Opposition Senator Risa Hontiveros on Thursday scored President Duterte for denigrating the Philippines historic 2016 legal victory against China’s claims in the West Philippine Sea, which she said strengthened the country’s position in the disputed maritime territory.
“Hinding-hindi basura ang Arbitral Award ng Pilipinas. Ginto ang katumbas nito, sa laki ng likas-yaman na nasa (The Arbitral Award of the Philippines should never be treated trash. This is worth gold, considering the huge natural resources that can be found in the) West Philippine Sea,” Hontiveros said in a statement.
“Dapat yang ingatan at hindi hayaang mawala (We should take care of it and not allow it to be taken away from us),” she said.
Duterte, in a speech late Wednesday night, cursed and belittled the country’s victory at the Hague, saying the decision should end up in a trash bin.
“Pinursue ko, walang nangyari. Actually, sa usapang bugoy, sabihin ko sa ‘yo, ‘Bigay mo sakin? P*** i*** papel lang ‘yan. Itatapon ko ‘yan sa waste basket, (I pursued it, but nothing happened. Actually, in street parlance, I’ll tell you. S*** of a b***, that’s just a piece of paper. I’ll throw it in a waste basket),” Duterte said.
As President, the opposition lawmaker said, Duterte should have used the country’s win at the Hague to bolster the Philippine’s claims over its maritime territories, noting that even the United Kingdom, France and Germany even acknowledged this in their note verbale before the United Nations (UN) when they formally rejected China’s intrusion in the West Philippine Sea.
She said even Indonesia and Australia have called for the need for China to respect the arbitral ruling.
As President, Duterte should have known that many countries supported the Philippines’ due to the arbitral award, which he is now condemning.
“Bakit mas nauna pa tayong naipagtanggol ng ibang bansa? Bakit ba hindi ito magawa ng sarili nating Presidente (Why are other nations more eager to defend us? Why can’t our own President do the same thing)?” she pointed out.
She said Duterte’s latest pronouncement contradicts his speech at the UN General Assembly where he said he would reject attempts to undermine the Hague ruling.
“Kung tutuusin, ang dapat ibasura ay ang mga salita ni Presidente, kasama na rin ang special friendship niya sa Tsina (What should be thrown in the trash are the President’s words, including this special friendship he has with China),” she stressed.
“Maaaring papel lamang ang turing nya sa Arbitral Award ng Pilipinas, pero ang papel na yan ang nagpapatibay ng dangal at dignidad ng mga Pilipino sa laban na ito (He may have treated the Philippines’ arbitral award just as a piece of paper, but that paper strengthened our honor and dignity as a Filipino in this fight),” Hontiveros emphasized.