The world has been witnessing repeated harassment and intimidation of small Philippine vessels by huge China ships along the South China Sea. Filipinos have been water-cannoned causing hospitalization of some of them who were hit and injured while about to deliver basic supplies and food for Filipino soldiers manning an old dilapidated ship, BRP Sierra Madre, purposely grounded in Ayungin Shoal, a Philippine maritime jurisdiction which is part of the country’s Exclusive Economic Zone.

China has repeatedly claimed that Ayungin Shoal is part of their country simply because the area is within the Nine-Dash-Line boundary that China insists as its own territory. China has rejected the 2016 Permanent Arbitration Court (PAC) decision which contradicted China’s claim and which the Philippines won.

Current Philippine President Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos, Jr. has a foreign policy that runs counter to that of his predecessor, former president Rodrigo Roa Duterte. While Duterte is pro-China and himself rejected the PAC arbitral ruling—calling it as a mere piece of paper that can be thrown into the waste basket – Marcos Jr. instead turned to the United States and other like-minded allied countries to help the Philippines strengthen its defense systems and impose international laws such as the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea, freedom of navigation, and maritime security for all nations plying the South China Sea route.

Hundreds of diplomatic protests have been lodged against China for 1) harassing Filipino Coast Guards, scientists of the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources and fishermen 2) doing dangerous maneuvers that threaten lives of our seafarers 3) destroying coral reefs and 4) preventing Filipino fishermen to make a living through fishing in our Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ). All those diplomatic protests have fallen on deaf ears.

Instead, China claims the Philippine government has reneged on its promise via a “gentlemen’s agreement” with former president Duterte to tow away BRP Sierra Madre and leave Ayungin Shoal as a result. Duterte denies having entered into a secret agreement with China, except to keep the status quo in order to prevent irking China and to avoid war with his friend, Xi Jingpin.

China asserts that their actions against attempts to supply repair materials to Ayungin Shoal is tantamount to a breach of Duterte’s agreement with China and therefore should be responded with corresponding contrary moves.

President Bongbong Marcos Jr. was “horrified” to learn that Duterte had a “gentleman’s agreement” with China, saying he was never informed about it when he took over the reigns of the government from Duterte. Marcos strongly expressed that if ever there was any agreement with China, he was rescinding it, because it was an affront to the Philippines’ sovereignty. Filipinos now are informed that Duterte’s actions as regards China during his term was proof that he was afraid China will declare war against the Philippines which Duterte said he was against, for he wanted peace for the Filipino people.

Nowadays, the country is divided, and social media feast at expressing two contrary interpretations about Marcos’ foreign policy and Duterte’s pro-China stance. The bad thing is, Duterte camp holds prayer rallies that attack Marcos and call for his resignation. Instead of uniting with Marcos to help him gather allies as like-minded countries all over the world, Duterte wants to oust Marcos so that Duterte’s daughter, Vice-President Sara Duterte, can be president and let China do its thing in the South China Sea.

Yes, China is the Goliath of Asia, and ASEAN countries are scared of this giant for many reasons. The Philippines is the David of Southeast Asia, with very limited military capability to face this bullying giant. But we are the only Christian nation in this part of the world, and China is a communist country that does not believe in God. Filipinos strongly believe that God loves our country and will help “David” defeat “Goliath” through God’s miraculous hand. I also believe that the good will always win. It is China that continuously harass our fishermen and coast guards it is China that occupies many of our Exclusive Economic Zones it is China that water-cannons our supply boats it is China that reclaims most of the South China Sea and has constructed military installations and airstrips around West Philippines Sea it is China that ignores UNCLOS and the 2016 Arbitral Ruling that denied China’s Nine-dash-Line claim…Which is the bad ass here?