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Structures for WPS

WE must learn the lessons of the West Philippine Sea (WPS) and how this is applied for the “Philippine Ridge” or Benham Rise. Assurances by China which violated “innocent passage”, by conducting oceanographic studies, crisscrossing the area to Surigao Strait, cannot be trusted. Theodore Roosevelt popularized the “Talk softly, but carry a big stick”. Breaking down diplomatic protocols coached in gracious speeches, the “big stick” is the language in realpolitik when international leaders face each other. Presidents, prime ministers, premieres etc. logically have this at the back of their minds – How big a stick is their counterpart carrying in terms of economy, potential trade, and military arsenal. This determines the tipping of the calculus, whether a State Visit is of “equals”, or of Emperors with vassals paying homage?

The Benham Rise Commission may be a special office created by the Palace to develop and make recommendations etc. to develop and maintain our sovereign rights. One approach is U.P. to tie-up with US based Universities and American oceanographic science and research organizations for academic studies. Agreements with Stateside power and gas companies for joint exploration is a must. The presence of said civilian nationals will string-up US Naval presence in the area.

In WPS, structures and support systems must be constructed ASAP. The lead-in is to strengthen civilian use, enliven tourist prospects, and “study tours” to WPS. Hence, coast guard presence and military installations must be increased. Reviving the once approved/appropriated project during DFA Secretary Domingo Siazon’s watch, thumbed down as “provocative”, is a step forward. Build a light house in Kalayaan? New pier? Coast Guard Facility? Mini Hospital?

Refurbish school and government office? Fix the runway? Establish/boost desalination systems? Ice plant? Encourage migrations where applicable? Reclaim a cove for Filipino fishermen and private yachts? Constructing “tourist resorts” with leisure capabilities e.g. jet ski, banana boats, and others? Government aided ferry infrastructure? Etc. 
(Erik Espina)