By Ramon Farolan
Last week, the New York Times Magazine came out with an article written by Jeff Himmelman with photographs and video by Ashley Gilbertson. The two were part of a group led by Mayor Eugenio Bito-onon Jr. of the Kalayaan Island Group that covers most of the Spratlys. The mayor has a constituency of 288 voters, most of whom live on Pag-asa, the largest island in the group.
By Conrado de Quiros
The good news is that the United States has spoken out against China’s belligerence.
We would like our Asian neighbors to have friendly relations with our country. But in recent years, some have become a threat to us—like the Chinese who have been insisting that our islands in the Spratlys are theirs. It is obvious that no amount of diplomacy can convince them to change their mind on the islands.
By Fr. Joaquin G. Bernas S. J.
What can legally be said about the incursions of Chinese fishing and other vessels into Philippine waters? The first thing, of course, is to look into the laws that govern the seas.
Really, it’s enough to tempt even the patient observer to ditch the diplomatic niceties. China, through its Ambassador to Manila Ma Keqing, has raised concerns over “the Philippines coming up with structures, additional structures, on Ayungin Shoal” in the Spratly Islands, according to Defense Secretary Voltaire Gazmin. In a report, Gazmin further quoted Ma as saying that China is continuously monitoring Philippine troops in the area or whether new structures are being built.
By Ramon J. Farolan
The latest incursion into Philippine territory by Chinese warships and fishing vessels has been at Ayungin Shoal in the Spratlys, one of hundreds of islands, reefs and atolls in the archipelago.
By Bernie V. Lopez
The stalemates in Sabah and in the Spratly chain of islands have one essential thing in common: They both represent a legal dilemma.
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.