Philippines' silence gives consent to China's transgressions — Hontiveros

Patricia Lourdes Viray - Philstar.com
Philippines' silence gives consent to China's transgressions � Hontiveros
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MANILA, Philippines — Sen. Risa Hontiveros called for the government's transparency on its dealings with China following its increasing militarization in the South China Sea.

Earlier this week, the Department of Foreign Affairs said that it is not their policy to publicize every action it takes whenever there are reported developments in the South China Sea, part of which is the West Philippine Sea.

Hontiveros said Wednesday that the government's lack of transparency on its foreign policy toward China does not encourage public confidence.

"They also give the impression that the government has already bowed down to China. This is not the time for opacity and silence. Silence gives consent to China's transgressions. Silence is subservience," the senator said in a statement.

The senator noted that certain information such as the military's movement in the West Philippine Sea should be kept secret from the public.

The government's diplomatic action against Beijing's aggression is another matter.

"President Duterte and his foreign affairs officials have the responsibility to assuage the people's fears by patiently explaining to the people their foreign affairs strategy to respond to China's militarization of the region," Hontiveros said.

She added that the Filipino people need to be assured that the government is standing up for the country. The Duterte administration said it does not see China as a security threat despite its deployment of bomber aircraft in the South China Sea.

"What kind of diplomatic actions are being undertaken by our foreign affairs officials? Are they filing a formal diplomatic protest? What platforms and channels are they planning on using?" she said.

Hontiveros vowed to gather support from her colleagues to push for Senate resolutions calling for transparency on its foreign policy direction.

Sen. Antonio Trillanes IV had filed a resolution seeking an inquiry into China's installation of missile systems on the "big three" islands in the Spratly group while Sen. Bam Aquino had filed a resolution seeking to clarify the government's foreign policy direction.

Following China's deployment of a nuclear-capable bomber on Woody Island in the Paracel chain, President Rodrigo Duterte said that he would not want to destroy the country in case a war broke out.

It appears that the president believes that taking a stronger position against China would mean automatically going to war, which is not the case.

"Because in my simple calculation, with every common sense that is available to me, I would have taken a stronger, probable a more violent way of doing it. I said, in my own estimation, it would probably be a great loss to the nation and probably end up losing a war," Duterte said

RELATED: Does the Philippines have limited options on the South China Sea issue?

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