Sock it to China or suck it up
TO THE QUICK - Jerry S. Tundag (The Freeman) - June 19, 2019 - 12:00am

Even if the Philippines has a case against China regarding a recent boat incident in the contested South China Sea, it still will not have a case. And that is because the only language China apparently understands is force. So unless the Philippines is prepared to sock it to that country, it just might as well suck it up.

No use getting all hot behind the ears and losing sleep over something that is not likely to be resolved in our favor. It will only make us sick. Beyond brave words and show-window muscle-flexing, no country in the world today has really dared provoke China militarily. Not the US, not Russia, not anyone.

And if no country is willing to shove China to its proper place, of what use is a little push by powerless international agencies whose judicious names may give it a twang of importance but no real means and relevance. International Criminal Court? International Maritime Organization? Say that to Nauru but not to China.

The Philippines has already won a very clear ruling from a similar arbitral body regarding its claim in the South China Sea, remember? But what good did the ruling do? Why, it only pushed China into more aggressive provocations in the area. And no one has been able to do anything except get angry and lose sleep. Thank God nobody has gotten sick yet.

Besides, the Philippines just cannot seem to get its act right. It doesn't seem to have all its facts straight. In its Sunday, June 16, issue, The Philippine STAR bannered: "Boat sinking reported to IMO." Yet right below it and the accompanying story was a huge photo of the FB Gem-vir being pulled to shore by fishermen in San Jose, Occidental Mindoro.

This is not to dispute the occurrence of an incident between the Gem-vir and a Chinese vessel. And obviously this is neither to take the side of China. But if we have a beef with anybody, it is always best to get all of our facts straight, or we will only end up with a lot of red faces.

The issue here is that a Philippine boat was deliberately hit by a Chinese vessel within our own waters. It does not add one bit to our situation to claim our boat sank when clearly it did not, unless of course the Gem-vir photographed being pulled to shore by fishermen in Mindoro is not the same Gem-vir that we are claiming to have sunk despite the photographic evidence.

Now, if neither litigation nor diplomacy works, and militarily we can only get slaughtered, maybe it is time to try a little patriotic volunteerism. Just before the last election, a certain Gary Alejano, with Florin Hilbay, Chel Diokno, and who the hell else in tow, had been so gung-ho about taking some action to the disputed isles. Maybe now they should be allowed to go.

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