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.
Thus, it is disheartening for Inquirer’s Rigoberto Tiglao to be so cavalier with his criticism about our row with China over the Scarborough Shoal. (Inquirer, 5/3/12) Being a political prisoner during martial law, he should know better than to capitulate to a bully. As a former ambassador to Greece, he should know to always put the interests of our country first. Instead of offering constructive insight on the dispute, however, he takes the side of China and even conveniently forgets to mention that there were already reports, including video footage, that the Chinese fishing vessels were engaged in illegal fishing. Hardly harassing innocent Chinese fishermen in our waters, our warship there was engaged in a legitimate police action.
As far as foisting all blame on President Benigno Aquino III for the souring of our relationship with China, Tiglao is again remiss in leaving out relevant facts from his arguments. True, Aquino had command responsibility for the Luneta hostage crisis, but was it not the failings of the previous administration’s Ombudsman to properly handle the case of Senior Inspector Rolando Mendoza that led to the fiasco? Furthermore, how could those erring officials of the previous government be prosecuted when they have a subservient Supreme Court to run to? And as for snubbing development aid from China, experience should certainly dictate prudence after the graft-ridden NBN-ZTE and NorthRail projects under Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo. If anything, these onerous programs from China were subtle ways to exert power over our country by incurring foreign debt—to say nothing of corrupting and co-opting our top officials. With those programs aborted, is it any wonder that China is engaging in more direct action by encroaching on our territory and collecting in kind via our natural resources?
It remains to be seen how this dispute will play out. But instead of belittling the futility of deploying our single battleship against the might of the Chinese navy, our resolve to overcome great adversity must be remembered. Moreover, national solidarity regarding this issue should supersede acrimonious political differences. A Makapili-like approach, pointing the finger at your own countryman, is certainly not warranted.
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