Fake patriot               

By Artchil B. Fernandez

Recent weeks saw dramatic shift in China’s approach to the territorial dispute in the West Philippine Sea. From psychological intimidation, the behemoth neighbor bully is lately exhibiting an aggressive and violent behavior in the area.

Agents of China Coast Guard (CCG) and the Chinese Maritime Militia are now engaged in open, unabating, illegal, coercive, aggressive, and dangerous attacks on unarmed Philippine civilian boats in West Philippine Sea. Their particular targets are the wooden boats bringing supplies, food and other basic needs to Philippine troops aboard the grounded BRP Sierra Madre in Ayungin Shoal or Second Thomas Shoal.

Last March 23, 2024, Unaizah May 4 was on its way to Ayungin Shoal to re-supply the troops in BRP Sierra Madre when accosted by CCG’s vessels. The civilian boat was blasted and water sprayed by water cannons from China’s maritime vessels causing damage and serious injuries to crews. CCG’s vessels also engaged in dangerous and reckless maneuvers intending to fatally harm the civilian supply boats.

The global community is one in condemning the latest dangerous actions of China in the disputed area. The European Union (EU) said it is “concerned by recurring dangerous manoeuvres, blocking and water-cannoning from Chinese Coast Guard vessels and Maritime Militia against Philippine vessels engaged in resupply missions.” China’s violent behavior according to EU “constituted a dangerous provocation” that “put human lives at risk, undermine regional stability and international norms, and threaten security in the region and beyond.”

Japan, South Korea, Australia, New Zealand, the United Kingdom, France, Germany, and the United States (US) were also alarmed by China’s increasingly violent moves. These countries are calling China to uphold the rules-based international order and abide by the legally binding 2016 Arbitration Award. The Philippine won its case against China in the Permanent Court of Arbitration (PCA) in The Hague. China’s nine-dash-line was invalidated while Philippine sovereignty in the disputed area was upheld under the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Seas (UNCLOS).

Yet China insists the entire West Philippine Sea which is more than a thousand kilometers away from its shorelines and despite losing in the PCA belongs to it. Ayungin Shoal is the latest flash point in the territorial dispute. China claimed there is a promise from the Philippine side to remove BRP Sierra Madre from Ayungin Shoal. A finger pointing ensued among former living presidents of the country and their officials. Who made the promise to China – Erap Estrada, Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo (GMA) or Du30?

Last week, Harry Roque, former spokesperson of Du30 revealed that his principal had a “gentleman’s agreement” with China to maintain the status quo in the West Philippine Sea.  In the “gentleman’s agreement” Du30 promised that the Philippines will refrain from constructing and repairing installations in the area. By implication, Du30 promised to allow BRP Sierra Madre to deteriorate and collapse. The demise of BRP Sierra Madre means the destruction of Philippine outpost in Ayungin Shoal which will pave the way for the departure of Philippine marines stationed there. Once this happen, China will definitely move in and occupy this important piece of Philippine territory.

It is clear Du30 promised to give a part of the Philippines (Ayungin Shoal) to China. His “gentleman’s agreement” with an expansionist imperial power will allow China to steal Philippine territory. Roque is quick to clarify that the “gentleman’s agreement” is non-binding. But such clarification is shallow and hollow. China is clutching at straws with its loss in the PCA and will cling to anything no matter how flimsy to justify its theft of Philippine territory. Du30’s “gentleman’s agreement” is heaven sent to legally and morally starve imperialist China.

The National Security Council (NSC) quickly condemned Du30’s “gentleman’s agreement” as a serious violation of Philippine sovereignty. “The good former secretary should be one to explain to the public his statements since such an agreement, if it exists, infringes and violates our sovereignty as a nation,” NSC spokesperson Jonathan Malaya said. The NSC considers Du30’s gentleman’s agreement “not legally binding by its very nature” and “is detrimental to the national interest.”

It appears Du30 is a “Manchurian candidate” who sold the Philippines to China for thirty pieces of silver. He clocked his treachery with bogus patriotism – pretentious critical posturing vis-à-vis the West. In reality, Du30 is a fake patriot who is actually serving an imperialist power. He joins the long list of traitors in Philippine history who were lackeys and tools of foreign power in conquering the country.

Spaniards colonized the country with the backing of local leaders. The first Philippine Republic fell with the capture of Aguinaldo by the Americans aided by the duplicitous Macabebes. The Japanese had the Makapili, collaborators who helped imperial Japan subjugate the Filipino people. Today, China has the Dutertes led by the patriarch Du30 actively working to turn the Philippines into a colony of a rising imperialist power.  Philippines never run out of traitors.

When China’s maritime vessels attacked Philippine supply ship Unaizah May 4 last week, Vice President Sara Duterte who is obsessed with national security and always had a say on anything was ominously silent. Not even a word was uttered by the feisty vice president on the latest aggression of China in the West Philippine Sea. The silence is not only deafening but foreboding of the things to come if she becomes president.

Fake patriot like Du30 and his kind must be unmasked and condemned for assisting expansionist China in stealing Philippine territory. They have no place in a free Philippines.