Palace: No need to convene Security Council over Recto Bank issue

By Argyll Cyrus Geducos

Malacañang said it is not necessary for President Duterte to convene to the National Security Council (NSC) over the incident which took place near the Recto Bank early this month.

Presidential Spokesman Salvador Panelo (OPS / MANILA BULLETIN)
Presidential Spokesman Salvador Panelo (OPS / MANILA BULLETIN)

Presidential Spokesman Salvador Panelo made the statement after Senator Richard Gordon suggested that Duterte should talk to the NSC over the abandonment of the 22 Filipino fishermen by a Chinese vessel.

The boat of the 22 fishermen was reported to be hit by the Chinese vessel which immediately fled the scene. The passengers of the Filipino boat were rescued by a Vietnamese vessel.

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In an interview, Panelo said the NSC should only be convened if the country is facing a crisis.

“Unang-una, iyon ay ginagawa mo lang iyon kung mayroong crisis. Wala naman tayong crisis eh. Ang gusto nga nila, magkaroon tayo ng crisis, iyong mga kritiko (You only convene the NSC if there is a crisis. There’s no crisis. But that’s what the critics want),” he said.

“Kasi (Because) by pursuing their line of aggressive isolationist policy, eh talagang magkakaroon tayo ng crisis. Eh ngayon wala eh (we will really have a crisis. But for now, there’s none),” he added.

Panelo also noted the good relationship between the Philippines and China.

“Maganda nga ang usapan. Nakita mo, ang ganda ng trade relations natin; nadadala na natin sa pakiusapan through diplomatic channels (We have good agreements. We have good trade relations with them, we can deal with them through diplomatic channels),” he said.

Meanwhile, Panelo also said that Chinese President Xi Jinping’s warning of trouble in the disputed waters is just a piece of friendly advice.

Earlier, President Duterte said that Xi told him to not dig oil in the disputed waters since there may be trouble if the Philippines does such a thing. According to Panelo, Xi, perhaps, is just being practical.

“Ako ang tingin ko, more on ano iyon, payong kaibigan (To me, I think, it’s more of a piece of friendly advice),” he said.

“I think the Chinese President was being also practical. I don’t think he also wants that to happen; kaya nga (that’s why) he wants to avoid it also, which is the better way in dealing with problems or conflicts,” he added,

Panelo said that Xi admires Duterte that’s why the former is giving good advice to the President.

“Mr. Xi personally admires our President. Bilib talaga siya. So ang ginagawa niya, pinapayuhan niya, ‘Huwag na tayong pumasok diyan (He really does. So what he’s doing is he advises President Duterte, ‘Let’s just not go there),’” he said.

‘Siyempre iyong Presidente ng China, Presidente lang iyon pero magri-react iyong taumbayan niya, oh di mapupuwersa rin siya. Ayaw niya iyon (Mr. Xi is just also a president, his people will react. He will then be forced to do something. He doesn’t want that to happen),” he added.

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