Beginning of the end
Are we witnessing the beginning of the end of our sovereignty in the West Philippine Sea? I hope not. But given what is happening to us politically, it is easy to be less optimistic.
It is a shame that in our conflict with China, our politicians have decided to keep pushing us onto the precipice of an internal conflict by engaging in a juvenile political drama.
Indeed, our politicians are very dramatic. Like a drama, they always like to play as the protagonists by indiscriminately and publicly castigating those who oppose them as antagonists. I don’t know whether this is an inherent characteristic of theirs, or simply a
jealously guarded choreography of self-aggrandizement. Whatever the case, for me, it smacks of crass self–promotion.
All I know is that there is something deeply flawed in this juvenile power struggle that makes the players simply too angry to be sane. And yet, our people are being conditioned to look at this as a matter of good guys versus bad guys by these players.
Consider the recent spat between Senate President Juan Ponce “Manong” Enrile and Senator Antonio Fuentes “Sonny” Trillanes regarding our response to China’s territorial grab. Instead of guiding our people to deal cooperatively with the challenges of the looming crisis undermining our very sovereignty, everyone is madly jockeying for power to set
one’s self up on a higher political ground as the top-billed protagonist.
But who is the protagonist here?
Manong likes us to believe that he is. But, as a protégé of a former dictator who looted us and a member of the Magnificent 12 who voted against the 1991 RP-US Bases Treaty to kick the Americans out of Subic Naval Base and Clark Air Base, many are wary of his smooth but sly image as a protagonist.
On the other hand, Sonny also likes us to believe that he is the protagonist. As the alleged backroom negotiator of PNoy who walked away empty-handed, he overstepped his boundaries by ruthlessly chopping Foreign Secretary Albert del Rosario’s efforts in dealing with our on-going conflict with China in West Philippine Sea. More so, unable to rhetorically riposte against Manong’s self-serving diatribe in a Senate session, he walked out.
How does one trust a self-proclaimed go-to guy who deals with a difficult problem by cutting and running?
If it is true that PNoy authorized the back-channel negotiation of Sonny’s go-it-alone style, I hate to say that his decision was a grave miscalculation. PNoy may be a brilliant person, but through this action, he appears clueless and lacking in foresight. I wish he possessed the strategic skills and organizational acumen to support our attendant institutional efforts in providing our people a unified stance against China’s belligerence in the West Philippine Sea.
In the end, it’s not Sonny but Secretary del Rosario of the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) who is his primary spokesperson to advance the interests of the Filipino people in the world community.
Who then is the protagonist? Manong? Sonny? PNoy? This is a difficult question to answer. But if we want to know who are the antagonists, it might not be that difficult to answer.
I am tempted to say though that the real protagonists are the people. But a majority of our people are persistently battered by natural as well as political calamities. Oftentimes, short of luck and chance, they are desperately clinging to the economic margins of society and
barely surviving to get by. I don’t have much hope.
The reality is we don’t need another dramatic upheaval or another people power in these trying times. What we really need right now is an extraordinary leader who is both charismatic and rationalistic to face up to the urgent demands of our precarious sovereignty.
We need a charismatic leader who can inspire and unite us all against a common enemy who steals our territory. And we need a rationalistic leader who can multilaterally outsmart the ultimate sea-grabber bully, especially down the stretch, showing a steady hand, and not showing a hint of rattled nerves.
Without this kind of leader, I am afraid that we may be witnessing the beginning of the end of our sovereignty in the West Philippine Sea.
Talk of the web