Shahani dapat nandyan yung Commander in Chief sa conference nyo at mula Nung kinuha ng china ang atin Scarborough Shoal sa pagitan ng back Chanel ni Sen Trillanes ay never Nya na convene ang NSC.