North Luzon Monitor

North Luzon

Philippines – China rift

Hilarion “Abe” Pawid
Latest posts by Hilarion “Abe” Pawid (see all)

SEVERAL of our readers asked us to expound on the on-going rift between our country and China over the West Philippine Sea.

We are not experts in the areas of foreign affairs nor military strategies to give a fair commentary on the hot daily news involving Chinese coast guards and Pilipino fishermen, and the harassment of supply ships enroute to that tiny island claimed by us.

Offhand, let us first delve on who are Filipinos today. We read someplace that a good percentage of Chinese blood runs in the veins of every citizen of our country.

Even indigenous peoples today have warm Chinese blood because of inter-marriages. We have the called “Chimoys”, the offsprings of Chinese residents married to lowland Tagalogs, Ilocanos, Moslems, Visayans and others.

We also must accept the fact that a great number of businesses that propels the Pilipino economy are owned by Chinese Filipino citizens. These enterprises pay substantial amounts in local permits and fees to local government units, and revenues and taxes to the national government.

And these businesses generate employment opportunities for millions.

We also have Chinese Filipino citizens occupying government positions: either appointive or elected by the people. We see them in town halls, provinces, Congress and other branches of government. And most are diligently performing well in those positions.

However, sometimes the question to which country do they pledge, or direct loyalties is something else.

Recall or find time to have conversations with a Chinese Pilipino and find out that, for them, there is nothing good about the Pilipino character trait nor daily practices in life. Anything Chinese is the best in the world.

Let us recall the observation of a national sportswriter who witnessed a basketball game between a visiting Chinese team playing the national RP five.  The coliseum was full of Chimoys and locals with the former cheering loudly whenever the visiting team scored a goal!

How about a Chinese blogger who claims that her country has invaded and conquered most cities around the world. She mentioned of “China Towns” and restaurants that are well patronized by citizens of host countries. We need not mention of “Dollar Stores” in first world countries and sidewalk vendor tents that sell cheap China products.

Let us look back to history. Philippine leaders today assert our claim to the Spratly islands can be traced to centuries even before Magellan said he discovered the Philippine Islands. China, on the other hand, makes the same claim that dynasties of centuries back has mapped the vast space of what is now called “China Sea” in world maps.

It was the late President Ferdinand Marcos Sr. who issued Martial Law Presidential Decree No. 1596 that included several islands in the Spratlys as part of Philippine territory.

He named the biggest island “Pag-asa” and populated it with 200 civilians and a battalion of members of the Armed Forces. A 1.3-kilometer runway and a seaport were also constructed. With these developments, Marcos’s knowledge on international law of the seas made the claim valid on the theory of “occupation is ownership”.

It all started in 1956 when a certain Tomas Coloma from Batangas who was in the fishing business wondered to the west with some 40 of his fishermen looking for good fishing waters.

In stormy weather, they found shelter on one of the bigger islands, and Coloma decided to proclaim and declare to the world his find as: “The Free Territory of Freedomland”.

The island is some 380 kilometers from the shores of Palawan Island. It is not safely accessible during the monsoon season.

In 1974, Coloma who also wrote for the Manila Bulletin and better known as “Admiral” by his drinking buddies at the National Press Club was a brag on owning an island.

For “Usurpation of Authority” he was imprisoned in Camp Crame. The “Admiral” was released several months later after he executed a “Deed of Assignment and Waiver of Rights” to the Philippine government.

Be that as it may, Filipinos are fearful war may break out with mighty China. The Mutual Defense Treaty with the United States is a comforting deed but as feared, US military forces may respond in aid too late.

My cousin, the Benguet cowboy in La Trinidad, points out China ruling communist party does not care of Chinese blood running in Pilipino veins. It simply wants to expand its territory beyond her borders with: Russia, India, Vietnam, Taiwan, Philippines and other ASEAN countries.

The Benguet cowboy adds: China needs the West Philippine Sea to access merchant and military navigation.

Scroll to Top