I’ll start with some information that may seem off-topic but actually, enormously relevant to what we will discuss. It’s a news report in The Guardian of December 29, 2006 whose title is “For the British Treasury, only today is the war over.” Did anyone reading this ever imagine that it has taken 61-years for Britain to pay off its “lend-lease” debt for U.S. weapons and supplies to fight Germany in WWII!
The U.S. is now doing the same thing to Ukraine. All that equipment, supplies and funds now going to Ukraine from the U.S. are not free, they are all “lend-lease” and loans from the United States. See this information from the U.S. Department of Defense, “Biden Signs Lend-Lease Act to Supply More Security Assistance to Ukraine.” That is the U.S. scam on those who accept to be fooled.
The U.S. will not defend Ukraine to the hilt. It will stop when Ukraine surrenders to Russia, but in the process, the E.U. will also buried in debt to the U.S. for the military equipment and supplies used in the rearmament of the E.U. and NATO. This is relevant to Filipinos because the U.S. is pushing the Philippines into the same predicament by using retired military officers of the AFP.
U.S. mad dash for EDCA renewal
Ado Paglinawan, our colleague at the Asian Century Journal wrote, as far back as September 5, 2022, alerting that the “Deadline to Abrogate EDCA is April 27, 2023!” and reminded one and all of Article XVIII, Section 25, of the Constitution, which states that…
“…foreign military bases, troops, or facilities shall not be allowed in the Philippines except (1) under a treaty duly concurred in by the Senate and, (2) when the Congress so requires, ratified by a majority of the votes cast by the people in a national referendum held for that purpose, (3) and recognized as a treaty by the other contracting State.”
On January 17, 2016, the late Senator Miriam D. Santiago, eminent constitutionalist and author of books on law, released a press statement saying, “’Both EDCA, VFA should be invalidated… The EDCA is invalid for two reasons: the executive claims that it is not a treaty but merely an executive agreement, and it was not submitted to the Senate for concurrence. The flaw of the VFA, meanwhile, lies in the fact that it is not considered a treaty by the U.S….’”
Another unassailable charge by the late Senator, “It is true that the president has broad powers in foreign relations, but it excludes what is prohibited by the Constitution. The Constitution, Article 18, Section 25, prohibits an executive agreement on foreign bases, troops, or facilities,”
Retired AFP brass chorusing for U.S. DefSec Austin
This past week, two retired high-ranking AFP officers came out in public- retired rear admiral Rommel Jude Ong and retired Maj. Gen. Edgard Arevalo- both pushing the American policy and propaganda line that invite baseless tension and conflict scenarios that I will easily expose as spurious and malevolent.
Ong’s so-called warned “in a closed-door forum organized by the Stratbase ADR Institute” about alleged “China’s political warfare” due to social get-together of AFP officers (who underwent a short course in China) with Chinese Embassy officials here in Manila. What’s wrong with a social of Filipino and Chinese officials? The US “schools” thousands of Filipino officers in the US and Australia, connives with US officers and a hundred U.S. servicemen work in Camp Aguinaldo itself.
Edgardo A. Arevalo wrote in the Manila Times, “Following an uncharted course in dealing with China…” implying the dangers of such a course. This showed the ignorance of this PMA graduate, the course of relations between the Philippines and China has been charted since the late Tang dynasty in the 9th century as marked by peace and prosperous trade – never antipathy unlike the US murder and colonization of Filipinos. The course charted by Duterte romoted peace, harmony and Philippine economic development.
I challenge Ong and Arevalo to a public debate on this issue, and if they are afraid then let me ask them to face a female instead – Prof. Anna Malindog-Uy. “Betsa” they will chicken out.
Two false and petty issues
Both Ong and Arevalo raised the issue of a recent media allegation that “a Chinese Coast Guard vessel drove away a Filipino fishing boat in Ayungin Shoal on January 9. Arevalo said “President Marcos… should have realized by now that there can really be no ‘agreement’ with Xi after CCG vessels drove away Filipino fishing boats from Ayungin Shoal on Jan. 9, 2023.”
Both Ong and Arevalo need to be reminded that, as of the latest news on January 22, the Philippine Coast Guard was reported by a wide variety of Philippine newspaper to have said that the matter of the alleged harassment of Filipinos is still under investigation. To this day, February 3, no update has been reported. The recklessness of Ong and Arevalo make it obvious they just want to stir up hate of China.
Being veteran security experts in that field, both Ong and Arevalo should understand that some incidents occur that are not necessarily due to aggressive intentions on either side. Hence terms of engagements are defined and investigation and/or dialogue and mediation processes are provided. This is why China and the Philippines have just recently added direct phone links for discussing such incidences.
The other incident the two used to to raise emotions is the Chinese space debris case that Arevalo describes as, “… the most publicized of Chinese capability to prevaricate — officially — was their embassy’s report that Philippine Navy personnel voluntarily surrendered a recovered Chinese rocket debris.”
I ask Arevalo to interpret the earliest, unadulterated official AFP statement from Wescom spokesperson Cheryll Tindog “Maximum tolerance naman tayo sa ganun. Since it’s unidentified, then not a matter of life and death naman yung object, so parang nag-decide na lang yung ating team na bumalik na lang dun sa Naval Station Emilio Liwanag (NSEL)…” Doesn’t it sound voluntary?
Even the audio recording of the PCG men on the “bangka” did not indicate a forcible seizure but rather their lament over the deplorable equipment that AFP higher ups and political authorities have allocated to the PCG, which is attributable to corruption and U.S./oligarchy/politico-imposed AFP deprivations and diversions of funds (remember FVR’s AFP modernization funds: where’d they go?).
Actually, Ong, Arevalo and all Filipinos should be thankful our Coast Guard personnel yielded the “space debris” as the UN Outer Space Affairs rule on this states that “Art. VII of the OST (Outer Space Treaty) provides that space objects, including their components, found outside their state of registration must be returned to the state of registry upon proof of ownership.” The PCG in returning the space debris to the Chinese Cost Guard saved the Philippines some embarrassment if as Ong and Arevalo wanted, an issue was made of this.
Philippine-China military goodwill gaining traction
There are officers and men of integrity and courage in the AFP who admit the hypocrisy of U.S. “defense” of the Philippines, recall easily US complicity in the “peace talks” that caused abandonment of the SAF 44 to their death, the betrayal in the Marawi Siege when the U.S. refused to supply 26,000 assault rifles, US jurisdiction of cases of rape in US bases, killer choppers and C-130 donations, ad nauseam.
These same AFP officers of integrity and courage cooperated with the Chinese Embassy’s bridging of relations between Philippine and Chinese military personnel that culminated in a get-together of the AFP officers that underwent training in China with the Chinese Embassy officials, in the same manner that countless Filipino AFP officers who undergo training in Ft. Bragg and activities in the U.S. have such reunions and socials.
What’s wrong with Philippine officers and Chinese Embassy officials engaging in a social events when even Hermogenes Esperon, the best National Security Adviser and retired general of the AFP, has said in public, “China is not an enemy.” Since President Duterte’s time, the Philippine-China military friendship has been gaining traction, and this is why the Americans have mobilized their “tutas” (canines) to bark now.
Why is it all right for Filipino AFP men and officers to go for training and ”schooling” at Fort Bragg or Fort Benning in the U.S.A., take an MNSA (Masers in National Security Administration at the Australian Defense College or engage in cadet exchange programs at West Point, US Naval Academy and US Coast Guard Academy? Is the Philippines still under Western colonial rule and the tutelage of the colonial powers?
China-Philippine Friendship gains traction with the people
Since President Duterte took office in 2016 and developed very productive relations with China, the “common tao” or regular Filipino’s perception of China has improved to the point, according to a reliable and objective poll done by the Czech Palacky University with CEIAS (Central European Institute of Asian Studies) 2022, that 55% of Filipinos already have very positive to positive opinion of China.
Truly, China’s trade and aid to the Philippines has outshone anything the U.S. has done for this country. China is now the top trading partner of the Philippines, brought $ 2.3-billion in tourist spending to this country in 2019 alone, supplied 55-million doses of anti-Covid vaccines donated or priced as “global public goods”, established agri-training centers, and funded infrastructures like irrigation, bridges, massive water supply projects, among many others goodwill projects. China has proven its genuine goodwill.
What has the patron, the U.S., of Ong and Arevalo done for the Philippines? On “foreign military financing”, the US sends on helicopters and planes that crash and kill Filipino soldiers (don’t forget the 2021 C-130 crash that killed 53, or the 3 “donated” surplus choppers that killed their pilots). In the meanwhile, live-fire military drills in Cagayan and Palawan destroy the ecology of the area.
Ong, Arevalo Lambasts Duterte
Retired rear admiral Ong and retired Brig. General Edgar A. Arevalo both criticized and maligned former president Rodrigo R. Duterte, accusing Duterte’s policy of goodwill as “appeasement”, including Duterte’s honesty about the oppression and geopolitical dilemmas caused by the U.S. (starting with the Budj Dajo massacre too the U.S. Strategy of Tension in the region) while denouncing the aggressive and offensive pressures of the U.S. “solidarity” wit the Philippines.
Ong maligned Duterte for desiring to “prevent war with China,” and “not allow the Navy to conduct patrols in the EEZ, secure vessels surveying the service contract areas off Palawan, and participate in bilateral patrols in the WPS with the US Navy.” The truth is, Duterte never banned the Philippine Navy from the South China Sea EEZ and claimed areas of the Philippines. What Duterte disallowed was joint patrols with the U.S.
Secondly, the Philippine Navy is not an adjunct of the U.S. Navy to patrol its colonial territory. And finally, there are on-going talks on the Reed Bank oil and gas joint exploration project between the Philippines and China. The site of the project is in the Philippine-claimed EEZ, which is still subject to dispute as the “arbitration award” is not even accepted by the United Nations up to this time.
Arevalo attacked Duterte’s campaign remark during the presidential debates in 2016 that he, as president, would “jet ski to plant the Philippine flag on the Spratly Islands.” Of the 100-million Filipinos at that time, Arevalo may be the only one whom seems to have missed the ironic truth of the Spratly Islands claim and laughed at the joke. There is other greater concerns than engaging in endless quarrels over the dispute – such as constructive sharing of responsibilities and bounties of the sea.
Arevalo raises the claim of Chinese vessels harassing “…. hapless Filipinos who cannot cast their fishing nets – nay enter their traditional fishing grounds to earn a living.” This is pure and shameless repetitive hogwash. In one such allegation in July 2021, both the PCG and Masinloc Mayor Arsenia Lim refuted such a claim with the Mayor saying ‘Yan po ay walang katotohanan [There’s no truth to that].” Arevalo shamelessly uses propaganda lies dictated by U.S. PR pitches.
Arevalo compares “inutil” Duterte to Indonesia’s leader Widodo who “blasts and sinks encroaching Chinese fishing vessels” without mentioning that in 2017, Indonesia sank 86 Vietnamese fishing vessels and, in other cases, Filipino fishing vessels. The Vietnamese are the most rampant illegal fishers but Arevalo engages in selective targeting of the Chinese to serve U.S. anti-China propaganda – another case of shameless bootlicking to the Americans.
Arevalo claims that the past six years of “closer ties” with China “…. are filled with bitter anecdotes of many of our poor kababayan being subjected to machine gunfires (sic) and water cannon blasts and exposed to blinding search light and various other menacing ways by the Chinese Coast Guard.” Gunfire we never heard of, searchlights and water cannons perhaps in a few cases which have all been clarified. An anecdote is just a story after all, often “regarded as unreliable or hearsay.”
If we are to speak of the harassment of fishermen, the Philippine Navy and Coast Guard have to do the mea culpas first. Take the case of the Scarborough Shoal arrest of Chinese fishermen who were forced to squat and bake under the sun while in custody (photos of which stirred the Chinese Netizens) and the infamous 2013 Guang Da Xing Taiwan fishing boat that was machine-gunned by PCG men. For killing a Taiwanese fisherman, eight PCG men were eventually convicted in a Philippine court.
Members of media
Arevalo is requesting “courageous and nationalistic” members of Philippine media to “accompany naval resupply sorties and expose, with the help of colleagues in the international press… to expose Chinese atrocities”. As laughable allegation, and this reminds me of ABS-CBN’s Chiarra Zambrano who faked a chase scenario in 2021 with manipulated videos and photos that were later exposed and denounced by DND Sec. Lorenzana and Duterte spokesman Panelo as fake.
Arevalo may like the participation of U.S. “think tanks” such as Simularity that churned out as evidence a photo of an alleged Chinese vessel spewing out human sewage in the so-called West Philippine Sea. The so-called evidence was later exposed by then DFA secretary and DND secretary Lorenzana as a photo taken in Australian waters in 2014 that. These are probably the “nationalistic” reportage Arevalo wants.
Arevalo shows expresses indignation over the problem of “resupply” for the BP Sierra Madre, which was deliberately grounded by the Philippines on the Ayungin Shoal to stake its claim to the area, a proposition with seriously questionable validity but has become a matter of pride for the Philippine military. The AFP has tried to resupply the marine detachment not only with food and water but the suspected provision of steel and cement to build structures to reinforce the Philippines’ claim.
According to China’s spokesperson Hong Lei, then-incoming President Joseph “Erap” Estrada made the “unequivocal commitment” to China in 1999 that the Philippines would tow away the grounded ship. Hong also said that Estrada’s successor, President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, reiterated Erap’s “solemn commitment” in 2003. These can be verified easily, why don’t they do so? On the face of it, laying territorial claim with a grounded rusting, decaying ship seems a tenuous proposition.
Arevalo wants to bring in media to record the face-off between Chinese Coast Guard and Philippine resupply boats that could deliberately invite the blockade of a Chinese Coast Guard sensitive to the possibility of filtering in of construction materials. This is sensational material for the U.S. and Western media to again dramatize Chinese “harassment.”. The U.S. is forever pushing some sectors of the Philippine retired brass to plot such provocative schemes.
Pushing pointless, insane arms race
In an interview at the Davos, WEF conference recently, President Bongbong Marcos made one of his wisest statements to the world “… there is no point in the Philippines building up its armory.” As former NSA chief Hermogenes Esperon has said repeatedly “China is not an enemy…” Who else would the Philippines be preparing for if Arevalo is to be believed in saying that the “Defense budget must be increased…?”
A survey done by Pulse Asia for the Amboys of Stratbase ADRI found that only 3% of the Filipinos surveyed are concerned about external security threats and this ranks 15th of 16 categories of concern; the first and foremost, other 97% are concerned with prices of goods, inflation and the economy. The nation demands economic development and growth, not more provocations, tension, conflict and arms buys that the Arevalos among the retired AFP brass seeks to push and which the U.S. loves.
Presidents Duterte together with China in cultivating relations will always beat the U.S. and its Amboy minions who are only pushing arms credit sales, provocations for tension and conflict. China is the top trading partner of the Philippines, a gargantuan importer of Philippine goods, provider of hundreds of thousands of jobs in the tourism sector, supporter of Philippine agricultural technology development, and much, much more.
Joint Maritime Drills with the U.S
Both Arevalo and Ong are pushing for joint maritime patrols not only with the U.S. but also, as Arevalo writes, “…Australia, Japan and Canada” once again criticizing Duterte for banning the Philippine Navy from participating in such joint drills “to ostensibly prevent offending its neighbor” meaning China of course. Arevalo is grievously wrong on this point and severely misguided, if not criminally malicious.
These “joint military drills and patrols” are precursor to an Asian NATO. We have seen NATO push the European continent to broad war, destroying its own Western and Central European nations while the U.S. sells an energy starved E.U. with oil and gas at five times the price of Russian oil, while exporting arms on lend-lease basis to Ukraine and every other E.U. nation in the subsequent “rearmament” of Europe.
It is no accident that the NATO chief is visiting Asia at this time. NATO seeks to spread the war in Europe to Asia following U.S. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin’s visits to its allies (read as surrogates) in Asia. World War III is being prepared and Arevalo, Ong and the Amboy cabal is helping the satanic project. The U.S. seeks to upset the world apple cart to escape its financial and geopolitical crimes of the past decades.
Back to the “arbitration award”
The Amboys like Arevalo and Ong unavoidably go back to the “arbitration award” that, for those who do their own research and understand, is totally meaningless since the statement of U.N. spokesman Stefan Dujarric in 2016 makes it very clear, “’The UN doesn’t have a position on the legal and procedural merits’ of the South China Sea arbitration case.” The Philippine media has played this down so effectively that few Filipinos know this.
Treacherous Filipinos like Arevalo, Ong and their Amboy ilk are deliberately playing dumb about this to sustain the myth of the Philippine claim that is based on the ITLOS ad UNCLOS. Arevalo refers to it again, demanding PBBM “generate support from the UN to pressure China to adhere to the ruling…” I can’t help but tell the “dumb ass” – China won a judge’s seat at the ITLOS in 2020, and China has the votes of the combined South-South and BRICS countries.
China has all the aces but has never used them to impose its will, instead it aims to reconcile differences with its ASEAN neighbors in the dispute, engaging in dialogue and negotiations to attain Win-Win solutions – such as PHL-China Oil and Gas joint venture. Hopefully, the deal favoring that is already immensely favorable to the Philippines can be completed soon.
Cowards in the face of U.S. diktats
The likes of Ong, Arevalo and the rest of the despicable Amboys invoke nationalism, patriotism, courage and defiance against China that had never invaded the Philippines, never interfered in its internal affairs, and, in historical fact, aided the Philippines not only in trade since 900 B.C. but also in the national political aspirations of the nation. Dr. Sun Yatsen worked with Mariano Ponce in the Philippine Revolution against Spain, China aided the fight against Japan with the Wah Chi battalion, and continues today with its massive aid in health, agriculture and infrastructure.
But when it comes to U.S. meddling in Asian and Philippine affairs, these Amboy fake “patriots” are not only as meek as kittens but as bootlicking as canines asking for a bone. I don’t question the physical bravery of our officers corps, but some of them are real moral and intellectual cowards in the face of “white supremacist” U.S. diktats. We the people cannot allow them to claim respectability and credibility for carrying on the shameless march of the Macabebes.
But I have come to know truly patriotic and brave military officers of the AFP who know and act on the best interest of the nation and promote Asian and PHL-China military dialogue and cooperation. One of them once told me, “The Duterte policy of independence from the U.S. is good, these American officers never used to salute us Filipino officers but now they stand to attention just seeing us walk in the room.”
An Asia at peace with harmonious relations among its nations guarantees the region’s continued growth and prosperity. It is now the beacon for the world to follow. The Amboys want to disrupt the Asian concord, spreading U.S. black propaganda and political intrigues to disrupt the region’s equanimity and disrupt PHL-China engagement. The likes of retired rear admiral Ong and pipsqueak Arevalo in the hire of the U.S. are just shameless gofers of the Americans.
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