Kalayaan Atin Ito group raises
the Philippine flag on Pag-asa island last Dec. 31, 2015.
problem with us Filipinos is we never seem to miss an opportunity—to
miss an opportunity! Case in point: the recent ruling by the arbitral court
in the Hague where the judges hearing the case unanimously ruled in
favor of the Philippines. It has been only a week since the decision was
handed down yet it seems every Pinoy and his brother is itching for some
kind of bilateral agreement with China.
We say DON'T DO IT!
NOT YET! Now is not the right time. For starters, it is way too early. The
effects of the ruling have not yet fully sunk-in as far as the Chinese
and everyone else are concerned. At this point China still feels it has
the upper hand. Wait a while for the repercussions of the United Nations
(UN) decision to be felt by China.
country, not even a superpower like the United States has been able to
defy a UN ruling indefinitely. Here's another case in point: In 1986,
the International Court of Justice (ICJ) decided in favor of Nicaragua
in a case it brought against the United States of America. The U.S. was
accused of conducting military and paramilitary activities inside
Nicaragua in support of the Contra rebels. Like China, the U.S.
disregarded the ICJ ruling and even blocked every UN Security Council
resolution that called for its compliance. All the while the Reagan
Administration continued to deny having any ties to the Contras. But
world opinion was on Nicaragua's side. Having no success in the Security
Council, Nicaragua brought its resolution before the entire UN General
Assembly. On November 1986, the Assembly voted. Only the U.S., El
Salvador and Israel voted against the resolution while the rest of the
world sided with Nicaragua (it is worth noting that El Salvador's ruling
junta, at the time, was receiving a significant amount of foreign aid
from the Americans). Despite the U.S.'s initial defiant stance, it
eventually succumbed to global pressure. Shortly thereafter, then-U.S.
Secretary of State George Shultz and later President Ronald Reagan
himself admitted U.S. involvement in plans overthrow of the Sandinista
Government of Nicaragua.
The point here is that
even a small country can stand up to a global superpower if the rest of
the world is behind it. The U.S. eventually came to the realization that
continuing to defy the ICJ would tarnish its sterling reputation. It
could not be seen as a country openly defying the rule of law.
Eventually, the same thing will happen to China...but it won't happen
What the Philippines
needs to do at this stage is to build global support. Instead of
pandering to an arrogant Chinese regime, Filipinos should instead work
to get as many countries as it can to affirm their support for the UN
tribunal's decision. Only when China realizes that it is gradually being
isolated as the entire world sees it's nine-dash line claim for what it
is—a flimsy excuse to grab what legally belongs to other countries—it will mend its arrogant, belligerent and bullying ways.
The problem is if the
Philippines makes a deal now, when the Communist Chinese still feel they
hold all the cards, we could end up with a permanent, legally-binding
agreement where China ends up with something, when it truly deserves
nothing. If instead we simply wait while the entire world turns up the
heat on China, we might get back all the lands that the UN says belongs
to us without any strings attached.
of the youth group Kalayaan Atin Ito pose for a Facebook photo on
So President Rodrigo
Duterte, hold off! Don't act too hastily. China would love nothing
better than a bilateral deal with Manila as soon as possible. They are in an ideal
bargaining position right now and they know that their position could
slowly deteriorate over time—so they want a deal ASAP. Do not fall for
it! Future generations of Filipinos will forever curse your name if you
make a deal that ends up selling the country short.