Wednesday, September 5, 2012


A White Paper by the WPS Informal Expert Group



Tensions among rival claimant-states to the waters and land features of the South China Sea (SCS) – particularly China, the Philippines and Vietnam - have escalated significantly in the last several years, bringing the Philippines to center stage as a key participant in the future of security and stability in our part of the world. While the surge in confrontational rhetoric and actions directed against the Philippines have added to the urgency of ensuring calibrated and effective responses, the territorial and resource disputes themselves are not new and have been the subject of policy action and deliberation for decades. The challenges arising therefrom are not expected to be resolved easily or soon, but will likely continue to demand the attention of government and the Filipino public for decades to come.

This White Paper seeks to draw the attention of all concerned Filipino stakeholders – particularly those in government - to the urgent need for a strategic framework for the management of our territorial, maritime jurisdiction, and resource disputes in the West Philippine Sea (WPS). The authors are former or current public servants, coming from various areas of specialization, who have long been involved in past initiatives relating to Philippine policy in the WPS.

The paper is not intended to provide answers to all the policy questions, but to suggest a policy agenda, and to underscore the urgent need for a strategic vision, more permanent institutions, as well as for more effective arrangements for policymaking and coordination to address such agenda. 

Thursday, August 2, 2012


CHINA SEES PH. AS U.S. 'PROXY' says expert

Posted on 07/29/2012 2:15 PM  | Updated 08/01/2012 9:35 AM
MANILA, Philippines - In the dispute over Scarborough Shoal, China is "overreacting" because Beijing still sees the Philippines as a US proxy, a foreign policy expert told Rappler.
"The Philippines, in the overall scheme of things, is not important enough for China to worry about. China is overreacting to everything because they see us as a US ally," said Aileen Baviera, professor of Asian Studies at the University of the Philippines.
"We have a problem with China, but China's problem is with the United States," Baviera added. " Whatever we say, China looks at us as a US proxy."
US defense assistance but no more troops
So, what should the Philippines do to manage this relationship?

Thursday, July 26, 2012


Sunday, July 22, 2012

Putting the ASEAN Humpty Dumpty back together again

 July 22, 2012 10:23am

Indonesian Foreign Minister Marty Natalegawa has not been flying to ASEAN capitals just to try to put together a statement, or the joint communique that should have been issued at the end of the ASEAN Ministerial Meeting in Phnom Penh earlier this month. He is trying to put the ASEAN Humpty Dumpty back together again. And everyone – not least the Philippines, Vietnam, ASEAN chair Cambodia, and all other member countries, but even China, the United States, ASEAN’s other dialogue partners, and all the king’s horses and all the king’s men, would do well to come with their glue and adhesives and participate in this effort.
At stake is much more than the few sentences that would reflect that ASEAN did discuss and come to agreement on the recent tensions between members states Vietnam and the Philippines on one hand, and the group’s dialogue partner China on the other. Although certainly, one is confounded that the chair could not muster the wisdom and perseverance to forge even a minimalist consensus, perhaps – goes the speculation - because of promises made to a non-member of the ASEAN family.

Saturday, February 25, 2012


Forging a New Philippine Foreign Policy is a new website launched last February 21, 2012 by the Asian Center, University of the Philippines. We conceptualized the website mainly with the hope of stimulating more dynamic discourses on the present and future directions of the country's international relations, and building ever-expanding constituencies for related analysis and advocacy. The site also serves as a resource databank for users and registered members, who may access news, documents, and research papers, among others. Visitors to my blog will likely find this new resource useful as well. The URL is

Friday, January 6, 2012


S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies, NTU
RSIS Commentaries No. 004/2012 dated 5 January 2012

Growing Chinese assertiveness and military  capability have led the Aquino government to adopt tougher rhetoric towards China over the South China Sea disputes. Will the Aquino way bring more results than the “ASEAN Way”?
THE AQUINO government’s tougher posture towards China with regard to the South China Sea disputes is changing the atmospherics of this long-standing regional security issue. While this shift has presented a new approach to tackling the regional tensions,  observers are watching whether the “Aquino way” will bring more results than the “ASEAN Way” of non-confrontation. Not all ASEAN members are, however, comfortable with the Aquino approach.
Manila’s core interest

The Philippines, an archipelago entirely surrounded by water, pursues certain core interests in its territorial claims in the South China Sea just like other claimant countries. These include promoting respect for its territorial integrity and sovereignty, security against external threats, access to ocean resources to serve development needs, and maintaining good order at sea. Manila has demonstrated sovereignty over its claimed Kalayaan Islands through continuous occupation of certain features, prevention of illegal entry or illegal fishing, legislation of baselines, and other measures. In seeking peaceful and norms-based approaches to the disputes, it initiated ASEAN’s 1992 Manila Declaration on the South China Sea, which called on claimants to exercise self-restraint and settle disputes peacefully.