Oops Philippines never owned Whitsun Reef? Add another calamity

Week number 19 in the Philippines is off to a dizzying start with the president of the Philippines backtracking on the Chinese militia boats at Whitsun Reef.

Through a spokesperson, Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte has declared after eight weeks of global turmoil that brought America and China to the highest military tensions in years that it was all a “bloated” or “exaggerated” issue.

One question this week  seems to be on the minds of many is why President Duterte says the issue of 240 Chinese militia ships at Whitsun Reef (a.k.a. Julian Felipe Reef) was bloated and that the area had never been in the Philippine possession.

The reef actually “falls outside the Philippines Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ),” according to Duterte officials.

This conflicts earlier assertions by the Philippines Defence and Foreign Affairs departments.

Julian Felipe Reef made international headlines in March when 240 Chinese alleged-militia vessels were spotted at Whitsun Reef.

The United States vowed to support the Philippines in the difficult standoff with China.

Included in President Biden’s support of the stand-off were USS Theodore Roosevelt aircraft carrier, the USS John S. McCain and USS Mustin destroyers, as well as Virginia-class attack submarine SSN Illinois.

Rodrigo Duterte Rodrigo Duterte, President of the Philippines. Photo Credit: Office of the President

Due to China’s prolonged presence in the reef since December 2020 according to satellite imagery, the Philippines has filed several diplomatic protests and its military has dispatched additional warships to the area.

The presidential spokesperson says the reef  “was never in the Philippines possession.”

The Philippines has never possessed that reef which Malacanang claims is outside the Extended Economic Zone (EEZ) anyway.

“[translated] Those numerous boats at Julian Felipe, those are too far from us. In truth, never did we possess that. It’s too far from the islands that we have possessed.”

Lies coming from Malacanang are no surprise according to fact-checkers but this one is obvious.

The distance is 174.5nm  from the Julian Felipe Reef to the nearest point in Palawan, Rizal town. That is precisely 174.5 nautical miles using an E6b navigation slide rule and a navigation ruler on a transverse Mercator navigation map, the most accurate for navigation.

An EEZ extends 200 nautical miles hence the Reef is 24 nm inside the Philippines’ EEZ.

An unexplained warning has come from the colourful Foreign Affairs secretary who wrote:

“China, my friend, how politely can I put it? Let me see… O…GET THE F***K OUT. What are you doing to our friendship? You. Not us. We’re trying. You. You’re like an ugly oaf forcing your attentions on a handsome guy who wants to be a friend; not to father a Chinese province … https://t.co/KTv1TOQvN7

— Teddy Locsin Jr. (@teddyboylocsin) May 3, 2021


Then comes a distraction.

As if for distraction, Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte has declared another state of calamity throughout the Philippines for one year due to an African Swine Fever (ASF) outbreak that began in 2019.

Duterte also said that, “All law enforcement agencies, with the support of the Armed Forces of the Philippines, are hereby directed to undertake all necessary measures to ensure peace and order in affected areas, as may be necessary,” the order reads.

Read if you wish: 20210510-PROC-1143-RRD

Philippines was already under a “State of Calamity”

President Rodrigo Duterte extended the period of the COVID-19 state of calamity until Sept. 12, 2021 through Proclamation No. 1021 back in mid-September 2020.

Truly the Philippines is having difficulty coping with the pandemic.

Meanwhile, President Duterte has explained via a spokesperson that another declaration of a state of calamity is needed.