ACCORDING to an old Philippine Navy hand, retired Commodore Rex Robles once assigned to General Headquarters Camp Aguinaldo, he was so impressed back then, that no less than the President of the Philippines (Ferdinand Marcos), would be visiting to personally and meticulously work on a draft of the country’s territorial gains via the Kalayaan Islands in an office I rather not mention. Even the press statement to follow would be a sleight of hand discussing other important matters, to disguise how the Commander-in-Chief with the AFP was militarily, politically and legally involved securing the increased breadth and width of the Republic.
To further imprint Philippine sovereignty and possession over the disputed Islands, a political unit was created by Presidential Decree (if memory serves) with elections and local executives running the affairs of a motley constituency. All this forward actions establishes a visioning pre-emptive in character, and of qualitative leadership, establishing legal and international grounding for future regional disputes. Of current, we are in the theater of the West Philippine Sea.
Another commendable amendment to domestic psyche in what was the South China Sea. One more small victory, but a building block towards a consistent assertion of our sense of “homeland” before regional claims and big- power fissures in this part of the world. As an AFP Reservist Officer, I am aware of the difficult conditions under which our soldiers in this armed cauldron serve under e.g. the LST cum detachment beached in one threatened area; bamboos covered to mimic missiles and Chinese Helicopters patrolling with attempts to land to inspect AFP armaments etc.
Kudos goes to OFWs sending Christmas presents to our soldiers safeguarding the West Philippine Sea and to Lt. Col. Harold Cabunoc Chief of 7th CRS of the AFP for spearheading the effort! In a modest honoring of our AFP there, I authored a ‘West Phil. Sea Service Ribbon’ for adoption by the AFP Adjutant years back. It was endorsed by the Phil. Navy. A building block for “big minds” to approve, because our soldiers there deserve it, and for “la patria” as an international statement.