By Billy Begas
Magdalo party-list Rep. Manuel Cabochan III said the Chinese harassment in the West Philippine Sea (WPS) intensified when President Rodrigo Duterte made friends with China.
“Walang narating ang pakikipagkaibigan ni Duterte sa China. Mas lumala lamang ang harassment sa ating mga mangingisda at sundalo, at ang pag-angkin sa ating mga isda at likas-yaman,” said Cabochan.
Cabochan also pointed out that the Philippines should “be the one more confident to assert our rights, especially with the backing of a favorable arbitration ruling.”
He said the recent pronouncement of Duterte on the West Philippine Sea “shows his defeatist attitude again.”
“Hindi pa nga ipinaglalaban, isinusuko pa ng kusa. May karapatan tayo sa West Philippine Sea, at tungkulin ng estado ang ipagtanggol ito. The President should be the first one to uphold this— kung magiging tapat sana siya sa Konstitusyon at sa kanyang sinumpaang tungkulin,” Cabochan added.
Cabochan insisted that bloodshed is not an option but the President can do something to protect the country’s territory.
He appointed out the Malaysia, Indonesia, Vietnam, and Taiwan have asserted their sovereign rights and strongly condemn China’s bullying.
“But there is no war, and in fact, their economic relations continue,” he said. “Ginagamit lang ni Duterte ang banta ng giyera para lusutan ang pagiging sunod-sunuran niya sa China.”
He also added that the Philippines could also rally support from the international community to put pressure on China and intensify joint military exercises.
“The point is, there is a wide spectrum of means to defend our sovereignty, and our sovereign rights, if only the President commits to his duty. Doing nothing to protect his nation makes him a traitor. ‘Wag na niyang gawing drama ang gyera, talaga lang ang Pilipinas ay pinababayaan at ang tungkulin niya ay kanyang tinatalikuran,” he said.