With the raging scandal against the Arroyo government, some little known betrayal by the government came to light. Thanks to Mr Carandang and Mr Quezon III.

Filipinos from all sectors, including CBCP,  should take this report with seriousness as we could end up with less than 1000 islands ahead of global warming effect.

Disclaimer: This article is posted here without prior permission. With apologies to the respective  authors.

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THE LONG VIEW
The Long View : Today the Spratlys, tomorrow Palawan

By Manuel L. Quezon III
Philippine Daily Inquirer

Posted date: February 27, 2008

MANILA, Philippines — His Excellency Diosdado Talamayan can still bask in being able to “Oye-Oye” the President, while His Excellency Fernando Capalla can still dream (of what, of Cristina Ponce Enrile  securing him a red hat from the Pope?). The President can thank them for their intervention in the Catholic  Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines and say, “Well done, good and faithful servants.”

kalayaan.jpgAnd thanks to the good bishops, the latest assurance that a future Arroyo Presidential Library can be built in the Ateneo de Manila University will be a suitable monument to Jesuit principles in action. Senators Joker Arroyo and Juan Ponce Enrile may have failed to derail the Senate hearings, as they mightily tried last Tuesday, but as they say, God works in mysterious ways.

I am happy Bishops Talamayan and Archbishop Capalla successfully bought the President time, because only time can further expose the reasons why she is undeserving of continuing in office.

In Genesis, chapter 25:30-34, a mess of pottage (lentil soup) is what Esau gets from his brother Jacob:

“And Esau said to Jacob, feed me, I pray thee, with that same red pottage; for I am faint…

“And Jacob said, Sell me this day thy birthright.

“And Esau said, Behold, I am at the point to die: and what profit shall this birthright do to me?

“And Jacob said, Swear to me this day; and he swore unto him and he sold his birthright unto Jacob.

“Then Jacob gave Esau bread and pottage of lentils….”

On Tuesday, a witness told the Senate that the Chinese insisted that the President leave her husband’s sickbed, because they were skeptical of the seriousness of the government with regard to the national broadband network (NBN) deal with China’s ZTE Corp. She complied, returning the favor of commissions being released in time to help the administration election campaign last May.

After repeatedly playing the China card, eventually the Chinese have to collect. What’s in it for them?

Recently, in “The Correspondents” program, the television news channel ANC’s Ricky Carandang began to zero in on what is ultimately at stake for China: the Spratlys. And what the President’s ultimate concession has been: to abandon, at least partly, the Philippine claim to part of that island chain. What spratlys.jpgCarandang reported locally has been investigated internationally, too.

Barry Wain, writing in the Far Eastern Economic Review (Jan-Feb 2008), puts it this way in “Manila’s

Bungle in The South China Sea”: “What most observers don’t realize is that in the last few years, regional cooperative efforts to coax Beijing into a more measured stance have been set back by one of the rival claimants to the islands.”

Our government left its regional partners in the lurch: “[T]he Philippine government has broken ranks with the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, which was dealing with China as a bloc on the South China Sea issue. The Philippines also has made breathtaking concessions…”

How? “President Arroyo’s agreement with China for a joint seismic study was controversial in several respects. By not consulting other ASEAN members beforehand, the Philippines abandoned the collective stance that was key to the group’s success with China over the South China Sea. Ironically, it was Manila that first sought a united front and rallied ASEAN to confront China over its intrusion into Mischief Reef a decade earlier. Sold the idea by politicians with business links who have other deals going with the Chinese, Ms Arroyo did not seek the views of her foreign ministry, Philippines officials say. By the time the foreign ministry heard about it and objected, it was too late, the officials say.”

And our government did so, by means of withholding information from its own people and its neighbors:

“Beijing and Manila did not make public the text of their ‘Agreement for Seismic Undertaking for Certain Areas in the South China Sea By and Between China National Offshore Oil Corporation and Philippine National Oil Company’… signed on Sept. 1, 2004…”

kalayaan_airstrip.jpgHowever, the cat’s out of the bag, and it includes, not just the Philippine claim to the Spratlys, but our own iron-clad territorial limits: “Now that the location is known, the details having leaked into research circles, the reasons for wanting to keep it under wraps are apparent: ‘Some would say it was a sell-out on the part of the Philippines,’ says Mark Valencia, an independent expert on the South China Sea. The designated zone, a vast swathe of ocean off Palawan in the southern Philippines, thrusts into the Spratlys and abuts Malampaya, a Philippine producing gas field. About one-sixth of the entire area, closest to the Philippine coastline, is outside the claims by China and Vietnam. Says Mr. Valencia: ’Presumably for higher political purposes, the Philippines agreed to these joint surveys that include parts of its legal continental shelf that China and Vietnam don’t even claim.”’

And so the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines has issued an open-ended demand for the President to revoke Executive Order 464. Can she? Will she?

The official response says it all: “This deserves very serious consideration.” Which means hell will freeze over first. Give an inch and the President is ever ready to take a mile.

What she needs is an ultimatum. Who will deliver that ultimatum? Not the hierarchy, but the public. How?

The Inquirer editorial put forward a suggestion yesterday. A nationwide stay-at-home strike: Leave the streets to the government’s “hakot” [hauled-in crowd] or the politicians aching for media mileage.

Will the citizenry step up to the plate? After 2010? By which time the Chinese Jacob would have secured the Philippine Esau’s birthright — for a mess of potage for Arroyo’s political party Kampi?

* * *

Ricky Carandang’s report is online at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tcQaa6IUiR0.

You can read the Far Eastern Economic Review story on the Philippine sell-out of the Spratlys to China at

http://www.viet-studies.info/kinhte/Manila_South_China_Sea.htm.

http://opinion.inquirer.net/inquireropinion/columns/view/20080227-121585/Today-the-Spratlys-tomorrow-Palawan

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