Administration officials have been bringing up the prospect of the country going into war with China with the Filipinos at the losing end of the struggle due to the enemy’s sheer power.
I will not dispute this belief. However, is it any good for our people if we continue to talk about the threat of war, our enemy’s superiority, and our inevitable defeat if the battle erupts?
Supreme Court Senior Associate Justice Antonio Carpio said China could be held liable before the International Criminal Court if it launched a war of aggression against our people.
So, the question in the minds of a number of our people centers on whether or not there is any reason to instill fear in the hearts of Filipinos other than discourage them from taking any aggressive action against the Chinese.
Former Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) Secretary Albert del Rosario said our country had been giving in to a threat of war even when experts declared that war was not a good option for China.
Carpio said going to a losing war with China if we make any attempt to enforce the arbitral award and victory granted to us is an utterly false claim intended to frighten our people into submitting to the will of China.
Both Carpio and Del Rosario spoke at a gathering to mark the Philippines’ victory at The Hague which quashed China’s supposedly historic nine-dash line claim to resources in the South China Sea. The Permanent Court of Arbitration in The Hague upheld Manila’s rights to its 200-nautical-mile exclusive economic zone Three years ago.
The fear of going to war is going to affect all decisions of our government not only on issues related to the West Philippine Sea but also in business, land ownership and other matters concerned with China, revealed Doctor Jay Batongbacal, director of UP’s Institute of Maritime Affairs and Law of the Sea.
Also at the gathering was former Ombudsman Conchita Carpio-Morales who said we should not be scared of all the propaganda we hear since the West Philippine Sea belongs to Filipinos, not to Duterte and certainly not to China.
Perhaps, it’s time for the President to turn his head and take heed of the voice of the people now that the latest Social Weather Stations (SWS) survey revealed that 93 percent of Filipinos think it is vital for the Philippines to regain control of the islands occupied by China in the West Philippine Sea.
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Editor’s Note: Robert B. Roque Jr. is a veteran journalist who started out as a correspondent for Manila Bulletin’s tabloid TEMPO in 1983. In 1989, at age 27, he rose to become the youngest associate editor of a newspaper of national circulation. In mid-2000, he took the helm of the paper as its editor until his voluntary retirement in 2012. He currently writes a syndicated column for TEMPO, Remate, and Hataw newspapers, the online news site Beyond Deadlines, and now forTHEPHILBIZNEWS.COM. A former journalism lecturer at the Faculty of Arts and Letters of the University of Santo Tomas from 1992 to 2002, Roque is also an active member of the Lions Clubs International, the largest service club organization in the world, having served as head of the Philippine Lions (council chairperson) in Lion Year 2011-2012. His column appearing here regularly will be written in Filipino on Tuesdays and in English on Thursdays.