Duterte on retaking West Philippine Sea: ‘I never promised the people I would’
Marje Pelayo • May 4, 2021 • 64
MANILA, Philippines — President Rodrigo Duterte recalled his conversation with President Xi Jinping regarding the West Philippine Sea (WPS).
According to Duterte he asked the communist leader to just let Filipinos fish in the West Philippine Sea.
“I told China, it’s yours according to you, I’ve heard several times. But you also have heard of the fact that people are hungry. Ang Pilipino ay gutom (Filipinos are hungry) and you are not oblivious to that fact. So kindly just allow our fishermen to fish in peace,” he said.
The President said he is ready to talk with China should conflict arise over the disputed territory.
“There’s no reason for trouble. If there is one brewing, you call our attention and we can talk immediately to solve the problem,” he said.
Meanwhile, the Chief Executive said he never made a campaign promise to retake the WPS.
“I never, never in my campaign as president, promised the people that I would retake the West Philippine Sea. I did not promise that I would pressure China,” he said. “I never mentioned about China and the Philippines in my campaign because that was a very serious matter.”
But President Duterte stressed that he is ready to fight for the country’s sovereignty and he will not order a retreat of Philippine vessels patrolling in the area.
Reacting to Duterte’s statement, retired Supreme Court Associate Justice Antonio Carpio reminded the former of his statement during the presidential campaign about riding on a jetski to Scarborough Shoal and hoisting the Philippine flag there.
He also said Duterte had issued a statement fully supporting the arbitration case against China.
Thus, Carpio said, President Duterte cannot say that he never mentioned the West Philippine Sea issue or he would be admitting that he was fooling millions of Filipinos which, the former justice said, is tantamount to “grand estafa”.
“President Duterte cannot now say that he never discussed or mentioned the West Philippine Sea issue when he was campaigning for President. Otherwise, he would be admitting that he was fooling the Filipino people big time. There is a term for that–grand estafa or grand larceny. Making a false promise to get 16 million votes,” Carpio said.
For Senator Panfilo Lacson, it is necessary to revisit the Philippines’ diplomatic relations with China.
“Maybe a review of the country’s diplomatic relations is timely and called for. All the diplomatic protests that the Secretary of Foreign Affairs filed have been ignored as if nothing was filed at all. The continued incursions and bullying finally got his goat,” he said. MNP (with reports from Nel Maribojoc)
MANILA, Philippines – Department of National Defense (DND) Secretary Delfin Lorenzana on Thursday expressed agreement with President Rodrigo Duterte’s recent remark on the 2016 ruling of the Permanent Court of Arbitration (PCA) favoring the Philippines in its case against China’s activities in the West Philippine Sea.
“What President Duterte said last night regarding the PCA ruling is correct,” Lorenzana said in a statement, referring to Duterte’s statement that nothing happened when he tried to assert the arbitral ruling on the Philippines’ rights in the resource-rich West Philippine Sea.
In a pre-taped public address on Wednesday night, Duterte said he tried to pursue the arbitral ruling when he came to power in 2016 but “nothing happened,” adding that the ruling was “just a piece of paper” that can be tossed into a waste basket.
Lorenzana said he agrees with the President when he said that there is no international law enforcement body that can enforce the ruling.
He, however, stressed that even without the PCA ruling, the Philippine government will still continue to defend “what is rightfully ours.”
“As I said in my previous statement, the President’s orders have been firm and straightforward: we defend what is rightfully ours without going to war and maintain the peace in the seas,” he said.
Lorenzana also said that Philippine Coast Guard and the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources will continue conducting maritime exercises in the West Philippine Sea and the Kalayaan Island Group.
The National Task Force on the West Philippine Sea earlier said that it has intensified maritime patrols in the West Philippine Sea after Chinese vessels were spotted lingering in areas within the Philippine exclusive economic zone.
The Department of Foreign Affairs have repeatedly filed diplomatic protests over Chinese incursions in the West Philippine Sea.
MANILA, Philippines – Retired Supreme Court Senior Associate Justice Antonio Carpio on Thursday accepted President Rodrigo Duterte’s challenge to go on a debate over the West Philippine Sea issue.
“I gladly accept the challenge anytime at the President’s convenience,” Carpio said in a statement.
In a pre-taped briefing on Wednesday night, Duterte said he only has two or three questions for Carpio when they face in a debate on the West Philippine Sea.
Duterte said he would ask Carpio on who ordered the Philippine Navy to retreat from area during the 2012 standoff, what did the administration of then President Benigno Aquino do about it and did they enforce the ruling when they filed and won the case.
Duterte has been reiterating that former Foreign Affairs Secretary Albert del Rosario was involved in the decision to withdraw the Philippine ships from the West Philippine Sea.
He also said that Del Rosario and Carpio should be investigated for their role in China’s occupation of some areas in the contested waters, adding that he would “resign immediately” if he was proven to be lying about this matter.
Carpio, however, denied involvement in the issue.
“President Duterte should now resign immediately to keep his word of honor. I state under oath that I was never involved in the decision to withdraw Philippine Navy ships from the West Philippine Sea during the 2012 Scarborough standoff,” he said.
“I was serving in the Supreme Court at that time and all I new about the withdrawal of Philippine Navy ships was what I read in the newspapers,” he added.
“I call as my witnesses former President Benigno Aquino III and the Defense Secretary, Foreign Affairs Secretary and the chiefs of the Philippine Navy, Air Force and Coast Guard at that time,” he further stated.
MANILA, Philippines – President Rodrigo Duterte on Wednesday (May 5) ordered the Philippine National Police (PNP) to arrest people who are not wearing their face mask properly in public.
President Duterte made the order during his pre-recorded address after noting that some people mindlessly don a face mask just so they can comply with the protocol.
“Itong mask, ‘yung iba, for compliance lang. Naglalagay ng mask pero nakalabas ‘yung ilong. I-detain mo tapos imbestigahan mo siya kung bakit ganoon ang behavior,“ he told the PNP adding that he has to be strict to curb COVID-19 transmission.
“Kapag hindi ko higpitan, walang mangyayari. Iyan nga, for compliance lang kayo,” he added.
In an interview following Duterte’s announcement, DILG Undersecretary Jonathan Malaya said they still have to discuss the new directive with the PNP.
“I think the President was serious. We will have to sit down with the Philippine National Police [..] to determine the parameters of the presidential directive. And we have to reconcile this with the various ordinances that were issued by the LGUs,” Malaya noted.
“I must emphasize that what people are violating here are local ordinances that were issued by the local sanggunian. We will take a look on how we can implement this directive of the President,” he added.
As for the quarantine violations, Malaya stressed that the IATF resolution is implemented through ordinances passed by the local government units. The penalty for a specific violation would depend on each LGU.
“So we may have to talk with the LGUs and of course the Philippine National Police,” Malaya said.
Malaya emphasized that it is the responsibility of the local chief executives and barangay officials to implement all minimum health standards in their respective jurisdictions.
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