Gordon: Only with a capable defense force can we gain support from other countries
Unless the Philippines invests in building up a credible defense capability, nobody will be willing to help the country in connection with the South China Sea dispute.
“Let’s be friends with our neighbors, build up our alliances in Asia, but build up a credible defense capability. No other country will help us if they see we are not serious about helping ourselves with a reliable defense in air and naval assets,” Senator Richard J. Gordon said on Tuesday.
In a statement, Gordon reiterated his call for substantive increases in the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) budget to improve the country’s defense capacity.
“The whole world will respect us and prospective supporters will support us because we are showing our commitment to help ourselves. Masarap tulungan ang taong tumutulong sa sarili (It feels good to help those who help themselves),” he said.
According to Gordon, investing in the military is in support of the Constitutional provision which mandates the AFP to protect the people, secure the sovereignty of the state, and the integrity of the national territory.
“I am not saying we go to war. Far from it! But it is a condition sine qua non for every state to have a capable defense force,” Gordon said. “We must be prepared to do everything and more for the sake of national security.”
China, Vietnam, the Philippines, Taiwan, Malaysia, and Brunei are claiming either parts of or whole islands in the South China Sea, including the Paracels and Spratlys.
Aside from the island chains, there are dozens of rocky outcrops, atolls, sandbanks and reefs, like the Scarborough Shoal.
The United Nations (UN) Arbitrary Tribunal ruled in July 2016 that the Philippines has exclusive rights over the West Philippine Sea and invalidated China’s “nine-dash line” claim.
The Scarborough Shoal belongs to the Philippines’ economic zone (ECC). — Kristine Macasiray/INQUIRER.net intern
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