Even though the BBC was brave enough to broadcast this investigative report, but will it be seen by everyone in the Philippines?
By: Ringo Bones
The BBC’s intrepid field correspondent Rupert Wingfield-Hayes was the first, and probably the only one, to uncover this tragic and wanton environmental destruction by Mainland Chinese fisherman-poachers of the Philippine coral reefs in the disputed South China Sea unprecedented since the late Iraqi strongman Saddam Hussein ordered his Republican Guards to set the Kuwaiti oil fields afire and the port pipelines to leak crude oil into the Persian Gulf to choke the desalination plants of surrounding states. Brave and noble his act of journalistic bravado and environmental concern be, it is very likely that only a few, fortunate Filipinos have seen it during the past few days – i.e. those rich enough to afford cable and satellite TV subscriptions that carry BBC World broadcasts – because most major TV and radio stations in the Philippines are largely financed by Mainland Chinese companies’ advertising money.
Even though Rupert Wingfield-Hayes probably heard of the “rumor” this wanton environmental destruction a few weeks before the December 15, 2015 broadcast of the finalized investigative report, “rumors” of illegal Mainland Chinese fisherman-poachers illegally encroaching into Philippine territorial waters had been a well known incident that’s only eye-witnessed by poor and lowly subsistence for years and way before the advent of “affordable” mobile smart-phones with video cameras. The BBC reporter was told by the mayor of one of the islands in Palawan that Mainland Chinese fisherman-poachers were deliberately destroying reefs near a group of Philippine-controlled atolls in the Spratly Islands, but he wasn’t initially convinced.
Rupert Wingfield-Hayes initially didn’t take it seriously thinking that it might be just an anti-Beijing government bile from an over-achieving politician keen to blame everything on his disliked neighbor – especially a neighbor who claims most of the South China Sea as its own. But thanks to the BBC reporter’s curiosity and bravado, a first-hand visit to the area with everyday Filipino fishermen onboard on the same craft that they used to eek out a meager living, the intrepid BBC reporter finally saw with his own eyes and captured it on camera a bunch of Mainland Chinese fisherman-poachers illegally gathering protected coral reef fauna like giant clams and plowing the reefs using the anchors of their large boats to an extent that the reefs could take at least 10,000 years to fully recover. And the Filipino fishermen in the area even said that the Mainland Chinese troops occupying the region and building artificial islands are even actively protecting the illegal Mainland Chinese fisherman-poachers from being apprehended by the outgunned under-budgeted Philippine Coast Guard and Philippine Navy. Given that probably none of the Philippine’s military top brass saw the BBC broadcast, talks of war with Mainland China is currently on the same level as a Gene Roddenberry science fiction work on the consciousness of most Filipinos oblivious to the incident.