Can we kindly lose this “minimum credible defense” mentality?

fast attack craft

Philippine Navy’s fast attack craft [Photo credit: Philippine Navy]

I admire those who achieve a Level 5 state of leadership, an intense dedication to achievement based on a foundation of humility. The concept was taught to us by Society of Honor member LCpl_X during a recent blog. Be modest but drive, drive, drive to succeed.

Frankly, I suggest we get the military to step up to Level 5.

Nothing drives me nuts more than the commonly cited goal of the Armed Forced of the Philippines (AFP) to establish a “minimum credible defense”.

Man, I don’t want no stinkin’ minimum effort, I want to WIN!!! To stomp, to clean clock! I don’t care how miserable the budget or big the enemy, I want to find the way to win. Caves hidden in the mountains, armed to the teeth, or gills, or whatever caves get armed to. Camouflaged “hides” from which to launch surprise attacks they never expected. Radars and missiles secretly stashed all over the 7,000 islands. An extra smart bomb or two to drop on their communications center and a bunch of tough, mean dudes with explosives sneaking in during the night to lay waste to their infrastructure.

You know, the way the Zambales rebels laid waste to  the Japanese infrastructure along the western coast of Luzon in 1944 so the Americans could land at San Antonio without a shot being fired.

That was no minimum credible defense. That was frickin’ awesome.

What happened between then and now?

Where did the desire go? The confidence? The determination? The will to find the way?

Why are we operating at Level 1?

The rebels during World War II fought an invading army hand-to-hand with machetes, and now we can’t fight unless we cross some nebulous line that says, “okay, we have enough gadgets and bombs and airplanes, so now we can fight”?

Who draws that line? Some general’s mama, or the President’s sister, or our intrepid journalists, who actually seem to run this country most days?

“Minimum credible defense”, my ass.

(Excuse me for going military on you. It’s is the way the words are spoken in direct speak. In win-speak. In “I don’t have time to be diplomatic” speak.)

Here’s the line I would suggest the next president use:

“Maximum havoc, cost and pain to the enemy!”

Not 10 years from now.


And forevermore.

Stop running the military as a soft, laid-back politically correct civilian cadre led by generals looking for early retirement so they can do some double dipping and get rich. Man, turn it into a mean, lean guerrilla fighting machine that will wreak havoc with any large, arrogant invading force that goes anywhere they don’t belong in Philippine territory. That won’t know what hit them.

Punish. Punish. Punish.

“Yeah, yeah. Easy to say. How you gonna DO that, Joe?”

Well, I tell you, pardner, I’m not a gonna tell you. I’m not about to let out the State’s secrets like those senators at the Mamasapano hearing did under that green Senator Poe’s urging, laying out relationships with the US and fighting tactics right there on the senate table for the public and our enemies to record.

Pitting generals against one another and driving the toughest of them to tears.


But I’ll give you a hint, there will be swarms of small missile boats and well-equipped, well-trained, mean-as-hornets, secret black-clad demolition teams and snipers and drones and satellites and more gunpowder than gets fired in Manila on New Year’s eve during a millineum of celebrations.

Where? How? When? You’ll never know.

“Minimum credible defense”, my ass.

Pain. Pain.

“Maximum havoc, cost and pain to the enemy!”

The enemy will rue the day they ever agreed to be led by greedy, racist thugs trying to steal our riches.


354 Responses to “Can we kindly lose this “minimum credible defense” mentality?”
  1. andrewlim8 says:

    “Minimum credible defense” only works when there is no war. aha ha ha. 🙂

  2. Mariano Renato Pacifico says:

    “MINIMUM CREDIBLE DEFENSE” Mentality is “PWEDE NA” Mentality

    • Mariano Renato Pacifico says:

      Why is the Hamilton class frigate not deployed? What a waste of DAP money.

    • Mariano Renato Pacifico says:

      Philippine Media who are mostly graduates from University of the Philippines are very slow, brain slow, in communicating to the Filipinos where Spratley islands are. No wonder Heneral Luna is a hit because students are FORCED to watch it. They will have examinations soon. As we all know, Filipino movies are only goot in love-triangle and rags-to-riches and enslaved and buckets of crocodile tears. Nothing like this ….. and they are always from foreigners. Spratley residents are paid for by the PhilGov to relocate and stand ground against Chinese armadas.

  3. The Swiss have an exemplary defence. Not just mandatory military service, but refresher training every few years. Everyone who has done that has his rifle locked up at home, knows the code word for war and knows where to go in case of attack. They seem slow and act very polite, but they know how to defend their neutrality if necessary, what mountains to hide in. And they are proud of their citizen military, even to the extent that making jokes about it can send you to jail.

    Something like that but island- (and also mountain-)based for the Philippines might be an idea.

    • chempo says:

      Irineo the Swiss concept is excellent, it’s really the people’s army.

      Let me share Singapore’s way. When we got kicked out of Malaysia and became independent, the first order of day was “Defence”. Due to the small population base it was apparent we could never have a professional army, not without seriously impacting the economy. We looked around and realised we had to go the Swiss way. That’s what we did, except our national servicemen do not carry the weapons home. So what we have is actually the Isreali way.

      We sought Isreali assistance to build our army and they obliged. The reason we wanted the Isreals was because of certain geopolitical similarities between out countries — a small nation surrounded by larger Islamic countries who at that time were not too friendly to us.

      What I want to share is this. Our govt has always been smart to score as much secondary objectives as possible from any main endeavour. In building an army of national servicemen, we use that as a channel for nation building as well. There was no national consciousness back then, we were a nation of immigrants. Our national services required all able-bodied men on reaching 18 years to serve 2 years full-time followed by many years in reserves. The time spent together during full-time was great for bonding and nation building.

      For the Philippines you have no problems with creating a large full-time army. But cost is the issue. Thus a small professional army with a large army of national servicemen is really the solution. I can see where the secondary benefits are. Let’s say you have 2 years full-time national service. In a country with high unemployment, you are taking some slags out of unemployment by delaying the entry of fresh school leavers to the labour market. Plus the 2 years in-camp training is also a great opportunity for instilling discipline into the youths.

      • “Die Armee als Schule der Nation” – the army as the school of the nation – was the old German saying. In Prussia the army not only instilled discipline, it was also a great leveler.

        Sons of plantation owners – Prussia was very feudal in the 18th century when they started with military service – usually became officers because they had their entitled networks.

        But everybody went to the same basic training, so they encountered the sons of those working their fields, learned to live an austere life different from what they knew at home.

        In that respect, mandatory military service could also be a class leveller in the Philippines – the sons of the rich going through the same drill as sons of masa, same bunker beds.

        Especially since many networks in the Philippines are based on having been in the same school, same army unit, same company – I think this would really shake up a lot of things.

      • Joe America says:

        And, if done right, love of nation, and the willingness to sacrifice of self for that nation.

        • This will probably also be part of the Sunday article. Can’t wait until the U.P. people (not crooks!) in Berlin get the showing of that movie organized over there.

          • Mariano Renato Pacifico says:

            Heneral Luna scripts are hover-hyped !!! “Negosyo o Kalayaan”? “Bayan o Sarili” UP historians better come up with evidences Heneral Luna said those. Because according to my take, those quotes was not in vogue in those times. It seems more attuned to present day Philippines !


            • Well, you need a few legends for the people. Just like Patton probably never said what he said, just the actor in the movie said it. There is a disclaimer at the beginning of the movie that it is BASED on history – or is Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar 100% the original story?

              • Mariano Renato Pacifico says:

                Makes sense but considering propensity of Filipinos to gloss over:
                1. Murderer Traitor Emilio Aguinaldo buying arms to rebels out from the proceeds of Pact of Broken Stone to give credence to June 12 Independence Day …
                2. EDSA Revolution that was not revolution at all but squabbles between corrupt camps and the people at EDSA were just there for the fun of it …
                3. The takedown of Benigno Aquino’s name from Boys Scout fo the Philippines in Wikipedia to make it apopear Benigno has no hand in Mt. Makiling sale to Binay …

                Also, Filipinos Philippine Media’s addiction to sensationalization ….

                Heneral Luna’s movie made it big time because this is the first time a “Hero” is being honored in movie. The last one was Robin Padilla.

              • “EDSA Revolution that was not revolution at all but squabbles between corrupt camps and the people at EDSA were just there for the fun of it …”

                By repeating this so often even when this has been rebutted so many times before, MRP, I’m beginning to suspect that you are part of the Marcos led revisionists of that particular part of Philippine history, all part of their grand plan and propaganda to redeem his name and make it appear that he is the best president ever.

              • Joe America says:

                Astute to note that MRP deploys the same tactics as the tabloid press and UP lawyers. I’m fully expecting Korina to enter the picture at any moment.

        • neo canjeca says:

          Minimum credible defense — was that the brainchild of the Senator heroes who caused the removal of the American Bases in Clark and Subic? What have these Senator heroes provided and done for the country’s defense against external bullies and aggressors? With American bases still in our soil will China have the balls to grab portions of our land and sea?

          • These ultra “nationalist” senators were not visionaries at all, they were all talk and no long term planning. The Japanese are the most nationalist people I know and yet they allowed the US to take care of their defense via the bases there, they are smart that way, they concentrated on building their economy, I wonder if their budget did not include defense appropriations…..

  4. Steve says:

    Do you really think any external power has any desire to invade the Philippines? Why on earth would they do that?

    • China? Gave me BTW the motivation – learn from the enemy if needed.

      Hope your Street Tagalog is enough to understand my nearly finished Sun Tzu translation:

    • chempo says:

      I don’t know about the future, but surely you know Philippines history. The Portuguese, the Spanish and the Japs were’nt invited to Philippines were they?

      • Steve says:

        The times they have a’changed. Nobody needs to conquer resources any more. The Chinese are already getting the resources of the Philippines, and it’s way cheaper to pay the Filipinos to pillage their own country and ship stuff to them than it would be to go in and do the business themselves.

        I do think it’s entirely likely that at some point the Chinese will decide to stage an incident and have a short sharp war, not to seaize territory or resources but to bring home a victory and distract the populace from their domestic woes with a bit of old fashioned jingoism… a Wag the Dog war, as it were. The Philippines would be the logical target, indeed the only possible target. A war like that needs a resounding victory, and Japan, Taiwan, or even Vietnam have the capacity to bite back. or even win a limited engagement. A “war” like that would consist mainly of leveling military assets and installations, and the sad truth is that there’s not much the Philippines could do about it, beyond inviting the US to share as many facilities as possible.

    • Joe America says:

      Well, I don’t think any external power has the desire to nuke the US, but the US has anti-rocket networks in place and nukes on submarines who knows where. The point of strong defense is to discourage the adventurous as much as repel them, and I think China thinks the Philippines is a real hoot, a laugher, a pushover. I don’t think we will see hundreds of thousands of Chinese soldiers hitting Luzon. But do I think a rusty boat is vulnerable to attack upon the slightest provocation? Yes. Do I think Pagasa Island is vulnerable and subject to attack upon escalation from the rusty boat confrontation? Yes. Do I think China has ALREADY INVADED Philippine economic space? Yes indeedy. Do I think the US will enter any armed conflict? No siree. The US is absolutely gunshy.

      I gather from your question that you agree with the minimum credible defense line. Might as well just abandon the AFP and stop the pretenses that the Philippines has any need to spend any money. If you CAN’T use the gear, why buy it? If the attitude is “we are not ready to fight”, then what’s the point of even starting.

      There is no line to be crossed that says with any certainty now we are ready. We should be ready today.

      • Steve says:

        Minimum Credible defense is an interim objective, something one pursues en route to something more. At the moment even that is a pretty remote possibility. I agree that China has already “invaded” Philippine space, but I don’t think preparing Philippine territory for guerrilla resistance against an invader is a particularly useful thing. Armed caves and camouflaged hides will not keep China out of the West Philippine Sea.

        Vietnam faces a situation similar to that of the Philippines, with a higher probability of land conflict, owing to sharing a land border. They have prepared logically and effectively, and the Philippines might be well advised to copy the… though the Vietnamese have been at it for several decades and the Philippines has a lot of work to do to catch up. Vietnam has what might be called an above minimal credible defense. They couldn’t win a war with China, but they could make it painful, and sew any possible cost-benefit analysis in their favor. That’s a reasonable objective.

        Much of the Philippine defense discussion is way too hardware-focused. The AFP needs new hardware, but it also needs to seriously address corruption and the emphasis on personal over institutional loyalty. The padrino system needs to go, and promotions need to be based on merit, not connections or seniority. If the intention is to move to a higher tech military, they also have to recruit a different kind of soldiers, sailors, and airmen, focusing on a higher level of education and tech expertise.

        • Joe America says:

          That is basically what I am arguing for. The Vietnamese approach. A stronger sense of accountability for any eventuality. The Philippines is likely to be interim from here to eternity unless there is a change in mindset.

          • Steve says:

            There has been a change in mindset, but I’m not sure it’s a productive one. The emphasis on frigates and fighter planes seems to me more about show than effect.

          • The Luna plan – fortify the Cordilleras and hold out there – would have bogged down the US like what happened in Vietnam. Well now allies and enemies are different, just like former Spanish soldiers became officers in the Philippine-American war. Or like Americans and Filipinos fought alongside each other in World War 2, as soldiers and as guerillas, this time the enemy will probably not be the Japanese but the even nastier Chinese.

            That a movie like Heneral Luna is trending in the Philippines – the other side of Aldub which is a revival of love and traditional values being the revival of “Filipino fighting spirit” evidenced in a lot of conflicts. Good thing if Filipinos learn to be bad-ass again if needed.

            • Joe America says:

              There you go! “Bad-ass!” Exactly the frame of mind I don’t see anywhere in the military. Or confidence. Or, based on Mamasapano, competence. I see it among the Gilas basketball players though, so I know that it CAN exist.

          • neo canjeca says:

            There are two international perspectives worthy of the attention on Vietnam. The first perspective is that Vietnam probably is the only country that brought two world power to their knees if not scampering out with their tails between their legs; the first country happened in Dien Bien Phu, the second in Saigon. The second perspective is akin to the current focus on M.E. refugees in Europe which happen in Vietnam before, during and after the fall of Saigon. That could be a broader deductive focus.

      • “Yes indeedy. Do I think the US will enter any armed conflict? No siree. The US is absolutely gunshy.”

        This is what really mesmerized me, right after Cory Aquino’s term, a President who graduated from West Point F.V.Ramos was at the helm. Instead of improving our armed forces he forgot about it. Imagine 3 ex presidents came and gone, but never had they upgraded our defense system. I should say, or must say, the advisers of those president were really inutile or they assumed to much that the U.S.A. will come to help or defend the Philippines in case of invasion from outside forces. Yes, also count how many PMA senators we had? they never lifted a finger in trying to improve our national defense instead they were just posturing or talking nonsense all the time.

        We are an island nation, rich with natural resources very strategic location etc. I should say that PINOY Politician as well as Generals are dreaming that help will come if and when there will be attack in our sovereignty, God helps those who help themselves, and mind you we became beggars expecting to much from US hand outs of old and dilapidated war machines. Me thinks that we are one of the few countries that really don’t understand or has no intention on defending our shore and just look up to God and says bahala na kayo sa amin.

        • Joe America says:

          Good points all. This malaise seems to be a condition that has been allowed to curdle, like cheese, and become the norm. Bands of soldiers prowl the Philippines fighting rebel Filipinos and China is getting ready to drill and siphon off Philippine resources. I agree with the arbitration filing as a conditional step to any forceful action, but I don’t believe it is wise to allow crooks the run of the yard. The US will defend her right to sail ships through the seas unthreatened (but watched) and to fly anywhere over the South China and West Philippine seas outside the 12 nautical mile mark. China, I think, will not block or threaten those lanes, but will steal Philippine resources.

          The lack of strong national unity and dedication and patriotism is also what gives smugglers (Filipino) the lack of conscience that allows them to sell Philippine resources to the Chinese and Koreans for private gain. It is all rather horrid to me and the cure starts with building a national conscience. Waging war (limited) may be a way to do that.

        • neo canjeca says:

          “Yes indeedy. Do I think the US will enter any armed conflict? No siree. The US is absolutely gunshy.”

          Is that a fact? Or a message of the opposite. Hazy recall brings back vague memories of the longest day D-Day 6th of June in Normandy, the Korean War, Grenada , Kuwait, Blackhawk Down in Mogadishu, Afghanistan, Kuwait, and Iraq. Americans go to war not only for economics but for the innocuous beachhead. Theirs in Japan and Sokor are examples. George W.B. did it in Iraq to establish a beachhead to warn belligerent Iran . Israel is a natural one. Local heroes removed their beachhead in the Philippines; they are now probably halfway back. Americans might be gunshy, but they could be more lethal “trigger nuke happy.”

          • Joe America says:

            Future wars: satellites, drones and . . . not too far off . . . lasers. Probably not nukes.

            I have not seen the US do the promised “sail through” to test Chinese reactions to ships close to their new islands. I detect a clear tippy toe attitude when it comes to the rubber meeting the road, or the bow crashing through the seas . . . if you catch my drift. I think the US is reluctant to poke the bully in the chest. But I don’t know for sure.

      • juanlee says:

        you may have the best weapons in the world but if there is no will to fight, all said weapons are useless. the best first weapon is the will to fight, the hardware are the support accessories. tactics is born out of the will to fight. surrender is never an option.
        let us learn from the iraqis, syrians, and the agfans, they do not want to want to fight for their country or for their cause, they rather outsource it…they were given state of the art american weapons…they surrendered them to isis or talibans…now isis and talibans uses them in their war.
        let us learn from the filipino guerillas, vietcongs, the palestinians or the israelis…they fight even to death.
        let us not learn from politicos and the lazy, all they care is money, make money and get more money for themselves…believing they need more of this in the afterlife. God is great. gude.

        • Joe America says:

          I love those lessons, as to whom we should look for examples of fighting for nation. I hope some political players read the comment and subject themselves to a wake-up call. Hint, all those candidates who are running-down the Philippines in order to try to get elected . . .

    • Mariano Renato Pacifico says:

      No, Sir! External Forces will never ever invade the Philippines. They just wanted those islets that has no proven oil reserves. “Oil reserves” is just fantasy. Even if there were oil reserves, Philippine Government will never ever drill oil in that part of the world because Filipinos would rather have their children go hungry than destroy the corals and the marine habitat.

      1. Tanon Strait between Negros and Cebu. This is the habitat of bottle nose dolphin. There is also Proven Oil Reserves. The Filipino Government denied oil exploration in this area to protect the bottle nose dolphin over hungry Filipino children. Ain’t Filipinos Great?
      2. Philippine Protector and supposedly Friend America was fined by Philippine Government for running aground in that part of the world destroying corals and marine habitats. The FRiend and Protector were fined by Philippine Government at the expense of America’s protection and friendship.

      So, there you are. The Filipinos will never ever develope the oil reserves if ever there is any. They prefer to be hungry and living in cages and caves over destruction of corals.

  5. Karl garcia says:

    Implement the Micha spending solution for government spending and spend like hell.

    • Micha says:

      The mobilization of the US as it prepared to enter the war against Germany in the latter part of the 1930’s was widely seen as the main boost to its recovery from the Great Depression.

      Not saying that we should start beating the gongs of war against China but the US experience is instructive of how a country could propel its economy from the doldrums – spend a lot and produce a lot of stuff. Not necessarily war stuff.

      For one, maybe we should start mobilizing against climate change. Being the ground zero of super typhoon Yolanda and the threat of El Nino constantly coming our way, we should start acquiring and developing technology for harnessing alternative and sustainable sources of energy.

      Scientists are predicting that even if only half of the land based Antarctic ice cover completely melt, sea level could rise by as much as 30 meters. That would render all the disputed islands in the Spratleys pretty much underwater.

      • “The mobilization of the US as it prepared to enter the war against Germany in the latter part of the 1930’s was widely seen as the main boost to its recovery from the Great Depression.

        Not saying that we should start beating the gongs of war against China but the US experience is instructive of how a country could propel its economy from the doldrums – spend a lot and produce a lot of stuff. Not necessarily war stuff.”

        Both Germany and the US applied Keynesian economics. Germany also solved its problems with joblessness by rearmament and building Autobahns. There were also projects like the Maschsee in Hannover (an artificial lake) built by jobless people, commanded to go out and shovel a lake out of nothing. That kind of policy works for a while but you definitely have inflation as result. Which is why according to Götz Aly, German historian, Germany had to raid neighbouring countries because it was broke.

        “For one, maybe we should start mobilizing against climate change.” DOST Project NOAH is exemplary in that regard. Gian wrote that it was a DAP-funded project, so there you are.

        Marcos went for geothermal big-time, but what it did to Tiwi where my folks come from…

        • “For one, maybe we should start mobilizing against climate change.”

          I have come across this type of hose construction that is being promoted by David South

          A Dream Home that’s Energy Efficient

          • Dome Living that’s disaster-resistant, super green, energy-efficient, low maintenance and affordable!…supposedly nuclear bomb resistant, earthquake, fire and tornado/typhoon resistant, termite proof… has to be built in high level area that is flood proof, easy to cool or warm so energy resistant… I believe this is being built already somewhere in Mindanao.

            With all his talk of war and nuclear targets, my imagination is running wild…. we women folks are thinking about these things, while the men folks should be thinking of ways to protect the country, although women should about that, too.

          • err… house construction, not hose….aarrrgghh..!

        • Micha says:


          No runaway inflation in both the US and Germany as a result of that war effort.

          Germany of course was partitioned and the western part became the recipient of the Marshall Plan and under the then Chancellor Konrad Adenauer, the country enjoyed a prolonged economic growth called Wirtschaftswunder characterized by rapid reconstruction and development.

          In the US, the 50’s was one of the most stable and prosperous decade in its history.

      • Joe America says:

        I like that frame of mind, and the goal as well. “Mobilize”. Take some of Will’s AlDub love and dedication and apply it to getting ready for climate change. That concept may find its way into a blog . . . thanks for inciting the idea . . .

      • karl garcia says:

        Nice! Still requesting for that blog.,Micha.

  6. josephivo says:

    To fight what wars? Yesterday’s or tomorrow’s wars? Cyberattacks? Civil wars? Economic boycotts? Territorial wars? What is most likely upcoming war, what most damaging for the Filipino people? In pure physical wars, what weaponry will be used? Boots on the ground with machetes or long distance missiles?

    “Maximum havoc, cost and pain to the enemy”: Bomb their densely populated cities (North Korea will have the technology for sale), like Dresden, Hiroshima or Manila in WWII? Long term effect napalm, anthrax, mustard gas, cluster bombs, personal mines…? Promote internal Muslim/religious extremism? National racial razzias and concentration camps as the Nazis did with Jews, and the Americans with Japanese?

    You raise more questions than you provide answers.

    • Joe America says:

      That’s my job. Your job is to supply the answers.

      See my comment to Steve.

      I really only ask one question. Why do we accept being not ready?

      • Steve says:

        What has to be accepted is that external defense has been neglected for 40 years or more, and like it or not we are not ready. Getting ready will take a long time, probably longer than we’ve got. That’s a reality. Minimum Credible Defense is a first step, and even that is a long way to go at this point.

        In my opinion the Philippines is not going about it in the most pragmatic way, but that’s another question.

      • josephivo says:

        Ready for what? Kick out the Chinese of entire Spratley? Only 200 mile zone? Prevent further encroachment? Protect the mainland?

        Or also to fight the influx of Marwans and other extremists? Lumats and NPA? NSA and the Chinese counterpart? Interval collaborators? All of the above?

        What is maximum havoc? As I described or is that one bridge to far? No internal collaborators with Muslim extremists in East China?

        Please be more specific.

        • I would say prevent the Chinese from occupying everything in the Spratleys, because if things go on this way they will sooner or later – and be able to choke international trade routes that run through that sea to their advantage.

          Like robber barons, not of the 19th century American type, the original German robber barons who levied illegal taxes because they were along the Rhine river for example – those scenic castles you see nowadays were nothing more than medieval kotong-kotong.

        • Joe America says:

          Well, you are asking me to be Secretary of Defense right here before your very eyes, laying bare in a comment the entire plan for defending the Philippines against any eventuality. And I must confess, that it is possible that the Philippines is actually DOING what I am suggesting, only we don’t know about it. Frankly, though, I rather doubt it given that there is no urgency to get EDCA through the SC, the spending is on big ships and jets rather than speed boats and missiles, the US has been asked to escort relief goods to the rusty ship outpost (not likely to happen), and generals are retiring daily with lots of medals for fighting Filipinos. The US is clearly engaged in the war on terrorism, but not in much more than providing satellite pictures over the West Philippine Seas.

          I do give the Philippines credit for having lots of military exercises with neighboring states which says to China, in a way, this is not a bilateral fight.

          As Secretary of Defense, I would have contingency options available should China block supplies to the rusty ship or take over the rusty ship. Or take over Pagasa Island. Or start drilling at Scarborough. Those options would be scripted out. The contingencies would change before arbitration and after. I would focus on small, flexible, automated (drones), missiles. The tactics would be harassing or terrorist in style. Causing great cost with little expenditure of life. Beyond that, you’d have to use your imagination because, really, I am not the Secretary of Defense, and all I am asking for is a sense of accountability and national energy, or patriotic spirit.

          • “speed boats and missiles” – this is similar to McArthurs plan for defending the Philippines, which he was not able to complete on time before Pearl Harbor – speed boats, torpedos.

            Not to praise Ferdie here, but Marcos did have a bit of a plan for the islands, in fact old anti-aircraft guns from his time rust on Pagasa island, I don’t know if he built the runway. Oil drilling in Palawan was something started in his time as well, further west I don’t know.

            Dictators often think more long-term because they expect their terms to be for life. In democracies you need institutions with career people paid to think long-term and advise the political appointees above them, and political people smart enough to listen to them.

          • Steve says:

            Harassing and terrorist tactics at sea are not so easy… few places to hide The Iranians have plans like that, but geography is much more on their side, given the confined space in the Arabian Gulf and the Straits of Hormuz.

            Drones are not an answer. Armed drone technology is restricted to a few countries who are not selling, and is way outside the Philippine technological envelope. Drones are also of limited use against an antagonist with advance air defenses.

            Missiles are indeed the great equalizer, and the Vietnamese in particular have invested heavily there. Still, though, the picture is not simple or cheap. You need multiple platforms: land based mobile systems that can “shoot and scoot”, fast missile boats and missile-equipped aircraft that can operate from within shore-based defenses and still deliver missiles on target. All of these, and their support facilities, have to be defended with multi-layer protection from missile attack. You also need top notch radar and surveillance capabilities so you know where your targets are, and those facilities have to be defended too. Big job. Submarines are a big plus in this kind of fighting, but represent a major investment that also requires support and defense.

            In short, a missile-based strategy can be effective as a minimum credible defense, but it will need time, major investments, and recruitment of a new generation of servicepeople with serious science and tech chops to make it work.

            • Joe America says:

              My idea of drone warfare is 100 model airplanes with C-4 in the nose skipping above the seas and into the target. They don’t have to fly from the US or even Manila, and my son can drive one.

              Kindly stop swearing in the discussion thread (“minimum credible defense”). 🙂

            • How about STOVL Stealth Fighter First Land-Based Vertical Take Off, will this cost the earth ?

              • Steve says:

                Yes, it would cost the earth. In general US hardware is a bad idea for the Philippines, as it is very expensive to buy and operate and requires highly specialized facilities and personnel to operate and maintain.

              • Mariano Renato Pacifico says:

                Yes, Mary, this will cost the earth. This toy violates all emission standards. As you know, Filipinos are environmentalists. We would rather keep the Chinese off our corals because oil reserves produce pollutants and destroy marine mammals habitats. We’d rather starve Filipino children over the life of bottled-nose dolphins.

                That is why The Philippine Government did not deploy gazillions-worth of Hamilton Frigate because it destroys the corals. Do not believe we are up in arms against Chinese hegemony. We want to preserve 8th wonders of the world: The Environment.

                The Chinese do not care about the environment to become number one economy in the world. Americans were mass polluters. They became number one economy. They outsource dirty manufacturing to China because it pollutes our environ.

                Filipinos can never progress. We hug environment first instead of the other way around.


    • chempo says:

      Actually, in Philippines there is a more serious war going on. It’s a war conducted by some upright men against crooks who trying to occupy or re-occupy the Palace..

      • Mariano Renato Pacifico says:

        Filipinos should choose their battle.
        It should be achievable.
        Time related
        and specific.

        Currently, the main issue in the Philippines should not be Spratleys. It should be corruption and deculturalize Filipinos to accept Colonial Mentality which is HONESTY.

        Spratleys should be America’s problem. If they do not protect Spratleys for everybody, it is going to be like Suez, Gulf of Aden and the Red Sea. They are patrolling this area to protect the source of oil.

        For now, Spratleys is a non-issue. It is America’s interest to protect this area.

        • ” It should be corruption and deculturalize Filipinos to accept Colonial Mentality which is HONESTY. ” Rizal wrote that dishonesty was the real colonial mentality – lying to the Spanish to fool them – and that Filipinos were usually honest among themselves.

          And that “Filipino laziness” was because Filipinos woke up at 4 a.m. to go the ricefields and stopped working at noon. The Spanish woke up at 10 a.m. and saw them working only two hours and thought damn they are lazy. Los Españoles son los perezosos, de verdad!

          • Mariano Renato Pacifico says:

            This is a true story. Erap went to America along with his four buddyguards. They went to a Gentleman’s Club ( A Strip Club).

            Erap: “Mga bata count off”
            Buddyguards: “one” “two” “three” “four”
            Erap: “Mga bata, retreat. Hindi tayo makapasok, LIMA LANG TAYO! Basahin n’yo ang sign, “UNDER 18 NOT ALLOWED” “

  7. With the history of Martial Law, there is an anti-militarist, pacifist streak that hinders Philippine national security thinking. Yet, ironically, it is the scion of the political family (that suffered during Martial Law, whose father was condemned to death by generals, and who was killed by elements of the PAF) who has given material substance to its national security apparatus. The AFP is not lacking in the means to wage effective asymmetric war that would give pause to China’s aggression; however, since it has focused its strategies on counter-insurgency for most of the post-WW II era, the AFP may not yet be confident in articulating unconventional defense strategy against a formidable external threat. But, it should, instead, study how an obscure Saudi Arabian movement planned the most effective assault against the mightiest power in world history using the most ubiquitous means of air transport. The US Commission on 9/11 identified the problem of the US national security apparatus: the lack of IMAGINATION.

    • Joe America says:

      Wham! Right on point, Richard. Lack of imagination, or focus, or energy, or commitment, or accountability. That is what “minimum credible defense” says to me.

      • Apropos, minimum credible defense also means a basic capacity to inflict damage on the enemy with locally produced arms supplemented with foreign technology, something which my father conceived and articulated the in AFP’s Self- Reliance Defense Posture back in the early 70s that the DND is currently reviving. Imagine thousands of made-in-Cebu appropriately-armed fast attack boats swarming the PLA Navy in the shallow waters of the West Philippine Sea. Even bees can bring down an African elephant.

        (for a fuller appreciation of the SRDP, read:

        • Joe America says:

          Well, your father’s plan sounds more aggressive than what I am witnessing today, and kudos to him. I agree with the bees and elephants, and have done blogs to that point before. Perhaps it is the terminology that is misleading me. Minimum means the least needed. Credible means . . . well, that the enemy respects it, I guess. We could strive for a better slogan, perhaps. “Guerrilla Attack Force” or somesuch.

          I’ll try to read the attachment tomorrow when my internet connection is better (early am).

  8. Bert says:

    “Do I think the US will enter any armed conflict? No siree. The US is absolutely gunshy.”—Joe

    “US to respond within hours….”—HEADLINE, Inquirer.Net, Oct 1, 2015
    “I would tell you that if anybody would challenge the sovereignty of this country, their best friends within this region would respond within a matter of hours and generally, I assure you that is not a hollow promise,” said Brig. Gen. Paul Kennedy, commander of the US 3rd Marine Expeditionary Brigade, at the opening ceremonies of the Philippine Amphibious Landing Exercises (Phiblex) at the Marine headquarters at Fort Bonifacio.”

    Two contrasting statements from two Americans. I say, get some balls and blast one of those Chinese artificial/reclaimed islands nearest our shore and we will see who is telling the truth.

    • Possibly, a few fishermen from our beloved Bicol coasts – those that take their boats very far into the Pacific Ocean – could sneak in and do the job at night with dynamite, quickly.

      Good to have the Americans as backup, both things done by oneself build confidence.

    • Joe America says:

      The General is not empowered to make war, but he can speak rah rah diplomacy, which was rather my take on it. Rather like the coach pumps up the guys in the locker room at half time. As I understand it, any fighting would require President Obama’s concurrence. If the Philippines is shy about causing ripples with China, think about US aversion to upsetting the commercial balance. I mean, look at stocks the past few weeks dropping because of concerns about the Chinese economy, no shots fired.

      Color me skeptical, especially with EDCA on the slow burner. I would add the point (consistent with the theme of the article) that if the Philippines demonstrated self-accountability for fielding tough and ready forces, getting US assistance would likely be easier. The US does not want to back another Iraq style fighting force, where the heart to fight . . . or even train . . . seems not to exist.

      • Bert says:

        Then I don’t know the mindset of an American general in the US Marine Corp.. I believed he has his orders from his superiors… to do what has to be done in a situation and say things according to what are contain in that orders. To say something in the form of a promise to fellow soldiers of an ally contrary to what are within his power to perform as stipulated in the orders is tantamount to misinformation with intention to mislead, if not trickery.

        But you know your military, Joe, being a former soldier yourself. Me, I don’t know anything.

      • I don’t understand why the SC is sitting on this EDCA matter. What are they waiting for..Armageddon?

        • sonny says:

          On the nose, Mary Grace!

          I think the PH can take a page or two from the American legislative playbook at the turn of the 20th century. The US was supposed to be a non-colony-taking democracy at the time. Analyze that situation then be creative at executive and legislative and popular level and then POOF, the EDCA is legal!!

  9. Jean says:

    End of the day, I don’t think we are as “easy a target” as what foreign countries might suppose. We are documented survivors. We are pesky and stubborn. What we lack in new age weaponry, we make up with guerrilla tactics and creative “deviousness”. We also have quite a large capacity for vindictiveness.

    Me thinks after a few rounds with us, eventually any would be invaders would figure we would not be worth the cost of waging war against. Or may be that’s the idealist in me speaking.

    I would go far as saying, I feel sorry for any would be invader! I think subconsciously, we are itching for a fight. Itching to win. We are looking for a way to validate our freedom, our independence, to move on from the victim mentality which I think society still bears.

    Personally, the upside I see to actually going to war is that it would be the first time I would probably experience us moving as a nation, as one people, with one common unifying goal.

    • “I think subconsciously, we are itching for a fight. Itching to win. We are looking for a way to validate our freedom, our independence, to move on from the victim mentality which I think society still bears.” this is, from afar, the or spirit of present times in the Philippines that has made Heneral Luna the movie so popular. Back to the old Filipino culture – fun-loving but ready to fight if necessary, like Lapu-Lapu once did, that man was a Visayan so I am sure he was also fun-loving before and after Magellan.

    • Joe America says:

      I like what you are saying, but it doesn’t really connect with what I see happening. Like the failure to delivery artillery at Mamasapano. Or buying big boats that will be sunk in about 45 minutes. Indeed, a good fight . . . if it could be limited . . . might indeed make the Philippines a more strongly unified nation, when combined with sound economic growth.

      • Jean says:

        Yeah I get where you are coming from, via the evidence we have before us…like mamasapano, the bus hostage taking (in Luneta was it?) and similar circumstances! we are most likely going to be hurting a lot before we get our act together.

      • Mamasapano was more than half a year ago. Could be that the emotions of pain and rage have transformed themselves into a new form of resolve by now. Filipinos can be passive for long but when they are goaded into action they move like they did back in 1986. In fact that is a good analogy – 1983 when Ninoy was murdered, it was all about pain and rage. By February 1986 this had been transformed into resolve and action, the world wondered.

        Social media today speeds up processes within the national barangay called Philippines.

  10. NHerrera says:

    Joe — “Maximum havoc, cost and pain to the enemy!”

    I remember the Patton movie, where the General said to his troops: I don’t want you to die for your country; I want you to have the SOB enemies die for their country or some such exhortation.

    • Heneral Luna tells the reporter Joven in an interview in the film: “sabihin mo sa ating mga kababayan na hindi nakakamit ang kalayaan sa pagaaruga sa kanilang mga mahal sa buhay. Kailangang nilang magbayad” Joven: “ano pong kabayaran” Luna: “Dugo at pawis. Kailangan nilang tumalon sa kawalan”. In the trailer starting from position 1:04 with English subtitles – content warning, war movie. The enemy today is another, principles the same.

    • Joe America says:

      There you go! Tough sumbitch, that Patton. Maybe too much so, but at least trek in that direction.

    • chempoempo says:

      “no bastard ever won a war by dying for his country. … You win a war by making the other poor dumb bastard die for his.”

      Don’t know if it’s Patton’s real words or George C. Scott’s, the actor who played his character.

      • NHerrera says:

        Thanks. That is the film I saw sometime back. And George Scott indeed was the actor. My paraphrasing recall is not quite accurate; though I believe I caught the essence. The words you wrote rings the bell now — loud and clear.

      • Joe America says:

        Hey, they both were cut from the same mold. Probably the script writer and director, too. 🙂

  11. Antony1234 says:

    Hi Joe, this is the first time I strongly disagreed with one of your articles, to the extent that I had to double check that it was you who posted. Perhaps you’re writing satirically, or this was a cathartic exercise?

    I believe that minimum credible defense is by no means unambitious, and is definitely not a symptom of ‘Level 1 leadership’. I see this goal as evidence of mature, reasoned, realistic goal-setting. Why? because it ensures that the military fulfills its function of protecting the Philippines, while not expending resources that could be allocated towards more pressing concerns (Education, Health, Poverty reduction etc). It also demonstrates to the international and domestic community that the Philippines is committed to resolving disputes with negotiation, not force: this draws a sharp contrast between our country as a mature democracy, and the belligerent actions and military accumulation of China and North Korea. This gives us more ‘soft’ diplomatic power and moral ascendancy.

    Let’s examine the ‘maximum havoc, cost, and pain to the enemy’ doctrine. To which enemy in particular are you referring? If it is the radical communist or Islamic fundamentalist insurgencies; then yes, i believe we should be able to decisively and swiftly defeat any force they should be able to muster. But ‘maximum havoc, cost, and pain’? They are Filipinos too, and the best way to ‘win’ against these forces is to assimilate them into our society, invest them in our democracy, and allow them to participate in the fruits of our renewed economic growth. If you are referring to China, then there is no conceivable way in which we can counteract them by ourselves. Yes, we should build up our forces until we have a minimum credible defense, but to build up a military for ‘maximum’ havoc is wasteful. The United States and International community also provide a deterrent effect. Therefore I think ‘minimum’ is sufficient.

    Now, lets assume that we do wish to adopt the maximum havoc doctrine. There are major social costs to this as well. Currently the # taxreformnow hashtag is trending, with the administration opposing it. People want lower taxes, but overlook the fact that programs will have to be de-funded to pay for these breaks. To establish a military doctrine of maximum havoc will exacerbate this fiscal tension, because we will now have to pick between lower taxes, the same level of social spending, the maximum havoc military, and just going into debt. Which do you want to cut? Which do you think the people will LET you cut?

    I definitely agree that our military has to grow and modernize towards the GOAL of minimum credible defense. Even with the unprecedented levels of military modernization under the Aquino admin, we are not even at that goal. I believe that once we reach this goal, to spend further on military would be irresponsible – there are far, far better uses for those pesos.

    All this notwithstanding, I share your frustration that our country seems to lag behind others in several respects, but we’re getting there! Growth is high, society is optimistic, and the future is bright. In a very strong Visayan accent, “Istip by istip”!

    • Joe America says:

      I appreciate the quality objection to the piece, Antony. I actually received enlightenment from Richard Cavasora earlier ( and have stepped off the soapbox to listen.

      As for the internal enemy, the rebels, I agree that inclusion and negotiation are the preferred method of resolution of the problems. They are more economic than ideological or territorial, I think . . . although there may be elements of both ideology and territory in the solution.

      As for social costs and budgeting, I also agree that those are real. And my complaint has nothing to do with funding, but with attitude only, and I suppose overall plan – big equipment versus small. The master theme of “lack of accountability, commitment, planning, follow-through” apply to many of the Philippines’ problems, from transportation to flood control, and I’m suggesting that . . . for defense . . . there can’t be any attitude BUT accountability and commitment.

      And the term “minimum credible defense” conveys . . . to me . . . as a semantic or PR statement . . . the wrong idea. And if the actions reflect the interpretation of the saying that “we aren’t ready yet”, then the Philippines has a problem.

      I further agree that, as the nation gets wealthier, the task becomes a lot easier.

      Thanks for the strong argument.

    • Bert says:

      “Yes, we should build up our forces until we have a minimum credible defense, but to build up a military for ‘maximum’ havoc is wasteful.”—Antony1234

      The ‘pwede na iyan’ syndrome, a derision term usually applied to Filipinos by the GRP denizens to describe the lackadaisical attitude of Filipinos as a people to which I vehemently disagreed. Joe is correct, between that ‘minimum credible defense’ and the ‘maximum havoc’ doctrine the latter is the more effective way to deter Chinese incursions in our territorial domain and could have prevented those Chinese reclamation on our sovereign jurisdictions. It leaves a bad taste in the mouth to say that it is okay to let these Chinese build their military bases on reclaimed land within our shores just because we have more pressing problems to take care of in the first place.

    • NHerrera says:

      Anthony: I appreciate your well-reasoned and phrased, balanced comment, notwithstanding my note below, influenced significantly by statements of some government officials as it pertains to China and our maritime, territorial issues. Thanks.

  12. Steve: “Nobody needs to conquer resources any more. The Chinese are already getting the resources of the Philippines, and it’s way cheaper to pay the Filipinos to pillage their own country and ship stuff to them than it would be to go in and do the business themselves.”

    Start with what Steve said above. That’s the strategy.

    Antony: “I see this goal as evidence of mature, reasoned, realistic goal-setting. Why? because it ensures that the military fulfills its function of protecting the Philippines, while not expending resources that could be allocated towards more pressing concerns (Education, Health, Poverty reduction etc).”

    There are more important things that should take priority.

    Antony‘s point above, then Steve‘s, should be the 2 points from which to triangulate the target,

    China’s doesn’t have to invade.

    Philippines has more pressing issues.

    So focus on poverty/corruption reduction, with cock blocking China in mind. On education, teach cyber security/computer science with China in mind. Health, stop pharmaceutical/ illicit drugs with China in mind. Environment, protect it ( enact the Pope’s rights of the environment, UN speech ) again with China in mind. The list goes on and on…


    Now for the Vietnam strategy,

    I recall the old story of the North Vietnamese Army colonel and the American Army colonel who found themselves in a discussion during the Paris peace talks that brought closure to that conflict.

    “You know, don’t you,” the American colonel is to have said, “that not once did you ever beat us in the field.”

    The Vietnamese colonel, after a moment’s reflection, replied. “That is quite true, we never did. But that was also unimportant in the outcome of this war.”

    The US vs. Vietnam and an impending China vs. Vietnam war, are two different wars, Americans are bound too much by ROEs and the Geneva convention– China won’t be.

    The Philippine vs. Vietnam war will look nothing like a China vs. Vietnam war. Vietnam is still riding from kicking our butts, they’ll not take crap from China– that’s a big difference.

    If and when China physically “invades” the Philippines, it will most likely be invited by its politicians. It will be a coup de grâce, having finished an all-out plunder from afar.


    Steve: “Much of the Philippine defense discussion is way too hardware-focused. The AFP needs new hardware, but it also needs to seriously address corruption and the emphasis on personal over institutional loyalty. The padrino system needs to go, and promotions need to be based on merit, not connections or seniority. If the intention is to move to a higher tech military, they also have to recruit a different kind of soldiers, sailors, and airmen, focusing on a higher level of education and tech expertise.”

    As a lowly enlisted, my equals over there were Filipino LTs and CAPTs. That to me is the “Minimum Credible Defense Mentality” in a nutshell. There was a wide gap, mirroring societal hierarchy, between enlisted and officers.

    As we’ve seen in Iraq and Afghanistan, this wide gap will render militaries useless. You can’t wish for fancy toys, if you’ve not selected and recruited quality people to play with those expensive toys– at all levels, enlisted to officers.

    This padrino system seems to start at the Military and Police academies over there and also in your ROTC programs. I’m trying to find a conversation I had with sonny about overhauling these public programs, or simply closing them down and encourage

    Leadership-focus as part of the new K-12 program over there– instead of arts, science, math, sports, vocational, have kids track on Leadership.

    In the mean time, while the AFP and PNP is being revamped, reach out to the US do what Joe’s proposing. But a land war with China is still very far in the future, so there’s time. Focus on the priorities outlined by Antony above.

    China’s not taking the Japanese play book of the 1920-30s, everything’s being done surreptitiously– Joe’s “Red Dawn” scenario ( the one with Patrick Swayze, not the new remake ) is also what Americans over here are clamoring for.

    This misattributed quote is popular, “You cannot invade the mainland United States. There would be a rifle behind every blade of grass” , amongst 2nd Amendment types, and

    represents a clear misunderstanding of China’s strategy.

    If successful, “a rifle behind every blade of grass” or Joe‘s “caves hidden in the mountains, armed to the teeth, or gills, or whatever caves get armed to” is simply mitigation of an impending loss, the point is to win before it even starts.

    Start by getting rid of the padrino system, so the US will have an equal partner in the region. My equals should be the junior enlisted, and my Captain’s should be other AFP/PNP Captains, not Generals.

    The lack of Leadership is your first fix– before you can do anything. Focus on your enlisted ranks and cultivate small unit leadership.


    China’s buying up real estate and running PLA companies incorporated here,

    “Pres. Barack Obama is the first American president in decades not to stay at the Waldorf. Fears of spying are reportedly to blame.

    Last fall, Hilton Worldwide Holdings sold the hotel in October 2014 to Beijing-based Anbang Insurance Group for $1.95 billion. China’s government and companies have invested heavily in prime New York City real estate.

    Current prices for the Presidential Suite running between $1999 and $10,000 and possibly more a night, depending on how many bedrooms are connected to the Waldorf’s Presidential Suite, even though the White House pays considerably less.”

    • Joe America says:

      You should really write a book, you know. This is a gem of a synthesis of people coming at the issue from different directions, and you have distilled it extraordinarily well. Indeed, China is likely to be invited in under three of four presidential candidates. I don’t know about Duterte.

      • Joe,

        I do agree with your idea for John Paul Jones- type piracy ( maritime guerilla warfare ), or Francis Marion aka “Swamp Fox”, guerilla warfare– both from the American War of Independence against the British.

        And I believe the ROTC and Boy Scouts program after WWII in the Philippines ( sonny or karl can verify ) was all about guerilla warfare, since the trainers were veterans of Japanese ambush and sabotage.

        The essence of guerilla warfare is ultra-light infantry, small units and where the information travels from the bottom-up– instead of the regular, bureaucratic top-down. It’s basically the Bear Grylls’ show, and goes back to the whole notion of austerity ( doing more with less ).

        Mary posted a video of the new F-35, the Philippines has no need for that for so many ( so many ) reasons.

        The Chinese built those structures for deals, the US will make those deals with China.

        So there’s this time luxury right now (a 10-20 year window), where the Super Powers are playing chess or Chinese chess or Connect Four– the point is, the US ( to Bert‘s US Marine Corps General ) is there to stay.

        So take advantage of this commitment, that’s Pres. Obama’s “Asian pivot” ( and whoever replaces him will see that through, China is it ).

        The US is also in the business of selling weapons ( or all out give aways like in Iraq and Af-Pak). Be judicious in the toys you guys buy or get, ie. there’s no need for even just one F-35, that goes for other hi-speed low-drag items.

        The Cyber stuff though, the Philippines should upgrade.

        Then maybe small crafts ( our old riverines for example ) and optics for surveillance. Stuff you can use for criminal matters as well as natural disasters. The stuff you buy should not just be for China, ie. missiles and F-35s, etc. You guys should expect the US to cover you there ( no need for big items ), so buy the toys that’s versatile.

        After you guys buy only the most needed gear, then focus on revamping your Leadership quagmire. Fix the academies and ROTCs. Get back to austere military training again, get those Aetas that run the best Jungle School up and working– they should be treated like national treasures, not pissed on.

        Then use this Jungle training, that will inevitably lead to environmental respect and appreciation, as a jumping point to a new type of Filipino renaissance, patriotism– based on love of terrain and nature. Teach geography in schools!

        Buy this time, now with American umbrage, to work on your people. If you guys buy or receive new, hi-speed, low-drag gear at this point, there’s a good chance the troops will only end up selling ’em to China– another reason not to get ’em.

        So get this whole guerilla warfare tradition up and running again, via ROTC or Boy Scouts, not so much for China ( although it’s good preparation ) but more to elicit the best from the Philippines, from leaders to students, to politicians and even ex-pats who love the Philippines and are there for the long haul.


        That’s what guerilla warfare training is for.

        These thoughts of attacking China now is too early, the Super Powers are in their deal-making stage– no one wants to go to war just yet. While the big boys play, ie. ala Godzilla vs. Mothra posturing,

        the Philippines should be investing and cultivating its most important resource– the human kind.

        • That is a very enlightening and practical advice, Thanks, LCpl_X.

          “So there’s this time luxury right now (a 10-20 year window)”

          I think that time frame was good in 2004, during the time of ex-Presidents Ramos/Estrada/. Arroyo. In that period, we could have improved our defense capability, taken possession of the Spratlys, improved that Pag-Asa Island and establish a radar/monitoring system there so that reclamation of the Chinese on our EEZ would have been prevented. Now, they have taken possession, and is right now building a sophisticated military base for their aircraft carriers, platform for their missiles and home for their fishermen to steal our resources (fish, and fuel oil) and soldiers to protect them. Anyways, that is now water under the bridge now, cannot be undone and we can only hope and pray that the Chinese will not come to invade us, and yes, prepare and buy those little toys until we have the means and capability to buy and operate the big ones. Good ideas already discussed here, ROTC for those in schools, compulsory training for those who are no longer there and do something to instill patriotism and nationalism in each and every Filipinos.

          This is huge, oh my!

          • It’s understandable, Mary, the Philippine Presidents then, thought they could work with China. Now we know better, China has other plans. But at this point they can still be dealt with, diplomacy and int’l courts ( just like the Palestinians, keep pushing ), so aside

            from Cyber capabilities, small military items, guerilla warfare– as Leadership training , you guys should definitely also up your Chinese knowledge– language, culture, foreign affairs, leverage Chinese-Filipinos already there– your NICA should be expanded for this.

            Americans suck at this, cultural & language stuff, so if you guys can up your skillz in this aspect– be Chinese experts, you’ll be value adding to yourselves– force multiply. Helping the US out. Slap this expertise to the real as well as virtual world.

            • Joe America says:

              “Helping the US out.” That is such a profound statement, of commitment and will and arriving at real first world stature. When the Philippine leadership is thinking like that, instead of “what’s in it for me”, what’s in it for me will multiply many times over. Gadzooks, I wish I could paper Manila with that idea, I wouldn’t have to write so many blogs and could spend more time at the beach. National maturity would have arrived.

            • sonny says:

              @ LC

              I’m staying close to your thread on ROTC, PMT, Boy Scouts, etc and JoeAm’s Internet thrust for the Philippine young from a previous blog.

              The ROTC and PMT routes can be retooled from its WWII origins with MacArthur & Eisenhower and James Ord. There are two major gathering infrastructures for the Filipino youth, one religious and the other secular. The DepEd can leverage these to include syllabi for the same military preparation and specialization along the same lines as the ideas hatched immediately preceding WWII. A commission can be empowered to do the honors.

              As far as the Internet education (JoeAm’s concern) for the young is concerned, the gov’t can be the easy enablers for a nationwide thrust to include basic and intermediate solid education in computers and communications and connectivities/interfaces of manual, digital and engineering technologies. These are AB actions in cooperation with the CDE sectors of our country. This is a direct analog of the interleaf way computer architecture is designed: CPUs (electronic speed), Main memory and cache submemories (electronic speeds and memory media), connectivity (data communications, telephone and computers), archiving, data-warehousing, history taking. There are discreet real-time needs vs recall storage needs (database architecture) which can be addressed economically and systems design of series and parallel computer systems.

        • Joe America says:

          Yes indeed. Also know the Philippine land and seas inside out and include that in the calculations of chess and where the little machines can do big damage.

        • chempo says:

          ” the Philippines should be investing and cultivating its most important resource– the human kind.”

          This is absolutely true. The 2014 demographics of Philippines — 38% of the population is below 14 years and 18% between 15-24. Better put more resources into academics, skills, leadership training.

          57% of the pop is below 24. In terms of demographics Philippines stand on the edge of a golden age if it plays its cards well. Most economies that prospered — Singapore, South Korea, Hongkong, Taiwan, Japan, and many others — they all did so with a very young population. In terms of demographics, Philippines is at where all these countries were when they had their economic take-off.

          • sonny says:

            Is this DEJA VU all over again? The world subscribed to MAD before. The US-China struggle for the high ground is literally 22,000 miles above. There are eyes of storms or tropical depressions at the Levant, the Black Sea, and now the South China Sea. I don’t understand what everybody is thinking, especially the Chinese and the Russians. There’s no place to hide, does everybody want to run?

      • As comparison, Israelis know every piece of their land, terrain from valleys to hills and they can even name all the Biblical stuff that happened on each hill.

        That’s what the Philippines should aspire to, love of land. Make that your foundation.

        • Joe America says:

          Exactly. I posted my comment before reading yours. I agree.

        • Now I am wondering, based on that comment, how much of their own county most Filipinos have seen. Let me see – in my years in the Philippines, I was only in Luzon except for one week in Cebu. In Luzon it was mainly Metro Manila, with trips to our folks in Bikol, to Baguio sometimes, one spectacular Ilocos trip, Sagada, around Manila it was more on Batangas and Laguna, Bulacan and Quezon not that often, Pampanga only in passing…

          The perspective we can truly have, the country we really perceive is what we have seen. Second to that is the stuff we have heard from folks we know, third read about somewhere.

          Land und Leute is the German term for this. Knowing the land and the people in it.

          • This young man who blogged about the Philippines: noted that many Filipinos have not even been to the neighbouring village. Even though I have noted from postings from my Facebook friends that internal tourism is on the rise. I remember the times when tourism was something these strange, tall white people with long noses did… 🙂

            in fact it was my German mother who pushed for most of the trips we did, and my grandmother who came to visit – WALKING long stretches which most Filipinos found strange. And my aunt who came once, my brother and me did the Cordilleras with her.

            The young man does mention one Filipina who backpacked the entire country, but I think on the whole there are more foreigners who have been around the whole Philippines than the Filipinos themselves. Especially those from Luzon I think, Manila folks in particular.

            • I like the things he writes in his letter to the Filipinos, having been there two years:

              Filipinos: I am asking you to think MORE… Filipinos, perhaps hundreds of years of colonization have left you holding back your talent…and feeling like you don’t have a “voice” to speak up with – that your opinions don’t matter, and have no value…

              Filipinos: Don’t try to be more like us, try to be more like YOU. I believe what the the world needs now is more you, not more us… I mentioned how a few people in Manila seemed to be ashamed to speak Filipino with me. I was saddened by that; I hoped they would be proud of their culture. I got the impression that they admired me so much – just for being white! When I would go through security anywhere in Manila, I was the only one who wouldn’t be searched. I seemed to get a free pass, again, because I was white. That was something I loved about Cebu and the Visayas…there, the security searched me just like everybody else. It was fair. In general, people down there weren’t impressed with my white skin. If I was going to impress them, I would have to earn it. They were proud, and I loved that. I don’t mean to promote regionalism here; I just would love to see all Filipinos develop that sense of cultural pride… Please don’t be afraid to be proud – I know you prefer to be modest, but I don’t believe pride and modesty have to be enemies. I believe you can be proud without thinking or acting like you are better than others. Be proud of your culture; your heritage…

              My hope is that you will gain a reputation as a nation of innovators and entrepreneurs…as creators. I have never seen so much talent be so under-utlilized. With your stunning beaches and lush mountain provinces, you are also poised and ready to take the world’s tourism industry by storm. However, your ecosystem is delicate, and it needs to be protected and preserved…

              Please put an end to the “crab mentality” – lift each other up, don’t pull each other down. If your country is ever going to rise up and share its treasures with the world, you will have to foster an environment of praise and support for your countrymen.

              Filipinos: You are some of the most talented, soulful, and generous people I have ever encountered. Please know that you DO have a voice, that your ideas DO matter, and that your contributions (whether they be musical, artistic, or intellectual) WILL be felt.

              Believe it, and the rest of the world will, too.

              Oh! One more thing. If you work in government, do not EVER forget your responsibility to represent the PEOPLE – a people and a culture with a lot to offer the world. YOU represent them on the world’s stage. Do NOT let them down.

              • That’s a awesome letter– spot on too!

              • I was looking for this:

                INGAT, JOE!! (Be Careful, American!!)

                Filipinos always tell me to be careful when going anywhere, and many of them seem to be a bit afraid of all kinds of things (weather, criminals, evil spirits/superstitions). I wonder where all this fear comes from…did the Spanish bring it when they colonized the Philippines hundreds of years ago, or was it already here?

                The church definitely used fear as a tool, and this brand of “old school” Catholicism does seem to be alive and well here in the Philippines. Just like in the US, the news programs on TV here can be very negative, dramatic, and in my opinion, even unethical at times.

                However, I think geography may play a part as well. The country is comprised of over 7,000 islands, so different groups were usually quite cut off from each other. It is human nature to have a fear of the unknown, and traditionally Filipinos would stick to their tight-knit families and didn’t have a need to travel.

                I met countless people in the provinces who had the means but had never made the 30 minute journey to the next village – and they were 50 year-old men and women! The evolution of distinctly different language (with over 120 dialects) here is another testament to the “isolated island” theory. Of course, one more explanation is the constant threat of typhoons, earthquakes, and weather-related catastrophes in general.

                * With a growing economy and the very successful new “It’s More Fun In The Philippines” tourism campaign, more Filipinos are now starting to branch out and explore their country (and the rest of the world). I think this is great!

                During his exile in Dapitan (Mindanao) Rizal taught kids to conquer fear by holding out in the dark – a hard thing given Filipino fear of all kinds of supernatural beings. Fear leads to anger, anger leads to hate, and hate leads to suffering, said Master Yoda. Conquering fear is probably the thing Filipinos need the most. Minimum credible defence means fear – it means make it look like I can defend myself and hope the other guy believes it. It is like working out to have big muscles like a bouncer instead of learning the martial arts that it takes to really be able to defend yourself. Doesn’t work with Sun Tzu’s people, very sorry. Which is why I have been translating Sun Tzu into colloquial Tagalog – so Filipinos are able to understand the Chinese strategic mindset which is patient, calculating, ruthless.

              • “In my last article, I mentioned my keen interest in the superstitious nature of the Philippines. I heard it all while over there, from vampires to dwarves to fairies to giants to ghosts. My personal favorite was the faceless apparition that hovered as you slept only to wake you with some sort of ominous whisper, then spin away like a tornado through solid material. At the heart of all this is our hopes and fears.”

                Ireneo: “During his exile in Dapitan (Mindanao) Rizal taught kids to conquer fear by holding out in the dark – a hard thing given Filipino fear of all kinds of supernatural beings. Fear leads to anger, anger leads to hate, and hate leads to suffering, said Master Yoda. Conquering fear is probably the thing Filipinos need the most.”

                I saw how pervasive this was and now I can see it adds to the detriment of the nation as a whole– it does have nat’l security ramifications. I thought it was endearing how Filipinos as a whole feared the night and the forest.

                Good point, man.

                To this day, when I go camping, and go off to pee in some bush or rock, I say “Excuse me!”, and my buddies are like, who the f’ are you talking to?, and I have to explain myself– tell ’em stories from folks over there, and close it with ‘hey, better safe than sorry’.

                The best inoculation from this supernatural fear, I think is the ROTC and Boy Scout idea, where people learn to live out in the woods, not in big groups but in small groups 2-3, test their field craft out there for a couple of nights.

              • ROTC, Boy Scouts and CAT (Citizen’s Army Training which was called PMT, pre-military training in Sonny’s time, the old Republic before Senator Palapatine became Emperor, sorry Marcos became dictator) were made into a tool of the fascist Marcos regime.

                Cub Scout salute was two fingers, Boy Scouts three fingers, CAT salute four fingers, military (and I think also ROTC I did not stay for college due to my political troubles, left for Germany after high school) salute five fingers with the thumb to denote hierarchy.

                The whole setup at that time incorporated the usual bullying of bigger boys against smaller boys. As Scouts in first to third year high school we had fourth year high school CAT officers ordering us around at first, then choosing the platoon leader (PL) from us.

                Hazings were rampant at PMA then from what I heard. I wrote to Sonny maybe half a year ago that the military that used to be their to protect the citizenry became an instrument of oppression, Sonny sadly answered that made things fascist – he left before Martial Law…

                ROTC and CAT were abolished some time after Marcos, there was a hazing incident were somebody died and even a “Code Red” sort of situation from an office I think, Scouts were demilitarized. The ghost of Marcos discredited discipline, or maybe it is his waxed corpse?

                OK here I go with superstition. But why is Imelda not scared of singing to her husband at night after the paying guests leave the place? I guess she is a bit undead herself, with all that make-up covering up her age. My article about the period shows her – she was beautiful, but I selected pictures intentionally to show how she dominated her husband. The best one being where both are on the lawn and Reagan is more or less shoving Marcos aside to talk to Imelda – that was the time Marcos was not America’s SOB anymore.

                Finally, it is silly not to do things because they were done in Marcos time. They should not just be done the same fascist way. But the trending of Heneral Luna among the youth and comments made recently could be a sign that people don’t want to be pussies anymore:


                I’m sorry for enjoying the benefits of this Freedom, but being too pussy to fight for it.

              • That’s a good point.

                Similar to when I proposed revamping the PNP, way back… here,

                So are all groups in the Philippines just destined to fail, due to lack of real Leadership?

              • The kind of stuff I have been seeing on social media with respect to the Luna movie may be an indicator that the Zeitgeist, the spirit of the times, is changing.

                Maybe the lack of leadership TODAY is why the movie strikes such a chord.

                It did strike a chord with me: hey these were my folks back then and they had COJONES, gave me a boost in confidence, I am sure many other Filipinos felt the same way about it.

            • I did notice that. The folks in Manila consider everything outside of Manila as “the Province”– kinda like how the Capitol viewed the rest of Panem.

              They spoke Tagalog ( and English), but the Filipinos down south, spoke an average of 3 ( + ) Filipino languages, plus English– they were more traveled, not as tourists, but because they had family everywhere in Mindanao and the Visayas.

              • This is why I believe that Duterte will represent the Philippines better than any President before him – as a Visayan who grew up in Mindanao who speaks Cebuano, and heavily accented Tagalog that folks in Manila like to make fun of.

                But the Philippines still is in the stranglehold of an elite that replicates colonial patterns. Which is why Cayetano (a product of that very elite) approaching Duterte is a new thing.

                One could say District 13 are the Moros, District 12 is Davao, and the people from the Capitol don’t want someone from there to run the country. Which is why I think he is very much “in a quandary” about whether to run or not. The elite have always had their way of making sure that outsiders don’t mess up their game. Even those among their own who have been elsewhere and have changed as a result – but know exactly how they play. Which is the reason for my self-exile. Possibly also MRPs? But times may be changing…

              • Bert says:

                prom-di they called them, with derogatory connotation, meaning from-the province. I, myself, is a promdi, being born and grew up in the boondocks of the Bicol Region. I only laugh when called that, taking no offense, because I love that place where I grew up, often seeing the places in my dreams and never failing to visit once a year for months on end at times, doing stuffs as if in the good old days, now slung across my shoulders my oh so reliable dslr you guys should see my video projects of that heavenly place.

              • Joe America says:

                Can you put a video here? That would be great to see, Bert’s home town home video.

              • Bert mentioned his island in a conversation with i7sharp. Bert tama ba ito?

              • Bert’s from Boracay?!!! After-party for the Bloggy’s at Bert’s?

              • That ain’t Boracay, it’s a much better place. Just across from where some of my folks live.

          • If funds don’t permit, there’s Google maps, I just checked out the northern most and southern most islands over there. From Balut island, you’re just a hop and a skip away from the Spice islands ( the reason Europeans came ), attempted by the Portuguese first, they gave up, so the Dutch moved in– before long the British stole some seeds and re-planted in Malaysia and Sri Lanka under-cutting the Dutch.

            How many Filipinos know about the Celebes Sea, Sulawesi & the Malukus, right below the Philippines?

            • The colonial mentality many Filipinos had kept the “educated” and “urbanized” from even being curious about Indonesia, used to be that Indonesians were viewed as being even stranger than the Moros, oh my god they don’t even speak English and such stuff.

              Until Filipinos abroad noticed that camaraderie comes easily between Filipinos and Indonesians, similar sense of humor – no wonder Eat Bulaga has a show there too.

              Know a lady from Davao over here, married to an Indonesian – nice old couple.

              • Exactly, man. The best expression of this similarity is in the way you guys drink alcohol ( local brew, beer, rum, etc. ), with one glass ( or cup ) passed around.

                I’ve been reading about Manado, Indonesia from that SEA-US cable article, turns out like Sabah, there’s already a bunch of Filipinos there. Central Sulawesi however was where they had the Christian vs. Muslim ( new migrants ) riots in the 2000s where thousands were killed.

  13. caliphman says:

    I copied and pasted a small excerpt from the 1987 Philippine Constitution to make the following points.

    First point, based on the definition of its national territory, it seems to me that we have aleady been invaded and under occupation since this includes “its territorial sea, the seabed, tbe subsoil, the insular shelves, and other submarine areas…” and “The waters around, between, and connecting the islands of the archipelago,…”.

    Second point, the constitution states war is not a policy option which limits our military responses to an external threat and the armed forces capabilities we should budget for. By the way, this section speaks to the part of the constitution that is related to a separate issue, the applicability of generally accepted principles of international law to the legal issue of Poe’s or any foundling’s natural born citizenship. Some pseudo legal experts at other blogsites are using the term international customary law and not what is actually stated in the constitution to deny that the United Nations recognizes that the 1961 convention on the natural born citizenship of foundlings because it is not signed or customary. As an international law, the UN and its affilate international courts recognize that it is actually in force and the convention embodies accepted international principles.

    Third point, since the AFP is explicitly charged by the Constitution with the goal of securing our national territory, why is it that there is no hue and cry among politicians, traditional media, and the military itself decrying its failure and lack of capability to fulfill its goal so that the government is prodded to do something about it?


    The national territory comprises the Philippine archipelago, with all the islands and waters embraced therein, and all other territories over which the Philippines has sovereignty or jurisdiction, consisting of its terrestrial, fluvial and aerial domains, including its territorial sea, the seabed, the subsoil, the insular shelves, and other submarine areas. The waters around, between, and connecting the islands of the archipelago, regardless of their breadth and dimensions, form part of the internal waters of the Philippines.


    Section 1. The Philippines is a democratic and republican State. Sovereignty resides in the people and all government authority emanates from them.

    Section 2. The Philippines renounces war as an instrument of national policy, adopts the generally accepted principles of international law as part of the law of the land and adheres to the policy of peace, equality, justice, freedom, cooperation, and amity with all nations.

    Section 3. Civilian authority is, at all times, supreme over the military. The Armed Forces of the Philippines is the protector of the people and the State. Its goal is to secure the sovereignty of the State and the integrity of the national territory.

    Section 4. The prime duty of the Government is to serve and protect the people. The Government may call upon the people to defend the State and, in the fulfillment thereof, all citizens may be required, under conditions provided by law, to render personal, military or civil service.

    Section 5. The maintenance of peace and order, the protection of life, liberty, and property, and promotion of the general welfare are essential for the enjoyment by all the people of the blessings of democracy.

    Section 6. The separation of Church and State shall be inviolable.

    • Joe America says:


      Point 1. Agree.

      Point 2. We need to define “war”. I define it to mean initiating a military action outside Philippine territory. I believe pushing an invader out of Philippine territory is not war. It is pursuit of defense and sovereignty, neither of which the constitution renounces. It is a policing action, not war.

      Point 3. Good question. I detect no nationalistic fervor among the presidential candidates, except perhaps with Duterte. Without that sense of “national hubris”, then complacency sets in, about things military.

      • caliphman says:

        Defining war is a slippery slope. The US declared was against Japan in response to the attack on Pearl Harbor, it sovereign territory. The Korean War was officially a police action to enforce a UN mandate to repel an invasion by North Korea of its southern neighbor, even the Philippines sent a contingent in support of the UN effort. Then we have Vietnam and Iraq where self defense but national policy was involved, unless one subscribes to the proposition that the US is the world’s policeman. So the concept of not using war as an instrument of national policy needs refining and clarification. Any thoughts from our resident thought leaders, philosophers, historians?

  14. DAgimas says:

    I never heard of guerilla warfare at sea. its possible but at least the smallest boat you can use are the commercial fishing boats, not the bancas

    • Joe America says:

      I was trying to coin phrases. Guerilla seafare, shooting from the sandbars, undercover underwater, beach bomb bingo . . . Whatever it is called, the Philippines, with 7,000 islands, ought to be masters of that style of fighting. No way a big enemy warship should come in and sail out. It should rest in the deep.

      • DAgimas says:

        china and Vietnam employ their commercial fishermen as “seaborne” militias. read that PLA navy pays their fuel so that they can illegally fish in the spratlys. and am not sure if they are going to pay for re-structuring their merchant navy to be able to be equipped with weapons if ever they are involve in a war. good force mutlitplier

  15. edgar lores says:

    The minimum credible defense mentality is proof Filipinos are extroverts. When confronted with an enemy, we meow and rush forward… than rollover to expose our belly to be petted.

    We do not want our conquerors to leave as we do not like spending time with ourselves.

    The AlDub phenomenon is also another proof of extraversion. We are outgoing, talkative, and are energized by social contact. We yearn for social connection.

    If we combine minimum credible defense with AlDub Nation, our maximum strategy should be to smother the enemy with love.

    From Pinoys, with love.

    • caliphman says:

      Easy for him to say, its not his country’s territory and marine and fuel resources being grabbed!

    • Joe America says:

      The president was speaking of territorial encroachment, not gas incinerators, and the Forbes writer should get a life. China is not sucking oil from his back yard. My connection couldn’t get to the link (stinko Globe service). The President . . . in my opinion . . . should ridicule China relentlessly. They are such fat, easy targets and respond so hilariously with spitting indignation and nonsense. It is hard to believe there are whole nations that behave like the Binays.

    • Mariano Renato Pacifico says:

      Ouch !!! It is not the right time for Filipinos to show their bravery. China waited. When they became number one economic behemoth of the world the sleeping giant awakened roared and showed its fangs.

      Filipinos are not number one yet. They have to work on it. When Philippines become economic superstar, it is ripe time to lose the cane and diaper stand straight and grab the Spratleys.

      In the video above, the Spratleys Filipino Mayor blamed the local government for not taking action. Is he pointing finger at Mar? Nope. He is referring to past and present local government.

      The Philippines had the chance to populate those small islets but they did not according to Spratleys Filipino Mayor. For 60 years the Filipinos did nothing to occupy those. SIXTY YEARS. Now that China is developing those specks of rocks, Philippines wanted it.

      As to Oil Reserves? It is figment of Filipinos lazy imagination. If ever there were Oil Reserves, Filipinos would never drill it to protect the corals. FILIPNIOS ARE THERE TO PROTECT THE CORALS NOT DEVELOP AND DRILL IT FOR OIL.

      Because Filipinos would rather have their children starve to death than destroy the habitat of the Dolphin so the Mestizo ex-colonizing class can scuba dive and frolic among the marine life.


  16. josephivo says:

    Non violence approaches to the conflicts as an alternative subject for today?

    • caliphman says:

      Filipino soldiers are known for serenading mutineers to peacefully persuade them to surrender. Perhaps they should be issued guitars instead of assault rifles and karaoke machines in lieu mortars.

  17. NHerrera says:

    First, where I am coming from: I am Christian-Catholic Filipino, fourth generation Chinese.

    Until the human specie psyche or DNA has developed in keeping with the development in other aspects of human life — at least in the area of REAL cooperation among countries — I cannot subscribe to a government policy which allows a foreign country to treat my country as a softy and with contempt because of my country’s (or its leaders) behavior or policy in military matters, among others.

    In game theoretic terms, I subscribe to the concept behind the Prisoner’s Dilemma; not quite the Game of Chicken between the US and Russia fully displayed in the Cuban Missile crisis — with the big caveat that the game with regards to the Philippines is out of context, the country being economically and militarily weak.

    I am thus partial to the views expressed in the Blog.

  18. kogiks says:

    Resisting a full-scale invasion by China is the least of our concerns. That we would resist an invasion by all means, particularly, guerrilla warfare is given. But I don’t think China would embroil itself in this mess knowing very well the lessons of the Vietnam war. Moreover, the international community wouldn’t allow it. China I think would be content on poaching our outlying territories believing that we don’t have the means to protect them. But they’re probably surprised that we’re not making it easy for them even if we only have fire hoses to ward off their encroachments. That we’re renewing our military collaboration with the USA in this regard is also a significant deterrent. I think we should just keep this up until they get weary and leave. But we probable need more and faster guerrilla boats with more powerful fire hoses to ward off their encroachments. We can fit these boats with holding tanks filled with contaminated water from the dirtiest esteros of Metro Manila?

    • Joe America says:

      Ahahahaha, yes, that would be more corrosive than hydroelectric acid. I agree with your approach, which might be called “Maximum pushback” in the arena of international public record.

  19. Karl garcia says:

    It has been documented that we manufacture guns,ammo illegally why cant we do it legally.
    The boats of abu sayaf lets our law enforcement bite the dust.

    We have the potential to build our own.
    Own drones and all that is mentioned above.

    • Joe America says:

      I totally agree. All that is missing is the will I think.

      • Will? His article is coming out on Sunday. 🙂

        Those who have the power to get things done nitpick on the Constitution, on budgeting procedures and all kinds of bullshit while the reality especially in the provinces is different. Those who have the creativity to find solutions are usually the marginalized in the country. Exceptions like DOST prove the rule. If you find creative solutions like Aquino did with DAP, you get crucified by the formalists. Because it is not in their i7sharp-style Gospel…

        • Hear, hear…Abad and that other Arroyo appointee is now under preliminary investigation for their role in the DAP….see how the Filipinos tie their own hands and you wonder why we are this point in our fight against corruption, defense and economic strategies.

    • Tap the outlaws and the bandits. Tap even the creativity of squatters – like the Romanians with their gypsy methods of connecting to the Internet, they are proud of being a bandit people and use their skills. Tap the survival skills of the Agta like LCPL_X is writing so often.

      Because in the end only what is your own matters. I have seen that in many years abroad – that the countries that have their own stuff manage to stay on top of the game. Because in the end those who just serve others, even on the high end, can be replaced very quickly.

      Unless you give really good service and have special knowledge and skills very few have. Mindanao has the potential for Dyncorp-like security firms given the experiences there. Romanians are assets to NATO because they used to be hackers for the Warsaw pact…

      Filipino ingenuity produced the ILOVEYOU virus. Where are the Filipino hacker armies to break China’s infrastructure if necessary? Damn where are all the IT talents when it comes to getting the Philippine Internet up to speed. So many good people and nothing like the Chaos Computer Club of Hamburg, Germany, OK these guys are grey hat, the white hats I guess all work for the government: . But a group like that would expose the telcos even more mercilessly than we have here.

      I guess the problem in the Philippines is the gap between the formal and informal culture. The formal culture acts as if the informal culture does not exist, is extremely inflexible, while the informal culture is improvisational without larger, organized structures. The formal culture nitpicks on the Constitution and budgeting rules as if they were Gospel, while the informal culture find ways around everything – not always good but sometimes pure genius. Between extreme dog-matism and extreme frog-matism, the middle way must be found.

    • Mariano Renato Pacifico says:

      Abu Sayaf applied for Philippine Passport … applied for AFghani Visa … bought round trip ticket to Spinboljak. Trained by Al Qaeda. Philippine Government knows this.

      The Philippine Government should send their soldiers to Spinboljak instead to PMA. PMAyers are useless.

      Marwan Brigade responded quickly against SAF44 in matter of minutes while PMAyers chomping on stooges to emulate and copy Churchill.

  20. bauwow says:

    With under a minute to go, the Chinese team wiped out Iran with its maximum credible defense.

    • Joe America says:

      The Chinese team is highly talented. Gilas will have to bring maximum incredible offense to the final.

      • The Chinese emerged as the champion, I forced myself to watch even after comparing the height and youth of their team as compared to ours. Man, they can take those outside and free shots with precision..!…we wasted a lot of long and free shots last night, not much offensive or defensive rebounds either, understandably because of their taller players….and I didn’t see that much time outs called by our national coach….at least we got silver and the defending champion Iranians settled for bronze…it would have helped more had we had the homecourt advantage…

        • Joe America says:

          The Chinese team was the better team, due to size and youthful vigor, I think. And better team basketball (more effective passing). The Gilas players could not find their hot streak, other than the first few shots of the game. I think had they extended that opening a little further into the game, it could have been a different outcome, because China was playing afraid. When China got their confidence up, the whole complexion of the game changed. I found the crowd reactions very odd. Scripted, like the Gilas coach said. Not spontaneous and into the game. There were some uglies in the crowd throwing things, I understand. Such is the state of things when politics enters the sports arena.

          • bauwow says:

            Uncle Joe, you really know your basketball!
            Agreed, they were the better team, they had the size, the speed and the confidence to win the championship. But…… somehow it was tainted by the bum calls by the referees obviously favoring the Chinese team. Cheapshots against a ragtag team only formed 2 months ago.
            And even in basketball, we are our own enemies. Jason Castro was right, Gilas needs the support of the whole Philippines, and we should stand as one.
            Tab Baldwin is one hell of a coach! Only 2 months to prepare and we almost had the gold.

            Again, you are right, Gilas did not bring its maximum incredible offense, and that. was the reason we lost

            • Joe America says:

              Castro’s comments were striking as to the similarity to the nation’s problem in generating a national “oneness”. So the game is a microcosm of the nation’s problems. Limited willingness by some teams and individuals to put everything out for the Philippines. A touch sad, that.

              • In the Filipino basketball team connected to the Filipino association I was part of once, there was one player who always insisted on trying to shoot the ball himself in a very fancy way instead of passing the ball to his teammates. It was a cool thing to watch when we played basketball on Sundays to get over our hangover (I did not take part in the team, not good enough for that) from Saturday partying, but bad for the team in real games.

                Remember my posting about similarities between the Senate and street basketball, everybody starts arguing about how to interpret rules, it gets loud and illogical sometimes. How they play basketball says a lot about Filipinos – even the type of fouls they make.

              • Joe America says:

                Yes, it does. I’ve noticed the differences here, the emphasis on dribbling fancy over shooting bank shots from distance, and the lack of basic plays on the barangay courts, like pick and roll. You are right about one’s personality coming out, but that is true everywhere, I think. I used to play mainly with attorneys at a sports club in Los Angeles. There were screamers and cheaters and good sports and swearers and teachers and ball hogs and team players.

  21. Mariano Renato Pacifico says:

    HENERAL LUNA ADVISORY … Please read biography of Heneral Luna before watching the movie.

    Heneral Luna is anti-American. If you thought of him as a hero against American, please, do not run to Papa against China.

    Those Filipinos who have dual citizenship are traitors … The Filipino economy is a product of traitors because it is floated by 12,000,000 Filipinos working abroad others voluntaraily surrendered to former colonial country like America so their lives can be run like heaven.

    Grace Poe surrendered to America. She spat on Filipino flag. She threw her Philippine Passport. She came back to Philippines to run the Philippines like “heaven” for those who were refused VISA to surrender to America.

    Those Filipinos who dance every June 12 at Los Angeles County Board of Supervisor office are traitor to both countries: Philippines and America

    June 12 is an independence against Spain and America. If you people live in America and celebrate June 12 Independence you are a traitor to the country that opened our doors for you that they took allegiance of … and you are also a traitor to Philippines because you’d rather celebrate June 12 in another country as an “American”.

    Get real Filipinos. Which is which?

    • Mariano Renato Pacifico says:

      American Embassy should protest Filipinos for creating a buzz on Heneral Luna. He fought against us.

      …. well, I excuse Filipinos for Heneral Luna The Movie … IS THE FIRST MOVIE OF THEIR HEROES. While we have created numerous movies from Battle of Alamo to Battle of Little Big Horn.

      I’ll watch Heneral Luna anyways to know what feel-good lies they are trying to sell.


    Now THIS might be the new determination that is needed to do what is necessary, not just minimum credible defense – but to see things through on all fronts where it is needed:

    I’m sorry not nearly enough Filipinos will be able to see your work. After the buzz dies down, after Pastillas Girl or some other shallow TV Network war or sex scandal kills the well-deserved hype of your film the way they brutally killed and murdered Luna, everything will be back to the disturbingly normal.

    I’m sorry the Filipino is too entrenched in his own affairs, businesses, agendas, vanities to really care or understand what Sovereignty truly means. I’m sorry I no longer know what it is to be “Filipino.”

    I’m sorry for enjoying the benefits of this Freedom, but being too pussy to fight for it.

    I’m sorry I didn’t know enough about Antonio Luna. I’m sorry we killed him, and I’m sorry that we continue to burn the flag for every second we choose not to look and for every second we choose not to see.

    I’m sorry nothing has changed.

    If you can find it in your souls to forgive, and in giving us that indulgence will fuel you to make more films like these then let my penance be to pray for your continued work. But if our sins are too many and too deep, then let its wage be Death. Let me and the rest of my countrymen pay for it with blood, if there aren’t enough of us dying already.

    Count me in your revolution… I have a good amount of blood to spill too.


      Now replace Americans with Chinese, because those who were enemies before can become allies against new enemies – after all, Luna’s sharpshooters were mostly Spaniards who decided to stay. I know a family friend whose great-grandfather was an Andalusian who joined the good fight (not as one of Luna’s sharpshooters from what I know) because his home was by then no longer Spain, but the home of his Filipina wife and his mestizo son, who joined the Army McArthur helped built for the Philippines. His grandson was a Colonel, an excellent soldier. So the movie is NOT anti-American, folks! Let us apply the lessons of Heneral Luna to today, because things are not so different!

      It is about Filipinos who fought bravely to form a nation in the 19th century. That was not to be. Filipinos failed because they could not close ranks and instead of uniting against the enemy they were fighting among themselves. The real enemy was not the Americans but ourselves. They could not agree on a strategy of war against the colonialists. Felipe Buencamino and the conservatives wanted to make peace with the Americans, but Antonio Luna and the radicals would not give up saying they would fight even if it took a hundred years.

      Had Luna’s proposal to take Manila before the US expeditionary force arrived been followed, the Americans would have had nothing to negotiate with the Spaniards in Paris. You can’t negotiate something you haven’t got. Had his idea to switch to guerrilla warfare been pursued, the Americans would have tired of the war in terms of lives and cost just as they did against the Vietnamese 80 years later.

      To me this was the most precious lesson of “Heneral Luna.” The film ended with the brutal assassination of the Heneral and so did the Filipino dream of liberty. Superior military hardware does not necessarily guarantee victory. There lay the genius of Heneral Luna.

      • “Felipe Buencamino and the conservatives wanted to make peace with the Americans,”

        Replace Buencamino with Binay, and the Americans of then with the Chinese today.

        What did Luna say to them: “para kayong mga birhen na naniwala sa pag-ibig ng isang puta” – you are like virgins who believe in the love of a whore. Colorful Filipino language, Heneral Luna was a rich kid but still a Manila boy who did not use diplomatic language.

  23. Speaking of Philippine national defense, there’s a bunch of US military vets living as expats over there. There’s some sleazy expats over there ( read pedophiles or whore mongers ), the former US military guys ( with a few exceptions ) are solid guys, many ex- SF ( Green Berets ), SEALs, former Marines, and other combat arms types ( from Vietnam era to now ), still others with very technical backgrounds, from current wars.

    Why not get them involved? Vet them first from the US Embassy to ensure you’re not entertaining clowns ( don’t get conned ), but utilize that expertise that’s already there. I don’t know these guys, but this video’s basically about how the VA in Manila is awesome, and how there’s an IRS branch also over there– screw them, if they’ll bend over backwards for the Church of Scientology, they should give the vets over there a break.

    Seek out qualified American vets living over there, and put them to good use– at the end of the day, that’s all they wanna do, be part of something big and meaningful. Is there a Philippine-US program already doing this?

    • that makes sense, it is similar to what I wrote here:

      Luna’s sharpshooters were mostly Spaniards who decided to stay. I know a family friend whose great-grandfather was an Andalusian who joined the good fight (not as one of Luna’s sharpshooters from what I know) because his home was by then no longer Spain, but the home of his Filipina wife and his mestizo son, who joined the Army McArthur helped built for the Philippines. His grandson was a Colonel, an excellent soldier.

      I researched a bit more on Luna’s sharpshooters when someone here commented that most Filipino soldiers in the Philippine-American war could not shoot properly. Found out that most were seasoned Spanish soldiers, some of them even had fought the Katipunan. Luna was smart, he knew he needed people with professional backgrounds. But everyone willing to fight for the Republic was welcome, nationalist historians just tend to ignore this:



      General Juan Cailles – French/Indian mestizo who led Filipino forces in Laguna[10]
      General Jose Valesy Nazaraire – Spanish.[10]
      Brigadier General Jose Ignacio Paua – Full-blooded Chinese general in the army.[11]
      Brigadier General B. Natividad – Brigade Acting Commander in Vigan under General Tinio.[12]
      Colonel Manuel Sitjar – Director of Academia Militar de Malolos (former captain in the Spanish colonial army)[13]
      Colonel Sebastian de Castro – Spanish director of the military hospital at Malasiqui, Pangasinan.[10]
      Colonel Damaso Ybarra y Thomas – Spanish.[10]
      Lieutenant Colonel Potenciano Andrade – Spanish.[10]
      Estaquio Castellor – French mestizo who led a battalion of sharpshooters.[10]
      Major Candido Reyes – Instructor at the Academia Militar de Malolos (former sergeant in the Spanish colonial army).[14]
      Major Jose Reyes – Instructor at the Academia Militar de Malolos (former sergeant in the Spanish colonial army).[14]
      Major Jose Torres Bugallon – Spanish officer who served under General Luna.[10]
      Captain Antonio Costosa – Former officer in the Spanish colonial army.
      Captain David Fagen – Captain who served under Brigadier General Urbano Lacuna. (Black American Corporal in U.S. Army 24th Colored Regiment).[15][16][17]
      Captain Francisco Espina – Spanish.[12]
      Captain Estanislao de Los Reyes – Spanish aide-de-camp to General Tinio.[12]
      Captain Feliciano Ramoso – Spanish aide-de-camp to General Tinio.[12]
      Captain Mariano Queri – Spanish officer who served under General Luna as an instructor in the military academy and later as the director general of the staff of the war department.[10]
      Captain Camillo Richairdi – Italian.[10]
      Captain Telesforo Centeno – Spanish.[10]
      Captain Arthur Howard – American deserter from the 1st California Volunteers.[17]
      Captain Glen Morgan – American who organized insurgent forces in central Mindanao.[17]
      Captain John Miller – American who organized insurgent forces in central Mindanao.[17]
      Captain Russel – American deserter from the 10th Infantry.[17]
      Lieutenant Danfort – American deserter from the 10th Infantry.[17]
      Lieutenant Maximino Lazo – Spanish.[10]
      Lieutenant Gabriel Badelly Mendez – Cuban.[10]
      2nd Lieutenant Segundo Paz – Spanish.[10]
      Lieutenant Alejandro Quirulgico – Spanish.[12]
      Lieutenant Rafael Madina – Spanish.[12]
      Lieutenant Arsenio Romero – Spanish.[12]
      Lieutenant Rafael Madina – Spanish.[12]
      Private John Allane – United States Army.[18]
      Private Harry Dennis – United States Army.[18]
      Private William Hyer – United States Army.[19]
      Private Meeks (given name not specified) – United States Army.[18]
      Private George Raymond – 41st Infantry, United States Army.[citation needed]
      Private Maurice Sibley – 16th Infantry, United States Army.[20]
      Private John Wagner – United States Army.[18]
      Private Edward Walpole – United States Army.[18]
      Henry Richter – American deserter from the 9th Cavalry.[17]
      Gorth Shores – American deserter from the 9th Cavalry.[17]
      Fred Hunter – American deserter from the 9th Cavalry.[17]
      William Denten – American deserter who joined General Lukban in Samar.[17]
      Enrique Warren – American deserter who served under Francisco Makabulos in Tarlac.[17]
      Antonio Prisco – Spanish.[10]
      Manuel Alberto – Spanish.[10]
      Eugenia Plona – Spanish aide-de-camp to Baldermo Aguinaldo.[10]
      Alexander MacIntosh – English.[17]
      William McAllister – English.[17]
      Charles MacKinley – Englishman who served in Laoag.[17]
      James O’Brian – English.[17]


      Captain Vicente Catalan – Chief of the Philippine Navy (former crewmember at the Spanish colonial navy).


        The Luna Sharpshooters was a short-lived unit formed by General Antonio Luna to serve under the Philippine Revolutionary Army. They became famous for fighting fiercer than any of the regular Filipino army soldiers. Most of the members of this unit came from the old Spanish Army which fought during the Philippine Revolution.[1]

      • I knew there were a bunch of Black deserters from the Philippine-American war, those officers are White– 9th and 10th Cavalry were the Buffalo soldiers, 24th and 25th Infantry as well.

        • The Spanish officers who joined the Revolutionary Army were white.

          Spanish back then = Americans today. Americans back then = Chinese today.

          • This is really interesting. Black desertions makes sense. But White desertion, especially then, I’m experiencing cognitive dissonance. My reading of history of that era is all wrong. I knew there were a bunch of ‘Dances with Wolves’ type stories in the Wild West, but Americans going native in the early 1900s is new to me. Thanks.

            • There must have been a sweet and gentle Filipina behind some of those desertions.

              Filipinas can definitely influence men especially unprepared white men – unless they are Grace Poe and fall for a guy who seems to have studied Pimpology like Chiz Escudero.

              • “There must have been a sweet and gentle Filipina behind some of those desertions.”

                I’m sure with some sort of pine-apple ( or juice ) advice. LOL!

              • There is something similar to that in this excellent movie about the Philippine-American war, one could see it as the American viewpoint and Heneral Luna as the Filipino view:

                Amigo by John Sayles, 2010. It has some brutal scenes but like Heneral Luna also has some comic relief, especially the young Yankee recruits who all are inexperienced hicks.

                One of them has a crush on a young Filipina, the village headman uses her to hoodwink him and escape while the young man is on guard duty.

              • Joe America says:

                I’m thinking that, in all wars, especially those as brutal as the Philippine-American War, conscience rises, especially if people are ordered to do what they don’t really want to do . . . be brutal. Or it could be that military discipline in those days was not so well-evolved . . . officers were jerks . . . soldiers didn’t have a life back home to speak of . . . or, yes, girls. Many reasons. It is rather interesting. I wonder if the Americans were there to fight Americans, or other Filipino groups.

                All this is most fascinating.

              • The Lieutenant in the Amigo film is a young builder from Michigan, where many American idealists seem to come from. The Major and the Captain are Indian war veterans. The Lieutenant tries it with hearts and minds, befriends the village headman etc.

                There is a scene where the Major orders the Lieutenant something different and the latter answers: “Major, I’ve got to live with these people” the major answers “No Lieutenant, you’ve got to make war on these people”!

                The young recruits are totally green, what somehow drives one of them to go after the Filipina he likes is the Captain taunting him – about the chicks the Captain had in Cuba.

    • karl garcia says:

      An American is in charge of maintaining the old patrol crafts sold by the US in the 90s.

  24. karl garcia says:

    Our gold and other metals are already going to the Chinese. People steal manholes,railways just to sell to Chinese. Scrap metal goes to the chinese. Why won’t they tske our garbage so they won’t burn coal.

  25. These northern Sulawesi guys seem really cool, why isn’t the Philippines seeking out some sort of Celebes Sea alliance? this is the COOLEST Jesus statue I’ve ever seen. Manado, Indonesia

  26. Obed says:

    It is also timely to remind our leaders and they will not to be too happy but be mindful of the African proverb that said “When elephant fights; the grass suffers.” The elephant here refers to the US and China and the grass to the Philippines. In the final analysis, the smaller countries will be destroyed in the midst of the conflicts but the superpowers will be left unscathed in a proxy war.

    • karl garcia says:

      How can we tell the elephant to keep off the grass?

      • karl garcia says:

        It would be a proxy war if we are fighting for someone’s behalf. But we would be fighting to save our arse,not fight for the US.

      • Obed says:

        Seems you didn’t understood the proverb. Superpowers with nuclear weapons cancel each other out of the possibility of war.

        China is contented with the status quo in the East and South China Sea now and will therefore see no reason to fire the first shot. So, the US would have to think of supporting one or more of her allies to take on the Chinese commercial ships or oil tankers sailing to and fro the Strait of Malacca or even Chinese light naval ships. They must simply need to create an incident to justify a fight with China. Just like the US justified her fight with Iraq using the excuse of Iraq’s possession of weapon of mass destruction (WMD), and so here the US and her allies need to justify to the world that China is threatening freedom of navigation in the South China Sea because of island-building.

        • karl garcia says:

          Ok let us just stay out of their way then,they will find a way and we are still in the way.
          It could be Taiwan,Japan,Korea or even Vietnam.We need a giant keep off thr grass sign.

        • Joe America says:

          Always good to have that strange Chinese logic represented here, that it is everyone else that is the problem, and not China now sitting in Philippine seas and chasing off Filipino fishermen. Those dastardly fisherman, infringing on China’s sovereignty just to feed their families.

          • Obed says:

            Joe, it’s about us Filipino’s to go at war (or provoke China).

            On the end of the day it’s about the US and China and we Filipinos will just be used as bait for the US.

            • Joe America says:

              Well, you state the Chinese position well. Congratulations. And you turn Filipinos into incompetent bystanders of no sovereign integrity, watching the elephants from behind the bushes, quivering like reeds of tall grass.

              • Joe America says:

                The US interest is in keeping sea and air lanes open, as international seas.

                China is interested in resources.

                The Philippines is interested in economic rights.

                China and Philippine interests collide. US and Philippine interests merge.

        • karl garcia says:

          even our own wars here are said to be manufactured,because prople make money from war.Beware military industrial complex.

    • Correct. The Philippines should be able to defend its claims, but not provoke a proxy war. Again there is a historical lesson: Aguinaldo came back to the Philippines in an American ship and the Americans let him do the dirty work first. Then the Americans took over.

      Whether the Americans did not honor their commitments – Filipino nationalist version of the story – or whether Aguinaldo misunderstood something which is the American version does not matter – it became a situation similar to Afghanistan with the Northern Alliance which first helped the USA and then fought against them. Aguinaldo was an opportunist par excellence who accepted Spanish pay-offs at Biak-na-Bato (Broken Stone) to exile himself to Hong Kong, then started wheeling-dealing with the “might North American nation”…


        The Spanish-American War started in 1896. Aguinaldo returned to Manila in 1898, brought back by the USA to help fight the Spanish, and assumed control over the Revolution again.

        the United States Navy’s Asiatic Squadron was in Hong Kong, and commanded by Commodore George Dewey, it sailed for the Philippines. On May 1, 1898, in the Battle of Manila Bay, the squadron engaged and destroyed the Spanish navy’s Pacific Squadron and proceeded to blockade Manila.[15](pp255–256) Several days later, Dewey agreed to transport Aguinaldo from Hong Kong to the Philippines aboard the USS McCulloch, which left Hong Kong with Aguinaldo on 16 May. arriving in Cavite on 19 May.[18] Aguinaldo promptly resumed command of revolutionary forces and besieged Manila.[15](pp256–257)

        An interesting footnote is that other powers where also in Manila Bay, waiting for their chance in case the Americans left. The German fleet was larger than the American one, challenging them by shooting across the bow or crossing them very closely. The Americans called upon the British who were also there. Combined US-UK forces drove the Germans out of Manila Bay. This is at least one version of the story, there are several.

      • Obed says:

        So Irineo, are you willing to do the dirty work again ? As the US will stay out of target.

        Superpowers with nuclear weapons cancel each other out of the possibility of war.

        Hence, war has to end within a year or so through negotiation (the US will force her allies to go for peaceful negotiation with China). Think good what you are wishing for.

        • I think from my above comment, it is pretty clear that I am not in favor of that.

          BUT I would fortify Palawan, Mindoro, Marinduque and make sure the Visayan sea cannot be entered. Leave Pag-asa island if the Chinese attack, but destroy everything including the runway before leaving – similar to the Russian strategy against Napoleon and Hitler.

          But IF the Chinese attack Palawan or enter the Visayan sea, make it their Stalingrad.

          • Obed says:

            Irineo, China can use their intermediate range ballistic missiles (IRBM) carrying high-explosive conventional warheads to hit opponents’ cities during an all-out-war.

            By then, the US would have great problem to defend her allies from Chinese incoming missiles. Remember, in a proxy war, the US would not bomb the Chinese IRBM sites stationed in the mainland and the allies and partners all lack the capacities to do so by themselves.

            But before this all happen someone need to trigger the gun. As you know we are very sensitive in that way. This also the US knows.

            • That is true – we are hotheaded. But that is why we lose so often. That is why Luna died.

              Self-control is essential, it is part of leadership. Especially the military must learn that.

              • Besides, Noynoy already is forging an alliance with Vietnam to jointly protect the islands that are not yet in Chinese hands. Better the problem is solved regionally. And Macchiavelli already wrote that small powers that rely on big powers for help become dependent on them, therefore it is better for small powers to ally with one another. And China is playing “go” here, a strategy of encirclement and absorption, not attack.

              • Obed says:

                That’s why China will win. Chinese leaders have plans, long term plans.

                Looking back at the US, who started the Iraq and Afghanistan wars without an exit strategy. Easier to go in, yet impossible to get out. Bush declared Victory within a few months after the invasion. . 12 years later, they still fighting and those countries are in worse shape than when we went in. Now, the war has spread to Syria, Turkey, Libya, Yemen, etc, etc, etc

                The war in Iraq was a mistake. Arming rebels in Syria was a mistake. Romanticizing the “Arab Spring” uprise was a mistake, …..

                Do you want our country on this list ?

              • Doesn’t have to be that way, and it doesn’t have to be proxy war, this is my proposal:


                I agree that the Chinese are master strategists, which is why we must study them in order not to be assimilated into their future empire. My Filipino translation of Sun Tzu is almost finished:

              • Chapter 12 of Sun Tzu’s Kasanayan sa Gyera which I translated just last week fits the situation in the Spratleys perfectly:

                18. Walang pinunong dapat maglabas ng puwersa sa labanan para magpasikat; walang heneral na dapat lumaban dahil lang sa pagkapikon.

                19. Kung makakalamang ka, umabante ka; kung hindi, huwag kang kumilos.

                20. Ang galit, maaring maging kasiyahan pagdating ng panahon; pagkaasar, maaring maging pagkakuntento ang kasunod.

                21. Pero hindi mababalik ulit ang isang bansang tuluyang nawasak; hindi rin maaring buhayin ulit ang mga patay.

                22. Kaya ang pinunong malawak ang kaisipan, mapag-intindi, at maingat ang mabuting heneral. Sa ganito payapa ang bansa at buo ang kanyang puwersa.

                Know your enemy.

                And even better – learn from him.

            • Ric says:

              You say things like “we Filipinos”. And then you say “we can wipe out Manila from the map”. I think you slipped up there. So what are you really? Filipino or Chinese? If you’re Chinese, you must take us for some real idiots, but of course, you, the population of China, are the real idiots for blindly following your government into a suicidal imperialist strategy that will not end well for your country. You only have to look at what happened to Germany and Japan in WW2 to see China’s fate if you continue along this path. Yes, of course it’s true that China can wipe Manila off the map. And the US can also wipe China off the map. Pray that it doesn’t come to that.

              It would have been clever though, pretending to be Filipino and giving us recommendations that suit China’s interests (i.e. that the Philippines should abandon the alliance with the US and reopen bilateral negotiations with China). It doesn’t work though because everyone saw through you right from the start. Are you using Google Translate for your Tagalog?

              Now see here, “Obed”, the reason we discontinued the bilateral “negotiations” with China is that they weren’t really negotiations at all. China was not negotiating in good faith. You understand “good faith”? In real negotiations, one would expect that both sides should be willing to concede a little and accept a little less than everything they wanted. However, China has never been willing to concede anything. These “negotiations” are merely China telling us what they want and expecting us to accept. Your negotiations are a sham and we treat them as such. Why would China claim “indisputable sovereignty” over the SCS and then demand negotiations? The entire point of having “indisputable” sovereignty is that there is nothing to negotiate, right? You contradict yourselves, again and again.

              I understand that you Chinese are very proud of your Art of War, although in all honesty it isn’t THAT great, mainly a collection of vague aphorisms. You pride yourselves on your saying that “all warfare is deception” and carry out strategies to deceive without shame. And you must think everything is going your way. You’re too shortsighted to see how China’s plans are in fact unraveling – an anti-China coalition is forming, China’s economic growth faltering, China’s population aging, and China less popular worldwide than the US. China even manages to make the US look good, that’s saying something.

              You have been challenging Irineo to sign up for the military and fight for the Spratlys if war does break out. Let me remind you that it works both ways. If your leaders in Beijing really do decide that hegemony over the South China Sea is worth war, I expect you to walk the talk and join your military. See you there.

              I would appreciate some Chinese input on a question I have, though – do you people actually, sincerely believe in the nine-dash line? Do you honestly believe that China is the rightful owner of 90% of the South China Sea, which has been traversed by sailors from all over the world for thousands of years? You see, this claim seems completely ridiculous to me, and I’d like to know how you Chinese rationalize it to yourselves.

    • Joe America says:

      I’m inclined to offer up a new proverb that if there is only one elephant, the grass is eaten and beaten at will.

      • Obed says:

        So Joe, why the US is coming back to the country. Aren’t they an elephant ?

        • What’s your solution, Obed? Do nothing? Diplomacy with China? What can the Philippines do realistically, w/out the U.S.? List those options first and we’ll get a good discussion going.

          • My proposed strategy, don’t know what Obed’s is:

            1) Protect the islands we have together with Vietnam (alliance is in the works)

            2) Keep kuya Sam (not Uncle anymore, we are hopefully more grown-up now) in the background but as him to stay out of that area to prevent elephants colliding.

            3) Fight if the Chinese attack any island, together with Vietnam.

            4) That will only hold for a while, so there are two options here:
            a) call the Cavalry, I mean the United States who are maybe in Palawan with USS Idunno
            b) go the Russian way, retreat and leave burned ground, go back to Palawan and wait

            5) depends on what you do in 4)
            a) that is of course the beginning of World War 3. Russia will know the USA is busy and will attack somewhere in Europe, probably Turkey first, then the Baltic states.
            b) options are open here. If China blocks the sea lanes, send the USS Idunno out.

          • Obed says:

            Go and sit face to face with China. If other countries can improve due to them why we not.
            Who prevent us to go ? Do we need the US for this ? I don’t think so.

            And if we went in the past do we know what has been really discussed ? What was the real outcome ? Not based on what the media want us to know.

            • That is also an option – but not alone. Divide et impera, said the Romans. The Chinese are doing this right now.

              Talk to Vietnam, Malaysia and other claimants. And agree BEFORE talking to China.

              • Obed says:

                Why do we always need someone else ? Aren’t we grow-up enough ?

                And how can we talk with other countries as we also there have claims ? Does not make sense what you are telling.

            • OK, but keep in mind that negotiations from weak positions seldom result in good deals. Donald Trump can tell you that.

              • OK, but then make sure Vietnam does not separately talk to China. Malaysia already is, but their claim is down south and I don’t think they can be stopped. President Aquino is already talking to Vietnam as revealed to Raissa, the present status he will NOT reveal.

                Otherwise I fully agree with your amendments to my proposal: – if General JoeAm concurs, I propose this be decided and the Gen. Staff meeting adjourned!

              • Of the 6 claimants to the South China sea, only Vietnam & the Philippines share common goals. Vietnam & the Philippines with Korea & Japan, as 1 and 2 punch, even better. You guys should take point , with the intent to keep the Pandora box shut. But start coordinating and deconflicting with the US, in preparation for the worst case scenario.

                China’s newest and only aircraft carrier is now in Syrian waters– that’s the one they bought from Russia. They are now making their own aircraft carriers. They are learning and mastering carrier ops. Only the US can counter that, the rest should find niches to exploit- to be value added members to this eventual coalition.

                What’s the Philippines doing right now? What can it do realistically w/in 10-20 years?

              • “China’s newest and only aircraft carrier is now in Syrian waters– that’s the one they bought from Russia.” FUCK!. Not Russia, Ukraine which needed money.

                “They are learning and mastering carrier ops. Only the US can counter that, the rest should find niches to exploit- to be value added members to this eventual coalition.” Right.

                “What’s the Philippines doing right now? What can it do realistically w/in 10-20 years?” The plan with swarms of small fast boats another commenter detailed here is in progress.

              • Obed says:

                We need to be fair, we are in a weak position however this doesn’t mean that the country could not have got benefits. Now we are gambling to have it all and on the end it could be an expensive one (having nothing or much less). The choice is ours. But loosing we will do.

                Peoples always tend to have it all and go home with much lesser. Lesser then it would have been. Said to say, they need to learn it the hard way.

              • Obed, hindi ako naniniwalang matatalo tayo diyan. O kaya KAMI, dahil pilit mo gustong palabasin na matatalo ang Pilipino, hindi mo pinapansin ang mga proposal namin.

                O ano, sagutin mo ito, kung hindi ka anak ng tokwang troll ng mga tsekwa! 🙂

              • Ireneo,

                Are you familiar with this?

                This guy’s been around since the 90s, but basically he ( or they ) who sound “Filipino” bombard radio traffic causing confusion in the Persian Gulf. Maybe something similar targeting Chinese comms. But in the end, that’s still small potatoes.

                By value-added I mean big significant contributions to the fight.

              • LCPL_X: swarms of torpedo boats is one possibility.

            • Obed, how can we sit face to face with China when she had already stolen what is ours (our EEZ) and is already driving away our own fishermen so they can plunder our own resources? How can we reach agreement when they insist on shoving down our throats their 9 dash line theory? We decided to take them to international court, settle that jurisdiction matter, they dont’t recognize the UNCLOS wherein they are also a signatory, so how do we talk to that kind of bully. China wants to recognize their ownership of those UNCLOS based territories that are legally ours before starting that talk. I say wait for the decision of the appropriated international courts and then let’s talk, based on a position of strength emanating from the courts. In the meantime, strengthen our defense capabilities and avoid undue provocation.

          • 1). Non-aligned strategy ( I agree )

            2). Aligned strategy, but minimum interference ( basing, advisors & exercises, I also agree )

            3). Vietnam & the Philippines ( at no time, even if both at the same time, should they elect to go toe-to-toe with China– that’ll be a blood bath , opt for the int’l support– make China look bad by looking weak, Arafat’s strategy )

            4). a– Let the US step in.

            b– If the US is in, then the Philippines has to honor the treaty and help out– be an equal partner. The die’s cast at this point, so no retreat.

            5). WWIII, exactly, hence the 10-20 year window. Focus on 1) and 2), it’s too early for 3) to 5). Right now the talk should just be about how to build up.

            Leadership’s lacking, the Philippines will NOT be an equal partner, more than likely stab us in the back, if we do step in.

            It behooves the Philippines & Vietnam to keep it at 3), so if that’s what Obed talking about , then I agree with him.

            • “Leadership’s lacking, the Philippines will NOT be an equal partner, more than likely stab us in the back, if we do step in.” Yep, like what Humabon did to Magellan after sending him to fight Lapu-Lapu. Killed Magellan’s men while eating lechon with them, and the men left on the other ships could only look at what was happening and set sail. Of course the US could also act like Legazpi in Manila, who provoked the Macabebe against the Tagalogs.

              There were already Macabebe, Kapampangans back then, secretly allied with Spain. Same folks, probably already mixed with Aztec mercenaries after fighting for Spain for centuries, fought for the Yanks in the Fil-Am war and captured Aguinaldo… interesting.

        • Joe America says:

          Because China being adventurous and pushing beyond the bounds of prior agreements to maintain the status quo, and the Philippines and US share a common interest to make sure the lawful rights of other nations are protected. So, if China is interested in bilateral negotiations, why does China not initiate such negotiations without laying down the non’starter that anyone coming to the table has to recognize Chinese sovereignty over all seas that China claims? And why does China say her claims are “indisputable”, when obviously four or five nations vehemently dispute them? And, as a Filipino, does not the racist tone of Chinese lectures trouble you?

          • Joe, the Philippines is also pretending its claim to the islands is indisputable, when in fact they were only claimed by Coloma then by Marcos. I have already written that if negotiations are the way to go, then multilateral. Ideally agree with Vietnam first.

            President Aquino already initiated the process of joining with Vietnam, Raissa wrote about it. For all theory that the islands belong to the Philippines, there is what is called reality, and the way to deal with reality is called Realpolitik in statecraft. It is not a good thing to let oneself be provoked by anyone in such a situation. Sun Tzu Chapter 12 states it clearly, this is the Chinese doctrine, has been for more than 2000 years, even Mao went by him:


            18. No ruler should put troops into the field merely to gratify his own spleen; no general should fight a battle simply out of pique.

            19. If it is to your advantage, make a forward move; if not, stay where you are.

            20. Anger may in time change to gladness; vexation may be succeeded by content.

            21. But a kingdom that has once been destroyed can never come again into being; nor can the dead ever be brought back to life.

            22. Hence the enlightened ruler is heedful, and the good general full of caution. This is the way to keep a country at peace and an army intact.

            If a Southeast Asian alliance is at some point strong enough to kick China’s ass, possibly with Korean and Japanese help, then it should be done. Let us be patient and calculating, but ruthless – like the Chinese who have the best strategy. Not like Filipinos or Americans.

            • Joe America says:

              I am totally confident that the Philippines will abide by authoritative UN arbitration, no matter how the decision comes out. China will not. So what the Philippine claims is moot. She will concede or accept . . .

              The 200 nautical mile economic boundary was drawn for the purpose of ending these war-like claims, and the rules would work if all nations respected them. China does not. I do agree with Obed that there is a test brewing between the US and China, and the Philippines is a chip now on the US side of the board. But not exactly in US hands. The Philippines represented herself well in the EDCA negotiations, forcing US concessions one after the other. US interest is open seas, free air flight, and defense of democracy and freedom . . . the form of government currently adopted by the Philippines. So to that last point, the US is FOR Philippine sovereignty and economic rights. China would not defend the Philippines for any reason that I can think of. Without question, China has taken an unfortunate set of steps that invite the US into the arena, militarily. If they wanted the resources in Philippine seas, they could certainly buy them at fair market value for a lot less than it costs to build air craft carriers and submarines and landing craft.

              Landing craft . . .

              Obed speaks strangely for a Filipino, I think, and I am skeptical as to his true allegiance. He has argued the Chinese line here in the past.

              • Well then, that is the way to go, diplomatically. LCPL_X and I have already made a proposal for the military preparedness while you were taking to the diplomats, Field Marshal McArthur. I would add keep Vietnam warm as an ally, which Noynoy is doing.

                As for Obed, I have a simple test for him: sagutin mo kami kaya ng Tagalog, puñeta!

                Eto lang ang tanong ko: ano ang huling sinabi ni Fernando Poe sa kanyang pelikulang “Iisa-isahin ko kayo”, at ano ang ginawa niya sa kanyang matinding kalaban sa huli?

              • Primer made the same argument for detente w/ China. I agree. But realistically, have a fall back, it’s that simple. If Obed can understand the concept of a fall back plan, then we’re in agreement.

              • Joe America says:

                The argument the Philippines made before the UN arbitration panel is that bi-lateral negotiations have been tried, but China’s starting position is the requirement to recognize Chinese sovereignty over disputed seas. Once that is done, negotiation about joint development can start. The Philippines (under President Aquino) has said we can’t negotiate under those terms. So this idea of “detente” carries with it a mandate to recognize Chinese sovereignty in the West Philippine Sea (those waters falling within the Philippine understanding of the UN-defined economic territory). So, given that, I disagree with the detente approach and agree with the Aquino law-based approach.

                The gist of this blog is that there will be a UN decision. It will say that either the Philippines has rights out to 200 nautical miles, or does not. If the 200 NM guideline holds true, the next step will be to contest specific islands claimed by more than one party.

                I’d say this is unlikely to be concluded within the next President’s term. If Binay or Poe are elected, I think they will choose detente. If Roxas is elected, the court cases will continue and hopefully the US will represent a balance of power that will discourage overt Chinese adventurism. I don’t know what happens if China starts drilling in Philippine seas. I don’t know what happens if China tosses UN determinations aside.

                The point of the article is to prepare for any eventuality. Now. Don’t slough off until some magical “minimum credible defense” line is crossed.

              • Joes plan as the main way, negotiations with China but including Vietnam as fallback. That is my proposal for the diplomatic strategy. LCPL_X is that what you meant?

                That was about speaking softly. The big stick could be the stuff we just discussed.

              • ” LCPL_X and I have already made a proposal for the military preparedness “

                This was a short and simple meeting, now let’s talk about Bert‘s island paradise! Now that’s worth fighting for. You guys ever had this? Lots of it in Tawi-Tawi, does Bert have those on his island?

              • Obed says:

                Huwag ninyo akong talikuran, ako ay isda, kayo ang aking dagat.

              • Don’t remember eating that, I only went there one summer vacation to visit my folks.

                The Pacific coast of Albay province, the only thing more beautiful being Bikolanas.

                Bert, you have been to Malilipot for sure, do you know the “White House” there?

              • “Huwag ninyo akong talikuran, ako ay isda, kayo ang aking dagat.” Tagasaan ka sa Pinas? Masyadong pormal ang Tagalog mo, parang pinag-aralan.

                Kung Chinoy kang taga-Cebu, walang problema, pero kung tunay kang Intsik lumayas ka at huwag mo na kaming bantaan dito ulol. Alam mo ba kung ano ang huling kapitulo ng Sun Tzu? Ang paggamit ng espiya, malapit nang matapos ang pagsasalin, bistado kayo.

              • Obed says:

                Gusto k c fpj cmula pagkabata ko.. Sana my gumawa pa ng action films ngaun.. puru namn kasi kabekian ang pinapalabas wala man lng pangbarako at astig na panuorn.. puru namn hinayupak na kalandian ang pinapalabas.

              • Magaling kayo, alam namin na nag-aaral kayo ng iba’t-ibang wika Obed. Sa Shanghai ka ba nakaupo? Kami, hindi pa handa, pero ang lamang namin, hindi kami pikon tulad ninyo at marunong kaming tumawa. Hindi kami marunong mag-Intsik. Pero ito kaya namin: 🙂

              • “That is my proposal for the diplomatic strategy. LCPL_X is that what you meant?”


                You guys ( the Philippines, and Vietnam, with Japan and Korea over the East China sea ) should take point , with the intent to keep the Pandora box shut– ops other than military. But start coordinating and deconflicting with the US, in preparation for the worst case scenario– military.

              • Obed says:

                The Use of Spies.

              • Obed says:

                Make your choice:

                There are five classes: (1) Local spies; (2) inward spies; (3) converted spies; (4) doomed spies; (5) surviving spies.

              • “Gusto k c fpj cmula pagkabata ko.. Sana my gumawa pa ng action films ngaun.. puru namn kasi kabekian ang pinapalabas wala man lng pangbarako at astig na panuorn.. puru namn hinayupak na kalandian ang pinapalabas.” so you write modern text-Filipino.

                I am too old and too long gone to evaluate that, that is something for Karl. But answer my question, what did FPJ say as the last thing in “Iisa-Iisahin ko kayo”, what did he do?

                And answer my second question: from what part of the Philippines are you? What part of Metro Manila if you are from there? My profiler instincts have not yet given you clearance. Something tells me you are VERY well-prepared. Possibly even embedded in Manila.

              • Obed says:

                Joe does this mean: speaks strangely for a Filipino = bad, argued the Chinese line here in the past = bad, I am skeptical as to his true allegiance = bad, does have another opinion = bad.

              • Joe America says:

                @Obed, the assessment of good or bad is contingent upon an agreed set of values. The main value premise for discussion here is teaching and learning with the end goal of care-taking the well-being of the Philippines. When someone arrives to push an agenda, which is to preach rather than teach, or challenge rather than explain, then we are correct, I think, to be skeptical. Arguing the Chinese line is bad if one is driven primarily by the well-being of the Philippines. Having allegiance to China over the Philippines is bad, for the values of this forum. Having another opinion is good, if it is expressed directly and makes good sense. If it does not, it warrants challenge.

              • There are five classes: (1) Local spies; (2) inward spies; (3) converted spies; (4) doomed spies; (5) surviving spies.

                Espiyang pampook, espiyang tagaloob, espiyang binaligtad, espiyang patay, espiyang buhay is my translation of this. The final chapter is due next week.

                Obed if you are a spy, or a Peking troll – you are definitely not a Peking duck, you could be any except 4), unless you are in Manila and hopefully get caught.

              • “Joe does this mean: speaks strangely for a Filipino = bad, argued the Chinese line here in the past = bad, I am skeptical as to his true allegiance = bad, does have another opinion = bad.” We are the ones who ask questions here, answer mine first.

              • Obed says:

                “We are the ones who ask questions here, answer mine first”, this sounds like a dictator.

                To answer your question, in English. If i’m the son of …… .
                Why would i because i have some other opinion.

              • Obed I was raised during the Marcos regime, so I must have learned to be dictatorial there. But the Kabataang Makabayan taught me even more dictatorial, Maoist stuff. 🙂

                O sige bahala ka, kung ayaw mong patunayang hindi ka naligaw na Intsik, di huwag…

                But your evasiveness is already a clue for me, and I think the other people here are not stupid. Anyway I am first of all a Duterte supporter and second I a Heneral Luna fan, so I believe in the ruthless attitude. At astig talaga ako, wala kang magagawa, sori na lang.

              • A real Filipino would have had the pride to answer my questions, to prove his nationality.

                A real Filipino would have gotten angry and not evaded questions in such a way. Q.E.D.

              • ” start coordinating and deconflicting with the US, in preparation for the worst case scenario– military.” correct – and clean up our own act. Learn leadership especially.

              • Obed says:

                Sorry Irineo, “A real Filipino would have had the pride to answer my questions”, could be that i lost my pride and don’t want it blinds me.

                “A real Filipino would have gotten angry” as years passed i learned to control myself. Uncontrolled (and angry) mind doesn’t work as good for me.

              • LCPL_X: Regarding fighting spirit / defending ourselves: we Bikolanos never lost that..

                The Spanish said of us: they are the nicest Filipinos, but very hard to fight.

                The last Revolutionary General to surrender to the Americans was Bikolano Simeon Ola, he held out with his men in the jungles of Bikol. The Americans basically had to take his home village hostage, he agreed to surrender after his cousin approached him.

                Bikol is known as NPA and bandit country, even if especially in Albay recent economic progress has made that less. But we do have a certain spirit of resistance.

                And fearlessness which comes from living near so many volcanos, death always there. Fighting spirit / cohesion in the Philippines is at most regional – if you ask me the Ilocanos and Igorots have it similar to Bikols, the Moros too. They say we are related to Maranaos.

              • OK Obed, you could be a Filipino who is resigned to China taking over.

                But are you not making it too easy? Have you considered our strategies?

                I would not give up without considering what we have just discussed here.

              • Obed says:

                and Irineo, i can agree with you on “I am first of all a Duterte supporter”, as all the rest will be peanuts.

              • Obed says:

                Sometimes you need to be a good looser (and admit we are) so that in the future you could become a good (great) winner Irineo. There is no shame on that.

              • Obed, have you had a look at our proposed strategies? What is wrong with them?

              • Joe America says:

                @Obed. No, it was not the media that informed us of China’s starting position, it was in Foreign Affairs Secretary Del Rosario’s opening remarks to the UN arbitration panel. It is never too late for earnest bilateral talks. I’m more than confident that the Philippines would welcome any Chinese initiatives in that regard that started with the understanding that both sides have vested interests, and the goal ought to be to respect both sides.

              • Obed says:

                Irineo, it’s like saying to bank what they need to do while you have a big loan that you can’t pay back.

                Diplomacy is the way to go but we are in the loose position. That’s reality.
                Our country should have never give up the talks with China.

                What Joe say “but China’s starting position is the requirement to recognize Chinese sovereignty over disputed seas”, is what the media told us.

                China went into the mistake in not getting again in talks however then i would already have been to late (as several things happened at that time). Also China has to learn how to talk and we to learn how they talk.

              • Obed says:

                On the end of the day it was a take and give game. But now we want it all. Is wrong in my opinion and Aquino will not back off as he would loose his face (also he went to far).

                You don’t challenge your neighbor. You try to find some compromise.

                A major mistake that we will regret.

              • Joe America says:

                @Obed, “On the end of the day it was a take and give game. But now we want it all. Is wrong in my opinion and Aquino will not back off as he would loose his face (also he went to far). You don’t challenge your neighbor. You try to find some compromise.”

                That is the Chinese position, yes. It is not the Philippine State’s position.

              • Joe America says:

                The Philippine position is to follow international law. And that . . . in the Chinese view . . . is confrontational and offensive.

                But I’m just saying what you are saying . . .

              • Obed: That analogy of the bank does not hold water. Let us look at scenarios:

                1) ITLOS is successful.
                a) China recognizes -> fine but unlikely
                b) China does not recognize, continue with..

                2) Vietnam-Philippine negotiate jointly with China.
                a) an agreement is found -> all are happy, probability 50/50
                b) no agreement is found, continue with…

                3) Vietnam and Philippines stay put in the islands they have
                a) China does not invade them -> two eyes live is the principle in go… 🙂
                b) China invades -> Vietnam and Philippines give them hell, continue with…

                4) It is Vietnam and Philippines versus China in the Spratleys
                a) China gets bogged down and gives up -> likelihood 60% according to LCPL_X
                a) China pushes them out, but they evacuate, destroying as much as possible while going… especially the structures China built… continue with…

                5) Vietnam and Philippines have strategically retreated, like the Russians vs. Hitler
                a) Chinese are left with ruined islands and structures and pull back -> 80% likely IMHO.
                b) Chinese go after the Vietnamese and/or the Filipinos and provoke WW3 with USA.

                Or did I miss anything in my analysis?

                Please enlighten me.

              • Obed says:

                And Irineo are you willing to die for some islands or rocks ? Negotiations was the way to go. Face to face.

                Look, did the US ever encourage us for negotiations ? Be fair as it’s no.
                They are pleased it goes this direction from bad understandings.
                (China is bad, they take fish from the poor fisherman (yes, Joe), they will block the lanes, they will invade, …..). Keeps you afraid, isn’t it ? And China looks so bad.

                We also will help you (US) however they will not say that we will be in the front line and they in the back.

                Put in your head China and US will not have war. It would be the end. No winner.

              • “And Irineo are you willing to die for some islands or rocks ? ” Yes, but first I would render technical assistance as much as I can within my competence. I would come back from abroad where I am now to help. If it is my time, it is my time, I would die with pride.

                Why? Because even if the USA can be bad sometimes, China is worse. The USA have at least in principle certain common values with us. Values that we uphold and defend. If we give in now, China will enslave Southeast Asia. Worse than the Japanese did 1942-1945.

                The defensive strategy I have outlined minimizes the risks, please have a look at it.

                It does entail discipline and self-control in not firing the first shot – let the Chinese do that. And preparation. Build concrete structures around the Sierra Madre. Fortify Pag-asa.

                Talk with the Chinese is possible if they stop acting like “Sons of Heaven”. The way the Germans acted like “Herrenmenschen”, the supposed master race in WW2. No way Jose.

              • Obed says:

                This is what could happen.

                A proxy war is going to be fought in the East and South China Sea on and under the sea if all hells turn loss.

                The US will stay out of direct military conflict and allow her allies to engage the Chinese with their military forces.

                To start the military showdown, the US allies and partners must fire the first shot in order to provoke China to retaliate because the US and her allies are unhappy with China island-building but not the other way round.

                In fact, China is contented with the status quo in the East and South China Sea now and will therefore see no reason to fire the first shot.

                So, the US would have to think of supporting one or more of her allies to take on the Chinese commercial ships or oil tankers sailing to and fro the Strait of Malacca or even Chinese light naval ships.

                They must simply need to create an incident to justify a fight with China. Just like the US justified her fight with Iraq using the excuse of Iraq’s possession of weapon of mass destruction (WMD), and so here the US and her allies need to justify to the world that China is threatening freedom of navigation in the South China Sea because of island-building. In particular, the US can encourage Japan, the Philippines and Vietnam to collide with the Chinese patrol boats, supply ships, oil rigs and oil tankers in the South China Sea in order to provoke China.

                If China respond, it would then fall into their traps and serve their interests. In the worse case, the US could encourage and assist her allies or partners to attempt a amphibious landing on Chinese reclaimed island or Chinese occupied islands. These islands are not adequately defended at all by the Chinese and so could be easily use as a good reason to justify a landing and stir up a conflict. As the US and her allies start the war first, China would highly likely to suffer serious casualties in the initial phases of the maritime combat because of the lack of credible naval presence in the South China Sea and the unwillingness to fight.

                Perhaps, China may also wait to occupy a high moral ground to mount a counter offensive at the US allies after being beaten several rounds. This tactic is liken to that of a Kung Fu master allowing his opponents to hit him first and hit him hard and he later regain and recover his strength and then purportedly bring his opponents down without mercy.
                This is also because when China resorts to her 2nd Artillery after few rounds of defeats, then China will use her intermediate range ballistic missiles (IRBM) carrying high-explosive conventional warheads to hit opponents’ cities during an all-out-war. By then, the US would have great problem to defend her allies from Chinese incoming missiles.

                Remember, in a proxy war, the US would not bomb the Chinese IRBM sites stationed in the mainland and the allies and partners all lack the capacities to do so by themselves.

                Thus, the US cannot afford to wait for China to resort to her IRBMs. Hence, war has to end within a year or so through negotiation (the US will force her allies to go for peaceful negotiation with China).

              • Obed, even in your scenario, China will negotiate from a position of weakness.

                Let them launch their warheads we are not afraid. Who knows we will be ready to attack Chinese coastal cities in the dead of night with missile or drone-carrying speedboats.

                What you are mouthing here are threats. Threats of genocide. For losing a few islands which are geographically between Vietnam and Philippines, even Hainan is far away they will kill millions of us. In that case, it is legitimate for us to hit back and kill millions of them.

                So a few islands are more important to China than Filipino lives? That shows what they think of us, the “master race”. And of the descendants of Cantonese and Fukienese who were and are second-class citizens in China anyway, which is why they left that country.

                The Hongkong bus massacre will be nothing compared to what Filipinos can unleash when they are treated like animals. The captain of any seafaring ship can tell you that.

              • Obed says:

                Irineo, hearing you talking.

                I see you standing alone with one Chinese on one of those rocks, islands, …., you will pull the trigger.

                A bit like our police force, shooting and then thinking and surprised what happened.

                Did sounds a bit familiar (the Taiwanese fisherman).

                That’s why we Filipinos fit the US plan to provoke.

              • Obed, for sure I will not. But if the Chinese is alone, I might put him into cement – alive.

                And use the block to continue building structures on that island. But of course you are right – we have to learn to keep cool. Anger is good – but it is the cold anger that is deadly.

              • Obed says:

                Irineo, “China will negotiate from a position of weakness”, your guess.

                China isn’t a army of farmers in the Middle East or Afghanistan.

                You know what happened when Japan hit US land. Sure you know what happened.

                So guess what China would do if one of their cities get hit.

                We can wipe out Manila from the maps.

              • Obed: So you know, in case you have forgotten as the FPJ fan you say you are:

                in the final scene of “Iisa-isahin ko kayo” – I will take you down, one by one – FPJ who plays a billard player whose father was killed by a gambling gang has killed nearly all of them except the boss, who is cavorting with two bitches. He ties the boss to a chair, fastens his pistol and rigs the trigger to the doorknob with a rope. He tells the gang boss: “pagbukas ng pintuan na ito, magsasara ang pintuan ng buhay mo” – when this door opens, the door of your life shall close – and leaves.

                Some small-time stooges of the boss come to help him. The boss shouts “huwag niyong buksan, mamamatay ako!” – don’t open the door, I will die – and tries to move the pistol with his mouth, looking like a monkey as a result. They open the door and he dies.

                Walking calmly across the ricefield, Da King hears Da shot, looks back shortly, and walks just as calmly into the Philippine sunset. That is the kind of spirit that is needed today.

                The movie is 60s, I saw it on videotape I borrowed. Unfortunately no copies to be found…

              • Obed says:

                Look at the Falklands, isn’t that far from UK house. They went for a fight even they are so close to Argentina.

              • Obed: “China isn’t a army of farmers in the Middle East or Afghanistan.

                You know what happened when Japan hit US land. Sure you know what happened.”

                And you know what happened when the US recovered from the shock.

                “So guess what China would do if one of their cities get hit.

                We can wipe out Manila from the maps.”

                Aha, WE! Nagalit ka rin. Bistado ka sa wakas tarantado.

                Wipe out Manila, that would solve a big problem for us. No more traffic on EDSA.

                But if we learn to be controlled, we will let you do it first. Then hit back. USA might join…

              • “Look at the Falklands, isn’t that far from UK house. They went for a fight even they are so close to Argentina.” The USA is also far but might come if China destroys Manila first.

                I know that China was oppressed by Western powers plus China, Shanghai was occupied. The Opium Wars were the beginning. You have resentment, want to recover your pride.

                BUT PLEASE DO NOT LET IT OUT ON YOUR FELLOW ASIANS. If you want to hit the Yanks or the Europeans or the Japanese do a Pearl Harbour like the latter did, OK?

              • Western powers plus Japan I meant. From Japan the occupation of Manchuria, Manchukuo under the captive Pu Yi, Rape of Nanking. Don’t make the Philippines or Vietnam suffer for that, especially the Filipinos suffered under Japan just like China.

                Now if those in power in China start THINKING a little bit and stop acting like the Germans between the wars, who wanted to get back at everybody for wounded pride, things might improve in the long run. I know the German situation because part of my family is German.

                If China can start behaving like a partner within Asia and not like a bully which it is now – claiming territory like the 9-dash line from Ming maps, ridiculous. We are in different times.

              • Obed says:

                Thanks for the update in regard to the movie Irineo.

                And please don’t shoot at people if they have another opinion.

                Who is right or wrong, who knows today as we don’t have a real deep neutral insight.

                Having said this we are manipulated and it becomes more and more difficult to find out the truth as there is to much information out in the wild.

                And i do not expect to find a balanced answer here by the moderator in regard to this case.
                China is bad (period) in this case even they never stop shipping lanes, never stop planes, …………………………………………………………………… .

                And sorry, im not willing to be on the front line for US interest. At the end of the day, this is the point (their goal).

              • Joe America says:


                ” . . . as there is too much information out in the wild”

                Yes, we can get to the truth when bloggers like JoeAm are silenced so that he cannot cite argument or information opposed to that of the peddlers of this truth.

                China has not blocked seas or skies, so no bad there. China is bad for ignoring agreements with other Asian nations that the status quo in contested seas will be maintained in order to avoid the tension that now exists because China did not abide by that peaceful goal. And China is bad for building military outposts in territories claimed by smaller states, the smaller states being backed by UN laws aimed at finding a way to peace. And China is bad for failing to respect her neighbors.

                I have to chuckle. I am imagining that you work within the Chinese Embassy in Manila and have been given the unenviable task of selling a pig’s ear as a purse. Sorry. It’s a pig’s ear.

              • Salamat Obed. If you have read carefully I am not going for the front line for US interests. The US are allies – we should strive not to fool them, and watch out that their hawks do not use us. Unlike China, the US has many opinions, and that is its strength. Our strength too.

                Matagal nang sinabi ng Tatay ko, Prof. Zeus Salazar, isang makabayan na Pilipino – we have to be prepared for the Chinese. But given everything, the USA are our partners against them. And hopefully our Malay brothers, but I am doubtful about Malaysia…

                20 years ago my father already analyzed this, and said WE DO NOT HAVE MUCH TIME. Friend of mine, former soldier of the French foreign legion, strategic thinker like LCPL_X, told me you guys have slept, now you have woken up but it may be too late – or it may be 5 minutes to midnight (a German figure of speech) and there may be still one last chance. My point of view is, the Philippines should use that chance without being used by hawks from the United States. It is a delicate balancing act I have defined here, but can be done.

                I am not sure what the goal of the USA is. LCPL_X and Joe have shown two very different opinions, whether it is their own opinion or an agenda dictated to them, I don’t really care. We Filipinos (I am natural-born, ius sanguinis BTW) should know what WE want to do.

                If we know what we want, then neither the US nor China can fool us. The partnership to the USA can be managed within some constraints. Better than any partnership with China which would dictate. And thinking strategically, the US need the Philippines to have a foothold in the Asian region, they are far, far away. We were also Spain’s beachhead to the trade with coastal China. This is our main bargaining chip we must use more wisely. Even a junior partner can bargain. But we must get our act together, soon, NOW NA!

              • Obed says:

                Joe, “care-taking the well-being of the Philippines” what i does: prevent for something unnecessary that could happen to our peoples.

                A war for some rocks or islands aren’t this worth.

                Admitting that we are in in loose position isn’t a shame. We just need to accept it for today, we missed an opportunity. We missed the opportunity to show China that were better in negotiations.

                Of course if you want to take Del Rosario’s words as granted, fine.
                And if you find this the right way (true or false) in spreading the news in public, is your choice. But shows that also he failed in the negotiations.

              • Joe America says:

                @Obed, the text of Secretary Del Rosario’s speech was published verbatim in several outlets. There is no taking it for granted. It is what he said. He did not fail in the negotiations, as the arbitration case is still underway. His speech was essentially that of a lawyer laying out the case to be tried. It is still being tried. China refused to join the proceedings . . . I suspect, like Binay, to avoid having to defend actions that are indefensible. As is your position, if, indeed, you are for Philippine well-being. To not comprehend what Secretary Rosario said, and what the Philippine case is? But to argue China’s position?

                Whoaaaaaa, a pig’s ear it is . . .

              • Sa mga may tungkulin na Pilipino na nakakabasa nito, sana’y maging palaisipan lahat ito para sa inyo. Kayo ang magpapasiya at higit sa lahat isasagawa ninyo ang mga dapat gawin sa susunod na panahon. Ako’y nagaalinlangan ng husto para sa Pilipinas.

                Basahin ninyo iyong artikulo ni PinoyinEurope “When shall the Philippines reach a Tipping Point” – ako iyon. Lalo na iyong negative scenario na hindi sana magiging totoo… 😦

              • @Joe: of course he is in the Chinese Embassy or in a Chinese company office in Manila.

                didn’t your read he wrote “WE can wipe out Manila from the maps”. I pissed him off. 🙂

                My way of finding out peoples true colors. Did it with you also Joe, remember? 🙂

              • Joe America says:

                Hahahaha, yes I remember 🙂 indelibly.

              • Now you Joe and LCPL_X are bonafide, that is my conclusion.

                You just embody two different, but still typically American schools of thought. But you are not manipulating anybody, just like I am not manipulating anyone. Unless I need to do so.

                So it is 1 p.m. now – in the Philippines, this used to be the time that Eat Bulaga finished. Sana’y nagustuhan ninyo ang aming palabas, lalo na iyong mga iba’t-ibang pakuwela. Sign-off muna ako mga Kababayan, Kano at Kalaban, hindi pa ako natulog ni kumain.. 🙂

              • Joe America says:

                Thanks. Yes, LCPL_X and I sometimes come at things from different angles, and I’m learning a lot from both of you.

              • Joe, now that humility is getting close to Level 5 leadership. Also your getting in Will and Popoy who are true Filipinos in the Philippines on board. They can represent the spirit of the country much better than any of us can, they are on the ground AND fully rooted.

                We all learn from one another over here. And our readers learn from us, I am very sure. As I know as the Filipino I still am, our learning process is sometimes having our mouths wide open at first or getting defensive, but then things creep in and we finally realize.. 🙂

                This was fun – beating a Chinese troll at his own game, getting him off balance. The game my mother and her friends played in Berlin was more dangerous – sailing all the way to the buoys near the border to the Russian zone, setting of the alarm and making sure they came in in such a way that they immediately sailed off and out of range of Russian guns as soon as they touched the bouys. My ultimate loyalty to the free world comes from her, my German folks were glad they had your folks to protect them. Gotta go and eat now.

              • Bert says:

                “And Irineo are you willing to die for some islands or rocks ? ” Yes, but first I would render technical assistance as much as I can within my competence. I would come back from abroad where I am now to help. If it is my time, it is my time, I would die with pride.

                Why? Because even if the USA can be bad sometimes, China is worse. The USA have at least in principle certain common values with us. Values that we uphold and defend. If we give in now, China will enslave Southeast Asia. Worse than the Japanese did 1942-1945.”

                Wow, Noy, you made me proud. I will be glad and eager to be with you if and when that time come. We will show those chikwa how Filipinos can do to defend their property from obnoxious land grabber and then we will see if they’re willing to die for some islands or rocks that are not theirs.

              • Obed says:

                “I pissed him off”, yes ? you think ?

                But if it makes you feeling good, fine.

                I’m open minded and respect others people thinking.

              • Obed says:

                Up to you Irineo in promoting the Middle East illness in Asia.

                Good luck and hope to see you when it breaks out.

                Some kamikaze volunteers will be needed willing to die for some rocks, islands.

              • “Wow, Noy, you made me proud. I will be glad and eager to be with you if and when that time come. We will show those chikwa how Filipinos can do to defend their property from obnoxious land grabber and then we will see if they’re willing to die for some islands or rocks that are not theirs.” Salamat Bert.. in such a situation one has to contribute.

                Not waste one’s life uncessarily. It would be useless to give me a rifle, I would not know what to do with it. But give me stuff I can do – project coordination and problem solving – very well under unusual, unplanned situations and pressure, and I know I can do it.

                For technical coordination to be effective, it has to be onsite, meaning close to where the bullets and missiles could fly – it is clear that one could hit me. But what was one weakness of the Mamasapano operation? Certain coordination functions were too far from the action. Communication networks, data assessment on the fly – diyan ako may pakinabang. To lead a team of specialists and focus their energies on what the fighting forces nearby need and quickly. Of course if goes into guerilla warfare, tago tayo sa may Caramoan… 🙂

              • Civilian protection is also an important discipline in national defense. Metro Manila for example is nearly impossible to evacuate in case a warning comes out. Not in 24 hours. Not in 48 hours. In the long run, decongestion is very important. Then evac planning.

                Protection of critical infrastructures. Can La Mesa dam be hacked, thus releasing floods unto Metro Manila? How vulnerable is the electrical infrastructure? Where are fallbacks? Internet – can the vital lines be prioritized and Facebook, Twitter etc. shut down quickly?

                Can Twitter be used to alert authorities, inhabitants, do they now what to do? How can mass panic and looting be avoided? This kind of preparedness is even for tsunamis etc.

                This is all risk management – avoiding major risks, mitigating medium ones, preparedness.

                Well, if this all already well-handled, I have a drivers license and can drive supply trucks if that is what is needed. Just to show what is possible and what to be prepared for in case.

            • “Joe, the Philippines is also pretending its claim to the islands is indisputable, when in fact they were only claimed by Coloma then by Marcos. I have already written that if negotiations are the way to go, then multilateral. Ideally agree with Vietnam first.”

              May I but in, although that’s addressed to Joe. Abiding by the UNCLOS is not pretending. We are not claiming in excess of the 200 nm EEZ prescribed by the said convention and I repeat, China is also a signatory to that, so why this sudden 9 dash line. They are the only one pretending not us.

  27. I have come to the following conclusions:

    1) EDCA is the right way. Too much too permanent US military presence would be like the Russian missiles in Cuba. But no presence at all like in Cuba is not good. China is different from anything the US ever has been, the US could have overrun Cuba and killed half the population but did not. They did not launch conventional missiles into Cuba even if they could have done so and Russia would have had no chance to even get into the Carribean. But Chinese ruthlessness is different.

    2) Alliance with Vietnam is important. President Aquino was right to start this process. They can help with more massive presence than the USA can with EDCA, and they have a good force.

    3) Philippines must get its act together to be able to contribute more and more to a defense effort in case something happens. In 10-20 years it can be on a par with Vietnam. The aspects that we discussed here – leadership, willpower, organization – are important. Equipment is just a tool.

    Steps to implement 3) must start soonest and followed through in a phased action plan.

    • I wrote this article to give context to the issue: – in general the goal of my Learning Center is to be more informed before having an opinion. I was annoyed that many have opinions without knowing the context – MRP is right, many of us did not know the full impact, the video from BBC he posted once opens eyes. Let me summarize what is happening now:

      1) China is sponsoring port-building along the old trade routes – Sri Lanka, Mozambique etc. and actively involved in natural resources matters in Africa among others. They also want to sponsor a canal through Nicaragua as a second route instead of Panama Canal.

      2) The most vital route leading to China is the sea between Vietnam, Philippines, China. China might be afraid that the USA could choke the trade routes to it if it controls the route. But that is silly, everybody needs stuff from China, why do that? Maybe China wants to be able to choke the flow of natural resources to Japan and Korea anytime. This is to be prevented at all costs to avoid a stranglehold of China on the international economy.

      3) Malaysia is close to becoming a Chinese client state IMHO, sorry to say. If China manages to make the Philippines into a client state, Vietnam will be isolated and China can squeeze them eventually. Southeast Asia will become like Eastern Europe before, when it was ruled by the Russians. Ask Czechs, Poles, Baltic people (not Baltic and Co. Comics), Hungarians what it was like under Russian rule. They prefer NATO and EU, definitely.

      4) China may have imperial ambitions – to do what they failed to do after Admiral Cheng Ho made his famous global voyage. Europe went outwards and China waned in influence. This is why I consider a Chinese empire in Southeast Asia a possibility – the new EVIL empire. Russia is modernizing, when Putin steps down hopefully in 10 years time maximum, the new generation may come into power and they may become a civilized partner for the EU. But China will take more time to become a normal, acceptable partner in the worst case.

      5) Chinese strategy is based on go, not on chess like Western strategy. It is about encirclement and choking off rivals. NHerrera, our resident Chinoy, plays go. We had a conversation about that in Raissa’s blog. There is a principle in go that “two eyes live”, meaning that an alliance between Vietnam and the Philippines will block any Chinese ambitions of hegemony in whatever you wish to call that sea in between the countries.

      Now have a look at the map from my article so you can clearly see the situation.

      Plus the global strategy of China is truly scary – it looks like plan to rule the world.

      • For the current situation – which however is changing in China’s favor every day, MRPs video shows that clearly, look at the map of who occupies which islands:

      • This how a GO board looks like. It is more or less about surrounding the stones of the enemy, then you can turn them and make them your own. Now look at how China is occupying islands. Look at how China is building ports, wants to build canals worldwide.

        The only logical conclusion is: first that goddam sea via the islands, then the world trade routes. And the Philippines is at the front line. What world do we want for our children?

      • Joe America says:

        Thanks for the perspective. It makes a lot of sense, especially when looking at your maps. Scary, indeed. What is interesting is it is not going to be completed “in my lifetime” for most of the old military and leadership cadre. So they must feel a deep part of history, looking forward . . . if there is such a concept.

    • In the Cold War, Berlin was the frontline. The intra-German border and NATO behind it the only guarantee against Russians going up to the Pyrenees and Alps.

      The frontline in the new conflict is the Spratleys – so nobody has any illusions about this.

  28. Chivas says:

    Probably, the Society is a little bit aware that the article’s idea is more of an extension of Lieutenant Kaffee’s thoughts about Colonel Jessep.

    All data, probabilities and actions down to a single cellulite forming a revolt are gathered.

    Wars are won before they are waged.

  29. LCPL_X, thanks for telling us about the Chinese aircraft carrier:

    They have more than the former Soviet Varyag now, they are building their own. MRPs BBC video proves it. Guys, do not ignore MRP like you often do, he may be eccentric but he is NOT a fool.

  30. and this comment upstairs, so nobody overlooks it:

    We can wipe Manila of the maps – referring to the IRBMs they have pointed at our cities with conventional bombs, not atomic, reminds me of the Death Star in Star Wars. But the Death Star was destroyed by daring rebels – it may be a fantasy but it is inspiring. And maybe we may need out bandits, our outlaws, yes even our Han Solos and Chewbaccas, because they have out-of the box skills the Army sorry often lacks. Maybe make some Generals like Han Solo? Because some of them are much more strategic in thinking than some so-called Generals:

  31. karl garcia says:

    Alunan has his proposal.


    Whether we like it or not, China’s been waging irregular warfare against the PH since 1995. That’s when it grabbed Mischief Reef away from us. I sat at the National Security Council then and its aggression shocked us beyond belief.

    China told us then that the structures were temporary and would serve as shelters for their fishermen. It turned out to be a big lie just as we expected because in the past 20yrs the“temporary shelter” was gradually converted into a military installation.

    China took advantage of the U.S.’s bases departure in 1991 when the government was still struggling to stabilize itself and move the economy foreward.

    That produced 3 responses from the Philippines: first, a strongly worded diplomatic protest; two, the dispatch of 9 jet aircraft and 2 additional ships to Palawan; and third, the quick passage of the AFP Modernization Act.

    The AFP Modernization Act or R.A. 7898 was filed to modernize the AFP over a 15yr timeline with an initial budget of P50-billion for the first five years. Funding was held in abeyance in 1997 due to the Asian financial crisis.

    Regrettably, modernization was neglected by successive administrations until its expiry in 2010. But in December 2012, R.A. 10349 known as the Revised AFP Modernization Act, extended the program for another 15yrs, with an initial budget of P75-billion pesos for the first 5yrs.

    The heart of the matter lies with China’s invention of the so- called “dash lines” that it drew in 1947 to claim around 80% of the South China Sea. The dashes carve out the area that China claims by “historical right.”

    The thing is, China keeps changing its mind about the maritime territory it claims. It started with 11 dashes; then dropped to 9 dashes, then went back up to 10-dashes as of today. Arbitrary, whimsical and clearly without basis.

    By doing that, China ate into all the EEZ’s of Vietnam, Philippines, Indonesia, Malaysia and Brunei – to include their oil and gas resources. Since it is fiction, it is a lie; and all actions that flow from that lie are equally without legal basis.

    Historical rights are not supported by international law. It is the United Nations Charter on the Law ofthe Sea that determines maritime and archipelagic rights to which China, the Philippines and 164 other parties are signatories to.

    Our suspected oil and gas reserves are in Recto Bank within the West PH Sea. The Malampaya fields are around 90kms from Palawan’s western baseline, and Recto Bank is around 150kms north of Malampaya.


    We should thank China for shaking the government out of its slumber. If it didn’t grab Bajo deMasinloc away from us in 2012, the government would have continued to neglect the exigencies for external defense.

    As an outgrowth of China’s occupation of Mischief Reef, FVR caused the passage of the AFP Modernization Act or R.A. 7898 to modernize the AFP for a period of 15 years with an initial budget of P50-billion for the first five years. Funding was held in abeyance in 1997 due to the Asian financial crisis. Regrettably, modernization was neglected by successive administrations until its expiry in 2010.

    To the credit of the present Aquino administration, R.A. 7898 was amended by R.A. 10349 known as the Revised AFP Modernization Act in December 2012, which extended the program for another 15 years, with an initial budget of 75 billion pesos for the first five years.

    What deserves our scrutiny, however, is the completeness and timeliness of the on-going build-up, mainly the Navy and Air Force. My impression is that there’s still more room for improvement. So far, what we’ve bought is less than the amount allocated.

    What we need to avoid is a situation where the efforts we put in are “too little, too late. ”Based on the calculations of senior national security officials, the minimum requirement over and above the current budget is at least US$2-billion per year, for the next 10yrs, to attain “credible deterrence.”

    Credible deterrence is not about preparations for war. Rather it is about sufficient defenses on land, air, sea and cyberspace that would make a potential adversary think very hard before launching hostilities against us or intruding into our EEZ.

    Admittedly, it takes time to build up “credible deterrence.” Selecting the right force mix, determining the required support systems and infrastructure; finding local and foreign funding sources to include direct foreign investments; bidding out the requirements; negotiating best prices and terms; training; extensive drills and inter-operable joint exercises – all these take time.

    Building structures and buying the assets are the easy part. Making them work in one seamless but intricate multi-dimensional defensive machine to detect, deter and if need be, defeat an aggressor is entirely a different matter altogether. The constant training and combat simulations are tremendous time-eaters.


    In the field of diplomacy, I applaud the government’s Triple Action Plan (TAP) that Sec Albert del Rosario articulated at the National Defense College where we spoke at the same conference as US Ambassador Philip Goldberg and former President FVR.

    Its contains immediate, intermediate and final goals that address China’s provocative and destabilizing activities in the region, namely:

    · cease tension-building activities;
    · conclude a Code of Conduct in the South China Sea;
    · resolve legal disputes.

    While ASEAN unity is crucial in negotiating as one bloc with China, the different claimant parties – Indonesia, Malaysia, Brunei, Vietnam, Philippines – have yet to resolve their own differences before sitting at the negotiating table. The failure to this day to reach agreement most likely stems from the harsh reality that ASEAN does not have a common cultural identity. Hence, without it, unity is but a pipe dream.

    As we’ve seen throughout, China’s behavior is dismissive and antagonistic. It does not respect the rule of law nor its neighbors. It keeps running with the ball and taking advantage of our inertia and lack of assertiveness to protect our rights.

    In the words of its Foreign Minister a couple of years ago, he told us, “The fact of the matter is that we are a big countryand you are small.” In other words, might is right.

    In our case, we believe that right is might. However, China ignores that. It continues to intrude at will in the West PH Sea; lay siege on the Sierra Madre in Ayungin; reclaim, and construct on, various reefs and shoals in the West PH Sea.

    It refuses to submit its position before the Arbitral Tribunal as it does not recognize its jurisdiction. Neither will it abide by its decision once it is rendered sometime next year.

    That hubris stems from its inflated sense of self on account of its phenomenal economic rise and strength of its modernized armed forces.


    China aims to be a superpower. I personally witnessed its declaration to be a superpower as far back as 1988 in a technology forum in Washington D.C. As one’s economic power rises so, too, does its military power.

    Sooner or later, it will want to dominate the air, land and sea around it for its security. As Deng Xiaoping said, “There cannot be two tigers on the same hill.”

    As such, it needs to extend its defense perimeter and as well as protect its economic interests by pushing out its security borders and controlling the South China Sea.

    China is employing an “Access and Area Denial strategy” that calls for the occupation of strategic islands, reefs and shoals in the Spratlys to eventually expel the American tiger from the hill.

    My sense is that these will be converted into forward operating bases to drive America out of the South China Sea so that it could control trade flows, annex the marine resources therein and turn countries like the Philippines it into tributary states.

    I call it the “Middle Kingdom” syndrome where China is at the center of the universe, in command and control of the world. It senses America, Europe and Japan weakening, hence, its calculated risk to push the security envelope to see how far it can go without serious opposition.

    Because of that, I think that China is recklessly hurtling toward an accidental conflict in the foreseeable future unless sober heads within China intervene. Hostilities between China and Vietnam already resulted in the deaths of Vietnamese in the Paracels and the loss of naval assets.

    China plays chicken with Japan around the disputed Senkakus; and with the U.S. in the South China Sea near Hainan. It has annexed Tibet and continues to provoke India in the Himalayas, claiming Indian territory.

    Only China can stop itself from becoming the rogue that Deng Xiaoping feared would happen should China one day become an economic and military power.


    China sends its fishing fleets in swarms into our EEZ to serve as its occupation vanguard using the “salami-slice” and “cabbage” strategies. Its gradual poaching and takeover of our reefs and shoals (salami slice strategy) threatens our food security, energy security and ecological security. We have nothing of significant strength to confront and to counter them with.

    China’s fishing fleets are supported by “white” ships from its Maritime Surveillance Service and Coast Guard; and by its naval ships that patrol within striking distance from which our fishermen must seek permission from each naval concentric checkpoint (cabbage or layered area denial strategy).

    Additionally, China has a palpable presence right here on our heartland, from Luzon to Mindanao. My situational awareness tells me that there are many illegal Chinese working here who have access to or are in control of construction; critical infrastructure such as the national grid, fiber optics and telecommunications; shipping; mining; and the drug trade.

    These are posing a clear and present danger to our internal security. The question is whether government is aware of this and doing something about it in a methodical and persistent manner to sanitize the country of Trojans and Judases.

    This brings me to 2 imperatives that require the government’s immediate attention and pro-action.

    First, as part of our build-up for “credible deterrence,” government needs to beef up immediately the quality and quantity of our white ships to establish presence and sufficient deterrence in key areas of the West PH. We must have the wherewithal to protect our human, energy and marine resources.

    My takeaway from meetings with navy officers, local officials and businessmen is that it’s affordable, easily acquired and funded, and can be deployed rather quickly. I asked them the ff questions:

    a. How much would a 200ft steel-hulled vessel cost equipped with a good engine, basic radar andair-sea-land communications? The answer was around P100-m for a brand new locally built vessel with a 1-yr waiting time. Or around P50-m for a good 15yr second hand available immediately from Japanese or South Korean sources. Assuming 100 white ships were to be acquired, that would mean around P10-b for brand new, and around P5-b for second hand.

    b. Would it be affordable for a first class LGU to finance, instead of the national government, one vessel for the Coast Guard and / or the BFAR to operate and maintain? The answer was “Yes”, because the annual amortization was considered to be affordable, assuming 10-15yrs long-term money at minimal interest.

    I passed that through Sen Serge Osmena, and he agreed that it was affordable and that amount could even be shouldered entirely by the national government. Can you imagine if both the national and local governments agreed to pool their resources to produce the optimal number of white ships to patrol and protect our EEZ? The socioeconomic benefit alone would produce immediate payback.

    Second, we must undertake a comprehensive internal security sweep to expel illegal workers, shut down illegal operations; mount legal offensives against registered enterprises that violate our laws and regulations; and take public officials and uniformed personnel off-line moonlighting as protectors, accomplices and accessories.

    Like it or not, our internal security is compromised. Trojan horses are on the loose. Citizens report suspicious Chinese presence in the grid, mining, shipping, construction, services and small businesses. Chinese control of the illegal drug trade are Damocles swords over our heads. Old-timers recall the pre-World War 2 days when Japan applied these same tactics to gain intelligence and map their footpaths to conquest.

    In that respect, give the alarming state of our internal security, we shouldn’t wait for the completion of our external defense build-up, which could take at least 15 more years, to protect our EEZ, defend our territory and uphold our self-respect.

    We must rise to the occasion by beefing up our white ships for effective detection and deterrence capabilities, and mounting a comprehensive internal security campaign to fully secure our surroundings here on land.


    At this point, I’dlike to take up two matters that I noted from EDCA (Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement) that the PH and US recently signed to fortify and give clarity to the Mutual Defense Treaty (MDT) and Visiting Forces Agreement (VFA).

    The first has to do with the designated co-located defense facilities. The PH and the US could agree to convert Pag-asa, the Sierra Madre and the KIG island garrisons into inter-operable HADR, amphibious landing, anti-piracy, anti-smuggling and maritime search-rescue training facilities with year-round joint exercises.

    The second has to do with the provision on environmental protection and human health and safety. This is considered to be a landmark and a defining feature of EDCA.

    Its robust provisions include the adoption of a “preventive approach” to environmental protection that reflect PH, US and other applicable international agreement standards.”

    In that regard, it would be good to apply that provision to the West PH Sea in light of climate change and the impact of extreme weather to human life, coral bleaching, sea level rise, marine resources, fish migrations and regional commerce.

    I champion the idea of forming an international alliance of scientific researchers with round-the-clock presence in the KIG and around Bajo de Masinloc.

    Should the Arbitral Tribunal rule in favor of the PH position, that particular provision could be used to enhance physical presence in the West PH Sea for HADR and environmental protection purposes.


    In the larger scheme of things, I’d like to make three points.

    First, the era of mendicancy is a thing of the past. We are no longer demonstrating a “freebie”mentality. We are now buying our own weapons from various supplier countries.

    Second, we see and understand the value of interdependence. This is evident in our memberships with U.N., ASEAN, WTO, and other multilateral organizations; and in the manner in which we are building our security partnerships with other countries apart from the U.S.

    Third, building credible deterrence must be systematic, persistent and sustained; otherwise, government cannot hope to effectively shield the country from physical, social and economic harm. We’re still underspending despite the dangers we face.

    We’ve budgeted less than 1% of our 2015 budget for national defense. In contrast, ASEAN’s average annual spend has been around 3% of GDP!

    Our lack of wherewithal to assert our sovereignty and uphold national honor is the reason why China continues to sneer and step on us, finding us unworthy of respect.

    Finding funding solutions is key to that. There are many sources based previous knowledge and recent revelations.

    1. Clamping down on corruption and inefficiency is crucial. Some use 20% of the annual budget as the leakage from corruption and inefficiency. Based on the 2015 budget of P2.7-Trillion, if half of that were saved annually, that would be at least P270-B in annual savings, for human and ecological security, and for internal security and national defense.

    If a third of P270-B, or P90-B, of the savings were spent every year for 10years for the modernization and professionalization of our uniformed services, we would be able to build our desired “credible deterrence” in the air, land and sea.

    2. The Malampaya fund is another. Supreme Court Senior Associate Chief Justice Tony Carpio said in a meeting where I was present that the SC has issued a ruling that allows the Executive to draw from the Malampaya funds for purposes of funding the acquisition of defense assets to protect our energy resources in the KIG.

    3. Launching a Patriot Bond for sale in the world’s capital markets is another, similar to the U.S. war bonds that were sold in WW2 to fund America’s war effort in the Pacific and Europe. Perhaps a 10-15yr bond with a 6% net yield would be competitively attractive to domestic and foreign institutional as well as individual buyers.

    Rounding off the list of fund sourcing are:

    4. Government-to-government negotiated foreign military sales (FMS) to obtain maximum discounts, best payment terms and the lowest interest rates.

    5. My favorite is luring Investments for industrial parks to produce dual-use or civilian-military equipment and systems for a lasting contribution to national competitiveness and industrial development.

    But it needs leadership to harness the brain trust to plan out and integrate government and private sector initiatives; orchestrate the effort, and ensure that successor administrations sustain the process until the mission is accomplished.

    Leadership is dangerous. It needs courage and skill to navigate through dangerous waters and convince people to change their behavior for the greater good. There are no easy answers, but it must be tried every day if we are to have a better life.

    Speaking of a Patriot Bond, it’s crucial for the national leadership to promote and instill an enduring sense of patriotism in the citizenry, complemented by a strong sense of purpose and urgency within the national security community.

    This, I believe is one of the incumbent administration’s missed opportunities. Unfortunately, the world is unforgiving. It will always take advantage of miscues like that.

    Failure to cultivate and mobilize the citizenry’s patriotic fervor has led to scattered protests of China’s repeated incursions in the West PH Sea; its total disregard of UNCLOS; and threats of war or punishment laid thick by elements of the People’s Liberation Army; its military-influenced think tanks; academic and media mouthpieces, alleging the Philippines’ illegal grab of “its reefs and shoals in the South China Sea.”

    China even steals our narrative to try to turn the tables on us.

    Whether or not China will “accidentally” or deliberately trigger a conflict in the East and / or South China Sea, solely depends on its own decision, timing and calculus. I am inclined to prepare for the worst but work for the best outcome.

    Hence, building credible deterrence on air, land and sea is vital. Membership in a U.S.-led multinational security coalition stretching from the Indian Ocean to the Pacific, specifically, from India to Australia with ASEAN and Japan in between, is a strategic imperative.

    The Philippines must be a reliable link in that chain bearing in mind that a chain is only as strong as its weakest link. We cannot and must not be that weak link should worse come to worst.

    Our Navy, Air Force and Coast Guard, with the support of the Army, PNP and BFAR must be given the attention they deserve to uphold national honor.

    Related to that is the dire necessity to retool the Reserve Force Development Program, to include the return of the mandatory CMT and ROTC courses under professional management – repeat, professional management – freed from its corrupt past that made a mockery of the program and produced an unreliable Reservist pool.

    Countries like Switzerland, Singapore and Israel come to mind when I think of a disciplined and patriotic citizenry that will selflessly come running to rally around their flag when their country is in danger.

    With a large population of 100-million Filipinos, we have a sizeable manpower pool to train and select the best of the best to enter the Reserves for further training in combat operations and in operations other than war.

    The Total Army comprising 20% regulars and 80% reserves, should be intra- and inter-operable, and capable of joint operations with allies and security partners.

    The enemy is not just at the gates, it’s found its way in already. It’s because we’ve neglected to build our inner strengths. If we are to survive as a free nation, we must build our rectitude and capacities to repel or expel the enemy in our midst.

    As we prepare for the worst in the political-security environment, we must continue hoping for the best outcome by maintaining or building economic and socio-cultural bridges. We must be patient and think long-term on the assumption that our political-security issues with China will some day resolve itself, opening up fresh opportunities to reset our relationship.

    For now, we will take the multilateral approach to resolve conflicting claims caused by it’s fictional 9-dash line. We need to adopt a Code of Conduct that clearly spells out the “rules of the road” pursuant to the Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the South China Sea, forged by ASEAN in 1992 for confidence-building and conflict avoidance among claimant states.

    China, on the other hand, is open to bilateral talks provided claimant countries recognize its “indisputable sovereignty over the South China Sea.” Because it took this position every time we sought a dialogue for the past 17 years or so, we finally decided to bring China to court even if China considers bringing a neighbor to court an insult because of the loss of face it inflicts.

    How can we ever hope to resolve differences diplomatically if China’s position is immovable?

    There are mechanisms that encourage multilateral dialogue and economic diplomacy in the Asia-Pacific region, namely, the ASEAN Regional Forum (ARF) founded in 1994; and the Brunei, Indonesia, Malaysia, and Philippines East Asia Growth Area or better known as the BIMP-EAGA initiative. Confidence building measures could, accordingly, be drawn up that could lead to the settlement of security differences.

    China is too big an elephant in the room to ignore. Moreover, we’ve had centuries of good trading and people-to-people relations. The favorite “sukis” of my family in Bacolod were the Chinese-owned bakery, restaurant, department store, hardware store and cinema. Many of our friends are Chinoys. I bet you most of us in this hall have a bit of Chinese blood. So do the Tausugs of Sulu.

    But for now the reality is that China’s in the grip of its hawks who crept into the pinnacles of power when its civilian leadership was found wanting during the term of Hu Jintao. Xi Jinping is of a different mold, who concurrently heads the powerful Military Commission on top of his presidency and head of the 7-man Politburo.

    He is an enigma though – Is he a reformer and builder in reality out to tame the hawks, or a megalomaniac at heart in partnership with the hawks? Time will tell whether he will choose to return to peaceful rise, or use war as an instrument to unify his constituents and force the world to either revolve around it or groan beneath its weight.


    Surviving China, or any other country that threatens our national security requires that we transform ourselves into one united nation. Our society is still a soft one, easily vulnerable and exposed to national security risks.

    For the most part, we are apathetic and prefer the easy way out. We place self-interest before the national interest. In government, self-service is generally the norm, not public service. We are a selfishness and greedy lot that trumps the common good. We are not an inclusive society that works for the wellbeing of future generations.

    The proof is all around us – poverty, injustice, insurgency, rebellion and the diaspora. Basic service delivery remains dismal; public safety, internal security and national defense are still inadequate; the lack of food security, energy security and ecological security remain evident across the archipelago.

    Because of what we are, China has exploited our weaknesses by co-opting our elected officials, bureaucracy, uniformed personnel; vital social sectors like the media and academe; and the business sector, particularly those in vital infrastructure: agri-aquaculture, mining, manufacturing and consumer services.

    We are losing our country from self-inflicted wounds and by default. We have fallen to the 7 dangers of human virtue and placed ourselves at grave risk to attack and conquest.

    Wealth without work.
    Pleasure without conscience.
    Science without humanity.
    Knowledge without character.
    Politics without principle.
    Commerce without morality.
    Worship without sacrifice.

    As the saying goes, “A society gets the government it deserves.” Good government remains elusive because we are unable to apply the moral values taught to us at an early age. We have lost our moral compass.

    Our national mission is as clear as daylight. We must culturally rediscover ourselves to be able to re-engineer and change our behavior that prevents us from raising our gross national wellbeing. We must reform, perform and transform if we are to survive the challenges of the 21st century and make a real difference in the lives of those yet unborn.

    That means moving away from our present culture of “pabaya” to one that cares, shares and dares for a better Philippines. We must strive to be a society that is “matino” and“mahusay”; a society that does the right things and does things right.

    We must be the change that we want to see in others, with courage in our hearts, faith in the people and hopes for a better tomorrow.

    We can be a great society worthy of respect by both friend and foe. But we must will it and, more importantly, we must strive together to make it happen. There’s no one else but us.

    Thank you for your patience. Mabuhay ang Pilipinas!

    • Joe America says:

      Superb article, thanks. I much prefer the use of “credible deterrence” over “minimum credible defense”. Indeed, EDCA is a part of that credible deterrence. I also like his stressing of the need to develop a patriotic unity.

  32. josephivo says:

    Chess, in a chess game there are different phases, the opening game or setting up offensive and defensive positions, the middle game or the real war, the end game or finishing off the enemy. That’s the game, but equally or more important is what comes before and what goes after it. The preparation, selecting the opponent and studying the opponent, the game rules and setting, psychological preparation and psychological warfare, physical condition, beta blockers and other mind enhancing medicine…. And last, what to do with the victory or loss?

    In the discussion a lot is about the middle phase of the battle, the missiles and aircraft carriers. Joes article a part of the psychological preparation. We should learn from the Chinese and their systematic approach with all bases covered, starting at selecting the right opponent(s).

  33. Jake Austria says:

    Its in our culture. Some 18 years ago, the buzz around the military is that we were so blessed because we are the beneficiaries of a modern AFP. It was during that time that the first AFP Modernization Law was enacted during the time of FVR. That is why I am torn between joining the Navy or the Air Force, finally I joined the Air Force, especially the Aircraft Control and Warning Wing – a unit designed and specializes for radar operations and early detection of enemy intrusion to our territory. This unit works hand in hand with the 5th Fighter Wing, under the Air Defense Command. This is something new to the AFP since the primary mission and focus is anti-insurgency.

    Time flies, sad to say that until now, the AFP never realized that mission of the Air Defense Command, instead they dissolved and downgraded that two units and named it Air Defense Wing, with no fighter aircraft and a decent radar to operate on.

    Most of the Service Commands of AFP like the Navy and the Army has its own Transformation Road Map, which is based on the principles of the Balanced Scorecard of Kaplan and Norton of the Harvard Business School. Embedded in these roadmap are the strategic initiatives, measures and targets of each Service Command. These are cascaded down from the Command Staff to the lowest level, that is individual members. One thing that prevents the success of these Strategic Maps are the buy-in of the incoming Service Commanders and Chief of Staff, AFP. Consider the term of office of each Service Commanders and Chief of Staff,AFP averaging at least 1 and a half year, they tend to look to some short term legacy like stopping the insurgency rather than modernizing the AFP. These are tools that are readily available for the AFP to study and craft its strategic direction for the next few decades, but in reality, we (i mean we as Filipinos) tend to look at personalities rather than institution.

    Another thing, the Department of National Defense and the AFP has their list of priorities for modernization. This list composed of systems strategically integrated with each other, but instead of upgrading the system, they tend to purchase item within that system allowed by the given budget, so instead of purchasing a whole, they tend to purchase it part by part which is an idiotic move. This move is manifested recently of their proposal in buying a mobile missile system from Israel when the AFP is not ready, no platform to operate on, and no soldier is knowledgeable of the system.

    One observation, our country is an archipelago. Without mental reservation, you would think that the first thing to upgrade is the Navy or the Air Force, but they are doing the opposite because their focus is insurgency. In selecting Chief of Staff, AFP alone, very few are from the Navy or the Air Force, usually from the Army.

    Final note, there should be a President, Defense Secretary and CS,AFP that appreciates and advocates Naval and Air Power for us to take off and eradicate these “credible defense force” perception.

    • Joe America says:

      Obed is a pro-Chinese advocate. The link appears to be his search on the terms “Filipino neighbors from hell” and is an excerpt from a memoir entitled “in the Philippines and Okinawa”. I’m not sure what his point is, but it appears to continue his effort to sow dissent between Filipinos and the US.

      @Obed, please note that convention in this blog is to explain links rather than just dropping them in, which can be misconstrued as spamming. To that point, I would note that the blog’s spam filter frequently picks up your comments as spam, suggesting that you have had problems at other sites and are being regularly tagged as “spam”. Please also note that further efforts on your part to peddle a pig’s ear as a purse on this site will also get you sent to the spam bucket.

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