Duterte reiterated that the Philippines could not stop China from its activities in disputed waters and could not enforce a fishing ban within the Philippines’ exclusive economic zone (EEZ).
US dared: Help Philippines stop China
Alexis Romero (The Philippine Star) - June 27, 2019 - 12:00am

Rody: Phl fishing boat sideswiped, not rammed

MANILA, Philippines — Reiterating the country’s helplessness in stopping Chinese activities in the West Philippine Sea, President Duterte yesterday dared the United States and its allies Britain and France to help the Philippines tackle Beijing.

Duterte reiterated that the Philippines could not stop China from its activities in disputed waters and could not enforce a fishing ban within the Philippines’ exclusive economic zone (EEZ).

“They tell me you have to ban China, prohibit them.If I prohibit them, how do I enforce?” Duterte said in a speech at the 122nd anniversary of the Presidential Security Group at Malacañang.

“This is my challenge, America, Britain, France: let us assemble in Palawan and proceed directly to Spratlys. Let us seize whatever we can seize,” Duterte said. “Kung maubos tayo lahat, sabi nila (If we all perish, they will say) Duterte is not protecting the interest of the Filipino people. G*****n s***. You want me to put the lives of 110 million Filipinos (at risk) by going into trouble? … It’s not the time to go to war… reality – that’s geopolitics.”

Duterte claimed that even the US is scared of stopping China and he is being put on the spot: “Takot nga ang Amerika, ayaw nga mag-control, tapos ako pa ipusta nila? Gusto talaga nila mapasubo ako.”

He said the sinking of a Filipino fishing boat near Recto Bank was not intentional and it had been sideswiped by a Chinese ship. If it had been deliberately rammed, he said the fishing boat should have been hit from below: “Hindi talaga binunggo. Kung binunggo, nasa ilalim yun.”

He said the Chinese have firecrackers with atomic warheads while the Philippines has firecrackers only for fiestas: “We will lose by sheer might.”

Presidential spokesman Salvador Panelo urged the public to trust Duterte’s moves in the West Philippine Sea, claiming that all actions of the President are in line with the Constitution and are intended to protect the interest of Filipinos.

“All I can say is they should trust the President because all his actions are in accordance with the provisions of the Constitution, which state that the Filipino people should be protected and served,” Panelo told radio station dzMM. “(Duterte) is balancing the interest of the state (with the) potential dangerous consequence that may happen if we commit a mistake.”

Panelo reiterated that the President – criticized for allegedly being too soft on the South China Sea row – would not allow anyone to violate the country’s sovereignty.

“What is foremost in the mind of the President is that, hindi tayo papayag na ang ating kasarinlan o sovereignty ay yapakan (we won’t allow our freedom or sovereignty to be trampled upon),” Panelo said.

Earlier, Duterte said nobody can stop China from fishing in the Philippines’ EEZ because of its friendship with the Philippines.

Under international law, a coastal state has sovereign rights to explore, use, conserve and manage the natural resources in its 200-nautical mile EEZ.

Earlier this month, a Filipino-owned boat carrying 22 fishermen was rammed by a Chinese ship near Recto Bank, an area located within the Philippines’ EEZ.

Critics have questioned the presence of the Chinese vessel within the EEZ and have asked the government to look into the incident.

“We have a lot of negotiations with the government of China. Kumbaga, meron tayong pakinabang sa kanila, baka sa punto ni Presidente eh magbigay din tayo ng konti sa kanila (Since we are benefiting from them, we might as well share something with them),” Panelo said.

Panelo said issues related to the South China Sea row can be discussed through the bilateral consultation mechanism between the Philippines and China.

Friendship

The basis of the Philippines’ external relations with other countries is friendship but the country remains firm on various issues including the South China Sea, Foreign Affairs Secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr. said yesterday.

“The basis of our external relations with other countries is, foremost, friendship; and not whatever material benefit we hope to get from them. We scorn talk of mutual benefit first rather than sincere friendship,” Locsin said in his speech at the celebration of the 121st anniversary of the Department of Foreign Affairs.

Locsin also said the Philippines, under Duterte, has not backed down in its pursuit of independent foreign policy.

“We have stood our principled ground on various issues such as the return of the Balangiga bells, the (South China Sea), the protection and repatriation of displaced persons – ours and that of other countries, the promotion and protection of the welfare of our overseas workers, the decent treatment of migrant workers, most famously the open-arm reception of refugees — and that garbage thing,” he added. – With Pia Lee-Brago

CHINESE ACTIVITIES IN THE WEST PHILIPPINE SEA FILIPINO FISHERMEN IN RECTO BANK
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