Monday, March 3, 2008

Week #11: Philippine Bloggers Question the Spratlys Deal

We've been hearing about the Spratly Islands lately. We heard about it during Marcos' time, a territorial rights dispute that almost sent us to war with China. And now, we hear it again in Gloria's time, that's about to send us to civil war. Many are asking, did she commit treason? Was she just greedy, selling parts of the Philippines to China for a $2B low-interest loan every year until 2010, with no conditions of transparency? Has she bigger plans that we can't see? Here are the questions being asked by Philippine bloggers over the Spratlys deal, and the answers uncovered.

Watch ABS-CBN's The Correspondent in-depth report of the ZTE-NBN scandal's connection with the Spratlys deal. (Video at YouTube)

Ricky Carandang wrote more about this in his blog, raising the question whether Gloria Arroyo's Spratlys agreement with China was treasonous or not.

At the same time, Manolo Quezon wrote this commentary at Inquirer Net about the Spratlys deal, Today the Spratlys, Tomorrow Palawan, voicing concern for our sovereignty on those lands.

Quezon has an updated and more detailed report on his blog on the Spratlys deal, focusing on the Philippine-China relationship.

While at Malaya.. Probe Gloria Treason, ‘Sellout’ of sovereignty seen for dirty Chinese loans, where Sen. Antonio Trillanes files a bill to investigate the Spratlys deal. The same is written at Magdalo Para Sa Pagbabago where Bagong Katipunero accuses Gloria Arroyo of treason (written in Tagalog). Walang Ku-Corrupt! is a copy of a speech given by Sen. Ping Lacson at UP Diliman where he says, "I plan to deliver a privilege speech next week... and possibly accuse that good leader of treason."

In the meantime, fishermen's group also seeks probe of alleged Spratlys deal. They say that the Spratly waters "are a breeding and spawning ground for many species of fish that eventually find their way into the country's waters. The area is also a route of migratory marine animals such as tuna, whales and dolphins," which would be destroyed by oil explorations.

Ellen Tordesillas, in her blog wrote Arroyo Spratlys deal impacts on balance of power in Asia. There is also this same article, Manila's Bungle in the South China Sea that implies China's territorial ambitions on the South China Sea.

Far Eastern Economic Review reports the same story on the Philippine sell-out of the Spratlys to China.

Available at Newsbreak is the full text of the PNOC-CNOOC Agreement on the Spratlys.

I'm not much into conspiracy theories, but we should be questioning the bigger picture in this Spratlys deal. For us, the main concern is just the corruption in our country, Gloria's alleged treason, our fishing grounds in the Kalayaan group, and our right to sovereignty of that area. From China's point of view, it's oil and much more. DJB Rizalist wrote about China's past and its territorial ambitions in the South China Sea. I agree in part with him, and according to the Global Security Organization, Spratlys is much more than just oil, natural gas, and minerals. It's true, we should not just sit back and wait for China's dole-outs, like we did with the US. China is known for its long-term goals, its patience, and its race with the West for world economic domination. We're known for our impulsiveness, our quick-cash solutions, and our 'enjoy now, pay later' economic plans. What are we gaining now, and what are we sacrificing tomorrow? We should also not forget China's past, its relations with its neighboring countries, and what happened in Tibet. We could be next.

Photos from Philippine Commentary.

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