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Political Dynasties in the Philippines: In My Opinion

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JR Lopez Gonzales 3:22 PM 8

The People’s Republic of China and The Philippines are once again locked in a naval standoff after attempts by personnel from the Philippine Navy warship BRP Gregorio del Pilar to arrest Chinese fishermen found to be carrying contraband in the Philippine waters were blocked by Chinese surveillance vessels a couple of days ago.

After having disputes over the Spratlys (click here for the article), today’s object of the spat is the group of islands and reefs in an atoll shape than a shoal, located between the Macclesfield Bank (Zhongsha Islands) and Luzon Island of Philippines in the South China Sea.

Photo courtesy of Facebook

The shoal was named after a tea-trade ship Scarborough which was wrecked on the rock with everyone perishing on board in the late 18th century.

Basically, what we have here is an issue of geopolitical magnitude that involves big boys on the world’s playground seeking to protect their interests and checking each other’s influence.

The Philippines bases its claim on its proximity and the principle of terra nullius, which holds that it was previously unclaimed by a sovereign state, which is also applied by the Philippines in its claims to the Spratly Islands. By virtue of the Presidential Decree No. 1599 [1] issued by President Ferdinand Marcos on June 1978, the Philippines claims an Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) up to 200 nautical miles (370 km) from the baselines from which their territorial sea is measured.

The shoal’s nearest landmass is Palauig, Zambales, on Luzon Island in the Philippines, 137 miles (219.90 km) away. While the said shoal is 857.45 kilometers away from China.


The Philippines strengthen its claim as the islands were already mentioned in the maps by the Spanish colonizers in 1862, 1808, 1760, and 1744. In the 17th century, it is upon the instruction of Jesuit priest Pedro Murillo Velarde (Pierre Murillo Velarde) for the Spanish cartographers to draw in detail the land and water territories of the country. Sixteen years after, the whole Philippine map was cartographed.

It was locally called as ‘Panacot’ and ‘Bajo de Masanloc’. According to map collector Mariano Cacho, the surrounding islands’ inclusion in the Spanish maps form part of the Philippine territory. He believes that it is a strong historical evidence.
The war tensions that are building in the South China Sea (West Philippine Sea) are nonetheless due to China’s clearly excessive claims of territorial sovereignty over “almost all of the 1.2 million square mile area” of the said Sea. Having the economic strength among others, China has been threatening and using brutal force in its confrontation with Taiwan, Malaysia, Brunei, Vietnam, and ofcourse, the Philippines.

As a ‘bully’ he uses physical, psychological, and cyber bullying techniques to try to dominate us. To date, he deployed his own ships to block our lone cutter, the BRP Gregorio del Pilar from arresting poachers and illegal fishermen. Recently, he allegedly hacked three websites maintained by President Benigno Aquino III, and a website of the University of the Philippines to assert its country's claim over South China Sea.

But with China not openly stating its deeper reasons for creating such tension, one may question whether China wanted a large-scale war against the Philippines and other countries, or merely a small-time scuffle. I choose the second reason.

I believe that China is deliberately creating a situation where it could be drawn into a regional, limited, and strategic war with the American naval forces. You see, while the Red Army is the world’s largest, its military personnel are still immature and untested in terms of how well they will perform in combat conditions.

China has built many new weapons systems which are designed to sink US aircraft carriers and ships as well as destroy US fighter planes. However, this weaponry has never been tested in combat conditions. China needs to know whether the US has deployed defensive weaponry on its carriers that can defeat China’s new supersonic cruise missiles, ballistic missiles and torpedoes. Red China has to know what kind of strategic planning it can do to prepare for a future war with the USA and the West.

Seeing what might be a ticking bomb for war, the Philippine government is conducting the Balikatan (“shoulder-to-shoulder") military exercise with the United States on the islands of Luzon and Palawa while China was also conducting a joint naval exercise with Russia in the Yellow Sea off its east coast just between the mainland and the Korean Peninsula.

But regardless of China’s intentions, the Philippines have to assert its territorial claim and boost its defenses for the possibilities of a military aggression.

We are currently standing at the cliff of a new global arrangement given that Southeast Asian countries were not united in condemning Chinese territorial bullying. I see a two-pronged approach to solve this crisis. Apparently, The Philippines pales in comparison with the stalwart Chinese Red Army which thus necessitates help from its ally, Uncle Sam (click here for the detailed presentation of the countries’ military strength). The country requires the daunting presence, in my opinion, of the U.S. Naval Force.


How about designating a sector of the Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority (SBMA), or developing a growth center and strategic maritime city in the Philippines where we can provide a competitive cost of maintenance and repair for the U.S. 7th Fleet? Let's have the ‘joes’ near our backyard. The presence of the U.S. Navy and Marine Corps personnel (the strongest in the world) is necessary for our territorial integrity since we got very poor modern external defense capabilities.

Strengthening the military force that act as a deterrent against Chinese encroachment has to be backed up with a skillful diplomacy. This brings the second prong on my scheme of solution. Diplomatic negotiation is still the most important approach to settle this issue.

The Philippines through Philipipine Foreign Affairs Secretary Albert del Rosario has currently proposed taking the Scarborough Shoal (Panatag Shoal) issue to the International Tribunal on the Law of the Sea [2]. But the Chinese government has rejected this, insisting on bilateral discussions [3]. Needless to say, tactfully dealing with China is the key in solving this issue.

I still believe that thousand talks are still better than a single war.

To learn more on how we can be involved in the fight for our territories, you can visit
You can also visit their Facebook fan page at:

Chinese Article (translation from Google Translate):






菲律宾基地的附近,并认为,这是一个主权国家,菲律宾在南沙群岛的要求也适用于以前无人认领的无主地,原则上要求。凭借1599号总统令[1]发行于1978年6月,菲律宾总统马科斯宣称的专属经济区(EEZ)从测量其领海的基线量起200海里(370公里) 。


菲律宾加强其索赔的岛屿地图中已经提到的西班牙殖民者于1862年,1808年,1760年和1744年。在17世纪,它是在指令的耶稣会神父佩德罗·穆里略Velarde(皮埃尔·穆里略Velarde)为西班牙制图师绘制详细的土地和水的国家的领土。 16年后,整个菲律宾地图cartographed。















[1] Presidential Decree No. 1599: Establishing an Exclusive Economic Zone and for Other Purposes". Chan Robles Law Library. 11 June 1978. Available at:
[2] "China deploys gunboat". Philippine Daily Inquirer. April 20, 2012.
[3] Jing, Meng. China Daily. 30 November 2009.p.17.

Picture Credits:
Screengrabs from Word of the Lourd and 24 Oras.

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8 comments Philippines versus China: To Whom Does the Scarborough Shoal Belong?

  1. Yes you are right R.J., unsaun na lang if China declare war to the Philippines.

  2. wag kayong matakot ipag laban ang satin

  3. kung ano yong sa atin ay atin let's give china one word filipinos are united not only in the philippines but the whole world!!!!!

  4. nananawagan ako sa buong mundo to all beloved filipinos. we united about the claiming territory againts china..........

  5. takot ang china kasi lahat ng produkto nila sa pilipinas ang bagsak unlike japan there is no consideration china products. what do you think if u are using china brand it's useless, madali masira, shortless etc....

  6. wag kayong magalala nahanap ko na ang mga dragonballs..

  7. Dear Filipinos, if you wanna teach China a lesson. STOP BUYING CHINESE PRODUCTS and STOP EATING CHINESE FOOD!!!

    The moment you justify buying and eating their products coz you have no choice, just confirms your economic slavery to them.

    The moment you justify buying and eating their products coz you like it, just goes to show you are in love with them.

    Have some dignity.


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