By Tonyo Cruz
April 21, 2015
TC: How would you assess the impact of the Visiting Forces Agreement (VFA) and the Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement (EDCA) to Philippine national interests? Is the Philippines better off, safer and more prepared to meet security challenges under the VFA and EDCA?
JMS: The VFA and EDCA serve the imperialist interests of the US and not the national interest of the Philippines. The VFA has allowed the rotational and permanent presence of US military forces in the Philippines. Meanwhile, the EDCA has blatantly allowed the building of US military bases and forward stations in so-called Allowed Areas.
Under the VFA and EDCA, the Philippines has not become better off, safer and more prepared to meet security challenges. At the expense of Philippine national interest, the US has gotten back its military bases in the Philippines and has allowed China to grab the West Philippine Sea, including 100 percent of the Extended Continental Shelf (ECS) and 80 percent of the Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) of the Philippines. The Philippines has suffered violations of national sovereignty and territorial integrity in the conniving hands of the US and China.
TC: As the founding chairman of the KM and the CPP, could you quickly apprise the movement’s views on China in 1964-1968 and from the passing of Mao Zedong until today? How does it view China?
JMS: In the period of 1964 to 1968, the Kabataang Makabayan (KM, Patriotic Youth) and the CPP admired China as a socialist country, with the Chinese Communist Party and Comrade Mao as resolute fighters for socialist revolution and construction against imperialism, modern revisionism and reaction. Subsequently, the KM and the CPP have viewed China as a country where the revisionist and capitalist roader Deng Zhao Ping succeeded in making a capitalist counterrevolution after the passing of Comrade Mao.
TC: Is the Philippines really “helpless” on its own regarding Chinese intrusions into the country’s territory?
JMS: The Philippines is not really helpless in opposing Chinese acts of aggression in its grabbing of 100 per cent of the Philippines’ ECS and EEZ, and in its reclamation activities on the reefs and islets of the Philippines.
China is engaged in aggression to counter the case filed by the Philippines before the International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea (ITLOS) in accordance with the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS).
If the court case before the ITLOS would be decided in favor of the Philippines, China would be liable for grabbing the West Philippine Sea and destroying the maritime environment. But still, if China would not respect the court decision, the Philippines and the other countries of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) will be able to expose as hypocritical the so-called peaceful rise of China.
But the most that the Philippines can do is to ban and nationalize Chinese state and private enterprises in the Philippines, which are now involved in private construction and real estate, shopping malls and retail trade, import-export, semi-manufacturing, power generation, transport and communications, banking, insurance, mining, logging, plantations, and so on.
TC: Vietnam has been actively courting the Philippines to form a sort of alliance to fight Chinese incursions in their territories. Is that a better option than exclusively depending on U.S. forces?
JMS: The best option is to rely on the patriotic strength of the Filipino people in fighting for their national sovereignty and territorial integrity. Filipinos should stop thinking small. The Philippines has about 102 million population (the 12th largest in the world), has rich natural resources and is bigger in size than several developed countries.
Of course, the next best option is to unite with Vietnam and other ASEAN countries in opposing China’s arrogant claim of over 90 percent of the South China Sea. The Philippines cannot rely on US support. The US has already declared its neutrality and has allowed China to make the aggressive reclamations, because the US has bigger interests in relations with China than in those with the Philippines.
TC: What are your recommendations to the Philippine government and the Philippine military, if any, on how to confront and stop Chinese intrusions?
JMS: The Aquino regime and its military minions should stop being hypocritical. They should stop pretending to be for national sovereignty, territorial integrity, and for strengthening external defense, while they take no action whatsoever to discourage the Chinese reclamation of Philippine reefs; continue pleading to the US and even Japan to establish military bases in the Philippines; and at the same time allow Chinese state and private enterprises to plunder the Philippines.
TC: What could Filipinos do to protest China’s actions?
JMS: Increasingly, the Filipino people and the patriotic organizations are already protesting in the streets and in the print and electronic media. Filipinos are often making protests before the Chinese embassy, to cite an outstanding act of protest in the Philippines. Even Filipinos abroad, especially in the US, are making sustained campaigns of protest against Chinese acts of aggression.
Such protests can become more strong-willed if there is widespread consciousness to fight for national sovereignty and territorial integrity against all aggressors, to ban and nationalize all foreign enterprises that extract superprofits and prevent the development of the Philippines, to strive for national industrialization, and to produce its own means for social progress and defense against aggressors.###