Shift the China burden to the US; take care of the Philippines . . . and look east

China in spratleys

China building an island in the Spratleys

The Society’s Chief Wildman, formerly known as Pinoy in Europe, drops off more insight in a day than most of us can do in a month. Well, I suppose it helps that he types 200 words per minute and his brain runs at 500.

My keyboard is smokin’ at 50 WPM and my brain starts rattling and vibrating at about 90. In that regard, it reminds me of the 1953 Ford that got me around town in my teens . . . it had an innovation called “overdrive”, which was high tech in those days.

We have come so far, so fast, eh?

That’s because we are adaptive animals. Thinkers, conceptualizers, risk assessors, gamblers willing to put some money down for the promise of doubling our money . . .

Let’s talk about that. About risks and decisions and changing gears. Let’s talk about China and the Philippines.

During a discussion of China’s relentless incursions into seas properly belonging to neighbor states, Pinoy in Europe dropped off a comment that contained one of his amazing insights. He referred to a Spanish author who remarked about the Philippines:

“they were divided, and thus fell under our rule . . .”

That’s still the Philippines today, is it not? It is a nation that thrives on internal bickering, on fights and divisions among its families and classes and faiths and islands and political players and cultural clusters. Rebels here, rebels there; leftists undermining. The crab culture, to tear down anyone who is getting ahead, is a huge leveler and a great divider. Allegiances shift all the time as people don’t stick with any principle other than “how can I get ahead” and “who shall I step on to get there”?

That’s why half the House will switch allegiance from LP to UNA if Binay looks like he make it to the presidency. The reps know on which side their pork is basted.

It’s why the nation does not behave as  . . . well . . . a whole nation, or is not granted much international stature as a modern nation.

The Philippines is divided and weak for its divisions. Culturally rich, perhaps, but weak as a united nation. And one of the material divisions is the enshrinement of its entitled class, the class of immunity, the rent-seekers, the oligarchs working with the trapos. This class values individual success more than national well-being. It is to their benefit if the nation remains chopped up. Their driving interest is profit, not caretaking the land and seas or even poor people. These are just resources to be used.

There is no national land use program to preserve and protect farmlands because real estate tycoons, who anchor the entitled class, do not want it. The seas are fished to desert and the forests sawed into furniture because the policing agencies are in the food chain for purchased decisions that benefit buyers or smugglers, not long-term caretaking of Philippine natural resources.

The nation stands impotent as China moves easily into her seas to claim all that she can grab. China swats off Filipino complaints like those complaints are pesky gnats that get in the eyes, but don’t have the power to bite.

Who could take this nation seriously, after all, when it goes into a giant apoplectic fit over a battlefield loss, and threatens its President with murder charges, as if he personally mowed down the cops? Who can take this nation seriously when it’s army can’t even fire artillery when needed, or generals weep and point fingers at one another in public, or whose air force is training jets and navy is two recycled cutters and a rusty boat grounded at Agyungin Shoal?

Who can take this nation seriously when the lead candidate for President is a member of the protected class who steals, lies, cheats and bribes right before their very eyes? There is no mechanism to toss him off the ballot. The protections of the entitled are so sophisticated. So dominant.

So absurd.

I’m sorry to inform you, but the Philippines will never get China out of Philippine seas.

And . . .  frankly, it is no big deal.

It is fruitless to think of America doing the Philippines’ job of pushing China off Philippine rocks. It is fruitless to think of the Philippines gaining the military strength or innovative power to move China out. ITLOS is the end of the road. China will dismiss any finding as irrelevant to her sovereign rights.

The Philippines currently estimates that coastal states are incurring $100 million per year in damages from China’s island building. Let’s peg the Philippine share at perhaps $20 million.

For the sake of perspective, the Philippine casino business generated $2.6 billion in revenue last year and is expected to generate P4.8 billion in three years.

“Yeah”, you argue. “But when China starts extracting oil, she will steal billions from the Philippines.”

And I say, “She will have to invest billions, as she is currently doing. Let her have it. Let’s go for easier money.”

Where is the easier money?

I would say the Philippine losses from mismanagement of land-based or close-in sea resources do more economic damage to Filipinos than China will do in a lifetime of thieving from Filipino seas. Throw in corruption and we have a huge Filipino-made disaster, real time:

Smuggling and plunder, tax money going to personal haciendas, original art and Swiss bank accounts instead of manufacturing plants, wholesale destruction of forests, prime farming land and fisheries. 

Take Panatag Shoal, 178 kilometers off the coast of Luzon. China is sitting there chasing Filipino fishing boats away. So what? When might the Philippines develop those rocks? Not in my lifetime or yours and by then they will be under water.

Let China have them. If the Chinese can get minerals out of the seas there, great, more power to them. Chinese kids needs food just like Filipino kids.

The Philippines could get multiples of fish out of the seas simply by managing its near-shore resources better. And as a stable, robust, richer nation, the Philippines can take care of herself better and do innovative things like buy resources in the world market. Maybe even those mined by China from Philippine seas.

Pragmatism. It is a wonderful arm of science that is not even studied.

Speaking of pragmatism, why does the Philippines not look east instead of west? Look at the map. The Philippine Sea is bigger than the South China Sea.

Philippine_Sea

Why does the Philippines not draw its own nine-dash line, or make it 12, because anything China can do, we can do better. Draw it right up to the Exclusive Economic Zones of the Republic of Palau, GuamMariana Islands and Federated States of Micronesia.

Deploy a Philippine resource and expansion strategy. The goal? Protect the fishing stock and block China from those resources.

Do it differently though. Be friendly with neighboring states. These lands are under stress from climate change. Help them. Furthermore, they are deeply tied to the US. Work with America and local governments on a shared exploration and caretaking arrangement. Propose that a unified approach can protect resources and act as a buffer against expansionist, irresponsible China. Call it the Western Pacific Resource Federation (WPRF). Bring Japan in to seal off the northern sea.

My point is, if we play small ball and obsess over China’s island offenses, we neglect strategy. We neglect the inward look at our own strengths and abilities. We get diverted from opportunities.

Okay, okay, keep making noise about China. Pester them. Deploy sanctions. Freeze them INSIDE the outer island chain, which the Philippines anchors.

But keep the arms holstered.

If China is so foolish as to try to control commercial and military passage through the sea lanes, that is an American problem. Assist America by providing non-permanent basing support.

To summarize, adopt a new approach:

  • Take better care of Philippine land and seas.
  • Don’t obsess over Chinese island-building; push back, but not militarily.
  • Think strategically and look east for long-term opportunity.
  • Let the US deal with the bigger China problem, and help them to do so.
Comments
236 Responses to “Shift the China burden to the US; take care of the Philippines . . . and look east”
  1. Irineo B. R. Salazar says:

    This is cool. Very strategic thinking, cooperating with the countries that were once part of the Spanish East Indies ruled from Manila. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Spanish_East_Indies

    And realistic. Like Cuba never tried to remove the US from Guantanamo Bay Base because it would have been suicidal to do so. Fidel Castro is not Miriam Santiago, Raul Castro even less.

    Or like the situation in West Berlin, the Checkpoint Charlie standoff of 1961 being famous. Like my mother, I was born in West Berlin – just 4 years after that standoff and when the wall was built. In a hospital in Zehlendorf in the American sector. Now if the US had gone one inch over the demarcation line in 1961, I might never have been born. It took 28 years for the wall to come down, not because Reagan asked Gorbachev too, but because the people did it themselves.

    For China, I suggest a similar approach: do not recognize their claims. Defend what can be defended, meaning build a stronger navy, step by step, and fortify the islands of Palawan and Mindoro as soon as possible. Resources from the Philippine Sea may help in doing this.

    When the wall came down my mother went straight to Berlin to see what was happening. I was on the lawn of the Reichstag on Oct. 3, 1990, when Germany was reunited. You need to have patience and endurance to finally win. Concentrate on what is possible. Dream the impossible.

    • Irineo B. R. Salazar says:

      Just a dream that seems impossible:

      – Large Philippine Air Force base in Palawan.

      – Philippine missile bases in Mindoro mountains.

      – Philippine Naval bases in Abra de Ilog and Balabac.

      – Philippine Marines on ready on their bases in Marinduque.

      – Protect major entry points by strengthening Panay and Cavite.

      So that the Chinese do not encroach on Philippine core territory.

      Another idea: revive the old trade with the now resurgent countries of Latin America.

      • Irineo B. R. Salazar says:

        Joe, the idea of reviving the old trade with Latin American Pacific countries is worth a blog.

        My first under my real name. PinoyInEurope was an adolescent blogger, just playing.

        Irineo B. R. Salazar means business. Global business, but in a different way.

        • jameboy says:

          My first under my real name. PinoyInEurope was an adolescent blogger, just playing.

          Irineo B. R. Salazar means business. Global business, but in a different way.
          ========
          Frankly, there is no difference. Nothing in what I read in Ireneo I did not read from Pinoy. 🙂

          The verbosity is very prominent in both ‘names’. The off topic issues remain abundant. The family affair remains constant and the penchant for comparison ever present. The blog-personal diary style is still the usual approach.

          There was no effort to really KISS (Keep It Simple S…ir) to prove and pronounce the difference. 😎

          • Irineo B. R. Salazar says:

            Hey, I thought you want to leave me to converse with myself? The spirit is the same, true.

            The difference is, it is becoming more focused. I am working on the expression constantly.

            Look at my postings in THIS blog article. All about the China issue and the Philippine strategic matters that are related to it. The broader context, the big picture is important in everything. Yes, reference to family and to another historical event, but totally relevant.

            This is very different and very KISS, the topic is very broad and my expression compact for the complexity I am expressing here. Watch out, I am only warming up now jameboy.

            Have you seen the teasers for my history project with sonny? That is just the beginning.

            • Irineo B. R. Salazar says:

              Macchiavelli also used comparisons with ancient Rome and Greece for his Italy.

              Hemingway wrote very personally, much of what he wrote came straight from his soul.

              Broad and bold thinking plus personal perspective are not wrong, I still work on my style.

          • Irineo B. R. Salazar says:

            Shortest executive summary of all I wrote in this blog, details and reasons are in other postings:

            The true game is between China and Vietnam, the latter holding most of the islands. Philippines is powerless and only a bit player, if it attacks now it will owe the US – BUT Nothing builds a greater sense of community than an external enemy. – Orwell.

            – Israel is an example of how an external enemy made the society united and inclusive.

            – Cuba had the US as an external enemy and now has lower infant mortality than the US etc.

            – Holland’s external enemy was the sea but also Spain for a while, sometimes Germany.

            Conclusions for the Philippines are:

            – build a true community based on inclusiveness and equal opportunities

            – develop initiative, follow-through plus truly strategic thinking

            All of this in order to:

            – be able to implement its own suitable defenses in 10 years AND

            – be able to attack and gain the islands in another 10 years

            So the country should stand its ground for now, not drop the claim. 🙂

          • Crews says:

            And, he never tires of talking about himself and his family, which frankly is very boring, and which causes me to skip over his extremely numerous replies.

            • Joe America says:

              That’s the beauty about free speech, isn’t it? It contains a clause about free listening and a scroll bar so that those who enjoy Irineo’s musings and meanderings are not restrained by those who don’t care for them. There’s even a clicker on the mouse that allows one to go far, far away if that is one’s choice. We are each allowed to protect our privacy and current state of knowledge in many ways.

              • Irineo B. R. Salazar says:

                And the nicest thing about free speech is that truly flexible people like me learn from mistakes to improve. I am like the Borg from Star Trek that adapt quickly.

                My latest posts today are short, snappy and hard-hitting, I have taken up the challenge.

              • Joe America says:

                Ha, maybe use a different example. The Borg consume other species, and to resist is futile. Try the shape-shifters.

              • Irineo B. R. Salazar says:

                Shape-shifter is good. Snake even better. My Chinese sign.

                Going my own way, something Snake Poe has not yet done.

            • No matter what, I enjoy reading IBRS responses. If you are tired of it then scroll it up or scroll it down. Views can be different from each and every person, sometimes maybe he does it jubilantly, and it just shows how fast he types responses unlike you and me who seldom comments maybe because we slow typers and maybe also we dont have that much to share relevantly. If you dont want to read so be it, you are entitled to it.

      • Joe America says:

        I think the dream is being realized, stepwise. And slowly.

        Trade with Latin America is such a great distance . . . I don’t know what the products would be.

        • Irineo B. R. Salazar says:

          Neither do I at this point. But then again, the distance is the same as to the United States.

          • Irineo B. R. Salazar says:

            Just some ideas:

            – oil from Ecuador and Mexico (to diversify energy sources)

            – wood from Chile (to save our forests)

            – electronics from Colombia and that from Mexico plus cars (cheaper than Korea)

            Cooperate with several of these countries so that Philippine mining is not just Australian.

            Work with the http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pacific_Alliance just like with EU and USA.

      • Irineo B. R. Salazar says:

        If Joe is now reviving the Spanish East Indies in a modern form, why not revive the old galleon trade in a modern form? http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Manila_galleon

        Besides, I believe that small players should join together so that the big players do not have too much power over them. Latin Americans are resurgent small players.

        Just like my idea of an island-sharing alliance across the West Philippine Sea with Vietnam.

        • Irineo B. R. Salazar says:

          That Vietnam island-sharing idea is more realizable and pressing than Latin America.

          Joe, I would like to write a blog article about this. Please let me know your thoughts.

          • Irineo B. R. Salazar says:

            The idea has become a bit broader now, the proposed title of the blog article:

            Multilateral approaches to Philippine trade and politics.

            Diversified approaches to not be too dependent on the United States.

          • Joe America says:

            It would be an excellent topic. Superb.

            • Irineo B. R. Salazar says:

              I have developed the topic a bit further into a proposal for a Philippine Defense Policy.

              Title: Defending the Philippines in the Asian Century

              Some subtopics here would be:

              – island-sharing with Vietnam – if they need us at all (The Western Front)

              – defending the heartland (Philippine Core Territory)

              – securing our backyard (The Philippine Sea)

              – strengthening the South (The Bangsamoro)

              – readying the North (Taiwan Front)

              • Joe America says:

                Sounds excellent. Try to keep it under 300 pages 🙂 Or do a couple of installments.

              • Irineo B. R. Salazar says:

                It will be around the same length as the BBL article. I am getting better at summarizing.

                Hope it will create some spin-offs by other people: you, josephivo – maybe even Karl. 🙂

              • Irineo B. R. Salazar says:

                Committed Due Date: May First. Labor Day to show what work lies ahead.

  2. edgar lores says:

    *******
    Pragmatics or pragmatism?
    *****

    • Irineo B. R. Salazar says:

      Frogmatism, meaning being amphibious and ambidextrous.

      Being fixed to one thing and inflexible is dog-matism.

    • Joe America says:

      “Pragmatics is a subfield of linguistics and semiotics that studies the ways in which context contributes to meaning. Pragmatics encompasses speech act theory, conversational implicature, talk in interaction and other approaches to language behavior in philosophy, sociology, linguistics and anthropology.”

      Okie dokie, I better change that word, as that is not what I meant. Thanks.

      I don’t even know what implicature means.

      Words. Love ’em and hate ’em.

  3. inquirercet says:

    a very good article joe. i keep telling my friends to forget about the south china sea. china will never back down from any of its claims. instead look to the west. do you know that the UN recently gave us possession of the benham rise/plateau? it’s a big chunk of the sea west of luzon. said to be rich in oil and minerals. it also increase our territory from 30 million hectares to 43 million.

  4. I think this is something I can support. A country is not a bunch of rocks, agreed. Focus on development first. What either edgar lorres/or joephivos (sorry i forget) the dead from poverty and hunger, the still increasing lost people, lost from any way up to the middle class.

    • Joe America says:

      The scale of work being done by China puts the matter way beyond Philippine control. ASEAN states can talk, but there is no joint military power. It is not worth obsessing about if it distracts the Philippines from doing other things.

  5. Bert says:

    Joe, we’ve been looking at the East Philippine Sea for a long time and all we are seeing there are typhoons and the deep blue ocean. No economic potential there. The only redeeming values of that side are the heavenly scene of sunrise at 6:00 am and when me and my wife sitting on white sand along the seashore looking at the full moon rising over the horizon at 7:30 pm. Otherwise it’s a boring place to look at. At least in the West Philippine Sea there are the rocks and shoal teeming with fish and the potential of a confrontation with China that could be more exciting should the US decides to get involve with the fracas, :).

    • Irineo B. R. Salazar says:

      When it comes to that, it might make sense to make pintakasi with Vietnam.

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Spratly_Islands_dispute#Vietnam – they are also claimants! But your enemy can become your ally if you have a bigger common enemy to deal with:

      In July 2012 the national assembly of Vietnam passed a law demarcating Vietnamese sea borders to include the Spratly and Paracel Islands.[73][74]

      If the Philippines and Vietnam can even decide to divide their claim areas and occupy the islands not occupied by China, then you have an interesting game of island GO with Vietnam/Philippines versus China, look up Wikipedia for more details on that game:

      The objective of the game—as the translation of its name implies—is to have surrounded a larger total area of the board with one’s stones than the opponent by the end of the game,[5] although this result typically involves many more intricacies than simply using surrounding areas directly.

      • sonny says:

        “If the Philippines and Vietnam can even decide to divide their claim areas and occupy the islands not occupied by China …”

        My compadre suggests an idea that should be considered by the UN regarding claims to not-so-obvious “rights over outlying marine real estate.” – Why not establish an international law or principle of proportionality to such real-estate. It is about ownership and rental access. For example, the Philippines owns the Kalayaan real-estate in proportion to its distance from the current recognized limits of Philippine territory. Proportionally so will China according to its distance from Kalayaan, likewise for other countries’ claims.

    • Vicara says:

      The western Luzon coast has some of the most rich and varied mineral deposits in the archipelago–but even as this is written, mineral resources there are being extracted by networks of local contractors and subcontractors working with local officials, mainly for the China market. Who knows what lies offshore?Typhoons are one reason why seabed exploration has not expanded in the area–it made more sense in the past to head for calmer waters on the western side of the country. But if deep-sea exploration/drilling is possible even in the North Sea off the European continent, then….

      • Joe America says:

        I lived in western Luzon for a couple of years, and there were numerous small scale mines here and there. It seemed a little out of control, with huge red gashes marring the hills.

        Indeed, with the world getting more populated and hungry, that big pond to the east looks amazingly large and rich to me.

    • Joe America says:

      It is deep water, isn’t it. I rather look at it as the world’s aquatic breadbasket, requiring some new techniques like deep water mining, and superior management of fishing resources. I’d imagine great explorers would disagree with you. It is not good for tourism or casinos or oil rigs or call centers, I agree. But it is wise to consider that China’s expansion plans do not stop at the first island chain.

  6. jameboy says:

    We can look East, why not, but renounce our claim on the South China Sea? We did not come this far to just surrender and give up. We will only weaken our position if we do that. The day we start announcing that we no longer intend to pursue our claim is tha day the world will be laughing at us. I mean, other countries are looking at us with a tinge of admiration for taking the role of David to China’s Goliath for doing it in accordance with the legal procedure. We’re exposing China for the bully that she is. We believe that we have the right in those islets/islands and we are submitting our claim before international adjudication which has the jurisdiction on the case. If the ruling will not favor us, we will and shall respect it. We expect China to do the same. That’s how civilized nations should settle issues. We might not be able to see the settlement of the case in our lifetime but, still, we should maintain our claim so long as the issue of ownership is not resolved. That and at the same time explore whatever is in the East side if that is really necessary. ☝

    Looking at the map, I thought, if China can bully us in our ‘own’ backyard, there is no stopping her to harm and intimidate us in an open area such as the Philippine Sea. The Sea is so vast that going there and staking a claim, for whatever it is, will pose a more difficult challenge than what we have in the South China Sea. If for example we renounce our claim and go East to start another claim, China and possibly other countries in the area will pounce on us for losing credibility in the claim we just abandoned. Added to that is the kind of legal or historical basis, reason, etc. we’re going to have to support our claim. With tattered credibility and sullen reputation, whatever proof of ownership we have will be ignored. Countries who have sided or sympathized with us before will no longer be there for we have become unreliable, unpredictable and untrustworthy.

    If we become the pariah in the region for inconsistency, China would be the happiest country in the world. I’m sure no Filipino will like that. 🌏

    • Joe America says:

      I didn’t say give it up.

      • jameboy says:

        I understand but to change course and tactics drastically from our original objective would give an impression that we are getting soft and maybe slowly abandoning our position. We have to be conscious that we do not send conflicting signals for the other side to interpret it to their advantage.

        The idea about the Philippine sea is not impossible. But I don’t see any reason to prioritize it with other concerns we have at the moment. ⚓

        • Joe America says:

          Here’s the idea. Continue to push back against the Chinese, fine. Rattle every saber in the arsenal, but if the Philippines takes military action, China will repay in multiples. On the Philippine Sea, it is important to recognize that China’s move east does not stop at the first island chain, or the Philippines, but steps past it. When WOULD you give it a priority? After Chinese warships are patrolling there and keeping the Philippines out? Reactive or proactive. It’s a choice.

          • jameboy says:

            Giving priority on both seas will only spread thin whatever effort and resources we may have at the moment. There is no conflict in the Philippine sea and there is no certainty that it will be China again that will go there and bully others. I’d rather focus on what we have started and not add more issues that will only complicate matters.

            Simply put, we just don’t have the capability to multi-task on such gigantic undertaking. 🌐

            And to add to our conversation, I always read/hear about war or its possibility erupting in the disputed territories. Everything is possible but the issue of going to war, be it the PhIl. or the US, is I think not in the agenda of either country. Everything, when it comes to war, would be up to China. If she makes aggressive military move in the area meant to cut and exclude everybody, it’s her call and I doubt she’ll do such a stupid move.

            On whether its an emotional or economic issue, well it’s about both. You cannot pigeonhole an ownership issue. It gets deep into your soul and to the bottom of your belly. It about everything, actually.

            On the reserve or mineral issue, regardless of what’s down there it’s ours. That’s the focus. The presence or absence of resources is not the barometer of our claim. It may be an incentive but it is not the driving force.

            With regard to China’s motive to establish herself as a great power and not for economic opportunity to impress upon her people that is why she’s bullying her way in the South China Sea, for me, is a hard sell. No one in his right mind, much less the Chinese people, will doubt that China is a great power. Truth is, China needs more resources and wealth to feed her billion plus people. It’s really more of the politics of the stomach on their part. 👮

            • Joe America says:

              I don’t think it takes a lot of resources to send an emissary to the outer islands, Japan, and the US to gather ideas about how to protect and preserve the Philippine Sea, or to write a document that has Japan and the US supporting the Philippine initiative to protect and preserve sea-based resources. I’m not talking about battle fleets patrolling the seas. If you think that is beyond the capacity of the DFA, then I’m sorry you have so little confidence in them.

              What I hear from you are the relentless “why nots” that freeze the Philippines as a reactive society.

              • jameboy says:

                Well, read again what I wrote because I think you did not get what I really meant. Or better still point out to me the line you think you do not agree and I’ll try to explain why or why not.

                About ‘battle fleets’, I did not say you talked about them. Actually, I “added” them to our conversation as a way addressing the common comment, not necessarily by you, that usually appears on the blog. Don’t worry, from now own I’ll restrict my discussion with you on what you just talked about. 🙂

              • Joe America says:

                “Giving priority on both seas will only spread thin whatever effort and resources we may have at the moment.” That’s the point I disagreed with. I think DFA has enough resources to care for the entire realm of Philippine interests, and the Philippine Seas is among those that ought not be neglected in favor of what is essentially a lost cause, and one that has moved past the Philippines in scale and scope. You are allowed to debate, as I am allowed to debate. Not need to get huffy. 🙂

              • Joe America says:

                As follow-up and using my vast network of influential contacts, I was able to confirm from a DFA official that the entire Western Pacific, including the Philippine Sea and rimming nations, is within DFA’s current sphere of interest, and that realm encompasses the states I have cited in the article. That aside, he also sent the link to the following article, which basically supports your view as to why the Philippines cannot bow to China:

                http://thediplomat.com/2012/05/why-philippines-stands-up-to-china/

              • Irineo B. R. Salazar says:

                “the entire Western Pacific, including the Philippine Sea and rimming nations, is within DEA’s current sphere of interest” The DEA? Is the drug trade flourishing over there?

                See my half-joking post below on the possibility to destabilize China via Opium Wars II.

              • Joe America says:

                Oops. I corrected.

              • Irineo B. R. Salazar says:

                “As follow-up and using my vast network of influential contacts, I was able to confirm from a DFA official” Mighty Whitey. Like I told my Ecuadorian journalist lady friend, the problem is that Gringos are treated like Gods by many in my home country. Same thing in mine she told me. You do analyze things well, but I believe that Filipinos should have the confidence in their own capabilities and not rely too much on foreigners, even smart ones like you.

                Nonetheless you are very welcome in my blog, to which I shall invite our heavyweights.

              • Joe America says:

                Not to worry, my vast network is smart and likes the blog for its ideas, including those of contributors, and not for my skin or ambience. If any thing, it has been the opposite, my spending five years working hard to overcome Parekoy-like attitudes, learning and establishing credibility. Please give “your people” more credit, and me a little as well. Anybody who can get past that gravatar photo to the ideas is intellectually disciplined.

              • jameboy says:

                Let me address the irrelevant first. Huffy? We are all words and sentences here. Even the “meanest” guy could be a nice person in person. Words hurt, ONLY if you allow it. Rest assured that I take things in good terms and make no rancor with anyone I disagree with. Huffy? C’mon, Joe, I’m too old for that! 🙂

                I’m not suggesting we neglect anything, I’m emphasizing what our priority should be. I’m not questioning the DFA, I’m questioning the soundness of a strategy that actually spells ‘neglect’ to me. A ‘lost cause” is not a good start to emphasize the importance of the Philippine Sea. A “lost cause” motto will never sustain whatever objective we intend to accomplish in our involvement in territorial dispute.

                I’m not suggesting taking anything out on the table, I’m just suggesting not to lose focus on our list of priorities and avoid sending conflicting signals for our own national interest and security. 👍

              • Joe America says:

                Go to Raissa Robles blog, or directly to her article at the South China Morning Post: http://www.scmp.com/news/asia/diplomacy/article/1771526/vietnam-asked-us-form-strategic-pact-counter-china-philippine

                I don’t think there is much risk of losing focus on the contested seas. I think there is a risk that nothing will be done to secure the east.

              • Irineo B. R. Salazar says:

                “learning and establishing credibility” Something we all have to do Joe.

                Which is why I am NOT going into political parties or persons in my blog.

                Policies, knowledge, business and the rest that I am sure I can research.

                There are many undercurrents in Philippine politics we know little of.

                Ignore them, and they come back at some point to bite all of us…

              • Joe America says:

                Sounds like a bit of a snoozer to me, but knock yourself out.

            • Irineo B. R. Salazar says:

              It always was. The original inhabitants of Southern China were Nusantao, the ancestors of Thais, Vietnamese and Malays including Filipinos according to the theories of Wilhelm Solheim. The Han Chinese moved in and drove them South millenia ago.

              You will find aboriginal tribes in Southern China like the Tai-Kadai who speak a language similar to Thai as evidence of this. Even tribes that dance something like Tinikling.

              If you want to beat the Chinese, think in MILLENIA like they do. Not in centuries like Europeans. Not in decades like Americans. Not just in years like the best of Filipinos. Definitely not hand-to-mouth and only till next day max like most masa.

  7. Irineo B. R. Salazar says:

    The island situation is more complex, so the big picture should be seen. Filipino thinking I must unfortunately say is often self-absorbed and self-centered, too transactional and lacking strategy.

    Claims are one thing. Control is another. Vietnam ALSO claims the islands, just like China. Most islands are controlled by Vietnam, in fact they have been since the 1970s. The real conflict for the islands is at the moment between China and Vietnam, saling-pusa lang ang Pilipino diyan.

    I revise my idea on pacting with Vietnam, it is totally useless because Vietnam as of this map showing the situation in 1996 had nearly 2/3 of the islands under their control and probably still has. Don’t give up the claim, but do not be foolish and try to get what is impossible to win.

    ———————————————————————————————————————

    Strategic retreat without giving up claims and strengthen the defences of the heartland one by one so that China cannot come in. On the eastern side the Philippine Sea with U.S. presence – they are already in Guam and one can patrol with them, learn from them while building up.

    On the Western Front, strengthen defences of the Philippines so that the Chinese cannot enter Philippine Core Territory. It will take time to build this, but the final state in about ten years could look something like this, I already posted it upstairs but repeat it one more time here:

    – Large Philippine Air Force base in Palawan.

    – Philippine missile bases in Mindoro mountains.

    – Philippine Naval bases in Abra de Ilog and Balabac.

    – Philippine Marines on ready on their bases in Marinduque.

    – Protect major entry points by strengthening Panay and Cavite.

    ———————————————————————————————————————

    Strategy. Forget the islands for a while, but do not give up the claim, who knows there might be an opportunity to get them one day. American tanks did not cross the line and shoot at the Russians at Checkpoint Charlie in 1961. But the Berlin Wall came down in 1989. Patience pays.

    • Irineo B. R. Salazar says:

      As I wrote in my first Article as PinoyInEurope regarding Tipping Point, the Great Game – the old game of power and control, will be in Asian waters, because the focus of the world economy is shifting there. And I quoted an old Russian saying that is very true:

      Where there is Gold, there is Blood or as the Spanish used to say:

      oro, plata, mata. Cortez and Pizarro succeeded, many others died trying.

      • Irineo B. R. Salazar says:

        In the Game of Power you win or get dismembered or enslaved. Bangsamoro and the islands are just the beginning, and what happens in the next 20 years will decide the the next 200 years. Time for Philippine policy-makers to read old works of strategy like:

        – Sun Tzu’s The Art of War

        – Macchiavelli’s The Prince and

        – Clausewitz’s On War

        General Clausewitz wrote: War is the continuation of politics by other means. To which I add: Politics is the continuation of business by other means.

  8. Micha says:

    Or, we can use that conflict with China as a galvanizing event for national unity – sorely lacking as noted – in much the same way that Israel was able to create a more modern and inclusive society because of, in large measure, constant existential threat from its neighbors.

    Nothing builds a greater sense of community than an external enemy.

    Orwell, 1984.

    • Irineo B. R. Salazar says:

      Some people here are against comparisons, but Israel is a good example. Cuba had the US as an external enemy and is now on the way to a good future, with lower infant mortality than the US, Joe’s reaction Ouch… Holland’s external enemy was the sea..

      Philippines should IMHO stand its ground, not fight China at this point. Like I wrote, defend the core territory first. At some point, the country will be strong enough to fight back. But it will take 10 years to implement suitable defenses, plus 10 years to be able to attack.

      • Irineo B. R. Salazar says:

        BUT the 10 years to be able to defend and 10 years to be attack-ready will only work IF:

        there is initiative, follow-through plus truly strategic thinking and

        community, inclusiveness and equal opportunities are built.

    • Joe America says:

      Depends on if you have to get to body bags to unite the nation.

      • Irineo B. R. Salazar says:

        The right way to go is:

        1) Unite the nation and hope things go the right way while having Uncle Sam behind you.

        2) All the while ready your defences with the help of Uncle Sam but for yourself and USA.

        3) When you are ready, a strong attack dog like Turkey or Germany, attack with the USA.

        and in case the USA turns into an enemy somewhere in between, you still have options:

        a) if you are totally in stage 1), lie down and enjoy it. But have other small allies to help.

        b) If you are totally in stage 2), find medium-sized allies to help out, like Vietnam.

        c) if you are in stage 3) or done, rally some ASEAN states and others to help.

        Nations have no permanent friends, only permanent interests

        • Irineo B. R. Salazar says:

          in case China does attack, you have the following options:

          i) in Stage 1) – get the US and other enemies of China like Vietnam to help you.

          ii) in Stage 2) – get the US and Vietnam to help but spearhead your defence.

          iii) in Stage 3) – spearhead you defence, rallying allies within the ASEAN and US backup.

          Always think of all possibilities, hope for the best but prepare for the worst.

  9. Irineo B. R. Salazar says:

    The executive summary of all my comments to this blog can be found in my postings on April 20, 2015 at 4:05 a.m. and 4:13 a.m. respectively. Those who wish more detail and personal context about how I arrived at these conclusions may read the rest. Thank you. 🙂

    • Irineo B. R. Salazar says:

      The posts at 5:55 and 5:58 are enhancements to the comments made. Joes Philippine sea economic strategy backs everything up as a measure to ensure Philippine security and the prosperity that goes with it. In response to questions, I may have new ideas / summaries.

  10. jameboy says:

    Some people here are against comparisons, but Israel is a good example.
    ========
    Israel is not a good example. She faces North-West the Mediterranean Sea. In our case, we are the sea. Israel has for neighbors Egypt, Jordan, Syria and Lebanon in a land-surround pattern. We are surrounded by sea. Our neighbors cannot touch us without crossing the buffer, the seas.

    The proximity of danger to Israel is real and omnipresent. In our case, not so much.
    Practically, all her neighbors want her dead. On our side, one neighbor might want us dead too, Malaysia. She may not show her intent for now but I have a feeling that she might in the near future. 🐟

    • Steve says:

      I honestly don’t understand the assumption of Malaysian hostility. I see no evidence for it. Of course the Malaysians did at one time support insurrection in Mindanao, but that was largely a response to the Merdeka plot, which they considered an act of aggression. More lately they have been promoting and supporting the Mindanao peace process, largely because whenever fighting breaks out in Mindanao they get a torrent of unwanted immigrants, many of them armed and unruly. They don’t much care for that, understandably, but is that any reason the assume that they are a hostile neighbor?

      • jameboy says:

        Your narrative should give you the understanding you thought you don’t have. Like I said I have a feeling that Malaysia will be a problem in the future. I maybe wrong and I hope I’m wrong but my gut feel is telling me the contrary.

        • Irineo B. R. Salazar says:

          They are Malays just like Filipinos. So expect betrayal. Look back into the history of datus and rajas in the Philippines and elsewhere in the Malay world.

          Or politics in the Philippines, or the rest of the Malay world. Betrayal is expected.

        • Steve says:

          I’m not saying I expect smooth and wonderful relations, but I don’t see any fundamental cause for open conflict. What exactly are you afraid that they will do?

          • jameboy says:

            ‘Afraid’ is a wrong term to describe what I feel about future conflict with Malaysia. Let’s say I have my reservations about our future dealings with them for a number of reasons. We all know Malaysia played a part behind our back during the Moro insurgency in the ’70s for allowing MNLF members to train in their turf and have a safe refuge. Then, realizing that the Moro insurgency did not really do them any good because refugees and insurgents started to flock and crowd Sabah and created social problems they opted to switch side and act as intermediator in the peace talks between the MILF and government. Of course, our longstanding claim to Sabah, through the legitimate rights of the Sultanate of Sulu remains a pain in the ass for both countries the volatility of which they managed to subdue, so far.

            I have to admit, I don’t see any ‘open conflict’ happening in the near future but I don’t discount the possibility of it not happening at all. ☝

            • Joe America says:

              It could happen if extremists radicalized the mainstream moderate Muslim majority, and that spilled into government and Malaysia became another band of faith-driven radicals who do not respect territorial integrity or other faiths. Where the end drives the means, and is one faith. Bookie Sal puts that at a 6.5% chance. It was 3.1% last year. Odds that Christians will rise up as a unified warrior faith to oppose that movement is pegged at 0.003%.

            • Steve says:

              Malaysia’s role in the Muslim insurgency was a direct response to the botched Merdeka plot, which the Malaysians naturally saw as a threat. In time interests changed and so did policy. At this point both parties have a parallel interest in achieving peace in Mindanao, so there’s nothing much to fight over there.

              The Sultanate of Suu has no legitimate right to Sabah. Once a population exercises the right of self determination and achieves democratic rule, any claim deriving from medieval title simply ceases to exist. By law and logic, Sabah belongs to the people of Sabah, and they have the right to be ruled according to their own will. Legitimate sovereignty derives only from the consent of the governed populace, it cannot be bought, sold, leased, inherited, etc. If we believe in democracy, that is…

              • Joe America says:

                You are right, of course, but I couldn’t help thinking back to the American purchase of the Philippines from Spain, under duress, for $20 million. That was about 125 years after the American democracy was founded, and one thing for sure about democracy is, it changes. The Philippine American war was a racist war. Racism was substantially reduced after the social upheaval of the 1960’s through 1980’s, or 200 years after the founding of the nation. It took 20 years to recast people’s ideas and values, and racism is still an influence, as we witness charges of racism for the hold up of congressional approval of the new Attorney General, a black woman.

                Now the MODERN Philippine democracy was established in 1987. We are still in the birthing process.

                Democratic ideals bend with the times and sometimes they bend slowly.

              • Steve says:

                Yes, once upon a time it was common for states to buy, sell, cede, lease, and conquer territory, and the people were simply included as chattel. That’s no longer accepted, and a modern populace is not bound by the decisions of long dead petty despots. Some things do change for the better.

  11. Steve says:

    I don’t think the Chinese have any interest at all in attacking the main islands of the Philippines. Why would they? They do of course seek dominion in the South China Sea, and for the most part they have it. There’s not much, realistically, that the Philippines can do to protect the islands.

    The US is not going to pick up “the China burden”. The US will pursue it’s own interests, and the islands in question are not a critical part of those interests. There will be a lot of talk, and some jockeying here and there, but I can’t see the US going to war over Scarborough Shoal or any of the Spratlys.

    This seems to me more an emotional issue than an economic issue, unless you happen to be a fisherman on one of the affected coasts… and even then, as already mentioned, the Philippines could do more for its fishermen by effectively managing its own coastal waters than by claiming the disputed islands. The media love to write about the energy reserves of the disputed seas, but these are largely speculative: estimates c=vary very widely, with Chinese estimates much higher than those from other sources. With oil/gas prices on their current trend there is little incentive to explore immediately, and If the Chinese occupied the entire area tomorrow (to a greater extent than they already have) the average Filipino would see little or no difference. What the Chinese are doing is less about money to me than about establishing themselves as a great power and showing their own increasingly disaffected populace that they have made China into a great nation, and thus that they should stay in power. Internal stress always induces attempts to distract the populace with foreign affairs. What we see is largely the international equivalent of a dog pissing on trees to mark its territory.

    There are larger issues, but Filipino politicians also find it expedient to divert attention to the external enemy…

    I do think the Philippines would be well advised to share its major military installations with the US. I don’t think the Chinese have any interest in conquest, but they might at some time be tempted to show how tough they are by taking a whack at some purely military assets, especially if a showdown arises at some point. If the facilities are shared the calculations or risk and reward would be fundamentally changed.

    I also think the Philippine military is putting too much emphasis on big ticket items like frigates and fighters, which would not survive the first hours of a conflict, when they should be starting out by developing mobile, concealable, land-based coastal and air defense missile systems. More bang for the buck and a lot more survivability. What good do fighters and frigates do if you can’t defend the airfields and ports that sustain them?

    • Joe America says:

      Very well stated, and I agree point for point. The only clarification I would make is that, although it is indeed an emotional issue (as opposed to rationally considered), it is somewhat surprising that there is not MORE emotion expressed by typically emotional people like Senator Santiago. I note that leftist groups are now starting to protest China (as well as Aquino but not Binay). There is the expected amount of strutting (detached from any way to do it) by the masculine ideologists (hahaha, just made that up). Emotions can go either way, and to this point, I credit President Aquino for his normal calm. Not like we saw regarding the Taiwanese president or Hong Kong leadership under crisis.

      The big boats are useful for natural disasters and to ply the big seas in case of need, but I agree, militarily, they are a “sunk” cost.

      • Steve says:

        Vessels like frigates are actually not very useful in disaster response, minimal cargo capacity and not suitable for operations close to shore. The strategic sealift vessels on order from Indonesia and the landing craft recently donated by Australia will be much more useful in that sense.

    • Irineo B. R. Salazar says:

      “What the Chinese are doing is less about money to me than about establishing themselves as a great power and showing their own increasingly disaffected populace that they have made China into a great nation, and thus that they should stay in power. Internal stress always induces attempts to distract the populace with foreign affairs. What we see is largely the international equivalent of a dog pissing on trees to mark its territory.” Yes.

      Not only that. It is a constant of history that nations with a high men to women ratio went out to war. Ancient Persia in the beginning had a similar men:women ratio like China. The Rape of the Sabines, that ancient Roman sculpture, says everything about what war is.

      Everything we men do in the end has to do with PUSSY, to be vulgarly clear about it.

      • Irineo B. R. Salazar says:

        OK, once we have our women and children with them, I guess it is about our kids and their future, that would be your motivation – and Joe’s.

        I am partly writing to impress a professional journalist I am dating, I admit hehe… 🙂

        • Steve says:

          I think the Chinese have found that it today’s world it is easier and cheaper to buy women than to conquer them. Same goes for most natural resources.

          Good luck with the journalist.

          • … it is easier and cheaper to buy SOME women than to conquer them. Same goes for MOST men.

            Don’t make me wave my gender equality flag, Steve. 🙂

            • Steve says:

              The Chinese have no need to buy men; they have a surplus. They are more likely to export the men as laborers: China sends large numbers of men to work on Chinese-owned farms and construction projects in Africa. Of course they can’t buy any women they want. They don’t really care. The thriving trade in imported brides goes on, and likely will go on for some time, given the China’s rather bizarre demographics..

  12. Joe,

    Great article! I was researching the S. China Sea fiasco and stumbled across your blog. Sure happy that I did.

    From a geography and economics perspective, I’m 100% with you on focus in the Philippines Sea, do a Shanghai cooperative with the surrounding nations, with Philippines, Taiwan, Japan & the US as the anchor stakeholders (get Australia in there too, another ASEAN but to the east).

    But from a military angle, you have to control ground. The Philippines (because of its leadership, and culture described above) is like a eunuch stuck in the King of Brunei’s harem with all sorts of hot Russian, American, European & Australian scantly clad models for hire.

    BUT only in their dreams, sadly, when it comes to the S. China Sea, like eunuchs, emasculated cursed to watch.

    The only way,

    is to invite the US back. Sadly, public approval’s down because of our colleague who discovered his playdate for the night was carrying the same tools as he. Because of what happened in Subic and Angeles, decades back public support of US bases will be forever an issue–ironically, without the Americans the sex trade still thrived, which goes to show that it wasn’t an American problem, but a Filipino one, but I digress…

    So the question is how to properly re-introduce the American military back into the mix. Yes, this move will further militarize the region, but maybe with physical American presence the Chinese will be less arrogant in its decisions.

    Sulu and S. Palawan are the best viable locations, with all the American troops already familiar with the area, plus a local population whose institutional memory doesn’t include Subic/Angeles & Mactan, there’d undoubtedly be support organic to the these regions.

    The Americans will have to follow a strict, stay in base, don’t mess with locals rule, ala their bases in Bahrain and Qatar, tight leash (they have done this in the Mid-East, they can do this in the Philippines). Marines are already in Darwin, Australia and some in Guam. Marines are overstaying their Welcome in Japan, which means draw down–with 18 yr old Marines sporting shirts with “Made in USA, tested in Japan” of the a-bomb, it’s been a long time coming.

    So the Marines/Navy’s small bases strategy is already in play, give them small bases in Sulu and S. Palawan (short term mission for War on Terror, but long term mission of China), make ’em US/Philippine military bases, the people and corrupt politicians in Manila and Cebu.

    The politics in the Philippines is a mess, I know, I was there back to back 10 yrs ago. That country is corrupt, and I wouldn’t know what the first thing to do to fix this obvious problem.

    But having interacted with the AFP and PNP, personally, I think the best way to fix those two institutions is to bull doze the Philippine Military Academy and the Philippine National Police Academy and then start from scratch, re-build the whole organization, police & military, from nothing. Those two academies, modeled after our West Point, but like something from bizarro land, inundated with crony politics and nepotism, produce absolute imbeciles for leaders.

    If the strategy is for the U.S. and Philippine military and police to work together, to curb Chinese dominance, along with investigative and diplomatic entities from each countries, the comparison should not be of Olympics and Special Olympics–that’s a hard metaphor to swallow, but that is exactly where the two nations stand right now.

    The China threat is real. the Philippines just does not have the infrastructure to do anything about the threat, start with American bases (on very tight leashes) and re-do their military/police academies (overhaul the leadership there). That should be a start.

    .

    • Joe America says:

      I’m glad you found the blog, LCpl_X, and I appreciate the hard-hitting, to the point assessment. For sure, the set of behavior rules established within the Philippine military seems far, far removed from what it is in the battle-hardened US. The lack of community is profound, and even the lack of a simple understanding that deaths occur in a dangerous line of work, and that there should be no political witch hunt over deaths if legislators believe in fielding a strong, unified force. Too much thinking gets side-tracked to issues that really are not material to the well-being of the Philippines, thus undermining the well-being of the Philipines. Like Pemberton becomes such a hot issue, that defense of the Philippines becomes immaterial . . . go figure.

      You might be interested in this recent blog I did: https://joeam.com/2015/04/02/when-military-is-undisciplined-failure-follows/

      Also, if you returned, you’d find that the Philippines is progressing very differently under President Aquino. Economically sound, investing in infrastructure instead of corruption. Social media starting to have influence in directing things toward sense instead of nonsense. My fairly remote city in the provinces (Naval, Biliran), has anti-noise and anti-stray dog policies. So a sense of community is forming. I’ve become rather fond of the place. 🙂

      • Another relevant article, Joe! I’ll post my comments on this thread, if you don’t mind (and connect it to the whole China Sea point).

        This was one of the things that confused me thoroughly while there. The roles of the AFP and PNP were too overlapped, especially in the South and provincial regions with NPA and or criminal elements still rampant.

        Totally understandable, since unlike the US now whose military are postured outwards and police inwards–military and police also overlapped in the mid 1800s, ante and post civil war.

        But my confusion was in the AFP and PNP not only failing to recognize this problem But their failure to do anything about it, like you mentioned coordination and de-conflicting–even the US and Iran are doing this in N. Iraq (it’s just common sense).

        While I was there, during multiple occasions I saw senior officers either getting piggy back rides from their subordinates or locals while crossing a stream or wading to shore. Now I’m an NCO and although very critical of those positioned above me, I can guarantee that stunts like that will never fly in the American military.

        The problem is that the Filipino military culture parallels civilian culture too closely when as warriors they should at the very least be examples when it comes to simple acts of courage mentioned above.

        There are plenty more examples of ineptitude and cowardice, but my point here is that this should be obvious and the fact it is not should be worrisome–hence my opinion that this atrophy in leadership culture begins in their military and police academies.

        I’m confident that the majority of the AFP and PNP are men (women) deserving of the title warrior, but the bulk of their leadership are too obviously lacking of the very ethos necessary to make the Philippine military matter.

        So we agree on the lack of leadership problem.

        On tactics and training, sadly what happened with the PNP SAF are also on the rise state side. And the problem is over militarization of police. I’m from Northern CA, Southern CA was where all these SWAT tactics were perfected and then replicated around the world in the 60s–amidst SLA, Brown Berets, Black Panthers.

        But these tactics were meant as last resort. If you have over means of locating and nabbing a suspect, either thru a ruse, following them into neutral territory, or other creative means of making contact, you entertain them first, then

        SWAT tactics. And remember SWAT tactics were meant for structures usually found in urban settings, not farm fields in the boondocks.

        PNP SAF (great guys, I’ve trained with them, was surprised at the number of Muslim Filipinos they had within their ranks, both from Mindanao and balik-Muslim converts, mostly Bisayans).

        These guys are great cops, they know how to mix in the population, why weren’t they allowed to leverage their local knowledge, why did they bring in SAF from Luzon and Mindanao? That was my big issue after reading about this tragedy.

        So when American bases and Americans will finally return to the Asian region, and finally stop messing around and wasting more money in the MidEast and Af-Pak, the Philippines has to bring their A-game to able to work with us.

        That means separating the AFP and PNP (I’m actually a lot more fond of the PNP),

        NBI and the PNP should be merged. That’s the only way I can see the PNP actually owning its law enforcement mandate, instead of 2nd string military–because playing military is what got those poor guys killed.

        China’s take-over of SE Asia isn’t gonna be like “Red Dawn” (both the one with Patrick Swayze and the new one), they’ve already advertised their total war strategy, so the PNP will need to investigate and interdict shaddy businesses, be able to prove that those drugs (specially the synthetics) are coming from China, protect from cyber sabotage, and the list goes on.

        I don’t think there’s hope for the AFP, there are way too many imbeciles above the rank of Major, BUT

        the PNP should be adjusted its current course to match American policing and investigative abilities.

        With the Philippine’s policing infrastructure revamped, the American military can play the defensive role, albeit with the retarded AFP in tow.

        • Joe America says:

          “Glongggg” goes the gong hammer against AFP helmets. Yes, military officers as an entitled class . . . it is a rot . . . and it can be seen in the obscene number of generals and bloated pension payouts. Not exactly a warrior force, is it? It’s what corrupt civilian leadership promotes . . .

          Thanks for the hard news and personal perspective.

          • These articles and photos below are what I was looking for, great resource. I’ve got your blog bookmarked, Joe.

            Sorry, I meant the Bisayas instead of Mindanao here:

            “to leverage their local knowledge, why did they bring in SAF from Luzon and the Bisayas? That was my big issue after reading about this tragedy.”

            Did anyone else catch this in the Philippine media there, Joe? That they brought in outsiders, when there were more than enough local SAFs in the area?

            • Joe America says:

              There were a lot of articles. I don’t recall that being featured. I understand a lot of the troops were pretty green, and that locals were aware there was a force in the area from all the strange new people roaming around. It was a disaster made to happen.

              Thanks for bookmarking the blog.

            • Irineo B. R. Salazar says:

              I found out from a former classmate, a Muslim Ph.D. from Cotabato, that the SAF were all over the place from Friday onwards before the bloody Sunday that happened, and posted it in this blog. She wrote in Facebook that things like that get talked about in small villages.

              I have a grocer here in Munich, a former Tamil Tiger rebel. He told me when I told him the entire situation that he believes some people in the military right who do not like the Aquino government may have sacrificed some men on purpose to cause chaose in the capital.

              Only two Muslim SAF, Tausugs and not locals. The highest-ranking commander was a Christian from General Santos City. 2/3 were Igorots, the rest Visayas, one Manilan.

        • Irineo B. R. Salazar says:

          “China’s take-over of SE Asia isn’t gonna be like “Red Dawn” (both the one with Patrick Swayze and the new one), they’ve already advertised their total war strategy, so the PNP will need to investigate and interdict shaddy businesses, be able to prove that those drugs (specially the synthetics) are coming from China, protect from cyber sabotage, and the list goes on.”

          Why not hit back then? Opium Wars II. English sold opium to weaken China.

          Meth from Mexico, Coke from Colombia into the Chinese heartland? Harness Filipino Mafiosi in a patriotic way as middlemen?

          • Hi, Irineo! IMHO, difficult because China seems to deal more harshly with drug dealers peddling in country. But the real difficulty is also the fact that the demand and cash for this stuff is in North America and Europe (to include Russia)–although the little princelings and new rich seem to be enjoying themselves in the West, alas only poor drug addicts create the conditions for social unrest, rich ones just go to fancy rehabs.

            Drugs seem to be only one directional.

            China’s command economy has the luxury to employ total war, Huawei/ZTE to chemical companies churning synthetic drugs, the spectrum of resources China’s leaders can bring to bare cannot be compared to the West, certainly not the Philippines.

            The biggest Filipino criminals are its politicians and they are no match (that’s why they will be the first to cash-in and move to the US/Canada). The Philippines can’t afford to play China’s game, hence concentrate on its strengths, like merging PNP with NBI for a more comprehensive policing.

            The PNP/NBI can start looking into shady business dealings, which will uncover corruption. Like dominoes falling, the end will be to out maneuver China from easily buying the Philippines. So, it’s in the Philippines’ national security interest to rid itself of dirty politicians–start with barangays and small towns then follow the money up, there’s a reason why the NBI’s all lawyers and accountants, they are copying the FBI’s 1920s model (from August Vollmer: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/August_Vollmer ), but even the FBI eventually had to hire beat cops.

            Also the PNP/NBI can start securing cyberspace to ensure business keeps on going, there’s a reason why Chinese companies are all over telephony.

            So I’m going opposite of your thought process here, cleaning up will deter China’s meddling already pervasive in the Philippines. Transparency and actual law enforcement is the answer, and the only way to do this is by bolstering Filipino police. Rule of law deters China’s meddling from within.

            • Irineo B. R. Salazar says:

              The Chinese are strategically powerful and very dangerous. It is time for a multilateral alliance against them, similar to the Allies against first Hitler and then against the Soviets.

              What the United States should control is its tendencies to try to missionize other countries, and the tendency of its business people to try to make business colonies of other places, plus the power-mad skulduggery of some crazy people in its military-industrial complex.

              Things have gotten better in this area though since after the time of George W. Bush.

              I can see that you are truly concerned about getting the Philippines back into shape, which is a truly great thing. There are always men of honor and conscience in any place.

              Hope to see you more in this blog, making feel like less of a voice in the wilderness. 🙂

              • Irineo B. R. Salazar says:

                The thing being, and that is what IMHO Joe for all his good intentions is not fully aware of, that many things in the Philippines are not spoken about. Those who speak a lot often have ulterior motives or don’t know. I have none, being abroad and my family safe, my father an old man at 82 nobody will touch. I may not know everything, I may be wrong about some things, but I do share what I think I know. Thank you for making me look less crazy… 🙂

          • Steve says:

            The English didn’t sell opium to weaken China. They sold opium to make money.

            The British wanted products China had, notably silk and ceramics, but many others as well. The Chinese would allow no inbound trade, only outbound sales for cash, which quickly resulted in a very unfavorable trade balance. The British rectified this by growing opium in Burma and northern India, shipping it in, and selling it illicitly. Of course opium had been available in China for years, but in limited quantity and at high cost. The British brought it in bulk and made it cheap.

    • Crews says:

      Your points are direct and correct, and it should be noted that China is currently purchasing the latest Russian made Surface To Air, Model 400 (SAM 400) missile systems which could be easily installed on their soon-to-be military islet bases off the coast of Palawan. This would make their dominance of the West Philippine Sea complete. However, these could be rendered moot with the installation of the superior U.S. made Patriot missile systems in the small U.S. Bases you outlined above. If we could only overcome our few very vocal communist-inspired politicians with a truly democratic congress.

      • Your very vocal communist-inspired politicians are the least of your worries, it’s your entrenched, crony-capitalist politicians who have homes in the US and Canada, whose kids have Canadian or US dual citizenships, and bank accounts in hard to reach places,

        those guys are gonna sell you out to the Chinese, bet on that.

        WORRY ABOUT THEM.

        The Chinese will not invade or shoot rockets, why waste their weaponry when they can just as easily buy the Philippines in-toto.

        In this regard, your communist-inspired politicians will probably prove most patriotic.

        Militarization is a slow and methodical process (something similar is going on in the Arctic Ocean), US bases there now, as oppose to later, will give the Chinese another variable to consider, slowing the process further, but I don’t think they’re gonna start placing rockets just yet–it’s just not in their interest.

        • Joe America says:

          It is worth noting that the leftist organizations are now starting to protest China’s moves, so your point about them being more patriotic than the crony-capitalists is spot on.

        • Irineo B. R. Salazar says:

          “it’s your entrenched, crony-capitalist politicians who have homes in the US and Canada, whose kids have Canadian or US dual citizenships, and bank accounts in hard to reach places,

          those guys are gonna sell you out to the Chinese, bet on that.

          WORRY ABOUT THEM. ”

          Correct. They belong to the elite that always sold out:

          1. The kings of Tondo became Muslim and vassals when the Bruneians came and founded the fort of Kota Seludong across the river, which was later to become Manila.

          2. The kings of Manila and Tondo all converted to Catholicism after losing to Legazpi.

          3. Filipinos only really started revolution against Spain when Cuba had weakened it.

          4. The Filipino ilustrados only joined the Katipunan when it was already winning.

          5. Many Filipino ilustrados switched allegiance when the USA took over in 1898.

          6. Many Filipino politicians who were soooo nice to McArthur during the Commonwealth cooperated heavily with the Japanes when they were there. Among them:

          Benigno Aquino Sr. and Manuel Roxas I

          I have no dual citizenship, I only have German citizenship because my father – a true nationalist – taught me you cannot play on two football teams. If I ever decide to return to the Philippines for good, I shall reapply for citizenship and relinquish my German passport.

          • I respect the AFP (Filipino Marines especially) and PNP troops, but the most honest people from the Philippines who I thought epitomized courage and patriotism were the ex-NPA and ex-MNLF folks I met in Basilan and Zamboanga.

            They had legitimate gripes from the gov’t, their legal system, police corruption, military abuse, etc. One of the guys I talked was part of sparrow unit operated in Manila, then after 5 or so years he went back to Mindanao to teach, just got tired of it all. As a kid he witnessed his sisters and mom raped by local militia while the police and/or military looked on.

            The guy was NPA but he never bought into communism, only knew that he had to fight really bad people, many of whom were in gov’t or worked under the gov’t. It’s a screwed up country where up is down and down is up, so the first order of business should be to mitigate all that abuse and corruption, then they can seriously say We can now do something about China–

            otherwise you’re just pissing in the wind.

            • Irineo B. R. Salazar says:

              I was a Kabataang Makabayan member before during Marcos times. Many of us did not believe in Communism, neither did I. It was the only game in town against an awful regime.

              Yes, the Philippines is a screwed up country, tell me about it. I have been away for a long time but when I read the news I know how to read between the lines, believing so little.

              All decent people should work together across party lines, something that is hard in a country so fractured, distrustful and vindictive, but it is the only hope that truly exists.

              I for my part am happy that my brother and sister grew up away from that crazy place, since we were targeted, I escaped with some scars but am OK, my father stayed behind.

              President Aquino is a decent man, Grace Poe is decent but sometimes misled, Bam Aquino is decent, Sonny Trillanes is decent, the rest I only believe when it is proven so. There is no single party that is completely clean, LP is only legally clean but that’s it.

              • Joe America says:

                The Philippines is not a screwed up country. It is a young democracy still shuddering from a brutal dictatorship, the infestations of corruptions and self-dealings that emerged from that, and a weak economy undermined by patronage neglect. The nation has come a long way in five years and it is a shame that so many who don’t like this or that aspect overlay dysfunction on the whole of the nation. From your arrival at this blog, you have carried this sense that it falls to you and other wiser people to show the lessers how to run a proper country. Evidence presented, you back off. Then you return dealing negativity.

                Good luck with that. A rising nation can easily identify the ideological critics because they are the ones who actually have no idea what is going on, and little interest in finding out anything but that which confirms their negative bias.

              • Joe,

                To be clear, I am not being racist or being imperialist, I’m not saying I have answers or that I am better. But I do believe our American systems & institutions are right now when compared to the Philippines are light years ahead. That’s where we Americans can help.

                With that said, I visited Cebu and Manila also when off work, I’ve met entrepreneurs from the Philippines and diaspora Filipinos returned to do business there, and I have genuine hope for them, just not their gov’t.

                I will always talk crap about its military, police and politicians, and to a larger notion of the flawed culture I witnessed there (like not speaking truth to power, being happy with amateur leadership, etc.), one both you and Ireneo agree on, no doubt.

                And I’m not interested in the Philippines, I was there a whopping 1.5 yrs total and I honestly do not care to return. What I am interested in though is China vis a vis ASEAN, and EA and SA and where we Americans can play better hands. If I have to pick a country to return to in that region it’b be a toss up between Thailand and Indonesia.

                But since I’m originally from N. California, I have plenty of friends who are Filipinos and I love them all and they were considerable help during my times in country.

                It’s not negativity, and yes it might be a kick in the behind, I know, but it’s honesty and it comes from the heart. So I apologize if this all seems to read like The White Man’s Burden,
                I am only trying to offer honest criticism, I’ve taken care to include ideas for solutions, because I don’t believe in empty talk.

                Thanks for your responses also Ireneo, you’ve added greatly to my further understand of all this.

                You guys (the readership here) have this whole dynamics that’s really weird tainted with innuendos and emotions. It’s virtual interaction, present ideas and either agree or disagree. It’s sad, because there’s so much useful information thrown around, only you have to sift through all the fluffy, I’m offended, I’m hurt, etc.

              • Joe America says:

                My comment about negativity was directed at Irineo, not you. I find your observations direct and informed from your own experiences. I think there are certain disciplines that make America work that have not yet been learned in the Philippines, and they could be valuable. The difficulty in getting to them I would refer to as cultural resistance. That is partly personal psychology and the tendency of nationalists to resist, partly interpersonal in how things get done in the style of friends and family or tribe, partly diversity which is a blessing for the richness but a pain for the arguments they engender. And, in fact, America does not always represent herself as an ideal, and therefore we risk coming across as the condescending hypocrite.

                So for me, it is a process. I write, I learn, I observe, I offer ideas and try not to shade them outside of trying to figure out what is best for the Philippines.

                The dialogue in this thread is a little bizarre, I agree, and it is not the typical dialogue that goes on in the blog. Indeed, the blog is noted for its ability to listen and not judge. We are adjusting to Irineo, who came in as a one-man storm a few weeks ago and has dominated discussions since then. Of late, he turned a tad hostile and unduly condescending to those of us who have engaged here over the years. So I’m sorry you had to be met with that form of discussion.

                Unfortunately, the discussion threads become what people make of them, and this one has been . . . well, unfortunate.

                It is best to ride the waves, though, and no let any one blog or incident overturn the boat. The direction is right, the paddlers are of good intent and bearing, and the ship will eventually get back to steady on, constructive dialogue.

              • Irineo B. R. Salazar says:

                “Thanks for your responses also Ireneo, you’ve added greatly to my further understand of all this.

                You guys (the readership here) have this whole dynamics that’s really weird tainted with innuendos and emotions. ” @LCpl_X:

                I came back on the Philippine blog scene after having left the Philippines due to politics in 1982, then visited joyfully in 1986, been active in the Pinoy scene in Germany 1982-1995, been back for a visit in 1995 and saw how false the short-lived boom was at that time.

                Decided to make my way in German society and moved to Bavaria 1996, still some contact to the Pinoy-German scene until 2000, when the whole EDSA II thing happened back home and some more than annoying things happened that made me retreat fully.

                My return to the Philippine scene was virtual via this blog, after Mamasapano happened. Observations and insights on German society, on how they are light years ahead of the Philippines just like you said of the US, made in a decade just burst out of me quickly. Plus
                my observations on how unreal many things seemed to me in Philippine current events. Plus my view of the country which needed updating. Understandably, I have annoyed people here, it was surprising for me too. Felt like Marco Polo whom many called a liar.

            • @LCPL_X – Excuse me for meddling (can’t help it, I’m an imperialist 🙂 ) but I do not think that Joe’s rebuttal below was meant for you. If you look at how the comments are nested, Joe was replying to Ireneo’s comment, not yours.

              Yes, it can get emotional here. People here are very passionate, making us a tad touchy at times.

              I, for one is glad that you came here and added a lot of substance to our discussions.

              • Irineo B. R. Salazar says:

                You’re not an imperialist, as this matter concerns your community here.

                In this case, I am the imperialist who meddled in your community.

                Which is why I am reducing my presence here and forming one more relevant to where I stand and how I see things, more relevant to the community that I am part of in real life, inspite of having been in hiding for some time – the Filipino-German community.

              • Joe America says:

                You were a welcome guest who ran wild and are now in Raissa’s blog joining with Parekoy in the relentless work of dividing people, classifying them as wise or unwise, generalizing them based on the color of their skin and whether or not you like MacArthur. Taking one mistake and generalizing a person’s whole life based on it. Most of us just pack our peculiar ignorances and expect that others will consider that difference is enrichment, not poison. But there are some who seem to have need to diminish so that they can rise. I hope you find something solid and constructive to stand on and find a way to build and not tear down.

              • Juana Pilipinas says:

                @Ireneo. Cool it. The imperialist joke is meant to poke fun at myself. My maternal grandmother is an American and my husband is an American descended from German and Swedish ancestry. A lot of people are of mixed race. The sense and feeling of belonging is intrinsic, no one can give that to you. Like everything else in this world, respect and acceptance are earned. Stop lashing out and taking things personally. Life is too short to be unhappy.

              • Irineo B. R. Salazar says:

                “I hope you find something solid and constructive to stand on and find a way to build and not tear down.” My new blog, which will focus on a certain community and interests.

                Not better, just interested in certain topics that may not be too interesting for all here. All who are interested in those topics are welcome regardless of color, class or nationality. Want to address an audience though that is at the moment still underrepresented online.

                “Life is too short to be unhappy.” @Juana, exactly. 🙂

    • Irineo B. R. Salazar says:

      “The only way,

      is to invite the US back. Sadly, public approval’s down because of our colleague who discovered his playdate for the night was carrying the same tools as he. Because of what happened in Subic and Angeles, decades back public support of US bases will be forever an issue–ironically, without the Americans the sex trade still thrived, which goes to show that it wasn’t an American problem, but a Filipino one, but I digress…”

      Hi LCpl_X! That might be an option, but this time train the Filipinos well on their side!

      I posted the following idea higher up:

      Strategic retreat without giving up claims and strengthen the defences of the heartland one by one so that China cannot come in. On the eastern side the Philippine Sea with U.S. presence – they are already in Guam and one can patrol with them, learn from them while building up.

      “But having interacted with the AFP and PNP, personally, I think the best way to fix those two institutions is to bull doze the Philippine Military Academy and the Philippine National Police Academy and then start from scratch, re-build the whole organization, police & military, from nothing. Those two academies, modeled after our West Point, but like something from bizarro land, inundated with crony politics and nepotism, produce absolute imbeciles for leaders.”

      😦 – my deceased uncle (and later general) fought side by side with Americans in Vietnam.

      He was not a PMA graduate, he worked his way up. He and the ones I know from that batch were truly good officers. Research on PHILCAG and General Javier Carbonnel.

      “Sulu and S. Palawan are the best viable locations,”

      Interesting, because higher up I also posted the following:

      On the Western Front, strengthen defences of the Philippines so that the Chinese cannot enter Philippine Core Territory. It will take time to build this, but the final state in about ten years could look something like this, I already posted it upstairs but repeat it one more time here:

      – Large Philippine Air Force base in Palawan.

      – Philippine missile bases in Mindoro mountains.

      – Philippine Naval bases in Abra de Ilog and Balabac.

      – Philippine Marines on ready on their bases in Marinduque.

      – Protect major entry points by strengthening Panay and Cavite.

      Might be we need America to help us bootstrap, but this time it must be done properly.

      • I know about the Filipino regiments from California and Hawaii stood up during WWII and of the Filipinos in the Alamo Scouts: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rafael_Ileto

        And I read about the Filipino UN soldiers in Israel last year, so I think when Filipinos are taken out of the Philippines, they tend to shine; BUT left inside that system of corruption and flawed culture, they’ll just go along to get along.

        So I think the Philippines itself is the problem, not so much individual Filipinos, but let’s be honest here, they are one and the same.

        If there is to be a shared base in S. Palawan and Sulu, the ratio has to be more of Americans than AFP. When it’s the opposite then might as well be South Vietnam all over again. The AFP can rotate units with the Americans but they shouldn’t be able to call the shots. Until they tear down the PMA (and PNP Academy), and stand up a new crop of leaders, the Philippines has to defer to the Americans for their defense, sadly.

        We are just not on equal footing and that has to be realized from the git go.

        • Irineo B. R. Salazar says:

          No, unfortunately we are not on equal footing. I know very well that my Pinoy side is kept in check by being under German supervision, I would be EXACTLY like others over there.

          The culture is very flawed and each one of us Pinoys is part of it and needs to change.

          It took me years in Germany to realize how flawed I am, and that inspite of my being mixed. But I believe that the younger generation may have realized things and are changing now. Work as much as possible with them, keep the all old dogs over 45 our of the picture. 🙂

  13. JM says:

    When I think about it, I agree with you Joe but the feeling really sucks. Personally, I really hate it when people steal from me. I’ve just been to El Nido a week ago and imagining chinese boats exploiting the area makes me angrier. I am not sure if I can dismiss my feelings about this issue.

    The east have a ton of potential. Ex. I’ve read somewhere that there is renewable deuterium deposits in Philippine deep and that deuterium is the energy of the future. Hoping that we can prioritize how we can utilize this resource.

    • Joe America says:

      It is hard, I agree. China is a bully and it is infuriating that they can steal under the belief that the Chinese hungry are more important than the Philippine hungry, who rely on those seas. China is developing as an evil society.

  14. I wonder what happened to this very important news item
    Cathy Yamsuan

    @inquirerdotnet
    Philippine Daily Inquirer
    1:59 AM | Tuesday, August 16th, 2011

    The Philippines will gain 13 million hectares in additional territory, an area slightly smaller than Luzon, should the United Nations approve next year the government’s claim on a region off the coast of Isabela and Aurora, Environment Secretary Ramon Jesus Paje said on Monday.

    Paje said the undersea region, called Benham Rise, could turn the Philippines into a natural gas exporter because of the area’s huge methane deposits.

    Studies conducted by the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) for the past five years indicate large deposits of methane in solid form, Paje said after a Senate budget hearing.

    The government is only awaiting a formal declaration from the UN Convention of the Law of the Sea (Unclos) that Benham Rise is on the country’s continental shelf and therefore part of its territory, Paje said.

    Legal basis

    Once the Unclos establishes that Benham Rise is part of the Philippines, “we would have legal basis to enter into exploration agreements with private companies to explore… (the area’s) resources,” said Sen. Franklin Drilon, chair of the chamber’s finance committee.

    Drilon said a favorable Unclos declaration would mean “increasing our territory from present 30 million hectares to possibly 43 million” with the inclusion of Benham Rise.

    Discussion over Benham Rise generated excitement especially after Paje said that Philippine representatives were just awaiting one more meeting “to answer questions” before a special Unclos committee.

    Only claimant

    Paje said there was no reason for the Unclos committee not to issue a decision favorable to the country “since we are the only claimant, unlike in the western side (where the Spratly Islands are).”

    “We have submitted a claim under (Unclos) sometime in late 2008. We got a reply from the UN lately (asking us) to answer some questions. They intend to pass a resolution sometime in mid-2012 to approve our claim (that it is) part of the Philippine continental shelf,” Paje told reporters after the hearing.

    Records showed that the Philippines officially submitted a claim with the UN Commission on the Limits of the Continental Shelf in New York on April 8, 2009.

    Davide submission

    Hilario Davide, then Philippine ambassador to the United Nations, filed the country’s partial submission with the commission.

    The United Nations says the continental shelf is “the seabed and subsoil of the submarine areas that extend beyond its territorial sea” up to 370 km (200 nautical miles) from the archipelagic baseline. An extended continental shelf goes farther than 370 km.

    The Philippines claims that Benham Rise is an extension of its continental shelf.

    Paje said Benham Rise was within the country’s 370-km exclusive economic zone.

    American geologist

    The environment secretary said an American geologist surnamed Benham discovered the area that was between 40 and 2,000 meters below the waterline in 1933.

    “But we are able to define categorically that it is attached to our continental shelf only recently. We have proven (to) Unclos that it is attached. So now the UN is considering it for decision sometime in 2012,” Paje said.

    He said gas deposits in the area would enable the country to achieve energy sufficiency.

    “Benham Rise is very relevant because of its gas deposits (which has been) confirmed particularly by (the) National Mapping Resource Information Agency. It has given us the data that (the area) contains solid methane. We have not explored it but we have found nodules of methane in the surface and this is very important to us,” he said.

    Kalayaan, Scarborough

    The Kalayaan Island Group, which is part of the disputed Spratly Islands and Scarborough Shoal, both located in the West Philippine Sea (South China Sea) and claimed by the Philippines, are also believed to contain oil and natural gas.

    Paje said there was the possibility that the country could export gas in the future.

    The secretary added that there would be a demand for gas deposits in Benham Rise “because it’s much cleaner than (other) fossil fuels.”

    The DENR formally submitted its proposed P16.99-billion budget for 2012 to the Senate finance committee.

    link:

    http://newsinfo.inquirer.net/42329/philippines-may-soon-own-vast-gas-rich-area

  15. josephivo says:

    How far should one be principled, “over my dead body, the Spratlys are mine” and how far pragmatic, “I’ll look in the other direction as long as you will invest a zillion $ in my economy”?

    I believe this administration walks fairly in the middle, and thus without strong American presence.

    • Joe America says:

      The Philippines does walk the middle, but the rapid development of islands by China in violation of prior “stand still” agreements has been an eye-opener, and is pushing the Philippines toward the US.

  16. Oh, I found this….! Hey, how about that…

    koreanewsonline.blogspot.com/2012/04/13-million-hectares-benham-rise-belongs.html#.VTRf05NUX3Q

    13 Million Hectares Benham Rise belongs to the Philippines, UN Approved!

    Effective year 2012, the Philippines have augmented its area into 43 Million hectares from 30 Million hectares.

    The United Nations has approved the Philippines’ territorial claim to Benham Rise, an undersea landmass in the Pacific Ocean potentially rich in mineral and natural gas deposits, Environment Secretary Ramon Paje said.

    “We own Benham Rise now,” Paje said in a media interview. “This is for future Filipinos,” he added, noting that the 13-million-hectare area off the coast of Aurora province has been shown to have rich mineral deposits.

    Paje said the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea (Unclos) sent the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) a letter last week informing the agency that the landmass is part of the country’s continental shelf and territory.

    Benham Rise, a seismically active region facing Luzon’s eastern seaboard, is rising slowly to the surface of the Pacific Ocean, Paje said. Perhaps, in a million years—a blink in the planet’s geological time—it will be habitable, he said.

    Larger than Luzon

    The plateau is a massive formation of basalt, a common volcanic rock, and is within coordinates 119°30’E to 132°00’E and 12°10’N to 20°30’N latitude.

    Paje said Benham Rise, named after an American surveyor, is larger in area than Luzon. It has been shown to have natural gas deposits and manganese nodules, vital in the production of steel, he added.

    Despite Benham’s proximity to the Philippines and its location within the country’s exclusive economic zone, the government did not claim it until 2008. Then, the next year, the government submitted a formal claim to the United Nations Commission on the Limits of the Continental Shelf. The Philippine submission noted that the country reserves the right to submit further claims in the area.

    The Philippines is the sole claimant of Benham Rise. The country is currently embroiled in territorial disputes over several islands in the West Philippine Sea (South China Sea).

    China and the Philippines are feuding over Panatag (Scarborough) Shoal, 220 kilometers (124 nautical miles) west of Zambales province.

    The Philippines and some of its Southeast Asian neighbors are also disputing with China and Taiwan ownership of parts of Spratly Islands in the West Philippine Sea.

    The Spratlys are believed to be sitting on vast deposits of minerals and natural gas, in an area spanned by sea lanes vital to global trade.

    IN THE KNOW

    BENHAM RISE is a 13-million-hectare undersea region that lies east of Luzon and off the provinces of Isabela and Aurora.

    Also known as Benham Plateau, it is a massive formation of basalt, a common volcanic rock, and is described in a study as a thickened portion of the Philippine sea plate’s oceanic crust.

    The formation lies within the continental shelf of the Philippines as defined by the 1982 UN Convention on the Law of the Sea (Unclos), under which a coastal state’s exclusive economic zone extends 370 kilometers (200 nautical miles) from its continental shelf, while its extended continental shelf extends for another 278 km (150 nautical miles).

    Benham Rise is not subject to any maritime boundary disputes and claims.

    Studies conducted by the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) have indicated large deposits of methane in solid form in the area.

    In August last year, Environment Secretary Ramon Paje announced that the Philippines will gain additional territory should the United Nations approve the country’s claim to Benham, which the country submitted to the UN Commission on the Limits of the Continental Shelf in New York on April 8, 2009.

    According to Paje, an American geologist, Andrew Benham, discovered the area, which was between 40 meters and 2,000 meters below the waterline, in 1933. Paje said gas deposits in the area would enable the country to achieve energy sufficiency

    Benham Rise was found off the coast of Aurora province, Northeastern part of Luzon Island and is part of the Philippine continental shelf and its 200 Nautical Mile Exclusive Economic Zone. With just the Pacific Ocean to the east, Hawaii is probably the next closest island.

    Benham Rise, also known as Benham Plateau, is a 13-million hectare undersea region east of Luzon. It is enclosed by the coordinates 119°30’E to 132°00’E and 12°10’N to 20°30’N latitude.

    The plateau is a massive formation of basalt, a common volcanic rock, and is described in a study as a thickened portion of the Philippine Sea plate’s oceanic crust.

    Another research notes the similarity of the shape of Benham Rise to the sharp bend of the Luzon coastline, which suggests the sea floor’s resistance to subduction (the process by which one plate on the earth’s crust is pushed downward beneath another plate because of collision) that may have affected the Philippine fault.

    Paje said the undersea region, called Benham Rise, could turn the Philippines into a natural gas exporter because of the area’s huge methane deposits.

    Studies conducted by the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) for the past five years indicate large deposits of methane in solid form, Paje said after a Senate budget hearing.

    The government is only awaiting a formal declaration from the UN Convention of the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) that Benham Rise is on the country’s continental shelf and therefore part of its territory, Paje said.

    Philippines Legal basis of Expansion

    Since the UN approved that Benham Rise is part of the Philippines, “we would have legal basis to enter into exploration agreements with private companies to explore… (the area’s) resources,” said Sen. Franklin Drilon, chair of the chamber’s finance committee.

    After this favorable UNCLOSs declaration, the Philippines territory area augmented from 30 million hectares in 2011 into 43 million hectares effective year 2012 with the inclusion of Benham Rise.

    Davide submission 2009

    Hilario Davide, then Philippine ambassador to the United Nations, filed the country’s partial submission with the commission.

    The United Nations says the continental shelf is “the seabed and subsoil of the submarine areas that extend beyond its territorial sea” up to 370 km (200 nautical miles) from the archipelagic baseline. An extended continental shelf goes farther than 370 km.

    The Philippines claims that Benham Rise is an extension of its continental shelf.

    Paje said Benham Rise was within the country’s 370-km exclusive economic zone.

    American geologist

    The environment secretary said an American geologist surnamed Benham discovered the area that was between 40 and 2,000 meters below the waterline in 1933.

    “But we are able to define categorically that it is attached to our continental shelf only recently. We have proven (to) UNCLOS that it is attached. So now the UN is considering it for decision sometime in 2012,” Paje said.

    He said gas deposits in the area would enable the country to achieve energy sufficiency.

    “Benham Rise is very relevant because of its gas deposits (which has been) confirmed particularly by (the) National Mapping Resource Information Agency. It has given us the data that (the area) contains solid methane. We have not explored it but we have found nodules of methane in the surface and this is very important to us,” he said.

    Kalayaan, Scarborough Shoal (Panatag Shoal)

    The Kalayaan Island Group, which is part of the disputed Spratly Islands and Scarborough Shoal, both located in the West Philippines Sea (South China Sea) and claimed by the Philippines, are also believed to contain oil and natural gas.

    Paje said there was the possibility that the country could export gas in the future.

    The secretary added that there would be a demand for gas deposits in Benham Rise “because it’s much cleaner than (other) fossil fuels.”

    • Joe America says:

      Thank you for doing my intended research, Mary Grace. Kindly take your research and whack Jameboy upside the head with it. hahahaha And give my friend Bert a gentle tap with it.

      You have made the case even more clear that there is gold in them thar underwater hills.

      • hahaha… done… Jameboy and Bert are kindred spirits…

        Solid methane mining (can’t drill them, I heard as the heat will cause the methane to escape to the atmosphere) will require enormous capital and technology research. I hope we can see this development in our lifetime, if not, the lifetime of your son and the rest of our future generation. Still, something to look forward to.

        In the meantime, I hope we can safeguard what is already existing, (the Malampaya oil in Palawan) and the other oil deposits within our territorial waters just waiting to be drilled.

  17. spot.com/-JeXV5tDZvu4/T5wjxTEorQI/AAAAAAAAP1M/3Uuu0cM7HLU/s320/Philippines%2BMap-737411.jpg

    hey, I hope this link works…. this is the updated map of the Philippines, including the Benham Rise

  18. Let’s not give up on the Western Philippine Sea claim but since we are just David to China’s Goliath, we cannot do anything about it for now… let’s do something about Benham rise and if we are financially capable enough, lets improve our defense capability so we can protect what is legally ours.

    • Joe America says:

      “Right on, Sister!”

    • Irineo B. R. Salazar says:

      Well said, Mary.

      Use the money that can be earned from the Philippine sea to advance Philippine progress! Then I requote myself from above:

      On the Western Front, strengthen defences of the Philippines so that the Chinese cannot enter Philippine Core Territory. It will take time to build this, but the final state in about ten years could look something like this:

      – Large Philippine Air Force base in Palawan.

      – Philippine missile bases in Mindoro mountains.

      – Philippine Naval bases in Abra de Ilog and Balabac.

      – Philippine Marines on ready on their bases in Marinduque.

      – Protect major entry points by strengthening Panay and Cavite.

      Might be we need America to help us bootstrap, but this time it must be done properly.

  19. I must say Joe, nicely done! The angle you have taken is not popular (hell, might be a first) but it makes sense… Bravo Zulu!… Jetlag807

    • Joe America says:

      Thanks, Leonard. I’m thinking that when I have to go silent on politics (during the campaign period), I’m going to go heavy-up on geo-defense. I hope you pop in with some perspectives. That will be around October.

  20. Another interesting article, this one by Walter Lohman which says:

    Time for a rethink

    It is high time for Washington to find new avenues of approach. The U.S. has critical interests at stake. They include naval access to sea lanes necessary to keeping the peace in the Taiwan Strait and Northeast Asia; the secure, long-term, uninhibited flow of seaborne trade; and the security of the Philippines, an American treaty ally. ASEAN, the organization, is also concerned with these things. Its own unity, however, is of higher priority. To the extent that the implications of American interests — challenging China’s concept of its rights in international waters, for instance — threatens that unity, ASEAN defaults to inaction. As a result, ASEAN’s divisions have led to decades of failed diplomacy in the South China Sea.

    http://asia.nikkei.com/Politics-Economy/International-Relations/Why-US-should-move-beyond-ASEAN-in-the-South-China-Sea

    • My long time question and endless source of frustration, if not regret – why can’t the ASEAN nations speak in one voice against China’s bullying tactics?

      I seem to recall President Aquino trying to seek exactly that but failing to achieve what should have been a long ago done deal, a common stand not just between the various claimant countries but the entire region.

      Failed diplomacy and helplessness are what are staring at us in the face of these divisions regionally and even here at home, local blame games and squabbles like immature children as you are rightly pointing out.

      • jameboy says:

        My long time question and endless source of frustration, if not regret – why can’t the ASEAN nations speak in one voice against China’s bullying tactics?
        ========
        Great question. I think it’s going to be a process, a long one, for ASEAN to do that. Right now, we can see baby steps being taken by Vietnam and the Philippines towards strategic partnership in relation to China’s bullying ways in the South China Sea. 🌏

      • josephivo says:

        On one hand you have money and uncle China who got rich and easy to make “deals” with. China’s and Chinese businessmen are influential in many Asean countries. On the other hand you have national pride of the individual countries, stronger than the Asean pride, in the mind of many “Aseans” Asean as an entity is non-existing yet or still a concept only, it still has zero political cash.

        China however has it all in one (authoritarian) hand and China has a long term strategy of supremacy. They are not in a short term reactive mode as the Philippines: new picture, new front page interest (for a few days) of what to do next.

        On top you have meddling dreams (?) of potential gas and oil mixed with important shipping lanes and the US seeing its regional dominance shrinking.

      • Steve says:

        ASEAN can’t speak with one voice because the interests of ASEAN countries diverge. Thailand, Cambodia, and Laos have no direct exposure to the maritime claims and a great deal of trade with China, and are not getting nterest in a dispute that primarily involves Vietnam and the Philippines.

    • Joe America says:

      A very interesting read that I’ll add to the “Must Read” list. It essentially melds what I am saying, from the Philippine perspective, with what Lohman is saying, from the broader global/US perspective. The conflict has moved past the Philippines. Indeed, he is saying it should move past ASEAN because ASEAN has not demonstrated any power at all, and China’s reclamation work reflects China’s attitude toward the entire global arena. One of great disdain.

      Thanks for bringing this to our attention.

  21. Irineo B. R. Salazar says:

    @Mary, thanks for the interesting article. There used to be a military alliance called SEATO.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Southeast_Asia_Treaty_Organization – Manila pact, 1954.

    Somehow, this pact never really got of the ground and at some point was dead in the water.

    @Joe: yes, the conflict has move past the Philippines, and past ASEAN for its weakness.

    America too could later say: they were divided, thus we helped and conquered them.

  22. Irineo B. R. Salazar says:

    Commercial break: I hereby announce that I am starting my own WordPress blog in May

    Name of the blog is yet unknown, I will let you know. First Topics of the blog shall be:

    – Philippine history in a nutshell – a blog article teaser for sonny’s and my project

    – Multilateral approaches to Philippine trade and politics – an appeal to think broader

    – Defending the Philippines in the Asian century – a look at the Philippine’s Fronts

    I shall continue to comment here, yet shorter. All of you are of course cordially invited.

    @Jameboy, thank you for giving me the kick in the ass. I have taken your inspiration.

    • Joe America says:

      Congratulations. I look forward to adding the site to the Philippine Blog Center when it is up and running. I am likely to mosey over there frequently to pop off.

      • Irineo B. R. Salazar says:

        This blog ain’t big enough for both of us Joe, but instead of High Noon, I make my own.

        We can be good neighbors, just like Raissa and you are. More fun in the blogosphere!

        • Joe America says:

          Yes indeed. I think a vibrant blogging community is important and wish you much success.

          • Irineo B. R. Salazar says:

            Let us be like Bavarian barkeepers who visit one another for a drink after hours.

            Their motto is that competition raises business. Drunk and merry people like to go from one watering hole to the other…

            • Irineo B. R. Salazar says:

              And competition keeps everybody from getting too comfortable, thereby raising quality.

              • karl garcia says:

                Boycott! hehe. In other news SM’s Henry Sy is expanding in China, hoping one day to rename China to SM.

              • Joe America says:

                It will be interesting to see how that goes. Well, more power to him, as he is also expanding aggressively within the Philippines. Our town is getting a Gaisano mall soon, but we still don’t have a Jollibee.

              • karl garcia says:

                Jollibee, aside from SM is making waves in China.

      • Irineo B. R. Salazar says:

        Anyway, many thanks. Besides, setting something up by myself keeps me busy and focused, preventing me from filling your blog with my tentative drafts and stuff.

        I annoyed many of your readers I am aware of that, but that will stop immediately.

        • karl garcia says:

          Link to your blog asap.

          • Irineo B. R. Salazar says:

            Kapag handa na at buo na ang lahat, sabay-sabay ang pasok sa bagsak ng paa… heto na, heto na, heto na, ha ha… galing sa isang kanta ng grupo ng pinsan mo.

            Ayoko ng umangkas, noong bata pa kami sa U.P., barkada ko iyong mga taga-Balara. Hinahabol namin iyong mga Coke truck para umangkas sa likod, sabay talon kapag pabilis na sila. Mabigat na ako ngayon, kaya gagawa na ako ng sarili kong SUV jeepney.

        • Irineo B. R. Salazar says:

          And I shall invite the heavyweights from my country. Professors, Pisay graduates, DFA people. As a counterweight to a blog hosted by an American, smart as he is. To give my own people confidence, it is important that the main players are our own people.

          We have heavyweights. I will invite Dr. Mahar Lagmay among others. Pity that I must start this initiative as a Filipino-German living abroad, even without a Filipino passport.

          But I have challenged Parekoy to start his own blog as a Filipino in the Philippines.

          • karl garcia says:

            Update your earlier blogs like tipping point and gather yours and some comments here worth expounding.

            • Irineo B. R. Salazar says:

              I will definitely do that, but I will start top-down:

              – Philippine history first, to give context

              – international relations, to broaden thinking

              – Philippine defence, to point out where we stand

              A house needs foundations first, then walls, then windows and doors.

          • Joe America says:

            Take care that you don’t become another GRP. “To give my people confidence.” Your people are plenty confident and capable. Some institutions need a little work.

            • Irineo B. R. Salazar says:

              Nope, I think my mind is too flexible for that. Besides, I hate cheerleaders, I hate preaching to the choir. I like people like jameboy, Parekoy and you who give me some counter. People who keep me from getting to comfortable. Because that is always bad.

              GRP is about putting Filipinos down. I am about giving those confidence who lack it. And spreading knowledge, but in a different way than you do. Complementary to you. It helps.

        • josephivo says:

          Power. Power as the skill to make someone behave in a way he would not do on its own. The result of using power can be lose/lose, win/lose, lose/win or win/win. Only the last one is interesting. Parents make kids behave differently, teachers students, bosses subordinates, Joeam me, I look clearer at a lot of things now. So in win/win situations power is a good thing.

          3 types of power exist. 1- Given to you from above = by authority, 2- coming from yourself = knowledge, 3- given from below = charisma. The first is the weakest, the last the more powerful.

          I do not understand why you have to fall back on the first type to convince us. Power because of your father professor, because of your important SAP positions, power because of the neighbors of your parents, power because of being German… Often your arguments are strong by themselves and they weaken when you fall back on “authority”. Joeam has charisma because of his patience in listening and his mastery in using the English language, people give him a lot of credit even when his arguments are not water tight.

          I hope you can adjust your powerbase in your new blog. All the best.

          • Irineo B. R. Salazar says:

            Josephivo, you are one of the most perceptive analysts here. You have uncovered, possibly, my true weakness that I must work on. In a truly good way, thank you.

            Possibly I shall be more secure in coming into the House of Joe when I have my own place to go back to, my own place to take care of with the same issues and same stuff to deal with. Since I have many ideas of my own, it is proper that I give them their own forum.

            I am moving to power base number 2 now in blogging, same base I have in my profession. Power Base Number 3 is what I am presently working on in my profession. And with power one has achieved by oneself, confidence comes and thus the charisma to convince. 🙂

        • Maybe you annoy some, but not all I really enjoy reading your comments maski mahaba. LOL

          • Irineo B. R. Salazar says:

            Salamat. 🙂 Di naman ako aalis, pero may uuwian ako sa darating na panahon.

            Mas maganda kung may sariling bahay at hindi lang umiistambay sa iba.

          • I wish I can, too… alas, my time is so limited… a quick read, then go… another visit, comment a little then back to my work…. lucky are you who work in your own time and schedules…

    • Irineo B. R. Salazar says:

      It is a pity that some fellow Filipinos here call me arrogant, but fall for the obvious play to American interests that Joe is writing here. A replay of the Spanish East Indies under USA.

      Our crab mentality against our best, but in awe of anyone who has white skin – stupid.

      Joe is a good man, but sometimes the excessive admiration of Filipinos for Kanos may have gotten into his head. Joe I have told you to guard against that, it is a major trap. McArthur meant well, but Roxas the grandfather of Mar played with him – PUMAPEL.

      • Irineo B. R. Salazar says:

        Douglas McArthur was son of American governor Arthur McArthur. He partly grew up in the Philippines, loved the country.

        But being American and naive, Roxas and others really played him. Collaborated with the Japanese when he was gone. Sucked up to him again, when he came back…

      • Joe America says:

        Keep that up and I’ll throw you out. The condescension is dripping . . .

        • Joe America says:

          It is not necessary for you to diminish this blog, me, or the people who contribute here. It is what it is, and the forum has been open to you for all the wit, wisdom, bullshit and off topic ramblings you’ve produced. I genuinely hope your blog is successful. Just go do your own thing and stop playing the crab here, suggesting that people who contribute here don’t have the character or intellectual discernment to take or leave what is produced by, not an American, but a guy, a person, who does his own thing.

          • R. Hiro says:

            It is unfortunate that some people do not have a clue about the history of the Philippines.

            U.S. laws dictated the terms of Philippine “independence.” Gen. D. MacArthur had nothing to do with it…

            Osmena Sr., a long time adversary of then MLQ lost in the elections to Roxas.

            The onerous conditions of the Bell Trade Act imposed by the colonizer on the devastated colony after the war are still felt till today.

            Anyone who suggests that Roxas was able to play Gen. D. MacArthur during that period has to be totally ignorant of historical facts.

          • Irineo B. R. Salazar says:

            You are doing your own thing Joe. Just consider this a friendly reminder.

            Many very good contributors here, which is why I am remaining here.

            There are some others though, who do not have the guts to complain to me about my numerous postings, but have to go to the Kano to do so. And you tell them they can continue scrolling away, OK fair enough, but I do not want to be reduced to irrelevance.

            Joe, I respect that you stand by your man. You are not the kind of American that needs suck-ups, not a weakling like McArthur who left Wainwright to be capture by the Japanese.

            I also respect jameboy for telling me directly what he thinks about my postings, and Karl. But some other people here have pushed me forward – NOT you, not the Society. 🙂

      • Bert says:

        Stop babbling thrash, Irineo. We are denizens of the Society and color of the skin does not matter here, where did you get that idea. We know Joe better than you do, and we regular here know each other better than you know us being here longer. What’s your reason for attacking the host? For attacking us? As far as I can see you are welcome here, we are all welcome here. So stop your kid stuff bs.

        • Irineo B. R. Salazar says:

          I am not leaving, just putting my own stuff where it should be, in my own blog.

          You I deeply respect, you are a true Bikolano, a son of the land of volcanos.

          I have already written that I respect Joe and the Society, jameboy as well.

          Since I have been considering my own stuff for a long time, I do it now.

          Complementary to the Society, not against it – and not as a new GRP.

          ———————————————————————————————–

          My focus will be mainly on knowledge, not on the details of politics.

          First articles history, then international context, then regional context.

          In order to be there as a resource for information and further discussions.

          ———————————————————————————————–

          The details of local politics, I leave to those who are back home – and HERE.

          • Irineo B. R. Salazar says:

            And having my own blog keeps me straight as well, keeps me from writing bullshit.

            Forces me to stick to what I really know and can stand for, not stuff I am incompetent in.

            Like Filipino national politics, were I am only learning at the moment, not really an insider.

            ——————————————————————————————————-

            Joe, I provoked you intentionally – provocation is the best way to find out true colors.

            I hereby apologize, but I am not sorry that I did it – same as my apology to Parekoy.

            • karl garcia says:

              Here, I will give you straight talk Irineo,Fuck you and your provocation.

              • Irineo B. R. Salazar says:

                Danke – I am a real asshole often, maybe always. I have to live with that, not you.

                Karl you are the future Filipino my father dreamt of – not me. I’m an asshole very often, you are a man with cojones. I appreciate that you have always been straight with me.

              • bauwow says:

                Wow! Now, that takes balls to say!

                Uncle Joe, thank you for being patient with everyone. I visit the site often because I learn a lot, just by reading the article and the comments to it.

                @IBRS, good luck in all your endeavors. I hope NOT all Filipinos think the same way as you do. To start a blog might seem easy, but maintaining it is an entirely different story.
                Just ask the host of the Society of Honor.

              • Joe America says:

                It is always pleasing when you young whippersnappers display more maturity and insight than some of your elders. 🙂 I appreciate your regular reading of the blog. Indeed, there is a huge difference between starting a blog and maintaining it. That’s why there are so few around. But who knows, Irineo enjoys listening to himself, so maybe he will have lasting power. Haha I had to listen to myself for years before readership got above 100 a day.

                I think loyal readers also have to have endurance, to ride through the good blogs and the bad, the ones they agree with, and don’t. We are fortunate to have so many bright loyalists who contribute. And some distinguished readers, as well, who read but can’t contribute, because of their positions.

              • Irineo B. R. Salazar says:

                It will not be easy. I am subjecting myself to the same conditions to see how it is. And holding myself back to the areas which I am competent to judge, the areas of knowledge. The areas of politics I shall stay away from when it comes to people or parties.

      • Why did you have to post that kind of remark just as you are about to start you own blog?

        I take exception to that word – STUPID – in awe of anyone who has white skin…..fall for the obvious play to American interests that Joe is writing here.

        Please credit some of us with some sense and discernment on who to read and believe. For myself, I read this blog because Joe expresses in words what I think of but could not express with such organized clarity, being blunt and not mincing words but in all civility. As you yourself has found out, he is not rigid in his observations, he listens and learn and acknowledges his wrong perception if proven otherwise.

        Joe has been a gracious host to us all, patient even to some of our excesses. That’s no way to repay him. Maybe if you type and post a little slower and think and analyze more, you will not be in a position where you have to apologize later.

        I don’t want to think that a fellow Filipino (even if you’re a German citizen now) could treat somebody like that after he had used his site as outlet for his ideas and musings.

        • Irineo B. R. Salazar says:

          Thank you for your compassion and your straight talk.

          I have written about who provoked me and I went too far.

          Now I am indeed sorry that I (indirectly) provoked Ronald.

          ————————————————————————–

          But my decision to make my own blog stands and is good.

          It forces me to deal straight and avoid bullshit and musings.

          ————————————————————————–

          If I am still welcome here after this, I truly appreciate it. 🙂

          • Good luck to your new undertaking, I’ll be visiting when I’m not chained by BIR deadlines and requirements for e-reporting and electronic filing and payments….so much of them, when will the red tape end?

        • NHerrera says:

          Mary Grace P. Gonzales, you made your point very well. I agree.

    • jameboy says:

      “I hereby announce that I am starting my own WordPress blog in May
      Name of the blog is yet unknown…”
      ========
      My suggestions for the title:

      Philippines in the Eyes of a Pinoy-Germ (Filipino-German)
      The Social Blunder by Irineo.
      The Society of One (Excuse, Joe 😃 )
      Where Is the Honor? (Excuse again, Joe 😛)
      My Life, Not Yours
      Mine, Me and Myself
      Investigative Blog for Raw Salacity (Irineo B. R. Salazar initials)
      Politics and Me
      World’s Words
      I Have A Story And It’s A Long One
      In The Beginning by Irineo
      The Last Say Is Mine
      Want to Hear My Story?
      My Philippines and My Bavarian Roots
      Political Commentary by Yours Truly
      The Europe In My Pinoy Soul
      Life and Times of a Filipino Straggler
      Off Topic Escapades
      To Me Or Not To Me, There is No Question
      Rattler Hiss
      Getting Real With Myself
      I Have The Answer, What’s The Question?

      😎 Seriously, my friend, good luck and hoping for your success and nothing but the best! 🇩🇪

      • Irineo B. R. Salazar says:

        Cool. 🙂 You are giving me very good criticism on what not to be. I appreciate that. 🙂

        My worst critics are my best helpers. I like the life and times of a Filipino straggler, ha! 🙂

        —————————————————————————————————

        My focus will be mainly on knowledge, not on the details of politics.

        First articles history, then international context, then regional context.

        In order to be there as a resource for information and further discussions.

        —————————————————————————————————

        Thank you for showing me the mirror, I have not yet shaven today.

      • andrewlim8 says:

        aha ha ha ha

        I just finished the DVD of the Theory of Everything, so my suggestion is A Brief History of Everything 🙂

        Or 50% German, 50% Moreno, Walang Tulugan! LOL 🙂

        All kidding aside, Irineo, I wish you the best for that blog. And I see no reason why you should stop posting here.

        • Irineo B. R. Salazar says:

          Yes, the brief history of the Philippines will be something like that. 🙂

          I will not stop posting here, don’t worry – just concentrate on my stuff.

          And my articles in my blog will be no bullshit, cause I must face the music. 🙂

          Somebody who hits as hard as me will have to be able to take the blows also.

          Thank you Andrew, we will read each other here and at Raissa’s and my place… 🙂

    • Irineo B. R. Salazar says:

      Filipino-German Knowledge Center. Concentration on knowledge. No politics in the sense of Mar, Poe or anybody else. I do not want to be an expat interfering, and any talk of politicians will not be allowed. Talk about strategies and policies is very welcome.

      AND it shall be a way of keeping myself sober and straight. Keep me busy and keep me from clogging this blog with bullshit and occasional anger. Joe, I am very sorry for that.

      Also I shall stay civilized within this blog, which should be easier with energy elsewhere.

      • Irineo B. R. Salazar says:

        Talk about scientists, about charitable initiatives, about good stuff being done in the Philippines shall definitely be welcome. Also European business initiatives for investment. Even ideas for cooperation with other countries – Latin American, South Asian etc.

        Defence cooperation with countries like Spain, Poland and others which is also going on. Smart countries never put all their eggs in one basket. Philippines shouldn’t either.

        • Irineo B. R. Salazar says:

          Joe’s point of view is American, it is his Standpunkt – pook at paninindigan as my father’s disciples would say. My point of view is Pinoy-German, also my Standpunkt. Each of us has his own flavor, and competition is good for business. In the end, the Filipinos themselves – not Joe, not me, will be the ones to decide what is good for them. They are waking up as a nation and I very much appreciate that. They will stand up soon.

    • Irineo B. R. Salazar says:

      Joe, there has been a lot of anger and emotion from me, and for that I am sorry.

      BUT what I cannot support with my name on articles in this blog is your obviously being party to the LP and Mar. President Aquino is an individual exception, Bam Aquino seems good as well, but until proof of the contrary, LP are legal Mafiosi in business suits for me.

      Not only your being party to LP, your constant efforts to demolish Grace Poe, who is the daughter of the only kind bandit but grew up among bandits and most probably has a difficult tug-of-war going on inside her because these Mafiosi are her own after all.

      The Quiapo subculture my father also came from, the culture of underdogs as opposed to the Makati subculture in the glass towers, people who may seem straight but have sharp elbows when one of US tries to get the opportunities he deserves. The culture of movies and Mafia very similar to Indian Bollywood in its excesses and aesthetics, a subculture that is also partly my home due to my father, who was a friend of Fernando Poe after all…

      I do not want Mafiosi in jeans to run the country, nor do I want Mafiosi in suits to run it. Don’t have much of a say but I do feel it so I must say it. Grace Poe is a new breed, much like Bam Aquino or President Aquino. You are falling prey to the same social apartheid that josephivo has mentioned, and strengthening the Mugabes, sorry I meant Binays that will come in the future. But my decision stands, and I respect it is your blog. See you around.

      • Irineo B. R. Salazar says:

        Some stuff about Grace Poe from Wikipedia:

        Following high school, Poe entered the University of the Philippines Manila (UP), where she majored in development studies. While at UP, she served in the student council as a class representative for the two years she was there. She later decided to continue her undergraduate studies abroad both to experience and prove her independence,[6] and as a form of silent rebellion in order to avoid the possibility of shaming her parents.[8] She transferred to Boston College, where she graduated with a degree in political science in 1991. While at Boston College, she co-founded the school’s Filipino Cultural Club and served as an intern for the campaign of William Weld in the 1990 Massachusetts gubernatorial election.[9]

        After graduating, Poe continued to reside in the United States, with she and her family living a quiet life in Fairfax, Virginia. In 1995, she was hired by the Montessori School of Cedar Lane, a local school where she worked for three years as a preschool teacher. She then served as a procurement liaison with the United States Geological Survey in 1998, where she worked for a year. In 2001, she was hired as a product manager with CSC Scientific, a local company specializing in the production of scientific equipment, where she stayed until 2004.[9]

        ———————————————————————————————————

        Now compare that to Mar Roxas with his Wharton economics degree and seven years in banking where he reached AVP rank, which you Joe admit is one step above customer service representative. Ray James was right in the sense the Mar is not really a top dog, maybe he has learned some stuff from experience as DILG head but his rank in USA after seven years did not really show that he has that much drive, I am very sorry to say that. Poe shows more drive if one looks at her CV, and more willingness to go into the trenches.

        Both come from different milieus, both have worked abroad and know the real deal, something I too had to learn. Not just the possibilities that come with privilege, which I could have had too if I wanted. Both deserve their chance in a fair game and I do not see why it is necessary to make insinuations against Poe without any proof while glossing over mistakes that Mar ALSO made in addition to the good work he has done. It is just not fair.

        ———————————————————————————————————

        If President Aquino endorses Grace Poe, he may finally overcome the perception that certain groups do not want other groups to have their opportunities. And unite the nation.

        Maybe then, Grace Poe would do the dirty work for LP and shoot Binay down. Why should she be fool enough to do it before? Just so THEY can be in power again for themselves?

        With all due respect Joe, I fear you have not yet understood that some resentments in Philippine society have their reasons and are not just superstition. And that some groups yet have to prove their being for inclusiveness, just like others must prove their lawfulness.

      • Juana Pilipinas says:

        A word of advice, Ireneo. Please stop dropping names and expounding on your magnificent ancestry. As the saying goes, “Power is like being a lady… if you have to tell people you are, you aren’t.”

        For a lot of people, your personal trappings do not really matter. What matters is how you express your opinions and how you treat others.

        Hide them as you may, your anti-American sentiments had been showing since you came to this blog. I enjoyed your comments except the ones that hit Uncle Sam below the belt.

        More power to you and your new blog.

        • Irineo B. R. Salazar says:

          Thank you. You are right, I am not a gentleman so often. More a “straggler”, a seeker.

          As for anti-Americanism, I am only against America meddling and causing trouble around the whole world. Communities should organize themselves as much as possible, and help one another in a neighborly way, in trade and in defence. I am against imperialism of any kind, whether American, Chinese or Russian. Live and let live should be the principle, not trying to make the world uniform according to an imperial power’s desires. That I believe. Much of America helping is its missionary zeal, well-meant but very often not well-done.

          If America is truly sincere in helping, it should enable its allies to take care of things by themselves and withdraw as much as possible, not try to secure new presence by helping.

          It needs its money badly to take care of stuff at home and should take care of its people, which is something every good country should do – help only to the extent necessary, and in a way that there is NOT a too great debt incurred by those who are being “helped”.

          Thank you for your good wishes. You will see if I have learned my lessons in my new blog. And here, starting right now. I appreciate your clarity, your fairness and respect. Thanks. Have learned a lot here. And taught a lot. This is the most important thing all of us can do.

        • sonny says:

          I admire equanimity of Joe and others.

          PiE is an acquired taste or takes some getting used to. He has a flywheel approach to knowledge. I suspect that is his DNA. Systems work harnesses him well. I agree with Christian Scripture: In His Kingdom are many mansions. 🙂

  23. Mariano Renato Pacifico says:

    1. Economic behemoth U.S.S.R. was not defeated … It lost its economy in the arms race.
    2. China, number one economy in the world. Philippines is the bottom of the pile in Asia.
    3. It bought a dozen bungling Italian Bumblling Bees and half-a-dozen certified pre-owned armed-less Coast Guard Cutters against China
    ….. While waiting for war against China …
    4. The Italian choppers never were used in Mamasapano
    5. The Coast Guard cutters were never used against Yolanda
    6. It never patrolled the China Sea to protect the fishermen
    7. Why? Why? Why buy 50-caliber armed Coast Guard Cutters?
    8. Why? Why? Why buy Italian choppers?
    9. Why buy them at all if they are never used?
    10. For what purpose?
    11. For show?
    12. Or for commission of it?
    13. COA should ask these questions …..
    14. Is it economically beneficial in the war against China?

    In this arms-race … who will lose first ? China or the Philippines?
    In USSR-USA arms race, USSR lost.
    Will Philippines win?
    Will prayers get answered?

    Let us join our hands together … let us pray that Mayweather sends Manny Pacquiao back to congress to earn his pay and bring the Filipinos back to earth and hit the books to study hopefully not in U.P. where major crooks are trained.

    • josephivo says:

      on 11:
      Part are the generals fighting the previous wars, big ships and fighter planes were needed then. Part is the military ritual dance, like the Zulus before going to war, reassuring themselves and their loved ones (and then running into the fire of machine guns). Big ships and jet fighters are very visible, very noisy, very impressive, presenting a lot of emotional content for the constituents of the decision makers.

      • Irineo B. R. Salazar says:

        Inspite of all the military dances, the sharp spears and arrows to be shot by those in hiding should be ready as well. Like those that Lapu-Lapu had waiting in the bushes to be shot by the women while his men taunted Magellan on the beach.

      • Mariano Renato Pacifico says:

        ““We make no pretense that we are helping the Philippines as it builds a minimum credible defense and pretext its maritime security,” US Ambassador Philip Goldberg said

        Read more: http://globalnation.inquirer.net/120966/biggest-balikatan-opens-to-focus-on-maritime-security/#ixzz3Xrg9ksS6

        The Americans are not training the Filipinos MAXIMUM CREDIBLE DEFENSE but MINIMUM DEFENSE.

        I wonder why? Could it be because the Americans were blamed for 44 SAF Mamasapano massacre? The Americans were blamed for the death because Americans ALLEGEDLY trained them.

        • Irineo B. R. Salazar says:

          Good question really. Why could the Philippines not paint American helicopters with Philippine colors to get the SAF out quickly? Just sacrificing 44 Filipino lives like that?

          I will not blame the USA. A lot of bungling on the Filipino side. That is very unfortunate…

        • Lil says:

          “Minimum credible defense” is a term that’s been around. I’ve seen and heard it before. It isn’t new and it doesn’t relate to Americans being blamed. The Philippines just doesn’t have the economics and political clout fully transform itself into a formidable conventional military yet let alone overnight Just look at what happened to Mamasapano. There’s a myriad of factors that led to that botched rescue operation.
          Maybe if the Philippines had gotten its act together after Marcos or even after independence. It wouldn’t be this desperate to cling on to worthy allies when it comes external enemies/national security.

      • Mariano Renato Pacifico says:

        The Philippine Government should send their certified pre-owned Hamilton-class Frigate to Panganiban Shoals. Since it was delivered by Americans stripped of meaningful offensive and defensive armaments (thank to PMA captain that told Inquirer and the world) I suggest they bring in their land-based howitzers and place it at the bow of the frigate.

        According to PMA naval captain, the Philippine FRigate has only .50-caliber machine guns. And he proudly said that to Inquirer.

        The Filipino people spend a ton of taxpayers money on the acquisition of this frigate, IT SHOULD BE SENT OUT TO SERVE TAXPAYERS.

        I also suggest, to raise money for big guns, boxing rematch of Floy-and-Manny should be done in Panganiban Shoals.

        • Irineo B. R. Salazar says:

          Maybe now, with the new alliance between Vietnam and Philippines coming up – see Raissa Robles’ blog – there is a chance of the two allies driving out the Chinese together.

          Alone, the Philippines would never have made it, the frigate would have been scrap metal.

          • karl garcia says:

            Scrap na nga eh dapat libre na yan. Pero wala ng libre ngayon . The weapons were not included dahil saan at kanino ba natin natutunan ang mangahoy at magkarne ng spare parts. Sa mga onaks. With our procurement system being to legalistic and too technical lahat na lang ng bibilihin natin overpriced at laging me tro o senate investigation na kasunod. That minimum credible defense will take ten years. We need Asean action and decisions asap.First we dial 911, Because it is turning into an emergency.

        • karl garcia says:

          Mariano,

          http://maxdefense.blogspot.com/2014/08/upgrades-for-philippine-navys-gregorio.html

          More or less, this article confirms what you said.

    • Irineo B. R. Salazar says:

      1. might happen to the United States as well if they continue the way they are. Their economy is based on power and on the predominance of the dollar via IMF/World Bank.

      Initiatives like the Euro and the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) change this.

      2. is because the US shifted so much manufacturing there and thought they could just be the investment bankers of the world. That was their mistake and they are paying for it now.

      They also bred their own enemies like Saddam Hussein and Bin Laden, similar to the Romans who once trained Arminius. Arminius and Varus knew each other from the service.

      4&5. The Philippines does not know how to use its own resources – physically, mentally.

  24. jose cua says:

    My God…the east of the Philippines is the Pacific ocean, known to be deep sea. It is nearly impossible to explore oil in this area of deep water, plus occassional turbulent sea. Wonder why filipino fishermen go to the west instead of east?

    • Joe America says:

      Hi, jose. Thanks for the observation. If you have the time, skim through the discussion thread to get a flavor for the different views on that point.

    • Vicara says:

      Not impossible. Just difficult, so it made sense before now to look to the western side. But now people are looking ahead, given the political situation. See thread, as Joe suggests. And Filipino fishernen–not crew on purse seiners, but guys who venture out in boats that can accommodate 8-10–are known for their fearlessness, compared to Indonesians and Malaysians, who tend to stick to their territorial waters. In those little boats–basically glorified bancas with outriggers–our fishermen reach as far as Palau and Papua New Guinea. We are admired for this among the Pacific islands, although their governments are exasperated by the occasional goat-stealing. Our fishermen used to travel like this this even before GPS became widely available. That being said, large fishing trawlers from all over, Taiwan, etc, have been taking advantage of our marine food resources (and other resources) off the western side of the country for some time now. Would be interesting to have an update on fisheries. It’s damned difficult to monitor and patrol.

      • sonny says:

        Good to know about Palau & Papua New Guinea. I agree about the Filipino in banca outriggers fearlessness. I often wondered whether inborn or acquired. I spent my pre-teens in a coastal hometown along La Union. The fishermen would go out to sea (ta-ao) days on end until they had a good fish payload. Idea: recruit these fishermen, train them for off-shore work and give them a choice for work to do. Also inform them the premium returns on their off-shore labor.

      • sonny says:

        The Benham Rise depth is about 120 – 12,000 ft (max.) Mining manganese can be done where concentration is best. Not too easy for Deuterium. Off-hand, This isotope sinks to bottom of sea. From Chemistry, Methane has many commercial uses.

  25. Lil says:

    Sorry, Joe. I just learned troops are now banned from bars and nightclubs. Also relegated to their quarters come mealtimes for the duration of the exercises:P

    • Joe America says:

      Yes. They are allowed to go to planned, supervised functions. But no happy times in the Philippines. Just work. I wonder where they are allowed to party these days. Maybe Australia. Hong Kong used to be a popular R&R spot for Viet Nam troops, and Bangkok, and Sydney. But times have changed, and intolerance of bad behavior has become intense.

      • Sorry for the misunderstanding above, Joe. I think I see the problem now.

        As for the fun times in the Philippines, this should’ve been from the git go. Ironically it’s the AFP counterparts that also encourage the above behaviour.

        Unlike the 80s, of post-Vietnam US Marines/sailors, the guys these days are more mellow. When these guys port in Thailand, Indonesia, Malaysia, they are given choices, either to volunteer with US Embassy projects (NGO projects) building homes, etc. or do cultural tours, many actually opt for activities other than KTV/GROs and/or “bikini bars”/casas.

        I’ve always wondered why the choices of R&R in the Philippines always result in short-time motels, is it the lack of creativity on the part of the US Embassy in Manila, military liaison not being able to come up with other stuff to do? Because sex tourism is rampant in Thailand (Phuket, Pattaya) and Indonesia also (Bali, Yogyakarta, etc.) but Marines/sailors are offered choices when in port, that’s the difference–and why that is is a mystery, but knowing the Philippines I’m sure there are dirty politicians involved who profit from the skin trade.

        So there’s something going on that’s different in the Philippines when hosting American troops, the troops are being herded into these sex tourist establishments specifically by not offering other choices.

        The fact that they are on a tight leash there now is good (like I said, they are used to it in the Middles East and Afghanistan), but other ways of engendering camaraderie between AFP and US troops should be seriously looked into.

        • Joe America says:

          It is economic need that drives the bar trade. Olongapo wants American ship visits. They mean jobs and money that churns through other establishments, from restaurants to motels to suppliers of foods and drinks to transportation workers. The bar owners and workers, including the girls, want American ship visits. I’m sure the troops want the visits. But the tensions between nations are like a tight string drawn to the breaking point. I’d argue it should not be that way. But it is that way because of the sensationalized media and lawyers like Harry Roque who are anti-American ambulance chasers.

          It’s unfortunately lose lose.

          I don’t know why there are not more alternative activities provided. It is a good idea. I’ve never heard it mentioned. Given the choice between Bar A and Bar B, I’d take one. Given a choice between Bar A and a two-day jeep tour to Pinatubo, I’d take Pinatubo. I’d probably take Bar A over planting trees on the hillside . . . 🙂

          • Planting trees, building homes, volunteering for medical missions, most of these missions/NGOs are done by Australians, Brits, Scandanavians, who seem to also have the backpacking trail tapped doing eco- or humanitarian- stuff, are staffed mostly by wide eyed, young women from Perth, Melbourne, Sydney, London, Dublin, Stockholm, etc.

            So Bar A, Bar B, some of the worst lays, many times hopped up on shabu or synthetics (so I heard, these days, when I was there it was shabu), next to zero English, and if you go back for a 2nd time, all that crying and bs (I think they get this from TV); It’s just no comparison, Joe.

            This is why most Marines opt for the eco- and humanitarian- options in Thailand and Indonesia, it’s just more fun. I’m not saying the whole ship is going habitat for humanity, but if the US Embassy in Manila, got together with UK, Australian, Norwegian embassies there, increase the volunteers to these NGO missions around the time ships come in, that’s a better option than any girlie bars.

            When I was there, we had local Philippine Marines teach us Kali (sword/blade fighting), that I would’ve liked to get into more and had taken time to do so while over there, only the particular style they were teaching was too much on the magic and amulets crap, so I didn’t pursue it. I would later learn on my return here that there were other better schools.

            There are so many other options aside from patronizing the sex trade. For example break up units into bite sized squads or platoons and have them do training with nursing and medical students, get them doing trauma and then drinks afterward. Erase this whole notion that the Philippines is just one big girlie bar. Yes there will most likely be sex, but it’ll be the normal healthy, getting to know you routine, with marriage as a possibility and a wife with marketable skills.

            The Japanese prostitutes in the Philippines as sonny mentioned also happened in California during the gold rush and in South America during their silver mining operations. But what isn’t widely known is that the Japanese gov’t (I forgot who exactly) decided to clean its image abroad and at home, and recalled all the bad elements, to better its reputation on world stage, that act signaled the rise of a nation.

            Make no mistake, locals are the ones sustaining the sex trade in the Philippines, not so in Bangkok or Bali where its a completely different dynamics. So it takes real leaders to curb this national pass time, of married Filipino men taking their guests to Mango Ave. in Cebu or the EDSA entertainment complex in Manila. So something similar to what the Japanese did in the early 1900s needs to be done, if the Philippines is to rise as a nation.

      • sonny says:

        Mentioned in the book The MORO WAR.
        The US occupying troops engaged in the Moro wars brought or contracted Japanese prostitutes for American troops. Apparently with official sanction. Principle of subsidiarity?

  26. Was busy with work for a day and all these things happened cool it guys!

  27. NHerrera says:

    Hi Joe. I read your note about taking a vacation with the family from late April to mid-May. Have a nice vacation. I suggest you forget replying to the blog commentaries during that period. You and the family deserve to enjoy that vacation to the max — to get that needed boost for the rest of the year.

  28. karl garcia says:

    Enjoy your needed vacation Joe. We had the hottest weather for the year yesterday, and the weather bureau say more hot days to come.

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