Amb. Albert del Rosario, Chairman of the Stratbase ADR Institute
China lands bombers on SCS isles” was the headline that greeted us on Sunday.
These landings took place on a reclaimed feature in the Paracel Islands, which is within our neighborhood, thus bringing Chinese militarization closer to our backyard.
What else can we do to defend and advance our lawful position in the West Philippine Sea?
As a reminder, the Philippine Constitution mandates that our President defend what is lawfully ours. Our government should also be mindful that, as early as 2016, a Pulse Asia survey indicated that more than eight in ten Filipinos believe we should assert our rights as awarded by the arbitral tribunal in The Hague.
However, since the incumbent administration made the early decision to shelve the arbitral outcome, not only have we lost opportunities to advance our position, we have also found ourselves thrown into reverse gear, our position fully disadvantaged.
Would it make a difference if we all spoke loudly, clearly, and with one voice to fight for our national security? Should we be more helpful to our government as a proud people of a sovereign democratic nation?
Yes, for obvious reasons.
Our government needs to listen to its people. Our northern neighbor needs to listen to the Filipino people. And, finally, all our traditional partners and friends who are waiting for a united voice need to hear from us.
Nearly all Filipinos, I believe, would agree that our foreign policy should be revisited. Let us say this so loudly.
Is it high time for our government to assert our rightful position by utilizing the experience and diplomatic expertise of the Department of Foreign Affairs? If we believe this, let us say so.
Is it high time for our government to defend our rights by relying on the skill, courage and patriotism of the Armed Forces of the Philippines, which is capable of developing a credible minimum defense posture against any bully or aggressor, whoever that might be? If we believe this, let us say so.
As we had previously said, we are opposed to war, as we should be. But if threatened by the use of force, we should be ready to inflict, at the very least, a bloody nose on any attacker who is out to harm us.
For example, it is my understanding that this capacity, which may be provided by Bramos missiles that the AFP can acquire from India, would be a good starting point.
With the President’s thoughtful leadership, and with the coordinated execution by the DFA and AFP under Secretary Alan Peter Cayetano and Secretary Delfin Lorenzana, respectively, we can stand together more firmly in defending what is ours and upholding the security of our people.
Inquirer columnist Solita Monsod also suggests that all of us take a few minutes to write our President. I humbly suggest that we all ask him to be more proactive and assertive in defending our territory.
Acting Chief Justice Antonio Carpio, a learned and patriotic advocate, believes that a diplomatic protest should be urgently filed, and that we should take our assertive and lawful stand to the doorsteps of our northern neighbor’s embassy.
I fully agree with these suggestions, and trust that many others will share the sentiment.
The President believes, however, that those of us who endeavor to speak in the spirit of being helpful are not prepared to sacrifice ourselves.
We ask our leadership to have more confidence in our people.
To support our President, to secure our nation and to ensure the future of all Filipinos, we need to believe that there are many of us who are prepared to make the supreme sacrifice for our country, especially when called upon.
Many Filipinos want to be of help. Let us respectfully convey to our President that we eagerly await his inspirational leadership by doing what is right for our country.