By Vanne Elaine Terrazola
The Philippines should not allow itself to be bullied even by China who claims to be a “friend.”
Senator Panfilo Lacson aired this belief after Chinese Foreign Ministry Spokesman Lu Kang said that Spratlys or the Kalayaan Islands are “within China’s territory” despite the 2016 Hague ruling already disputing their claim.
“Okay ang magpakaibigan pero huwag dapat tayo magpaabuso maski napakalaki ng bansa (It’s okay to befriend them but we should not let them abuse us even if they are a superpower),” he said in a radio interview Saturday afternoon.
While conceding that the Philippines “needs help” from powerful nations like the United States, and others, to “maintain the balance of power” in the said area, Lacson said the country should learn from its neighbors who stood up against China’s threats.
“Halimbawa ang Vietnam, ang Korea, ang Russia, ‘di ba noon giniginirian ng China pero nang kinasahan sila, atras din naman sila. Kaya dapat di na tayo masyadong accommodating, dapat kumibo rin tayo pagka binu-bully tayo nang todo,” he said, lauding the Palace for speaking up and invoking the arbitral ruling against the Chinese official’s statements.
Senate President Vicente Sotto III, meanwhile, urged the government that aside from diplomatic protests, to look for ways that the country could enforce the United Nations-backed ruling which China refuses to recognize.
“What are the possibilities that we can enforce it. That’s what our government should look into: how the ruling can be enforced…There might be other means that international bodies can help us with to enforce this,” Sotto said in Filipino.
Sotto, however, noted that China’s claim has toned down due to its “friendship” with the administration of President Duterte.