Yes, Mr. President, trash that EDCA

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Ricardo Saludo

Ricardo Saludo

The Duterte-Yasay Show was on again this week.

Soon after President Rodrigo Duterte said he would review the Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement, Foreign Affairs Secretary Perfecto Yasay Jr. promptly declared that the EDCA needed no review, since the Supreme Court declared it constitutional.

As this column argued a week ago, the Duterte administration may be deliberately sending confusing foreign policy signals signals to keep major powers off balance, so he can get more concessions in recalibrating relations with them http://www.manilatimes.net/president-dutertes-tough-talk-foreign-policy/288448/
That’s why his alter egos, like Sec. Yasay, don’t get fired for repeatedly altering what he propounds: it’s all part of the script.

The Hitler brouhaha may save lives


Was the Hitler line scripted, too? Media here and abroad misreported that Duterte likened his bloody campaign against illegal drugs to the Nazi leader’s genocide of millions of Jews in World War II.

After outrage abroad and among Jews, the President apologized for offending them, and visited the community’s Manila association.

That may mollify international anger, but one fearsome cabal probably won’t buy Duterte’s denial, and will still insist — with delight — that he disdains Jews.

Terrorists purportedlly fighting for Islam would cheer the misconstrued Hitler comments. And despite Duterte’s apology and denial, they may well cling to the apparent affront to Jews exterminated in Nazi death camps.

And that stubborn misimpression among so-called jihadists may well slash the risk of terrorist attacks on Duterte’s nation. For the enemy of my enemy is at least a non-target.

Scripted or not, the Hitler flub may yet spare many Filipinos, including millions in Muslim countries, from killers who now think our President is a Jew-hater. Go figure.

Now, the headline topic: trashing the EDCA. We recap arguments from past columns.
The EDCA escalates the risk of Chinese attack.

Nuclear-capable missiles on American warships, submarines and aircraft rotating in the archipelago under the EDCA can hit most of China and its vital sea lanes in the South China Sea, where four-fifths of its oil imports
pass, among other essential cargo.

One result: The burgeoning US deployment in the country has led China to build up forces in the South China Sea, including military-capable facilities on reclaimed land.

What’s worse, US forces and the bases they use under the agreement could be attacked even before war erupts, according to US Army-sponsored think tank RAND.

Its report, “War with China: Thinking Through the Unthinkalble,” explains: “Sensors, weapon guidance, digital networking and other information technologies used to target opposing forces have advanced to the point where both US and Chinese military forces seriously threaten each other. This creates the means as well as the incentive to strike enemy forces before they strike one’s own.”

And what might the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) target first? RAND’s answer: “The Chinese regard aircraft carriers and regional air bases as prime targets.” That includes the Mactan, Puerto Princesa and Cagayan de Oro military airfields, shared with civilian terminals and available for US use under the EDCA, along with Pampanga and Nueva Ecija bases.

The pact has, thus, revived the fear of then-President Ferdinand Marcos about Clark and Subic in 1975: “[D]oes this not expose the Philippines to the animosities, suspicions and the conflicts arising out of the American military build-up — animosities and conflicts that we have no participation in making — and do not these bases endanger the safety of the Filipinos and the Philippines, not only from conventional armed attack, but from possible nuclear attack?”

For this reason alone, the EDCA should be abrogated. But there’s more.

US forces won’t help defend our territorial claims.

No less than President Barack Obama, as well as Ambassador Philip Goldberg, have made it clear that US forces will not expend a bullet to help the Philippines assert our claims in territorial disputes with China.

Asked twice by Malacañang reporters right after the EDCA signing in 2014 what America would do if the China-
Philippines maritime frictions turn violent, Obama only said that territorial disputes should be settled peacefully.
Yet just days before, in Japan, Obama reiterated Washington’s pledge to defend Tokyo’s control of the Senkaku/Diaoyutai islands also claimed by Beijing.

Then in Davao in June, when then-President-elect Duterte asked visiting Ambassador Philip Goldberg, “Are you withus, or are you not with us?” in territorial frictions with China, the envoy replied, “Only if you are attacked.”

So we must first be suicidal enough to ignite a shooting war with vastly superior Chinese forces before America would consider taking action.

And for this we risk PLA missiles raining on the archipelago, targeting US forces we host under the EDCA, plus the five bases they use, in any Beijing-Washington spat?

Is there a more dumb and dangerous deal in Philippine history?

The EDCA doesn’t help deter Chinese encroachments.

The usual pro-EDCA argument contends that the Philippines cannot defend itself without it. Let’s take this apart.

First, as we just argued, US forces will not intervene until there’s a shooting war with China — not much help in deterring territorial encroachments.

Second, scrapping the agreement does not mean the US will not protect the Philippines from invasion. What ensures American defense is the strategic imperative not to allow a hostile power to take over the archipelago and use it as a regional military platform, as the EDCA now allows US forces to do.

Third, the pact has not provided the anti-access, area denial armaments (A2/AD) which Washington defense think tank Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments says the Philippines needs: anti-ship coastal weaponry, maritime surveillance aircraft and air defense systems.

And why not? Just a wild guess, but maybe it’s because if we get the arms to counter Chinese intrusions, we’d depend less on America.

Plainly, if a less wealthy nation like Vietnam can stand up to China without Uncle Sam, it’s about time we did.
How? That’s a future column, and it won’t have the word EDCA anywhere.

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26 Comments

  1. You guys have already been invaded you idiots, the US was waiting for the Hague ruling as were your leaders before your chickenshit president went on his rampage against the US and began sucking up to the country who has invaded you. Quit working for 180pesos a day by writing these columns to mislead your countrymen (although half of you sound Chinese) and stand up for your country! And while you are at it, send some thanks to the country keeping your “friendly neighbors” from swallowing up the rest of your precious land.

  2. LOL! Well played digong. We wouldn’t have this issue if he wasn’t so sensitive about his critics on his war on drugs, then hate the U.S, U.N, E.U etc. in the process. Remember guys, he supported the EDCA before. It’s just now as a result of him being a U.S hater. But what luck! Because of the unplanned situation, it made him look good again! Especially his followers. :D

  3. The President must indeed scrap EDCA as it is a one-sided executive agreement in favor of the U.S. We must distance our country from the evil plot of US of instigating war in Asia. We will instead build our nation and make it stronger in all fronts: economy, military, etc. so that we can stand on our own and pride our selves as independent and a progressive nation.

    • Are all of you wiling to bear arms to depend our country ? Or you just need a microphone to voice your concern ?

  4. I look forward on your next column Sec., 23 years as a mayor in Davao potical experience.I trust that he knows of what`s he doing in bigger politics arena

    In contrast Mr. Mabait na Pinoy, still hoping I mean sucking up to your uncle Sam, powerfull? really haven`t you heard SAM endebted to Chinese in billion may be trillions of dollars and can hardly pay.

  5. Fourth, an American military response to a Chinese preemptive strike on the Philippines is tantamount to a declaration of war by America against China. This would require congressional approval in America – similar to what Roosevelt had to obtain after Japan attacked Pearl Harbor. Considering how far the Philippines is from America, I can just ponder on how long the USA congressional debates will take; and whether the USA president will even get approval at all. Meanwhile, we’ll just sit and watch as we get annihilated by the Chinese which can just take a few days or even hours given that we don’t have any anti-missile defense system. Having said these, the EDCA is really a magnet to our destruction. Our best course is to chart a truly independent and neutral foreign policy- i.e. while being friends to everyone, we should not also be a threat to any of our neighbors, whether directly or indirectly (as in the case of having American lethal military hardware in our country).

    This South China conflict is all about super power rivalry between China and America for regional supremacy. It is not our fight so let us not get caught in the middle. The Philippines will be the battleground and it is our lives which will be lost. The largest number of casualties will be Filipinos, not Chinese or Americans.

  6. The Americans did not help us at all, not even with a single armalite bullet, when Marcos was defending the Republic in the Mindanao War of the 70s. Yet these same Americans shower Israel with billions of dollars in military aid every year, even if their human rights record against the Palestinians make Marcos look like a saint. Today their “hesitation” in arming us adequately is still based on human rights issues, and Im willing to bet these policy makers in Washington are rolling on the floor in laughter every time one of them throws this issue in our face. Duterte is waking up the world to the fact that America treats us as a vassal state and not as a friend. He is the latest version of Lapu-lapu, Gabriela and Diego Silang, Rizal, Bonifacio, Marcos and all those leaders who really loved their people and saw through the forked tongue of these western invaders. To pray for Duterte is to pray for the people.

    • Do you even know history? Or where were you during the Yolanda, or the Ondoy crisis?? Hahaha! Don’t be blind people. Please….

  7. When WWII broke out, Japan attacked Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941, and the next day, they attacked the US military bases in the Philippines. That dragged us early into the war. Similar thing will happen again if US and China end up in armed confrontation in the South China sea, and this time, it would be more catastrophic for the Philippines.

  8. I totally agree. The government should not allow Philippines to be entangled in the rivalry of the super powers. This time I am happy that the President is taking a stand. One life of a Filipino is worth more than all the richest of the so called island. If you think America is there to protect Filipinos – that is not true. US only protects their business interest. They have almost 800 military bases around the world. That number alone demonstrates who is the aggressor. Their rhetoric is that the world is a better place of them if they are in control. Just look at all the places they are involve in and you would know that this is not all about world peace but more about money. I fully support the President in his stance of an Independent Foreign Policy. It is time that Filipinos ascertain their Freedom to determine its future and learn to stand on its own.

  9. I completely disagree with you. This is not a scrip or a zarzuela. Good manners and right conduct can never be the presidents choice to act or not to act. It is not only a statesman duty to act responsibly. Everyone of us must adhere to good manners and right conduct. We must not give any logical reason for his actions. What is right is right and wrong is wrong. We are not in a position to read between the lines. We are not fortune tellers or mind readers.

    • that how he sees it..that is his opinion..you are entitled to your own..you may agree to disagree but dont claim that yours is right and his is wrong…

    • Simple talk that is offending to other ears but not to us including me. Yes we are not fortune tellers but we can read what is the message DU30 is telling us. Low understanding of him result on this kind of comment by you. Anyway i am only correcting the bad impression you had to our President. FYI i am not his avid supporter and i don’t vote for him in the last election, i only follow good logic and result of what i see is are positive results.

    • Agree. Besides it’s just now that he planned to do this after he thinks Ph’s old ally U.S and co. is against his war on drugs. But lucky him, it back fired as a good move again especially to his supporters. Remember he said weeks ago that he supports EDCA. ;) So yeah, I guess I can red between the lines.

  10. mabait na pinoy on

    PDU30 is not in a position to trash / terminate EDCA because the provisions that was spelled out in the documents. It says in part that this agreement will be in effect / valid / binding in ten years, and thereafter, both parties may agree to end / terminate the agreement. Duterte can spend his whole six years yakking or bad mouthing the U.S., with no effect on EDCA. The five (5) military Bases the Philippine Government to provide will not be dedicated for military equipment or logistical support for U.S. in the event of war, but also for equipment and materials in the event of disaster, such as typhoon Yolanda.

    Realistically speaking, United States does not need the Philippines, but the other way around. U.S. is way ahead militarily, scientifically, and economically, from the rest of the world. The bottom line: U.S. A. is still the most powerful country in the world, and also the symbol of democracy. The Americans have been going around the world, spreading democracy, and always believe that human rights must be protected and respected as part of the process. U.S. believes that all human being, regardless of what part of the world they live and how they live, must live freely and with dignity. All the Americans want is respect human beings, and their natural rights.

    PDU30 must have his little brain engage before he opens his mouth and he should be reminded every now and then that he is NO longer the mayor of Davao City but President of the Philippines, representing 110 Million Filipino people.

    • Good you clarified EDCA. That’s why they are vigorously looking to debunk the said agreement. It hinders the Communists from a complete cakewalk in the Philippines.
      If he cancels it inadvertently, he stand to get a windfall of distrust and contract cancellation himself and we become a pariah in the international community. the repercussion is unknown and scary.

      The Communists who wants to control the government wants the US completely out. Unfortunately, Dugong is not savvy enough to deceive us completely. His day will come and we are slowly unmasking his true intentions.

    • ???? ????? ??? Huh. Uncle Sam does not need Phil? I think you dont read much….Uncle needs Philippines no matter how. But we are just like small kid to them, they bully us & give peanuts.

      PHILIPPINE DOESNT NEED UNCLE SAM..!

      Look outside brod, what America is doing in many countries.

    • Thank you for your comment, Mabait na Pinoy.

      May I cite a US legal source cited by lawyer Harry Roque regarding the President’s power to abrogate international agreements under the American system, which the Philippines’ presidential system follows:

      The Third Restatement of the Foreign Relations Law of the United States – an authoritative commentary on international law and international relations – states thus: “[T]he President has the power: (a) to suspend or terminate an agreement in accordance with its terms; [and] (b) to make the determination that would justify the United States in terminating or suspending an agreement because of its violation by another party or because of supervening events, and to proceed to terminate or suspend the agreement on behalf of the United States.”

      Thank you.

    • You are concerned only to save your ass. You look up to the Americans as if they are our savior and protector of everything here in this place. Are you really a Pinoy because a doubt it , the way you reasoned out like as a Pro-American will not help us a bit to make our country stand in our own two feet. If an Amboy like you inhabit this place, we may well be called another state of America. The mentality you have degrading even the elected President of this country and not respecting him is tantamount of inciting to have a rebellious attitude towards other Filipinos who simply wants a decent life without any other people dictating us on what we have to do. This is our own house and backyard and for you, yes you can go and live in USA, don’t bother us here and i am sure we can manage our lives without your idol US of America.

    • One more thing, every agreement or contract have a mandatory provision wherein each Party can terminate this agreement anytime they want even ealier to the alloted timeframe schedule and not tied absolutely to the duration of the agreement.

    • Yeah, just understand lolo. I can tell his supporters are so happy with move. :D But maybe you guys forgot digong is a supporter of EDCA weeks ago. It’s just now he is into all this because his a hater of U.S, E.U, and U.N now. And ironically a China (who stole our territory), and Russia lover. SMH.

    • they can’t if china will attack them…the only way that vietnam and phil will stop china is to be befriend it