Duterte’s ‘submissive, mendicant’ policies furthered China’s aggression in WPS – fishers’ group

Published May 18, 2021, 1:13 PM

by Jhon Aldrin Casinas

A fisherfolk group on Tuesday, May 18, said the “submissive and mendicant” foreign policies of the Duterte administration have encouraged China to be more aggressive on its intrusion of the country’s marine territories.

Photo of Chinese vessels spotted at the Julian Felipe Reef on March 27, 2021 (Photo courtesy of National Task Force for the West Philippine Sea / FILE PHOTO)

In a statement, the Pambansang Lakas ng Kilusang Mamamalakaya ng Pilipinas (Pamalakaya) said President Duterte should “own up to his accountability for furthering China’s aggression and annexation of the West Philippine Sea.”

“President Duterte should quit playing the blame game and admit that his submissive and mendicant foreign policies, as well as non-assertion of our sovereign rights have emboldened China to be more aggressive on its intrusion of our marine territory,” said Fernando Hicap, Pamalakaya national chairperson.

“It is the Duterte administration that keeps on setting aside the arbitration ruling and putting our sovereignty as a bargaining chip in the name of economic investments and vaccine diplomacy that China would extend to the country,” he added.

Moreover, the fishers’ group pointed out that it is under the Duterte administration that China has boldly displayed hundreds of militia vessels in the Philippine waters, threatening the livelihood of Filipino fishers.

“We’ve seen in the recent developments that China, under the present administration, has ever-strengthened its foothold in our marine territory; that’s where Duterte should be made to answer,” Hicap said.

The militant group said the Duterte administration is accountable for the loss of the Philippines’ exclusive economic zone (EEZ) in the West Philippine Sea, and should not be blamed to its any predecessors.

“Duterte’s blame game is nothing but a desperate move to propagate public confusion and evade his responsibility on the dispossession of the West Philippine Sea,” Hicap said.

“He should be condemned in history as a national traitor who compromised our national sovereignty and territorial integrity to his foreign masters,” he added.