Real independence worth celebrating
PERSPECTIVE - Cherry Piquero Ballescas (The Freeman) - June 14, 2018 - 12:00am

How many of you celebrated Philippine Independence Day last June 12? Is our land still the cradle of noble heroes, one that will not allow invaders to our shores? Remember this portion of our national anthem — “Lupang hinirang, duyan ka ng magiting, sa manlulupig, di ka pasisiil?”

Under the DU30 administration, It is becoming more difficult to sing that portion. From the President to the military, in very clear terms, they have manifested that we cannot defend ourselves in a war vs China, a superpower with nuclear capacity.

Supreme Court Justice Antonio Carpio disagrees.

In his April 20 commencement speech at the University of San Carlos, he  reminded us that we can defend our country vs China’s desire to seize 80 percent of our Exclusive Economic Zone in the West Philippine Sea by turning to our Constitution that mandates that “the State shall protect its marine wealth in its xxx exclusive economic zone, and reserve its use and enjoyment exclusively to Filipino citizens.”

The Armed Forces of the Philippines and the President are tasked by the Constitution to defend our national territory and maritime zones. We, the people, are also tasked to defend our country.

How can we do that when DU30 and his military have literally raised their hands in surrender, publicly acknowledging that we cannot defend our territory against a military giant like China? Like their drug campaign and the Marawi crisis, they can only think of a bloody, military option.

Justice Carpio reminds us that military option, like war, is not the only path we will be forced to take, as DU30 and his military are conditioning us to think. One option is to resort to International law.

According to Justice Carpio, in 2012 when the Chinese seized Scarborough Shoal, “we did not send the Philippine marines to retake Scarborough Shoal. We sent our legal warriors to The Hague to have China’s nine-dash line claim declared without legal effect. International law is the great equalizer in territorial or maritime disputes between a militarily weak state and a militarily strong state. We brought China before an arbitral tribunal under the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS), a forum where warships, warplanes, missiles and nuclear bombs do not count.”

And we won an overwhelming victory in the arbitration against China.

That is not, however, the mind set and the practice of DU30 and his minions. What about the rest of our people? How many of our Filipino people will want to continue to win vs China in a peaceful manner? We must unite and explore creative, non-military ways to protect our country and people vs invaders and be true to our national anthem — “sa manlulupig, di ka pasisiil.”

Isn’t it getting increasingly difficult and painful to sing this portion as well — “sa dagat at bundok, sa simoy at sa langit mong bughaw, may dilag ang tula at awit sa paglayang minamahal” — in the midst of cowards in our government who, in exchange for loans and investments and for whatever other reasons DU30 has, are openly accommodating and literally handing our waters, our resources, our vast territory, and soon, our independence, over to China?

Can our people liberate themselves from these rude and ruthless local oppressors who are uncaring about our national sovereignty and who are corrupt, who spread fake lies, and who dispense their own version of morality, religion, justice and human rights?

That will be real independence worth celebrating. Then, we can fervently sing again, “… aming ligaya pag may mang-aapi, ang mamatay nang dahil sa iyo”?

PHILIPPINE INDEPENDENCE DAY
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