Wednesday, May 29, 2024

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Bringing together the people of the Philippines to protect our maritime concerns.


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The officials made a firm decision to remove the barriers.

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Earlier this year, there was a similar event. During the month of February, Chinese forces directed a powerful laser at a Philippine Coast Guard vessel, resulting in a response from the PCG.ficer to temporarily go blind. In August, they fired water cannons at our vessels that were on a resupply mission to the BRP Sierra Madre off Ayungin Shoal. Notwithstanding widespread condemnation from Philippine officials and other countries, succeeding resupply missions to the Sierra Madre remained marked by the menacing maneuvers of Chinese boats. And then, toward the end of August, China released a “new standard map” that used a 10-dash line to lay claim to vast areas of the South China Sea, including the West Philippine Sea. This completely disregards the 2016 ruling of the Permanent Court of Arbitration that China’s nine-dash line has neither legal nor historical basis.

These gray zone operations perpetrated by an expansionist, hegemonically ambitious, and antagonistic state are being addressed through a combination of initiatives — by our own defense forces, collaboration with other sectors in Philippine society, and through cooperation with like-minded states that respect the rules-based international order.

However, these are not the only ones.

Reports of the destruction of our coral reefs are equally alarming. They very clearly demonstrate the need to do something not only to defend our territorial integrity, but to secure our marine resources for this generation and those that will come after. The PCG has confirmed that Philippine coral reef systems, specifi

The Rozul Reef and Escoda Shoal have been significantly harmed due to destructive actions by outside individuals. The harvesting of coral is another example of a harmful and aggressive agenda that endangers the peace, stability, and ecological harmony of our waters.

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Non-traditional security challenges, such as artificial island construction, require us to creatively utilize unconventional and science-based approaches in order to effectively address them.

In late 2022, Pulse Asia conducted a survey commissioned by Stratbase. It revealed the key reasons why Filipinos believe it is crucial to enhance our capability to safeguard and preserve our seas: “To safeguard the marine resources and environment within Philippine territory” (53%), and “To uphold the rights of individuals in coastal communities” (22%).

This, I believe, provides a solid basis for the attention now being given to a wider range of maritime security issues, that include territorial integrity and sovereignty, but also environmental sustainability. The pronouncement of our government leaders — President Ferdinand Marcos, Jr., for instance, said that only the national interest will dictate the government’s foreign policy, and various offi

The actions of China in the West Philippine Sea have been denounced by officials as a direct attack on our sense of patriotism. It is our duty to safeguard and uphold what rightfully belongs to us, and to reject any efforts by outsiders to infringe upon our established territory. Furthermore, we must recognize that these waters hold great significance for our future, our relationship with nature, and the preservation of marine life within our borders.

Clearly, this is a responsibility not restricted to government leaders. Our pursuit of maritime security highlights the need for a whole-of-society approach, because each actor and group have its own expertise that it brings to the table. Partnerships are not only desirable; they are necessary.

Last week, the Stratbase ADR Institute hosted a discussion about strategies for implementing a comprehensive framework for maritime affairs in the Philippines. A diverse group of professionals, including scientists, academics, policy makers, military personnel, and diplomats, came together to discuss the essential elements of maritime security that require everyone’s involvement.

Scientists are efficiently allocating resources in their efforts to establish a strong foundation in their field.fic foundation and body of knowledge about our seas. We were updated on the current efforts being undertaken by the scientifi

We were informed about the actions taken by the military to address both territorial and environmental threats. We also heard about the recommendations made by the community and their policies. We discussed various methods of learning from our international partners, such as Australia, in order to create a strong and environmentally sustainable future.

The state, private sector, and civil society each play important roles in the overall approach of Philippine society. The state and private sector can work together through public-private partnerships to tackle critical projects. Government and civil society organizations can join forces to address human security issues and pressing national matters. The private sector and civil society can prioritize investment and job creation for economic growth. Academics also contribute by utilizing their knowledge and expertise to ensure that policies and decisions are based on solid evidence. The media can aid by raising awareness and providing clarification on issues to increase understanding among the general public about the significance of the situation.

As we keep up with current events through the media, we are constantly reminded of ongoing intrusions into our vital oceans. It is important to recognize that the resolution to this issue does not solely rely on military action. Marine safety is a concern for civilians as well, as it directly impacts our daily lives. Taking action now is crucial for preserving a sustainable future.

 

The current leader of the Stratbase ADR Institute is Victor Andres “Dindo” C. Manhit.