• We’ve won a monumental UN victory, so what?

    15

    THE important thing about the West Philippine Sea (South China Sea), as far as day-to-day life for Filipinos is concerned, is that our fishermen may continue to do what they and their ancestors have been doing since time immemorial—fish in the waters of the West Philippine Sea. Both because of that, and the affirmation of Philippine sovereignty over those waters, which are inside the UN definitions of what belongs in our EEZ (exclusive economic zone), we rejoice that the UN Permanent Court of Arbitration decided in our favor on Tuesday.

    The international court nullified China’s nine-dash-line claim as a legal basis for maritime rights under the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS). It said no feature—reef, rock and whatever—within the Spratly Islands chain is an island entitled to a 200-nautical-mile exclusive economic zone (EEZ). Because of this, the EEZ extending from our country’s shore gives us de facto jurisdiction over most of the waters in the Spratly Islands not covered by the territorial seas of other countries.

    It is against China’s (1) nine-dash line that covers practically the entire South China, including some of our territorial waters and the features inside them, and (2) reclamation and building of structures on our islets and reefs that the Philippine case at the UN was lodged. China has, however, rejected as null and void the UN ruling even. As early as when the Philippines was filing the case, China had declared that it did not accept the UN Court’s jurisdiction and would not abide by its decision. China did not participate in the UN tribunal’s hearings, despite its being a signatory to the UNCLOS, the United Nations covenant that is supposed to govern member-states’ adherence to the laws of the sea. Taiwan, too, which claims to be the real and legitimate China as the Republic of China, has declared that it does not accept the tribunal’s ruling and will not abide by its decision.

    Even Itu Aba, which Taiwan holds and calls Taiping Island, was ruled to be only a rock entitled, therefore, to only a 12-nautical-mile territorial sea.

    This means that no matter how monumental our victory in the UN Permanent Court of Arbitration, this does not amount to anything as far as the woes of Filipino fishermen are concerned. Our fishermen will still be harassed by Chinese in large and armed Chinese fishing vessels escorted by the Chinese Navy; these will continue to drive our Filipino fishermen away from fishing waters that are our sovereign territory. And Chinese expeditions will still come and destroy our corals in the process of stealing our rare and marine treasures.

    This is what will happen because the officials, Coast Guard, Navy and people of Communist Party-ruled People’s Republic of China intransigently insist that our sovereign territorial waters belong to them.

    Instead of us driving away Chinese fishing parties from our sovereign territory, they and the navy of the People’s Republic of China will drive away and fire water cannons and maybe machine guns on our fishermen, so that Chinese fisherman can have their way.

    They have done this before. The complaints of our fishermen who are losing their livelihood and source of food for their families will go unrelieved—because we are a poor and small country that cannot match the wealth and armed might of nuclear power China.

    The best that we can do, in the view of some who would not mind having China control the Philippines and make us its slavish running dog and milking cow at the same time, is just grin and bear our rape and humiliation. We must not dare fight China. We must give up our rights to our West Philippine Sea, and to other things we hold sacred, like honor and dignity, if we want to continue enjoying the goodwill of the second-richest and most powerful country in the world.

    To many other Filipinos, who love our country as envisioned by Rizal, Bonifacio and the other great patriots, that is a fate worse than death.

    Share.
    loading...
    Loading...

    Please follow our commenting guidelines.

    15 Comments

    1. Editorials like this one encourages China. Whoever wrote this doesn’t have the conscience and principle to stand for what is right. He or she is just existing not living and very much driven by materialism. He or she should inspire us all instead of wrecking our hopes and dreams. What a cowardice act!!!!!

      • Your right sir, the editor writer have not even a single drop of nationalism in his being and out-rightly coward. He is anti-Filipino. He prefer to be a slave of the Chinese than to stand for his right and freedom. He should go to China himself and be a slave there.

        This people are the one that divide instead of unite the Filipino to strive and find a way to be able to fight for this right even it will take 100 of years.

        China is in the same situation like the Philippines in the 19th century when it was occupied by the Europeans and in 1930s when it was again occupied by Japan. With this humiliation, the Chinese strive to be strong so that they can stand up and fight for their rights. However, now that they are strong, they become like the Europeans of the 19th century who are oppressive and disregard the rights of other nations.

        The Philippines is weak today but if we unite and plan for our future, we can become strong and make sure that those who will not respect our rights will pay a great cost.Indonesia is like the Philippines in size, but they have the courage to stand for their maritime territorial rights because they were able to prepare for this situation.

    2. It is easy to say fight when we don’t have the capacity yet. What will we fight with? Send our soldiers to sure death and widows will be crying when body bags come home, if they’re not blown to pieces.We may lack the military might but we have the brains to play our cards well and that is called brinkmanship.

      • We have to prepare to overcome our weakness like what the vietnamese did during the Vietnam war. They are small and weak country but they were able to drive the Americans, a superpower out of their country.

        We do not want war, but we must prepare to have a credible Military defense that will deter any agressor.

        For now, we do not have any choice but to assert our rights and ask the help of the international community to pressure China to accept the ruling

    3. We must use wisdom in dealing with this problem. China has expansion ideas like Germany in WW 2. Many died because of the errors of the few. China is against a few neighbors and soon we will see the downfall of this country. Germany with a a very powerful military lost but millions died. Are we willing to fight and die ?

    4. Let Bully China do what it wants for the whole world to see. We are a small poorly armed nations which is no match to the might of this bully but we have to stand up against this bully. We should not be rushed into bilateral talks without China recognizing and heeding the international court’s decision. As an ordinary patriotic citizen, I feel indignant of China’s arrogance.

    5. This

      Because of this, the EEZ extending from our country’s shore gives us de facto jurisdiction over most of the waters in the Spratly Islands not covered by the territorial seas of other countries.

      Is contradicted by this

      Our fishermen will still be harassed by Chinese in large and armed Chinese fishing vessels escorted by the Chinese Navy; these will continue to drive our Filipino fishermen away from fishing waters that are our sovereign territory. And Chinese expeditions will still come and destroy our corals in the process of stealing our rare and marine treasures.

      Did you mean de jure, not de facto?

    6. vic penetrante on

      Fears meant to scare you can make you brave, courageous enough to stand up to bullies.

    7. justatourist on

      As a first step, how about supplying fuel to the Coast Guard boats which sit idle doing nothing and send them with the mission of at least shadowing the Chinese boats, defend the Filipino fishermen and oil exploration boats from any aggression?
      These defensive actions now have a good international legal basis. Any hostile behavior by the Chinese would quickly bring a massive reaction against it. But of course, it would need to be made very visible to the world at large. Maybe the cabinet can copy what the Palestinians have done?

    8. It is either sovereignty or death, otherwise change our national anthem which ends “ang mamatay ng dahil sa’yo!” to “ang mamatay sa gutom dahil walang magawa.”

    9. We need to fast tract the afp modernization. Duterte said jet fighters are waste if money. In that case we will just surrender to our neighbors who will do whatever they want in our EEZ. Stupid politicians.

    10. Prinze Fisher on

      I don’t agree at all of what you’re implying not to fight China. Let our government fight for our territorial right. Boost our nationalism and fight, fight, fight… for our future.