By RUDY D. LIPORADA
With all the skewed reasonings of President Rodrigo ‘Digong’ Duterte and his minions on the Chinese ramming the boat of Filipino fishermen off the Recto Bank, novelist Amy Tan’s pious man’s explanation again comes to mind.
Not wanting to drown fishes, the pious man explains: “It is evil to take lives and noble to save them. Each day I pledge to save a hundred lives. I drop my net in the lake and scoop out a hundred fishes. I place the fishes on the bank, where they flop and twirl. ‘Don’t be scared,’ I tell those fishes. ‘I am saving you from drowning.’ Soon enough, the fishes grow calm and lie still. Yet, sad to say, I am always too late. The fishes expire. And because it is evil to waste anything, I take those dead fishes to market and I sell them for a good price. With the money, I receive, I buy more nets so I can save more fishes.”
The statements and actions of Digong and government officials, hooked to his rod, may not be directly parallel to the explanation, but they are outright stinking wriggly fishy. From the get-go, Digong, Senator Vic Sotto, Department of Foreign Affairs Teddy Locsin, Jr. Spokesperson Salvador Panelo, and others, readily leaned towards standing by China. It was merely an isolated maritime incident they said, a mere accident. They gave credence to the Chinese frigate’s captain saying that they were going to rescue the Filipino fishermen from drowning but were afraid that seven or eight boats with Filipinos on board were going to besiege them, so they sailed away. Digong and his officials did not consider that a Vietnamese boat rescued the Filipinos, who could have drowned. If indeed, there were other Filipino boats close by, they could have been the ones to have saved their compatriots.
Initially, the fishermen were steadfast and very sure that the frigate rammed their boat, that it was not an accident, that the Chinese left them to drown. They, however, softened and became unsure when Agriculture Secretary Manny Piñol met with them. To this, Segundo Eclar Romero of the Inquirer spoke of Piñol saving the Philippines from nuclear annihilation.
Romero wrote: “We have heard the story of the ship captain who threatened a young lady passenger who repeatedly rebuffed his advances, ‘If you do not sleep with me tonight, I will sink this ship with all 1,000 passengers.’ The next morning, the young lady wrote in her diary, ‘I saved 1,000 souls today.’” According to Romero, this came to mind, further writing “Piñol is a talented agriculturist. He planted doubt in the minds of the victims. First, he had the President’s seed of an idea — ‘little maritime incident.’ Second, he had the fertilizer — motorboats for the individual victims. Third, he had a powerful plow — a squad of policemen in full riot gear. Finally, he had the greenhouse — a closed-door meeting.
“Piñol must have written in his diary afterward, with a moustached smirk on his face, ‘I saved the world from nuclear war today.’”
And yes, why is an agricultural secretary meddling in a Philippine maritime incident? Also, why just give the fishermen only plexiglass boats each that are not worthy for fishing in the open seas? Why lend them Php25,000.00 each payable in three years? Accident or not, should not the government demand the Chinese for just retribution and compensation? Bakit ngayon, sila na nga ang nasalanta, sila pa ang may utang?
In line with Piñol, the most preposterous line comes from Digong and is now the official line of the government: He could not challenge China with regards the Recto simple maritime accident because he would be triggering a nuclear war. If China attacks the Philippines , the islands would be obliterated in seconds. If the US-Philippines Mutual Defense Treaty will be invoked, this might lead to a nuclear war between the US and China and guess who will be pulverized.
This is coming from the man who does not fear the wrath of a God he calls stupid. This is coming from a man who declares war against Canada for a simple matter of garbage. This is coming from a man who curses the Pope, leader of millions of Catholics; called a US president a son of a whore; lashes at United Nations agencies – using more than ‘F’ words…but finless against China.
It must be the millions of commissions for selling out patrimonial resources of the Philippines.
Another item comes to mind and this is no fish tale.
In his book, Philippine Society and Revolution (PSR), specifically on the stratification of revolutionary forces against the government, Amado Guerrero describes Filipino fishermen as a special class that could be aligned as a revolutionary force. Guerrero writes “The fishermen are a peculiarly large social group because of the archipelagic character of the Philippines. Aside from sea fishermen, there are also inland fishermen along big rivers and lakes. Fishing is not only a supplementary means of livelihood for the peasantry. There are full-time fishermen, and these can be divided into three sections: namely, the rich, middle and poor fishermen.”
At the time that the PSR was written, China was still under Mao and was not yet a revisionist, veering away from Socialism. Guerrero did not yet include China as an exploiter of the Philippines as now. Thus, Guerrero continues “The fishermen are directly exploited by the US and Japanese deep-sea fishing capitalists with their large fishing trawlers and fleets (including storage a factory ships) which deplete fishing grounds by landlords who fence them off from fishing grounds; by local fishing capitalists and merchants who dictate prices; and by abusive government officials who arbitrarily tax them in kind or in cash. The fishermen, especially the poor and middle fishermen, can support the anti-imperialist and anti-feudal struggle. They are very important in linking up and defending the islands and in providing food for the people. They can enrich the theory and practice of people’s was by developing sea warfare and warfare in rivers, lakes, and estuaries.”
It should be noted that during the early 1970s Muslim secessionist battles in the south, it was pointed out that Muslim pump boats could outrun Philippine Naval boats. The Muslims used these boats for inter-island personnel and logistical transport which facilitated the rebel warfare movements in the islands like Shashi in Jolo cluster of Islands.
If the theory of Guerrero would hold true, with Filipino fishermen now having scantier fishing waters due to China’s dash line claims, marginalizing the Philippine shores; with Chinese boarding Filipino fishing boats, stealing their catch; with Chinese harvesting giant clams from Philippine territorial seas, destroying reefs in the process; Filipino fishermen might now be entertaining the idea of rising up.
After all, their government is not on their side to defend them.
The Recto Bank Chinese ramming a Filipino fishermen boat, with the Chinese leaving the fishermen to drown, is not a simple maritime accident. The 2016 Hague ruling expressly states that the Recto Bank is part of the Philippines’ 200-nautical mile Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ). A Chinese vessel should have not been there, much less free to ram a Filipino fishing boat. Thus, it is not only the latest but the most glaring affront to Philippine sovereignty and the fishermen were and are at the forefront of the desecration of this sovereignty.
If the Philippine Armed Forces, specifically the navy, cannot defend the fishermen and instead intimidated by the likes of the Piñol led battle geared armed forces, who will stand and defend the fishermen? True, Vice-President Leni Robledo doled out Php50,000.00 for each of the 22 fishermen to pay what Piñol had loaned them with an extra Php25,000.00 to tide them up. This should only be a stopgap, however. What about the continuing China assertion of its dash line claim virtually owning all the islands even East of the Philippines? What about Digong asserting that the Philippines should just be, virtually, a province of China?
By now, I am guessing, that, as to how the New People’s Army started with only 60 weak guns and rose from a ragtag group now dotting the islands in battalion formation, a zygote of a New People’s Navy must be in the offing.
I am guessing that this is plausible as the miracle of Jesus walking on water. # nordis.net