MANILA – It’s a checkmate. The Philippines has lost the West Philippine Sea to China, according to analysts.
In light of recent intelligence photographs that show massive and extensive construction and reclamation activities by China in the West Philippine Sea, Congressman Ashley Acedillo and military historian Jose Custodio both believe that it is a veritable “game over” for the Philippines in its fight to retain its maritime rights to the West Philippine Sea.
Speaking before the Foreign Correspondents Association of the Philippines (FOCAP), Acedillo showed a slide presentation detailing the military facilities being constructed by China on various reefs and shoals, including airstrips, multi-story command structures, and docks for warships.
There are now large-scale construction and expansion activities by China in Chigua Reef, Calderon Reef, Kagitingan Reef, Mabini Reef, Gaven Reef, Zamora Reef, and Panganiban Reef.
While he sees nothing wrong in the Philippines taking the diplomatic approach by filing an arbitration case before the United Nations (UN), Acedillo said the Philippines should not just have depended on this alone.
Even if the UN rules in favor of the Philippines and declares China’s nine-dash line claim invalid, the ruling cannot be enforced and no entity can force China to retreat from the West Philippine Sea, he said.
Acedillo believes that at the rate China is going, the Philippines will lose the Kalayaan Group of Islands in one or two years.