Monday, June 20, 2011

Manning the Boundaries: the Spratlys Issue

I don’t usually buy newspapers on Sundays as the office in which I work has a steady supply of them. But because it was Rizal’s birthday I thought it better to get a PDI Sunday issue for I was sure that there would be a number of articles about him.

And so it came as a surprise when the headlines shouted about our resolve to defend the Spratlys (‘We’ll defend what is ours’, Philippine Daily Inquirer Sunday, June 19, 2011, pp.A1, A20). And our defense of the disputed seas took the form of a World War II warship named BRP Rajah Humabon. The news was quite comical and lamentable at the same time. Comical because one cannot expect that a lone warship could defend a large area of water. And lamentable because it only shows the poor and deteriorating state of our Navy and of our military in general.

Official statements issued every now and then by the Palace are only good on paper and for the media. But it will all benefit us to realize now that we will very vulnerable when things worsen. War is something we cannot afford. Not in this time of idealism in the country championed by the present administration. Resolution through diplomacy? Well, perhaps it is the safest way for now. Although it is uncertain whether China would be as diplomatic out there on the sea as they in front of the people and the media.

In the end it gives us this message that in upholding and defending out sovereignty, we really have to be realistic, see things as they are, and not babble about false courage or confidence. We are only extinguishing the trust placed by the people to the government.

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