THAT in effect was the warning given by Chinese ambassador Huang Xilian to former president Rodrigo Duterte, that the Philippines would be attacked by China’s forces if it has places militarily used against it.
“Places” of course are the nine sites President Aquino 3rd and then President Marcos, Jr. had agreed to allow US armed forces, under the so-called Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement (EDCA), to use as their temporary military bases — for stationing troops and stocking up weapons and war materiel — in a situation the Americans are going to war against some enemy, which is obviously China. This is likely if the latter decides to forcibly take over its rogue province Taiwan.
Duterte disclosed the ambassador’s statements in an edition of his regular program “Gikan sa Masa, Para sa Masa” (” From the Masses, For the Masses”) that was surprisingly ignored by the media. Duterte’s program is at SMNI News Channel, owned by firms linked to the religious leader Pastor Quiboloy, a longtime supporter of the former president.
“I reminded him (the Chinese ambassador) again that the Philippines does not have a quarrel with China,” Duterte said, “but his answer to me was, ‘if you provide places where there can be an aggressive action to China, the Philippines would always be a target’.”
“In the interest of the public’s right to know, there should be an open discussion. Americans should come clean and give us a truthful narration or narrative or an explanation and identify the places where they have installed bases here in the Philippines,” the former president said.
Duterte and Mamba: Two patriots opposing US military bases here.
He said the Marcos administration should be “open for discussion” because it would affect the Filipino people who “would be facing a war not of our own making” if tensions between US and China would escalate. Duterte said that the US could bring “nuclear warheads” to its military installations in the country. “By granting America several bases, we can be sure and I am sure as the sun will rise in the east that these nuclear bases … will have nuclear warheads,” he said.
“We don’t know if because of EDCA, they are bringing in some right now. There is no accounting of the weapons in the hands of Americans to use against China if war breaks out. But we can be sure and it would be stupid for us or so naive to think that there is none,” he said.
Duterte said that the consequence of a US attack on China would be a retaliation with nuclear arms against the Philippines. “The Americans who are farther away have ‘anti-missile’ missiles. They can shoot them down before they can enter your airspace. The problem is here in the Philippines. What are the stakes for us? Nothing,” he said.
He said a nuclear weapon could affect a “wide area” leaving radioactive materials that could last for 50 years. “It would not only be destructive. I believe that the Philippines would be a graveyard, if war comes. Remember that,” he said.
Duterte may be exaggerating, but it’s not coincidental that Americans got two administrations to agree to EDCA just when a war — whether nuclear or not — between the US and China had never been as within the realm of possibility as it is now. This is because China’s leaders, especially Xi Jinping — who is nearly becoming as revered as Mao Zedong — have sent signals that it is high time for China to recover Taiwan in the very near future, especially since its military and economic strength is now on par with the US.
Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, for which the US has spent $45 billion, has drawn down much of the US inventories of war materiel, and Americans, more and more analysts are saying, have lost all appetite for another war. True or not, China may just interpret the situation as ideal for invading Taiwan, probably in a scenario that gives the US an excuse to limit its defense of the island
Given these facts, it is astonishing that opposition to EDCA has been muted. If ever war between the US and China breaks out, this administration and Congress will be blamed for causing misery to millions of Filipinos.
Imagine, the EDCA sites has made us a target for nuclear attack solely because of a mere executive agreement, signed only by the US ambassador to Manila and Aquino 3rd’s defense secretary?
Include the Supreme Court as another institution that has betrayed the country. It upheld EDCA as constitutional on a dubious legal technicality, that it was an extension of the Visiting Forces Agreement.
The real reason was that the US and its minions managed to portray EDCA as our sole deterrent to an expansionist China. That justification in fact was even shamelessly expressed in its decision Jan. 12, 2016 — another dark legacy of the Aquino 3rd regime, with the tribunal’s members mostly appointed by President Aquino 3rd.
In fact the decision was written by then-Supreme Court chief justice Maria Lourdes Sereno, who Aquino had appointed to the post despite her lack of merit. Indeed, two years later, Sereno was ousted by the court itself for lack of integrity.
It was former senior associate justice Antonio Carpio who persuaded his colleagues to vote EDCA as constitutional, and he was unabashedly clear on what it was for: To stop what he claimed was an imminent Chinese invasion of the Philippines.
Nearly all of his concurring opinion was a lying attempt to claim so, which probably dissuaded his colleagues from questioning its constitutionality, lest they be accused of being unpatriotic. A sample of Carpio’s scare campaign, contained in his concurring opinion, consisting of statements that were outright lies and half-truths:
“China has already repeatedly invaded Philippine ‘national territory’ in two separate areas, one in the Kalayaan Island Group in the Spratlys and the other in Scarborough Shoal. When China seized Subi Reef in 1988, China invaded Philippine national territory as defined in the Constitution. When China seized Mischief Reef in 1995, China invaded Philippine national territory as defined in the Constitution. When China seized in 2012 Scarborough Shoal, a rock above water at high tide and constituting land territory under international law, China invaded Philippine national territory as defined in the Constitution. [RDT: The features Carpio claimed were “invaded” by China are, at least according to China, part of their sovereign territory, which therefore they had the right to occupy.]
After China’s seizure of Scarborough Shoal in 2012, the Philippines finally woke up and summoned the political will to address the serial and creeping Chinese invasion of Philippine national territory. Thus, the EDCA was born, to give much needed teeth to the MDT as a deterrent to further Chinese aggression in the West Philippine Sea. Without the EDCA, the MDT remains a toothless paper tiger. With the EDCA, the MDT acquires real and ready firepower to deter any armed aggression against Philippine public vessels or aircrafts operating in the West Philippine Sea. [RDT: Scarborough wasn’t “seized”; the Aquino government lost it, believing US lies, as I have discussed in about a dozen columns.]
With the EDCA, China will think twice before attacking Philippine military resupply ships to Philippine-occupied islands in the Spratlys. With the EDCA, the Philippines will have a fighting chance to hold on to Philippine-occupied islands in the Spratlys. With the EDCA, China will think twice before attacking Philippine navy and coast guard vessels patrolling the West Philippine Sea. This will give the Philippines a fighting chance to ward off China’s impending enforcement of its 9-dashed lines as China’s “national boundaries” as shown in its 2013 official vertical map. [RDT: Chinese vessels haven’t attacked Philippine re-supply ships. They merely maneuvered to block the Filipino carriers from approaching the BRP Sierra Madre in Ayungin shoal. China hasn’t to this day “enforced” its 9-dash line as a national boundary.]”
At least we have one elected leader smart and patriotic enough to see through the US lies and oppose the installation of two EDCA sites in his province, Cagayan governor (and physician) Manuel Mamba. For that, this administration’s minions have been moving against him, mobilizing their networks to remove him from office.
The two EDCA sites will be at Naval Base Camilo Osias in Santa Ana and the Lal-lo Airport in the province. Where?
Yes, like most Filipinos, I haven’t heard of these places. The obvious reason why the Americans want these to be their military bases is that these are facing Taiwan, just 330 kilometers away, easily reachable even by the US troop-transport ships, an advantage when China attempts to get back its rogue province.
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