âNo reason for Philippines to be apologetic over SCSâ
The ruling, issued by the Permanent Court of Arbitration based in The Hague, invalidated Beijing’s massive claim in the South China Sea and reaffirmed the Philippines’ own maritime entitlements.
‘No reason for Philippines to be apologetic over SCS’
Pia Lee-Brago (The Philippine Star) - September 3, 2019 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — There is no reason for the Duterte administration to be apologetic about asserting the Philippines’ lawful rights in the West Philippine Sea and taking a stand against bullying by China, former foreign affairs chief Albert del Rosario said yesterday.

“With deep respect, our people would need to ask: in asserting our lawful rights in the WPS and taking a stand against being bullied, why is there a need for us to be apologetic?” Del Rosario said.

He was reacting to presidential spokesman Salvador Panelo’s statement that President Duterte was apologetic when he raised the 2016 arbitral court ruling on the South China Sea dispute during his bilateral meeting with Chinese President Xi Jinping on Thursday in Beijing.

The ruling, issued by the Permanent Court of Arbitration based in The Hague, invalidated Beijing’s massive claim in the South China Sea and reaffirmed the Philippines’ own maritime entitlements.

Duterte said during the meeting that the arbitral award is final, binding and not subject to appeal.

But Xi reiterated his position against recognizing the ruling. According to Del Rosario, accepting China’s rejection of the Philippines’ arbitral win may constitute betrayal of public trust.

He said the public “must convince our leadership that we need to strengthen our resolve, and not have it weakened.”

The Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP), meanwhile, said Duterte embarked on a trip to China to surrender Philippine sovereignty.

It said Duterte “bowed to imperialist China and its Presiden, Xi Jinping, and surrendered the country’s internationally recognized sovereignty and sovereign rights in the West Philippine Sea.”

It said it’s no surprise Duterte was given special treatment by his host.

“As in the past, Duterte’s treachery was rewarded with an ostentatious imperial reception with costly banquets fit only for the highly corrupt,” the CPP said in a statement, stressing further that the President “himself traveled by private jet, revealing his lavish tastes.”

The CPP claimed Duterte “merely went through the motions of bringing up the decision of the 2016 Permanent Court of Arbitration (PCA) in his discussion with Xi (and) in the end, it was a purposeless exercise.”

Eventually, he merely acquiesced to Xi when the latter reiterated that China does not recognize the ruling, the CPP pointed out.

Malacañang, however, dismissed as “incorrigible ranting” from a “passé” rebel CPP founder Jose Maria Sison that Duterte bowed to China during his bilateral meet with Xi.

According to Panelo, the Duterte presidency is “engrossed in its constitutional duty of protecting and serving the Filipino people.”

“It has no time to waste in responding to the latest anti-Duterte statement of Sison, other than saying it is another arrant raving coming from an aging armchair rebel,” Panelo said in a statement.

The communist movement earlier warned that Duterte’s visit to China spawned shady deals, including allowing a joint exploration in the West Philippine Sea. 

“Duterte’s officials entered into various lopsided agreements with China. The worst among these is the plan to push through with the ‘joint plan’ to explore and exploit the oil resources in the area just off Reed (Recto) Bank,” it said.  

With its control of capital and technology, China no doubt will surely be able to take full control of the oil drilling operations to the detriment of the Philippines, it stressed.

The CPP also chided Duterte for entering into “another lopsided loan agreement that will primarily serve Chinese interests,” citing the $3.5-billion loan for the construction of the Manila-Bicol railway system to be undertaken by Chinese companies and likely using Chinese surplus steel and cement.  – With  Artemio Dumlao, Alexis Romero

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