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Philippines Versus China: Naval Confrontation at Spratly Islands

Philippines Largest Naval Ship

BRP Rajah Humabon of the Phil. Navy

Philippines had sent it’s biggest battleships to the Spratly group of islands as part of its patrolling over the territorial waters belonging to the Philippines Exclusive Economic Zone. China on its part had also sent one of it’s biggest civilian ships on the disputed areas in the South China Sea.

A vintage destroyer escort, BRP Rajah Humabon will patrol the Philippines territorial waters around Scarborough Shoals. The destroyer was the largest battleship of the Philippine Navy. It served numerous combat engagements during World War II in the Pacific and in the South China Sea.

Chinese Armed forces had been in constant development for the past few years, they have been developing their first ever made in China aircraft carrier and it’s first-ever stealth bomber.

The Philippines on the other hand was considered as one of the weakest armed forces in Asia. Most of the ships and even the air forces of the Philippines were vintages. They were second-hand and most of them had served during World War II, the Korean War and the Vietnam War.

In terms of experienced, the Philippines had the most number of wartime encounters not only in Asia but in the world as well. The Philippine Army logged even more encounters compared to the war zone countries in the world.

Philippine Navy’s modernization program was way behind the achievement compared to the modernization program of the Chinese government. The 20,000 strong Philippine Navy comprises 54 operational vessels, five aircraft, and 53 armored fighting vehicles, mostly refurbished.

Although Philippines can boasts off as one of the producers of combat warships in the world through the production amphibious tanks which was made in Cebu by FB Marine Aboitiz. It was under contract with the world’s largest defense contractor and supplier, Lockheed Martin.

News Report Video regarding the naval confrontation between China and the Philippines:

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About the author: Ed Umbao is a former tuba-gatherer from Bantayan Island. Previously worked as an OFW in Saudi Arabia, now a full-time blogger sans technical ability.

{ 1 comment… add one }
  • Sonny December 5, 2012, 8:42 am

    Observations on Philippine-China Passport Issue and the Disputed Territory, By A Humble American

    Before You Read, First be advised that am an American citizen who is PASSIOATE about my Love for the Philippines and the Filipino People!

    China has become the new and biggest Bully in the world. China has proven itself as the most sneaky and intolerant of all countries.

    Perhaps they believe the Philippines and all Filipinos are stupid, ignorant or just plain overly weak pushovers…. WRONG!!

    I don’t know WHO noticed this slight change first and brought it to the attention of Philippine government attention, but whoever it was, was a genius. (I am sure it was some underpaid government employee who should have been given sufficient promotion and pay increase.) Also, why haven’t the news media done a story on this individual?

    First, I wish to provide some case law to support a couple of my contentions herein:

    Res ipsa loquitur : Latin used by lawyers and judges AROUND THE WORLD! (Including International Law). It means “the thing itself speaks”, or more commonly translated as: “the thing speaks for itself”. It signifies that further details are unnecessary; the proof of the case is self-evident. The doctrine is applied to tort claims which, as a matter of law, do not have to be explained beyond the point where liability is established. It is most useful to plaintiffs in certain negligence cases. It was first formulated in the case Byrne v. Boadle (1863), in England.

    For those who don’t understand what China is up to, consider this:

    (1) The very fact that China has printed THOUSANDS of the NEW (and traceable) passports, in which they have made an almost undetectable “nine-dash lines” change the map to include waters and Islands, including the Spratly Islands, is VERY IMPORTANT! If it was not important, China would not have changed, at great expense, the map at all on its new passports.
    (2) Secondly, if and when the issue of “lawful possession” and entitlement claims arrives in the maritime and international courts, Once the Philippines sets forth it’s claims to those waters, mineral rights (including oil and more) resources (resources that include some of the Fish and other foods Filipinos eat!) and more.

    Had the Philippines not acted in a timely fashion, China could and would present, hundreds, thousands or tens of thousands of NEW Chinese passports bearing the Official Stamp (and thus Approval) Of THE PHILIPPINES on each and every NEW Chinese passport and/or visa that was issued and/or accepted in support of China‘s claim to the disputed territories. Not only that, but China could/would claim that the Philippines had legal Notice due to the acceptance of those passports and/or issuance of Visas to the Philippines… each which must bear an official stamp of the Philippine Government, and thus could not be denied by the Philippine Government, under the legal doctrine of “Res ipsa loquitur“. (Claiming that the accepted and approved passports speak for themselves.)

    I hope the above has allowed the reader of this short dissertation to better understand the seriousness of something as “hiding” something as simple as a barely noticeable to the naked eye (nine-dash lines) change on the map found on the NEW Chinese passports! Battles are not only won with military. They are also won (or lost) by words on documents. In USA we would call this “hiding in plain sight”.

    Now a few observations:

    This would not be happening now, and never would have happened had the Americans been allowed to keep their bases in the Philippines! The Americans had radar stations and other highly technological safeguards throughout the Philippines that detected and prevented such things from happening. China was always under the watchful eyes of the American government and military. However, the social climate of the late 1980’s and early 1990’s was such that a few Pilipino politicians stirred up the people to eject the Americans. (I believe those politicians preferred to be big fish in a little pond, rather than to be little fish in a big pond.) They never gave consideration to the fact that Americans love Filipino’s, or the fact that the Philippines was a former territory of USA till 1946. But still stayed under USA protection, even after they gained independence from the USA.

    I raise this issue because NOW American military is far away, as well as being spread out around the world protecting helpless people in other disputes.


    If China moves on the Philippines with it’s war machine, common sense tells you that America is just to far away! To much damage would be done before American military could arrive. In such a case, the Chinese would already be embedded in the Philippines, just as Japan did in WWII. For two very informative and sobering video reports, click on: Include comparisons:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Q5ZuX4TPD-k , and also: China Secret eapons:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Qu9Hke0WxYI .

    In this author’s opinion, the BEST solution is to re-invite America to the Philippines, allowing them to place a couple of bases or other form of installation there. Perhaps even on the Spratly Islands themselves, which are so sparsely populated that it would not interrupt life throughout the Philippines anyway. After all, how do you think the Chinese started patrolling them anyway? THERE WAS NOBODY THERE TO STOP THEM!! (Just one small military outpost). There is also a small landing strip there already that the Americans could improve.

    However, should for some unknown reason the Philippines decide not to make that offer to the Americans, or fail to offer to sell or give an island or two to the Americans, it could be argued by China and other nations that America would not have legal “standing” or interest to allow USA to come to the aid of the Philippines. America would protect the Philippines, because it would in fact be protecting itself if it had a base or other installation there!

    Perhaps the preceding idea is just to simple and logical to be understood by politicians. (Hmmm, lets see, should we GIVE some land to the Americans for a base, which would protect the Philippines, or should we let China TAKE it ALL by force???


    Failing to allow new return of, and/or new American presence in the Philippines, another interesting concept would be to give America legal “standing” or interest in the area. The Philippines could allow an open gate policy of sorts, for a set period of time, let’s say 6 months, to allow any Americans to migrate to Philippines without immigration problems and restrictions. Not only would this give USA legal “Standing” or interest due to it’s citizens being there, but it would also allow much money to come into the Philippines. Most retired Americans would have their retirement funds sent to Pilipino Banks, where interest would build. Also, the new American population would then purchase clothing, foods, services, lease homes, small investments, etc.. Most important of all, ALLOW them to keep their USA Citizenship!

    Currently many Americans who love the Philippines and it’s people have to many restrictions, such as (1) having to deposit huge amounts of cash into a Pilipino bank, or (2) even restricting the period of time Americans can stay in the Philippines, even with a yearly multi-entry visa.

    Most Pilipinos do not know that an American without a Visa can only stay in Pinas for 21 days, and that even with a one year multi entry visa, he/she can only stay a max of 59 days or fines start accruing.

    I have had numerous visits to Pinas, at which time I had to come home to USA, just because of the 59 day limit!

    I would gladly be fist to volunteer and transfer there!

    Well I hope I have said enough to cause people to THINK and consider what I have said. Whether you agree, disagree, like or hate it, I give full permission to anyone who wants to use this text and I hope you will forward it, and cut and paste it and send to ALL your contacts. How else can we wake up the government and try to NOT REPEAT THE PAST! (Remember Japan’s Invasion?)

    FINALLY, I strongly believe that ALL countries in the world should refuse to accept the new China passports! Teach them a lesson!

    Hey China, isn’t FREEDOM OF SPEECH great?? Oh yeah, that’s right, you don’t have it there! J (But USA and Philippines do!)

    [email protected]

    Please copy and send to as many people as possible. If you cannot copy and paste, just write to me for a copy and I’ll email it to you!

    God Bless and Mabuhay!

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