Want for food
Is it greed, dearth or desperate desire to have more to avoid imminent hunger? Not any one of these factors may accurately explain the actuation of China in West Philippine Sea. China’s aggressive claim over turfs that, under Philippine laws, rightfully belong to the Philippines being part of its 200 nautical mile economic zone is patently disadvantageous to the latter, especially that the former is allegedly stripping these places’ rich marine life therein of the exotic flora and fauna.
While Russia fended off perceived similar advances of China, thwarting the latter from pursuing towards Russia’s territory few weeks ago, the Philippines is not taking on the same stance. The Philippine government instead sustains a diplomatic approach to avoid a possible collision with the Chinese armed forces to which the Philippines could be of not match. Thus, the Philippine armed forces are fast and furious in the battle against the fellow Filipino anti-government militia but not against the cantankerous strength of the Chinese armed forces.
How could this be? The government of the Philippines could not be accused of being remiss in this aspect of its operation. No one could undermine much less deny the efforts of Pres. Noynoy Aquino in finding ways to have a peaceful resolution to the conflict with China and other Asian countries that are equally claiming ownership over disputed territories in the West Philippine Sea. In all honesty, P-Noy’s government is worthy of support on this regard.
Although there are some sectors who opine that Pres. Noy’s approach is not enough to protect the sovereignty of the country, others think otherwise. They commend the gesture of the President. For them, P-Noy is not only thinking of the recent situation but the repercussion of whatever action the Philippine government will take against China. China’s aggressive claim over islands in the West Philippine Sea covers many facets of existence: power, economy and food security.
Rev. Fr. Oscar Lorenzo, in his homily in a Sunday Mass, spoke in the same vein. He said that the country does not fight the Chinese because “we go beyond the need for food.” He added that the country has three options to this conflict namely political, diplomatic and legal. Apparently, head-on confrontation is not among the alternative modes. Like other people, Fr. Lorenzo also fears that China’s pursuits in the Scarborough Shoals could get even worse. Thus, he encourages every Christian to pray very fervently to God for the peaceful end to this controversy.
Food is essential for survival. Fr. Lorenzo recalled the ordeal that a friend of his went through during wartime wherein one has to eat rats and cockroaches just to fill up their growling tummies. Truly, easing hunger pangs is most difficult to obtain when the stomach has nothing to process.
The conflict that the country is experiencing right now is a vibrant example of the people’s insatiable want for what they desire most – power and resources. Many go hungry not because there is nothing more to produce but because there are those who cannot afford to share these consumable goods with the impoverished ones.
Ponder this thought taken from the Sambuhay, an introduction in last Sunday’s Holy Eucharistic celebration: “Notwithstanding progress in food production, so many people today starve to death. Our problem is not that the world produces too little food, but that there is uneven distribution of the earth’s resources. By the multiplication of bread and fish, accomplished through the generosity of a boy, Jesus teaches us that material hunger can easily be answered by an attitude of sharing that invites divine intervention. God has the power to transform our humble resources to fill the needs of family.”
So goes this prayer, “That government officials spend the country’s resources and budget to favor economic growth, provide jobs for the citizens, and address the basic needs of the people.” We earnestly pray to God as well for the nonviolent end to the conflict between China and the Philippines in the Spratly Islands and other land masses in West Philippine Sea. In all these, our response “Lord, teach us to share.”
By: Eileen Nazareno-Ballesteros
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