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Igniting fire in the WP Sea | Philippine News Agency


By Jun Ledesma

WE are not running out of provocateurs, deceivers and willing victims of deceptions and bystanders who ejaculate in fanning embers of intrigue and divisiveness. Am talking of the recent accident involving Filipino and Chinese fishermen, Bikoy’s expose’ of the opposition black propaganda against the Duterte family and what the President described as a grand estafa perpetuated by KAPA.

Let us, however, focus on the burning maritime issue.

A Chinese fishing vessel figured in an accident with a Filipino fishing vessel and there are quarters quick to deliver incendiary comments prodding the government to take a more drastic action than just lodging a diplomatic protest. A so-called analyst did not lose time in elevating the issue to a "konfrontasi" complete with fake pictures of a shipwreck. The usual agents of discord in the political opposition and the cabal of foreign-funded media organizations did not lose time to get onboard and quickly assail President Rodrigo Duterte for not issuing any statement of condemnation and some even suggesting to cut ties with China.

Situations like this one enrage some quarters and cannot help but hate the equanimity of Duterte as a leader. He waited for some time to gather pieces of evidence, evaluate these and come up with a statement. When he did, he tells the provocateurs that the mishap is between two fishing boats. While he demanded that the Chinese authorities must investigate and own to the fault of the Chinese fishermen, he stressed that the accident must not be an issue of dispute and confrontation between the Philippines and China. We observe here the difference between Duterte and the other politicians in the manner of how to deal with the controversy and their proffered actions. Sen. Peng Lacson says he is deeply frustrated by Duterte’s statement declaring the incident as just a maritime accident. Peng ride on some emotional sentiments and suggested that the mutual dense treaty should have been invoked.

From hibernation, a juvenile senator Joel Villanueva joined the fray to say that the Malacanang Palace is confused.  The rest of the opposition aired their piece and sing their old refrain “China is a bully” while Duterte maintained his coolness. Later the US Embassy issued a terse statement that the maritime incident was an accident. So there go the blazing tirades of the warmonger. 

The President’s remarks hardly made it to the press when we saw the reasons why Duterte refused to be dragged into knee-jerk reactions of some senators to include that of Vice Pres. Leni Robredo. Gem-Vir, the Filipino-owned fishing vessel was actually afloat. The boat shown by analyst Richard Heydarian and the one shown by Rappler is like two different vessels than Gem-Vir. The skipper of Gem-Vir insists it sank when it was rammed and they clung to the shipwreck for five hours! But again the pictures shown on Facebook would tell a different story. The outriggers of the boat are intact and so are the cabin and hull. Only a small portion at the stern (the back portion of the boat) was missing moreover it looked like it was detached clean with nary a jagged part of the wooden boat can be seen. The hull of the boat is intact and therefore it is afloat. This is borne by the fact that the fishermen were able to bring home their catch. Am just describing what everyone sees on Facebook.

Expect China to come up with results of its probe, the fact that they identified the fishing vessels involved in the incident without any attempt at denial proves that there will be punitive actions to follow. Those who are crying for blood will have their satiety.

Sanity and realpolitik dictate that neither China nor the Philippines would ignite fire over the recklessness of some Chinese fishermen in the West Philippine Sea and the wishy-washy story of a ship captain who has the gall to snub the President but is scared of his wife. To invite even a small flotilla of America’s naval force as Senator Peng suggests is a veritable formula to cut the flourishing trade between the Philippines and China. That should also result in the repatriations of over 400,000 documented and undocumented OFWs in China and some scores of theirs in the Philippines. Then maybe we can kiss the ambitious Build, Build, Build program of the Duterte government goodbye. With a potential flashpoint right in our doorsteps, we might as well be prepared for the worst. For a country where some idiots in the opposition oppose the restoration of ROTC we will be the world laughing stock for having an angry population who wants to go to war but cannot even fire a gun. But then again, even the United States refused to be dragged into a problem which civic clubs or the boy scouts can solve.

As US Ambassador Sung Kim said, the accident is for China and the Philippines to address.

Indeed, the KAPA scam has a more veritable potential of creating chaos than the Gem-Vir boat’s missing stern. So we better attend to our internal problem and send those behind the fraud behind bars.

About the Columnist

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Mr. Jun Ledesma is a community journalist who writes from Davao City and comments from the perspective of a Mindanaoan.