As you go lazing out in Subic and Palawan's beaches, remember that a few kilometers away is the disputed South China Sea where armed conflict can break out anytime. Just last Sunday, May 4, a Chinese ship rammed and fired water cannons at two Vietnamese Sea Guard vessels, injuring six people.
China allegedly moved its government-operated oil rig to the Paracel Islands (Xisha Islands in Chinese and Hoàng Sa Archipelago in Vietnamese), which is claimed by Vietnam but has been occupied by China since the latter violently expelled a Vietnamese garrison stationed there in 1974.
As you know, the South China Sea, a.k.a. West Philippine Sea, is also where the disputed Spratlys and Scarborough Shoal lie. To give you a better picture of this ongoing conflict, check out this meme we dug out of 9gag:
Breaking News: China claims the Spratlys
The Spratly Islands (Nansha Islands in Chinese, Quan dao Truong Sa in Vietnamese, and Kalayaan Islands in Filipino) are a group of over 750 islands rich in natural resources. They are partly occupied by military forces from China, Vietnam, Philippines, Malaysia, Taiwan, and Brunei, which all have been fighting over the islands since 1968, or when oil was discovered in the region.
While other countries have history as their basis of claiming the islands, the Philippines has the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) as legal basis. O, ha?
So, what is Mother Philippines' stand on this issue?
Image from 9gag
Now we all know that, aside from filing a complaint to the UNCLOS and crying afoul about it on the Interwebz, this is about as much as we could do to battle China. But we say, so what if the only thing we could do is mang-asar? So what?! We're very, very good at it kaya!
If it makes you feel better, our chinito frenemies are reportedly on their slowest manufacturing and economic growth since the 2008-2009 global crisis. Why is this happening? One of our militant kababayans have an aswer:
Photo from Rappler
Chinese officers also harassed Filipino fishermen with water cannons last January 27. That after the Chinese government ignored the Philippines’ initiative to resolve the dispute before the United Nations! Our oppressed (yet still ingenious) citizens took their ire to social media:
Image from 9gag