Bonifacio and the blue ocean

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    ‘Bonifacio’s writings do include liquid imagery’

    THE Real Deal. “Sino si Andrés Bonifacio? Siya’y isáng tunay na pilipino na ipinanganak noong ika 30 ng Nobiyembre ng 1863 sa isang bahay na pawid sa pook na nasa sa harap ng himpilan ngayón ng pero-karil sa daang Azcárraga, Tundó, Maynila…Ano ang kabuhayan ni Bonifacio? Ang kaniyang mga magulang ay mga taong dukha kaya’t siya nama’y isang taong mahirap…Siya ba’y mahiligin sa pagbabasa ng mga aklat? Oo. Nguni’t ang kaniyang kinahihimalingang basahin ay yaong mga aklat na nakapagtuturo ng kabayanihan.” [Hermenegildo Cruz. Kartilyang Makabayan: Mga Tanong at Sagot Ukol Kay Andrés Bonifacio at sa KKK. Maynila: 1922]

    Man of the masses, a diligent reader, student of reason and revolution. In which case, Bonifacio’s fans and followers as well as Filipinist abecedarians may want to wade through “A Treatise on Blue Economy for the Island States of the 21st Century” by Ernie R. Gonzales, PhD, launched on this year’s Bonifacio Day in order to “define a new direction of development for an island state like the Philippine Archipelago,” given that “For the past 500 years of colonization of these thousand islands, the mode of thinking is along continental cultures.”

    Bonifacio’s connection to the water may have been understated. His father Santiago was a “banquero” from the riverine and lakeshore town of Taguig who met Catalina of Tondo (Bonifacio’s mother) in his occupation of ferrying passengers along the Pasig River.

    Relocating, Santiago labored at the Binondo waterfront as a longshoreman. In addition, Santiago’s fourth son Troadio joined the Spanish navy.

    Bonifacio’s writings do include liquid imagery: “Her clear waters — they come from the mountain springs, the soft whisper of the rushing wavelets enlivens the sorrowing heart.” [Andres Bonifacio, Pag-ibig sa tinubuang Bayan, c. March 1896] And his reading list contains: Historia de la Revolución Francesa, Las ruinas de Palmira, o meditación sobre las revoluciones de los imperios, and Victor Hugo’s Los miserables, among others. Thus, Bonifacio’s legacy may embrace sooner or later the call for a Blue Revolution.

    Gonzales offers this Blue Transformation as different “because this is a type of productivity and development that is not land-based but one that is aquatic—involving a focus on seafood, sea-energy, sea-minerals, and modern sea-transport industries…this water- or ocean-based industrialization entails mariculture, aquaculture, and ocean-focused sustainable productivity to spur the much-needed 21st Century Progress.”

    Further: “The Blue Economy as Antidote to National Poverty: The Geographic Advantage of the Thousand Islands of the Philippines. The Philippine Islands is strategically positioned as the ‘oasis’ of the Pacific Ocean…As such, this geographic position meant that the nutrients of the Pacific Ocean nourish daily and every hour on the hour the natural stock of fishes in our waters. There are a total of 2,000 important fishery species in the Philippine fishing grounds. Of these, roughly 10 to 15 species are commercialized in the aquaculture sector.”
    Gonzales reiterates: “We as an oceanic state must take climate change industrialization in the ‘Blue Economy’: sea-energy, sea-transport, sea-food, and sea minerals like palladium-based industrializations. This is our comparative advantage in the world today.”

    The Gonzales scenario is valid. But how soon? “In the future, ocean ranches will be everywhere, except they will be vastly bigger and fully automated and mobile. Launched with lab-bred baby fish, these enormous motorized pens will hitch months-long rides on ocean currents and arrive at their destinations filled with mature animals, fattened and ready for market.” [“The Bluewater Revolution,” https://www.wired.com/2004/05/fish/]
    The Gonzales scenario is indeed wired for urgency, that is the “intelligent use of blue economy, thus avoiding the increase of ecological debt of actual generations from the ‘accounts’ of natural resources necessary for the sustainable survival of future generations, because “living on debt” led to the globalised economical and financial crisis from the last years and major social and ecological conflicts.” [84 Alexandru Bogdan et al., “New holistic approach of bio-economics and eco-economics theories, practical bridging from the green economy to blue economy, trough new integrated and innovative paradigm about ‘bio-eco-geoeconomy’,” Procedia Economics and Finance 8 (2014) 83 – 90]

    The Gonzales scenario can also be informed by the “narrative of the Norwegian blue revolution” which “created an expectation that accumulated aquaculture knowledge and solutions from salmon farming would diffuse to other parts of the seafood complex, and contribute to the development of a range of profitable aquaculture species.” [B. Aarset, S.E. Jakobsen, “Path dependency, institutionalization and co-evolution: The missing diffusion of the blue revolution in Norwegian aquaculture,” Journal of Rural Studies 41 (2015) 37-46]
    The Gonzales scenario now needs to be linked to:

    (1) The Blue Ocean Strategy — “a way to make the competition irrelevant by creating a leap in value for both the company and its customers.” [W. Chan Kim and Renee Mauborgne]

    (2) Blue Water Operations. “There are several choke-points that surround the Plan’s AOR, e.g., in Japan’s Southwestern Islands chain, between Taiwan and the Philippines, within territorial waters of the Philippines and Indonesia, and the Strait of Malacca. There are several choke-points that surround the Plan’s AOR, e.g., in Japan’s Southwestern Islands chain, between Taiwan and the Philippines, within territorial waters of the Philippines and Indonesia, and the Strait of Malacca.” [VADM Yoji Koda, JMSDF (Ret.), China’s Blue Water Navy Strategy and its Implications, March 2017]

    (3) A Maritime Doctrine. “The maritime environment provides critical access for joint assets allowing influence in support of political objectives, the conduct of a wide range of maritime security and international engagement and, when necessary, the means to assemble and apply decisive combat power at a time and place of political choice.” [Joint Doctrine Publication 0-10: British Maritime Doctrine]

    Perhaps the Blue Revolution will facilitate the day when “the sun of Reason will blaze, and those with debts will have to pay.” [Andres Bonifacio, Fragment of a speech, circa February 1895; Archivo General Militar de Madrid: Caja 5677, leg.1.92]