Losing one’s ideological gyroscope
The founding and former chairman of the Communist Party of the Philippines, Jose Ma. Sison, has lost his political gyroscope that his latest pronouncement practically put at stake the very integrity of the Party that raised the banner of anti-imperialism to liberate our people. With the decision to openly support the Philippines in the West Philippine Sea, Sison and his band of misguided Marxist fundamentalists miserably failed to understand the problem, much more its implication. He and his holdouts in the Netherlands never truly gave a deeper circumspection in supporting the decision enunciated by the shameful lackey of the US imperialist, sending shockwaves to an already- flickering party that has inflicted more trauma on our people and evaporated to thin air their dream of being liberated.
The declaration to support “the legal struggle of the Philippine government against the aggressive acts of China in the West Philippine Sea” obviously reveals lack of understanding of the geo-political and historical situation in this part of the globe. To begin with, there could be no act of aggression that could be committed by a state in a disputed territory. The territory that was attacked or occupied must be part of the national territory or one where it has an indisputable sovereignty and jurisdiction. The islands which we are claiming were not part of the territory that were sold by Spain to the US for a mere $20 million dollars. The Kalayaan Group of Islands was not included was delineated as within the nautical boundary in the sale that included the inhabitants. Equally, China cannot claim aggression against the Philippines over those islands for the same reason that they remain disputed islands for which under international law and by the United Nations Charter, it failed to exercise effective occupation until recently.
As an ideologue, Sison should have sorted out the difference between supporting the Philippine government from its support for the Filipino people. For that, Sison is acting like Secretary of Foreign Affairs Alberto del Rosario who wants to create a wedge between this country and China in the name of patriotism, and not because our people have direct economic interest in securing those islands. If Sison does not know it yet, China is also a claimant, and that invariably means that before the dispute was heated up by the US, both countries and the other claimants like Taiwan, Vietnam, Malaysia and Brunei all failed to establish an effective occupation which reason why there exists an overlapping dispute. If only Sison saw that difference in supporting the policy of that government that has been hounding his group and by just being consistent in supporting the people who are still aching to be liberated form the yoke of US imperialism, he would surely distanced himself from this administration that now stands as the biggest and most corrupt cacique in the country.
Even after Tomas Cloma, who claimed to have discovered those islands and sought to own it on the assumption they were res nullius, China did not make a fuss out of that claim by the Filipino seafarer. With China now emerging as a world power, and the US raising anew its antiquated policy to contain China, it is no coincidence that our war chant came alongside with the pronouncement made by President Obama of the US “Pivot Asia” policy. The role played by this government is to make it appear that the US is not alone in reviving its chauvinistic policy. It is this government that allowed itself to be used by the US to stem its receding power from being completely washed out of Asia. It is this country that is acting now as the proxy of the US for which it has disguised its interest as our own interest. Sison, like Secretary of Foreign Affairs Alberto del Rosario and Defense Secretary Voltaire Gazmin, could not see that the US Pivot Asia policy would have no meaning if there are no countries openly supporting that policy.
Sison’s concurrence in rejecting China’s offer for bilateral talks calling it “void ab initio” for claiming that it has an indisputable sovereignty over those islands is non sequitur because it is the same argument that our delegates would be raising at the Hague. Rather, his position is an implied endorsement of the continuing presence of US to meddle in the dispute. In fact, the only visible interest of the US in the West Philippine Sea is for the right of free passage to be respected, which was assured by China.
Admittedly, many of those islands are within the 200-mile exclusive economic zone set by the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Seas (UNCLOS). China has ratified the UNCLOS, and that we assume that it would adhere to the 200-mile limit and recognize the EEZ. However, we did not mention that the EEC only pertains to the exploration and exploitation of the marine resources in the area, and does not vest ownership or jurisdiction to countries adjacent to it. President Marcos was quick to see this pitfall that he urged the members of the 1973 Constitution to see to it that those vast bodies of water separating the islands remain our historic and inland waters. Unfortunately, it is this government, which Sison is supporting, that impliedly abrogated the “archipelagic doctrine” when it allowed US warships to freely navigate in those areas without first securing permission form the government.
To reiterate, China is not telling us to give up those islands. Rather, our decision to bring our case to the Permanent Arbitration Court is now inversely interpreted as telling the Chinese to vacate which we know could never happen. Whatever is the decision of the PAC, it could not affect China, much that it has refused to submit to its jurisdiction. Besides, China cannot consider our claim serious much that we did not include other claimants as parties to the dispute. We opted to single out China which no objective court can ignore. In fact, the claim of Malaysia is even more odious and preposterous because it anchors its claim after it annexed Sabah. And from there, it claims the outlying islands near Sabah as its territory.
Thus, as we refuse to negotiate, China continues to hold on to those islands, and we could not do anything about that. In the meantime, the US continues to sell to us their outmoded arms while Sison continues to make a howl to US imperialism for the fact that he is the only Maoist leader to be declared persona non grata by China. Maybe Sison and del Rosario should sing the old ballad song titled Mona Lisa, the lyrics of which go: “Many dreams have been brought to your doorstep, they just lie there and they die there.”