Scarborough Shoal located in the South China Sea or West Philippine Sea is being claimed by three countries: China, Philippines, and Taiwan. Tension rose in the past month between the Philippines and China when the governments of the two nations accused each other of illegally occupying the territorial waters near the shoal. It sparked nationalist sentiments in both countries and the ‘word war’ has gone online.
Below are some social media reactions from the Philippines:
@redsohigh: In terms of bullying and intimidation. Wala tayong laban sa China in terms of owning Panatag Shoal. Susme. Isang nuclear lang tayo.
@SoWhatsNews: China has caught all the fish in Panatag Shoal hence the stoppage and the fishing ban. Sweet n Sour Fish Fillet mabenta ngayon sa China.
Perhaps to ease tension, both the Philippines and China have imposed a fishing ban in the contested area.
@roilogolez: It is unpatriotic for a Filipino to publicly express an opinion on the Panatag Shoal stand-off contrary to the government position.
@crystalbrosas: Scarborough Shoal and Spratlys Islands are for the Philippines. MAAWA NAMAN KAYO SA BANSA NAMIN, Kahit may lahi akong Chinese. -_-
Bigger than Scarborough, the Spratly issue is more controversial and potentially more dangerous since 6 countries in the Asia-Pacific are claiming the resource-rich islands.
Miko Lucena: Call it desperate to regain economic strength. With the cost of labor rising they need another source of income, preferably what the world needs, oil.
Roselyne Bairan Cua: Ang laki laki ng china,pinagkaka interesan ang atin maliliit na isla. They should just stay away from our islands and focus on their own problem. Palibasa alam nila wala tayong military warfare. Dinaadaan tayo sa sindak. Takot naman sila sa FB.
Ed Dalisay: China has a bigger problem at home. Their economy is falling and it is not that rosy as it seems to be. Leaders will always find distraction so that the people will rally behind them. One way is to wedge war against a small nation that they can easily bully. History is littered with this familiar story. This is what Bush did when he declared war against Iraq because he is becoming unpopular at home.
Joseph Corpuz: We may not be strong as China in terms of military but we can be strong economically if only we get our act together, if they don't want our exports then let's look to other countries and we must be self-reliant we can do this.
Rieya Piscano comments on the ongoing ‘cyberwar’ between nationalist netizens of the two countries:
Clearly, the internet has leveled the playing field even in political conflicts like the Scarborough Standoff. It has made both parties bolder in expressing their opinions toward the matter. Some, all in 140 characters. Hacking has also become a showcase of nationalism and political posts of young bloggers underline the new heights reached by cyberactivism. Crazy as it sounds, people would go out of their way to plot maps and photoshop pictures just to prove their point. It is not just a word war. It is a “meme” war and we are all “liking” it.
The president of the University of the Philippines issued this statement after hackers defaced the university website:
Hacking selected websites at the suspected country of the hacker or hackers does not objectively articulate any political issue and only subjectively fulfills a personal desire to “get even”
…we also call on the concerned technology-savvy Filipinos to stop hacking other websites, particularly those from China. Filipinos are more sensible than this, and our expertise is better used in productive endeavors.
Carol P. Araullo advises the Aquino government to resolve the issue without inviting US military intervention:
…would it not be the better part of political wisdom, more so statesmanship, for the Aquino administration to seriously study and issue a rational and sober reply to the points raised by China rather than brandish the Philippines military alliance with the US to act as a counterfoil to China’s military strength and to make up for the Philippines’ military inferiority?
It also serves no purpose to keep whipping up pseudo-patriotic and ultra-nationalist sentiments against China and things Chinese.