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).
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.
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!
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Marcial 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 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.
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
Marcial 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. ”https://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…
Jocel 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 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.