Did Filipinos help build the Chinese islands?

sand mining coastalcare dot orgLet us imagine the worst of the worst of those amongst us, those Filipinos who are in business, not for the betterment of mankind, or even Filipino-kind, but for themselves.

Who are a few of these despicables?

  • Soldiers who sell arms to rebels.
  • Filipinos who traffic in Filipino women and children.
  • Mayors who sell their civic oath to a Binay for financial consideration.
  • Smugglers who sell sand to China to build military islands in Philippine territory.

“Whoa!” you say. “Wait! Wait! Stop just a minute! What sand? When? Where?”

Me, too. That’s what I said when I read reader Vicara’s stunning revelation, which I have condensed for brevity:

  • Reports have been floated – and have yet to be followed in depth by the news media – that sand and other raw materials quarried in Ilocos have been used for the Spratly buildup by China. This could not have happened without a local business agreement, which would need LGU permits – as well as from the local Mines and Geosciences office? There was a separate report saying that they got their sand from Zambales. I’ve heard from good authority, an engineer working down south, that China also sourced sand for its runway-building from as far away as Tawi-tawi. So these reports are with regard to the West Philippine Sea construction. . . .  What’ll you bet that at least some of Makati’s 700 sister LGUs are among these providers of sand and rock and minerals? So when Binay says let’s make nice with China . . . likely there are LGUs who will see this as preserving a source of revenue and livelihood, forget geopolitics.

Well, we got a two-fer on that comment. Connivance among mayors and smugglers selling sand to the enemy.

I personally believe in patriotism and sacrifice and all-for-one, one-for-all. Who can go that low? Helping the enemy? Not one or two people . . . but many?

And so I wonder about these things. This is new to me, this kind of collusion, these base deeds.

What does Filipino pride mean, to these people?

Do Filipino smugglers root for Pacquiao, I wonder? Did they stand before their flag in the mornings at school and recite the patriotic oath? Did they tune into the Pope’s visit and tear up at his kindness as he wheeled through a driving rainstorm to give solace to the residents of typhoon wracked Tacloban?

Do they kiss their Filipino kids good night before sending them to bed?

I’m sorry.

I don’t get this.

Can we please get Duterte-tough with these people if these deeds can be shown to be true? Can we take care of them swiftly, try them, flog them, and string them up alive above the docks in Zambales, like in Pirates of the Caribbean, so the birds can pick at their sores?

Don’t you get angry? Or are you inclined to say “well, that’s just the way we do things here, Joe.”

Can we write a modern law that defines common treason, the kind that is not used to overthrow kings and presidents, but is so awful in working directly against the well-being of Filipinos, that it calls for QUICK trial and immediate punishment?

The severe kind.

If we don’t do capital punishment, can we at least put hard labor into the punishment?

Not jail cells with TV’s and oven toasters and girls on weekends. Not hospital wards with birthday parties and family fiestas once a month. Not house arrest, even if they are old and doddering and still drooling at the nurses.

Can we just let these people die natural and speedy deaths on the cold, hard concrete floor of a really tiny cell on one of the more remote islands? Like, can we get them out of sight, out of mind? They are a cancer and ought to be carved out of the Philippine body.

Or do we have to just trudge along, impotent, little more than a nation full of sleepwalking sloths, mumbling, “well, shit happens?”

That’s the current way, if I am not mistaken.


240 Responses to “Did Filipinos help build the Chinese islands?”
  1. nielsky says:

    “Chinese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying told a news briefing that the reclamation and building work in the Spratly archipelago of the West Philippine Sea was needed partly because of the risk of typhoons in an area with a lot of shipping that is far from land.

    “We are building shelters, aids for navigation, search and rescue as well as marine meteorological forecasting services, fishery services and other administrative services” for China and neighboring countries, Hua said.

    The islands and reefs would also meet the demands for China’s military defense, Hua said without elaborating.”

    -CNN Philippines (9 April 2015)


    Speculation can always take the better of some quarters.

    • Joe America says:

      I’m unclear as to what you mean, actually. Are you endorsing the Chinese line? And if so, what do you make of today’s report that Chinese military vessels rammed two Vietnamese fishing boats?

      • nielsky says:

        Today, am taking an open mind, wait-and-see if you will on the general issue of West Philippine Sea.

        There is an upcoming public lecture that appears to discuss on a ‘more anxious China vis-à-vis its security environment; and the transformation is exemplified by Xi’s implementation of tougher security measures, and call for a new type of relations between the global powers, the Sino-ASEAN destiny community, and the One Belt, One Road project, among others’ and I hope I can sit and listen.

        This is a 2nd of such lecture on China the first one that again also conflates a number of social, economic, and security issues.

        • Joe America says:

          From a distance, it seems that China is behaving very oddly. Like a “born to lose” mentality. Cyber theft, island building, economic mismanagement. I hope they toss their cabbage strategy along with a lot of the military racists who are driving it.

          • nielsky says:

            On the other hand, it appears that China’s single strongest reputation is its so-called ‘economic statecraft’ and the pace of development they are into is unlike any country in the world. For now, it seems to find no parallel.

            On another note, the Philippines owes China a lot at least in so far as economic losses on the part of China were a result of our own economic mismanagement in the case of specific big ticket infrastructure/transportation projects.

            • Joe America says:

              What infrastructure “debt” are you referring to, specifically? I’m not familiar with it. You sound a little like an apologist (not a personally demeaning term) for the Arroyo approach. I do know that smuggling of ores and marauding of sea life (turtles, etc.) are rampant, not to mention occupancy of rocks within the Philippine EEZ.

              • nielsky says:

                Am not arguing that the threat of China is not perhaps well-founded but as long as there is the whole ASEAN Economic Community behind us, and not the least our rational resolve to have an international body decide upon the issue, then we are fairly in safe bay.

                Dr. Wen Zha has mentioned about it in explaining of China’s political risks (i.e. joint ventures it has with countries like Philippines) and it is on an infrastructure project that may have actually been hatched under Arroyo government which did no longer push through. Must be a railway project If I remember correctly. I share the view that mining ores or marine life as well as occupancy within Philippines is cause for alarm but some instant military solution may have to be carefully weighed.

              • Joe America says:

                The stopping point of joint agreements as I understand it is China’s insistence that the starting point be recognition of Chinese sovereignty to the rocks/islands they claim even if they are within Philippine territory. In other words, the Philippine has to agree to release her territory to China, a rather horrid precedent and abuse of the principle of international law. It also seems to me that if China is only interested in the commercial prospects and is willing to do a joint agreement, she would have no problem with recognizing Philippine sovereignty, and just structuring the agreement so that both parties benefit in a commercial joint development. Sovereignty ought not be an issue for commercial sharing.

                Do you endorse ceding Philippine sovereignty to China in the case of, say, Scarborough shoals?

              • “but as long as there is the whole ASEAN Economic Community behind us, and not the least our rational resolve to have an international body decide upon the issue, then we are fairly in safe bay.”

                Primer, you’re in government there, can you give us a run down on each ASEAN member nation and their stance on China? And then explain to us how exactly the Philippines is in safe bay?

              • Joe America says:

                @LCpl_X and Nilesky (Primer), I would ask that you take special care to go slow in exploring issues of contention and not allow the dialogue to break down into personal challenge. Two prior threads have failed to draw the distinction, with violations from both of you. If that is not possible, then I’d prefer that you just accept that the disagreement is not likely to be resolved between the two of you, and each ignore the other. I will be blowing the referee’s whistle on this blog in an effort to stay on issue.

              • Roger that, Joe. Will stay on issue.

          • nielsky says:

            Sir Joe, I take heed. Rest, follow suit.

    • Although I agree China needs a soft and nuanced touch per Kissinger’s advise.

      What they are doing in South China Sea is expansion (no matter the euphemisms used), plain and simple. It’s already too late for wait and see, there’s only action now. Whether action is in the form of diplomacy, like the international courts (whose judgments work on smaller countries in Africa, but not with power countries who respond to different types of pressures & encouragements), or strategic military positionings,

      the point is the Philippines must act. There’s no wait and see.

      The irony is the Philippines cannot project its power abroad, and especially when it comes to China.

      So whatever euphemisms you entertain, Primer, re these new Chinese islands created off the Philippine coast, your country has to define these Chinese incursions. And I’m pretty sure that the Philippines has already define it as threat–hence the invitation for the American military to return on permanent, albeit rotational, basis.

      Since it’s been defined as military incursion (personally you can wait and see all you want, but the Philippines has taken a stance here), anyone caught helping China build these new islands in the South China Sea is engaging in treason. That’s the point of this article.

      Now, I’ll gladly read your views on how to approach the China problem in the Philippines, you are after all in government. But given your track record, one of obfuscation, what is your stance when it comes to smugglers and gov’t officials knowingly providing aid to China in the South China Sea?


      • nielksy says:

        Let me, if you may, just make a mental note of of that part said: “your country has to define these Chinese incursions”. It seems to imply that the writer is not a Filipino?

        To the point, we have yet to hear from Congress as we have yet to hear from the leaders of our military and defense or also of the police establishment how their higher wisdom read or sound like. But as far as I can estimate, nationalism is the name of the game and if press releases were good enough basis, it would seem that we are geared for war with China.

        The issue is certainly very complex – a whole web of issues that we must be able to integrate by every channel possible. The judgment of the international body sought to decide on the matter is yet to come. There ought to be a better solution than military. Meantime, the mining, if it were unlawful, must be stopped.

        • If I may butt in , the lance Corporal is an American, like Steve and a few more readers and commenters here. Charles is British, I think. I maybe mistaken.

          • Joe America says:

            Charles is a former American, not British, but has been a global resident, mainly in Asia, for some time. He is just Charles, by this time, an individual who has been around and has landed recently in the Philippines. Steve has been in the Philippines for 30 years or more, so is not really a traditional American.

          • nielksy says:

            Thank you very much Mary Grace.

            No one yet is, perhaps, in a position to know how to approach the China problem. But it seems legitimate to fear even having to allow the camel’s head into the window. No one could likewise predict if our government team have delivered the strongest and best argument against China in our maritime territory in a way that a final decision will favor us and something that in turn China will recognize or respect as a matter of course.

            The wait-and-see, bad attitude that it is, is only my view given the awful lack of understanding one can possibly form from this problematique aggravated in fact by LGUs selling the construction materials for China’s artificial islands. In a very negative sense, these 700 sister LGUs, a part of it at least, seems to even have helped the infrastructure project proceed to scheduled completion. Too bad to hear.

        • “There ought to be a better solution than military. ”

          I agree wholeheartedly that is why I am thankful that PNOY’s thrust is to seek alliance from each and every ASEAN leaders and the United Nations in order to arrive at a solution that is definitely not military. We know that we cannot win that kind of solution, small and defensively weak as we are. The final aim if and when by UNCLOS ruling, it is decided that China has erred in those island building in our Exclusive Economic Zone, to declare her a rogue nation by everyone and that legal remedies be in place in the face of such illegal encroachment.

        • “Meantime, the mining, if it were unlawful, must be stopped.”

          Primer, I’m deferring to your expertise here as one associated with the legislative body of the Philippines (correct still?). If LGUs (from barangay to provincial level) and/or DENR knowingly collude to help create these Chinese islands/bases, this is considered treason under Philippine laws, correct?

          • nielksy says:

            Ordinarily, it is difficult to contemplate the crime of treason unless we are at war with China.

            Nor does it remotely look like China imports the sand, rocks, ores, minerals from our LGUs but certainly it doesn’t look like they pass through the customs bureau.

            The LGUs enjoy so much leeway under the Local Government Code in that decentralization should actually empower them (i.e. the power to tax, levy, etc.).

            Since the whole activity seems to connect to helping China build the ‘artificial islands’, it is at least clearly immoral but not necessarily illegal. In cases like this, normally Congress [either Senate or House] initiates investigation precisely to ferret out from the executive [i.e. line department like DENR] the truth behind and then in exercise of oversight function of Congress, it can propose new laws for enactment.

            Collusion is a crime that is hard to establish in most congressional hearings on account of cabinet secretaries being allowed to invoke executive privilege which is of course, a euphemism that is why there is compelling reason to now enact the FOI bill but something that even PNoy himself seems not geared to do so.

            If I may, on a higher plain, it seems that of the many theories of development or underdevelopment, the curse of dependency theory seems to be in our side. Thus, wealthier nations like China perhaps manipulate cheap labor and in fact the raw materials – so these are effectively drained to China [core] courtesy of the Philippines [periphery].

            Am sorry if I failed to satisfy you with answer as one who works in the House.

    • WBAR says:

      Mr PP…that’s what China said when they began building facilities in Mischief Reef…”that the structures were shelter for fishermen”..then became shelter for hundred of Chinese soldiers…and you still believe them?…

      • nielksy says:

        Where one fails, another succeeds. So it should be a Philippine Navy having the wherewithal to address a problem like this as it emerges. We haven’t heard from that navy.

        • I have them say that they are willing to fight to their last man to defend what is legally ours. Can’t find the link on that press statement.

          • nielksy says:

            There ought to be a higher ordering that does not as much as necessitate armed engagement. Don’t you find that still feasible?

            • Ric says:

              Could you please restate this post in a more comprehensible form? As it is now, it seems rather vague and muddled, almost rambling. Similar to several of your other pronouncements on this comment thread. They seem rather contradictory too. “Wait-and-see approach” you say, when arguably a wait-and-see approach is exactly what the Philippines did from 1998, when China took Mischief Reef from us, to 2012, when they took Scarborough Shoal from us, for all the good that approach has done.

              “There ought to be a better solution than military.”

              “So it should be a Philippine Navy having the wherewithal to address a problem like this as it emerges. We haven’t heard from that navy.”

              Excuse me? You just said there ought to be a better solution than military, and then right after that you say that the PN should be the one to address this problem? Which is it really?

              Your posts sound as if the Philippines is on the verge of declaring war on China. No such thing is going to happen. If anyone’s going to start a war, it’s China, not us. The PN and PAF would not attack the islands, even if they had the capability to do so. I thought I was pretty hawkish, and never in my wildest dreams did I contemplate that the Philippines should adopt such a course of action. What the Philippines SHOULD do is increase its military capabilities so that we are not completely defenseless. Are you opposed to this?

              Another contradiction, you say that it’s the military’s responsibility to deal with this problem, yet at the same time you point out that our military capabilities are far too weak to do so. I fail to see the point you are trying to make. Our military has already issued statements to the effect that, while their material capabilities are wholly unsatisfactory, if China attacks today, they are willing to fight with what little they have. In the meantime, we need to build up these material capabilities so that if and when China attacks, we will be prepared, as I said earlier.

              Since you seem to be quite fond of asking people on this forum whether they are Filipinos or not, allow me to ask you, are you Filipino? And are you living here in the Philippines or abroad?

              (Also, for Joe America: I think I remember seeing the comment that suggested this article title last night. Nice to see that you actually went and wrote it.

              You have an interesting point there about the “born to lose” mentality the Chinese seem to have, almost as if they’re shooting themselves in the foot. But the interesting thing is, THEY don’t seem to see it that way. The Chinese seem to think they have a “born to win” mentality, are making all the right moves, etc. And judging by nielsky’s adulation of Chinese “economic statecraft”, it is not only the Chinese who fall prey to this line of thinking, even as China’s stock market continues to evaporate. So much for “economic statecraft.”)

              • Joe America says:

                Thanks for the elaborate comment, Ric, and for identifying for Nielsky the contradictions and confusions many of us see.

                The Chinese have created a world that is of their own making, or delusion. Other peoples are lesser peoples, so “we Chinese” are obviously empowered to do as we wish. And others (especially the Philippines) are uppity for protesting. It looked for a while, in the late 20th century, that China was finally joining the global community as a respected and respectful nation, but somehow forgot the respectful part. That is the “born to lose” attitude, because the authoritarian conquest can’t win as long as there are peoples about with self respect and the means to go against China.

              • Vicara says:

                As Chempo commented, “I’m extremely surprised at the suave attitude of Nielsky towards the ambition of China.” Take it as a compliment when smooth-talking, high-end trolls are engaged to mess up discourse by subverting rationality itself under the pretence of intellectual exchange–and even getting in a free ad for their lectures right off. But then, they’re old hands at this.


              • edgar lores says:

                Link did not work because it is doubled-up. Just remove the tailing repetition.

              • Re “born to lose” China, here’s Mr. Luttwak’s “Great State Autism”:

                In The Rise of China vs. the Logic of Strategy, published last year, Edward Luttwak introduced the concept of “great state autism,” a collective national lack of situational awareness that reduces a country’s ability to perceive international realities with clarity. While the U.S. and Russia each suffer from obvious cases of the condition, Luttwak labels China’s autism an “especially virulent” strain, due to its ancient development in relative isolation and its sheer size, among other factors. Luttwak sees the affliction when, say, China flexes its military muscle in the face of a neighbor one day and then is surprised by the rebuff of a trade delegation to that same neighbor the next.

                “In all great states,” writes Luttwak, “there is so much internal activity that leaders and opinion-makers cannot focus seriously on foreign affairs as well, except in particular times of crisis.”

              • nielksy says:

                Ric, no need to be stuck up.

                You ask if I am a Filipino? Yes. If I live in the Philippines? Yes.

                China’s ‘economic statecraft’, is something I find as a comfortable term as many will.

                Am I ‘fond of asking people whether they are Filipinos’? No. It was occasioned only by one comment of another.

                On “Your posts sound as if the Philippines is on the verge of declaring war on China”, it’s clearly the other way around.

                On your confusion on the military and PN [how did you know this as short-cut?], I threw two balls but each has a different markings. There is a context when it was said.

                If the statement, “There ought to be a better solution than military” is clear to one, why should it not be clear to you, Ric? At least, one was in full agreement.

                On my wait-and-see, it is my view, tentative for now.

                Lastly, as to your comments like ‘rather vague and muddled, almost rambling; rather contradictory’ – that, where simple suspicion leads me is so because – you are not a Filipino. I stand corrected, if you are.

                Thank you for you criticism – it has been allowed to take its course and the discussion seems to demand understanding responses from within the limits of linguistic boundaries [i.e. when one says it’s military, it is the Navy or vice versa] – but I hasten that not necessarily/ That is where you can miss on a lot of other points articulated all too clearly.

              • Joe America says:

                Here we go, downhill into personal insults . . . one inciting another, and then the blog turns largely to trash as egos joust, and issue is lost.

              • Ric says:

                Nielsky has replied to me, and I cannot reply to his comment directly, so I’m putting it here. His reply is just as rambling as his previous comments. I do not see why he does not make himself easier to understand – unless, of course, the intent is to confuse.

                “China’s ‘economic statecraft’, is something I find as a comfortable term as many will.”

                You just described China’s building of artificial islands, and then building military installations on these artificial islands, as “economic statecraft.” This suggests to me that you don’t have a very clear understanding of what economic statecraft is. Economic statecraft is the use of economics as an instrument of politics, and building military bases on artificial islands has nothing to do with economics, except insofar as the budgeting, logistics, and capability for building the bases is concerned – but of course by that definition everything on God’s green earth is “economic.”

                ” it’s clearly the other way around.”

                How is it the other way around? Pray tell.

                “On your confusion on the military and PN [how did you know this as short-cut?], I threw two balls but each has a different markings. There is a context when it was said.”

                Pardon me? Again, could you please restate this in a more comprehensible manner? And why the surprise at how I know the acronym of the Philippine Navy? I am Filipino. But we’ll get to that part later.

                “If the statement, “There ought to be a better solution than military” is clear to one, why should it not be clear to you, Ric? At least, one was in full agreement.”

                It is completely clear to me that there should be a better solution than military. What do you think the Philippines is doing by seeking legal arbitration? What is not clear to me is why you think this even has to be said, as if the Philippines is resorting to military force, when obviously it is not. Don’t you think it’s the Chinese you should be telling that “there ought to be a better solution than military”, not us?

                On the topic of “people agreeing with you”, you might be interested to know that there are people who agree with me on the rambling and contradictory nature of some of your comments and on your seemingly blasé (or, to quote Chempo, “suave”) attitude towards China’s expansionist ambitions. You might want to check their comments out, and if you have the time, respond to them, if you would be so kind as to do so.

                “Lastly, as to your comments like ‘rather vague and muddled, almost rambling; rather contradictory’ – that, where simple suspicion leads me is so because – you are not a Filipino. I stand corrected, if you are.”

                Nielsky, you appear to have a strange eagerness to declare that whoever is disputing with you at the moment is not a Filipino. Just a little thing that seems “off” about you, in addition to all the other things that seem off. Rest assured, however, I am both ethnically Filipino and a Filipino citizen, born and lived my whole life in this country, and I have been abroad a grand total of twice in my entire lifetime. I hope this is enough to allay your “suspicions.”

                To Joe America: Bravo, sir! The problem with the Chinese is that they simply do not see other peoples and other nations as equals, and, for me personally at least, it’s rather difficult to have any dealings with people who constantly see others as their inferiors. The Chinese mindset appears to be stuck in the 19th century, in the age of the imperialists and the victims of the imperialists. Ironically, the Chinese themselves were among these victims back then, but the sheer irony of the situation escapes them.

                To Lance Corporal: I’ve read about Luttwak and his interesting thesis of “great power autism”. I fervently hope that he is correct, because the Chinese paid trolls certainly seem to believe the opposite – that China is a genius chessmaster that never makes mistakes, always wins, and constantly outsmarts and outwits its incompetent, though numerous, opponents. There is a kind of aura of invincibility surrounding China these days, and perhaps only hindsight will tell whether it is China’s adoring groupies or ourselves who prove to be right in the end. Fortunately, China’s economic slowdown, as well as its currently collapsing stock market, are starting to poke some holes in this aura of invincibility.

              • Joe America says:

                Carry on, Ric. I appreciate your labors in trying to gain an understanding, but don’t anticipate you will have great success. Primer (Nielsky) is a master of diversion and misdirection and avoids hard positions. Rather than try to get him to points of clarity, I would just suggest that you take up dialogue with those who will respond in kind. Like, forthrightly without word dancing.

              • Ric says:

                You’re right, sir. I (and Lance Corporal apparently) have been attempting to pin him down on exactly what course of action he espouses – at the moment it’s somewhat unclear, besides vague statements to the effect of “China isn’t so bad”, “the Philippines needs China”, and “it’s the Philippines’ fault”. His policy recommendations, such as they are, appear to come down to “Let’s do nothing.”

                It is impossible to pin down someone who doesn’t want to be pinned down.

  2. Joe America says:

    A reader on Facebook reports:

    “A local politician from Sarrat Ilocos Norte supplied river sand delivered to currimao port 24/7 during months of Jan n feb”

  3. Donna says:

    Filipinos are not really champion of love of country, we actually take pride of having colonial mentality, children are taught to speak English and during our time, we were fined when we speak Tagalog in school , selling out our country to China? Well, some can sell their souls for a few bucks right? Our leaders are our very fine examples, Marcos, Erap, GMA and now BINAY? So help us God!

    • Joe America says:

      I believe that, Donna, and yet the schools spend a lot of time with flag ceremonies and studies of Filipino heroes. Where does it go wrong? With the idea that “everybody is cheating” to get along? If so, maybe it ought to be a priority to instill a sense of civic pride that goes along with economic improvement and poverty reduction over the next 10 to 15 years. And there ought to be a tightening of the noose on people who undermine the state. If Senator Santiago can rant about VFA because of sovereignty issues, what does she have to say about this?

      • Donna says:

        Long way to go Joe, but it can surely be done. PNoy showed the way, now how can we make Mar win? Presidential, VP ans Senators debates must be institutionalized, no candidate should be allowed to avoid it. I still have faith in the Filipinos. We can do it.

  4. Treason has been an important factor within the confines of our history. Iteneo has probably expounded on this but these mayors or lgu officials are are probably the modern version of the makapili. We have a forgiving culture that our culture of impunity is deftly manipulating.

    • Joe America says:

      Yes, and so a lot of good effort goes down the drain, for poor crime-fighting and judicial work.

    • “We have a forgiving culture that our culture of impunity is deftly manipulating.”

      Some would call it na·ive·té, I call it ap·a·thy. How do you fix it?

      • Juana Pilipinas says:

        I do not think that it is naiveté nor apathy. I think is FEAR. If they can track my IP and threaten me abroad, THEY sure will not hesitate in intimidating a local. THEY are now being tracked too.

        • nielksy says:

          Indeed, in the ‘internet of things’ there can lurk certain inherent dangers of one being tracked. Let me, if I may, make a mental note on whether the writer is a Filipino or one based abroad, or both?

        • @Juana,

          “If they can track my IP and threaten me abroad, THEY sure will not hesitate in intimidating a local.”

          Can you elaborate? Did this happen to you? I’d like to know how they are able to do this (from the Philippines). I’m getting some crazy messages on my Twitter (which I hardly use), but I doubt people are tracking me. So I’m very interested to hear more. Thanks.

          • PH may look like backwater but some Filipinos are not backward when it comes to exploiting digital technology. Those who have access to technology have the power to learn almost anything they want. Some will use this knowledge for good, some will use it for evil.

        • Mariano Renato Pacifico says:

          Have no Fear Juana.
          Fear them not.
          If they cannot find Limlingan and Baloloy
          They cannot find you.

    • Mariano Renato Pacifico says:

      In the History of the Philippines there never was any recorded Treason.
      Even GENERAL EMILIO AGUINALDO was never treasoned, he reasoned, declared HOLLOW INDEPENDENCE, He was condoned, UP historians made up story GENERAL EMILIO AGUINALDO made heroic act to make June 12 the LEGITIMATE INDEPENDENCE DAY OF THE PHILIPPINES.

      Gen. Emilio Aguinaldo sold the Philippines and Filipinos to vacation in Hong-Kong in Pact of Broken Stones.

  5. Geng says:

    One thing I’d like to know is whether there is an ongoing investigation about those big steel tubes found off the coast of Zambales that seems to serve no other purpose than to siphon off sand destined for places outside of the country.


  6. nielsky says:

    One of two fundamental principles advanced by Henckel & McKibbin [2010] is that and may I quote, “countries do well when their neighbors do well and vice versa”.

    If we sink the artificial islands built by China, what gains, if any, does the country derive? Will we be better off or worse off. The West Philippine Sea, given the more popular view seems to mimic the case of the Cuban missile crisis. Is it then the way forward?

    Meanwhile, we seem to be a country with inability to act alone. So either that we want Japan, or maybe we want US, or in fact be instead indifferent.

    • WBAR says:

      @PP..Just like Mexico and US..You are absolutely right when you quoted H & M. We as a nation can act alone if people you know who will banish from Philippines.

      • nielksy says:

        I must profess ignorance for I just don’t really know who you refer to. In fact, it will be quite interesting to know if such person is the ‘invisible hand’ in our inability to act on our own.

    • Micha says:

      “If we sink the artificial islands built by China, what gains, if any, does the country derive?”

      nielsky, you’re just doubling down on the ignominy of China’s action. Those are contested areas with no clear ruling yet on legitimacy of either claimants’ jurisdiction. China shouldn’t have built those islands in the first place.

      You do not frame that debate in terms of what gains we may have in its destruction. The question that first needs to be settled is, “Does China have the right to be doing it?”

      • nielksy says:

        I most agree. On the other hand, we should be interested to read from the Official Gazette what the whole historical score is so yet on this imbroglio. Reading none, all we can see is a China occupying our territory and a navy, as poor as it looks, has not the wherewithal to do anything to prevent or preempt the huge ‘reclamation project’.

    • “If we sink the artificial islands built by China, what gains, if any, does the country derive? Will we be better off or worse off.”

      Primer, the Philippines is worse off since these new Chinese islands were created. Start with that. It’s an advantageous military position–and if it’s advantageous to one, that means it’s disadvantageous to the other, here the Philippines (I don’t think China’s envisioning a China/Philippine collaboration with these bases).

      The Philippines itself has no ability to sink these islands. And the US won’t risk such move, this early on. So the islands are staying in place.

      The question is how to counteract China’s placements, non-military actions or military actions. If one or the other or both, then which moves are appropriate?

      Again, Primer, because of your track record here, can you clarify if you are espousing some counter action or are you espousing no action at all?

      • nielksy says:

        In fact, we all want to see, if I may be allowed to adopt fewer terms here, the “rules, the roles, and the relationships” – that will be shown in the larger theater. I point out the AEC not only because it is a reality but on the assumption that as a community of 10 nation-states and a emerging economic bloc in the world, they can come to the rescue, if and when, the Philippines is to borrow a term from Joe Am [was it him?] is disparaged in the process.

        It is quite a dilemma if someone built a house in your lot. That will be a puzzle forever.

        • Bert says:


          Why is it a dilemma if someone built a house in your lot? One only has to do is demolish the house if the house was built without the owner being aware of its construction. If the owner of the lot is helpless in preventing the construction or in demolishing the structures already built in the lot then that is the dilemma. In this case, the Philippines is helpless because we cannot do anything against the might of the Chinese bully, the reason why we have to have a strong military to be able to do what needs to be done. And if there come a time when we are capable enough, then that problem will no longer be a dilemma.

          In the meantime, we can only hem and haw and that’s all there is to it, :).

      • nielksy says:

        Every average mind is pushed to the wall on whether the Philippines as a sovereign state will take action or no action at all. In either case, one has to weigh outcomes, options, and possibilities. There are times, no action is by itself – a sound decision to make. Am not prescribing that either.

        But counter-action to mean engage China in an ‘armed struggle’ [yes because we want our territory back] begs for more wisdom for the sake of both nations or other nations.

        Am interested to hear some final position from both the AFP and the DND on the matter. Still hearing none, neither can we understand the whole affair on our own. For knowing what the final stand of the country is, the better informed we are. Then we should be for or against it.

  7. Ariel says:

    China is mining black sand for its iron content, not for the Spratley reclamation.

  8. Mariano Renato Pacifico says:

    If I remember right, or, read somewhere in Philippine Inquirer’s entertainment section, TO QUARRY SAND REQUIRES DENR APPROVAL. Before it goes to DENR, it requires approval from barang-gay captain, city/town mayor and governor.

    If anyone remembers, remember that priests turned elected official who was quarreling with the sand and gravel quarry ? If anyone cares to follow this news, they can know what paperworks it takes to quarry sand and gravel.

    Therefore, barang-gay captain, city/town mayor, governor and DENR are liable. BUT THIS IS THE PHILIPPINES, THE LAND OF SELECTIVE JUSTICE. Let us call Jejomar Binay what he thinks.

    • Johnny Lin says:

      Chinese and Malaysians had been quarrying black sand in Cagayan years ago until an incident or disaster happened, don’t quite remember exactly what it was. Afterwards, public condemnation of illegal quarrying facilitated by town mayors forced cancellation of the operation.

      If supporting Chinese is treason, are those Filipinos patronizing SM malls, Puregold, banking with PNB, Metrobank, BDO, or riding PAL and Cebu Pacific guilty of treason? some of their profit are being put into building malls, stores and real estate development in China.

      Poe is more naturalized Filipino than the taipans owning these establishments.

      • Joe America says:

        That delineation says China is “all in” as either friend or foe, and if one buys Chinese toys, it is perfectly fine to send them sand so that they can do an illegal act, of occupying Philippine seas. Presumably illegal. I think that is the distinction. One supports a lawful practice and the other supports what the Philippines believes is an unlawful act. So the overall relationship is not “all in”, good or bad, and those who support the bad ought to know better. Bad people. Require a spanking. Can’t figure it out for themselves.

        • Johnny Lin says:

          When Chinese started quarrying sand, there was no national statement from Chinese authority the material was to be used to build in South China seas. Initial premise must be present to make conclusion. as simple as in any research.

          pardon me for saying the contrary, but I don’t think it was treason to help the Chinese quarry sand, might be illegal but short of treason. Neither human trafficking, might be criminal act but not treason.

          South China Sea dispute is entirely a separate international problem, not directly connected with illegal actions or crimes carried by Filipino crime syndicates. I agree that Chinese did not have rights to annex South China without International intervention.

          Stretching the extent of treason to certain local crimes including corrupt LGU officials is over reaching imagination. to this I disagree. Or else, “buying items made in China by Filipinos” is treason too by the stretch of the imagination.

          • Joe America says:

            Okay, I herein define a new term, as allowed by Humpty Dumpty, the selling of sand to China for the building of islands in Philippine territory is moral treason, where the morality in play is a deeply held desire for protection of Philippine sovereignty. In other words, it stinks.

            • Johnny Lin says:

              Sorry I forgot we have the same Disneypedia reference.

              Goofy rule states that if you are my international member, follow the rules.
              Asia and China are members of WTO, so are US and Japan. free trade between countries of commodities, products and resources are allowed. Philippines is source of rubber, allowed Japanese company to build factory in free trade zone Clark Field, Philippine soil too, to create Philippine jobs. Yokohama tires sell to Chinese motorcycle company Rusi to put tires in their products, Export to philippines the motorcycles by the thousand killing and injuring Filipinos at an average of 100/day. Those businessmen selling rubbers are guilty of moral treason.

              WTO and NAFTA- US participated in free trade agreement. Jobs created in Mexico and China. US raw materials were exported to China and Mexico to manufacture products which were sold in US at very low price. Jobs were lost in the United States. US Labor Unions cried foul calling the architects of that treaty traitors.

              Moral treason- same cat, sliced differently.

              Reality: Congress can’t change the law on treason without withdrawing membership first with WTO. Philippines can’t afford. The end!

              • Joe America says:

                Which proves the point, there is more than one way to slice a cat. We won’t call it treason. We’ll call it a Gross Moral Offense, punishable by swinging from the yardarms dusk to dawn, then incarceration in that small cold concrete cell of which I wrote.

  9. Mariano Renato Pacifico says:

    One thing that I am impressed by the Chinese, from nowhere out of somewhere in the middle of contested speck of rock gazillions miles away from Beijing in enemy territory they are able to build international airport in 6 months.

    Like Torre de Manila, Filipinos protested after Chinese Airport is almost inaugurated. Not during. Not before.

    Are Filipinos blind? They protested Jejomar Binay in time when he almost about to vacate his vice presidency not during. Not before. Not in the beginning.

    Could be cultural.

    • Joe America says:

      Yes, regardless of one’s stand on the international politics, one has to be impressed with China’s ability to get a job done quickly. Huge job. Something like 10 islands, plus infrastructure (buildings/runways). I think it is a matter of huge resources and military budgets applied to a priority program. It’s rather like a plan for invasion, focused on the win. Impressive.

  10. nielksy says:

    It seems quite interesting to dissect such claim of 700 sister LGUs of Makati as among the providers of sand, rock and minerals given that we have 81 provinces, 144 cities, 1,140 municipalities not to mention 42,028 barangays. It is from this number, 119 of which are called primary local government units, that the referenced 700 sister LGUS must come.

    That said, it is interesting job for a well-meaning DILG secretary, without a work in backtracking [euphemism for blame/shame game] to act forward and with dispatch. He can cause to be investigated local chief executives possibly or known to be involved in the sale of sand, rocks and minerals. Finding that, the DILG secretary may find grounds to remove them from office. I don’t know but it doesn’t seem like this is not happening for already a considerable period of time. And yet, no one from the officialdom seems to know.

    Or to a degree or other, it may be one of the excesses of decentralization?

    • Joe America says:

      One could also argue that it was DENR’s responsibility in presumably approving the sand mining to assure that it was going to purposes benefiting the Philippines. I see DILG’s role as more ministerial versus operative, but admit that is just an impression. Without a doubt, the first line of integrity is the LGU. I’d say it would not be an excess of decentralization if the decentralized units were operating under a culture of citizen service, versus power and favor. The “excess” is the belief among mayors and governors that their territory is “theirs”. Not the peoples’. I know that DILG is working to provide financial incentives to LGU’s for excellence in performance, and that initiative is picking up speed.

      The aim of this blog is to encourage acceleration of the idea that LGU’s should operate with independent integrity, and it ought not fall to some oversight body to make sure they are serving Philippine needs.

  11. josephivo says:

    Did you double check? Seems so odd, they had huge dredging equipment, meaning there must be plenty of sand in the area. Why to bring coal to Newcastle?

    But on a population of millions you always have a few with no morals, by natural selection the concentration in politics is a little (a lot?) higher. Some Americans are selling drugs to American kids too, some US presidential candidates even blame the sitting president for selling out the country. I do not see the specific Filipino dimension of this (evidence based?) anecdote.

    The sexiness / juiciness of a story sells, not the truthfulness.

    • Joe America says:

      The Filipino dimension is the only one that counts, for this discussion. If the choice is, well, there are those with no morals all around the world, so nothing to worry about . . . I’d say, well, I think that is a wrong conclusion. If there are problems, drug dealing, child trafficking, betraying the Philippines for a few million pesos . . . that ought to be stopped. If this is a new dimension to all the smuggling and questionable mining activities done across the nation, it ought to be raised . . . so that it is stopped. Or perhaps so that there is a recognition that the current method of controlling extraction of valuable Philippine resources is out of control, and reset the whole discussion. I’d argue that LGU’s ought to have little to do with mineral extractions, and that it ought to be done with clear points of accountability at the national level. It is an aspect of the national land use discussion. The Philippines is being indiscriminately chopped up and wasted due to differing local methods, of which favor over public interest seems to be one.

    • edgar lores says:

      1. I agree with this stance of skepticism as a point of departure.

      2. The next question I would ask is: Isn’t quality sand needed to build the facilities?

      2.1. If so, is the sand (a) coming from dredging operations or (b) being brought in from elsewhere.

      2.2. If option (a), then the issue redounds to the arbitration case. Jump to item 3.

      2.3. If option (b), is the source the Philippines? If so, the next step would be to establish responsibility.

      2.3.1. I very much doubt the LGUs would know the destination for the sand they are selling. Or if they did, they would plead innocence as Chempo points out.

      2.3.2. In this case, the national body (DENR?) with its supervisory role should be held responsible. And hell should be raised.

      3. The arbitration case can go (a) the Philippine way; (b) the Chinese way; or (c) neither way.

      3.1. Option C would be if the international body (or bodies) determines it has no jurisdiction.

      3.2. Option B would mean the Chinese are at our doorsteps. Beyond that, I would not venture further what the Philippines can do… except perhaps pursue more legal maneuverings. War is out of the question? (I end with a question mark because — who knows? — Duterte might become our next president… and he just might be crazy enough to start a shooting war.)

      3.3. Option A is the best possible outcome for the Philippines. What should then happen ideally is this:

      3.3.1. China should formally turnover the rocks, shoals, and islands to the Philippines.

      3.3.2. All gains — that is, the improvements made — should accrue to the Philippines.

      3.3.3. Philippines should NOT pay any compensation for the improvements.

      3.3.4. The Philippines perhaps should be open to joint ventures with China to develop the resources in the area. If China destroys the improvements, it should be castigated, and the possibility of future joint ventures should NOT be entertained.

      4. Of course, the question is: What if it is option A and China does not recognize the verdict of the international body? Beyond international disapproval, what can be done?

      • Bert says:

        Then we go to option B…kill the small dragon in the West Philippine Sea and we let St. George the Dragon Killer deal with the Mother Dragon.

  12. josephivo says:

    Should have taken a few more sentences to explain to avoid wrong conclusions.

    “Evidence based”, the more evidence available, the less disputable the premises. If one starts from a rumor the correct reasoning might be attacked because it started from the wrong facts.

    “Priority setting”, the immorality of a few potential smugglers is in no proportion to the Chinese aggressiveness in the West Philippine Sea. The dubious statements of the Vice President and his entourage much more threatening. A link between the unlikely sand smugglers and UNA would change my viewpoint.

    “Correct Framing”, smuggling in the context of low moral values would be a valuable point. But much better documented and potential more harmful smuggling is going on. Faulty medicine, poisonous toys, cigarettes… to name a few.

    “Feudal structure of crime”, in a barangay everybody knows everything about everyone. Criminals need support of higher-ups who are supported by higher-ups… A VP and a network of loyal municipalities at the top of one syndicate?

    Fan emotions with proper facts not with one rumor of one blogger.

    • Joe America says:

      The dilemma is that facts are not easy to get to, and the case is of interest because it ties to LGU values, Makati sister cities, illegal mining, smuggling, illegal foresting, feudal structure, and local people not operating in the best interest of the Philippines. If it is flamboyant for being lightly supported, and it at least raises to the fore the lack of national commitment originating from the LGU’s. If it brings to light additional facts, or investigation by those better suited to finding them, it is better than remaining complicit or unconcerned, it seems to me.

      There is no question, Binay is a bigger threat, and China, and those issues have not gone unattended here. And if the moral value is the message that interests you most, feel free to address it. There are millions of blogs waiting to be written, and not enough people are writing them. Toys and medicine are good topics to write about, I agree. We each have our interests and sometimes the flamboyance of the issue is enough to incite the pen, whereas digging up the legalities and facts about toys and medicine merely incites drinking. And nothing gets written.

  13. So many wrong doings are justified by the guilty ones. Some say they are helping the poor, and that whatever the source of that succor, the end justifies the means.

    If it is the individual alone is who is placed at a risk, like someone who sells his kidney to a wealthy ESRD victim, knowing he is genetically predisposed to developing the same disease, just so he can buy a motorcycle he can use to earn a living for his hungry family, I can understand that and pity him for his sacrifice. I can even place him over and above all those who commits crime of theft and robbery who are using the same justifications.

    What is beyond my capability to comprehend is the treasonous acts (if true) of these LGU executives and the DENR people to export sand for Chinese reclamations in our own EEZ in the guise of providing livelihood for their constituents. (to provide millions for their own pocket is more than likely). They should have exercised due diligence in determining where those material will go, and for what purpose seeing that the Chinese are pictured already by the press based on what was provided by the US. I expect that when exposed, they will reason out that they don’t know it will be used for the West Philippine Sea reclamations being done by the Chinese.

    I truly hope that all these will be proven to be untrue by an independent investigating body. If not, we can only weep and gnash our teeth by the betrayal done to our country and wish for severe punishments to be meted to them that would prevent similar betrayals in the future. There should not be a place in public administration for these kind of traitors.

    Great piece, Joe, as usual. I hope the President and all his Cabinet members are now alerted.

  14. chempo says:

    My disparage views on this whole China thing.

    1. Joe, your very title with reference to “Chinese” islands is presumptious. We know what you mean, but I’d strike it out to read “Filipino” any time.

    2. i7sharp’s link refers to 1956 as probably the first time Philippines’ officially claimed the Spratly’s with Marcos building some fortification on the Pagasa Island, the largest of the Spratly islands. If this is correct, the claim is fairly recent. Unfortunately, it was eventually never inhabited. Had it been occupied, Philippines’ claims today would have been much stronger.

    3. In governance, Philippines have mostly been re-active. Historical claims by a few countries have been known way back. Philippines has the advantage of proximity and yet did nothing for decades. In territorial claims such as this, he who has the advantage but does nothing is lost. I mentioned this before somewhere else — Philippines never learnt from the Pedra Banca island dispute between Singapore vs Malaysia which was settled by the ICJ in 2008. Had Philippines acted in 2008 in the light of the IC’s reasoning, it’s position today would have been stronger.

    4. Neighbours have been known to fight over one square inch of land. Philippines sat on their butts when Chinese activity first started on the islands. In contrast, a few hundred Vietnamese vessels chased the Chinese out of Vietnamese waters when the latter tried to construct an oil platform there. He who hesitates is lost.

    5. Joe fingers the LGUs here and for valid reasons. Somewhere in the comments there is a diversion of an issue of patriotism to politics as the buck is chased all the way to the DILG and of course pin it on Mar. The truth is, the blame game goes all the way back to Presidents from Marcos to Aquino. Philippines pay very little attention to the geopolitics of the day. Even today, apart from China, the only other country that Philippines may have some friction with is Malaysia over the Sabah issue. Yet, we chose to use Malaysia to mediate in the Bangsamoro peace effort. In the face of a possible threat from a rising China, Philippines did the opposite and chased out the Americans. Today, with China now a super-power and the threat no longer a possibility but a reality, the return of American forces is hotly protested by some quarters. Ya the joint forces exercises with American and Japanese even saw some Filipino joining forces with the Chinese to decry those very late attempts by Aquino administration to beef up the country’s military preparedness.

    6. With the enemy already at the door, I’m extremely surprised at the suave attitude of Nielsky towards the ambition of China. Many today have misgivings on GMA and Erap’s overtures with China, but at least they can say that with hindsight, those action were mistakes. Given today’s situation, Nielsky, and Binay’s, attitude on China is befuddling.

    7. Back to the micro stuff. LGUs and conniving traders are smart lots. All paper work will show the trades were all innocent. None will ever show deliveries to China, or the Spratlys. Officials will plead ignorance.

    • Joe America says:

      Thanks for the fine dissection of the various facets of the issue. Well done. Yes, some of the islands ought to be Filipino, some Vietnamese, but all are being configured for use by China. Point 5 is eloquent, point 6 even more so, and point 7 is likely true. Two possible takeaways that make the blog more than useless perhaps are: (1) the need for prompt and severe punishment of deeds that undermine the state, and (2) the need to shift some responsibilities out of the LGU’s and to National (overall land use, mining, forestry, sea preservation), and more aggressive management of those resources. Not reactive but proactive.

      • Regis Seaman says:

        The elites supported Spain, then they supported the Americans, then the Japanese, then the Americans again, now the PRC. Such is life here.

    • Jean says:

      I was suppose to stay away from this one, since I know little, to nothing about what to do and whats going on with China but you comment here Chempo cries for my applause. Well written and informative. I come away from this better equipped. Thank you

    • nielksy says:

      Habitually unchecked, some positions might come across as a strong argument on first appearance. This is the case of the many comments, responses, and views communicated on the issue in guise of democratic discourse or itself an end. .

      It is hard to say from nowhere that China, that used to be a sleeping giant, dragon if you will, has now awakened and the Chinese dragon has then been seen as a threat to humankind. If all of a sudden one says China is an enemy and entirely oblivious of Philippine-Chinese trade relationships that must have benefit both countries, where do we moor our intellectual analysis?

      Just to disabuse our minds, let me just quote a portion of an abstract, to wit: “The 1995-
      1998 China-Philippine trade and investment data have shown that positive economic
      policies such as trade liberalization and investment incentives can bring about good
      economic relations despite political tensions brought about by conflicting claims over
      the Mischief Reef.”.

      To even backtrack in history, perhaps, what motivated Marcos is the notion that ‘good political relations often lead to good economic relations’ [by scholarly account came about from 10th – 17th century]. Isn’t it of keen interest to know and understand that China or the Chinese if you will, despite our bad colonial history (i.e. Spain, America, that they persisted with their economic relations with the Philippines?

      The issue that we currently problematized for good or no reasons, deserves a little bit more of serious historical, empirical, and economic review.

      • chempo says:

        Hi Nielsky

        You said : “It is hard to say from nowhere that China, that used to be a sleeping giant, dragon if you will, has now awakened and the Chinese dragon has then been seen as a threat to humankind. If all of a sudden one says China is an enemy and entirely oblivious of Philippine-Chinese trade relationships that must have benefit both countries, where do we moor our intellectual analysis? ”

        Yes Napoleon Bonaparte said China was “a sleeping giant” but you left out the part he added “let it sleep”. Meaning, when it awakens, there’ll be problems — simply because it is such a huge country. Meaning great minds like Napoleon saw problems almost 200 years ahead of his time.

        I think you are the one who is “oblivious” to the dangers that China presents to the world. There are 2 schools of thought — those who point to ancient history that say China has never been a colonialist. That is quite correct. Admiral Chengho traversed the world bringing gifts and products for barter (in fact, some low level Chinese princesses were married off to chieftains to forge closer friendship), there was no conquering hordes. On the other hand, another school of thought says that the Chinese of today bear in their psyche the hatred, anger and shame of those years in 1900’s when they were subjugated by the 8 allied colonialists countries. Their masters are no longer the cultured Mandarins, but uncouth communists. One need to appreciate this to understand the Chinese. In other words, they will play no pussy roles anymore.

        Although of Chinese descent, Lee Kuan Yew held a world view that a rising China needed an American presence to maintain balance of power in our region. At the same time, his view was that you cannot stop the Chinese once they got onto the learning curve of the modern world. So we might as well work with them in trade and commerce and be friends with them, friends with mutual benefits. So he shared Singapore Inc’s softwares with China with the view that if China learnt anything good from us, it bodes well for everyone. An orderly modernisation of China is good for the world. But Mr Nielsky, unlike you, and almost all other political leaders in our region at the time of Deng Xiao Ping, although LKY maintained great friendship with China helping them in many areas, he was not “oblivious” to the dangers of a powerful China. LKY exerted his influence on American leadership to maintain their presence in our region. When Philippines kicked out the Americans, LKY quickly negotiated for some American presence in Singapore.

        I think you have a one dimensional view of country to country relations. We always hope for the best but be prepared for the worse. In the best of times, countries continue to spy on one another. There are Isreali spies in USA, like wise CIA agents are present in Isreal. the Brits have agents in Singapore, and Russians are everywhere. That is a given and every intelligence agency understands that. At the same time, every body is trading with each other. If ever such “friendly” spying are exposed, it is of course terribly embarrassing for the one that was caught, such as we saw in Weakileaks. You are damned if you do, damned if you don’t. But if it’s your country’s well-being that is the end game, you better be well prepared in times of peace and prosperity.

        You said “what motivated Marcos is the notion that ‘good political relations often lead to good economic relations’ “. Personally I’m not quite sure of this. I think the reverse is more true. If your economy is tied in with mine, I think you are more likely to want to remain my friend. I’m more persuaded by Lee Kuan Yew’s view of avoiding policies that pauper thy neighbour, the notion being a rich neighbour is likely to be more stable thus it’s good for our region.

        • nielksy says:

          Any tentative assumption already laid may have to be accepted until it can be disproved, disputed, or refuted [Popper on Conjectures and Refutations]. But isn’t it the case that a mere mention of Marcos at once carries legitimate confidence that such notion is a well-thought out one? Many of the writs, laws, orders, proclamations of Marcos extend to this day, hardly revised, amended, superseded, etc. I have no reason to even doubt the source of the academic material.

          • chempo says:

            I detect a whiff of cult worship there. But of course you will say ditto to me when I mention Lee hahaha. That’s our prerogative.

            I thought Marcos was a great lawyer and President in the first half of his presidency. But alas, Philippines descended from the shining star of SE Asia to it’s sick man status during the second half of his rule. You do not doubt the academic material, I wonder if you doubt his war records.

          • chempo says:

            In any case, I was’nt disputing Marcos, neither was I implying it was’nt Marcos’ quotation. I was simply saying I defer from his point of view.

    • nielksy says:

      Am wont to say that no one knows yet if China be deemed an enemy. Sometimes, there are what we call unintended consequences in public policy parlance or externalities, either positive or negative.

      To me it seems that the lines have been blurred by our beliefs that China partook of our sovereignty.

      • Joe America says:

        It doesn’t seem to me a “belief” that China partook of our (Philippine) sovereignty when she acquired Panagag Shoals (Scarborough), well within the UN delineated 200 nautical mile EEZ of the Philippines. It seems a blunt fact.

        • nielksy says:

          Truly, it is a blunt fact.

          Still, given that there appears to be a form of ‘interference from outside bodies’ (i.e. ICJ) which in the end might either limit exercise of such sovereignty over polity or enhance it, then doesn’t that make it less supreme?

          • you don’t believe that 200 nautical miles beyond our shores is ours?

          • edgar lores says:

            The duplicity inherent in these remarks is so transparent and amusing.

          • Joe America says:

            I hardly see a tribunal operating under UN auspices by agreements signed (with reservations) by both China and the Philippines as fostering “interference”, but searching for peaceful solution. Agreeing to the rule-making authority of a UN body enhances sovereignty, as it is an agreement willingly entered to, and the Philippines would hold itself accountable to the results, pro or con the Philippine argument. Totalitarian might is not sovereignty, really, except to the mighty.

            • nielksy says:

              Indeed Joe it might not be an interference per se but as soon as the decision is laid down and happens to side with China, we seem to effectively surrender [not even the appropriate term here] control of Mischief or Scarborough, whichever in which case it can feel like a part of our territory was dismembered.

              As regard UN conventions/agreements, them being the so-called ‘soft power’ actually do not strictly impose upon governments compulsory compliance on their instructions. You know UN are like institutions of governance without a government. It seems self-imposed compliance if such government is willing to do so.

              • Joe America says:

                If the decision supports China, the Philippines would be wise to follow the law, or UN guidance. It was a choice to endorse UNCLOS, and one must be accountable for one’s choices, no matter if they produce bad results. One ought not whine and rue the result. It was a national decision. Go look for other places to mine, like Benham Rise. One cannot cherry-pick one’s way through tough situations always blaming others.

      • pictures don’t lie, they paint a thousand words,,,those pictures of reclaimed islands within our EEZ are not blurred from my vantage point. fact, not just beliefs

  15. Johnny Lin says:

    Is it culture or greed that beset Filipinos as enablers of foreigners.

    History points that when the spaniards came, a handful of clans or tribes, most prominent was Lapulapu, fought against them while many regional folks entertained or enabled them. Ditto with the first American colonization. WW II we had the Makapili.

    Second American coming transformed our constitution and education as mini America. Economic Chinese colonization has been going on for the past 3 decades fueled by untaxed smuggled goods thru BOC whith a central operation in Divisoria financed by Binondo Central Bank under the nose of Congress, PNP, NBI, DOJ,Supreme Court and Malacanang. Of course every officials were greased with money.

    Ergo, is it culture or greed why Filipinos are so pathetically subservient?

    • Joe America says:

      I believe the arbitration filing is a case of the Philippines not being subservient, and that is what makes the sand shipments (if true) so horrible. It says, we (the LGU) will allow China to be superior and do what they want, because it is in our (the LGU principal’s) interest to do so. Screw the nation in this challenging time as she strives mightily to stand on her own two feet, and not be subservient.

      • R.Hiro says:


        “The Philippines, specifically under the Marcos dictatorship (1965-1986), was among the first countries to build an airstrip along with advanced military facilities in the South China Sea. Recognizing the Darwinian nature of the territorial struggles among half a dozen nations in the area, Manila shunned legal arbitration in favor of a de facto exercise of sovereignty over disputed features in the Spratly chain of islands.”

        “Confident of its military capabilities, and reassured by robust American military presence on its soil, the Marcos regime managed to exercise control over numerous features in the Spratly chain of islands, including the much-prized Thitu (Pag-Asa) Island, the second largest feature in the area. Thanks to its strategic foresight during Cold War, the Philippines enjoyed enormous tactical advantage relative to other claimant states in the area.”

        “Soon, however, other claimant states began to replicate the Philippine strategy in the area, building their own airstrips and expanding their military presence in the area. Meanwhile, succeeding Filipino administration progressively neglected the imperative to maintain and upgrade fortifications on the ground. Shortly after the departure of American bases (1992), China opportunistically wrested control of the Philippine-claimed Mischief Reef, revealing the vulnerability of Manila’s position in the area.”

        “Still, the Philippines continued to neglect the necessity to strengthen its position on the ground. As former Philippine national security adviser Roilo Golez told me, Filipino leaders continuously “ignored the strategic value of a string of rocks and reefs and shoals that are convertible into potent military stations to control the vast sea around.” R.Heydarian

        Illegal quarrying and mining goes on all over the country. Backed up by political dynasties and protected by the police and military…

        Get real Joe…..

      • Johnny Lin says:

        Arbitration is akin to afterthought

    • nielksy says:

      The terms or concepts used like ‘enabler’ [that dashes back and forth across discussions], greed, subservience, and the like appear now as convenient stereotypes assigned us Filipinos that it must prompt one to ask and inquire whether the doomsayer is himself a Filipino.

      There is nothing wrong to sell another else idea especially where it sounds like of higher ascendancy. But if selling so requires buying another, that seems uncommendable. The point am actually driving at is the fact there is a tendency to actually call Filipinos this and call Philippines that [negatively] and then at the same prescribe the pill we are all enjoined to take in. If we look at the pill, it says, ‘Made in USA’.

      i have reason to worry about this.

      • The point am actually driving at is the fact there is a tendency to actually call Filipinos this and call Philippines that [negatively] and then at the same prescribe the pill we are all enjoined to take in. If we look at the pill, it says, ‘Made in USA’. i have reason to worry about this.

        I’m familiar with the issues posed by Subic and Clark (and other US bases) in the 60s, 70s, and 80s there. And the American colonization up to WWII. The pros and cons of American involvement in the Philippines since the Spanish-American War has been over done in these blogs.
        https://joeam.com/2015/07/31/the-top-10-blogs-of-the-society-of-honor/#comment-129193 (my take on American involvement there)

        History aside, what exactly with the ‘Made in USA’ pill vis-a-vis South China Sea are you worried about?

        We both agree that the Philippine military and its diplomats, cannot alone take-on China. As far as ASEAN goes, only Thailand, Indonesia and Philippines has the capacity to resist China’s influence.

        Are you espousing some sort of Non-Aligned strategy here? Or a détente? Does your US-worry outweigh your China-worry?

        • nielksy says:

          In my simple layman’s view, it is the choice for the president of this country which way to go: US because it is the world policeman or China because it is the world businessman. Historically, we seem bound to go side of US given long friendship ties but on the other hand, we just may also be bound to go side with China given trade relations that spans decades if not centuries.

          As to detente? It can look like one. Fuller understanding on the issue requires studies if not interactions between the officials of China and maybe the officials of Philippines. Why that cannot happen is all at the president’s hands.

          • Agreed on Chinese/Philippine trade/cultural relations spanning centuries. You guys should definitely leverage that further. Most rich Tausugs in Jolo and Tawi-Tawi had last names like Lim, Tan and Ong–and if they didn’t have Chinese surnames they certainly looked Chinese.

            • sonny says:

              “… Agreed on Chinese/Philippine trade/cultural relations spanning centuries. You guys should definitely leverage that further. ”

              280 A.D. early contact of China with kingdoms on the Malay Peninsula; 1289 A.D. Kublai Khan gets involved with Majapahit (Java, Sumatra) affairs; by 1435 A.D. Adm Zheng He (Ming Dynasty) interacts with the Sultanates of Sulu & the Moluccas for Malay products and Moluccan spices; as late as end of 19th century, China creates demand for Sulu products such as trepang (sea cucumbers) to stoke Moro piracy and slave-raiding of Luzon and Visayan Filipinos.

          • Ok, I need to clarify this in my mind – President Noy chose US (the world policeman) and arbitration as the way to go to enforce the law, the UN law of the Seas which per Senior associate justice Carpio, those 200 n.m. from our shores clearly belongs to us. Whatever riches down there, the fish, minerals and oil are ours, not China’s or any one else’s.

            Am I wrong in thinking that if and when (oh, please Heaven forbid) Binay wins, he will choose the world businessman as the way to go, and surrender those islands in the name of money? Oh, wait, I forgot, he already said so… China has money, we need their money, completely forgetting that oil to be drilled there (see how Malampaya has helped us to light and power our homes), the fishes to be caught there means money and we need our OWN money, not China’s money sourced from our own EEZ, their money from other trade business, yes, but not from our own EEZ.

          • nielksy says:

            By recent developments, the Flag Officer in Command Rear Admiral Taccad positively adopted tapping ‘communication lines’ with China for a mutual co-existence with the full agreement of the president as to whatever action the good admiral would deem fit.

      • Johnny Lin says:


        What is wrong in elucidating bad habits of Filipinos? Why shoot the messenger instead of presenting a reasonable contrary view? Unless, none could be rationalized or just in state of denial, thus the escape reaction is “shoot the messenger”.

        “I have reason to worry about this”

        This meaning the “pill”(made in America), you prescribed, totally non existent in the criticism. In fact, if post is thoroughly understood, America was categorically alluded for forcing on the Philippines an American constitution and education.

        “I have reason to worry about this” is an apparent admission of being poisoned by own concoction.

    • Jean says:

      I think nature has played a major role here, specifically our geography. Living on an archipelago, we are inclined to be introverted. Filipinos in general operate primarily on a regional mindset as opposed to a national one. We (as regions ) respond differently to stimuli based on immediate relevance.

      Lapu-lapu may have defended his territory because he was concerned with what he would stand to lose (operating from a mind set of abundance) while other regions may have greeted colonizers with open arms because they were focused on what they could gain (operating from a mindset from scarcity). Who is then more justified in their actions? Sticky answers either way I think.

      Now let me try to tie this in with the topic at hand. You asked if all of this, were born of greed? To answer that we need to understand from what mindset these enablers are responding from. While we know there is a problem, I think its still hazy why its a problem. Without knowing the why, we are going to go through hell looking for a solution.

      I can’t seem to close my thought ( been up close to 24 hours ), but I think there is enough here for you to catch my drift… at least I hope so

      • nielksy says:

        Very well said, Jean. If I may add one country, one community, one region, one world. The currents of global politics tend to dismiss territorial boundaries as of no moment.

        That is of course another butt of contention here, I most expect. Be that as it may, the 3Ps is in – people, planet, participation.

        • In Ancient Greek the word praxis (πρᾶξις) referred to activity engaged in by free men. Aristotle held that there were three basic activities of man: theoria, poiesis and praxis.

          There corresponded to these kinds of activity three types of knowledge:

          theoretical, to which the end goal was truth;

          poietical, to which the end goal was production; and

          practical, to which the end goal was action.

          Aristotle further divided practical knowledge into ethics, economics and politics. He also distinguished between eupraxia (εὐπραξία, “good praxis”) and dyspraxia (δυσπραξία, “bad praxis, misfortune”).

      • Johnny Lin says:


        Cultural outsmarting trait is in Filipino DNA. Within Philippine territories, it’s rampant bad trait. Everyone wants to outsmart everyone at any excuse. Excuse like govt officials emphasizing their positions to be first in line of anything. Or that lawyer trying to double dip his senior citizens discount by filing a lawsuit.

        Majority of blog readers are well traveled worldwide so they have tremendous anecdotes or experiences to relate inside international airports. When there are many Filipinos inside a terminal what does one notice quite visibly in their departure gates.

        Parade of wheelchairs.

        Scanning the faces of these wheelchair bound passengers, they are mostly Filipinos with their companions clogging the boarding gates. And what else do we notice aside from their physical appearance.

        Each one is lugging a suitcase that’s so heavy to carry, wondering how in the hell this person supposed to be disabled but could walk and carry an heavy luggage inside the plane? Look at true wheelchair bound passengers not looking Filipino. They almost have no handcarry items.

        Culture, culture!
        And when another Filipino points this obvious malady, the immediate reaction by those in denial is question the character or race of the critic. Really pathetic!

        Culture can be cultivated, best started at home while young in mind.

        • I have an aunt who uses airport provided wheelchairs whenever she goes to the US, and man, what heavy suitcases she has all checked in with only her handbag as hand carry item! Of course she always has one or two cousins of mine as escorts. More cousins meet her in US airports with her own wheelchair in tow. She has 12 children, half of whom are now US citizens.

          • Johnny Lin says:

            your aunt might belong to every legit 1 out of 5 Filipinos on wheelchairs usually pushed by one attendant accompanying her till received by stewardess and helped to assigned seat.
            Plane seats are assigned for every passenger. Does not matter if the companions fall in line and wait like the rest of passengers for their zones to be called. Their seats would not change and the plane would not leave till posted departure time.

            Ask your aunt how long sometimes she has to wait for an attendant because of the long line of able bodied wheelchaired passengers and the legit ones have to suffer waiting. she could relate more truthful anecdotes.

            How to spot the fake ones? On disembarkment, they walk on their own because those requesting wheelchairs would be the last people to deplane.

            Is it Filipino culture?

  16. R.Hiro says:

    Law Enforcement is key.. No need to couch it in slogans of staright path and no wang wang….

  17. nielksy says:


    If you were the president, what is your view when you found a Chinese dragon in your maritime jurisdiction and on whether you would slay it or what other course of action will you take?

    • I’ll ask the UN to enforce the law of the seas and request their aid to drive away the dragon, knowing that my country does not have the capability.

    • chempo says:

      First I would determine what is its intent. Is it just visiting or i\does it intent to make its home here. If its staying put I would check my inventory of weapons to see if I can chase it away. If my weaponry is not sophisticated enough, I would go look for my Sir George who lives in the USA to help me.

      • uhhh, uhhh… so let’s replace the dragon (movable) with the reclaimed islands (kind of permanent) with military installations airports for STOVL helicopters and ports for aircraft carriers…intent is very obvious there, my friend.

  18. Maybe if our nationalists would rally against Chinese building in the Spratlys with the same fervor that they have with rallying against American imperialism, then maybe things would be different.

    • Joe America says:

      It is strange, isn’t it, to protest against the imaginary imperialist, whilst letting the real one, the one occupying the Philippine seas, go with protests that are for show, but not effect? Good point.

      • Mami Kawada Lover says:

        Well, to be honest, I believe that both the US and China are imperialists. Both the US and China are guilty of bullying nations (the US is guilty of this in the Middle East, while China is guilty of this in ASEAN). I just don’t want our nationalists to come out as hypocrites or having double standards. I recently talked to a (non-radical) progressive, and though he does tend to side with the radical left (he’s anti-America and anti-government for the most part), even he thinks that it’s odd that the nationalists don’t burn Chinese flags and effigies in the rare instances that they do rally against China, and frighteningly, there’s an image of an anti-China rally where some people were wearing Mao hats. Not a good sign.

        • Vicara says:

          Marxist radicals (from elitist schools, natch) co-opted nationalism some decades ago, and it’s never entirely escaped their clutches since, so an amazing amount of nationalist discourse is mired in the 70s still, as thought the Vietnam War was still on the nightly news. Part of the reason is the sheer laziness of the middle-class body politic, which likes little them-bad-us-good straitjackets in which to park our thinking–a legacy of colonial Catholicism, although laziness is to be found elsewhere in the world–rather than look at anything with fresh eyes and really think it through. So either one mouths dated radical pronouncements or parrots, say, Fox news or the INC. Another reason is geographic: We haven’t been toughened or made wise by centuries of land border skirmishes with China, unlike Vietnam, for example. (For which the Vietnam War HAS ended, and which is working its way toward strategic cooperation with its old foe, the U.S., vis-à-vis China.) There’s also widespread ignorance of geography, and being unable to look at a map to *see* the utter ridiculousness of the Nine-Dash Line. We have only the vaguest concept of what constitutes our territory, or how we fit into the ASEAN neighborhood, politically and geographically. And speaking of neighborliness: Wandering into blogs or FB pages that are supposed to be “ASEAN” in scope, one sees Pinoys talking only among themselves, then blanking out when someone from a nearby country chimes in. Opportunities to make friends of neighbors are being lost.

          • I tend to think of the radical leftists as people with the right ideas but the wrong solutions. They have plenty of valid points but the solutions they want to give just don’t seem to apply anymore to the 21st century. I mean, they still claim that we’re a puppet of the US, and while that’s arguably still true to some extent, it doesn’t take into our account our relationships with countries such as Japan, China, Australia, and blocs such as ASEAN and the European Union. I mean, even the Chinese Communist Party admitted that Maoism is outdated, so I don’t see why they (the local radical left) continue to stick to very Maoist ideas as opposed to taking up a newer, more peaceful ideology such as social democracy and the like.

        • Joe America says:

          That’s an interesting take, that the US “buys” nations in the Middle East. Which nations has the US purchased? I view imperialism as land acquisition, which China would pursue, but the US not, as it pertains to the Philippines.

          • Well, the Louisiana Purchase for one, plus the US famously bought Alaska from Russia, and apparently nearly bought Siberia at some point. Of course, these are older examples, but it does show that the US has bought territory in the past. Other examples of buying land are Hong Kong, Sabah, and a few others which are escaping me at the moment.

            • Joe America says:

              Hahahaha, well, those are proof of an ancient history of imperialism, but that has nothing to do with the US today. The US is not an imperialistic nation. If she were, the Philippines would be states. Hegemony is the current character, and the US works hard to preserve the independence of nations around the world, believing that is in the US best interest to preserve open markets. I think it is important to get the characterization right. The US is very unlike China as to motive and deed.

              • >Hegemony is the current character, and the US works hard to preserve the independence of nations around the world, believing that is in the US best interest to preserve open markets.
                I don’t know, but that sounds pretty imperialistic to me. Not very different from what China is doing. The only difference is that, with the US the Philippines at least on paper will be on the winning end, whereas the Philippines and Vietnam are on the losing side of Chinese imperialism.

              • Joe America says:

                No, the definitions are different. Look them up. One is acquisition of territory, as China has done with her 9 dash line, and it disregards the well-being of other nations. The other promotes self interest, and the American version of this is that her well-being is best served by open markets so that trade can generate wealth for all. I’m afraid I can’t comprehend how you would see those as the same. Indeed, if the Philippines wins by American hegemony, but loses by Chinese imperialism, you are testifying to the truth of the essential difference.

              • edgar lores says:

                Imperialism is “a policy of extending a country’s power and influence through colonization, use of military force, or other means.”

                It’s an “or” relationship. If expanded it would read thus: “…through colonization or use of military force or other means.”

            • chempo says:

              UK leased the island of Hongkong.

    • nielksy says:

      Nationalism normally connotes resistance to colonial subjugation. Clearly, there no such case in Philippine-China relations which spans 1,400 years of recorded history, according to scholars.

  19. Bert says:

    Someone is pulling our legs here in this thread that’s causing all these confusion. It could be that nielksy is not nielsky, one or the other could be an impostor posing as Primer speaking the same ‘language’ but a different person.

    Joe, please clarify. if it can be verified through the IP address.

  20. nielksy says:

    “The principal issue for the Philippines is not whether our economies are
    complementary or competitive, whether the sovereignty issue over the Spratlys should
    be resolved bilaterally or multilaterally, but the extent to which we could convince
    China that cooperation in all fronts is in our mutual interest. Certainly a modernized
    China and an economically strong Philippines will make good political allies”

    I do agree in this view.

    • nielksy says:

      Imagine a scenario, that on our own resolve and capacity to act on our own, the whole strength of the military will engage China – shoot or sink Scarborough Shoal and Mischief Reef in the name of dogged nationalism and at all costs attempt to win the war against the artificial islands, sunk them, and for the first time occupy them as legitimate or rightful claimants over these disputed maritime areas.

      In the aftermath, there is no longer Philippine-China relations forever – no good political relations that otherwise can possibly lead to good economic relations.

      Have we won or have we lost? [this question is unsettling].

      • Vicara says:

        The question is certainly unsettling to China, which always counts on economic linkages as being tantamount to political linkages–and assumes that no one in their right mind would want to scare away opportunities for making money by thumbing their nose at a big power. That other considerations–such as notions of fair play and national pride–whether as a matter of policy or as an instinctive reaction–could take precedence over the amassing of wealth is just so… so … baffling to them. It’s what enrages China most about the Philippine government position, and what makes it yearn for the good old days of GMA and FG, and for political victory for Binay next year. Thank you for putting your finger on the crux of the problem, Nielksy, and exposing the weaknesses in China’s understanding of the world. Sweet dreams.

        • Joe America says:

          And thank you for clarifying the blog I’ve been noodling. It is a tug over social values, isn’t it? And the selection of President in 2016 will indicate which force wins, that which favors big power, or that which favors ethics and competition based on skills. I think it will become Thursday’s blog.

        • nielksy says:

          “… weaknesses in China’s understanding of the world.”

          Truly, it makes for an interesting area of study what China thinks of herself, what it thinks of its future, what it thinks of its place in a web of ‘rules, roles, relationships’.

          If given the liberty to share something on this theme, I will glady raise some points, that after I would have listened to an upcoming lecture, in case some are interested to get updates.

          • Bert says:

            Why bother, nielsky? By just looking at what it is doing is easy enough to conclude what it is thinking, unless one believes that it is doing it without thinking which is very doubtful.

      • Why should it come to the point of shooting and sinking Scarborough Shoal and Mischief Reef..? that is not what our officials are contemplating , hence our request for jurisdictional ruling at the UN – Hague. Unless the US, through sophisticated espionage would somehow discover some nuclear missiles over there aimed directly at us or in Japan or in other allied nations and thereby act on its own to destroy those islands to to aid an allied nation under threat as well as protect their own interest.

        Patriotic actions (arbitration / seeking legal in the name of dogged nationalism to establish thru UNCLOS our LEGAL RIGHT over those reefs and the economic wealth that could be derived therein – what is so wrong about that? Whoever (not you) would advocate such provocative ideas as shooting and sinking those reefs, now islands at this stage can be labelled saboteurs.

  21. nielksy says:


    It is hope the above proved some of the points I raised to even deserve the morose criticism of this honorable assembly.

    But I undertake to set that aside if only that issues crystallize and appropriate option is thought out and listened to. Thank you for such a health exchange of views on a matter so germane in our collective existence.

    • chempo says:

      Everybody agrees with Taccad’s view that more communication with China is good. Open comm lines during times of dispute are always good because it helps to minimise the incidents of flashpoints.

      However, the new commander’s view that “I don’t see any expansion from China” must probably be a misquote, or out of context, or he is not a Filipino. I’m sure the Chief must have exploded. This is tantamount to a surrender, or a betrayal of what the legal team is currently doing in Brussels.

      I’m not a war monger. Peaceful solutions are the way to go. That’s why the ICJ arbitration is the right approach. Meanwhile, build up our defences. That’s exactly what Aquino is doing. What comes next? Drum up regional and international persuasion. Is’nt not that what Aquino is doing? And if have been listening to China, they are already softening their war of words.

      How wonderful if one can just sit down and have a friendly chat with China to resolve the issue. How sweet and innocent that would be. They tried talking to the Ayotallahs of Iran and the Kims of Norkor. That’s the real world we are in.

      Xi may be the President of China, but his power domain is extremely complicated. There is palace intrique and the mighty military to hold back. Many young Filipinos have never seen the communists’ way of psycho-dabbling and in your face way of talking. Probably never heard of Kruschev banging his shoes at the United Nations table, never heard the very people who believes “power looks down from the barrel of a gun” (Moa Tse Tung). As a modern manager, Xi probably can sit down to talk, but the military will never be swayed.

      Appeasement is the policy of fools during times of conflict. I see certain people in the corridors of Philippines politics sounding like Chamberlain in world war 2. You negotiate from a position of strength, never from weakness. The only time when you negotiate from a position of weakness is when you are negotiating your surrender. Philippines is weak militarily but NOW IS NOT THE TIME FOR SURRENDER. Going under the umbrella of the Americans is the only option at the moment. If you show your weakness and unwilling even to “fight” your case at the ICJ, just imagine how Malaysia’s strategy will be when the Sabah issue is persued if ever.

  22. lawrence ingaran says:

    Though we were raised with a sense of nationalism its not enough to elevate our pride as Filipinos
    Sad thing was that most of us can sell that pride and patriotism in exchange of money well its tempting and hard to resist

  23. All,

    I got banned for 30 days awhile back for attempting to smoke another commenter out in attempt to pin down his stance on matters. Joe was right, I was wrong–I unnecessarily elevated the level of hostility towards one, thus affecting the whole readership.

    We seem to be doing that now to Primer (aka nielsky).

    I’m satisfied with his answers to the questions I’ve asked of him. I can empathize with his detente approach towards China, because in the US the war drums are again getting louder for Iran (and for ISIS). Primer’s expertise is in government machinations, and he’s given a good example of that in answer to my treason question above.

    I’ve always thought we were playing Scrabble here, not Poker. If for some reason or another, Primer, doesn’t feel the need to be completely forthright, that’s his choice–so long as he adds to the information being kicked around here (we’ll call b.s. accordingly). As for Primer being some sort of Chinese agent-provocateur, I doubt that– he’s doing pro-bono work on their behalf no doubt, but

    I don’t think he’s sneaking into the EDSA Entertainment Complex early evening with PLA reps following and getting slipped envelopes of cash, while one of the PLA rep gives him props, “Good job on Joe’s blog, today. Keep a close eye on Bert”.

    So everyone, lay off of Primer.

    Ask him questions that fall under his expertise, that seems the best way to approach here. As for his politics and international affairs, I am fine with it (I agree with him on some points he’s raised). His seemingly slimy and slippery nature, I attribute to him being in government there for so long. That was my biggest problem with Primer and I’m past it.

    Give the guy a break. Give Joe a break, so he doesn’t have to moderate. And thanks for everyone’s contribution so far on this issue, as I prefer these types of blogs to the political ones.

    • Ric says:

      I suppose. I’ll just have to trust then that the rest of the participants on this forum are canny enough not to be distracted by his smoke-and-mirrors misdirections. Such as when, for example, he repeatedly points to the Philippines’ long history of trading with China. I don’t see how this is particularly relevant, since no one on this forum, as far as I can tell, is suggesting that the Philippines stop trading with China. It is perfectly possible to continue doing business with them while remaining opposed to their territorial expansionism – and indeed, that is exactly what the Philippines is doing at the moment.

      Unless, of course, he believes that China could cease to do business with us as a result of our resistance to their territorial claims (and he’d be partially right to believe that, since China has done it, like when they suddenly, conveniently, claimed to have found evidence of disease on perfectly healthy batches of Philippine bananas right around the time the Scarborough standoff took place back in 2012.) And if that’s the case, then he should perhaps wonder whether such behavior says more about China than it does about the Philippines, and whether a country that stoops to such tactics in its business dealings is worth doing business with in the first place.

      • nielksy says:

        You are now just repeating what I put emphasis on and riding in agreement [strangely]. Sometimes even if you failed to find the exact words in the sentence [i.e. stop trading with China] used by some or same avid oppositors against my view, the same is implied in the thought content [i.e. most ideas spread in this discussion different from mine] even if it came from scholars. There will always be smoke-and mirrors for one who tries to obfuscate what is too clear a statement in trying to make it appear that my view is entirely in error but am sure readers will see through this whole thing.

        I find it really funny to see the flow of discussion leading only to where some believe it to be hardly pointing out the more relevant points. It was only me who mentioned without shame about that part [good political relations lead to good economic relations, etc]. Now you are in agreement. When commenters’ first line starts off with such labels, tags, stereotypes, that’s when other readers who think differently on the subject may really be encountering a problem on the decorum of this thread. Quote me no end for clearly, I intend to articulate across a view that has been missed out. Kindly go over the discussion and see why the points are being raised. Thanks. I don’t wish to have to reply anymore to a subsequent reply from ric as there is already sufficient ground covered in the simple points I have raised.

        • Ric says:

          No, I don’t think we are in agreement, “primer” or “nielsky” or “nielksy” or whichever name you prefer to use at the moment. Kindly refrain from putting words in my mouth in the future. “Riding in agreement”, though, that’s a nice one; I guess when all else fails you can pretend your opponent agrees and manage to make it sound offensive at the same time. I see little need to engage with you further at this point, since even without my input, the others here can – what was your phrase? – “see through this whole thing”, with regard to you. Thanks.

          “Therefore, if Ric as much as argues that I am guilty of contradiction as having confused the two statements where in truth there is no such confusion, then as cited all too clearly, this will belie such strange accusation.”

          “I do hope this clarifies the doubts ric entertained to the further extent that he even thought I sounded ‘as if Philippines is on the verge of declaring a war on China’ which in all DAMN CLARITY is my best-held contrary view.”

          “I took pains to collect these comments lest even Joe America might have been led to believe what ric, without care, purveys across these intelligences.”

          This is a pretty nice one too, I must say.

          “I do not wish to make any further comment to ric over the same subject as this clarification suffices or satisfices [Simon].”

          But you probably will anyway.

      • True, and I hear the trade balance as of now is in their favor, not ours. I maybe wrong, it could not be true anymore.

    • Joe America says:

      Thanks, LCX. I very much appreciate this statement, as it raises the bar for discussion. Well said. I didn’t know there was a diplomat hiding behind the direct, in-your-face, exterior. Excellent. Excellent.

    • nielksy says:

      Thank you, too Lance.

  24. caliphman says:

    If I may just make a quick observation. The blog above begins by listing a list of morally despicable activities of which one involving Philippine sand to enable our land and sea grabbing Chinese ‘friends’ to create man-made islands adjacent to ourshores. Each and every item on that list is a crime under our Criminal Code except one which is probably the most unpatriotic and currently reprehensible of the list. In fact, the act itself is most probably not even a civil offense or administrative violation if an LGU official is involved. Why should this be the case when it involves Filipino citizens, performing activities within our shores, to aid and abet what we are claiming is the foreign seizure of of our territory and coastal waters? Perhaps this should be the main point of the blog article that while the Philippines may have to look to the Hague to declare this Chinese annexation as a violation of international law, our lawmakers and government officials have done absolutely nothing to make this type activity a violation of Philippine law or regulations like the other offenses on the list.

    • Joe America says:

      That is indeed the idea behind the suggestion that a crime of “common treason” be defined, and thank you for making the point explicitly clear. I agree, that a law could be quickly crafted to ban such practices.

      • chempo says:

        Treason is covered in the Revised Penal Code, Art. 114 It is defined as a crime against national security, is committed by any person who, owing allegiance to the Philippines, not being a foreigner, levies war against the Philippines or adheres to its enemies, giving them aid or comfort within the Philippine Islands or elsewhere.

        In our specific instance regarding sand, it probably comes under “giving them aid”. But it seems the Chinese traders, being a foreigner, cannot be charged under this law.

        It is also unclear whether this law kicks in only when there has been a declaration of war. If it is contingent on a state of war situation, then does it mean espionage during peace time is not covered?

  25. Does the Philippines needs a new law? The Philippine Competition Act was just passed last month. Could the provision for sand and minerals smuggling be appended by amendment? A commision had been created to give it the teeth it needs. I am suggesting this because I am not in favor of big government and redundant agencies.


    • caliphman says:

      Juana, the Philippines is pretty much powerless to do anything against China’s blatant acts of aggression tio annexation, except to plead its case before international courts and hope that its neighboring countries can face this common threat together. The only tool it has complete control over is its laws and regulations and when it is not used to clearly and unequivocally inform Filipino nationals and law enforcement agencies that aiding and abetting China’s continuing annexation is illegal and punishable by law. The laws against treason are not specific and clear enough and would probably require Supreme Court adjudication to serve as an effective deterrent to Filipino nationals engaging in this type of atrocious behavior. If it were, then the tenor of the discussions here would not be so much if crimes were being committed but the identity ov the perpetrators and their apprehension and prosecution.

  26. Virgilio Coquilla says:

    I sincerely agree that some politicians are benefiting from the sale of some sand and other materials from some parts of the Philippines to the Chinese. From my knowledge, there are big Chinese ships buying soil, in the guise as mining, in Dinagat island near Surigao. This has been going on for quite sometime and I was thinking that this soil directly goes to the Chinese island building in Spratly. I don’t know what government agency should verify this and put a stop as soon as possible and likewise persecute politicians conniving with the Chinese. I have also some informations that the Chinese have other much bigger agenda in that part of the Philippines which, I believe cannot be discussed in this forum.

    • Joe America says:

      Thank you for the additional verification of shady deals being done. I’m not sure what your information is, but I can imagine, based on SC Associate Justice Carpio’s explanation of why Panatag Shoals (Scarborough) off the coast of Luzon is important. It is to build it as a military outpost to protect sea lanes north of Luzon. I suspect they would seek similar outposts to the south. The Philippines is clearly in the way of China’s move eastward.

    • chempo says:

      I suspect the soil in Dinagat island is for manganese ore. They do a lot of that in Zambales. But I wish Virgilio is correct that they use those soil for reclamation of the islands. If that were true, I like to re=assure everyone that there will be poetic justice eventually. There is some science to the reclamation works. Soil is soil and sand is sand. Soil cannot be used for marine reclamation. Only sand is used and it has got to be a specific type of sand composition. You be surprised there are many variation of sand. Soil is probably used for just topping off. Use the wrong sand composite then the site would be subject to serious erosion within a very short time. Nature is a great leveller.

  27. nielksy says:

    To put the record straight with regard to ric’s reaction to my views, may I say that,


    The statement which reads, “There ought to be a better solution than military” constitutes my 6th comment in response to LCpl_X relative to ‘China incursions’.

    The other statement, “So it should be a Philippine Navy having the wherewithal to address a problem like this as it emerges. We haven’t heard from that navy.” constitutes my 9th comment in response to WBAR as regard ‘building facilities’.

    Clearly therefore, there is no such contradiction of whatever kind as these premises confront two different responses from LCpl_X and WBAR, respectively.

    In fact, again, in response to Mary Grace P. Gonzales that followed WBAR I had it stated as my 10th comment: “There ought to be a higher ordering that does not as much as necessitate armed engagement. Don’t you find that still feasible?”

    Therefore, if Ric as much as argues that I am guilty of contradiction as having confused the two statements where in truth there is no such confusion, then as cited all too clearly, this will belie such strange accusation.

    I do hope this clarifies the doubts ric entertained to the further extent that he even thought I sounded ‘as if Philippines is on the verge of declaring a war on China’ which in all DAMN CLARITY is my best-held contrary view.

    I took pains to collect these comments lest even Joe America might have been led to believe what ric, without care, purveys across these intelligences.

    I do not wish to make any further comment to ric over the same subject as this clarification suffices or satisfices [Simon].

    • chempo says:

      Nielsky,,,,,, “In my simple layman’s view it is the choice of the president which way to go : the US because it is the world’s policeman or China which is the world’s businessman”

      You do not walk the talk. Your position is dialogue, or appeasement because there is nothing Philippines can bring to the table.

      You articulate well. Honestly I’m open to your views and more so if you can substantiate them. I can accept that you have different opinions. But my problem is that you seem perpetually not in congruence with Aquino administration. Nothing is pleasing to you. It seems to me your beef is with Aquino, the issues are just side shows.

      Dont view this as personal. Its just an add on to the point on inconsistencies.

  28. sonny says:

    FYI: an interesting look at what China can use with reefs:


  29. Bing Garcia says:

    Let Roxas and Poe run for president. It will not advantage Binay.

  30. JM says:

    Thank you Joe for the good read as always. Very informative. The feeling I felt when I read the article was anger. How can fellow Filipinos betray us like this? Then I read some of the comments. I got confused, irritated, then went back to angry with some comments i completely disagree with.

    • Joe America says:

      Some of the comments seem anchored in political agenda, so consider the source and hold to your view. I’m glad you found the article worth reading. I share your anger.

  31. HighFive says:

    Massive quarrying of sands cannot be readily replaced by natural means on a level equal to the amount that were taken away. Exporting the black sands will lead to excessive quarrying and consequently trigger a massive landslide. Regardless of whether exporting is legal or illegal, it should definitely be strictly prohibited. Consumption within the country maybe reasonable but exportation should be a big no.There was a news report of landslide in sometime ago related to sand quarrying if I remember it correctly. I think a catastrophic massive landslide will happen in the future if exporting of sands is not halted. I think this deserve an extensive inquiry.

    • Joe America says:

      Oh how I wish I had a staff to go about visiting DENR and other agencies to find out what’s happening.

      • HighFive says:

        If DENR is to swoop down on black sands quarrying it will need a special law enforcement support from the Philippine Air Force, Philippine Navy, Coast Guard, PNP and participation of Taumbayan. If operations will ever take place it should be conducted randomly and secretly. Drones & Helicopters should be used for surveillance, imo.

        • Joe America says:

          I wish enforcement would be that vigorous. I do believe the Philippines is actively working on a drone program to monitor the coastlines. Read it yesterday or this morning.

          • HighFive says:

            Thank you you so much Joeam for sharing that report about drone program to monitor the Philippines coastline. It gives some relief every time I see some changes no matter how small a step it is as long as changes is taking place in my dear land.

            • Joe America says:

              Progress here seems like a slog through the mud sometimes. The ideas are right, but they are driven more by “well let’s try these” because others are doing it, rather than, well, here is what we need to be very strong at coastal warfare. Then setting out with intensity to build that system. The Philippines also has a small fleet of small missile carrying boats, and is getting a number of troop carriers, useful for storm relief as well as relocating hundreds of troops quickly. A fleet of small fighter jets. A number of helicopters. It’s building.

              I really dislike the attitude here of “building a minimum credible defense”. Wha? Man, how about building a really top flight, fast, flexible, full-of-surpirses sea guerrilla fighting force. Like dominant, against a large, heavy, troop laden enemy force.

  32. DAgimas says:

    you didn’t mention Cagayan in the north. A mayor was killed by the rebels for this supposed treason. at theat time, I said, they should kill more, all the way up. the personalities involved are easy to know. just follow the paper trail or the money

  33. av says:

    The Philippines has a very weak self-identity because of the Western colonization. A country without strong self-identity will not be successful.

    If you look at the Muslim brothers/sisters that created this Bangsamoro Basic Law. They want to claim their land as per historical facts. Why? they want to have their own identity and progress as a nation based on their culture and system of governance. Apparently in manila everything is westernized and brainwashed.

    However if Filipinos prefer to be a slave it is a different story but you are still a shame to your ancestors who have fought for independence against the Americans.

  34. av says:

    The Philippines has been wrong in seeing China as a threat they should have seen it as an opportunity to get rid of their colonial past.

    • Joe America says:

      Are you Filipino? How does the past have any bearing on today? It is past. The reality today is that China is occupying seas that belong to the Philippines, and the West is subordinate to Philippine needs and powers. Is China’s taking of Philippine rights not a threat?

  35. av says:

    Joe, as i see you are not spreading compromises.

    Is more like: me, me, me and not a win win approach.

    Do you really think that the Philippines will come out as the winner ?
    And if they does how do you think their neighbor will react ? Happy neighbor, one that still is on his rise in Asia.

    And Joe, did America acknowledge those islands / seas as Filipino territory. Not by my knowledge.

    What happened to the countries that went against the British empire when the sun was on Britain. They went poor.

    What happen to the countries that went against the US empire? They went poor.

    This is the Chinese empire/century. So Philippines, don’t pick the wrong side.

    • Joe America says:

      What is your interest in the Philippines, if I may ask? The US went against the British Empire and thrived. There are no rules, and history has its time and circumstance.

      The US has stated no position on the islands other than to respect international law and keep international seas and air space open. The Philippines has specific territorial rights under UN laws, and it those rights that are being ignored by China.

      To compromise, both sides have to concede, and the problem is that China wants the Philippines to cede her territory to China before entering into discussions. Would you recommend the Philippines do this?

      I would also suggest you read a number of the blogs here to get a feel of the issues and my opinions, so that I don’t have to cover new territory with you. You can go to the home page and search “China” or any other topic you wish to explore. I find your comments so generalized that I need to explain way too much. I don’t have that kind of time.

      • av says:


        1) “respect international law”, the US is even not signatory of it.
        How can the US ask others to respect it ? A bit hypocrite.

        2) “the problem is that China wants the Philippines to cede her territory to China before entering into discussions. Would you recommend the Philippines do this?”
        I don’t think you or i were in those talks, i would say something that you assume.

        3) “wants the Philippines to cede her territory”, by my knowledge the US never acknowledge that it was Philippine territory. Did they ? Let me recall your words “The US has stated no position on the islands”.

        Let me just ask you why ? Are they aware that they aren’t from the Philippines ?
        If the would have been should the outcome today not be different ?

        • Joe America says:

          1) So you believe force is appropriate and the law can be disregarded?
          2) I believe the Philippine officials and lawyers at the UN arbitration hearing speak with a certain amount of authority. You avoided the question.
          3) The government in question on ceding territory is the Philippines, not America.

          It is clear that you are trolling this space with pro-China argument, and have misled readers into believing you are neutral “from Europe”, when your actual location is Singapore.

          Further comments will go through moderation to assure that you are here to listen as well as speak, and are not pushing agenda.

          • Joe America says:

            @av, your comment has been discarded. Your approach is confrontational and you have not been forthright as to your interest in this blog. It is clear that you are here to challenge, not teach or learn. I am not inclined to respond to a list of questions posed as if you were the stern professor issuing forth a quiz for seminar students. If you have a position to articulate, kindly do so in a forthright, positive way. If you don’t know how to do that, read the discussion threads for articles here to grasp how affirmative statements are made as arguments that do not challenge or demean. If you can’t master it, I’d suggest you move to a different forum.

  36. Pie says:

    It’s obvious that it was this Yellow Mellow administration with Trillanes who negotiated with them. The only question now is can they be indicted and when?

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: