Nobody Will Help Us Unless We Show We Are Ready To Help And Invest In Our Defense - Gordon On South China Sea Dispute
Senator Richard J. Gordon has pointed out that unless we show readiness to help ourselves by investing in building up a credible defense capability, nobody will help the Philippines in connection with the South China Sea dispute.
Gordon reiterated his call for substantive increases in the budget of the Armed Forces of the Philippines because undermining the country's defense capacity cannot continue.
"It is a folly for the Philippines to remain weak, dependent and reliant. To continue to undermine our defense capacity is an absolute folly and makes allies and ill-minded countries to look at us with derision. It makes us lose our dignity and self-respect. 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," he said.
The senator stressed that by investing in strengthening the military, the government is fulfilling the Constitutional provision which mandates that the AFP is the protector of the people and its goal is to secure the sovereignty of the state and the integrity of the national territory.
"We cannot continue to afford making a mockery of our Constitution's claim that the AFP is the protector of the people and its goal is to 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 conditio sine qua non for every state to have a capable defense force," Gordon said.
"But we can make all our allies near and far realize that by investing our defense forces with the modicum of credible equipage we are prepared to fulfill the Constitution's mandate. We must be prepared to do everything and more for the sake of national security. We must do this, ourselves. By doing so, 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," he added.
Other countries - Singapore, Israel, Taiwan, South Korea, among many others, built up their defense forces and capabilities early in their development.
China, Vietnam, the Philippines, Taiwan, Malaysia and Brunei are claiming, in whole or in part, groups of islands in the South China Sea, which include the Paracels and the Spratlys. Aside from the island chains which may have reserves of natural resources around them, there are dozens of rocky outcrops, atolls, sandbanks and reefs, such as the Scarborough Shoal. The sea is also a major shipping route and home to fishing grounds that supply the livelihoods of people across the region.