No place for sissiesBy Ramon Tulfo
Philippine Daily Inquirer
The government should not rush into believing a report that a Chinese ship intentionally rammed a Philippine fishing boat in the West Philippine Sea (South China Sea).
The mishap killed a member of the crew of AXL John, injured three others and left four others missing.
The crew of the ill-fated fishing boat said they were not sure if it was a Chinese ship that hit them.
If the survivors could not identify the vessel that hit them, how could they conclude it was a Chinese ship?
For all we know it could have been a Philippine ship or a vessel from another Southeast Asian country that figured in the mishap with our fishing boat.
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Let’s be cool in dealing with China over the Scarborough issue.
Let’s not be carried away by our emotions over the sinking of a Filipino fishing boat, even if indeed it was sunk by a Chinese ship.
In the first place, we don’t have the means to fight back if the situation at Scarborough Shoal turns into a shooting war.
Secondly, if the US is secretly prodding us to stand up to China, Uncle Sam won’t immediately come to our help if China attacks us.
The US Congress will still have to approve a request from the White House to come to our aid. That is provided for in the mutual defense treaty we have with the US.
Waging war over an inconsequential piece of real estate in the middle of a vast ocean is childish if not foolhardy.
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Inquirer’s Ramon J. Farolan wrote a very moving piece in his Reveille column Monday.
If the government doesn’t assert its authority over Al-Barka in Basilan province, where 19 Army soldiers were massacred last October, and where 14 Marines were also butchered in July 2007, Moro rebels and bandits will continue to laugh at the government.
Farolan, a retired Air Force general, cited some of his former colleagues who criticize this government and the previous one for playing ball with the Moros.
The strongest criticism comes from retired Lt. Gen. Salvador Mison, who was an Army brigade commander in Sulu province from 1976 to 1978 and in Basilan from 1978 to 1980.
Mison, who became Armed Forces of the Philippines vice chief of staff before he retired, said: “Shall we wait for another massacre for our national and military leaders to wake up and do something to assert our sovereignty in Al-Barka? A strong Armed Forces is needed to gain the respect and to be feared by the rebels in Mindanao. As a former brigade commander in Sulu and Basilan, I know that the rebels only respect a superior force.”
My old man, retired Col. Ramon S. Tulfo, would have fully agreed with Mison if he were still alive.
As a lieutenant and later captain in Sulu during the
Kamlon campaign in the late 1940s and early ’50s in Sulu, my father once told me Moros, especially the Tausogs of Sulu, respected enemies who fought them in their own game.
Mison, when he was brigade commander in Sulu, did something his fellow officers wouldn’t even have thought of while negotiating with Moros who held hostage many passengers of a ship that they hijacked.
He gathered all the families of the Moro hostage-takers and threatened to kill them if the Moros killed the ship passengers.
The ship passengers were all released unharmed.
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There is no place for sissies and bleeding hearts in dealing with the Moros.
Moros respect enemies who play their kind of game.
More from this Column:
- An incompetent airport manager
- How easily voters forget
- Dead man biggest winner
- My fearless forecasts
- Jojo Binay’s juvenile tantrum