Pangilinan on China’s threat if PH digs oil in WPS: Why should we be scared?
MANILA, Philippines — Threats of “trouble” from China should not render the Philippines scared to defend its maritime territory, Senator Francis Pangilinan said Tuesday.
This, after President Rodrigo Duterte said Monday that Chinese President Xi Jinping had warned him of “trouble” when he told him plans to go to the West Philippine Sea to dig oil.
“Vietnam has taken a position on this issue, with respect to their claims, and Indonesia, and there has been no war. So that issue of trouble, war? I doubt very much. Parang tinatakot tayo para hindi tayo kumilos. E bakit tayo magpapatakot?” Pangilinan said in an interview with ABS-CBN News Channel when sought for comment on the matter.
(Vietnam has taken a position on this issue, with respect to their claims, and Indonesia, and there has been no war. So that issue of trouble, war? I doubt very much. They’re trying to scare us so that we won’t act on it. But why should we be scared?)
“We will not speak up? We will keep quiet? Bakit tayo magkakaroon ng utang na loob sa China na inaagaw yung ating exclusive economic zone. Hindi tama,” he added.
(We will not speak up? We will keep quiet? Why will we have any debt of gratitude to China, which is claiming areas in our exclusive economic zone.)
Duterte, in one of his previous public addresses, said he has no intention of quarreling with China because the Philippines owes it a “debt of gratitude.”
Pangilinan said the Philippine should take its cue from Vietnam and Indonesia, which he said have managed to assert its claims in the South China Sea without going to war with Beijing.
“Dapat matuto tayo sa Vietnam at Indonesia. Naninindigan sila kontra sa panghihimasok ng China. At alam niyo ba, mas malaki pa ang investment ng China sa Vietnam, in terms of direct investments ng Chinese money kumpara dito sa ating bansa?” the senator pointed out.
(We should learn from Vietnam and Indonesia. They asserted their rights against the incursions of China. And did you know that Vietnam receives more from China in terms of direct investments compared to us?)
“Hindi ibig sabihin na kapag ikaw ay nagsusunod sunuran, uunahin ka or bibigyan ka ng importansya. In fact, ang mga nagsusunod sunuran, ‘yon ang unang binabalewala, kaya dapat tayo naninindigan,” he added.
(It doesn’t mean that if you become submissive, it means you will be given priority or importance. In fact, if you follow their orders, you are the first one to be thrown to the side, that’s why we need to be assertive.)
Duterte, who has been criticized for his warm stance with China, has repeatedly asserted that the Philippines would not go to war with China over the maritime dispute.
The President also recently downplayed Manila’s historic victory in 2016, when the United Nations-backed Permanent Court of Arbitration in The Hague, Netherlands invalidated China’s nine-dash line claim, a ruling that Beijing refuses to recognize.
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