The 7th Fleet has never left

PerryScope
By Perry Diaz

Seventh-Fleet.3There is a minority but very vocal group of Filipinos – including militant lawmakers and Catholic Church leaders — who are critical of the recently inked Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement (EDCA) between the Philippines and the United States. Some say it was a mockery of the Philippine constitution. Some say President Benigno Aquino III sold out the country to America. And some say that China would drop thermonuclear bombs on the Philippines if war broke out with the U.S. Well, that’s what the anti-American minority thinks.

But what does the majority of Filipinos think? According to the 2013 Global Attitudes Project conducted by Pew Research Center in Washington, D.C., the Philippines got an 85% score – the highest among 39 participating countries — when people were asked: “Do you have a favorable or unfavorable view of the US?” But what were coming out in the Philippine press were mostly negative information — or misinformation — picturing the U.S. as a neo-colonial and imperialistic power.

Kadena Airbase in Okinawa

Kadena Airbase in Okinawa

Nothing is farther from the truth. As a matter of fact, America didn’t need to re-establish permanent bases on Philippine territory. The U.S. has close to 100,000 military personnel in Japan, South Korea, and Australia, and assets that include a nuclear aircraft carrier, nuclear submarines, fighter jets, and strategic bombers.

However, the U.S. is still committed to defend the Philippines if attacked by a foreign power. The Mutual Defense Treaty (MDT), which was signed in 1951, is still in full force notwithstanding the Philippine Senate’s abrogation of the U.S. bases agreement in 1991. But no sooner had the Americans left than the Chinese started grabbing Philippine territory.

Deception

Chinese fortifications on Pamganiban Reef

Chinese fortifications on Pamganiban Reef

In 1994, China built a platform on the tiny Panganiban Reef (Mischief Reef) purportedly to provide a rest stop for fishermen in the area. Since the reef was only 130 nautical miles from Palawan, the Philippines welcomed it, as it would be beneficial to Filipino fishermen. Wrong! As soon as the Chinese had established their presence in the area, they started building fortifications on the reef.

A more recent incident happened in 2012 at the Panatag (Scarborough) Shoal, 124 nautical miles from Luzon. After driving out Filipino fishermen from the lagoon in the shoal, a standoff ensued between Chinese and Philippine Coast Guard vessels. The U.S. brokered a deal where both countries would withdraw their vessels from the shoal. The Philippines complied with the agreement but China did not. Instead China roped off the only entrance to the lagoon; thus, preventing Filipino fishermen from getting in.

It was then that President Aquino decided to ask the Americans for help. Negotiations were started eight months ago to look for ways to bring back the Americans without violating the 1987 Constitution, which prohibits foreign military bases on Philippine soil.

EDCA

Liaoning battle group

Liaoning battle group

On April 28, 2014, the Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement (EDCA) was signed. The agreement came at a time when China had been building a blue-water navy capable of operating across the open seas, such as the waters surrounding the Philippines.

With a navy with no warships and an air force with no warplanes, the Philippines is helplessly at the mercy of China. China could easily take over Philippine territories in the disputed waters of the West Philippine Sea (South China Sea) without firing a shot.

Spratly Islands

Spratly Islands

For the past year, China has been keenly eyeing the Ayungin Shoal that is part of the oil- and gas-rich Spratly archipelago. Ayungin is only 105 nautical miles from the Palawan coast, which China could use as a forward operating base in the area. It is the gateway to the prized Recto (Reed) Bank, which is only about 80 nautical miles from Palawan. According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration the Recto Bank could hold up to 5.4 billion barrels of oil and 55.1 trillion cubic feet of natural gas.

The only thing that’s preventing China from forcibly taking possession of Ayungin – and Recto Bank thereafter — is a small detachment of Philippine marines deployed to a rusty naval ship, the BRP Sierra Madre, which lays aground off Ayungin.

Vigilance

USS Blue Ridge

USS Blue Ridge

Last May 10, it was reported in the news that two helicopters from the USS Blue Ridge, the flagship of the U.S. 7th Fleet, spotted two Chinese guided missile destroyers near the Scarborough Shoal. The 7th Fleet issued a statement saying that it “has around 70 to 80 ships and submarines at its disposal along with 150 aircraft, and added that it operates 365 days throughout the Indo-Asia-Pacific region.”

The report also said, “The presence of the 7th Fleet flagship in the vicinity of the Scarborough coincided with the opening of the Balikatan Exercises 2014, wherein 5,500 Philippines and U.S. forces will be conducting simultaneous drills and humanitarian activities in different parts Luzon and the Visayas.”

With the 7th Fleet operating all year round in the Indo-Asia-Pacific region, it serves as a warning to all nations, particularly China, that the South China Sea, which is one of the busiest maritime routes, should – nay, must! – be open to free navigation by any country.

The size of the 7th Fleet would continue to increase as planned by President Barack Obama’s “Pivot to Asia,” which would “rebalance” 60% of U.S. naval and air forces to the Indo-Asia-Pacific region.

After more than two decades since the closure of the Subic Naval Base, which the 7th Fleet called home, many believe that she’s back in full swing. Wrong! The 7th Fleet has never left. She’s always been at sea vigilant as ever.

(PerryDiaz@gmail.com)


17 Responses. Have your say.

  1. US Navy and Military presence are deeply needed along the Philippine water territories to protect any aggression from unwanted neighbors interested to invade Philippine territories.

  2. roy says:

    We have still a nostalgic memories of the U.S. military defending the Philippines from Japanese Imperial military. The U.S.A. did not keep the Phil. forever. Give the country as soon as the Phil. was ready to govern itself. True the words of Pres. Quezon, the Phil. run like hell by Filipinos than heavens by American.

    • Bobby Bagos says:

      Filipinos that were born poor, grew up being poor and died poor will probably say ” I know I’m going to heaven because I’ve already spent a lifetime in hell”. I’m sure there are still a few of them around that are banging their heads on a wall for not allowing our country to be a permanent part of the US. I would like to name a few country that had been under Uncle Sam’s leadership with an excellent quality of life, but I won’t do it, I don’t want to rub it in that we were all idiots.

  3. Capt Rick Bernabe says:

    Kung hindi sa mga pekeng natonalist senators/with the help of the communist symohatizers NPA,JOMA,and all the ungrateful leftist students from UP(who goes to school for free under the auspices of the Filipino taxpayers)/(who are tickled pink to migrate to US and wear Levis and La coste apparels)that advocated the reoval of the US Bases……” There would have been no Abu Sayaf,no Chinese incursions in our shores period. Mga walang hiya kayo…..at hindi mangyayari itong wholesale thievery/punditry/corruption and non-stop-killing of our citizens.
    lets bring back the death penalty to include all the senators-thieves.
    pati kaming US taxpayers ay naririgatan sa cost or halaga nang mga karumal-dumal na gawain nang mga taong nabanggit sa una.
    Wake up mga kababayans.
    ipasa ang FOI.
    Irevisa ang banking laws.
    Pagpulain ang complete transparency/ies.
    Ibalik ang death penalty. sa mga corrupt,heinuous thiefs,killers,drug dealers/peddlers and rapist and hard headed arrogant PASAWAYS.

  4. ABBalague says:

    Let’s stop kidding ourselves and just admit that we need the US to protect our sovereignty. Patriotism is not worth anything if we can not even defend our own sovereignty. Why don’t we these so called patriots to Ayungin Shoal, and watch them shout at the top of their voices to call the Americans.

  5. Bobby Bagos says:

    There are still those who are so set against the American forces coming back to our country, some of them are women who claimed to have work at nightclubs and other entertainment facilities. They are blaming the American military for what they had become, single mothers and being treated as an outcast by society. I don’t know if these people were forced to go into these way of life by someone else or it is something they have to do on their own to survive. Either way, I don’t think the US military can be faulted for that. Even in ancient times, house of pleasures are plentiful around military encampments. The presence of US Military in our country will certainly serve as a deterrent against the Chinese adventurism, it had for almost sixty years until 12 brain dead senators decided that their ignorance and stupidity are more important than the security of our country. And where are these people now, I know one of them is an ousted president convicted of plunder, now serving as mayor of Manila. Because we lack the ability to think clearly when choosing who will lead our country to prosperity, we always end up with a bunch of sorry excuse for humanity who called themselves lawmakers.

  6. Rex Q. Garcia ME/ CPE / PE says:

    I agree 200 percent with Mr. Bagos comments and let me add to those dead brain or moron voters to be more educated or smarter, and be inform all the corrupt government officials not to be re elected in this coming election or all coming elections after Pinoy. A good example how stupid is our voters was they still elected Erap a convicted plunderer, elected Jalosjos a convicted rapist and the worst part of it was he won the election while he was still in jail and GMA release him from jail. I would like to add how stupid those demonstrators against the Americans coming back to protect our territory from ambitious Chinese to harvest our rich natural resources in our backyard. I bet you if the US Embassy issue passport for tourist visa or a green cards to all the demonstrators they’ll jump and drop their demonstrator banners to come to the US . The same message I have been writing from my previous Balita Comments that the request from the nightclub girls from Subic and Clark and for sure they are there in the demonstration saying ” GO HOME YANKEES BUT PLEASE TAKE ME WITH YOU IN MY DREAM LAND AMERICA ” I don’t hear any from the 12 moron senators mentioned by Bobby Bagos. Where are they who voted and kick out the Americans. In fact those rich corrupt senators send their children to gain good education in the US, They invest real estate, and buy flashy items with mark ” Made IN USA ” rather than Made in China. Don’t you thinks all this Pinoy politician and demonstrators are pony and hipocrites nationalistic heroes?

  7. Marino R. Facelo , MD says:

    May 17 , 2014

    I am quite impressed at the many comments by Philippine individuals regarding the article ,” The Seventh Fleet Has Never Left “, a featured opinion by Perry Diaz of the Perry Scope .

    I agree with most of the comments made by the writer and responders. Having been born on an interisland ship in the vicinity of Cuyo , Palawan on June 15 , 1928, this article has become of very great interest to me than to most Philippine individuals.In spite of having become a US citizen since January 10 , 1960 , I still hope very much for the best outcome the Philippines can have in the future .

    What the Philippines probably needs instead of an anticipated US emergency military aid ,in case of a Chinese invasion , is an all out effort by Filipinos through out the world to clamor for a more permanent solution to the perpetual Philippine military inability to protect themselves , by becoming annexed as the next state of the United States of America . We can become the best state in the whole US knowing our potential.

  8. Marino R. Facelo , MD says:

    KABABAYANS ,LET US GET OUR ACT TOGETHER ,AND RESCUE OUR NATIVE LAND , OUR BELOVED PHILIPPINES FROM AN INSIDIOUS CHINESE COMMUNST ANNEXATION . IF YOU HAVE NEVER WRITTEN BEFORE , THEN WRITE , RIGHT NOW !!!

    It has been almost twenty four hours since my reply regarding the very important featured opinion of Perry Diaz of the Perry Scope , ” The Seventh Fleet Never Left ” .

    Advocating that the Philippines be annexed as the next state of the United States of America , I was anxiously anticipating with great enthusiasm that there will be other responses to Perry’s magnificent opinion . The Chinese will then be able to realize as Imperial Japan learned previously , that even though the Philippines is militarily weak , we love our country very much , and we will strive and not become a Communist Chinese Province . Most Filipinos have been dreaming that we would rather become the next state of the United States of America .

    • Bobby Bagos says:

      Doc, I hate to burst your bubbles but the idea of our country becoming the 51st state will never become a reality. We had our chance of becoming one, even as a territory of the United States would’ve have been great for us but we were so anxious of becoming a free nation once again, something that we were hungry for for hundreds of years and Uncle Sam finally gave us that opportunity. Unfortunately, we weren’t bless with people that would lead our country to prosperity, but it’s never too late. The new generation of Filipinos better be prepare for what our country could become should the Chinese decide to push their agenda on us.

  9. Marino R. Facelo , MD says:

    My dear Mr. Bobby Bagos , I appreciate your very timely comments in response to my assertions in support of Perry Diaz’ “The Seventh Fleet Never Left “. Please be aware that you did not ” Burst My Bubbles ” as you have described my proposal to better the chances of the Philippines against formidable odds . Instead you have unintentionally caused ” MY Bubbles ” to multiply as a result of your brilliance in recollecting how the Philippines lost a wonderful chance to have become the fifty first state of the Union . In using the word ” We “, might be quite objectionable to many Filipinos at that time because they vehemently opposed independence as they are more opposed to it now . Rather , it was the unfortunate desire and determination of a minority of immature and ill informed Philippine politicians who untelligibly manipulated the granting of independence on July 4 , 1946 .

    The Philippines becoming an economic power as you prefer first is a very good idea for the far future ,too late for an impending Chinese onslaught. It has began and is here . Presently and immediately we need the United States to assist the Philippine Navy and Philippine Air Force which lack the possession of warships and warplanes respectively as Perry Diaz wrote in the latter part of his article . With United States military might will be its economic power for all of us under the Star Spangled Banner .

    ONE MORE TIME , THERE MUST BE MORE OF US TO HEED THIS CRY! LET US GET OUR ACT TOGETHER AND RESCUE OUR NATIVE LAND , OUR BELOVED PHILIPPINES FROM AN IMPENDING INSIDIOUS CHINESE COMMUNIST MILITARY ANNEXATION OF THE PHILIPPINES . It has happened in Georgia , Crimea , and the Ukraine . It is now happening in the Philippines by the same Communist Juggernaut .

    In case one has never written an article in defense of the Philippines before , then this is a wonderful opportunity . Please write , right now , as Mr. Bobby Bagos has lead me to do . Let us all show to the Chinese that we have the numbers in this effort .

    Since it takes time to compose a reply , you may copy my article if you feel the same way I feel for our Beloved Philippines . Please encourage your friends to do the same , and for all of us to pray for her , our Beloved Philippines .

    Many of us have Chinese blood in our veins . We are grateful for that . But , we are not non-Christian Asians like they are . We are Filipino Catholics only. God has formidably surrounded the Philippines separating us from Asia . The Philippines belong only to Filipinos and never for non – Christian Asians .

    • Bobby Bagos says:

      Doc, I’m with you. Our country, in my opinion has now reached that point of no return. It’s too late for Uncle Sam to take us under his wings but it’s not too late for him to at least give us all the help we can get in protecting our country against any aggressor. Militarily, we are at the mercy of the Chinese. Mr. Diaz even made a comment that they’ve taken over a couple of our tiny island without firing a single shot. What we are lacking isn’t manpower, it’s equipment, modern military equipment. If someone can just convince those greedy politicians to quit stealing the government’s money, our military wouldn’t have to resort to using sumpit and tirador to fight our enemies.

  10. Marino R. Facelo , MD says:

    I am quite pleased to have read the recent note of Mr. Bobby Bagos which he began with ” Doc , I’m with you “.However , Mr. Bagos , you stated that hoping to be part of the United States is too late in trying to meet the Chinese insidious invasion .

    You are correct to a certain point . I still stress the importance of becoming the fiftieth state of the Union even after an instant American military aid have driven the Chinese from Phlippine shores. You are also correct in pointing out the very necessity of eliminating corruption in the current Philippine government .

    Referring back to the beginning of responses to this featured opinion of Perry Diaz , your response dated May 12 , 2014 , at 8:24 AM , partially quoting , ” I’m sure there are a few of them around that are banging their heads on a wall for not allowing our country to be a permanent part of the US . I would like to name afew country that had been under Uncle Sam’s leadership with an excellent quality of life , but I won’t do it . I don’t want to rub it in that we were all idiots”.

    Your response then , impressed me enough to support your ststements at that time . Again , I repeat , what independence in 1946 gra

  11. Marino R. Facelo , MD says:

    Continuation:

    granted the Philippines , was not the wish of the majority of Filipinos . It was that of a very small minority of ill informed politicians whom we voted for.

    Becoming part of the Us is the ultimate solution for the far off future .

  12. Roman says:

    I appreciate all the commentaries written on this forum. I am brewing with anger against Chinese incursion on Philippines’ Territory. Chinese communist will not hesitate to take over our territories had it not for the help of the Americans. They lie like our dishonest politicians, They are hungry for more land and minerals like our greedy politicians in Enrile, Estrada, and Revilla.
    I have been campaigning not to buy any Chinese made products in the last 4 years. It was the free trade that made them wealthy,we can take that wealth away and make them poor once more if we all boycott Chinese products that are so inferior anyway.
    Thank you all to contributors to this forum.

  13. Marino R. Facelo , MD says:

    I am becoming to be quite amazed at the interest that is beginning to be expressed in the featured opinion of Perry Diaz of ” Perry Scope “, that has drawn a few Filipino individuals to actually take note of a terrible situation insidiously happening in the Philippines . At the same time , I am amazed that there are not more responses received so far . Perry Diaz’ featured opinion first appeared on May 12 , 2014 in ” Global Balita “. After a week , only nine Filipino individuals have been recorded to have responded with fifteen commentaries because certain writers have contributed statements more than once .

    It appears that not very many have become aware of this very important and alarming event that has befallen Our Native Land , Our Beloved Philippines . I strongly suggest to these nine concerned Filipinos to tap their relatives and friends to at least contribute a line or two after viewing the featured opinion of Perry Diaz in the “Global Balita ” . These efforts should show to the Chinese that we still care for the good of Our Beloved Philippines even though we have been living more ideally than those we have unfortunately left behind in Our beloved Philippines .

    Perry Diaz may be reached in the internet by visiting PerryDiaz@gmail.com or by searching his featured opinion in ” Global Balita ” .

  14. Lorna Chua says:

    China has been salivating for the Philippines for years and years. It will take every opportunity to increase its military grip on our dear country. All Filipinos should wake up and face the reality of very imminent danger.

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