PRRD’s silent strategy

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The public outcry is deafening on the sinking of the fishing boat by a Chinese vessel. The yellows have been feasting on this supposed advantage they finally have over President Rodrigo Duterte. Yellow media publish articles non-stop and netizens critical of the administration have been hammering their keyboards and smartphones to post and tweet all that they can to hopefully bring down this administration. Sadly, this is all for nothing.

For a week, the Internet is on fire with the sinking of F/B Gem-Vir 1 and the 22 Filipino fishermen left to drown in the cold water. Our countrymen’s safety has always been the primordial concern. The sad image of being left at sea is easy to imagine, however, the issue is more complex than what the simpleton yellows think. Call it what you want, but the President is right to remain silent because the entire government moves at the slight sway of his finger. Any miscalculation for this matter can mean war — may it be physical, trade or economic in form — that may lead to loss of lives, jobs or opportunities.

The Philippines and China are in a historic phase of their diplomatic relationship and in any family there is conflict. The yellows have been capitalizing on this issue to squander this administration’s achievements that former President Benigno Aquino failed to see since he spent too much time playing video games with his nephew. If the yellows demand a true test, throw Aquino and Duterte to the high seas, let’s see who will squeal like a pig and who will last long like a Navy Seal.

The President is a strategist, more than anything. He has been a local politician all his life, dealing with criminals, drug addicts and battling the crude system of government – traits he brought with him when he was elected into the presidency. The keyboard warriors are nothing but observers who know nothing less than what they post on Facebook while having their latte. Let’s put things in proper context:

China made its move. In a statement, the Chinese Embassy in Manila admitted that a Chinese vessel was involved but justified that it was “besieged” by seven to eight Filipino fishing boats, invoking an image that it was fleeing the scene and unintentionally hit a boat in the process. They claimed that the Chinese captain attempted to rescue the fishermen in the sea but was afraid of being further besieged by other fishing boats, belying the claim that it was a “hit-and-run.” Chinese Ambassador Zhao Jianhua vowed an investigation and assured that if found to be at fault, the perpetrators shall be “punished for their irresponsible behavior.”

The Philippines responded. The fishermen have since safely returned to our custody, thanks to the Vietnamese who rescued them, and gave accounts on how they were rammed by the Chinese vessel and left to drown in the seas. Foreign Affairs Secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr. filed a diplomatic protest last Wednesday. The Philippines has also written to the United Nations’ International Maritime Organization, putting in writing its position.

Now that the Philippines is more than knee-deep into this situation, does the President still need to give his two cents? Absolutely not. In fact, any word from the President may be construed as interference in ongoing international investigations, which is different from his statements made regarding KAPA and PhilHealth that are internal to the Philippines only.
Those who demand a Duterte soundbite are mere rumor mongers immersed in “palengke politics.” What we have is a complex diplomatic situation involving more than the President himself. This is much bigger than personalities of our politicians.

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