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If China says that the Philippines is part of China, as a sexy Chinese newscaster said, then China is part of the Philippines, I say. If we belong to the set of China, China is part of the set of the Philippines. That's probably not very good set theory but it suffices for the moment.
No wonder, Noynoy hasn't visited Hunan and a host of other provinces on the mainland. Comelec records show that he got no votes in our Chinese territories nor for that matter did anybody else in the last national elections.
We had a law compelling voters to vote but it was repealed probably through Chinese lobbying. The result is the Chinese are back to their historical indifference not to say utter disregard for developments over here in these islands, or for that matter anywhere that the Ming navy, the biggest armada in the history of the world, touched from here to East Africa - content to bring back hippos and giraffes and a captive Brunei prince than take possession of these lands. China never cared to exercise sovereignty over any land outside the unchanging boundaries of the Middle Kingdom, even as nearby as the Khai and Vietnamese territories so easy to reach and ruled for centuries by the descendants of breakaway Chinese generals. They just never cared for sovereignty; they cared only for respect. And the surrounding world obliged China because respect costs nothing.
Now it is different. China wants sovereign possession of what is ours and has been since time out of mind. One of them even said the Philippines is part of China. Well, Chinese provinces have Chinese rights of autonomous control. So we won’t let them fish in Scarborough Shoal. We have the municipal right to decide who gets to fish or not in municipal waters.
If the Chinese continue not to vote in our elections, not to mention not to prop up our economy - if we are Chinese, then gives us some those gargantuan dollar reserves - we may just cut off China and set it adrift. We are either Chinese or we are not. If we are not, then what is ours is ours and not China’s.
And it is no argument to say we don’t vote in their elections. They don't hold democratic elections. If they did, we would be cheating over there.
And no, they cannot keep the shoal. That is in our municipal waters; so it is ours, at the very least by virtue of the universal principle that proximity is power. Since the Philippines is the closest to the shoal, it belongs to the Philippines if not as our sovereign own then as our economic zone.
As Malacañang says of Corona, we have given the Chinese enough chances to play along with us - though I must say we never offered them term-sharing in the Chief Justiceship.
This is the historic problem of the Philippines. Every power that's come around just wants part of our territory, never the whole, and never any part of the population. But the people go with the territory.
The US wanted to use the Philippines merely for its bases to project US power around here. It never wanted anything else, least of all our sugar and even less still us as Americans even though no one wants to be American as hard as Filipinos do. They gave us independence as fast as they could.
The Spanish did not want to rule us directly but did it through Mexico with its drug problem.
What is it with these powers? Why do they covet only small parts of our territory but want no part of us? Do we have bad breath or b.o.?
If China wants part of the Philippines, they must take it all, lock, stock and both barrels. You can't pick and choose. Sovereignty, like monarchy, is indivisible. You think the shoal is yours? Well Zambales goes with it along with Dick Gordon and the rest of us. Oh, you want to pick and choose, some of the land but not any of the people that go with it. Ano sinesuerte sila?
My Argentine classmate, who proudly claimed kinship with an uncle known as Colonel Flying Nun for the dissident madres he pushed out of choppers into the Atlantic Ocean during the Dirty War against communism, told us this story from a lost book of Genesis. You see, he said, when God made all the countries of the world, he made Argentina the most beautiful and richly endowed with natural wealth. The other countries complained, “Unfair, you gave all the advantages to Argentina and no disadvantages.” So, God, remorseful, created Argentines. I think he did the same when he created the Pearl of the Orient. He populated it with us.