The Chinese offensive

Published May 27, 2018, 10:00 PM

by Mario Casayuran and Vanne Elaine Terrazola

Melito Salazar Jr.
Melito Salazar Jr.

By Melito Salazar Jr.


The People’s Republic of China has fortified Philippine-claimed islands in the West Philippine Sea and landed an H-6K bomber on Woody Island that can carry nuclear armed cruise missiles. On Mischief Reef, Subi Reef, and Fiery Cross Reef in the Kalayaan Island Group of the Philippines, the Chinese have built three-kilometer military-grade runways. Despite urgings from some quarters (Acting Chief Justice Antonio Carpio urged the government to formally protest this increasing militarization and Vice President Leni Robredo expressed serious concern), Malacañang through presidential spokesman Harry Roque said that while the government has not given up its ownership of the West Philippine Sea, it has chosen to set aside “contentious issues” with China and focus on other areas of cooperation for now.

Despite these continuing Chinese provocations and a recent statement by Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Lu Kang in a regular briefing that, “The South China Sea islands are Chinese territories,” the Philippine government seems content with the belief that China is not a threat to national security. While developments were proceeding in this area it would seem that the Philippine government created a diversion by having a big show in renaming Benham Rise to Philippine Rise when it hardly did anything when China gave Chinese names to certain features of this resource – rich territory. I suppose the Duterte administration has complete trust in China after Chinese President Xi Jinping allegedly promised President Duterte that China will protect him and prevent his ouster. So, the Chinese offensive continues and it is not just in the West Philippine Sea.

Makati netizens are beginning to notice increasing numbers of young Chinese men and women filling up the condominion units, at times over 70% are rented by them. Where do they head off for work – BPOs, on line gaming, financial research? I remember those days when my wife and I would hie off to the closing sale of beautiful Chinese jars and vases, buying up the lot at heavily discounted prices from smiling Chinese mainlanders. I believe they now have permanent displays in some malls carrying a variety of Chinese furnitures, vases, ornaments, etc. One can still go to 168 Shopping mall with its close competitors, 11/88 Mall, the 999 Mall, and the Lucky Chinatown Mall with its 500 tenants selling mostly Chinese-made products at very low prices. If I am right, this was the mall where public school teachers rushed to buy cheap plastic globes, not realizing that the Spratly Islands were shown as Chinese territories. This Chinese offensive seems progressing, from petty peddlers to shop owners and now to financial and IT analysts in the Philippines financial capital?

The Chinese Embassy has also been busy undertaking projects in high-profile locations. There is the Callawa Water Pumping Project for 3,000 household in the Buhangin District of Davao City. There is the second Grant-Aid Dangerous Drugs Abuse Treatment and Rehabilitation Center located in Agusan del Sur province after the first in Sarangani Province. Chinese equipment assistance to the Philippine Broadcasting System and China-aided two bridges across the Pasig River in Manila are included in the Chinese gifts for the Filipinos.

Recently, President Duterte presided over the Alegria Oil Field oil and gas production ceremonial commencement, a project of the China International Mining Petroleum Co. Ltd., which is 51% owned by Hong Kong-listed Polyard Petroleum International Group, Ltd. Hong Kong is a Chinese special administrative region. The company intends to drill at least 3 million barrels of oil up in the mountains of Alegria in the next 19 years. Other Chinese companies are expected to be invoved in land reclamation and development (Shanghai GeoHarbour Group), development of large tourism projects and electronics industry parts (Zhongfa Group), Infrastructure and construction project and thermal power supply (Haocheng Group), based on the agreements signed last April when President Duterte attended the Boao Forum in China.

The Chinese offensive is in full swing. If we are to follow President Duterte’s urging, let us welcome them with open hands. Yes, as partners not masters. Yes, as a free and sovereign country not as a vassal. Yes, if they respect our territorial soveriegnty.