Missing the mark
As President Duterte had hoped, Filipino fishermen are back making a living in Panatag Shoal, one of the rosy outlooks many looked forward to after his state visit to Beijing last Oct. 18.
But the issue in the Scarborough or Panatag Shoal is not whether or not the fishermen can return to fish again in the disputed sea. This is way distant and remote from the main point.
The crux of the matter is that the Chinese officials are as hard as nails, solid as a rock in their claim over the West Philippine Sea. And there is no way to sweet-talk them to give up the claim.
The reason the fishermen are brought to the fore of discussion is that the Filipinos, as a nation and people, are being bullied and deprived of their right to a body of water which rightfully belongs to them. This is the larger picture. This is the fact and the truth. And this was validated and attested to by the recent ruling of the Permanent Court of Arbitration in the Hague.
Funny, but with the fishermen back in Panatag, it does look like the real owner can now go back to enjoy his property because the land-grabber has allowed him to.
We don’t only appear to be losing the West Philippine Sea by default or surrender to China. We seem to have already lost it.
RENI M. VALENZUELA, [email protected]
Subscribe to INQUIRER PLUS to get access to The Philippine Daily Inquirer & other 70+ titles, share up to 5 gadgets, listen to the news, download as early as 4am & share articles on social media. Call 896 6000.