There are no options against China, not from Filipinos, that is. China is moving aggressively to grab islands and reefs that we claim to be ours. There has been no shooting incident that could have triggered a dreaded war but only because the islands and reefs China grabbed are not populated. Not anymore, though, as China is building facilities there, military or otherwise. Which means that these will soon be populated.
The Philippines is in no viable position to take back the islands. We can try, but we would have to do so by force. Force is possible but not viable, not if we cannot succeed despite using force, and not if we trigger a war we are totally unprepared for.
It is also quite possible that China is actually hoping we will be driven by our anger to remove their presence. Maybe that is why there are attempts to push our government and Armed Forces to take aggressive action. It would be a good strategy for China to divide Filipinos against a united action, if they do not already have agents doing it. It is not difficult to mount a campaign using a variety of issues to turn many Filipinos against the government. That would be merely using our weakness against ourselves.
There is only one option against China—our united resolve to defend our territory and sovereignty. There is no greater defense, no greater offense. A people unwilling to fight and die for the motherland do not deserve to keep it. This is one ploy of China, one gambit it uses against us—that our divisiveness will prevent us from effectively defending the islands and reefs, and everything underneath the seas, that China will claim and grab as its own.
China does not have to go for the populated areas first. What for? If it does so, the unity of Filipinos will come as a powerful natural response. We did not choose to fight Spain, America and Japan, we were forced to because they invaded us. They came to our shores, demanded our submission, and began killing us when we resisted. We could not do anything else but fight, even if we get killed, as the enemy was already upon us.
When the invaders took over, they looked for, and found, the necessary traitors among Filipinos who agreed to placate and police us in return for their keeping themselves in power with increased income as well. We have to be very alert about betrayal because too many powerful or wealthy people are so vulnerable to the temptation of selling out the Filipino people. But then again, when the danger looms closer, those traitors cannot help it but expose themselves.
Today, China can just eat up the disputed islands. Our ships and planes cannot stop China without being obliterated. How many men and women in uniform do we send out to be massacred when we ourselves, millions of us, are not willing to be part of our national defense?
The United States of America is the only force out there that makes China hesitate to gobble up all unpopulated islands within Philippine territory. Despite the rhetoric, The Americans cannot risk themselves for our sake, only for their own national interests. All the more when we just talk and complain while they risk everything.
Most Filipinos need not go on a shooting war, but Filipinos should go to war in all fronts where each can contribute to our defense and the defeat of the enemy. There are many areas where we can do battle but we must first be willing and ready to do so. If the fires of patriotism will not burn intensely in our hearts, we are lost before the battle begins.
So far, there has been some noise, some show of anger and deep concern, but not much more. There have been calls to boycott Chinese products, but if the fight will stay on economic terms, guess who will give up first. We had built up our dependency too long on products that others make rather than demand a national plan to develop self-reliance. Take our Chinese products from our market and watch how the majority of our population will be unable to afford their needed products if made by most other countries. The power of a boycott is becomes a force only if the may of the sympathetic world will join the boycott, too.
We have to develop a collective plan on how to confront China. We can begin by activating our patriotism, by accepting the urgency of our defense and offense, by showing China and the world that we are ready to fight whatever the odds.
We must build armies, armies to reach out globally through diplomacy and social media, armies to appeal directly to the Chinese people who may not be in agreement with the bullying tactics of their government, armies to build an IT defense and the power to launch IT attacks as well, armies who are willing to join our soldiers in the front lines and show the world that Filipinos know how to die bravely.
The fighting and dying part is always the hardest. But that is what survival demands in special instances, like our present moment with China. It is excruciatingly difficult to send our sons and daughters to their deaths when it is not their fault why we are so vulnerable today. The older generation must volunteer ahead if only to accept responsibility for our weakness.
Cowardice will bring us nowhere except to submission. Cowardice is our first enemy, not China. If we choose cowardice over heroism, we are not worth fighting for, not by our soldiers, not by the United States or any other country.
We reach deep into our collective soul and find the bravery of our race. We must stand together, not against each other. Only then will other options rise to the surface, only then.