October 27, 2021 | 00h00
Air and sea patrols secure the vast Philippine waters. Filipino fishermen, traders and surveyors need their protection.
China is attacking these deterrents. In February 2020, a Chinese warship directed its director of gun control to a Philippine Navy patrol near the Malampaya gas field, 36 miles from Palawan. A control director prepares all weapons to instantly fire at a precise target. The Filipino sailors were unfazed.
Manchurian candidates for the 2022 election despise the patrols. Parroting Communist China, the collaborators propagate that any accumulation of Filipino defense incites war. Supposedly the jets and fastcrafts will be crashed within days of battle, so why waste the money. If elected, they will deprive the flyboys and Filipino sailors of equipment and supplies. China will then be able to complete its occupation of the West Philippine Sea.
Beijing scoffs at Manila’s diplomatic calls to quit the WPS. Two hundred and forty Chinese militia trawlers first invaded Julian Felipe (Whitsun) reef in March-May, then spread to the Kalayaan Islands and Recto Bank. Reinforced by a hundred more, they each poached 12,000 kilos of fish per day until August. Foreign Minister Teddy Locsin sparked 153 protests, nearly one a day. Satellite images show 30 trawlers to date at Del Pilar (Iroquois) Reef, 150 miles off Palawan. All of them are within the 200 mile exclusive economic zone of the Philippines.
Chinese navy and coast guard gunboats escort the fish thieves. President Rodrigo Duterte’s actions embolden them. He overturned The Hague’s 2016 ruling against China’s intrusion into the Philippine EEZ. He verbally agreed with President Xi Jinping that the Chinese fish there, without limit of area, duration and tonnage. He withdrew the Philippine Army from joint patrols and exercises with the allies.
The People’s Navy Liberation Army reports directly to the Communist Party of China Central Military Commission. The same goes for the Chinese Coast Guard and the People’s Armed Forces Maritime Militia. As secretary general of the CCP, Xi Jinping heads the CMC.
The more than 500 “civilian” ships of the Chinese Coast Guard are equipped with cannons. Fifty have missiles. Two are extra-large, with a displacement of 12,000 tons, eclipsing the 8,000-ton destroyers of Asian navies. Filipinos are driven from traditional fishing grounds with machine guns.
The 6,000 militia trawlers are 60 meters long, the size of two basketball courts. The CCP equips them with small arms, communications and spyware. The steel hulls are reinforced for ramming. At Recto Bank in 2019, one of those steel trawlers crashed into an anchored wooden fishing boat, then abandoned the 26 Filipinos thrown overboard.
The largest Philippine Coast Guard and fishing vessels are 40 meters long. PNP-Maritime Command assists with inflatable boats. Chinese intruders have the temerity to ask them by radio to leave Philippine waters.
However, the Philippine patrols continue, assures Vice-Admiral Ramil Roberto Enriquez, head of the West Command of AFP. He doesn’t expect Chinese warships to stop radio challenges and other harassment to justify their intrusion. âWhat we’re going to do is continue to point out and tell the world that we don’t recognize their authority over the region,â he said. “We won’t stop.”
The Philippine patrols are outdated. The Manchurian candidates will disarm them further. The traitors’ loyalty is to the CCP, not to the Filipino military.
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What is the position of the presidential candidates on China?
Panfilo Lacson warned against 3,000 Chinese army spies on an “immersion mission” in Filipino communities and organizations. He wants to align himself with world powers opposed to aggression from China.
Bongbong Marcos said, âThere are those who say we should buy patrol boats and jets just in case we have to fight. Why would we think we will fight? This war will be over in less than a week. We are already defeated. He was the special guest at a Chinese Embassy event last week. In a Facebook post in 2018, he greeted the CCP delegation he and his mother hosted for lunch at their home.
Isko Moreno promotes joint oil and gas development with China – under Philippine service contracts; that is, within the framework of Philippine laws. “What matters most to me is that existing resources are used as soon as possible,” he said the other week. “Kung may langis, e di mapapamura ko ang kuryente ng mga tao.”
Manny Pacquiao finds himself wanting Duterte’s Chinese policy. He says the president should toughen up like in the 2016 election campaign to gain Beijing’s respect.
Vice-President Leni Robredo is open to cooperation with China on trade and investment. On the WPS, she said, “We cannot deal with them without their recognition of the arbitration award.”
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Correction: In Gotcha, October 22, 2021 (âShady purchases follow a patternâ), I incorrectly stated that Pharmally Inc. âreached 42 billion pesosâ in government purchases of pandemic supplies. According to Senate investigations, the newborn shop, with Chinese presidential friend Michael Yang as financial guarantor, pocketed 12 billion pesos in ten months. This billion pesos represents 19,200 times its paid-up capital of 625,000 pesos. Our apologies for any confusion.