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Why can’t red-tagging officials denounce Communist China?

GOTCHA - Jarius Bondoc (The Philippine Star) - April 23, 2021 - 12:00am

• Beijing’s communist rulers subvert Philippine interests

• Their warships terrorize Filipinos in traditional fishing grounds

• This month alone their militia stole P4.4 billion in seafood from our exclusive economic zone

Certain administration officials habitually red-tag. Targeted are not only political oppositionists. Artists, clerics, academics, journalists, trade unionists, environmentalists, health activists, youth leaders and rights lawyers too have been victimized. Even outspoken netizens and organizers of “community pantries” or free food for the hungry are profiled. Contrary opinion – free thought – mechanically is labeled as “communist, terrorist, subversive.”

Yet the red-taggers don’t ever denounce Communist China. Why?

Red-tagging distracts, divides and demoralizes the people. Exaggerated in the public mind is the threat of scattered barrio rebel bands that good governance and policing can curb. The impression is that more infantry are needed for internal counter-insurgency, drawing resources away from naval and air external defense. That plays right into the desired scenario of the region’s duplicitous bully.

China’s communist rulers subvert Philippine interests. They aggress our seas, occupy our coral reefs and steal our fish. Commissar-led warships threaten our sailors, marines and aviators. Maritime militia terrorize our fishermen, and deprive us of food and other marine resources. General Secretary Xi Jinping and his Chinese Communist Party must be exposed for what they are – enemies of the Filipinos.

Communist China is sapping our economy. In the past two weeks alone 240 Chinese maritime militia trawlers poached in Pagkakaisa (Union) Bank and the Kalayaan Islands. The Chinese embassy in Manila ignored diplomatic protests and badmouthed defense officials who told the intruders to leave. Up to P4.4 billion worth of fish was plundered. The perennial red-taggers eerily were silent.

Each militia vessel is 60 meters long, the span of two basketball courts. Each can haul in 240,000 kilos of fish, according to the National Task Force for the West Philippine Sea. In sum, the 240 trawlers haul off 57,600,000 kilos of fish per trespassing expedition.

Multiply that by P76.70 per kilo. That’s the peso value of South China Sea fish capture in 2018, according to the Southeast Asia Fisheries Development Council. That makes P4,417,920,000 in seafood stolen from Filipinos in one intrusion alone.

The repeated intrusions in Pagkakaisa and Kalayaan this amihan season began in December 2020, as satellite-tracked by Planet Labs. At first, 220 vessels blockaded and attempted to occupy Julian Felipe (Whitsun) Reef, within the Philippines’ 200-mile exclusive economic zone. The Asia Maritime Transparency Institute detected the mass up by their automatic identification systems. The NTF-WPS began photographing them on March 7. At least two-dozen have been identified as coming from Guangdong, 700 miles away. By their names and serial numbers, five are from the same fleet of the steel-hulled militia trawler that rammed and sank an anchored Filipino wooden boat at Recto (Reed) Bank in June 2019.

Apart from the P4.4 billion fish theft were simultaneous poaching at Recto and Panatag (Scarborough) Shoal, also since December. Amihan, November to May, is when 350,000 Filipinos in small boats take advantage of mild weather to fish in the WPS. Of late they have been staying close to shore. China coastguards, directly under Xi Jinping’s Central Military Commission, menace them when they stray farther out. That way, China’s maritime militia is able to pillage at will, year-round. This week only a handful of Filipino boats ventured to Kalayaan and Panatag, the NTF-WPS reported.

The pillage escalated in 2016. That was the year the Philippines won international court arbitration against Communist China’s sea expansionism. But President Rody Duterte set aside the victory in the hope of getting $24 billion in Beijing loans. Taking advantage, Beijing at once fortified seven reefs grabbed earlier from the Philippines. In 2017 it took an eighth, Sandy Cay, within the territorial waters of Kalayaan, Palawan. Only 0.5 percent was loaned.

Duterte appeased the communist enemy. The red-taggers spared him.

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“Gotcha: An Exposé on the Philippine Government” is available as e-book and paperback. Get a free copy of “Chapter 1: Beijing’s Bullying and Duplicity”. Simply subscribe to my newsletter at: https://jariusbondoc.com/#subscribe. Book orders also accepted there.

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