Words of sympathy and condemnation no effect

By Alex P. Vidal

“The probability that we may fail in the struggle ought not to deter us from the support of a cause we believe to be just.”— Abraham Lincoln

EVEN if the whole universe will declare “in support of the Philippines” each time our resupply vessels are blasted by water cannons from the Chinese Coast Guard ship, the bullying at Ayungin Shoal will continue.

Even if the United States and the European Union and other sympathetic countries around the world will condemn China’s aggression in the disputed sea each time another RP ship is ambushed by water cannons, the nightmare at sea for the Filipinos will not end.

Even if the United Nations will reprimand and warn China for the never-ending harassment of our ships supplying food and personnel in a military outpost on the BRP Sierra Madre in Ayungin Shoal, and recently causing a “major damage” to the ship, we expect to see a repeat of the water cannon attack in the future.

It seems the declarations of support and condemnation coming from all over the world have no effect and not the solution to the Ayungin Shoal standoff.

It’s about time the Philippines fended itself and stopped hoping for a miracle solution from mere “statements of support and condemnation.”

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US FOR RP ANEW. According to the United States Department of State, “the United States stands with its ally the Philippines and condemns the dangerous actions by the People’s Republic of China (PRC) against lawful Philippine maritime operations in the South China Sea on March 23.”

In an email sent to this writer March 23, Department of State spokesman Matthew Miller said, “PRC ships’ repeated employment of water cannons and reckless blocking maneuvers resulted in injuries to Filipino service members and significant damage to their resupply vessel, rendering it immobile.”

The PRC’s actions prevent normal personnel rotations and deprive Filipino service members at Second Thomas Shoal of necessary provisions, Miller explained.

“This incident marks only the latest in the PRC’s repeated obstruction of Philippine vessels’ exercise of high seas freedom of navigation and disruption of supply lines to this longstanding outpost,” the spokesman added.

The PRC’s actions are destabilizing to the region and show clear disregard for international law.

According to an international tribunal’s legally binding decision issued in July 2016, the PRC has no lawful maritime claims to the waters around Second Thomas Shoal and Second Thomas Shoal is a low tide feature clearly within the Philippines exclusive economic zone.

As provided under the 1982 Law of the Sea Convention, the 2016 arbitral decision is final and legally binding on the PRC and the Philippines, and the United States calls upon the PRC to abide by the ruling and desist from its dangerous and destabilizing conduct.

“The United States reaffirms that Article IV of the 1951 U.S.-Philippines Mutual Defense Treaty extends to armed attacks on Philippine armed forces, public vessels, or aircraft–including those of its Coast Guard–anywhere in the South China Sea,” Miller concluded.

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ATOMS CANNOT BE SEEN. To show that the world was made of particles a million times smaller than objects visible to the naked eye was so difficult that their existence was not established beyond reasonable doubt until the end of the nineteenth century.

EMPTY CUP. Each day is full of reasons to praise God, even when life seems empty of comfort or joy. It’s when our cups are empty that God fills them up. My cup was empty yesterday but this morning, it was filled up.

(PG 13) 38 percent of men have no problem leaping from one relationship to the next. Only 19 percent of women can handle the quick switch. (FHM)

(PG 13) 67 percent of women don’t want a partner who has already had lots of partners. (Petra)

(The author, who is now based in New York City, used to be the editor of two daily newspapers in Iloilo.—Ed)

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