We salute Adm. Taccad
(Herman Tiu Laurel / DieHard III / The Daily Tribune / 08-24-2015 MON)
US Naval Academy emanation Roilo Golez has been on a rampage. He first ran amok against Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) Chief of Staff Gen. Hernando Iriberri and other AFP higher officers for putting into proper perspective the country's internal security needs relative to its realistic external threats.
The AFP leadership had just reallocated P6.5 billion for the purchase of Israeli missiles, which at best would just be decorations, to the much needed procurement for our troops of better equipment (such as night vision goggles), more powerful weapons, and better protective gear in their fight against proliferating insurgency groups.
Golez called Gen. Iriberri and other high staff officers "incompetent," which the Association of Generals and Flag Officers (AGFO) in a letter to media countered by holding a mirror to Golez's face, declaring him the incompetent.
That AGFO reaction was again reflected in a social media topic among the country's naval experts under the heading, "Will Taccad reverse the Golez/Pama decline (in the Navy)?" That, of course, was in reference to Rear Admiral Taccad, the new Navy chief appointed very recently, as well as, Golez, former National Security Adviser under Gloria Arroyo, and one of the more recent top Navy officers.
What apparently got Golez foaming at the mouth was Rear Admiral Taccad's pronouncements in an interview with media on the situation in the West Philippine/South China Sea (WPS/SCS), where he said: "It was much heated before. I think we are in a better position now. We are communicating with China, and more or less not as threatened as before. You know what they are trying to do and we try to maintain more or less peaceful coexistence or settlement of what issue we have… They have been there for a long time and they are guarding what they think is their interest in the South China Sea. No expansion is happening…"
Golez tweeted on Aug. 18, 2015: "Admiral Taccad, you owe the people an explanation," attaching an article by Perry Diaz, a US citizen of Filipino decent blogging on Philippine issues. Ten years ago I debated with Diaz on the Internet when he adulated Mrs. Arroyo. But, when the Amboys of Hyatt 10 turned against their erstwhile patron, Diaz also did. I challenged him to a personal debate on these Philippine issues here in Manila but he insisted to have it in Hawaii--where perhaps the US State Department can be his audience.
The American Diaz seems to feel that he has every right to insult a Filipino officer and gentleman by titling his article, "To whom does Taccad owe his loyalty?" even when Taccad had already prefaced everything by saying, "We will continue to protect our seas and secure the future of our nation and its people. We shall continue to be a dependable naval force, prompt in response, and sharp in action… I shall steer the Philippine Navy towards continued transformation, modernization, professionalization, and overall progress in order to provide the maritime defense and security that is expected from a strong and formidable navy."
Adm. Taccad was only trying to be objective and accurate when he proclaimed that the situation in the WPS/SCS is cooling down; that communication between the militaries of the two countries has improved (which is one of the actions taken by the Association of Southeast Asian Nations); and that the Philippines is not as "threatened as before."
Taccad also factually stated that China is just protecting its interests over its claims, much like what the Philippines is similarly doing. If pursuing one's claim is expansionist, then Vietnam and the Philippines are also "expansionist." It's good that the Asean has called for a freeze and gladly that is happening.
While Diaz uses "aggression" in describing China's actions, he conveniently glosses over the other claimants. Vietnam, which is currently occupying the largest number of islands (22) in the South China Sea and is also building structures there, should, by Diaz's twisted standards, be accused of being an aggressor. The same should be true of the Philippines as well in its continued occupation of nine islands, which are more than China's eight.
Moreover, to verify such naked charges of aggression, I reviewed a four-page list of incidents among the claimants at the Boston Globe Forum (http://bostonglobalforum.org/wp-content/uploads/Recent-Trends-changes-in-the-South-China-Sea-Disputes.pdf) and found that, since 1999, the Philippine Navy and Coast Guard have sunk two Chinese fishing boats and killed two Chinese fishermen. I looked elsewhere on the Internet for any Chinese sinking or killing of Filipino fishermen and found absolutely none. So who's the aggressor?
Recently, another American franchise, CNN Philippines, added a twist, quoting Magdalo Party-list Rep. Ashley Acedillo at Taccad's installation, saying: "This is now a big problem, because once BRP Sierra Madre disintegrates and we leave the area, the Chinese can immediately take over…"
But why make it such a big deal when Acedillo was merely voicing out a legitimate fear of a prospective situation that could result from a standoff due to a breakdown of communication and BS Aquino's failure of diplomacy with the Chinese government? Verily, the offer of "dialog without preconditions" is still on the table. And dialog may still result in shared responsibility over the area and a fisheries agreement.
We have no doubt Party-list Rep. Acedillo and Rear Adm. Taccad are loyal, faithful, and genuinely patriotic Filipinos who are just stating the facts. It is the Amboys like Golez, Diaz, and their cohorts who distort and exaggerate in order to create wrong impressions that feed the tension between China and the Philippines.
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