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Duterte taking diplomatic action in ‘no stockpiling of weapons’ order in Palawan, says Palace

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By Prince Golez

President Rodrigo Duterte’s decision not to allow any country to stockpile military weapons in Palawan reflects his “acumen and diplomacy” in dealing with the issue of the South China Sea, according to Malacanang.

“The President has embarked on a cautious, pragmatic, diplomatic yet independent stand on how to deal with the favorable arbitral ruling,” Spokesperson Salvador Panelo said on Wednesday.

Panelo said Duterte “has a wealth of information at his disposal, which is not readily available to ordinary citizens or foreigners hence he is in the best position to decide on international matters that affect the welfare of the nation.”

The official made this comment after international affairs analyst Anders Corr said that Duterte’s recent pronouncement will leave the island militarily vulnerable to the advantage of China.

“The President not only steers clear of a potential warfare with China but anticipates any armed conflict between two powerful countries,” said Panelo.

Given its proximity to China, Palawan “could be a flaming collateral damage if not an object of a strategic assault” if the disputes in the contested region would result in a military response from the East Asian nation, he added.

“It is in the best interest of the nation that the President maintains constructive dialogues with China through a bilateral consultation mechanism.”

Panelo also defended the possible entry of Chinese electricity producers in Palawan to address the frequent power outage in the island, saying “its entry is merely a business matter owing to their technical know-how on power outages.”

“All projects, whether proposed by domestic or foreign entities, shall undergo strict legal processes before any approval is given by the government,” he said.