EDITORIAL - Let’s change our approach

The Freeman

The latest video to come out from the West Philippine Sea is both enraging and heartbreaking; Chinese Coast Guard (CCG) practically harassing and robbing personnel of the Philippine Navy as they moored along the BRP Sierra Madre in Ayungin Shoal.

The video shows CCG threatening our navy men with weapons, one of them even using a billhook to snatch a bag from one of our boats. Not content they even towed another boat away.

It’s as one admiral describes it; they were acting like pirates.

By this time we can safely conclude we can no longer change the approach and the behavior of the CCG and the Chinese maritime militia in our waters; they will always be bullies because they have the better vehicles and equipment and because our men are under strict orders to practice maximum tolerance even if they are being harassed and threatened.

So if we can’t change their approach and behavior then it’s time to change ours. There has to be a better way to deliver supplies to the BRP Sierra Madre, there has to be a way to make sure CCG and Chinese maritime militia don’t harass, threaten, and rob our soldiers and sailors.

We aren’t saying resort to violence. We should not be the side that draws first blood and possibly start a shooting war.

We have been saying for a long time we should field bigger and better boats in the area, boats that cannot just be intimidated, water-cannoned, stopped, boarded, harassed, or robbed. We need boats; we say again that we don’t need submarines.

We have also been saying we should make a permanent base out of the BRP Sierra Madre. China has been making bases out there in the middle of the water; surely we can make a permanent base out of a rusting hulk in shallow waters. And it should be a base that doesn’t need to be resupplied as often, so that we don’t put make our soldiers and sailors the targets of Chinese aggression.

If we keep doing nothing then we are only bound to see even more of these enraging and heartbreaking videos, and the CCG and Chinese maritime militia will only get more aggressive with each act they are allowed to get away with.

It’s as the old adage goes: Insanity is doing the same thing all over and over again and expecting different results.

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