Author Archives: Marcial Bonifacio

Why Filipinos Should Give a Damn about Panatag Shoal

By Marcial Bonifacio

My friends and countrymen, within 200 nautical miles of the exclusive economic zone of the Republic of the Philippines (RP) is a small cluster of rocks, encompassed by a body of water, known as Panatag Shoal to Filipinos and Scarborough Shoal internationally.  It was the subject of dispute between RP and China.  In 2013, President Benigno Aquino III filed a case before the Permanent Court of Arbitration (PCA) for which it ruled in RP’s favor in 2016.  Predictably, imperial China does not acknowledge the ruling and insists on claiming 90% of the international waters via its own “nine-dash line” metric, which the PCA has invalidated pursuant to the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS).  The PCA also declared Panganiban (Mischief) Reef, Recto (Reed) Bank, and Ayungin (Second Thomas) Shoal as “part of the exclusive economic zone and continental shelf of the Philippines, and are not overlapped by any possible entitlement of China.”

Perhaps you all are pondering why we Filipinos should care about some cluster of rocks surrounded by water.  If President Rodrigo Duterte defends it, will that put food on our tables, educate our kids, or improve the quality of our lives?  If not, then why should any of us be concerned, especially since it risks provoking a war with China—a state of affairs which appears to be nothing short of a suicide mission?  Indeed, these are all legitimate and ubiquitously relevant questions worthy of addressing.

First and foremost is the legal issue of sovereignty and constitutional mandate of the President.  Since the PCA upheld RP’s sovereignty over Panatag Shoal, it is the government’s duty to defend it.  Pursuant to Art. XII, Sect. 2 of the 1987 Constitution, “The State shall protect the nation’s marine wealth in its archipelagic waters, territorial sea, and exclusive economic zone. . .”

Dereliction of this duty could be construed as betrayal of public trust, which is an impeachable offense according to Supreme Court Justice Antonio Carpio and Sen. Richard Gordon.  Aside from that, forfeiting our sovereign territory will only serve as a dangerous precedent for other potential encroachments by China.  What if China claims it recently unearthed a map indicating their sovereignty over Philippine Rise (formerly Benham Rise) or even the entire province of Palawan?  Not only is ceding Panatag Shoal a slippery slope towards imperial tyranny, it calls into question RP’s adherence to the Constitution and the rule of law—international law—in this case.

Second, Panatag Shoal is abundant in fish and natural resources, including minerals and gas.  Such resources can be utilized by consumers and businesses, while driving energy costs down, creating more jobs, raising living standards, and generating more tax revenue.  Indeed, it would stimulate the economy and contribute to a prosperous future for our country’s youth.  If, on the other hand, China is given free reign, there is a risk of irresponsible food shortages.  As former assistant secretary of defense for Asian and Pacific Security Affairs Wallace Gregson pointed out, “China stands harshly criticized in the UN Permanent Court of Arbitration judgment for ‘permanent and irreparable harm to the coral reef ecosystem.’”

Third, should China seize Panatag Shoal, freedom of navigation and overflight would be compromised.  Indeed, one third of world shipping (valued at over $5 trillion) passes through this route annually.  Hence, China has militarized seven reefs with runways, surface navy ship and submarine posts, hangars, radars, and surface-to-air missiles.  “The fear,” states Asia-Pacific security expert William Choong, “is that China will start dredging, followed by militarization, thus creating a strategic triangle connecting Woody Island, the Spratlys chain and Scarborough Shoal that would dominate most of the South China Sea.”  In order to prevent this, RP can and must assert its sovereignty.

Fourth, should RP decide to publicly acknowledge and enforce the PCA’s ruling, it would project fearless and determined leadership.  Not only would ASEAN consider RP an economic partner, it would be respected for defending its sovereignty, vis-a-vis an imperialistic juggernaut.  Indeed, it would be a successful model for Vietnam, Malaysia, Brunei, and Taiwan to emulate, since those ASEAN members also have maritime disputes with China.  Incidentally, RP happens to be one of ASEAN’s founders and is the first country to defend its sovereign territory against China via the PCA (and won), which puts it in a historically unique position.  Unfortunately, Duterte squandered a perfectly good opportunity to invoke the favorable PCA ruling at the ASEAN summit in which he himself presided as its chairman.

Perhaps you may understand and concur with my factually based points.  However, skeptics may reiterate Chinese Pres. Xi Jinping’s war threat and Duterte’s rationale that RP cannot win a war against China, due to its inadequate military capability.  In that case, I must defer to the authority of Supreme Court Justice Antonio Carpio, some of whose practical advice I conveyed in my letter to Duterte on May 2017:

  • The Philippines should “bring China’s threat of war to another UNCLOS arbitral tribunal, to secure an order directing China to comply with the ruling of the UNCLOS arbitral tribunal that declared the Reed Bank part of Philippine EEZ.”  He added that the “Philippines can also ask for damages for every day of delay that the Philippines is prevented by China from exploiting Philippine EEZ.”

 

  • The Philippines should persuade the U.S. to declare Panatag Shoal as part of Philippine territory, which would protect it under the 1951 Philippine-U.S. Mutual Defense Treaty.  Such action would add clarity for legal ramifications, since the shoal was known to be under Philippine jurisdiction as early as the American colonial period and even under Spanish rule.

This map was composed in 1734 showing Panatag Shoal within Philippine jurisdiction under Spanish rule. It is highlighted as “Panacot.”

  • The Philippines should send the Philippine Navy to patrol Panatag Shoal.  Should China stage an attack on any Philippine navy vessels, the Philippines can invoke the Mutual Defense Treaty, since it covers armed attacks on such vessels, pursuant to Article IV.  Of course, that would prompt the U.S. Navy to intervene.

 

  • The Philippines should resume joint naval patrols with the U.S. in the West Philippine Sea in order to project military might, which could deter China from continuing its island-building activity on Panatag Shoal.

In spite of such recourse against China’s war threat, some contend that China would renege on its commitment to financing a $180 billion infrastructure program in RP (including two railways, a hydroelectric dam, and an irrigation system).  It must be noted that its impact is not confined to transportation exclusively.  Indeed, it adversely affects commerce, the rate of employment, and the price and quality of goods and services.

However, this is a maritime dispute which need not alter trade or financial relations.  “I would take the approach of Vietnam as the model,” stated Carpio, “because Vietnam is very strong in resisting China’s encroachment but they continue to have very strong trade relations with China.”  Former national security advisor Roilo Golez even raises a 2014 incident in which Vietnam asserted its maritime sovereignty against China, leading to battle.  Ultimately, “after two months of that kind of encounter, watched by the entire world, China backed out.  That is something that we can study, how they do it.

Even if China’s financial commitment is fully dependent on RP’s forfeiture of Panatag Shoal, China does not possess a monopoly on capital.  Alternative financing could be secured from Japan, South Korea, Australia, Sweden, EU, UK, or the U.S.  Otherwise, some of the funding can come from tax reform or liquidation of confiscated assets of prosecuted drug lords.  In the U.S., Sen. Ted Cruz proposes the Ensuring Lawful Collection of Hidden Assets to Provide Order (EL CHAPO) Act which would allocate seized assets of drug dealers (like “El Chapo”) towards funding President Donald Trump’s border “wall.”

Furthermore, the significance of Panatag Shoal should not be underestimated, nor should our country’s capability of defending it against China, in spite of President Xi Jinping’s war threat.  In fact, defending the shoal would display our country’s resolve to effectively enforce its constitutional mandate and would serve as a model for other ASEAN maritime claimants to follow.  Additionally, the shoal’s bounty can provide food and jobs for citizens and be a reserve for our country’s energy needs—now and for our youth’s future.

Finally, should the aforementioned reasons be insufficient, ponder this.  Last month marked the 119th anniversary of our independence from Spain on June 12, 1898.  Today is our 61st anniversary of independence from the U.S. on July 4, 1946 and this year, the 75th anniversary of the Bataan Death March in 1942.  Indeed, they are all appropriate occasions in which to contemplate the sacrifices of our soldiers.  After all, did they not shed their own blood for the entire Philippines, including Panatag Shoal?  Ergo, is it not incumbent on us to cherish and protect what they fought for, so that their deaths shall not have been be in vain?  Surely, my friends and countrymen, for this reason alone, I submit we Filipinos should give a damn about Panatag Shoal and implore, nay, demand that the President defend it!

The Bataan Death March was a 65-mile trek into which over 76,000 Filipinos and Americans were coerced by Japanese captors during World War II in 1942.  Many died of starvation, sickness, and bayoneting by the Japanese.  Their death in serving and defending the Philippines gives them the highest honor.

Comments

From Freedom Wall:

 

 From Asian Alliance Against RED CHINA :

Lawrence Mark Pinoys do care about Panatag…. Unless youre a dutertard… 😂

LikeShow more reactions  ReplyJuly 4 at 5:32pm  Remove 

 Ronald David haha
LikeShow more reactions ReplyJuly 4 at 7:35pm Remove
Jennifer Bichara I did not know you posted this already
LikeShow more reactions Reply1July 4 at 5:35pm Remove
Jennifer Bichara Anyway, yes this is our soveignty
LikeShow more reactions  Reply1July 4 at 5:39pm Remove
Ave Rex Andrada Wow! Excellent article about the disputed Panatag/Scarborough shoal.
LikeShow more reactions ReplyJuly 4 at 6:54pm Remove
Marcial Bonifacio Clearly, Duterte does not value Panatag Shoal, Jennifer. Do you think his supporters do?
LikeShow more reactions ReplyJuly 4 at 8:21pm Remove
Jennifer Bichara They don’t see the value. They are utterly clueless about the consequences of his policies to the future of our country
Like ReplyJuly 4 at 8:26pm Remove 
Lawrence Mark do his supporters not value Panatag?.. u know whatever duterte says.. like that china is our friend crap.. ofcourse they will absolutely agree… like mindless zombies 😂
Marcial Bonifacio I appreciate the positive feedback, Ave.
LikeShow more reactions ReplyJuly 4 at 8:24pm Remove 
Ave Rex Andrada I think Duterte will give the Shoals to China in exchange for the projects that we may not need and for the commissions that he’s going to gain. Hopefully, it won’t be too late for the next administration to reclaim what ever is left of our EEZ… It would be pointless to expect as of now, anything from the Duterte administration.
Like ReplyJuly 4 at 8:58pm Remove 
Marcial Bonifacio Well that’s the trouble with Duterte’s short-sighted, provincial perspective, impulsiveness, and anti-American attitude.
Ave Rex Andrada Another alternative is to take the old navy ship, ready to be decommissioned to the Panatag shoal, and anchor or aground it, (ala, BRP Sierra Madre) somewhere near the mouth of the shoal. It would become the new permanent base of marines and Filipino fisherman. 
Like Reply1July 5 at 1:38pm Remove
Marcial Bonifacio Isn’t Sierra Madre currently stationed in the Spratly Islands, Ave
Like ReplyJuly 9 at 8:19pm Remove 
Ave Rex Andrada right sir… the old warship was purposely aground in the Ayungin Shoal… 
LikeReplyJuly 10 at 6:08am
Roger Pepito Of korz! we Pinoys shud & must, its well within our EEZ & only about 200kms from Luzon..
LikeShow more reactions ReplyJuly 5 at 9:58pm

 

From Opinyong Tunay:

Eddie Macasinag HO HO HO HO, bakit pala ano? Doon kaya Mr Duterte ka mag declare ng Martial Law,
Marcial Bonifacio Are you suggesting I tell Duterte to engage in war with China, Eddie?
Eddie Macasinag Sira ba ulo mo Marcial BonifacioMatuturoan ko ba yan c Duterte ?
Marcial Bonifacio Dinaramdam ko, Eddie. Marahil meron misunderstanding. I was just trying to clarify your point.
From For the Love of the Philippines:
Kenneth Villar Who cares? Duterte and his Dutertards doesn’t even care at all! 😜😜😂😂😂
Kenneth Villar Who gives a damn! Even Duterte doesn’t gives a shit!
Marcial Bonifacio If Duterte respects the Constitution, then he should give a damn because defending our sovereign territory is his constitutional mandate.
Roy Samontina char!nagsalita ang mga experto!😆😆😆😆
From Get Real Philippines:
Al Giorgio Sy Why just now? because US mongrels aka liberal party said so? if they really did care about the place, they would have set infrastructure there way before china did. pinoys need to suck up their pride and whining when they get outmaneuvered because of their incompetency.
From Balitang Global o Local:
Jeffrey Claros's Profile Photo, Image may contain: one or more people, people sitting, table and indoorJeffrey Claros . Too late to fight it if the UN officials and counsel has no teeth for the action in arbitruary case which won before duterte’s presidency.
Marcial Bonifacio Duterte is the one who needed teeth. He simply could have raised this issue with American President Donald Trump. Surely, he would have given full support, Jeffrey.
From Gising na Pilipinas :

An Open Letter to Pres. Duterte on Maute Terrorists & China’s War Threat

May 29, 2017

Dear President Rodrigo Roa Duterte:

I am writing you with the utmost respect and as a concerned citizen of the Philippines.  Like you, Mr. President, I only seek to serve the interests of our countrymen as well as protect the sovereignty of our country pursuant to the Constitution.  Therefore, I appeal that you keep an open mind and take no offense to my grievances and unsolicited recommendations.

Mr. President, many Marawi City residents have had their lives drastically disrupted and have been displaced as they have evacuated their homes, due to your declaration of martial law in Mindanao. Meanwhile, some foreign investors are losing confidence in the economy and the stability of the Philippine government as a result.  This may deter other potential investors and cost our country many current and potential jobs.  In fact, Philippine Airlines has already offered refunds to travelers fearful of flying to Mindanao.

For that reason, it is in the best interest of the Philippines to swiftly quell the terrorist threat, restore the rule of law, and draw an end to this period of martial law as soon as possible.  That is precisely why I suggest you request Pres. Donald Trump increase American troop presence in Mindanao.  Such a move would allow the police and military to continue fighting Islamic terrorists without compromising their focus on other priorities, such as the NPA (who have already announced they would utilize the current crisis to their advantage).  Since both the Philippines and the U.S. share a similar problem of having porous borders, thus enabling foreign Islamic terrorists to enter both countries (some of the killed Maute terrorists were from Indonesia and Malaysia), perhaps you can collaborate to find solutions.

Indeed, the U.S. would relentlessly curtail the escalation of Islamic terrorism.  In conformity with your desire to be “harsh,” Pres. Trump is willing to use practical, effective methods to counter the insurgents, such as enhanced interrogation techniques.  He is also willing to adopt Gen. Pershing’s method of using bullets dipped in pig’s blood, which quickly ended the war between the Americans and Moros during the early 20th century.

In light of Chinese President Xi Jinping’s threat on your desire for the Philippines to extract natural resources from the disputed West Philippine Sea, that “if you force the issue, we will go to war,” I must invoke the authority of Supreme Court Justice Antonio Carpio.  He states that “the threat of China to go to war against the Philippines if the Philippines extracts oil and gas in the Reed Bank, or in any area within Philippine EEZ in the West Philippine Sea, is a gross violation of the United Nations Charter, UNCLOS, and the Treaty of Amity and Cooperation in Southeast Asia to which China and the Philippines are parties.”

That is why, Mr. President, I implore you to discuss this issue with Pres. Trump.  After all, the U.S. also has a strategic interest in maritime security and maintaining freedom of navigation along the West Philippine Sea, which is one of the reasons Pres. Trump seeks to scale up the American navy.

Mr. President, it is indisputable that America’s military is the most powerful in the world, and wherein the U.S. refrained from full scale war, it has maintained a fairly stabilizing counter balance against hegemons like Russia and China.  In fact, just a few days ago, a U.S. warship sailed within 12 nautical miles of Mischief Reef unimpeded by China—a deliberate attempt to demonstrate that “Mischief Reef is not entitled to its own territorial sea regardless of whether an artificial island has been built on top of it.”  Indeed, according to Justice Carpio, “the Philippines must strengthen its alliance with the United States, the only country with whom the Philippines has a mutual defense treaty.”  Even the astute patriot whom you called “President Gordon” concurs on utilizing the presence of American troops in order to develop a “strong and credible defense capability.”

However, as we await the fortification of that alliance, Justice Carpio advises that the Philippines “bring China’s threat of war to another UNCLOS arbitral tribunal, to secure an order directing China to comply with the ruling of the UNCLOS arbitral tribunal that declared the Reed Bank part of Philippine EEZ.”  He added that the “Philippines can also ask for damages for every day of delay that the Philippines is prevented by China from exploiting Philippine EEZ.”

In following Justice Carpio’s lead, I also recommend that you persuade the U.S. to declare Panatag Shoal (universally known as Scarborough Shoal) as part of Philippine territory, which would protect it under the Philippine-U.S. Mutual Defense Treaty.  Such action would add clarity for legal ramifications, since the shoal was known to be under Philippine jurisdiction as early as the American colonial period.  The Japanese did precisely that with their Senkaku islands , which the U.S. declared as part of Japan’s territory for purposes of the U.S.-Japan Mutual Defense Treaty.

Meanwhile, Mr. President, you can send the Philippine Navy to patrol Panatag Shoal.  Should China stage an attack on any of our vessels, you can invoke the Mutual Defense Treaty, since it covers armed attacks on such vessels.  Of course, that would prompt the U.S. Navy to intervene.

I also recommend, Mr. President, that you express to Pres. Trump your gratitude for America’s contributions to our country’s welfare, including being an old, reliable ally whose troops fought alongside our troops against the Japanese invaders during World War II, providing foreign aid (in the form of funding, disaster relief supplies and manpower, and military assets and training), and U.S. legislation that currently supplements the income of our World War II veterans (in addition to their compensation by our own government).

The Oldest Philippine Alliance

Mr. President, Gen. Douglas MacArthur is one of Pres. Trump’s favorite commanders.  That is why I also urge you to give him a tour of the Leyte Landing Memorial Park, which is adorned by the American icon’s statue next to Pres. Sergio Osmena’s.  Perhaps such a setting would be appropriate to even hold a press conference wherein you can announce the fortification of Philippine-U.S. relations.

MacArthur Landing Memorial Park

I recommend the announcement be made on June 12, which is shortly upcoming and a historical date.  Indeed, it is the day Gen. Emilio Aguinaldo declared our country’s independence from Spain in 1898, for which a war by both Americans and Filipinos was fought.  Such a chosen time for the announcement would certainly send a chilling message to imperial China on their limits vis-á-vis a powerful, ironclad ally.

In conclusion, Mr. President, I welcome you forging new alliances with other countries.  However, new and dubious allies are no substitute for a single, loyal ally, especially since that ally according to Justice Carpio, is the “only one power on earth that can stop the Chinese and that’s the U.S.”  With that said, America is our greatest ally and an invaluable asset in combating Islamic terrorism and keeping China restrained.  Moreover, the world will respect us, and our enemies will fear us.  Thus, it would serve our country’s best interest to take full advantage of this opportunity.

Mr. President, I appreciate your service to our country and to our countrymen and look forward to the day when peace and order will be restored, federalism will take effect, our economy will grow at record levels, and our country will reach first world status.  May you have a successful presidency.

Mabuhay ang Pilipinas!

Marcial Bonifacio

Facebook Comments :

Evangeline Mejia's Profile Photo, Image may contain: 1 person, smilingEvangeline Mejia I definitely agree with this Marcial, this is better than criticizing duterte
LikeShow more reactions  · Reply ·  2  · May 29 at 9:29pm Remove

Marcial BonifacioMarcial Bonifacio Nagagalak akong malaman iyan, kaibigan ko. I must admit I was  pretty restrained dahil sa directly addressing Duterte. 🙂   Marahil his surrogates may  read it and bring it to his attention.
LikeShow more reactions  · Reply · 1  · May 30 at 1:28am

Marlene Damolo Howe's Profile Photo, Image may contain: 1 person, smiling, closeup Marlene Damolo Howe I agree with Pres. Duterte’s declaration of Martial Law in Mindanao in order to bring back law and order for the safety of the residents. The president has been fighting enemies from all fronts, both foreign and domestic. So Martial Law is sometimes necessary. Your suggestions are sensible and doable. But I can also understand where Pres. Duterte is coming from as far as working diplomatically with China and Russia, the two other superpowers adversarial to the United Sates. It doesn’t mean that he abandons the country’s alliance with the U.S., but only to explore diplomatic relationships with the other two since the Philippines is in a precarious situation and having very little resources for defense. The U.S. has a vested interests in the Philippines geographical location to keep navigation passage free in the West Philippine Sea or South China Sea, and China’s interest in the Philippines is for its agressive “expansionism” agenda. China claims that ALL of South China Seas is hers, regardless of the UNCLOS provision of 200 nautical miles EEZ.

So what does a Philippine president has to do? Pres. Duterte is a smart strategist. He has a history of outsmarting his detractors being street smart and pragmatic. After previous American president (Barack Obama) tried to undermine his presidency, Pres. Duterte moved to seek “diplomatic” alliance elsewhere. Hence, the two other superpowers, Russia and China. It puts America on notice! But Pres. Trump is NOT Barack Obama. He is not an ideologue but a PRAGMATIST that only wants to do what’s best for America. And that means, WORKING WITH ALLIES and gain their trust. Under Barack Obama, OUR ALLIES NO LONGER TRUSTED US AND OUR ENEMIES DIDN’T FEAR US. Presidents Trump and Duterte have the same goal for their respective countries, to make it a better place where people are free to live their lives as they see fit and in peace. They had a good rapport when they talked while the opposite is true with Barack Obama.

So I hope that President Duterte will get your message and take your suggestions in consideration. We all want peace and better Philippines. So I hope that the self-serving obstructionists and disruptors will cease in their undermining the Duterte presidency and instead, help the president succeed in his efforts to combat the BAD ELEMENTS befalling our country; corruption, war on drugs and terrorism.

Like Show more reactions · Reply · 3 · May 30 at 11:00pm Remove

LenDante Clarino LenDante Clarino Hey Marlene…long time… looks like your age is just like that of pretty Adaline. What’s the secret? Btw, i agree that u agree with #PDu30 here. ????
LikeShow more reactions · Reply · 1  · May 31 at 12:05am Remove

Marlene Damolo HoweMarlene Damolo Howe

LikeShow more reactions  · Reply · 1 · June 1 at 4:43am Remove

Marcial BonifacioMarcial Bonifacio Magandang punto, kaibigang Marlene! Notwithstanding your     points that Duterte is a smart strategist, I concur with everything else. Naisip ko impulsive at short-sighted si Duterte dahil he forged ties with Russia and China before consulting  with Trump or Clinton tungkol sa paksang Panatag Shoal and their economic policy. Even before the U.S. presidential election was over in November of 2016, he could have ascertained both candidate’s proposals. If Obama were serving longer, then I might have some sympathy for Duterte’s decision. Gayunman, even then, it seems that Duterte may have been bent on forging new alliances just to spite the U.S. I have pointed out his anti- American inclination sa huling paliwanag ko titled “Digong is no Dick”:

Although Duterte has given mixed signals about his position on America and so-called “independent foreign policy” with other countries, his numerous rants and actions indicate he is, indeed, anti-American. For example, Duterte prompted the Supreme Court to deliberate on the constitutionality of the Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement (EDCA), in spite of its benefit to RP. He said that 2016 would be the last year the Philippines would participate in joint military patrols and exercises with the U.S., although he recently requested China’s assistance in sea patrolling as a pre-emptive measure against piracy. Duterte has constantly condemned the U.S. for the atrocities of the Bud Dajo Massacre in 1906, prompting former Pres. Fidel Ramos to characterize such anti-colonial thinking as  “20th-century thinking” from which we must detach ourselves.Furthermore, Duterte has  shifted RP’s arms supply source from the U.S. to Russia and China, in spite of what political  scientist Richard Heydarian addresses as “problems with configuration” in which it could take “years for the Philippines’ army to reorient itself with new technology.           ”http://www.marcialslaw.com/digong-is-no-dick-dick-gordon…/

Gayunpaman, sana Duterte will heed Carpio’s advice. Gayunman in so doing, he will have to strain ties with China to some extent, but he will regain some credibility for finally defending Panatag Shoal.


Digong is no Dick . . . Dick Gordon, that is
Updated 3/26/2017 By Marcial Bonifacio My…
MARCIALSLAW.COM

LikeShow more reactions · Reply · June 3 at 2:03pm  Remove

Jocel MendozaJocel Mendoza I am one with the President. If the people who actually live in Mindanao support the declaration of Martial Law, why complain when we are not the one caught in war? Peace talks didn’t work and the enemies here are terrorists, we cannot talk sense to these people. Those who are against ML fear of power getting abused, but that is why the 1987 Constitution imposes limits to prevent it from happening. Martial Law then is different from Martial Law now.

Turning to Russia and China I think is the President’s way of bringing balance to Asia and neutralizing the tension in the region. We are not in the best position to declare war. Why would we fight China when even the US won’t. The most viable solution in the sea conflict – joint exploration.
LikeShow more reactions · Reply · 2  · May 31 at 2:00am  Remove

Marcial BonifacioMarcial Bonifacio Kaibigang Jocel, sang-ayon ako sa punto mo ng martial law—that the 1987 Constitution has safeguards which differentiate it from the previous one. Gayunman, Duterte did not make such a distinction. Sa kabilang banda, sabi niya, “Martial law is martial law. So to my countrymen, you have experienced martial law. Ito, it would not be any different from what the President Marcos did. I’d be harsh.” Fortunately,  Duterte’s surrogates have attempted to walk such statements back and make the distinctions which you made. Aside from using martial law for quelling Islamic terrorism, he should do so to neutralize the NPA as well, since peace talks with them have also failed.

Tungkol sa paksang bagong alliances, Duterte is not helpless in defending Panatag Shoal.  The Mutual Defense Treaty obligates the U.S. to engage in war should RP’s navy vessels get attacked by China. SC Justice Antonio Carpio has even stressed that sa sulat ko.  Gayunpaman, Duterte would set a good example for the other ASEAN members with similar disputes dahil RP’s sovereignty is legal sa pamamagitan ng ruling ng Permanent Arbitration Court.

LikeShow more reactions · Reply · June 3 at 2:46pm 

Image may contain: dog, outdoor and natureSeni Batong Etcudo · University of Baguio, Baguio City, Philippines

I just hope that president Duterte will accept the advice as written in this message. We don’t want to cut off our friendship with the USA.
LikeReply1May 30, 2017 6:09am
Marcial Bonifacio have tweeted this letter to Defense Sec. Delfin Lorenzana, Foreign Affairs Sec. Alan Cayetano, the DOJ,the Philippine Coast Guard, House Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez, Sen. Richard Gordon, and even Mocha Uson. Hopefully, Ines, they all will understand the significance of America’s alliance and will try to persuade the President.
LikeReplyJun 1, 2017 7:47pmEdited 
USA is our true ally – from World War II to present. There are thousands of Fil-Ams in the US Armed forces- from the lower ranks to the highest ranks. Thousands of Fil-Am families in US. How many Filipinos in PLA? Probably none. Free speech in USA allows Fil-Ams to lobby and represent the Philippines in economic, political and social issues. If only Filipinos think like the Japanese, Japan was nuked twice, was an enemy of both US and CHINA, but the WISE Japanese chose USA. USA will help protect RP than Red CHINA. Red China is making RP their FRONTLINE BATTLEGROUND. We will be like Tibet and N. Korea. Red CHina is bringing the war to the Philippines WHETHER FILIPINOS will fight or not fight. Filipinos might as well fight with a strong ally and closer ally – USA. Filipinos have NO VOICE in RED CHINA!
LikeReply1May 31, 2017 11:24amEdited
Marcial BonifacioExcellent points, Thor! What’s ironic is that, as I pointed out in my last commentary, Duterte “has defied all conventional logic by shifting loyalty from an old, reliable ally—sharing similar ideals and aspects of civil liberties, human rights, democracy, and military culture— to a hegemonic, dubious foe—sharing no such ideals or cultural facets.”
It seems that the only way out of this situation is either for Duterte to betray China and rejoin America, or for Duterte’s successor to reverse course.
LikeReply1Jun 1, 2017 6:33pm