by Bernadine Racoma, as originally posted on the Philippine Online Chronciles/Blog Watch
Yes, according to Chinese media. Do we even need to say that we differ?
But – well, maybe we’ll state some reservation on the “amateurish” part….
By now, we should have our retort written just to put things on record. The Chinese may think of silence or disregard as an admission or concurrence. They have been driving away Filipino fishermen in Philippine waters because we couldn’t match force with force. They are enacting fishing regulations on waters they don’t own. They even patrolled waters claimed by Malaysia. The least we can do is to say something about it – of course in OUR President’s favor.
China’s bullying tactics is no secret. They’ve been doing everything out in the open in the guise of a historical claim on almost all of the West Philippine Sea. A Filipino leader comparing the situation to a terrible point in history is simply an expression of an opinion. Call it exaggerated but it is certainly nowhere near China’s ongoing “sea grab.” They can even consider it as a lowly leader’s demeaning attempt to appeal for aid from more powerful countries. It’s not like the Philippine government stated the claim and proceeded to manufacture globes with fallacious territorial designations to jumpstart the propaganda.
Almost Commendable Coloma Response
Asked about the Palace’s response to the scathing commentary on the President, Communications Secretary Herminio Coloma said that there is no need to explainwhat President Aquino said. Of course, you don’t explain snide remarks in the same way you shouldn’t be explaining your jokes.
The better-than-Ricky-Carandang communications officer aptly said:
“I don’t think there is any move on our part to explain. The President has the right to express his views to journalists that interview him. Can you imagine a situation that one of you asks the President something and he replied in a certain way, is this something that needs to be explained to another country? I don’t think so.”
This is one of those instances when you feel like the Palace propaganda machine is doing a good job. However, why did Secretary Coloma have to say that the remark wasn’t meant to offend China. By saying this, he is either saying that the President is too tactless for comfort, the he does not think of the consequences of his words or that Filipinos are just too inept not to realize what the word offensive means?
If you are being compared to one of the most detestable figures in history, of course, you are bound to be insulted! Even the Hitler-associated swastika continues to offend people. Even Microsoft prohibits the use of the swastika as team logos or badges on Xbox games. Now, a political figure, albeit from a small and developing country, comparing a country to Hitler is doubtlessly soliciting censure. So Mr. Coloma, for the preservation of Filipino intellect, please stop using invalid arguments. We are fine with just silence or a “no comment.”
Calling our President ignorant of history is highly refutable. At the least, Mr. Aquino knows about the Sudetenland incident, a bitter point in history that China may emulate – similar to how this communist country shamelessly copied buildings and landmarksand the ridiculous recreation of entire cities. There’s nothing wrong with being cautious.
We concede that Mr. Aquino is not very intelligent so he could have missed some details about the past. However, we can’t blame the President for forgetting China’s alleged history of owning South China Sea. It is a nonexistence. It is impossible to remember something that did not exist, much less forget. Only the Chinese speak of such history and the world, save the few paid hacks, does not recognize China’s incredulous historical claim.
President Aquino is amateurish. Well, we can agree with that. He lacks the knack of not being offensive without necessarily agreeing to what political personalities are advocating. Despite the many years of being a public official, he has not learned the skill desired in diplomat wannabes. Well, he didn’t have a stellar career as a legislator, either. He’s just in between the extremes of being a politician. He is not that skilled in using public funds to bribe senators and does not know how to cleanly handle erring subordinates. He set up a propaganda machine that failed to serve its purpose. He can’t even control his tendency to smileat the wrong place or occasion.
Nevertheless, the Philippine President committed no blunder in likening China to Hitler. He just refuses to play with China’s pretentious effort of “peacefully resolving” a conflict it is solely responsible for. He is not a professional in brown nosing.
Testing International Community Reaction
If we were to believe the Inquirer’s source, President Aquino’s Hitler comment was supposed to be “very deliberate” and was allegedly meant to test the reaction of ally countries of the Philippines in the midst of the Chinese military buildup. According to the said source (someone from the diplomatic community) Aquino was curious if allies will really be behind the Philippines to face off with China in case the aggression escalates into an incident that already involves arms and soldiers.
This actually sounds a little farfetched. You can’t test international cooperation with a mere provocative comment. If the goal was really to test the support of allies, the most sensible way is to start dealing with China’s insulting incursions by staging a standoff, if necessary. Such a brave act may merit donations of armed boats from Japan or the United States. The fight, so far, had been mostly verbal or written with the US and Japan merely stating support for the Philippines. There has already been that expression of support so if the goal is to really test international reaction, how about violating the arbitrary Chinese ADIZ or actually escorting (instead of simply expressing intention) our fishermen to prevent the Chinese from harassing them?
Disappointing Public Sentiment
On the Internet, the response to the rebuke on Aquino appears mixed. Unfortunately, not all Filipinos could just rally behind their leader. Many agree to the “amateurish, ignorant” comment, most of whom are perennial and chronic anti-Aquino “commenters.” Yes, we take note of comment usernames, IDs, and IP addresses (sometimes).
To those who perennially attack the President of the Philippines, maybe it’s time to pause and think. Despite all the misgivings of the President, he is still the country’s representative in the international arena. He is still the Filipino voice against China. Supporting other country’s demeaning comments on our president is unwarranted, especially in the context of defending the country’s territorial rights.
Our President could be amateurish and ignorant at times but definitely not in the way the Chinese media want to depict it.
Photos via President Noy Facebook. Some rights reserved.