Thursday, January 24, 2013

Our Divided Pond

"While the tree craves calm, the wind will not subside." This is a proverb the PRC media frequently quoted last year when commenting on the rifts between the PRC and the Philippines over the South China Sea.

Our only fault is not having a credible air-sea military deterrent to enforce our core national interests concerns within our territorial waters as well as the primacy of our economic interests within our own EEZ's alongside our international legal obligation to keep these outlying waters secure from piracy and free from lawlessness.

I always come back to this weakness in our own national defense when I ponder on the bilateral equation between the PRC and the GPH.

We did not unilaterally draw these lines on the map, we accepted them from the community of nations. We accepted them along with the rights and responsibilities that our nation must undertake along with them.

We did not harass the Chinese fishermen (PRC) in Scarborough shoal in April of last year, we were enforcing our maritime laws as we should - not because "we can" but because as a Republic, we must.

After all what is a Republic without law but a sham against the people and a lie against the nation it is commanded by God to shepherd.

But what is law without the truth? For the former arises out of the latter and drives it constantly against its limits, not to destroy it but to make it perfect.

But what is the truth? It is - in its ultimate form - certainly not a thing that Man may create for himself, else all law become void and the universe itself unmade.

It seems to me that when the truth is made to be arbitrary, as it is with Beijing's insistence on keeping all claimants cornered, regardless of the avenues of international legal remedy, it all will boil down in the end to raw force and in this regard, the time is late.

We have to accept responsibility for what we presently lack and build upon it in a way that is befitting the necessary and the real. And we must do this not for anything else but our own true sense of well regard for this Republic undertaking of Country of ours and our love for our nation as a whole.

We have to be firm in the right. Defend where we can and get our own act together as one Republic whole. The elections this year affords our people a chance to act upon our national longings, one of them being to live in the safety and security not only of our own peace but also with the peace of the nations in our region, their strength added to our own and ours with them.

We do not want to make an enemy of the PRC. I myself as a citizen of this Republic do not believe in enemies, for as a nation, it is my conviction that we must only believe in friends and potential friends. Not because we are weak for this is not a time to be weak. Now is a time for strength.

We must always be ready to answer to questions regarding matters of peace, whether they are of our own creation or is a thing created for us by circumstances within our world or through the dynamics involved in our necessary relations with other nations for we have constitutionally renounced the use of war along with all its potential for abuse.

This is not to say that we will not defend ourselves, this is to say that we must make it clear that our heart lies only in our defense and that we are answerable to the answers we as a nation have determined to allow for ourselves about these matters.

The real question is, has the PRC already made an enemy of us? Who is the tree and who is the wind?

Where there are more questions than answers, the truth is valued. When there are more answers than questions, there is no certainty.

The Code of Conduct, as I foresee it, being a document largely defined by the economic nature of the issue as regards the South China Sea-West Philippine Sea, must answer for our region - the question of wealth - is not peace and friendship between the nations in our region a form of wealth in and of itself?

Did not the Chinese also say that the angry can be made to be happy again but the dead can not be brought back to life? Indeed, not unlike this saying, I also place a high value on human life. This is why I place a high value on peace. For in its most complete and absolute form peace is truly over war.

Never must this issue take away our common hopes for a better Asia and from our Asia, a better world - for all nations... dreaming together this time.

War is not the test,
O nations of the children of Mankind -
war is the tutor!

Peace is the test -
and to pass this test brings success.