AFP modernization only addresses a single aspect of the West Philippine Sea conflict


The West Philippine Sea (WPS) issue is not simple. It is a complex matter borne out of the Philippines’ long-standing genuflection towards foreign domination, the economic and politico-military rivalries between imperialist countries and the differing interests between Asia-Pacific countries and powerful nations. Contrary to the idea vended by the AFP and the US-Marcos Jr. regime, modernization of military weapons cannot fully resolve the country’s problem regarding sovereignty. They only highlight this oversimplified move to hide the fact that the reactionary government is very much ill-equipped to confront this issue.

Although the preparedness and capacity-building of the nation’s defense force is an essential aspect in facing the escalating aggression of China in WPS, there is an expansive network of economic and politico-military issues that the government should have been zoning on in protecting Philippine territories. One of these is the need for a fully independent foreign policy be it in terms of economy, politics and military. So long as the state insists in its servility towards foreign powers such as the US and China in areas of economy, politics and military, the Philippines will always be in the middle of their clashing interests.

Now for example, the US-Marcos Jr. regime is unable to undertake any substantial move against China because plenty of its expected investments and loans would be coming from the said country. It contents itself with the supposed US support it would receive when in fact, the tight relations between the Philippines and the US is exactly one of the major reasons why the country is now under threat. It is within the US interest to intrude in and muddle the WPS issue because China is one of its leading competitors. Meanwhile, the bourgeoning US presence in the Philippines serves China as justification to intensify its aggression in the WPS.

But a truly independent foreign policy is impossible if the foundations for a strong and self-sufficient country are incomplete. Crucial to these are the implementation of a genuine agrarian reform and national industrialization, ensuring of progressive societal programs and others. Issues that the inept state has obstinately refused for the longest time in the name of maintaining the current system.

The absence of these foundations which are critical for the effective defense of national sovereignty is a direct result of the rottenness of this semicolonial and semifeudal society. As long as the status quo stays, the nation can never expect to be fully free from foreign control and intervention. No matter how modern and how massive the AFP’s armory becomes, this will never be enough to solve the problems that take root from this abscess of a system. It remains that the most comprehensive and long-term way to completely defend national sovereignty depends upon the overhaul of this current system and the creation of a new one. Only through this can genuine national democracy and liberty be achieved.

AFP modernization only addresses a single aspect of the West Philippine Sea conflict