A progressive lawmaker on Tuesday, May 18 said former Senator Juan Ponce Enrile made a wrong assessment of the country’s position on the West Philippine Sea (WPS) dispute, saying that contrary to what the elder politician said, the country already lost a lot to the Chinese.
“We already lost a lot in setting aside our victory in the arbitral ruling. This is the folly of having a subservient foreign policy, and an economy that is highly reliant on foreign capital, investments, loans, and technology,” said Bayan Muna Representative Ferdinand Gaite.
Gaite said Enrile made the wrong statement in claiming that Filipinos will “lose more” should they continue to take a strong stance against China’s continued incursion into exclusive economic zone belonging to the Philippines.
Enrile appeared in a televised weekly presidential briefing upon the invitation of President Duterte.
During the briefing. Enrile defended Duterte from growing criticisms over his handling of the territorial dispute with China. The former senator warned that the country would “lose more” if it continues to antagonize China’s position on the issue.
“Hindi totoo na mas maraming mawawala sa atin kapag tayo ay nanindigan para sa ating teritoryo (It is not true that we would lose more if we will not stand by our WPS claim),” said Gaite.
“In fact, we have our national dignity, our sovereignty over those territories, and, more tangibly, the vast resources to regain if we stand up for our rightful claims. We have this much to reclaim in asserting our territory,” the opposition lawmaker said.
“Former Senator Enrile’s statements are actually revealing of the centuries old weaknesses in our political, economic, military and foreign policies,” the Bayan Muna solon said.
“We are always being held hostage, forced to turn a blind eye, for every favor that we ask, for every loan that they grant, for every investment that is brought in. Our domestic interests are always set aside in favor of the interests of these rich and powerful nations,” said Gaite.
“This issue would always end up about choosing sides, choosing which superpower to cling to, if we continue to fail at having a truly independent foreign policy, one that is based on mutual respect for sovereignty, independence, and territorial integrity, amongst all else” stressed Gaite.