Focus on China in WPS territorial dispute stumps Escudero

Focus on China in WPS territorial dispute stumps Escudero

By: - Reporter / @MAgerINQ
/ 09:28 AM April 25, 2024

MANILA, Philippines — The apparent focus being given to China in the West Philippine Sea (WPS) issue does not escape Senator Francis Escudero’s eye.

Escudero reminded everyone that the territorial dispute in the WPS was not exclusive to the Philippines and China.

“Ang kalaban natin ika nga, o katunggali natin o kaagaw natin sa West Philippine Sea kabilang ang Malaysia, Vietnam at Taiwan at ibang bansa pa sa Southeast Asia, subalit tila medyo nakatuon ang pansin natin sa mga Chinese lamang,” he said in an interview over GMA’s Unang Hirit on Thursday.


(Our adversaries, so to speak, or our rivals or competitors in the West Philippine Sea include Malaysia, Vietnam, and Taiwan, as well as other countries in Southeast Asia, but it seems that our attention is somewhat focused only on the Chinese.)


“Kaya n’ong nanalo tayo sa the Hague sa isang arbitral ruling, actually, hindi lamang ‘yon laban sa China, ‘yon ay laban sa ibang claimant countries din. Gaya ng sabi ko, kabilang ang Vietnam, Taiwan at saka Malaysia,” the senator added.

(So when we won in The Hague in an arbitral ruling, it wasn’t actually just against China; it was also against other claimant countries. Like I said, Vietnam, Taiwan, and Malaysia were among them.)

In 2016, the arbitral tribunal invalidated China’s sweeping claim of nearly the entire South China Sea, including parts of the West Philippine Sea.

Escudero’s remarks stemmed from the issues raised against the alleged growing number of Chinese students in the country, particularly in Cagayan province.

Cagayan is not only located at the northern tip of Luzon facing Taiwan but it is also where American troops have been given access under the Enhance Defense Cooperation Agreement between the Philippines and the United States.

However, Escudero argued that any issue on the presence of more Chinese in the country should have been the problem of the Bureau of Immigration (BI), and not the Commission on Higher Education (CHEd).


“Dahil unang-una, bakit pinapasok ng BID, ng Bureau of Immigration sa ilalim ng Department of Justice, ‘yan kung talagang iba ang balak at hindi naman talaga para mag-aral at gumastos ng, ika nga, student dollars dito sa ating bansa,” he pointed out.

(First and foremost, why were they allowed entry by the Bureau of Immigration under the Department of Justice if their intentions were indeed different, and not really for studying and spending their student dollars here in our country?)

“At kung talagang may duda na mga espiya ‘yan, bakit hindi ginawa ng Bureau of Immigrations ang kanilang trabaho?” he asked.

(And if they were indeed suspected of being spies, why didn’t the BI do their job?)

BI earlier said they only issue student visas to foreigners who have been endorsed by legitimate schools and the CHEd.

Escudero also lamented the BI’s seeming leniency in allowing Chinese nationals into the country while being strict with Filipinos going abroad.

“Hindi ba dapat strikto tayo sa pumapasok sa ating bansa at mas maluwang tayo sa mga lumalabas sa ating bansa dayuhan man o kapwa natin Pilipino?” the senator also asked.

(Shouldn’t we be strict about who enters our country and more lenient about those leaving, whether they are foreigners or our fellow Filipinos?)

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NOTE: The English translations in the article were AI-generated.

TAGS: China, Escudero

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