To whom does Taccad owe his loyalty?

PerryScope
By Perry Diaz

Rear Admiral Caesar Taccad

Rear Admiral Caesar Taccad

Last August 10, 2015, the new Philippine Navy Commander took his oath before President Benigno Aquino III. Aquino’s marching orders clearly outlined what he expected the new commander, Rear Admiral Caesar Taccad, to accomplish during his tenure. Taccad’s marching orders were to balance the navy’s resources and capabilities to secure the country’s territorial waters while the government is trying to rearm it amid rising tensions in the West Philippine Sea. It sounds like a simple and straightforward order but given the state of the Philippine Navy (PN), it’s a tall order because the capability of the PN can be characterized as impotently incapable of defending the sovereignty and territorial integrity of the Philippines.

During the change of command ceremony, Taccad vowed to defend the country’s maritime domain from China’s aggressive moves. He said that he would work for “stable, productive and constructive relationships” with the navies of other countries to preserve peace in the region. “We will continue to protect our seas and secure the future of our nation and its people. We shall continue to be a dependable naval force, prompt in response and sharp in action,” he said. He also promised, “I shall steer the Philippine Navy towards continued transformation, modernization, professionalization and overall progress in order to provide the maritime defense and security that is expected from a strong and formidable navy.” It seems like it was the appropriate response to Aquino’s marching orders. But what else could he have said?

Faux pas

Reclaimed Fiery Cross Reef with runway and harbor.

Reclaimed Fiery Cross Reef with runway and harbor.

But when he shared his personal views, they ran counter to the Philippines’ position in her territorial disputes with China. He said that he did not see any expansion from China. And when asked about China’s aggression in the Spratly archipelago – where China built artificial islands on seven reefs – he said, “They have been there for a long time and they are guarding what they think is their interest in the South China Sea. No expansion is happening. They are just pursuing their interest.”

And in an apparent attempt to drive his viewpoint home, Taccad said that the “prevailing security in the disputed archipelago is much better compared with the past.” He added, “It’s much heated before. I think we are in a better position now. We are communicating with China, and more or less not as threatened as before. You know what they are trying to do and we try to maintain more or less peaceful co-existence or settlement of what issue we have.”

Taccad’s comments probably rankled Aquino who was seated behind him as he spoke, which makes one wonder: How can Taccad wholeheartedly – and competently — execute Aquino’s marching orders to secure the country’s territorial waters against China’s aggressive moves in the Spratly Islands when they’re in conflict with his own beliefs? And this led me to believe that Taccad wasn’t fully vetted for the job. Surmise it to say, Aquino might not have interviewed him personally for the job, particularly on Taccad’s personal views and positions on the problems the Philippines is facing in the South China Sea (SCS) vis-à-vis China’s claim of “indisputable sovereignty” over the SCS. Had Aquino done that, Taccad would have failed the “litmus test” for the job.

What’s the truth?

The following narrative refutes Taccad’s unfounded assertions:

Marines raising Philippine flag on BRP Sierra Madre.

Marines raising Philippine flag on BRP Sierra Madre.

1) “No [Chinese] expansion is happening.” — Chinese aggression and expansion began in 1994 when China took possession of the Panganiban (Mischief) Reef and Subi Reef, both of which are within the Philippines’ exclusive economic zone (EEZ). In 2012, China grabbed Panatag (Scarborough) Shoal. Recently, China deployed a Coast Guard ship near the grounded BRP Sierra Madre manned by a contingent of Philippine Marines protecting the Ayungin Shoal. The Chinese ship was blocking Philippine troop rotations and re-supplying them.

South China Sea and the "nine-dash line".

South China Sea and the “nine-dash line”.

2) “They [Chinese] have been there for a long time and they are guarding what they think is their interest in the South China Sea.” – Recently, Supreme Court Senior Associate Justice Antonio Carpio showed several ancient Chinese territorial maps. The maps proved that the most southern Chinese territory was Hainan Island. It is located northeast of Vietnam in the SCS. The maps also proved that China didn’t have any territory beyond Hainan, including the Spratlys and Panatag Shoal. In 2010, Xi Jinping – who is now China’s President, Chairman of the Chinese Communist Party’s Politburo, and Chairman of the Central Military Commission – chaired the group responsible for China’s South China Sea policy. Through Xi’s group’s recommendation, China issued a statement concerning her core interests, which was expanded to include South China Sea, East China Sea, and Yellow Sea. The claim to “indisputable sovereignty” over these waters included the islands, fisheries, and subterranean minerals housed in them. China used the “nine-dash line” – an imaginary tongue-shaped line demarcating China’s maritime claims – to justify her sovereignty over the three seas.

Scarborough-map-and-Filipinos-planting-flag

3) “We are communicating with China, and more or less not as threatened as before.”—This is not true. The only time that the Philippines had officially communicated with China was when Aquino sent Sen. Antonio Trillanes IV to China — by way of backdoor channels — was in 2012 after she grabbed Panatag. The Chinese agreed to withdraw their ships from the shoal provided the Philippines withdraws her ships, too. The Philippines agreed and withdrew her ships. But instead of doing the same, China sent more ships and then roped off the only entrance to the shoal’s lagoon, thus preventing Philippine ships and fishing boats from gaining entry. Today, China has de facto possession of Panatag.

Airstrip comparison in the SCS. (Source: Asia Maritime Transparency Initiative, CSIS)

Airstrip comparison in the SCS. (Source: Asia Maritime Transparency Initiative, CSIS)

4) “Prevailing security in the disputed archipelago is much better compared with the past.” — This is pure hogwash! With China building seven artificial islands less than 200 miles from Palawan, two of which have runways that could accommodate China’s largest warplanes and deep harbors where huge warships could moor, any part of the Philippines is within reach of China’s warplanes and ballistic missiles within minutes of launching.

5) “You know what they are trying to do and we try to maintain more or less peaceful co-existence or settlement of what issue we have” – Yes, we know what they’re trying to do. But for the Philippines to co-exist with an invader is tantamount to capitulation without putting up a fight just like what happened to Panatag. And the “settlement” that China would only agree to is through bilateral negotiations. But China has put a heavy price for bilateral talks; that is, the Philippines has to recognize China’s “indisputable sovereignty” over the West Philippine Sea. That is called “surrender”!

Retraction

Justice Secretary Leila de Lima (second from left) and Senior Associate Justice Antonio Carpio (third from left) attend the UN Arbitral Tribunal at The Hague.

Justice Secretary Leila de Lima (second from left) and Senior Associate Justice Antonio Carpio (third from left) attend the UN Arbitral Tribunal at The Hague.

And this begs the question: Can the Philippines afford to have a Naval Commander who kowtows to China? With the United Nations arbitral tribunal currently reviewing the Philippines’ claim that the “nine-dash line” is illegal, this is not the time for the Philippine Navy’s top honcho to make statements that China could use to propagandize the validity of her “indisputable sovereignty” over the South China Sea.

The best thing that Taccad could do now to repair any damage done to the Philippines’ claim before the arbitral tribunal is to retract his toxic statements. He owes his loyalty to Aquino, but he also owes his loyalty to Aquino’s bosses: the Filipino people.

(PerryDiaz@gmail.com)


10 Responses. Have your say.

  1. Don Azarias says:

    Perry,

    This guy has got to be fired right away. Can President Aquino, as commander-in-chief of the AFP, fired Taccad outright or will Aquino still need Congressional approval? I’m not particularly conversant on the executive branch and military establishment’s protocol on matters, like this.

    Taccad’s words would embolden China in going forward with its sinister plan. Taccad’s act, as a Philippine naval officer, is disturbing, to say the least. The only way to minimize the damage he has inflicted on the nation’s sovereignty and territorial integrity is for him to be fired.

    Don

    • perry says:

      Hi Don,

      Unfortunately, P-Not doesn’t have the courage to fire any of his appointees. He should have fired at least 10 of his cabinet members but he wouldn’t. Like they, Pinas is f***ed!

      Perry

  2. roilogolez@yahoo.com says:

    To whom does Taccad owe his loyalty?
    August 17, 2015 | Featured, Opinion, PerryScope

    PerryScope
    By Perry Diaz

    Rear Admiral Caesar Taccad
    Rear Admiral Caesar Taccad

    Last August 10, 2015, the new Philippine Navy Commander took his oath before President Benigno Aquino III. Aquino’s marching orders clearly outlined what he expected the new commander, Rear Admiral Caesar Taccad, to accomplish during his tenure. Taccad’s marching orders were to balance the navy’s resources and capabilities to secure the country’s territorial waters while the government is trying to rearm it amid rising tensions in the West Philippine Sea. It sounds like a simple and straightforward order but given the state of the Philippine Navy (PN), it’s a tall order because the capability of the PN can be characterized as impotently incapable of defending the sovereignty and territorial integrity of the Philippines.

    During the change of command ceremony, Taccad vowed to defend the country’s maritime domain from China’s aggressive moves. He said that he would work for “stable, productive and constructive relationships” with the navies of other countries to preserve peace in the region. “We will continue to protect our seas and secure the future of our nation and its people. We shall continue to be a dependable naval force, prompt in response and sharp in action,” he said. He also promised, “I shall steer the Philippine Navy towards continued transformation, modernization, professionalization and overall progress in order to provide the maritime defense and security that is expected from a strong and formidable navy.” It seems like it was the appropriate response to Aquino’s marching orders. But what else could he have said?

    Faux pas

    Reclaimed Fiery Cross Reef with runway and harbor.
    Reclaimed Fiery Cross Reef with runway and harbor.

    But when he shared his personal views, they ran counter to the Philippines’ position in her territorial disputes with China. He said that he did not see any expansion from China. And when asked about China’s aggression in the Spratly archipelago – where China built artificial islands on seven reefs – he said, “They have been there for a long time and they are guarding what they think is their interest in the South China Sea. No expansion is happening. They are just pursuing their interest.”

    And in an apparent attempt to drive his viewpoint home, Taccad said that the “prevailing security in the disputed archipelago is much better compared with the past.” He added, “It’s much heated before. I think we are in a better position now. We are communicating with China, and more or less not as threatened as before. You know what they are trying to do and we try to maintain more or less peaceful co-existence or settlement of what issue we have.”

    Taccad’s comments probably rankled Aquino who was seated behind him as he spoke, which makes one wonder: How can Taccad wholeheartedly – and competently — execute Aquino’s marching orders to secure the country’s territorial waters against China’s aggressive moves in the Spratly Islands when they’re in conflict with his own beliefs? And this led me to believe that Taccad wasn’t fully vetted for the job. Surmise it to say, Aquino might not have interviewed him personally for the job, particularly on Taccad’s personal views and positions on the problems the Philippines is facing in the South China Sea (SCS) vis-à-vis China’s claim of “indisputable sovereignty” over the SCS. Had Aquino done that, Taccad would have failed the “litmus test” for the job.

    What’s the truth?

    The following narrative refutes Taccad’s unfounded assertions:

    Marines raising Philippine flag on BRP Sierra Madre.
    Marines raising Philippine flag on BRP Sierra Madre.

    1) “No [Chinese] expansion is happening.” — Chinese aggression and expansion began in 1994 when China took possession of the Panganiban (Mischief) Reef and Subi Reef, both of which are within the Philippines’ exclusive economic zone (EEZ). In 2012, China grabbed Panatag (Scarborough) Shoal. Recently, China deployed a Coast Guard ship near the grounded BRP Sierra Madre manned by a contingent of Philippine Marines protecting the Ayungin Shoal. The Chinese ship was blocking Philippine troop rotations and re-supplying them.

    South China Sea and the “nine-dash line”.
    South China Sea and the “nine-dash line”.

    2) “They [Chinese] have been there for a long time and they are guarding what they think is their interest in the South China Sea.” – Recently, Supreme Court Senior Associate Justice Antonio Carpio showed several ancient Chinese territorial maps. The maps proved that the most southern Chinese territory was Hainan Island. It is located northeast of Vietnam in the SCS. The maps also proved that China didn’t have any territory beyond Hainan, including the Spratlys and Panatag Shoal. In 2010, Xi Jinping – who is now China’s President, Chairman of the Chinese Communist Party’s Politburo, and Chairman of the Central Military Commission – chaired the group responsible for China’s South China Sea policy. Through Xi’s group’s recommendation, China issued a statement concerning her core interests, which was expanded to include South China Sea, East China Sea, and Yellow Sea. The claim to “indisputable sovereignty” over these waters included the islands, fisheries, and subterranean minerals housed in them. China used the “nine-dash line” – an imaginary tongue-shaped line demarcating China’s maritime claims – to justify her sovereignty over the three seas.

    Scarborough-map-and-Filipinos-planting-flag

    3) “We are communicating with China, and more or less not as threatened as before.”—This is not true. The only time that the Philippines had officially communicated with China was when Aquino sent Sen. Antonio Trillanes IV to China — by way of backdoor channels — was in 2012 after she grabbed Panatag. The Chinese agreed to withdraw their ships from the shoal provided the Philippines withdraws her ships, too. The Philippines agreed and withdrew her ships. But instead of doing the same, China sent more ships and then roped off the only entrance to the shoal’s lagoon, thus preventing Philippine ships and fishing boats from gaining entry. Today, China has de facto possession of Panatag.

    Airstrip comparison in the SCS. (Source: Asia Maritime Transparency Initiative, CSIS)
    Airstrip comparison in the SCS. (Source: Asia Maritime Transparency Initiative, CSIS)

    4) “Prevailing security in the disputed archipelago is much better compared with the past.” — This is pure hogwash! With China building seven artificial islands less than 200 miles from Palawan, two of which have runways that could accommodate China’s largest warplanes and deep harbors where huge warships could moor, any part of the Philippines is within reach of China’s warplanes and ballistic missiles within minutes of launching.

    5) “You know what they are trying to do and we try to maintain more or less peaceful co-existence or settlement of what issue we have” – Yes, we know what they’re trying to do. But for the Philippines to co-exist with an invader is tantamount to capitulation without putting up a fight just like what happened to Panatag. And the “settlement” that China would only agree to is through bilateral negotiations. But China has put a heavy price for bilateral talks; that is, the Philippines has to recognize China’s “indisputable sovereignty” over the West Philippine Sea. That is called “surrender”!

    Retraction

    Justice Secretary Leila de Lima (second from left) and Senior Associate Justice Antonio Carpio (third from left) attend the UN Arbitral Tribunal at The Hague.
    Justice Secretary Leila de Lima (second from left) and Senior Associate Justice Antonio Carpio (third from left) attend the UN Arbitral Tribunal at The Hague.

    And this begs the question: Can the Philippines afford to have a Naval Commander who kowtows to China? With the United Nations arbitral tribunal currently reviewing the Philippines’ claim that the “nine-dash line” is illegal, this is not the time for the Philippine Navy’s top honcho to make statements that China could use to propagandize the validity of her “indisputable sovereignty” over the South China Sea.

    The best thing that Taccad could do now to repair any damage done to the Philippines’ claim before the arbitral tribunal is to retract his toxic statements. He owes his loyalty to Aquino, but he also owes his loyalty to Aquino’s bosses: the Filipino people.

    (PerryDiaz@gmail.com)

  3. roilogolez@yahoo.com says:

    Newly installed Flag Officer in Command Admiral Taccad, you owe the people an explanation – Golez.
    I ask you to answer these points that seriously question your competence to lead the Philippine Navy which is our first line of defense in the face of China’s incursions in our West Philippine Sea:
    “He said that he did not see any expansion from China. And when asked about China’s aggression in the Spratly archipelago – where China built artificial islands on seven reefs – he said, ‘They have been there for a long time and they are guarding what they think is their interest in the South China Sea. No expansion is happening. They are just pursuing their interest.’
    “And in an apparent attempt to drive his viewpoint home, Taccad said that the ‘prevailing security in the disputed archipelago is much better compared with the past.’ He added, ‘It’s much heated before. I think we are in a better position now. We are communicating with China, and more or less not as threatened as before. You know what they are trying to do and we try to maintain more or less peaceful co-existence or settlement of what issue we have.’

  4. cito tican says:

    I think this seemingly blind and ignorant admiral’s statements should be enough for congress to deny his appointment.

  5. Constantino Gamolo says:

    Hi there Perry: Was this Mr. Taccad approved by the Commission on Appointments? Whoever recommended him to be the top honcho of the Philippine Navy has a divided loyalty to the Motherland. Mr. Taccad should be fired outright.

  6. Fernando Habito says:

    He should be fired ASAP….Another ignorant and incompetent appointee of P-Noy administration.

  7. roger Lim says:

    He should be replaced.

  8. THIS TRAITOR -DOESN’T DESERVE TO BE A SOLDIER OR NAVY OF THE PHILIPPINES!HE DESERVE TO BE FIRED BY THE PRESIDENT OF THE PHILIPPINES A.S.P.,,IF THE PRESIDENT WILL NOT DO THIS—HE WILL BE LIKEWISE BE IMPEACHED!!!! ADMIRAL TACCAD –YOU CAN GO TO HELL!! YOU DONT EVEN DESERVE TO BE A CITIZEN OF THE PHILIPPINES-GO TO YOUR MOTHERLAND-china!!!!! YOU MAMMOTH IDIOT !!!!!

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