Today’s View: A Case of Molesting a Precious Jewel

By
February 17 2013

It is regrettable that the US commits this show of disregard to our sovereign rights — a treatment that ill-deserves the little brown brother’s loyal deference to the Big Brother.  To be sure, it is another act of insensitivity — or is it a willful disrespect? — that smears the colors of the emblem of equality among nations and races around the globe. At worst, it smacks of superpower arrogance.

 

By DON PAGUSARA
Davao Today

The unfortunate incident involving the naval ship USS Guardian which ran aground on  the Tubbataha Reef  sanctuary in the Sulu Sea seems to be an ordinary phenomenon that occurs every now and then in the sea lanes around the globe.  One would think it is just one of those inadvertent oversights on the part of the ship’s captain.  It would seem that the incident would only call for apologies from the United States government and a declaration of willingness to indemnify the cost for the damage as well as the cost for a sustaining rehabilitation program of the Tubbataha Reef.  And everything will be alright and be back to normalcy. And the incident will just pass away and be forgotten like the rain. But a closer look at the circumstances surrounding the incident do raise certain issues — issues and questions which have long bedeviled the relations between the United States and the  Philippines for decades.

For instance, the US Government has issued statements to the effect that it does not know why its naval vessel USS Guardian rambled through the Sulu Sea which is part of the sovereign waters of the Philippines and consequently caused damage to a considerable area of the Tubbataha Reef which is a UNESCO-declared World Heritage Site.  It puzzles us how a respectable country like the US could ignore the rules and would fail to seek permission from the concerned government for its naval vessel to enter a treasured marine life sanctuary in the Philippine territorial waters.

Is this deplorable incident an offshoot of a mere act of negligence?  Doesn’t this show a belittlement, to say the least, of the Philippine State’s sovereign rights over its territorial domain by a superpower?  Is this not a display of a bully attitude of the U.S. vis-à-vis the small countries of the world?  And to think that the Philippines has always been “a loyal friend and ally” of America!

It is regrettable that the US commits this show of disregard to our sovereign rights — a treatment that ill-deserves the little brown brother’s loyal deference to the Big Brother.  To be sure, it is another act of insensitivity — or is it a willful disrespect? — that smears the colors of the emblem of equality among nations and races around the globe. At worst, it smacks of superpower arrogance.

Insensitive acts like this is the raison d’e-tre of the frequent protest rallies at the US Embassy in Manila by the Filipino youths whose ideals of what ought to bethey consider to have been willfully violated.  They cannot be faulted for their perception of the warped realities in the state- to-state relations between the US and the Philippines. They have questioned the real intentions of the United States’ presence in this part of the globe.  In countless times, they have asked, “what are its hidden agenda and unproclaimed plans in Asia”?   And more particularly, what really are its paramount interests in the Philippine archipelago? Is its ubiquitous presence not designed to advance its militaristic plans as props for its long-term economic interests?

This act of the US can be metaphorized as a molestation of a Filipino maiden, a precious jewel in the domain of Philippine womenfolk.  In many instances, the dignity of the Filipina woman has been trampled upon by foreign soldiers in our own land — in times of war and in seasons of peace.  Recall the rape of our women during the Pacific War!  And in peaceful times, revisit the US Military Bases on Philippine soil!

The Tubbataha Reef is an apt symbolism of the priceless beauty and worth of the Filipina maiden.  No one should be allowed to defile her, much less to indignify her. She is the

Ms. Universe in the array of planet earth’s treasures!

Don Pagusara is a native of Mindanao, a multi-awarded author and a Palanca-awardee.

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