Independent Philippines?
PERSPECTIVE - Cherry Piquero-Ballescas (The Freeman) - June 13, 2019 - 12:00am

About two or three years ago, in a Japanese university, scholars from various parts of Africa reported the heavy influx of Chinese in their countries. Facilitated by Chinese loans, many Chinese in Africa were laborers in Chinese-funded projects.

At about the same period, a Japanese political science professor of the same university called attention to China’s Debt Diplomacy strategy.

China extended huge credit to leaders of countries all over the world. The Chinese made sure the projects involved the construction of ports, roads, and other infrastructure that, upon closer examination, allowed easy access and movement within countries. The location and type of projects financed by Chinese loans, the Japanese professor pointed out, appeared to lean towards strategic locations, not only for trade but for military movements. The Chinese loans also targeted energy and other resources.

The professor noted that in the event of any future conflict, the Chinese have ready access to crucial resources and major strategic land and sea entry and exit points within and throughout Asia and the rest of the world where their debt diplomacy was welcomed and especially in countries with debt repayment defaults.

The Philippines is strategically located at the entrance to Asia from the West. Our country is geographically close to China which has been the target of many colonizers in the past and still a very huge market luring many capitalists until now.

China and other major powers and players throughout the world recognize our geographic centrality and value as a trade and military gateway to Asia. The Philippines is also known for its rich biodiversity, minerals, and other resources.

The Chinese presence is very evident now in our country. Sen. Kiko Pangilinan counted about 400,000 Chinese in our land. There could be more. Calls for DU30 government transparency about the number, types, amount and location of debt deals entered into with the Chinese continue but dangerously remain unheeded. The Chinese military presence and build-up, including the intrusion of their fishers in our territories, continue to raise concern about the growing, strengthening control of the Chinese over our land, even of the present government, with serious impact for national security and sovereignty

Our fishers are asking, “Are our seas still ours?” Many Filipinos are also demanding whether the Philippines is still ours or have our territories and resources been sold to the Chinese for their control? Is the Philippines an independent country or a colony/province of China?

Supreme Court Justice Antonio Carpio calls us to join the truth movement and reminds us all to assert our right, our independence as a nation, and our ownership of our territories, upheld by solid historical documents as well as international courts.

China disagrees and has continued its aggressive build-up and resource extraction within our territories. China has complained about the presence of warships of the United States and other US partners in the South China Sea, which is a vital international trade route. With the growing tension between the US and China, observers cannot dismiss the importance of the Chinese President’s recent visit to Russia. Any development related to the present volatile tension between China, the US and other major powers will greatly affect the world, the Philippines and the Filipinos.

In 1521, Lapulapu valiantly stopped Magellan and pushed back the Spanish conquistadores. In 1898, our brave nationalists fought for our independence against the Spanish colonizers.

Sadly, until now, true independence for our country remains elusive. Past and present challenges need to be hurdled – external (western colonization, capitalism, global inequality and the present Chinese invasive presence) and internal (like inequality, poverty, injustice, and bad governance).

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