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It was ludicrous for the government to talk about rescue plans for Filipino sailors in the swath of sea that Somali pirates operate when the country’s navy does not even have a decent ship to battle smugglers riding in rubber boats.
The evolving complexities in defending the country’s sovereignty and the safety of its citizens are mirrored in the ordeal that more than 100 Filipino sailors are suffering from the hands of the pirates.
With more than 10 million Filipinos earning their decent livelihood outside the country, situations that put their lives at risk are ever present.
The defense of the country’s interest is no longer confined within its territory but practically the whole planet.
In the situation in the Aden Gulf where the Somali pirate strikes are frequent, most countries had resorted to deploying naval vessels to the area to escort ships flying their flag.
The country, which does not have that many international commercial vessels, remains among the most affected by the sea piracy scourge because of the millions of Filipino sailors manning the ships of the world.
The Palace, yesterday, said the government will be sending navy liaisons to coordinate with the US naval force in the area on rescue plans for the captive sailors. But isn’t that a hare-brained plan, given that we have no navy to speak of?
Even these liaisons, if the government is serious about the hare-brained plan, will have a hard time to even gain access to navy officers particularly due to the fact that they would be bringing the message that Gloria’s government is against any military action to rescue the sailors since this would endanger the lives of the Filipinos.
A similarly absurd action was that of the Department of Labor and Employment in issuing a ban on Filipino seamen in boarding ships that would sail in the Aden Gulf or within 200 nautical miles of Somalia.
Palace spokesman Cerge Remonde also said that ships already carrying Filipino seamen will be advised to go with security convoys when it sails close to the area.
Remonde said shipowners and manning agencies face sanctions if they fail to comply with the directives.
Remonde was not talking in his sleep but with the hard time that the international shipping trade is currently in and its collateral effect on the armies of Filipino seamen, who would hardly bother with the Palace’s wacky sound bites.
The best assurance that the government can provide the nation should have been the long delayed modernization of the country’s Armed Forces to counter the ever changing security threats against Filipinos.
It would not suffice for Gloria to always run to the US government for succor whenever she gets into a security fix.
Even in the defense of its territory such as the country’s claim on the Spratlys, it is the US that would likely be expected to provide naval and air muscle in case of a confrontation in the area.
The heavy reliance on the US government not only leaves a bad taste in the mouth but also pawns the country’s sovereignty to the world power.
Thus, serviceman Daniel Smith always knew that he would walk despite being convicted by a local court of rape.
The task of securing the nation is the prime reason for the existence of governments including that of Gloria and it should not be assigned to a foreign country even those with the best intentions.
Capability should not be an issue. The government is expected to make way to strengthen its Armed Forces.
It is not even a matter of pride but the urgency of security as a nation.