Malacañang said that President Duterte’s approach on the issue of the West Philippine Sea has been working since no part of the country’s territory was taken by China since he took office.
Presidential Spokesman Harry Roque made the statement after Vice President Leni Robredo suggested a multilateral approach on the West Philippine Sea because bilateral talks with China were not working.
In his press briefing on Monday, Roque said Robredo’s claim was not true as he insisted Duterte’s role as the chief architect of the country’s foreign policy.
“The President po is the lone architect of foreign policy. Hindi po totoo na hindi gumagana ang ating bilateral talks to the West Philippine Sea (It’s not true that our bilateral talks about the West Philippine Sea is not working),” he said.
“Matapos po ang halos limang taon ng termino ng Presidente, wala po tayong nawalang teritoryo sa China, wala po tayong hidwaan sa China (In the past five year’s of the President’s term, we didn’t lose part of our territory to China nor we had a conflict with China),” he added.
“So, I beg to disagree. The President’s policy has been working for the past five years,” he continued.
Last week, Roque said there was nothing confusing with the President Duterte’s stand on the West Philippine Sea.
“Wala pong confusing sa stand ni Presidente sa West Philippine Sea. Ang hindi po pwedeng mapagkasunduan, isasantabi muna, isusulong ang mga bagay na pwedeng maisulong gaya ng kalakalan at pamumuhunan (The President’s stand on the West Philippine Sea is not confusing. We will set aside our difference and go forward with things we can agree on like trade and investment),” he said.
“Pero hinding-hindi tayo mamimigay ng teritoryo at paninindigan at pangangalagaan natin ang pang-nasyonal na soberenya at ang ating sovereign rights (But we will never give away our territory and we will stand by our national sovereignty and our sovereign rights),” he added.
The issue on the West Philippine Sea resurfaced following the recent incursion of Chinese vessels in the area. Last week, President Duterte said he will no longer react to his critics and ordered his Cabinet to refrain from talking about the issue with anybody.