• Jo Chanco

The China Crisis: Traitors At The Helm


When Rodrigo Duterte was still campaigning for the presidency, he wooed voters with his supposed patriotism. He said he loved his country so much that he would jet-ski to Scarborough Shoal where upon he would raise the Philippine flag in defiance of Chinese forces occupying it. A lot of Filipinos believed and voted for him for saying this. But after he became president, he confessed that it was only a joke and even ridiculed those who thought he was serious. As it turns out, not the jet-ski part, but him being a patriot, is really the joke.

Rodrigo Duterte is unraveling as a complete traitor to his office. His acts constitute a systematic and gross betrayal of the people who elected him to power and trusted him to lead them. Together with his co-conspirators in the military, in congress and in the courts, he has elaborately pimped out the Philippines to be China's bitch.

In three years of its term, the Duterte administration has fastidiously aided China in gaining a stranglehold over our nation. It's gone to great lengths to facilitate, promote and defend the interests of China over the Philippines. And, more and more, this bias comes at the cost, and against the welfare, of the Filipino people.

Pushing Us Into A Debt Trap

There seems to be a collusion between Rodrigo Duterte and China to drive the Philippines into an irremediable debt trap. "Build, Build, Build", the Duterte administration's slogan to push infrastructure development, is being used to defend a series of sizable loans from China. But it's really "Bullshit, Bullshit, Bullshit".

Php700 billion are lost to institutionalized corruption yearly. A plethora of graft practices and corruption rackets go on unabated––from lump sum fund disbursement scams that turn our legislature into a bribery ring, to large scale smuggling, white elephant projects, ghost employees and fraudulent public services. Before the government even contemplates on encumbering taxpayers with more debt and more taxes to pay, it is only right that it first abates these crimes that are committed ordinarily within its ranks.

The point is to attain efficiency and honesty, in the collection and expenditure of public funds. A waterfall will not fill a bucket any more than drips from a faucet would, if the bucket is full of holes. And what good is a new bridge or a more sophisticated highway system if our society festers in rotten ethics and moral decay?

If we do need to make a loan, there are other sources we can borrow capital from. Why loan from China? Other nations, like Japan and South Korea, are offering to lend with better terms. China's proposals are steep, bloated and problematic.

Progressive nationalist groups, economic experts and even other world leaders have been warning against China's "Belt and Road" agenda where it basically drowns weaker economies in debt and afterwards gains control of the land and natural resources of subservient nations. It's basically China's modus operandi for regional, if not world, domination. Many countries, therefore, are now wary of China whenever it offers to grant loans or sponsor infrastructure projects.

The Philippine government should heed these warnings. But Duterte and his economic advisers are gung-ho about it. They're rather ecstatic over China's bait, in the form of a $9 billion credit line. Like a bunch of zombies, they just keep uttering, "China is a friend".

There's no guarantee that the Duterte administration will not be remiss with the borrowed funds and lose most of it to corruption. These loan agreements with China are dubious at best, as they are shrouded in secrecy, with certain clauses done only verbally between Duterte and, presumably, China's Xi. Also, the way Duterte's been running the government, there's almost no accountability anymore to taxpayers who are already staggered by back-to-back taxations. But let us not miss the most glaring argument against loaning from China, which is summarized in only three words: West Philippine Sea

China is our main territorial rival. We are in conflict with this "friend". Only an idiot would think that his encroaching, intruding, burglarizing neighbor is a friend. And it takes double that idiocy to even consider borrowing money from that bad neighbor.

Surrendering Our Seas

Rodrigo Duterte essentially weakened our position in the West Philippine Sea dispute when he chose China to be our "key economic partner". Of all the nations willing to partner up with us, he had to pick the one that's disputing our territory and grabbing our Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ).

Since Duterte became president, China has ramped up its effort to grab Philippine territorial waters. It's occupied more shoals, built more artificial islands, and fortified these with military augmentations without reservation. It isn't contented anymore in just building though. Nowadays, China's lust for Philippine riches is manifesting into clear acts of aggression.

Chinese war ships are forming naval blockades around our seas, like never before. Filipino fishermen are cut off from their traditional fishing grounds. The supply lines of islanders are harassed. And it doesn't seem like this trend will relent any time soon.

Where there should be outrage, however, there's only warm hospitality from Duterte. The military should have resorted already to a defense protocol that's beyond diplomacy. But the bravest patriots in the Armed Forces of the Philippines are suddenly wimps in the face of Chinese intrusions. Worse, the Philippine Coast Guard is even helping China by telling Filipino fishermen not to go where the Chinese are fishing so as to avoid any friction. It took protesters to remind these so-called naval guards that these are our waters. On the diplomatic front, there's also nothing, except what Malacañang now calls a "silent protest". Apparently, it's so silent that even the public does not know what is being conveyed. What more China?

The only outrage from this government is directed towards the media and critics who disapprove of China's advances. Duterte and his allies spare no time in lashing out vicious verbal tirades against anyone who exposes or points out the governments's non-action in the face of Chinese invasion. They're all echoing China's claim that it is already in control of the West Philippine Sea and there is nothing we can do about it.

The rest of the world disagrees with that view. Other countries recognize our sovereignty over our EEZ as per United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS). We also won the ruling in the International Tribunal for Rights in the West Philippine Sea which establishes that several shoals where China had erected artificial islands are irrefutably within Philippine territory. So far, only China and the Duterte regime are giving credence to Beijing's nine-dash line hogwash.

Resource-rich Benham Rise is on the East Philippine Sea, way outside China's nine-dash line demarcation. But China now wants to claim it as part of the so-called "Chinese Second Chain Of Islands", even if no island exists there. The Duterte administration is, of course, all too happy to help the Chinese conquer our eastern sea as well.

Duterte might seem like he was emphasizing our sovereignty over Benham Rise when he renamed it to "Philippine Rise". But that's just double talk. Renaming it will blur definitions established at the UNCLOS ruling. This will allow China to boost its own claim over the area through semantic technicalities beginning with such.

Duterte also proclaimed Philippine Rise a protected zone, prohibiting mining and oil exploration in the entire Benham Plateau. This effectively imposed a ban, preventing anyone from going there, whether for fishing, exploration or research...except for China.

China was able to conduct a scientific survey of the area, enabling it to name key features of the Rise. It was also able to name more than 300 new species of marine flora and fauna indigenous to the area, a feat it will most certainly use to argue its right to it.

China, predictably, is not only interested in the fish and marine bounties of our seas. Oil reserves in the Spratly group of islands is estimated at about 50 billion barrels. The deuterium deposits in Benham Rise is valued even more. But China will not be able to extract these resources without the cooperation of Philippine authorities. So it'll be interesting to see how Duterte and his cohorts further deceive the Filipino people and pull off another fast one.

Whether Duterte admits it or not, it's undeniable that he has already surrendered our seas to China. What we have to ask ourselves now is if he, aside from our seas, surrendered our lands too.

Selling Out Our Lands

The Philippines is one of the most mineralized countries in the world. It has an estimated US$1 trillion in untapped mineral resources. It actually boasts the largest copper-gold deposit on Earth. And for decades, this country has been a top global supplier of gold, copper, nickel and chromite.

Too many Filipinos do not know how rich their country really is. Millions despair in ignorance and live in abject poverty as foreigners, embodied as transnational corporations, have been ravaging the Philippines' true wealth. Increasingly, these foreign plunderers are Chinese.

China is out to get the lion's share of Philippine metals and minerals. But it is doing this covertly, out of media focus, concealed in the silence of national and local government officials. And the way things are progressing, it's reasonable enough to think it's out to control the country's mines.

Since 2016, there's been a considerable profusion of Chinese mining companies in the country that operate under the radar. They need the secrecy because what they are doing is not only illegal, but downright diabolical. They bribe customs officials, police and local government units to look the other way. With our ports turning porous, smuggling out billions of dollars worth of gold, nickel and other rare metals then becomes a piece of cake.

Only 3 percent of our gold exports to HongKong are registered. 97 percent leave the Philippines without going through proper documentation, inspection and taxation. It's massive economic loss for us...and more.

The exploitive mining operations by China have disastrous repercussions on Philippine environment. Chinese mining investors are rarely accountable for the devastation they cause. They are also associated with having the worse ethics and are the most corrupt in the industry. A lot of mining firms do not pay the correct compensation for environmental damage. Many of them are also notorious for not complying with mining operation standards. Chinese mining firms have the worst safety record in the world, accounting for about 80% of mining deaths. Thus, the Filipino people, again, are aggrieved.

It doesn't stop with our seas and our mines though. The Duterte administration is also making sure that China takes our jobs too. Through contracts with the Duterte government, China's workforce gets to repatriate back to their country the money we loaned from them.


Orchestrating An Invasion

On top of everything that's already going China's way, the Philippines is also currently seeing an unprecedented influx of mainland Chinese. As any mass immigration event, the situation is alarming and warrants, at least, a thorough evaluation of how these foreigners might influence the country and what control measures ought to be put in place. It is a matter that should not be downplayed by Filipinos as it has serious implications to our national security and economic stability, particularly because we are in dispute with China over territory. But it seems the Duterte government wants us to do exactly that––ignore it.

Over 300,000 Chinese have been granted work permits in the Philippines since Duterte became president. But then a whole lot more are able to gain entry, overstay and acquire residency illegally. Some reports say about 5 million, maybe more, are here indefinitely. What is gradually being established as a fact though is that the government is losing count of how many mainland Chinese are really in the country. This is partly because the rate of arrivals is still surging, but also partly because the issue is somewhat kept hush-hush. It's like some halfwit thinks he can sneak in millions of mainland Chinese without anyone noticing.

Work is presumed to be the most common reason why wave upon wave of mainland Chinese are coming to the Philippines. And, per some reports, the jobs these Chinese are after are mostly in the country's booming gaming industry. Many also find tenure in blue collar work, as laborers for China-funded construction projects.

The said jobs these Chinese are pursuing bar Filipino workers. One of the prerequisites for them, purportedly, is Chinese citizenship. The reason for this preference, the government says, is that Filipino workers are lazy and incompetent. The Chinese are said to be better workers. This is why, as the government justifies, they are also paid up to ten times more in wages than Filipinos working similar job descriptions.

More than 2 million Filipinos are on back-breaking, self-sacrificial quests for jobs overseas. They leave family behind and work abroad for years on end, many as domestic helpers, just so they can earn enough to have a decent living and provide for dependents. Why then is the Philippine government opening up its labor market to foreign workers when it cannot provide enough opportunities for its own people? And why, if China has a better economy than the Philippines, are all these Chinese migrants seeking jobs in our country. It just doesn't make sense.

Criminals, members of the Triad, spies and even soldiers might be among the Chinese easily entering the country. China's best hackers might already be committing all sorts of cyber-crimes in Philippine soil. Or an entire cartel of Chinese smugglers could be deeply entrenched by now, sabotaging our economy without mercy. But the Philippine government seems disinterested and is practically banning the public from even speculating. Much information about the issue is kept clandestine. Malacañang warned that anyone who investigates about Chinese migration here will be sorry.

Duterte wants all illegal Chinese unharmed and not deported, but made as "legal aliens" (by sheer manipulation of the law). He gave his assurance to China that all Chinese citizens in the Philippines will be kept safe and well looked after. He offers them blanket protection, something that he cannot even guarantee the Filipino people, as summary killings of poor Filipino drug suspects still occur daily.

Traitors At The Helm

China is an usurper, not a friend; an invader, not an ally. It stands as an enemy of the Filipino people, as it is out to undermine Philippine sovereignty and plunder the nation's resources. No country should not be able to do treat the Philippines in such way, without first going to war with us, unless it is aided by traitors in our government who broker subjugation in the guise of peace.

Duterte and his cohorts do not just sit idly by as China openly subverts this nation and disrespects our people. They are clearly accomplices to such travesty. As they suppress the truth, repress protest and quell Filipino dissent, they are, on the other hand, giving China the green light to exercise its will over this country.

In fact, the Duterte administration has become brazenly anti-Filipino. Government officials have been committing acts of betrayal like clockwork, as if nothing can stop them from doing so, or like they will never be punished for treason. They're only too happy to sell us out to the Chinese.

They claim to be patriots, willing to flatten cities, militarize the countryside and kill thousands, even millions, of drug addicts for their country's future. But it seems these are all just ways to make war against the very people they are supposed to serve and protect. For the real communist power, the real terrorists and drug lords are the Chinese...whom they insist are friends.

If you are Filipino and truly love your country, now is the time to show it. Of course, you could only be joking too.

#Opinion

157 views