Tuesday, March 15, 2016

Consequences in Losing West Philippine Sea

This body of water is indeed important for the rest of the world to get moving, citing its economic importance not only by the nations surrounding the sea but as well the other nations who use it as a sea lane for it is a bloodline of several distant nations.

China: It's all about the power.
It is known that South China Sea (Vietnamese: East Sea; Philippines: West Philippine Sea) is a resource-rich, strategic area that is the prime reason why countries surrounding it really do their best to take those tiny islets and atolls of Spratlys, Paracels and Scarborough Shoal in the area. All of these do have economic impact, in which it could mean the prosperity and poverty of nations as per controlling the resources and the flow of goods in the area. That gives the People's Republic of China the upper hand using its ever-strong military and workforce to start militarizing the islands or definitely creating them. The question now was, with the country like the Philippines, what will its economical impact and its effects to the people?

Reclaimed Island, South China Sea.
One thing you have to consider is the grave economic consequences that would result if the Philippines were to lose control of the West Philippine Sea. 

Fishing Indusrty

We are already seeing this with the fishing industry. The China Coast Guard has already denied P
hilippine fisherman access to their traditional fishing grounds in the Spratlys and the Scarborough Shoal, which is only 120 nautical miles from Iba, Zambales.

It will only get worse, because of the fish migrate from the Philippines' internal waters to the Spratlys to breed. And the Chinese have been sending fishing fleets upwards of 50 to 60 boats, escorted by Chinese coast guard and naval units to prevent intervention by the Philippine Navy. These fishing fleets have been fishing on a massive scale, and over time, this will lead to depletion of fish stocks within the Philippines, since the fish the Chinese are catching come from inside the Philippines.

Strategic Control - Sea lanes

The biggest potential problem comes from the fact that the Chinese treat the entire South China Sea as their own territorial waters. Meaning that if they gain control over those waters, they can restrict the passage of ships through those waters. This becomes a big problem for the Philippines, because the Nine Dash Line boundary that China is trying to enforce comes as close as 35 to 45 nautical miles from the Philippine shoreline.

This becomes a problem because the Philippines is still very much dependent on oil from the Middle East. Tankers carrying oil from the Middle East to the Philippines must pass through the South China Sea/West Philippine Sea in order to reach the Philippines. For the Chinese to control those waters means at best that they could charge toll fees for vessels passing through. At worst, they Chinese could close those waters to all foreign shipping, meaning that tankers and other cargo ships would have to find an longer alternate route to the Philippines. Either way, the end result would be higher oil and gas prices, which ultimately translates into higher prices for all commodities (food, electricity, and any product that requires energy for either production and transport.......which pretty much means everything).

And don't bother trying to find an alternative source of oil. The Philippines' biggest oil reserves are found in those places that China is trying to take away from the Philippines.


The reason we are even in this situation is that of all the countries that claim the Spratlys, we are far and away the weakest. We are the easiest for the Chinese to pick on. This conflict is happening because for decades we have failed to invest in an adequate defenses. And while we can never hope to match the Chinese ship for ship and plane for plane. However, if there's anything the Chinese respect, it's action. If you even put up a small effort and demonstrate that you are willing to defend yourself, they will think twice. It's not about going to war.......it's about protecting yourself.

There are 300 people living out on those disputed islands. What happens to them if the incoming administration decides to wash its hands of the matter, and decides that it won't defend our territories and our people out there?

With Notes from Edrick Masangkay


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