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Pro-US, pro-China or just being Filipino?

/ 12:30 AM April 11, 2014

Last March 22, Defense Secretary Voltaire Gazmin twitted activists, saying: “Our problem is we keep on complaining about the Enhanced Defense Cooperation with the US. Why don’t we complain when the Chinese use water cannons on us? Why? Nasaan ang pagka-Pilipino natin? We demonstrate against those who are helping us, but we don’t demonstrate against those who are bullying us.”

I believe Gazmin was not urging Filipinos to make a choice between China and the United States, contrary to what Conrado de Quiros suggested in his column “Pro-Filipino” (Opinion, 3/26/14). I’m convinced that the secretary just wanted to rally our people into standing together as one to stop an external force from annexing territories that rightfully belong to us based on history, geographical configuration, and international statutes; and into supporting those who are willing to help us maintain our territories. It can be any country—not necessarily the United States. And some, in the spirit of foreign relations, have actually come forward to support a peaceful solution to our dispute with China.

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So to De Quiros: Foreign relations do revolve around other countries. Otherwise, it’s not foreign relations. It just so happened that the United States is our traditional and long-standing ally. Australia, Malaysia, South Korea, the United Kingdom and Japan have also come forward in support of our position. Notably, the last two also occupied our country just like the United States.

Do I appreciate the assistance of the Americans? As a Filipino, I am compelled to do so insofar as defense is concerned. It is the most pragmatic approach at the moment, apart from diplomacy, given our capability to defend our territories at this time. So, yes, let us all appreciate the assistance

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being extended to us not only by the United States but also by other countries.

In fact, if there are other countries that would want to enter into a mutual assistance agreement with us, let us accept and build around the relationship. This can only translate into an environment of peace and progress as no nation in this modern age can stand alone.

I strongly believe that one is not less patriotic if he accepts foreign aid. By the way, America never left us in World War II. It was only Gen. Douglas MacArthur who was forced to leave the Philippines for strategic reasons. American soldiers under the United States Armed Forces in the Far East stayed behind to fight alongside  Filipinos.

So please, when one talks about being a Filipino, try saying it matter-of-factly, in full measure and always looking at the bigger picture. Why don’t we help this government of ours instead of dividing our nation? Why can’t one write and try to rally every Filipino to perform this patriotic act of claiming what is rightfully ours?

—NORMAN BIOLA,

BF Resort Village,

Las Piñas City

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TAGS: China, Conrado de Quiros, Enhanced Defense Cooperation, territorial dispute, United States, Voltaire gazmin
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