Confident much?
THAT DOES IT - Korina Sanchez (The Freeman) - May 17, 2018 - 9:49pm

What can we say about Vietnam? Personally, I admire it for standing up to a giant. When news emerged that China had installed anti-ship and anti-aircraft missiles on three artificial islands, Vietnam immediately issued a statement demanding China to remove them as they are a threat to peace, and requested it not to militarize the islands. Then on Sunday, some tourists from China arrived at Cam Ranh International Airport and upon removing their coats, revealed they were wearing t-shirts showing the Nine-Dash Line map, where almost the entire region is claimed by China. This did not sit well with Vietnamese authorities, who confiscated the shirts before allowing the tourists to leave the airport. Imagine what the Chinese tourists went through upon reaching the airport, thinking the authorities would just let this one slide. Not in Vietnam.

Of course, when pictures of the tourists and their shirts reached the internet, reaction was just as expected from the Vietnamese. Some called on the immediate deportation of the tourists and their permanent ban from entering the country. Some extolled nationalism, claiming the disputed territories as sovereign Vietnamese territory. All this even as Vietnam and China continue to enjoy healthy trade relations. No threats of war, or even economic sanctions. That's Vietnam. Now back to the Philippines. Instead of asserting our claim to territories in the South China Sea, the only thing we hear from President Duterte is how much we don't stand a chance against China, in a shooting war. Nothing is heard from the Palace regarding the missiles, except that they need to verify the reports. That was more than a week ago. What is even more incredible is Duterte's statement that China would not allow him to be removed from office.

Is the Presidential Security Group now manned by soldiers from the People's Liberation Army? Is there even a threat of removing him from office? I thought Duterte was totally confident in the loyalty of the AFP and PNP. Hasn't he given them enough raises in salaries, enough benefits, and enough positions in the government after retirement?

Several senators from both sides of the political fence also expressed disapproval of this latest statement. "God help the Philippines" said Senator Panfilo Lacson. "Rely on Filipinos, not China", according to Senator Pangilinan. Duterte is apparently saying that should there be moves to unseat him, Chinese soldiers would arrive to give him protection. Is this not an insult to the AFP? The PNP? Is he not confident on the capabilities of the AFP and PNP to protect him from ouster? We have heard this administration play the sovereign card time and again whenever comments on its bloody campaign against illegal drugs are made. But now, it is China who will come to the defense of the president? Where is sovereignty now? Is this why the administration is soft on issues regarding the South China Sea, and can only ride jet skis waving the flag on Casiguran Bay?

korina_abs@yahoo.com

PRESIDENTIAL SECURITY GROUP
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