WHY is it, when it comes to the issue of the West Philippine Sea, there is much domestic flag waiving over the un-restricted hegemony of the People’s Republic of China? Is it due to the raised consciousness among leading sectors? Is it because at the most common societal strata, regardless of educational level, the issue is relatable, meaning, capable of simplification – a bully flexing his muscles grabbing low-tide sand-bars, fishing areas, and the over-all possessions of a poor country and with an anaemic capability to defend itself?
We protest in front of the Chinese embassy, release balloons, etc. The best and youngest of our country go on an ocean shibboleth fittingly called “Kalayaan” to claim what is ours. They unashamedly show us the way. Television has humanized the plight of Filipino fishermen losing their once lucrative livelihood. A once maritime backyard, now off-limits by funny sounding men attempting to speak in English on speedy boats spewed from great white ships with unreadable characters. This is the West Philippine Sea the cauldron at our doorstep.
They also say there is the promise of gas and oil deposits. But just last Wednesday a news report read of nine Filipinos sentenced to life imprisonment by a Malaysian Court for the Lahad Datu Sabah incident in 2013. And we wonder there was nay even a whimper from the very same sectors? An editorial? A sentence from the Foreign Affairs Office? Or “three dots” from any government agency?
Sabah which is almost the size of Mindanao and with vast extracted oil deposits, is Philippine territory. This is not a claim! This is a Supreme Court En banc decision July 2011, GR No. 187167, the ponente was Justice Antonio Carpio. The Philippines is “sleeping on its right”, allowing Malaysia to enjoy and abuse such a territory as a colonizer with a $1,300 dollar rental via checks to the heirs of the Kiram Family.
Roughly 90% of Sabah resources are funneled back to Peninsular Malaysia, the former impoverished. Thanks to 200 Filipino-Tausugs who on February 11-March 24, 2013 launched a visit to homeland/ancestral domain, said act, exposed the rest of the nation to our modern timidity. (Erik Espina)