The build up in Palawan is a clear and present danger | Part 2
By C. de los Angeles
China’s expansionist strategy
THEIR STRATEGY is to occupy with civilian forces and then build to control. They have successfully done it before and they continue to do it. In the Himalayas with their border dispute with India they have likewise built villages in contested areas knowing that any violence against civilians will be tantamount to war. So they sent civilians or militias in to occupy the area while you are helpless to defend unless you counter it with your own.
The recent events off Palawan show China repeating their successful strategy, right? They have deployed hundreds of fishing boats or militia ships tightly bound together all across the area. They will surround the area and harass anyone entering these areas.
But the Chinese expansionist strategy is far more complicated than their use of civilian militia. In the Philippines, we learned under the guise of a Trojan Horse of POGOs (Philippine Offshore Gaming Operations), the Chinese have sent over three million citizens the past four years with average age of 25 years, the military age.
Second, entry points such as selected ports are controlled by China as part of their Belt and Road Initiative.
Third, the entry of a third telecommunication player, DITO, which is partly owned by the Chinese and who was allowed by our military to set up cell towers in all of our military bases in exchange for internet and communications. How could we allow the current threat to our country control our military communications?
Fourth, with the China-sourced Covid-19 problem our country has been demoralized. It is interesting or suspicious that among our Asian neighbors we are hardest hit by the novel coronavirus disease. With the three million Chinese in the country, it is possible that they are intentionally spreading the virus. It was well documented that the Chinese had set up their own hospitals to cater to their citizens and they seemed to be immune or not as affected by the virus unlike all of us. Is it possible this is some biological warfare to weaken us so they can annex us?
Fifth, as mentioned earlier, as we suffer from the pandemic, China heartlessly annexed our territory amassing ships in various areas around Palawan.
NATO forces have deployed various submarines in the area with a French and US naval submarines patrolling the seas to ensure safe passage.
For some reason, both the Chinese and US have sent research vessels to the area probably in the guise to monitor each other’s activities.
Chinese vs Philippine Military
Based on the CIA World Factbook, China has an annual military budget of $228 billion while the Philippines only has $3 billion.
The Chinese has an active military force of 2.3 million soldiers compared to 125,000 for the Philippines while the reserve personnel of the Chinese is 8 million, ours is only 180,000.
For our land forces, the Philippines has zero tanks compared to 7,760 for China. Even with artillery we only have 323 compared to their 9,726.
Our air force is a joke, we only have 219 aircrafts comprised mostly of helicopters and cargo planes. The Philippines only has 12 fighter aircraft compared to China’s 4,182 aircraft of which 1,150 are fighter aircraft. While our Navy has 129 ships compared to China’s 780, of which 76 are submarines.
Any way we look at it the odds are against us but does that mean we should just allow them to take over our country?
Vietnam in the past fought back although China retaliated and many Vietnamese were killed. China is more wary of encroaching on Vietnamese areas compared to the Philippines.
In hindsight, before filing with UNCLOS we should have occupied as many of the reefs as possible similar to what we did when we ran aground a ship on one of our reefs as a makeshift base. We should have built communities in the area to make it harder for us to be removed.
Although it may be late we should still prepare for any eventuality. We need to start thinking and preparing and stop talking.
How can we build defense for our country? With our obvious limited budget we need to explore new technologies and use our ingenious and creative ways on how to defend the country and improve our defenses.
Who will be with us to protect us? Identify who and communicate with our allies, especially those with aligned interests like our ASEAN neighbors. There is strength in numbers.
What are our current capabilities in defense? In World War II, Winston Churchill utilized even private boats to help evacuate their soldiers. We need to identify all assets whether military or civilian so we know what are those that are at our disposal. We need to activate the reservists and recruit more patriots to be ready in case of any situation.
This is not only militarily but economically. We need to identify essential items the country needs: are we self sufficient or do we need to import? If yes, from where? If it’s from China we need to identify alternative sources and start stock-piling.
Worst case scenario, evacuation. And should our efforts be too late we need to have an evacuation plan. Identify areas we can fall back to, to easily defend and regroup while we plan our next steps.
Either way the time to act is NOW. We should not lose HOPE. We must stand TALL, and like our forefathers before us, be willing to TAKE UP ARMS to DEFEND OUR COUNTRY to our very LAST DROP OF OUR BLOOD. (End)