Dec 052014


by Professor Roland G. Simbulan
University of the Philippines

( Commemorative Lecture on Apolinario Mabini on the occasion of his 150th birth year at the D.L. Umali Hall, University of the Philippines – Los Banos, October 20, 2014)

Nagpupugay ako sa inyong pagdaraos dito sa U.P. Los Banos ng Commemorative Lecture on Apolinario Mabini sa kanyang ika-150th Birth Anniversary. I am deeply honored by the invitation to address all of you on the occasion of this Commemorative Lecture in honor of Apolinario Mabini. Last July 23, our nation commemorated the 150th birthday of Apolinario Mabini, the first secretary of foreign affairs of the Republic of the Philippines.

Commemorating Apolinario Mabini’s 150th birth anniversary this year is an opportunity to reflect on the direction of Philippine foreign policy. It gives me great pleasure to also share my observations, insights and analyses on the topic. In this way, we can be well informed, to make decisions for our common goal of fighting for what is best for our country. As the first foreign secretary of our country, Mabini, because of his unyielding struggle against Spanish colonialism and later against U.S. imperialism, has become a symbol of genuine self-determination, independence and the defense of our national sovereignty.

This occasion is given more relevance by reflecting on Mabini’s life and ideas today for he is not just a symbol for self-determination and national sovereignty; he is also a symbol of the common people’s struggle against elite hegemony in our political and economic life. Mabini struggled unyieldingly against the enemies of our newly-born Republic – enemies from outside as well as inside the government. Mabini would put to shame his successors especially the incumbent one at the DFA. Today I will contribute to honoring and commemorating Mabini’s 150th anniversary by giving a constructive and prescriptive design on the issue of our foreign policy.

Foreign policy is the most powerful instrument for a government determined to develop and secure its territory. Especially at this juncture of our history, both our internal and external policies should just have one, unified objective: to reclaim full Philippine control of its natural and human resources, finances, economic activities, the state, etc.. so that we, as Filipinos, can determine our path to development that shall benefit the greatest number of our people. Foreign policy should be an instrument for national development and self-determination, not as a means for subservience. For a long time already, our government has bowed to the impositions of foreign interests which we have allowed to shape and dictate our policies. This has only wreaked havoc on our national economy and has only brought further inequality and poverty to this country. The foundation for an independent foreign policy is, in fact, enshrined in the 1987 Constitution and is rightly, founded on the principles of peace, self-determination, absence of foreign intervention, demilitarization and denuclearization.

National strategic interest in the spheres of politics and security need not be divorced from economic goals, but that is unfortunately the reality today. Our parameters to deserve independence should be clear and should determine our policy options.

What relevant key areas should be addressed in our current Philippine foreign policy? Mabini- if he were alive today – would be addressing the following key areas:








We should widen and diversify our foreign relations so that we do not become tied to and be a pawn to any particular big power. We should continuously seek alternatives which would better benefit our national interest in terms of economic, political, security, technological considerations. We relate and interact with other countries so that we can KNOW more about them and
LEARN from their experiences to develop and improve our own country.

Ngunit tila nagiging paatras ang kasaysayan. Noong Sept. 16, 1991, nangyari ang makasaysayang pagbasura ng ating Senado ng Pilipinas sa mga base military ng Estados Unidos.
I would like to take this occasion to highlight and discuss our relations with the Big Powers namely, the United States and China, which we should view from a historical and with a strategic view and vision. This is given more relevance because Apolinario was the first Secretary of Foreign Affairs of the Philippines.

Like China, we are an Asian country, which are both rich in natural resources. But compared to China we are just a small country, and an archipelagic country endowed with rich resources, being the object of big powers fighting each other in order to gain control of our land and its natural wealth. We have been under the Spanish empire as a colony for almost four centuries. The Dutch, and the British wanted to oust the Spaniards and incorporate us in their own empires. Then came the Americans who offered to help our Revolutionary fathers in freeing us from the Spanish yoke, only to betray the preferred “friendship”, fought our Revolutionary Army for Independence, and annexed us to the emerging American Empire. Apolinario Mabini fought the first U.S. “visiting forces” – 126,000 U.S. troops according to American historians– which invaded and defeated our Army of the First Republic of the Philippines led by General Emilio Aguinaldo.

Today, we are still the “bone of contention” of Big Powers, by the United States, including China, an emerging world power challenging U.S. hegemony in this part of the world.

A Perspective of our Relations with the United States

It has been alleged that our post-war and post-independence foreign policy has continued to be dictated by PAX AMERICANA, and not by our own assessment of our needs and interests. The behavior and actions of our post-independence administrations do not seem to deviate from this pattern.

Even the present P-Noy’s foreign policy highlights a restoration of U.S. military forces in the Philippines, thru the recently-signed Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement (EDCA). But not only that. On a strategic level, this foreign policy has adjusted itself to be being a supporting column of Pentagon policy in the Asia-Pacific. It has become like a drone, directed by Washington and Pentagon for surveillance and as an attack dog to those who challenge U.S. hegemony in the Asia-Pacific region.

Non-alignment in an emerging multi-polar world should be the official policy position of the Philippines. In international cooperation, we should look to medium term goals of regional security with ASEAN as the vessel. This regional collective body should not be downplayed whether in terms of economic partnerships as well as in security partnerships.

If our economic policies set the blueprint of our foreign policy, then we should seek constructivism in our relations with big neighbors like China. The reality of the global economy of China (which even American scholars predict will surpass the U.S. by 2020 in terms of GNP/GDP), should clear the heads of those advocating confrontation and war to resolve territorial and maritime disputes. Narrow nationalism should not be the hallmark in engaging a welter of issues, as for example, territorial claims.

Knowing ABOUT China

To understand China’s thinking and behavior today, we must understand China’s history: Before and during the early part of the 20th century China herself was a victim of western imperial powers, and like a watermelon, was divided by Western European powers, later even by the U.S. and Japan. It was the height of national humiliation for an old civilization like China to be divided like a watermelon.
All these threats came from the sea, in its southern and eastern coasts.

In 1948, the Chinese successfully liberated themselves from the control and domination of the West and have since embarked on a massive program of “modernization”, utilizing the methods of Capitalism in competing with the West.

In June 1975, we established diplomatic relations with China, a country which our media always described as Red China or Communist China. But China for a long time, has always been a country of interest to many outsiders of China. Many are fascinated about Ancient China because it gives us an insight into one of the oldest civilizations of the world – where gunpowder, silk and other technologies were invented – which came from our side of the world, the East, and not the West, which belies the Western myth that the origins of civilization came from the Western part of the world. Then there is Modern China, especially after its social revolution led by Mao Zedong in 1949 which restructured China, abolishing foreign control of its economy, initiating one of the most comprehensive agrarian reform programs in the world, and dismantling feudalism and the dynastic control of warlords which persisted in most of rural China.

Learning FROM China

Modern China fascinates many people from all over the world for two reasons:

1. How it has managed to practically eradicate poverty in the most populous country in the world, and there are many anti-poverty programs that we can learn from this rich neighbor with a population of 1.34 billion people today. There are important lessons we can learn from this country which used to be ranked as one of the poorest countries in the world to the 2nd largest economy of the world today.

2. How it has managed not only to develop its own indigenous technologies, but how it has strategized to absorb the state of the art technology of the West, or what we call “transfer of technology”, through its special economic zones where it has invited multinational corporations from the 80s onwards. So effective is this transfer of technology to China’s advantage that Westerners complain and call China “the pirate capital of the world.”

Modern China has become a global player and power, due to its fast-tracked modernization of its economy and rapid economic development. What are the indicators of this rapid economic development?

First, China is now the 2nd largest economy next to the U.S., surpassing Japan in terms of GDP in current dollars (IMF data).

Second, today China is unsurpassed in terms of consumption in iron ore, celfones, beer and copper, energy consumption and car sales.

Third, China is now the largest global manufacturing country, “the factory of the world”, the factory of the U.S. economy.

Fourth, China is the largest trading country or the world’s biggest shopping center. It has become the biggest retail market in the world.

Fifth, China has the largest foreign reserves in the world today, and has lent the U.S. almost US$1.4 trillion, while the European Union also owes it hundreds of billions of US dollars.

Recently, Chinese leaders under Xi Jinping have spoken of “China’s dream”. The dream may have something to do with China’s goal of totally eradicating poverty by 2020 (it officially admits that of its 1.3 billion population, 128 million are still poor, mostly in its western provinces). The Chinese “dream” includes the creation of a predominantly Chinese middle class for the majority of its people. China does not want to derail this goal by repeating the mistake of the former Soviet Union which engaged in a tit-for-tat arms race with the United States during the Cold War. The former Soviet Union over-extended itself, leading to vast resources spent on unproductive defense spending instead of the people’s needs, and leading to the collapse of its economy and fragmentation of the former Soviet Union into 14 independent states. China wants to focus on the development and stabilization of its domestic affairs, especially its western frontier provinces.

The goal for the Chinese people is not far-fetched. In 1981, the absolute poor in China was estimated to be 84% of the population. In 2008, the absolute poor was estimated to be only 8%, according to IMF and World Bank estimates. For the past 20 years, with an average annual growth rate of 20%, the highest in the world, the World Bank has estimated that in this period more than a billion Chinese people have been liberated from poverty, and that no other country in the world has ever achieved this phenomenon for its people.
Big Power Interest in Southeast Asia

Today, there is the competition for the world’s resources by the Big Powers to fuel capitalist development and growth: Mineral resources, oil and gas in the Middle East, in Africa, in Latin America, and in Asia, have caused big power conflicts.

China, our largest neighbor, has spoken of several “core” interests. Taiwan, economic development, socialist system, sovereignty, etc., but I argue that the ultimate unspoken core interest from which all others flow is the survival of the Communist Party. The challenge then is how to engage the mind of the Chinese Communist Party, especially its leadership, to figure out how a given issue such as the South China Sea disputes which include other ASEAN countries, impacts its calculus of survival.

In the world today, there are many potential threats to the Chinese Communist Party’s survival, and to China’s security which is the other name of it. But the biggest potential threat is the U.S., simply because it is still the predominant military and economic power in the world. For China, therefore, a strategy for the correct handling of relations with the U.S. is a life and death issue, and so far, they have done very well, thanks in part to the strategic momentum of the triangular model that Mao crafted with Nixon that has led to their current interdependence, but the relations will become more complicated as China rises. America’s pivot to Asia is seen as containment, a form of encirclement as during the Cold War, a threat to China.

There are many dimensions to the South China Sea issue, but again most important is to see it first of all through the security prism. China’s leaders are aware of two painful lessons from their “century of humiliation” that started with the Opium War and lasted up to the Japanese invasion of China in the Second World War. One, China’s weakness invited bullying. Two, China’s biggest threats came from the seas.

For the long future, there can only be more competition for resources and the question is whether it can be kept peaceful. We know that the great powers of the past achieved their aims through direct colonialism, wars of conquest, and inter-imperialist wars. China has propounded “peaceful development”, or “peaceful rise”, and “new type of great-power relationship”-to use their words- precisely because, subjectively, it wants to avoid the old pattern of great-power conflicts and wars. To this day, China’s diplomacy has tended to avoid overseas military conflicts or military intervention in other countries, and engages mostly in economic competition, using its accumulated financial clout to successfully win its bids for mining concessions in Afghanistan, or oil contracts in Iraq, for example. China’s leaders are certainly aware of the costly lessons of colonialism and wars, of which China itself is a victim. Hopefully, China can exercise more effective leadership so that its army of corporations and entrepreneurs expanding overseas will be guided by best practices (though there have been complaints in Africa as well as in the Philippines, as in the NBN-ZTE contract during Pres. Arroyo’s administration).

Overall, the entry of China into the global market for resources is good for the resources-owning countries. China’s dependence on economic competition and not on military muscle is good for peaceful global competition. Whether other great-powers will allow China to rise peacefully or to control a greater share of the world’s resources, is something China alone cannot answer. The laws of international politics exist, and China itself will continue to build its national defense to redress the military imbalance with other powers and protect its economic lifelines when the need arises. That China itself was long a victim of Western imperialism and never, even at the height of its power in the past, engaged in territorial conquest beyond its historical domain, seems to provide a basis for optimism, but we can never really tell, because any government or party can change its color. The lesson of the first socialist state, the Soviet Union, bears this out.

China’s Interest in the South China Sea

The South China Sea, where the Philippines is straddled, has oil and other resources, which are certainly important, but even more important is that it is a strategic zone of defense for China. China’s military planners will not lightly give it up. By and large, China is maintaining the status quo. They have the superior force to take over the disputed islets if they want to, while in the case of Scarborough Shoal, they probably believe we were the disruptive “revisionist” force with our first use of a military vessel to intimidate their fishermen. But they will maintain their sovereignty claims because they are important legal and political grounds for opposing the use of the sea lanes “within their jurisdiction” (within their Exclusive Economic Zone) for military threats against China. They support freedom of navigation but I think they want a say on military passage through their “claimed” 9-dash line seas.

China’s strategy of handling disputes with the Philippines will be a function of its overall strategy of dealing with the United States. China is already suspicious that the disputes with the Philippines have heated up simultaneous with the U.S. pivot in Asia. But in handling the Philippines, China will strike a balance between not unnecessarily provoking the U.S. , but also trying to send a firm message to the U.S.. This reminds me of the example of Netherland’s sale of a submarine to Taiwan, which led China to severing of diplomatic relations with the Netherlands –I think relations were downgraded because of this. But a more massive U.S. arms sale to Taiwan did not provoke a similar retaliation. The point here is that China is capable of “teaching a lesson” to a lesser power as a way of transmitting their message to the master, the U.S., without provoking the U.S., that it might be in our interest to avoid being in a position of such a “lesser power.”

Engaging China on our Territorial and Maritime Disputes

The Chinese claim in Southeast Asia — the 9 dash line, Spratleys, Baja de Masinloc, Ayungin, etc. are all manifestations that China is now following the ways of Global Capitalism. Some say it is establishing its own hegemonic “sphere of influence” especially among its immediate neighbors in Southeast Asia. Provocation breeds counter provocation. There is the U.S. Asia Pivot, and Japan is also reacting because its major trade routes for its vital imports such as oil and gas are on the Sea Lanes in the South China Sea. China is flexing its muscles through aggressive behavior in the South East Asian waters and in the Pacific, which may be a prelude to future confrontation and conflicts.

The South China Sea being, above all, a security issue, China will react to Philippine actuations according to whether they threaten or enhance its security. Based on pronouncements from our government (and for lack of any other channel for communication or bilateral negotiation), China has increasing perception that the Philippines is actively aligning with the U.S. and Japan to confront China militarily. Conceptually, how then can we expect the Chinese to give consideration to our just demands and to our national interests and agree to a territorial compromise, if by doing so they only harm themselves? This comes with their perception that we will allow U.S. and Japanese warships to secure and guard these contested islands for us.

Foreign Relations and our National Interest: Policy Options

Now, where should we stand in these big-power quarrels? We must, in accordance to our 1987 Constitution, defend our sovereignty and territorial integrity from all big powers seeking hegemony and control over the West Philippine Sea (U.S. , China and Japan). We have the following options:

1. Being a junior partner/follower of one of the competing powers by forging such one-sided agreements like the Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement (EDCA) will make our country a possible target of attack in a future conflict;

2. We can embark on an independent, patriotic posture. This means not allowing ourselves to be employed or used as a pawn in this big power struggle for resources in the region. This means asserting and resisting actual violations of Philippine sovereignty and territorial integrity committed by Chinese and U.S. forces. This includes punishing those who commit environmental destruction of the Philippine waters and our seabed resources, pursuing crimes committed by U.S. soldiers in our territory, etc..

We should be consistent with our counter-hegemonic position. We should resist not just the hegemony of one emerging global power, but also the current superpower that rides roughshod on our shores and whose troops and their facilities violate the Philippine Constitution and our laws. We should stand up to ANY superpower that violates our national sovereignty and tramples on the dignity of our nation.

There is a growing perception among ASEAN countries that the Philippine government is the representative of U.S. and even the Japanese government in ASEAN, especially when it openly invites more U.S. military forces and even Japanese forces on Philippine territory.

The Philippine government’s invitation to U.S. and Japanese military forces to use Philippine bases can only stir up Chinese nationalism and give support to Chinese hard-liners in the People’s Liberation Army. Even in ASEAN, we do not seem to be sensitive to the fact that a resurgent Japanese military in Southeast Asia is not entirely welcome because of the region’s experience under the occupation of the Japanese Imperial Army. China suffered the most in Asia during World War II where many cities in China, especially the entire city of Nanjing was razed to the ground and its people suffered one of the worst massacres in Asia by the invading Japanese Imperial Army.

Trumpeting the U.S.’ Asian pivot ostensibly to counter China in our territorial and maritime disputes with our rich neighbor, using the Cold War paradigm may not hold water anymore. Globalization has taken over the Cold War so much so that the economies of China and the U.S. are so interdependent in the present world. So are most ASEAN economies with China, that disengaging would be disadvantageous for both parties.

Our country is weak, but we also have strong points. China is strong but they also have their weak points. Applying Sun Tzu’s and Mao Zedong’s strategy, we must find the Chinese vulnerability and leveraging our strong points to protect our national interests — as distinct from the national interests of the other Big Powers — should be the main pre-occuption of our national strategy.

Ultimately, the greatest Chinese vulnerability is the Communist Party of China’s need for security and survival, in the face of the U.S. and Japan counter-balancing against China’s rise. Our strongest point is the God-given gift that the Philippines is strategically located in a neighborhood that is decisively important for China’s defense zone.

How then, should we take advantage and not squander our strong point? I argue that the best option is an INDEPENDENT FOREIGN POLICY, a policy that swears friendship to all and enmity to none, a policy that gives primacy to our national interests independent of the conflict between Big Powers, a policy that above all, refocuses our effort on the most urgent issue, which is accelerated economic growth, and the elimination of mass poverty, on which all other sources of national strength depend. We also have much to learn from our Southeast Asian neighbors — Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore, Thailand, Vietnam, etc., because though some of them also have territorial and maritime disputes with China, they are utilizing trade, economic relations, investments, loans, cultural ties and people to people exchanges to support domestic policies that will really enhance agricultural development and genuine industrialization.

Conceptually, therefore, we should aim to bring about a situation where China’s leaders – and public – will realize that reaching a territorial compromise with the Philippines will enhance, not threaten, their security. This is easier said than done, but it can be done, over time. The China-Russia border, the longest land border in the world, was a much more explosive problem, but it was solved. Even in its moment of extreme weakness vis a vis the Soviet Union then, China did not cave in on the territorial disputes, but when the Chinese perceived that the Gorbachev-period Soviets (and Russia) have changed their policy, the Chinese came to the realization that resolving the border disputes would enhance their security and they eventually agreed to a territorial compromise.

During my interactions with Chinese academics, scholars, political and party leaders, I have told them that if China wants to win the respect of the ASEAN region and the world as it emerges as a global economic powerhouse, it should just use its soft power —trade, economic relations, investments, loans, cultural and people-to-people exchanges, etc. –in its relations with weaker countries, especially its neighbors. That it should not follow the bad example of Western colonial powers (and the current global superpower) in Asia that employed coercion and force through military power in dealing with smaller and weaker counties. That is, if China wants to gain the respect of its immediate ASEAN neighbors in its backyard.

In my meetings and discussions with our Chinese counterparts – academics and scholars — my purpose was to engage, seeing to it that our point of view and national interests (not of the elite, but of the Filipino people) is not compromised, that there is a fair and equal opportunity in the engagement (exchange of views, discussion, debate, etc. ). I know that the Chinese are trying to win us over to their side in their strategic competition, struggle and quarrel with the United States for a dominant position in the world. But, they cannot expect to win us over to their side if they encroach on our Exclusive Economic Zone and territorial waters by unilaterally re-drawing their maps. But, let us also ask, why have we already surrendered our sovereignty to the other dominant big power, which supplies and arms us with already obsolete ships and aircraft – instead of state of the art for our external defense capability – to ostensibly “modernize” our armed forces?

But we must assert and assert our sovereign rights and our independence, not a witting or unwitting pawn of either Big Power. We can study well and learn from the experience of our smaller neighbor, Vietnam, in dealing both with China and the Soviet Union who were at odds with each other, to gain and to uphold their country’s independence and higher interests. It is in this context that I speak of engaging in the exchange of views, dialogues, discussion or debate with the Chinese especially the Chinese people. There should be more economic cooperation between the two countries, and more people to people exchanges to gain insights and to understand each other better. There should be more educational and training exchanges. In fact, since 2004 when we signed the Memorandum of Understanding on Defense Cooperation with China, we have been sending AFP officers for schooling at China’s National Defense University in Beijing; at present, as I speak, there are two AFP officers studying there. We should also do the same with the Americans, the Japanese, or Europeans — always for the purpose of protecting and promoting the interests of our country and our people in mind.

China’s immediate neighbor, the Socialist Republic of Vietnam, with whom China shares land borders, taught China and all big power bullies a lesson. That smallness in size of economic and military strength is not necessarily an invitation to being pushed around. We must develop and have our own capability to defend what is ours. The Vietnamese nationalist-communists who were once our enemies, showed the French, the Americans and even especially China that when their independence and sovereignty is threatened, they are determined to fight to the end and win. China today highly respect the Vietnamese for this and relations have more than normalized with closer ties.
The ideal strategic goal is for the Philippines to enjoy the friendship of the U.S. and China and not be a pawn in their inevitable conflicts. If China can be made to realize that we mean genuine friendship, that our relations with the U.S., Japan or other powers are not directed against China, then the conditions will be improved for the eventual resolution of our disputes. For China’s leaders, the most important starting point is strategic trust and friendship. Once that is established, the nitty-gritty of legal, technical, and other detailed negotiations will eventually fall into place. Thus, we should truly diversify and expand our economic, political and security relations with ALL countries of the world.

Personally, I am for securing the best interests of our nation and for taking control of the territories and resources that rightfully belong to us. The issue is strategy. A strategy that draws us further away from our goals and threatens to reduce us into a pawn in great-power conflicts will be tragic for our country and people. A new strategy that seeks to win our case without firing a single shot is still possible.

My visits to China made me realize how little we know about China. That we need more Filipino academics, researchers, political AND military analysts to specialize on China, as this neighboring country emerges globally and rapidly into an economic and military power. We need to understand the level of our understanding of China’s impact on the Philippines and the Asia-Pacific region, and to increase our familiarity with the complexities of Chinese politics, economy and governance. To effectively defend and pursue Philippine national interests and sovereignty as the Asian dragon emerges and to engage it as a neighbor, we need to know how it thinks, what its strengths and weaknesses are. Remember what a Chinese ancient general and author Sun Tzu wrote in 500 B.C.? ” Know your enemy and know yourself. You will win a thousand battles, a thousand victories.”

Even if China was not an enemy, but a friendly but powerful neighbor, we will still have to deal with it in trade negotiations, economic negotiations, and in other bilateral relations. The potential for cooperation is still there, and it should grow. We can also strengthen our collective activities with ASEAN in dealing with China and the United States – on the bilateral and multilateral level.

We need to understand this giant neighbor more deeply — with a critical eye, from our own perspective, and from the vantage point of our national, economic, political, diplomatic and security interests. This is what I mean when I say that in order to earn the respect of the world, especially the Big Powers, we must pursue an INDEPENDENT PHILIPPINE FOREIGN POLICY. Let us defend the integrity and sovereignty of our beautiful country and its people, not any foreign interests. Let us conduct a foreign policy that is truly our own, and that which genuinely serves our interests.

Ngunit’t isinurender na ng estado ang mga maka-soberanyang mga probisyon ng ating 1987 Constitution. Ganito ang ginagawa sa ating patakarang panlabas:

1. Pinagpipilitan tayong suportahan ang paggamit ng U.S. sa digmaan bilang kasangkapan ng ating patakarang panlabas;

2. Binibinbin at sinuspindi ang “malayang patakarang panlabas, kapangyarihang pambansa, integridad na teritoryal, kapakanang pambansa at ang karapatan sa sariling pagpasya” sa pamamagitan ng mga nakakahiyang kasunduan tulad ng Visiting Forces Agreement, Mutual Logistics Support Agreement, Security Engagement Board Agreement at Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement o EDCA.

3. Araw araw, sinasabak nila tayo sa panganib nukleyar sa pagpasok ng mga armadong nukleyar na pandigmang barko, submarino at eroplano ng Estados Unidos, at di pagtupad sa “patakarang malaya laban sa pagkakaroon ng mga sandatang nukleyar sa ating teritoryo”, at bukod pa ito sa nakalalasong mga kemikal na ibinubuga ng mga barko at eroplanong ito sa ating mga dagat, ilog, daungan, lupa at hininga;

4. Sinisikilan ang mga karapatan ng Pilipino tulad ng kaso ngayon biniktimang si Jennifer Laude sa pagbigay ng higit pang malaking pribilehiyo at karapatan sa mga dayuhang tropa na pumapasok sa teritotoryo ng Pilipinas;

Tila sa pagsuko ng ating soberanya at dignidad, ang ating estado ay hindi lamang nagtataas ng dalawang kamay sa pagsuko at pagsurender ng soberanya. Nagtaas din sa pagsuko pati ng dalawang paa sa Imperyong Estados Unidos!

Kailangan ang ibayong pagsusumikap sa pangangampanya, pagmumulat at pag-oorganisa upang maipagtanggol ang natitira pang soberanya ng ating bansa, na nasa papel ng Konstitusyon lamang. ng ating seguridad, ekonomiya, pulitika at kultura. Dahil dito, kinakailangan ang ating pakikibaka laban sa kasakiman, panghihimasok at dominasyon ng kasalukuyang Imperyo ng Estados Unidos, ay sa lahat ng larangan din.

Tulad ng sinabi ni Mabini, na ang tunay na soberanya at dignidad ay nasa diwa at pusa ng isang malaya at lumalabang Pilipino. Responsibilidad nating lahat na mai-ugnay ang pakikibaka para sa soberanya ng bansa, at ang diwang iniwan ni Apolinario Mabini.

Kailangan maging lalong matalas ang ating pagsusuri, pananaliksik at pagmomonitor sa ginagawa ng mga Big Power sa loob at paligid ng ating bansa. Ang pananalakay ng modernong imperyalismo ay sa lahat ng larangan.

If Apolinario Mabini were alive today, he would no doubt be a fierce advocate of an independent Philippine foreign policy. He would surely push for a foreign policy anchored on sovereignty. In line with this, he would definitely be a bitter critic of those officials in government who do not think of Philippine interests as apart from U.S. interests. He would surely oppose the presence of U.S. troops on Philippine soil, as this violates sovereignty by automatically aligning the Philippines with U.S. global intervention and conflicts. No doubt, he would have criticized the government for supporting U.S. wars and intervention in many parts of the world, a violation of the sovereignty of other nations. And so, for this, if he were alive today, he would have been called by the defenders of the existing order as stubborn,” intransigentente,”a hard-liner, a leftist dreamer, ” matigas ang ulo” – as advocates of genuine independence were branded during his time – for his consistent defense of Philippine sovereignty. And he would certainly also be a vehement critic of the trend in our current foreign policy which is not our own :globalist policies dutifully pursued by the government, as globalization only benefits foreign corporate interests, and would push for a nationalist economic framework.
I would like to end my lecture with the words of Mabini from his El Verdadero Decalogo (The True Decalogue):

” Our country the Philippines, is the only paradise that God has given us in this life; the only patrimony of our race; the only inheritance from our ancestors; and the only future for our posterity; because of it, we have life, love, happiness and honor….Its independence is our freedom; its progress our perfection; its dignity our glory and immortality.”

Thank you, good afternoon, and MABUHAY!



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