President Duterte has been ridiculed online by critics for his peaceful approach in the Spratly issue.
The critics of Duterte especially like to resurrect Duterte’s campaign promise of taking a jet ski to the Spratly and plant the Philippine flag in one of the contested territories.
While some critics want Duterte to be more aggressive in asserting our claim to the Spratly Islands to the extent of engaging China in a shooting war.
These critics include opposition politicians including the Magdalo politicians like Rep. Alejano and Sen. Trillanes.
Meanwhile, a former military rebel and PMA graduate took to Facebook explaining his stance on the issue and why he is siding with the President.
Abe Purugganan also offers different scenarios in dealing with the Spratly issue but in the end he admitted that the Philippines best course of action at this point is diplomacy. Read why.
“I am avoiding discussions among retired Peemayers on our current response against the intrusions of China. Some criticize the President for not sending our navy to the disputed territories to ward off the Chinese. I would rather flee from their divisive arguments. For I see a display of arrogance and hypocrisy when in fact during their times in the AFP, they have not done enough to raise the competence and capacity of our national defense to respond to external threats.
Being a combat officer in my years of service in the army, I saw the very poor state of the AFP in both air force and naval capabilities. They are unable to effectively respond to internal threats and most especially to external threats. They were regressing rather than improving.
I used to ask my senior officers why the AFP is not being prepared for external threats. This was in the 70’s and 80’s. And I often get the response of not having the resources to fund a modernization program. According to them, we must focus on guerrilla warfare as our defense which we were good at. That we should focus on internal threats rather than external threat. Reliance on the US was the thinking of our senior officers. This was the prevailing mindset during those times as compared to the young generation of officers today who are pushing for the modernization of the AFP.
The poor state of our AFP is further aggravated by the lack of appreciation by our politicians on national defense. When Cory Aquino came to power, they marginalized the AFP. Defense was not the priority. These are the things that we have sown over the years. We never prepared for external threats. And we are reaping today what we have sown in the past. We have only ourselves to blame. And we handed to the President an AFP that is incompetent against external threats.
I would not judge Pres Duterte on his decisions on China. Perhaps the best response today is diplomacy rather than war or being confrontational because of the current state of our AFP. While many of us would want the President to be more confrontational and aggressive and adopt our ideas, he is still in a better position with all the necessary information and intelligence on his table to make a rationale decision. I for one would like him to send our underwater operation teams to go and sink Chinese vessels intruding our territories as our only military means to protect our sovereignty. But he knows the risk and he would opt not to waste the lives of our soldiers in such a suicidal mission.
What can we do?
Stop arguing because we will just be showing how foolish, incompetent and negligent we are in the past. We will just be showing how we placed our country at risk for lack of foresight and innovativeness.
What we can do is to continue to protest to China. And in the mean time, look for the fastest means to modernize our AFP so we can wage a naval and aerial battle later if that is what we want.
Or invite the US, Japan or Russian armed forces to put an air force base in Pag-asa Island to patrol our seas.
Or we can opt to wage a guerrilla war against China in the Philippine sea and Pacific ocean to give justice to those who believe on guerrilla tactics for external threats.
Or to bring all our old vintage and decommissioned naval vessels docked at Sangley Point to Scarborough Shoal and ram them to the Chinese vessels and later establish them as guard posts and as lodging houses for our fishermen.
Or send all the militant groups including the religious sectors and human rights organizations to rally in the disputed territories and condemn China.
The only positive thing that I see in this issue is the increase of consciousness and appreciation to modernize our national defense.
I pray that President Duterte will prioritize the rapid modernization of our Navy and Airforce including the Coast Guard.”
Do you agree with the former military rebel and Duterte supporter’s point of view?