EDITORIAL - Never a better time to send those ships

EDITORIAL - Never a better time to send those ships

(The Freeman) - April 21, 2021 - 12:00am

The president’s latest public address to the people during his regular “Talk to the People” segment has the makings of another controversial broadcast.

Because the president literally said he is okay with Chinese intrusions into our territory, as long as it’s only to grab what is supposed to be our marine resources.

“I am addressing myself to the Chinese government. We want to remain friends. We want to share whatever it is. I already told you, the Chinese government: I’m not so much interested now in fishing. I don’t think there’s enough fish really to quarrel about... But when we start to mine, when we start to get whatever it is in the bowels of the China Sea, by that time, I will send my ships there. I will send my grey ships there to stake a claim... If you take the oil, whatever is in there, precious stones, that would be the time --because that is the time we should act on it,” he said.

He should not wait until the Chinese start digging there for oil, gas, or whatever to send ships. He should already do so now because the Chinese are getting the fish and other marine resources.

In case President Duterte doesn’t get it, fish is the immediate need of some of our fellowmen who want to go to their traditional fishing grounds in the West Philippine Sea. It is what they are there for, it is their food and livelihood.

Our fishermen aren’t there for the oil, gas, or minerals the president seems to value more. Well, sure, oil, gas, or minerals are resources that we may be able to exploit in the future, with the right technology and partners. But the immediate and more pressing need is fish and other marine resources for our countrymen who badly need them.

Considering that our US allies are also gearing up for more freedom of navigation exercises in the area, there has never been a better time to send our ships.

Another thing the president should be aware of, is that there is more than one way to skin a cat, or more than one way to solve this issue. Because during the same address, the president also claims that it will take only war to make the Chinese back off, and for us to have our territory back.

"Walang iba, giyera lang. If we promote a war between China and America, puwede siguro, madali 'yan. But at what cost to us? 'Yan ang problema. 'Yan talaga ang problema."

The fact that he cannot see any other path to solve this problem that doesn’t involve bloodshed is also very telling about how he thinks and how he approaches foreign policy.

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