|Icons of Philippines' Politics: From left is former President Ramos and former House Speaker de Venecia|
BY MORTZ C. ORTIGOZA
FVR and JDV as every Filipino knows is former president Fidel V. Ramos and former five-time House Speaker Jose de Venecia Jr.
During the stints of the duo, FVR achieved an average of 5 percent Gross National Product and a coup’d’tat’-free six year administration, while Speaker JDV chalked up the successful US Bases Economic Conversion Law that turned Clark, Subic, Camp John Hay, La Union’s Wallace Field into free ports and special economic zones and Forth Bonifacio into a satellite city, authored the Build-Operate-Transfer Law, which has built railways, electric power plants, airports, markets and infrastructure worth more than $30 billion at no cost to the Philippine government, and the Rainbow Coalition, which brought together more than seven political parties that enabled Ramos to govern even with his 24 percent share of the national vote.
In a recent ride on a river cruise in Dagupan City, I asked former President Ramos what was his take on the conundrum brought by the South China Sea (Spratlys) territories disputes primarily with economic and military juggernaut Mainland China.
He told me the acronym UST.
“Unity, Solidarity, Teamwork.”
He said the other buzz words for the solution of Spratlys problem is “Caring and Sharing for Each Other”.
“You read my article at the Manila Bulletin on the Spratlys,” he told me.***
In his October 23, 2011 column at the Manila Bulletin FVR cited the prevailing opinion of audiences on thelectures and roundtable discussions he attended this year at the Heritage Foundation in Washington, DC about US-China rivalry at the South China Sea (SCS):
(1) Any disputes and controversial incidents must be settled by peaceful means; (2) Binding commitments must be immediately undertaken by China/other claimants on a multilateral basis; (3) Confidence-building measures, instead of deliberate provocations, must be instituted; (4) Final resolution of SCS disputes must be done quickly at UN level in accordance with the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea;(5) Resources in the SCS may be developed jointly for the mutual benefit of claimants, and with full respect for UN covenants on freedom of navigation and environmental protection.
The former president concluded that in consideration of the five observations the Philippines must: 1) Defend the Kalayaan Island Group in Palawan and the West Philippine Sea; 2) Press – and press again and again – for the multilateral resolution of the SCS issues at the level of ASEAN and the UN.
I asked him too how he sees former Speaker de Venecia’s consortium formula when claimant countries like the Philippines, Brunei, Taiwan, Vietnam, and Mainland China explore the minerals there and divide the revenues among themselves.
“Huwag na natin i-coment iyon kasi hindi pa buo (I would not comment on it because it has not yet materialize). Nine nations only (that are involved there), there are 195 nations at the United Nations’ roster my friend. And so this is everybody’s responsibilities, and not just nine countries, and not just our good friend Joe de Venecia. It is also your responsibility, and also mine”.
Two weeks ago, I caught again JDV at his coastal abode in Dagupan City as he fed his exotic huge inland water fishes in a concrete blocks he bought from Indonesia and Haiti in a concrete blocks.
He told me that his consortium formula was the best solution to solve the Spratlys imbroglio.
In my Question & Answer with him (you can accessed it at:http://northwatch.wordpress.com/2011/08/11/q-a-jdvs-solutions-on-the-spratlys-problem/) he explained that after World War II, England, Germany, and Norway came together and agreed to jointly explore the oil resources in the North Sea.
“This is England; the oil field is here in Ecofisk in the North Sea. They took a median line partition so the oil flows to Stavanger in Norway. The oil is in Teesside in England. And the natural gas goes to Crimea, German”.
He told me that he discussed before with China’s paramount leader Deng Xiaoping who proposed that claimant countries should not discuss sovereignty for the meantime because if China, Vietnam, and the Philippines insist on sovereignty the eventual result would be war.
“So the practical step is to shelve the issue of sovereignty, and agree on one common development on the Spratly so that Vietnam, China and the Philippines that claims for oil and gas and hydrocarbons under an equity of 1/3, 1/3,1/3 profit sharing formula that eventually would have to bring in Malaysia, Brunei, whose acreage or whose claim, in the Spratly are smaller than that of the three. We should also invite them as part of this drilling coalition,” he stressed.
He said his other model if for claimant countries drill together and divide the profits among them.
“Therefore that will solve the problem between China and Vietnam in the Paracel. This (in) the Spratly claim, Vietnam went to war over there a dozen years ago. This is the same formula that should be used (by) Japan in Diaoyu Strait, what the Chinese call the Senkaku Strait. This is the third formula that could be used on the Sea of Japan and the East Sea, between Japan and South Korea”.
After I ended my tête-à-tête, I egged JDV to write a regular column in either one of the three major national dailies.
“We have a dearth of experts on geo-politics. We missed the likes of the late MaximoSoliven and Blas Ople, and the ailing Antonio Abaya, and others”.
I added too that it seems it’s only FVR who has the monopoly of this trade nowadays at his Sunday’s column at the Manila Bulletin.
“You can be the dean of foreign affairs in column writing,” I told him.
JDV chuckled and told me he was preoccupied hopping from one country to another country steering his Global Christian-Muslim Coalition and the International Conference of Asian Political Parties which he chaired
(You can read my selected intriguing but thought-provoking columns at http://mortzortigoza.blogspot.com. You can send comments too at firstname.lastname@example.org).