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Dear Fellow Filipinos,


As we had our pictures taken with the flag, the fishermen and the children started spontaneously singing an old Tagalog kundiman about the nation. It was as clear as the sky and sea at Barangay Ulo-ulo, Lobo, Batangas, that something is being taken from us.

So here’s more for clarity.

Yes, the dredging ship flies the flag of Sierra Leone. Yes the suspended ECC is held by a Filipino firm, that wants to export Lobo, Batangas sand for the expansion of the Hong Kong airport. But yes the crew is all foreign Chinese.

Yes, the ship is a Trojan horse: it pretends to be a normal business operation for siltation removal, but disgorges Chinese operators.

Yes, the following are true: no permit from Mines and Geosciences Bureau to export that sand; no ECC (suspended by DENR for non-compliance with requirement submissions); and no Chinese parties in the original paperwork for the (now suspended) ECC, so yes, the Chinese principals were hiding until the actual dredging operations were about to commence.

Yes, the global scientific community knows the Verde Island Passage as the centre of the centre of marine shore fish biodiversity in the world. (Think about that for a minute. Centre of the Centre.)

Yes, 60% of the world’s shore fish species live in these waters between Batangas and Mindoro. Yes, there are 300 coral species down there.

(And yes, if you go to the famous Steinhart Aquarium of the California Academy of Sciences in Golden Gate Park in San Francisco, that permanent exhibit there IS the Verde Island Passage, celebrated by the world.)

Yes, the dredging ship had gone into hiding near the Batangas City Port at dawn of the morning of the protest.

Yes, this is encroachment in the internal seas of the Philippines, not just the high seas. Yes, this strikes at the heart of the archipelago.

Yes, PROC interest groups are working with local governments everywhere in the Philippines, entering into contracts; and this is another mangling of the democratic ideal of decentralization.

Clear as that blue sky. Chinese interests use local proxies who have friends in very high places to extract Philippine resources.

Sabi nga ng mga Tagalog: kinuha na ang dagat. Pati ga naman buhangin, aangkinin pa?


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