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Joma Sison: Exploration deals, not US forces will keep peace in South China Sea

Jose Maria Sison said the Filipinos should not worry about threats of war amid the Permanent Court of Arbitration ruling favoring the Philippines in its maritime dispute against China. File photo

MANILA, Philippines – Jose Maria Sison, chair of the international coordinating committee of the International League of People's Struggles, said Filipinos should not worry about threats of war amid an international tribunal ruling favoring the Philippines in its maritime dispute against China.

“Walang dapat mangamba sa gera dahil sa dalawang punto. Isa, labag sa UN Convention on the Law of the Sea at international law ang Tsina sa bigong pagswapang niya sa halos lahat ng South China Sea,” Sison said in a podcast interview with University of the Philippines professor Sarah Raymundo posted by Kodao Productions.

“Ikalawa, malayong mas malakas sa kakayahang militar ang US, Hapon at NATO na malamang na kikilos kung sasalakayin ng Tsina ang mga kompanyang kakontrata ng Pilipinas sa oil and gas exploration and extraction,” he added.

Sison said the Philippine government must use its victory at the Arbitral Tribunal, which has ruled that China has no basis for its nine-dash line claim over a large part of the South China Sea, to strengthen Philippine sovereignty and to craft better foreign policy.

“Gamitin ang mga kontrata sa oil and natural gas development para hindi mangahas ang Tsina na manggulo o manggera sa Pilipinas,” Sison said adding that it is a long term solution to avoid China’s threats. “Gumawa tayo ng mga pagbalanse sa ating mga ugnayang panlabas nang sa gayon walang dayuhang poder ang maging dominante sa atin,” he added.

 

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'Filipinos should keep fishing in disputed waters'

 

Sison, also the founder of the Communist Party of the Philippines, urged Filipino fishermen to continue fishing in the disputed waters despite the threat of harassment by the Chinese Coast Guard..

“Mahalaga ang pangingisda para sa buhay ng mga Pilipino at kabuhayan ng mga mismong mangingisda. Dapat ipagpatuloy ng mga mangingisda ang pangingisda. Dahil sa desisyon na pabor sa Pilipinas, labag sa international law at malaking kahihiyan ng Tsina sa bawat iskandalo bunga ng pananakit o pagtataboy sa mga walang armas na mangingisdang Pilipino,” he said.

Sison said a binding contract on oil and gas exploration would be better than allowing a US military base on Philippine soil as it will bring profit, and will help grow the country's economy. That will mean better social services, better infrastructure and stronger defenses, he said.

For now, Sison said, he favors bilateral negotiations between the two countries.  “Pero puwede ring tumakbo ang diplomasya at magkaroon ng ilang areglo at kasunduan sa pamamagitan ng bilateral negotiations ng Pilipinas at Tsina. Mukhang ito ang gusto ni President [Rodrigo] Duterte,” he said.

On Sunday, fisherfolk in Zambales were cautioned against fishing in the Panatag Shoal (Scarborough Shoal) despite a favorable ruling given to the Philippines by an arbitration court in The Hague, Netherlands, rejecting China’s claims over the disputed waters. Zambales governor said the fisherfolk must wait for the impending negotiations and avoid escalating tensions caused by the ruling.

RELATED: Fishers advised to avoid Panatag Shoal despite UN tribunal ruling

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