Are Filipinos united against China’s invasion of Ayungin?

A+
A
A-

At a fund raiser for the Filipino Advocates for Justice in Oakland on June 20, I sat down with the former national chair of Bayan USA to ask him if his group planned to join the July 24 global protest against China’s occupation of the Ayungin Reef.

Model of the Philippine Independence Day float of US Pinoys about bring issue of China incursions to International Tribunal of the Law of the Sea (ITLOS). PHOTO/USP4GG.

I told him that two years ago, when the US Pinoys for Good Governance (USP4GG) was planning protest demonstrations in front of all the Chinese consulates in the US, his friend, Raquel Redondiez, the national chair of Gabriela USA and former Secretary-General of Bayan USA, told Balitang America reporter Henni Espinosa that her group was resolutely opposed to Filipino global protest actions against China because, she said, “it will only worsen the conflict between China and the Philippines.”

Raquel told Henni in the TV interview that was aired on Balitang America on May 9, 2012, that “when there is a conflict between siblings or friends, you usually want to start talking one-on-one before you bring in other people or mediators.”

Protest rally in front of San Francisco Chinese Consulate. PHOTO/Rodel Rodis

“China is not the true bully in this standoff,” Raquel insisted. “The China threat is being used by the US to actually further trample on our national sovereignty.”

But three Chinese naval ships from Sansha have surrounded Ayungin Reef since May 8 and Major Gen. Zhang Zhaozhong of the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) has openly announced on Beijing TV China’s plans to set up a blockade to prevent the Philippine marines stationed at Ayungin Reef from receiving fresh supplies.

“Only a few troopers are able to station there,” he said, “but there is no food or even drinking water there. If we carry out the cabbage strategy, they will not be able to send food and drinking water onto the islands. Without the supply for one or two weeks, the troopers stationed there will leave the islands on their own. Once they have left, they will never be able to come back.”

Pistahan Parade in San Francisco with Lapu-Lapu fighting the China dragon. PHOTO/Rodel Rodis

Is this conflict with China really one “between siblings and friends” as Redondiez claims? Seriously?

I explained that the July 24 global protest date is significant because it marks the first anniversary of Beijing’s establishment of the Sansha prefecture to supervise 2 million square kilometers of the South China Sea including the West Philippine Sea and the Kalayaan Island Group which lie within the 200 mile Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) of the Philippines according to the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Seas (UNCLOS).

“Are you anti-imperialist?” I asked him

“Of course!” he replied.

“Well then,” I asked, “what is the essential difference between what the US did to the Philippines in 1899, what Japan did to the Philippines in 1942 and what China is doing to the Philippines now? Are you just anti US imperialist but not anti Chinese imperialist?”

Rep. Walden Bello speaking at a community meeting in Berkeley, California. PHOTO/Edwin Batongbakal.

Ayungin Reef is the gateway to the Recto Bank, I explained, and Recto Bank, which is only 85 nautical miles from Palawan, may contain as much as 213 billion barrels of oil and 2 quadrillion cubic feet of natural gas, according to the US Energy Information Agency (EIA). The future of the Philippines is in Recto Bank: “Our soil, our oil.”

“If China completes its illegal occupation of Ayungin Reef, it will only be a matter of time before China proceeds to occupy Recto Bank,” I said.

“But,” he protested, “only the rich ruling class of the Philippines will benefit from the exploitation of Recto Bank’s resources.”

“That’s true, now,” I answered. “But don’t you guys want to overthrow that ruling class so that the Philippines is governed by workers and peasants? If you allow China to seize all the oil and natural gas of the Philippines now, what will be left for the Filipino workers and peasants to use in the future? Do you expect China to just return all of our oil and natural gas when the People’s Republic of the Philippines is proclaimed?”

USP4GG members wearing their “Our Soil, Our Oil” tshirts. PHOTO/ Rodel Rodis

If that was his naïve belief, I would have told him about what happened on March 14, 1988 to the brave sailors of the People’s Republic of Vietnam who refused to take down their flag and leave the Johnson South Reef that is within the EEZ of Vietnam which China is claiming it owns. China’s four warships then pounded the reef with 37 mm anti-aircraft artillery directly shooting and killing 64 unarmed or lightly armed Vietnamese sailors. China filmed its slaughter of the Vietnamese sailors and aired the footage all over China to show that China means business.

What happened to the Vietnamese Navy sailors in 1988 may happen to the Philippine Navy sailors. On June 21, 2013, the Reuters news agency reported from Beijing that China condemned the Philippines’ “illegal occupation” of the Ayungin Reef after the Philippines moved new soldiers and supplies to the BRP Sierra Madre, a sunken WW II vessel which has served as the Philippines’ marine outpost in the Ayungin Reef since 1999.

Akbayan rally in Makati PHOTO/Emman Hizon

“China’s determination to safeguard its national sovereignty is resolute and unwavering and (we) will never accept any form of illegal occupation of the Ren’ai Reef (Ayungin Reef) by the Philippines,” Chinese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying told reporters in a briefing in Beijing.

http://www.reuters.com/article/2013/06/21/us-china-philippines-idUSBRE95K0E920130621

Ayungin Reef is just 105 miles from Palawan and almost 600 miles from the nearest China port and yet China claims the Philippines is illegally occupying Chinese property? What gall.

Loida Lewis and USP4GG members in New York protesting China’s occupation of the Scarborough Shoal PHOTO/Eric Lachica

This is the time for Filipinos all over the world to rally to the flag of the Philippines. But, unfortunately, there are organizations like Bayan and Gabriela USA which are advancing the political line that our dispute with China is just between “siblings and friends”.

The website of Bayan USA (bayanusa.org) shows that, along with Gabriela USA, they have a have a large number of affiliates all over the US like Anakbayan and the Committee for Human Rights in the Philippines. Proof of their clout and influence is the impressive showing of their partylist groups, Gabriela and Bayan Muna, in the May 13 Philippine elections.

Though the words may sound alike, Bayan and Anakbayan should not be confused with Akbayan. In the Philippine political spectrum, the former groups are viewed as the far left while the latter is considered the “democratic left”. They have fundamental differences on a mountain of issues including China.

Akbayan has been firmly opposed to China’s “creeping invasion” of the Philippines and its members have been actively involved in organizing and participating in all the local protest rallies against China. Akbayan’s national chair, Risa Hontiveros, was the spokesperson of the coalition that organized the anti-China rally on July 8, 2011. Its partylist representative, Rep. Walden Bello, led a House delegation to the Kalayaan Island Group in 2011, a move which was heavily criticized by Beijing.

Recently, on June 11, 2013, Rep. Bello led a “fish protest” in front of the China Consulate in Makati to “express outrage against the atrocious poaching activities in the West Philippine Sea by the Chinese government. China aims to stake a monopoly over the fishing and energy resources of the West Philippine Sea in its bid to become a regional hegemon. This is at the expense of destroying the marine ecosystems in the area and subverting its neighbors’ sovereignty,” Rep. Bello said.

On the other hand, the Bayan and Anakbayan organizations and their affiliates take their cue on the China issue from Jose Maria Sison, the founding chairman of the Communist Party of the Philippines. In a statement issued on April 30, 2012, Sison wrote: “China has shown a preference for economic and diplomatic action rather than military action in international affairs.…. What the US is bent on doing is to manage and manipulate the Philippine-China contradictions in order to further entrench itself militarily in the Philippines, continue to violate our national sovereignty and territorial integrity, serve as the bantay salakay, and intensify its efforts to strengthen US hegemony over the Asia-Pacific region.”

Gregorio “Ka Roger” Rosal of the Communist Party of the Philippines Inquirer file photo

Those interested in protesting US imperialism can join Bayan and Anakbayan members and their affiliates in their almost daily demonstrations in front of the US Embassy on Roxas Boulevard.

Those interested in protesting China’s imperialism are invited to attend a major protest rally in front of the China Consulate in Makati on Wednesday, July 24 at 12 noon. On that day in New York, Filipinos from all over the East Coast will converge at the United Nations to protest China’s occupation of the Ayungin Reef and to draw attention to the arbitral petition of the Philippine government before the UN International Tribunal on the Law of the Sea.

There will also be simultaneous demonstrations in front of all the China consulates in the US and all over the world.” We want to serve notice on China that its Sansha garrison navy has no jurisdiction over the Philippines,” USP4GG spokesman Ted Laguatan said.

Stop China Invasion poster

“Stop China’s Invasion of the Philippines!” is the July 24 battle cry.

For more information about the July 24 global protest, email lizabangash@yahoo.comor log on to USPGG.org.

 

 (Send comments to Rodel50@gmail.com or mail them to the Law Offices of Rodel Rodis at 2429 Ocean Avenue, San Francisco, CA 94127 or call 415.334.7800).

Disclaimer: The comments uploaded on this site do not necessarily represent or reflect the views of management and owner of INQUIRER.net. We reserve the right to exclude comments that we deem to be inconsistent with our editorial standards.

  • Noel

    Once upon a time in the kingdom of Heaven, God was missing for six days.

    Eventually, Michael the Archangel found him, resting on the seventh

    day.

    He inquired of God, “Where have you been?”

    God sighed a deep sigh of satisfaction and proudly pointed downwards through the clouds, “Look, Michael. Look what I’ve made.”

    Archangel Michael looked puzzled and said, “What is it?”.

    “It’s a planet,” replied God, “and I’ve put Life on it. I’m going
    to call it Earth and it’s going to be a great place of balance.”

    “Balance?” inquired Michael, still confused.

    God explained, pointing to different parts of earth. “For
    example, northern Europe will be a place of great opportunity and
    wealth, but cold and harsh while southern Europe is going to be poor but
    sunny and pleasant.”

    “I have made some lands abundant in water and other lands parched deserts.”

    “This one will be extremely hot, while this one will be very cold and covered in ice.”

    The Archangel, impressed by God’s work, then pointed to a group of islands and said, “What are those?”

    “Ah,” said God. “That’s the
    Philippines, the most glorious place on earth. There are beautiful beaches, rivers, mountains and forests. The people from the
    Philippines
    are going to be handsome, modest, intelligent and humorous and they are
    going to be found traveling the world. They will be extremely sociable,
    hardworking
    and high achieving, and they will be known throughout the world as
    carriers of peace and love.”

    Michael gasped in wonder and admiration but then proclaimed, “What about balance, God? You said there would be balance.”

    God replied wisely, “Wait until you see the idiots they will put in the government.”

    • Allen Douglas

      Hahaha…nice one….

    • Shadows1

      Nice. pa share ha.

  • mga BaBoY sa Goberno

    raquel redondiez why you are in US, you should immigrate to china ashole

  • Juan_Smith

    Since Philippines is a semi- colony, virtually; the natural resources of Philippine owned islands among Spratly islands are for sure, for the united states.

    • positivepinoy

      duh!!!.. what a low brainer kind of statement.. your theory doesn’t support the reality!!

  • zymygy

    This is a reminder to all Filipinos in US.How these group of militants have an office in US especially in the most expensive state there ,New York City.Where did they get their funds?Its amazing they called the US government imperialist but they stayed in that country.Where’s the pride?Where’s the principle?If you have such decency,you will not set foot to country you hate the most.Its pure hypocrasy.

    • Juan_Smith

      AAh, alam ko. . . . sa mga americano.
      FYI. You’ve to dfferentiate american, us goverment and imperialism.

      • positivepinoy

        what do you mean by differenciate?… what a hypocrite you are..its like if you want to live in that house, you must follow the rule and regulation of the owner of that house, if you don’t want… scraaammm and leave ! unless you are an oportumist !.. got it!

      • zymygy

        I am targeting the principle and pride of the militants.Imaging if I am a member of this group why will I set foot on a country that I always condemned and cursed.Or it is USA that every opportunity there earning US dollars and the lifestyle is great.

  • Darth2D2

    Took the words out of my mouth. These far-left groups will always find a way to blame the US on everything. Didn’t the Chinese government themselves say that they want a “peaceful rise”? To me, that sounds like a call to imperialism put only in mild terms. The only thing that I don’t think I will agree with the author is his dream of seeing a “People’s Republic of the Philippines” established. The universe forbid!

  • Noel

    The author’s column was obviously anti-Chinese; but look at his looks especially his eyes…is he not more Chinese than the Tsinoys? I’m not saying I agree with China’s bullying. But the author looks like he has some Chinese blood. If I were him, I would begin studying Mandarin then be appointed as Phl Ambassador to China. After all, I think he has dual citizenship now.

    • fanthomdiver

      What does ones looks have to do with the issue of national sovereignity and moral principles? Must you look totally different to validate opposing views?

  • joboni96

    imperyalistang u.s. at
    hegemonistang intsik switik

    parehas na salot sa bansang pilipino

    STRONG PRO PILIPINO DEFENSE
    ang solusyon

    sipain pareho

  • fanthomdiver

    This is history repeating itself in a different time, characters and setting. Mainland China is the 21st century Nazi and Imperial Japan. It is an insidious disease. Why? It rules with a communist iron fist and masquerades as democratic in business. It serves no one but itself. With its new found wealth along with military might, China will do as it pleases and could care less about the world, its non-Chinese people or any form of moral principles. It has 1.3 billion people to feed and sustain and with it’s local resources being finite, it will muscle itself wherever and whenever it can. Pitch in world supremacy and arrogance and you have a lethal concoction ripe for a major military conflict. The United Nations tribunal must act quickly and efficiently if conflict is to be avoided. However, it is extremely doubtful that Beijing will even bat an eye no matter the decision.

    Philippine history has been a colorful menagerie of centuries old colonial rule. Thus far, the United States has been the only one that offered promising opportunities for the Filipino people, the biggest one (statehood) was ballyhooed by greedy and self-serving politicians of the post Commonwealth era. It could’ve been easily the big Hawaii further east of the Pacific ocean. That opportunity and major breakthrough that could’ve provided opportunities for many Filipinos for the coming generations was torpedoed by selfish politicians who were elected to serve the Filipino people instead only served themselves and their families.

    It is without question that China can walk through any Asian nation at will and with ease. With so much at stake though, the Philippines will once again look upon its big Yankee brother to the west for help, a brother in arms that the Philippine Congress booted in 1997. The big question is, “Will big brother come?”

To subscribe to the Philippine Daily Inquirer newspaper in the Philippines, call +63 2 896-6000 for Metro Manila and Metro Cebu or email your subscription request here.

Factual errors? Contact the Philippine Daily Inquirer's day desk. Believe this article violates journalistic ethics? Contact the Inquirer's Reader's Advocate. Or write The Readers' Advocate:

c/o Philippine Daily Inquirer Chino Roces Avenue corner Yague and Mascardo Streets, Makati City,Metro Manila, Philippines Or fax nos. +63 2 8974793 to 94

editors' picks

advertisement
advertisement