Prepare to fight alone as China provokes war

GOTCHA - Jarius Bondoc - The Philippine Star

We Filipinos know truth from lie. We sense harm. We value freedom. Latest OCTA Research surveys show that:

• 91 percent of us distrust China;

• 76 percent view China as the worst threat;

• 77 percent will fight for the motherland.

China is stepping up attacks on our defenders and fishers. It has taken to grabbing deliveries to Marines aboard BRP Sierra Madre. Recent close physical assaults are in addition to water-can-noning and laser-firing at the Philippine Coast Guard, Aquatic Bureau and fishing boats.

On the morning of May 19, four China Coast Guard rigid hull inflatable boats rammed two Philippine Navy RHIBs half their size. Seven Filipino Marines were retrieving food crates paradropped in shallow waters near Sierra Madre.

Twenty-four enemies raced not only to pick up the cartons but also snatched those in Marine hands. They dump some of the food into the sea and sped off with the rest.

It wasn’t over. That afternoon the Marines needed to evacuate a sick comrade via RHIB onto a PCG vessel. Four enemy RHIBs again rammed the Marines to abort the humanitarian mission.

On May 24th near Ayungin Shoal where Sierra Madre is beached, two CCG gunboats water-cannoned a Filipino wooden fishing banca. Unarmed, the latter retreated.

CCG water-cannonade, military-grade lasers and ramming are China’s gray-zone methods. It feigns mere civilian law enforcement in the vast South China Sea that it falsely claims.

But the CCG is under the People’s Liberation Army, and reports to the China Communist Party’s Military Commission. Moreover, Ayungin is well within the Philippine exclusive economic zone and far beyond China’s own EEZ.

Starting June 15th the CCG will intensify Beijing aggression. It will arrest “foreigners trespassing” the SCS.

Screen grab from AFP video

That means Filipinos, Bruneians, Indonesians, Malaysians and Vietnamese traveling, researching or fishing within their respective EEZs in the SCS. Detention without trial can last 60 days.

CCG operations can include harsher attacks on Filipino coastguards and fishery enforcers. A 2020 Beijing law authorizes it to board, fire at and destroy foreign structures. Defying international law, it considers Sierra Madre one such foreign facility.

Meanwhile, PLA warships dropped anchor at Escoda Shoal a few miles from Ayungin. Having pulverized thousands of hectares of corals, China intends to concrete Escoda into an island fortress. It did that with nearby Panganiban Reef in 1995.

In proximate Rozul Reef, 32 Chinese maritime militia steel trawlers have been poaching for nine months now. Ayungin, Escoda, Panganiban and Rozul border Recto Bank, fish-rich shallow waters off Palawan.

China’s main target is theft of Recto petroleum: 5.4 billion barrels of oil and 55.1 trillion cubic feet of gas.

We can only rely on ourselves to defend our seas. No one else will.

The Phl-US Mutual Defense Treaty enjoins each side to aid the other if attacked. But it also calls for US congressional consent. Legislators will first weigh US interests despite 5.5 million Fil-Am voters.

It’s all up to us. America will not fight for a dead Filipino fisherman. Neither will it go to war for corrupt foreign politicos.

Same with European naval powers. Their destroyers are patrolling the West Philippine Sea not for Filipinos. It’s to keep SCS lanes open for their commerce. Ukraine’s lesson is clear: one has to fight tenaciously, then maybe its friends will send arms.

Filipinos can volunteer to fight based on ability or expertise. Age and gender don’t matter.

Some can be military reservists, others officer trainees. Health workers can join the medical corps; builders, the engineering brigades. Agriculturists can stockpile food. Young technologists can fabricate water and aerial drones, seniors can bust enemy codes.

Our forefathers stood up to colonizers. Valor runs in our veins.

*      *      *

Catch Sapol radio show, Saturdays, 8 to 10 a.m., dwIZ (882-AM).

Follow me on Facebook: https://tinyurl.com/Jarius-Bondoc

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