HE WAS JOKING. But you know what jokes are in this regime – they’re depravity clothed in chuckles.
Panty Alvarez was having a ball. It was his 60th birthday and boy, was he the life of the party. And what a party! The president had come to fête him, as had a thousand other VVIPs. So you can imagine, he must’ve been feeling pretty euphoric when he took the rostrum and told his guests: “Maybe you are asking, why only two of us (audio is unclear). Well…THIS IS THE NEW WORLD ORDER.”
Check out the video yourself:
I would palm it off as tasteless conceit, except that recent developments give his boast a decidedly ominous context.
On January 12, at the end of Panty’s lavish week-long celebration, Rep. Gary Alejano broke the news that the Chinese were conducting research in the Benham Rise. When asked about it, DFA Sec. Alan Peter Cayetano refused to answer categorically. A week later, however, Cayetano confirmed that the DFA had indeed granted the Chinese permission to conduct marine scientific research (MSR) in the region.
Perhaps this affirmation would never have come if Spokesman Harry Roque had not announced some days before that it was Rodrigo Duterte himself who had given the nod. Cayetano thus jumped in with harm-reducing jargon, stressing the regularity of it all, saying that no laws were broken and that Duterte had signified “general approval” for all countries applying for research who would comply with Philippine requirements.
This is déjà vu. In March 2017, Alejano and Sen. Sonny Trillanes raised the alarm about a possible agreement forged by Duterte with the Chinese to explore the Benham Rise. This followed Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana’s report that a Chinese survey ship had lingered there for 3 months in 2016. The DFA lodged an official inquiry with the Chinese Embassy on the basis of that report.
In August 2017, Alejano again announced the presence of Chinese vessels “massing” near Pag-asa Island near Palawan, where the Philippines has installations housing AFP troops and equipment. Cayetano later admitted that Duterte “wanted” joint exploration with China in the disputed and undisputed waters of the West Philippine Sea and that discussions were being pursued to that end. The talks were being conducted “quietly,” he said, as part of the new foreign policy that sought “peace and stability” and rejected head-butting with China which, he claimed, “didn’t work.”
Back to the present
It appears that the recent permission granted China sub rosa is an outgrowth of that policy. It was so hush-hush, even we Pinoys didn’t know about it. Thank goodness for Gary Alejano. Confronted with the information, Roque and Cayetano responded defensively.
Cayetano insisted that the Philippines only stood to gain from this, saying that the Chinese were required to share their findings with us. Roque echoed him, adding that we need foreign research because we are incapable of conducting our own marine studies.
Both assertions have been soundly refuted. Bayan Muna representative Carlos Zarate “condemned” Cayetano’s “precipitous claim” that Chinese research would be beneficial to us:
“If we are to study recent history of Chinese marine studies, like the Joint Marine Seismic Undertaking (JMSU) during the Arroyo administration, it can be seen that it is China that rakes in most of the benefits,” Zarate said.
He added that China discovered “rich marine resources” but withheld full disclosure and shared only “blurry pictures” with us.
Professor Jay L. Batongbacal, Director of the UP Institute for Maritime Affairs and Law of the Sea, rebutted Roque most emphatically.
Alejano corrected Roque, saying: “It is not because our scientists do not have the ability to conduct research. It is because the government does not allot sufficiently for it.” Responding to Cayetano’s claim, Alejano cautioned, “What we should make sure now is the compliance of China to all the requirements demanded by the Philippine government as conditions to the permit issued. In particular, we should be wary on the sharing of information that will be culled from the said expedition.”
With his usual hauteur, Roque advised concerned citizens to challenge Duterte’s decision in Congress if they thought it unwise. (Yes, the same Congress controlled by Panty and his minions where concerned citizens challenging Duterte have no chance.) For his part, Cayetano petulantly argued that the Philippines had allowed the US, Japan and South Korea to conduct research in the Benham Rise without issue; why not China? (You know why.)
Duterte has allowed his surrogates to do the heavy lifting this round, but last March, it was he who faced the press. The result was enormous confusion since, apparently, the Defense and Foreign Affairs departments knew nothing of his growing coziness with China. (Watch the video below to get the full picture.)
Duterte famously announced then that China promised him that it would not lay claim to the Benham Rise. Either he is extremely credulous or he thinks we are.
Anyone with Duterte’s security access level would question that “assurance;‘‘ as Rep. Ruffy Biazon observed, accepting China’s “research” motive is the “height of naïveté.” And yet this is exactly what Duterte, Roque, and Cayetano want us to do.
If you have basic googling skills you’ll quickly find how foolish that would be. I exercised mine and discovered a September 2016 article published on the Institute for Maritime and Ocean Affairs website which proved highly interesting. It read:
In an article in the Want China Times that appeared on June 27, 2013, Admiral Liu Huaqing, the mastermind of China’s modern naval strategy, was quoted as saying in 1982 that it would be necessary for China to control the First and Second Island Chains by 2010 and 2020, respectively.
“The PLA Navy must be ready to challenge US domination over the Western Pacific and the Indian Ocean in 2040. If China is able to dominate the Second Island Chain seven years from now, the East China Sea will become the backyard of the PLA Navy,” he said…
If China is successful on its First Island Chain invasion, it will set its eyes to the Second Island Chain where the gas and deuterium-rich Benham region lies. The territory is just east of Luzon. The United Nations recently awarded the Philippines as the sole owner of the Benham Rise…
This is no secret. A number of websites focusing on Asian defense and security issues offer the same information. Even our local media have published similar reports, recently informing us of China’s new expanded 251-dash line map which claims both the first and second island chains as theirs and embraces an area that includes Hawaii.
We’ve been told, but we probably haven’t been listening.
What story has our government been telling us? That the Chinese have the purest motives, that they are benevolent, and that their incursions are benign? Is this why Duterte wants them to patrol our seas; why he wants them to plumb our resources; why he wants them to BUILD BUILD BUILD? Is this why Roque enthusiastically agrees that “China was right“; why Cayetano enters into “quiet” talks that exclude us, and why he makes revelations on an “only if I’m caught” (not even “need to know”) basis?
Yet when we read between the lines, ah… What do we see but an unholy new alliance which benefits…whom? The purveyors of falsehood, perhaps, who blithely betray our trust? This is what Pinoys must find out. This is why we must keep watch, lest a new world order come upon us and find us sleeping.
I shall leave you with this image, which I found by chance. The information wasn’t surprising. But I admit, China Policy‘s slogan threw me. It looks like folks with domination on their minds have the same penchant for change. The new world order is upon us. Change is coming. Anticipate change.
While He was still speaking, behold, a crowd came, and the one called Judas, one of the twelve, was preceding them; and he approached Jesus to kiss Him. But Jesus said to him, “Judas, are you betraying the Son of Man with a kiss?” – Luke 22:47-48