Freeman Cebu Sports

A serious incident

THAT DOES IT! - Korina Sanchez - The Freeman

Vice President Sara Duterte has resigned as secretary of the Department of Education and essentially from the Cabinet of President Bongbong Marcos Jr. The conflict between the Marcos and Duterte families has become clear. Remember when former President Duterte harshly criticized President Bongbong Marcos Jr. and also called him "bangag" or high on drugs? Mayor Sebastian Duterte of Davao City also called for Marcos to resign. Duterte's ally, Rep. Pantaleon Alvarez called for the secession of Mindanao. Nothing happened from that call, not even from those from Mindanao.

There is also the search for Apollo Quiboloy who was summoned several times by the Senate to explain or give his side of the allegations of him as a sex offender. And the issues in the West Philippine Sea where the actions of the Chinese Coast Guard (CCG) toward our ships and personnel have become more aggressive and dangerous.

Sara Duterte was mum while all that was happening, refraining from giving her opinion on the issues. It seems that being silent on those issues showed her true stand. But with China's continued bullying in the West Philippine Sea, she probably realized her position in Marcos’ Cabinet had become untenable. Team Unity is no more.

The most serious incident has indeed occurred. On June 17, the CCG deliberately blocked and rammed the rigid hull inflatable boat (RHIB) where some Philippine soldiers were on board. Due to the high speed of the CCG’s RHIB, it ended up on top of the AFP’s RHIB. Unfortunately, Seaman First Class Jeffrey Facundo was holding on to the RHIB causing his thumb to be severed. Video of the incident has now been made public showing CCG personnel wielding bladed weapons including an axe. One of the CCG personnel was seen stabbing the Philippine RHIB, deflating it. The CCG also confiscated communications equipment as well as rifles which were kept in their cases and were never taken out by AFP personnel. Naturally, China blames the Philippines for the incident as well as claiming they practiced restraint and exhibited professionalism.

The AFP high command stated we would never fire the first shot, no matter how badly the CCG conducts its harassment of our personnel. But is there a red line that the CCG should not cross? The usual protests and demands for the return of the confiscated equipment have been sent out which China routinely ignores. Condemnation from the US and several countries has been swift. But will allies, particularly America, help us, or will they wait for a more serious incident before taking action? I’m sure our soldiers are biting their tongues during an incident such as this. They may have to continue doing so while the rest of the world just watches.

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