THAT DOES IT - Korina Sanchez - The Freeman

During the administration of former President Duterte, the Philippines was the closest it had ever been to China. Duterte wasted no time praising China and President Xi Jinping to the high heavens. In return, huge amounts of funding for major infrastructure projects were pledged. But with the administration of President Bongbong Marcos Jr. bringing the country closer to its oldest ally, America, the winds have shifted. Most of those promised funds for key infrastructure projects never materialized.

Several incidents at sea have frequently occurred under the administration of President Bongbong Marcos Jr. where the bullying of the Chinese Coast Guard (CCG) of our fishermen, research vessels, and those who distribute supplies to our soldiers at the BRP Sierra Madre in Ayungin Shoal has continued. They block our ships, they use water cannons and military-grade lasers and now it seems the CCG has a new weapon, the so-called Long Range Acoustic Devices (LRAD).

Last year, the LRAD was used on a Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR) vessel. It emits a different kind of sound that hurts the ears, louder than the noise from a jet aircraft about to take off. And the difference is that the noise is more focused instead of scattered. Think of a flashlight where the light is focused as opposed to a lit light bulb. The effect on humans is painful to the ears causing temporary disability. If a person is near the source of the LRAD, the eardrum can be perforated resulting in hearing loss. Even sound has been weaponized.

China was likewise not happy with President Bongbong Marcos Jr.'s greeting to the newly-elected president of Taiwan. A Chinese foreign ministry official even insulted Marcos telling him to read more books on the Taiwan matter. Defense Secretary Teodoro did not take the insult lightly and called him out. Beijing then summoned our ambassador to China to convey their displeasure. Marcos' statements are said to be a violation of the "One China Policy". China considers Taiwan a rebel state and insists it is still part of China. However, Taiwan is a democratic country with a capitalist way of life. Taiwan is also an ally of America, like us, which only adds to China's anger. More than 200,000 of our citizens are working in Taiwan, so our relationship with them is important. This was explained to Beijing. Naturally, Beijing did not accept this and filed a protest. Do they accept and consider our protests regarding the events in the West Philippine Sea?

Tit for tat then.

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