Marcos Legacy, Not Arbitral Panel: Philippine Possessions in the South China Sea

            There is a myth being propagated by the ADRI and Stratbase that the so-called victory at the Permanent Court of Arbitration conducted in a rented space in The Hague, neither a U.N. body nor a court that did no arbitration and not permanent, is the reason the Philippines has any claim in that part of the South China Sea.

            The Philippine claim and now legislated by its government as part of its territory it calls the West Philippine Sea was the singular achievement of President Ferdinand E. Marcos for taking the bold initiative to direct the Armed Forces of the Philippines to occupy a number of islands in the Spratly’s group of islands in the 70s and passed a law declaring the Kalayaan Group of Islands a municipality of the Province of Palawan and establishing garrisons and even populating the islands with 200 Filipinos.

Vietnam more offensive, not China

            Marcos and Marcos alone can claim the distinction of having established the possessions of the Philippines in that part of the South China Sea, and ever since that time the People’s Republic of China (PROC) has not made any move to threaten the occupation and possession of those islands by the Philippines. It was Vietnam that some would like to declare as the best friend of the Philippines in these claims, that stole Pugad Island from Philippine possession in 1975.

            The manner by which Vietnam grabbed Pugad Island from occupying Filipino troops is particularly important to be reminded of, for its stealth and treachery. The Vietnamese offered to fete the Philippine garrison’s commander on his birthday in another Philippine occupied island, Parola, and promised to bring beauties from Saigon to join. Our troops in Pugad Island left and all joined at Parola. The next day after the party, our troops returning to Pugad Island found the Vietnamese with machine gun nests facing them.

Dynamic Marcos, apathetic Cory Aquino, covetous MVP

            Marcos held on to those Kalayaan Islands and features, and invested men and resources to build up a credible administration of the islands, built airfields and weather facilities and communities. These were completely left derelict in the entire 30 years after Corazon C. Aquino deposed Marcos. The only time keen interest was revived was when the Salim group’s men Manuel Pangilinan and Albert del Rosario saw prospects of controlling the oil opportunities in the area, staking their claim and even offering China the partnership to develop the energy resources of the Recto Bank to China.

America and the Amboys

            In perfect timing with the 2011 Obama and Hillary Clinton “Pivot to Asia” the focus on the Spratly’s started and the Scarborough Shoals stand-off was triggered by the clearly offensive and aggressive arrest of Chinese fishermen thereat where it used to be a peaceful “common fishing ground” since time immemorial. Albert del Rosario engineered what turned out to be a fiasco after sending a Philippine military ship BRP Del Pilar and stirring the hornet’s nest egged on and then left to hand by the United States of America.

            Albert del Rosario and the bevy of sycophantic American boys and media who are all demonstrably cupping their hands for U.S. and Pangilinan moneys like Rappler, CMFR, Richard Heydarian, Jay Batongbacal, The Chiefs, and the usual suspects, crow about the “victory” at The Hague when that “victory” has produced no greater claim and produced more losses for the Philippines claims – like the identification of Pagasa as a “rock” that effectively lost the Philippine territorial claim.

Utter farce of the PCA/ PH Opted-Out of Compulsory Arbitration upon accession

            From the Foreign Policy Journal, Harvard lawyer Atty. Joseph Klein (Aug. 20, 2016) writes: “Article 298 of UNCLOS explicitly gives UNCLOS state parties the right to opt out of compulsory arbitration for disputes… Both China and the Philippines referenced the compulsory arbitration opt-out provisions of Article 298 when they entered into UNCLOS as state parties or in submissions provided thereafter, as well as their respective historical claims… China acted within its rights to reject the jurisdiction of the tribunal, based on its exercise of its Article 298 opt-out provision, the tribunal acted like many transnational bureaucracies do in seeking to expand its authority over sovereign states. It decided to accept jurisdiction over what is essentially a territorial dispute, including a sea boundary delimitation dimension.”

            “The decisions of the UNCLOS ‘compulsory’ arbitration tribunal are not enforceable in the conventional legal sense. Their weight depends entirely on the moral force behind the tribunal’s decisions and the influence they may have in moving the parties to reach a diplomatic resolution. Unfortunately, the UNCLOS arbitration tribunal in this case acted irresponsibly by reaching a winner-take-all result that may only serve to place a diplomatic solution further out of reach.”

            The Noynoy Aquino administration and Foreign Secretary then Albert del Rosario and the bevy of supporters of the farcical arbitration process were forewarned by many sources that the PCA process would not carry any weight. They were forewarned by the likes of Amb. Albert Encomienda and Amb. Rosario Manalo that the process would not be enforceable, that China would never be compelled to comply, that China would not be treated as an “outlaw” and “shamed” to compliance. It’s been three years since the PCA “award”, the U.S. and all its allies continue to engage China, China continues to be a major player in the G20 and treated as a pre-eminent nation, Asean has prioritized its relations with China.

            Where are the promises of the PCA “award”? All in the dustbin of history.

The PCA gained not a single inch of territory, not a grain of sand or drop of sea water

            Not a single inch of island, a grain of sand, a drop of sea water, was gained from The Hague’s fraudulent panel led by American lawyers paid for by Filipino taxpayers to the tune of half-a-billion pesos of still unaccounted funds from the National Treasury. All that we as a nation have in the claims to the South China Sea now called by the Philippines alone the West Philippine Sea was gained by one and only one person, President Ferdinand E. Marcos and never one did the rah, rah boys and girls of del Rosario ever dared to credit the late Philippine leader.

            Why not give credit to Marcos where credit is due? Because that would demolish the pillar of the anti-Marcos revisionist history, denying that Marcos was a genuine national leader dedicated to the Filipino State’s expansion and growth in the same way President Duterte is to the nation today. President Duterte has praised Marcos and today is the conservator of the Marcos legacy in the Kalayaan Group of Islands, successfully parlaying the de facto control of the islands as a leverage for “joint development” – hence, sharing the wealth from the seas around the Kalayaan Group of Islands and other areas of contention.

Del Rosario is only empty bluster

            Del Rosario’s PCA fiasco is precisely in its ability to produce not only Zero gains for the Philippines but actually to lose all the prospect of sharing in the riches of the South China Sea. The fixation in the PCA delusion has obstructed “joint development” projects that will lead to economic dislocation as the Malampaya fields expire in 2024 without a replacement, sustaining tension that can lead to unintended consequences and foreign relations disasters that may scuttle billions in trade and economic prospects and cause crises the U.S. “deep state” seeks to gain from using the Philippines as cannon fodder.

China never threatened Philippine occupied features

            China, a civilization with 5,000 years of experience and wisdom, recognized the talent of President Ferdinand E. Marcos and quietly accepted the occupation of the many features that Marcos occupied even as the Philippines was establishing official diplomatic ties with the People’s Republic of China (PROC) in the 70s. Marcos astutely timed the expansion of Philippine territorial claims. China’s conciliatory wisdom of was expressed when in 1988, during the visit of President Corazon C. Aquino to Premier Deng Xiaoping the sage premier already offered to shelve the disputes and form “joint development”.

            Never has China acted with hostility with the Philippines, never in the over a thousand-years association of the two nations. In fact, the two peoples have always worked together, first in the revolutions against Western colonialism when China’s revolutionary leader Sun Yat-Sen helped Philippine revolutionary leader Mariano Ponco link to supplier of arms in Japan for the Philippine Revolution. In the Second World War Chinese guerillas fought hand-in-hand against the Japanese.

Duterte’s Prosperity and Peace pact with China

            President Duterte has won great concessions from China for the prosperity and peace of the Philippines. China is now the Philippines’ top trading partner and in 2018 became the top investor in the Philippines pouring in # 1-Billion in one year, a figure that’s intended to grow in the years ahead especially in the continuing trade rivalry of China with the U.S. China will definitely be the top tourism source of the Philippines soon, and China’s representative to the Philippines Amb. Zhao Jianhua aims to raise imports from the Philippines to reach a balance-of-trade by the end Duterte’s term.

            It is up to us Filipinos to rise up to the challenge posed by China’s “open arms” policy in its historic shift from an “export-led” to a “consumer-led” economy. President Xi Jinping at the closing of the remarkable November 2018 China International Import Exhibition (CIIE) promised to buy $ 30-Trillion worth of goods and $ 10-Trillion worth of services from the rest of the World in the next 15-years. In the “Trade War” President Trump started which culminated in the recent “truce” the U.S. called, the lesson learned is: China’s gargantuan 1.4-Billion consumer market is not one that even the U.S. business wants to antagonize.

            The Philippines will have its hands full just meeting the challenge of exporting $ 12-Billion more annually in the years ahead. We must get busy focusing all our efforts on the Philippine Economy rather than dissipating time and energy in the endless bickering and fruitless controversies generated by issues like the PCA rulings, partisan politics, ad nausea.

            President Duterte’s cooperation with China will help transform the Philippines from a backwater state to the forefront of Asia’s most modern societies. The P 175-Billion 600-km. Manila-to-Matnog train reviving the “Bicol Express” will start groundworks at the end of this year, bridges across the Pasig are rising, $ 10-Billion worth of industrial centers are in the pipelines, while soft projects from solar power stations for far flung communities and drug rehab centers worth billions of pesos are silently donated to help in the uplifting society.

Discard the tool for obstructionists

            Marcos bequeathed the Kalayaan Group of Islands to the nation, now a prized possession enhanced in value only when it becomes a fountain gushiing bounties for the nation. The bounties therein will never see the light of day except in cooperation with other countries that have shared the expanse as a neighborhood since time immemorial. The alternative is conflict from which no one gains except interlopers from distant regions seeking to restore past glory.

            As Asia started rising in this 21st Century the distant interlopers stirred to move its power back in what it called “Pivot to Asia”, seeking to launch its restoration from its 20th century lily pad the Philippines. With collaborators it instigated the Permanent Court of Arbitration (PCA) that is not a court nor permanent and never arbitered, argued by American lawyers paid half a billion for by Filipino taxpayers. And worse, the PCA was never a UN body as falsely claimed.

            The PCA and its dubious award, without force or merit has been used as fool’s gold to spellbind and victimize some into an obsessive zeal to usurp and monopolize instead of compromise. But the real intent behind the Del Rosario-Pangilinan caper in the PCA, leverage their dubious PCA award to seize the joint venture with other claimants for their own corporation and not for the nation. Instead, the Philippine Republic must in behalf of its people engage the other claimants in joint ventures that the nation may benefit from its rightful share.

            We rely solely on the Marcos legacy, from the occupation and control of the features and islands already in possession of the Philippines, to negotiate the sharing of the bounties of our shared seas and marine resources for the nation and discard the worthless PCA fool’s award used only by the corporatists to obfuscate and obstruct our path to constructive and productive cooperation and collaboration with our neighbors.

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