Confront China over sea row, Akbayan dares Duterte
MANILA, Philippines — Confront Chinese President Xi Jinping on China’s incursions in the West Philippine Sea.
Akbayan party-list members raised this challenge to the Duterte administration as they chanted “Pilipinas, huwag ibenta!” (Don’t sell the Philippines!) in front of the Department of Foreign Affairs in Pasay City on Thursday.
“Kay President Duterte at sa kalihim ng Department of Foreign Affairs, komprontahin [na] si Pangulong Xi Jinping ng China laban sa mga illegal na mga gawain na ginagawa ng China sa West Philippine Sea, sa Scarborough at mismo sa mga isla ng Pilipinas,” Akbayan Spokesperson Justine Balane said during the protest action.
“Kung si Presidente Rodrigo Duterte ay magagawa niyang magalit sa Canada at magbanta pa ng giyera, ba’t hindi pa siya nagagalit at ba’t ayaw niyang komprontahin si Xi Jinping, matapos ibasura ni Xi Jinping mismo ang ating pinanalong kaso doon sa Hague Tribunal,” he added.
Balane was referring to a 2016 ruling of the United Nations Permanent Court of Arbitration in The Hague in favor of the Philippines.
The said ruling invalidated China’s so-called nine-dash-line that covers nearly the entire South China Sea, including parts of the Philippines’ Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ).
Earlier, the President had threatened war on Canada should it fail to take back its trash, which was illegally dumped in the Philippines several years ago.
“Malinaw po ang aming hamon kay President Duterte. Marami pong kasalanan si Xi Jinping at ang China laban sa mga Pilipino,” Balane told reporters at the sidelines of the protest.
“Unang-una, ang panghaha-harass sa mga fisherfolk at mga kababayan natin sa Pag-asa Isand. Pangalawa, kailangan nang wakasin ang lahat ng mapang-abusong kontrata sa kalakalan at sa pag-utang. At pangatlo, kailangang na bayaran ang lahat ng mga damage sa environment sa clams at sa corals na ngayon ay kinukuha ng China sa Pilipinas,” he added.
Balane also took a hit at the bilateral agreements, which Malacañang earlier said would be signed by the two countries during the President’s visit in Beijing.
“Malinaw po, hindi po natin kaibigan ang China…Hindi pa po sila nananagot sa lahat ng mga kasalanan nila laban sa mga Pilipino,” he said.
“Yung mga trade deals po na pipirmahan ng Presidente ngayon wala pong saysay, kung tayo man lang ay mababaon sa utang o kung tayo man lang ay hanggang ngayon mababalot pa rin sa karahasan at takot na dala ng China sa kanilang pananakop satin,” he added.
The President is currently in Beijing for the Second Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation and to hold bilateral meetings with Xi and other Chinese officials.
Earlier, Foreign Affairs Assistant Secretary Meynardo Montealegre said that the two countries are poised to sign five bilateral agreements during the President’s Beijing trip.
“Well, we are looking at some possible agreements in the areas of education, anti-corruption, official development assistance as well as drug rehabilitation,” Montealegre said in a press briefing in Malacañang earlier this week.
PH stand on sea row
Recently, the Philippine government appeared to have taken a firmer stand on its maritime dispute with China.
The President who earlier chose to set aside the Hague ruling in favor of warmer ties with China in exchange for aid and investments, said he would deploy soldiers on a “suicide mission” if Chinese forces “touched” Pag-asa (Thitu) Island.
This after the Western Command of the Armed Forces of the Philippines said it had monitored a surge of Chinese vessels swarming around Pag-asa Island since January.
In response to the statements of the President and other Philippine officials on the maritime dispute, Chinese Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Lu Kang maintained China’s claims over the Spratly Islands, saying the entire island chain has been Chinese territory for thousands of years as supported by “sufficient historical and legal basis.” /muf
However, Malacañang rebuked China’s claim and told the Chinese government to respect the 2016 arbitral tribunal ruling. /muf
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