‘Beijing’s agents’ to defend PH from foreign meddling
THIS is in response to former ambassador Hermenegildo C. Cruz’s letter titled “Beijing’s agents of disinformation now operating in PH” (Opinion, 5/16/16).
He accused us of being so critical of the United States yet turning a blind eye on Chinese incursions into the country. We are disheartened that after we answered his commentary questioning the magnificence of the removal of US bases with facts and empirical evidence, we would earn from him the unsettling tag: “Beijing’s agents of disinformation.” We expected a more reasoned rebuttal becoming a former ambassador.
For Cruz’s information, Pamalakaya and its progressive allies have been in the forefront of protests against China’s usurpation of the West Philippine Sea. We have spearheaded numerous protests and actions in front of the Chinese Embassy to denounce China’s reclamation activities which have adversely affected Filipino fishers. We even submitted a protest letter to the Chinese envoy to the Philippines, except that it was not accepted.
Cruz should also know that Pamalakaya is one of founders of the broad patriotic alliance, Pilipinong Nagkakaisa Para sa Soberanya (Pinas), which is composed of distinguished individuals and personalities who are unrelenting in the advocacy to defend Philippine territory in the West Philippine Sea. In 2015, at the height of the public uproar over China’s aggressive expansion activities in the West Philippine Sea, Pamalakaya and Pinas conducted a national fact-finding and solidarity mission in Zambales, particularly in Bajo de Masinloc, to study the impact of Chinese incursions on the lives of fisherfolk and residents who depend on West Philippine Sea for livelihood. In this mission we found out that there’s no government support for the victims of the dispute despite the latter’s vocal criticism against China.
Cruz’s claim that “Balikatan exercises don’t include fishing bans” is confused, to say the least. He says no fishing bans are imposed, only measures to protect fishers. However, he claims that the “ban covers only a limited area and is of limited duration.” But a six-month fishing ban imposed in the Bicol region in 2009 did not in reality protect the fishermen. It gave blanket security to the war-playing American troops, and certainly deprived the fishers a source of income and food for a long period of time.
The Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement—which expands American troops’ access to our facilities and resources in sites and locations they deem important under the framework of US military pivot in Asia, to protect its geopolitical and economic interest in the region—is an affront to our national sovereignty. These military facilities being installed right here in our midst are threats to our national security making us a target of America’s enemies. We certainly do not want to find ourselves in the middle of a war zone between the United States and whatever nation or nonstate group that would challenge US global dominance and military might.
The progressive groups which Cruz tagged as “Beijing’s agents of disinformation” have long been fighting for national sovereignty and genuine independence and are always ever ready to defend our country from any foreign intervention that threatens our sovereignty and national interests, whether it be the United States’ or
—SALVADOR FRANCE, vice chair of Pambansang Lakas ng Kilusang Mamamalakaya ng Pilipinas and convener of Pinas
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