Pag-asa (the Filipino word for hope) is the largest island in Kalayaan, a group of islands that is part of the disputed Spratly island chain in the West Philippine Sea. The Spratly islands are claimed wholly or partly by China, Malaysia, Vietnam, Brunei, Taiwan and the Philippines. In 1978, the Philippines established the municipality of Kalayaan, formally claiming the island group as its territory; a community, including a small military presence, has since set down roots on Pag-asa.
By Jose T. Almonte
No one can stop China from claiming “indisputable sovereignty” over the West Philippine Sea (South China Sea)—except China itself or the authoritative power of world opinion.
There are many situations where the mind of a businessman can solve problems and break deadlocks where the mind of a politician cannot. Often, the businessman—thinking only in terms of pesos and centavos—can formulate innovative solutions that are beyond the imagination of the politician who is hobbled by having to balance a million and one considerations for a multitude of stakeholders. Indeed, a pragmatic businessman can move things forward in ways a pragmatic politician cannot.
By Cielito F. Habito
One hundred fifty container loads of Philippine bananas are being left to rot in the Chinese ports of Dalian, Shanghai and Xingang, according to reports that came over the weekend. Our own government officials have been quick to play down any link between the holding of the banana shipments and the ongoing tension at the Panatag Shoal. But even if there wasn’t such a link before, who would believe there wouldn’t be one now?
From Lapu-Lapu to Jose Rizal, Philippine history is replete with people who fought against overwhelming odds and won. Of course, we were still colonized by the Spaniards and Americans, occupied by the Japanese and subjugated by a home-grown dictator. But the point is the Filipino spirit is indomitable and, despite the awesome might of our oppressors, we still prevailed in the end.
By Amando Doronila
The maritime standoff between the Philippines and China in the disputed Scarborough Shoal escalated into an economic conflict on Friday following a Chinese clampdown on Philippine banana exports to China and on travel of Chinese tourists to the country.
Manila should not get deep into a tit for tat with Beijing over the Scarborough Shoal dispute despite the two capitals trading barbs against each other.
By Fr. Joaquin G. Bernas S. J.
Both the Philippines and China continue to assert sovereignty over the same area in the South China Sea. We therefore have an “international dispute,” an element necessary before one can go to an international court. We want to settle the dispute through the judicial resolution provision in the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (Unclos); but China does not. That is the bind we are in.
By Conrado de Quiros
Tatagalugin ko na at mukhang di mo talaga makuha. O kaya e nagbubulag-bulagan ka lang. Ang pinakamahirap gisingin ay di ’yung tulog kundi ’yung nagtutulog-tulugan, ang pinakamahirap pakitain ay ’yung nagbubulag-bulagan.
Christine Avendaño (“What’s in a name? Scarborough, Panatag or Bajo de Masinloc?” Inquirer, 4/29/12) gives three Philippine names for the 150-square kilometer shoal whose ownership is now being disputed by the Philippines and China. There is a fourth and earlier name: Panacot, which is found in the first detailed map of the Philippines made in 1734 by Jesuit Fr. Pedro Murillo Velarde and Filipino engraver Nicolas de la Cruz Bagay.
By Art Villasanta
It’s beyond doubt that China is Asia’s greatest economy—and its biggest bully.
By Conrado de Quiros
“We must show the People’s Republic of China that the Filipino nation is one in supporting the leadership of the Republic of the Philippines in asserting the sovereign rights of this republic and the Filipino people over the Scarborough Shoal and the Reed Bank, and all the areas the Republic of the Philippines occupies in the South China Sea. This is a national issue that requires the support of the entire nation, and we support the President on this. There should be unanimity of all Filipinos in supporting Malacañang regardless of political persuasion and affiliation on this particular issue.”