Govt must act to stop escalating militarization of West PH Sea: Liberal stalwarts

Partido Liberal stalwarts on Wednesday slammed the government for its inaction on the country’s territorial claims on the West Philippine Sea amid reports that China’s two war planes landed on the reef.

“We demand transparency in the administration’s dealings with China. What else is the Philippines giving up to this new friendship?” asked Sen. Bam Aquino.

“Hindi ba dapat ipaglaban ang ating teritoryo, lalo na para sa mga mangingisda natin? Sinayang lang ng administrasyon ang panalo natin sa Permanent Court of Arbitration (PCA),” added Sen. Aquino, referring to the PCA’s decision that the Philippines own the disputed territories.

Sen. Aquino said if the government is determined and sincere in protecting the country’s territory, then it should assert our victory in the PCA.

Senator Francis Pangilinan, Partido Liberal president, said the escalating militarization of the West Philippine Sea, taken with the Philippine government’s obliging attitude and behavior toward China, is unacceptable.

“Nagiging barangay na ba ng China ang Pilipinas?” he asked.

Pangilinan also pointed out that this sovereignty and security issue should have been discussed in the President’s recent visit to China.

“Hindi ba ito napag-usapan ng ating Presidente noong bumisita siya sa China kamakailan?” he asked.

What happened to jet ski promise?

Former lawmaker Erin Tanada, Partido Liberal’s vice president for external affairs, said that if Duterte cannot fulfill his campaign promise to ride a jet ski and plant a Philippine flag in the disputed territory, he must at least fight for it through the PCA decision.

“Ipakita sana ni Duterte ang tapang na ipinakita niya noong kampanya, laban sa China at hindi ang pagtikum-bibig habang nilalabag ang ating kasarinlan,” Tanada said.

Tanada reiterated that the presence of Chinese military transport planes on Panganiban Reef is another intrusion in our sovereign territory.

“We seek clarification from the Armed Forces of the Philippines and the Department of Foreign Affairs on this incident. Are Philippine authorities aware of this? Are these passages or landing allowed? What is China bringing next after these transport planes — war planes?” Tanada said.

“Dapat nating tutulan itong patuloy na panloloob bilang bahagi ng ating paninindigan sa desisyon ng Arbitral Tribunal. We should be on guard against any move that could be prejudicial to order, and peace and security in the territory,” Tanada added.