West Philippine Sea Is Ours


“A Testament that We Filipinos will never back down on Bullying”

A few days ago, me, my son, and my Kumpare (meaning co-parenthood) went fishing in Balayan Bay.
It was a wonderful experience. Going there at dawn with our fishing rods at hand. And seeing the sunrise while waiting for our first catch of the day.
There were about 12 people there (we included).
Whenever someone in the group catches a fish, they immediately put it in a pail.
All of that harvest will be donated to someone who is just new in the group (namely me and my son).
And as we pile up those fishes in the pail, the locals kept the chitchat coming.
All of us in the dock area exchanged stories, laughter, and even some fishing tips & advises.

In the middle of all of our conversations, I noticed one old fellow who is isolated and quiet sitting in one corner.
I approached the guy and started conversing with him (for this article sake let’s call the guy Mang Lando).
Mang Lando is pushing 70, retired, and contented living a simple life.
He just goes to the dock in the morning not really to catch fish for consumption, but more of his personal past-time.
Our conversation started with types of fishes, the history of the province of Balayan, and… the West Philippine Sea.

Mang Lando said that he doesn’t like what is going on in the Western part of our country. He said that “Something Fishy” is going on.
He mentioned that the developing stories that are going on in the West Philippine Sea are “Disturbing”.
He told me that the “Bullying Tactics” must stop.
That bully is no other than China.
China has been accused of deploying warships, arming island outposts and ramming fishing vessels in our resource-rich sea.

China justifies its unlawful actions by invoking a historic claim of the waters west of the Philippines.
It encompasses practically the entire West Philippine sea including the Spratlys, Scarborough Shoal, and the Paracel Islands.
For us Filipinos, it is clear that it is a preposterous claim by any account.

Not satisfied with what it has already taken, China continues to annex more and more islets in the disputed area using what it calls the “Cabbage Strategy”.
The strategy involves surrounding islands with as many ships as possible to seal it off from food, water, and other supplies.
Sooner or later, inhabitants will abandon the island leaving it free for China to take over.

It is totally absurd!
Not only do we lose our rights to the resources of the West Philippine Sea, but we also lose our right to free navigation within our own waters.
Worse, we bear the risk of increased territory grabs by China, even in our mainland.
In fact, a Chinese newspaper recently published a story saying that parts of Palawan, while inhabited by Filipinos, are inevitable targets for Chinese invasion.

We’ve been hearing unfortunate stories of some Chinese nationals who gives no respect to our country…
Like some women that went digging and hiding soiled baby diapers on the pearly white sand of Boracay.
We also witnessed a Chinese lady throwing Taho (pudding-like soy milk) in the face of a police officer.

These Chinese are everywhere. From Luzon, Visayas, and Mindanao.
They are not only occupying our waters, they are slowly “Creeping in” our land.

Should we be worried or bothered?
Bothered yes…
but worried???… I don’t think so.
We may not have the mechanism to go to war. But there are other means and ways to go about it.
We can rely on the 1951 Mutual Defense Treaty between the Philippines and the United States in case an all-out invasion breaks out. This is a case of simply choosing between lesser evils.
There is also Japan, Russia, and our neighboring ASEAN nations who have beefed up their respective arming programs. We have friends and allies who can help.

Our History also speaks for itself.
Well renowned explorer Ferdinand Magellan was killed by a Filipino tribe.
How Muhammad Kudarat successfully fought off Spanish invasions and hindered the spread of Roman Catholicism in the island of Mindanao.
Dr. Jose Rizal’s writings and books were his way of supporting his peaceful reform where his 1896 execution helped end the 333 years Spanish rule in the Philippines.
Even today, we have the undying fighting spirit within us.
We may not be at war, but we excel at any competitive sports, tournaments, and contests.
We are great in boxing, in pageantry, and many others.

We may be small and tiny. We may be poor and a 3rd world country. We may lack the fighter jets and the submarines.
But we never back down from a fight.
And when we are trapped in a corner, that is where we are most dangerous.

So to all of the people who are reading this…
The locals in Balayan Bay…
The boatmen who are afraid to come out of our coastline…
And to all of my fellow Filipinos out there…
Please take note…

The West Philippine Sea is ours!
The billion barrels of oil, the trillion feet of natural gas, and all the rich fishing resources.

So go ahead and fish. It doesn’t matter what type of fish(s) that you catch. It belongs to you and each and every Filipino.
Ang kay Pedro ay kay Pedro. Ang kay Juan ay kay Juan.
Ang Yaman Dagat ng Pilipinas ay para lang sa ating mga Pilipino.
Wala nang iba ang puwedeng mag may-ari nito!

Written on August 25, 2019