By: Hilario Andes
More than the restraint and sobriety that our Foreign Affairs head Sec. Yasay admonished and more than the braggadocio amid the Philippines’ moral victory in the UNCLOS battle should be a deeper understanding of the historical truth that while the United States has been a close friend and ally for almost a century already, China is our Asian neighbor toward which we have common historical ties and culture dating back to the Ming Dynasty and Sultanate of Sulu mutual recognition of sovereignty in the 1400s.
Yes for two decades, we were bullied, harassed and embarassed since 1994 when the Chinese started construction at the Mischief Reef or Panganiban Reef under cover of stormy weathers as their strategic response to our continual development and occupation of the air-strip of the 32 – hectare Pagasa Islet and 7 others which started during the Marcos years prompting our government to intentionally station as an outpost the BRP SIERRA MADRE at the Ayungin shoal in 1999 which again angered China. We were bullied because there is no parity and no mutual respect in the two countries’ military assets. We were inferior in our defenses.
Yes we won at The Hague. And we won the first of many that will still unfold. National interest dictates that we see this and view our future with a deep sense of guarded humility and in a diplomatically purposeful manner as we triple our efforts to strengthen our air and naval capabilities in the west, north and south over a 3 year period up to 2019 with a minimum of PHP 70 Billion.
NO DOUBT CHINA WILL GO BACK TO THE DRAWING BOARDS TO PLAN AND COUNTER and GRADUALLY RESPOND not only against the Philippines but also against those who are helping us now IN ECONOMIC AND MILITARY TERMS.
We have learned – and we are still learning – from Sun TZU. CHINA HAS MASTERED IT ALREADY starting from the 1949 Mao Tse’s victory over Chiang Kai’s nationalist forces who retreated to Taiwan.