President Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Junior had announced the four additional sites for its Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement or EDCA with the United States. The four sites are the following: Camilo Osias Naval base in Sta. Ana and Lal-lo airport in Cagayan province; Camp Melchor de la Cruz in Gamu in Isabela and Balabac island in Palawan province. These four additional sites will bolster the five existing sites stated in the pact: Fort Magsaysay in Nueva Ecija, Basa Air Base in Pampanga, Antonio Bautista Air Base in Palawan, Benito Ebuen Air Base in Mactan, Cebu, and Lumbia Air Base in Cagayan de Oro City. Marcos Junior earlier said that he would build a base near Benham rise, yet, there is still no site identified.
It would be wise, though, for this administration to take full advantage of this opportunity and build more bases to complete the territorial defense of this archipelagic country. Why not re-activate Corregidor Island to defend Manila Bay? Or build another in Mindoro? Our Visayan Sea lanes are exposed to smuggling activities and even piracy. Aside from Mactan in Cebu, why not build another one, possibly in Samar or Leyte?
Build more defensive systems in Zamboanga and possibly even in Tawi-Tawi? Put some laser-guided ground-to-air defense systems like the Saab RBS 70. Or two dozen Rafael Iron domes? We need laser-guided defense missile systems to defend our cities against possible invasive attacks by aircraft.
Our exposed eastern flank needs strengthening. It’s wise to deploy defensive systems fronting the Philippine sea to assist our Coast Guard against smugglers using the area to dump illegal drugs.
Let’s address the concern of anti-EDCA advocates. They say these sites are magnets of aggression. In a conflict such as the expected “Taiwan straits” war, the Philippines would indeed be attacked by China, not because these bases exist but because of our geographical proximity to the area of conflict.
Even without these bases, the possibility of the Philippines being dragged into this conflict looms. China would surely use its military facilities at the Spratlys to support its invasion force in Taiwan. These facilities were built to block any US naval warcraft from entering Taiwan. When China does indeed use these facilities, US attack forces would undoubtedly respond with lethal force just several kilometers away from our territory. The possibility of this conflict extending to our national territory is entirely possible.
So, with this prospect, what is the wise thing to do? You guessed it—fortify our defense to mitigate possible destruction and loss of life. It is entirely unpatriotic for anyone to oppose these EDCA sites because let’s admit it, we do lack the necessary defensive weapons to guard, protect and defend our territory. With these additional sites, at least, we can respond to any unwarranted attack from China.
Are we being fooled by the Americans with this pact? I don’t think so. Former president Duterte who opposes this, I am sorry to say, has a myopic view of things. I don’t question his patriotism, only the wisdom of his opposition. In a scenario where war is inevitable, even without direct participation, which option would a wise leader choose? There are just two (2) options: first, declare neutrality which is stupid. During World War two, neutral states were dragged into the war by the Nazis. Second, bolster national territorial defense thru active participation in military alliances. We need to strengthen our defense against a bully like China.
More important, though, is our coastal defense. Our irregular coastline runs 36,289 kilometers. With the new and sophisticated technology, we can defend them compared with how we did during World War 2. We need a unified strategy. Our president should even create an entire territorial defense system.
War, my friends, is just around the corner. This war is the by-product of a crumbling capitalist system. The world needs this war for the human race to survive the coming new age. Our old and aging cities need revitalization. Our ways of doing things only sometimes fit the emerging technologies being discovered and built thru science. We need war to usher in the new world.
In the coming war, this will test which economic and political system is sufficient to enable humans to live on this planet. We must be included. The re-engineering of this world is on the horizon, and a better way of governing ourselves and our economy looms. Like what happens in nature, whenever a new system emerges from its creative cocoon, it disrupts the ecosystem first to allow it to fit into the system. Old ways peel themselves from the system, but not in a smooth and expected way, but more often, thru violence. The only thing most global leaders think about right now is how to minimize destruction and loss of life.