hile the Aquino administration has been making many of the right moves lately, such moves remain woefully inadequate given the situation the Philippines faces with China. If President Benigno Aquino III entertains any hope of keeping our islands in the Spratlys, he needs to get off his behind this minute and start building a strong coalition with other nations.
This is one situation where only a true leader can make the cut. Unfortunately Aquino, whose tenure as congressman and senator can be described as nothing beyond mediocre, may not have what it takes to rally support across the globe; because that is what it will take to stop China.
After centuries of Spanish domination, coupled with heavy-handed Catholic indoctrination, most Filipinos see themselves as inferior to other races. They feel more at ease just sitting in a corner and following others rather than taking center-stage and leading. This makes it even more difficult for someone like Aquino—who even by Filipino standards is seen as middling—to do what he must do: hop across the globe from country to country; press the flesh with presidents and prime ministers; argue the Philippine case; and secure commitments and support. If Aquino fails to do this, then Filipinos may as well give up all their Spratly claims because China will seize them—one island at a time.
In the mean time, here’s what we Filipinos can do to help our president. Remember Sadam Hussain’s use of civilians as human shields to prevent the coalition forces from bombing certain sites during the 1992 Iraq war? We Filipinos can create our own version of this tactic by taking a trip to Pag-asa Island. Pag-asa is the second largest island in the Spratly’s chain. It already has a landing strip built by the Philippine military which can accommodate small and medium-sized aircraft—including military C130 cargo planes. Let us charter flights and set up island tours. The island appears surrounded by white sandy beaches ala Boracay. It would certainly be “more fun in Pag-asa.”
Make no mistake; China wants to get their hands on Pag-asa more than any other island in the Spratlys. Pag-asa will easily allow them to project military force all across the region. The island is strategically located almost at the center of the South China Sea and because of its size, it can be used as a base for China's air and naval forces.
An article written by Chan Kai Yee in the China Daily Mail on January 13, 2014, compared Zhongye (Pag-asa) Island and the world’s largest aircraft carrier the USS Gerald R. Ford. Chan noted that “the Ford, costs $12.8 billion to build but has only a deck area of 0.026 square km. An air base established on Zhongye Island will be a dozen times larger and cost much less.” It will also be unsinkable and have a very long service life, the author added.
Given that Pag-asa is an extremely important component to the Chinese quest for dominion over all of Southeast Asia, there’s no time for Filipinos to dilly-dally. Start the tours, send in the tourists, make Pag-asa the IN place to be this summer.
If we do nothing except run
to the UN and file cases against China’s creeping invasion of our islands,
we will wake up one day to find all of them gone! The situation is that dire
my fellow countrymen. So pack the suntan lotion, the straw hat, and the
margarita mix, and head for the island. You’ll be doing your country a great
service while having fun under the sun in Pag-asa.