Dispatch from Crame No. 299: Sen. Leila M. de Lima’s Statement on Chinese Missiles in the Spratlys


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Another line has been crossed.

With news from the US media, citing classified US military intelligence reports, that China has already stationed surface-to-air and surface-to-surface missiles in the Spratly Islands, the AFP now owes the Filipino people a response to these reports of this latest threat to national defense and security. However, up to now, the AFP still chooses to stay silent, as if wishing that the news will just go away.

The AFP cannot deny the fact that the deployment of Chinese cruise missiles capable of hitting Palawan island is the single biggest threat to national security in recent decades. Not since the Japanese invasion of World War II has the Philippines been exposed to such a real and physical threat to its territorial integrity and national sovereignty.

The Chinese cruise missiles in the Spratlys are now the single biggest existential threat to the Philippines and to Filipinos. But apparently, in line with the President’s amorous affair with China, the AFP has chosen to play the monkey that sees, hears, and speaks no evil whenever it comes to China’s aggressive escalation of military capabilities in the West Philippine Sea.

The President conducts the country’s foreign policy. But when the President himself is encouraging China’s bold moves in upgrading its tactical and strategic forces against the Philippines, it is the role of the AFP to stand its ground and impress upon their Commander-in-Chief in no uncertain terms that he is already pawning the security of Filipino soldiers and citizens in his effort to make his personal love affair with China a matter of national policy.

It is time that the AFP draw the line between Duterte’s mendicant policy towards China, on the one hand, and national defense and security, on the other. If the former is already threatening the latter, with Chinese cruise missiles now capable of hitting population centers in Palawan minutes after being launched from the Spratlys, it is time for the strategic thinkers in the AFP to step up and warn the President that the continuation of his mendicant policy towards China represents the inevitability of a perpetual threat to national existence.

It took China decades to build-up its modern military infrastructure and realize its strategic goal of penetrating the greater Pacific by dominating the South China Sea. But it only took the Philippines two years to surrender all its interests in the West Philippine Sea to China.

As I have said before, Duterte has single-handedly saved the Chinese billions of yuans in military spending and advanced China’s time-table in its occupation of the Spratlys by unconditionally surrendering the legal and diplomatic fight against China in the West Philippine Sea in a matter of months.

And now it is only a matter of time before Duterte likewise surrenders all other islands and shoals still currently held by the AFP. When that time comes, will the AFP still see a line being crossed, or has the line already disappeared entirely, and that to our supposed defenders there is no longer any line of defense, only that of utter surrender and abject indifference to the future of our territorial integrity and national sovereignty?

Deployment of missiles capable of hitting our military bases in Palawan within minutes was supposed to be one such line. That line has already been crossed. Up to what point will our AFP continuously draw that line backwards before it entirely disappears, and all that will remain is a checkpoint sign written in Chinese characters? This is a wake-up call not only to our armed forces but to our civilian hierarchy as well. Wake up now because we can already see and smell the People’s Liberation Army from our shores.

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