The target of China’s expansion work at the West Philippine Sea (South China Sea) is the Scarborough Shoal, according to former Parañaque City (Metro Manila) Rep. Roilo Golez.
Golez, also a former national security adviser, said China is eyeing Scarborough (Panatag) Shoal because it will complete the “strategic triangle” it wants to establish in the West Philippine Sea.
“Scarborough Shoal is like a dagger aimed at the heartland of the Philippines – it’s very close to our defense and military hardware in Subic [Zambales], Calabarzon and Metro Manila,” he added.
Calabarzon groups the provinces of Cavite, Laguna, Batangas, Rizal and Quezon.
Former Defense Secretary Orlando Mercado said integration of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations and the Asean’s unified stand on the issue will further complicate the sea dispute.
“A shared sovereignty approach may be the way to go. We know it’s not going to be an easy process. Asean must break existing trade-offs in governance with new decision-making models and mechanisms. I think what Asean needs is some disruptive innovation, some people should disrupt Asean more and make it come to realities of the day,” he said at the recent ADR Institute of National Security forum.
Retired rear admiral Vicente Agdamag of the National Security Council said the country will have to increase its military spending in order to protect the country’s waters.
“To secure the West Philippine Sea, we’re proposing a minimum defense expenditure for five years, or P70 billion for five years, for the capability to move, shoot and communicate.
For credible defense, we’re proposing P91 billion for the next 10 years,” Agdamag added.