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On Day of Valor, opposition decry leaders' 'cowardice and betrayal'
Opposition lawmakers slammed the defeatist position and rhetoric of the government amid aggressive territorial expansions in the West Philippine Sea by China.
CSIS/AMTI, File

On Day of Valor, opposition decry leaders' 'cowardice and betrayal'

Audrey Morallo (Philstar.com) - April 9, 2018 - 4:42pm

MANILA, Philippines — As the Philippines commemorates the Day of Valor, two opposition lawmakers on Monday slammed the government’s defeatist rhetoric in the face of aggressive territorial grabbing in the West Philippine Sea.  

Sen. Leila De Lima and Rep. Gary Alejano (Magdalo) said that the government’s inability and defeatist position in the face of China’s aggressive island-building activities in the West Philippine Sea were in contrast to the courage and bravery Filipinos demonstrated during the second world war.

“It’s disappointing to hear from our leaders that we are weak and unable to do anything in the face of the blatant disrespect for our sovereignty, encroachment on our territory and pressure on our countrymen,” Alejano said in a statement.

He said that instead of showing love for the country our leaders had been showing its complete opposite.

“This, now, is the brand of cowardice and betrayal that our present leaders are showing to the world,” said Alejano, a former Marine officer.

De Lima meanwhile said that the rhetoric on love for the motherland was useless if one was encouraging the killing of thousands of innocent and defenseless victims, in an apparent dig at President Rodrigo Duterte who has launched a brutal crackdown on illegal drugs which has killed thousands, many of whom belong to the country’s urban poor.

Duterte, in his Day of Valor message, urged the Filipino people to resist any attack on Philippine sovereignty and independence.

He also paid tribute to the cooperation of Filipino and American troops who fought together to defend the democratic way of life.

Duterte has been widely criticized for his soft stance on the aggressive island-building and militarization of features in the West Philippine Sea by China.

He has back-burnered a decision by a United Nations-backed tribunal invalidating much of China’s claim in the resource-rich region amid his push for closer economic and financial ties between Manila and Beijing.

Alejano also urged the government to ensure that war veterans would receive the benefits due them and to pay attention and address their plight.

Sens. Juan Edgardo “Sonny” Angara and Grace Poe meanwhile urged Filipinos to follow the example of war veterans and their sacrifices in attaining the freedom and liberty the Philippines supposedly was enjoying.

They also urged the Filipino people to continue what they began and be like them even in their own little ways.

“History calls upon us to live out the same courage and bravery of our forefathers by doing our duties as channels of peace, builders of society, movers of economy and generators of ideas,” Poe said.

Day of Valor celebrations remember the fall of Bataan to the hands of Japanese occupying forces on April 9, 1942, after months of heroic defense by combined Filipino and American forces despite lack of supplies and resources.

GARY ALEJANO GRACE POE JUAN EDGARDO ANGARA LEILA DE LIMA RODRIGO DUTERTE SOUTH CHINA SEA
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