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Marcos’ delusion worse than I thought

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President’s delusions as reported by newspaper banner headlines

Second of Two Parts

Last Friday,  I pointed out that President Ferdinand, Marcos Jr. and his security officials were delusional in that they keep on referring to Bajo de Masinloc as Philippine sovereign  territory that is the target of a “foreign power” (read: China),  which the President repeatedly has said he would not allow it to take even one square inch of it.

Marcos holds this belief despite incontrovertible evidence to the contrary — which is precisely the definition of a delusion. President Benigno Aquino III after a nine-week stand-off in 2012 with the Chinese lost Bajo de Masinloc (Scarborough Shoal) to that superpower. 

We lost not just a square inch of what we claimed was our territory but 232 billion square inches, i.e. 58 square miles that is the area of that feature in the Spratlys converted to square inches.  Wasn’t he reading the newspapers in 2012, when he was a senator?  

However, Marcos delusion does not only involve a denial of reality, that the Philippines still controls Scarboorugh Shoal.  From his speech the other day at the Australian Parliament, his delusion also involves includes another serious element of that disorder: Having grandiose, but false ideas over oneself.

In that speech, Marcos said: “As in 1942, the Philippines now finds itself on the frontline against actions that undermine regional peace, erode regional stability, and threaten regional success.”

Inaccurate

That statement though is so grossly inaccurate. It wasn’t the Philippines that was in the “frontline”  at World War II’s Pacific theater but the Americans,  since  we were merely its colony with no say in the country’s relations with other countries.   The Japanese Empire’s targets were US military bases, and not the budding Philippine nation.

The American military leadership even  ordered their colony to be abandoned,  so they could fortify Australia, populated mostly by English descendants.  If ever we were  at the “frontline” in 1942 as Marcos claimed, it was upon the orders of our US overlords, who put Filipinos at the front lines of Japanese fire.   When the US military brass ordered its forces at Corregidor to surrender in 1942, the Japanese took 78,000 prisoners  — 12,000 Americans  and 66,000 Filipinos – and ordered them into the infamous Bataan Death March to Manila  in which about 20,000 died from starvation, dehydration, beatings  and executions by Japanese  soldiers.

1942 is not a glorious  year Filipinos when  they decided to be at the “frontlines” of actions “that undermined regional peace.”  It was a year of humiliation, betrayal and suffering for us.   Has Marcos read any book on Philippine history?

The worrying ramification of Marcos’ statement  is that he is proud of getting the Philippines “on the frontline against actions of a country “undermine regional peace” by which he clearly meant China.   This is what psychologists call  grandiose delusions, as Marcos is convinced of his “greatness” in having the Philippines to go against  China as an enemy,  Marcos in effect said in his speech that  China is the present-day version of the 1940s Empire of Japan, out to grab territories in the South China Sea littoral states. That’s nonsense.

17 disputes

Other than the Philippines, China has 17 territorial and maritime-area disputes in Asia —  with Pakistan, Indonesia, Vietnam, Japan, South Korea, North Korea, Singapore, Brunei, Nepal, Bhutan, Laos, Mongolia, Myanmar and Tibet.  Yet only the Philippines, under Marcos administration, because of its territorial and maritime-area  disputes with China in the Spratlys  treats China  as de facto enemy that that has been undertaking actions, as Marcos put it,  that “undermine regional peace, erode regional stability, and threaten regional development.”

This view shas been brainwashed into Marcos’ and his security officials’ skull by the US,  as part of its strategy to contain China’s emergence as a superpower which  would eventually eclipse America as a hegemon since after the end of World War II.

There are two things  very worrying about Marcos’ delusion. First if he thinks China is the Imperial Japan of the 1940s,  then he will never consider the option of negotiating with that emerging superpower to end the tension between the two countries over disputed areas in the Spratlys.

Second, if that is his view, this could lead to his military’s actions provoking the Chinese, such as the Coast Guard continually testing China’s resolve in asserting its sovereignty over Scarborough Shoal and Ayungin Shoal by sailing through those waters.  That could lead to unwanted accidents —  for example the ramming of one ship by another, drowning  PCG or even Navy men – that could spiral out of control into military confrontation between China and us.

Rather than being at the frontline against actions “actions that undermine regional peace”, Marcos is in fact sat Americans’ frontline in efforts to contain China, which would if pursued lead to war in the South China Sea.

Conflicting Claims

Even as it is a fait accompli that the Philippines, because of Aquino III’s bungling, lost Scarborough Shoal in 2012, and would never recover it other than through force, the loathing against China being spread by the Aquino and Marcos administrations, as well as by the US has had much traction due to the ignorance over the basis for Chinese claims over the area.

Inside the Exclusive Economic Zone created by UNCLOS that took effect in 1994, but outside the 1898 Treaty of Paris that defined Philippine territory.

“It is just 239  kms from Zambales,  and therefore is ours, “ the simplistic argument goes. But proximity is not recognized as a valid argument for sovereign claims. “The 1734 map by Jesuit cartographer Pedro Murillo Velarde clearly shows Bajo de Masinloc as within Philippine territory”, another argument goes.  But among other things (such as the fact that old maps aren’t automatically proof of sovereignty), the Velarde 1734 map was superseded by the 1898 Treaty of Paris by which Spain turned over its colony to the US. That treaty defined Philippine territory through precise by geographical coordinates.  Scarborough Shoal was outside the Philippine defined territory.

We have to understand the basis of the conflicting claims, so we would look at the dispute in rational terms, not through emotional terms such as Aquino III’s “what is ours is ours”, and make enemies with a neighbor who can help us.

The Philippine Claim:

The Philippines main argument for its sovereignty claim over Bajo de Masinloc is  that it has exercised effective occupation and jurisdiction over it, a mode of asserting sovereignty based on international law, while China never did.   Such a ruling has been made in number of cases by international courts or tribunals, most notably the Palmas Island Case (US vs The Netherlands, April 4, 1928). The name itself is an indication of its effective jurisdiction since it means “ under Masinloc”, or within municipality of Masinloc, part of within Zambales Province of the  Philippines.

Philippine flags have been erected  on some of the rocks around the lagoon since 1965 and  the Philippine Navy had operated a lighthouse in one of the islets in 1992. Just 290  kilometers from the former  US naval base in Subic Bay (which left in 1992), American  and Philippine naval and air forces had used its surroundings as targets for the training of its warships and warplanes’ weapons. The Philippines and the U.S. Navy visited the feature, charted it, and exercised law enforcement jurisdiction over the features.  The country’s environmental agencies and universities have also been conducting scientific, topographic, and marine studies in the Shoal. Filipino fishermen have always considered it as their fishing grounds owing to its proximity to the coastal towns of Southwest Luzon.   The Philippines 2009 Archipelagic Baselines Law identified it as one of the “Regime of Islands” that is part of its territory.

The Chinese claim:

While the arbitral ruling itself in the suit the Philippines brought against China in 2013  did not rule on the issue of sovereignty over Scarborough Shoal, it interestingly described  at length China’s  sovereignty claims:

“Scarborough Shoal, which in China is known as ‘Huangyan Dao’ is treated as part of the Zhongsha Islands. In its 1958 Declaration of the Government of the People’s Republic of China on China’s Territorial Sea, China declared a twelve mile nautical sea from ‘all territories.  including  the Zhongsha Islands.’ China’s 1992 Law on the Territorial Sea and the Contiguous Zone also included the Zhongsha Islands in China’s territorial land which generated a 12-nautical-mile territorial sea.” (pages 199 to 200).

China’s major rebuttal against the Philippine claim is that Scarborough Shoal is outside the Philippine territory as defined in the 1898 Treaty of Paris by which Spain turned over its colony to the US. That treaty set the Philippines western limit at  118th degree longitude East; Scarborough is at 117.7 degree longitude  This territorial definition was explicitly affirmed in the 1935 Constitution, and implied in 1961 Republic Act No.3046 and the 1968 Republic Act. No. 5446.  Philippine maps published in 1981 and 1984, also indicated that Huangyan is outside the Philippine territorial limits. 

A Philippine scholar has counter-argued however: The “1900 Treaty of Washington included ‘any islands belonging to the Philippine archipelago, lying outside the lines…as if they had been expressly included within those lines.’  The Philippine Commonwealth Government (1935-1941) claimed Scarborough Shoal and regarded the same as ‘included among the islands ceded to the United States by the American-Spanish Treaty of November 7, 1900.” However, that treaty expressly referred  only to “the islands of Cagayan Sulu and Sibutu” at the southernmost Tawi-Tawi group of islands. Due to an administrative error in the Treaty of Paris, the two islands were retained under Spanish sovereignty until they were formally ceded to the United States upon the ratification of the Treaty of Washington on March 23, 1901.

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This Post Has 2 Comments

  1. TOTAL AMBOY DEATH

    Whenever Bobong Narcos and his fellow geriatric Amboys try to stir shit with China, I suspect there’s half-hidden news like price hikes, inflation and food shortages.

    Expect more of those as El Nino worsens, the powers that be public need to distract the public.

  2. Dorina S. Rojas

    Pres. Marcos Jr. does not have delusions, he is ignorant or stupid enough to believe that he knows world history just like that P20 per kilogram of rice that he believes is found everywhere in the Philippines.

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