Xi’s visit ‘perfect time’ for Duterte to show strong leadership—Hontiveros
Senator Risa Hontiveros on Tuesday said President Rodrigo Duterte must show the public that he can defend the country’s claims in the West Philippine Sea (WPS) as Chinese President Xi Jinping visits the Philippines.
“Now is the perfect time for President Duterte to demonstrate to the public what he is really made of. Dito masusubukan ang tapang ng Pangulo. Patuloy ba siyang magiging sunod-sunuran sa Tsina o magpapakita siya ng lakas ng loob para ipaglaban ang ating bansa at teritoryo,” she said in a statement on Tuesday.
Hontiveros added that Duterte’s tough-talking will be “empty bravado” if he allows China to endanger country’s ownership in the WPS.
“President Duterte likes to project himself as a tough-talking, strong leader. But all of this is empty bravado if he continues to kowtow before China and endanger our territorial integrity by doing nothing to defend the West Philippine Sea,” Hontiveros said.
The senator also said Duterte must defend the country’s territorial claims by asserting the country’s victory against China in the Arbitral Tribunal of The Hague.
“The President must exhibit a solid stance in defending the sovereign interest of the Filipino people by asserting the country’s victory at The Hague,” she said.
She also noted that Duterte must not allow joint exploration and loan agreements that negatively affects the country.
“Reject any proposal for a joint exploration in the West Philippine Sea that doesn’t fully recognize our sovereignty and territorial integrity in the said region and decline any loan agreement that will plunge the country into a new debt trap,” Hontiveros said.
The Philippines plans to sign an agreement with China for the joint exploration of the disputed WPS but the deals’ framework were not yet revealed as per Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo.
Last August, Malacañang announced that the deal could be signed “anytime” before or even during the visit of Chinese President Xi Jinping to the Philippines. /je
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