Lacson on invoking MDT: Better if both sides militarize in West PH Sea not just China
MANILA, Philippines — It is better that there is militarization of “both sides” in the West Philippine Sea (WPS) instead of just China on the issue of invoking the mutual defense treaty (MDT) following the alleged ramming of a Filipino fishing boat by a Chinese vessel at the Recto Bank, Senator Panfilo Lacson said Wednesday.
“Ang gusto ba natin na militarization lang ng China ang prevalent doon sa (WPS)? Kasi kung sinabi nga ni Secretary Lorenzana, pag in-invoke natin yung MDT, ang dating, militarization,” Lacson said in a Kapihan sa Senado forum in Pasay City.
“Mas mainam na ‘yung militarization from both sides. Tayo kasali din tayo doon and probably some military presence from other Asean (Association of South East Asian Nations) countries,” he added.
“Mas mainam na ‘yun kaysa ‘yung militarization na nakikita natin, puro sa China na lang. Eh talagang wala na tayo. Parang wala na tayong say tungkol sa WPS,” Lacson futher said.
Lacson earlier said the MDT would be “the only weapon in our arsenal” following the Recto Bank incident. He clarified that he is not calling for war but only a “balance of power” over the WPS.
READ: Treaty with US is only ‘weapon’ in PH arsenal, says Lacson
“What’s on my mind, kung halimbawa in-invoke natin o sabihin nating nariyan yan and it’s invokable, ang MDT, ano naman ba ang gamitin inatin yan para balansehin ang power sa WPS para ma-avert o proactively ma-preempt na natin ang posibleng armed hostilities na mangyayari roon. Masama ba yan?” he said in the forum.
He added that the Philippines should not wait for armed aggression to happen before invoking the said treaty.
READ: Don’t wait for armed aggression before invoking US-PH defense treaty — Lacson
The senator admitted that invoking the MDT for militarization could “increase the tension” among the countries but assured that this will not lead to war.
“Alam natin in this day and age of nuclear technology, going to war is too devastating. Sa akin is preemptive, proactive,” he said.
“Mas mainam na yan kesa sa ‘di ba pag may balance of power, lalong naiwasan ang giyera? Hintayin pa ba natin na umabot sa magpaputok ang, halimbawa, Chinese Coast Guard naputukan ang PH vessel o kaya Coast Guard vessel natin,” Lacson added.
“Hindi ko sinasabing implement o apply. Very clear ang aking statement na preemptive and proactive ito to avert whatever abuses or whatever further incidents na magkaroon pa ng armed attack from Chinese armed militia or even military,” he further said.
However, the senator conceded that invoking the MDT is the call of the Executive branch.
“I leave it up to them. Sila naman ang nasa executive branch. Call nila yan. Sa akin lang I’m also expressing what I think should be done given the circumstances,” Lacson said.
“So whether they take it or not it is up to them, it is their call actually,” he added. (Editor: Mike U. Frialde, Julie Espinosa)
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