Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Sacrificial Lambs

Sacrificial Lambs
by Erick San Juan

Finally, the second warship arrived in Philippine shore – the BRP Ramon Alcaraz, named after the late Commodore Ramon Alcaraz, a Philippine Navy officer, who distinguished himself during the Second World War when the patrol boat he commanded shot down three Japanese aircraft, and so is the warship, a WWII vintage. It seems that the purchase (not for free) of the first and second ‘warship’ cutter', another act of support by Uncle Sam to our country. As if we are very grateful for the acquisition, even it was stripped off of its basic accessories and weaponry.
Some observers noted that if only the government is sensible and practical enough to buy much newer (not a museum-grade) hi-tech speedboats and portable stinger or surface-to-air-missile (S.A.M.), we can fight better. What we got is an old ship that has taken a month to reach the country. Are we really that serious about the so-called AFP modernization? Or, are we witting tools (fools)as dumping ground for the big brother’s junks? Just asking.
The mere fact that we are spending the funds from Malampaya just to ‘modernize’ our armed forces, we might as well spend it to something that is worthwhile than old war materiel being forced to us. Again, 'wala tayong kalaban laban sa sophisticated war machines of China.'
Come to think of it, there are obviously other markets where we can purchase modern war hardwares than from Uncle Sam if the US won't give us modern but affordable weaponry. So why do we have to be too 'loyal' to sacrifice the  nation and the genuine modernization of our military?
Even China’s most outspoken anti-US military official, Maj. Gen. Luo Yuan, has advised Taiwan to abandon the US as its main weapons supplier and buy arms from Beijing instead, Washington Times columnist Miles Yu reported.
The implicit message seems to suggest that Taiwan should use Chinese-made weapons to fight Japan or the Philippines, which are in territorial conflict with China and Taiwan regarding the ownership of few tiny islands in the East China Sea and the South China Sea, Yu said on Friday. (By Jose Katigbak STAR Washington bureau)
Could this be the reason for Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s visit to strengthen its military ties with our country to contain China?
The harsh reaction of the Chinese state-run media towards Japan’s move to sell coastal patrol ships to our navy as an ‘insidious clown act’ by Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and Philippine President Benigno Aquino can be perceived as  insecurities on China’s side. And this same Chinese media translated this PHL-Japan’s effort to ‘contain China’ as futile. But to some extent, is it really useless if a neighbor country will help another country to build its defense capabilities?
The tension created by this so-called ‘arms race’ in the region will continue as long as there are threats to maritime securities in what they term as freedom of navigation. And,  attempts to appease Beijing on the issue of territorial disputes by country claimants on the contested areas in the South China Sea/West Philippine Sea to resolve the matter multilaterally will not gain grounds because Beijing is consistent to its stand on bilateral resolution.
Claimants should play their cards well and deal with Beijing with utmost diplomacy considering the hand of Uncle Sam in every way possible will contain China by proxy in the process. We have to be conscious enough not to repeat again the bad parts of history when we were used as cannon fodder and left shortchanged especially our poor war veterans.
Let us all be vigilant as we enter these exciting times as the perceived script for the Guns of August is in the offing as Uncle Sam’s hyped and recycled ‘war on terror’ is on the works… 
 We should never tolerate any foreign government to manipulate us again and be their sacrificial lambs. We should help the PNoy administration neutralize the pressure but also held them accountable just in case they miscalculate the situation.

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