No to the militarization of the South China Sea! Duterte, speak up!

February 10, 2018


MANILA – The Philippines Chapter of the International League of Peoples’ Struggle (ILPS) joins the Filipino people in protest as they denounce the acquiescence of the Duterte government to China’s building and arming of artificial islands in the Spratlys in the South China Sea and the increased presence and operation of U.S. military forces in the region.

Malacanang has not protested China’s intrusions into the Philippine-claimed reefs in the Spratlys and in Scarborough (Panatag) Shoal in the West Philippine Sea waters. It plays down Beijing’s plan to expand its artificial islands and military build-up.

China dismissed a tribunal ruling in July 2016 under the UN Convention of the Law of the Sea upholding the country’s right over its 370-km exclusive economic zone in the area.

The Duterte government refuses to assert this internationally-recognized right.

As China expands its naval and air bases build-up and increasingly conducts joint combat patrol missions in the South China Sea, the U.S. is also projecting its own military presence with overflights and navigation in the region. Both powers have undermined peace and security in the region.

The U.S. is desperately clinging to a post-war regional order of American presence. That is now seriously being eroded by China’s own hegemonic expansionism especially as the monopoly-capitalist crisis escalates into a deeper and wider political and military rivalry between these imperialist states.

The Duterte government is claiming that it is no lackey of any foreign state and that it maintains an independent foreign policy. With its eerie silence on the South China Sea dispute, it is in fact facilitating the breakdown of peace and security in the region in favor of the US-China’s turf war.

Duterte has received millions worth of arms and military equipment from both the U.S. and China for his own militarist ambitions. They have bought his silence.

The Filipino working-class and people have all the right to assert their sovereignty in the West Philippine Sea and its resources. The area is critical to habitat and the food supply of millions. It carries one-third of total global shipping. Moreover, the peoples of the world are steadfastly rising against the neoliberal order and imperialist wars and plunder.

Mr. Duterte’s strong-man posturing is standing on its feet of clay on the South China Sea issue.

The people shall reclaim what is theirs as they fight against imperialism and its client-state in the Philippines.