Prepare for war, says Enrile
Prepare for war, says Enrile | Tempo - News in a Flash
Manila, Philippines – While most of the senators are calling for a peaceful resolution, Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile said the Philippines must be prepared for a possible war with China.
“That is already an indication that China is grabbing the place from us. Nagiging grabber na ang China,” Enrile said, commenting on the rising number of Chinese vessels in the disputed Panatag Shoal.
“We must prepare. We better buy war equipment. We better buy our weapons, our means of defense,” Enrile told reporters.
But in a separate interview, Senator Antonio Trillanes IV said the Philippines has no capability to wage war.
Trillanes pointed out that the law which was supposed to ensure military modernization has failed due to corruption.
Some senators, meanwhile, urged the government to refrain from aggravating the tension with China.
Senators Trillanes, Loren Legarda, and Manny Villar said although it is clear that Panatag (Scarborough) belongs to the Philippines, the standoff should be resolved through diplomatic means.
“Hindi na kailangang palalain ang away sa China. Tumahimik na lang muna tayo. Hindi naman pagkaduwag iyon. Maliwanag na atin iyang Scarborough. Ito ay talagang sa diplomasya lang natin mareresolba,” Villar told reporters.
Legarda also urged both countries to “focus on what builds, not on what destroys” as any act of violence would only compromise peace and security in the region.
“Scarborough Shoal clearly belongs to the Philippines as it is within the 200 miles exclusive economic zone of the country and the Philippines has exercised effective jurisdiction and effective occupation over the area,” added Legarda, head of the Senate committee on Foreign Relations.
The standoff started when Chinese ships blocked a Philippine navy crew from arresting Chinese fishermen who were spotted taking marine species.
Based on its historical map, China claims sovereignty over the Panatag Shoal, which it refers to as Huangyan Island.
Nevertheless, Legarda said the current dispute over Scarborough Shoal will not affect the bilateral relations between the two countries.
Meanwhile, Sen. Ralph G. Recto pressed yesterday for the immediate deployment of a contingent of economic and business diplomats that would engage China and its business leaders in spirited discourse on the joint exploration of the vast economic potentials of West Philippine Sea.
“As the tension escalates in Panatag Shoal, I think it’s better for businessmen to talk than politicians talking. Maybe we can salvage a peaceful resolution,” Recto, Senate ways and means chair and Senate foreign relations member, said in a statement.
He said the continuing the tension in West Philippine Sea could be approached from a purely business perspective rather than from an agitated politico-military angle.
“It’s time for economic and business diplomacy. Instead of deploying our military ‘Avengers’,
let’s send our ‘Economic Avengers’.
“Let’s focus on things that unite us than those that divide us. Let’s expand our trade and business with China through project tie-ups in West Philippine Sea and elsewhere,” he added.
Recto said he hoped Filipino tycoons with Chinese lineage would lead in engaging their Chinese counterparts in exploring tie-ups. He, nevertheless, said joint deals with China must also be forged to set up manufacturing plants in the country that would cater to Southeast Asian market in preparation for the breaking down of tariff barriers under the Association of Southeast Asian Nations Free Trade Agreement (AFTA) by 2015.
Recto said the economic diplomatic route must be seized aggressively as the “hawks” and “doves” inside the Chinese hierarchy constantly struggle for dominance in pushing for their own agenda in West Philippine Sea. “Better we start talking to the doves now than be waylaid by their military hawks,” he said.
The senator said the latest move to shut down commercial flights to and from China and the cancellation of tourist package tours bound for the country could be an indication that the “hawks” in the Chinese politburo has gained the temporary upper hand.
Recto likewise appealed to Philippine and Chinese governments to refrain from further agitating their own people by dishing out heated statements and instead issue a call for national sobriety.
“We don’t want this to further escalate. Both sides should take a pause and allow nationalist emotions to simmer down. Everybody should stop stoking the fire,” he said. (Yahoo! News & Rolly T Carandang)
China told its citizens on Thursday they were not safe in the Philippines and its state media warned of war, as a month-long row over rival claims in the South China Sea threatened to spill out of control.
Chinese travel agencies announced they had suspended tours to the Philippines, under government orders, and the embassy in Manila advised its nationals already in the country to stay indoors ahead of planned protests.
“Avoid going out at all if possible, and if not, to avoid going out alone. If you come across any demonstrations, leave the area, do not stay to watch,” the embassy’s advisory said.
The safety alerts came as government-controlled media in China warned the country was prepared to go to war to end the stand-off over Scarborough Shoal – small islands in the West Philppine Sea that both nations claim as their own.
“No matter how willing we are to discuss the issue, the current Philippine leadership is intent on pressing us into a corner where there is no other option left but the use of arms,” the China Daily said in an editorial.
“Manila is living in a fantasy world if it mistakes our forbearance for timidity.”
Chinese foreign ministry spokesperson Hong Lei said China was committed to a peaceful resolution.
But the editorial echoed other warnings in recent weeks in the state-run media that China was prepared to use its massive military advantage to crush the Philippines’ challenge for the shoal. (AFP)
Anti-China activities in Makati City got to a heated start yesterday morning after police stopped a former policeman and mayor from burning the Chinese flag in front of the Chinese embassy.
Former Laguna mayor Abner Afuang shouted at police personnel who stopped him from setting fire to the flag, radio dzBB’s Sam Nielsen reported.
“Bawal daw magsunog… Nakakahiya kayo … Mga pulis patola kayo,” Afuang told the policemen.
The report said the police seized other Chinese flags from Afuang’s vehicle.
Afuang had just poured gas on one of the flags and had lighted a torch he was using to set fire to the flag when police stopped him.
“If I have to burn it every day, I will burn it. I have money,” Afuang later told reporters.
When asked why he was angry at China, Afuang said he was not angry at China but pointed out that “they (China) are bullying us”.
He was referring to the one-month standoff between the Philippines and China at Panatag Shoal.
Other groups, including one allied with President Aquino, were scheduled to hold anti-China activities in the area yesterday.
Meanwhile, security remained tight at the embassy area, with more than 100 police keeping guard against troublemakers.
Earlier, Makati police said they will observe maximum tolerance but said they will not hesitate to call in anti-riot police reinforcements from the Southern Police District if needed.