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Lies spread by the gullible, the ignorant or brown Americans

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THERE is one major reason why President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. sees nothing idiotic in his vitriolic anti-China foreign policy. This is the fact that otherwise intelligent, even respectable commentators have been unable to see through the US-crafted and disseminated propaganda against China.

This is mainly due to the fact that, their effective culture being American, they have been gullible in believing the US-crafted and disseminated narrative over the South China Sea controversy, which had gone full-blast as part of the Americans’ realization at the start of this millennium that China has emerged as a superpower, and is threatening their hegemony in Asia.

Its so-called Pivot to China declared by the Obama administration in 2009 was its unabashed announcement to its allies that it would henceforth pay more attention to China as a rival, if not an enemy, and would encircle as it has done in the case of Russia.

Indeed the US has proven since the Cold War in the 1950s to be the master par excellence of propaganda that creates brazen lies to strengthen its hegemony. Thus, most of the world came to believe the US lie that Saddam Hussein had “weapons of mass destruction” — either chemical or nuclear, it did not say — and therefore had to be eliminated, and his country Iraq, home of the world’s oldest civilization, be left devastated. Two decades have passed, and those weapons of mass destruction, even just plans to build by Saddam, have never been found. It was a lie to justify the US invasion of Iraq that resulted in over 100,000 Iraqis killed. America, though, would solidify its hold on the oil-rich Middle East.

This lie and, more recently, those involving the South China Sea dispute are instances of the Marxist dictum, “Without exception the world view of the ruling class is the dominant view.” The US narrative of China as “an aggressor, the international rule breaker” has been the dominant view, challenged however by independent nations such as Malaysia’s Anwar Ibrahim and Singapore’s Lee Hsien Loong.


While I am angry that this very respected paper is again being exploited to disseminate erroneous American propaganda, in this particular column, it has been convenient for me to debunk wrong US views as these were presented in just one paragraph.

I am referring to the column the other day of former Ramos official Rafael Alunan. I had called out Alunan and another columnist here, Edgard Arevalo, in November, who alleged that China’s People’s Liberation Army had “sleeper cells” here, i.e., infiltrators who would undertake assassinations and sabotage here before China invades the country. Proof of these, they said, were stick-on military insignias and rifles discovered by the police.

Those were, of course, brazen lies, and their sources were social media trolls’ posts on dubious websites. The incriminating insignias and rifles were for the popular “Airsoft” sports. Alunan and Arevalo did not even apologize for their publishing lies in their columns.

In his column the other day, Alunan wrote: “China has clearly demonstrated that it does not respect international law, Philippine sovereignty or our sovereign rights.”

He is referring to the 2016 ruling of the arbitral panel set up under a provision of the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (Unclos). China, however, refused to participate in the “arbitration,” which defies the very definition of an “arbitration,” which is a process by which two parties agree to present their arguments over an issue and for a third party to issue its ruling.

Contrary to many accounts that it was the Permanent Court of Arbitration (PCA) at The Hague that issued the ruling, the PCA had nothing to do with the arbitration other than providing the venue and documentation staff. Rather, it was a five-man panel appointed by the Philippines and the president then of the International Tribunal of the Law of the Sea. He was a Japanese international law expert who China claimed had proven in his work to be very much anti-China.


At any rate, what was heard and ruled on the Philippine suit was not a court of law but merely an arbitral panel, which means that its decision, if not complied with, does not mean China’s refusal to comply with international law. It doesn’t set a precedent in the interpretation of international law. To illustrate: Ayala asks Sta. Lucia to go into arbitration at the Singapore International Arbitration Center to decide who legally owns a particular property. Sta. Lucia refuses. Ayala goes ahead with the arbitration and gets a favorable ruling. Sta. Lucia ignores the ruling. Is Sta. Lucia violating any law, local or international?

Yes, understanding the Philippines vs China dispute is not really hard if one drops one’s pro-US and anti-China bias. The US, though, has gone to town claiming China isn’t complying with international law.

Alunan echoed that US line: “China does not respect Philippine sovereignty nor sovereign rights.”

The Spratlys archipelago is claimed not just by China and the Philippines but by Taiwan and partly by Malaysia and Brunei. Setting aside its claims of sovereignty over the Spratlys dating back centuries, China had declared the Spratlys it calls the Nansha archipelago — as well as the Pratas Islands (Dongsha Qundao), the Paracel Islands (Xisha Qundao), Macclesfield Bank and Scarborough Shoal (Zhongsha Qundao) — as part of its sovereign territory, presented in its pre-World War 1 map, its 1947 map and in all maps since.

It had formally declared these island groups as part of its sovereign territory in its 1958 “Declaration of the Government of the People’s Republic of China and reasserted in its 1992 “Law of the People’s Republic of China on the Territorial Sea and the Contiguous Zone.” In short, its claim of Spratlys and the other island groups in the South China Sea is part of its law of the land.


These two state declarations represented in the post-war era the PRC’s formal claims of sovereignty over the Spratlys and the other island groups in the South China Sea — which are independent of the so-called nine-dash line that China has to this day not declared as marking its territory, land or waters.

In short, all of the American-funded outrage that the Chinese leader Xi Jinping woke up one morning and drew this line, and through it claimed “80 percent of the South China Sea” is pure rubbish — but clever propaganda.

Our claim to the Spratlys was made only in 1978 through Marcos Sr.’s Presidential Decree 1596, which annexed the group of islands he called the Kalayaan Island Group on the grounds that no country had claimed, much less occupied it. Before that, however, Marcos forces had occupied six islands from 1970 to 1971 and four more, including one reef and one shoal, from 1977 to 1980.

While not relinquishing its sovereign claims over the entire island group, China occupied only six reefs in 1988 (likely because of its weak economy and military at that time) and had not attempted to grab the 15 features that Vietnam had occupied mostly in 1988, and the eight islands we took control of in the 1970s and one reef in 1978.

Mischief Reef

However, China occupied the Mischief Reef in 1994, which was neither occupied by Vietnam nor the Philippines. A 1998 article in the US Naval War College by Michael Studeman (who would become rear admiral in charge of US naval intelligence) explained what drove the PRC to occupy the reef, its first move into the Spratlys after seven years:

“Joint development talks between China and the Philippines over the gas-rich Reed Bank broke down in early 1994; in May, Manila decided to grant a six-month oil exploration permit to Alcorn Petroleum and Minerals. The Philippines was interested in collecting seismic data on the seabed southwest of Reed Bank.

“Manila hoped the contract would remain a secret, but news of the collaboration soon leaked. Beijing swiftly issued a statement reasserting its sovereignty over the area. Beijing swiftly issued a statement reaffirming China’s sovereignty over the area covered by the license and ignored Manila’s belated invitation to become a partner in the project which cannot be covered by the license the Philippine government gave to Alcorn.

“Manila’s untrustworthiness having been proven, China decided to advance eastward to a perch that allowed China better surveillance coverage of possible Philippine-sponsored oil exploration activity. China was forced to show it was not sleeping on its rights … Though the Chinese post on Mischief Reef was not discovered until February 1995, the advanced stage of the buildings indicated construction had begun in the fall of 1994, just a few months after Manila’s faux pas. China quietly advanced eastward because it believed it was acting in defense of urgent economic and territorial imperatives, and it was anxious to stop the plundering along its periphery.”

High ground

China claimed the moral high ground since the Philippines, in effect, actively but surreptitiously asserted its sovereignty over the disputed area by issuing the exploration permit to an American firm. From then on, the embarrassed President Ramos practically gave up Mischief Reef to the Chinese.

China from 2013 to 2016 turned Mischief Reef and the other reefs it controlled into artificial islands and built huge fortifications on them. It was China’s unexpected response to the Philippine arbitration suit, which, among other things, alleged that China cannot claim sovereignty over reefs. What reefs, the Chinese are, in effect, saying with their artificial island. China’s tack was usually done in many territorial disputes — “proving sovereignty on the ground.”

Located just 43 kilometers from Mischief Reef, the Chinese have been in control of Ayungin Reef since 1995. A pathetic attempt, though, was undertaken by President Estrada’s defense secretary Orlando Mercado in 1999 to maintain our sovereignty over Ayungin Shoal or at least a semblance of it. He ordered a World War 2 LST, the BRP Sierra Madre, to be run aground in the shoal’s shallow waters on the legalistic grounds that since the vessel is technically part of the Philippines, the shoal is a symbol of that claim.

Apparently not informed of the move, Estrada, through his foreign secretary Domingo Siazon, told China that the grounding was really an accident and that the BRP Sierra Madre would be towed away from the shoal. To assure the Chinese, the Estrada government committed to supply the Filipino Marines there only with food, water and medicines but not with construction and repair materials that would keep the ship intact.


Thus from a spic and span condition when it was grounded in 1999, the vessel has deteriorated so badly that it could sink sooner or later. Obviously, succeeding governments refused to be known as the president who ordered the last proof of our sovereignty claim.

US propagandists, though, managed to convince the Benigno Aquino 3rd and now Marcos Jr. administrations to use the BRP Sierra Madre as a propaganda tool against China, romanticizing the situation as a David defying a Goliath, or as a New York Times article presented it, “A Game of Shark and Winnow,” the small fish which the West should come to the succor of.

The US indeed portrayed the pitiful BRP Sierra Madre manned by a bold squad of soldiers as a powerful symbol of the weaker country defying the superpower, which the world should condemn.

The US and the present pawn president had ratcheted up the propaganda thrust involving the shark-and-winnow imagery. The Philippine Navy and the Philippine Coast Guard have been defying China by attempting to supply the BRP Sierra Madre with repair and construction materials. Did they expect the Chinese to respond to the intrusion into what their laws and maps say is part of their sovereign territory by offering them tea?

Alunan, however, spins the situation, in ignorance, gullibility or as a brown American, in his claim in his column: “China attacks our Philippine Coast Guard and Navy resupply ships.”

Facebook: Rigoberto Tiglao

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My website: www.rigobertotiglao.com

This Post Has 3 Comments

  1. Gagong_tambaloslos

    Last 2016 I voted for PRRD, I also voted Rafael Alunan at Walden Bello as my senators. I’m so glad those two didn’t win. Also not impressed with Gibo Teodoro when he turned down PRRD’s offer to be part of his cabinet.

  2. Dorina S. Rojas

    The brown Americans and the idiots know that many Filipinos love gossip and they have been taking advantage of that. Unfortunately, many seem to enjoy the feeling of being the poor, beaten guy by the big bad men. That attracts attention and sympathy, but not our neighbors who know the truth and the right. The gossips and those who play saviors-good guys, etc. tell the whole world they are the good guys while we remain beaten and a laughing stock.


    It is very telling that our foreign policy is led by geriatric dolts (like Alunan) who still probably call the modern, un-communist Russian Federation “the Soviet Union”. Stuck in their GI Joe fantasies that get their butts flustered and excited, they probably envy their elders who fought in the previous World War – maybe all this chest-beating about fighting the evil Chicoms is their subconscious desire to one-up their fathers? In that case, it would probably be better if these sort of people fight the Chinese themselves – these Amboys dying will make our country better, as they are also the ones who have kept us as SE Asia’s basketcase. They can all die and I will not shed a tear for these people.

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