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2nd PH cutter ‘balisong’ to China’s ‘machine gun’

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President Aquino has been hot about this week’s arrival of the Philippines’ second Hamilton-class cutter from Hawaii, but an analyst calls the secondhand vessel another “balisong” (fan knife) to China’s “machine gun.”

The newly acquired BRP Ramon Alcaraz docked at Guam Naval Base on Saturday after a 10-day voyage across the Pacific Ocean from Pearl Harbor in Hawaii. It was scheduled to leave Guam on Sunday afternoon for the last leg of its voyage to its new home, the Philippines.

The Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) said the 88 officers and crew of the Ramon Alcaraz led by its commanding officer, Capt. Ernesto Baldovino, were welcomed to Guam by the Philippine Consulate and Filipinos living on the island during the stopover.

The DFA did not say when the cutter would arrive in Manila, but earlier reports quoted officials as saying it was due in Manila on Aug. 3.

“Apart from modern arms, vehicles and higher grade of training for our men, we’re excited about the arrival of our second Hamilton-class cutter,” the President told members of the Armed Forces of the Philippines Officers Candidate School Alumni Association Inc. in Camp Aguinaldo on Friday.

Aquino spoke about the cutter as he crowed about the release of P26.27 billion for the military’s modernization in the last three years, and his signing of the P75-billion AFP Modernization Act in December last year.

No match

But Benito Lim, a professor of political science at Ateneo de Manila University, played down the impact of the cutter on the country’s external defense, arguing it could hardly match China’s sophisticated firepower.

Since it was decommissioned by the United States, the cutter had been stripped drown to remove its electronic systems and weapons, and the Philippines had to pay for its refurbishment to restore its capabilities, Lim said.

“The US knows the Chinese have sophisticated armament. They have missiles that can hit the Philippines. And yet they gave us balisong to China’s machine gun,” Lim said by phone.

“Even with another balisong, [we still cannot] defend [our] territories. What’s painful is that we’re spending so much on something that will not allow us to keep the territories that we claim, that will not lead to ownership of contested territories,” Lim said.

The Ramon Alcaraz will join in the service the BRP Gregorio del Pilar, also a cutter that the United States had decommissioned then turned over to the Philippines in August 2011. The Gregorio del Pilar is the biggest “warship” of the Philippines.

“These are obsolete vessels [and] we can’t defend ourselves with [them]. Why are they giving these to us? Are they our friends?” Lim said.

There are other ways to get a better deal than “junk and obsolete vessels” and the Philippines can get one such deal by talking to China, Lim said.

Sea disputes

Both the Gregorio del Pilar and the Ramon Alcaraz will patrol Philippine coastal waters in the face of China’s growing military might and increasingly assertive presence in the West Philippine Sea (South China Sea), where the two countries are disputing ownership of islets, reefs and atolls believed to be sitting on vast energy reserves.

China claims nearly the entire sea, including waters close to the shores of its Southeast Asian neighbors.

With nothing to match China’s firepower, the Philippines has taken its territorial dispute with China in the West Philippine Sea to the United Nations for arbitration.

Refusing to take part in the arbitration, China armed its maritime surveillance vessels and sent three of them to the Spratlys in the middle of the West Philippines Sea where the Philippines has claims, including five islets called the Kalayaan (Freedom) Group and Ayungin Shoal (Second Thomas Shoal).

Philippine sovereignty in the Spratlys is guarded by an old, rusty naval transport vessel that Manila ran aground on Ayungin Shoal in May 1999 to mark its territorial boundary.

Exercise in futility

The second secondhand cutter is part of the US offer to help the Philippines strengthen its Navy following the declaration by then US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton that the United States would be neutral in the sea disputes, according to Lim.

Lim said the acquisition of the cutters was an “exercise in futility.”

“P-Noy’s advisers are not realistic. They think it’s a military solution. The solution is peaceful negotiation,” said Lim, who has proposed that the Philippines explore the possibility of negotiating with Beijing joint development of the disputed areas.

Lim, a political economy consultant to the Philippine Embassy in China in the 1970s, said he had some suspicions about the military’s pushing for the acquisition of cutters even though these were no match to China’s warships in the West Philippine Sea.

“There could be some commission somewhere along the way,” he said.

Japanese offer

Lim said Japan’s offer to build 10 “multirole response vessels” for the Philippine Coast Guard through a yen credit facility during Japanese Prime Minster Shinzo Abe’s visit to Manila over the weekend was in the same mold.

“Why are they selling us junk? They’re taking advantage of us and selling us obsolete weapons that will not get us the contested islands,” he said.

Aquino and Abe vowed to pursue a common stance against maritime aggression in the region. Japan is also locked in a dispute with China over a group of islands in the East China Sea called Senkakus by the Japanese and Diaoyus by the Chinese.

In his speech at Camp Aguinaldo, Aquino said he was all for military modernization but this should not be at the expense of education, health and employment of Filipinos.

“That’s the right attitude,” Lim said.—With a report from Christine O. Avendaño

Originally posted: 9:40 pm | Sunday, July 28th, 2013


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  • valsore

    Mr. Burgonio, we need the coast guard even during peacetime to enforce the police power of the state against smugglers and for calamities, rescue and humanitarian reasons.

  • Mon Dragon

    The Philippines has no match to China in the event of a shooting war. But losing is not the point. It is the bravery and love of the Filipinos of this country that must be taken into consideration. Let the chinese understand that we are a brand of people who are not afraid to die in the defense of the motherland. As what General Gregorio “Goyong” Del Pilar said on that one-sided battle of Tirad Pass. ” I was surrounded by overwhelming odds that over powered me and my brave men, but I’m happy thinking that i died fighting for my country”. To die in the defense of this country is the greatest honor that we can be proud of to the next generation..To the Chinese commies.. Make no mistake about it..

    • PurpleDaisy13

      re: “The Philippines has no match to China in the event of a shooting war. But losing is not the point.”

      Winning and Losing is ALWAYS the point in War.

      There are other means of proving bravery and love without having to waste your life towards an unmatched war where you are sure to die and commit a worthless act of suicide for.

      Besides, you wouldn’t be fighting for the Filipinos of the Philippines. You would be fighting for the profit earnings of corrupt government officials, Oil company Executives and Shareholders over very tiny islands where very few to zero Filipinos permanently reside.

      • DeeEsspee

        Daisy Duke said: Winning and Losing is ALWAYS the point in War.
        I say: Not. The ONLY point in war is to destroy the enemy as much as you can, as many as you can, and as efficiently as you can. And to Hades with the embedded journalists.

        Daisy Duke said: There are other means of proving bravery and love without having to waste your life towards an unmatched war where you are sure to die and commit a worthless act of suicide for.
        I say: Maybe, but this is spoken like the true non-warrior. Most wars are between unmatched antagonists. But the side that really knows how to wage a real war will come out the winner regardless of roster size.

        Daisy Duke said: Besides, you wouldn’t be fighting for the Filipinos of the Philippines. You would be fighting for the profit earnings of corrupt government officials, Oil company Executives and Shareholders over very tiny islands where very few to zero Filipinos permanently reside.
        I say: Spoken like the true libtard I figured you to be. Higher values, loftier ideals and human principles mean nothing to you. What a waste! :-(

      • PurpleDaisy13

        re: “The ONLY point in war is to destroy the enemy as much as you can”

        Exactly DeeEspee….which also equates to “Winning”.

        When you play chess, is the point to defeat the most valuable pieces and and as many pieces of your opponent? Yes, which also ultimately translates to “WINNING”.

        Besides DeeEspee, all you’ve done was reject Mon Dragon’s original point…which is “It is the bravery and love of the Filipinos of this country”. We don’t need your point of view if the result leads to the same conclusion I’ve already expressed DeeEspee.

        re: “But the side that really knows how to wage a real war will come out the winner regardless of roster size.”

        Even if one knows how to wage a real war, you CANNOT WIN against an opponent that is so much greater than your own size. Especially when China in fact happens to be the 3rd Most Powerful Military in the entire World DeeEspee. While Philippines Military is one of THE weakest in the Entire World.

        re: “Spoken like the true libtard I figured you to be.”

        DeeEspee, nobody cares about your political views regarding liberals and conservatives. It’s all about “Winning”…and China’s Military kicks your a$$ easy:

        China Military:

        Active Military: 2,285,000 [2011]
        Total Aircraft: 5,048 [2013]
        Helicopters: 901 [2013]

        Aircraft Carriers: 1 [2012]
        Destroyers: 25 [2012]
        Submarines: 63 [2012]
        Frigates: 47 [2012]
        Patrol Craft: 332 [2012]
        Mine Warfare Craft: 52 [2012]
        Amphibious Assault Craft: 228 [2012]

        Philippine Military:

        Active Military: 120,000 [2011]
        Total Aircraft: 289 [2011]
        Helicopters: 159 [2011]

        Aircraft Carriers: 0 [2011]
        Destroyers: 0 [2011]
        Submarines: 0 [2011]
        Frigates: 2 [2011]
        Patrol Craft: 128 [2011]
        Mine Warfare Craft: 0 [2011]
        Amphibious Assault Craft: 10 [2011]

        Basic Assessment:

        Active Military: China wins 95%
        Total Aircraft: China wins 95%
        Helicopters: China wins 75%

        Aircraft Carriers: China wins 100%
        Destroyers: China wins 100%
        Submarines: China wins 100%
        Frigates: China wins 96%
        Patrol Craft: China wins 61%
        Mine Warfare Craft: China wins 100%
        Amphibious Assault Craft: China wins 96%

      • DeeEsspee

        Nope. U.S. won militarily in Vietnam but lost in the homefront, thanks to the media and media-fueled youth activism. Those two factions are basically enemies too that cannot be destroyed for obvious reasons. Israel won militarily against Palestine but lost the war for the media. It was at these points when media realized it can make AND report the news.

        Warfare has changed. The embedded journalist is a big factor in the change. It’s crazy. C’est la guerre!

      • PurpleDaisy13

        re: “Nope. U.S. won militarily in Vietnam but lost in the homefront”

        You are correct in winning militarily in Vietnam. But wrong about losing in the homefront….the US never waged war with the people in the homefront.

      • DeeEsspee

        That’s what I said. You just summarized it. Thanks.

      • PurpleDaisy13

        Not exactly. You tried to say our US won militarily in Vietnam but lost in the homefront….under the same context of War.

        I denied your position because the US did not wage war against their own US citizens in the homefront to qualify as a war lost by our US military.

      • Punyëtero»Ka

        Now that’s the old Our-US-Purple-Faker style I missed. You even are starting with the Our-laws-bollshit trying so hard but we oldtimers know the real score, eh? Wink, wink!

      • Punyëtero»Ka

        Let me just warn you about your bragging here..you called the small island country north from here as Republic of China in a comment which shocked your coolie admirers as it’s never supposed to be termed as thus but only as a wayward province! That was a major gaffe that is a mortal sin & could earn you a hanging or a bullet on the back of your head. Hate to see you go, so be alert!

  • Roy Rosales

    comment on ramz reply: well said ramz

  • Ben

    While we are in a shopping mode to arm our AFP. The Philippines must equally develop its research and technology division under the DND/DOST wing to study the F-5 jets that were now retired, and the F-8 crusader left in open storage in Basa airbase during the Pinatubo eruption, the resulting ashes destroyed 35 valuable air superiority fighter/ interceptors that we`ve got. Although they were just scraps now, they are a gold mine of knowledge for the Filipinos to learn from, like all those old and rusty US given equipments, their technology can still be useful for our country and be made more advanced through innovations via reversed engineering with permission from the US before selling them as scraps. We can then build generic fighter planes and can just import the GE engines powering the fighters, cheaper since we will just be buying engines abroad while the air frame, software and other instrumentations made in the Philippines. We must level up, the senators should give up some of their 200 million pork to fund the research. We could then fund a research to develop smart cruise missiles to arm them…Since the country does not have a state sponsored research. I think this will help slow down the brain drain that the country suffered from several decades before and continuing….

  • gerryjoaquin

    benito lim should just go back to where his roots originated since he just shows how chinky eyed he is. he is just like gma who sold philippine sovereignty in exchange for chinese loans to finance projects where mike received kickbacks.

  • juan cruz

    Better than nothing.

    • DeeEsspee

      The Hamiltons are actually excellent platforms with lots of service years still left in them even without a major retrofit. Those hulls were over-engineered because they go in where navy ships normally will not go, e.g., a sea of ice floes and icebergs, the middle of a highly toxic chem spill or highly flammable petro spill, or behind an icebreaker helping it break up the smaller pieces (and providing protection from totally riled Canadians who claim the Northwest Passage as their own ice skating rink). :-D

  • opinyonlangpo

    I read in another article that a third same Hamilton class cutter is being offered to Philippines as additional military aid. Its free, thats good.

    • Saigon Kick

      After criticiIng the second hamilton acquisition now u are promoting the third? clearly mockery is your purpose.

      • Punyëtero»Ka

        Read our exchanges, opinyonlangpo is promoter of the PRC, a snake in the backyard & deserves to have its head lopped off!

    • .Hugo

      no, the cutters are not free. your government have paid a huge sum to retrofit them.

      • opinyonlangpo

        But of course. It could have been cash but the Philippines preferred to spend it for a cutter.

      • Punyëtero»Ka

        Take your opinion to your arse where the sun doesn’t shine, troll!

      • opinyonlangpo

        You can’t even link your reply to the article. I will not be surprised if you talk to your parents same way. Oh you have no idea who your parents are, sometimes Chinese, sometimes Filipinos, sometimes American. Must be a very desperate life.

      • Punyëtero»Ka

        Why should I mind what you think? Dealing with various cultures is second nature in my country where 97% is mixed, so take your inbred purity shett too, to where the sun doesn’t shine on you!

      • opinyonlangpo

        Which country? Funny, you have a multiple ancestry. Which adopted country will that be again? Probably USA, China, Philippines or somewhere else. Oh you don’t know, you were not there when you were made.

      • Punyëtero»Ka

        No business of yours but not China for sure or are you so dumb you can’t see that? Let me ask you too, which mongol, or whatever which raped your ancestress are you descended from? If he’s still around I’m sure he’ll skin you alive as an unworthy descendant!

      • opinyonlangpo

        You proudly stated that you are of Chinese descent and now you are denying it. Anyway, sorry to disappoint you but your Mongols or Chinese ancestors never reached my country in the past thousands of years, no record or evidence whatsoever.

      • Punyëtero»Ka

        You are getting Alzheimer’s troll it’s my wife who has a part Chinese grandfather. My mom is part Filipino, so easy on the melamine, it’s affecting you & that’s one indication! Now you’ll go maskarovka again? Won’t work as you exposed yourself too much previously.

      • opinyonlangpo

        Great. Just proves your split loyalty. You want to be adopted by Philippines but you pledged allegiance to USA then you allied with China. No wonder your character is all jumbled, you have to fit wherever and whenever possible. Understandable.

      • Punyëtero»Ka

        So you consider my wife with some Chinese heritage & by taking her as my wife I become an ally of your focking country? Are you still on meth? Or probably just your purity shet gurgling again. I live now in the PH & we got their backs against backyard skunks like you!

      • Punyëtero»Ka

        Up yours coolie troll! Take that flying fock to your arse!

  • $3741640

    Buti nga nagyun kahit “balisong” mayroon…eh noon parang “toothpick” lang tyo!

  • Ben

    it`s more like.. for me, David versus Goliath……and you know who won in that match….

    • .Hugo

      but this time you are facing many goliaths and you only have 2 slingshots.

      • Punyëtero»Ka

        Fock you Hugo! Just like a slimy, stinky coolie, you have to have the last post just before the comments on an article are archived! You really are a professional 50c troll , & don;t care how much is really paid. Hey, your treacherous style noted & needs to be stomped on like the vermin you are.

      • Punyëtero»Ka

        Is this the preface of your new novel “Proof or Disproof” plagiarized from Dostoevsky? HAHAHAHA!!!



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