By Ben Rosario
PROSPERIDAD, Agusan del Sur – The Philippines need not “beg” the Chinese government to stop encroaching in exclusive fishing areas for the Philippines, and from harassing local fishermen from the these areas.
However, Hugpong ng Pagbabago chairperson and Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte said it was for the concerned government units and national government agencies to carry out their respective mandates to protest on behalf of Filipino fishermen in areas of the West Phillippine Sea that are clearly part of the Philippine territory.
In a media interview, Duterte was confident that the attempt of Otso Diretso senatorial bets to go to the Scarborough Shoal on board jetski will not hurt friendly relations between the Philippines and China.
In a separate interview, reeletionist Senator JV Ejercito shared Duterte’s views on the Otso Diretso stunt, saying that he will not interfere if that was the way the opposition candidates wanted to win support for the coming elections.
Ejercito, who is ranked in 10th to 13th place in poll survey rankings, said he need not resort to various gimmicks just to get the attention of voters.
“ I rely on my performance. I am quite, I am confident naman because of my performance,” he said as he boasted of passing two landmark laws – the Unviersal Health Care Law and the creation of the Department of Housing – in his six year stint as senator.
Duterte said LGUs and local government agencies concerned should guarantee that the rights of Filipino citizens are protected in areas that clearly belong to the Philppine territory.
“We do not need to beg from the Chinese government if the areas is ours,” she said.
“As a Filipino I do not need to appeal to the Chinese government. Ang may problema dyan ay iyong LGU and national government agency in-charge of regulating fishing in the said areas,” Duterte stressed.
At the same time, the HNP senatorial team campaign manager disagreed with the opinion of administration senatorial bet Jiggy Manicad that the Otso Diretso “grandstanding” the other day could endanger the friendly relationship between China and the Philippines.
“I don’t think ganyan easily ma-endanger ang friendly relationship of PH an dChina. I am sure the Chinese government knows how to discern kung totoong atake sa kanila lat kung ano ang photo ops lang,” Duterte pointed out. (The Chinese government know what is an attack against them and what is a mere photo operations)
Duterte believes the Otso Diretso bets bid to go to the contested WPS territory was just part of campaign gimmickry.
“”It’s election time so kung ikaw kandidato gagawin mo lahat kung saan ka makaka opportunity na mabigyan ka ng limelight ,” she noted. (It’s election time so if you’re a candidate you will take every opportunity to be in the limelight).
Manicad, a multi-awarded jouranlist, said the opposition’s “grandstanding” could put to risk Philippines friendship with China.
“We must avoid turning these sensitive issues towards our advantage as political candidates. Hindi ito simpleng sortie o project na pwede po nating gamitin for publicity. The dispute is an extremely sensitive issue that should not be taken lightly,” Manicad stated. (This is not a simple sorti or project that we can use for mere publicity)
Opposition senatorial bets had planned to sail to the area in an apparent taunt at President Rodrigo Duterte who made an election vow to plant the Philippine flag in the disputed territory at the WPS to show to the Chinese that the area is part of the country’s territory.