Uncle Sam Controlling Philippine National Interest?

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THE suspicious timing of the Supreme Court declaring the Joint Maritime Seismic Understanding (JMSU) as unconstitutional was questioned by one of our country’s top international law experts and Constitutionalist Harry Roque Jr. He urged the Office of the Solicitor General to appeal to the court to “reverse its decision that could pose serious implications on national economic interests, bilateral relations and security in the West Philippine Sea (South China Sea).”

His position is worth reprinting:

“The Supreme Court decision to nullify the JMSU is incompatible and inconsistent with the relevant provisions of Unclos… the Philippines lacks sovereignty over the area covered by the JMSU, even if it falls under the country’s exclusive economic zone (EEZ).

“The Philippines cannot enforce its Constitutional jurisdiction beyond its sovereign territory. Thus, the 1987 Constitution should not apply to JMSU. The Convention defines a coastal state’s sovereignty as extending beyond its land territory and internal or archipelagic waters to an adjacent belt of the sea called the territorial sea. This territorial sea is limited to 12 nautical miles from the baseline of a coastal or archipelagic state like the Philippines. We cannot exercise sovereignty over an EEZ, 200 nautical miles from the Philippine archipelagic baselines.

“Sovereign rights do not give the country supreme and absolute power over its EEZ but allow the Philippines to explore, exploit, conserve and manage natural resources within the zone.”

hile exercising its rights and duties in the EEZ, the country is mandated by Unclos to have due regard to the rights and freedoms of other states, stressed UP Law Professor Harry Roque.

The timing is also suspicious because the JMSU was already allowed to lapse in 2008, although then-President Arroyo reminded the public that “[t]he language [of the JMSU], it was without prejudice to the filing of a protest. And since it was just a research survey, it does not affect the respective positions of the countries on issues related to the claim.”

The Philippines needs the resources in the West Philippine Sea more than China, as the Malampaya is about to expire. Philippine Star’s Satur Ocampo says the JMSU is detrimental to Philippine national interest, but, like other forever-critics, fails to mention that China has repeatedly offered 60 percent profit sharing in favor of the Philippines in the past (though this may not be the case in the future, as situation evolves); they are quiet on the Philippines only getting 10 percent in the Malampaya deal where American companies got the majority share, even without paying taxes.

China has resolved 17 out 23 border disputes, with 12 out of 14 neighbors, which took decades of negotiations, but which were substantially peaceful. And on several occasions, China even gave the greater area and concessions to the other party, in a study done by MIT’s Taylor Fravel.

US interference in PH national interest

The US Department of Agriculture (USDA) is now warning that the Marcos government’s call for the importation of 22,000 metric tons of onions will benefit China… The importation should be about whoever can offer the most affordable at the speediest delivery time to benefit our people. Why can’t the US help supply onions at better prices ?

When China was donating medical supplies and vaccines during the height of the pandemic, the US-linked media constantly demonized China’s vaccines, while not reporting that the US were blocking deliveries, or the adverse side effects of Western vaccines, only recently being exposed, but which data continue to be blocked from being provided to the public. One Western brand, exposed fot not having tested for efficacy versus transmission although selling billions of doses under representation that the doses were needed to prevent transmission, claimed it had to do it due to “the speed of science,” whatever that meant. The CEO hid from investigations, and the great majority of information was redacted in the papers provided on research findings.

In an earlier IDSI Forum, Roque, who was the spokesman for then-President Duterte, also revealed that the US forced Duterte to pardon US Marine Lance Corporal Joseph Scott Pemberton, in exchange for vaccine delivery during the height of the pandemic. This echoes similar experiences of several Latin American countries that reported US vaccine companies were requiring military concessions, on top of complete immunity for any adverse impact of the vaccines even if efficacy problems or side effects came out due to the pharmaceutical makers, before vaccines were delivered. Why didn’t Rappler, Inquirer and Philstar report this?

Fake News Continues?

The Inquirer editorial, Stratbase Group’s Dindo Manhit and UP Professor Richard Heydarian, among others, continue to say the Philippines did not receive any benefits from China. Did they fail to research, refuse to see, or worse…? We remind them of some of the benefits delivered in five years under Duterte:

Manila’s two newest bridges, valued at over P8 billion, were donated by China. Billions in medical supplies, vaccines donations and technology-transfers that helped save our frontliners dying like flies saved tens of thousands more deaths from a then high fatality infection, sped up our country’s opening up by months and trillions to the economy, largely unreported. At the height of the pandemic, when the US and other nations were hoarding supplies and vaccines, China donated over 5 million vaccines, on top of over 50 million rushed-delivered, among many other assistance.

Aside from these donations, China and Russia supplied weapons that allowed the Philippines to overcome the Marawi rebellion when the US blocked, including EU, weapons at the time of our greatest need; we might have become an Isis-dominated country collapsed by decades of war as happened with US control of Iraq and Syria.

China became the largest buyer of Philippine goods, even during the pandemic, directly benefiting our farmers. Bilateral trade with China reached $82 billion, almost 33 percent of Philippine exports. Tourism in 2019 reached over 1.5 million, generating over P150 billion in annual income directly to our local economy. Training thousands of Filipino engineers and helping double the reach of our broadband as well as speeds during the pandemic, allowing us to work and meet from home and continue running the economy and allowing Filipinos to continue producing hundreds of billions of productive services a month, were Chinese providers and installers. Over 100,000 Filipinos are reported to be working in Chinese companies in the construction, technology and related fields.

Misleading Or Biased Surveys

The OCTA survey presents a bigger picture that shows the topmost concerns of the majority of Filipinos are in categories of economic, jobs, health and education. In contrast, ADRi organized a forum on the day that President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. was to return from his Beijing state visit, highlighting a Pulse Asia commissioned survey to show Filipinos want to boost security ties with the US and Japan. Do these people forget or expect our people to forget that the US and Japan bombed the Philippines to ashes, and made our country the most destroyed in WW2 and led to the loss of 1 million Filipinos? Incidentally, ADRi’s forum “Philippine National Interest” was co-sponsored by the US Embassy. Will ADRi have a forum to study the wars funded by the US like the Ukraine-Russia war where the US has spent nearly a hundred billion dollars at the cost of countless useless lives lost, for what? For the right to install weapons aimed at Russia, but not allowing the same in Cuba or Venezuela? Or the destruction left in Iraq, Afghanistan and Libya?

Are these activities orchestrated to tie the hands of President Marcos and ensure the approval of five additional US military bases in the Philippines? Roque also warned that the Supreme Court decision “bound the hands” of President Marcos in resolving the maritime disputes peacefully, adding what is at stake is the peaceful resolution of the South China Sea disputes and ability of the people to benefit from the maritime resources.

We welcome logical feedback and possibly working together with compatible frameworks (idsicenter@gmail.com). A similar version was also published in ManilaTimes.

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