The Peace Palace: Home of the
International Court of Justice, Permanent Court of Arbitration, Peace
Palace Library and The Hague Academy of International Law. (File photo)
a few weeks the Permanent Court of Arbitration in the Hague will render
its decision on the case the Philippines brought against China. In all
likelihood the tribunal will rule in favor of the Philippines. For
starters this will reinforce the country's claim that Scarborough Shoal
(Panatag Shoal), which lies 220 km (137 mi) west of Palauig, Zambales,
is well within the Philippines' Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) as
defined by the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS).
So what happens next?
China has already stated that it will not abide by any decision of the
international tribunal. So what will the Philippines do? It can't
confront China militarily. Neither can it threaten China economically.
So what's left?
Sway world opinion
against China. Philippine government leaders must take every opportunity
to make it clear to world leaders all across the globe that the
Philippines is right and China is wrong; that we stand for the rule of
law while China stands for bullying and aggression; that Filipinos are
for an enlightened 21st century governed by fairness and justice, while
Communist China wants to bring mankind back to the dark ages where force
and intimidation rule the day.
It is not going to be
easy. Pinoys will have to come out of their shell and go forth to change
the hearts and minds of world leaders. Leaders who have other serious
and weighty issues to confront, or who cannot afford to antagonize
China. It may take months, years, even decades, but this is a task every
Filipino leader, in or out of government, must undertake.
Like it or not, this
is the card we've been dealt, and we either rise to the challenge or
cower in fear and shame. And if you take a step back and think about it,
this is ultimately a fight between good and evil. Does mankind want to
live in a world where the strong and powerful bully the weak? Where a
totalitarian country—whose leaders are not democratically elected and
who repress all forms of freedom—intimidates and imposes its will on its
weaker neighbors? Where "power grows out of the barrel of a gun" as
former Chinese leader Mao Zedong noted way back in 1927? The answer is a
This is the time for
Filipinos to act. And this is also the time for Filipinos to shine. By
standing up to China, we will make the world a better place for
everyone. So let us rally the nations of the world to stand with us, to
send China a clear message that bullying and aggression will only turn
it into a pariah state that will eventually lead to its downfall.